Category: Products

Summer Celebration Fruit Tart

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Hello summer people! It’s celebration time! I’m here to deliver the party favours …a seriously tasty treat and a whole lotta food porn. Ready?

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This tart is everything you want from a summer recipe: quick to make, foolproof, delicious, and uses all the delights of the season. Since I am well aware that you would rather be spending your time at the beach or on the dock and not in the kitchen, making this treat will only take up about half an hour of your day, and the rest you can enjoy nibbling and relaxing!

I couldn’t quite settle on which meal this recipe would best be suited for, so I’ll let you decide on that one. It’s a perfectly respectable breakfast (you’re welcome), but would also make a lovely brunch side, afternoon iced tea accompaniment, or after dinner dessert. Because you can make the crust ahead of time, it can also be taken to a picnic or barbeque and assembled before serving.

The crust is vegan and gluten-free, made with toasted sunflower seeds and buckwheat flour, with a touch of lemon for zing. It is a good, all-around pastry base that can also be pressed into a tart form if you’d like a more tidy-looking dessert. I like the un-fussiness and rusticity of just rolling out the dough (and because I’m lazy). With its tattered edges and uneven shape, it looks like we all should in summer: loose, wild, and free!

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For a big time saver, I’ve opted to use yogurt for the topping instead of making a cashew cream. If you would prefer a non-dairy option, try the cashew cream recipe from this post.  It would be smashing on this tart!

The fruit is also your call, just use whatever is in season around you. We are finally enjoying the annual berry explosion here in Denmark, the one I wait for the entire year, and this recipe is truly a celebration of the juicy abundance, sumptuous colours, and bright flavours all around. Toss on a combination of favourites, or go for a solo fruit that you really want to highlight. This tart can carry itself well into the autumn as well, using plums, pears and figs as well.

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As for garnishes, although they aren’t totally necessary, this tart is really delicious with the addition of a few extras. I tossed on a small handful of fresh herbs; peppermint and lemon balm, because I happened to have them on hand, but what a difference they made! Verbena would be so delicious too, or spearmint, bergamot, or even chocolate mint. And because I am obsessed with bee products, I couldn’t resist sprinkling the tart with pollen and topping each slice with a good chunk of honeycomb. Nothing is bad with honeycomb on top. Ever.

With that, I leave you with the recipe, and sun-drenched love wishes to all of you out there romping around and being wild little bunnies.
Big hugs and fruit tarts, Sarah B

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Chia Rhubarb Apricot Muffins

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Ch-ch-ch-CHIA!
Hey, does anyone remember chia pets, those weird little clay animal figurines that grew fur made out of plants? I wanted one so badly as a kid, but my parents agreed that they didn’t really go with the décor. These days I have a serious love for chia, but instead of enjoying them as a sprout-covered squirrel on my windowsill, I eat the seeds, taking full advantage of the super food that gave this 1980’s terracotta tchotchke its power.

What are Chia seeds?
Aside from their slightly oblong shape, chia seeds look a lot like poppy seeds, being gray or black in colour, and very, very tiny. Unlike poppy seeds however, the inconspicuous chia is a veritable powerhouse of nutrition and a very versatile food to boot. In pre-Columbian times they were a main component of the Aztec and Mayan diets and were the basic survival ration of Aztec warriors. I’ve read that one tablespoon was believed to sustain an individual for 24 hours. The Aztecs also used chia medicinally to stimulate saliva flow and to relieve joint pain and sore skin.
In more recent years, chia has undergone a sort of renaissance with the increasing interest in health foods throughout North America and Western Europe. In Canada, chia seeds are often sold under the brand name “Salba”. Chia and Salba are essentially the same thing, only Salba is a white seed strain of the same plant.

According to Dr. Andrew Weil, chia is very rich in omega-3 fatty acids, even more so than flax seeds! And it has another advantage over flax: chia is so rich in antioxidants that the seeds don’t deteriorate and can be stored for long periods without becoming rancid. And, unlike flax, they do not have to be ground to make their nutrients available to the body. Chia seeds also provide complete protein (perfect for vegetarians!) fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, molybdenum, niacin, and zinc. See? They are like, a total miracle food!

