Category Archives: Food

Information about food quality and relation to health.

Dreaming big, and asking for help

When I was 20, my entrepreneurial Uncle Ron took me, and my cousin (his son) to a big business conference in Portland, Oregon. We heard from many leaders and successful business people about what it takes to succeed. The only part that really sticks out in my mind was a spot that Goldie Hawn filled. All of the speakers spoke to their climb to success and what guided them. She said something about how, when she was about 13, someone asked her what she wanted to do when she grew up, and she said, “Make people happy.” That was it. At the time she was studying Ballet, and was doing really well at that, but her drive was to make people happy. And with that simple intention she has succeeded.

So, as I have been trying to find my way in my own photography business, I have often asked myself, what do I want to do? I see beauty everywhere. I notice details many become immune to seeing. From fine art nature photography to weddings, these traits serve me well, but I’m still not succeeding in a way that can help me contribute to my family. Part of this is time, that’s certainly true, but part of it, I think, is that I’ve been holding back. I haven’t been completely honest with myself. What I have always done is help people.

Now this has taken many shapes, and provided many opportunities. I remember my first real job as a courtesy clerk (bagging groceries), I always kept busy and one time offered to take out the trash for the floral vendor who put together bouquets on site. She was grateful and a week later offered me a part time job. What she didn’t know is that I really wanted to work for her!

As life moved me around, I found myself oddly offered jobs literally helping others: from tutoring to baking to landscaping to wedding photography to an Internet start up to writing and a few odd jobs sprinkled in there. When I started a family, I decided to pour my heart into it, and I have learned so much more.

As our family started to grow, I could see room for me to help contribute to the family. That’s when I decided to use my photography in a way that could brighten someone’s day and fit into my full time mommy life, fine art nature photography. Two and half years into it, and tax season showed me it’s not the right direction. This has been my year of transition. I’ve taken a class on posing, a class on studio lighting, and attended a creative challenges class. All of it is leading me to the realization that I have never spoken about how I want to fulfill the desire to simply help people.

So, I’m going to put this out here on the Internet so it’s never forgotten: I want to use my photography to help people. At first I thought that it could be achieved to help capture a family’s life in an annual photo session. Then, I thought I could do it through modern portraits of women where they can see how beautiful they really are. And now I’m getting even more specific: I want to help non-profits through photography. My dream business involve doing part non-profit work traveling internationally and partly portraiture in Seattle.

In October, I will join Workshops With A Purpose in Bolivia to learn more about the Little Ones Project. Basically, it’s a work and learn opportunity: tell their story through photography while learning how to use photography to help non-profits around the world. Most other photography workshops are held in comfy retreats around the United States, and this one appealed to me because we are actually learning in the field and giving while learning.

Why Bolivia?

As their promotional video starts, “Bolivia has the second highest infant mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere.” Food for the Hungry is working to provide a solution to this through the Little Ones Project – teaching mothers nutrition and proper care to grow healthy kids.

As many of you already know, feeding kids well is one of my passions. And, while I have no idea what this program teaches, I’m sure we won’t be talking Paleo and Gluten Free. It will probably be basic, and my job will be to simply help them continue to do the work. Photographs will help tell the story and gather support.

And, Bolivia holds a special place in my heart. My grandma’s parents were missionaries in Cochabamba when she was teenager. She wanted to revisit her old stomping grounds about 50 years later, and chose me as her traveling companion when I was 16 (probably because I had street smarts and was young enough to not have a family of my own yet). Ever since that trip, I have wanted to go back. It was the first time I had ever seen real poverty. I promised myself then, that I would return someday to help. Guess which city the Little Ones Project is operating out of? Yes, Cochabamba.

Why now?

The timing is sudden for someone like me who likes to plan ahead and save. I had always held this dream in the back of my mind as something I couldn’t do until I was in my retirement years and the kids were all grown up. I assumed I would have to work first to build a successful photography business, then go on trips to donate my photography services.

