Starting Seeds Indoors |

Spring fever is in full gear! Seed Catalogs have arrived, orders have come in and it’s now time to start those seedlings. After we get through this post, explaining how to germinate your seeds, we’ll step right into tending your seeds.

Seed Starting Supplies

  • Jiffy greenhouse
  • Starting Mix
  • Seeds
  • Soil Thermometer

Before you fill your peat pots with starting mix, you will need to wet your mix with enough water to start the germination process. What I do is wet it enough so that when I squeeze the mix, some water drips out. Not soaking wet, but just damp enough.

Once the mix is wet enough, fill your peat pots and plant two seeds in each cell.

Once the pots are filled, place them in the jiffy greenhouse and put it on top of your refrigerator or any other warm spot away from a draft.  In order to germinate, the seedlings need a damp, and warm environment.

What about my extra seeds? You can freeze your extra seeds for about three years.  I simply put the seed packets into baggies, put them into an envelope and place them in my freezer.

You’ll want to leave your seedlings alone in the greenhouse until they start to sprout. Once a few have sprouted, prop the lid open and leave them until all of the seeds have sprouted.

One thing to be aware of is trying to avoid your seedlings from getting leggy.  This happens when you leave them too long during the germination stage and they start to “reach” for a light source.

As soon as all your seedlings have germinated, move them under your light source. You can then either put them in a sunny location near a window, preferably a south facing window, or you can put them under lights to start the growing process. My husband made me an awesome setup in the basement using ordinary shop lights with fluorescent bulbs.

Starting Seeds Indoors |

Next week, we’ll dive into tending your seedlings.  As I’ve learned, seedlings can be very finicky especially when your growing in your basement under lights ;)

So until then Garden Soldiers!!  Let’s Grow Our Own!!

Part 1: Ordering Seed Catalogs
Part 2: Understanding the differences between Heirloom, Hybrid, GMO, and Organic Seeds
Part 3: Planting Zones, Frost Dates, and Planting Calendars
Part 4. Understanding Succession Planting
Part 5. Spring Time is Near! It’s Time to Start Those Seedlings!
Part 6. Growing Seeds Indoors Under Supplemental Lighting
Part 7. Tending your seedlings
Part 8. Methods of Urban Gardening

When I’m with my mami, we spend so much time reminiscing about her past.  I love learning about the way Spaniards lived traditionally.  My great aunts are VERY traditional and when it comes to food and cooking, it’s no exception.  My mami has a memory like no other and can recall most all of my grandmothers recipes.  The way she cooked, the ingredients she used, the small refrigerator without a freezer that she filled with fresh ingredients after shopping at the markets day after day.  My grandmother was an amazing cook and this simple soup of fish with potatoes is one that frequently made its way to the family table.

Of course, with any soup, the difference between a good soup versus an amazing and nourishing soup is in homemade stock.  When I found whole, wild snappers at Costco I knew right away that I could use the meat for this soup and the head and spines for the stock.  After explaining the circle of life with my boys, we were all pretty excited to take the fish home, scale and fillet them for our meal.  As my nephew Xavier said to me while eating this soup, “Nana, Nemo taste good in my belly!”

Sopita de Pescao Con Papas
serves 8


For the Stock:

  • 4 tbls extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tomatoes or 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 green pepper
  • 3 liters cold water
  • Fish heads, tails and spines from the fish

For the Soup

  • 3 lbs Whole Wild Red Snapper (Or any other white fish like cod, tilapia, etc..), cleaned, scaled and fillet
  • 8 – 10 potatoes, thickly sliced
  • 10 cups fish stock
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 tbls evoo
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, pressed or minced
  • 1 tbls thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • pinch of saffron threads
  • sea salt and pepper to taste


For the Stock:

  1. Start with a sofrito.  In a large dutch oven, heat 4 tbls evoo.  Add the onion and saute until transparent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Add the peppers, tomato and garlic and saute for an additional 15 minutes and the flavors are well incorporated.
  3. Add the fish parts and water.
  4. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat, cover and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.

