Espresso-Braised Spring Onions + some pretty major news + a giveaway!

Espresso-Braised Spring Onions | @withfoodandlove

It was just a normal Thursday afternoon, actually I remember feeling quite uninspired and blah. I was alone when the email came in. I saw the subject and thought, well this just has to be a mistake. Some kind of cruel joke maybe? I opened it, I read it ten times exactly. And then, I ran around my house like a full-on lunatic. My heart was racing, I was screaming/gasping for air. I think I did like a crazy little dance for a few minutes. I definitely scared my cat. I read it once more, out loud for final confirmation, and then I immediately starting calling all of my essentials.

You guys, I’m a finalist in the 2015 Saveur Blog Awards. What. The. Hell. My heart is overflowing and my brain feels like it might explode. I’m just totally {still} trying to wrap my mind around all this. For the most part I have been floating on cloud nine. My hard work has paid off with such esteemed recognition. But, some days I’m like how did this even happen? I good enough to deserve this? Wait, maybe this is a mistake and they haven’t caught it yet. I have so deeply admired the work of both the present and past year’s nominees and winners. I just can’t believe I’m among this group of superbly talented people.

It is with the most sincere gratitude that I thank you for reading and supporting my blog. Seriously, without you guys following along I wouldn’t be able to do the work that I love. Thank you if you nominated me. Thank you for your kind words. Thank you for your emails and messages and real life hugs. Just, THANK YOU.

If you could take a moment and vote for With Food + Love in the Special Interest category, I will love you forever! It takes just a sec, I promise. Get your vote on by clicking HERE!!

Espresso-Braised Spring Onions | @withfoodandlove

Espresso-Braised Spring Onions | @withfoodandlove

Espresso-Braised Spring Onions | @withfoodandlove

As I mentioned in my previous post, spring really is here in St. Louis! My backyard is turning into a crazy jungle, the spring vegetables are slowly trickling in and I’ve begun to really embrace my new home and make it mine – especially my kitchen. I’ve got my new knife strip up and I potted up a bunch of little buddies. With each passing day I’m feeling more and more like myself here in the Midwest.

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Raspberry Chamomile Cream Sodas for the pig & quill’s baby shower!

Raspberry Chamomile Cream Sodas | @withfoodandlove

One of the best things {maybe the only thing?} about moving to a brand new place in the dead of winter is slowly discovering what your world looks like in color. Winter is such a monochromatic scene of greys and browns, it’s pretty easy to lose sight of what your world looks like all vibrant and stuff. The past few weeks here in St. Louis have been like, full on solid springtime. The days have been warmer and sunnier and longer. The leaves on the trees are beginning to bud and the daffodils are now fully grown. And even though I can’t find very much locally sourced spring produce {mini rant on this here} – I consider myself pretty lucky as my east coast friends are still getting slammed with snow. I’m really sorry you guys!!

Since this blog is a reflection of my real life, I try to be as transparent as I can. A few weeks ago, I talked about eating pizza and how I try not to take my relationship with food all too seriously. Today I wanna talk about eating foods that are out of season in the wintertime. I get it, you get it, we all get it, eating locally sourced foods are good for us and good for our world and good for our economies. But also, it’s okay to bend the rules – especially to save your sanity. Because sometimes, in the dead of winter {or in the early spring before your farmers’ markets are open and any local produce is available you} you just need a little brightness in your life.

Raspberry Chamomile Cream Sodas | @withfoodandlove

Raspberry Chamomile Cream Sodas | @withfoodandlove

Raspberry Chamomile Cream Sodas | @withfoodandlove

I find myself craving foods {mainly fruits} like pineapple and mangoes and berries in the cold months. Kind of like how you find yourself daydreaming of lying on a beach in the Caribbean and all you want to do is take a vacation – and if you could get there, your brain would be in a much better place. I find it more than acceptable to buy these foods out of season, on occasion, when you need/want them. This past winter, I was on a real frozen raspberry kick. I bought them at Trader Joe’s by the cartload. I put them in smoothies, I put them in cereals and sometimes I just popped ‘em back for a little frozen snack.

