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rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast

rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messrosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first mess
This is something that I would make for me and me alone. My man isn’t a lover of mushrooms and seriously? How is it that none of my peeps see the gloriousness of the things-on-toast meal?! It’s a dish that lets me doctor up what I have by employing some other things that I have when there’s a golden pocket of me-time available. A thoughtful and meditative slap-dash, if you will.

I’m generally into this tray-lunch thing as of late. I roast a bunch of things with herbs, lemon, spice, or whatever’s around. Sometimes I transfer the goods to a bowl. Sometimes I eat right from the tray. It’s warm and I get to make some time for myself over it, while I bounce between the renovation duties, freelance work, emails, actual scheduled work, and tiniest fibre-like shreds of free time. I’ve never been “too busy to cook.” Maybe that’s obvious? When the world is spinning, I tend to go inward a bit and cooking helps. When I lived alone, I happily enjoyed a lot of solitary meals, but always looked forward to my post-school life where dining companions would surely be infinite and constant. My current schedule varies from the rest of my world’s seemingly unanimous 9-5, so yep. Still plenty of solo late lunches scarfed at 3 pm right before my shift starts on any given Saturday.

I’ve even been waking up earlier to cook alone too. I’m on this steel-cut oat porridge thing that demands a little extra time, which is kind of immediately annoying, but ultimately for the best. I sip a warm drink and stir, focused on that one thing. I don’t have the headspace for a large batch that can be pre-portioned and reheated throughout the week, and that’s honestly fine. The sleepy straining of tired eyes eventually fades, and I find there’s more strength for all of the things that need doing.

So this is a bit of a deluxe, but still completely simple, flying solo kinda meal (although I did design the recipe for two servings since it’s probably a bit more practical for most). Fun fact: the first restaurant family meal I ever enjoyed as an actual cook was a fancied-up version of mushrooms on toast. I remember being a bit rattled, sweaty, and slightly anxious when I sat down to the plate after service. It was calming in all of the predictable ways though. Holiday wildness is officially on us now, so it seems even more important to take advantage of those peaceful and simple moments. Seize them by putting the good stuff on toast, people :)

rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût prep // the first messrosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messrosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first messrosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast // the first mess
rosemary mushroom + chickpea ragoût on toast
serves: 2
notes: Any mix of sliced mushrooms is totally excellent. I love shiitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire, so I mix them half and half with creminis. Also, before I add the vegetable stock, I simmer it with the mushroom stems for a little bit–like 15 minutes or so. It’s just to intensify the mushroom flavour.

1 tbsp grapeseed oil
1 shallot, fine dice
1 sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped fine
10 ounces/heaped half pound mixed mushrooms, stems removed + caps sliced
splash of sherry vinegar
1 tsp tomato paste
1-2 tsp vegetarian worcestershire sauce (Annie’s brand is my fave)
scant cup of cooked chickpeas
1 cup vegetable stock
big splash of unsweetened non-dairy milk, something rich like cashew or coconut is preferable
1 tsp arrowroot powder (or non-GMO + organic cornstarch if you’re cool with it)
salt + pepper
2 thick slices of good bread

Heat the grapeseed oil in a large sautè or sauce pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and stir. Once those are a bit fragrant, add the rosemary. Sauté until the shallots are really translucent. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir them around. Add the sherry vinegar, tomato paste, worcestershire sauce, and chickpeas and stir. Once the mushrooms have started softening just a bit, about 3 minutes, add the stock. Stir everything up and simmer until the liquid has reduced by a third and the mushrooms are quite soft. Add the splash of non-dairy milk and stir. Season the whole thing to taste. In a small bowl, combine the arrowroot with a little bit of the liquid from the pot. Make a little slurry and then add it back in to the pot. Simmer until lightly thickened. Keep warm.

Toast or grill the pieces of toast. Lay them in shallow bowls. Ladle the mushroom and chickpea ragoût on top. Finish with a bit more black pepper. Serve hot.

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Elenore b zahn27/11/2013 - 6:32 am

Laura! Oh, love! I have spent the past couple of free time moments (pretty fleeting with little Caspian) reading your a-amazing texts, drooling over your insanely gorgeous food photos, loving the pics from your home (congratulations!!!) and just wish I could HUG you! Maah!! I am grateful for the energy you put into this space, all your vibe-y stuff (haha we are so much alike!) all of it infused with all kinds of gooooodness.

Take care, honey! Take a sip of that energy drink and pause. Wish I could hop over and help you paint and stuff!

E

I could eat mushrooms straight from the pan. Like it so much. Nice idea for a breakfast. I like to experiment in the morning.

Jessica (bakecetera)27/11/2013 - 8:35 am

mushrooms and chickpeas are two of my favourite foods, but i rarely put them together while cooking. this ragout is beautiful, and looks absolutely delicious! i can’t wait to try this out. happy thanksgiving!

Kirstie Young27/11/2013 - 9:38 am

Love this lunch! Beautiful simple ingredients and delicious images, just glorious.

Brianne27/11/2013 - 9:46 am

I made some Cook’s Illustrated recipe once with mushroom stems simmered in vegetable stock. I was skeptical, but HOLY COW does it give that stock killer mushroom flavor! I picked up ingredients of a similar vein as this for a fancy dinner for one last week–my home is 1.5 hrs south of where I go to school, so I’m alone in a strange kitchen on weeknights–but it did not turn out as indulgent as this. I know what to do differently next time!

tara27/11/2013 - 9:57 am

Heck yeah to all of this. I love mushrooms on toast, and the chickpeas sound a brilliant addition.

jacqueline27/11/2013 - 10:13 am

Hi! Have you tried/thought about using chia seed gel (strained of the seeds) as a thickener???? I’ve tried it for some things but not others – I want to try it for this! Thanks for a great recipe. Pinning it now!

carey27/11/2013 - 11:03 am

Oh lord, this is so the thing I want to eat right now. I am currently without chickpeas in the house — an occasion so rare that I keep forgetting to buy them when I’m at the store. And mushrooms. There are so many mushrooms, but they’re all reserved for Thanksgiving dishes. UGH. (One of my usual bouts of hangriness came on quick this morning, so the fact that I can’t eat this asap feels like a horrible cosmic injustice.)

