Watermelon You Waiting For?

IMG_6877

Hi, friends!  It’s been a coon’s age since I’ve written a post, but now that the whole graduate school thing is over, I have a little more time to do the things I used to do enjoying, like making fancy food and taking pictures of it.  I was elated when I found a discount watermelon at the co-op, and could not to make one of my favorite summertime treats when I saw it:  watermelon gazpacho!  This recipe showcases all the bounty of summer and warm soil, namely the sweet heirloom tomatoes, the bold basil, the spicy garlic, all elevated by a little salt and the tang of lime.  The amounts of all the ingredients are simply a guideline.  Feel free to experiment to please your particular palate.  Enjoy!  

Watermelon Gazpacho:

Serves 8-10

  • 1 small sugar baby watermelon (or 5 c. watermelon puree)
  • 3 medium heirloom tomatoes (or 4 c. tomato puree)
  • 1 medium cucumber
  • 1 c. loosely packed basil
  • 1 c. lime juice
  • 1 onion
  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 2 tsp salt
  • fresh cracked pepper 

1)  Put all ingredients in blender or food processor and blend to desired consistency.  

2)  Enjoy!  

Advertisements

Spring has Stung!

Ahh…Springtime in the Northwest…Aside from asparagus and strawberries that will soon grace your plates, there are also treasures to find in the fields and forests during spring.  I’m talking about foraged delights such as morels and stinging nettles!  Stinging nettles are not only absolutely delectable, but they’re also chockfull of protein, vitamins A & C, potassium, calcium, manganese, and iron!  They taste similar to spinach for those of you poor souls who have not tried them (yet).  PLEASE wear gloves when harvesting and preparing them as they, as the name implies, sting.  Stinging nettles have little hollow barbs full of irritating chemicals that will give you a stinging burning sensation that will last for days.  (I speak from experience!)  Here is a recipe that celebrates the stinging nettle.  HAPPY SPRING!

Image

Stinging Nettle Fritters:  

Makes 6-8 small fritters

  • 1 1/2 cup of stinging nettles, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp – 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup shredded zucchini
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tsp lemon balm
  • 1/2 tsp lovage
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt or to taste
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 tbsp flax meal
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Olive oil

1) In a small bowl, combine flax meal and water.  Set aside.

2)  In a medium sized bowl, mix nettles, herbs and spices, and salt.

3)  Add flax meal mixture.

4)  Mix in flour.

5)  In a skillet over medium with about 1/4″ of oil, (skillet is ready when small bit of batter bubbles when added to the hot oil) add fritters by heaping tablespoons and flatten with spatula, flipping until golden brown on each side.

6)  Cool on rack.

7)  Enjoy!

Image

Truly Crunchy-Granola Type

Are you sick of spending $4 or $5 per pound of granola from your local bulk section?  Have you ever tried making your own?  It’s soo easy and you can fill it with whatever your heart (& your stomach) desires!  This granola is more like a template, so feel free to add or leave out whatever you’d like from this recipe.  This makes A LOT of granola, so you might want to make only half, but you’ll be set on breakfast for a while if you make it all at once.  Enjoy!

Image

Hemp Cherry Nut Granola:

  • 10 cup of oats
  • 1/2 c. coconut oil, melted
  • 3/4 c. maple syrup or agave nectar
  • 1-2 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 2-3 Tbsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup flax meal
  • 1/2 cup tart cherries
  • 1/2 roughly chopped shelled pistachios
  • 1/2 roughly chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup hemp seeds
  • 1 cup shredded coconut
  • zest of 2 oranges
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt

1)  Mix maple syrup, coconut oil, vanilla extract, flax meal together in a small bowl set aside.

2)  In a large bowl, mix oats, salt, coconut, fruit, nuts, seeds, cinnamon, and orange zest in a small bowl.

3)  Add liquid mixture from the small bowl to the large bowl of dry ingredients and mix until well-combined.

3)  Bake in batches, spreading each batch out evenly on a baking sheet.  Bake for about 25 minutes in a 300 deg F oven.

