Cascadian Farm Organic Goodness

WELCOME TO OUR ALMANAC! READ ABOUT ALL THINGS ECO FROM ORGANIC VEGGIE
GARDEN TIPS TO GREEN FAMILY ACTIVITIES.

Last year we accidentally grew two zucchini plants. We ate a lot of zucchini. We baked it, sautéed it, stuffed it and shredded it. In fact, we had enough zucchini to blanch and fill the freezer and then continue to eat all winter long, and this past spring as we were choosing seeds and deciding on what to grow, only one zucchini plant was on the menu.

Instead, we opted to grow a few squash that would ripen later in the season, leaving us with their bounty long after the zucchini had settled down. The first of these was a spaghetti squash. A large vine that tried to take over the entire garden bed, climbing the trellis meant for the cucumbers and coming over the edge and making its way over to the pumpkin.

The result of my prolific squash was a hearty bounty of yellow orbs, all waiting for me to do something with them, and do something I did. Not only did I roast a few with shallots and herbs for a simple side dish, but I stuffed them and pulled them and enjoyed watching my kids squeal with delight as their squash turned to nature's pasta with the tongs of a fork.

Sausage Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

2 spaghetti squash, cut in half

½ pound spicy Italian sausage

½ lemon, juiced

8 ounces baby portabella mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, diced

3 tablespoons fresh oregano, minced

1 tablespoon fresh mint, minced

½ cup feta cheese, crumbled

Preheat oven to 375º F. Scoop out insides of spaghetti squash and discard. In a large roasting pan, place spaghetti squash face down and add ½ cup to ¾ cup water until it comes up the sides ¼". Bake at 375º for 30-40 minutes until strands pull apart easily with a fork and have a soft bite.

While the squash is cooking, cook sausage in a medium sauté pan until crumbled and cooked through. Remove and set aside. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of grease. Add mushrooms, red pepper and lemon juice. Over a medium-high heat, sauté until tender for 5-7 minutes. Return sausage to the pan and cook for an additional 60 seconds to combine flavors. Stir in fresh herbs and feta.

Scoop sausage filling into spaghetti squash and use a fork to pull squash strands apart. Serve immediately.

Makes 4 servings.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

 

Red Lentil and Sweet Potato Curried Soup

2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2" chunks

¼ cup olive oil

1 yellow onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 teaspoon fresh ginger, minced

1 tablespoon garam masala

½ teaspoon coriander

½ teaspoon cumin

½ teaspoon turmeric

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup dry red lentils

1 teaspoon kosher salt

5 cups of chicken or vegetable stock

1 cup of coconut milk

1/2 cup of water

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a medium bowl, toss sweet potatoes and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Spread onto a baking sheet and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Bake for one hour or until fork tender.

About 30 minutes into the sweet potato cooking time in a medium saucepan, heat remaining olive oil over medium-high heat. Add in diced onion and sauté for 5 minutes until onions start to sweat and become tender. Add garlic and ginger and sauté for 30 seconds more. Add in garam masala, coriander, cumin, turmeric and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 seconds. Add in lentils and stock. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 25-30 minutes.

When sweet potatoes are done, mash lightly and add to the soup. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes. Using an immersion blender (or cooling slightly and using a regular blender or food processor), mix soup until smooth and no lumps remain. Add in coconut milk and simmer over medium-low heat for five minutes.

Serve warm with a dollop of Greek-style yogurt or sour cream.

Makes 4 servings.


Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Hi Friends! Thanksgiving is fast approaching and we wanted to give you a hand in the kitchen. Well, not literally, but we do what to help you to make this year’s festivities memorable for all your turkey day guests. Updating side dishes is an easy way to jazz up your holiday meal. Here are some great recipes to try out this Thanksgiving.

Asparagus Risotto

You'll enjoy the mild, creamy flavor of this vegetable risotto.

Curried Squash Soup

Creamy and rich with a hint of curry, this squash soup is simply outstanding!

Peas with Mushrooms and Thyme

Make this tasty side dish in just 10 minutes—and wait for rave reviews!

Country Blueberry Dessert

As this homey dessert bakes, the batter rises to the top, creating a delicious pudding-like creation that is irresistible!

Photo by: Joe Marinaro

In my family, we travel for Thanksgiving more often than not. We have a large group, and hosting is passed around year after year, so no one person or family is left with the responsibility all the time.  As it so happens, the delegated dishes also change.  Some years you'll be asked to bring the mashed potatoes.  That is, until you put garlic in them and Cousin Frieda makes sure you never end up with that dish again.  (Never mind you think her mashed potatoes are bland without loads of butter and gravy.)  Other years you may be in charge of sweet potatoes or dinner rolls, and of course, inevitably you'll end up with desserts as well.

