Raised from Scratch

growing up outside the box: alternatives to processed food and television

Sweet ‘n Spicy! January 2, 2014

chili coconut cup

chili powder coconut cinnamon

almond-butter cup

Two takes on chocolate cups here: almond butter and spicy chili coconut. Both are fabulous and it’s fun to make multiple types. Variety is always appreciated in this house. I’m sometimes guilty of making small desserts because they’re easy to pop into my mouth before a-certain-someone-whose-chocolate-intake-should-be-limited walks into the kitchen and demands one as well. I try to be sneaky, but it rarely works (trying to sneak food is like trying to sneak a quickie – kids ALWAYS know and will ALWAYS interrupt no matter how preoccupied they seemed beforehand). Anyways, my “limiting” little Ella’s chocolate is often simply drawing the line at no chocolate right before bed. It’s easier to justify frequent indulgences when you only buy good seriously dark chocolate, or make it yourself. This is one of the easiest desserts I’ve ever made. EVER. TRY IT!! Make enough to share, and remember that extra spicy chocolate is far less likely to be gobbled up by a child. (Heh, guess I am still a little sneaky.)

Almond Butter Chocolate Cups

Makes about 15 mini cups

¼ cup coconut oil (liquid) – warm over low heat if your oil is cool and solid

¼ cup cocoa powder or raw cacao powder – sifted!

3-4 T. pure maple syrup

Unsweetened almond butter

Whisk together in small bowl until smooth.

Fill about 1/3rd of the mini candy papers with the warm chocolate. Place in freezer 5 minutes, until chocolate is set. Place a small amount of almond butter (¼ – ½ teaspoon) on cooled chocolate, and cover with additional warm chocolate. Return to freezer 10 minutes or until chocolate is set. Best stored in the freezer.

DONE! Welcome to chocolate nirvana.

Taste buds craving a kick like mine? Try this…

Spicy Chili Chocolate

Mix coconut oil, cocoa powder and maple syrup as instructed above. Forget the almond butter and instead add ¼ t. high quality chili powder and a generous dash of ground cinnamon to your warm chocolate before filling your mini candy papers. Sprinkle a tiny amount of the chili powder and unsweetened desiccated coconut (optional) before freezing if you like the look of it, or want to make it easy to identify which chocolate you’re about to eat, because I definitely recommend getting creative with this recipe and adding whatever spices excite you.

Thanks to This Rawsome Vegan Life for posting amazing desserts such as the Give Me Chocolate Almond Butter Cups which inspired this post. This site rocks so check it out if you’re looking for more healthy inspiration!

 

Roasted Beet & Fennel Lasagna December 31, 2013

Suitable for rock stars and 4-year old beet lovers alike. Okay, technically it was only taste tested by one rock star and one 4-year old… but Amanda F*ing Palmer and Ella F*ing Gaines are both badass, trustworthy ladies, and both heartily approved. I thought of naming this post something like “my house as a one star restaurant” or “a Rock Star is better than a Michelin” or something equally cheesy, but decided the cheese is definitely best left on the plate.

Amanda Palmer's 4 year old fan

orange beet macro

Roasted Beet & Fennel Lasagna with Cashew-Chard Pesto

4 large or 6 small beets

2 small fennel bulbs

Lasagna noodles

1 + cup cashews

4 garlic cloves

1 bunch swiss chard

1-2 cups fresh spinach

Olive oil, sea salt, pepper

6 oz goat cheese

8 oz mozzarella

Peel beets, slice ¼ – ½”  thick, coat with olive oil and salt on a sheet pan. Roast beets at 350 for about 20 minutes, flipping once.

Slice fennel ½” thick to yield about 2 cups. Lightly coat with olive oil and salt and roast on separate sheet pan 15 minutes or until soft, flipping occasionally.

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna noodles (GF Tinkyada pasta works fine).

Toast cashews, then transfer to a food processor with 4 garlic cloves, pulse until finely chopped. Add swiss chard and spinach, pulse until finely processed. Add olive oil until pesto looks fairly moist. Add 6 oz goat cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.

Shred 8 oz mozzarella.

Assembly:

Coat lasagna pan with a little olive oil

Noodles

Beets and Fennel

Pesto (it’s thick, just drop teaspoons of pesto on beets)

Mozzarella and black pepper

Repeat!

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until cheese is fully melted and beginning to brown around edges.

