Carrie Fehr

Kitchen Garden Food, Fitness and Lifestyle

Lemon Energy Treats

Lemon "Energy" TreatWhile “better-for-you” energy bars are part of an on-the-go lifestyle, most are hiding a hefty (and expensive) amount of sugar, oil, and calories.  It is no surprise that obesity rates have increased in a society when meals are a rare occurrence in a busy schedule.

The healthiest nutrition bars do not contain added sugar and are full of ingredients that provide slow sustaining fuel, with whole foods such as nuts, seeds and fruits.  A homemade version is even healthier than almost any energy bar that you can buy in a store, and is incredibly simple to throw together, for a fraction of the cost.

Lemon “energy” treats are primarily dates, sesame seeds, and almonds, and are generously flavored with fresh lemon juice, that add a bit of zing to compliment a blanket of snowy white unsweetened coconut.  The later gives this energy treat its pronounced taste that pairs well with the floral-scented lemon.

The inside of this lemony treat is soft and slightly sweet, thanks to the flecks of creamy dates.  Dates not only replenish energy and revitalize the body instantly, but also contain the right amount of sugar to bring glucose levels up. It is no wonder that Muslims break their daylong Ramadan fast with this nourishing fruit.

The very best energy boost ultimately comes from healthy living.  People who eat real foods, (not processed) drink ample water, and exercise daily will have plenty of energy, the natural way.

Lemon “Energy” Treats

Lemon “energy” treats come from a Whole Foods Recipe that I tweaked, just slightly. I substituted toasted almonds for walnuts, and then added a couple of tablespoons of water to the mixture, using a blender to purée it, instead of a food processor.  A small-sized ice cream scoop is handy to portion these energy treats into even 2 “ round shapes. Oh, and one more thing, these raw energy delights are gluten-free and vegan-friendly.

Adapted from Whole Foods

Ingredients:

1 cup chopped pitted dates, (I used Medjool dates)

1 cup toasted almonds

1 cup toasted sesame seeds

1/4 cup lemon juice

1 lemon, zest

1-2 tablespoons water

1/2 cup unsweetened dried coconut flakes

Directions:

Place dates, almonds, sesame seeds, lemon juice, zest and water in a food processor or blender and mix until creamy. If using a blender place 1/2 of the mixture into the blender and mix until creamy and repeat with the other half. The mixture will be slightly sticky.

Using a small ice cream scoop, drop mixture in coconut and roll into a ball shape.  Chill until ready to serve. Makes 2 dozen 2” sized balls.

The Present Moment: Juicing

Juicing

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness. If you are attentive, you will see it. (21)”― Thich Nhat Hanh, Peace Is Every Step: The Path of Mindfulness in Everyday Life.

Sometimes, there are unimaginable moments in life, when being present with the truth feels overwhelming and out of our reach. A devastating heartbreak, the sudden death of a friend, or loss of a job can leave us feeling vulnerable and lost.

Our body is a powerful communicator and will intuitively discern how to navigate these unexpected challenges in life, cycling through various states of mind.  Have patience and trust in it.

Practicing mindful breathing will help to calm your body and gently redirect awareness back into the present moment.  Setting an intention will allow a deeper connection to the inner beauty that exists within.  Hold it, and savor this gift.

Embracing your strength and courage to stay in the present will unfold an infinite treasure like a flower petal blooming.  If you focus your attention in the moment, you will be totally present.

Juicing is a lovely practice of mindfulness that not only results in a masterpiece of color, flavor, and imagination, but will reward you with a healthy blast of energy to enjoy in the stillness of the moment “tout seul,” or in the company of a friend.

Have you ever felt lost? What did you do to find your way back to your center?  I’d love to hear what helped you the most?

Carrot-Beet Juice

Carrot-Beet Juice

Ingredients:

6 carrots

1 beetroot, golden or purple

Directions:

Cut the carrots into 3 inch pieces.  Cut the beet into narrow chunks.  Process the vegetables in the juicer. Makes about 8 ounces.

Carrot Almond Torte

Carrot Almond TorteSpring is in the air, and I head to my kitchen filled with thoughts of love.

Perhaps it’s the romantic long-stemmed French tulips of spring, or the seductive perfume of the season’s first strawberries that enliven my senses, or the allure of purple-tinged carrots piled high, dangling under the canopies at the farmers’ market that look like a still-life painting.

The lightness of spring gives way to the glamour of nature around its passion for love.

In the kitchen, we infuse this passion of love into our recipes.  It could be a dessert, or a dish that will become a family favorite, or a romantic meal shared with loved ones around the table.

A lively bunch of carrots, mixed with a few ordinary ingredients will turn out a gorgeous Carrot Almond Torte that is truly spectacular.  You’ll fall in love with it!  Don’t even get me started. Trust me.

Made with tender sweet carrots, coconut, and almonds–it’s so rich and moist, it’s hard to believe it has no butter, and is gluten-free.  If you want, drop a dollop of crème Chantilly on it.  A thin layer of cream cheese icing would not be such a bad thing either, though personally, I like it au naturel.

