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I went on a field trip to our Georgia State Capitol building yesterday. With a busload of third graders. Five of whom were my responsibility. All of us ended up having lunch an hour-and-a-half after our normal lunchtime. I wish I could say that there was something so cool at the capitol that it overshadowed that little lunch detail, but… At least I can say that the kids really were well-behaved and that helped make the trip not suck.

The one thing I can pat myself on the back for is that I took along a salad that I’d like to think would have made a real chef proud: Shaved Vegan Parmesan, sliced cucumber rounds, red bell pepper strips, corn kernels cut from the cob, and soaked raw pecans on a bed of baby spinach, arugula and cilantro and drizzled with a homemade vinaigrette. Okay, I know it doesn’t look “drizzled” in the photo. Frankly, it looks drowned, but in my defense, I hadn’t yet mixed it up. It really wasn’t more than a couple tablespoons worth, I swear.

Simple & Scrumptious Vinaigrette

3 Tbsp Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (I use Bragg’s)
1/3 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tbsp minced garlic (packed in olive oil)
2 Tbsp fresh dill
2 Tbsp Jack Daniel’s(tm) Old No. 7 Mustard (gluten-free)
1 Tbsp hempseed

Place all ingredients except hempseed together in a small blender or food processor (I use a NutriBullet). Blend well, about 30-45 seconds. Pour into airtight container and stir in hempseed. Allow overnight to let the flavors develop fully.

You’re welcome to use freshly pressed garlic if you like – I find I like the jarred version just as well in dressings and usually reserve fresh garlic for dishes I’m going to cook.

Baking Lessons from the School of the Eternally (Insanely) Optimistic Chef*

(*Note: I eschew the moniker “baker” in respectful deference to all the true bakers of the world. I am not worthy. I should probably offer the same respect for the title “chef” because I haven’t earned it in any formal way. Still, I’m far more accomplished at meal foods than baked goods, so let me have my little fantasy, m’kay?)

Aside: In an attempt to get more use out of my nook color, I’m composing this post via the WordPress app on the Android platform. So far, it’s actually not too bad. It may mean, however, that there are no pictures this time… We shall see.

Um… Okay. That’s how it’s gonna be, huh?

Alright… Moving on…

This was another last second muffin attempt. I don’t know why I try this over and over – it never works. But I did at least look up muffin recipe RATIOS this time so they turned out better than the last batch. I will eat them even if no one else in the house will. Punks.

Banana-Chocolate Muffins

Dry Ingredients:
1 1/2 c all purpose flour
1/2 c coconut flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 c baking cocoa powder
1 T flax-chia meal (I grind my own)
1/4 c brown sugar

Wet Ingredients:
1 egg
3/4 c applesauce
2 bananas
1/2 c raw cashews
1/4 c raw pepitas
1/2-3/4 c chocolate almond milk

Put the cashews and pepitas together in a large bowl with hot water – set aside to soak.

Mix all dry ingredients, form a well in the center, then set aside.

Crack egg into large mixing bowl then add bananas and mash well. Add applesauce and mix thoroughly. Drain cashews and pepitas and place the two together in a small food processor. Grind well, adding some of the other wet ingredients as needed to get it into a paste-like consistency. Mix with remaining wet ingredients except almond milk.

Stir wet ingredients into dry but don’t over mix. When combined, add almond milk until it has an almost batter-like consistency, not too firm, not too runny.

Fill muffin tins 2/3 or more full – these really don’t rise much. I used parchment paper cups with no grease or non-stick spray and they came right out, no sticking at all! (This was probably the biggest success of the whole recipe. Facepalm.)

These are quite dense muffins, but they’re not bad. And pretty healthy, no oil, decent protein and other nutrients. Some day I might actually get to the point where I can offer bonafide nutrition statistics. One day… Maybe.

Happy Eating!!

Have window sill, can grow.

This could possibly be the most exciting thing I’ve ever done. No, really. I think it might even beat out the time when I was 18 and talked two elderly, retired gentlemen I’d never met before to motor me around Lake Lanier (in North Georgia) to find some friends who were out on a sailboat I’d never seen before and that had no working radio on board.

I. Am. Growing. Something. Edible.

Beans + Water + Time = Sprouts

Purposely. For the very first time. Ever.

They were shrivelled before they went into the cold water. I promise.

So, yeah, you can get technical with me if you really must and point out that I’m only sprouting them, not actually growing them into full and proper plants that will produce more of the same.

Bah, I say – These suckers are G-R-O-W-I-N-G!

Look at these lovely little sprouts!

Admittedly, I’m a little nervous about actually eating them once they’re grown. Especially since I missed a rinse cycle this morning. The instructions for sprouting all have a ring of absolute authority to them and I have no previous experience, even as a bystander, so I’m wary. I’ve rinsed them well to try and get the slightly slippery feeling mostly gone. There’s also a portion of the batch that’s grown more than the rest so I’ve separated them out. The “less grown” have gone back into my sprouting jar and the “more grown” (I’m tempted to call them “horny”) are in the process of drying out so I can seal them and refrigerate them until tomorrow.

It's horny... Like a unicorn!

Upcoming: Sprouted Raw Almond Hummus – Because I’m soaking some almonds now, too. Wheee!

Mountain Rose Herbs

Mountain Rose Herbs