We still have blueberries in abundance and I’m making blueberry everything. Today I wanted something fast and cooling, so I made up a smoothie. I tried a new ingredient today with great success – fennel. I had a bronze fennel blow over in a recent storm, so had gone out and brought in the huge stem. I cut off all the leaf portions, which were substantial, a stored it in the fridge for use over the next several days.
I “accidentally” pulled the fennel bag out thinking it was something else and decided to give it a try. I was surprised by the combination of flavors and how well they blend, but also, by how strong the fennel leaf is.
Please remember my proportions are always guesstimates. Here’s my new combination:
Blueberry Fennel Smoothie
- 1.5 cups almond milk
- 1 frozen banana
- 1 large chard leaf
- 10 medium lettuce leaves
- 3 or 4 bronze fennel leaves (or regular fennel)
- 2 cups blueberries (or more if you like)
Place all ingredients in Vitamix (or blender) and puree. Drink immediately!
Hope you enjoy this unusual taste combination.
What’s your favorite smoothie?
Recently my husband was reading all about the benefits of eating sauerkraut. This put a bee in his bonnet to make some, which he’s done many times before. Once he’d got the cabbage all ready to sit around and become kraut, he placed it on top of a small cabinet that houses all our containers of beans and grains.
Everything was fine until the third morning. My husband went to check on it and found that it had overflowed all over everything. Now this wouldn’t have been too bad if he’d had it on the countertop, but what we didn’t know is that “cooking” kraut is an excellent paint remover! Also, it is a great glue melter. So, alas and alack my little cabinet is now in need of major repairs. The plywood on one side separated into all its layers and buckled into large swollen areas; the top now looks like a disturbed lake; and even the shelves on the top half warped significantly. We’ve managed to re-glue some areas, however, it looks like we’re going to have to deconstruct it enough to replace one entire side panel, ugh.
So, warning. Place your fermenting kraut on a surface that can’t be damaged by it. The little cabinet will now be taken out to the storage area and the refinishing I was planning for later in the season will commence immediately. Luckily I have a plastic storage shelf I can put in its place for the duration of the refinishing or we’ve have containers of beans and grains setting everywhere, which we do at the moment.
Aside from that, kraut is a great food, highly nutritious, with many health benefits. It’s way better than any probiotic you can buy; helps boost the immune system; may help protect against flu virus. It is very easy to make. Here’s how we do it:
- 1 large crock pot, the ceramic part
- 1 plate that just fits the top of the crock pot, don’t leave air space as that will cause mold to develop
- Something to weigh the plate down. Right now we’re using a jar of grains, but have used jugs filled with water, too.
- You’ll need one large, or one and a half small heads of organic* cabbage. Something that will fill the crock up to within about 1-2” from the top.
- Coarsely shred about 2/3 to 3/4 of the cabbage. The other 1/3 to 1/4 finely shred. This seems to help the process get going quicker.
- Place the cabbage in the crock and fill it with enough water to cover it all completely, but not overflow.
- Place the plate on top, usually with the top side down and weigh down with whatever your using.
- Set it in a warm place.
- In 3 – 7 days you should have sauerkraut. The way you tell is by the smell and taste. If it smells like kraut then dig down below the surface just a little and taste it. Not done enough leave it a little longer until it is the sour flavor you like.
- We add the salt afterward. At one time we had a problem with the salt stopping the fermenting process.
Kraut Preparation Ideas
Just remember sauerkraut is best eaten raw. If you cook it you kill most if not all the beneficial bacteria. So, that being said, what’s your favorite way to eat sauerkraut?
*Organic works best, as the bacteria that causes the fermentation are still alive. Non-organic has been sprayed and may not produce a good product.
I was looking through all my old posts and was shocked that I had never shared one of my favorite salads! So, here’s the recipe for a delicious, quick salad. This is especially great during the summer when your lettuce has bolted.
Servings: 2-? (the more you cut up the more you feed)
Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Snow Peas
- Cumin seeds
- Balsamic Vinegar
- Olive oil
- Celtic Salt (Opt)
Directions: Chop up some of each vegetable and put in a serving bowl. Sprinkle cumin seeds, balsamic vinegar and Celtic salt over it. Drizzle a little olive oil on and toss lightly.
Can be served as is or put a rounded heap on a beautiful single lettuce leaf.
You can use other veggies as substitutes. These are my favorites though. You can toss in some fresh basil or other Italian herbs you enjoy for a little different taste.
