Thyme Roasted Carrots and Crispy Greens

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Ingredients:

1 bunch carrots (with greens optional)

3-4 springs of fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

2 tablespoons avocado or high heat oil

3-4 pinches of chili powder or paprika

1 -2 pods of fresh minced garlic

 

Method:

Slice carrots into large chunks (finger sized), toss with avocado oil, minced thyme, garlic, salt pepper and chili powder. You may also add some of the carrot greens ripped into bite size fronds. Roast in oven at 415 F for about 15 minutes. If you wish for carrots to be softer cook longer for 20 or 25 minutes. Cooking time varies based on how big your pieces of carrots are. The carrot greens will become nice and crispy and add a lovely crunch and texture to the dish! If you have a lot of greens try the carrot top pesto recipe or the carrot top crisps! Either way don’t throw away those tops and greens.. if you don’t roast them with the carrots and don’t make the pesto.. save them in your vegetable scrap jar or bag in the freezer for the next time you make broth! For more ideas in the kitchen visit the Earth Day tips!

 

 

 

 

 

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Turmeric Kohlrabi “Fries”

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These beautiful Kohlrabis came from Loam Agronomics. Visit their farm in person and sign up for your own CSA box if you live in Houston!

Kohlrabi is a powerhouse of nutrients and a great source of Vitamin C, Potassium, fiber and more. Read more here.

These baked “fries” are easy and quick and a great addition to any meal or a snack too. Who doesn’t love fries?

Ingredients:

2 medium Kohlrabi

1 table spoon avocado oil

1/4 teaspoon turmeric

1/4 teaspoon chili powder (add more if you like it spicy!)

Salt and pepper to taste (it is important to use black pepper in conjunction with turmeric, as some study has suggested it makes for better absorption)

For more on Turmeric benefits and uses visit an article I collaborated on with my friend Eric here.

Method:

Preheat oven to 415 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Peel the Kohrabis, (save  all your peels and skins in your freezer to make vegetable or bone broth broth  later!)

Cut into fry size wedges (see photo)

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Toss all the ingredients together in a bowl.

Layout on parchment paper baking sheet and  bake for about 6 to 8 minutes.

Flip over bake for an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Bake longer as needed.

I noticed the baking time can be a it shorter to longer based on if my Kohlrabi was at room temperature or from the fridge when I made these (I have already made these a few times now!!)

Also if you cut the fries thinner or thicker.. be sure to watch them after the 8 minute mark.

Enjoy topped with fresh topped cilantro as a snack or serve as a side – healthy fish and chips anyone? A good way to sneak in your nutritious Kohlrabi into your kids meals too.

If you try this recipe would love to hear how you enjoyed them!

 

 

 

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Carrot top crisps- Gone in 60 seconds snack!

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Have been enjoying some fresh carrot bunches that are sustainably and locally grown at Loam Agronomics and wanted to use up all these beautiful fresh carrot greens. At the same time I was craving something crispy and viola.. the first time I made these crisps and taste tested them I ate them all in less than a minute and made a few more batches until all my carrot tops were gone. These are so easy and quick to make that there is no reason anyone should throw away their carrot greens! If you enjoy Kale chips then you are going to enjoy these too.

Ingredients:

Carrot tops – 1/2 small bunch

Avocado oil-  1 tablespoon (enough to coat the greens)

Salt to taste

Nutritional yeast – 1/2 – 1 cup  (more for extra flavor and “cheesiness”!)

Chili powder – a few pinches or more for extra spicy

Method:

Wash and dry the carrot tops completely. Once dry, rip apart into chip size bits by hand, add avocado oil, chili powder, nutritional yeast and salt and mix well in a bowl.

Then lay flat on a baking dish or tray. Roast in a preheated oven for about 8 to 10 minutes at 385 F.

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Feel free to experiment with how you season them. I really enjoyed the combination of chili powder and nutritional yeast. Would you to hear from you on how fast you ate them!

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“Plum-alicious” chicken and more!

When my friend Trisha told me she had an abundance of plums she was harvesting in her garden this year and would love to get some ideas on what to do with them my mind started running in many directions! These gorgeous plums and photo courtesy Trisha!

