Winter Plantings

Today has been a day indeed for starting the 2014 growing season, in so many ways.

First, I found out on Monday I’ve been accepted into graduate school. So if I’m not already sporadic enough on this little shindig this new adventure will do one of two things – make blog posts more frequent due to time management needs, or make it less frequent due to time management needs. It’s a crap shoot at this point. I won’t be starting class until May though so we have a few month more of shenanigans.

Second, I started our vegetable growing season Monday evening. A few weeks ago Andy and I were given a large bag of pearl onions. While cooking dinner Monday, I found a few sprouted onions in the bag. I took a look to my right and noticed my 60lb bag of seed starting soil from Johnny Seeds which came in a few days ago. I then remembered a planter I had in the house.

DSC_8387-01I had read about replanting sprouted onions and I came up with three answers:

  1. They’re junk. Throw them away.
  2. They won’t grow other onions, they’ll only grow stalks which are edible and then turn to seed. 
  3. They’ll grow another onion.

So in other words, I had no answer. What does no clear answer mean? It means a hypothesis and an experiment! I love plant experiments. Especially ones that aren’t really all that scientific when it comes to my garden.

First, one of the two onions was rotting on the outer layers. I’d seen this before so I knew I could peel it off. As I peeled away and away and away I decided to get down right to the shoots. I was careful to keep the root intact as I peeled. As I got down I realized the one onion had two shoots and if I was really careful I could separate them. For the second onion I decided to leave the bulb intact, and see if it changed anything.

DSC_8378-02After separating the onions I found my planter and knew the holes in the bottom were way too large and would cause too much soil loss. To counter this, but allow water to drain easily, I cut and placed a single layer of cheesecloth on the bottom.

DSC_8370-02Then I filled up the planter with potting mix, and watered it down until it was just damp and could hold together but didn’t release water when I squeezed it gently. No soupy soil. The picture below is hard to see the clumps because I sort of broke them back up, but they are there.

DSC_8387-01Finally, I simply dug a little hole for each onion and put it in, making sure there was enough aeration around the roots, and that the soil came up to the green part.

DSC_8391-01Now it’s time to see how they grow. I’m not sure if I’m going to try and let the double shoot that I split turn into onions, or if I’ll just use them as green onions which totally invalidates my own experiment of seeing if they’ll turn into onions or flower only. Then again, green onions are so darn tasty it would probably be worth it.

xo,
Heather

 

Dairy-Free Buckwheat Pancakes

Sunday mornings tend to include a special breakfast around our place. Sometimes it’s waffles, sometimes it’s some sort of fancy egg sandwich, and sometimes it’s pancakes. Yesterday morning though Andy asked for buckwheat pancakes and that sounded pretty good to me.

DSC_8362While I am about to give you a recipe, let’s state the obvious—this isn’t a new recipe by any means. Google, “pancake recipes” and about 11 million results turn up. I googled, it’s actually 11,100,000 at the time of writing this. I’m simply going to make this 11,100,001.

DSC_8347In my search for delicious buckwheat pancakes, I came across this awesome recipe from The Kitchn via Megan at Not Martha. I really wanted something dairy-free though. I don’t eat a ton of dairy normally, and lately I have been. My skin has been paying for it and I’ve been more congested than normal so back to dairy free it is. I really don’t miss the dairy in things like pancakes. I’d rather save the dairy for something like goat cheese on a burger, which I ate last night. Now that is worth the dairy.

DSC_8365Bon appétit!

Dairy-Free Buckwheat Pancakes
A delicious dairy-free buckwheat pancake recipe.
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Ingredients
  1. 1 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
  2. 1 1/4 cup sprouted wheat flour (or regular wheat flour)
  3. 2 tsp baking powder
  4. 2 tablespoons sugar
  5. 1 tsp salt
  6. Splash lightly flavored oil like vegetable or grapeseed (no more than 1/8 cup)
  7. 1 cup rice milk or other preferred nut/seed milk
  8. 2 eggs
  9. 1-2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  10. 2–3 cups frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Combined 1 cup of each buckwheat and sprouted wheat flour in a bowl with the baking powder, sugar and salt.
  2. In another bowl add oil, milk, eggs, and vanilla. Whisk lightly until combined.
  3. Add liquids to dry gently, until combined. Do not over stir.
  4. Add in blueberries. I use frozen blueberries and have no issue with them cooking through. I do not thaw my blueberries ahead of time as is sometimes recommended.
  5. On low heat add about 1/2 cup of batter to a hot cast iron skillet. Once the edges are slightly cooked and the batter is consistently bubbling, turn. Cook on the other side for another minute or so, until cooked through.
  6. Add whatever you'd like to the top - I love real maple syrup or applesauce - and enjoy!
Adapted from The Kitchn - Blueberry Buckwheat Pancakes, Megan of Not Martha
Like A Cup of Tea http://www.likeacupoftea.com/

xo,

Heather

Vegan Gluten-Free Creamy Tomato Soup {I Swear It’s Delicious}

When I was in college my good friend Meg used to make an absolutely incredible tomato soup, which was perfect on a cold winter night. What I most appreciated about this version of tomato soup is that it actually tasted like tomatoes. It didn’t taste sweet or fake like the stuff from a can, and it was so comforting.

