a recipe

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Confession: I have what M likes to refer to as a “ballerina fridge”.  In my defense, there are several factors that contribute to the sad state of my fridge on a Friday night.  I blame this mostly on the fact that I live alone.  I’m not a big-meal-prep-on-a-Sunday-night kinda gal. I like my meals fresh and tend to visit the grocery store several times a week as a result.  The shelves of my refrigerator are a constant rotation of items best consumed within 24-48 hours.  It’s just how I roll.

Enter the long weekend.  It’s Monday morning, you’ve slept in considerably.  You are hungry.  There’s a slight autumn chill in the air.  You want pancakes.  You need pancakes.  You fall back on a few freezer/pantry staples, throw in the last of the blueberries, and you are extremely proud of the thick, fluffy results.  You decide to share the “recipe” on yer blog…

Whole Wheat Cornmeal Blueberry Ballerina Pancakes

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tblsp cinnamon
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup real maple syrup
1 1/4 cups coconut milk

Sift first 4 ingredients together.  Yes, sift!  This is the secret to fluffy pancakes, promise.  Stir in cornmeal and cinnamon.  In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs and milk until light and frothy.  Elbow grease. Stir in vanilla and maple syrup.  Combine the wet ingredients into the dry and stir.  Heat a griddle, throw down a slab of butter and ladle out 1/4 cup (ish) piles of batter.  Sprinkle blueberries in, flip after batter has settled and brown the other side.

Note: This recipe makes very thick, cakey pancakes (hehe), so a low-and-slow cooking method is recommended.

Enjoy with maple syrup, cherry preserves, and Wes Anderson.

feast or famine (& other food stories)

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Before climbing La Tour Eiffel on our final day in Paris, we stopped in at Cotume Café for some caffeine.  It had been a long morning of museums- from Musée d’Orsay to l’Orangerie- and we were hungry.  What we were truly hankering for was a good, sticky, banana-nutella crêpe, but with no venders en route and a failed attempt at visiting Blé Sucré (beware of the Parisian holiday!), we were unable to resist the exquisite bowl of yogurt behind the glass at Cotume.

As we noshed on the tangy greek yogurt, scooping bits of passion fruit and popping red currants up like we hadn’t seen food in weeks, we realized something.  Our trip had been a consistent rotation of feast or famine.  This small snack at Cotume notwithstanding (it was, after all, rather spontaneous), every meal had been one of abundance following hours of drought.  Feast or famine.  Starved or stuffed.

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The young midwestern American couple next to us (who struck up a conversation regarding the truly artistic yogurt bowl we’d since turned into a bit of a Jackson Pollack) had coined their own term for the feeling of unbalance.  They’d been experiencing a similar rhythm, and likened the state of being to that of a child after a long day at the zoo; They’ve walked their tired bones all around the grounds, waving at elephants, dancing for monkeys, and singing that one song from the Jungle Book too many times.  The sun is hot, their feet are tired.  They are zoo-zonked.  Yes.  It couldn’t have been a more accurate description.  That slap-happy exhausted feeling which stems from too much of an enviable activity.  There is only one cure for zoo-zonked individuals, and that involves a seat and a meal.

There were so many interesting food encounters during our stay…an inordinate amount of moules frites, the perfect picnic at Canal St. Martin, a Norman café owner inhaling fist-sized hunks of baguette steeped in brie, multiple iterations of our new favorite salad (the chevre chaud), the most delicious pesto-smothered escargot in Monmartre, a truly memorable omelette in Oberkampf, rows of vendors offering slices of abricot et tomate at the Bastille Marchée, flaky pastries at Du Pain et Des Idées, giant macarons and calvados-filled candies in Bayeux, rhubarb tartelettes in Pont L’Évêque, a fun cheese plate at the bar I was too shy to visit during my last trip to Paris, and striking vegetarian gold at Bob’s Kitchen.

One thing remained a constant, though; Nothing- not broken jaw bridge nor angry English coffee snob- could keep us from our daily baguette.  It was a ritual we took to with stunning fervor.  We learned early to order la tradición (the baguette’s more rustic counterpart) and found a certain pride in comparing the chewiness of this morning’s to the crunchiness of last night’s.  Of course, this amount of carb consumption does appear to negate any possibility of “famine” from our days.  Enter the subcondition of zoo-zonked: a state of possibly artificial hunger pangs induced by an insane amount of walking and/or photographing architecture.

Call us cliché, but we’d prefer culturally cloudy and zoo-zonked, if you don’t mind.

