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Easy No-Bake Protein Cookie Balls

Easy No-Bake Protein Cookie Balls

These protein cookies are take less than 20 min to make and will placate your sweet tooth without derailing your healthy New Years goals.  They give you a good dose of energy from the complex carbs in the rolled oats; you get a substantial dose of fiber from the oats, chia seeds, and flax seeds; you'll gain extra protein from the protein powder and nut butters; and finally, you will add good fats to your diet with the nut butters and shredded coconut.  These ingredients combine well to boost long term energy without any added sugar.  They are a nutritious way to pack some extra nutrients into your body throughout the day. I eat them before my workout or for a quick breakfast.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do.

No-Bake Protein Cookie Balls

2 cups of Old-Fashioned Rolled Oats
2 cups of no sugar added organic peanut butter or other nut butter of your choice (do NOT drain off the excess oil)
2/3 cup Organic Raw Honey
1 oz scoop of no sugar added chocolate protein powder
1 cup unsweetened dried shredded coconut
1Tablespoon of chia  seeds
1 teaspoon of ground flax seed
Sesame seeds (optional)*

Pour all ingredients into a bowl and mix well.  I find it easiest to combine the ingredients by hand instead of spatula because of how dense this cookie is. I also prefer to spray my hands with coconut oil to prevent the ingredients from sticking.  Once well combined, roll dough into balls and place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper.  Continue to coat hands with oil as needed.  Refrigerate for 1 hour, serve chilled.

*For added variation, I will roll half my cookies in loose sesame seeds.  This adds a delicious, unique flavor.

Easy Flavorful Chicken Salad

Easy Flavorful Chicken Salad

Flavorful Chicken Salad

1 cup Whole Greek Yogurt

12 oz can of Cooked chicken

1/4 cup Sweet and Hot Jalapeños, minced

1 Stalk Organic Celery, minced

1/2 teaspoon Onion powder

1/2 Ground Mustard seed

1/4 teaspoon Garlic powder

Juice of 1 Lemon

Salt and Pepper to taste

Pinenuts, Walnuts, OR Slivered Almonds for Garnish

Mix all ingredients (except Nuts) together in a medium bowl.  Stirring until mixed. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir.  Garnish with one of the above nuts.  Serve in Organic Lettuce leaves* or with sliced veges.  I usually eat my chicken salad with Organic Celery, Rainbow Baby carrots, and Sliced red/orange/yellow pepper.

*If serving in lettuce leaves, add a few slices of avocado for an added boost to the good fats.

ENJOY!!!!

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted Winter Vegetables

Roasted Winter Root Vegetables

1 bulb of Celeriac (celery root)

1 yellow onion

2 beets-any color

2 turnips

4 parsnips

4-6 multicolored carrots

3 Tablespoons of good quality olive oil

4 cloves of garlic, minced

1 shallot minced

1 Tablespoon fresh rosemary; roughly chopped

1 Tablespoon of Italian Seasoning

1 teaspoon Himalayan pink salt or sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Clean, rinse, peel, and chop all vegetables into large chunks and place in a large bowl.

Ladle olive oil over the top of the vegetables and toss until all vegetables are coated.

Add garlic, rosemary, shallot, Italian seasoning, and salt. 

Toss vegetables again until spices are roughly, evenly distributed.

Place in a roaster or covered pan and put in preheated oven.

Cook for 30 min checking to make sure root vegetables are fork tender.  If they are still hard, cook at additional 10 min increments until desired tenderness is reached.

Bone Broth Soup Recipe

Bone Broth Soup Recipe

Immune Boosting Bone Broth:

Bone broth has multiple health benefits.  It's perfect for the season change, for boosting the immune system, healing the gut, and giving us prolonged energy as we enter the fall and the children head back to school.  In Chinese Medicine, it is used to increase energy, assist with joint pain, aids in treating iron deficiency anemia, and decreases pain and inflammation. It is also used to fight aging and increase collagen production.  It's time consuming to make, but well worth it.

