Happy New Year…Here’s To Good Health!

It’s a brand, new year and boy, do I need to set the reset button, so there’s no better time than now.  I’ve had some health issues that need to be addressed such as aching joints, lack of energy; the typical old age complaints.  But, I’m not going to let age take over.  It’s back to healthier eating and getting out in the gardens more.  I’ve also joined Weight Watchers (again) to help keep me honest and for a little inspiration from the other members.  The group there is always so supportive.

I’m definitely going back to a more serious vegan lifestyle.  I was always, “mostly vegan,” but I was making too many exceptions and my weight was creeping up.  Now, I’m about 98% vegan and so is the hubby.  He’s happy about that.  (We still have to make concessions when we go out, or eat with others and that’s OK.)

I thought that I’d take this week to share with you some of my favorite, healthful, vegan meals and recipes.  Here’s the first one, Whole Wheat Tortillas.  They cost a fraction to make compared to store-bought ones and they taste so much fresher.  I use them for salad wraps, tacos, breakfast burritos, you name it.  This is for a batch of 4, medium-size tortillas.  Just double the recipe, if you need more.  They only take a few minutes to make, so there’s no need to make a huge batch.  I think that the olive oil also adds a healthful touch, since many of the store-bought ones use trans fats in their recipes.

Whole Wheat Flour Tortillas

1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup water
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
-Preheat a large, cast iron skillet , or griddle to medium-high to cook the tortillas on.
-Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and knead for a minute, or two, with your hands until dough is smooth and elastic.  (Add small amounts of water, slowly, if the dough feels too dry.)
-Divide the dough into 4 equal parts and roll each part into a ball with your hands.
-On a floured surface, roll out a ball, with a floured, rolling pin, into a flat, round tortilla, about 6-8 inches in diameter.
-Toss the uncooked tortilla on the pan, or griddle and cook for about 30 seconds, or until you start to see the bubbles in the dough puff up.
-Flip and cook for about another 30 seconds.  You should see some light brown, toasted spots on the tortilla.  If the spots are black, then turn down the heat a little.
-When done on both sides, remove from heat, put on a plate and cover with a clean cloth.  (Tortilla will soften after a few minutes under the cloth.)
-Repeat this process with the other 3 balls.  You may have to wipe out the pan from time to time, because the residual flour left in the pan will burn and get on to your tortillas while cooking.
I also make awesome, corn tortillas.  I’ll post that recipe tomorrow.
~ C


Cranberry Syrup The Easy Way

Are you making cranberry sauce this Thanksgiving?  Sure you are!  This year, why not drain off some of that extra juice from your bubbling cranberry sauce and make a bottle of cranberry syrup for those pancakes and waffles during this holiday season.  It’s so ridiculously easy!

Homemade Cranberry Syrup
Homemade Cranberry Syrup

Here’s how I do it.  I make my cranberry sauce as usual, using fresh cranberries, sugar, tangerine juice, some grated ginger and a few other spices such as cinnamon, cloves and allspice.  I put it all in a big pot on the stove.  However, I add a couple of extra cups of water to my original, cranberry sauce recipe so that my sauce is on the runny side when it’s done cooking.  Then, I drain off the excess juice, which has now become a syrup.  (If it still runny, it will thicken up as it cools.)  I strain the syrup, (the solids go back into the cranberry sauce,) pour it into a recycled maple syrup bottle, label it and put it in the fridge.  Everyone at my place loves its tangy, sweet taste and the syrup is used in a variety of ways.  I love it poured into a glass of sparking water to make a pretty spritzer.

Now I don’t know if you can even buy such a beautiful syrup in the stores, but if you could I’m sure it would cost a lot more than what I’m paying for this scrumptious byproduct of something I already make each year…which is FREE!

~ C