Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hearts of Palm Dip {Recipe Update}

As a food blogger, it is imperative to take pictures to have for adding to the post. Unfortunately I have made 3 different recipes in the last week and didn't get pictures of any! No worries though, I plan on making them again this week and taking pictures this time :)  In the meantime, whet your appetite for black bean chocolate cake, carrot cake (both with cream cheese icing) and zucchini lasagna- and all the recipes are gluten free! There will also be a slow cooker chicken and coconut chocolate chip cookies recipes also coming soon!

In the meantime, I wanted to re-post this recipe, especially as we get to picnic/cookout weather. This dip is always a big hit, I recommend making at least a double batch if taking to a party! I made a few additions to the original recipe. Remember to go organic and/or local for as many ingredients as possible, especially when it comes to dairy products so you can avoid the growth hormones.

Hearts of Palm Dip

1 can hearts of palm or artichoke (chopped)
1 c shredded mozzarella cheese
3/4 c mayo
1/2 c Parmesan cheese
1/4 c sour cream
1-2 tsp each garlic, onion, parsley
1 T chives
handful of fresh or frozen spinach, chopped or ripped into small pieces

Combine all ingredients. Spray small baking dish (I love the Pampered Chef glass dishes with lids) and add dip. Bake at 350 25-30 minutes or until slightly brown on top and bubbly. This recipe doubles well for parties. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Babies {Garden Update}

I love when you can check the garden every few days and see progress, especially in not-so-great weather conditions! Here's how they look!


various lettuces

Carrots?? Can't quite remember!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

They're Coming! {Garden Update}

You may recall that I took a leap of faith and planted my raised bed garden 2 weekends ago, covered with plastic and hoped for the best. It was definitely good that I covered because we got one more snow/ice storm March 30, one week after planting.

Thankfully this week has been much nicer. I was able to open up the bed last night, and saw some plants starting! I gave them some water and left the bed open so some light rain this morning and sunshine this afternoon could work their magic. When I got home tonight, here's what I found!

Peas, they got knocked around a bit by one dog, that shall remain nameless, that decided to run through the bed yesterday! Thus the reason why they are closer to the surface! Not to worry, pushed them back down in the soil!

Somebody thought the plastic covering was the best place to chew on his football!

I plan on covering the bed back up since we are supposed to have some strong rains tomorrow and I don't want everything to wash away. How are you making out so far this year? Have you started any seeds inside? That is next on my list!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Jumping the, the Garden

Even though I grew up on a farm with extensive fruit/veggie gardens, I am a fairly new gardener as an adult. This is my 4th year having an "official" garden, i.e. anything more than a few tomato plants in pots. Each year, my garden would get started much later than I preferred, for a variety of reasons (construction at the house, busy time at work, weather, etc.). For some reason I picked the year with the worst winter, and the slowest start to spring to get my garden moving early!

I think I just missed getting my hands dirty, there is nothing like it, especially when dealing with stress, of which I have had my fair share this last year or so.

So here's what I decided to do. I have a bunch of seeds left from the last few years, so I decided to use up all of the cold weather tolerant ones (or as much as I feasibly could), cover the raised bed with plastic, and see what will happen. I figured if the seeds are done, by starting early I will know earlier and still have time to start a new batch. Trial and error are definitely in my repertoire!

So far I started carrots, radishes, a variety of lettuces and spinach, bunching onions, leeks, peas, bush beans, snow peas and swiss chard. Even though the weather was milder this past weekend, we were due for a few very cold days and even more snow (ugh), so I decided to not water the seeds yet and just cover them. We are due for some warmer weather at the end of the week and maybe even a little rain so hopefully that will help to get things going then.

A big shout-out to my hubby for helping to figure out how best to cover the bed and for helping to secure it with staples/nails on the one end since it was too short to tether with rocks.