I remember the first year I was given the desserts.  Immediately I felt a great deal of pressure.  Would my pies look good?  Would they taste okay?  What if I screw them up?  Perhaps I should just purchase them.  In the end, I made three: a pumpkin pie, a classic apple and a pumpkin cheesecake.

All of the desserts were eaten with heavy forkfuls and full bellies singing their praises.  I was in.  I had mastered the Thanksgiving Day pie, second only to the perfect turkey in the traditional meal.  Here, my friends, is my pumpkin pie recipe, fiddled with and tinkered with and perfected until it was just right for one small slice of indulgence on Thanksgiving.

 

Maple Pumpkin Cream Pie

Pie crust for 1 9" pie using your favorite recipe

2 cups pumpkin purée, homemade and strained

¾ cup maple syrup

¼ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 egg yolk

4 ounce softened Neufchâtel or cream cheese

½ cup cream

1 teaspoon vanilla

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

¼ teaspoon allspice

1/8 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

 

Preheat oven to 350º F.  Roll out the pie crust and press into the bottom of a 9" pie plate.  Using pie weights or dry beans to hold the pie crust down, bake for 10 minutes at 350º F.  Take the pie weight off and bake for an additional 10 minutes.

Mix together the purée, syrup and salt together in a food processor or mixer.  Beat in Neufchâtel.  Add in both eggs, yolk and heavy cream until incorporated.  Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, allspice and nutmeg.  Pour the pumpkin mix into the prebaked pie crust and bake at 350º F for 60-70 minutes until a knife inserted 1" from the edge of the crust comes out clean.

Makes one 9" pie

 

Photo by Shaina Olmanson

Hi friends! Our cereal is one of our most popular selling products, and although it’s great right out of the box, or with a little milk, there are many other delicious ways to enjoy it. Whether you’re looking for a snack to munch on at school, or to enhance a desert, there are endless uses for our organic cereal. Here are a few of our favorite recipes. Enjoy!

Honey-Nut Marshmallow Bars

These gooey cereal bars combine marshmallows and honey nut cereal to make an after-school treat the kids will love.

Raspberry-Granola Bars

These old-fashioned layered crumb bars are simply irresistible!

Maple Brown Sugar Granola Cookies

Mmm! Filled with goodies like raisins and nuts, these chewy maple granola cookies are a must-try.

Triple-Berry Granola Crisp

Warm mixed berries topped with a crispy granola topping—it's simply delicious!

Honey Nut Snack Mix


Honey nut cereal, peanut butter, banana chips and chocolate-covered raisins—this snack mix has it all.

Multi Grain Snack Mix

Perfect for a party or everyday snacking—you'll love this crunchy mix.

Spiced Cereal Trail Mix

Cereal and dried fruit mixed with a touch of honey and spice makes a great afternoon snack.

Growing up I loved what we here called "bars." Maybe it's a Midwest thing, but cereal bars, cookie bars, bars with pretzels crusts and raspberry toppings, 7-layer bars were all things you'd see at a church basement potluck or even off to the side during Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner.

My mom would melt chocolate and mix marshmallows and scoop peanut butter, and pretty soon there'd be a chewy snack for after school or sitting around on a lazy Saturday afternoon. These bars are modeled after some of my favorites, but I've swapped corn syrup for honey and almond butter in place of peanut.

Almond Butter Honey Nut O's Bars

3 cups Cascadian Farm Honey Nut O's

½ cup sugar

½ cup honey

2/3 cup almond butter

4 ounces of dark chocolate

Measure cereal into a large mixing bowl. In a small saucepan heat sugar and honey just until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and stir in the almond butter. Pour over cereal and stir to combine. Press into an 8" square dish. Allow to cool.

In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Drizzle over the top of the bars. Allow to set. Cut into 2" squares.

Makes 16 bars.

Photos by Shaina Olmanso

Halloween is nearly upon us, and as my ghouls and goblins head to the streets for some trick-or-treating, I am preparing to have a little autumnal gathering for all their monster-clad friends with all kinds of soup and bread to warm small bellies and a few trick-or-treats of my own before they embark off into the cold night.

Before I send my dragon, dragon slayer, black cat and trooper off into the neighborhood, I'll be filling them up on mom-approved treats. These granola bites are perfect for small mouths, and they are a hit with kids both young and old.

Do you have any Halloween traditions in your family?

Granola Boo Bites

2 boxes Cascadian Farm Chocolate Chip Granola Bars

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate or 12 ounces white chocolate or a bit of both

½ teaspoon coconut oil

Paper popsicle/candy sticks

Black Decorator's Icing or Gel

Cut the granola bars into thirds. Stick a popsicle stick into each granola piece and press granola bar around it to secure in place. Roll the granola pieces and mold with fingers to round the edges. Place the granola pieces in the freezer while you melt the chocolate.

