Thursday, March 31, 2011


Each spring I detoxify my body through thoughtful food choices, drinking lots of pure water, and drinking carefully designed tea that aids the body in it's natural detox process. Throughout the winter season it is important to eat more warming, dense, and higher fat foods such as root vegetables, grains, and nuts to keep our bodies warm and hydrated. It is equally important (if not more so) to change our diets come spring and allow our bodies to transition into the warmer, lighter seasons of spring and summer. This means eating the lighter vegetables and fruits of spring such as dark, leafy greens (spinach, lettuce) and berries. Intentionally helping the body detoxify can reduce (among many other things) spring colds and other illnesses, sluggish digestion and elimination, skin issues, and fatigue. It is important to eliminate dairy, caffeine, alcohol, processed foods and sugar during this time.

Here is the detox tea recipe that I've created to aid my body in detoxification:

3 - 4 c. purified water
1 tbsp. peppermint
1 tbsp. dandelion
2 tsp. raspberry or strawberry leaf
2 cloves
1 tsp. fennel
1 anise star
honey (optional in needed)

Place all herbs and boiling water in French press or, if sunny, place all herbs in cloth tea bag and set in sun for a few hours. Let brew for 3 - 5 minutes. Enjoy a few times a day hot or cool (the best temperature is slightly warm - similar to the warmth of sun tea just taken from the sun)!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


In Holland, MI there is a wonderful little store called Fustini's. They sell oil and vinegar in an unimaginable number of flavors. The combinations they come up with are so creative and delicious. I stop in from time to time but when I'm not in the neighborhood I have had to improvise. Here is a relatively quick recipe that I love in stir-fry, served over quinoa, homemade popcorn and used for a whole host of other things.

1 large handful of fresh thyme sprigs
5 bay leafs
1 - 2 tbsp. dried lavender
2 c. olive oil

Pour olive oil into small Crockpot and stir in herbs. Set to the lowest setting and let cook for 2 - 4 hours, depending on strength of flavor desired. Turn off and let stand another 1 - 2 hours to cool. Strain herbs using cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer. Squeeze herbs to pull out all of the oil. Store at room temperature or in refrigerator in air tight container.

You can use this method to make a variety of different oils.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Warm weather is in the air, which means my craving for ice cream is in full swing. Thankfully, this milkshake is a fantastic, healthy alternative to ice cream that more than fills this craving. It is a powerful blend of nutrient-rich ingredients that, when combined together, make this a perfect 3:00pm pick-me-up treat.

Here is some nutritional information about some of the ingredients:

Cacao is unprocessed (raw) unlike it's counterpart chocolate, which means that the important nutrients contained in the plant are left in-tact rather than "cooked" out. It has more than 300 compounds (nutrients) and is a tasty antioxidant. Be sure to buy organic cacao for the best quality.

Maca Root is also raw, rich in essential minerals and high in protein.

Chia Seeds are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids; are complete proteins with all the essential amino acids; a rich source of calcium, magnesium, and iron; unprocessed (raw); and high in antioxidants.

Maple syrup is abundant in vitamins, like vitamin B12, and minerals including manganese, zinc and calcium.

Cashews are full of protein, essential minerals, and dietary fiber. This nut is one of the lowest in fat content compared to other nuts and any fat cashews do contain is considered "good fat", meaning it does not adversely affect the body.

Note from Tina: This information is strictly to be used as educational. Remember, it is always important to know and understand completely the food that you eat in regard to your individual body needs

So here is the recipe:

6 - 8 ice cubes (or per desired consistency)
1/2 - 3/4 c. water (or per desired consistency)
2 tbsp. organic cacao powder
1 tsp. organic maca root powder
1 tbsp. chia seeds
2 tbsp. maple syrup (less if using a ripe banana)
1 frozen organic banana (optional)
1/2 c. cashew cream, coconut milk, or non-dairy beverage of choice

Place all in blender and blend on high 2 - 3 minutes until very smooth. Serve immediately.

To make a vanilla shake eliminate the cacao powder and add 1 - 2 tsp. real vanilla powder, 1/2 - 1 tsp. vanilla extract, or 1 vanilla bean.

Can also add fruit combination of choice!