Thumbs up for beet lasagna

 

Time To Begin Again December 28, 2013

Filed under: Rants — annalope @ 2:40 am
Tags: ,

Well…I suppose it’s time to begin again. With 6 yellow notepads full of recipes and my camera’s 16 GB memory card completely full, I’m self-imposing a pause in production so some of what I’ve been doing can be shared with YOU.  And, by the way, THANK YOU for being here despite my 8 month absence from the blog. It seems I need these long term breaks from time to time. Not great for anchoring an audience, I know, but establishing a following was never my intent. I just wanted to share with whoever could benefit from my work. There are beautifully creative capabilities within all of us, and when I began this site a few years ago I know I was struggling to recognize my own and to find a way to share my talents with others. While spending two years in Chicago from 2011 to 2013 I was so focused on raising my little girl and helping my husband thrive in grad school that I neglected my own creative urges, and my spirit really suffered. So I closed the computer, tried to allow cooking to be compulsively fun again, looked for ways to heal and carry on. I moved to Portland, Oregon and spent most of my days outside exploring, in awe of my surroundings, photographing the natural beauty that existed beyond my home walls. I felt like I was slowly breaking out of a concrete full-body mold that had formed around me one day/one drop at a time over the course of my two year stay in Chicago. So slow I didn’t really know what was wrong or why I felt so low sometimes. Walking through redwood forests and happily soaking in Pacific Northwest rain showers brought my spirit back to life. Chicago is amazing in so many ways, but I was ready to leave it behind by March, when I coincidentally stopped feeling inclined to blog.

Fast forward. I’m living the last few days of 2013 fully loving my life again, believing in myself again, feeling empowered to share more art/create more art and propel myself to even happier places. Oregon is outrageously wonderful. It took me 30 years and 9 states to make it my home, and I am so incredibly content to finally be within its borders, surrounded by mountains and verdant forests. So here’s a sampling of my recent photography from the past six months. I hope you’ll understand why I’ve had trouble keeping the camera focused on food.

fern macro

hillside of tree roots

brown slug

oceanside beach

Silver falls state park

tree recliner

early morning fog over lake

 

Quinoa Cashew Dinner Salad April 9, 2013

Filed under: Gluten Free,Lunch/Dinner,Salads,Vegan — annalope @ 10:46 am
Tags: , , , ,

quinoa cashew salad

Sometimes my 3 year old is adamant that she does not like eating whole nuts, but cashews are the exception. I guess it’s because they are a fairly soft nut, easier to chew, and have a mild, sweet flavor. We liked snacking on these salted cashews so much (even though I nearly burned them because we were busy building a fort in the kitchen) that I had a hard time reserving any of them for dinner. If you don’t have millet you can use a full cup of quinoa, which is easier to find in stores these days. Did you know quinoa is the only grain that qualifies as a complete protein? Awesome stuff, easy to prepare and cooks a heck of a lot faster than brown rice.

 Quinoa Cashew Salad

Quinoa:

1 ½ cups water

½ t. sea salt

1 t. fresh thyme or ½ t. dried thyme

¾ cup quinoa, rinsed

¼ cup millet, rinsed

Use a sieve to rinse quinoa and millet in warm running water for about 60 seconds. Place in pot with 1 ½ cups water, salt and thyme, bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook 15-20 minutes until fluffy.

Cashews:

1 t. earth balance (can substitute coconut or olive oil)

Pinch of salt

½ cup raw cashews

In a medium stock pot or large saute pan, toast 3 minutes over medium heat, stirring frequently, then remove from pan.

Squash:

1 T. olive oil

½ butternut squash, peeled and cubed

1 large fuji apple, peeled, cored, cut into 12pieces and halved crosswise

¾ cup water

3 cups fresh spinach, rinsed, dried and roughly chopped

Salt and freshly cracked black pepper to taste

Dressing – whisk together:

2 t. apple cider vinegar

2 T. olive oil

1 T. molasses

Heat oil in the same pot used for cashews, cook squash 4 minutes, then add apple and water, cook 15 minutes until soft. Stir in spinach, cooked quinoa, and dressing. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Plate and top with toasted cashews.

kitchen fort

toasted cashews

 

Momma’s Morning Smoothie with Maca Boost April 7, 2013

Filed under: Breakfast,Gluten Free,Smoothies — annalope @ 3:07 pm
Tags: , , ,

What’s a better way to start your day than a poke in the eye and a toddler tugging the warm covers off your still exhausted body? This smoothie. Thanks to the Maca powder it will help balance some of those crazy unpredictable hormones that come along with motherhood (okay, womanhood) and make it a little easier to find your smile at whatever ungodly hour your human alarm clock has razed your slumber. Maca is a superfood grown in the Andes mountains and is known to support hormone balance, energy and libido. It has a sweet malt flavor that’s quite tasty in smoothies or a glass of almond milk.

