Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Recipe for Fig- Quince- Ginger Jam (Vegan Gluten-free)




Yes, Fig-Quince-Ginger Jam sounds pretty darned exotic from the blog of a granny living on the currently rainy Vancouver Island off the West Coast of Canada.   

Especially exotic when you realize that I didn't even know that I was growing a quince tree in our backyard!

We thought we had planted a PEAR tree.  This is the first year that these hard, furry, bulbous fruits produced more than a couple of little fall-offs.  And I still thought they were pears until I saw a friend's show piece on quinces that she harvested.

A second crop of Green Figs
Katsikopoulos Dimitris
So, this is brand new territory!  I also have a fig tree, as you will know from blogs past, so I went looking for fig-quince jam recipes.  We have a second crop of these little green figs.  My husband is a real "fig pig" but I'm kind of 'meh' about them.  Jam is always good though.

The Quince that we have are rock hard-- even though they are 'ripe'.  You have to sort of hack them in quarters with a big heavy knife (after you have washed the offending fuzz off-- it comes off well just by putting it in a bowl of cold water and sort of rubbing it off with you hand or a soft brush).  Quince are rarely eaten raw (I can see why).  When I was still under the illusion that they were pears, I had put a couple of them into a brown paper bag, the way I do with hard pears... they didn't get soft, but when I removed them, the bag had the most delightful fresh confectionary scent-- my husband said it smelled like jelly.  I'm not sure.  But QUINCE JELLY is one of the things that this fruit often gets used for.

What quince lacks in looks and tenderness it makes up for in fibre, vitamins and minerals apparently.  As well as being a great anti-cancer food, the quince also has anti-allergy and anti-inflammatory qualities that make it a healthy choice for a lot of suffering souls out there-- you might just be one of them discovering a fruit you didn't know existed that will help you in your struggles!  CAUTION: Quince Seeds are Poison!

HERE IS THE RECIPE for FIG-QUINCE-GINGER JAM (or Marmalade, if you wish) :
Quince on Tree courtesy of Adriana Herbut
 

Combine the following in a glass or ceramic bowl for an hour or overnight:

  • 4 C. of Figs and Quince, washed and stemmed (the Figs) cut into small pieces (the Quince)
  • 3+C. Coconut Palm Sugar (or your usual sugar)
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • Large knuckle of Fresh Ginger, Grated (to your taste)
The next morning put the above masceration in a large pan and bring ingredients to a boil.  Turn down to simmer, stirring throughout, for about 45 minutes to an hour.  

I freaked a little at about the 40-minute mark and added in about a tablespoon of Agar Agar flakes to "jam" it up but I think I would have been fine just stirring it for the next 15 minutes without worrying about whether it would thicken up.  With the agar agar, though, it IS super thick, if that is the consistency you desire.  That's the way we like it!

Best way to eat this jam?  Why, on a baguette, of course!












Friday, August 21, 2015

Collecting and Saving Teeny Yellow Tomato Seeds



Today we have teeny yellow (and red) tomatoes coming out our yin-yan.

I am joyful with such abundance during a year of drought, and grateful for the friends who passed the wonderful little yellow tomato starter plants on to us (when we had opted not to grow tomatoes this year after a couple of bleak harvests).

These tomatoes were labeled "Tumblers".  My gardener-daughter-in-law was here earlier in the summer and exclaimed several times over how sweet and tasty the tiny yellow tomatoes were.. like candy.  Could she have some of the seed?

Soooo.... I am saving seeds... and with a method that will work for any other tiny tomato (grape, cherry, etc.).

HARVEST: For the best possible seed production, let your fruit ripen on the vine if at all possible (and you know that it happens quickly with these little tomatoes).  

If you want to ripen the little guys you save from the first frost, they WILL ripen, but slowly, and in a cool, dry location. Seeds will always be most viable if collected from fruits that have at least turned colour... and definitely MOST viable of all from a very ripe fruit.  (Of course, this is where you also get your very delicious flavour, from the vine-ripened tomato-- but try not to eat them all!  Save the Seeds!)

PROCESS: Working with little tomatoes is easy-peasy-- no arduous slicing and wasteful elimination of the flesh around the stem-- just slice them in half around their middle/equator.  

Gently squeeze or scoop out the seeds from the vertical cavitiesCareful work will give you the rest of the little gems to sun-dry (or dehydrate), add to a salad or other dishes, or just enjoy as they are! 
 
Put the gelatinous matter and seeds into a small jar.   If you use less than about a 1/2 of a 1/2-pint jar of seeds and jelly, then add a little water.  

Cover with something like a coffee filter held in place with a rubber band.  Put somewhere warm, around 65-70° F, 20C,  like the top of the fridge.

