Monthly Archives: October 2017

No Figgy Pudding here…it’s a Grape Preserve


On a recent road trip with an awesome friend of 20+ years, I was given in inordinate amount of grapes by her extremely generous gardening friend.  I am not sure of the variety but they are much denser than the seedless green ones you find in the supermarket. My knowledge of most fruits, vegetables, plants, animals…is pretty rudimentary. 

So upon my return, I was trying to wrap my head around what to do with this crazy awesome big ol’ bag of grapes. When I think of grapes, I either picture just eating a bowl full or, because they are a fruit ( I have that much food knowledge) I picture jam. The thought of these grapes in a preserve of some sort made me just a wee bit giddy. Of course some of the enthusiasm could have been left over from the fact that, on this road trip destination, we were lodging right next to a vineyard and working winery. 

So how to begin this jammy happy journey I queried myself.  Quiet, I’m thinking, I replied.  

Figs! Who doesn’t think of pairing grapes and figs? So off I went to procure some Figgy goodness. And of course, it had to be Trader Joe’s because my belly loves their food and my budget loves their prices.

When I returned from frolicking, I got my joyous bunches of washed grapes and plucked about 3 cups of them from their stems. I then tossed them with a drizzle or two of olive oil, arranged them beautifully (not really) on a parchment lined cookie sheet and popped them into a 425 degree oven for 10 minutes. I let them cool on the sheet then moved them into a pot,  juice and all.  
Next, it was time to chop up the figs and add them to the fun. Since I still was fixating on that whole whole close proximity to a winery on the trip, I decided some Pinot Gris should come along for the ride. A scant 1/4 cup of sugar got mixed in next, and the zest from one orange finished it all off. Bring all the ingredients in the pot to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, bring up the burner temperature just a bit and allow the mixture to cook down to a syrupy consistency. I took a few spoonfuls of the hot liquid after it had reduced, and placed it in a heat safe cup with 1 tsp. of cornstarch. I stirred that mixture back in and made sure the consistency got nice and thickly pourable. The last ingredient is the juice of one orange. Now let it cool, then spoon into canning jars or some other fairly tight lidded container.

Look at that yummy happy grapey Figgy goodness right there.

So, you may have your favourite ways of using a preserve like this, but my always gotta have it is goat cheese and preserves atop a chunk of French bread. Seriously, I could make a go of this as my staple food source. 

                                                                                      Have a happy Figgy Friday , people!


Trader Joe’s Pumpkin Spiced Almond Milk Inspires Me


Yes, there it is…what inspires you, Cassillis? The answer, my friend, is not blowing in the wind as this carton is too sturdy for such things. On a recent visit to Trader Joe’s, I came upon this nectar of the gods, and since my budget allowed for it’s $1.99 price tag, I splurged. Little did I know the magickal properties held within this seemingly unassuming dimensional carton. 
My first thought was to warm the milk and steep chai tea in it…and that was to come to pass, but not before my brain sizzled into action on a chilly Sunday morning as I search relentlessly for breakfast fare.
I’ve made plenty of no bake protein bites which are wonderful tasty and happy, but this crisp morning called for something warmer and spicier. Gathering some ingredients, my mind raced to concoct a recipe that would both utilize items I had on hand, but do so in a palate pleasing way.
Enter Pumpkin Spiced Almond Milk

When added to the mix, this beautiful beverage made the angels sing and the sun shine. Okay, metaphorically that is. I was singing but the verdict is still out as to what percentage of angel I am, and in truth, the skies were rather overcast. But this, this was sunshine in a bowl.
I gazed inside the oven through the window and marveled at this wondrously muffinous sight. (It’s my blog, work with me on the verbiage here)
It was difficult to wait until these little delights had cooled enough to sample. They were well worth the wait.
So now, because you have shared in my glorious tale and will obviously now use the word “muffinous” in your daily conversation, I am sharing with you my recipe. Go with it and be blessed!
Protein Pumpkin Spice Extraordinaire Muffins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Line muffin or mini muffin tins or spray with nonstick spray.
1 cup unbleached flour
2 ripe bananas, mashed

1/4 cup Trader Joe’s pumpkin spice almond milk (or regular almond milk)
1/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup brown sugar (I used a little less but it depends on your sweetness preference)
1 tsp. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/2 cup chocolate or vanilla protein powder (I used chocolate Orgain)
Mix bananas and milk, then add remaining ingredients. Spoon into muffin cups. I used mini muffin tins and it filled 24 exactly.
Bake for 8-12 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Let cool.

Play with the ingredients and find the mix that works best for you. I’m thinking nuts, dates or cranberries would make good additions, especially with vanilla protein powder.