Sunday, June 25, 2017

PEPPERMINT PATTIES with coconut butter filling



For my birthday this past year I found a little green bowl of seed butter-stuffed chocolates in my refrigerator placed there by someone who knows my affinity for both chocolate and homemade gifts. When I asked for the recipe, it was provided in about three sentences. Three sentences, two ingredients! You can fancy it up by drizzling extra chocolate on top, play with the filling, or make as is. I've brought this as dessert and without fail, the crowd is pleased. This recipe is truly the creativity of my friend Kim with me making only a few adjustments to the filling. Have no fear, I'll thank her profusely on your behalf.



[THE RECIPE]

1 bag Enjoy Life semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 bag Enjoy Life dark chocolate chips
1 cup coconut butter
1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut [optional]
1/2 - 1 cup maple syrup [to taste, begin with 1/2 cup and add as needed to get a nice, sweet filling]
2 - 3 teaspoons food grade peppermint oil/flavor [more or less to taste]

2 silicone molds
1 food brush

Place chocolate in medium sauce pan and melt over low heat, stirring occasionally.

While chocolate is melting, place coconut butter and maple syrup in a small sauce pan and soften over medium-low heat until smooth and well combined, stirring frequently. Add shredded coconut if using and peppermint oil and mix well. Taste and add additional maple syrup and peppermint oil as needed. Set aside.

Once the chocolate is melted remove from heat. Using the food brush, brush the silicone molds with a relatively thick layer of chocolate [1/8" or so]. Place mold in freezer for about 5 - 7 minutes to harden chocolate.

When hard, remove from freezer. Add a dollop of the coconut butter mixture to each indent [see picture above]. Top with melted chocolate so that the indent is filled to the top [see above photo].

Place mold back in freezer for 20 minutes or so to harden. Remove from freezer and test one. If chocolate cracks freeze for a bit longer. Once solid, remove all chocolates from mold and serve or store in refrigerator.

Product links above are through Vitacost and Thrive Market. Click here for $5 off your first order or here for 15% off your first order.






Saturday, June 10, 2017

BLISSFUL MAMA TEA BLEND with rosebuds and vanilla bean

This past week my oldest daughter and I went on a date and ultimately found ourselves sipping suntea from our very favorite tea shop. Normally it's a no brainer for me - order the chai. Always. But this particular day was warm and sunny with a clear blue sky overhead. Sun tea sounded fantastic. So we ordered and headed outside to collect our share of vitamin D. 

This little outing launched us into some serious at-home sun tea making.

The blend below is fantastic for the nervous system as the base of the tea is built with herbs specifically known as nervine tonics. Fantastic for times of stress and anxiety, not only are the herbs helpful but the act of sitting down and enjoying a glass of tea [hot or cold] is a way of encouraging relaxation. Raspberry leaf is considered an important herb for women's reproductive health and is high in vitamins and minerals. Rose, vanilla, cardamom and cinnamon have their own specific benefits while finding common ground in instilling a sense of well-being.

A note about parts: measuring in "parts" [also called the "Simpler's Method" is an easy way to combine herbs without needing to be super specific. The trick is to keep the part measurement consistent throughout the recipe. For example, if one part equals 1 tablespoon then 2 parts would be equivalent to 2 tablespoons, 1/2 part would be 1/2 tablespoon and on and on. You can measure parts in cups, spoonfuls, by weight, etc.

For ingredients check out Global Infusion, Mountain Rose Herbs and Bulk Herb Store.


[THE RECIPE]
Inspired by recipe in Mary Janes Farm Magazine / Apr-May 2014 Issue / p. 18

2 parts skullcap leaf
2 parts oat tops
1 part raspberry leaf
1 part rosebuds
1/2 part vanilla beans
1/4 part rosehips
1/4 part whole cardamom pods
1/4 part cinnamon chips

Combine all herbs in a medium size glass bowl or quart-size Ball jar with lid. Mix or shake and either make into tea bags or store in cool, dark location using as desired.

