Mixture

In the olden days, my mom would make what she called “mixture.” It had nuts and other crunchy, cereal-type stuff, some spices and a bit of chili oil. Mom is gone and I’m paleo now, but mixture still exists. Most recently I made some for my husband to take on a road trip and it was a hit. Here’s the recipe as requested:

Roast the following in a pan:

1/2 c raw pumking seeds,

1/2 c raw walnuts, 1/2c raw sunflower seeds,

a pinch of cumin seeds.

Fresh roasted is always the tastiest, so do it yourself in a skillet. Once they start making popping noises, turn of the heat and stir. Let them cool and put them in a large bowl.

Add the following:

1/4 cup raisins OR chopped prunes. (I like the prunes! They’re nature’s Gummy Bear),

1/4 cup dried goji berries

1/2 cup spicy/savory nuts like  Chilie Cashews or Tamari Almonds,

1T flax seed,

1 T chia seed,

1t Magic Mushroom Powder (or other choice seasoning),

a pinch of cayanne pepper,

Stir this up, then add 2 crushed handfuls of unsweetened plantain chips. I like the Trader Joe’s brand. They’re cheap and not too salty.

Once its all combined check it to see if it needs more seasoning. Store in airtight containers like glass jars or ziplock bags. Gobble at will. Then call your mom.mixture

 

Easy Chocolate Pudding.

Pudding. Not everyone likes it, but those who do know their options: instant, or the real stuff. The real stuff often includes things like egg yolks, cream and time – all of which you may not have when the pudding craving hits.

You may have already heard of this “new way” to make pudding, but I am here to promise you that it is freaking fantastic and you will never go back to the old way! All the benefits of instant, no waiting and probably with ingredients you keep at home all the time. Here we go.

First you will need to have two good sized, perfectly ripe AVOCADOS. Yes, I said avocados.

As long as they are not underipe (taste like bleach) or over-ripe ( taste like bananas with strings in them), the humble avocado is the perfect canvas for chocolate pudding.

  • Halve and peel 2 large avocados (or 4 teeny ones) and stick em in your blender or food processor.
  • Add:
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla, 2-3 T honey*
  • a splash of coffee if you have it (if not, add a pinch of cinnamon)
  • 1/4 tsp salt (adjust to taste)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder.
  • Use coconut water or almond milk to get it going in the blender – as little as you can get away with. You will have to stop and scrape and stir every now and then. But the whole process will take less than 10 minutes

Once its all blended and pudding-y, put it into a container and stick it in the fridge…but not before pouring some in a bowl to stick in your face right away.

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Avocado-Pudding FAQ’s:

Will it get darker tomorrow because it’s made of avocados?  Yes, but it won’t taste different and it’ll still look like chocolate pudding

How long will it take for it to get all black and gross? I dont know. Its only ever lived as long as 5 days in my house. I eat it all. It never went gross.

Can you use it as frosting? I sure a heck hope so

Can you use it as pie filling? I intend to.

Does this pudding make a “skin” like real pudding does? Becuase I love pudding skin. No, it does not. And stop talking to me. Pudding skin is gross.

*note: These measurements are ALL aprox. I do not measure or even think while I make this. I’m too busy listening to the circus music in my head. This is one of those things you make by feel. So, go ahead and make it, then adjust to taste. Honey is best to use because sugar would make it grainy. You could use agave nectar, maple syrup…etc.

Barz.

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One big thing about not eating grains is not having something to smear butter on or eat with coffee the way you can a muffin, english muffin, or other bread product. This can lead to sadness, which can lead to tears. And no one wants to see that. I make these bars now and then when I think I might have a dinner roll breakdown…or sometimes immediately after. Yes, its a recipe born from regret. Enjoy.

3 T flax meal

2-3 over ripe bananas

1-2 eggs depending on size

vanilla extract

1 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup hazelnut meal

butter and coconut oil to equal 1/2 cup, melted (the ratio is your call)

2T honey (so optional)

(also optional) 1/4 each: raw sunflower seeds, raw pecan pieces, raisins, frozen blueberries & cacao nibs (if you go crazy on any of these items, add a little more butter)

sea salt

dark, dark, chocolate – I’m not going to tell you how much.  Only you know the answer to that question. (leave chocolate out if you’d like to add butter when eating.)

a little more coconut oil.  you’ll see why.

  1. Oil a half sheet baking sheet with coconut oil. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Grind seeds, nuts, raisins, and cacao in blender or processor until marred, but not mealy.  You want recognizable chunks. Empty blender contents in a big bowl.  barz4
  3. Add flours and meal, and stir well.
  4. Now combine egg(s), vanilla, and bananas in blender.  Once blended add butter/oil mixture. Blend some more.
  5. Add wet to dry and stir until it’s a bit of a gooey glob. Press into the baking sheet with your hands and smooth out with a spatula. Bake for ….uh.. 30 min? Sorry, I forgot to keep track.  I just check and re-check until it looks dried out and bar-ish. When the house starts smelling like roasted nuts I turn the oven off and let them coast.
  6. Let the pan cool all the way. Combine chocolate with a little bit of coconut oil and melt in a pan over boiling water.
  7. drizzle melted chocolate in a Pollak-style design all over the bars. Sprinkle with sea salt.  Put the whole pan in the fridge for at least an hour before cutting into them. Store in a container in the fridge.  Eat for breakfast, snack, dessert, late night munchies… when you’re starving and too lazy to cook…etc.