P.S. Tray lunches (and dinners) for life. My favorite.

ana27/11/2013 - 11:25 am

I agree with you! Having time to cook is making time to cook. And it’s therapy! Thanks for the inspiration!

Katy27/11/2013 - 12:28 pm

“I love shitakes, but I’m also not a millionaire” <– yes, so true, I often do this with food. It's too bad amazing food can be super expensive sometimes. This looks delicious and I love the idea of a tray lunch, roasting veg on toast. Nice to have a vegan option. Pinned!

Jeanine27/11/2013 - 1:32 pm

so sad your man doesn’t love mushrooms!! This looks stunning, I’ll definitely be making it soon. (ps. mushrooms + sherry vinegar is the best, isn’t it?)

Katie @ Produce on Parade27/11/2013 - 4:16 pm

Wow, this looks so rustic and delicious. What a great recipe! I just used up a bunch of mushrooms in a spaghetti sauce and I wish I had see this sooner. Yum!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar27/11/2013 - 4:17 pm

I dig this so hard! Yum!!

Harriet27/11/2013 - 6:32 pm

This looks crazy delicious! I’m a big fan of solo meals, and usually things end up being poured into bowls or over toast. Thank you for your wonderful words that I connect with in a million different ways X

Stacy27/11/2013 - 7:29 pm

YES, GIRL, YES. I would come over and eat toast with you any day if I could. xo

Michelle @ The Fresh Direction27/11/2013 - 9:57 pm

I’m so the same way. Cooking always helps to centre me. I can never too busy to make a meal… even if it’s just a simple one… which can often involve something on toast (NEVER too busy for avo toast, am I right?) This looks delicious, Laura! Thanks for sharing.

[…] HAVE TO MAKE THIS […]

Skye28/11/2013 - 1:17 pm

Chickpeas are one of my most favourite foods – so flavoursoem and such a wonderful texture. Love how you’ve cooked them here with rosemary – what a fabulously rustic touch.

Julia28/11/2013 - 10:48 pm

i love everything about this post. thank you, once again.. for marvellous recipes and for reminding me to slow down & savour what i put into my body.

Kathryn29/11/2013 - 5:21 am

I do love a good solo meal; there’s something so luxurious and decadent about spending that time cooking for your own pleasure alone. Things on toast is always a good way to go.

Cristina29/11/2013 - 11:01 am

Tray-lunch! Now I have a name for the thing I haven’t stopped doing since the weather turned. Lately, my favorite consists of mushrooms, onion, garlic, and sweet potatoes with thyme (spooned over a soupy pot of beans). Before that it was fennel and apples with fennel seeds and chili flakes.

Elle29/11/2013 - 6:37 pm

Laura,
I love beans and bread! The combination of flavors in this recipe are fabulous! Love the site…keep it coming!
Elle

Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily01/12/2013 - 2:06 pm

Well I for one adore all things mushrooms! I honestly think this is my idea of a perfect comfort dish. Pinning it to make next week. Thanks for sharing. Stunning photos!

[…] Rosemary Mushroom + Chickpea Ragoût […]

[…] thefirstmess.com […]

[…] List via Buzzfeed, recipe via The First Mess. […]

[…] thefirstmess.com […]

Brian @ A Thought For Food04/12/2013 - 12:14 am

I’m all about putting things on bread… and when mushrooms are involved, well, let’s just say I don’t think I could be married to someone who didn’t eat them. But that’s just me. I’m judgy like that. ;-)

MaryJane Cooper04/12/2013 - 3:43 pm

Hi, being of Lithuanian descent, I LOVE mushrooms, and this recipe sounds intriguing, but I don’t particularly like rosemary; is there a milder herb you would recommend to substitute?
Thanks, MaryJane

Laura Wright05/12/2013 - 8:29 am

Hi MaryJane, you could certainly use thyme or sage in place of the rosemary.
-L

Andrea05/12/2013 - 3:07 pm

This is my lunch for the rest of my life.

[…] sure what to make with mushrooms? Try one of these: Walnut-mushroom veggie burgers Rosemary mushroom chickpea ragout Mushroom & chard bruschetta Mushroom millet leek frittatas Roasted king oyster mushrooms Mixed […]

Megan17/12/2013 - 3:57 pm

My hubby and I have already made this four times! We love this recipe as a quick dinner, especially with sliced tomatoes. Also great for a traditional English-style breakfast too! We love your blog and have made a number of the recipes. When are you coming out with your cookbook? :)

Elizabeth24/12/2013 - 9:51 pm

I made this tonight… it was so simple and delicious! We ate it up. Thanks!

ranae29/12/2013 - 8:31 pm

Made this tonight for dinner, using portobellos! Instead of bread, I reserved two of the portobellos and roasted them, then topped with this ragout. Oh my goodness! It was fantastic!

Thanks!

Sandra08/01/2014 - 7:43 pm

Eating this right now for a late lunch. Holy moly, it’s goo-oood! Definitely making this one again!

[…] It is just so damn simple, but I never thought much of sharing this until one of my fav bloggers Laura at The First Mess started sharing her love for tray lunches. Chop. Roast. Eat. What’s not to love? Turns out I […]

[…] pulled out all kinds of not your normal weeknight recipes to try :  Crab Spinach and Coconut Soup, Mushroom Chickpea Ragout on Toast and Quinoa and Pea Spice Croquettes.  We each made one: I had soup, Helly the ragout and Lisa, […]

Donna01/03/2014 - 5:20 am

What a dish, thanks for the recipe!!!! It’s delicious! I made a couple of substitutes:
* added handful of re-hydrated porcini mushrooms,
* used the soaking liquid for porcinis as the basis for the ‘veg stock’ (added another depth of mushroom flavour), and
* doubled the fresh rosemary as I love herbs.

