Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Crispy, Creamy Coleslaw

Crispy and creamy, cool and refreshing: coleslaw is a versatile side dish that I tend to make more often in the summer months. Besides using coleslaw in its typical pairing with barbecued foods, I like to eat coleslaw in a variety of other ways: as a side dish for breakfast eggs and toast, on sandwiches, on toast with liver pate. This recipe for coleslaw makes an ample portion, so there is plenty to use in the following days. Have you ever tried coleslaw on a sandwich with lunch meat? It's fabulous!

Makes ~6-7 cups of coleslaw
  1. Remove and discard any bruised or dry outer leaves from the cabbage.
  2. Chop the cabbage in half. Reserve one half for another use.
  3. Remove the core and stem from the cabbage.
  4. Chop the cabbage into small bits. Place in a large bowl.
  5. Peel the carrots. Discard the ends. Grate the carrots and place in the bowl with the cabbage.
  6. Remove and discard the ends from the celery stalk. Chop the celery rather finely and add it to the bowl with the other vegetables.
  7. In a medium bowl, combine the mayonnaise, sour cream, Dijon, sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Stir until well-mixed.
  8. Pour the dressing over the vegetables. Stir it all together.
  9. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for several hours before serving. This coleslaw recipe is even better the next day. 
  10. Serve and enjoy! Besides using this coleslaw as a side dish for meats, try putting it on a sandwich.

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Thursday, July 6, 2017

Smashed Potato Pancakes (gluten-free : nutrient-dense)

When there are lots of leftover Butter Smash Potatoes, this recipe for Smashed Potato Pancakes is a great way to create something new and delicious. Smashed Potato Pancakes are beautifully browned on the outside, with a nice crispiness that gives way to a soft smashed potato interior. They make a versatile side dish that pairs well with meats, veggies, or applesauce, or they can just be topped with some gravy. Yum!

Smashed Potato Pancakes
Serves 5-7
  • 5 cups leftover Butter Smash Potatoes
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten, preferably from pastured hens
  • 1/3 cup white rice flour*
  • 1/3 cup packed finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1&1/2 Tb minced green onions, green parts only
  • 2-3 Tb refined coconut oil
  • 1-2 Tb butter, preferably from grassfed cows

  1. In a large bowl, mix the rice flour and eggs into the potatoes. Then mix in the Parmesan and green onions. I like to use my Kitchen Aid stand mixer to mix this all together. 
  2. Use a 3 Tb scoop (or just a large spoon) to make mounds of the potato mixture. I like to use a scoop with a spring release mechanism, as it easily makes the mounds all evenly sized and round.
  3. The smashed potato pancakes will need to be cooked in batches. Heat 1 Tb coconut oil and 1/2 Tb butter in a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. (Or, if you want to spend less time cooking the pancakes, use two skillets for this recipe. I like to use two 10-inch cast-iron skillets for this recipe.)
  4. Smash each potato mound between your palms, until they are about 1/3-inch thick.
  5. Once the oil and butter are shimmery and hot, add the smashed potato pancakes, making sure there is plenty of space around each pancake. A 10-inch cast iron skillet will hold about 5-6 of these pancakes at a time.
  6. Cook the pancakes over medium heat for a few minutes, until the edges are looking nicely browned. 
  7. Flip the pancakes over and cook a few more minutes.
  8. Place the cooked pancakes on a paper-towel-lined plate to drain off any excess grease. 
  9. Add more oil and butter to the skillet if necessary before cooking the next batch.
  10. Once the pancakes are all done, serve and enjoy! These taste fabulous plain, dipped in applesauce, or drizzled in gravy
*If you want to know more about why I use white rice instead of brown, check out this article.

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Ratatouille (nutrient-dense : dairy-free : grain-free)

Ratatouille (pronounced rat-uh-too-ee) is a perfect summertime side dish. French in origin, ratatouille consists of seasonal vegetables including zucchini, bell peppers, and tomatoes, simmered with olive oil and herbs.  One of my favorite things about ratatouille is that it is just as delicious when served cold as when served warm. I make up a large pot of ratatouille and then eat it as an easy, cool side dish throughout the rest of the week.

