Stop Calling People Food Snobs (I’m Sick of It)

Guys really,

It’s time. I think we’ve all had enough of it.

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What is a food snob? A food snob is a colloquial term for someone who deviates from eating whatever is perceived, by the accuser, as being “normal” food and eats something perceived, by the accuser, as being “different.” For purposes of distinction, we should make note of the fact that a food snob does not necessarily compel anyone else to participate in their particular program – the food they eat may well affect only themselves.

A food snob could be a vegan, a vegetarian, a Paleo advocate, or someone on Whole30. It could be someone who shops at Whole Foods or in the produce section at Walmart or goes to the farmer’s market. It could be someone who doesn’t eat kale salad because they don’t like how it tastes. It could be someone who declines a certain brand or variety of food in favor of another, or – and this seems to be the culmination of cultural blasphemy – brings their own food to an event in order to maintain a certain variety or level of nutritional intake. The term food snob can also apply to persons with allergies, sensitivities, auto-immune diseases, genetic markers and random personal likes or dislikes of foods that are out of their control.

Most often, food snob is the term used for anybody who deviates from the modern, standard American diet, especially someone who chooses to forego many processed foods.

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Shame on you for eating something else … Calling someone a food snob is to participate in a rampant shame culture that, among other things, determines that anyone who does anything different than the individual(s) defining the norm is bad and must be forced, through humiliation, exclusion, belittling and rejection, both subtle and blatant, both public and private, to conform to a perceived norm.

I can see you. The astonishing thing about a shame culture, however, is that it opens a page into the private heart of the accuser, to those who know how to read it. In her book Daring Greatly, social researcher Brene Brown tells us, “What’s ironic … is that research tells us that we judge people in areas where we’re vulnerable to shame … If I feel good about my body, I don’t go around making fun of other people’s weight or appearance. We’re hard on each other because we’re using each other as a launching pad out of our own perceived shaming deficiency. It’s hurtful and ineffective…” (1) The more someone belittles another for their food choices, odds are the more guilty and ashamed that person feels about their own food decisions. A person who feels confident, comfortable and secure in their choices has no need to make another feel small for their choices.

Don’t feel self-righteous just yet. This is a knife that can cut both ways – someone who is adhering to a specific food plan can pick relentlessly at those around her or him, becoming an annoying and aggravating source of unwanted information. So to the person accused of being a food snob – don’t be a snob. Snobs are annoying. There is a way to be snobbish and rude and annoying about your food choices, and there is a way to be loving, and kind, and open-hearted and generous about your food choices. You have a story of healing to tell, and that’s why you’re here, making the choices you do! Share your story with authenticity. Don’t play the martyr, or the saint, or the food snob.

What do we do when someone calls us a food snob? Ouch. It is far more appropriate to show love and listen. The person accusing you the loudest of being a food snob is very likely the person hurting the most. Listen to their hurt, and employ shame-resilience strategies for yourself in the face of their criticism:

Acknowledge to yourself the wound of their insult, and respect the hurt it can bring and know that you are not alone in your pain. Feel gratitude that you are able the make the choices you do despite harsh comments opposing you. Stay engaged in the culture that gives you support.

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Then move on from the experience and understand that no matter what you do, somebody out there will disapprove, because somebody out there is uncomfortable with their own choices! Unless they are going to be living in your body, they don’t get a vote. Provide the wonder and awe that inspires you to eat the way you do, and let the shamers continue on their path.

Thanks for listening. I love you guys.

Read more:

1 Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead. Brene Brown. Page 99. Penguin Random House, New York. 2012

A Fall Menu: Silky Squash Soup and other delicious stuff you’ll want to eat

All of my recipes come packaged in a downloadable
PDF that you can save to your computer.
Read on for the recipe packet from our fall menu!

Dear Pompkin,

I just like the way early Americans spelled pumpkin. Pompkin.

Pumpkins, squash, and all manner of root vegetables feature strongly in the fall. This is some of my favorite cuisine! Filling, rich and hearty, it qualifies for comfort food any day of the week. Buttery baked dishes, creamy soups and silky puddings dazzle me all through the long winter months! (Although to be honest, the winter in Virginia Beach is starting out a little weak – it was in the 70s last week, and this is October we’re looking at.)

And of course, I love everything about Thanksgiving. Candles, corn cobs, turkey and all that festive business sucks me in every time. I have so many deep and wonderful memories of family life associated with Thanksgiving – the turkey placemats my grandma made, the battered yellow tablecloth she used every year, the chaotic and sometimes argumentative and always loving gathering around that all-important Thursday.

