Category Archives: fruits

Spiced Hot Apple Cider

5 Ingredient Spiced Apple Cider

Written by Denae

Have we worn you out with all things apple this season? We sure hope not because we’ve got a delicious spiced apple recipe for ya! It’s super easy, only 5 ingredients, and so SO tasty!


Print Recipe
Spiced Hot Apple Cider
Course Beverage
Cuisine Beverage
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Course Beverage
Cuisine Beverage
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Add all ingredients to large pot and simmer on low for 45 minutes.
  2. Pour cider through colander to sift out spices.
  3. Garnish if desired with cranberries and sliced oranges.
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Vegan Apple Crisp

Vegan & Grain-Free Apple Crisp

Written by Denae

Warm, fall-infused, comforting, vegan, and grain-free. These all make the perfect combination for a delicious apple crisp.

My favorite apples for apple crisp are the classic tart Granny Smith, and the juicy sweet Honeycrisp. Since they are both firm and crisp apples, they don’t become mush when they’re baked. 

The topping is another vital part. Since trying to stay away from grains, I’ve had to experiment with toppings while I make recipes. Originally I started with purely nuts, then threw in coconut, then I found quinoa flakes from Ancient Harvest. These flakes have changed how I make meatballs, crumbles, oatmeal, the list goes on. 

Enjoy this warm and sweet dessert,

Lassens

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Print Recipe
Vegan & Grain-Free Apple Crisp
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 20-30 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Topping
Course Dessert
Cuisine Dessert
Prep Time 20-30 minutes
Cook Time 45-60 minutes
Servings
people
Ingredients
Topping
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Peel and slice apples in lengthwise pieces.
  3. Combine the remaining filling ingredient in a bowl. Add the apples and mix together. Add to an 8x8 or 9x13 dish (depending how thick you want the dessert).
  4. After combining all the topping ingredients in a bowl, sprinkle over the apple mixture.
  5. Bake uncovered for 45-60 minutes; or until the apples are easily pierced with a fork and the topping is golden brown.
  6. Let cool for 10 minutes. Can be served alone, with whipped cream or ice cream.
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freezer+monkey, frozen+treats, focus+on+local, local+products, local+producers, women+owned+business

Focus on Local–Freezer Monkey Gourmet Frozen Treats

These Are Not Your Average Frozen Treats!  They are Gourmet!

Freezer+Monkey Frozen+Gourmet+Treats, lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens
 

Meet Tiffany!

Tiffany grew up in Santa Barbara, and has always loved this area.  She went to art school in New York, but eventually ended up in San Francisco, where she found her true calling in culinary school.  She worked in restaurants for over 15 years as a pastry and dessert chef.  She got to develop recipes and see her creations bring joy to many patrons.
 
But life brought her back to Ventura County.  She decided that she wanted to branch out and do something on her own, so she took a 14-week course on how to start your own business through WEV–Women’s Economic Ventures.  (For more information on WEV, click here.)  She had to write a business plan, and thought that she might start her own bakery.  But those plans just didn’t seem right for her and her children.  In October 2011 a sweltering heat wave hit Thousand Oaks and she found herself making frozen treats for her kids.  They were a huge hit and the kids kept coming back for more.   It was a light-bulb moment.  She dug out her recipe collection, looking for sorbet and ice cream recipes.  Her business plan abruptly changed.  Soon she created several different flavors and launched the Blueberry Dessert Company.  Her son named the line of pops when he came in, asking for more of those “freezer monkeys!”

 

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Watch This!

Last week I got to follow Tiffany around as she made her Caramelized Pineapple Pops.  First, she caramelizes some sugar in a heavy pot.  (To learn how to do this yourself, see my post on candying pecans for a spinach/pear salad found here. )

 

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Tiffany poured the caramelized sugar over fresh pineapple pieces, 

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and then added a little red Hawaiian sea salt.

