Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Farm Workday with Strawberry Peach Crisp (Gluten Free)

Starting an episode of The Chef’s Table on Netflix somehow initiates a chemical reaction which bonds my molecules to those of the couch (#science). I become glued to the cushions, obsessively committed to consuming as many episodes as I can before my eyes become heavy, the whiskey drinks kick in, and I fall asleep in some unattractive, gangly pose and then have to will every fiber of my being to go to my actual bed. The show inspires me, to say the least.

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Aside from the dance of the camera, the insane food creations, the remote jet-setting possibilities, and the heartfelt personal stories, what drew me most in season two was the idea of the “nudge.” A few chefs mentioned a moment when they were hitting their stride, and a voice of reason would say “you’re almost there, but you need _________.” In the case of the self-taught Ana Roš, a food critic friend told her she was getting good, but she’d be great once she started to pull from and appreciate her Slovenian roots. 

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

The friend’s words stuck with her, and she began to explore her region, visiting cheesemongers in the early morning, when the green mountains were still misty. She began to fish from the crystal blue waters of the Soca River. She began to cherish and preserve her culture through her own creative updates and twists. She set out to be a diplomat, wound up as a chef, and arguably, through hard work, fierce dedication and a little nudge, she became a diplomat for Slovenia nonetheless. 

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’m going to go on a limb here to break that cautionary writing guideline about avoiding the use of “all, none, every, never, etc” to say that all of us need a little nudge sometimes, even those arrogant bastards who were born with enough confidence to try anything and put their names on everything. Even those types need nudges toward greatness sometimes, or I’m just projecting that need because I need a nudge every now and then. 

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

At any given moment, I have a back burner stewing with ideas for shops, bakeries, retreats, art, workshops, products, illustrations, etc. Whether it’s fear, distraction, not enough hours in the day or a lack of funding, a lot of these ideas just continue to simmer. Sometimes the ideas themselves nudge me, nagging at me, lodging in my head like strikers rallying for their right to exist.   

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

But other times, a lot of times, it’s this guy… The Urban Farmer.

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Beets, barefoot, beer-drinking… all the B’s to describe The Urban Farmer in a nutshell

He’s braver and bolder than I am. He’s willing to tackle anything, committed to figuring it out along the way, even if he has never tackled it before. When I hem and haw with the typical doubts and insecurities of a perfectionist, he is my nudge. “Nah, just do it,” he’ll say, and more importantly, he really believes I can just do it. 

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Nudge and support, nudge and support. It’s an important combination, so rare to find in a partner, and day by day, we’re becoming partners in more ways than one, scheming and brainstorming and creating together. I’m so excited for what’s in store, even if I’m not yet ready to broadcast those ideas to the far reaches of the internet. 

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Yet, even the boldest, bravest nudger occasionally needs a nudge himself, so when the Urban Farmer turned the big ol’ 3-1 this year, we gathered to weed, to mulch, to compost, to dig and to dine. We gathered to nudge him along, to encourage his efforts, trying as those farming efforts can be. And my gift for him?

Gluten Free Strawberry & Nectarine Crisp & A Farm Workday // www.WithTheGrains.com

A peach tree. I gave him a peach tree because a tree is an investment, a living, growing symbol that I believe in his vision, his labors and perhaps the biggest testament to my faith in him- I believe he’ll overcome city bureaucracies and get his name on the land, and one day, his farm will grow and grow and all of it will officially be his. On that day, I’ll make this crisp with farm-fresh peaches and muddle even more of those peaches into whiskey drinks, and I’ll raise a glass to him, my constant nudger and supporter! 

Here’s to the Urban Farmer, the birthday boy! And here’s to many, MANY more birthdays by his side!

Quelcy Signature


Strawberry Peach Crisp (Gluten Free)

About this Recipe: A great way to feed a group at the last minute, this crisp takes advantage of gluten-free muesli to add extra fruit, nuts and seeds to the crisp layer. Alternately, you could use gluten-free oats. Serve with homemade whipped cream or an all natural vanilla bean ice cream if you’re near a fridge/freezer, but for farm/outdoor gatherings, this crowd-pleaser dessert is sweet enough on its own. 

Continue reading

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

Peach Whiskey Spelt Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches

Several years ago, I stood in awe, taking in the brand newness of Wigle Whiskey in its infancy. “Try this!” the owner said, as he stood in front of the shimmering new copper still.  I dipped my finger under the slow drip and eagerly plunged my finger into my mouth, expecting that caramel-like, oak-aged flavor.

