Another Easy Apple Breakfast?

Ok, that Apple puff cake has got me going with apples on the brain again.  Did I mention my undying love for baked, or sauteed apples with a hint of sugar and some of our Sweet Breakfast? Oh… yeah, I did.

Given that,  you’ve gotta know that if I see something with spiced apples, I’m all over it.  Some love the chia seeds, some, well, maybe not. I sure do enjoy them, and I enjoy unsweetened yogurt, especially mixed with some of my homemade preserves. If you’re not sure, well, give them a try! You just might find a new culinary love!

Cauliflower & herb salad

Foodies all have a different way of looking at things. They all come from different ethnic backgrounds, and go to different cooking styles. There is so much to learn! I recently came across another blog where I was finding more things to make me go “yum”,  so wanted to share.

This one is a beautiful recipe, and possible launching point for so many refreshing summer salads. Feel free to change up the herbs used (parsley and basil would be amazing) or even the dressings used if you enjoy the textures, but want a different flavor! Carrots would be an excellent addition in shreds, or chopped. I have taken to soaking my chopped baby carrots in vinegar for several days before use in salads, and they would be extraordinary in something like this.

cauliflower & herb salad

Burrito Mix

Burrito Mix is a family favorite, dating back to when I was a kid. For those looking to get more vegetable-matter in their weekly food, I would suggest you break out a bag of frozen vegetables of just about any stripe to go into the recipe after the meat has browned. Peas and Carrots are a wonderful addition for those families unaccustomed to such things (as a starting point). They pick up the flavors around them, and add a great bit of texture, even for picky eaters. We’ve used things like Canned Diced Chili’s, Olives, Broccoli, Cauliflower, Zuchini (usually best in shreds, but you can use cut medallians), Corn is a great standby, please, use your imagination!  

Sesame Ginger Salad Dressing

The other day, I realized how much I really missed those Sesame Ginger oriental salad kits. Since I tend to be sensitive to sugar, I had cut them out of my diet due to the huge amount of sugar in the dressing. That, my friends has now changed. Why not get the kit but make your own dressing instead of that sugary stuff they give you? So, I played. And, I played again. And… again. Now, we have something pretty tasty!

So! Start off with the basics. Toasted Sesame oil, Rice Vinegar, and Soy Sauce. On Soy Sauce, a couple of notes: You can get regular, and low-salt Soy Sauce! Feel free to use either one. Now, if you’re gluten free, the Soy Sauce is a BIG problem. I have it on good authority that Coconut Aminos can substitute. I haven’t tried it myself, so I’m going to ask some of you to chime in on how that converts.

So, Rice Vinegar, and Toasted Sesame Oil first… So many people have issues with salt and sugar, I tend to be on the lookout for such things. Rice Vinegar regularly comes in two forms: With, and without salt and sugar; so keep an eye out if you’re sensitive. Sesame Oil also comes generally in two forms: Toasted, and Un-toasted. The Un-toasted is a light colored liquid that will not have the depth of flavor that we’re looking for here. The toasted is the way to go, and will be a dark brown.

We’re going to start off with ¼ cup of each of these two (Rice Vinegar, and Toasted Sesame Oil), and 1 Tbsp of Soy Sauce.

Now, a note on the other ingredients. Fresh is always preferable, but, if you’re like me and live in the sticks, things like Garlic are not always do-able fresh. Dried can be used. Real, fresh Ginger really does give the kind of flavor we’re looking for, so, if at all possible, use it, not the dried stuff. I have been interested in seeing how pickled ginger does, but have not gotten around to making any, so… that’s for another post. Next: sweetener of choice. Since I am sensitive to the sugars, I use xylitol. It sweetens like sugar, and even tastes like it. (best of both worlds for me, but, it is toxic to our furry friends, so be careful with it if you have pets.) Another thing that I have added before and was really fun was Chinese 5 Spice (Please contact for special order if you don’t already have some). Adding ¼ tsp can change the flavor of your dressing in surprising ways.  But…. let’s keep it to the basics for now, and add that when you want to keep your dinner guests guessing as to your magical cooking prowess.

Add 1 Tsp of chopped garlic, 2 tsp of sugar, or sugar substitute, and about half this amount of ginger nub. (Or, as much as 2 tsp of powder.)

And give it a stir until you can feel the sugar has dissolved.

Next, you want to let it sit for at least half an hour before serving, so, grab a handy container with a lid (mason jars work great for this) and let the flavors get friendly with each other while you do something else.

When ready, pour it on, and you have Salad! I love to add nuts to mine, just for a little bit of fun texture.

Next, easy dinner! (I got some gorgeous fully-cooked smoked salmon the other day, so I’m indulging.)

Weeknight cooking gone easy

I’ve been told that I need to share some of my “throw-together dinners” with people. You’ll notice a lot of vegetables in my throw-togethers.  So many people I talk to struggle to get enough vegetables in their diet without getting sick of them. I hope to give you inspiration. From a young age, I can remember vegetables being added to everything, whether it was “supposed” to have vegetables in it or not.  The great part is that the vegetables took  on the flavor of that thing, and you never had to badger one of us kids into eating them…. unless they were Lima Beans. But, since Mom didn’t like them either, we usually didn’t get them on our plates. When we did…. we asked for Catsup.

Last night I threw together some bean-less chili out of just… what I had in the fridge at the time. It came out pretty good! Feel free to alter the ingredients. I used the basic Easy Autumn Chili recipe with some alterations.

Fresh Green Beans, Sweet Peppers, Onion, Radishes, Riced Cauliflower, and 1 lb of ground Elk is where I started. Then I remembered the spices and tomatoes. I used Chili Bowl, though this also works VERY well with Jambalaya mix, which I will have at this week’s Umpqua Valley Farmer’s Market.

Next, Throw it all in

and don’t forget the spices and tomatoes (Yum!)

Combine everything, and add about a cup of liquid. Broth, water, something else? Most anything will work well. Pop the lid on, pull down the latch, and with this puppy, cook for about 20 minutes on high in a 900w microwave.  This will also work in the CrockPot very nicely. Put it all together before work, add  a bit more than a cup of liquid there, and start. You’ll have dinner waiting for you when you get home.  Add some cheese, and sour cream, or just have it the way it is. Anyone with an InstaPot, Please chime in, I’d love to hear how the cooking method differs! Enjoy!


Umpqua Valley Farmers Market 10/13/18

Good Evening! This week we are going to have our usual 6 blends plus Chai! Last week, we sold out of the special batch of Greek so fast, I’m thinking of adding it to the regular lineup quicker than planned. Special orders are encouraged! I now have a jar large enough for a special order batch! (a 3-jar volume). Keep tuned, Jambalaya Mix Spice Blend  will be added to my lineup on a regular basis very soon!