Banana Cream Pie with a Macadamia Nut Crust

unnamedMonday I posted a pie and today I will post another one (last one of the week, I promise ;). I don’t know how I started making pies consistently at work. Maybe it was Jackie suggesting I make an apple and coconut cream pie. When I finally got around to making said coconut cream pie, our chef Zach made a it pretty obvious that his favorite is banana cream. Finally I caved and promised to make one. Which really isn’t a stretch, since I am notorious for baking things and giving them away. My buddy Judah from Java really made out like a bandit: hey I have this pizza, want some? Ten minutes later, I’d find him on my doorstep. Or I would just bring bring him in cookies to sample at work. I enjoy feeding people, hence why I work in a kitchen.

A month after I promised to make a pie, I finally got around to acting on it. Initially I made a gluten-dairy-free pie. To me it was sweet and delicious and that is what I am posting here. However, I opted for a traditional pie with a slight.cinnamon twist for Chef and my taste-testers Julie and the boyfriend. Julie raved it was the best she’s had. Score! The best part, I believe, was the crust (which was gluten-free). Normally I make pie crusts (and the layers on my cheesecake jars) with pecans. My walk home from work the other day, had me dreaming up a macadamia nut crust. Macadamia are my favorite nut. I once got my hands on some macadamia nut butter and made the best cookies of my life. It’s probably a good thing I can’t find it in Terre Haute otherwise I’d be tempted to eat them more than selling them. They would never survive to market mornings. Anyways, they made an amazing crust to say the least and I plan on using this recipe in future pies.

Macadamia Nut Banana Cream Pie Continue reading

Why to Go Barefoot: An exploration into earthing

Displaying IMG_20150728_202823.jpgSo I am not sure where my intrigue with being barefoot comes from, maybe it is primal instinct, but regardless when I wrote about walking last week, it only made since to talk about shedding shoes.

I guess it began in childhood. I grew up in the country. Going barefoot was the norm. If I needed to pop outside I would, putting on shoes took much time and effort, even if it meant walking across gravel.

Another pivotal barefoot moment came when I began reading (maybe a bit obsessively) Mark Sisson’s about 6+ years ago. Actually even before this, because my family has been lifting weights barefooted for over a decade (just like yoga you do shoeless). Anyways I thought about Mark: What are those toe shoes on his feet? I had to have some. At the time people in Terre Haute had no clue about them. Are those socks on your feet? What the hell do you have on your toes? Are those comfortable? Always my response was: it’s like I don’t have shoes on. The more I wore my shoes or went completely barefoot, the more of a change I felt. Less time wearing shoes really shaped up my calf muscles and legs (there for a bit I actually kept a photo journal). After long hikes in the mountains, I could feel how my feet and legs had worked to adapt to the ever-changing terrain. I could feel my feet grip the ground as I took off in sprints. Part of my research led to the idea that shoes weaken the feet because they cut off the small muscles and bones in your feet. Working it’s way up, that throws the rest of your leg joints and back out of whack. I didn’t wear gloves when I lifted or back braces, same idea. I wanted to use what I had, to strengthen what was there. Muscles correspond. You need a strong core to have a strong back. Muscles in the front correspond with muscles in the back. Why not my feet as well? And then I looked at my foot. I wish I had a before pic of it. My arches. My arches are beautiful and curved perfectly now, compared to the slight flatness I had before. Your body is genius and complex, we have no clue of the full miracle that is our body and all the complex feedback loops it has. The foot is designed to walk. We did it for how long? Shoes are truly like a newborn in the grand scheme of time. The arch is meant to absorb shock. Not to mention how foot strike has changed overtime. Look at barefoot runners, who strike mid-foot or on the toes. A natural human stride. Whereas most shoes with their arches replacing our arches, cause us to strike on our heels. I know so many people with plantar problems. Why cover the foot up? Why not use it? Kind of like steroids. Your body naturally produces testosterone, so when you take it synthetically, your body minimizes production. You are then dependent on the man-made stuff. We weaken our feet and now we are dependent on shoes companies. As a simple, minimalistic girl, I am all about some barefootness. Continue reading