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Tiffany blended the pineapple, caramel and salt until pureed.  

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Once everything was pureed very fine, she strained the mixture to remove the tough solids. 

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After removing the foam (too much air for a pop!) Tiffany poured the strained puree into these amazing molds that she got from Brazil.

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The lid, with the sticks, went on last.  It clamped everything together.

 

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The mold was lowered into a container with propylene glycol, a food-grade liquid that has a very low freezing point.  The liquid was -15 degrees, and the pops were frozen in about 15 minutes!  (None of the propylene glycol gets into the pops–it just surrounds the mold.)

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Amazing!  The quick-freeze time reduces the opportunity for crystals to form in the treats, so the result is a smooth and creamy texture. 

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The treats were popped out of the molds, and they were ready for packaging.

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Tiffany stamps the date on every pop.  

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Lassen’s carries six Freezer Monkey flavors–all delicious!  Great for these hot days, but also for all throughout the year!  (No reason to stop eating frozen treats in California!)

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Next up for Tiffany?  Watch for her Bon-Bons, coming soon!  I tried the Vietnamese Coconut–it was amazing!

Freezer+Monkey Frozen+Gourmet+Treats, lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens

There’s nothing like the fun of a frozen treat on a stick, and Tiffany’s Freezer Monkey Treats are more than just frozen colored sugar water!  They are made with real fruit and other natural ingredients!  You’ll love them! 

Love,
 
Lassen’s
spinach+salad, easy+salad, pear+salad, gorgonzola+cheese, easy+salad+recipes, Newman's+Balsamic+Dressing, balsamic+vinegar, delicious+salad, spinach+recipes

Pears to the Rescue!

Simple, Delicious, Nutritious!

Lassen's+Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears
 
I have always love Bartlett Pears.  They are sweet and the texture is just right.  We would eat them by the dozens when I was growing up.  But when I left home for college I learned that some people did not love them like I did!  
 
Maybe you are one of those who haven’t yet learned to appreciate the humble pear.  So here are some great facts about them!
 
A medium pear has about 100 calories, and no fat, cholesterol, or sodium.  They are nutrient dense; high in Vitamin C, potassium, and fiber.  A single pear has almost 25% of the recommended daily amount of fiber!   Here is a brochure with pear facts and more recipes.
 
Pears are one of the few fruits that do not ripen on the tree.  They are mature, but still green, when they are harvested.  If you leave the green fruit in a bowl for a few days, you’ll see them begin to lighten to a nice yellow color.  Eat them before they get too yellow or start to brown.  Delicious!

Pears are Wonderful in Many Recipes! 

Lassen's+Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears
 
 
Many times when I am going out to eat I will find a spinach salad on the menu that appeals to me.  I often order it, and I’m always happy with my choice (I have no menu envy when I do!)
 
When I noticed that these salads often only have four or five ingredients, I realized that I could make them myself, and now I do–a lot!  
 
So instead of spending upwards of $15 for a spinach salad, make it yourself!  This recipe serves 3-4 (2 for a main dish salad).

Spinach Pear Gorgonzola Salad

 

You’ll Need:

  • 1 package of washed, organic, baby spinach 
  • 2 TBP organic raw sugar (optional)
  • 1/4 cup organic raw pecans
  • 1/4 cup crumbled organic gorgonzola cheese
  • 2 ripe organic Bartlett pears
  • Organic Balsamic Vinegar and Olive Oil, or your choice of Organic Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing

Optional — Candied Pecans

If you’d like, you can candy your pecans.  I think it adds a nice crunchy sweetness to the salad, but it is optional.  If you want to do it, here’s how.

 

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In heavy-bottomed dry pan, pour 2 TBSP sugar.  Shake the pan to spread the sugar evenly over the bottom of the pan.  Turn the heat to medium and watch the sugar as it heats.  Be careful to not let the sugar burn on the sides, where the pan may be thinner.  You can stir it around.

