raspberry mango sorbet via @floptimism

I can’t tell you how many people have wished me a happy last weekend of Summer, and how utterly not okay I am with it. I saw a pumpkin recipe on a blog last week. I wore a skirt to work the other day, because summer is not over yet, but also a scarf, because the weather seems to think that it is. My knees were a little chilly and my heart was a little sad.

I haven’t eaten nearly enough strawberries to say goodbye to them for a whole 10 months. I only made ice cream 3 times. Our local farm stand hasn’t even been open for a full month yet. I know that in a few weeks I will be all, omgapples, and stocking up on pumpkin puree just in case there’s another shortage and what happens if I have a random craving for pumpkin and the stores are all out??, but right now, right now I still want to wear dresses without stockings and pretend that I can keep my vitamin D up if I just take a quick little jaunt around the block.

raspberry mango sorbet via @floptimism

Fortunately, it’s a well known fact that it doesn’t have to be blazing hot to enjoy ice cream. Do not act surprised if you come back here in 4 months to find me writing, teeth chattering but smiling all the same, about my latest frozen creation. So whether you’re in the so-long-summer-see-you-next-year-camp, or my camp, frowning disapprovingly as the sun sets earlier and earlier each day, I hope we can come together and appreciate more ice-cream-not-ice-cream.

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love in this moment

bookmark love.
these egg, kale & tomato breakfast wraps with hummus!
this overnight buckwheat cashew parfait because I’m currently flirting with pseudo-veganism and oh my god.
these super-powered tomato basil collard wraps which I’ve already made and fallen madly in love with.
these pillowy pistachio pop tarts.
forget about the cake, just give me a bowl of this basil lime cream cheese frosting.
these have-I-mentioned-I-love-all-things-vegan-right-now heirloom tomato “sun-cheese” toasts.
and this also-vegan avocado toast with cilantro cashew cream.
there is only one way I like my alcohol: disguised as dessert. thank you, how sweet eats.
some double chocolate almond butter trail mix cookies that remind me of these.
these honey roasted peach biscuits. amazing.
some homemade spinach wraps, deliciousness minus icky ingredient(ness).
and lastly, sweet cinnamon grilled plantains. something this simple should not make me so excited. but it does.

post script: this compilation of jumping cat fails is sure to make your day, or else you are simply not human. I can’t get enough of it.

mediterranean mahi succotash via @floptimism

Don’t get me wrong, this fish is really good. It’s light and simple, and I think, had I not been too lazy to squeeze a bit of lemon juice on top at the end (I know), I may feel slightly more enthusiastic about the protein portion of this meal. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I more or less expected the side dish to be forgettable — after all, it’s pretty bare bones, and not unlike any other random bean salad I haphazardly throw together on a whim. What I do know is that this succotash is ridiculously easy, incredibly flavorful, and light — basically, the epitome of a perfect summer dish. It’s also colorful, and pretty food goes a long way, at least in my book, and definitely in the Summer. Go ahead and use fresh corn if you can still get your hands on some, but rest assured that I used frozen back when I made this months ago, and was still enamored by it.

mediterranean succotash via @floptimism

If you’re not a fish person, use chicken. If you’re not an omnivore, use tofu. If you’re not a heat-up-your-kitchen-with-the-stove-in-August person, just make the succotash. You technically still need the stove for it, but only for a few minutes and the pay off (re: having a big bowl of this amazing succotash) is worth it. Rachael Ray’s recipes are great for tweaking, in that it’s kind of hard to butcher them into oblivion.

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oatmeal nana cookie-wich via @floptimism

August is a month of ice-cold showers and iced tea brewed in the refrigerator, of heavy humidity that weighs you down before noon and turns you into a numb puddle on your couch by 5. It’s a month of ice cream for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert — for anytime, really, because it’s too hot to imagine eating anything else except, perhaps, the occasional crisp salad for color. It’s about exercise tanks and Soffe shorts circa 2005, and flip-flops graduated recently from Old Navy rubber to Sanuk recycled soles. There’s sunscreen and vacation, a birthday, and the final wearing down of my resolve to avoid the air conditioner because the heat, at night, can’t be escaped, even by sleep.

oatmeal nana cookie-wich via @floptimism

August is not a month of hot chai teas on multiple occasions, nights spent under sheets without the need of even a fan, of soup for lunch and sweatshirts to block out the chill — a chill that comes not from a revved up window unit, but from the natural cool front settled in after yet another storm. And yet, that is exactly what this month has been, something closer to the Indian Summers of September and October than anything else. Still, I have no qualms about sharing with you this frozen recipe, not because I necessarily long for the oppression of an honest summer heat wave, but because not even the most arctic cold front could keep me from anything so akin to ice cream.

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avocados loveonetoday

It is no secret that I love avocados. I will find a way to put it into just about anything, and I mean anything. I turn it into pudding. I sneak it into cookies, cakes, and banana bread. I smear it on sandwiches. I crack an egg into it and bake it. I whisk it into a salad dressing. I turn it into a vegan enchilada sauce. I have not yet tried it in my morning Greek yogurt, but now that you have me thinking of the idea, it just may need to happen.

avocado love table via @floptimism

Still, I’ve found many people are a little put off by avocados, unsure of which ones are ripe and how to choose one, intimidated by the obtrusive pit in the middle, befuddled by how to coax it out of its shell, and all of this before they even have to think about what to do with it once it’s all prepped and ready, sitting in a green lump on their countertop. I was given the opportunity to host an avocado-centered event this summer, and I thought, what better way to help people overcome their reservations and clear up some confusion? I’m in a remarkably fortunate position at the store to interact with a lot of people every day in the context of living healthier lives, and so that’s exactly what I did.