In a small double boiler, melt the chocolate (one variety at a time). Add in ½ teaspoon coconut oil for each 12 ounces chocolate to help make the chocolate smoother and easier to dip. Dip frozen granola bites in the chocolate and place the sticks in a piece of foam or a container filled with rice to stand up while they dry. It may be necessary to dip the white chocolate variety twice.

When the white chocolate is dry, pipe faces onto white-covered bites to look like ghosts. For mummies, drizzle extra chocolate around the "head" and then make two eyes. For the semisweet tombstones, pipe "RIP" onto the front.

Serve to ghouls and goblins as a fun and exciting treat they won't forget this Halloween night.

Makes 30 Boo Bites.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

It's apple season. You will hear no complaints from me. I adore apple season and all the fantastic treats you can create with them. We are lucky enough to live near a pick-your-own orchard, and we try to make it there at least once during the season, but our favorite place to get apples is the farmers market.

I have to say I'm biased when it comes to my grower. I befriended a particular vendor early on in my farmers market shopping, and I continue to look to him first before even considering apples from other orchards. His apples are always good quality, and when he sells seconds, they're always fabulous as well. In fact, I recently purchased two full pecks of seconds to bake with.

Applesauce | Applesauce is one of my favorite treats. Sweetened with maple syrup or honey and loaded with cinnamon, I like mine a bit chunky and warm it up to eat it. It's perfect for canning.

Apple Rings | My grandma called these apfelradln or apple radlns for the little ones. She would core and slice apples thinly and give them a bath in sugar and rum. Dip in batter and fry. If you're looking to opt out of the sugar, try just a small amount of stevia mixed with cinnamon.

Apple Crisp | Apple crisp is a must for us. The entire family gets excited when this follows dinner. Warm, steamy apples and a crunchy topping combine for the perfect fall dessert.

Baked Apples | Everyone seems to have their favorite baked apple recipe. I prefer mine cut in half, topped with maple and cinnamon, maybe a bit of nutmeg and a healthy dose of pecans. How do you like yours?

Apple Tarts | Using the galette dough from all those summer tarts, you can move right into the fall season. Just toss 1 cup of sliced apples in a squeeze of lemon juice and a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir in a bit of honey or maple syrup and fill in mini 4" rounds of dough. Fold up the sides and brush with a bit of egg yolk, bake at 350º F for 15-20 minutes until brown. It's a fantastic impromptu dessert for a chilly evening, and it's great for the holidays too.

What are some of your favorite apple recipes?


Photos by Shaina Olmanson

I have always had a thing for coffee shops, even as a child. The dimly-lit atmosphere with small nooks that are fitted with comfortable chairs just waiting for you to curl up on them with a book or a notepad and pen. The smell of coffee, the sound of the steam hitting the milk, bustling baristas filling mugs, pouring shots and pumping flavored syrup into white cups with brown paper sleeves.

I try to consciously make decisions as a consumer that reflect my values. These lead me to send my kids to school with lunches packed in cloth lunch boxes that are filled with bento boxes and insulated stainless steel, and it causes me to ration my coffee house outings, opting instead to carry my insulated cup, filled with free trade coffee brewed at home and a bit of organic cream.

Still, each and every fall a drink appears in the coffee houses that has the masses flocking to them: the wonder that is a pumpkin spice latte. Here, I encourage you to give making your own a go. It's not as hard as you think, and the rewards are tenfold. Plus, you can enjoy it on your warm and comfy couch without having to make your way across town to find one. This one can be sweetened with molasses or honey or even sugar, if you like, but just remember that molasses isn't quite as sweet as sugar and honey has a distinct flavor. Adjust the amounts of either or a mix of them as you prefer to fit your personal taste.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

1 tablespoon pumpkin puree

1/4 cup molasses or raw honey (or substitute sugar)

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon allspice

Espresso beans for 4-5 shots

Milk

 

While pumpkin puree is still hot, mix in molasses. Push puree mixture through a fine sieve, straining any chunks or strings. Add cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice to espresso grounds before brewing, grinding together with the beans if possible. Brew shots and steam milk. Add desired amount of pumpkin and molasses syrup to cup, pour in 1-2 espresso shots and top with steamed and frothed milk.

Makes 2-3 pumpkin spice lattes

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

As the weather cools and I start harvesting the last of my garden's bounty, I'm trying to branch out in my methods of using it up and making it last. When one of my husband's coworkers ended up with 10 jalapeño plants, we started receiving bags of them on a weekly basis. I used them in salsas, and I stuffed them for appetizers. I've frozen them and cooked with them and then we hit a wall.

