Sunday, October 19, 2014

Lamb Balls - Bliss stuffed with cheese

I love, love, love shopping at ethnic stores. Not just because they remind me of home, even if they are not my "native"  culture (growing up in Germany, we become very culturally diverse), but because the prices are so much better than a regular store. I do not shop at regular grocery stores very often anyways :).

I am fortunate to live in a city that is culturally diverse. I regularly go to the German butcher, the Russion grocery store, and the Halal market.

On my recent visit t the Halal market, I purchased the following goodies hat made tonight's meal a jiff:

  • Medium CousCous (ready in 5 minutes!!! All you have to do is cover with hot water, and wait!)
  • Sadaf Kebab Seasoning (the seasoning packets are divine at the Halal store. And they are cheap!)
  • Tahini (OMG>...never, ever buy this at the health food store!)
  • Bulgarian Sheep Cheese (I had this already, I always by a big block at CostCo, cuz' I love it! You can get this tart, firm sheep cheese at both the Russian store open, and the Halal market has it too. Or CostCo.) Cut & crumble in a small bowl.
and you will need: 
  • 2lbs of ground lamb (I purchased mine from a friend. Kissed that lamb, and know how lovingly it was raised. Get your meat local if you can!)
  • Green mixed salad
  • 1 egg
  • 1 onion.

Heat up your big cast iron pot with olive oil.  Slice 1/2 large onion, fry in pot.

Boil some water for couscous.  When it boils, cover couscous with water and cover.

Mix the seasoning into your meat with 1 egg.  Form medium sized balls, make an ident, fill with sheep cheese, and close. Once the onions are brown, begin putting the balls into the pot.

As you lamb balls brown, start making the tahini sauce according to the recipe on the jar :). Or buy prepared Tahini sauce.  Wash & drain salad, mix with Tahini sauce (I use my hands, the sauce is thick).

Turn your lamb balls. They should be crispy on the outside, it takes about 15-20 to be done.

Fluff your couscous and add some butter!

Arrange couscous, salad, and balls. Drip some Tahini sauce on the lamb balls and ENJOY!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Pumpkin & dark chocolate

I am not a chocolate fan.

Yes, I know that is weird, and whenever I say: "I don't like chocolate." I get very strange looks.


A few days ago, I asked on Facebook for people's favorite pumpkin recipe.  This morning I woke up, and my first thought was "Pumpkin chocolate chip cookies"! Yes, it is a strange world (and I wonder what I was doing n my dream??).

So, as you can see, every blue moon I will get a craving that must be satisfied. And it has to be dark chocolate.

Thankfully, my house is always stocked with important essentials such as pumpkin & chocolate chips :). 

Here you go (original recipe from Food Network) :Yes, my cookies are always BIG :).


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2  cup white sugar
12  cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
3 cups  spelt flour (all-purpose flour is fine!)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 heaping tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cups (12-ounce bag) dark chocolate chips ( I use less than the recipe because they are dark, and I don't like them oozing all over the cookie)
Nonstick cooking spray or parchment paper


Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray cookie sheets with nonstick spray or line them with parchment paper.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, spices. Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chips. Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the cookies are browned around the edges. Remove the cookie sheets from the oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take the cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Pair this with a fantastic "healthy" version of a Pumpkin Latte (recipe can be found here). BTW, I am a simple girl and just heated the milk, added the pumpkin & spice and very strong coffee. No blending, because I hate doing dishes :)....Voila!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

From bowl to table, 40 minutes! Spelt Soda Bread

I am always in a pinch. I am not sure why I have this talent, but rising of bread usually occurs while we are already chompin' away at other bread.....we just can't wait.

This bread is easy & quick. I have adapted a recipe and just made it my own. Play with it! Spelt flour
is temperamentful, experiment!

Preheat your oven to 450F. Put a dutch oven or other covered baking dish in to heat up. Make sure it is greased. I use a cast iron dutch oven that is well seasoned.


4.5 cups of white spelt flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking SODA*
1 tblsp Cream of Tartar
2 ish cups of buttermilk or kefir (I use the latter)

Mix the dry ingredients well.
*Baking Soda and salt can make this very salty if you use too much. If you get baking soda streaks in your bread, sift the dry ingredients to ensure they mix well!

Add milk or kefir and stir. Do not stir with machine. You don't want to overmix, but stir until the flour forms a wettish ball. Spelt flour is funny, sometimes I need more liquid than the recipe calls for, sometimes I don't!

Cover and bake for 35 minutes.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

What to do with too much KEFIR???

I make my own milk kefir.

Not that it is warm, my kefir grains are on overdrive, and it multiplies like crazy. Since my kids are striking on kefir at the moment (weird. One day they LOVE it, the next day they HATE it.), I have found a way to make it irresistable!


