Raw Comb Honey

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How many of you enjoy honey? Have you ever tried raw honey? Lets go one step further. How many of you have tried raw comb honey? Maybe I’m in the minority here, but I’ve never tried comb honey. I know the process of honey production, but I never really given honey any more thought than buying the squeeze bottle in the store. That was until Mohawk Valley Trading Co. sent me samples of their raw honey. After that, I became a purest and wont ever buy that squeeze bottle again! So, it was to much surprise when Mohawk Valley Trading Co. also offered their Comb Honey to me.

When I received the comb honey, we all looked at it and admired it. I used it as a teaching lesson for my daughter, explaining the hexagonal-shaped beeswax cells and how the bees make honey and beekeepers harvest the honey. It was a teachable moment for me as well as I learned that it is the rawest honey available and contains all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, minerals, and aromatics that the honey had in the hive. If you are planning to use honey for its health-benefits, it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and aromatics.

So, besides the huge health benefits of using comb honey the big question for a food enthusiast like me was does the honey comb deliver a different taste? The answer is yes, and no. The honey tastes just as good as raw honey that is extracted from the comb, but I felt like there was a more delicate taste. You can get more raw and natural than this. There is also something about having the comb in front of you as you squeeze some of the honey out and eat it however you like it. It’s a whole sensory experience. My daughter, who refuses all condiments besides lemon and honey, loved the experience as well. She was caught on more than one occasion munching on the comb.

My other big questions upon receiving the comb honey? What do I do with it so I really can reap the culinary benefits? You can use the comb honey however you’d like. Enjoy the comb honey with toast, serve it was some wonderful crackers or bread and cheese. I even found some recipes out there for chocolate dipped comb honey, I can’t wait to try this out!

If you’re like me and have never tried comb honey before, I strongly suggest you give it a try the next time you purchase honey. If not for the health benefits, than for giving yourself a special treat come breakfast or snack time!

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Mohawk Valley Trading Co. sent me a sample of their raw comb honey, but as always the opinions expressed here are solely my own.

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I love having something a little extra special for breakfast, but usually that means adding on a lot of calories. I adore the “good” stuff that is filled or garnished with cheeses and creams! This simple recipe really feels decadent, but is light and fresh. You don’t leave the table with that heavy feeling and you can start the day knowing you ate good. Fresh strawberries and basil really make you feel good. The nuttiness of the browned butter and almonds enhance the flavors and bring the meal up a notch. So, whether it be for a special morning or you want something different, definitely give this a try. The best part is you can prepare the waffles ahead of time if you make your own or you can grab some in the freezer aisle, which brings the preparation time of this breakfast less than 10 minutes !

Strawberry & Browned Butter Waffle

Ingredients

  • 1 Multigrain Belgian waffle
  • 2/3 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp browned sugar
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves
  • 1 Tbsp toasted sliced almonds

Toast waffle to preference. Add strawberries tossed in brown sugar, browned butter, and fresh basil leaves. Sprinkle with toasted sliced almonds.

 Nutritional Information

Serves 1

239 Calories, 13.4g Fat, 4g Protein, 109mg Sodium

Source: Cooking Light May 2014

Lone Star Chicken Spaghetti

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I love finding a new recipe that I know immediately will be a winner. The picture draws me in and then I start examining it further for ingredients that my family loves. Then, I’ll scan the ingredient list to make sure there isn’t anything my family hates or I see if I can omit the item or substitute. My family loves pasta and spaghetti is their favorite type. Add in some heat and I know my husband will love it.

Apparently, I’ve been under a rock because I had never heard of Chicken Spaghetti before. Apparently, it’s a classic but uses canned soups. Well, canned soups aren’t my thing unless it is absolutely necessary so I am glad I found this recipe as it is below since I would have glanced over it otherwise. This meal is great since it provides plenty of flavor, but doesn’t deviate too far from my family’s comfort zone. It really doesn’t contain a lot of heat, just enough for flavoring. I promise, I’m a wimp so I mean it when I say it isn’t hot. If you want it hotter, play around with the addition of more jalapeno peppers and cayenne. Just to be safe, before adding everything together to bake, I pulled out the pasta and chicken and served that to my daughter without the flavorings. The joys of having a young child is that they will accept a plate with chicken, pasta, tomatoes, and a lump of shredded cheese!

This was well received and has made it’s way into the easy dinner rotation. I hope your family enjoys it as well!

Lone Star Chicken Spaghetti

Ingredients

  • 8 oz spaghetti
  • 2 cups grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise
  • 2 jalapeno peppers, stemmed, seeded, and halved lengthwise
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 yellow onion
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • 2 cups whole milk, plus more as needed
  • 2 cups grated cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for topping
  • 2 tsp fresh lime juice
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups shredded cooked chicken

Lightly grease a 12-inch skillet. Cook spaghetti according to package directions in a pot of boiling salted water. Drain, rinse, and transfer to skillet.

Meanwhile, turn on broiler. Place grape tomatoes and jalapenos on a foil-lined baking sheet, skin side up, along with garlic cloves and onion. Broil 5 to 7 minutes on a rack placed 6 inches away from heat. Remove from oven, let vegetables cool, and dice. Reduce oven to 350F.

Melt butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Whisk in flour until well combined and slightly browned, about 30 seconds. Slowly pour in milk and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens to coat spoon, 3 to 5 minutes.

Turn off heat and slowly stir in half the cheeses, about 1/4 cup at a time, until melted into sauce. Stir in diced vegetables, along with cumin, cayenne, cilantro, and lime juice. Add salt and pepper. Pour sauce into cooked spaghetti and stir in shredded chicken. Top with remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 20 minutes or until brown and bubbling. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Source: Homesick Texan’s Family Table

Light Italian Dressing

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Our spring has not been that wonderful here in Maine. It’s been filled mostly with cold, rainy days. I know summer is coming though and we’ll most likely go from cold to blazing hot in a blink of an eye. I’m sure I’ll complain about the heat, but I am looking forward to days of fresh produce from our garden, eating outside, and enjoying meals from the grill. One of my daughter’s favorite things to do is eat lunch outside on the deck. She loves having a picnic and usually our spring days are filled with lots of picnics. Not this spring though. We’ve only done it once, sadly. Anytime it is nice out though we head outside and start shifting from our heavy, cold weather meals to light, fresh meals. We’ve craving the sun and warmth just like the plants outside. I whipped up this dressing last week when it was warm and it felt so nice to have a fresh salad with this on it. Of course the next day it was back to being cold, but I had that memory and I continued to eat my salads with this dressing to spite Mother Nature.

This is a great alternative to your standard Italian dressings you may be making or buying. You can’t taste the “lightness,” it takes just like any other Italian dressing, but you also aren’t getting those fake ingredients from the bottle “light’ dressings. You also probably have all, if not most, of these ingredients on hand anyways! So, dress you garden salad, pasta salad, or marinate your chicken in it this summer and know that it’s light, fresh, and a little healthier for you!

Light Italian Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 medium tomato, halved
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 small clove garlic, minced
  • 1/8 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Rub the cut sides of the tomato along the coarse holes of a grater into a bowl; discard skins.

Whisk in remaining ingredients and pepper to taste.

Store in an airtight container for up to 1 week. Shake well before using.

Yields 1 cup

Nutritional Information

Per serving (2 tablespoons): 38 Calories, 4g Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 92mg Sodium, 1g Carbohydrate, 0g Fiber, 0g Protein

Source: Food Network Magazine May 2011