Sweet Thyme Maple Nut Granola

I love this version of my Sweet Thyme Maple Nut Granola. I like that there are no fillers like oats and I like how versatile it is. You are welcome to change the amounts of the nuts and seeds but I would suggest that your total cups of nuts and seeds end up to be the same as listed.  Be creative with your spices, add dried berries, or perhaps, make a savory mix with some curry spices which would make a fantastic garnish for a salad.  Of course, this makes the perfect topping for banana ice-cream, yogurt, pancakes, or oatmeal.  Expect to use a lot less than you would with a normal granola blend.  It is  so satisfying and rich in flavor that a little goes a long way.  Enjoy!

Sweet Thyme Maple Nut Granola

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sliced almonds
  • 2 cups pecans
  • 2 cups sunflower seeds
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup ground flax seed
  • 1/4 cup hemp seed
  • 2 tablespoons chia seed
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300F
  2. Mix all the ingredients together.
  3. Pour out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.
  4. Press mixture lightly and spread out evenly on the paper.
  5. Bake for 30 min or until browned but be carelful not to burn.
  6. Leave in the pan until completely cooled.
  7. Store in airtight container.
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Romanian Potato Salad

 

My dear friend Laura shared this recipe with me.  She came into Sweet Thyme and taught me how to make it.  The best part of learning how to make this was listening to Laura talk about her growing up years in Romania and her grandmother who taught her invaluable lessons about gardening and of good simple food. This recipe was taught to her by her mother.  She considered this a salad of the poor.  Poor is not what comes to mind when you taste it. Rich flavors with just a few ingredients.  Simple love passed on with great care.

And now it is passed on to you, with many thanks to Laura, her mother, and her grandmother =)

Romanian Potato Salad

Ingredients

  • 6 golden potatoes boiled with the skins on
  • 6 hard boiled pasture raised eggs
  • 1/2 medium red onion
  • 1 jar kalamata olives
  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
  • Sea Salt
  • Black Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Instructions

  1. What you do:
  2. Peel the potatoes and the eggs.
  3. Cut the potatoes in bite size pieces, a few at a time. Layer some potatoes, some eggs that you will cut right over the potatoes (cutting them on the board is not recommended, as you will lose some of the delicious yolks), some onion, olives, parsley, salt, pepper, drizzle a bit of olive oil, and keep going till finished. At the end toss the salad lightly. Adjust the salt, pepper and olive oil if needed. You should have enough oil to make the salad shiny but not wet. Have fun making it!
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Sweet Thyme. A Coffee Shop.

Coffee Shop?

It’s true.

I will be opening a coffee shop in the Natural Living building.  Some of you have seen the changes and heard the whispers.  It is now THYME!!!!

Our coffee roasters?  Collectivo. Check them out at  http://colectivocoffee.com . Bob and I  spent a morning in Milwaukee visiting their roasting facility and learning about their passion for coffee.  So impressive.  I think you are going to love them!  The espresso and brewing equipment is ordered and should be installed by the end of the month.  In just a few short weeks I should be serving up some good coffee.  Wisconsin roasted.  It cannot get too much better than that!

There will be fresh juices along with smoothies and salads.  Of course, something sweet to enjoy with your cup of coffee and eventually a place to sit and visit with friends.  I love where this is going!

The goal is to incorporate local produce and Wisconsin goods into  a few unique options for simple, quick, out the door kinds of food.  I intend to keep it as close to wholesome as possible and serve food I would feed to my own family.  So, stop in and check it out!!

We are a work in progress……..

Late Night…Date Night?

 

 

Genetically Modified Foods, A letter to the editor

The following is a letter I wrote to the editor of the L’Anse Sentinel.  My friend Karen Jacobson (the most awesome art teacher ever) encouraged Bob and I to submit one.  I was glad she did.  I hope you will take the time to read it and think about the foods you and your family consume on a daily basis.

 

Do you know that you are part of one of the biggest experiments ever conducted on the American people?  Everyday the majority of foods that we consume are genetically modified.  You might not think that this issue has any impact other then providing you with a cheap meal, but several studies say otherwise.  It is time to gain some knowledge and ask a few questions of our political representatives and food industry leaders.

GMO’s (genetically modified organisms)  are created by a process from which genetic information from one species is forced into the genetic information of another species.  The two naturally would never combine and as much as industry and science would like us to believe, it is much different then selective breeding or hybridization.  What is created in the lab is an organism with  genetically coded information that is new to our food chain.  Today most of all processed food contains one or more of these modified foods.  Corn, soy, sugar beets, canola, and cotton are leaders among a growing list of genetically modified foods.

