Oh, do you know the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man, the Muffin Man..

muffinsAll of you who saw the beautiful pic on FB yesterday are wondering just where the recipe is, well, here it is!

Organic Vegan Gluten-Free, Soy-free, Rice-free Banana-BlueBerry Muffins

First off, use muffin papers or if you, like me, you are really into the re-use bit use the reusable thingies. These muffins climb when they raise and greased metal muffin pans except preheated cast iron, don’t support the climb and make for thick doughy muffins. Also when frozen and reheated they are waaaaay yummy but without the cups you will need a fork and bowl, which defeats the finger fun goodness of muffins.

Second, you do not have to use Organic, but try at least for the blueberries as the tastes and chemical content of non-organic blueberries is very, very different, in a bad way.

Third for those who have access to organic, free range eggs I have included that substitution also. I go back and forth. Am against cruelty to chickens so if a good source of eggs is not available I use Ener-G egg substitute. But in my interest in having a world for my grandchildren I will use eggs first if cruelty free are readily available and save the world from the processing and packaging. I am not expecting anyone else to support my line of reasoning, but I present it as a way to hopefully get some of you thinking about what you put in your mouth and body. Not just the Mc-Hipster version of things on a black and white website sponsored by Whole Paycheck or a Debby Downer’s Doomsday noms that is its antithesis showing science is the way. Gather information so meal by meal you can support whatever your own personal ethic is.

I feel more strongly about everyone thinking, than any particular personal thought. Also feel free to share at the end of this recipe blog, your own thoughts on organic, vegan, gluten-free, paleo, or down home comfort foods. More information is always wonderful and I am open to others journeys. You can even leave a link if you like. I do however, approve all comments so don’t worry if it doesn’t magically appear.

Now to the recipe portion of this program.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and drop a dozen little papers in a clean muffin tin

then start with a Blender (or a bowel, a wooden spoon, and a butt-load of elbow grease)

Throw in 2 Tablespoon Maple Syrup (the real stuff and I do grade B for more vitamins), 5 Tablespoons of warm-to-the-touch water, 5 teaspoons of Ener-G egg replacer, [if using real eggs 1 Tablespoon Maple Syrup, 3 eggs] and 3 medium or 2 large over ripe bananas, 2 T coconut oil (hence the warm water ūüôā and blend till smooth. Let sit at least ten minutes if using egg replacer.

In large bowel mix 3 cups blanched almond flour (aside on what I have learned here, my blender is better at making almond butter than almond flour so I buy it in small amounts and use it quickly. But if you have great equipment make your own with fresh blanched almonds. Almond flour goes rancid (bitter) and picks up odors that change food taste quicker than anything else) [for a lighter muffin make it 2 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free All Purpose Flour, 1 cup almond flour] with 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1.5 teaspoons baking soda (1.5 equals one and a half) and once thoroughly mixed make a well.

Pour in liquid, stir until just blended, stir in 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

Spoon in to muffin cups and bake 40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

VERY VERY VERY IMPORTANT Let them cool at least 30 minutes.

High fat content food, yes its nut flour, it’s good fats but still high fat, taste better the longer they sit. For these to taste as yummy as they smell, let them cool. No butter needed, trust me. Because of this they are perfect take-a-long muffins.

They also freeze well.

Happy Baking!

No song lyric, just my curd recipe.

Here is the regular and vegan versions of my most requested recipe!

As always, please read the whole recipe before starting or suffer the catastrophic kitchen consequences.

