Monday, July 25, 2011

Cucumber Rose Mocktail

Love Pink and Green!
Mmmm, I love gin and tonics! But, in an effort to make all of my other healthy choices count, I rarely indulge in them. The last week was indescribably amazing. The weather was so beautiful. Hot for native Alaskans, but for this Florida native, total bliss.

Of course, old habits die hard and the sun (and a really hot an sweaty 8 miler) made me crave the hammock with an icy gin and tonic in hand.

Instead, I made a mocktail. Not my usual lime and tonic water on ice. I was laying on the hammock looking at all of the wild Sitka Rose bushes in my 'yard.' Thinking about that one gin that is distilled with roses? Then I thought, gosh a Pimm's soda would be awesome. Except I don't have Pimms. But I do have lots of cucumbers in my greenhouse!  Here's what I made up. I'm sure a shot of Gin would only enhance the peppery coolness, if you are so inclined.

Cucumber Rose Mocktail
3-4 Cucumber slices
2 Tbs Rose Petals (fresh is key- remember darker petals have more flavor)
Good Quality Natural Tonic Water (or seltzer and supplement with honey/stevia)
Lots of ice
Cold Glass

Muddle rose petals in a glass. Basically you are trying to get the liquid out. Muddle Cucumber slices. Place in cocktail shaker (or mason jar) with tonic water. Shake/stir well.

Pour over chilled glass of ice.

Enjoy your marvelous summer day.

Summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.  ~Henry James

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Smoothie Sundays~ Banana Coconut Pie

Mmmm mmm.. Smoothies this yummy are like having dessert for lunch!

I found a bunch of forgotten banana slices in the depths of our storage freezer. All of a sudden I had a huge banana craving! I don't have them all that often. Having your banana frozen prior to blending is crucial to the milkshake consistency that makes this amaaaaaazing.

You don't have to prepare the coconut milk ahead of time.. but it is 'best.'

Banana Coconut Pie Smoothie
1 Cup Frozen Banana slices
1 Cup Almond Milk (or whatever)
3 Tbs Shredded Coconut Flakes (I use the larger, but any work-unsweetened)
1/4 of scraped Vanilla Bean (you could use maybe 1/2 tsp of extract instead.. but the bean is so intensely flavored and you get all those pretty specks!)

Splash of coconut milk for blending (optional-I just happened to run out of almond milk mid-blend).

Blend it all! Add 1-2 ice cubes to get it extra creamy! So, so delicious!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Quinoa Chocolate Cake

Puddings, cookies, breads, cereal, casseroles, burgers, soup, salad toppings.. I've tried just about everything with Quinoa. Most recipes were an experiment, trying to find new ways to enjoy this high protein grain (it's actually a seed).

While visiting my family, I got a couple of the women in my family converted with my favorite Quinoa/Avocado/Broccoli/Nutritional Yeast Mash. They took me to the health food store and had me walk around and answer questions about supplements and foods they've been wanting to try but didn't know what to do with.

One of my aunts started using cooked whole quinoa in her smoothies. This gave me an awesome idea, Quinoa Protein Powder! It's easy, and if you use the ivory quinoa, the taste is not overpowering (or the color). So, I just grind my quinoa into flour, store it in the fridge, and add to my smoothies!  From what I've read, and I do a lot of food research, such a high percentage of saponin is rinsed in processing that rinsing is unnecessary. But I purchase in bulk, and I'm just in the habit of rinsing everything. So, if you rinse, be sure it is completely dry (talking hours here) before grinding. This powder is super fine and can also be used to thicken soups instead of dairy or rice.

Against traditional thought, all varieties (ivory/golden/black/red) of quinoa are very close in nutritional value. True to anything red, the red quinoa is a source of Vitamin E. But then again, so does the Ivory variety! Red/black quinoa is said to have a few more grams of fiber, as well as a bit higher in calories and protein. The darker varieties seem to take a tad longer to cook, and have a stronger earthy taste (the kind of earthy feel you get from brown rice). Mostly described as 'nutty.'

The benefits seem endless! What can't this grain (SEED!) do? I won't repeat it all here. This is one of my favorite sources for a quick run down on nutritional info.

If you've been using a recipe you love over and over, but it's losing it's luster, you should check out this book. My hubby surprised me with this book when it came out and while some of the recipes are things I had tried, I was thrilled to see them! Tested recipes! Whoo! At their website you can try out recipes as they add them! Two very cool sisters wrote the book.

