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FALL HARVEST REFRESHER for this Columbus Day

So, what do you get when your visit to the farmer’s market yields carrots, ginger, apples, and a huge bunch of parsley?

some raw ingredients

some raw ingredients

blend it up in your VitaMix!  …along with a bit of frozen mango chunks, pre-frozen cubes of pumpkin puree, unsweetened vanilla almond milk, and enjoy the FALL HARVEST refresher! The key taste in this gently sweet concoction is the blend of pumpkin, carrot, and parsley with ginger.

organic ingredients:

carrots (juice and add some of the pulp)

handful of mango chunks

1/2 apple of just apple juice, if you prefer

handful of parsley

frozen pumpkin cubes or scoop if not already frozen (but add ice later, then)

almond milk

segment of ginger according to spice preference…

optional: cinnamon, dates, & banana (too much banana may dominate the veggie/pumpkin overture in this drink).  if you want added Vitamin C, throw a wedge of ripe red bell pepper in for a subtle undercurrent of flavor to complement the ginger.

note:  The more pumpkin you add, the creamier; if you want it sweeter and creamier, add bananas and dates and cinnamon to highlight up the pumpkin-ness of this season. Bit of ice blended in is always nice.

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Jane Park Smith & Deana Molle let loose over sweets for the annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

QUOTE ME… on sweets, most certainly!! :)

My pick for 2nd place truffle... LOVED THIS KISS!

My pick for 2nd place truffle… LOVED THIS KISS!

I love going to judge the Chocolate Salon each year I am able… and this year, picking “bests” were no simple task.  Imagine me juggling my notepad, endless samples of fine delectable choco-based treats, and then assessing impressions upon my tastebuds after a couple hours of a sweet-high! Truly a dizzying array of decadence…

Well, I am pleased to share the results:

http://www.candyindustry.com/articles/86445-chocolatiers-strike-gold-in-california-winners-of-los-angeles-chocolate-salon-announced

And what a sweet surprise that I got to contribute my evidently quotable passion!  Thank you, again, to the committee for inviting me the privilege to collaborate with other tastemakers! :)

If you want more of my specific thoughts on chocolatiers, here you go :  Vivian presented a Ginjinha truffle shaped as dark chocolate lips with a portuguese liquor, cherry, and port wine combination that was remarkable and enticing.  Perhaps it was intended to seduce folks into trying other items…I most certainly did. The green tea truffle was the most true matcha essence at the show without overwhelming me with the “green”-ness on the tastebuds this tea can impart…and then I appreciated their white chocolate truffle with pineapple or tropical fruit inside–along with the softened texture of the fruit.  Too many liquid fillings get tiresome after a while. Although, when it comes to Fera Wyn’s Limoncello truffle, I’ll take more of that anytime!  I so wish I could have also voted for Choctal’s Indonesian Vanilla and Chocolate ice creams, but Amara’s El Dorado Square with mixed praline covered in dark chocolate with gold dusting edged out the ice cream with it’s delightful crunch as well as the slightly resistant cloud like texture for the Best Comfort food/snack product.  Loved this item by Amara (and so many other gorgeous creations of theirs) … wish I had more to eat right now!

Speaking of sugar, if there any ambitious and risk-tasking chocolatiers out there: I would love to see more alternatively sweetened (stevia, monk fruit, erythitol… or even coconut crystals) chocolates offered by veteran or newbie vendors as America deals with increasing health concerns that sugar impacts quite unmistakably.

In regards to the quote in the linked article about the limited edition Amano dark chocolate bar … the company rep shared that the land in Papua New Guinea is being overhauled so farmers can plant trees for palm oil production.  Alas, the unique palate uplift of red grapefruit and lime or the Morobe bar will simply be s bygone memory — a treat possibly felled by higher profit margins. I am glad to have had the the opportunity to taste this chocolate bar and get a flavor of the terrain of origin. Bittersweet.
Jane Park Smith & Deana Molle let loose over sweets for the annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

Jane Park Smith & Deana Molle let loose over sweets for the annual Los Angeles Chocolate Salon

My healthy snack attack solution. SUPER YUM!

Well, my flavor of the moment… lol! I just discovered this and cannot get enough of it! Nori (or gheem in Korean) is NOT boring! YumYAY!