Monday, March 28, 2011


3 1/2 c. gluten-free flour blend (see recipe below)
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
pinch each of ground allspice, ginger, and nutmeg
2 tsp. xanthum gum
1 c. sucanat

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/2 c. applesauce
1/2 c. dairy-free milk of choice (I used coconut milk)
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 tbsp. orange extract
3 eggs

1 organic orange, thoroughly washed
1/4 c. poppy seeds

Sift together all dry ingredients except for sucanat. Set aside. Peel orange and place peel in coffee grinder. Grind until fine and set aside. Blend or process orange until smooth. Set aside.

Beat together all wet ingredients for 2 - 3 minutes. Add in ground orange peel, orange juice with pulp, and poppy seeds. Beat until combined. Mix in flour mixture and sucanat in batches. Beat until well combined.

Spoon into greased muffin tins or silicone muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 - 22 minutes or until knife comes out clean.

Gluten-Free Flour Blend

1 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. tapioca flour
1/2 c. potato starch

Friday, March 25, 2011



4 sticks of unsalted, organic butter
medium size sauce pan
cheesecloth and rubber band
medium size glass jar with lid

Prepare jar by securing cheesecloth over mouth of jar with rubber band, allowing for a little dip in cloth.

Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Butter will start to boil rapidly, loudly, and create a foamy top. Allow to boil at medium heat until the foam diminishes and the boiling slows down

This is the point when you need to watch it carefully. Tip the pot slightly so you can see the bottom of the inside of the pan. If the remnants that have sunk to the bottom have turned golden
brown, remove pan from heat immediately. If not, cook until golden brown on bottom, checking every 10 - 20 seconds. Remnants will go from white to brown very quickly.

Pour into jar through cheesecloth. Let sit until cool and firm. Ghee does not need to be refrigerated.

The cooking process should take 20 minutes and making your own ghee will save you a lot of money!

Thursday, March 24, 2011


Gluten free bread. Never have I had such a dilema [okay, maybe that's not true but on some of those days it sure felt like it] as finding a good tasting gluten free bread. In fact, I got so fed up with the whose who of gluten free "crap" out there that I ended up making my own. I'm sure you have gotten to that point with something in your life.

But you know what? I love it! And even better, my not so gluten-free husband loves it!

I've added some vegetarian adaptations as well.


4 c. flour blend (see recipe below)
1 tbsp. xanthan gum
2 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1/2 c. powdered goat's milk or non-dairy powdered milk of choice
2 1/4 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 tsp. baking powder


4 tbsp. ground flaxseeds soaked in 6 tbsp. water until gel like consistency [appx. 5 minutes]
2 eggs [or 2 additional tbsp. of ground flaxseeds with 6 additional tbsp. of water]
1/4 c. ghee [clarified butter], non-dairy butter [like Earth Balance Soy Free Spread], or Spectrum organic shortening, melted
2 tsp. cider vinegar
1/3 c. honey or maple syrup
2 c. warm water (110 - 115 degrees)

Prepare two 8-inch bread pans with grease and flour. Sift together all dry ingredients and set aside. In mixer (using paddle attachment), blend eggs, ghee, vinegar, honey and flaxseed gel (about 30 seconds). Add half of the dry ingredients and mix until just blended. Add remaining ingredients and blend 30 seconds, until blended. On low speed, slowly add water until fully absorbed. Turn mixer to medium-high and blend 4 minutes (will look like cake batter). While mixing boil a kettle full of water. Place in large glass baking dish and set on lowest rack of oven. Put the other rack just above the dish.

Pour batter into prepared pans and place in oven about steaming water. Shut door and let rise 60 - 70 minutes. Remove from oven.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place pans in preheated oven and bake 60 minutes. Remove from oven and let bread stand 10 minutes in pans. Remove from pans and cool on wire rack.


1 1/3 c. brown rice flour
1 1/3 c. tapioca flour / starch
1 1/3 c. potato starch or arrowroot starch
1 tbsp. buckwheat flour

(Recipe adapted from Living Without magazine, October/November 2009 Issue, page 45)

Monday, March 21, 2011


Needing to give up dairy was a tragedy for my - seriously, it was bad. But only until I figured out I could make amazing ice cream using coconut milk! If you miss ice cream as much as I do, I hope you find this recipe to be a wonderful treat to keep on hand when any celebration comes around.


