Friday, December 31, 2010

Spinach Mushroom Pesto Quiche

I've never been an appetizer making kind of gal.  Putting together tiny little bites all decorated fancy has never been part of my skill set.  The idea of appetizers makes my mind go blank and a question mark appears on my wrinkled forehead.  I'd rather make meals.  Meals I can sink my teeth into.  Meals that fill my tummy.  Appetizers baffle me.

I made the intention back in November that I was going to allow more fun into my life and within a few week's time, I was invited to 3 partys.  Two of which require of all things ~ appetizers.  I pulled out my Martha Stewart cookbooks, knowing the Queen of All Things Domestic would surely have crowd pleasing appetizers, but the assembling of these dainty treats certainly did nothing to please me!

Then I remembered a quiche that I love, a quiche I haven't made in quite a long time!  Certainly I could turn that quiche into appetizer bites by cutting it into little pieces!  Appetizer problem solved!  This recipe comes from the Joshua Grindle Inn in Mendocino CA. 

Spinach Mushroom Pesto Quiche
  • 1/2 cup polenta
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 + 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp fresh pesto
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup mushroom, sliced thinly
  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomatoes (no oil) chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 5 oz spinach, steamed and drained
  • 1 Roma tomato, sliced thinly (optional and if in season)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly oil the bottom of one pie plate.
  2. In a small saucepan, mix water and polenta and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and stir until thickened.  Add 1/4 cup Parmesan and salt and mix well.
  3. Pour into pie plate covering bottom.  Let cool until solidified, about 5-10 minutes.
  4. Spread pesto over polenta and sprinkle with mozzarella. 
  5. Saute mushrooms, garlic, and sun dried tomatoes.
  6. Beat together eggs, milk and cottage cheese.  Add sauteed mushroom mixture and spinach.  Mix well and pour into pie plate.  Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan and decorate with tomato slices.
  7. Bake for 45 minutes until center is set.

Spinach Mushroom Pesto Quiche

Yummo!  The perfect quiche for any occasion!

I usually am a dairy free girl, except for raw milk and my homemade raw kefir, but this quiche is so delicious that I occasionally allow myself a dairy splurge.  90/10 is my motto.  If 90% of the time I am eating good healthy food, that 10% won't do me in, hopefully! 

Happy New Year everyone, I wish you the best of health this coming new year and may your meals be delicious, healthy and full of love!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Preserved Lemons

Along the highway leading out of Valley Springs and into the central valley of California, is a little farming town where my mom went to high school.  And in that little town is a little library with a little parking lot.  And in that little parking lot are 4 trees growing wildly happy and full of fruit.  One orange, one lemon, one grapefruit and one blood orange.

And so I made the trip to that tiny little town and marveled at the bounty hanging from the branches.  With great appreciation those trees shared their fruit and I filled my paper bags, all the time wondering what fun I would soon be having in my kitchen.

Along the highway I made my way home to my own little town and my cozy house with its little kitchen.  And in my little kitchen I dumped those delicious looking lemons into the sink, gathered my sea salt, a large jar and a knife.

And what do you think I made?

Preserved Lemons
  • Lemons, Meyers I hear work best but these were a gift from Mother Nature so I won't complain
  • Sea salt
  • Large glass jar
  • Knife
  • Bowl
  • Something to smash the lemons with
  1. Scrub and clean the lemons
  2. Cut each lemon into fourths but do not cut all the way through.  The four quarters of the lemon should still be attached at the bottom.
  3. Pour some salt into the bottom of the jar, about 2 tbsp
  4. Sprinkle salt into each lemon covering the quarters
  5. Add a layer of lemons into the jar, sprinkle with salt and then smash!  Smashing the juice out of the lemon.
  6. Add another layer of lemons, sprinkle once again with salt and then smash!
  7. Continue until entire jar is filled.
  8. Sprinkle one last spoonful of salt over lemons
By now there should be quite a bit of lemon juice on the bottom of the jar.  More juice will seep from the lemons as the salt does its work.  Place jar on counter in a warm place and each day for 30 days shake your jar to mix up the salt and lemon juice.  To use your lemons, rinse the salt off the lemon and serve as needed.  These lemons can keep up to a year and do not need to be refrigerated.

Preserved Lemons

Serve your preserved lemons with Moroccan recipes here.

One little bag of lemons preserved, one little bag of oranges left dreaming of their destiny.

Butternut Squash Soup (for minimal cooking nights)

Sometimes even I, the Kitchen Witch, doesn't feel like cooking.  There are those rare days when I just want someone else to serve me some delicious food that I didn't make.  Sometimes I dream of fabulous food just magically appearing on my plate without my having to lift a finger.  And of course the dishes wash themselves!

Though I avoid processed pre-made food like the plague, every once in awhile I allow myself a little convenience.  But even then I'm careful with what I buy.  On a recent trip to one of my favorite stores, Trader Joe's, I was feeling a little cranky and not at all wanting to be in the kitchen.  A box of Butternut Squash Soup caught my eye, so I'd thought I'd give it a try.  But of course even when I'm cranky, I can't help mixing things up a bit!

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Soup

A bowl of plain soup with no texture sounded a little blah, I wanted some heartiness, so I gave my Butternut Squash Soup a little umph! 

Here's my version of Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Soup:

  • Half a box of Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Soup
  • 2 slices of good quality bacon, fried and crumbled
  • 1 small yam, diced into small chunks
  • 1 small bunch of cilantro
  • Tbsp butter
  • Dash of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Place diced yam into a skillet on medium heat and sautee in butter until yam is soft.  Season with salt, pepper and some cinnamon
  2. Fry bacon, drain on paper towel, then crumble
  3. Warm up soup in a pot
  4. Chop cilantro
Pour soup into bowl, add cooked yams, sprinkle with bacon and cilantro.

Trader Joe's Butternut Squash Soup my way
It turned out delicious!  So delicious I thought I'd share it with you.  And if you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, use your favorite brand of Butternut Squash Soup, just be careful of the ingredients!

Feel like making your own Butternut Squash Soup?  Click here for a yummy recipe from Epicurious.  I personally leave out the brown sugar.  If you want to add some sweetness to this soup, add a little orange juice.  To tart it up, add a chopped green apple to the pan while sauteing the onion.

It will be about another month before I have that "I want nothing to do with the kitchen" feeling.  I'm excited to discover another "convenience" that I can easily make my own. 

