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recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Ingredients

Spice Mix:

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/8 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 tablespoon butter
1 sweet onion, chopped
2 cups finely shredded kale
4 (14 ounce) cans organic vegetable broth
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 tablespoon honey
4 large carrots, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 (15 ounce) can garbanzo beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1 cup dried lentils, rinsed
1 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste

1 tablespoon cornstarch (optional)
1 tablespoon water (optional)

Directions

Combine the cinnamon, cumin, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, turmeric, curry powder, and salt. This mixture can be made in advance and stored.

Melt butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until soft and lightly browned. Stir in the shredded kale and the spice mixture. Cook until kale begins to wilt and spices are fragrant.

Pour in the broth. Stir in the tomatoes, honey, carrots, sweet potatoes, potatoes, garbanzo beans, dried apricots, and lentils. Bring to boil then reduce heat to low.

Simmer stew for 30 minutes or until the vegetables and lentils are cooked and tender. Season with black pepper to taste.

To thicken, combine optional cornstarch and water. Stir it into the stew and simmer for about 5 minutes.

Yield: 6 servings

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Cool days, cooler evenings
Time for sweaters.
Chop the wood, stack it high
Get out the leathers.

Trees of yellow, orange and red
Mums in full bloom
Roses bending, lilacs sad
Skies of gloom

Chili on the stove, stew at a simmer
Aromas fill the room
Apple pie, hot cocoa sweet
Just a good time before…
Winter’s gloom

by Melody Wallace

all I want is Lemonade

To make a simple syrup, combine 1 cup of water, 1 cup of honey, and 1 cup of mint leaves, packed loosely.

Boil until honey dissolves (about 1 minute). Strain out tea leaves. Allow the mixture to cool.

Pour 1 cup of lemon juice into a pitcher. Stir in the syrup. Add water to your taste. Adjust amount of lemon juice, if necessary.

Serve over lots of ice.

Garnish with lemon slices or mint leaves.

Or a Strawberry Mint Julep.

Keep cool!

Spring Spinach and Nasturtium Salad

recipe courtesy of Beekman 1802

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 cups packed or 8 ounces washed and well-dried spinach, preferably flat leaf or baby
2 cups loosely packed nasturtium flowers and leaves (leaves torn if large)
1 cup seedless red grapes, halved lengthwise
3 flowering chives, greens thinly sliced, flowers torn
4 ounces goat feta, crumbled, optional

Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, honey, and salt until well combined. Add the spinach, nasturtium flowers and leaves, grapes, and chives and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings

Candied Flowers

recipe courtesy of About.com – Home Cooking

Ingredients:

1-2 cups of edible organic flowers
1 egg white, at room temperature (pasteurized is fine)
1 tsp water
1/2 cup superfine sugar
small paintbrush
wire drying rack or a baking rack covered with waxed paper

Directions:

In a small bowl, add the water to the egg white and whisk it gently with a fork or small whisk just until a few bubbles appear. Place the sugar in a shallow dish.

One flower at a time, gently paint each petal with the egg white mixture. Cover each petal completely with a light coating both front and back.

Hold the flower over the sugar dish and gently sprinkle on the sugar on both sides. Dust of any clumps leaving a fine even layer of sugar.

Place the flower on the drying rack or waxed paper to dry. Once the flower is dry, the petals will be stiff. Smooth out the petals now if necessary.

Allow the flowers to sit at room temperature until they are completely dry. Depending on the humidity, this can take up to 36 hours. Option: place the candied flowers in an oven with a pilot light on overnight, or in an oven set between 150-200 degrees F with the door ajar for a few hours.

Store the dried, candied flowers in airtight containers at room temperature until ready to use. They’ll keep for up to 2 weeks. Use for garnish or decorations on desserts.

Look for edible flowers in the herb section of grocery stores or at farmer’s markets. Be sure that the flower variety is edible and that no chemicals or pesticides have been used. To be safe, grow your own!

Chicken with Capsicum

recipe courtesy of Sassy Asian Party (free eCookbook by Tes of Tes at Home)

Ingredients:

300 gm (10.6 oz) boneless chicken, sliced
1 large capsicum (bell pepper), sliced into medium pieces
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 onion, sliced
2 tsp soy sauce
1 tbsp oyster sauce
1/4 tsp sugar
1 tbsp oil

Directions:

Heat oil in a large pan or wok over medium-high heat.

Add garlic and sauté until golden brown.

Add chicken and stir for several minutes.

Add soy sauce, oyster sauce and sugar.

Add ½ cup of water and cook for several minutes until the chicken is well done.

Add onion and capsicum and cook until the capsicum is lightly crunchy (about 1 minute).

Check the seasoning and serve hot!

Yield: 4 servings

Fuel for tree trimming this weekend!

Popcorn

recipe courtesy of simplyrecipes.com

Ingredients:

3 Tbsp oil of your choice (ex. olive, coconut, peanut, grapeseed)

1/3 cup of organic popcorn kernels

1 3-quart covered saucepan

Butter to taste

Directions:

Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan on medium high heat. Add salt.

Put 3 or 4 popcorn kernels into the oil and cover the pan.