Last night I made one of my favorite recipes out the book. One of my girlfriends is leaving for Germany for a year (so sad! but so excited for her!). She had a going away party last night and I brought this flourless chocolate cake, topped it with my own icing recipe and freshly picked beach strawberries. It disappeared, as usual, and I finally let out the secret! I love seeing the reactions! "All this time?" haha! Some definitely felt better after knowing. However, I must say, while it is high in protein and gluten free, it is certainly not 'clean' or healthy. I have a 'cleaner' version of my own which I will post. For potlucks, I actually follow the recipe (a rarity for me). Ok, sometimes. Last night I followed it (well with the substitutions- we don't use dairy milk for example). Because it is flourless, the cake always comes out even and the recipe allows for two 8-inch cakes, so it is easily layered and Voila! you have a beautiful layer chocolate cake that doesn't take long at all!
 *Note about cooking time: Mine come out perfect at 35 minutes. I have a gas oven, so maybe that's it... but start checking at 35 minutes.

Instead of typing it out myself.. here it is. I'm positive once you try this recipe you'll buy the book. The first 10 pages are about the history, use and specifics of Quinoa. Nice resource. There is even a baby food section! Really!
The inside was even prettier!

Jo's Quinoa Chocolate Cake (variation on 365 Quinoa Recipe)
2/3 C Quinoa (white/golden/ivory)
1 1/3 C Water
1/3 C Almond Milk (instead of dairy)
4 large eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 C Coconut oil (instead of butter) (have used 1/2 C applesauce with great but dense result-cut back on sweetener)
2 tsp Stevia or 3/4 C Honey or 1/2 C Yacon (instead of 1 1/2 C Sugar)
1 C Cacao, Carob or Cocoa Powder (Cacao was really strong, I got headaches, carob was delicious, cocoa was best)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Salt

*note about sweetener: I have tested all three. I listed them in order of preference. Honey tasted amazing, but for the cleanest option, go with stevia (dried, powdered, unprocessed is best). I have never used sugar in the cake. I use honey when I 'follow the recipe' and I still reduce it by at least 1/2 cup.
*note about Cocoa: we used to use carob in place of cocoa until I started raw foods in 2008 and found out about raw cacao. Now, I'm finding I get headaches from it, and I've been pulling away from cacao, cocoa and the like more and more. If you don't care, use Cocoa. It tasted best (and because of the theobromine, most people would get headaches from raw cacao). Theobromine is a myocardial stimulant (heart beats fast). You feel like you are on drugs if you have too much. Which makes sense now when I look back at some of the cacao loving raw foodists I met in Boone.. a little... 'wacky.'

Follow the same instructions for the recipe link above.

Ok, so everyone always wants to know about my chocolate icing. I used to make it with Agave. And started out making it with Avocado for raw brownies. It doesn't seem like it's going to work, but trust me. It will be very thin at first, once it cools.. you have control over the consistency. The colder it gets the harder. So, watch it unless you want to dirty more pans and heat it up and cool it back off again.

Basic Heart Healthy-ish Chocolate Icing
1/2 C Cocoa Powder
6 Tbs Coconut Oil
1/4 C Honey
1/2-3/4 tsp Vanilla
pinch of salt

On stove, in saucepan, melt/combine coconut oil and honey over lowest heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir to fully combine.

Add to the saucepan, vanilla, cocoa and salt. Stir well with fork. For about 3-5 minutes. It will thicken. I usually transfer this to a freezer friendly bowl, then stir. Personal preference.

Once well combined, place in freezer, and check every 10 minutes or so until thickened, but still easily spread (so you don't tear your cake!). Ice completely cool cake.  COOL! Otherwise, it drips all over and what a mess. That goes for any icing.

I like to ice my cake with the icing not too thick, then place whatever pretty yummys I want on top, THEN place in the ridge for the icing to harden (thicken) completely.

Again, to go 'cleaner' omit honey, use stevia or apple juice.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Rosemary Grissini Crackers & Farmin' Friday

Ah, the everlasting quest to use up that almond pulp! I'm always throwing together an experiment that may or may not be awesome. This recipe is one I make every other month or so. I always seem to forget exactly how I did it the time before.

Gluten and wheat free, this cracker is basically- almond pulp. It is amazing! Doesn't taste like almonds, insanely crunchy, and they last forever. Anytime I bring these to a potluck, no one can believe I made them, and then, no one can believe they are raw and healthy. hahaha! I love tricking SAD (Standard American Diet) people! Showing people that eating healthy can be deliciousness, easy and not break the bank gives me great satisfaction.  I'm actually coaching my cousin right now through a detox and cleanse. She is kicking her own butt with exercise and completely re-designing her diet. I'm thrilled to be helping her along.

I used to love rosemary grissini. Crispy, salty, crunchy, with that touch of oil and rosemary.. ah! Total Italian heaven! Oh wait, that is Caprese...  This cracker reminds me so much of those, I had to give it props. I think you could roll these out into grissini shapes and dehydrate forever and get a similar result. I've been meaning to try that.

