What’s Your Story?

Standard

once upon a time

 

Check out this awesome project launched by an awesome woman, Brigitte Theriault.

I would encourage you to click her “share your story” link and share yours.

We all have a story, one we add to every day.

Mine is a [self] love story, because that’s what I decided it should be.

Brigitte’s story is raw and vulnerable. It is also beautiful and inspiring.

Check it out. You won’t be sorry.

 

Rad(ishes)

Standard

My grandmother loved radishes. She didn’t call them “radishes”, though. She called them “RADeeshes.”

She would slice the greens off, scrub them up, put them in a tupperware bowl filled with water and stick them in the fridge for future snacking. I didn’t understand why she did that (it is done to help them keep their crunch) but I always thought they looked really pretty floating around the container. Radishes were beautiful, I thought. Too bad they tasted like dirt.

Fast forward 20 or so years, which is how long it took me to try radishes again. The only reason I tried them? I grew them. The only reason I grew them? Because I heard they were easy to grow and dang it, nothing else was coming up. I discovered that I was not only able to grow radishes, but I was able to grow them REALLY WELL. I had TONS of them. Red radishes, french breakfast, daikon…I had them all. The rabbits I was raising at the time were thrilled. I wasn’t sure I liked radishes THAT much.  The point of all this? They taste better when they aren’t from your grocery store. They don’t taste like dirt. They taste a bit spicy and sometimes a bit sweet and sort of …earthy? How is that for a terrible description? It also depends on your variety, so, yeah…go taste some for yourself. Do not rely on my poor use of adjectives and (sort of) descriptive phrases.

I ordered English Breakfast radishes last week in my CSA box. I’m no longer growing radishes and hadn’t had one in a while. I received this darling bundle:

radishes1

They have been eaten raw, juiced, sliced on salads, served with tacos, and admired for their beauty.

Especially when they are floating in water.

This week I am ordering red radishes AND daikon and will be trying my hand and roasting them into “radish chips”. If it is a successful venture, I will post the recipe. 🙂

While we wait for the results on that, take a look at reasons to eat radishes. There are many:

Health-Benefits-of-Radishes (1)

 

Don’t be afraid to revisit the foods that you thought you hated. It may taste surprisingly good to you now. All the more reason to check out your local Farmer’s Market…where food tastes like its supposed to. 😉

 

Ants on a Log, Deconstructed

Standard

Call me juvenile, but when I think of raisins, I think of “Ants on a Log”.

You know, celery, filled with peanut butter, topped with raisins (aka “ants”)?

ants on a log

When I ordered raisins in my CSA box last week, primarily for my middle child who is pretty sure the world revolves around raisins, I of course thought about Ants on a Log…which is really the only recipe I use raisins for.

As a kid I wouldn’t eat them. I hated celery, peanut butter belonged on sandwiches, and raisins were just grapes that’d had the life sucked out of them.

As an adult, I recently discovered I like celery, peanut butter can’t go on sandwiches because I’m not supposed to eat BREAD, and raisins? Yeah, they may still be grapes that have had the life sucked out of them…but they aren’t so bad considering what they’ve been through. 😉

Now, no matter what your cooking experience level is, I wouldn’t dare assume that you need a recipe for Ants on a Log. In fact, this post is less about cooking, and more about eating.  Let me show you what I mean:

shoppers_guide

In case you’ve never heard of it, “The DIrty Dozen” is a list of vegetables and fruits that, if at all possible, should be purchased organically grown. I am fully aware that organic foods can be very expensive (which is part of the reason why I am such a huge advocate for CSA and Farmer’s Market shopping…much cheaper!) But this list gives you a guideline for what items should be purchased organic if you can budget some, but not all.

Notice number ONE.

CELERY.

Which, by the way, is the LOG. (Ok, so maybe this blog is a little bit about the log.)

Where I live, celery is not in season right now, but you bettah believe I’m buying it organic. It is maybe a dollar more than conventional, and I am HAPPY to spend it.

While I’m on the subject of what’s in season, I’d like to point out that where I live (and I realize it varies around the country), apples, spinach, kale, collard green, potatoes, and raisins (aka GRAPES) are all readily available right now. My CSA has most of those items available right now, which means, most of them are in my fridge….except the potatoes. Those are in the pantry. 😛

Ok, so we have established we need organic celery.

On to peanut butter.

Remember when we were kids, and we were told which brand choosy mom’s choose?

Let me show you the ingredients label:

JifPB

This is the part where I try really hard not to dissect every ingredient. Let’s focus on this: It contains “fully hydrogenated vegetable oils” (which makes it so they can label it “No Partially Hydrogenated Oils!”) What does this mean? It means that Jif is poisoning their peanuts with disgusting oils that were heated to 400* then pumped with extra hydrogen atoms. The result? A smooth, creamy peanut butter that doesn’t separate. Oh, and the oil turns rancid, toxifying your system. It’s foreign to your body, so instead of using it, your body has to work harder to essentially fight it off as as free radical (which is a known cancer causing problem.)  These oils are usually (and I only say “usually” to cover my back side) made from GMO ingredients as well.

