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Every January in Portland our Winter Flowering Cherry trees start to bloom and my husband exclaims that “Spring is here!”  I always have to correct him by reminding him they are called “Winter”  flowering cherry trees.  But then he goes on to say well yes, that is true, BUT…  think about it, the daffodils are up in February, and the daphne flowers, and then in March all of Portland explodes in flowering plum, cherry, magnolia.  So REALLY, those “winter” flowering cherry trees are just heralding the begining of the end of winter.

spring in a bowl

spring in a bowl

But for me the real sign of spring is new radishes!  I love their spicy crunch.  (delicious when sprinkled with really good salt)  Often eating seasonally turns out to have health benefits and I wondered what those might be for radishes.  Radishes are high in Vitamin C, folic acid, potassium, B6, and fiber.  Because they are in the family of cruciferous vegetables (Kale, Cabbage, Brussels Sprouts, Turnips) they offer protection against cancer.  In the Chinese calendar, spring is associated with the Liver, and radishes contain sulphur based compounds that increase the flow of bile.  Stimulating a sluggish gallbladder and liver after a winter of eating heavier foods sounds like good medicine.  And in case anyone needs one more good reason to eat radishes, their high water and fiber content means that they are filling and satisfying for anyone looking for a snack that can support weight loss.

radishes and crackers

Eat fresh sliced radishes on a cracker (gluten free crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers shown here) with a little chevre.

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my pink teacup

my pink teacup

I just want to share with you all a picture of a couple of things that give me joy in my daily life.  Maybe it’s silly, but I get such pleasure out of drinking from my pink melmac tea cup.  I got my first one at the Senior Citizen’s Thrift Store in Livingston Montana.  At first it was relegated to a camping cup, but I loved it so much that I brought it into my daily life!  And then I started finding them everywhere and buying them.  Now I have quite a collection.  Pink, yellow, turquoise.  I have enough that I can use them to serve martinis, margaritas, or sangria when I have a party.   The have traveled to the Hawthorne bridge to hold champagne in celebration of the engagement of friends.  And I still take them camping.  The lovely crock behind the teacup holds my sea salt.  I LOVE salt.  In fact I have a bit of a salt fetish.  It’s embarrassing to admit because now it is trendy to have a million different kinds of salt.  But I still love it.  The crock was a gift from my dad when he traveled to Mexico.  These things bring small joys every day.

yumthingsI have been reading Nourishing Traditions this week and got inspired to sprout some lentils.  Sprouting beans, grains or seeds unlocks a whole new level of nutrition in them, changing the enzyme activity, and the carbohydrate:protein ratio.  Nutrition facts for sprouted lentilssprouted lentilsThen I had a mason jar full of live little growing lentils that were calling my name today.  All morning in class I kept thinking about them.  On the way home I stopped by the Asian grocery near my house and bought some ginger, jalepenos, and cilantro and I went home and created this recipe.  It is extremely easy to put together (provided you have a food processor).  I thought they were delicious!  And filling!  I do need to think of a better name for them though.  If anyone has any suggestions…

Sprouted Lentil Yumthings

2 cups sprouted lentils (green)
1 sweet onion
3 cloves garlic
3 jalepenos
1.5 inches fresh ginger root
1 bunch cilantro
1 cup pecans
1 generous pinch of dried kelp flakes
2 eggs
2/3 cup garbanzo bean flour
1 Tablespoon sea salt
coconut oil

Sprout your lentils.  To do this start with a wide mouth mason jar 1/2  full of dry lentils.  Add water to the top of the jar and let them soak overnight or for 12 hours or so.  Drain them (you can buy a handy screen that fits exactly in the top of a wide mouth mason jar, or you can use cheesecloth, or a fine mesh strainer) and rinse them well.  Leave them in the jar, which should not be sealed shut, but allowed to drain upside down in the dishrack.  Rinse them 2 or three times a day.  The sprouts should pop out by the second day or so.  I like to use them when the sprout tails are fairly short (about 2 days), but you can let them grow longer if you like.  When they are sprouted to your liking, rinse them again and then store them in the fridge with a closed lid on the jar this time.  They will stop growing in the cold fridge.

Get out your food processor.
Process the pecans first.  You want these to be ground up fine, just be careful not to turn them into nut butter.  Empty these into a bowl.  Next process the onions into a nice small dice.  Saute the onions a little in a skillet with some coconut oil.  Then add them to the bowl with the pecans.  Next process the garlic, ginger, jalepenos, until they are finely chopped.  Add the cilantro to the processor and give it a whirl until it is nicely chopped as well.  Add all these things into the bowl.  Next process the sprouted lentils.  These should reach almost a paste consistency.  Add to the bowl.  Then to the bowl add the kelp (or omit if you don’t have any), salt, garbanzo bean flour, and eggs. bowl of goodies Mix all the ingredients together.  Taste to make sure you have added enough salt.  It should be  fairly soft, but hold together somewhat.  It’s not an exact science.

Heat some coconut oil in a skillet and fry the patties until brown and crispy on both sides.  Make sure that the first side has browned completely before you try and turn it over.  You will be happy if you do this because they will hold together better.frying yumthings

Serve hot with chutney and lime chili pickle.

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