A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Take a peek at my cookbook.  

 

 

 


 

 

 

Monday
Jun102013

Beyond Bacon Left Me Breathless

I am a lover of beautiful things and something beautiful—stunningly gorgeous—came in the mail this week. 

Maybe it's the graphic designer in me that drove me to write this review without even trying a recipe in the book. Yep, I think that's it. Seriously people, Beyond Bacon: Paleo Recipes That Respect the Whole Hog is a feast for the eyes AND for the belly. 

So here I am reviewing a book without even test driving it—but I feel okay with it (my kitchen is packed up anyhow ... we are moving .... weeeee!), because I am certain ... CERTAIN ... that if you have an appreciation for all things pork (and not everyone does and that's okay, too), that you will love this book and will read it cover-to-cover in one sitting

Authors Stacy Toth and Matthew McCarry are the voices behind the blog Paleo Parents. They are witnesses to the healing power of food—clean food. They were featured here on Lexie's Kitchen a couple years back to share part of their story

This soon-to-release title is a vast departure from their first kid book Eat Like a Dinosaur. They call Beyond Bacon the grown-up version of how they see food. I appreciate it because it encourages the consumption of humanely raised meats and shows you how to use every part of the animal—from nose-to-tail—a lost art. It also goes into some "serious science on the health benefits and 'hazards' of pork and saturated fat," and delivers some recipes that will knock your socks off. I felt stuffed just reading the book—it's all pork my friends—all pork. I can't wait to show it to my husband. I am thinking belated Father's Day gift?

For a taste of the book, here is a recipe for Asian Short Ribs. Pretty pictures. Pretty (and easy to follow) layout. Don't you think? It leaves the designer in me swooning!

Click to enlarge.

Hats off to Stacy and Matthew, Victory Belt Press, and food photographer, Aimee Buxton. Stacy, your book design direction and photo styling just blew me away. Simply amazing cookbook folks!

Beyond Bacon releases July 2, 2013. Pre-order now!

 

     

Monday
Jun032013

Pumpkin Seed Power Bars

If you deal with a food intolerance or allergy, it's always a happy day when you spy a new goody at the grocery store that's safe for consumption! 

That was the case with these breakfast bars. We've been buying them by the carton and eating our way through them pretty fast so I thought it was time to see if I could make them at home—and trim a few dollars off of our grocery bill.

Compared to the Crunchy Perfect Pumpkin Breakfast Bar from Rise®, the version I've come up with:

  • Is a little less sweet.
  • Replaces the amaranth with chia seed so that I could reduce the sweetener required to make the ingredients stick together (a lovely feature of sugar/sweeteners).
  • Does include nuts, but you can easily make it a nut-free bar by using more pumpkin seeds in place of the nuts (I was running low on pumpkin seeds so had to throw in the nuts).

I've only made these in the dehydrator. You could probably bake them in the oven at the lowest setting (at or below 170˚F) for a couple of hours and see if that works.

Oh and the trick to the perfectly rectangular bars? An inexpensive musubi sushi rice press. Find one at your Asian grocery store or here on Amazon for under $3.00. 

Pumpkin Seed Power Bars

Ingredients:

1 cup water
1/4 cup no sugar added apricot preserves or this compote
2 tablespoons honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup chia seed
1/4 cup unsweetened dried cherries or cranberries
1/4 cup raisins
1/3 cup pitted and chopped dates
1-1/2 cups raw pumpkin seeds
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup raw cashews, finely chopped
1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds

Directions:

  1. In a small saucepan combine water, preserves, honey, and salt. Bring to boil; reduce to gentle simmer and cook until reduced to about 3/4 cup. 
  2. Remove from heat and stir in chia seed, cherries, raisins, and dates. Set aside 5-10 minutes to thicken.
  3. In a large bowl combine the pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews, and hemp seeds.
  4. Stir in apricot mixture.
  5. Form uniform bars using a musubi rice press; lay a piece of parchment paper on work surface, place mold on parchment and spoon in 1/4 cup (or so) of the seed mixture. Oil press surface and use it to firmly pack seed mixture. Release from mold and place onto dehydrator tray. Repeat.
  6. Dehydrate bars for about 24 hours or until bars are firm and hold together.
  7. Store in airtight container at room temperature for a week or freeze.

Notes:

  1. The next time I make these I plan to lightly toast the nuts and seeds in a 325˚F oven for 10-12 minutes prior to mixing to give the bars a little added crunch.
  2. If I hadn't had a musubi rice press, I would have used a medium sized round cookie cutter and some random flat kitchen object to pack the seed mixture in to make round bars versus rectangular. :) 

 

Thursday
May232013

DIY Essential Oil Rack

Hi, my name is Lexie and I am a lover of essential oils.

There, I said it.

In January I thought I'd delve into the world of the concentrated distilled plant essences. Thought I'd buy just a bottle or two ... and well, I got a little carried away, but in a good way. Five months later a sizeable collection of oils has taken up residence in our house—demanding their own little spot.

I know that some of you have your own collections of essential oils so thought I'd share this little DIY essential oil rack idea. Hung on the wall where I can see them and easily access them, I am more apt to use them.

"And what do you use them for?" you ask.

Well, it was in this issue of Autism Science Digest that I first read about essential oils and how they've helped kiddos on the spectrum. Two articles in the magazine suggested that essential oils can help detoxify as well has help with focus and hyperactivity. Being a mom who will try most anything to heal her boy, I thought I would give them a try. We are still experimenting and I don't have a definitive answer on how they are working for him, but I've been having a great time making my own household cleaners, lotions, and potions. I've even been using some of this brand's cilantro, lime, and lemon oil in my cooking—divine!

