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Summer Soup: Gazpacho

Our family loves soup. In the winter I make a big pot of soup about every other day. I really had dismissed the idea of making soup since it’s been so hot all summer. Colorado residents have endured sweltering heat for nearly two months now. Seems that every record in the book has been broken. Who wants to add more heat to the globe?

Hot soup has been out of the question. But for centuries people in Spain have been preparing Gazpacho. Our family had the pleasure to visit Spain this year. Gazpacho is a cold vegetable soup that is served during the hot summer months in Spain. It is very refreshing and  a great vegetarian summer dish.

This recipe is a bit labor intensive because it involves a lot of chopping. Other than that you will love it because it will not warm up your kitchen one bit. Make a big pot of it. Maybe you want to double the portion for company or in order to have some left over. Gazpacho’s flavor is even better after chilling in the refrigerator for a day or two!


  • 4 cups tomato juice
  • 2 cups chopped fresh tomatos from your garden
  • 1/4 cup of finely cut onions
  • 2 spring onions, white part only, minced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 small cucumber, seeds removed, diced
  • 1 jalapeno minced
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely minced
  • 1 tablespoon basil
  • 1 tablespoon cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • salt and pepper to taste
Gazpacho chopped

Put the tomato juice in a large non-reactive pot or the bowl you are going to serve the soup from. Add all the other ingredients and stir. Chill in refrigerator. If you prefer your soup without chunks you can run it through a blender. We had the chopped version on the first night. After sitting in the refrigerator over night I took the soup out and blended it with an immersion blender. It was much better that way! I loved it.

Gazpacho pureed


Spaniards like to add breadcrumbs to it. I prefer this pure vegetable version. It tasted fantastic with the  vegetables harvested fresh from the garden.


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Cold Comfort Cooking: Quinoa Salad

I received this delicious recipe many years ago at a healthfood store. As the temperatures in Colorado have been soaring into the 100s each week we prefer cooking meals that don’t add more heat to the house. The main ingredient in this dish is Quinoa, an ancient grain grown by the Incas and highly prized for its nutritional value.

There are many reasons why you should consider adding Quinoa to your diet:

For one, I like that it cooks very fast. You treat it just like rice. Bring water to a boil with quinoa in it. Simmer over low heat until all the water has been absorbed by the grain. You can prepare it more simply if you don’t have the time and ingredients for the salad. You can add olive oil, sea salt, and a bit of lemon juice and have a simple sidedish ready to go! Last but not least, compared to other whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content.  It is a perfect food for vegetarians and vegans providing essential amino acids and a perfect source of protein. Quinoa is also a food that is free of gluten and cholesterol. Why are you ready to try it?

This salad dish is great for summer picnics. It looks very pretty and it surely will surprise some of your friends who may never have used the grain.


  • 2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mirin
  • 1/4 teaspoon seasalt
  • 2 teaspoons dill (or add some arugula as a variation)
  • 1 celery rib, cut diagonally
  • 1/2 cup seedless grapes, cut in half
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa ( I cooked one cup of dry quinoa)
  • 1/3 cups of roasted cashews or some other nuts or toaste sunflower seeds

Cook quinoa grain according to package directions. Make sure all the water is absorbed by the grain or you salad dressing may end up too wet.


Make the dressing mixing vinegar, mirin, salt. This dressing has no oil. The only oil comes from the nuts added to the dish. Toss dressing and the remaining ingredients.

As a variation you could use other herbs such as arugula, fresh mint leaves, or marjoram. It is also possible to replace the raspberry vinegar with apple cidar. My kids do love the unique taste of raspberry vinegar. It is the more pricey ingredient unfortunately.

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Recipe: Veggies Kids Love

My kids’ school had a carnival last Friday. One classroom organized  the game Family Feud. The children from this Fourth Grade classroom had surveyed 100 children from their elementary school about what food they disliked most at dinnertime. Guess what was the top answer? Veggies came in as the top answer once again. 47 kids said they hated veggies. Second came fish. And the third most unpopular food item was bananas.

It really depressed me to see that. How do we change the negative image of vegetables and get children to enjoy and actually  love vegetables and healthy nutrious foods?

I have a recipe for string beans that my kids would eat every single day if I made it for them. They love it so much. Maybe you can give it a try too.



Green Beans with Mustard Dressing

  • 1 1/2 pound of fresh green bean, washed trimmed
  • 3-4  tablespoons raspberry vinegar
  • 1/3 cup oliveoil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • pepper and salt to taste


Steam the green beans in some water until cooked but still a bit firm with a bite to them. You can give them a quick bath in icewater to retain their pretty green color after they are cooked.

