Snack Hangout

Vegan + GF Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies With Kiara


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This is it, the last food story of 2017!  I had no idea this year would have turned into the year of the food story but am so glad it did.  It has been a really amazing privilege to check out everyone's cool kitchens and play with their pets (and also snack I guess too).

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Last week as I geared up for Christmas I got to take a tiny break from the pressures of finding the perfect gifts, drowning in wrapping paper and thinking of the most decadent holiday snacks I would never end up making to go adventure to Pasadena to hang with Kiara. 

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Kiara Ana Perico is a musician, yoga teacher, chakra candle making extraordinaire.  She invited me to a much needed yoga class the morning of our food shoot where I arrived a little nervous, a little groggy (hi mornings are not my thing), probably parked in the wrong parking spot, but fully ready for some de-stressing exercise.  If you've followed my exercise journey you might know I have a love/hate relationship with yoga (mostly bc I never know if I'm getting in a relaxing session or a workout) but a love/love relationship with routine physical activity to maintain good mental health.  I always feel my best emotionally and mentally when I get regular exercise so I didn't need to be persuaded to check out Kiara's class.  It was an excellent journey into some tough poses but nothing felt impossible or excessive with her guidance.  Definitely check out one of her sessions if you get a chance.

I left for our food shoot feeling energized, rejuvenated and very ready for some of her famous Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies!

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As we found out the night before when I did a check in text, we both grew up in the glamorous 413 area code of Western Massachusetts.  Kiara hails from only about a 20 minute drive from where my parents still live, which is a pretty cool coincidence to find out 3,000+ miles away.  She even had a wooden bowl from the same guy who was vending at a tiny craft fair I went to, whose work I agonized over and then finally admitted would not fit in my suitcase.

Look at that attractive raw edge bowl. Such envy.

Look at that attractive raw edge bowl. Such envy.

Her choice to make Oatmeal Breakfast cookies hearkens back to those days of New England family breakfast duty, modernized for her adult life. From Kiara:

"Family traditions can take many forms.  My papa made me breakfast every day.  The meals rotated through oatmeal, french toast and scrambled eggs.  Oatmeal has been an incredible staple through my whole life.  It's warming, nutrient-dense and full of memories with my father.  Because I travel so much and even when I'm home, I'm on the move.  I wanted to develop a breakfast cookie made with the same ingredients as that favorite childhood oatmeal so I could have breakfast on the go wherever I am in the world!  These are 100% Vegan and gluten free so everyone can enjoy!"

Ushering me into the kitchen Kiara gave me one of her recent gingerbread breakfast cookies to sample (the recipe for those are on her blog linked at the end!) and got to work on measuring out everything she would need. Plopping the oats into her mixer, she chatted with me about life in this city compared to life back east, how to be healthy on the go and about redoing her kitchen.

The last of the ingredients go into the mixer and Kiara makes some special green tea for us that was indeed very special and I have entirely forgotten it's name.  Sorry tea.

With everything mixed up it's time for our oatmeal mix to get scooped out onto trays to become it's final glorious breakfast cookie form.

With our little cookie friends in the oven we hang out in the warm sunlight of the kitchen, play with Kiara's dog sitting charge, Mooch, and I get to learn about how life brought her from the east coast all the way to this house and all the cool ways she and her husband have started to modify it to really make it home.

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It's cookie time....

It's cookie time....

Finally we sit down on Kiara's brand new couch (it's awesome guys) with our mugs of fancy tea, some of her chakra candles lighting the way and these warm, perfectly crumbly oatmeal breakfast cookies.  She also brings out a jar of her homemade Meyer lemon marmalade to liberally top our bites of breakfast and little Mooch runs around trying to live up to her namesake and sneak a taste.  These cookies are incredible.  The not overtly tart marmalade plays off the hearty sweet notes in the oatmeal cookies and it feels friendly and substantial and full of good intentions.

Thanks Kiara for sharing your taste of home with me!  You can check out more of her recipes, yoga suggestions and general tips for a cool life on her blog at: kikisway.com

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Until next time, have a happy New Year and I'll catch you all in 2018.

Happy snacking,

xoxo,

RP

 

Tennessee Loveless and I Explore Coffee


Tennessee Loveless is a super rad dude. I could stop there but brevity has never been my strong suit.

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We met waiting tables at a diner in Echo Park at least a couple of our nine lives ago and bonded over tattoos, BMEzine, terrible tippers, coffee and life as general artist types.  Since then he has been bouncing all over the world painting his Mickey Mouse paintings which are an incredible marriage of text, color and line and interviewing drag queens for his project "Drag Landscapes" which is a brilliant glimpse into queer identity and a rarely authentically documented subculture.

Mr. Loveless is a busy guy so I was thrilled we had a second to catch up and check out a new-to-me coffee shop in Echo Park. We met at Eightfold Coffee, grabbed a tasty beverage and got to chatting.

Tennessee was in town to do a book signing at the Grove for his Disney project and brought along a copy to show me some of the details.  He works his environment, friends and life into the pieces so it was pretty rad so see my name snuck onto a painting!

Look mom I'm famous! (Jk she doesn't read my blog....sigh...why, mom, why?)

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One of the biggest things I have been wrestling with lately is finding a happy balance between artistic fulfillment and commercial success.  Living in a giant city can be emotionally and artistically draining on it's own but adding in the competitive nature of a field like photography or fine art, dwindling rates and increasing expenses can really leave a person in a depleted daze.  So it was a special kind of coincidence that we landed on a page with my favorite Mickey painting that had a significant story.

Most of the paintings Tennessee had done when he started the Disney project were fairly graphic and commercial as a way to manage the fact he is a colorblind artist working from in many ways, a conceptual idea of color theory.  These pieces were wonderful, the prominant Mickey head on a detailed, very colorful, geometric background but not all together that revealing of him as an artist or the vibrant individual he is.  This piece changed everything, the direction of the project and arguably the direction of his life.

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This painting was different.  It was rough, lived in and real.  It had paint smudges and a stream of consciousness diary of his experience pairing the piece. He expected it to be rejected from the project but they loved it.  Not only did they recognize his talent and personality, but they encouraged it and this set the blueprint for the rest of his 10x10x10 Mickey Project.  

I think that can serve as an excellent reminder, one I need plenty often- be yourself, take risks and be real- people will respond!  

You can check out the rest of his project and grab a copy here: Mickey Mouse Book or see more of his projects including the Drag Landscape paintings at: tennesseeloveless.com 

Hopefully this will give you a little creative push to test the boundaries in your own projects as we move into a new year.  Thanks for hanging out 10SC, hopefully not so long until the next time!

Happy snacking and happy art making!

xoxo

RP