Saturday, December 14, 2013

Tis the Season....

 
Tis the Season for Fresh Cranberries... and what a nutritional boost they are! High in Vitamin C and Fiber... and second only to Blueberries in providing Anti-oxidants..... that's right.. higher in Anti-oxidants than many other fruits and veggies...  So yes, have the cranberry sauce at your holiday table...
I cook my Cranberry sauce with a bit of Orange zest and Allspice, sweetened to taste with sugar.. and my kitchen smells amazing when it's cooking...

but how about tucking Cranberries into your fresh fruit pies as well? Cran-apple.. Cran-peach, Cran-blueberry isn't just for Juices... enjoy! and enjoy good health as well....    
  

Friday, November 8, 2013

Never The Same


With the advent of Autumn, I look back with fondness to a time in my life of great change. And, with that said, I was recently thinking about the cyclical changes that occur in nature.. particularly the changes of leaves on trees ... like a little Microcosm of the grand scheme of Life. We are Born (Budding) , we Grow (Green leaves) , We Change (Colorful Fall leaves) , we pass on ( Brown, Dried leaves). Like leaves, our very existence can nourish the Earth , making rich the way for growth of others; as we Grow, as we Change, even when we take our Leave. Moreover, the Essence of us lives on in what we leave of ourselves. Will you be able to look back with fondness at the growth and changes you are making in this life?


Never The Same  

Never the Same
From the day I debuted on the Bough
Changes came
Tender, green Gaia’s ingénue budded to offerings of the Now.  

Never the Same
Divested of green, languid canopy; conformity fell and Seity did rise
Changes Came
Youth’s naivete and dawning light gave way to hues that sweet Life could synthesize.  

Never the Same
Life burst forth as Hibitions took their leave.
Changes came
In a wind swept dance,  Borne cyclically, to fertile forest, at its eve.  

Never the Same
Seasoned seed disembarked to start of my Journey’s end
Changes came
Earth’s requited Enrichment continued, and the fallen seed, would once again ascend.

Monday, September 16, 2013

On Being a Warrior




No matter your 'God' , We create 'Heaven' for ourselves and for those around us by being a 'Warrior' for Goodness. Not through destruction, but through 'Growth'.

...In this fifth canopy of the tree, which takes life from its crown, and is always in fruit, never shedding leaves, are spirits, who are blessed, who had great names below, before they came to Heaven, so that every Muse would be made richer by them.......

                                                       Paradiso Canto XVIII:1-57 The Warriors of God

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Jane Dough's Bikini Bagel with Fig Pesto

 
 
Recently, I was on a bit of a get-away at the beach... and my favorite "Hippy Hangout" for Breakfast / Brunch serves a bagel that I just love! It is Sweet & Savory and chock full of fresh Fruit and Vegetable! So, I decided to try to re-create it in some fashion, at home.
 
 
Called the Bikini Bagel... it is a toasted Cinnamon Raisin bagel filled with Fig Pesto ( See my recipe below) , Tomato, Avocado, Cooked Turkey Sausage ( I use Whole Foods Hot Louisiana Turkey Sausage for an added layer of flavor- lightly hickory smoked & spicy; I pan seared mine, then thinly sliced to allow for easy layering on the Bagel ) , and I topped the Bagel off with Sweet Clover sprouts. ( For those of you 'States'-side... spare your Chia Pets :P )   
 
To make the Fig Pesto:
 
In a small Food processor, place 6-8 Black Mission Figs, stems removed and sliced into quarters.
To this, add in about 1/4 cup of lightly chopped Black Walnuts, 1/4 tsp. Basil, and 1/4 tsp. Thyme. Slowly drizzle in enough Olive Oil, as you food process, to allow the mixture to form a Pesto that can be spread on a Bagel. This is a Sweet & Savory Pesto w/ a nice herbaceous undertone. I wanted the dominant flavor of my Pesto to be the Figs.. since this is... well, ...Fig Pesto.
 
