Thursday, March 31, 2011


As you may have noticed, I love maple syrup.  I use it whenever possible, and love substituting it for sugar whenever I can in recipes.  Our house is always stocked with it, and in fact, I start to get anxious when we run out.  So, it only makes sense that we would try our hand at harvesting our very own sap to make maple syrup.  To our dismay, we only have three (small) maples on our property.  That hasn't stopped us from purchasing three spiles and tapping away.  Going around to each tree to empty the buckets of sap is one of the highlights of my day.  Right now, all the sap is gathering in our fridge until the weekend when the big boil down occurs.......

Did you know that maple sap makes for a refreshing beverage right out of the tree?  Oh indeed!  And so even without a chemical analysis of it, I can pretty much guarantee it is full of electrolytes and life giving energy to give you just the boost you need this spring.  If drinking it straight up isn't your thing, try replacing it for water in your favorite recipes....oatmeal, coffee, tea and more!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011


All the excitement over the first signs of spring have inspired me to start sprouting again.  I seem to go in phases when it comes to sprouting.  I think sprouts are especially good in the spring, as their vibrant energy helps our bodies get in gear for the warmer weather.  Growing your own sprouts is farming essentially, only you do it indoors, which also makes them great winter crops to supplement the heavier fare of winter. I could go on and on about sprouts, but instead I'll just share you an excerpt from my new book!  Yes, that's right I am writing a book which is almost complete!  So exciting.  All I can say about it now is that it is basically a renegade homemakers guide to living.......will keep you posted on it's developments as they unfold..
Sprouting is a wonderful and easy way to grow some of your own food year round.  Not only are sprouts tasty, they are very nutritious.  Sprouts are concentrated natural sources of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, trace minerals, amino acids and proteins.  Growing your own sprouts reduces the amount of packaging that store bought ones come in, not to mention the carbon footprint associated with shipping fresh produce to stores.  Homegrown sprouts are also always fresh, and a rewarding experience to grow!
What can be sprouted?
Although most people are only familiar with alfalfa sprouts and asian bean sprouts, there are so many wonderful sprouts you can grow:
* alfalfa
* broccoli
* lentils
* radish
* red clover
* mung beans

There are so many ways to sprout seeds, depending on the tool you use.  I personally prefer sprouting in a glass mason jar and in a specially designed sprouting tray that has perforated hole in the bottom.  When I am growing sunflower sprouts, I start the seeds in a mason jar and then transfer them to a tray filled with soil.

1. Soak the Seeds: Not all seeds require this step. If they do, fill the jar with seeds and water, twirl the water in the jar, pout water out and repeat until the water runs clear.  Fill the jar with cool water and leave to soak for 8-12 hours.
2. Rinsing and Draining: Drain the water out of the jar, fill it with cool water, twirl the water.  Pour off the water and repeat once or twice more.  Rinse 2-3 times daily.  When you are done rinsing, you need to get as much of the water out of the jar as possible.  Turn the jar over and shake until all the water is gone.
3. Sprouting: Place the jar face down at an angle between the times you are rinsing and draining.  You can use a dish rack or high-rimmed bowl for this purpose.  Be sure that the jar is placed in a low light area.  When the sprouts are done and big enough to eat, you can move them to a brighter area of your kitchen, but never in direct sunlight.  Placing them in more light will cause the leaves to turn green, which is a good thing.  Refrigerate the sprouts to slow the growth rate and keep them fresh until you eat them.


Growing sprouts in a tray is very similar to growing them in a jar.
1. Soak the seeds in a jar as outlined above.
2. Rinse and drain the seeds in the sprouting tray.  The perforated holes will allow the water to drain out.  Be sure all the water is removed from the tray.
3. Cover the tray with a damp cloth in a dimly lit part of your kitchen.  Be sure to rinse and drain 2-3 times a day.
4. Sprouting: When the sprouts reach the desired height, remove the cloth and move them to an area of the kitchen with more light to green off your plants.  When done, store sprouts in a container in the refrigerator.


