Vanilla Honey

I cannot wait to share this with you! I made this a week ago and I don’t know why I waited this long to share it! I think it’s because I didn’t get around to taking pictures that day, and by the time I wanted was all eaten! My mom and sister LOVE vanilla and honey, so this quickly turned into their favorite. We use it in everything we would put honey it, It is that good!! Enjoy 🙂

Cut open 1 vanilla bean. You will have to push firm to open the skin, but not too firm that you cut the whole thing in half!
Peel away the sides of the vanilla bean with your knife and fingers.
Scrape out the vanilla bean seeds with your knife. Don’t worry if you can’t get all of them out, because you are putting the whole pod in the honey jar anyways.
Set your scraped vanilla pod seeds off to the side. I got about 1/2 a tsp out of 1 plump vanilla bean.
Chop or cut (with kitchen scissors) your hollowed vanilla bean into thirds.
Drop your hollowed chopped vanilla pods into your honey jar. I used and old (pint size) honey jar for this recipe.
Pour 2 cups of honey into your honey jar.
Carefully drop your pile of vanilla bean seeds into your jar filled with honey.
Stir, stir, stir. I stir my honey and vanilla with a kabob stick. I use an up and down motion because the seeds like to float to the top.
To get maximum flavor, infuse your honey in the sunlight for 1-2 weeks. After 1 week, the flavor and scent will be much stronger. When the vanilla flavor is strong enough for your taste, put it back where you usually keep the honey. It will keep just as long as a jar of regular honey will.
*Before using, stir because the vanilla pod seeds tend to migrate towards the top.
Use vanilla honey in anything you would normally use honey and vanilla in. Get creative! We put ours in raw milk kefir, coconut butter, coconut milk ice-cream, pancakes, and tea lattes!

Simple Homemade Peanut Butter

Real peanut butter, as smooth or crunchy as you like, is easy and economical to make in 5 minutes or less using your food processor. There is no need to add additional oil. Unsalted or salted, with or without added flavorings, you will never want to go back to “store bought” again!

Pour your peanut halves into the bowl of a food processor.
Process, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally, until your butter is quite smooth.
If you prefer “chunky” peanut butter, just put in a handful of peanuts when the peanut butter is smooth and let the processor run just long enough to chop them up a bit.
You may, of course, add some good sea salt to taste, if you wish.
You can add sweetener or other flavorings, if you like.
If you will be storing your peanut butter for any length of time, it may be refrigerated or frozen. I leave a small amount out at room temperature and refrigerate the rest, as it is too stiff right out of cold storage.

Healthy Soaked Whole Wheat Cherry Clafoutis

This subtly sweet cherry clafoutis is a perfect breakfast dish with hints of maple syrup and buttermilk laced throughout the batter and beautiful sweet black cherries adding a burst of sweetness and beautiful coloring along the top of the clafoutis. This dish will please even the littlest members of your family.

Mix the flour and buttermilk in a small bowl. Cover the bowl and set in a warm place over night.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Mix the eggs, maple syrup, milk, applesauce, vanilla and sea salt in a small bowl.
Slowly incorporate the egg mixture into the flour mixture. Do not over mix.
Pour the batter into a greased pie pan or medium cast iron skillet.
Arrange and place the cherries in the batter. Press down gently to make sure the cherries are fully incorporated into the clafoutis.
Bake the clafoutis for 20-22 minutes or until the edges are golden brown and separating from the edge of the pan and a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the clafoutis.

Peach Pie Fruit Leather

Peaches are now in season and bountiful. Similar to the plum recipe, this one is made using some cinnamon which gives this a unique flavor profile.

Pit peaches (peels and all) and place in med. sauce pot. Add water and cook until tender. Place in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth adding honey during the process. Spread over lined dehydrator sheets and dehydrate for 6-8 hours. Cut to desired shape.
**My children loved “Fruit by the Foot.” So now I lay them on unbleached parchment, cut them into 1 in. strips, and roll them up.**

Jalepeno Pepper – Cream Cheese Snack

Jalapeno peppers are delicious and nutritious, as they are high in Vitamin A, C, and folate. They are very easy to grow, but not everyone can just eat them fresh out of hand. Adding the cream cheese nicely balances out the heat of the peppers and adds the needed fat to absorb the fat soluble vitamins! Quick and easy to prepare. Great for a buffet or summer picnic.

Cut off the stem ends of the Jalepenos and, under running cold water, scoop out the seeds and membranes from the inside.
Fill each half pepper with cream cheese.
Serve cold.

Cheese Stuffed Fresh Figs with Balsamic Glaze and Mint

Sounds like a fancy gourmet option, but it’s really a very quick snack that I whipped up with some fresh figs. All kinds of flavors are going on here: sweet, spicy, tangy, savory and fresh. Real ingredients paired together in a delicious way.

Cut figs lengthwise and arrange in a small baking dish. Cut cheese into 16 equal squares and stuff into the middle of each fig half.
In a small bowl whisk together honey, vinegar and oil.
Drizzle the oil mixture over the figs. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Place under a broiler for 3-5 minutes or until cheese has browned slightly and is melted.
Garnish with chopped mint leaves.
* I happen to like cheddar in these, but they are also great with cream cheese, Goat cheese, blue cheese and Gruyere. Experiment with your favorites!

Sweet and Sour Pickled Beets

My husband’s favorite! These beets are pickled using raw vinegar, rapadura, and fresh spices. A delicious treat for anyone who likes beets.

