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In the Kitchen — Page 5

In the Kitchen

The adventure with black raspberries yielded us not only a ton of yummy goodness to eat straight from the basket, but also some new summer treats to indulge in. There is a unique taste to black raspberries that I fell in love with yesterday, an earthy flavor that is distinct from any other berry out there. The boys were intent in turning the fruit into popsicles, I was excited for the first jam of the season (how is that possible?), and I was pretty sure that Landon wanted nothing more than his first ice cream cone.

The nice thing about picking a lot of berries? We all got exactly what we wanted.

The ice pops were the first recipe we came up with, and they were also the first gone from the fridge. Avocado, raw chocolate, yogurt and berries combined for a thick treat that was perfect as the warmest weather of the afternoon descended. I have to admit that I have not made a ton of popsicles this year, but I do enjoy the smiles that they bring my kiddos. A sprinkler and a good ice pop seem to make every hot day more bearable, and certainly encompass what I hope they remember from the lazy days of the season.

I have been using avocado more and more in recipes these days, thanks to Heather’s e-courses. I am finding that although the boys do not enjoy them straight up, avocados are the perfect sweet treat to thicken up many a recipe. I also love the fact that their taste is almost unrecognizable when mixed with other ingredients, making them a healthy and appealing alternative.

These are a very thick pop, and a perfect mid-day pick me up snack for child and adult alike. You can substitute almost any fruit in place of the black raspberries, and simply enjoy whatever is in season.

Black Raspberry, Raw Chocolate and Yogurt Popsicles

Print Recipe

1 cup plain coconut milk yogurt (almond, greek or plain yogurt can be used as well)
1 cup black raspberries
1 tbsp honey
1 avocado
2 tbsp. raw cocoa powder

Place all of your ingredients into a high powered blender or food processor, and process until smooth. Pour into ice pop molds, leaving a 1/2″ of space to the rim. Freeze for at least 4 hours, or overnight.

When one goes berry picking, the first inclination is always to make jam. I love jam. I am one of those crazy people who would eat it by the spoonful if allowed. I am also, however, one who hates store bought jam of any kind. I mark my calendar for the few short weeks that certain berries and fruits are available here in the Rockies, and I savor the hours spent putting by rustic fruits for the coming cold months ahead. One of the best parts about making jam is finding unique flavors to spice things up a bit, and give a classic recipe a new twist.

This year it was basil. I am going to be dead honest here, Joel and I are the only ones to taste this recipe, so if you make it, please let me know what you think. The combination of raspberries, basil, and orange zest was light and perfect for a plain piece of toast or some gluten free flat bread with brie. A small amount of herbs in jam can go a long way, and can help to bring a savory aspect to the inherent sweetness of jams.

Black Raspberry and Basil Jam

Print Recipe

4 cups of black raspberries, rinsed and dried.
3/4 cups honey
Zest of one orange
2 tbsp fresh orange juice
2 tsp pectin (optional)
3 tbsp. basil, chopped fine

Place your berries in a pot (preferably one that is non-reactive). Mash the berries gently with a potato masher, or the back of a spoon. I like a chunkier jam, but you can always mash them all the way down if you prefer).
Add the honey, orange zest, and orange juice and allow to come to boil over medium heat. Once the jam has cooked to a boil that can not be stirred down, you can add pectin if you choose. This was my first time using pectin for jam, and I liked the results. However, I rarely find it to be necessary, and it can easily be omitted. Cook for another 5 minutes, then turn heat off, and stir in the basil. Can according to your preferred method.

I am not a huge ice cream lover, I wasn’t growing up, and I have never acquired much of a taste for it. My boys, however, take right after their father, and they would sell me out for a good cup of peanut butter and chocolate swirl.

Of course, being both gluten and (mainly) dairy free doesn’t always lend itself to finding the best ice cream in the stores. A few years back I bought an ice cream maker for a cookbook I was working on, and in recent months I have brought it out with more frequency. I wasn’t sure where to start with alternatives to milk and cream, but I came across a recipe that I fell in love with for the boys that uses almost no sweetener (I omit it completely), and that has the addition of bananas to thicken it up. The only ingredient that I added was 1 cup of black raspberries, and Landon got the chance to taste test his very first ice cream cone.  Jacob and I stumbled upon GF sugar cones for the first time last week, and you would have thought that we had found the Ancient Mysteries. To say we were excited was a drastic understatement.