Momma’s Morning Smoothie

8 oz unsweetened almond milk

1 banana, peeled and frozen

1 t. maca powder

¼ t. cocoa nibs (or substitute a little cocoa powder or 2 coffee beans)

2-3 T. almond butter

Generous sprinkle nutmeg

2 ice cubes (or more, depending on desired consistency)

Blend well. If you like it sweeter, add a little honey or agave nectar.

Sorry, no picture of the smoothie, but I did snap a picture of my little Ella enjoying my coffee as soon as I looked away. And for the record she rarely pokes me in the eye anymore 😉

Angel Ella steals coffee

 

Banana-Coconut Cake with Agave Frosting March 6, 2013

Gluten-free banana coconut cake

Last week I turned 30, and had one of the best carrot cakes EVER to celebrate. Made out of almond flour with raisins and walnuts, topped with coconut agave frosting, containing no gluten, dairy or refined sugar, it was deliciously satisfying and just what I wanted. Total dream cake for someone who loathes a major sugar crash and the subsequent cravings for another high. I have Elena’s Pantry to thank for posting that recipe, and for inspiring this new Banana-Coconut Cake out of a necessity to use up excess frosting which I simply couldn’t let go to waste. So if you use her frosting recipe too, scale it down if you only intend to make one cake.

You’ll notice below that my measurements for this cake are in ounces and grams because I’m trying to use my scale more often, especially when creating gluten-free baked products. It can make a big difference in the finished product, and really it makes it easier for me to record amounts when I’m eye-balling ingredients. I’ve tried to include standard cup measurements as well, but do recommend using your scale if you own one. There’s so little sweetener in this cake because the frosting provides plenty, but even on its own the cake is delicious and healthy. My 3 year old and I like it best featured at one of our frequent tea parties.

I ate my birthday cake to the tune of “Older” by They Might Be Giants, which reminds you with upbeat repetition “You’re older than you’ve ever been…and now you’re even older…now you’re even older…now you’re even older.” After I frosted my Banana Cake this week and sliced some for my little Ella she started singing the tune again, replacing “older” with “sweeter”. Hopefully it’ll make your day sweeter too.

gluten-free banana coconut cake

 Banana-Coconut Cake

Free of gluten, dairy, refined sugar

2 oz coconut oil (1/4 cup)

2 ripe bananas

2 ½ oz honey (3 ¾ Tablespoons)

2 eggs, room temperature

1 t. almond extract

95 grams oat flour (scant 1 cup)

18 grams buckwheat flour (2 ½ Tablespoons)

33 grams almond flour (5 ½ Tablespoons)

42 grams unsweetened shredded coconut (about ½ cup)

1/8 t. sea salt

1 t. baking powder

1 ½ oz chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350° and grease two 6” cake pans with coconut oil. (Or substitute with one 9” cake layer and make a few muffins if you have excess batter)

Warm coconut oil in a small saucepan until smooth and clear. Move to mixing bowl, add ripe bananas and honey and mix (hand mixer is sufficient) for 1 minute. Add the eggs and extract, mixing well.

In small bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Pour dry mix into the banana batter, mix well, then add chopped dates.

Pour into your two greased cake pans and bake 25 minutes or until skewer test is clean. Cool in pans 5 minutes, then place on cooling racks.

Frost after cooling completely (recipe link below) and store in refrigerator. *note that the frosting recipe will take about 2 hours to achieve the right consistency in the refrigerator, and a reminder that the Banana-Coconut Cake only requires less than half the original recipe

Agave Sweetened “Vegan Coconut Cream Frosting” Recipe from Elena’s Pantry

gf banana coconut cake

banana coconut cake

 

Beet Burgers with Millet and Salba Seeds February 9, 2013

Ellla eating beet burger

 Beet Burgers with Millet and Salba Seeds

based on recipe at Greenkitcenstories.com

½ cup millet, rinsed in hot water

1 cup water

¼ t. salt

Pinch fennel seeds, crushed

1 ½ large beets, peeled and grated

½ large zucchini, grated

1 large carrot, grated

½ red onion, very thinly sliced

3 eggs

1 salba egg (3 T. water combined with 1 T. salba/chia seeds and allowed to sit 10 minutes)

1 t. kosher salt

¼ – ½ t. black pepper

Olive oil for pan

Combine rinsed millet, water, fennel and salt in saucepan with tight-fitting lid. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to low and cook 15 minutes or until fluffy. Meanwhile prepare salba/chia “egg” by mixing the water and seeds in a small glass and allowing to it to sit and congeal for 10 minutes.

