July 16, 2014

Chia Strawberry Jam

We've got plenty of PB&J coming out of our kitchen and there is nothing better than this classic American sandwich made with homemade jam. Except when it's also made with homemade peanut butter and bread ... but let's not get carried away. The problem is that most jam, homemade or not, has a ton of sugar in it. Not this recipe from my Oh She Glows cookbook! Jaden and I made this today with stunning results. I've got a jar of jam with pretty much no sugar and two very happy lunchers. And the house smells amazing.

Makes one jar of jam.
Lasts three weeks refrigerated in an air-tight container.
  • 3 cups fresh or frozen strawberries
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds 
  1. Rinse berries and remove tops. Quarter and place in a medium sauce pan with the syrup. 
  2. Cook on medium low for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.  
  3. Gently mash the strawberries with a potato masher (or a fork) once they transform into a sauce. A little chunkiness is a good thing! 
  4. Add chia seeds and continue to cook on low for 15 minutes. Stir periodically. The jam will thicken. 
  5. Transfer to a glass jar and allow to cool completely before refrigerating. 

July 10, 2014

Grilled Artichokes

Grilled artichokes are impressive, delicious, nutritious and easy. The perfect veggie to build a summer dinner party around. Serve with Almond Mayo, white wine, crusty bread, European cheeses and garden salad.

Serves  4 - 6, depending on accompanying side dishes.
Refrigerate leftovers in a sealed container for up to 3 days.
  • Sea salt
  • 1 lemon
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 fresh artichokes 
  1. Cut your artichokes in half lengthwise. You'll need a big, sharp knife. 
  2. Place artichokes into a large pot and cover with cold water, add a generous pinch of salt. Squeeze the lemon into the pot and toss in the rinds (you'll discard them later). Drizzle in some olive oil - about 1 tablespoon. 
  3. Bring pot to a boil and cook at a gentle boil for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, heat up your grill. 
  4. Transfer your artichokes onto a large plate or platter with tongs. Gently shake excess water back into pot. 
  5. Grill on medium-high, flat side down, for 12 - 15 minutes. Artichokes should be golden and a little crispy but not burnt. 

Almond Mayo

It's been a really busy two years ... and sadly, food blogging has had to take a back seat. But, as anyone who spends time in the front seat knows, those in the backseat make themselves known. When I make something yummy and inventive, I usually note to myself that I should put it on the blog. This afternoon I said it aloud (still to myself) and Joey cheerfully declared (not to himself) that if I can't blog in July, then I will never blog at all. He's right. So tonight I decided to add something to the blog.

Three reasons not to wait two years between posts:
  1. Picture issues: I used to be so diligent about taking pictures, uploading them and posting them. No more, my friends. I didn't even bring my camera on vacation this year. Uploading took an hour and I found that I had taken photos of eight other dishes in anticipation of someday blogging about them. One of them, taken last July, looks delicious, but I don't remember how I made it. 
  2. Logging back on to the blog may take a while due to not remembering URLs, passwords, etc.  - or your blog account may have been discontinued. This blog was created when I was still using Hotmail and now that Blogger is owned by Google, well, they don't really like that. But here I am, logged on with the Hotmail because I can't seem to get it switched over. 
  3. You may find yourself rambling about stuff no one cares about. Wait, isn't rambling about whatever you want the whole reason why people start blogs?! 
So tonight's blog post is inspired by artichokes. I decided to make grilled artichokes and I wanted to make homemade mayonnaise to go with them. I had made a soy mayo in the past, which is fine but I was actually thinking of making a more traditional recipe. I was flipping through my Whole Life Nutrition cookbook and found a recipe based on almonds. Dan the Egg Man was out of eggs today and I actually had almonds in my pantry. I might never make another mayo recipe again - I loved this one! And so did the boys and the people who came over for dinner. It probably isn't fair to call it mayonnaise; it doesn't taste like mayo at all to me. But I would use it in all the same instances (buggers, egg salad, artichokes, tomato and kale sandwiches) and be much, much happier. I called it artichoke dip at diner so as not to confuse anyone - I've found it works better to totally re-name something than call it but a known name if it's an alternative version.

Almond mayo is raw, packed with nutrients, soy-free, egg-free, and super easy.  SOLD! To the lady who doesn't have time to blog! Also, Joe Mac, our neighborhood farmer and foodist approves.

Makes 2 cups.
Store in a sealed glass jar and refrigerate up to three weeks.
  • 1 1/2 cup almonds*
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard 
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil 
* I used whole almonds because I was using a Vitamix. If you have a regular blender, then chop up your almonds to help it along. 
  1. Combine almonds, water, vinegar, salt and mustard in blender. Blend until smooth. 
  2. With blender on low, slowly add your oil. Blend until well combined; mixture should thicken quickly. 

August 22, 2012

Blueberry Oat Bars

Bars are a big deal at our house. We love them and we go through a ton of them every week. Honestly, I don't try very hard to make my own, even though I KNOW how much better homemade tastes. In any case, I am inspired now with blueberry season here and my parents' enormous blueberry bushes to make bars. Blueberry bars. These were a big hit and are low in sugar (I skipped the strudel top) and high in energy (oats and almonds!). Jaden thought it was cake, but then, he's always looking for cake and ice cream lately. These are perfect for breakfast, for afternoon snacking, or dessert.

