Saturday, December 27, 2014

Monday, November 24, 2014

Jane Dough/ French Apple Oatmeal Bars go Naughty

Apples, Raisin and Oats get 'naughty'ied up with big thick ribbons of Rum ( I'm talking Captain Morgan :P )  glaze... Spice in the bars... spice in the glaze too ;) My French Apple Oatmeal bars are reminiscent of those little pies we loved as children with spicy apples, raisins topped with glaze.... and my bars have a lovely, silky fluffiness to them...

2 Apples, cored, peeled, finely diced ( I use Fuji Apples in my baking)
1/4 Tsp. ground Allspice  
1/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Water

Place the above items in a small saucepan... cover & cook them at low to medium heat at stovetop, until the apples become tender and translucent. Let slightly cool.

Preheat your oven to 350'. In a Large mixing bowl mix: Mix:

1 Cup Old-Fashioned Oats
1 Tsp. ground Cinnamon
3/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1 1/2 sticks Unsalted Butter, melted, slightly cooled
1/4 Cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Large Eggs
2 Tsp. Vanilla Extract
2 1/4 Cups All-Purpose Flour

Fold in the cooked and cooled Apples.
Spread in a  greased and floured 13x9 baking pan   

Bake in pre-heated oven until golden brown and and inserted toothpick comes out clean.
Let the bars completely cool. Make a simple glaze with Confectioner's Sugar and real Rum ( for Grown-up kids) or use Rum extract ( If real kids plan to eat the bars ) Run big ribbons of glaze over the bars and enjoy... :)

Autumn with a GardenVibe

The color of Autumn is a flash of joy for my eyes ... but memory of days past, color my heart in a way that endures... 
Happy here & now, to you, from my Garden. And I wish you memories that color your life in a beautiful way....
                ....Autumn is a favorite time of year for me. I take full advantage of moderating weather and opportunity to plant Fall color in the beds around my home. I have started adding lovely color to our yard by planting an old fashioned favorite of mine, Chrysanthemums. Aside from their varied color and texture that they lend to the garden, they are wonderfully amenable to extending their flowering season. This is accomplished thru 'Deadheading' them... Jerry Garcia not required.. but you could play his tunes while you take care of your posies :)
Wonderful memories come back to me whenever I work outside in my Garden. Of days spent out in the forest near my childhood home. I would say that the memories of my time spent in the forest greatly influence how I approach Gardening. I would call my style of growing flowers, shrubbery and trees rather 'Woodland' in nature. I tend to allow my plants to follow their own nature....

Beauty is free..In the warmth of spicy breeze..
                               Speaking hopefully in the rustle of leaves..
                                                             Before they...

Saturday, July 19, 2014

GV's Thai Coconut-Curry Stew

Life is too short to eat the same things over...and over... again.. I love to play with spice, herbs, and foreign influenced dishes to keep meals interesting... Busy days, Rainy days, any day is a good day to get out your Crockpot or Slow-cooker, switch things out and make my aromatic, pleasantly spicy Thai Stew.  Plug it in... and go about your day.....

                                                            GV's Thai Coconut-Curry Stew

1.5 to 2 lbs. Sirloin Steak, fat trimmed, cubed
2 tblsp. Olive Oil
1 small Onion, finely diced
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1 tsp. ground Ginger
1 tsp. dried Cilantro
1-  13.5 ounce can lite Coconut Milk ( I used the 60% less fat & calories version ;) 
1 tblsp. Coconut Vinegar (can substitute with White Vinegar)
1-  6 ounce can Tomato Paste
2 tblsp. dried Curry Seasoning
1 tblsp. Fish Sauce
2 tsp. fresh Lime Juice
2 cups julienned Carrots
2 cups Broccoli Florets
1 cup Bamboo Shoots
Alfalfa Sprouts

Pour 2 tblsp. Olive Oil into the Crockpot. Place the cubed Sirloin Steak into the Crockpot, toss to coat the meat with the Olive Oil. Set the Crockpot on high heat and begin by browning the meat.     

Once the Sirloin Steak is browned, add in the finely diced Onion and minced Garlic.  Add
1 tsp. ground Ginger, 1 tsp. dried Cilantro, 1-  13.5 ounce can Coconut Milk, 1 tblsp. Coconut Vinegar, 1- 6 ounce can Tomato Paste, 2 tblsp. dried Curry Seasoning, 1 tblsp. Fish Sauce, 2 tsp. fresh Lime Juice, 2 cups julienned Carrots.

Cover. Let slow cook on high setting for about 4 hours.

