Sunday, August 25, 2013

Farmer's Market Libations, Garlic, and Wild Flowers

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is go to my local Farmer's Market. 
  I love the social aspect of the market and getting my groceries from local farmers.  Everything is so fresh and grown with love.  

I have a favorite booth at the market called Sugar House Libations.  They make all their own libations, and they are delicious! 
Yesterday I bought Ginger Pear Infused Syrup (Libations). This flavor made an amazing drink.  My neighbor saw me drinking it and had to have one too.  We both enjoyed our drinks out on the front porch. 

I used:
6 ounces water
2 ounces ice
1 ounce Ginger Pear Libations
1 ounce Bourbon Whiskey
4 crushed Raspberries
1 slice of Lime and a Raspberry for garnish


If you've never heard of Libations, it's a three part mix.  One part sugar, one part fruit, and one part vinegar.  You could make it yourself, but I prefer to buy it from Sugar House Libations.  Plus the syrup comes in such a beautiful jug.  They will refund you three dollars if you take it back to them to reuse, but I use my jug to drink out of with a straw.  Works perfect and I've had several compliments on it.  

I also bought braided garlic to go on my front door.  It looks beautiful.  
Alexander Hardy is the one who made my beautiful garlic braid.   He's an artist and farmer in the summer, and a back country ski guide in the winter.  Sounds like a good life!  
There were a couple of booths with beautiful flowers.  
 These are some of the fresh vibrant veggies for sale.  Nummy!!
 Delicious homemade Jam for sale.
These are the beautiful bouquet of wild mountain flowers I bought for my dinning room table.  They are as fragrant as they are beautiful.
After getting home from the market, the weather changed, and in came a beautiful storm.  Oh how I love big rain storms.  
They bring out the wild in me.  
I had to go outside in my red boots to play in the rain.  My dog (Dorothy) was not too happy about the rain.  I took her outside with me anyways.  :) 
What a fun day!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Low Calorie Chocolate Chip Popcorn

This low calorie chocolate chip popcorn is so good.  My two all time favorite foods are popcorn and dark chocolate.  I thought why not combine my two favorite foods together to create the perfect snack.  It's really good! :)
My mom taught me a quick tip to keep the kernels fresh.
Store the popcorn kernels in a sealed glass jar in the fridge.  Every couple of months add a couple drops of water to prevent the kernels from drying out.  The kernels stay fresh to make amazing popcorn. 
I used my air popper.  It quick, makes the popcorn extra fluffy and plump, and pops all the kernels.  I sometimes put the popcorn in a pan on the stove, but the air popper is easier and faster.   

 This is what you will need if you want to make my unusually delicious snack. :)
  • 1/4 cup corn kernels (110 calories)
  • 1 Tablespoon dark chocolate chips (70 calories per Tablespoon) (sometimes I use Peanut M&M's in place of the chocolate chips)
  • Pam (0 calories) This helps the salt and nutritional yeast stick to the popcorn.
  • Sea salt (0 calories)
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Brags nutritional yeast (10 calories)

I start my popper about 30 seconds before I add the popcorn.  If it's warm, it will pop the popcorn faster (takes about 1.5 minutes to pop) and make it a little fluffier.  
Add 1/4 cup kernels to the air popper.
Place a large bowl under the spout of the popper so your popcorn doesn't go all over the place. 
Wait and watch.  It will pop in no time. 
Lightly spray your popcorn with Pam.  I do this so the salt and nutritional yeast will stick to the popcorn.  Sprinkle salt and 1/2 tablespoon nutritional yeast over the top and shake the bowl.  
Once the popcorn is cooled down a little, add the chocolate chips. 
 I like to sit out on my front porch with a big jug of ice water, a good book or sewing, and munch on my popcorn.  
Life is good!!

