Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Early Bird Gets the . . . eggs?

Our farmer's market opens at 8:00am on Saturday and Tuesday.  We are not farm folk.  We are typically not dressed at 8:00am.  But if you want to get the good stuff, you better be there bright and early.  I get that.  My family does not.  So, once again we are eggless, and my big plan to serve scrambled eggs with spinach this evening sort of, well, cracked.  Oh well.  I can always hope to get there bright and early Tuesday morning, right?  A girl can always hope.

I did end up buying a local, grass-fed, hormone and antibiotic-free chuck roast though.  I am pretty excited and pretty nervous about it.  My plan is to remember to defrost it :), pop it in an oven safe dish of some kind (it's much bigger than I was expecting it to be, so I am not sure what dish), and cook it for about 3 hours at 300 degrees.  I've heard good things. 

And since I spent $20 on it, I'm hoping for good things.  And leftovers.  Like I said, a girl can always hope.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sloppy Joes, Cornbread and Creamed Kale

Delicious.  Healthy.  Frugal.

My hubby has to work tonight, so our bigger meal of the day was lunch.  He was a very happy man.

Sloppy Joes

1lb. ground beef (grass-fed, local)
1/2 white onion, chopped
1/2 red pepper, chopped
2 carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 tsp. sea salt
4 grinds of fresh black pepper

3/4 c. ketchup (you can make your own or use the organic version)
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1/4 tsp. garlic powder (or you could use fresh garlic and cook with above ingredients)
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1 t. molasses (or honey)

Cook the meat and veggies together and drain fat.  Mix together sauce ingredients while meat mixture cooks.  When meat is cooked, stir in sauce.  Turn heat to low and simmer until meal time (or at least 30 minutes).

(Inspiration for this recipe found here at Heavenly Homemakers. Fantastic recipes!!)

I served this with our favorite cornbread recipe:

Honey Corn Bread

1 c. whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 c. cornmeal
1/4 c. sucanat (or molasses)
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt
1 1/3 c. milk or buttermilk
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 c. honey, molasses, or pure maple syrup
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla (more or less to taste)

Combine all the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  In another bowl, combine wet ingredients.  Stir wet ingredients into dry, just until moist.
Pour into buttered 9x9 dish.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

(Inspiration for this recipe found here.)

California Creamed Kale

2 bunches of kale, leaves removed from stems, chopped and washed
1 c. raw cashews
1 c. milk
1-2 tsp. onion powder (to taste)
1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)

Steam kale until soft (10-20minutes).  While kale steams, place remaining ingredients in a high powered blender (I have a Vitamix.), and blend until smooth.

Combine kale and cashew sauce.  If you have leftover cashew sauce, it is also great on broccoli and spinach as well.

(This recipe can be found in the cookbook Eat for Health.)

Come and join the frugal fun over at the Pennywise Platter at The Nourishing Gourmet.  Enjoy your day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mexican Pita Pizza with Fresh Salsa

Someday I am going to remember that I need to take pictures of my food before we eat it.  For now, you will have to imagine.  Or even better, make this for yourself, take a picture and send it to me to post!!  I like that idea the best :).

Today for lunch we had refashioned leftovers, and they were seriously yummy.  I had pitas left over from a lunch that never happened last week and black beans from dinner on Saturday night.  I split the pitas and put them inside up on a cookie sheet.  I mashed up my leftover black beans.  I spread the black beans on the pitas and topped with shredded raw milk cheddar and chopped black olives.  I broiled them for 5 minutes.  So easy.

I also served them with homemade salsa.  Which my husband and I ate with the pizza.  And my kids ate by the spoonful.  Solo.  Hey, whatever - they ate it.

Homemade Salsa

6 medium sized tomatoes, quartered and seeded
1/2 small white onion, chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 handful of fresh cilantro
1 tsp. sea salt (or more or less to taste)
Juice of 1 lime
Jalapeno as desired for heat

Throw all of the above into a food processor (or heaven forbid, chop into tiny pieces by hand and BEG your hubby to buy you a food processor) and pulse to desired consistency.  It's that easy.

That recipe will make about 2 c. of salsa, so you may need to do that twice to feed a larger crowd.


