Pomegranate Love

I felt my heart crack slowly like a pomegranate, spilling its seeds.” ~ from  A Horse Named Sorrow  by Trebor Healey  (contemporary American poet and novelist)


Do you remember the first time you tried a food when you were a child and totally flipped for it, like love at first sight?  When I was in the 4th grade, my teacher brought in a pomegranate to give all her students a taste and over 50 years later, I still think of her whenever I see one.  The cracking of the skin and the flow of the bright red juice a little bit of magic.

Technically, the pomegranate is a berry that grows on a very tall bush, and is found fresh in stores during its ripe season, September – March.  Like his morning, piled up at the front of the market in the autumn sun. Who could resist?

Of course, in the 1960’s, we didn’t know the pomegranate was a superfood that is higher in antioxidants than any other fruit, lowers blood pressure, reduces atherosclerosis, inhibits the growth of some cancers, and improves symptoms of depression.  We just liked it!  The extra-good news is that the juice carries nearly the same health benefits as the fruit – without the aggravation of those pesky little seeds.

Fast forward.

Recently, we ran out of our usual non-dairy milk, so I made some by throwing ¼ cup of raw cashews and 2 cups of water into the blender. Run it on highest speed until completely smooth, about 2 minutes, and there you have it. Some recipes call for pre-soaking the nuts when making nut milks, but I haven’t found that to be necessary with raw cashews. It certainly got me where I needed to be concerning a cup of cocoa!

While sipping that cup of cocoa, it occurred to me that blending cashews with some non-dairy milk would make an excellent heavy cream in recipes. Non-dairy creamer is pricey, so for me this moment was somewhere in the same category as Galileo figuring out that gravity accelerates all falling objects at the same rate. J That was when my thoughts turned to using the new-found creamer because what good is a great discovery if you can’t use it?

We promise you won’t miss the cow’s involvement in this especially creamy frozen treat – which, by the way, is superb with just about any autumn fruit pie you are serving and might even be good for you.


Pomegranate Iced Creamy

NEED:  Blender and an ice cream maker
Time:  10 minutes to prepare base + processing time
Makes: 1 quart

3 cups hemp milk (or other non-dairy milk)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
½ cup raw cashew pieces
1 cup 100% pure pomegranate juice
¾ cup sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 tablespoons vodka (optional – do not use if children or those with objections to alcohol will be consuming)

Mix ¼ cup of the milk in a small bowl with the arrowroot powder and set aside.

Puree the raw cashews with the remaining 2 ¾ cups milk in a blender container at highest speed until very smooth, about 2 minutes.

In a medium saucepan, whisk together the blended milk, pomegranate juice, and sugar. Warm over medium-low heat until it just comes to a boil. Remove from the heat and immediately stir in the arrowroot mixture to thicken.  Stir in the vanilla.

Some ice cream makers require that the mixture be chilled prior to processing. Proceed according to manufacturer’s directions. Toward the end of processing, I like to add 2 tablespoons of vodka so that the mixture remains spoon-able on freezing – it doesn’t alter the flavor.  Turn into a suitable container and store in the freezer until ready to serve.









Easy Bean Burritos

“The whole is more than the sum of its parts.” ~ Aristotle, Greek philosopher and physician, 384-322 B.C.

In the not too distant past, Costco carried some frozen vegan burritos that were a favorite of the Mosaic Dad’s. They were economical and organic, so we didn’t even consider making them ourselves. At least, not until that fateful day when they disappeared from the shelves, leaving us no choice but to gather the components to create the sum of the parts… and then it turned into something greater for less money! Don’t you love when that happens? These came out to just 41¢ each using organic beans, organic salsa, organic whole wheat tortillas, and  ready-made cheeze shreds.

For us, the biggest benefit is in making them completely non-dairy. Surprisingly, finding prepared food without any dairy ingredients is very difficult. This burrito goes a long way in easing the pain of that.

Bean and Cheez Burritos

Bean and Cheez Burritos

Makes 6 servings
Time: 10 minutes

1 can vegetarian refried beans
¼ cup favorite salsa
¼ cup shredded cheeze (we use Daiya cheddar style shreds)
6 10-inch flour tortillas

Mash the refried beans, salsa, and cheeze shreds together in a medium bowl until more-or-less evenly distributed.

Warm the tortillas between two damp towels for 10 seconds in a microwave oven at full power to soften. This will help prevent the tortilla from splitting when folding.