Now I’m learning that you can do this as a way to make a living, and the only way to see if it’s really a dream I want to keep following is to experience it. Since my photography business is already taking a turn toward portraits and away from fine art, why not explore what I really want to do? Why wait and do it the traditional way I had envisioned?

BoliviaFundraiser
Shout out to Studio 3 Cubed for capturing this image of me in action.

I am going to be honest. For my business, I’ve put every penny earned back into it, and this year I’m close to having a positive balance of just over $40. My biggest block is marketing and promoting myself.

So, I want to break through that block, and earn my way into this Workshop. Every photo session and every art photograph I sell between now and September will go toward my tuition and traveling costs. Not everyone can afford a photo session or needs a fine art print, and I get that. So, I’m asking you to help me book 16 photo sessions in the next two months. And, I’ll be adding a bunch of art prints to my Etsy shop to help me raise the funds ($6,000.00 will cover tuition and airfare) by September 10th.

As a thank you I will send a postcard from Bolivia to anyone who either purchases a session or  is able to refer and help me book a session or sell something from my Etsy shop.

And, yes, I offer gift certificates. I’m also thinking of doing a fundraising mini-session day so those with tighter budgets can get portraits too!

The best Birthday present and going Gluten free!

Thank you all, Dear Readers, for staying around for my blog-photo-show! It was such fun to pick each one out and see which ones you liked the most. I’ve enjoyed turning 29. There’s been a lot of new life lessons thrown at me the past 29 days.

Token sun burst kiss on my birthday.

Before I share the biggest one, I have a to share this:

On my 29th Birthday, our daughter pooped on the toilet for the first time!  Some of you may not understand the magnitude of this. I felt like dancing. One year ago, I was still giving her 5 different supplements, journaling every thing she ate, and marking the calendar for every poop. She had been struggling with constipation for over half her life. At that point, she was over two, and I didn’t know if we’d ever get her toilet trained when pooping was such a hard experience for her. She’d spend over 30 minutes grunting, and sweating, and finally pooping. It was always hard, and happened 2-3 times a week. That was a huge improvement. For the full story, you can read the post, Constipation: Why we changed how we eat.

I want to simply share my sheer delight that by working consistently and making my little girl eat her veggies, she’s reached this developmental milestone without tears. We’ve changed more than just her veggie intake, but the over-arching change is in looking at food as an important tool to our health. While our daughter can’t seem to handle digesting many animal protein rich foods, her brother can. But, we’ve just started to figure out that he can’t tolerate gluten or eggs.

A gift from my son.

New Challenge: I want to learn how to eat without gluten. I can do without eggs, and I’ve dabbled in using a variety of grains while baking. But, when I learned that our boy couldn’t have gluten for at least 4 weeks, I was totally overwhelmed. You’d think that with the success we’ve had changing our daughter’s diet, I’d be all calm and confident. No. I felt unequipped. I wanted to know this stuff now.  Instead, I went shopping. I had to face the fact that a busy week volunteering for a community event, and getting ready to leave for a road trip, meant that I didn’t have time to experiment in the kitchen. I felt a little guilty going to buy things I’d learned to make from scratch: Bread, crackers, pancake mix, etc.

I scoured the local Co-op, and found enough things to get our son started on his new diet. I went to a huge, high priced market that has an entire gluten free-aisle! As I stood there scanning everything, an employee kindly handed me a 10 page guide to all their gluten free products. While I thanked him, explaining I was new to this, a lady nearby approached to offer advice. It was like an angel had been sent to cheer me up . Seriously. She has Celiac, and has been eating Gluten free for 2 years. With a 5 year old of her own, she provided the exact advice I needed: what crackers are tasty, best flour mixes, advice on egg substitute methods (she favors using flax with water, I’ve succeeded using Vinegar or Lemon Juice). After our conversation, I felt like giving her a hug. Instead, I gushed thanking her with a huge smile.

