Snacks

Whole Grain Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Fall is here and it's time for all things Pumpkin.  These muffins are some of my favorites. I have been making these for years and they bring back so many memories of baking days with my kids when they were all living at home.  I am still making them for the last of the 5 kiddos and he loves them. This recipe initially came from the blog, Money Saving Mom, and I have tweaked it over the years to make them more nutrient dense.  They are both a treat and a healthy snack.  These are not difficult so give them a try.  Great way to celebrate a fall morning with a cup of coffee or tea. Whole Grain Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (makes 24-30 muffins) 4 eggs 1 cup raw cane sugar 3/4 cup coconut sugar 1 16oz. can pumpkin puree 3/4 cup unsweetened applesauce 3/4 cup avocado oil 3 cups Whole Wheat, Spelt or Kamut flour 2 teaspoons baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1 teaspoon sea salt 1 package chocolate chips Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray muffin tins with baking oil (I use coconut or avocado oil spray) or use paper liners. Using a large mixing bowl, beat together eggs, sugar, pumpkin, and oil until well blended. Add the dry ingredients and blend well. Add chocolate chips and stir in gently. Fill muffins cups 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 16-20 minutes. Remove from muffin pan and let cool on wire [...]

Pimento Cheese With a Twist

It's a dinner party again and as a person who has special dietary needs, you are addressed with what to bring.  You show up with one of your many variations of hummus that is your go to and by the end of the evening it has barely been touched.  This has been the scenario for me many times and to be honest...I am tired of hummus!  I needed a new go to and this recipe is that for me.  I have not found anyone so far that hasn't enjoyed it! I did not grow up with pimento cheese but I sure do like it.  The first recipe that I came across was in Frank Stitt's cookbook, "The Southern Table".  It was very easy to make and I absolutely flipped. I am serious that I can eat a whole bowl in one sitting.  I am not ashamed because it is just that good! There has been a little bit of a love/hate relationship between myself and pimento cheese. The primary reason for that is because there is cheese in it!!  Dairy causes me to clear my throat constantly which is uncomfortable for me and anyone around me. I found that I could tolerate some raw cheese and any goat or sheep dairy.  So...I created my own recipe using three cheeses and jarred roasted bell peppers to make it less time consuming. Give this recipe a try and hopefully you will enjoy it as much as I do!   Pimento Cheese with [...]

Avocado Crema

I think you can find a picture of an avocado on any health and wellness blog or Instagram. They are such a superfood!! There were so many years with excessive warnings about eating too many avocados due to their high fat content.  I am so glad those days are over!!  Avocado has healthy fat which is primary in reversing insulin resistance. They also contain a monounsaturated fat which is imperative for memory and brain health.  They have more potassium than a banana and are high in B & C vitamins. That is only the beginning when it comes to their health benefits. Avocados are part of my weekly diet and this recipe for avocado crema came to me in a moment of panic.  We were having some friends over and I was supposed to make an appetizer.  I had worked a little later than anticipated and only had a few minutes to come up with something.  Well, this was it!! I had no idea how it would turn out but it got eaten really quickly and so now it is a family favorite!  It is great as a dip for vegetables or tortilla chips and my favorite topping for any kind of taco or Mexican food!   AVOCADO CREMA 2 Avocados (scooped out) 8 oz. plain yogurt 1 handful of cilantro 2 TBS. taco seasoning (I use Bold Taco from Penzey’s or Frontier) salt to taste (if using unsalted taco seasoning) a squeeze of lime     1.Put all ingredients […]

Peanut Butter Energy Bars

Let’s be honest, everyone gets snacky sometimes. Your body might be asking you for just a little extra energy to get through the day. That’s why I like to keep healthy, homemade snacks on hand so I have a good option to turn to when the between-meal hunger strikes. I don’t snack every day, I’d rather go ahead and have an early lunch than fill up on snacks. But there are times when I’ve been working extra hard and I feel my body needs a little more fuel. This recipe is a fantastic one to keep on hand for those times. Also, kids love them! The average packaged snack bar has about 1 gram of protein and 2 grams of fiber per serving. These energy bars have 5.5 grams of protein and 11 grams of high-quality fiber from chia seeds. They also have calcium and antioxidants. These bars may taste indulgent but they have the right amount of protein, fiber and healthy fat to satisfy and help you feel full. I’ll take it! Ingredients: 2 cups puffed brown rice crisps ¼ cup chia seeds ½ cup unsweetened coconut ¼ cup raw old fashioned oats ¼ cup toasted slivered almonds ¼ cup goji berries ¼ cup bittersweet chocolate chips 1 cup peanut butter (or other nut butter of choice) ⅓ cup brown rice syrup ⅓ cup maple syrup Directions: 1. Combine puffed rice, chia seeds, coconut, oats, almonds and goji berries in a large bowl. 2. In a small saucepan, melt peanut butter, […]

Freezing and Storing Summer Produce

I just love the flavors of summer produce: tomatoes, basil, bell peppers, hot peppers, cucumber, blackberries, blueberries, peaches and so many more! When I am in the middle of winter I find that I crave those fresh sunny fruits and vegetables and have found a way to have those year round. I buy up as much as I can afford each week and freeze them. It’s way more fresh and cost-effective than buying frozen veggies and fruit at the grocery store. It’s best to buy fruits and vegetables in the summer as they are always less expensive in season. Also, when you freeze them yourself you know exactly where they came from and that nothing was added in the freezing process. As summer sets in, remember that colder weather will come and you will long for these delicious foods. So buy a little extra each week, you’ll be surprised how much it adds up and you can stash away for the winter. Here is my method: Berries: Put berries on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, make sure they are not touching and freeze. Note: I first freeze them on a cookie sheet to make sure they don’t clump together. Much easier for grabbing just a handful for smoothies etc. Then date, label and move to a quart size bag. I keep adding to the bag each week until full and freeze as many bags as I can over the summer. Use in desserts and smoothies. Peaches: Peel and slice. Place single layer on […]

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 […]