Tag Archives: figs

That’s Totally Okay

Looking back through today’s pictures, I still don’t know how I was as productive as I was.

I guess that explains how it’s already 6 pm, though. Last I checked it was 10am!

There was lots of learning to be done, though. Both of the educational sense as well as the personal sense.

Like how it’s totally okay to completely mess up your pancakes, only to discover they’re the best you’ve had all week. Even if they look like they’ve already been digested once or twice.

…and it’s also totally okay to realize that maybe the only reason you make mini loaves of bread is not because you like it better fresh – but because it’s so much fun to make and smell.

Sarena’s bread has yet to disappoint. I don’t think it’s possible for it to. It is so quick, so simple and so delicious.

Roasted Red Pepper & Garlic hummus from Appetite for Reduction

Realize you’re home alone for 25 minutes? Well – it’s perfectly reasonable to go on an insane food-processor rampage, right?

For some reason, I can’t get the rest of my family to welcome with open arms the amount of noise required for making hummus and nut butters. On a Sunday morning, no less.

When people should be waking up to the smell of bacon, not the sound of hummus.

And yes, it’s totally okay to combine hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and peanuts in your quest to make the perfect unsweetened peanut butter. Just don’t forget the pinch of salt!

But hey – why not try a flavored cashew butter for once? I’ve never had anything other than “normal” cashew butter, so I decided to give it a try. Verdict? totally okay.

  • 2 c. roasted & salted cashews
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 t. date syrup
  • 1/2 t. vanilla extract
  • 1/8 – 1/4 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 c. golden raisins

Method: Process the cashews until they form a ball. Break it up and add in the oil, syrup, extract and cinnamon. Process again until smooth. Add more oil depending on how runny you like it. Add in raisins and pulse a few more times to combine.

And by the way…if you just so happened to have made peanut butter before this…and didn’t feel like washing and trying your processor…it’s totally okay to just use the processor with the peanut butter residue still in it.

Not that I would have ever ofund myself in this situation or anything.

Haven’t done laundry in two weeks? Totally okay – it just makes you find all those old clothes you don’t know why you still have…but then realize why when you have nothing else to wear.

Again, not that I would know anything about that.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine to consider your workout for the day simply walking up a hill.

…but it’s probably easier to buy when the snow is up to your waist, and your dog might hate you for it.

Sorry for the butt shot…but this just had to be done. Kaia found that it worked best if she just tried dragging herself along on her belly.

We have so much snow right now. And we had a thundersnow storm last night!

It was kind of creepy and I was ready for the apocalypse.

I also realize that lately I’ve been hardly creative in the kitchen on my own, but rather have been making recipes out of books like it’s my job.

Well, I do wish it were my job…

But hey, that’s totally okay. I’m calling it “fine-tuning my technique.”

Because really, I don’t actually know anything about cooking or baking.

It’s totally okay to instantly think of your childhood when creaming “butter” and sugar.

Isn’t it a requirement of growing up to eat the butter and sugar when making cookies?

Not quite enough dried figs for your homemade “Fig Not-Ins” after you absent-mindedly munched on a few?

Using some golden raisins as filler is perfectly okay.

Adding anise extract, on the other hand? Totally not okay. Sambuca has ruined anise extract for me for the rest of my life, I think. I can’t have peppermints anymore because of peppermint schnapps, either.

Luckily, the anise was just an accentuating flavor, not a main player. I followed Vegan with a Vengeance‘s recipe because I wanted to have a more dough-like newton. The recipes I found online were more like a date bar – but with figs. I wanted more of a distinct fig newton! But, adding the anise idea came from this recipe.

Ironically, rolling the dough out for this was very time consuming and difficult and it will probably be many moons before I do it again. That and the directions confused me. I don’t think they were confusing, I think I was just having a “moment.” A “what the kale?” moment.

And if you lose patience with it, it’s totally okay to end up just making two giant tarts with the last of your dough.

And by the way – taste-testing your fig filling? Perfectly fine. In fact, I think it’s required. Mainly if you have some fresh bread and cashew butter to accompany it. D’oh.

Having paprika that’s older than you are? Well, that’s probably not okay, but I use it anyway. It probably doesn’t taste like…well…anything…to be perfectly honest with you.

I kid you not, I remember having this paprika when I was, like, three.

Because I was definitely using paprika as a wee little three year old. I distinctly remember burping “mo’ papriikay!” a time or two.

But until I finally remember to buy new paprika, this old stuff had to do for the mushroom and cannellini paprikas in Appetite for Reduction.

And in case you were wondering – it’s also totally okay to have sweet potato fries with every meal…and still not know whether you prefer them with barbeque sauce or hummus.