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Fresh Picked Plums: Grown by Trisha!

Before we get into a recipe a little about my lovely friend Trisha! Trisha Tipton is a herbalist, Natural Living Educator and an expert in raising clean sustainable food for the table.  She resides on a small homestead in Tennessee and regularly raises the families meat, veggies, fruit and herbs.  She loves to help others learn how to improve their own health by utilizing a clean whole foods diet and also loves to empower others to take responsibility for growing their own foods whether it be on a small-scale or larger scale.  One of her passions is to show others how to make herbal remedies to keep their families healthy naturally and to discover the great blessing of getting back to the land and nature.

I am always learning so much from Trisha and her lovely blogs.You can find her website at: http://freerangehome.com/  And she is also on facebook at:  www.facebook.com/freerangehome

So here is the recipe I specially created for you  and your plums Trisha! Hope whoever is reading this joint blog that we both did with our love and plums will enjoy our post and the recipe and share your experience with plums, cooking, plum chicken and chickens with us!

When I cook I usually seem to think savory. I don’t end up cooking or baking a lot of sweet dishes or desserts and I don’t even use a lot of fruit in my recipes. With plums I  I thought of Moroccan style food with a mix of maybe Asian flavors too and viola here is what I came up with. This chicken is sweet, spicy, savory, hot, tangy and sour all at the same time.. !!

Ingredients:

2 medium (organic pastured) chicken breast

A few dashes or 2 table spoons coconut vinegar

A few dashes of coconut aminos

1/2 plus 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander

1/4 plus a few pinches of ground cumin

1/4 plus a few pinches of paprika

a few dashes of cayenne- optional- only if you want to spice it up  more

3 cloves of garlic crushed

1 large shallot

1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger finely chopped or grated.

Avocado or neutral oil

generous amounts of fresh ground pepper- to offset the vinegar

5-6 juicy plums

A few dashes of sherry wine- optional

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It all goes into the pan!

Marinate chicken breast as strips for better flavor in 1/2 teaspoon coriander, 1/4 teaspoon cumin and 1/4 teaspoon paprika, add salt to taste and plenty of black pepper, a few dashes of the coconut vinegar and coconut aminos. You can also use apple cider vinegar. Let the chicken marinate for 4-6 hours if possible.

Finely slice shallot and saute till soft in the oil, add garlic, ginger, extra spices and cayenne, cook well till garlic is fragrant, then add the 4 of the plums diced or sliced, cook till plums partially cooked through. At this time you may add the sherry wine and cook till it dries off. Then add the chicken and cook till chicken is done.

Serve hot with steamed quinoa and fresh plum slices!

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Plum Chicken

I like to get organic, local and pastured or at least organic when possible. This recipe was made with Katerra Exotics chicken breasts. For all my Houston friends: you can get local pastured meats at Katerra Exotics and also you can get whole pastured chickens, turkeys and more at Whitehurst Heritage Farms. Nothing like pastured chickens. My friend Trisha also raised chickens at her homestead! I have so much to learn from her!

Now over to Trisha and she is going to tell us more about plums about why we should eat plums, besides the fact that they are so delicious!

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Plums are one of my favorite fruits and right up at the top of the healthy fruits list. The plum season goes from the months of May through October. There are several different varieties of plums that are grown which appears to give them such a long growing season but it is simply because different varieties ripen at different times with Japanese plums being the first to ripen and the European plums ripening closer to October. This year was the first year that our trees were loaded with plums. It was so nice to be able to go out and just pluck a couple of plums right off the tree for my breakfast in the mornings!
Plums have a “stone” pit in the middle and are closely related to peaches, nectarines and even almonds. The fruits are medium-sized and range between 1 and 3 inches in diameter and tend to have more of an oval shape. The fruits peel is smooth and may have a tart taste and the flesh can range in color from white, yellow or purple depending on the variety.

Plums have some amazing nutritional and health benefits. Here are a few of them:
Fiber: I think when many of us think of prunes we may think of this benefit but just consuming fresh plums provide the same benefit. Not only do they contain the fiber but they also contain sorbitol and isatin which have been known to help regulate the digestive tract and get rid of constipation.

