Lemon, Pistachio Pound Cake with a Sage-Infused Glaze

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By the time Sunday rolls around, I’m less motivated to do much at all. I have spent most of my week running to and fro and Sunday is the only day in which I surrender to the sweet embrace of hedonism. I do what I want, when I want.  Or – at least I try not to drown in my long, running, mental to-do list.

This past Sunday, I got up at 7 am – despite having gone to bed at 1 am the previous night – and went for a run. It had been a few months since I last pushed myself to run and was motivated by Nick who went for a jog a few days before.

“It’s really all mental. Your body has the ability to move this way but you just have to get over your own thoughts,” he told me.

I thought I might put that idea to practice.

As I left my house in the early morning, dressed in my running clothes, I hunched my shoulders to brace myself for the cold air. It had to been close to 40 degrees and I was already regretting leaving my warm bed. I shook my head, as if I could shake the thoughts of returning to my blankets simultaneously.

The run was hard at first. I attempted to take my mind off things by counting my breath, thinking about my dogs, my life, Nick, family – anything. It was to no avail. My chest still hurt and my cheeks still stung from the biting, fall air. What eventually worked was turning my thoughts towards fear.

F-E-A-R,” I spelled out silently to myself.  “What are you afraid of?” I pondered.

Everything.

Afraid of living a path that was not planned out for me from the very beginning.

Afraid of rejection.

Afraid that I am not as good of a cook as everyone thinks.

Afraid of a life without the things I’ve grown accustomed to.

Afraid of not finishing this run.

Afraid of change.

Afraid of asking for what I want.

By the end of the run, I had made it to the stopping place I had planned without halting once. My breath was labored, my chest heaved, and my lungs hurt. I clenched my fists that were white from the cold. My hair stuck to my face and my mouth was dry – but I made it. I  ran the one mile that I had decided upon and, all the while, dissected my personal fascination with fear.

I once had a very dear professor affectionately tell me that my life “was motivated by stress.” She was right in many ways but I think, upon closer examination, my life was rather ruled by fear.

I can only assume most people live this way. It’s why people follow in footsteps that aren’t their own, why some don’t venture beyond their friend group, why they don’t ever leave the country of their birth – or even their own town. But. In a place as vast as imagination itself, the world can only be benefited from your audacious, courageous existence. Trepidation will only prevent kindness, warmth, community, and love. Above all – there is love. If dread rules your life, only you have the permission to free yourself from it.

You are important and someone, one day, will be grateful that your dauntless smile graced the dark in their doorway.

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Lemon, Pistachio, and Sage Pound Cake (Vegan)

What You’ll Need:

  • 2/3 cup of silken tofu
  • 1 cup non dairy milk
  • juice and zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 cup of coconut sugar (or the sugar of your choice), plus 1/2 a cup
  • 2 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbsp oil
  • 2  1/4 cups flour
  • 1½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup of whole, roasted pistachios
  • 3-4 whole leaves of sage
  • 2 tblsp of vegan butter (I use EarthBalance)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  While you’re getting all of your ingredients together – in a small bowl, put the non-dairy milk and half of the lemon juice and lemon zest together and set aside to make vegan buttermilk. Let sit for a minute or so.
  2. In a blender, blend your vegan butter milk, tofu, half of the vanilla extract, oil, and 1 cup of the coconut sugar together until mixture is smooth. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. While mixing, slowly pour in your wet ingredients into your dry.  In a greased loaf-pan, pour your cake mixture in.  Roughly chop your pistachios (I left some whole because I’m obsessed with pistachios and love that hearty crunch) and sprinkle on top of the batter. Bake for 50-60  mins or until you insert a fork in the middle and tines come out clean.
  3. While your cake is baking, make your glaze: In a medium sauce pan, melt the butter on medium heat. Put your whole sage leaves in as the butter melts so that it begins to infuse the melted butter with flavor. Once the butter is melted, put in the rest of the lemon juice, zest, vanilla extract, and 1/2 cup of coconut sugar. Stir the mixture gently to combine. Take the sage leaves out and let the sauce cook for another minute or two. It will become thick and coat the back of your spoon when it’s ready.
  4. When the cake is done, poke holes on the top with a fork and drizzle your glaze all over the top. Let the loaf cool for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy!!

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Photos by the talented Nick Wilkins, @nicholasawilkins

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