Thursday, November 10, 2011


This is the time of year I start wanting rich aromatic foods that make the whole house smell amazing as they cook. That are warm and comforting when it is cold and dark. Gingerbread is a favorite for all those reasons. This smells amazing and is delicious with a steaming mug of cocoa or coffee.

This recipe is slightly tweaked from the ski house cookbook. I make gingerbread something or other every winter, and this recipe is a great version and super easy to make.


2 cups organic all purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 large egg
3/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used organic sunflower)
1 cup boiling water
some butter for the pan

optional:: powdered sugar

Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a 9" round cake pan (I used ceramic pie dish).

In one bowl stir together the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cocoa, cloves, allspice, salt, baking soda.

In another large bowl whisk together the egg, molasses, oil and brown sugar.

Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and stir. While stirring, add the boiling water, and stir until combined.

Pour the batter into the pan and put into the pre-heated oven for 35-45 minutes. A toothpick in the center should come out clean. Be sure not to over bake - the moist stickiness with gingerbread is the good part!

After removing from the oven let cool a bit before cutting.

Once cool you can sprinkle powdered sugar on the top of the whole cake, or if you are not eating it all right away, sprinkle right before serving.

Serve with just the powdered sugar, or with some fresh raspberries!

Monday, October 10, 2011

pumpkin purée & roasted seeds

While canned pumpkin may make a showing when there is nothing else, I really do like making my own pumpkin purée. The canned stuff is not usually even from pie pumpkins (but from some butternut type of squash). It is easy, although it takes planning ahead if you want to make a pie or cake or bread. This time of year I find it easiest to stick a tray of pumpkin in to roast every time I use the oven - and the freeze it for later!

So, to start. Take a pie pumpkin. Not a huge carving pumpkin (not so tasty) but the smaller ones that will be called pie pumpkins. Clean. Cut off the top. Cut in half or quarters.

Scoop out all of the pulp/seeds (save those!). Place in a baking dish in a 350ºF oven (I usually do cut side down, but you don't have to), and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the pumpkin is soft.

Let cool. Peel back the skins, use a knife if you need a little help. Some pumpkins are more liquidy than others, so I like to put the scraped pulp first into a strainer and let sit for a bit for the extra juice to drip out. From there you can smooth however you like - whiz in a blender or food processor, run through a food mill, or simply use a potato masher. Put into a container and freeze, or use immediately!

Now, what to do with all of those seeds? Take the pulpy seedy blobs and run your fingers through to extract as many seeds as you can. Don't worry if there are tiny bits of pumpkin still in there. Take your pumpkin seeds and put into a saucepan. Just cover with water, and add a nice big pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes. Strain. Most recipes skip this step but boiling them with a pinch of salt first really gives them better flavor, and the outer husk part is not as tough so it is crunchy but delicious.

Place a teaspoon of oil (I used sunflower oil) on a cookie sheet, and pour your pumpkin seeds over it. Use your fingers to coat all of the seeds. Now, add your seasoning. Sea salt, brown sugar, paprika, chili powder...find your favorite!

Today I used 1/2 teaspoon of yellow curry powder, 1 Tbsp of dark brown sugar, and a pinch of sea salt. SO good.

Gently stir the pumpkin seeds to coat in your seasoning mix. Spread evenly on the sheet and place in your oven while you are baking the pumpkin chunks. Stir every 15 minutes or so, and continue baking in the oven until they are golden - about 30-45 minutes, depending on how many seeds you have on the tray (all pumpkins are different, so...). Remove from oven and let cool.

SO good! I am using these pumpkin seeds (well, what I have not eaten!) in a trail mix. And tomorrow I'm making a batch of pumpkin butter with the puree.

pumpkin seeds:: "Pumpkin seeds are a very good source of the minerals phosphorus, magnesium and manganese. They are also a good source of other minerals including zinc, iron and copper. In addition, pumpkin seeds are a good source of protein and vitamin K."

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

lentil millet chili

I love chili on cold days. I just don't always like the bigger chewy beans. This chili uses lentils and millet. The smell, texture and flavor are totally chili and the lentils and millet add such an earthy tone. This so so so good, and made in a slow cooker bubbles away all day filling the house with amazing aroma. This can be made with or without meat. Both are fantastic!

