Why to Kettlebell: Series 1

I have had it on my agenda for months to bring you this series!

Baking is my first love (then hiking). But my start was actually in kettlebells. I have lifted weights since I was ten years old, although I started pleading my dad to let me lift when I was about 8, he told me I had to wait until I was ten. I’d peak into our garage where we had a bench press for my sister (who is 7 years older and was in high school at the time). From a very young age I have had a fascination with strength. And I found out I was good at it. I was naturally strong. I enjoyed pushing my body and limitations. Doing more than I thought I was capable of. Granted I think lifting things has more to do with mental strength than actual physical strength. Often we are limited by our own self-inflicted limitations. I have experienced it myself. Multiple times, times where I told myself I wasn’t strong enough, even though truthfully I was beyond capable the whole time.

I set off to college set on studying Exercise Science. Never strayed from the major.

As my parents business began to crumble, I realized I enjoyed baking and cooking more. My mother, though, she was the best trainer I ever had. She has the personality, charisma, encouragement, and knowledge. She has beautiful form and knows her way around a bell. So when I wanted to add some exercise back onto my site and into my life more, I asked my mother to help me out, to do these interview series with me. To share some of what she had learned and experienced.

So here it is, Episode #1 gradually getting into the world of kettlebells. Getting our feet wet and exploring Why to Kettlebell.

 

Gluten-Free Yeast Donuts

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I grew up in the Midwest, in a nice sized town called Terre Haute. There’s not a whole lot going on. It’s pleasant. We’re known for ISU, land of Larry Bird.

Growing up we didn’t eat out a lot, my father is a bomb cook and we typically ate meals at home. Plus we lived slightly in the country and we didn’t often go into town to eat. Sometimes, we got treated. A hometown favorite for A LOT of people are Square Donuts. They are delicious.

My father grew up down the street from there, so he has many fond memories of eating there as a children. My grandfather too. He has Celiac’s disease, though, now and cannot indulge in Square Donuts. A few years ago he set me on a mission to make donuts. He sent me home with 5+ pages of notes and a fryer. The experience was a little mortifying and a fail to say the least. I did make some good baked donuts. Grandpa wanted the yeast donut, not the cake donuts.

I have kind of steered clear of donuts ever since. They’re tricky. We’re not really friends.

However, lately, I have been feeling a little more adventurous. Why not try again?

Verdict?

I personally thought they were delicious. They had a nice texture and taste. I was very pleased with them. These are best fresh!

Gluten-Free Yeast Donuts Continue reading “Gluten-Free Yeast Donuts”

Collard Green Chips

I love farmer’s markets.
I try to unravel where exactly this comes from?

Does it come from my childhood and that roadside corn stand?

Do it come from being a Midwestern girl, surrounded by fields?

Was it that first trip to Seattle and the Pikes Place Market that sealed the torrid affair?

I don’t know. I think there are things we are inherently drawn to things. Things that attract us. Often things a part of our calling and a gateway to the talents we possess. Do you ever feel this way? Pulled or drawn into something or someone (I would say I felt that way about my husband too before he was even really a friend)? I feel this way about nature. About a hiking trail. That they seem to call my name. They beckon me to come play and explore.

And markets.

When I had a vision of my own baking business (while hiking a mountain), my immediate answer to merely starting was: a farmer’s market. I researched how to start. I applied. I got turned down. Once. Then once more. Then I got a surprise email in October that there was an opening for a baker at the market and I was hooked.

Even when my husband talks about future goals and suggests maybe transitioning out of markets, I shut that one down pretty quickly. Because it is more than the business, more than the money. I bake because I feel called to do so. Because I’m good at it. I’m creative. But also maybe most importantly it brings me joy, and I like to think that it brings others joy as well. And even though wholesale sounds exciting, selling to restaurants and grocery stores, being able to get my product to a larger audience (who I feel needs it), it’s missing something. I love markets because of the connection.

