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.

 

 

 

 

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Salad Challenge

I dearly believe that children watch you, learn from you, and mimic you.  With that said, I want to be a great influence for them. Some days, my patience wears thin as I feel tired and worn out, but I strive to be an image for them that I hope will create great thinkers, adventurers, cooks, friends, and generally good people.

Meals are an important part of physical performance.  Being sensitive to my body chemistry, I can feel when I’ve had too much salt, sugar, bread, not enough water,  & not enough sleep.  Being that today marks a year since our move, I figured I’d give myself a challenge.  I already eat really well, mostly cook from scratch, extremely limit processed food items, and drink ample water each day.  Since watching FedUp, I’ve cut down heavily on the amount of sugar I was allowing; which quite honestly was not too shabby anyways…but I am trying to abide by the recommended 25 grams/day. So, what does that mean?  I figured my challenge was to have a salad a day for a month, with the aim to go longer once I hit that mark.

Having an organic garden within 30 steps from our place, this is completely feasible.  My mom is great at getting my children to taste things they would otherwise turn their nose up; if it were me suggesting it.  It’s pretty funny that kids will listen to grandparents over parents sometimes. I’m thrilled that my own parents create an environment of curiosity. They now regularly partake dandelions flowers, nasturtiums, violets, fennel fronds, alpine strawberries, arugula, uncooked green beans, sweet peas, etc. They pretty much eat their body weight in the fresh food from these 6 acres. They are always full of chagrin when they’ve spent time with my mom in the garden and are eager beavers to get busy making their own salad. There are so many salads one can make: bean salad, fruit salad, green salad, etc. Hopefully, my children will join me on my salad challenge.  Will you?

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Today’s Salad: swiss chard, arugula, nasturtiums greens/flowers, quinoa, fennel fronds, dried cranberries, avocado, & toasted pine nuts dressed with home-made Honey-Dijon dressing.

Chilled Beet Salad

We left for Washington State on July 5th; just shy of a year ago.  It has been a bittersweet experience.  We miss our friends so incredibly much, and think of them daily.  Their companionship, conversation, laughter, shoulder to cry on, ideas to bounce back and forth, and their genuineness is something that cannot be replaced.

Our recent journey back to CA was incredible.  This recipe makes me think of one of my besties, Brianne Wells.  It was at her house, prior to her son’s birthday party, that I was asked to prepare this.  I love everything about it.  Thank you Brianne for this recipe.

I will miss gathering this year, as we have done for the last 14 years or so, to celebrate our favorite holiday alongside you and your family.  Cheers!  I’ll be eating this beet salad on Saturday, and be thinking of you guys.

Ingredients:

6 large beets or 5 1/2 cups of medium diced beets

1 cup dill pickles, mince

1/2 cup “mayo”

1/4 cup pickle juice

3 cloves of garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. dried dill

1 tsp. sea salt or to taste

dash ground black pepper

Directions:

Steam diced beets until tender. Set aside and allow to cool.  In a mixing bowl, prepare “dressing” by combining pickles, mayo, pickle juice, garlic, dill, sea salt, and black pepper.  Whisk well.  Add the dressing to the steamed beets, and mix well.  Allow to chill for two hours.

 

 

 

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Collard & Millet Croquettes with Corn Hollandaise Sauce

These GF croquettes are a wonderful accompaniment with sautéed kale and fingerling potatoes.  Millet is such a great alternative for those on a gluten-free diet. With its sweet and mild taste, you’ll often see it offered as a hot cereal.  It is commonly seen in bird seed.  But, this wonderful grain is  not just for the birds.  Millet is high in copper, maganese, magnesium and phosphorus, and iron.

CROQUETTES:

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1/4 cup of sliced leeks

1/4 cup sliced collard greens

1 clove garlic

1/4 cup yellow squash diced

3 cups cooked millet

2 Tbsp. parsley minced

2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast (there are both GF and non GF varieties, make sure you buy the correct one if you do this GF)

2 heaping Tbsp. flax-seed meal

1/4 cup water or vegetable broth

salt and pepper to taste

parchment paper

CORN HOLLANDAISE SAUCE:

15 oz. of fresh or canned organic sweet corn

1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp. lemon juice

1/4 tsp. Dijon mustard

1 tsp. tabasco

salt and pepper to taste

cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer

DIRECTIONS:

For the Croquettes: Pre-cook millet in a pot and set aside to cool. In a skillet, heat oil and saute leeks, collards, garlic, yellow squash, parsley until softened. In a bowl, combine cooled millet with the sautéed vegetables and add nutritional yeast and flax-seed meal. Add water or vegetable broth.  Salt and Pepper to taste. Mix well.  Form patties and  allow to refrigerate for 1 hour to thicken up on a sheet pan lined with parchment. To bake croquettes, set oven to 350 for 30 minutes.

For the Corn Hollandaise Sauce: Take 15 oz. of corn (either canned or fresh) and cook for 5 minutes.  In a blender, blend the corn along with 1/2 cup water until mix is pureed. Remove blended corn and using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth, strain the pureed corn into a sauce pan. This allows for the husk on the corn to be removed and for the sauce to be smooth.  In the saucepan, heat the hollandaise on low for 15 minutes or until it thickens. This mix will naturally thicken because of the natural starch and sugar. Because of this, you need to stir it throughout the 15 minutes of heating to prevent sticking to the bottom of your saucepan. Add lemon juice, Dijon, tabasco, salt and pepper.  Whisk again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Zucchini-Raisin-Walnut Bread

I enjoy cooking. I really do. But, I LOVE to bake.  So here is another yummy recipe, this time using fresh zucchini from my mom’s garden.  If you hate zucchini, try this regardless. I think I’ll make a lover out of you.

INGREDIENTS:

1 3/4 finely ground spelt flour

1 1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1 Tbsp. flax meal

1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp baking soda

2/3 cup maple syrup or cane sugar

1/3 cup safflower oil

1/4 cup almond milk

1  cup freshly grated zucchini

1/2 cup organic raisins

1/4 cup walnuts (optional)

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350. Stir together flour, baking soda, sea salt, flax meal, nutmeg, ginger, cinnamon, and baking soda.  Whisk until blended.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together maple syrup  (or sugar) safflower oil, and almond milk. Mix wet into dry.

3. Grate 1 cup of zucchini and gather 1/2 cup raisins + walnuts (optional). Fold in to wet/dry combo.

4.  Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

5. Allow to cool before slicing.

 

 

 

 

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Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

I cannot take the credit for this wonderful salad. I would first give my brother credit, as he is the one who shared it with me. However, I don’t think it originated from him either. It is one of those recipes, that I am sure has been passed around time and time again.  I wish I did know where credit was owed.  But, regardless, I know you’ll love this light yet hearty salad.

INGREDIENTS:

2 cups cooked quinoa

1/4 cup currants

1/4 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup currants

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/4 cup chopped mint

1/4 cup diagonally cut scallions

1/4 cup parsley

, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lime juice

1 tsp. agave syrup

1/2  tsp. cumin

1 tsp. sea salt

1/2 cup olive oil

DIRECTIONS:

Place all ingredients into a bowl and mix.  Allow to chill for 20 minutes before serving.