Leave the solution in a warm place for about 3 days, stirring daily.

A surprising black fungus mat will develop over the surface of the mixture after just a couple of days.  But the GOOD NEWS is that this nasty looking fungus is a super-bonus: not only does the fungus consume the jelly gook
 that coats each seed and stops  germination but it also forms antibiotics that interrupt production of seed-borne diseases (such as canker, bacterial spot, and speck.) 
Finally, about the fourth day, pour warm water up to the rim of the jar.  Allow  the contents to settle and pour off the slowlyPulp and immature seeds will float on the top, and exit with the water. The heavier 'viable seeds' will sink to the bottom of the jar and nestle together there.  
Viable seeds will sink to the bottom of the jar


Re-fill the jar with warm water and pour it off repetitively until you are satisfied that the seeds that line the bottom of the jar are the clean, viable seeds you are looking for.  

Tip the clean seeds into a fine strainer and let the last droplets of water drain 

Turn the strainer upside down over a paper towel or piece of newspaper. Let the seeds dry completely (takes a day or two).

Gently separate the clumps into individual seeds,  and store in a small envelope, plastic bag, or plastic pill container.  I read somewhere about someone's grandfather who unreeled a toilet tissue roll and let the seeds dry there, then rolled it back up again to have a ready made seed mat for planting. 

 Label.

You can find this article on my Pinterest board for Tiny Tomatoes, along with a couple of dozen great recipes for Tiny Tomatoes... 
 and here is a favourite easy recipe for that abundance:
Oven-Fry Garlic Tiny Tomatoes: Pre-set oven to 350F. Mix tomato halves in bowl with Olive Oil, cracked Black Pepper, Minced Garlic, a little Celtic Sea Salt or Kosher Salt.  Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Use as a pasta sauce too!

Have a look HERE at 15 plants you can grow yourself cheap or free! 
 

Monday, July 6, 2015

Delightful Crunchy Sunflower Seed Pesto Recipe



Looking for a delicious way to use your yummy fresh garden basil  but almost had a heart attack when you saw the cost of pine nuts for the pesto recipe?   Subbing home-toasted sunflower seeds will give you a very tasty crunchy pesto for a fraction of the cost of pine nuts! 

Ingredients
  • 1 C. raw, organic, shelled Sunflower Seeds
  • 1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt
  • 3 - 4 Garlic cloves
  • 2+ tsp. fresh-squeezed Lemon Juice
  • 4 C. lightly-packed Basil leaves
  • 1/2 C. extra virgin Olive Oil
Method
  1. In skillet over medium heat, combine Seeds and Salt, and stirring throughout, toast until most seeds are golden (careful not to burn!).  Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Combine all ingredients --except Olive Oil-- in food processor.
  3. Process while drizzling Olive Oil through the top opening.
  4. Store in mason jar in the fridge.  Makes about 2 C. Delicious on pasta, pizza, crackers, brioche, toast, or as the crunchy crust on a  cheese ball.
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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Yummy 3-Ingredient Organic Breakfast Cookies





Organic Breakfast Cookies (rainbow effect thanks to a crystal on my kitchen window sill)
You may already have come across these delicious breakfast cookies but thought: "hey, where's the good stuff? The sugar? The eggs? The fat?"  Well, the good stuff is all in the ingredients-- this is a whole food recipe which means we aren't using derivatives, we're using the real food, and it doesn't need to be gussied up with animal products to have incredible mouth appeal (that is what fatty, sugary, salty, custard-y textures and tastes contribute).  So, I say, try 'em and if you're disappointed, well, add some of the other ingredients...

INGREDIENTS (all organic and non-GMO)
    • 3 well-mashed Bananas
    • 1 C. Old-Fashioned Oat Flakes
    • 1/4 C. Chia Seed Gel
You can go with these 3-- pretty delicious by all counts-- or you can add in one or several of the following:
  • 1/4 C. chopped Nuts (I like pecans) or Seeds
  • 1/4 C. unsweetenened Coconut shreds
  • 1/4 C. Raisins or dried berries, figs, apricots, etc.
  •  1 tsp. grated fresh Ginger or 1 tsp. Cinnamon or 1/2 tsp. Nutmeg, etc.
  • 1/4 C. Apple Sauce
  • Sprinkle of Celtic Sea Salt
  • 1/4 C. Carob powder with 1 tsp. Cinnamon
  • ?? (what did you try that isn't listed above? How did it turn out? Please tell in comments below.
INSTRUCTIONS:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F./180 C.
  2. Combine everything until well mixed
  3. Drop 12 cookies onto a cookie sheet covered by a silicone mat or parchment paper
  4. Bake for 15 - 25 minutes (different preferences, different ovens)
  5. Cool.  Eat in-hand as a cookie or, as my husband prefers, in a small stack with almond milk on top (like a super-rich, sticky banana porridge). However you eat them, they are 'natural' and yummy and easy on the digestion!
Here is a link to a very interesting presentation on the nutritional status of GMOs -- explained very clearly by Dr. Thierry Vrain, a soil scientist who worked for Agriculture Canada for many years.   If you are still confused about whether GMOs are over-played by the health nuts or terrifyingly justified by the Frankin-monster agro-industrialist supporters, this is a good video to watch for basic scientific understanding. 

