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Gingerbread Popcorn

After Annemarie of RealFood. RealDeals. posted her recipe for Maple Gingerbread Popcorn, I had to try it out. I make popcorn most evening for Kirk, Ford and I, so I figured they’d like a different version of our usual. Best of all? I can make it while I am prepping dinner, meaning I can be lazy later!

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I adapted the recipe a bit – I pop our corn in jumbo lunch bags, ½ cup at a time, but due to the method I do waste a certain amount, which doesn’t pop. If you are using a hot air popper, follow her directions, you’ll get enough popped corn from her measurements. I had to pop more though, to make up for it – but also I am a bit OCD and shake the bowl to knock the hard stuff to the bottom, then I scoop out the popcorn, toss the ickies and then dress it. Labor intensive, but I have no desire to replace any of my crowns 😉 My dentist has made enough off of me…….

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Gingerbread Popcorn

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup organic popcorn
  • 3 Tbsp organic virgin coconut oil
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • ¾ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp fine sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325°, set two large rimmed baking sheets on the counter. Drop the coconut oil on one of the pans, pop into the oven and let oil melt.

Whisk the maple syrup and spices together, set aside.

Add the popcorn, ½ cup cup each, into two new paper lunch sacks, preferably jumbo sized ones. Crimp the top and tightly roll over 2-3 times to seal (small folds), place in microwave, one bag at a time, and pop till it starts to slow down (my microwave takes 2 minutes to 2:30 minutes). Take out the bag and immediately dump into a large mixing bowl, repeat with second bag. Shake the mixing bowl to settle any unpopped kernels to the bottom. Transfer the good popcorn to a second bowl, dump out the kernels and any hard popped pieces, then put the popcorn back in the mixing bowl.

Take the baking sheet out of the oven, pour the oil in the maple syrup, whisk to combine. Drizzle over popcorn, toss with hands to coat. Divide between the two baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 8 minutes, rotating the pans halfway, and giving a quick stir.

Let cool fully, then enjoy!

Serves 4 nice bowls.

PS: After shaking out any of the not-so-desirable corn, I had about 18 cups popped corn.

~Sarah

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Trail Eats: 3 Raw Recipes

From our column Trail Eats in Washington Trails Magazine, in the July/August 2012 issue. The focus (or theme if you will) was healthy trail snacks in easy, portable form. Recipes that are raw, vegan and gluten-free.

These bars carry well, wrap tightly before packing.

Blueberry Almond Bars
Ingredients:

Directions:
Chop the dates up roughly. Add them and the remaining ingredients into a food processor. Pulse until chopped up, run on high for 3 to 4 minutes until finely diced and starting to stick together.
Line an 8″ x 8″ glass dish with parchment paper on the bottom, knock the mixture into the dish and flatten out, pressing down hard to compact it. Cover and refrigerate. Cut into bars of desired size, wrap each bar tightly.
For long term storage keep in the refrigerator, use up in 3 weeks for best taste.

These bars are full of fiber, nut protein and chocolate to crave the sweet monster but with no refined sugar (dates give the sweetness).

Chocolate Chia Bars
Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup Chia Seeds
  • 1 cup Raw Almonds
  • 1 1/2 cups pitted Medjool Dates(15 to 25, depending on size)
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp pure almond extract

Directions:
In a food processor pulse the almonds a couple of times, transfer to a small bowl. Add the dates and process until a paste forms. Add the nuts and remaining ingredients in, process until mixed.
Line an 8×8″ glass baking dish with plastic wrap, knock the mix out and flatten into the dish, until even, press down firmly.
Cover and refrigerate till cold, cut into bars and store tightly wrapped.
Notes:
Chia seeds can be an odd texture if you are not used to them. To make them finer, grind them in a clean coffee mill first, use as directed above. When eating the bars be sure to drink plenty and to be blunt: if you are not used to a higher fiber diet eat these in SMALL servings!

Enjoy these little bites. They are a pretty green and purple from the pistachios.