Cover and refrigerate the Broccoli florets and Bamboo shoots. ( They will be added during the last 30 minutes of Slow cooking. I do this to allow for the wonderful crunchy texture of 'al dente' cooked Broccoli and Bamboo Shoots. )

 During this final half hour, Steam rice. ( I used Basmati Rice ). Serve the Stew over the rice. Top with Fresh Alfalfa Sprouts. and enjoy.... :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Jane Dough's Coconut French Toast / Making an Ordinary Morning, a Little Less Ordinary

When a free Morning presents itself...I take full advantage of stepping away from the 'usual'. I  look for things to enjoy that make the day just a little bit more special. This Morning for Breakfast I reached for a Coconut that I had sitting in my fruit bowl...... and made really lovely Coconut French Toast... for a Breakfast in bed treat....  Here is what I did... ( Super easy btw.... I was out the door to my day in no time)

What you will need:

A Coconut ( Yes, one of those hairy, crazy looking things... haaa..haa.. . )
2 Eggs ( or 4 Eggs if you are cooking for more than two people)
1 teaspoon Stevia (to enhance the sweetness of the Coconut) ( 2 tsp. if you are cooking for more than two people)
4 Slices of Bread ( I used Bakery Sourdough Bread) ( Use more Bread if you are cooking for more than two people) 

Find the "bowling ball'  markings on your fresh Coconut ... one of the markings should feel 'softer' than the other two markings. I 'drilled' a hole in the softer marking with my Wine corkscrew. Then, I made the hole more pronounced with a skewer. Drain the Coconut juice thru this hole into a medium sized Pyrex cup. Once drained, Strain the juice into a shallow bowl by pouring the Coconut juice thru a cloth. Discard any sediment you may have strained away.

 To split my Coconut in half ( and don't laugh- it worked like a charm  :P ) I took the Coconut outside and slammed it right off the sidewalk, as if bouncing a ball.  ( I kid you not)
With a small knife, I  removed the white Coconut pulp and placed some of it in my little food processor , processing to a fine texture.
I then added the processed pulp to the Coconut Juice in my shallow bowl.  ( I was able to remove  some of the juice and pulp to freeze for another Morning, since I am cooking for two.  When I removed the excess juice and pulp, I had approximately 1 cup of juice and pulp left in the shallow bowl) ( If you are cooking for more than two people, then go ahead and use all of the juice and pulp.
I then added the Stevia, and beat the Eggs, into the Coconut 
Juice / Pulp Mixture.

 Lightly grease your skillet and fry at moderate heat, as you normally would fry French Toast.
I warmed up Orange Marmalade and drizzled it on the French Toast in lieu of syrup... So good!!
 I hope you will give it a try ...for a bit of a different spin on French Toast... making an ordinary Morning a little less ordinary.. :)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

At the Dawn

At the Dawn
At the Dawn
A blueprint of dreams awakens
Flowing like an india ink endeavor
Nous stems from me, filling the blank slate of day.
 At the Dawn
Misty draft warms at the rise of sun.
Enlightenment bursts as a flower on horizon
Here tired blush of complacency is sent on its way.
 At the Dawn
Sits weathered possibility, a view I have of you
Mirroring me like an outside chance
Where pondered thoughts act, sedation goes away.
 At the Dawn
I reach past rippled uncertainties
Embracing reflections of all that can be
Where what I live, what I do, is written by a manifest of all that I can say.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Jane Dough's Pizza / Little Slice of Heaven :P

I love making homemade Pizza. The idea of making my own crust and sauce and getting creative with toppings is alot of fun for me. I have perfected making Pizza Sauce; but for a number of years I have been searching for a way to perfect my Pizza Dough. Rather challenging. I'm a real fuss ant about Pizza dough... if the dough isn't right, the Pizza just isn't good. Not too thick..but not too thin... and with a bit of 'chew' to it..oh,  and a crispy bottom.... :P Told you...

Anyway, recently, I was watching someone demo making Pizza Dough.. and I thought.. well, I'll give that a try.. and just tweak in some of my own ideas... The result was nothing short of delicious! I can say that from my own perspective and that of my Italian Mother-in-law, who is every bit a Pizza fuss as I am. :)  The woman knows her Pizza! So, with that said.. this is what I did to make Pizza..

My Homemade Pizza Sauce:    
1 small Onion, finely diced
3 Tblsp. Olive Oil
1 Can Tomato Sauce
1 Can Tomato Paste
2-3 Tblsp. Sugar

In a medium saucepan I simmer the diced onions in the olive oil until they become translucent and lightly carmelized, that is to say.. some of the onion should take on a golden brown color. This allows the natural sugars, the sweetness, of the onion to be released. (Careful to not burn them). Then to the onions, add in the Tomato Sauce, Tomato Paste and the Sugar and simmer until the paste is smoothly melted into the sauce. Set aside.

My Homemade Pizza Dough:

3 Tblsp. Olive Oil
3/4 Cup of lukewarm Water
1 3/4 Cups Bread Flour
2 1/4 Tsp Rapid-Rise Yeast
1 tsp. Sugar
1/2 Tsp. Salt

Pour 2 Tblsp. Olive oil on a cookie sheet and coat the pan thickly with the olive oil... I know it seems like a lot of oil on the pan.. but believe me.. it will aid in crisping up the bottom of the crust as well as making the crust easy to release from the pan.
To the Lukewarm Water, add the remaining 1 Tblsp of Olive Oil. Set aside.
In a large bowl, Combine the Bread Flour, Yeast, Sugar and Salt. Blend well. Then slowly add in the Oil/ Water mixture into the Flour mixture until a wet, soft dough forms. The dough is of proper consistency when it begins to take on the shape of a ball on your dough hook or spoon. You can add in a small amount of additional flour to proper consistency, but keep in mind that the dough should remain 'wet' in appearance.
Grease the palms of your hands. Take the Pizza dough and begin to spread it out on the Cookie sheet, as shown above. Brush the top of the dough lightly with olive oil and cover with plastic wrap. Set aside to allow the dough to rise for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs. I have pictured two crusts in the photo. The recipe yields one crust. I added in a tblsp. of milled Flax Seed to the second crust in the picture, just to play around at boosting nutritional value.

When the dough has risen for 1 to 1 1/2 hrs, remove the plastic wrap and press the dough to the edges of the pan as shown below. Replace the plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise once again, this time for 45 minutes.
Once risen, Par bake the crust for 5 minutes in the oven, pre-heated to 500 degrees , placing the crust on the middle shelf in the oven. Your crust will just puff and take on a more 'baked', firm appearance without getting golden, see below. 
 Remove the crust from the oven and place toppings. Be creative...
I sometimes like to make Pizza in a manner that I refer to as  'Old School Pennsylvania' style, like they make where I grew up. That is, I place sauce on the par baked dough and then sprinkle with White American Cheese that has been shredded in my Food processor, as below. I know,  processed cheese... but it is BEYOND good... and worth the occasional fall off the nutritional wagon. :P
I bake this pie on the lowest shelf in my oven at 500 degrees just until the American cheese is melted and the crust begins to brown on the edges.
Another favorite way to make Pizza is to place sauce on my par baked Pizza dough, then top with Shredded Mozzarella Cheese and lovely fresh veggies. 
Again, I bake this pie on the lowest shelf in my oven at 500 degrees until the Mozzarella cheese is melted and the crust begins to brown on the edges. I also shake on grated Parmigiano- Reggiano  cheese blend for added depth of flavor.

          Properly baked, the bottom of your crust should look crispy golden brown like this:
And your crust should take on a wonderfully light, chewy, 'honey-combed' texture like this:

I hope you will give Pizza making a try... with the right Crust.. the sky is the limit for fun you can have with your toppings... Buon divertimento! :)

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Lost and Found

Lost and Found
Lies the sullen leaf
amidst Decay of fallen leaves
within Stubborn thickets of Gloom
bursting sharply from the pod of Protection
Truth needs just a single Seed
 For Hope of Love to Bloom
to Ceres icy grip, Life gives way
Fertile Freedom unearths Promise
of Summer’s dawning Dance
Melting with abandon from days of Dormancy
Joy needs just a single note
For Growth of Life to have its Chance.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Jane Dough's GiddyUp Apple Cake

For Snacking or for Breakfast, my GiddyUp Apple Cake is full of Apples and Oats ...sure to get your tail going any time of day... Enjoy!! :)

                                            Jane Dough's GiddyUp Apple Cake

For the Cake

4 Tblsp. Unsalted Butter, melted
1 cup Light Brown Sugar
1/2 cup White Granulated Sugar
1 large Egg
3/4 cup Applesauce
1 Apple, cored, peeled and finely diced
1 1/2 cup Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 3/4 cup All Purpose Flour
1/2 Tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 Tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp. Ground Ginger
1/2 cup Golden Raisins

Combine ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Spread into a greased 13 inch x 9 inch Baking Pan. Bake at 350 ' until golden brown and a toothpick, inserted into middle of cake, comes out clean. Let cool.

For the Icing

1 3/4 cup Confectioner's Sugar
3 Tblsp. Maple Syrup
1/4 Tsp. Cinnamon
3 Tblsp. Water

Combine ingredients until the Icing runs off your spoon In a stream... Drizzle Icing onto the cake as pictured above.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

 Not to be Completed, but Complemented by joined Hearts, and Minds, and Hands ....It is the richest gift we give, when we Love.....  

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

To Inspire

GardenVibe: Real meaning in Life is only a breath away. Sometimes all it takes is just a tiny bit of Living: to inspire.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Feeding Your Baby the Greene Way

There is no mistake about how I spelled 'Greene' in my title. This is a post that was inspired by a book that my Daughter purchased when she became a new Mother. More than 2 years ago my twin Grandsons were born, and my Daughter, Aubrey, wanted to get her babies on the right nutritional path. So, she purchased a book written by Pediatrician, Dr Alan Greene, called Feeding Baby Green.  

More on Dr. Greene and his impressive efforts on behalf of baby wellness here:

Aubrey, and her Husband Eric,  used this book as the inspiration to feed Jude and Graham only Fresh Fruits, Vegetables ... start them early on the right path to lifelong good nutrition and health. As their Grammy, and as a Nurse, I was thrilled to be a small part of helping to meet their nutritional needs. The following are just a few ideas, tips on what we did to prepare and store wholesome meals for our precious boys.

One of the best ways to prepare the Fruits and Vegetables for puree is to just simply roast them. Generally at 350' for about 10-15 min., depending on how powerful your oven is.

The fruit is adequately roasted when they become fork tender.

Simply toss the fruit into your food processor and puree....
Avocado lends itself to puree even without pre-cooking.. simply peel and toss into the food processor for  wonderfully creamy baby food.

Steaming Apples, Green Beans, Carrots, Sweet Potato on stovetop also is a great method to ready for  puree. I can say that I had a lot of fun coming up with interesting baby food combinations to make mealtime fun for our boys. Once pureed, you can freeze your baby food, then thaw, and keep in the refrigerator on the day you are ready to feed your baby.  

No matter how you decide to prepare your Baby food, this is a marvelous way to get your Child's nutrition and healthy eating habits off to a great start....

If you are a new Mom or Dad and looking for a healthful way to feed your baby...keep it Green... and consider checking out Dr. Greene's wonderful guidance... A caveat : always check with your personal Pediatrician and discuss plans for dietary changes for your baby, ensuring safe and timely advancement of your baby's dietary needs.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

I Could Give You Wings


There can be so many trials and inequities in our World today... it is sometimes not difficult to feel downtrodden or overwhelmed by circumstances we encounter in our day to day living. I was thinking about my own personal desire to lift up the spirits of others.. Even in a small way... I am happy and contented knowing that a tiny act, or a single word by me can bring comfort, joy or hope to someone else along life's path.

I Could Give You Wings    

Take hold downtrodden Spirit
And once set free
I could give you Wings
To go, to do all you are meant to Be.  

Take all tenacious Promise
And soothe cross winds
I could give you Wings
To have, to hold as a healed Soul ascends.  

Take hold heightened Sense
And share inspired View
I could give you Wings
To see, to feel, borne of days we Live anew.  

Take my Heart
Take my Hand
Take all our Possibility
When clouds have cleared and we take Flight
Away from hindrance and hostility
I could give you Wings
And in our every act we will See
The reality that when we Save each other
Lifting you is lifting me.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

A Bit of the Tropics with Seafood

 A wonderful alternate side dish for Seafood involves a little bit of the tropics.  Grown in Costa Rica, Mexico and Brazil, the Chayote Squash steams up beautifully and I stuff it with breading that has been infused with Bacon, Asiago Cheese and Cilantro. Here's what I do....
Steam the Chayote Squash....
 For the stuffing: In a small saucepan, Saute 1 tablespoon butter, 1/4 cup of diced onion and 1/4 cup of diced Celery until soft and translucent. In a medium sized mixing bowl, place 2 cups of lightly seasoned, dried Stuffing Bread. ( you can use ready-made from the grocery, or dry your own bread cubes in the oven) Add 2 tablespoons of Bacon bits, 1 Teaspoon of Cilantro, and 1/4 cup of grated Asiago cheese. Add the sautéed Onion/Celery. Toss. Moisten the mixture further with a can of Vegetable broth to desired consistency. You want the stuffing to be moist, soft, but still well defined. Too much liquid will make a pasty mess... so add the broth gradually as you toss the stuffing.  
When the Chayote squash is steamed to fork-tender... place the squash on a cutting board..
 Cut the Squash in half, as shown. Remove the softened 'nut' from inside the squash, scoop out the pulp and lightly chop the pulp. Then, add the pulp into your stuffing mixture. Toss.. ...

Spray a baking dish with cooking spray .. lay the squash halves into the baking dish and stuff with the stuffing. Bake at 350 degrees until the cheese is melted and the stuffing has a light crunch on the top.
                                                                     Enjoy these with your favorite Seafood... one bite ... and ... well....You're welcome...... :P ...... Vitamin C never tasted so good..... ;)


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