Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Inspiration Found

Inspiration found is inspiration in need of sharing. Here I will share a little inspiration from my week(s).

What inspires you??? I'd love to hear from you at the end of this post!

As I write this, the sun is setting on this lovely painting above my computer...
Painting found at Ross. It is signed "JB", not sure of origin or artist. My mother bought it as a house-warming gift. Photo by Me.

Homebrewed and Iced Spiced Mint Herbal Tea with mint from Granny's Garden and Spices from Mountain Rose Herbs
& Iced Lemon Jasmine Tea from Zhena's Gypsy Tea

Potted Herbs from Auntie M - I'm growing marshmallow root!

And any greenery and wildlife (this taken on our trip to the cabin)...

Violet Woods - a blog full of whimsy and beauty by Christina Rose, an artist

This Wedding by Rebecca Hollis Photography

She Reads Truth: Women of the Bible series

This verse (little font-work/design I created myself). Please feel free to share, credit appreciated:

Cold Brown Rice and Garbanzo Bean Pesto Salad + Moving

My short Memoirs of Moving:

Moving can be ugly. A reminder of how much unnecessary stuff that's accumulated over the years. A reminder of how often you didn't clean the bathroom. Tears and growls of frustration over long hours and very little sleep.

But in this ugliness, there is this wonderful opportunity to purge, to start a new. A fresh start. And that's where moving can be a wonderful blessing. Struggling comes with an opportunity to lean evermore on God's grace and glory.

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So as I put my books on my bookshelves, hang clothes in our closet, art on our walls, and cook in my new kitchen, I thank the Lord for this blessing, whether our time here be short or long. There may be two dozen things wrong with our house but when God is in our lives and in our hearts there is nothing wrong with our home... our sweet, sweet home.

May God bless your home!

And before I continue on to the recipe, I must apologize, my dear sweetlings for my absence and the absence of my posts. We have moved (you might have guessed from my short blurb up there) and we have been internet-less for two weeks. I have a lot of recipes stashed which I hope I get to share with all of you very soon!

In the process of moving and the heat of summer, I've created several quick, easy and tasty salads with very few ingredients. Today I'm sharing with you a garbanzo bean and rice pesto salad. I made this and brought it with me to a multi-family garage sale to snack on. It was a hit alongside some iced Zhena's Gypsy Lemon Jasmine Tea (which my toddler also sold instead of lemonade at her little stand - she's an entrepreneur in the making). Also we were treated to my new neighbor's salsa which I must say was amazing! Maybe I can wrangle the recipe out of her eventually and share it with you all.

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I used my nettle basil pesto with basil from the farmer's market and dried nettle from Mountain Rose Herbs. This is a great time to make homemade pesto as basil is super fresh! It's a little late for fresh nettles but the dried, organic herb adds a nice earthy touch that pares nicely with brown rice in this salad. You can use any homemade pesto (be cautious of store-bought as it usually contains cheese).

Also if you have a lot of pesto leftover from making a batch, use an ice cube tray to freeze small serving sizes (I use these leftover from my endeavors in homemade baby food - love that they are bpa free and have lids!).

Brown Rice and Garbanzo Bean Salad
2 cups leftover cooked brown rice (preferably cooked with a little extra water so it doesn't dry out)
1 1/2 cup cooked and cooled garbanzo beans (= one 15 oz can drained and well-rinsed)
3 TB nettle basil pesto (or pesto of your choice)
3 TB olive oil
2 TB white balsamic vinegar (rice vinegar would work as well)
Sea Salt and Pepper

Chopped walnuts to top, optional

Directions: With a spoon, break down the large clumps of rice if any and mix with remaining ingredients. Refridgerate until time to eat. Enjoy!

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Great for picnics! Garage sale-ing! And moving!

Question of the Day: What are you bringing to on your picnics?  Last year we were really into bean dips like this vegan spinach and artichoke dip. But now this salad and a few others have been starring on the picnic menu.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Red, White & Blueberry Vegan Cheesecake Bars for Fourth of July

If you're looking for a fun Fourth of July treat (that's vegan and gluten free too boot!), then look no further! I present you with Red, White & Blueberry Vegan Cheesecake Bars!
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A lovely lady at bible study recommended that I call it a "loaf" because "cheesecake" makes it sound indulgent. What do you think? This dessert doesn't contain excess amounts of sugar but I think it's rich in its own right. But I wouldn't want people passing it over because it sounded too decadent... hmmm. Thoughts, oh my darling Sweetlings?

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Yum! Razzle dazzle me! This baby has got pizzaz!

The "cheesecake" turns out a little spotted with vanilla bean seeds and the psyllium husk powder but you can use vanilla extract instead - if you're striving for a more stark white. Vanilla beans and psyllium husk powder can be found in your local health food store, amazon (click here for psyllium and here for Madagascar Vanilla Beans), or Mountain Rose Herbs.

Oat Crust and Crumble
3 1/2 cups oats (use gluten free certified if sensitive - Bob's Red Mill sells a reputable variety)
3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup tapioca starch
2 TB chia seeds
1/4 cup evaporated cane juice sugar (or coconut sugar)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup + 2 TB non-dairy (and unsweetened) milk
1/2 cup coconut oil

Red & Blue Fruit Layer
2 cups chopped rhubarb
2 cups chopped strawberries
2 cups frozen blueberries                       > (You can use any combination of fruit that you like.)
1 TB chia seeds                                  
3 TB evaporated cane juice sugar

White Vanilla Vegan Cheesecake
1 1/2 cup cashew pieces, raw and rinsed
1 cup heavy coconut milk
2 TB evaporated cane juice sugar
1 TB psyllium husk powder
Seeds from 1 Vanilla Bean

1. Combine dry ingedients of the oat crumble. Cut in the coconut oil and non-dairy milk (or mash with a potato masher until combined and the mixture looks like gritty sand (the mashing part can be really fun for a toddler as pictured below)
2. Push 3/4 of the batter into the bottom of a 9x13 oven-safe dish.
3. Combine the fruit layer together in a separate bowl. Layer on top of the oat crust.
4. Blend in a high speed blender the ingredients for the vegan cheesecake Layer on top of the fruit layer (may need to use spatula to spread this).
5. Crumble remaining oat mixture on top of the cheesecake.
6. Cover with foil and bake in preheated 375 oven for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake another 15-20 until the top oat mixture is golden. Let cool 10 minutes or completely before slicing.

My little girl loved mashing together the oat crust! Perfect bonding time and we used small measuring cups to help counting. It was a great way to have a relational and fun learning time - and we made dessert (or breakfast). Win Win!


I hope you have a wonderful Fourth of July! And that maybe you find the time to make this festive treat. What are your plans for this lovely and very hot week?
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