Blueberry Swirl Bread

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I have…run out of things to talk about….

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I usually have a funny or at least borderline entertaining anecdote to share after the weekend.

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But when you do the same thing four weekends in a row, it all starts to blur.

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I finished a puzzle. We watched Ozark. I’m reading a book. Sometimes I nap. It’s getting wild up in here, is what I’m trying to say. I really just feel like a worthless bump on a leg, quite honestly. I’d prefer to feel a little more useful while in quarantine but I have no skills. I can’t sew masks for hospital workers, I can’t provide any services to those in need. What am I good for, seriously? Do you all know of any way I can contribute to society from the comforts of my home? I need to do SOMETHING.

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I can’t keep making bread, I’m going to actually explode.

 

 

Time: 3 hours (prep + baking) | Serves: 1 loaf

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup of plain almond milk
  • 6 3/4 tsp. of active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup of coconut sugar
  • 3 cups of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. of S
  • 5 tbsp. of vegan butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup of blueberry jam

How to:

  • Warm the milk in a sauce pan to 98.6-113 degrees
  • Turn off heat, stir in yeast + 1 tbsp. of sugar, let activate for 10 minutes
  • Meanwhile, combine flour + remaining sugar + S in a bowl
  • Stir in yeast mixture + softened butter
  • Mix with your hands until combined + knead for 8-10 minutes or until a dough forms
  • Place dough in a large greased bowl, cover with a dish towel + let rise for an hour
  • Place on a lightly floured surface + knead for a while longer until air is out
  • Roll out the dough to a rectangle
  • Spread with blueberry jam
  • Roll up the dough taco style (long ways)
  • Transfer to a greased baking dish
  • Obvio, it won’t fit like this, so just smash it all around, folding the dough in on top of itself, this is gonna give you your swirls
  • Cover with a dish towel + let rest another 45 minutes
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 355
  • Brush loaf with a lil more milk
  • Bake for 40 minutes
  • Let cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan to cool more
  • Serve warm or room temp
  • Slather a slice with a lil vegan butter + slap on face, repeat with remaining slices until totally covered in bread

 

Adapted from here!

Corn + Avocado Panzanella

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A thing I excel at is karaoke.

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And just generally being the life of the party.

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This last statement is false except when I am surrounded by all of my friends in a foreign land like I was this weekend.

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If you consider Boston a foreign land, that is. A dear friend got married this weekend and like 15 of our closest pals descended on MA for the affair. It’s a rare occasion that we all get together considering jobs, families, spouses, babies, life, bills, etc. I cannot even put into the words the fun that was had, but I will try by summarizing our first night: We end up at a hole in the wall pub that all of the girls are like umm is this going to be OK, not sure about this aesthetic. We walk in and this place is BUMPING, man. It is THE place for young professionals on a Thursday after work. They have a jukebox playing Who Let The Dogs Out and other similar classics. Since we’re grooving so hard, we get the brilliant idea to karaoke…….at 7:30pm. Lucky us there’s a karaoke bar around the corner. We sang probably 16 of the 20 songs that were performed while we were there – everything ranging from Tina Turner to Dashboard Confessional, really impressing the crowd with our range. Of course, I concluded the evening with an Adele solo, as I do.

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I left my voice in Boston and now sound like an 80-year-old chain smoker.

 

 

Time: 45 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 3-4

Ingredients:

  • 1 loaf of whole wheat sourdough, cut in cubes
  • 4 ears of corn, shucked
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 jalapeno, diced
  • 1 red pepper, diced
  • 1/4 cup of basil, chiffonaded
  • 4 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 3 tbsp. of red wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp. of dijon mustard
  • 1 shallot, diced
  • 1 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • S+P, to taste
  • Lime, for serving

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 350
  • Toss bread with 1 tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P
  • Arrange in an even layer on a lined baking sheet, bake about 10 minutes or until toasted to your desire
  • Meanwhile, combine remaining olive oil + vinegar + mustard + shallot + garlic + S+P
  • In a big bowl, combine corn + avocado + tomatoes + jalapeno + red pepper + basil + S+P, toss to coat
  • Add bread + dressing, toss to coat + serve with lime
  • Find a comfy chaise lounge to retire on and hire some cabana boys to spoon feed you this while simultaneously fanning you

 

Dressing from here!