Okay, crackers! haha.. I mean, here are the crackers:

Rosemary Grissini Crackers

1 C Almond Pulp (I don't usually add sweetener or vanilla to my milk.. make sure you don't for this)
2 Tbs Flax Meal
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1 Tbs Rosemary (crushed in hand.. coarse)
1 tsp Thyme (ground/powdered)
1/2 tsp salt
*extra oil and salt for the tops

Mix very, very well in a bowl (I'm trying to go a whole week without my food processor!-um still using the blender though).
Spread thickly, evenly onto dehydrator sheets. Score now (or forever hold your peace!).
It's better to dehydrate for 1 hour or so before scoring.. but sometimes I forget and then I have to break pieces off.
Dehydrate at 104F.
After 2 hours or so, you can carefully move the crackers to a screen for faster drying.. but it isn't neccessary.
Continue drying overnight or until as crispy as you like!
In the morning, I'll brush them with oil, sprinkle with salt and let dry another 30 minutes or so.

Probably a bake-able recipe. I'd say start with 300F for 10 minutes.. watch closely for browning edges.

One other way I love to make crackers is with seeds! You can really use just about anything. Sometimes I add in lots of different seeds and spices to make an extra flavorful cracker. You could also go sweet with cinnamon and honey or cocoa/carob for a graham cracker.. just score large.

Here is an easy variation:

Honey Sesame Crunch
Same recipe as above- omit: herbs
Add 1/2 C Sesame (I like it chock full)
1/4 C honey
1/4 tsp garlic powder (optional-I've tried it both ways)

Follow the same instructions! Enjoy!

Farmin' Friday!
It was one busy week on the farm! A lot of mending, planting, picking, weeding, etc. There may have been a few hammock naps in there too. I've barely used the internet. Just the way I like it.

Well, the garden is near full bloom! It's much better than last year. We are definitely getting the hang o Alaska gardening. Down south we felt like pros! There is always more to learn about gardening. Always buying more books, trying to techniques. It's a lifelong adventure. Right now we are picking many various greens, lettuces, chards, cucumbers, broccoli rabe, young beets and turnips. That is all that is ready as the gardening season here is late and slow. One thing I'm particularly excited about is my purple Kohlrabi and my red onions, brandywine tomatoes.. and my dragon carrots. I'm excited about all of it.. but I especially love the funky colored stuff. Interesting fact; moose are color blind.. for example, they will eat red cabbage and walk right over green cabbage! haha

Speaking of moose! I was weeding, so I'm on the ground, low, quiet, and this moose and TWIN calves walk right by me (on the other side of the fence). It was magical. Gosh, what a moment. According to the local biologists, the twin rate is very high this year.

I'll let pictures say the rest!

Dinner, the injured chicken, is doing much better! She is hobble-walking and cackling. She wants to hang with her friends so bad, but because she limps, they picked on her. I chaperoned until it go out of control and brought her back into the garden with me. She is still sleeping inside. Here she is chilling in the raspberries (which, luckily aren't ready or she would annihilate them!).

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Smoothie Sunday~ Pluot Juicy Pear

We are running a tad lower on produce than usual. I did have a couple perfectly ripe, gorgeous, fuchsia and sweet Pluots and a perfectly ripe Bartlett Pear!

So, into the blender they went! It's puky brown, once the spinach was added.. but at one point it was as bright as beet juice!

Pluot Juicy Pear
2 small Pluots with skin-no pit
1 large ripe Pear
2 C Spinach
1/4 C Frozen Raspberries
Coconut Water added until easily blended... started with 1/4 C

Blend it all together, enjoy a fruity green Sunday afternoon smoothie! Makes enough to share!

*I also added in 1 Tbs Chia & 1 tsp bee pollen .. add whatever superfoods you like!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Flourless Beet Chocolate Cake & Farmin' Friday

For my birthday I really wanted to blow out candles. I wanted some tradition this year. Oh, I got candles. I got the ones that don't blow out. Ever. I yelled "die!" and dropped them to drown in my glass of water.

OK, I wanted some tradition. What I didn't want was the traditional sugar/flour overload. The hubs wouldn't be up for making a raw carrot cake, and besides, that's boring. I wanted chocolate! I've never liked chocolate cake. Until, I had beet chocolate cake. It was so amazing. But while the one I refer to was made with whole wheat flour, coconut oil and without eggs, it was still sugary and well.. full of flour?

I've never tried to make a raw beet cake (ooh, challenge!). I know that may not sound so great, but I love beets. They are naturally sweet, healthy and I'm pretty much sold on the impossibly vibrant hue. I love how it stains my fingers.

What I've found with many gluten free recipes is they are full of butter and eggs. We do have a lot of eggs around, but after many years of baking without them, I just don't use them. Why? I'm used to vegan cooking and baking and so I just do what I'm used to when I make say.. zucchini bread or something.

I googled healthy beet chocolate cake, wheat free chocolate cake, flourless chocolate cake.. and most recipes were full of butter, cream and eggs. While, I could indulge in adding egg, I wasn't ready for the full hit on my cholesterol. So, this was a huge experiment. And, yeah, I kind of made my own birthday cake...

