Jessica Nadel writes the popular blog Cupcakes and Kale. She has a passion for healthy, local, plant-based eating and thinks that in a diet of vibrant, nourishing meals there is room for a cupcake or two, as well. She is also the proprietor/baker at Oh My Bakeshop, a natural and organic bakery of special-order vegan goods. She lives in Ontario, Canada. More at: www.cupcakesandkale.ca.
Caryn Hartglass: Hey everybody. I’m Caryn Hartglass, and it’s time for It’s All About Food. Guess what we’re going to talk about today? We’re going to talk about…food. And I am going to fill you up with all kinds of delicious information on nutritious, nutrient-rich, wonderful, delicious food today. We’re just focusing on the good part about food today. So let’s have some fun, OK! But before I bring on my first guest, I want to tell you what I’ve been up to…so busy and you know that I founded Responsible Eating and Living along with my partner, Gary De Mattei, and we’ve recently released a lot of stuff on the website. And all I want to ask you to do is go over to http://responsibleeatingandliving.com/ and you have a lot of watching to do. We released our third web series episode, The Real Good News and Review, and we have an in-depth report on chocolate. There’s good news, there’s not-so-good news and it has a happy ending. I promise you that. But there are lots of different things that we need to know when it comes to chocolate, and it goes beyond reading labels. Okay? Then the second part, which is really fun, is our Transition Kitchen, which is our new food show and Gary is going to continue with his “Five Foundation Sauces”, the five mother sauces. And he makes a cashew cream béchamel and a tomato sauce that turned into a spicy marinara, and that has a really fun happy ending too. So, I hope you’ll check that out. And we’ve created this one big episode. It’s all in little pieces so you can watch them all in different sittings if you don’t have a lot of time. And then the last, one of my favorites, is a visit to a local vegan Chinese restaurant here in Queens, NY, the number one tourist destination for 2015, named by Lonely Planet. And we have this wonderful restaurant here and we feature it in our Real Visits. It’s called Simple Veggie Cuisine]. And if you happen to be in the New York metro area, it’s on that you should definitely check into. It’s clean and delicious and the owners are lovely and we just love it!
Alright, let’s move on to my first guest. And we’re going to be talking about not only food, but my favorite subject, green food! And that’s what Jessica Nadel who writes the popular blog, Cupcakes and Kale, she has a passion for healthy, local, plant-based eating and thinks that in a diet of vibrant, nourishing meals, there’s room for a cupcake or two as well. She’s also the proprietary baker at Oh My Bakeshop, a natural and organic bakery of special-ordered vegan goods. She lives in Ontario Canada and you can find her at http://www.cupcakesandkale.ca/
Caryn: Hi Jessica.
Jessica Nadel: Hi.
Caryn: Hi, so we’ve got you all connected.
Jessica: I hope so, yeah.
Caryn: I hear you. You hear me. That’s good. Everybody else hears, raise your hand. How are things up in Ontario? Are they warming up?
Jessica: Oh, ever so slowly. I’m trying to be patient.
Caryn: Yeah, I’ve heard that this is the warmest year on record globally, and yet all of us in the Northeast find that hard to believe.
Jessica: Yeah, I would think so. Especially where we are in Northern Ontario.
Caryn: All right, let’s jump into your Greens 24/7.
Caryn: Before we do, tell me a little bit about you and you got involved with greens.
Jessica: Well, I’ve been a plant-based eater for the majority of my life. I became a vegetarian at the age of ten and vegan in the past five or six years. And I think I’ve just always loved food. Food and family-style meals were just always really focal in my family growing up. And once I started to cook and explore the kitchen a little bit more myself, and became exposed to the amazing varieties at farmers markets and ethnic markets, I just really found a passion for food and vegetables in particular. And I do love my greens. And so I think that’s, in a nutshell, how things got started and how things evolved.
Caryn: Now tell me. You were ten years old. This fascinates me. So, did you have someone who inspired you? Did you figure out that eating vegetables was a good thing all by yourself?
Jessica: I think it had less to do with becoming a lover of vegetables as a ten year old and more to do with being a lover of animals. And making that connection between what was on my plate and the animals that I loved. I think that’s a pretty natural reaction for most kids to be shocked when they discover that they’ve actually been eating animals.
Jessica: And so, yeah, that’s how I become a vegetarian. Making that connection. From a profound love of animals. And that continues to inspire me daily.
Caryn: And your family was okay with that as a little girl?