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Fall is just full of delight for me. I taught Cooking with Fall Veggies at Norfolk Botanical Gardens this week, and the class was a slam-dunk. I brought leftovers to my husband on base, and he and the guys there devoured it and pronounced it good. I made the baked root vegetables dish for an Oil Tribe class the following evening, and everybody was asking for the recipe!

Solid, simple food is the best. It wins our hearts every time! Our menu featured rustic, seasonal dishes.

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The soup was a perfectly silken puree, topped with pepitas. For a vegan alternative, swap out the bone broth for a full-bodied vegetable broth made with dried shishito mushrooms for lots of meaty umami flavor, and trade the butter for expeller-pressed coconut oil or fruity olive oil.  Filled with butternut squash and pumpkin, this dish is nourishing to body and soul.

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The Maple-Glazed Baked Root Vegetables were a slam dunk. We chose to coarsely chop beets, carrots, celery root, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, fingerling potatoes, parsnips and onions for our selection of roots and squash; any combination of these or other root vegetables is perfect.

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A family favorite, Spicy Sweet Potato Fries make a special treat any time. I love to dip fries, so we created a special dipping sauce of mayonnaise (any homemade or high-quality store-bought, or aioli), blended with a lacto-fermented homemade sriracha sauce.

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We also made a delicious Maple Cornbread, using coarse, colorful cornmeal from Indian corn. Colorful corn contains a little more nutrition than regular sweet corn – no surprises there!

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And because she rolls that way, Lady Camille was in the carrier on my back while we set the room up for class. Once class began, our friend Mary snuggled baby during the whole thing.

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Silky Squash Soup with Bone Broth

I created this dish while I was in Washington and wanted to serve a warm, filling meal to my family during the Seahawks game (we lost. It sucked. We needed comfort food). It’s simple, straightforward and truly not all that unique. There are millions of variations you could create from this basic dish, and the measurements I provide here are basic guidelines – you can do whatever you want, really.

4 cups bone broth or an alternative broth
2 cups pumpkin, raw and cubed, or cooked and pureed
2 cups butternut squash, raw and cubed, or cooked and pureed
3 large carrots, coarsely chopped
3 shallots or 1 medium onion
1 15-ounce can coconut cream
3 – 6 cloves garlic
1/2 cup butter or an alternative fat
Pepitas, dried pumpkin seeds, for garnishing
Salt and pepper

In a skillet, heat the butter. Add cubed pumpkin, butternut squash, carrots and onion; or add what is cubed, and reserve pureed mixtures. The goal is to cook the squashes down until they are soft. While mixture is cooking, crush garlic and set aside.
Once mixture is soft, use broth to help blend it until smooth; add garlic while blending, and then pour into a pot. Alternatively, you can use an immersion blender for this step. If you are using pureed pumpkin or butternut squash, add it now, and any more broth, and begin to heat mixture. Whisk in coconut milk. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Ladle into bowls and serve hot; sprinkle with pepitas before eating.

If you use ghee, bacon fat, coconut oil, olive oil or avocado oil instead of butter, this dish qualifies as a Whole30 and Paleo soup.

Download the recipe PDF for silky squash soup, baked root vegetables, spicy sweet potato fries, fermented dipping sauce, maple cornbread and a printable menu

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I know you’ll feel just as indulgent and spoiled as I do when you get to enjoy these delicious foods … and let me know what your favorite tweaks are so I can try your versions, too!

Andrea

Download the recipe PDF for silky squash soup, baked root vegetables, spicy sweet potato fries, fermented dipping sauce, maple cornbread and a printable menu

Gluten-Free Waffles: Re-post from San Francisco Book Review

In addition to blogging and making kombucha and sometimes folding my laundry, did you know I also review books for the San Francisco Book Review? If you’re an avid bibliophile, you’ll devour their scores of reviews, pithy articles and audible author interviews, and if you’re a writer as well, you might enjoy reviewing for them yourself

In their blog series on food, Alphabet Soup, various reviewers highlight favorite recipes from cookbooks they’ve reviewed for the publication. Read on for my review of Shauna Ahern’s Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, and get the recipe for Gluten-Free Buttermilk Waffles -wickedly wonderful – as well as her whole-grain gluten-free flour mix. 

gluten-free-girl-every-day-119359l1It’s election season, so it’s a good time to talk about waffling, right?