Why should we care?  In 1996 we began consuming GMO foods with the approval of the FDA despite internal memos that showed that the FDA scientists were concerned with their safety.  Why would the FDA approve something that their own scientists were questioning?

 

What we are finding is that there is a revolving door between industry and the government.  Lawyers and other “experts” from the food and pesticide industry are appointed to government policy making positions, rehired back into the industry, and then back again to appointed positions.  How can a corporate representative be unbiased and write policies regarding the safety of food for our government?  Even more troubling,  as in the case of GMO’s, these appointed industry representatives craft their own policy where the industry itself is responsible for insuring the safety of their product and provide industry studies as proof.

Here are some of the things we are told in regards to GMO foods:

*They are no different then non-gmo foods.

*They will be the solution to world hunger.

*They will have less of an impact on the environment because they use less herbicides.

The truth is GMO food is different and may be impacting our health in ways that are hard to detect.  There are questions regarding the allergenic impact and the potential for new diseases.  The allergy issue alone should raise a few eyebrows as we are witnessing ever increasing numbers of food allergies and food sensitivities.

GMO’s have not solved world hunger nor will they ever be the sole answer.  In fact there is evidence that GMO crops are having a devastating affect on small farming communities throughout the world.  Sole central ownership and distribution of seeds and herbicides controlled by only a handful of  companies is an absurd way to solve world hunger.  The only entities this “feed the world” fable benefits are a few multi-billion dollar companies and their investors.

GMO herbicide use has increased and we are confronted with super weeds, and herbicide resistant bugs, and worms.   Industries answer to this is to develop a new gmo-crop with linkage to the Vietnam era’s herbicide Agent Orange. There is also environmental contamination of non-gmo crops via cross pollination and spillage of gmo plants or seeds.

Questioning the ethics of how they are made, how they are approved, and what the potential long term impact on health and environment should be an American right, don’t you think?  We do. Corporations seem to think differently.

Numerous health statistics tell a devastating story and unless something changes the health of our children and grandchildren will continue to be compromised.  Corporations have spent millions of dollars fighting labeling laws for GMO foods despite the fact that 40 countries around the world have labeling laws or some form of restrictions.  States, like Conneticut that have attempted to pass legislation for labeling have been threatened with law suits from the billion dollar corporations that own the rights to this patented life form.  Why are they so opposed to labeling?  They change labels and packaging all the time so the threat of it costing more to consumers is a mute argument.

What can you do?

*Follow The Institute for Responsible Technology http://www.responsibletechnology.org/ .  They have a vast amount of  articles and information available from shoppers guides to documented studies and statistics regarding GMO food.

*Educate yourself and your family.  Research companies like Monsanto and government policy makers that rotate between company and government positions.

* Learn to read the ingredient list on food packages and avoid high risk foods. *Support labeling laws regarding GMO’s.

*Buy locally grown foods and support local farmers who care about how they are growing the food you consume.

*Grow your own food from seeds that are not genetically modified.  If you have a garden, share your bounties!

*Join a local CSA (community supported agriculture) or volunteer at one and buy your meat from local pasture raised sources.

Allowing dependency for our nutritional health to a few powerful and self-regulated seed and pesticide companies does not make any sense.  The experiment of GMO’S needs to be disclosed and local communities need to take back the leadership and responsibility of providing healthy food alternatives to their people. The world will be healthier for it.

Respectfully, Bob and Tanya Selden

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Lemon Sugar Cookies (low sugar grain free)

Today was the perfect day to work on a grain free sugar cookie.

Success!

The first batch I used  Thai coconut sugar from Divine Organics.  It reminded me of coconut nectar and the cookies turned out really good!   To make it more interesting I attempted a batch of egg free cookies.  These turned out great too.   I was so excited I wanted to share them with you in time for Easter, just in case you are looking for something sweet that is allergy friendly, grain free, low in sugar, and quick to make.

My attempt at coming up with the frosting was another story. I wanted to do an Easter-themed topping with natural food coloring.  I made one attempt and decided to give up and  do a search.

Here this is what I found.  http://detoxinista.com/2012/04/quick-lemon-frosting-paleo-friendly/

Super easy and tasty!  My daughter, Summer, who hates coconut, actually likes these cookies! Her only gripe, she wanted more frosting. Yeah!  With ingredients like this, any mom would smile at the request for more frosting on a cookie.  I know I did.