While the beans are cooking, whisk the other ingredients together to make this delightful mustard dressing. It takes all but 5 minutes to put together. You can also use it as a regular salad dressing.

My kids like to eat heaps and heaps of green beans prepared way. They ask for seconds and thirds when I make them as a side dish! I supposed nobody asked them when doing that survey…

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Vegetarian Gefilte Fish for Passover or Nut Patties

I live in a Vegetarian community. When people change their diet they sometimes need to find an alternative to traditional foods so they can celebrate holidays as they always did.

One traditional East European Jewish Passover dish is Gefilte Fish – which are fish patties.

In my village different families have their own version of this dish, some passed down for 4-5 generations of vegetarian families. I have decided to share with you two versions of this dish. The first version is Fried Almond and Sunflower seeds Patties cooked in Vegetable Broth and the second version is baked Almond and Celery Patties, served with vegetable broth.

Of course you don’t have to be Jewish and it doesn’t necessarily have to be Passover to enjoy these yummy Nut Patties (or burgers, whatever you wish to call them).

Vegetarian Gefilte Fish

Almond and Sunflower seed Patties

My mother has this recipe from her neighbor, Shulke Yoselevich.

This amount is enough to make 20 patties.

Ingredients for the Patties:

Ingredients for Almond and Sunflower Patties

Half a cup of Sunflower seeds

Half a cup of Almonds (unpeeled from their brown skin)

6 eggs

One celery root, Grated

One Onion, Grated

Three table spoons of chopped Parsley

Three table spoons of chopped Celery leaves

Matzo meal (If you can’t find Matzo meal on the Jewish goods shelf of your local supermarket you can substitute it with flour or chopped dry biscuits)

Salt, Pepper and Sugar (Optional) to Taste.

1/2 inch of horseradish Root, grated (Optional).

This is what Matzo meal looks like:

Matzo meal

Ingredients for Vegetable Stock:

6-8 cups of water

One sliced Onion

Three Sliced Carrots

One Sliced Celery Root or 6 sliced Celery stalks

1 inch piece of Horse radish root (Optional)

Salt, Pepper and Sugar (Optional) to Taste.

To make the stock:

Combine ingredients, bring to a boil, and let simmer while you make the patties.

To make the Patties:

Chop Almonds and Sunflower seeds in a food processor till they are as fine as possible (They don’t have to be as fine as flour. Small bits are OK).

Chopped Almonds and Sunflower seeds

Combine the rest of the Patty ingredients, but not the Matzo meal. After you create a good mixture, add some Matzo meal till you can form patties easily. I added 1-2 table spoons.

With wet hands, form balls the size of ping-pong or golf balls, and then give them a little squash. “Seal” the patties for a few seconds on each side in an iron frying pan with a little olive oil or Non-stick frying pan.

Vegetarian Nut Patties

While the stock is boiling, drop the patties into the stock, cover and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Patties cooking in the broth


Almond and Celery Baked Patties

This recipe was published in our village bulletin by Sarah Peleg, and she was kind enough to allow me to publish it here, so thank you Sarah!

Sorry I don’t have photographs for this recipe. I might add some later.

 Ingredients for the Patties:

One large celery root

300 grams (10 Ounces) of almonds (unpeeled from their brown skin)

6 eggs

3-4 large Onions

Matzo meal (If you can’t find Matzo meal on the Jewish goods shelf of your local supermarket you can substitute it with flour of chopped dry biscuits)

Salt and Pepper to Taste.

Ingredients for Vegetable Stock:

2-3 liters (5-6 pints) of water

4-5 medium sized Onions, sliced

3-4 Carrots

One Celery Root

Salt, Pepper and Sugar (Optional) to Taste.

To make the stock:

Slice Carrots and Celery Root and cook in the water for 20 minutes. Add the onions and cook for 5 more minutes, till the Onions are soft but still retain their shape. Stop cooking the Stock and season with salt and pepper to taste. If you wish, add one teaspoon of Sugar. Set Aside.

To make the Patties:

Slice 2-3 Onions and sauté on a non stick frying pan or with a little water, till the onions are transparent.

Using the chopping blade of the food processor, chop the ingredients in this order (from dry to moist):

Almonds – till they are as fine as possible, almost as fine as flour, some small pieces are OK. Transfer them to a mixing bowl.

Celery – chop till celery is as fine as possible, as with the almonds. Transfer to the mixing bowl.

Sautéed Onions – till they form a paste.

1 uncooked Onion – till it forms a paste.

