food


Let me start by mentioning that this isn’t an entry about my products. For a change, I thought I’d share a few of the products that keep me going throughout my workdays and weeks. I’ve had ginger on the brain lately, which is not uncommon for me, and I thought that’d be the perfect thing to share with you all on this cold, rainy Friday morning. So, here are a few of my favorite ginger-y things:

1. Organic Ginger Aid® tea from Traditional Medicinals.

gingeraidI adore ginger tea, especially with just a little bit of honey. This blend also contains lemon myrtle, so it has a natural sweetness already. The ginger is spicy and strong and not for the uninitiated. Since ginger naturally aids in digestion, this is a perfect pick-me-up for a sour stomach, when you’re feeling just a little bit “off,” or when you’ve overdone it at the buffet.

I enjoy this tea morning, noon and night. It also makes a really nice iced tea, when combined with an herbal berry blend. Consider other applications as well, such as baking with ginger tea instead of water (result: killer spice cake, baby!).

2. Original Ginger Chews from The Ginger People®

My first taste of an Original Ginger Chew happened a few years ago at the Seattle VegFest. On the way home, I stopped off and bought a whole package. These little bite-sized treats are a perfect sweet snack when you’re really craving something you can gnaw on. One “chew” is usually too much for me in one mouthful, so I tend to bite them in half and save a piece for later. They are sweet, super ginger-y, and surprisingly satisfying for just a few calories. (Two chews = 40 cals.) These ginger folks offer a whole line of fantastic ginger products and I’m looking forward to trying their Hot Coffee Ginger Chews soon!

3. Orange Ginger Nuun from Nuun

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My latest ginger favorite is a new one. At the Portland PCTA Trail Fest last weekend, I picked up a sample of Orange Ginger Nuun (pronounced: noon). Part of their “active hydration” line, Orange Ginger Nuun is a sports drink tab that you dissolve in 16oz of water. The ginger in the final product is very mild. It’s the essence of ginger flavor without the spicy kick, which is a natural match for anything orange. It’s packed with electrolytes, it’s sweet without being overbearing, and it’s earth-friendly. One plastic tube makes 12 drinks, effectively saving 12 plastic bottles (if you were previously buying pre-bottled sports drinks).

So, there you have it, my all-time Top 3 favorite ginger items. Well, as of right now. Ask me next week, and it’s likely I’ll have picked up a new ginger favorite or two!

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Spring is a great time for turning over a new leaf. Whether it’s just a little spring cleaning or a major life change, the sweet newness of fresh buds on the trees invites us into new eras.

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Light, crusty and oh so sweet!

In honor of spring and of turning over, I’m sharing a recipe for Spring Pineapple Turnovers using my Pineapple Upside Down Jam. Pineapples may be sweet enough on their own, but to enhance their flavor and create the illusion of cake, we’ve combined them with organic brown sugar and pure vanilla extract from Mexico. This jam is perfect for your morning English muffin, paired with peanut butter in a sandwich, or baked into turnovers!

These Spring Pineapple Turnovers are done mini style, for a yummy bite-sized dessert (or breakfast pastry!) that doesn’t overdo it. I’m using puff pastry for this recipe, something we veggie-ites used to think we couldn’t have! After all, it’s just layers of dough and butter-butter-butter, right? Well, if you’re a so-called veggie-vore and you’re ambitious, you can make your own puff pastry, using a recipe like this one and substituting Earth Balance for the butter. Oooooor, you can take the less ambitious route and wimp out (like me) and buy a package of Pepperidge Farm® puff pastry, which is not only vegan but free of trans fats.

Ok, enough puff talk, let’s get down to the business of turnovers!

Spring Pineapple Turnovers

1 sheet Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry
Approx 1/3 cups Pineapple Upside Down Jam
flour, for rolling surface
9 maraschino cherries, optional

Thaw the puff pastry until it’s easy to handle (about 40 minutes). Preheat your oven to 400°F.

Roll out the puff pastry on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 2-inch squares (I use a pizza cutter for this).

Spoon 1 tsp of Pineapple Upside Down Jam onto the center of each square. Brush the edges with water and fold diagonally, to create a triangle. Press the edges with your fingers or a fork to seal. Place on an ungreased baking sheet (or Silpat) about 2 inches apart.

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That's my jar. Get your own!

Bake 12 minutes or until golden. Cool about 5 minutes on a wire rack, and then proceed to nom.

Note:
Don’t own a rolling pin? Neither do I! I’ve removed the label from a straight-sided glass bottle, and do my rolling with that. Rummage through your recycling bin, and you’ll find rolling pins of all sizes!

Variations:
For a spicy pineapple treat, add 1/4 tsp minced jalapeño to each square before sealing.
For more of a tropical delight, add 1/4 tsp shredded coconut.
For all you chocoholics, add 1/4 tsp grated chocolate (of your choice).

Slices of Heaven

Citrus & spice: a classic pair

My Slices of Heaven are fantastic for cold sufferers, for tea lovers, and for anyone who just had a rough day. These goodies are made from organic Valencia oranges, honey, cinnamon, cloves and cardamom. Just add a slice or two and a spoonful of the syrup to a cup of hot water for a delish tea-like beverage that will warm your insides and bring a smile to your face.

At the end of a long hard day, or when the weather just isn’t cooperating, I like my Slices with a little instant ginger tea. They’re also a spectacular addition to Indian dishes or anywhere you might use preserved lemons. Add them atop a baked dessert for an edible garnish, or mix them into your iced tea. There are a thousand ways to incorporate a few Slices of Heaven into your day.

Mustard is way more than just a condiment. Here’s proof!

For all you omnivores out there, my dear sister-friend Lana shares a recipe today for Mustard Baked Pork Tenderloin using Mustard After My Own Heart.

Mustard Baked Pork Tenderloin

1 pork tenderloin (veg-heads: five-grain tempeh is a nice substitute here)
1-2 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 cup Mustard After My Own Heart

Preheat oven to 350F. Coat a baking pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and set aside.

In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp olive oil and sear tenderloin (or tempeh steak) until nicely browned. Place the tenderloin in your pre-oiled baking pan. Slater with Mustard After My Own Heart using a spatula for even coverage. Roast for 40 minutes until no longer pink inside. (For tempeh, bake 30 minutes.)

Remove from oven and let stand a few minutes before slicing. Place slices on a serving platter or individual plates and set aside. Reduce the liquids from the baking pan until thick. Drizzle the reduced liquids over the slices.

For an extra special garnish, fry a few sage leaves in olive oil until crispy and pile atop your tenderloin.

Accompanying side dishes included: new potatoes, steamed green beans, and cucumber-tomato salad with olives and feta. Lana’s wine pick for the dish: La Vieille Ferme Côtes du Luberon

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Food is a lot more forgiving than we give it credit for. Enjoy!

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Fresh, organic ingredients

That’s what I call it. You can call it lemon sage wine mustard. Heck, call it whatever suits your fancy. Just eat. Make your tuna sandwich. Schmear some on a toasted bagel. Build a salad dressing with it. Stir it into your potato soup. Eat.

I’ve just finished a new batch of my favorite mustard, combining fresh organic sage leaves, lemons, white wine and agave nectar. It’s a hefty, hearty kind of mustard but the flavors aren’t too strong or too bold. Everything dances together juuuust riiiight. You know you want some and you can find it here.