So if you are into essential oils or want to learn more, stay tuned because I will be sharing some fun EO recipes (food and otherwise) with you in the coming months.

An added bonus with this little rack is that though the rack only has three shelves, the dowels add three more—like stadium seating for your growing oil collection.

If you are interested in exploring the world of essential oils or would like to order Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® oils, contact me here and/or visit my DoTerra site.

DIY Distressed Essential Oil Rack How-To

You will need:

  • Spice Rack
  • Wood (square) dowels
  • Liquid Nails
  • Paint (sample size will do)
  • Sheet Fine Sand Paper
  • Paint Brush

The How-Tos: 

  1. Pick up an old spice rack—I got mine at Goodwill for $1.
  2. Head to Home Depot and buy a 1x1-inch square wood dowel(s) (is a dowel a dowel if it's square? Not sure what to call these)—enough length to fit the width of each shelf. Tip: The guys (or gals) at Home Depot are always happy to cut wood to the length you need. So if you don't have a saw, give them the exact measurements you need and ask them to do it for you.
  3. Give the spice rack a good sanding with fine sand paper. Give the dowels a gentle sanding.
  4. Grab the bottle of liquid nails and apply just enough to cover bottoms of cut dowels. Adhere flush to the back of the spice rack shelves. Let dry.
  5. Slap on some paint.
  6. When paint is almost dry, take your sand paper and scuff up the paint a bit for a distressed effect. 
  7. Voila! Done.

 

This rack fits most standard-size essential oil bottles (DoTerra, Young Living, etc). Before selecting your dowel size, however, I suggest measuring your spice rack shelf and then choosing a dowel width that would leave enough room for the width of the bottles.

Tuesday
May142013

Veggie Jim Recipe

Hi! This is Jill, Lexie's sister from Hawaii. I've been visiting Lexie for the last week, helping out with the boys, and of course testing and eating some fabulous food. 

One of our experiments this week was a dehydrated snack we're calling Veggie Jims. These nori power wraps are available at many natural food stores and sell for $1-2 each—we thought we could make them for a lot less! They are a tasty seed paste wrapped up in a convenient nori sheet for easy transport on the go. 

After doing some research I found out that these power wraps are one of the "oldest" vegan snack foods around. Being an aspiring vegan, I was surprised that I'd never heard of them. I found them while picking up some airplane snacks at my health food store on Maui. Lex and I both thought that they were super tasty and satisfying and wanted to try making them ourselves. Flavorings for these are endless, we went for the classic Slim Jim flavor demonstrated by Matt and Angela here in this video. The cayenne gives these in awesome kick!

 

Veggie Jims 

Makes About 36 Veggie Jims

Ingredients:

About 12 NORI SHEETS, cut into 1/3's length wise
12 ounces raw SUNFLOWER SEEDS
8 ounces raw PUMPKIN SEEDS
1 cup WATER (more as needed)
2 red BELL PEPPERS
1 tablespoon raw grated BEET*
4 minced GARLIC CLOVES
6 tablepsoons fresh LEMON JUICE
1 teaspoon SALT
2 teaspoons ONION POWDER
1/4-1/2 teaspoon CAYENNE PEPPER (or to taste)

*Optional. We added the beet for color. It did make the filling a lovely spam color which you will see in the photos. After being dehydrated though it went back to a brown color. 

Directions:

  1. Whirl seeds in a high-powered blender or food processor to a fine meal. Remove and set aside. 
  2. Add remaining ingredients (except for nori sheets) and blend/process until smooth. 
  3. Add the seed mixture back in and blend/process to a smooth, spreadable, paste-like consistency (add a tablespoon of water at a time as needed to aid in blending/processing).
  4. Avoid over salting so they don't end up too salty after being dehydrated. 
  5. Transfer to a large zip top bag, squish paste down into one corner, and snip off the corner to pipe out a 1/4 to 1/2-inch thickness. 
  6. Lay a strip of nori (shiny side down) onto a sheet of parchment. This was the only tricky, slightly time consuming part. Lightly spritz (we used a spray bottle) the nori sheet with water. Then pipe the filling down the center of the nori sheet. Take your time and try to ensure an even filling. 
  7. Roll nori around filling and seal edges with another spritz of water if needed. 
  8. Arrange Veggie Jims on dehydrator trays and dehydrate over night or until firm and dried out—about like a Slim Jim meat stick. They are super yummy warm out of the dehydrator! 
  9. Store in an airtight container.

In the photo below the paste looks pretty gross (that's the pink from the beet). We promise, no pink slime or spam was involved in the making of these vegan snacks. Oh and we got over-ambitious in the "piping it on" shot. Just aim for 1/4-1/2 inch strip of paste.

 

Feel free to experiment with flavorings. Ones I have seen are Italian (sundried tomatoes, oregano, marjoram and sage) and Japanese (ginger, miso, wasabi). You can also wrap different shapes with the nori, like triangles.

Enjoy and let us know what you think! We'd love to know.

Wednesday
May082013

Shrimp and Curry Rice Salad

One of the most talented chefs in our family is my Tutu Flo. As the wife of a naval officer, she travelled the world and enjoyed the flavors of many lands. This recipe was given to her by the wife of my grandfather's Commanding Officer at Barber's Point. A tasty side dish for your next potluck.

Click to read more ...