Let’s Toast: Vegan Pumpkin Spice Creamer

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If you’re not part of the pumpkin spice craze yet, then gather ’round. This vegan coffee creamer recipe is sure to make you a follower. Unlike other commercial coffee creamers, this one is made with almond milk, maple syrup, real pumpkin (imagine that!) and variety of fall-friendly spices. Whip up a batch and keep it  in the fridge all winter long. You can even make your own pumpkin puree from scratch with our recipe here. Feel free to adjust the sweetness and spice levels to your own tastes, but this is the version we found to be the most flavorful.

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons pumpkin puree
3 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
1 teaspoon vanilla

Put all the ingredients in a pan over medium heat and whisk until incorporated. Let cool slightly and pour into a jar. Before adding to coffee give it a good shake!

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How To: Make Your Own Pumpkin Puree

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Pumpkin pie, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, pumpkin scones… is your head spinning yet? Now that it’s October, it’s officially pumpkin season! If you have a list of seasonal recipes you’re just dying to dive into, why not try your hand at making your own pumpkin puree. The canned stuff is fine, but the flavor from freshly roasted and pureed pumpkin is out of this world. And it’s so easy to make. BONUS: We have a ton of local squash and pumpkins from Mendenhall Farm right here in Moscow.

Now, let’s be clear- not all pumpkins are created equal. While you can roast and puree any old pumpkin, you want to make sure that for cooking and baking you use sugar pumpkins. They’re smaller and have a sweeter and more flavorful flesh. To make your own pumpkin puree you will need:
2 pie pumpkins

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkins in half and scoop out the seeds. Save them for later if you like roasted pumpkin seeds! Place pumpkins skin side down on a baking sheet and place in oven for about 45 minutes or until fork tender. Remove from oven and let cool. Scoop flesh out of skin and blend in a food processor until smooth. You can preserve pumpkin puree by processing a water bath or refrigerate for up 3 days or freeze for up to six months.

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Cold Relief Tea

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The leaves are changing, the days are getting shorter and the sniffles are imminent. This steamy drink is full of goodies that’ll help knock those cold symptoms out- pow! It’s made with fresh ginger, fresh lemon juice, cayenne pepper and honey. Ginger is antiviral, anti-inflammatory and aids in digestion. Lemon is a great source of vitamin C, is antiseptic and is a great source of calcium. Honey is antibacterial, antioxidant and antiviral. And cayenne pepper is anti-inflammatory and aids in nutrient absorption.

To make this tea, boil 1 cup of water, 1/4 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, 1 tablespoon honey, the juice from a half a lemon and 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper in a small pot over high heat. Bring to boil and heat for five minutes. Strain mixture through a fine sieve and drink while piping hot. Put on your comfiest socks and jammies and get to healing!

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APPY HOUR: Burrata + Plum Salad with Arugula

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Burrata- Italian for “you’ll never want to eat anything else again in your life.” Ok, not exactly. It actually means “buttery” and one taste of this souped up mozzarella cheese and you’ll be changed forever. Burrata, made from either buffalo or cow’s milk is an outer shell of fresh mozzarella cheese, filled with a mixture of cream and more mozzarella cheese. The result is a rich, creamy cheese that balances nicely with something sweet, like honey, or in this case plums and something peppery, like arugula.

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Plums, often under-utilized in salads, make the perfect addition to this recipe. This time of year, they’re nice and sweet with great texture and juiciness. We’ve also added a salty prosciutto, which can be omitted if you’re wanting to create a vegetarian dish.

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To assemble this salad place a bed of arugula down first. Remove pits from plums and slice, scattering plums on top of the greens. Tear proscuitto into small pieces and also place on greens. Place two balls of burrata on top, cutting open, so the creamy inside spills onto the rest of the salad. For extra sweetness, drizzle honey on top of the burrata.

How To: Make Apple Cider Vinegar

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If you have an over-abundance of apples, or peels and cores, then why not make your own apple cider vinegar? Sure, it’s easy enough to pick up on any grocery trip, but with some apple scraps, water and jar you can make your own! Apple cider vinegar is good for a whole host of things like cleaning, removing dandruff, clearing your skin and aiding your digestive health. So while you’re making those pies this fall or wondering what to do with the apples on your tree, save the extras and make your own vinegar!

