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Pleasant Hill Grain Blog

Helping you achieve your culinary dreams.

Charlene’s Favorite Green Juice

Charlene’s Favorite Green Juice featured image

Guess what percentage of Americans eat the suggested amount of fruits and veggies each day? Only 11%! Even though I’m a bit of a health nut, I can definitely fall into the 89% category of those who fall short more often than I wish. I think that many of us, myself included, know what would make us healthier, but struggle to implement that knowledge as we navigate our hectic schedules. Prepping fresh ingredients can take time and take-out or packaged processed food can offer tempting convenience.

DSC_7992 Enter my morning green juice. This simple routine helps me wake up and feel vibrant, while I get all the benefits of plant phytonutrients and enzymes, like immunity support, cancer prevention and anti-aging to name a few. I like to drink this juice first thing in the morning, before the day gets away from me.

Note: A slow juicer like the 43RPM HH Elite Hurom ensures that vitamins, minerals and enzymes in fruits and vegetables are preserved, so make sure you do your research before you purchase a juicer!

My favorite recipe is perfect for both veterans and newbies in the juicing world. Lemon, mint and ginger give this drink a refreshing flavor, and kale packs a punch of iron, calcium and vitamin A.


Charlene’s Favorite Green Juice


  • 1 large apple, chopped
  • 5 large kale leaves, washed
  • 1 small lemon, with the peel cut off
  • 1 inch knob fresh ginger, peeled
  • 1 or more sprigs fresh mint


Wash the ingredients and chop into small pieces; 3-5 cm are optimal for juicing and reducing pulp.

Juice in your Hurom or other slow juicer!

I like to drop a couple ice cubes in my juice before serving. The Duralex tumbler is a perfect morning juice glass.



PHG products used: Paring Knife COLORI®, Kuhn Rikon collapsible colanders, Duralex tumblers 

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Bunches of Bananas

Bunches of Bananas featured image

IMG_1655When you find yourself with thirteen pounds of organic bananas, you know you’ll be enjoying bananas for quite awhile. That said, you’ll see more than one recipe showcasing bananas on this blog in the next few months.

We’d love to hear what your favorite banana recipes are, please tell us in the comment section below!

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


Makes 12 standard size muffins
Baking: 23-28 minutes


  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup sucanat
  • ¾ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon RealSalt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon Mexican vanilla
  • 1-1/2 cups mashed bananas (2-3 medium bananas)
  • 2 tablespoons agave
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups whole wheat flour (we ground organic hard red wheat)
  • ½ cup dark chocolate chips (chopped nuts could be substituted)


  1. Grind two cups of whole wheat flour in your grain mill.


  2. Preheat oven to 350° F.
  3. Place paper muffin cups in a 12-cup muffin tin.
  4. Beat the butter, sucanat, baking soda, salt, spices and vanilla together with an electric hand mixer until smooth.
  5. Add the mashed bananas, agave and eggs, and mix until just combined.
  6. Then add the flour and chocolate chips and mix until fully incorporated.
  7. Using a cookie scoop, fill each muffin cup until it’s nearly full.
  8. Bake for 23-28 minutes, or until a toothpick or knife inserted comes out clean.
  9. Remove from the oven and let sit in the tin for a few minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.


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Planting an Heirloom Garden Indoors

Planting an Heirloom Garden Indoors featured image

It may be chilly outside but it’s not too early to begin your garden in the comfort of your cozy house. Your sunny south window is the perfect place to grow your garden plants until warmer days arrive!

Did you know Pleasant Hill Grain carries a variety of seed collections? They aren’t ordinary seeds either, they’re a collection of heirloom seeds that produce delicious fruits, vegetables and herbs.


The Secrets to a Very Green Thumb

Planting a seed may seem like a no-brainer task, but what we sometimes fail to realize is that winter plays a huge role in preparing seeds for a good summer growth. Winter takes seeds through a process of soaking, freezing and thawing that ultimately sets the seeds up for a successful germination process. So let’s create a “winter” in your house by using a simple soaking method.