Makes about 12 bars
Good for about 3 days if sealed in a container.

  • 2 cups oat flour (you can make this by processing oats in the food processor). 
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup almonds, ground
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 6 tablespoons honey
  • 1 large banana (ripe)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup almond mil
  • 2 cups fresh blueberries 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. Mix four, oats, baking soda, almonds, and cinnamon in large bowl. 
  3. Mix banana, oil, honey, milk, and vanilla in a food processor until smooth. Add to four mixture and mix well. Gently stir in blueberries. 
  4. Transfer mixture to greased baking dish (8x8 works well). Bake 30 minutes, until top is golden. Allow to cool before cutting into bars. 

Roasted Carrot Sandwiches with Carrot Top Pesto

The garden is bursting with amazing treats - this is my favorite time of year! I foresee about three weeks of diner fresh from the ground coming up and I'm so excited! The boys and I spent a few hours today playing in my dad's giant garden, pulling weeds, munching on peas and raspberries, and playing with the hose. It was magical. We were filthy and happy and tired by the end of today.

I made this sandwich on Sunday and it was super-duper delicious. While I want to make a big variety of dishes from our fresh veggies, I have a feeling that we'll end up making this sandwich several times with the baby carrots. Our carrots are baby carrots because we forgot to thin them out...so the carrot section is jam-packed with with little tiny treasures and there are a ton of greens. The kids think that they're especially for them. I am in heaven. So, while this sandwich requires more effort than PB&J, the payoff far exceeds the workload. We roasted our carrots for about 10 minutes so that they would still be crunchy - a perfect match with the creamy avocado and carrot top pesto.

Makes 4 sandwiches
Probably packs well in a lunchbox, but likely not overnight.

  • 8 slices of your favorite whole-grain bread (we used Dave's Killer Bread)
  • 2 ripe avocados
  • 8 tablespoons carrot top pesto
  • 1 bunch carrots (about 20 mini carrots)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil 
  • Freshly ground sea salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Wash and trim your carrots. Slice them long ways into thing strips. Toss with olive oil and arrange on baking tray (I like to use foil on my trays to help with clean up and sticking). Season with salt and pepper. Bake/roast for about 10 minutes, until sizzling and beginning to brown. You want them to still be crunchy. 
  2. Meanwhile, make your carrot top pesto.
  3. Arrange peso, avocados, carrots on bread, cut into halves and serve. 

August 14, 2012

Carrot Top & Almond Pesto

I had in the back of my mind that carrot tops (the greens) are edible, but I'd never used them. When my mom brought some beautiful carrots home from the farmer's market and chopped the greens off last week, I grabbed them and put them in a jar of water, exclaiming that I planned to use them. The next day I got around to checking recipes out online. I didn't look long - I really just wanted to see if you could actually eat carrot tops.

You can. And they are super good for you (high in potassium). I didn't see any recipes that I wanted to use in the three seconds I spent looking and marched into the kitchen determined to make a make-shift dip. What a treat it turned out to be! I thought the greens would be a tad bitter and was planning to even the dip out with some honey - but they were perfect on their own. No sweetening needed. This recipe makes a really delicious and nutritious dip to use on sandwiches, as a pesto with pasta, a sauce with rice, or as a dip for crackers. We devoured this marvelous vegan, raw wonder with enthusiasm. 

Makes 1.5 cups
Does not save well - might freeze better, but we didn't test it. Best if eaten the same day. 
  • 1 bunch carrot tops
  • 1 cup ground almonds
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground sea salt
  • 1/3 cup olive oil 
  • 2 tablespoons favorite balsamic vinegar (I used 18-year mango)
  1. Roughly chop your greens. 
  2. Process everything together in a food processor until well ground. Taste, adjust seasoning as desired. Would be good with some red pepper flakes if you like a little heat. 
  3. Serve immediately or within a few hours. 

June 8, 2012

Risotto Cakes

Here is a magnificent trick to using up leftover risotto as shared with me by the ever-talented and awesome Enrico (who, by the way, is authentically Italian and knows what he's talking about when it comes to risotto). Risotto is a deliciously creamy and yummy way to eat rice. It takes a little more time and attention to prepare, but with a glass of wine the time flies by. Additionally, risotto recipes tend to make a huge portion of food -  great to make for a crowd and you'll still likely have leftovers. Amazingly, I haven't posted my favorite risotto recipe ... I promise to do that someday. In the meantime, find a recipe you like and then try this out the next day. Serve with white wine and a big green salad for optimal happiness.

These leftovers make great leftovers!
Best served warm.

  • Olive oil 
  • Leftover risotto
  • 1/2 Corn meal in a saucer
  • Italian herbs 
  • Mayo (or some other kind of saucy/dippy thing)
  1. In a heavy fry pan, heat enough oil to cover the bottom of the pan (about 1/8 inch) to medium. 
  2. Form risotto into patties, about 1/3 inch thick 
  3. Pat the patties into the cornmeal like you're breading it. No need to worry about how much to get on the patty - risotto is sticky and you're simply aiming to get an even coat. 
  4. Set patties into fry pan and fry until golden and crispy - about 4 minutes per side. 
  5. Transfer from pan to plate, sprinkle with Italian herbs, add a dollop of mayo, and serve!