June 29, 2012
The previous owners of our home planted some fruit trees and berry bushes around the backyard. I sampled one of the
blackberries black raspberries but it wasn’t ready yet…sour!
They looked ripe, but I’m told to wait until they are soft enough to practically fall off on their own.
Volunteer maples had taken root around the blueberry bushes and grape vines, keeping them in constant shade and making them a bit scraggly. Although we felt a twinge of guilt for wanting them “removed,” some trees had to be cleared away to bring in more sunlight for the berries.
A tree was cut down on the left. You can see the amount of light that can now shine on the grape vines and blueberry bushes, far right.
The beginnings of a blueberry
Morning dew collected in a grape vine.
an abandoned birdhouse under the thornapple tree
little blue birdhouse
Have you ever seen happier clothespins? Good day to do laundry!
It’s been a great morning so far, and I’d like to continue this good feeling by passing on some awards to my fellow bloggers.
First, I’d like to give Richard@ REM Cooks both the Sunshine Award and Versatile Blogger Award, and here’s why. Richard’s professional experience in the kitchen and love for food is evident in all his recipes, whether it’s a simple dish or something extravagant from luxurious crab meat to some lean green beans (okay, haricot vert, but it’s the same thing, right? ;)) He’s inspired me to try out some of his recipes, experiment with new flavors and be more fancy-yet-simple in the kitchen. He’s incredibly helpful and friendly if you have any questions, I suggest you read his blog immediately! Richard, your blog is awesome and your recipes are outstanding. Thank you very much for sharing.
I just recently got to know Cinnamon@eat PRAY tri after several WIAWs, and she’s got good recipes mixed in with family stuff, work stuff, her faith, and a lot of good laughs. She just started her first 23 Paws party for us pet-loving food bloggers, and I think that alone deserves a Sunshine Award! Be sure to check out her 23 Paws Intro Page on how to link up, it’ll be fun!
Gabby over at The Veggie Nook deserves a ton of Sunshine Awards, if you ask me. The recipes she posts are healthy, simple, and delicious—what more could you want? Sometimes I read her posts in the morning and she may have an easy-to-make snack or breakfast item that I would immediately try (I’m in the kitchen already, so why not?) She also is constantly on the lookout for healthy challenges (she’s on a no-sugar challenge right now!) so hop on over if you need some motivation or inspiration for a healthier lifestyle.
My rendition of Gabby’s amazing “Lemon Coconut Hemp Seed Bites”
Mama’s Gotta Bake has one of the most beautiful collections of food photos I’ve seen. Desserts are her specialty, and once you look at her delicious cakes, you’ll see why! She definitely gets a Versatile Blogger Award for making the word “dessert” inadequate for the gourmet gallery of goodies she has to offer.
Anneke from notsoskinnycook gets a Versatile Blogger Award for creating a wide variety of delicious home-cooked meals and lovely photos of her food as well as her family enjoying her food! From broccoli soup to beef schawarma, Anneke has a nice collection of recipes with international flavors and universal appeal.
Thanks again to my fellow bloggers for making food fun! :D
Here are the rules for the Sunshine Award:
This prize is awarded to “bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere”. As an award winner, there are a few rules to follow:
- Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
- Answer the questions below.
- Pass on the award to 10 fabulous bloggers, link their blogs, and let them know you awarded them.
1. favorite color?
2. favorite animal?
3. favorite number?
4. favorite color?
5. favorite drink?
6. Facebook or Twitter?
7. what is your passion?
8. giving or getting presents?
9. favorite day of the week?
10. favorite flower?
Here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:
- Thank the award giver(s) and link back to them in your post
- Share 7 things about yourself
- Pass this award along to 15 or 20 bloggers you read and admire
- Contact your chosen bloggers to let them know about the award
Whew, this was a long one! Be sure to visit their blogs for some great food, beautiful photos and maybe an interesting story or two. Have a great weekend, and eat well! :)
June 27, 2012
Posted by thefoodery under Sides
| Tags: avocado
, chili powder
, potato salad
|  Comments
This month The Recipe Redux is hosting a challenge to create a healthier version of one of the all-time favorite barbecue side dishes, potato salad! According to the United States Potato Board, a medium potato has only 110 calories, contains more potassium than a banana, and half your daily value of vitamin C. Seems like good ol’ potato salad is already on the right track to being healthy, so I helped it along by giving it an even bigger helping of vitamins and minerals (such as potassium, vitamin E, folate and vitamin B) from one my favorite nutrient-dense foods, avocado.