To serve I sprinkled more fresh rosemary leaves and freshly picked rocket from our garden to add an edge of pepper. I’m saving this recipe and making it again, and again,….and again. Thanks so much

[…] Avinžirnių ir grybų troškinys Vegan Rosemary Mushroom Chickpea Ragout on Toast […]

[…] spread (that post is coming soon) so I did a search and came across a recipe from Laura over at The First Mess. I adapted her recipe a bit because a) I love sun-dried tomatoes and b) I also had a bunch of them […]

my good energy drink + some photos from the new place

my good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messmy good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first messmaca // the first messraw cacao powder // the first messmy good energy drink (with maca, raw cacao + maple syrup) // the first mess
The discussion of poutine came up at work the other night because, yep, there was poutine for staff meal (and a giant salad so just relax a bit there). My coworker was telling me how she had recounted a story to some classmates at the yoga studio that she frequents. There was a visit to a local place that specialized in the ubiquitous Canadian calorie bomb. And then at the end of her story, sort of predictably, her peeps at the studio were grossed out by her totally personal food choice. Then I got home that night and saw this tweet from my friend, kindly asking for a halt to the same form of judgement. Funny how the universe always finds a way to communicate the fierceness of your own thoughts.

I have to tell you, the raw food experiment didn’t go well for me and there was no way I was forcing myself to carry it out over a whole month on principle alone. It’s not like I was half-assing it either (totally gave it the full ass) (had to). My body and boots, firmly planted in the cool grey of November in southern Ontario, were not adapting. There were bouts of lightheadedness, shivering despite wearing two sweaters, so much bloat, breakouts, constant hunger despite constant eating, and, most importantly, things that would normally just roll off my back became completely emotional huge deals. A good example: normally I would relish any opportunity to smash up something that causes me grief, but in the midst of clearing out the gross old plaster in our kitchen, I had to leave the room and then later cry my eyes out to Mark about how we would never, ever, EVER live there happily. I can be easily defeated sometimes, but this was shaking me to the core. In that moment, I knew some truer part of me, the part that sees and knows, was being denied.

When I went to the internet with my concerns (pro tip: if you want to keep your sanity, don’t ever do that), I read so many things that went along these lines: “Your body is just purging all of the evil things from the total misery that was your pre-raw life. It’s detoxifying, It’s AMAAAZING. Purification process!!! Etc.” I would never suggest that these well-meaning people are wrong, but as soon as a pile of rubble and some extra hours spent with a pry bar forced me into a crumpled shell of my former self, any concerns for vibrance and purity washed away real quick.

The admission of it here was weighing on me heavily though–the enthusiasm I shared early on, the acknowledgement that I’m extremely fortunate to have access to enough food if I’m perpetually hungry, the ridiculousness of going into it in the early stages of Canadian winter. When you’re privileged enough to have it regularly, your food choices become a belief system on some level and this one seemed too objectionable once I had some distance from it. In sum: I was worried what people would think, which is hilarious because when my coworker friend told me about that judgement-heavy moment at her yoga studio, my knee-jerk reaction was “OH FUCK THAT.”

So there’s all of that and yep. I’m feeling a lot better–the much needed warmth has returned to my bones, there’s satiation with less it seems and there’s that old tenacity creeping up in the challenging moments again. Since we could all use some of that good energy that buzzes in a low and warm kind of way, whatever our food/life choices, I thought I would share this everyday recipe with you. It’s a nice hot drink for morning calm, or any time you need it really. The base of it is any nut/seed/grain-based milk, maca powder, something to sweeten it up and a touch of raw cacao and cinnamon for my personal taste. Maca comes from a Peruvian root vegetable and it has a bit of a butterscotch-y/malt/sweet potato thing going on flavour-wise. I find it really does deliver in terms of an energy boost, but it’s less of a jolt than caffeine.

Sometimes after a cup of it, I’ll feel a little impulse to stretch out to the very tips of my toes and fingers and just breathe a little life into every inch of myself. It’s restoring/life-giving without being over the top, which I love. Anyway, I hope you’ll give it a go. I’ve seen maca in grocery + health food stores, bulk shops, and on Arrested Development, so it shouldn’t be too hard to find if you’re curious. Lastly, since I’ve been talking about house stuff with such frequency, I thought I’d include a couple little snaps I took the other day in this post (below). They definitely have a “in progress” kind of feel, which is true to life in all the ways you could imagine.

Sending all my good energy this week :)

home // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first messhome // the first mess
my good energy drink
serves: 1
notes: There’s so many options for add-ins with this. I chose a teaspoon of raw cacao powder and a star anise pod, but you could reach for fresh ginger juice, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom, vanilla etc etc.

10 ounces milk of your choice, unsweetened is preferable (I did a mix of coconut and almond)
2 tsp maca powder (link)
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon + extra for dusting if you like
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp raw cacao powder (link)
1-2 star anise pods (so, so optional)

I start this drink by blending everything in an upright blender (except the star anise if you’re using it) to get all the powdery bits incorporated. Then I gently heat in a small saucepan over medium heat (with the star anise) until it’s really simmering. You could easily skip the blending step and just whisk the mixture lightly while it’s heating. Drink it warm with a dusting of cinnamon.

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SouthernSpoonBelle20/11/2013 - 8:24 am

Tried going on a raw stint a couple years back , and my mood/stomach/everything was so off kilter that I had to spend half an afternoon curled up on the floor under my desk at work. It’s not for everyone : )
Your posts/recipes always seem to come from a place of creativity and honesty (without a shred of judgment)– thanks for that! And for this lovely warm drink, will file away for Aussie winter.
Good luck in the Canadian cold season and house reno. The place looks lovely, those leaded glass windows are ace.