Lemon Sugar Cookies (low sugar grain free)

Ingredients

  • COOKIES:
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla powder (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup sweetner of choice (honey, coconut nectar, agave, cane sugar...)
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • For an egg-free recipe: substitue the egg with1 tablespoon chia seeds soaked in 1/4 cup water and add up to 1/2 cup coconut milk until it is not crumbly.
  • FROSTING:
  • http://detoxinista.com/2012/04/quick-lemon-frosting-paleo-friendly/
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, softened
  • 2 tablespoons raw honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • zest of half a lemon
  • •pinch of sea salt
  • cream together in the food processor.

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Using a food processor combine the flours and the coconut flakes and process until well blended.
  3. Add in the soda, salt, and vanilla. Process again.
  4. Add the egg, coconut oil, sweetner, the zest and juice of the lemon and process until well mixed.
  5. Form the dough into balls and press lightly on a non-stick pan or use parchment paper lined pan.
  6. Bake for 8 min in preheated oven. Makes about 18 cookies.
  7. Remove the cookies from the pan and cool on a baking rack. When they are completely cooled, frost them and put them into an air tight container and keep in the refrigerator or freezer.
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Raw Apple Crisp

 

I came up with this recipe a couple of years ago.  We had started incorporating raw food dishes into our diet and this recipe is a result of that adventure.  This quickly became one of our favorite year round desserts, and a quick dish that is easy and delicious to take to any function.

The original version of this includes 2 cups of cranberries chopped in a food processor.   You can add or substitute in any hard fruit such as pears, nectarines, or peaches, keeping with the general amount of about 8-10 cups.  Adjust the amount of  maple syurp to your taste. Seasonal add-ins are easy to incorporate.  If you feel the need to add a little more nutritional punch to it, sprinkle in a couple of tablespoons of hemp seeds.

Raw Apple Crisp

Ingredients

  • Filling:
  • 6-8 Braeburn or Granny Smith apples
  • juice of one lemon
  • 1 T cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • Topping:
  • 1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 cup raw almonds

Instructions

  1. Core and dice the apples. Mix the lemon, syrup, and cinnamon together and fold into the apples. Let the apples marinade for a couple of hours, although this is not absolutely necessary.
  2. Place the pitted dates in a food processor and chop until they are well broken, add the almonds, and process, Lastly, add the cashews and process.
  3. Place the apples in a 9 x 13 pan. Spread the topping over the apples and serve. Or, mix the topping and the apples together in a bowl and serve.
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Quinoa Lime Salad

If you are looking to begin using quinoa, this recipe is an easy place to start.  I make this almost every week at the store.  The nice thing is that it is very versatile.  You can serve it warm or cold.  You can add it to sautéed chicken breast or tofu. You can use the black beans or adzuki beans (A Dr. Oz favorite)!  Or skip the beans all together.  My favorite add ins are cilantro and feta cheese.

Quinoa is an ancient South American grain.  It is a nutrient dense, has a higher protein content than other grains, and is considered a complete protein source.  It is also high in flavonoids, calcium, and phytonutrients.   Here is some more reading on quinoa for those of you who are interested. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=142&tname=foodspice

Bob and I grew a few quinoa plants last year.  The deer loved them =/   but we were still excited to know that it is possible to grow it in Wisconsin (see pic below).  So here you go, cook yourself up some quinoa and enjoy!

Our backyard quinoa 2012!

Quinoa Lime Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup red onion chopped
  • 2 cups chopped spinich or chard
  • 1 can black beans (rinsed) or 1 1/2 cup cooked adzuki or black beans
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • Dressing:
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 2 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt
  • optional: feta cheese, cilantro, sauteed chicken, or tofu.

Instructions

  1. If you are using dry beans you will want to soak them overnight, rinse them and then cook them in water until they are soft. Rinse again in a colander and allow to drain.
  2. Bring the water to a boil and add rinsed quinoa. Bring the water back to a boil and then cover and reduce the heat until it continues to simmer.
  3. Cook for 12-14 minutes and then shut the heat off and allow the quinoa to set. If you are not using it as a warm dish then allow it to cool completely.
  4. Prepare the rest of the ingredients and stir into the quinoa.
  5. In a small mixing bowl whisk the dressing ingredients.
  6. Pour over the quinoa and gently stir.
  7. All done! =)))
  8. If you are using it as a warm dish and adding it to chicken or tofu you can mix the above as directed and add to the quinoa while it is still warm. Then add entire mixture to your sauteed chicken or tofu.
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Christmas Artichoke Dip

 

We were so fortunate to spend time with our family over Christmas.  It is always crazy.

Always!

But family gatherings should be at least a little crazy.

