DIY Gift Idea: Lemon Thyme Salt Scrub

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If you’re looking for some really simple (like pour and stir, simple) ideas for holiday gifts this year, look no further! You can purchase everything you need for this Lemon Thyme Salt Scrub right here in the store, even the beautiful jar. For the month of December the Veriditas Botanicals essential oils are on sale for 20% off. These are the purest oils out there and we’ve got ‘em! To learn more about Veriditas Botanicals check out a blog post we wrote on them awhile back.

Lemon and thyme are natural complements to each other. Lemon is detoxifying, brightening and energizing and is perfect to combat the winter doldrums. Thyme is also detoxifying and is a natural antidepressant, which is great for these really short days with very little sun.

To make this scrub you will need:

1 cup fine grain sea salt
1/2 cup sweet almond oil
10 drops lemon essential oil
5-7 drops thyme essential oil
In a sterile jar combine salt and oils and stir to combine. To use, dampen skin and exfoliate gently. Either wipe clean with a washcloth or rinse off in the shower.
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Persimmon Upside Down Cake

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Although winter can last FOR-EV-ER here on the Palouse, there are some wonderful things to look forward to. Sledding, hot chocolate, going to bed at 8 pm and it being totally acceptable and persimmons! Persimmons are small, soft, orange-fleshed fruits native to China and Japan and delicately sweet. The most common types of persimmons found in Co-ops, grocery stores and farmers markets are Fuyu (smaller, rounder and lighter in color) and Hachiya (darker, brighter and heart-shaped) and both are delicious. Hachiya persimmons should be eaten at a very specific ripeness (when they feel super soft to the touch) to avoid any bitter flavor and can be spooned out of their skin and eaten. Fuyu persimmons are heartier and stand up better to baking and cooking.

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For this Upside Down Cake recipe, we used persimmons (instead of more commonly seen pineapple) and brown sugar to make a caramelized crust when it’s flipped over.

To make this cake you will need:

1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2-3 Fuyu persimmons, sliced thinly
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup almond paste
3 eggs, separated
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9″ cake pan (at least 2 inches deep) and line with parchment paper. Beat 2 tablespoons of butter with the brown sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Spread the mixture over the bottom of the pan with a rubber spatula. Arrange sliced fruit in the pan on top of the butter and sugar mixture. In a medium bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Beat the remaining butter with the almond paste and 3/4 cup of sugar until smooth and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks followed by the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the dry ingredients in 2 parts, alternating with the milk, mixing until well combined. In a separate bowl using a mixer, beat the egg whites until foamy. Gradually sprinkle in the remaining 1/4 cup of sugar and beat until soft peaks form. Fold a third of the egg whites in the cake batter, being careful not to deflate them. Gently fold in the rest of the egg whites and pour batter into the pan. Bake for 60-70 minutes then remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes before inverting the cake.

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Holiday Gift Guide: For the Local Lover

Thanksgiving has come and gone and it’s time to start thinking about holiday gift-giving. While we believe in shopping locally year-round, we push for it even more during the holiday season. We’ll be bringing you our gift guides for all the special folks in your life, so be sure to stop back and see what we think they’ll love. To kick things off we’re featuring gift ideas for the person in your life who loves to shop from local artisans and appreciates items made by hand.

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Red Cedar Studio: Pick up a handmade wooden cutting board, serving board or wine stopper, made by Daleen Boe. She’s taught herself everything she knows and she uses materials from Specialty Hardwoods here in Moscow.

Orchard Farm Soap: Made by hand in small batches by Kate Jaeckel, Orchard Farm Soaps are made with organic, fair trade and unrefined ingredients– and they smell good too! According to Kate using her soap is easy as 1, 2, 3. Step 1: Get Soap. Step 2: Get Naked. Step 3: Get clean. Pick up individual bars or products that she’s thoughtfully packaged together for gifts.

Mountain Blue Eye Jewelry: Stacy Boe Miller (sister to Daleen from Red Cedar Studio… so much talent in that family!) has been making jewelry for about ten years and her style suits a variety of tastes. She uses metals, that she hammers and solders by hand, and beads in blues and greens, which represent her love of the outdoors. Have an outdoorsy person in your life who also loves fun jewelry? Mountain Blue Eye is for you.