For the Soup:

  1. Transfer the stock to a large bowl.
  2. In the same dutch oven, heat an additional 4 tbls evoo.  Add the onion and saute until transparent.
  3. Add the tomato and garlic and saute an additional 15 minutes.
  4. Add the fish stock, white wine, thyme, bay leaves, saffron, salt and pepper.
  5. Bring to a boil.
  6. Lower the heat and add the potatoes and fish.
  7. Simmer.  Once the fish has been cooked through, anywhere from 8 – 10 minutes, remove and set aside.
  8. Cover the dutch oven and continue to cook the potatoes until they are tender.
  9. Once the potatoes are done, ladle the soup and potatoes into individual bowls topping with the fish.

Buen Provecho!


When I first started on my road to making homemade bread, the word wheat berry was being tossed around.  Wheat huh?  You mean flour comes from a wheat berry?  Yes, the 5lb bags that we buy at our local grocer filled with powdered flour is actually ground, whole grain wheat berries from the wheat grass.

A wheat kernel (berry) is an edible seed composed of three parts – the bran, the endosperm, and the germ.  Since the wheat kernel is left intact, virtually none of the nutrients are stripped away.

The bran is the outer covering of the kernel. It makes up only a small portion of the grain but consists of several layers – including the nutrient-rich aleurone – and contains a disproportionate share of nutrients. The bran layers supply 86 percent of the niacin, 43 percent of the riboflavin, and 66 percent of all the minerals in the grain, as well as practically all of the grain’s dietary fiber.

The starchy endosperm accounts for about 83 percent of the grain’s weight. Most of the protein and carbohydrates are stored in the endosperm, as are some minerals and B vitamins (though less than are in the bran). This layer also has some dietary fiber; for example, about 25 percent of the fiber in wheat is found in the endosperm.

The smallest part of the grain is the germ; it constitutes about 2 percent of the kernel’s weight. Located at the base of the kernel, the germ is the part of the seed that if planted would sprout to form a new plant. It contains a good amount of polyunsaturated fat, and, as a consequence, is often removed during milling to prevent grain products from turning rancid. The germ is also relatively rich in vitamin E and the B vitamins, though it has fewer of the latter than are found in the bran or endosperm, and some minerals.

White flour is actually made by stripping the bran and the germ, leaving the white endosperm.  This refined flour looses between 48-98% of the many naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.

For those of you familiar with Nourishing Traditions, a lot of focus has been pointed to the phytic acid level in the whole grain.  In the book it’s explained that all grains contain phytic acid (an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound) in the outer layer or bran.  Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption.  In order to neutralize the phytic acid levels, Nourishing Traditions teaches it’s readers to soak their flour in an acid medium overnight.  It starts a fermentation process creating lactobacilli to aid in digestion and breaks down the phytic acid allowing our bodies to absorb important minerals.

This took me awhile to understand and quite honestly, it never really made sense to me.  Now, I’m not saying that soaking is not doing something, but I honestly feel their are inaccuracies in this research.  Katie, from Kitchen Stewardship brought this to my attention a few months ago and she is currently doing A LOT of research to figure this whole thing out.  If you’re interested, she’s running a series on this topic that is very interesting.  In her latest post, she pointed to an article called, Phytic Acid – Friend or Foe by Sue Becker.  Her knowledge in this area makes tons more sense to me so I will no longer be posting about soaking any type of flour or legume for reasons provided by NT.

So now that that is out of the way, a nourishing technique that does go back centuries is sprouting your whole grains.  When you sprout a whole grain or any seed for that matter, it is the beginning of it’s life… germination.  This life begins in the germ of the grain. When a grain starts to sprout, it begins to multiply and develop nutrients in order to provide enough nourishment for a fully mature plant.  Some protein is lost during the sprouting process, however, vitamins, enzymes, minerals and trace elements skyrocket shortly after germination!

Baked goods using sprouted grain are significantly higher in protein, vitamins and enzymes, and the complex starches are converted into natural sugars.  Since these starches are converted into natural sugars, many wheat intolerant people are able to eat sprouted wheat bread without any problems. They are also low GI,  so they are digested more slowly by the body, keeping the blood sugar levels stable for longer, making people feel more satisfied.  This leads to less snacking.  It is interesting to note that the more highly processed a food is, the higher GI it is.  A loaf of white bread is significantly higher GI than a loaf of sprouted grain bread.

So the benefits…

  1. Increased vitamins, enzymes, minerals and trace elements
  2. Easier digestibility
  3. Low GI, great for diabetics!

It’s a win win situation and so easy to do at home!!