Pistachio Truffles
Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup Almond Meal/Flour
  • ½ cup D’Noir Prunes, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup natural peanut butter or favorite nut/seed butter
  • 3 Tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips, chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped

Directions:
Stir all the ingredients but the pistachios together until well mixed in a bowl. Add the pistachios to a shallow bowl. Use a 1 Tablespoon Disher (scoop) to make balls, roll gently in your hands to smooth out, then roll in the nuts, gently pressing them in. Store wrapped in the refrigerator until trip time, use within 3 weeks for best taste.
Makes about 15 balls.

~Sarah

Cashew Kale Chips

Kale chips…I never quit trying new versions. And this one is different from most, the closest I have seen commercially or otherwise are these type. So where did I find my inspiration? From The Tastes of Ayurveda: More Healthful, Healing Recipes for the Modern Ayurvedic.

I was recently sent a copy of the new 2012 edition to review and came across the recipe on page 86. While I don’t follow the theme of the book I do find the recipes to be very interesting, considering they are all vegetarian. Many are vegan, raw and/or gluten-free as well. On the other hand…it might not hurt me to take the questionnaire at the start of the book to find out my body type and what I should/shouldn’t be eating. Or do I want to know (cringing)?

I chose the kale chip recipe because I love using my L’Equip Food Dehydrator, nothing like having an excuse to pull it out. Although an oven will work just fine to use. And I had found a lovely bunch of baby Dinosaur Kale at the farmers market this past weekend, grown by a local couple on their farm. It was beautiful kale, soft, tender and vibrant. And cheap! Summer can be a good thing – fresh veggies and fruit from both sides of the Cascade Mountains. My goal next year is to turn one more unused section of lawn (weeds really) into a greens garden where I can finally grow beans, kale, spinach, etc.

After getting our kale chips in the dehydrator Walker and I went and did some gardening in the backyard. He has a lil’ set of tools and loves to “help” me. Especially when there are daily ripe berries to harvest or rather eat!

Tending to “his” blueberries:

And those chips? Wonderful! Tasty, crunchy, airy and creamy. The raw cashews are silky after blending and enrobe the kale.

7 hours later I had two containers of krispy kale:

Cashew Kale Chips

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, preferably organic
  • 1/3 cup filtered water
  • 5 cups kale leaves, spines removed and torn into bit-size pieces, preferably organic or naturally grown

Directions:

Soak the cashews in 2 cups filtered water for 1 to 8 hours, as long as you have time. Drain.

Add the cashews, salt, vinegar, oil and water to a high-speed blender, process on high until smooth. Scrape into a large bowl, add the kale and stir to coat.

Place on dehydrator trays, single layer. Dry at 150° until crispy, about 4 to 8 hours, depending on humidity. Store in an airtight container once cooled.

No dehydrator? No problem. Dry at the lowest setting in your oven on cooling racks (non-coated metal only), check often, about 4 hours drying time.

~Sarah

Proudly made with our Vitamix Blender:

FTC Disclaimer: We received an advance copy of the book for potential review.

Eggroll Crackers

This little boy loves crunchy, crispy nibbles (especially after going to the library!):

This little man maybe not so (he turned 12 weeks today!)

So what did I make?Well….

Leftover eggroll wrappers? Wonton wrappers? Do you end up tossing them into the yard waste bin way too often? Make them into quick crackers – that are crispy and crunchy.

Baking time will depend on your oven – I wanted mine dark and crunchy, for paler crackers cut it back by 1 to 2 minutes.

Eggroll Crackers

Ingredients:

  • eggroll or wonton wrappers
  • cooking spray
  • spices/salt/pepper

Directions:

If using eggroll wrappers cut in half and then into thirds, wonton wrappers cut in half.

Preheat the oven to 400°. Line a baking sheet with foil, spray liberally with cooking spray.

Spread the wrappers in a single layer (you may need more than one sheet depending on how many you make). Spray liberally with cooking spray on top, then sprinkle spices as you desire. I did chili powder on half, salt & pepper on the remaining ones.

Bake for 5 to 8 minutes (8 for dark). Transfer to cooling racks, store in an airtight container to keep fresh/crispy.

~Sarah

Crispy Veggie Baked Eggrolls

These take a little work but are well worth the effort – the sautéing of the veggies leaves them sweet tasting. Let cool a bit before eating, they get crispier as they cool.