Jewelry by Kimberly Vincent: You might recognize Kimberly by her long, flowing white locks, but you’ll recognize her thoughtfully made jewelry by the stones she uses (lots of turquoise) and hand-hammered silver and copper. Her earrings and necklaces are now available in the Wellness Department.

Meadowlark Heritage Farm Goat’s Milk Soap: Gather ’round, kids. We couldn’t resist a little goat humor… If you’ve never felt how luxurious goat’s milk soap is, prepared to be pampered. Made from the milk of their Oberhasli goats, Meadowlark’s soap comes in fun varieties like Camper Soap and Pumpkin Spice.

Nutritive Body Care: Made in small batches by Kristy Bonner, Nutritive Body Care makes products for the most sensitive of skin. Her products are all natural and free of harsh chemicals, so they’re good for the planet too. Combating wrinkles has never felt better.

Woodland Apiaries: A jar of local honey (especially with the honeycomb in it) makes a wonderful holiday gift. Harvested from local bees, the honey from Woodland Apiaries is delicious and when paired with a custom tea blend made from our bulk teas and beautiful mug, nothing is lovelier.

Roasted Lemony Green Beans

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By now, you’re probably looking for really simple recipes that you can add to your holiday table. And if simple, but robust flavors are calling your name, these green beans are for you. This dish is also vegan, so it’s sure to please a variety of diets. Again, we’re using fresh green beans, but the flavor and crunch really can’t be beat.

To make these green beans you will need:

2 pounds fresh green beans, washed and trimmed
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
½ teaspoon sea salt
½ cup slivered almonds
1 teaspoon lemon zest
juice from ½ a lemon

 Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a large bowl toss the beans with the oil, garlic and salt. Spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet (you may need to two baking sheets) and roast for 15 minutes. Rotate pans in the oven and continue roasting for 10 more minutes. Remove from the oven and place beans in a large bowl. Add lemon juice, zest and almonds and toss to combine.

Gluten-Free Cornbread Stuffing With Cranberries

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There’s often a hearty debate regarding the use of stuffing versus dressing. Some believe that if you fill your bird with it, it’s stuffing and if it’s served alongside the bird, it’s dressing. And if you’re anywhere in the south it’s dressing regardless of where you put it. So no matter what you call it, we have a fabulous recipe for you!

Following a gluten-free diet doesn’t have to ruin your Thanksgiving meal plans. Using gluten-free corn bread (which is delicious on its own) means you won’t even miss the gluten-full version this holiday.

1 batch of gluten-free cornbread (we recommend Bob’s Red Mill)
1pound breakfast sausage
2 sticks unsalted butter
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 cup of celery, cut into ½ inch slices
¼ cup apple cider vinegar
1 cup pecans
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh thyme chopped
2 teaspoons sea salt
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 package frozen cranberries
¼ cup sugar
3 cups chicken stock

 Prepare cornbread to package directions. Once cool, cut bread into cubes and toast in 325 degree oven, about 20 minutes. Let cool and transfer to a large mixing bowl.

 While the bread is baking, cook sausage in a medium skillet over medium-high heat until nicely browned. Transfer to mixing bowl with bread, but do not stir. In the same skillet, melt the butter and add celery and onions and cook until softened. Add them to the mixing bowl. Add vinegar to the skillet, scraping up the browned bits on the pan and pour into the bowl. In a small bowl toss the cranberries with the sugar and gently fold them into the mixing bowl. Add broth, pecans, herbs, salt and pepper, gently stirring taking care not to mash the cornbread. Transfer to a baking dish and cover with foil. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top is browned.

Mashed Potatoes: Tips from the Pros

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What better way to express gratitude this Thanksgiving, than by making the most stellar mashed potatoes ever? We bet you didn’t think there were so many rules when it comes to making mashed potatoes, but it turns out you were mistaken. It’s just potatoes, milk, butter and salt. What could you possibly mess up? While any combination of those ingredients will undoubtedly taste good, it comes down texture. Some people prefer potato skins left on and some prefer silky smooth versus lumpy. Regardless of your preferences, we righting some basic potato wrongs, right here and now.

