Monthly Archives

July 2016

Health, Recipes

How to Make Buckinis

July 31, 2016

Buckwheat is a plant with grain-like seeds. Despite it’s name, it is not related to wheat at all and is in the sorrel, knotweed and rhubarb family.  This gluten-free plant is called a pseudocereal because the seeds are eaten and it is a complex carb. Russia, China, Ukraine and the United States are currently the top growers/producers of buckwheat.

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So why should you eat buckwheat? Because these seeds are packed with nutritional benefits! They are low on the glycemic index scale, high in protein and high in nutrients like magnesium. Many studies have also shown that consuming buckwheat lowers the risk of developing high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Buckwheat also keep you very full and also have shown to control blood sugar and help prevent gallstones.

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Buckwheat is either hulled or unhulled. Hulled means that the tough outer shell has been removed and unhulled means that it has not been removed.

Buckwheat groats (hulled buckwheat) can either be raw, toasted or sprouted. Roasted groats are known as “kasha” and are very popular in Russia/Eastern Europe. They are plump, tender and nutty. Unroasted groats have more flavor and can be easily sprouted or used raw to make a sort of grits cereal.

Buckinis are the sprouted/activated groats (not to be confused with bikinis :)) I have heard this term used by Australians and Europeans only so maybe this is a foreign word to Americans but I like how it sounds. Sprouting is the stage between a seed and a plant. Sprouting literally opens up the seed which allows you to absorb more nutrients out of it, therefore making the nutrients more bioavailable. My favorite phrase I’ve heard to describe the sprouting process is “it’s like a mini treasure chest, you just have to open it up.” Sprouting also aids in digestibility because it helps breakdown some of the complex carbs for you.

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Here’s a quick summary of the different terms:

Hulled – Tough outer shell has been removed

Groats – Hulled or crushed grain

Buckinis – Sprouted buckwheat groats

Sprouting – The process of soaking, draining and rinsing seeds, legumes and grains until they germinate or sprout

Here’s a closer look at unhulled buckwheat seeds. Not too tasty looking huh? Unhulled buckwheat can be used to grind into flour. It produces a grayish flour with dark specks (from the shells) and will be stronger in taste than hulled buckwheat flour. Sounds delightful :0. I have yet to try uhulled buckwheat flour.

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Recently, I got some raw buckwheat groats and decided to give sprouting a try and it worked out great!

What you’ll need:

~1 cup dry, raw buckwheat groats (I did a large batch so it will look like less than less)

~ 1 medium/large fine mesh strainer

~ 1 medium/large mixing bowl

~A fine cheesecloth

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Here are my pre-sprouted groats:

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Unfortunately I didn’t get pictures of the process but it’s pretty easy to describe and follow.

Step 1: Rinse your groats in the mesh strainer for about a minute before soaking.

Step 2: Put the groats in the medium/large mixing bowl with about 3 cups of water and soak for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Put the seeds back into the mesh strainer and rinse very well under cool water (60-70 degrees) until the gooey starch water is all off.

Step 4: Leave the seeds in the mesh strainer for the sprouting process, I just put the strainer in a large bowl to catch the water drips. Set this out of direct sunlight and 70 degree room temp is best. Then cover the sprouts with a breathable cheesecloth. They like air circulation so don’t suffocate them with too many layers of the cloth.

Step 5: For the next two days, twice a day, rinse and drain the buckwheat. I do it at breakfast time and at dinner time.

Step 6: After the four rinse and drain sessions over two days, you should see little tails have formed on the buckwheat groats. This means it’s time to stop the sprouting process, if you keep sprouting the seeds will get bitter. After the final rinse and drain session, drain them very well and lay them on paper towels to dry.

Step 7: Once your sprouts are dry you can store them in the fridge and sprinkle them on salads, smoothies, etc.!

Step 8: If you have a dehydrator, you can dry them at 115 degrees for 4-6 hours or until dry and then store them in an airtight container for granola, yogurt or porridges.

Here are my dehydrated and sprouted buckinis:

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I put them in a mason jar and add them to smoothies, oatmeal and homemade granola for an extra crunch! I have also seen recipes that caramelize them for a sweet topping.

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What do you think about buckwheat seeds? Will you try them?

Life

Birthday Weekend at Home

July 27, 2016

Last weekend I went home to visit my mom and pup and to celebrate my 25th birthday with them. After a lot of traffic from Seattle, we made it home Thursday night and I walked in the kitchen to see this beautiful birthday cake! I requested the same cake mom made last year, Minimalist Baker’s Chocolate Hazelnut Cake (GF + Vegan), it’s SO good and moist and mom puts hazelnuts between the layers for an extra crunch too.

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The perfect birthday cake in my opinion.

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We lit the outside candles first…*facepalm*

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I love three layer cakes because you get more frosting! So moist.

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The next day, mom and I went blueberry picking at her friend’s blueberry farm. We went at the peak of blueberry season so the berries were plentiful.

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I love overalls and I’m so glad they’re in style again!

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Momma bear picking berries.

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blueberry heaven

We ended up picking 19 POUNDS of blueberries in about 2 hours. They cost me about $45 bucks but totally worth it for a freezer full of berries. My mom picked for me but she is actually going to work for her friend (who owns the farm) a few days this summer in exchange for blueberries so she’ll get her freezer filled too! We’re like squirrels trying to tuck away enough for winter.

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Blueberry farms are so familiar and comforting for me, I have been picking since I could walk!

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We got some of the bugs and leave out but definitely not all of them!

