PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY THUMBPRINTS

Cooking, FL, Healthy activities, Healthy Food, Inspiration, Organic Herbs and Teas, Orlando News and Events, Recipes

I don’t know if you’ve noticed yet, but we love The Minimalist Baker! We were looking up cookies for a Christmas baking extravaganza, and came across this recipe for Peanut Butter & Jelly Thumbprints. We cooked them up, and they were so good, we ate them all before we were able to hand any out. I suppose we should make some more to share.

Ingredients:

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup peanut butter
  • ¼ cup soft vegan butter (earth balance)
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp flax meal and 2.5 tbsp water)
  • 10 tbsp jam of your choice (we used raspberry)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare flax egg, set aside. Beat peanut butter and earth balance together until they are light and fluffy. Then add flax egg and brown sugar, stir. Add graham cracker crumbs and stir to combine, then add flour a little at a time until the dough is firm, not crumbly. Scoop dough into one tbsp amounts, and roll into balls. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Next, flatten the balls gently with the bottom of a glass and use your thumb to make an indentation in the middle. Bake for 8 minutes, remove from oven. The indentations should’ve puffed up, so press them back down a little and put back in the oven to brown a little more, about 2-3 minutes until they are golden brown. If they over bake, they will be too crunchy. Let them rest on the pans for a few minutes, then transfer to wire racks. Once cooled, heat jam until warm and pourable in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Spoon small amounts of the jam into the middle of each cookie. Sprinkle with a few more graham cracker crumbs and serve!

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Enjoying the little things in life

camping, canoeing, FL, Growing, Healthy Food, hiking, Inspiration, Local Orlando Businesses, Organic Herbs and Teas, Orlando News and Events
Little things in Orlando

Little things in life

Little Doors on Trees in Orlando where is 1- 13?

 

It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important. Arthur Conan Doyle

 

 

I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind. Leo Buscaglia

Paying attention

Little doors can be found by paying attention

My view is that life is too short. I’m not being melodramatic or anything, but when your mother dies in your arms – just you and her, and it’s one o’clock in the morning, and you’re waiting for her to exhale – you just think, life’s too bloody short to argue about the little things. Saffron Aldridge

I don’t have to take a trip around the world or be on a yacht in the Mediterranean to have happiness. I can find it in the little things, like looking out into my backyard and seeing deer in the fields. Queen LatifahI 

Bugs everywhere

Wooden Bear sculpture in a tree

I found that if you take a few minutes out of your day to look around and find a few special little things in life— it is amazing how quickly all the big problems you thought you had all of the sudden seem smaller. Nanette Gregory

Taking a walk around Orlando

Healthy Food, Inspiration, Local Orlando Businesses, Organic Herbs and Teas, Orlando News and Events, Recipes

An early-morning walk is a blessing for the whole day.

Henry David Thoreau

Even though it is winter there is lots of beauty to see along the way on an early morning walk or anytime during the day.

Orlando has lots of greenery, along with wonderful flowering bushes and citrus.

Plus walking helps improve a mood, gives you time to think, helps keep your brain active, increases balance, cost next to nothing and much more.

A little orange in life

A little orange in life

Being creative with stones

Being creative with stones

Purple camellia

Purple camellia

Orlando Flowering bushes some even bloom in the winter

Orlando Flowering bushes some even bloom in the winter

BOOKS TO LIVE BY

Cooking, Growing, Healthy Food, Inspiration, Organic Herbs and Teas

by: Chef Mark Thompson

It’s no secret to anyone that knows me that I love books. A lot. Real books – printed books that I can hold, flip through and put on my bookshelves. Old school. No e-books for me. But if thats your thing, don’t let me stop you.

Culinary books are a great resource – for techniques, flavor combinations, ideas and inspiration. Oh, and recipes. There are tons of tomes out there, but these are my personal favorites when it comes to plant-based cooking.

TOP THREE

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The Vegetarian Flavor Bible

The Essential Guide to Culinary Creativity with Vegetables, Fruits, Grains, Legumes, Nuts, Seeds, and More, Based On the Culinary Wisdom of Leading American Chefs

by Karen Page

That’s one heck of a subtitle. But it’s true. This book has been indispensable to me. Hands down the book I use the most often. It was preceded by Culinary Artistry (I bought three copies, because friends kept ‘borrowing’!), then an updated and expanded version was released, The Flavor Bible. This vegetarian version came out in 2014. The bulk of the book is dedicated to ingredient matches and affinities. Want to know what goes with mangoes? It’s there. Really want to know? Everything from almonds to yuzu. Classic and clever pairings garnered from the input of some of the best chefs in America. As well as methods of preparation, seasonality, flavor profiles, sample dish ideas, nutritional profile, botanical relatives and tips. Also, there is a fascinating timeline of vegetarian history, great quotes, information on eating plant-based, menus from top restaurants and more. Learn about it, and buy it here.

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Ratio

The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking

by Michael Ruhlman

A New York Times bestseller, Ratio, like the Flavor Bible, is another book to help break beyond recipes and find a new freedom in cooking. Recipes, of course, are helpful, especially when starting out or experimenting with new cuisines. However, knowing a basic ratio makes cooking easier and more intuitive. For example, a classic vinaigrette is 3 parts oil to 1 part vinegar. Where you go from there is completely up to you (and half the fun!). Oil? The standard is olive. But what about avocado or hazelnut or sesame? Instead of the traditional white wine vinegar, try sherry, raspberry or balsamic. Or go crazy and use lemon juice! It’s your world now. Add in some salt and pepper, it’s that easy. Other common additions would be shallots, dijon mustard and herbs. Just the beginning… There are 32 other ratios with countless variations. While not a vegetarian book, it is incredibly helpful nonetheless.