Divide the refried bean mixture (about 1/3 cup) onto the center of a tortilla. Fold the bottom up and the two sides in about a third of the way to the center. Roll toward the top so that the filling becomes completely encased.

If this is a make-ahead deal, freeze the burritos on a cookie sheet and then pop them into a plastic bag so they can be taken out one at a time, as needed. The Mosaic Dad likes to wrap up a frozen burrito and put it in his bike bag for a snack when he goes for a strenuous ride. On a warm day, it will be completely thawed but still cool and ready to eat about two hours into the ride.

If you prefer your burritos warm, with the cheeze all melty, then just pop a frozen one into the microwave oven on high for 90 seconds, turning over after 45 seconds.

Alternatively, toast the (thawed, if from frozen) burritos in a lightly oiled non-stick skillet, turning to brown on each side.

E + D = 2F
Where E = easy,
D = delicious,
and F = fun

Once upon a pear

“If you do not want to reap the fruits of sin, stay out of the devil’s orchard!” ~ unk

Pear Chutney Bowl

The farmers markets are in full swing and the fruits in Colorado are better than I’ve ever tasted – so good, it seems they might be a little sinful. Especially the pears.

Picking a perfect pear can be a little tricky because a pear that is left on the tree too long will also be grainy. To avoid the graininess, the pear needs to be picked while hard and then chilled before it is set out to finish ripening. When we buy them from the grocery store, they’ve been chilled first and then sit on the shelf to ripen over the course of a few days. You want a pear that gives slightly to a gentle squeeze just below the stem (no harder than you would squeeze an infant’s hand), but isn’t mushy.

NOTE: Summer pears, like the Bartlett, ripen faster than winter pears like Anjou or Bosc. The winter pears should be kept chilled for a couple of weeks instead of a few days before setting out to finish ripening.

If you’ve been lucky enough to procure a pear fresh from the tree, put it in the back of the fruit bin in your refrigerator for a few days (at least two weeks for winter pears) to allow the natural sugars in it mature. Then, set the pears in a bowl on the counter top for a few more days to reach full potential. If you want them to ripen really fast, put them in a paper bag with a banana and twist the top closed to retain the natural gases the fruit releases, which will hasten ripening.

Some pears at the farmers markets have been pre-chilled, but some have not – you just have to ask when they were picked and if they were chilled. If the pears feel ripe and the farmer says they were picked that morning or the day before, ask for taste before buying so you can check the texture. You can’t fix unpleasant graininess, no matter what you do.

Most pears are destined to be dessert, and are particularly delightful when so juicy that they inspire playing under the hose after eating. However, don’t overlook the times when a pear can be savory. A slightly sweet pear chutney like this one is delightful served as an appetizer with crackers and cheeze (we favor the cashew based brie recipe from Jo Stepaniak’s book, The Ultimate Uncheese Cookbook), or as a condiment for rice or curry.

Pear Chutney Jar

Perfect Pear Chutney

Makes: 1 pint (2 cups) Time: 30 minutes + overnight for optimum flavor

¼ cup finely chopped shallot
1 teaspoon olive oil
¼ cup chopped walnut
2 medium ripe (not mushy) pears
½ cup dried cranberries or raisins
6 tablespoons cider vinegar (prefer unfiltered)
¼ cup agave nectar or 6 tablespoons sugar
¼ teaspoon garam masala spice blend


Heat the oil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped shallot and saute until softened, about 2 minutes, but do not brown. Peel, core, and cut the pears into ¼ inch dice. Add the pears along with the remaining ingredients to the saucepan with the shallot. As the pears cook, they will release liquid. When the liquid begins to boil, reduce the heat to simmer. Cook until the pears are tender and liquid is reduced but the mixture is not dry, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. If time permits, the flavors will mellow nicely if you put the chutney into a jar, tightly cover, and store in the refrigerator overnight. The chutney is best used within a week.



Pumpkin Ice Cream (egg- and dairy-free)

“There is some magic in it… How else are we going to turn a pumpkin into a coach?” ~ Paolo Montalban, Filipino-American actor, 1973 –

There was a little frost on the pumpkin this morning for the first time this season – and more than a little snow on the mountain. Brrrr… So, what’s with the ice cream? Well, it’s really all about the pumpkin. And the magic.

WHAT?!?  Roast my friend the pumpkin and then turn him into ice cream?!?

WHAT?!? Roast my friend the pumpkin and then turn him into ice cream?!?