4)  Cool on baking sheet before transferring to containers.

5)  Enjoy and be thankful you won’t be ripped off by the granola in your local bulk section!

Image

I Wanna Live With a Cinnamon [Bun] Girl

You would be happy for the rest of your life!  Neil Young would agree.  One of my favorite fans noticed I haven’t posted in some time…Sorry, friends, I have been piled with graduate schoolwork lately!    I hope you find this post (& its title) satisfactory, J.  🙂

This is the first time I’ve impromptu’d with yeast breads and I’d say it was a success.  These big ol’ buns were for a birthday brunch of a dear friend of mine.  Happy Birthday, Kim!  The cinnamon filling was a bit thin, so I’m upping the amount in the recipe.  Let me know if it works!  I also didn’t have any vanilla extract, so add it where you see fit.  Also, Happy Spring, everyone!  It’s (almost) warm enough to not wear long underwear here in MT!  Happy baking!

IMG_3202Cinnamon Buns!

Makes 10 buns

Dough

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup Earth Balance, cold
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 6 Tbsp of warm water (110 – 115 °F) + 1  Tbsp sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups “milk” (I used coconut milk)
  • 6 Tbsp of warm water (110 – 115 °F) + 1  Tbsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1/2 cup sugar

Filling:

  • 2-3 Tsp of  ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 Earth Balance

1)  “Proof” the yeast, to make sure it’s active.  In a small bowl, mix 1 Tbsp sugar and 6 Tbsp warm water until sugar is dissolved.  Add yeast and set aside for 10 minutes.  If the yeast mixture is foamy and has a head like a good beer, it’s good!

2)  In a large bowl, mix flour, salt, and Earth Balance.  With a pastry cutter (or your hands), cut the cold Earth Balance into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs.

3)  In a medium bowl, add flax meal, milk, and 1/2 cup sugar.

4)  Add yeast mixture, once done proofing, to large bowl of flour mixture.

5)  Add medium bowl of milk mixture to large bowl of flour mixture.

6)  Mix until just combined.  A slightly sticky dough will form.  DO NOT OVERMIX.

7)  Cover bowl with clean towel and set in warm, draft-free area, and let rise for about an hour, until doubled in bulk.  Make filling in meantime.

8)  To make filling, melt Earth Balance over low heat.  Add sugar and cinnamon and sugar and whisk until combined.

2)  Remove from heat and set aside.  Back to the dough!

8)  Punch dough down and transfer to floured surface.

9)  Knead dough just until workable (DO NOT OVERKNEAD) and no longer sticks to the work surface or your hands.

10)  Divide dough in two heaps.  Set one heap aside.

11)  Make each head into a long rectangle.

12)  Spread filling on dough and roll lengthwise and pinch the edges where one end of the dough meets the other in the last roll as to not let the filling spill out.

13)  Cut log of dough into 5 equal pieces

14)  Repeat with other heap of dough.

15)  Place buns into a greased 9″ x 13″ pan (it’s okay if the buns touch, they will).

16)  Bake in 350 °F oven for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Icing:

  • 1/2 cup “cream cheese”, softened
  • 1/4 cup Earth Balance, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I just used a piece of vanilla bean)
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups powdered sugar

1)  Beat cream cheese and Earth Balance until smooth.

2)  Add vanilla and powdered sugar and beat until smooth, a glaze that’s ideal for drizzling over buns should form.

3)  Drizzle over cool or slightly warm buns.

ENJOY!

IMG_3193

Wrap your truffles in dreams…

These truffles ARE dreams and…you can eat them for breakfast!  These little numbers are packed full of protein, good fats, low-glycemic carbohydrates, and just a tiny touch of sweetness that will keep you satisfied for hours without a sugar crash.  This recipe is partly inspired by the delicious carob-almond butter squares I used to get at Whole Earth Center, a wonderful natural foods grocer in Princeton, New Jersey, when I lived in that area.  It is also partly inspired by the brief time I followed the raw diet and often made coconut haystacks from raw chef Matt Amsden’s book, RAWvolution.  Mmm.  Get creative with this recipe!  Perhaps add some slivered almonds, and a bit of fresh orange peel if you want to make these for a fancy dessert?  Dust these babies in a bit of smoked salt, chili, and cocoa powder?  Have fun!  Yum.