Sunday, May 23, 2010

Menu Plan for the Week of May 24th

This week I will be sharing my breakfasts, lunches, dinners and snacks.  I have a few family favorites, a couple new recipes to try, and one recipe remake.  I am particularly excited about the recipe remake of Tuna Crescents.  This is my oldest daughter's favorite meal, and I haven't served it since I started moving away from processed foods.  My plan is to "health-ify" it and hopefully be even more pleased with the new version than we were with the old.  Fingers crossed.  If we like it, I'll be sure and post the recipe!

Oatmeal w/ flax meal, honey, butter, blueberries or raisins x 3
Toast w/ peanut butter (natural of course) or butter, fruit and yogurt smoothie
Pancakes with maple icing
Homemade Banana walnut ice cream
Coffee cake (this is a fantastic, flexible recipe - thank you Connie!!), fresh squeezed OJ

PB & J (natural pb, or almond butter for the baby, and all fruit spread), veggies x 2
Pumpkin muffins, veggies, raw milk cheese
Mexican pita pizzas (refried beans, raw milk cheddar, black olives, and salsa melted on whole wheat pitas), spinach salad, mud balls
Sloppy Joes (with my grass-fed ground beef from the farmer's market!!!), cornbread, roasted kale, homemade strawberry pineapple sorbet
French toast (or maybe this make ahead version), berries, hash browns, bacon (nitrate free from farmer's market!!)
Turkey roll-ups (no nitrate turkey breast, homemade ranch cream cheese, spinach, raw milk cheese on a whole wheat tortilla), carrots

(Keep in mind that sometimes when my hubby and I work in the evening, we have our bigger meal at lunch time and I make ahead or plan something easy for my mom to serve the kids.)
Tuna Crescents (watch for recipe post later this week), peas, glazed carrots
White Bean Chili (topped with shredded lettuce, tomato, and avocado), bread and butter, fruit
Fried Rice, fruit
PB & J, veggies, raw milk cheese
Tuna Melts w/tomato and raw milk cheese, spinach salad
Scrambled eggs(pastured) w/spinach, toast or leftover pumpkin muffins, fruit
Pizza, spinach salad

Cashews, walnuts, muffins, veggies, fruit

Be sure to visit the menu plan bonanza at Organizing Junkie and have a yummy week!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Finding Our Food

Like a huge majority of people in our country, our family is very much disconnected from where our food is actually grown.  We shop at the super market and buy what looks good or what is on sale that week.  Recently though, we have taken a much greater interest in eating real food and figuring out where our food comes from.
Fortunately for us, we are right on the edge of suburbia with farm life within a short drive from home.  We also have a beautiful historic town square with an ever-growing Farmer's Market twice a week.  My goal this year is to buy as much as I can from growers I can actually talk to on Tuesday and Saturday mornings.
This new interest in food has also spurred an interest in farming itself for our entire family.  This week we took a trip to Greenmeadow's Farm in southern Wisconsin (they have more than one location as well).  The weather was gorgeous, the kids pet ducklings, held kittens, rode ponies, held chickens, tons more, and generally wore themselves out! 

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Garden Pressure

Is anyone else feeling it?  Suddenly, what was once our little gardening hobby which has amused me the last two years needs to actually feed us.  What?
When I started our garden (so NOT the one pictured above - I believe that one belongs to Martha Stewart), my goal was to teach the kids something about digging in the dirt and watching something grow.  We reached our goal and had fun doing it.  With our new found conviction to eat organic and local, I am realizing more and more that in order to afford food, "local" actually needs to mean "in my own yard" as much as possible.  Yikes.  But, I'm always up for a challenge.
I was very excited to see this timely guest post at Kitchen Stewardship on Organic Gardening.  I'm looking forward to following this series and hopefully producing more than last year!!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

This Week's Plan

I recently received a huge bulk order of dry goods from Country Life Natural Foods. I know most of you are in love with Azure Standard (and I don't blame you!), but they don't deliver in my neck of the woods. I have been very pleased with Country Life, and would definitely recommend them. My order has left me knee deep in dried beans and flours of all sorts. In my effort to serve nourishing foods and control costs as much as possible, I am trying to plan meals that use what I have and just buy fresh produce, meat, eggs and milk. My 6 Week Rotating Meal Plan, which you can read how to create here, has been a HUGE help with both budget and sanity as I have tried to improve the way I feed my family. This week is week #5 for me.