My plea to Friends also provided a wonderful cookbook and recipe suggestions. I’m eager to share what’s passed our taste testing. But, for now, I wanted to share my latest challenge and joy.

Have you gone Gluten Free? If so, what are your favorite recipes? Favorite blogs?

I love Glutenfreegirl.com, and just discovered Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

A Spontaneous Raspberry Picking and Making Granola: Reviews

Last weekend we went camping. My husband’s folks, brother and sister-in law joined us in the North Cascades. I successfully tested my home-made marshmallows on them (thumbs up all around).

To my delight our trip took us right by  The Cascadian Farm (regionally local company selling berries, granola and jam). I love their jam and berries. A cute little stand sells Ice Cream made on-site, Coffee, fresh berries and snacks. They also have U-Pick berry fields. While we stopped to enjoy a smoothie (they easily obliged to omit the dairy for our little girl), I confessed to my husband, that I really wished I’d planned ahead to pick berries (at $2.25lb for Organic Raspberries it’s a deal!). He did his super-hero thinking and found an empty container from our camping supplies to use. They do supply the cardboard boxes you normally see at stores, but I wanted something to reuse.

Our kids were a lot of help, and picking went quickly (granted our daughter may have eaten more than she picked). With loads of gigantic, sun-ripened Raspberries all around us, it was hard to stop. And we only picked one row. But, we had plenty, and I didn’t to have so many that they’d smash each other. We had enough for a frozen stash, smoothies and to try a home-made Granita recipe.

The experience was so much fun, that we agreed it would be worth a day trip next year to restock our Raspberry stash.  At about an hour and a half drive from Seattle proper, it’d make a wonderful day trip.

Granola and Granola Bars Review

As I stood in line to pay for our 5.5lbs of Raspberries, I scanned the products for sale: Granola, Granola Bars, Chips, Salsa, Crackers, etc. I was curious about the Granola Bars since I had just made my very own for our trip. The ingredient list included over 7 things, including some “natural” preservatives. I understand that they are needed for a long shelf-life, but our home-made batch never lasts more than a week. And, from my experience, fresh tastes best.

Home made Granola!

I used a recipe from Kitchen Stewardship‘s eCookbook, Healthy Snacks To Go. The book cost $6.95, and so far, I think it’s paid for itself. I’ve made the Granola and Granola Bars. The Granola recipe takes all of 20 minutes to prepare. Seriously, you mix together butter/Ghee/Coconut Oil, Honey and a little water with Oats plus whatever else you want like nuts and dried fruits. You can do this while your oven pre-heats to 350 degrees. Then, you toast it for 10-15 minutes, mixing it half way during the bake time.  Granola Bars take a little more time, but are mostly the same ingredients with a slight change to the ratios. The only change I’ve made to the Granola bars is to use less sweetener.

Now, I know there are a lot of Granola recipes out there on the web. I’d even like to modify this one using Olive Oil and baking at a lower temperature. The reason why I used this recipe on my first try is because Katie at Kitchen Stewardship has a long track record on the blogging scene, and I was sure this recipe had been tried many times over. I scanned all the other 20 recipes, and know I will be spending time trying them all out as we get ready for the school year. Really, I’m excited to recommend this handy book that includes gluten-free, dairy-free and other “allergy free” options, easily labeled. So, if you want to check it out and buy it, here you go: Healthy Snacks To Go (affiliate link so I make $2 if you buy it). Or you can just wait until I review each one and rave about them:)

Do you have any snack recipes I should try out? Please do share! Bonus points for dairy-free recipes.

