Sweet Sunday: Cocoa-Coconut Cookies

I had a very proud moment not long ago when my almost four year old asked me, “Mama, what’s an Oreo?”  Of course that was followed by, “Can I have one?”  I have to say that my little ones are amazingly understanding when I explain that a certain food isn’t healthy or isn’t something we eat.  Either they really trust me or they know on some level that those foods make them feel bad.  Maybe a combination of the two.  I keep wondering when they are going to start to fight me on it though.  As I’ve mentioned before I do make exceptions for very special occasions, but I also realize that this can be a slippery slope and I have to draw the line somewhere.  A play date or a visit with a relative (while special) is not a special occasion that deserves cake and cookies every time.  There’s definitely a cultural perception that sugary treats are a right of passage for kids and it’s not always easy to “shelter” them from the constant offering of non-nutritive (a.k.a. junk) food or the marketing that perpetuates the idea that it’s “normal.”  One thing that helps is keeping homemade, sweet treats on hand on a pretty regular basis.  Consequently I’ve come up with an arsenal of semi-healthy recipes that I can pull out when I’m starting to feel like the Big Mean Mommy Who Always Says No. Continue reading

The Cabbage Song

Pound the cabbage.
Pound the cabbage.
Add the whey
and caraway.
Then you add the salt.
Tell me what you get.
Sauerkraut, Sauerkraut.
To the tune of Frere Jacques

Yep, we’re the freaks that make up songs about stuff like sauerkraut.  Actually the first time we sang it my now 3 year old sang “sauer-crap” which I thought was hysterical!  She didn’t get it at the time, but I couldn’t help myself…I had to record it!  We’ve been making it for years and the kids have been helping since they were old enough to “pound the cabbage.”  And what little kid doesn’t love to pound stuff right? Put that energy to work! Continue reading

Eating with the Season: Zucchini Pancakes

Got summer squash coming out of your ears?  Here’s a wonderful recipe (adapted from allrecipes) for zucchini pancakes that’s great for breakfast lunch or dinner!  Substitute any type of cheese you like.  Top with fresh sliced tomatoes, a fried egg or both…you can’t go wrong! 

 

 

 

Ingredients

  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup sprouted flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt to taste
  • olive oil (enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan)

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and then add the zucchini, onion, flour, cheese, and salt. Stir well enough to distribute ingredients evenly.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping spoonful, and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden. Add more oil as needed.

 

Eat Well, Be Well,
April
 

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: Beef Jerky

Tastes better than it looks!

It’s hard to make beef jerky look good.  A friend of mine said that every time she see it she thinks of Cadaver Lab.  However, it’s hard to make it taste bad!  So play around with the spices in this recipe.  Don’t be afraid!  It’s a great snack for on-the-go this summer, full of protein and good to eat anytime of day. 

If you don’t have a dehydrator use the oven dehydrator method:

Set your oven to 155° or the lowest possible temperature and put it on the convection setting if you have that option.  You can also prop the oven door open a bit so that it stays cooler and air circulates. If your oven does not go below 200° you’ll need to find a different method of dehydrating.

GROUND BEEF JERKY:
For every pound of beef
mix in:
1 tsp Celtic sea salt
1 TBS naturally flavored Worcestershire sauce
1 TBS naturally flavored red pepper sauce
1/4 tsp dried minced onion

Mix all spices with the ground beef (meatloaf style) and roll out onto non-stick dehydrator sheets or parchment paper.  Aim for about 1/8″ thick.

Dry for about 6 hours at 155°F.  Take out the trays, invert the jerky and place on clean dehydrator sheets or fresh parchment paper.  Dry for another 6 hours or so until hard and leathery.  Cut it into strips and eat or store.

If you come up with any fun spice combos, please share with the class!