Mix all the chopped ingredients together with the eggs. Add salt and pepper. Add Matzo meal till the consistency of the mixture is such that you can form patties. Be careful not to add too much Matzo meal, so the patties won’t be too dry. If the mixture is too dry, you can fix this by adding another egg or two.

With moist hands, form the Patties and place on a baking paper covered baking tray.

Bake in medium heat 170-180 Celsius (350 Fahrenheit) oven, till the Patties brown a little, but do not start to burn. You can make the Patties thick or thin, large or small, as you like. Sarah makes two sizes, larger for adults and smaller for the kids.

Assembling the dish

When the stock and the Patties cool down to room temperature, place the patties in a container, and pour the stock over them. Layer the Patties and the stock, so that the patties are not buried under a pile of stock vegetables.

Keep in the refrigerator in a closed container and serve cold.

It is possible to freeze the patties in a closed container without the stock, and make fresh stock when you want to serve them.

Happy Passover and Happy Easter everyone!

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The Spinach Cupcake

I love Pinterest and have used to find great recipes like the one  you will see here. For more great recipes check out my FAB FOOD board.

My boys are in Scouts and sadly they have been missing out on the snacks because of all the food coloring and unhealthy treats. Yes I am one of those moms who make my kids say, “ no thank you” to un-healthy snacks every time. Once I heard about them missing out I made it my mission to show the Pack that snacks can be healthy and still feel like a treat. Here is my variation on the recipe linked to above.

What you will need:
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla (homemade if you make it)
1 1/2 cups of organic sugar
1large bag of spinach, you need 1 cup puree (you can use frozen)
3/4 cup of veg. oil of your choose
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Your favorite icing
Veggie based sanding sugar

Steam or cook spinach. Puree spinach it should look like baby food. Let cool.
Beat together eggs and sugar, oil, lemon juice and 1 cup pureed spinach.
In a separate bowl mixture together dry ingredients. Pour into cupcake papers.
Bake at 350 for about 20 and 30 minutes check with toothpick. Let cool then add toppings.

Option: use any 1 cup of veggie or fruit puree to change these cupcakes up.

Looking for natural sanding sugar? I buy mine for Realistic Mermaid on Etsy.

Beccijo Neff is a toymaker, storyteller, and award winning Artist from Pennsylvania. She homeschools 4 children and is happily married. You can find more about her life and her work at her blog . To see her enchanting toys stop at her shop, it will brighten and delight you eyes to see all the magical things she creates.

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Recipes: Coconut Porridge

Recently my family has started doing a bit of a dietary cleanse.  We took, amongst other things, milk, fruit, and sugar out of our diet which left us with a bit of a breakfast quandary.  How can we make porridge without fruit?  Once our taste buds adjusted to the lack of sugar we fell in love with this simple protein enhanced porridge.

We generally allow ½ a cup of dry porridge oats per person giving our toddler a bit less, and us a tad more so adjust this recipe as needed.

This recipe is for 4 people

2 cups of porridge oats

2 cups of water

2 cups of soy milk

¼ cup of desiccated coconut (sugar free)

1/8 cup creamed coconut grated

Seeds (optional)

Rice milk for topping (optional)


Mix all ingredients into a saucepan and cook on medium low for 15 minutes or until the porridge is the consistency you enjoy.  The creamed coconut will have melted into the porridge and the wonderful smell should fill your kitchen. Along with the dessicated coconut, using soy milk instead of water gives the porridge a wonderful creamy flavor.  Once served in a bowl, add seeds and rice milk. We use hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and golden linseed. It is so good and actually does keep me going until lunch!


Written by Rachel from Oast.  A Waldorf doll maker from Canada living in the rolling hills of the English countryside with her daughter, her gestating son and her awesome husband. She also writes at her blog here.

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Warm Vegetable Salad

When it’s really cold outside, the thought of a cold salad chills me to the bone. So why not have a warm one? This one is really easy to make. My kids love it too.

In the Winter time our family enjoys this warm vegetable salad. I adapted the recipe from a German cookbook I brought along when I moved to the US from Germany. It’s called Kochen mit Obst und Gemuse in translation that means “Cooking with Fruits and Vegetables”.  I could not find this book in a translated version. So I guess it has not appeared in English translation. But googling the term “cooking with vegetables” I stumbled upon a few really neat cookbooks I am very curious about now…

Here is the recipe of the warm veggie salad  from my German cookbook:


a couple of small bunches of broccoli

half a head of cauliflower

2-3 small carrots


a touch garlic




freshly ground black pepper

How to make it?

