Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam

I can’t believe I am posting this publicly.  This jam is our go-to gift reserved for those we love and appreciate.  It has been a hit with every recipient and a coveted gift item by many.  I can it in multiple batches and have it on the shelf with recycled bows and ribbon nearby for any impromptu gift giving moments.

It’s gorgeous in the jar.  And tasty on toast on a cold winter morning.  A family favorite for every holiday and a sure guest at the dinner table when we have company with a loaf of fresh baked bread.  So here you go, from our home to yours, a holiday gift giving sensation:  Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam.

Autumn Cranberry Pear Jam

3 c pears, crushed, peeled and cored
2/3 c dried cranberries, chopped
1/4 c unsweetened apple juice
1/4 c lemon juice
5 1/2 c sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1 pouch (3 oz) liquid pectin

Prepare canner, jars and lids (or skip this step if you are planning on freezing the jam.)

In a large pot combine all ingredients EXCEPT PECTIN (I can’t even tell you how many times I have forgotten this.)  Over high heat bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it cannot be stirred down.  Stir in pectin.  Boil hard stirring for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and skim off foam.

Bottle in prepared jars.  Cook in water bath canner for 10 minutes (20 in altitude) plus 5 minutes uncovered.  (Or if freezing, ladle into jars or tupperware and freeze.  That easy, just not shelf stable.)

For more detailed instructions on canning, go here:  http://pickyourown.org/allaboutcanning.htm

VVP: Cranberry Maple Compote

It’s that time again, bring on the VVP!
Who’s coming to the table:  The bright and beautiful cranberry.

Through the years, cranberry sauce has gotten a pretty bad wrap.  Give thanks to the trusty can o’ cran that plops out a gelatinous cylinder of cranberry goo with a nice, big “schluup.”  Great entertainment, but just not appetizing.

A couple years ago I discovered this little recipe.  No, big recipe.  It is chock full of goodness!  Made with fresh cranberries, pecans, fresh and dried fruit and the fabulous fall flavors cinnamon and nutmeg.  One taste and I was in love.

The only problem with the recipe is the large amount of sugar, especially being on an alkaline vegan diet.  So this year the cranberry compote recipe has gotten a facelift.  Welcome maple.

Cranberry Maple Compote

12 oz fresh cranberries
1 orange, peeled and pureed in the blender
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 pear, peeled and diced
1 c water
1 c chopped dried fruit (mix it up and have fun!  we love dried pineapple, cherry, cranberry if you’re sticking with the theme, I think a little crystallized ginger could be good for an added kick)
1 c chopped pecans
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
maple syrup, to taste (I used 1/4 cup but my sweetness sensor is pretty low these days.  You could add anywhere from 1/4-3/4 c maple)

Bring water to a boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and add all other ingredients.  Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cook until the cranberries burst.  Remove from heat and let cool.

I made a double batch this time around, measured it into 1 1/2 c portions, and stored it in the freezer.  Great to pull out for the holidays.

Some other ways to use your super delish cranberry sauce:

Eat it with a spoon!
Make a parfait with your favorite plain yogurt and granola
Layer on top of crackers and vegan cream cheese for finger foods
PB+Cranberry Sandwich?  Potential…
I’m thinking a ginger graham cracker crust with vanilla bean vegan ice cream topped with cranberry sauce.  Mmmmmm.
Mix in your morning oatmeal
Use as a topping for pancakes or filling for crepes
A tart spread for a savory sandwich

So there you have it.  Cranberry Maple Compote.  Love it.

Go Back

The previous VVP dish is found in Kelli’s Vegan Kitchen here:
http://kellisvegankitchen.com/

Go Forward
Cook to Love is the blog next in the potluck.  Visit it here:
http://cooktolove.com/

Oops- sorry friends!

VVP is really in 11 hours and 20 minutes. Didn’t know we were set to military time when I scheduled it. Sorry for a triple email day! Have to keep the chain intact. :) Come back again for over 100 amazing vegan recipes tonight in the Virtual Vegan Potluck!

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chili

Cinnamon Sweet Potato Chili

2 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 bell peppers, diced (rainbow colored!)
1 jalepeno, diced (keep seeds for more heat)
1 large yam, peeled and diced
4 cups water
1 Tbl veggie bouillon
1 can tomato paste
2 cans diced tomatoes
3 cans beans, drained and rinsed (we did 2 black and 1 kidney)
2 Tbl chili powder
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon

Heat oil in large pot with onion and saute until start to turn clear.  Add peppers, chili powder and sea salt.  When softened but not mushy  throw in garlic for 30 seconds.  Add water, sweet potato, tomato paste, tomatoes, beans, bouillon, and cinnamon.  Cook until yams are done.  Enjoy the healthy deliciousness!

Supersize me! Autumn Stuffed Banana Squash

This is one large meal where there is no guilt in supersize portions.  And it’s not primarily made of corn, unlike some *other* supersized options out there.

