zucchini pasta, kalamatas, sun dried tomatoes,basil and more

Here’s another summer dish that’s fitting for dinner and a great one to take to a potluck… How many of you go to potlucks? It’s a regular thing here on Orcas Island. We don’t have a lot of entertainment.I think this zucchini pasta loaded with kalamatas, sun dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, and red onion should peak the interest of the paleo and plant based eaters alike! And anyone in-between for that matter.

wendyellenthomas.comI got this handy dandy spiralizer that I’m sure I mentioned last summer. or did I?

zucchini pasta, kalamatas, sundried tomato and basilThis thing rocks. I’m watching my zucchini plants blossom and literally can’t wait to harvest the first few baby zuchs. I cherish this anticipation and basically block out what happens after about the 100th green or yellow fruit. That’s when the livestock start doing the squash dance. Here are summer squash plants-

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See those little yellow guys?

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I turned about 5 medium green and yellow fruits into ringlets.  It’s a good idea to salt your zucchini (about ½ tsp) and give it 20 minutes to sweat then strain it. Worst case you don’t, and you end up with some liquid to make dressing with. Chop up one can of drained artichoke hearts…

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and about a half a jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in olive oil. Slice onions…

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And chop/slice roughly ¾ of a cup of pitted kalamata olives. I try to get artichoke hearts, tomatoes and olives by the case as it almost makes them affordable when you buy in bulk. Any one of these ingredients crank up just about anything a couple notches.

Lastly, a handful of fresh basil leaves…

wendyellenthomas.comSimply toss it all together and dress with a ⅓ cup of olive oil, half a fresh lemon and a splash of white wine vinegar. Salt and pepper to taste-

Recipe:

  • 5 medium zuchinni spiralized, cut on a mandolin or try using a julienne peeler
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 drained can artichoke hearts chopped
  • ½ packed cup of sun dried tomatoes chopped
  • ½-¾ cup kalamata olives chopped
  • ¼-½ sliced medium red onion
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • juice of ½ lemon (throw a little zest in there too if you’d like)
  • splash of white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • optional- 1 clove pressed garlic

This really doesn’t need a printed recipe, trust me- save the paper. Just have a go at it and plus or minus the ingredients you like. Make it your own.

Simple,fresh, healthy and full of flavor.

zucchini pasta, kalamatas, sundried tomato and basil-5And here is the farm in early June- the garlic is outrageous. I’m hoping the soil wasn’t too fertile. We’ve got some hefty stalks.

garden 6-4-15Ollie wanted potatoes this year… and potatoes he shall have. We gave up a lot of real estate for 4 ROWS! Usually I plant 2 sides of 1 row but this year decided to give them lots of room. German butterball, Yukon gold, Pontiac red, and 2 varieties of fingerlings

garden 6-4-15-6Greens are doing great, weeded and mulched…

garden 6-4-15-8But wanted to throw this in so you see all parts of the garden… kind of like me. You think you are looking at a bed of weeds and that’s partly true. But there are soon to be sweet strawberries in there. My theory was the birds won’t find the berries in all those weeds. Really this bed will be turned over this fall. It’s just too full of buttercup but due to lack of time I thought I’d try out my rationalized theory:)

garden 6-4-15-9See what’s hiding in there- don’t tell the birds

garden 6-4-15-10Here’s a couple favorite roses in the landscape. A little thorny tea rose…

garden 6-4-15-16I focus up on them to avoid looking down at the weeds that need attention… This massive wild rose is breathtaking every year.
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And the kids are growing…

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oh this sweet face…

garden 6-4-15-13Have a lovely beginning of summer

chobani chicken salad, pomegranate, tarragon,walnuts

I love this salad. I’ve been working on some new lunch recipes to cover us through the week. Roasted chicken breast, Chobani plain greek yogurt, pomegranate, walnuts and fresh tarragon. Um hell yes.

I’ve been sitting on this post for a few weeks so if you can’t find the pomegranate I have substituted grapes split in half or even quartered if you have the patience. Just a pop of sweet is what I like.