Image

Breakfast Truffles!

Makes 16 truffles – serves 4

Ingredients:  

–  1/4 cup cocoa powder

– 1/4 cup carob powder

– 1/4 cup peanut butter

– 1/4 sunflower butter

– 1/4 cup coconut oil

– 1/4 cup flax seed meal

– 2 tbsp water

– 1/4 cup honey or agave nectar

– 2 cups of rolled oats

– pinch of salt, or to taste

– cocoa powder, for dusting (optional)

Directions:

1)  In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until well blended.

2)  Make each truffle by rolling two tablespoons of mixture into a ball.

3)  Optional:  In a small bowl with a bit of cocoa powder, roll truffles lightly until coated.

4)  Chill until firm.

5)  Enjoy!

Eat Curry, Be Happy.

When it’s 7 degrees like it was here in Montana today, I want something spicy to warm me up.  The answer to my craving for such things was a warm sweet potato spinach curry burger with a little dollop of chili garlic mayo (Vegenaise, of course) and some more fresh spinach, with a squeeze of fresh lime juice, all atop a crispy homemade corn tortilla.  That did the trick.  These curry burgers are laced with the warm flavors of smoked paprika, curry, and fresh ginger, and have a slight sweetness from the sweet potatoes, and a little tangy from the sun dried tomatoes.  Not only will these curry burgers warm you up on a chilly winter day, they also give your body a health dose of protein from lentils, quinoa, and brown rice flour, not to mention a slew of other vitamins and minerals.  Mmm.  P.S. You might want to cut this recipe in half, as it will make about 30 burgers!

Image

Sweet Potato Spinach Curry Burgers

Ingredients:

2 cups lentils

1/2 cup quinoa

1 medium sweet potato, cut into 1/4″ cubes

3/4 cup chopped onion

3/4 cup chopped mushrooms

3/4 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes

2 cups fresh spinach

1 cup unsweetened dried coconut

1/2 cup unsalted vegetable broth

1 cup flour (I used brown rice flour)

1 bunch of green onions

1 1/2″ piece of fresh ginger, grated

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp smoked paprika

2 Tbsp curry powder

1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp salt, or to taste

Directions:

1)  Cook lentils and quinoa.  Transfer to very large bowl or pot and set aside.

2)  In a large skillet, add a bit of oil, and cook sweet potato until little browned and slightly soft.  Transfer to bowl of lentil and quinoa mixture.

3)  Add onions, mushrooms, and sundried tomatoes to skillet and cook over low-medium heat until onions are transparent.  Add to bowl of lentil mixture.

4)  Chop the two cups of spinach.  Add to bowl of lentil mixture.

5)  Add the remaining ingredients to lentil mixture, making sure to add the flour gradually as to avoid lumps.

6)  When all ingredients are well combined, form patties from 1/4 cup scoops of burger mix

7)  Add patties to a well-oiled skillet and cook until browned on both sides.

8)  Enjoy!