Just kidding. Let’s talk about food. We can all vote for that! Waffles are a favorite part of my breakfast repertoire. Actually, they’re just a favorite part of my repertoire, period – served sweet or savory, I can take a crispy waffle any time of day! But what about when you’re eating gluten-free? Whether it’s by medical necessity or just a part of your health choices, eating gluten-free can interrupt the normal scheme of cooking.

Photo Credit Food Network, Shauna Ahern

Photo Credit Food Network, Shauna Ahern

Until you gratefully pick up Shauna Ahern’s book, Gluten-Free Girl Every Day, of course. If you want to hear me rave, read my featured review here – I truly fell in love with this picturesque book. Not only does she hail from the same Western Washington as I do, but the gorgeous pictures by noted food photographer Penny De Los Santos, and Ahern’s friendly, casual approach to food make it a true delight and a feast for the eyes. Centering her recipes on the freshest and best, and taking a practical, real-world approach to cooking, she left just one problem in this book: a reader can hardly decide where to begin.

Click here to read the rest of the article on SFBRs webpage and get the gluten-free waffle recipe

Waffling it up,

Mrs H
Instantly grammed, just for you
My face is an open book they say

Crushed by Baptiste Level One, with the viral video made famous by real yogis everywhere

If you’re looking for the infamous, wildly viral video of the Baron Baptiste Impressions so you can see what all the Baptiste-inspired yogis are talking about, scroll straight to the bottom of this post! Together we say: Namaste! 

Dear authentic, inauthentic, whole person that you are, 

The thin towels had absorbed as much as they could take, and my yoga mat was a shimmering pool of salty sweat. I didn’t know if tears were streaming down my face, or more rivers of perspiration. I couldn’t tell where my leg was any more. Was it even still attached? I couldn’t move my head to see. Was I breathing? I couldn’t remember. Was there music playing, or were my ears ringing? Somebody was sobbing behind me, and on the other end of the room, a ripple of hysterical laughter had started, weaving through the 160 bodies flattened on their mats in half pigeon pose. The sobs on the mat behind me heaved into wails of laughter, and I felt a shaking, inexplicable, unreasonable chuckle well up from my diaphragm, bubble up my throat and fall out of my face. This is Level One, Baron Baptiste Power Vinyasa Training. 

My life is changing before my very eyes. 

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On August 1st, just a few days ago, I arrived at the Menla Mountain Retreat where our week-long training was to take place. Carved into the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York, this is the Dalai Lama’s retreat when he visits the United States. It is a place of special and unique power – wild animals roam, unafraid of the visitors, a lush vegetable garden tended by the chef sprawls in a sunny pasture, and wooded glens and cool ponds provide sacred spaces for contemplation. 

Training that first night starts out friendly enough – Baron is everything you would want him to be, engaging us with humor and friendly compassion on our aching, travel-weary bones. “Go yogi, go! Flow yogi, flow!” He calls us through the sequences, a stiff-lipped smile cracking his face when we groan in wheel, and he says, “You aren’t working that hard! Stop being yoga weird. Stop complaining. Do the work.”

Morning comes soon. Intensity drives up quickly. We roll out of bed by 5:30 AM to hit an early breakfast prepared by retreat staff, and march up the gravel-littered path to the yoga room where we will spend the majority of our day sweating, crying, discussing and listening to each other. Today, we aren’t contemplating on the edge of a placid pond – we’re sweating mercilessly, in a lake of our own making. Maybe somebody in here is contemplating, but probably on things more profane than the mysteries of the universe. Faultlessly assembled in an unraveling sequence of increasing depth, the training is designed to take you inward – past the love, peace and feel-good emotions we all recognize and parrot, and into the beating heart of the ugly, selfish, unworthy and unlovable stories and masks we create around ourselves. Our carefully constructed barriers, wedged tightly with the precision of a Mayan pyramid over our lifetimes, start to crumble from the inside out. Unfolding, peeling back, stripping away, the training takes us through the heart of yoga and out the other side. Driving back the clutter of semi-spirituality, breezy patterned t-shirts and over-priced Lycra pants, Baron systematically shreds away our expectations, assumptions and falsehoods about “real” yoga.

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“Double pigeon pose.” The room groans in concert as tingling legs swing around to stack in another equally painful hip opener. “Why are you here?” The sound of dripping sweat and deep breathing expands to fill the space. “Fear is present in the room,” he acknowledges, and the fear manifests itself as we hesitate on the edge of the pose, arrange our towels and blocks and poke at loose strands of hair. He challenges us, walking across the sticky mats in his signature measured gait, arms swinging confidently at his sides. “If not now, when?” We sigh heavily in unison as our bodies draw forward, some farther than others, into the depths of the pose. “Be here. Be here now. Be in the now, and you’ll know how.” It rhymes, it sounds like a cliche, and it drives the truth home. 