This book is also available as an app. Which, even given my affinity for books, I will admit is pretty handy. Ruhlman also has a very informative blog, as well as many other great books. I like them all, including the ones having nothing at all to do with cooking. Such as The Elements of Cooking, Ruhlman’s Twenty, The Making of a Chef, House, Walking on Water and Wooden Boats. You can find it all here.

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How to Cook Everything Vegetarian

Simple Meatless Recipes for Great Food

by Mark Bittman

I’ve liked Mark Bittman for some time now. Up until recently he was a columnist with the New York Times, but has since left to work with a vegan startup. He is also an outspoken commentator on our broken food system appearing often on news programs, in documentaries and writing other books like Food Matters. His column, The Minimalist, was known for straightforward, simple recipes. This volume, one of a series, carries on that theme. This is a more traditional cookbook, but a massive one. And while there are over 2,000 recipes, there are also variations and substitutions and techniques to help facilitate spontaneous and seasonal cooking. The recipes run the gamut of soups, salads, breads, desserts, grains and way more. My personal favorite is the section on spices, condiments and sauces. It’s a great way to build up your pantry with natural, homemade goodness, without all the chemicals and superfluous ingredients found in mass market convenience products. With this book, you can make your own pesto, ketchup, eggless mayo, mustard, vegan fish sauce, barbeque sauce and mix your own curry powder, chili powder, garam masala and tons more.

This book is also available as an app, which makes a convenient, searchable, portable companion. Other books I like by Bittman include the aforementioned Food Matters, as well as VB6 and Kitchen Express (not entirely plant-based, but easily customizable). For more information, visit his website here.

CHEFS & RESTAURANTS

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Crossroads

Extraordinary Recipes from the Restaurant That is Reinventing Vegan Cuisine

by Tal Ronnen with Scot Jones and Serafina Magnussen

Just know this – Bill Clinton, Paul McCartney and Jay-Z are all fans of Ronnen. So, you don’t really need me to tell you. But I will anyway. This is vegan food taken to the highest level. Primarily Mediterranean, it is beautiful just to peruse, but there is plenty here that you could make at home. The first thing I did was make his simple, but tasty Walnut Parmesan. Some very interesting flavors and a section on basics, with recipes for almond Greek yogurt, cashew cream, vegetable stocks and a demi-glace that is next up on my hit list. He also has another book, The Conscious Cook, which is also worth checking out.

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Dirt Candy: A Cookbook

Flavor-forward Food from the Upstart New York City Vegetarian Restaurant

by Amanda Cohen & Ryan Dunlavey with Grady Hendrix

My new favorite cookbook. Funny, clever and filled with great recipes, ideas and techniques. Written in graphic novel form, it is part memoir, a history of her NY restaurant, and a cookbook all in one. Learn the trials of opening a restaurant and how to make Smoked Corn Dumplings or Huitlacoche Cream. What I like most is ideas for components to reinforce and add extra layers of flavor. For example, her recipe for Roasted Carrot Buns also includes a carrot & cucumber salad, carrot hoisin and a carrot halvah garnish to really bring out the carrot flavor in different ways and textures.

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The Accidental Vegetarian

Delicious Food Without Meat

By Simon Rimmer

The chef at the Greens, in Manchester, England, Simon Rimmer has put together this tasty collection of dishes that could please anyone, omnivores included. Pulling inspiration from around the globe, there are dishes with Thai, Indian, Japanese, Middle Eastern and Italian influences. Most of the dishes are simple enough even for a weeknight, but there are plenty to impress at your next dinner party as well. Samples include Leek & Potato Rosti, Phyllo Strudel with Port and Eggplant Tikka Masala.

DIGGING DEEPER

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The Omnivore’s Dilemma

A Natural History of Four Meals

by Michael Pollan

Basically an exposé of what it takes to get food on your plate. An attempt to answer the question, “What should we eat?” Delves into the benefits and problems with organic production, fast food, the meat industry, and foraging. A fascinating look into a broken system. The book earned Pollan a James Beard Award. There is also a young readers version available. Also great is In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and I also enjoyed Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education.

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The China Study

Startling Implications for Diet, Weight Loss and Long-Term Health

by T. Colin Campbell, PHD and Thomas M. Campbell, MD

An eye-opening look at the effect our diet has on every facet of our health. The book is based on the most comprehensive study of nutrition ever conducted. The main focus is the correlation between animal protein consumption and chronic illnesses. It can be a bit tedious, but the information is incredible. The study is featured in the film Forks Over Knives.

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Cooking

600 Recipes, 1500 Photographs, One Kitchen Education

by James Peterson

Somehow this guy seems to know everything about cooking. I mean, he did teach for seventeen years and write the advanced curriculum for The French Culinary Institute. So there’s that. He also has a degree in chemistry. He’s also written over a dozen books. This is the culmination of all of them, in one convenient package. It won a James Beard Award, as have several of his others. This is not all plant-based cooking, this is all cooking. So if you would be offended at pictures on trussing a veal roast, skip it. If you want to learn how to make concassée, Borscht, grill zucchini, and find out what the heck herbs de Provence is, then this is the book for you.

http://dandelion.kitchen/portfolio/books-to-live-by/

If You Build It —Documentary

Inspiration

If You Build It---Farmers Market

If You Build It—Farmers Market

Wonderful flick about what happens when two architects/ designers take two years out of their lives to make a difference in a small community in Bertie County, NC.

The final project of the students and teachers was to build a farmers market. The design was created by one of the students.

Currently running on Netflix.

If You Build It TrailerIf You Build It Trailer