Below,  I've included my personal recipe for beef bone broth.  Feel free to try it and play with it.  You can use any combination of vegetables or bones that you choose. I recommend using grass fed free range bones and organic vegetables to get the most benefits from the broth you make.  I drink 1-2 cups everyday for the best results.  It's something I love to have in the mid-morning after my coffee.

http://naturalnews.com/040493_bone_broth_immune_health_nutrients.html

Shandalla's Bone Broth Recipe:

  • 2 lbs of grass fed beef bones-roasted at 425 degrees for 1-1/2 hrs 
  • 2 Tablespoons of apple cider vinegar-divided
  • water
  • 2 whole yellow onions-chopped 
  • 1 leek-sliced
  • 2 small carrots-sliced
  • 3 stalks of celery-sliced
  • 3 large cloves of garlic-minced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons of salt
  • 2 tsp mixed whole peppercorns
  • 1 bunch of parsley-chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp oregano

Method:

Roast beef bones in oven, uncovered, for 1-1/2 to 2 hrs.

Place in a large stock pot with 1 Tbl of apple cider vinegar. Fill stock pot with enough warm water to cover bones; let soak for 20 min.  After soaking the bones, bring bones to a boil on medium high, skimming off foam every 20-30 min. Boil for 2 hrs.  Transfer bones and water to a crock pot, add remaining vinegar and all remaining ingredients to the pot.  Cook stock in crock pot on low for 24-48 hrs, adding water as needed to keep the bones covered and submerged. Skim off fat (beef oil) every few hours through out cooking process.***  When you are done simmering the broth, strain out all the liquid and compost or throw away the solids.  The liquid is your bone broth. You can freeze the broth or store it in the fridge and use it as desired. 

***You can dispose of the fat or collect in a jar to use the fat to cook with later; make sure to store the fat in the fridge for future use.  It will solidify like butter when cold, which is normal.  For more information on good fats, keep an eye out for my upcoming blog on the topic.

Strawberry Tomato Salad

Strawberry Tomato Salad

Strawberry Tomato Salad

3 cups organic Baby Arugula-prewashed, prepacked is the perfect size

8 oz. Organic Sweet Cherry or Mixed Grape Tomatoes-halved lengthwise

8 oz. Organic Strawberries- thickly sliced

Half an English Cucumber-cubed

Half a Red Onion-diced

¼ cup Fresh Cilantro-chopped

¼ cup of Fresh Dill-chopped

Feta Crumbles to Garnish: optional

Dressing:

½ cup white balsamic vinegar

1 cup olive oil

1 Tablespoon Dijon Mustard

1 tsp honey

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, toss all the fresh ingredients together except feta cheese. Keep cool (not cold) until ready to serve. In a separate bowl or salad dressing container, mix together all dressing ingredients until smooth. Set aside, remixing as needed. When ready to serve, sprinkle feta cheese on top of salad.  Serve salad with dressing on the side, using as desired for additional flavor.

This recipe will be in The Points Living Magazine June, 2016

Roasted Beet Hummus

Roasted Beet Hummus

This recipe is inspired by my trip to Denmark.  This last summer, I went to Copenhagen to visit my sister.  On one particularly slightly hot day in August, I found myself craving fresh clean food and a healthy smoothie.  My sister took me to one of her favorite cafes, Botaniq.  There, I had a wonderful salad that I will reveal later in another recipe :), a Lavender infused smoothie, and a humus that was made with beets and sprouted chickpeas that was divine.

Today was a very nice temperate sunny day in Seattle; very rare for this time of year because we're usually slightly chilly, grey, and rainy for roughly 6 mos. out of the year.  Anyway, while I was enjoying the resonable winter temperatures and the sun, I found myself reminiscing about my summer and longing for the colors of spring that are still a few months off. I was craving the beautiful hues of flowers, the freshness of spring blossoms, and longing for some invigorating color in my life, then I remembered this dish.  It's a beautiful pinkish red color with an earthy, slightly sweet flavor.  Even better, it's healthy, high in protein, and made with a wonderful, often underused winter root vegetable that is full of vitamins A, B, C, minerals, and phytonutrients.  The beet pairs well with the chickpeas, which are sprouted to increase enzymes and protein.  Together, they create a harmony of flavor and color that is reminiscent of three seasons combined.  This dish is perfect to boost your mood, bring back memories of summer, and still support your New Year's resolutions during these midwinter grey days.  If I ever achieve my dream retirement and am able to open my cafe, this will definitely be a dish I serve.  Now for the recipe.