I was determined to add beets. Overall it was successful. I couldn't get it out of the pan very easily, but it tasted pretty good. I loved the not so sweet taste.. but my guests may have preferred it sweeter since they covered it in vanilla ice cream!

Flourless Beet Chocolate Cake
1-2 oz. melted Dark Chocolate or about 1/2 C Cocoa powder
6 Tbs Coconut Oil
3/4 Tbs Vanilla
1/2 tsp dried Stevia
2-3 Good squirts Agave
3 Beets, medium, shredded
3-4 eggs
pinch of salt
pinch of cayenne (yeah baby)

So.. a few notes:
*I used part (half of each amount shown) melted chocolate and part cocoa (raw cacao has been giving me headaches).. because I was just experimenting. You can do either, or both.
*I didn't want it that sweet and still wanted ti healthy, so I used stevia.. then I thought.. ok.. just a couple squirts of agave... soo...
I used 4 medium eggs.. if you have large eggs, use 3.. I didn't say this was vegan right? You can keep in mind when purchasing eggs (support your local egg farmer!), that free range eggs are lower in cholesterol and higher in healthy omegas. I heard it here. That's just my biased opinion. Why eat eggs that came out of an unhappy, abused animal? Some say, why eat eggs at all? Yeah, I was there once.

Back to your normal programming: CAKE.
1) Shred the beets (I used a food processor). Simmer on the stove, covered, until tender.. about 20 minutes. You won't need to add liquid.. the beets have enough.
2) In another bowl, combine melted coconut oil, and all other ingredients, stir.
3) When beets are done, transfer to food processor, puree, add the bowl of remaining ingredients, blend a bit more, scraping if needed.
4) Pour into greased (grease it better than I did) and maybe dusted with cocoa powder- cake pan. I used a 9 inch (I think.. I finger measured). You can use muffin tins too. It was thinner than I had planned. Next time I will double the recipe, or use a smaller/deeper dish.
5) Bake @ 350 for about 10 minutes. No, really. I looked in and the cake had a volcano growth on one side.. it was done. My oven runs hot.. and it will depend on your pan.. but start checking at 10 minutes.

Let cool.

Chocolate Icing
1 Tbs Cocoa powder
3 Tbs Coconut oil
1 tsp Vanilla

I whipped this together in a food processor. Then pour into a bowl, and chilled so the coconut oil would harden a bit, making an icing consistency.

Once cake is cool, ice, top with whatever you want (I did strawberries and coconut) and chill until ready to serve.

Farmin' Friday!
Dinner, one of my funny white chickens that does things like this:
Dust Bath in a Pot Full of Dirt
and was missing for a week? Story here.

Well, she is still alive! The last few days, every time I come in to feed her, she tried to stand up like "See? Don't give up on me!" and then falls back over. But today, she stood! Really, really stood! Using both feet. She's has been more aggressive with her daily strawberries (flinging them in the air) and eggs and is even eating feed now. So happy!! I think she's going to make it for sure. Every time I get that bad feeling, they prove me wrong. Except for the baby barred rock that died in my hand in May. :( I had a good feeling and she just, didn't.
Here she is in all her dirty glory..
Lost weight huh?
A lot going on. A lot growing. Fireweed is about to bloom, Lupine, Wild Iris (pictured below) Yarrow and Comfrey are out. Currants are green and I'm waiting like crazy for the strawberries on the beach to be ready!

The last photo is our 'surprise!' rooster. Silver Leghorn if I'm not mistaken. It messes up our roo to hen ratio a bit, especially given we will likely lose a few hens over the course of the year to various causes (i.e. hawks). He is very friendly and calm. I knew he was a roo when he was a few weeks old, but hoped against it anyway. He lets out a lil baby crow at sunrise (3 am or so) and when he hears me come to open the coop. Just a couple more weeks and they should be big enough to let loose with our adult flock.

I'll let pictures tell the rest:

Surprise! I'm a Purty Roo!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Grrrrilled Pizza Party!

Sitting by the fire...
For my birthday, I wanted to indulge. And not in alcohol, but in pizza and cake (cake post coming soon)! I actually indulged in fresh caught Alaska Salmon as well. It didn't sit all that well with me. :(

I know pizza is a huge part of the runners food group, but I just don't eat it anymore! I'm possibly wheat intolerant. Which is sad. I'm still testing it out. All I know is I can actually breathe through my nose when I don't eat it. To be on the safe side, for my pizza, I used an oat crust.

If you've never grilled pizza before, it is very easy, quick and you get that oven fired crunch. It's also a great party idea. Small party idea. Last night we had a couple people over and it was top your own crust. Monday we had a large potluck, and it was bring a dish etc. Anymore than 4-5 people and the grill will either not be big enough, and/or you won't all eat together.