Jessica: They were really supportive. I think probably they thought it was going to be a passing phase, but they were very supportive and over the course of the years both of my brothers have become vegetarian. One of them is also vegan and I think my parents would call themselves flexitarians too. They love all food and I was lucky to have the support of my family, for sure.
Caryn: I’m laughing to myself, I’m sorry, I just got a little distracted but I’m hearing the ice cream truck outside and I haven’t heard that tune for a very long time. And I don’t think it’s time for ice cream with the weather that we have, but I guess they’re desperate to get out there and get some business. But we can make much better frozen treats and even make them green. And you actually have a few in your book.
Jessica: Yes, I do. Absolutely.
Caryn: So let’s start in the back with some frozen dessert….frozen green, chocolate, avocado pop.
Jessica: You know I really wanted to inspire people to get excited about eating their greens and who’s not going to be excited if you discover you can throw vegetables into cakes and cookies and popsicles. You know? So I’m definitely not suggesting that that’s what you should do instead of eating raw veggies and instead of having a salad too…but in addition to. It’s a great way to play with your food and to sort of “up” your veggie intake.
Caryn: I have seen kale in some desserts before, but they’ve never looked as lovely as the ones in your book.
Jessica: Oh, well thank you so much. I was very lucky to work with an amazing food stylist and photographer, Jackie Sobon, based out of California, and she did an amazing job with my recipes.
Caryn: Yeah, they’re beautiful. Now, I’m a big believer in eating greens. I’m always reading about food and learning about nutrition and it’s really clear to me that humanity is in a tremendous transition phase, and I hope we end up on the good side, learning all what’s best for us and for animals and the planet. But, you know, things are all up in the air right now, and science is a bit confusing. But more and more we’re seeing the support of plant-based eating and that these dark leafy green foods are so important. It’s all very fascinating to me because humans, in our short life here on the planet, our food habits have continually changed. And it’s really hard to know what’s natural, what’s original. Our food keeps changing, we keep changing our food.
Jessica: Yeah. You know my husband and I, we were just talking about this. We were having a discussion along these lines just last night, if not two nights ago. We were talking about our vegan diet and our vegan lifestyle and that we’re raising our family, our young son, that way too, and he stopped and he said, “You know what? I can guarantee you that ten years from now, fifty years from now, five hundred years from now, no one’s going to look around and say, ‘You know what, we shouldn’t have eaten so many vegetables.’”
Caryn: Yeah, nobody got a heart attack from eating broccoli.
Jessica: I’m fairly certain of that one thing…that you can’t really go wrong if you’re feeding yourself, and feeding your family and your community an abundance of beautiful, whole, plant-based foods.
Caryn: Yay! I like that. See I knew what you were talking about last night. I just knew that.
Jessica: Yeah, and that’s not to say that it can’t be and shouldn’t be delicious and fun and nourishing and perfect for everyone around the table. And so I think that’s the beauty of vegan recipes and plant-based recipes, and ones in this book, in Greens 24/7, that are focused on the vegetables. And they’re perfect for everyone around the table. Whether you’re a vegetarian, an omnivore, whether you have a dairy allergy, whether you’re gluten-free. Most of the recipes are gluten-free in the book, or easily adapted. They’re really for everybody, which is the beauty of them.
Caryn: Yay! I’m looking at the first thing in your book. It’s a waffle with greens in it?
Jessica: Mmm, yes. Cinnamon and zucchini! That one’s pretty tasty.
Caryn: You know I eat a lot of greens. I juice every day and a I make sure I have a lot of kale and collards in my life in one way or another, but you have definitely given me some ideas because I eat a lot of waffles and I don’t put vegetables in my waffles. And now I’m seeing that I can very easily. And why not!
Jessica: Well that’s it, why not? Right? I, like you, still have my favorites. And I have my go-to green vegetables. And for me they tend to be kale and spinach and broccoli. They’re sort of my staple greens. But writing and developing the recipes for this book was a great experience because it forced me to learn new favorites and to sort of expand the variety of the greens that I was eating, which of course then expanded the nutritional content as well.
Caryn: Now you have to be careful sometimes when you’re mixing green food with other foods. Now I didn’t see any problems in your book. I think you did a beautiful job. But sometimes when we mix greens with things the color turns out pretty murky and then, especially the kids, they don’t want to eat it.
