Almond butter & Sunflower Love

 

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Our one and only sunflower! We planted the seeds like 2 years ago!

Hi all! My son is allergic to peanuts. Not a strong allergy- it is mild. So I usually buy almond butter or sunflower seed butter. Yum, but it can be pretty expensive though!

We have a Vitamix refurbished so we bought it really inexpensively thru Target, and I decided to make our own almond butter. I had some almonds, added a little salt and little oil to make it creamy, and we had some sunflower seeds so I added that as well. It turned out great wow! Here’s a couple pictures. I’ll post the recipe from Vitamix book that I have. To be honest I don’t exactly measure when I cook except for when I bake I winged it and luckily it usually turns out pretty well!!

 

No matter which blender are you using be careful you do not burn out the motor. Adding a little oil to make your almond butter creamy also helps keep the motor running smooth. According to the Vitamix cookbook blendies ingredients together. You can turn the blender off and on periodically to rest your blades and motor as well. Delicious! I plan to do this with peanuts for Mark and myself! When making peanut or cashew butter you do not have to add as much oil because of the natural oils. A favorite blend is one part each cashews, almonds and sunflower seeds. It is always a good idea for at least one of the nuts to be salt free, or the butter may get pretty salty.

Almond butter:

3 cups almonds ( virtually any kind of nut)

1/3 to 1/2 cup oil

Blend! Store in the refrigerator for one month, if it last that long! 😄

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Sage, Sweetgrass & Olio’s

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Uses clean, fresh rain water in North Carolina 🌸
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Olio’s restaurant in Gastonia NC. Brunch time !

Hiiiii!  I hope everyone had a fabulous holiday. Haven’t posted in a while! It is so beautiful out and I got to spend time out today with the family on the deck.

North Carolina weather is so unusual; could be snowing and freezing one moment, next few days it could be warm and 70. I love the weather here!

We did have a bit of snow.

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We kept Buddha warm.

 

 

Vitamix and Spring Gardens

We finally did it. We bought a refurnished Vitamix. You would never know it was used though-swear!  Even came with a cookbook to get us started.  We’ve been using it every day, twice a day at least:

SAM_0147We’ve been making juice instead of buying it. ^^^Above is strawberry lemonade, yum!  A couple lemons peeled, water, and a couple handfuls of frozen strawberries.  Gotta add a touch of sugar too. Still so healthy and fresh tasting. I’ve been making my version of ‘V8’..but I haven’t been counting the veggies/fruits in it so…a couple apples cut in half, piece of lemon, tomato, kale, celery..I think that’s it. So it’s a VF5:  veggie fruit drink.  I add water and some ice too. Lots of water, as I want a drink, not a veggie smoothie. That just sounds gross to me.  Here is some salsa I attempted:

homemade salsa

We’ve been making hot soups, and tomato sauce also. Taste so fresh, if you use fresh tomatoes, or at least hot house fresh smelling ones from the grocery store.

Homemade dough and sauce..can you tell I love sauce?
Homemade oatmeal dough and sauce..can you tell I love sauce?
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Cashew butter! Tastier than almond butter to my family.

That leads me to my next subject:  Spring Garden!! 🙂

SAM_0036My dear hubby made 3 raised plant beds for me. No more stooping forever pulling weeds!!  Thanks, Mark! We have cucumbers in one of them, roma tomatoes in another, and lettuce in the third one. We plan to add one more next year.

We buy our plants from Fords on Main Street in Gastonia. Always strong, healthy plants! I’ll post more photos as they grow.

HAPPY FULL MOON!

Took this from my backyard a month ago. Pretty?
Took this from my backyard a month ago. Pretty?

Kick ass coleslaw..finally!

colelslaw1coleslawI love coleslaw. I have a Japanese friend who makes a great one with rice wine vinegar and I could eat the whole bowl, really. I would love to learn more about vinegar based slaws.

 My hubby, Mark found a dressing recipe from the wonderful Wolfgang Puck that I HAVE to share.  I just didn’t want to buy premade dressing!

I’ve never really made a good coleslaw until I made the one on the left..I love adding apples to this, adds a nice, sweet crunch!

