Sunday, October 18, 2009

Elana's Pantry- Soothing Chai

The holistic nutrition school I'm attending (Bauman College) sends out newsletters to all there students on a regular basis, and this last on was filled with great tips and recipe for the up coming cold season. One of the mentions was the food blog Elana's Pantry which is a gluten free blog, I took some time to check our her blog and loved it, I'm not gluten intolerant but I have friends that are and I want to be equipped to help them on there healthy food journey's. So these next two recipes came from that blog and if you have time you should check it out for yourself.

-Soothing Chai

6 c. water
2 cinnamon sticks
4 cloves
1 inch ginger, peeled
8 cardamon pods
6 blk peppercorns
1 peppermint tea bag

1. Combine all the ingredients in a pot and place on the stove over medium heat.
2. Bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Strain the tea mixture into 4 mugs, (or in our case 2 large mugs).
4. Serve hot with agave nectar, honey and almond or soy milk. To your taste.

This is warm and soothing, I made it last Sunday morning when it was cold and rainy. It totally hit the spot and made the house smell wonderful. I can't wait to make it again.

-Pumpkin Pie Muffins

1 1/2 blanched almond flour (I couldn't find any so I used soy flour which is gluten free, there are lots of gluten free flours on the market you just have to look)
1/4 t. celtic salt (it is a great salt with lots of occurring minerals, if you haven't tried this it's much healthier than that crappy table salt, get some! Sorry mom about the word crap!)
1/2 t. baking soda
1 t. ground cinnamon
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground ginger
1 pinch cloves
2 T. grapeseed oil
1/2 c. agave nectar
2 lrg eggs
1 c. fresh baked pumpkin, or winter squash well packed (I used garnet yams)

Preheat oven to 350
1. In large bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and cloves. (I like to sift my dry ingredients)
2. In a mixer puree oil, agave, eggs, and pumpkin until smooth.
3. Stir wet ingredients into dry mixture, (I do a little at a time, mix well and then add more until all is mixed together).
4. Place paper liners into muffin pans.
5. Scoop batter into liners, (I got 10 muffins).
6. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes
7. Cool for 2-3 hours and then serve.

These are awesome, and I shared them with friends. I topped mine with a cream cheese frosting, I just mixed organic cream cheese, vanilla extract, and organic powdered sugar just to taste. Who wouldn't love these this time of year. Make a batch, Enjoy!

Food Dillema- Mousse au Chocolat

Okay, Okay I know this will sound funny but I'm kind of sick of food. What? I know it sounds weird but really now that the farmers market is over I have to rethink our menus for the season to come. I've relied on the farmer's market to dictate what we eat all summer. Now what? And on top of it I'm sick of our usual standbys, our protein shake, my green drink, breakfast burritos, the yummy hot cereal (shh don't tell Billy, he loves making this for us on the weekend) what's a foodie/nutritionist to do? And on top of that I've have had a weird sweet tooth lately which on a normal basis only happens once a month, if you catch my drift. So I'll share the treats I've been working on for the last two weeks and I hope you find one you like, and hopefully I'll get back on track in the healthy food department.

This first recipe comes from that great cookbook Sweet Basil, Garlic, Tomatoes, and Chives (Shaw 1992). I found this cookbook on my awesome road trip with Billy in Manzanita, Oregon.

-Mousse au Chocolat

6 ounces chocolate, chopped into bits ( I used 3oz dark chocolate with deep forest mint, and 3oz smooth milk chocolate, yummy!)
1/4 c. brewed espresso or strong black coffee
4 eggs, seperated
1 T. unsalted butter
1/2 t. vanilla extract
3 T. sugar

1. Heat together the chocolate and coffee in a medium saucepan, (I used a vintage double boiler that my mom gave me just to insure I didn't burn the mixture). Stir until the mixture has melted. Simmer gently until the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and beat in the egg yolks one at a time. Stir to blend well. Beat in the butter and vanilla. Set aside until tepid.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whip the egg whites to form stiff peaks. Sprinkle in the sugar and whip another 30 seconds until the egg whites are glossy. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate. Pour into 4 individual ramekins or wineglasses. Chill for at least 4 hours. Makes 4 servings, Enjoy!

We loved this recipe, I would suggest sharing one with you sweetie, they are very rich.
P.S. use the best chocolate you can find the higher the cocoa content the better for you, REAL chocolate is high in antioxidants.

Goodbye Farmers Market :(, See you next year.

I have to say my last visit to Saturday's Farmer's Market is bitter sweet. It takes a lot of discipline on my part to get up early, get my farmers market bags packed and get down to the park by 8 or 8:30 to navigate my way through the crowds of people to find the freshest sweetest morsels I can find to feed us for the week to come. The other side of that coin is that all good things come to an end or maybe we can call it a hibernation of sorts, and I look forward to pulling the covers up over mine and my husbands heads and snuggle our Saturday mornings away. The only thing I can say for sure is that we are all so lucky that those farmers show up every Saturday to share the fruits of their labor. For anyone who has tried to grow there own, and I was one of those people this summer it truly is a labor of love. Going to the farmer's market really puts a face to your food. I will miss those friendly faces and the fruits of their HARD labor. THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU. See you next year, or if I'm lucky see you in the neighborhood.