Claire (Eat Well. Party Hard.)20/11/2013 - 8:40 am

There’s a whole list of reasons I love this post, and I could copy+paste all the lines down here…but for simplicity’s sake, I’ll just say: you go, girl. Always.

Best vibes being sent your way as the house adventure continues. Hell yeah for listening to yer body.

Mary20/11/2013 - 9:24 am

Woo! I for one, am glad you are back to cooking! Sometimes you gotta leave just enough to want to come back. And it’s comforting to hear that others have the same frustrations with judgey friends and food. At my work I like to eat in my office…even if you eat healthy or people have good things to say about your food it just gets a little old everyday to hear the peanut gallery’s comments about your lunch! One of those things that will probably never change – food is such a ritual for many and an insecurity for others.

But good for you for trying something different and trying to change your perspective! And at the same time glad you’re back :)

Merri Live Local Greens20/11/2013 - 9:28 am

Well done for trying! I couldn’t even begin to imagine how hard it must be – definitely not for me! We need warming foods in the cold UK winters! This drink sounds perfect; I try not to drink caffeine, but a perk me up in the morning is always needed. Will give it a go. Oh, and the house looks fab! Good luck with it.

Emma Galloway20/11/2013 - 9:30 am

Love your honesty Laura! I love raw foods and at least half of my diet (if not more) consists of this, but extremes have never worked for me either. Good on you for doing what’s right for you and giving the middle finger to anyone who cares to judge xx

Ashlae20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

I had a similar experience with raw food about two years ago. My doctor was certain it would stabilize my hormones and regulate my bowels and give me glowing skin and blah blah blah. But four days in I was so bloated I couldn’t fit into any of my pants and I had developed hives all over my chest and stomach. Super sexy. I went back to the witch doctor who fed me some bullshit about it just being my body adjusting/getting rid of all the bad junk it’s harbored over the years. And then one night I had a bowl of warm soup, decided the next day to stop relying on raw foods, and within two days the hives were gone and I could fit into my pants again. HALLELUJAH. Bodies are weird, yo. But also kind of amazing.

You know what else is amazing? THAT house (the bathroom is making me extra swoony). Cannot wait to see what you two do with the place.

Chelsea//TheNakedFig20/11/2013 - 10:02 am

This looks delicious! I make a similar drink with turmeric instead of cacao, but I love the idea of star anise and cacao together. Best wishes on your new home!

lysette20/11/2013 - 10:03 am

Demolition is brute and filthy. I work in construction(and live in British Columbia; -12 this morning whoot!) if I’m doing demo or pretty much anything to do with concrete I fuel with warming foods. I love raw and eat it most of the year (uncompromising vegan all year) but I also need to repair and refuel my muscles (and spirit) for the work day ahead. And I drink a ton of warm liquids!

Valentina20/11/2013 - 10:07 am

your new place looks awesome! I love when nothing is up and the world is full of endless possibilities !!

Valentina
http://valentinaduracinsky.blogspot.com/

Winnie20/11/2013 - 10:15 am

Love this post! I must admit I was a little worried about your raw experiment. I think raw is fine for, like, a week if you are spending lots of time on a beach in Hawaii. Beyond that I think it can be harmful and the whole “you are just detoxifying” thing is crap. ps the house is looking great!

Daria20/11/2013 - 10:17 am

Sounds awesome! I’m all about cacao. It’s as simple as “put cacao in it’ and it will turn anything into a delight. I recently finally developed a recipe which works for me (and my man, which was a little unexpected) for hot cacao: 1.5 cups of water, 1/2 cups of almond&coconut or just almond milk, 2tbsp (yes!!!) raw cacao powder, 2 tsp maca powder, 1-2 tsp raw honey, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp cloves. Heat everything up in a sauce pan stirring frequently. Oh my, I melt while having it. Great stuff to fix energy levels, mood swings etc.

Kathryne20/11/2013 - 10:24 am

Yessss house photos! It’s a beautiful work in progress. Brava for listening to yourself and adjusting accordingly. No shame in that, ever. I get super annoyed when I’m on a healthy food blog and read a shameful confession about eating a few (organic/local, of course) French fries or some legit ice cream. I think that perpetuating some idea or image of a “perfect” diet does more harm than good. That’s why I don’t keep my love for bacon a secret. Anyway, if I come visit you in Canada someday, will you make me one of these energy drinks before we split a big ol’ plate of poutine?

Lindsey | The Next Course20/11/2013 - 10:30 am

I can’t wait to try this tomorrow morning! I love the idea of blending ahead of time (and can even see myself blending this up the night before and reheating the next morning). Thanks for your honesty about the raw thing not working for you–bodies are pretty incredible and mysterious, don’t you think?!

Sarah20/11/2013 - 10:34 am

I am new to your blog, so this was my first post of yours that I have read. I love it. Food is so, so personal. I cannot get over how everything is scrutinized, good or bad. I never have tried a raw detox or whatever. It would be hard here in Wyoming too. By the way, I love your photos, and your house looks awesome.

Amanda20/11/2013 - 10:43 am

Optimal health is about listening to what our bodies want and need. Sometimes that’s a salad and a smoothie, other times that’s a glass of wine and a slice of pizza. Big up on raising your white flag!

T20/11/2013 - 10:46 am

Honestly, I think it is fully impossible to go raw during a Canadian Winter. Access to all of those lovely fruits and veggies are no longer local. But that is just my experience as well, I need warm food in the winter and there is NOTHING wrong with that.

For the record, I feel like serious ass when I eat just vegetarian or vegan.

There is no right answer when it comes to what you eat, but instead what gives you the energy you need to take on the day.

Good luck with the Renos!

Maca will make it happen!

LC20/11/2013 - 10:51 am

You’re such an amazing photographer!

Stephanie Tucci20/11/2013 - 10:58 am

Lovely recipes, I love making simple warming hot chocolates like this!

michelle20/11/2013 - 11:20 am

YES YES YES YES!