In a med sauce pan, place beets and water cook until beets are tender. This should take anywhere from 15 -20 min. Drain and reserve liquid. In a small pan add 2 C of reserved beet liquid, rapadura, vinegar, and spices. Bring to a boil until sugar dissolves. Place beets back into med. pan and add hot pickling liquid, bring to simmer for another 10 minutes. Place beets in cleaned and prepaired canning jars, and can accordingly. Do not open for 5-7 days.

Crunchy Baked Zucchini

This recipe makes a fun side dish that has wide appeal. I avoid using the store bought cooking sprays in the cans as they use cheap oils and added junk that I don’t want. Nor Pro makes a “Mr. Mister” that I use for my oil spraying needs. The oil aids in browning in this recipe, which gives a better appearance, texture and flavor. I make my own bread crumbs from bread failures (bricks) and keep them in the freezer so they are ready to use.

Combine sprouted flour (see my recipe for home sprouted flour), cheese, bread crumbs and seasonings. Coat each zucchini round in beaten egg, then in flour mixture, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and sprayed with oil. Once laid out, spray the tops of each round with oil and bake for 18 minutes at 375 degrees. Serve with ranch dressing.

Crispy-Crunchy Lemon Garlic Roasted Chickpeas

Seriously, a nearly perfect real food on-the-go snack. The chickpeas (or garbonzo beans, if you will) are crispy like nuts, salty and have a tasty seasoning. The texture reminds me of Corn-Nuts, but they are so much healthier! These roasted chickpeas are a favorite with kids and so many different flavors can be made.

Rinse chickpeas well and place in a large bowl. Cover with at least 2 inches over the top of very warm water. Add 3-4 tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, lemon juice or whey. cover and allow to soak in a warm place for 12-24 hours. 24 hours is best.
Drain and rinse chickpeas thoroughly. Place in a large pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface. Lower heat to a simmer and cook until done, about 1-3 hours. If desired you may want to remove the outer skins: Drain cooked chickpeas and fill the pot with cool water. Grab handfuls of chickpeas with your hands and rub them together between your palms. Do this several times, skimming off the skins as they rise to the surface. Then drain the chickpeas in a colander. This is an optional step.
Place chickpeas on a stainless steel baking sheet or one lined with parchment paper. Drizzle on olive oil and seasonings.
Roast chickpeas in the oven at 350 for about 40 minutes. Watch to be sure they don’t burn. I shake the pan several times during cooking.
Allow to cool and store in an airtight container.

Creamy Enzyme-Rich Apple Pie Dip

One of my favorite snacks is raw yogurt cheese, flavored in a variety of ways. I made this one today, and it tastes like apple pie in a bowl! Chock full of probiotics and enzymes from the raw yogurt and raw honey, your body will love it as well as your taste buds! Serve with crackers for a classic apple pie flavor, or fruit for a grain-free option.

Saute peeled and chopped apple in butter until soft and fragrant, adding a splash or two of water if it gets too dry. Let cool to room temperature. Mix together yogurt cheese, honey, and spices, and then stir in apples. Serve with fruit or graham crackers, or eat with a spoon!
If you can, it is good to refrigerate this for several hours to let the flavors meld. This also makes a great packed lunch!

Plum Fruit Leather with Honey

This time of year I purchase large quantities of fruit from my CSA. I then make lots of jam, and this. The bright red color is beautiful, and the slight tartness really is a palate pleaser.

In a 2 qt. pot, heat plums, water and honey. Once the fruit is tender puree in a blender or food mill. Spread out on lined dehydrator sheets. Dry in dehydrator for 7-8 hours. Remove and cut to desired shape.

Better-Than-Nutella Creamy Chocolate-Hazelnut Spread

What’s better than Nutella? A homemade chocolate-hazelnut spread made of real food ingredients in your own kitchen, of course. This creamy chocolaty spread is perfect when paired with fresh berries, in raw desserts, or right off the spoon with a glass of raw milk. Absolutely delicious, and quite healthy too!

Soak the hazelnuts overnight. This step is pretty important to make the hazelnuts more digestible, and get rid of some of the phytic acid that can inhibit the absorption of other nutrients. Cover 2 cups of raw hazelnuts with warm water and a dash of salt. Leave to soak overnight, or for as long as 24 hours. Rinse well before use.
Toast the hazelnuts. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheed and roast for about 15 minutes, or until fragrant. Make sure to roll the nuts halfway so all sides can roast evenly.
Peel the hazelnuts. When hazelnuts have cooled, place in a bowl, add another bowl on top and shake vigorously between the two bowls so the skins can come off. You can also try rubbing the nuts between paper towels, but I have found the bowl method to be easier.
Blend hazelnuts to a nut butter consistency. Add the peeled hazelnuts to your food processor and blend on and off for about 3-4 minutes, scraping the sides of the processor container throughout, until the nuts have become completely smooth.
Add other ingredients and blend. Add sweetener (I prefer maple syrup), unsweetened raw cocao powder, coconut oil, heavy cream, whole milk, vanilla, and salt, and blend for 2-3 minutes on and off until all ingredients are very well integrated. Taste test the mixture, and adjust ingredients to your liking.
Refrigerate and enjoy. Add blended spread to a glass jar and refrigerate. It will keep for a couple of weeks (if it stays that long!)
*To make this vegan, use coconut manna instead of the heavy cream and homemade (unflavored) almond milk or coconut milk instead of the dairy milk. I will not lie – the one with dairy is much tastier than the vegan version (at least it is to me), but the vegan version is pretty good too.
**Adapted from Nutmeg Nanny with my own modifications.