Monday, December 7, 2009


Look at what I saw under the 6 weirdest, scariest processed foods article...condensed soup. Although eating them in my opinion is just plain bland and gross (as is incorporating them into dishes) they are terrifying little cans of who knows what! The article focuses on the sodium aspect, it says,

"Ah, soup. It’s the food mom used to feed us when we were sick. Every child has fond memories of being nursed back to health by sipping at the warm, nutritious broth of chicken noodle soup. Of course, mom probably didn’t realize at the time that she was setting you up for a future of high blood pressure and kidney failure. Because if she fed you condensed soup from a can, she was loading your young body up with insanely high amounts of sodium.

How insanely high, you ask? Well, consider that a mere half-cup of Campbell’s Vegetable Soup contains a heart-stopping 890 mg of sodium, or roughly 37 percent of your daily recommended sodium intake. But wait, there’s more! The typical Campbell’s soup can contains one-and-a-half cups of soup, meaning that one can of soup contains more than 90 percent of your daily recommended sodium intake."

Here is the link to the original article

Next up on the recipe gifts... another soup one. Broccoli and White Bean (after I get a pic of it!)

Friday, December 4, 2009

Pot Pie

When I became a healthy eater I pretty much said goodbye to pot pies. It was a sad thing for me because I really loved those trans fat loaded frozen ones. Look at this ingredients list!! Homemade ones call for shortening, gravy, cream of such and such and so on so I never really attempted. The latest Vegetarian Times came to my mailbox with 2... yes 2 pot pie recipes. I searched online for a whole wheat pie crust and the adventure began. I made adaptions to the recipe since I didn't have some things on hand. First, here is the whole wheat crust recipe.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust
½ cup unbleached flour
½ cup whole wheat flour
¼ tsp salt
1 TBL sugar
5 TBL butter, cold and cut into a few pieces
4-5 TBL cold water
Pretty basic, mix dry cut in butter squash around and then add water, this is a good time to get your hands dirty with dough! Next time I'm putting rosemary and maybe sage in the recipe (that is what the veg. times recipe had)
The Filling
2 med. diced potatoes
2 Large carrots, chopped
1/4 cup raw soy sauce (I was nearly out so I added only 1 tsp!)
several garlic cloves
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (or chili powder)
1 onion
some red pepper
1 cup each chopped veggies: broccoli, peas, corn, zucchini, green beans... whatever you have
1/4 cup unbleached flour
2 cups veggie broth
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp sage
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
some beans, literally i just dumped in some black and red I had leftover in the fridge
4 oz cream cheese, I actually used what was left of (2 TBL) of my yogurt cheese
{The original recipe also had 1 tsp hoisn sauce and 3 TBL red wine}

Cook potatoes and carrots in large bot of boiling water for about 10 minutes.
Saute everything starting with onions and working up to more sensitive veggies (peas and garlic) all in one giant pan. Push veggies to the side and add a little oil or butter and the flour. Stir it up to make a roux, until smooth. Stir into veggies. Add the broth, potatoes, carrots, soy sauce, spices and everything else. Remove from heat.
This crust recipe (plus a tiny extra from another pie) covered the bottom and sides of my round casserole dish and another piece ontop. Construct your pot pie and place the filling inside. Cover with crust and poke or slice for air holes. Bake for 45 minutes at 350. Let it stand for 10 minutes after that. Try not to burn your fingers sneaking bits of crust before it cools.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


You may not know this about me, actually i don't really know why you would, but I really love to bake bread. I love (and also sometimes hate) new recipes and I am always looking for a decent healthy alternative to what has been sitting on my grocery store shelf for who knows how long, high fructose corn syrup or not.
My love for baking bread in countered by the tremendous trouble I have baking it. I always do something wrong and my husband always ends up taking short little crumbly sandwhichs to work. Once I forgot the yeast, seriously, the yeast. Frugality sometimes overrides the common sense part of your brain so I just mixed in with water and tried to knead it in... I did that with an egg once too.
This recipe has been pretty good to me though.
It does have white flour and butter in it but im okay with that since it has so much fiber...
The original recipe is for "2 medium loaves" so I just make one loaf and it is nice and big!