The difference between sprouts and greens is that sprouts are eaten root and all, whereas greens are harvested and you only eat the greens!  Greens also differ from sprouts in that they require soil to grow.
The most popular greens to grow are sunflower, buckwheat, and pea.
1. Pre-Sprout the Seeds: Most seeds need to be soaked and pre-sprouted until they grow a root of about 1/8-1/3-inch long.
2. Growing Medium:  Fill a shallow tray with organic potting soil.  It is not necessary that the tray have holes.  Spread the seeds evenly over the moistened soil.  Store the tray in low light at room temperature.  Water lightly every morning until the greens are 2-3 inches long.
3. Sun Your Plants: Move the tray to a well-lit area out of direct sunlight.  They should be ready in a few day.
4. Harvest: Use scissors to cut the greens off above soil level.  Store them in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat them.  Some of the sprouts may not be ready to harvest yet, so just let them grow some more.  You will be able to harvest a few times before all the seeds are spent.

The increase in popularity of juice bars, raw foods, and healthy living has introduced people to the benefits of grass juices.  You have probably heard of wheatgrass juice, the very concentrated green liquid often consumed straight up like a shot, or mixed into smoothies.  Wheatgrass juice is believed to help cleanse the lymph system, restore balance in the body, help remove toxic metals from the cells, and restore vitality.  In addition to wheat, many people grow and juice other grains like spelt, rye, and barley.
The best way to juice grasses are with a hand-cranked or automatic wheat grass juicer that acts as a press that slowly extracts the juice from each blade of grass.  Using a wheat grass juicer is preferable because it does not destroy the enzymes with high speed.  Grasses are grown exactly the same way as greens, but must be consumed and juiced immediately, or very shortly after harvesting.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Happy Spring Equinox!  After a long winter of hibernating and gestating, I am so glad spring is here.  To celebrate the first day of spring, the sun shone brightly and I cleaned my house.  Nothing says spring like a little spring cleaning.  Oh, and nothing says spring like fresh local spinach at the Farmer's Market.  I can't tell you how excited I was to see that.  To top off my excitement about the spinach, I was delighted to see it being sold in bulk, so no plastic bag!  Woo hoo.  I filled a paper bag and have been happily consuming spinach at every meal thus far.  Spinach in my crepes this morning, spinach in my tomato salad last night, spinach salad for supper tonight......mmmmmmmm spring.  Oh, I also came home from the market with some local, pesticide free, greenhouse tomatoes yesterday too.  I can't wait to see what else is in store at the market next week.  But until then, I am content to still eat winter squash.  It shined tonight next to our Equinox feast of Lemon Chicken and Spinach Salad.  That is the beauty of spring.  Just as the days are still sometimes gray and cold, the sun still feels that much warmer.  The gradual shift from winter to summer is what spring is all about, and so our diet should reflect this too.  The slow emergence of spring's bounty mingles beautifully with the last few remains of fall's harvest.

SPINACH SALAD with a Yogurt Pear Vinaigrette

1/2 pound local organic spinach, washed and torn
1 organic carrot, grated
a sprinkle of organic sunflower seeds
3 Tbsp organic whole milk yogurt
2 Tbsp e.v olive oil
1 Tbsp organic pear cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp local honey
sea salt and pepper

Method:  Whisk the yogurt, oil, vinegar, honey, sea salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Drizzle it on salad.  Serve.


4 organic chicken thighs
1 clove organic garlic, minced
juice of half an organic lemon
3 Tbsp e.v olive oil
1 Tbsp dried organic oregano
sea salt and pepper

Method:  Preheat oven to 375*.  Marinate chicken pieces in the lemon juice, olive oil, and oregano in the fridge for 2-4 hours.  When ready to cook, sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Drain the chicken from the marinade and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes or until juices run clear and skin is browned.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I really miss my blog.  It has been so long since I've posted any new recipes and updates on my life.  But we've been a little busy baking a baby.  And he's here!  Welcome Jude, we just want to eat you up.  As you can imagine, life is a little hectic here at times with two wee ones to take care of.  We are slowly getting into a rhythm, but sadly making exciting food is last on the list of things to do.  We've been finding ourselves eating leftovers for a few days actually, so I've spared you the details of those fancy meals.  The other day I managed to fry up some bacon, slather a couple of croissants with dijon, melt cheese and slice apple for some lunch sandwiches, which I then had to eat with a crying baby in a sling as I dropped croissant flakes all over him as I ate standing up.  I didn't even have a chance to change the lens on my camera to get a good picture.......I am going to share it with you nonetheless....