mountains, owls, cookies, & pasta. oh my!

Yesterday I climbed a mountain. The pictures speak for themselves, so I’d prefer to move on to other more important things (owl paintings and food), rather than tiring you with my tales of scrambling up a snow-covered mountain. However, I can’t move on without telling you that climbing Granite Mountain was an awe-inspiring experience. And I feel so lucky to be able to go someplace so beautiful.

Today has been eventful and perfectly lovely. Janna, Elana, and Janna’s friend Jamie, and I all went to Urban Craft Uprising, where crafters unite and rise against non-crafters, effectively staging a coup d’etat. Actually, that’s not it at all. There are a lot of lovely, talented people who make nice things with yarn, paint, and metals. That’s it, and it’s great (no politics or uprisings involved). I got a print for Christian that was by my friend Irene (check out her work here). An adorable owl with a little sass, this print is a welcome addition to our apartment. Irene paints myriad other animals, and she illustrated a children’s book about Toyko to boot.

For dinner, I decided to make a healthy swiss chard pasta with white wine, red pepper, garlic, veggie sausage, and fresh chard from the market. It was yummy, filling, and wholesome, especially after a weekend filled with walking (and did I mention I climbed a mountain?). I followed a recipe from Giada De Laurentis– the Food Channel goddess whose recipes are so simple that they sometimes need a little tweaking to be more flavorful. Naturally, I added a bit more spice and a little more wine.

And for dessert? None other than some slightly hippie-rific cookies that taste almost like your standard chocolate chip cookie, save for a little twist. Or a little zest, if you will (eek, that’s pretty terrible… sorry). Christian suggested we add  orange zest, and at first I was vehemently opposed. I don’t like messing with the integrity of a good chocolate chip cookie. But then I tried them, and I had a hard time stopping myself from eating more than a couple. They’re that good, and they’ll leave your guests wondering what makes these cookies a little extra special. Don’t tell them; it’s fun to have secret recipes.

I hope you enjoyed your summer weekend too! I have a fabulous strawberry shortcake recipe to post soon, and I can’t wait to make it with some fresh strawberries. What are your favorite summer recipes?

And without further adieu, dessert first. lv, molly

Vegan Orange Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 1/4 C spelt flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 C granulated sugar
1/3 C brown rice syrup
1/3 C canola oil (or other vegetable oil)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 C chocolate chips
1 1/2 Tbl orange zest

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or spray with nonstick spray.
In one bowl, thoroughly stir together spelt flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and sugar.
In a second bowl, stir together the syrup, oil, and vanilla extract.
Add the oil mixture to the spelt mixture, and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips and orange zest without over-mixing. The dough won’t stick together entirely (there will be some crumbs), but that’s okay. They bake well, and you don’t need to add any extra liquid.
Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls onto prepared cookie sheet, and bake for 11 minutes. Let cool on a baking rack.

Whole Wheat Pasta with Swiss Chard

1 Tbl olive oil
3 veggie (or regular) Italian sausages, crumbled or sliced
2 onions, thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, trimmed and chopped (about 7 cups)
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juices
1/3 C dry white wine
1/4 tsp dried crushed red pepper flakes (to taste)
Salt and pepper
8 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti
1/4 C pitted kalamata olives, coarsely chopped
2 Tbl freshly grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
2 Tbl toasted pine nuts

Heat the oil in a heavy large frying pan over medium heat. Add the onions and saute until tender, about 8 minutes. Then add the sausage, and cook a few minutes more, until slightly browned, and the onions are caramelized. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the chard and saute until it wilts, about 2 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes with their juices, wine, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer until the tomatoes begin to break down and the chard is very tender, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Season the chard mixture, to taste, with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite, stirring frequently, about 8 to 10 minutes. Drain the spaghetti. Add the spaghetti to the chard mixture and toss to combine.

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5 thoughts on “mountains, owls, cookies, & pasta. oh my!

  1. Please, just come to my house WHENEVER you want chard, or veggies. We have so many and they are free!

    xoxox,
    j

  2. oh my goodness! I want to eat that pasta dish and those cookies. now! I wish we lived closer……

    • me too! Christian and I are talking about coming to New York in October, for Halloween!! I hope you’ll be around, as I’d love to see you!

  3. Pingback: this album makes me so happy. « joie de vivre!

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