My husband came up with our next plan of action, one that involved actually requesting all the red jalapeños his coworker could find and wrangling a few off of our plant as well. Finding red ones in our garden didn't prove to be too difficult as I had been letting them sit there for quite some time. After we'd located them, we went about smoking them into chipotles.

And once we had chipotles the door was opened to all the other things we could do with them, and high on the list for me were tamales. After learning that my favorite tamale restaurant had started using shortening for better shelf life, I knew I'd have to start making my own, starting with a big batch of chipotle-style.

Chipotle Chicken Tamales

Chipotle Chicken Filling:

2 tablespoons olive oil

4 cloves garlic, minced

¼ cup diced onion

20 chipotle chilies, stems removed

1 cup tomato sauce

2 cups water

¼ cup cider vinegar

3 ½ cups shredded cooked chicken

2 cups chicken broth

Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds. Add in onion and cook for 7-10 minutes until translucent. Add the chipotles, tomato sauce, water and cider vinegar. Cook until liquid is reduced to a thick sauce, about 40 minutes. Add in shredded chicken and continue to cook for 4 minutes until chicken is heated through. Reserve ¼ cup of the adobo sauce for the tamale dough.

Masa Dough:

3 cups masa flour

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

3 ¼ cups water

½ cup chicken broth

¼ cup reserved adobo sauce from filling

½ cup lard, melted

Mix together flour, salt and baking powder in a large boil. Add the water, chicken broth, adobo sauce and melted lard. Mix together to form a soft paste-like dough. Taste the dough and add salt if necessary.

Putting it together:

1 package corn husks soaked in water

Masa Dough (above)

Chipotle Chicken Filling (above)

Take one corn husk at a time and spread with 1/4 cup of masa dough into a 4"x4" square at the wide end of the corn husk and off center so that you leave a good inch of uncovered husk. Add two tablespoons of filling or so in the center of the masa dough and spread into a line. Fold the edge of the corn husk lengthwise so that both ends of the masa meet. Fold the extra tail of the corn husk up and finish rolling the overlapped corn husk. Secure with corn husk ties.

Add water to the bottom of a large stockpot, with a steamer basket at the bottom so the tamales are not sitting in the water. Line with a tea towel and then fill the pot with the tamales standing up, wrapped side down and open side up. When the pot is full of tamales, cover them and place over medium heat and steam for one hour. Remove from heat, allow them to cool slightly and serve.

Chipotle Chicken Tamales can be frozen or refrigerated in airtight containers. Be sure to fill completely to avoid overexposure to air, and allow them to cool before freezing.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Growing up we always had a giant jar of honey in the cupboard. My grandma's sister and her husband had a beehive on their property, and when they would harvest, they'd send honey to all of the kids, which included our house. I grew up with a giant glass jar and a chunk of honeycomb, never knowing that honey supposedly came in a bear-shaped plastic bottle.

When I was in the position to start stocking my own cupboard with honey, the plastic bear just wouldn't do. I'd been spoiled with fresher, more complex honey my entire life. I soon sought out the honey vendor at the farmers market. There I found multiple varieties of honey, processed and unprocessed, ranging in color from dark to light. Nowadays I tend to buy two or three varieties for different purposes, but my go-to favorite is buckwheat. I love the dark, molasses-like flavor on biscuits and cornbread.

I recently had quite a bit of unprocessed honey gifted to me, and it is fantastic to work with. The texture is between a liquid honey and creamed honey, with a bit softer texture. I started off with the pannekoeken, and then I moved on to baking. For these muffins I chose a blueberry blossom honey, which is just slightly reminiscent of blueberries.

These muffins are dairy free, using coconut oil and coconut milk in place of the butter and milk you'd generally find in muffins. They're soft and moist, and are a great way to serve the last of the raspberries as we head into fall. No fresh raspberries there? Substitute peaches, blueberries, cherries or any frozen fruit you have on hand.

 

Raspberry and Coconut Cream Muffins

1 egg

½ cup coconut oil

¼ cup honey (I used unprocessed)

2/3 cup spelt flour

¾ cup whole wheat flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

¼ cup coconut milk

1 ½ cups fresh or frozen raspberries

 

Preheat oven to 350º F. In a large mixing bowl, mix together egg, coconut oil and honey. In a separate bowl mix flours, baking powder and salt together. Add to the egg mixture and mix together. Stir in the coconut milk just until all is incorporated. Fold in raspberries.

Line 12 muffin cups and fill with batter. A large-sized scoop works perfectly for this. Bake at 350º F for 20-25 minutes until tops are lightly brown and bounce back when tapped in the middle. Allow to cool partially. Top with coconut cream icing (below) and garnish with fresh raspberries, if desired.