 
Once you have spread the Pesto on the toasted Bagel... just simply layer on the rest of the ingredients.
 Happy Weekend Breakfast/ Brunching!!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Jane Dough's Strawberry Kamut Bread



This weekend, I had fresh Strawberries on hand, and decided to bake a loaf of Breakfast Bread. I found a recipe for Strawberry Bread and in usual fashion... the proverbial wheels began turning in my head ( I know scary, yes?! :P ) I began to think about how I could switch out ingredients to make the bread more healthful.  So with that said, the following is what I came up with... and I must say, I was very pleased with the outcome... lovely bits of Strawberry throughout a bread bursting with the buttery, nutty texture of Kamut and sweetened with Almonds. I often toss in Kamut when I am baking loaves of bread... and so, I thought why not give it a go in this application. Kamut, otherwise known as Khorasan Wheat or by legend, King Tut's Wheat is a coarse, nutty flavored grain. It's exact origins are unknown, but historically it has been linked to Egypt. It is quite high in Protein and also serves as a good source of minerals Selenium, Zinc and Magnesium. It is considered a high energy wheat. And THAT I can attest to.... I worked out at the gym after breakfast... and burned over 700 calories! You can find Kamut at your local health food store or sometimes it can be found at more upscale groceries like Whole Foods. I buy Bob's Red Mill Organic variety. Bob's Red Mill also has a presence online, so you can shop there as well.
                                                                                           
1/2 Cup Kamut
1/2 Cup Soy Milk ( you can use regular Milk if you wish, I would recommend low-fat 1% as a substitute)
1 1/2 Cups Fresh Strawberries, finely chopped
1/2 Cup Butter, softened ( yes I use REAL butter :P I have picture perfect Triglyceride, Cholesterol and HDL levels- it CAN be done! :) )
1/2 Cup Stevia ( a favorite of mine for cutting calories with a natural sweetener)
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar 
2 Eggs
1 Tsp. Almond Extract
2 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
Slivered Almonds , for garnish

Begin by soaking the 1/2 Cup of Kamut in 1/2 Cup of Soy Milk. This allows the coarse wheat grain to soften a bit. Preheat your oven to 350 '.


Meanwhile, finely chop 1 1/2 Cups of Fresh Strawberries. I put the berries in a little electric chopper to achieve tiny bits of berry.


In a large mixing bowl, combine the Butter, Stevia, Brown Sugar, Eggs, Almond Extract, Baking Powder and Baking Soda and whip/ beat until creamy. Then add the Milk/ Kamut mixture. Beat through. Add in the chopped Strawberries. Mix through. Finally, add the flour and finish beating until a thick batter forms, as shown.


Affirm with your 'fuzzy kitchen assistant' that you have done a good job of mixing, as shown above :P

Grease and flour a loaf pan and place the batter in the pan. Garnish with slivered Almonds.



Bake until Golden Brown and a toothpick inserted into the bread comes out clean. With my oven, it took about 50 minutes to bake.

Let the loaf cool ...
 
Once cooled you can either dust with Confectioner's Sugar or make a light Glaze to drizzle, if desired....
 
 
u Hard to believe this is chock full of Fruit and Whole Grain... have at it!! :)


Saturday, August 17, 2013

No Matter the Season


 
I found myself outside walking, reflecting on the cyclic nature of the seasons... thinking about how despite the necessity and inevitability of the more 'barren' seasons... We are always lead back to renewed growth and joyous abundance. Hold fast that thought when you think you are falling or left out in the cold... I wrote this poem with that hope in mind....
 
No Matter The Season
 
Fertile trees and budding leaves welcome bees and their nurturing hum                    

When blossoms break and fragrance make, success has surely come.

Garbed trees and tender leaves burst handily toward  the sun                         

When forest’s offspring are fashioned full, Earth’s master plan is won.

Shivering  trees  and falling leaves call an end to days of green                                                 

Though branches naked reach the sky,  what will be,  is what has been.  

Monday, July 29, 2013

Up On The Roof

In recent months my Husband and I had been hearing occasional scratching sounds on the roof of our home. Our community is in a more rural locale and with that comes a greater number of predatory birds. So, we thought it had to be an occasional Turkey Vulture or Hawk sitting on the roof. Surely watching for what little field prey there is, in the area, to scamper by. Or, just as bad, watching out for the small birds who come to our bird feeder. We very much enjoy having the birds come to our yard and have taken great effort to make our yard feel like safe haven to the smaller birds in the area.  A few times we went outside of our home to investigate the sound and each time there would be no evidence of anything on our roof. I know... cue the men in the white coats... lol.... Surely there was some explanation for the scratching sounds. :/
 
One afternoon, I was sitting in my office working, and again the scratching sounds started on the roof. Very pronounced above my head and outside of my office window. Then an odd little call began from the rooftop... unclear whether animal or bird. I thought surely a bird disgruntled about something... Since we have had few wildlife in the area due to the aggressive birds that inhabit the area; it had to be a bird of some sort, with his feathers in a ruffle.
 
