Maple Kisses

Visualize this…pretend that someone you love has just eaten a stack of buckwheat pancakes drenched in maple syrup. Or maybe you both enjoyed a special room service breakfast in bed.

Now close your eyes and picture your two slightly sticky sweet lips tenderly kissing; softly, with just the hint of a maple-y flavor perfuming the kiss.

Romance. Maple syrup.

Maple Water With LemonNow THAT is exactly is the defining essence of maple water — just the slightest hint of maple flavor and lots of health benefits.

Kissed by maple. Ahhh.

My family and I sampled the product that was sent by for me to try and review. (Product only, no monetary compensation; my opinions are my own)

Actually, it was my DIL who came up with the initial description and I embellished a tiny  bit.

MaplewaterI use a lot of maple syrup in baking and not just for pancakes.

My Quinoa Lentil Energy Bars recipe uses maple syrup as the primary sweetener. So does my Best Homemade Granola, so easy. mix 1/4 cup maple syrup and 1/4 cup veg oil, mix well with two cups of rolled oats. Sprinkle with cinnamon. YUM!

What is maple water?

Maple water is another term for maple sap, the clear liquid that flows naturally through sugar maple trees. Maple water is a healthy choice for hydration because it contains all of the same unique benefits of a natural product that directly comes from a maple tree. These include 46 unique bioactive compounds, some of which have antioxidant properties, as well as beneficial minerals including potassium, manganese and zinc. Maple water is naturally low in sugar and has only 20 calories per serving size (8.45 oz. or 250ml), compared to an average of 50 calories for the same serving size of coconut water.

Maple syrup, on the other hand, is a concentrated form of maple sap, and the result of evaporating water from the sap until it reaches the consistency of syrup. Forty gallons of maple sap make one gallon of maple syrup. Maple water is a healthy choice for hydration because it contains all of the same unique benefits of a natural product that directly comes from a maple tree. These include 46 unique bioactive compounds, some of which have antioxidant properties, as well as beneficial minerals including potassium, manganese and zinc. Maple water is naturally low in sugar and has only 20 calories per serving size (8.45 oz. or 250ml), compared to an average of 50 calories for the same serving size of coconut water.

Much More Than a Refreshing Beverage

NAPSI-certified maple water is a refreshing drink on its own, but also adds a subtle hint of sweetness and maple flavor when used in cooking and baking (for recipes, click here). Mixologists use pure maple water in ice cubes or as an ingredient for cocktails, and chefs choose it as an ingredient for marinades, soups, ice creams and sorbets. The bioactive compounds and trace amounts of minerals in maple water make it an excellent thirst quencher for athletes looking for a beverage to help fuel their bodies.

Try this other tasty recipes and you’ll learn, like I did, that maple syrup is perfect for more than Sunday breakfast!

Bookmark them for holiday entertaining.

Maple Walnut Bread (gluten-free and vegetarian, but not vegan)

Maple Quinoa Salad (vegan)

Maple Roasted Asparagus (vegan)

The Federation of Quebec Maple Syrup Producers #ilovemaple

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Best Protein Bar EVER – with Garden of Life

Follow ME To a HEALTHIER and More Vibrant YOU #gardenoflife #gardenofliferaw #kindorganics


So…by now y’all are aware that I went all whiny and whingy at BlogHer14, but I came away with a few positives, like meeting the awesome reps from Garden of Life Kind Organics.

I start every day with smoothies prepared with Raw Protein-Beyond Organic Protein Formula

  • Good for those with gastrointestinal sensitivities to milk, whey, and other protein sources
  • Easily digested – supports digestive health and function with live probiotics and protein-digesting enzymes
  • It’s raw, vegan and gluten free.
  • One serving has 17 grams of raw plant based protein.

My family loves my protein bars — I’m on a constant quest experimenting with different recipes to pack as many nutrients as possible in every bite, and THIS one is so good, it could be a meal replacement bar, too.

There are a lot of ingredients, but don’t let that scare you; it makes enough to last a long time.

This recipe uses Garden of Life Raw Protein in Vanilla, but you could use any flavor. Chocolate would be DELICOUS, and if you use that, add 1/2 cup cocoa to the dry ingredients.

“Bomber Bar” with Quinoa and Lentils ©™

We call them “Bomber Bars” ‘cos “bomber” is a term for an awesome wave. In my family, everyone but me surfs, and this is a great snack when you’ve burned all those calories in the water.

Lentil Puree:
4 ounces lentils, approximately 2/3 cup, picked over and rinsed
2 cups water
Cook until soft, about thirty minutes, then mash or use immersion blender. Set aside.

Ingredients:
½ – 1 cup Garden of Life Protein Powder
1½ cups whole-wheat pastry flour
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon (we love cinnamon)
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons fresh or ground ginger
1 teaspoon cardamom

2/3 cup maple syrup
½ cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
1 egg (delete egg to make it vegan)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2/3 cup unsalted peanut butter

2 cups rolled oats
½ cup raw quinoa
1/2 c. Garden of Life chia seeds or ground chia
1/4 c. ground flax seeds
¼ cup rice bran
1/4 c. shredded coconut, sweetened

½ cup dried blueberries
1 cup assorted dried fruit, such as raisins, cherries, apricots, cranberries
1 cup chopped almonds

Directions:
In a really big bowl, combine the first ten dry ingredients, whisk to stir and set aside.quinoalentilbarCombine the quinoa, chia, flax, coconut, oats, and almonds on a baking sheet. Bake for 5-10 minutes @350 degrees until lightly browned.

quinoalentil6in a large pot, mix the peanut butter and maple syrup together and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in the rice bran, salt, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, ginger, and vanilla extract.

quinoalentil7Combine the lentils with quinoa/oats/almonds mixture with dry ingredients that were set aside. Whisk to mix.

