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Christmas in a Jar

If you still need to do some last minute Christmas gifting, this one is fun, simple, and affordable. This is perfect if you’re on a student budget. It also made for a really fun night with my friend, Lauresa!

There are¬†many recipes online… we decided on a veggie bean soup recipe, but there are cookie and dessert ones too.

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For your loved ones without weird diets ūüėȬ†

http://christmas.organizedhome.com/crafts/gifts-in-a-jar/recipe-index

Our recipe:

VEGETARIAN FIVE BEAN SOUP MIX

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Much thanks to Cassie Johnston at : http://backtoherroots.com/2012/12/03/handmade-holiday-vegetarian-five-bean-soup-mix/  
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: None
Makes: 4 Jars
INGREDIENTS
‚ÄĘ 1 pound pinto beans
‚ÄĘ 1 pound split green peas (or green lentils)
‚ÄĘ 1 pound great northern beans
‚ÄĘ 1 pound black beans
‚ÄĘ 1 pound kidney beans
‚ÄĘ 1 tablespoon black pepper
‚ÄĘ 1 tablespoon paprika
‚ÄĘ 1 tablespoon dry mustard
‚ÄĘ 2 tablespoons dehydrated onions (found in the spice aisle)
‚ÄĘ 2 tablespoons sea salt
‚ÄĘ 2 tablespoons garlic powder
‚ÄĘ 2 tablespoons dried oregano
‚ÄĘ 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
‚ÄĘ 8 bay leaves
‚ÄĘ 4 vegetable bouillon cubes
MATERIALS
‚ÄĘ 4 clear quart Mason jars plus lids and rings
‚ÄĘ Parchment paper
‚ÄĘ Tape or stickers
‚ÄĘ Labels
‚ÄĘ Fabric and ribbon to cover top
INSTRUCTIONS
1. In each of the four Mason jars, layer 2/3 cup of pinto beans‚ÄĒshaking the jar gently to level the beans. Then repeat with 2/3 cup of green peas and so on ending with the kidney beans. Set jars aside.
2. In a small bowl, combine all remaining spices except bay leaves and bouillon cubes.
3. On a 10″ x 10″ piece of parchment paper, spoon 3 tablespoons of the spice mixture in the middle. Place two bay leaves and one bouillon cube on top. Fold parchment around spices to make a small spice packet. Seal with tape or stickers. Repeat three more times to create four total packets. Squish the packets into the top space of each of the four bean jars. You can also package the spices into plastic zip-top baggies if you prefer.
4. Place lids on jars, cover in fabric and ribbon and label as desired.
Remove the spice packet from the jar and set aside. Rinse beans and place in a large stock pot. Cover by 1” of water. Bring to a boil over high heat and boil for one minute. Remove from heat, cover, and let soak for one hour. Drain and rinse beans. Return beans to the pot, add in spice packet, 1-15 OZ CAN OF DICED TOMATOES AND 5 CUPS OF WATER. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat and simmer for 1-1/1-2 hours until beans are very tender and soup is thick. Serve with a bug hunk of crusty bread. Enjoy!

 

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season!

xoxo

Pie @ the Movies

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You know you have a weird diet when you bring THIS¬†to the movie theatre…
because who needs popcorn and soda when you can have PIE and share it? ūüôā ¬†The odds are ever in our favor.¬†

And it was a great pie:

https://kendraleah.wordpress.com/2015/11/09/the-great-pumpkin-pie/

good times with Hilliary @hills.pnw    #fastfood  #pietogo  #hungrygames

Easy Chicken Curry

This has been one of favorite recipes lately with my grad-school schedule. We all have those days that we need something delicious and quick! This also makes 3-4 servings! 

You just need…

  • 1 crockpot or pressure cooker.
    • Takes about one hour in a pressure cooker. Let it marinate in a crockpot for 4-6 hours.
  • Approximately 1 lb of chicken breasts. I slice these,¬†but I don’t worry about making small pieces. They will become tender¬†and naturally pull apart.
  • Chopped veggies: ¬†celery, onion, and carrot.¬†I like to buy a¬†pre-chopped veggie cup at Trader Joe’s. I just dump them in the pot!¬†This is approximately 1/2 cup- 1 cup of each veggie. The portion sizes are ultimately¬†up to you!
  • 1 can of coconut cream.¬†Savoy is the best!
  • 2 tablespoons of curry powder.¬†I use the simple Curry Powder from Trader Joe’s or Siva’s Madras Curry Powder,¬†which includes a mix of spices. You can find this and many other flavors at Shoreline Central Market. Curry Powder is the way to go. It’s very concentrated, cheaper, and has great flavor. It also isn’t going to have the extra sugar and additives that you will find in pre-made sauces. Let the natural flavors sing¬†for themselves.
  • Water as needed…depends on how runny you like it. I might add around 1/2 cup- 1 cup, but no more.
  • Salt to taste.

