Friday, February 29, 2008

sprout salad with ginger citrus dressing.

We love our sprouts, especially in these dark winter months. We grow them right on the counter, and in a few days we have fresh greens packed with goodness. I love them on eggs, bagel & cream cheese, name it. While I can eat them raw as finger food, my husband needs a bit of inspiration to enjoy them. I have been experimenting with different dressings to make a sprouts salad - with extra taste and zing.

sprout salad with ginger citrus dressing

1 1/2 cups fresh sprouts
1 small carrot, grated

1/2 lemon, squeezed
1/2 orange, squeezed
2 tsp grated pickled ginger (I used THIS grated pickled ginger--not sushi ginger)
1 tsp juice from the pickled grated ginger bottle
1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (I also tried it with fresh flax oil - yum!)
dash of freshly ground sea salt & fresh pepper

Separate your sprouts a bit so they are not clumped together, and put into 2 salad bowls. Grate fresh carrot over the top of the sprouts. Add all of the dressing ingredients into a small bowl and whisk together. Drizzle over the top! I like adding a few extra shreds of the pickled grated ginger on the top for extra zing. Or a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. The taste is so fresh - even my husband finished his in no time flat!

ingredients note::

The sprouts blend I used was this: clover, arugula, cress, radish, fenugreek and dill. Crunchy with a bit of a peppery taste!

The ginger I used was grated ginger from the Ginger People which is like a grated pickled ginger. It is not as 'spicy' as the sushi pickled ginger, although either would probably would freshly grated ginger.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


Mmmm. Sourdough.Turned out great. This is the first of 3 small loaves we baked on Sunday.

Friday, February 22, 2008


The boys love smoothies with breakfast, and so we blend up something yummy at least a few times a week.

We first juice up a few veggies. Today we juiced 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery.

Then to the blender we add fresh and frozen fruit, yogurt, and the fresh any extra goodies.

Both of the boys love making smoothies - I just help chop and operate the blender!

Here is our smoothie of the day.


Juice of 2 carrots and 2 stalks of celery
1 banana
1 cup fresh organic yogurt
1 cup frozen peaches
1/2 cup frozen blueberries

Juice the veggies. Into a blender add the banana, yogurt, frozen fruit, and fresh juice. Add any extras (we added cod liver oil and probiotics). Blend until smooth. Add a little more liquid (juice or yogurt) if it is too thick.

The tasty combinations of fruits and veggies are endless! Just experiment a bit to find your favorites.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

creamy carrot soup with ginger.

I know I promised a few other recipes, but last night I made a soup that turned out so great I had to post it right away. It went down to 15 below zero (F) last night - definitely a night for a bowl of warm creamy soup. And the bright orange color is like sunshine in a bowl. This recipe is a variation from The Garden of Eating book.

creamy carrot soup with ginger.


1 Tbsp coconut oil (ghee is fine too)
1 onion, diced
1 tsp ground sea salt
1 Tbsp finely minced fresh gingerroot
4 cups of thinly sliced carrots
2 cups stock...use poultry bone broth, or a good veggie or chicken stock. Here is what I used*
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1 can good quality organic coconut milk (not "lite")
1/2 cup fresh milk
1/2 tsp yellow curry powder (optional)
Pepper to taste.


Heat a big saucepan or pot on the stove, add your coconut oil and onion. Sprinkle some sea salt to sweat the onions. Stir as it cooks for a few minutes until the onions soften. Toss in freshly grated ginger, stir for a minute. Add carrots, stock/broth, and apple juice/cider. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, and simmer for about 30 minutes until the carrots are soft.

Remove from heat and add the coconut milk and fresh milk. Add the rest of the salt, a few cranks of pepper, and the curry powder. Use an immersion blender until smooth and creamy, or, puree in a blender in batches. Add additional stock if it is a bit thick.

Return to a low heat (don't boil!) to bring back up to temp. Eat!

We grated some local raw milk aged gouda cheese over the top to serve. YUM!