I kind of threw these crusts together, but I was very happy with how they turned out.
Speedy Pizza Crust
2 1/4 tsp Yeast
1 1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/4 C Spelt Flour/Brown Rice Flour Mix (any lighter flour will work)
1 C Warm water
2 Tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Honey
1 tsp Salt
2 Tbs mixed herbs (I did oregano, basil and garlic powder)

In a bowl, mix yeast and honey with wrist temp warm water. Stir until dissolved. Let sit for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt.

Make a well in the middle, pour in yeast mixture, oil and water. Stir until loose ball forms. Knead until elastic. Leave in oiled bowl for however long you want. I was busy with other fixin's so it sat for about 30 minutes and doubled in that time! However, you can use this immediately, it does not have to rise.

Once risen, you can divide this into at least 2 very large crusts, I divided into 5 nice thin crusts- the size of my pizza stone. Roll out on floured surface. The smaller they are, the easier they handle on the grill.

Roll out thin, but not too thin... like 1/4-1/2 inch. Lay on a plate, dust with cornmeal/ground flaxseed. Layer with another crust. Repeat.

On the grill:
On preheated/low heat grill, carefully place one crust over low flame. watch closely.. about 3-5 minutes, turn. Cook this side only until done.. not too brown. Remember that once the toppings are on, the crust will cook even more. You do want it done at this point though.

Take crusts off grill. Top with your favorite veggies. Place crusts back on grill. Close the lid. And check every few minutes. The veggies will still be a little on the fresh side, which I personally love. If you have cheese, it will definitely melt quickly. We use the top rack of the grill to keep the crusts from over cooking before the toppings are done. If your grill only has one rack, just watch closely, or pre-cook your veggies a tad.

Voila! Pizza on the grill!

I made the above recipe for my company and hubs. For myself, (trying to avoid wheat/most flours) I made a pizza crust out of oats. I tried sneaking oat flour into all of my little sisters pizza crusts/pancakes/cookies. And until she caught me blending oats, it worked! haha!

Oat Pizza Crust
2 C Oat Flour (can be easily made in food processor/blender)
2 1/4 tsp Yeast (can be made without)
1 C Warm Water
1 tsp Honey
1 Tbs Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tbs Rosemary, crushed in your hand

In one bowl, dissolve yeast, honey and water.  Let sit a few minutes.

In another stir together flour, rosemary, and salt.

Make a well in the flour bowl, pour in yeast mixture, water and oil. Stir well. The mixture will be really wet. I made the mistake of chit chatting with a girl friend as I made this up and I though.. oh my.. not enough flour.. so I made/added more (which you can tell in the photos-I didn't grind completely). What I wasn't thinking about was that the oats would absorb the water and become a manageable dough.. so what I ended up with was a drier, more crumbly dough that I had planned for, but they taste was still amazing!! The amounts above are correct (or at least close).

Once the oats absorb the water (about 10 minutes), form into a ball, and make as many crust as you can get for the size you want (this makes a good bit of dough, at least 2 medium large crusts-I made 6 small ones).

Layer on a plate being sure to sprinkle cornmeal/ground flax in between each crust to keep from sticking. If your dough is sticky, add more oats. You don't want to put sticky dough on the grill!

I loaded mine with cilantro pesto, zucchini, olives and garlic. I wasn't able to get a photo of mine, but snapped some pics of the leftovers.

Follow the grilling instructions above! Enjoy!

We were lucky enough to have fresh canned basic tomato sauce (like paste.. but not so thick) but you can use a can of tomato paste/sauce from the store.. or cook down a bunch of tomatoes (seeded and drained) from your garden, then pureed.

Basic Pizza Sauce
1 C Tomato Sauce (if using paste-add water until sauce consistency)
1/2 tsp salt
2 Tbs mixed herbs (basil, oregno, thyme, tarragon, and garlic powder are classic)
1/2 tsp honey or other sweetener

We added 1 Tbs of nutritional yeast to ours. You can experiment with other add ins such as fruit jam, hot sauce, or molasses/mustard/spices for a BBQ sauce.

Mix well, let sit for a little while to soften the dried herbs if possible. Not necessary though. THis recipe works well for marinara as well, with a few minor adjustments (add chopped garlic, 1 tsp of olive oil, up the sweetener/salt).

Super easy and a great alternative to fresh basil pesto. Cilantro can be easier to find and less expensive.

Cilantro Pesto 
1 bunch fresh Cilantro
2-5 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs ground Almonds
1 tsp Salt
1-2 Tbs Parmesean (optional)

So it basically follows basil pesto (which is basil, olive oil, parmesan, pine nuts, salt and pepper). But, you don't always have pine nuts or basil on hand. I made mine without cheese, and it was awesome! Salt is more to taste, start with less, especially if you add Parm.

Monday, June 27, 2011

DIY Mondays~Make Your Own Almond Butter!

Making your own almond, peanut, cashew or pumpkin, sunflower, coconut butter is SO easy, you'll wonder why you ever bought the jar stuff!