This potato salad is a good accompaniment to anything from the grill and, because it has no dairy, won’t spoil as quickly like regular potato salad, so you can bring it on a picnic and not worry about keeping it ice-cold. It has chunks of creamy avocado instead of mayonnaise, a sprinkle of fresh tomatoes, chopped cilantro, and is infused with a hint of smoky spices. The firm texture of earthy red potatoes brings all this creamy goodness together. If you love barbecues, you’ll love the smokey flavors of this potato salad!
Smokey Potato-Avocado Salad
Smokey Potato-Avocado Salad
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1 pound red potatoes, cut into 1″ chunks
1 ripe, firm avocado, pitted and cut into large cubes same size as potato
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 ripe tomato, seeds removed and diced, reserving 1 tablespoon for garnish
fresh cilantro or coriander sprigs
Fill a large pot halfway with water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and bring to a boil. Add potatoes, making sure they are covered with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and bring to a low boil on medium/medium-high and cook 7 minutes more or until just tender when pierced with a fork. Drain and cool for 15 – 20 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine 1/2 teaspoon salt, chili powder, cumin, and smoked paprika. Set aside.
Cut avocado in half, remove pit and cut into 1″ pieces. Place in a bowl and toss with 1 tablespoon lime juice. Sprinkle half of seasoning mixture and toss gently with a fork. Add potatoes and mix gently (the mixture will get creamier, but keep some chunks of avocado.) Sprinkle in half of remaining seasonings, adding more to taste. Fold in diced tomato. Top with remaining chopped tomato and garnish with fresh cilantro.
Added note, 6/28: avocados tend to brown, so be sure to serve this within 4-5 hours of preparation. One trick you can do is garnish with fresh diced avocado right before serving, so even if the salad is a few hours old, it will look nice and fresh! (Thank you, Emily, for asking me about this! )
By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by the United States Potato Board and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.
A quick and easy dairy-free, gluten-free potato salad
June 27, 2012
Posted by thefoodery under Desserts
| Tags: carrot juice
, chocolate chips
, Cookbook Sundays
, Dutch pancakes
, grape juice
, raw food
, What I Ate Wednesday
|  Comments
Happy Wednesday, everybody! Jenn at Peas and Crayons is hosting our weekly blog party and there’s LOTS of delicious goodies to be found! I’m pretty excited today because not only do I have another chocolate recipe to share this week, it is a raw chocolate chip cookie recipe, perfect for this month’s WIAW theme of “sensible snacking” and my Flavor of the Week, chocolate!
Last winter I became interested in learning about raw food dieting. Not sushi kind of raw, but uncooked veggies and soaked grains kind of raw. I won’t go into a lot of detail but here’s just three easy-to-remember health benefits to a raw (or mostly raw) diet:
1) more nutrition - uncooked foods (foods heated to less than 118 degrees farenheit) retain more of their vitamins and minerals. When cooked, the nutritional value is greatly reduced and you will have to eat more food to get the nutrition your body needs (so eating raw foods can help you maintain a healthy weight, too!)
2) easier digestion - raw foods contain lots of fiber and water to help your body with elimination. You won’t have that bloated, over-stuffed feeling after finishing a meal and no afternoon slump.
3) increased energy - since raw foods are easier to digest, your body won’t have to “shut down” while its trying to digest your food, like it might do with heavier foods like a delicious bacon cheeseburger and french fries. (Ask my husband, he’ll tell you I pretty much always crash out after eating stuff like this for lunch.)
Even if you don’t go 100% raw, you can still benefit with a chocolate green smoothie for breakfast, a colorful veggie salad for lunch, and a normal-cooked dinner with some kimchee or sauerkraut on the side (also considered raw!)
Speaking of which, here’s some of the foods I had for BL&D over the pas few days…
On Sunday morning I pulled out my juicer and made some fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice and garnished with mint and lemon thyme. Looks good, doesn’t it? Served up in a champagne glass, it looks like an expensive cocktail!
raw foods: fresh carrot-apple-ginger juice and grape juice
The colors alone will energize you!