For Sun Tea: place 1 tablespoon of tea mixture into a reusable cotton tea bag or compostable tea bag. Place in a quart size Ball jar and cover with water to about 1/2-inch from top of jar. Put jar in a protected, sunny spot outside and let steep in sun for 6 - 8 hours. Remove herbs and store tea in refrigerator. Add ice and honey or maple syrup as desired.


Wednesday, June 7, 2017

BLANCHED ASPARAGUS with crunchy garlic


[THE RECIPE]

1 bunch of asparagus
3 cloves of garlic
2 - 3 tablespoons of olive oil [ghee or avocado oil]
sea salt to taste

Peel garlic cloves and roughly mince. Place oil and garlic in a small saucepan and warm over low to medium-low heat. Stir occasionally. Cook until garlic is a golden brown color.

Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of water to boil. Slice asparagus on a diagonal. Once water is boiling add asparagus and simmer for about 90 seconds. Asparagus should be bright green and just tender with still a bit of crunch. Remove from heat and drain water immediately. Run asparagus under cold water for 30 seconds or so to help stop cooking process. Place asparagus in a bowl.

Drizzle garlic and oil over asparagus. Sprinkle with sea salt to taste.

MASHED SWEET POTATOES with ghee and sea salt


[THE RECIPE]

3 large sweet potatoes
3 - 5 medium Yukon or Idaho potatoes
4 - 6 tablespoons of ghee or butter [can use broth and olive oil if vegan]
sea salt to taste

Wash and peel potatoes. Cut into 1-inch chunks and place in medium-large pot. Cover with water so that there is about an inch of water over the potato line. Add a pinch or two of sea salt and bring water to boil. Reduce heat just enough so a strong simmer in maintained and cook until potatoes are soft when poked with a fork. Remove from heat.

Strain water [I like to use a lid to keep potatoes in and pour water out]. Add ghee or butter [start with 4 tablespoons and work up] to potatoes and a few generous pinches of sea salt. Whip with beaters until very smooth. Taste and add salt and ghee as needed.


Sunday, May 14, 2017

TO THE MOTHER WHO CONNECTS US ALL


OUR MOTHER EARTH
by Shweta Banerjee

As I walk across the earth,
thousands of things I get to see.
Birds fly high, soaring higher,
and on the flowers I hear the buzz of bees.

The sun at the dawn, rises within the hills.
Mountains covered with snow,
shining like the crown of silver. 
And the waves touching the cliffs.
The waterfall flowing down
the green-blue mountains.
Rivers forming a dream delta 
before entering the sea.

And while walking on the beach at night,
I feel the cool and sweet smelling breeze.
The slashing sound still feels like
the sound of love and peace.
The moon over the sea,
shining like a ball of gold.
And in every step my eyes hold wonder.
I bend on my knee
to thank the mother earth,
And is the truth.
it's a great pleasure for me,
to live in this wonderland.

Poem Source: https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poem/our-mother-earth-wonderland

Photo Source: pexels.com

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

SPRING GREEN-ING SMOOTHIE with kale, pineapple, banana and parsley



Spring kicks me into smoothie mode. All winter I roast fruit and blend into warm concoctions but spring allows me to transform this routine into something a little less planned out, a little more random and a lot more green. Make this recipe as shown below and then begin to experiment. Add what you like, change up the fruit or juices, maybe throw in a few add-ins or test out some herbs. Maybe, just maybe, summon the courage to forage your yard for a dandelion leaf or two or saddle up the gloves and hunt down some nettle [FYI - blending well removes the sting].

Take your smoothie outside, enjoy the sunrise and toast to a new day.

[THE RECIPE]
Makes two 8 - 10 ounce servings

Note: using frozen fruit will give you a more common thick, frozen consistency whereas using fresh, room temperature fruit will allow for a gentle temperature but be more juice-like in texture. Adding avocado will thicken the consistency if that is desired.