Recipe Review: Marshmallows – Corn Free

Home Made Marshmallows

Most Americans can’t imagine camping without making S’mores. Well, last year, I decided we as a family would try our best to not consume Corn Syrup. Every package of Marshmallows I’ve seen has it as a staple ingredient. So, that meant we didn’t make S’mores when we went camping…Guess who wasn’t the most popular Mama?  So, you can imagine how excited I was to find a recipe that didn’t use any corn? I didn’t jump up and down, but was giddy to give the recipe a try. The blog, A Messy Kitchen, posted a recipe for Lemon Honey Cardamon Marshmallows. The author’s daughter is allergic to corn of any type, even corn starch. But, she’s an amazing baker and goes above and beyond to make substitute treats for her. I asked about this recipe, because I just wanted to make plain old Vanilla Marshmallows. Since it was my first try, she suggested I start out with Cookie Baker Lynn’s recipe for Classic Vanilla Marshmallows.

I must say Marshmallows are really a lot of sugar, like over 5 cups! So, I was amazed by the process of heating and mixing and beating to make them.

Lessons and Notes:

Doesn't my borrowed Kitchen Aid look pretty?

– Use a stand mixer. You’ll need to beat the hot syrup with sugar in a bowl on high speed for 10-12 minutes. I don’t recommend using a hand mixer simply because there might be some splatter, and you won’t want to get burned. Plus, the fact that beating for that long will give you an aching shoulder. I borrowed one, and a candy thermometer – Key tools!

– From start to finish, making these took over 2 hours, plus setting up overnight (the recipe says all you need is 4 hour to set).  But, I made my own sugar syrup, and took my time checking each step. Just so you know, hot sugar syrup burns like wow! I was trying to ladle it from the pot into a jar for later, and accidentally got some on my thumb. It wasn’t a blister level burn, but did make me worry that I’d mess this first try up. So, be very careful when you’re making the syrup and when you add it to your mixer to make the Marshmallows.

– The only change I made to Lynn’s recipe was with the finishing powder – calls for Powdered Sugar and Corn Starch. I used Arrowroot Powder instead of the Corn Starch, and think you could also use Tapioca Starch. And, some Powdered Sugar already has Corn Starch added. I found some at our local Co-Op made by Wholesome Sweeteners that doesn’t add anything. Whole Foods also carries some that has Tapioca Starch instead.

Sticky like glue, the Marshmallows set in 4-24 hours.

– Yield: I got 36 out of this, but cut some really small to fit into a cup of coffee, and others large enough to roast over a camp fire. The recipe says you can use a cookie cutter for fancy shapes, but I think the sticky factor would keep me from trying it out. I am happy use a knife and make squares or diamonds.

My official taste testers approved of the results and can hardly wait for camping to enjoy the rest. I’m so happy with how these turned out, that next time I want to try the Lemon-Honey-Cardamon recipe! Or, I might modify a bit and use her latest, shortened Vanilla Marshmallow Recipe, which uses a store bought Sugar Syrup, cutting the time down to about 30 minutes plus setting up (4-24hrs).

p.s. My friend Fran says you can also just roll the Marshmallows in sprinkles and avoid the Powdered Sugar coating step all together. I’m sure they’re not healthier, but I bet very pretty! A great party idea too.

Recipe: Vegan Zucchini Muffins and Zucchini Recipe Resource!

Finely Shredded Zucchini.

I love Zucchini, and it seems to be one of those garden veggies that simply thrive no matter where I’ve seen it grow around the Pacific Northwest. I prefer the delicate young ones for eating with pasta, or on the grill. Once they get bigger and tough skinned, the only way I like to eat them is in a baked goodie. So, this recipe has been a staple for a few years now. Once we discovered our daughter could no longer eat eggs and dairy, I modified it to this current one. These muffins are just as tasty! I think muffins last about 2-3 days before they need to get tossed in the compost bin. But, we never have them sitting around here that long. I’ve also frozen them and found they are delicious once thawed out. Okay, onto the recipe:

Recipe: Vegan Zucchini Muffins

Ingredients

– 1.5 Cups Flour (I like to use a 1:3 ratio of Refined and Whole Sprouted Spelt Flour)

