Snacks

Homemade Yogurt

I love making yogurt at home! Buying high-quality yogurt at the grocery store is expensive and its much more cost effective to make it myself. Plus yogurt at the store is more processed, they have to in order to make it stable for transportation and to sit on the shelves for a little while. As many of you know, I really enjoy the simplicity of making these things on my own but I encourage my friends and clients to start where you can and work from there. You’ll be surprised, like I was, that many things you buy are easier to make than you think! I invested in a yogurt maker for $35 and it has been worth every penny! I also know that the Instant Pot, which is all the rage right now, can do this function as well.  Yogurt is easier on the digestive system than other forms of dairy as it contains lactobacillus acidophilus which helps replenish healthy gut flora. Having healthy gut means you have a healthy immune system that can fight off invaders like bad bacteria. The process of making yogurt also naturally breaks down lactose and pre-digests casein, which can cause gut disturbances. If you are allergic to milk, give homemade yogurt a try as its all around much easier to digest. Many people who are lactose intolerant have no trouble with homemade yogurt. I love to have this for breakfast topped with in-season fruit, nuts and my granola. Yummm.  Here’s what you’ll need:  A half gallon of raw whole […]

Sourdough Starter

I know for many of you that making your own sourdough bread starter is very daunting. I don’t blame you at all, it can be finicky because you are dealing with a live culture. It’s pretty cool when you think about it. I’ve been experimenting and I think I’ve come up with a good step by step guide for you. Making your own sourdough is really worth the effort.  In fact, the same starter, properly cared for, can live for years and it just gets better and better as it increases in potency. By trial and error, I’ve come to the conclusion that rye flour works best for the starter. I have used wheat and it lost its potency in about two weeks and my bread became too dense. For sourdough, you want potent but also a light texture.  You will need:  Fresh milled organic rye seed Cold water Large bowl Cheesecloth Rubber Band Directions: I started here with 1 cup of fresh milled organic rye seed. If you don’t have your own mill you can purchase rye flour. I would recommend storing the flour in the freezer as whole grain flours can go rancid in about three days. Just make sure to let the flour sit at room temperature before using it to feed the starter. 2. Add 1 cup of cold filtered water to make a soupy consistency. The bowl is then covered with a layer of cheesecloth so the starter can breathe. Remember, we are creating a […]

Rich and Creamy Ricotta

This recipe comes from Smitten Kitchen and I find it is my favorite recipe for ricotta cheese. It is so easy to make and because I use raw milk the flavor is unbelievable. If you can get raw milk I highly recommend it. Raw milk has all the enzymes and healthy fats that normally get taken out in the pasteurization process. They help your body digest the milk cultures and usually won’t cause tummy trouble, even for the lactose intolerant. I’m a big believer in raw milk mostly because it makes this ricotta so ridiculously good! There are so many yummy ways to eat it, we have it as a topping for crostini, with lemon zest, rosemary and honey, dolloped on a pizza or pasta and sometimes just as a topping with jam on your morning toast. There will be more recipes to follow using this delicious cheese. It’s one of those recipes that I think about and crave and get so happy when I can make it! This recipe makes about 1 cup of ricotta. Ingredients: 3 cups raw whole milk, or organic whole milk 1 cup organic heavy cream ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice Directions: 1. Pour the milk, cream and salt into a 3-quart nonreactive saucepan. Attach a candy or deep-fry thermometer. 2. Heat the milk to 190°F, stirring it occasionally to keep it from scorching on the bottom. 3. Remove from heat and add the lemon juice, then stir it once […]