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Big Stew

…not to be confused with “Pig Stew”, which I will cook the light fantastic when I retire and become a Hobbit. No, this stew is made from good ‘ol, grass-eatin’ cow meat. We get ours from a wide eyed loud-talking rancher named Mike. He delivers. (see earlier post “50 lbs of meat“) I must admit that we made this stew at my cousin’s house from a thing called a RE-ci-pe. Difficult to pronounce, I know – this foreign item is almost completely useless other than to suggest a pattern…glean a road, let’s say. You’ll be glad to know I made little changes here and there, but they were quite little and mostly due to lack of “advised” ingredients and/or general laziness. (I win!)

Here it is:

5 T olive oil

2 1/2 lbs beef chuck roast/steak cut into 1.5 inch pieces

1 onion, diced

2 carrots, chopped

1 small bunch parsley, chopped (big bunch if you love parsley)

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

4 crimini mushrooms, sliced

1 bay leaf

fresh or dried thyme

ground nutmeg (a “pinch”)

1 cup red wine

14oz chopped tomatoes undrained.  This is a standard, canned size.

1/2 cup stock (beef, chicken, or veg)

15 kalamata olives, halved or 1/2  small jar tapenade

salt and pepper

1 large sweet, red bell pepper cut into strips

Pre-heat your oven to 350. Get out your favorite one pot pot. Make sure it can go in the oven. Adjust your oven rack accordingly. (Use your mitts, cuz I had you turn the oven on. Sorry about that.) I have a Le Creuset pot that I think I can use for everything. I’m going to be buried in it.  Add half the oil, heat on low and add the meat. Brown until all browny. Remove only the meat. Leave the juicy goodness.

Big StewDrizzle remaining oil into pan. Think of your glowing skin, strong ligaments, and NOTHING ELSE. Add chopped onion and carrot. Continue to cook until they sparkle and shine and tell you its time to move on. Add the parsley and garlic and mushroom slices. When it sounds like applause, stir in nutmeg, bay leaf, and thyme. If you use fresh thyme, you may want to remove the leaves and toss the stems to avoid eating needles later. Totally up to you. Stir and cook for 3 minutes more. Add wine.

*A note about the wine. At my cousin’s house, there is no oh, we’ll-just-save-this-for-when-we-make-stew wine. Its all OHMYGOD-we-have-to-drink-all-of-this-before-we-die wine. And let me tell you: good wine makes good food. Its not wasting wine to cook with it. Don’t be a baby.

Once the wine starts to lose some of its purpley-ness, add the tomato. Let it return to a simmer, then put the beef back in.  Add the stock, and olives. OK, so that’s everyone, right? At this point I add black pepper, but not salt. Then I stir and stir and re-think my decision to not add salt and add much less than I think it needs.  I am intimidated by salting. As we all know, over-salting cannot be undone. (don’t start with the potato trick. It doesn’t work) So go light on it. There’s olives in there…and tomato…and stock…surely its plenty…ah, screw it – add more salt.

Put it in the oven for 1.5 hours. Take this time to lovingly wash, rinse, dry, and evenly slice your beloved bell pepper.  You have nothing better to do.

Take our your stew. Holy crap, that looks good. Now add the sliced bell pepper and stir. Put the stew back in the oven and turn the oven off. You can set the table, make a salad, do shots…whatever.  Leave it alone for 30 minutes.

Now you’re done. This stew needs no rice, noodles, corn bread or whatever else you may be tempted to make since your oven is on and you feel the need to “round out” the meal. Have two bowls of stew if you’re still hungry. This stuff will treat you right.  No belly-bloat. No regret burps. Enjoy…go ahead and finish that wine…and sleep the sleep of kings.

CROCK POT NOTE:

Could you throw all this stuff in your crock pot and leave the house and come back to something fantastic?

Probably.  But please, for the love of all things good, brown the meat first. It’s just the decent thing to do.

“Albergloss”

…that’s how a drunk person pronounces “apple sauce”, and once you try this apple sauce you will toast to yourself so ferociously that you, too will be wasted and tongue-tied. Once again the ease and simplicity of this recipe is due to that old, prudish crock pot. No, there is nothing sexy about a crock pot. Its “vintage” without the charm. Its for people who make their own glue. Its the beginning of a road that leads to throwing in the towel and wearing Crocks everywhere. That’s what I thought. I still do, but I don’t care. Its just too handy.