Seriously, kefir popsicles are the best.

All you need is some popsiscle containers (or you can get crafty with small, rinsed out joghurt cups), kefir, and any kind of yummy fruit. I put in some raw honey too, that makes it magic.


Put in containers and freeze.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Rhubarb: A serenade & a muffin

Rhubarb cake & rhubarb compott, both bring instant happy childhood memories :).

Rhubarb is a pretty hardy plant that is easy to grow, and often grows in masses. You would not know it here in California, where Rhubarb is priced as if a truffle pig had to scout it out. Last year, I decided to plant my own in my front yard, where I am slowly removing the weeds lawn to make way for food. I do not water things I cannot eat. Even though rhubarb thrives in cooler climates, I decided that "I" am going to be a pioneer woman and grow rhubarb anyways....even if my summer average is a smoldering 100+ degrees. My plant actually grew, but my neighbor, whose over-sprinkling seemed like a blessing at first (I generally forget to water),  sprinkled too much and the plant literally drowned.  So in January I planted two new plants and a wall to safe guard them from the killer sprinkler, and by the end of January I saw the little heads of my old plants come back! EUREKA!!!

Rhubarb should not be harvested until the second year, so I am now harvesting my old plants :). I

have green rhubarb, just so you don't get think I am confused when you see the pictures! Today I got a big batch that looked like it wanted to get out of the heat.  You can store fresh rhubarb in a bucket with some water, just place it with the "root" side down in the water. I would not keep it this way for longer than a day. If you need longer, cut and put in the fridge in airtight containers (a few days), or freeze.

Since we are road tripping tomorrow, I made muffins. While looking for recipes, I found the coolest site, all about rhubarb and fittingly named! I used their Rhubarb-Buttermilk recipe, but adapted it to fit my food:

WARNING: If you do not eat sugar, or butter, my recipes will offend you. I eat both. They make me happy.


1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup salad oil coconut oil (I don't even know what that is.)
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract (I used home made Bourbon Vanilla! Yum! Just soak 
pods in bourbon or rum!)
1 cup buttermilk kefir (I make kefir, always use it in lieu of buttermilk)
1 1/2 cups finely diced rhubarb
1/2 cups pecan pieces almond slivers. I did not put them in the mix, 
sprinkled them on top for crunch.
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour white spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Topping: I completely omitted this. First, I only use butter. Second, I rather put the butter on my 
mmuffin :)

1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp melted margarine


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease 24 18 medium-sized muffin cups.
  • Combine in large bowl: brown sugar, oil, egg, and vanilla. Beat until well mixed. Stir into mixture buttermilk, rhubarb, and pecans.
  • In another bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Add this mixture all at once to rhubarb mixture and stir until all ingredients are moistened. Do not over mix.
  • Fill prepared muffin pan 3/4 full with batter.
  • Quickly combine topping ingredients and sprinkle on top of batter in each muffin cup.
  • Bake in preheated oven on center shelf 15 to 20 minutes.

I also chopped up some rhubarb for compott. Easiest thing in the world, and tastes great on joghurt, pancakes, oatmeal, etc.

Chop rhubarb in 1/2 inch pieces. Put in pot, cover the bottom with a bit of water. Add some brown
sugar (to taste!), a cinnamon stick, and some cloves. Simmer until the rhubard is soft. Do not overcook, or you will have jam! You can add strawberries to this, they work nice together!
Put it in a mason jar, and store in the fridge for easy access!

Rhubarb freezes well too! Just chop in small pieces, and freeze. I like to write how many cups are in the bag on the bag. This way I can use it to make rhubarb jam (delicious, and a family favorite) in
the winter. Or I will just heat it up for compott or pie filling. 

So here is my muffin, my wine, my computer :). The perfect late night study snack. Happy Solstice to you!

Much love, Heike

Monday, March 17, 2014

No Lie, it's Natural!

People are often asking me about my hair.
"Is that natural?"
Maybe. Depends on what you mean with natural?

My natural hair color is dark brown/auburn. I started dying my hair when I was about 14ish :). Black, red, streaks, blondish, back to brown, pink, etc. I did it for fun, and change.

When I had my daughter, I began getting gray hair. By time I had my son 4 years later, the sides and top of hair were pretty much gray. Of course, I kept dying, 'cause gray is not my color :).

Unfortunately, or fortunately for my hair experiment addiction, my hair grows very fast. I had to dye every 3 weeks at least to cover my roots.

One day I was reading a research paper on chemicals in our every day cosmetics. I was already using organic cosmetic, making my own lotion, eating well, but I was still dying my hair every 3 weeks with chemicals that were leaching straight to my brain!