Soaking the Seeds

Step 1

Sprinkle the seeds across a paper towel and thoroughly soak the seeds and the towel with water.

Step 2

Soak a second paper towel and place it on top to fully cover the seeds.

Step 3

Allow the seeds to soak for up to 12 hours. Check the seeds every now and then to see when your seeds begin to swell. Add water to the towels as you notice them drying out. Once the seeds are double their original size, go ahead and plant them according to the package instructions.

If warm weather hasn’t arrived in your neck of the woods yet, go ahead and plant your seeds in small disposable containers that are easy to label and keep them in your house. This allows you to closely monitor each plant, then easily transfer them to your garden once the last frost has passed.

Choose your heirloom collections today and get a jump-start on your garden!

Browse our gardening books for more helpful tips to produce your dream garden!

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Grandma’s Welcoming Beef & Dumpling Soup

Grandma’s Welcoming Beef & Dumpling Soup featured image

Each Christmas, after a long (and sometimes treacherous) nine-hour journey up north, I loved running into Grandma and Grandpa’s arms for a warm hug. After all the bags, pillows, and gifts were carried in Grandma would sit my family down at the kitchen table for a big bowl of hot beef and dumpling soup. The proper way to make this soup is to never be stingy with your dumplings and only make them fresh for each reheat, but most of all, always start with a made-from-scratch bone stock. Of course, at that age I didn’t realize those were the secrets that made Grandma’s soup so perfect… all I knew is I had to have at least five dumplings in my first bowl!

Beef Barley & Dumpling Soup


Beef Stock


  • Half stock pot of water
  • 2 beef shanks or 2-3 beef necks or 5 beef bones
  • 3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped into large pieces
  • 4-5 celery stalks, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 yellow onions, quartered
  • 2 garlic cloves, whole
  • dash of thyme
  • 8 peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves


  1. Fill stock pot half full with water. Then place choice of beef bone in and turn to a medium-high heat and simmer.
  2. Wash and chop your vegetables.
  3. Skim the top of your water to remove beef fat.
  4. Place the chopped vegetables in the stock pot and add the spices. Once the water is up to a rolling boil, bring the heat down and set lid on the pot tilted. Let simmer for 4-5 hours. Continue to skim as needed, and stir every so often.
  5. Once 4-5 hours have passed, pull the stock pot off the heat, strain your broth, collect all the meat from strained off vegetables and spices, then add the meat back to the broth.



  • 5-6 stalks celery, chopped thin
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped thin
  • 3/4 rutabega, peeled and chopped into squares
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup barley
  • 1 can, chopped tomatoes (16 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried marjoram leaves
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water



  • 2 eggs
  • fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Directions for Soup & Dumplings

  1. Place stock pot of beef broth and beef chunks back on medium-low heat. Wash all vegetables and chop, then add them to beef broth.
  2. Turn heat up to medium-high, until soup begins to boil. Add spices, then turn down heat to simmer soup for 1-1/2 hours.
  3. After soup has simmered for 1-1/2 hours, return it to a rolling boil and add barley.
  4. As you wait for the barley to cook, whisk eggs, pepper, and flour together.
  5. Take two spoons to scoop a glob of dumpling batter, then hold in rolling broth while scraping the dish of each spoon until the dumpling is formed. (This takes practice, so have patience.) Continue until dumpling batter is gone.
  6. Allow dumplings to puff up on top of boiling soup for 10-15 minutes. Turn heat down to low.
  7. Serve soup hot with bread and butter or crackers.

Here are products from PHG that are great for this recipe:

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Gift Guide for the Cupcake Baker

Gift Guide for the Cupcake Baker featured image

Check out all the goodies we’ve collected into a list below for making batch after batch of delicious cupcakes or muffins! Click the photo captions below to shop for paper liners to fit any occasion; cupcake pans for jumbo, standard or mini treats; kitchen scales to weigh your ingredients for accurate measuring; and many other quality baking tools and ingredients.

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