Easy Irish Soda Bread {recipe}

“Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone;  it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.” – Ursula K. LeGuin, The Lathe of Heaven

SodaBreadIrish_seeedylawyer

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  As most folks associate St. Patrick’s Day with green beer and Leprechauns, I am most excited because today is the day before (drumroll please)….my Birthday!! Woohoo!

I have fond, vivid memories of my mom bringing my grade school class St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes to celebrate my birthday, beautifully decorated in emerald green icing and clovers. (But that’s a different blog post!)

Tonight I am invited to my friend’s home for traditional corned beef and cabbage. Yum!! I volunteered to bring the Irish Soda Bread. Easy enough! Since we have some great bakeries in town I will just swing by the bakery, drop a couple bucks and I’m on my way.

Huh?? NONE of the bakeries baked any Irish Soda Bread?? (Or green cupcakes worthy of Mom!) So, I checked my calendar. Yep, I have the date right, March 17th, St. Patrick’s Day.

Determined and dressed in my green shirt I headed to the grocery store bakery section. Whaatt?? No Irish Soda Bread (and of course no green cupcakes!!) Ugh!

Now I was on a mission!!  I searched the baking aisle for Irish Soda Bread mix. Let’s see… there are mixes for honey wheat, white, multi-grain and even sweet Hawaiian bread. But no Irish Soda Bread mix!

Off to the frozen bread section…Garlic Bread, biscuits, French bread, and dinner rolls. But no Irish Soda Bread. Seriously? (Is today really April Fools Day?)

More determined than ever, I grabbed some buttermilk and Irish butter and headed straight for the checkout.  The cashier accidentally gave me 3 cents extra change. She said, “It must be your lucky day!” Yep! Lucky Lisa!

“Unique to Ireland, Irish Soda Bread is a traditional product of a poor country. Made with only the most basic of ingredients: flour, baking soda (used as a leavening agent instead of yeast), soured milk (buttermilk) to moisten and activate the soda, and salt. A cross was cut on the top before baking to ward off the devil and protect the household.”

Easy_Soda-Bread_seedylawyer

 

Easy Irish Soda Bread

(adapted from Simple Recipes)

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30-40 minutes

Yield: One loaf

Ingredients:

4 to 4 ½ cups flour (I used King Arthur’s All Purpose Flour)

1 Tablespoon sugar

1 Teaspoon salt

1 Teaspoon baking soda

4 Tablespoons unsalted butter (cut into small pieces)

1 cup currants or raisins (I used currants)

1 large farm fresh organic egg, lightly beaten

1 ¾ cups buttermilk

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place rack in center of oven.

Whisk together flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.

Using your (clean) fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. Add the raisins or currants.

Make a well in the center of the flour mixture. Add beaten egg and buttermilk to well. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until dough is too stiff to stir.

Dust hands with flour, then GENTLY knead dough in the bowl just enough to form a rough ball. (Add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky.) DO NOT OVER-KNEAD!

Transfer dough to a lightly floured surface and shape into a round loaf. (Note: dough may be a little sticky, and should resemble a shortcake biscuit dough)

Work dough until it just comes together. Again, DO NOT OVER-KNEAD!

Transfer dough to a baking sheet. Score top with an “X” shape.

Bake in middle rack until bread is golden and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped, about 35-45 minutes. Check for doneness by inserting a long wooden skewer into the center. If skewer comes out clean, bread is done.

Remove baking sheet and bread from oven. Allow bread to sit on sheet for 5-10 minutes. Move bread to a wire rack.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

IrishSodaBread_seedylawyer

Ingredients for Irish Soda Bread

 

currants_irish_soda_bread_seedylawyer

Add currants to flour mixture.

 

knead_Irish_soda_bread_seedylawyer

Gently knead the dough

 

Cross_SODA_BREAD-SEEDYLAWYER

Score the top with an “X” – Removes evil spirits and allows the center to bake.

 

SodaBread_seedylawyer

Tada!! How’s that for Luck of the Irish!!?

Do you have a favorite traditional recipe you use for special occasions?

Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Me, Myself and Thai {recipe}

Thai_lemongrass_wings_seedylawyer

Smoke quickly filled the kitchen. Although deafened by the earsplitting noise blaring from the smoke detector, I could still hear my dogs howling frantically. I impersonated Michael Jordan jumping to fan the smoke away from the detector with my Grandma’s tattered oven mitt. I threw open the window to clear the room only to be blasted by the arctic air. It was now snowing IN my kitchen!

I knew I should have grilled these darn wings… but obviously grilling was out of the question…

DSCF5026

My BBQ grill. “Honey I don’t think the food is defrosted yet.”

I was all cooped up in my mountain home. Mother Nature blanketed the town in white. Our cooking club was almost canceled because some ladies were unable to maneuver their steep driveways and icy roads.

brr_seedylawyer

Brrrrr… It’s cold!

I was the new girl in the cooking club: the rookie, the freshman. This was my big chance to meet more friends in my new town while improving my culinary skills. Two things I love: people and food. It’s a win-win! Our cookbook assignment was Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin. The recipe I chose was Lemongrass Chicken Wings.

I planned on getting dressed while the wings were in the oven. How to dress for my first meeting? Not too city-slickery. Not too “Little House on the Prairie.” Wear just enough makeup but not so much to celebrate Halloween. Let’s see… I will take a shower while I pre-heat the oven. Then as the wings are starting to cook I will get dressed. Then flip the wings, flip my 1980’s hair and I’m off…

Okay, who forget to turn the oven knob to BROIL? Time was ticking and the oven was still cold! I panicked! I can’t poison my new friends with salmonella-packed, undercooked chicken! HmmmMicrowave? Boil? Chicken Soup?? No way!! Determined, I cranked the oven and perhaps placed the delicate wing tips a bit too close to the blazing broiler. Uh oh!!

Miraculously I was able to salvage my culinary delight and the wings were cooked perfectly! Once the soot cleared and I was finally able to breathe again, I inhaled the intoxicating fragrant aroma of lemongrass, garlic, and ginger. Yum!  I actually think the charring enhanced the Thai flavors. Ha! This was truly The Winged Victory.

With no time left to fix my hair (think Phyllis Diller), and smelling like a smoked BBQ brisket, I could still just make it to cooking club which thankfully was only few blocks away. Armed with wings and a prayer, I ran to my car.

Are you kidding??…

Snow_WNC_seedylawyer

I tossed my scrumptious creation into the front seat and grabbed the shovel and ice scraper. I worked faster than a Nascar pit crew! Now with black mascara running down my cheek and frizzy clown hair, I finally hopped into the car. My hands were numb and frozen as I steered down the mountain. Scared they were heading to my house, I ducked as the fire engine passed me.

I walked thru the doors of my cooking club and smiled. “Hi! I’m Lisa! I made you some Lemongrass Chicken Wings. Enjoy!”

Lemongrass_chicken_wings_seedylawyer

Lemongrass Chicken Wings

From Everyday Thai Cooking by Katie Chin

Sweet, tangy, salty and infused with exotic Thai spices. Double or triple the recipe for a crowd.

Serves 4-6 as an appetizer

Ingredients

1 ½ pounds chicken wings

2 tablespoons crushed roasted peanuts

2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves

Marinade

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tablespoons shallots, finely chopped

2 teaspoons minced galangal or fresh ginger

2 tablespoons lemongrass, minced

1 tablespoon palm or brown sugar

3 tablespoons fish sauce (nam pla)

1 ½ tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

2 tablespoons oil

Preparation

Whisk together the marinade ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Place chicken wings in a large resealable food storage bag. Pour the marinade mixture over the chicken wings. Refrigerate for 2-12 hours. (I refrigerated overnight.)

Pre-heat a broiler. Arrange the wings, top down, on a broiler. Broil the wings for 10-11 minutes, turn over and broil for another 1-11 minutes until golden brown.

Garnish with chopped peanuts and fresh coriander leaves. Serve immediately.

***

 

Lemongrass2RS_seedylawyer

fresh lemongrass

Do you have leftover lemongrass?  Try my lemongrass ice cream for dessert!

Have you had any similar disasters in your kitchen? Please share your story.

Original photos by SeedyLawyer.  All rights reserved.

Shared with:  Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friday, Full Plate Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Great Idea Thursday, Natural Family Friday, Simply Natural Saturdays, Farm Hop, Flashback Friday, Motivation Monday, Busy Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Totally Talented Tuesdays, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Share Your Cup Thursday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Creative Mondays

 

got pecans? Make Turtles!

how_to_make_caramel_turtles_seedylawyer

“All you need is love.

But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt.”

Charles M. Schulz

Spanish Moss dripping from Oak trees. Quaint Southern streets. Welcome to Georgia! This sweet song keeps Georgia on my mind.

