5 Favorite Nature Walks & Hikes Around Davis

Inside Davis

1. The North Davis Greenbelts

You can find greenbelts throughout Davis, but my favorite is probably the North Davis Greenbelt system. The Greenbelt is a paved and protected walking and bike path that connects the green spaces and parks of North Davis. You can visit a park on the green belt or you can walk the various paths between parks. My favorite walk is a 3.5 mile loop that hits North Star Park, Covell Park, the Perimeter Greenbelt, and Senda Nueva Park. Ample trees along the Greenbelt provide plenty of shade for strolling in the summer months. Be sure to check out the Julie Partansky Pond at North Start Park if you enjoy birding or quiet nature observation. 

2. The Arboretum

Maybe this sounds crazy, but I think UC Davis’ Arboretum is underrated! This is seriously one of my favorite places in Davis. I like to do the whole 3 mile loop in one stroll, but you can visit as much or as little of the Arboretum as you want. The plants are organized by collection with tons of information to absorb if you’re into that. There are many places to sit, but I recommend the picnic tables in the Muir Grove of Redwoods because it’s always shady! 

About 15 Minutes from Davis

3. Putah Creek Riparian Reserve

The UC Davis Putah Creek Riparian Reserve is a 640 acre riparian and grassland ecosystem that runs along the southern edge of UC Davis’ campus. Most of the land is open to the public for fishing, boating, swimming, and hiking. There are picnic tables and you can make a reservation to use the fire ring in the main picnic area. Dogs are allowed, just keep them on leash. 

2. Cache Creek Nature Preserve

Cache Creek Nature Preserve is a 130 acre park of wetlands, oak woodlands, grasslands, and riparian lands with 1.5 miles of hiking trails throughout. In addition to trails, the Preserve is home to the Tending & Gathering Garden, a collaborative effort with the local Indigenous community to demonstrate native plant uses in Patwin culture, and the Jan T. Lowery Memorial Grove showcasing native CA plants. CCNP is open Sunday-Friday 8am-4pm (closed Saturdays). Dogs are not allowed. 

About 30 Minutes from Davis

2. Rockville Hills Regional Park

By far my favorite local outdoors spot! Located in Fairfield, CA, Rockville Hills is about a 30 minute drive from Davis. The park is 644 acres with hiking and mountain biking trails, a lake, a pond, picnic tables, two caves, ample scrambling boulders, wildlife and wildflowers if the time is right. Find a variety of trails, easy to difficult. Dogs are allowed too! Heavy rains this winter have closed some trails, but the park is drying out. 

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Non-Alcoholic Drinks for St. Pat’s

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Keep scrolling for our favorite non-alcoholic, all-ages mocktail recipes for St. Paddy’s

Simple Syrup

Simple syrups are super easy to make! Mix all ingredients in a saucepan over medium/low heat until all of the sugar is dissolved. Turn heat down to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off heat and let cool. The longer you let the syrup sit with all the ingredients, the strong it will be! Once cooled, strain and place in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Check out these simple syrup recipes if you want to try something a little more interesting! 

  • 1 part water
  • 1 part granulated sugar

In a small saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Stir in the sugar until the sugar is completely dissolved. Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, keep covered, and let the syrup cool completely. Bottle and store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Greena Colada

makes 2 drinks

  • 1 cup light unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or kale (de-stemmed) 
  • 1 banana
  • 1 1/4 cups frozen pineapple chunks
  • 1-2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
  • Pineapple wedges and leaves for garnish (optional)
Add everything (but the garnish) to a blender and blend until smooth (this may take 1 full minute or longer). Pour into serving glasses. Garnish with pineapple wedges and a pineapple leaf! 

Lime Rickey

makes 4 drinks

  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 4 ounces simple syrup (recipe above)
  • 12 ounces soda water or tonic water
  • Lime wedges, for garnish

In a large measuring cup, combine lime juice ands simple syrup. 

Fill 4 glasses with ice. Pour sweetened lime juice into the glasses, about 3 ounces in each. Top with soda water. Stir with a spoon and garnish with a wedge of lime. 

NA Irish Coffee

makes 1 drink

  • 1 cup freshly brewed strong hot coffee
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
  • cocoa powder, for garnish

Whip the heavy cream with a whisk, electric mixer, or a frother until light and fluffy, but not all the way to whipped cream. 