Antioxidants:Plums are loaded with antioxidants, which help to rid the body of the substances called free radicals that plays a major role in precipitating illness in our bodies. Some of the antioxidants they contain are lutein, cryptoxanthin and zea-zanthin which is very helpful for the retina of the eye and its ability protect itself from the UV rays our eyes are exposed to daily.
Iron Absorption and Vitamin C: Plums have been proven to help the body absorb iron which could be related to the fact that they are high in Vitamin C.
Vitamin C is essential for a strong immune system, healthy blood vessels and arteries and also great for anyone suffering any sort of arthritis. This is one of the reasons that consuming more vegetable and fruits high in Vitamin C are better for the body overall and may reduce risks of heart disease and strokes.
If you enjoy growing your own fruit trees plums might be a fruit you would like to give a try. First you will need to make sure you are growing a variety that will do well in your particular climate. As we talked about earlier there are many different varieties so do a bit of research for your area. The three categories are the European, which work in most climates in the U.S. The Japanese which seem to grow very well in close proximity to peach trees and then the Damson which grows in a variety of places around the U.S as well and tends to be more of a self pollinating plum. Plum trees should be planted in a well drained soil that is located in full sun.
This year we had our first crop! It was quite abundant so I was able to make some things with the plums to preserve them such as making fruit leather for a great healthy snack!

And as we end this “plumalicious” blog that we both enjoyed writing even though it took us a while! I want to leave you with this delicious sounding recipe I found that I want to try soon, when the next batch of plums comes in… make some chicken or this delicious Vienna Plum Cake!

 

 

Gluten Free Vegan Pizza that you can enjoy with the kids!

I started out testing this recipe at home so I could make some gluten-free pizza for my client’s kids. If you are looking to go on an elimination diet with no gluten or dairy.. it doesn’t mean you need to eliminate pizza!. Yes pizza can be healthy and nutritious too… specially if we add plenty of nutritious vegetables in it and on it. I have zucchini baked into the base. I also add plenty of favorite vegetables at my toppings. And to have another level of vegetables.. I cook in some vegetables like onions, roasted red pepper and zucchini blended into the tomato sauce as well! These days if I cannot get to making fresh tomato sauce I have found a new favorite from Jovial foods. The best thing about it is the flavor! It really makes every dish or pizza taste delicious… and it comes from the fact that the ingredients are just tomatoes and NOTHING else, no salt or additives or sugar like some of the other sauces have. Plus it comes in glass jars so I don’t have to worry about a can or BPA.
So… how does this Gluten free pizza look? It’s really simple and easy to make at home and you can make individual ones for each person and have a selection of everyone’s favorite toppings! The fact that the base is made of Quinoa makes it extra nutritious too. When you eat it out of the oven who will even remember it was gluten-free? This recipe is also vegan friendly.. by using no cheese or a vegan cheese as a topping.

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Ingredients
For the crust:
  • ½ cup quinoa, covered by 1″ of water and soaked for 6 – 8 hours (or overnight)
  • ¼ cup water
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 heaping tablespoon Gluten Free flour
  • 1/2 grated small zucchini or 1/3 of a large one (after grating squeeze excess water out, also use yellow zucchini to avoid making your crust look green, unless you want it to look green then you can also add spinach!- why not have veggies in the base too)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic (optional)
  • black pepper and some dried herbs to flavor he base (optional) I used some Italian seasoning sometimes!

Optional toppings:

  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce with other veggies added in, make it as saucey as you wish! I love exta sauce on mine.
  • 1 cup shredded organic mozzarella or favorite vegan cheese
  • Fresh herbs
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Finely sliced zucchini, onions and roasted red peppers
  • roasted garlic

Method:

  • Soak the quinoa in water for about 8 hours or overnight.
  • When you are ready to start making pizza, preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
  • Line a 9″ pie dish pr pan with high sides with parchment paper and drizzle one tablespoon of oil in the center. Spread around with your fingers or spatula till its well coated on the paper till the edge of the pie dish
  • Rinse the quinoa with fresh water, then add quinoa and the ¼ cup of water, baking powder, salt, grated and dried zucchini and remaining olive oil, and blend on high in your Vitamix or blender of choice until smooth and creamy like pancake batter. Also add the herbs and garlic now or you may sprinkle the herbs after next step.
  • Adjust temperature now to 415 F
  • Pour batter into prepared pie dish and bake for 12- 15 minutes, the base should look well set now and you should be able to flip it easily. if it seems soft on the top cook another minute or so.  Then carefully using the parchment paper edges and maybe another tray flip and return to oven baking for another 12 – 15 minutes until browned and edges are crispy.

