Small Kitchen Meal Prep

Finding space to make a week’s worth of meals in a kitchen that is more like a closet can prove to be challenging. Not only do I lack storage space, there is a lack of work space as well. This is my biggest barrier and what usually stops me from creating in the kitchen as I’ve done in the past.

I decided in this new year I would break down that barrier and find a way to work better with the space I have. When I move to nomad living my kitchen space will be even smaller than what I’ve got now. It’s time to take on this challenge and make it work for me so that when I go even smaller I’ll know better how to make a successful transition. The first hurdle to overcome was my attitude toward my small kitchen space. I’ve spent too much time being irritated by it instead of finding workable solutions for myself, though I will say the layout of my kitchen supplies is quite efficient.

I certainly utilize my kitchen and cook food for myself daily, but I don’t get into a day of preparing make-ahead meals like I used to do when I had more of a kitchen room. Playing in the kitchen and making healthful food is where I find my happy place. I really need to be in my happy place more often. It just feels good. With some motivating self talk, a little planning and a fresh attitude adjustment, I went at a menu for the week recently and the results were quite delicious. I considered the time and tools that would go into each recipe, being mindful of using minimal supplies. Check out what I enjoyed below in the slideshow. I ate well and felt great!

I made blueberry almond flour scones, ground turkey patties and crock pot coconut chicken curry with veggies. The scones and turkey patties each paired well with nutritious green smoothies and the coconut chicken curry made lunches a breeze and dinner super easy after my long work days. I added rice or green salad as a side to make my meals well-rounded.

I’ll be repeating this menu via a YouTube video in the near future so you can have access to the recipes.

Speaking of YouTube videos–my second video will be ready soon. I’d anticipated a shorter time frame between my first and second video, but alas! Life…..it sometimes has other plans. Thanks for sticking around friends. I’ll be back soon!

Until then, happy cooking and stay positive!

 

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The Sweet Life Of Raspberries

My friends, do you know what time of year we are coming into?  Raspberries, people!!  20160602_174445The precious short season of the raspberry is here and I am so happy! They are a bit early this year and growing abundantly.  I’m so fortunate to have family that share their bountiful harvest.  In fact, picking the berries is most exclusively done by me.  If I don’t they will dry up on the vine.  Age and health issues keeps my loved ones from tending to them as they have in the past.  These happen to be my favorite berry so for the next few weeks, I’ll be a raspberry picking fiend as I pluck as many as I can before they disappear.

Of course, these delicious raspberries must have a coming out party and what better way than with these fantastic scones?20160602_185952  One of my favorite recipes; I’ve made them so many times with different variations.  This time the only change I made was substituting the maple syrup for raw sugar.  Turns out that was not the best choice, but it was all I had and I’m using up my cupboard staples before I buy more.  They are good, but maple syrup is way better.  There’s a reason it’s in the recipe title.  That’s my opinion.  It certainly won’t stop me from munching on these for a mid-morning snack!

I’ve posted this recipe many times before here and if you haven’t given it a try, I highly recommend it.  Go ahead, you deserve this treat!  Happy Friday, y’all!!

http://www.nourishingmeals.com/2009/07/gluten-free-maple-raspberry-scone.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stress Busting Raspberry Scones

I am stretched in many directions these days so I like to be prepared with ready to go foods that offer me the nutrients I need. My stress has been high and I have been busy. There was a bag of frozen raspberries from our garden harvest last season in the freezer at the other house and I took it with me to my new place. However, it was a gallon size bag and my freezer is a tiny ‘ice box’ size freezer so this was taking up too much room. Raspberries just happen to be filled with vitamin C, stress busting anti-oxidants, and are one of the world’s healthiest foods. Lucky me!  Not only would I empty my freezer, I would be giving my body the necessary nutrients for stress relief in the most delicious way!  I remembered the raspberry scones I made for my road trip last summer that I really enjoyed, but all my recipes are packed away in storage so I just decided I would make it up!  I was feeling motivated and I just bought a new baking sheet that I was eager to try out!

I think they turned out great.  The texture was dense but not doughy.  My scones turned out to be a delicious grab and go food.  I am happy to have an empty freezer (to fill with blueberries!), my body is happy to have nutritious food, I am happy to have convenience at my fingertips and the best part–so much less stress!!  These scones will make your world happy.  Give them a try!

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Stress Busting Raspberry Scones

1 cup of sorghum flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1 Tbslp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp pink himalayan sea salt

1/2 c coconut oil (not melted)

3 Tbsp agave (or maple syrup)

3 Tbsp raw cane sugar

1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup coconut milk (from a carton, not can)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups of raspberries (fresh or frozen)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F

Place all the dry ingredients into a medium mixing bowl and whisk until incorporated.

Cut in the coconut oil with a pastry cutter until the ingredients resemble coarse crumbs.

In a small bowl, combine all the wet ingredients using a whisk.  Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon until just incorporated.  Fold in raspberries with wooden spoon.  Do not over mix as it will create a less than satisfactory end result.

Drop large spoonfuls onto a greased baking sheet.  I use my fingers to shape each spoonful into a scone-like shape. Bake for 15-18 mins.  Remove from oven and place scones on cooling rack.  Try to let them cool before devouring!  Enjoy!

