Homemade Ginger Ale Starter

2 1/2 cups ginger, roughly peeled and chopped
1 cup sugar
1 cup lime juice
8 cups water
Sparkling water
Frozen grapes

Place ginger in a high speed blender and pulse to chop fine. Add 2 cups of water and blend again. Using a fine sieve, drain into a large bowl and press down on the ginger pieces gently. Scrape ginger back into blender. Repeat process using 2 more cups of water at a time until 8 cups of water has been used. Stir in sugar and lime juice until sugar is dissolved. Use ½ cup ginger ale with ½ cup sparkling water and use frozen grapes and perhaps a sprig of mint to serve. Store extra in a large container or freeze in glass containers.

Easy Rice and Kale

rice-kale-recipe I came home from 4 nights away to nothing in the fridge but some kale!! A girl has got to eat… new recipe time 🙂

1 cup brown rice
2 cups water plus 2 Tbls. extra water
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 tsp. McKay’s vegan chicken seasoning
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic salt

rice kale salsa Lightly coat a covered casserole dish with coconut oil. Add rice, water, seasonings and stir. Add chopped kale on top, cover and bake for 65 minutes at 350 degrees. Serve with salsa and beans if desired.

Featured Gadget: Straw cleaner

IMG_1792 IMG_1793 IMG_1794 It seems the sippy containers are showing up everywhere. I really enjoy sipping my smoothies and shakes from a straw and this handy tool allows for easy clean up! My mother bought this fun item from Bed Bath and beyond for $3.99. It’s the perfect kitchen gadget to go with your smoothie accoutrements. Thanks Mom!!

Roasted Asparagus

1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed asparagusG_1759
2 tsp. toasted sesame olive oil
2 tsp. sesame seeds (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

On an oven-safe dish, place the oiled and salted asparagus in a 425 degree pre-heated oven.
Roast (cook) for about 10-15 minutes depending on how you like it. Sprinkle sesame seeds on top and serve.

Collard Wraps

I love the smell of brown rice cooking! My daughter just loves it when I add seasoning into the rice while it is cooking because it tastes like ‘uncle Ben’s’. Wild rice adds nice color, texture and variety. To me, this is a great way to bridge the gap of RAW and VEGAN. A little cooked whole grain (easy, warm, nutritious and yummy) and those mega-superstar raw collards and zucchini; playing their very important roles here.

2 cups wild rice blend (or brown rice)
4 cups water (plus 2 Tbls. water for “good measure”)
3 Tbls. chicken seasoning blend of choice
1 zucchini, grated
8 collard greens, washed and stems sliced out
1/4 cup dressing of choice (vegan ranch, balsamic, etc.) or  lemon juice to taste
vegan collard wrap
Prepare a small oven safe container (or rice cooker) with a bit of coconut oil. Add rice, water and seasoning. Cover and bake in the oven for 60 minutes at 350 degrees. (Ovens may vary but this usually works great)
When the rice is cool, fluff and grate the zucchini into it. Mix together with some lemon juice, dressing, vegan ranch, salsa, hummus, etc… and roll manageable amounts of the rice mixture onto the collard greens one at a time. (Save extra rice for the next meal!!) Secure with toothpicks and serve.

Chai Green Tea

2 cups boiling water

chai tea blog

3 green tea bags

1/2 cup coconut or almond milk, etc… or 1/4 cup silk soy creamer

1/8 tsp. cardamom

1/8 tsp. cinnamon

1/8 tsp. ginger

1/8 tsp. vanilla

pinch nutmeg

2-3 Tbls. Agave to taste (or other sweetener of choice)

In a medium bowl or 2 cup glass measuring cup, seep the tea bags in the hot water. Use the back of a spoon to press on the tea bags. Remove and discard tea bags. Add milk, spices and stir. Pour into your favorite large mug and enjoy.

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Many Blessings! Jill

The Best Banana Bread (or as Jolie calls it “the BBB”)

The Best Banana Bread

Yummy vegan banana bread

2 cups organic whole wheat pastry flour or flour of your choice

1/2 tsp. baking soda

12/ tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. allspice, ground (optional)

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup earth balance buttery spread or oil of choice

1/2 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 cup brown sugar

3 bananas, medium sized

1/4 cup non-dairy milk of choice

1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1 tsp. ground flax seed, light brown (optional)

1/2 cup chopped walnuts


1) preheat oven to 350 degrees and lightly grease or spray an 8 inch loaf pan.

2) In a small dish combine apple cider vinegar and non-dairy milk. Stir and set aside (will create a buttermilk-like effect) vegan buttermilk effect

3) In a medium bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice. Stir to combine.

4) In a food processor with S blade, combine earth balance, 2 sugars, flax seed if using, vanilla and buttermilk mixture. Blend  well to combine. Add bananas and pulse just enough to chop into the mix.

5) Add the four mixture and pulse just enough to combine. Pulse in the chopped walnuts if using at the end. (try not to over-mix the batter).

6) Pour into prepared ban and bake about 60 minutes. Test with a toothpick. Let cool completely before slicing.

Can also mix this by hand, mash bananas with a fork, etc…


Recipe to get rid of Fruit Flies

Hey it’s not fun in September in SW Michigan if you have hundreds of fruit flies all over your kitchen!

I tried 2 other things but this did the trick!

Recipe to get rid of Fruit Flies

Sorry to have to do this but you guys are annoying in the house!

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (not plain white vinegar!)

2 drops non-scented dish soap


Stir gently. Place the bowl near garbage can or fruit. The flies will be attracted to the scent and will drown because of the soap.

Freezing Fresh Herbs

parsley in a vase

air drying in a vase

My friend Patty  (from Country Life Natural Foods) showed me how she always has fresh/frozen herbs in the freezer.

Rinse off your bunch of cilantro, parsley, basil etc… trim the stems just a little and put the bunch in a vase. They will revitalize and crisp up while air-drying the leafy herbs.

After a few hours or the next day, trim off the stems, chop the herbs and place into a freezer container. You can even smash down all the basil leaves into a tight compacted space.

Need some fresh herbs sprinkled on anything? Just go to your freezer for a beautiful blast of green herbs ready to go!

Thanks Patty!

Kale Crisps

1 bunch Kale – any kind: Lacinato (flat leaf), Red or Curly
1 tsp. olive oil
1 tsp. lemon juice red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp. salt

Slice the hard vein out of the Kale. Chop into strips. Wash and spin dry. In a large mixing bowl toss the kale by hand with oil, vinegar (lemon juice) and salt. Spread out on 2 parchment lined baking sheets. Bake at 400ºF until crisp to the touch. 5-10 minutes or so. Watch closely so they do not to burn. Eat like popcorn or with a dip.

Tower Garden
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