Every time I take a green salad to a potluck gathering it gets rave reviews. I’m going to reveal the secret for a salad that keeps them coming back for more and more. Most green salads are made from head lettuce, some tomato, carrots, maybe celery, and then smothered in a heavy ranch style dressing.
To me that isn’t even a salad. The first thing is that you don’t use head lettuce. It is almost flavorless, and if it does have a flavor it is bitter. It’s also low on the nutritional scale. Leaf lettuce has a lot more nutrition for the same amount, and it has flavor! So the basis for a really fantastic salad is leaf lettuce. I usually try to include several varieties of lettuce in my salads; some red and green; loose leaf and romaine; buttercrunch or butterhead, etc.
Now that you’ve got the base of your salad figured out this is when the creativity starts. First of all I rarely make a salad that only has lettuce in it. Other greens that are excellent in a salad are kale, chard, spinach, arugula, mizuna, tatsoi, cabbage (both green and red), baby bok choy, mustard, or any of the early chinese greens. The key is to only use a little of the stronger leaves like arugula, kale, and mustard.
Still in the realm of green things I then choose fresh herbs to put in the salad, and if possible use in the salad dressing. All of the Italian herbs work well: basil, oregano, thyme, tarragon, and rosemary. Here almost all of them grow fresh in the garden year round. I’ll also include parsley, shiso, tong ho, cilantro, or any other herbs that happen to be in abundance at the time.
Then come the extras. I don’t stop at just tomato, carrot and celery. Actually I don’t even put celery in, because I don’t like it. I’ll throw in cucumbers, zucchini, jicama, avocado, sunchokes, bell peppers, sugar or snow peas, yard long beans (cut up of course), pineapple tomatillo, or anything else that looks good at the moment. Just pick whatever vegetables you have in your garden, or that are on sale that week at the market and include them. Except those that really don’t taste good raw like potatoes. I’ve even shredded raw sweet potatoes on top.
Last come the desserts of the salad. I throw in some pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, whatever nuts we have on hand, as well as a handful of raisins, maybe some date pieces, or any crunchies I can lay my hands on.
To top it off you have to have a wonderful homemade salad dressing, which is a snap to make. I’ll share my most favorite dressing recipe next time.
The final piece de resistance is to decorate the salad with edible flowers. I’ll share my list of around 40 flowers you can decorate your dishes with and also eat!
Do you have a favorite salad ingredient that’s not mentioned here? It would be great to hear what tasty treats you’ve found.
When I became a vegetarian there weren’t a lot of good vegetarian cookbooks, plus most of them were for ovo-lacto vegetarians and I don’t eat eggs. For years I pined away, wishing I could make good muffins, cakes, pancakes, and the like. I tried all the egg replacers and found them to really be lacking. I did manage some decent treat using things like applesauce and yogurt, but sometimes I didn’t want their distinct flavors in what I was preparing.
Finally I began to play around with it myself and found that it is incredibly easy to make everything from cookies to pancakes from one basic recipe. How you make it into each different treat is through how much water you add to the dough, as well as what extras you put in. For instance you will put a lot less water into a cookie dough, than a pancake batter. You’ll add more sugar to cookies, too. In muffins you might want to add dried fruit, nuts, etc. Cookies may have peanut butter or things like that added to it, which all affect the level of water needed.
One of the nice things I found is that, even when I messed up I turned out something edible. Oh, maybe the muffins were a little gooey on the inside or the cookies didn’t flatten out the way I wanted, but they were all edible.
So, here’s my very basic recipe:
Basic Flour Mix
1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
Enough water to make batter/dough the consistency you need.
That being said here are a few variations I do for different recipes.
- If I want my cookies to flatten out some I add about ¼ cup sunflower or safflower oil.
- If using peanut butter you’ll need a bit more water.
- When making a sweet treat I use Sucanat, a whole sugar. Not too sweet add ½ cup, really sweet add 1 cup.
- To know how much of a spice to put in, for cookies or muffins, just refer to a recipe in a book and use their recommendation. Just remember spices you use less of, herbs you can use more of. Don’t be tempted to add a bunch more of the spices as it can be very overpowering. If you really want it to be especially cinnamony, then add about ¼ to ½ tsp more.
For cake I have a wonderful recipe that you can mix up right in the 9×13 pan.
Now you can enjoy your treats and have them healthy, too.
