KALE POLENTA WITH MUSHROOMS + ACORN SQUASH

Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca

Last week we had an especially beautiful October day with sunshine and temperatures of 25°C . I decided to go to Hanlan's Point on Toronto island, one of the nicest beaches in the city. A horizon perfect for admiring sunsets, a sandy beach to bury your toes in, and naked bodies (it's a clothing optional beach). I like to think about how liberating and powerful I'll feel stepping on to the beach bare breasted! I'll channel Beyonce– do my best head toss with an air kick, then an overhead fist pump (the ultimate girl power move). I'll sing out Run The World and finish with a shimmy shake  booty roll like The. Queen. That. I. Am. But as soon as I arrive I reconsider. The reality of the high penis ratio hits me like a salty ball slap to the face. Twenty dicks, no vaginas, and one pair of breasts belonging to a sixty year old Eastern European lady named Olga. She has a dog that looks like a elegant muffin and she does not give a f*ck. I strive to someday be as bold as Olga. But at that moment, the thought of being naked goes from feeling empowering to alarmingly uncomfortable. I like to think I welcome vulnerability, but not the kind that might attract lingering gazes from strange naked men. No way. I watch way too many murdery shows (and the news) to have a progressive view of middle age white men.

It never fails, every single time I go to this beach a naked man strikes up a conversation. It's always harmless but strange that this is the place everyone is dying to make small talk with me.

Naked Man 1: “The water is great today! Nice and warm."                                                                                             Me: “Oh yeah?" I say trying to be polite, staring straight into the sun purposely blinding myself. I catch a glance of his lower half because the more I tell myself not to look at something, the more I have to look. “It looks pretty cold to me.

Naked Man 2: “Hey, do you have a beer you could sell me?"                                                                                             Me: “Uhhhhhhh..... where do you keep your money? You know what, never mind, just take it.

Naked Man 3: “Wow we've got quite a wind today! Perfect for watching the windsurfers." as he stretches backward, hands on his hips, penis is flapping in the wind, ball hair awry. 

Any nude beach isn't complete without lone men casually strolling the shoreline. One man begins marching into the freezing cold water. He holds his arms at his sides palms facing forwards. He puffs out his chest and wades deeper into the water with determination, about to execute a self baptism. He submerges his head fully and is reborn! He will now go to heaven. Amen. He starts swimming further out, he gets close to a small yacht with some people having a party. He's swimming around the boat eagerly awaiting an invite. They ignore him. “Awww he just wants a friend.", I think to myself. I create the story of his life– Angus was born on Christmas morning, his birthday inevitably overshadowed by holiday celebrations. His cake forever a pumpkin pie. His birthday and Christmas presents always unified as one. Kids were too busy with family to attend his parties. He hates turkey so his birthday dinner was always a large plate of boxed mashed potatoes (his mother had a fear of real potatoes, she wouldn't allow them in the house). Are you crying yet?! He had a medical issue as a child that caused uncontrollable flatulence. He would break wind loudly without warning and kids made fun of him for it. Even his parents laughed sometimes because farts. are. funny. people. Now he comes here to bare it all because he's unashamed! Good for you man! I look around wondering which one of these people is the biggest creep on the beach. I realize it's me, making up stories about them and their bodily functions. I slide on my sunglasses to give the illusion I'm a discrete person.

The accessories on nude beaches are fun– mostly hats, sandals, sometimes a t-shirt with some lumpy junk protruding out the bottom. One man is adorned with a large glass bottle of milk and a backpack fastened up with clips around his naked body. I decide he is definitely the murderer if there is one. His serial killer name would be The Milkman and he would leave milk bottle caps upon his victims as a token. On that note, I turn on my best Beyonce pivot, dancing my way off the beach in the pump walk from Single Ladies. Peace out my nude friends!

One day later, genitals could not be more covered. The temperature dropped ten degrees and it is time for warm cozy food and layers of clothing. To nurture ourselves in the colder weather we must make many bowls of of roasted vegetables and grains. Squash season is peaking and I am into it. 

squash-market.jpg
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca

Notes:

Acorn squash is one of my favourites because the skin is delicious once it's roasted (and they look like cute clouds when sliced). 

The recipe below is plant based based but feel free to adapt it to your preferences. Parmesan cheese is typical for polenta giving it an even creamier and cheesy consistency. I chose nutritional yeast to keep it versatile for all food lifestyles. 