For starters, you need to

sprout your chickpeas.

  This is done by repeatedly rinsing and soaking your chickpeas until they start to grow slightly and tails appear.  This can take roughly 48 hrs, but it's worth the wait for the added nutritional benefits you get.  If you want instant gratification, just use canned organic chickpeas that are thoroughly rinsed.

Recipe  Ingredients:

  • 2 large roasted organic beets, divided
  • 2 cups soaked, sprouted organic chickpeas, cooked (You'll start with a 1/2 cup of dried chickpeas if you followed the link above, but the final measurement may very slightly depending on how much your chickpeas grew when you soaked them).
  • zest of 1-1/2 large lemons (preferably organic to prevent pesticide residue)
  • juice of 1-1/2 large lemons, seeds removed
  • 1 tsp of cumin
  • 1/4 cup of Greek yogurt
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/4 c tahini
  • 1/4 c + 1 TBS olive oil, divided
  • salt to taste
  • 1 TBS finely chopped organic cilantro, garnish

Instructions:

Rinse and scrub beets to remove dirt.  Cut off greens removing only the very top part of the beet**.  Cut beets in half, place beets in a pan, drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil and roast beets at 375 degrees until tender (about 30-45 min). Place cooked beets in a bowl in the refrigerator until they cool to room temperature. Peel beets once cooled.  This should be fairly easy after they are cooked.  Set aside 1/2 a peeled beet to chop and use as a garnish.

At the same time you are cooking the beets, cook sprouted chickpeas by placing them in a large sauce pan filled with about 3-4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover pan with lid, reduce heat to medium and cook until tender (about 45 min). Add water as necessary to keep chickpeas covered. Once tender, drain chickpeas, rinse and place in a bowl in the fridge to cool to room temperature.

When beets and chickpeas have cooled, place all ingredients, except remaining 1/4 cup olive oil, cilantro, and 1/2 beet in a food processor. Pulse the processor making sure to scrape down the sides with a rubber spatula.  Process until all ingredients are combined, drizzling in olive oil as you puree. If it's too dry, feel free to add a little extra oil until smooth.  Once pureed, scrape your roasted beet hummus into a dish; sprinkle on your cilantro garnish and top with the remaining chopped beet. Serve with fresh sliced cucumbers and/or other veges, whole grain seeded thinly sliced baguette, pita bread, or whatever your heart desires.  In Copenhagen, they served this dish alone as a salad, but I prefer to use veges as my humus carrier for the added fiber, vitamins, and nutrients.

Note:

**Beet greens are edible. You can use your beet greens in fresh juices, smoothies, soups, or salads.

Energizing Quinoa Salad

Energizing Quinoa Salad

Get your New Years resolutions off to a great start with this recipe for an Energizing Quinoa Salad.

1-1/2 c cooked rainbow quinoa
1/4 of English cucumber chopped
1 tomato, chopped
1/3 c of cilantro minced
1 ripe avocado, cubed
3-4 pieces of Dino kale stemmed and cut into slivers
2 TBD sesame oil
Juice 1/2 a large lemon
Kosher salt to taste
1 Tbs sesame seeds to garnish

Mix all ingredients together.  Toss and serve cool.

***For an extra protein boost or to make this an easy stand alone lunch ,  you can serve this with 4-6 Oz of grilled chicken breast.***

Happy eating!