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Just wish it had NO sugar,  but it is lower on the list…

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…I will overlook the fact that is it not certified organic, since it helps keep me from more “dangerous” snack attacks! ;)

REAL RUMMY YUMMY BALLS

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How it happened:
Hubby’s birthday… his hall pass out with pals all night at members only rum bar… needed a homemade party favor to suit the occasion…
TADA…these rum connoisseur friendly rum balls were concocted~

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INGREDIENTS:
3 cups dried , pitted, organic dates (2 cups coarsely chopped Deglet/ 1 cup Halawy)
3 shot glasses of rum (Zaya and 151 proof Cruzan)
3 teaspoon vanilla bean paste/extract
¾ cup raw Brazil nuts
2 cup raw cashews
2 cups desiccated coconut (plus more to roll in)
2 oz raw cocoa butter
3 dashes cardamom; 2 dashes Korintje cinnamon
Freshly grated Himalayan pink salt

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INSTRUCTIONS:
1- chop up dates, making sure all seeds are removed, and drizzle rums to soak in for a couple hours
2- put nuts into food processor until well mixed… not too finely chopped…a fine/coarse chop
3- allow cocoa butter so melt gently in double boiler
4- mix dates, nuts, vanilla, …pulse in portions or altogether if processor is large enough. Add Coconut shreds 1 and ¼ cup at end and mix thoroughly. Finally, drizzle the cocoa butter and get ready to roll!
5-you can use remainder of coconut shreds to coat — really use hands to press ball tightly with coconut or simply roll around in bowl for lighter coating. In my original recipe, I used purchased white chocolate chai shards (from a hot cocoa mix by a artisan tea company) to incorporate into the coating to emphasize the spice in the balls, but this was the ingredient that had refined sugar in it. Next time I will not add it to remove all processed ingredients.
6- if you use a heaping tablespoon for each ball to roll, you should end up with about 45 balls.
7-allow to set in a fridge for an hour… and enjoy for up to a week if your ingredients are farmer market fresh! These will also freeze well to enjoy defrosted later.. 

note: Not having a typical dark chocolate tone in these rum balls makes the date flavor really sing and the quality of the rum choice shine through. But if your dates aren’t are full of flavor and moist, feel free to use cacao or carob powder to add a fullness of flavor or a raw dark chocolate butter melted and drizzled. It will still be delightful!

party favor at the party! yeay!

party favor at the party! yeay!


Happy 30-something birthday to my husband!

Shamrock super shake

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Just my quick healthful version of the classic dairy decadence…

Frozen non dairy yogurt 1 cup
1.5 frozen bananas
3/4 cup of ice
1/2 avocado
Dash spirulina
Handful fresh mint
1/4 cup spinach
1 tablespoon peppermint extract
1 packet stevia
1/2 cup of non dairy milk of choice… or enough to blend in high powered blender
1 scoop of Vega vanilla protein powder

Cool factor: All natural green coloring from herbs and superfoods…!!

Blend it up and top with dried fruit of choice… make as thick and minty as you would like!! … make your own whipped topping if you have time, too!

…and yes, you could add some Jameson’s if you “must!” … a cream liquor would be my preference, though… cheers!!!

a Happy St. Patty’s treat!

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Better than Pastries in Europe!

I just got back from Europe and I must say the pastries over yonder have nothing on the ones made here at Ramekin…! Now there are more to enjoy :) keep in mind, however, that these are not GF, Sugarfree, or Vegan, but a straight forward treat in every sense of the word. Click on the “family members” link to see more scrumptiousness…

New Family Members!.

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Dog food for people?! :)

If you have a furry companion like my Rocky Bear Smith that you love so much, it’s hard to not to share what you are eating…
Oh, that deadlocked, deep-souled stare that guilts you into giving up (sometimes too much) human food to their endearingly pleading gaze. Well, I wanted to start coming up with a solutions…
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Here’s one! A gluten free crumbley cereal “bark” that is satisfying enough for me and my doggie!

Have you seen the ingredients on most doggie cookies and treats! Mystify and gag me! yuck! But this way, I can enjoy a great at home, ingredient-controlled treat WITH my furry love.