Christmas is a time when we think of family get-togethers, memories and traditional treats and meals. With many of the traditional ingredients: white sugar and flour, dairy products, trans and saturated fats, and refined carbs, on the “no-no” list you may be wondering what you’ll eat this holiday season. We don’t want our families to feel deprived of the traditional treats they’ve come to associate with the holidays, yet we want to provide healthier choices.
You might want to try some raw food desserts and see how friends and family respond. Most people make faces when you tell them you’ll bring something raw, but once they’ve tasted it, they come away grinning and smacking their lips. With just a few simple kitchen appliances you can put together a great dish. Jenny Cornbleet’s book called Raw Food Made Easy for 1 or 2 People is a great place to start. I’ve tried a number of recipes in this book and they’ve all be delicious. In it there are dessert recipes for cakes, cookies, fruit crisps, pies, tarts, puddings, mousses, shakes, and ice cream. All of them are totally raw. Guess what? They taste better than their sugar-laden counterparts.
One recipe is for a Flourless Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce. It calls for 1 ½ cups walnuts, dash of salt, 8 pitted medjool dates, ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa or carob powder, ½ tsp vanilla extract, and 2 tsp water. For the raspberry sauce you use 1-cup fresh or frozen raspberries (thaw and drain if frozen) with ¼ cup pitted medjool dates, soaked for 30 minutes and drained. Place the walnuts and salt in a food processor with the S blade and process until finely ground. Add dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla … process until mixture becomes sticky. Add water and process briefly. Transfer to a serving plate and form a 5 inch round cake. Place the raspberries and dates in a blender and mix until smooth, pouring over the cake just before serving.
You don’t need to give up all your comfort foods, just find a healthier recipe for it. The taste may be a bit strange to you the first time, but after you’ve switched to healthier ingredients for a while, you’ll find the original recipe inedible. Should you choose to nibble on a few old favorites, don’t go down the guilt trail, thoroughly enjoy those few bites, but use moderation. Over time you’ll replace the unhealthy treat with a healthy one and start a whole new set of traditions for you and generations to come.
Maybe this is your first holiday as a vegetarian, or your college age child just announced they’ve gone vegetarian. Maybe you’ll be having some vegetarian guests, or you just want to eat less meat yourself. Whatever the reason, having several options for a holiday meal is a good idea.
For main dishes there’s the mock turkey recipe from my last post, but you can also have winter squash. I remember attending my first vegetarian Thanksgiving. The people had cooked a huge, and I mean gigantic squash. They’d taken zucchinis and turnips and made legs out of them and made the whole thing look like a giant turkey. It was really fun!
You can still have your usual sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, rolls, and stuffing (made outside the bird, but it still tastes great!) You’ll have to buy vegetarian marshmallows, though. Bean casserole is OK, too, as long as you make sure the sauce doesn’t have any meat or meat broth in it. Use honey or evaporated cane juice for sugar, as some white sugar is processed using bone char, which they may object to. Everything will have a nice earthy sweet flavor and will be good for you, too!
You’ll have to substitute something for your usual Jello salad, as gelatin is made from animal hooves, maybe a green salad. Gravy can be done, but not from the bird drippings, and you’ll need a good pumpkin pie recipe that doesn’t use eggs.
You can also ask a vegetarian to bring one of their favorite dishes to share, as well. Most often they’ll be happy to oblige. I’ve even offered to cook several dishes when I’ve been visiting family. That way they get introduced to new and delicious altrenatives and I have more than one dish to eat!
Here’s a good vegetarian pumpkin pie recipe. It may not taste exactly like what you grew up with, but it is darn good! This is a recipe from a friend of mine, who likes to bake.
Tofu Pumpkin Pie from Anna
Servings: 1 – 9″ pie
Cooking Time: 55-60 min.
- 1 16 oz. can pureed pumpkin
- 3/4 c Sucanat
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 1/2 tsp. cloves
- 1 10-12 oz. pkg. firm tofu
Blend tofu until smooth. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl and place in a 9″ pie crust. Bake at 425˚ for 15 min., then lower heat to 350˚ for 40 min. Cool and serve.
When I first became a vegetarian I didn’t miss any meat, except turkey for Thanksgiving and Christmas. I had it every single holiday that I could remember and the first without was interesting. What was I going to fix? At that time there was no Tofurky available. For a number of years we just ate butternut or acorn squash to replace the turkey. Then I found this recipe from Ann Gentry. I first used it about 15 years ago. I was amazed to find her sharing it in a recent blog post.