Add brown sugar to serving mug. Pour in the hot strongly brewed coffee and stir to dissolve the sugar.

Top with whipped heavy cream by pouring gently over the back of a heated spoon. To heat the spoon, run it under hot water. Sprinkle cocoa powder over the top.

Salty Gingerade

makes 1 drink

  • 1 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
  • 1 Medjool date, pitted
  • 1 pinch fine sea salt
  • 1 pinch ground cumin
  • 6 ounces ginger beer
  • Garnish: mint sprig

Add the lime juice, date, salt and cumin to a shaker. Let sit for 5 minutes, then muddle until the date is pulverized.

Add ice and shake until well-chilled, then pour unstrained into a tall glass. Top with ginger beer and stir well to combine. Garnish with a mint sprig.

Mango Orange Nojito

makes 4 drinks

  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1 cup mango nectar or juice
  • 1 tbsp fresh lime juice
  • 12 oz sparkling water of choice
  • ice
  • orange slices and mint leaves for garnish

In a large bowl or pitcher, add the 1 cup of fresh mint leaves and muddle. Add sugar, and muddle the mixture again. Add the orange juice, mango juice, lime juice, and sparkling water. Gently stir.

Fill each glass halfway with ice. Pour in mixture over ice. Garnish with orange slices and mint.

Sparkling Almond Mocktail

makes 1 drink

  • 1 ounce fresh lemon juice
  • 1 ½ ounces orgeat, or almond syrup
  • 4 ounces mineral water, such as Topo Chico
  • pebble ice
Pour lemon juice and orgeat into Collins glass with pebble ice. Top with mineral water.
Garnish with lemon or lime wheel and herb sprig.

Naturally Green Shamrock Shake

makes 2 drinks

  • 10-15 fresh mint leaves
  • 1/2 avocado
  • big handful of fresh spinach leaves 
  • 3/4 cup milk of choice
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups vanilla ice cream
  • 5-10 drops peppermint extract
  • Whipped cream, cacao nibs and mint leaves for serving 
In a high speed blender, combine and blend mint leaves, avocado, spinach, milk, and vanilla. Add ice cream and pulse until combined
Before adding mint flavoring, taste the shake to see if it’s minty enough for your liking. if not, add a few drops of mint flavoring as needed.
Serve in a glass with whipped cream, cacao nibs and a mint sprig.

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30 Minute Dinners for National Noodle Month

Happy National Noodle Month!

There’s a lot to celebrate about noodles. For one, they’re friendly to just about every diet: there are gluten free noodles, vegan noodles, noodles packed with protein, and noodles made from straight up vegetables (which is a great way to introduce younglings to veggies like carrots, zucchini, and squash). 

Noodles also cook fast making them an excellent weeknight choice. Noodle dishes make great leftovers too – many hot rice noodle dishes taste wonderful chilled the next day for lunch and Italian pasta dishes can be woken up in the microwave or oven and finished with a fresh sprinkle of parm.

Make these recipes any night of the week – they’ll only take you 30 minutes! And grab everything you need for a delicious National Noodle Month at your co-op. 

Rice Noodle Recipes

Rice noodles are the go-to in my kitchen as they’re gluten free and quick cooking (2-4 minutes). I always have tamari, rice wine vinegar, fish sauce, chili garlic paste, and maple syrup on hand to whip up a quick sauce for the noodles to absorb. Add veg, optional protein, and sesame seeds on top for a great meal in 20 minutes. 

Note: If your noodles are coming out mushy, you are overcooking them. Set a timer and pay close attention when it goes off. If you’re still having trouble with mushy noodles, stop cooking by plunging them into an ice bath immediately.

Creamy Peanut Sesame Noodles

  • 1 tablespoon avocado or neutral oil
  • ⅓ cup peanuts
  • ¼ cup creamy unsalted peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons sweet white miso paste
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened full fat coconut milk (no gums!)
  • 8 oz. pad thai rice noodles 
  • Crushed red pepper flakes 
  • 3-4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Lime wedges 

Heat avocado oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add peanuts and a pinch of salt. Cook until peanuts become golden brown, stirring frequently. Transfer to a heat-safe bowl to cool. Reserve the skillet. 

