Sunday, September 30, 2012

Conscious Box!

One of my followers on my Face book page suggested that I contact the 'Conscious Box' to see about participating with them.  What is the 'Conscious Box' and why would I want to? 

The 'Conscious Box' is a "monthly delivery of pure and sustainable products that are handpicked from businesses that care for the planet—just like you.  Handpicked products delivered monthly; Only the purest brands pre-filtered for you; Discover ethical businesses you can trust."  They looked at my website and my products and decided we fit their mission!!  I'm so excited!

It is a monthly subscription and they send you out samples of different products for you to try  They then have an online store that if you like a particular company, you can go on and order from them!  So, why would I want to participate? - to build my business!!   The November box will go out to nearly 4,000 people, almost 300 bloggers and be advertised in 2 different magazines!!  So, keep your eyes peeled for more information in the coming weeks!!  I will be quite busy getting all my samples together to go into the 'Conscious Box'!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dill Dip now Available!!

Dill Mix - Dill weed, parsley, smoked salt and a touch of oregano give this dip a new twist!
We had it out at the farmer's market today and it was a great hit!!  Most of our sample was gone within 2 hours!  Check it out on our product page!! 

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

New Farmer's Market Participation!!

We have an area known as the "Vista" in Downtown, Columbia.  At one of the restaurants, the 'Blue Marlin' they are doing a Farmer's Market on Wednesday's from 10am to 2pm.  In order to participate, you go online and sign-up and place and order weekly.  Then go on Wed and pick it up!  There are quite a few farmers, various 'vendors' and lots to choose from!

I was lucky enough to be able to become one of the vendors!!  If you live or work in the Columbia, SC area, please check it out and come pick up your products from me there!!  It is a growing market that is a wonderful opportunity for up and coming farmer's, vendors, etc.!!  Here is a link to the market and my page!!!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins!!

I use to love pumpkin!  But developing an allergy to all things squash put a 'squash' on anything with pumpkin in it! LOL!  So, I now substitute sweet potatoes for all things needing pumpkin in sweet dishes like pumpkin pie or even pumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins.  These muffins are so good, you will make them over and over, and over!!  I always have to make a double batch as they go sooooo fast!!  A bonus is that they are high protein because of the flour content!  Sweet!!  I then top them with one of my home made jams or jellies and it is just the best!!  What will you put on yours?

Gluten Free Sweet Potato Muffins

1½ cups almond flour
With Crumble Topping
3/4 cup mashed, pre-cooked, sweet potato
3 large eggs
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp ground cardamon
½ tsp ground allspice
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
1/8 tsp sea salt or Kosher Salt
1/4 cup ‘raw’ agave syrup or honey
2 tsp almond butter

Almond Topping (optional)
2 Tbsp sliced almond
1 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Maple syrup

Crumble Topping (optional)
1 tbsp cold butter
1 tbsp Maple syrup
1 tbsp  GF All purpose flour mix
1 tsp Cinna-Sub

Preheat oven to 350℉. Coat muffin tins with a non-hydrogenated oil such as coconut oil, flax seed oil or olive oil (I use coconut oil).   Mix all ingredients and pour evenly into tins (I use an ice cream scoop to get it even!).  If using optional almond or crumble topping, apply now.  Bake for 25 minutes on the middle rack.

Optional Toppings Directions:
Almond Topping:
Melt Butter in a saute pan and lightly 'roast' the almonds in it.  Add maple syrup to flavor the almonds.  Allow to 'caramelize' the almonds just enough and toss them over the muffins just prior to baking!

Crumble topping:
Mix cold butter with the GF flour mix, and Cinna-Sub until a 'crumble'.  Sprinkle over muffins.  Drizzle the muffins with the maple syrup and bake!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Agave Syrup - What's all they hype and is it true?

(photo of RAW Agave - get this type!!)

What is agave syrup?  Raw Agave Syrup is the purest form of Agave Syrup and is still collected the same way that ancient Mexican's (Aztec's) did many years ago.  Secondly, there is Agave 'nectar' but it is essentially the same thing!  There is much controversy about Agave Syrup and whether or not it is 'bad' for you.  Much of this controversy comes from misunderstanding about how it is processed.

There are two processing methods for Agave Syrup and that determines how it is LABELED.  To be labeled RA or RAW Agave Syrup, it must follow very strict guidelines and not be heated over 118 degrees F.  If it is raised above that temperature it is NOT RA or RAW Agave Syrup, it is simply Agave Syrup and is tadamount to high fructose corn syrup!  Often times they will be labeled Organic as well.  This has nothing to do with HOW it is processed!!  It simply means no CHEMICALS were used in growing the plant.  To be a true, traditional RA (or RAW) Organic Agave Syrup it has to not be heated too hot and be very carefully processed.. 

There are many types of plants but Blue Agave is often reserved for use in Tequila and is tightly controlled by the Mexican government when used for Tequila production.  It does make the best Agave Syrup.  There is differing colors of Agave Syrup as well.  Darker Agave Syrup has a stronger taste to it like honey.  Lighter Agave Syrup doesn't really partake any additional flavor to things, just mostly sweetens things.

