Make time to eat!

It’s not unusual for me to get so absorbed in what I’m doing, I forget to eat. Well, okay, that’s not entirely true. I neglect to eat. Like today. Here it just after 1 in the afternoon and I’m finally having something! My growling stomach should’ve forced me into the kitchen hours ago.

At least I’m making up for it by having a blast of nutrients in the form of a freshly made juice. I ventured into the garden this morning and harvested the last of my brussel sprout plant leaves. In a post I published earlier in the gardening season, I mention these lovely greens. They’re fabulous! I LOVE them!

I’d only considered consuming them when I realized I wouldn’t actually get sprouts. I was thrilled to learn the leaves are edible and even more thrilled when I found out how mild in flavor they are. It’s also late in the year for having anything still alive in my garden (in fact, the only other veggie I have yet to pick is kale) and these aren’t showing any ill effects of the cooler weather or frequent rain. I will absolutely be planting these again next year even if I never get sprouts. I highly recommend trying them. They’re an incredibly sturdy plant and the leaves aren’t dainty in any way. Torrential rains simply shed off them like water off a duck’s back (not that I’ve ever seen water shedding off a duck’s back).

They’re great cooked in a stir-fry with garlic slivers, onions and red, orange and/or yellow bell peppers. Add a can of black beans and some seasonings (if you like, I don’t bother) and a diced tomato or two. Roll up in a homemade, whole wheat tortilla. Yummy! Or try them thinly sliced in a mixed greens salad. You probably won’t even know they’re in there but you’ll reap their benefits. (Hey! I used ‘they’re’, ‘there’ and ‘their’ all in one sentence and I did it correctly). And, of course, use them in juicing. Smoothies too, although I have not done so yet.

I picked 38 leaves today, in various sizes since I was taking all I could get. I’m sad gardening season is over. However, I do enjoy winter so I will get over my sadness 🙂

As you can see, my sprouts really didn’t yield anything worth saving. They’re smaller than a green pea, lol.032Fortunately, the leaves made up for any effort I went to by starting the plants from seed. 033035

Aren’t they beautiful? Green as can be and no damage from bugs. I mean not ONE single bug hole. I wouldn’t care if there were anyway. I’m just loving these leaves so much I could go on and on about them 🙂

I used 12 smaller ones in my juice and the rest will go in the fridge to be used soon in the above mentioned stir-fry. Trust me. If you can plant brussel sprout plants, even if you detest brussel sprouts (how could you??), please give them a try. You can never go wrong eating more leafy greens. And variety is fantastic!

My apple and brussel sprout leaf juice was wonderful. A bit foamy but sweet and refreshing.

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Now I’ll have a meal of homemade soup (cooked on my wood stove to see if I could use it rather than my electric range) and a homemade sourdough bun. And I’ll remember to have breakfast tomorrow.

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Wild Mushrooms

I love mushrooms! But my experience of them has been limited to what I can buy in the grocery store; white, cremini and portabello. This year has been an incredibly bountiful growing season. My brother-in-law just picked the last of the wild blueberries a few days ago. I’m going rosehip picking later today.

Foraging for wild food is new to me and I’m quickly becoming infatuated with it. And when I say foraging I mean really going gung ho. As in having enough of something to last until the following harvest. Sure, I’ve gathered the odd container of blueberries or raspberries and lots of fiddleheads but I never appreciated that I had an opportunity to preserve them for months worth of enjoyment.

I can’t wait for fiddleheads next May. I’m going to fill my freezer with them! I missed them the last 2 years in a row only because I’m chicken for going in the bush alone. My sister has no interest in going with me. Not that she’d be much help if something happened anyway! lol

Now I want to learn about wild mushrooms. I’ve never bothered to educate myself because the fear of ending up with something poisonous stuck in my head.

However, when I spotted this mound of mushrooms in my yard, I decided it’s time to wise up! IF I can eat these mushrooms . . . . I’ll be one happy camper. This thing is the size of a soccer ball!

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023024The orange mushrooms are rather odd looking and kind of scare me 🙂 I’ll find out what kind they are. Google is my usual source for information and that’s what I’m doing straight after publishing this post.

If anyone has insight to share, it would be greatly appreciated!

 

Movie Review – Interstellar

It’s 2:46 a.m.

I’m tired but wanted to share this information while an opinion was fresh in my mind.

I just watched Interstellar, a sci-fi thriller that took almost 3 hours of my life. Dramatic, eh? I don’t have a television. I haven’t for years. It was a choice. And I like it that way. I’m never tied to the tv.

If I want to view something, it’s via Netflix, if it’s on Netflix.

