bird feeder.

bird

Milo and I like to feed the birds and sometimes make them an occasional treat. So we put together this bird feeder, all with things we had around the house.

You will need
Apple
peanut butter
bird seed
String or yarn
a nail

Peel your apple. Tie string around your nail and secure it into the top of your apple. Cover your apple generously with peanut butter. Roll the apple in bird seed, and make sure its covered well. Hang from a tree. Sit back and watch the birds go to town!

banana trail mix muffins.

bananatrailmixmuffins

Wow. These muffins are some of the best I have ever made.

They are super easy to customize to your liking – you and mix and match all kinds of ways. And without any added refined sugar, they are pretty healthy too!

I found the recipe here.

Here’s what I used:

  • 3/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, divided
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil, melted
  • 1 cup ripe banana, mashed
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup or agave if you don’t eat honey)
  • 1 egg replacer
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease a muffin tin.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, oats, baking powder, and salt. Stir in 1/2 cup shredded coconut, then add your mixins (pecans, chocolate chips, etc)
  3. In a separate, medium bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, mashed banana, honey, egg replacer and vanilla.
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour the batter into your prepared muffin tin and sprinkle with the remaining 1/4 cup coconut. To
  5. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Other mixins:

  • 1/3 cup chopped candied ginger
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried cherries or cranberries

Sky is the limit!

beet burgers.

beet Burgers

I have a current obession with beets. I usually just juice them, but I am trying to find other ways to incorporate them into our diet. They used to taste like dirt to me, but now I find myself craving them and they can sometimes taste pretty sweet. I’m definitely a convert.

We love homeade veggie burgers, and actually really love the ones that have beets in them. I saw this recipe, quite some time ago, and thought this weekend would be the perfect time to give them a go. They were a little labor intensive, mostly because I don’t have a food processor, so I had to do all the work in the vitamix – but if you have a food processor, I imagine these would be pretty easy to whip up and go. My friend even suggested using canned black beans instead of the lentils, to help save on some time. May give that a go next time…

This recipe made about 5 burgers and we topped them with avocado, lettuce and onion. They were really really tasty!

1 1/4 cups cooked, cooled brown rice
1 cup cooked brown or green lentils, cooled, drained well
1 cup shredded beets
1/2 teaspoon salt
Fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon thyme, rubbed between your fingers
1/2 teaspoon ground fennel (or finely crushed fennel seed)
3 tablespoons very finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons tahini
1/2 cup very fine breadcrumbs

Olive oil for the pan

Peel beets and shred with the shredder attachment of your food processor, then set aside. Change the attachment to a metal blade. Pulse the brown rice, shredded beets and lentils about 15 to 20 times, until the mixture comes together, but still has texture.

Now transfer to a mixing bowl and add all the remaining ingredients. Use your hands to mix very well. Everything should be well incorporated, so get in there and take your time, it could take a minute or two.

Place the mixture in the fridge for a half hour to chill.

Preheat a cast iron pan over medium-high. Now form the patties. Each patty will be a heaping 1/2 cup of mixture. Shape them into burgers with your hands.

Pour a very thin layer of oil into the pan and cook patties for about 12 minutes, flipping occasionally. Do two at a time if you’re pan isn’t big enough. Drizzle in a little more oil or use a bottle of organic cooking spray as needed. Burgers should be charred at the edges and heated through.

farro salad.

farro
I picked up a package of the 10 minute farro at trader joes a few weeks ago and figured I’d find something to do with it. The girls over at a beautiful mess had recently posted this recipe for a farro salad with kale, and I thought I would try it out – but adding some tofu to it to make it a complete meal. With the weather getting nicer – I don’t want to be in my kitchen all afternoon making food – but this salad came together pretty quickly and was perfect for a warm spring day. We ate it sitting on our deck enjoying the sunshine. This is going to be my new potluck go-to dish. It travels well, so its also great for summertime picnics! Its really tasty and packed with nutrients!!

I made my tofu first; You can do this ahead of time.Press your tofu, and slice it into pieces 1/4 inch thick.
Preheat your oven to 425 degrees.
Mix together 3 T soy sauce, juice from half a lemon, 1 tspn maple syrup (or agave) 1 T oil and about 1 tspn garlic seasoning. Coat your tofu and bake for 20 minutes. Flip and bake for another 15-20 minutes or so.

Now for the salad:
TFarro + Kale Salad, makes 6 servings

2 cups uncooked farro
1 1/2 cups chopped kale
1/8 cup olive oil
1 cup chopped cucumber
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup dried cherries (cranberries would be good too!)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon honey (or agave)
salt to taste

First cook the farro by boiling in salted water (2:1 ratio) for about 20 minutes until tender. Then drain and rinse in cold water (to quickly cool it down). Set aside.Chop up the kale into very small pieces. hop up the cucumber into very small pieces as well. In a large bowl combine the farro, kale, cucumber, sunflower seeds and dried cherries .  In a small bowl or glass combine the balsamic vinegar, olive oil and honey, whisk to combine. Drizzle over the salad and toss to coat. Taste the salad and season with salt and fresh pepper as needed.

yeti.

makeGreat_yeti

When I saw this tutorial, I knew I would be making this yeti!