Honey, Lemon and Herb Crostini

This crostini recipe is terrific for entertaining. Combine my homemade ricotta, some honey, lemon and thyme on a toasted baguette and you will go to heaven it’s so good. We love serving this to friends when they come over. Its refreshing and decadent tasting all at the same time. The ricotta is so creamy it does really well with the honey and lemon zest to cut through it. I also love to add thyme, but you could do rosemary or even mint if you wanted to. A little note on the bread. I don’t eat white flour often at all but when I do I make sure to either buy high-quality fresh baked bread or I make it myself at home. If you are absolutely grain free, this ricotta would taste delicious on pears, apples or strawberries as well. Enjoy this recipe, there are so many ways to build a delicious little appetizer when you have fresh, wholesome ingredients. Have fun mixing it up! I can almost guarantee that this ricotta will make an appearance in other recipes later on.  Here is a quick little guide for assembling these crostini that are bound to impress. Ingredients: Thinly sliced baguette, or homemade bread Homemade ricotta cheese Olive oil (I use olive oil taproom) Fresh garlic clove, peeled Zest of one lemon Raw honey Fresh thyme or rosemary, finely chopped 1. Slice the baguette and place on an oven proof tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Bake at 350 until the bread […]

Charcuterie Plate

Everyone needs to have a recipe in their back pocket that is elegant and beautiful when entertaining. In my case, I prefer something like this charcuterie plate. It’s not really a “recipe”, in the strictest sense of the word, but I don’t really enjoy constraints in case you haven’t noticed. So allow me to share my guide to building this gorgeous platter. It features my homemade pimento cheese as well as the ricotta crostini I shared this week. There are times when I enjoy making something visually beautiful to eat, it stimulates my creative side and brings me happiness in a way that simply filling my belly cannot. I try and make my charcuterie platter with plenty of bright, beautiful veggies and serve some seed or whole grain crackers instead of only white. I find the options are endless and the flavor combinations much more interesting to my taste buds when I add fresh elements to a charcuterie plate. I love the bright colors of cucumbers, tomatoes and cherries and sprigs of herbs; all fantastic options for the conscientious eater. My guests love it because it looks and tastes amazing and I can rest easy and enjoy myself knowing that I have many wholesome options before me. Sometimes the extra effort it takes to make something beautiful is just as enjoyable as actually eating the food. You are in charge of what you put in your body and can have fun entertaining without getting off track! Below are the different […]

Sourdough Bread

I enjoy making homemade bread from time to time. It’s not something I do every week but I probably make it about once a month. I’ve been tweaking this sourdough bread recipe for many years. Sourdough bread is fairly simple once you get the hang of it. A little note, you will need a sourdough bread starter, which I also have a recipe for and will post later this week. The starter recipe is not complicated but makes more sense if you already have a bread recipe to refer back to. I like sourdough bread because it’s much easier to digest than other forms of homemade bread. Sourdough has higher quantities of lactobacillus than other bread, which, you may remember, is the same type of probiotic found in yogurt. This is in the raw dough and doesn’t actually make it through the baking process, however, it does leave behind lactic acid. Lactic acid helps balance out phytic acid, which is found in lots of bread and inhibits the absorption of other nutrients. The lactic acid helps to make sure that the phytic acid is in balance and your body can digest the bread more effectively. Another note on lactic acid, it makes this bread naturally lower on the glycemic index. Overall, if you feel bloated after eating bread, then you may feel much better with a little homemade sourdough. I also like to add flax seed to this recipe. You all know how I feel about flax! Its such a […]

Easy Tomato and Red Chili Salsa

At home, I refer to this recipe as “my easy salsa” because it really is so simple to make. It’s my favorite go-to salsa since it only takes a few minutes and uses all fresh ingredients which make the flavor out of this world. I am giving you many variations here and all of them are great! Making your own salsa is so much better to me than store-bought, you can skip out on all the preservatives and add flavor. I’ll take that! This recipe can be made with fresh or canned tomatoes and any type of hot pepper or chili you prefer. Also, I use up my cilantro stems in this recipe so that I am not wasting any part of cilantro. The stems actually have more flavor than the leaves so this is a great way to use them up since you are going to be pureeing all the vegetables together. Ingredients: 3 large tomatoes or 5 plum tomatoes or a full pint of cherry tomatoes (if it is winter and you don’t have fresh tomatoes you can use a 28 ounce can of San Marzano tomatoes) 2 cloves of garlic ½ tsp. of dried chili de arbol (or any other dried chilis you like) or 1 whole jalapeno or habanero. ¼ cup cilantro stems (or leaves if you prefer) ½ tsp. Sea salt Directions: Put all the ingredients in your blender (I use a Vitamix) and depending on the consistency that you want you can either pulse […]