1 Cup sugar or sugar substitute

6T unsalted organic butter

8 T fresh citrus juice

3 T citrus zest

1/4 tsp cardamom, ginger or mace (at festival it is either cardamom with lime or lemon; and occasionally ginger with lemon)

The following equipment is critical to create a perfect curd: a double boiler, a whisk, small grater, a juicer, and a 1 cup size wire mesh strainer, a second person to hold strainer while you whisk and pour. The recipe and process are simple, but like much simple science the timing, temperature and methods are very exact. The uncurling and binding of the protein chains of the white‚Äôs in the egg will occur to quickly in relation to the emulsion of the lemon and butter by the yolks and the consistency will not be pleasing nor the flavor correct if the eggs are not first whipped just till frothy and then poured through the strainer. Also fresh zest must be used as the pectin in the peel is another critical element of the consistency of curd, especially it artificial sugars such as Splenda or Truvia (the ones that say ‚Äúgood for baking‚ÄĚ cup for cup only please) are used. Also butter must be unsalted; and organic is better in all ingredients but not necessary to make the recipe work.

Put water in the bottom and place double boiler on to begin heating. Measure out 1 cup sugar or sugar substitute and juice 8 T of fresh citrus juice-lime, lemon or orange or any combination of the three. Orange is too sweet for my palate if used alone, I find that orange does well halved with lemon juice.

Whisk 3 eggs in a pourable container just until a slightly frothy yellow color and whites are thoroughly mixed.

Place 6 T (a bit less than one stick) of unsalted, organic butter in top of double boiler and let it begin melting.

Scrape just the colored portion of rind from either lemon, lime or orange to make 3 T (do not pack it down). (After many skinned knuckles I highly recommend Pampered Chef’s Microplane Adjustable Grater for all your grating needs) Add to pan once butter is almost melted along with juice, spice and sugar.

Stir until all sugar and spice is dissolved. Whisk briskly while pouring egg through strainer. Keep whisking until it starts to thicken and switch back to a wooden spoon. Keep stirring until you can make ‚Äúroads‚ÄĚ with the wooden spoon. Pour immediately into glass canning jars pre-heated to avoid shock. (to preheat a jar, fill with hot water and dump it all out just before filling). Add cap and let cool in fridge. Voila, perfect curd!

This can also be made with EnerG in place of eggs, and to make it vegan.

Here is that recipe

1/4 cup EnerG egg replacer
1 cup organic sugar (anykind will do)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cups filtered water
1/2 cup Earth Balance vegan sticks or 1/2 cup coconut oil or 1/2 cup water

bring all this to a boil on the top of the double boiler and when all sugar is melted and mixture is clear, add 1/3 cup citrus juice and 3 T zest and cook until thick.

It’s Not that Easy Being Green…..the first in a rainbow of recipes

I personally love vegetables and fruits, so being green, or red, or orange, yellow or purple or even blue is easy peasy for me.

But not so much true for most of my friends and family, so for those who find getting your greens a challenge I propose my Kermit Smoothie.

 

The Kermit Smoothie for 1

Into the blender place

1/2 a banana (Bananas are all sizes so about 7 slices 0.5 cm thick if you want more exact measurements, or the length of your index finger)

small handful spinach (1/4 cup of small torn pieces)

1/4 cup pineapple chunks

1/4 cup frozen blueberries

fill blender to 0.5 liter mark with Coconut water or carrot juice (I use Coconut water or Trader Joe’s Dynamo)

small handful ice (3 ice cubes from my trays)

3 T Hemp seeds

1 tsp maple syrup.

Blend it till it’s all smooth and creamy. Drink, and you will be amazed at how delicious a serving of greens and protein can be! This is in fact an very complete meal and a great way to start a day!

 

 

 

Vegan Ice Cream for the win!

Simplest recipe ever, and so absolutely delicious…tomorrow I make chocolate!

Open one can of Trader Joe’s Coconut Cream and dump into pourable mixing bowl. I use the one quart measure from Pampered Chef, but I think Anchor Hocking offers one as well, it has a pour spout and both milliliters and cup gradations, and a lid. Every well stocked kitchen should have one.

Now fill that same can with unsweetened coconut milk, I buy the Organic stuff at Fry’s but any will do, even sweetened or Vanilla if that is what you have, I just like to minimize ingredients and sugars. Stir all the extra goo off the edges of the can and dump on mixing bowl.