 

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The sugar will melt.  Right when the sugar crystals have all melted, turn off the heat and sprinkle the pecans over the top.  

 

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Using a spatula, turn the nuts over.  You have to move quickly to coat the nuts with the sugar.

 

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Turn the nuts onto a plate to cool.  I try to separate them as much as possible as I get them onto the plate.
 
While the nuts cool, assemble the salad.  

 

lassensloves.com, Lassens, Lassen's Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears, candied+nuts

 

 

Place the spinach on a plate, core and slice the pears, sprinkle the cheese and nuts over the top of the salad.

lassensloves.com, Lassens, Lassen's Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Spinach+salad, Bartlett+Pears, candied+nuts

 

I twisted a few grinds of fresh pepper over the top.  
 
Then just choose your dressing!  Lassen’s carries a large variety of delicious balsamic vinaigrette dressings!  I like the Newman’s Own brand, but sometimes I just like to use plain Extra-Virgin Organic Olive Oil and Organic Balsamic Vinegar with some freshly ground salt on top.

 

lassensloves.com, Lassens, Lassen's Organic+Bartlett+Pears, Bartlett+Pears

 

And there you have it!  A restaurant quality salad with your own, gorgeous organic ingredients, including the humble and delicious Bartlett pear!
 
Happy eating!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
waldorf+salad+recipe, waldorf+salad, apple+salad, grape+salads, easy+salads, easy+waldorf

Grapes–Those Little Orbs of Happiness!

I’ve Been Making this Salad for Years!

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, waldorf+salad, grapes, apples, salad
 
I grew up in the Apple Capital of the World–Yakima Valley, Washington.  So I love my apples! (When they are good — I will reject a mushy apple with one bite, and there are varieties that I won’t touch.  Yes, I’m that spoiled.)
 
And putting them in recipes with other fruits is a real treat.  The summer grapes are so wonderful right now, so pairing them with apples makes perfect, fresh, delicious sense.  Grapes can be used in so many ways!  For a recipe of how to make your own grape soda, see this post from lassensloves.com.
 
Here’s a recipe that has been around for years, and I’ve been making it for a long time, too!

Waldorf Salad

 
 

 

This recipe was created in the late 1800s by the chef at the Waldorf Hotel in New York City.  Traditionally made with apples, celery and walnuts, it now has many variations.  Here’s mine, which serves 8-10.

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, waldorf+salad, grapes, apples, salad
 

You’ll Need:

  • 4 crisp organic apples, cored and chopped in bite-sized pieces.  I used two Granny Smiths and two Pink Ladies
  • 4 stalks of organic celery, chopped
  • 2 cups of organic red grapes, sliced lengthwise
  • 1 cup organic pecans, toasted lightly
  • 1/2 cup organic yogurt (I used Fage Greek Yogurt)
  • 1/4 cup organic mayonnaise (I used Spectrum Organic)
  • 2 TBSP fresh-squeezed organic lemon juice
  • a couple of twists of fresh-cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp organic nutmeg
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, waldorf+salad, grapes, apples, salad
 

Procedure:

Chop the apples and the celery.

 

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Slice the grapes.  

 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, waldorf+salad, grapes, apples, salad
 
Mix together

 

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Toast the pecans lightly in the oven or in a dry pan over medium heat on the stove, and set aside.

 

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Make the Dressing

Mix the yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, pepper, and nutmeg together until smooth.

 

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When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the cut apples, celery and grapes.  Stir to coat, then add the toasted pecans and stir.

 

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This is a great salad for those outdoor barbecues and picnics!  Enjoy this fresh taste of summer!  

 
love,
 
Lassen’s
kids+in+the+kitchen, kid+friendly+recipes, cooking+with+children, cooking+with+kids, children+in+the+kitchen, kitchen+basics+for+kids

Flashback! Cooking as a Kid–or with one!