::lentil millet chili::

2 cups dried lentils–any kind (I used 1/2 green, 1/2 red)
2 cups cooked millet (see below)
16 oz canned tomatoes, or 3-4 large diced tomatoes
1 cup tomato paste or juice (I use homemade so it is more juicy, you can also just use 1 can tomato paste)
4-6 cups stock
1 large onion, diced
1 pepper, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
3 tsp paprika
1 tsp coriander powder
1+ tsp chili powder (to taste/heat)
2 tsp salt, or to taste
freshly ground pepper
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp corn flour (optional)

freshly chopped chives or cilantro for serving
sour cream or plain yogurt for serving

Add a bit of oil to a hot large pan, and toss in the onions and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, add the peppers. Let cook for a few minutes, stirring gently. If you want meat, add up to a pound of ground beef or turkey and stir until browned. Empty the pan into your crock pot. Return pan to heat, add in the tomatoes, stock, and tomato paste and stir in the lentils. Bring to a boil. Pour into crock pot. Add all of the spices. Add the warm cooked millet. Stir. Cook on high for 1 hour, reduce heat to low and simmer in the crock pot for 4-6 hours.

In the last 30 minutes add 1 Tbsp corn flour/harina (optional) to thicken the chili. The millet thickens it a bit, but if you like really thick chili, the corn flour does it. Stir in the chopped parsley in the last 30 minutes as well. Add any additional salt/pepper to taste.

Serve with some fresh cilantro, grated cheese, chopped chives, a spoon of plain yogurt or sour cream...all great.

The stock measurement has a range because your liquid needs may vary depending on what kind of lentils you use. Start with the base amount, and after a few hours add more if it needs it. You want enough liquid for the lentils to absorb and plump up, but not be too thick or dry.

To cook millet:
Add 1 cup of millet to a hot sauce pan. Lightly pan toast them, don't burn. Add 2 cups of water or stock and a pinch of sea salt. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer with the lid on 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, and add to the chili using a fork (don't stir or scoop hard, or it will clump).

Lentils are an excellent source of molybdenum and folate. They are a very good source of dietary fiber and manganese and a good source of iron, protein, phosphorus, copper, thiamin and potassium.

Millet is a good source of some very important nutrients, including manganese, phosphorus, and magnesium! It is also gluten-free.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

csa box:: week 15

in the box:: beets, carrots, kale, lettuce, spaghetti squash, tomatillos, variety of tomatoes, pepper, onions, garlic, potatoes, cilantro.

extras I bought this week:: potatoes, butternut squash, oregano, chives, thyme, cilantro

What is in season where you live? How long is your growing season?

Monday, September 26, 2011

something old, something new.

Apple season is nice in that it goes on a long while. Some things are in season for such an instant that it feels like I must run run run to save it all while I can. Having a few months for apples means we can not only preserve and save, but also enjoy now. So, for apple season, here is a new recipe, as well as several from the archives that I make every year. An apple a day?

::baked cinnamon apples::

This recipe is my tweaked version of the one found in Apples for Jam by Tessa Kiros.
3 Tbsp butter
4 baking apples, cored & halved
1/3 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
grated fresh nutmeg
pinch allspice
2 Tbsp ruby port
1/2 cup fresh apple cider
Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Butter an oven proof dish, just large enough to fit 8 apple halves quite compactly (a pie dish worked perfectly). Place your apples in a baking dish cut side up.

Put a bit of butter on each apple center. Mix the sugar, cinnamon and allspice and sprinkle over the apples. Grate fresh nutmeg over the top, and drizzle with port. Pour the apple cider in the pan around/under the apples.

Bake for 30 minutes, then dribble the pan juices over the apples and add some more (hot) cider to the dish if needed. Bake for another 20-30 minutes until the apples are creamy on the inside and brown on the top. (time may vary a little based on the type of apple you are using)

Serve warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or a spoon full of freshly whipped cream. Or, if you like take the juices from the bottom of the baking dish after the apples come out of the oven. Pour the liquid into a saucepan and heat on high to boil. Reduce heat, simmer a bit, and reduce slightly. Drizzle this thickened essence of apple over the top. SO GOOD!

+ + + + +

Some of my favorite recipes that I go back to often. I may tweak and poke around with different spices or types of apples, but the basic recipes always stay the same.

::carmelized apple tart::

::baked apples::

::apple butter::


What are your favorite apple recipes?

an apple a day:: "Apple polyphenols are standout nutrients in this widely loved fruit. These polyphenols include flavonols (especially quercetin, but also kaempferol and myricetin), catechins (especially epicatechin), anthocyanins (if the apples are red-skinned), chlorogenic acid, phloridizin, and several dozen more health-supportive polyphenol nutrients. Apple is a good source of fiber, including the soluble fiber pectin, and it's also a good source of vitamin C."