Traditionally, ratatouille contains eggplant, but since no one in my family likes eggplant, I make my ratatouille without it.

Serves 4-6
  • 6 Tb extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium white onions, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 bell peppers, chopped (red, orange, and/or yellow peppers work well in this dish)
  • 1 medium zucchini, chopped 
  • 2 yellow summer squash, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp celtic sea salt (or less if your tomatoes are salted)
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • one 18-ounce jar of Jovial diced tomatoes (or substitute fresh tomatoes)
  • 1 Tb fresh oregano, minced (or substitute 1 tsp dried oregano)
  • 2 Tb red wine vinegar (or substitute 1 Tb balsamic vinegar and 1 Tb apple cider vinegar)
  1. Put the olive oil in a 4-quart, heavy bottomed pot. Add the onions, 1 tsp salt, and bay leaf. Cook over medium-high heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  2. Meanwhile, chop the bell peppers, zucchini, and squash. Keep the peppers separated from the squash since they will be added to the pot at different times.
  3. Stir the bell peppers into the pot and cook another 5 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, mince the garlic.
  5. Add the zucchini and summer squash to the pot, and sprinkle with the other 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir it all together and cook about 3 more minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, mince the oregano.
  7. Stir the garlic into the pot and cook about 2 minutes, just until the garlic is nicely fragrant.
  8. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, and oregano to the pot. Cover the pot and reduce the heat to medium-low, to maintain a simmer. 
  9. Simmer, stirring occasionally for 15-20 minutes. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper if necessary.
  10. Turn off heat and serve! Fried potatoes make a nice pairing with ratatouille. Leftover ratatouille is fantastic when served cold.

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Hawaiian Chicken Long Rice (grain-free : dairy-free : gluten-free)

Chicken Long Rice is a simple, delicious Hawaiian dish. Chicken thighs are simmered in ginger-and-garlic infused chicken broth, with green onions and bean thread (cellophane) noodles added at the end. My 7-year-old son declared this to be the "best soup he's ever had," and the rest of us really enjoyed it too.

Chicken Long Rice
Recipe adapted from Foodland.com
Serves 5-7
  1. Combine the broth, water, garlic, ginger, salt, and chicken thighs in a heavy-bottomed 4-quart pot.
  2. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam.
  3. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pot. Allow the chicken to cook for 35-40 minutes, until fully cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, slice the green onions, separating the green parts from the white parts. Slice the white parts about 1/4-inch wide, and the green parts about 1/2-inch wide.
  5. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside to cool.
  6. Stir the soy sauce, cayenne, and rice vinegar into the broth in the pot. Taste the broth and add more salt as needed.
  7. Add the white parts of the green onions and the noodles to the pot. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes.
  8. Once the chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the bones and chewy bits. Discard most of the skin (or set it aside for the dog!). Chop the meat into bite-sized pieces.
  9. Add the chicken and onion greens to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cook just long enough to re-warm the chicken. 
  10. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!

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Sunday, June 11, 2017

The Desk Cycle - Easy Physical Activity Booster For Desk Workers

The Desk Cycle is a small stationary bike that fits under most desks. It allows a person to easily incorporate physical activity into times that would normally be sedentary, such as reading a book, watching TV, or while working on the computer.  I received a complimentary Desk Cycle and my family has been testing it out for the last few weeks.

The Desk Cycle has turned out to be useful to all four members of our family, so I'm excited to share our experiences with it. In this post I will focus specifically on the use of the Desk Cycle by my husband and myself while working on a computer. In a separate post, I will share our experiences using the Desk Cycle while homeschooling.

Our Immediate Impressions

The Desk Cycle was well-packed and easy to assemble with the supplied tools. Given that there are so many poorly made products on the market these days, we were surprised by how well-built the desk cycle is. It is sturdy and has rubberized feet that keep it from slipping away while being used, though at higher resistance levels the bike can slide away if it's on a smooth surface. There is a simple solution included with the Desk Cycle, a Velcro strap used to secure the bike to your chair.

