Friday, September 30, 2011

Homemade Beef Broth

Why pay the  steep price of organic beef broth when you can just make it yourself.

Ingredients:
2 soup bones from an organic cow (mine were small, if you have a big one, just use one)
1 organic onion, pealed and sliced in half
1 organic carrot coarsely chopped
2 ts sea salt
1 ts organic ground pepper, or whole peppercorns

Roast your bones in the oven for an hour. Put all ingredients in a large stock pot and fill with water to the top. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Cook anywhere from a few hours to all day.


You want your broth a good medium brown. Remove bones and vegetables. Strain through a fine strainer. 
Place in the refrigerator. Once cooled the fat will harden at the top.

Remove fat and discard. Place broth in freezable containers. I do 2 cups per container because that works for me.

Sweet and Spicy Nuts

Yummy! These are so good! Though with the high price of organic nuts I can't make them too often because my kids plow through them so fast. If we don't act fast, my husband and I don't get any! Great party appetizer, snack, etc.

Ingredients:
3 cups organic nuts (Above I used almonds. I've also used cashews, pecans, walnuts, or a combination)
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
1/2 ts organic cayenne
1 ts sea salt
1/2 ts organic coriander
1 ts organic nutmeg
1/2 ts organic cinnamon
1 organic egg white
2 tb oil (coconut or olive oil)

In a large bowl, mix sugar everything but the nuts. Once mixed, toss with the nuts. Spread in a thing layer on a large baking sheet covered in parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes at 300 degrees. Stir them around a couple times. Now if you forget to stir while baking (not like I've ever done that or anything) stir them as soon as they come out of the oven. Let them cool. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two weeks (If they last that long!!)

Organic homemade granola bars

These are great! My kids gobble them up. This recipe is for a double batch because they eat them so fast! I was inspired to start making my own granola bars because my kids would want to eat multiple granola bars a day. As I saw money flying out the window with each individually wrapped organic granola bar going into their belly, I decided to start making my own. They actually prefer these. They are a hearty snack they love! Feel free to cut everything in half if you don't want two pans, it'll work fine.
Ingredients:
4 cups organic rolled oats
1 1/2 cups organic brown sugar
4 TB organic seeds (I've used : Flax, sunflower, chia, sesame, etc)
2 cups organic unbleached wheat flour
1/2 cup organic chocolate chips
1/2 cup organic raisins
1 1/2 ts sea salt
1 1/2 ts organic cinnamon
1 1/2 cups honey
1 cup oil
4 ts organic vanilla
2 organic eggs beaten
 
(Options: Any dried fruit can be used. I've used dried cranberries and that was really yummy. Chop any larger pieces of dried fruit. Coconut adds a nice flavor. 1/2 cup organic almond or sunflower seed butter can be added with no consistency problem. You could substitute some of the honey with maple syrup. Be creative, mix it up, and make these YOUR bars!)
Line two baking dishes with parchment paper. Mix all dry ingredients in a large bowl (oats to cinnamon). Make a well in the middle and add all wet ingredients (honey to eggs). Mix well, hands are best. Divide evenly between the two pans. Wet your hands and press the mixture down into the pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes. The edges will be brown when done.

Let cool for 5-10 minutes. Do not let them cool completely or they will be too hard to cut. With a wet sharp knife cut squares, or rectangles, whatever you prefer.
Let cool completely in the pan and then remove with a metal spatula. Store in an airtight container.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ground Beef Stroganoff

My mom used to make super yummy beef stroganoff when I was kid. As I got older and liked meat less, I realized I'd rather it with ground beef so I'm not biting into chunks of meat. Plus this seems much easier...less cooking time, no beating of meat, etc. My kids gobble this up, I bet yours will too!