Jessica: Yeah, that’s true. Unless you give it a name like “swamp water” and it becomes funny. You know, especially with kids I think the more that they’re involved the more in the whole process of shopping for the greens, picking out a recipe, helping to create it. You know my son, even though he’s only two, he loves helping in the kitchen. I guarantee the days that he actively makes the smoothie himself, he drinks twice as much. Because I think involvement leads to investment and so I think it’s really important to get our kids in the process, as well.
Caryn: I’m looking at the kale and herb cornbread muffins. Now we eat a lot of cornbread and corn muffins here just because it’s so easy and I love baking and I love making things from scratch. We have them at least once a week in one way or another. I’m just looking at it and I’m thinking it’s not unusual to add green herbs to bread products. And why not, like you did, take it a little further and add kale.
Jessica: Absolutely. And to not stop at kale but if you don’t have kale it doesn’t mean you can’t make that recipe and try something else. Leafy greens and all green vegetables, frankly, they’re all so versatile. So that’s what I hope people take away from my book too is the versatility and a little excitement about it. I want a little enthusiasm and then motivation to go and experiment in their own kitchen too past the recipes in the book.
Caryn: I’m turning to the broccoli and greens quiche. We’ve made some similar things like this at home with chickpea flour which is the most magical flour I have ever worked with.
Jessica: Isn’t it? I was a little late to the chickpea flour game, but I’m loving it now.
Caryn: And it’s beautiful what you’ve made here. And I know it is very quiche-like without any of the guilt, any of the cholesterol, any of the cruelty.
Jessica: That’s right, but with all the protein. I mean it’s just so protein rich using chickpea flour too.
Caryn: Yeah, and I see it’s got, and this is important because you’ve added turmeric and basil and thyme and vegetable broth. I love chickpea flour but as you probably know, it’s so important to add other flavors because all alone sometimes it’s a little too beany.
Jessica: Yeah, well it’s one of those fours, and you’ll never make the mistake twice, you never want to taste it raw before you cook it.
Caryn: Yeah! Have we all done that?
Jessica: And I actually have made that mistake more than once because I’m someone who’s always licking the bowl at the end or tasting things for flavor and that always throws me off.
Caryn: And it can actually teach you some better habits in the kitchen. I’m talking about myself in terms of tasting and touching everything, you don’t want to eat that stuff.
Caryn: No. Okay, then lovely polenta fries. Love that!
Jessica: Yeah those are great. I love polenta as it is and it’s just so wonderful to have like a nice, rich [17:07] kale, walnut, pesto folded into the polenta and then sliced into fries and baked. It’s such a yummy finger food and different from how you normally might eat it too.
Caryn: Is everyone like starving now that we’re talking…I am. I want to eat some of these things. There are so many wonderful pictures in here. You know there are different kinds of styles of eating and I have to say that your style is very similar to the way we eat at home. I’m looking at all these things and going, “Yeah, this is the kind of stuff I like eating”.
Jessica: Thank you.
Caryn: Because I love my greens. And then another one I remember looking at was in the dessert section. It’s kind of fascinating to me to add vegetables to desserts, but I’ve just been socialized to think a certain way and that’s what’s fun about reading different books like this learning to just look at things differently.
Jessica: Sure. So which recipe was it that caught your eye in the dessert chapter?
Caryn: It was the cabbage strudel.
Jessica: That’s funny I just flipped to that page too. I had never really considered it, but cabbage really does have a natural sweetness to it.
Caryn: It does!
Jessica: Yeah it really does. I’ve noticed it mostly raw when there’s that big piece of cabbage that I’m not going to put in the salad because it’s too thick so I just crunch away on it as I’m cooking. It’s actually a traditional Hungarian strudel. They have used cabbage in the past as a sort of inexpensive apple strudel because it has that sweetness. Especially with a little sugar and some raisins and I like to add a little bit of apple to it as well to really bring out the sweetness. Yeah, what a fun way to eat your cabbage.
Caryn: Really! I can’t wait to do this because I can just imagine how naturally “appley” it could be if you just sweeten it up a bit.
Jessica: It really is. There’s only one small apple that’s used in the recipe and I know traditionally in the Hungarian version they don’t use any apples at all. So it’s possible to do it without it entirely, but I love that little apple sweetness in there too.
Caryn: All right, tell me about Oh My Bakeshop..