High Fiber Loaf
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 pkg yeast (2 1/4 tsp)
2 tsp salt
2 cups hot water
1/4 cup butter (room temp) (I'm working on changing this one)
2 TBL honey
1/2 cup granola
1/2 cup wheat germ
1 cup bran flakes
2 cups flour

Combine the wheat flour, yeast, and salt. Add hot water. Stir. Add butter, honey, granola, germ, and bran flakes. Keep stiring. Mix in 1/2 cup flour at a time. Knead for 8 minutes. Rise in a covered bowl for 1 hour. Press down, form and place into bread pan. Rise again about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400. Baked for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and bake 20 more minutes. Cover with foil if it is browning too fast.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Indian Fish

I'm positive that I don't have to tell you all the health benefits of fish, BUT I may still have to convince many of you to eat it. I don't particularly like fish, I don't hate it either. I have found many really great recipes that taste wonderfully and make me really enjoy fish. This recipe sounds really funky and even I, in all my funkiness nearly didn't try it. But, alas I did and it was great and several of my friends think so too (and even some self proclaimed fish haters)! So without further ado...
Indian Fish
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Fish fillets
2 TBL honey
2 TBL lemon juice
1/3 cup yogurt
1/8 cup oil
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp dried mint
Combine in a small bowl the first 4 spices: coriander, nutmeg, chili powder and cinnamon. Add to that 1/2 tsp salt. Rub the fish with garlic cloves then with spices and oil, really in any order. Throw that onto the skillet (or the oven, your choice) and while it cooks blend up the rest of the ingredients in a food processor or blender (you can actually make the sauce up to 8 hours before you meal if you feel the need). The sauce can be adjusted (of course). I like less lemon and more garlic. After you have cooked your fish pour the sauce over it and serve it up. We always eat this meal with couscous because it soaks up the sauce too and its wonderful!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Let me apologize profusely for neglecting this blog lately. The end of summer (moving, traveling and birthdays) left me in a spin. Things seem to be settling down now so I thought I'd share with you one of my favorite things about this season... pumpkins! I want to create a movement called "get your pumpkins off the porch and into your dinner".
I am chalk full of pumpkin recipes but here is one that we made tonight.

Black Bean and Pumpkin Quesadillas
1 jalapeno chile (I don't add this... I have a toddler!)
1 cup fresh pumpkin - peeled and grated
2 cups black beans
1 small onion - chopped
1/2 bell pepper - chopped
couple cloves of garlic
1/4 cup pumpkin - cooked and mashed
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp salt
handful of cilantro
2 1/2 cups cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 (if you want them toasty and the cheese melted)
Saute the onion, pepper and garlic for a couple minutes. Add the chili pepper and fresh pumpkin, saute about 5 minutes longer. Add the mashed pumpkin, beans and spices. After you remove from heat add the cilantro. Fill each tortilla with the mixture and some cheese. Bake for a couple minutes... I don't know 5-10! We like to top this with plain yogurt at the table.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Cauliflower Cilantro Soup

It was pretty chilly here today and soup seemed like the perfect dinner. Look out for more soup recipes as fall approaches. Sorry there is no picture, It really won't photograph very well, I mean its white and well uh white!

~Now I must say that a really great tasting and good quality stock is what makes this soup. I use Rapunzel's vegan vegetable bouillon cubes and I have NEVER tasted anything better.

Cauliflower Cilantro Soup
1/2 onion, chopped (I just use one small one)
3 or 4 garlic cloves
1 tsp coriander
1 small head of cauliflower
4 cups stock
1 - 2 tsp Dijon mustard
2 TBL cilantro

Saute onion, garlic and coriander in your soup pot with a bit of oil. Chop up the cauliflower and add it to the pot followed by the stock. Bring to a boil then simmer for 20 minutes. Add mustard and cilantro. Then put in the blender what percentage of the soup you don't want chunky, I usually do about half. But you could do all if you wanted, your choice. We love this with cheese on top, but then again we just really love cheese.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Cream of...

I am so sorry that it has been so long since I have shared a recipe with you. We have just moved and life has been up, down and all around for the past few months. Now that my family is back together in one household I am much more motivated for trying new recipes so I have lots of them on my mind... be ready!

Here is a recipe I ran across. In my opinion is is bland when eaten plain but once you add a bit of honey and a dollop of whatever butter you deem delicious.
You can make this recipe with barley, wheat berries, rice, millet, whatever you choose. We've tried them all but the rice. The accompanying picture is of cream of Barley so that is what I'll write in the recipe.
Cream of Barley
1 cup barley
pinch of salt
5 cups water

Toast the grain in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Cool. Grind into powder (or mostly powder or whatever you can accomplish) with a food processor or blender. Whisk the grain into the water and boil uncovered for 20 minutes.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Product Placement

So sorry it has been a long while since last posting. Our family is traveling alot this summer and I haven't been keeping up with new recipes... much less posting about them! I'm working with some new recipes this week and a couple I want to try. But for now I'd like to tell you about a couple of things that I have found as replacements for foods that periodically pop up in my recipes.