If you want them vegan, look for wrappers made without egg, they do exist but can be harder to source (a well stocked Asian grocery store or natural foods store will have them).

But mostly what these offer is crunch without being all salty, soggy and greasy and without a strong cabbage flavor (often deep-fried ones have raw vegetables in them). So go get the ingredients and a ton of dipping sauces and have fun!

Crispy Veggie Baked Eggrolls

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 lb bag coleslaw mix (green and red cabbage with carrots)
  • 8 ounce can water chestnuts, drained and diced
  • 1 tsp ginger, grated or minced
  • 1 tsp garlic, minced (2 cloves)
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium sauce
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 15 eggroll wrappers

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium heat, add in the oil, coleslaw, ginger and garlic, sauté for 5 minutes, stirring often.

Whisk the water, soy sauce and cornstarch together, add in and cook for a minute, till the vegetables are coated. Let cool a little.

Preheat the oven to 400°, with the rack in the top 1/3 position. Line a large baking sheet with foil, liberally coat with cooking spray.

Lay out the wrappers, add about 2 Tablespoons filling to the middle of each wrapper.

Fold the bottom up, then the sides in (like an envelope), wet the top flap with fingers and wrap tightly, place seam side down on the pan. Spray the tops and sides liberally with cooking spray. Bake for 15 minutes, gently flip over, spray a bit more on the seam side and bake for 5 more minutes. Let cool for a couple of minutes, serve with sweet chili sauce, sweet and sour, or my favorite, Duck sauce (plum sauce).

Makes about 15 eggrolls.

~Sarah

Date and Almond Balls

Date and Almond Balls

Ingredients:

  • 14 medjool dates
  • ¼ cup raw almonds
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

Directions:

Pit the dates and add them to a food processor with the almonds and cinnamon. Process until finely chopped and it forms a large ball.

Use a 1 Tablespoon disher and make balls (about 11) and smooth with clean hands.

Sprinkle the coconut on a dinner plate and roll the balls in it, until coated.

Store tightly sealed in the refrigerator.

~Sarah

Savory Toasted Pepitas

Toasted pumpkin seeds are fabulous enough, but add a savory coating that is slightly sticky? Yum! I came across this recipe in the wonderful The 30-Minute Vegan on page 90. Do find a copy, you will like it!

Savory Toasted Pepitas

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup hulled pumpkin seeds (shell-less)
  • 1 Tbsp lower sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • 1 tsp sesame oil (toasted preferably)
  • 1 tsp apple cider vinegar

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350°.

Spread the pumpkin seeds on a half-size baking sheet (best if non-stick) and toast for 4 minutes.

Whisk the liquid ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl, add in the hot seeds, stir to coat. Spread back on the baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through.The seeds will appear wet when done.

Let sit and cool for 5 minutes, then scrape up gently. Spread on a clean sheet of parchment paper to cool.

~Sarah

Food Find: Estella’s Pantry Dried Fruit Cobbler Blend

On Sunday morning I ran into Costco to grab a couple items – Kirk was out in the van with the sleeping baby – so I didn’t have a shopping cart. It was a move fast trip. Organic olive oil and organic quinoa. Don’t look at anything else. Focus here Sarah! And then, like feet from where I was supposed to be I see a new item:

And hey, what is that? Darn you eyes.  I couldn’t resist. I am a sucker for dried fruit. Dried rhubarb? Oh hello! So I jammed a bag into my arms and then checked out wondering if I had just picked something good or a stinker (I call it the $10 Costco Gamble – you never know but for less than $10 I’ll take a chance!).

Estella’s Pantry Dried Fruit Cobbler Blend is just that, all the best parts of a tasty cobbler but in dried fruit form. Thick, moist pieces of fruit enrobed in sugar. It is a dried fruit addicts worse nightmare. So rarely does a product look like the photo on the company’s website, but yowza, this stuff does:

Apple and peach slices, halves of plums (no prunes here) and strawberry flavored rhubarb wedges. Nothing artificial, all colors added are fruit and vegetable extracts with a tiny bit of sunflower oil.

Delicious! PS: They even have a recipe online for making a fruit cobbler with the fruit.

~Sarah

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