Somebody starts to cry again. Sobs muffled in a towel. These aren’t sobs of physical pain, though – we’re unwrapping our lives on the mat. The sweat is secondary – it’s a tool. It’s part of the process. Nobody cares about that any more. We’ve gone beyond. 

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It was a week that felt like two days, two years. The friendships that were forged under duress of exposing your truest self, struggling in unison on the mat and in front of the class, and rising early and going to bed late and sharing showers and running out of water and chasing a bear through the woods [it happened, true story] are bonds that will be cultivated for years and lifetimes to come. How to explain what happened? You have to be there to experience it. There isn’t a day in the rest of my life that won’t be affected by what happened this week. 

I’m ready for yes. 

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The week finished with an explosion of celebration – we cut loose, rocking out yoga style, and exulting in the new freedoms we had found personally, collectively, authentically! The next morning, lingering over our last breakfast, we found a spot of local talent among us as Chris showed off his impersonations of our teacher, Baron. It was too good to let it pass and we ran outside for an improv film session. Jump in to a few seconds of Level One with this re-creation of The Yoga Room! 

Earth to yogi, earth to yogi – go yogi, go!

The Baron Baptiste-Inspired Impression Series is now live, presented by the Phoenicia Rising 2014 Level One Group! Starring Christopher Byford as Baron, Michael Suing as host, Andrea Huehnerhoff as producer and camera crew, Lani Levi as the student and beautiful yoga volunteers as the class, this very un-cut edition is raw and real – just like your story. 

 

I’m a yes for being full of freedom and integrity – what are you a yes for?! 

Wholly, 

Mrs H

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Photo credit Baron Baptiste Group

Find out more about the Baron Baptiste training events around the United States and Canada by going to www.baronbaptiste.com. This post has not been reviewed or endorsed by the Baron Baptiste group. Experience the yoga for yourself and find a Bapsiste-certified teacher near you! 

cherish wise

Photo credit Cherish Wise

laura teseriero

Photo credit Laura Tesoriero

laura tesoriero

Photo credit by Laura Tesoriero

Photo credit Maria Kknds

Photo credit Maria Kknds

susan bilello bushee

Photo credit Susan Bilello-Bushee

Laundry and Cloth Diaper Detergent – a success story

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
That’s how I earn my blogging income, so thanks for clicking through!  

Dear historic, not to be confused with histrionic,

It’s Throwback Thursday, time to reblog one of your favorite posts from the old blogstead!  This post originally went up June 19th, 2012 – unbeknownst to me, just three days before our son would make his very welcome arrival into our home!  It’s been one of our most popular posts ever since it first launched, so much so that I had to write a follow-up. The following post has been modified from it’s original version; it has been formatted to fit your screen. 

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Dear frugal readers or earth-conscious types,

And those who write to-do lists,

I’m getting to the tail-end of my “to-do before baby” list, which is good since I’m also getting to the tail-end of my “how long it usually takes to build a baby” calendar.

One of the things on my to-do list was to make some cloth diaper detergent.

Why homemade?

Bona-fide bottled store-bought cloth diaper detergent – which can’t contain certain fragrances, whiteners, and other ingredients that adhere to cloth and diminish the absorbency of the diaper – can be expensive, especially if you’re trying to find something that’s not too harsh on the body.  I also feel bad going through lots of plastic bottles, since plastic doesn’t really deteriorate once you throw it out.  Homemade just seemed like a natural choice.

I started my recipe hunt, and stumbled across Elisa’s beautiful blog.  She shared several detergent recipes, including a cloth diaper recipe that was ultra-minimal to avoid causing any rash or problem with her child’s sensitive skin.

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This recipe became my choice for our diapers so far.  I like leaving out as many chemicals as possible, but I also like clean diapers.  I am grateful to Elisa for sharing this recipe!

Here, she explains the ins and outs of the recipe – as well as another recipe for your everyday laundry, if you need one!  (She also posted a recipe for dishwasher detergent!) We’ve chosen to use the following simple cloth-diaper-safe detergent for all of our laundry needs; when my husband comes home with fuel or grease soaked uniforms, I throw in some extra detergent, or even beef it up with Borax (I definitely keep the baby clothes separate from his uniforms!).

