Matcha Chia Pudding Recipe

Matcha Chia Pudding Recipe

Whether it’s St. Patrick’s Day or any other day, here’s a little bit of green to start your morning. Our guest blogger, Erin over at Food Wise Family, has a creamy treat perfect for matcha lovers – it’s called Matcha Chia Pudding!

Matcha is a finely ground powder of high-grade green tea. Unlike normal tea where you steep the leaves, with matcha you are consuming the whole leaf. Matcha has more caffeine than black tea, but less than coffee.

Chia seeds are tiny seeds that retain a large amount of water. That’s why they are great in pudding, because they soak up all the delicious coconut milk in this recipe, creating a texture similar to tapioca pudding. Since they soak up at least 10x their weight, it’s best to eat chia seeds soaked, like in a pudding, so they don’t absorb the water in your body. These tiny seeds are a great source of fiber, protein, calcium, and omega-3s.

Chia seeds tend to soak up whatever flavors you pair with them, so this matcha chia seed pudding is a balanced blend of creamy coconut and the refreshing earthy notes of matcha.

While this matcha chia pudding is far from being Irish, this tasty little goody is a great alternative to enjoying a cup of matcha. I’m not giving up my morning coffee any time soon, but every once in a while I love to indulge in a cup of matcha. This vibrant green wonder is full of antioxidants and just the right amount of caffeine.

With my love for coconut milk chia pudding, it was a no-brainer for me to combine it with matcha.

This matcha chia pudding takes just minutes to prep and requires only four ingredients. Plus it’s dairy-free and paleo!

Matcha Chia Pudding Recipe

Prep Time: 5 Minutes
Chill Time: 1 hour to overnight
Servings: 4

Ingredients
13.5 oz can full-fat coconut milk
6 tablespoons chia seeds
2 – 3 tablespoons maple syrup (or honey)*
2 teaspoons matcha

Instructions

  1. Empty a can of coconut milk into a mixing cup and blend for a few seconds using an immersion blender.**
  2. Place remaining ingredients in the coconut milk and mix thoroughly.
  3. Spoon the matcha chia pudding into separate serving containers and cover.
  4. Refrigerate for at least an hour before enjoying. For the best flavor and for chia seeds to fully set, refrigerate several hours or overnight.

Recipe Notes:
*Use more or less sweetener to desired taste.

**You can also use a regular blender, or even just whisk the matcha chia pudding. Just make sure to mix well. If whisking, make sure to mix it immediately after adding the chia seeds. Once the chia seeds get wet, they stick to everything and clump, so it’s best to mix it right away.

I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes.

Try Our Tangelo Margarita Recipe!

Try Our Tangelo Margarita Recipe!

Time to break out the cocktail shaker and mix up a tangelo margarita just in time for National Margarita Day. Our guest blogger, Erin, from Food Wise Family, will show you how.

Margaritas are my go-to drink when I want a cocktail. They are oh so refreshing and the perfect balance of sour and sweet. My tangelo margarita tastes similar to the classic margarita, but leaves triple sec out of the mix. For those of you who may not recall, tangelos are a hybrid of a tangerine and pomelo/grapefruit.

I mainly eat a paleo diet, so I am always trying to recreate my past food/drink loves to be paleo-friendly. Alcohol itself really isn’t paleo, but when recreating this recipe, I made sure there was no added refined sugar or other icky additives, like most mixed drinks tend to be filled with. And so, the tangelo margarita was born!

Choosing the Tequila

When it comes to choosing the tequila for your tangelo margarita, make sure it is blanco/silver and 100% agave. Blanco tequila is usually used for the classic margarita because its pure flavor compliments the bold citrusy goodness that is a margarita. Tequila that is not 100% agave has sugars and other additives, so it’s best to make sure it says 100% pure agave on the bottle. 

tangelo margarita ingredient

Leave Out the Triple Sec

Triple sec is typically found in a margarita recipe, but I cut this from my recipe.

Triple sec is a type of orange-flavored liqueur, and liqueurs are high in sugar. By using the tangelo in the recipe instead, the sweet orangey flavor is still present.