The berries have now been eaten, jammed, frozen, stirred, mashed and enjoyed. This is going to be a very good summer indeed.


A Breakfast Blend

June 28, 2012

So many of you have emailed after hearing the news of the devastating wildfires that have hit Colorado. Thank you so much for your concern for all those affected by this. Fort Collins has just come through a two week blaze that left 257 people without a home, 90,000 acres burned, and 1000’s of firefighters on the line. We are now 75% contained, and sending our prayers to those in Colorado Springs who may well see the most tragic and unprecedented fire in our state’s history. What those folks are dealing with is a shock and a heart break, and if I may ask, any prayers or thoughts would be so appreciated. With between 8 and 10 fires burning in Colorado, we have a lot of support, recovery, and clean up to lend to our beautiful state in the coming months ahead. Again, thank you for your caring thoughts. 

A few weeks back, during one of Jacob’s soccer tournaments, my oldest son had a revelation. He realized that all of his mother’s incessant talk about green smoothies was not, in fact, just talk. You see, Jacob was in the middle of his third game of the day (and home for lunch), when we got into a discussion of how the food he was about to put into his system was going to fuel him for the hours of play ahead. We made a small piece of salmon, a few cut up pieces of fruit, and of course, a green smoothie. He was sure that the fuel talk was just my way of getting him to drink every last drop.

He got out onto the field and scored a very respectable 2 goals. His father (who is also his coach) quickly gave credit to the green smoothie. Thinking that he would laugh it off as we were, he surprised us by asking me to get everything that I needed from the store to make him one the following morning before he took the field.

Of course I didn’t think anything of this new found love of drinking spinach until he scored not 1, not 2, but 5 goals in the game. You know what is coming next, right? A green smoothie EVERY day, and one right before any games, track meets or swimming events. What started out as a way to just get him to drink a smoothie without much complaint has become a daily affair and a true belief that his performance is based on drinking that magic elixir.

Now I am not sure if the green smoothie is actually causing his rise in athletic performance, but really, what do I care? The boy is drinking a handful of spinach, fruit, vitamins and minerals every day without complaint. I’ll take it and call it whatever he would like.

A few years back I came across a breakfast blend that I fell in love with at Vitamin Cottage. It was a blend of nuts, seeds and Spirulina, and it gave our smoothies, as well as out yogurt, a nutty flavor and a great boost of protein. Very shortly after I began using it, all of the stores in town stopped carrying it. I asked the grocer why, and all that they could tell me was that at $22 a bag it was not a high seller (I think that is a valid point, don’t you?). The idea of having on hand a quick blend that would give my smoothies an extra punch was pretty inviting, and I decided to try and create my own. I used the blend as a base, and added what we had and what we needed to it over time.

Breakfast Blend

Print Recipe

1/2 c raw almonds

1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds

1/2 cup hemp seeds

1/4 cup golden flax meal

3 tbsp chia seeds

4 tbsp Spirulina

3 tbsp dried fruit powder

Start with 1/2 cup of raw almonds and a 1/4 of a cup of raw sunflower seeds. Put these into the food processor and blend until a fine meal occurs. In a separate bowl, add 1/2 cup of hemp seed, 1/4 cup of golden flax meal (this can be ground in a clean coffee grinder, free of coffee residue), 3 tbsp of chia seeds, 4 tbsp spirulina, and 3 tbsp. of dried fruit powder (we love Berry Green from New Chapter). Add your ground nuts and seeds to the bowl, and place into a mason jar with the lid screwed on tight. Shake until fully blended, and refrigerate. Use a heaping tbsp. per person.

This blend can be added to with spices, shredded coconut, probiotics, and other nuts and seeds. I try and make only enough for one week at a time to keep it at it’s freshest.

There are tons of green smoothie recipes on the Internet that are available to try and enjoy. Pinterest has a variety of recipes to choose from, and a simple Google search will yield more than one would want to go through in a lifetime.