growing up on long island and then in upstate new york, i've really come to miss being surrounded by trees, grass, and bugs here in brooklyn. when i was young we moved upstate, and were fortunate enough to have a back yard that backed up to a nature preserve. on occasion, my brother, and i would venture into the woods, walking an overgrown path that led to a lake/swamp of sorts. there, we would poke around, play, and just be in a general state of curiousity; searching under leaves to see what may be underneath, digging in the earth with our hands, climbing over downed trees, jumping over shrubs, and running through tangled branches. nature, man. we would come home with an appropriate amount of dirt under our fingernails, scratches and scrapes on occasion, and disheveled clothing. city living these days is obviously on a whole different level; while we have everything we could imagine at our fingertips, i miss the natural world a bit. (er...a lot!). i find that an instinctive, almost innate sense of curiosity in nature is sometimes obscured by big buildings, concrete, trucks, and crowds of humans. and while i am totally in touch with the fact that we are super lucky to live here, i am, at times conflicted; as there is an obvious yank in the direction of nature's living and breathing, cellular things. i was reminded of this the other day while reading a passage from dan barber's, the third plate. on the topic of soil, and microorganisms, he quoted an ecologist, who so eloquently said: " Nature is not more complex than we think, but more complex than we can think." in other news, i am so happy to announce that beginning friday, august 15th through september 15th, Pure Green Magazine is holding an Instagram hashtag challenge #INSEASON. laura wright (the first mess), claire raggozzino ( vidya cleanse), and i, will be the community leaders! so, snap a pic and show us how you're preparing your seasonal produce on Instagram using the hashtags #INSEASON and #PUREGREENMAG; and you could win a chance to publish a full-length article on the Pure Green Blog, and a subscription to their lovely publication! to learn more read on here! good luck, friends! xo breakfast quinoa flakes w/ stewed blackberries + flowering basil (gluten free + vegan) the quinoa flake cereal can be prepared with milk of choice, or water. and if you're not into the cinnamon, it can totally be substituted with another spice, or left out all together. if you don't have blackberries or basil, another combination of fruits and herbs will totally work here as well. | serves 2 | ingredients * 2/3 cup quinoa flakes * 1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk * 1 teaspoon cinnamon * pinch of salt * 3.5 ounces blackberries (fresh or frozen) * 5-6 thai basil flowers (if you don't have the flowers, use small basil leaves) * 2 tablespoons grade b maple syrup * 1/4 cup water * juice from half of a lime to garnish: * 2 tablespoons hazelnuts, toasted, and roughly chopped * 2 teaspoons chia seeds, divided * leftover basil flowers (again, if you don't have the flowers, chop a couple leaves up and garnish with those) instructions * for the stewed berries. in a small saucepan, heat the water, maple syrup, and basil flowers (or leaves) on low; stir until combined, increase heat to medium high and bring to a boil. let mixture simmer for a minute or until it has thickened a bit; reduce heat to low, then add blackberries and lime juice. cook for 3-5 minutes until blackberries soften and break apart easily. remove from heat and set aside * in a medium saucepan, combine almond milk and cinnamon: bring to a boil, once boiling add the quinoa flakes and turn heat to a simmer, stir and cook for 90 seconds. remove from heat and let the cereal thicken for about 3 minutes * divide cereal between 2 bowls, and top with stewed fruit + herb mixture, chia seeds, chopped hazelnuts and a couple of basil flowers (or chopped leaves) enjoy!