Earlier today, or yesterday technically, I completed season 4 of Longmire. And had to search for a new tv show. I ended up choosing a movie instead. And I only picked it because it starred Matthew McConaughey. I’m very out of touch with movies because I don’t have tv and I don’t keep current with “Hollywood business”. I had no idea what this movie was about prior to watching it.

My opinion of Interstellar is this:

  • not necessarily boring (there was a brief moment when I considered fast forward)
  • not necessarily exciting
  • perhaps it was too long
  • but I’m not sure it could have been shorter
  • I haven’t determined if it was a complete waste of my time yet
  • I have ambivalent feelings about it
  • I don’t know if I’d recommend it.
  • however, the fact that I didn’t turn it off after the first 20 minutes does say something
  • I AM glad I didn’t pay to see this in the theater or by renting it (is there even a “rent it” anymore?)

A movie review like no other! 🙂

I’m confident it will be far different from Matthew M fans and maybe I’m writing this too soon, maybe I watched the movie too late, maybe I should let myself absorb it all. But I’m going to hit “publish” anyway!

And now I’m off to b e d. I’ll be back soon with a riveting rosehip post!

Applesauce. . . . again :)

I made vegan, 100% whole grain pancakes today. 006I wanted a treat and that was my choice. I’ve made them before so it’s nothing really new. But I did switch one ingredient for another.

Guess what I used instead of non-dairy milk?

Yes! Applesauce! 🙂

Some of you may be aware I’ve gone apple crazy recently. 029

I made applesauce from the crab apples I picked from my very own tree. Over 20 years I’ve lived here and just now it occurred to me to try applesauce! Duh.

I found two more trees to raid and made MORE applesauce. One last huge pot of apples and I’m done. It’s fabulous to have free applesauce filling my cupboard. 100% organic and I know exactly what’s in it and WHO touched it.

I got to thinking of ways to use applesauce. Even when I did eat pork chops, I never paired them with applesauce like many people do. Eating applesauce on it’s own. . . doable but not my thing, kind of boring. In baking is pretty much it for me. I used it successfully in a scone recipe 024and then had no more ideas.

So I Googled “vegan applesauce desserts” and literally made the first cake recipe I found. And then I made it a second and a third time! It’s that good and so super simple. I even replaced some of the flour for cocoa powder and made a chocolate cake!

I never took pictures, the cakes disappeared too fast. I will say, my fussy sister liked it, so it must be tasty!

Today, because I’m out of non-dairy milk, I attempted pancakes with applesauce. It worked! In my opinion anyway. I’ve gotten used to whole grains and I understand they will never be as fluffy as white flour versions and I don’t care. 007

I avoid white flour. It’s been bleached. It’s been stripped of it’s nutrients and then had them added back in (??). White flour is useless. Evil. We only use it because we believe we have to, that other flours won’t work, we’ve become accustomed to the white stuff.

I know from experience that whole grains CAN replace white flour. And now I also know applesauce can replace non-dairy milk in the case of my scones, chocolate cake and pancakes 🙂 010

It looks like a lot of pancakes but they were small (that fork is for serving so it’s BIG), I piled all of them on the plate for picture taking purposes and I did share.

With my dogs. . . . . .they approved.

Apples!

One of my favorite fruits is apples. Not Granny Smith. Not Macintosh. Gala apples to be specific. If I don’t have them in my fridge for a while, I end up craving them. I love finishing off a meal with a cold, crisp, juicy apple. I want one right now!

I recently made apple sauce using the crab apples from the tree in my front yard. It was the first time I’d ever made apple sauce from crab apples and the results impressed me enough to find someone else’s crab apples to pick although I still have plenty of my own 🙂 007

I’ve gone slightly apple crazy.

For the past several months, organic apples have been hard to come by in the grocery store and when they are there, the price is the highest I’ve ever seen! Over 7 dollars for a 3 pound bag!

All of these free apples have been wonderful to discover for multiple reasons; they’re organic, no packaging, no shipping to get them to me, they’re fresher than anything I’d buy in a store and I’m saving what would otherwise go to waste. And they’re FREE. (I had to mention it again because it’s so awesome). I can eat ’em, juice ’em and make apple sauce galore!

I’m in apple heaven.

I found more than my one, lonely tree to harvest from. Only they weren’t crab apples. While still significantly smaller than store bought, these are much larger than my crab apples.020

I have no idea what variety they are but there are 2 different kinds. One is red and the other is the palest, barest shade of yellow. I was picking the red ones, ignoring the yellow, until a bird flew out of the tree and scared the bejesus out of me. I’m sure the neighbors heard me screech 🙂

I wasn’t sure if there were more birds in the tree, and not wanting to disturb them, I moved on to the other apple tree. The one with the oddly pale apples. I’d assumed they were unripe perhaps. I tasted one to see if it was any good.