Combine peanut butter, maple syrup, tamari, lime juice, and miso in a small bowl. Use a whisk to get this mixture as smooth as possible. Set aside. 

Heat water in a medium or large pot. Once boiling, add rice noodles and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 2 minutes, strain through a colander and rinse with cold water. 

While the water is boiling, heat coconut milk over low heat in the skillet you used to fry the peanuts. After a few minutes, stir in the peanut butter mixture. Stir until smooth. Be careful not to overcook the sauce. Add the noodles to the sauce when they’re done. Cook noodles in the sauce for 2 minutes. Remove from heat. 

Just before serving, top with fried peanuts, green onions, and lime wedges.

Cold Sesame Noodles

  • ¼ cup sesame oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, very thinly sliced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons white sesame seeds 
  • 1 tablespoon ginger, grated
  • ½-3 tablespoons crushed red pepper flakes
  • ¼ cup tamari or soy sauce 
  • 8 oz. pad thai rice noodles
  • 2 cups mixed red, yellow, and orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • Small Persian cucumber, very thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup fresh Thai or regular basil, thinly sliced
  • ¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced

Add sesame oil, garlic, shallots, and bay leaf to a skillet over medium heat. Cook until the garlic and shallot are golden and crispy, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the sesame seeds and ginger, stirring all the while, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Transfer the mixture to a heat safe bowl. Add the crushed red pepper flakes and tamari. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then cool in the fridge. 

Heat water in a medium or large pot. Once boiling, add rice noodles and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 4 minutes, strain through a colander and rinse with cold water for a minute or two to arrest cooking. 

Combine sesame oil mixture, noodles, and all the veggies. Toss until veggies are well coated. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Ginger Cilantro Take Out Noodles

  • 3 tablespoons tamari
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1-3 tablespoons chili garlic paste or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ – 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 16 oz. thin rice noodles
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons black sesame seeds
  • 1 bunch cilantro, chopped (about 1 cup)

Begin heating a large pot of water for the rice noodles. Once boiling, add the noodles and cook for 2 minutes. After 2 minutes, strain through a colander and rinse with cold water. Set aside. 

In the meantime, combine tamari, rice vinegar, maple syrup, chili garlic paste, lime juice, and fish sauce. Set aside. 

Heat sesame oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minutes, stirring all the while. Your kitchen should fill with the smell of ginger and garlic, yum. Be careful not to burn the garlic. Pour in the sauce. Simmer for 1-2 minutes, then add noodles. Stir until the noodles are evenly coated in sauce. After 2 minutes they should look dry as they’ve absorbed the sauce. 

Finally, toss with sesame seeds and cilantro just before serving.

Pasta Recipes

These noodles take a little longer to cook – 7-11 minutes. The trick to weeknight pasta is pairing noodles with a sauce that takes around the same amount of time to prepare. 

For those that can’t do gluten or want a little more oomph from their pasta, choose noodles made from lentils, chickpeas, quinoa, brown rice, etc. 

Lemon Ricotta Pasta

  • 1 16-ounce package linguine or spaghetti noodles
  • 1 1/2 cup full fat ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons lemon zest
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • Optional: 1 anchovy
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan
  • freshly ground black pepper 

Cook pasta to al dente in salted water according to package directions. Reserve 1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water, and drain the linguine in a colander.

Mix together the ricotta, reserved pasta liquid, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, red pepper flakes, salt, and anchovy in a serving bowl. Toss with the warm pasta, top with grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. Serve immediately.

Wild Mushroom Linguine

  • 12 ounces linguine noodles
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces cremini, shiitake or morel mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
  • 1 1/2 cups half and half
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

Put on a pot of salted water to boil for the pasta, and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain pasta and set aside.

In a large sauté pan, melt butter over medium heat, and add the mushrooms. Stir until the mushrooms are softened, lightly browned and nearly dry, about four minutes. Add the garlic and lemon zest and stir for about a minute.

Add the half and half and bring to a boil; reduce heat so it won’t boil over, but let it simmer vigorously for two minutes to thicken slightly. Stir in the parmesan until melted, then remove from heat. Add the drained pasta, parsley, salt and pepper to the pan, and use tongs to turn in the sauce until well mixed. Serve immediately.