In what ways to you let "convenience" into your kitchen?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Persimmon Cranberry Sauce

When was the last time you ate cranberries?  Was it Thanksgiving Day with the turkey and stuffing?  Cranberries seem to get all the love and attention they deserve on that holiday of thanks, but what about the rest of the season? 

Sure we often chug down some cranberry juice and dried cranberries ocassionally make it on top of our hot cereal and into our trail mix, but these little red berries deserve much more attention than we give them.

In my quest to eat seasonally, I am now tracking down these little red berries and creating tasty treats in the kitchen. Fresh cranberries are available in stores mid-September through December and can be stored in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.

  • are high in Vitamin C and fiber
  • prevent urinary tract infections
  • may prevent ulcers and gum disease


Bright berries getting a bath
 Persimmon Cranberry Sauce
  • 3/4 lb fresh or frozen cranberries (3 1/2 cups)
  • 1/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 star anise or 1/4 teaspoon star-anise pieces
  • 1/2 cup Agave Nectar or Brown Rice Syrup
  • 3 firm-ripe Fuyu persimmons (about 1 lb total), peeled and cut into 1/4-inch dice

  1. Bring cranberries, wine, water, star anise, 1/2 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt to a boil in a 2-quart heavy saucepan, stirring occasionally, then reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes.
  2. Add more sugar, to taste (up to about 2 1/2 tablespoons), and discard star anise.
  3. Fold in persimmons.
  4. Transfer to a bowl and serve at room temperature or chilled.
  5. Stir gently before serving.

My sauce cooling in a glass bowl

This recipe is courtesy of Epicurious, one of my favorite places to find cranberry recipes!  If you prefer not to use wine, use water or try orange juice! 

Now how do you eat this tasty sauce?  Why as many ways as you can imagine! 
  • Over a juicy breast of chicken
  • brushed over some pork ribs baking in the oven
  • spread on top of your favorite muffins
  • mixed into your morning oatmeal
  • stirred into some simmering beef stew
  • slathered over some baked yams

Get creative!

So next time you go grocery shopping, don't walk away from that bag of bright berries.  I know you've done it, I have too.  But I am more determined than ever to eat and enjoy the gifts Mother Nature offers me each season.  Here's to the humble cranberry!

How do you cook with cranberries?

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Turkey Dumplings ~ Wheat and Gluten Free

One thing I adore about Thanksgiving is the leftovers.  Turkey sandwiches, turkey enchiladas, turkey stir-fry, turkey noodle soup, turkey pot pie, turkey a la king, no wait, not turkey a la king.  Unfortunately this year there were no leftovers.  You see, we had Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law's new home in Garden Valley.  Being that there were 20 of us hungry mouths to feed, come Friday morning a turkey wing and a scoop of stuffing were not going to cut it!

So this past Sunday I decided to have our own Thanksgiving.  Why not?  We definitely have much to be thankful for this year and my empty fridge was moping for some tupperware-filled holiday delights!

And what a feast we had!  A 23lb turkey for a family of four most definitely leaves a LOT of leftovers!  So what do I do with all that turkey?  Why make Turkey Dumplings of course! 

As a child, my mom always made Dumplings with the leftover turkey, so naturally I crave this soup after Thanksgiving.  If I recall correctly she used Bisquick, but since I'm enjoying my wheat-free gluten-free trans-fat-free lifestyle, I decided to try using my trusty Pamela's mix.  To my delight it turned out great!  So I thought I'd share it with you.

Turkey Dumpling Soup
  •  4 carrots sliced into thin rounds
  • 1/2 a medium yellow onion cut into small chunks
  • 3 cloves of garlic smashed and chopped
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsbp thyme
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp cayenne powder
  • leftover turkey ~ about 2 cups or as much or as little as you like
  • turkey broth ~ about 2 quarts  (see my notes below)
  • 2 cups Pamela's Baking and Pancake Mix Wheat and Gluten Free
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup milk or water
  1. Heat olive oil in large soup pot.  Add onions, carrots and garlic.  Season with spices.  Cook for a few minutes while onions and carrots get soft.
  2. Pour broth into pot, bring to a boil and then turn down heat to a fast simmer.
  3. In a separate bowl, pour in Pamela's Mix and cut in butter with a fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Pour milk or water into flour mixture while stirring with a fork until mixture is a soft dough.
  4. Drop small spoonfuls of dough into pot.  Cover with a lid and let simmer for about 25 minutes or until dough is cooked through.  Stir and serve!

Turkey Dumplings

Now really I don't measure when I cook, so the quantities of the turkey, broth and spices are my best guesses.  Add more or less as you like.  Taste your food as you cook it and you'll know if you need to add more spice. 

So where did I get the turkey broth?  At Trader Joe's?  No!  I made it myself!  How you ask?  It is really quite easy and I know many of you already do this. 

After the turkey came out of the oven and cooled I removed all the meat.  Then I placed the carcass, yes the whole thing, in my biggest soup pot.  Covered it with water, brought the water to a boil and then simmered the carcass for about 8-12 hours, adding more water to keep the bones covered.  Let the broth cool, then strain, and you have the best turkey broth ever.  And trust me you can not get that at a store.  Unless you like preservatives, additives and a little MSG. 

So now we'll have Turkey Dumplings for a few meals and by the end of the week we will all hate turkey.  Luckily we can now look forward to that Christmas ham and all the yummy leftovers we can make with that!  Ham sandwiches, ham and eggs, ham and bean soup, ham and scallopped potatoes, ham and split pea soup . . . . . .

Liking that holiday pie but not the white flour crust?  Check out this Note on my Facebook page for a wheat-free gluten-free pie crust.  And yes, I made it with Pamela's.  I know I know.  I'll make my own flours soon, be patient.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Free Health Consultations

Time sure flies when you're having fun!  Seems like school just started and actually working with clients was light years away!  But time waits for no one, so I'm ready!  Are you?

In celebration of recieving the green light to work with clients, Kitchen Witch Coaching is offering FREE 50 minute health history consultations in person or over the phone.

During your free initial consultation we will discuss your unique situation in depth and determine how I can help you reach your personal goals around health and wellness.

I practice a holistic approach to health and wellness, which means that I look at how all areas of your life are connected. Through working with me, you’ll develop a deeper understanding of the foods and lifestyle choices that work best for you and implement lasting changes that will improve your energy, balance and health.

