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Forms of cacao

Raw cacao and the cacao health benefits

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The Cacao Bean

Ted talk on the cacao bean

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Ted talk with David Wolfe about chocolate

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dandelion flower jelly

My neighbor’s backyard is not only big but also dandelion heaven. The flowers are a beautiful deep yellow and very big. She is elderly, so rarely uses her yard. It is all fenced in, no dogs, and no pesticides.  So I have her permission to forage as many dandelions as I want. Looking from my window at these beautiful flowers I went to pick a few and decided to make this jelly. This is a very easy and fun project to do with kids. It will become one of their favorite activities to look forward to in the spring and learn to appreciate this amazing power flower!

ingredients

4 cups water
4 cups dandelion blossoms 
1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 teaspoons ( 1/2 package) powdered pectin
4 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
rind of 1/2 lemon cut in very thin strips

instructions

Bring water and dandelion blossoms to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer for 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand for 10 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve into a measuring cup, pressing solids. Discard blossoms.

Combine pectin and 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Bring dandelion liquid and remaining 4 cups sugar to a boil, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar.

Add the pectin mixture, stirring constantly to dissolve pectin and sugar. Add lemon juice and rind, and boil for 1 minute. Skim foam from the surface. Let cool slightly.

Pour mixture into an airtight container. Cover with a lid. Refrigerate until set, about 4 hours.

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Easy Almond Flour Muffins

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veganleeks

This is a perfect snack! Sweetened with the natural goodness of banana and dates, these muffins are moist and full of nutrition. A great gluten-free option, the almond flour used in this recipe provides more protein and monounsaturated fats (aka the good fats) than most other processed wheat flours. Top with pumpkin seeds or raisins and you have a yourself a satisfying snack that will fuel your body. 

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ingredients

1 cup farro
6 cups chicken broth
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 large or 2 small shallots, chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup white wine, such as Pinot Grigio
1/3 cup dried currants or raisins
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

instructions
In a medium bowl, mix together the farro and 4 cups of water. Soak for 30 minutes and drain well.
Heat the broth in a small saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
In a large saucepan or Dutch oven, heat the oil and butter over medium heat.
Add the shallots and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Cook until softened, about 2 minutes.
Add the drained farro and cook, stirring constantly until toasted, about 3 minutes.
Add the wine and stir constantly until evaporated, about 2 minutes.
Add 1/2 cup of the hot broth and stir constantly until completely absorbed. Continue adding the remaining broth, 1/2 cup at a time, until the farro is creamy and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
Turn off the heat and stir in roasted vegetables.
Transfer to a bowl and serve.

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