Homemade chocolate crumble crust is very yummy!
Ingredients: 5 T. butter, 1 C. flour, 2 t. cornstarch, 1/4 C. sugar, salt, 1/4 C. cocoa powder (+ 1 T butter later).
Combine in a bowl, preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, spread out dough on cookie sheet and bake 5 minutes.
Add dough from the cookie sheet plus the 1 T of butter I mentioned earlier in a food processor and blend for a couple of minutes.
Press into a pie tin.
Add pie filling and either serve or bake pie (depending upon whether you’re making a banana cream, strawberry or another type of pie).
Recipe inspiration: Netflix cooking show by David Chang. (I made this crust for a strawberry pie and it turned out fantastic!)
Broccoli for breakfast?! YES, broccoli can add an unexpected burst of flavor to start your day.
Folks in the winter wonderland, if you’re taking vitamin D supplements to get through the winter, broccoli has a very strong combination of vitamin A and K that will help keep vitamin D metabolism in balance.
Top 3 benefits of broccoli: detoxification of unwanted contaminants, lower cholesterol and anti-inflammatory to lessen the impact of allergy related substances.
Enjoy and stay healthy!
Kitchen ninja from the wintery Minnesota north woods
Eggs: Natalie’s 6 minute rule.
Featured in this photo is one of a variety of breakfast variations I make, which includes potatoes, eggs, mushrooms, onions, garlic and ginger, topped with fresh chives.
There is a method that I use that is a common thread is all of my stovetop egg cooking and that is to limit the amount of time the eggs are in the pan to 6 minutes or less.
Why? Have you every had dry eggs, tasteless eggs, or eggs that have even turned brown? Well, the egg at that point may have gone past the 6 minute limit in the pan, which zaps it of moisture that contributes to a tasty breakfast.
First, start out with local farm fresh eggs, if possible. The fresher the better and if you either know the farmer or ARE the farmer, all the better. Local foods are more economical, reduce the energy input to bring them to your table and also may contain elements that bring you that much closer in harmony with nature in your local environment. (Do not add the eggs to the pan yet.)
Second, heat up your oil or butter.
Third, flavor your oil or butter. It is very common in my kitchen to flavor oil with garlic and/or ginger.
Forth, begin cooking ingredients, starting with elements of your dish that require longer cooking times, such as potatoes. Add in mushrooms, onions and other ingredients, possibly peppers.
Add eggs to the dish, cooking 3 minutes, flip and then cooking 3 minutes more.
Pull the pan off the heat and sprinkle fresh herbs on top of your dish, while everything is still in the pan.
Plate up your dish and enjoy a wonderful breakfast, with tasty eggs that are cooked just right. Total prep & cook time approximately 30 minutes.
Viola! Bon appetite!
La cuisine de Natalie
It’s time for a winter bike ride! How about on New Year’s Day?
Bemidji and Bowlus are rolling into 2014 with New Year Day bike rides. Fat bike, mountain bike, road bike with studded tires or whatever other type of bike you may be rolling in this winter, join the fun at one of the following bike rides to kick off 2014!
BEMIDJI, MN - 5th Annual Brrrrmidji New Years Day Bike Ride. 1:00pm meet at The Cabin Coffeehouse and Cafe. Long and short routes available. Hosted by Shifting Gears.
BOWLUS, MN - “The 1st Annual Frozen Toes & Nose New Year’s Day Fat Tire Bike Ride”. Meet at The Bowlus Trail head at 12:30 P.M. Depending on the wind. We are riding the Soo Line Trail either East to Blanchard Dam or West and looping around back to Bowlus. Alternative route is the local ice & snow covered gravel roads. Ride option: Fat Tire Bikes, MTB with knobby tires, Skis (?). Whatever floats your boat or paddles your canoe. Make sure you come prepared for the elements, and have good lights. Reminder: Snowmobiles have priority on the Soo Line Trail. Jordie’s Trailside Cafe for refueling. (Great Chicken Dumpling Soup) Hope to see you there!!” (Thank you Theresa Gregory for posting such an awesome description of this ride, which I’ve just reposted here on my blog.) Hosted by the Central Minnesota Bicycle Group.
It’s wonderful to see the bicycling community in northern Minnesota continue to grow and this hearty group of riders continues rolling through the snow, ice and cold temperatures.
Let’s kick up some snow and make tracks to another great year of riding bicycles in northern Minnesota!
Here’s a link to other winter cycling activities going on in Minnesota:
Roll on, Natalie
"Moros y cristianos" (a.k.a. Cuban black beans and rice)
1 T. olive oil
1 medium size onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves (original recipe calls for 2; I also omitted the minced 1/2 green pepper)
1/3 minced serrano (original recipe calls for 1 jalepeno)
1/2 t. ground cumin (I grind seeds fresh right before cooking this recipe. I also omitted the 1/4 t. oregano.)
8 garden tomatoes (original recipe calls for 1 - 14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained)
3 C. cooked black beans, rinsed and drained (from a can works too!)
1/2 t. salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 C. hot cooked jasmine rice (original recipe calls for long-grain white rice)
Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and serrano (and bell pepper and jalapeño, if you also include them in your recipe). Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables begin to soften. Stir in the cumin (and oregano) and cook for 1 minute or until fragrant. Add the tomatoes, beans, salt and pepper, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Taste and adjust the seasoning, spoon over the hot rice and serve.