Open-Faced Pitas with Roasted Eggplant + Red Pepper Spread

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I think it’s time I get a little real with y’all.

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And that’s not even a sarcastic opening this time!!! I realized I’ve never really shared why I started cooking.

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Let us venture back to pre-teen Rachel. Or as I like to refer to her, she who must not be named. Growing up, I was ALWAYS the smallest kid in class. Like, got the kids menu and looked like an 8-year-old boy until I was 17. I don’t recommend this if you’re interested in having self esteem. Puberty rolled around my junior year and I became an average height, but was still skinny and could eat WHATEVER I wanted. I’ve told y’all about how I used to leave school, eat 12 nuggets, fries and a milkshake and THEN eat dinner. Those were the TIMES, man.

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Sophomore year of college came around and I gained the weight we all do at that pivotal time. Nothing crazy, but it looked odd on my small frame. I honestly would have been blissfully ignorant except this was during the rise of social media when it became the vortex of self-pity and comparison we now know and love. I saw pictures of myself and just hated what I saw. I had never felt pretty (have you seen this schnoz?!), but I had always counted on being small. My first world, middle class, not enough problem-having world was rocked! Chicken nugget girl had no idea how to eat healthy, so I started restricting myself. I lost 20 pounds eating a bagel for breakfast, a granola bar for lunch and a little something for dinner. Or as I like to call it, the diet of an idiotic college girl who cared far too much what peeps thought of her. While I eventually began eating more, I continued the unhealthy restrictive habits. It wasn’t until I called my mom crying one afternoon after treating myself to Zaxby’s (wow, what a treat!) and feeling SO guilty, that I realized it was time to make a change. She took me to the grocery store, bought me food and taught me how to bake some chicken breasts. From there, I turned on Food Network and haven’t turned it off in over six years. I watched every single show and tried to learn as much as I could. I would spend my free time searching for recipes and reading about food. I started this blog to document some of the recipes I liked, and here we are. Almost 5 years later and this little space of the Internet is still one of my favorites.

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Thank you for reading along and allowing me to be a lunatic and share some food and look at your food and I promise I eat quadruple the calories I used to – for example, I ate both of these pitas immediately after taking these photos.

 

Time: 1 hour (prep + cooking) | Serves: 4 pitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, peeled + sliced into 1/2 inch discs
  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 can of chickpeas, drained .+ rinsed
  • 1 pint of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 a small red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 zucchini, zoodled
  • 2 tbsp. of garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp. of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. of tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • S+P, to taste
  • Pitas, toasted
  • Cilantro, for serving

How to:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • Arrange eggplant discs on a lined baking sheet, using 1 tbsp. of olive oil, brush each side + sprinkle with S+P
  • Arrange red peppers on another lined baking sheet
  • Arrange chickpeas on a third lined baking sheet, drizzle with 1 tbsp. of olive oil + some S+P
  • Place all in the oven (peppers + eggplant on the same rack if possible), bake chickpeas for 25 minutes, turning once, eggplant for 30 minutes, turning once, red peppers for 45 minutes, turning once
  • Once cooled, remove the charred skins from the peppers + cut the tops off + remove any seeds
  • In a food processor combine eggplant + red peppers + garlic + remaining olive oil + tomato paste + crushed red pepper + S+P, process until smooth
  • To serve, spread your eggplant + pepper goodness on a pita + top with zoodles + tomatoes + chickpeas + onion + cilantro
  • Fold pita up like a boat + swim it right into the giant hole in your face

 

Spread adapted from my girl, Ina!