It was fairly easy to do, and I finished it in about two hours or so. Most of the sewing is by hand – and I even tried to learn a few of the stitches…. You will need to know blanket stitch, (successful, but was a little messy with it)  whip stitch and ladder stitch (still need help with that one!). I watched short tutorials on you tube that showed me how to do them.

I love this little guy! Usually when I make plushies, I gift them, but I just don’t think I can part with this guy. Even milo tried to claim him, but I just can’t do it. Follow the link above and make your own  yeti!

no bake granola bars.

makegreat_granolaBars
I’m always looking for something healthy and satisfying to eat as my mid morning snack. This recipe for these granola bars looked healthy and fairly easy, so I gave them a try. They came together in no time and were delicious! Just what I needed!

  • 1 cup packed dates, pitted (deglet nour or medjool)
  • ¼ cup honey (or sub maple syrup or agave)
  • ¼ cup creamy salted natural peanut butter
  • 1 cup roasted unsalted almonds, loosely chopped
  • 1½ cups rolled oats
  • optional additions: chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, vanilla, etc.
Instructions
  1. Process dates in a food processor until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency.
  2. Optional step: Toast your oats in a 350 degree oven for 15-ish minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw – I just prefer the toasted flavor.
  3. Place oats, almonds and dates in a bowl – set aside.
  4. Warm honey and peanut butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir and pour over oat mixture and then mix, breaking up the dates to disperse throughout.
  5. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to an 8×8 dish or other small pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
  6. Press down until uniformly flattened. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap, and let set in fridge or freezer for 15-20 minutes to harden.
  7. Remove bars from pan and chop into 10 even bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a few days. I kept mine in the freezer to keep them extra fresh, but it isn’t necessary.

 

strawberry pie.

strawberrypie

Pies are not my go-to recipe. In fact, I kind of hate making them. They seem like SO much work. And I never really think that I like pie. Until i actually eat some, and then I remember, i am so wrong….PIE IS SO GOOD. In my desert world, its way underrated. I need more of it in my life. And this pie may just lead me in that direction…

Joy the baker posted this pie, and my mouth started watering. I needed something to bring to a get-together and I wanted to make something more impressive than cookies, so I thought I would give pie another chance. So I took a stab at veganizing hers.

I had intended to make a strawberry rhubarb pie, but i couldnt find any rhubarb at my produce market. So i just doubled the strawberries and it tasted great.

The hardest part to me about making pie is the crust. I just never want to deal with making and rolling out a crust. But you know what? it wasnt that bad?! It was actually pretty easy! And a little bit of crust left over, so I made two little tarts with them!

For the Crust:

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick, 4 ounces) cold earth balance, cut into cubes
1/4 cup plus 1 to 2 tablespoon cold almond milk, with about 1/4 tspn apple cider vinegar whisked in

For the Filling:
2 pound strawberries, hulled and sliced in half
1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
large pinch of salt
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

For the Topping:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
2/3 cup granulated sugar
large pinch of salt
6 tablespoons cold earth balance, cut into small chunks
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes OR coarsely chopped pecans

To Make the Crust:

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, and salt. Add cold, cubed earth balance and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the butter down into the flour mixture, some butter pieces will be the size of oat flakes, some will be the size of peas. Create a well in the mixture and pour in the cold almond milk. Use a fork to bring to dough together. Try to moisten all of the flour bits. Add a bit more buttermilk if necessary, but you want to mixture to be shaggy and not outwardly wet.

On a lightly floured work surface, dump out the dough mixture. It will be moist and shaggy. That’s perfect. Gently knead into a disk. Wrap the disk in plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour. Allowing the dough to rest in the refrigerator will help rechill the butter and distribute the moisture.

To roll out the pie crust, on a well floured surface, roll the crust 1/8 inch thick and about 12 inches in diameter. Transfer it to a pie pan. Trim the edge almost even with the edge of the pan Fold the edges under and crimp with your fingers or a fork. Cover it with plastic wrap and refrigerate it for a minimum of 30 minutes and a maximum of 3 hours.

To Make the Filling:

In a medium bowl, toss together rhubarb, strawberries, sugars, cornstarch, salt, and lemon juice. Toss until all of the fruit is covered in a coating of sugar and cornstarch. The cornstarch will disappear and the sugars will begin to make juice with the fruit. Allow to rest at room temperature while you make the topping.

To Make the Topping:

In a medium bowl (yea… we’re using a lot of medium bowls), whisk together flour, oats, sugar, and salt. Add the cold earth balance chunks and, using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture. Quickly break the earth balance down into the mixture until well incorporated. Some butter bits will be the size of peas, and smaller. Add the coconut (or pecans if using) and toss to combine.

To Assemble the Pie:

Place a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.

Remove the pie crust from the refrigerator. Toss a handful (about 1/2 cup) of the topping mixture into the fruit mixture, toss. Dump the fruit mixture into the pie crust. Top generously with topping mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet and place in the oven. It’s important to use the middle rack because if the pie is too close to the top of the oven, the coconut will burn quickly.

Bake the pie for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F, then reduce the heat to 350 degrees and bake for another 35 to 45 minutes, or until the pie is juicy, bubbling, and golden brown.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 2 hours before serving. This will help the juices mellow and thicken a bit. Pie is best served just slightly warm with vanilla ice cream. Store covered in the refrigerator.