Soy sauce:
First of all, this is the most amazing tasting soy sauce I have ever had!
Commercial soy sauce is full of preservatives and as most commercially produced products are, it's lacking in nutrients. I have read that it's basically colored water and tons of salt... and smidgen of soybeans that have been defatted using chemicals... blah. I really haven't thoroughly researched it but I do know that this tastes alot better!

Salt has become something that people really stress out over. Salt is actually very good for you. With tons of minerals that come with sea salt (calcium, potassium, sulphur, magnesium, iron...) you can't afford to ditch it from your diet. That bleached nutrient stripped table salt stuff is what you need to get rid of. With this stuff I never ever feel guilty about putting salt in my food, but truthfully you won't need much of it.

Mayonnaise: Now I have little use for mayo, especially since plain yogurt will do the trick. But I do have a husband who does like sandwiches and not always with avocado as its moistener! So I thought I'd venture to the fake stuff aisle at the natural food store. I'm not terribly fond of making or using fake stuff but occasionally I like it. It turns out that I really really love this stuff. Which has led me to dolloping a bit in my guacamole... don't tell anyone ;) Anyway, I love the ingredients in this, good fats and no eggs. Let me explain. I love eggs, I am an egg advocate. We eat eggs all the time, but I'm not so sure about such a large amount of processed eggs swirled into one jar topped with some soybean oil...frown. Regardless of what you believe about mayo, this still tastes better!

Honey and agave nectar are my go-to sweeteners. But I do love to keep and occasionally use molasses. Molasses is the only form of sugar (besides malt) that has significant nutrients in it. Click here to see a chart. You've got manganese, copper, iron, calcium, potassium, B6 and Selenium. There are a whole slew of other benifits but you can research that on your own, that website its helpful for that too. Here is another one.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Stuffed Zucchini

There are a million great ways to stuff a zucchini. Here is one on the healthier side. First let me explain the pictures. We were visiting family in Oklahoma and one of my Aunt-in-laws gave me the biggest zucchini I have ever seen, we are talking 1st place in my made up county fair. So, no I don't normally cook this dish with insanely huge zucchinis and no I also don't normally put so much cheese on it. At home we use the block of cheese and since grating isn't as fun as it was when I was a kid, minimal cheese is the key. On vacation we had a bag of shredded cheese and I went crazy.
Olive, Tomato and Millet Stuffed Zucchini
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 TBL olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup millet
4 medium zucchini
1/2 tsp each: rosemary, thyme, marjoram, basil and salt
pepper to taste
1 tsp paprika
1 22 ounce can whole tomatoes (I use about 4 fresh Roma tomatoes)
2 cups broth
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives

The recipe needs you to steam up your zucchinis, so I'd figure out how you intend to do that and get it going while you do the rest of this. In the case of the giant zuc, I did it in the oven covered with water in the bottom. You can do the same in the microwave I've heard, I use the steamer. You can boil them if none of those options appeal to you!
Saute the onions for 5-7 minutes,
add the garlic for a few minutes. Add millet, herbs and spices, saute 3 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, crushing them as you put them in, throw in the broth (and tomato juice if you used canned ones). Cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes. In the meantime, cut the zuccs in half lengthwise: steam or boil them until soft. Remove the pulp making a little boat and add it to the millet mixture with olives. Simmer about 5 more minutes. Place the zucchinis in a casserole dish and stuff them with mixture. (I top it with cheese). Bake for about 20 minutes at 350.

Saturday, July 4, 2009


A couple blogs back I posted a recipe for whole wheat pizza dough. (Click here to see the recipe) I wanted to add a couple pictures because I think pizzas are one of the most beautiful dishes to make and serve! My two year old is the best at rolling out the dough and pushing in the crust - it is really fun to make pizza with him. This pizza is one of our typical combos. Onions, peppers, garlic, mushrooms and spinach... oh yes and add the cheese.