– 1/4 Cup Sugar (Regular, Sucanat, or Turbinado is great)

– 1/4 Teaspoon Salt

– 1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar

– 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

– 1 Cup Finely Shredded Zuchhini

– 1/3 Cup Applesauce (unsweetened, plain or with Cinnamon)

– 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice

– 1/4 Teaspoon Lemon Zest

– 2/3 Cups Water

Mix the wet ingredients with the dry.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and in a separate bowl mix the wet, then combine. You can fill lined or greased muffin tins – this recipe makes 12 regular sized muffins, or 24 mini-muffins. It also fills a 9×13 Cake sheet for making cake like bars (I’d recommend lining it with Parchment paper first). Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy!

Feel free to add a cup of crushed Walnuts or Pecans. Dried Currants or Cranberries are another nice addition to this recipe. I’ve also successfully used Brown Rice Flour or Whole Grain Flour, but find a ratio with Refined Flour suits our tastes. And, I’m happy to share that you can substitute the Apple Sauce for 1/4 Cup Butter, or 1 egg for the 1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice if you want. This recipe is really an easy, flexible one that can be modified for whatever dietary sensitivities you may have.

Mini Zucchini Muffins ready to eat!

Zucchini Lovers Recipe Resource:

I was delighted to find a local blog, Seattle Seedling, with a whole page dedicated to Zucchini Recipes! There’s 13 and counting recipes from Zucchini Risotto to Chocolate Chip Cookies (I never would have thought of that).

p.s. Shared on Simple Lives Thursday – recipe, real food info round up.

Why we adopted a garden

Cleaning up under the Apple Tree at Mrs. B's garden.

I have fond memories of wandering between my Grandma’s raised garden beds in the back of her city home.  The smell of sun ripened strawberries and Lemon Mint mingle in those memories. She even used raised planter beds after she moved onto a larger city lot where she and my Grandpa also raised dozen of chicken and two pigs. They retired to a small rural town in Oregon, and their “hobby farming” blossomed to include more animals and a garden yielding more vegetables and fruit than they could eat.

Unripe Apples fall from the tree and need collecting - Cooper like to throw 'em in a bucket.

About two years ago, I was missing my Grandma who had passed away, and coincidentally embracing the ideals of eating locally. But, we didn’t have room to garden aside from a planter with strawberries, and some pots for herbs. I was daunted by the waiting list for our city P-Patches (a program in Seattle where you can garden in designated Parks land). So, I asked my good friend, Google.com and found this locally produced site: Urbangardenshare.org– it was just beginning and included only two sites in my neighborhood. Neither one was suitable for me to bring my two kids under 3 years old.

So, I called my mom and told her how I found this new site, but there wasn’t the right fit for us on there yet. She in turn introduced me to her High School friend, JoAnne. She just so happened to live in my neighborhood and have a Mom who was willing to share her garden, Mrs. B. She is a sweet lady who is kinda like my Grandma in her knowledge and passion for gardening. We enjoy the fruits of her years of labor through the bounty of strawberries, blueberries, grapes, Peaches, Apples, Pears, Plums, Garlic, Broccoli, Collards and Raspberries. And in turn, we try to help keep up with weeds and tend our own part of the garden.

Fresh strawberry!

We’re getting a late start this year, but are excited to continue our “Adopt-A-Gardening” as I am going to call it. It is a mutually beneficial way to garden in the city. If you’re like me, and want to garden but don’t have the space, take a look around your neighborhood. Are there any elderly folks who can’t keep up with their garden? Or a neighbor with a yard just waiting to be used? Taking a good look online, I’ve found some other useful resources that might help.

Here are some handy links:

Urban Garden Share: started in Seattle, the site now a few cities in California, Kentucky, Idaho and Georgia.

Gleanit: A Seattle organization also known as The Community Harvest of SW Seattle, they coordinate ways to share excess harvest or neglected fruit trees to food banks. The also provide classes and opportunities to volunteer.