As much as I love the original version, I just can’t eat as much dairy as I used to. I am a lover of cheese and cream and all the good things, but cheese and cream and all the good things are not a lover of me. Too much dairy generally means I get congested and slightly nauseated. It’s not exactly the greatest feeling in the world. Hard cheese don’t bother me as much, but aged cheese and high-fat dairy like cream are definitely something I only eat rarely.

I had been craving Meg’s tomato soup for a very long time so I finally asked her the recipe knowing I could alter it to make the recipe Heather friendly, which turned out to be vegan friendly. It did not disappoint. In fact, it greatly satisfied. I am so happy with how this turned out. Perfectly creamy, and none of the dairy.

DSC_7546-01Vegan Tomato Soup (adapted from a cook-book recipe, I’ll try and find out the name)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil, earth balance, or other preferred vegetable oil
  • 1 lb plum tomatoes (or any other) roughly chopped
  • 2 – 3 medium potatoes or 1-2 large potatoes
  • 3 3/4 cups vegan vegetable stock (I used a bullion)
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2/3 cup rice, hemp, flax or other unflavored milk of your choice
  • 2 tbspn fresh basil
  • salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Peel and skin potatoes and cut into cubes.
  2. Chop tomatoes
  3. Add olive oil in a large pot. Add potatoes and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  4. Add tomatoes to pot and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
  5. Add stock and simmer until potatoes can be pierced with a fork easily.
  6. While stock and vegetables are simmering, toast the ground almonds under the broiler. This goes very quickly, so keep an eye on them. 1-2 minutes should suffice under a low-broiler heat.
  7. Place the hot stock and vegetables and ground almonds in a blender (vitamix works great) or add the almonds to the hot stock and vegetables in the large pot, and use an immersion blender. Blend until smooth.
  8. Cook for a minute or so longer (you may want to cook longer if you used other tomatoes besides plum and it’s really watery. I cooked mine down an additional 10 minutes or so).
  9. Shut off and stir in basil and seed/nut milk of your choice

Notes:

Some people prefer to add in just a little bit of sweetness to this. The original recipe uses 1 tsp. of regular sugar if you are so inclined.

Eat and be merry!

xo,

Heather

Wheat-Free Dog Treats

Yeah, I’m now making my dogs their treats. I went there.

I went there for a few reasons. One, treats are expensive. Two, treats that are grain/wheat-free are stupid expensive. Three, there’s a lot of crap in treats that have been recalled lately and no thanks. Four, I mean really, is anyone surprised that I started making my dogs treats? I didn’t think so.

When my little brother gave me the recipe he used for his dog I was in, with some modifications to make them wheat/grain free. Winnie became spay incontinent around a year or so old. The only option we could find was to put her proin and that was my last option. It was taken off the market for humans, so I wasn’t too keen on giving it to my pooch. After some holistic research I came across a woman who said she started feeding grain-free food on a whim from a tip and it stopped the incontinence.

Sure enough, Winnie stopped losing her bladder when she was sleeping within a week of changing her food over. Years later we’ve realized that if she has some grains she’s fine (oatmeal doesn’t bother her), but if she is consistently fed food with wheat grains then forget it. We will be cleaning up sleepy-dog-pee. I’m not a vet. I’m not even close to a vet. I only know what works for us, so I made these treats grain free.

Winnie however, likes to make her own winter specialty wheat-free treats. Snow, mud, and grass. Delicious.

DSC_1346-01Wheat-Free Dog Treats (modified from Dog Treat Kitchen)

Like most of my recipes, measurements are approximate. Also, if your dog has an actual wheat allergy or serious sensitivity you may want to use rolled oats that are certified wheat free or just skip them out for some other grain-free alternative.