The bed is 4x8 and has served us well. I do hope to start some seeds in eggshells again and started saving them to maybe get planted this weekend. They work great for starting tomatoes, zucchini and other plants that just aren't cut out for the cold. Then before planting, simply crush the eggshell in your hand so the roots can work through and the eggs then breakdown and benefit the soil.

Hoping this weekend is warm enough to do some major clean-up in the flower beds (easily fill up the back of our pick-up truck, and then some) and maybe even do some separating of the lilies and bulbs to fill in some other areas.

Have you been able to get out in the garden yet? Am I crazy for trying to start things this early? What are you most excited to grow (and eat) this year?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Gluten Free Pinch Me Bread


I have always been partial to any food that features cinnamon. My mom would frequently make pinch me bread and we would always devour it way too quickly! We would eat ourselves almost sick from it! Here are versions 1, 2 and 3 of regular flour recipes. Since going gluten free a few years ago this is one of my most-missed foods. It is great as breakfast or a snack and is fun to take to get togethers or brunches. Or just keep at home. And 2 days...

I found the original recipe here but altered it to make it more like the regular recipe.

For the Dough:
1 and 1/4 cup water divided, as hot as you can get from the tap
4 Tablespoons butter, melted or at least softened to room temperature
2 Tablespoons sucanat
1 pack yeast
1 egg
1/2 T vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill GF Flour Mix + more as needed, up to 1 cup
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch/flour (they are the same thing)
2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1 teaspoon gelatin (I will be buying some Great Lakes grass fed gelatin from Amazon soon)
1/2 teaspoon Redmond's Real Salt
Dash of cinnamon

In a large bowl (either for a stand mixer or one you use for a hand mixer) gently mix 1/4 cup water, yeast and sucanat. Allow to proof for about 5 minutes or until you see the yeast start to foam (if your yeast does not foam throw it out and start over as it may be dead and will not make the dough rise).

Whisk together dry ingredients in another bowl. In a large glass measuring cup (I have one for 2 cups) mix together 1 cup water, egg, vanilla and butter until combined.

On low, blend together yeast and butter mixtures with hand blender or stand mixer with dough hook. Gradually add the dry ingredients and continue blending, increasing speed. Blend for up to 5 minutes or until dough comes together.

I used a hand blender and the dough was still very sticky. Add more flour and continue stirring until the dough forms a ball.

Cover with warm, wet towel and set in warm place (I usually turn on my oven as low as it goes, then turn off once heated and put bowl inside) and allow to rise for 20-40 minutes. This dough will not typically rise as much as gluten dough.

When almost done rising, get out angel food or bunt pan (you can use any pan really but I like the circle shape of an angel food cake pan) and grease with olive oil.

For the topping:
Melt 1 stick of butter. Mix together 4 T cinnamon 1/3 c sucanat, 1/3 c organic cane sugar (these are approximate, I don't measure just dump in a bowl and mix until it looks like the right amount).

On a gf floured surface, gently knead the dough and form into a thick rectangle. Cut into small pieces and roll into small balls (I like to use an Auntie Anne's pretzel dough cutter that I got in one of the pretzel making kits 8 years ago. It is starting to crack so if anyone has one they would be able to part with, I'd gladly take it!).

Dip dough balls in butter, coat with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and place in pan. Once all the dough is in the pan let rise in same manner as before for another 20-40 minutes (or as long as you can wait!).

Preheat oven to 375 and bake bread for 20-30 minutes. You know it is done when the ones on top start to crack and look dry. Remove from oven, take out the center of the angel food pan and set on plate to cool (or if using another type of pan turn upside down on dish).

Don't wait to eat it, it is amazing warm. Don't wait to eat it once it cools, it is amazing cold!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Celadon Road {Product Review}

I am well overdue on some product reviews, one for Celadon Road and another for coconut oil from Tropical Traditions. Let's start with Celadon Road, shall we? (The products reviewed were provided free of charge but with no expectation of a favorable review. All ideas/reviews are of my own opinion of the products provided.)