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morning muffins

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It seems that every year as June rolls around, beach season begins and my desire for a sculpted bikini body directly conflicts with the inevitable decrease in my daily physical activity.  The past two summers in particular (last year I was recovering from an injury, the year before I had surgery on my toe) have been especially slow on the whole work out front, which is perhaps the reason for this year’s boosted motivation.  I’ve been finding some way to sweat every morning (a rotation of ballet class and kickboxing with a few dedicated buds), but sticking to a diet in the summer is about as easy as going to Target for one item and not coming home with a carload of things you never knew you needed (does that happen to anyone else?).

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Just when you’re doing really well and eating right, it’s someone’s birthday and one too many drinks must be had.  Then your friend invites you to your favorite pub on a Wednesday night and how do you not order those garlic fries that just walked by only to stop at the table right behind you?  However, recently I’ve set a goal for myself; Maintain healthy eating during the week, and use weekends as little cheat treat days!

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Breakfast can be a tough meal to stick to.  Some people just skip it altogether (BIG mistake!  Most important meal of the day to kickstart your metabolism!), but I’m one of those freaks who wakes up with a growling tummy, always ravenous for anything with a side of bacon.  Of course, since that’s not exactly time, budget or diet friendly, I decided to whip up a batch of healthy banana-oat muffins to grab and go for breakfast, snack time, or anytime, really.  These guys are packed with tons of good nutrients and don’t use much sugar, so you can start your day out on the right bite.  I used this recipe, but substituted coconut oil for applsauce (just use 1/2 the amount of oil) and added raisins and ground flax seed for added fiber, but next time I’m throwing in some coconut flakes, cinnamon and chopped walnuts, too!  Yum!

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farewell, 2013

2013 was truly one for the books.  Travels, trials, treats, and tears, this year has bestowed them all.  From adventures in France to promotions in Providence, the memories made in 2013 will be cherished for a lifetime.

Now, dear readers, I leave you with an extremely thorough photo diary from this past year.  I tried to edit out just my few most favorite memories, but like I said, 2013 was one for the books.

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taste of october

hummus

For the second annual company “Pumpkin Party” this weekend, T and I made some exceptionally delicious hummus.  But not just any old hummus.  Roasted garlic, rosemary, pumpkin hummus.  Yes, yes, yes.  It was as amazing as it sounds, we will be making it again by the end of the week, and you can have the recipe.  You’re welcome.

sweet berry farm

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As I mentioned before, a few girlfriends and I visited Sweet Berry Farm in Middletown, RI over the weekend for some early fall apple picking.  It’s been (quite) a few years since I’ve carved out enough time to stop in at an orchard during those notoriously busy autumn months, but Sunday afternoon’s amazing weather presented the perfect opportunity.  After about two minutes of frolicking through the rows of ripe red fruits, the sweet memories of picking apples with my family as a child came flooding back to me: searching through the leafy branches for the most plump and perfectly round ones, plucking them down, shining them up and gently piling each one into the paper bag- careful not to bruise any.  The girls and I gathered up a whole peck of apples (I’m seeing some applesauce in my future) before heading into Sweetberry’s country store and trying out some of their other delicious treats (edamame hummus, I’m talking about you).  What a lovely way to celebrate the start of a new season!

canal st. martin et ten belles

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One of my favorite places to visit in Paris was le Canal Saint Martin.  During the day, the little village is quiet, reserved for the chicest of bobos, manning their boutiques and antique shops.  But come 20 heures, the canal is lined with said bobos and their picnics of wine, baguettes, cheese, and salami.  There are so many hipsters hanging on the edge of the Seine smoking their cigarettes and visiting with friends that it can be hard to even find a place to sit down.  To get the full experience, we had two picnics at St. Martin…one during the day when all was quiet, and one in the evening when the new street art is being put up and the air is flooded with french words.  I am already missing that sound!

Before our lunchtime picnic, Tegan, Melissa, Winnie and I headed to a coffee shop called Ten Belles.  Stopping in at this small but wonderful little cafe was definitely a highlight of the trip, and if you’re ever in Paris I highly recommend checking it out.  The place is owned by two French brothers (but the day we were there, it was being manned by just one of the brothers and a nice British boy), who pride themselves on serving what they claim as the best coffee in Paris.  They reeeeeally tried to sway my decision to order tea (I have never been a fan of coffee) but commended me when I asked for an order of scones.  Which were nothing short of amazing.  That’s when we saw sandwiches being brought out to the patrons sitting next to us, and decided that we must order one of each to go, for our impromptu lunchtime picnic of course!  When Melissa found 10 euro on the ground shortly after, we knew it was begging us to buy a bottle of wine for the picnic- and you can’t say no to the spirit of Paris!