4-H In My Youth

I know that 4-H in this part of the country (and many others) means hogs and steers, but my introduction to 4-H was with a group of my girlfriends when I was about eight or nine.  One of the moms decided to start a 4-H club for us, so we spent lots of time at her house learning homemaking skills.
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Cooking+with+Kids
 

Sounds old-fashioned, doesn’t it?

And I suppose it was.  But I was just having fun with my friends, learning some food basics, and gaining confidence in the kitchen.  I did lots of cooking with my mom so it wasn’t all that new to me, but I loved my 4-H time nonetheless.  
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, Cooking+with+Kids

That 4-H Club experience helped me to not be afraid of being in the kitchen or of having my children in the kitchen with me.  So my kids regularly made salad or peeled vegetables or measured ingredients or made dessert.  They assisted with everything I was doing.   When they went off to college I knew they wouldn’t starve — or live on fast food — because they were comfortable in the kitchen.

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Some of my favorite phones calls when they were away at school were the ones that started, “Mom, how do you make…?” asking for a recipe.  (I always knew when it was one son’s turn to cook for his dinner group!)

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One of the keys to cooking with kids is to make it fun, not a chore.  Kids are much more likely to eat healthy foods when they have had a hand in growing, harvesting, shopping, and preparing the foods themselves. 

I always loved to eat this side dish when I was a kid, because I got to make the bunny face!

 

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We didn’t have a lot of junk food around our house when I was growing up–no chips or sodas–but we always had the makings for this kind of a snack! 

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Invite your kids into the kitchen!  It will be fun for you and for them.  Teach them how to use the juicer and the blender, the oven and the stove.  Maybe you could be that mom who gets a bunch of giggly girls together to learn to be healthy gourmet cooks.  They will thank you some day!

I found a very simple kid-friendly hummus recipe here.  I think I’ll be making this recipe with my grandsons at Grandma Camp this year!  (They love to be in charge of turning the food processor on and off!)
 
Enjoy the kids in the kitchen!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
 
 
fruit +recipes, fruit+desserts, plum+recipes, delicious+side+dishes, delicious+desserts, dessert+recipes, fruit+recipes

Gorgeous Plums–You Can Do More Than Just Eat Them Plain!

A-Meen-O-Mum (I Want a Plum!)

That’s what one of my toddlers said when he wanted to have a plum.  Plums have long been a favorite at our house.  I like the varieties with tart skins and sweet flesh the most.  Peter likes the black plums best. But whatever the variety, when they are in season I always have some in my shopping cart.
 
lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, spiced+baked+plums
 
Recently I was looking for something easy to do with the bag of glorious organic plums that I’d brought home from Lassen’s, and found this recipe.  I made them, with my own changes, for dinner last night, as an accompaniment to baked chicken and roasted red potatoes (along with this recipe for kale and quinoa salad).  They got rave reviews!

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, spiced+baked+plums, organic+plums
 

You’ll Need:

  • 4 organic plums, halved and pitted.  I used the red variety, but the recipe will work with any.
  • 1/3 cup organic orange juice — can use freshly squeezed
  • 1 1/2 TSP packed organic brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp organic ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp organic ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp organic ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp organic ground cardamom

 fruit+recipes, plum+recipes, delicious+side+dishes, delicious+desserts. dessert +recipes

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, and spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray
  • Cut and pit the plums and then place them, cut side up, in the baking dish
  • Mix together the orange juice, the brown sugar and the spices until blended.
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  • Pour the mixture over the plums.
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  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes.  The plums will be hot and the sauce bubbly.
  • Serve warm!
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Best Additional Use For This Recipe:

Syrup for Ice Cream.

roasted+plums
Yes.  The spiced plum syrup that was bubbling in the pan was SO delicious that we cracked open the vanilla ice cream and spooned some of the syrup on top.  

It. Was. Fab.