Print recipe: {Chobani chicken salad, pomegranate & tarragon}

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I’ve been making yogurt lately from raw milk we get locally, but if I don’t have it on hand I’m happy to turn to Chobani yogurt. Really. Yes, contact from the company did motivate this post but I was happy to do it. And though I think healthy fats are totally good for us, I wanted to go with the plain yogurt to dress this salad and went with the  0% fat. I used one small container for the recipe.

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.comIdeally you can start with some leftover roasted chicken breast from the night before. I’ll sometimes even roast two birds at a time if I really want to stock up for the week.

Roast chicken@wendyellenthomas.com

 

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups/12 oz chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup celery including leaves, chopped
  • ¼ cup onion chopped fine
  • ½ cup walnuts chopped
  • ½ cup pomegranate seeds
  • 2T fresh tarragon chopped
  • ½ cup Chobani 0% natural greek yogurt
  • 2T olive oil
  • 1tsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp white pepper

I cube about 2 cups or 12oz chicken breast.Personally, I generally prefer cubing to shredding. And to be honest, I would never put chicken in a food processor unless you WANT something resembling tuna from a can.

Chop celery, onion, walnuts and a couple tablespoons of fresh tarragon

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-5Then have some fun looking at videos on THE BEST way to cut a pomegranate and decide you’re just going to quarter the damn thing with a knife.

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-3And take extra pics because they are just a gift from heaven and so photogenic

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-4Now pull it all together with your yogurt, a little olive oil, maple syrup, cider vinegar and salt and pepper- it’s a one bowl mixer. And do your thing to make it your own- little more salt? pepper? vinegar or lemon juice? sweet?

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-6And voila… Looks like my Grandma’s bowl? Because it is:)

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I like to think Chobani has earned their leadership in the market for Greek yogurt through quality in their product – hormone free milk, non-GMO ingredients and by keeping with the tradition of production. As a matter of fact, I’m inspired to try making my own Greek yogurt.

Chobani chicken salad@wendyellenthomas.com-10Here’s a nutritional breakdown of the chicken salad with Chobani Greek Yogurt including calories and all that good obsessive stuff.

Chobani chicken salad,pomegranate & tarragon

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I happily wrote this post on behalf of Chobani Greek Yogurt in response to a request for new recipes. The opinions are all mine and I only would ever share products I’d use myself. You can find loads more great recipes here.

Golden turmeric ginger milk

I had a friend recently ask me about turmeric milk.Not being in my repertoire, I thought it sounded interesting and only imagined how it would stain my nut bag. Well, for starters I learned you don’t strain it. Although my champion juicer has a permanent yellow hue. This one is for you Becky!

Golden turmeric ginger milk1@wendyellenthomas.com-3

A lot of recipes call for powdered turmeric and/or ginger or often will have you grate it/chop it and simmer it and then strain it. But I have been juicing fresh turmeric over the past year and decided to juice it and fresh ginger. These amounts are what I used and honestly I think it’s to your personal taste. I like it heavier on the turmeric.

Golden turmeric ginger milk2@wendyellenthomas.com

 And because this is sort of a wee post, I decided to put some time and fun into fonts and such. I’ve dabbled in the past but haven’t used them it a while.

I juiced the roots and put about 1/2 cup water slowly through the juicer and made enough for about four 8oz cups. It didn’t feel like a horrible thing to do to my champion and god knows I wanted to get every last drop out of there.  It’s not the easy route but damn it’s good. And this stuff is concentrated.

Golden turmeric ginger milk elixir@wendyellenthomas.com-juice

I used my house made vanilla almond milk for the base. But you can use your preferred milk as a base. I even topped it with a little raw cream. I’m a born-again raw milk lover. Note on my almond milk- I’ve been switching out a few dates for the coconut sugar

Vanilla almond milk homemadeThe reason we are adding a teaspoon of coconut oil is the fat will help with the absorption of the curcumin in the turmeric. My go to coconut oil is Nutiva organic virgin coconut oil.