*My stock for this: Add 3 cups of water to a saucepan, and add 1 sheet of dried kombu. Bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer. Add 2-3 Tbsp fresh miso paste and whisk. Simmer for 15 minutes, remove the kombu piece, and use the liquid in the recipe.

ingredients tip::
Fresh ginger has been used for ages for its many health benefits--not to mention it just tastes great in soups, stir fry, desserts, and drinks.
"Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, anti-nausea effects (great for "morning sickness"), an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects (arthritis!)."

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

sourdough, round 01.

Our experiments with bread baking have of course led us to sourdough. We tried a few times to create our own wild starter in the fall, but it didn't work out for us (we plan to try again in spring). So, we bought a sourdough starter and baked our first loaves.

We were encouraged to take our sourdough slowly. It was recommended that when first using it, bakers start with a sourdough recipe which includes yeast. This will help introduce you to the sourdough process, doesn't take quite as long, gives a lighter loaf, and yet still has that good sourdough flavor. This is our beginners loaf. It turned out great - good flavor, not too dense!

Sourdough Bread with Yeast

1 cup (9oz) "fed"sourdough starter (meaning ready to go starter)
1½ cup (12oz) lukewarm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp (or packet) active dry yeast
5½ cup (to 6 cups) flour (I used organic whole wheat--you can also use bread flour)
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp Vegetable oil (I used coconut oil)
cornmeal to sprinkle on baking pans


Combine all of the ingredients, using only 5 cups of the flour. Using your hands or a bread machine (dough cycle), knead until you form a smooth soft dough. Add additional flour as needed while you knead. Put dough in an oiled bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

Divide the dough and shape into two loaves. I did one oval loaf and one loaf in a bread pan. Put the loaves into an oiled, cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet or bread pan. Cover again, and let rise another hour - until doubled. Pre-heat oven to 450ºF.

Slash the top of the loaves and bake in your pre-heated oven at 450ºF for about 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack before slicing.

Sourdough doesn't brown much, so to make the loaf have that nice golden color, brush the loaves lightly with vegetable oil (I used coconut oil) about half way into the baking time.

ingredient tip:
If you would like to make your own wild starter, then read this or this.

Prefer buying one? Here is the one we are using...or see here...or here...

Beyond using yeast with the starter and want a good sourdough recipe? Try here.

This is our first round - I'll be posting on this topic again when we move on to the classic sourdough recipe.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008


My 4 year old is a picky eater. Always has been. Has to do with scent and texture. He is super sensitive. So when he started eating samples of the stinkiest, most aged cheese when at Whole Foods or the farmer's market, well, we weren't about to let that one go!

Each time we visit somewhere with good cheeses he samples, smells, tastes, and compares. We let him taste and select the best cheese for us. A few times he has conversed with the cheese person at the shop - asking if they have an aged cheddar or something to sample. Anyone who is so gracious as to talk seriously and kindly to a 4 year old about cheeses while cutting him samples of whatever he wants to try is OK in my book. In the end, it is his choice, and we get it and try it. An extra bonus is that there are many excellent local cheeses - well, that and he has good taste in cheese!

Here are two of his favorites this week:

Edelweiss Raw Milk Cheddar & Gouda (WI) - Raw milk from grass fed cattle cheeses.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

ingredients, part 1.

I have been thinking it would be fun to post regularly about different items in our pantry. While we try to stay local for our veggies, meats, and dairy, we do expand for base ingredients. I like to find items that add additional nutrients or beneficial goodies to make the meals that much better.

In the winter I like to make stews, soups, and chili in my slow cooker which then makes enough for several meals. Many ingredients I use for those meals are pretty basic - soups will have celery, carrots, garlic and onions combined with stock and some sort of soaked dried bean (lentils, split peas, beans, etc.) or pasta, and then stock and maybe some meat. Those elements are nutritious and taste great, but I like to push the limits a bit and get as much extra goodness in there.