A roadside sign lures me in for local Georgia Pecans!

freshGAPecans_seedylawyer

So many pecans, so little time.

GA-Pecans_seedylawyer

Fresh, crunchy, decadent pecans.

georgia_pecans_seedylawyer

Loaded up with my stash, I spotted this sign. Got me thinking that I can make my own Pecan Candy!

Pecan_candy_seedylawyer

My love for Pecan Turtles dates back to when I was young. I rode my pink bike (with pink basket) throughout our neighborhood, selling chocolates as a fundraiser for my brothers JV football team. But, between the hot Miami sun and my girlish appetite, not many turtles survived. Sorry, dear brother.

Turtles get their name from their turtle-like shape.  Sweet, buttery caramel, and silky, smooth chocolate cover crunchy, toasted pecans. Irresistible. Yet so easy to make. You will never buy boxed chocolates again! (Even if a girl is selling them for her brother’s football team!)

white_chocolate_turtles_seedylawyer

 “Try to be like the turtle – at ease in your own shell.”

Bill Copeland

CHOCOLATE PECAN CARAMEL TURTLES

Yields 60 turtles

INGREDIENTS:

1 1/2 pounds pecan halves (raw or lightly toasted)

1 cup unsalted butter

2 cups brown sugar

1 cup light corn syrup (Karo)

1 (14oz) can Sweetened Condensed Milk

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

One package (24oz) Chocolate Almond Bark (or chocolate chips)

Half package (12 oz) White Chocolate Almond Bark (or white chocolate chips) (optional)

PREPARATION:

Arrange clusters of 4 or 5 pecans on greased cookie sheets. (I used parchment paper.)

Pecan_turtles_seedylawyer

Melt butter, sugar and salt in a heavy pot. Stir until combined. Stir in corn syrup and mix well.

Gradually add condensed milk, stirring constantly.

making_caramel_seedylawyer

Cook to firm candy stage, about 12 to 15 minutes (240 degrees using a candy thermometer).

homemade_caramel_seedylawyer

Remove from heat and add vanilla.

Carefully spoon caramel sauce over arranged pecans, enough to cover pecans. Let cool.

caramel_turtles_seedylawyer

Melt almond bark/chocolate over double boiler.

chocolate_turtles_seedylawyer

Spoon chocolate on top of cooled caramel. Let cool.

milk_chocolate_turtles_seedylawyer

Repeat with melted white chocolate, if desired.

white_chocolate_turtles_seedylawyer

Allow turtles to cool and set completely (at room temperature or in the refrigerator) before removing and packaging.

double_chocolate_turtles_seedylawyer

Store refrigerated in airtight container. Bring to room temperature before serving.

***

homemade_chocolate_turtles_seedylawyer

Caramel, pecans and chocolate are “so happy together!”  Just like the song says, by, of course … The Turtles! Enjoy!

Happy 2015!!

What is your favorite homemade candy?

Shared with: Mix It Up Monday, Motivation Monday Gluten Free Fridays, Natural Family Friday  Simple Saturdays, Motivation Monday, Clever Chick’s Bloghop, Mix It Up Monday, Home and Garden Thursdays, Recipe Round Up, Great Ideas Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Fiesta Friday, Foodie Friday, Weekend Bites

Original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Farm to Fido: Sweet Potato Dog Treats

woof

 “What a dog I got, his favorite bone is my arm.”

– Rodney Dangerfield

organic_dogtreats_seedylawyer

Homemade Organic Sweet Potato Dog Treats

Stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries and applesauce… Oh My, It’s Thanksgiving! My grandma whips up her rutabagas and of course, sweet potatoes topped with melted (sometimes burnt) marshmallows. Dad is in charge of the turkey, while Mom and I love baking pies. It’s amazing how fast the food disappears when it took days to prepare.

Food coma sets in and you hit the couch to watch the football marathon. As you try to digest with your dog on your lap, you catch a glimpse of his huge sad eyes. While you were previously impersonating King Arthur gnawing on a turkey leg, did you forget your loyal companion?

sweet-potato-dogbones_seedylawyer

“Give the dog a bone!”

Don’t leave out Man’s Best Friend on this special holiday (or any day). You can whip up healthy dog treats as quickly as you can say, “Pass the cranberries.” You just need a few kitchen staples and a sweet potato (minus the marshmallows – Sorry, Granny!)

growing_organic-Sweet_potatoes_seedylawyer

How Sweet It Is! My homegrown organic sweet potatoes.

   “If there were only turnips and potatoes in the world, someone would complain that plants grow the wrong way.”

– Georg C. Lichtenberg

My rescue dogs literally watched over the organic sweet potatoes growing in my garden. It is only fitting to share this sweetness with them.

dog_in_garden_seedylawyer

My rescue Lab: The Garden Guard

“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”

– Josh Billings 

how_to_grow_sweet_potatoes_seedylawyer

Can you dig it?

How sweet it is!

harvesting_sweet_potatoes_seedylawyer

Harvest Time!

You don’t need to grow your own sweet potatoes to bake these tasty biscuits. Here’s how to make scrumptious Scooby Snacks guaranteed to keep tails wagging.

sweet_potato_dog_treat-recipe

Sweet Potato Dog Treats

An easy homemade dog treat recipe with healthy ingredients!

adapted from BrownEyedBaker

Yield: 20 small treats

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 55 minutes

Ingredients:

1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and diced (or canned sweet potato puree)

1¾ cups organic brown rice flour*

1 tablespoon flaxseed meal

2 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce

1 egg, lightly beaten

plus extra beaten egg for brushing treats (optional)

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Place the cut sweet potato in a small saucepan, cover with water. Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Ensure that the potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife, then remove from heat, drain and allow to cool.

Puree the sweet potatoes in a food processor or blender until completely smooth.

Organic_sweet-Potato_puree_seedylawyer

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and flaxseed meal.

Add the sweet potato puree, applesauce and 1 beaten egg to the dry ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.

Dump out dough onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out dough to ¼ inch thick and cut out with cookie cutters (bone, heart shapes).

baking_dog_treats1RS_seedylawyer

Place the biscuits on the prepared baking sheet and brush with beaten egg. Bake for 25 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.

*Note: You could replace the rice flour with whole wheat flour or other flour.

***

“Here, Fido! Come and get it!”

sweetpotatodogbiscuit_seedylawyer

LIVE LOVE BARK.

DogwagsTail _ seedylawyer

On Thanksgiving, don’t fur-get to give the dog a bone. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

What special treats do you make for your pet?

This post was featured on:

Creative Mondays[1]

Shared with: Fiesta Friday, Real Food Fridays, Motivation Monday, LHITS DIY, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Creative Mondays, Natural Family Friday, Foodie Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Farm Hop, Weekend Bites, Flashback Friday, Tasty Tuesdays, Tuesdays With A Twist, Totally Talented Tuesday, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday, Backyard Farming Connection, Wine’d Down Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Great Ideas Thursdays

“Treats” photo courtesy of Sue O’Bryan. Original Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Pumpkin, Sage, Browned-Butter Cakes {recipe}

pumpkin-sage-browned-butter-cake_seedylawyer

Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Cakes

I would rather sit on a pumpkin,

and have it all to myself,

than be crowded on a velvet cushion.”

– Henry David Thoreau

Scoot over, bland Pumpkin Pie! Out of the way, stale Pumpkin Scones! Beat it, boring Pumpkin Biscuits! Make way for Pumpkin Sage Browned-Butter Cakes!

It’s that time of year. Pumpkins are everywhere!

pumpkin_WNC_seedylawyer

At the Health Food Markets…

pumpkins_seedylawyer

And the Farmer’s Market…

fall-pumpkins_seedylawyer

And of course, The Pumpkin Patch…

organic_pumpkin_seedylawyer

“It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.”

Even little pumpkins hanging out on Main Street….

halloween_costumes_seedylawyer

In my humble foodie opinion, nothing goes better with pumpkin than sage.  The combination just screams (and smells) “Autumn!!”

Organic_sage2

Sage or salvia officinalis has many health benefits and has a long history of use as a medicinal herb. Its Latin root Salvare means “to heal.” It’s a great addition to my home garden. Easy to grow, sage adds a savory and light lemony flavor to dishes.

how_to-grow-sage_seedylawyer

Since my sage plant has runneth over, thank goodness there’s pumpkin. There are so many delicious pumpkin/sage combos including stuffing, ravioli and risotto. Oh My! But how about something sweet yet a bit savory?

I’ve got it! Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Cakes! (Thank you, Martha Stewart!)

sage_pumpkin_cake_seedylawyer

I added a touch of vanilla and topped with pumpkin seeds for texture and color. Browned-butter adds a hint of nuttiness. The pumpkin brings out a beautiful golden, Harvest color. Want some?