Courtney20/11/2013 - 12:21 pm

I’ve always wanted to buy an older house and renovate it, though I’m not sure why because I don’t have a lick of any type of skills associated with it. I’m loving your in progress photos. As for the raw foods thing, you know your body better than anyone else so to hell with what anyone else says. I can’t imagine doing a raw foods diet in our mild Texas winter so kudos to you for sticking it out as long as you did. As for this lovely maca beverage, it looks awesome though I doubt I’ll be able to drink it without picturing scenes from Arrested Development :)

Shanna Mallon20/11/2013 - 12:22 pm

Hi. Boy, do I understand. Almost two years ago, Tim and I did a raw week, and I felt so good at the end of it, i wanted to keep going. Let’s just say the second week was NOT like the first one, and things got worse from there. I read the same articles about cleansing and Herx reactions and they didn’t make me feel better, haha. I do think I was cleansing, but I also think you can cleanse too fast and make yourself miserable. Hip hip for trying new things and learning from them! Hip hip for being an honest enough person to talk about it here. I loved reading about it.

oh and PS I have emotional outbursts all the time.

Grace20/11/2013 - 12:54 pm

Whew! I was thinking about you the other morning as I was indulging in a warm piece of spiced pumpkin cake (for breakfast!). I started feeling guilty for not having a healthier start to my day – knowing you were probably raw vegging out. Glad we can all get back to real life now. ;) Love the house pictures – please keep sharing them!

Cassandra20/11/2013 - 1:20 pm

Glad you’re feeling better! You do YOU! :)

Kathryn20/11/2013 - 2:29 pm

Totally, totally with you. I’m so bored of it all and of the this weird world view where what you choose to eat for one meal of the day – one of the thousands and thousands of meals you’ll eat in your life – becomes some sort of judgement on your worth as a person. Whatever. Welcome back to the land of warm food!

PS totally digging the pics of your new pad; it has a real English vibe to it which, obviously, appeals to me a lot.

Michelle20/11/2013 - 3:37 pm

This sounded awful until I got to the energy drink recipe. Kuddos and condolences for attempting such a diet!

Silvia20/11/2013 - 3:40 pm

Hi Laura, I have been following your blog for a while – love the recipes and the photography is beautiful.
I tried going fully raw one summer and found it pretty hardcore, I can’t imagine what it’s like doing it in cold weather.. I’m glad you listened to your body!

Anyway, I wanted to say I relate to what you said and thank you for sharing.
Cheers!
Sil

Harriet McAtee20/11/2013 - 4:25 pm

Dude – thank you for your unbounded honesty! Judgement is the nastiest thing, and I’m so behind us fighting the best fight against it. We each know our own bodies best. And your new place looks wonderful! Power through – I can see the beauty there already!

Grace20/11/2013 - 4:57 pm

Love this! I have a somewhat similar perk me up maca drink with cacao and maple sugar. I’m going to try this tomorrow morning. Glad to hear you’re doing what feels right for your body. Raw foods can be especially tough when transitioning to winter. If you get flac for doing right by your body, good riddance!

Emily20/11/2013 - 6:41 pm

I love this. Good for you for trying out the raw diet, and for listening to your body and stopping. Excited to try this drink!

Ashley20/11/2013 - 6:43 pm

I can’t even describe how much I love your honesty in this post. And, again, I can completely relate about the house things and I was never on a raw diet. ;) Your house looks adorably and so much character. It will get there!! I promise!! That light fixture is perfection. I want it! So great that you did what was best for your body and mental state and didn’t just stick it out and feel miserable. You are my high vibin’ hero!! <3 <3

Lindsey20/11/2013 - 7:54 pm

I tried the raw thing a couple years ago. I find that balancing my diet is what keeps me sane (or insane), so it’s totally key for me. Not too much of one thing, but always things that are soothing and yeah, healthy too. Anywho, your home in progress looks awesome, can’t wait to see the end result :)

JT20/11/2013 - 9:06 pm

Heya! Love your blog/photography. Am curious if there were any raw food recipe books you especially dig? Nice to have those in your back pocket even if you aren’t living a totally raw life style. I know I ain’t.

Laura Wright20/11/2013 - 9:10 pm

Hi JT, I love Raw Food, Real World + Living Raw Food, both by Sarma Melngailis. Ani Phyo‘s books are all great too!
-L

Shannon Murphy20/11/2013 - 9:12 pm

Hi–I just recently started reading your blog. From a Chinese medicine perspective, raw food is really bad for you. It’s because your body basically has to use all its chi (or something) to cook the food in your stomach before you can digest it. In the winter, especially, this can be really bad because cold is one of the five bad influences that can make you sick. You want to be warm inside, and eat warm food, in order to preserve your chi and stay well.

Incidentally, winter and cold are a time for kidney meridian stress, and the emotional component of a stressed kidney meridian sounds like exactly what you describe–total anguish over little things. You might want to go get some needles in ya! Or eat things that nourish kidney such as black beans, kidney beans, oatmeal, black rice, miso broth, black sesame seeds.

PS I am not an DOM–I just learned this the hard way

Cristina21/11/2013 - 9:30 am

I’ve been giving a lot of thought lately to food rules and food boundaries–what a complex mess that is. Food can be medicine, or it can make us feel so crummy. It’s a windy journey, figuring out the philosophies worth listening to, versus those that are simply snakeoil, and then ultimately what works for each individual. But I think you have it right–listen to your body, and then let the chips fall where they may.

Also, your house is impossibly darling. I’m sure it’s been so much work, but I am a small bit obsessed with that handsome fireplace, the details carved into windows, the robin’s egg blue porch, the built in shelves, and most especially, that back deck where I can imagine a big table, a grill, friends, and a tangle of fairy lights. It’s going to be a great house.

I like the new place! And thank you for this recipe, I need an energy drink.

charlotte21/11/2013 - 5:39 pm

thank you so much for your wonderful honesty.