I’ll tell you, if you want the taste of turkey without having to kill one to eat it, this is the recipe for you. I love this recipe. It does take a little bit of prep time, but it’s delicious. The recipe also makes a huge amount, so I usually halve it, because there’s only two of us. Even then we can have “turkey” leftovers for several days afterward, just like we did in the “olden days.”
I serve it with my own herbed gravy, which I’m sharing below. So, here’s a great base for holiday meals without the meat. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Prep Time: 20 min
Servings: 1.5- 2 cups
- ½ cup whole-wheat pastry flour
- 1 cup rice milk, unsweetened
- 1 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 cup water
- ½ tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp safflower or sunflower oil
- 1 tsp dried, crushed sage
- ½ tsp dry thyme
- ¼ tsp dry marjoram
- pinch black pepper
In 2 qt. saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add flour and stir often for 2 min. Remove from heat and allow to cool for several minutes. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Whisk together with the flour/oil, half at a time to avoid lumping. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat to low and cook for 10-15 min, stirring occasionally. If gravy seems too thick, whisk in additional water, 1 Tbs. at a time until desired consistency is reached. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
You can substitute soy or almond milk for the rice milk.
Are you left with a kitchen full of green tomatoes due to an early frost? There are a number of things you can do with them.
- Wrap them individually in newspaper, store in a box at room temperature. Check them regularly and eat them as they ripen. We did this one year in a zone 5, where the first frost hit at the end of September and we had tomatoes all the way until after Thanksgiving. Really fun to actually be eating some of your harvest, since that what the holiday was originally all about, being thankful for a bountiful harvest after almost starving the year before.
- Eat a lot of fried green tomatoes. These are really yummy and super easy to fix. All you do is slice the tomatoes and fry in a little bit of olive oil, salt them and munch them down. Wonderful tangy taste.
- I found an very interesting recipe for Green Tomato Mincement as a Dave’s Garden article:
- Also, there are recipes for green tomato chow-chow.
- Check out Ruth Blair’s Picallilli. I’ve not tried it, but learned to love picallilli when I lived in New Mexico.
- You could probably replace tomatillos with green tomatoes for tomatillo salsa.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is despair. There are plenty of ways to eat green tomatoes that are really delicious. If none of these are to your liking, just do a search on the Internet and I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you.
This year I have almost no green tomatoes as we had a long warm fall. I don’t even have enough to make a decent pan of fried green tomatoes!
One of the things I’m doing right now is trying to find really tasty, healthy snack foods, especially what I call crunchy-salty snacks. We’ve got a good stash of sweet treats, but finding recipes for healthy crunchy-salty snacks has been a challenge. We’re trying to avoid fried foods, too. Often either the list of ingredients or the steps to make something are daunting. As I’ve said before I’m always for tasty and quick.
Anyway, I found this great cracker recipe in Yoga Journal, so I’m going to share it with you.
These were reprinted in YJ from Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor house, 2008).
Seeded Amaranth Crackers
Make 3 dozen crackers
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup amaranth flour
- Coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2-1/2 T olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp each poppy, fennel, sesame, and amaranth seeds
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Preheat the oven 375˚. Line a baking sheet with cooking parchment.
- In a food processor, blend flours, ½ tsp salt, and baking powder. Add 2 Tbsps oil and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Slowly add water, pulsing just until the dough comes together.
- Scrape out onto a floured board and use a floured rolling pin to roll out a rectangle that is 1/8” thick. Cut into squares and place on baking sheet. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with seeds, paprika, and ½ tsp salt.
- Bake until crackers are golden on edges and bottoms, 10-15 minutes.
Soon this will be my own recipe, as I already changed several things. First, I used white whole-wheat flour. Also, I ended up making my own amaranth flour, as I couldn’t find any available in our area. Last I rolled the crackers out on the parchment and then slipped it onto the cookie sheet. Much easier than picking each one up by hand. I cut them with a pizza cutter, worked great! Already my head is busy with different seasonings, flours, oils, etc. I’ll share my permutations with you as they develop. Mostly I needed a cracker recipe that actually came out like a cracker and not like a biscuit and this it perfectly.
Yeow! I was going to include a picture of some crackers in this post, but all I could find was where white pasty junk crackers! So you’ll just have to imagine some beautiful whole grain and seed crackers…