Sprouting Whole Grains

Materials Needed

  1. Quart Glass Mason Jar
  2. Sprouting Screen or Coffee Filter
  3. Chemical Free/Organic Wheat Berries
  4. Food Dehydrator
  5. Grain Mill


  • Fill a quart mason jar with 2 cups of wheat berries and 4 cups of filtered water overnight.
  • The next day, rinse the wheat berries and add a sprouted screen to the top of the lid or a coffee filter.  Place upside down in a food colander in your sink.
  • Rinse the sprouts every few hours or a minimum of 3 times for a maximum of 3 days.
  • The wheat berries can start to produce sprouts within 1 – 3 days after you start the process.  Keep your eyes on them.  After the sprouts are a small bump or 3mm they are done!
  • After your grains have sprouted, the next step is to dehydrate the wheat berries so that you can grind them into a flour to use for home baked goods!
  • Place the sprouts on the racks of your food dehydrator and dry them on the lowest setting (95) overnight.
  • You can then place your dried sprouted berries in a large mason jar and store them in your refrigerator to keep them fresh!
  • Grind them in your grain mill, or blender and use for an additional boost of nourishment in all of your baked goods!

One of my favorite things about making homemade chicken stock is having tender chicken to strip off the bones for homemade enchilada’s.  The secret to a perfect enchilada is in homemade enchilada sauce!  There is a bit of a process when making homemade enchilada’s but once you start dipping and rolling you’ll find that it’s super easy and super delicious!  My grandmother Mita actually taught my mother how to make homemade enchilada’s and let me tell you, there is no comparison between this recipe and a sloppy enchilada you’ll find at an American Mexican restaurant.  One note to remember is that an authentic, traditional enchilada is always made with corn tortillas, no exceptions!  There is no need to drown your enchilada in cheese as the chicken meat mixed with cilantro and green onions really makes this dish to swoon over! 

Enchilada’s Roja


  • 1lb shredded chicken meat
  • 4 green onions thinly sliced
  • 3/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese
  • 1 recipe salsa roja para enchiladas
  • 12 corn tortillas
  • 3/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded cheese to sprinkle on top

*Tip – You can find great corn tortillas called El Milagro at your Mexican Grocer.  They have no preservatives and their only ingredients are Corn, Lime, and Water!  The best thing, a package of 12 costs 32 CENTS!


  • In a large bowl, mix the shredded chicken, green onions, cilantro, and 1/2 cup shredded cheese.
  • After you’ve mixed your meat mixture, it’s time to get everything mise en place.
  1. Back left burner, keep your enchilada sauce warm over low heat
  2. Back right, the meat mixture placed on the range.  (It’s not on)
  3. Front left, extra virgin olive oil over low heat.
  4. Front right, casserole dish to roll and place enchiladas
  • Using tongs, dip one tortilla at a time into the warm oil to soften the tortilla.  Immediately dip the tortilla into the enchilada sauce and place in your casserole dish.   Fill the center of the tortilla with about 2 tablespoons of meat mixture and roll it up.  One thing to remember is that if you leave the tortilla in the oil for too long, it will get extremely soft and break on you.  Quite literally, you’ll only keep it a few seconds on each side in the oil and about the same amount of time in the enchilada sauce.  Practice makes perfect!
  • Once all of the enchiladas are rolled, top with the remaining enchilada sauce (you may have some left over) and top with shredded cheese.
  • Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until the cheese melts.
  • Garnish with fresh cilantro.
Buen Provecho!!

I have a wonderful e-course I would like to share with you.  My friend Wardeh over at GNOWFGLINS, (God’s Natural, Organic, Whole Foods, Grown Locally, In Season), has developed an e-course based on cooking foods traditionally.

I get so many questions about how I have the time to do all that I do especially when it comes to cooking foods from scratch.  As most of you know, I grew up eating traditional Spanish foods.  So that was easy to integrate into my own lifestyle, however, when I heard about the book Nourishing Traditions, I was definitely overwhelmed!

Making my own yogurt?!  Butter?!  Creme Fraiche?! Lacto-Ferments?! Sprouting Grains?!  Homemade Stock?! Making my own bread, tortillas, crackers?!