It’s a perfect dessert for Passover, or afternoon tea, and if there is any leftover in the morning, it’s ok to indulge in a slice for breakfast.

In the spirit of love.

Carrot Almond Torte

Ingredients:

4 large eggs, separated and at room temperature

¾ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon almond extract

2 cups carrots, peeled and grated

1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 ½ cups ground almonds

1/2 cup coconut

9-inch springform pan with sides buttered.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees with a rack in the middle.

Mix together the egg yolks, 3/4 cup of sugar, orange zest, salt, and almond extract. Sprinkle the grated carrots into the bowl, but don’t mix them in.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, combine the egg whites and cream of tartar. Beat on medium until the whites hold a soft shape. Gradually sprinkle in the reserved two tablespoons of sugar, beating at high speed until the egg whites are stiff.

Scrape one quarter of the egg whites on top of the carrots and batter. Using a rubber spatula fold the whites and carrots into the batter. Scrape the remaining egg whites into the bowl and pour the ground almonds and coconut over them. Fold the egg whites, almonds, and coconut into the batter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes until the torte is golden brown.  Cool the torte in the pan, on a rack.

Beet Ketchup

Beets and ketchup may seem like an unlikely pair, but this intriguing sweet and tangy flavor combination, will truly make your taste buds come alive. If you’re a newcomer to beetroot, it’s a wonderful way to introduce this vegetable, that is by no means fancy, and is often misunderstood.

Bright and zesty with a hint of spice, this home-made ketchup is great slathered on any sandwich, over a side of sweet potato fries, and is a fantastic barbecue sauce for grilling.  Serve, as a dip for spring rolls, or over eggs—the possibilities are endless.

How do you prepare beets?  Do you have a creative way that encourages children to taste them?  I would love to hear your story.

To find out how students in the cooking classroom explore beets, click here.

Beet Ketchup

Beet Ketchup with Sweet Potato Fries

Ingredients:

3 medium-sized beets, diced

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 cup honey

1 ¾ cups balsamic vinegar

2 cloves

1 cinnamon stick

¼ tsp powdered mustard

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan, and bring to a boil over high heat; then reduce heat to a simmer.  Simmer until liquid reduces by half, about 1 hour.

Remove spices and place ketchup into a blender and purée until smooth.  The consistency will be thick, smooth, and shiny.

Soft Glazed Gingerbread

Springerle IMG_0079A classic glazed gingerbread with a peppery kick!  This hand-pressed cookie, formed from a traditional Springerle wood mold, rivals an artisan ceramic tile. An absolute work of art, it is truly a spice lover’s favorite that will steal the show at any holiday treat table.

Springerle

Soft Glazed Gingerbread Cookies

Adapted from Elisabeth Prueitt’s Tartine cookbook.  Springerle cookie molds can be purchased from House on the Hill.

Ingredients:

3 ¾ cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 tablespoon ground ginger

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon allspice

½ teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

¾ teaspoon white pepper

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

¾ cup + 2 tablespoons sugar

1 egg

½ cup molasses

2 tablespoons rice syrup

Glaze:

Mix ½ cup confectioners sugar with 1 tablespoon water until smooth.

Directions:

In a large bowl, mix together flour, cocoa powder, ginger, allspice, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, and white pepper.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix butter until creamy.  Add sugar and mix until completely incorporated.  Add egg and mix well.  Add the molasses, rice syrup and then mix until combined.  Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat together until fully incorporated.

Remove dough and flatten it into a rectangle about 1 inch thick.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate over night.

Springerle dough

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

Place dough on a floured work surface.  Using a rolling pin roll out the dough about 1/3 inch thick, then lightly dust with flour.  Using a cookie mold, press over the dough and trim the edges using a knife.

Springerle tiles

Set the cookie shape on the prepared baking sheet leaving about a 1-inch space between each one.  Bake 7-12 minutes, remove from baking pan and set on a cooling rack.  While still warm, brush the glaze over the cookies with a pastry brush.  Makes 12 cookies, (3 by 3 inch size)

Mixed Green Salad with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Manchego Cheese

I look forward to the arrival of persimmons in the late fall when they are at peak of the season.  This highly prized fruit has a unique sweetness that adds a wonderful flavor to salads, fresh salsas, or baked goods, such as puddings or breads.

Persimmons are beautiful trees with dark green leaves, enlivened by bright pumpkin-colored fruit on twisty branches.  Even as the tree loses its leaves in the early winter, the fruit will ripen and dangle on a stem like a piece of jewelry, attracting flocks of shiny black crows that gather together for a holiday feast.  It is picturesque, yet, somewhat odd and eerie, like something from an Edgar Allen Poe story.

When it comes to flavor and texture, the two most common varieties of persimmons, Fuyu and Hachiya, are polar opposites.  Fuyu persimmons have a tomato-like shape and are firm like an apple,  where as the deep reddish-orange Hachiya turns a translucent soft consistency when ripe.