 

The crust will look like this! The plain ones or the one below is the herbed garlic one for the adults!

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Herbed Garlic Pizza base

  • You can now leave the base to cool or use immediately.
  • Top with sauce, cheese and any other toppings you’d like. This is the way I had it the first time with vegetable toppings and then also added some organic cheeses later.

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  • Then bake for 10 – 15 minutes until cheese has melted and started to brown slightly, or until your cheese bubbles as you want it!
  • Remove from the oven, let it cool for a few minutes in the pan, then transfer to a cutting board and slice away. Add extra cheese or any fresh herbs and serve hot! Enjoy!!

This is what you end up with… cheese only, or with veggies only or with cheese and pepperoni! I found some organic/ Nitrate/nitrate free options for my clients kids.

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If you try this at home I would love to hear from you on how it turned out for YOU!

Carrot Top Creamy Pesto

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So why Carrot top pesto? I didn’t have the heart to throw away local organic carrot tops that I got from my local farm- Gramen, they were actually grown at Plant it Forward farms! Why waste anything edible? Why throw away nutrients? And I enjoy experimenting and creating new recipes!

This recipe is vegan, plant based, dairy free, gluten free and nut free too! The hemp and pumpkin seeds give it good body and a creamy taste and texture and the lemon livens it up! Plus both of these seeds offer huge nutritional benefits. Pumpkin seeds are high in many micro nutrients such as Magnesium, Manganese Copper and Zinc. Zinc is known to boost the immune system and help control blood sugar. Magnesium is said to create and maintain bone integrity, enable energy production and also control blood sugar. Learn more about Pumpkin seeds here. Hemp seeds are high in protein and amino acids and have a long list of benefits. Read all about hemp seeds on Dr. Axe’s page here.

Ingredients:

1 good handful carrot top leaves without stems

1-2 garlic cloves- do you like it garlicky?

A  few squirts of fresh lemon, add more for a tangy taste!

2-3 tablespoons EVOO

Salt to taste

1 handful soaked Pumpkin seeds

1-2 tablespoons Hemp seeds

 

Method:

Blend all in a food processor, you may add a dash of oil or water if its too thick. Enjoy on tomatoes, salads, fish or chicken or with carrots! I have really enjoyed it with some seasoned sea bass this week. Keeps in fridge for a few days.IMG_0934

Ps. In case you are wondering why I mention using soaked seeds.. It is because soaking the nuts and seeds overnight can help minimize phytic acid. Phytic acid in nuts, grains and seeds may interfere with nutrient absorption.

 

Earth Day Tips from my Kitchen to Yours!

How about we start with what is Earth Day and why should we care? Here is a good link on the history of Earth Day.

So how can we be better to the earth and to ourselves this year?  Reduce waste and increase reuse! I am sharing some of my simple and easy to implement ideas for Earth Day, from my kitchen to yours-