Coconut Cream Icing adapted from Elana's Pantry

¼ cup coconut milk

3 tablespoons honey

2 teaspoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch

½ teaspoon water

1 ½ tablespoons coconut oil

 

Heat coconut milk and honey in a small saucepan. Simmer for 10 minutes. Mix together arrowroot powder and water to form a paste. Whisk into saucepan. Remove from heat and stir in the coconut oil. Freeze for 20-30 minutes. Whip again and add to piping bag. Pipe onto muffins.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

 

After carefully testing and tasting and testing some more, I came to the conclusion that what I didn't like about most homemade salsas was the level of chunk and the lack of flavor. Sure, the ratios changed here and there, but the overall recipe remains the same, and the taste is always a bit too raw for me, even when the salsa had been simmered on the stove sufficiently.

Roasting and grilling the vegetables that are added into the salsa gives it a whole new dimension. Instead of a one-note wonder, you get a full mouthful of flavor. Plus, it smells divine, uses up all the tomatoes you just pulled out of the garden and cans nicely so that you can relive the experience six months from now when the air is cold.

Grilled Hot and Spicy Tomato Salsa

5 pounds meaty tomatoes (about 7 cups)

2 large whole red onions

5-6 jalapeños

5-6 garden salsa peppers

1 green bell pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

5 cloves garlic

1 ½ cups lime juice (bottled)

1 tablespoon salt

¼ cup packed cilantro, chopped

1 tablespoon cumin

Wash your hands before touching anything that will be canned. Cut large tomatoes in half and rub skins with olive oil. Place on grill over medium-high heat, turning once, until skins blister and char slightly. Slice peppers in half and remove seeds if desired. Wear gloves to avoid getting capsaicin on your hands. You can leave the seeds in for hotter salsa. Rub peppers and onion with oil and grill until charred. You can also roast the tomatoes, peppers and onions in the oven at 400º F until charred.

Remove charred skins if desired. Add tomatoes, peppers and onions to a food processor and pulse until chunky. Place in a large pot over a medium burner. Add in garlic, lime juice and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and boil for 10 minutes. Add in cilantro and cumin and continue to simmer for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Can salsa in 8-ounce or pint-sized jars. Ladle salsa into sterilized jars, leaving ½" of space at the top. Wipe rims and place pretreated lids on. Process cans in a boiling water bath canner for 20 minutes. Remove salsa from the water bath and allow to cool on a cloth-covered surface.

Any jars that do not pop and seal properly can be stored in the fridge and eaten within a week. Sealed jars can be stored in a dark, cool place until ready to consume within 12 months.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

 

Summer is winding down (as much as we don’t want to admit it) and aside from school starting soon; many kids are also getting back on the field for fall sports. Between getting your kids in their uniforms and driving the car pool to practice, the last thing on you mind is packing a healthy snack to keep them going during and after practice. But don’t worry, we’re here to help with a list of quick and healthy snacks that will keep your kids moving all season long. One of which is our spiced cereal trail mix your kids are sure to love.

Do you have any healthy snack ideas? If so, feel free to share them in the comment box.

Half-Time Snacks: Give your kids fruit during half time, this way they’ll get charged up without filling up.

•Orange slice

•Easy-peel Clementines

•Grapes

•Cantaloupe or watermelon chunks

•Strawberries

Post-Game Snacks: After the game, they will have more time to eat and they will surely be hungry.

Early morning games:

•Whole-wheat mini-bagels with cream cheese and jelly

•Mini-yogurt cups

Granola bars

•Whole-grain muffins

Just before lunch games:

•String cheese

•Half sandwiches on whole-wheat bread (PB&J, turkey & cheese, etc.)

•Peanut butter on celery sticks

For afternoon games:

•Popcorn and baby carrots

•Whole-grain crackers and cheese

Spiced Cereal Trail Mix

Also known as a Dutch baby, pannekoeken are Dutch pancakes baked in the oven that become puffed along the edges. They are then filled with every variety of fruit, jams, baked apples and savory varieties with bacon and sautéed vegetables and a bit of shredded cheese and served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.

These were a favorite of mine when I was younger, made by the neighbor across the street. She shared her recipe with my mom one day and my love affair with the simple pancake was set in stone. Pannekoeken are easy to throw together, and they bake just long enough that you can whip them up, toss them in the oven and sneak in a morning shower while they bake.

We are finally seeing peaches here, and I have been patiently waiting for them as others talk of crumbles and cobblers. I ate half of mine fresh with my kids, not bothering with batters and baking, and then the other half were lightly cooked in a pannekoek after being tossed with some raw apple blossom honey for dinner later the same night.

Honey Peach Pannekoeken

¼ cup butter

4 eggs

1 cup milk

1 ½ cups flour

¼ teaspoon salt

2 ½ sliced ripe peaches

2-3 tablespoons of raw honey

Heat oven to 400º F.  Place the butter in a heat-proof 10" or 11" frying pan with rounded edges or cast iron skillet or a 9"x13" glass baking pan and set in the oven.  Beat together eggs and milk.  Add in the flour and salt and whisk until batter is smooth.

