How To Collect Seeds-Green Onions!

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I love green onions! I toss them in almost everything; soups, salads, and even in my sandwiches. I love them fresh, and sautéed in any oil or butter, and grilled!

You’ve seen how I propagate them in my window sill here…but I also grow them in my garden. I collect the seeds so that I can do it all over again…why? Because I love green onions!

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You can re-grow green onions this way…Cut off most of the green tops and plant the white part and roots (of course) in good soil. In a few days you will see it start to grow. What “green” you see here is about 2-3 days of growth. They grow fast. They love a sunny window sill and gentle watering.

If you’ve ever grown green onions and let them bolt, then you already know the flowers are so pretty! Another plus is the bees like them too! So I always let a good amount of my green onions bloom to show some love to the bees! They work so hard and this is the least I can do for them!

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Flowers + Bees—Bees + Flowers! The wonders in nature never cease to amaze me. I am humbled each time I step outside to see the beauty of it all.

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Mint in the background. I love to brush my hand along the mint. Such a refreshing fragrance! Inhale deeply and smile. Give it a try!

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Half of this garden bed I’ve allowed to “bolt” (a fancy way of saying letting the plant “flower” so you can harvest the seeds off it). After the green onion flowers, I leave the flowers on the plant to dry. It is in each little blossom where the onion seeds are found. How cool is mother nature?!

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After the blossoms dry, I will either store the “whole” head or take them apart like you see here. Just make sure the blossoms are totally dry so you don’t get any mold growth.

You can “re-grow” green onions by putting the bottom parts in water or soil and if you grow them outdoors, you can allow a few to bloom flowers and then collect their seeds and then plant the seeds! Amazing right?! And simple as well! I love that.

I harvest the green onion by snipping them with scissors. Even the plants that are bolting; I will snip the long green stems (NOT the stems with flowers on them). If I let the plant grow too much and the greens are thicker, I make a soup with the greens, much like you would do with leeks. I’ve also grilled them. Rarely anything goes to waste in the garden and really if I don’t eat everything, it all gets composted back in!

Did you know?

Green onions are full of vitamin K and C.

Green onions are good for your eyes. With vitamin A and carotenoids (cancer fighting properties) and both Zeaxanthin and Lutein, working together to keep the eyes healthy!

One last picture…..

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A nice surprise: If you already follow me on instagram, you’ve already seen this little guy! (Eastern milk snake). I found him on one of my walks along a trail I mowed on the back half of my property. What a cutie right?

Green onions are one of the easiest plants to grow. I hope you give this plant a try. If you’ve thought you didn’t have a “green thumb”, this plant will give you hope! Collect the seeds and you will never have to buy them again!

Like it, share it! With love and peace, Koko 🙂

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How To Store Seeds

There are many ways to store seeds. You can use plastic zip baggies, jars, small paper bags, tiny boxes (ie. jewelry boxes). Below is one of the ways I store them.

Allowing a few cilantro plants to bolt.

Here, I’ve allowed a few cilantro plants to bolt.

Collecting cilantro seeds.

Collecting cilantro seeds. I like to use a white paper towel so I can see the seeds. As for seeds like my oak leaf lettuce; being white/light grey, I will sometimes use brown paper towels. Clear large zip bags work great too for light colored seeds, well, for any seeds for that matter… 😉

One way I store them is making “paper towel” envelopes.

Cut a paper towel to size. This one was a "select a size" type paper towel and I cut it in half.

Cut a paper towel to size. This one was a “select a size” type paper towel and I cut it in half. (Oh and the seeds you see here in this photo happens to be onion seeds.)

After putting a a bit of seeds in the center...I eyeball folding the paper in three. I a third of the paper over the seeds then the other third over that.

After putting a bit of the seeds in the center…I eyeball, folding the paper in three. A third of the paper over the seeds, then the other third over that.

Then I fold that in thirds. Folding the bottom third towards the middle then the top third I make a triangle...

Then, again in thirds. I fold the bottom third towards the middle (over the seeds). The top third I make a triangle…

See a triangel? :)

See the triangle 🙂

I then tuck the triangle into the slot made from folding the paper in thirds.

From here I just tuck the triangle into the slot made from folding the paper in thirds.

When planting the seeds I will plant the paper towel too. Why not compost it? 🙂

Label the packet. Don't forget the date too!

