This week as we unpacked our Christmas ornaments and strung twinkle lights, my mind turned to food, as it usually does when a holiday is approaching. I love nothing more than planning a menu that will be both decadent and nourishing for my family and friends. And my favorite course to plan is always, without fail, dessert. I love the idea of wrapping up a delicious meal with the perfect treat, one that isn’t overpowering in its sweetness, but instead delivers a delicate, pleasing close to the night.
I always begin the process of shaping a menu by browsing the in-season offerings at our farmers market. Although I call New England home, we’re lucky enough to have a vendor at our market that offers incredible citrus from his family’s farm in Florida. While is isn’t technically local, I still indulge. This rustic Almond Ricotta cake is topped with the most beautifully hued blood orange glaze and a festive sprinkling of pistachio. The cake itself is dense and nutty, yet there is a lightness thanks to the ricotta. The citrus tang perfectly balances out the rustic cake, and the presentation couldn’t be more beautiful. Simple, nourishing and satisfying, I hope you’ll find this to be the perfect end to a holiday meal with loved ones. Our family makes some of our most memorable moments around the table and I hope this holiday season, your family has a chance to do the same.Almond Ricotta Cake with Blood Orange Glaze
As I’ve focused more on gluten free recipes in the past few years, I’ve found the Vitamix grain container to be invaluable. Here I used it to make almond meal, which is simply made from raw almonds. I use my Vitamix to make all of my flours now- from oat flour to quinoa flour- there is nothing that the grain container can’t handle.
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tbs vanilla extract
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/4 cup blood orange juice
1 teaspoon blood orange zest
1/4 tsp salt
2 1/2 cups almond flour*
4. Transfer the batter into greased cake pan and bake for 40 minutes, or until the cake is a toasted brown and firm to the touch. Allow the cake to cool before removing from pan.
1 1/2 cup powdered sugar
1. In a small bowl whisk together juice and sugar until well mixed. Pour over the cake, and sprinkle with crushed pistachio. Allow the glaze about 10 minutes to set.
Serve and enjoy!
How is it possible that an entire month has passed us by already? Really, December 2? That pretty much blows my mind. This fall has been a whirlwind in the best way possible and it feels that we are all wholeheartedly embracing this new season of life. I greatly enjoy my job and especially after…
How is it possible that an entire month has passed us by already? Really, December 2? That pretty much blows my mind. This fall has been a whirlwind in the best way possible and it feels that we are all wholeheartedly embracing this new season of life. I greatly enjoy my job and especially after the election, I feel like the work I am doing at our school is all the more important. In fact, I can’t think of anything more important than working at a school that is shaping young minds to be empathetic, inclusive and non-biased learners. The boys absolutely love their school- they run down the walkway every single day, eager to get to their classrooms, give their teachers a hug and greet their friends. Every morning I wonder how we got so lucky. We are a mixed race family, my husband is an immigrant, and yet everyday my children go to school they feel safe and known. How incredible.
In between my work at the school, I am still taking on writing and photography jobs. I haven’t quite figured out the whole work/life balance thing, but I am happy (albeit exhausted) and I keep repeating to myself “this is just a season of life, remember to be grateful.” A few things have fallen by the wayside including working out, seeing friends, and unplanned time in my studio to create, knit and sew. The most I manage right now is a few rows of knitting before I fall into bed each night. Good enough for now.
Here is what this year has taught me. Happiness does not equal perfection. It is messy and sometimes exhausting but mostly, it is a choice. Events may happen that leave us feeling scared, vulnerable, worn out, and hopeless. And yet happiness is still there for the taking. For me, my purest moments of happiness occur around 6:30am when my two boys wake up and find their way into my bed where they wrap their sleepy limbs around me and cuddle until our alarm clock rings. I kiss their sweet brown cheeks, and run my hands over their little shaved heads, and marvel that I’ve been given the honor of mothering them.
As we enter into this holiday season I wish you happiness. I can’t think of a better gift.
*the above picture was taken during a recent work trip to the British Virgin Islands.