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

The wrongness of my false assumption hit me immediately. I tried to regain the composure I had surely lost.  Today, that clear liquid has character, a deep amber color and the oak notes that tickle the nose and throat with a little heat. Today it is whiskey, but then, it tasted like I had licked a raw grain like a popsicleWhiskey takes time, so much time and care.

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

I imagine parenting to be something like the smack of wheat that hit me when I was expecting maturity. A man might look at a baby bundle of little girl and expect his daughter to carry his belief systems, not to challenge him on everything, to grow up, choose a career path, follow that path and maybe settle down. But then reality hits like a drip from a still, and it’s dreadlocks, a tattoo, a wandering spirit, what some might call a restlessness and others would call curiosity. She’s opinionated, stubborn, a dreamer and a risk taker. 

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

I imagine parenting to be something like the smack of wheat that hit me when I was expecting amber, oaky flavor. The process requires time, patience and a good deal of faith. I’m eternally grateful my parents put trust in the process, allowing me to carve my own path, supporting me along the way.  

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

My dad is not a whiskey drinker, but I am. It’s just one of our many differences. However, the spirit is symbolic of our relationship. I was the surprise smack of wheat, but he was the one who aged well, who changed the most. He opened up, made himself vulnerable and supported me fully. When people say “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” I grab a frisbee because my dad has changed more than anyone I know, and I am immensely proud of him for that.  

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’m far away and belated (as always), but this is my Father’s Day dedication to my dad. Here’s to the man who placed me in front of a bull and believed I could herd that bull where I wanted him to go. Here’s to the man who handed me big ol’ truck keys long before the state would allow. Here’s to the man who cheered for me from every sideline and from every awards ceremony and then hauled me to my dream school. 

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

Here’s to the man who reads my articles on glorified tea parties because they are my articles on glorified tea parties. But above all, here’s to the man who has wept with me when I needed him to, who shed stereotypes to be sensitive, who tells me he is proud of me and loves me. He made me tough, but he made me sensitive too.

Spelt Peach Whiskey Cake with Smoked Sea Salt Caramel & Caramelized Peaches // www.WithTheGrains.com

This whiskey cake was for the local dads- the one who raised my Urban Farmer and the one who made that father a grandfather. It’s a cake for the way they melt around the new grand baby, the way they rally to build deck steps, the way they show up and support everything farm related. Here’s a belated ode to my dad, my local dads and to those who act like dads everyday. It’s not an easy role. It’s full of smacks to the face, and not everyone steps up to the plate, but to those who do, I salute you in the only way I know how- through cake! 

Quelcy Signature


Peach Whiskey Spelt Cake

About this Recipe: The cake batter will be very wet, but it yields a moist cake with a rich molasses flavor and a hint of whiskey. While the cakes cool, prepare the caramelized peaches, then the caramel and then the whipped cream. The recipe looks intimidating because of the many steps, but the whole cake comes together rather quickly. The alcohol in the cake bakes out, but the whipped cream will maintain the alcohol content, so this cake is not for younger eaters.

Continue reading

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Gluten Free @Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday

Grown ups have this silly habit of guessing kids’ trajectories. “Oh, he is kicking in the womb. I bet he’ll be an Olympic swimmer!” or “She loves to pull the dog’s tail. She is destined to be a veterinarian!” These projections are entertaining and optimistic, and at the root, is a wealth of good intention- a wish for a future filled with health, happiness and success. Who wouldn’t want their kid or their nephew to claim the gold in the butterfly? 

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Watching a kid go from a sleeping, eating, crying bundle of spit-up and poop, to a blabbering, gesticulating little person with personality and taste is a fascinating journey. A birthday is a good reminder to stop the college and career planning to simply enjoy that little personality exactly where he or she is because damn, if those years don’t fly!

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

The Urban Farmer’s nephew, Knox, was a little bundle when I entered the scene. He had skinny Kermit-the-frog legs that could barely hold up baby socks, big blue eyes and a constant flock of family ready and waiting to hold him. That same family welcomed me with open arms and a new title- “Aunt Q.” They’re good people, and I fell for the whole lot of them like I fell for the Urban Farmer. They’re the best package deal a girl could ask for!