I planned to post a great picture of the basil in my garden but searching through my garden pictures I find no basil cameos... poor herb. I'm sure there are 100 ways to use fresh basil in the kitchen but my top choice and the number one place all my grown basil goes to is pesto. Freezing it is awesome for winter (I have frozen it both with and without the cheese). If you were only going to grow one herb I vote basil! Pesto usually calls for pine nuts, but those little guys are pricey so I just ditch them, still tastes great to me. I have also heard of vegans axing the cheese, I haven't tried that though. Once I put one clove too many garlic... wowee that hurt, so I added about a cup or so of spinach and that really helped. My point is: mess around and see what you like.

1/4 cup olive oil
2 cups fresh basil leaves (okay I have never measured this, really its like a heaping handful)
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves

I'd say cut about 3 inch tall pieces off your basil plant and gather as much as you can fit into your hand.
Wash them and pat dry.
Pick the leaves off the stems.
Mix all together in a food processor or blender and pulse until smooth.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

After these messages...

I haven't forgotten my fellow eaters out there! I will be back soon with another great new recipe. I've been on somewhat of a vacation for the past week or so but we are headed home in a couple days. Keep on working your magic in the kitchen!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

More beans

White beans are a great source of calcium (among many other benefits), so I'm always on the look out for great white bean recipes. Here is a great one starring Lima beans. This recipe is insanely flexible - I really wouldn't bother measuring anything but especially not the beans and the zucchini - but I'll write an approximate measurement for the sake of those detailed chefs.

Zucchini Succotash
1 cup Lima beans
2 diced zucchinis
a couple Roma tomatoes
1 cup corn
1 cup water (I used the bean water)
1 TBL honey
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp each: salt and pepper
garlic and peppers - chopped
1 TBL butter (I put that in because I
have some guiltless butter
but I'm sure you can ditch it)

Cook beans - Combine everything together in a stock pot - bring to boil then simmer for 10 minutes.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

What is seems vs. what it is

One of my friends told me recently that they thought I was a great cook. Though I accept the compliment with pride I should put to rest this misconception!
For one, great cooking really is subjective I could whip up a fabulous tofu fajita dinner... if you like tofu!
For two, I ask myself all the time how it is my family hasn't started ordering in for dinner every night. I put them through so much experimenting and so many disclaimers. "Sorry, the tortillas are gummy I tried half chickpea flour this time", "WOW one too many cloves of garlic in the pesto", "okay before you try these, you need to know that I tried to substitute the oil in it with peanut butter".
Which leads me to my third point which is really a congratulations to you all for trying new recipes, branching out and taking the healthier road. The fact of the matter is that healthy cooking is harder than non-healthy cooking. - White flour making baking bread a breeze. It takes a lot of work and mistakes to use wheat flour or other substitutions. - Eggplant is a bland vegetable - Ten thousand ways to make beans still makes beans and not steak ... I could go on.
I commend all of your cooking skills for even attempting it! I post recipes that have been trustworthy but I don't want to give the impression that all my meals turn out to be glorious things. Last week I used some turnips in my recipe for beet salad and ruined the whole thing, the leftovers are still in the fridge as if someone might come along and eat them. I frequently serve pita bread without pockets in them, chickpea burgers that are falling apart and in no way resemble a burger, soggy pizzas, gummy muffins, boring stews, burnt fish, and super dense and short bread. My point is DON'T GIVE UP, and don't ever assume that what your doing isn't good enough or isn't as perfect as someone else, because it is an absolute fact that they are messing up too!

Monday, May 25, 2009


In keeping with the bread-ish theme I'm going to post my recipe for Wheat Bran Rolls (since I had a few requests for it!) Actually the recipe if off the side of the wheat bran box with some adjustments. I usually divide the recipe in half. If I don't then I freeze the unused ones and they thaw out and taste perfectly after frozen. I have also formed them into hamburger bun shaped rolls, baked them, sliced them and froze them. You need to know too that these have butter, egg and honey in them - making them a little on the decadent side, but a good recipe from splurging off your diet.
1 pkg of yeast (that's 2 1/4 tsp)
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup wheat bran
3/4 tsp salt
1 egg
1 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 cup unbleached AP flour