Back in the day, I was really anti-appliance. I still have some amount of guilt when I use my blender or food processor 4-5 times a day. It's for my health though! Right? Ah. This debate is for a different day. I'm conflicted.

So, we had an old recycled, re-used way to many times espresso machine for a few years. And no other appliances. No Juicer, blender or food processor; all of which we now have, now minus the espresso machine. We use a glass french press for coffee now, but have 2 largish appliances. I'm glad we still don't have a mixer, toaster oven, toaster, coffee machine etc. etc. But sometimes, when all three of our appliances are on the counter, I feel gluttonous and ridiculous. Healthy eating can be as simple as and apple and nut/seed butter! Oh yeah, the recipe!

Aren't You Cool Butter
It's this easy:
Plug in your food processor.
Pour in some nuts (or seeds).
Process, scraping fairly often (this will be ultra loud at first).
And you have your own, homemade, rebel butter.

Fun Add Ins: Honey, Cinnamon, Maple, Cocoa powder, dried fruit..salt as needed..

Here is a photo log of Almond-Pumpkin Butter so you can see what you are looking for:
After 1-2 Minutes

Close Up-see lil chunks

After another 1-2 minutes

Starting to release oils after another 2 minutes
Another 3 minutes

Another 3 minutes..
From here, it's preference. The butter becomes fairly warm from friction and will just get smoother as the oils warm up.
From this point you can add a handful of whatever nut you are using and pulse it in for 'chunky.'
Or, add in whatever flavor/spices/salt you want.

From here I added in a small handful of pumpkin seeds and a touch of salt.
Using raw nuts and seeds may be more beneficial to your health versus roasted. Read here and here.

Although, I believe raw peanuts may be a no-no.

So easy! Oh yeah, and healthy, protein packed too.

What is your favorite rebel homemade food?

Do you have any crazy delicious combination ideas?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Smoothie Sundays~Kiwi Arugula & Cantaloupe Strawberry

Put da Strawberry in da Cantaloupe
I drink a lot of smoothies. It's a great way to be sure you are getting your greens in. I try to get a variety and not use the same ol, same ol, but that is much easier in the summer.

Here are two of my favorites from last week!

With the first one, very basic, 2 fruits, one incredible flavor. Amazing health.

Cantaloupe Strawberry
1 C Cantaloupe (chopped, no rind) 
 5 Strawberries
Almond milk/water as needed (any milk/liquid you want)
 Lots of ice

I blended up the cantaloupe on it's own, poured it into a glass. Did the same with the strawberry. I just wanted to see the pretty colors on their own. Blend and Enjoy!
Kiwi Arugula

Next up Kiwi Arugula; if you are not familiar with the pungent spicy flavor or arugula, try it before tossing it in your blender.. or try adding mostly spinach and a touch of arugula to acquire a taste of this healthy green! Freeze your chopped fruit prior to blending for a thick smoothie.

Kiwi Arugula
1 C Arugula
1 Kiwi- skin on if organic
3-4 Strawberries
1/2+ Hazelnut Milk (anything works.. I just had this on hand to be used)
Ice to get it thick!

*Pear would be a great addition/substution!

Blend and Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cinnamon Toast Crunch & Cinnamon Raisin Bran~ Gluten Free

Cinnamon Toast Crunch
Did you ever eat those sugary Kellogs Cereals? Maybe you still do? I know growing up we were only allowed to eat Rice Krispies, Shredded Wheat, Corn Flakes, Cheerios and Raisin Bran. If we got lucky charms it was a HUGE treat. And I was caught picking out all of the marshmallows a few times! When I look back the more 'wholesome' choices (or lesser of evils) my mom made us eat, I'm grateful.

However, when living a 'clean' life, eating clean foods,  processed cereals with added sugar, chemical 'crispers', anti-caking agents and milled to death grains do not fit in. You don't have to go raw to have healthier options (think oatmeal/homemade granola/bran and quinoa flakes). But I do have a few raw (well, truly raw if you leave out the maple syrup/extract-but who's keeping score? Still leaps and bounds from frosted flakes). recipes to share. You can bake them though! Trust me, you or whoever you share this with will not know it's homemade or raw. It's that good. Gluten free and EASY, easy, easy.

First off, if you've only had buckwheat in pancakes, or have never had it at all, you have got to explore this amazing 'grain!' It's actually a fruit seed.

It's higher in fiber (per gram) than oatmeal, high in manganese, high in plant lignans and super versatile. The amazing list of benefits here. I think it's the next 'superfood.' I find myself using it more than any other sprouted grain in my arsenal. You will too!

I soak my buckwheat overnight. Then rinse well 3-4 times. and rinse often. Buckwheat is slimy when you soak it.. so you want to rinse well so it will dehydrate fully and get ultra crisp. Here is more info on sprouting/using raw buckwheat. You can let it sprouts until the little tails are just peeking out. After they get longer than that, I find the taste notably 'green,' and not as palatable. 

