Green-Bee Smoothie

Decided to switch it up this morning with a smoothie instead of juice. Mostly because I woke up so hungry I knew I needed some more fiber to keep me full through the morning.

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Green-Bee Smoothie:
yield: ~28 ounces

handful of romaine lettuce
1 pear
1/2 peeled lemon
2 small bananas
1/2″ piece of ginger
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup filtered water

Topped with a bit of bee pollen for extra nutrients & yumminess. Yum!!

Happy New Year!

Loving Cabbage (Juice) Is Normal, Right?

I am totally hooked on juicing cabbage! It has been the perfect replacement for cucumber since the stopped producing late summer. The cabbage really contributes to the bulk of the juice, something I cherish in green juice… I want a lot, as in 32 ounces at a crack. It sounds like it would reek havoc on your digestion but I really haven’t had any ill effects. I admit my system is accustomed to eating cabbage nearly everyday now, so it may just be I have a high tolerance. But like I’ve shared before, don’t knock it until you try it! If anything it is doing your body a whole lot of good! Think loads of vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and antioxidants.

As my juices change frequently due to what is available here at the farm, I have adapted my first go at cabbage juice a wee bit:

All Hail Cabbage:

1/2 napa cabbage (sometimes 3/4)
1 bunch red russian or dinosaur kale (12-15 leaves)
7-8 parsley stalks
3/4 lemon, with rind*
2 1/2 honeycrisp apples
2″ piece ginger

*Leaving the rind on really accentuates the lemon flavor (essential oils are concentrated in the rind). Lemon peel however is high in oxalates, so note of caution for those with kidney or gallbladder problems.

If you have a high power blender, save the parsley for blending. Juice all other ingredients, add to blender with parsley & blend on high until parsley is liquified. Otherwise, toss parsley right into your juicer. Depending on the style/quality of your juicer, it may not truly be juicing any of the parsley.

This juice is amazing. So, so delicious.

Cabbage isn’t just lovely juiced… but in its much loved fermented form: sauerkraut!

Look at all that cabbage!!

We recently made enough sauerkraut to last a lifetime. This picture probably only captures 10% of how much we went through. Cabbage is certainly in no shortage here! I’ll never complain when fresh veggies are in ample supply. Bring. it. on.

So even if loving cabbage juice isn’t considered “normal“, it’s much adored in my books ;)

Question: What is your favorite way to enjoy cabbage?  

Fall Flavors

Something that can’t be said enough about fresh, organic food is how amazingly delicious it is as is. A simple addition of some oil, fresh pepper, lemon juice or spices is all I ever need to take any meal to the next level. I am eating the best food – and it is all minimally prepared right here in my own kitchen. I’m not biased, I swear.

There are two new vegetables in season right now that have quickly become my new favorite juice staples… sweet potato & cabbage. Yep, taters & cabbage! Even though I absolutely love eating these two foods, I never thought I would enjoy them juiced. In fact, I still think the sound of it is slightly off-putting. However, like I say in so many other situations – don’t knock it ’til ya try it. So I did just that and no longer knock it. I strongly believe you should try these too!

Trial Uno:

Trial Dos (unpictured… drank too fast while video chatting with the folks):

Green Fall Tonic

1/2 napa cabbage
3 bartlett pears
1/2 lemon
1″ piece of ginger

The cabbage & pear combo is surprisingly smooth & light. Enjoy!

Both these juice recipes are well-representative of fall. Southern Ontario has had such a lovely fall – I have been enjoying the intoxicating spreads of color…

crisp temperatures, warm fires, new perspectives…

the sound of crunching leaves beneath my feet…

and reflections of  all the hard work we have put in this season as we slow down (relatively speaking).

Aside from juicing, there are three other simple recipes I am here to share that are sure to please your palate, while nurturing your god pod.

Steamed Kale & Garlic

1 bunch dino kale
1-2 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil, coconut oil, or coconut butter

It takes me more time to walk out to the cooler or garden to harvest the kale than it does to prep this dish. This is an excellent option for someone who doesn’t have much time, or is simply feeling lazy, to eat healthy in a flash.

Bring 2-3 cups of water to boil on the stovetop or in a tea kettle. Gather a handful of dinosaur kale and roughly chop or rip into large chunks (read: I’m lazy = less cleanup). Place kale in a colander & pour enough boiling water over for kale to lightly wilt. Allow kale to drain. Transfer kale into a bowl, press garlic onto kale, toss lightly with oil and voila!