Thursday, September 22, 2011

csa box:: week 14

Week 14! We have settled into the groove of picking our CSA up at the farm and then stopping by the apple orchard on our way home (apple season!). We are lucky to live just a few miles from both.

in the box:: butternut squash, sorrel, mixed greens (swiss chard, brussel sprout greens), peppers, sage, an onion, a head of garlic, purple potatoes, carrots, and a lot of tomatoes!

I buy as many extras as I can this time of year! I dry the herbs, and can/pickle/freeze everything else.

extras:: carrots, broccoli, chives, thyme, cilantro, parsley, beets, potatoes

orchard:: We get a gallon or two of freshly pressed cider every week (raw!). We are still sampling apples. This week we have Chenango Strawberry and Jonamac.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

csa box:: week 13

week 13. in the box:: beets, sage, thyme, onion, garlic, purple potatotes, peppers, kale, and a mix of tomatoes!

extras:: beets, carrots, sage

orchard:: cider, and two new varieties - Viking, and Pink (is pink inside!)

pickled cabbage.

I love cabbage. During the summer I make slaws, and as the days get cooler we make sauerkraut and other pickled goodies. This is a very crunchy vinegar pickled cabbage - not sauerkraut (here is my purple kraut recipe ... yum). This is really great with anything salty and savory, or on a burger instead of lettuce and pickle. So crunchy! And the color is totally over the top.


1 lb. chopped red cabbage

2 Tbsp sea salt

4 cups good white wine vinegar

1 Tbsp brown sugar

1 Tbsp pickling spice


Peel the cabbage in a large bowl and sprinkle each layer with salt.

Leave for 24 hours. Pour off liquid and stir a few times throughout. After 24 hours, drain off any liquid and rinse off any surplus salt. Drain the cabbage well.

Put the vinegar, sugar and pickling spices into a pan, and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes and allow to cool for at least 2 hours.

Strain the vinegar if you want, I like leaving in the spices.

Pack the cabbage loosely into jars and cover with the spiced vinegar.

Cover label and store in a cool place. Can begin to eat after 1 week.

Will begin to loose its crispness within 2 to 3 months. I keep it in the fridge and have a pint in the freezer!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

granola bars!

I love finding recipes that my boys like (no surprise). We usually tweak recipes the boys want to try -- to get the right textures for my sensory boy who has a hard time chewing things with chunks or varying textures (chewy/crunchy at the same time). Once we hit the right combo we stick pretty close to our main recipe from there. This granola bar recipe originated from here...we have changed it a bit. Healthy, texture friendly, not too sweet, really really yummy. These are nice and chewy, which is a must for my boys. They don't like the rock hard crumbly things. These are perfect. My husband and I find ourselves nibbling away at them too, so there is an excuse to make more. And my 6 year old loves helping (who doesn't love squishing it all into the pan). And these are SO MUCH BETTER than any store bought granola bars.

2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup sunflower seeds (roasted/salted OK too)
1 cup organic shredded coconut
1/2 cup golden flaxseed, freshly ground
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2/3 cup raw honey (a little less if you use sweetened coconut)
1/2 Tbsp blackstrap molasses
2-3 Tbsp organic unsweetened peanut butter or almond butter
3 Tbsp organic light brown sugar, lightly packed
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
Up to 1 1/2 cups chopped dried fruit
(soft/chewy such as apricots, cranberries, raisins)
This time I used 1/2 cup finely chopped peaches we dehydrated

Pre-heat the oven to 350ºF.
Wipe a little butter in a 9x13 baking dish and line it with parchment or foil.
Toss the oats, sunflower seeds and coconut together on a cookie sheet and bake for 10 or so minutes.
Stir it half way through.
Remove from the oven and pour into a big bowl.
Add the ground flax.

Reduce the oven temperature to 300ºF.
Heat the butter, honey, peanut butter, brown sugar, molasses, vanilla and salt in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil and remove from heat - stir.
Stir it into the dry mix - keep stirring until all fully coated.
Stir in the dried chopped fruit.

Spread it in the prepared baking dish, pushing down to make a nice compact even layer. Wet your fingers - it will be easier to push it down without getting all sticky.

Bake for about 20-30 minutes.
Cool for an hour more before gently flipping the slab out of the baking dish - peel off the foil/parchment.

Cut into squares.
Store in an air-tight container.