Baked Ravioli

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 large clove garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme or oregano
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1 pound store-bought fresh ravioli of your choice
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

(This one will take a little longer than 30, but a good chunk is oven time so you can catch up on dishes, studying or doing nothing!)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, and season with salt and pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add thyme and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Toss sauce with ravioli. Pour pasta into an 8×8 inch baking dish, and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake until golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool slightly before serving.

Macaroni and Cheese Recipes

Would it really be National Noodle Month without a few Mac and Cheese recipes?

Vegetarian Chorizo Mac and Cheese

  • 1 box of your favorite stove-top macaroni and cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 small green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 package vegetarian chorizo, casing removed and crumbled
  • 1 small can of mild or hot green chiles
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
  • Toppings (optional): diced tomatoes, diced red onion, sour cream, sliced black olives

Cook macaroni noodles according to box instructions. 

In the meantime, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and peppers. Sauté for 1 minute and add soy chorizo. Sauté for 6 minutes. Add noodles and cheese sauce. Stir. Add green chiles and cilantro and stir again. Finish with additional toppings if using. Enjoy!

Butternut Squash Mac and Cheese

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon salt, plus more
  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 pound dried small pasta shells
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup shredded fontina cheese
  • ¼ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Place the squash, milk, water, and salt in a large pot and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium, cover, and cook until the squash is tender, about 20 minutes.

In the meantime, cook the pasta. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions until al dente. Drain the pasta and set aside.

Use a blender to purée the milk and squash into a smooth sauce. Stir in the pepper and nutmeg. Add the cooked pasta, cheddar, Parmesan, and fontina cheese, and stir until the pasta is evenly combined and the cheeses are melted. If the cheese needs a little help melting, return to a pot over low heat and stir until the cheese is appropriately melty.

Bacon Mac and Cheese

  • 16 oz. cavatappi or noodle shape of choice
  • 6 oz. Red Witch cheese, grated
  • 10 oz. Gruyere, Emmental or other Swiss melting cheese
  • 16 oz. white cheddar, grated
  • 1/2 stick of unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 3 pieces of fully cooked bacon (or more), diced
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • Parmigiano Reggiano to taste
  • 1/3 cup seasoned breadcrumbs (or panko breadcrumbs)
  • Olive oil
(This one will take a little longer than 30, but a good chunk is oven time so you can catch up on dishes, studying or doing nothing!)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Set aside 1/2 cup of the Red Witch and cheddar cheeses. Cook noodles until al dente according to package instructions.

Melt butter in a pot over medium heat. Once the butter is melted, add the flour and whisk until well incorporated. Add the milk, slowly, whisking constantly. Keep whisking for about 5 minutes until the sauce boils and thickens. Then add the half and half and cook for 2 more minutes. Remove from the heat and add bacon, salt, pepper, nutmeg, and the cheese you did not set aside earlier. Stir together until well mixed.

Combine sauce and cooked noodles and stir. Top with the 1/2 cup of reserved cheesed. Grate some Parmigiano Reggiano on top, to taste. Toss breadcrumbs with a little olive oil and sprinkle over the mac and cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the sauce is bubbly.

Not Pasta Recipes

Don’t worry, I will not pretend that “zoodles” (zucchini noodles) are the equivalent of starchy, comforting grain-based noodles. That being said, vegetable noodles definitely have a place in my kitchen. Doing lots of 3rd grade field trips and kids cooking classes has also taught me little ones are a smidge more inclined to munch on raw zucchini if it’s in fun noodle form.

You can purchase frozen carrot and zucchini noodles or make veggie noodles yourself with the right equipment. My $20 “spiralizer” has been working great for years. You can also get thin, wide noodles by using a vegetable peeler.

Carrot Noodle Salad

  • 2 large carrots, spiralized (about 4 cups carrot noodles)
  • 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup raisins (Optional: rehydrate by soaking in 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar mixed with water enough to cover for 15-30 minutes)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon harissa
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup feta cheese
  • 3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, finely chopped

In a large bowl, combine carrot noodles, chickpeas, and raisins.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, cumin, harissa, cardamom, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Pour over carrot noodle mixture and toss until everything is coated with dressing and spices.
Top with feta cheese, toasted walnuts and parsley.