Chocolate Almond Butter Pie

11737976_402434509967179_3895425157762747069_nSo I think by this point in the game it is pretty obvious that I enjoy making some pies. And if you are new to this site and me, I am telling you, outright that I LOVE to make pie.There was that week-long stint when I was 8, where I made a pie a day just for the sheer joy of it. There was also that 8 month journey at the Pie Company (8’s are becoming pretty prevalent here), where I made thousands of pies. I think the most pies I made in one day was around 70. There are all the made-from-scratch pies I’ve been crafting at work. Like a Bacon Chocolate Pecan Pie that I braided and free-styled a pig on, which has been selling like crazy at work. There is the banana cream pie that I finally baked yesterday for Chef who has been pleading for one. And there is this present moment. This moment right now in a little local coffee shop, where I sit and wait on the granola vendor at the market to discuss collaboration on a Vegan Granola Pie for our farm-to-fork dinner. My brain is spinning. Ideas are flowing. Creativity is abuzz and electric. So much possibility. Maybe that is what draws me to pie. The potential. All the possible. As the seasons ebb and flow, so to do the varieties of local, farm-fresh pies I can make happen. Blueberries to rhubarb to apples to Fall’s bounty of butternut and pumpkin. There are so many combinations and flavor profiles. I’ve recently made a balsamic blueberry pie, which my boss topped with an infused basil whip (holy yum and complexity that most pie eaters aren’t even aware). So I can add balsamic. I can add a homemade caramel. I can make marshmallow. I can add nuts. I can add chocolate. And now I can add granola, so many options. On and on and on they go.

I don’t know why. I’ve done cakes, but pies is where my heart lies. It feels like one of the most creative things I can make, I guess. Needless to say, if you are a lover of pies, then you too can benefit from the two pies I will be sharing this week. Let us begin with an almond chocolate. Once upon a time a month ago, I was addicted to baking, I couldn’t stop and was maybe a little out of control with the excessive amount of baking I was doing. One night, while baking for the market, I baked an additional 5 things for this website. What was I to do with the chocolate almond butter frosting that I had left over from some brownies, but to make some pie?

Chocolate Almond Butter Pie

Crust:
1 cup quinoa flour
3 tbsp coconut sugar
6 tbsp grass-fed butter, cold
1/4 tsp sea salt
Ice water
Filling:
1 cup almond butter
4 oz. Goat cheese
1/2 cup local, raw honey
1 tsp vanilla
Lets Make it Happen: Mix the flour, sugar and salt. Process with the butter (I like to cube it first), or use a fork and combine. Add water if the dough is too thick. Poke with holes. Pat into a pie pan (I put mine in minis). Bake at 350 until golden.
Process the filling ingredient. Let hang out until the crust is cooled. Fill the crusts, refrigerate until ready to eat. Enjoy!!!!

Hit a Trail

“The day we stop exploring is the day we commit ourselves to live in a stagnant world, devoid of curiosity, empty of dreams.” ~Neil deGrasse Tyson

To fully appreciate this piece you may check out my post from Monday about my torrid love affair with walking (I’ve walked to work everyday this week). I would like to progress further on the piece. Because walking and movement is great, but one of my greatest passions in life (besides connections, cooking, and writing) is HIKING. I crave it. I get restless. My body aches to be outside. I NEED, I HAVE to hike. Period. Ask anyone who knows me. For the happiest Brittany. For the creative Brittany. For the eternal optimist Brittany. For the inspired Brittany. For the clear-headed, serene Brittany. I MUST HIKE. It saves me, over and over again. The moment I step into the woods I feel peace. I feel calm. Gone are my worries, and left is the potential and possibilities I feel in Nature. As if the trees can somehow filter out the bullshit of everyday life.

Tomorrow morning I have my alarm set early so I can beat the sun and be on a trail to chase its rise. Why? Why should we hike? Why should you hike (besides being moved to awe by my words and photos and banter)? Here are some of the given reasons for hiking, but as I find in life I think it’s important to always find your own reasons. How do you feel when you hike? What are you passionate about? What drives you? What do you yearn for?

