Ebb & flow, give & take, ying & yang, darkness & light, black & white: there are a lot of ways we describe the pendulum swing between contrasts, the interplay between opposites and how they manifest in our everyday. We throw ourselves into our work only to crash and burn weeks later, realizing we how desperately we were missing rest. We lose ourselves in despair when things in our life don’t flow right, only to be reminded that the darkness always passes with patience and time. We are a modern society of extremes–extreme exercise, extreme diets, extreme workaholism, extreme consumerism–we live for the all or nothing.
Yet what if we were to re-examine these behaviors and meet somewhere in the middle? Recognizing the need for the contrasts, but also learning to live comfortably in the gray areas sometimes? What if we truly took the time to find that BALANCE? My sweet friend Lucia speaks to this often, and her words always resonate, inspire, and excite me.
And so, with balance in mind, the two of us decided apply this philosophy to food, and bring you TWO scrummy recipes that articulate what balance means to us, both in our culinary and personal lives. Balance comes in the form of the perfect ratio of contrasts in cooking (think sweet & salty or sweet & spicy and how well they complement and elevate each other), and I believe this philosophy can be applied directly to our inner lives as well. By honoring the need for balance in our lives, by recognizing that both sides of the pendulum are essential in order to live fully, we are able to live more harmoniously with ourselves.
Lately I’ve been trying to fully embrace my softness; to see rest as essential as work and to be radically patient with myself on the days when I’m feeling exhausted or off-key. Because I fully believe balance can be found in taking a day off from working out, in sleeping in an extra hour, in eating and fully enjoying that those sweet treats that society and diet culture want you to feel so guilty about, and I want to practice as much as I preach.
This cornbread hits all the sweet salty savory balance-ey notes for me. It’s dense and lightly spiced and makes a delightfully indulgent breakfast or after-dinner snack, especially when lightly toasted, smothered in butter and/or almond butter, and drizzled with maple syrup and a pinch of sea salt (yeah I’m extra like that). Enjoy every bite! Savor the moment! Love on yourself like you would a tiny puppy and embrace the flowwwww of things.
ALSO: check Lucia’s recipe here.
• 1 large delicata squash
• 2 tbsp. ground flaxseeds
• 1 cup organic non-GMO cornmeal
• 1/2 cup all-purpose gluten-free flour blend (I love King Arthur’s)
• 1/2 cup almond flour
• 2 teaspoons baking powder (non-aluminum)
• 1/2 teaspoon pink himalayan salt, plus more for sprinkling
• 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
• 3 tbsp. sugar of choice (I used coconut sugar)
• 4 tbsp nutritional yeast (see NOTE)
• 1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
• 1/2 cup maple syrup, plus more for drizzling
• 1/4 cup melted coconut oil, plus more for drizzling and greasing
• 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 400° F. Cut squash in half, remove the seeds, and slice into 1/2 inch rings. Toss with a bit of coconut oil, season with salt, and roast in the oven until brown and tender, 15-25 minutes. Puree half of the squash rings until smoothish, and allow to cool. Don’t worry you can eat the skin! Reserve the remaining squash for decorating. Save time! This step can be done a day ahead!
When ready to make the bread, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8x8” baking dish with coconut oil, and line with parchment if you feel like it.
In a small bowl, combine the ground flaxseeds with 4 tbsp warm water, and stir to combine. Set aside and allow to thicken.
In a large bowl, whisk together the cornmeal, flours, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, sugar, and nutritional yeast until no lumps remain. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl, along with the thickened flaxseed mixture, and stir together with a spatula just until fully combined. Pour batter into prepared baking dish, and top with reserved squash slices. Drizzle with additional coconut oil and maple syrup, and sprinkle with sea salt and/or more sugar to your liking.
Bake 25-35 minutes, or until top is golden brown and bread springs back when touched lightly with your finger. Allow to cool before cutting into squares and eating it (duh). Bread is best when eaten within a day or two, but leftovers can be stored in the fridge, and are delicious sliced in half and lightly toasted. <3