honey

Erica’s Apple Baked Brie

A friend of mine made this, so I feel at ease to boast and say, “Look at this gorgeous presentation!” I am a long-time fan of baked brie. If you are not familiar with the cheese, it is a soft French cow’s milk cheese, most often encased in an edible covering of white mold. Depending on the process it can range from very mild to a strong musky flavor. (I am not one to shy away from a pungent cheese). Usually I do mine wrapped in a puff pastry, but I love that Erica used a croissant pastry dough! It made for such a lovely crust! Of course the rustically sliced apples were beautiful too… and then the taste! Sweet apples and brown sugar with warm creamy brie on slices of fresh bread, grainy crackers, and ripe fruit. La vie en rose!

1 – 16 oz round Brie

2 cans Pillsbury Crescent Rolls

1 apple (plus 1/2 for decoration, optional)

4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) Butter

2 Tbsp Brown Sugar

1 Egg

 

Preheat oven to 350°.

Melt butter in a sauté pan over medium heat. Thinly slice or dice (your preference) the apple and sauté it in the butter. Add the brown sugar to the butter and apple mixture, and gently stir until sugar is dissolved and mixture has slightly thickened. Place the beautiful apple syrup on top of the Brie and wrap it in the crescent rolls. Whisk the egg and brush it top of the dough. Optionally, cut a few slices of apple for decoration and position them on top in a circular pattern. Bake for about 30-40 minutes, until crust is golden brown and cheese is warmed through. Allow to set for a few minutes before serving. You want the cheese to be warm and spreadable, but not to ooze. Serve with slice rounds of bread, apple slices, and or crackers.

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Loving Lately 🐝

Loving Lately: Honey

My husband has a great boss name Jason; who happens to be friends with a guy named Terry; who happens to be the president of the Michigan Beekeeper’s Association. Recently Jason gifted us a beautiful large jar of Terry’s Lazy T’s honey. How fortunate are we?

Honey, also referred to as liquid gold, has been used in the kitchen as a natural sweetener for ages. But did you know that it has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties that have made it extremely useful for medicinal purposes as well? Many people believe it is a viable solution in dealing with allergies. Bees collect pollen which is then used to make the honey. The small traces of pollen that remain in the honey are comparable to vaccinations in that once consumed your immune system builds antibodies to the pollens. This is just one of the reasons why buying local honey is so important. It can help you build up tolerances to common allergens in your own area!

The sweet nectar in honey is loaded with antioxidants that have been linked in studies with promoting healthy brain function and boosting memory. In addition, honey has been successfully used as a cough suppressant and topically useful for treating minor burns and wounds. No wonder it’s considered so valuable!

For more information about the Michigan Beekeeper’s Association and keeping bees click on www.michiganbees.org

Berry-Banana Smoothie Bowl

Now that I’m a raging health nut… I buy healthy recipe magazines. And according to my Clean Eating periodical, “Smoothie Bowls” are all the rage. They’re smoothies you can chuck so full of nutritional goodness and frozen fruits/veggies that you can’t suck them through a straw- hence the bowl and spoon. Of course if you know me, you know I am all about cutting edge (and regularly sarcastic). But I thought, why not? I like smoothies and I certainly know how to freeze a banana. However, for all my strides in stocking my pantry with chia seeds, coconut milk, almond flour, and avocado oil; I still came up short on my chlorella, maqui berry and maca powders. So I came up with my own, and I must say that it does feel indulgent. Like eating berry ice cream for breakfast! 😉

 

Serves 2 (or a hungry 1)

As organic as possible:

9 frozen Strawberries

1 frozen Banana, sliced into 2″ pieces

1/2 cup Almond Milk (Soy or non-fat milk)

5 Ice cubes

2 cups mixed frozen Blueberries, Raspberries and Blackberries

1/3 cup granola (preferably with some source of protein: nuts or seeds), plus more for topping (optional)

1 Tbsp Honey (buzzword “raw” optional)

 

Make sure to freeze your fruit the night before or at least several hours in advance (or you might end up with a regular old smoothie). Place all the ingredients in a blender and flip the switch! (Or push the button…)

Spoon the ingredients into a bowl and top with granola or slivered almonds if you’d like, and eat up butter cup. You’re so healthy!

Easy Honey Cake from Natascha’s Palace

My blogging friend Natascha from Natascha’s Palace currently resides in Spain. I am envious of her cookbook collection and I enjoy how she incorporates what she is currently reading into her posts. From Julia Child to Monet, she has a fascinating way of bringing their recipes to life; all the while sharing her personal journey as a teacher, traveler, and wife… Thank you Natascha, your blog is a joy!