Add 1tsp (very important it not have alcohol as that changes the freezing temperature of the mixture) non-alcohol vanilla extract or soak ¬†a crushed vanilla bean in the mixture for a day and then blend till smooth, the vanilla bean is yummy and gives it that gourmet speckle but usually I just use my flavoring (also from Trader Joe’s)

Add 1/8 tsp kosher salt

Add 1 TBLSP Organic Agava syrup or Grade B Organic Maple Syrup

Blend completely. Start your Ice Cream Maker and pour it in! And yummmmmmm!

 

Summer soft, wakes you up with a kiss…

I love mornings,  all mornings, but summer mornings have special significance in Phoenix, Arizona, it is the one time of the day when I can step outside the door without bursting into flames or instantly becoming a small pile of dry ash. So it is a blessing that my dogs are faithful alarm clocks even when I forget to set a mechanical one.

Both dogs can comfortably go about 7.5 to 8.0 hours between bathroom trips, so if I am not stirring yet on my own they recognize a kiss is the perfect way to wake their sleeping princess.

This morning I walked them for about 15 minutes then in my SOFT pursuit, hit the pool. My training after six months of light duty pretty much consists of actually going (rebuild the habit) and pushing myself one length past the point where I think I want to stop. I also stay swimming for 30 minutes. Today my max without a rest was two laps, however this is my first time since coming back to actually do freestyle strokes with breathing and goggles on, and yes I did try to talk myself out of it at first, but that is why I set specific goals, so I can push through the resurfacing fears like putting my face in the water or bike riding.

Today’s goal is to also break my 10,000 steps. ¬†You may not notice but here I went and placed my dead FitBit into its charger and changed the music. ¬†I was listening to Stevie Wonder but now am on to Nat King Cole and Peggy Lee. Next on my morning playlist will be some Mantovani. That kind of morning, joyful and blessed.

So everyone’s favorite question when they learn I am a S.O.F.T. (Slow Old Fat TryAthlete) training fro an event and also a vegan is, “Where do you get your protein?”

My smartass reply is,”Same place you do, from plants; I just leave out the middle cow.”

But for those who are actually interested and not just threatened by my choices, here is a favorite breakfast (what I made this morning actually)

Blueberry Protein Porridge for 1

Place  a cup and a splash of cold coconut water or spring water into a sauce pan. (Coconut water adds Potassium, needed with all the sweating I do!)

Add a small handful of organic dried blueberries (or cranberries) into the water (thats why the extra splash of water), a pinch of Nutmeg, a pinch of cardamom, and a dash of salt. If your spice cabinet is not as eclectic as mine, cinnamon works too.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. (About 3 minutes on my stove at high)

Just before the boil rolls, turn the heat down to simmer and add a half cup of whole oats. I don’t recommend quick cook oats ever, the wholer the oat the better the nutrition and flavor, my favorite are steel cut but today all I had on hand are the organic flat cut from Trader Joe’s. Stir.

Cook till desired consistency but about 5 minutes. Spoon out into a bowl and add 3 T of raw hemp seed and a T of Organic Earth Balance Vegan Spread.

Nom, nom, nom.

High Protein, High fiber and with the “butter” it also has my Omega might increased! Now off to conquer the world!

 

Thriving 2.0 and a tasty vegan recipe

I made a goal to not use my vehicle one day a week, as part of my commitment to saving my favorite bears and being more green.

Achievement unlocked!

Did I mention thriving for me means being kind to ALL others, including Mother Earth and her flora and fauna?

I have a goal of eating whole, live foods.

Achievement also unlocked

Today I made a tasty pot of  Herbed Lemon  Pottage to use up the last of my last Bountiful Basket herbs.

