Monday, August 20, 2012

Pickles and Paleo Experiments…

Can you say “heat wave!”  My oh my has it been hot!  And I know you really wanted to see a picture of my sweaty back to prove it! 

DSCN4987 Last week I did some long runs and the hubs got a kick out of how “wet” I was when I returned home.  I typically don’t sweat much and am quite fond of the warm weather, but 104 degrees is a little over the top warm!  Glad to see a little cooling in the forecast this week.

With all this heat going on we’ve taken a little break from working on the yard, however we did purchase some mini palms to plant hopefully in the near future!  We’ve been told that these guys are slow growing and pretty hardy, which I’m praying to be true because neither the hubs or I have a green thumb.  I think God has blessed me richly with friends who have an abundance of produce growing in their gardens this summer because He knows I can’t grow a thing myself!  In fact, last week I was blessed with a load of fresh cucumbers, zucchini, yellow squash, a cantaloupe and watermelon!  I was so excited to have all this wonderful and fresh picked produce, but wasn’t quite sure how I was going to put all those cucumbers to use….salads, cucumber water, as a snack with hummus??  And then the light bulb came on….PICKLES!! 

DSCN4996It made for a fabulous swap…homegrown cucumbers for good old-fashioned dill pickles!

DSCN4997 The brine for these cucumbers was spot on for flavor and I love the little punch of garlic.

I was honestly afraid that I would have a bunch of soggy pickles on my hand….have no fear my friends, these are crisp and crunchy and perfect on your favorite sandwich (or straight from the jar is fine by me!).  I think the only thing I would do differently next time is to maybe slice the cucumbers a bit thicker for that extra “crunch” factor!DSCN4999

Garlic Dill Pickles

(inspired by Tasty Yummies)

Yields 2 large Mason Jars


2 pounds cucumbers

2 1/2 cups water
2 1/2 cups white distilled vinegar
3 tablespoons sea salt

3 Tbsp organic cane sugar
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 tablespoons black peppercorns
a couple of sprigs of fresh dill (or a couple of teaspoons of dried dill)
Optional spicy add-ins: 1 or 2 spicy dried peppers, red pepper flakes or you can add some sliced jalapeños in with the cucumbers.


Clean the cucumbers very well and slice them as thin as you would like them, I would say I cut mine to about 1/4″ thick rounds. You could also cut them into spears or leave them whole depending on their size. Place them in a large glass preserving jar or two smaller jars.

In a medium saucepan, bring the remaining ingredients to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for five minutes.

Remove from heat and pour the brine over the cucumbers. Place the lid on the jar and let cool. Once cool, refrigerate. You can start enjoying them the next day, but obviously they are better after a couple of days. They’ll keep for about 2 months in the fridge.

DSCN5001 So we’ve got yummy pickles coming out of our ears, which means we’ll be having sandwiches and wraps for lunch for the next month!  And unfortunately I can’t seem to think of many more ways to incorporated pickles…pickles in muffins or cookies just won’t cut it!  But zucchini, now that’s another story!  You won’t find anyone complaining over zucchini muffins, cookies or bread around here. 

This time around I thought it would be fun to experiment a little more with almond flour/meal.  I’ve used almond meal in my baking before and really love the texture and flavor that it offers to baked goods.  However, I have never used it solely on it’s own…until now!  I was beginning to fear the muffins may turn out to be too dense, but the combination of the almond meal and the blanched almond flour seemed to work just right.

DSCN5007 Zucchini Almond Mini Muffins (Paleo style)

Yields 24 mini muffins


1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 cup almond butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

1 cup grated zucchini (squeeze out extra liquid)

2 organic eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 Tbsp raw honey

1 ripe banana, mashed



Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a mini muffin tin with paper liners and set aside.

Combine all ingredients in a large mixing bowl and mix well.

Divide the batter among the cups, filling almost to the top.

Bake 15-18 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Remove from tin and cool on a wire rack.

**These muffins freeze well and make for a great snack for the kiddos!

DSCN5015 The added banana provides a hint of sweetness making these little muffins perfect for any time of the day!  In fact, these were our go to snack for the first day of school today.

DSCN5017 We made it through the day with only a few tears from my princess Cailyn (it’s going to be a challenge getting her into the routine of things, but we’ll get there!).  We all enjoyed working in our new classroom space, complete with an “interactive” calendar (because mom finally got her act together and got it done!) for both of the princesses to work together.

DSCN5019 Most days I can equate homeschooling with the idea of embarking on an adventure and I need to be well equipped!  The only way I feel “equipped” for this journey is if I’m walking in step with the Lord, so my day begins with Him.  I couldn’t be more thankful to the Lord for giving me the opportunity and blessing to be at home with our princesses.  More so, I am forever grateful that I can turn to the Lord for help and guidance moment by moment, step by step, throughout my day.  It is this that helps me to see victories in the little things, have joy as well as the peace and comfort I need during the days that are trying.  Homeschooling is a journey and sometimes a dangerous adventure, but I know the Lord is there to lend a hand when I fall and get me back on my feet to press on.  




  1. Tabitha just asked if I could make these muffins when she saw them. Sure can!

    And I just nominated you for the Sunshine Award!

  2. i just made the muffins, and they were SO good!!!! i didn't have any 'blanched almond flour' so i just subbed 1/2 cup more almond meal. they came out so moist and SO yummy! thank you for sharing!! sending lot's of friends to your site for the recipe. :)