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Showing posts from 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. If you don't have a quince source and just want to make some Fig Ginger Jam

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 b

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 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. Combine all ingredients --except Olive Oil-- in food processor. Process while drizzling Olive Oil through the top opening. 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.

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/

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: 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 . Buy Seed Mats or strips.  

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

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

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. Wat

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

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

Black Bean-Kale Soup - Vegan, Gluten-Free

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. Filtere

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.      no

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 Oatm

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 qu

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

Stove-Top Apple-Beans over Spud Bakes Ingredients 1 1/2 C. cooked Beans (white, pinto, your choice) 2             Apples , finely chopped, or fresh unsweetened Apple Sauce 2 C.       Crushed or Pureed Tomatoes 4 tsp.     Dijon Mustard 2 T.       Blackstrap Molasses 2 T.       Apple Cider Vinegar 1/2 tsp.   Smoked Paprika or Chipotle (hotter smoky) 1/2 C.     Water 1 Sprig   Rosemary 1 tsp.     Dried Thyme or Dillweed A few drops of Liquid   Smoke 1/2 tsp.   Celtic Sea Salt (or Smoked Sea Salt) Black Pepper to taste Method: In a large sauce pan, combine all the ingredients above (except for the salt and pepper) 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. 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): F

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 hote

Lentil Bowl #4: Savory Middle East Lentil Stew

Savoury Middle East Lentil Stew This is a quick-to-put-together comfort food for cool winter days or nights, as long as you have the Quinoa (or Rice) and Red Lentils pre-cooked.  A green salad and a piece of fresh flat bread will round it out nicely.  I've made it a little more "world" foodie than actual Middle Eastern, but you can always sub Brown Rice for the Quinoa and Cayenne and Paprika for the Chipotle (I just love the smoky hot quality of Chipotle if you are wondering why it turns up in so many recipes).  I also use Coconut Oil instead of Olive Oil, but please use what you have available, or what you prefer.  If you have other veggies that you would like to saute up with the onions (bell peppers, egg plant, minced garlic), go ahead!  Enjoy! INGREDIENTS: 1 T. Coconut Oil   2 Onions , chopped fine  1 tsp.  Turmeric powder 1 tsp. ground  Cumin  (I grind the seeds up in a Coffee Bean grinder-- you could just buy the powder) 1 tsp. ground  Cinnamon