Bear’s Crispy Chickpea Snacks

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Chickpeas are a fabulous way to add dietary fiber (in one cup you receive half of your daily intake of fiber)(learn more here)and natural sun protection (contains a high level of manganese which functions as a natural sunblock) to your daily intake. The most common forms you may come in contact with, I’m guessing, are hummus and falafel. While they are delicious eats, those two are not the only options one has when working with garbanzo beans. My roommate is taking part in Weight Watchers, so she sent me a recipe for honey roasted chickpeas and then I made my own tweaks. I compared the methodology of various versions, and you will see influences of those in the following 3 recipes. 

Honey Roasted Chickpeas – In Preparation
Honey Roasted Chickpeas – Ready to Eat!
Garlic Pepper Chickpeas – In Preparation
Garlic Pepper Chickpeas – Ready to Eat!
Spiced Roasted Chickpeas – In Preparation

Of the methods used, my favorite was toasting the chickpeas for 20 minutes and then tossing them in whichever dressing was prepared. This enabled the chickpeas to toast on their own before having anything added that would contribute additional moisture.

Chickpeas toasted for 20 minutes at 400 F

What you didn’t see behind the crispy chickpeas was the state of our oven. I made sure to angle the lens properly and luckily I was able to eliminate an undesirable background. However, that doesn’t mean that I don’t get to cook in an unclean oven, so I needed a natural remedy to fix the mess. 

Check out how I did it here.

Bear’s Spinach & Cheese Quiche

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This is the perfect dish to pair with a light salad! A toasty, buttery crust balances out a fluffy egg filling. 

One of my favorite places to get a personal quiche is Paris Bakery in Monterey, CA. Their crust-to-filling ratio is ideal, seasoning is aromatic yet not overpowering, and the presentation is divine. This Paris Bakery quiche is about 6” around and is meant for one serving, meaning there is a crust all the way around. I enjoy the crust on pies more often than I enjoy the filling, so having a thick crust is vital for my quiche contentedness. 

With that being said, I started my quiche by preparing a basic pie crust (you can pick up a prepared pie crust from the store for ease). To begin the crust, add all-purpose flour, salt, and chopped butter to a large bowl. I use Kerrygold Irish butter for the salt content. 


Cut the butter into the flour mixture until the butter is no bigger than pea-sized. A food processor may also be used for this step. I use a potato masher as an alternative. Once the butter has been incorporated, add ice-cold water and mix until the dough comes together. The dough should not be too watery or wet. To reduce moisture, add more flour. 

Kerrygold Irish Butter in flour mixture

Shape the dough and wrap in plastic for at least one hour. 

Dough preparing to be chilled

Remove the dough from the refrigerator after one hour and transfer to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a circle that will fit into your desired pie pan (typically a 9-inch pan). Transfer the dough to the pie pan and smooth out the edges. Attempt to keep the pie crust the same width throughout to avoid burning. Chill the dough for at least another hour. 

Uncooked Pie Crust

When ready to make the quiche filling, preheat the oven to 350ºF. 

In a bowl, which together the eggs, minced garlic, Half & Half, salt, and white pepper. 

Egg Filing Mixture

Once mixed thoroughly, add spinach and Asiago, Parmesan, & Mozzarella cheeses. Remove the pie pan from the fridge and pour the egg mixture into the chilled pie pan. 

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until lightly golden and set in the center (the quiche doesn’t wiggle when pushed). Cover the crust with foil to prevent burning once it begins. 

Let stand for approximately 5 to 50 minutes before serving. Enjoy! 

Bear’s Summer Stuffed Eggplant

30 Days to Healthy Living Meals

Monterey County offers a farmers market every day of the week, and it is my goal to attend each and every one of them. In order to cross off one of my list, I attended the market on Friday mornings at Monterey Peninsula College. 

The inspiration for this meal sparked when I encountered this funky-looking vegetable. 

Eggplant

Upon asking what it was, I was informed the base for my meal was an eggplant. A few weeks prior, when shopping in Trader Joe’s, a checker named Lisa suggested that I cook my eggplants like baked potatoes. I took Lisa’s advice and took one of these bad boys with me, thinking that it would be the perfect portion for one meal. 

A few paces along, I came across another fun find – Summer Squash! I have quite a few plants from the squash family currently thriving in my backyard, so seeing another variation was a thrill. 