When was the last time you talked with someone about your health and received the personal attention you deserve?

It’s rare for anyone to get an hour to work on their nutrition and goals with a trained professional. As a health coach, I am here to create a supportive environment while we explore what really works for you.

Could one conversation change your life?

To schedule your FREE consultation, contact me at:


This week only:
****20% discount on Kitchen Witch Coaching's Program****

Who doesn't love a good deal?

Friday, November 19, 2010


Another great fall fruit is the gorgeous but often daunting pomegranate.  I admit, for years I didn't know how to open a pomegranate successfully, and I've made my fair share of red juicy messes trying to get to those delicious seeds of tasty joy. 

It wasn't until a few weeks ago as Mike and I were perusing the produce section of our local Raley's, that we noticed a little pamphlet near the box of pomegranates.  What shear excitement I felt upon opening such pamphlet to find proper cutting instructions.  My days of mopping up what looked like a deadly encounter with a knife would now be efficient and stain-free.  No longer would that pomegranate laugh heartily at me and my desperate attempts to get its seeds!

So without further ado, here is the "correct" way to open a pomegranate:

1.  Cut off the top of the pomegranate about a 1/2 inch below the crown using a sharp pairing knife
2.  Once the top is off, you'll see the pomegranate is naturally split into 4 to 6 sections.  Score the skin at each section.

Cutting off the top and scoring the sections

3.  Separate the pomegranate at each score.  Think of peeling apart the sections on an orange.
4.  Loosen the seeds (AKA arils) over a bowl of water using your fingers.

Removing the seeds without the mess

5.  Use a spoon or your fingers to scoop out any white membrane pieces that have fallen into the bowl.
6.  Pour the bowl of water through a strainer.
7.  Keep the arils in a Tupperware in the fridge and enjoy!

So what do you then do with those plump little babies?  Lots!  Here are some of my favorite ways:

  • Over salads
  • Mixed in a bowl of oatmeal or other hot cereal
  • Stirred into yogurt
  • Baked in muffins and cookies
  • Dried in the dehydrator, then added to trail mixes and homemade granola
  • Added to chutney
  • Added to whole grains ~ rice, quinoa and amaranth
  • Mixed with guacamole
  • Baked in an apple pie
  • Added to a fruit salsa
  • Stirred into melted chocolate then frozen (think chocolate covered raisins)

Pomegranates contains lots of vitamins, potassium, folic acid and iron. Plus, they’re packed with powerful antioxidants known as polyphenols.  And for those of you who choose to eat seasonally, pomegranates are available from October through January, so enjoy them while you can!

Thank you dear pomegranate for teaching me to unlock your secrets, for showing me how to open you without making a bloody mess!

Pomegranates from a local farmer

What's your favorite way to use pomegranate arils?

Monday, November 15, 2010

Persimmon Cookies

So I finally got myself some persimmons.  They've been trickling into my kitchen.  Some came from Raley's, some more came from a friend's tree and more will be arriving Tuesday from a local farmer.   For me they respresent everything that is good about the season of fall, along with my other favorite fall fruit the pomegranate.  The persimmon signals that fall is most definitely here to stay and being that I am a believer in eating seasonally as much as possible, I couldn't be happier.  I mean just look at the persimmon.  It's adorable!  With its squatty round body and bright orange flesh.  How can anybody resist!

Hachiya Persimmons

My introduction to persimmons came quite a few years ago when I was teaching 6th grade at Dolores Huerta Elementary school.  My Aunt Ruth, a retired teacher herself, just happened to come out of retirement and take on the school library as head librarian.  What fun to have my Aunt in the same school as I!  One fall day she appeared with a plate of cookies.  And not just any cookies, persimmon cookies!  Being a foodie, I was love-struck!  I had to have the recipe and since that day I've made my own batch of persimmon cookies every fall.

This year, since I've gone wheat and gluten free, I gave myself the challenge to change up Aunt Ruth's recipe and give my digestive system some cookie love without the pain.  The recipe that follows is my new version of an old recipe.

Persimmon Cookies
~ sans wheat and gluten!

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Hachiya persimmons, ripe
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 3 cups Pamela's Ultimate Baking Mix
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cloves
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup agave nectar

  1. Heat oven to 350* F. 
  2. Peel the ripe persimmons and place in a food processor along with the baking soda and pulse until smooth.
  3. In a stand mixer, cream butter and egg until smooth.  Add persimmon pulp and mix throughly.
  4. Add Pamela's Mix, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and agave nectar.  Mix on medium speed until blended well like a soft cookie dough.
  5. Place spoonfuls of dough on cookie sheet.  Bake for 20 minutes until golden brown. 
  6. Remove from oven and let cool on sheet for 5 minutes.  Finish cooling cookies on baking rack. 
Makes about 24 cookies.

Persimmon Cookies

If you're feeling adventurous add some crushed walnuts to the dough or maybe even some chocolate chips!

So here's to Aunt Ruth and her persimmon cookie recipe, because of her I have a delicious cookie and a family tradition to pass down to my girls.  Though persimmons only come once a year and for such a brief window of time, that makes me appreciate them all the more.

What traditions do you celebrate with your family during the fall?

Want to know the facts about persimmons?  Click here to go to my Kitchen Witch Coaching FB Page
Learn about:
The two different types of persimmons
Nutrition facts
More ideas for using persimmons in your daily diet.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Curing Olives

Often I try to escape the kitchen.  I'm in there ALL the time.  I tell myself that I'm crazy to spend so much time in there and why don't I go find something else to do.  Go learn a new skill!  Knit a scarf!  Run a marathon!  Do something besides COOK!

So last Sunday I made a trip to my friend Caroyln's house for a scrapbook sale leaving my spatula behind but taking Mike with me for the outing.  My poor scrapbook has been patiently waiting for me to finish it for the last six years.  Yes, six years ago my daughter and I went to England.  I came home with high expectations and grand visions of a scrapbook to immortalize our memories from that most fantastic journey.  And my outing to Carolyn's sale was inspiration to finally get it finished.