Auld Lang Pie

Hi friends!  I apologize for not posting any good eats for a few weeks.  ‘Twas finals week, but I guess all that hard work paid off:  4.0, yo!  And my wonderful boyfriend from Texas moved up to the Great Northern Yonder.  Anyway, I’m back and ready to lay it on thick with recipes.  Because I have time to read these days, reading of books of my choice, without deadlines, I have been reading all kinds of things.  As it’s harder for me to keep off weight now that I am not a construction worker any longer, sweating all the time in Texas, or biking nine hours a day, I thought it would be wise to read up on nutrition and keeping a healthy weight until I can get the heck back to Austin when I’m done getting learned up here in Montana.  I’m learning so much about the many minerals we humans need.  Magnesium, for one, is an extremely important mineral that of which about half of people don’t get enough.  This mineral is essential in over 300 cell reactions! (101 Recipes You Can’t Live Without from Prevention by Lori Powell)   Amazing.  I’m a pretty healthy eater (my carb-laden recipes on here do not reflect my very healthy diet) but there’s always room for improvement.  I suggest to all of you, that you get your vitamins and minerals in your food.  Don’t swallow them with a gulp of water.  Getting your nutrients from your food is the most absorbable and bioavailable form of everything you need to keep your body functioning and healthy.  Eating colorfully, seasonally, and with variety is a great way to ensure that you’re getting everything you need.  The following recipe should not be necessarily a staple of your diet, but a treat that is gluten free and contains some good nutrients.  Let’s talk about the star of this pie:  Chocolate!  

Image

Chocolate contains polyphenols, an antioxidant, in the form of flavonoids.  Flavonoids, have shown anti-cancer activity as well as help in stroke prevention as it reduces the blood’s ability to clot.  (Mayo Clinic)  Chocolate also contains some magnesium, iron, calcium, and potassium.  Almonds also are quite present in this recipe.  Almonds are rockstars when it comes to anticancer properties.  They are also full of protein, several B vitamins, calcium, iron, potassium, and are one of the best sources of vitamin E.  (The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia, Wood)  Secondly, flax has minor role in this recipe.  I mostly use flax seed as a staple when it comes to replacing eggs, which has its benefits.  Firstly, flax seeds are cholesterol-free and also contain “good fats,” in the form of omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3s are used for the prevention and treatment of coronary disease and may even serve to keep your brain young and help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.  (101 Recipes…, Powell) When I’m not eating the omega-3s from flax meal from this delicious pie, I make sure to sprinkle 2 tablespoons on my steel cut oats every morning and enjoy 2,400 mg of omega-3 (1,000 milligrams is the recommended daily amount), 3 grams of protein, 2% of your daily calcium, 4% of your iron, and a whopping 15% of the fiber you need for the day.  Another fatty acid in this pie is in the form of coconut oil, which I use for everything, and you should too.  Here’s why:  Although being high in saturated fat, it is over 50% medium-chain fatty acids.  This type of fat is never stored as fat but is instead metabolized by the body into the form of energy.  It also contains lauric acid, which helps improve brain and immune system function.  This pie also contains tofu which is full of calcium and iron, essential for bone and heart health, and keeps muscles functioning well and energy levels high, respectively.  So aside from the healthful new you, ring in the New Year with a rich and chocolatey (vegan and gluten-free) pie that’s a real crowd pleaser!  Happy New Year!!      

Image

Chocolate Dream Pie: 

Crust:

Ingredients  

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 2 tbsp agave or maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal + 3/4 cup water (combine and let sit for a few minutes)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds

Directions:

1)  Work coconut oil into almond flour until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  

2)  Add unsweetened coconut.

3)  Add flaxseed meal mixture and mix until well-combined.

4)  Add remaining ingredients and add slivered almonds last.  Knead until a wet dough forms.

5)  Pat pie crust into greased 9″ pie pan and bake in 350 degree F oven for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.  

Filling:  

Ingredients

  • 1 cup organic and fair trade dark chocolate chips
  • 1 16 oz package of silken tofu, beaten until smooth
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 of egg replacer (corn starch, flour, or flaxmeal can also be used but the texture may be slightly different) + 6 tbsp water, mixed and set aside for a few minutes
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla

Directions:

1)  In a double boiler (or because I don’t have a fancy double boiler, a large pot filled with a few inches of water with another pot on top, allowing some steam to escape), melt the chocolate chips.  

2)  Add melted chocolate chips to beaten silken tofu.

3)  Add cocoa powder until no lumps remain.

4)  Add remaining ingredients.  

5)  Add mixture to medium pot and cook over low heat until hot being VERY CAREFUL not to scorch mixture as this will ruin the pie.  

6)  Pour filling into crust and chill until firm.  

7)  ENJOY!  

Image