Golden Milk@wendyellenthomas.com-2

This is the substance giving us the anti-inflammatory properties. From the ginger, more anti-inflammatory benefits as well as gastro-intestinal benefits. Please see here for details on ginger and here for details on turmeric.

And last but not least the honey. I’m on for raw- no surprise there. And I wasn’t shy with it. I made two cups at a time for Ollie and I and used a ginormous tablespoon. Start with 1-2 tsp and take it to your liking.

I think we all know ginger is good for us but I’ll also add this handy chart from Organicfacts.netgingerAnd you probably want a visual for turmeric if you don’t feel like clicking to read details. I like charts myself. This one from shareayurveda.com

micracle-of-tumeric

 And very very last thing- if you have one of those little frothers- use it. Just gives it that light airy texture:)

Golden turmeric ginger milk@wendyellenthomas.com-4

cold brewed coffee with homemade vanilla almond milk

As much as we are enjoying our latest indulgence of cold brewed coffee and vanilla almond milk now… I can only imagine making this by the gallons in summer.Coffee cold pressed-25It started with ummmm, let’s see, maybe an article from one of my magazines and/or just a few blog post readings such as Food 52 and The Kitchn. These are for iced coffee. I’m saving the ice for summer and just having it cold.

Cold pressed coffee

A little fact about me- I am a magazine JUNKIE and have subscriptions to: Hobby Farm, Bee Culture, Culture Magazine (cheese), Yoga Journal (I’ve recently converted), Women’s Health, Oprah, MS Living, Elle Decor, House Beautiful, Country Living, Bon Appetit,and I’m down to the last of my German Food and Travel. The decor ones are short lived as they are usually the add for $5 special. I have stacks of saved French,UK,Australian and German issues. They are all interesting and I love to peruse them now and again.

Print recipe: {cold brewed coffee and vanilla almond milk}

Cold brewed coffee is quite a simple process of soaking medium ground coffee beans overnight for 12-15 hours

Coffee cold pressed-2You’ll find different ratios for coffee to water but my ratio has been 1 cup ground coffee for about 4 cups of water. I think you just need to play with it a little. I switch it up between our local french roasted coffee from Local Goods (higher oil content) or Herkimer drip blend (a drier bean) from Seattle. And from here- some will used it as a concentrate with the original four cups giving 6-8 cups of coffee. I find I like my ratio virtually straight up. I’ll add up to a 1/2 cup of the vanilla almond milk to 8-12oz cold coffee.Coffee cold pressed-3

AND with the idea of cold pressed coffee being less acidic and thus better for a little elbow joint pain I’ve been trying to keep at bay, we’ve been drinking this pretty regularly now. Check out this informative NYTimes article on cold brewing coffee as well as tea where they will also mention less caffeine and a smoother flavor.

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I use a plain old strainer and the butter muslin I bought from New England Cheese Supply for making chèvre. Or you can find something similar on Amazon.

Coffee cold pressed-6Strain brewed coffee
Coffee cold pressed-5And keep in a sealed container in the fridge. I’m making enough for a couple days about every 2-3 days. I’ve read you can keep cold brewed coffee up to a week but in my opinion the flavor starts turning a little bitter.Coffee cold pressed-8The vanilla almond milk also starts the night before with one cup organic almonds soaking in cold, preferably filtered water for 12 hours. I have also read that a minimum of 2-4 hours can suffice.

Vanilla almond milk homemadeStrain out the soaking water Vanilla almond milk homemade-3Place soaked almonds in a blender with 2-3 cups of water. Now I know that is an annoyingly large variable with the water. I’ve seen anywhere from 2-3.5 cups of water used. The first batch I did with 2 cups water and it was lovely and rich. The second batch with 3 cups water, and it was a little thin at first but came together ok the second day… I’ve settled on 2.5 cups for 1 cup almonds.

I used a whole vanilla bean the first batch then moved to 1 teaspoon of Beanilla’s 2 fold madagascar extract.

Applesauce cake-9I add 2 T coconut sugar for sweetener. This you can also adjust to taste. Add a wee pinch of salt.