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Make Your Own Seed Mats (for Tiny Seeds)




This year I am excited to be trying a new technique (or me) for carrot planting... I am going to make my own seeding mats!

Have you ever planted carrots and either been overwhelmed by all the seeds that burst through in one spot, making it difficult to thin them without pulling up too many, or just feeling how wasteful it is to be aborting all those potential wonderful carrots?

PLANTING CARROT SEEDS IS THE HARDEST PART OF GROWING CARROTS

Carrot seeds are teeny-tiny.  It is difficult to see them when you plant and because they are so light you will sometimes find them flying about willy-nilly.  Here are some methods you can use to lessen these frustrations:
  1. Buy "pelleted seeds"-- these are various tiny seeds with a clay coating that make them easier to see and work with.  The coating needs to be kept moist during the planting process and eventually falls away.  They are fairly pricey ($6+ for 100 seeds).  Order HERE.
  2. Buy Seed Mats or strips.  These are generally tiny seeds stuck to a sheet or 'tape' / strip of  light fibre paper (newsprint quality) that breaks down as the seeds are watered and as they germinate and grow.  The idea is that the seeds are arranged in the intervals that you would use if they had already been thinned.  This saves time and money.  
  3. Make your own Seed Mats or Strips!  Save money and time when you are getting pretty close to a carrot with every couple of seeds you plant**!  Recipe below.
WHEN TO PLANT CARROTS

Carrots generally like a cooler start, so it is good to plant at the optimal Spring planting time in your area (April-May generally).  However, most plants will respond if planted during the later part of the Spring, and carrots for our area can be planted at three week intervals until July, as well as sown in August for a winter crop (until freezing).  I'm LATE getting started with my garden this year because we spent a delightful week+ with our granddaughters.  It's a sacrifice I'm willing to make!

PREPPING THE SOIL

Dig the soil deep.  Carrots like a loose, well-drained bed.  My organic farmer son suggests that a sandy soil works well for carrots.  He grows monster carrots.  I'm going to use something a little more like Mel's Blend (the Square Foot Garden Guy) because I'm using round containers to plant this fussy, beautiful Rainbow blend.  

Don't walk on your carrot beds-- they need to be kept loosy-goosy-- which is why container gardening (or square foot or raised beds) work so well for growing carrots.  I'm going to use a blend of an organic black top soil that is from an "ancient" un-farmed bog area somewhere on the Island where I live (hope it wasn't a septic field-- sort of smells like it) along with some of our own compost and maybe I will mix in some precious (read: expensive and hard to locate) vermiculite.  

If you are a novice carrot gardener, you can find some soil blends here.  If you are using a container, you could always opt for the ready-made-up container blends for veggie growing.  If possible, opt for organic and non-GMO (read: NOT Miracle Gro).

MAKING THE SEED MATS
  1. Using some rough paper (undyed, untreated as much as possible) you can clip it to the shape of the container you are going to use, or into strips or squares that you will fit your square foot garden.
  2. I put my raw tissue paper (it had been used to pack some dishes I bought and seems pretty natural) on a pizza sheet for easy transport and designed it to fit my large planter container.
  3. Make up the "glue" by cooking together (stirring or whisking constantly to keep smooth) 1/3 C. of Corn Starch to 1 C. Cold Water.  When finished it will resemble lemon pie filling.
  4. Set the "glue" aside to cool.
  5. When it is cool, spoon the goop into a baggy where you have clipped out  a corner (or use an icing bag) and deposit pea-shaped globs at the intervals on your sheet indicated by your seed packet (example: my packet reads that small plants will need to be spaced about 1 1/2 - 4" apart so I will do my globs accordingly.)
  6. Drop 2-3 seeds in each glob and let dry.
PLANTING THE MAT
  1. Before planting, even out the soil with a rake or hand, and tamp down gently.  Water well.  Lay down the paper mat, seeds facing upwards, and mist or lightly shower until the paper and seeds are completely wet.  Cover (lightly) the paper mat with vermiculite, light potting soil or moss.
  2. As the carrots begin to germinate (taking 2-3 weeks) and grow, you will likely want to water them up to several times a day to keep the paper wet at all times.  The carrots will eventually push through whatever paper is left and begin their rooty-tooty descent downwards as their lovely ferny tops grow upwards.
  3. If you decide to produce your own seed (which will only happen with fertile seed, not with more hybrids), just let a carrot continue to live underground with unmolested tops.  In time-- with the right carrot-- it will produce a flower head that resembles the Queen Anne's Lace that you may have growing as a weed in your yard.  Then you can go ahead and save your own seed for next season's planting!