They have a way of putting people together who place  the love of family above any differences.   We create memories that are precious and too few in number.  I love my family.  My parents have survived many ups and downs.  Their faith has quietly led the way and set an example for us to learn from.  I cannot thank them enough for the foundation they gave us to build our own families off of.  Perfect, we are not.  But deeply respectful and loving of what we have been given?  Yes.  Families are priceless commodities!

Of course, family gatherings bring food.  This Christmas we ate at Gar and Nancy’s.  Gar is the master chef of our family.  And one of these days I am going to have him guest post on here one of his dishes.  They are amazing!

This year I worked on an appetizer.   A remake of the favorite Artichoke Dip.  I received this recipe many years ago from a friend when Bob was in anesthesia school.  This year I did a rethink on it.  And this is what I came up with.  Serve it warm with tortillas, cut up pita bread, baguette, or veggies.  All the better if you can use local ingredients.  For my latest batch I found local cranberries and cheeses.  Next year maybe our hoop house will hold out some fresh spinach for us!

 

 

Christmas Artichoke Dip

Ingredients

  • 2 cans artichokes (drain the water and chop into bite size pieces)
  • 1-2 cans green chilies
  • 6 ounces cream cheese (Organic Valley)
  • 1/2 cup sour cream (Organic Valley)
  • 1/2 cup parmasean cheese grated (Sartori's Bellavitano)
  • 2 cups provalone cheese grated (Organic Valley)
  • 4 minced garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 cups chopped fresh spinich
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • (optional) juice of 1 lime

Instructions

  1. Bake at 375 F for 30 minutes. Stir once or twice during baking. Serve it warm with tortillas, cut up pita bread, baguette, or veggies.
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Tanya’s Raspberry Vinaigrette

In my kitchen I have my grandmother’s hoosier cabinet and in the cabinet I  have a drawerful of recipes that I have collected from my family and friends.  Asking the question “Can I have the recipe?”  has turned into a pile of worn and aged pieces of paper of various sizes and types.  Very few on actual recipe cards.  I love looking through them.  It brings memories of the people that I have gotten them from, and usually a memory of the time we shared the food that I have the recipe for.  Of course, most of them are splattered with the ingredients that they list and the ink is fading.  So that leads to my thankfulness that my sister has started this blog.  Now those loved recipes are being collected by her along with her insightful thoughts on each one.  And, perhaps the thing I am most grateful to her for, is that she is giving some of the recipes a cleaning.  She tests and tweaks them so that they are made with ingredients that are truly food.  Non-GMO, chemical/pesticide free, and sometimes gluten-free.  What a priceless gift she is giving us all.  Love you, Tanya!  Carry on!

Here is my favorite recipe from my sister Tanya.  Well, honestly there are a couple more favorites, but this one is the most used.  So simple and forgiving.  Many times I have not had the right ingredients, or mis-measured, but this recipe is easy to adjust. You will note that it has not been remastered yet by Tanya, but it is an easy one to figure out.  Enjoy.

Tanya's Raspberry Vinaigrette Recipe

Tanya’s Raspberry Vinaigrette

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4T sugar
  • 1/2 tsp hot tobasco
  • 4T raspberry vinegar
  • 1/2 cup canola oil (organic non-gmo)

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake.
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Rice-A-R00′s

Scotch-a-roos have been a family favorite for many years.  I believe these where one of Bob’s sister Pam’s favorites.  We have made them for years as a quick bar.  Many different groups and teams of kids have enjoyed them from time to time.  That is until the world of gluten free, GMO’s, and high fructose corn syrup. Our diets have changed tremendously over the past 7 years.  Some things where easy to change, other things, not so much.  The scotch-a-roos may have been one of our last stands. I finally stopped making them a couple years ago.  I could not bring myself to buy the corn syrup, let alone a few of the other ingredients.  I have finally got around to converting them to something that makes me feel a lot better about making them.  This recipe uses local honey (something I am a huge fan of) and sucanat. It’s won the approval of my family.  In a pinch, it is a quick and easy, out-the-door,  pan of bars.  (I have subbed in Enjoy Life chocolate chips and they work just as well)

Rice-A-R00′s

Ingredients

  • Bottom
  • In a pot mix:
  • 1 cup local honey
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • Bring this to the point that it boils and then remove it from the heat.
  • Add: 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • Stir in:
  • 6 cups gluten free rice crisps or brown rice crisps (I found gluten free from Natures Path or ewhon)
  • Press entire mixture in a lightly greased 9x13 pan
  • Topping
  • Melt in a small pot
  • 1 tbls butter or coconut oil
  • add in 2 cups dark chocolate chips
  • 1 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • pour over the crispy mix and spread evenly.
  • Allow to cool and then cut into bars.
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