Elisa’s Three-Ingredient Cloth Diaper Detergent

Download the detergent recipe here

When you’re looking for an oxygen cleaner, if you aren’t sure exactly what it is just check the ingredients on the container – there should only be two.  The oxygen cleaner and washing soda would be in the laundry aisle, and regular baking soda will be in the baking aisle.  You can bring the cost of the detergent down even more if you can find these items in bulk at a big-box store or wholesale supplier!  

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Baking Soda (sodium bicarbonate)
Oxygen Cleaner (sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate) Try Bio Kleen or Seventh Generation
Washing Soda (sodium carbonate)

Mix equal parts of each ingredient.  Use one tablespoon for a small load, two tablespoons for a medium load, and … you can extrapolate for the large load! For extra stains, throw in additional baking soda.

Download the detergent recipe here

I put the jars on the laundry-room shelf, and posted instructions for mixing more and how to use, in case family members ever volunteered to run a load.  Why only two tablespoons for an average load, you may ask?  Homemade detergents will always be more concentrated than store-bought detergents because we don’t bother to add extra fillers and junk to make it look like we have more than we do.  Using a one-cup scoop for laundry detergent feels pretty pointless now, doesn’t it?

I didn’t add any fragrances to this batch, but you could try adding essential oils if you wanted a little something more.

We’ve been using this laundry detergent for over two years now, and we’ve loved it continuously!  My husband has taken it on deployment, we’ve traveled with it and use it for all our towels, linens, laundry, dish cloths, diapers and the whole nine yards [of fabric].  Our diapers are remarkably stain-free, and our clothes are light and without a filmy residue of chemicals.  I borrowed a pair of jeans from a friend and was shocked that I immediately felt the residue of chemicals and fragrances all over the clothes – it took me a moment to realize what was “wrong” with them!  

Yours in laundry,

Mrs H
We’ll never hang you out to dry, so stay in touch on our Facebook page
There aren’t any fillers in our detergent or on our Instagram feed

70 Awesome Things to Do With Your Vitamix (and the tools you may be spared)

This post may contain Amazon affiliate links.
That’s how I earn my blogging income, so thanks for clicking through!  

Dear nostalgic,

It’s Throwback Thursday! Time to reblog one of the hottest posts from the historic bloghouse. This post originally went up on February 11, 2013 and almost overnight it shot up to top trending post on the blog.  Vitamix shared it on their social media, which probably didn’t hurt the cause, but it’s also darn fascinating information!  If you want, you can see the old post, with old crappy picturesFor those of you that are asking, the model I prefer and recommend is the Vitamix 5200 Series Blender. This blender gives the most control and options to the user, with varying settings for speed. You can also attach the grain/dry cup and short cup for personal smoothies! I make hearty use of the large cup (that comes with) and the dry cup (for grains, coffee, dough). As a side note, those who buy other models usually end up switching to this model or adding it to their countertop.  

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Dear kitchen fiends,

I’m not embarrassed to say I love my Vitamix.  I’ve been yearning for one for years, and it was the fulfillment of many hours of longing when my husband bought me one as a gift!  It now graces my counter where it is used daily, usually several times a day.  Based on this expert evaluation, I added it to my list of the 25 best gifts for an urban homesteader last Christmas!

As I was flipping through my vintage Versatile Vita-Mix cookbook (this is the one we had growing up … I had to have it and found a used copy online), I thought it would be fun to compile a list of things one can do with a Vitamix, and even a list of tools the Vitamix could replace in the kitchen.

The Vitamix has a two-horsepower engine, and the blades travel at a speed of 400 revolutions per second.  This means that food in the blender, being hit with the four blades, is chopped 1600 times per second! This power means things that normally can’t be done in a regular blender – freezing ice cream, cooking soup, grinding flour – can be done with ease in a Vitamix (although if you run it too hard, you can overheat the engine, which will automatically shut off until it cools down.  This happens sometimes when I puree very dense nut mixtures).

This is not a comprehensive list of tasks; these are just the ones I could think of.  Vitamix is not paying me, advocating for me or suggesting that I do this; in fact, they don’t even know I’m doing it.  I just love this tool, and think everybody should hear about it!