Getting More Lime Juice

I always have a tough time juicing limes because they are so small and the rind is so tough. I found the best way to get the most juice out of a lime is to stick a whole lime in the microwave for approximately 15 seconds. This softens it up a bit and makes it so much easier to juice.

How to Make a Tangelo Margarita

Total Time: 5 minutes

Serving size: 1

Ingredients

1 1/2 oz blanco tequila (100% agave)

1 1/2 oz freshly squeezed tangelo juice

1 oz freshly squeezed lime juice

1 oz water

2 tsp maple syrup*

lime slice for garnish (optional)

1. In a cocktail shaker, combine all ingredients and add ice.

2. Shake well and strain into a salt-rimmed glass with fresh ice.

3. Garnish with a lime and enjoy!

*Recipe Note: You can use honey in place of maple syrup, but let the honey dissolve in the cocktail shaker before you add the ice. If you add ice too early, the honey just won’t dissolve.

tangelo Margarita with salt

I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes.

Looking for another margarita recipe? Check out our Hibiscus Margarita.

Created Hardwood’s Showroom of Live-Edge Wood Slabs

Created Hardwood’s Showroom of Live-Edge Wood Slabs

I visited Created Hardwood’s Columbus Showroom and was blown away! Ever since Created Hardwood Ltd. – Butcher Block Co.’s supplier of Live-Edge Wood Slabs – opened a showroom in their hometown of Columbus I have been wanting to check it out. Recently I visited Ohio’s capital city and thoroughly enjoyed my tour of CH’s extraordinary exhibit.

Created Hardwood’s live-edge wood slabs are used to make stunning, natural countertops and one-of-a-kind tables for kitchens, dining rooms, lobbies and conference rooms.

I learned that the family-owned firm has discovered a myriad of other clever uses for the slabs they salvage from downed trees.

Upon entering the showroom you cannot help but be overwhelmed by the striking beauty and variety of options before you. The main hall of the exhibit showcases a selection of live or rustic-edge slabs mounted on a number of different metal bases. All told, CH offers 11 different table base styles and its design experts are eager to help customers find just the right base for the slab selected.

created hardwood slabs

Here are a couple of extra-large slabs that would undoubtedly transform a dining room or a conference room.

created hardwood tables

Narrower slabs can be transformed into gorgeous library tables, desks and countertops.

created hardwood sofa table

Smaller recycled slabs can make perfect accent or coffee tables. Notice how much impact the selection of table legs can have. The wood slab in the photo is mounted on “Points” legs, which provide a delicate look suitable for a coffee table. While a similarly sized slab is mounted on heftier “Taper Up” supports, which signal this is a sturdy bench.

created hardwood coffee table

These unusual and stunning floating shelves were further testimony to the creativity of CH’s creative and skilled craftsmen…

created hardwood shelves

…as was this island bar and bar stools set.

created hardwood seated bar

In the rear of the store a neon sign calls (more like “shouts”) one’s attention to CH’s wood slab cutting boards exhibit. Rectangular slabs of various species and sizes hang, much like paintings in a gallery. They’re mounted on an authentic red brick wall, providing keen contrast in color, material and texture.

created hardwood cutting boards

By this point in my tour I was so impressed by the variety of CH’s creative re-use of salvaged, living edge natural wood slabs that I couldn’t imagine what I’d find around the next corner, nor could I wait to see. And sure enough, I wasn’t disappointed. I discovered a mock bedroom showcasing a wood-slab headboard, and an adjoining bath with a mirror framed at its top and bottom with wood slabs with live edges.

created hardwood headboard

And as they say on infomercials, “Wait, there’s more.” That’s when I discovered that the seat and back of a cushion-covered loveseat in the main exhibit hall were also wood slabs. But to be honest, by then I should not have been the least bit surprised. Here’s one of CH’s more interesting designs. It marries a glass table top with table base consisting of interlocking wood slabs.

created hardwood sofa

If you live in or near Columbus or ever visit, be sure to check out Created Hardwood Ltd.’s unbelievable tribute to wood slab recycling. It’s located downtown, at 16 West Poplar Avenue. If you want to shop online, visit us at butcherblockco.com and see our selection of Created Hardwood live-edge slabs, table bases and cutting boards.
Warm thanks to my tour guide, Created Hardwood’s National Sales Manager, Max Charney.

