Monthly Archives: April 2011

So Smooth

This past week Mother Nature has gifted us with some amazingly warm weather, albeit there have been several severe, tornado-producing storms, the temperature has been quite lovely!  With the emergence of warm weather brings my insatiable craving for smoothies.

Recently, I’ve made the decision to decrease my dairy intake, not because of ethical reasons, but more for health concerns.  Lets face it, the primary function of cow’s milk is to make baby cows FAT.  While I do enjoy indulging in a glass of ice-cold raw milk, it is not something I do on a regular basis.  I’m also appalled with the amount of hormones and antibiotics pumped into animals because of the inhumane conditions in which they are raised.  Did you know that 80% of the antibiotics produced in the U.S. are for injecting into factory-farmed livestock due to the horrendous conditions in which they are raised?  Cattle are packed into manure-laden holding pens, where they stand 2 feet deep in fecal excrement.  That, my friends, I have serious ethical issues with!

I have no plans of becoming a vegan, nor am I saying I will never again consume dairy products, because I’m not.  Besides, ice cream is one of my FAVORITE foods, and during the summer months I tend to make it on a somewhat regular basis; however, as far as my morning coffee and granola are concerned, I’ve decided to seek out alternative options.  Rhubarbs, my local natural food store, has a vast selection of non-dairy milks for the choosing.  I’ve replaced pasteurized milk, cream, and half and half with coconut milk.

They also have almond, rice, soy, and hemp, along with several other varieties, all of which I will be sampling. 🙂

Vegan Fruit Smoothie  (I don’t measure ingredients, it’s more of a toss and pour till it looks good. Trust me, you can’t screw up a smoothie!)

bullet 32 organic coconut milk

bullet 32 organic soy yogurt, I use wholesoy & company

bullet 32 1/2 a banana (I keep several on hand in my freezer so I’m always ready when the craving strikes)

bullet 32 fruit, the go-to favorite is strawberries and my canned peaches (my stand-alone freezer is still packed full of last year’s local fruit, although, the blueberries come from Jersey; that state grows the best berries!)

bullet 32 agave nectar

bullet 32 dehydrated Swiss chard

bullet 32 ground flax seed

Add ingredients to a tall mixing cup, insert immersion blender, mix till desired consistency is achieved.  You can also use a regular blender.

Some alternate additions are ice, honey, pineapple, peanut butter, coconut, espresso powder, plums, pears, avocado…the options are endless!

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Filed under Beverages, Vegan, Vegetarian

No Stink Bugs Here

I’ll be honest, I am an avoider.  I don’t like chemicals, so when I see one heading my way I run for cover!  I abstain from their use whenever possible; one by one, I’ve shunned them from my cabinets and closets.  The most recent to get the boot was commercial deodorant.  I was a little nervous about switching to an all-natural homemade replacement, especially since  I’m very outdoorsy, but I’m happy to report that I have not offended anyone’s olfactory senses!  

All Natural Deodorant

1/3 cup organic arrowroot powder

1/3 cup baking soda

4 tbsp organic coconut oil

several drops of organic essential oil, I used a blend of rosemary and lavender.

Over very low heat warm the coconut oil so it becomes soft, this will only take a minute or two.  Add arrowroot powder and baking soda; stir to combine.  Add essential oils and transfer into an airtight jar.  I used a wide mouth jelly jar.  Allow deodorant to cool and set, you can place it in the fridge to speed up the process.

You can sub cornstarch for the arrowroot powder.  I tend to not use cornstarch due to the saturation of GMO corn.

I will warn you, if you store this in your bathroom (because that only seems natural) be mindful when opening your jar; coconut oil melts around 76°F, which makes for an oily mess when you slop it all over the counter.  I’m just sayin’.

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Wordless Wednesday – Tulips

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Hide and Seek

When I was little I loved the Where’s Waldo books; unfortunately, they always ended up being in places that I would have rather not been, like the doctor’s office.  As an adult, I still find myself scanning the kids’ books looking for Waldo while I sit and wait.

Now, I bet you’re wondering why I’m rambling on about a fictional character who wears a little striped hat.  Well dear readers, today we are going to play the garden version of that game, entitled Where’s Borecole…aka Kale (I needed a two-syllable word cause I’m a geek like that)

Pictured below is my (temporary) kale bed.  When I transplanted those vitamin-packed Brassica earlier this year, I forgot about the super invasive violets that show up mid April.  This image contains 7 baby kale plants, can you locate them?

  Have you given up yet?  If so, scroll to the bottom of the post to see their whereabouts! 🙂

Later this month I will be transplanting the kale into my front-side garden bed, once the ivy has been removed, and judging by the tangled root system that task may take years! haha

Last week, I’ve received an email from a reader thanking me for posting the Garlic, Kale & Chickpea soup.  She mentioned wanting to incorporate more odd vegetables into her diet and was willing to give this soup a try.  AWESOME!! 🙂  While I personally don’t think of kale as an odd or strange veggie, I also have to remember not everyone is a veg-fanatic like myself.  This email sent my hamster spinning on its wheel; I’ve decided to begin “featured veggie” postings where I will be sharing recipes and nutritional information about various vegetables.  Initially I wanted it to be something like a Friday’s Feature (there I go again with my alliteration nonsense), but I don’t want to stress myself out with mandatory weekly postings, especially once the growing and canning season is in full swing!  My first feature will be on, you guessed it, Kale.  So be sure to stay tuned for that!