Fall Eating w/Turkey Soup Recipe

Fall Eating w/Turkey Soup Recipe

Eating For the Seasons—fall

As the trees let go of the leaves because they are no longer beneficial, so to begins the phase in the seasons to let go of unhealthy patterns. Autumn is the time for turning inward, releasing, reflecting, finishing projects, and according to Chinese medicine; it is the period for nourishing the lung and large intestines.  This is a perfect season to do a full body cleanse and to support and clean the intestines.  It is also time to focus on nourishing the lungs through increased exercises like yoga, cardio, and stretching.  Skin brushing and exfoliation are an ideal remedy to permit the skin to assist in a full body detox and act as a third lung.  This allows the skin to breathe and further remove toxins.

Eating seasonally and locally nourishes overall health, so for this autumn, here are a few items to look for to nourish the body & mind.

·

  •      Nuts and seeds: pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds, or sunflower seeds
  • Seasonal Mushrooms to assist in minimizing colds and flu.
  • Beans and legumes for health easy to digest protein.
  • Spicy herbs like cayenne & ginger to add heat and nourish digestion.
  • Squashes & root vegetables like beets, carrots, parsnips, turnips, and celery root (celeriac) will ground you and soothe digestion.
  • Garlic and Onion are perfect for boosting the immune system.
  • Increase LEAN proteins like chicken and turkey
  • Enjoy cruciferous vegetables like cabbage, broccoli,  bok choy, and cauliflower

Tip for the season: Make some Chicken and vegetable soup and/or use your left over turkey from Thanksgiving to make a wonderful soup.  Throw some of the items listed above into a pot with some chicken or vegetable broth and let it simmer for an easy nourishing soup.

(

This article is also written and posted at Vitality Chiropractic Center by me, Shandalla Seirawan-Oct. 2015).

Post Thanksgiving Turkey Soup

  1. 3 cups Leftover Turkey meat from Thanksgiving, as well as, bones and drippings
  2. 2 quarts of chicken broth
  3. 1 Tbs of  white, rice, OR apple cider vinegar (this will get the turkey bones to release it's immune boosting properties, and the vinegar will go unnoticed and evaporate off)
  4. 2+ cups water
  5. 4 cloves garlic minced
  6. 1 onion chopped
  7. 3 stalks of celery, chopped
  8. 2 carrots, sliced
  9. 2 leeks whites only, cleaned thoroughly and loosely chopped
  10. 8 oz mushrooms, chopped
  11. 1/4 of a cabbage, loosely chopped
  12. 4 Tbs fresh Parsley, divided and minced finely
  13. 2 Bay leaves
  14. 1 Tbs Dry Italian Seasoning
  15. 1 Tbs Dry Basil
  16. Salt and Pepper to taste

Directions:

In a large saute pan, add olive oil and saute garlic, onion, and celery until onion is transparent. Add in carrots and leeks.  Saute another 5 min and transfer to a large stock pot.  Add in all remaining ingredients, reserving 2 Tbs of fresh parsley as a garnish. Simmer for 1-1/2 hrs, adding water as needed due to loss because evaporation, keep bones covered with liquid. Once the soup has simmered, 

REMOVE

bones and Bay leaf and discard, add parsley garnish on top, and serve hot with leftover rolls or any other bread.

 BEWARE

of small bones that may have been missed, this could be a choking hazard.

Fun fall Kale recipe

Fun fall Kale recipe

Hey all, how about a delicious fall kale recipe? This was requested by one of my super awesome patients who wants to eat more dark green vegetables, but hadn't found a kale recipe she liked. This is one of my all time favorites, so enjoy.

1Tbs olive oil
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bunch of kale stemmed and lightly chopped
1/2 c water/chicken/OR vegetable broth
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 tsp of Nature's Seasoning
salt to taste

In a frying pan, add olive and garlic.  Sauté garlic on med heat until it just starts to turn a nutty brown color. Toss in kale and sauté until it begins to change color to a darker brighter green. Next, add in broth and cover to steam for about 7 min. Uncover and turn heat to medium high stirring constantly until broth almost completely evaporates. Reduce heat to med low and stir in lemon and Nature's Seasoning making sure to coat evenly. Cook about 3-4 min more.  Serve hot. Salt to taste.

