chai spiced adaptogen herb blend…..

I'm head of over heels in gratitude for the warm reception our CSH received. If you didn't snag a share, there are a few left as of this morning. If you missed out, there will be partial shares again in September and December. I'll let you know when sign-ups open for those.

Today I wanted to share an adaptogen powder recipe I recently crafted up for the Herbal Academy blog. Adaptogens are a category of herbs that help your body adapt to stress. Head on over to read the herbal infused snacks article I wrote for them where you can find two really yummy recipes with this adaptogen blend : Chia Pudding and Protein Power Bites. (think tiny balls of energy, yum!)

4-chia-pudding

5-herbal-bites

2-herbal-powder

 

Chai Spiced Adaptogen Powder

    1 tablespoon ashwagandha powder

    1 tablespoon astragalus powder

    1 tablespoon triphala powder

    1 tablespoon marshmallow powder

    2 teaspoons ground ginger

    2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

    1 teaspoon ground cardamom

 

Stir these together & keep in an air-tight jar. I like to add this to smoothies, oatmeal, granola bars, baked goods, chia pudding and energy bites. It's a great way to add more herbs to your diet.

And speaking of herbs, I just got home last night from a weekend at Herbstalk. What a great little herbal event! I attended a few classes and bumped into some of my favorite makers at the market. Best of all, I got to see several of my herbal sisters – so good to see their smiling faces.

I'm off to tuck baby motherwort into the garden……

xo

stephinie

 

in our kitchen…..

Whole food kitchen 1

Whole food kitchen 2

Whole food kitchen 3

Whole food kitchen 4

Whole food kitchen 5

Whole food kitchen 6

Whole food kitchen 7

Some favorites from our kitchen over the last month.

Such gratitude for the return of plentiful backyard eggs! Frittata. Eggs & toast. Huevos Rancheros. Boiled eggs. Breakfast Burritos. Fried eggs over bowls of rice, greens, and beans.

We joined the lovely Feeding Our People subscription and it's been the perfect thing to pull me out of my cooking slump. Gluten-free, refined sugar-free, mostly vegetarian fare that just feels like real food for real family life. I'm in love with it. Those braised beans above were the first weekly recipe and they've been a staple ever since. Delicious!

I've been playing with a nut milk recipe for months now and I've got it just the way I like it with a combination of coconut, almond, cashew & pumpkin seed. It's rich and creamy and all but the youngest here love it, which is close enough to a win in my book.

Oat + coconut + nut butter energy bites infused with herb powders. So delicious! 

And those carrots. I have class on Monday night and I try to leave Joe with dinner mostly prepped (I leave at 3:30) so that when he walks in the door at 4:30 it's quick to get things going. He made these carrots and I just want to eat them every week now. We don't have a proper recipe for them, but I can tell you what he put it in them: carrots + butter + honey (or brown sugar) + sea salt. Cook at 425 or 450 until the edges are golden. Stir once or twice to coat the carrots in the decadent sauce (honey is my favorite over the two sweetener options). They are amazing you guys!

What's cooking in your kitchens these days? Share what you're loving…..

xo,

s

 

ginger + blueberry + beet smoothies

Yesterday I turned 36.

I’m on day 11 of an elimination diet and I really had a few minutes where I was kicking myself – no chocolate on my birthday? What was I thinking?!?! But it turns out that a super amazing delicious dessert can be made from cashews, honey, coconut oil and lemon juice. And it tastes very similar to lemon cheesecake. Yum.

{Can I pause for a moment and say that I really dislike the word diet? It has so many negative connotations. I think taking a break from our normal eating, even if it’s very healthy, and really nourishing our bodies is important. In traditional ways of eating, people did this several times a year…. often with the change of seasons… and it’s this really simple beautiful way to support ourselves and kind of check in. And how often do most of us take the time to really check in with ourselves?}

So, three of us in the house are on this elimination diet. All for various reasons. My two reasons are to work on inflammation and give my digestive system a rest. Also, elimination diets are a common protocol in holistic healing and I feel that I should try one myself before I suggest a client take one on. We have 30 days with no eggs, gluten, dairy, soy, red meat, sugar, chocolate. No caffeine or alcohol either. It’s slightly modified for our needs and what we know might be causing some issues for us as we’ve done something similar in the past. While it sounds pretty restrictive…. it hasn’t been bad. There is so much we can eat…. and shifting from grain heavy meals always makes me feel lighter and more vibrant. Hello smoothies and tons of veggies! After some holiday splurging I feel like all the systems in my body are saying “what, you do still love us!?”