I thoroughly enjoy talking to the people eating my product, that truthfully I work really hard for (and also it is a little frightening because you feel vulnerable, your brand and product is an extension of you, which you honestly want people to like). Putting all your energy, your heart and soul, your creativity, all your love into a product is a blissful high, but also a little bit of a drain afterwards because you put so much into it. But it is so rewarding. It’s rewarding to be able to express fully as an artist and baker. It is rewarding to have someone stop at your booth (even if it’s just to talk). It is rewarding when someone lights up and is excited about you and your product. When someone needs what you have, and you can help them, wow, it’s amazing and humbling.

This last year I switched markets because we moved and it has been so amazing. This past couple of weeks have been amazing. And I am humbled and truthfully want to cry afterwards because I am so grateful. It is a bustling market. There are lots of vendors. BIG produce sections that take up 4 slots. There is variety. A variety of meat vendors, soaps, bakers, food trucks, arts, jewelry and more. There are musicians playing interspersed throughout. It’s lively. And beautiful and bustling.

Making a connection to my customer is essential and why I do markets. That’s why I want. To know the person either raising or creating my food. That a human is there, loving and nurturing, using their God-given talents. I love learning from other vendors (and customers).

You form a bond with your fellow vendors. I have friends from the Terre Haute market that I’ve been to their home, went kayaking together, and collaborated with. The people behind your food, are often beautiful and amazing people. So in a society with distractions and a skewed view of connection, because of modern technology and social media, actual human connection and conversation is relevant to me.

I have always found myself surrounded by wonderful neighbors at the market. Often times, produce vendors may have too much of something or they don’t want to take it home, so they’ll give it away. Over the years I’ve had lots of vegetables just given to me at the end of a market. For which I am extremely grateful. Continue reading “Collard Green Chips”

Raw Banana Cheesecake

IMAG4297Last week we had a friend coming over. If you know me, then, my mind was racing on some kind of fun little treat I could make. Zach had dinner planned out, but I wanted a nice little sweet at the end.

What could I make?

Most of my baking supplies are in the commercial kitchen. It was a little tricky. Plus I was thinking of things I already had on hand.

A bundle of  bananas. Some nuts.

Cheesecake. I could make cheesecake real fast.

And I know dairy is a hot topic and gray area. I will say, that I personally do not have a problem with it. My husband on the other hand can not, it tears his stomach up, so I generally use alternatives. But I will personally do dairy in moderation sometimes. I love the Weston A. Price for information on raw butter and milk.

So sometimes I include dairy. However, I could probably remake this recipe in the future soaking cashews or macadamia nuts and boom, you have a dairy-free option as well. I truly would have loved to make it with goat cheese, but my husband is not a fan (although I’ve made cheesecakes with goat cheese before and my taste-testers did not know any better). The choice is yours and fitting to what you can personally tolerate and your level of moderation.

On this night, we splurged and I made this lovely, light little cheesecake for our dinner party.

And it was really easy to assemble.

And really delicious.

Raw Banana Cheesecake Continue reading “Raw Banana Cheesecake”

A Polifroni Dinner: Apple Chicken, Collard Greens & Sweet Potato/Parsnip Hash

IMAG4294.jpgI will confess, I love baking. It fuels my creativity. It’s my art. Food is one of the ways I express myself. And I enjoy thinking of new recipes and baking/making delicious new things.

However, this isn’t very representative of real life. I like to post options for treats and desserts (and to make them for the market), but it’s not something I eat or make at home very often. I typically will make bake goods for blogs and give them away or I make them for my husband.

Why?

Because the everyday foods I eat are not nearly as pretty as my baked goods. They are less awe-inspiring. A little less pizzazz. They seem so simple. They’re not as sexy. But they are delicious. They’re what I enjoy eating.

In real life I could eat cabbage everyday. It doesn’t smell good. It doesn’t necessarily look good either. But I love the taste.

I wanted to start this week off with something that my husband and I typically eat for dinner.

It has flavor. This dish had color. It has variety. And it is filling.

It’s not complicated. It’s super easy to make. And it doesn’t take long to make.