The Desk Cycle is amazingly quiet while in-use; we were able to use it unobtrusively while doing a variety of tasks. The Desk Cycle has an attached display unit that shows the speed and distance, along with other information. We have found the display unit to be easily read while the bike is under a desk, however, the display unit can be moved to the desktop using the supplied stand and extension cable.

Fitting the Desk Cycle Under Desks

For reference, we thought it would be useful if we included some measurements of our desks and legs. I am fairly short at 5 feet 1 inch, but my legs are a little long for my height such that petite pants are always too short for me. My inseam (from crotch to floor) is just short of 30 inches. My husband is 5 feet 10.5 inches, and his inseam is 32.5 inches.

At-Home Desk Measurements

  • Height to bottom of keyboard tray - 23.75 inches 
  • Desk height - 28.75 inches 
  • Depth of desk - 23.75 inches without keyboard tray extended; 32 inches with keyboard tray fully extended 
  • Seat height - 20 inches 
Husband's Work Desk Measurements
  • Height to bottom of keyboard tray - 26 inches (it has a support arm in the middle of the tray that extends downward, but doesn't seem to have any effect on using the Desk Cycle since it is in the middle of the tray) 
  • Desk height - 30 inches 
  • Depth of desk - > 5 feet since it is a corner desk Seat ht: 18 inches

How Does the Desk Cycle Work?

The Desk Cycle is quite simple to use. It has a knob that allows the user to easily choose among eight resistance levels. The resistance levels are actually achieved through the use of magnets, with Level 1 being fairly easy and Level 8 requiring quite a bit of effort.  The Desk Cycle fits well under most desks but can also be used while sitting on a couch or chair away from a desk.

My Husband's Experience Using the Desk Cycle at Home and Work

My husband has to be a little careful when using the Desk Cycle at our home desk, as he can bump his knees on the keyboard tray while cycling if he's not paying attention. For him, the Desk Cycle actually fits better under his desk at work than under our desk at home. At work, he is able to easily cycle without hitting his knees on his desk due to a combination of a higher keyboard tray and lower seating position.

The desk cycle is so easy to use while working that my husband has had to be careful to not use it too much, at least until his muscles become accustomed to it. He has been easily cycling about 5-8 miles per day at resistance level 2 on the Desk Cycle and is looking forward to going further once he is ready. His knees, which have always been problematic, were initially a bit sore from using the Desk Cycle, but they are getting into the groove of being able to use the Desk Cycle.

We wondered if the Desk Cycle would be a useful tool to help my husband overcome the disadvantages of his desk job. 40+ hours per week of sitting at his desk for over 11 years have given my husband chronically tight, weak lower back and hip muscles. After just a few weeks of using the Desk Cycle, my husband is able to tell that it is having a positive impact; his lower back and hips are more flexible and feel stronger. Though he has a long way to go, the short-term improvement has been surprising. Combining the Desk Cycle with some yoga stretching has even allowed him to begin doing some light strength training, which was previously hindered by his back and hips.

My Experience Using the Desk Cycle at the Computer Desk

I typically exercise 6-7 days per week with yoga, walking, hiking, gardening, and/or strength training. Nonetheless, I do sit at a desk ~15-20 hours per week. Our at-home desk, where I do most of my blogging and homeopathic consulting, works well for me with the Desk Cycle. I can easily cycle without having to rearrange anything.  

Resistance level 2 or 3 works well for me without breaking much of a sweat or messing up my typing abilities. My posture is actually much better while using the Desk Cycle, as I tend to sit up much straighter while cycling instead of slouching on my chair. Typically, if I am sitting for an extended period of time I will have some stiffness when I stand up, but I've noticed that if I cycle while I'm sitting I feel much less stiff when I stand up. 