INGREDIENTS:
1 3/4 cups soaked buckwheat groats (*make sure they are not drowning in water, just moderately wet… rinse after soaking an hour until water runs relatively clear.)
1 cup of your fav. raw nut butter (I used almond, but I get Rocky would have loved peanut! Cashew may be dreamy!)
1 Tblspoon of vanilla paste
1/8 cup of coconut sugar
2 packets of stevia
(option… you can use honey instead of stevia if you are concerned about your doggie’s digestive system and you are okay with honey’s higher glycemic index)…but that is why I love cinnamon in abundance to help offset some sugar spikes.
3 Tblspoons or Ceylon cinnamon (more if you want!)
2 teaspoon of Himalayan pink salt
I sliced dried figs (since I love them and so does Rocky. Peanut butter with dried banana bits would be delish!)
(try adding hemp seeds for more health value and protein power!)
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DIRECTIONS:
1- Put all ingredients except dried fruit into food processor…mixed until moderately pulverized… you still want some whole groats throughout and not just a mushy paste
2- Pour onto you dehydrator’s teflex sheet. if you want to “score” it for uniform breaking later, you can do so with a knife or pizza cutter a few hours into the dehyrating.
3-Dehydrate for 10 hours at 118 or so (set your machine to about 125 since enough heat dissipates and won’t reach that degree.
4- Flip onto your other teflex sheet and dehydrate some more… another 8 hours or so. Or until it’s irresistably crunchy!!! I love and hate when my dehydrator is going because I love sampling, sampling, sampling under my guise of testing… haha!
5- Remove and let cool and break into pieces or follow your scoring.

Here’s the compromise. This recipe may not be sweet enough for the average American palate, but plenty sweet enough to satisfy your doggie safely. So, you can eat this with more dried fruit when having as a cereal or topped with a banana or other sweetener of choice. Or, just train yourself to enjoy the simple tastes of simple ingredients and break the standard sugar craving needs built upon a food industry that has put sugar in virtually every food under various names. (Don’t get me started). Plus, your doggie companion would probably enjoy being able to share more of what you eat without harm…and can do so if our human food choices were more basic and deliciously healthy! Go ahead… share a bowl of this cereal (even with milk of choice)… one big bowl for you; one appropriately sized bowl for Rocky.
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I am so happy he loved it… and ate it all up! Proof that humans and dogs can really be besties and share more!
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GUILT FREE, GLUTEN-FREE LIVING WITH OUR FURRIEST FRIENDS!!!

And here’s some information on why you should incorporate buckwheat groats into your routine!!!…and it’s not a wheat!!!

It’s a fruit seed that’s related to rhubarb and sorrel, so it’s gluten-free, making it a popular substitute for other wheat-based grains. Though it is usually thought of as a grain, buckwheat is actually the seed of a broadleaf plant related to rhubarb. While it is not a true grain, it is used like one in cooking, and it surpasses rice, wheat and corn on almost every measure of healthfulness (including the fact that rice, wheat, and corn are high on the glycemic scale, thus provoking a quick spike in blood sugar levels, a proven promoter of systemic inflammation). Buckwheat, on the other hand, ranks low on the glycemic scale.

The fruit seed originated in China and spread to Europe and Russia, where it’s often eaten as porridge. However, buckwheat has found a home in the West Virginia region, where it’s been celebrated for years at an annual buckwheat festival.

Buckwheat is also high in manganese, magnesium, copper, and zinc, which are great for the immune system. It also contains all eight essential amino acids, including lysine, which plays a key role in collagen production and is not produced by the human body. Ramirez says people prone to cold sores should try eating buckwheat, since lysine helps wear them off.

How to select: Buckwheat comes in various forms, so it helps to know what you want to use it for before heading to the grocery store. For raw buckwheat, or buckwheat groats, head to the bulk bins area of the store. You can also find groats packaged.

For baking, buckwheat flour is packaged and readily available at most stores. There are also buckwheat noodles, also known as soba noodles, which can be found in the gluten-free section of grocery stores.

Buckwheat Protein’s Unique Health-Promoting Properties:
=The specific characteristics of buckwheat proteins, and the relative proportions of its amino acids, make buckwheat the unsurpassed cholesterol-lowering food studied to date.
=Its protein characteristics also enhance buckwheat’s ability to reduce and stabilize blood sugar levels following meals—a key factor in preventing diabetes and obesity.
=Like the widely prescribed “ACE” hypertension drugs, buckwheat proteins reduce the activity of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), thereby reducing hypertension.

Read more: http://www.oprah.com/health/Buckwheat-Dr-Perricones-No-5-Superfood#ixzz2uU8lGeXS