Mini Quiche, Granola, and Cake Balls (Eats and Beats, March 12-18)

Hey guys! I’m going to test out a new thing on Fridays where I post a roundup of stuff I cooked/baked throughout the week, as well as some music I listened to. You (my friends, I think the only people who read this site so far) ask me pretty regularly for recipe/meal ideas, and also for music recommendations, so I’m hoping this will be a handy way to give you that. Let me know if it actually is helpful!

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Heartbeat Chili (Inspired by Allo Darlin’)

“I was in the kitchen on my own making chili/
You came in with an onion and got dicin’/
It seems silly that this chili has two heartbeats in the recipe/
So come over, give your heart to me.”
— “Heartbeat Chilli” by Allo Darlin’ (from last year’s Allo Darlin’

Heart-healthy veggie chili with heart-shaped tortilla crisps (recipe at bottom of post)

Allo Darlin”s self-titled debut was one of my favorite records of 2010 — it’s indie-pop that’s sweet and earnest enough to make me all warm and fuzzy every time I listen. Elizabeth Morris’s lyrics are unbelievably witty, and she occasionally mixes her own lines with snippits of songs like Weezer’s “El Scorcho” (“Kiss Your Lips”) and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk The Line” (“Heartbeat Chilli”). This ukulele-based song is pretty perfect for Valentine’s Day, and this chili is a perfect dish to warm up with in the hell that is mid-February. I made sure the chili had plenty of heart-healthy ingredients like beans and spinach — beans are great for their omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and fiber; spinach for its potassium and fiber, among other things. The heart-shaped tortilla crisps are kinda self-explanatory.
Allo Darlin’ on MySpace

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Bur Oak Winter Soup (Inspired by Bowerbirds)

“And he asked us what we had done for our souls lately”
— “Bur Oak” by Bowerbirds (from 2007’s Hymns for a Dark Horse)

Butternut and acorn squash soup

Bowerbirds’ music is perfect for fall and winter: It’s peaceful and emotional, and the different moods in their songs are usually expressed through references to nature. All of their music feels warm to me, but in “Bur Oak,” the line “And he asked us what we had done for our souls lately” in particular makes me think of comfort food. On a cold fall or winter day, what’s better than coming home to a warm bowl of soup? I think taking care of our souls is very much related to what we put into our bodies and how we take care of our bodies — so a soul-satisfying dish should be hearty and filling, but also healthy. Also, the inclusion of acorn squash is a play on the title, with the oak tree. Then in the song “In Our Talons,” Phil Moore and Beth Tacular sing, “It takes a lot of nerve to destroy this wondrous earth,” which made me decide the dish should be vegan, so it’s as earth-friendly as possible (and the squash was bought locally, from the Union Square Greenmarket). Lastly, I served it with cornbread (I used this recipe; it’s not vegan, but I have seen vegan cornbread recipes!) because it’s one of the first foods that come to mind when I think of soul food, and it’s great with soup.

“It takes a lot of nerve to destroy this wondrous earth”
— “In Our Talons” (also from Hymns for a Dark Horse)

Bowerbirds are a folk group from North Carolina, led by multi-instrumentalists Phil Moore and Beth Tacular, though they usually have at least one other musician with them. They’re one of my favorite live bands — everyone switches instruments after nearly every song: acoustic guitar, a marching band-style bass drum, various other percussion instruments, strings … They’re so lovely and have so much positive energy.

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