Our cat Cleo, jumped to the window sill and looked outside with me...  and there, sitting on our Queen Palm was a little squirrel.
 
 
 An unusual sighting in my area for sure...in the years that I have lived here... never a squirrel to be seen.
 
 
 upon notice, he looked at me in a rather timid fashion....
 
 
He tried the 'maybe if I pretend I'm sleeping she won't see me' ploy... :p
 
 
Then suddenly, yet ANOTHER squirrel came out of the tree and called to him to get back into the palm tree! Ok..so.. Squirrel wives ARE NOT dissimilar to human wives... who knew?!
 

 
They made their way back into the palm tree....
 
 
It became apparent that Mr & Mrs Squirrel were not simply visiting,  they had set up housekeeping in the Queen Palm.... and what a brilliant choice w/ palm tree nuts at the ready. :)
 
 
Mr. Squirrel mustered up courage to come out of the palm tree...
 
 
I guess he figured that if he was to remain a 'tenant' he'd better man up and approach me.
 
 
Gradually, he made his way out onto a palm frond that outreaches to my window...
 
 
and motioned to me, as if to say..' please let us stay here... and I thank you from the bottom of my heart'.. who could resist his charms?! ... Ok, so.. Squirrel guys ARE NOT  dissimilar to human guys in that regard.... buggers!!
 
 
And so they stayed! There was no way that I was not going to let them... I love little creatures! They eventually had a little baby squirrel... and still made their way onto our roof from time to time...
 
But when the Palm nuts were gone, off they went... guess they decided they needed something more for their growing family... Ok, so... Squirrel couples ARE NOT dissimilar to human couples.... :P

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GardenVibe's Smoky Summer Soup

 
 

Recently, I went to Farmer's Market and purchased marvelous fresh vegetables. I decided to throw together a fun & smoky flavored soup. For me, any time of year is good for Soup (and Salad) as it can be made so naturally and is healthy for you. This Summer soup is eyes- buggin'- outta- your- head good! Never mind the Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Iron you are getting..... :) And this is a very Guy-friendly soup... Smoke, Pepper, Bacon and hearty ... what more could a guy ask for?

Croutons:
1/2 Small Loaf of Cubed French or Italian Bread ( about 1 Cup )
1 tsp. Ground Cumin
1 Tsp. Olive Oil
1/4 tsp. dried Basil

To make the Croutons I combined the Cumin, Olive Oil and Basil in a bowl. Tossed the Bread Cubes to coat. I spread them on a baking sheet lined w/ aluminum foil and baked at 350' for about 10 min. or until they become golden brown.

Soup:
2 Tsp. Olive Oil
1/3 Cup finely chopped Onion
1/3 Cup finely chopped Celery
2 Strips finely chopped Bacon, uncooked
2 1/2 Cups roughly chopped Golden Cauliflower
4 Small to Medium sized White Potatoes, peeled
1 Cob of Fresh Golden Corn
2 Cans fat free, low sodium Chicken Broth
1/4 Tsp. Dried Basil
1/8 Tsp. Ground Red Pepper Flakes

In a Large Saucepan I combined the Olive Oil, Onion, Celery, and Bacon. ( I use 2 strips of Bacon, you can use additional if you desire)  I sautéed until the Vegetables became translucent and the bacon is cooked through without becoming crisp.


Concurrently, I placed the Potatoes, Cauliflower and Corn in a large Steamer Pot to steam until tender. ( I removed the Cauliflower and Corn from the pot earlier than the Potatoes, as it takes the Potatoes longer to steam to tenderness. )

 
 Combine the Potato with the Bacon / Vegetable mixture in a food processor. Add 1 can of Chicken Broth.
 
 
Food Process/ Pulse until the Potato is in small pieces. Place Potato mixture in a large pot. Remove the steamed Corn from the cob and add to the pot. Add the steamed Cauliflower to the pot. You can now add the second can of Chicken Broth to desired consistency.  Add Basil and Red Pepper flakes. Heat through on Stovetop.

 I like the soup to be hearty with the vegetables, so the consistency of my soup is as pictured below.

 Serve with Croutons in the center of the soup.
 
Enjoy!