To make this a meal, fill out with Aidell’s Spinach and Feta Chicken Sausage or a side of lemon garlic couscous. 

Zoodles with Lentil Bolognese

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-3 medium carrots, grated
  • 1 pinch sea salt or to taste
  • 26 ounces of your favorite marinara sauce
  • 1 pinch red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoon coconut sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dry split red lentils, rinsed and drained
  • 2 medium zucchini, rinsed and both ends sliced off
  • Optional: cheese or nutritional yeast for topping

    Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, shallot, and garlic. Sauté for 1 minute, stirring frequently, until slightly softened and fragrant. Turn down heat if browning. Add carrots and a pinch of salt and stir. Cook for 3-4 minutes more, then add marinara sauce and stir to coat.

    Add red pepper flake, basil, oregano, coconut sugar, water, and lentils. Increase heat slightly and bring mixture to a simmer, then reduce heat to low/medium-low, cover, and continue cooking until lentils are tender, stirring occasionally, about 17-20 minutes. Add a bit more water if mixture gets too thick. Once lentils are cooked, taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

    While the sauce is cooking, spiralize your zucchini into noodles. Serve bolognese over zoodles. Sprinkle with cheese or nutritional yeast if using. 

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    Black Vegan Chefs and the Future of Food

    Black people became the fastest growing vegan demographic in the country in 2022. It’s no wonder then that Black vegan chefs are expanding the boundaries of both Black and vegan cuisine in the US, with aims to practice a veganism that uplifts people and planet. 

    Veganism as environmental justice as racial justice

    Let’s explore some of the reasons why Black folks and Black chefs are turning to veganism. 

    But first, let’s talk about intersectionality. Intersectionality is a relatively new concept in Western thought and describes “the ways in which systems of inequality based on gender, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, class and other forms of discrimination ‘intersect’ to create unique dynamics and effects.” 

    For example, Black Americans are more likely to live in food deserts than white Americans. Is race the sole determining factor? Most certainly not. We know that food deserts are also more likely in communities with small populations, lower incomes, low levels of education, and higher rates of unemployment. Using the intersectional approach, we can see then that race, socio-economic status, education level, and other dimensions of identity overlap here to create and sustain a system in which certain folks seriously lack access to healthy, fresh, and affordable foods.

    Southern Style BBQ Tofu by Brandi Crawford

    So, veganism, environmental justice and racial justice…intersect? Yes they do! Let’s look at exactly how. Take one common reason for going vegan: reducing cruelty and harm to animals. You’ve done away with meat, dairy, eggs, honey, cheese and you’re filling your shopping cart with so many vegetables. Before you check out, consider: Was the Latinx farmworker who harvested your food paid a fair wage? Do they work in safe conditions? Does the farmer own the DNA inside the seeds they plant or does a chemical company? Were the fields sprayed with pesticides that will end up in our rivers and oceans? If you don’t know, can you really say your veganism reduces cruelty? 

    While there are many individual health benefits to eating more plants, going vegan is also an opportunity to engage more deeply with the social, political and environmental sides of what we eat. For the Black community, which is disproportionately affected by climate change and health conditions associated with racism, many see veganism as an opportunity to fight against these inequalities.

    We should also mention that communities in Asia, Latin America, and Africa have been “eating vegan” – plant-based – for thousands of years. Trendy vegan foods like quinoa and sweet potatoes made popular by wealthy, white social media influencers have been staple crops for millions across recorded time. In fact, these days non-white Americans are more likely to be vegetarian or vegan than white Americans. 

    Okay, now let’s meet some of the Black vegan chefs changing the game.

    Tracye McQuirter

    @byanygreens

    Tracye McQuirter earned her Masters in Public Health from NYU and has over 36 years of experience eating and cooking vegan. She directed the first federally funded, community-based vegan nutrition program; co-created the first vegan-themed website specifically for Black Americans; launched the first Black American vegan starter guide; wrote two vegan how-to/recipe books; and previously served as a nutrition advisor for Black Women’s Health Imperative. Purchase her cookbooks and guides here

    Aisha “Pinky” Cole

    @sluttyveganATL

    Aisha Cole is the brilliance behind Atlanta’s Slutty Vegan restaurant which regularly attracts an hour-long line of folks dreaming of her incredible vegan burgers at accessible prices. She opened the first Slutty Vegan in the majority Black neighborhood of West End, where there were previously zero plant based options. When Cole isn’t running multiple locations throughout Georgia or hosting Slutty Vegan pop-ups around the country, she’s donating funds to help local college students pay off their debts and stay in school. 

