Sunday, December 20, 2009

Two new MUST READ books!

A great friend of mine recently gave me a book called "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life" by Camille Kingsolver.  Mike grabbed it immediately after I opened it to read the back.  He read the first chapter while I fed Kaelyn dinner and he never gave it back!  He's almost done with it and I've started reading through the first few chapters.  It's an amazing read about a family who moved from their home in AZ to a farm in southern Appalachia and ate off of their farm. An eye-opener, it is truly educational about food and how we've come to eat in America.  I highly recommend it - it's hard to put down.

I also picked up another of Victoria Boutenko's books called "Green for Life."  I read her "Raw Family" book earlier this year and it was very inspiring and motivating.  Since I feel like I've gone a little backwards these days, this "Green for Life" book was just what I needed.  It focuses on how we need to eat more green leafy vegetables and how to easily do that through smoothies (i.e. 8 leaves red leaf lettuce, 2 cups blueberries, 1 banana, 2 cups water...viola!).  Again, it's very educational, a super easy and fast read, and I feel re-inspired and hopeful once again.  It is our New Year's resolution to go 50% raw in the New Year...and we're already doing 2-3 smoothies a day.  

As Kaelyn says - mmm mmmm good!

P.s. Both books are now in the "Enlightening Health Resources" on the right side of the blog.

Vitamin C

Tis the Season of Citrus!

This is the first year that I've actually paid much attention to seasons and food.  I do think it is quite amazing that during the winter (flu season) the citrus and most vitamin C-laden fruits and vegetables are in their full glory.  We now have no less than 9 citrus-producing trees/bushes in our yard, although only the two meyer lemons were planted prior to this year.  Just celebrating their 5th birthday, they are producing in miraculous numbers and we are so excited to be able to actually share the bounty of our garden with others, rather than selfishly relishing the few fruits of our labor!

I will share some yummy recipes we have recently tried that were winners in our home and hope they find their way to your tables as well!

E-C Fruit Salad
From Dec issue of Sunset Magazine
2 Kiwi (Trader Joes is currently selling Organic CALIFORNIA Kiwi that didn't sail a ship from around the world)
2 Oranges (CA oranges are also SUPER yummy right now, esp. from the farmer's market)
1/2 pineapple (yes, in season and on sale at Trader Joes)
1 Banana (okay, not so local...)

Slice it all up and put it in a pretty bowl. Also good for parties! YUM.

E-C Smoothie
From Dec issue of Sunset Magazine
3 T meyer lemon juice (fresh squeezed)
1/4 cup juice from a fresh orange
2 t honey
1/2 cup greek yogurt
(haven't tried this yet but I think it might be nice to add a sprig of mint)

Blend and enjoy!

SheKnows Food & Recipe Editors
Better than sugar cookies (but not necessarily healthy)
        1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
        2 cups organic evaporated cane juice
        2 large eggs
        15 oz. whole milk ricotta cheese
        1/2 tsp. lemon extract or 1 tsp. lemon
        3 Tbsp. Meyer lemon zest, freshly grated*
        1 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
        2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
        1 tsp. baking powder
        1 tsp. salt
        6 Tbsp. (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
        3 cups confectioners’ sugar
        3 to 4 Tbsp. Meyer lemon juice
        Decorating sugar, silver dragees (small silver balls), optional
* Meyer lemons are available mid-November through early spring in specialty food stores. You will need 2 to 3 medium-sized lemons. Regular lemons can be substituted.

1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
2. Combine butter and sugar in bowl; cream together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, Ricotta, lemon extract (or baking oil), zest and juice; blend well.
3. Add 1 cup flour, baking powder and salt; blend to combine. Add remaining flour in two parts, blending to combine between each, until a dough forms.
4. Drop by rounded Tbsp. 2 in. apart onto baking sheets. Bake until cookie edges are very light golden, about 12 to 15 min. Let cookies rest on baking sheet for a few min. and transfer to wire cooling rack.
5. While cookies cool, prepare glaze by creaming together butter and sugar. Continue to mix, gradually adding juice until desired consistency.
6. Decorate cooled cookies adding dragees or decorating sugar, if desired, before icing sets.

Makes approx. 4 dozen glazed cookies

Shrimp Pasta with Meyer Lemon
(My Personal Favorite!)
1 pound shrimp
1 package whole wheat pasta
1/2 meyer lemon (will provide about 1/4 cup of lemon juice)
white pepper
olive oil (the greener the better)
2 cloves of garlic
Dash of sea salt 

Boil whole wheat pasta of any type (al dente).
Defrost one pound of shrimp, any size.
In pan, warm olive oil and garlic, add pasta, shrimp, and lemon juice and toss.  Add white pepper, olive oil and sea salt to your liking (The magic is in the white pepper.  I like a lot and use 1t to 1T worth). If you like zest, feel free to zest the lemon and add that too.  I'm not a big zest person!

Mike's Meyer Lemon Pancakes (found on

Yield: Ten to twelve 4-inch pancakes

Prep time: 15 min.

Cook time: 20 min.


2 meyer lemons (juice and zest)

2 large eggs

1 cup milk

1 cup ricotta cheese

1/4 cup melted unsalted butter (1/2 stick)

1 tsp. vanilla

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 tbsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt


1. Whisk the wet ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together.
2. Pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry. Using a rubber spatula or large spoon, mix until all of the dry stuff is wet and there are no large lumps. Tons of little lumps are great and expected; they should be viewed as a sign of not overmixing. Don’t stir this until it’s smooth; this will result in a chewier, bread-like pancake. Let the batter rest for about 5 min before cooking. Add more milk a tablespoon at a time if the batter becomes too thick.
3. Place a non-stick griddle or large skillet over medium heat. Grease with butter or non-stick spray. Once the surface is hot, pour about a quarter cup of mixture onto the pan.
NOTE: You can tell how hot the griddle is by throwing a few drops of water on the surface. If the water dances — it shimmers and shakes — then it is hot enough. If the water sizzles fast and evaporates quickly, the griddle is too hot. Turn it down and let it cool. If you use butter, it should bubble and then leave a shean on the surface.
4. Cook pancakes about 4 minutes on one side. There are two visual cues to look for when the pancake is ready to flip. First, the amount of darkness on the side facing down. If it is starting to turn to a dark brown, go ahead and flip it. Second, check for bubbles on the side facing up. If you have the right temperature, bubbles will form. When they begin to set and are slow to disappear, the pancake is ready for turning. They should cook about 75% on the first side. Once flipped, cook them for another minute until both sides are brown.
5. Serve them right away, or cover with a towel and place in a warm oven until ready. Top with powdered sugar and pecans and eat with or without syrup.