Saturday, December 28, 2013

Say Happy New Year with Sparkling Pomegranate, Lime & Ginger Spritzer (non-alcoholic)

Saying goodbye to 2013 has been as much a relief as a fond remembering (or at least mostly fond). I'm excited for 2014, my new goals, and what is to come. And when I get excited, I write a recipe - maybe I'll just start calling myself a recipe poet.
Today's recipe comes as a perfectly tart and sweet sparkling beverage (also non-alcoholic) that makes me want to ring in the New Year with boisterous glee!

So Cheers to 2014! May it bless all of you sweet readers!
Sparkling Pomegranate, Lime & Ginger Spritzer (non-alcoholic)
2 bottle Reed's Extra-Ginger ginger ale
1 32 oz Sparkling Lime Water
Juice of 3-4 Limes
Seeds from 1 Pomegranate
Combine all ingredients in to pitcher or punch bowl.
For sugary ginger rims on glasses.
Dip glasses first into soda and then into three parts raw cane sugar and one part dried ground ginger.
Question of the Day:
What New Year's Resolution(s) will you be making this year? And do you have any encouraging words for the rest of the sweet readers? I'm interested in hearing your new goals!
For Sweet Roots, I'd like to:
1. Gain 1,000,000 pageviews for my blog.
2. Write and photograph one recipe a week. Post every other week at minimum.
3. Finish compiling recipes into a personal cookbook.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Merry Christmas to all my sweet readers!

Merry Christmas to all of you wonderful people!

And a BIG thank you for reading Sweet Roots!

Here is a Christmas round-up post in case you need last minute gift ideas or brunch and so on. I know we will be having the raspberry scones (link below) on Christmas day!

If you are looking for some last minute gift ideas, try these:

 Merry Christmas Tea                  Aloe Vera Cleanser
 Scented Bookmarks                       2 Ingredient Lotion Bars

And need help planning the Christmas menu? Here are some ideas.

For Brunch:

 Baked Blueberry Oatmeal               Chai Spiced Banana Cake
Autumn Fruit Salad                          Raspberry Scones 
Chocolate Chip Breakfast Rug                           Rustic Pear Tart 


 Curried Cinnamon Almonds                           Vegan Quesadillas


 Apple Radish Slaw                    Marsmallow Root Yams


 Pumpkin Chai Latte                 Coconut Chai Latte

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

*Mostly Raw* Rasperry Lemon Cheesecake Parfaits with Gingersnap Crumbles (Dairy-free, Vegan and Gluten Free) and a Belated Second Blogiversary

During the first summer of Witty Husband and I's marriage, we invited friends over for steak gorgonzola and cheesecake (I consumed dairy then but understood little of how it affected me). I loved to bake and cook growing up but the mysterious knowledge of cooking any sort of meat eluded me meaning I overcooked the steak. In fact, I knew so very little that I actually cooked steak like chicken. It was appalling! I'm appalled now remembering it. Think tough, chewy cardboard several inches thick. Exactly what you want to serve your new couple friends and handsome husband.

Thankfully, there was redemption in the form of two cheesecakes - raspberry lemon with gingersnap crust and cookies and cream with a chocolate cookie crust. Witty Husband's favorite was the latter but mine most definitely was the former, a pillowy heaven of lemons swirled with raspberries and spicy, crunchy, sweet crust. What more could one ask for?

I am glad to say that we are still friends with that couple and I'm still married. Whether it was the deliciousness of my cheesecakes or the beautiful allure of my personality, I am not sure. Although I'm betting on the cheesecakes. And if I could wink at you through this blog post, I most certainly would.

So for this year's belated blogiversary (did you know Sweet Roots is now two years old?), I'm posting dairy-free, gluten-free and mostly raw (which sounds smoother and more eloquent than "no-bake") raspberry lemon cheesecake parfait with gingersnap crumbles.

