{Dinner for One} Coconut Curry!

Coconut Curry © Emeliabird 2016

Curry is one of my most favorite meals ever and so easy to make! Somehow this year I found myself stuck in multiple heated discussions over curry superiority (between thai and indian). Sorry thai lovers, but I do love indian curry. When I go to thai restaurants, I always have yellow curry, which most resembles indian curry.

I’m writing this as Dinner for One recipe, but I’m certain that unless you are very very very hungry, this should serve two people, or make wonderful leftovers. So, get yourself a date or freeze half for another time! All the vegetables in this can be swapped out for the veggies of your choice. Some other favorites of mine are bell peppers (red, green orange or yellow), eggplant or broccoli. Most of the time I use spinach instead of kale, but I had it on hand and actually preferred the flavor over spinach! And I’ll just leave this here …

Over the last few years it has indeed become a comfort food in my family. It’s a wonderful meal in the heat of summer, with a glass of iced tea, or in the winter. There’s nothing quite like snuggling up in a blanket with a hot bowl of curry, Mmm!

Coconut Curry © Emeliabird 2016

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Smoothie Bowls!

This summer my eyes have been opened to the wonder and tasty amazingness of frozen smoothie bowls! O.M.G. Favorite. Inspired by the brazilian açaí bowl, but more versatile, with oh, so many options! Endless options! These have quickly become my go-to breakfast (following very closely behind my love affair with eggs, oatmeal and every other breakfast food under the sun. Ha!). You can also have this as a healthier dessert option, or a lunch, or a snack, or for no reason at all, other than just wanting a tasty treat. What? I’m hungry!

I usually use any fruit I happen to find on sale, fresh or frozen. I recently bought a massive papaya on sale, chopped it up and froze it in a ziplock bag because the price was too good to pass up! You can do this with any fruit, just be sure to cut it into small pieces before freezing! Once your fruit is frozen, just pop some of the cut up pieces into your blender or processor with the other ingredients of your choice (see the recipe below)!

As toppings go, I always get almond butter and honey from Trader Joes. It’s my favorite. For dried toppings, bulk! bulk! bulk! I get everything in bulk, and it is the greatest, ever. If you don’t have a Winco foods store or a store with bulk foods, let’s just bow our heads for a moment of silence ……. I buy everything I possibly can in bulk and pay a fraction of the price of packaged goods, even with salt, spices, flour, oats, pasta, but especially in the area of dried fruit and nuts. I mean, do you ever have a heart attack looking at the prices down the baking aisle? It’s like you need to make six figures and own a yacht to afford a bag of pecans these days! (Cue dreams of owning a farm with rows of pecan trees …).

The moral of the story is, start making smoothie bowls! They’re easy to make, fun, colorful, fresh, and delightful, and you don’t have to drink them through a straw! What could be better?

Smoothie Bowl ©Emeliabird 2016-02

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{Dinner for One} Tomato Basil Pasta

The biggest challenge of living on my own has been cooking for one. Ah, the single life! This year has been a journey of trial and error in the kitchen, with developing staple recipes for just one person without having an abundance of leftovers (somehow leftovers are so much better when you’re not the only one eating them). I can’t tell you how many times I came home and defaulted to scrambled eggs for dinner! After doing some research, and not finding much by way of “cooking for one” recipes online, I developed a few staples that make the perfect single serving dinner! First up, Tomato Basil Pasta! I love to use brown rice pasta as an alternative to wheat pasta. This recipe is super simple, quick and tasty! If you want to make this dish for multiple people, simply multiply the ingredients by the number of people you plan to serve and follow the directions as listed!

Tomato Basil Pasta ©Emeliabird 2016

Tomato Basil Pasta-©Emeliabird 2016

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Weekend Blog: The Little Things

I am in love with this season of slow, leisurely summer weekends. Where there is rarely a strict commitment and I have the freedom to drink regular coffee after 7pm, sleep in on Saturday, eat carbs and binge watch Netflix (don’t judge, you know you’ve done it too!). My weekends haven’t always been this free and easy, so while it lasts I am thoroughly enjoying myself!

On Saturday morning, a dear friend and I decided to go to the Farmers Market, which takes place every Saturday. Local vendors sell a variety of things, from homemade bread, local honey, coffee, waffles, cold pressed juices and best of all, fresh, organic produce from local farms. I was able to come away with a wonderful haul of yellow peaches, green beans, thai basil,  yellow watermelon and cherry tomatoes! Yum!

Following our Farmers Market outing, we ventured to the public library. And what began as a simple endeavor to get library cards, turned into an all-out used book buying frenzy! Unbeknownst to me, there is a used book sale held every other first Saturday of the month, where all books are 50 cents, and children’s books are 5 for $1! My little book loving heart was on the verge of bursting as we combed through hundreds of books in search of treasures. My love of books and reading no doubt comes from my mom, who has been known to collect books new and old. The utter joy of finding an old classic or an intriguing story is matched only by the enjoyment of reading it, to find that most of the time the story is even better than it first appeared to be. And so the love of books continues! She has taught me that the best books are most often hidden (always beneath some sad looking book about blood sugar diets, hors d’overs made from canned food or chia pet care from the 1970’s), just waiting to be discovered by a true book lover. My favorites are the ones with a name in the cover or a hand written note in script that say something like “To Mary, from Father, with love. Christmas 1932”. So, after an hour or so of searching and unearthing, I was lugging two armfuls of books, which, to my delight, totaled only $5! Cue the hallelujah chorus!

Much was accomplished before noon on Saturday, and it struck me that each thing I found that brought me so much joy was so very small and insignificant in the big picture of life. I have often been surrounded by people who don’t appreciate the joy that can be found in the small, simple things, like a sweet juicy peach, a bunch of fresh basil, or beautiful old books for a few cents a piece. Yet, they are the things that bring me joy each time I encounter them.

I will leave you with a recipe for Banana Bread that I tested from an old  Fannie Farmer cookbook that was found hidden amongst all kinds of nonsense books at Goodwill! And I hope you will get to enjoy many future weekends as delightful as this weekend was for me!

Fresh Table ©Emeliabird 2016

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Wild Blackberry Pie

 

Blackberry season here in Northern California had me feeling like I was in heaven! I discovered early in July that wild blackberries in this region are plentiful if you know where to look! One sunny Saturday it was 102 degrees outside and I decided I was going on a hunt for wild blackberries! I ventured out with my giant pink bucket and sneakers that I only wear if I absolutely must (because honestly, who likes wearing closed shoes when it’s hot outside?). I spent five hours driving around town, under train trestles, by the lake, down back roads and dirt paths, discovering the best hidden spots and picking berries to my hearts content (there may or may not have been trespassing involved). On the first day, I ended up with four pounds of berries, and eventually, ten jars of jam, a freezer full of frozen berries and multiple tasty blackberry desserts.

I think the biggest hit in the treat department was my Wild Blackberry Pie, baked for friends on the Fourth of July! If you’re fortunate enough to have wild blackberries growing near you (or any kind of berry for that matter), do yourself a favor, get outside, breathe in the fresh air, bask in the sunshine and pick those babies until you can pick no more! Also, watch out for spiders. 😉 It is so rewarding to be able to enjoy something you worked hard to obtain, and to delight those around you with sweet treats as well!

Blackberry Pie ©Emeliabird 2016

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