Garden Share: resources for gleaning or sharing your harvest in and around New York.

Do you have a similar program in your city? If so, please share the info!

Shared on Monday Mania – recipe, real food link party.

How to perk up your cut Herbs

Perk up your Parsley by placing in a cup of water.

I just figured this out and wanted to share my discovery to perk up fresh herbs. If you have fresh-cut parsley or cilantro or another type of freshly cut herb getting “droopy” or “floppy” while waiting for you to use it up, try this:

Cut the stems a tiny bit, about a 1/4 inch, then place in a cup of cool water. Give them about 30 minutes, and you’ll see them perk right up!  I have had success with Cilantro and Parsley, and believe this could work for any other stem based leafy herb, like Mint or Sage.

Do you have another tip to perk up herbs? With the summer’s yield, I am not wanting to waste a bit of them.

Picky Eater Solutions: Kids and Vegetables

Iris picked a pretty Green Pepper in Grandma Mary's garden.

Yesterday our family met Elizabeth Pantley of the “No-Cry” Parenting Books. She’s working on a new book called, “The No-Cry Picky Eater Solution,” and needed families who were wiling to try her methods and be interviewed about them. So, we got an advance section of the book to try out for 4-6 weeks. She came with her talented daughter/ videographer, and filmed our kids being cute in the kitchen and then interviewed my husband, Casey, and myself.

They’ll only need a few seconds to create a short video for the book launch, so we’re not feeling like movie stars around here. We’re just glad we can help encourage parents to get their kids to eat vegetables!  While that’s not the whole purpose of the book, it’s certainly a struggle with Picky Eaters.

The interview really made me think about what has worked for us and where we still need to put in consistent effort. Her book outlines some really helpful tips and provides insight into the challenges parents face. For example, a child may need to try a vegetable up to 10 times before they can make up their minds about liking it. This is something I had read before in “Disease Proof your Child:Feeding Kids Right ” by Joel Fuhrman, MD. My friend, Karen, a speech pathologist also told me this in my post, The War on Vegetables.

Many of the concepts in Elizabeth’s Pick Eater book, we have learned the long, hard way over the last 10 months.  So, I found the material affirming and encouraging – like we’re on the right track. Many of you may have read my post, Children: Will You Eat Kale and Beets? back in March. Thanks to advice and persistence, our family eats vegetables at every meal. But, we still have those moments of resistance:

When our 5-year-old suddenly decides at one meal that he doesn’t like Carrots, we know it’s normal and not a sign of failure on our part.

What we have learned:

1) Vegetables are super important for overall health. Our daughter’s constipation problems have been “cured” in large part to eating vegetables at almost every meal in addition to  eliminating hard to digest foods, giving her some herbs and abdominal massage. The rest of the family has benefited through weight loss or weight gain (or skinny boy isn’t so thin anymore).

2) Getting kids to eat more vegetables takes time. Depending on the kid, it can take only a few meals, or several months. Our Picky Eater isn’t our daughter, it’s our son. He turned 5 last month, and spent almost 3 years of his life eating a normal “healthy” diet. He loved cheesy crackers, Bread, PB&J sandwiches, meat, yogurt, bananas, apples and any sweet treat he could get his hands on – notice what’s missing? Vegetables! I thought since I was buying “natural” and “organic” stuff he was a healthy kid. And he was healthy, but he was also quite thin. Since he’s been eating vegetables, his body has filled out more, and he’s gaining weight consistently. It took him a month to start eating Broccoli and Carrots. We’ve spent the last 8 months getting him to eat other vegetables. Our daughter took about 2 months to start asking, “More Kale, Mama?”

3) You need a team – seriously, if it’s just one parent trying to shove vegetables into a kid’s mouth while the other is eating Ice Cream and Bacon, you’re trying to swim against the current. You need your partner and the whole family to start eating better.  Other ways to get support: Ask friends and family to serve your kid’s favorite veggie at dinner or a party. Or, you can ask someone your child admires to eat a new veggie in their company.