And now I leave you with some pictures of Polonius, who decided to see for himself what all the fuss is about regarding kale!  I tell ya, if it’s not the wild critters, it’s the domesticated ones!

 

 “Why hello there little green plant, I’m going to eat you!”

 Did you find all 7?

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Christmas, at Easter?

I think one of my Christmas cacti has Seasonal Dissociative disorder!  Typically, mine always bloom in December, which is a very welcomed splash of color during those cold gray winter months.  Apparently, this one has decided to start blooming to the beat of its own drum; I think its internal clock has gone rogue! 🙂

Images and content copyright © 2009-2011 Danielle R Limoge.

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Can you stand the cuteness?

My friend, Erik, and I try to get together every few weeks for an evening of good food paired with great conversation.  This ritual typically involves one of our usual go-to meals of either sushi or Thai.  This time we decided to switch things up a bit.  I made the main course (Panang curry consisting of assorted mushrooms, carrots, red potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, and tofu, over a bed of jasmine rice), he was in charge of the wine (a bottle of red) and dessert (Belgian milk chocolate gelato and Roman raspberry sorbet).

While the tofu was pressing, I gave Erik a tour of the grounds and gardens.  I was rambling on about the different varieties of kale I have planted when something caught his eye.  Now, I warn you, there is a ridiculous amount of heart-squishy, squeal-inducing, cuteness ahead. Consider yourself warned.

Seriously, just look at those ears, I could barely maintain composure!  Talk about teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, adorable fluffiness!  I quickly grabbed Jedi, who was eyeing him up in a very predatory way, and tossed her into the house; she was less than pleased.  It took everything I had to refrain from scooping the bunny up and cuddling the daylight right out of it!  Hopefully, Mr. bunny will remember me saving him from Jedi’s jaws and will think twice about nibbling on my tender salad greens and baby kale!  But probably, most likely, not.

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Tasty Purple Flowers

Did you know that those pretty little violets growing all over your yard are edible?  Well, if you didn’t before you do now!  Last Spring I made several batches of violet  jelly.  The flavor is tangy-sweet, similar to that of Sweet-Tarts candy.  It sets more like a honey than a fruit spread.  I thought about adding additional pectin; however, this being my first ever attempt at making a flower jelly, I didn’t want to mess with the recipe ’til I tasted it.  I thought it may firm up after sitting a few weeks like my grape jelly does.  This year, I have different plans for that pretty purple flower, if it ever stops raining long enough for me to pick them that is!

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Garlic, Kale and Chickpea Soup

My overwintered kale is growing like crazy and that makes me a very happy girl!  Here is another tasty way to use that vitamin-packed leafy green!

Garlic, Kale and Chickpea Soup adapted from Eco Chic

2 tablespoons olive oil

5 garlic cloves, chopped

1 large onion, chopped

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

5 cups vegetable stock

5 red potatoes, peeled and diced

2 cups chickpeas, rehydrated

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 cup half & half

1/4 cup milk

2 tablespoons tahini

kale, shredded

cayenne pepper

salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

In a large soup pot heat olive oil over medium heat, saute onion for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes.  Add cumin and coriander, stir to incorporate.  Add stock and potatoes, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.

Add chickpeas, simmer for 5 minutes, or until potatoes are tender.  Mix cornstarch, tahini, half & half, and milk and add it to the soup along with the kale.  Season with cayenne, salt, and pepper; bring back to a boil and simmer for an additional 2 minutes.  Enjoy!

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Wordless Wednesday – Pussy Willow Buds

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Curried Cauliflower Soup

Have you ever noticed that most of my soups have an orange or red glow about them?  That is because I adore curry and put it in just about everything!  My love affair with this generically termed spice blend started around 2005 when one of my close friends asked me to help open and serve at her family’s Thai restaurant.  The food was prepared by a kitchen staff of the most adorable older Asian women.  The head of the kitchen (and family) is Mae-pa (pronounced may bah) which translates to Mother Aunt.  Only when I spoke it, it came out Mother Fish!  Laotian is a tonal language, so the same word can have 4 meanings depending on its pronunciation.  Lets just say that they all loved it when I had something to say!

In addition to my awesome language skill set, I also learned a lot about Asian cuisine and culture.  I can wrap a mean rice roll and make a bowl of phở that would knock your socks off…even though phở is historically a Vietnamese soup.

Curry Cauliflower Soup

1 head of cauliflower, roasted

1 large onion

3 cloves garlic

2 cups rehydrated chick peas

4 cups Vegetable Stock (chicken stock can also be used)

2 cups water

1 Tbsp clarified butter

2 Tbsp olive oil

cilantro

salt and pepper

lime

curry paste, I tend to favor red (panang)

Break cauliflower into florets and toss with a bit of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Roast for 25 minutes (uncovered) at 450°F.  While cauliflower is roasting, in a large soup pot saute onion in clarified butter over med heat for 3-4 minutes, add garlic and continue cooking for an additional 1-2 minutes.  Do not allow garlic to burn or it will become bitter.  Add the vegetable stock and water to pot, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.  Once the cauliflower has finished roasting, add it to the soup along with the curry paste; stir to incorporate and simmer for an additional 5 minutes or so.  I don’t measure how much curry I use, I know when its right by the color of the soup, usually it is a very large spoonful.  My advice to you, add a tablespoon at a time, stir, and then taste, repeat until it is hot enough.  Remove soup from heat an allow to cool for about 10 minutes.  Using an immersion blender puree soup until creamy.  Once desired consistency is achieved, add chick peas, a handful of chopped cilantro and the juice from half a lime. Enjoy!

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