When the oven is preheated and butter in your pan is completely melted, carefully pour the batter into the pan.  Close the oven door and bake for 20 minutes until pancake is puffed around edges.  Mix together peaches and honey.  Place peaches in the center of the pancake and continue cooking 5–10 minutes more until edges are a light golden brown.  Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Makes 4-6 servings.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

This past weekend I was on a mission. Inspired by an amazing stack of Vanilla Blueberry Almond Pancakes (at my favorite breakfast spot, the Coffee Cup) I was determined to bake a loaf of bread that combined those delicious flavors. And since I love baking Banana Bread, because it’s so quick and easy, I wanted to come up with a bread recipe for the summer time – using blueberries. This bread makes a perfect breakfast or snack with your afternoon tea. Add a glaze, it’s a tasty dessert. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did – I baked 3 loaves!

1 cup organic blueberries, washed and dried

1/4 cup sliced almonds (plus a few more to sprinkle on top)

1 ½ cup all-purpose flour (plus ¼ cup to coat berries & nuts)

1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats (not quick-cooking)

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 cup buttermilk

2 teaspoons vanilla

Pre-heat the oven to 325°. Grease a 8.5” x 4.5” loaf pan.

Toss the berries and almonds with 1/4 cup of flour to keep them from sinking in the batter.

In a large bowl, combine 1 ½ cups of flour, oats, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla. Add the liquids to the dry ingredients and stir gently until just combined. Fold in the almonds and blueberries.

Pour the batter into the greased loaf pan and bake for 55 - 65 minutes, rotating the pan partway through. Allow bread to cool completely before slicing.

 

Photos by Kari Burks

The farmers market is in full swing, with new vegetables and fruits being added each week. Just this past week we returned from the farmers market with eight different varieties of vegetables to use in our family meals, among them a large bunch of radishes and 3 heads of kohlrabi.

After using radishes on a steak sandwich and making a kohlrabi slaw, I moved on to pickling the rest. I appreciate pickling because it extends the life of the vegetables, but I also like having a bit of tangy crunch on the side of my plate at dinnertime. Something about the taste of a freshly pickled vegetable, still crisp and with a distinct bite.

I like to use pickled radishes and kohlrabi on burgers and barbecue, as well as to top off midday salads or in place of pickles on a sandwich. They're also wonderful alone, just sitting as a salad on the side of my dinner plate.

Pickled Radish and Kohlrabi Chips

1 bunch radishes (10-12)

2 heads kohlrabi

3 small onions

¼ cup pickling salt

1 ½ cups vinegar

½ cup sugar

1 tablespoon celery seeds

1 tablespoon whole peppercorns

1 tablespoon mustard seed

Peel the green portion off the kohlrabi. Cut the bulb in half and thinly slice. Thinly slice radishes and onions. Add pickling salt and one quart of ice water together. Pour over the sliced vegetables and allow to sit for at least two hours. Drain the salt water and rinse vegetables thoroughly.

In a medium saucepan, bring vinegar, sugar, celery seeds, peppercorns and mustard seeds to a boil. Boil for three minutes and pour over vegetables. Store the pickle chips in an airtight container in the fridge. They can be processed and canned as well, or they can be eaten fresh from the fridge. Make at least one day ahead for best results if eating fresh.

Makes 3-4 cups of pickle chips with juice.

Growing up radishes to me were crudités on platter filled with more crudités like carrots, celery and cauliflower. I would eat them every once in a while, curious as to what the red orbs tasted like, and I was always surprised when they had a bite. I still am to this day.

For my husband, his radish experience started in the garden and ended atop a peanut butter sandwich. Yes, he consumed many a peanut butter and radish sandwich in his day, a combination I have not yet tried. Though I do have to say I’m intrigued at the texture addition to the peanut butter sandwich.

Then there is the classic bread, butter and radish combo that so many people speak of, and that is what I was considering when I veered my mind in a similar but different direction and landed on this sandwich, one that started in my garden.

As we readied to leave for a few days, I considered what would spoil while we were gone, and I knew I couldn’t let the cucumbers and radishes go to waste, not to mention the large crop of romaine or the tomatoes that seem to be turning red daily now. A few Greek seasonings later, a sandwich was born.

A Radish Sandwich

2 slices of whole wheat bread of choice

3 radishes, thinly sliced

1 whole romaine leaf

3 thinly sliced tomatoes

2 tablespoons feta cheese

2 tablespoons homemade tzatziki

Layer sandwich: bread > tzatziki > radishes > feta > tomatoes > romaine > bread. Cut in half and enjoy. If you’re looking for a bit more, try grilling the sandwich after it’s assembled until the outside is nice and golden brown.