Customized Butcher Block Made Your Way!

Customized Butcher Block Made Your Way!

Customized butcher block kitchen island tops and countertops is our sweet spot here at Butcher Block Co.! It is what we do every day. While standard size butcher block may work for some folks, we have found that the majority of our customers have very specific requirements to fit their kitchen islands, island bars, or countertops. Often they require unique dimensions, custom angle cuts, miter cuts, sink cutouts or stove cutouts.

For customized butcher block island tops or countertops requiring just specific length and width specifications, including custom edging, chances are you can have some fun with our Instant Quote Tool and get an online quote yourself. Visit our John Boos Instant Quote Tool, email a quote to yourself, or order immediately. It’s fast and easy!

If your customized butcher block island top or countertops require special cuts or cutouts, simply give us a call at (877) 845-5597 and we will be happy to work with you on a custom quote. The process is pretty simple:

  • Specifications – Identify all of your specifications, including wood species, dimensions and a simple sketch, then email them to us.
  • Conversation – We will call you to discuss details.
  • Quote – A firm quote will be provided for your butcher block.
  • Order – We will place a phone order with you. If you have custom cutouts for appliances, we will ask you for make and model numbers.
  • Signature Approval – A simple engineering drawing from the manufacture will be sent to you for approval prior to production.
  • Anticipation – This just requires a little patience on your end, as we make your customized butcher block!

Perhaps you are looking for a unique species of wood, if so, consider our Butcher Block Co. brand of countertops available in 15 different wood species. This would also be your choice if you have requirements for an XL butcher block, an unfinished butcher block, or you were on a tighter time frame, as these tops are made within 3 weeks, plus shipping. Our BBCo. brand custom butcher block is handcrafted by Amish woodworkers who pay special attention to detail and quality workmanship.

Go ahead and play with our BBCo. brand Instant Online Quote Tool. It is a wonderful way to research and plan a kitchen remodel in the privacy of your own home. No pressure. Just generate a quote and email it to yourself.

We would love for you to become one of our happy customers.

Every day we work with DIY homeowners, contractors and designers to help them customize butcher block their way!

We also have worked with small restaurant owners to outfit both their front of house and back of house with customized butcher block. And, we are also available to help home builders and other commercial businesses looking to integrate butcher block into their projects.

Reminder… you always get FREE SHIPPING on your butcher block island tops and countertops from Butcher Block Co. Let us know if we can help you. Give us a call at (877) 845-5597 or email us with your specs at [email protected]. Cheers!

Turkey Fried Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Turkey Fried Cauliflower Rice Recipe

Turkey Fried Cauliflower Rice

Erin from Food Wise Family wants to make eating healthy easy. Check out this simple yet delicious turkey fried cauliflower rice recipe…

The new year is usually filled with resolutions. Some are kept and others are easily forgotten, but one common resolution that I agree strongly with is eating healthy. If you are determined enough, you will make it happen, but I think one trick to getting into the habit of eating healthy is finding meals that are quick and easy.  Loaded with protein and packed with veggies, this turkey fried cauliflower rice recipe takes only 30 minutes to whip up. Plus, it utilizes mostly frozen veggies, making prep for this meal complete in only minutes. This quick and wholesome meal creates plenty of leftovers, so lunch is taken care of, too.

Eat What Works For Youturkey fried cauliflower rice ingredients

If you’ve read any of my previous posts on here, you’ll know that I usually share paleo recipes. Not today, but only by a little. This turkey fried cauliflower rice recipe calls for a bag of frozen peas and carrots. Peas are not considered to be paleo because they are legumes. I want to point out that eating healthy also means not boxing yourself in completely to one way of eating. Eat what works for your body. However, if you’re hoping to make this meal completely paleo or you just really hate peas, substitute the peas and carrots for just carrots, or perhaps your favorite frozen veggie combo. Personally, I love peas and love having a meal that is super fast to make. So, yay for frozen peas!