Vanilla almond milk homemade-6

Puree this for 2-3 minutes till almonds are completely pulverized. Then pull out the butter muslin once more to strain the nut matter from the liquid.
Vanilla almond milk homemade-8Next job is re-cycling the almond refuse. We could pretend it’s ice cream.

Vanilla almond milk homemade-11

The first batch I also used 2 cups of almonds and it was too much to use in just a couple days. Ollie still uses milk on his Meusli… – print recipe here– yes- the link is spelled wrong. I NEVER can remember the u comes first.. even after three years in Germany!

Vanilla almond milk homemade-10

Pouring and shooting

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One of my favorite kitchen gadgets is the aerolatte frother– for a quick foam and sometimes even to whip one or two tablespoons of cream.

cold pressed coffee wendyellenthomas.comIt’s really not a lot of work once you get in the rythym every 2-3 days or 4 if you want to stretch it out. I’ve tried heating it up but I just don’t think it’s as yummy. I’ll still have a hot latte in town now and again but use this recipe (for now at least) for the daily consumption. Again, I flavor about 8-12oz of cold brewed coffee with 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk, 1 tsp maple syrup and a dash more vanilla.

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Here’s to a smooth, non dairy, low acid morning…or afternoon:)

Muffins and smoothies…

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Does anybody know why i’m getting a little arrow on some of these pics???

Celebrating health with more muffins and smoothies…

One of my favorite sounds this time of year rang through the valley as I took these photos. Baby lambs calling for their mama’s and mama saying “for God’s sake I’m right here- Can’t I just go pee for thirty seconds on my own!”

Really though, they are so sweet… just like these muffins I had to make again. Here’s the GF version if you missed it.

I HAD to do it again. … with the all purpose flour, canola oil and white granulated sugar. As much as I love deviation- this is straight up followed. I even let them sit for twenty minutes before I buttered one and inhaled it in all it’s Morning Glory. They were good but not as good as in the bakery. That’s when you realize publishing a cookbook with your secrets won’t necessarily detract from your business.

Next is juicing…

Healthy mind-body smoothie-12

I’m not sure if the New Year juicing, fasting, GF cleansing has been plucked from popularity and you know I’ve had some dips already in the chocolate tin. Since I often get recycled magazines from the library I’m trending a little behind the beat anyway.  But if you could see me now I think I might be glowing.

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I’ve been reading about the positive impact of fruits and vegetables in the same blended drink. Sounds good except I don’t want to put my strawberries through the champion (old school around here) and my fibrous kale and carrots in the stand up blender (the one with a metal switch).

Healthy mind-body smoothie-5

So until I get something, if ever, a little more updated, then I’ll be pulling both units out. And this morning I had the time. Really it wasn’t so consuming.

I love juicing and I love smoothies and usually will crank both out for a week or two at a time. Because I have the attention span of a goldfish the thrill disperses quickly and I can’t justify a $500 bill on a new machine.

I juiced carrots, celery, kale and an orange. Poured this mixture directly into the blender and added a little spinach, berries, peaches, a frozen banana and my whey protein powder. Throw some flax or chia seeds in there and you will get an A++.

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Since I’ll probably do this for a few months , weeks, days, I decided to make up some packets. Two things that I still here my French cooking teachers say- “economy of motion… we must win the time”. This was his direct translation of gagnez le temp!… And “bien assaisoner”. Use the damn salt and pepper already (but that does not apply here).

I only made up three packets and they make about two servings each. Make them accordingly for yourself or family. But trust me the time it takes to pull out the peaches, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries and frozen bananas (the going brown ones you already peeled and put in a baggie), reach a hand into each one, and put them all back… OR you could pull out one little baggie and plop it in the blender. You can always rinse out the baggie and reuse it

Healthy mind-body smoothie

You could of course also portion and prep your veggies for several days at a time too. This way when you pull out two machines- it’s not so bad. And if you have one of those Breville’s or Vitamixes, well hell – you’ve got it made.