**Getting a carrot for every seed you plant is, of course, conditional on: (1)the germination rate of the seed you are using-- example, my Rainbow Blend is listed as having a rate of 60% (or more than half of all seeds planted) for seeds that are under  3 years old, (2)keeping the seed bed moist during germination, (3)the weather conditions, (4)your soil conditions, (5)whether those "pesky wabbits" are lurking about awaiting your crop.  Don't worry though, because carrots generally produce enough if they germinate and you look after them sufficiently during the course of the season.  The mats will cut down on the initial having to 'thin' out redundant seedlings and make for a nice orderly seed bed.
Aren't these pretty??

A TASTE OF OTHER CARROT BLOG POSTS:

Eating A Rainbow of Carrots
Crazy Carrot Cake Oatmeal Porridge recipe
Pan Fried Roast Carrot Sticks
Chickpea and Carrot Curry

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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Pan-Fry Carrots (Roast Carrot Sticks)



Pan-roasted carrots (with some potato fries mixed in)
Our younger son grows organic vegetables, fruit and berries on an off-grid community farm in the interior of BC.  We stopped in to see him the other day and came away with a load of last year's carrots, still as carrot-y flavoured and plump as the day they were dug from the ground, thanks to the hill-side root crop storage cellar.  

Our granddaughters opted for fish and chips today for lunch, and some of the 'chips' were carrot chips.  They are also a great base for a roast carrot soup.  When you roast veggies, you get extra delicious flavour.

PAN-FRY CARROTS (Roast Carrot Sticks)
Wash and scrape carrots.  Chip or slice into strips, as desired.
Preheat Oven to 425 degrees F.

In a large bowl, combine:
  • 1-2 T. Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp.  Celtic Sea Salt
  • 4-6     large straight Carrots, cut into chips or strips (as desired)
Lay chips out on a cookie sheet.  I recommend using either a silicon mat or parchment paper on the pan to cut down on clean-up after the baking.

Bake in pre-heated oven for about  25 minutes or until soft and fragrant.

Enjoy with ketchup, or throw into a roast veggie soup.



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Friday, May 1, 2015

Eating a Rainbow (of Carrots)




A few days ago I had some dental surgery and am still chewing gently on one side only. Peas and carrots are a childhood comfort food that I can virtuously squeeze into my healthier-eating adult menu (other comfort foods were chocolate bars and maple-walnut ice cream cones, not what the dentist ordered).

How sweet that my husband picked up a package of organic Rainbow Blend Carrots yesterday!  I've eaten these (pricey) babies before, and not only are they beautiful to look at, but they are truly yummy!

These ones come all the way from California-- but I have a package of West Coast Seeds-- untreated,
Aren't they pretty?  Rainbow Blend Carrots
organic, and GMO-- so that maybe the next time we eat these babies, we'll be doing the locavar thing!

He's out (conversing in Spanish with his weekly group who meet at the Starbucks upstairs in the Courtenay Quality Foods).  I'm hungry and am going to have one of those simple, cut-to-the-chase lunches we may all indulge in from time to time (?).  No salad.  No bread.  No dessert.  But I did make a quick little pretend-cheese sauce to go over the veggies (oh, and I added some brown rice shells into the mix-- this is one of Dr. McDougall's starchavor meals I guess.  Not unhealthy-- maybe not that appealing to people who don't have carrots and peas and rice pasta on their 'comfort food' list.)  Some of you might like it as much as I do!

  1. Prepare the Carrots the way you like them, i.e., boil, steam, stirfry, or maybe put them in a parchment pouch in the oven.  Cook up the peas and pasta.  Combine the carrots, peas and pasta.
  2. Make the Sauce and ladel it over the veggies and pasta.
  3. Enjoy.