Combine vegetables (I used a mandoline to grate quickly) with all remaining ingredients in large bowl and mix well. Add cooked millet.

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan. Cook one test patty to see if salt/spices need to be adjusted, then cook 3 or 4 at a time, re-coating the pan with oil as needed. Cook about 3 minutes on each side.

Wonderful served on bread or pita with goat or cream cheese. We all loved these — Ella ate six of these patties for dinner!

 

New Orleans Granola with Roasted Chicory February 4, 2013

granola inside jar

close up single pecan

In America, chicory is not widely known or utilized in the kitchen, its primary use being a coffee additive. Chicory is a perennial tap root, similar to the dandelion, with stems that grow up to 3 feet in height. The leaves can be used in salads, and roots harvested while young and tender can be cooked like carrots or parsnips for vegetable dishes. To create the ground chicory Café Du Monde familiarized me with years ago, the cultivated root is sliced, dried and roasted before being ground. Adding it to coffee produces a darker, drier, more economical cup of joe. Though multiple trips to New Orleans’ Café Du Monde cultivated a nostalgic appreciation for the chicory used in their Café au Lait, I’m more of a coffee purist myself.

I didn’t sip my way through America’s finest small coffee roasters just to blend my favorite single origin finds with chicory, but I did acquire a small box of ground chicory as a gift at one time and it has been sitting neglected in my pantry. But I love how this granola turned out, and everyone I’ve shared it with wants more, so it’s time to share. Now I can reminisce about New Orleans at breakfast while keeping my Metropolis Coffee unadulterated.

Still curious about chicory root?

Sweet Maria’s coffee cupping reviews, where you can find freshly roasted imported chicory for $5/lb instead of the canned/boxed stuff that’s been sitting on your grocer’s shelf for who knows how long.

Botanical.com will tell you all about the plant’s history and uses.

 New Orleans Chicory Granola with Toasted Pecans

2 1/3 cups rolled oats

1/3 cup honey

2 Tablespoons molasses

¼ cup unsalted butter

2 teaspoons finely ground chicory root

½ teaspoon kosher salt

½ cup pecan halves

Preheat oven to 325°.

Place oats in a medium mixing bowl. Heat butter, honey and molasses in a small saucepan until melted and simmering, then immediately pour over oats. Add chicory, salt and pecans and stir until thoroughly combined.

Pour mixture in an even layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Allow to cool on sheet pan without stirring if you like some clumps in your granola.

After cooling, store in air-tight container for one week.

Recipe adapted from “Coffee Roasted Carrots with Chicory Granola” at splendidtable.org

Homemade Yogurt – it’s easier than you think!

We go through a lot of yogurt in our house, and prefer plain, organic whole milk yogurt (Stonyfield brand was my preferred choice before I began making my own), which gets expensive. A quart of Stonyfield costs me $4.99 at my local grocer, while organic whole milk costs $3.69 for a half gallon (yielding 2 quarts of yogurt). That’s a savings of $6.29.

I didn’t believe making yogurt would be quite so simple, but if you’re a yogurt lover, give it a try and you’ll probably be as pleasantly surprised as I was. My homemade yogurt tastes sweeter and less acidic than store-bought.

Here’s a wonderful step-by-step guide with illustrations which I used to get started. Expect to spend 20-30 minutes in your kitchen, then 7-8 hours of allowing your yogurt mixture to sit and cultivate before chilling.

How To Make Yogurt Step-by-Step Guide

 

Easy Peasy Clay Ornaments December 21, 2012

food dye coloring before drying

heart clay ornament

assorted homemade clay ornaments

We’ve been making these ornaments for weeks now – all from one batch of clay. Apparently the clay mixture will stay malleable so long as it is refrigerated. I haven’t tested this to the full extent and don’t know at what point you’d have to throw it out, but we’ve had some clay for over two weeks that we can still pull out of the refrigerator any time we feel like making an ornament or two. It definitely makes a good project to keep on hand for kids over the holiday break, and it’s one in which even toddlers can participate.