70 Awesome Things to Do With Your Vitamix (and the tools you may be spared)

Download a printable list of the 70 Things

1. Churn and freeze ice cream (ice cream churn)

2. Cook milk for yogurt (stove)

3. Make sorbets and sherbets

4. Blend smoothies (weak-sauce blender)

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5. Chop carrots and cabbage for slaw, kraut or choucroute (mandolin)

6. Chop onions for stew (Slap-Chop or a knife and tears)

7. Shred potatoes for hash browns (shredder)

8. Cook blended or chunky soups (pot)

9. Puree batter for crepes (immersion blender)

10. Mix cold puddings (whisk)

11. Mix and cook hot puddings or custard (eons standing and stirring at the stove)

12. Crush ice for cold drinks (ice-crusher)

13. Crush ice for snow cones (ice-shaver)

14. Crush and blend slurpees (7-11)

15. Grind meat, such as hamburger (meat grinder)

16. Puree meat for spreads like deviled ham or chicken spread

17. Shred cheese (time)

18. Grind bread crumbs (processing attachment)

19. Grind quinoa, wheat, rice and other grains into flour (grain mill)

20. Grind wheat, oatmeal, cornmeal and other grains for hot cereal and porridge

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21. Grind coffee beans (coffee grinder) Read a tutorial at day2day’s blog!

22. Powder beans and other legumes for smoothies or soup

23. Blend large quantities of spices or herbs

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24. Coarsely chop beans for faster cooking

25. Hyper-rupture fruit and vegetables with skins for cheesecloth pressing or pouring into a juicer for maximum extraction and nutrients, impossible to achieve with a simple triturator/centrifigal juicer alone (commercial hydraulic press)

26. Blend vegetable drinks and cocktails

27. Blend yogurt with fruits and other flavorings

28. Blend breakfast shakes

29. Fully homogenize cocktail drinks (drink shaker)

30. Blend homemade powdered drinks like cocoa, especially involving chocolate chunks for richness

31. Knead bread dough, pizza crust, doughnuts, English muffins … (stand mixer)

32. Blend batters like muffins, biscuits, quick-breads such as banana or pumpkin loaf, popovers (hand mixer)

33. Blend pancakes and waffles, cakes

34. Whip and cook frostings (double-boiler)

35. Process pasta dough (food processor)

36. Mix cookie dough (wooden spoon)

37. Whip pie fillings like lemon meringue or pumpkin

38. Process pie crusts, both flour and graham variety (pastry blender)

39. Blend and cook baby foods (baby-food maker)

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40. Mix dips and spreads like guacamole, blue cheese and more

41. Make pureed bean spreads for sandwiches (a fork!)

42. Whip cream cheese, plain or with flavors

43. Blend fruit whips

44. Emulsify salad dressings and dipping sauces like cocktail sauce, ketchup, sweet and sour, or probiotic mustard

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45. Make mayonnaise and herbed or seasoned mayonnaise (tedious drizzling)

46. Mix Russian dressing for Reuben sandwiches!!

47. Mix and cook ice cream toppings like butterscotch

48. Blend and cook fruit syrups and mock maple syrup

49. Whip cream (Isi whipper)

50. Make finger paint!!

51. Puree nut butters and homemade Nutella (store-bought butters)

52. Blend powdered seasoning mixes (mortar and pestle)

53. Grind dehydrated fruit or vegetables into chunks for trail mixes or oatmeal

54. Grind dehydrated fruit or vegetables into powder, such as peppers (magic)

55. Blend granolas

56. Make delicious basil, kale or other unique pestos

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57. Make nut milks like almond or cashew milk

58. Froth milk for cappuccinos or steamers (milk frother)

59. Melt cheese for queso dip or chocolate for strawberries or fondue (fondue pot)

60. Blend perfect lump-free gravy (your broken arm)

61. Powder sugar so you can stop buying expensive confectioners’ sugar packets (mo money)

62. Shred chicken or other meat for Mexican potato salad, chicken salad, tacos (two forks and dexterity)

63. Blend fruit into puree for fruit leathers.

64. Blend the same fruit into puree for butters and sauces, like apple butter or apple sauce!

65. Make brown sugar.

66. Blend soap and hot water to be its own dishwasher!  Pour hot soap into the sink and wash the rest of your utensils … (dishwasher)

67. Make raw or just homemade butter (dazey churn, butter churn, tedious hours shaking a jar)

68. Make whipped, herbed, honeyed, berried or other blended butter spreads.

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69. Make homemade lotions, burn creams, and salves.

70. Powder dehydrated fruits, herbs or vegetables to use for make-up, as sweeteners or colorings in food, flavoring drinks …

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smoothie8 beet powder

Download a printable list of the 70 Things

As a new mommy, what’s the best feature of all for me, you may ask?  Even when my baby is clinging to me and not in the mood to be put down, I have chopped cabbage for kraut, blended smoothies, made mayonnaise and washed the Vitamix – all with one hand! 