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Pad Thai Spring Rolls with Red Curry Peanut Sauce

Pad Thai Spring Rolls with Red Curry Peanut Sauce | @withfoodandlove
 
Superfoods!! We’ve all heard about them and we all want to eat more of them, as often as we can. My friend Kelly is so passionate about them that she wrote a whole book on the subject – Superfoods at Every Meal is out now + it’s a beaut! Superfoods at Every Meal breaks down ten basic superfoods that we should incorporate more of into our daily meals. They were selected for their well-known health benefits, versatility, year-round accessibility, relative affordability and overall crowd appeal – now I can get down with that.

The top ten superfoods are…

quinoa
chickpeas
kale
sweet potatoes
blueberries
eggs
honey
coconut oil
greek yogurt
+ walnuts

Pad Thai Spring Rolls with Red Curry Peanut Sauce | @withfoodandlove
 
Pad Thai Spring Rolls with Red Curry Peanut Sauce | @withfoodandlove
 
Pad Thai Spring Rolls with Red Curry Peanut Sauce | @withfoodandlove
 
The pad thai spring roll recipe I’m sharing with you today is a veggie-take on Kelly’s recipe from the book, which is titled the same, but includes ham. Not all of the recipes in her book are vegetarian or gluten-free, but a lot of them are and can easily be made veg/gf with just a few easy swaps. These spring rolls are so easy to make. I forgot how much I love spring rolls actually. They’re versatile and satisfying and you can fill them with just about anything – also they’re really fun. And delicious. Especially if you dip them in that red curry peanut sauce, that’s stuff is legit.

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Loaded Spring Fries with Green Goddess Tahini

Loaded Spring Fries with Green Goddess Tahini | @withfoodandlove
 
An email from my old CSA just popped up in my inbox. I haven’t had the heart to unsubscribe from their newsletter yet and I’m not sure I ever will. I opened it, I read it and my eyes swelled with sadness. Knowing I’m no longer a part of that community is depressing. I’m still very much in denial that I won’t be working with them this year. That I won’t be nourished by those vegetables anymore. I mean these veggies brought me so much JOY! But life goes on, I live in St. Louis now. It’s about time I start embracing what I have here and let go of what I don’t.

I must say though, so far, I’m having a hard time finding local produce here. I hate to be negative about this + I don’t mind altering my expectations. I also know that it was just winter and things haven’t been so green in the Midwest lately. Everyone in St. Louis keeps telling me, “just wait for the market this summer, it’s amazing, you’ll love it”. So that market better bring it because you’ve set my hopes pretty damn high. And also! This market starts on Wednesday and I can walk there! I see a whole new world opening up for me soon.

Loaded Spring Fries with Green Goddess Tahini | @withfoodandlove
 
Loaded Spring Fries with Green Goddess Tahini | @withfoodandlove
 
Green Goddess Tahini | @withfoodandlove
 
Now that I actually have a backyard {OMG!} having a garden is a major priority. This obviously is going to be a hell of a lot more work than getting a weekly CSA delivery. But, man oh man…bring it on baby. I really didn’t have a clue where to start. I still don’t, just fake it till you make it all day long. Was I going to grow this garden from seed? How do you even start that process and when do you start that process and again, how? I was kind of putting off the whole process. Then, I serendipitously connected with Angela and Mark, the couple behind SeedGeeks – the organic, heirloom seed company that happens to be based in St. Louis. Like right down the road from me. We’re practically neighbors.

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Oil-cured Black Olive + Smashed Garlic Pizza with Herby Oregano ‘Parm’

Oil-cured Black Olive + Smashed Garlic Pizza with Herby Oregano 'Parm' | @withfoodandlove

As a health coach, I get asked {a lot} about what I eat. And the truth is this. I eat gluten-free out of necessity and I try to limit my animal product consumption as much as possible. I just feel better eating mostly plants. Food trends and fad diets, I don’t do them. I just eat what my belly and my brain want/NEED by consuming mostly fruits and vegetables and seeds and legumes and grains. These foods make me feel alert and energized and full of life. These are the foods that fuel me.

I try to drink a green drink everyday, but let’s be honest that doesn’t always happen. I support local agriculture, I’m inspired by seasonal produce, I buy organic whenever it makes sense. Because – food miles you guys. And while there’s always room for improvement, I try not to take all of these food stuffs too seriously. If I eat a bag of non-organic, shitty potato chips from a gas station – who the hell cares? If I don’t drink green juice for a week, seriously oh well. If I want french fries from a food truck I eat them, always.

