Canning our garden harvest

15 May

My husband and I have been busy bees trying to keep up with our garden. With over 10 tomatilla plants and 20 tomato plants and dozens of a varieties of pepper plants we certainly have our hands full.

We started canning for the first time last year. Neither one of us really had any idea how to do this. I didn’t exactly have any warm and fuzzy memories of parents or grandparents doing any such thing. So, through a little trial and error we started off with a couple of simple recipes from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving. We bought the necessary pots and tools, burned a few fingers in the process, forgot to sterilize lids and promptly had to start all over. Trust me, you only forget once! Now that we’re ‘pros’, canning has become much easier and more routine and we work well as a team.

Here are some of the things we’ve been canning this season.

1) Tomatilla salsa, mild and spicy

2) Jalapeno salsa

3) Pickled banana peppers

4) Pickled zucchini spears

5) Dill pickles

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Popeye Protein Packed Spinach Smoothie

6 May

I think the title says it all.

Recipe

3 bananas, frozen

2 tbs almond butter

1 tbs hemp protein (maca powder works well too)

1 cup almond milk

1 cup water

1 tbs cacao powder

1 handful of baby spinach leaves

Blend

Arizona Botanical Garden

6 May

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Perigee-Syzygy Smoothie

5 May

What’s a perigee-syzygy you may ask?

Other than an awesome scrabble word, it’s also called a Supermoon.

Perigee is when the moon is the closest to the earth in the moons elliptical orbit and syzygy is the alignment of the Sun-Moon-Earth. The best time to view it will be tonight after the sun sets.

With the help of a few of my coworkers, this is my take on what a Perigee-Syzygy Smoothie should taste like. Something calm, cool and milky-white.

Recipe

3 frozen bananas

1 can lite coconut milk

1/2 cup almond milk

1/4 cup macadamia nut

1 vanilla bean

1 chamomile tea bag (remove the herbs and place into blender)

dash of cardamom

dash of nutmeg

Blend ingredients in blender.

Eggplant Caponata

3 May

I’m always looking for different recipes to utilize our over abundance of eggplants. One person can only eat so much Baba Ganoush. This particular dish is our favorite. I hope you enjoy it as  much as we do.

This fabulous recipe was borrowed from the Food Network, courtesy of Mario Batali.

Recipe

1/2 cup olive oil

1 sweet onion, diced

2 tbs pine nuts (we substitute sunflower seeds)

3 tbs currants (we substitute sweetened cranberries)

1 tbs hot chili flakes

4 cups diced eggplant

2 tbs sugar (or any substitute)

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp unsweetened cocoa or cacao  powder

2 tsp fresh thyme leaves

1/3 cup balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 cup basic tomato sauce, recipe to follow

****the recipe calls for 1/4 cup, we add the entire batch of tomato sauce to the recipe. We found the Caponata to be too dry with only 1/4 cup of sauce.

Directions

In a large saute pan, over medium heat, heat oil, add onions, pine nuts, currants and chili flakes and saute for 4-5 minutes until softened.

Add eggplant, sugar, cinnamon, and cocoa and continue to cook for 5 more minutes. Add thyme, tomato sauce, and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil.

Lower heat and simmer mixture for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, cool to room temperature.

Tomato Sauce Recipe

1/4 cup olive oil

1 onion, diced

4 garlic cloves

3 tbs fresh thyme leaves

1/2 medium carrot, grated

2 (28 oz) cans diced tomatoes, do not drain

salt

Tomato Sauce In a 3 qt pain, heat olive oil, add onion and garlic, and saute, for 8 minutes. Add thyme and carrot and cook for 5 minutes more, until carrot is soft. Add tomatoes and juice, bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer for 30 minutes.

Serve with toasted baguettes.

 

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

28 Apr

Tastes just like an Orange Creamsicle….mmmmmmm:)

Recipe

blender required

6 medium oranges

2 tsp orange zest

3 bananas, frozen

2 dates (optional)

3 cups ice

3/4 cup almond milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 macadamia nuts

Instructions:

Grate the orange zest first. Then juice the oranges in a citrus juicer or peel the oranges, deseed, and throw it into the blender. Add the remaining ingredients and blend the heck out of it. Add more ice if needed.

The macadamia nuts help give this smoothie a creamy, buttery taste.

Beet Chia Crackers

24 Apr

While I’m on the discussion of chia crackers….

I know, I know!….for someone who doesn’t like beets, I sure keep bringing up the topic. Anyway…

I thought I would experiment with the last beet in our fridge (good riddance!).

I really wanted to duplicate a red tortilla cracker. The color is really cool. Why not. So I thought I would juice a beet and soak the chia seeds in it.

And Viola! Red chia crackers. Yah!

Well not so much.

Why you ask? Because the CHIA CRACKER now tastes like a BEET! ugh!

My husband really likes it though.

So if anyone else thinks it might be cool….

Recipe

Juicer and dehydrator required

1/2 cup water

1/2 cup chia seeds

1 beet

salt

garlic

Instructions:

Juice the beet, mix the chia seed in the water and add BOTH the beet pulp and beet juice. Add more water if needed. Chia seeds will gel with liquid. Let it soak for approx 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Spread mixture onto Teflex sheet and put in dehydrator on 105 degrees for 15-20 hours till dry and crunchy.

Bon appetit

‘Everything’ Cracker

24 Apr

Thank you Peggy for this inspiration:)

Someone…..was eating my favorite bagel the other day at work. An ‘Everything’ Bagel. Oh gosh, how I miss the smell and the taste of the  poppy seeds crunching between my teeth.

Being I gave up all breads and crackers, well, flour to be more specific, I am always on a continuous search for new chia cracker ideas. It’s not easy finding a substitute for bread, crackers, chips, pancakes, waffles, pasta, couscous, cake, muffins, cookies, biscuits, mac and cheese….Oh, the list goes on and on.

Here’s my take on the Everything Chia Cracker.

Recipe

1 c water

1/2 cup chia seeds

3/4 cup poppy seeds

1/2 cup sesame seeds

1/4 cup garlic, minced

1 onion

1 tsp salt, or more to taste.

Instructions:

First mix the chia seed and water together and let it sit for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. The chia seeds will turn into a gel.

In the meantime, place onion into food processor on shred, discard any excess water.

Add the poppy seeds, sesame seeds, garlic, salt and onions to the chia mixture.

Spread onto Teflex sheet evenly. I like to score the crackers before putting them into the dehydrator so they will break easily when dried.

Dehydrate on 105 degrees for 15 hours.

Crackers are best with any dip such as hummus or guacamole.

 

 

Garden pictures April 2012

24 Apr

Just a few pictures on how our garden is coming along.

We have a lot of canning, dehydrating, and food sharing in our near future.

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Edible flowers

24 Apr

I was inspired when reading another blog where school children created amazing dishes using local food and tropical flowers. Check out these amazing pictures at the following link. 2012 March « FlipSide Adventures.

We enjoy growing borage in our garden. This edible plant has gorgeous star-shaped blue flowers that taste like cucumber. Honey bees are attracted to the flowers and are crazy for the nectar.

The entire plant is edible, however, the stems and the leaves are covered with numerous tiny hairs making it distasteful. The flowers, on the other hand, do not contain the hairs and can easily be separated from the stem. Just grab the stem and gently pull and separate the stem from the flower.

The leaves work well in stews and the petals can be used in a variety of dishes such as cake and dessert decorations and salads. When used in salads, add the flowers at the last minute or the dressing/vinegar will cause the petals to wilt.