Joe & I have been drinking smoothies almost every day. Mostly green. Sometimes purple. This one is by far his favorite…. so I thought I would share it with you guys. It does have to be made in a high speed blender….. root veggies are rugged little veggies to blend up. The sweetness of the beets, carrots, blueberries and the heat of fresh ginger mixed with a little citrus orange punch are totally delicious. It’s a powerhouse of vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory goodness (phew, that was a mouth full!) And the color! Beautiful! It’s a win-win. (also, if I don’t overdo the ginger, my kids love it too!)

 

1

 

GINGER + BLUEBERRY + BEET SMOOTHIE

2-3 meal sized smoothies

 

1 handful of fresh mild greens (spinach or kale are good)

2-3 small beets, peeled and cut into chunks

2 small carrots peeled and cut into chunks

(you want more beet than carrot – about three parts beet to two parts carrot)

1 banana (fresh or frozen)

1 generous cup of blueberries (fresh or frozen)

fresh ginger root, peeled and cut into quarters (I like to use a 1×2 inch chunk – and the kids drink it – if it’s just Joe & I, I use more)

2 TBSP 100% OJ juice concentrate

3 cups water

 

Add ingredients to the blender in the order listed. Blend until smooth and creamy. (use the smoothie cycle if you have a vitamix) Enjoy! If you happen to have access and enjoy the flavor of turmeric, a small chunk of peeled fresh turmeric is AMAZING in this smoothie (about an inch by half inch piece).

Frozen blueberries and bananas make the smoothie more thick and creamy. I freeze bananas by the bunch full and keep them in the freezer to add to our smoothies.

 

3

4

5

 

A FEW MORE REASONS THIS SMOOTHIE ROCKS::

Beets provide your body with magnesium, iron, folic acid (great food for pregnant and nursing moms!), and they are a tonic for the liver, cleansing your body.

Carrots have 400% of your daily vitamin A needs, are a good source of vitamins B & C,  help protect your vision and provide anti-oxidants.

Blueberries have more anti-oxidants than any other fruit. And they’re delicious. Enough said.

Ginger reduces inflammation and stimulates circulation in the body.

 

Enjoy!

xo,

s

 

simple breakfast

1

2

3

As soon as the weather starts to warm up, our breakfast begins to shift. I want something quick, nourishing, easy, and cool. My favorite go-to is a combination of nuts, raw oats, and fruit. A bit of yogurt or kefir. Or sometimes almond milk. Drizzled with honey or maple syrup. It keeps our bellies full as we go about our morning. It's easy to change up with different things we find rummaging through the pantry or freezer. Dried fruit. Sliced banana. Frozen blueberries. 

An easy whole foods way to start our day.

xo,

s

 

in my kitchen

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

These are a collection of things from the last month or so.

We picked up our grain share near the beginning of February. We've been eating local beans, oats, corn, fresh flour. And popcorn! This sort of thing makes my heart very happy.

I've been sprouting. It had been awhile. The youngest gave me a peculiar look munching on his avocado-cheese-sprout sandwich and said "whatever these weird crunchy things are, I love them!" I'll take that as a win.

We made maple syrup candy in the snow!! And it worked!! Yes, I needed extra exclamation points there because we've tried this in the past, several times, and failed. This year was a hit. One of the kids suggested maybe we just needed good snow. I think the Daddy just has better candy making skills than the mama.

Kombucha has gotten serious. I've been doing second ferments with fruit juice and ginger added. (blueberry and cherry) I even got some cool flip-tops on sale from the homebrew store. And a few small single-serve ones for Joe's lunch. His coworkers like to wander over to his desk and see what weird hippie thing he has that day. Is it mason jar soup day or strange metal lunchbox day?

I just finished my intro class on herbalism, and I am beginning my intermediate class right away. (more to share about this another post/day) I've learned SO much about herbs and even made my first herbal salve. I've been slowly gifting it to loved ones and telling them, this is magic. And I really mean it.

