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    • Raspberry Nut Muffins

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    •  9/29/2010 7:53:29 AM
    •  

      Who doesn't love a delicious muffin fresh out of the oven?

      I recently posted a recipe for banana bread and decided to add some fresh raspberries. 

      WOW what a burst of flavor from these nutrient packed berries!

      A little trick when adding fresh fruit (like raspberries, blueberries, peaches, etc): coat the fruit with a little flour. 

      This with help the fruit keeps it's shape and prevent it from getting too"mushy".

       

       

       

      Dry ingredients

      1 cup whole wheat flour

      3/4 cup rolled oats (I prefer regular, not quick)

      3/4 cup white flour (preferably organic)

      1/4 cup wheat germ

      1/2cup chopped walnuts (optional)

      1 tsp baking powder

      1 tsp baking soda

      2 TBS ground flax seed

      1/2 tsp salt

       

       

      Wet Ingredients

      1/2 cup white Northern beans (drained and rinsed)

      1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

      3 ripe bananas

      2 TBS almond oil (you can also use olive or Canola oil instead)

      1 tsp almond extract

      2 eggs (cage free is preferred)

      1/2 cup honey

      2 TBS maple syrup (this is optional to make them just a little sweeter)

      2 TBS of raspberry jam (optional)

       

       

      Combine all the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl.  Combine all the wet ingredients in a Vita-mix or a food processor.  Puree until smooth and then mix with the dry ingredients.  Mix with a mixer for about 2 minutes.  Once thoroughly mixed fold in 1 1/2 cups of fresh berries (lightly coated in flour).  Spoon batter into muffin tins (makes about 18 muffins).  Bake at 375 for 15-17  minutes until golden brown and the center it cooked through. 

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    • Canning Peaches (first time)

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    •  9/22/2010 10:00:29 PM
    •  

       

      It is such a disappointment when you bite in to a big juicy peach and realize that it is anything but.  I have had the WORST luck with peaches this season.  I've bought them from 3 different grocery stores and almost all of them were that nasty starchy pasty flavor.  Yuck!

       

      Well this past Saturday I headed down to a huge farmer's market and was handed a sample of a peach.  It stopped me mid-step.  It was bring-a-tear-to-my-eye delicious.  The kind of delicious where you think you could live off of that food alone for the rest of your life.  I bought a five pound bag on the spot.  Then as I started to walk away, with the fresh peach juice still on my taste buds, I had a vivid memory of all the horrible peaches I have eaten this summer.  So I turned around and asked the farmer if I could instead purchase an entire bushel.


      I was thrilled with my purchase! But when I got home I realized that I didn't really have plans for an entire bushel of peaches.  I made some jam, cut some up and froze them for smoothies, and still had a counter full of perfectly ripe peaches.  I decided to attempt something I have never done before.........bottle peaches!


      I had always heard that it was fairly straight forward, so with the help of my 2 favorite servants (love you Estelle and Lara) we got to work.  Now I am sure that there are plenty of you that have canned peaches a hundred times, so this blog isn't really for you (except to tilt your head and smile with an "oh-that's-so-cute-that-Maintenance-Mommy-is-attempting-peaches" look on your face).  I thought I would lay it out there, step by step for any other newbie-peachy's out there.

       

      Prep: Make sure you have clean jars and NEW lids for your jars ready to go (preferably warm jars straight from the dishwasher)

      Step 1:  Bring a large pot of water to a boil

      Step 2: Drop peaches into the boiling water (about 10) and boil for 1 minute

      Step 3: Scoop them out of the water and immediately into ice cold water

      Step 4: Remove the skin (hopefully you have a helper for this step so you can continue step 1-3 until all the peaches are done)

      Step 5: Remove the pits and cut the peaches into the size you want for the jars

      Step 6: Fill your jars with peaches

      Step 7: Prepare your syrup* - see light recipe below

      Step 8: Fill Jars with hot syrup

      Step 9: WIpe the lip of the jars clean for a better seal

      Step 10: Put on the lids and screw on the rings

      Step 11: Boil a large pot of water

      Step 12: Place jars in a large water bath (I used my Pressure Cooker w/o the pressure)

      Step 13: Cover the jars with boiling water (cover 1-2 inches above the lids)

      Step 14: Cook on a burner for 30 minutes

      Step 15: Remove from water and let cool on the counter

      Step 16: Give yourself a prize, you are amazing!


      *I found a light recipe for the syrup, which is enough to make 7 quart size jars

      10 cups of water

      1 1/4 cup of sugar

      Bring to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes


      For those of you who don't know exactly how much a bushel is (like me) - it is about 32 pounds

      Here is what I was able to make with one bushel (which cost me $28 at the Farmer's Market)

      14 quarts of peaches,

      1 4 cup batch of jam,

      1 gallon-size ziplock bag of sliced peaches,

      and a few leftover for snacking

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    • Lemons - a superfood!

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    •  9/15/2010 9:46:29 AM
    • Lemons - perfectly adorable, and packed with a punch!

       

      There are so many nutrients packed into this little powerfood!  Lemons are often overlooked on our grocery list unless we have a specific reason for using them.

      But these little miracle fruits can add a little bounce in our step where just a little goes a long way.