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’ve been along for the ride ever since, watching those little Kermie legs transition to an impressively swift army crawl, a teetering balancing act and now, an exaggerated run with arms swinging and chubby legs doing their best.  

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Somehow, all those transitions have added up to two years! For two years, I’ve watched this little bundle develop a love, nay, a LOVE!!!! for food, and not the expected rotation of fruit snacks and brightly colored “fruit drinks.” This kid LOVES avocados, peas, sweet potatoes, eggs, power-green smoothies and QUINOA! He’s proof that kids will eat well if you train them well. He is happy and healthy and if you so much as try to take away his veggies, so help you, you will hear about it!

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Second only to his love of food, is his unwavering love for “pappy,” both the person, and his grandfather’s vehicle. The kid is obsessed with Jeeps (though not obsessed enough to identify the vehicles by their make… words kind of bore him, but “pappy” is a more endearing name than Jeep anyway)! 

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

So here we are, two years old, passionate for food and jeeps, or food and “pappies,” accompanied by “woof woofs” and trailed by a “sissy,” surrounded by a family who couldn’t be more in love with those cheeks or more concerned with his wellbeing. I had the extreme privilege of baking the kiddo’s birthday cake (for the second time)! I had another chance to prove that a kid can be healthy and have his cake too because birthdays are worth celebrating!

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

The Urban Farmer and his nephew. The only type of dirt he likes is edible chocolate quinoa cake dirt.

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

Those Pattison boys, am I right?!?

Kudos to these parents, Jena and Alex because not enough parents prioritize their kids the way these two do, and beyond that, they’re just selfless folks. They make one beautiful family inside and out…

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

While I’m trying hard to appreciate the here and now of Knox, Remi June and life in general, I’m secretly hoping Knox’s passion for food continues to flourish. Once he has words, we’ll have so much to talk about, and I could use an assistant!

For now, at least, we both agree, life without cake be like…

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

It was his party, after all.

Happy Birthday Lil’ Knox. Your birthday is one of my favorite cake assignments each year, and I’m grateful to be along for the ride!

Quelcy Signature

aka, “Aunt Q.”

A Jeep Themed Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake for a 2nd Birthday // www.WithTheGrains.com

“Happy Trails!” Knox’s mom added so many Jeep details to make his day extra special!

Dark Chocolate Quinoa Cake (gluten-free) w/ Whipped Chocolate Coconut Frosting
Adapted from Making Thyme for Health

About this Recipe: No one will know there is quinoa in each bite until you tell them. You can make the quinoa ahead of time. The recipe yields a 9×13 rectangular cake or (2) 8-inch round layers. To create the Jeep themed cake, I doubled the recipe and baked larger sheet cakes and sculpted them together with the frosting. The larger sheet cakes bake for less time, 20-25 minutes. The coconut milk for the frosting should ideally be chilled overnight. I recommend So Delicious brand culinary milk because it has more of the cream.

Continue reading

CraftsDraftsPoster

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

My recent lean toward the hermit side of the social butterfly spectrum leads me to believe I have it in me to be a country mouse. My one requirement, however, would be a good espresso machine because I love me a steamed milk beverage and coffee shop hang! The urban farm, should we one day be able to live on it, has the potential to be the best of both worlds- proximity to city amenities with a fair bit of green buffering. As it turns out, our proximity to coffee shops is good for more than just my snobby caffeine habits. 

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Compost compost compost!

The very first step the Urban Farmer took to launch his urban farm dream was to get to work on the soil, and that means composting! If there is one idea he constantly stresses it’s that health begins in the soil! Healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy food! (He had his work cut out for him. Remember what the farm looked like way back when?) To accelerate the composting process, he reached out to several local breweries, coffee shops and restaurants and began the weekly cycle of picking up spent grains, grounds and scraps to convert into nutrient-rich compost. 

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Since the beginning, the Urban Farmer estimates he has diverted 30,000 gallons of waste from landfills and converted it to compost for the crops. Imagine if there were more of him! Imagine if every city dweller with a yard or every community with a shred of green space banded together and worked on their own composting efforts! (These are the scenarios that keep us up at night.)

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Julep, the urban farm dog extraordinaire!

The other lady who gets really excited about compost? ^That one there!^ In between groundhog hunts and butterfly chases, she tries to sneak some bites, so we always have to keep one eye on her. 