Homemade Greek Yogurt

I wanted to do this as a separate post especially because this is such a popular style of yogurt!  I love the flavor of my homemade so much better than the store bought and besides, it is remarkably cheaper. First of all, if you haven’t read the post on homemade yogurt, that is the perfect place to start. Greek yogurt is a secondary process once you have made a batch of your own regular yogurt. This process produces a thicker, creamier yogurt which I personally use to replace sour cream or cream cheese.  The longer you allow it to strain, the thicker it will be. Directions: 1. Set a strainer over a bowl lined with a coffee filter or cheesecloth or a greek yogurt strainer.  They carry this brand at Kitchen and Company and can also be used to make yogurt cheese. 2.  Empty your homemade yogurt into the strainer and cover 3. Let sit until it is as thick as you want it. I usually let mine sit in the refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  It comes out thick and creamy.  4. What you will have left in the bottom is the whey. When strained, it will keep indefinitely in the refrigerator and can be added to your smoothies, used to make sauerkraut and sourdough bread. Eat up and enjoy your greek yogurt! I use it as a sour cream replacement and also on its own as a filling breakfast or snack. I top with my homemade granola, fresh fruit and raw honey!    Enjoy!!

Sundried Tomato and Basil Hummus

Hummus is a dip or spread which originated in Egypt and is made of Chickpeas (garbanzo beans) and sesame paste (tahini). It is high in fiber and protein and happens to be one of my favorite snacks. I enjoy it with brown rice crackers and various veggies but historically it was served with flatbread or pita. It is also great as a spread on a turkey or veggie wrap and a perfect appetizer for guests. I do buy hummus, especially during busier seasons of life, but prefer to make my own because I can control the freshness of the ingredients and the cost. You can add roasted red peppers, roasted garlic, chipotles, curry or just some extra lemon juice. Hummus is an amazing source of fiber, a subject I blogged about this week. Fiber is one of the vital components of a healthy meal and hummus is such a delicious way to get it in! It is definitely one of my favorites, enjoy it any way you like!   Ingredients: 2 C canned garbanzo beans, drained ⅓ C tahini (sesame paste) ¼ C olive oil 3 cloves garlic juice of one lemon ¼ C sundried tomatoes packed in olive oil ½ C fresh basil ½ tsp. sea salt   Directions: 1. Place beans, tahini, garlic, lemon juice, sundried tomatoes, basil and salt in food processor or blender. 2. Pulse for a few seconds then start slowly streaming olive oil in as needed to make a smooth, creamy hummus. That’s it! Very simple. Try some different variations on […]

Artichoke and Goat Cheese Dip

This recipe is so warm and cheesy but is full of lots of good flavor with a brightness due to the lemon zest and all the herbs.  Not like your typical cheesy holiday dip!     Ingredients: One 14-ounce can artichoke hearts, drained 1 pound chévre goat cheese 2 tablespoons olive oil 2 teaspoons lemon juice 2 teaspoons lemon zest 1 shallot, minced 1 garlic clove, minced ½ cup Parmesan Reggiano, grated 1 tablespoon parsley 1 tablespoon chives ½ tablespoon rosemary ½ teaspoon sea salt ½ teaspoon black pepper Dash of cayenne pepper (optional*)   Directions: 1. In a food processor, mix all ingredients except the parmesan until well incorporated and creamy. 2. Top with your freshly grated Parmesan. 3. Bake in a 350 oven until bubbly and cheese is golden on top. 4. Serve alongside some toasted crostini or crackers. Enjoy!!