Proof the yeast (this is how) - Add the yeast to 1/2 cup warm water; stir to dissolve and let stand for 5 minutes.
In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over butter and honey, stir in the wheat bran and salt. Cool this to lukewarm temperature (I usually stick it in the fridge because I'm in a hurry).
Beat egg and add to the wheat bran mixture. Stir in dissolved yeast and mix well.
Stir in flour 1/2 cup at a time. Knead for 5 minutes. Place the dough in a bowl, cover and let rise for 1 hour or so. Punch down and divide into equal portions, usually about 20 or so. Place them on the baking sheet you plan to bake them on and let them rest for 10 minutes. Bake at 375 for 15 minutes.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Whole Wheat for beginners

I've just finished researching how diet can effect hypothyroidism which is not at all what I want to talk about right now but I do want to pass along that I find it interesting that diets have such an impact on so many of our ailments. For example someone with a mild case of hypothyroidism would be prescribed a dosage of synthetic tyrosine. But this comes naturally in a plethora of good foods. But not only that, there is a substance found in other good foods called goitrogens that can inhibit an already sub par thyroid from doing it's job. If you happen to struggle with this click here for one of the many diet related sites about this.
Onto what I was going to write about... whole wheat. We all know by now that is is essential to throw out your white flour and start buying whole wheat. But many of you have also discovered that whole wheat is not so tasty and quite difficult to bake with. First let me recommend King Arthur's whole wheat flour, I like how finely ground it is - that helps when trying to make the switch. Whole wheat doesn't have a high gluten content and to adjust for this the prime strategy would be some fermentation (time aloud for gluten to develop) which is fun to do but admittedly quite a pain because it takes alot of time and pre-planning. So I would like to give you a couple recipes that can put whole wheat flour into your diet. I half both of these recipes since my family is currently only 2 adults and 1 two year old!
Whole Wheat Pancakes
1 cup ww flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBL honey
3 TBL oil
1 cup plain yogurt (lately I have been using half yogurt half water - you could use milk)
2 Large eggs
1/4 tsp salt

Mix up honey and oil, add the yogurt and egg then beat. Add the dry ingredients, you know the rest I'm sure ;)
Oh I did learn a trick in a cookbook recently that if you let the pancake batter sit for about 10 minutes before starting up the skillet then your pancakes will be fluffy, I have taken to do this and it really does work.
On another side note I frequently add stuff to this batter like bananas or course but also sweet potato and winter squash

Whole Wheat Pizza Dough
1 1/2 cup flour
2 cups ww flour
1 tsp salt
1 TBL olive oil
1 TBL yeast
1 1/2 cup warm water
1/2 TBL honey
Mix together the honey and water, sprinkle the yeast on the top - let rest for 10 minutes
Add oil and salt, then flour (I like to sprinkle in garlic (oh especially roasted garlic, though a little hard to cut up!) or rosemary or something, yum). Knead but I don't know how long like, a couple minutes. Let rise for an hour - roll out onto a pizza pan or a cookie sheet or whatever you can find ;) Put your toppings on (we usually put everything that is left in the fridge that needs to be eaten (vegetable things I mean!) Bake at 425 for 16 minutes.
Here is how funky this can get: last night we had some leftover sweet potato and leek casserole which I mashed up with the spaghetti sauce that we use for this recipe (Newmans Own is my fav oh and Francesco Rinaldi). Then I sauteed cilantro, leeks, garlic, and peppers. I steamed some spinach and threw all of that on top of the sauce. So weird but so good!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I have meet few people who actually like lentils all alone. Now, I'll spare you all the nutritional benefits, vitamins and minerals and good reasons you should be eating lentils. I imagine that you can gather by the name "lentil" that it is something healthy that you should be eating! Let me tell you 2 basics. 1.) Great protein source and 2.) doesn't require soaking/cooks in 20 min.
Here was our dinner tonight:
Okay a few things you should know about this recipe. First of all it is super versatile. You can use any kind of veggies that you want in it or none at all. You can use whatever spices you want or even fresh ones. Second the quality of the broth is really going to make a difference. I mean look at this recipe...its not that... uh glamorous. I used to use Rachel Ray's chicken broth, but I have discovered these amazing vegetable herb broth cubes at the Natural Food Store, I used those tonight and this dish was infinitely better! And third, it cooks for an insanely long time. Maybe we can work it out in the crock pot? I haven't tried that yet.

Lentil and Rice Casserole
1/2 cup lentils (dry)
1/3 cup whole grain rice (dry)
2 cups broth
1/2 onion
2 carrots
1 tsp Italian seasoning
2 garlic cloves
Some cheese

Put all of this into a small casserole dish. Cover it with foil and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes at 350 degrees. Add some cheese on top then cook it for 15-20 minutes more.