Some good variations include cinnamon, almonds, or sunflower nut butter...find your favorite!

goodness:: You know granola bars...they are packed with vitamins and fiber and all kinds of good stuff. Sunflower seeds - packed with vitamin E, B1, manganese, magnesium, copper, selenium, phosphorus, vitamin B5 and folate. Blackstrap molasses - iron, calcium, copper, manganese, potassium and magnesium. And that is just two of the ingredients!

If you prefer to soak and dehydrate your oats before baking with them, here is how you can do it...

Thursday, September 8, 2011

csa box:: week 12

This blog was acting up a bit, saying posts were published when they were not, so after messing around with the widgets, I am happy to say it is publishing again. I'm now playing catch up!

We have entered the time of year when we still have more tomatoes in the box than anything else, so I am caught up fully in the kitchen and dipping into the storage for meals. I can't wait to move on past tomatoes and get into the fall goodies!

week 12!
in the box (above) :: a variety of tomatoes including cherry, slicing and paste, onion, brussel sprout greens (my rabbit loved these), carrots, cabbage, cilantro and peppers

extras:: carrots, beets, cilantro, dill

And this week marked the opening of apple season. We don't pick this early usually, but we do visit the orchard which we pass on our way home from the CSA each week to try different varieties and see what our favorites are. We probably still have a few weeks before our favorite applesauce apples are ready, but we are trying new types of general eating apples, and this week we picked up an heirloom crabapple (whitney) - and made a batch of crab apple compote. Yum! We usually select apples for many specific uses - juicing, eating fresh, baking, sauces, drying, and then shelf life for storage! We also get freshly pressed cider all fall, to make boiled cider, sauces, and of course for drinking and freezing.

To see what was in the box this week in previous years click::
| 2007 | 2008 | hurt my back sept '09 didn't post | 2010 |

What is in your box/in season where you live?

Thursday, September 1, 2011

csa box:: week 11

in the box:: a variety of cherry, slicing and paste tomatoes, peppers, pears, dill, zucchini, beets, an onion, a watermelon, lettuce, and a head of garlic.

extras:: carrots, parsley, thyme, dill, chives

And of course, more tomatoes for sauce!

To see what was in the box this week in previous years click::
2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

What is in your box/in season where you live?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

cinnamon sugar roasted almonds.

After weeks of non-stop tomato sauce and pickle making I was ready for something...different. NOT tomatoes! A favorite winter treat of mine is roasted nuts. I like them savory, sweet, spicy. All so good. I decided to make a batch of cinnamon sugar roasted almonds. Great for quick snacks and so delicious without being too sweet.

Many recipes call for using pre-roasted almonds, but I prefer to soak them first to get the best digestibility - so I start with raw almonds. It is really easy to do and doesn't take more work, just planning ahead. I like how the flavor of the almonds comes through more when using the soaked raw almonds.


4 cups raw almonds + 1 Tbsp sea salt for soaking
Soak 4 cups of raw almonds in filtered water (fill with enough water to cover) with sea salt overnight.
Drain and rinse the next morning and let air dry for a few hours (you could also pop them in the dehydrator if you have one, on low)


1 egg white
1/2 tsp. blackstrap molasses
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup organic light brown sugar
3 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. sea salt
a few grates of fresh nutmeg (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 250ºF

Lightly oil a cookie sheet (or cover with parchment)

In a bowl combine the cinnamon, sugar, salt and nutmeg - mix.

In another bowl whip the egg white, molasses and vanilla until it is foamy but loose, NOT peaks.

Toss the almonds in the egg white mixture and stir gently to coat.

Add the dry mix to the bowl with almonds, stirring as you do so all of the almonds are evenly coated with the mixture.

Spread the almonds in a thin layer on the cookie sheet.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until dry, stirring every 15 minutes.

It make take a little longer if you left the almonds soaking longer or they are still pretty wet. Just keep stirring/checking until the coating is nice and dry on the outside.

Remove from oven, allow to cool completely and then eat! Store in an airtight container.

did you know:: (Unless dry roasting is specified the commercial roasting process of nuts is a form of deep-frying, usually in coconut oil and palm kernel oil. By using raw almonds, soaking them and then roasting them yourself in the oven on low heat, you end up with more nut flavor and natural oils from the almonds.

good stuff:: Almonds are a fantastic source of vitamin E and manganese, and a good source of magnesium, riboflavin (B2), phosphorus, and copper.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

csa box:: week 10

We are at week 10, almost September! That of course means tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes. The garden is peaking with tomatoes, the CSA box has tomatoes, and of course I need even more tomatoes. There is always a pot on the stove with some tomato recipe simmering away this time of year, and the shelves and freezer are filling up nicely.