    Bryant Terry

    @bryantterry

    Yes, Bryant Terry is a big deal. He’s won a James Beard Award and Fast Company named him one of 9 People Who Are Changing the Future of Food. He has also worked as Chef-in-Residence at San Francisco’s Museum of African Diaspora, authored best-selling cookbooks, and founded 4 Color Books, an imprint creating visually stunning books with BIPOC chefs and writers. In other words, he’s a fierce food justice advocate. 

    If you want to learn how Black folks have always been major influencers and innovators on the American food system, check out our blog on Black food history.

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    2023: International Year of the Millets

    The United Nations declared 2023 the International Year of Millets, which got us pretty excited about this little grain. There are a number of reasons why the United Nations is shining a spotlight on this little-known nutri-cereal including millets’ suitability for cultivation under adverse and changing climate conditions.

     

    Wait, what is millet?

    Millets are a group of grains referred to as “nutri-cereals” because of their high nutrition content compared to more common cereal grains like wheat, rice and corn. Millets are a genetically diverse group including pearl, proso, foxtail, barnyard, little, kodo, browntop, finger and Guinea millets as well as fonio, sorghum (or great millet) and teff. Millets were some of the first plants to be domesticated and serve as a staple crop for millions of people in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia to this day. These grains can grow in poor soil with few inputs, are resistant to many crop diseases and pests, and can survive harsh climatic conditions. So far, everything is coming up millets!

    Millet is a nutritional powerhouse

    • Gluten free
    • Low Glycemic Index
    • Good source of fiber and protein
    • Excellent source of Vitamin A, Vitamin B, phosphorus, potassium, antioxidants, niacin, calcium and iron

    More Reasons to Love Millets

    • Adaptable to different production environments, without high fertilizer or pesticide needs
    • Deeply tied to ancestral traditions, cultures and Indigenous knowledge
    • Good for animal health as feed
    • Diverse in taste and applications in the kitchen (recipes follow)
    • Quick cooking time
    • A source of income for marginal production areas in rural, urban, regional and
      international trade

    You can read more about the International Year of the Millets here.

    Find millet products including whole grain millet and millet flour on Co-op shelves year round! Not sure what to do with it? You can swap it out for rice or quinoa in most recipes. I like to toast it and add it to granola, chocolate chip cookies and other baked goods. Check out some of our favorite recipes below.

    Perfect Stovetop Millet

    • 1 cup whole grain millet
    • 2 cups water
    • ½ teaspoon salt

    Rinse millet under cold running water for about 30 seconds. Add to a pot with 2 cups water and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat but DO NOT remove the lid. Set a time for 10 more minutes for the millet to steam. When the timer goes off, remove lid and fluff with a fork.  

    Vegan Millet Pancakes

    • 1 cup millet flour
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • ½ teaspoon salt 
    • 3 very ripe bananas, mashed
    • ½ cup nondairy milk
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
    • vegan butter
    • For serving: maple syrup, fresh or stewed berries, peanut butter, toasted coconut, banana slices, etc. 

    Combine millet flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl. Mix well. In a separate bowl, combine mashed bananas, milk and vanilla. Add the dry to the wet and whisk until no lumps remain. 

    Heat vegan butter in a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into the pan. You can do more than one at a time, but don’t crowd the pan. Reduce heat and cook until you see bubbles coming to the pancake’s surface and the bottom is golden brown, about 3-4 minutes. Flip and cook another 2-4 minutes. Keep pancakes warm in a 180 degree F oven until ready to serve then top with your favorite things! 

    Maple Pecan Breakfast Bowl

    • 1 cup cooked millet
    • roasted pumpkin or squash
    • maple pecans*
    • ground flaxseeds
    • pumpkin seeds
    • hemp seeds 
    • ground cinnamon
    • maple syrup
    • ½ cup warmed milk of choice

    *To make maple pecans preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss raw pecans with a little maple syrup, vanilla extract and a pinch of salt. Spread on a parchment-lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes. Cool at room temperature before eating or using in a recipe. Store at room temperature for up to 5 days in an airtight container. 