Pumpkin_cakes_seedylawyer

My Pumpkin cakes are:

Oh so fluffy

moist

pumpkiny

not too sweet

I repeat, not too sweet (LOL)

light

crunchy and creamy

savory

spiced so nice

“Autumn in one bite!”

Pumpkin_sage-bread_seedylawyer

Pumpkin, Sage and Browned-Butter Cakes

Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

Yield Makes 4 mini loaves

Ingredients

    • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter*, plus more for pans
    • 1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
    • 1/4 cup fresh sage, cut into thin strips, plus whole leaves for garnish (optional)
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1 cup solid-pack pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
    • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • ½ cup raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)

*Can substitute Earth Balance or Coconut Oil for butter.

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter 4 mini loaf pans; dust with flour, tapping out excess. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Add sage strips; cook until butter turns golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer mixture to a bowl; let cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and salt. In another bowl, whisk together pumpkin, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and sage-butter mixture. Add flour mixture; whisk until incorporated.
  3. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans; smooth tops with an offset spatula. Sprinkle top with pumpkins seeds. Place pans on a rimmed baking sheet; bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 30 minutes.
  4. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto rack to cool completely. (Cakes can be wrapped in plastic and stored at room temperature overnight or refrigerated up to 5 days.) Garnish with whole sage leaves before serving, if desired.

***

sageandpumpkincake_seedlawyer

Oh Baby! The aroma from the oven fills your home with Autumn goodness!

It’s The Great Pumpkin, indeed, Charlie Brown! Take my sage advice and bake these cakes!  Happy Autumn!

What’s your favorite Pumpkin recipe?

This post was featured on:

homeacrehopbadge

I am sharing my Pumpkin, Sage cakes with the folks at Real Food Fridays, Green Thumb Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Great Idea Thursdays, Fiesta Friday, HomeAcre Hop, Simple Lives Thursday, Plant Based Potluck, Natural Family Friday, Foodie Friday, Old Fashioned Friday, Farm Hop, LHITS DIY, Weekend Bites, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturdays, Motivation Monday, Melt In You Mouth Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday, Creative Mondays, Clever Chicks, Tuesdays With a Twist, Totally Talented Tuesdays, Backyard Farming Connection, Tasty Tuesday, You’re Gonna Love It Tuesday , Show and Share Wednesday, Wine’d Down Wednesday

Original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

30 Cool Things To Compost

compostbin

“My whole life has been spent waiting for an epiphany… the kind of transcendent, magical experience that lets you see your place in the big picture. And that is what I had with my first compost heap.”

– Bette Midler

JackolanternCOMPOST_seedylawyer

Compost your Jack O’Lantern!

What are you doing with your Jack O’Lantern after Halloween? Did you throw out your used coffee grounds this morning? How about that empty toilet paper roll? Don’t toss them; compost them!

It is said that “One man’s trash is another one’s treasure.”  This is true about compost, where nature magically recycles kitchen scraps into “black gold” soil.

compostsoil_seedylawyer

Compost is “black gold” for your garden!

There are many benefits of compost that include increasing the quality of your soil with nutrients, air and texture. “Volunteer plants” often pop up, too. Some of my best producing tomato plants miraculously grew from my compost heap. I even discovered an avocado tree! All for free! (Shhh… it’s our “dirty” little secret!)

If you’re new to composting, check out the basics of composting. I started by simply cleaning out my refrigerator. (Gross, I know!)

coloredfruitandvegscraps

Most people compost kitchen scraps like banana peels and apple cores. Others throw in stale bread and old lettuce leaves.

applepeelRS_seedylawyer

You can compost the apple peel AND core!

You probably already compost eggshells.  Toss in the (cut up) cardboard egg carton, too.

compost-eggshells_seedylawyer

Add eggshells and the egg carton to compost.

My list of things to compost seems endless. Did you know that can compost:

  1. Counting Sheep: old woolen socks (cut into small pieces)
  2. On Cloud Nine: 100% cotton balls; cotton from vitamin bottle; cotton swabs with wooden middle
  3. Cheers: wine cork (real cork)… and stale or old wine and beer
  4. Veggie Delight: cooled water from steaming veggies
  5. Sprout It Out: growing sprouts in a jar? compost the rinse water
  6. Hair of the Dog: pet hair (human hair, too! – untreated)
  7. Go Fish: dirty water and dirt from aquarium; fish food
  8. Plain White T’s: old 100% cotton t-shirt (cut up into pieces)
  9. Crab Shack: crab and shrimp shells; seaweed
  10. Bag It: contents from vacuum cleaner bag
  11. Pumpkin Patch: Jack o’ Lantern/pumpkin (cut into smaller pieces)
  12. Dirty Laundry: dryer lint
  13. Good to the Last Drop: coffee grinds and used coffee filters
  14. Perfect Match: used matches
  15. Chop, Chop: chopsticks (broken into pieces)
  16. You’re Fired: fireplace ashes (cooled!)
  17. Lots of Pastabilities: cold pasta noodles (no sauce)
  18. All Cracked Up: stale crackers
  19. Tea for Two: tea bags/loose tea leafs
  20. Pulp Fiction: pulp from the juicer
  21. Eggcellent: egg shells (rinsed) and cardboard egg cartons (cut into pieces)
  22. Pickin’ and Grinnin’: toothpicks
  23. Mikey Likes It: old cereal and cereal boxes (shredded)
  24. The Nutty Professor: shells from nuts and seeds (no salt)
  25. Featherweight: real feathers
  26. Totally Tubular: cardboard tubes from toilet paper, paper towels and gift wrap
  27. Prom Night: dried out corsages, bouquets and flower arrangements
  28. Brown Paper Packages: ask for paper bags at grocery store; cut into pieces
  29. Pick Up Sticks: popsicle sticks  
  30. Tis The Season: Christmas tree and natural holiday wreaths (chopped up).  Don’t forget to remove decorations first! (HaHa)
Compostrs_seedylawyer

Check out my “black gold!”

Imagine the huge reduction in landfills if we all composted. Plus, we’d have the healthiest plants in town! It can’t hurt to make dirt!

So, before you toss something in the trash, think to yourself, “Can I compost this?” The answer may just surprise you! Can’t you just dig it?!

I am sharing The Dirt with Busy Monday, Fiesta Friday, Tuesday Garden Party, Natural Living Monday, Melt In Your Mouth Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Motivation Monday, Tuesdays With A Twist, Totally Talented Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Great Idea Thursdays, Wake Up Wednesday, Full Plate Thursday, HomeAcre Hop, Green Thumb Thursday, Plant Based Potluck, Meet and Greet, Simple Lives Thursday, Old Fashioned Friday, Real Food Fridays, Weekend Bites, Gluten Free Fridays, Foodie Fridays, I’m Lovin It, Farm Hop, LHITS DIY, Farm Girl Friday, Backyard Farming Connection, Natural Family Friday, Simple Saturdays, Simply Natural Saturday, Creative Style Link Up, Creative Mondays

Do you compost? What items do you add to your compost pile?

Photos courtesy of Kirsty Hall, Normanack, Net_efekt, Michael Gil  and Seedy Lawyer.

All rights reserved.

This post was featured on:

RealFoodFridays

natural-family-friday-2[1]

Bravo, Avocado! {raw recipe}

Homegrown Florida Avocados

My avocado-loving Dad always wanted his own tree. So a few years ago he hired a landscaper to plant a big, bad avocado tree in his South Florida yard. Like an impatient kid, my Dad waited for his new budding, guacamole-producing tree. He was soon to be the envy of all the neighbors!

dad_seedylawyer

My Dad loves avocados!

The garden guy brought a huge back hoe (fancy, huh? – yeah, so was his bill!).  He and his crew dug a hole in my Pop’s yard big enough to land a Lear Jet. Oh, just the thought of endless avocados

The time came for the unveiling of the terrific tree. Filled with bursting anticipation, Dad skipped into his backyard. There it was… All three feet of it. The Charlie Brown Christmas Avocado Tree: A sad, lifeless, twig with one brown leaf. Heartbroken, my poor Dad hung his head in disbelief. Good Grief, Charlie Brown Dad. Sadly, at 80 years old, my father knew he would never pick his own avocados.

charlie-brown

Oh, but Darling Mother Nature must have had a crush on my adorable Dad. Just a few guacamole-less football seasons later, things began to change…

Avocado-Tree-Blooming_seedylawyer

Bloom, baby, bloom!

Voila! May I present my father’s tree featuring ginormous avocados! Ta-da! 

Avocadotree2miami_seedylawyer

Pop is so proud of his green goodies! If the Miami Dolphins ever run out of footballs, maybe they can use one of these! Oh, yeah, baby!

avocadoSouthFL3_seedylawyer

Known to my Miami friends as La Avocado Abogada*, I quickly got my hands on some of Dad’s treasures!