Overall Impressions

Overall, my husband and I are very pleased with the Desk Cycle. It is a fabulous tool for helping us increase our physical activity levels and improve our physical health while at a desk. Although my husband and I have substantially different levels of physical health, the Desk Cycle has proven to be effective and enjoyable for both of us. In fact, the only real disadvantage is that testing out the Desk Cycle has made me want to have another one, so that one can remain at my husband's workplace and one can be used at home.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Hawaiian BBQ Huli Huli Chicken (gluten-free : dairy-free : nutrient-dense)

The last stop on our homeschool "trip" around the USA is Hawaii. In searching around for Hawaiian recipes, I found Huli Huli chicken, which is the Hawaiian version of BBQ chicken. The BBQ sauce is actually quite similar to teriyaki sauce, but with the unlikely addition of ketchup.  I developed this Hawaiian-inspired recipe for Huli Huli Chicken last week, and my family absolutely devoured it. This is a recipe we'll definitely be coming back to again and again.

Huli Huli Chicken

Serves 4-6
  1. At least 8 hours before dinner, prepare the marinade. Combine all marinade ingredients in a bowl, stir well, and give a few minutes for all of the dry ingredients to dissolve and become incorporated. 
  2. Stir up the marinade and reserve 1 cup which will be used to make the basting sauce. 
  3. De-bone the chicken thighs. There is a simple tutorial here that shows how to remove the bones. (I save and freeze the chicken thigh bones until I have accumulated enough of them to make a pot of homemade chicken bone broth.)
  4. Cut the de-boned chicken thighs in half. This allows the chicken to have more contact with the marinade and also allows it to cook faster.
  5. Nestle the chicken into the remaining marinade, making sure the chicken is fully submerged. Cover and refrigerate for ~8 hours (and refrigerate the reserved marinade as well).
  6. About 35 minutes before dinnertime, remove the marinating chicken from the refrigerator. 
  7. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Make sure the oven rack is around the second rack of the oven from the top, not too close to the broiler but also not down in the lower half of the oven.
  8. Put the reserved cup of marinade in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer ~15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick enough to easily coat the back of a spoon.
  9. Generously grease a baker's half sheet pan with sunflower oil.
  10. Remove the chicken from the marinade and arrange it on the sheet pan, skin side down. 
  11. Once the oven is preheated, place the chicken pan in the oven and cook for 8-10 minutes.
  12. Remove the sheet pan from the oven, baste the chicken with the thickened sauce, and flip the chicken over. Baste the chicken again and place back in the oven.
  13. Set the oven on broil and allow the chicken to cook for 6-8 minutes. The broiler will nicely crisp up the chicken skin, but be sure to watch the chicken CLOSELY to make sure it does not get burned. 
  14. Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to cool a few minutes before serving. If desired, the remaining thickened sauce can be served alongside the chicken.
  15. Serve and enjoy! Nutrient-dense white rice or pineapple coconut rice (recipe coming soon!) would make a great side dish for this meal.

Do you have a favorite Hawaiian-inspired recipe?

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Friday, June 2, 2017

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Homeopathic Ignatia - Remedy for Grief, Heartbreak, Homesickness, Disappointment, and Emotional Stress

If I could have have just one homeopathic remedy on-hand for acute emotional stresses, it would be Ignatia amara. From grief to homesickness to disappointment, this remedy is indispensable for many of life's emotional stresses. Like all homeopathic remedies, Ignatia works by stimulating the body to fix whatever is wrong, be that on the emotional, mental, or physical level. Rather than suppressing symptoms like conventional medicines do, homeopathic remedies actually work with the body to heal the underlying problem. In the wake of an emotional stress, Ignatia can help the body and emotions become re-balanced, just as they should be.

Emotional Stressors

Ignatia is known to help with the following types of emotional stress:

  • Grief, such as after the death of a loved one or pet
  • Heartbreak or relationship troubles
  • Homesickness
  • Disappointment or failure
  • Hearing bad news
  • Worrying about a loved one, such as following a specific event such as a car crash or medical diagnosis)

Symptoms That Often Point to Ignatia

Some of the symptoms that may be present when a person will benefit from Ignatia include the following. These symptoms do NOT have to be present in order for Ignatia to be indicated, as they represent just a few of the many possible symptoms that can indicate Ignatia.
  • Sighing and/or yawning
  • Sensation of lump in throat or stomach
  • Mood swings or alternations/mingling of tears and gaiety
  • Unexpressed emotions (silent, withdrawn)
  • Paradoxical symptoms (sore throat relieved by swallowing, toothache relieved by chewing, etc.)
  • Any symptoms that appear in the wake of an emotional stress (grief, heartbreak, loss, etc.)

