Monday, August 31, 2009

The reasons for lack of posts...

Harvest time is here!
In the midst of preservation efforts we've had little extra time for blog updates... So here are just a few sneak peeks...more to follow once the canning jars cool!

~Dill pickles~

~Blackberry Jam~

~Oregon Peaches~

Monday, August 24, 2009

Easy Chocolate Pudding

Hi Everyone! Since getting home from my trip across the country with my toddler and a big belly I carry around now, I have been itching to get back into the kitchen and make things that I want to eat. I was gone for a long time and subject to whatever people fixed. While I truly appreciated that, I realized how much I love to be in my own kitchen!
So anyway, I found this pudding recipe on the back of an organic cornstarch box I was using and thought I'd try it. My little family loved it! And I even made theirs with rice milk since neither my husband or little son can have dairy. You could use raw milk, or whatever kind you use and have healthy pudding....wait, can pudding be healthy? At least it is not from a box or processed in any way! It is super easy to do!

Easy Chocolate Pudding
Prep Time: 15 min
Chill Time: 2 hours

2/3 cup whole cane sugar
1/4 cup corn starch
3 T unsweetened Cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
3 cups milk (I used rice milk for Steve and Luke)
2 T butter
1 tsp vanilla

*Combine sugar, corn starch, cocoa, and salt in medium saucepan.
*Gradually stir in milk until smooth.
*Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly, and boil for 1 minute.
*Remove from heat.
*Stir in vanilla and butter.
*Pour into serving bowls, cover, and refrigerate for two hours.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Top Ten Fruits and Veggies to Buy Organic

Click HERE to read about the top ten fruits and veggies you should invest in buying organic.

Under each fruit and veggie it lists what pesticides were found and what those pesticides are known for. Very interesting!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Fresh Peach Cobbler

I have been looking for a simple, healthy and not rich cobbler recipe for a while. I came across one that we really like. If you like rich cobblers, this one is NOT for you. It is light and settles easy on the tummy. I also used the recipe for blueberry cobbler and left out the cinnamon, it was good too! So I'm guessing you can use this for just about any kind of cobbler you want.

Fresh Peach Cobbler:
  • 1/2 cup raw sugar or other sweetener
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 4 cups fresh peaches, sliced
  • 1 cup water
  • ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 2 tablespoons sugar (I used brown sugar)
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons margarine ( or butter)
  • 1/2 cup soymilk or water (I used rice milk because that is what Steve and Luke drink, but you could use whole milk, raw milk, whatever kind of milk you use. I have not tried it with water)
Optional: I love oats in cobblers so I threw some Bob's Red Mill slow cooking oats in before I added the water to the topping mixture.

Combine sugar and cornstarch in a saucepan, then stir in the peaches and water. Bring to a boil, then boil 1 minute, stirring constantly. Pour into a 9” square baking dish and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Cut in margarine until mixture resembles cornmeal. Stir in soymilk until mixed, then drop by spoonfuls onto the hot fruit. Bake until golden brown, about 25 minutes.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


I found out yesterday that pancakes can be made with water and not milk!!!

I wouldn't usually try something like that for just the fun of it, but Paul and I were really hungry and we didn't have much in the fridge, so ta-da!

The texture turned out pretty much the same and the taste was overall good, just not as rich and delicious. But, in a pinch it certainly does the trick!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Flash Those Pearly Whites!

In the midst of a buzzingly busy summer, a couple of us girls got together for our most recent Food Group to share our thoughts about Mireille Guiliano's book French Women Don't Get Fat and to dine on fresh treats of the season. And, in efforts to honor our dear dental hygienists (I'm only half-kidding; I loved Susannah. She must have cleaned my teeth twice a year for at least fifteen years...all the way up until I went away to college, but I digress...), we finished off the night with a good tooth-cleaning/home-spa toiletry making exercise.

French Women Don't Get Fat. Thanks to Jodi's original recommendation at our first Food Group meeting back in...November...this book made it onto our list of good reads. I enjoyed listening to it on CD while drafting at work (Mireille herself read it aloud, and the accent was enough to hook me after the first two minutes). In our discussion, we agreed that the title was originally off-putting in a way, sounding a hint like a fad diet book or an overly narcissistic memoir. Quite the contrary, the author's tales were filled with practical advice for a beautiful food life, accompanied by seasonal menu ideas and reminders to eat and imbibe with intentional awareness.

Never eat while standing ~ that's a favorite rule of thumb. How often can we absent mindedly munch our way through something without taking time to savor (or perhaps make a better judgment about) what we're putting into our bodies?

Also, seasonality and seasoning are the two keys to steering clear from boredom at mealtime. Her observation that the monotony of food choice tends to push eaters toward larger and larger portions to feel satiated resonated with me. Many times a small meal, punctuated with bursts of interesting flavor or delightfully scarce specialties (think back to that first spear of asparagus in early spring...the first strawberry to finally ripen red...the summer peach at the height of sweetness...), will be infinitely more satisfying than a heaping plate of same-old, same-old food from a can or a box or a grocery store shelf. Eat what truly tastes good, and be sure to actually taste what you eat.

In the vein of French Women...Emily also brought beautiful lavender to give away along with recommended recipes from Brenda Hyde.

And now, in the midst of cucumber season, we feasted on cucumber sandwiches, cucumber-peach-jalapeño salsa, and freshly sliced cucumbers in dill...