Going truly clean to some people means no sugar entirely. This can make you feel deprived and less likely to WANT to eat clean, possibly relapsing to processed sugars. It takes practice and over time as your body detoxes of sugar, it does become easier, craving less often. Especially when you ween off with natural sugars. At least, in my personal experience. Maple Syrup is a processed sweetener. I use it for flavor and because I read this. If you want to go ultra clean, sub apple juice as a sweetener or date syrup in any of these recipes, or omit sugar entirely.

Cinnamon Toast Crunch
3 C Sprouted Buckwheat
1/2 C Maple Syrup (or whatever you choose)
2 tsp Vanilla (or 1 vanilla bean scraped)
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon (or to taste.. easy to over do)

Process all ingredients in food processor until pasty. (alternatively, you can just stir it all together.. no need to break up the groats really). It won't take long and will be rather wet.

Spread this mixture out onto dehydrator trays (or baking tray). If you spread it thin, you can break it up into flakes later. I like to check after 1-2 hours (at 112) and break it up/pinch it into little clumps. Then dehydrate at 104F overnight. I've never baked this.. but I don't see why not. Try 350F for 5 minutes and keep checking. Maybe scoring/clumping up as you go.

No, it's not going to taste just like cinnamon toast crunch, which I believe is sweetened, flavored corn, but it is delicious!
Macaroon Crunch
Macaroon Crunch
1 batch Cinnamon Toast Crunch ingredients
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Shredded Coconut
1/4-1/2 C slivered/chopped almonds

Follow the same instructions.

The following recipe is one of the first cereals I attempted to recreate (although never a huge fan of the real thing) when I first started raw foods. I posted it on It's pretty dang good! In my original recipe I added wheat germ and ground flax. I no longer do that.
Cacao Puffs

Cocoa Puffs
3 C Sprouted Buckwheat
3 Tbs Sweetener (optional)
1 1/2 Tbs Cacao (plain cocoa works)
Pinch of Salt

Follow the same instructions! Can be made in clumps or 'flakes.' Process until super smooth for flakes.

This next recipe is not your childhood raisin bran, although I do have a recipe for that to post. It is delicious and a bit spicy from all the cinnamon. VERY crunchy! I make mine on thick side. They double as amazing breakfast crackers for nut butter or fresh fruit. You can spread this thin, make granola clumps, or bake it. Try adding chopped apples, raisins, nutmeg, allspice and cutting back on the cinnamon for an apple cake variation.

Adjust the raisins/cinnamon to your preference.

Cinnamon Raisin Bran

Cinnamon Raisin Bran
2 C Almond Pulp (or ground fine dry almonds)
1/2 C Sweetener
1/2-1 tsp Vanilla
1-2 tsp Cinnamon
1/2 C Raisins

Process all ingredients except raisins.  Pulse in raisins so you get largish chunks. Spread thick onto dehydrator sheet.. D at 104F for 1-2 hours. Score with a pizza cutter. Or make clumps. Then D overnight at 115F. Follow the remaining instructions as above.

For a more traditional bran taste, cut back on the cinnamon, add 1/4 C moistened bran and pinch of salt.

Top these cereals, or an invention of your own with fresh fruit, chia seed etc. and your favorite milk!


Friday, June 24, 2011

The Coolest Project! 500 postcards in 500 Days!

Check this awesome project out. It's a practice in discipline for the guy running it, but also very cool for everyone that receives a postcard.

Contact him and get a postcard! Without people, the project fails!

Blossom Salad & Farmin' Friday

Did you know you can eat many flower blossoms?? So many beautiful blossoms are ready for picking, and I definitely have all I need for salad this time of year. Summer time salads are so much more fun that the same ol winter green salads. I love bright colors, and this salad just makes me smile. You can take this as an example and create your own! I just used what I picked that day. And, I measured by hand.

Jo's Blossom Salad
1 C Spinach
1/2 C Arugula
1/2 C Chard
1/2 C Mixed lettuces
1/4 C Kohlrabi leaves (young thinnings)

Handful of Arugula Blossoms
Handful of Chive Blossoms
2 Strawberries Chopped
1/4 Pear Chopped
Sprinkle of Pumpkin Seeds
Sprinkle of Coconut
Sprinkle of Alfalfa sprouts

Dressing: I just drizzled on Raspberry Vinegar and Grapeseed oil.. anything goes.. simple is best for this so you can experience all the tangy/spicy and sweet flavors. Enjoy!