This kale dish pairs well with my favorite beet hummus too. It adds a nice touch to the bowl and produces a lovely sea of green & purple. In effort to save on prep time,cleanup, & to continue to incorporate more raw foods – I made a raw version of this beet dip. Yum, yum, and yum!

Raw Beet Dip
3-4 medium red or golden beets
1 tbsp whole cumin (1/2 tbsp ground cumin)
1/2 lemon, juice of
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
pepper to taste

Wash, peel, and roughly chop beets. Add beets and remaining ingredients into food processor and process away until smooth. That is it! Enjoy on salads, in wraps, smeared on sandwiches, as a dip with veggies, or by itself straight out of the bowl…

Coconut Infused Roasted Sweet Potato
Oh.my.gosh.

So simple, so delicious, so healthy!

Tonight I chopped up leftover roasted sweet potato wedges and tossed them with some coconut butter in a small pot over low heat. Once the coconut butter was warmed, I removed it from the heat, gave it a good stir and topped a bowl of arugula with this buttery, sweet concoction. With a dollop of raw beet dip… total satisfaction!

Fall Inspired Juice

Until my friend Heather mentioned she was juicing fennel, I had never thought to as I figured it would be too rich in with its quintessential licorice flavor. I decided to give it a go as the cuke harvest dwindled significantly and fennel seemed a nice replacement… and per usual, I love it! It has now become a key component in my green juices and I encourage you to try it out!

More fennel recipes to come. Until then, keep the green juices flowin’!

 

Fall Is Upon Us!

Hello cooler temperatures! I welcome you with wide, very wide, loving & embracing arms. One thing this summer taught me is very hot temperatures + working outdoors + Kristen do not mix well. Thanks, but no thanks.

Of course I’ll miss the summer. The cucumbers, peaches, melons, berries…

…super addicting sun sugar cherry tomatoes

…brilliantly colorful bins of fresh vegetables & gorgeous flower bouquets.

But with fall comes winter squash!, apples!!, hot apple cider, pumpkins, warm fires, sweaters, changing colors, falling leaves, this list is endless…

So yes, I am ready, mentally & physically, ready for the slowing down of the season. As the sun sets earlier and rises later, I have noticed a striking shift in my energy. I went from barely being able to settle down and sleep just a few weeks ago, to now crashing before 10 (and as early as 8:30, woah!). I sleep now like it’s my job – I woke myself up Wednesday evening at acupuncture/reiki with a sudden snore. She said it was cute, I thought “oh gosh I’m passing out at 8”. Mentally I am ready to slow it down some too. Process & digest everything that I have experienced as of late…

which reminds me…

Since my last post I decided to officially withdraw from my graduate program and continue to farm full time as it is clearly what I need to be doing right now. Words really cannot convey what this farm brings to me, how it has nourished me in a way I feel people spend their whole lives yearning to find. I am blessed and forever grateful for my time here and for all the lessons I have learned that I will carry with me wherever I go after another season at Whole Circle in 2013.

Another farm update: we had a calf born two weeks ago! Miss Igne is the cutest little babe ever, especially as she curls up next to her momma during the morning milking.

 

And just for fun some things I’m really, really digging on right now include:

Watermelon! I can eat half one in an one sitting. No joke.

Concord grapes. Wow, what an explosion of flavor. I love them eaten and juiced. It is pure heaven.

Garlicky buttered popcorn. Fresh pressed garlic, stirred with melted raw butter, drizzled over freshly popped corn. Oh my. Our bowls disappear as quickly as they are made.

Raw sweet corn.

Chocolate milk. Fresh milk, raw honey, and pure cacao powder. Tossing back 1 liter at breakfast? no problem.

Raw Peanut Butter Chocolate Fudge (Another one that disappears in the blink of an eye). And this has nothing to do with the season. Chocolate is delicious anytime of the year.

3/4 cup melted coconut oil
3/4 cup raw honey
1 cup pure cacao powder
4 tbsp peanut butter

Combine melted coconut oil, honey, and cacao powder in a food processor and blend until well combined. Drizzle in peanut butter (or any nut butter of preference) and pulse. If you wish to have more pronounced sections of peanut butter, transfer fudge from food processor before adding it and simply stir in by hand. Transfer into a glass dish and freeze for at least one hour to allow for it to reach a fudge consistency.