Riley Tea22/11/2013 - 12:00 am

When some people come to me and say “oh, so you’re one of those health freaks that doesn’t cook anything or only eats tofu and nuts.” I’m like “first of all, you’re mixing three different diets in one. Second, why “health freak”? Vegan or vegetarian doesn’t mean healthy. Neither does paleo or raw. Or any of those diets. They can be interesting to try, but ultimately, I believe in eating what feels right for you. I try to implement as much real/whole foods as possible and I feel good about what I eat. That’s what’s important. I don’t care about anything others have to say. (I once had a hindu scold me for eating organic free-range roast chicken.) I’m glad you were able to listen to yourself and stop from doing something that just isn’t for you. That doesn’t make it wrong, but you know your body (and I hear ya, for the Canadian winters. Damn, no hot cocoa?!)

Thanks for this.

Ines23/11/2013 - 3:49 pm

I made your drink last night and I really liked it! As I usually have cocoa in some variation or other every night – I get very sad if I don’t get the chance to have one ;-) – , this is a lovely new variation. Your ideas for the spices are very good!
Thanks for writing explicitly to not blend the star anise ;-) I did that once and the result was horrible.
That time I wanted to make a cocoa that tastes like the “winter chocolate” you can buy here in Germany and which contains small pieces of spekulatius.
I never succeeded in making something like this, though. So if you have an idea I’d love to read about it =)

sarah23/11/2013 - 10:58 pm

Laura, thanks for such good words here. You always give me so much food for thought. After reading this post and all the comments, I spent some time today reading about the yin and yang of food (and life) and figured some good things out for myself.

I always feel so encouraged here, and welcome. You’ve made such a great space.

And, your house. Awesome. I love the wallpaper. Sending love and peace to you. xo

[…] and rose petals. Self-love indeed! You will find the recipe for this reviving hot drink on The First Mess. I substituted with local honey and added some […]

Weekend Reading, 11.23.1324/11/2013 - 10:11 am

[…] gorgeously photographed good energy drink sounds like a perfect pick-me-up! (When I’m not clutching my coffee, that is […]

Hannah24/11/2013 - 5:42 pm

Keep your chin up; the truth your body tells you will always be better than any theory, yours or someone else’s. (And anyway, a warm drink on a cold day nurtures us, or most of us.) Also: love the house. Reminds me some of the craftsman I grew up in. Great light, great details, great potential. You will be happy there, my guess is you already are – in progress or no. Hugs.

Cel24/11/2013 - 7:15 pm

No judgement here! But I’m raw and living in Canada and loooove the results. The bloating in the increase in fiber and water and raw food clean out the junk baked on inside. I now have glowing skin! Read 801010 by dr Doug graham. Eye-opening. I would just love to see people give it a fair chance and then pass judgement

Sini │my blue&white kitchen26/11/2013 - 11:31 am

This was such a great and honest post with adorable photography! I think the take-home message from this post is “listen to your body”. Always.

tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:31 pm

have so had the dexter moments, lath (lath, and more lath) moments, and hidden wallpaper discoveries, and piles outside ready to go somewhere… heres to “in progress”!!

Spinning Plates giveaway28/11/2013 - 2:32 am

[…] Good Energy Drink from The First Mess. I love maca! […]

Rachel29/11/2013 - 4:35 pm

Beautiful! How do you get that grainy film-like effect in your photos?

Emilie21/01/2014 - 7:09 pm

Hi! I just wanted to say I think your blog is beautiful and very inspiring! I want to try making everything on here. All. Of. It.

raw carrot cake slice w/ tangy citrus frosting

raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first mess
I had this whole thing typed up about all these life-y bits and frustrations. Then Mark and I took a trip to the dump on Monday. It was rainy, cold and the wind would pelt you in the face when you just got around to forgetting about it. I was chucking gnarly old tree roots and heaps of lath into a giant, depressing garbage bin, next to 5 equally depressing garbage bins, when I realized that my glance needed re-adjustment. I was steady-bummed for a while because the whole renovation situation felt a bit unfamiliar and outside of my immediate grasp. There were a lot of comments tossed around that went to the tune of “WHY did we buy this piece-of-shit house?!”

Except… it totally isn’t a piece of shit. I keep forgetting that there is an entire universe of vivid and ecstatic energy bundled up within the vicinity of my cardiovascular system/chest cavity. I’ve been thinking small, that I’m small, that we’re small, that everything else is too big. Then, on that miserable day at the dump, I realized it’s kind of amazing to be uncomfortable, to be far flung outside of your cozy, blanket-wrapped elements. I’m learning heaped handfuls of life-y things every day. We’re gaining strength, understanding and stretching a little bit deeper all the time. The frequency of it just takes a little getting used to. Anyway we’re still here, I’m embracing my inner “big-ness” and now there’s a little bit of cake too.

This is a raw and vegan affair that comes together pretty simply once the cashews are soaked and the carrots are grated. I reserve the walnuts for the top, rather than mixing them up into the already unique texture of this raw “cake.” My favourite carrot cake ever has plenty of orange zest in the frosting, so I went in that direction for mine. Lots of warm spice, vanilla and smooth coconut oil too. Also, the ratio of cashew-based frosting to cake is 1:1 and I don’t even feel the need to qualify that one. Go have some cake for breakfast, friends. xo

raw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first messraw + vegan carrot cake slice // the first mess

raw + vegan carrot cake slice w/ tangy citrus frosting
serves: makes an 8 inch square cake
notes: I make the cashew icing in my Vitamixbecause the high speed makes for a really dreamy frosting. I imagine this would work out alright in a food processor though, maybe a few more textural bits, but still tasty. Also, you want the icing to set in the fridge to a point where it becomes spread-able, not rock solid. You could probably speed this up in the freezer if you need to.

frosting ingredients:
1 1/4 cups raw cashews, soaked for at least 4 hours
1/2 cup almond milk
1/3 cup raw honey/raw agave nectar/maple syrup
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/2 tbsp vanilla extract/liquid vanilla
pinch of fine sea salt
1/2 cup melted coconut oil
zest of 1/2 an orange

cake ingredients:
1 cup pitted dates
splash of water/orange juice
1 cup almond flour
1 cup hazelnut flour (or more almond if you like)
1/4 cup liquid coconut oil
1 tbsp vanilla extrtact/liquid vanilla
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
pinch fine sea salt
zest of 1/2 an orange
1 cup finely grated carrots

Line an 8 inch square pan with parchment paper, with some overhang, and set aside.

