Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Challenging Illusions

This morning at 5:30am, I walked under moonlight through a grove of cedar and cypress trees on my way to the studio.  A chill hung suspended in the quiet darkness, the sparse commotion of cars on the highway sharing a quiet echo as I studied the stars.  And though I was embarking upon the day with barely 4 hours of sleep, it made me smile - both from happiness and recognition that sometimes we get exactly what we want in life.  

Though the "way" we get it can often seem perplexing at first.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

My Juice Cleanse Adventure

Change is in the air. 

Leaves revealing fiery color and trees and shrubs molting to carpet the ground below.  A chill suspended in the breeze as the days grow shorter and shorter and we set the clock back.  Sweaters, scarves, and animal themed knit caps coming out of storage.  A yearning for hot soup, steamed drinks, and pumpkiny desserts.

And even for us in Austin, Texas, where the weather has just finally decided to downgrade from Summer-like temperatures, the change of season is still apparent in what's now plentiful at the farmers' market and in the aisles of the local grocer.  From the melons, stone fruit, cucumbers, tomatoes, peppers, and berries of the Summer months, we now make way for apples, pears, persimmons, citrus, gourds, cruciferous greens, and root vegetables of Autumn and Winter.

So what better time than for a juice cleanse?

Monday, October 27, 2014

Maple Nut Granola Clusters:
From Silvana's Kitchen to Yours

"To this day, it still astonishes me that with just a little knowledge, 
we can make dishes that have the power to help the body heal itself."

These words wonderfully capture the ethos of Silvana Nardone's advocacy and leadership within the gluten-free community.  When her son, Isaiah, was diagnosed with gluten and dairy sensitivity, she, too, had to undergo a transformation of perspective that many of us know all too well.  What to buy?  What not to  buy?  What is okay and what is not….  How to make this, that, or those…..


Thursday, October 23, 2014


I have been away for a while.

79 days to be exact since I last published anything on The Canary Files.  And while I have missed writing and sharing here, what I learned (and am continuing to learn) in the time since was a lesson long overdue.  A lesson that I could no longer conveniently keep on the back burner, pretend was not there, or place into a box wrapped with a perfectly tied bow.

A lesson that I knew would be difficult to write about and that I would procrastinate long and hard about formulating into words.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

How Time Flies...

12 years ago today I stepped off a plane to live in Austin, Texas.

People in Michigan asked, "Why would you want to move to Texas?"  I would begin by telling that I was pursuing my Ph.D. at The University of Texas, but also added that Austin was kind of like "an oasis" in the middle of the state to see if that might ease their look of confusion/bafflement/pity.  It usually didn't.

But that's probably because that wasn't the answer to their question.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Coconut Caramel Cocoa Nib Cookies with Sea Salt

I never had much of a sweet tooth.  So, it follows that once I embarked on a gluten-free, dairy-free, and now vegan, life, I almost never suffered the mourning, the temptation, nor the bitterness of not being able to have baked goods like cakes, pies, and cookies.  Now, before we go any further, please notice that I have said, "almost never."  For there are times when others are intensely enjoying a dessert: eyes rolling back, giggles bubbling over into ecstatic gibberish, and then the words, "You have to try this!" - when do I feel it.  Not so much because I actually want the dessert(s) in question, but because I wish to share in that experience.

Today's recipe was inspired by one of those times.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Summer Quinoa Salad with Seared Zucchini & Chickpeas

Zucchini squash has been on the menu a *lot* in my kitchen lately.  Along with its multi-colored and often exuberantly shaped zephyr, pattypan, scallop, carnival, and gooseneck heirloom squash cousins, it has been a joy to see the strength of their numbers at the farmers' market and local grocers.  With such a diversity of not only shape, but flavor and texture, I am doing my best to take advantage of the season and try them all.  So, to perhaps help you do the same, I present a simple, yet strikingly flavorful, dish that will hit the spot for any occasion.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Rhubarb Ginger Compote

Rhubarb - an ingredient known far and wide, and yet when asked exactly what it is, many are hard pressed to provide an answer outside how delicious it is with strawberries in a pie.  A plant similar in appearance to a cross between Swiss chard and celery with a canopy of large triangular leaves, it is a beautiful herbaceous perennial known for its fibrous stalks and trademark mouth-puckering tartness.  While the crimson variety is best known, rhubarb can range in color from pale green to yellow to a speckled pink.  First appearing in Spring, weather permitting, its growing season can continue throughout the Summer and even into the Fall, allowing this common and yet exotic ingredient to find its way into desserts, mason jars, roasting pans, and happy tummies for a good part of the year.