      Here are just a few of the reasons you'll want to 'get your lemon on':

       

      Vitamin C - loads of it

      Potassium - more than an apple

      Warm lemon juice and water can relieve chest congestion and help asthma sufferers

      Alkaline forming in the body (even though it is acidic)

      Can be used for dental care - plaque removal, teeth whitening etc

      Natural Diuretic - great for urinary tract infections

      Lowers blood pressure and increases our levels of HDL (good cholesterol)

      Helps clean out our digestive tract including the liver and kidneys

      An natural antioxidant - great for giving a glow to our skin

      Improves memory storage

      Can relieve bites and stings when applied to the sting

      Helps prevent the common cold

      A natural antiseptic - great for treating wounds and infections

       

      To help save you time and to help you get a little more lemon in your day here is a little trick that Veteran Mommy shared with me.

      I loved it so much I wanted to share it with you. 

       

       

         Whenever lemons go on sale I buy a bunch and juice them with my citrus juicer.

       

       

       

      I then pour the juice into an ice cube tray

       

       

       

      Once the juice is frozen, I store the "cubes" in a freezer bag. 

       

       

       

      Now I have fresh lemon juice on hand any time a recipe calls for it.  I LOVE that!

      A little tip: put a couple of these in your water bottle each day.

       

      I recently wen to a cooking class and used this tool.  It was so quick and easy to use and is now on my wish list.

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    • Are they really eating THAT?

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    •  9/8/2010 9:56:11 AM
    • I have been reading a book called MAD COWBOY by Howard F. Lyman.  He was the guy that was sued along with Oprah by the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. He has gone from Cowboy to Cattle Rancher to Vegetarian and he doesn't mix words in his book.  He tells you straight-up what he thinks of meat.

       

      "There are only two things wrong with meat: what we know for sure is in it, and all the other stuff that might be in it."

       

      I am not one of those people that has completely ruled out any food group completely.  Probably because I know there may be a time or a situation in my life where asking, "Are there eggs in this?" just might not flow with my overall desires for my life.  I am learning that I would much rather be defined by who I am (and how I make people feel) rather than by what I eat.

       

      That said, there is something oddly refreshing about reading a no-nonsense, straight forward view on the meat we are consuming.  I thought I would share a blurb from the book:

      "When a cow is slaughtered, about half of it by weight is not eaten by humans: the intestines and their contents, the head, hooves, and horns, as well as bones and blood.  These are dumped into giant grinders at rendering plants, as are the entire bodies of cows and other farm animals known to diseased.  Rendering is a $2.4-billion-a-year industry, processing forty billion ounds of dead animals a year.  Another staple of the render;s diet, in addition to farm animals, is euthanized pets - the six or seven million dogs and cats that are killed in animal shelters every year.  Added to the blend are the euthanized catch of animal control agencies, and roadkill.


      When this gruesome mix is ground and steam-cooked, the lighter, fatty material floating to the top gets refined for use in such products as cosmetics, lubricants, soaps, candles, and into a brown powder - about a quarter of which consists of fecal material.  The powder is used as an additive to almost all pet food as well as to livestock feed.  Farmers call it 'protein concentrates.'

      In August of 1997, in response to the growing concern about Mad Cow disease, the FDA issued a new regulation that bans the feeding of ruminant protein (protein from cud-chewing animals) to ruminants; therefore, to the extent that the regulation is actually enforced, cattle are no longer quite the cannibals that we had made them into.  They are no longer eating solid parts of other cattle, or sheep, or goats.  They still munch, however, on ground-up dead horses, dogs, cats, pigs, chicken, and turkeys, as well as blood and fecal material of their own species and that of chickens."

       

      Okay, so I know that this is a bit graphic, but it certainly makes you stop and think.  I also highly suggest you watch the movie, "Food, Inc". It is another eye-opener to where our food is coming from.  I get so angry when I find out truths that I never knew before.  Why didn't I know?  Is there some sort of opposition keeping these truths from me?  I think my real desire is for people to just be informed of as much truth as possible and then they can do what they want with that information.  I wonder what would happen If we all just took one day to really think about where our food is coming from.  Would we make any changes?  I don't know the answer to that, but my guess is that once we learned truth we couldn't go back to pretending that we didn't.

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    • Peek into my Pantry

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    •  9/3/2010 5:00:33 PM
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      I thought it might be fun to take a snap shot of everything in my kitchen and pantry.  I got embarrassed about how unorganized everything looked and decided to make a list instead!  The items in my kitchen change from week to week (especially with the garden vegetables) but it at least gives you an idea of the kinds of things that I stock my kitchen with.  The list is just what I happen to have today.

       

      I am one of those people that likes to keep my pantry completely stocked.  If I know I don't have a can of black beans for example, it will  drive me nuts until I purchase it (even if I am not planning on using it in a recipe any time soon).  I am kind of anal when it comes to my kitchen, and I always want to make sure I have everything that I "might need"....you know...just in case

       

      So please don't feel like in order to eat a plant-based diet you need to go out and buy the grocery store.  Start simple and then slowly ease your way into exploring new foods.  I also really like to cook and I love to try new things so some of the things on the list might seem a little foreign.  You'll  also notice from my list that I have a slight obsession with oils and vinegars (to make those salads a little more exciting)!

       

      My fridge probably looks a lot like the average person - ketchup, pickles, apple sauce etc.  The only differences might be the Veganaise, the Vegan butter (Earth's Balance), and my latest purchase of Tofurkey lunch meat (my kids have been asking for turkey sandwiches and don't mind the substitution).  My cupboards are also filled with regular things like baking soda, tortilla chips, and Ramen noodles.  I definitely don't consider myself that different from anyone else.....just an ordinary Mom trying to feed my family the best way I can!

       


       


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