Breakfast that followed was a not-so-raw peanut butter toast with raspberry preserves and coffee (recycled pic):
Lunch on Tuesday was a mish-mash salad of veggies and fruits, plus some pulverized flax seed crackers that tasted better crushed than in cracker-form. I sat down with my bowl, got my camera ready and look who decided to stick his furry orange head into my shot:
Sammy is not a vegetarian…he was after my goat cheese!
Dinner was kind of up in the air, I didn’t know what to cook, didn’t want sandwiches and my husband probably wouldn’t have wanted salad. After running a few simple options through my head I decided to make pannekoeken (Dutch style pancakes) with cheddar cheese and mushrooms:
I can’t make ‘em big without breaking them, so kiddie-sized it is!
I needed some greens with this meal, so ate a bunch of sugar snap peas:
I love raw peas in the shell, especially these fat ones!
Sugar snap peas aren’t the only raw & delicious food I had today. Remember those cookies I talked about in the beginning? Those were made from a raw cookie recipe in Judita Wignall’s, Going Raw:
Going Raw: Everything You Need to Start Your Own Raw Food Diet & Lifestyle Revolution at Home, by Judita Wignall
Judita gives a lot of easy-to-follow information on raw dieting and makes it very user-friendly. There’s tons of mouth-watering photos that will inspire you to plan out your next grocery trip with veggies in mind, and maybe even try your hand at sprouting some grains! She has a ‘live and let live’ attitude that makes her book informative, not preachy, which is really great when it comes to talking about something like healthy diets. Plus, I love her gorgeous red hair!
She has several recipes that I like, including the Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies I’ll be sharing today. I didn’t change the recipe much except the substitutions I wrote in parentheses, and the instructions are not copied verbatim but the steps are the same.
Yum! These raw cookies are delicious and nutritious!
Raw Chocolate Chip Cookies
From the book Going Raw by Judita Wignall
1 1/2 cups cashews
2/3 cup Medjool dates (about 6-7 large ones, with pits)
3 tablespons almond butter (I used 2 T peanut butter and 1 T coconut oil)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (optional)
1/4 cup raw chocolate chunks* (I substituted Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips–not raw and contains dairy–and added dried cherries)
*Judita has a raw chocolate recipe in her cook book that is gluten-free and dairy-free, but you can use any chocolate you prefer
1. In a food processor grind the cashews into a flour.
2. Add the dates, almond butter (or peanut butter and coconut oil) and sea salt and process until it sticks together. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chocolate chunks/chips (and optional dried cherries) with a spatula.
4. On a nonstick surface, roll out dough to 3/8″ thickness. Cut out with a small cookie cutter and freeze (not to worry, they won’t get rock solid.) Cookies will keep for 1 month in the freezer.
Raw chocolate chip cookies!
I almost forgot…look what else you can do with these raw chocolate chip cookies:
Mini ice cream sandwiches!
Check out these Mini Cake and Ice Cream Bites from last Thursday’s Recipe ReDux. They’re just as cute!
This recipe is also my first contribution to Cookbook Sundays, sponsored by Couscous & Consciousness.
Have you tried any healthy versions of classic recipes lately? What’s your favorite cookie? :)
June 25, 2012
When I was in the 6th grade, I did a book report on this:
I was pretty excited about doing this report because 1) it was on chocolate and 2) I gave out samples. :)
As I talked about the different kinds of chocolate I handed out paper muffin liners of unsweetened, bittersweet and milk chocolate chunks to the class. The students were probably more excited about the “candy” than my book report, and I recall my teacher Mrs. Higaki grimacing when she got a taste of the unsweetened chocolate (ewww, bitter! said her expression!) I don’t remember what grade I got, but I remember being really excited about sharing one of my favorite things in the world: food! (and chocolate food, no less!)
So this week’s Flavor of the Week is the very popular happy-go-lucky CHOCOLATE!
In the vanilla Flavor of the Week post a couple weeks ago I mentioned my parents recently sending me a dozen home-grown vanilla beans. You know what else they sent? Hawaii-grown cacao nibs! They’re about the size of a brazil nut and are processed similarly to coffee (fermented, dried, roasted.) But rather than a berry, these nibs grow in a large, thick-rinded pod that is harvested off the tree trunk:
And, like vanilla, cacao was also cultivated by the Aztecs (they got the best of both worlds, didn’t they?)
