Whole Roasted Cauliflower – The Method What happens when you have a head of cauliflower in your produce drawer, but you’re not quite sure what to do with it? Sure, you can add buffalo sauce, fry it, or even turn it into rice. Those are…
Ever wonder where your cup of coffee comes from? When it comes to your cup of joe, the supply chain behind the coffee matters.
Coffee Industry: the Challenges
The coffee industry faces high demand, with a number of challenges like climate change, socioeconomic issues and community considerations. The Sustainable Coffee Challenge is a collaborative effort that works to guide the coffee industry towards complete sustainability.
Your choices as a coffee drinker, also matters. Let’s hear about how one coffeeshop on the outskirts of Boston makes it easier to make a choice that is ethically, environmentally, and socially sound.
At Recreo, you can be sure your cup of coffee has been sourced with sustainability in mind. You can also feel good about ordering coffee here, because Recreo donates a portion of its proceeds to the community that harvests the coffee beans themselves in rural Nicaragua.
Miriam Morales, owner and founder, says that the “coffee never leaves our hands until it gets to our customer”. This approach ensures that there are sustainable farming practices, community education, and fair pay for workers.
The Story Behind the Coffee
Miriam opened the café in West Roxbury with her husband Hector in 2015 with one mission: to serve delicious coffee that empowers communities by employing the local workforce. The reality is that there are a number of issues some farms can face such as poverty, environmental footprint and reduced biodiversity. Miriam works to change that.
Recreo is part of the movement that works to provide fair wages, and practice environmental stewardship.
It’s called the “Farm to Cup Process”: it’s a holistic approach that involves harvesting the soil, planting, growing in just the right conditions, processing the cherry, drying the beans, milling and shipping, taste testing the coffee, roasting the coffee, and serving it to customers. It’s a process that requires social, environmental, and technical acumen for it to run smoothly.
At Recreo, that sustainable model is at the heart of the business.
The coffee beans come from her Father’s farm in Nicaragua. To support the families that work on the farm, Miriam’s family runs a school, a clinic, and a technical training school in the community. There are 40 families living on the farm. Miriam’s mother works with students to help them secure scholarships to attend school.
Morales believes in giving back to the communities that are an essential part of the production process, that’s why 30% of every cup of coffee goes back to the community that harvests the coffee. “Coffee with social responsibility”, Morales likes to say. In the Roxbury coffeeshop, Miriam’s husband Hector roasts the coffee. Miriam works in the coffeeshop, too, directly serving customers alongside 12 baristas.
The coffeeshop is lots of hard work, and the Morales family are very hands on and involved. It’s clear that Recreo has built a community with their coffeeshop. Miriam says that “people feel like they are coming into a home”. The customers are loyal, loving followers who feel good about buying their coffee from Recreo.
Be sure to give them some love if you’re in the Boston area. Next time you drink a cup of coffee, make sure it’s as sustainable, ethic, and environmentally friendly as Recreo’s.
The family-owned Recreo Coffeeshop and Roasterie offers customers premium coffee, with coffee beans sourced from Miriam’s family farm in Jinotega, Nicaragua. Recreo serves coffee that is top-notch, sustainable and single-origin. They are Rainforest Alliance Certified, with direct trade importation and environmental sustainability. Their values don’t just stop there: the workers who harvest the coffee are treated fairly, with access to education, medical care, housing, and food.
Visit Recreo’s online shop to purchase whole bean and ground coffee. You can be sure you’re getting a great product, from a great company. Currently, Recreo is offering home deliveries within a two-mile radius.
Tostadas: The Inspiration I’ll admit, I can’t take full credit for this idea. My Chickpea Tostada recipe has been a result of various successes with chickpea taco recipes, and mostly by observing friends and family in the kitchen. There’s something about watching people create recipes,…
You’re at your local coffeeshop. You order a latte, extra foam, with oat milk. You’re ready to pay, but then you peek behind the glass with the baked goods. You see a tower of chocolate squares with beautiful layers of nut butter, oats, and sweetened chocolate. You ask the barista if they’re vegan. The barista replies telling you no, they are not vegan.
You settle for the latte and some seeded muffin. But what you really wanted was the chocolate square. You gaze out the window wondering when the world will convert to fully vegan cafes. A bit dramatic? Maybe.
I’m with ya, foodie lover. I’m here to tell you – you can have your (vegan) cake and eat it too.
Do you have chocolate? Nut butter? Coconut oil? A few dates? Sweetener? Cashews? If the answer is yes, I’ve got news for you. These Dreamy No-Bake Vegan Choc Squares slices are kind of like the ones in the bakery, but… even better.
When dates combine with nuts and agave, something magical happens. When chocolate melts and gets poured over a layer of peanut butter, it’s bliss. These bars are a dream for the vegan, the nonvegan, or the chocolate lover.
Just ask my dad, the chocolate aficionado. “These are vegan?”, he asked, suspicious. Let’s just say they passed the test, and he loved them!
These are an amazing treat. Decadent, delicious, peanut buttery, chocolately.. everything you need with that extra foamy latte, a good book, and a sunny window in your apartment.
Let me know if you try these, I’d love to hear from you in the comments!