Well I've never been to Carolyn's house and upon arrival I immediately noticed a large olive tree in the front yard beckoning to me.  The tree was magnificent and covered with gorgeous shiny green and purple little olives.  I reluctantly pulled myself away from the tree and entered the party.  Being that I actually do get a thrill from crafty supplies and decorative papers, I made my scrapbooking purchases and Mike, knowing me so well, asked about the olive tree.  Carolyn was more than happy to show us the tree and the many others on her land and was very willing to let us pick them!  I was THRILLED to say the least!  I've never cured olives before, but I could feel the excitement spinning up through my belly at the thought of trying something new in my kitchen.

Two days later Mike and I returned to Carolyn's house with a big bucket ready to be filled.  For an hour we picked those pretty babies off two of the trees.  I could have picked all day, such was the joy I felt in harvesting food.  Local food, grown in my neck of the woods on a tree just waiting to share her bounty and become tasty little morsels to eat!

Mike and I picking olives

I just can't get enough!

Hmm now how to cure those olive?  Thank the heavens for internet!  After searching many websites, we found a recipe that seemed easy enough.  So how exactly did we do it?  First, we rinsed the olives in the sink to remove any debris.  Second, we punctured the skin of the olive with a knife, making a small slit in the skin without slicing into the pit.  Third, we filled glass jars to the top with the olives.  And fourth, we poured a salt water mixture over the olives up to the very brim so all of the olives were covered.  (1/4 cup of salt to 4 cups water)  To keep the olives from floating up to the top and peeking out of the water, we placed drinking glasses in the jars.  It's working pretty well so far!

Our loot in the sink ready to be washed

Adding a cut to the skin

And now we wait!

So how long does this olive curing process take?  Well according to my internet sources, six weeks.  Each week the water must be changed and new salt water added.  This coming Tuesday will be the first water change.  And just a hint, place a cookie sheet under your jars.  As the olives are curing water is slowly dripping over the top and making a gooey mess!  I'm excited to have another experiment on my counter.  It's most definitely not the first and certainly won't be the last!

So my attempt to leave the kitchen and find other ways of creating and doing actually led me BACK into the kitchen!  What!?  I guess I can't escape.  I went for scrapbooking supplies and ended up curing olives!  Somehow or another I always find myself back in the kitchen making some kind of tasty temptation or crazy concotion.  Perhaps it is just my destiny to be the Kitchen Witch.

And by the way, I did actually finish that scrapbook.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Learning to Say NO

This morning was a pivotal moment for me.  Like every weekday morning I arrived in the kitchen at 7:00 am to fix breakfast for my two teenage girls before they leave to catch the bus at 7:35.  It is something I do as a mom to ensure they always start their day with a full tummy and good nutrition for their brain and body.

But this morning I was surprised to see the coffee pot on the counter full of coffee and a mug nearby full of the same.  Alicia, my eldest, my 16 year old.  She got up very early this morning to get herself ready for a busy day.  It's homecoming week and as a cheerleader, Friday of homecoming is a monumental day.  I was upset to see the coffee pot.  I've been watching her struggle with the highs and lows of sugar and caffeine cravings and though she consciously knows that caffeine sends her down a dark path of feeling unwell, she was caving in.

She arrived at the kitchen table for her breakfast and I asked her about the coffee.  Her reason for the coffee?  She likes the taste.  Well I know that wasn't the truth, coffee smells good, but it doesn't taste good until she fills it up with sugar.

At that moment, I made the decision to tell her NO.  NO, she was not going to drink the coffee or take a mug of it to school.  Her 16 year old independence flared up and I could see the anger blazing forth from her eyes.  "WHY?"  she demanded in her best "Housewives of Orange County" head shaking attitude. 

Instantly time seemed to stand still and I felt deep inside of me a conviction and commitment to my NO.  A conviction and commitment that for the first time I was able to hold onto.  I could see that in the past I would relent to soothe her anger so as not to lose the love of my child.  And because of my inability to say NO, I was allowing her to struggle with addictions that in her 16 years she couldn't handle. 

I could finally see that in saying YES in the past I was fooling myself into thinking that this was how I showed her my love when really saying YES came from a place of fear, a fear that she would not love me if I said NO.  Now it was so clear to me that saying NO was actually the true way to show her that I loved her enough to stop her from doing something that was harming her.

I gazed right back at her and stood my ground unwavering in the commitment I had made.  So I replied.  "You can be mad at me, but I am your mom and therefore responsible for you which includes your health, so I am saying NO.  I can not stand back and watch you harm yourself."  She glared for a minute longer and then quite suddenly her demeanor changed.  I swear I saw relief come over her body and my happy-go-lucky child came forth.

Over the years in my attempt to allow her to have choices and independence, I came to see that I had given her too much independence and responsibility in taking care of herself.  It is enough for her to take on cheer leading, Earth Club, honors classes, P-SATs, friends, her bedroom, her laundry, preparing for college, and all the fabulous things that come with being in high school.  But asking her to take responsibility for her food choices was just too much.  It is my responsibility to feed her well, to keep her healthy.  Very soon she'll be out on her own, and will have to make those choices.  For now she only wants to be concerned with eyeshadow colors, decorating her room and texting her friends.

But what caused me to be able to finally say NO and mean it?  In the past I've said no many times, but could never sustain the NO.  Why now?  While going for a walk, it dawned on me why.  Because I've finally healed myself of those same addictions.  When I was addicted to sugar and caffeine, I would try to say NO to her, but my own addiction would override the NO because my body was still saying YES.  It wasn't until I made the commitment these past 3 months to finally heal myself, that I can now say NO. 

And so this morning was a pivotal moment.  I can feel that I've turned a corner in my life.  I've made an amazing discovery and in the process not only deepened my connection to my daughter, but took a burden off her shoulders that she did not want to carry.

And so the quote goes "Healer Heal Thyself" ~ thank you, I understand.

Alicia and me, her Mom

Monday, October 18, 2010

Beef Stew

It's finally raining!  Oh how I've waited so long for some rain!  I didn't get very much of it though.  Darn clouds are just teasing me.  A little storm with some thunder and lightening would make me a happy girl but alas I must be grateful for what I can get.  Summer in the foothills of California are hot hot hot and dry dry dry!  And they last FOREVER!  So when fall does finally make an appearance I am more than ready!

These cold rainy cloudy days make me want to cook hearty stews and soups and bake breads and other delectable treats.  Nothing makes me happier than lighting some candles, playing a little Paganini, drinking hot tea and creating magick in the kitchen!  Well I guess there are other things in life that make me happy too, like a good hair cut and color and french manicured toes!! 