More lentil recipes later... I hear "mommy" coming from the other room!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Angela has a good point about balance. I don't want to scare anyone with that responsibility post! There is a whole world of things I don't know and I agree that trying your best with what you do know is the key. I fear though, health education aside that our culture leans on the trust side instead of the thinking side. I'm not sure I really know many people personally like this I have just seen it culturally. By trust side I mean just going with what you leaned in school as a kid and what you hear on the news. But I want to help change the way you think about food. So you can look at a dish or ingredient objectively and draw a conclusion on it based on more logic then just what you know food wise. Like maybe adding in some ideas about people in other parts of the world, people in other time periods in history, what the food looks like or the ingredients sound like. I was thinking about this today because I was wondering about my own hypocrisy. My son is 2 and a half and I will absolutely not let him have candy. But I will let him share a donut... I was trying to decide tonight... why? I finally realized that to me a donut looks like food. Let's disregard for a moment that they are terrible for you. It is bread, sugar, and chocolate (I'm talking about bakery donuts...not from a package). Okay I can handle those ingredients... I can make that at home if I wanted to. But I cannot make a gummy worm or peppermint candy at home. I have no idea what kind of chemical composition and work made this thing... it doesn't look like food.
In my opionion if you are reading this blog than you probably don't fall into the catagory of people who are acting irresponsibly with thier diet, consequences and all. I also doubt that those reading fall into the category of faithful followers of health trends.
As for:
What health/food change that you have made would you say has made the biggest impact?
Personally, ditching the daily meat and throwing out the milk and all things canned changed my diet, body and health the most. At that time my son wasn't eating solid food so I was mostly eating flat bread sandwhiches, nuts, and steel cut oatmeal. As he started growing into a little boy and requiring breakfast, lunch and dinner I started learning how to use whole wheat flour and honey or agave nectar instead of sugar, to cook things that resemble your average meal type thing. Does that make sense??
So my advice to a busy family. Frozen fruits and veggies I am totally down with. A frozen peach looks and tastes like a peach so I'm okay with that. And get new recipes. I check out cookbooks from the library and I have never had a problem finding "cream of mushroom soup" in a mediterranean, vegetarian or vegan cookbook. The latter two have the most creative recipes and you can always add meat back in! At the risk of sounding like a PBS commercial... Look for these at your local library: How It All Vegan! by Sarah Kramer, Vegan With a Vengence by Isa Chand Moskowitz, The What Would Jesus Eat Cookbook by Don Colbert, and I just returned on that I took a lot of recipes from called The Ethnic Vegetarian but I don't remember who wrote it.

Some normal things made healthy:

Apple Muffins
3/4 cup ww flour
3/4 cup white flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup yogurt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup chopped apples (like 2 apples)
1/8 cup milled flax seed
1/2 cup olive oil

by the way if you don't have flax seed, up the oil to 3/4 cup.
Combine dry ingredients in one bowl. Combine the rest until creamy in a different bowl. Add the dry until just blended. Fold in apples. Fill tins Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Oh here is the perfect pancake recipe...
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 TBL honey
3 TBl olive oil
1 cup yogurt <-- lately I have been doing half yogurt half water, just because)
2 Large eggs
1/4 tsp salt

Mix together the honey and oil. Add the yogurt and egg - beat a little. Add the dry ingredients. As I learned recently, let the mixture sit for abuot 10 minutes before you start plopping them on the skillet. That lets the gluten develop and you'll have fluffier pancakes.
I usually substitute some millet flax seed instead of some of the oil - it says on the side of the box the ratio.
I also like to mash up a winter squash or sweet potato and add them to the mixture usually with 1/2 TBL more honey and a bit of cinnamon.