Bringing it all together
The last awesome aspect of this super seed definitely worth mentioning is its binding qualities. By this I mean that when chia comes into contact with liquids it forms a gel, which not only makes a fabulous egg replacer in baked goods, but also it also acts as a binder in your digestive system, making your poop totally fabulous! I even considered naming the title of this post “Fabulous Bowel Movement Muffins”, but my gut told me not to. Ahem. Sorry.
Why should you care about this? Well, if you have diarrhea, constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, or Inflammatory Bowel Syndrome, chia gel actually helps to regulate symptoms by coating the digestive tract with a mucilaginous goo that soothes irritations, and improves digestion by bulking up stool in a calm and gentle fashion. After munching a few of these muffins, just tell me if you’re not experiencing some very satisfying trips to the John.

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For this recipe I used rhubarb because it’s about the only seasonal fruit we’ve got going on up here in Denmark. If you live somewhere where there is a wider variety of fresh fruit (basically anywhere but here – sorry I’m totally bitter), by all means use what you’re growing in your backyard or what’s available at your local farmer’s market instead.
And just so you know, these muffins are sugar-free so they are not cupcakes in disguise. Don’t expect some super-sweet, dessert-like bomb to come out of your oven! These are healthy, real, whole-food muffins that you will not find at Starbucks (that’s a good thing).

Chia Rhubarb Apricot Muffins
Ingredients:
• 1 ½ cups spelt flour
• ½ cup rolled oats
• 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
• 1/2 tsp. baking soda
• 1/2 tsp. salt
• 3 Tbsp. chia seeds + ¼ cup water
• ¼ cup maple syrup
• 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
• 1/2 cup orange juice
• 1 tsp. vanilla extract
• 1 1/4 cup finely chopped rhubarb
• 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots (or raisins, dates, cranberries, cherries, etc.)
• optional nuts, seeds, oats for topping (your choice – walnuts, almonds, pumpkin seeds etc.)

Directions:
1. Combine chia seeds and water in a glass and set aside for at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with liners.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt until combined.
4. In another bowl, add the chia seed gel, olive oil, maple syrup, orange juice and vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth by hand. Add to the flour mixture and blend just until moistened but lumpy. Stir in the rhubarb and apricots.
5. Spoon the batter into 12 muffin cups, filling each cup about 2/3 full. Sprinkle the topping of your choice onto each muffin and bake until springy to the touch, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes, then transfer the muffins to a wire rack to cool completely.

What else can I do with Chia?
Hold on everybody! The chia train doesn’t stop there! You can add these seeds to just about anything you can eat. Sprinkle them on your morning cereal, yogurt, lunchtime salads, blend them up in smoothies, add them to soups, stews – they work with just about everything. One tablespoon a day is all you need to start experiencing the array of the healthy benefits chia has to offer. And to replace one egg in baking, combine one tablespoon of chia with three tablespoons of water.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com

DIY Birkenstock-free Cleaning Products

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I once dated this guy that was such a nutty hippie, that he would clean his house using the leftover liquid pressed out of his homemade tofu. This is what comes to mind when I think about “natural cleaning products”. That, and of course the smell of greasy dreadlocks and rotting soy juice. Thanks for the memories.

I’ve moved on since then, to more hygienic boyfriends and to embracing the idea that you can make environmentally friendly cleaning products that are actually effective. Health food stores are loaded with all kinds of fancy and over-priced concoctions of baking soda and vinegar, so put your wallet away and take a trip to your kitchen cupboard. I guarantee you’ve got the goods to begin your very own cleaning arsenal.

Commercial cleaning products are bad for the environment, but more importantly our health. And since we have no control over the sickotating toxic fumes we are inhaling outside, wouldn’t it be nice to know that air inside our homes is at least somewhat safe? Non-toxic cleaning can give you a deep feeling of gratification in knowing that your family’s health is protected, and that your home is a place for your bodies to rest and recuperate rather than promote harm.

In the photo above you will see everything you need to begin your super-natural cleaning adventure. From left to right: clean jars; lemon; bottle of essential oil of tea tree; baking soda; non-toxic biodegradable liquid soap; white vinegar; recycled, empty spray bottle.

Ingredients:
1. Lemon – one of the strongest food-acids, effective against most household bacteria.
2. Tea Tree Oil – nature’s most powerful anti-bacterial agent. Great for use in the bathroom and kitchen.
3. Baking Soda – cleans, deodorizes, softens water, scours.
4. Soap – unscented soap in liquid form, flakes, powders or bars is biodegradable and will clean just about anything. Sometimes this is called “Universal Cleaner” (pictured) and you can purchase this at health food store. Avoid using soaps, which contain sodium lauryl sulfate, phosphates and petroleum distillates.
5. White Vinegar – cuts grease, removes mildew, odors, some stains and wax

Recipes:
All-Purpose Cleaner: Mix 1/2 cup vinegar and 1/4 cup baking soda (or 2 teaspoons borax) into 2 liters water. Store and keep. Use for removal of water deposit stains on shower stall panels, bathroom chrome fixtures, windows, bathroom mirrors, etc.