I had the distinct pleasure of taking a workshop with Aran Goyoaga at Sunday Suppers in Brooklyn this past weekend. I was feeling like I needed a little creative boost, and I find that workshops are great for connecting with other creatives, as well as improving on skills and learning new techniques. I left Providence…
I had the distinct pleasure of taking a workshop with Aran Goyoaga at Sunday Suppers in Brooklyn this past weekend. I was feeling like I needed a little creative boost, and I find that workshops are great for connecting with other creatives, as well as improving on skills and learning new techniques. I left Providence early Friday morning and grabbed an Amtrak to NYC and made it in time for a Union Square Greenmarket sourcing trip with the group in the pouring rain. Despite the downpour, it was fascinating to watch Aran carefully choose her ingredients, keeping an eye out for interesting details; beautifully curved stems, imperfect apples and pears, rough-skinned squash. The beauty, and therefore visual interest, lies in the imperfections. We met up again on Saturday morning in the Sunday Suppers studio and kitchen space to learn more about Aran’s process, and watch her style and photograph several dishes. It was fascinating to watch her attention to detail, often spending at least an hour photographing a single recipe (not taking into account time spent sourcing props and food, and cooking). For me, it brought up questions around studio vs. lifestyle photography, and which direction I am drawn towards. The whole weekend gave me quite a bit to think about, which is exactly the point. I’m always hesitant to invest in myself, whether it be new equipment or a workshop, and yet I’m always so grateful when I take the leap. I was surprised to find that I didn’t pick up my camera that often, as I was too busy watching and taking notes, but here are a few behind the scenes shots taken on my phone. A big thank you to Aran for the weekend, as well as the entire group for their inspiration. The light in the studio was absolute perfection, with large north facing windows that let in plenty of light despite the gray, rainy weather. A selection of neutral props- love! The selection that Aran chose from the market- look at those gorgeous imperfections. And a buckwheat galette using Hidden Rose apples from Scott Farm Orchard (which I brought with me from home, cradled in my lap for the train ride!). My favorite discovery of the weekend- Seed and Mill! One of the company founders, Rachel, was a workshop participant and it was an absolute joy meeting her and learning about the company. She treated me to a goat’s milk soft serve ice cream, topped with Seed and Mill tahini and halva, served in a red velvet cone. It was the most delicious thing in the world. Find their stall at Chelsea Market- do it! And the last gasp of dahlia for the season at the Greenmarket.
I’ll spare you the boring details and instead give you a brief synopsis of the past month: BURIED ALIVE. The boys are now in school full time and I am working at their school, and getting us all out the door each morning, dressed and fed, three lunches and snacks packed…well, it is nothing short…
I’ll spare you the boring details and instead give you a brief synopsis of the past month: BURIED ALIVE. The boys are now in school full time and I am working at their school, and getting us all out the door each morning, dressed and fed, three lunches and snacks packed…well, it is nothing short of a miracle. Every single day we pull out of the driveway I am so damn proud of myself. I know that people all around the world do this every single day, but geez it’s hard. If anything, it makes me incredibly grateful for the rather carefree years we’ve had leading up to this. We are finally getting into a good groove, but it is all consuming and quite tiring, I’ll admit. As you know, my husband travels quite a bit, so after a full day of work, it is back home with the boys to make dinner, give baths and go through the bedtime routine. By the time they are asleep, I usually have enough energy to put away a load of laundry and finish up the dishes before I collapse into bed. Needless to say, there isn’t much creativity happening. At first, I was pretty upset about it, but after carefully sitting with this new routine, and watching the boys absolutely flourish at their new school, I’ve come to accept that this is simply a season of life. Seasons come and go, each bringing with it unique and joyful gifts. I am doing my best to stay present and thankful. We do have some fun travel coming up, both work and personal, so I look forward to sharing more as the fall rolls along. I may not be in this space as often as I’d like, but as always, I appreciate you sticking around. Until next time, I’d love to share with you a few podcasts, shows and books that are adding joy to my days:
Podcasts I’m loving:
- Wrongful Conviction with Jason Flom
- In the Dark
- Death, Sex & Money
- Modern Love
- This American Life
- The Longest Shortest
*all of these pictures were taken at The Farmer’s Daughter in South Kingstown, one of my favorite destinations in the state.
As the summer winds down, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the recipe features, press and kind words that my book has received. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement over Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’m so very thankful- seriously, it is such a thrill….