Of course, you can experiment with your own version! You can mix up the vegetables, curry, and meat you choose. Ultimately, I think the most important part is using a great coconut cream and curry powder.

I’ll upload a picture soon!

ūüôā Kendra

The GREAT Pumpkin Pie.

 I am about as stoked about this pie as Charlie Brown felt waiting for the Great Pumpkin to arrive on Halloween. 

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If you’re like me, you know that good desserts are hard to come by.
It’s¬†a¬†satisfying discovery!¬†I’ve merged two recipes to create a tasty¬†pumpkin pie. People with and without diet restrictions have really enjoyed it. It’s creamy sweet¬†and¬†delicate. The coconut gives it a melt-in-your-mouth¬†texture without¬†overpowering the pumpkin flavor or the festive spice.¬†


Can’t believe it’s Gaps, Grain Free, Sugar-Free (no cane sugar), Dairy-Free, Paleo, Primal

~  Pumpkin Pie Filling  ~

Thanks to Deliciously Organic @¬†http://deliciouslyorganic.net/pumpkin-pie-grain-free-paleo-primal-gaps/! ¬†¬†I’ve modified this slightly.

Serving Size: Makes two 9-inch pies or 1 full 9 inch pie. I prefer one large 9 inch pie.

* It’s important to use a pie shield or foil over the crust to ensure the crust doesn’t burn. The filling can also be made two days in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar ¬† ¬† (or honey)
  • 1 tsp of Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spice¬† ¬† ¬† (OR 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon,¬†1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg, 1/4 tsp ginger.) ¬†I love TJ’s pre-mixed¬†spice because it also has cardamom, cloves, and lemon peel.
  • 3/4 cup pureed pumpkin ¬† ¬†(if using fresh pumpkin then strain the pumpkin for about 5 minutes in a fine mesh sieve to remove excess moisture)
  • 1 tablespoon of potato flour¬† ¬†(or arrowroot for a rigid Paleo diet…it is helpful to include¬†an alternative thickener)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups canned coconut cream¬†(Approximately 1 can).¬†I would highly recommend Savoy Coconut Cream, which is 100% coconut without any additives. It has the best flavor I’ve tried..fresh, slightly sweet, and creamy….better than many other brands that are “organic’ or have additives.

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 450¬įF and adjust rack to middle position. Place all ingredients¬†in a blender. Blend until smooth. Pour filling evenly into unbaked pie shell(s). Place pie dishes on a large baking sheet. Cover crust with a pie shield or foil to ensure the crust doesn‚Äôt burn. Bake at 450¬įF for 15 minutes. Turn oven down to 350¬įF and bake for an additional 20 minutes until edges of pie are set. Cool to room temperature before serving. Serve alone or with whipped coconut cream.

~  Paleo Pie Crust  ~

Thank you, Elena! @ http://elanaspantry.com/paleo-pie-crust/

Paleo-Pie-Crust-08431Serves: 1 pie crust
Ingredients:
2 cups blanched almond flour
¬ľ teaspoon celtic sea salt
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 large egg
Instructions:
Place flour and salt in food processor and pulse briefly
Add coconut oil and egg and pulse until mixture forms a ball
Press dough into a 9-inch pie dish
Bake at 350¬į for 8-12 minutes

* ~ * ~ *  And Enjoy! Happy Fall!!  

(Life outside of grad school and pies..besides eating pie to feel better about having homework ūüôā haha!)¬†¬†¬†12072606_10207976099304204_4475206639432544936_nIMG_20150924_191006 ¬† 12068988_10207900742140322_655884765907960716_o¬†12119067_10207900823422354_3496920423911965873_n¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† IMG_20151011_180705 IMG_20151030_170622

Do What Brings You Life!

W A N T E D: Student who broke open the bathroom fire extinguisher and created a ‘winter wonderland.’ The prints have been photographed and investigations continue.
F O U N D: Child who hopped on a random bus after school. Later reunited with mom and brothers who had been left at the curb.
In other words, two of the many stories that have me laughing and gaping this first week of student teaching!

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As I’m quickly learning, being a teacher is full of surprises. As a teaching¬†assistant at Sherwood Forest Elementary, I’m so thankful to be learning alongside such a dedicated staff.¬†Despite long work hours, we are so excited for the learning already taking place. (Left- 2nd grade team!)

I’ve been reminded this week of how important it is to take care of ourselves. It is so easy during times of “survival-mode” to neglect¬†things that we really need to feel energetic and rested.

So although I could post some stir-fry recipes on here, I wanted to share briefly instead about some of the other activities besides quality cooking that have been so life giving.

