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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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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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Carmel Corn NON-gmo

It has been many years since I have made carmel corn.  That is until I came across this recipe from http://wholelifestylenutrition.com/recipes/dessert/a-healthier-caramel-corn-made-with-gmo-free-corn-no-corn-syrup/

Here is the cool thing.  No corn syrup.  Yeah!  No high fructose junk. No GMO’s!!  Sucanat (an easy way to remember  SUgar CAne NATural) is the sweetener.   Here is some insight on sucanat that I thought was interesting. http://www.livinghealthymom.com/sucanat-benefits/.

Not that any of us would eat a whole cup of it at a time.  I would rather have a banana thank you very much. But I do like the fact that it has more minerals, is less processed, and less sweet.  It adds something to recipes that would not be there with just plain sugar itself.   I have been working on replacement ingredients for the old Scotch-A-Roo recipe that I have refused to make for years now. (Recipe to be shared soon!)  I have called them Rice-A-Roos. Ya, well, =)  it was the most original name I could come up with in a short period of time.

We played with a sample of the Carmel Corn at Natural Living and drizzled melted organic dark chocolate on it.  Added a Christmas sprinkle or two to make it festive.  This is an easy  recipe to make and it would make a great homemade gift for just about any occasion.  I grabbed a quick pic on my way out of the store……and the recipe adopted from Whole Life Style Nutrition

Carmel Corn NON-gmo

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup popcorn
  • 2 tbls coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup sucanat
  • 1/4 tsp salt.
  • 1/2 cup cream or half and half.
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • Chocolate Drizzle
  • 1 tbls coconut oil (or butter)
  • 1 cup organic dark chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. PoP =) the popcorn and place in a bowl. (Use an air popper or in a pot on the stove with the coconut oil.)
  2. Melt butter, sucanat and salt.
  3. When the butter is melted add the cream or half and half.
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for 1 minute.
  5. Remove from heat,add baking soda, and continue to stir as it foams.
  6. Pour over the popcorn and stir until it is well distributed.
  7. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
  8. Bake at 200 F for 1 hour stirring every 15 minutes.
  9. Chocolate Drizzle
  10. Melt coconut oil (or butter)
  11. Add organic dark chocolate chips and stir until melted. Do not over heat this!
  12. Drizzle with a spoon over the Carmel Corn. Let this set until the chocolate hardens. And your done!
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Mediterranian Quinoa Salad with Fresh Basil

 

Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

I love basil.  My previous post on the Cranberry Basil Cookies should give you an indication of that.  The smell is amazing!  Ever since all that basil showed up at the store I have been craving  Caprese Salad, I KNOW, it is winter, all those beautiful heirloom tomatoes are not in season! But smelling all that fresh basil got to me……. I may just make do with the winter tomato variety and go for it….maybe.

At Natural Living  http://www.naturallivingwisconsin.com/ Beckie and I decided to make this Mediterranean Salad.  =)  It actually will make a great side to bring for Christmas potlucks! If you are a meat lover add some salami, pepperoni or maybe even some prosciutto.  I had to hold myself back from adding chard,  if I was home it would have been in there (hint .. so feel free!)  Enjoy!

 

Mediterranian Quinoa Salad with Fresh Basil

I promise, unless you absolutely do not like olives, you will love this. If you do…leave them out, and then you will love it!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups quinoa
  • 4 cups water
  • 2 cups cucumber chopped
  • 2 cups tomatoes chopped
  • 1/2 cup red onion, minced
  • 2/3 cup kalamata olives pitted and sliced
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil chopped
  • 8 oz pkg feta cheese, crumbled
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp oregano
  • 2 tsp salt
  • Fresh ground pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Bring the water to a boil. Add rinsed quinoa.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-14 minutes.
  3. Leave the cover on and let it set for a few hours to cool.
  4. Prepare the rest of the ingredients and add them to the cooked quinoa.
  5. Whisk together the oil, red wine vinegar, salt and fresh pepper.
  6. Pour over quinoa and stir gently.
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Gluten Free (or not) Cranberry Basil Sugar Cookies

So, having boxes and boxes of fresh organic basil show up at Natural Living in the beginning of December gave me the opportunity to adventure into baking with basil. After a little research I gave this recipe a try from   http://betsylife.com/2012/02/13/src-basil-lime-cookies/  substituting in gluten free flour mix and adding chopped dried cranberries to a few of the cookies, (because that is how I do things…random and rarely sticking to a plan!) YuM! Betsy, you did good with this one!! I like this recipe! A lot! But I really LOVE orange and cranberry together so I made a few adjustments and came up with this recipe. I LOVE the fresh basil added to the sugar cookie. I love the fresh cranberry taste. I love the simplicity of it. I love Christmas and this is just the cookie I needed to start December off with.

Gluten Free (or not) Cranberry Basil Sugar Cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 stick butter at room temperature
  • ¾ cup plus 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • Zest of 1 small orange
  • 3 tbsp chopped fresh basil leaves
  • ½ cup chopped fresh cranberries
  • 1 ¾ cup of gf mix that you can sub on a 1:1 ratio to replace flour (updated: I increased this to 2 cups)
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp guar gum ( I excluded this for a batch and they turned out fine)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F
  2. Cream together butter and sugar.
  3. Add egg, vanilla, orange zest, basil, add cranberries.
  4. In a separate bowl combine gf mix (or flour), soda, salt, and guar gum.
  5. Pour flour mixture into cranberry mixture and combine well.
  6. Roll into small balls (about 28 -30 cookies) place on parchment paper and press lightly down with bottom of sugared glass.
  7. Bake 10 to 12 minutes or until light brown on the bottom.
  8. Cool.
  9. For the gluten version use regular flour and leave out the guar gum ..... simple as that! :))
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Have a cup of tea and enjoy 