(*Translation: The Avocado Attorney)

AvocadoBasket1-2_seedylawyer

One of Dad’s avocados (Persea americana) even had a huge root wrapped around the pit. I planted it and now my tree is bigger than Dad’s original tree! Ha!

IMG_0002

Avocado Tree I grew from Dad’s Avocado pit!

I love raw food recipes. Years ago, I bought Carol Alt’s Raw Food book. A recipe for a raw Chocolate Banana Shake made with avocado seemed too good to be true. A delicious (milkless) milkshake that’s actually good for you? Get out! No way! So I had to try it for myself…

OMG!! Move over Haagen-Dazs! This shake is:

Thick

Rich

Oh so Creamy

Chocolatey

Mouth-watering

A bit Banana-y

Frozen goodness

A blenderful of bliss

This fake shake is so darn good that I tricked all my friends and family into thinking it’s the calorie-packed, sinful, get-your-butt-to-the-gym, ice-cream shop real deal. I challenge you to do the same!

The results will make you yell,Bravo, Avocado!”

 

Raw Chocolate Banana Shake

Adapted from The Raw 50 by Carol Alt

Ingredients:

¼ cup raw cashews, soaked for about 2 hours, drained

¼ to ½ ripe pitted and peeled avocado

2 ripe bananas, sliced (preferably frozen)

½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

¼ teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

1 tablespoon raw agave nectar or raw honey

2 tablespoons raw cacao

½ cup non-dairy milk (I used chocolate almond milk; can use regular almond milk, flax milk, etc)

2 cup crushed ice

Preparation:

Blend first 7 ingredients in blender for 60 seconds.  Add ice and blend until reaching a thick milkshake-like consistency.  Add enough milk to reach desired consistency.  Blend.  Pour into glass and enjoy!

***

 

A nutrient-packed raw milkshake without the guilt! Cheers!

What is your favorite Avocado recipe?

I am sharing my ripe avocados with:  Green Idea Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Green Thumb Thursdays, Simple Lives Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Fiesta Friday, Home Acre Blog Hop, Real Food Fridays, Farm Girl Friday, Simple Meals Friday, Gluten Free Fridays, Simple Saturdays Blog Hop, Savoring Saturdays, Strut Your Stuff, The Party Brunch, Link Party Palooza, Little House Friday DIY Linky, Weekend Bites, Creative Style, Motivation Monday, Mix It Up Monday, Busy Monday

Charlie Brown Photo by Charles Schultz Courtesy of  Anthony Peoples

Original photos by The Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

White Chocolate Raspberry Ice Cream

white-chocolate-raspberry-icecream_RSseedylawyer

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream!

 “Never trust a skinny ice cream man.” Ben Cohen

organic-raspberriesRS_seedylawyer

Homegrown Organic Raspberries

So you drop a small fortune on a tiny basket of raspberries at the store only to find the berries are smashed, rotten or moldy! Eww! I gave up on buying raspberries a long time ago. No more playing a fool for bad berries.

Raspberries_seedylawyer

Red, red raspberries!

But, then I found an organic red raspberry plant at the Farmer’s Market. I quickly learned that growing your own raspberries is easy!

organicraspberriesFarmersMarket2_seedylawyer

The Raspberry (Rubus idaeus) is originally from Asia and is a member of the Rose Family. The most popular are red and black, but there are also purple and golden raspberries. Wow, delicious and beautiful colors, too. Take a look at my red beauties!

growing_organic-raspberries_seedylawyer

growing-raspberries_seedylawyer

Ohh-La-La!  Look what I grew!

firstraspberryRS_seedylawyer

 

raspberries_ORGANIC_seedylawyer

Tart, sweet and tasty, this delicate fruit is great in smoothies, jam and many baked goods. I made a mouth-watering puree to swirl into my homemade vanilla bean, white chocolate ice cream. Are you drooling yet?

The best part of this dessert is there are no calories! Okay, maybe just a few. But believe me, this sinful ice cream is worth every minute at the gym! Heck, I chomped on a cone while walking on the treadmill!

white-chocolate-raspberry-swirl-icecream_seedylawyer

“Life is like an ice-cream cone,

you have to lick it one day at a time.”

Charles M. Schulz 

homemade-raspberry -icecream-seedylawyer

“Swirl, baby, swirl!”

 

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream

A very rich, decadent ice cream made with a custard base and swirled with raspberry puree.

Adapted from allrecipes.com

Serves 12

Ingredients:

For Raspberry Puree:

2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)

¼ cup sugar

Juice of 1/2 lemon

puree_raspberryCam_seedylawyer

Making Raspberry Puree

For Custard:

1 cup whole milk

3/4 cup white sugar

1 vanilla bean, slit lengthwise, seeds scraped

1 pinch salt

5 large egg yolks

1 (8 ounce) package white chocolate chips

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

custard_seedylawyer

Custard

 Preparation:

  1. Heat raspberries, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan over medium heat until raspberries begin to fall apart, 7 to 10 minutes. Press raspberries through a sieve over a bowl to remove the seeds; discard seeds. (Do not skip straining; it’s well worth the time.) Chill.
  2. Heat milk, sugar, vanilla bean and seeds, and salt in a saucepan over medium heat until warm, about 5 minutes.
  3. Whisk egg yolks and about 1 cup warm milk mixture in a bowl; stir egg mixture into saucepan. Continue to cook and stir until custard thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon, 5 to 7 minutes. Remove vanilla bean (I strained custard into a bowl and returned to saucepan to remove all bits of vanilla bean.)
  4. Stir white chocolate chips into custard until melted. Pour custard into a large bowl and stir in heavy cream and vanilla extract. Cover and refrigerate until chilled.
  5. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer’s directions until it reaches “soft-serve” consistency.
  6. Gently swirl raspberries into the soft ice cream creating ribbons of raspberries. Transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container; cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.
swirl_raspberry_Seedylawyer

Swirl raspberry puree into custard.

Grab a (big) spoon and dive in!

scoopRaspberryicecream_seedylawyer

 ***

organic-raspberry-icecream-seedylawyer

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for

White Chocolate Raspberry Swirl Ice Cream!

The Raspberry has been known to be a symbol for kindness. So be kind and share this ice cream with your friends! I am sharing my swirled deliciousness with my friends at Fiesta Friday #36.

Also shared on Green Thumb ThursdaySimple Lives Thursday, Home and Garden Thursday, Share Your Cup Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, HomeAcre Hop, Real Food Fridays, Motivational Monday, Melt in Your Mouth Mondays, Mostly Homemade Mondays, Natural Living Monday, Homestead Barn Hop

In a “Berry” mood? Check out my posts on Wild Blueberries and Blackberries. Berry good!

Looking for an exotic ice cream? Why not try Lisa’s Lemongrass Ice Cream? Yum!

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

 

SLT-250x250-1[1]

Hot Mulled Cider! [recipe]

Hotmulledcider3RS_seedylawyer

“Give me juicy autumnal fruit,

ripe and red from the orchard.”

Walt Whitman, The Complete Poems

A gentle breeze blew my hair as I picked the summer’s last tomato. Ahhhhh-tumn! It’s that time! A comfy jacket in the morning. A warm scarf in the eve.  Ahhhh, yes, it’s Fall.

Soon the leaves will showcase a brilliant yellow, burnt orange and fire red. They shall dance with the wind just before painting the ground. Before long, my dogs will be leaping into the piles of fallen gold.

Changeof Leaves_seedylawyer

“Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.”

 Albert Camus

So long, summer tomatoes. Welcome, Fall apples! Cozy up with a steaming mug of Hot Mulled Cider.

CiderRecipeFallRS_seedylawyer

 “Autumn carries more gold in its pocket than any other seasons.”

Jim Bishop

Breathe in the bouquet of exotic spices with each magical sip of Hot Mulled CiderCheers to Autumn! 

ApplesHotMulledCiderRS_Seedylawyer

Hot Mulled Cider

Serves 10

Adapted from cooks.com

Ingredients:

2 quarts apple cider or pure apple juice

3 cinnamon sticks, plus extra for garnish

1 teaspoon whole allspice

1 teaspoon whole cloves

Ginger root (approx. 2 inch section), peeled and cut into 6 pieces

1/3 cup brown sugar

fresh grated nutmeg (to  serve)

Preparation:

In a saucepan combine apple cider, cinnamon sticks and ginger pieces. Wrap allspice and cloves in a small piece of cheesecloth, and add to pot. Stir in brown sugar. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes. Strain into mugs. Top with fresh grated nutmeg. Garnish with a cinnamon stick.  Serve hot.