I will definitely make this recipe many many times!  It would be great made with pluots, peaches, cherries, or apricots!  Or a blend of fruits–yum!
 
Enjoy the rest of the stone fruit season!
 
love,
 
Lassen’s
kitchen+tips, how+to+cut+watermelon, how+to+cut+pineapple, cucumber+tuna+boats, patriotic+fruit+skewers, fun+with+fruit, party+skewers

Cool Kitchen Tips and a Fun Lunch

This is Something That Made Me Crazy for a Long Time

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, watermelon+cutting
 
While my family loved watermelon, I hated to get it.  Why?  I dreading cutting the darned thing.  The knife had slipped too many times and I was knife-shy!  How do you cut up a round thing without putting your fingers in mortal danger?  Every time I cut into a watermelon the thing would roll around and I would get nervous.

Someone Finally Showed Me How!

I was helping at a party, and someone had just the tips I needed!  So now, I share with you!

The First Cut is the Worst

You do have to make one dangerous cut–the first one.  But hold it firmly on the cutting board with one hand while you cut the melon in half.

 

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Flip it over on the cut side and then cut it in half again.

 

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Then you start cutting the rind off.  This is actually easier with a thinner knife, not a big butcher-style.

 

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You’ll end with a quarter circle of rind-free melon, which you then just slice into the size of chunks that you want!

 

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Slice one way…

 

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Then the other…

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, watermelon+cutting

 

Then into cubes…

 

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Done!  Right after I cut this melon I put it in front of a bunch of teenagers with forks and they were in heaven!  

Pineapple Cutting Tricks, too!

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, pineapple+cutting
 
We all love pineapple at my house.  I usually have one ripening in the fruit bowl, and when it smells just right, I cut pineapple in a similar fashion to the watermelon.

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, pineapple+cutting

 

First, cut off the top and the bottom.  Looks and smells delicious!

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, pineapple+cutting

 

Cut off the rind.  Don’t worry if there are some little pieces of the rind left–you can trim them afterwards with a small knife.

 

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Then cut the pineapple into fourths.

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, pineapple+cutting

 

Slice off the core of each…

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, pineapple+cutting

 

Put the flat sides on the cutting board, cut in half again, and then into chunks.  Done!

For a Fun Fourth of July Snack…

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, 4th+of+July, fruit+platter
 
Skewers some banana slices, chunks of watermelon, and blueberries for a patriotic snack!

 

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, 4th+of+July

 

 Or sprinkle fresh red raspberries and blueberries into vanilla yogurt!

And Make a Fresh, Crunchy, Cool, Summer Lunch!

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, cucumber+tuna
 

Cucumber Tuna Boats!

lassensloves.com, Lassen's, Lassens, cucumber+tuna

 

Make a couple of thick peels from the flattest side of a cucumber for the base (so it won’t roll around!)

 

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Take some thin peels from the sides (just to make it look nicer), and then cut a lengthwise wedge out of the top of the cucumber.  

 

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Scoop out the seedy inside of the cucumber.

 

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Discard the seeds, but chop the cucumber wedge and some green onions.  Slice some cherry tomatoes, and get some tuna salad ready (tuna, mayonnaise, salt and pepper) and then add the chopped cucumber and green onion to the tuna.

 

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Arrange the tomato slices and the tuna salad in the cucumber boat.

 

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Slice through the tuna, and enjoy your tuna-cucumber boat lunch, with fresh pineapple and patriotic flag fruit skewers!  Then have a little yogurt and berries for dessert!  Yum!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s

Should you get on the Paleo bandwagon?

Eatin’ Like a Caveman… or Woman…

There has been a lot of chatter about the Paleo Diet lately.  Have you wondered what it is all about?
 
lassensloves.com, paleo+diet
Well, it is basically eating what our cave ancestors in the Paleolithic Age ate.  

