Creamy Sweet Potato Garden Pasta Sauce

img_7455This is my favorite way to cook. Letting creativity and spontaneity come together, using everything I have from the garden or extra vegetables after a trip to the farmers market. Easy, simple and never again to be replicated. This is true joy, you will find me in no happier state. A warm pan simmering, smiles and nourished bellies, all feels right and my heart is full. Perhaps it is my yearning for fall, as the kids gear up to go back to school, and sweet potatoes are on my mind! It is time to thin my carrots in garden, and this is an excellent way to use those tiny carrots. Not much prep involved, just cut roughly and throw in what you’ve got! Try and keep tomatoes the main ingredient, sweet potatoes second and after that use to your heart’s content. Carrots, peppers, herbs, celery, onion, garlic all make great choices. I then add my raw yogurt, Parmesan cheese, a little maple syrup and nutmeg to further bring out the creamy texture and warmth of the sweet potatoes. This sauce is amazing for lasagna, or your favorite pasta dish.  This recipe also freezes and preserves well if you choose to make a large batch out of your extra summer tomatoes.

Ingerdients:

  • 8 Garden Fresh Tomatoes
  • 3 cups Pear Tomatoes
  • 2 large Sweet Potatoes (cooked through, and cut into fourths)
  • 2 Bell Peppers
  • 4 Mild Wax Peppers
  • 2 Medium Carrots or 5-10 Baby Carrots
  • 3 Cloves of Garlic
  • 1/2 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Spring Basil
  • 1 c Raw Yogurt
  • 1 C Parmesan Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 3 Tbs Olive Oil
  • 2 Tbs Maple Syrup
  • 2 Tsp Nutmeg

Cut all vegetables into coarse chunks. Place in sauce pan with olive oil, salt and pepper. Simmer with lid on unit vegetables are soft approx. 30 -40 min. Let mixture cool.

Realized I had a couple bell peppers in fridge; threw those in too! img_7435Place in blender and blend until smooth. Pour the now smooth mixture into pan and heat. Add yogurt and cheese, stir over medium heat to incorporate. img_7438Add maple syrup and nutmeg to taste, as well as salt and pepper as desired. Serve over favorite pasta and enjoy! img_7439

 

 

 

 

Quick Pretzel Crusted Pork Chops

img_7131These cook up in a snap and are easy to assemble. I used pretzels because I ran out of Panko, (my favorite; a  japanese style bread crumb). The pretzels tasted great with the pork and added a nice crunch. You can use anything you have on hand for the breading; breadcrumbs, Panko, crackers, pretzels. I always like a challenge to avoid another errand just for an item or two, and feel very resourceful and creative in using what I already have! It doesn’t always work as planned, but it’s fun to try! The pork is marinated in my raw  yogurt,  lemon salt and pepper and that’s it! The longer you marinate these the better. These were marinated for about 6 hours and turned out tender, you could do this overnight or a couple of days even better! These chops are a really thin boneless cut that is perfect for breading. I place in oven because, well, I hate the effort and mess of frying food on the stove top. Put them all in a pan (bottom covered in foil so no mess) and that’s the extent of it.

Ingredients:

  • 4-5 Thin Cut, Boneless Pork Chops
  • 1 c Yogurt
  • 1 tbs Salt
  • 1 tbs Fresh Craked Pepper
  • Juice of 1 Lemon
  • 4 C Pretzelsimg_7129
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

Place pork chops in Ziploc bag and add yogurt, lemon salt and pepper. Fun part; pound with fist or smooth part of meat tenderizer to help tenderize and flatten a bit.  Marinate for 3-24 hours. Preheat oven to 425 f. Pour olive oil 1/4 way up in the bottom of a 9″ x 13″ dish. Place pretzels in Ziploc bag. With rolling-pin roll over bag to create “crumbs” you will have some larger pieces and this is OK! Add marinated pork chops to crumb bag, one at a time, and shake. Remove and place in dish, leaving room around each pork chop. Repeat with all pork chops and place in oven for 10 minutes, turning each pork chop and cooking for an additional 10 minutes. Remove from pan when done and allow to drain on paper towel before serving!

Fluffy Protein Bread

img_7028-1This Recipe is for a bread machine, but can be used without one as well. (Bread machines are amazing you can make any sort of dough and either bake right in the machine or in the oven.) This recipe uses almond four (courtesy of Farm to Kids– check out their cause!) and yogurt to give the bread a mellow flavor and tang similar to a mild sourdough but with the texture of focaccia.

Ingredients:

  • img_70202 c Bread Flour
  • 1 c Almond Flour
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 2 Tbs Maple syrup
  • 1/4 c Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Yeast
  • 1/2 Warm Water

Directions:

Place ingredients in Bread Machine in order listed. Place machine on dough cycle, (or leave to bake through in machine, its up to you!) When dough is finished, remove, punch down and place into greased loaf pans. Place in warm space (like unheated oven) and allow to rise one hour. Bake at 350 F for 15- 20 min until golden brown. Serve warm with butter or slice and enjoy later.

 

Plum pops and Stone Fruit Sherbert

img_6812-2Plums abound this week at our local fruit stands. Our own plum tree is raining plums! This Sherbert is a cross between a frozen yogurt and ice cream. Sorry I don’t know what to call it, but my husband decided sherbert was its closest identity! This is a great way to use too ripe fruit that you need to use up. I’m not one to fuss too much in kitchen and love when I can make a couple (or even 4) things out of one recipe for future use. No peeling of fruit involved, and this recipe has double the fruit you need for the sherbert so you can use the puree for popsicles, as a topping, in smoothies, or even baby food!. Our plums and yogurt add a twist on a standard  recipe. The fruit is cooked to render its natural sugars, and maple syrup is added to even further sweeten the deal.