Friday, April 24, 2009


It's yours. We have responsibility for so many things in our life. We have a responsibility to ourselves and to our families to take care of ourselves. I was pondering this while listening to Paula Dean talk about a hamburger patty in between two jelly filled donuts.
Would you take year old medicine, drive into on coming traffic (don't answer that Amber), walk in dark dangerous allies alone unarmed... would you drink kitchen cleaner if it tasted like chocolate or would you eat those dishwasher jet balls if it made you feel good? Of course not. Then why on a daily basis would you buy and eat things that contain ingredients that knowingly cause: cancer, diabetes, hyperthyroidism, heart disease, depression, headaches... should I go on?
I think maybe we feel like food and medical issues aren't related and those things just "happen" or come with age. This world is fully of literature both anecdotal and medical that prove otherwise.
Don't freak out. I too like to get white shells pasta-roni, Sam's choice frozen pizzas (the real big ones that cost as much as the little puny ones in the frozen aisle) and cheesecake from the cheesecake factory periodically. But that's the key, periodically. If you can make responsible choices throughout your week then you can partake in some things that are out of that relm without much (if any) impact on your health.
Now I'm sure I'm not telling you anything you don't already know so here is the kicker. Most of today's eaters make choices under the assumtion that they are responible choices but further research would prove otherwise. For example... if yogurt is sweet in any way out of that container it has a sweetener in it... sugar, aspertame or splenda. (by the way these links where the first to come up on google search). Cream of mushroom soup... are you serious??!! Low fat or not I think I'll steer clear of it's monosodium glutamate and modified food starch among other things. Okay how about gelatin. Gelatin comes from animal skin and bones - this is not a hidden fact: Wikipedia and How Stuff Works. Just because some people in labs can extract it, add it to other chemical ingredients and shape it as a gummi bear, marshmallow, jello, ice-cream, pudding, ham and fruit snacks makes it unharmful and less nasty to EAT. I've even heard it said that doctors reccommend jello after surgerys and such because it is a healthy alternative to ice-cream. Let's think about this water, sugar, food coloring and animal skin/bones.... sounds like something my body would not recognize as food... ah edible non-food.
How about I end with a recipe that sounds kind gross (because I hate cabbage and apple cider vinegar) but is actually delicous. We like to put some avocado, sprouts and tomato on a sandwich and them pile this mixture on... my 2 year old can't get enough of it, we eat it almost every day. (Source: raw-licious cookbook).
Sweet Cabbage Delight
1 medium head of cabbage (grated)
3 carrots (grated)
1 small onion (finely chopped)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tsp oregano
3 TBSP agave nectar (raw) or use honey
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp pepper

Put the cabbage, water and salt in a bowl and let set for about 20 minutes. Drain the cabbage (I have skipped this step before and it came out just fine). Mix the remaining ingredients and chill in the fridge overnight.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The long awaited

Alright... what to wrap those tortillas around!
Lentil Burritos
First of all you have to know that this isn't a sensitive recipe. Approximations are fine and experimentation is encouraged!
1/2 cup dry lentils
3/4 cup dry brown rice
1/2 can tomato paste
2 tsp chili powder
1 2/3 tsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp cumin
I add: onions (maybe 1 small), garlic (3 or 4 cloves) and red pepper (dice like 1/4th of the pepper or so)
Plain Yogurt

Alright, cook up the lentils and the rice separately in water. Saute up your veggies in a bit of canola oil. Once you have those cooked mix all these ingredients into a bowl - well save the cheese out, add that to each burrito individually and sprinkle some on top. Put some mix into a tortilla add some cheese wrap it up and put it into a casserole dish. Keep going until you run out. Cover the dish with tinfoil and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Mine ALWAYS taste better when I don't take them out early.

Next up in my mind is: why salt is really good for you... and some new recipes I have tried and loved in the past few weeks. Stay tuned

