How To Make Chocolate Mint Extract

Chocolate + Mint + alcohol = Chocolate Mint Extract.

How does that sound? Simply delicious!

Cookies and Holiday baking are months away but I am trying to think ahead this year. Each Christmas I decide to make something different whether it be hazelnut cookies, chocolate truffles or mint chocolate brownies…then I check the spices and extracts to see what I have in the cabinet. Sure enough every season, without fail, I forget to have in stock a particular extract. Then I go out and buy it! Ughhhh….you spend like $5-7 for a teeny tiny bottle of extract!

I do make vanilla extract but I am down to my very last bottle so more needs to be done, soon! First I decided I will make a Chocolate Mint Extract. Have you ever had those weird imitation mint extracts??? Yuck, I don’t even think there is real mint anywhere in them. Here is an easy peasy, takes you 10 minutes MAX to put it together recipe…and then you wait!

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Chocolate mint

I have every kind of mint growing. Chocolate mint, peppermint, sweet mint and spearmint. For this recipe you can use any one of those except maybe the spearmint. If you do not have chocolate mint, then you will add extra cacao nibs to the jar.

The hardest part will be waiting for it to finish extracting!

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Chocolate Mint Extract

  • Approximately 2 cups of mint, rinsed, thick stems removed.
  • 1-2 Tablespoons raw cacao nibs
  • 14 ounces of either 80 proof vodka or a mixture of 60% pure grain alcohol and 40% well or distilled water

Loosely pack a 16 ounce glass jar with the mint and the cacao nibs.

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Measure and pour in your alcohol.

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Cover. Shake. Label.

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Wait 2-4 weeks. You can taste it after 2 or leave until 4. Strain through muslin cloth into amber bottles and label. 

Now to think up all the scrumptious recipes to use this in. I bet ya it would even taste good just by itself, just saying… 😀

I will be doing this with vanilla, almond and maybe raspberry. Yum!!

Enjoy your day today!

Anne-Marie

Superfoods for Breakfast

This morning I am baking a few loaves of bread for preorders and the loaves are all rising on top of my stove. I wanted to make an omelet but cannot, there is no space on the stovetop! I remembered making some egg cups recently in the oven and thought, “Yes, breakfast!”

Not just any egg cups though…a superfood egg cup breakfast. What’s a superfood breakfast you ask? Well it is kind of like the ole everything-but-the-kitchen-sink casserole with very nutritious ingredients!

My choice of superfoods –

Fresh Chickweed – Stellaria meia – I get excited every single time I see it growing in abundance. This is your go to green for a yumminess addition to any salad, casserole, sandwich, you name it. The taste is a mixture of fresh spinach and fresh snap peas, at least in my opinion. 🙂 Chickweed Key constituents – Vitamin C, calcium, potassium, phosphorus, iron, zinc, coumarins, saponins. More info including recipes Chickweed and Other Good Weeds Growing.

Kale – well because it is kale…vitamin A, C, K, iron, antioxidants, high in fiber, low in calories and low in fat. Add it generously.

Nutritional Yeast – an inactive yeast made from sugarcane and beet molasses. High in B vitamins. This yeast is nutty, reminiscent of parmesan cheese and a fabulous substitute for cheesy flavor in dishes. “A perfect addition to any meal — providing nutrition while saving calories — nutritional yeast is one source of complete protein and vitamins, in particular B-complex vitamins. It contains folates, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, selenium and zinc, making it a great superfood! It’s low in sodium and fat, gluten-free, and doesn’t contain any added sugars or preservatives.” From Dr. AXE.

Wood Ear Mushrooms (Auricularia auricula) – It’s description is exactly as it’s name! Yep it looks like a creepy, brown, jelly-like ear on a log that is rubbery to the touch. Most people are like, eeewwww you eat those? Well if you ever had Chinese Hot and Sour Soup, you too have eaten those. 😀 Hot & Sour soup is a wonderful remedy for colds, sore throats, congestion. Wood ears have been used in the past for sore throats, for the immune system and as a blood tonic. Most wild edible mushrooms are medicinal. This mushroom is best dried, then reconstituted and sliced or chopped, sauteed or added to soups. I had some leftover from making hot and sour soup so I figured I would add it to these egg cups. Gotta use up leftovers!! By the way when you reconstitute they, they magically grow to enormous proportions so note to self.

Turmeric – always gets added to my eggs. Eat your medicine! The amazing natural anti-inflammatory can be eaten daily fresh or dried. For folks with serious arthritis a stronger capsule or tincture of the compound in turmeric, curcurmin may be needed.