As the summer winds down, I thought it might be fun to do a little round-up of some of the recipe features, press and kind words that my book has received. I’ve been so overwhelmed with the outpouring of excitement over Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet. I’m so very thankful- seriously, it is such a thrill. Let’s dive in to this deliciousness…*Sara and Hugh Forte of Sprouted Kitchen made my Maple Pecan Crunch Ice Cream. I’m such a fan of their work so this really made my day. They had the genius idea to add chocolate. When in doubt, always add chocolate! Above photos by Hugh Forte.
*Design*Sponge featured my Roasted Peach Pops, one of my favorite recipes in the book. Stone fruit season is still happening so do yourself a favor and give these a whirl!
*Jessica Murnane of One Part Plant made my whole fruit pops (below, right). Just look at those chubby little fingers! *Erin of Reading My Tea Leaves made my Roasted Peaches and Cream pops with cashew cream instead of yogurt and they turned out beautifully (above left)!
*Over at Eat Boutique my Frozen Yogurt Bark got packaged up for a sweet frozen gift!
*I was very honored that Sweet Paul included Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet in both his 25 Books I’m Loving Spring and Summer editions! *Megan Gordon of A Sweet Spoonful went blueberry picking and made this vibrant blueberry ice cream!
*Kim Kinzi of Motif Magazine wrote the kindest review. When I came to work one day, my boss had pinned it to my bulletin board. That totally made me blush- I keep my school work self very separate from my writing work self!
*My friend Xan wrote the kindest words about both Little Bites and Icy Creamy Healthy Sweet over on her blog, The Conscious Caterpillar. I love that both of my books have earned a spot in her kitchen, and I especially love seeing them stained and ear-marked, just how a cookbook should look!
*Elizabeth interviewed me for her incredible Mornings on the Dock podcast. We talk books, babies, creativity, and what my month of July is like in Northern Michigan. If you can handle my strong Michigan accent, have a listen! And while you’re there, listen to them all…each one is fabulous and inspiring.
I have been so thrilled to receive some great press mentions as well, including a few of my recipes being featured in the July/ August issue of Self. As one of the first magazines I ever read, and one of the few that I continue to read on a regular basis, I can tell you that seeing my recipes in Self (and photographed by the one and only Johnny Miller) was a career highlight. I also had the pleasure of shooting the COVER of The Coastal Table (above left). It is my first cover, and I am incredibly grateful to Karen, the founder and editor, for her support. The entire issue is gorgeous, and inside you’ll also find a fun ice cream story with several recipes, some from the book and a few brand new additions. I’ve been really appreciative of the Edible community for spreading the Icy, Creamy word. A big thank you to Edible Rhody, Edible Cape Cod, Edible Jersey, Edible Memphis, Edible Indy, Edible Toronto, Edible East Bay and Edible Boston for their features. I’ve received other wonderful press coverage, including really nice features in The Improper Bostonian and Vegan Life, among other publications. I was also incredibly honored to win The Readable Feast’s People’s Choice Cookbook of the Year award, and a subsequent feature in The Boston Globe! Thank you so much for all of your votes! How thrilling. I also have an original recipe and thoughts on what it is like to write about food for a living in the current issue of Remedy Quarterly, issue #21. Finally, after waiting so long to join Instagram, I have to admit that I joined at the right time. I’ve loved seeing people enjoying my recipes! So, late to the party, but I’m fully here and loving it! Here are just a few of my favorite Insta images, above, top row (l to r): Sarah Waldo, Edible Manhattan, Jenn Elliott Blake. Bottom row (l to r) Floret, Marisa Dobson, Golubka Kitchen. Below, top row (l to r): Punkpost, With Style and Grace, The Book Larder. Bottom row (l to r): The Conscious Caterpillar, Megan Gordon, Amy Chaplin. Keep sharing your treats and make sure to tag me ch_chitnis and use #icycreamy. Thank you so much for all of your enthusiasm and support! And finally, if you missed my book tour recap be sure to check out my Seattle and San Francisco posts!