Wash 4-5 organic carrots and 4-5 large stalks of celery, chop into bite size pieces. Dice 1/2 an onion or a few mushrooms if desired (I had neither, so I didn’t) Toss all this and 1 T ¬†Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a heavy saucepan or skillet, stir around a bit while the oil heats. Chop leftover bundle of limp herbs such as dill, cilantro, or parsley. ( I had dill) Saute for another 3 minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to boil, then simmer for 10 minutes to soften vegetables and blend flavors. Add 1/2 cup organic sprouted bean trio, or faro, or barley (I use truRoots bean trio the most!) Cook another 5-10 minutes until protein source is softened and water mostly absorbed. Squeeze half a small lemon over it (or 1 T from bottle, I use fresh) and serve. YUM!!!!

No tortillas today so I am making little Romain lettuce wraps but is also good just in a bowl.

Weeds attended to and half the Christmas stickers are off the front window, as well as all the regular daily stuff like dishes, laundry, patient paperwork printed for visits tomorrow and MGA reports sent in; so Good Day! I thrived!

 

Oat and Hemp Seed Porridge with 18 grams of protein; easy and tastes good too and a really funny thing to watch while you eat!

It has been unusually cold in Arizona this winter and cold weather means HOT breakfast. ¬†I get to use more of my delicious porridge recipes this year which makes me happy. ¬†Sweaters and porridge don’t get a lot of mileage in Phoenix, a fact that I both relish and regret.

This morning I am eating my favorite porridge. It is simple and as nutritious as can be with 18 grams of protein, 30 percent of my daily iron needs, 16 grams of fiber, 400 calories and no added sugars and no bad fats, although I will admit to eating it with a nice Tablespoon of Earth Balance on top which adds another 100 calories and some saturated fats.

Here is the very simple and easy recipe.

In small saucepan stir 1/2 cup rolled oats, 1 cup water, 2 T of¬†dried¬†fruit (my favorite is Trader Joe’s organic¬†dried¬†cranberries although I have been known to buy the HUGE bag of ¬†Ocean Spray Dried Cranberries at Costco when feeling particularly frugal), and a dash of salt. Turn the burner onto medium heat and bring to a boil, cook for 3 minutes or so with a good stir here and there to prevent burning. Turn off the heat and cook to preferred consistency. Add 3 T of Earthly Choice Raw Shelled Hemp Seeds and stir and serve. Yum! In under 10 minutes of kitchen time we have a delicious and healthy hot breakfast.

For my day at home away from others (I am in my first 24 hours with one of the bugs raging through the United States so contagious, meaning avoiding others completely) I finished with a nice homemade latte of Organic vanilla soy milk and started with a fresh squeezed glass of OJ, so my breakfast calorie total was 717 calories. This may sound like a lot of calories, but compare it to a fast food breakfast where just one McDonald’s Big Breakfast comes in at over 1000 calories for ¬†comparable amounts of protein (only one that has same amount of¬†protein¬† but less nutrition and a much higher glycemic index. )

Anyway, that is my recipe for the day, as to my exercise, I have two dogs who badly need an outing, as they just are demonstrating while chasing a bird through my already suffering garden, so gotta go….

Maybe later a poem or personal update.

But for now let me leave you with an awesome video to watch while you eat! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ftNG15GpnTU!¬† I have not laughed this much in a looooong time. I already love Geek and Sundry, and have to watch (get to watch?) more than my share of children’s programming with my job as a pediatric nurse. I think of ¬†“LearningTown” as kind of what would have happened if the original Saturday Night Live crew had taken over for Mr. Rogers. ¬†Of course that is because I am old, I am certain their is a much cooler (hipper?) analogy just as I am certain the¬†villains¬†have no relation to a certain NickJr ¬†program. But then, I don’t know, why don’t you go watch it and let me know. And Hey, tell them Crowfae sent you ūüôā

 

Hello 2013, what ya got to say for yourself?

Well, here I am at the brink of 2013. ¬†I gained 5 pounds over the Christmas Holiday after finally breaking through my personal goal of 199 lbs. ¬†The reasons were the both the usual suspects (tasty food and beverages) but also a bit of a lung thing that kept my my running shoes still and no time clocked in the pool. Returned to working out yesterday and after 10 minutes on the elliptical on level 1 and 30 minutes of strength training got dizzy and nauseated so didn’t swim. Today was just patient care for exercise, tomorrow I will do a walk or swim and a wee bit more strength training. I got goals you see, big goals, at least for me. Here they are

Swim 52 kilometers (not at one time, for the year!)