A few ingredients that I like to use include good quality organic miso paste, kombu, organic toasted sesame oil, and celtic sea salt. I know I have mentioned the sea salt before, and I use that for the trace minerals present.

Miso is a fermented paste, made from different ingredients, but the most common one is from just soybeans. Miso contains trace minerals zinc, manganese, and copper, among other things. Miso soup is rich with antioxidants and protective fatty acids, and a good amount of Vitamin E. It also boasts protein and Vitamin B12. It adds a nice rich flavor to stocks.

Kombu is a dried sea vegetable. When kombu is added to the cooking water of dried beans, it helps beans cook faster and aids in digestion. It contains many trace minerals and is a great source of folate, calcium and magnesium.

Toasted Sesame Oil is a good source of calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorous, vitamin B1, zinc and dietary fiber. Sesame is high in oleic and linoleic fatty acids that are rich in omega 6.

How do you use these items? For me, since I make soups and stews a lot, I use them in my stock base.

Put 4 cups of water on the stove, and add a sheet of kombu. Bring to a low simmer for 15 minutes, remove the kombu piece. Take 1-2 Tbsp. of miso paste and whisk into the kombu water until dissolved. There you have a good base (you can use as is and pour into your soup, or use this instead of water when making a chicken/beef stock).

From there I sautee veggies for the soup/stew or stock. Usually celery, onions, garlic, and carrots--all in a pan with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil (and usually some coconut oil) and a pinch of sea salt. These cook down and I add them to my kombu/miso stock along with whatever other meats and veggies I have chosen. So good!

I made chicken soup this week to help combat the last of the flu coughs and drizzle. I'll post that recipe soon. It is gooooood.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

bread making experiments.

We have been experimenting with different grains for our breadmaking. With our grain mill we can grind anything, so we have been trying out different techniques such as soaking, sprouting, drying, and grinding with many different types of grains.

We have been sprouting a grain mix (organic wheat, rye, barley, triticale, oats, kamut, quinoa, sesame, millet and amaranth) and soaking spelt berries this week. Today the sprouted grains were all ready, so we drained well, placed on a cookie sheet, and dried them out. After a few hours in the oven, they were ready to mill into flour.

We baked bread from that freshly ground flour today. It is a little hard and I have to say I don't think I like the flavor of spelt much - a bit strong for me. We will have some of a terrific sourdough starter in the next few days here, and I also have some groats and chestnut flour to try out. Can't wait!

*Note: Click here for a little info about why sprouting grains for bread is good!

“The process of germination not only produces Vitamin C, but also changes the composition of grain and seeds in numerous beneficial ways. Sprouting increases Vitamin B content, especially B2, B5, and B6. Carotene increases dramatically – sometimes eightfold. Even more important, sprouting neutralizes phytic acid, a substance present in the bran of all grains that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc; sprouting also neutralizes enzyme inhibitors present in all seeds. These inhibitors can neutralize our own precious enzymes in the digestive tract. Complex sugars responsible for intestinal gas are broken down during sprouting, and a portion of the starch in grain is transformed into sugar. Sprouting inactivates aflatoxins, potent carcinogens found in grains. Finally, numerous enzymes that help digestion are produced during the germination process.” (excerpt from Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon).

counter top projects.

Over the past year, things have been building up. One bowl here, one jar here. What am I talking about? Kitchen experiments and projects. And I'm not talking about the kid kind, although my boys usually participate in whatever is happening in our house.

So, tonight, what is on my counter?

--Coffee Grounds. Always saved for the garden.

--Spelt. Soaking to make bread.

--Sprouts. Grains sprouting to go with the spelt for bread.

--Apple Cider Vinegar. Started out as pressed cider, and after fermenting on my counter for 3 months, it is apple cider vinegar. About ready to strain it!

On most days you can find something - egg shells (to crunch up to go in potted plants), rising dough, oatmeal soaking for the next morning...and while my kitchen is usually clean, there is always something going on!