Thank you so much for all of your kindness regarding my last post. Vulnerability and honesty are tough- but I am so grateful for all of your supportive comments and emails. Seriously, I feel so blessed to have this community in my life. I’ve responded to all of your comments individually- every single one of…
Thank you so much for all of your kindness regarding my last post. Vulnerability and honesty are tough- but I am so grateful for all of your supportive comments and emails. Seriously, I feel so blessed to have this community in my life. I’ve responded to all of your comments individually- every single one of them was so kind. I’m just so grateful. Mental illness is hard to talk about, but it is so important to have these conversations. So thank you again for your kindness and sensitivity. We met up with my parents in NYC this past weekend. For Christmas we had gifted my dad tickets to the US Open, something that was on his bucket list. My dad is a ridiculously good athlete. He walked on to the Michigan State tennis team and eventually played #1 doubles for the team and received an athletic scholarship. Big Ten tennis- I mean, that is a huge deal. He’s amazing and we were so excited to take him on this adventure. When my mom’s illness hit, we were unsure if this trip would happen, but I am thrilled to report that because of medical intervention, my mom is doing so much better. She has a spark in her eye once again (that was perhaps the scariest thing to see- the light in her eyes go out). She was raring to go, itching to get out and explore. And I can’t tell you how happy that made me (though I complained bitterly when she “dragged” me out to Brooklyn to see the Botanic Gardens, whose blooms I was so sure would be totally past their prime…insert foot in mouth!). In fact, the Brooklyn Botanic Garden was exploding with its final bloom, and everywhere we went- from the rose garden to the water lilies- there was so much beauty. I would absolutely love to return when the rose garden is at its peak. After wandering for hours, we hopped in a cab and made our way to the Brooklyn Flea Market in Fort Greene. It was a total blast, and there were so many tempting offerings, including this stack of indigo mudcloth! But we walked away empty-handed (not counting the donuts and pizza that we scarfed- seriously go for the food stalls….soooo good!). In all, a wonderful weekend spent with my family, enjoying big city life. I’ll be the first to admit that we are decidedly “college town” kinda people, though. New York City left my boys spinning! The night we arrived home, we read “The Tale of the City Mouse and Country Mouse,” and both boys were decidedly in the country mouse camp! Now this week, back to school and the craziness that brings. Good luck to all you parents and students out there. Let’s try to shake off the rust and get this school routine up and running!
Here we are nearing the end of August and nearly a month has past since I last wrote. It’s not for lack of wanting, but this past month has been difficult. It’s funny…I keep running into acquaintances who follow me on Instagram and they’ll say, “You’ve had the most gorgeous summer ever!” And yes, it…
Here we are nearing the end of August and nearly a month has past since I last wrote. It’s not for lack of wanting, but this past month has been difficult. It’s funny…I keep running into acquaintances who follow me on Instagram and they’ll say, “You’ve had the most gorgeous summer ever!” And yes, it has been gorgeous in so many ways. But social media is terribly one-sided I’m afraid. In fact this summer, Instagram has really been an escape for me- a way to showcase the beautiful moments of each day and escape the underlying realities. Since January, my mom’s health has been declining. The link between Parkinson’s and depression is well established given the fact that Parkinson’s affects many parts of the brain that are crucial to controlling mood. My mom has been suffering greatly for the past eight months, and without getting into the specifics, I can tell you that it has been an emotional roller coaster for the entire family. There were many points at which we thought we might lose her. For those of you that have been reading here for a while, you’ll know that I count my mom as one of my very best friends. And so not only is this entering into the very heavy territory of ‘caring for your parents as they age’ it is also veering into the ‘losing your best friend’ territory. A double whammy of emotions, if you will. So in between a book tour, a month in Northern Michigan, and an August filled with wonderful work opportunities, I’ve been back and forth to the Detroit area trying my best to be there for her. Mental illness is a bitch, to put it bluntly. There is no outward sign of disease, and yet the suffering is so real and so terrible. There are moments when I lose my patience and think, “Just pull yourself together.” More moments than I’d like to admit. I want to see her fight to reclaim her happiness, and yet I know it’s not that simple. Throughout the past year, with all of its heartache, I have realized how incredibly thankful I am for the support of my husband, who has been loving and caring for my mother as if she was his own. And then there are my boys, who love my mom with such a pure, selfless love. Their presence brings her great joy during this dark time. And so here we are, all finally back in Providence, settling in for the school year ahead and hoping that we’ve made it out of the woods for now. It will be a year of great change for us. Both boys will be in school full-time this year, and I will continue working at their school part time. It is going to be busy, to say the least, but the boys are ready. It’s quite amazing to see how they’ve matured and grown this summer. They are busy these days running around with their friends, eager to spread their wings. It all reminds me of how precious time is, and how unbelievably fast it all goes by (I mean, remember when I had two little BABIES??!!). *The photos here are from my quick trip to NYC- Saipua and Frances Palmer’s gorgeous home studio and gardens. So much beauty.
