Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blueberry-Cucumber Smoothie

Blueberries and cucumbers are in season right now and with these hot sunny days, a light, refreshing smoothie is simply delightful. Sometimes I like to add everything but the kitchen sink to my smoothies, but a friend of mine who was recently visiting suggested these ingredients and urged me to keep it simple. So, reluctantly, I added just 3 ingredients. Now this is one of our favorite summertime smoothies. Cucumbers are naturally cooling and blueberries are very high in antioxidants, helping to protect our bodies from the damaging effect of the sun's rays.

Our children think this smoothie is divine! When they woke up this morning I asked them what they would like for breakfast, they emphatically exclaimed, "blueberry-cucumber smoothie mom!" Well, we made green smoothies and oatmeal, but will enjoy the cucumber smoothie for a snack later on.

This smoothie recipe can be used during Phase 1: DETOX (and all phases) of the Elimination Diet, which includes bone broths, soups, green smoothies, and fresh-pressed vegetable juices. I am sure you could get very creative here and add some greens to increase the nutrition. I would start by adding a few handfuls of fresh spinach.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Minty Chicken-Zucchini Kebobs

Since it is grilling season, I thought it would be fitting to offer an easy, crowd-pleasing recipe for these sultry summer evenings. Our garden is overflowing with fresh mint and zucchini right now and I'm imagining that these ingredients are readily available for you too right now. Of course most fresh garden veggies would do well here. Think cherry tomatoes, peppers, and chunks of red onions.

Although I don't use an exact recipe when making the marinade for these, you can use my recipe for Pepper-Mint Dressing and Marinade. I use all of the same ingredients, just without measuring. Cooking is much more fun this way. ;-)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Make Honey-Sweetened Jam

Homemade jam is usually so full of sugar, but it doesn't have to be! Using Pomona's Pectin, one can make a low-sugar, honey-sweetened, or fruit juice-sweetened homemade jam. This particular pectin comes from citrus peel. The jelling is activated by calcium water (mono calcium phosphate) which comes with the pectin. It is so easy to make jam from all of your freshly picked fruit of the season. Making and canning jam is one of the great ways to preserve the harvest!

Last year I experimented quite a bit with some of the hundreds of pounds of fruit we harvested. I made an awesome Vanilla-Plum Jam sweetened with coconut sugar, a Honey-Sweetened Blueberry Jam, Spiced Peach Jam made without pectin and with sugar, Blueberry-Lemon Jam made with a small amount of pureed unripe, immature apples as the pectin source (unripe apples are high in pectin), a tart Italian Plum-Agave Jam, and Cherry-Peach Jam sweetened with grape juice concentrate. Let me tell you, homemade jam makes for many wonderful Christmas gifts!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strawberry-Hazelnut Shortcakes (gluten-free, vegan)

It is still strawberry season here in the Pacific Northwest. The other day I picked about five pounds of those tasty, sweet early summer morsels right from our backyard patch. If you have extra berries I suggest hulling them and freezing them on a cookie sheet to use for smoothies or strawberry lemonade throughout the summer. If you have a surplus of strawberries then making jam might be a good thing. A honey-sweetened strawberry jam recipe will be up on the blog soon!

I've added a finely ground hazelnut meal to these shortcakes to boost their nutritional value. As a bonus, they're also rice-free. I use the hazelnut meal from Bob's Red Mill. You can find it on if you would like to get it in bulk. If you can't find it, a good substitution would be to use a finely ground almond meal.