No-foil Roasted Garlic | @withfoodandlovec

Oil-cured Black Olive + Smashed Garlic Pizza with Herby Oregano 'Parm' | @withfoodandlove

Food is our power. It has the ability to fight and prevent illness, unite people from all over the world and turn a grey day blue again. Food should be celebrated, not restricted. I eat as consciously as possible whenever I can. This makes room for other things that might not serve me so well. I try to find movement everyday, even if it’s a 5 minute dance party. I drink a glass of wine {usually} every night and I’m not gonna beat myself up about it. I’m a work in progress. I’m a real person.

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Roasted Fennel + White Beans with Garlicky Parsley Oil

Roasted Fennel + White Beans with Garlicky Parsley Oil | @withfoodandlove
 
Tomorrow will be the two month mark of living in St. Louis and although all of my boxes are unpacked and things are continuously starting to feel more lived in – my walls are completely bare. This cross-country move slowed me down in a way I never anticipated and I’ve been playing a serious game of catch-up ever since the holidays and packing up our home in Philly. My to-do lists have become exponentially longer and seemingly never-ending.

And on top of all my work stuff, I just can’t keep up with all the home things I want to do and that seriously bums me out. A happy mind lives within a happy home and my home and walls need a little more love and joy splashed up on them. There are things I want to paint and rooms I need to organize and there are tons of plants I want/NEED to buy – I am dreaming of an indoor jungle vibe. Oh and I’ve got to start working on my garden! Raised beds need to be built but most importantly, I’ve got to start my little seedlings, like yesterday.

timeshel Prints | @withfoodandlove
 
Roasted Fennel + White Beans with Garlicky Parsley Oil | @withfoodandlove
 
Roasted Fennel + White Beans with Garlicky Parsley Oil | @withfoodandlove
 
timeshel Prints | @withfoodandlove
 
So I declare this week, the week things at home start to finally get done. And yesterday while my husband was at work I kicked it off with a slow lunch at my dining room table, thumbing through cookbooks, eating a hearty bowl of roasted fennel and white beans, drinking many mugs of tea, potting a few plants, looking at and enjoying my new timeshel prints and then hanging my first wall decoration above my desk.

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Vanilla Matcha ‘Milk’shakes

Vanilla Matcha 'Milk'shakes | @withfoodandlove
 
Last weekend was my two year {two years!!} wedding anniversary and my love and I were supposed to be celebrating in the desert. We had the whole tripped planned out, lots of taco eating and margarita drinking was gonna go down. We were desperate to soak in some sunny rays – all week long we were sooo looking forward to this little long weekend vacay. But then the Midwest weather was like, nope, not gonna happen. We were totally socked in with ice and snow – we weren’t going anywhere. Our hopes and dreams were crushed. So we did what any other self-respecting couple would do and we ate and drank ourselves happy, #obviously.

Saturday morning we made ourselves a brunch at home complete with old bay roasted potatoes and eggs and smoothies and blackberries {out of season and don’t care, best splurge ever}. Then later that night we had a super-luxe dinner out, lots of martinis and pomme frites happenend and oh man, so good. On Sunday we threw ourselves an Oscar party with champagne and cheese and stuffed artichokes {a top-secret family recipe that I should really share with you guys}. Then on Monday we did more eating and drinking and lounging and it felt really great to just relax for a few days. But now, I’m kinda having one of those weeks where every day feels like Monday. You know a little groggy, a little lackadaisical, a little lackluster.
 
Vanilla Matcha 'Milk'shakes | @withfoodandlove
 
Vanilla Matcha 'Milk'shakes | @withfoodandlove
 
Then I was like – let’s make milkshakes. And I love matcha, so matcha milkshakes it is, hooray!! These ‘milk’shakes are powered with lots of coconut cream, a small handful of greens {mostly for color + totally not detectable}, matcha and vegan protein powder from Sprout Living. As a health coach and natural foods lover, there aren’t many protein powders I can endorse. I rarely if at all use them, but when I stumble upon a brand that is doing it right, I’m totally into it.

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