Spicy Pickled Asparagus

Spicy Pickled Asparagus

Ingredients

3 pounds asparagus, washed and trimmed to fit your jars (save the ends for cream of asparagus soup: recipe to follow in a few short days)
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
1 1/2 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons pickling spice
2 garlic cloves, peeled
4 sprigs of dill
1 jalapeno pepper

Procedures

1. Prepare a boiling water bath canner and two 24-ounce jars (you can also substitute four 12-ounce jelly jars). Place lids in a small pan of water and bring to a bare simmer.

2. Combine white vinegar, jalapeno, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil.

3. Fill a large saucepan with several inches of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add half of asparagus to pot and cook for exactly 1 minute. Transfer asparagus to a colander with tongs and run under cool water. Repeat with remaining asparagus.

4. Remove jars from the canning pot and drain. Place one tablespoon of pickling spice and one garlic clove in the bottom of each jar. Remove jalapeno from pickling fluid, cut in half and place 1/2 in each jar (the more seeds u include, the spicier it will be).

5. Divide asparagus evenly between the two jars. Pour pickling liquid over the asparagus. Tap jars gently to remove any air bubbles.

6. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. When time is up, remove jars from canner and let them cool on a folded towel. When jars are entirely cool, remove rings and check seals.

7. Let these pickles rest at least 24 hours before eating. As with most pickles, they will improve over time. Sealed jars can be stored in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

This recipe was modified from: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2012/03/pickled-asparagus-recipe-how-to-make.html

Lavender Chocolate Cupcakes

I made these cupcakes a week ago and took them to the Bastyr Clinic. They were a hit. They have a wonderfully decadent flavor. The combination of chocolate and lavender is fabulous. Enjoy. I iced them with a scrumptuos lavender, lemon, cream cheese frosting. You only need one to feel satisfied because the marriage of flavors.

Chocolate Lavender Cupcakes

Yields 12-14 cupcakes

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2/3 cup hot water
8 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon lavender, crushed (use a mortar and pestle or spice grinder)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C).
2. Line a cupcake tin with baking cups.
3. In a small bowl, whisk together cocoa powder and hot water. Set aside.
4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
5. Add eggs, mixing well between each addition.
6. Add vanilla extract and crushed lavender.
7. Slowly add flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa mixture. Mix until smooth.
8. Fill baking cups 2/3 full with batter and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Lemon-Lavender Cream Cheese Frosting

Frosting:
16 oz softened cream cheese
3 cups powdered sugar
zest of 1 lemon, ground
2 tbsp lemon juice
Lavender Buds to Garnish
Optional: 2 drops of blue food coloring to 1 drop of red coloring to make frosting lavender in color. If you want a darker lavender, continue to add coloring at a 2:1 ratio.

Frosting:
1. While the cupcakes are baking, place cream cheese in a large bowl, and use an electric mixer to beat it until softened.
2. Add powdered sugar, lemon zest, and lemon juice, and continue to beat the mixture until combined. Keep cold until cupcakes are ready to be frosted.
3. Place frosting in a ziplock bag and snip a small part of one of the lower corners (can use a frosting bag as well). Squeeze bag over cupcakes to easily frost.
4. As a garnish, sprinkle lavender buds on top of newly frosted cupcakes. This will also add a burst of lavender flavor to each bite.
5. Freeze any remaining frosting for future use.
6. Keep cupcakes refrigerated until ready to serve.
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Lavender Jelly recipe

Ingredients:

3 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup dried lavender flowers
Juice of 1 lemon (approximately 1/4 cup)
1 (1 3/4-ounces) box powdered Pectin or 1 pouch (3-ounces) liquid pectin
4 cups granulated sugar


Preparation:

In a large saucepan over high heat bring water just to a boil. Remove from heat, stir in dried lavender flowers, and let steep for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, strain mixture into a deep kettle or pot, discarding the lavender flowers. Stir in lemon juice and pectin; continue stirring until the pectin is dissolved.