Stinging Nettles – just use like parsley, no one will know and you just added a boost of vitamins, iron, protein, magnesium, selenium, chlorophyll, calcium and more! Benefits and spanakopita recipe HERE

Parsley, garlic, onions, black and red pepper too!!!

Recipe for Superfood Egg Cups

  • 6 farm fresh eggs plus splash of half and half
  • 1 Tablespoon Nutritional Yeast
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • pinch of sea salt and black pepper
  • pinch of red pepper flakes or more if you like it spicy
  • 1 Tablespoon Stinging Nettles dried or 2 if fresh
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1-2 garlic cloves chopped
  • 2-3 Tablespoons chopped onion
  • wood ear or other mushrooms chopped, I didn’t measure, maybe 2 tablespoons
  • handful fresh kale and chickweed chopped
  • Pecorino romano cheese to taste or any favorite cheese

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First, heavily grease your muffin tin or use liners – I cannot stress this enough, mine stuck even with all that butter. Preheat oven to 350o.

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Whisk eggs and half and half real good. Add dried spices and whisk again.

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Divide fresh veggie mix amongst the muffin tins – probably 10

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Pour the egg mixture over the veggies about 2/3 full. Sprinkle with desired cheese.

 

eggcup5 Bake 18-20 minutes. They will be very puffy when they come out of the oven but then will fall flat. Let cool just a few moments and carefully using an flat narrow spatula, remove to a plate or cooling rack. Eat right away or refrigerate for up to 2 days. Can be frozen for 1 month!

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Another yummy recipe using flowers and weeds,

Calendula Egg Cups

Enjoy your day folks!

Anne-Marie

 

Breakfast of Champions

What is YOUR Breakfast of Champions? Cheerios, Wheaties, donuts or a good well balanced meal? Hopefully you answered the last option. 🙂

My favorite is eggs and kale or a variation of that with whatever I have in the fridge or the pantry. ANYTHING can be put into an egg dish to make a nutritious, satisfying and healthy meal.

Today I made a Kale & Shiitake Omelet. Yum!!! Did you shudder when I said omelet and thought, “oh no, I can’t make an omelet” ? Omelets are easy peasy so long as you have the proper pan and you are patient.

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Before I give you this delicious recipe, how about some herbal goodness on the ingredients!

Healthy Benefits – 

Eggs – one of the most amazing food items on the planet! Farm fresh eggs are best with chickens that are fed an organic feed. Full of protein, antioxidants, B vitamins, maintains healthy thyroid function, GOOD for the heart, selenium( for the brain) and omega -3.

Coconut oil – good fat that increases your HDL – healthy cholesterol

Butter – well, it’s butter!!! Grass fed is best. Sadly I did not have grass fed.

Kale – high in fiber, very high in vitamin A, C, K.K is known to be anti-inflammatory , cancer preventing benefits, low in calories, easy to grow!!

Stinging Nettle – you know I cannot leave this out of anything – hee hee. Nettles are high in iron, protein, vitamin A, calcium, magnesium, fiber, for allergy symptoms, hair growth- strengthener, lots more!!! You can also feed it to your chickens for better egg production.

Shiitakes – well you know these are MY faves. Super high in B vitamins and good source of protein – medicinally:

Antibacterial, anti-candida, antitumor, antiviral, blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, immune enhancer, kidney & liver tonic, sexual potentiator, stress reducer.

Onions and garlic – besides awesome taste, antibacterial, antiviral.

Turmeric – anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, cancer preventer, anticoagulant, diabetes management, antioxidant, helps cholesterol levels.

Cayenne – anti-inflammatory, warming, stimulates circulation.

and cheese – everything tastes yummier with cheese!! 😀

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Kale & Shiitake Omelet Recipe

  • 1/2 – 1 cup diced fresh shiitake mushrooms
  • 1/8-1/4 onion diced
  • 1 cup torn pieces of kale
  • 1/2 garlic clove chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric powder, organic
  • 1 tsp. dried stinging nettle
  • 1/2 dried cayenne pepper chopped, or more if you like it hotter
  • sea salt and black pepper to taste
  • 2 eggs
  • butter and or coconut oil

Heat up a small, non stick saute pan on medium heat. Add a teaspoon or so of butter or coconut oil or both( that is how I do it). Add your mushrooms and diced onion. Cook for 5-6 minutes, adding more fat as needed. salt and pepper.