:: in the box:: carrots, 2 kinds of peppers, a variety of paste/slicing/cherry tomatoes, lettuce, sweet corn, zucchini, garlic, dill, peppermint, onions

::extras:: thyme, sage, oregano, carrots, beets


more tomatoes! Our CSA farmer April passed along a crate of tomatoes - splits/seconds. I brought them home and immediately cleaned/chopped/processed them all out on the deck. I have some for eating (the Aunt Ruby's variety is awesome!) and the rest went in for another batch of sauce!

To see what was in the box this week in previous years click::
| 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 |

What is in your box/in season where you live?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

lemon balm iced tea.

If you grow mint and lemon balm like I do, then you know this time of year they are both attempting to take over the entire garden. Which of course makes it the perfect time to pick bowls full and make tea. I tend to use mostly lemon balm and add a cup or two of fresh spearmint or apple mint for a mild hint of mint. You can make this all herbal...or do as I usually do, which is add some aromatic green tea leaves at the end for some caffeine. Jasmine is fantastic.

This is such a good tea - you can really smell and taste the mint and lemon balm without it being overpowering. It just tastes like ... summer.

::picking tip::

It is best to pick some time in the morning before peak heat. Pick the overabundant fresh shoots and leave any woody flowering stems for the bees.

::how to::

Fill a crock pot/slow cooker with freshly picked and rinsed lemon balm leaves and stems (pick off any brown bits), and fresh mint (optional). Add enough water just to cover, and heat on LOW for 3 hours.

After 3 hours add a few teaspoons of green tea (if you want caffeine). Leave for 30 more minutes. Strain out all of the leaves/tea. Add honey to taste. Pour into a pitcher and chill!

A long slow low heat is good for freshly picked herbs - it releases more of the plant oils and keeps a nice bright color!

lemon balm:: Lemon balm is in the mint family and has been used for centuries to relieve stress and anxiety, promote sleep, improve appetite, and ease stomach aches. It has a great lemony fresh smell and flavor!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

csa box:: week 9

week 9.
::in the box:: beets, carrots, two types of summer squash, cabbage, a variety of slicing and cherry tomatoes, garlic, chives, peppermint, cucumber, scallions, broccoli.

::extras:: oregano, sage, chives, carrots, paste tomatoes (for home made ketchup!)

We have so many veggies the fridge is full, canning equipment always in the sink, there is a full cooler on the floor, and pounds are picked a day from the garden in addition to the substantial CSA produce. Yes, it is August!

To see what was in the CSA box this week in previous years, click::

| 2007 | 2008 | 2009 2010 |

What is in season where you are?

Monday, August 15, 2011

in my kitchen.

This is the time of year that something is happening in the kitchen non-stop. Where I can barely keep up with all of the veggies pouring in - and not only is the fridge full, but so is the cooler on the floor next to it. We are freezing, canning, drying, fermenting, baking. Here are a few things from my kitchen, and some great links to recipes and tips for the season!

Zucchini Pickles - These looked so good I had to make a few pints. I substituted yellow curry powder for the turmeric and the smell and color is amazing. They are crunchy, mustardy, and great on burgers. The recipe is from the Zuni cafe, via Martha Stewart.

I have been cranking out pickles - dill vinegar pickles, refrigerator pickles, lacto-fermented pickles, pickled veggies. I love the POP of the jar lid opening in winter. Sofya at the girls' guide to guns and butter put together a very thorough guide to canning pickles. Every single thing you need to know to make great dill pickles.

And Cheeseslave posted my favorite lacto-fermented pickles recipe this week.

I love dried tomatoes in oil. They are easy to make. You dehydrate cherry tomato halves until fairly dry, but still pliable (not crunchy). Pack them into a jar with dried garlic, onion and basil (I use dried to keep water content low). Cover with olive oil and voila! Use on sandwiches, pizza, salads. Whiz it in the food processor to make a spread. They store a few months in the fridge. I dry a LOT of tomatoes!

This summer squash and potato torte from Bon Appétit is so good I keep making it over and over. I like to add some heavy cream and extra freshly grated Romano cheese to make it more like a gratin. It is great with loads of fresh basil too. So delicious!

This is a yummy zucchini spread from Philly Homegrown. Good on so many things. This version I also added some red pepper and kale from the garden.

What is happening in your kitchen this week?