Ingredients:

  • 1C Rolled Oats
  • 1/2 to 1C Flax Flour
  • 2C Garbanzo Flour (I throw dried garbanzos in the vitamix and whip up while plugging my ears. It’s loud, but it’s a heck of a lot cheaper)
  • 1/3C Peanut Butter
  • 3/4 to 1 1/4C Hot Water

DSC_7686-01Ignore the cookie cutters. This doesn’t come to cookie cutter consistency. At least mine didn’t and I didn’t care. Let’s face it, they are dog treats. I don’t even use cookie cutters on human cookies normally. I originally bought these for crackers which is about the only thing I use cutters for. The A-Z cutters are because I was going to try a kid-cracker-goldfishesque-recipe and what the heck, teach them letters while feeding snacks. Seems like a double whammy to me. Let’s be real though, I’m going to be the one eating them and I might cut them specifically so I can spell certain things and make myself laugh. I don’t know how I keep it classy so much.

Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350*.
  2. Get a cookie tray and line it with parchment paper. It helps with release (and you don’t have to wash your pan after, hooolllaaaa).
  3. Mix your dry ingredients.
  4. Mix your wet ingredients. Start with only a 1/2 cup of water. You’ll add more as you go. It’s easier than remedying a super wet recipe to dryer again. Not that I would know anything about these sorts of things.
  5. Mix wet into dry ingredients. Combine. Add more water if needed until they sufficiently hold together but aren’t really sticky.
  6. If you can roll yours out, awesome. I grabbed what would be a small scoop, rolled it between my palms into a round ball and then slightly smooshed between the heels of my hands to slightly flatten them. I had to wash my hands a couple times (with just water) to get the residue dough off my palms. I just kept going until I was done.
  7. Put in your oven until the cookies feel completely dried. You don’t want any moisture in these or they will mold easily. I think mine were in for 45 minutes. Not kidding.
  8. Let the cookies completely cool before you put these in a container. You don’t want any moisture whatsoever or it will make them soft and mold in just under a week. I made the mistake. I caught it in time and put them back in, re-dried them and left them on the counter for an entire day to really make sure they stayed dry.

DSC_7691-01 DSC_7696-01The dogs love these and frankly, act the exact same as the store-bought treats. Also, these seriously took almost no time to throw together, maybe 20 minutes?

Hope you enjoy them! If not? Well, just don’t make them again. Or alter it yourself too. My feelings won’t be hurt. All love, all the time.

xo,

Heather

Basil Cashew Cream Sauce

Hey, friends! It’s been a while since I posted a savory recipe, and I’m going to try to get on this more for a few reasons. The first reasons is I love sharing (duh) and getting people to try new things they normally wouldn’t. Second, we’re back to a mainly plant based diet and I need to have a good way of remember what we liked and how to make it again more or less.

A few weekends ago, when we were up in the mountains of Maine, Andy’s aunt who has been on a whole foods plant based diet for two years brought up some homemade basil cashew cream she made and we went nuts. This stuff is incredibly good and is awesome on pasta, for dipping veggies in, for dipping tortilla chips in and whatever the heck else you think sounds good. It really is super versatile, though we love it most on a good pasta. I had heard about cashew cream for desserts, but I had never made it or heard about it being made savory. I’m hooked.

This is a super duper simple dish that anyone with a blender, and I’m guessing a food processor, can make. It takes four ingredients and two spices and is incredibly hard to screw up. That’s it, unless you choose to do more to it.

  • Basil
  • Raw cashews (don’t use roasted or salted)
  • Garlic
  • Water
  • Salt
  • Pepper

DSC_7069-01Here’s how it goes:

Put all items in blender. Blend and add more of whatever until it has the taste and consistency you like. I would say I did about 1 1/2 cups of raw cashews, 4-6 handfuls of basil leaves, a whole bunch of garlic (we love it around here) and enough water to make sure it still had a nice thickness to it so it would really cling to garlic. Think hummus thickness, only slightly thinner.

DSC_7070-01Most important of all, just have fun with it as I think we should do with all cooking. Add your garlic slow, add your basil slow, add your water slow, add your salt slow and you’ll be fine. I don’t like a lot of salt, so I use very little and let Andy salt to his taste. I love pepper though, so I use very little and then pepper to my taste on my own plate. 

DSC_7073-01When all is said and done, use it however you would like. I put mine in masons jars since I made in the afternoon, and we used one jar over pasta that night, and one jar over pasta last night. 

DSC_7082-01DSC_7091-01This is officially a staple in our home. It’s simple, it’s clean, it’s easy, it’s worth the 2 minutes it takes to throw together, and it’s very good for you. I never thought I would say it but as much as we love pesto in this house, we’re actually going towards this delicious cashew cream on a regular basis. Crazyness.

xo,

Heather