Sunday, June 30, 2013

Coconut Limeade: Refreshingly Simple

Well, it was inevitable.  After the shock of actually having a bona fide Spring, with happy green lawns, prolific flowering and fruiting, and the chirp and buzz of thriving birds and bees, we were shocked yet again when triple digits ambushed us a few days ago, the weight of the heat visible in the droop of plants, the seemingly overnight crisp of grass, and the ghost town nature of restaurant patios everywhere.  

There's no way to deny it:  Summer is here.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Gluten-Free, Vegan Peanut Butter Cookies

And the parade of favorites continues.  

My affection for peanut butter cookies began when I was in elementary.  Mrs. Prim, our next-door neighbor, would occasionally babysit my siblings and I in the afternoon when our parents had to stay late at work.  And without fail, whenever we would ring the doorbell, she would greet us at the door with a plateful of warm, peanut butter cookies.  Soft, chewy, lightly golden brown, and with the trademark criss-cross hash-marks, they were melt-in-your-mouth amazing.  I loved those afternoons, peanut butter cookie in one hand, a tall glass of cold milk in the other, and crumbs all over my smiling, chubby face. And when the doorbell would ring again, signaling my Mom or Dad's arrival, she would always flash a knowing smile and give me one more to take with me - like it was our little secret.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Bitter Melon Salad:
Honoring the Memory of My Lola
40 Days After

For those that do not already know, my grandmother passed away in her sleep about 5 weeks ago at the regal age of 104.  In the days since, there have been plenty of tears, with little things from everyday life suddenly reminding me of her and reducing me to a blubbering mess. A rose in full bloom, a woman crossing the street with a walker, the pop of bubble wrap, an organ playing at Church.   Even writing this now is extremely difficult without tears blurring my vision.  But when someone has lived such a bountiful life, how can one truly be sad?  When I think about all that she's seen, the ways in which the world has changed, the things she has risen above, and all the lives that she's touched, from friends, family, to her countless grandchildren and great-grandchildren, I see a life and a legacy to be celebrated.

But regardless, the tears still come.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ginataang Halo-Halo:
Sweet Coconut Milk Stew to Comfort the Heart & Soul

According to Merriam-Webster, comfort food is "food prepared in a traditional style" with "nostalgic or sentimental appeal."  Often connected with our childhood and/or the culture we were raised in, comfort food can be associated with a sense of security,  connection, and satisfaction and is consumed either in efforts to balance negative emotions or to pique positive emotions.  It would be an understatement to say that my diet has undergone a radical upheaval in the last 6 years.  I often look back in shock at the foods I use to put in my body - it seriously boggles my mind.  But as the saying goes, "the more things change, the more they stay the same," and for the foods that epitomize comfort for me, that is most definitely true.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Thai Green Coconut Curried Hummus

I often dream of opening a restaurant.  Sometimes I actually make-believe that I'm shopping for the restaurant when I'm at the grocery or market, planning the day's menu based upon what's in season and looks good.  It's a small pleasure I keep for myself that always brings a smile to my face.

And something that's always on that menu in my head is hummus.