Canned Chocolate Mint Syrup

Note to self- When the nice man at the farmer’s market tells you that mint is invasive, pay closer attention. Mint has exploded all over my yard. While I love mint tea, I’m having a hard time keeping up. So it’s time to get creative. Hello chocolate mint syrup! It’s good in my morning coffee, over vanilla ice cream and in my tea.

theveganfarmer.com mintsyrupWhat You’ll Need

2 C chocolate mint leaves (or mint you prefer)

5 C water

4 C sugar

2 TBSP lemon juice

 

Rinse the mint leaves, add the water, and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. While they’re simmering, sterilize your jars, lids, and bands. I used 3 pint jars. Strain the leaves, add the lemon juice, and bring it back to a boil. Add the sugar and stir until dissolved, about one minute. Fill the pint jars, leaving 1/4 inch at the top. Add the lid and band and twist until just on. Process the syrup in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Very carefully pull the jars out with canning tongs and let cool. You should hear a pop. This is the lid sealing. You now have delicious mint syrup. Enjoy!

theveganfarmer.com mintsyrup3

Crispy Gnocchi and Brussels Sprouts

theveganfarmer.com crispygnocchibrusselssproutsThis is one of those recipes that came together as a result of needing to cook things up before they went bad. Brussels sprouts are a relatively new food for me. I discovered over the fall that I really like them.  This recipe is quick, delicious, and satisfying.

What You’ll Need

1 small package gnocchi

1 small bag Brussels sprouts

1 TBSP minced garlic

2.5 TBSP Earth Balance butter

1 TSP onion powder

juice from 1/2 lemon

salt and pepper to taste

Parmesan cheese – I use Go Veggie! brand.

Tear off the dark green leaves from the sprouts. Cook the gnocchi. Save about 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Melt the Earth Balance butter in a pan and add the gnocchi to crisp it up a bit. This should only take about 2 minutes. Add the minced garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Now add the Brussels sprout leaves, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, and 1/4 cup cooking water. Stir until combined and cook another minute or so. Put it on a plate or eat it straight from the pan. I won’t judge. Enjoy!

Vegan Chickpea Stir fry

theveganfarmer.com chickpeastirfryThis easy recipe literally comes together in 5 minutes.

What You’ll Need

rice

corn

peas

carrots

bell peppers

1 can chickpeas

Liquid Bragg’s- to taste

I totally cheated and used a bag of steamable rice with corn, peas, and carrots.  I chopped up some frozen bell peppers and added them to about a tablespoon of heated olive oil in a pan.  Once they were heated, I threw in the steamed rice mix, the drained and rinsed can of chickpeas, and Liquid Bragg’s to taste.  I stirred to mix it all up, threw it in a bowl and had a yummy, quick, and protein packed dinner.  Enjoy!

Roasted Broccoli

IMG_8399I know, it’s been done before.  But here’s the thing.  I hate broccoli.  I hate everything about it- that it looks like little trees (decepticons!), the smell, the taste.  Since it’s sorta the super food of all super food, I’ve been working on finding a way to like it.  And I think I’ve finally found my recipe. It’s garlicky.  It’s cheese-y.  Dare I say it’s delicious? I dare.

 

What You’ll Need:

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lots of broccoli florets

2 TBSP olive oil

2 TBSP nutritional yeast

1 TBSP minced garlic

salt and pepper

 

Gently coat the broccoli in olive oil and mix in all other ingredients.  Pour onto a baking sheet and roast on 425 for 20-25 minutes.

broccoli

If you have enough self control, put it on a plate and eat it.  I’m not ashamed to say it- I ate it all straight from the pan.  Enjoy!