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To make apple cider vinegar you will need:
•organic apple scraps, peels or cores (or all three)
•a large jar or jars depending on how much vinegar you’re making
•a cloth to keep out bugs and debris

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Wash apples and allow apple scraps to brown at room temperature. If you have whole apples, cut them into slices first. Place them in a jar and cover with water. Place a cloth or rag on top and store in a warm, dark place like a hot water closet. Let the jar stand for 6 months, stirring once a week. At the end of six months you will notice a grey scum on the top of the mixture. Pour the contents through a fine sieve into another jar. Place cloth on top and store for another four weeks. Store vinegar in a covered jar in the refrigerator to preserve freshness.

Preserve the Season: Ginger Pear Preserves

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We have boxes of beautiful local pears in store right now, and if the thought of eating 14 pounds of pears seems a little daunting, here’s an idea to preserve the harvest. These Ginger Pear preserves are sweet and spicy and would make a beautiful gift for someone. The pears develop a delicious caramelized flavor that pear pair nicely with a sharp and salty blue cheese- lovely for fall.

To make the preserves you will need:

3 pounds pears, peeled, cored and sliced
4 cups sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 candied ginger, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, grated

In a large pot place the pears, sugar, lemon juice and fresh ginger. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Add the candied ginger to the pot and stir to combine. Increase heat to medium-high and cook, stirring often, until the mixture is thick coats the back of a spoon, about 45 minutes. Pour into sterilized jars and process in a hot water bath. Without being processed in a hot water bath the preserves will keep in the refrigerator for 5 days.

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Panzanella (Tomato Bread Salad)

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It’s bread… it’s salad… it’s bread… it’s salad! Two words that don’t typically go together, but we think should. And really, who’s favorite part of their salad isn’t the croutons? This recipe for panzanella, or Tuscan tomato bread salad is a great way to use up old bread and use all those tomatoes and peppers from the garden or farmers market. It’s incredibly simple to make– the hardest part is letting the salad rest for an hour while it absorbs the dressing.

To make the panzanella you will need:
1 baguette or loaf of 1-2 day old bread
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint of cherry tomatoes, sliced in halves or quarters
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup chopped basil leaves
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Tear or chop bread into bite-size pieces and coat with two tablespoons of olive oil. Spread bread in a single layer on a baking pan and toast for 10-15 minutes. Let cool. In a small bowl whisk together the vinegar, oil, garlic, salt and pepper until well combined. Place bread, tomatoes, peppers and basil in a large bowl. Pour dressing over the top and toss gently to combine. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit for at least an hour, or until the bread has absorbed the dressing.  Garnish with more basil.

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Cucumber Salsa

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Our kitchen’s made-from-scratch products are ever changing and growing as we develop more relationships with local growers and this cucumber salsa is a perfect example. We’re able to use local cucumbers, herbs, onions, tomatoes and peppers to highlight the flavors of the season. And now we’re sharing the recipe with you!

To make this salsa you will need:

1 large cucumber, peeled, seeded & diced
1/2 pound cucumber, peeled, seeded, & diced
1/4 pounds red onion, finely diced
1/4 pounds fresh tomato, seeded & minced
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, finely diced
1/4 cup fresh mint, finely diced
1  fresh jalapeno, seeded & minced
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper

Peel the cucumbers, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds with a spoon. Then finely dice them. Prep the rest of the vegetables as directed and place them all in a large bowl. Whisk together the safflower oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Toss with the vegetables, adjusting salt and pepper to taste. Serve with tortilla chips or as a refreshing topping for tacos.

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Chocolate Ch-ch-ch-chia Pudding

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If you’re used to Chia Pets and Chia Heads you may never have thought about eating chia seeds… before now. These tiny seeds pack a punch of nutrients in very few calories, they’re full of protein and fiber, deliver plenty of antioxidants and can help with heart health– they’re also a great source of calcium for people who follow a dairy-free diet. Native to South America, chia seeds were consumed by the Aztecs and Mayans and were praised for their ability to provide sustained energy. Only recently have they made in a surge in modern diets, as people are recognizing their health benefits.  This recipe requires that the chia seeds soak for several hours, so take that into account when making this pudding.
To make this Chocolate Chia Pudding you will need:
1/3 cup of chia seeds
1 1/2 cups coconut milk
3 tablespoons agave syrup
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a large bowl, whisk together milk, agave, cocoa and vanilla until well combined. Add chia seeds and let soak for 2-3 hours. Enjoy!
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