So today my kitchen smells of homemade bread and raspberry blueberry scones, mmmmmmm.  And for dinner how about a hearty beef stew?  Double mmmmmmm.  And how about dipping that homemade bread into the delicious sauce!  Triple mmmmmm!!!

Beef Stew
  • 3# beef chuck, cut into cubes
  • olive oil
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tbsp flour or arrowroot powder
  • salt and pepper
  • 1# medium onions, cut into chunks
  • 1# small white or red new potatoes, halved if small, quartered if large
  • 1# carrots, cut into 1 1/2 in lengths
  • 6 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp dried thyme
  • 3 cups water or beef broth
  1. Place beef and onions in a large pot with a little olive oil and saute on medium-high heat.  Once beef is almost brown, add garlic and continue cooking until all the beef is browned and the onion is translucent.
  2. Add tomato paste, vinegar, and flour or arrowroot powder.  Season with salt, pepper, thyme and bay leaf. 
  3. Add 2 cups water or beef broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours until beef becomes very tender.
  4. Add potatoes and carrots to pot with rest of water or broth.  Bring back to a boil and simmer for another hour until potatoes and carrots are cooked through.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

A delicious bowl of beef stew makes me warm and happy inside

I always like to make more sauce, so I'll add another cup of water or broth into the pot that I've mixed with a tbsp of arrowroot powder.  Feel free to add more spices or even more vegetables ~ for example this last pot of stew I made, I added cut up acorn squash that I roasted and peeled ahead of time.  Stews are great with lots of various root vegetables, so get creative!

If you don't have that much time to make this stew, go ahead and throw everything into a crockpot in the morning, turn onto low and in the evening you'll have a pot full of yummy goodness!

So I welcome fall with great relish and appreciation!  And I will continue to cook delicious meals made with the treasures of the season.  Now to find myself some persimmons!

What rituals and foods do you love to create in your home when fall arrives?


Still have some zuchinni leftover from the summer harvest?  Check out my notes section at Kitchen Witch Coaching Facebook page for a wheat-free gluten-free Zuchinni Bread that'll knock your socks off!

Kitchen Witch Coaching website has been updated!  Have a peek!

November Newsletter is coming!  I know you won't want to miss a single issue, so if I don't have your email, post it here in the comments section and I'll be sure to put you in my contacts list.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Broccoli Bacon Potato Soup

Come September Mother Nature and I go to battle with each other.  While I'm demanding cooler weather and fall colors, the sun continues to beat its hot rays down on my patch of earth while the AC clicks on once more.

Growing up on the northern coast of California, extreme temperatures in the 100's were not part of my awareness in September.  Instead my memories of September include apples, blazing oranges and reds, falling leaves, pumpkins, crisp morning air, sweaters, back-to-school, new clothes and pencil boxes.  Now living in the foothills of California several hours away from the ocean, summer insists on having its way during my favorite time of year, hence the battle.

I actually begin the fight by decorating my home with all my autumn decor on September 1 begging the summer heat to go away!  Apples, pomegranates, and figs begin to find their way into the fruit bowl as the summer peaches dwindle away.  I'm ready for fall!  I'm ready for the magickal stirrings of the land as the dry heat releases its grip and makes way for cool breezes and perhaps if luck will have it, some rain.

Even in the heat of the day, I find myself craving fall foods, especially soup!  So my Sunday in the kitchen consisted of making a broccoli potato bacon soup while cursing at the air conditioner.

Broccoli Bacon Potato Soup

  • 4 slices bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 1 large head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 3 medium or 4 small yellow potatoes, cut into small pieces
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk (or non-dairy milk)
  • 1 tbsp dried thyme herb
  • 1 tsp each garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, coriander powder and nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a pot cook bacon until crispy, remove bacon from pan and place on paper towel leaving bacon drippings in the pan.
  2. Add to pot broccoli, onion, garlic and potatoes along with the olive oil.  Add the thyme herb and cook about 10 minutes until onion is translucent.
  3. Add chicken broth, the spices and the bay leaf.  Bring to a boil, turn down heat and simmer until potatoes are cooked through.
  4. Remove bay leaf and using a potato masher, mash the soup until smooth or leave a little chunky if you like.  (or place soup in a food processor to blend if you really like velvety smooth soup)
  5. Add milk, salt and pepper.  Taste and add more spices until desired taste is achieved.
  6. Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with bacon.

A bowl of fall yumminess!!

So the battle will continue and more soups will be made.  This morning I even placed pumpkins from the garden on the porch, and for dinner I'll be roasting acorn squash.  Perhaps Mother Nature will finally get my very big hint and stop this 100 degree weather non-sense.

How is fall coming along in your neck of the woods?

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Leftover Quinoa

So what do you do with leftover quinoa?  Whenever I do cook a batch of quinoa, I always cook a little extra to keep in the fridge for the week.  I love opening the fridge to see a tupperware of leftover quinoa that I can transform into a lunch or a breakfast with the wave of my wand.

So this week I got a little creative and tried something new with my leftover red quinoa.  My first experiment was lunch.  I'll call it "Sauteed Veggie Quinoa with Egg and Tomato Basil Salsa".  I know its rather long, makes me feel like I'm on Chopped or Top Chef.  Of course you can take my creation and change out the vegetables to create your own taste sensation.

Sauteed Veggie Quinoa with Egg and Tomato Basil Salsa
  • 1 bulb fennel, chopped
  • 1 handful of ripped beet greens (or use a green of your choice)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Handful of fresh basil ripped (why chop with a knife when you have hands that can tear?)
  • 1 cup leftover quinoa
  • Several spoonfuls of tomato basil salsa (see recipe below)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tsp butter
  • Salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  1. Heat olive oil in a pan.  Add fennel and beet greens, sauteeing until tender.  Add garlic and fresh basil right before greens and fennel are done cooking.  Season with salt, pepper, and a little garlic powder.  Place veggies on plate.
  2. Add leftover quinoa and some water to your pan to get quinoa warmed up.  Let quinoa heat up while water evaporates making sure to stir so the quinoa doesn't stick.  Add the quinoa to your veggies.
  3. Now add the butter to your pan and once melted fry your egg however you like.  Add to the veggies and quinoa.
  4. Spoon some tomato basil salsa on top and enjoy!!
 Tomato Basil Salsa ~ chopped tomatoes, chopped basil, chopped garlic, chopped red onions, salt, pepper, olive oil, balsamic vinegar.  I don't measure anything on this one.  Just fill a bowl with your tomatoes, however much basil you like, as much garlic and onions as you like, season with salt and pepper to taste, olive oil is about 1 -2 tbsp but you can add more if you like, and vinegar is about 2-3 tsps.  Taste as you go and keep adding until you are happy!