Bike 104 miles (ditto)

Run 800 Kilometers (in 5k and maybe even 10k stretches)
and be able to pop out 50 pushups, 50 crunches and one real pull-up.

And yup, I will be running a couple races, doing one or more mini triaths and at least one maxi!

Now on to the more important stuff like what am I cooking,

Simple and Cheap with flavor that can’t be beat!

Black Eyed Peas, Vegan Style.

Sort, rinse and soak a pound of dried black eyed peas overnight, rinse again in the morning (this helps make them less “musical” if you catch my drift, LOL)

Poor the hydrated beans in your slow cooker and cover with water (about 4-6 cups), add a tsp of red salt (or kosher or sea), two small bay leaves, 2 tsp of dried oregano, and a 1/4 tsp ground pepper. Close the lid put it on low and get on with your day! In 4-6 hours serve up a delicious and nutritious bowl with cornbread, or for a special treat add collard greens or spinach the last half hour of cooking.

Its cheap and ooooh so good in the cooler months, and purported to bring good luck!

Eating some even as I write this.

Namaste friends

 

White flies (old post that I somehow sent to drafts…posting 12/5 written 11/21)

That is all I can say right now, “White Flies.” They have become the symbol for my November. If you don’t know what a whitefly is, this the the wiki brief ¬†http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Whitefly.

They have devastated my garden. It is too late for lady bugs this year, so I lifted the leaves and really, really got in there with the soapy spray.  But it really is too late for this year, all I am doing is preventing an even fiercer battle next growing season.

Life has been that way as well. Everything looks great and green one day, and the next everything has changed and I feel as wilted as my zucchini plants.

But it is not how many time we fall down, or how many times we get a result we weren’t seeking, it’s how many times we try again.

I am buying marigolds and adding them into my half dozen that survived from seed. ¬†Let’s see how this goes.

And on a better note, I met some other amazing nurses today at the hardware store who brightened my day, natures little lady bugs for the white flies attacking my soul.

 

L’ Shanah Tovah! L‚Äôshana tovah u‚Äômetukah! (and a vegan challah recipe included!)

Today is the beginning of the Hebrew holiday Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, a day of  judgement and forgiveness that leads up to Yom Kippur ten days later, the day of Atonement.

If you want to learn more about it, try this sight¬†http://www.myjewishlearning.com/holidays/Jewish_Holidays/Rosh_Hashanah.shtml¬†, if not then just accept the opinions I lay out here as fact and go from there, but ask yourself why not? If you did click the link, you really can just skip to the recipe because I will just be “preaching to the choir”, although if you are the type to click, you will probably read the rest anyway. LOL.

Why learn about other traditions?

At this critical crossroads of human history, I believe the key to change our world into a place with a viable future for humanity requires all of us to practice that kindergarten mantra: “Stop. Look, and listen.”

STOP. Pause for a few minutes a day in the all American pursuit of pleasure and mirrors of self. Halt all the clicking and tweeting and getting and consuming. Pause. Breathe long and slow. We are human “Be”ings not human “Do”ings.

LOOK! Now look around you. Use the next five or ten minutes to actually look for those things that are unfamiliar and appraise the positive aspects. Whether you are you an atheist or fundamentalist or person with just a spiritual path; Republican or Democrat or Independent; literary intellectual or television aficianado or video game guru; there is someone out there you immediately judge and misunderstand. Because, if there isn’t, then not only are ¬†you someone who probably clicked on that link, you are too self-aware to judge yourself prejudice free. ( Case in point, The Dalai Lama admits to struggling with preconceived ideas of others.) If however you can’t identify a culture or religion or point of view that elicits a knee jerk reaction, then just pick some¬†culture¬†or belief system with which you are unfamiliar.