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Ready to be weighed!

blueberries so many!

Aren’t they beautiful?

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After getting our blueberries tucked away, it was time to feed my mom’s rabbit, Gandalf, some kale. He’s so funny to watch chomping away and he’s got major bunny sass.

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This is the only photo he doesn’t look like an oversized, grey, unidentifiable cotton ball!

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I love visiting home in the summer because, besides all the animals, there is a bounty of fruits to pick. My mom has a huge fig tree in the garden and I love to get the fruit picker and try to pick them which is quite hard because they are so squishy and high up.

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Backyard flowers.

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My little muffin by the pond

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Unfortunately, I missed the first round of raspberries and this was like the only berry left in the garden, bummer!

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This little weirdo…

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Rub-a-dub in the tub

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The reason for the above bath is because my mom got the great idea to do a professional photoshoot with my sweet Gryphon at JC Penney! Since Gryphy is getting old, it was really fun to do this together and Gryphon was the star of the show, he really is photogenic, don’t you think? Of course, mom had to hold a squeaky toy over the photographers head.

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We bought the biggest package of photos so I have some hardcopies coming soon, I’m so excited to frame them and put them all over my apartment. I would highly suggest getting a JC Penney shoot with your furry loved one (Ann, that means you!).

Anyways, I hope you got through this long post! Thanks for reading 🙂

Life, Travel

A Weekend in Port Townsend

July 24, 2016

The weekend before my 25th birthday, I went to visit my grandparents in Port Townsend with my dad. They bought a house in town and now live just a hop, skip and a jump from downtown (and, most importantly, the food co-op!). I love PT because it’s quite a small town with lots of pretty gardens, houses and the population of deer rivals the humans!

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I went for a long weekend so this post is pretty long and has a lot of food. My grandma wanted me to try out this almond cake recipe, it’s GF and just uses almond flour, sugar, olive oil, eggs and an orange and lemon.

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It’s baked in a springform pan and the batter looks pretty oily but it smells heavenly like orange/lemon. This is a pre-baking picture:

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We decided to use a cheap paper doily as a stencil for a powdered sugar topping, it turned out so pretty!

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The cake is super duper moist and tastes so citrusy and delicious. It’s a very Italian recipe and you could definitely find something similar in a high end bakery.

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My grandparents’ dog Blacky, wanted a piece (of anything)!

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For lunch, we had the best kale salad ever (GF), cantaloupe and prosciutto for the meat-eaters and a fresh loaf of whole wheat sourdough bread–the best thing in the world.

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This whole wheat sourdough bread made me want to try my hand at sourdough, I am hoping a bakery in Seattle might give me some of their starter.

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The best kale salad and a apple kombucha made in Oregon. I highly recommend making this salad, you will become addicted. It does have dairy from the cheese and really shouldn’t go without it but maybe a modification could be made.

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On Friday night for my birthday dinner we went to Sweet Laurette Cafe and Bistro. It’s a cute little restaurant and I have been there before and the food is really good but the service is always quite slow, it took us about an hour to get our appetizer…

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I got the pan-seared sea scallops and it was so delicious and very filling!

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We shared the creme brûlée for dessert but I really wanted some traditional birthday cake so my granny was kind enough to go on a cake hunt with me. We found two pieces of locally made cake at the food co-op — chocolate with cream cheese frosting and ganache and carrot cake with cream cheese frosting. Both were super good.

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The next morning was graced with homemade blueberry sourdough pancakes. The batter must be prepared the night before and it is very bubbly.

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They turned out great and we made a homemade plum sauce to go on top.

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I think I might have eaten about 15 pancakes…

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After pancakes we went on a walk and went to the plant nursery and got this plant. Isn’t this an interesting flower? They are edible and would look so pretty in a salad.

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We take a lot of walks when we visit…I trail behind and take pictures 🙂

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Friendly–terribly excited–neighborhood pup

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There are blackberry bushes everywhere so I kept stopping to snack like a deer. I would love to be a deer in PT because there are so many fruit trees/bushes!

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The houses are very victorian and pretty:

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The gardens are amazing:

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My granny Ann knows everyone in town so we stopped by some of her friends houses. This is Kipper who is a Havanese like Gryphon, my pup.

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Pretty flowers everywhere!

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Stare-down with a buck. This is with no zooming in and it actually made me a bit nervous because I was so close and he was staring me down hard. Maybe he was just saying hello or looking deep into my soul or maybe he was about to charge. I took this picture and then ran away ha ha.

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More flowers.

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After our long walk, we stopped at the farmer’s market to get salmon sandwiches from the Cape Cleare Salmon stand.

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These sandwiches are TO DIE FOR. A big fillet of fresh salmon on the best chewy bread with tartar sauce in-between. I could eat this everyday.

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This is the view from the docks downtown:

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Another walk we went on led to a nice beach where Blacky took a chilly swim. He likes to lay down in the water for a few seconds and then get up, like a weirdo.

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Action shot! For a senior dog, he is quite athletic.

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For my last dinner, we went to Hillbottom Pie which has the BEST caesar salad I have ever had (and I have had a lot). I would describe it as juicy and super cheesy. Juicy is a weird word to describe a salad but you really should try it.

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My grandparents and I split the white pizza which has: Basil walnut pesto, blended ricotta, aged mozzarella, kalamata olives and parmesan. It’s very tasty and very rich. Two slices were plenty for me.

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I’ll leave you with this deer picture. You can tell how comfortable the deer are in town, they just walk where ever they want and eat whatever they want (aka everything you try to grow in the garden!).

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