Leftover oatmeal muffins. An oldie and a goodie. Made with half spelt and half buckwheat. Slathered in butter and jam. My favorite from last summer's canning extravaganza is the wild grape. Hands down. I could eat it straight out of the jar with a spoon. Not that I have. Ahem.

Tell me, what's join on in your kitchen?

xo~

s

 

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

{16}

We pulled off two birthday parties in the midst of the usual busy-ness this week. The first with around 23 teenagers. The big girl invited all of marching band and nearly all of marching band came. Much pizza and snacks were eaten. Lots of laughing. At one point the entire lot of them were playing and singing in the sunroom, our basket of small percussion instruments divided among them. I imagine the bus rides to and from marching band competitions sound similar. Joe & I really got a kick out watching them all, it was a good time for sure.

The second celebration was just our family. I baked her a pumpkin cake with maple cream cheese frosting from this recipe. Oh my goodness, delicious. Especially for breakfast with a cup of coffee the next day. I decorated it with wildflowers and calendula from our backyard. She loved it.

And now that big girl is 16. It's kind of amazing…….

xo~

s

  

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

wild harvesting :: concord grapes

Last year we only found a few wild grapes here & there. It had been a hot and rainy summer. This summer was cooler and dryer and the grapes must have liked that a little better because they are hanging in heavy clusters from their vines on the trails behind our house and alongside the road. I fight the urge to travel with a ladder and pull over to pick them. Somehow I'm thinking winding new england roads and crazy woman with a ladder spell out accident waiting to happen. We did walk the trail behind our house and pick some from a few spots. I'm sure the birds enjoy them too, so we left plenty for them. We ended up with almost 20 pounds. Enough for a double batch of grape jam. The guy of the house was rather excited about this, having grown up making forts in the woods behind his house and eating his own weight in wild grapes every summer in upstate New York. Late into the evening I cooked the grapes down with a bit of sugar, just enough for a hint of sweetness. They never did quite jell, so I added a small amount of Pomona's to give the jam a soft set. It's not the color of the grape jelly we grew up with…. and nowhere near the cloying sweetness. The taste is right on though, with a hint of tartness just like eating the grapes fresh. I was so happy the jam retained their pungent heavenly scent as well. The kids like it on pb&j sandwiches. I like it on crackers with some soft goat cheese. Delicious either way, for sure. 

Another canning post… yes I know. Apples are coming soon….

xo~

s

 

in which this becomes a canning blog…..

in which this becomes a canning blog.....

in which this becomes a canning blog.....

in which this becomes a canning blog.....

in which this becomes a canning blog.....

in which this becomes a canning blog.....

I could have probably stopped in to write you once or twice this week.

It would have been the same thing every day. I blanched this, peeled that, pickled those and put them in a jar. Hot water bathed them all and listened to the pop-pop-pop of the jars sealing after I plucked them from the bubbling water. Hours upon hours worth of it. Every day. For the past two weeks. I think I have an addiction…

I'm not really cool enough to be a canning blog. (But Marisa sure is if you're looking for one) My canned pantry is expanding though, and I've had to buy jars three times in the last ten days. Also, why oh why is it impossible to find those simple half pint wide mouth jars. Can. Not. Locate. And I refuse to pay Amazon two bucks a piece for them. The wide mouth are my favorite because they are so freaking practical. Easy to clean & stable when stacked several high. Back to the food part though….

In the last few days I have made :

raspberry jam

peach lavender jam

spicy dilled beans

spicy basil pickled eggplant

spicy curry pickled carrots

zucchini relish

wild grape jam (which I'll show you pictures of soon. wanna be canning blog lady that I am)

With the excpetion of the raspberries that I got on sale at the grocery store, everything else was local. This makes me geek out with happiness. Quite by accident, all my recent recipes have come from Tart & Sweet (pictured) it's a good one. I just picked up Food in Jars from the library and I adore it. I have pear butter cooking in the crock-pot right now. Yum! 

Do you have a favorite canning blog or book? Do share, I'd love to check it out.

Off to start (yet another) hot water bath….

 

xo,

s

 

ps – thank you for the sweet words on my last post. my do they grow quickly…..

 

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

It's the little things in life some days.

