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!

4-Ingredient Choco Bites

Looking for a quick and easy way to use almond pulp from making almond milk? Chocolate lovers…look no further. For non-chocoholics, like my Momma, refer to my alternatives at the end.

4-Ingredient Choco Bites:

Starting with the pulp from making almond milk with one cup of almonds… either dehydrate for a few hours or use right away. If using pulp without dehydrating, you may get away with only one banana as there will be leftover moisture from the almond milk.

In a food processor add almond pulp and pulse into flour.

Add:
2 tbsp cacao powder
2 very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract

Mix until well blended. Roll into tbsp sized balls and freeze to allow them to set.

That’s it! So easy.

For those who’d like to try without chocolate:

In place of cacao powder try a few raisins, Medjool dates, or shredded coconut. A few squeezes of lemon juice & lemon zest would be delicious too. Reminds me of lemon coconut bars!

And for my favorite Pinterest findings this weekend…. notice a theme??

Source: flickr.com via Kristen on Pinterest

Raw Chocolate Macaroons

These pack in some serious chocolate & coconut goodness! With only 4 ingredients and the easiest,quickest preparation EVER… what’s not to love?

Ingredients:
2 cups shredded, unsweetened coconut
3/4 cup coconut nectar or maple syrup
1/3 cup coconut oil
3/4 cup raw cacao powder

*Adapted by Sweetly Raw
**Original recipe calls for maple syrup, 2 tsp vanilla extract, pinch of salt. I had none of these = improvise!

Directions:
Melt coconut oil in a double broiler. Combine other ingredients in a medium bowl, add oil, and combine well with wooden spoon or hands. Place in freezer for 15-20 minutes (especially if using coconut nectar– so thick and sticky!). Remove from freezer and form into round, two-bite sized balls. Freeze until ready to eat.

mmmmmm so yummy!

Banana Nut Brittle

This recipe is another great use for overripe bananas… however this one is 100% raw! Thanks to my latest addition in the kitchen – my first Excalibur dehydrator -thanks to Santa! ;) -these are a raw take on peanut brittle.

Banana Nut Brittle

Ingredients
4 ripe bananas
1 1/3 cup pitted Medjool dates
1 cup shredded coconut
1 1/2 cup chopped almonds, pecans, or mac nuts

I used a few macadamia nuts but mostly pecans since mac nuts are SO pricey… the mac nuts bring me back to yesteryear…

In the food processor mix bananas and dates until smooth and creamy. Add in chopped nuts/nut flour until well mixed.

On a dehydrator sheet lined with reusable parchment paper – spread the mixture as evenly as you can. Once flat and evenly spread, score into squares. I made about 12 per sheet. Set dehydrator to 110 degrees and leave for 12 hours. After roughly 12 hours, flip pieces so the heat is evenly distributed. After another 12 hours, remove pieces from dehydrator and store in fridge or freezer. The brittle hardens up nicely and is SO delicious. You won’t be missing the real stuff with this delicious treat!

YUM


+

YUM


=
double yum!

Enjoy!

Sorry no real pictures of the brittle… my mom and I gobbled it up too fast…

Cookies For Breakfast

These are delicious!! A great way to use up ripe bananas without resorting to the usual banana bread. And with no added sugar I’m all over it. Last week I brought these to Kristin’s holiday party… woke up the next morning and had 4 for breakfast :) That’s how healthy I consider them.

Oat Banana Cookies *Adapted from Heidi Swanson

Ingredients
3 large, ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 cups rolled oats
2/3 cup almond or pecan meal
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
6-7 ounces dark chocolate chips or chunks

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl combine bananas, oil, and extract. In a separate bowl combine oats, nut meal, coconut, cinnamon, salt, & baking powder. Mix dry into wet ingredients & stir until combined. Fold chocolate chips or chunks in. Drop tbsp sized balls onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten into desired cookie size.

Bake for 12-14 minutes. With the chocolate oozing all over & cookies to be relatively soft – I found it easiest to transfer the entire parchment sheet with cookies on it onto a drying rack. After a few minutes I removed the cookies from the parchment and allowed them to properly cool directly on racks.

Instead of chocolate try raisins, dried cranberries, or dried blueberries. OR add with chocolate :) Enjoy!

Cinnamon Chia Pudding

Back in my early blogging days-ohhhhh so long ago-I wrote a post about the wonders of Chia Seeds. I’m still loving on the wonders of these little seeds that swell into tasty little balls of fun. Kind of similar to Overnight Oats, I recommend buying some chia seeds and trying this fast, yummy, and super healthy recipe:

1 cup milk of choice
4 tbsp chia seeds
2 tbsp honey, stevia, or sweetener of choice
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2-3 tsp cinnamon

Mix altogether in a jar and let sit for at least one hour. Making this the night before and having it for breakfast is also an option as chia seeds are packed with nutrition. Just give it all a good stir before eating.

Add some, all, or none (boring!) of the following after the seeds have soaked for added joy!::
bananas, nuts, granola, dried food, fresh berries, cocoa powder.

Raw Ice Cream Sandwiches

How does one properly enjoy a hot summer eve? I vote with a fork, spoon, or fingers and something sweet. Last night I made my first ever raw chocolate cookie to use as the sandwich for banana soft serve. The great part about these raw treats is that they are made with REAL FOOD so you don’t have to worry about over-indulging. Your body recognizes it as actual food so it will digest it as such, not like the average ice cream sandwich would.