The Cheezy Kreem Sauce Recipe (or just use one of your own cream sauce recipes)
  • Assemble the ingredients beforehand-- makes it so much easier to do up quickly!  This is a 'bland' sauce because my post-op instructions forbid curry powder and peppers and anything acidic.  I have no desire to have to get something redone-- like having more sutures in my gums, for example-- so this recipe reflects that.  You, on the other hand, can use what spices you really like.  The ingredients are:  
  • 2 T. Oil (I use coconut... you might prefer olive oil?)
  • 1 1/2 C. non-dairy, unsweetened Mylk (I used Almond)
  • 2 T. Tapioca Starch
  • 12 T. Nutritional Yeast
  • 4 tsp. Dijon Prepared Mustard
  • 1 tsp. Garlic Powder
  • 1/2-1 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt (to taste)
  • scant teaspoon Turmeric Powder (optional, but nice for a yellow-y color & the health benefits)
  1. Heat the oil on medium low for a couple of minutes
  2. Whisk Mylk and starch together in a 2-C. measuring cup until all lumps are gone & it's smooth
  3. Pour mylk  and starch into pan and continue to stir until thickening begins (around 5 minutes)
  4. Add in Nutritional yeast and stir to mix in
  5. Whisk in other ingredients
  6. Continue to stir until it is a nice smooth sauce... if too thick add some water (a little) and stir until the right consistency
  7. Either put sauce in a small sauce dish and let guests ladel on their own or combine it now with the veggies and pasta in major serving dish.
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                      To hear the 2015 speakers in the Food Revolution Summit, click HERE.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Organic Chickpea and Carrot Curry Soup - Vegan and Gluten-Free






Organic Chickpea and Carrot Curry Soup
Quite often I decide what to cook based on what I have in the fridge-- what veggies are malingering, waiting their turn, feeling left-out?

 What precious sauce did I make a couple of days ago that is only half-eaten? Did my husband mention something about wondering what I had planned for those carrots?

 That is how tonight's organic chickpea and carrot curry soup came about-- the bag of carrots that were starting to go a little brown on the tips... oh, and all those delish chickpeas that I cooked up the other day that I partly used for that yummy Avocado-Chickpea Hummus...

  INGREDIENTS

  • 2 T. Coconut Oil
  • 1 medium Onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves Garlic, chopped fine
  • 1/2 tsp. organic Curry powder (I used Mild, you pick your own bite)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cumin seed, ground in the coffee grinder
  • 1 thumb-to-the-joint piece of Ginger, grated
  • 6 Carrots, chopped
  • 2 C. pre-cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans (or 1 15-oz. can, rinsed)
  • 5 C. Water or Vegetable Broth
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened Coconut Milk
  • Celtic Sea Salt to taste

METHOD

  1. Melt and heat the Coconut Oil over medium heat until fragrant.  
  2. Add in the Onions and then the Garlic, and stir occasionally until limp and glistening
  3. Stir in the Spices
  4. Add the Carrots and the Chickpeas with the 5 cups of Water or Broth (or a combination).  Cook until the Carrots and Beans are totally creamy-tender.
  5. Remove about a cup and a half of the soup, and set aside.  This is optional and I do it because I like the texture of some beans and carrots in the soup-- reminds me of my lovely experiences with real Indian Chickpea Curry.
  6. Blend up the soup with Coconut Milk -- use either a stick/immersion blender or a traditional blender carafe (cool a little first).  
  7. Let people use Celtic Sea Salt to add to their own liking when you serve the soup in individual bowls.  Enjoy!


      Tuesday, April 21, 2015

      Avocado-Chickpea Hummus (Mexican Influence) - Vegan - Gluten-Free






      Avocado-Chickpea Hummus with Peanut Butter and Chipotle Pepper

      We are big fans of (1)Hummus (2)Avocado and (3)Mexican Vegan Fare.  Like everyone else on Pinterest, I came across the perfect foodie hybrid recipe for Avocado Hummus.  Then I discovered I didn't have any tahini (sesame butter) but I did have some tasty organic peanut butter.  And recalling our younger son's ecstatic tales of eating fresh, ripe, huge avocados right off the tree in Mexico, I thought, hmmm... let's give this new recipe a Mexican spin!  I did already have freshly-cooked chickpeas (that are ever so creamy and lovely) and I wish I had that Avocado Oil I saw at Costco, but I don't-- to make it even more Mexicali I could have made it from pinto beans.  I'm going to try that another time, but for the sake of getting this delicious recipe out there:

      INGREDIENTS:

      2 C. or 1 (15 oz) can cooked Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, or Pinto Beans, well drained
      2 medium ripe Avocados, flesh only
      3 Tbsp Olive Oil, or even better, Avocado Oil, plus more for serving if desired
      1 1/2 Tbsp organic Peanut Butter
      3 Tbsp fresh Lime Juice
      1 clove Garlic, peeled
      Celtic Sea Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper
      1/8 tsp Cumin
      Chipotle Chili Pepper, chopped Cilantro and Avocado Oil for Garnish

      METHOD:

      1. In a food processor, pulse together: chick peas or pinto beans, olive or avocado oil, organic peanut butter, lime juice, and garlic in a food processor until smooth, about 2-4 minutes. 
      2. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste. 
      3. Add in Cumin and Avocados, pulsing whole mixture for another 2+ minutes until it is smooth and creamy.