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

The first season of garlic on the farm.

To emphasize the community aspect and the cycle of waste-to-compost, we did something brand new this year: Seedling Sales! The first seedling sale was at Commonplace Coffee in the Squirrel Hill neighborhood of Pittsburgh. Coffee grounds from the shop contributed to the compost that nurtured the very seedlings we were selling. Full cycle! 

My Commonplace Drink of Choice: Lavender Vanilla Latte (their syrups are made in house)

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

My favorite customer was the little girl in neon seen here strolling toward the stand. She so adamantly wanted a plant of her own and ever so politely listened to the Urban Farmer ask her whether she wanted a pickling or a slicing cucumber variety. To see a child be that excited over a plant that yields a vegetable was so inspiring. Grownups always want to blame kids for their junk food habits, but if you plant the right seeds, this girl was proof that vegetables and green activities can and will prevail! 

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Working hard, slinging plants.

Up Next…

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Seedling Sale #2 was at Caffè D’Amore in the Lawrenceville neighborhood, another contributor to the compost heaps.

Caffè D’Amore Drink of Choice: Ancho Mocha (spice + chocolate helped fight off the chilly gray spring day)

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Up Next: A Seedling Sale at East End Brewery as part of Crafts and Drafts

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Crafts & Drafts Poster by Matthew Bucholtz.

The victory garden era ensemble really inspired me, as you can see:

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

East End Brewery Drink(s) of Choice: Chocolate Covered Cherry Stout (for indulgent sipping), and Along Came a Cider (for hanging out)

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Employees of Funk // www.WithTheGrains.com

Spirited jams provided by the Employees of Funk. Nothing keeps a girl jamming at her plant stand like a funky cover of “Africa.”

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

Whatever didn’t sell, the Urban Farmer has tucked into the ground, and soon enough, he’ll harvest it for a local restaurant or two (a change from last year’s CSA model). Pun fully intended when I say these seedling sales were a symbol of growth. Without the initial hurdles of clearing land, planning rows and building a hoop house, the Urban Farmer was able to start his seedlings much earlier, which enabled this economic experiment. 

Hazelwood Urban Farms Season 2 | Spring Seedling Update // www.WithTheGrains.com

These humble plant stands represented progress and the community connection the Urban Farmer has always aimed to achieve. The smell of the tomato seedlings takes me back to last year’s harvest days, and I can’t wait to have sweet tomato juice dripping off my chin and fingers. 

Time to get weeding (& sipping an iced latte)!

Quelcy Signature

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Lemon Recipe Roundup

To quote the good folks at Commonwealth Press:

“When life gives you lemons, eat them whole. Seriously. Just choke them all down… skin, pulp, seeds and all and don’t break eye contact. Maybe life will stop being such an asshole if you show it that you’re done f&$#king around.”

If that doesn’t work, zest and bake those suckers!

Lemon Recipe Roundup // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’ve been on a lemon track lately. In case you missed it, here are some of my recent lemon musings:

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa (Gluten Free & Vegan)
Lemon Bars (Gluten Free)
Desert-Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Layer Cake 
Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles

Go show life who’s boss!

Quelcy Signature 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

A Desert-Inspired Lemon Ginger Turmeric Layer Cake

Bake and Bakery.

The words are mere letters apart, but off paper, the words may as well have a Grand-Canyon-sized expanse between them. To own and manage a bakery and bake professionally is more akin to running a manufacturing facility than it is to casually grabbing a mixing bowl and satisfying a craving. There’s an economy to repetition, to consistency and precision. Without judgement for those who pursue the bakery route as a means of sharing their creations with the world (with immense gratitude in fact!), I can say hands down, I do not want my own bakery. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

As a home baker, I can be wildly impractical, intensely specific to my eaters and astronomically over budget (what budget?!?). I can choose my recipients. I can have a furry dog running around the kitchen and assign her the title of “Baking Assistant.” I can bake a recipe and never repeat it. I can serve a cake with a living plant planted within the lemony crumbs. I know my place in the baking world, and I revel in it. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

Since I’m not a bakery, commissions are not part of my baking practice, but every once in a while, the right person comes along, who respects my non-commercial kitchen, adores the four-legged assistant and embraces my need for creative freedom. When that person comes along, I break the rules. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