Pour the peanut butter/maple syrup mixture into the bowl with dry ingredients, add oil and egg (if used).

Add cooked, mashed lentils. Mix well with wooden spoon to completely incorporate.

Add fruit. At this point, I use my hands to mix it all together. The mixture is a bit heavy and thanks to the maple syrup, it should stick together, so you may need to slightly moisten hands as you go.

Line a 13×9 pan with parchment paper, leaving enough hanging over the sides so you can lift it out after it bakes and cools.

Pour the (heavy) mixture into the pan and press down firmly.

*This is a super important step. When my tugboat man is home, this is his job. When he’s not here, I use a one-pound can to roll back and forth until it’s a flat and mooshed(?) together as possible. Pack it down to ensure it fills each corner and creates an even, flat surface.

Bake at 350 degrees for about thirty-forty minutes. Remove from oven, and press down again. The more dense the bar, the less crumbly it’ll be.
Let cool, refrigerate for at least two hours. Cut into 2×2 inch squares. To keep them fresher longer, I wrap each individually in parchment paper and always refrigerated.

quinoalentil8
quinoalentilproteinbar2 quinoalentilproteinbar3One of these bars is a protein packed “bomber” that’s a perfect snack or even meal replacement.

My son needs to eat several small meals with high quality nutrition and these are perfect for his busy, on-the-go lifestyle.

I’m happy because I know my family is eating healthy food made with love.

A recipe and a request…from a tugboat captain

The wonderful FurFiles (meow!) is back from her Jamaican vacation, and it’s about time!  I’ve missed her astute blogging and pithy commentary, like the many ways I can exact revenge on my tugboat man should the need arise.

ex=lax signNo, I’m not going to put ex-lax in his food. Not this time, anyway.

Ms Fur has furrily requested the recipe for another version of carrot bread I made last night, loosely based on a recipe from my 1970s Laurel’s Kitchen cookbook.

I’m not the magnificent artist of decor and whimsy like Judy at Petit4Chocolatier  nor do I possess the versatility of (bakery owner in another life) Tonette of tonettejoycefoodfriendsfamily but I have my most consistent success with everyday, homey, mom-like healthy breads, apple pies, lentil cookies, and black bean brownies.pastry bag and tips

Confession: I’ve been known to wield a mean pastry bag to build roses with tip #12 and #104 on flower nail #7 (as well as shells and garland)  but I save that skill set for special occasions only.

A Schwarzwälder kirsch kuchen similar to one I made to celebrate my son’s graduation.

Black Forest Cherry Cake

Black Forest Cherry Cake dripping in kirschwasser

 

First the request...I’m conducting an interview of my resident mariner for a future post. In the wake of today’s ferry accident in New York and other recent vessel related incidents, it seems timely.  

Anything you’d like to know?

I’ve tortured used my not inconsiderable powers of persuasion to convince my tugboat man to put up his surfboard for a moment and consent to an interview. The convincing involved all sorts of things like I need to wear nothing but a pair of six-inch heels and red lipstick and must refer to him as Most Exalted Master Seaman, but that is my cross to bear, not yours.

It was his idea to take requests from my readers in the wonderful world of blogging and Twitter and FB and I agree that’s a great idea–which should prove to doubters (and children) that hubs does have an independent thought once in a great while.

He’ll entertain queries about maritime-related stuff, what it’s like being married to me(!), technical stuff about boat handling/boat restoration, marlinspike seamanship,– ask away!

Certain things can’t be revealed of course, but he’ll do his best to answer all questions. He’s a USCG certified instructor, so you know he’s got the cred and he’s not just another pretty face.

You’ll discover the funny side to life as a seaman–they have a weird sense of humor–creating witty rhymes such as, “It’s not gay when you’re underway…” [urban dictionary]

I’ll credit the question with a link or you can remain anonymous–your choice.

And now for the recipe….carrotraisinbread2 carrot raisin bread

Carrot Raisin Bread
It’s moist and delicious with a rich texture! The difference is in the process. Try it and let me know what you think about it. Hubs loves it!

Ingredients
One cup grated carrots
One cup raisins
3/4 cup honey (I didn’t have a lot of honey so I used 1/4 honey, 1/4 agave, 1/4 brown sugar) Maple syrup would be yummy, too.
One teaspoon each: cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg, ginger, cloves
1/4 teaspoon salt
Two tablespoons vegetable oil
One egg, beaten
1 1/2 cups water
1 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 325 degrees, not sure how to do the conversions.
In a medium saucepan, cook carrots, raisins, honey/sugar, oil, and spices in the water for about ten minutes. Let cool. When cool, add beaten egg and mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and add to wet ingredients. Pour into one or two loaf pans depending on size. I made mine in one large loaf pan. Bake for about 45 minutes but check carefully so it doesn’t over bake. Let cool before slicing.