      Serve topped with more oil and sprinkle with Chili Pepper and chopped Cilantro.  Serve with toasted Tortilla chips (broken tortillas) or other dippers of choice.

      Sunday, April 19, 2015

      Black Bean-Kale Soup - Vegan, Gluten-Free





      A rich, nutritious and colourful soup
      Today I was out doing some tentative Spring gardening (cleaning up the plot, seeding some baby lettuce).  I was hanging out with our "kale trees"-- tall, gnarly tree-like plants that snake along the surface of the garden and then abruptly shoot upwards.  They grow for many seasons like this.  They bolt to blossom and seeds fairly early, but there are always lots of somewhat leathery, small leaves. I love these "kale trees" and decided that it was time for a kale soup-- so this Black Bean-Kale Soup was born!

      INGREDIENTS:

      • 1 T.  Coconut Oil (or Olive Oil)
      • 1      Organic Onion, chopped
      • 1      Organic Red Pepper, seeded and chopped
      • 3      Organic Garlic cloves, chopped
      • 2      Organic Carrots, peeled and shredded (or chopped)
      • 1      Organic Sweet Potato (orange flesh), chopped
      • 2      Large handsful of organic Kale, slightly chopped
      • 2  C. "Simply Natural" Organic Tomato & Basil Pasta Sauce (or Tomato Sauce, etc.)
      • 6  C. Filtered Water
      • Spices of your choice (Italian Herb mix, Marjoram, Savory-- to taste)
      • 2  C. Organic Black Beans, cooked (or 1 14-oz. can of Black Beans)
      • 1  C.  Brown Rice Corkscrew Pasta (or as desired)(*optional)
      • Celtic Sea Salt, Freshly Ground Pepper- To Taste
      METHOD:
      1. Sauté on medium, in heavy Dutch Oven in Coconut Oil: Onion, Red Pepper, Garlic, Carrots, Sweet Potato, in that order, stirring until the onions glisten and the veggies are on the verge of tender.
      2. Add in the Kale, Tomato Pasta/or Sauce, Water, and Spices.  Cook, stirring, until the Kale is wilty.
      3. Add in the Black Beans.  Turn heat down to Low and cook for 1 hour.  You can add the Rice Pasta (or Quinoa or whatever you want, if you want it thicker, like a stew) about the same time.
      4. When the hour is up, serve in bowls and allow people to add in their own salt and grated pepper to suit themselves.
      5. Enjoy!
      Other Kale Recipes You Might Like To Try:
       
       





      Thursday, April 16, 2015

      Hearty Cream of Tomato - Bean Soup - Vegan, Gluten-Free


      If you have only ever eaten Cream of Tomato soup from a can, this will be a tasty coup for you!
      Here is another wonderful bean recipe adapted from my fave The Great Vegan Bean Book: More than 100 Delicious Plant-Based Dishes Packed with the Kindest Protein in Town! - Includes Soy-Free and Gluten-Free Recipes! .  This creamy tomato-bean soup will fill in the gaps for anyone who feels they just don't have the time or energy to cook up a healthy lunch -- the secret is to pre-cook your beans in a large quantity and freeze them.  Then just assemble your other ingredients and presto, you have a very nutritious base to your lunch in less time than it would take you to order and be served at your typical restaurant. And you will know what is actually IN this soup !

      INGREDIENTS:

      2 T.      Olive Oil or Vegetable Broth
      1/2       Onion, minced
      3 cloves Garlic
      1 tsp.    Marjoram
      1 tsp.    Thyme
      1/2 tsp. Smoked Paprika
      1/4 tsp. fresh or ground Rosemary
      2 C.      non-dairy Mylk
      2 Cans  Organic Tomato Sauce (14 oz/398 ml each) (I buy mine at Costco- Kirkland Brand)
      1 1/2 C. cooked White Beans
      Celtic Sea Salt to taste, added at the end of the cooking process or by individual eaters
      Pepper to taste

      METHOD:
      1. Heat the Olive Oil or Broth over medium heat in a heavy, NOT non-stick sauce pan, and fry up the onions util translucent, tender.  Add the rest of the herbs and garlic and cook for 2+ minutes.
      2. Blend up the Onions, Garlic, Herbs, Non-Dairy Mylk, Tomatoes, and Beans until as smooth as possible either with your Vitamix or (or with an immersion blender or other type-- just don't count on getting the beans as smooth as you will with a Vitamix).
      3. Pour back into the pot and heat through (medium-low heat for about 15-20 minutes)
      4. Serve Celtic Sea Salt and Pepper in Grinder so individual diners can spice to their own desired taste.




