This blog post is to celebrate my friend, Natalie.
Natalie is a pre-teen, her “Happy Place” is the kitchen. She is all over becoming a chef.
I love her spirit, her smarts and her willingness to learn. She has the best laugh that goes right along with her sense of humor. When you meet N, it’s her smile that wins you over. Right away you notice she is a bit short in stature however, amazingly head and shoulders above the crowd. (between you and me? She IS going to become a chef, I just know it.)
Good gravy, when I was 11, I had excellent table manners and could properly thank anyone who brought me food. My sisters nor I, were even allowed in the kitchen. Apparently, “the stove was HOT”?
My young friend has amazing kitchen talent with skills to back that up. We are not talking about “making” rice krispie treats and toast here folks. She makes a Cilantro Lime Rice that will make you swoon, bakes, cooks up science experiments, operates a juicer like a pro and the list goes on and on.
N shared a wonderful scone recipe with me, so I am sharing this recipe (blog post) with her. We trade recipes. Sometimes we text (she uses her mom’s phone). Sometimes I send a recipe via e-mail or snail mail. This time, I thought I would shout it to the world that I know a smarty pants girl who has already found her calling.
I love that N is fascinated with cooking, baking and creating. Her willingness and interest to do the research, the prep work, the serving, as well as the clean up, are evident with the final product. I adore that she isn’t shy about asking food questions and then listens to the answers. You can actually feel her excitement towards learning about cooking. Heck, she went as Giada for Halloween one year! Now that is passion!
When you watch her serve a homemade treat to her dad, mom or brother…. you notice that she already “get’s it”. By making quality food, N figured out that she can show love and respect to her family. She figured out in short order, in her own home, how sincerely good food nurtures both mind and body.
Yesterday, I made these really good, seriously good, moist Strawberry Granola Bars (vegan). While baking, the aroma had my mouth-watering and I thought instantly, oh, I have got to share this one with Natalie.
I found the recipe on http://wonkywonderful.com/strawberry-oatmeal-vegan-breakfast-bars/ A great food blogger is like a window to the world. Thank heavens they share so much.
So between you and me girlfriend…. Very simple and straightforward recipe. I will make again. I switched the oatmeal and used gluten-free oats. I used parchment in place of foil. I replaced the flour with Better Batter Flour mix which is gluten free, I used my own homemade strawberry jam and it calls for Almond Butter or Cashew Butter… this is where you will use Cashew Butter for your family’s allergy.
Cooking tip of the day: My girl Gabi is a real live chef. She wears shoes in the kitchen. No, not flip-flops, not cute gladiator sandals, real shoes like sneakers or clogs. While I know you are very careful while cooking and baking, accidents happen to everyone. Hot liquid spilled on your tootsies or a knife dropped could spell trouble for your cute toes. Observe any accomplished chef and look at their feet. Yes, shoes. enough said.
Every chef worth their weight in salt (a world of beautiful and amazing salts filled with minerals await you), feels giddy that moment you offer up delicious food that feeds both body & soul.
This recipe is one of those good ones, with excellent ingredients to produce a final product worthy of sharing. Put this recipe in the column of such high quality and wonderful flavor, not a person will ask if it is vegan.
Make food so good, so flavorful, no one will put a label on it. Your mission should be to cook and bake sustainable, high quality, tasty food that friends will just say, may I please have seconds?
The color is stunning. The flavor combination is spot on. That first bite into the moist bar will lead to another bite.
So, I raise my Strawberry Oatmeal Bar to you my friend! Cheers! Yum!
Here’s to you and your calling!
It is a pleasure to watch your dream unfold right before you.
A tip of the hat to your wonderful parents for raising such a kind & smart cookie. Parents who are giving you such a strong foundation of love and support that you have the freedom to explore who you are, what you want to be.
Natalie, my friend, keep studying, a smart chef is always a very good thing. You have before you the ability to heal the world through nutrition. Yes, my friend food heals, but you already know that. Just for a moment, use your imagination and think…. how many people will I be able to feed and heal in my lifetime? The number will surprise you. Thousands upon thousands of people will be Bathed in Grace by your skill and fed by your hands.
Stay curious & creative….yes, we can taste the love in food prepared by a chef who embraces what they do. And for heaven sake…….keep asking questions and trying new things.
You got this girlfriend.
One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well. Virginia Woolf
ps. I feel the need for Asian food. We have to get together to make pot stickers, soon!
*****Housekeeping note: Because my friend is under 18 years old, I asked for and received permission from her parents to post a picture of her.