Newbie Farmin Chronicles:
SO much has happened on our little farm lately, I almost need a blog dedicated to it. To keep this post as short as possible, here is a short sentence recap of the past week:

Recap: Plymouth Rock Chicken "Dinner" disappears/Black Bear on property-firearm gets carried around/Mysterious dead vole every morning (the cat)/Crazy Ptarmigan drives the dogs to lunacy/Sparky the duck fights a chicken/goshawk returns and there is a stick vs predator match/"Dinner" is found/Buff Orp Hen "Betty" is limping/Hens are hiding eggs in the fireweed and shed/Juicy Fathead the rooster is a bad ass

Ah, so, pictures may explain more briefly.... I didn't get a photo of the bear because I ran for the rifle and had the cat in my arm, and I could get a picture of the fresh vole this morning.. but no. (Just to clarify, I don't shoot to kill anything.. unless it threatens me. The sound alone scares them off).
Crazy Ptarmigan

Background: We are amateur chicken keepers. This is our second year (well, mine-not my hubs). We added to our flock this year to prepare for selling eggs in town. Duck eggs, chicken eggs, and next spring-3 different breed hatching eggs. Our adults are free range. Once they left the brooder box, we kept them penned in from age 4 wks-7wks because they were still small (and vunerable). Now, we only keep them penned in at night (they go in the coop on their own) for their safety. In the winter I have to shovel snow so they can walk out. Our young flock is currently penned (still small and it's hawk 'season' here). We'll keep them in a bit longer to grow large enough that they can protect themselves when integrated with our older flock. After giving a few away as gifts, and 5 dying (hawk/weak chicks) over the last year, we have 55 birds total.

No Yoga: Once the birds are old enough, chickens are relatively moderate maintenance. Well, at least in comparison to having one adult flock, a younger flock, a flock of ducks, a barn under construction, a special needs chicken and an injured chicken. I love having so much going on. It really keeps me busy (and outside!) however, it has disturbed my yoga routine (usually early morning before I work online) and I'm feeling stiff and maaybe a little cranky.. nah.. cranky before bed though.

Hmm.. lets start with the most exciting. Yesterday I was picking greens in the garden, on the other side of the fence my adult flock was hanging out eating the thinnings/scraps I stuck through the fencing.
stayed like this forever
The roo and the hawk and the woman with the stick: So, my adult rooster is a bad ass. He fought a hawk twice last year, losing many feathers. He looks for his hens when they are missing. When he hears one cackle in distress, you've never seen a fat feathered butt run so fast! He's also gentle with the hens and eats crackers out of my hand. Very cool guy.

They were eating and making happy chicken sounds.. and he makes this sound that gives me a bad feeling and I though "why is he warning them/is he mad at me?" and I look over (he is 5 inches away from me) and all the chickens look up, so I look up and holy shiz there is a hawk, head bent, low, eyeing the young chicks near the barn. I yelled "hawk!" haha! to who? The rooster? He's like "duh!" And I ran, handful of spinach (that I found later on the ground), jumped out of the garden, grabbed a stick and waited. I normally have the .22 out for bears. And we had a bear hanging out this past week. What was I thinking? Well, 2nd option is a shovel/rake.. I must have actually put those away, and had to grab a long stick (waiting to be used as a roost bar).

2010-Juicy Himself!
So, I jump into the young chicks pen area and wait. Here it comes.. I hear the rooster-who has already herded the hens into their penned area (which is safe and netted-the young pen area is incomplete). I'm standing there inbetween hot pink and orange incomplete netting, ready to swing. The young chicks see the hawk and run and hide.. the hawk hovers right over the barn, and I see how dang big it is now. She swoops down and guess who turns into Babe Ruth (oh wait-was he a pitcher?).. she is thwarted and flies into a tree across the yard. I wait. For 15 minutes. I knew she was coming back because all of a sudden a chicken cries and herds the ducks (that was funny) and they all run. So she comes even closer this time! And I just kept swinging and after a minute of this showdown (she's like WHAT is that??) flew towards the neighbors. So I ran in and called them to warn. We have wildlife phone chains here. That was pretty exciting. I felt really triumphant.
Found the Lost One: Last bit of excitement was later that night. We found "Dinner" alive and under a tarp (that was covering some lumber). A weeks worth of chicken poo dried to her butt and she had laid an egg under there. After a minute, we got her to drink some water. And after about 20 she bit at a strawberry and chowed on some wet cornmeal. But, she didn't get up. And, after 13 hours, she still has not gotten up. I carried her inside after the first hour though and put her up in a brooder box with everything she needs. She holds her wing out for balance. One wing is missing quite a few primary feathers, all except 2. Her leg might be stiff, as she holds it in one direction-back. I checked her out and see no wounds, feel no broken bones. We'll see what happens.
Crooked Beak: Lastly.. little crooked beak. She is also a Plymouth Rock and has a birth deformity that has worsened. She needs special attention with feed. She does not get picked on, which is great. Very ambitious, she escapes the pen (the only one that knows how) and follows me around the yard for food. She likes to hang out on my arm too-while I'm working. Too funny. What a character. Isn't she cute/pitiful?

Update:  Little Crooked Beak passed away over winter. :(
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