Summer Squash

These mini vegetables would serve as one of the ingredients in the filling of my baked eggplant. 

Further down the row I ran into an olive oil vendor. One day, I plan to have my own olive grove and press my own olive oil. Until that day, I will support local businesses such as Belle Farms. I tried the pleasant peppery oil they had on tap and took a bottle of the cooking oil home. They sell growlers that you can bring back for refills as well. 

Now that I had all my ingredients, it was time to head home and prepare a quick meal before work. 

Follow the recipe to see how I combined all my farmer’s market finds!

“Sailors Fighting in the Dance Hall” – Fieldwork Brewing

Bear's Brews

Fieldwork Brewing Co. – Berkeley, CA (Monterey location)

Style : Barrel Aged Sour (Oak Barrels – 3 years, 2 months)

Hops : Galaxy

ABV : 9.0%

Sweetness : Low

Most : Low/Med

Bitterness : Low 

A beer that is coconut-forward on nose and finish, this Barrel Aged Sour released from Fieldwork brewing in early August of 2019 is a showstopper. The inspiration for this beer stems from the song “Sailors Fighting in the Dance Hall” by David Bowie, but ask the Fieldwork brewers for more background. 

The tart tangy demeanor of the Galaxy hop is pleasantly balanced with smooth toasted coconut. This craft sour was aged in Oak Barrels for three years, two months, adding more depth to the beer which is clearly present. When aging a sour in oak, brewers typically aim to extract nuttiness, vanilla, caramel, coconut, and wood flavors from the barrel. The toasted coconut was accented by this aging and left me wishing I had purchased a case of these bottles. 

These aged bottle releases are becoming more frequent as Fieldwork Brewing they are about five years old. While these releases are kept fairly secret for their quality control purposes, Fieldwork does inform of new bottles through their social media. 

https://www.instagram.com/fieldworkbrewingco/?hl=en

https://www.facebook.com/FieldworkBrewingCo/

Bear’s Vegan Raspberry Scones

30 Days to Health Living Snacks

When making scones, I used to assume that I was able to substitute any fruit with the one that was in whatever recipe I happened to have in my hands at the moment. I had the same mental approach when it came to substituting flours in recipes to make them gluten free. Let’s just say that made for a few interesting batches of pancakes that had dreamed of being scones or bricks that had only imagined being a cookie. 

This recipe is perfect as a base for vegan/GF scones, and I would encourage swapping out different fruits and dressings to make this recipe your own. Make the recipe “as-is” to gain a starting point, but after that, enjoy yourself swapping ingredients. 

With every recipe that I attempt, I always start off by gathering and measuring out my ingredients. The reason I choose this initial step is to ensure that I have everything I need. Nothing is worse than getting halfway through a time-sensitive recipe only to discover you are missing ONE ingredient. 

Attempting to live a plant-based lifestyle has its challenges but, thanks to markets such as Whole Foods, now has options. In recent years, advancements in technology and products have been made to accommodate the ever-rising population of health conscious individuals. Various alternatives using oat, macadamia nut, almond, hemp, and more  have found their way into my pantry and stomach.

With this recipe, I used an oat flour produced by “Bob’s Red Mill”, but any brand will do.

If determined, one is able to make their own oat flour by doing the following :

“To make 1 cup of oat flour, simply blend 1&1/4 cups of oats in either a blender of food processor until they are finely ground.”

Stir together in oat flour, coconut flour, sugar, baking powder, and sea salt in a large bowl. 

Once that bowl has been set aside, it is time to chop in the coconut oil. If I know that I will be making this recipe, the night before I pop my jar of coconut oil into the fridge. By putting the oil in the fridge it allows it to harden creating the perfect consistency for the scones. If the coconut oil is too soft, the dough will flatten and the shape will fall apart. To remove the amount that I need from the jar of coconut oil, I use a fork, however when added to the flour mixture, I find it’s best to use a potato masher. 

After all the coconut oil has been incorporated, add the chilled almond milk and stir. 

Next on the agenda is to dust a clean, cold surface with oat flour. Dump the dough out of the bowl onto the flour and begin kneading. Add more oat flour as needed without making the dough too dry and crumbly. This won’t happen easily, but keep it in mind. 

Dough on floured surface

Split the dough in half and create a 1” thick “pancake” with one half. With the other half, create a mound and press a crater into the middle. Wash raspberries (if you can get them at a local farmers market more power to ya) and set them in the crater you previously created.