Makes 1 sandwich.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Can it be? Is this really the first week of August? Wow, the summer has really flown by. As we look back over the summer, we have had so many amazing recipes come through our organic feed. So, we thought it would be fun to pick our favorites and share them with you. We would love to hear how you enjoy them, let us know what you think in the comment box below.

Easy Summer Dessert: Strawberry-Apricot Galette:

Ginger-Soy Beef Tenderloin Kebabs:

Vanilla Bean Gelato:

Smoked Barbecue Ribs:

Grilled Artichokes and Easy Garlic Aioli:

Photos By Shaina Olmanson

I recently headed up to the Cascadian Farm Home Farm while I was on a trip out to Seattle. As I’ve said before, there’s something magical to me in the whole farm-to-table aspect where I go and pick my own food, bring it home and cook with it.

I can’t say enough how hard it hits home to me in this day and age where so much of our food comes in boxes and Styrofoam packages and is purchased from antiseptic shelves in a large store. Sometimes it’s hard for me with four kids to get out and do the hands-on farm activities that I grew up with, so I try to give my children those activities in the backyard in our family garden. However, berry season is one time of the year where getting out to local farms and picking can and does happen. The strawberries are always sweeter, juicier and tastier.

Cascadian Farm did not disappoint. Surrounded by strawberries being harvested to be sold on the roadside stand, I was instantly comfortable and at home. Farmer Jim instructed us to eat them at will, and he was so accommodating to me, even running to his home to get me a cake pan for my cake. Of course, I was going to let him eat it when it was finished baking.

As strawberry season will soon be ended and raspberry season just beginning, feel free to substitute between the two berries in this recipe for whatever is in season in your area. Have you been to the farm to pick them yet this summer? I can’t wait to tell you more about my trip and experience.

Strawberry-Lemon Coffee Cake

1 ½ cups sugar

½ cup butter, softened

1 egg

1 cup buttermilk (or milk with 1 teaspoon vinegar whisked in)

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 ½ cups flour

½ teaspoon cardamom

½ teaspoon salt

2 cups fresh or frozen strawberries, diced (or whole raspberries)

1 lemon, zested

For the glaze:

1 cup powdered sugar

Juice from 1 lemon above

Preheat oven to 350º F and grease a 9x13 baking pan. Cream together sugar, butter and egg. In a separate bowl mix together the buttermilk and the baking soda, then mix into the creamed butter and sugar. Mix together flour, cardamom and salt and then slowly blend into the wet mix. Fold in diced strawberries and lemon zest.

Bake at 350º F for 35-40 minutes until top springs back when touched. Remove from oven. Allow to cool slightly.

In a separate bowl, stir powdered sugar with half the juice from the lemon. Continue adding juice until desired consistency is reached. Drizzle lightly over the cake and serve warm.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Nothing says summer quite like a camping trip. Fresh air, the great outdoors, and gourmet food!? That’s right, just because you’re “roughing it” doesn’t mean you have to “rough it” when it comes to the food you eat while you’re out there. Although you don’t have a full kitchen to cook in, you can still cook great tasting gourmet meals on the campsite. With a little creativity and some simple food prep before you leave, you’re on your way to the most delicious camping trip you have ever had. Here are some great recipes to try on your next camping trip courtesy of cookeatshare.com.

Photo By Rob Lee

BREAKFAST:

Egg Fusion

LUNCH:

Pork and Hominy Chili

APPETIZER:

Ceviche de Pescado

DINNER:

Parmesan Fish Fillets

DESSERT:

Campfire Apple Pie

Hello friends! We hope you had a great Fourth of July weekend! We wanted to share some exciting news we found out last week. We knew our granola bars were good, but the best? Well, we are excited to announce that Cascadian Farm Fruit and Nut Granola Bars were voted Best Granola Bar by SELF magazine in their 2010 Healthy Food Awards. If you haven’t tried one yet, you’re in for a treat. Click here to find out what store in your area carries them. A big thanks to SELF magazine for the support.

 

 

One of my favorite ways to use up fresh fruit is by making a galette for dessert on a summer evening. These free-form tarts are easy to throw together, and they come in handy for those perfectly ripe fruits that are going to turn to overripe before the kids and I have the chance to get to them.

For these, I used a few apricots I had purchased over the weekend that had been waiting patiently for me. I combined them with the last of our strawberries, not quite enough left to offer to the kids for lunch without a fight ensuing, and in no time, I had a summer dessert coming out of the oven just as we finished eating dinner.

Galettes are also convenient in that you can make extra dough, freeze it and just use it when the moment strikes. It's easy to throw together, and with a scoop of ice cream over the top, it makes the perfect dessert for last-minute guests.