This makes about five cups of popcorn.  If you eat the whole thing it's about 190 calories.  I usually eat three cups popcorn and the whole tablespoon of chocolate chips.  That's about 150 calorie snack.
Save the remaining popcorn in a zip-lock bag.  It will stay fresh for a couple days.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

An August Full Moon

I hope you were all able to go out and look at the beautiful moon last night!  If not, I took plenty of pictures.  I stayed up way too late laying on the sidewalk oohing and aahing at the huge rock in the sky. I read an article on that said this full moon was really rare because it wasn't just a blue moon.  It was also a full sturgeon moon, full red moon, green corn moon, and the grain moon.  
The full sturgeon moon is named after the fish.  Sturgeon are easier to catch this time of year.   
This time of year the moon can have a red tint to it as it raises through the atmosphere fog.  That's were the Red Full Moon gets it's name.
The crops grow tall this time of year.  That's were Green Corn Moon gets its name.
 The next full blue moon is not until 2015.  I was so lucky to be able to see it!
Here are photos the beautiful moon!!  
 I loved watching the tiny cloud pass by changing the color and shapes in the sky. 
Looks like there is a ring around the moon in this photo. 
 These photos were taken on my phone, so they are not the best of quality.  :)  
Go outside and play.  
You are missing out on amazing beauty while sitting inside.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Vegan Eggplant Parmesan Casserole With Tofu

My grandmother gave me another eggplant from her garden.  I couldn't wait to cook it up when I got home.  The eggplants from her garden melt in your mouth.  
Tonight I decided to make a traditional eggplant dish with some nontraditional ingredients.  
 I used:
Sprouted tofu, cubed
1 freshly picked eggplant
2 tomatoes sliced
2 tomatoes diced
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
1/8 cup vegan cream cheese
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/8 cup soy milk
Thyme and basil leaves from my garden
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 package of spaghetti rigati
Pot of water for cooking the spaghetti

Cube the tofu and place in a hot (stove on medium heat) cast-iron pan with 1 tablespoon olive oil.  Fry the tofu for about five minutes or until it starts to turn a light golden-brown. 
Cube the eggplant the same size as the tofu and add to the hot pan.  Cook these two together for about five more minutes, or until the eggplants starts to change color.  I added 1/8 cup of soy milk to the mixture the last one minute to add moisture and creaminess to the dish.  I would highly recommend this step.  The soy milk will evaporate and absorb into the eggplant and tofu.
 Lay down sliced tomatoes on the bottom of a greased casserole dish.
Add the eggplant, tofu mixture and sprinkle over basil, thyme, salt and pepper.
Lay down a layer of diced tomatoes.
 Mix up the panko breadcrumbs and vegan cream cheese.  Sprinkle over the top of the dish. 
 Cook at 375 degrees F for 20 minutes with the lid on, then take the lid off and cook for another 15 minutes or until the breadcrumbs turn golden-brown.  

Start cooking the pasta when you take the lid off your casserole.  
Let the casserole cool down for a couple of minutes.  
Lay down a layer of pasta, then top with the Eggplant Parmesan Casserole. 
 This dish is sweet and savory, and the eggplant melts in your mouth.  This dinner was so delicious!!
If you don't have a garden with eggplants, go to your local farmers market. :)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Garden Fresh Eggplant and Tomato Couscous

My inspiration for tonight's dinner came from the fun day I had at my parents house. 
 I love going back home!  
Today my mom put on a baby shower for my sister.  My attention span is not that long, so during the shower I had to go play in the garden and gather the eggs.  This is what I saw....
 Beautiful tomatoes begging to be picked
 Look at these delicious ones hiding in the tomato forest. 
The ladies were having a very important meeting.
 These are the tomatoes from today.  
Boy, do I want lots of property someday with sweet animals and a beautiful garden. 
My grandma also has a beautiful garden.  I was lucky enough to get one of her zucchinis and eggplants today.  I decided to make eggplant and tomato couscous.
It took about 15 minutes to make, chopping included.  I like these kind of meals!
I used:
one eggplant, diced
one onion, chopped
one zucchini, diced
two tomatoes, diced
one box of couscous
First, chop the onion and dice the eggplant.  Put the two in a hot cast-iron pan with a tablespoon olive oil.  
Start the couscous.  Follow the instructions on the box.
Add the zucchini to the onion and eggplant.  Salt and pepper to taste. 

 I added fresh basil and thyme from my garden.
 Add the tomatoes and cook for about another two minutes.  
Place the couscous on the plate and top with the eggplant, tomato stir-fry.
I ate at a Mediterranean restaurant last night.  This was way better.