***

Hotmulledcider1-seedylawyer

Let’s celebrate National Hot Mulled Cider Day on September 30th. But I plan on sipping this cup of love every day of the season! Yum!

Hotmulledcider2RS_seedylawyer

 “Autumn…the year’s last, loveliest smile.”

William Cullen Bryant

What’s your favorite Cider recipe? How do you plan on celebrating Autumn?

I’m bringing my warm mug of Cider over to the party at Fiesta Friday #35, Melt in Your Mouth Monday Blog Hop #185, Natural Living Monday, Tuesdays With a Twist,  Fresh Foods Wednesday and  Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop # 172.  Join us!

Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

FeaturedMorningglory_zps96ec9fee[1]

Spice, Spice Baby!

spicesonspoons

“But in truth, should I meet with gold or spices in great quantity,

I shall remain till I collect as much as possible,

and for this purpose I am proceeding solely in quest of them.”

– Christopher Columbus

Centuries ago spices were rare, exotic and extremely expensive. Luckily, today you don’t have to travel the world like Columbus in search of spices. A wide variety awaits you at farmer’s markets and grocery stores. You can even grow your own! Spices are economical, too. A little goes a long way.

And the good news is that you don’t have to be a Food Show Host or an amazing chef to “wow” your company with flavorful food.  You can spice up any dish.

Cinnamon_LisaLesperance

Cinnamon

“I really don’t think I need buns of steel.

I’d be happy with buns of cinnamon.”

– Ellen Degeneres

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) Cinnamon is the dried bark derived from either the cassia cinnamon plant, or the Ceylon cinnamon plant. Full of health benefits, it may also “decrease insulin resistance and improve blood sugar metabolism.” Cinnamon can even keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer.

Sprinkle this fragrant spice on toast or oatmeal. Stir some into coffee, tea and hot cocoa. I add a pinch to my chili and stews for deeper flavor. Mix Cinnamon into cookies, pies and cakes. Sugar and Spice makes everything nice!


Ginger_SeedyLawyer

Ginger

Ginger (Zingiber officinale) Ginger can be used fresh, powdered or dried. It is used as a spice and also for its therapeutic qualities. Ginger aids digestion, helps with nausea and is “nature’s anti-inflammatory.”

I love ginger ale and ginger tea, and even brew my own ginger beer!  I add raw ginger when juicing. It’s a great little kick to my smoothies. (Hint: keep pieces of fresh ginger in the freezer).  Add a dash of powdered ginger to your pie recipes.

I grow my own ginger. You can easily grow ginger in a container or your garden using a start from the grocery store. (Growing Ginger at Home)


Tumeric_seedylawyer

Tumeric

Turmeric  (Curcuma longa) A cousin of ginger, tumeric adds a vibrant yellow color and spice to many dishes including curries. I add turmeric to my vegetable stir fry.

Tumeric is known as one of the most powerful healers! It supports the digestive system and has many other important health benefits. “Turmeric is a liver cleanser and blood purifier, helping control cholesterol, as well as anti-inflammatory, anti-allergen, and anti-bacterial”.

I also grow turmeric at home. (How to easily grow turmeric.)


Pepper_SeedyLawyer

Pepper

Pepper (Piper nigrum)  Today, pepper is one of the most common ingredients in recipes. It’s hard to believe that pepper was once so valuable that it was used as currency.  Packed with capsaicin, pepper has tons of  health benefits.

Fennel, cumin, hot pepper and turmeric can help keep you cool during the hot summer months. For an extra zip, add cracked pepper to marinades and grilled meats. Pep it up!


nutmeg_seedylawyer

Nutmeg

Nutmeg (Myristica) Actually a seed from a tree, Nutmeg is related to mace. Once thought to ward off the plague, Nutmeg was highly valuable. A bloody war was even waged by the Dutch in the 1600’s to control Nutmeg production!

Nutmeg is used in both sweet and savory dishes. It adds a great accent to spinach and greens. Autumn is fast approaching and my mulled cider, mulled wine and eggnog recipes all call for fresh nutmeg. I keep whole nutmeg in the freezer and grate it when needed.  I love fresh nutmeg!


Paprika_SeedyLawyer

Paprika (Capsicum annum) Made from ground dried roots of the chili pepper, Paprika adds a smoked, earthy flavor to dishes. Paprika releases its flavor and color when heated, adding a deep red to stews and rice.


vanilla_seedylawyer

Vanilla

Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia) One of the world’s most fragrant and sought after spices, vanilla is harvested in pods from exotic orchids.  Vanilla has an interesting history.

Add paste from vanilla beans to homemade ice cream or a splash of vanilla extract to whipped cream. I always add vanilla when making French toast for Sunday brunch. (Make sure to use real vanilla not the imitation stuff!) Make your own vanilla extract with vanilla beans!


”This is my advice to people: Learn how to cook, try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun.”

Julia Child

Julia was right! Spice is Nice: Try experimenting with common and exotic spices. Be a bit daring in your choices. Have fun! Remember, variety is the spice of life!

I am bringing my spice cabinet over to the party at Fiesta Friday #34!

Check out my recent post on: Healthy Herbs!

What is your favorite spice?  Do you grow any spices?

Photos courtesy of MommyKnows, Wiccked, Peddhapati and Roberta

Other photos by Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

Blackberry Bourbon Blast [cocktail recipe]

blackberrysummersplash_seedylawyer

Blackberry Bourbon Blast

Like Little Red Riding Hood, I skipped along the NC mountains. Carrying my little white pail, I searched for the juiciest blackberries. The only problem was that my big brothers were in search of ME! You see, my mom sent us out every summer day to harvest the wild berries. When we returned home, we had time to play.

So of course my brothers quickly figured out a short cut: Steal their little sister’s blackberries! Oblivious to the Big Brother Bad Wolves, my pigtails and I would bounce down the mountain, happily plucking berries for Mom’s jam.

BlackberryPickingNC_seedylawyer

Picking Blackberries in NC with my brother.

But once I filled my bucket, I would be pounced on, trampled and left in a puddle of mountain mud. No, it wasn’t a black bear. Worse, it was my Brat Brothers! Defeated, I would stomp back home covered in red clay, with thorns sticking out of my pigtails. I itched all over from being tossed into Poison Ivy. Every day!

NCBlackberryRS_seedylawyer

I may have been little, but Boy, was I tough! Never a quitter, I tried outsmarting my Stealing Siblings. I took off every morning just after the rooster’s first crow. I carved out secret mountain paths and hid behind huge trees. But they would ALWAYS find me AND my blackberries! I couldn’t escape the Blackberry Thieves. So I vowed to one day grow my own blackberries!

(Fast forward a few decades) Upon my return to NC, I bought a blackberry plant at the Farmer’s Market.  I held onto my new plant like a mother cradles her newborn.

LisaatFarmersMarket_seedylawyer

Me and my Blackberry Plant at The Farmers Market.

Planting my baby blackberry bush in my garden, I smiled, and waited…

BlackberryBlossomsRS_seedylawyer

 And waited….

Blackberrieonbush_seedylawyer

Wait for it..

blackberrybushRS_Seedylawyer

Almost there…

SummerBlackberriesRS_Seedylawyer

Alas!

ripeblackberryRS_seedylawyer

My very first blackberry!

FirstBlackberryRS_Seedylawyer

Harvest time! With my hair in a braid (I outgrew pigtails a few years ago), and equipped with my little white pail, I carefully picked my juicy gems. If only my brothers could see me now! Ha!

It was the perfect Summer day, cooled by the mountain breeze with the sun spot-lighting my blackberries.  In slow motion, berry-by-perfect-berry, I proudly filled my small bucket. My lips turned purple from kissing each sweet, succulent berry.

PickingblackberriesRS_Seedylawyer

Then suddenly I heard footsteps! Fast, galloping footsteps, coming closer and closer! No way! Not again! Impossible that my Berry-thief Brothers found me! My heart stopped, I dropped my bucket and frantically turned around…

It was only my rescue Lab chasing a butterfly behind me.  Phew! I exhaled, chuckled, and celebrated MY beautiful blackberries with a well-deserved drink:

BLACKBERRY BOURBON BLAST!

My cocktail is:

Remarkably Refreshing

Tastes like Summer!

Sangria-like (You get to eat all the fruit afterwards!)

A tad spicy

Sexier than a Chris Isaak music video

Crisp and sparkling

Tickles your throat

Full of health benefits!

Earthy with bits of fresh basil

Subtly sweet from mountain honey and the sugared rim

Smooooothh!

A drink I will not be sharing with my brothers! LOL

Worthy of George Thorogood

Berri-licious! 

blackberrysplash_seedylawyer

Blackberry Bourbon Blast

Blackberry Bourbon Blast

Serves 1

Adapted from Self Magazine

Ginger Beer adds a spicy kick. Dark honey sweetens tart blackberries. Basil adds a floral and earthy flavor and texture. And the bourbon, well… Bam!