avocado love ripen via @floptimism

ripen one quickly. Read More →

chili lime corn via @floptimism

As far as I’m concerned, there are only two ways to eat corn. The first, a crumbling, fresh corn muffin, is my corn fix of choice 10 months out of the year. Frozen corn kernels get folded into a batter of golden cornmeal and baked into little pockets of sunshine to soothe the separation I feel in the colder months when my true corn love is just out of reach. The other way to eat corn is what I’m really waiting for, where my thoughts wander anytime I meet a corn kernel from September through June. But in July and August, there is only one way to eat corn (fact), and that is fresh from a local farm, husked and grilled until golden brown and piping hot, searing the roof of my mouth in my impatience to bite into this savory treat, 10 months of waiting pent up into one unforgettable side dish.

corn muffin close via @floptimism

Corn this fresh needs no butter, it needs no salt. The edges crisp up like popcorn and the center kernels are plump, and I wait, and I wait for this season all year long because corn, unadulterated, stripped, naked, exposed corn, is all I need some nights. There is nothing that can be done to make it better. As soon as you touch it, as soon as you strip it from its sturdy cob or slather it with anything except, perhaps, the thinnest layer of buttery avocado oil, I lose interest.

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love in this moment

pinterest love.
this chocolate chip cookie crumble topping.
this idea to top vanilla ice cream with olive oil and sea salt. weird-genius.

bookmark love.
these naturally sweetened salted caramel peanut butter truffles.
this salted chocolate pretzel ice cream cake.
this chocolate chia ice cream.
these no-bake peanut butter cookies with chocolate drizzle.
this brownie batter almond butter. I want it on everything.

can we stop for a quick second and marvel at the fact that all four of those amazing desserts are sweetened with dates? they are. I KNOW. ok, moving on:

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protein fruit cream cone via @floptimism

Some mornings, I wake up refreshed, optimistic, and rejuvenated. I want to eat things like plain rolled oats with fresh berries, cinnamon, and a dollop of unsweetened plain yogurt or a sprinkle of hemp hearts. I want to go for a run, and there’s a pep in my step as I practically skip my way through my cardio routine. I don’t bat an eye lash at the chocolate in the cabinet, the cupcakes on the counter, the ice cream in the freezer. I am the wonder woman of the health universe, and nothing can stop me.

…and some mornings I wake up and just want a big bowl of ice cream.

It is a rare, rare day that you will see me with a bowl of straight-up ice cream before 10am. That chocolate butter pecan recipe from the other day? There are many ways to describe that ice cream — magical, decadent, the stuff that dreams are made of — but “a nutritious way to start your day” is not one of them. So what’s a girl to do, in the middle of Summer, when the humidity is suffocating by dawn but the idea of starting her day with a belly of ice cream is, shall we say, sub-optimal in the pep-in-the-step department?

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chocolate butter pecan ice cream via @floptimism

It all happened one fateful summer afternoon last year. My car tires crunched over the bumpy gravel driveway that stretched across the red-and-white barn-style structure, standing stark against its green and brown grassy backdrop. I’d like to call it breathtaking; picturesque; idyllic; but really, it was more homely than not and juxtaposed beside a bustling miniature golf course that was peppered with exuberant kids and their parents even before lunch time. A life-sized plastic cow stood proudly perched atop the roof of the entrance, a not-so-subtle crack in the armor of romanticized farmland. The inside of the dairy store was…functional, white and uncluttered and with that distinct atmosphere of being just one generation out-dated. It was perfect.

We approached the counter packed with homemade ice cream, fresh from the farm’s own dairy stock, and I began the arduous task of making my selection. This was no cookie cutter ice cream shop, pushing the same flavors of Breyer’s I can find at my local supermarket and selling the experience of eating it in a bubble gum painted parlor. In typical fashion, I painstakingly narrowed it down to 2 flavors and asked to have them shoved into one small cup: butter pecan, a flavor that would have elicited a disgusted grimace from me as a child but peaked my interest so many years later, and some outrageous combination of chocolate ice cream, caramel swirls, and more chunks of chocolate — for good measure. I took my cup and my spoon, and walked with L out to the slanted and weathered picnic benches to the side of the shop. I took a bite, and knew immediately that I would not rest until I found a way to officially marry these two flavors into one.

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Dear FitBit,

It started out so perfectly: your snug grip around my wrist was reassuring. You motivated me, inspired me to do more, be better. With you, I felt alive. My life had purpose. We took long walks at sunset. You struggled with me through my workouts. We even matched, your chameleon cases always there to blend into whatever outfit I had on that day. Yes, we were one of those couples, who just looked like we belonged together. I felt more and more accomplished as you encouraged me to reach my step goals: 5,000…6,000…7,000…all the way up to 9,000 and, I hope you’ll believe me when I tell you that I had every intention of taking you all the way to 10,000. I hope I haven’t let you down.

It’s just, the honeymoon phase dissipated. I started to feel the 7 month itch. You were always around. What once felt like a calming weight against my wrist began to feel heavier and heavier as time went by. There was a tightness within me, a pressure to not disappoint you each night when I failed to elicit that all-telling trail of excited lights on your progress bar. I paced while I brushed my teeth. I walked farther and farther. More and more of my time was spent traveling in circles, going nowhere except further into a spiral of your demands. I’m embarrassed to admit that I even caught myself jogging in the bathroom — before getting in the shower, after washing my hands — anything to get a few more steps in. It wasn’t even about the calories burned — I didn’t care about that. I just didn’t want to let you down. Let myself down. It wasn’t healthy. I wasn’t healthy.

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