Saturday, April 18, 2009

An Ode to Garlic

Now I don't think I grew up really thinking much about garlic. I'm not sure my parents used it fresh for cooking and I never really had a taste for it. Interestingly though as you start to change the way you eat your tastes preferences change and now it is almost a game to see how much garlic I can put into... everything.
Let's start with the fact that garlic has medicinal properties recognized by the Israelites, Chinese, Japanese (who made medicine from it to fight the flu) and Romans (to name a few). It says in What Would Jesus Eat that it was used as an antiseptic in both world wars. It's antibiotic properties come from it's smell. It's an antioxidant... big word in today's news... cancer killer. Wikipedia says it helps to cure/prevent heart disease, regulate blood sugar levels, speeds up the recovery of strep throat, it's an antimicrobial and prevents the growth of all kinds of nasty things in your body such as tumors.
Okay and then the nutrients: Vitamins A,B,B2 and C, protein, potassium, calcium and name a few. It's got folate which is tough to get and good for pregnant mommas. It's got a whole list of phytochemicals but I don't know what they mean and if you do by all means check it out!
Cooking garlic reduces it's vitamin/mineral content so you can just throw garlic salt or garlic powder out the window (literally). [Besides after hearing about my Gramma's job in an onion factory where here job was picking the dead rats, hammers and nails out of the dried onions before they were turned into onion powder I've pretty well steered clear of all kinds of dried produts I can easily get fresh]. Now you can eat a clove raw each day like my husband (blech!) OR just put it in last when sauteing so it cooks for less time. The only way I have found that I can get garlic into my body raw is by making hummus.
1/2 - 1 cup dried chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/2 cup tahini (I add more than that)
1 TBL olive oil
2 garlic cloves
Juice of 1 lemon (1 1/2 TBL lemon juice)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain them, add fresh water and cook in a sauce pan for a couple hours (depending on how much you made - they will be fairly tender when done). Puree the chickpeas, oil, garlic, lemon juice, salt and cumin (now once I accidentally grabbed the cinnamon... that was interesting) in a blender or food processor. I like to add some of the cooking water from the beans, it gives the hummus a smoother texture. Take all this out of the blender, place into a bowl then stir in tahini. Now you can adjust whatever you need to make it taste the way you like it. Get some crackers, carrots, celery, or a spoon and enjoy.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Now, we are sticklers at our house for whole wheat stuff...except for tortillas. A whole wheat tortilla recipe so far to me tastes like flat bread... and if I'm wrapping them around lentil and rice burritos a little white flour isn't going to hurt! I do usually substitute one fourth of the flour measurement with chapatti flour (atta flour or durum wheat) you could use chickpea flour if you can find it. Now I really shouldn't be starting with this recipe because it has a few other things that I don't normally use in baking because of health reasons but que sera sera.

2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp canola oil (I wouldn't sub in olive oil... I tried it, it made olivey tortillas)
3/4 cup warm milk (I mix up some dry milk powder)
*optional - 1 tsp gluten*

Mix the ingredients together, slowly adding the milk as the last ingredient. Stir into a loose sticky ball. Knead this dough for about 2 minutes making any adjustments you might need to. Put into a bowl and cover with a damp cloth for 20 minutes. Divide into 6 or 8 tortillas (depending on the size of tortilla you need). Roll them into balls and let them rest covered on the counter for 10 minutes. Roll each tortilla out one at a time and put them on a hot dry skillet (they should only cook about 30 seconds each - and they ought to bubble up like the picture pretty quickly).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Just say no to edible non-food

One of my biggest annoyances in this society is the lack of critical thinking. I mean if you stop someone on the street and ask, "why do you do this?" I'm going with 9 times out of 10 you will hear back, "I don't know, I just do". Let's change the question… "why you do eat that", "where does your food come from?". Are the answers, "because it tastes good" or "I don't know" acceptable to you? Not to me, first and foremost we have to understand that the purpose of food is to give our bodies energy to survive. That said, I am by no means suggesting that social eating and enjoyment should be banished. But, how did it become less of a celebration and special occasion type thing to indulge in tasty morsels and more of an inherent right of daily life? Does the fact that mega corporations and the food industry have noticed this fact and done everything in their power to make sure you are coming back for more of their products. I heard a piece on National Public Radio once about the edible non-food phenomenon. I mean, what exactly is that yellow powdery stuff inside the macaroni and cheese box? Just because Kraft says that it is edible means that it is food… and not just food, but the primary source of energy in a child's lunch?

~ All right, it's hard. First things first, you have to change your attitude about food. You have to change the fact that you have no idea WHAT is going into your body: WHERE it came from and what it is made out of. You can help yourself by becoming informed. At least then if you still want to eat a chocolate donut (like I occasionally do) then by all means do so with full knowledge and responsibility. Here are some books to try on for size: What Would Jesus Eat by Don Culbert M.D. and The Omnivore's Dilemma by Micheal Pollan

~ Second of all, learn how to cook again. I don't mean this dump in ingredients type cooking. Cook something you can be proud of, cook something that didn't start out in a box with 3 easy directions. Trust me it's hard, trust me it's fun and trust me again when I say, it's addicting… pretty soon you'll be making your own tortillas before you even start to assemble the burritos. (which reminds me I outta make that my next post).

~ Third of all, become a recipe researcher. Learn how to find recipes using the ingredients that are healthy, if you don't particularly like lentils how about a lentil burger patty with tons of other ingredients hidden away in a pita pocket with your favorite toppings on it (recipe coming soon). Hit your local library, check online, ask your friends, make something up… just get in there and start getting dirty! I'm sure I have much more to say but that can save for another day ;)