Summer Squash Pasta

This one is super easy as long as you have yourself a viable vegetable peeler. I love the idea of eating a noodle-like dish but without the effects of eating dense pasta.Ideal squash for this are anyones with length – think zucchini, yellow squash, crookneck, etc.

Cut the top off the squash and peel lengthwise. I discard the first layer, even though the skin is very much edible, I prefer the more tender strips from the flesh. Continue peeling strips of squash until you reach the seedy middle. Set the middle aside to add to a stir fry, frittata, or sauteed veggie medley.

Collect as many noodles as you like and there you have it! Toss in your favorite marinara, pesto, or a lemony tahini dressing.

Enjoy!

Kale, Kale, Kale!

I received an email from my dear friend Monica yesterday asking what to do with her abundance of kale. As I was typing up an email full of ideas… I realized it it was a great opportunity to share the recipes I love on here. So, whether you find yourself having an abundance of kale, none (like moi), or simply wish to incorporate more into your diet, here are some ideas to get you started or keep you going!

My favorite way to drink kale is in a green juice (scroll down to see a few “daily green” variations). Hands down my favorite green to throw in the juicer.

Another option is to add to smoothies. The green peppermint smoothie is a tasty treat on a hot day and a great alternative to a minty milkshake. Adding a handful of kale to any smoothie will pretty much do the trick. If you find it to be unpalatable, add some more sweet fruit such as peaches, bananas, or apples. Another green smoothie I like comes from Kimberly Snyder’s Glowing Green Smoothie and I would just use kale in place of the spinach.

In addition to drinking kale – I love chowing down on this stuff. SO, so good. I love it so much I eat it straight up, I can just munch my way through a kale bed. But most people prefer things to be flavored and prepared, so here are some tasty salads and chip ideas.

Kale Chips

There are so many different ways to prepare kale chips. You can use either a dehydrator or your traditional oven. I have done both and prefer the dehydrator but the oven works does the job just as well!

Preparing the chips can be done in the same for both oven & dehydrator.

Begin with lots of kale. To prepare two baking pans of chips in the oven, I often bring in a entire shopping basket full of kale from the garden. It shrivels up quite a lot, so don’t be shy!

Rinse kale (easiest way to do this is fill a big bowl with cold water – or your sink – and gently wash the kale in the water. Remove from water and shake off water, pat to dry). Roughly chop kale. In large bowl, add a few tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper to taste, and other preferred spices. Add kale to bowl, use hands to coat kale leaves, and spread evenly onto baking sheets or dehydrator sheets.

If baking in an oven: bake at 325 degrees Farenheit for 20-25 minutes. Remove when crispy.

If using the dehydrator: Most recipes call for 12 hours at 105-118 degrees. Basically leave in there until crispy!

Eat right away. I can never seem to keep these longer than a few hours after they are prepared as they become soft and wilty.

Oil, salt & pepper are a great basic recipe. Adding chipotle powder, nutritional yeast, garlic powder, cumin, curry, garam masala are all great options. Here we love lots of nutritional yeast and some unlabeled spicy powder that resides in the spick rack. Some great lideas include Sun-dried Tomato Cheezy Kale Chips from Oh She Glows and Spicy & Cheesy Kale Chips from Eating Bird Food.

Curried Kale Salad

This recipe comes from Rebecca’s friend Mary. She made it at our farm’s summer solstice potluck gathering and it went SO fast. A delicious and quick salad.

Wash a bunch or two of kale and de-rib leaves. To de-rib kale, hold at the base of the stem and tear the leaf right off. Thinly slice kale.

Dressing ingredients:

6-7 fresh dates
4 tbsp Braggs aminos (tamari or shoyu)
1 inch fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1-2 tbsp curry
6 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp of lemon juice.

Combine dressing ingredients in blender. Mix and massage dressing into kale for a minute or two until the kale has wilted.

Below are some other great recipe ideas… some that I’ve made and some I have yet to. Once the kale is back in full swing around here I’ll be able to enjoy in these myself.