6 giant or 8-10 regular sized apples (get organic ones…why not?)

1/2 a lemon worth of juice

1/2 C water (take your bucket to the springs, why don’t ya?)

Squeeze lemon juice into a large plastic bowl, add water.

peel and core the apples (save the peels)

  • Cut the apples into 2 inch chunks and toss them in the lemon water, stirring now and again to coat.
  • Put everything in the crock pot (except for the peels) on low for 2 hours. Give it a toss after an hour or so. You can leave it up to 4 hours, but the longer you leave it, the darker it will get.
  • When it’s done, run it through your blender. Let it cool first if you must for safety, but not all the way. A small bowl of warm apple sauce is a comfort you don’t want to miss!
  • Resist the urge to add: cinnamon, sugar, honey, clove, blah, blah, blah…just TRY it plain and ordinary. The apple brought down mankind, for goodness sake…it doesn’t need cinnamon. IF YOU MUST MESS WITH IT, do so after it’s blended and only with 1/2 the batch. Then you can A/B and see how right I was.

Having said that…

What do I do with these peels you had me save?

Ah! Try this:

Toss the peels with 1/2 tsp cinnamon. Place on 2 cookie sheets with a silicone mats. Put in 350 oven for 10 min, then turn the oven off and let em coast. Once your apple sauce is done, these tasty, crunchy snacks will be waiting for you to scarf into your face before anyone even know about them. Or you can place them into a jar and give them to a friend while saying, “Guess what this is?”

a

They look like dried worms.

b

Kale to the Chip!

Kale chips.  Some say “Hooray”, some say, “Get a life!”

Why not just eat a potato chip?  Or a tortilla chip?  Or a hotdog with everything?

Because kale is good for you and you can make a pig of yourself eating it and only feel guilty about not sharing. This recipe for kale chips is somewhat involved, but you’ll be glad you did it. Its easy to adjust, make spicier or tangy-er, and everyone you know will love it.  It makes a wonderful gift for a friend heading off on a journey or a lone foodie trapped in a house of vegiphobes and cardboard harvesters (you know who you are).

Its cheap and easy to grow kale.  Mine survived drought and 100+ temps just by planting it in a bit of shade.  Blue dwarf kale and dinosaur kale improve in flavor after a frost or heavy snow. Or you can buy it in the store. Either way, choose fresh, raw kale and get plenty.  You’ll want to make a lot.

Ingredients:

Kale (2 bunches)

a large handful of raw cashews

2-3 cloves raw garlic

juice of 1 lemon

1/8 – 1/4 raw onion

1/2 a small tomato

2 T brewers yeast

Tabasco or your favorite chili sauce (1/2 – 1 tsp)

olive oil

salt

1. Soak cashews in just enough water to cover them for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Remove the thickest part of the rib in each leaf by pinching it by the back of the leaf and pulling it downward.  (Like opening a FedEx) Failure to do this will produce needle-like spines that poke your mouth. Wash kale and spin-dry.  Rip it into slightly larger than bite size pieces.

2. In your blender combine the following: cashews, lemon juice, tomato, garlic, onion, yeast, and chili sauce.  Blend until smooth.  Add a bit of the cashew water if you need help getting it going.

3. Now here’s the fun/gross part: pour this over the kale, put a few drops of olive oil on your hands, and massage it in. You want to cause tiny dents and folds in the kale so the coating gets all up in there. This coating not only adds to the savory-goodness of the chip, but adds much-needed structural integrity as well.

4. Pre-heat your oven to 200. Cover 2 baking pans with silicone mats or parchment (silicone is the best).  Lay the kale on the baking sheets.  Its ok if it overlaps, folds or otherwise is obstructed a bit, but don’t pile it on willy-nilly-without-a-care.  Sprinkle with salt.Place the kale in the oven. After about 10 minutes, turn the oven off.

5. Go have a shower. Then turn the oven back on to 200 again.  Turn if off after 10 minutes.

6. Clean your room or do some laundry.

Basically you don’t want to brown or cook the kale as much as you want to dry it out.  If you have a food dehydrator, even better; use it.  But if not, do NOT cook the kale at 350 for 20 minutes.  You will end up with giant flakes of fish food that turn to dust when bitten. Just manipulate your oven to hover from 120-180 all day.

7. Check your kale.  Some may be ready to flip. Continue with the on again/off again oven, checking and flipping as needed.  Your first batch may never make it on to a plate as you will want to taste them, they will be so good that you’ll eat them all.  Mine usually take about 5 hours.  I like to make kale on yard-work days.  I can dart into the house, turn on the oven, use the bathroom, get a glass of water, turn the oven off, and head back outside.  I do this every 35 – 40 minutes or so.  On the last step, I just turn the oven off and let them coast for an hour or more. One time I forgot about them and they cooled in the turned-off oven overnight and made for an amazing breakfast.  Yes, it takes all day.  Yes, it’s a pain in the butt. Yes, it’s totally worth it.

kale chips