  1. Always think of using every part of your fruits and vegetables. Specially, if you are buying organic and from a local farm, its best to use all of the produce and be thankful for the earth’s bounty! Be sure to verify it is edible and safe to consume. Did you know you can eat watermelon rind and avocado seeds too?  I will be sharing my cooked watermelon rind recipe soon! And this is a news article on how to eat avocado seeds!IMG_3048
  2. On that note.. what do you do with your carrot tops and beet tops for example? Off late I have been really enjoying cooked beet greens with roasted beets added in. Don’t these beet tops look too gorgeous to toss, specially when they can provide us nutrients? They are incredibly rich in nutrients, concentrated in vitamins and minerals as well as carotenoids such as beta-carotene and lutein/zeaxanthin. More about beets here.IMG_0828-001.JPG Also try my recipe for a creamy carrot top pesto! What else can you do with carrot tops? Here is another idea from Vegetarian Times.
  3. Another way to avoid and minimize waste is to save ALL your  edible vegetable scraps! IMG_0892-001Yes all of them. If you are  vegan or vegetarian you can make a delicious vegetable broth. If you eat meat save all the bones and vegetables and make a good bone broth. I usually keep a scrap jar in my freezer and keep adding the vegetables to it. When I have time or when I have plenty I make broth! You can also compost. That is something I need to learn more about and implement.
  4. What do you use to clean your kitchen with? This is something I started a few years ago: making my own kitchen cleaner. It is simple, earth friendly,  chemical free and yes could be edible!11016815_293918897399026_6657161196308028154_oHere is a photo of a glass bottle I re-purposed last year and it still sits around in my kitchen! Save all your lemon and orange rinds, cut them up into smaller pieces fill a glass jar or bottle with them half way or so. Then fill the rest with white vinegar. Let sit for a few weeks or longer and its ready to use. I use 1 part of my home made citrus vinegar with 3-4 parts water in a spray bottle as my kitchen counter and tile cleaner. The best part about it is that it smells good and doesn’t have an after smell of vinegar, not to mention the savings on buying cleaners and the fact that its chemical free! Good for us and good for the earth. We can reuse the same glass jar and spray bottle over and over, just buy a gallon of white vinegar and it goes a long way. I also use essential oils to make a disinfecting cleaner and if you wish to know more please message me on Facebook I will give you a free session or workshop on essential oils and how I use them.
  5. My personal goal has been to eat 6-9 servings of vegetables a day (this is inspired by Dr. Terry Wahls and if you don’t know her very inspiring story read on at the link). Now that may seem like  lofty goal but its work in progress. We all know eating vegetables is good for us right? Do we really know how our food choices impact the earth? This is a great info graphic via the Environmental Working Group on making smart eating choices. Whats good for the earth is also good for us. Click here to view the info graphic.

I hope you will consider implementing some of these if you already haven’t yet.. and sharing with your family and friends. If you have tips and ideas I would love to hear from you! Please message me on my Facebook page with your ideas! Thank you for reading and we can make everyday Earth Day!

Happy Earth Day!

 

 

ONE minute sauce! Snack Attack!

One minute sauce

Sometimes I am so hungry I want to eat right away. This is a great nutritious, healthy, delicious and quick snack idea for that snack attack!

This ONE minute spicy sauce works great to attack my snack attacks for something spicy, flavorful and crunchy. Dip some Celery or Apples or Jicama.. or any other fruit or vegetable you may think goes well with it! The Almond butter of course is full of good nutrients like Vitamin E, Biotin, Manganese, Copper and more. Follow this link  to read more about all the benefits of Almonds. And nothing like adding another serving of a vegetable to the day, just more vitamins, phytonutrients and fiber! Read about the benefits of Ginger essential oil with Dr. Axe here

Ingredients:

2 table spoons almond butter or nut ot seed butter of choice

1/4 teaspoon raw honey or maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 drop ginger essential oil     (You can always use 1 teaspoon of fresh grated ginger instead as well, however this may add another minute to this recipe :), (And to learn more about essential oils and the oils  I use please message me on facebook!)

A few squirts of Sriracha or any hot sauce to make it spicy, add more if you like it hotter!

Salt and pepper to taste

A tablepoon or two of water as needed to get a sauce consistency

Always adjust any of the ingredients to your taste and liking!

Method:

Mix  all ingredients with fork in a  small bowl. Dip your veggies and crunch away!

Warm Salads and Roasted Vegetable Rainbows

Salads are always a great way to get lots of colorful vegetables, fiber and not to mention phytonutrients (plant nutrients) into our diets. But when it gets cold it gets harder for me to eat salads and I look to warmer meals! So I came up with my warm salad platter! I also look to roasted vegetables as sides or even snacks. Its always best to find vegetables in season. In the fall and winter months this could mean root vegetables, pumpkin or winter squash varieties! Here are some of my warm winter salad and roasted vegetable idea for you to try!