I used dried porcini and shiitake mushrooms because fresh wasn't accessible but I still wanted the richer flavours these mushrooms bring. I rehydrated the dried mushrooms in some water, dried them off thoroughly and sauteed them with the fresh creminis. 

Bowls of polenta can be topped with many things so let your imagination run wild with roasted or sautéed vegetables, shrimp, poached eggs, tofu steaks, or bolognese sauce. It's an easy meal to make, you just must be attentive when it is on the stove, stirring often.

Feel free to substitute spinach for the kale in the polenta. In this case, you could blend it in fresh instead of cooking it.

Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca
squash-market-2-2.jpg
Kale Polenta with Mushrooms + Acorn Squash || Cozy fall or winter dish that is easy to make and delicious! Vegan, plant based and gluten free. || creamandhoney.ca

Let me know what version of polenta bowl you end up with!

xx


KALE POLENTA W/ MUSHROOMS + ACORN SQUASH

the magic

inspiration:                   cozy Autumn bowls

the feels:                       creamy, cozy, comforting, savoury

eat with:                        pinot noir, arugula salad, sparkling water                                          w/ lemon, hot tea, toasted nuts or seeds,                                            fresh herbs

might like if you're into:    movie nights at home, granny quilts, other                                          meals in a bowl like this one or this one,                                            fuzzy slippers, hoodies, oversized knit                                                sweaters  

the science

makes 4 servings || time: 1 hour

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                           polenta

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1.5 cups nut milk + extra while cooking the polenta, as needed (you can also use water)
  • 1.5 cups vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • salt + pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast (or grated parmesan cheese)
  • parsley, for garnish
  • kale puree (below)

kale puree 

  • 1 small head of tuscan kale or half a large head (curly kale is also okay), stems removed
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled + kept whole
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

mushrooms + squash

  • 1 acorn squash, seeded and sliced into half circles (leave skin on, it is edible after baking)
  • 2 cups of mushrooms, sliced (I used porcini, shiitake + cremini to create a richer flavour)
  • 2 shallots, diced
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme (of half a teaspoon dried)
  • 1 clove garlic, diced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt + pepper

method:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF. Line a baking sheet and toss squash in a large bowl with 1 - 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, and pepper. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. Remove from oven, flip squash and bake for another 10 minutes or until soft and slightly caramelized.
  2. While squash is baking, add milk and broth to a medium sized pot. Bring to a boil. Lower temperature to medium and slowly whisk in polenta. Keep whisking until the polenta starts to thicken (usually a couple minutes). Reduce to a low simmer (rarely bubbling) and cook for 20 minutes, whisking often, until the polenta is nice and creamy. Make the kale puree + mushrooms while polenta is cooking (see below). You may need to add a bit more milk or water throughout this process or if you want to keep it cooking longer for extra creaminess. Add a tablespoon or two at a time. Keep warm until serving. If prepared in advance, reheat on the stove with a bit of extra liquid and a good whisk.
  3. Kale puree– Boil a pot of salted water (should taste like slightly salty ocean sea water). Add kale and 2 cloves of whole garlic and boil for 2 to 3 minutes. Add to food processor or blender with olive oil and salt and blend until a smooth puree. 
  4. Mushrooms– In a pan (cast iron works well but any will do) over medium add olive oil and diced shallots. Sauté for 2 minutes. Add thyme, garlic + mushrooms to pan with a dash of salt and pepper. For the mushrooms to brown, don't touch them for a few minutes then turn to other side and repeat. Cook for about 5 to 7 minutes until mushrooms and shallots have cooked down and caramelized. 
  5. While polenta is on the stove, add kale puree, 2 tablespoons of olive oil (if desired), nutritional yeast (or parmesan cheese), salt and pepper to taste. Whisk in until combined. Ladle into bowls, top with roasted squash, mushrooms, parsley and s + p to taste. 

Recipe adapted from April Bloomfield on Food Republic.

 

STRAWBERRY CASHEW MILK

Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca

Hi! Strawberry Milk here. Remember me? You used to make yourself sick drinking too much of me. And then again the next day. One of the first emotionally addictive relationships you returned to time and time again. We would spend snack time together colouring outside the lines and building lego houses with teeny tiny potted plants in the windows. You would pour me into bowls of food that turned into important life lessons like, strawberry milk + cheerios = good. And strawberry milk + hot dog mac and cheese = bad. Well, I'm back as Strawberry Milk 2.0! I shed my concentrated bottle form for some more realness, some more rawness. Raw nuts to be exact. And soaked! Wow, do people love soaking food in 2017! Coming into present day from the 90s has been an adjustment to say the least. 