A change must be made! I had tried henna as a teen, and it was frickin' mess. But, I found henna was the only "real" natural hair color to my disposal, so off I went and ordered some.

The first three brands I used just did not do it. The color was weak, and it did not cover y grays.  Then I found (just a note, I am NOT a affiliate, nor do I get free henna for mentioning them :)...) who sells "body art henna". One of their colors was precisely for covering gray. Hey, I had nothing to loose, and they had an excellent tutorial.

This was about 3 years ago. I have been dying my hair with henna since then, and I still only use the henna from Mehandi. So far, it is the only one that covers my gray, plus we like using the extra for tattoos :).

Don't let anyone tell you henna is easy. It is a messy biz, but once you get into your groove, it
becomes second nature. In comparison to using hair color, which often only takes 30 minutes, you do have to plan ahead. The henna needs to be mixed and "ripen". It is messy, and it takes a few hours (at least two) on your head, not the best time to go errand shopping :). The great thing is that henna hardly fades, so when your hair grows out, you can just d the roots. Amazingly enough, the roots always adjust to the rest of my hair, it is like magic. Also, the color LIVES, each hair is a different shade.

I am posting some pics to show you. If you want to try henna, check out the tutorial at Mehandi. com. She really explains it much better than I could.

You will need some good rubber gloves, Saran Wrap, and a good sense of humor :). Don't wear your favorite clothes, or use your favorite towels.

This is my hair early this morning. Everyone was sleeping, so I had to do a selfie with my phone.  You can see my gray, this is about 3 weeks growth. Also, you don't want to wash your hair for a few days before doing henna. I don't use shampoo (I do the "no poo" method, will post more soon), but still, I find this way the henna takes better, and my scalp does not take on so  much of the color. Just brush well before you go :).

 This is my hair after about 2 hours of henna. I usually leave it on longer, but this morning something came up so I had to rinse earlier. The longer I leave it on, the deeper the shade gets It is always REALLY bright in the sun when it  is fresh, my hair will darken a bit more over the next two days. But you can see, the roots are covered, and the magic happened. You cannot tell where the old or new henna meet. My scalp will be less red after the first "wash". For those of your that dye your hair red, you know it is a hard color to keep from fading. Henna does not fade.

If you read this and try henna, post a pic!
Have fun!
Much love,

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Beets! Beets! Beets! Beetlejuice?

The Farmer's Market overrunneth with one of my favorite roots: RED BEETS!!

I love them so. When I was pregnant, instead of chocolate, I had cravings for red beets out of a can. They had to be canned beets, for reasons unknown. One day I swoll up like a puffer fish, and my canned beets and shrimp days were over.

Thankfully, I live in the Land of Abundance, and can get wonderful fresh beets at the farmer's market. I am actually going to grow my own this year to satisfy my need for unaltered, dirty, roots.

Here are my 3 favorite, quick recipes:

1. Beet & Carrot Salad.
Grate an equal amount of red beets and carrots. Mix. Make a viniagrette of olive oil and apple cider vinegar, salt & pepper, and dill. Or parsley. OR BOTH!! Toss, and eat. Warning, this is addictive, really. Good thing is, it is healthy and you can gorge yourself on it happily. Tastes even better the next day, so make lots more than you think you need.

2. Beet Kvaas.
If you have Russian neighbors, you will have seen the very, very old people who take walks like they are on a Volksmarch. Often, they are carrying bags. They are powerhouses of vigor. I am sure it is because they drink Beet Kvaas daily. This fermented drink is full of health magic. Google it to see. Here is how I make it.
Cut up 3-4 beets in big chunks. Put them in a 1/2 gallon Mason jar. Add 1 tblsp of GOOD salt (don't buy cheap salt for anything fermented. Just don't buy cheap salt. I like to use Redmond Real Salt. If you have whey, add about a 1/2 cup. Fill up with filtered water, or boiled water, or water from your magic spring. No tap water. Close tight, and watch for 2 days. After 2 days, taste it. Is should be bubbly, slightly salty, and red. If it is ready, put it in fridge and drink a glass a day. Once it is empty, use your beets one more time, same process. This kvaas will be slightly "thinner", but still good.

3. Soup

This is not Borscht, a traditional soup made from beets. This is a quick soup.
Cut 3-4 beets in smallish slices. Cut fresh ginger into small bits (I love ginger, us lots!!). Toss both in a hot pan with olive oil, until beets are slightly tender. Fill up with the bone broth from your refridgerator, or two cans of chicken broth. Let simmer for 20 minutes, add salt & pepper to taste. Add left over noodles, rice, quinoa, etc.  Enjoy the beautiful color! Put it in a bowl and top with fresh cilantro or parsley. 

Have a favorite beet recipe? Share with me!
That rhymes :).