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Add kale, garlic, turmeric, nettles and cayenne – reduce heat to medium low and cook until kale wilts a bit – 2-3 minutes.

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Whisk eggs together until there is no visible white part. Can add a tiny amount of milk or water.

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Add a bit more butter to pan, spread veggies evenly out.

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Now reduce heat to low. Add eggs evenly across the pan. Shake and swirl pan to coat. Cook 2-3 minutes – NO TOUCHING!

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Then using a large spatula, flip – yes I said flip – you can do it!!! If nervous, you can slide it out onto a plate and then invert plate back into pan.

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VOILA!

Sprinkle cheese, whatever you like or not. I used pecorino romano.

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Cook 1 minute more. Fold and slide out onto a plate. Eat and enjoy!!

If you love mushrooms, here is a link for some really good recipes at Mushrooming Together.

Mushroom goodness

Anne-Marie

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups…doesn’t that sound delicious? Last night I read a blog post from GatherVictoria.com and she had this recipe I JUST had to try!!! And you know …if you don’t do it right away, you forget all about it and it gets lost somewhere in cyberland.

I did not have every ingredient that she used so I improvised with what was growing right now!

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Calendula (Calendula officinalis) is growing like crazy,  I had plenty to pick from. The recipe only calls for 3 Tablespoons of petals so you can have enough from 5-6 blossoms. Even though calendula is used mainly for medicinal purposes as a vulnerary herb to heal cuts, scrapes, burns and internal wounds, it is also edible and looks beautiful in a salad or in these cute egg cups. Calendula contains antioxidants in the form of flavanoids and carotenoids(beta-carotene converts to Vitamin A).

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale) – the leaves of dandelion are diuretic without removing precious potassium and they are very helpful for the liver removing toxins from the body. The green leaves are bitter, bitter is good, but don’t stress, they won’t be too bitter in this recipe!

Basil – Genovese (Ocimum basilicum) – add a lovely aromatic, sweet yet spicy flavor.

Tarragon (Artemesia dracunculus) – tasty herb that is used in fish dishes, bernaise sauce and it has a anise-like flavoring to it. I LOVE this herb!

Lambsquarters (Chenopodium album) – relative of the beloved quinoa. Otherwise known as Wild Spinach. An excellent substitution for any green that packs a punch of nutrition: Vitamin A, B1,2,3,5,6,  C, protein, iron, manganese, magnesium and more! It does contain oxalic acid so you don’t want to eat a ton of this everyday. Oxalic acid can cause kidney stones if you are prone to these.

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Gold ole garlic and onions!

This is soooo easy and add anything else you like, be creative, invent a new egg cup!

Recipe for Calendula & Dandelion Breakfast Egg Cups

  • 6 eggs, beaten

  • splash of half and half

  • 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh dandelion leaves, chopped

  • 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh lambsquarters, chopped

  • 3 Tablespoons fresh calendula petals

  • 1 garlic clove, chopped

  • 1/4 large onion, chopped

  • pinch himalayan sea salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 1/3 cup fresh mozzarella crumbled or feta

Wash you fresh eggs and beat them in a bowl with the cream.

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Saute onion on med low for a few minutes til soft, add the garlic and the greens. Cook just 1-2 minutes.

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Add fresh calendula petals and cheese to eggs. Add the greens mixture, salt and pepper. Mix up.

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Grease a muffin tin – grease it a lot, mine stuck!!!

Pour your mixture into the tin, mine filled 11 cups. Bake in a preheated oven at 350o for 20 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes or so and eat them up!

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You can freeze the leftovers for a fast breakfast, just defrost in the fridge and reheat in the oven(wrap in foil or a covered dish).

They taste wonderful!!!

Enjoy,

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I used to love St. Patrick’s Day! I still LIKE it but we do not celebrate it as crazy as we used to back in New York, years and years ago!!

Yeah it was a drinking, eating all day celebration and my Uncle Charlie was always in charge of the corned beef and cabbage meal. He would make a ridiculously giant corned beef – I no longer eat the stuff but still feel the absolute need to make it every year. It’s like if I don’t my part Irishness will be stripped from me – ha! My brother and I literally are the only ones in the family without red hair, hmmmmm….

So I made the corned beef, the cabbage and the potatoes, got some rye bread…sigh did not make Irish Soda bread or I would have eaten the WHOLE dang loaf! Then I would be in a bread coma, don’t want that.