Cooking Oils

I like to cook with virgin coconut oil. One thing to watch for with coconut oil is to not overheat it when you’re cooking. I’ve noticed on my stove the hottest I can go with it is medium heat, but your stove might be different. If your virgin coconut oil starts to smoke, it’s too hot. So adjust your temperature if needed.  Another good fat to cook this meal with is ghee, which is clarified butter. Ghee has a higher smoke point than virgin coconut oil or even butter, and it is a good substitute for anyone who is lactose intolerant but likes cooking with butter. The process of making ghee removes the majority of the lactose, plus ghee contains several healthy fatty acids and is rich in nutrients. Make sure you use grass-fed ghee.turkey fried cauliflower rice

This turkey fried cauliflower rice calls for coconut aminos – a soy-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. It is produced from coconut tree sap and sea salt and is packed with amino acids and minerals.

However, if you are a soy sauce type of person, feel free to use soy sauce instead.

Turkey Fried Cauliflower Rice

  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cooking Time: 25 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp virgin coconut oil, or ghee
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 bag frozen peas and carrots (10 oz)
  • 2 bags frozen cauliflower rice (12 oz each)
  • 1 tsp virgin coconut oil, or ghee
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 tbsp coconut aminos
  • 1/4 tsp salt, or to taste
  • 1/4 tsp pepper, or to taste

Instructions

  1. In a skillet or sauté pan, cook ground turkey.
  2. While the turkey cooks, heat coconut oil, or ghee, over medium heat in a large skillet or sauté pan. Sauté diced onion until translucent (about 5 minutes).
  3. Add peas and carrots and cauliflower rice to the cooked onions and stir in thoroughly.  Cook until heated through while stirring occasionally (about 10 minutes). If your veggies have a lot of excess water, cook a few minutes longer to reduce the amount of liquid in the pan.
  4. In the center of the pan, create an empty space by pushing all the veggies to the side of the pan. Turn the heat to medium-low and add one teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee. Once melted, add the beaten eggs. Using a spatula, scramble the egg. Once the eggs are a little over halfway cooked, stir thoroughly into the veggie mixture.
  5. Combine cooked turkey, coconut aminos, salt, and pepper in the veggie mixture and stir well.turkey fried cauliflower rice

Recipe Note: This is great served by itself, or if you want to add a kick to it, this tastes amazing with hot sauce.

I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes.

Interested in learning more about healthy oils? Read our blog Healthy Oils For A Healthy You.

Little Workshop of Horrors

Little Workshop of Horrors

My workshop. First off, I admit I am certainly not the neatest of handymen, nor among the best organized. This photo of my garage workshop reveals as much. It’s also evidence of the fact that I shun comprehensive, strategic planning that might otherwise result in solutions that prove smart over the long-term. Instead, I tend to jump into home projects willy-nilly, making series of one-off decisions that each seem perfect in the moment. That’s how I wound up cobbling together this nightmare of a home workshop – an amalgam of work tables of various sizes, shapes and styles.

My first acquisition. A versatile, Seville Classics mobile storage cabinet (pictured at left) was a sensible one. It provided then-adequate enclosed storage via a cabinet with an adjustable shelf plus four drawers that glide easily on ball bearings. The unit’s top is a ¾”-thick wood workbench with a smooth, hard finish (presumably polyurethane). At the time it seemed as though this workbench tool cart would satisfy all my needs for my lifetime. I was so young and naïve. Like most obsessed tinkerers, I was constantly discovering new tools and gadgets that I simply had to add to my workshop. One of these, a set of those; you get the picture. A pegboard with assorted hooks and holders made a good home for hand tools…for a while. It wasn’t long before my workbench on wheels was maxed out.

