Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Creamy Dill Sauce

© Tanyae | Stock Free Images & Dreamstime Stock Photos

If you’ve been as inspired as I have by the Real Food Summit and you are trying to incorporate more fish into your diet, here’s a quick and easy sauce that goes great with almost any fish and includes dill, which is a great herb on so many levels…and it’s in season!

“Dill’s unique health benefits come from two types of healing components: monoterpenes, including carvone, limonene, and anethofuran; and flavonoids, including kaempferol and vicenin. 

The monoterpene components of dill have been shown to activate the enzyme glutathione-S-transferase, which helps attach the anti-oxidant molecule glutathione to oxidized molecules that would otherwise do damage in the body. The activity of dill’s volatile oils qualify it as a “chemoprotective” food (much like parsley) that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens, such as the benzopyrenes that are part of cigarette smoke, charcoal grill smoke, and the smoke produced by trash incinerators.” (source)

INGREDIENTS:
1 C full fat sour cream
3 – 4 TBS chopped dill
1 TBS prepared horseradish
salt to taste

Mix all ingredients and taste test.  Adjust dill and horseradish as needed.  That’s it…easy peasy!  Serve with fish or veggies.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday with Kelly the Kitchen Kop

Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Strawberry Vinaigrette

This post is part of a weekly series in which I give ideas for eating off the grid.  In other words…fringe eating.  I know that in the past I’ve mentioned my disdain for store bought salad dressing and provided a few recipes for easy homemade dressings.  This really is a simple way that you clean up your diet.  It’s delicious and so much healthier than any sugar laced dressing you’ll find at the store.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 quart strawberries, sliced
  • 10 cups chopped spinach or mixed greens of any kind
  • nuts or seeds

In a blender or food processor combine 6 strawberries, vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and puree until smooth.  Pour the dressing over greens and mix well.   Top with the remaining sliced strawberries and nuts or seeds as well as any other veggies you would like (red onions are nice addition).  Add grilled chicken or blue cheese if you feel you need a little more protein.

Strawberries are an amazingly healthy food so enjoy them while they last this season.  Just one cup of these beautiful berries has 141% of the RDA of vitamin C.  Because vitamin C helps with iron absorption, strawberries and spinach make a great combo!

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Eating With the Season: Garlic Scape Pesto

As we move into the summer months and my CSA gets into full swing, I’d like to begin a new weekly feature:  Eating With the Season!  In these posts I’ll provide recipes for some of the more obscure veggies that you might see in your CSA box or at your local farmer’s market…or in your very own garden.  This feature (and this week’s recipe) is inspired by the folks at Potomac Vegetable Farms.

Each year with the first few veggie deliveries I get a bunch of these beautiful garlic scapes.  These is one of my favorite spring harvests, though I admit I had no idea what to do with them the first time I saw them in my share.  Now that I’ve perfected this recipe, I can’t wait for these curly green guys to show up in my CSA box.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 6 – 8 garlic scapes
  • 1 large handful of fresh basil leaves
  • juice of 3 lemons (about 1/2 C)
  • 1 C olive oil
  • 3-4 C grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp salt

PREPARATION:
Coarsely chop garlic scapes and put into the food processor along with basil, lemon juice and salt.  Process until smooth and then slowly drizzle olive oil in through the feed tube while continuing to process. 

Remove the lid and add half of the cheese and process for a few minutes.  Then add the rest of the cheese and process for a few minutes more.

This pesto is great with pasta and also makes a great marinade for grilled chicken or fish, a nice salad dressing, an excellent dip and an awesome spread for crostini.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

This recipe was shared on Fight Back Friday with Food Renegade

Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Shake & Bake

Although the giveaway has ended I’d like to keep the Wednesdays Without Barcodes feature going for a while longer, and perhaps I’ll start another giveaway here soon.

This post is part of a weekly series in which I give ideas for eating off the grid.  In other words…fringe eating.  Here is a recipe for one of my favorite comfort foods…”Shake’N Bake!”  You could use this to coat chicken or pork, baked or fried.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 cups dry bread crumbs (whole wheat or sourdough works great!)
  • 2 tsp Celtic sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 2 tsp celery salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced onion
  • 1 pinch dried basil leaves
  • 1 pinch dried parsley
  • 1 pinch dried oregano
  • 1/8 tsp cayenne (optional)
  • 1/3 C olive oil

PREPARATION:
Mix all dry ingredients in a large zip lock bag and shake to mix.  Add olive oil and massage through bag.  Rinse chicken (or pork) and place in bag.  Shake to coat.  Bake or fry as you normally would.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

This recipe was shared on Real Food Wednesdays with Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Homemade Garlic Powder

Continuing with my anti-barcode condiment kick, here is a recipe from another REAL food blogger, also named April oddly enough!  I’m copying her recipe for homemade garlic powder below, but please check out her blog, My Home Healthier, as well.  She has some great ideas and easy recipes such as this one:

Homemade Garlic Powder* (from My Home Healthier)

Ingredients:

Organic Garlic Cloves

Directions:

  1. Peel garlic cloves, and slice thin.
  2. Place the garlic slices in 150F degree oven and heat until dry. *The garlic is dry when you can crush it in your hand and it crumbles easily. 
  3. Allow the garlic to cool. Grind with food processor or mortar and pestle until you reach your desired consistency. 
  4. Store finished garlic powder in an air-tight container.

Thanks for the recipe April.  It doesn’t get much simpler than that! And this is yet another food preparation activity in which you can include your kids.  It amazes me how jobs that I find incredibly tedious (i.e. peeling garlic) will entertain my toddlers for hours…well maybe a half hour anyway…OK, 15 minutes!