Label the packet. Don’t forget the date too!

There you go, one way to store seeds. As I said before, there are many ways to store seeds. Why I especially like this method of seed storing is when I do plant them, I’ve pre-measured out the  perfect amount of seeds. I take a “packet” and all the seeds in “said” packet get planted. No fuss.

So allow a plant or two to bolt and collect the seeds. It’s so satisfying to know year after year the plants you grow are from seeds you’ve collected. It’s also nice to save money not having to buy more seed.

Tip: Only collect seeds from plants that you know taste good and grow well. If you allow a “poorly” producing plant to bolt and collect seed from that, you may be growing more poorly producing plants. So allow the best looking plant to bolt and collect from that one.

Tip: Make sure before you harvest the seeds the plant has finished blooming and has dried. I usually leave the plant alone until it’s dead. However it is difficult to control the weather and if you have especially strong winds, you may loose your seeds; such as lettuce seeds as the seeds have the same type of fuzzy tops like a dandelion and that fuzzy head will catch the wind and fly away! You can cut the plant and dry them indoors. As I type this, my bolted lettuce is drying on hooks above my kitchen sink.

Tip: I don’t worry too much about getting each seed totally “clean”. The fuzz or bits of dried stem won’t interfere with germination.

Eat well, be well. It’s up to you to take care of your health. Eating organic and non-GMO foods are great ways to a more healthful YOU! You’d be surprised how small changes you make can add up to huge benefits later on.

Cheers, Koko

Thank you for reading. I’d love to hear your comments. Do you have a favorite way to store seeds?

Easy Braided Bread Recipe

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Ooooh yeah! Who doesn’t like fresh hot bread?!

The notion of making bread used to scare the bajeebers out of me. Notice it used to? I was given a bread machine forever ago. You know, a “box-like” machine where you dump all the ingredients in and hit the start button? Out pops a beautiful loaf…(for me, only rarely!) I never understood why I’d have a nice loaf of bread one time and then the next time the bread would come out so flat the only thing it was good for was to shoot skeet with! I lost confidence. Baking bread became frustrating, something I was too afraid to mess up on, so I stopped baking. (Insert sad face here*) Once I learned about yeast and the proper way to use it, the fear went away. Let the bread baking commence!

Just learning a couple of simple steps/tips, changed my view-point. I am no pro bread baker, but let me tell you this, if I can bake this bread, anyone can too! And once you do, you may find it very difficult to buy bread again. The taste of homemade bread is well…bake a loaf, and you will see what I mean.

Here goes…(Entire recipe is near the bottom of the post.)

Add the salt to the flour.

Add the salt to the flour. Pink salt! Yep this is Himalayan Pink salt. Not only is it pretty, it’s good for you!

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This is what yeast looks like when it’s alive and active! Well yeast doesn’t get like this on its own. This mix has warm milk, honey, and of course yeast. If you want to check out some fun info about honey, look here.  Tip: If your yeast doesn’t look like this after about 15 minutes then check the yeast expiration date; it may be old. Or the temp of the liquid could have been too hot and subsequently killed it. Or if temp is too cold the yeast says, “Nope, still hibernating”.

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Make a well in the flour. It should look like you pushed a ball in the center of the flour or basically scooped out some from the middle. (I’m only saying this because some of us don’t know what it means to make a well…) I hope that was a decent explanation. Pour the readied yeast mixture into the “well”.

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Don’t stir yet…add the lightly whisked egg…

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Now stir! Stir from the outside in, as in with each stir you will be pulling a spoonful of the flour into the liquid. Stir until you get a “rough” dough. Not like this… Notice the mug? Its made by Molly Hatch. Super cute right?! Bought it at Anthropologie.

Roughly looks like this! :)

More this. Rough mixed dough looks like this! 🙂

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Dump the rough mixed dough onto a lightly floured surface. Begin to knead. And knead. And knead.

Kneed the dough until nice smooth.

Knead the dough until smooth. It could be smoother than this 😉 Put the dough in a large clean bowl, covering it with a clean cloth. Set it aside in a warm place until…

This is what the dough looks like when it's doubled in size.

…It doubles in size. This is what the dough looks like when it’s doubled in size. It’s like magic!