Everyone is all, “STRAWBERRY MILK! Girl, where have you been?!" and “What are you doing in that smelly box where people shoot up?"                                                                                                                                     And I'm like,  “This payphone booth?! I need to make a call..."                                                                               And they're like,  “Oh honey, noooo. Phone booths are basically public bathrooms now. We use smart phones for everything here in 2017. You don't need to walk anywhere or talk to anyone. Isn't that amazeballs?!"         And I'm like,  “Does that mean good? Are balls different now? Are they better than the wrinkled hairy egg sacks they once were? Maybe now they're rose gold and can be hung up with a cute potted plant inside. Or is this like opposite day?! Tell me we still do opposite day!!!".

My friends made me get rid of my Angelfire website because apparently people don't make         radically hormonal fan pages anymore like my site, “I LOVE LEO FOREVER!!!" with 89 photos of Leonardo Dicaprio as Romeo and Jack from Titanic. They were all placed strategically on a black background with neon green lettering indicating all my up to date facts on Leo himself including his favourite food and how he was SO cool and funny in real life. Now I have a very professional LinkedIn Profile where black and neon green aren't even a colour palette option. (It remains undetermined if Leo ever saw the website, if he did he has not reached out).

It's confusing for me in 2017. Did you know that people say “suh" as a how-do-you-do? I guess when you're too tired to annunciate a “p" sound, you use a combination of sup and huh to create the laziest greeting ever spoken by humankind. But if you're that tired you should probably go take a nap. Which nowadays means laying with your phone scrolling food photos or comparing your life to someone you knew from high school 10 years ago. On that note– Coffee, that busy b*tch, hasn't missed a f*#king beat. She's all fancy and cool now with her pour overs and cold brews and flat whites. She was Drip Coffee and down to earth in my day with the occasional espresso which we all pronounced “express-o". Because that was a very fast coffee for wall street types who had no time to waste and were all, “COMMODITIES! STOCKS! HEDGE FUNDS!!! ONE EXPRESS-O NOW PLEASE!!!! EXTRA EXPRESS, I'M IN A HURRY AND LATE FOR THE HEART ATTACK I'M DEFINITELY GOING TO GIVE MYSELF! ". Those were the days.

 I'm working on being more current. I'm on Tinder (and hooked up with Avocado Toast one night), Jamie Oliver follows me on Instagram, I have a serious case of wanderlust and FOMO and I'm totes gluten free af obv (can't say the same for Avocado Toast who ghosted me after we Netflix and chilled btw). I binged all of Game Of Thrones in one week and have to say it's even more addictive than Beverly Hills 90210 and Dawson's Creek put together. John Snow may know nothing but he sure is fine af. Last week I took an unplugged vacation (no phones, computers, or electronics of any kind) just to get away from it all, you know? Thinking about trying one of those sensory deprivation tanks but wondering if the salt water would keep me afloat or if I would disappear as I'm also liquid form. I dunno, I'll head over to AskJeeves and “google it" to find out. 

Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca

(A special thanks to Strawberry Milk for being such an honest and brave contributor this week).

This strawberry cashew milk is to die for and fills you with the best kind of nostalgia. It's creamy, a tiny bit sweet and packed with strawberry flavour without any additives or refined sugar. And the pink bubbles are enough to make anyone's day.

I suggest having a glass while doodling, colouring, puzzle-making, listening to some surf rock or enjoy with some kids that may or may not be your own because they'll be hyped about it. And us adults need more fun hype.

Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca

Notes:

Roasting the strawberries with a bit of honey is important, especially if they are not in season, because it brings out the strawberry flavour so much more than raw berries. It will still work without roasting them but I would highly recommend not skipping this step. Plus you get abstract strawberry juice art like below. 

Depending on how creamy you like your milk, you can reduce or add water. This recipe is my ideal creaminess so add less water if you like it thicker or add more if you prefer thinner. 

Soaking cashews is easier than you think. I've added some info in the recipe section on how to make this recipe the lazy way (only soaking for 15 minutes in very hot water) or the patient way (overnight in cool water). I've done both methods and they both turn out great. 

Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca
Strawberry Cashew Milk || All natural vegan nut milk made with fresh strawberries and no refined sugars. || creamandhoney.ca

You best head over to this maca almond granola recipe for an ideal strawberry milk companion. 