To color these ornaments I experimented with food dye (which I never use in food) and tempera paint. The food dye was fun to work with and use as a watercolor paint, but the colors fade a lot after the clay dries, so ultimately I recommend using real paints in place of, or in addition to food dye. Glitter glue worked quite nicely to jazz up some of the plain ornaments, and we got creative using wires, string and beads to make hangers.

multicolored paint swirl ornament

cooking christmas clay ornaments 1

To make clay, combine in a medium saucepan:

2 cups baking soda (1 box)

1 cup cornstarch

1  1/2 cups water

 

  • Stir frequently with a wooden spoon while cooking over medium heat about 10 minutes, then stir constantly another 5 minutes until dough is too thick to stir with a spoon. Remove from heat.
  • Once cool enough to touch, knead dough by hand until smooth, about 3-5 minutes. If you want dyed clay, add food coloring while kneading. Keep wrapped in plastic until ready to use. Store any clay intended for future use tightly wrapped in the refrigerator.

cooking christmas clay ornaments 2

flourless clay after kneading

Above: What clay should look like after kneading

Below: Ella mixes green food coloring into her clay

making green flourless clay

  • To cut ornaments: gather cookie cutters, a rolling pin, some extra cornstarch to dust cutting surface, something to poke a hole in your ornament (toothpick or chopstick work well), and a cookie sheet to place ornaments to dry. You can roll your clay directly on the plastic wrap you kept it moist in, or a cutting board works well.
  • Generously dust work surface with cornstarch. Roll out clay to desired thickness (no thinner than 1/4 inch and I’d recommend erring on the thick side because we broke a few of ours), cut with cookie cutters, re-roll extra clay and repeat as many times as necessary. Use cornstarch to keep cookie cutters and rolling pin from sticking to the clay. After forming ornaments, poke a hole in each before allowing to dry.
  • Ornaments will take between 1 and 2 days to fully dry if left at room temperature! Or you can bake them at 250 F for about 1 hour. 

cutting ornaments

cut ornaments left to dry

Above: poking holes in ornaments left to dry on cookie sheet
Below: Ella uses food coloring to “paint” her ornaments before allowing them to dry (color will fade after drying)

painting with food dye

painting with tempera

Above: Ella uses tempera paints for dried snowflakes

assorted clay ornaments heart stamps

Above and below: what painting with food coloring looks like while clay is still damp

Ella's ornaments dyed with food coloring

yellow and red circle ornaments snowflake cutouts

glitter glue ornaments

Above: ornaments were decorated with silver glitter glue after allowing painted ornaments to dry completely

2012 snowflake ornament on tree

Above and below: stamps can be used to imprint ornaments while clay is still damp. I wrapped green ribbon around an empty ribbon spool and used crafting wire to hang this ornament.

2012 snowflake ornament

Below: assorted ornaments with wire hangers and decorative beads

line of snowflake ornaments

 

Original inspiration for clay ornaments from: Busy Bee Kids Crafts

 

Gettin’ Crafty For Christmas! December 4, 2012

SONY DSC

button snowflake ornament

It can be hard to find crafts that are truly appropriate for a toddler’s attention span. I tend to plan too much and end up helping more than I anticipated, but this ornament is not overly ambitious, and it was recently tested on 4 toddlers while I hosted a Christmas crafts and cocoa playdate. I do wish I hadn’t been so wrapped up with hosting that I neglected to take pictures of the kids’ snowflake creations because they were simply beautiful, with globs of glitter glue, colorful pom-poms, sparkly gold and silver stars, bells and assorted buttons. Here I just have two ornaments to show you, mine and Ella’s, though we might make more before Christmas arrives because this craft project is so easy and so much fun.

dating ornaments with stamps

I hope to someday have a tree full of homemade and memory filled ornaments adorning our tree, so dating them seemed appropriate. Our set of little alphabet and number stamps have come in so handy this past year – from making birthday cards, practicing the alphabet, and making impressions on clay to now dating our lovely popsicle snowflakes.

homemade popsicle snowflake ornaments on tree

Step 1: Glue 3 popsicle sticks, painted or plain, into snowflake design (I used a glue-gun but craft/tacky glue should work too).

Step 2: Use craft/tacky glue to attach buttons, pom-poms, confetti, beads, bells, etc. If you want to hang the ornament from a button, leave the holes of one button exposed at one end of your snowflake.

Step 3: After allowing time for the glue to dry, tie a colorful string to your button, or glue wire or ribbon to make a hanger.