1 cup frozen or fresh pineapple
1 banana, sliced frozen or fresh [optional]
1 large handful of chopped kale leaves or roughly 2 cups loose packed
1 tablespoon sunflower seed butter or nut butter of choice
1 1/2 cups milk of choice [dairy or dairy-free works here - I love tigernut milk and rice milk as both are lighter and more mild in taste]
1/2 - 2/3 cup pineapple juice [start with 1/2 cup and add more as desired to increase sweetness]

Optional Add-Ins / Substitutions:

1/2 cup fresh parsley
1/2 avocado
1 teaspoon maca powder
1/2 teaspoon bee pollen granules
1/4 teaspoon spirulina or chlorella powder
1 teapsoon chia seeds
1/8 - 1/4 cup hemp seeds
Sub one pear and pear juice for the pineapple
Sub chard for the kale
Small amount of fresh dandelion leaves
1/2 cup of strong brewed herbal tea
Small chunk of ginger and/or turmeric

Place all ingredients in high-powered blender and blend on high until very smooth and bright green. Taste and adjust as needed [add more fruit to thicken, more juice to sweeten, more milk to decrease sweetness].

Serve immediately. I've found this particular smoothie stores well in the refrigerator for at least a day more. Shake and enjoy again.






CARROT SALAD with garbanzos and chili-lime dressing


This is a recipe born out of my desire to enjoy one of my favorite restaurant's salads at leisure. I find it to be a great spring go-to. Light and fresh yet maintaining a certain kind of density that is satisfying without dropping like a boulder in the gut. The best part? It get's better with age. Make the full batch as shown below and enjoy all week. Play with different ways to garnish and test a few base grains. Take it outside, sit in the grass and soak up all the earth has to offer.

May spring fill you with random creativity and the feeling of being fully alive.

Peace.

[THE RECIPE]

20 medium to large carrots, peeled and thin-sliced at a diagonal
15-ounce can of garbanzo beans [I love Eden brand] or 2 cups homemade
1/2 red onion, cut in half and finely sliced
6 radishes, cut in half and finely sliced
1 heaping tablespoon ghee or avocado oil
sea salt
ground pepper

Bring to boil a medium size pot of water. Add sliced carrots and blanch for two minutes. Eliminate heat, pour carrots into a strainer over sink, and rinse with very cold water. Let sit for 5 - 10 minutes to allow water to fully drain.

Meanwhile, dump garbanzo beans into a fine mesh strainer and rinse well with cold water over sink. Shake to remove any remaining water. Heat 1 heaping tablespoon of ghee or avocado oil in a large skillet or frying pan. When hot but not smoking, carefully add garbanzo beans and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Shake pan frequently to stir. Sauté for 3 - 5 minutes or until beans just begin to show golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool in pan for a few minutes.

Place carrots, sautéed beans, onion, and radishes. Gently mix with wooden spoon. Add half of the dressing and stir until dressing thoroughly coats the vegetables. Taste and add more dressing as needed.

For best results, make a day in advance and refrigerate over night. Serve room temperature over a bed of rice or quinoa and garnish with toasted almonds, fresh cilantro or parsley, avocado, and remaining dressing.

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup maple syrup [more to taste]
juice of 4 limes
2 - 3 teaspoons of chili powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
salt, to taste [start with 1/2 teaspoon and add as needed]
ground pepper, to taste
1 loosely packed cup fresh cilantro leaves
3/4 - 1 cup avocado oil or olive oil

Place all ingredients except oil and cilantro in a blender or medium size glass jar with tight fitting lid. Blend on low-medium to combine or shake well for 1 - 2 minutes. If using blender, turn on low and slowly drizzle oil into blender container until dressing begins to thicken. Dressing consistency should be more than watery yet not thick. Add cilantro and blend on medium-low to combine. Cilantro should look like small flakes. If your using a glass jar, add oil and shake for 2 minutes until dressing thickens. Add finely chopped cilantro and shake once more.