4 c. chopped mango (slightly frozen, optional)
1/4 - 1/2 c. honey
1 - 15 oz. can regular coconut milk
1 - 2 tsp. vodka

Blend all ingredients in blender on high until smooth (or slightly chunky if that is preferred). Turn on ice cream maker and pour in, according to instructions OR pour into container and freeze until almost firm. If too firm, remove from freezer and let stand at room temperature for 15 - 20 minutes prior to serving.

(Served with Coconut Cake in photo)


One of my favorite magazines is Living Without, a magazine devoted to people with food allergies. The cover photo this past month was of a coconut cake and, since today is my birthday, I decided to treat myself by baking it on my new Kitchenaid Mixer. It turned out so well that I wanted to share!

Note from Tina: I used sucanat in place of granulated sugar and halved the buttercream frosting recipe, which still left extra. I also served with my homemade Mango Icecream.

Gluten-Free, Dairy Free Coconut Cake


1 cup (2 sticks) dairy-free margarine of choice or vegetable shortening

2 cups granulated sugar or organic evaporated cane juice
4 large eggs, room temperature, or egg replacement*
1 tablespoon gluten-free coconut extract
3½ cups Gluten-Free Cake Flour Blend or all-purpose flour blend of choice sifted, more to dust pan
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon salt
1½ cups unsweetened premium coconut milk, warm (not low fat)
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans and dust with gluten-free flour.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat margarine or shortening and sugar at medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Lower speed to medium and add eggs, one at a time, until incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl. Add coconut extract and mix for a minute longer.
3. Measure flour blend, baking powder, baking soda, xanthan gum and salt and sift onto a piece of waxed or parchment paper.
4. Place coconut milk in a glass measuring cup and heat in microwave for 1 to 2 minutes until very warm.
5. Add half the dry mixture to the mixing bowl and beat on low speed for 30 seconds. Then add half the coconut milk and beat for 30 seconds. Repeat process, scraping down bowl. Then beat on low for 2 minutes.
6. Divide batter evenly into prepared cake pans. Bake in preheated oven for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
7. To decorate cake, place one layer, right side up, on a flat serving plate and spread top with frosting. Place second layer on frosted layer. Frost top and sides of cake. Gently pat handfuls of coconut up the sides. Fill a cake decorator bag (fitted with #6 round tip) with frosting and pipe half loops around the top edge of the cake. Place decorative eggs or jelly beans on the top.
Each slice with frosting contains 821 calories, 51g total fat, 17g saturated fat, 5g trans fat, 53mg cholesterol, 528mg sodium, 91g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 3g protein.
*For Egg-Free Coconut Cake, replace eggs with 1 cup applesauce mixed with 1 tablespoon baking powder. Place entire mixture in bowl with sugar and shortening and proceed with recipe.
For Vanilla Cake, replace coconut extract with 2 teaspoons gluten-free pure vanilla extract. Replace coconut milk with rice milk or milk of choice.
For Lemon Cake, replace coconut extract with 2 teaspoons lemon extract. Replace coconut milk with rice milk or milk of choice. Add 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel to dry ingredients.
Coconut Buttercream Frosting
“After decorating your cake, you’ll likely have frosting leftover,”says professional baker, Diane Kittle. Refrigerate extra frosting in a sealed container for up to three weeks. Bring to room temperature and whip for a few minutes to make it fluffy again. Use it to fill cookies or frost cupcakes.
6 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup boiling water
2½ cups vegetable shortening
6 ounces (1½ sticks) dairy-free margarine, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon gluten-free coconut extract
-Coarsely shredded coconut, for decorating
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine powdered sugar and salt.
2. With whisk attachment, add boiling water and whip at medium speed until smooth and cool, approximately 5 minutes.
3. Remove whisk attachment and replace with paddle attachment. Add shortening and margarine to mixing bowl and beat on medium speed until smooth, approximately 3 minutes. Increase speed to medium-high and whip until light and fluffy and increased in volume, about 10 minutes.
For Vanilla Buttercream Frosting, replace coconut extract with an equal amount of vanilla extract.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Dry ingredients:

1 c. millet flour
1 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. white rice flour
1/2 c. ground flaxseed
1 c. tapioca flour
1 tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. xanthum gum
1 c. sucanat

Wet ingredients:

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
1/4 c. black strap molasses
1 tsp. almond extract
2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 c. coconut milk beverage, rice milk, or almond milk
1/2 c. plum puree
3 eggs

2 - 3 c. chopped rhubarb

Sift together flours. Combine remaining dry ingredients with flours and set aside. Beat together wet ingredients and slowly combine with dry ingredients. Stir in rhubarb.