STRAWBERRY CASHEW MILK

the magic

inspiration:                     90s nostalgia

the feels:                         creamy, foamy, satiating

eat with:                          any granola but especially this one, a slice                                        of cake, cookies, celery sticks + peanut                                              butter, ice cream (pour over top with fresh                                          berries or turn into a milkshake)

might like if you're into:   The Simpsons, Disney Adventures                                                     magazine, deep and delicious chocolate                                             cake, Goosebumps books, cherry coke,                                                 making a house out of a refrigerator                                                 box,  Supermarket Sweep, Saved By The                                             Bell, Ghostwriter.

the science

makes approximately 5 cups of milk || soaking time: 30 minutes to 8 hours prep time: 20 minutes

ingredients:

  • 1 pint fresh strawberries, stems removed
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 2 dates (or 1 to 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey)
  • 2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract, divided (1 tsp for berries, 1 tsp for milk)
  • dash of kosher salt
  • 4 cups of water, divided

method:

  1. Soak your raw cashews. There are two ways you can do it. 1) The overnight way– Add cashews to a jar or container and fill with water. Leave to soak for a minimum of 4 hours or overnight. 2) The easy impatient way– Add cashews to a bowl or container and pour very hot, but not boiling water to cover them. (Heat up your tea kettle, let boil, then remove from stovetop and wait two minutes before pouring.) Wait a minimum of 15 minutes up to 2 hours depending how much time you have. Drain cashews and rinse until water is clear.
  2. While your cashews are soaking, preheat your oven to 350ºF. Add strawberries, one tablespoon of honey and one teaspoon vanilla extract to a medium sized bowl. Toss together until evenly combined. Pour onto lined baking sheet and bake for 10 - 15 minutes, until the juices start leaking out. Place aside to let cool. 
  3. Add cashews and 2 cups of water to blender. Blend on low and increase speed slowly up to high until cashews are completely liquified, usually up to 2 minutes. I use a vitamix but this should still work in a regular blender, it may take a bit more time.
  4. Add berries, two more cups of water, dates, one teaspoon vanilla extract, and salt. Blend until evenly combined (one minute or so). 

Milk will keep for up to 3 to 4 days in the fridge.

 

STUFF + THINGS

Oaxaca City, Mexico || Stuff + Things || creamandhoney.ca

H E L P || Mexico has always felt like a magical place to me. The people, the colours, the terrain, the culture, the history– it's stunning and holds a place in my heart. The people are some of the most wonderful souls I've ever met and have been welcoming and good to me every single time I visit. To help out with the earthquake relief you can donate here to Global Giving where 100% of donations go to providing immediate relief with the remainder to long-term recovery support. The Mexican Red Cross is also taking donations and they have set up an Amazon Wish List for essential items such as toothbrushes, diapers and blow up air mattresses (prices are shown in pesos). A little bit goes a long way. 

R E A D || Before The Internet from The New Yorker. This article made is nostalgic, happy, kind of sad and so good. I love technology and the internet, but it's important to remember how we filled our time before screens were the majority of what we looked at. Could we make a point to try and cultivate some of these small and very real moments? “Before the Internet, you’d have yawning summer afternoons when you’d flop down on one couch, then flop down on another, then decide to craft a fake F.B.I. card. You’d get some paper from your dad’s office, copy the F.B.I. logo and your signature, laminate it with Scotch tape, put it in your wallet, take it out of your wallet, look at it, then put it back in your wallet with a secretive smile."

L I S T E N || How To Stop Playing Small – a podcast episode from Hashtag Authentic by Sara of Me and Orla. She is a beautiful creator and her podcast is helpful for people using blogs, instagram, or any kind of social media. This episode is my favourite because it goes deeper than how-to information; it made me stop and think about the ways I play small and prevent myself from opening up to the world. A good listen for any creative and particularly women. 

W A T C H || Jim Carrey: I Needed Color. People are saying he's crazy now but I think he's more sane than most. He's real, he's raw, he's unafraid to say what he thinks, he freely expresses himself and he doesn't give a shit how anyone feels about him. Fuck yes Jim. Fuck. Yes.

M A K E || I've made these coconut curry meatballs with spiralized vegetables more times than I can count now and I think you need them in your life. Definitely add some fresh lime juice to the curry to give it some acidity and balance the dish, and you can always substitute the ground beef for chicken, turkey or even vegetarian “meatballs" like these which are lentil based.