Sunshine In A Bowl from Peas & Thank You

Summer Kale Salad from The Nourishing Gourmet

My friend Greg from the farm makes a delicious Honey Mustard Dressing that was my staple dressing for kale salad. Greg & I both cook without measuring devices, we basically eye ball everything and taste test along the way. So what I learned from him is to combine ~1/2 C olive oil, 1/4 raw honey, 2-3 tablespoons dijon mustard, and either a touch of water or apple cider vinegar. Combine in a blender and massage into a bowl full of chopped kale. Sprinkle on sesame seeds, raisins and/or walnuts.

Hope this inspires you to enjoy some kale! There are hoards of great recipes ideas online. I am always looking for new ideas, particularly those that are others favorites, so do share if you have a favorite! I’m patiently awaiting our plants to grow back!

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Gazpacho: An Ode To Summer

 

With so many tomatoes and cucumbers continually on hand, gazpacho has become one of my favorite things to make, in part due to the handy Vitamix. I can go from having an entire cutting board full of vegetables, to a big bowl of soup ready in under 10 minutes. Gazpacho is an easy way to eat more fruits (remember, tomatoes are fruits!) and vegetables.

Here again I don’t have any clear cut measurements. I tend to just grab a bunch of items and toss in the blender. The combinations however are delicious, so consider this inspiration at least. I never salt my foods because a) I prefer minimal salt & b) salt is easy for everyone else to add to their preference. Preparing foods sans salt opens up a window of opportunity to enhance flavors with herbs. Try it!

Cucumber & Radish Gazpacho

4-6 cukes, peeled
1/2 cup red onion or 3 scallions
1-2 cloves garlic
4-5 radish
Handful fresh cilantro
~4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
~2 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper

Toss roughly chopped cucumber into Vitamix and blend for 2-3 seconds until cucumbers are well blended. Add in onion, garlic, radish, cilantro, oil, lemon juice, and seasoning. Blend for a few more seconds until all vegetables are well blended. Adjust to taste.

Tomato & Cuke Gazpacho

This one goes something like:

Lots of ripe tomatoes, de-stemmed, quartered and tossed into Vitamix until full. Blend until soupy.

Add in:
1-2 large cucumber
1 small red onion or 1/2 large red onion
5 radish
1 generous handful of fresh basil
1/2 handful fresh cilantro
~4 tbsp olive oil
~1 tbsp lemon juice
Fresh ground pepper

Blend some more and you’re done. Garnish with chopped onion, cilantro, sour cream/yogurt or a few slices of avocado if they are readily available for you. All these flavors will go wonderfully together. Blend in a substantial amount of yogurt or whipped avocado and you have yourself a tasty gazpacho dip!

Enjoy!

Homebrewed Water Kefir

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Thanks to Katie, a fellow apprentice here at Whole Circle, I am now in love with another homebrew drink that is so easy to make, as long as you have kefir culture (pictured above).

Why water kefir?

Aside from it being easy and delicious!… it is packed with some great nutritional benefits. This bubbly beverage is especially handy to have around when you crave effervescence but do not want the associated processed sugars and other junk from sodas. And let’s face it, sometimes it is nice to hydrate with something other than water.

During the fermentation process, the kefir produces probiotics, which are important “good” bacteria for our digestive system. The probiotic benefits of water kefir are vegan friendly – so for all the vegans out there this is a great way to drink up probiotics! Water kefir has also been noted to be a great source for vitamin B12, as well as a good source for B1 & B6.

Water Kefir

1 cup raw sugar
1 cup water kefir grains
1 lemon – organic, unpeeled & cut in half
4 figs or ~ 1/4 cup of unsulphured dried fruit of your choice
water

Place ingredients into a gallon glass jar, fill jar with water and cover with a breathable cloth/cheesecloth. Secure with rubber band & let sit to ferment for 72 hours at room temperature. After three days, remove cloth and strain. Discard figs, save kefir grains in some liquid for next batch (or immediately make another since you’ll quickly become addicted) and squeeze juice of lemons into your water kefir. Option to also add ~1/2 cup of your favorite fruit juice after kefir has been strained. Store in refrigerator – the longer water kefir is stored – the more fermented *more effervescent* it will become.

For those who weren’t gifted kefir grains like I was you can order some here. Keep in mind that with each batch, the grains will multiply, allowing your supply to expand each time.

Katie and I are now on a mission to have multiple batches continually brewing as we are obsessed. As we master certain flavor combinations I will be sure to share!