Vegan No-Bake Chocolate Squares
- 8x8 Baking Dish
- Parchment Paper
- Food Processor
- 2 Microwaveable Bowls
- 1 cup raw cashews
- 6 pitted medjool dates
- 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup coconut flour
- 1/4 cup agave syrup
Peanut Butter Layer
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 1 tbsp agave syrup
- 1 cup vegan chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp crushed pistachios
- 2 tbsp slivered almonds
- 1/8 tsp himalayan salt
- Line a 8x8 baking tray with parchment paper.
For the Crust
- Pulse medjool dates, cashews, melted coconut oil, salt, and agave syrup in the blender into crumbles.
- Add the coconut flour and blend until it becomes a sticky dough-like texture.
- Press the mixture into the baking tray, creating one even layer.
- Freeze for at least 10 minutes.
For Peanut Butter Layer
- Add peanut butter and one tablespoon agave syrup to a microwave-safe bowl.
- Microwave at 20 second intervals, stirring until the right consistency. It should be melted and easy to pour.
- Remove the baking tray from the freezer and pour the peanut butter mixture evenly on top of the crust.
- Freeze for at least 15 minutes.
For Chocolate Topping
- Melt vegan chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl at intervals of 30 seconds, stirring each time until chocolate is easy to spread on top.
- Remove the baking tray from the freezer and add the melted chocolate on top of the peanut butter layer, using the back of a spoon to create some fun swirls in the mixture.
- Top with slivered almonds and crushed pistachios.
- Finally, sprinkle a little salt on top.
- Freeze for an hour and slice into 16 squares.
- These are best cold, I recommend storing them in the freezer. Take a square, let it sit for a few minutes to thaw slightly and enjoy!
How do I crush the pistachios?
- For the crushed pistachios, you can use the back of a knife to crush them on a cutting board, or simply chop them roughly.
- You can sub walnuts for the cashews in the base if you'd like, using the same measurements.
- Maple syrup can be substituted for the agave syrup if you prefer!
- No chocolate chips? No problem. Use a bar of chocolate. Chop it up into chunks and use the same process for melting!
Pascal Bernardon How are you, foodie lovers? I hope you are healthy, well, and happy. With the stay-at-home advisory in effect in Boston, the restaurant industry is suffering. Some restaurants are temporarily shutting down. Others are offering delivery and takeout. The situation is changing everyday.…
Where did you learn to cook bolognese?
Well, I learned the art of cooking bolognese growing up, from my mother. Hint: she never used a recipe! She used whatever meat she had in the fridge, sometimes sausage, other times beef. Then, she sifted through the vegetables at the bottom of the refrigerator, using the ingredients that needed to be used. A few carrots? She’d use them. Some leftover ends of bell pepper from yesterday’s salad? Those would be incorporated, too. The base, however, was always the same: onions, garlic, and olive oil.
You know that can of lentils that have been at the back of your shelf for several months now? Yes, me too.
When I Lived Off My Pantry:
One day I was craving a hearty pasta dish, but I had few ingredients. I was moving apartments and I was surviving solely off pantry foods, and scraps of vegetables. So, it didn’t make sense to buy fresh groceries. I decided to do what my mother would do. First, I rummaged around in my vegetable drawer and found a half of an onion. Then, I found a half bag of spinach. Lastly, I had some mushrooms.
What Happened Next:
Having flirted with veganism for a few months, I knew lentil bolognese was a thing. I didn’t have a recipe, so I winged it. The result? Delicious, nutritious, and hearty. Mom would be proud.
Read more about reasons to go vegan here.
The Lentil Glow-Up:
Lentils are wonderful in soups and stews, but what if we just recreate one of our favorite comfort foods in 20 minutes? This recipe is all about resourcefulness, comfort, and simplicity.
If you’ve got a can of lentils, some pasta, vegetables, and herbs, this recipe is for you.
- Fresh Garlic: Feel free to use 1-2 cloves fresh garlic in place of garlic paste! Slice them nice and thin, and cook them with the onions and olive oil.
- Carrots: in place of the mushrooms, carrots work well in this recipe. Dice them up small and sauté them for 5 minutes.
- Kale: Chopped kale would work really nicely in place of spinach. Feel free to add kale if that’s what you prefer!
Share the Love:
What’s your personal take on bolognese? I would love to hear from you in the comments!
Simple Lentil Bolognese
- 1 tbsp olive oil extra virgin
- 1/4 cup diced onion
- 3/4 cup sliced white mushrooms
- 1 15 oz can lentils drained
- 2/3 cup strained tomatoes
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 tsp dried basil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
- 1 cup spinach roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley finely chopped
- 4 cups cooked spaghetti
- Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan. Add diced onion and let them become fragrant and slightly translucent.
- Sauté sliced mushrooms for 3 minutes on medium high heat. Let the mushrooms breathe and have space in the pan. Turning them once will produce the tastiest, meatiest-textured mushrooms.
- Add the lentils to the pan, crushing them with your hands as you do so. I find having some lentils whole, and others mushed produces the best texture. Cook for 2 minutes until lightly browned.
- Add strained tomato, tomato paste, garlic paste, water, salt and pepper, and basil. Reduce heat to low.
- Simmer on low for 5 minutes.
- Stir parsley and spinach into the bolognese, letting it wilt slightly, and turn off heat immediately.
- Serve over cooked spaghetti, garnish with a sprig of parsley, and enjoy!