This past month has been one of healing and rest, family-time, quiet moments and great adventures. There is no place in the world like Northern Michigan. We are so blessed to spend the month of July with my parents at our cottage. My husband comes for the first week, heads off to India for work,…
This past month has been one of healing and rest, family-time, quiet moments and great adventures. There is no place in the world like Northern Michigan. We are so blessed to spend the month of July with my parents at our cottage. My husband comes for the first week, heads off to India for work, and then returns for the last week. It’s a pretty sweet deal. I’d love to share with you some of the beautiful moments that unfolded over the past month. Our cottage sits on the shore of Torch Lake, on an unpaved road near the teeny town of Alden. We’ve been lucky enough to call this ours for the past 25 years, and most of the families on our lane have had their cottages for generations. A few of our neighbors are now on their fourth generation of ownership. It is extraordinary to watch our children now play together as we once did- picking wild black raspberries, running down the lane from house to house, whooping wildly while playing king-of-the-raft, sunset games of badminton and late night s’more roasting. In all honesty, I hardly took any pictures this year. I was too busy sailing, paddle boarding, reading, boating, hiking and enjoying the time with my kiddos. I wish I had captured the joy on Vijay’s face the first time he popped up on water skis. And I wish I had a picture of Vik, sound asleep on a windy sail across the lake, the waves soothing him to sleep. I especially wished I had captured the many moments my boys shared with their grandparents, uncles, aunts and friends. These precious moments will have to live in my memory. I did take quite a few pictures on the roadtrip my mom and I took one day through Old Mission Peninsula. It was a bright sunny day, perfect for exploring all the little farmstands and antique shops that dot the peninsula. We stumbled upon a lavender farm, a u-pick flower farm, countless gorgeous barns, adorable farmstands, a stunning field of sunflowers, and off-the-beaten path antique shops. I came home with a stunning bouquet of snapdragon and a few new graniteware items to add to my prop collection. And the prices (especially compared to Brimfield)- SUCH a steal!! We ended our day in Traverse City, grabbing a late coffee at the new and incredibly hip BLK \ MRKT and savoring one of the best meals I’ve ever had at Alliance. We also popped into Wood + Cloth and Darling Botanical, all housed under one roof in the Warehouse District of Traverse City. I also made a stop into my all-time favorite antique shop, Wilson Antiques. In all, a gorgeous roadtrip and the icing on the cake of a gorgeous month. Well, to be honest, the real icing was celebrating Vik’s FOURTH birthday (my baby is four, what happened??!!). It’s really the highlight of the summer- a celebration with friends and plenty of old-fashioned games (pin the tail on the donkey, drop the cloths pin in the bottle, sack races, face painting and hot potato). I’ll leave you with a few pictures of the sun setting over a vast field of sunflowers, and our nightly sunset show…because, you know, Michigan likes to show-off every now and then!