Success With Ignatia for Emotional Stresses

Some examples of using Ignatia for acute emotional stress from the homeopathic literature include the following:

  • "I was called to a young girl who during several weeks had vomited frequently and who was rapidly losing strength and weight. She told me that she had no pain in the stomach or anywhere else... Her illness had followed a grave mental upset. Since then she would not speak to anyone, had become very morose, and she wept often. These happen to be the leading symptoms of Ignatia. She was therefore given... Ignatia..., and immediately the vomiting came to an end, and the girl lost her melancholy disposition and became perfectly normal." [Materia Medica Viva, Vol. 12]
  • "One thin, nervous, alabaster-pale girl of twelve, suffering from growing pains in the legs, had not been placed in the honor section of her class. High expectations of herself had been cultivated by her parents, so she was mortified and began to feel an aversion to everything connected with her school... a dose of Ignatia... was prescribed. Shortly afterwards, one evening at dinner, she volunteered, 'You know, I'm really glad I didn't make the fast track in school. Now I have more time for extracurricular activities. I've signed up for drama and glee club, and I think I'm going to love them!' Thus, instead of brooding on her failure... she cheerfully and confidently went on to something else." [Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Vol. 2]
  • "Another Ignatia-requiring situation is homesickness, as was perceived in the case of the ten-year-old... boy at camp, who begged his mother to please let him come home... The ... mother sent her son some Ignatia instead, to be taken twice a day until he felt better. After several days, there were no more pathetic phone calls and the parents received a bracing postcard: 'The food here is wonderful, the activities are just great, and my cabin leader is a real neat guy!' " [Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types]
In my own family, Ignatia has worked well for various emotional stresses in daily life. One such example was a couple years ago, when one of my daughter's chickens was taken ill. That same night, my daughter was suddenly ill, with a high fever and by the following day she was quite ill. Ignatia proved to be the right remedy for her, and quickly cleared up her acute illness.  On subsequent questioning, my daughter told me that she had been worried that her chicken was going to die.

Since then, there have been several other times when my daughter has felt grief over animals dying, and I've been able to give her Ignatia earlier before any physical symptoms have developed. I've used Ignatia for myself, as well, at times when I've had large disappointments that I kept dwelling on, and other times when there has been loss or grief. Each time, Ignatia has allowed me to quickly get out of the rut I was becoming mired in, and  re-normalize my emotional state. 

Dosage and Potency Guidance

I generally use homeopathic Ignatia in the 30c potency for treating acute emotional events. When used very soon after the precipitating event, typically only one dose is needed for the body to restore balance. When there has been a time lapse between the event and the usage of Ignatia, sometimes more than one dose is needed.

With all homeopathic remedies, the least number of doses is always the best.  Homeopathic remedies work by stimulating the body to heal itself. Anytime there is a noticeable improvement, no more doses should be given unless the symptoms start to regress (or unless there is a plateau, where the symptoms get better to a point but then stop improving). And if no improvement is observed within 3 doses of taking a remedy, the remedy should be discontinued.

While Ignatia typically works quite well for treating acute emotional events, in cases of long-standing feelings of grief or loss the selection of the appropriate remedy is typically more complex. Ignatia might still be helpful in those instances, but often the chronic state will instead morph into needing a different remedy such as Natrum mur, Phosphoric acid, or Aurum metallicum


[1] Vithoulkas, George, Materia Medica Viva, Vol. 12, pp. 2677-2723, International Academy of Classical Homeopathy, Alonissos, Greece 2009.
[2] Coulter, Catherine R., Portraits of Homoeopathic Medicines, Vol. 2, pp. 107-151, North Atlantic Books, California, USA 1988.
[3] Coulter, Catherine R., Homoeopathic Sketches of Children's Types, pp. 163-168, Ninth House Publishing, West Virginia, USA 2001.