Additions. Over time the projects I undertook expanded in scope, as did my collection of hand and power tools and all their various attachments. Pegboard soon covered the adjacent wall as well. I shopped around for workbenches but ultimately decided to build one myself. A fairly simple creation, it provided added open storage on a lower slatted wood shelf, plus a larger and sturdier work surface compared to that original tool cart. The work bench top is 1-1/2”-thick maple edge-grain butcher block with a natural oil finish and it fits the bill to a T. Still I remained on the prowl for more benchtop work space as well as enclosed storage space to satisfy my insatiable appetite for more and more guy stuff (reminiscent of Audrey II – the carnivorous plant in “Little Shop of Horrors” crying out, “Feed me, Seymour!”). So next, I repurposed a discarded desk with colorful metal-faced drawers. I make good use of the desk’s drawers, as well as its ¾”-thick laminated worktop. But still, something was missing from my little workshop of horrors.

More butcher block.Then it hit me like a brick. The idea was to use the converted desk and narrow bookshelf situated to its right – on which I store still more tools and such – to support a massive butcher block that would become the literal cornerstone of my Frankenstein-like creation. It would span the corner gap between the storage cart on the left and the butcher block work table on the right.

In this picture you can see the answer to my tool shop dreams (or little workshop nightmares?). It’s resting on the floor in front of the tool cart. It’s a 2-1/4-inch-thick commercial-grade blended maple butcher block made by industry leader John Boos & Co. in Central Illinois. The block is finished with Varnique – Boos’ own varnish-like blend that provides a protective shield and makes cleanup easy. Boos workbenches provide all the functionality and durability handypersons could want or need for their home workshops. This particular block started out 48 inches long and 34 inches wide. Custom cuts – one straight and one mitered – made it just the right shape to fit the corner and to maximize the amount of available benchtop workspace.

I’m very pleased with the end result. Deceptively, it almost looks as though I followed some grand design vision. But you, Dear Reader, now know better. Oh well, as they say, “All’s well that ends well.”

No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Balls Recipe

No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Balls Recipe

Our monthly guest blogger, Erin from Food Wise Family, is sharing the perfect holiday treat that will be the star of your next holiday party. If you are looking for a last-minute, homemade goodie to take to a holiday party or for a Christmas cookie swap, look no further. These no-bake chocolate coconut balls are simple to make, deliciously chocolatey and crunchy, and secretly healthy.
 
Healthy Holiday Sweets
During the holidays, it’s so easy to load up on sugary treats because they are everywhere. A great solution for this is to make sweets that utilize something that’s already naturally sweet. While these chocolate coconut balls are addicting and indulge your chocolate craving, they are also guilt-free because they are sweetened only with dates. No added refined sugars here…just pure, natural dates!  

This recipe is also paleo, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, and egg-free, making these chocolate coconut balls a great choice for anyone with special dietary needs or certain food allergies.

Packed with protein from the almonds, these little chocolate coconut balls are also more satisfying than you think, making it easy to stop at only eating one or two.
 chocolate coconut balls
No-Bake Chocolate Coconut Balls
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Chill Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Serving: About 14-16 balls, depending on size
 
Ingredients
1 cup pitted soft Medjool dates(about 15 dates)
1 cup raw almonds
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup melted virgin coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
Pinch of salt
2-3 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut, as a topping
 
Instructions
1. Add dates to food processor and pulse several times until they are roughly chopped.
2. Add the remaining ingredients, except for the shredded coconut topping, to the food processor and blend until mixed well. 
3. Using a spoon, scoop out enough mixture to easily roll into a small ball using your hands. Continue until you’ve rolled all the mixture.
4. In a small bowl, place the remaining shredded coconut and gently roll each chocolate ball to evenly coat with the coconut.
5. Place balls on a parchment lined plate, tray or baking sheet, and chill in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.
6. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator and serve chilled.
 
I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes. 
Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Homemade Paleo Cranberry Sauce Recipe

Erin, our guest blogger over at Food Wise Family, has a healthy cranberry sauce recipe that is sure to be your new holiday favorite!

Whether you are cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the whole family, or you are just bringing a side dish for the upcoming holiday, homemade cranberry sauce is the way to go. Skip the canned stuff and buy some fresh cranberries instead. This dish is perfect for making the day before and grabbing from the fridge just in time for dinner.