The final event during the West Coast leg of my book tour was a party held at The Pantry. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Seattle and I spent the morning at Pike Place Market stocking up on local flowers and produce. The moment I walked into the space, I was hit with such a…
The final event during the West Coast leg of my book tour was a party held at The Pantry. It was a gorgeous afternoon in Seattle and I spent the morning at Pike Place Market stocking up on local flowers and produce. The moment I walked into the space, I was hit with such a feeling of calm. The space was so warm and inviting- it felt like walking into the kitchen of a good friend. I knew it was going to be a great party. As the guests arrived, they were greeted with delicious eats from Rain Shadow Meats, and tall, icy glasses of homemade celery soda. It sounds strange, but trust me when I tell you it was incredibly refreshing. The group that gathered was so interesting- food bloggers, restaurateurs, stylists, chefs- a really eclectic and interesting crowd. We all easily fell into conversation. I actually had to be nudged to start my demo, or I would have spent the entire party chatting away. I was thrilled to partner with Seattle ice cream phenom Molly Moon for the event, so along with the fresh peach syrup and almond coconut chocolate chip cookies that I made, we had incredible, homemade ice cream (without me having to lug my ice cream maker along for the ride)! After the demo, we all feasted on fruit-syrup drizzled sundaes and ice cream sandwiches. I’m so grateful to everyone who took the time to come and celebrate with me, including Jenn, Megan, Lisa, Deborah, Heather, Janti, Leslie, Marisa, Kellen, Di, Paul, Grace, Phillip, Jess and Andy. A special thanks to Julie Harmsen for the gorgeous photographs that you see here. Thank you to The Pantry for the use of your beautiful space. And a huge thanks to Molly Moon for those incredible tubs of ice cream! Finally, my deepest appreciation to Vitamix, for making this leg of the tour possible. Lots of love for you, Seattle!
I absolutely loved Seattle. I had a feeling I would, what with the incredible food scene, walk-ability and mild climate. We enjoyed mostly beautiful weather, although there were a few cold days that had me wondering if I’d misread my calendar. Could it really be late June? I packed entirely wrong (which I am famous…
I absolutely loved Seattle. I had a feeling I would, what with the incredible food scene, walk-ability and mild climate. We enjoyed mostly beautiful weather, although there were a few cold days that had me wondering if I’d misread my calendar. Could it really be late June? I packed entirely wrong (which I am famous for doing) and sorely missed a warm jacket and woolly scarf. But by the last few days, the sun was out and my sundresses felt appropriate. My friend Kellen met me in Seattle, and I tacked on extra time once my tour wrapped up, so we had several days which to explore the city together. It was such a treat. We stayed in a wonderful Airbnb in Capitol Hill, and since it happened to be Pride Week, and Capitol Hill is the rainbow district, it was quite the happening place. We were right down the street from Oddfellows Cafe, and it became our go-to destination for breakfast and coffee. Their tahini toast with banana, pecan and coconut was the best! Capital Hill is the place to be if you enjoy great food. We had such a hard time choosing where to eat for each meal, and we generally stuffed ourselves, not wanting to miss out on a single experience. Out of every amazing thing I ate during my time out west, I’d have to say that the General Porpoise donuts took the cake (so to speak!). I’m not even a stuffed donut fan, but these were the best; pillow-y and rolled in sugar, filled with a light, creamy, delicious filling. My favorites were the strawberries and cream and the aprium jam, both seasonal flavors. We also loved exploring Pioneer Square, with our two favorite stops being Drygoods Design and The London Plane. Another favorite shop we visited was Red Ticking, which is on Madison, a charming street filled with cute shops. It was a bit out of the way of Capitol Hill, but a visit to Red Ticking alone was worth the trip. Gorgeous French linens, perfectly curated clothing…I could have bought everything in the store (budget allowing!). And of course, you can’t visit Seattle and not partake in the tourist-trap that is Pike Place Market. Though to be honest, I absolutely loved it and found the most gorgeous produce and flowers, which were then used at my events and demos. The cherries were gorgeous, of course, but it was the delicate currants that really caught my eye. We set aside an afternoon to take a day-trip out of the city, a sort of knitter’s pilgrimage to Tolt Yarn and Wool in Carnation, WA. Carrying an array of wonderfully curated yarns and knitting goods, Tolt is the kind of knitting shop that I dream of having nearby. There was a fireplace and lounge chairs where women were knitting and chatting. It had the feel of a real neighborhood shop. And their list of classes was amazing. I’d be there once a week at least, knitting away in one of those chairs by the fire if I lived nearby. And so there you have it, a quick recap of my time spent in Seattle. I’d certainly love to go back with my family and partake in a ferry ride and some hiking, and possibly an extended trip to Olympic National Park. I’d love to drive the coast, and stop in Portland. Hmmm- that gives me some ideas for next summer!
Here are a few of my favorite Seattle spots:
The Whale Wins
Molly Moon Ice Cream
The Fat Hen
Preserve and Gather