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My New Favorite Herb—Chives

Do you ever find yourself in a food rut? I used to all the time. I’d grab the same thing for breakfast every day and limited myself to a small list of options for lunch and dinner. I eat a paleo diet, and while most think that to be quite limiting, it’s honestly not. I was limiting. I did it out of boredom and convenience, plain and simple. When you are chasing after three kids, homeschooling and running your own business, it’s easy to fall into the trap of wanting to make things easy.

I’ve was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, a thyroid auto-immune disease, two and a half years ago and with it brought a whole host of issues including a leaky gut (really that came first, I just didn’t know it) and food intolerances. And guess what causes food intolerances? Yup, you guessed it, limiting your diet.

Eating the same thing often is not only boring, it’s not healthy! For the past two months I’ve been doing an elimination rotation diet. What that means is I don’t eat anything that I had become intolerant to—through testing I discovered I have intolerances to gluten, eggs, dairy, all nuts and sweet potatoes—and I don’t eat anything twice in a four day time frame. No more eating the same breakfast every day or the same lunch just because it’s easy and convenient.

I was eating super healthy, just not with enough variety. I have found the best way to add variety to my diet is through the flavor palate. It’s easy to rotate through a different protein and couple of veggies every meal, but I began to crave new flavor combinations as well.

Chives are an herb that I have grown in the past, but never really enjoyed. Suddenly I love them!


I’m an avid albeit fairly novice gardener, so first off, the crop I planted of them last year winterized so it was like a gardening bonus this spring. Booyah! Turns out that they are a perennial bulb like others in the onion and garlic family. Duh, I should have thought of that when I first planted them, but the bulb is so small it’s easy to miss. I love a plant that will winterize since here in NY that can be tough.

Second, the flower is equally yummy as the typical leaf that you normally see. It’s big and purple much like a standard Allium, just not quite that large. It’s a beautiful herb and a nice visual addition to the garden.

Third, they are super easy to grow organically. Literally plant and water. They don’t need a heavy dose of fertilizer, they need very little  maintenance and pests leave them alone. Cut them about 1-2″ above the ground when you harvest (only cut what you need at that time and you can continue to have some all season) and once they flower you can cut the plant way down in preparation for next year, or do what I do and just continue to harvest until you put the garden to bed for the winter. They can be thinned at any time, and should be every 2-3 years, so they are easy to thin and share with other herb gardeners.

The flavor is milder than green onions in my opinion and excellent in stir fry dishes, on veggies, eggs, chicken, beef or pork, soups of all kinds,  and they make a great addition to pretty much any salad. I use my kitchen sheers, cut the long leaves up and shred the flower for my salads, along with some thai basil, cilantro and dill. Yum.

Chives have been around for about 5,000 years originating in China. Adding them to your foods can lower blood pressure and aid in digestion. They can be frozen or freeze dried, but they don’t dehydrate well. Bummer too since I love to use my dehydrator on my herbs.

So I highly recommend this herb as both a tasty and beautiful addition to your garden this year. And please leave a comment and let me know what herbs you are loving right now, I’m always on the hunt for more to add to our repertoire!




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My Enchanted Life

As the weather gets warmer my days get busier so I need meals to be simple. I run a full time business, The Enchanted Cupboard, while running my household and homeschooling 4 children. I need to keep our meals healthy and nutrition filled! I love this recipe because it is what I make with the last 2 chicken breast when I am doing big batch cooking and it is packed full of yummy veggies. Dicing up the veggies and adding it to chicken salad is a great way to boast your kids diet with lots of color that are full of antioxidants! I serve this for lunch on whole wheat bread and a cup fruit salad. You could easily make this low carb. and gluten free by serving it on big lettuce leaves like a wrap! If you like this easy recipe and want more come checkout my own blog and see what is cooking in my kitchen.

Mama’s Chicken Salad


2 skinless boneless precooked chicken, diced
2 stalk celery, cut into 1/4-inch dice
1/2 med. size onion dice
1/2 red pepper
1/2 yellow or orange pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 cup prepared or homemade mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste


In a mixing bowl, toss together the chicken, veggies and herbs. Set aside.
Add mayo and mix gently until combined.  Salt and pepper to taste. Refrigerate until ready to serve.



On my work table I often have much smaller versions of play food just right for Waldorf Style dolls. I work with wood and paper clay to make play food.


This sweet little set is made of wood and is just right for doll house dolls. I so enjoy creating for this miniature world of childhood play. Come on over to the Nature Table and see what is cooking at the Acorn Cafe.