Ingredients: (Serves 6 adults)
1 tb coconut or olive oil
1 lb organic ground beef
2 lbs sliced mushrooms, organic
2 cups cream of mushroom soup (I make my own and highly suggest you do too! I'll post the recipe when I can)
1/2 ts ground pepper, organic
1-2 ts sea salt, to taste
1 ts garlic powder, organic
1/2 ts organic ground nutmeg
8 oz organic sour cream , or more of you like it creamier
1 lb organic pasta (This time I used organic rombi pasta 'cause it was there and it was cute, ha. I usually use organic egg noodles or organic whole wheat ribbons, not bowties, ribbons)

Heat up a skillet and add the oil. Brown the ground beef. Add the mushrooms and cook for about 5 minutes.
At this point, start the water for the pasta, and when boiling throw the pasta in and cook until al dente. Add the mushroom soup, pepper, salt, garlic powder, nutmeg to the meat/mushrooms. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat, and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes. When the pasta is almost done, stir the sour cream into the meat mixture and heat it up. Drain pasta and dish out onto plates and top with meat mixture. Don't forget to pour a lot of sauce on top so you can drink it off your plate when you're done...and then lick it...to pre-wash of course =)

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Cilantro butter spread

I love cilantro! So what better than to add it to butter as a spread for veggies. Though I've also thought it would be great on chicken too!

Ingredients:
1 stick of organic softened butter (Even better, make the butter yourself from raw milk!)
2 cloves of organic garlic, minced
1/4 ts sea salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro

Mix it all up and spread! Great on veggies!
I love it on corn:

Ricotta Stuffed Hot Peppers

A couple weeks ago we went to the Garlic Festival. This is always so fun. The food is always super good. We always have to try a little of everything..well we've never tried the garlic sprinkles on ice cream, but I must draw the line somewhere ;) This year one of the booths had a spicy stuffed pepper that was so yummy I HAD to try to recreate it. And I did! I used Hungarian wax peppers which are moderately spicy. Though I think that may be an "average" because some were only a little spicy and some made we want to rip my tongue off. But the spice went away and I was happy with the result! Feel free to use a less spicy pepper. It would be good in banana peppers too. Though I have to say, I decided to leave the seeds in to make them spicier, I won't be doing that next time. It worked well for the ones that were only a little spicy but made the more spicy ones a little hard to handle. But whatever pepper you decide to use, make these, soon!

Ingredients:
8 Hungarian wax peppers, organic if you can find it, I couldn't
8 oz ricotta, organic
1/4 cup shredded parm, organic
1 cup shredded mozzarella, organic
1/2 ts ground pepper
4 cloves organic garlic, minced
1/2 ts sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together everything but the peppers in a medium bowl. Cut the end off the peppers at an angle to release the seeds and membrane, like this:

Pull gently on the stem so it lifts out the seeds. Hopefully it looks like this: (If not, just scrape the seeds out)
There are a couple ways you can get the filling in. You can use a butter knife and push it down in until it's full.
You could also use a zip lock bag, fill with mixture, seal, and cut a corner off , squeeze down in. Either way, it should look like this when you're done:
Place them all in a baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas

Let me start this by saying this didn't end up being kid friendly. Well, "my" kid friendly (it's not like it was spicy or anything). None of them liked it. BUT hubby and I LOVED it. We got seconds. To be fair, my oldest who generally loves everything I make, hates cheddar and sour cream. Yes you heard that right. I would think he was switched at birth if I hadn't had a homebirth =) I think part of the problem was when they asked "What's for dinner?" and I answered "Green Chile Chicken Enchiladas" all they heard was "Bla bla bla Enchiladas". So they were expecting my regular enchiladas which is their absolute favorite. You can get that recipe here. So anyway, back to these really yummy enchiladas that WE liked...I don't know what's wrong with those kids.
This fills two baking dishes
Ingredients:
1 lb organic chicken
1 cup organic chicken broth
2 cups cream of mushroom soup (I used this because I make my own, but you could use cream of chicken if you are buying it in a can)
16 oz organic sour cream
6 oz Trader Joes Salsa Autentica (don't have a TJ's? You need a thin not chunky salsa)
1 organic onion chopped
1 can green chilies
2 lb block of cheddar cheese, shredded
16 wheat tortillas

Boil chicken (you can bake but it's easier to shred if it's been boiled). After it's cool, shred it. In a big bowl, mix together broth, soup, sour cream, salsa, onion, and chilies. Set aside two cups. Add to the mixture (not the 2 cups) 2 cups of cheese and the chicken.