 

 

Apple Raisin Chia Jam

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I think I’ve mentioned before I hate to waste food.  We had a few apples lying around that would’ve ended up in the compost pile in a couple days if I didn’t come up with a way to use them.  I decided I needed some apple jam in my life.  This recipe is easy, quick and tastes great in oatmeal, parfaits or toast.  I won’t lie.  I’ve been eating it straight from the bowl.  Here’s what you’ll need-

 

2 apples, peeled and chopped (I used granny smith)

1 TBSP agave syrup

3/4 C white grape juice

1 TBSP golden raisins

2 TBSP chia seeds

pinch of cinnamon

Throw all your ingredients in a pot and bring to a quick boil.  Cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.  Once it’s soft, mash about half the jam.  Unless you like smooth jam then feel free to mash it all. This lasted about 2 days. We couldn’t resist a spoonful each time we opened the fridge.

Vegan Fig Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing

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I heart figs. In a big way. I eat them straight from the tree, candied, and turn them into fig butter. We have these massive fig trees in our yard we planted a few years ago. They produce more fruit than we and the birds can consume in a season.  Here we are barreling toward another season and I still have a few jars of candied figs left from last season. To appease my raging sweet tooth, I decided to puree a jar and bake them into cupcakes. Boy am I glad I did! These are more delicious than I dreamed.  And the secret ingredient cardamom left the house smelling divine.  Bonus, they came together quickly.

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Homemade Lavender Deodorant

My bathroom cabinet currently contains four half used natural deodorants.  I had high hopes for each one.  In the end, they all let me down.  I’ve been trying for years now to stop using conventional deodorants.  They are chock full of toxic chemicals (aluminum, parabens) that cause anything from Alzheimer’s to breast cancer.   I’m not comfortable with this.  So I scoured the interwebs for a natural, cheap homemade option.  I took that knowledge, mashed up a few ingredients I already had in my cabinet and voila! A natural, cheap, EFFECTIVE deodorant was born.

What You’ll Need-

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2 TBSP baking soda

6 TBSP arrowroot (or cornstarch)

2 TBSP coconut oil, melted

10 ish drops essential oil of choice- I used lavender for this batch.

In a bowl combine all ingredients.  Mash into an empty deodorant container or leave it in a small jar.  Let it set a day or so to firm up.  Apply to underarms, let it soak in and go about your business.

Coconut oil liquifies at 76 degrees so I’ll generally use this recipe until the heat of summer hits.  Once it does, I’ll make another batch and add a little beeswax to keep it firm.  You could leave out this step and store the deodorant in the fridge.

There are a few things to keep in mind when transitioning to a natural deodorant.  One, it won’t keep you from sweating.  Sweating is what helps your body rid itself of toxins.  Embrace it.  You won’t smell.  This was a tough one for me as I absolutely hate to sweat.  I think I’d hate to have cancer more, though. Two, your body will go through an adjustment period (usually a week or so) now that your glands are no longer being blocked.  I urge you to wait it out.  Your body will thank you.

Strawberry Chia Pudding

I know, I know.  Chia’s all the rage these days, but you guyyyyysssss, I seriously can’t stop eating this stuff. And Emme likes it too. Win!

Chia’s full of awesome stuff-fiber, omega fatty acids, calcium, antioxidants and much more – even protein! You may be put off by the texture, but I urge you to give it another try.  Play around with how much Chia you use and what you’re mixing it in.  Sometimes I just toss some Chia into juice, cereal or on top of oatmeal. I’ll bake it into bread as well. This little seed packs a big nutritional punch.

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What I Threw Together For Dinner

Some of my best recipes are born from throwing together ingredients that are about to expire.  It seems wrong to call this mac and cheese but that’s probably what it most closely resembles. I didn’t take any photos because there was just no way to make this dish pretty.  But it sure was tasty.  And toddler approved. And that’s all that matters.

Here’s what I had on hand with approximate measurements:

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Sweet Veggie Pancakes

Although Emme is a pretty healthy eater, I still like to add more fruits and veggies in wherever I can.  After all, she is a toddler and subject to picky eating from time to time. Enter the veggie pancake. She thinks she’s getting a special treat.  I’m excited she’s consuming more goodness to help her grow strong. After this weekend of too much pizza and juice, its exactly what we needed to start our Monday.

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