 

  1. Here I have some chopped Rainbow chard, Red bell pepper, Red onion, Celery, Garlic, fresh Thyme and Oregano with some salt and pepper tossed in Avocado oil ready to roast at 385F-400F. Roast for about for 25-35 minutes (toss at halfway point). You may select greens of your choice and change up the herbs too! How easy is this warm winter salad? Cook as long as you wish.. sometimes I prefer it crispy and sometimes more wilted! On occasion I also drizzle some balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil and top with some sunflower and pumpkin seeds.

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2. Another tray of colorful vegetables ready to roast!  Roasting is such an easy way to include more vegetables in your meals. Once its in the oven, the oven does the work while you enjoy some down time. As easy as chop, place in oven with a timer and enjoy! Here I have Yellow Beets, Green Beans, Purple Potatoes with Rosemary and Parsnips! You may add salt and pepper to taste, additional herbs and spices too.  Roast at 385 F for about 30-45 minutes. Check half way to see if vegetables are cooked. I like mine crunchy but we just need to give the potatoes enough time to cook through. Sometimes I use these roasted vegetables on other salads or eat them as is for snack or a side.

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3. And its always good to use whats in season!  This is fall or late winter platter with Decilata Squash and Pomegrante to be roasted with onions and fresh Turmeric!  Roast at 385F about 40-50 minutes and toss as halfway point! You may eat this as a side or use on top of a regular salad as well!

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4. Another quick and easy warm salad! Cut, toss, add a little avocado or grapeseed oil, seasonings and herbs (I used garlic, cumin, coriander and paprika on this platter along with some salt and pepper) Roast for 35-40 minutes at 385 F. Toss at halfway point. Your time 10 minutes!

This one has red onion, calabacita squash, kale and spices!

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5. Sometimes you see purple cauliflower! This platter is a great side dish or snack. Chopped cauliflower (white or purple) with some French and Russian fingerling potatoes with salt pepper, thyme and Pecan oil. Roast at 385 F for 40-45 minutes or until potatoes are cooked through. Toss at halfway point.

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If you are looking for Avocado oil and Grapeseed oil try Thrive Market or Amazon.com! I love Thrive Market because I can find what I need and with my membership, Thrive will sponsor a low-income family so I can eat good and do good at the same time.

 

 

Carnival Quinoa

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Ingredients:
1 cup Quinoa, soaked overnight (Goya organic Quinoa, or any Quinoa brand you prefer)
2 cups water or vegetable broth or bone broth
1 medium Onion diced
4-6 cloves of Garlic minced
1-2 cups of cooked beans (Goya Low sodium or organic Red or Black or Garbanzo beans)
2-3 cups of colorful in season vegetables cubed and chopped into bite size pieces- consider bell peppers, kale or squash (if using winter squash precook/roast in oven for 30-45 minutes)
1-2 table spoons Pecan oil (Texas Pecan Ranch oil) or any high heat oil (Grape seed or Avocado oil)
2-3 Tomatoes diced or a 1/2 cup of Goya Tomato sauce
2 table spoon Hot Line Pepper Jalapeno Fit hot sauce (no salt added) or 2 tablespoons jalapeno slices
1 table spoon Cumin powder
1 table spoon Coriander powder
1/2-1 table spoon Chili powder
Salt to taste

Optional ingredients for toppings:
4-6 springs of fresh Cilantro chopped
1 roasted sweet potato or purple potato diced
1 handful sunflower seeds
1 handful pomegranate
Extra hot sauce!

Method:
Sauté onions in oil until softened. Add garlic and jalapeno and cook for a few more minutes. Then add spices and cook till spices are fragrant. Add vegetables and cook for a few more minutes. Then add beans and tomatoes or tomato sauce and hot sauce or jalapenos.
Add salt to taste. Add in broth or water and quinoa and bring to a boil for a few minutes. Then partly cover and simmer until water evaporates and quinoa is fully cooked.
Fluff and serve warm or at room temperature. Top with cilantro, pomegranate, sweet potato and sunflower seeds. Avocado will work well too. And I love a dash of lime on mine.