Lay out a tortilla and spoon mixture down the middle.
Roll up tortilla and place seam side down in a baking dish.
Pour reserved sauce over the enchiladas. Cover (I cover mine with an upside down baking dish because I don't use foil in cooking) and cook at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Sprinkle remaining cheese over them and cook for two more minutes for the cheese to melt. Serve with some rice and maybe my Mexican corn salad.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Great water bottles!

With all the cruddy plastic and metal bottles out there, it's hard to decide what to use for water on the go. If you must use plastic, find a #2 plastic bottle. As for metal, that's a really hard one. We used to use Sigg bottles...and then they were recalled for having bpa in the lining on the inside! Ugh! You think you're buying a safe bottle and it turns out it's anything but. They did replace the bottles with new ones that supposedly don't have bpa in the lining. But I'm still skeptical on the safeness of them. If water sits in the them for more than a day (which they recommend you not do anyway) it gets a funny taste. So I only use my Sigg bottles if I absolutely have to. I found a while back these bottles: http://www.lifefactory.com/ They are glass bottles, totally safe, no leaching. They are wrapped in a silicone sleeve for easy gripping and protection. I've dropped one of these on concrete and it didn't break. Though...I dropped mine at a museum this past weekend...on a glass floor, and the bottle shattered. So they are not indestructible. I stand behind that glass is the best option, unless you're somewhere that doesn't allow glass (amusement parks and such). Plus these bottles are really neat looking =)

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

First off...wear gloves when dealing with jalapenos...I know better, and I didn't...ouch.
I love jalapeno poppers. I love that I can bake them instead of frying them and use organic ingredients. Have you ever ordered poppers at a restaurant and they taste like fryer grease? Eww, I'm gagging thinking about it. So not only are these better for you because you use organic ingredients, hot peppers are borderline high in pesticides. Plus organic eggs, flour, dairy products....you get the picture. Dairy and eggs are seriously not good for you if not organic....hormones, antibiotics, gross unhealthy living conditions for the animals. What I do when making these is make a HUGE batch and then I freeze them. If I want a snack, I can pop a few in the toaster oven and in 5-10 minutes I have yummy poppers to munch on! By all means you do not have to make as big of a batch as I do, it's really time consuming. But I really only do it maybe twice a year. So if you think of it that way, it's not that bad. I'll start off by telling you that the batch I made today took 2 hours, start to finish, including baking time. By the end I was getting a little annoyed by the whole process, but now I'm happy about the huge amount of poppers in my freezer! So it's all good ;)

Ingredients:
25 large jalapenos, organic (They don't have to be large, but I quarter them so I get more poppers this way)
2 packages organic cream cheese, softened (you could also use neufchatel, less fat and tastes pretty much the same)
1/2 cup mayonnaise Here's my recipe for homemade
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese, organic
6 cups breadcrumbs (I don't buy breadcrumbs, for this I toasted 9 pieces of bread and threw it in the food processor with a ts salt and garlic powder)
5 eggs, organic
2 TB organic milk
2 cups organic flour, non-bleached


Slice jalapenos in half, scoop out seeds, slice each half in half. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.


Mix together the cream cheese, cheddar, and mayo. Place a small scoop on every piece of jalapeno.

Put the flour in one bowl. Eggs and milk, beaten, in another. Breadcrumbs in a third bowl.
Roll each piece around in the flour, then the egg mixture, and finally the breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees. Enjoy!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Awesome Rosemary Chicken

I love rosemary! I guess it's a little over the top to have rosemary roasted potatoes with this dish, but it was SOOO good! We love both so why not eat them together? ;) Though this would pair nicely with some creamy mashed potatoes, garlic roasted veggies, a salad...you can't go wrong with this chicken! This is adapted from a recipe at www.mommybistro.com

Ingredients:
2 lbs organic chicken, thighs and drumsticks
1/2 cup evoo
Handful of fresh rosemary (removed from stem)
3/4 ts sea salt, or to taste
1 ts ground pepper
4 garlic cloves, chopped

Place chicken in a baking dish. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix everything up really well with your hands (I know, Eww, I hate touching chicken, but sometimes it must be done!). Spread the pieces out evenly. Bake at 400 degrees for an hour and 15 minutes (Yes, really that long. It seems like a long time but don't worry, it will come out GREAT!!!) Mouthwatering yumminess!!! (Can you believe my spell check says "yumminess" isn't a word??? Weird.)  Enjoy!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

"If you like pina coladas" ice cream

This ice cream makes me want to sing...If you like pina coladas, and getting caught in the rain...
Really yummy and refreshing. Since it's made with coconut milk, dairy-free people can indulge!