The Acorn Cafe


On the first day of Spring the world was a buzz of activity at the Acorn Cafe.


Everyone was enjoying the wonderful food made by Miss Dandelion.


Grandpa was having his favorite tomato sandwich.


A few fairies stopped in for tea and sweets.


Four forest friends enjoyed an after noon treat.


All were happy on this bright spring day.

Items on the Nature Table:

Wooden toys, playsilks, and dolls can be found at The Enchanted Cupboard.

Felt Woodland Friends can be found at Muddyfeet.

Acorn Cafe  and table & chairs were created by Willodel.


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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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Make it Yourself: Homemade Organic Nutella

My mom seldom bought Nutella; it was (and still is) quite expensive and not very healthy (beside what they claim in their ads). We only had it when in was on sale and it was a real treat! When I started living by myself and buying what I wanted I often bought a jar; I loved it on my bagels…But soon I found that eating that often made me grumpy and weird…Too much sugar and fat intake, so I stopped buying it and said goodbye to chocolate spread, until I was at my mom and stumble upon a TV show about dessert. Here’s the recipe the guy proposed:

What you need:

  • 2 cups of Hazelnuts*
  • ½ cup of icing sugar
  • ½ cup of cocoa
  • 2 table spoon of hazelnut oil (sunflower, canola, even olive oil could work)
  • 1 table spoon of vanilla extract

What you do:

  1. On a cookie sheet, evenly spread hazelnuts and put them in the oven to roast at 400F for about 8 min. Check them often it roast fast!
  2. Let them cool and take out the shells by scrubbing them together.
  3. Place them in a robot and crush them for 5 min, until it start to look like butter.
  4. Add the rest of the ingredient and mix them for as long as it takes for you to like the texture. Some like it more crunchy, some like it more smooth.
  5. Slice a piece of bread and spread your newly made butter on it.
  6. Enjoy!

There are variation of this recipe that contains milk or dried powder milk products to make it more like the store-bought thing but I tend to make the recipe more simple. We tend to use organic ingredients.

* I had a friend make it by replacing the hazelnut by almond for her allergic daughter and they found it very good as well.  I guess any kind of nuts would work.

I suggest keeping it in your fridge since they’re no preservative. I usually double the recipe and it last us about a week.

It is SO good on toast, untoasted bread, fruits. It relatively takes no time to make and is so easy to offer in a pretty jar. The kids can help measuring and dumping the ingredients in the robot and will lick the spoon afterwards.


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No Sugar Carob Fudge

What a chalenge to find a great little ” sugary tasting”  treat for you and your family ! Well lately a friend of mine introduced me to  this special caroub fudge and what a suprise for me to find that it is Deliiiiciouuss !! I thought that  sharing this  with you would be a great idea… it is a creative recipe and soOoo easy to make !!



What you will need:

~ 2 tablespoons of sunflower oil

~ 2 cups of unsweetened carob chips

~2/3 cup of peanut butter

~1/2 cup of coconut

~1/3 cup of walnuts

~1/2 cup of dry raisins

~1 tsp. of vanilla



Place the carob, peanut butter and oil in a pan at  low temperature, stirring constantly just until smooth. This will give you a great “chocolate” color…it already looks delicious !!
Then add the remaining ingredients and mix well.
Spread out in a greased  8 x 8 square pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hrs. Then cut in squares or as you desire.
Keep them in the refrigerator or you could also freeze the balance for unexpected sweet cravings…
**  I do find that the fudge is hard to cut in perfect square…but it is still as good 🙂 **
Note:  With the basic recipe (carob, peanut butter and oil) you can create so many different variations of this recipe…why not use your favorite nuts, some popped quinoa, cranberry or even some spices..the sky is the limit 🙂
Enjoy !!!!
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Recipe: Making Spaetzle, German Egg Noodles, with Kids

My childrens’ favorite food in whole wide world is “Spaetzle”. When I mention the word Spaetzle they jump for joy and want to help make them. That is a good thing because though easy to make they are a bit labor intensive.

My kids are 11 and 13 now. I first let them help with this task when they were around 8 years old since the process involves dropping noodles into boiling water…

The greatest thing about Spaetzle is that you don’t need many ingredients

  • eggs
  • water
  • salt

It’s really that simple. I was once told by a Schwaebian guy (Schwabenland is where these type of noodles originate from – the southern parts of Germany) that the true Schwaebian housewife uses no water – just eggs – to make Spaetzle. But who can afford this many eggs or that much cholesterol?