A little lunch love

So that was my lunch.  This morning when I got up to make breakfast for the girls before school, my mind started humming again when I saw the last of the leftover quinoa and an apple in the fruit bowl.  Hmmmm, how about quinoa porridge with sauteed apples!

Quinoa Porridge with Sauteed Apples
  • 1 apple, cored sliced and cut in half (any kind of apple you like is fine)
  • Leftover quinoa
  • 1 tbsp and 1 tsp butter
  • Walnuts, chopped or crushed
  • Sea salt
  • Cinnamon
  • Maple syrup or Agave Nectar
  1. Heat a pan with the 1 tbsp butter, when hot add the chopped apples, sprinkle with cinnamon and let cook until soft (think apple pie filling)
  2. In a pot, place leftover quinoa with some water to warm up the quinoa.  Add the 1 tsp of butter and a sprinkle of sea salt and a dash of cinnamon.  (feeling creative? try other spices too ~ ginger, cloves nutmeg)
  3. Place quinoa in bowls and top with sauteed apples and walnuts
  4. For a little sweetness, drizzle with maple syrup or agave nectar

A Little Bowl of Delight

The easiest way to think of quinoa is to think of rice.  However you would use rice, replace with quinoa.  This gives you some variety in your diet and more nutrition.  The possiblities are endless with quinoa! 

You don't have to be a chef to create delicious meals.  With determination and a willingness to be adventurous you too can be a Kitchen Witch.

Want another quinoa recipe?  Check out my Kitchen Witch Coaching Facebook page. 
  • Just click on my Facebook Badge to the left of this blog
In the Notes section there is a delicious recipe for Quinoa Muffins!  Join me and all my fans as we celebrate food, nutrition, health and wellness.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Wheat Free Gluten Free LOVE

I'm pretty sure I have an intolerance to wheat and gluten.  For years I've been trying to get rid of that awful "belly bloat" that makes me sometimes look like I'm 5 months pregnant, the painful cramps in my lower abdomen that make me lie on the floor in the fetal position, the dark circles under my eyes as if I forgot to take off my Maybelline and the continual stuffy "feel-like-I-need-to-blow-my-nose-but-nothing-comes-out-feeling." 

For several years I managed a food coop and in that role I discovered a whole new world of foods, including wheat-free and gluten-free products.  Off and on I made attempts at eliminating wheat/gluten foods from my diet, but my attempts were weak at best and the loaf of rice bread made a better door stop than a tasty sandwich.

Since enrolling at Integrative Nutrition this past summer, I made a serious committment to myself that once and for all I would solve the mystery of my ailments.  Though I have done a MUCH better job than I have ever done before in eliminating wheat and gluten, they still creep in.  But luckily being the scientist that I am, I take well to journaling and documenting my progress.  And so far, the results are definitely showing an intolerance.  Not an allergy, but an intolerance.  An intolerance that rips my intestines apart and leaves me achey and raw!  I even researched IBS and Celiac.  Thank the heavens I am not Celiac!  Though I do have great sympathy to those who are. 

So a little trip to the health food store, well not so little as I have to drive 50 minutes to get there, was like going to heaven!  So many new wheat/gluten free products on the shelves since those days of when I managed the coop.  I couldn't believe it!  And neither could my wallet!  Since then I've found breadcrumbs, pie crust, brownie mix, english muffins, bagels, and much more that I have yet to try.  But my one staple that I absolutely love is Pamela's Pancake & Baking Mix.  I use it for everything.  I actually buy it by the case at Amazon! 

Here is a little wheat-free gluten-free love for you and a bread machine recipe using this mix.  I told you I use it for everything!

Bread Machine Recipe
3/4 cup very warm water
2 tablespoons oil
2 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon honey or white sugar
3 cups Pamela's Baking & Pancake Mix
2 pkg instant yeast (4-1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 teaspoon salt

Place all liquid ingredients into bread machine, then add dry ingredients. Turn on machine using white bread setting. This recipe makes a 1-1/2 pound loaf. Use a serrated knife to cut slices or freeze loaf first and then slice.

Try adding sesame seeds, poppy seeds or sunflower seeds to dough while mixing, or add 1/2 cup raisins and 1 teaspoon cinnamon. 
This bread makes fantastic grilled sandwiches, cinnamon toast, and french toast.

Bon apettit!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Embracing Me

There have been a few women in my life who have rocked my world.  Seems to be, that in the journey of my life, it has been women who have carried me along from one adventure, one experience to the next.  My umpteen jobs have always come about because of women.  My 9 year journey into my own soul came about because of women.  And even my passion for food and nutrition was inspired by women.

But there have only been a very few that have come into my life and literally transformed it; actually shaken me to the core.

Once such woman was Barbara Backus.  My senior year at CSU Sacramento, first day of school, sitting in Chemistry waiting for the professor.  In walks this red-headed woman in a white lab coat and proceeds to introduce herself and hand out the syllabus.  My chin was on the floor.  I couldn't move.  As my heart pounded, I could feel my brain actually killing off the old neuropathway that said "Only men are scientists" and begin the creation of a new one "Women CAN BE scientists!"

I spent every homework study hall in her office, even though I didn't need any help with my chemistry.  I just had to be near her.  Soaking in her scientist brain and desperately wanting to wear her lab coat.  Did I become a scientist?  No, unfortunately there still lived a voice in my head that had told me back when I was 20 that I couldn't be a scientist, that I wasn't good at math and science.  Well actually, that voice was wrong.  Very wrong.

I found out during that last year of college that I was actually VERY GOOD at math and science.  I scored all A's and those A's came rather easily.  My heart wept for the scientist in me that was graduating and going off to be a school teacher.  Within 5 years of teaching, I quit.  Teaching 6th graders the standards wasn't in my heart.

Since then only 2 other women have seen the scientist in me.  Yesterday, as I did a practice session with a fellow student at Integrative Nutrition (my current school), my heart was once again torn open.  After a half hour of going over my health history with this woman, she proceeded to show me how all the pieces of my life were strung together and she actually called me a scientist!  I was dumbfounded.  I was dumbfounded at how she completely saw ME!  The ME that I keep locked inside my heart, and here it was so obvious to her.