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      Thursday, February 12, 2015

      Cheery Pie Oatmeal Porridge (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

      I wish this were my own cherry tree- nothing so fruitful in my yard...yet!  Courtesy of Yokim at  scx.hu

      It's a foggy old rainy old day out there, but it's not particularly cold and we don't have to shovel it, so end of complaints.  Today is perfect for a happiness-making, sweet, and tangy bowl of Cheery Pie Oatmeal Porridge.  This is purely decadent and will make you feel like a princess for a day-- it's perfect for Valentine's Day breakfast.  Find the recipe below:

      INGREDIENTS: (serves 2-3 generously)

      1/2 C. Almonds (organic if you can find them)
      1 C. Steel Cut Oats (Buy GF Oats if you are Gluten-sensitive)
      1/4 C. Chia seed
      1/2 C. organic Dried Cranberries (or dried cherries) (or REAL CHERRIES as in picture)
      1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
      1/4 C. Wholesome Sweeteners Raw Cane Sugar from Malawi
      1/2 C. organic Coconut shreds
      3 C. Water
      1 tsp. Simply Organic Almond Extract
      Tree of Life Organic Cherry Spread
      Almond Mylk
      Cheery Pie Oatmeal-- starring REAL cherries!

      METHOD

      1. Toast Almonds in pre-heated 350F oven.  Spread almonds evenly over pan surface and toast for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally and making sure no burning takes place.  Toasting gives the almonds that extra luxurious flavour and crunch.  Alternatively, use soaked raw almonds and do not toast.  Chop or slice almonds and put aside.
      2. Combine all ingredients in a pot except for Almond Extract, Cherry Spread and Almond Mylk.  Turn on to high heat and bring to boil.  Immediately turn down to lowest heat level and cover with lid.  Continue cooking on low heat until most of the moisture is absorbed into the oats (15+ minutes, more time if you want the oats to be less chewy).  Stir occasionally.
      3. When done, stir in the Almond Extract.
      4. Put Porridge in individual bowls and garnish with a scoop of the Cherry Spread and the slivered Almonds.  Pour the Mylk around the periphery.
      5. Enjoy!  
      6. Substitutions for what you like better than the above, or what you have in your own cupboards/fridge are always allowed!  Please come back after you've tried this and let me know what revisions you made and how it turned out!
      Want to try 4 other Nutritious, Delicious, Gluten-Free Porridge Recipes? Go HERE.

      Check out Jealous Fruits Dark Cherries.... oh yum yum yum yum (got them at Costco)

      Wednesday, February 11, 2015

      Zupa Soup (Veggie Soup-in-a-Soup) (Gluten-free, Vegan)




      I know that this sounds a little mystifying-- after all, doesn't 'zupa' mean 'soup'?
      Why, yes zupa does mean soup (and also something like a drunk's sop, but we'll overlook that definition).

      Okay.
      Zupa Soup sounds so much better than "Yesterday's Lazy Cabbage Rolls* combined with all the malingering week's veggies chopped up and made into a soup".

      But that is basically what you have here.  I made up this pretty delicious Lazy Cabbage Rolls (vegan) but I wasn't that keen on the fact that the rice didn't quite cook through (although that didn't bother my dh-- he had a couple of servings).  So, today I combined about 1 C. of fried Mushrooms, 1 fried chopped Onion, 3 yellow Peppers (which I had roasted and skinned), and about 2# of Broccoli florets in with the left-over Lazy Cabbage Rolls (and various spices, more dill and salt and pepper, basically) and 1 Simply Organic jar of Pasta Sauce, and about 2 quarts of Water, and voila, Veggie Zupa Soup!

      I cooked it all to a bowl and then let it simmer away (in a big pasta pot so as to not worry about boil-over) until the rice was finally the way I like it and the broccoli was rendered to a pulp one would never eat if it were broccoli cooked by itself.

      This is just a sample of what YOU do, or could do, if you have lots of orphan vegetables in your fridge and yesterday's casserole-- this Zupa Soup turned out pretty yummy.  I wish the same to you!

      *I'm feeling a little too lazy to give you the recipe for the Lazy Cabbage Rolls... just check out Pinterest or google-- there are 100s of versions.