Monday, July 15, 2013

But With a Wind of Change

  
 
Truths blowing in your winds differ from mine, but as people we are entitled to breathe in our own air. Try to 'Expire' understanding. 
Breathless we will perish...
But with a wind of change; Understanding and respecting our differences becomes a breeze...
 A little Inspiration for you..... xo

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Tempest




Sometimes it becomes easier to recognize our own thoughts and our own feelings when we face them in the 'mirror' of  someone who is a reflection of us. While that can be a tempestuous experience, it can ultimately be very rewarding. This is a poem that I wrote with that in mind.

                                      Tempest  

Tempest, shrilling, loud and hard
Your primal cries echo familiarly in my soul.
Cut straight through like a mirrored shard,
The rush of pain, and pleasure of a shared sharp scream cuts through me, in a
way that makes me whole. 

Tempest, reigning hard and hot
Pent up emotion opens as a deluge.
A storm of words flashes forth untold thought,
The rush of empathy at our banks whets desire for understanding and
refuge.  

Tempest, flowing bold and true
Psyche no longer damned leads past confusion.
Shared truth binds the soul of me to you,
The rush of silence breaks where fight and flight answers fear and clears
illusion.  

Tempest screams and Tempest runs
With a power that overcomes pain.
Thawing anger warms us like a million suns
And the glow in a once icy mirror reflects a spiritually joyous rain.
 
 

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Jane Dough's Blackberry Butter Buds


 
Last weekend, I had lovely fresh blackberries on hand ..so , I decided to bake something for Breakfast with them. I found a recipe for blackberry muffins that I liked.. but adapted it to fit my needs. I wanted a small amount of something really special and really decadent! This is what I came up with... playing with the Berries, I added in Almonds.. a little DiSaronno for spicy Amaretto nuance... The browned butter makes all the difference too.... try these out if you dare... they are a special start to a weekend... and weekends are always special :)

Jane Dough's Blackberry Butter Buds

6 & 1/2 Tblsp. Butter
1/2 Cup sliced Almonds
3/4 Cup & 1 Tblsp. Powdered Sugar
3 Large Egg Whites
1 Tblsp. Honey
1 Tblsp. DiSaronno ( For those not familiar, this is an Almond flavored Italian Liquor; don't want to buy a whole bottle? Consider buying a miniature of this Amaretto)
1/2 Cup Pastry Flour ( Perfectly fine to use All Purpose Flour;  I keep King Arthur Pastry Flour on hand for morning baking bad girl decadence)
1 Cup Fresh ( preferable) or Frozen Blackberries

Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, simmering and stirring/ scraping browned bits constantly until the butter is browned. Take care to not burn the butter, as it will burn easily if unattended. Let cool.

Meanwhile, Food process the Sliced Almonds until finely ground.



Place the ground Almonds in a medium mixing bowl. Add in the Powdered Sugar and mix with the Almonds. Then Add in the 3 Egg Whites and mix until smooth. Add in Honey and DiSaronno and mix through. Then add the Flour mixing thoroughly. Cover the Bowl. Chill the batter for about an hour. ( Go treat yourself to a lovely Bubble Bath, while Breakfast batter chills.... why not?!  :)  )

Once your batter is chilled for an hour, Preheat Oven to 350'. Lightly grease a Muffin pan with cooking spray. Fill each Muffin cup 3/4 full with batter.


Press 3 fresh Blackberries into each Muffin. Sprinkle each Muffin with Turbinado Sugar. Bake. yields 9 muffins.

 And enjoy the fruity goodness! :)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Jane Dough's Sun-Kissed Lavender Madeleines


                     Buttery, aromatic and sweet... perfect for a Springtime treat! Try my.....
                                                   Sun-Kissed Lavender Madeleines                                 

2 Large Eggs
2/3 cup Sugar
1 Tsp Orange Extract
Orange zest from 1 Orange
1 Tblsp. Lavender
1 1/4 Cups Pastry Flour ( you can use All Purpose Flour if you do not have Pastry Flour on hand)
1 1/4 sticks unsalted Butter, melted, cooled slightly


                                                 
                                                                                         
                                                         
Preheat oven to 350'
Grease Madeleine pans. Using electric mixer, beat Eggs and 2/3 cup Sugar in large bowl just to blend. beat in Orange Extract, Orange Zest. Add Flour, beat just until blended. Fold in Lavender. Gradually add melted Butter in a steady stream , beating just until blended. Spoon 1 Tblsp. batter into each indentation in pan, as shown. Bake until puffed and lightly browned.



             I lightly dust them with Powdered sugar....  I hope you will give them a go... & Enjoy!

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