Galette Dough (adapted from Julia Child):

3 tablespoons Greek yogurt

1/3 cup ice water

1 cup all-purpose flour

¼ cup yellow cornmeal

1 teaspoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

7 tablespoons cold unsalted butter, cut into ½" pieces

In a small bowl, stir the Greek yogurt and the ice water together. Set aside. Place flour, cornmeal, sugar and salt into a food processor with metal blade. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the flour mixture. Pulse 8 to 10 times. You should still see butter chunks in the mix as large as pea-sized pieces. Add the yogurt mixture and run just until the dough forms soft curd-shaped pieces.

Remove the dough from the processor, divide in half and press into two round disks. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill for at least two hours.

Dough can be refrigerated for two days or frozen for up to a month. To thaw, remove from freezer and thaw at room temperature for 20 minutes before rolling between two sheets of parchment.

Strawberry-Apricot Filling:

6 fresh apricots, sliced

1 cup strawberries, sliced

2 tablespoons turbinado sugar

 

To assemble the galette:

4 shortbread cookies (about 1/3 cup), crumbled

1 egg

1 teaspoon water

1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 400º F. Gently tos s together apricots, strawberries and 2 tablespoons turbinado sugar. Roll out each piece of dough into a 10" circle on a piece of parchment. In the center of the circle spread half the cookie crumbs on each dough circle up to 2.5" from the edge. Spoon the strawberry-apricot filling over the cookie crumbs and then drizzle with honey. Carefully fold the edges of the dough over the filling. Start in one spot and work your way around the circle, creasing every 3 inches or so. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water. Brush the egg mixture over the edges of the galette dough. Sprinkle the remaining tablespoon of turbinado sugar over the crust edges.

Bake on the parchment paper at 400º F for 35-40 minutes, until edges are golden brown and crisp. Remove from oven, cool slightly and serve warm.

Makes two 8" galettes.

 

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

 

 

Happy Friday friends! Do you have any plans for the weekend? Well, now that the weather is getting nicer, hopefully you’ll be able to get outside and enjoy nature. If you’re like us, there’s no better way to enjoy the outdoors than going for a hike. And there’s no better way to enjoy your hike than with a tasty snack to munch on while you’re on the trails.

Here are some great snack recipes that are easy to prepare and perfect to bag up and bring with you on a hike. Or anywhere else you’re going. Enjoy!

 

Spiced Cereal Trail Mix

Multi Grain Snack Mix

Honey Nut Snack Mix

Sometimes the best things and life don’t have to be difficult, and this translates into food as well. This pasta, for instance, takes only minutes to throw together. The process can be somewhat haphazard, trying to manage the inbox while navigating the scattered toys of the day and boil water on the stove, but the end result is fantastic and satisfies the hunger that's been growing by the minute as it simmers on the stove.

At the end of a hectic day, this is the perfect way to bring in a much calmer evening. Grab the spinach and the first tomatoes from the garden, throw together an easy meal, and then bring it all outside to enjoy the sun before it sets, bringing the day to a close. Even when the rest of the day has been anything but simple, a home-cooked dinner together can be just the thing to slow us down and make us appreciate all the rest.

Sautéed Spinach and Tomato Fettuccini

16 ounces fettuccini

¼ cup olive oil

3 cups fresh spinach, loosely chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

4 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 cup pasta water

3 tablespoons flat Italian parsley, minced

½ cup Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated

2 tablespoons butter

Kosher salt

Black ground pepper

Bring a large pot of salted boiling water to a boil. Cook pasta to al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cups pasta water for the sauce. Heat the olive oil over medium-high heat in a skilled (or in the pasta pot – dried – if you're into conserving dishes). Add spinach and garlic to the hot oil and sauté for 1 minute before adding in the diced tomatoes. Continue to cook until spinach has wilted, about 4 more minutes. Add in pasta water and parsley. Continue to cook for 2 more minutes. Add in drained fettuccini, Parmigiano-Reggiano and butter. Toss to coat pasta. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Photos by Shaina Olmanson

Last week we posted a question on our facebook page asking you, “what’s the tastiest food you ate over Memorial Day weekend?” We were overwhelmed with responses and quite frankly, drooling over some of the foods that were mentioned. Some of you also shared the actual recipes for those foods and that got us thinking.

Most of the time, the organic recipes we feature on our blog are from our fellow bloggers, but why let them have all the fun? We want to know what delicious organic recipes you are cooking for your family and friends. It’s always fun to try new recipes and share them with loved ones. We thought this would be a great opportunity to do just that.

So, leave your recipes in the comments and every couple of weeks we will feature one of them on our blog. We’re excited to hear from you! Have a great weekend!

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