Sushi Sunday

I know on Sundays many ladies are in the kitchen cooking food for the next couple of days or even a week! They freeze containers of lasagna or soup or whatever to last them. I always admired those who did that, as I do not!  If I had more children, I bet I would though. Cooking takes up a LOT of time so this summer I am trying my hand at making sushi on Sundays to last a few days.sushi 2

3 cups of uncooked rice made enough for 7 rolls, so about 42 sushis total! (actually I think these have TOO much rice in them, so make that 8 rolls)

Tali will eat the ones with cucumber only. I also have some with spicy (not too spicy) bamboo shoots, kimchi, carrot, even spam or a bit of cream cheeese. Sometimes imitation crab when we have it. Mark LOVES spicy bamboo shoots. You can buy them in any Asian market in jars. I finally tried them, then kicked myself for not trying sooner! 🙂 Delicious! What have we all been missing out on??

I also have been making kimchi pancakes, which are awesome too! A 1/3 cup of rice flour, a 1/3 cup of regular flour and a cup of kimchi and can about 5-6 pancakes. That was another dish I wasn’t sure I would love, but it’s soooo tasty!

So this has been a year of Theresa getting more creative and learning more recipes from around the world. This summer I am going to focus on Mexican/South American ‘street’ food, and this Fall, African dishes.

 

tali sushi

Springtime homeschoolin’ & fruit water

Taliesin is really studying hard for his finals (CAT) coming up in June:

tali homeschool 2014

 

Fruit water is SOOO easy to make, and it’s so pretty! Last year I was adding fruit to large pitchers of water and stashing them in the fridge..they kept alright but I like this way better: I simply add fruit to each glass plus some sprigs of mint from the garden. Sometimes I add a little touch of sugar and then mash it a bit with a potato masher to release the juices (if I do mash it I have the fruit in a bowl). Then add some water from our Brita pitcher and all done!  I got the idea of the strawberries from Belmont NC by the park on Main Street. They have a vendor there with the BEST fruit water ever!

 

Kimchi making (doesn’t smell!)

After watching Kimchi Chronicles on Hulu I was open to a new exciting type of food: Korean! It helped watching Korean drama like Shining Inheritance, and Baker King (Korean soap-operas are the best!!) and loving the lifestyle and beauty of South Korea.

Grand Asian Market in Charlotte is the best place I have found for asian cuisine, including huge jars of kimchi. I eat it on warm days with cold rice, really delicious, healthy, and refreshing!

I decided to make it myself, and have done so, twice! It’s easy, plus you are adding what YOU want, making it as hot or mild as YOU wish!  I want to show you here, and point out a mistake I made so I, or yourself, don’t repeat it.

I cut up 2 heads of napa cabbage and soaked it in water for 3 days. I couldn’t fit all the cabbage in one pot.  If you can, that is best. One cup of salt too. I use sea salt. I put about a half cup in the smaller pot (too much?).

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On day 3, I cut up carrots, spring onions and some cucumber. After I drain the cabbage I added all this to it. The cabbage will be tasty already and still a bit crunchy. The salt pulls out the water of the cabbage, so it really shrinks in size! That is why it is good to use 2 head of cabbage. I added some leftover juice from a jar of kimchi we had eaten already, so I kinda cheated there. Like any popular recipe in a culture, there are as many recipes for kimchi as there are Koreans, I think. Here are some I have found:

tablespoon grated garlic (about 5-6 cloves)
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 teaspoon sugar
2-3 tablespoons seafood flavor or water
1-5 tablespoons Korean red pepper flakes

Or:

1 cup of fish sauce, 2.5 cups of hot pepper flakes (depending on your taste), 1 cup of crushed garlic, 1-2 tbs of minced ginger, 1 cup amount of minced onion.

I would add WAY less hot pepper flakes, as I prefer it mild. NOW here is the mistake I made! I think I let it soak for too long. Last time I let it soak for 24 hours. 3 days apparently made it too salty. I will come back here after I make it again. Also, I find online ‘quick kimchi’ recipes which do not soak at all.

Koreans, unfortunately, have a high risk of stomach cancer. It is found to be from the kimchi eaten. Please remember that their kimchi is very hot, and they eat it basicly every single day.