A brightly colored salad of Fuyu persimmons, pomegranates, and mixed greens, with shaved Manchego cheese, accented by toasted pepitas, in olive oil vinaigrette— is one that I could eat everyday.  It is a great beginning to any meal and will surely dazzle your guests at the holiday table.

Mixed Greens with Persimmon, Pomegranate and Manchego Cheese

Ingredients:

4 to 5 handfuls of mixed greens such as frisee, radicchio, arugula, mizuna, escarole

2 large Fuyu persimmons, thinly sliced

2 ounces Manchego cheese, shaved

¼ cup toasted pepitas

¼ cup pomegranate seeds

Fresh ground pepper to taste

Vinaigrette

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon grainy mustard

3 tablespoons olive oil

Directions:

In a large salad bowl, combine mixed greens, persimmons, Manchego cheese, toasted pepitas, and pomegranate seeds.  Drizzle vinaigrette over the salad and toss until lightly coated.  Add fresh ground pepper to taste.  Serves 4.

Vinaigrette

In a small bowl add vinegar and salt until salt dissolves, then whisk in mustard.  Slowly whisk in olive oil until emulsified.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Preserved Lemon 1

Preserved lemons add a bright fragrant flavor to a variety of dishes that are common in Moroccan or North African cuisine. With just two ingredients, they take no time to prepare, store almost indefinitely, and are economical, especially if blessed with a neighborhood lemon tree.

There are endless ways to enjoy preserved lemons. They can be chopped and added to vinaigrettes, salads, or salsas, or pureed in aioli, as a spread for sandwiches. I like to pair diced preserved lemons with a little goat cheese or fresh ricotta, and slather it on crostini, topped with toasted pistachios.

Homemade preserved lemons also make great gifts for friends, not to mention look stunning on the kitchen counter.

Moroccan Preserved Lemons

Ingredients:

3-4 Organic Meyer lemons, cleaned with both ends trimmed

¼ cup Kosher salt

Pint-sized Mason jar

Directions:

Put a teaspoon of salt in the bottom of pint-sized mason jar.

Quarter lemons leaving ends attached.

Sprinkle salt on the inside of the quartered lemon.

Place the lemon into the Mason jar, open end down. Press down to release its juices.

Sprinkle salt over the top of the lemon.

Repeat the process until the Mason jar is filled with lemons.

If necessary, squeeze more lemon juice over the lemons to cover. Close the Mason jar.

Leave for several days. Open up the Mason jar and press lemons down. Close it and leave in a cool place for 30 days.  Before using, remove the pulp and rinse under cold water to remove the salt. Store in the refrigerator.

 

Yoga in Costa Rica

Dancer In Costa RicaPracticing Dancer Pose at the Nicoya Peninsula, a Latin American Blue Zone in Costa Rica.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Chia 2 photoNeed a little breakfast inspiration? Throw together some chia seeds and coconut milk. Add a swirl of honey and voilà— you have a great start to the day.  These magic little seeds are nutritional superstars loaded with omega 3’s and protein that make this creamy pudding ideal as a pre or post workout snack.  A crown of summer berries or any other seasonal fruit is delicious on top of this cloud of chia seeds.  I enjoy it as a morning, noon, or evening treat.  And I’m certainly not above mid-morning or mid-afternoon too.

Coconut Chia Pudding

Ingredients:
2 cups coconut milk
1/3 cup chia seeds
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon vanilla (optional)

Directions:

In a medium-sized bowl stir ingredients together.

Set aside in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours or overnight until the seeds puff and expand.  

Serve with your favorite fruit, nuts or seeds.

Lemon Olive Oil Madeleines

ImageWhen Marcel Proust dipped his madeleine into his cup of tea, a powerful memory from his childhood emerged that led him to write the classic novel, “Remembrance of Things Past. “ Imagine such a table from nostalgic past, set for afternoon tea, bursting with memories, sparked by the delicate flavor of this simple yet elegant, shell-shaped cake.

Lemon Olive Oil Madeleines

Ingredients:

2 eggs

2/3 cup sugar

¼ teaspoon salt

1 cup flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

½ cup olive oil

Zest of lemon

½ teaspoon vanilla

Glaze:

3-4 tablespoons powdered sugar

½ lemon, juiced

Directions:

Lightly coat the madeleine mold with olive oil.  Preheat oven to 350°

In a bowl of an electric mixer, whip eggs, sugar, and salt until thicken, about 5 minutes.

Sift in the flour and baking powder.  Use a large spatula to gently fold in the flour, do not over mix.

Drizzle the olive oil into the batter and mix to incorporate.  Add the vanilla and lemon zest.

Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour.  Make the glaze in a small bowl by stirring together the powdered sugar and lemon juice.  Mix until smooth and creamy.

Scoop batter into madeleine mold, filling 2/3 full.  Bake for 10 minutes and unmold on a cooling rack.  While still warm, brush glaze on scalloped side.  Cool and serve with tea.