Ingredients:img_6831

Fruit Puree:

  1. 10 ripe plums or a mix of other stone fruit in season, (peaches, apricots, or nectarines)
  2. 1/4 c maple syrup
  3. 1/4 c water

Sherbert Base:

  1. 2 c whole milk
  2. 1 c heavy cream
  3. 1 c yogurt
  4. 1 tbs salt
  5. 6 egg yolks
  6. 2/3 c maple syrup

 

Directions:img_6859

Slice plums in half and remove pit. Place in sauce pan, add water and maple syrup. Simmer and place cover once boiling. Fruit is ready when tender and cooked through, approx 10-15 min. Place mixture in blender when cooled and puree. Use remainder to make plum pops.

Pops: 1 c  puree to 1/2 c water and freeze in Popsicle molds for 4-5 hours, or use as topping to vanilla ice cream, and even baby food!

Place milk, heavy cream, maple syrup and salt into sauce pan. Cook until hot to touch. in bowl whisk egg yolks. Add small amount of heated milk to bowl. Whisk, then add the yokes back to sauce pan and cook an additional 5 min on low until mixture coats the back of spoon. Pour through strainer into bowl, cover and refrigerate for 4 hours. remove and add to ice cream maker. Add fruit puree to ice cream mixture. Follow ice cream mixers directions as far as time. refrigerate for 3-4 hours and serve!img_6883

 

Hearts of Harvest and Art to Feed

img_6750So Grateful and blessed to be able to give with ART to FEED. Last Thursday’s Farmers market was  a truly special time. Working in partners with Hearts of Harvest Foundation, a foundation that gives support to families facing health crisis. Many children and families the foundation  has helped are affected by heart problems at young age, and need extensive surgeries and therapies at hospitals that require extensive travel. This foundation pays for families to stay near to their children, a situation know all to well by my dear friend and vice president of Hearts of Heavest, Jeana Hoff.  The foundation is doing wonderful things for our community, visit Hearts of Harvest online to learn more. This was a very special time for  me to have my family by my side, to hear all the stories form individuals who have been affected by the health crisis of a child, and to see all the new local farms and their wonderful produce! The community was so supportive; children, community workers, families, elderly, and special needs children all painting their “hearts” on the same canvas to show their support. I cant wait to donate this special img_6738painting towards Hearts of Harvest Foundation! Stay tuned to see the finished product!
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Citrus Yogurt Chicken with Thyme

img_6815-2Yogurt is the ultimate marinade for meat. The cultures and acidic nature of yogurt help break down the protein structure in meats, making them tender and flavorful. It serves as a perfect medium to deliver other flavors of your liking to the meat of choice. Our garden is booming, and my favorite herb right now is Thyme. Thyme has a citrus- woodsy taste that I love to use while grilling. My Raw Yogurt Recipe is used in this  marinade; a little lime, paprika, mustard, salt,  fresh ground black pepper and I round it out with a little maple syrup to bring a touch of that sweet sickness that we all love in our BBQ!

 

Ingredients: img_6819

  1. 4 Chicken Breasts (With Ribs or Without)
  2. 1 1/2  C  Raw or Store Bought Yogurt
  3. 1/2 C Maple Syrup
  4. 1/4 C Mustard (Dijon, Whole Grain Or Plain old French’s)
  5. 2 tbsp Salt
  6. 2 tbsp Fresh Ground
    Pepper
  7. 2 tbsp Paprika
  8. 3 tbsp Fresh Thyme
  9. 2 limes (or Lemon if in season)

Directions:

Heat BBQ Grill on Medium High. Place Chicken Breasts in Ziploc bag. Place all ingredients in bag and shake, pound, mix away! Kids will like this job, just be careful with using chicken with ribs in as the img_6811-1pointy bones can poke holes through bag! BBQ on Medium for 25- 35 minutes depending on size, until juices run clear, and internal temperature reads 160 F. Serve with fresh salad or your side of choice!

Simple Maple Blue Berry Pie

img_6785-1I love this pie filling! One because its simple and two because we get to visit Vanderhelm farms down the road to pick our own blue berries!  They have amazing blue berries, I try to get lots of sour (green) ones to balance out the sweetness in this pie filling. This is the simplest of all fruit pie recipes because there is no prepping, peeling or pitting of fruit!  I use maple syrup instead of sugar to give depth of flavor and also because maple syrup is absorbed much slower in the body than other simple sugars (i.e. refined sugar or honey). Use this with my Yogurt Maple Pie Crust recipe and you will have a true taste of farm home goodness!img_6762

Ingredients:

  1. 6 cups fresh blue berries (I have not tried frozen but I suppose you could try!)
  2. 1/2 flour
  3. 2/3 c maple syrup
  4. 2 tbs lemon juice more if berries are really sweet.

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 f. Prepare pie crust as directed. Mix blue berries, flour, lemon juice, and maple syrup in large bowl. Place in pie crust. Place second pie crust to cover. Using sharp knife remove edges, and place slits in top to allow hot air to escape. Crimp edges to close. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 35-45 minutes. Use foil or cover over crust edges to prevent burning.

When do you find the time??

Many busy moms ask me when do I find the time to paint?  Just making it a priority in my week helps.  I try and keep things in perspective and remember that kiddo time should always be on the top 031of the list. I will also admit that since painting the cupboards are running a little bare, as I try to keep errands to a day or two a week. Painting should be fun and any mom can do it. Our outlets away from the constant laundry and demands of the day are important. Time to nourish our spiritual selfs is essential to our happiness and by default our families. Paint away, you will be surprised what you learn after one painting. Plus it is special to have something you love that you created in your home. God gave us all the gift of a mind to create things, the more you create the more He and others will value your work!