Choosy moms boycott JIF.

Alternative? Many stores offer fresh ground peanut butter (Sprouts, Winco, Whole Foods) that you grind yourself. You can choose (in most cases) between plain (aka, no sugar or salt) or honey roasted (my favorite!)  Another good option if you have a costco card, is “Brad’s Organic” peanut butter.

peanutbutter

Ingredients? Organic Peanuts”. The end.  I will add local, raw, organic honey to mine. 🙂

Always look for an organic peanut butter, and READ THE LABELS guys!

The last stop on our Ants on a Log journey? The “Ants”.

Organic raisins, or dried grapes, are remarkably good for you. They are rich in boron, iron, potassium calcium and the B vitamins, and are a good source of fiber. They are great for your eyes, can protect against gum disease and cavities, and are really high in resveratrol, the good stuff in wine. 🙂

Conventional raisins, however, not so much. In tests done on raisins grown on conventional farms, up to 26 pesticide residues have been found. Want a better understanding of what that means to YOU?

8 were known or probable carcinogens (aka cancer-causing)

11 were suspected hormone disruptors

5 were Neurotoxins

5 were developmental or reproductive toxins

and

9 were honeybee toxins, which is a serious problem…unless you don’t mind losing the majority of our fresh produce from the planet.

The solution? Organic Raisins. It’s not just what all the cool kids are doing, guys. This is a real, scientific issue, in so many ways.

As I said, this post wasn’t about teaching you how to make a favorite childhood snack. it’s about deconstructing that snack (and perhaps our current food system) in an effort to encourage you to treat yourself and your body better. As a result, you will be contributing to a far superior, sustainable, privately owned food system.

In short? We could change the world.

One raisin at a time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grain Free Prosciutto and Arugula Pizza

Standard

Although I do not always stick to a grain free diet,  I try. I shoot for 60-70% success and call it good. I have found that there are some things that  I just can’t give up, and have to have on rare occasion:  My mom’s chicken dijon over rice. The occasional bowl of freshly popped popcorn. Red Vines.

One thing that was also on my list for a while? Pizza. It has been so great since I discovered I could make a pretty decent cracker-type crust without any grains! The possibilities are endless, but the other day I made my fave pizza ever. Mozzarella, Prosciutto and Arugula pizza. YUM. For added flair, I added some lemon balm leaves that were calling to me from my CSA box. SO yum. Here’s how I did it.

For the crust, you will need:

1/2 cup tapioca flour/starch

1/2 cup arrowroot

1/3 cup raw shredded parm cheese (I love TJ’s)

4 TBSP of refined coconut oil or other high-heat oil such as high-oleic sunflower

1 TBSP water

1 organic egg

Combine all ingredients. It will be sticky and kind of gummy.

Prepare 2 pieces of parchment paper the same size as your pizza pan ( you can trim the edges later)

BRUSH BOTH PIECES OF PARCHMENT WITH OLIVE OIL. IF YOU DO NOT DO THIS, YOU WILL END UP WITH A STICKY MESS.

Scrape the batter/ dough onto the first piece of parchment (on the greased side.) Now lay the other piece, greased side down, onto the dough. With a rolling pin, roll the crust out into a circle.

Peel the top piece of parchment off and discard. Put the crust, parchment and all, onto your pizza pan.

Next up, TOPPINGS. This is where you can do whatever you want. One suggestion? Don’t use anything too wet, like fresh mozz. It will make your dough gummy. I also find that while a good thick tomato based sauce works, a dense pesto does better. This recipe only calls for olive oil drizzled over it first, but a thick fig butter or would have been amazing.

For this recipe:

Drizzle the dough with olive oil, and brush to spread evenly.

Top with slices of mozz cheese (NOT the fresh one…too much water)

Top with prosciutto slices and bits of lemon balm (and then take a poorly lit crappy cell phone pic of it):

pizza1

 

Pop it in the oven. Bake at 400* for about 15-20 minutes. You want the crust nice and golden.

Once it comes out, top with the fresh arugula. I mixed mine with a bit of mesculin greens and some more lemon balm. 🙂 Some peeled, sliced fresh pears would have been awesome too, but I thought about it after the fact.

pizza2

 

Crispy, spicy, flavorful and satisfying. I think, for me,  “satisfying” is the most important aspect here, as sometimes, my meals are anything but.  I also feel a certain sense of satisfaction when I am using foods in the height of their freshness…bought locally, purchased in season, and used shortly after buying them.  I guarantee the fresh arugula I brought home, fresh out of the ground, is a million times tastier than the one at the store in July. You just can’t beat in-season, organic, local produce. That said, bagged arugula is better than *no* arugula. Work with what you’ve got around you, just make sure you’re eatin’ the good stuff.