So I usually go with about 500- 600g of flour, 1/8 of a liter of water, 1 teaspoon of salt, and as many eggs as it takes to work the flour into a dough that can be stirred with a wooden spoon. Not too liquid not too hard. You don’t want any lumps.

While the whole family takes turns stirring the dough and working it into a smooth dough one must bring a large pot of water to boil. The pot needs to filled almost to the brim, maybe leave about an inch less. Then put a batch of the dough on a cutting board. My kids like to take turns cutting noodles with a knife and scraping bits of dough into the boiling water. Once that batch is cut and all of the noodles float to the top you scoop them out with a slotted spoon into a colander. We give them a quick rinse over the sink and then safe them in another bowl.

These German egg noodles are great as a side dish with any fancy dinner. But they can also stand by themselves as a dish layered in a casserole pan with some caramelized onions and Jarlsberg cheese. In this version they are called “Kaesespaetzle”. People partial towards meat can add some bits of ham or sausage. They are also super in chicken noodle soup. Just cut the noodles straight into your chicken stock. It will cure any patient in your household quickly!

PS:  In case you wondered what Spaetzle means: Spatz is the German word for sparrow, adding the -le at the end is how southern Germans create the diminutive version of a noun. Spaetzle means little sparrow. 😉

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Recipe: Brussel Sprouts Two Ways

I can’t wait to plant the garden. For the last few years we have grown brussel sprouts. We usually plant about 3 of them. Not that we get a lot of meals out of those plants. They never get as big as the ones you buy in the store, but they surely taste so much better. The disappointment was huge when we discovered last year that some type of aphid attacked our crop at the end of the growing season and we couldn’t eat them. I hope we can avoid this type of disaster this year.

They are such an interesting plant to watch growing. Our kids – like most kids – didn’t care much for brussel sprouts. Only when we started growing them in our garden did they learn to appreciate them. One year my son got so intrigued by the harvesting process. It was the first time that he actually said at dinner time that they were quite tasty.

I recall that I never liked eating brussel sprouts as a child either. My mother used to cook them in a white sauce. First she would boil the “little cabbages” in water until tender. Then she’d make a rue with butter and flour. She used a few cups of the water the the cabbages had boiled in to make the sauce. Add a touch of salt, pepper, and a some freshly grated nutmeg. Finish it off with a few drops of lemon juice.  Done. Now this is the version that was served to me as a child. I did not appreciate it until I moved away from home. Now I make it for my kids and they like it a lot.

But recently I stumbled upon a healthier version. It’s so simple it blows your mind.

All you have to do is put the cleaned brussel sprouts in a bowl and sprinkle some salt and freshly grated pepper on top. Drizzle some olive oil over it and shake them around in the bowl. Then dump the bowl out on a cookie sheet. Bake your brussel sprouts in preheated oven at 4oo degrees for about 30-40 minutes. You must shake the cookie sheet every 7-9 minutes so the sprouts get browned evenly.

Oh my gosh. They taste so good! While cooking them I picked the lose leaves off the cookie sheet and snacked on them. Sort of like a cabbage chip. Unfortunately the kids prefer my mother’s German version in the white sauce….
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.

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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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Recipe: Cauliflower Casserole

I don’t know about your children, but mine have never been a great fans of cauliflower. That is until I presented them with the following version. It’s really easy to make. It doesn’t take long either. You can even get it ready in the morning and put it in the oven when you come home in the afternoon.

This recipe will feed a family of 4. But maybe you want to serve an appetizer or a salad beforehand. My teenager was still hungry and asking for more after finishing two large servings of this recipe…

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 tablespoons milk
  • some bacon bits or a quarter cup of cubed ham
  • cup of frozen peas
  • 1/2 cup cheese such Edamer or other cheese that melts easily
  • salt
  • pepper
  • nutmeg

Bring water with some salt in it to a boil.

Clean the head of cauliflower, remove green leaves and carve out the bottom of the stalk

Boil the whole head of cauliflower in the water for about 20 minutes or until tender.

Then remove from water. Put half of it in a bowl. Preserve the rest for later.

Puree half of the cauliflower with an immersion blender. Add eggs, milk, salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Mix in the bacon bits or ham cubes. Then add the peas.

Spread the mixture in a casserole dish. Break up the rest of the cauliflower into little florets and stick them in the pureed mixture. Sprinkle cheese on top. Bake in preheated oven at 375 Fahrenheit.

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.