Yesterday morning when I opened the fridge I was greeted with nearly three dozen eggs from our backyard hens. There has been baking, I have been making a huge frittata once a week, and we've been eating eggs for breakfast too…. but the hens were getting ahead of us. I have had no luck with anyone's method of hard-boiling eggs. Some of them helped (pin hole, vinegar, salt, ice bath, let them age) but none of them really yielded an easily peeled egg. Let alone one the kids could peel on their own. And I just can't let my eggs sit in the fridge for a few weeks before I boil them…. the beauty of backyard hens is fresh eggs, right?

So I googled it. And the one thing I had not tried was steaming them. Following the instructions from this, I steamed about a dozen and a half eggs from the weekend……..

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

how to hard boil fresh eggs (that actually peel easily)

You need some sort of steamer basket for this. I used one of those fold up style baskets that fit in a variety of pot sizes. Add just enough water to cover the bottom, the eggs shouldn't sit in the water. Put the lid on & bring the pot to a boil. Fill with as many eggs as you want to cook & steam for 15 minutes with the lid on. Keep an eye to make sure you don't run out of water. I know that seems like a long time…. but you can see that it yields perfectly cooked eggs. I was wary, but it's just right. Spoon the eggs into iced cold water & chill until they are cool to the touch. Peel easily, without saying any bad words. (that's the best part.) And if you (like me) are so excited about this epiphany that you are jumping up and down and you offer a hard-steamed egg to every family member while squeaking "what until you peel it!"….. then we were meant to be the best of friends…. and I wish you lived closer.

It's egg salad for lunch here today.

Have a lovely Tuesday……

xo,

s

  

(ps – if you like the centers soft, boil for 10-12 minutes! we love them this way too!)

at least we have muffins…..

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

at least we have muffins.....

Sometime last night the rain switched to ice pellets and then a sleet-y snow mixture. We woke up to a cold and hard crust of snow outside. Luke stumbled into the living room this morning at 6:30 with sleepy eyes. 

Good Morning Dad, good morning Mama, he said as he made his way to the sun room to assess the day. He does this every morning.

I watched.

His shoulders slumped.

Well THIS is a lovely spring day, he grumbled.

And with that he stomped up the stairs and went back to bed.

An hour later I lured him down with warm blueberry muffins fresh from the oven.

Still scowling, his mood lightened a bit. At least we have muffins, he mumbled.

That about says it. I think he summed up most of New England’s thoughts on this morning’s snow. He makes me giggle. This southern boy. I forget he has only really known mild winters and days upon days of sun. Last week in the grocery store he asked me if I knew how to make Ms Nancy’s gumbo. I dug the recipe out this morning and it’s on the menu for this week. It will be a nice surprise for him……

Today though, I’ll leave you with these. Some delicious blueberry muffins. Worth their weight in gold. Why? Because they were made with the last few cups of frozen blueberries from Rocky Point. There are still a dozen jars of jam but I have been rationing the last bits of frozen blueberries. This of course means a lot more picking trips next summer. Which you know I don’t mind one bit. Oh July, you won’t be here soon enough……

 

Blueberry Muffins (loosely inspired by blueberry butter cake from this cookbook)

1 cup rye flour

2 cups unbleached white bread flour

1/2 cup white sugar (we like evaporated cane juice)

1 tbsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

a generous pinch of freshly grated nutmeg (optional)

4 eggs

1.5 cups milk (we used almond)

2 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup melted butter

2-3 cups fresh or frozen blueberries

 

Preheat the oven to 350. Line muffin tin with liners if needed.

Mix dry ingredients together and set aside.

Mix the eggs, milk, & vanilla together. Mix half of the flour into the wet mixture. Slowly drizzle the butter into the batter stirring as you do so. This makes it so the butter is incorporated better and doesn’t just clump up like it will if you add it directly to the milk/egg mixture. Mix in the remaining flour until the mixture is barely combined and a little lumpy. Don’t over mix or they’ll lose their tender crumb. Gently stir in the blueberries. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until lightly golden brown. (Or a toothpick inserted is clean, if you’re unsure.)

These are a very lightly sweetened muffin, perfect for a snack or breakfast. If you like a sweeter muffin up the sugar by another 1/4 cup. You can use any milk or milk alternative or even buttermilk or kefir for the liquid. For that matter, to make them dairy free, you could swap the butter for another oil too.

Enjoy!

xo,

s