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This was a second loaf I made. This time I separated the dough in three pieces right after I kneaded it. I knew I would be braiding it using three “strands” so I figured I’d separate it into three balls before the dough could rise. It worked out very well. So you can either let the dough rise in one ball and then cut it into three equal pieces or cut it in three before it rises; and cover each bowl with a clean cloth and let them rise as usual. Both works!

After the dough doubles in size, turn out the dough onto a clean surface and shape it into three long "bread sticks"!

After the dough doubles in size, turn out the dough onto a clean surface and shape it into three long “bread sticks”. Braid it like you would any braid, carefully tucking each end piece under to hold the “strands” in place. Notice my strands are not totally smooth…no worries still comes out great and tastes even better! In other words; perfection is not necessary.

All braided.

All braided! Put the braided bread on a greased cookie sheet/baking pan. I use coconut oil to grease pan as coconut oil has a high heat tolerance, not to mention very healthy.

Now don't forget to brush on the "glaze". If you do, it's not ruined. I've done this a few time! Fresh hot bread is still fresh hot bread. The glaze just makes it look so pretty!

Now don’t forget to brush on the “glaze”. If you do forget the “glaze”, it’s not ruined. I’ve forgotten it more than once! Fresh hot bread is still fresh hot bread! The glaze just makes it look so pretty!

You can slice this or tear it!

You can slice into this from top to bottom, or cut along the side, or tear it!

Homemade butter on fresh hot bread! Oh my! You can see how I make homemade butter here!

Homemade butter on fresh hot bread! Oh my! You can see how I make homemade butter here!

Note: All ingredients I use are organic/non GMO, or the very best I could find. Stores are starting to catch on how much consumers want organic. Finding most ingredients/foods in an organic form is quite possible.

Braided Loaf

The Ingredients:

2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast

1 cup whole warm milk

2 teaspoons good honey

4 tablespoons butter, softened (melted is fine too)

1 whole egg, lightly beaten

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon Himalayan salt or sea salt

For the glaze: 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 teaspoon milk. I make it ahead and store it in the refrigerator.

The How To:

1. Heat the milk in a small sauce pan. It’s been years since I’ve used a thermometer. I test it by touch. (It’s ready when it doesn’t feel cold. Warm, a bit over tepid temperature), however if you want to use a thermometer about 105 degrees is about right. (If the temp gets too high just take it off the heat and wait until it cools.)  In a medium bowl, mix the honey and soften/melted butter. Add the warm milk. Then add the yeast. Stir slowly until nicely combined. Leave for 15 to allow it to work its magic!

2. While you are waiting for the yeast mixture, in a large bowl, add the flour. Stir in the salt. Make a well in the center and set aside.

3. In a small dish, add one egg and whip it slightly. Set aside.

4. After the 15 minutes your yeast mixture should be nice and bubbly/alive looking. Pour the yeast mixture gently in the flour well. Add the beaten egg. Now with a wooden spoon, stir pulling some flour with each stir, until a rough dough is created.

5. Lightly flour a clean surface and knead dough until smooth. Place in a large clean bowl, and cover with a clean cloth. Find a warm spot for it to rise. I usually am cooking something so next to the stove is a good place. You know it’s ready when it doubles in size; usually around 2 hours (Depending on how warm the spot is. Sometimes it’s ready in an hour, sometimes it takes 3.)

6. Grease a baking sheet. As I’ve mentioned above, I like to use coconut oil.

7. Turn out the finished rising dough on a clean surface and cut it into three equal pieces. Begin to roll each into long strands; like a long bread stick. After all three strands are made, start braiding them together. I fold the pieces under and it holds just fine. Set the braided bread on the greased pan. Cover it with a clean cloth and let it sit for 30 minutes in a warm spot to rise.

8. Preheat the oven to 375°F. I usually start preheating oven about 20 minutes into the braided bread’s rising.

9. Brush the bread with the egg yolk and milk mixture.

10. Bake bread for 30 minutes. You will know it’s done by the golden color. Every oven is different, so start checking at 25 minutes for color. I’ve baked this bread for 35 minutes and it was still fine. For my oven; 30 is perfect! When done, I remove the bread and set it on a wire rack to cool. Cool completely if storing it in any container, because if you don’t, it will get soggy! If storing is not needed, dig right in while it’s warm. Now for a bit of homemade butter and good jam or honey…oh my!