Cut Out the Refined Sugar
I can’t have a turkey dinner without cranberry sauce, but when I started eating paleo I wanted a cranberry sauce that wasn’t full of refined sugar. So, I adapted this recipe from my mom’s that she makes every holiday.

To make this cranberry sauce recipe paleo, I removed all the refined sugar and replaced with real maple syrup.

I chose maple syrup because that’s something we always have in the house; however, you can substitute the maple syrup with honey or coconut sugar. If you use coconut sugar, make sure it completely dissolves before adding the cranberries.

Paleo Cranberry Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients
Juice and zest of 1 orange
1/2 – 3/4 cup of real maple syrup*
1 small piece (about 1 inch in size) of fresh ginger, peeled and grated
3 cups of fresh cranberries

Instructions
1. In a large saucepan, combine orange juice, orange zest, maple syrup, and ginger. Simmer for about 5 minutes, while stirring often.
2. Bring to a gentle boil on medium heat and stir in cranberries. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cranberries pop and the sauce starts to thicken (about 10 minutes).
3. Let cool and place in a storage container. Refrigerate until serving time.

*Recipe Note: Use 1/2 cup of maple syrup for a more tart cranberry sauce, or use 3/4 cup of maple syrup for a sweeter version. Personally, I enjoy a tart cranberry sauce!

Cranberry Sauce steps

I believe that the food we put on the table should not only be healthy, but easy and full of flavor. Check out my website foodwisefamily.com for more wholesome recipes.

See more of Erin’s recipes on our Butcher Block Co. Blog:

Make Your Own Pumpkin Spice

Super Moist Gluten Free Banana Bread Recipe

Try Our Recipe For Easy Grilled Sweet Potatoes

 

Creative Reuse – Slab End Table

Creative Reuse – Slab End Table

Slab End Table Project Gives New Life to an Old Stump

America Recycles Day is November 15th. We, at Butcher Block Co., like to raise awareness and remind our readers that you can honor the spirit of this day, every day, just at home. Be mindful of what you use and what you waste. Strive to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose. It is fitting that early November is always bulk trash week in our neighborhood, so we keep an eye out for any “treasures” we can reuse. This week’s blog highlights one of the treasures we found in bulk trash earlier this year – a huge mesquite wood stump about 20″ high and 23″  wide. This stump will be reused for many projects. We start with this Slab End Table.

The goal of creative reuse, also called upcycling, is to find a purpose for items or materials that have been discarded. Many times tossed items can have an extended, useful life. The trick, or talent, is discovering and seizing this opportunity. Upcycling ultimately should, and can, have the overall environmental benefit of reducing your carbon footprint.

SLAB END TABLE – We love the unique asymmetrical shape of the stump combined with the variation in grain pattern and color.

HOW TO:

  • We decided the large stump could be made into multiple projects so we had it cut into ten – 2″ thick slabs.
  • We then ran them threw a large planer to make the top and bottom of each slab even and smooth.
  • All the loose bark was peeled off of the edges, exposing the cream colored edge of the mesquite wood.
  • All sides were then sanded smooth.
  • We applied multiple coats of WATCO Danish Oil Finish to penetrate the grain and highlight the color and grain pattern.
  • The last step of finishing was to apply multiple coats of General Finishes Arm-R-Seal Semi-Gloss Urethane.

BEFORE & AFTER

This is a sister slab (after planing) before any prep work was done versus the finished Slab End Table in our living room.

We completed the table by attaching three 23″ black hairpin legs, from DIY Hairpin Legs, making this Slab End Table the perfect height for our sofa.

Total material cost of the project – approximately $50

SLAB NIGHTSTAND – We completed a similar project from a much smaller mesquite tree stump.

Share with us your creative reuse projects. We would love to hear from you!