Wash and cut the broccoli and cauliflower into small bite-sized florets. Wash and peel the carrots and cut into small disks. Bring a small amount of water with butter, and garlic to boil. Add the cauliflower first and saute for a few minute, then add the broccoli florets, last throw in the carrot disks. While the veggies are cooking make a dressing with the vinegar,oil, salt, and pepper. When all the vegetables are tender, take the veggies out with a slotted spoon and mix them with the dressing right before you serve them.

Timing is the hardest part of making this salad. All veggies have different cooking times so you need to figure out when each will be tender but not overcooked. You also don’t want to start this side dish too early so  it arrives cold on the table with whatever else you are serving. If your other dishes are not finished yet you can put some foil over it and keep it warm in your oven.

For variation you can throw in other vegetables you have in the house. I have added sliced mushrooms for example…

Ulla Seckler  is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.  Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.

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New Year’s Resolution Recipe: Perfect Protein Salad

I know it’s Martin Luther King Day, and I’d love to eat some of that yummy fried chicken only one of my friends from North Carolina knows how to cook. She serves it with the most delicious white gravy over rice plus, of course, Collard Greens. Unfortunately we cannot have it this year. Our family has renewed our commitment to eating more healthy foods this year. Fried chicken is not part of the program this January.

Instead we will go for the Perfect Protein meal this year…

I received this recipe for the “Perfect Protein Salad”  many years ago at a food tasting  while visiting Whole Foods Market in Fort Collins. I think this particular version was adapted from the Moosewood Cookbook, but I can’t say for sure, since the recipe is all but in shreds from the many years of using it. Even my husband, who would much prefer to eat the fried chicken, loves this salad because it’s so crunchy and good.

Here is the most healthy and wholesome list of ingredients needed to make it:

Please note that you have to soak the soybeans and wheat berries each for a number of hours. Soybeans need 4 hours of soaking. Wheat berries need to soak for about 1 hour. Accordingly, this meal needs some thinking ahead.

3/4 cup dried soy beans

3/4 cup wheat berries

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 cup cottage cheese

2 scallions, thinly sliced

1 medium sized carrot, diced

1 small cucumber, peeled seeded, diced

1/2 bell pepper, diced

for the dressing:

1/3 cup of cidervinegar

1-2 tablespoons of mayonnaise

1 teaspoon of salt (I use less)

freshly ground black pepper

chopped dill to taste

How to make it:

Put the soybeans and wheat berries in a pot and cover with water. Some people boil each separately until they are tender but still chewy. I boil mine together because I am a freak when it comes to saving energy…

Once the soybeans and wheat berries are tender put them through a colander and rinse. Let them drain well.

Meanwhile prepare the dressing. Combine the dressing, grains, soybeans, and all the vegetables in a bowl. Mix in the cup of cottage cheese. If you’d like you can decorate your salad with some radish slices or tomatoes.

This salad is very filling and will serve about 6 people as a meal. You could also serve this as a side with a meat if you really feel the need for more protein. Happy Martin Luther King Day!

Ulla Seckler  is a dollmaker who was born and raised in Germany. She lives in beautiful Colorado with her husband and two kids. You can find her Notes by a German Dollmaker on her blog where she shares some great German recipes, pictures of her sweet dolls, and life lessons learned.  Don’t forget to stop by her Etsyshop and take a peek at her wonderful doll creations.

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Comforting herbs/spices hot drink recipes

I don’t know if you are like me, but when autumn arrives  I loOoove to be home, cozy with my little candle illuminated in the dark night. I prepare for myself a nice, hot, herbal  drink…Mmmmmm!!! I love herbal tea, and for many years now, medicinal plants have been part of my life almost every day. I love to be able to heal myself and the ones I cherish the most with herbs that are given to us and grow freely in  nature. I find they are so precious  So, let me share with you today two of my favourite “ heart-warming” drinks.


** Chocolate spices chaï

The first drink is not really made with herbs but with spices.

Spices are great for their “carminative” effect, that being the way they help digestion to be really efficient. This particular drink is also going to warm you from  inside with the help of the natural essential oils that the spices contain. They will also re-establish a good “fire” to your digestion. It is a great idea to drink this after a meal or a walk outside. I also find that for one with a “sweet tooth” {Are you like me?? Ah!Ah!},  it can help satisfy you without going for a big dessert!


What you will need:

~Milk: Can be regular cow’s milk,  soya, rice or almond…choose the one you prefer.

~Dark hot chocolate mix: From Cocoa Camino {such a great quality of chocolate}

~Fresh spices: 2 tbs. cardamom, 2 stick of cinnamon, 2 tbs. fennel, 1 tbs. ginger and a glimpse of cayenne pepper.



