DIY almond ‘milk’ – super easy

I haven’t done this yet but I will! I don’t think I’d add dates (sweetener) as any time I buy soya or almond milk, I buy unsweetened/ unflavored.



return of the poo smoothie

Not intended to make you poo, although being full of fibre and enzymes, I suppose it’ll help…

This always makes me sort of groan to see: starting with lovely, bright-green kale (processed with water cos it’s kind of hard to get “smooth,” in fact I never quite get it smooth), which you can see half-way done on the bottom. Then, something strawberries and a peach (red and orange) make it: brown.

Poo Smoothie:

  • 3C destemmed/ chopped kale
  • 1 peach
  • erm…about 1C strawberries
  • 1T chia seeds
  • 1t teaspoon coconut oil (I usually melt it first, thinking it’ll distribute better but just dumped it in solid today)

This made a nudge under 4C of finished product. I typically drink between 1C to 2C at a time. It’s not meant to be a meal, more of a snacky nutritional boost. My gut tolerates kale perfectly. I think it’s strange that I can eat cabbage and kale but broccoli? NO.


Raw asparagus smoothie

Hi all! I’m back from my first-ever trip to Colorado!

From today’s harvest: spinach & asparagus.


While I like them both, I was afraid it may taste too ‘grassy,’ so I pulled out my first level of taste-defense: a peach & some strawberries (8, 1″).

After tasting AND having a lot of trouble processing them down, I added 1.5C of unsweetened almond milk, .5C at a time. This is the first time that it needed over a cup but it blended down AND has that nutty taste. No complaints from the diner!

makes 3 servings

green smoothie, poo addition

No! I’m not saying it made me poo, I’m saying LOOK AT THAT! As it turns out, blueberries and kale make for some scary-looking stuff. It didn’t taste very good, either, so I made an addition, then another addition!

Kale Poo Smoothie:

  • 2.5C kale
  • 2C wild blueberries (tiny, not regular sized but that probably doesn’t matter)
  • 1 small banana (6″ long)
  • 1 ripe peach

Whew! The peach was finally enough. I was getting scared that I’d made an enormous, ick smoothie again (let’s not talk about the kale+mango=freshly cut grass flavor). This is good-tasting (now) but looks disgusting.

Kale for those who don’t like kale: Kale Crisps

hand used for scale


I enjoy kale, served different ways. I eat a lot of it as a base for green smoothies but I also use it in place of cabbage for many of my stereotypical Irish Wilderness, Ozark Mountain foods.

Kale Crisps:

  • big bunch of kale leaves
  • 1T EVOO
  • salt to taste

I bought a big bunch and washed, then chopped off the stem (the very tough, wide, white “handle”).

Next, I pulled the leaves away from the white stem as it runs up the middle. I don’t attempt to make particular sizes, shapes or even go for uniformity. I just pull it off and run through a salad spinner to remove excess water.

Next, I measure out a tablespoon of EVOO and drizzle spoon over pieces as I mix them by hand in the bowl. Then, I use a salt shaker and make sure all the leaves have salt sticking to them. I don’t measure this, I’m aiming for seeing salt crystals on them. Too much will make your chips too salty. Too little will leave them tasting a tad bitter. Experiment. I find that more salt sticks to some pieces than others, in spite of attempting to “see” it’s even! Lay the pieces of kale out in 1 layer on foil paper and bake at 350F.

kale crisps

Note: do to my lack of uniformity AND the fact that some leaves are thicker (and juicier) than others, some pieces are ready before others. I begin “hovering” at 10 minutes. Smaller, thinner pieces will be finished quicker. The idea is to remove them as they are DRY AND CRISP. Sometimes, they get a little dark (burnt) but I like those and eat them myself as I’m pulling them out 🙂

Since the leaves are dehydrated, they “shrink.” Your huge bunch of kale will end up making very little in the form of Kale Crisps but they’re so healthy and so tasty! My taste-testers were mixed. I, of course, love these and my elderly father (who is exceptionally HONEST about what he likes or doesn’t) loved them. He was more animated about their flavor than he gets over the price of fuel. My elderly mother was more demure. She said they were “good” but wasn’t particularly interested in having more. My father wanted more, which I was happy to oblige.