Cucumber, Peach & Jalapeño Salsa
3 peaches, pitted and chopped
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1/2 white onion, chopped
1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon chopped mint
1 tablespoon chopped basil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt to taste
Method: Toss all ingredients together in a large bowl ~ serve

Interestingly, on a cooking tangent, I came across Michael Pollan's recent article for the New York Times Magazine entitled, Out of the Kitchen, Onto the Couch. His commentary on the changing face of food-based television shows explains that, unlike past days where viewers were inspired by the likes of Julia Child to take on kitchen tasks with gusto, men and women today are lured to watch shows as if they were sporting events and then ultimately feel their own ineptitude. The result? Westerners resort to visiting advertisers' restaurants and store end-cap product displays rather than cook their own dinner. Today, I listened to Mr. Pollan discuss his article on a radio show on NPR, and he reminded the host that despite all of the best efforts of the "green/local/sustainable/small-farm/farmers' market revolution," we won't make it anywhere unless Americans return to cooking. He explained (and I paraphrase), "Farmers at Farmers' Markets aren't selling packaged foods and pre-made meals, they're selling raw ingredients and it's up to the consumer to take them to the kitchen and cook..."

Anyway, interesting read if you have a bit of time and a cup of tea...

Back to the dental hygiene.

Emily brought supplies and instructions and guided us through making our very own Better-Than-Tom's, all-natural toothpaste! And let me say, after a few days of using it, I already notice a difference. I love the gritty, polishing texture, and the fine-tuning of flavor to personal preference can take place over the next batch or two.

Emily's Homemade Pearly White Paste
Mix together:
2 T coconut oil
3 T baking soda
10 drops peppermint essential oil*
Pinch of stevia power (a sweet tasting herbal supplement)

You can just dip a dry toothbrush into the mixture and brush away! It won't foam, and it won't pollute the waterways with toxic extras that float down the drain and into habitats within our watersheds. Best of all, coconut oil is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal, so your toothbrush should actually stay a little more sanitary. (*Experiment with oils to find a flavor that works well for your tastebuds...)

We also made a yummy, smoothing sugar scrub perfect for leaving your skin soft and moisturized...but that recipe will remain a secret until the next spa-party. There were also talks about making homemade lip balm in the future...(forever thanks to Jay for his Glory Bee insider's knowledge and my very first introduction to Better-Than-Burt's-Bees all natural chapstick!).

Lastly, we discussed a few of Deconstructing Dinner's shows that illuminated the bigger picture behind such food giants as Nestle, PepsiCo, and Kraft. Visit this site and search for the "Packaged Foods Exposed" series to listen to archived episodes... Peek here to see interesting information on the acquisition of organic companies by the top 30 food processors in North America...

Announcements FYI ~ You are all invited to Genevieve and family's Harvest Festival at Pokrov Farm in Sandy, Oregon on Sunday, September 13th. There will be more details once it's closer...but save a place on your calender. The best part of the day may be the raffle for home made and farm raised goods including your very own all natural Thanksgiving turkey...

With that, au revoir! We will be taking the month of August off from Food Group in order to focus on preserving the bountiful summer harvest. If you're interested in the August 30th canning workshop, contact us at Otherwise, happy harvest and we hope to see you at the next get together in September!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Courgette Fritters with Pistou

(Picture taken from

If you are like me, it seems like complete strangers are trying to give away small truckloads of zucchini now that they are coming into season. There is even a holiday called "Sneak Some Zucchini Onto Your Neighbor's Porch Night." For any of you wishing to partake of this holiday, it's August 8th.

In honor of this bountiful harvest of summer squash, I found this recipe in the book "Organic Kitchen and Garden." Be warned I have not tried it yet, it just looks really tasty.

Courgette Fritters with Pistou
1lb zucchini grated
2/3 cup plain whole-wheat flour
1 egg seperated
1 tbsp olive oil
oil for shallow frying
sea salt and ground pepper

For the Pistou Sauce
1/2 cup basil leaves
4 garlic cloves
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
finely grated rind of 1 lemon
2/3 cup olive oil

To make the Pistou sauce, crush the basil leaves and garlic in a mortar with a pestle to make a fine paste (you can use the end of a rolling pin and a bowl!). Transfer the paste to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese and lemon rind, gradually blend in the oil, a little at a time, until combined, then transfer to a serving dish.

To make the fritters put the grated courgettes in a sieve over a bowl and sprinkle with plenty of salt. Leave for 1 hour then rinse thoroughly. Dry well on kitchen paper.

Stir the flour into a bowl and make a well in the centre, then add the egg yolk and oil. Measure 5 tbsp water and add a little to the bowl. Whisk the egg yolk and oil, gradually incorporating the flour and water to make a smooth batter. Season and set aside for 30 minutes. Stir the grated cheese and rinsed courgettes into the batter, whisk the egg white until stiff, then fold into the batter.

Heat 1cm/1/2”of oil in a frying pan. Add dessertspoons of batter to the oil and fry for about 2 minutes until golden brown and crispy, remove from the pan using a slotted spoon. Place the fritters on kitchen paper and keep warm while frying the rest. Serve the hot fitters with the pistou sauce.

Let me know how it turns out if any of you try it!


Perfect Pesto Party

Today at the Montavilla Farmer's Market I bought nine big bunches of basil. It's amazing how much that amount of basil shrinks when made into pesto!

I made about ten cups of pesto and froze it in one cup portions. I used the recipe from Nourishing Traditions which has always worked well for me.

2 cups of packed basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (I don't bother toasting mine)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
2 - 4 garlic cloves
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 cup olive oil

Pulse the basil leaves in a food processor, then add the rest of the dry ingredients. Add olive oil until it becomes a thick paste.

I am looking forward to eating local pesto in December!!!
(Unfortunately no pictures of the pesto, camera went missing)

Have a happy evening!


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