Dates and Dates

I just finished making some date syrup. I’ve never made it before so I hope it turned out okay. I had to make date syrup because it was granola day and we’re pretty low on maple syrup. I make granola a few times per month, enough to fill a two quart mason jar. I eat a lot of granola because it’s easy to make and I almost always have most of the ingredients on hand, so it’s cheap(er) and it’s super customizable so I won’t get bored. It’s also one of the main ingredients in my current favorite snack, coconut yogurt, frozen blueberries and granola. You can check out my quick and easy granola recipe here.

Date syrup: 20 pitted medjool dates + 2 cups boiling water + soak 4-6 hours + blend until smooth = date syrup

For the date syrup, I add 1 cup of pitted medjool dates (about 20) with two cups of kettle boiled water and 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional). I read that I was supposed to let the dates soak for 4-6 hours, but I am not that patient. Besides, my dates were still moist for the most part. So I pulled out my trustee stick blender and went to town. It came together really easily. I let it sit for about half an hour, then blended some more just to make sure it was smooth and silky. I switched it out one-to-one for the maple syrup in today’s batch of granola. Next time I’m going to try making date paste in hopes that it will be a bit sweeter.

Aside from making granola, I’ve been cooking up lots great veggies I got from the grocery stores Managers Special cart. My store rarely does this so it’s pretty exciting when they do. I got tons of bell peppers, portabello mushrooms, asparagus, pineapple and cantaloupe (Ruby’s favorite). We did veggie fajitas with chickpea ‘tortillas’ and roasted veggies with a balsamic and Dijon mustard glaze along side rice and lentils. So so good!

Steve’s mom gifted me an Instant Pot for the holidays. I’ve been a busy busy bee cooking away anything I can get in there. It’s so wonderful and easy, and love that I can make so many different things in there. And it’s speed makes it so great for getting food ready fast when I’m tired. It’s also enabled me to cook lots and lots of collard greens. I use it nearly everyday. Next week I hope to make my own yogurt. I can’t really say I recipes for this stuff as I’m still sort of experimenting. However, I’ve made collard greens quite a few times now and I think I’ve got that one down.

Instant Pot Collard Greens: I bunch collard greens, cleaned and chopped + 1 large onion, sliced + a drizzle of olive or coconut oil + salt & pepper + 1 cup water or broth + Steam setting for 2 minutes, natural release = Yummy for your tummy collards!

Okay, so there’s actually been quite a lot going on around here lately besides cooking. I’ve been working on something for the last few months and I’m super excited about it. I’m finally starting my cooking school! Well, soon anyway. I’ve been working hard on business plans and websites and I am *fingers crossed* hopefully going to be starting a business incubator program this coming weekend. It’s a 6 month program that takes you through everything you need to know and do to start your business. And the best part is that it’s free from the county library system. There’s even a commercial kitchen that I’ll get to cook in and a cafe where I can test out food sales to the public. I am so excited! Stay tuned for the official launch date!

In other news, Ruby has been walking independently for a couple of weeks now. She is also going to be turning one in less than a month. I can’t wait to get her in the kitchen with me!

Well, I guess that’s all for now.

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