Ciao for now! 🙂

 

March 27th: UPDATE! 🙂

http://www.maangchi.com/recipe/easy-kimchi   I am trying this recipe. She says do not soak cabbage, and I did use too much salt apparently.  I will let you know how this turns out!

Filipino chicken stock

I LOVE, LOVE our library. LOVE the cookbooks. I have one out about Filipino cooking.

I was feeling really achy today (women stuff!) and decided to have some of this simple stock I made yesterday. I feel SO much better already:

Boil some free range organic chicken with bones for 5 minutes. Drain. (this gets rid of any ‘impurities’, the book says).

Then: simmer the chicken along with a thumb size hunk of peeled ginger, a bay leaf, a blade of lemongrass (I didn’t have any lemongrass, I should have picked some up at our Grand Asian Market in Charlotte) and pepper. I added a bit of salt too. Simmer 4 hours covered, then strain it. I picked apart the meat and added it to the broth. That’s it! Of course you can add onion ,carrots, etc.  I just made it as the recipe said. I am sipping it now out of a mug. I feel a ton better. Medicine! 🙂

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Soup, Cornbread and More

Quinoa sushi with cucumber and avocado, The other has kimchi!

Quinoa sushi with cucumber and avocado, The other has kimchi!

There’s a recipe floating around Facebook about making sushi with Quinoa instead of rice. I thought I would give it a try. I prepared it like sushi rice: a little sugar and rice vinegar. It held *Ok* but not as good as rice would. The taste was fine, but you might want to put the chopsticks away on this one as it can get messy! I think I will use rice next time.

My sis in law got me some chili mix the Women’s Bean Project. Corn bread mix too! :) This organization is based in Denver, Colorado, and helps unemployed women get back on their feet financially with confidence.

Chili and Corn bread, organic from Women's Bean Project

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Goat cheese tomato soup, salad with a soft boiled egg and homemade bread from my friend Corinne at LadyBug Farms.   I actually made this around Halloween (can you tell??) and it is really good!! A simple blender soup of an onion sauteed in some butter, a bit of garlic, vegetable broth, then put in blender with chopped tomatoes and goat cheese, also a bit of chili flakes. Really takes the chill off!!

Homemade goat cheese tomato soup, salad and my friend Ladybug farms bread!
Homemade goat cheese tomato soup, salad and my friend Ladybug farms bread!

Banana Sushi?

This is a year of Theresa (me!) trying new things…one is healthy, tasty recipes, so I hope to post some that I really liked and review them. Maybe you’ll give it a try!

banana 'sushi' with hemp seeds.

banana ‘sushi’ with hemp seeds.

This is ‘banana sushi’ which is super easy and VERY TASTY!  Unpeel a banana, cut it in half, and spread a nut butter all around it. Yeah it gets a little messy. Roll in shelled hemp seeds, slice, and viola’!  This will be a staple in my house, healthy and yummy! You could also toss in some mini chocolate chips.

Making Yogurt at Home

Makes 7 pint jars of creamy yogurt. Has directions for almond milk yogurt too!
Makes 7 pint jars of creamy yogurt. Has directions for almond milk yogurt too!

I have made yogurt in the crock pot before and it turns out okay … sometimes! Even if it seems I am doing the same thing, at the same temperatures, sometimes the yogurt is too liquid-y, or smells bad.

We finally bought a Euro Cuisine yogurt maker at Target ($23.00) which basically heats the milk to a consistent temp and we have had delicious, organic (using organic milk) probiotic yogurt every time. After you heat milk on the stove and allow it to cool a bit, you add some yogurt that has the live cultures, whisk it in, and then pour the milk into these 7 pint sized jars that come with the kit. 8-12 hours later, yogurt! You do have to turn the heat off yourself, it does NOT stop automatically like a crock pot. Well, it’s cheap lol. But I love it.

Here is one link  out of many for instructions on homemade yogurt (FYI: that is one excellent homestead link called Granny Miller). I love doing this and there is SO much you can do with yogurt. I love it in the morning with fruit and honey. Add some granola! In smoothies it’s the best too. I like using it in place of sour cream and I LOVE sour cream so this is good healthy substitute for me. Have you made your own? How do you like your yogurt? Even our vet said if we give our cat anything that is ‘people’ food, a bit of probiotic yogurt is perfect for him!