The Best Guacamole

 

TKB - Guacamole zoom

It’s the season where windows start to open, walks and bike rides own the after work/school schedule and basketball is on our television more frequently than any other time of year.

Guacamole is a year-round kind of snack, but it’s particularly ideal for getting together with a group of friends for basketball and chatting. (Or book club/girls’ night/any gathering involving people + food.) If I’m being transparent, I’ve never followed a recipe for guacamole before. It’s one of those things I make with such frequency, I just taste as I go. (Perks of the “job.”) My sisters always request this snack, and are known to have avocados, lime and garlic waiting on the counter when I show up at their place, to remind me what they’re hoping for. Since all four of my sisters live in a different state than me, I thought it would be a nice spring gift to give them, and you, the best recipe.

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Vegan Crispy Cacao Bites

TKB - crispy cacao bites - five

I’m a lover of experience and memories over things, pretty much always. This is evident in the way I gift my family, particularly for birthdays. Planning a surprise getaway brings me almost as much joy as the trip itself. For Aidan’s 11th (today!), we planned a short trip – just one overnight and two days of skiing and snowboarding up at Crystal Mountain. It’s a 2.5 hour drive, and lift tickets were included with our stay. This allowed us to be sneaky behind the scenes and plan for one of his best friends to join us.

I try to keep things economical by making and packing as much of our food as possible, and aiming to get a room with a kitchen. For this trip, it meant making minestrone soup and sandwiches before we left for our trip to have for dinner last night, and bringing the goods to make french toast this morning. I also packed these crispy bites, and put 2 – 3 in individual snack size bags. I froze them, then sent everyone out with a bag to stuff in their jacket pocket for a little energy while out on the slopes. The crew loved them, so I thought I’d give you all the recipe, too!

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Apple Cinnamon Pecan Oatmeal

The Kitchen Beet - Apple Oatmeal

For as long as I can remember, oatmeal has been part of my breakfast rotation. The weekday oatmeal is generally topped with hastily chopped bananas, a handful of raw nuts, dried fruit and maybe a spoonful of peanut butter. It certainly serves its purpose, but weekend oatmeal is a little more luxurious, with adequate time to saute fresh fruit and nuts in cinnamon and maple syrup. My mornings come before the sun rises, and the early hours of weekend are particularly serene – leaf blowers not yet roaring to life, children still snuggled in layers of blankets and perhaps one of the few opportunities to take time for myself throughout the week. A version of this recipe was first published in the fall 2014 issue of Chickpea Magazine, and I paired it with an essay titled, a morning date with  you. One of my favorite excerpts: “Self-care is intentionally putting yourself first. Far from being selfish, it encourages you to carve out time to care of your health.” A year later, the sentiment still rings true. Perhaps during the next few weeks you can find a day to make this for yourself before dawn, before anyone or anything needs you, and just be.

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Southwest Quinoa Chili

The Kitchen Beet - Southwest Quinoa Chili

I’m holding consistent with my last post – it’s soup season! This makes a large batch, so it’s perfect for dinner now and freezing half for later. Or, if you’re cooking Thirty-Two Project style, ideal for feeding your family, and another family! Sometimes, I wish the current pace of my life lent to more leisurely cooking, instead of bordering on my near frenetic speed in the kitchen. I know this is a season. Audrey already plays more independently than she did a year ago, and soccer practice for Aidan means a wave good-bye, not parking myself in a lawn chair for an hour and a half to watch. But there’s not as much margin in my schedule as I’d personally like, and moving slowly throughout the kitchen is a luxury I’m not often afforded. This Quinoa Chili is not only a hearty, healthy meal, but ideal for those times when concentrated focus at the stove is minimal.

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Mango-Sesame Tofu Spring Rolls

The Kitchen Beet - Spring Rolls

I have a 10 year old. This still surprises me, even though I barely remember my life before I came a mother. While it seems he grew from five, to six, to seven with changes in reading level and physical capabilities, nothing has quite prepared me for the stage and growth curve we’re entering now. He’s really growing up. It’s like I’ve realized, almost for the first time, that he really will go to middle school and high school and move out of the house. I have this new awareness that he won’t be my baby forever and MAN I had better soak it up.

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