In a blender, combine the soaked and drained cashews, almond milk, raw honey/agave/maple syrup, lemon juice, vanilla and salt. Blend on high until you have a smooth and creamy consistency. With the motor running slowly, lift off the top of the blender and drizzle the melted coconut oil in slowly. Once you have a homogenous mixture, shut the machine off. Scrape the frosting into a bowl and fold the orange zest into the frosting. Cover the frosting with cling film, pressing it onto the surface. Allow the frosting to firm up in the refrigerator for about an hour.

In a food processor, pulse the dates with the splash of water/orange juice until you have a chunky paste (you could also just chop the dates up fine to make a paste). Scrape the date paste into a large bowl. To the date paste, add the almond flour, hazelnut flour, coconut oil, spices, salt, orange zest and grated carrots. Mix it up with a spatula or your hands until everything is evenly mixed. Press this cake mixture into the parchment lined pan until you’ve achieved an even thickness and you’ve filled out the pan. Cover it up and place in the fridge until you’re ready to frost it.

Spread the tangy citrus frosting on top of the cake and garnish it with chopped walnuts, more orange zest, currants, whatever you like. At this point, I like to let the whole thing set up all nice in the fridge, but you don’t have to. Lift the cake by grabbing the parchment overhang. Place it on a cutting board and slice into squares. Keep leftovers covered in the fridge for about 5 days or so.

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Good for you :) I had the same feelings lately and during the weekend I reminded myself how much I love my life :)

Skye14/11/2013 - 5:30 am

I made a carrot, ginger and almond cake recently with a cream cheese frosting. It was sublime, but I was riddled with guilt for days afterwards, as I ate far too much… This looks like a very healthy and completely guilt-free alternative. Hurrah! Do you think that it would work if I used blanched almonds instead of cashews?

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar14/11/2013 - 8:06 am

I love the sound of this. The crust looks absolutely perfect!

Laura Wright14/11/2013 - 8:22 am

Hello Skye, I think you could use blanched almonds, but the texture/mouthfeel might be a bit different. This frosting gets its creaminess from the fattiness of the cashews, but it’s certainly worth a try :)
-L

Stephanie Tucci14/11/2013 - 9:40 am

I love you blend the coconut oil into the frosting! I work at a Raw restaurant in NYC and thats what we do for icing/ice cream ect. Glad to see other people are using the same awesome technique! Really glad I found your blog :)

Aimee @ Simple Bites14/11/2013 - 9:57 am

Renovating is gruelling, no matter the scale of the job. Hang in there. In the meantime, it looks like this cake soothes a lot. Beautiful flavor profile!

Ali @ Inspiralized14/11/2013 - 10:01 am

I mean, that frosting!! I love this recipe, I”m definitely making it this Thanksgiving!

Kate @ The Endless Pursuit14/11/2013 - 10:11 am

Amen sista!
Laura, seriously this post hit home, as we are trying to renovate our early 1900′s kitchen. With dust everywhere, cookware scattered throughout the house, and just the overall monstrosity of this project has had me feeling the exact same way… small and overwhelmed. Great way to put this all in perspective, I needed that. :) And I also NEED to make this carrot cake now! Wowza!

Good luck with the reno!

Emma Galloway14/11/2013 - 10:33 am

God I need a high powdered blender, then maybe, just maybe I could get into cashew icing. Mine looks nothing like your lovely smooth and creamy goodness right there! Yum.

Chelsea thenakedfig14/11/2013 - 10:36 am

This looks so yummy! I tried making raw carrot cake once before and was a little disappointed (although I skipped the icing so I set myself up for failure). But this looks perfect and I think will turn me back on to raw carrot cakes. Thanks for sharing!

Renee Shuman (@FrolicChocolate)14/11/2013 - 12:11 pm

I want to put that frosting on all the things. Also, this sounds like a brilliant breakfast! I think I’ll make this tomorrow morning.

Heather14/11/2013 - 2:05 pm

Gurl, you have done it again. The most beautiful carrot cake I have ever seen.

Katy14/11/2013 - 5:01 pm

So gorgeous. I love raw desserts, I find them much easier to make since you can’t mess up the baking part!

Nicola Galloway14/11/2013 - 5:34 pm

Buying a house that needs work is huge but so rewarding. I know the first years of Renos, garden excavating etc. were often challenging for us but now we can sit back and enjoy our little Eden (and plan our next reno, it never really ends :) ).
And have a built a thing of beauty in this cake will add this to my ‘must make’ list now I have a high sleep blender.

Dearna @tohercore14/11/2013 - 5:53 pm

Its hard sometime when big tasks like this are so overwhelming. On the upside, its always great to challenge yourself and learn form experiences and opportunities, good and bad. Glad that you are felling more positive about it all now – and good luck with the renovations :)
Oh, and this cake looks amazing too by the way!

Grace14/11/2013 - 6:31 pm

Ugh, renovating is intense – but so rewarding! When you’re all done you’ll have a home that you love and your confidence will be through the roof! This cake sounds amazing and the pictures are beautiful. Love!

hannah14/11/2013 - 10:11 pm

I made this almost as soon as I saw it! And it’s delicious! Thanks for all that you share Laura!

Katie @ 24 Carrot Life15/11/2013 - 12:37 am

These look killer good and I can’t wait to make them asap!!