My friend, Erika started selling for Celadon Road a few months ago. This company is very different from most direct sales though in that it only produces products that are organic, natural, earth-friendly with a commitment to fair trade practices. Read more about their philosophy here. Now you know I am all about making things from scratch on your own but I realize that just isn't always possible (for many reasons) and sometimes you just need a healthy product you can buy. That to me is where this company fits in!

Erika kindly sent me two products to review:

The double wall glass tumbler

and the Lime Laundry Detergent.

I have to admit I was most excited to try the glass tumbler. I have a few but they are all lined with plastic (yuck) and Santa didn't bring me a stainless steel one for Christmas (I muse have been naughty...) so this worked out perfectly. About a year and a half ago I switched to a glass water bottle and glass straw for my smoothies and everything tastes SO much better in glass than in plastic. This mug is no different!

The mug warms your hands but is not too hot to hold and keeps the (in my case) tea warm for as long as I needed it to. I was a little hesitant about the lid staying on since it is just a seal, it is not screwed on at all so I filled the mug full and held upside down over the sink and it stayed on! There is a nice rubber grip to help you keep ahold of it as well.

Funny story, I used it at school this week and I had one little boy ask me if he could have it because he thought it looked so cool and another ask if I had a clam in it (the tea bag looked like a clam!). This is why I teach Kindergarten, you just never know what they are going to say!

The laundry detergent works great. I used it on clothes, bedding and towels with no issues. The lime scent is faint after washing, I wouldn't mind it being a little stronger but everything does smell clean.

The great thing about the laundry detergent is that is also can become a multi-use cleaner. It can be used on floors, walls, and to freshen up carpets by dry sprinkling it then vacuuming it up or through a carpet cleaner. You can also use it for your automatic dishwasher but they recommend the unscented for that. 

I decided to put 1/2 T in a spray bottle with water and try it on our floors. I sprayed the solution and then wiped with my Swiffer (but with a microfiber cloth on the end instead of a Swiffer cloth). It worked great to get off the marks from salty shoes and the dog and the bonus of cleaning this way is that you don't have to wait for the floor to dry since it dries as you clean it! Then just throw the cloth in the wash and you have a much more eco and health friendly floor cleaner for little money!

I am excited to try some more of Celadon Road's products. I am even considering becoming a consultant, would anyone want to have a party if I did? 

Go visit Erika's page and check out the other awesome items such as health/beauty (for men and women), pet, baby and even jewelry! 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Punkin Chunkin' Muffins {Gluten Free}

I love when a new recipe idea just kind of "happens" and this is one of them. I knew I had more pumpkin puree thawed in the fridge but not sure how to use it. I could always make more pumpkin baked oatmeal, or pumpkin sticky buns (just did not have the energy for them though) but I really wanted something different. Then I realized that my chunky monkey banana muffin recipe could probably be tweaked for pumpkin and that the topping for my sweet potato casserole would make a wonderful streusel topping and so these muffins were born!

Punkin Chunkin Muffins

1/2 c coconut flour
dash salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
dash cinnamon
pinch all spice, nutmeg, ginger
6 eggs
1/3 c sucanat
1/3 c coconut oil, melted (I usually place in a small glass dish and place in the oven so it can melt while the oven preheats)
1 T vanilla
1 c pumpkin puree

1/3 c brown sugar or sucanat
1/3 c almond flour
1/2 c soft butter or coconut oil (melted)
1/3 c pecans or walnuts, chopped (optional)
dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 F. In a small bowl, mix together flour, salt, spices and baking soda. In a large bowl, mix together pumpkin, eggs, sucanat, oil, and vanilla. Mix the dry ingredients with the wet till thoroughly mixed. Mix together all ingredients for topping. Scoop batter into muffin tins to 3/4 full and add topping. Bake for 20 minutes. Enjoy!
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