Yeah, that was scary!!  However, over the course of over 2 years with many failed attempts, learning from others, tapping into traditional local networks, I was able to see how easy it is when you break things down.  Not everything is done in one day and that is what I love about Wardeh’s e-course.  She shows you how easy it is to incorporate these nourishing techniques into your lifestyle.

From the Gnowfglins website

Here’s How the eCourse Works

Each week, you’ll receive one lesson, or one part of a lesson. You’ll get it in a combination of audio, video and/or print formats. In the video, I will demonstrate a lesson’s cooking technique, giving you the confidence you need to do it yourself. The print and audio versions of a lesson will deepen your understanding of GNOWFGLINS, share more details about the technique presented in the video lesson, suggest more recipes that you can follow to take the lesson further, and offer troubleshooting advice for possible obstacles. When you’re done watching, listening to, and reading each lesson’s simple yet comprehensive multi-media materials, you’ll know, as I do, that you can achieve delicious, healthy food, too!

Each lesson will answer three basic and essential questions:

What? – What is this food and/or technique? What ingredients do I need?
Why? – Why should we eat a certain food or prepare it a certain way?
How? – How is the technique carried out or how is this food prepared?

Each lesson will come with one or more “Fact Sheets,” which are one-page (more or less) documents that quickly summarize an important topic. You might call them Cliff Notes. ;) All by themselves, these are a great resource and you’ll turn to them again and again to guide your kitchen tasks with surety. I recommend putting them all in page protectors in a handy binder.

As a participant of the eCourse, you’ll have access to the members-only forums. There, you can trade advice and experience, encourage – and be encouraged by – other members, brainstorm solutions, and get personalized advice from me. No matter what hiccups you face, your fellow community members and I will get you going again.

Are you wondering how you’ll ever figure out what to buy and what equipment you’ll need? I’ve got that covered, too! You’ll get ingredient and equipment notes well in advance of needing anything special. I won’t leave you hanging out to dry, unprepared. So breathe easy.

Oh, by the way, I’ll avoid requiring kitchen appliances as much as possible. Sometimes, the right tool is absolutely necessary. On the other hand, quite often the best tool is the simplest tool. If I can spare you from having to buy something when you really can’t afford it, I will.

What’s in the eCourse?

This plan isn’t called “Fundamentals” for nothing. I carefully selected the basic skills in this eCourse, and I believe every healthy cook should know how to do them. They each have a purpose in the nutrient-dense diet that keeps us feeling, looking, and doing our best for God and others.

  • Overview: eCourse Overview
  • Lesson 1: The GNOWFGLINS Foundation
  • Lesson 2: How to Soak Whole Grains, Nuts and Seeds
  • Lesson 3: How to Make Soaked Whole-Grain Flour Baked Goods I
  • Lesson 4: How to Make Soaked Whole-Grain Flour Baked Goods II
  • Lesson 5: How to Soak and Cook Dry Beans
  • Lesson 6: How to Sprout Beans
  • Lesson 7: How to Cook a Chicken and Make Chicken Stock
  • Lesson 8: How to Make Skillet Dishes: A Dinner Formula
  • Lesson 9: How to Make Water Kefir
  • Lesson 10: How to Make Dairy Kefir
  • Lesson 11: How to Make Soft, Spreadable Cheese
  • Lesson 12: How to Make Sourdough Bread
  • Lesson 13: How to Sprout Whole Grains for Sprouted Grain Flour & How to Bake With Sprouted Grain Flour
  • Lesson 14: How to Make Natural Pickled Foods

What if you have dietary restrictions?

The Fundamentals eCourse can work for people with dietary restrictions. Because we’re talking about general formulas and benefits, the techniques can be applied (in most cases) while working around dietary restrictions. We will never use anything processed (other than baking powder, mentioned below), so you don’t have to worry about hidden dairy, corn, soy, gluten, nuts or eggs as a part of any food ingredient.

But what about whole food ingredients in the lessons? Iʼll address those various dietary restrictions specifically, so you can judge for yourself whether or not the eCourse is right for you.
Keep in mind that there are fourteen cooking lessons. Some dietary restrictions will be affected by a handful of lessons, but not more than that.

A great investment to learn how to cook traditionally at home!