And lastly – it’s perfectly fine if you just watch the Superbowl for the commercials. I’m not a football fan…I prefer real sports.

Other things that are totally okay:

  • Realizing you haven’t gotten out of your pajamas all day. Which probably means they’re really gross considering the fact that I was definitely sweating walking up that hill.
  • Not putting away your laundry even if it’s all done.
  • Realizing you sort of enjoy the reading for your recent classes.

What was your “totally okay” moment of the day?

And I’ve gotta ask…Superbowl – yay or nay?


Filed under baking, bread, breakfast, cookies, cooking, dessert, dinner, food, healthy living, hummus, lunch, musings, nut butter, pancakes, photography, recipe, snow, sweet potato, vegan, vegetarian, veggies, vermont


Ohhh, baby…busy day!


And busy days can only get started in one way – cornmeal pancakes! And these cornmeal pancakes can only be topped one way: with sunflower seed butter, banana, fresh fig and sunflower seeds.


Holy guacamole. I think I need to move to wherever figs are grown. Where are figs grown? Does anyone who has a fig tree want to adopt me? I’ll live under the fig tree if you need me to.


…even if they do smell funny. Ironically, I remember purchasing som fig-scented hand lotion once and was so ticked off at how funky it smelt. Little did I know – figs actually smell like that. A little musty/dirty? Kind of?

Anyways. I had the day off from work, but still kept myself busy! I went right to the barn to ride after breakfast, and then volunteered myself to help my mom get some work done so she could get out and get home quicker. We grabbed some Subway while we were out, after much worrying on her part as to whether there’d “be anything I could eat,” like I was an old woman who forgot her dentures at home. I’m not sure what she was so worried about… As I said – even if there’s nothing on the menu, any place should be able to throw some veggies and a condiment between some bread and at least tide me over. A turkey sandwich without the turkey.

It actually really hit the spot – I was starved from riding Teddie, cleaning out his run and helping my mom clean. And was only $2.75. Normally? I’d complain about there “not being enough choices” (which is totally true – but you’ve already heard me complain about the lack of restaurants) for too much money. Couldn’t say that in this instance, even if I could have made better at home Smile with tongue out

I didn’t get home until 2, and had plenty to bake…so I hopped to it.






Except Iiiii’m not telling you my final recipe choices until tomorrow.

I’m sure some of you can guess what I made, though Winking smile






…how much do I love baking and cooking? Beyond words.  I can’t wait to do it all day tomorrow, too. Why can’t Thanksgiving/a special occasion be every week?

And randomly, apparently my mom’s been thinking I’ve been vegan all this time. I didn’t realize this until this evening, when she asked if I’d brushed the rolls with butter.

…oh, wait, I guess you can’t do that…”

Huh? I can do anything I want! *cackle, cackle, cackle*


Ironically enough, with all that baking and cooking for tomorrow, I just had leftovers for dinner Winking smile I. will. stop. with. the. sweet. potatoes.


I made these roasted chickpeas last night, and had a few left. They were uuber creamy and garlicky – a garlic fiend’s favorite! I mixed them up with a big clove of mashed garlic, red onion, and italian seasoning. Baked for 15-20 minutes and it’s love.


My two favorite condiments as of late. I love this Grandpa Jim’s BBQ sauce! And even though I am traditionally a roasted garlic lover’s hummus freak, I’m strangely fascinated with Garden Vegetable lately. And yes – always Cedar’s, as you well know.

What are you making for Thanksgiving?

What’s your favorite place to eat out?


Filed under baking, breakfast, dinner, pancakes, sweet potato

Gettin’ Figgy Wit’ It, Chapter II

You guys gave me so many awesome replies to yesterday’s plea! I now have a more solid idea for the rolls and the butternut squash, the two things I was unsure about.

I started prep today, with cornbread. And shopping.


For all I’m making, I knew I’d have to strengthen my bond with all-purpose flour. I’m not about to make whole-wheat-everythings. Maybe I like it, but this time I’m not cooking for me.

…which is okay. But in these instances – I’d still rather have unbleached white flour and sugar. Butter instead of margarine. Olive oil instead of vegetable. And so on.




Ironically, I still decided to make a vegan cornbread. But hear me out – it’s really good! I wasn’t going to, but finally reasoned that since it’s in an actual cookbook and not pulled offline, I had a better chance at success.

That and, the cornbread is for the stuffing – so I wasn’t stressing too much. If it’s not absolutely astounding, it’s not as big a deal as if we were just eating it plain.

And even though I just said I wasn’t caring much about “healthy” in the traditional sense for Thanksgiving, the stuffing recipe calls for half a stick of butter. I figured that’d make up for it, you know?