Saturday Mornings In Toronto

There better be a darn good reason to wake up at 4:45 on a Saturday. This morning, I had a good reason indeed. I nearly jumped out of bed pre-dawn excited as the dickens to head to Toronto’s farmers’ market! to sell produce from Whole Circle Farm. <– where I now work and live (more on this soon).

Just after 5 am Courtney and I loaded the van up with sunchokes, beets, carrots, potatoes, greens, and herbs and drove into Toronto. It was a bit chilly – I spent most the day in two jackets & under the warmth of my hat- but at least the expected rain held off. The market was wonderful! You can read more about The Stop Community Food Centre where the Stop Farmers’ Market is held here.

All the customers were so friendly and the 5 hours flew by, as I knew they would. There were tons of eclectic vendors selling breads/pastries/baked goods made with locally grown grains, produce, cheese, prepared foods, meats, chocolate, honey products, maple syrup, and other various fun things.

I tasted my first “sea asparagus” – which is essentially a teeny tiny version of asparagus, harvested from the sea – thus being an incredibly salty, crunchy veggie. Yikes! I prefer land asparagus, thank you very much. I also had my first true whiff of fiddleheads. ew? Those too smell like the ocean yet sound delicious. I’ve been wanting to try these for awhile but couldn’t bring myself to buy them simply as their their smell was so off-putting. Not a fan of fishy smells. Maybe next time.

Some pics from today. enjoy!

earth & city: raw foods table!


and whole circle! …

Markets are such a wonderful place to saunter, coffee & breakfast in hand, and converse with people from your neighborhood. Nothing beats the warming atmosphere of friendly, smiley folk who share in the same enthusiasm as you about local foods. Even for the visitors who don’t know about local food – but pop by for various reasons – it’s always a pleasure to share with them what local and seasonal food means. Getting someone to try something new is always so exciting!

My own purchases for today included coffee, ginger cider, kale, apples, strawberries, and a few maple syrup candies. I can’t wait to start my Sunday with some fresh kale & apple juice. Yum!

Caraway Sauerkraut

So many wonderful foods are born via fermentation. Kombucha, beer, wine, vinegar, sauerkraut, kimchi, pickles, yogurt… the list is endless and I love them all!

Earlier this spring I finally ordered Wild Fermentation, the bible equivalent for fermented foods. This book is both very user friendly as well as informative as the author thoroughly explains the benefits of fermented foods.

Even though this book contains delicious sounding sauerkrauts that I intend to make in the near future, the caraway sauerkraut my mom and I made last week I picked up elsewhere. The recipe we followed came from Crock and Jar, a food preservation company based out of NYC. I know from sampling some earlier this winter at the Just Food Conference that this kraut is SO delicious.

Even though I have a special place in my heart for Bubbie’s sauerkraut (& pickles!) there are no more excuses to buy sauerkraut when it is so easy and cheap to make right in your own kitchen. If making sauerkraut isn’t something that interests you – at least do yourself the favor of buying Bubbie’s raw kraut at some point. This brand is unpasteurized (retaining all nutrients and good bacteria) while not overwhelmingly salty like others can be.

Caraway Sauerkraut

yield: ~1 1/2 quarts

3 lbs green cabbage (any mix of cabbage will do)
1 tablespoon coarse sea salt (do not use iodized salt or anything with an anti-caking agent)
2 1/2 tsp caraway seeds

1. Remove outer leaves of cabbage and cut into quarters. Remove the cores and slice each wedge into 1/4 inch wide strips. Place into large bowl and add some salt and seeds to allow the cabbage to release some of its water. Continue cutting and adding salt until its all finished.
2. Massage cabbage to help the salt remove the water. Put cabbage in a tall container (half-gallon or two quart jars).
3. Firmly press down cabbage with your fist until it is covered with its own liquid.
4. Cover the cabbage with a few outer leaves. Weigh down the cabbage with a glass jar full of water.
5. Cover container with a towel or loose lid and place in a cool place to ferment.
6. Check in one week: remove the weight and wash off any mold and remove any rotten spots. Cabbage (kraut) below these spots are entirely fine . Taste to check the progress. Press cabbage down to submerge in brine.
7. Replace clean jar, cover container and return to cool spot. Continue to check the cabbage 1x/week. Cabbage should ferment for 3-6 weeks. Once the cabbage is sour enough for your taste preferences, put it in a clean container and store in refrigerator for up to 6 months.

Enjoy!