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a wish for the holidays

20 Dec

6737778905_b26dbf7dd0With the holidays coming up, we wanted to wish you all a peaceful, and enriching time with family and friends.

Here is a fun way to share with your loved ones: think of someone who will be at your holiday festivities, and has made an impact on your life. Write them a gratitude letter, then read it to them in person. This exercise will not only set the tone, but will also foster a deeper connection to your loved ones during this time of togetherness.

Take a step back from all of the holiday craziness, and try to remain present and positive when celebrating with family and friends, no matter what they bring to the table.

Happy holidays, see you in 2014!

Photo courtesy of Roger’s Eye

kid tested cranberry chutney

25 Nov

IMG_0175Our Thanksgiving cooking class recipe revolved around seasonal fruit like cranberries, apples and pears.

They loved it!

We created a vibrant and fall colored quinoa salad, and to go alongside it, we simmered down a delicious cranberry chutney. A perfect delight for the senses!

Here’s to celebrating the fall harvest, spending time with family and friends, savoring good food, making memories, and giving back to those who need it the most.

Prep Time: 5 minutes Total Time: ~60 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. cranberries
  • 2 c. apples, peeled and chopped
  • 1 c. orange juice
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1 t. ginger
  • 4 T sugar

Directions: 

Add all of the ingredients into a pan and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 1 hour, or until all ingredients are soft and the liquid has reduced.

Happy Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

DIY halloween face mask

1 Nov

1573579417_d4e8679044October is pumpkin season, and what better way to use them up then to treat yourself (and your family) to a halloween pumpkin mask!

This could make for a perfect new fall family tradition.

Not only are pumpkins great for carving, they are also great for our skin, containing high levels vitamins A, C and E.

Your skin gets soothed by the vitamin A, while it gets repaired by the vitamin E, and gets the added benefit of vitamin C which produces collagen and provides your skin elasticity.

Sounds too good to be true? Try it at home, and have fun with your orange-hued faces!

Ingredients:

  • 1/4 cup pumpkin flesh
  • 1 egg
  • 1-2 tbsp honey

Directions:

1. Whisk: Place pumpkin, egg and honey into a food processor, and blend until mixed.

2. Apply: Avoiding the eyes, nostrils and lips, apply the mask to a clean face. Let it stay on for 15-20 minutes.

3. Remove: Rinse with warm water, and pat dry. Enjoy the beneficial effects of pumpkin!

Photo courtesy of reneS

autumn apple crisp

9 Oct

photo (25)The abundant apples of autumn inspire feelings of warmth, togetherness, and comfort.

An intrinsic sense of calm and positivity is called forth when baking with apples.

The anticipation of cutting into crisp apples, and transforming them into soft and sweet treats makes autumn that much better.

Not in the mood to make a whole apple pie? Try making these easy, fun, and delicious tasting apple crisps. If you don’t have those small oven-safe ramekins, you can use a loaf or muffin pan instead, and still get great results.

Let these little desserts inspire your fall season!

Here’s how: recipe adapted from epicurious

Serves 8 Prep Time: 10 Total Time: 1 hr

Ingredients:

Filling:

  • 4 lbs baking apples, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon

Topping:

  • 1 1/4 C rolled oats
  • 1/2 C brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 coconut oil or butter
  • 3/4 C walnuts, chopped

Directions: 

1. Prep: Rinse, core and slice your apples. Set out all of your ingredients. Preheat oven to 375F. Set out ramekins, or alternatives and butter them (coconut oil works too).

2. Create filling and topping: In a big bowl mix together your filling ingredients, and in a separate bowl, mix together your topping ingredients.

3. Assemble and cook: Portion out the filling into your ramekins, then add toppings. Cook in the oven for 45-55 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Flora’s childhood gooseberry memories

12 Jul

704162819_f554e1cc72Stopping by the farm stand, I noticed light blue cardboard containers holding round berries with pronounced veins.

“Are those gooseberries?!?” I exclaimed, in shock and awe.

“Yup! First of the season,” said the farmer.

I continued to explain to my farmer friend how I hadn’t seen gooseberries since I was a child spending time with my mother in the countryside of Italy, her native soil.

At our house we had a massive gooseberry bush that grew these little tart treats, that were incredibly addicting (think sweet and sour deliciousness).

We never planted the bush, it had always just been there.

On hot summer afternoons, I would visit my gooseberry buddies and eat them off the vine. An explosion of sweet tartness would ensue, as I quickly kept picking more to keep up that flavor momentum!

After a while, I started to learn which ones were perfect to eat that day, or which ones needed more time to achieve their peak flavor.

Back at the farm stand 20 years later, the farmer invited me to try one.

I deliberately picked the best looking one, and with child-like abandon took a bite.

I closed my eyes, and remembered the sensations of those hot summer afternoons spent together with my mom in the countryside of Italy.

Photo courtesy of foxypar4