Recipe: Borscht Topped With Sour Cream

Normalizing psychiatric care is vital and there are some things everyone should know.

Stigma

Look, not all of us with mental health issues are blatant, eating other people’s faces on the side of a highway in Florida. Most people who seek or are in need of psychiatric care are average folks you interact with regularly: your colleague, your grandchild, your mail person, your stepdad, the person two people behind you in line at the grocery store, yourself.

Unfortunately it’s common for a lot of people to suffer in silence and confusion. Not only do they need care, but they also often have no idea where to begin in terms of finding the right doctor, are overwhelmed by the expense and, most unnecessary of all, have to deal with the crippling stigma attached to mental health issues.

I think a lot of de-stigmatizing begins with open, judgement-free discussion. There is no shame in seeking mental health care you need, just like there is no shame in having to use a crutch, getting braces, having LASIK, etc. There is no shame in getting help with or correcting something in order to have better quality of life. Empathy and understanding surrounding mental health are paramount. Let’s start today.

Now… borscht!


Borscht is a fabulous, flavorful soup (stew?) that is a staple to the good people of frickin’ freezin’ Russia. So, if you’re weathering frightful weather this February this is a good option. If it’s not cold where you are this soup is A) red and therefore on brand for the month of February and B) a good excuse to pair a meal with vodka. * shrug *

Ingredients

Borscht:
1 T coconut oil
1/2 yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 t caraway seeds
4 carrots, thinly sliced
3 beets, peeled and diced
3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
4 c red cabbage, shredded
6 c vegetable broth
1 T apple cider vinegar
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
cashew sour cream
fresh dill, chopped
fresh parsley, chopped

Sour Cream:
1 c cashews
1/2 c water
1 T lemon juice
1 t apple cider vinegar
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 t Dijon mustard

Instructions

Borscht:

  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large pot. Add onions and sauté until translucent, about five minutes.
  2. Stir in caraway seeds, cooking for about 30 seconds.
  3. Add carrots, beets, potatoes, and cabbage to pot, stirring to combine.
  4. Pour in vegetable broth and bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat to a simmer for 30 minutes until vegetables are tender. (I found beets to be the last to cook and the best veggie to test for doneness.)
  5. Stir in apple cider vinegar, sea salt, and pepper.
  6. To serve, top with cashew sour cream, fresh dill, and parsley.

Sour Cream:

  1. Cover cashews in boiling water and let sit for an hour. Then, drain and rinse.
  2. Combine cashews, water, lemon juice, vinegar, sea salt, and mustard in a blender and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy.
  3. Top each bowl of borscht with a generous dollop. Store leftover sour cream in an airtight container in fridge.

Serves 6-8.

Adapted from Vegan Borscht and Vegan Sour Cream.


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Recipe: Twice-Baked Potato Skins with Cheese Sauce

I don’t wanna brag here but I grew up in Arlington, Texas in the era of the Dallas Cowboys dominating the NFL, and my main takeaway has always been that the best thing about Super Bowl Sunday is… the food. Ha!

I have but a mild understanding of football and am suspicious of the brain damage, BUT! that doesn’t stop me from eating good food with loved ones. It just so happens to be in the same vicinity as a loud TV on this particular day of the year. These twice-baked potato skins are the bomb, secret vegetables in the shape of special treats. Break them out for Super Bowl Sunday, football fan or not.

BONUS VEGAN TRICK! Offer an unsuspecting, meat-eating game-watcher one of these in the middle of a tense play. They will eat it, love it, and ask no questions except whether they can have more. BONUS VEGAN TRICK!

As I write this, these potatoes are already gone. Eaten, consumed, enjoyed, disappeared. I miss them really badly. Remember the good times we had together, potatoes?

Ingredients

Cheese Sauce:
1 russet potato, peeled and diced
2 small carrots, sliced
1/4 white onion, diced
1 c vegetable broth
1/2 c raw cashews
4 T nutritional yeast
1 T lemon juice
1 t sea salt
1/2 t garlic powder
pinch of paprika
pinch of cayenne pepper

Loaded Potatoes:
3 russet potatoes, scrubbed
1/4 c almond milk (or other dairy-free option)
1 T Organic Earth Balance Butter
2 T Organic Vegenaise
1 t sea salt
1 t garlic powder
1 t paprika
1 t onion powder
Cheese Sauce to drizzle on top (see above)
Cilantro
Chives

Instructions

Cheese Sauce:

  1. Bring potatoes, carrots, onion, and three cups of water to a boil in a medium pot and allow to cook until veggies are tender, about 10-15 minutes. (Cooking time will vary depending on size of chopped pieces.)
  2. When tender, drain vegetables and place in blender.
  3. Add all remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.

Loaded Potatoes:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F and bake three potatoes until tender, about 40 minutes depending on potato size. Remove potatoes from oven and allow to cool.
  2. Slice potatoes in half “hot dog style” to make shallow boats. Scoop out potatoes, leaving about 1/4″-1/2″ around the edges. Place the potato insides into a medium bowl.
  3. Add milk, Vegenaise, butter, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and paprika to potato in the bowl and mash together.
  4. Fill potato skins with potato mixture.
  5. Drizzle potatoes with Vegan Cheese and place back into the oven for eight minutes.
  6. Remove from oven and top with chives and cilantro.
nothing says “football” like stuffing your face w cheese

Adapted from Loaded Vegan Potato Skins.


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Recipe: Spiced Cauliflower With Feta

Hi every body.* The truth is I was putting together this post, dispassionately conducting my minor-league photo editing, and I felt so glum. Valuing consistency, I powered through to get this post scheduled and ready to roll for the good people out there looking at this, and when I was done I remembered that I literally named this site BUMMED OUT BAKER, so why would I try to push through something without being honest?

Sometimes I don’t know what I’m working for or if it’s worth anything. I’m telling you this because I know I’m not the only person out here struggling internally. One of my long-standing, involuntary pastimes is having an existential crisis in the moments between when I climb into bed and pick up my book to read. They are the longest, most hollow moments. It’s as if I’ve been moving, moving, moving, and when I finally still my body to rest my mind opens up.

As you move through your days, do you ever rest your head on your pillow at night and wonder if what you do even matters? Well, me too. Whenever you feel that, remember I am there with you. We share a headspace, and you’re not alone.

*Yes, every body. Not a typo.

Welp, see ya later.

Ingredients

1 head cauliflower
5 garlic cloves, crushed
4 T olive oil
2 t cumin seeds
1 t turmeric
pinch red pepper flakes
sea salt to taste
black pepper to taste
3 oz feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c parsley, chopped
1/4 c cilantro, chopped
1/4 c dill, chopped

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.
  2. Cut off leaves before slicing cauliflower head into slices about 1/2″-1″ thick. Pieces will fall apart – this is okay!
  3. Distribute cauliflower and garlic cloves in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 3 T olive oil and sprinkle with cumin seeds, turmeric, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and black pepper.
  4. Roast for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, flip the bigger pieces with a spatula and stir around the smaller bits. Replace in oven for ten minutes.
  5. Transfer cauliflower to a serving bowl and top with feta, herbs, and the last 1 T of olive oil.

Serves six, and will disappear quickly.

Adapted from Spiced Roasted Cauliflower With Feta and Garlic.


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