Meat

 
 
paleo+diet
 
Free-range or grass-fed beef, pork, lamb, poulty, fish and other seafood, eggs, and game meats.  According to the Paleo Diet, our diet should be comprised of between 20-35% of calories provided by protein, instead of the 15% that the Western Diet has now.  There are many vitamins and minerals in meats as well.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

 
 
paleo+diet
 
Non-starchy, low-glycemic fresh fruits and vegetables provide much more fiber than other (grain based) carbohydrates.  They are slowly digested and absorbed, unlike refined carbohydrates.  And of course we know that fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of vitamins and minerals essential for good health.
 
paleo+diet
 
 

Nuts and Seeds

 
paleo+diet
 
These provide healthy fats as well as protein and fiber.

Healthy Oils

 
 
paleo+diet
 
Olive, coconut, walnut, flaxseed, avocado, and macadamia.  These fats provide healthy monosaturated and Omega-3 fats.

A diet of the the above foods will provide a balance between acid-producing and alkaline-producing foods, which helps prevent conditions that thrive in an acid environoment.

This website says that a “lifetime of excessive dietary acid may promote bone and muscle loss, high blood pressure and increased risk for kidney stones and may aggravate asthma and excercise-induced asthma.”  This diet balances acid and alkaline.

The Paleo Diet also increases the dietary intake of potassium and lowers the intake of sodium.

Our hearts, kidneys and other organs depend on potassium to function properly.  When sodium intake is higher and potassium intake is lower, we are at risk for high blood pressure, heart disease, and strokes.

 

What Should I Not Eat?

Dairy Products, Cereal Grains, Refined Sugars, Legumes (including peanuts), Starchy Vegetables such as Potatoes, Salt, Refined Oil, and Processed Foods.

There is a lot that makes sense in the Paleo Diet.  We do have a lot of diseases and conditions that are caused by our modern diet and lifestyle.  And eliminating refined foods certainly would help our overall health.  
 
Following the paleo diet is healthy and nutritious, and there are lots of ways that you can combine foods to make delicious breakfasts. They don’t all involve eggs, either! Here are just 10 paleo diet-friendly recipes to try out for your breakfasts.
 
Here is a fun chart to help you understand how to know if a food complies with the Paleo Plan.
 
 
I’m not sure I agree with the “That crap will kill you,” but this chart does help clarify what is Paleo and what isn’t!

Have You Tried the Paleo Diet?

Please comment if you have tried the Paleo Diet and let us know what you think.  Is it hard to eat the Paleo way?

Lassen’s carries everything you need to eat on the Paleo Diet!

paleo+diet

In upcoming posts I will share some recipes that comply with the Paleo Diet Plan!

 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
herb+garden, diy+herb+garden, grapefruit+gardening, windowsill+garden

It’s Almost Spring! Time to Get Your Hands in the Dirt!

Nothing Like Getting Dirty! 

 
grapefruit+rind+garden
 
I love going into garden centers and seeing all of the little plants; It takes me back to when my mom and dad (with a lot of forced kid labor!) would plant a great big garden each spring.
 
And checking out all of the neatly lined-up packets of garden seeds–Oh!  The possibilities!  We would start the tomatoes from seed in egg cartons, and I loved checking to see if the little leaves were pressing their way through the soil.
 
So in honor of impending Spring, here is a fun idea to start your garden, kitchen herbs, or flowers.
 
grapefruit+rind+garden
 
Since we’ve been eating a lot of grapefruit lately (it is SO delicious!) we have plenty of grapefruit rinds.  You could also use orange or lemon rinds, too.  I pulled the membranes out of the rinds, but that isn’t necessary.
You’ll need some potting soil–or just some rich dirt–and some seeds.  Lassen’s has just stocked a large variety of organic garden seeds.
 
grapefruit+rind+garden
 
Fill the rind with some soil.  Doesn’t that feel good?
 
grapefruit+rind+garden
 
I decided to plant Sweet Basil, since I cook with it every week.
 
grapefruit+rind+garden
 
Sprinkle a few seeds over the soil, and then add 1/4 inch more of soil on the top.  Water lightly (it doesn’t take much in this little planter, 
and you don’t want the rind to get moldy!)
 