    Heat milk over low heat until steaming (hot but not boiling). Add cooked millet to a bowl. Top with roasted pumpkin, maple pecans, seeds, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Finish by pouring warmed milk over everything. 

    Spiced Millet and Dried Apricot Salad

    Salad

    • ½ cup uncooked millet (or 2 cups cooked millet)
    • 1 large carrot, grated
    • 2 spring onions, thinly sliced
    • ¼ cup chopped almonds, toasted
    • ¼ cup pistachios, chopped
    • 6 dried apricots, chopped into small pieces
    • ¼ cup Italian parsley, chopped

    Dressing

    • 3 tablespoons walnut oil (or EVOO)
    • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon pomegranate molasses (or balsamic vinegar)
    • 1 teaspoon ras el hanout seasoning blend 
    • ¼ teaspoon maple syrup
    • ¼ teaspoon salt or to taste
    • a grind of black pepper
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

    Rinse millet in a strainer until the water runs clear.  Add to a small pan with 1 cup of clean water and a pinch of salt, put the lid on, bring to the boil and turn the heat right down to low. Leave the millet simmering for 10-15 minutes until cooked. Remove from the heat but do not remove the lid. Set a time for 10 more minutes for the millet to steam. When the timer goes off, remove lid and fluff with a fork.  Cool at room temperature for about an hour or in the fridge for 20 minutes. 

     

    Mix the cooled millet with the rest of the salad ingredients in a large salad bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a mason jar with a well-fitting lid or in a small bowl. Shake or whisk until combined. Pour over the salad and toss. Allow to sit at room temp for 20 minutes before serving as this will allow flavors to really come together. 

    Sweet Potato and Millet Falafel

    • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
    • 1 cup cooked sweet potato, mashed*
    • ½ cup red onion, chopped
    • 2 cloves garlic
    • ¼ cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
    • ¼ cup cilantro, chopped
    • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
    • 1 teaspoon salt plus more for sprinkling
    • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
    • ¼ teaspoon cayenne
    • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1 cup cooked millet, at room temperature
    • Avocado or grapeseed oil for frying

    *Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment. Cube 1 medium sweet potato (no need to peel – lots of nutrients in the skin) and toss with 1 teaspoon of olive oil and generous pinches of salt and pepper. Bake for 15 minutes, flip, and return to the oven for 10-15 minutes. Cool slightly then mash with a fork.

    Place the chickpeas, sweet potato, onion, garlic, parsley, cilantro, coriander, salt, cumin, cayenne, and black pepper into the bowl of a food processor and pulse, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until all of the ingredients are uniform in size, but still slightly grainy in texture. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and fold in the cooked millet. Roll 2-3 tablespoons of the falafel mixture into a small patty with your hands. Repeat with the rest of the falafel mixture placing the uncooked falafel on a large plate or baking sheet until ready to cook.

    Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Pour 2-3 tablespoons of frying oil in the skillet and swirl to coat. Place the patties in the skillet and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side, until crispy and brown. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb the excess oil and sprinkle with salt.

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    Fairtrade Farmers are More Resilient

    A 2022 study finds fair trade farmers experience increased economic resilience, social wellbeing, environmental sustainability and governance of their cooperatives, particularly in times of global crisis.

    The Fairtrade System uses 2 price mechanisms, the minimum price and the premium, to ensure farmers earn a reliable and, well, fair income. These price mechanisms represent a safety net not only for the farmers who grow the food, but for their co-ops and communities more broadly. From 2012 to 2022 Fairtrade farmers experienced increased earnings, the ability to withstand periods of financial instability and boosted savings. In the case of Fairtrade certified La Florida cooperative in Peru, farmers reported incomes 50% higher than those of non-Fairtrade farmers. 

    The study also found Fairtrade cooperatives enjoy

    • stronger governance

    • greater transparency

    • more democratic decision-making

    • increased gender equality

    • improved workplace health and safety

    80% of the world’s food comes from 608 million family farms, with one third of those farming less than 5 acres of land. Not surpisingly, the overlapping global crises of recent years have hit smallholder farms in Global South countries the hardest. With pressure from consumers to keep prices low in the United States, costs are often passed back to small farmers and the land itself. Renato Alvarado, Minister of Agriculture and Livestock in Costa Rica, explains, “producers bear the production costs on our shoulders and the profits remain in the hands of others.” 