This ice cream recipe can be prepared using canned pumpkin puree, but when we’re feeling like getting back to our roots, we roast a pumpkin and put the meat of it through the blender. It is thinner than what is found in a can, but for this type of recipe, it works just fine.

To roast a pumpkin:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly oil the bottom of a roasting pan.  Cut the pumpkin in quarters and scrape out the seeds and goopy part.  Put the pumpkin quarters into the roasting pan and cover. Roast in the oven for about 1 ½ hours, testing occasionally with a fork. When the pumpkin meat is very soft, remove from the oven and cool to room temperature. The pumpkin meat will separate from the skin very easily. Discard the skin or save it for your vegetable broth. Puree the pumpkin meat in a blender adding water only if absolutely necessary.   Freeze in convenient portion sizes. Obviously, the yield varies by pumpkin size.

The magic? You won’t find any dairy or eggs in this rich concoction. Just a ton of pumpkin pie flavor.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream


Magic Pumpkin (better-than-pie) Ice Cream

Makes about 6 cups ice cream Time: 20 minutes active prep time + about 4 hours for chilling and freezing

Note: This recipe requires processing in an ice cream making machine.

¼ cup plain (unsweetened) almond milk
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
2 teaspoons vanilla

1 ½ cups full fat coconut milk
1 ½ cups plain (unsweetened) almond milk
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 ½ cups pumpkin puree
2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice blend (see below)
Up to 1 tablespoon molasses, optional

Stir the ¼ cup almond milk, arrowroot powder, and vanilla together in a small bowl, gently whisking until smooth. Set aside.

Stir the coconut milk, almond milk, sugar, pumpkin puree, and spice blend together in a pot over medium heat. Stir until the sugar has melted. Add molasses to taste, if you like. Continue stirring and cooking until the ice cream base begins to boil.

Remove from heat as soon as the mixture begins to boil. Immediately stir in the arrowroot powder mixture. Gently stir until the ice cream base thickens, about 15 seconds. Set aside to cool for 20 minutes, then move it to the refrigerator. Chill for a minimum of two hours – overnight is better.

Process in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions, then store in a sealed container in the freezer until ready to serve — or slap some between a couple of graham crackers to make some especially-easy-to-serve ice cream sandwiches.

* No pumpkin pie spice blend in your cupboard? Just stir together:
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice OR 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

Welcome autumn!



An Accidental Pudding

“If you do your fair day’s work, you are certain to get your fair day’s wage – in praise or pudding, whichever happens to suit your taste.” ~ Alexander Smith, Scottish poet and essayist (1830-1867)


Our box of organic goodies from Bountiful Baskets this week came with some of the most beautiful mangos I’ve ever seen, and I knew right away that I wanted to use one to make a mango lassi.

A lassi is a yogurt-based beverage, often spicy, sometimes a little sweet, and sometimes savory. If you’re looking for a unique accompaniment to a summer luncheon, a lassi is perfect for rounding out lighter fare. I especially enjoy the yogurt tang and light sweetness of a fruit lassi for breakfast.

Bottom line for this morning’s oops is that I forgot to add the ice to the blender when making my mango lassi. The result was a beautiful, thick, creamy pudding that took just a couple of minutes, and can even call itself healthy – the only sweetness is from the naturally occurring fruit sugars. Don’t you love when good things like that happen?

Nutritional information for mango

Health benefits of green tea 

 Mango Lassi Pudding

Mango Lassi Pudding

Serves 4 Time: 5 minutes

½ cup 4x strength green tea concentrate* (for a flavor boost, optional)
1 cup of plain, non-dairy yogurt (we used So Delicious cultured coconut milk)
1 large mango, peeled and cut off the seed, or about 1 ½ cups of fresh mango chunks

Put everything into a blender and process to puree. Pour into serving dishes. Garnish as desired.


Mango Lassi Beverage

Serves 2 Time: 5 minutes

Same as above, but after pureeing, add two cups of ice to the blender and continue to process until almost smooth. If you prefer a thinner beverage, just add more ice.


*Many varieties of green tea include fruit flavors or spices. I’m partial to the pomegranate varieties, but peach or orange are also lovely in a lassi. To make tea concentrate for the lassi, place two tea bags in a jar and top with ½ cup cold water. Let sit in the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. Remove the bags. Use the tea concentrate within a couple of days. Brewing the tea in this fashion, with cold water, helps to prevent the loss of antioxidants that are sensitive to heat.