National Fig Week – Gettin’ Figgy With It

National Fig Week – Gettin’ Figgy With It

National Fig Week is November 1st-7th, which falls between the summer and fall harvest seasons. Unfortunately for us in Phoenix, that means no fresh figs in the grocery store. Fresh or not, figs are a fascinating fruit! Or are they…? Turns out figs are actually inverted flowers! Each fig is basically a sack filled with tiny flowers. Figs have been considered an aphrodisiac food since ancient times, due in part to their, umm, resemblance to a certain anatomical part that I will leave to your imagination (this is a family-friendly blog!), plus the fact that they are filled with seeds. Let’s not forget the world’s original lingerie: fig leaves. We’ll discuss this more later.

If all this fig talk is revving your engine, grab your closest hungry friend and get figgy with it!

Figs are packed with potassium and iron to keep you pumped up during your favorite fig frolicking. We’ve got the most delicious Fig, Blue Cheese, and Honey Crostini to kick off the festivities.

Fig

Tips before starting:

  • Taste all of your ingredients.  Grab a chunk of baguette, a blob of blue cheese, a piece of fig, and a couple drips of honey and try them all together. This will give you a great starting point for how to assemble your toasts.
  • If your cheese is super pungent, go easy. If it is more mild, though, slather it on.
  • Dried figs are going to have more concentrated sweetness than fresh.
  • I prefer a good quality, local honey.  The stronger your blue cheese, the more honey you can use.
  • A lovely alternative to honey is a balsamic reduction. Reduce balsamic down slowly over medium-low heat until it becomes syrupy. This should cook out some of the acidity, leaving a punch of flavor with a bit of sweetness.
  • If you’re not into blue cheese, go away. Just kidding! If blue cheese isn’t your thing, try goat cheese as a lighter alternative. Add a little fresh rosemary for extra earthiness. There is plenty of room for creativity!

Fig

Fig, Blue Cheese, and Honey Crostini

  • Baguette
  • Olive Oil
  • Blue Cheese
  • Figs (dried or fresh), sliced
  • Honey

Slice baguette on the bias into 1/2” thick pieces. Brush both sides with your favorite olive oil and toast on both sides until light golden brown. This can be done stovetop or in the oven; or for even more flavor, toast them lightly on the grill.

Meanwhile, prepare figs. If using dried figs, simply slice into 2-3 pieces. For fresh figs, if you’ve already got the grill going for your bread or a main course, cut figs in half, brush with olive oil, and lightly grill, cut-side down. Slice into thin pieces.

Heat blue cheese for about 10 seconds in the microwave until spreadable.

Spread blue cheese on each piece of toast. Top each toast with sliced figs and return to oven for a few minutes to warm the figs through. I popped mine in the toaster oven at 400°F for 4-5 minutes.

While your toasts are warming up, get your honey ready to drizzle. High quality honey is more likely to solidify a bit in cooler temps, so you may need to heat it up slightly. Scoop out a tablespoon or so into a microwave safe bowl and heat in five second bursts (mine literally only took five seconds) until runny.

Transfer warm toasts to your serving dish and drizzle liberally with honey.

Slap on your fig leaves and have some fun!

Fun Fig Facts

Having researched more into figs, I think part of the aphrodisiac quality comes from the terribly sexy way figs are fertilized. Those internal flowers are pollinated from the inside by a very special fig wasp, who dies after depositing her eggs and pollen into the fig’s ovaries (seriously, that’s what they’re called). When the male wasps hatch, they fertilize the unhatched females, and then tunnel through the fig flesh and die. Newly hatched female wasps pick up some pollen from inside the flowers, stretch their freshly-grown wings, and make their way out through those sacrificial brotherly tunnels, off to find a new fig to turn into a nursery. I read half a dozen articles about this and was still a little confused, until I found this fun and informative video with illustrations. It was a bit off-putting at the end when our host tells us we’re eating dead wasp bodies, but it turns out that’s a bit of a stretch. Figs produce enzymes that break the wasp exoskeleton down during ripening, so you don’t need to worry about getting wings stuck in your teeth. Besides that, most of what we find in the grocery store are “common figs,” which are artificially polinated without the need for wasps.

Do you believe in the aphrodisiac power of foods? I ate an entire tray of these fig crostinis, and I can’t say I got anything but full… So it’s probably safe to serve these at Thanksgiving.