Weekend Links / / On The Table

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Living with my parents this summer has been a real blessing for Jordan and I. We were able to end our previous lease and live a more streamlined life before our move to Nashville later this month. One result from this transitional period has been the fact that the time I’ve spent in the kitchen has significantly decreased. As in..basically none! We contribute to the grocery bill, but my mom continues to be the main cook. At first, it was nice not to think about that age-old question, “what’s for dinner,” but I am itching to get back in the kitchen. I enjoy the process and find it therapeutic and fun!

Over the summer, I’ve continued to read food blogs and browse Pinterest for ideas, so I thought I would share what I will be making very soon.

I can’t stop bookmarking meals that contain curry or involve quinoa. I’m trying to branch out from my midwestern casserole mentality. Lasagna and anything with bake in the title, are delicious, but very tricky to eat while trying to avoid dairy. Now that our new place in TN will be closer to Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods, our diet will change a bit. I would like to incorporate more grain-free meals (not simply substituting gluten-free pasta) and continue without dairy.

Breakfast

Banana Bread Granola  | Buckwheat Dutch Baby

Desserts

Avocado & Chocolate Pudding | Vegan Cherry Blueberry Crumble

Main Dishes 

Chana Masala | Roasted Cauliflower & Chickpeas | Fried Egg Dosa with Potato Curry |  Curry Roasted Vegetable & Avocado Naan

Sides

Corn Salsa | Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Honey & Peanuts

/ / What have you been making in the kitchen this summer?

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Slowing Down

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The need to slow down has hit me recently. My soul is craving quiet moments, despite the warm weather beckoning me to be active. Jordan spent the week working on a fun new project and so we decided to recharge on Saturday. The weather was perfect. We spent the day walking and shopping. Purchasing necessities (groceries at Whole Foods – my first nectarines of the year!) and a few special treats.

My perfume collection was consisting of empty bottles, but I wasn’t sure if I wanted to repeat or select a new scent. SeeBy Chloe is a fragrance I had tested during our time in Europe. I enjoyed it but wasn’t ready to commit at the moment. After testing it again last week, I didn’t need any more convincing. It’ll be the perfect smell for this new summer.

At work the next day, I passed my jacket a few times, I could faintly detect my new perfume. Instantly, I was reminded of my recharge day. This perfume will remind me to slow down and enjoy the present moments.

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Chocolate Chip Cookies with Coconut Oil

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I have a sweet tooth, especially if the dessert involves dark chocolate. In fact, for almost every holiday/birthday I receive chocolate from either my mom or mother in law. This love of sweets led me to bake a lot growing up with my mother. Now if I feel a craving coming, instead of buying packaged cookies I simply bake them. Sadly, cookies aren’t a dark leafy green so moderation and quality of ingredients do become important. Over the last few months, as my staples have dwindled, I’ve been replacing them with their healthier or organic equilvalent, ie. whole wheat pasta instead of white. On my last trip to Whole Foods I decided to buy coconut oil. It’s mentioned as a potential healthier alternative oil, but I wasn’t exactly sure if I would use it more for cooking or as a beauty product.

A favorite combination of mine is chocolate and coconut. I was having a chocolate craving and remembered a jar of coconut oil in my kitchen and thought, why not make chocolate chip cookies with coconut oil! I found this recipe and adapted it slightly.

  • 2 cups white whole-wheat or all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3/4 cup virgin coconut oil, at room temperature
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 2/3 cups (10-oz. pkg.) chocolate chip cookies

I  used one cup all purpose flour and one cup white whole wheat (I didn’t want to over kill the health factor the first time I made this recipe).

For the sugar, I didn’t fill the measuring cups fully, a little space below the rim was fine.

Jordan enjoys chocolate but not as much as me, so I never use the full amount of chocolate chips. 2/3 of a cup was closer to what I put into the dough. After mixing began, I decided to add actual coconut flakes to enhance the oil.

They turned out great! The white whole wheat added a nice nutty flavor and using less sugar didn’t affect it. The only thing I would have done differently was to buy unrefined coconut oil instead of refined. I didn’t realize there were two options and one has more of a coconut flavor than the other, ie. use the refined with vegetables but the unrefined with baking for a lingering coconut flavor. Sadly, there wasn’t the full coconut flavor I was hoping for, but they still were a decent chocolate chip cookie. I’m looking forward to trying this again with the unrefined oil.

If you try this recipe or have favorite ways to use coconut oil, please let me know!

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