Raspberry Lemon Cheesecake
1 cup cashews
1 15oz  can coconut crème
1 1/2 cup frozen raspberries or fresh
Juice and Zest of 1 large organic Lemon (or two smaller)
1/4 cup raw honey (agave works just as well for vegan alternative)
2 tsp vanilla extract (preferably alcohol free)

"Gingersnap" Crumble
1 cup dates
1 cup oats
1 cup almonds
1 inch piece of ginger, diced
2 TB coconut oil

2 cups fresh or thawed frozen raspberries, to serve

1. In a high speed blender, blend the ingredients for the cheesecake until completely incorporated. Will form a smooth pudding. This can be used now but it is best refridgerated overnight so it can thicken.
2. In a food processor or high speed blender, pulse the ingredients for gingersnap crumble until crumble cookie texture is achieved.
3. Layer gingersnap crumble, dairy-free cheesecake, and raspberries to make a beautiful parfait.

This can alternatively be made into cheesecake bars by pressing the crumble into 9x13 inch pan and layering with the cheesecake. This must be refridgerated at least 8 hours to thicken.

And on another note, Happy Belated Blogiversary to Sweet Roots! And a very Merry Christmas to you all sweet readers. And just between you and me, there will be a giveaway after the holidays....

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cranberry Lentil Salad with Dill & Toasted Walnuts

{Pin it}

This combination of flavors and textures popped into my head one day when I was thinking of a way to make a lentil salad but also wanting to use Dill. For years, I've enjoyed cold lentils with a squeeze of lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Just the way my Uncle Gerardo made it for family when we journeyed to Spain to visit my sister.

It's scientifically proven that scent builds strong pathways to memories. I argue food is the second strongest. Food sets the mood. The smells. The experience. The previously mentioned cold lentil salad made its way into my cooking repertoire, not because it was super fancy, but because it was super simple and tasty. And because of the strong correlation I had between it and some very relaxing and fun moments in Spain. I wanted something to brighten the recipe, make it a little more fancy with unique flavors and this was born. This salad is a wonderful combination of both taste - tart, savory, herby bright, nutty and texture - crunchy walnuts, popping cranberries and soft and chewy lentils.

And I thought it's either going to be really good or really weird.

But I liked it. My neighbor liked it. My sister enjoyed it. Just like the sweet potato fennel soup, she even called asking for the recipe and made it twice within the following week.


Dill is a bright and flavorful herb. It's normally seen baked on fish, stirred into cold potato salad (I guess lentil salad doesn't seem as strange now), and used as pickle seasoning. This herb helps to relieve gas, lack of appetite, and headaches. In Ancient Greece, athletes made an infused oil with dill and rubbed it all over their body to help tone muscles. Quite intriguing, indeed.

Although I'm not going to tell you to rub dill all over your body like some Ancient Greek athletes, I will encourage you to make this salad. Fresh dill is imperative to the salad's flavor. It's tasty with dried dill but FRESH is where the Wow factor steps in. Also leave the fresh cranberries whole. They will soften in the pan a bit and then pop in your mouth when consumed.


For a non-vegetarian side dish add cooked and crumbled breakfast sausage. Otherwise the recipe is vegan, dairy-free, gluten-free and can be nut-free if walnuts are omitted.

Cranberry Lentil Salad with Dill & Toasted Walnuts
1 cup lentils, small green
1 cup shredded frozen carrots *
1 1/2 cup fresh cranberries, whole
1/4 cup dried cranberries, chopped
bunch of fresh dill
1 cup toasted walnuts**
2 cups broth, sodium free (or use water and add Rapunzel vegetable bouillon with herbs to pot after lentils are cooked)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Lemon, for serving

1. Soak lentils in hot water for at least four hours (or overnight).
2. Add lentils, frozen grated carrot, and water (or broth if using) to pot. Boil then simmer for 20 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, chop dried cranberries, fresh dill, and toasted walnuts.
4. Once lentils are cooked, add bouillon (if using instead of liquid broth), whole fresh cranberries, and dried cranberries. Cover and let sit on medium-low heat for 3-5 minutes. This is will soften cranberries (which will pop in your mouth!).
5. Plate 3-4 servings. Add toasted walnuts, fresh dill, and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice.

Serve hot or cold! And more importantly - Enjoy!

*If using freshly grated, add to pot halfway into cooking.
*Toast walnuts in a pan on medium-low heat, stirring every minute for 4-6 minutes. Remove pan and let cool.

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