This is a great bread to go with soups or stews. You can make garlic bread with this or top it with cheese. You can add cheese into the dough! This is great sliced for toast too. It makes for a great egg sandwich bread. And if there’s any bread left a couple of days later…tear it up and make it into a strata! Want a recipe for a strata? Mention it in your comments below. 🙂

This bread is a great bread to gift to family and friends and great to serve up anytime bread is called for. It’s very enjoyable to make and the presentation is lovely. Give it a try!

Thank you for reading. If you want to know what else I’m up to, you can always follow me on twitter and instagram!

Wherever you are, don’t forget to pull your shoulders back, smile boldly, and breathe! My hopes for you this week is for your to find your center and enjoy something that makes you happy.

Cheers, Koko

Please “like”, “share”, and “follow”. Your comments are fantastic and I read everyone!

 

 

 

Roasted Spicy Chickpeas

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Chickpeas or garbanzo beans…however you like to call this particular bean, they are delicious.  This bean is used in many different ways.  Have you eaten humus?  That is made using this bean.  They are great in salads, soups, cold pasta, bean salad, the possibilities are endless.

Cooking the chickpeas this way makes it a fun snack by itself or fantastic tossed on salad! This can be considered an appetizer to serve along with other party finger foods.

My daughter is on holiday break from college.  We’ve been having fun experimenting with food.  She wanted to make this.  So we did!  She threw together the ingredients and I baked and stirred it.  Team effort.

Making this is almost as easy as eating them!  Here goes:

2 cans of chickpeas, rinsed and drained.  Pat dry!

1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper

2 1/2 teaspoon cumin powder

1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan salt.  Or sea salt.  (can omit all together)

1/4 cup grape seed oil  (can use olive oil or coconut oil)

Preheat oven at 425 degrees.

In a large bowl, toss all ingredients coating the chickpeas evenly.

Spread out on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Stir one time and bake again for another 10 minutes.  Done.  Serve warm or cold.  (I couldn’t wait and ate them hot right out of the oven!)

All ovens cook differently so peak in on them.  (I have an oven light which makes it convenient.) I’ve baked them at 450 degrees and stirred them two times during cooking.

Also, you can cook this on the stove.  The texture you are going for is slightly crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.  You may like it dryer so cook/bake longer and less cook/bake for softer.  Either way you like it, it will be delicious!

This can be made hundreds of ways.  Keep in mind the oil helps to crispy it up and to help the seasonings stick to it.  Use your imagination and toss the chickpeas with your favorite seasonings.  Chili power,  powdered onion, powdered garlic, Worcestershire sauce!  When done baking try sprinkling Parmesan cheese over it! YUM! Give it a try and please let me know the amazing ways you’ve made this!

Lemon Zesty Blueberry Muffins

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This was a request from my husband.  All he wanted for his birthday was a bunch of lemon zesty blueberry muffins.  His biggest challenge was fighting the kids for them! (Actually it wasn’t too difficult.  Both kids had a full day of college classes and didn’t come home until the wee hours.  So dad got to have his birthday muffins all to himself! He saved them some 😉 )

This is a very easy and forgiving recipe.  I’ve also made this with orange zest. Very tasty.  The hardest part about this recipe is finding beautifully plump blueberries.

This Made 18

Muffin cups or grease muffin pans
2 cups flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup blue berries
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk (I use raw unpasteurized)
6 tablespoons grape seed oil
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
The zest of one whole lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Mix together flour, baking powder, sea salt, then add brown sugar and blue berries.

In another bowl beat eggs, milk, oil, vanilla extract, and lemon rind.

Every recipe I’ve read says to make a well in the dry and pour the wet into it…well, I did the opposite and added the dry to the wet. I noticed no difference. Not saying the “well” thing isn’t a good idea, just that it made no difference in the outcome.

Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden on top. (All ovens are different. Please keep that in mind.)

I made these with a lemon cream cheese frosting.
8 oz of cream cheese.
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
zest of one whole lemon
5 heaping tablespoons of powdered sugar
whipped in kitchen aid until fluffy

This was enough to top all muffins nicely.

 

 

Cacao or Cocoa…or Potato or Pa-tah-to…

It’s like saying potato or pa-tah-to…tomato or ta-ma-to…

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Chocolate experts say that cocoa should be pronounced ka-kow. When you hear cacao (ka-kow); that usually is referring to the tree itself, the pods, and the bean inside of the pods. When you hear of cocoa (ko-ko) that is usually referring to the by-product of the cacao bean; which are the cocoa powder and the cocoa butter.