The Best Cake I’ve Ever Made

(yet it’s GF, dairy-free & sugar-free)

I can live the rest of my life only making this cake (if I manage to create it in other “saveurs” like lemon, vanilla…). It’s Every.Kind.Of.Awesome.

It’s a Honeycake and if you don’t like the taste of honey, enjoy the rest of your day (except maybe when I share Gram’s Mocha Frosting recipe below).

It’s Dairy-free, Gluten-Free and Sugar-Free (if you don’t count the frosting–it doesn’t need a frosting).

The cake, however, is a combination of Lily’s Bakery and skiving from gluten-free sites. I used to make plain Honeycakes but haven’t in awhile. I’m telling you: if you make this cake and present it to somebody (who likes the taste of honey), you needn’t tell them what went into it. They’ll NEVER KNOW that it’s practically healthy. That said, of course it’s not HEALTHY. It’s CAKE!

Lily’s Best-Ever Honeycake:

•15 oz cooked black beans (I used a tin, which had been salted–if you use unsalted, add salt to help “sweeten” — preferably, make your own beans but erm, I had these)

YES, I said black beans!

•5 eggs (3, then 2)
•1T vanilla
•6T coconut oil (if unfamiliar, it’s sold in a tub at better stores or online; I got mine at Whole Foods). It imparts a bit of flavor but also is Magic. Coconut oil has many healthy properties (especially for those of us with genetic predisposition to high cholesterol: hello HAPPY FATS!) but also it has a HIGH HEAT tolerance that makes it excellent.

.5C honey (again, I like to use “local” which to me means MO/ IL
•6T Dutched baking cocoa powder (plus some for dusting pan)
•1t baking powder
•.5t baking soda

As usual, mix dry ingredients thoroughly in a bowl to the side.

Blend/ food process RINSED AND STRAINED black beans til completely smooth with 3 eggs and vanilla. You don’t want anybody finding a bean “skin.”

Mix/ cream (I use a stand mixer): coconut oil and honey, then add remaining eggs. When done, add blended bean-batter, again, til completely mixed. Gradually add in dry ingredients (in case you’ve never baked like this before, NEVER dump in dry ingredients: you will asphyxiate yourself and make an even bigger mess). Scrape down sides of mixing bowl (usually, there’s a ring of dry) and then beat on high til completely mixed. Batter will be WET.

This batter is VERY STICKY (hi, “honey!”). In addition to your usual greased/ dusted pan, you’re going to line and GREASE parchment paper ring at bottom. I used an Anchor Hocking glass 9″ casserole with handles (a helpful addition!). I used spray “Pam” oil to grease, then used quite a lot of CAROB POWDER (naturally, I didn’t measure). You may use your cocoa powder. Here’s why: you’re using cocoa/ carob rather than “flouring” your pan as this is a dark chocolate item. Flour will look like crap. Cocoa does the same but without unsightly “white.”

I used carob powder: a) truth be told, I had EXACTLY the right amount of cocoa for ONE cake and ONE bowl of frosting b) carob powder is lovely–if you like it; it’s low fat, high fibre BUT it’s higher in carbs/ natural sugars, so if dealing with low carb/ diabetic person, warm them or don’t use! c) carob powder CANNOT be used as an alternate; we can only substitute up to 1/4 in a recipe, in this case, I was only using it for “dusting.” No big whoop.

Pour into uber-prepped pan and smack down on counter several times to remove air bubbles. I only got a few, probably because I blended this sooooo well.

AWESOME Fudge Honeycake

Bake in preheated 325-350F oven (know your oven, mine runs “cold,” so I baked at 350F. I mention this because I’ve had issues with Honeycakes scorching a bit in other ovens at “too high” a heat. You may do better on the lower end. I need the higher end with this oven. My old oven, it would’ve been lower.

I baked this about on hour, which is normal for me and Honeycakes. It’s good to check it at 40-45 minutes. Mine was still “sloshy” at that point but it had risen and begun to crack around edge (good things–also mind that it’s not scorching! That honey’s a “bear”). Rather than the normal toothpick check, I used the grab-by-handles and check sloshiness plus lightly touch top of cake tests. You want no sloshing (this should be obvious) and “springiness” to touch (and no scortch–she keeps saying this, it must be Important).