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

Wednesdays Without Barcodes: Fruit Leather

Banana Cocoa, Apple Cinnamon, Raspberry Pineapple

Looking for a fun and easy snack project now that the kids are finishing school.  This fruit leather is so easy to make that I made six different flavors with 18 preschoolers in 90 minutes!  Really, it’s that simple and it’s so much better than a fruit roll up or any store bought fruit snack.  Below are 6 different “recipes,” but really the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

Basically, for each tray puree a quart of coarsely chopped organic fruit.  Frozen and thawed fruit works great.  If you use bananas make sure they are plenty ripe.  If you need to add a little liquid while blending, water or organic pear juice (RW Knudsen makes a nice one with no sugar added) is a perfect choice.  Add as little as possible so that the blender still functions properly but the mix isn’t too liquidy.

Spread the mix evenly onto dehydrator trays lined with non-stick dehydrator sheets or onto baking trays lined with parchment paper.  It should be about 1/8 – 1/4 inch in thickness.  Now put it in the oven or dehydrator set to about 150°F.  If your oven doesn’t go that low, just put it as low as it will go and prop the door open a bit so it stays slightly cooler.  If your oven has a convection setting use that!  Leave it to do it’s thing for about 8 – 12 hours.  Check it periodically to see what the texture is like.  You want to stop the dehydrating before it gets crispy!  After the half way point you can peel the fruit leather and flip it over if you like, but you don’t have to do this.  When it is no longer sticky and has a smooth surface, remove it from the oven, peel, roll and enjoy!



Peachy Pear, Mixed Berry, Strawberry Banana

BANANA COCOA
4 ripe bananas
2 TBS raw cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla

APPLE CINNAMON
1 QT peeled, cored apples
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

RASPBERRY PINEAPPLE
1/2 QT raspberries
1/2 QT pineapple chunks


Look at these ingredients….YUCK!

PEACHY PEAR
1/2 QT peeled, cored pear1/2 QT peeled, sliced peaches
1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
a few shakes of cinnamon

MIXED BERRY
1/2 QT blueberries
1/2 QT blackberries

STRAWBERRY BANANA
2/3 QT strawberries
1.5 ripe bananas

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

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

Eating With the Season: Bok Choy & Shrimp Stir Fry

Bok choy (also called Chinese cabbage) is another veggie you might be seeing around town a lot these days.  “Like its other cruciferous cousins, broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts and mustard greens, bok choy is not only an excellent source of vitamin C and dietary fiber, but also contains the precursors for unique sulfur-containing phytonutrients, such as indole-3-carbinole (I3C) and sulforaphane, which are produced as a result of cutting, chewing or digesting cabbage.  Cabbage’s sulfur compounds help activate and stabilize the body’s antioxidant and detoxification mechanisms, and, increase the liver’s ability to produce enzymes that neutralize potentially toxic substances.”  (source)

If you’ve never cooked bok choy, don’t be intimidated by the name.  It’s easy and tasty!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 head bok choy
  • 8 oz Shiitaki mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 1/2 C carrots, shredded
  • 1 TBS olive oil
  • 1 TBS sesame oil
  • 1/4 C water
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger root, grated
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 TBS fish sauce
  • 1 TBS soy sauce or tamari
  • 1 TBS Thai red curry paste
  • 1/2 – 1 tsp red pepper sauce
  • 1 lb shrimp

PREPARATION:

  1. Trim off the ends of the bok choy and chop, keeping the white parts separate from the green as they will need to cook longer. Rinse and spin or pat dry. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl or cup stir together the water, ginger, garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, curry paste and red pepper sauce. Set this aside.
  3. Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok over medium-high heat. Add the bok choy stems and carrots first; stir fry for a few minutes or until the stems start to turn a pale green. Then add the mushrooms and stir fry for a couple of minutes more.  When stems are almost cooked, add the leaves and sauce; cook and stir until leaves are just wilted and sauce has thickened slightly, about 2 minutes. 
  4. Steam the shrimp and add it to the veggies or serve separately. 

Eat Well, Be Well,
April

This post was shared on Fight Back Friday with Food Renegade.

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.