“Flashing lights and we
Took a wrong turn and we
Fell down a rabbit hole”
This is a story about how I met Chew.
“You held on tight to me
Cause nothing’s as it seems
Spinning out of control”
Straying apart from a decade-long best friend left a gaping hole my soul. The time we spent together five days a week at school suddenly came to a halt and my days felt lifeless and meaningless. The one rope that held us together like peas in a pod was cut, a rope that I thought was strong enough to uphold anything. All forms of contact ceased to exist: eye contact, casual greetings, online messaging… It was a completely unforeseen turning point that caught me off guard.
Feeling lost, I trudged on for a year until sophomore year. My first encounter with Chew was nothing spectacular; one of those “Oh, your name is Rachel too?” moments during an ice breaker game in our personal planning/gym class. I also spelt her last name wrong. I had seen this athletic, runner, little girl in the hallways before, but never thought much about it.
We were told in advance that the class required a major group project and that we should begin making groups. Already feeling like I wasn’t able to make new friends, the idea of group projects worried me. I ended up working with the girls sitting in my row, one of which was Chew.
“Didn’t they tell us don’t rush into things…
Haven’t you heard what becomes of curious minds?”
If you compared the two of us back then, you probably wouldn’t have found many similarities. She was sporty, I wasn’t. She has a “blue” happy hippie personality while I had a “gold” organization and number-y personality. She was super passionate about the big philanthropy project and I was feeling out of my element. I do believe that friends can significantly change who you identify yourself as. Chew has definitely rubbed off on me, from learning to love others, physical activity, and to just “shake it off” when you are scared of others judging you. One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is to stop worrying about “what if they think such and such of me” and enjoy every moment instead. With that mindset, I’ve done activities I would’ve never even contemplated on doing if I was still in my old circle of friends. Chew exhibited the beauty of youthfulness and reminded me there was no rush to growing up. Some of the best times I’ve had with Chew include performing a tumbling routine to Hakuna Matata in front of the whole class (keep in mind neither of us are flexible), spending my nights baking banana bread for Uganda to jazzy cafe music in the school kitchen, making fools of ourselves in a Toy Story Biology presentation, naming all the organisms on our dichotomous key (hello Brother of Longness), smashing tiles in the school parking lot (it was for a ceramics project, we were not causing illegal destruction, I promise), and biking across the city (her idea, not mine).
“We found wonderland
You and I got lost in it”
Chew had filled that emptiness in my soul, so I guess you can say we’re soul sisters. It’s not that we’re identical, there are days where I think “How does she have so much energy?”, but our interests have morphed into one “wonderland” in healthy food. Okay, maybe our ice cream addiction isn’t necessarily healthy… We have a mutual relationship where she inspired me to be active, hardworking, generous, and creative, while I [hopefully] fulfill motherly duties like telling her to sleep more, not to drown from stress, and forcing Chemistry and Math skills upon her. In all honestly, this girl is an all-around star and has the greatest ideas, even when on three hours of sleep. I’m sure her genius-ness shines through her magnificent recipes.
“Didn’t it all seem new and exciting?”
I won’t forget the excitement we shared the day we started this blog. Since the passion for healthy food grew expeditiously in the last few years of high school, we knew we had to put our dream into action. We hope that you’re just as excited as us about new recipes, especially this 1989-inspired set! (Chew-fluence also converted me into a Swiftie, and I shall never look back)
You searched the world for something else to make you feel like what we had
But in the end in wonderland we both went mad”
It’s a true blessing to share my dreams with Chew. Some days I still think Chew is a crazy lady (like getting up at 2am to do homework) but as Alice would say, all the best people are.
Just like a good friendship, yeast breads need time to grow. I don’t tackle yeast breads often just because hangriness is real. But that cinnamon roll craving in me has been burning so there was no excuse not to pull out my pink Kitchen Aid mixer and knead some dough. This “cinnamon-less cinnamon roll” (I totally confused my roommate with that) is stuffed with a gorgeous ube (purple sweet potato, pronounced “oo-bey”) mixture. I wanted to capture the colours and dark mystery of Alice in Wonderland with black, purple, and swirls. The result was a mega-fluffy and soft bun, the most successful yeast dough I’ve made to date! You will go mad for these nutty buckwheat rolls swirled with sweet potato puree.
- BUCKWHEAT DOUGH
- 1 cup your favourite non-dairy milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- 2 ¼ tsp traditional yeast (1 8g package)
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- 1¼ to 1¾ cup all purpose flour*
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup coconut oil, melted and slightly cooled
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- UBE FILLING
- 1 medium ube (purple sweet potato)
- ¼ cup coconut milk
- ¼ cup maple syrup
- ¼ tsp pink Himalayan salt
- EGG WASH (Optional)**
- 1 egg + 1 tbsp almond milk
- PURPLE GLAZE
- 1 tbsp reserved ube puree (see recipe)
- 1 to 2 tbsp coconut cream
- Warm almond milk and maple syrup in microwave for about 1 minute, or until warm to the touch but not scalding. Stir in the yeast and allow it to bloom for 10 minutes. Activated yeast should be foamy.
- Mix buckwheat flour, 1¼ cup all purpose flour, and salt briefly in stand mixer to roughly combine.
- Pour the melted coconut oil, vanilla extract, and activated yeast into the bowl of the standing mixer containing the dry ingredients.
- Mix on low speed until a thick and sticky dough forms. Increase to medium speed and knead the dough with the dough hook attachment for 5 to 7 minutes or until a soft dough forms and begins to gather around the hook. Add up to ½ cup more of all purpose flour after 2 minutes if dough still looks too wet. Finished dough will partially wrap around the hook and still be sticky. Avoid over-kneading for soft and fluffy bread.
- Oil a large mixing bowl and transfer the dough into the oiled bowl. Turn the dough a few times to coat the surface of the dough with oil. This will prevent it from sticking as it rises. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and store in a warm place and draft-free place (such as a microwave that isn't turned on) to allow dough to rise for 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
- Preheat oven to 375⁰F. Thoroughly wash the skin of purple sweet potato and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake at 375⁰F for about 1 hour, or until flesh is easily pierced with a knife. When cool enough to handle, peel and scoop out the flesh of the potato and mash in a small mixing bowl. You will need about 1½ cups of mashed potato. Lower the oven to 350⁰F.
- Add the coconut milk, maple syrup, and salt to the mashed potato and mix until thoroughly combined. Set aside.
- Once dough has expanded to twice its initial size, punch the dough and turn out onto a floured surface. Roll into a ¼ inch thick rectangle (about 10"x16") and spread generously with sweet potato filling, spreading all the way to the edges. Reserve about 1 heaping tablespoon of sweet potato mixture for the glaze.
- Starting from the shorter edge, roll tightly into a jelly roll. Slice into 1½” thick rounds using a bread knife or dental floss and arrange in a greased baking pan or a lined cookie sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap or a tea towel and let the dough rise again in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes.***
- Brush the tops of each roll with egg wash if desired. Bake at 350⁰F for 25 to 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for at least 10 minutes.
- While rolls are cooling, make the purple glaze by whisking the reserved puree with 1 tbsp of coconut cream until smooth. Add more coconut cream to reach desired consistency. Drizzle decoratively over baked rolls and enjoy!
**Omit egg wash to keep recipe vegan
***Overnight option: Once arranged in a baking tray, seal tightly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Other 1989 recipes we have so far…