Place in greased muffin tin or silicone muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes or until inserted knife comes out clean.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Sweet Potato Salad with Poppyseed Dressing

1/2 sweet potato, cut in rounds and then halved
salad greens
2 tbsp. raw sunflower seeds
2 tbsp. goat cheese
poppy seed dressing (I like Drew's gluten-free, dairy-free brand or homemade dressing, see recipe below)

Place potato wedges on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Bake at 410 degrees until soft and just browning. Remove and toss with remaining ingredients.

Poppyseed Dressing

1/3 c. agave nectar (or honey)
1/2 c. vinegar (1/4 c. apple cider vinegar + 1/4 c. rice or wine vinegar, or any combination in the house)
1 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1 tsp. ground dry mustard
1/2 tsp. onion powder or 1 tsp. fresh ground onion
1 tsp. turmeric
1 c. olive, walnut, or grapeseed oil (or oil of choice)
1 heaping tbsp. poppy seeds

In blender, combine all ingredients except oil and poppy seeds. Blend well. With blender on medium-high, slowly pour in oil to emulsify dressing (essentially, mix so that the oil doesn't separate from the other ingredients). Place poppy seeds in dressing jar before pouring in dressing. Pour in dressing and shake well to combine the seeds. Refrigerate.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Vegetable Soup

1 medium size onion, chopped
1 c. sliced celery
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
8 c. chicken broth
1 quart jar stewed tomatoes
1 quart jar tomato sauce
1 c. sliced carrots
1 quart jar canned green beans (or fresh / frozen)
1 quart jar canned corn (or fresh / frozen)
2 c. kidney beans, cooked
2 c. white northern beans, cooked
handful of each fresh herbs, ground (I use thyme, parsley, oregano, and basil) or dried to taste (1 tbsp. each)
1 Ib. ground venison (optional)

Heat olive oil in skillet. Saute onions and garlic. Cook until translucent and add celery. Saute 1 - 2 minutes or until celery is bright green. Remove and place in Crockpot. Saute venison in same skillet until cooked through. Add to Crockpot. Stir remaining ingredients into Crockpot and cook on high 4 - 6 hours. Salt and pepper to taste.

Note from Tina: I can tomatoes, tomato sauce, corn, and green beans. I also make large batches of dried beans and freeze in 2 cup containers.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Veggie Tostada with Cilantro-Lime Rice

2 - 3 corn tortillas
2 large scoops of home-style refried beans
organically grown lettuce
cilantro-lime rice (see recipe below)
avocado, diced

Lay tortillas out on cookie sheet. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle a pinch or so of Real Salt sea salt over each. Place in oven and broil on low until light brown and crunchy. Remove from oven and spread a scoop of refried beans over each. Layer with cilantro-lime rice, lettuce, avocado, and salsa.

Cilantro-Lime Rice Recipe

1 c. brown rice (or rice of choice)
2 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. dry cilantro or 1/4 c. fresh, ground
1 tbsp. olive oil

Cook rice according to instructions. When fully cooked, stir in lime juice, cilantro, and oil.

Note from Tina: I use organic lettuce (we grow it ourselves), homemade salsa, and home-style refried beans (see blog post for recipe).

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


1 c. cherries, pitted and halved (I use cherries I had canned the summer before, drained)
1c. blueberries (I use blueberries I had canned the summer before, drained)
1 tsp. orange zest
1 tsp. honey or you can add 1 c. of homemade jam
Pinch of allspice, cloves, nutmeg, and ginger (each)
1/4 c. tapioca flour [optional for thicker consistency, if using jam be sure to add this]

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted

1/2 c. honey
6 tbsp. applesauce
2 tbsp. non-dairy milk of choice
2 c. gluten-free flour mix (see mix recipe below)
1 tsp. baking powder (aluminum-free)
1 tsp. baking soda (aluminum-free)
1 tsp. almond extract
Grease 8 x 13 glass baking pan. Mix base ingredients and spread into pan. Set aside. Blend cake batter ingredients. Gently spread on top of cherry-blueberry base. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes. If a knife or toothpick, inserted into cake topping, does not come out clean lightly cover with tinfoil [not tightly] and continue to bake. This could take an additional 15 - 30 minutes.


