September 22, 2011

Pumpkin Butter and Whole Wheat Pancakes

Fall is in the air! Kind of.... it is supposed to hit 90 this weekend in the inland northwest. 90 degrees in late September! Well, I am going to just enjoy this because I know all too well that before I know it, it will be 9 degrees!

The warm weather does nothing to affect my desire for those harvest time foods though. Cinnamon, pumpkin, apples, peaches, ginger...bring it on!!

This past weekend I decided to try to make some pumpkin butter...wowzers! It is as addicting as crack but has a healthy dose of vitamin A for good measure. Great served with oatmeal, on toast or pancakes or even on chocolate chip cookies. Also, makes a great little harvest time gift when packaged in a mason jar with a ribbon (extra points if you also print out the recipe and create a little tag with it for your jar).

Pumpkin Butter

1 (29 ounce) can pumpkin puree, approx. 3 1/2 cups or fresh
3/4 cup apple juice unsweetened
1.5 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup brown sugar or replacer
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Juice of half a lemon

1. Combine all ingredients, except lemon juice, in a saucepan over medium heat. Simmer for 30 minutes stirring regularly.
2. Remove from heat and adjust spices to taste (extra Cinnamon is never a bad thing). Stir in lemon juice. Allow to cool completely and store in airtight containers in fridge.
3. Leave your house, take a few deep breaths and then come back into your house and enjoy the Autumn aroma that you just created in your kitchen. (This step is optional but highly recommended...)

Sunday morning at my house! Whole wheat pancakes topped with pumpkin butter and coffee. Bliss. While you are here, let me just share that pancake recipe...

Whole Wheat Protein Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp cinnamon
 pinch sea salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 Tbs  Hemp Protein Powder -or other protein powder (optional)
1 cup unsweetened coconut milk (or milk of your choice)

1. In a medium bowl mix together dry ingredients. Add coconut milk and mix until batter is smooth.
2. Pour batter onto frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Don't think about touching them until you see little bubble start to rise in the batter. Flip your pancakes and cook until golden brown.

I hope that you are enjoying the fall season. It is a wonderful time of year to gather with friends and family and cook up good healthy food.

Let me know what you are going to put this pumpkin butter on....

September 12, 2011

Fresh Peach Pie

Another great late summer weekend comes to an end. At least there is peach pie in my fridge to help me through the start of the week!

But first I must share with you my great dollar store find!!! Check out the great little serving dishes for dips, salsa, nuts etc... As you can see I photographed my hummus in one of them the other day. I am a little in love with them...and they were a dollar!!!!!

Moving on....

One of the best things about living in Eastern Washington is that we have lots of farming and harvest time around here is just bliss! I have clients who bring me home grown eggplants, cherries, zucchini, pears, tomatoes, corn, is possibly one of the most exciting things!! Last week I had a client bring me a big box of peaches.

Me: "Thor, would you like me to make peach salsa or peach pie?"
Thor: "Well, peach pie" with an inflection of "duh" in his tone

First thing is first.. we need to peel and slice those peaches. I recommend that you play Diana Krall's "Peel me a grape" as you do this. There is a line in the song about skinning a peach and saving the fuzz for her pillow. So much easier than you would think!

For a pie you will need 8-10 peaches

Score the peach. This will give you a place to peel from.

Set peaches in boiling water for about 45 seconds.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer peaches to an ice bath for about 1 minute.

The skin should peel of nice an easily. After making my roasted red peppers the day before I was starting to feel like a peeling pro....

Voila! Skinned peaches!!

To slice a peach - cut vertically into the center so you knife runs along the pit. Make a second slice parallel to the first and you peach slices should come right out!

I have a thing for taking pictures of things that could be really aggravating jigsaw puzzles.

You are now ready to assemble your pie!

8-10 fresh peaches, sliced
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (all purpose would be fine - I only keep WW at home)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup splenda (or white sugar)
1/4 butter or earth balance
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp arrowroot powder
1 pkg unroll and go pastry crust*
1 oz coconut milk (any milk is fine)

*You can so make your own pastry crust, but this crust is just to darn easy and good for me to turn down. Not particularly healthy though.....

1. Mix flour, sugar, butter, arrowroot and cinnamon into a crumb mixture.

2. Place a pie crust on the bottom of a 9 inch pie pan.

3. Line shell with sliced peaches, sprinkle on crumb mixture and then more peaches. continue to layer until all is used up or you pie pan is overflowing.

3. Top with lattice strips of pie crust*. Brush on a little milk and sprinkle crust with brown sugar and cinnamon. You may want to cover you edges with foil for the first portion of cooking to avoid burning.

4. Bake at 450 for 15 minutes and then 350 for 30 minutes (you can remove foil edge covers at this temp). At the end of this time, turn off the oven but leave the pie in for about an hour.

*If you are not sure how to create the lattice strips do not fear - embrace the power of technology and check out this video!

My ready for alien invasion pie! Nah, just a little crust burn prevention!

So excited to serve you some pie!! If this photo looks like I left the pie in a cooling oven while I went on a run, then came home and took a shower and then quickly tousled my wet hair to take picture of myself and the pie with the camera timer, while Thor was sat on the couch watching baseball and laughing at me - well that's exactly what happened!
Thor stopped laughing and started eating when I handed him this plate. :)

Social Section!

Just wanted to share a couple of pics from the Marquee Zumba party!

And my fav Zumba instructor..... EVI!

