As a child of the war, my maternal grandmother Inna remains an avowed scrimper. She cuts coupons, saves hummus containers, and reuses milk bags for storage. Her cupboards are full of old things that have been re-invented and repurposed. Coincidentally, if there’s one thing she is adamantly against, it’s buying single-use appliances. Growing up in her house until I was six, and then continuing to enjoy her care well into my 20s (my grandmother still comes over and helps clean my mother’s house every Friday), I learned to disdain any new-fangled invention that only purports to do one thing, no matter how well. So a juicer always seemed out of the question for me (though I do have my eyes set on this one, if I ever change my mind). So one day, I bought a 20-lb bag of carrots and decided that, if I’m really going to scrimp, I am going to have to learn how to juice without a juicer.
Though the simplest takeaway from this year’s Thanksgiving was this roasted delicata squash salad, the best takeaway was undoubtedly the development of a vegan squash pie. Or, to be exact, vegan Hubbard squash pie, nestled in a perfectly flaky coconut oil crust, spiked with orange and clove flavours and sweetened with natural maple syrup. If this doesn’t get me the holy grail of pies, I’m not sure what will.
For Thanksgiving this year, Greg and I got up at 5:45am on a Saturday and took a five-hour bus ride down to Toronto, where his brother awaited to take us further to their home in Southern Ontario. When there, we were treated to a weekend packed full of baby snuggles, endless cups of tea and coffee, pumpkin picking, and of course, pie. But one of the weekend’s biggest revelations, to me, was this simple side of roasted delicata squash – soft and faintly tropical from the coconut oil, this salad melts in your mouth with only a little bit of resistance, punctuated by the sharp taste of scallions and sprinkled with toasted pumpkin seeds. But before all that, there was family time.
We’ve all been there: it’s 8pm on a weeknight, and you’ve just come through the door after another 12-hour day. The shoulder-strap of your bag has burned its shape into your flesh, your feet are throbbing, your ankle is sporting a new blister from the boots you’re still trying to break in. You haven’t eaten a thing since the granola bar you wolfed down before your workout, and you’re pretty sure that peanuts and dark chocolate do not fulfill the daily nutrition requirements. That pizza in the freezer is looking mighty tempting right about now… But you shouldn’t go there. Instead, treat your body with respect and make a fresh, Israeli chopped salad in under 30 minutes, one that will actually fill your stomach as well as replenish your lost energy scores.
NOTE: All photos of me in this post are taken by Darron Field, whose wit and skill behind the camera never cease to amaze and inspire me. He came and hung out with Greg and I for a couple of hours, and the result are these wonderful images. Thank you, Darron!
It’s been a few weeks since the lovely Katie of Whole Nourishment has nominated me for the Liebster Award, and I’d like to apologize for my tardiness. I guess I have waited this long because it feels a bit strange to be talking about myself so directly, even in a place where I have bared some of my most personal stories of heartache, sibling rivalry, and anxiety. Perhaps another part of the reason has been that despite my best intentions, I’ve been bad at the community aspect of blogging. It is sometimes so much easier to view blogging as a solitary pursuit, because then it prevents me from worrying too much about what I am putting out there, on virtual paper, in perpetuity. Because the alternative, realizing that I have made myself a part of something larger, can be pretty terrifying – as well as humbling.
We all know the advice: spread yourself too thin, and you’ll run out of things to give. Hurry too much, and you won’t get anywhere. Everything tastes best in moderation. And if you were in need of any more metaphors for life, this naked, clean apple butter embodies all of these wisdoms.