Thursday, January 30, 2014

First Robin of the year!  Harbinger of Spring!  We are still in the depths of winter with very chilly temperatures so seeing this little guy this morning drinking from the goldfish pool where I keep a heater, was a real treat.  Yesterday, four Eastern Bluebirds were drinking from the goldfish pool and a lovely sight. 

I went out to paint yesterday and temperatures were bitterly cold.  My fingers were freezing!  I had to keep blowing on them to keep from getting frostbite.  My feet, inside the new Extreme Arctic Sport Boots, were surprisingly comfortable.  Now if I could just find a good set of gloves to wear outside while painting!  The paint was stiff and hard to mix but the quality of the paint going on the panel has a very unique, rich effect only possible when painting outside in the winter. 

I am waiting for the arrival of a new Kelty backpack for my pochade and other plein air equipment.  I got one in about a week ago but it was too small for the pochade.  The backpack I have been using for years is just too big.  The shoulder/arm straps are too long and tilt the pack away from my back putting pressure on various Trigger Points that create a great deal of back pain that has only been getting worse over the years, ever since a sledding accident where I smashed into a tree hitting my back at about fifty miles an hour.  Ouch. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Spicy Mexican Flax Crackers
Here are the flax cracker recipes I promised.

Spicy Mexican Flax Crackers

All organic, fresh, raw ingredients. 

  • One lemon, fresh squeezed
  • One lime, fresh squeezed
  • 3 T. Nama Shoyou (a raw tamari)
  • 1/2 c. red onions, cut small
  • Hot peppers (any kind depending upon how hot you like it)from the garden, dehydrated under 105 degrees, ground, to taste
  • 3 T. Tomato powder, made from tomatoes from the garden, dehydrated under 105 degrees, ground
  • 2 c. dark flax seeds 
  • 3 c. spring water

Place in a large bowl in the above order and mix thoroughly before adding the flax seeds.  Soak in approximately 3 cups of spring water for 3-4 hours.  The flax seeds will swell and get gelatinous.  If the mixture is too runny, add more flax seeds.  If  too dry, add more water.  

When the mixture is firm, spoon onto the teflon sheets of a dehydrator. You can make sheets out of wax paper that work pretty well if you don't have enough teflon sheets.  Smooth out the mixture on the sheets.  Don't make it too thin.  1/4" - 3/8" should be good.  

Set the dehydrator at 105 degrees and let it "cook" overnight.  In the morning, peel the one piece cracker off the sheets and flip over for another hour.  If the flax mixture is sticking to the sheet, leave it in the dehydrator longer.  When done, break up into smaller pieces.  

Excellent with dips, guacamole, pates,  "bread" for a sandwich, or snacking by itself.

Italian Crackers:  Same recipe as above but season with basil and oregano and cut back on the hot peppers.
Indian Curry Crackers:  Same recipe as above but substitute the lighter, yellow flax seeds for the dark red flax seeds.  Season with curry and cumin.  Cut out the tomato and onions.

The recipe is very flexible and you can flavor the crackers anyway you want! 


Sunday, January 5, 2014

Cinnamon walnuts on the teflon dehydrator sheet. 
Someone has requested my recipes for the flax crackers and the cinnamon walnuts.  And since I happen to be making a batch of the walnuts this weekend, I'll start with those.  They are easy to make and very addictive!  Notice the missing walnuts at the front of the teflon sheet?  I couldn't even wait until they were done to start nibbling!  I prepare food intuitively and by test and taste so experiment yourself to produce a successful dish!

  • 2 cups of raw, organic walnuts, soaked for a few hours
  • raw organic agave nectar
  • organic cinnamon

1.  Drain the walnuts.  Place them on a teflon sheet in the dehydrator for about an hour to dry off the water.  The temperature of the dehydrator should not exceed 105 degrees.  You don't have to dry them in the dehydrator first.  You can simply drain the walnuts and proceed to the next step.  I've done it both ways successfully.

2.  Place a small amount, approximately 1/4 cup, of agave nectar in a bowl and add cinnamon to taste.  Start with a teaspoon and add more if it needs it.  Mix the cinnamon and agave until the cinnamon dissolves.

3.  Stir in the walnuts and keep stirring until the nuts are covered.  You can adjust by adding more agave and/or cinnamon as needed.

4.  Spread on the teflon sheet and dehydrate at 105 degrees overnight.