September 11, 2011

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Last week I posted a question to my facebook friends. I told them I had a little social gathering to attend this weekend and if they thought I should bring my cold pasta salad or a roasted red pepper hummus. As I am sure you have intelligently detected the hummus won!

I must admit - I like hummus but I don't LOVE it. It is one of those things that when it is in front of me I will eat it and enjoy it but if its in the fridge then I might forget its there until a month or so later and find it a bit moldy (not that that's ever happened....).  So how do I feel about this particular hummus?Well lets say that I have eaten it with carrots, pita bread, with a spoon and even put it on my toast this morning for breakfast. I don't think the hummus is going to be around to see another day, let alone a month.

First off huge shout out to Angie at Oh She Glows for sharing her hummus recipe!

The trickiest part of this hummus (and it is so much easier than it looks) is roasting the red bell peppers. I started with 3 large peppers. 

1. Core and seed your bell peppers- then cut in half. Using your hand squish them on to the counter so they flatten out a bit.

2. Place you bell peppers on a tin foil covered cookie sheet/baking pan. Broil on high for about 20 minutes. 

3. Keep checking the peppers- you want the skins to look nice and black like this. Don't freak out -they are not burnt!!!!

4. Seal the peppers up in the tin foil for another 15-20 minutes and let them take a nice little sauna in there. (While you are waiting you can prepare the rest of your hummus ingredients)

5. Peel off the skins of the peppers - easy peasy!

6. Dice up the peppers! 

Your now ready to whiz up that hummus!!


2 garlic cloves
1 can garbanzo beans, 2 tbsp liquid reserved and set aside
3/4 cup roasted red peppers
1/4 cup tahini
3 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
2 Tbsp reserved chickpea liquid (or water)
1/8-1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, to taste 
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
 Paprika- for garnish

1. Put everything in a food processor except cayenne, salt and paprika. Process until smooth.
2. Add salt and cayenne to taste.
3. Serve- garnished with chopped roasted red peppers and paprika.

This counts as lunch right??

September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend!

Hope everyone had a safe and wonderful Labor Day Weekend!! I did enjoy mine thoroughly! Hiking, cycling, jogging, tennis, knitting, beaches and of course food all made for a great weekend!

Here a a quick photo snap shot of the festivities....
My new Nike Free shoes. Maybe the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn....its like wearing slippers!

Thor and I visited Shopko and purchased tennis rackets. The brand new rackets and balls prove that the game should be very interesting....

Beautiful Sunday afternoon!

Channeling Venus and Serena...

I had to try and cool off my smokin' racket! Not really.... I got more exercise from chasing down stray balls than actually playing tennis...
Speaking of which - if there are any tennis players in Spokane that want to help me it would be much appreciated.

Umm....What is this?!?


I have had a little problem in the past... my vegan whole wheat cookies tend to come out a little cakey....I played a little with that this weekend but I still don't have the perfect non cakey whole wheat vegan cookie recipe to share with you just yet....

But they did improve....

Less cakey vs. muffin cookie

And some lake time on Labor Day!

Lake Coeur D'Alene

Storing up on Vitamin D!

About to jump off the cliff!!!

Wrestling with floaties!

Beautiful hike back from the beach!
And yes I am standing on a big boulder... shhhhh....

I hope that your weekend was filled with laughter and love.  I did complete my knitting project so I will have a photo shoot and post that soon.  I also have some great things to cook up so stay posted!

September 1, 2011

Happy September!

Is it really September already?? It feels like just yesterday I was posting about a chilly Cinco de Mayo and snow in April. The Autumns here in the inland northwest tend to be just glorious - cool mornings and evenings with warm sunny days,  and an abundance of apples, squash and other wonderful harvest vegetables. However, I always feel an impending sense of doom around this time ....

Fall is like a Sunday afternoon - it has so many great qualities and  you want to LOVE and cherish  it - but it is impossible to forget what is around the corner....

One of my favourite things about the end of summer are those late summer storms. They can sweep in so quickly bringing heavy rain, hail, thunder and lightning. When the storm has passed - a wonderful glow and energy is in the air and everything smells so alive. I was caught off guard by one such storm when I headed out for my run last night. When the bulk of the storm broke, I had to hide under a tree to take shelter from the huge pellets of hail pounding my skin. This would have been OK except I was a little worried that standing under the tree might increase my odds of being struck by the lightening that was right overhead! I can't deny that the whole experience was rather fun - but more like twice a year type fun than something that I wish to happen on every run....

Very excited for a hot shower!

On another note..


 I like to read a lot - if I had to purchase all the books that I read I would be out roughly $200+ a year. I also love the library for music. I have borrowed many CD's and downloaded them to my computer (not sure if that totally legal...) also saving me $100's! And now the library has a NEW program called Freegal. If you local library provides Freegal- you can select 3 songs a week to download from their HUGE music library to KEEP for FREE!

I have read a few articles on this- some saying that this is super beneficial for the libraries and some saying that this will end up really hurting them due to cost - negative blog post here. I am not sure how this program will end up playing out but I am happy that the library is working to stay current for a younger generation and I hope that generation with show support to their local libraries and help to keep them around!

Oh and one last thing - I went 45 mph the other night - on my bicycle! Very proud of myself since a couple of years ago I was scared to ride between posts on my bike!

OH WAIT- one MORE thing....
Shine Sweetly now has a facebook page. Find the tab to the right ----> to like the page and recieve updates via Facebook.

Tell me about an accomplishment of yours over the last week....