1/2 c. brown rice flour
1/4 c. buckwheat flour or ground oat flour
1/2 c. tapioca flour
3/4 c. arrowroot powder or amaranth starch
1/4 c. millet flour

Monday, March 7, 2011

Allergies on a Budget

If you have food allergies, you have probably walked the isles of your local grocery store reading label after label trying to figure out what you can and cannot eat. I was looking up a product today online and stumbled across Meijer's Allergen Listings. It is a comprehensive list of most of their store label products and the various allergens (or lack there of) in each.

Here is the link:

Meijer hosts a gluten-free fair week every year so watch for that. All gluten-free products go on sale!

Special Note: Remember that although it may be listed as a specific allergen-free it is still crucial to read the product labels to ensure that the manufacturing process has not changed and confirm that each product is allergen-friendly. Also, gluten-free, dairy-free, organic (or fill in the blank) does not necessarily mean healthy. Wise product discernment is still necessary.

I have also found quite a few other places to find gluten free, dairy free products at a fraction of the price. Here are some of my favorites:

Country Life Natural Foods - ask to see if they have a local ordering group if you're not near Pullman.  They recently added a wide variety of gluten-free products, especially flours, that you can purchase in bulk.

Nourish Organic Market - a lot of bulk options as well. I love their selection of dried beans!

Shady Side Farm - organic dried beans in bulk and local!

And of course, my local farmers market supplies the bulk of my diet as all veggies and fruits are gluten / dairy free!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Orange-Poppy Seed Waffles

1 1/2 Gluten-free flour mix (see recipe below)
3 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tbsp. poppy seeds
1/8 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1 c. coconut yogurt (or Greek yogurt works well also)
1/2 c. rice or coconut milk (or other non-dairy milk of choice)
4 tbsp. grapeseed, coconut, or olive oil
1 tsp. orange extract
2 tbsp. orange zest*

Mix all of the dry ingredients. Whisk together wet ingredients separate from dry and slowly combine with dry ingredients. Pour batter into waffle iron, spreading if necessary. Cook according to waffle make instructions. Top with Ghee (clarified butter) and Honey-Orange Syrup (recipe below).

Gluten-Free Flour Blend
1 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. buckwheat flour or sorghum flour
1 c. tapioca flour
1 1/2 c. potato, corn, or amaranth starch
1/2 c. millet flour

Honey-Orange Syrup
Juice of one orange
1/2c. honey

Heat honey in saucepan until just warm. Stir in juice of one orange and mix well. Serve warm over waffles.

2 -3 sticks of unsalted butter

Heat butter in saucepan. Bring to boil and turn to simmer. Let cook until butter seems to separate from dairy and makes a foam. Begin to tip pan to side to see if the dairy that has floated to the bottom of the pan is turning brown. Check frequently. When brown, remove from heat. Pour through cheesecloth into a jar. Let stand. Will not need to be refrigerated.

*For the orange zest I usually wash and peel and organic orange and throw the peels in a coffee grinder until finely ground. Be sure to juice the orange prior to peeling to use in the syrup.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Dirty Dozen

If you're interested in purchasing more organic produce but don't know where to start or are on a tight budget, here is a good place to start.

The "Dirty Dozen" is a list of twelve fruits and vegetables that should be purchased and / or grown organically because they typically are sprayed with more pesticides, insecticides, etc.; are grown in heavily treated soil; don't have thick peels to protect them; and / or retain many of the chemicals used, more so than other produce.

Bell Peppers

I would also add all baby food, corn and soybeans to this list. Baby food, if possible, should always be bought organically or made with organic ingredients. An infant's immune system is not as developed as an adults and can't handle the onslaught of chemicals. They also will retain more of the chemicals which can manifest in a lot of different, destructive ways such as reduced immunity. Corn and soybeans are almost always genetically modified but when bought organically (especially if an heirloom variety) genetic modification can be avoided. For a great look into this watch Food, Inc. (

Foods that are relatively clean of pesticides (though they may be heavily fertilized depending on the farmer) are:

Sweet Peas
Sweet Potato*
Honeydew Melon

* Sweet potato is controversial as it is a root vegetable and may pick up many more fertilizers from the soil than other foods.