I’ve been dreaming of stuffed squash for the last month.  So colorful.  So flavorful.  So fun!  And with these wholesome ingredients you can’t go wrong. When we found this beauty at the farmers market, I knew the time had come.

Chopping this super size squash in half provided great entertainment for the kids, a task that proves challenging for me every time, apparently it is a talent I just may never master.  Thankfully squash is forgiving.

Autumn Stuffed Banana Squash

1 Banana Squash (or a few smaller squash of your choice), halved, seeded, and ends chopped
3-4 Tbl olive oil
3 c. cooked quinoa (I cooked mine in veggie broth)
juice of 1 lemon (add a little zest for extra flavor)
2 apples, cored and chopped
3 stalks celery, diced
1 onion, diced
1 c. pecans (thinking of toasting these in the skillet for a few minutes next time so they maintain more crispiness)
1 c. raisins
Sage, 1 Tbl. fresh or 1 tsp. dried
sea salt and pepper to taste
optional veggie cheese of choice to sprinkle on right before serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Rub 1-2 Tbl olive oil onto flesh of halved squash.  Rub in salt and pepper (to taste).  Lay flesh down on baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes (30 for smaller squash.)

While it bakes, add 2 Tbl. olive oil, onion and celery to skillet.  Cook until softened and shimmery.  Add sea salt and pepper to taste.  In a large bowl toss apple with lemon juice.  Add quinoa, pecans, raisins, sage and sauteed celery and onions.

Pull the squash out of the oven, flip over and fill with quinoa stuffing.  Cover with foil and bake for another 30-45 minutes, or until flesh is soft in the center.

ETW: Fong’s Fine Chinese Dining

This photo sums up my entire post- maybe it was serendipitous that we happened to sit down at the happiness table.  It was exactly what I needed after a long, busy day that involved being on my feet for the 14 hours before I finally got to eat dinner.  I was truly famished and ready to eat anything vegan the restarant could throw at me.  These were my options: (happy day indeed!)

I went with the Buddha Supreme, add tofu, spicy and served with brown rice.  Plus many glasses of water and lemon wedges.

I devoured it!  With grace of course.  Enjoyed every delicious bite.  And left a very happy, very satisfied girl.  Two thumbs up from this hungry vegan.

Banana Pat-a-cake Bliss

Why pat-a-cakes?  Because I love playing pat-a-cake with my daughter and I LOVE these pancakes!  Not kidding, best “baked” good I’ve eaten in the last 4 months of veganism.  A perfect start to a cool fall morning.

Bonus points:  they are alkaline, gluten free, refined sugar free, vegan and just plain awesome.

Banana Pat-a-cake Bliss

1 1/2 cups oat flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 c coconut oil, plus more for greasing skillet

2 Tbl ground flax plus 6 Tbl. water, stir together and let sit for a few minutes
2 c unsweetened almond milk plus 2 tsp. lemon juice
2 Tbl maple syrup

2 over ripe bananas, mashed

Mix dry ingredients together.  If you don’t have oat flour, just throw some oats in the food processor and make your own.

If your coconut oil is in a solidified form, cut it into the dry mix.  If it’s liquified because your house is nice and warm, mix it into the wet ingredients.

Mix liquid ingredients together and combine with the dry.  Add in banana.  I like to keep some banana chunks for happy flavor bursts, so if you’re like me, don’t mix the batter too well, just until combined.

Heat skillet to medium.  Melt 1/8 tsp coconut oil in skillet (I did this before each round, the bananas like to stick.)  Scoop 1/4 c batter per pancake (any bigger and they got moody about flipping.)  Cook until golden on each side.

Top with your favorites!  We love applesauce, apple butter, yogurt, or frozen mixed berries cooked down with a little cinnamon and sweetener.

Amended from a recipe found on this site.

Getting My Green On

I’m generally a green person.  I recycle.  I’m happier in thrift store bargains than expensive store bought clothing.  I like to play outside.  And I’d rather be on foot or bike than in a car, though I am often limited on this one due to 3 kids in tow.

But alkaline- golly gee (been watching Leave it to Beaver lately.)

Talk about taking green to a whole new level!   I still have a ways to go, my steady pH has moved up from 5.5 to 6.2, and there are times in the day where I have hit 7.8.  The goal:  7.2.  The method:  as follows.

1) Wheatgrass.  Wheatgrass.  Wheatgrass.  To the point that when I drive up to Jamba Juice, my stomach rolls.

Since buying wheatgrass is so costly by the shot, I am working to master the art of growing healthy wheatgrass.  Unfortunately I have had a bit of a black thumb in this endeavor so far with round one growing only a blade of grass per square inch and round two developing major mold growth.  Round three is going beautifully and I am hoping to have it ready to use in just under a week.

Two youtube videos helped me understand the process a little better, both using very different methods.  My right brain connected with this video by a sweet gal who keeps it simple.  My left brain enjoyed the science behind this man’s methods- he’s not messing around.