(Original recipe from “One-Dish Vegetarian Meals”.)
Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce with Chickpeas and Feta
1/4 C. olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1/2 serrano (original recipe calls for jalapeños), finely chopped
1 -15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained
2 t. paprika
1 t. ground cumin
1 T. chopped cilantro
14 medium sized garden tomatoes (frozen from my summer garden; original recipe calls for 1-28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes)
1 C. coarsely crumbled feta
6 eggs (original recipe calls for 8)
1 T. chopped parsley
Preheat over to 425 F. Heat oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic and serrano; cook stirring occasionally until onion is soft, about 8 minutes. Add chickpeas, paprika and cumin and cook 2 min. longer. Add crushed tomatoes and their juices (I added 1/2 C. water). Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until sauce thickens slightly, about 15 min. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Sprinkle with feta. Crack eggs one at a time and place over sauce, spacing evenly apart. Transfer skillet to oven and bake until whites are just set but yolks are still runny, 5-8 min. Garnish with parsley and cilantro. Serve with warm pita bread for dipping.
Give your immune system a boost with citrus. Featured in the photo are lemons, an orange and a lime, which I’ll be incorporating into my meals this week.
Health benefits include the aforementioned immune system boost, plus excellent antioxidant properties, inhibition of tumor growth and reduced risks of the following: cancer, stroke, cardiovascular diseases, obesity and diabetes.
Nutrients include high vitamin C content, dietary fiber, beta carotene and folic acid (gluten-free folks who are no longer eating fortified flour may benefit from getting folic acid through citrus).
I’ll add fresh squeezed lemon juice to my tea, make homemade lemonade and my favorite homemade Spicy Valentine Salad dressing.
The orange rind will be partially zested into cranberry walnut bread and the rest of the rind boiled up in a curl as part of a homemade mulled apple cider. I’ll snack on the juicy fruit while cooking up the rest of my meals.
Limes are great for Mexican dishes…so I’ll have to figure out something there, but the creativity of cooking is boundless!
Chia seeds are awesome! Featured in this photo are raw, whole certified organic chia seeds soaking in a cup of water to form an uber-healthy gelatinous goo.
What are chia seeds? Edible seeds with a mild nutty flavor.
What are the nutrient contents? Chia seeds are a rich plant source of omega-3, carbohydrates, protein, fiber, antioxidants and calcium.
What are the health benefits? Chia seeds protect against inflammation, hydrate the body and reduce blood pressure. They are also gluten-free.
This is an exciting new experiment for me to incorporate into my cooking. Two cups of chia seeds soaked in 6 ounces of water form an uber-healthy gelatinous goo that can be used in cooking. I’m going to try using this chia seed goo as a substitute for eggs in some of my baking and see how it goes!
BEMIDJI, MINNESOTA (11/2/13) - Beautiful day for cycling today in Bemidji! I rode around Lake Bemidji and greeted many other cyclists, walkers and even a person on skis with wheels! 53 degrees and no wind.
REPOST of statewide press release from MnDOT.
Oct. 15, 2013
Contact: Sue Roe
Minnesota gets a lot more bike friendly
ST. PAUL, Minn – Duluth, Grand Marais, Richfield and Winona will be honored Tuesday, Oct. 15 by the League of American Bicyclists for their commitment to improving bicycling. The League recognizes communities’ efforts to improve conditions for bicycling through investment in bicycling promotion, education programs, infrastructure and pro-bicycling policies.
The Bicycle Friendly Community recognition comes on the heels of the state of Minnesota being named the fourth best Bicycle Friendly State by the League in May.
“Bicycling plays an important role in Minnesota’s multimodal transportation system,” said Minnesota Department of Transportation Commissioner Charlie Zelle. “When MnDOT plans improvements to the state’s transportation system, bicycling is an important consideration. These awards recognize communities that are enhancing the contributions bicycling makes to economic, social, health and environmental benefits.”
The Bicycle Friendly Community program helps communities evaluate their quality of life, sustainability and transportation network and then benchmark their progress toward improving their bicycle-friendliness. With this year’s award winners, there are now 291 Bicycle Friendly Community honorees in 48 states. Minnesota’s other Bicycle Friendly Communities are Bemidji, Grand Rapids, Mankato, Minneapolis, Rochester and St. Paul.
“Only about one in five Minnesotans get enough physical activity. Bicycling, for work or play, is a great way to get and stay active,” said Dr. Edward Ehlinger, commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Health. “Three of the four award recipients are also Statewide Health Improvement Program communities. One of SHIP’s initiatives is to improve walking and biking routes to school so kids get physical activity.”
“The announcement of four new Bicycle Friendly Communities in Minnesota is a testament to the power of collaboration between government, advocacy groups and the private sector,” said Andy Clarke, president of the League of American Bicyclists. ”The Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota’s leadership and the commitment of the Department of Health and the Department of Transportation to creating a more bike-friendly Minnesota is quite unique and very exciting to see.”