You will literally start to glow at least on the inside when you see all this goodness your body will be shortly receiving. I’m just finishing my first glass now. Still picking the raspberry seeds from my teeth. The first sip was a little hmmm… I’m confused. A hint of greens and orange… berries. Do I like this? By the third sip. “I think so.” By the last bit. I love it and am  on for seconds. Or maybe I should wait a few hours so I don’t go into detox shock.

Here’s the official Macrina Morning Glory recipe:

Ingredients 
▪ 1/2 cup seedless raisins 
▪ 1/3 cup walnut halves 
▪ 2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour 
▪ 1/2 cup granulated sugar 
▪ 2-1/4 teaspoons cinnamon 
▪ 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda 
▪ 1/4 teaspoon salt 
▪ 1 medium carrot, grated 
▪ 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated 
▪ 3/4 cup chopped pineapple 
▪ 3 eggs 
▪ 1/4 cup canola oil 
▪ 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted 
▪ 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 
▪ 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract 
▪ 1/2 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut 
▪ 1/3 cup coarse raw sugar

Have a lovely week,

Tschüß xx

Rice salad with spinach and pistachios

Rice and spinach salad-6The sun shines today and 2013 is feeling good. We have a long to do list with our move back. Our Hamburg belongings are on a ship just coming up the coast of CA as I write. O  is tracking it on an iphone app. Love that. We are also working on his USA visa and closing up shop in Hamburg. Well he is closing things up and still working a ton… he’s a champ.

On this side of the Atlantic, we are getting the house back in shape- things like the hands and knees tile floor scrubbing and re-sealing and dismantling and cleaning the six burner stove…

IMG_2945 stove cleaning

We are re-arranging rooms and painting walls that were begging to be refreshed with a new coat of paint. And then there’s the barn/greenhouse, landscape and garden- but I’ll save that for another post. We are planning a huge multi-family garage sale in the spring, passing on about twenty years of child-rearing goodies, clothes I’ve clung to far too long, random iron hooks, mop heads that never fit, multiple quantities of the same size tape measure, alarm clocks, no longer needed tools etc. Sound familiar? As I sort and separate, I am also consciously considering how I will not collect as many personal possessions in the next twenty-five years. This is how long I have lived on my own. Ok- twenty-seven to be exact. January is my spring cleaning.

It’s also the month I barely need to muster the willpower to eat clean nor do I need to clear the pantry of naughtiness, for I am superior at allowing myself to over-indulge in an extreme holiday way. I am brilliant. So come Jan 1st, I was so over it. And these first couple weeks have been a breeze. Now day seventeen. The chocolate covered expresso beans are making eyes at me. The sight of the left-over dough balls are once more appealing. And really isn’t there less calories in a little bit of dark chocolate than a rice cake with tahini and currants? But wait. This is for my health. As it was in this Jan 2012 post.

I will do my best to complete the month of January without refined sugar, processed foods or wheat. I’m no paleo so I will keep eating brown rice.

Rice and spinach salad

Loads of fresh veggies like spinach…

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And nuts…

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A lot of lemon. I’ve been adding zest to many many things. I have also started my day with a large glass of warm water and a squeeze of lemon. Google this and you will get loads of good reasons why to try this. But you can start here. A blogger who credited her sources. good girl. And this is not new info. Who remembers Jethro Kloss’, Back to Eden (I don’t have a kindle, this is just what my front cover from the 80’s looks like). I just upacked my copy of this and proudly placed it on the shelf. Too classic for the garage sale.

Rice and spinach salad-3

And really, I’ve been cooking and eating like a winner. Last week I made three salads. A red and white cabbage carrot salad that accompanied almost every lunch and dinner, our perennial lemony quinoa with cucs, tomatoes, peppers and capers…

salads (rice&spinach)

And last but not least the rice salad with fresh spinach and pistachios, adapted from the Jan 2013 Oprah mag. I will admit too, I love this magazine. I love me and I love my body, my life and so on. And I am a self help junkie… but I think in a good, non-preachy way. I also love food and health stats.

This is a simple side dish and it is a great way to use up the leftover rice. You can add or subtract quantities to adjust to the amount of rice on hand or if you cook it fresh.