Dinners this week:

Steak fajitas, homemade salsa, avocados, brown rice (I serve these with rice instead of tortillas. My family just prefers them that way.)
Chiliburgers (a patty made with beans (I'm using kidney this week), rolled oats, carrots, onions, garlic, cumin, chili powder, soy sauce, mustard and ketchup) with lettuce, tomato and avocado served in pitas, baked potato fries, fruit
Mexican Mix-Up (using ground beef, black beans, brown rice and yogurt cheese)
Tuna Salad, whole wheat toast, veggies
Scrambled Eggs (served using one of these suggestions to keep it interesting), muffins, fruit
Bean soup with homemade chicken or beef stock and veggies, bread, raw milk cheese (This is my chance to use up whatever beans, stock and veggies I have the most of!)
Pizza, salad (We fellowship with our church family every other Sunday through dinner time, and pizza and salad is the usual menu.)

Come on over to Organizing Junkie's meal planning round up to browse over 300 bloggers' meal plans for this coming week! You'll be sure to be inspired!!

Sesame Green Beans

I have owned the cookbook Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals: Veggie Meals for years. I have many cookbooks. Actually, I have too many cookbooks. Which is how great cookbooks like the one I just mentioned can sit on my shelf for years and not be used until now. I recently read this cookbook again and developed quite a long list of recipes I think are worth trying. The recipe for Sesame Green Beans on page 88 was easy, quick, and delicious. Great side and definite main dish possibilities as well. Love that.

Here is the recipe as it is written in the book with my notes in green:

Sesame Green Beans
(serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side)

1 c. jasmine or white rice, cooked to directions (use soaked brown rice, if desired)

1 lb. fresh green beans, washed and trimmed (I also added sliced fresh button mushrooms and carrots)
1 to 1 1/2 T. dark sesame oil
Juice of 1 orange
2 T. toasted sesame seeds (I used the unhulled version and did not toast them beforehand)
Salt, to taste
Soy sauce, for table

Prepare rice and start to cook.

Bring an inch of water in a skillet to a simmer. Add the green beans, cover, and steam , 3 minutes. Run under cold water and drain well.
Heat a skillet or wok-shaped pan over high heat. Add oil, then beans, and stir fry, 2 minutes. Squeeze the orange juice evenly over the beans, sprinkle with sesame seeds, and season with salt, to taste. (Let simmer for a few minutes to thicken the sauce) Serve with jasmine or white rice (or brown) and soy sauce, for drizzling.

There you have the basic idea, which I would use as inspiration to tweak this into something your family loves. You could easily add chicken or beef to this as well. Perhaps sliced thin and marinated in orange juice (with maybe a little fresh garlic?) before sauteing in the sesame oil as well.

Head over to GNOWFGLINS Tuesday Twister and Nourishing Gourmet's Pennywise Platter to see what else is cooking this week!!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Eggs, eggs and more eggs

Even though there has never been a time in my life when I didn't eat eggs, I have a renewed interest in the egg as a frugal and nourishing food. Well, frugal in a sense. Where I used to be content to buy eggs for $0.99/dozen at the grocery store, I am now only willing to purchase organic eggs from pastured chickens for $4.00/dozen. Frugal is all relative when talking nourishing, whole foods. But, I am more than willing to pay that price. And I really love my egg lady :).

Eggs are what's for dinner at my house tonight. However, I find that I just don't have many "egg" recipes that my kids love. Scrambled - love 'em. Over easy - not crazy about them. Hard boiled - some like them, others just like "the white part". And . . . Wait. That's it. And, I am getting a little bored with the scrambled egg at this point.

So, without going to too much trouble to create or find new egg recipes (which I will inevitably waste 12 eggs on and have my kids pick at because they think it's weird) - I thought I would just brainstorm different ways to serve scrambled eggs (which I know my kids will eat) to trick myself into thinking they are altogether different!

Let's see if any of these will work:

Scrambled with broccoli and raw milk cheddar cheese
Scrambled with spinach and tomatoes
Served on toast with melted raw milk cheddar cheese
Scrambled with shredded baked potatoes (and perhaps some bacon)
Served with fresh salsa and raw milk cheddar cheese
Scrambled with fresh basil, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella

Hopefully this will keep me interested in the egg and keep my kids eating them. Any other ideas?

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Here is this week's plan. I am striving towards a more nourishing way of eating - one step at a time (I'm a beginner :)).