    Carmen is a member of the CONACADO cooperative, and by joining the Fairtrade certified co-op, she has been able to tap into their collective bargaining power when it comes to pricing. Through the co-op, she has secured a better price for her cocoa making it possible to achieve her goals of scaling production and diversifying her crops. And for Carmen, cocoa isn’t just about her own business. It’s about the community working and thriving together. Shoppers in the US are directly participating in this community by purchasing products made with ingredients from Fairtrade certified farms like Carmen’s.

    The findings of this study underscore our continued commitment to carrying and promoting as many fair trade products as possible at the Co-op. Purchasing fair trade products at the Davis Food Co-op not only helps support our store and local economy, but ensures that we are also being good global stewards by supporting the fair treatment of small farmers and producers worldwide.

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    Gift Ideas Under $10, $20 & $50

    Find gifts for everyone on your list at the Co-op! Check out our ideas for budget-friendly gifting or go for a sure thing: a Co-op gift card! You can purchase in store or online here

    Under $10

    Salt Crystal Tea Light Holder $6.49

    Aside from glowing in stunning sunset hues, salt lamps release negatine ions into the air which studies show may help lessen anxiety and stress. 

    Aura Cacia Aromatherapy Foam Bath 2/$5 thru 12/13 (reg. $3.99 ea) 

    Scrunchies $4.99

    Instant Plant Food $8.99 for 2 tablets

    The perfect gift for plant parents, green thumb not necessary.

    Rishi Teas $8.99

    Delicious? Check. Beautiful packaging? Check! Tea is a great gift to pair with a mug or insulated tumbler. To keep costs down, choose a tea on sale!

    Assorted Enamel Pins $9.99 and Assorted Stickers $3.99

    Mini Calendars $7.99

    Pocket Sized Decomposition Book $5.99

    Under $20

    House Plants $17.99+

    We have a good variety of house plants in the store, including easy to grow ZZ plants and succulents and this stunning rattlesnake calathea. 

    Maggie’s Organic Socks $9.99+

    Maggie’s Organic Socks are the BEST. And there’s something for everyone: urban hiker socks, mountain hiker socks, hand-dyed rainbow socks, extra thick cozy socks, etc. 

    Aura Cacia Essential Oil Kits $12.49 thru 12/13 (reg. $19.99)

    Pachamama Coffee Beans $15.99

    Bonus: Pachamama’s new packaging is compostable! 

    Assorted Books $15.99+

    Fat and the Moon Bath Soak $18.99

    Herbalist crafted, small batch skincare made in Grass Valley, CA. 

    Assorted Puzzles $18.99

    We have tons of puzzles from 400 to 1000 pieces. 

    Truffle Honey $14.99

    For the gourmand in your life~

    Silicone Baking Mat $13.99

    This is perfect for the person on your list who loves to bake or for the person trying to go zero-waste. 

    Felted Wool Animal Kits $19.99

    For the crafty person in your life. Or for the person who wants to get crafty – these kits are pretty easy to do! We have a variety of animals to choose from.

    Assorted Calendars $14.99

    Under $50

    Teaching Kitchen Cooking Class $30-45

    Gift someone on your list a cooking classes from the Davis Food Co-op. Our classes are highly rated and often sell out weeks in advance. Get info and buy tickets here!

    Crystal Witch Earrings $39.99

    Made by local artist and Co-op Owner Jen of Davis, CA. 

    Essential Oil Diffuser $33.99

    Get this for the person on your list who loves making their home/space luxurious and cozy or for someone who works from home to make their space better. If you have the budget, get an essential oil to go with the diffuser. Peppermint is a festive pick! 

    Fair Trade Headband $23.99

    Gift warmth and cuteness with these fairly traded headbands. 

    Slippers $29.99

    Faux-sherpa lined for coziness with hard soles for indoor and outdoor wear! 

    Prickly Pear Body Whip $27.99

    Made locally with ethically sourced ingredients!

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    35 Holiday Cookie Recipes

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