The only other woman in my life who has ever seen ME is my dearest sister in spirit, Tracy.  She is an artist, and an extraordinary one at that.  Not too long ago, back in the early spring, she sent me a package.  When I opened the package and saw the art she had created I exploded with spasms of sound that I don't think any human or animal has ever made.  There I was looking at myself wearing that white lab coat, hands on my hips, a look of "this is me world, I am a scientist!"

And now even as I write this my heart is pounding, to actually claim the word "scientist" brings shivers throughout my body.  A scientist, a nutritional scientist.  Can I actually call myself by that name?!  Can I actually shut up that voice of "I can't" in my head?  Can I actually embrace that love I had for Barbara Backus and her Chemistry class.  Can I finally after all these years embrace ME!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Teaspoons and Tablespoons

I'm sitting on the porch this Sunday drinking red raspberry herbal infusion writing in my Integrative Nutrition Journal and wondering why I even started this blog.  The blog I created for my husband came from an inspiration.  Sitting in the doctor's office while Mike was getting a PET scan, I leafed through another Coping with Cancer magazine to stumble upon an article about the Human Tribe Project.  I new instantly in my gut I wanted to create a tribe for him. 

But this blog, it didn't come from divine inspiration, from spirit guiding me to another piece in the creation of my life and career.  I have to admit, it came from lack, scarcity.  A feeling of "I must do this too cause so many other people are doing it!  I must get my website up!  I must get my career ready!  I must get myelf out there!  I must blog because other student's of my school are blogging!"  It was created in a frenzy of "must haves" and not wanting to be left behind.  Definitely not divinely inspired.

Even my commitment to myself to spend Sundays in the kitchen has been called into question.  Do I really want to spend every Sunday in my kitchen?  Sure I love my kitchen and the magick I create in there, but why am I choosing this?  With 4 planets in Virgo, I definitely crave structure, organization and love having my weeks and days planned out.  But I also am a Rising Sagittarius, so my desire for freedom is very strong.  So strong in fact that not long after I create structure and detailed organization for my life, I begin to feel trapped, suffocated and I blow the whole thing apart.  It is frustrating to be constantly swinging back and forth between structure and total freedom.  I deeply crave to find the balance between the two, and being a Sun and Moon Libra you'd think I'd be able to balance my scales!

So now I have to let go of this blog and ask spirit to guide me to its purpose.  I know I shouldn't get rid of it.  I know that eventually I would have created a blog, but instead of waiting for the perfect timing, I jumped ahead too soon.  Another wonderful lesson that I continually learn.  To trust God, to know that everything in my life is always perfect, that I don't need to push anything.  I have a loving God and loving Angels guiding every step of my life.

So I did take pictures of my latest discovery at the farmer's market that I will share with you.  I get quite ADHD when I am at a farmer's market.  There are so many gorgeous fruits and vegetables that I get overwhelmed.  But I did calm down enough to discover, learn about and buy Cranberry Beans.

And yes I did cook them into a most delectable soup.  And honestly, I can tell you the ingredients I used but not quantity.  I don't use measurements when I cook.  I use my eyes, my ears, my nose, my hands and my tastebuds to create meals.  I tried to think about how much olive oil I was using and how much basil I threw into the pot, but trying to write down a recipe that I've thrown together is challenging.  I'd much rather cook with a person teaching them to trust their instincts.  Trying to put the magick I love to create into a structured recipe limited by tablespoons and teaspoons is stifling.

So here is what I used:
olive oil
medium yellow onion chopped
2 carrots sliced thinly
2 celery sticks sliced thinly
1 zuchinni diced
1 red bell pepper diced
1 bunch swiss chard ripped
2 tomatoes diced
salt and pepper
a dash of paprika
a dash of garlic powder
quite a few pinches of dried oregano
a handful of fresh basil
a dash of red wine vinegar
shelled cranberry beans
chicken stock

I let all the vegetables except the swiss chard sweat in the pot with the olive oil and all the spices except the basil for about 10 minutes.  Then I added the stock, the beans and the basil and simmered for 25 minutes.  About 3 minutes before time was up I added the swiss chard and red wine vinegar.  Finished cooking and threw in a little more basil from the garden.

Here are the cranberry beans.  The colors are amazing!

Here are the beans after being shelled.  Pink!  I love it!

And here is my soup, my magickal creation.

So who knows what will happen to this blog.  Who knows how I will be inspired.  But inspired is how I choose to live my life.  Not dictated by outside sources, but by my own internal guidance.  So trust yourself to know what is always right for you and never ever be afraid to put away the tablespoons.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Another Kitchen Sunday

Well I almost didn't make it to the kitchen today for my "Sunday's in the Kitchen" routine.  Felt very tired today and had no desire to do anything.  I sat on the porch the entire morning drinking tea and reading.  Had some lunch then took a nap!  I actually never got out of my pajamas!  I guess it was just one of those days where my body needed to rest.

Really we've been through the ringer this year.  Mike being diagnosed with cancer back in April has taken our family to hell and back.  Though we're not out of the woods yet, things are definitely getting much better as Mike gets much better.

And I started back to school at the beginning of August.  Isn't just like me to decide that I can be superwoman?  Be a caregiver to my husband, mom of 2 teenage girls, chef, maid, chaueffuer, nurse, student, financial advisor, gardener, butler, servant, slave.  Learning to balance all my "hats" in life is integral to my health, so resting when my body says rest is important! 

So I didn't get to the apricot macaroons I had planned to bake (I'll do them tomorrow).  But I did get those garden cucumbers pickled and jarred.  They look awfully pretty in the jar!

Refrigerator Pickles

2lbs cucumbers, sliced 1/2 in thick
1 medium Vidalia or other sweet onion, sliced 1/2 in thick
2 celery stalks, sliced 1/2 in thick
Sea salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup cider vinegar
1 tsp celery seed
1 tsp mustard seed

In a colander set over a medium bowl, toss cucumbers, onion, and celery stalks with 1 1/2 tsp salt.  Set aside to drain, 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.  In a small bowl, combine sugar, vinegar, celery seed, and mustard seed; stir until sugar is dissolved.
Divide cucumber mixture among clean jars or airtight containers, and pour vinegar mixture over.  Refrigerate at least 8 hours (or up to 2 weeks).