For less than $10 a class you can visually learn how to start cooking nourishing meals from the comfort of your own home.  I wish I would have had this e-course when I started on my way to nourishing, traditional foods!  It would have saved me so much time and energy!

Hurry Space is Limited and Enrollment Ends Soon!

So sorry dear readers, but with my recent trip to NYC and prepping for classes, I haven’t had time to get this up sooner.  Enrollment ends at 5pm on Monday, February 22nd.  Membership is an affordable $27 per month for 5 months, and it includes extensive multi-media materials, private member forums, access to Wardeh, her best advice, and much more!

*Please note: I’m not a huge fan of advertising, however I feel strongly about this e-course and highly recommend it to those who are interested in learning traditional techniques.  I am an affiliate and fellow Real Food Media Blog Network Member!  We support each other, boo yah!


This was the day that was brought to us by Foodbuzz and Electrolux.  Yeah, that really is Kelly Ripa and the Cake Boss!  First of all, let me start by saying that Buddy Velastro and crew from “The Cake Boss” were the nicest people ever!  The time they spent with each group teaching us techniques, sharing about their family bakery, and time commitment they put into this was unreal.  I was completely enamored by Buddy and Frankie and quite honestly would have ditched the cake scene in favor of grabbing my hubby and taking part in a giant Italian dinner with the Cake Boss’s family.  Pasta anyone?  But, we were here for a cause!

As everyone knows, Kelly is the spokesperson for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  She is also the brand for Electrolux.  Putting two and two together she was able to set up this amazing event to benefit the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  I didn’t realize how many people were effected by this cancer until meeting some of the wonderful bloggers that were also a part of this event.  My wonderful teammates in the picture above are Jen from My Kitchen Addiction and Bridget from Bake at 350.  Bridget lost her mother to ovarian cancer.  She was 54 years old.  The scariest part about this disease is that it’s difficult to detect and spreads quickly.  To all the mothers, sisters, aunts, and wives that are effected, this is for you!

When we first got to the event they had all of the bloggers waiting in an area feeding us cupcakes and juice.  So as bloggers do, we took pictures of each other.

Bridget and Jen!  Such wonderful ladies!!  I was so excited to finally meet Jen as we had communicated many times before.  She was just as nice in person!  Genuine ladies!!
One of the cutest girls ever, head detective Jessie from Cake Spy!  An artist and baker, Seattle runs through this girls blood!  A genuine fun person to be around!!
I want to go back to San Francisco just to spend some more time with Ryan Stern from Foodbuzz.  The daughter of a chef, Ryan is also an advocate of the local foods movement and enjoys REAL FOOD! As you can tell, we had alot to talk about ;)  One of the coolest girls ever!

Stole these pics from Jen, Thanks Jen!!

As soon as they let us in, they directed us to this huge beautifully lit room where a photo shoot of Kelly and Buddy was being held.  I had never seen so much chaos in my life.  Wow!!  The press was there so it literally looked like a mass of paparazi hovering over Kelly and Buddy!


As soon as their photo shoot ended, they then called for all of the bloggers. Buddy and Kelly introduced us to the event and started teaching us about decorating techniques.

This event as explained to us is about generating awareness and raising money for the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund.  In order to do this they teamed up with Electrolux and food bloggers.  Our part in this was to replicate a cake which was designed by Buddy Valastro of The Cake Boss.  Our cakes are now on where you can vote for your favorite!  (cough… cough.. Take A Bow.. cough.. cough..)  For every vote, Electrolux will donate $1 to the Ovarian Cancer Research Fund and you are automatically registered to win this beautiful induction range by Electrolux!

They obviously know the power of the internet and social media!  So I am asking all of my readers to please vote for my teams cake, “Take A Bow.”  You can vote once a day and remember, every time you vote, you have an additional chance of winning this beautiful induction range!
Our team video

Here are some fun pics from the event!

And the giveaway!!  Every time you vote, please come back and leave a comment.  (If you voted yesterday or the day before, tell me that, too.)  From all of your comments, one person will receive one dozen Spanish Polovorones made by me! :D

Thank you to FoodBuzz and Electrolux for the amazing opportunity!

My participation with Kelly’s Cake Off for a Cause was sponsored by Electrolux and Foodbuzz who provided me with travel arrangements and accommodations to New York City to participate.