Reasons to Hit a Trail

  • 1625603_10100900799447953_3973042893055115963_nHappier! A mood boost. Being outside boosts serotonin, those feel-good neurotransmitters. Plus you have the Japanese derived concept of forest bathing. Get in trees, let them swallow you up. Stand in awe of a mountain. Watch wildlife. Take off your shoes, get in there. Lay down, feel the good energy and vibes. Listen. Listen to the music of Nature. Breathe. Smell. Take in the smell of the trees. When someone told me I smelled like the outdoors, I resounded with an affirmative: thanks. This is also good then for depression. When I was going through one of the toughest times of my life, I was at least grateful and able to remain positive because I was in the mountains, for those mountains saved me.
  • Sensory stimulation. Watch wildlife. Take off your shoes, get in there. Lay down, feel the good energy and vibes. Listen. Listen to the music of Nature. Breathe. Smell. Take in the smell of the trees. When someone told me I smelled like the outdoors, I resounded with an affirmative: thanks. Touch. Touch that tree. Dip your toe in a stream. Get all those senses involved. Let them participate.
  • Concentration. Man I can’t tell you the level of focus I get on a hike. How acute my senses are. How connected I am. How crisp my thoughts are. The awareness of my body in time and space.
  • Creativity. Hiking fuels my creativity. I write blogs in my head as I walk. I envision photo shoots. I conceptualize recipes. Ideas flow one after another after another.
  • They say it can trigger our primal regions of the brain and psyche, which if you think about it, seems about right. We used to walk/run everywhere, of course that is going to connect us to where we came from.
  • Sleep. I am a total research dork, I do it for fun. I can not tell you how much I have read about sleep and light patterns. Basically we want to pick up on circadian rhythms. Rise and fall with the patterns of the suns/light and our neurotransmitters. The sun is rising, serotonin kicks in to wake us up. It’s dark, melotonin kicks in and we get sleepy. So if we spend time in the natural sunlight and less around artificial light, would that then not promote a circadian rhythm? To me this logic makes since. And here I will write a post: Hit a Pillow, about all the beautiful benefits of sleep.
  • An Experience. Whether you are taking a few days to camp and explore the backcountry, or a day to climb a small mountains, or you go out for an afternoon park visit with friends, there is always an experience to be had.
  • Change. I am a restless soul. Stagnancy and routine kind of scares the shit out of me. Life is changing. Our bodies our changing. In a decade, none of the cells in our body will exist. Nature is a constant state of change. I remember a view years ago I read that success was our ability to deal with uncertainty. Because as much ‘control’ as we think we have, we are never truly in control. And so I like hiking because it is always different, Even if I tread the same trail everyday. Just check out my pics from my favorite local park in different seasons. The gym is the same everyday. Get outside, embrace change.

Continue reading

Rhubarb Pie Bars

1513706_402434513300512_918741152829058453_n

One of my favorite Farms at the markets- L&A Farms- has this cool Farm Fan app. Basically sign up and get text messages. Each purchase of pasture-raised eggs or grass-fed beef can go towards points. Get so many points, get a reward. Cool, and progressive for a farm, right? I think so. But more to the Fan, is that I can a text before each market reminding me to come to the market and what they will have. Even cooler, right?!?! I think so, at least to a food dork to me this future farm technology combination makes my heart sing. Why?

Because 1. It brings awareness back to the market. People can look at their phone and be reminded to go to the farmer’s market that day. 2. You can do a little pre-shopping because you know what produce they will bring. 3. It promotes local shopping. Buy local, earn rewards. There a rad, positive feedback loop here.

Let us return to number 2 and a month ago. I am standing at my booth, waiting on some customers and for the day to get hopping. My sounds with a text message. Who is texting me this early? Even better, it is my Fan reminder! They have rhubarb today! I looked at my boyfriend at least once every 20 minutes to say: Don’t forget to remind me to buy rhubarb. Of course he tried to buy it for me, but then I wouldn’t get my points.

Now this was a very conceptual market. I could make pie. I could make strawberry rhubarb pie. Or I could make pie bars. Hmm…..I like this thought. And looking back now, writing this post, if I were to change anything about this recipe, it’s that I would add rosemary. Maybe you can give that a go. Let me know how it turns out.

Rhubarb Pie Bars Continue reading

Why Walk?

11695771_10101015304159593_1006781885763692706_nIn Wildness is the preservation of the world.” Henry David Thoreau

I love walking. I walk everywhere. I feel like Where’s Waldo. Who can spot the purple-haired girl first? There she is!!!

I live in a community where commuting is, I feel, in it’s infancy. I am a novelty. What are you doing? Can I give you a ride? Is something wrong with your car? Are you sure I can’t give you a lift? Then when I explain that I have chosen to walk, you can imagine the looks. Gasp. Googly eyes. In those moments, I feel like an alien. Really? Why? Once upon walking with my pack in the country I stumbled across an older gentleman offering to give me a lift. When I explained I was practicing walking, he brushed it aside: You’ll grow out of that. Does this seem like a problem to anyone else?

For a walking, Nature lover like myself, you can imagine my excitement when I run across support for my lifestyle choices. I stood at the grocery store and Organic Life magazine stared me down in the aisle. On the side in beautiful white letters, it said: WAYS THAT WALKING CAN CHANGE YOUR LIFE. It was in my hands before I actually had time to register what I was doing. My body, my intuition craved what that article had to say.