Polifroni Dinner Night

(this served 3 people, plus leftovers)

Apple Chicken

  • 1 lbs. chicken breast
  • 1 apple
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • sea salt and pepper

Collard Greens

  • 1/2 bunch collard greens
  • 1/4 red onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil

Sweet Potato & Parsnip Hash

  • 1 sweet potato
  • 1 parsnip
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbsp bacon fat, ghee, or coconut oil

Let’s Make it Happen:

Peel the sweet potato and parsnip. Dice into cubes (I usually like to cube mine pretty small). Heat your fat in a skillet with the garlic on a medium heat. Add the sweet potato and parsnip. Season to taste. Allow them to cook, keep stirring them as prepare the other food. Cook them until they are tender (soft and a fork goes through the center, we put ours in a baking pan to keep warm while we made the other sides and so we could use the skillet).

Cut chicken into strips. Season with sea salt, pepper, and basil. Cook in a skillet on medium heat in another skillet. While it is cooking, dice the apples (we left the skin on). When it is almost done cooking (no longer pink in the center), drain it, and add the apples. Drizzle honey over the top. Turn to low, until the collard greens are done.

For the collard greens, remove the veins. Roll up the leaves. Thinly slice. Dice the onion. Saute the onion in a skillet with the fat until translucent. Add the collard greens. Salt. Cook until soft.

Serve it all up on a plate (props to my husband for plating this beautifully for me), eat and enjoy!

Mango Lemonade Kombucha Gummies

IMAG4285A few weeks ago I shared a blog about my adventures into kombucha making. I will note that I have been intrigued by kombucha for about 8 + years now, but I had a dear friend who made wonderful kombucha. When we moved, though, I had to be a big girl and learn to make my own though.

Always putting a twist on things, I started thinking of how I could use kombucha, beyond the realm of merely sipping on it.

In the past I have made some ice cream (which now I would probably consider it more sorbet-like) with it.

But I had seen some gummies floating around on my pinterest.

Hmmm….

My husband is a fan of gummy bears. He, however, hates kombucha. I can’t even drink it around it, he doesn’t like the smell and frequently makes fun of me for it.

But, what if I flavored the kombucha nicely and paired it with a flavorful, delicious fruit?

Even if he doesn’t like (or even tastes it), it sounded good to me. So I began envision myself snacking on mango kombucha gummies. And my mind began reeling with loads of ideas for flavors.

Cherry because they’re my favorite food. But what if I added vanilla bean? Or lime zest or juice?

What about Pina Colada flavored? Let’s throw in some coconut and pineapple.

What about a strawberry banana.

Ooh or a mixed berry?

Or a strawberry mint?

Or a lemon blueberry?

Do you see how my brain works? Once an idea starts, it just rolls and rolls with more. Sometimes I suffer from too much creativity or ideas. Which isn’t a bad thing, but I do have to really practice editing (especially for my markets, otherwise I would show up with tons of different stuff and the selection would probably be overwhelming for many shoppers).

Anyways, my first adventure into gummies was a mango lemonade. The juice I added to my kombucha was a mango lemonade, which I did a second ferment on for three days. Add some fresh mangoes and lemon juice to the gummy mix and you have a great flavor-packed little bite. Continue reading “Mango Lemonade Kombucha Gummies”

Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Tortillas

IMAG4156.jpgWho doesn’t like tacos?

I’ve played with different tortillas in the past. My first experiment was shaping bacon into the shape of a taco shell. But I’ve also used cauliflower and zucchini. A few years ago I made ones plantains and ones with sweet potatoes. I’ve made spinach ones for wraps. And a month ago I made kale ones (again for BLT wraps).

So I set out to revisit the sweet potato tortilla. Something super simple.

It was pretty mush mashed sweet potatoes and tapioca flour. My husband (the chef) did an awesome job helping me cook and flip them.

My own personal verdict is that I liked them MORE than the ones I’ve made in the past. The tapioca added a nice little stretchiness to the tortilla, so I could pulls and wrap it up nice and tight.

And I liked the flavor. Continue reading “Gluten-Free Sweet Potato Tortillas”