Rice and spinach salad-5

Print oh so simple recipe Rice with Spinach and Pistachios. The others are self explanatory… I think. If not, give me a shout.

2 cups cooked brown rice (basmati is nice)
2 T olive oil
1 clove garlic minced
2 # spinach cut in strips
Zest of 1 lemon and 1 T juice
½ cup roasted and chopped pistachios
1 T dill (optional)
dash of red pepper flakes (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

For another healthy grain salad, check out this red quinoa with pistachios from The Bitten Word. I’d throw some spinach in that one, too.

So here’s to a fresh start in the new year and don’t worry, those sweets and treats will most certainly be sneaking back in through the cracks in no time and yell out to the world with glee… We’re back :-)

Tschüß xx

 

One year Ago: Check out Granada, Spain

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And Seville, Spain….

 

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streetbynight

New Year’s Salad and welcome Otis

New Year's Salad & Otis-5Just a little hello on the last day of 2012.

Here is a salad inspired by my friend Jen who’s roots grow from Sweden. This salad, her mother’s holiday special is a great way to ring in the New Year.

Here are the nuts and bolts:

PM New Year's Salad & Otis-3

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Inspired by summer…

Summer is in full throttle. We are enjoying dinners with friends, work on the property, trips to Seattle and an abundance of fresh local foods. I’m indulging in the purchase of shiny magazines in English that require the turn of a page and not the swish of a finger across a screen. I’m currently sans computer for a few days and it’s kind of nice. The iPad works great but typing and photo editing aren’t so fun. It’s a good break. Here’s a visual of our happenings.
In Seattle last weekend, we picked O up at the airport. He finished teaching the semester with concerts and finals, and followed us to the states about three weeks after our arrival. After dinner one evening with friends in Woodinville, Chloe nailed a couple shots crossing the 520 bridge over Lake Washington. This girl has an eye let me tell you.

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She loves bridges…

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Back on island now, we love last minute dinners because within a half mile in all directions, we have the luxury of picking and purchasing such arrays of foods like this. Just picked raspberries, kale, chard, snap peas and fresh eggs that have not seen the inside of a refrigerator and once again, local Sockeye.

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Can one tire from fresh, local Sockeye salmon? No… Because it’s going to be followed soon by King salmon. Poor us. Here is our walk to Buck Bay Shellfish farm just down the road…

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Great old barn along the way…

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We drive by Buck Bay here (and the farm) daily.

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Never ending views, great folks,food and prices…

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Up our apple tree lined driveway…

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…we nibble a few salmonberries…

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Back to dinner…
Here was my prep for the salmon once again destined for the grill.
Lemon slices, garlic, fennel fronds and smoked salt…

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The two fillets put back together were grilled in foil…

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A little sautéed onion, garlic and fennel with lemon, seasoned the brown rice for our side dish. For greens, we used my favorite variety of kale, Red Russian which can grow virtually year round here. We massaged it, added avocado, olive oil, lemon, garlic and toasted sesame seeds.
For dessert, simple shortcake biscuits topped with fresh raspberries and whipped cream. Gotta love it!
Photo of our friends and their darling sit on the porch for dinner…

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Hope everyone is getting one moment or many to enjoy and be inspired by summer…
Tschüß for now,
Wendy

Tarragon Chicken Salad with Cranberries and Hazelnuts & a side of Asparagus

This tarragon chicken salad with cranberries and hazelnuts, exploding with flavor and texture, easily kept my mind off the cupcakes and yeasted cakes I’ve temporarily sworn off. And it will yours too. I didn’t search for any recipe this time because I didn’t want to know if someone’s already done it. Sometimes, with the access we have online to practically everything, it can take a bit of the thrill out of thinking you’ve discovered something for yourself. Now I know tarragon chicken salad is nothing new. And I know somebody out there has put cranberries or hazelnuts with chicken. Maybe they even used an orange vinaigrette to dress it. And yes, once I publish this post I might very well google it… but until then I’m enjoying having put this together myself.

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