Ingredients:

6 fresh basil leaves, plus a sprig for garnish

12 fresh blackberries, divided

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 Tablespoon dark honey or pure maple syrup

¼ cup ginger beer, chilled (non-alcoholic, available in supermarkets or health food stores)

2 Tablespoons Bourbon (optional – yeah, right!)

Raw sugar for rim

Ice

Preparation:

Lightly wet the rim of a rocks glass and dip into raw sugar to coat rim. In glass, gentle muddle basil and 9 blackberries with lemon juice and honey.  Fill glass with ice.  Add bourbon, stir. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with basil and remaining blackberries. Serve immediately. Cheers!

***

blackberryandginger_seedylawyer

One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” – George Thorogood (Click on link for song)

I am bringing my concoction over to the party at Fiesta Friday #33.

Do you have Summer vacation memories? What’s your favorite Blackberry recipe?

All original Photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

“I Found My Thrill on Blueberry Hill” [recipe]

HomemadeBlueberryBread_Seedylawyer

Wild Blueberry Bread

My friend and I really ripped up Western North Carolina. We could have written our own tour book!  We hooted and hollered at the County Fair. (See: Hoedown at Haywood County Fair.)  We pretended to be culinary experts at the Asheville Wine and Food Festival and Rhubarb’s Sunday Supper. We hit the local Farmer’s Market and chomped down NC Apples at Barber’s Orchard. Then we hiked (okay, walked slowly) on The Blue Ridge Parkway….

SummerBlueRidgeParkway_seedylawyer

Summer on The Blue Ridge Parkway

And we hiked…..(a little bit slower)

photo_4

Top Of Devil’s Courthouse, Blue Ridge Parkway

Boy, did we hike!! (crawled)

photo_1 (1)

Highest Elevation, Blue Ridge Parkway

Besides burning some calories (thank goodness!!), we hit the jackpot on our winding trails:  Wild Blueberries! 

blueberriesUPick_seedylawyer

Blueberries as far as the eye can see!  Armed with our gallon ziplocks (the allowable limit) we picked…

blueberrypicking_seedylawyer

“I found my thrill on blueberry hill!

And we picked…

PickingBlueberries_Seedylawyer

Boy, did we pick!

BlueRidgeParkwaySummerBlueberries_Seedylawyer

What to do with these gorgeous plump, juicy gems? (Well, with those beautiful berries that didn’t accidentally fall into our mouths!) Something simple, yet special…Aha! Fresh-baked Wild Blueberry Bread!

closeupsliceBlueberryBread_Seedylawyer

This treat is jam-packed with two cups of fresh blueberries. Lemon and Blueberries go great together! I added both vanilla and lemon extracts to really accent the flavor of the blueberries.

My Wild Blueberry Bread is:

One Giant Blueberry Muffin!

BURSTING with blueberries!

Cake-like

Light and fluffy

Very moist

Tart AND sweet

A little lemony

Slices beautifully; not crumbly (or crummy!)

Crunchy crust yet soft inside

Smells amazing!

Berry, berry good!

BlueberryBreadLoaf_seedylawyer

BLUEberry RIDGE PARKWAY BREAD

Adapted from PBS.org

Yield: Makes 1 loaf

Ingredients

2 cups all purpose flour, plus one teaspoon

1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

2 cups fresh blueberries

2 teaspoons lemon zest

½ cup plain yogurt, regular or lowfat (I used vanilla flavored yogurt)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

½ teaspoon lemon extract

Preparation

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Spray a loaf pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place blueberries in a small baggie with 1Tablespoon of flour. Toss well to coat berries.
  3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder and salt. Add the blueberries and lemon zest and gently toss to combine being careful not to crush the blueberries.
  4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the yogurt then the dry ingredients, mixing only until incorporated, again, being careful not to crush the blueberries.
  5. Scoop batter into your prepared loaf pan and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until golden brown. (*Check with toothpick if done after one hour. My loaf was perfect after an hour.)
  6. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting gently onto a plate.

“If you want to add an extra sweet addition to this bread, you can make a simple lemon glaze for the top using a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice with enough powdered sugar to make a runny glaze. Pour the glaze over top when the bread comes out of the oven and voila!

Store the bread at room temperature covered with plastic wrap.

***

WildBlueberryBread_Seedylawyer

I’m bringing a fresh-baked loaf to the party at Fiesta Friday #32.

Do you experiment with wild berries? What’s your favorite blueberry recipe?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

Just Peachy! [Pie Recipe]

southcarolinapeaches_seedylawyer

“An apple is an excellent thing – until you have tried a peach.”

George du Maurier (1834-1896)

I’ve always wanted to have a big ole peach tree. Yet it’s too hot to grow peaches in Florida. In North Carolina, it’s too cold. But in South Carolina, it’s Peachy Keen!

Recently, I was driving down the Interstate in South Carolina, and signs were everywhere:  Fresh Peaches!  There were more Peach signs than Speed Limit signs!  I got a whiplash checking them all out. Drooling, I had to stop!

SweetPeaches_Seedylawyer

RaganOrchardsRS_seedylawyer

Ripe, sweet, juicy peaches are sure to put a Big Smile on your face.

RoadsidePeaches_Seedylawyer

Summer is peach season. Supermarket peaches (flavorless hard baseballs) don’t hold a candle to just-picked-from-the-tree peaches, like these beauties from Ragan Orchards in Inman, SC.

Peaches1-2_seedylawyer

The girl at the Ragan Orchard stand was a real peach and even set up my own taste test!  August Prince peaches (larger, yellow skin, melting yellow flesh with an acidic tang) versus O’Henry peaches (bright red and orange skin with a sweet and juicy flesh). Of course I bought both types!

OHenryAugustPrince_Seedylawyer

My first bite: As sweet as the perfect summer day.

SCpeaches_seedylawyer

I even got to check out the peach trees at the orchard!  Really cool!

PeachTreeSCRS_Seedylawyer

“I really love your peaches, I want to shake your tree.”

I was hooked! I loaded up my car with peaches like Santa packs his sleigh with presents. Like a human Pac Man, I chomped on my just-plucked gems all the way back to North Carolina. Amazingly, some peaches survived for my homemade Peach Pie. Mmmmm!

PeachPie_seedylawyer

The addition of fresh rosemary adds a touch of savory, almost buttery taste to this sweet treat. For a more intense flavor, I replaced some of the sugar with pure local honey (from the orchard). Tapioca thickens the pie and cooks up clear. Tradition holds that peach pie is lattice-topped, which adds beauty and allows some moisture to escape during baking. This summer treat is Just Peachy!

Peachpiecloseup_seedylawyer

 

Savory Peaches and Cream Pie

Adapted from Ready, Set, Dough! By Melanie Barnard

Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca

½ cup sugar

¼ cup pure honey

1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice

½ teaspoon grated lemon zest

¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon salt

3 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped

3 Tablespoons heavy or light cream

One 15-ounce package refrigerated folded Piecrusts

6 cups fresh peaches, peeled and cut into ½ inch thick slices

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.

Remove and reserve 2 teaspoons of the sugar. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the remaining sugar, honey, tapioca, lemon juice, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt, rosemary and lemon zest. Stir in the peaches and any peach juice.  Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes to soften the tapioca.

Keeping one crust refrigerated, unfold the other crust and ease it into a 9-inch deep dish pie plate. Spoon the peach mixture into the crust, spreading evenly. Dribble with 2 tablespoons of the cream.

Unfold the remaining pie crust and place onto a floured surface. Use a small, sharp knife or pizza wheel cutter to cut the crust into ½ to ¾ inch wide strips to create a lattice topping.

Brush the lattice with the remaining 1 tablespoon of cream and sprinkle with remaining reserved 2 teaspoons of sugar.

Bake the pie on the lower rack for 30 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake for 15 minutes.  Reduce the temperature to 375 degrees F. Carefully remove the pie from the oven, place a 14-inch square of foil on the middle rack, and move the pie to the center of the oven. Place the pie on the foil and bake until the juices are bubbling and the crust is golden brown, about 15 minutes more.

Cool the pie on a rack.  Then serve warm or at room temperature with ice cream or a dollop of whipped cream.

Tips:

*If available, use a variety of two peaches for a more complex flavor.

**To peel peaches, place peaches in a pan of boiling water for 30 to 45 seconds. Remove with thongs and run under cold water.  Use a small knife to loosen the skin, then slip the peel from the peaches.

***If the edges of the pie begin to darken during baking, lightly cover edges with foil to prevent burning.

***

How sweet it is! Homemade Peach Pie! Want a slice? (or two…)

SCPeachpie_seedylawyer

 

justpeachy_seedylawyer

I’m bringing a slice of my pie over to the party at Fiesta Friday #31.