Monday - Pinto beans and corn bread, shredded raw milk cheese, homemade salsa, sliced avocados

Tuesday - Whole Roasted Chicken (pastured chicken purchased at the farmer's market), sweet potatoes, creamed spinach

Wednesday - Tuna Pasta Salad, fruit, green smoothies

Thursday - Chicken Divan, whole wheat bread, corn

Friday - Scrambled eggs (also purchased at the farmer's market from pastured eggs), homemade sausage, fruit

Saturday - Soup/leftovers (I usually make a big pot of bean and veggie soup using my homemade stock)

Sunday - Pizza, veggies and dip

LUNCHES (lunches are always served with cut up cold veggies, raw milk cheese, and fruit)

Monday - PB&J (with natural pb and all fruit jam)

Tuesday - Tuna salad sandwiches

Wednesday - Scrambled eggs with spinach

Thursday - Muffins/biscuits/granola bars (whichever I feel like making that morning!)

Friday - PB&J (same as above)

Saturday - Baked potato with butter

Sunday - Leftovers

BREAKFASTS (My goal is to serve a yogurt/kefir or coconut milk smoothie or fresh OJ with every breakfast. We always serve fruit with breakfast in some form or another.)

Monday - Oatmeal (topped with chopped nuts, berries, flax meal, and honey or maple syrup)

Tuesday - Toast

Thursday - Oatmeal (see above)

Friday - Banana Walnut Ice Cream, pb toast

Sunday - Oatmeal

Come on over to Organizing Junkie's Meal Planning Round Up to see TONS of other meal plans!!

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe

I eagerly volunteered to bring chocolate chip cookies to my sis-in-laws house for Mother's Day. And then I remembered, "I haven't made anything like that since we changed the way we eat!!" So, what is that old, eloquent saying about need being the mother of invention?? Well, something like that anyway. So, to the cookbooks I went. I am not saying this is a "healthy" cookie. What I am saying is that you should be able to make these with ingredients you have on hand when you volunteer yourself to bring cookies :). And everyone will thank you for them - DELICIOUS. This is what we came up with:

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 sticks butter, softened (organic and cultured)

1 1/2 - 2 c. sucanat (depending on how sweet you like them)

2 eggs (pastured)

1 T. coconut milk (yes, regular cow's milk would work just fine)

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 tsp. salt

2 c. whole wheat flour (I used a blend of ww pastry and white ww)

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

2 c. rolled oats

2 c. chocolate chips

2/3 c. chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cream together butter and sucanat.

3. Add eggs until combined.

4. Add milk, vanilla, and salt, mixing to combine.

5. Add flour, baking soda, and baking powder.

6. Add rolled oats.

7. Add chips and walnuts.

8. Drop onto ungreased cookie sheets.

9. Reasonable sized cookies take about 10 minutes to bake. Huge ones turn out beautifully and take about 13-14 minutes. Go for the huge, right?!

These could easily be made into fabulous oatmeal raisin cookies if you don't have the chocolate chips. Add a 1/2 - 1 tsp. cinnamon and a 1/2 tsp. of nutmeg and 1 c. of raisins in place of the chips. Equally yummy.

The Journey Begins . . .

Right before the holidays, a close friend of mine was telling me about a new way of eating she and her family were trying. Her mom had been following Dr. Joel Fuhrman's "Eat for Health" plan for a few years, with great success. Weight loss, cholesterol levels down, meds dropped, feeling great. Trust me, there is no better time to be disgusted with the way you eat than in the month of December. Ugh. I borrowed the Furhman book "Disease Proof Your Child" from the library and in I dove. Wow. I learned a lot that I never realized I never knew. Do you ever have those moments? I won't regurgitate everything I read, but what he suggested was stuff I had never heard before. Suddenly, my eyes were opened to how clueless I really was when it comes to nutrition.

I decided I would dive in. After the holidays of course :). We had always been a "light on the meat" family, so that part wasn't too weird. But - NO DAIRY!!! You may as well have told me I can't use a plate to eat off of at meal time. Everything we ate involved dairy. But, I committed and I was serious. We eliminated all meat except for white meat chicken about once a week. Dairy was gone. We ate a TON of veggies, fruits, beans, nuts and grains. I had determined at the outset that I would stick with it for 1 month and reevaluate after that . . .

Is it ok to Disappear and Come Back?

Wow - that was one serious hiatus. With no fantastic explanation. I have been momming and teaching and working and cooking and reading, reading, reading. And I am back! My time off was spent transforming the way our family thinks about food. Very interesting journey, if you want to stick around . . .