Makes about 10 scones

 

 

 

 

 

 

Raspberries And Reflections

Our one raspberry bush has produced so much fruit this season I am finding it hard to keep the pace with their succession of ripening.  This is a raspberry bush that was cut back to practically one stalk last fall after the summer harvest.  The bush was not planted in the best location.  It was growing up onto the end of the deck and throwing sprouts in places that just were not good spots for berries to grow, like under our deck.  We had raspberry vines coming up through the planks in the deck!  All the sprouts were removed, one was replanted to a better location but didn’t survive and this one came back with a vengeance in the best kind of way.  It has grown wider around and even though it does still branch out onto the end of the deck, there have been no sprouts under it trying to make their way up through the deck and overall this bush is growing earnestly.

Raspberries are my favorite type of berry (Marionberries are a close second) and I am thrilled with the abundance of this fruit in our yard.  I find myself thinking up the next best recipe using raspberries before they hit their peak and turn to mush, which is really just a few days once picked.  They are such delicate berries.

Playing around in the kitchen always provides plenty of opportunity for reflection. Sometimes I completely immerse myself in my project, using every bit of focus to create a dish, which frees my mind of the clutter that often generates turmoil.  I like to call it my “brain break”. Sometimes my kitchen time becomes the place where I work through an issue I am having or to reflect on life, my surroundings, ideas…or whatever happens to be rolling around in my mind.

Most recently, I have been mulling over my recent travel troubles.  It has taken me quite a few days to work through what I experienced and come to terms with the loss of not only my car but a long term dream that did not get fulfilled.  There have been days when I felt like I just could not take any more challenges or obstacles.  It is still hard not to feel completely defeated by life.  How much can one person handle?  I often feel like I have reached my limit and beyond.  It has been hard for me to reach out, to get support and to find ways that will lift me.  Basically, I have been an incredibly depressed mope!

Thank goodness I have some amazing friends.  One particularly wonderful friend called the other morning and what she said spoke to the deepest part of me.   She listened, she related and she offered kind, wise words.  She encouraged me to keep my dream alive; that this trip was not a failure.  She reminded me of my strengths and my overall positive attitude in even the toughest situations.  Then she suggested we meet for coffee the next day.  I feel like that get together was the lift I needed to begin moving me forward and help pull me from the depths of despair.  Okay, that may sound a little dramatic, but it is certainly not a stretch in the way I have been feeling.   I should add that this friend is also a life coach and quite naturally offers practical, simple advice to guide people on their right path.  She is one of the most genuine and truly caring people I know.  She sincerely wants to help people and offers whatever she can from the kindness of her heart.  She is a gem.

When we met she did exactly what she does for anyone struggling with the torments of life; pulled out her notebook and began a list of weekly things for me to do that will keep me on my right path.  In addition, she gently offered plenty of sage wisdom, lots of love and strokes of  affection.  In the days since we’ve met I have looked at my list a few times, especially when I find myself going the direction of despair.  My list grounds me to the moment and keeps me focused on good things.  I tell myself to just do what’s on the list, even if it feels meaningless.  I find that at days end I feel accomplished.

Things are looking better.  I have purchased a new to me car.  This time I did some thorough research on the make and model, talked extensively with the former owner and asked a lot of questions.  I think I got a great car and one that will last me many years, I hope!   It is definitely the nicest looking and most mechanically sound vehicle I have owned.  I am still cautiously optimistic.

Other things are falling in to place as well.  I have a few aspirations I am following and feel pretty good about those potential outcomes.  I am trying a little harder to stay connected with friends.  I am taking advantage of my time off to do good things for myself like my list says, even if it is just painting my toe nails or checking out a cool library book.  The most exciting thing is my sweetie now has time off and in a couple of days we are going on our own mini road trip that will include camping.  I am looking forward to our together time in nature.  We have amazing travel adventures.

I’ll be back on the road soon, this time with my favorite companion.  I have an assurance that I will not only have a great time, I will not get lost because my sweetie is the best at navigating just about anywhere.  It seems my dismal mood may be nearing it’s end, just like our raspberries.  Those sweet things are just about done producing for the season.

As I reflect on my recent life conflicts, I realize this is just another notch in my growth. Someday I will more fully understand the lessons in these events.  For now, I’ll keep working on closing this chapter and moving forward with the things that make life good–Friends, love, and raspberries. Here’s what I have been doing with those lovely little berries.  Try some of these ideas at your house, or mix it up and use the next cycle of berries that will be ripe soon-blackberries!

Note: I did make some changes with the scone recipe I made.  I used coconut oil in place of palm shortening.  I used hemp milk and I also added a total of 1 1/2 cups of berries.  I used hemp milk in the chia seed pudding; a first that I wasn’t as excited about as when I use coconut milk.  The salad was absolutely amazing!  In addition to chopped kale, which I massaged gently with sea salt and olive oil to make it softer to chew, I added Fuji apple slices, raspberries and toasted slivered almonds.  The dressing was a mix of olive oil, fresh squeezed lemon juice, grated ginger a bit of agave and a little sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

I highly recommend any or all of these delicious dishes!  Take advantage of this season of berries and try these recipes today!

 

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raspberry chia seed pudding using 2 Tblsp chia seeds, 8 ounces hemp milk, 1/2 tsp agave, 1/3 cup raspberries and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

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