Heather is one of the people for whom I break the rules. A huge supporter of my work, she ever so sweetly asked me last year if she could commission a birthday cake. When she requested the cake capture the flapper era instead of requesting a flavor, I agreed to bake her birthday cake, and the result was one of my favorites so far! 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

This May, Heather once again asked me if I would be able to bake her a birthday cake. “What’s the theme?” was my reply! She said she was feeling inspired by Native American patterns and artwork, and my brain began storming. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

The most I have experienced Native American culture was when I took a life-changing summer class called “Earth Works & Sacred Sites.” For 2+ very intense weeks, a small group of us road tripped through Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Utah. We hiked National and State Parks and explored earth art installations like Spiral Jetty and the Lightning Field. We explored historical Native American remnants like Mesa Verde and stood in awe of sacred structures. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

My personal ties to Native American culture are steeped in the deserts of the American Southwest, where sands change from bright golds to brick reds with the passing of miles, where I napped in a rock carved by a waterfall, where I soaked up the dry heat like a happy lizard. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

The desert was my inspiration for this cake, whose base was cornmeal, a nod to the Native American civilizations that venerated the vegetable/grain (unlike our modern day agricultural system). The internet is full of ideas for fondant succulents, but I’m morally opposed to fondant, as it seems like an “edible” play dough. Instead, I juiced a grapefruit to flavor the frosting, and then saved the grapefruit rind as a planter for a living succulent. In this way, the cake was a gift that kept on giving. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

Even the cake’s serving plate was a planter base, so Heather could find use for it in her plant collection after the last morsel of cake had disappeared. 

Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake with Grapefruit Frosting & A Living Succulent // www.WithTheGrains.com

I’m no bakery. I don’t churn out birthday cakes or daily batches of cookies, but for the right person, I am inclined to take on thematic birthday cake challenges.

Happy Birthday Heather! 

Cheers,

Quelcy Signature


Desert Inspired Lemon, Ginger & Turmeric Cornmeal Layer Cake 
with Grapefruit Frosting & A Succulent Planter

About This Recipe: Forget fondant, and give the gift of a real succulent garnish with this desert inspired cake. By saving a grapefruit half, the succulent can be potted without having dirt contaminate the cake. 

Continue reading

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles by With The Grains 03

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles

Horrible grocery store General Tso’s chicken.
An unearthed stone boob (most likely a relic from an ancient South American society).
Assorted architectural tools and a wooden acoustic speaker. 

What do these three items have in common?

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles // www.WithTheGrains.com

They are all things my friends and I have stolen! Shhhh…. don’t tell our parents, border control or my graduating class. Each of us had our reasons. Arguably, only one of us really deserved the object of her crime. (Can you tell I’m a moral relativist?) Each of us “learned our lessons,” and each of the stories of our stolen conquests emerged while we stuffed our mouths with Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles and heavy pours of Vermont Maple Syrup!

Sweet, sweet confessions!

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles // www.WithTheGrains.com

The addition of a Goodwill waffle iron has sweetened my life just like that Vermont maple syrup! As much as I love obsessing over the details for an elaborate brunch, there’s something so sacred about being able to walk to a dear friend’s house with batter, my waffle maker, my best girl and the Urban Farmer

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles // www.WithTheGrains.com

If I could, I’d lock the morning in a time capsule- bacon sizzling in the oven, pups playing like crazy in the yard, an espresso machine steaming, grabbing whatever plate is on top of the stack in the cupboard, filling said plate entirely too full, and making significant progress on that mason jar of syrup from Vermont. It’s when the guiltiest of stories emerge and all other responsibilities can simply fade to a very distant background.

Waffles are magic, and waffles with an ancient grain? They must surely channel some historical wisdom that conjures the best of stories. I hope you enjoy these waffles with friends worthy of your sweetest, guiltiest confessions!

Quelcy Signature


Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Waffles
Yield: 10-12 Belgian style waffles

About this Recipe: This recipe is extra incentive to cook yourself a big batch of quinoa for the week and save one cup for a weekend waffle indulgence. Or, if you have leftover of my Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa, add a cup of that to the batter. The grain blends into the batter, adding protein without adding texture. 

Continue reading

Gluten Free Lemon Bars // www.WithTheGrains.com

Gluten Free Lemon Bars

People ask me if I am from Pittsburgh? No, I moved here. Then I left. Then I returned. It was cheap, and my stuff was here, and it was no fairy tale. I returned to Pittsburgh for two major life tracks that both fell through. They fell hard, like coins falling through ripped jeans and clanking on the pavement.