But, no worries – it came out perfectly. It’s from the Moosewood’s Cooking for Health. I used unbleached all purpose in place of the whole wheat flour, though, and brown sugar rather than maple syrup.



And now for, oh, I don’t know – the most amazing moment of my life, perhaps? I found fresh figs at Price Chopper!!!!! I couldn’t believe it. I actually only went in for flour and cornmeal, but my arms were full by the time I got to checkout.

I’ve got issues.

Praise the lord I didn’t grab a cart .


They must have seen me coming, too. There was no sign for a price anywhere, so of course I just start loading up a bag as if they were pure gold, figuring “hey, they’re light, it won’t cost that much.”

It was only when I was checking out and the computer at self checkout prompted me to enter a quantity that I thought “oh, crap.”

Uh, yeah, Jess, oh crap is right – I paid 7 freaking dollars for 7 figs. Do you know how much…I don’t know…sunflower seed butter? oatmeal? Teddie cookies? sweet potatoes? Cinnamon Harvest boxes? gallons of gas?…that I could get for $7?!


Whatever. Now I’m treating them as if they are pure gold. For being $1 a piece and smaller than a golf ball, they’d better taste like gold, too.

They do. I want a fig tree. That is all.

And yes, I had to google how to eat them first.


I was glad to see I’m not the only one who’s had to.



Other ways I’m awesome?

I seriously knocked my sister’s socks off this afternoon. [note: my sister didn’t just magically appear out of nowhere, nor does she levitate over my shoulder like the devil. she’s here for the week for the holiday.]

Can I ask what you’re doing…with peanuts…in a blender?”

“Making peanut budder!”

That’s how you make peanut butter?”

“Just watch me! I hope you don’t need to do anything requiring listening for a couple minutes…”

Awh yeah. Then she said I should make stuff like this for Christmas gifts.

Hallelujah, she made my day. Why did I not think of that?

Cinnamon-Raisin Peanut Budder

[follow my logic: it’s budder because it’s thicker. So you say it…budder, as if your mouth is stuck together. Butter is runnier. Nah’mean?]

  • 1 c. dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 t. olive oil
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • 1 t. maple sugar
  • 1/4 c. raisins

Process the peanuts until they reach “peanut butter” consistency. Add in the oil, cinnamon and maple sugar. Process to combine, and add in the raisins. Pulse a couple times to process.


In other news, I had something other than a banana and fig jam on my waffles this morning, just for you guys. So I had a pear and fig jam.

Nothing, repeat after me – nothing – can beat a banana ad fig jam.

but it was still delicious.

Have you ever had fresh figs?

Do you “change” how you cook when for a special occasion?


Filed under breakfast, pancakes, recipe


There’s no way I could start this post without a huge “eeegads thank you guys so much i love you!!

I’m on to the next phase in Project Food Blog!! I know it’s only the first level – but I wasn’t even expecting that…now I’ve really got to plan something great for the next challenge that’s due on Sunday, no less!! Yikes…my busy weekend just got busier 😉 This challenge will have me exploring “The Classics” – preparing classic dishes from another culture. And not just your usual French and Italian – something I rarely challenge myself with! Now keep your fingers crossed I don’t lose my creative mojo! I’m pretty happy to have a challenge, so again – thank you guys! ❤

I know, I know – you’re tired of the same old overnight oats. But I just cannot get over this simple combination.

In fact, I think everything was pretty simple today! Sometimes, it’s just the way to go.

This was mashed banana overnight oats…oh, who am I kidding. You know the drill by now!

Dates stuffed with mixed nuts, some rolled in hemp seeds!

This morning started out so weird. Well, let me rephrase – once I got to work it felt so weird.

I started my day stopping and seeing Teddie. Lately I’ve been helping A out with morning chores a little bit, basically cleaning the run-ins. It’s something I actually enjoy doing (call me crazy, but I think many horse owners would agree there is a strange satisfaction to doing all the hard horse work that goes along with ownership!) and I still get to see Teddie.

And this morning was beautiful. It was unseasonably warm, actually, and the cool breeze on my bare arms made me just want to stay there all day. I think Teddie quite enjoys the more relaxed company lately as I clean, too. While everyone else goes down to graze, he stays up and “watches” me clean. Of course,I give him many pats throughout! I just can’t pass his handsome face more than a time or two without some pats on that lovely wide blaze of his.

A rather protein deficient but still good lunch: a panini with baked eggplant & pasta sauce, fresh tomato, garlic hummus, and feta, along with a plum...