Deconstruction of a roasted cacao bean
But with chocolate, it’s hard to get the best of both worlds. You get the antioxidant benefits of cocoa, but the unhealthy effects of sugar. Thankfully chocolate is just an occasional indulgence so enjoying a few sweet treats every now and then won’t reverse all the other good things you do for your health (like eating fresh fruits and veggies, taking your vitamins, exercising, and having fun while you’re at it!) But if you’re like me and are looking to cut down on dairy and wheat, then today is your lucky day!
I love homemade chocolate chip cookies, nothing beats the crispy-chewy texture from the butter and flour (or so I thought) until I came across a really good alternative to the traditional chocolate chip cookie recipe. Cutting back on my wheat and dairy, I wanted a chocolate chip cookie recipe that used neither wheat flour nor butter, and I happened across a wonderful cookie recipe at “Angie and James do stuff.” In her recipe, Angie uses spelt flour and hazelnut meal instead of all-purpose flour. That already sounded great! Although I made a few substitutions, I REALLY liked the results, and so did my husband. So much, in fact, that he even ate the burnt ones! (can you imagine how delicious the normal cookies were??) To view the original recipe, click here. Thank you, Angie, for letting me use your delicious recipe…it was just what I needed! :)
Thin, crispy, chewy chocolate chip cookies!
Chocolate Chip Cookies: wheat-free, dairy-free*
3/4 cup spelt flour
3/4 cup ground almonds (texture of cornmeal)
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup dairy-free semisweet chocolate chips*
1/2 cup coconut oil, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
*I used Nestle semisweet chocolate chips, which has milk fat, but items like Ghiarardelli semi sweet chocolate chips, Guittard semi sweet chocolate chips, and Enjoy Life semi sweet chocolate chips have no dairy ingredients listed. I have used Ghirardelli in previous cookie recipes and the texture/consistency were very similar (if not same) to Nestle’s.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or silpat.
With a wire whisk, combine dry ingredients (except chocolate chips.) Add softened coconut oil and mash into mixture until coarse but well-combined. Sprinkle in vanilla and add egg. Stir in chocolate chips.
Scoop rounded teaspoons of cookie mix onto baking sheet 2″ apart. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until edges are browned and middle is golden.
Remove from oven and cool on wire rack. Store in airtight container, will keep for 2 days before they are all gone!
Coconut oil makes them spread more, but the addition of ground almonds give them a different taste and texture from a traditional chocolate chip cookie.
Not to worry, Wolfie doesn’t like cookies; he was just wondering what I was up to!
Do you have a twist on the traditional chocolate chip cookie? What was the BEST TASTING cookie you ever had? (If you have a pic, I’d love to see it!)
June 23, 2012
Posted by thefoodery under Pets
| Tags: 23 Paws
|  Comments
There’s a new party going on at 23 Paws sponsored by Cinnamon at EatPrayTri. You’ll meet a lot of furry friends and their wonderful owners who not only love their pets, but also love to cook…and sometimes FOR their pets!
Today I will formally introduce our trio of cats: Sammy, Wolfie and Trixie.
My husband got Sammy as a kitten when he lived on Oahu. Sammy is 14 now, loves napping and eating sliced turkey. But because he started to put on some extra ounces, we had to cut back on table food (he sometimes gets yogurt and Feline Greenies as a snack.) Last time we weighed him, he was a healthy 12 pounds:
Sammy, enjoying the afternoon sun.
We got Wolfie (actually Wolfi, from ‘Wolfgang’) a couple years ago from my mother-in-law’s friend, who couldn’t keep him anymore. He’s about 12 years old, loves to come on nature walks with us, is a good mouser and sometimes brings critters to the door (since moving to NY we got snakes, squirrels, moles and mice.) He’s the most outdoorsy one, as you can tell by his spiffy vest:
A hunter on the prowl
Trixie is the most recent addition to the family. We got her when we purchased our home in March, and she is about ten years old. She’s a sweet little cat, a bit skittish, but is the most playful of the three and makes use of all the toys and catnip bags that I initially got for Sammy and Wolfie. She has big, saucer eyes and a tiny mouth, both of which you cannot see in the picture below:
I told Trixie to smile nicely for the camera, she went all out
Thanks for visiting my first 23 Paws post, and be sure to check out the other bloggers and their furry friends!
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