The way I do it is that I put ½ water ½ milk in a 2 quart saucepan and I heat it on the stove until it is warm. Please don’t boil it ! Then, I add the spices {all of them except the cayenne pepper} placed in a little tea bag {so it’s easier to take them out afterward} that I previously grounded by hand in a mortar to open all the great flavours the spices keep inside their shells.  Keep the liquid warm and let it rest for about 45 minutes. The flavours are going to be delicately infused in the milk….so smell it, enjoy the process !! {I always take a moment to be there with my infusion and be conscious that this is for me, this is a moment where I’m creating a special space for myself…. and be happy!! Life goes by so quickly that we often don’t take the time for special moments like this one…}. Then, I remove the spices,  add the chocolate mixture and mix it up very well. You can choose to use 2 tbsp or more of chocolate… it is as you wish!!! At the very last minute, I do add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

There you go…I love to enjoy this drink while I’m wrapped up in a warm blanket after my daughter is asleep …and I knit slowly, relaxed, on the couch….


** Comforting peaceful herb tea

The second drink is an herbal tea…. one of my special blends!! I will give you a brief description of the medicinal plant characteristics. Because, we could talk for a whole day about the properties of just one of them Ah!Ah! …so, this description will only give you a brief idea of their qualities.


Herbs you will need:

~Nettle , Urtica dioica : I’m totally in loOoove with this herb. It is so special, so strong…and brings many minerals  to your body. In this way,  it is definitely one of the most nutritious plants you can use. It’s good for almost everything !!!

~Oats (green flowering) , Avena sativa : This is another nutritive herb that will particularly nourish your nervous system… and who do you know in our era that doesn’t need a little nervous support, hey?! It carries a lot of minerals also.

~Peppermint , mentha x piperita: I add this for it’s great taste, and also the fact that it helps digestion with its essential oils. It is a great plant to help open the respiratory tract {lungs, sinus…}.

~Green Anise seeds , pimpinella anisum: I add it  for taste, as it tastes a bit like black licorice {which is something I love very much}. If you are not a fan, just don’t add it. Your tea is going to be delicious anyway. You will be using the seeds that you are delicately going to grind either in a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder. Please wash the grinder before using it so your seeds won’t taste like coffee in the end. It is filled with essential oils that also help digestion and gas problems.

~Holy basil , tenuiflorum ocimum: This plant is going to warm your heart and  open it. It brings Joy !!!! It will help you to see clearly when your head is in a “haze”. This herb is sometimes hard to find, so you will need to go to a herbalist to get this precious herb. You will not add as much of holy basil as the others.

The way I do it is that at night I bring my water to a boil {again in my favorite 2 quarts saucepan!!} and then turn everything off. I add nettle leaves and oats {1-2 handfuls each} to infuse for the whole night. Because they are nutritive plants, letting them infuse for 6-8 hours is going to bring out all the minerals they contain. Then,  in the morning,  I either take out the leaves or leave them in and heat it up a bit {do not boil the water} then I turn it off. I then add all the other herbs {peppermint 1 handful; holy basil 1 full tbs} and seeds {anise seeds 2 tbs. previously grounded}.  Leave them infuse for about ½ an hour with the lid on… and then enjoy !!!

Feel free to give me your feedback about those two drinks…I would love to read them !!

Wishing you and yours a beautiful autumn… and winter season!!

Warm regards,




     Julie Ouimet is from Québec, Canada. She

     lives with her daugther,  in a little town in harmony with nature.

     Creating is her passion, a way of life !!! She cultivates the earth during the warm season

     and creates lovely waldorf inspired toys the whole year long…

     You can visit her shop at FeeVertelaine.

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Apple and Orange Muffin Recipe

My son’s birthday was on Sunday. So with the help of my older children I made these delicious Apple and Orange Muffins for breakfast. They’re vegan and have lots of nutrients, protein, and omega-6 from the hazelnuts. I have found these muffins also to be a wonderful mid-day snack with tea. Enjoy!

2 large peeled tart apples, cut in small cubes
3 plums, halved, pitted and each half cut into 4 slices
Grated zest of 1 orange
1 cup fresh orange juice
1 1/2 cups organic all purpose flour
1/2 cup finely chopped hazelnuts
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
6 tablespoons coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix the flour with chopped hazelnuts,  brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, a pinch of salt, and cinnamon.

Whisk together orange juice, orange zest, and melted coconut oil until blended.
Add the juice mixture to the flour mix, stirring just until all the ingredients are no longer dry. Stir in a little more orange juice if necessary. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Fold the apples into the mixture. Fill the batter into the muffin cups, not more than three-quarters full. Put a slice of a plum on the top of each muffin and bake them for about 40 minutes. Remove the muffins from the oven and let them cool for 5 minutes.