Do you stop at roadside farm stands? What is your favorite Peach recipe?

All original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

 

Hoedown at Haywood County Fair

HaywoodCountyFair2_seedylawyer

“County fair, county fair,

Everybody in town’ll be there

So come on,

Hey we’re goin’ down there.”

County Fair, Bruce Springsteen

What do you get when two city slicker lawyers visit the County Fair?  A whole lot of fun! My friend and I hit the Haywood County Fair this past weekend. We loved it!

In between stuffing our faces with fair food, (Hint: eat AFTER the rides!) we cheered on the contestants in the tractor pull. “Full pull, full pull!” We never won a cake in the Cake Walk, but burned fair food calories trying. The humongous cabbage that took home the winning Blue Ribbon was bigger than my entire garden!

After impersonating Dr. Doolittle at the viewing zoo, we decided to mosey on over to the Country Hoe Down. Hee-Haw!! (I took some clogging lessons at the Stompin’ Ground during summer vacation in NC, but I have never seen such spectacular dancing as this!) (Check out the video below!)

My cotton-candy fingers kept getting stuck to the camera, but I managed to get a few snapshots of our fair adventure.

Fair Food

Candy Apples


And more food

CornDog


Kids of all ages


Old Tractors

oldtractor_seedylawyer


And modern tractors

Tractors


Prize-winning produce

CabbageHaywoodCountyFair_Seedylawyer

“The Cabbage Patch”


Viewing Zoo

ViewingZooHaywoodCountyFair_Seedylawyer

“Talk to the Animals.” – Dr. Doolittle


Hoedown: Clogging!

Clogging

(Clogging video link)

***

If a County Fair is coming to your town, be sure to go! Be there. The Fair.

Do you have fun memories of your local fair?

“In fact, my heart would break should you not take me to the fair.”

Take Me to the Fair, Camelot

 

Original Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer. All rights reserved.

 

Churn Baby, Churn! Lemongrass Ice Cream

LemonGrassIceCreamBerriesRS_seedylawyer

“Ice cream is exquisite – what a pity it isn’t illegal.” – Voltaire

Here’s The Scoop: I couldn’t sleep so I put on the TV.  There it was: the info-mercial. I swear I heard choirs of angels when they brought out this super-duper ice cream maker. With promises of doing everything just short of launching rockets, I just had to have it! So, with 3 easy payments, I bought it. A decade ago.

This “heavenly” ice cream maker should’ve enrolled for frequent flyer miles!  Still in its original box, it’s relocated with me to every new home. It’s made more road trips than a college student. My miracle machine has been around longer than any boyfriend. (Hmm..Is it legal to marry an ice cream maker?)

icecreammaker_Seedylawyer

Oh there were times I pulled out my wondrous contraption with great intentions of making delicious homemade ice cream. (Move over, Ben and Jerry!)  It never happened. Well let’s see, in the past decade…I experimented with the no-carb diet. Then Sugar Busters.  I gave up eggs.  I went vegan (loved it). I cursed dairy.  Ice cream was forbidden.  The dusty old box is shelved in my basement, along with all my diets. I pass by my forgotten ice cream maker everyday, on the way out to the garden.  I just look at it, shamefully shaking my head. Until..

I planted some lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), my friend shared with me. True to its name, lemongrass is a grass-like plant with a subtle hint of lemon, and a slight ginger taste.

lemongrassRS

Lemongrass is full of health benefits and is easy to grow. It’s a beautiful addition to my garden and even repels mosquitoes! (Hint: If you live in the north, grow lemongrass in pots and bring indoors during winter. It makes a great houseplant.)

freshlemongrass_seedylawyer

I use the lemongrass in tea, and in Thai recipes.  But this delicate herb is so special that I had to find a way to truly showcase its unique flavor…

LemongrasscutRS_seedylawyer

So, I researched. There’s Garden Betty’s (don’t you just love her?) recipe for Lemongrass-Ginger Ale. (She also explains how to propagate lemongrass from store-bought stalks.)  I then found an interesting butter cake with lemon grass drizzle from The English Kitchen. Yum! But it’s too hot to use the oven..

 Lemongrass3RS_seedylawyer

After watering my herb garden, I sat and rested on my unpacked pressure cooker. (Don’t ask!) From the corner of my eye I saw my long-lost ice cream maker. Suddenly I heard the same angels sing (voices a little cracked, from age I guess,) Alleluia! I’ll make Lemongrass ice cream!!

SpoonLemongrass_seedylawyer

This tasty treat IS absolutely heavenly!

Silky Smooth

“Like Buttah!” (Can we talk?!)

Subtly infused with lemon

Uniquely exotic

Creamier than creamy

Hint of caramel

A bit tangy

Worth waiting 10 years

scoopLemongrass_Seedylawyer

Lisa’s Lemongrass Ice Cream

Serves 8

This recipe combines the creamy sweetness of ice cream with an exotic lemongrass flavor.

Adapted from food.com 

Ingredients:

2 cups of light or regular cream

11 1/2 ounces sweetened condensed milk (about 3/4 of a 14 oz can)                                                      

4-5 stalks chopped lemongrass (bottom, white part only)

2 egg yolks (preferably organic)

Pinch sea salt

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

1. Cut off the root ends of the lemongrass stalks and remove the outer layer. Finely chop the lemongrass to obtain about 3/4 cup.

Lemongrass2RS_seedylawyer

2. Heat cream, condensed milk, salt, vanilla and lemongrass in a saucepan over medium heat until mixture steams. (Do not let the mixture boil!)

icecreamcookingRS_seedylawyer

3. Remove from heat before the mixture boils and allow to steep for at least 30 minutes, up to 1 ½ hours. (The longer the better, to infuse the lemongrass flavor.)

4. Reheat the cream mixture over medium heat until it begins to steam.

lemongrassonstoveRS_Seedylawyer

5. Whisk egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the egg yolks by pouring a small amount of the hot mixture in while whisking constantly to avoid scrambling the eggs.

6. Pour the warm egg mixture into the cream mixture. Continue to cook and stir until the mixture is able to coat the back of a spoon.

7. Strain mixture through a sieve to remove the bits of lemongrass. Refrigerate until cold.

8. Pour the chilled mixture into an ice cream maker.

Lemongrasspour_seedylawyer - Copy

9. (Churn)  Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions.

LemongrassChurn_seedylawyer

Churn, baby churn!

10. Continue freezing in machine for 20-30 minutes until ice cream reaches “soft-serve” consistency.

2LemongrassIceCream_Seedylawyer

“Soft serve consistency”

11. Transfer ice cream to a one- or two-quart lidded plastic container. Cover surface with plastic wrap and seal. For best results, ice cream should ripen in the freezer for at least 2 hours or overnight.

2ContainerIceCream_SeedyLawyer

Store in air-tight containers.

Dive in! Enjoy in a cup, cone or topped with fresh seasonal fruit.  Bon Appetit!

bowlLemongrassIceCream_seedylawyer

I’m serving my ice cream over at Fiesta Friday #30!

LemonGrassIceCreamScoop_Seedylawyer

“I scream, you scream, we all scream for Lemongrass Ice Cream!”

Do you grow lemongrass?  What are your favorite lemongrass recipes?

Original photos by Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Payaya, “Fruit of the Angels” [recipe]

tropicalsmoothies_seedylawyer

It’s getting hot in here! The kitchen was hot! My friend and I were already overheated from harvesting tons of green beans in the afternoon sun. Now we were standing over a scalding stove while canning the beans.

To cool off, I suggested a refreshing Papaya smoothie since I had picked up a beautiful, ripe Papaya at the farmer’s market. Not being familiar with Papaya, (which is different than mango), my friend watched closely as I whipped up my creation.

“You’re not going to throw the rind in there, are you?” “What are you going to do with all those seeds?” “Do you chop it up or throw the whole thing into the blender?” My friend was very curious. I chuckled. But, I guess she may not be the only one with little knowledge about this wonderful fruit.

So, here’s a little history on one of my favorite fruits, and an easy-to-follow recipe for my Tropical Papaya Smoothie.

freshpapaya_seedylawyer

Columbus called Papaya “Fruit of the Angels”

Papaya (Carica Papaya) has a high nutritive and medicinal value. This enzyme-rich fruit is full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. It is no wonder that Christopher Columbus named Papaya the “Fruit of the Angels”.


Explorers from Spain and Portugal are credited for bringing the fruit to the tropics. Soon after, Papayas grew all over the world. In Britain, papaya is known as the “pawpaw”.  In Brazil, it is the “mamoa”.  The Spanish call it papaya or “lechosa” (Venezuela). India is the world’s largest producer of papaya.