This is the blender I got, and (perhaps needless to say), I highly recommend it! I chose this specific blender because I felt it would give me the most options when it came to speeds and processing times.

What else do you do with your Vitamix?  Is there a tool or technique I’m missing here?  If you have any recipes, share your blog link or just type a recipe or tip into a comment!

Crushing like a best,

Mrs H
Even our Facebook is fancy and new, which of course is awesome
Instagram for short recipes you can screenshot srsly that’s the best

Cooking from the Farm: My Top 10 Cookbooks

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That’s how I earn my blogging income, so thanks for clicking through!  

Dear gentle readers and those not so gentle as well,

We like to eat well, and we also like to save money. We like to eat local food, and we love fresh and seasonal food. Logically, then, much of what we eat every day comes from the farm. We also don’t like eating the same recipe twenty-hundred times in a season, so I am constantly scouting new cookbooks. I’ve whittled down a list of books that work very well for farmer’s market shoppers, CSA members, seasonal eaters, farmers and gardeners. I’ve stuck with this short list because every time I go to these books, I can find everything I need for a given recipe in one trip out to the farm, and the odds and ends (olive oil, balsamic vinegar), I tend to have in my pantry. These books stay in my kitchen for frequent, daily use while other interesting, but possibly less useful books, go elsewhere to be referenced occasionally.

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This list is not comprehensive, and in fact I am hoping you’ll send me your favorite titles as well; I am always looking to bolster my creative closet of books!  The following  books are in no particular order (other than smallest to biggest!).

My Favorite Cookbooks for Cooking from the Farm

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1. The French Market Cookbook: Vegetarian Recipes from My Parisian Kitchen

Clotilde Dusoulier is the totally adorable and well-loved blogger at chocolateandzucchini, and she is not a vegetarian. She is not gluten or dairy free, either, but as it happens, most of the recipes in this vegetarian book are also gluten and dairy free. I’m not vegetarian either, but I don’t eat loads and loads of meat because it’s expensive and it just isn’t sustainable (which you learn when you are growing your own food), to eat turkey and steak every week (more often than not we’re eating bones, feet and organs!).  Truth to be told, I was prepared to not like this book because so many “market” books don’t live up to their name, but truly every ingredient in her recipe will be found growing together, or harvested the same weekend. In fact, the book is divided into seasons, not categories, to make it even easier to plan your next trip to the farmer’s market. And the book is really cute, and precious, and pretty, and has lots of juicy pictures. I gave it a five star review when I reviewed it for the San Francisco Book Review.

2. Recipes from the Root Cellar: 270 Fresh Ways to Enjoy Winter Vegetables

And oh, how I love this book. It was recommended to me by copy editor and reviewer and vegetarian foodie Holly Scudero, who had an early galley copy that I loved to drool over. Mr H bought it for me when Borders Books went out of business – we pretty much cleared out the cookbook shelves, and this gem was one of the best things that happened that day. Andrea Chesman grows her own food, so her recipes have such a natural way of being seasonal that it feels a little ridiculous to even point it out. The first time I made sauerkraut was from this book; the long, lonely winter in California was filled with comforting, steaming bowls of Italian meatball soup, and pans of maple-roasted vegetables that I wrapped myself around like a mother cat with her kittens. This is one of the best books in my kitchen.

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3. Wild Fermentation: The Flavor, Nutrition, and Craft of Live-Culture Foods

And speaking of sauerkraut, behold the fermentation king!  For those of us who truly eat seasonally from our gardens, fermentation is one of the many food preservation techniques we rely on to get nutrient-dense, home-grown produce all year long.  This book will take you from novice to advanced fermentation artist (especially if you follow it with The Art of Fermentation, a veritable treatise on the subject!).  Since he grows much of his own food, and since fermentation is an art developed solely for the purpose of preserving food in it’s season, it’s very easy to find everything you need for a given recipe growing at one time. Can’t find Chinese cabbage?  Maybe it doesn’t grow in your area (so you’ll have to ferment pineapple and coconuts instead!), or maybe it’s the wrong season for it (and you should try turnips and carrots while you wait!). I fell in love with this book when I borrowed it from a friend, and then I had to buy my own copy and now it’s splattered and marked in and the pages are wobbly at the bottom from when a gallon of kimchi leaked out onto it.

