Monday, June 3, 2013

Homemade Nut Milk

We had an unbelievably warm weekend. August like weather to usher in June. There was lake swimming, grilling (black bean burgers!), and basking(not baking) in the sun. I hadn't been feeling much like cooking lately, but this weekend I felt like it again and made all kinds of things while simultaneously cleaning out the fridge. Cabbage salad, black bean and barley burgers, chocolate pudding pie, an amazing vegan Caesar salad, biscuits, and twice one of our staples, homemade almond milk. In our house we drink a lot of nut milk. We use it in cereal, all kinds of baked goods, in coffee and tea, in smoothies. Before i started making it i would buy soy milk by the case. But then i started questioning soy and what's in all boxed milk. Then I saw this post. And viola. Now i almost always make my own. Do not be fooled it is not a time consuming endeavor. Less than a minute to soak your nuts the night before. And a few minutes in the morning to blend it.  Then you have beautiful nut milk. My favorite so far is simple almond milk. This will only last in the refrigerator for a few days, so i typically only make one quart at a time.

Monday, May 13, 2013

The incredible edible....violet?

Yes! Spring has sprung, and so have the birds, flowers, herbs, and all things green and life giving. One of the things i have enjoyed about moving to the middle of nowhere and becoming a mother is gardening. It's something i wasn't able to explore living in big citites (not enough room, not enough time). I truly love it, planting a seed and watching it grow seems almost mundane and miraculous all at once. My true love in the garden are the flowers and herbs. Herbs have such a vast variety of uses, healing properties, and flowers add such beauty to the garden, and the places in the house they grace. Amazingly some of those beauties are indeed edible, and some have special healing properties to boot. Among edible flowers are the violet, nasturtium, roses, johnny jump ups (another type of violet), chamomile, among many many others. There are violets that have been growing on the side of my mother in law's house, and also wild in the fields and grasses here. If you wish to grow violets be sure you are buying the real deal, as the large blossomed cultivars have no medicinal properties. And if you find them be absolutely sure of what you are picking. Violets are said to be good coughs, asthma, bronchitis, eczema, colds, sore through, and has also been said to have been used as cancer treatment! The flowers, leaves, and roots can be used. For now i have only tried things with the flowers themselves. They can be used in salads, dried for tea, used in vinegar, put into ice cubes, and sugared for a dessert garnish. 

Or you can even make your own floral water! Find a great tutorial here.

A great page with instructions on how to make herbal vinegars is 

Try a simple salad with mixed baby greens, your freshly picked violets, some fresh herbs, and this amazing vinaigrette. 

If you want to crystallize them do this!

This would be so pretty on a simple cake!

For ice cubes simply add a couple to each compartment in the tray and freeze. Then add to lemon water, iced tea, or a fancy cocktail. 

To dry for tea simply place in a paper bag and poke holes in it so air can circulate. When completely dry you can use alone for tea or mix with other herbal teas. I like to mix 

1 c. dried nettles
1c. dried raspberry leaves
1/2 c. dried chamomile 
1/4 to 1/2 c. dried violet leaves

flowers drying for tea

violets growing on the ground

Lyric sat down in a patch of violets and ate them

collecting violets

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Maple roasted cashews

as anyone who knows me knows i have a bit of a sweet tooth, but i've also come to a place where i know nutrition is more important than eating a box of junior mints. and i have a little one now, and they watch everything we do. so i've traded in the bad stuff for foods that taste even better, and make your body feel and work better too. cashews are great for you food too, they're loaded with good fats, magnesium, and copper!
this a snack that is seriously delicious, and simple to make. these are also great for taking on the go, and to give as a gift. 
for these use real maple syrup, preferably from maine!

maple roasted cashews

2 c. raw cashews or cashew pieces
3 T. real maple syrup
scant 1/4 t. fine grain sea salt

preheat oven to 350 degrees
line a baking sheet with parchement paper
mix all ingredients in a bowl until the cashews are well coated
spread on baking sheet
bake for about 20 minutes keeping a close eye on the color, you want them to be a rich golden brown
let cool on baking sheets, and store in an airtight container

i have no idea how long they last, as mine are usually gone in a couple of days!


all done