Another version which is much more healthful in that it contains no sugar or vinegar is the lacto-fermented pickles from Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions.  These pickles create beneficial bacteria which is good for your gut and a fun way to get your probiotics instead of in an expensive pill or from gallons of yogurt.

Pickled Cucumbers

4-5 cucumbers
1 tbsp mustard seeds
2 tbsp fresh dill
1 tbsp sea salt
4 tbsp whey
1 cup water (filtered if possible)

Wash cucumbers well and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.  Combine remaining ingredients and pour over cucumber, adding more water if necessary to cover the cucumbers. The top of the liquid should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.

So your probably wondering, "What in the world is whey?"  Whey is the yellow liquid that separates from milk.  Think of Little Miss Muffett eating her curds (the cheese) and whey (the leftover liquid from making cheese).  To make whey, get some raw milk from the health food store.  Pour it into a glass container, cover and let sit for 1-4 days until the curds and whey are separated.  Strain and you have whey!  If you aren't able to make whey, use an additional 1 tbsp of salt in the recipe.

Enjoy your cucumbers, savor the summer harvest and of course, get lots of rest when your body needs it!

Friday, August 20, 2010

A Gift for the Gab

Looks Like I was a Born Talker!

Well from the looks of things, I've been talking for quite some time.  Now I understand all the detentions and demerit marks I got in school for not being able to keep my mouth shut.  "Kristi talks too much!"  My mom heard that one over and over and over and over and over again from all my teachers.  Every report card and every conference focused on my yaking in class, and my oh so sly passing of notes which the teachers always confiscated.  You would think after years of note passing I would have gotten pretty slick at not getting caught, but nope not me.  If I could write on it, I did.  If I could chuck it across the room when the teacher's back was turned, I did. 

My talking continued in high school.  It got so bad my parents actually bought me a phone for my room and oh the sheer joy of hearing that phone ring!  Running down the hallway to my room was pure happiness!    And the note passing, I was definitely improving my skills.  Passing was easy now that I could do it in the hallways between classes.  Teachers couldn't snag your notes in the hallways.  And really it was pretty easy in class to write my poetic letters to my friends with such important information such as "Gwen likes Matt!!!  TLA!!!"

It wasn't too long ago that my parents went through their shed and found a few of my boxes filled with old memories ~ actually filled with notes!  LOL!  Piles of them, even old birthday cards way back to elementary school.  And what cracked me up the most was a green binder filled with every note that my dear best friend Suzie wrote to me.  What fun to read about our crazy high school adventures!

So it looks like I've managed to change with the times.  From my awesome rotary phone in the 70's to Facebook and Twitter, I can keep up with the best of them; or so I think.  No matter what comes my way, I'll always find a way to keep on gabbing.

Thanks Mom ~ you created a monster.  ;0)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sundays in the Kitchen

I love Sundays in the kitchen.  It is my day to create magick.  I made the commitment to myself 3 weeks ago that Sundays would be devoted to cooking, baking, fermenting, soaking, and prepping along with the usual household chores like cleaning and laundry.  It is my day to re-connect to my home and my inner witch, releasing myself from the busyness of the week, letting go of technology for a day, and planning my upcoming week.

Today's magickal creations include a loaf of Pamela's wheat-free gluten-free bread mix that I poured into the bread machine early this morning.  It wasn't long before the smell of freshly baked bread began wafting through the house.  Such a delicious smell.  I have found that I feel much better when I don't eat gluten containing products.  So I've been experimenting with different grains and flour mixes.  Pamela's is getting top ratings right now in my kitchen!

To add to that delicious bread smell, I also baked some Pamela's wheat-free gluten-free brownies!  OMG!  They are certainly heavenly!  To kick the brownies up a notch, I added a little espresso powder.  Oh yeah, baby!

And since I love to create something that my girls can take for their lunches during the week, I made some Chewy Snack Bars.  I'm including the recipe because they are so yummy and so versatile.  The ingredients can be changed to make many variations, which is great!

Nutty Snack Bars by Jen Allbritton

1 cup of nut butter (almond, peanut butter, cashew, etc.)
1/4 to 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1 cup almonds chopped into large or small pieces
1 cup dried shredded coconut
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup chocolate chips and/or dried fruit

Mix everything together and press into a baking dish.  You can leave this recipe raw and place it into the refrigerator as is or allow the flavors to meld and the chips to melt by baking it for approximately 20 minutes at 350*F.

Here is the one I made today!  Yummo!

What is awesome about this recipe is that you can use any kinds of nuts and dried fruits imaginable! My girls like a combo of cranberries, pomegranate seeds, bluberries and cherries. 

So who knows what I'll come up with for next Sunday, but I look forward to it all week!  In the meantime, find that inner kitchen witch inside you and cook up something delicious!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Beginning

Well here it is my own personal blog.  I've only been a blogger for the past 4 months.  I began a blog for my husband.  You see he was diagnosed with cancer back in April 2010 and I wanted an easy way for our friends and family to stay up to speed with his progress.  He is doing great by the way and through sharing the tragic and terrifying and even amazing journey of cancer with 85 people, I discovered that I have an absolute love of sharing what is in my heart through the written word.

I kept asking my husband, "What am I going to write about when your done with cancer?"  And he kept saying over and over again "Your nutrition!"  And since I have a bad habit of pushing away that which I truly love, I ignored him over and over again.  Until this evening when I found the blog of a fellow lover of nutrition and food and I felt this energy rise up in my body, this irritation that once again I wasn't doing what I wanted to do.

So here I am, taking another step forward in my own journey in life.  And let me tell you it has been an amazing one.  Yes, I am a foodie to the extreme.  I have quite the history with food.  I just began school last week at Institute for Integrative Nutrition to become a Certified Holistic Health Coach.  And my journey to get myself to this school has been one wild ride!  One of which would fill the pages of a novel. 

This blog will definitely evolve as I write.  I don't know what half the buttons are on this page or how to download anything yet.  I still don't understand what an RSS feed is.  But I am a fantastic learner so I'm sure I will figure it all out, just like I'll figure out what it is that I'm here to share with this blog.

I call myself the Kitchen Witch.  I am a lover of food and the art that can be created with food.  My whole life revolves around food.   It is my meditation, my medicine, and my magick.   Welcome to my journey.