Secondly, many feel that it can 'raise' triglycerides.  Agave syrup has fructose as it's main 'sugar' component.  And like any 'sugar' it is dose dependent.  If you eat too much of anything, it can be harmful.  On the positive side, it takes half as much to sweeten the same amount so you use far less than sugar.  A tablespoon of agave nectar contains 16g of carbohydrates of which 15 are attributable to fructose and glucose.  In comparison, an apple contains 25g of sugar of which it is sucrose, naturally.  Agave is also a natural fructose/glucose when it is 'sapped' from the plant.  It is processed much the way that maple syrup is made (except for the heat).

 (photo of non-Raw Agave!!  Don't buy!!)

The bottom line?  Any sweetener you add whether it is home made corn syrup, maple syrup, honey, etc. all can have negative effects as it is all sugar in one form or another.  The big issue with Agave Syrup is in HOW IT IS PROCESSED!!  Avoid it if it does not say RA or RAW Agave Syrup!!

Notice anything about the two photo's?  They're made by the same company!!  One is Raw and the other is not!!  Be careful when you get it!!

As always if you have any concerns about your health or any health related issues, seek the advise of your health care provider!!  This post in no replaces the medical advice of your health care provider and is in no way endorsed by the FDA or USDA.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Pear Honey & Scuppernog Jelly with Almond 'honey flavor'

I know I saw someone on SB Canning ask "What does Pear Honey taste like?"  Well, now I know!  It tastes a little like honey flavored pears!  It is so yummy!!  I made some tonight to enter into our state fair and OMG!  I'm in heaven with this!!  It has the consistency of applesauce and is heavenly!  I also made Scuppernog Jelly but wanted to put a 'twist' on it so we 'flavored it' by adding almond extract and to partake a slight 'honey flavor' I added amber colored Raw Agave Syurp.  So, so, so good!!  And the color of the jelly is simply beautiful!!  When I made the 'juice' for my Scuppernog jelly, I had plenty left and was able to jar the remaining juice.  The jars on the right are the Pear Honey, the middle jars are Scuppernog Juice and the jars on the left are the Scuppernog Jelly with Almond Honey 'flavor'.

Here are the recipes and a photo!!

Pear Honey

8 cups pears, sliced
2 cups crushed pineapple
3 cups sugar
1 lime, juiced and rind grated
1 teaspoon chopped crystallized ginger

How to make
1.  Wash, pare, and core ripened pears. Slice and measure.
2.  Put the pears through a food chopper using a fine blade or a blender (or use an immersion blender once cooked if you don't have one).
3.  Add pears to stainless steel pot. Add remaining ingredients to the pears.
4.  Cook over low heat stirring frequently for 20 minutes, or until desired consistency.
5.  Pack into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4" head space, remove air bubbles, wipe rims, add hot lids/rings.
6.  Process in water bath canner for 10 minutes once the water has returned to a full rolling boil.

Scuppernog Jelly with Almond 'honey flavor'

5 lbs of Scuppernog/Muscodine Grapes (need 5 1/2 cups of juice from them)
3 1/2 cups of sugar
2 tbsp lime juice (or lemon juice)
2 tsp almond extract
2 tbsp Raw Amber Agave Syurp (gives it the 'honey' flavor)
1 pkg Low Sugar Sure Jel

1. "Juice" the grapes using a steam juicer (follow the directions of your particular model).  You need 5 1/2 cups of juice from them (you can add plain white grape juice to get to this amount if needed but you shouldn't have to).
2. Combine juice with sugar, lime juice, almond extract, and agave syrup to a pot and bring to a boil.
3. Simmer for 10 minutes melding all flavors together.
4. Whisk sure jel into the liquid and boil for 1 minute.
5. Skim foam off the top.
6. Ladle into prepared jars and water bath for 10 minutes.
7. Makes 6 half pints.

**note: Scuppernog or Muscodine grapes have a very, very tough skin.  Mashing them and using a juicing 'bag' is tedious and hard work!  I highly suggest using a steam juicer for these grapes!!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

All Natural Plain Yellow Mustard!

As many on here know, I'm allergic to a lot of things and turmeric keeps me from buying plain yellow mustard.  I have searched high and low for a good plain yellow mustard recipe for canning and I just couldn't find one that would be safe for canning!  Most used flour or corn starch in them and those are not safe for canning.  So, after many months of 'playing' with recipes I have finally done it!  A great plain all natural yellow mustard recipe safe for canning!!  What thickens it?  Clear Jel!!  A modified corn starch that is safe for canning!!  This product is NOT GMO if you get it from certain sources (such as the Amish).  Check your supplier!  The one I use is not.  Everyone knows I am all about 'back to natural!' LOL!!

So, here it is!  Now, it isn't all 'pretty yellow' like what you see in the store!  Why is that?  Because it is all natural and doesn't have the turmeric in it!!  If you want it to be the yellow, you can add a tsp of turmeric to it when you make it and it will give it that yellow color.  I just can't use it myself.  Happy Canning!!

All Natural Plain Yellow Mustard

1 cup dry ground mustard (mustard flour)
1 cup water
¾ cup white distilled vinegar
1 ½ tsp salt
½ tsp red pepper

2 teaspoon Clear Jel

1  Combine all ingredients except Clear Jel in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until smooth.
2  When mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 to 10 minutes, stirring often.
3  Whisk Clear Jel into pan and boil 1 more minute.
4  Remove pan from heat. Leave uncovered for 1 minute, then cover pan with a lid until cool. Pour into prepared jars and water bath for 10 minutes.

Makes 4 quarter pints