Mistake #1: You’re chopping your potatoes in uneven chunks, meaning they’ll cook at different rates. This could lead to grainy or crunchy chunks of taters.

Mistake #2: You’re not mashing by hand. We know the appeal of a food processor or blender can take over, but trust us. You want to do this on your own. When potatoes or over-whipped, they can turn into a kind of starchy glue. Unless you’re planning to patch some holes with your potatoes, leave the appliances for another project.

Mistake #3: Your milk and butter are ice cold. Bring your ingredients to room temperature (or slightly warm your milk) to allow them to absorb into the potatoes better. The better absorbed they are, the less likely you are to overmix them.

Mistake #4: You’re drowning your potatoes. Unless you’re making potato soup, ease up on the amount of milk you’re using. If you need to make your potatoes creamier, opt for more butter. Hey, it’s the holidays, right?

Mistake #5: Your leftover taters are dry and flaky. If you are reheating mashed potatoes, it’s ideal to go slowly. Place potatoes in a pan over medium-low heat and stir, adding in a little milk and extra butter as you go. They’ll be as tasty as the first time around.

Baste a Better Bird

 For so many, the turkey is the anchor of traditional holiday meals. You wouldn’t want to entrust such a big job to a bird that’s been treated unkindly and with hormones and antibiotics, would you? Our Meat Department is proud to bring you the finest turkeys this side of the Mississippi. We have two options for turkeys this year and they’re both wonderful. While we aren’t doing special orders for birds, we’ll have plenty of turkeys from both Diestel Turkey Farm based in Sonora, CA and Joy of Country Farms in Pomeroy, WA.

Diestel raises their turkeys with access to the outdoors and sources the highest quality feed, which is milled directly on their ranch. Founded in 1949, they still use the same “family secrets” today to produce the best tasting birds around. Interested in their family secrets? Keep reading!

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Family Secret #1: Walk the flock everyday. They pay close attention to the health of their birds by spending time with them in the fields.
Family Secret #2: Concentrate on the health of the birds. The free-range environment allows the birds to get plenty of exercise and fresh air and eliminates the need to administer antibiotics.
Family Secret #3: Don’t rush things. They give their turkeys time to develop flavor naturally with a wholesome, 100% vegetarian diet.
Family Secret #4: Never compromise on quality. They don’t take shortcuts and their attention to detail reflects their commitment to bringing you the highest quality turkeys.
To learn more about Diestel click here.

In addition to the turkeys from Diestel, we also have birds from Joy of Country Farms, located just 64 miles from the Co-op.Produced by the Schwindt family, the turkeys from Joy of County are raised with incredibly strict criteria, ensuring that their customers enjoy a healthy and sustainable Thanksgiving meal. They raise heritage bronze turkeys, which take longer to mature and are more expensive to raise, but the taste and quality far exceed commercially raised birds. They are delivered fresh to the store, never frozen, and are treated with respect (meaning no debeaking or wing-clipping).

Keep reading for tips on roasting your best bird yet!

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APPY HOUR: Aubrey’s Holiday 4-Cheese Ball

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Aubrey is infamous around our Co-op for two things: her sassy sense of humor and her holiday cheese balls. People travel from miles around (well, staff flock from their respective departments) to dig into these savory treats she makes every holiday season. And now, Beet Box readers, we’re sharing one of the recipes with you!

One of favorites (she makes 4 different kinds!) is the four-cheese version that is salty and savory and the perfect addition to your holiday entertaining. We serve ours with crispy slices of housemade baguettes, but you could use anything your heart desires- gluten-free crackers, pretzels, your fingers?

To make this cheese ball you will need:

2 cups parmesan, shredded – reserve ¼ cup
4 cups swiss cheese, shredded
5 cups white cheddar, shredded
24 ounces cream cheese, softened
¼ cup shallots minced – reserve half
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon salt – or to taste
a couple drops of your favorite hot sauce
¼ cup parsley – minced and reserve
Small handful of pecans – finely chopped and reserve

In a large bowl, mix together all ingredients until well incorporated. Take reserved items and mix. Form your cheese ball(s). Roll through the reserved mixture and serve.

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