Done! Sit on cooling rack for 10 or more minutes (to touch). In the past, I’ve used my hand (oy!) to turn out cake but this time, I used a plate, which deflated the “rise” a bit. It probably would’ve been fine to use my Old Lady Hand Skills but I’d never used BEANS in a cake before and didn’t want a trip to hospital. When you turn it out, immediately right it again on cooling rack OR plate you will later serve it on. I used a plate and sat that on the cooling rack.

Either allow to reach room temp (it’s SO moist, you can serve this as tea cake without frosting) and then wrap OR start making your frosting! Mine was so moist, I didn’t even WRAP it. I left it on the plate in the fridge (a known “dehydrator”) for 2 days. It’s still delectable.

Gram’s Mocha Frosting:

bon appetit

This frosting is a part of my soul. As a child, Gram raised me! She’d make “devil’s food cupcakes with mocha frosting.” I can still see her licking the spoon with one hand as she handed a cupcake down to me, clinging to her knees. She has been gone a long, long time. I miss her everyday. Even my father daren’t say squat about Gram’s frosting! (And it’s his deceased MIL!)

  • “enough” SOFTENED Earthbalance Buttery Spread (or butter) to frost one cake. I used about what I thought would frost the cake — “about” because I’m going to add ingredients)
  • 1t vanilla extract
  • “enough” powdered sugar to perfectly “cream” above (a lot like the batter recipe, this is the sweetener and fat part of recipes)
  • 1 shake salt
  • 5-8T cocoa (start with 5, continue ferociously mixing into above)1-2T soy or almond milk (unsweetened is always best to use when cooking/ baking as the sweetened/ flavored versions go wonky when heated–although you’re not heating this…still. Just use unsweetened)
  • instant espresso or coffee crystals to taste (I used 1t, which may be too strong for many–but I love it!)

SNIFF! Gram’s Mocha frosting in one of Gram’s bowls

Note: these last dry and wet ingredients are given as __-__ because it depends on how dry or wet your mixture is. If it’s too dry, add wet. If it’s too wet, add dry.* In a SMALL recipe like this, be delicate with amounts. “You can always add-to but you cannot take-away.” (I told you this is what I learned from Gram!)

Cream/ mix/ stir like mad til smooth, then frost your COOLED Honeycake (are cupcakes, whatever). If your cake still has a teensy bit of residual heat (like mine did) the frosting will “sink” and sort of melt in, which isn’t a bad thing. It’s just not quite frosted. I so.didn’ I’m all about taste over presentation. This is why I’ll forever be a “home” cook and never a famous one!

* Lily’s Theory of Doughs and Batters

“Tropical” (rather than chocolate) Honeycake:

•replace black beans with navy beans

•replace 1T of vanilla extract with 1T lemon, 1T orange & 1T coconut extracts (I realize this adds 2T of liquid)

•to batter, add 2T unsweetened coconut shreds and about 2T coconut flour

•as with mocha frosting, it’s SUGAR AND FAT! You cannot excuse this as a “healthy” cake, although it’s still healthier than the crap you get anywhere else! These cakes are extremely moist (honeycakes always are). You don’t need frosting but if you want it, make it as above but leave out chocolate and coffee. Instead, use coconut extract and a pinch of coconut shreds

Rock on!

unexpected kiwi flavor

My second green smoothie recipe:

  • 2 peaches (>2″ diameter)
  • 5 strawberries (1″ diameter)
  • 3C kale (destemmed and chopped)
  • 1/2t flax seeds (whole)
  • 1/2C water

Gave it to a coworker to taste-test.

(For The Good of All, I force people to try my recipes because my tastes are different from most. I’ll eat squirrel brains–have done and will again. I’m from the Ozarks!)

She took a taste, another, then another. “This tastes like…kiwi!”

In the meantime, I’m spooning mouthfuls (less water helped that “too watery” problem from the first try at a green smoothie!). She’s right! It does taste like kiwi and not only because kiwi is often paired with strawberry. There’s something kiwi-esque about the above recipe. I love it, like scrape the bowl clean.