Eat Well, Be Well,
April


*RECIPE NOTES:
You could definitely use your dehydrator for this as well.  I try to use mine whenever possible to justify the cost!  If you don’t have a dehydrator or your oven does not go down to 150° (mine doesn’t either), do not despair.  Try this trick instead:

Set your oven to the lowest possible temperature and put it on the convection setting if you have that option.  Prop the oven door open a bit so that it stays cooler (I use my metal 1/8 measuring cup).  You’ve just turned your oven into a dehydrator, sort of!

Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Please Pass the Mustard

This post is part of a weekly series in which I give ideas for eating off the grid.  In other words…fringe eating.  It is also a REAL food challenge and my first GIVEAWAY!  See the Wednesday, April 11th post for all of the giveaway details.  There are two weeks left, so please join us!

After taking a little break for some yummy Cinco de Mayo recipes, I’m back on my condiment kick.  Another great thing about making your own condiments is that you can put them to work for you by turning them into digestive aides.  Allowing  your condiments to lacto ferment supercharges them with powerful probiotics & enzymes.  These otherwise dead foods now have the power to aid in digestion, and we know that the health of the body’s immune system is directly related to its ability to digest and utilize food (source).  Take that hotdog!  So before your next backyard barbecue give this easy ferment a try…your fellow picnic-ers will thank you.

garlic dill mustard

Lacto-Fermented Mustard (adapted from Simply Being Well)

INGREDIENTS 

  • 1 1/2 cup ground mustard seeds
  •  1/2 cup filtered water
  •  2 TBS whey
  •  2 1/2 tsp celtic sea salt
  •  juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp spice of choice (some great options are turmeric, garlic, dill etc.)
  •  2 TBS whole brown mustard seeds

PREPARATION

  1. Mix 1 C of the ground mustard and all ingredients except brown mustard seed in a food processor.
  2. Mix in the remaining ground mustard a little at a time until you reach the desired consistency.
  3. Stir in the whole brown mustard seeds.
  4. Place in a glass jar with at least 1″ of space and cover tightly.
  5. Leave it at room temperature (68° – 72°)  for  3 days and then move to cold storage.

Make sure to write the date you made it on the lid.  If you store it on the door of the fridge it should last for about six months.

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Making Condiments

This post is part of a weekly series in which I  give ideas for eating off the grid.  In other words…fringe eating.  It is also a REAL food challenge and my first GIVEAWAY!  See the Wednesday, April 11th post for all of the giveaway details.

One of the biggest challenges for eating REAL food is condiments.  We all love them.  They add flavor and spice to otherwise bland dishes and can even make tasty meals tastier.  They definitely get our little ones to eat things they otherwise wouldn’t touch, but when you look at the labels…BLAH!!!  Sugar, artificial colors and flavors, ingredients I can’t pronounce…and WHY?  Most of these accompaniments can be quickly made in your own kitchen with a handful of wholesome ingredients.  So over the next few weeks I’ll do some how-to’s on some of our country’s favorite condiments.  Today…cream cheese!

Cream cheese is so versatile and so easy to make.  I used to avoid all recipes that called for cream cheese purely out of guilt.  Cream cheese was synonymous with junk food in my mind.  Now that I make my own I’m the first to offer to bring the buffalo chicken dip to the Super Bowl party!

INGREDIENTS & SUPPLIES:

  • 1 QT full fat, grass fed yogurt
  • cheese cloth or clean dish towel
  • strainer or colander
  • large glass bowl
  • pitcher
  • wooden spoon
  • string or rubber band

Place the strainer into a large bowl and line it with a towel or about 6 layers of cheese cloth.  Dump the yogurt onto the towel and walk away. You’ll begin to see the whey dripping into the bowl almost immediately.  After a few hours the dripping will stop and you’ll probably have about two cups of whey in the bowl.  Pour the whey into a glass jar and save if for neutralizing beans and oats.  You’ll also use it to make condiments such as ketchup and mustard which I’ll post about soon!  Whey will keep for about 6 months in the fridge.

Now tie the cheese cloth into a little bundle around the thickened yogurt and attach it to a wooden spoon and hang it over a pitcher.  Let it sit out another hour our so until it stops dripping completely. Untie it and move it to a bowl and store in the fridge for up to a month.


Use it to fill celery, to top homemade crackers or sourdough bread or in any recipe that calls for cream cheese. Homemade cream cheese is also a great substitution for peanut butter in nut-free settings.  Spread a layer on bread and top with fresh strawberries or apple butter…YUM!

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

This post was shared on Real Food Wednesday @ Kelly the Kitchen Kop.

Homemade Croutons

Before

This is probably the easiest recipe I’ll ever post, but one that I use often. Whenever we have extra hotdog buns or those “butt pieces” of bread that no one wants, I throw them into a bag in the freezer.  Eventually I get sick of looking at that bag and I pull it out to make croutons and bread crumbs.  Simply cut the bread into whatever sizes pieces you want (it’s easier if you thaw it a bit first) and spray it with EVOO or butter.  If you don’t have a misto you can use a brush instead.  Then sprinkle with salt and any other spices you like.  Put it in the oven at about 300 (or less) for a long time.  Check it periodically.  It should get a little brown but mostly just hard like a crouton or cracker.  Great for salad or to serve with cheese or pate.  Whatever doesn’t get used throw into the food processor and make bread crumbs.  Way better than anything you’ll buy at the store.  Waste not, want not!

After

Eat Well, Be Well,
April