Over high heat, bring the mixture to a boil; add sugar. When the jelly solution returns to a hard rolling boil, let it boil for 2 to 4 minutes (see below), stirring occasionally.

Boil Times:
2 minutes - soft gel
4 minutes - medium gel

Testing for "jell" (thickness - I keep a metal tablespoon sitting in a glass of ice water, then take a half spoonful of the mix and let it cool to room temperature on the spoon. If it thickens up to the consistency I like, then I know the jelly is ready. If not, I mix in a little more pectin (about 1 teaspoon to 1/2 of another package) and bring it to a boil again for 1 minute
After boiling, transfer the jelly into hot sterilized jars. Fill them to within 1/4 inch of the top, wipe any spilled jam off the top, seat the lid and tighten the ring around them.

Makes five 1/2 pints


This is a delicious recipe from Great for a food gift or to have something unique in you canning cupboard. It has a very sweet yet unique flavor. This is not your grandmother's average jelly. Serving suggestions: serve over cream cheese with crackers as an appetizer or serve with the eggless/whole wheat sponge cake (recipe posted previously).
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eggless/ whole wheat sponge cake

What’s needed-

1 and 1/2 C of whole wheat flour
6-7 TBL of powdered sugar ( you can also use evaporated pure cane sugar)
2 tsp baking powder
6 TBL of olive oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
1C of water

1. Pre heat the oven at 350 Degrees F and spray a loaf pan with baking spray.*
2. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar and baking powder.
3. Whisk in water, oil and vanilla in another bowl.
4. Pour mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top.
5. Place the pan in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes or till the edges begin to brown, and the center of the cake is bouncy.  Insert a toothpick, if it comes out clean, the cake is ready.  Set aside to cool.
6. Serve with fresh fruit and maple syrup, fresh fruit and homemade whip cream**, or fresh fruit and marscapone.


*You can also make two sponges in 8 inch round pans and use them as two layers.  Place choice of toppings between layers and on top of the cake.
**Homemade Whip Cream:
1. 1/2 c organic whipping cream
2. 1 Tbl of evaporated cane sugar (more if you like it sweeter)
3. 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
---Combine ingredients in a bowl and blend with a hand blender until light and fluffy.


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Making Granola

I made my first ever granola today from a recipe that I modified that had a foundation based in the 70's.  I wanted something to mix with my delicious Greek Gods Low-Fat Yogurt.  This is the culmination of research of about 7 granola recipes that I found online to learn the foundation of what is in granola.  This is what I came up with.  I hope you like it. It is high in protein and absolutely delicious.  I am so proud of myself.  Try  it out if you like.

Shandalla's Soon To Be Famous, Delicious Granola

3 cups of rolled oats
1 cup combined of crushed mixed nuts and slivered almonds
1/4 cup of sesame seeds
1/2 cup of toasted sunflower seeds (I buy mine raw and then toast them myself)
1 tablespoon brown sugar, packed
2/3 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2/3 cup of unsweetened cocunut
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil (note: cocunut oil is solid at room temperature)
2/3 cup of honey
Non-stick cooking spray
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dried fruit of choice (craisins, apricots, apple, etc)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the oats, nuts, sesame seeds, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, unsweetened coconut, and vanilla. Next, measure the cocunut oil and then, place the measured solid oil in a small microwave safe cup and put the cup in the microwave for 20 seconds allowing the oil to melt**.  Next, pour the oil over the mixture and stir thoroughly coating the granola. After the mixture is well combined, mix in the honey and combine until even.  Next, take a large deep oven safe pan and spray it with non-stick cooking spray, and then pour the granola mixture into the pan.  Finally, place the pan in the preheated oven, uncovered for 30 minutes making sure to stir approximately every 7-10 minutes to ensure even cooking.  After 30 minutes, remove the pan, give the granola a final stir and let it cool for 15 min. Stir again and place granola in a bowl and mix in the dried fruit.  Allow to finish cooling.  Store in a clean dry sealed container and enjoy when desired.

**Note: If you do not have a microwave, you can simply place the measured oil in a cup and place the cup in a bowl of HOT water, ensuring the water does go into the cup.  This will melt the oil in a matter of minutes.