4. The Real Food Cookbook: Traditional Dishes for Modern Cooks

Nina Planck, who writes at ninaplanck.com, grew up with farmer parents, eating farmer food. She is accustomed to and familiar with the rhythms of the garden and the bounty and not-so-bounty of some foods.  Her book has a certain respect towards the way a farm grows – look, we can’t put ground beef in every recipe or we’ll run out of cows and have a freezer full of feet – and she strongly encourages readers to vary the recipes, saying she will never make it the same way twice herself and we should adapt to our areas. I love that philosophy since I never follow recipes but, as she suggests, use them as inspiration (even though I often start out with good intentions of following the recipe very strictly, it never happens!).  Her book makes me so happy, and so hungry, and so eager to run out and harvest a basketful of dinner!

5. Better Homes and Gardens Fresh: Recipes for Enjoying Ingredients at Their Peak (Better Homes & Gardens)

I guess I was a little surprised how much I liked this book, since it seemed so commercial when I first picked it up.  But it actually delivers some delicious surprise!  The meat section focuses on very American cuts of meat like flank steak and meat-centric dishes, but that is only a very small portion of the overall book (and that is not to say we don’t need the occasional recipe for a flank steak! It’s just pretty darn rare… bad pun?). The fritters, salads, pizzas and desserts – oh, the desserts – overcompensate the cook with plenty to work with. In fact, as I am flipping through it I am wondering if the roasted vegetables and chickpeas might make an appropriate dinner … or shoestring sweet potatoes and beets?

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6. Local Flavors: Cooking and Eating from America’s Farmers’ Markets

Let me just start by saying anything from Deborah Madison has my automatic seal of approval. She’s on this list twice, if that tells you anything! She has a dessert book, too, that would be on this list I am sure if I were so lucky as to own it and have some experience with the recipes (I browsed through it at at the library once, but I was visiting another city at the time so I couldn’t check it out!). Her book has an astonishing ability to have recipes that use literally every single item I dug up or trimmed off the plant that day. When I first joined a CSA, I felt like every box was custom-built for one of her recipes. I fell in love with her work and have been a groupie ever since. When you need vegetable-centric dishes from somebody who knows vegetables, and knows plants and really, really knows food – Madison delivers the goods.

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7. Vegetable Literacy: Cooking and Gardening with Twelve Families from the Edible Plant Kingdom,

with over 300 Deliciously Simple Recipes

This is one of the newest books in my collection. I saw it at TJ Maxx and it was in my cart before you could shake a pasture-raised organically-fed lamb’s tail. Rich, nourishing, hearty, and most fascinating of all, divided by plant families. I could read this book all day long, but the shimmering pictures on the page would send me to the kitchen before long!  Prepare to get an education on the plant kingdom, flavor profiles and recipe history when you crack open this tome of wonder. Like all her books, the recipes are full of seasonal items that grow at the same time, and, as far as I can tell, in the same place.

8. The Silver Spoon

You’d be surprised how much international cookbooks stick to seasonal cooking – not because it’s a ‘thing’ or a ‘movement’ but because they don’t all shop and eat out of the supermarket!  This Italian cookbook has an easy fluidity to the recipes – they just feel so natural, so easily fresh and seasonal. It’s a pleasure to cook out of it, and easy. When I have a bumper crop of cucumbers, I go to the cucumber section and pick a few unique recipes. It’s definitely better than eating cucumber salad three times a day!

9. Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round

(Not pictured above) Of course, I have to add a canning book. Marisa McClellan, with her gorgeous and tasty blog, has been a favorite of mine for years now, and she never fails to deliver!  She shops her local farmer’s markets or is gifted produce from friends, so her recipes also come seasonally quite naturally. With small batches for canning – you can do this while you make lunch, instead of setting aside the whole weekend for it – her recipes are attainable and enjoyable. I’ve loved every single recipe of hers I’ve ever made – they’ve all turned into family favorites, requested gifts, popular dishes at the house. When the gas repairman sampled the pickled beets, he said, “I’ve never eaten a beet in my life! I can’t stop eating these!” He took the whole jar home.

10. I need you to fill in this blank!

I need another market-worthy book!  Are there any good raw books out there, or international cookbooks? I love Mediterranean and Indian and Persian food – I’ve been curious to try The New Persian Kitchen, and of course anything by Ottolenghi but especially his new Jerusalem: A Cookbook. I love all-American, old fashioned or contemporary. What are your suggested titles? Thanks for reading along!!

Anxiously awaiting your reply,

Mrs H
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