Loading papaya at the market near Manek Chowk, India.   Photo courtesy of Meena Kadri.

Loading papaya at the market near Manek Chowk, India. Photo courtesy of Meena Kadri.

 “When eating fruit, remember who planted the tree;

when drinking water, remember who dug the well.”

Vietnamese Proverb


It’s easy to grow your own papayas. Just a short time ago, my grandmother scattered some papaya seeds in her Miami Beach yard.  Look at her tree now!

 

“The entire fruit is already present in the seed.”

Tertullian, (“Founder of Western Theology”)


The Papaya tree can grow up to 20 feet!

 “Of all the wonders of nature, a tree in summer is perhaps the most remarkable; with the possible exception of a moose singing “Embraceable You” in spats.” 

Woody Allen 


Fruit grows under the leaves, on top of the tree. My friend’s tree is filled with gigantic fruit! I joked that I was coming back in the middle of the night to “harvest” the papayas! (Lucky for her, I couldn’t find a ladder high enough.)

papayatreewithfruit_seedylawyer

 “You’ve got to go out on a limb sometimes because that’s where the fruit is.” 

Will Rogers


Papayas are pear-shaped and green when raw. The fruit turns yellow when ripe.

Papayas ripening on tree. Photo courtesy of Guah.

Papayas ripening on tree. Photo courtesy of Guah.

 “There is no fruit which is not bitter before it is ripe.”

Publilius Syrus, (Roman Writer, born 85 B.C.)


With it’s beautiful sunset color, ripe Papaya is used in many mouth-watering recipesPapaya has a thick, creamy texture with a sweet, tropical hint.  Personally, I prefer mine chilled, with a little bit of fresh lime juice and a sprinkle of sea salt. Do yourself a favor and get a Papaya as soon as you can.  It’s an experience you will not soon forget.

papayaonplate_seedylawyer


Papaya is the star in my healthy, refreshing smoothie. This exotic fruit’s soft-buttery texture mixes well with other tasty tropical fruit like coconut, lime, pineapple and ripe bananas. (“You put the lime in the coconut…” I can’t get that song out of my head!)

ingredientspapayasmoothie_seedylawyer


Blend these delicious flavors together for a sweet Papaya Smoothie that will make you believe that you are in paradise. Relax with this tropical treat in your hand and your toes in the sand. (Don’t forget the suntan lotion!) Aloha!

papayasmoothie_seedylawyer

Tropical Papaya Smoothie

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 – 20 ounce can pineapple chucks in natural juice, chilled

1 – 14 ounce can coconut milk, chilled

½ of a large papaya, peeled, deseeded and diced

Juice of 1 lime

1 tablespoon peeled fresh ginger, finely chopped

2 tablespoons coconut oil

2 tablespoons agave or honey

1 ½ ripe bananas, cut into pieces (preferably frozen)

1 cup ice cubes

Raw coconut, toasted, for garnish

Preparation

Add ingredients to blender in order listed. Blend for one minute or until smooth.  Pour into your favorite exotic glass and sprinkle with toasted coconut.  Garnish with lime.  Add a tropical accent with a colorful straw and a paper umbrella. Serve immediately.

Enjoy a taste of the tropics with this Tropical Papaya Smoothie. Cheers!

***

smoothiecloseup_seedylawyer

What is your favorite papaya recipe? 

I am bringing my smoothie over to party with the folks at Fiesta Friday #28!

Photos courtesy of Guah and Meena Kadri

Original photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer.  All rights reserved.

Mango Madness: 18 Mango Facts

Miami Mangos!

Miami Mangos!

I am just “Mad About Mangos!”  I have always been intrigued by majestic mango trees and the various colors and sizes of the exotic fruit. During summer, South Florida mango trees are decorated with colorful fruit, hanging on branches like Christmas tree ornaments.

KeittMangos_Seedylawyer

Keitt Mangos decorate Miami Mango trees like Christmas ornaments.

Growing up in Miami, I enjoyed fresh mangos (Mangifera indica) from friends and neighbors. Riding my bike around our block, neighbors would overflow my bike’s pink straw basket with this sweet fruit to take home and enjoy.

“Neighborhood Mangos” photo courtesy of Piper Rothan

Once, a pit from a neighbor’s mango sprouted.  I watered and loved my little tree, but no mangos ever grew. Nothing. Nada. Although it never produced any mangos, my small mango tree sparked my love for gardening and nature.

Years later, after Law School I bought a house, with (you guessed it) a big old mango tree!  My own mango tree! I waited in anticipation as tiny mangos grew. Each year, tropical storms knocked half my mangos onto the ground, like little green golf balls.

ripeningmangos_seedylawyer

Mangos ripening.

Little did I know that hungry squirrels were also watching the mangos that remained on the tree.  Many of my ripe mangos had bite marks reminiscent of Jaws!  To make matters worse, one day lightning struck my beautiful mango tree – and split the tree in half!  Just like my mango tree, dreams of growing my own mangos were struck down.

Then my best friend moved into the “Mango Terrace” neighborhood.  However her house turned out to be the only house without a mango tree! So, now I have to get my “mango fix” from my Dad’s clients who pay with mangos (yeah, I know), or from neighborhood mango stands, and farmer’s markets.

Sunny Goldin (R) buying Tommy Atkins Mangos from Karen Ross in Pinecrest, FL

Mango Stand: Sunny Goldin (R) buys Tommy Atkins Mangos from Karen Ross

Well, I am sure you can imagine how excited I am that it’s Mango Season in South Florida!  I am just crazy about delicious mangos, adding them to my smoothies, mango bread and other recipes. Nothing beats the taste of a cold ripe mango on a hot summer day!

Loving this delightful fruit like I do, I find the history of mangos to be very interesting. Check out these Mango Facts that will be sure to make you Mad About Mangos:

18 Mango Facts:

1. Mango Mania: The world’s biggest mango weighed over 8 pounds!

2. Walk this way: In the West Indies, the expression “to go mango walk” means to steal another person’s mango fruits.

3. The Seven-year itch: The mango is a member of the Anachardiaceae family which includes poison ivy, cashews, and pistachios. (This may explain why some have an allergic reactic to the skin and sap of mangos.)

mangopinecrestI_seedyLawyer

4. It’s a Pattern:  The paisley pattern, developed in India, is based on the shape of a mango.

5. King Mango: Named the King of Fruit, mango is the most widely consumed fresh fruit in the world.

6. Monk Fruit: It is said that Buddhist monks introduced the mango to Malaysia and Asia around the 5th Century B.C.  Legend has it that Buddha meditated under the shade of a mango tree.

mangoI_seedylawyer

 7. In a pickle: When mangoes were first imported to the American colonies in the 17th century, because of lack refrigeration, they had to be pickled. The word “mango” became a verb meaning “to pickle”.

8. You’ve Got a Friend: Giving a basket of mangos in India is considered a gesture of friendship.

9. Breakfast of Champions:  Mangos contain over 20 different vitamins and minerals, helping to make them a true superfood.

mangosign_seedylawyer

10. Bag it: If you place an unripe mango in a paper bag in a cool location, it will ripen in 2 or 3 days.

11. Royal Fruit:  Southeast Asian Kings and nobles had their own mango groves. This began the custom of sending gifts of the choicest mangos.

12. Have a Coke and a Mango:Frooti” is an Indian mango drink. The Coca-Cola company started their own drink, called “Maaza” in order to compete with it.

TheLoneMango2_seedylawyer

13.  The Forever Fruit:  Mangos have been cultivated for over 6,000 years.

14. Make a wish: The mango tree plays a sacred role in India. Being the symbol of love, some believe that the Mango tree can grant wishes.

15. National Pride: The mango is the national fruit of India and the Philippines.

Fairchild Tropical Gardens Mango Festival photo courtesy of Piper Rothan

Fairchild Tropical Gardens Mango Festival photo courtesy of Piper Rothan

16. Variety is the Spice of Life: With hundreds of varieties, mangos range in color from green and yellow, to red, often tinged with purple, pink, orange-yellow, or red.

17. “I Do”: In several cultures, mango fruit and leaves are ritually used as floral decorations at weddings, public celebrations and religious ceremonies.

18. You say “Mango”, I say “Mangga”: In other parts of the world, the mango is also known as manga (Portuguese), mangga, mangot, mangou, and mangue (French).

***

However you say “Mango”, I am just crazy about this tropical fruit!  Hopefully you, too, will be Mad About Mangos!

I am sharing my “Mango Madness” with the folks over at Fiesta Friday (#26)!

Where do you find your mangos? What are your favorite Mango recipes?

Original Photos courtesy of Seedy Lawyer and Piper Rothan, my mango-eating friend

All Rights Reserved.