When the kernels pop, add the remainder of the popcorn kernels in an even layer. Cover and remove from heat for 30 seconds.  This method heats the oil to the correct temperature and by waiting 30 seconds, brings all of the other kernels to a near-popping temperature so that when they are put back on the heat, they all pop at about the same time.

Return the pan to the heat.  Once the popping starts, move the pan back and forth over the burner keeping the lid slightly ajar to release the steam. Once the popping slows to several seconds between pops, remove the pan from the heat, remove the lid, and dump the popcorn immediately into a wide bowl.

Yield: 2 quarts

for Buttered Popcorn

Melt the butter in the now empty, but hot pan.

for Seasoned Popcorn

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, nutritional yeast, tabasco sauce, curry powder, ground cumin . . . it’s your choice!

for Caramel Popcorn

recipe courtesy of allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 cup butter

2 cups brown sugar

1/2 cup corn syrup

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 quarts popped popcorn

Directions:

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F (95 degrees C). Place popcorn in a very large bowl.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Stir in the brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly and then boil without stirring for 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the baking soda and vanilla. Pour in a thin stream over popcorn, stirring to coat.

Eat it this way

or bake it.

Place the mixture in two large shallow baking dishes and bake in the preheated oven for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes.

Remove from oven and allow it to cool before breaking it into pieces.

Hot Mulled Cider

recipe courtesy of Cooking for Engineers

Ingredients:

1 quart filtered apple cider or juice

1 cinnamon stick (+ extra for garnish)

20 whole black peppercorns

3 whole cloves

1-2 tablespoons brown sugar

zest of 1/2 small lemon

Directions:

In a saucepan large enough to contain all of the apple juice, toast the cinnamon, peppercorns, and cloves over medium heat for 1-2 minutes. Toss to prevent scorching.

Add the apple juice and bring to a simmer. Once the juice is warm enough, stir in the brown sugar so that it fully dissolves.

Stir in the lemon zest and maintain a constant simmer for 30 minutes.

Pour the mixture through a strainer, cheesecloth, or coffee filter to remove any spice particles.

Garnish with a cinnamon stick or a lemon slice.

Serve hot!

Yield: 4 cups

Fresh Cranberry Compote

recipe courtesy of foodnetwork.com

Ingredients

1/2 pound fresh cranberries

1 tablespoon grated orange zest

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/4 cup fresh orange juice

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cups water

3 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

Put the cranberries, orange and lemon zest, orange and lemon juice, sugar, vanilla, and 1 1/2 cups of the water in a medium-size nonreactive saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil and cook for 8 minutes.

Dissolve the cornstarch in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and add to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium, then stir constantly until the mixture thickens, about 2 minutes.

Remove from the heat and cool completely.

Yield: 2 cups

Thanksgiving thought for today

The more we express our gratitude to God for our blessings, the more he will bring to our mind other blessings. The more we are aware of to be grateful for, the happier we become. – Ezra Taft Benson

Excite your sense of smell by bringing a bit autumn inside.

5-10 cinnamon sticks
1 heaping tbsp whole cloves
2-3 bay leaves
1/2 sliced lemon
1/2 sliced orange

Put all ingredients in a pot of water on your stove and simmer over low heat. Be sure that the water neither boils over nor cooks out completely.

Enjoy!

from onesoblessed.com

Caramelized Sweet Potato, Garlic, and Rosemary Macaroni and Cheese

Recipe courtesy of Angie Phillips

Ingredients:

10 cloves garlic

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices on the diagonal

2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

8 ounces cavatappi pasta (or whichever variety you prefer)

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

4 tablespoons flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

3 cups half-and-half

2 cups blended, shredded Mozzarella, Parmesan & Smoked Provolone cheese

3/4 cups Asiago cheese, shredded

1 1/2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves, finely chopped (or if using dried herbs, remember 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary = 1 teaspoon dried)

2 cloves garlic, finely minced

1/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs from rustic Italian bread

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a 2-quart baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes; remove cloves and place in ice water. When cloves have cooled, use a garlic press to press blanched cloves; set aside.

Bring water back to a boil and add sweet potato slices and cook 5 minutes or until tender; drain. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat; add sweet potatoes and cook, flipping occasionally, until they develop a caramelized crust (about 5 minutes). Dice sweet potatoes. Set aside.

Meanwhile, bring another large saucepan of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until al dente. Drain.

In a large pot over low heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir to combine. Cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Increase heat to medium, add in salt and pepper, and, with a wire whisk, gradually add half-and-half. Bring to a boil while continuously stirring. Reduce heat, and then simmer 1 minute. Stir 1 3/4 cup of the blended cheese and 1/2 cup of the Asiago cheese until melted and smooth. Add blanched pressed garlic, diced sweet potatoes, rosemary, minced garlic, and cooked pasta. Stir to combine. Pour into greased casserole dish.

To make topping, combine remaining tablespoon olive oil, breadcrumbs, and the remaining blended and Asiago cheese in a small mixing bowl. Stir until well combined. Sprinkle on top of pasta.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and topping golden brown. Serve.

Yield: 8 servings