LISTEN!¬†!Once you have identified your “stuck points,” spend some time “listening”. ¬†Dedicate at least one “sitcom” a day (twenty minutes more or less once you eradicate commercials) to familiarizing yourself with and acknowledging the good points of the foreign phenom selected. This can be done as simply as reading a book or Googling the topic on line; maybe try a¬†culturally¬†significant recipe or visit a community event sponsored by the group; borrow a cause friendly¬†documentary¬† from the library. It doesn’t matter as much how you do it, as that you do it.

Finished with your first personal world peace assignment? Integrated some new ideas? Found some common ground after all?

Rosh Hashanah means “head of the year” and is the celebration of the anniversary of the creation of Adam and Eve, that time long before the descendants of Isaac and the descendants of Ishamel began their sibling rivalry in the middle east over who was actually chosen. The creation of Adam and Eve, though unique, are a common thread between all the followers of Abraham’s God – Christian, Hebrew, Islam and more. Like the head of a river may branch into many tributaries, the beliefs and practices of Rosh Hashanah are diverse, for example

Here is the Kabbalist’s take on the meaning of this important holiday .http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/3082/jewish/The-Waking-of-Creation.htm. ¬†A take I can both respect and not fully embrace, after all I am not a Kabbalist.

However, a central tradition for all those celebrating this holiday is the dipping of apples in honey. This explanation of the “why” of this tradition, (the how is easy, slice fresh apples, dip in honey, eat) also from the Kabalist site, is my favorite on line, and perhaps a life perspective we can all endorse:¬†http://www.chabad.org/holidays/JewishNewYear/template_cdo/aid/160979/jewish/Sweet-Stings.htm¬†So dip some apples, ¬†because that is what this holiday is really about finding the sweetness in life and savoring it while rising to its challenges.

 

Now finally here is my recipe for a vegan Challah, which just might be why you even opened this blog in the first place.

Whisk 1 1/2 tsp. Ener-G egg replacer into 2 T warm water. Let stand and texturize. (No egg replacer? Try Mixing 1 T ground flax with 3 T of warm water and let stand till thoroughly slimy)

Sprinkle 2 1/4 tsps yeast (this is one packet) over ¬†1 cup warm (not hot) water mixed with 4 T of organic Real Maple syrup (grade A or B works, use agave if you don’t have real maple syrup, DO NOT SUBSTITUTE Honey or maple flavored syrup or bread will not work) ¬†at bottom of Large mixing bowl. Stir lightly and let stand while collecting ingredients (about 5-10 minutes) to proof it.

Add 3 T of organic coconut oil at room temperature (liquid), may also substitute 3 T melted and cooled vegan stick butter; egg replacer; and 1 tsp salt. Whisk vigorously to mix.

Sift in 1 cup wheat flour and approx. 2 cups white flour stirring with wooden spoon until soft dough forms. Should form ball, Cover and let rest 15 minutes.

Lightly flour your kneading surface and place small ball with 1/2 cup white flour to side. Begin a good ten minutes of kneading the bread, slowly incorporating the last 1/2 cup of flour to keep hands from sticking.

Wash, dry and LIGHTLY oil the large mixing bowl (with coconut oil if used, canola oil if vegan margerine is used.) Plop in dough turn the dough ball completely around to coat all sides lightly with oil. Put in warm draft free place to completely rise (anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour depending on yeast and environment), push in your two fingers and if there is no bounce back, punch it down! Reform and repeat (make back into a ball and let second rise occur.)

Punch down again and let rest 15 minutes. To form I recommend this video. http://youtu.be/u7D8PSBsy1M

Cover and let rise 25 to 35 minutes (double in size). Then bake at 375 degree oven for 25 minutes.  Cool and enjoy.

I complete this blog with a rough translation of my initial greeting, in the words of one of my favorite symbols of integration,

“Live Long, and Prosper!”