Putting in an order for a wheatgrass juicer today.  After some research I have decided to go with the Lexen Manual Juicer.  It is cost effective and gets great reviews saying it is easy to clean and space efficient.  I especially like that I won’t have to worry about silver paint chipping off into my juice!

2)  Raw Green Super Food

Oh man, this stuff is disgusting.  I would rather choke it down straight with water than ruin my lovely smoothies with it.  But it works.  It’s green.  And I need it.  Better than being put on migraine medicine anyday!

3)  Green Smoothies, Juices and Salads!

My favorite part.  Getting in your greens can be delicious too!  I’ve been making all kinds of new salad dressings to keep things interesting.  Yesterday’s dressing was made with fresh grapefruit juice and lime juice.  Mmmmm…..  I’ve been hitting up a bunch of raw cookbooks too, hoping to start making raw crackers and snacks for on the go.  I have enjoyed Matthew Kenney’s book “Everyday Raw” so far and can’t wait to get my copies of these two in the mail:

“Practically Raw: Flexible Raw Recipes Anyone Can Make” by Amber Shea Crawley

“Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothies, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body”
by Stephanie Tourles


4)  Staying away from junk and keeping active.

While eating my greens is wonderful for my health, it won’t do any good if I eat processed foods, sugars and other foods that are acidic and are self-defeating in the attempt to get alkaline.  And I can’t say enough about staying active.  A good workout actually helps flush the acids out of a body!  A win win I think, providing better fitness, stronger body, clearer mind, and more energy.

Such is my life.  Call me a Grinch.  The Hulk.  Frankenstein.  Oscar.  Kermit.  What have you.  It’s not easy being green, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Adventures and Misadventures in Alkalinity

Oh, what a week this has been!  Titles for this post have been many- it really has been difficult to choose.  2nd place was Deuce Juice (my new favorite drink) and 3rd was “I don’t stink any more! (relatively speaking)”  to be explained further below.  So many choices, what’s a girl to do?

I’m going to try to compile my scattered thoughts and revert to my favorite past time- organization and listing.

1.  Adventures

a.  I spent countless hours reading , studying, searching the web, trying to understand the nature of the beast I’m dealing with.  Food lists are inconsistent and conflicting.  Symptoms are diverse.  Solutions varied.   This is my favorite write up on Acidosis, it includes symptoms, charts etc- very helpful.  This guy has a great blog with loads of info, life experience and 150 alkaline recipes to try.

b.   A fantastic spike in energy!  I wake up with a clear mind and have the focus and ability to do my daily tasks, no sugar or caffeine necessary.  I can genuinely enjoy my children, clean my house, cook without needing to read the recipe 18 times, and run, run, run!   I can power out miles and I am lighter on my feet.  I feel more like myself again (I sound like a commercial.)

c.  We cracked open our first coconut, what fun!  The water was much fresher than the coconut water you buy in cans or packages and the meat had a sweet, gentle flavor.  Such a treat and a great experiment with the kiddos.

d.  I was able to use all the extra energy to get some canning done.  Our favorite gifting jam, Autumn Pear Cranberry(to be posted on a later date) and salsa:

e.  I don’t stink!  When I exercise that is, relatively speaking.  For months my clothes after a run smelled like they were dunked in vinegar, something that left me baffled.  Since improving my alkalinity, I have returned to my standard stink.  :)
2.  Misadventures

a.  Detox-  Ugh.  If my glands swelled any larger it would look like I swallowed two golf balls.  My asthma has escalated and when I look at wheatgrass my stomach rolls and I want to toss.  All in the name of moving in the right direction, right?

b.  Almond Macaroons- made with water and stevia instead of maple syrup.  It didn’t work.  At all.

c.  Shopping without food prepared ahead of time.  One tired momma + 3 hours of grocery shopping with toddler in tow = a total breakdown in will power.  I inhaled a large clif bar, definitely not an alkaline food, and half a pretzel roll.  I enjoyed them, don’t get me wrong, but I did see a drop in my pH the next morning.  Consequence noted.  There aren’t very many places to find alkaline vegan food on the road, so more time in the kitchen prepping quick and easy foods is a must.

d.  It’s so much work to figure out recipes on a newly restricted diet!  Ate a lot of avocados with a spoon and almonds by the handful for lack of more creativity.

In addition to salads and green smoothies, here are a few of my favorites this week:

Deuce Juice
A lovely alkaline drink, reminiscent of limeade with a kick of ginger.

2 cucumbers
2 green apples
2 carrots
2 limes
1/2 inch ginger, peeled

Put cucumbers, apples, carrots and ginger in juicer.  Squeeze in the juice of limes.  Enjoy!

This yummy combo of quinoa cooked in veggie broth with diced cucumbers and carrots, a gorgeous heirloom tomato, avocado and Oh She Glows Tahini Lemon Garlic Salad Dressing.

 

And finally, sweet potato french fries!  Coated in olive oil and sprinkled with sea salt.  Delish.

 

So there it is- forgive my randomness.  It’s past my bedtime.  Sweet dreams, blogosphere.