I’ve found that having exercise-accountability is pertinent for me. I’ve been taking yoga classes for almost a year now with Ce Boehme, who is an excellent instructor. If you’re in the Bothell, Washington area (the Eastside), you should check her out!¬†https://www.includeyoga.com

(Below- learning to straighten my back ūüôā ¬†It’s amazing how much tension I build up in my body through daily stresses. Yoga has been an excellent way to release¬†the tight areas in my back that easily become painful. I’ve realized how easy it is to live in physical stress and tension. I’m really wanting to create different way of doing things.

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Also, being outside is a quick remedy for the soul. Below was my last summer adventure before beginning to settle in to the coziness of fall. There is nothing like a little spontaneity, laughter, friendship, and the great outdoors. I’m continually astounded¬†by the pristine beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

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Well, I’m about to begin another week of student teaching tomorrow. Here’s to taking a deep breath and diving back into the chaos! In the middle of it, I’ll continue fighting for those breaks and moments that sustain me. I hope for any of you who are feeling stressed, that you can return to the things that bring you life and joy. Even small moments can be incredibly fulfilling!

Best,

Kendra

Bon Appetite!

Bonjour! It has been too long since I’ve posted. I’ll blame that on papers, homework, and children in general (but absolutely worth becoming a teacher someday). Summer break has finally come! A glorious week of sleeping in, getting sun kissed, laughing with friends, Netflix, and¬†naps. And trying some new recipes, of course!

Since I last made¬†Ratatouille, I’ve decided to experiment. I’ve combined two new recipes– a simple Allrecipes.com and a Parisian Chef’s version– into a sort of American-French hybrid. The sauce and flavor turned out amazing! So if you are looking for a relatively simple version of Ratatouille with authentic French flair, then you’ve come to the right place.

And did I mention that it’s Paleo/GAPS friendly?

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Disney’s Ratatouille Recipe–¬†http://m.allrecipes.com/recipe/222006/disneys-ratatouille/?mxt=t06rda

Cooking with Kurt- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56d1J_oCl04

How to chop eggplant (because let’s be real, chopping veggies can be confusing) –¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CdaX8MDsJkc

INGREDIENTS

Veggies:

  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 small onion or 1/2 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small eggplant, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 1 zucchini, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow squash, trimmed and very thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored and very thinly sliced
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tomatos, thinly sliced

Spices/Oil: 

  • 1/4 cup minced garlic OR small handful of fresh basil, chopped (I’ve been having trouble with garlic lately, but found basil to be a delicious alternative)
  • 4 tablespoon olive oil ¬†(1 at beginning,¬†3 tbl at end- or to taste)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves, or to taste

PREP-45 min
Cook- 45 min
Ready In 1 h 30 m
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F 

DIRECTIONS

PART ONE: Preparing the sauce

  1. Chop 2 carrots and cook in a large pan with oil.
  2. Meanwhile: Optional- for a nice smoky flavor, turn the red and yellow peppers over the stove until they are crispy on the outside (see youtube video above). Then set peppers aside to cool.
  3. While the carrots are cooking and peppers are cooling, begin to chop the other ingredients: onion, tomato, eggplant, yellow squash and zucchini. You want THIN slices.
  4. Once carrots are looking tender, you’ll want to add the chopped red and yellow pepper to the pan. If you have smoked the peppers, removed the charred outer layer before chopping. Let the carrots and pepper sizzle together for several minutes or until softened.
  5. Next, toss in the onion. Stir and let sizzle for a couple minutes.
  6. Now add your tomato paste, basil/garlic, water, salt &pepper, and extra olive oil. You want a sauce that is thick and creamy but not chunky or watery. (See pictures below..my sauce right before I added a couple tbl of water)
  7. Once everything has simmered for 5-10 minutes and the vegetables look tender, set aside to cool. (If you want to speed up this process, pour into a bowl and cool for 5-10 minutes in the fridge/freezer.)

PART TWO: Preparing the pan & creaming the sauce

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and oil the bottom of a 10×10 pan.
  2. Make sure the rest of your vegetables are sliced and ready to go: the zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, and tomato.
  3. Now that your sauce has cooled, pour it into a blender or a food processor. Blend until creamy. It should have a sweet and¬†slightly smoky/spicy flavor…yum! I think it’s the¬†sauce that really makes or breaks Ratatouille.
  4. Pour the sauce into the pan, spread evenly. Dash on a bit of salt and red pepper.
  5. Now you can begin making your rainbow. Arrange alternating slices of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, and tomato, starting at the outer edge of the dish and working concentrically towards the center. Overlap the slices a little to display the colors.
  6. Drizzle the vegetables with 3 tablespoons olive oil and season with salt and black pepper. Sprinkle with thyme leaves.
  7. Cover with foil. Bake in the preheated oven until vegetables are roasted and tender, about 30- 45 minutes. This will be even faster in a toaster oven.
  8. If you’re able to eat dairy, serve with dollops of mascarpone cheese.

BON APPETITE!

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