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or licensed healthcare professional. I am a homeopathic practitioner whose services are considered complementary and alternative by the state of New Mexico. The uses of homeopathic remedies described herein are provided for educational use only.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Review Request: My eCookbooks on Amazon

My two eCookbooks are now for sale on Amazon.  Will any of you who have enjoyed my cookbooks and/or recipes please leave a review on Amazon?  Here are links to each of the cookbooks:
Nourishing Eats
Nourished Cooking

And for those of you who have not bought my cookbooks, the prices are now quite low on Amazon. Nourishing Eats, released in 2012, is now only $6.99. Nourished Cooking, released in 2013, is only $7.99. The recipes in these cookbooks are free of refined sweeteners and gluten, and nearly all of them are grain-free as well. Both of my eCookbooks are perfect for those who eat:
  • traditional, real foods
  • whole foods
  • gluten-free diets
  • grain-free diets
  • Primal diet
  • GAPS™ Diet
  • Specific Carbohydrate Diet
Nourished Cooking

Nourishing Eats

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Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Blini - Russian Pancakes - With Savory or Sweet Toppings (gluten-free : nutrient-dense)

Blini - I had never heard of these thin Russian pancakes before our homeschool world studies last fall.  Now blini are an adored recipe in our household, and everyone is excited for Blini Night. On Blini Night, I work at the stove, cooking the blinis, while everyone keeps coming back for more. We have both savory and sweet toppings ready, and it feels like a simple feast.

For the savory blini, we use sour cream with smoked salmon, thinly-sliced cucumbers, capers, and green onions. Our sweet blinis are topped with sour cream and jam, honey, or strawberries. Sour cream, salmon, and honey are all traditional Russian foods, so these toppings work well for our Russian-inspired meals.   

Traditionally, blini are made with either buckwheat or wheat flour. Since two members of our household are still most often avoiding gluten, and tolerate other grains to varying degrees, I make our blini primarily with white rice flour. Tapioca starch is used to give the blini a bit of holding power, since blini made with only rice flour break very easily. Milk kefir gives these blini a fantastic taste.

Blini - Russian Pancakes

Makes 12-14 blini

For the Blini:
  1. Combine the white rice flour, tapioca starch, baking soda, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk to combine. 
  2. In a small bowl, beat two eggs with a fork.  Add the milk kefir and stir well to combine.
  3. Using a hand mixer or whisk, mix the kefir mixture into the flour mixture.
  4. Mix in the 2 Tb melted butter.
  5. Set aside the blini batter for 10 minutes.
  6. In the meantime prepare the toppings (ingredients listed below).
  7. Heat a heavy-bottomed skillet over medium heat. I like to use a cast iron skillet to cook the blini.
  8. Melt some butter in the skillet, coating the bottom of the skillet well. Use a 1/4 cup of batter for each blini (a 1/4 measuring cup works well for this). Immediately after pouring the batter into the skillet, give the skillet a gentle swirl to allow the batter to spread out. 
  9. Cook the blini until golden brown on one side (about 2 minutes), then add more butter to the skillet and flip the blini. Cook an additional 1-2 minutes until golden brown.
  10. Top the blini with savory or sweet toppings and enjoy!
Savory Blini Toppings:
  • sour cream
  • smoked salmon
  • green onions, green parts only, sliced thinly
  • thinly sliced cucumbers
  • capers
  1. Start by spreading the sour cream over the blini, then add the rest of the toppings. 
  2. If desired, fold the blini over the toppings.

Sweet Blini Toppings:
  • sour cream
  • honey
  • jam
  • strawberries
  1. Start by spreading the sour cream over the blini.
  2. Add jam or honey, and fresh strawberries if desired.  
  3. If desired, fold the blini over the toppings.

Affiliate Disclosure - Links to Amazon are affiliate links. If you use these links, your price remains the same, but I earn a small commission. Thanks for supporting this site!