Variation:
Add a 1/2 cup of dark chocolate chips or cholcolate nibs to make a very divine stand alone sweet treat.

 

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Jammed Adventures

Yes it is that beautiful time of year in Seattle. The sun is out, the air is warm, and FINALLY, the garden is yielding beautiful foods for your eating pleasure. Not only do you have fresh home grown food, but way more than you could possibly eat before it goes bad. What to do? Preserve it!!! Yes, I did it, for the first time ever in my life, I made jam. Globs, yes globs of it! That is what it turns into, globs of delicious, sugary goodness that will last you through the year when you are craving something that reminds you of summer in the cold, bleak February month when spring is just around the corner, but still too far to see. 


I am excited about my jam experience. It was a hot sticky adventure, but well worth it. I personally do not have a garden, so my adventure began at the farmers market. It is berry season. All the berries I could imagine were available for purchase in bulk. My jamming adventure was inspired by my friend Susie "with an S" when she brought over the first strawberries in honey preserves for a wonderfully delicious early summer dessert. I was like, "I totally want to do this," thus, my journey to preserve all things delicious has begun.

Naturally, I decided to enlist the help of my good friend Michelley because last year she taught me how to make canned pumpkin bread and canned zucchini bread (which we will be doing again when these crops come in season:). Unfortunately my friend Michelle had never made jam either, so what else would you do in this situation but but a book on how to do it. What a great experience! We were two newbies in the kitchen, crushing berries and apricots.

After skimming our how to book,"Preserve It," By Lynda Brown. We decided that even a couple of cooking novices could do this, which we are not. We were further lulled into a very nice sense of security after we took 3 lbs of apricots and made apricot jam without a hitch. WOOP! We are officially intermediate preservers. We graduated ourselves from novice, patted ourselves on the back and set out to make a mixed berry jam that contained a combined 8-9lbs black berries, raspberries, and blueberries that were obtained from the Ballard Farmers Market. We should have measured because this is where it got interesting. We were following the recipe when we realized we added too much lemon juice to our berries, now we needed to off set the lemon flavor. We scoured her kitchen and opted to add some over ripe plums Michelle had lounging in her refrigerator. Ahhh! Problem solved. Let's relax and enjoy some food while we simmer the berries; we had been at this for 4 hours now. LET THE CHAOS ENSUE!!!

"Hey I think the berries are boil...s&$t, f&^k! The berries boiled over, quick turn off the stove, WAIT! OUCH! Hot sugary berry juice preserves all over the stove, WAIT! OUCH!! F*&K!! Quick grab that towel... WAIT, It's White!!! Whatever, hand it here!! The smoke detectors!" At this point every smoke detector in the house is going off (sorry upstairs neighbors). After about 4 1/2 minutes of absolute mayhem, the house was filled with the caramelly smell of burnt sugar and smoke that was somewhat suffocating. We both had various burns from splattered boiling sugary berry goodness, and we needed lavender (FYI: It's to soothe the burns. Never can or preserve without it).

Finally, the smoke detectors were quiet and the clean up begins. About 45 min later, the mess was contained and cleaned up (wish BP worked that fast, but I digress). Anyhow we were left with a relatively cooler mix of potential berry jam that now needed to be corrected because the loss of part an unknown amount of the recipe. Reheat and taste, that's the perfect place to begin. Now we needed more sugar... now it was too liquidy...CRAP!!!! Add pectin to thicken, simmer some more. Phew, it passed the set test, we are ready to jar and seal.

After 7+ hours our jam was resting and setting up. Michelley and I were sticky as hell and reeked to high France of lavender, but we were happy and satisfied. We felt our canning adventure was a great success even if we were convinced we would be sticky for the rest of our lives. It was a great fun experience that we plan to repeat quite a few more times this season. Michelle would like to do every recipe in the whole book, while I would settle for making some pickles, mango chutney, apple butter, and red pepper jelly. We'll see! For now our canning adventures are to be continued :)

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