Teaser. Back to nutella recipe a little later. Stay tuned.
A switch has been flipped in the garden, everything responding to the late-summer force which urges plants to grow higher, fuller, faster. Eating from our yard has become less whimsical novelty, more all mouths on deck, everything is ripening now! (Full organic disclosure: Col spotted and removed an earwig from my sauteed broccoli tonight).
These summer evenings, we’re out till dark-thirty, closing down the river, the neighborhood park, Col and Rose still swinging high into the pinking sky as the teenagers and deer creep in, claiming the next shift.
Front yard swingers:
The rains have come and gone and come again in biblical proportions, lashing down mightily at the earth. Then the sun returns like a warm and encouraging miracle. Dan and I reconvene at the days end, comparing notes: “I was downtown, it was crazy, Smelter Mountain was obscured.” “I was home, watching hail pile up in the cabbage leaves.” And then we pause, letting a silent prayer of gratitude wash over us, which maybe contains the smallest amount of, “more, please?”
Very naughty chickens.
The evening grosbeaks have returned to our feeders with their babies, all hapless and fuzzy and incessantly hungry. The parents occasionally pretend to forget about their offspring, until they show up flapping and mouth-gaping and unavoidable. Dan and I watch, amused, feeling a certain kinship. The kids need to be fed, AGAIN? (My new exercise regime is simply feeding children).
Outside, Col pursues cabbage butterflies with a lacrosse stick. He’s created a mausoleum of delicate bodies, small black dots jeweled into papery white wings. I am deeply ambivalent about this. “Thanks!” I tell Col, while a cascade of conflicting emotions nibble at me. The cabbage butterflies lay eggs on plants in the mustard family (broccoli, kale, cabbage, turnips primarily), and the eggs hatch into voracious caterpillars. Which is to say, this life contains many opportunities to ponder complexities.
Rose has sprouted trunk-like legs, learned to do backbends, and is a fount of strong, changeable emotion. (Sometimes she needs help turning the emotional dial, like last weekend when it got set on howlingly bereft because Col wouldn’t tell her what he was howlingly bereft about five minutes earlier. Again, the complexities.) On a neighborhood walk, she jumps in puddles, cartwheels down sidewalks, pledges undying love to decrepit one-eyed cats who thread between her legs. Watching her unbridled enthusiasm is like beholding a classical artwork, the kind that lodges in your heart and tells you something about the indomitable human spirit.
What Dan and I do after the kids are asleep, the blog-postable stuff, anyway.
I kind of can’t believe I’m posting a recipe for nutella when breakfast is a veggie omelet sponsored entirely by our own yard (earwigs included), and our diet has never been more local. But I’ve adopted this homemade nutella as my go-to snack, packing a 1/2 pint jar of it to the library to keep my energy up while deadlines tap me on the shoulder.
I find this nutella to be delicious, but I have to admit, I’m no longer reliable. Col shared a piece of pumpkin bread with me last weekend and the sugar roared out at me while the pumpkin was a small, pathetic whimper in the background. Which is to say, I’ve lost my American taste buds for sugar. (Rose would like to mention that there are many other American things I’ve lost my taste for, such as fashion). And, I haven’t eaten actual nutella in years. But, I know there’s more of us out there than ever, who’re trying to decrease sugar and increase nutrients. This is for you.
full disclosure: I ususally make triple this recipe and never measure, but I recommend starting small and playing around with ingredients. Maybe add cinnamon? Or sub out the coconut milk for almond milk?
1 cup hazelnuts
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (could sub in 1/2 melted chocolate bar)
2 TBSP coconut oil
1/4 cup coconut milk (or even better, coconut cream on top of refrigerated can OR skip the coconut milk and add shredded coconut)
3 – 6 TBSP honey
1/2 TBSP vanilla
Blend in food processor. Store in fridge. Lasts 1-2 weeks in fridge, but it shouldn’t.