      **A reader wanted me to pass along this Health & Safety ALERT: In the Hippy Days of Haight-Ashbury fame (San Francisco, 60s-70s), many people were poisoned through eating something called "Diggers' Stew"-- basically an ongoing concoction of leftovers added to an original dish over a long period of time.  My rule is that leftovers are only ever used ONCE.  My leftovers are refrigerated after use  and used within a day or so of their original use.  And if I don't feel okay by the leftovers, I use the little adage from our church's FoodSafe instructor: "WHEN IN DOUBT, THROW IT OUT".  (Thanks June!)

      Monday, January 19, 2015

      Stove-Top Apple-Beans (Vegan, Gluten-free)



      Stove-Top Apple-Beans over Spud Bakes
      Ingredients


      1. 1 1/2 C. cooked Beans (white, pinto, your choice)
      2. 2            Apples, finely chopped, or fresh unsweetened Apple Sauce
      3. 2 C.       Crushed or Pureed Tomatoes
      4. 4 tsp.     Dijon Mustard
      5. 2 T.       Blackstrap Molasses
      6. 2 T.       Apple Cider Vinegar
      7. 1/2 tsp.  Smoked Paprika or Chipotle (hotter smoky)
      8. 1/2 C.    Water
      9. 1 Sprig  Rosemary
      10. 1 tsp.     Dried Thyme or Dillweed
      11. A few drops of Liquid Smoke
      12. 1/2 tsp.  Celtic Sea Salt (or Smoked Sea Salt)
      13. Black Pepper to taste
      Method:
      1. In a large sauce pan, combine all the ingredients above (except for the salt and pepper)
      2. Cook over medium heat until the ingredients simmer, then turn down to LOW and put on cover.  Cook for up to 1 1/2 hours until beans are tender.
      3. Add the salt and pepper and serve over potatoes (as above) or quinoa, rice, etc. 

      This recipe is based on the lovely Apple Baked Beans Recipe
       in my favourite Bean Cook Book (below):
      Find this book on Amazon.com


      Sunday, January 18, 2015

      Hot Oatmeal Porridge with Nut Jam Toppings



      Creamy Hot Oatmeal with Dreamy Marzipan Topping
      I really can't identify with people who turn up their noses at hot oatmeal porridge.  But maybe it's because they have only ever eaten it with the same old milk and brown sugar topping?  Maybe it they tried topping the breakfast with wonderful nut jams (sounds like they might be a bother to make, but they are really easy) they would be converted to l.o.v.i.n.g oatmeal forever!

      If you have even the tiniest bit of Scots in your background (or even German, I find out from my hubby), you may have been introduced to oatmeal as a youngster.  Maybe the icky kind: either thin, grey gruel (ugh) or lumpy, unpalatable "porjch" (gag).  My mom cooked the thick lumpy variety and I ate the gruel type when I attended a convent boarding school for a year.  But my friend's mom cooked it 'just right' as Baby Bear's.  And my mother-in-law's was right up there with the stuff you get served at 5-Star hotel brunches-- I think she even made it in a double-boiler.

      I've learned to cook my oats so that they turn out creamy (my preference) or add some more to the pot for my husband who explains that he likes his "firmer".  It's mainly in giving yourself some time for the boiling, and stirring, and then turning it off, removing to a cold burner, and putting on the lid for a few minutes of steaming.  

      Oats have a pile of health benefits that you have no doubt heard about: 

      (1) They "stick to your ribs" (fill you up) without a lot of calories (about 130 in an average big bowl) and generally can get you through to lunch without a grumbling tummy.

      (2) Oats have lots of protein, little fat and loads of fibre.  If you eat steel cut oats you get more of the fibre than if you eat the more process flakes, but even with the flakes there is fibre!

      (3) Steel cut oats break down very slowly into simple sugars, so you aren't apt to go into sugar-induced shock like you might do with processed cereals (including, of course, those sugar-laced "instant" oats in little paper envelopes).

      (4) Even some gluten-sensitive people can eat oatmeal inspite of there being avenin (the oat protein) in the porridge.  However, some folks are highly intolerant of avenin, made worse if the oats have been grown in among a wheat crop (common) or if they are coeliac.  There is such a thing as (high-cost) gluten-free oats, but if you have problems with wheat intolerance or are coeliac, I would suggest you just skip the oats.

      And other amazing things have shown up in studies that suggest that oatmeal is the best way to start the day (for those who are not allergic or gluten/avenin-intolerant of course).  

      Sesame Slick (like Halvah!) on this porridge
       I'm a huge fan of "gourmet" porridge toppings, as you will know from hanging around this site.  The two that I am featuring today-- NUT JAMS-- can be found HERE : Marzipan Spread & Sesame Slick (tastes like Halvah).  

      Other gourmet oatmeal recipes:

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