All-Purpose Disinfectant: Mix 2 cups water, a few drops of natural soap, and 15 drops each of tea tree and lavender organic essential oil. You can spray this on all kinds of home surfaces – changing tables, cutting boards, toilets, sinks, walls, and more. Just don’t use this on glass, as it will streak.

Carpet Stains
: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Spray directly on stain, let sit for several minutes, and clean with a brush or sponge using warm soapy water.


Chopping Block Cleaner
: Rub a slice of lemon across a chopping block to disinfect the surface. For tougher stains, squeeze some of the lemon juice onto the spot and let sit for 10 minutes, then wipe.

Coffee and Tea Stains: Stains in cups can be removed by applying vinegar to a sponge and wiping. To clean a teakettle or coffee maker, add 2 cups water and ¼ cup vinegar; bring to a boil. Let cool, wipe with a clean cloth and rinse thoroughly with water.

Drain Cleaner: For light drain cleaning, mix ½ cup salt in 4 liters water, heat (but not to a boil) and pour down the drain. For stronger cleaning, pour about ½ cup baking soda down the drain, then ½ cup vinegar. The resulting chemical reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerin, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after trying a commercial drain opener–the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create dangerous fumes.

Lime Deposits: You can reduce lime deposits in your teakettle by putting in ½ cup white vinegar and 2 cups water, and gently boiling for a few minutes. Rinse well with fresh water while kettle is still warm.

Marks on Walls and Painted Surfaces: Many ink spots, pencil, crayon or marker spots can be cleaned from painted surfaces using baking soda applied to a damp sponge. Rub gently, then wipe and rinse.

Mold and Mildew: Mold is extremely harmful to human lungs. Prevention is the key! To prevent mold from ever occurring, mix two cups of water and three drops of pure organic tea tree essential oil. Once a week, spray your walls with this solution (even behind furniture) and wipe dry. This mixture fights stains and the natural antiseptic qualities of tea tree oil fights mold and mildew. To get rid of mold, use white vinegar or lemon juice full strength. Apply with a sponge or scrubby.

Oil and Grease Spots
: For small spills on the garage floor, add baking soda and scrub with wet brush.

Oven Cleaner: Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Use ¾ cup baking soda, ¼ cup salt and ¼ cup water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior. (Avoid bare metal and any openings) Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.

Pots and Pans: For burned and crusted-on foods, soak or boil a solution of 2 Tbsp baking soda per qt of water in each pan. Let stand until particles are loosened, then wash as usual. Use a mild or moderate abrasive if necessary.

Rust Remover: Sprinkle a little salt on the rust, squeeze a lime over the salt until it is well soaked. Leave the mixture on for 2 – 3 hours. Use leftover rind to scrub residue.

Scouring Powder: For top of stove, refrigerator and other such surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.

Stickers on Walls: To remove, sponge vinegar over them several times, and wait 15 minutes, then rub off the stickers. This also works for price tags (stickers) on tools, etc.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner: Mix ¼ cup baking soda and 1 cup vinegar, pour into basin and let it set for a few minutes. Scrub with brush and rinse. A mixture of borax (2 parts) and lemon juice (one part) will also work.

Tub and Tile Cleaner
: For simple cleaning, rub in baking soda with a damp sponge and rinse with fresh water. For tougher jobs, wipe surfaces with vinegar first and follow with baking soda as a scouring powder. (Vinegar can break down tile grout, so use sparingly.)

Window Cleaner: Mix 2 teaspoons of white vinegar with 1 liter warm water. Use crumpled newspaper or cotton cloth to clean. Don’t clean windows if the sun is on them, or if they are warm, or streaks will show on drying. The All-Purpose Cleaner (above) also works well on windows. Be sure to follow the recipe, because using too strong a solution of vinegar will etch the glass and eventually cloud it.

So, that should be enough to get you started! Isn’t it incredible just how much you can clean with a few basic kitchen items? We’ve all fallen prey to the terrifying television commercials, scaring us into buying caustic and toxic potions. No more! Now you armed with the knowledge to go clean your home your way, with your health in mind. Birkenstocks optional.

Recipes from: eartheasy.com

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com