Gluten Free Lemon Bars // www.WithTheGrains.com

It was a sour moment. Yet, I don’t think I shed a single tear (I’m all about regrouping). Turns out, those plans clanked to the sidewalk for a reason. The universe had something way sweeter in store for me (mainly, the Urban Farmer and a lil’ lass with punkin’ seeds for eyebrows). Sweet, sour, beautiful on the surface, then sticky, sludgy and messy, and yet, so damn good! That’s life, and that’s lemon bars! 

Gluten Free Lemon Bars // www.WithTheGrains.com

Gluten Free Lemon Bars // www.WithTheGrains.com

Gluten Free Lemon Bars // www.WithTheGrains.com

Gluten Free Lemon Bars // www.WithTheGrains.com

So when life hands you life, make lemon bars! 

Cheers,

Quelcy Signature


Gluten Free Lemon Bars
yield: 24 bars & a sticky mess

Continue reading

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa // www.WithTheGrains.com

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa (Vegan & Gluten Free)

If I were to spill uncooked quinoa all over my kitchen, there’d be a trusty sidekick to lick it up, or, it would go unnoticed, blending into the dirt tracks left from those rare occasions when the Urban Farmer actually wears shoes. However, when I had a few quinoa casualties while styling on a video set, the tiny grains stood out from the impeccable, showroom-esque kitchen like a streaker at a baseball game. The eye went right to them! Yet, it seemed impossible to clean up all the minuscule grains. That’s when I realized, quinoa is like hippy glitter. 

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa // www.WithTheGrains.com

That comparison led me to question- what is glitter anyway? I realized I had taken this sparkle bombardment material for granted my whole life. Of course there is a glimmering product that exists to make first graders feel like artists and somehow lasts for eternity. Why wouldn’t there be? 

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa // www.WithTheGrains.com

For every rathole of curiosity, there is a google search waiting with answers. So my friends, let me tell you, glitter has been around for a long damn time- it’s older than quinoa- an ancient grain! Way back in the period of 40,000 to 200 B.C, ancient  civilizations were using flakes of the mineral mica in cave paintings for their sparkly, light-catching quality. Fast forward to New Jersey in 1934, when machinist Henry Ruschmann invented a way to grind up plastics to make large quantities of glitter. He founded Meadowbrook Inventions, still a major supplier of the substance. Its slogan: “Our glitter covers the world.” (They forgot to add “whether you want it to or not.”

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa // www.WithTheGrains.com

I guess we humans (and cats) are inherently suckers for glimmering objects, and I’m a sucker for grains. Glitter and quinoa have both stood the test of time, so make yourself a big bowl of this Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa, and dive into your own early morning internet ratholes. Tell me what curiosities you discover. 

Cheers,

Quelcy Signature

p.s: This is not a sponsored post, but I did work as a stylist for a truRoots video shoot, which is what inspired me to share this recipe. You can see more of my professional styling work here

Lemon Blueberry Breakfast Quinoa (Vegan & Gluten Free)

Recipe adapted from truRoots | yield: 2 servings

About this Recipe: Cooking the quinoa in vanilla almond milk yields a rich vanilla flavor to every bite. Avoid a vanilla almond milk with a high sugar content, since maple is the main sweetener. Serve warm or cold. Works well as a topping for Greek yogurt also. Trust your tastebuds on the maple syrup, lemon zest and blueberries. The quantities below are just starting points. I like to make a large batch of this, so I have an easy, healthy breakfast option all ready for me.

Continue reading

Julep and Quelcy

Weekly Roundup: Baking for Others

“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”
-Mother Teresa

You have to put love into baking. This is the lesson of the burnt birthday cake I helped a friend make for her sort-of boyfriend. “Sort of” being the keywords there. That sucker had some crisp edges! This week was all about using baking for others- for moms on their special day, for the furry best friends  who brighten our lives, and for some kids who really just need a glimmer of hope. 

Check out the posts you may have missed:

Homemade Grain-Free Dog Treats for Julep’s 3rd Birthday
Whole Grain Banana Turmeric Muffins just for Mom
Whole Grain Chocolate Cupcakes with a Fudge Mint Cookie Crunch for Beverly’s Birthdays

Happy weekend!

Quelcy Signature