Spring Favorites 2019
The best products, recipes, books, and entertainment for a whole-food, plant-based lifestyle.
I am so excited to share with you the first installment of my favorite things that get me excited about each season! I’ve carefully compiled a list of some of my current culinary obsessions, my favorite health/wellness/natural products, seasonal recipes, cookbooks, and noteworthy media that inspire me to embrace and create fresh, local, seasonal, elevated, whole-food, plant-based cuisine. I hope you love them as much as I do!
(Affiliate link disclosure - My first priority is always providing resources to help you create a better whole-food, plant-based lifestyle, and I will only ever link to products or resources (affiliate or otherwise) that fit within this purpose and only link products/services I genuinely love and enthusiastically endorse. You can read my full affiliate disclosure statement here.)
Hudson Valley Seed Co
This is a company I’ve adored for a quite a while. Not only do they sell organic seeds, but they offer really beautiful and thoughtful gift packages, fine art prints, for the gardener/art lover in your life, and they are passionate about saving and preserving heirloom varieties of seeds. Their website has additional information about food and seed politics, and they commission contemporary artists each year with their innovative seed art pack program. I even have several of their beautiful art packs framed in my kitchen! The wonderful people at Hudson Valley Seed Company have even created a discount code just for my readers for this Spring! Just enter the promo code “spring2019” at checkout and receive 30% your order between now and May 12th, 2019!
Kiss The Ground - by Josh Tickell
Everyone on the planet should read this book and take it to heart. Our planet is facing the biggest challenge ever and we have the tools to fix it. Although not exclusively a “whole-food, plant-based book”, this one is still definitely worth a read and includes a section about 'The Healthy Plate' with good tips, such as 'Reverse your plate: eat more veggies, less meat, and less processed food.', which is a message I can totally get behind! This book explains the issues and gives great guidelines (albeit in the context of the US) as to how we can fix it. Kiss The Ground is a great Spring read for those of you who farm, garden, are thinking about starting a garden, or for those who care about how our agricultural system impacts our plant.
Organic Gardening - by Geoff Hamilton
A great getting-started guide for beginners, or a valuable reference guide for more experienced home gardeners, this quintessential guide to creating an organic garden shows you how to grow beautiful plants while turning your yard into a chemical-free haven for children, pets, and wildlife. This beautifully illustrated guide includes practical advice, as well as step-by-step photographs and artworks to help you on your organic gardening journey. Whether you want to grow better-tasting fruit and vegetables free of chemicals, find natural methods of pest and weed control, or simply create a safer garden environment, Organic Gardening is your practical, easy-to-follow guide to gardening with, rather than against, nature.
For those of you who follow along with my ramblings on Instagram, you probably know I’ve begun vermicomposting, or composting using with worms and have probably reduced my household trash by 30%! As it turns out, worms can eat so many different things we consider normal household trash besides fruit and vegetable scraps like pet hair, paper, cardboard, junk mail, dust bunnies, dry leaves, and so much more! It took a little while to figure out a method and flow that worked well for my kitchen and lifestyle, but now, I’m the proud mommy of several thousand red wigglers who are happily munching away on what could have ended up in a landfill. My worms came from Uncle Jim’s Worm Farm and they were very much alive and wiggling when they arrived to my house in reusable cloth bags (YAY! for non-plastic and reusable packaging!). If you’re interested in worm composting, I’ll be doing some videos on it on Instagram and sharing them with you this Spring!
If you want to get started now, I also highly recommend this worm bin: VermiHut 5-Tray Worm Compost Bin, Dark Green with Free Worm-saver Tray
Edible Wild Plants - by John Kallas
I like to say that “foraging is the 21st century farmer’s market.”, meaning that food really doesn’t get any more fresh, local, or seasonal than locally foraged wild plants. Most of my readers are scared to start chomping away on their yard’s weeds, but this guide is the perfect guide to getting started foraging safely. This book is designed for foraging novices in the US and Canada who are eager to get started finding, identifying, and cooking with wild edible plants. Most of the plants in this book can be found growing in yards and suburban neighborhoods, so you don’t even need to go very far to find these extremely common, nutritious, and delicious plants. In fact, I have found about 90% of the plants in this book growing within a couple hundred yards of my backdoor! One of the features I love about this book is the author presents various recipes and cooking techniques for each ingredient to help point you in the right direction once you bring home your basket of foraged goodies. I honestly, use this book as a reference and cookbook at least once a week! Edible Wild Plants is perfect for Spring so you can take advantage of what is growing right outside your door this year!
Netflix’s A Chef’s Table - Season 6
This is quite possibly, the most underrated show on Netflix. Seriously. If you love studying food culture as much as I do, this show will help you gain a greater understanding of how food culture has been shaped by history, politics, economics, and permeates every aspect of our lives. Season 6 of this series is probably my favorite, by far. This season dives deeper and explores subjects like racism, sexism, addiction, the importance of seed saving/heirloom preservation, and industrial farming. Although this is by far a vegan/whole-food, plant-based series, I still feel you will walk away with a more profound respect and understanding of food and ingredients, and an appreciation of these chefs’ passion and dedication to creating amazing food. Season 6 of A Chef’s Table is a must-see!
Recipe: Spicy and Smokey Brussels Sprout Pickles
Spicy and Smoky Brussels Sprouts Pickles - a flavorful and sexy pickle glow-up you never knew you needed... until now. They are tangy, crunchy, smoky, spicy, complex, and a jaw-droppingly unexpected addition to sandwiches, salads, plant-based cheese plates and hors d'oeuvres. These are perfect to make for spring before more traditional pickling ingredients, like cucumbers, are back in season.
2 pounds of Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved
5 large cloves of garlic
1 1/4 teaspoon of red chili pepper flakes
2 1/2 teaspoons of smoked paprika
1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
25 black peppercorns
5 bay leaves
2 1/2 tablespoons of white miso
3 cups of apple cider vinegar
2 cups of water
Divide equally the Brussels sprouts, garlic, chili flakes, paprika, mustard seeds, peppercorns and bay leaves among 5 pint-sized canning jars.
Bring the miso, vinegar and water to a boil and pour into jars, ensuring to cover the sprouts completely with a 1/2 inch head space at the top of the jar. Wipe the rims of the jars clean with a damp cloth. Secure lids and canning rings on jars and boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to sterilize the pickles if you want them to be shelf-stable. Wait at least 2 days before eating to allow for the vinegar and seasonings to fully incorporate their flavor into the pickles. These can be stored for up to 6 months, but need to be refrigerated after opening.
Note* You could also just wait for the jars to cool, skip the second boiling step, and store them in the refrigerator for up to 4 weeks.
Looking to get into canning this year? Here’s my favorite beginners stainless steel canning set: