Orange-Pomegranate Scones

Recently I shared how to de-seed pomegranates on my IG (blacksmithbakedgoods) in a short video.  It’s during this season that some of my favorite foods are available; one being pomegranates. As I mentioned in my video, my grandma had a huge tree.  My cousins, brothers, and I would sit along the fence next to the country road, picking each seed out individually and wasting the day away playing games.  My grandma never cared that we’d eat about half, get tired of the tediousness of trying to harvest the fruit, and throw the remainder away to go hunt tree frogs instead.

In childhood, I never realized how wonderfully healthy they were. It wasn’t until I got older, that the expense of them, and the delight in the nutritional value became ever more important. Not to mention, eating them always reminds me of her. She was as sweet as the fruit she grew, and took every bit of care in how she mentored us. I miss her dearly.

To honor her, here are some wonderful orange-pomengranate scones. I know she would’ve loved them!

 

Orange-Pomegranate Scones

(yield: 8)

Ingredients:

1 flax egg (1 Tbsp + 2 Tbsp almond milk)

1/4 cup fresh squeezed orange juice

1/2 cup almond milk

1 1/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour

3/4 cup spelt flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

pinch of sea salt

2 Tbsp. fresh orange zest + 1 Tbsp. (set aside for top)

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 tsp. cinnamon

3 Tbsp. room temp coconut oil

3 Tbsp. organic palm shortening.

1/3 cup pomegranate seeds + 2 Tbsp (set aside for top)

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350. Line a sheet pan with parchment.  Mix flax “egg” in a small bowl, then add the orange juice/almond milk  & vanilla combo.  In a separate bowl, combine the spelt flour, all purpose flour, baking powder, organic cane sugar, cinnamon, 2 Tbsp. orange zest, and sea salt. Whisk to combine. Add room temp coconut oil + palm shortening. Use a pastry cutter to cut it into the dry mix.

Whisk the flax-almond-orange-vanilla combo and add to the dry ingredients.  Add the 1/3 cup pomegranates gently. Be careful not to over mix.  Make sure they are incorporated without fully mixing wet to dry.  Form the prepared mixture into a circle about the size of a dinner plate, and softly flatten on top to about 1/2-1 inch height onto the parchment, and sprinkle with a few more pomegranate seeds and orange zest.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown along the edges. Allow to cool before eating.  Optional to add orange glaze.

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar, 1/4 tsp. orange extract, 2 Tbsp. almond milk. Whisk then drizzle.

 

 

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Lucky Us

It is the small whispers in your ear, time and time again, that become words of encouragement. Those words are usually spoken from someone really close to you, who knows your inner thoughts, desires, and wishes sometimes more then you know yourself.  For me, that came a few weeks back, and I have been mulling over the sentiment and commitment since then.

This long trusted friend of mine, has been constant in my life.  Her own families path, has often paralleled my own. So I fell upon her words like a bird on a branch; patiently hearing singing in the wind, sending out my own song, as the warmth of the sun shown down on me, and felt contentment. Sometimes that is all you need, is that little nudge.

So Mondays. Mondays are my only day off without distractions. It’s when I use my time to the fullest; either for play, catching up on life, or diving into my own passions. One of such, is writing. It was always a creative outlet of mine; a place where I could share my heart.

One day a week. A few words of encouragement. A desire to write.

 

Matilda’s Beet Popsicles

Beet it. Just beet it. No one wants to be defeated!

Beets are incredibly nutritionally sound.  Whether you enjoy them steamed, roasted, shredded, or juiced, you will benefit from them.  High in potassium, magnesium, A, B, and C, beets are a great staple to add to your diet. For women in particular, they help with maintaining iron, and folic acid levels.  Both the beet and the beet greens are beneficial for helping reduce cancer cells, used as a natural energy source, and even said to be a source for increasing your immune system.

While preparing meals for my family, I try to think ahead and determine how I can use every bit of an item.  So much gets thrown away in most homes and restaurants; things that can provide substance and another meal.

So when I blanched some beets the other evening, I saved the brilliant red water for two reasons. One, as a refreshing iced drink on the 90 degree 4th of July afternoon, and to also prepare beet based popsicles for my kiddos.  My youngest, Matilda, helped to prepare these.  I’m a huge advocate of allowing children to help prepare meals, and snacks so they become more interested in food and take part in creating something delicious that they want to taste just out of being proud they were able to get creative making it.

Matilda and her sisters devoured these, exclaiming “These are SO good!”

Matilda’s Beet Popsicles:

2 cups blanched beet juice water, chilled

1 1/2 cups unsweetened almond milk

1 heaping cup of fresh blueberries

2 bananas

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

6 leaves peppermint

1/8 cup maple syrup

Directions:

Place all ingredients into a blender, and blend until completely smooth. Transfer into popsicle makers, and then freeze overnight.

 

 

 

 

Lentil Chili

IMG_6190

The cornbread was gone before I could even snap a photo.  So you only get the recipe for the lentil chili that was the perfect accompaniment. It was the main reason I made the cornbread in the first place anyways. Hearty, with abundant flavor, and kid friendly (it won’t burn your ass coming out the other end due to it being too spicy) If you’re not a pansy like me, who sweats just from eating mustard (yep, total white girl), then by all means kick it up a notch and add some damn diced jalepeno to this betsy.

Ingredients:

1 bay leaf

1 16 oz. bag of lentils

2  Tbsp. olive oil

1/3 cup cilantro, chopped

1 jar bruschetta sauce from Trader Joe’s

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 (14.5 oz) can fire roasted tomatoes – Trader Joe’s

1/2 white onion or vidalia onion, chopped

1/2 red bell pepper, diced

3 boullion cubes  added to 32 oz. water or 32 oz. vegetable stock

4 tsp. chili powder

sea salt and pepper to taste

Directions: In a large pot, heat 1 Tbsp. oil along with lentils and stir frequently for 1-2 minutes. Add broth or water w/bouillon cubes and bring to boil, then allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until tender. While you are bringing the lentils/broth to boil, begin sautéing chopped onions, red bell peppers, and garlic for 5 minutes in a skillet along with the remaining 1 Tbsp. olive oil. I like to sauté them and then add to the lentil/broth mix for extra flavor.  After adding the sautéed mix to the lentil/broth combo, add the can of fire roasted tomatoes, jar of bruschetta, and chili powder. When the lentils are tender (approximately 30 minutes), add the chopped cilantro and adjust with sea salt and pepper.

Delicious alongside cornbread smothered with earth balance and a smidgen of honey.

Udon Noodle Salad garnished with Thai Basil alongside Tempeh-Veggie Wraps with Peanut Dipping Sauce

It started with craving tempeh. The end.

Udon Noodle Salad with Thai Basil

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

2 Tbsp. mirin

2 tsp sesame oil

2 tsp. fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. fresh ginger, minced

9.5 ounce bag of udon noodles

1/2 cup Thai basil, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup fresh spinach or collard greens, coarsely chopped

Directions:

Combine soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, lime juice, and ginger(dressing) . Mix together and set aside. In a pot of boiling water, cook noodles until al dente; about 8 minutes.  Drain well.  Add dressing to the noodles and then stir in the basil and spinach. Serve hot or cold.

Tempeh Veggie Wraps

Ingredients: (makes 10-12 wraps)

Tempeh Marinade:

1/4 cup soy sauce

1 cup filtered water

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 Tbsp. minced ginger

1  8-oz bag of tempeh.

Directions: Add soy sauce, filtered water, garlic, and ginger to a bowl and whisk.  Slice the tempeh into strips and place in a sauté pan. Pour mixture over the tempeh and simmer for 20-25 minutes on low.  Set aside.

Wrap Fillings:

1 Pack of rice wraps

1/4 red cabbage, thinly sliced

1/4 green cabbage, thinly sliced

1/2 red bell pepper, sliced

12 stalks of asparagus, pre-steamed al dente

10-12 leaves of romaine

10-12 leaves of spinach

3 Tbsp. minced mint

Directions:

Place a bowl of warm water on a prep table.  Make sure there is enough room for rolling and keeping finished wraps apart from one another (they will stick together).  Soak 1 rice wrap in the warm water for 5 seconds until pliable.  Then layer with 2 strips of prepared tempeh, green and red cabbage, red bell, a stalk of asparagus, and one each of the romaine and spinach. Sprinkle with mint. Place all the ingredients into the middle of the rice wrap circle.  Fold both ends inward on top of pile of ingredients, and then roll from one side to the other. Set aside. They will be wet and not easy to work with at first, but they will dry up and stay rolled as they sit.  Complete with remaining ingredients the same as you completed the first. Serve alongside Peanut Dipping Sauce. Made to enjoy cold.

Peanut Dipping Sauce

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp. chopped peanuts or peanut butter

2 Tbsp. honey

3 Tbsp. soy sauce

1 Tbsp. water

2 Tbsp. cilantro, chopped

Directions:

Place all ingredients in a small bowl, and whisk until thoroughly blended.

 

 

Vanilla Bean Crepes with Orange-Cashew Creme

My family and I love waffles, pancakes, and crepes. I don’t make any of them often, as I see them more as a treat. But oh my goodness, when I do make them, they are so dang tasty. Typically a weekend morning splurge, we change-up the components on these bad boys to make them extra special.

This weekend we enjoyed some that I’d like to share with you. They are vanilla bean crepes; lovingly speckled with fresh vanilla bean and filled with home-blended cashew creme with a splash of orange extract. It’s almost like taking in the scent of budding flowers on afternoon day, while lying in tall green grass with the sun kissing your winter skin. It’s the simple things in life that need not be taken for granted.

Ingredients:

Batter: 

1 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup organic cane sugar

1 1/2 Tbsp. ground flax meal

4 Tbsp. expeller pressed safflower oil

2 1/2- 2 3/4 cups of almond milk, adjust if you need it thinner (I light mine a bit on the thicker side)

1/2 of 1 vanilla bean, scraped

1/2 Tbsp. cinnamon scented vanilla extract (by Edwin and Lesha)

Cashew Creme:

2 cups of roasted cashews

1/2 cup of filtered water

1/4 cup maple syrup

2 Tbsp. organic brown sugar

1/4 tsp. of orange extract

pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 200 degrees for holding prepared crepes until you are ready to fill.

For the batter: Add all dry ingredients to a bowl and whisk thoroughly (flour, baking powder, sea salt, sugar, and flax meal) Add wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk well (safflower oil, almond milk, vanilla bean, and cinnamon-vanilla extract).  Combine dry to wet and mix well.

For the cashew creme: Add  all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth. Set creme aside in a bowl.

To prepare the crepes: In a crepe pan, heat a small amount of safflower oil, and then place 1/4 cup of batter into heated pan.  Swirl into a circle and prepare the same way you would a pancake. Make sure one side is cooked before flipping to the other. Place on a cookie sheet in the warmed oven until you are ready to fill.  When you are done preparing the crepes, take each one and place 1 Tbsp. of cashew creme on half of the crepe and then fold in half, or roll.  It’s all up to you how you’d like to display or eat them. We like them folded two ways, and garnished with fresh fruit.

 

Black Bean Mushroom Burgers with Cilantro Aioli

My kids fought over who got the last burger. THAT is a good sign. This was an attempt on my part to create a gluten-free burger that was satisfying, full of flavor, and a great source of fiber/protein.  Cost effective, and easy to prepare, this recipe is definitely a keeper.

Ingredients (yield: 6 burgers)

Burger:

2 Tbsp. olive oil

1/2 cup diced leeks

1/2 cup diced crimini mushrooms

1/4 cup pumpkin seeds coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp. garlic, minced

1 1/2 cups cooked black beans

2 Tbsp. flax meal

1/4 tsp. cumin

1/4 tsp. paprika

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/8 tsp. chili powder

1/8 tsp. cinnamon powder

Breading:

3 Tbsp. ancient grains GF flour

1 Tbsp. organic cornmeal

1 tsp. sea salt

Cilantro Aioli:

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

1/2 clove of garlic

4 Tbsp. mayo substitute (Just Mayo)

1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp olive oil

1/4 cup filtered water

1/4 cup of pumpkin seeds

1 pinch of sea salt

1/8 tsp. jalapeno pepper hot sauce

Directions: 

Burgers: In olive oil, sauté leeks, mushrooms, and garlic for 7-10 minutes. Add pumpkin seeds, and cooked black beans, sauté for 5 more minutes. Add flax meal, cumin, paprika, sea salt, chili powder, and cinnamon.  Saute for 5 more minutes.  While still warm, mash well with a potato masher, then set aside while preparing breading and aioli.

Breading: Combine ancient grains, cornmeal, and sea salt onto a platter.  Mix well.  Form burgers mixture into circular patties (about 2 inch L x 2 inch W x 1/2 H) Bread each side of burger with the platter mixture.  Lay on parchment and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for two hours+ prior to grilling.

Cilantro Aioli: This is not a traditional aioli. There are no eggs in this combination.  To prepare this mixture, you can place all the ingredients into a bowl and emulsify until pureed.

To Grill Burgers: When you’re ready to grill the burgers, heat olive oil in a pan and carefully grill on each side until darkened.  They are gluten-free, so handle with care. I served mine with avocado, butter lettuce, grilled pineapple, grilled red bell peppers/red onions, and cilantro aioli on a sourdough baguette. Sourdough, from research, is better for digestion. Some gluten-free folks believe it is okay to consume because of the fermentation that occurs when preparing. If you are incredibly gluten-free sensitive, and prefer not to take a chance, I know Udi’s make’s decent burger buns.