Ingredients:
1 package frozen pineapple (comes out to about 5 cups)
1 1/2 cups coconut milk, I like So Delicious coconut milk
3/4 cup sugar

Blend all ingredients in a blender. Pour into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturers instructions.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

There is no better way to cook corn on the cob than on the grill! So yummy...and Easy!!!
Directions:
Don't husk. Soak in water for a couple hours before you're ready to grill. I use a big pot like this:

Get your grill ready. If you have multiple levels in your grill you'll want it up on the shelf. If you don't, then don't put it on the grill until the coals are settled down and not their hottest. They'll need to grill for about an hour, so plan ahead.
After it's done grilling you can husk it....but it will be SUPER hot so you may want to wait awhile. Just be warned. It will husk much easier than it does before it's cooked. The silk comes right off with the husk.
Slather with butter, salt and pepper or however you prefer it, and ENJOY!

Menu Planning

Menu planning is super important for eating healthy. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. So what happens on Monday night if you've had a really long day and you don't have anything planned for dinner? You might just stop and pick something up, you might have a microwave dinner (Ick, don't ever use a microwave, just get it out of your house), you might throw in a frozen pizza. All of which are not good options. Though, arguably a frozen pizza if it's organic, whole wheat and baked in the oven isn't terrible for you. But still not great all the time. So sitting down at the beginning of the week and making a menu is essential. It'll probably only take you 10-30 minutes of your time. I keep a list of meals the whole family enjoys so if I'm having trouble coming up with meals I just scan over the list and add to my menu. It's a lifesaver. I'm constantly adding to it as we try new meals we love. There are many different ways to menu plan. I'll show you what I do here. Find what works for you and do it, every week. Or whenever you shop. I make a menu for two weeks at a time. Here's my current one:
I write the days of the week along the left side of the paper. If we have any activities in the evening on any nights I write that down so I can plan accordingly. Three days a week for the next two weeks we have swimming lessons in the evening. Which means I will want a quick meal that no one is going to give me trouble eating quickly. As I insert a meal on a day I will write down on the right side of the paper what I need to get from the store. I go through the two weeks inserting meals and making my grocery list. When I'm done, I transfer my list onto another piece of paper sorting by sections of the store:
This makes shopping quick and easy...well I wouldn't say easy, I hate grocery shopping, but "easier". I add any additional items I need, and my list is done. I have meals planned for two weeks. I'm flexible, if I come to a day and just don't feel like cooking what I have planned I will pick something from another day and swap them.
So if you don't already do it, start menu planning, it makes eating healthy meals much easier!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Read this label!

New game! Read this label and comment with what you think is NOT good on this ingredient list.

Baked Beans





Just in time for your Labor Day bbq, homemade baked beans!!! Yum!

Ingredients:
1 organic onion, chopped
2 tb oil, I used coconut oil
2 ts dry mustard
4 cups organic pinto beans, cooked
1/2 cup bbq sauce, I used Trader Joes natural bbq sauce
1/2 ts sea salt
2 tb mollasses
2 ts apple cider vinegar, I like Braggs
1/2 cup water

Cook onions, dry mustard, and oil in an oven proof pot. Cook until onions are translucent. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir. Cover pot and cook in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour.

Freezing fresh herbs



I just learned something and thought I would share it with you all. In the past if I had fresh herbs that I wasn't going to use I would dehydrate them and save them. I just learned that you can freeze them too! Now I'm probably way behind the times on this and everyone but me knew this, but I'm excited about it!
Here's how:
1. Cut a big bunch of the herb off the plant.
2. Remove the leaves from the stem.
3. Bunch up the leaves and pack them into ice cube trays.
4. Cover with water.
5. Freeze
6. Remove from ice cube tray and put your herb-cubes into freezer storage bags.

That's it! Isn't that neat? Now you can use them for winter soups and other cooking. Hmm, I'm guessing they would be a little soggy to use as an uncooked fresh herb in a salad or other dish. I'd love to hear back if anyone knows about that!