I love that the recipe called for “de miel” (honey), I feel so cultured! And I love that Natascha used a beautiful flower, (I tried to emulate her pic, but I am not sure my flower is edible). Aside from the beating the egg whites until stiff (because sometimes I can be lazy)… this was such an easy and delicious recipe! The aroma really made me love the smell of my kitchen and being that the mornings and evenings are getting quite chilly, it was lovely to finally have something baking in the oven! The honey drizzled on the top of this cake really kept it moist. And the hint of cinnamon in every bite was just enough to give a little depth. I really enjoyed this cake (as well as my friends and family) and it seemed like such a perfect dessert to add other ingredients. I thought “wouldn’t it be fun to throw in some pieces of chopped apple?” I’m getting excited just thinking about it. Baking season is here!

Thankfully Owen fulfilled my Christmas request a couple years ago and bought me a food scale from Sharper Image, because the measurements are in grams, not cups. Which for whatever reason I couldn’t get a clear translation on, so I got precise and weighed it out. I have included my dry ingredient measurements for you! My liquid measuring cup has ml’s on one side, phew! For the original recipe visit Natascha’s Palace!

As organic as possible (my input)

120 ml honey, plus more for topping

3 large eggs, separated yolks and whites

2 Tbsp sugar

150 ml milk

120 ml olive oil

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1 1/2 cups plus 3 Tbsp flour

1 Tbsp (rounded) baking powder

Confectioners sugar for topping (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º. Grease a cake 9″ round cake pan, set aside.

Heat the honey in a small pot until it is liquid-y, remove from heat and pour into a mixing bowl. Beat the egg yolks and sugar into the honey, add the milk, cinnamon and oil, mix well. Sift flour and baking soda in a large bowl, add the wet ingredients and combine. In a separate small bowl, beat the egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the flour mixture until just incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool about 10 minutes and remove from pan onto a cooling rack. When cooled completely sprinkle with confectioners sugar and drizzle with honey. Enjoy!

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Loving Lately ❤️

Loving Lately #1: My Local Farmer’s Market

I think it is vital to support your local farmer’s market. Buying organic produce is ideal, but don’t count it out if they don’t proclaim to sell organic goods. Talk to them, ask questions. Many vendors aren’t “organic” but still have much healthier practices than produce you can buy at your local grocers and their goods are likely much higher in nutritional value! Here is a list from the Michigan State University Extension of the top seven reasons to buy from your nearest farmer:
• Locally grown food is full of flavor. When grown locally, the crops are picked at their peak of ripeness versus being harvested early in order to be shipped and distributed to your local retail store. Many times produce at local markets has been picked within 24 hours of your purchase.
• Eating local food is eating seasonally. Even though we wish strawberries were grown year round in Michigan, the best time to eat them is when they can be purchased directly from a local grower. They are full of flavor and taste better than the ones available in the winter that have traveled thousands of miles and picked before they were ripe.
• Local food has more nutrients. Local food has a shorter time between harvest and your table, and it is less likely that the nutrient value has decreased. Food imported from far-away states and countries is often older, has traveled and sits in distribution centers before it gets to your store.
• Local food supports the local economy. The money that is spent with local farmers and growers all stays close to home and is reinvested with businesses and services in your community.
• Local food benefits the environment. By purchasing locally grown foods you help maintain farmland and green and/or open space in your community.
• Local foods promote a safer food supply. The more steps there are between you and your food’s source the more chances there are for contamination. Food grown in distant locations has the potential for food safety issues at harvesting, washing, shipping and distribution.
• Local growers can tell you how the food was grown. You can ask what practices they use to raise and harvest the crops. When you know where your food comes from and who grew it, you know a lot more about that food.

Loving Lately #2: Cute Drinking Glasses

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I have a problem not buying kitchen gadgets and ware. I realize that it’s more Martha Stewart than “chef” in general, but I can’t help it, I love the stuff. I like juice in juice glasses and milk in milk glasses… And I already admitted it was a problem. How adorable are these? (I wish the cow would have shown up better so you could see it more clearly.) The best part was I got them at Homegoods for $1 each, which is practically like buying them at garage sale prices! Right? At least that’s how I justify it to myself. (My husband is awesome in that department by the way, he never needs justification.)

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And just look at these! The bee glasses are perfect for honey colored drinks like iced tea. I prefer mine unsweetened, but how much more adorable would it be if I actually sweetened the drink with honey? The whole thing is practically enough for me to want to have a bee themed party! Seriously, I need to think about that…