Here is John’s dinner, enough for 3 others too, can’t help the way I cook. He will have leftovers for sandwiches.

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I am making ME a pot of soup with kale, garlic, stewed tomatoes, potatoes, cabbage and broth from the corned beef and cabbage. We shall see how it comes out!

It sure looks and smells good!

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I did find some more meatless meals for St. Patty’s Day, I know the day is almost over but there is always tomorrow or the whole weekend as it is celebrated in Savannah. 😀

More recipes that look amazing!

10 Green recipes for St. Patrick’s Day

Vegan Irish Stew – this REALLY needs to be made but I was out of edamame.

My just throw together last minute stew/soup:

  • olive oil to coat pot, a pinch of crushed red pepper and 1-2 garlic cloves crushed
  • handful of kale, torn into pieces. Cook this for a minute until the kale is wilted then add:
  • 1- 28 ounce can of stewed tomatoes( got these today at Aldi’s on clearance for 49 cents! – Fit and Active brand)
  • 2 cups of broth – mix the tomatoes and broth into the pot with kale and cook for 10 minutes then add:
  • a potato or two cut up and as much cabbage as you like, that was cooked in the corned beef pot or cook separately

Enjoy with some Irish soda bread or rye with Amish salted butter – oh yeah!!

And lastly, I did not catch a leprechaun but I DID find some cuties under the tree –

 

 

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Make Your Own Coconut Milk

I was talking to a class yesterday about coconut milk shampoo and thought I would make some again. Coconut Milk Shampoo is the ONLY homemade shampoo that I have found to work decently with a bit of lather.

When I first tried it, I used a can of coconut milk but have heard on Wellness Mama that making your own coconut milk makes it work better plus you have some to drink too!!

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So not wasting anytime whatsoever, I just read the blog post, saw that I had unsweetened coconut in the cupboard and made it. Yep that simple, easy peasy!!! And seriously you can buy a bag of organic coconut for about $2-3 and make a couple batches, that is some cheap coconut milk. If I buy a container of coconut milk in the store it costs $3.50-$4.00 and usually has carrageenan and other stuff. 😦

There is a bonus to this milk recipe that was found in the comment section of Wellness Mama’s post – you can make coconut flour with what’s left after squeezing the shredded coconut out – woohoo!

Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk

1.5-2 cups of organic unsweetened shredded coconut

4 cups of hot water

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Heat your water up but do not boil it, just hot to the touch. No you can’t just use hot water from the tap. This will take two minutes to do. Put water in a blender or if you are lucky, a vitamix and add the coconut. You do not want this to be super full otherwise it will make a gigantic mess when you turn it on!!! If you have to, do it in two batches.

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Place a towel over the top (just in case) and turn on low then high for a few minutes until blended.

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Pour through a very fine mesh strainer and press the pulp as you do it.

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At the very end I added the pulp back into the blender with a bit of the milk and blended again and poured back through the strainer into a quart jar. If it seems to still have pieces of coconut, you can pour through cheesecloth or butter muslin.

Look how creamy it looks! Oooooohhhh yum.

 

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Now I love this stuff plain as is but you can add some vanilla or stevia or honey or maple syrup…whatever your little heart desires. ❤

OK so now refrigerate it and it will keep 3-4 days. The next day you will see a thick layer on the top, that is the cream – the fat – the good stuff!!! So if you are going to make the shampoo, mix the milk well first so you get some of that fat in your shampoo.

Recipe for Homemade Coconut Milk Shampoo

adapted from Katie at Wellness Mama

  • ¼ cup coconut milk
  • 1/4 cup Liquid Castille Soap like Dr. Bronners
  • 20 drops of essential oils – your choice (try peppermint, lavender, rosemary and orange or combinations of those)
  • For dry hair: add ½- 1 tsp olive or almond oil (optional)

How to Make Homemade Shampoo

  1. Combine all ingredients in an old shampoo bottle or jar of some kind (pump soap dispensers and even foaming dispensers work well for this. If you use a foaming dispenser, add 1/4 cup of distilled water)
  2. Shake well to mix.
  3. Keep in shower for up to a month.
  4. Shake before each use.
  5. Use about a teaspoon every time you shampoo.
  6. If you use a foaming dispenser, it also makes a great shaving cream- just dilute with 1/4 cup distilled water!

I hope you enjoy this post! Please share with friends 🙂

Anne-Marie

 

Recipe For Zucchini, Sweet Potato and Kale Soup

Oh…my…goodness, I just had the best soup tonight! I made the recipe before but tonight this Zucchini, Sweet Potato and Kale soup was…simply, amazing!