4) Start Small – don’t try to change your diet drastically. You can ease into eating more vegetables as you have the time, resources and will power. Try just introducing vegetables at snack time and dinner. Then, as your Picky Eater starts to enjoy them, add them to more meals.

5) Make new vegetables cool – we had dinner at a Japanese restaurant where everything was new and exciting. Guess who ate their Broccoli, carrots, and edamame? Our Picky Eater Son! He had an Udon Noodle dish and didn’t complain about all the vegetables, or the fact they they were touching. The “new” veggies on his plate were perfectly acceptable to him. We think it’s because the food was new and the meal exciting.

6) Try, try again – if one idea or suggestion doesn’t work, try something else. Seriously, there is no magic solution or proper steps. Try things out until you find something that works for you. Read, talk to other parents and don’t be afraid to get creative.

Elizabeth Pantley’s “No-Cry Picky Eater Solution” book is due in October and will include recipes and tips from parents. Stay tuned for a book give-away!


Shared on Simple Lives Thursday #51

Sprouted Mung Bean Review

Pre-soaked and dried Mung Beans

I was first introduced to Mung Beans as an ingredient in a Traditional Chinese Soup for soothing a sore throat among other things. Since then, I’ve started using it in other ways trying to integrate it into our diet. The soup calls for sprouting the Mung Beans before cooking with it, and after trying to simply cook them like regular beans, I can tell you they taste better pre-sprouted first. It isn’t very hard to let 1/2 cup of Mung beans sit in a bowl on the counter to sprout, but does require planning ahead since they need about 12 hours to do so.

When I saw Pre-Sprouted, dried Mung Beans at our local Food Co-op, I was excited. The package promised only 5 minutes to cook. And, they were from a company I already love. Their Quinoa is the least expensive around, especially since I can buy it at Costco.

Here is what I thought after trying them out:

The first try yielded a grainy, almost not done yet texture. So, I tried cooking them twice as long. Fail. None of us liked the grainy texture or lack of flavor. Mung Beans have a specific light flavor similar only slightly to Edamame. I tried again soaking them overnight. Fail. So, I give up, and am back to sprouting them myself. Plus, they are a bit cheaper. The Pre-Sprouted bag cost over $5, but would have saved hours of planning ahead. Dried Mung Beans cost slightly over $2/lb, so you get a lot for your money.

Mung beans eaten with sauteed vegetables, Olive Oil and salt.

Lesson learned: Mung Beans are best when I do the work at home (not that letting them sit on the counter is much work, but planning ahead can be).

p.s. I love cooking from scratch, but also love finding ways to cut the cooking time down.

Recipe: Cool Cucumber Salad

Quick, easy and refreshing Cool Cucumber Salad

I am always delighted with myself when I take a bite of some new recipe I create on the fly and find it is delicious!  It never ceases to surprise me, as funny as that sounds. I guess I make as many “mistakes” as I do “successes” when it comes to creating new recipes.

This salad is perfect for a hot Summer day. The coolness of the Cucumber balances the slight bitterness of the Celery, and the Parsley and Thyme add just enough flavor to provide a light, satisfying taste.

Cool Cucumber Salad

Ingredients:

– 2 Stalks Celery

– 4-6 Leaves Romaine Lettuce

– Half a large Cucumber

– A handful of fresh Parsley (about a half cup)

– 1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme

– 2 Teaspoons Olive Oil

– Salt to taste

Wash and chop, dice or slice the Celery, Lettuce, Cucumber and Parsley and place into a bowl. Drizzle with Olive Oil, sprinkle on the Thyme and Salt to taste. Enjoy!

I think this recipe took me about 5-10 minutes from prep to eating it off my plate. It makes 2 large servings or 4 small dinner salads.