Laura Dillon15/11/2013 - 5:42 am

Hey Laura, I really love the look of this raw cake, carrot cake is my favourite and i love making it with lot of good spices like you have here, and coconut flakes too! Your food blog is an utter inspiration for me (not only because we have the same awesome name), but because everything you post here is so delicious and healthy and just beautiful. I hope one day I can develop my knowledge with food even close to as good as you are now!
Keep posting the lovely recipes ;)
from Laura

Rebecca Jane15/11/2013 - 7:18 am

Holy moly i am making this this weekend. Go rock the bigness you are surrounded with xx

molly yeh15/11/2013 - 11:40 am

book marking this. my man’s birthday is at the end of the month and he is gluten free, dairy free, and *mostly* sugar free. it’s a bitch when it comes to birthday cakes! i was thinking of making a steak cake. BUT THIS IS WAY BETTER. you are the bestest.

Lillian @ Sugar and Cinnamon15/11/2013 - 10:01 pm

Such a healthy and unique take on carrot cake! Carrot cake is one of my favourites and I’m always looking for ways to make it a little lighter and better for you. This raw version looks so delicious and light. Can’t wait to give it a try! And your photos are just inspiring.

amy16/11/2013 - 12:35 pm

looks great, going to try this today! can i use coconut flour instead of hazelnut flour?

[…] like to please introduce you to a sweet and savory Raw Carrot Cake with Tangy Citrus Frosting. How wonderful and indulgent does this beautiful cake look? I am always thrilled to read, recreate, […]

Jessica (bakecetera)17/11/2013 - 8:17 am

this is the most beautiful and original method for making a carrot cake! i love all of the natural ingredients. it looks incredible, i can’t wait to try this out!

Laura Wright17/11/2013 - 9:39 am

Hi Amy,
Coconut flour tends to be super-drying. So maybe start with half the amount of hazelnut flour, mix it up, see how it feels and go from there. I think the texture might be quite different if you go this way though.
-L

Golubka17/11/2013 - 11:36 am

Amazing you can go through such intense renovations and still make, photograph and write about your beautiful food. Just read your interview with Food and Wine, congratulations!

Kathryn17/11/2013 - 6:28 pm

I totally get you. The number of times I wondered why we were even moving, let along trying to project manage a renovation was insane. It was all just so overwhelming but I know you’re going to be so happy in your new home. In the meanwhile, I think you deserve lots and lots of cake.

Victoria18/11/2013 - 8:35 am

Laura, I’ve been reading this blog (which I love! thank you for not being pretentious) for a year or so now.

I’m curious about how your body feels going raw when it’s about to be winter. Although, I am in KCMO, so it’s probably already winter where you are! I’ve always felt horrible and off-season when I tried to eat raw or juice cleanse when it’s wintertime. Thoughts?

Laura Wright18/11/2013 - 9:05 am

Hi Victoria! I’ll be talking about this next week a little bit. Sneak peek: I couldn’t do it for the full month. I didn’t feel absolutely horrible, but I knew some things were off and had to take some action. Thank you for commenting (and for reading)! :)
-L

Healing Tomato19/11/2013 - 9:29 pm

Those are some awesome pictures and I love your cooking style. It is truly unique!

Maya20/11/2013 - 1:48 am

I made this as soon as I saw the recipe, it is sooooo yummy! I can’t believe how much it is just like cake in terms of the frosting and texture. Have shared the recipe with lots of friends already and gave them a sample, they are all hooked! Thank you! XX

hungryandfrozen20/11/2013 - 1:55 pm

Hooray for learning as you go and for a recipe with 1:1 ratio of cake and icing! This recipe sounds super fun, I think I will definitely give it a go sometime. xx

[…] + Raw carrot cake with Tangy Citrus Frosting from The First Mess […]

Vic24/11/2013 - 3:59 pm

Can I use 1 cup almond flour and 1 cup brown rice flour!?
Can’t wait to try this!

Laura Wright24/11/2013 - 5:43 pm

Hi Vic, since this is a raw preparation, I’m not sure how good the brown rice flour would taste. I would go all almond flour if possible.
-L

vic24/11/2013 - 10:05 pm

I JUST TRIED IT AND ITS FREAKING AMAZING! how believe no sugar added :)

Maren25/11/2013 - 12:12 am

I made this for a Thanksgiving party today and everyone loved it! Thanks so much for this! Do you think it would work with oat flour?

Laura Wright26/11/2013 - 9:39 am

Hey Maren, I think you would still have to insure that half of the flour used is nut or seed based for texture maintenance. 1 cup of almond flour and 1 cup of oat flour sounds heavenly for this cake though :)
-L

tiffany26/11/2013 - 2:37 pm

very much laughing at “why did we buy this piece of shit!”

oh how during many, most.. all projects my husband might have said this very thing (while i am saying why did we move our whole lives and how did we possibly pick here?) but then i quickly defend against all reason, i love this house! don’t dare talk bad about it NOW, after we’re IN it, doing it, committed to the point of no return, don’t you dare! haha! (; and then all is good, until the next project. (;

Pop Chef09/12/2013 - 12:48 pm

Thanks for sharing your recipe, and your story. Good read.

Donna23/12/2013 - 10:42 pm

Discovered this recipe via Buzzfeed and made it today. It is freaking awesome! And the icing is fine in the food processor, just slightly gritty. But OMG this is so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing the recipe!

[…] that had me make a double-size cake with her three days later! That speaks for itself how good The First Mess’s recipe […]

Åsa29/03/2014 - 1:44 pm

Hi Laura,
This cake is just fantastic! And, surprisingly, the taste is even nicer after a couple of days.
My cake is quite wet, though, so I next time I’ll try and weigh the flour instead of using volume measure. I grate my almond and hazel nuts and suspect the result is much airier than the bought flour/meal would be. Brilliant either way, and I can see many other uses for the vegan + no refined sugar icing. Thanks again.

[…] Raw Carrot Cake Bites  […]