Cacao nibs and cocoa powder both come from “cocoa beans”. The difference is cacao nibs are still in the “raw” state. It hasn’t been cooked or processed, whereas cocoa powder has been cleaned, roasted, and processed.

As for the taste; I just did a taste test…I am probably not a good person to ask this as I can eat both plain and not mind it at all, since I do add both organic cocoa powder as well as organic raw cacao nibs to my yogurt and smoothies. The taste doesn’t come off as unpleasant. But If I had to describe it, I would say both have somewhat “bitter” taste. But again, I don’t mind that at all. I eat a lot of things for the health benefits. And actually now I enjoy the taste of them plain.

I hope this clears up a little about the differences in raw cacao nibs and cocoa/cocoa powder/cocoa butter, all stemming from the same little bean. 😀

Change of Plans

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I was going to build another gate, however it rained.  So, I made this instead…

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I can’t be a person that “schedules” anything.  My days are usually predicated upon the weather or kids or animals or… Though whatever I do in my day I really try to make it count.  If I plan on doing something and for some reason I can’t do it, there is always another plan that is ready to step right in its place.  Perhaps tomorrow I will build another gate.  Hope you all make moments count.  Peace, Koko

Pumpkin Pie – Sans The Crust, With Coconut Whipped Cream….oooh la la!

Pumpkin Pie – Sans The Crust, With Coconut Whipped Cream….oooh la la!

I couldn't help sprinkle homemade granola on top! Delicious!

I couldn’t help sprinkle homemade granola on top! Delicious!

pumpkin pie-before it went in oven.

pumpkin pie-before it went in oven.

This is my ultimate favorite way to have pie. I really enjoy pumpkin pie without the crust. (Though I do admit I love the bottom crust of a pie) Just make your favorite pumpkin pie recipe, instead of pouring it into a crust, you pour equal amounts into ramekins. I’ve looked for ramekins for a long time and finally found these. They are the perfect size for any “pie”, custard, cheesecake. Yes, I’ve made all those in these ramekins. I will post on them in the future; keep an eye out! The lemon ricotta cheesecake is super delicious and easy to make. As for the coconut whipped cream…story behind that is my daughter never feels good after eating whipped cream, so to have her not go without…we make whipped cream from coconut cream. Where I come from, coconut is used a lot. So it wasn’t unusual for us to make whipped cream from it. I have come across many who have no idea what coconut whipped cream is. I assure you it is delicious and easy to make and great for those who suffer from dairy allergies or just are vegans.

Putting the can in the refrigerator will solidify the cream and it will be nicely separated cream on top milky water on the bottom.

Putting the can in the refrigerator will solidify the cream and it will be nicely separated cream on top milky water on the bottom.

Coconut cream!  (before fluffing)

Coconut cream! (before fluffing)

Coconut whipped cream
1 can of coconut cream
1/4 of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract

refrigerate can of coconut cream for 2 hours. Scoop out the cream. (there will be thin milky liquid in can. I drink this plain or make a smoothie with it.)
Start whipping cream (I use a kitchenaid). Add vanilla extract. Add powdered sugar. whip until peaks form.

Tips: make sure you buy full fat coconut cream. I really like the Trader joes brand. Also Thai coconut is great too. Just make sure it isn’t “light”, got to have the fat-fat kind!
Must refriderate. Depending on how cold your refriderator is 1-2 hours.
Putting mixing bowl in freezer can help.
It’s the fat that helps the coconut whip up, so make sure you are not using “light” or low fat or anything other than; heavy, full fat, extra thick, etc. (Did I stress that enough?)
Can switch out sugars for different kinds; honey, truvia, etc, you will just need to adjust for sweetness.
Add cocoa for a chocolaty flavor. This one is sooooo good.
Can try different extracts. Almond is great!
Can add more powdered sugar. Depends on the consistantcy you like.
Don’t over whip or it may turn to liquid from basically heating it through the whipping action.

In my pumpkin recipe, I only put 1/3 cup of sugar in the entire recipe.  Eating it for breakfast, snack, lunch; doesn’t seem so bad!  😉