And was thrilled with how perfectly delicious it was!! Like OMG delicious!

I’m going back for more later today. Crisp, juicy, sweet. Perfect. BIGGER than my dinky, ‘get-a-cramp-in-my-hand-from-cutting-them-up’ but still lovely crab apples. 032And they have full approval from Charlotte as well 🙂

I can’t ever get away with sneaking an apple around her. She appears magically and waits for her share.

I wish I could identify these ones.

And I wish the person who allowed me to pick them wasn’t selling his house. . . . . Three years I’ve known him and just this year I discovered his apples!!

Observation skills definitely lacking.

024Those two red apples are mine. You can clearly see why I’m so excited about these other apples. If I don’t eat all the yellow ones, they’re going to make the prettiest, sweetest apple sauce.

I’ll pick some for my sister too. She’s lucky if they actually make it to her place! 🙂

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100% whole grain, vegan apple raisin scones

Sometimes I really impress myself. Today is one of those days! 🙂

I’m sitting here munching on my 3rd (yep) homemade scone. I literally took them out of the oven not more than half an hour ago. I called my sister first to tell her the exciting news (lol) and then sat down to write this post.

My brother-in-law, Mark, is a man who actually cooks and bakes. He recently made raisin scones and my sister mentioned it on her Facebook page as she was quite proud of his accomplishment. I’d asked her what kind of flour he’d used and of course it was white. I avoid white flour and always challenge myself to create a whole grain version.

While I was at my sister’s house last night, after picking them up from the airport, preparing their dinner of soup, salad and baking powder biscuits, my brother-in-law said he’d tried scones again with whole wheat flour and they’d bombed. I was busy and can admit I wasn’t truly paying attention to him. I’m not sure I even commented on his revelation. I’m bad! We all should pay more attention to the people around us! Sorry, Mark.

Today I got to thinking about scones again. I’ve been wanting to attempt them just to prove to Mark that they can in fact be whole wheat. And not just a portion, but 100%. I also needed them to be vegan.

I Googled ‘vegan raisin scones’ and looked at the first website to catch my eye. I won’t include a link because I never actually used the recipe. It involved only white flour. But what I did notice is that it was practically identical to my baking powder biscuit recipe! And my biscuits are a huge success every time I make them.

My wheels began turning and almost immediately I was in the kitchen experimenting.

Since I’ve already eaten 3 scones you can guess correctly that my attempt was triumphant.

Here’s what I used: (I always weigh my ingredients for complete accuracy)

  • 240 g sifted whole wheat flour (2 cups)
  • 12 g baking powder (1 tbsp)
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 24 g sugar (2 tbsp)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 30 g coconut butter & 30 g coconut oil (solid)
  • 80 g raisins (add more or less depending on your preference)
  • ½ cup applesauce mixed with ½ water
  • additional flour for shaping the dough

In a medium to large bowl, mix first 5 ingredients. Cut in coconut oil and coconut butter.015

Stir in raisins.

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Stir in diluted applesauce and bring it together.

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If it appears to be too wet, sprinkle some additional flour in. You want to form a ball but not an overly stiff one. Place on floured counter.

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Pat into a rectangular shape about ½” or so thick.

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Cut into 9 pieces.

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Put on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

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Bake 11 minutes at 450 degrees.

I’ve used coconut oil and coconut butter often enough to feel pretty confident in experimenting with them. So I used a combination of the two to replace the ¼ cup of vegan margarine/butter the recipe called for. There was no detectable coconut flavor in the finished product. I’m finding this to be true when I use coconut oil in baking. I worry there could be a strong coconut flavor and there never is.

Using it in cooking is completely different though! I made pasta sauce once, using coconut oil for sautéing and could still taste the oil when it was done.

I used diluted applesauce (made from my crab apples in case you’re wondering why it’s so pink) to replace the non-dairy milk. Raisin scones seemed like something that could handle an applesauce flavor. I imagined water alone would be too thin. I didn’t have any soy or almond milk. . . . I had applesauce in the fridge. . . . .so the idea for diluted applesauce was born! It worked fantastically!

Next time I’ll use a different cookie sheet. This one (I forgot!) can burn things much easier and the bottoms of my scones came out quite dark although not burnt tasting. Whew! I kind of even liked the little bit of crispiness/crunch of the brown bottoms.026

I can’t say for sure what a “real” scone tastes like. I can’t compare the texture either. I don’t even know when I last had a genuine scone but I can tell you, this recipe is going in my folder. I’ll be making them again soon for my sister and her husband too.

They were delightful, not sweet, not bland, not heavy, not crumbly.

Perfect 🙂 In my humble opinion.024027

I only wish I’d had butter to take a picture with it melting all over a scone fresh from the oven.