For the Chocolate Cookies you will need the following:
1 1/2 cups oat flour (toss oatmeal in a food processor and grind into a flour)
1 heaping cup dates, pitted
3 TBS coconut nectar, agave, or maple syrup
4 TBS coconut butter
3 TBS cacao powder
1 TBS water

Process oat flour. Mix with cacao powder and set aside. Mix remaining ingredients in food processor until thoroughly combined. Once a consistent paste is formed, add flour mix and blend well. With a rolling pin, spread into a thin layer and cut out cookies. Let your creativity take over and use fun cookie cutters or else use the top of a glass. Works like a charm when strapped for the proper utensils. Place cookies on a sheet and freeze for at least one hour.

Meanwhile…

Take at least 4 frozen bananas (previously peeled, cut into smaller portions, and frozen overnight) and blend well. This may take a few minutes depending how much banana you have. Add 1-2 tsp vanilla extract if desired (or maca powder for a hint of butterscotch! yum!) Place back in freezer until cookies are well set.

Once the cookies have hardened, remove from freezer and assemble your sandwiches. Eat devour immediately! Make sure to store leftovers in a sealed container in the freezer for another sweet tooth indulgence!

If you are having an extra sweet tooth, as I usually am, try adding a bit of Caramel Sauce to the mix. To whip up this easy and tasty treat you will need:

1 cup dates, pitted
1/4-1/2 cup almond milk
1 TBS raw honey, coconut nectar, or agave
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of sea salt

Blend well in blender or food processor. For more of a spread-like consistency use 1/4 cup of milk at first and add more if you prefer a thinner “sauce”.

>26 Blessed Years

>What a difference a year makes! I have been blessed with a year full of many new friends, experiences, and revelations that have helped shape me into who I am today- 26 years old and only getting younger-duh! With a new job, new perspectives and unbinding myself from a lease I flowed through my 25th year with much more fluidity. In addition to my winter exodus to Maui & living at Greenleaf, another highlight of my year was volunteering with Brian in Costa Rica for a turtle conservation program. We met awesome people from all over the world, experienced life in the jungle living off the grid, both managed to think we were dying of malaria and denghue fever, and oh yes, contributed to the conservation of sea turtles! Here are a few photos from our trip that I always enjoy:

hatchlings

watching the hatchling make it to sea at sunrise

mama turtle

my first hatchling save!

incidentals trek through the jungle

nest excavations

blue-eyed tree frog

siblings

go turtles go!

nest checks at sunrise

camp

twins

toucan

I look forward to another year full of many new people, places, and experiences! So what better way to recognize a new year of life than with a relaxing, no frills dinner with the fam. I didn’t give the menu much thought as I’ve been really busy but we whipped up some tasty dishes that included:

*Salad (but of course!) consisting of red leaf lettuce, romaine, arugula, spinach, sunflower sprout greens, peppers, cucumber and grape tomatoes. Topped with my Mom’s lemon vinagrette.
*Roasted golden beets & purple asparagus (that turn green when cooked-hmm!)
*Grilled chicken for the rest of the family.
& last but not least…
*Raw KEY LIME PUDDING for dessert! I made my mom take away my bowl after I was on my 4th(??) helping. It’s just that good. Brian and I also shared some Raw & Fine chocolates I picked up last minute. His allergy to avocados completely slipped my mind when planning to make the pudding and avos are the main ingredient, whoops! Chocolate to the rescue!

For those who would like to indulge in the goodness of a healthy & raw alternative to key lime pie or for a fun twist on a pudding… DO try this at home.

Key Lime Pudding:

4 ripe avocados
1/2 cup lime juice (plus 1 tbsp for stronger lime flavor)
~ 1 TBSP lime zest
1/2 cup raw honey
1/2 cup cold-pressed virgin coconut oil, melted
pinch of celtic salt

Blend well on high in a blender or food processor. Eat right away, chill if desired for later, or use as a pie filling for key lime pie. Top with crushed macadamia nuts or shredded coconut for something extra. & enjoy enjoy enjoy!

>Chocolate Creations

>My friend Heather and I decided to try and replicate raw & fine chocolates cacao & coconut chunky bonbon a couple weeks ago. We figured we could just throw some ingredients in a double broiler and see what turned out. Our first batch we put way too much cacao powder in and no sweetener… and cooked a few seconds too long. What we got was a very bitter and flavorless fudge like consistency. Quite unpalatable. To save the chocolate we just rolled it around some dates… edible but not great.

The next batch we melted roughly 1/2 cup of coconut oil on low. Once the oil completely melted we kept adding cacao powder until we felt it reached a decent fudge texture. We then added 1/4 cup coconut nectar, a touch of sea salt, and some stevia. Careful not to let it burn this time, we poured it into a pyrex dish and let it cool in the freezer for a few minutes. I wish I had pictures to share but I ate it all :) whooops. This one was really, really good.

Today I tried two more batches. I followed a recipe I found online for bark and also tried to replicate what Heather and I did. I ended up trying them later on this evening and… gross! It was really bad. And it must be really bad for me not to eat it. Tomorrow I’m going to have to throw it all back in the double boiler and add some stevia and coconut nectar. I’ll be sure to share the recipe that actually tastes good accompanied with photos tomorrow.

>Lemon Coconut Bars

>These had even my Dad raving. I have to say they are superb. What’s not to love about something so quick, simple, and delicious.

Raw Lemon Coconut Bars:

1 cup almonds
1 1/2 cup pitted dates (recommend Medjool)
1 cup dried, shredded coconut
2 TBSP lemon juice
zest of 1 lemon
~1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds of one vanilla bean
1/4 salt

Chop almonds in food processor into small pieces. Use the “flour around the edges of the container to dust the bottom of a 8″ or 9” glass baking dish.
Add remaining ingredients and process until well combined.
Press into the dish and cover with wax paper.
Refrigerate for a couple hours or overnight. Cut into squares to serve.