Jessica: Oh My Bakeshop is something that came to be a few years ago and I just decided that I wanted to fill a void in my own community. There was nowhere for me to go, myself, when I was out for a coffee and have a vegan cookie or snack and so I thought, “If I’m missing it, chances are other people might be too even if they don’t yet know it”. And so I decided to start baking commercially. And so I built myself a mini commercial kitchen and started baking to supply various restaurants and shops and cafes in town. And so I don’t operate a storefront. Not yet at this point. That’s maybe something that might develop in the future. It’s just done on a wholesale basis or then special orders, by email. People will come to me for parties, for weddings or get-togethers. Wherever they want wholesome, organic, vegan baking. And so that’s what I do.
Caryn: What’s the demand greatest for?
Jessica: I would say it’s a tie between cupcakes which I think are still really popular…everyone loves a good vegan cupcake, and I also do a chickpea blondie which is sort of like a blonde brownie but is enriched with loads of chickpeas and chocolate chips and everyone goes crazy for them. Those are naturally gluten free as well so those are really big sellers.
Caryn: You know, that’s another thing. I started gluten-free baking a few years ago and I’ve been using chickpea flour or all-purpose gluten-free flour that has chickpea flour in it and using it for cookies and cakes. And then at one point you realize, “I’m cooking with beans. I’m baking sweet foods with legumes. Chickpeas are very satisfying and they’re fattier than the other beans. They’re perfect for a treat.
Jessica: They are. I skip the step of making the flour and I use full chickpeas.
Caryn: That makes sense, yeah.
Jessica: So that’s what my bakeshop is, and I’m a full-time mom to my wonderfully busy and spirited two-year-old son.
Caryn: How does your son like vegetables?
Jessica: You know what, he has amazing days where he wants to eat everything in sight and then he has other days where he’s like any other two-year-old who wants nothing to do with anything except peanut butter toast cut in the shape of triangles. So he’s generally a really good eater. He loves his green smoothie and he loves broccoli and he’s recently discovered that he loves spinach salad if I make this rich and creamy cashew-based dressing. So he’s constantly growing and changing and surprising me.
Caryn: Well I always love to say, when we’re talking about nut or seed-based dressings that it’s important to eat fat when you eat leafy green vegetables because the vitamins are fat-soluble and they need fat in order to get into all of your little cells and work their magic.
Caryn: And whole fats from raw nuts and seeds are the perfect way to do that and they make great creamy dressings.
Jessica: They do. And my son just adores nuts and seeds. If he could eat nothing else, he happily would. He loves them.
Caryn: Well, this is the terrible twos now and I guess the next difficult period will be the terrible teens.
Caryn: And I wish you well with that.
Jessica: Thank you.
Caryn: But I think you know, and I’m not a parent, but everything I’ve seen, when parents have good food habits and have the right foods in the house and not the junk food, then it’s a good chance that the child will learn those habits and crave those right foods.
Jessica: Yeah, here’s hoping! You do what you can. You expose them to all of the wonderful things you want them see and learn and absorb and you hope that that happens.
Caryn: That’s right. Well I’m going to have to spin up some time in Ontario. I haven’t been there in quite a long time, but if I do get up there I’ll put in an order for Oh My Bakeshop for those chickpea blondies! Those sound good.
Jessica: Absolutely. You’ll have to make your way all the way up to Sudbury. My husband and I opened up a little vegan taco restaurant about three months ago now too. So we’ll have somewhere else to eat as well.
Caryn: Wow! What’s it called?
Jessica: It’s called Tucos Taco Lounge.
Caryn: Good for you.
Jessica: So we’re busy. We love our food up here.
Caryn: Well thanks for joining me on It’s All About Food, Jessica.
Jessica: It’s been wonderful. Thanks so much Caryn.
Caryn: Okay, take care.
Jessica: Okay, ba-bye.
Caryn: Bye. That was Jessica Nadel and you can find her at http://www.cupcakesandkale.ca/
And before we take a break I wanted to remind you again to go to http://responsibleeatingandliving.com/
Rranscribed 8/5 by Cheryl Maciorakowski
But now I want to tell you about something else that’s going on. Earth Day is coming up April 22nd, and you know what day that is, right? It’s my birthday, and I’m having a birthday party here in Forest Hills, New York. It’s called the Happy B’EarthDay Revue. It’s a fundraiser for responsible eating and living. If you are in the area, anywhere, New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, I would really like to see you. So go to http://responsibleeatingandliving.com/ click on the Responsible Eating And Living fundraiser, find out more about it and come on…come to my party, all right?
Now let’s take a little break and we’re going to be right back to talk about some more delicious food. Have a snack in the meantime because you’re going to be very tempted with everything we’re talking about next. Okay?