Place in a warm sunny place, and watch for the sprouts!
 
grapefruit+rind+garden
 
There’s nothing like using your own fresh herbs!
 
You can start tomatoes or peas or beans or other vegetables in the citris rinds, and when it is time to plant in your garden (or larger containers), you can just put the whole thing in the ground.  The rinds will decompose and enrich your garden soil!  You’ll be both gardening and composting!  Now, doesn’t that make you feel green?
 
Happy Gardening!
 
Love,
 
Lassen’s
chocolate+covered+strawberries, chocolate+fondue, valentine's+day+gifts, sweetheart+gifts, chocolate+recipes

Do You Want to Impress Your Sweetheart?

Elegant, Romantic, Easy!

valentines+day+flowers, valentines+day+chocolate
 
I have always felt Valentine’s Day was a made-up holiday–manufactured by the sellers of cards and candy, abetted by restaurants and florists.
 
But maybe we shouldn’t pass up the opportunity to express love and appreciation to those we love.  So here are a couple of fun, romantic, and frankly easy ways to give a little love on this holiday–or any day.

Chocolate Fondue

 
valentines+day+chocolate, chocolate+fondue
 
 

You will need:

  • 1 cup of whipping cream
  • 2 TBSP Agave syrup
  • 12 oz premium chocolate (we have many to choose from at Lassen’s!  I used the Sunspire semi-sweet baking chocolate.)
  • A variety of fruits for dipping–strawberries, blueberries, bananas, kiwi, pineapple, mango–use your imagination!  
Bring the cream and agave syrup to a boil
Meanwhile, break up the chocolate into nickel-sized pieces
When the cream comes to a boil, remove from the heat and add the chocolate pieces.
Stir constantly until melted and smooth.  If you like it a little thinner, add more cream.
If you have a fondue pot, transfer the sauce into the pot and keep warm.  If not, you can cool and gently reheat when ready to serve.  

 

valentines+day+chocolate, chocolate+fondue

Chocolate-dipped Strawberries

Valentine's+Day, Chocolate+dipped+strawberries
 

You will need:

  • Premium Chocolate (I really like the Chocolove brand chcolate–they have some really delicious varieties!  You’ll need plain chocolate for this recipe, though.)  I used extra-strong dark, milk, and white chocolate.
  • Strawberries
  • Chopped nuts, if desired.  I used pecans and pistachios.
Wash and thoroughly dry the strawberries.

 

Valentine's+Day, Chocolate+dipped+strawberries

In a double-boiler, melt each of the chocolates separately, stirring regularly.  You can also use the microwave on half-power, 30-40 seconds at a time.  This is the most problematic step.  Do not try to melt the chocolate over direct heat or on full power.  If it gets too hot–and it happens quickly–the chocolate will get crumbly instead of melting (you’ll be cooking it.)  So treat it very gently.

 

Valentine's+Day, Chocolate+dipped+strawberries

Hold on to the stem/leaves of the berries and dip them into the melted chocolate.  (Notice the little flecks of vanilla in the Green & Black’s Organic white chocolate! Yum!)

If you wish, roll the berries gently in the chopped nuts.
Place on a foil- or waxed-paper-lined baking sheet.
Allow to cool (I put them in the refrigerator for a few minutes if I’m in a hurry).
 
You can add stripes of a contrasting chocolate by dipping a fork into the chocolate and then drizzling it over the cooled berries.
 
These can be made up to two days in advance.  Keep in the refrigerator and then be prepared for ooh-ing and aah-ing!

 

Valentine's+Day, Chocolate+dipped+strawberries

Have a wonderful and tasty Valentine’s Day!

 
Love,
 
Lassen’s