It is always best to buy these foods as local as possible to reduce the number of pesticides sprayed, especially on those that travel great distances and thus need to be protected from bacteria and bug infestation. Buying local also reduces the carbon footprint (what it takes to get food from seed to plate) in the form of gas, packaging, manpower, storage, etc.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Coconut Milk Yogurt

3 - 14 oz. cans of regular fat coconut milk (I use Thai Organic)
1/4 c. plain store-bought coconut milk yogurt, other live-culture yogurt, or 1/4 c. from a previous batch of coconut yogurt
2 tbsp. honey or maple syrup
1 tbsp. of thickener such as guar gum, agar agar, pectin, gelatin, or 1 - 2 cups of pureed coconut meat (optional, if you like thicker yogurt)

Candy or dairy thermometer
2 quart-size glass jars with plastic lids (no metal)
1 quart-size glass jar for boiling water
1 medium size hard cooler
1 medium size bath towel
1 dish towel
Note: Sterilize all utensils and tools prior to use to avoid harmful bacteria spread.

Heat coconut milk to 160 degrees.
Remove and let cool to 100 - 110
degrees. Add honey and thickener (if using). Combine 1/4 c. of cultured yogurt (store-bought or previous batch) with 1/2 c. of the cooled coconut milk mixture. Combine well and add to coconut milk mixture. Whisk well. Bring kettle of water to boil.

Divide mixture into two quart size glass jars. Pour boiling water in
remaining jar. Place all three jars in cooler with water jar in the middle. Tuck bath towel around all jars to create a snug insulator. Place kitchen towel on top and tuck in sides. Close cooler tightly to seal.

Let stand 8 - 24 hours, but no longer than 24 hours. Remove jars and refrigerate. Save jar of water to reheat for next batch.

Serve plain or with fruit, granola and / or honey or maple syrup to sweeten. Try this granola - it is so good! I also use in my smoothie (see Nutrition Packed Smoothie) in place of coconut milk for a creamy "shake".

Note from Tina: This recipe is amazingly easy and should take you less than 30 minutes to whip up (without the time it needs to cool and set). It definitely beats the store-bought version that is so pricey and this allows you to control the amount of sugar added.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Small Spaces, Beautiful Gardens

One of my favorite things about March is that, no matter how much snow we get, I KNOW that spring is right around the corner. This means I scramble to do some last minute garden research, finish writing my springtime "to-dos", perfect my garden plan and catch myself longingly looking out the window wondering if this will be the day that all the snow will disappear. If you live in Michigan you know what beautiful torture this is.

One of my favorite gardening books this season is Grow Great Grub by Gayla Trail. It is really a book for city-dwellers and people who have limited gardening space, however, I have found this book to provide some really helpful gardening tips along with some fun photos. I've checked it out of the library twice so far this year and have renewed each time! If you don't have much gardening space (and even if you do) it is really worth paging through. There are also recipes intermingled in the chapters providing seasonal ideas.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pomegranate-Orange Spritzer

1/2 c. pomegranate juice (or juice of choice)
1/2 c. club soda or carbonated water
2 - 3 slices of clementine or sliced or diced fruit of choice

Combine juice and club soda or water. Add fruit slices or pieces. Serve on ice.

This is a great stand in for soft drinks and alcoholic beverages!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Freezer Fudge - Take Two

1/2 c. cashew butter
1/2 c. coconut oil
1/4 c. carob
1/3 - 1/2 c. agave nectar
1 tsp. vanilla (or other flavoring, optional)
1 - 2 splashes of Amaretto

Melt coconut oil in sauce pan over medium heat. Remove from heat and whisk in remaining ingredients until smooth. Pour in glass baking dish lined with tinfoil or a muffin tin with silicone muffin molds.

Freeze 30 min. Remove, cut, and serve!

You can twist this recipe any way you like. For instance, I turned it into coconut fudge by eliminating the vanilla and adding 1/2 c. of finely shredded, unsweetened coconut and 1 tbsp. coconut extract (to taste).

White Chili

1 - 2 chicken breasts (optional)
16 oz. medium salsa
1 - 2 tsp. cumin (to taste)
1 tsp. chili powder
4 c. chicken or vegetable broth
4 - 6 c. Northern beans
8 oz. Monteray Jack cheese, cubed (optional)

Combine all ingredients (except cheese if using) in Crockpot and cook for 4 - 6 hours on high. Lay chicken breasts on top (they do not need to be cooked because the will cook with the soup). With 30 minutes left, add cheese and cook until melted and combined.