For years I have found solace in walking. Over time the relationship between my gait and I has blossomed into a full-blown love affair. Growing up, my father pushed an outdoor lifestyle, but as I have found, discovering (re-discovering) things on your own is the most fulfilling sensation. One summer in high school, I began walking the mining hills behind our home in western Indiana. There was something about it. I ached for more. More time in the woods. More connection. More trees. More air. More hills. More climbing. More views from the top. More of that feeling. That feeling of life. That stitch in my side. The increased heart rate. Feeling my lungs work harder, as I climbed and climbed. My legs burning. Sweat dripping. I had to keep going. For I never want this feeling to go. I live for this invigoration. Then I Continue reading

Tacos, Connections, and Art

Simplify. My current goal for our home.  On a mission to rid our lives of the unnecessary stuff to make more time with the ones I love.So I am changing my approach to this site. I started out blogging….let’s see 7 years ago. It started out as a journal of sorts. A way to get my thoughts out. To clear my head. It was private hidden, only I could view it. And then I started extensively researching and blogging for my parents website. And then I launched this site two years ago when I decided I wanted to pursue my cooking passion. Initially I just wanted to post recipes. I had another site to contemplate and write on. Now, as happens with me, my thoughts have changed and evolved. I am a Thoreau lover for those who may not know (my most visible tattoo is one of his). SIMPLIFY. SIMPLIFY. Why am I running and writing on different sites or pages.
Why am I afraid to inject myself into this site? That last one has really been tripping me up. Often time with recipes, I don’t type a lot. There is a definite lack of content, entertainment and personality. But as I go to the market every week. As I think of where I want to go. I have to think of my brand? What’s my message? What’s my voice? What do I have to say? Share? Because each week I have to go with my baked goods, I’m selling myself and the food. Isn’t that the point to a market? To make a connection to your food source. To see the person and talk to the person lovingly growing and raising your food. It’s like meeting the parents of a beautiful child. I can ask questions. Attach a name. A real, breathing, talking, most often freaking amazing individual to the food I’m going to take home and use as a tool to nourish my body. Personally, I want that. And I have to do the same thing. I am the person behind the bliss. And so I am expanding, evolving this site. There will be more thoughts. More insight. Like the spaces I surround myself (my apartment), I want it to feel authentically me. Because I am a unique individual, with my own voice. And there is so much more to me than the recipes I post. And the beauty of the internet and touch phones, is that if someone doesn’t want to read my thoughts they can scroll to the recipe and what they’re looking for.
So I am a confessed total weirdo when it comes to food. Eating in front of people is a major struggle for me often. Ask my boyfriend, he likes to point out that he’s rarely seen me eat. I think the big struggle comes from my parents owning a fitness weight loss studio. For years I felt my identity was tied soley in with my body. I felt the pressure of being judged for my body. Picked to pieces. I defined myself and lived according to the number on a scale. As if my worth was somehow tied into that number. It was an obsession. And the problem is that even when I reached a goal, when I was super tiny and had the flattest stomach, is that it never seemed enough. And since the end of business, I’ve had to step back. Even though I’ve had a reawakening in my own eyes and self- reflection, that doesn’t mean that societal pressures don’t still loom. People judge by physical appearances. Point blank. Even though I am a lover and eternal optimist, that doesn’t mean I’m naïve enough to be ignorant to this fact.
And so I practice. I practice eating gluten-free, it truly is my lifestyle (just ask them at work, I’m the crazy baker who never tries anything that I make). I practice shopping at the market. I practice making better choices today. I practice nourishment. I practice recipe creations. I walk. I hike. I meditate. I do my kettlebells. I hit a yoga mat. I practice being happy and content. I am healthy. I am strong. I am flexible. And I step out of my comfort zone. If something challenges me, I go for it. So I have group eating issues? Let me schedule dinners with my friends. Shoot out a group text: Hey I’m playing with some new tortilla recipes, want to come over and have dinner. Or I haven’t seen you in a while, let’s watch a movie and make dinner. Go to Pulse and then home for a meal. Or schedule a post pool lunch. Or leaving the market with an extra pizza crust, I’ll look at the boyfriend and see if he wants to go home and make his and hers pizzas. Meet a new neighbor who doesn’t like cooking? Invite them over for dinner. Let’s get to know each other over a meal. Even better, I’ll add an activity. Since I long for connection to my food. I long for that connection with people too. I want to visit and talk with my friends. I want to super charge my creativity. Why not invite my art friends over to paint a canvas and eat tacos? Food, fun, and art all in one.

Continue reading