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I got the original recipe from the Yin Yang Diet. I kind of changed it a bit. 😀

Zucchini, Sweet Potato and Kale Soup Recipe

1/2 onion chopped

2 Tablespoons olive oil

pinch of sea salt

black pepper to taste

1 zucchini, chopped

3 cups sweet potato chopped, cubed

1 bunch kale or a couple handfuls, chopped

1 tsp. dried basil or 2 tsp. fresh basil

pinch of red pepper flakes

8 cups chicken broth, homemade bone broth is best! Vegetable broth can be substituted.

1/2 cup millet, uncooked

Shaved parmesan cheese

Saute onion in olive oil until softened.soup3

Add sweet potatoes(grown by me!!!) and zucchini, salt and pepper.

soup2Cook on medium, stirring, for 10 minutes. Add broth and millet, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer slightly covered for 20-30 minutes until millet is cooked.

You can sub in pasta, quinoa or rice(cook according to package directions).

Before serving add red pepper flakes and kale and basil. Serve with shaved parmesan.

So delish!!!

Enjoy –

Anne-Marie

Revisiting Trim Healthy Mama

I think I need to revisit my Trim Healthy Mama plan.

My pants are a bit tight…I have been eating too many good things….not junk, good fattening desserts, breads, ok so maybe some junk like potato chips and french fries. Ugghhh! Sigh..

To jump start me I downloaded a free menu plan from The Laundry Moms here I already have the Trim Healthy Mama book but putting together the menu can sometimes be a challenge if you don’t prep yourself. The Laundry Moms made a menu with the page number to each recipe in the book and a grocery shopping list!

How EASY is that? IF I stick with it, I will pay the $7/month to get more menu plans for a couple months. I do however change some of the recipes(can’t help myself) especially if it has things like turkey bacon bits – eeewww or beef or any other weird food.

Last night I made spaghetti for hubby, spaghetti squash for me and we both had sauce. John had it with ground beef and mine had peppers and onions. Homemade marinara used two ways!!! AND cheese of course, 😉

Today for breakfast I made a yummy Sweet Cinnamon Quinoa and the recipe is below.

It takes no time at all. You can even back a double batch of quinoa and put it in the fridge for another day. By the way I got the tricolor quinoa at Aldi’s for $3.99 for a POUND! Holy moly that is a great price and organic. I LOVE Aldi’s – I should be a spokesperson for them and I would do it if they traded for groceries!!! How cool would that be?

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Here is the deliciousness –

Sweet Cinnamon Quinoa – double batch recipe

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • pinch salt
  • almond milk
  • cinnamon you can get organic here from Mountain Rose Herbs
  • stevia, truvia

First bring the quinoa, salt and water to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Set timer for exactly 15 minutes.

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You will know the quinoa is done when you see the little tail like parts on the quinoa and it looks fluffy with all water absorbed.

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Take half and put into a bowl, add as much almond milk that you like, unsweetened please! Then add about 1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon and a packet of truvia if you’d like. I also added a tiny handful of blueberries. 🙂

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Very satisfying! OH and if you wish, for added fiber and nutrition, you can add a teaspoon of ground flaxseed meal.

Enjoy –

Anne-Marie

Recipe for Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

I had to share this delicious recipe with you, after I made it of course j-u-s-t to make sure it was as good as it looked! 😉 AND it take like 5-6 minutes to make!!!

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The recipe is adapted from Dr. Axe’s recipe, I needed to tweak it a bit.

Dark Chocolate Almond Butter

2 cups raw almonds

1/2 cup dark chocolate(I used 85% dark, it’s what I had)

2 tsp. unrefined coconut oil

1/8th tsp. himalayan sea salt

1 packet of stevia sweeten, to taste or xylitol

1 tsp. real maple syrup – think I could have used more. 😀

Add everything to a food processor.

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Pulse at first to break up almonds, then let it run for a few minutes. At first it will seem like it is blended but it is not ready.

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All of a sudden it will ball up! THEN it is ready.

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Taste and if you want it sweeter or looser add more coconut oil and or sweetener, mix again to incorporate. This made two 4-oz jars plus a couple spoonfuls to eat, cause they wouldn’t fit in the jars – hee hee…

OMG this is freaking good!!! Tomorrow I will eat it on some homemade ezekiel bread – yum!

the finished jars!
the finished jars!

Enjoy your night,

Anne-Marie

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