Once I got to work, though, I felt so out of it! Very unlike me. A bit lightheaded and my eyes felt really…strange? My stomach felt upset and overall I felt rather…weak? It was sort of freaky, and I was almost wondering if I should go lay down or something! The feeling passed, though, for which I am quite grateful. I hate being sick! I don’t know what was goin’ on, but I think the lightheaded and eye thing had to do with the lights in the building?

...and a sweet potato cookie for dessert

I am looking forward to sleeping in a bit tomorrow morning, though! I’ve been going to bed too late!! Bad Jess, Bad!

I’ve actually been really…I don’t know how else to say it without making it sound like I’ve been depressed (which, I haven’t, btw)…happy lately. Like, I’ll drive home and just be feeling so grateful for everything. Not to get all mushy or anything – but I think it’s definitely the weather that is bringing it out!

The fall is so gorgeous, and I love driving home in the beautiful fall light and the changing trees.

Simple bowl of bulgur, eggplant, tomato, cannelini beans, red onion, and feta. Simple yet GOOD!!

Of course, I’m not too thrilled that night is falling as I drive home now! I remember when I could go outside right now and have another hour of daylight left (it’s 7:30) but now I wouldn’t be able to see my hand in front of my face!

That doesn’t mean I didn’t take advantage of one of the last warm days of the year, though, and enjoyed this delicious dinner with the FreePress and watching my mom and Kaia “golf.”

Remember when I used to have a red onion with every sandwich? It's been so long!

…onion definitely make me nearly bawl my eyes out lately, though!! They never used to bother me, but now they really do. The red onion was quite nice to welcome back, though. I just read, though, that if you refrigerate your onion before cutting it it won’t have as strong a smell!

Don't worry - it's just a whiffle ball!

haha, even Mouse made a shot. The whole fam was out tonight!

Sorry for being all mushy and sentimental tonight! haha. But, I’m off to do my homework – of course, by that I mean Project Food Blog and not “real” homework 😛

Something you’re grateful for today?


Filed under breakfast, cooking, dinner, foodblog, health, lunch, recipe

Did You Know?

Did you knowthat I am hopelessly obsessed with mashed banana overnight oats, topped with figs, walnuts, and peanut butter sauce?

…that bananas are, technically speaking – an herb?

Did you know…that dried figs are right up there with dates when it comes to amazing? They are a great source for energy, because they are packed with slow-burning and easily digestible sugars – which keeps you going for hours!

that figs are pretty high in calcium, for a fruit, at least?

My mom wasn't sure WHAT to think when she saw this package!

Did you knowthat in times of famine, some countries have survived off of hemp seed?

…that in China, it is available in movie theaters the same as popcorn is in the U.S.?

Dates stuffed with walnuts - the perfect work snack.

Did you knowthat walnuts are one of the oldest tree foods known?

…that walnuts have one of the highest concentrations of omega-3s?

This lunch is probably getting old to see...but not to eat! What can I say? We have a loooota tomatoes!

Did you know… there are over a thousand different kinds of cheese?

Did you know…that after this feta and mozzarella is all done, I will be making it a point to only purchase locally made cheese? (holla!)

Plums...quite possibly my favorite fruit!

Did you knowthere are more than 140 varieties of plums sold in the U.S.?

Did you know…elephants are the only mammals that cannot jump?

This KIND bar was very good. A bit on the sweet side (I love cranberries and their tartness!) but good 😉

Did you knowI thought free-radicals and antioxidants were really confusing, until I read this:

Antioxidants are substances or nutrients in our foods which can prevent or slow the oxidative damage to our body. When our body cells use oxygen, they naturally produce free radicals (by-products) which can cause damage. Antioxidants act as “free radical scavengers” and hence prevent and repair damage done by these free radicals.  Health problems such as heart disease, macular degeneration, diabetes, cancer,etc are all contributed by oxidative damage. Indeed, a recent study conducted by researchers from London found that 5 servings of fruits and vegetables reduce the risk of stroke by 25 percent. Antioxidants may also enhance immune defense and therefore lower the risk of cancer and infection.


Did you know…that KIND has a lot of really yummy-looking new bars out? Hmm…I’ll have to make some knock-offs! 😛

Did you knowthat broccoli bowls have become my automatic go-to dinner when I can’t think of anything else? This bowl featured a lot of roasted broccoli, two scrambled eggs, red pepper, and a tomato with a hummus-nooch sauce. And quinoa bread 😉

Did you know…egg yolks are one of the few foods that naturally contain vitamin D?

What do you know?!

(p.s. did you know – that voting ends tomorrow? clicky here if ya wanna help a girl out!)


Filed under breakfast, dinner, health food, lunch, oatmeal, Uncategorized