Your beautiful self is worth it.

 

 

All Hail Kale!

Standard

So excited about greens right now. I love “green’s season”! I am most excited about my favorite leafy love, KALE.  While I enjoy kale cooked in many ways, my favorite is the fairly newly popular kale chip. Crispy, satisfying, and easily consumed without having to try too hard, (aka, you don’t have to force yourself to eat them), the kale chip my favorite way to stock up on the goodness of greens.

Why eat kale? Here are a few reasons:

KALE-Info-largeMy recipe for kale chips can be found HERE. They are quick, easy, cheap and DELICIOUS. Season however you like. I prefer mine with a little sea salt and garlic powder, but I have heard they are delicious dusted with nutritional yeast too. 🙂

Kale is available at most grocery stores, but being that it is time for greens in so many areas, check your local farmer’s market to see if it is available locally grown. Go with organic whenever you can…especially with tender plants like greens. I ordered some in my CSA box this week and am so looking forward to bakin’ it up. So grateful to live in an area where so much fresh food grows. Even more grateful for the local farmers that take the time to grow our food without chemicals, pesticides and franken-seeds. 🙂

Take just a few minutes to prep these yourself, and save LOADS on the packaged ones. Homemade kale chips are a million times better than store-bought, and I prefer to know exactly what went into the process.

Love yourselves, ladies…from the inside out. 🙂

 

Dairy-Free “Choco-cado” Pudding

Standard

So, true story, I made this for a friend one time. She loved it. She ate quite a bit of it. She was very surprised that she liked it, because avocados had always grossed her out.

We quickly discovered that her body had been trying to tell her something all along:

She was allergic to avocados.

So in a way, I sort of poisoned my friend. Not cute.

Thankfully, she recovered just fine, but needless to say, avocados do not make an appearance in my kitchen when she is around.

Now that I have frightened you with that little tale, let me tell you how to make poisonous choco-cado pudding!

Ingredients:

2 med sized avocados, pitted and peeled. (I used mexicola from my CSA box)

1/4 cup organic REAL maple syrup OR  6-10 medjool dates

1.5 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder (I like Trader Joe’s)

1/4 cup vanilla hemp milk

Put all ingredients into the food processor. Process until creamy and smooth. If it is too thick, add more hemp milk about a tsp at a time. If its too thin, you need more avocado. 🙂  Fold in sliced bananas if desired.

chococado

 

Today was the perfect day to make this because I had 2 mexicola avocados on my counter that were *just* about to die on me. I saw this the other day and thought it was quite possibly the most perfect little bit of kitchen truth:

avocadosnotyet

 

Right? I know.

Also, little sidenote; My favorite variation of this recipe:

Substitute the hemp milk for raw cream. Blend all of the ingredients (minus the cream) together first, then add the cream in. Puree for 5-10 seconds until it begins to “whip”, making for a really nice mousse consistency. 🙂

This is delicious with fresh strawberries too!

Definitely file this one under the “treat” category as the sugar content is pretty high in this one, but still a nice alternative to the packaged garbage. 🙂

Enjoy… Unless you’re allergic to avocados. 😉

Taco Salad Lettuce Wraps

Standard

Lettuce has arrived! I am so excited about greens being in season.  You have no idea.

I love a tomatoes and peppers, but darn it, I am so ready for something new!

I made a quick and tasty meal over the weekend that I thought I would share with you. It was inspired by the gorgeous lettuce in my CSA box and was super tasty.

Taco Salad Lettuce Wraps!

Ingredients:

Seasoned, cooked, ground beef which was leftover from the night before. Nice and cold. (1.5 lb Organic Ground beef, 2-3 tsp cumin, 2 TBSP chili powder, 1 chopped jalapeno, salt, pepper, garlic)

A bit of shredded cheese (cheddar in my case.)

Fresh salsa, also made from csa ingredients.

Chopped cilantro

A couple large leaves of lettuce (red leaf here.)

1 mexicola avocado, sliced.

And “dressing” made from 2 TBSP organic sour cream and 1-2 TBSP of your fresh salsa, whisked together.

lettucewraping

 

 

Pink toenails optional.

 

 

Pretty simple steps:

Layer like you would a taco. Meat, cheese, cilantro, salsa, avocado, dressing. Or however you like it. 😉

I served mine with a handful of “Late July” chips because I’m a texture girl and I really need crunch with my food.

lettucewraps

 

Although the lettuce held up pretty well as a wrap, I did eventually end up crushing the chips over the top and eating it like a salad. This is mostly because I’m funny about food and have strange eating habits.

These would be good taken as lunch to work, you know, if I worked outside the home. I would probably keep the lettuce and other ingredients separate until it was time to eat, though. 🙂

I’m hoping to get a few more greens-inspired recipes up this week.

Anyone else enjoying fall produce?