Sunday, October 1, 2017

CRISP CUPS with blueberries, cardamom and ghee

This is one of my daughter's favorite lunch time treats. I take one out of the freezer to thaw overnight and pop into her lunch bag in the morning. These also make for a fun dessert - an artsy spin on a common favorite. Use any berries or fruit you have on hand and spice as you like.

[THE RECIPE]

8 - 10 small 8oz jars with wide mouths [Kerr or Ball work well]

8 c. frozen or fresh blueberries, reserving a handful whole
1 c. apple juice [optional]
1 T. vanilla extract or vanilla bean balsamic vinegar 

3 - 4 c. old-fashioned rolled oats
1 c. oat flour
3/4 c. ghee, melted [use coconut oil for vegan option]
3/4 c. maple syrup
2 T. cinnamon
1 - 2 tsp. cardamom [to taste]
1 tsp. sea salt

Place jars on a rimmed stainless steel baking pan and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, warm blueberries and apple juice. Cook over medium heat until just soft.

While blueberries cook, in a large glass bowl mix oats, oat flour, ghee, syrup, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Taste and add more of any ingredient if needed.

Remove blueberry mixture from heat and add vanilla extract. Fill each jar half way with blueberry mix and top with a couple whole berries. Fill remaining space in jar with oat mixture leaving a little space at the top of the jar.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes or until berry mixture is bubbling and oat topping beginning to brown.

Remove from heat and allow to cool. If freezing, cool completely, place entire baking sheet in freezer and leave until completely frozen. Secure a lid AFTER completely frozen.

KITCHARI SOUP FOR COLD + FLU SEASON

Colds seem to have hit many I know as school starts, weather fluctuates and allergens fly. This soup is a favorite of mine. Really easy, adaptable and a wonderfully nourishing meal in times of illness, pregnancy-related nausea and anytime a warm cup 'o something sounds really grand.

[THE RECIPE]

1/4 c. ghee
1 T. sea salt [more as desired]
1 c. chopped maitake mushrooms [or mushroom of choice]
1 T. ginger, minced very fine
1 c. chopped leeks or onions
1 c. celery root [optional]
1 1/2 c. sweet potatoes and/or carrots
1 1/2 c. potatoes [red or yellow skinned]
2 c. garbanzo beans
2 c. basmati rice
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
4 - 6 c. water
1 - 2 c. peas [depending on preference]

Warm ghee over medium heat in large soup pot. Add mushrooms, onions [if using] and ginger. Saute until mushrooms are golden brown [5 - 8 minutes] stirring frequently. Add leeks [if using in place of onions] and celery root. Saute an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add sweet potatoes, carrots, potatoes, garbanzo beans, rice and salt to pot and mix well.

Pour in broth and 6 cups water. Bring liquid to boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium-low or at a temperature that will maintain a gentle simmer. Cook for 40 - 45 minutes. Check at the halfway point and add more water if mixture seems too thick.

With about 5 - 10 minutes remaining of cooking time, add peas and continue to simmer.

Remove from heat, add salt as desired, and serve!









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