Place the “pancake” half on top of the raspberry crater and smush. Lightly knead dough without over doing. 

Pat dough until it is 1” thick and cut into triangles or shapes. (I did circles in this instance so they would fit perfectly in baking cups) Place scones on a pre-lined baking sheet and bake at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Remove the scones from the oven and allow them to cool on the pan for about 10 minutes. Once the scones have finished toasting up, transfer to a wire rack and drizzle with glaze. Enjoy! 

Mill Creek Falls Trail – Lassen National Park, CA

Adventure, Blog

Riding in an old VW van calls for a day of adventure. 

“Misty” the van
“Misty” the van

The setting for this outing was surrounding the gorgeous area of Lake Almanor, located in Northern California. This section of serene wilderness is fueled by snowmelt, sunshine, and the presence of a nearby volcano. I have done the drive to Mt. Lassen (our desired location), many times throughout my youth, however, this drive took just a bit longer in the “Tin Can on Wheels”. This pace enabled us to look around and enjoy the scenery and even make a few stops. 

Bear’s “New Home”

This pause in the plan was to take a house tour of my future home. (Kidding! But if rent keeps going up in Monterey you never know)

We made it to Lassen Volcanic National Park around mid-day and established base camp at the Kohm Yah-Mah-Nee Visitor Center. This Visitor’s Center offers live performance productions of the history of Mt. Lassen, has a short-film depicting the creation of Mt. Lassen, and has interactive with volcanoes to exhibit the variations between the styles of volcanoes. 

Visitor’s Center at Lassen Volcanic National Park

With snow on the ground and hiking boots on our feet, we hit on of the most beautiful trails I’ve been on to date. With the intent to make it back to the lake for the afternoon, we took the Mill Creek Falls trail. 

Being a trail named after a water source, there were streams parallel with the trails that provided refreshing relief. After a good stretch of uphill incline, we sat in the river at the top of Mill Creek Falls and enjoyed the environment we were guests in. 

Before reaching the falls, one must pass through a field blanketed by vibrant yellow flowers. These sources of sunshine are referred to as Mule Ears. Due to the complex mineral composition in the hill, Mule Ears grow in the place of trees. This soil make-up is due to the fact that there is an active volcano grumbling under the hillside. 

I guess you can say it was just another day in….

xx. Bear

Bear’s Banana Bread

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“One might be upset when they find an old set of bananas lying around, until they realize that this recipe exists. Put old bananas to good use when making a cinnamon crumbly banana bread that can be shared with friends or indulged by oneself. My favorite way to eat these is fresh out of the oven with some Kerrygold Irish Butter smothered on top!”

Every few weeks I get a craving to bake a loaf of banana bread. This recipe is my go-to choice for something that all can enjoy. I have not had one negative response from this banana bread, and *knock on wood* don’t think I ever will!

This recipe is mapped to make the two loaves that you see in the picture below, each resting in a traditional loaf pan. If you simply cut the recipe in half, then it would fit perfectly in one of the loaf pans.

Hop Plants

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Cascade
Purchased : 06/06/2019 from “Bottoms Up Homebrew Supplies”

Yesterday, after encouragement from Kevin of Storied Pint Brewing to stop being so clinical with my research on the proper planting and care methods, I stopped by Bottoms Up Home Brew to grab some Cascade hop rhizomes. Much like the well-known Troy Bolton from “High School Musical” once proclaimed with his angelic voice, “This is the start of something new”!


How I Planted Cascade Hop Rhizomes

Step 1 : Create an 8’x4’ planter box using sheer willpower and Pinterest instructions

Step 2 : Line said planter box with a raised bed liner – this helps to deter growth and disturbance of weeds 

Step 3 : Lay down rocks (supposed to use decomposed granite however the places I went to didn’t have it)

Step 4 : Place an even layer of planting soil with an inch between where the rhizome will be and the rocks 


Step 5 : Plant rhizome with dirt filling around it keeping an inch of soil covering the top of the rhizome


*Pro tip – ensure that the nubbins are pointed in an upward direction to have the vine grow to the sun
 

Step 6 : Water only around the rhizome being careful to not get the actual plant wet – keep a consistent daily watering schedule 


Step 7 : Give yourself a high-five because you now have a super rad addition to your backyard! 

Source : “How to Grow Hops at Home”, American Homebrewer’s Association