Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Apple Carrot Whole Grain Kefir "Cupcake" Muffins



Yay! More healthy cupcakes!  These are made with carrots, apples or pineapple, kefir, and whole wheat.  Super yummy!  You can frost them with cream cheese icing or just eat them as muffins.  Very moist and delicious!






Ingredients:
2 cups grated carrots
2 cups grated apples OR 1 large can drained crushed pineapple
1 1/2 cups sugar or equivalent sugar alternative
1/2 cup coconut oil or melted butter
1/2 cup ripened milk kefir
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking soda*

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream together sugar, eggs, oil, kefir carrots, apples, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl combine remaining ingredients and then gradually combine to carrot mixture.  Stir until well blended.  To use the kefir as leavening, let batter stand on countertop for 1-2 hours before baking.

Pour into lined muffin cups.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

*Depending on your kefir, baking soda may not be needed.  Kefir acts as leavening.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Chicken & Rice Casserole (Freezable),



2 c. diced cooked chicken
1 1/2 cup sauce (below)
3/4 c. mayonnaise, sour cream, or kefir cream
1 tbsp. lemon juice
2 c. diced celery
2 tbsp. minced onions
2 c. cooked rice

Sauce:
3 tbs butter
3 tbs flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup chicken stock

In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add flour and stir until the butter and flour are well combined. Pour in milk and stock, stirring constantly as it thickens. Add more milk depending on desired consistency.
Combine all ingredients and stir thoroughly.
Optional: Add fresh or frozen peas or broccoli, top with crushed corn flakes or cheese.

For dinner tonight: 
Bake in a x13 pan at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

For a freezer meal:
Cover with foil and freeze.
To serve: Thaw overnight in refrigerator.  Bake at 350 degrees 45 min to 1 hour or until heated through and bubbly

Friday, February 8, 2013

Thin Mints



I made these tonight and they turned out great! I love the real chocolate wafers compared with many of the ritz cracker versions out there.  Super delicious!











Prep: 25 minutes
Yield: 3 dozen cookies
Thin Mint Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar.
  • 1/2 cup of cocoa powder 
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup of flour 
  • 2 cups chocolate chips
  • 1 teaspoon mint extract
  •  coconut oil
 
Directions
  1. With a hand mixer, cream the butter. Add the sugar, and continue to cream. Add the cocoa powder, salt and vanilla and mix until well combined.  Chill 30 minutes.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Roll dough and cut into circles about 1/8" thick and place on cookie sheet.  Or, if you are lazy like me, roll the dough into small balls (a little larger than a marble) and smoosh them flat on a cookie sheet.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and carefully move cookies to cooling racks
  5. Place the chocolate chips, mint extract and coconut oil in a heavy bottomed pan or double boiler and carefully melt together until liquid and well blended.
  6. Put parchment on the now-cooled cookie sheets.
  7. Carefully drop each cookie into the melted chocolate and spoon chocolate over the top of each cookie. Use a fork to fish it out and gently shake the fork to remove excess chocolate. Place on parchment paper. Repeat until all of the cookies are covered.  Chill cookies in refrigerator another 30 minutes or until set.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Yellow Cupcakes: A Win From the Kids (Healthy)


What the kids don't know about these "cupcakes" is that they are really corn muffins made with whole grains, the sugar is drastically reduced (this recipe contains half the sugar of a "corn bread" recipe on the corn meal box), and they are light because of the secret ingredient: Greek Yogurt.  Try them out with your favorite topping and see if your family can tell the difference.

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 18-20 minutes
Yield: 32 Cupcakes

3 cups 100% whole wheat flour, (hard white)
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 cup yellow corn meal
2 tbs baking powder
5 eggs
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
2 cups greek yogurt
1/2 cup ground flax seed
1/2 cup vegetable oil of your choice
4 tbs melted butter

Preheat oven to 350 F.   Line muffin tins.

Combine flour, sugar, corn meal, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl.  Combine milk, eggs, oil, butter, flax, yogurt in a small bowl. Mix well.  Combine both bowls and stir until just blended.

Pour into prepared muffin cups and bake for 18-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Christmas Wifesaver Casserole


Yield: 12 servings

1 package hash brown potatoes, thawed
2 cups grated cheddar
1 lb breakfast sausage
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 tsp dry mustard powder
1 finely chopped onion
8 large eggs

Night before:

In a 9x13" greased casserole place the thawed hash brown potatoes in the bottom.  Sprinkle with 1 1/2 cups grated cheese, saving 1/2 cup for the top of the casserole.  Brown the sausage and onion and sprinkle over cheese and potatoes.  Next mix the eggs and milk in a separate bowl with the dry mustard.  Pour this mixture over everything and let set covered in the fridge overnight.  Sprinkle remaining cheese on top 15 minutes before casserole is done.

Next morning:

Uncover casserole and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Easy Ganache Truffles

Yield: 30 Truffles

1 cup heavy cream
3 cups chocolate chips
1 tsp vanilla or mint extract
crushed candy canes, finely chopped nuts, powdered sugar, or melted chocolate

In a heavy bottomed saucepan or double boiler, carefully bring cream to a simmer.  Add chocolate chips and stir until smooth.  Add extract.  Pour into an 8x8 greased glass pan or dish and chill until set.

Form into balls and roll in candy canes, nuts, or powdered sugar.  Or dip into melted chocolate.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

White Sandwich Bread


I made up this recipe this afternoon in hopes of a nice-textured and delicious flavored white sandwich bread that would hold up for school lunches.  If it works well, I will be modifying this to make a whole wheat version.  As usual, I have added my favorites: flax seed meal and fresh egg to pump up the nutrition.

Results:  Delicious and chewy with a nice texture perfect for sandwiches!

 White Sandwich Bread
Makes 2 loaves
2 teaspoons active-dry yeast
1 cup (8 oz) warm water
2 tablespoons fat of your choice (I used lard I had rendered previously, but my second choice would be coconut oil, however you can use butter or basic cooking oil as well.)
1 cup nonfat greek yogurt
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp salt (as you can see I cut WAY back on the salt compared to many bread recipes)
1 large egg
7 cups white flour
scant 1/2 cup ground flax seed meal
Pour the water into the bowl of a standing mixer or large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over top. Add sugar and stir until combined. Let this stand for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved.
 Stir in the milk, sugar, fat, flax, and salt. Stir together and add 4 cups flour gradually until dough is smooth and elastic. 
Add egg and another cup of flour, stir until well blended into a nice dough.  Depending on your altitude and humidity, you may need a little more or less flour.
Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes. I use my Bosch mixer for this, but you can also do it by hand.  
Set dough in a warm location and raise until doubled, usually 45 minutes to an hour depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
Sprinkle a little flour on the counter and turn the dough out on top.   Let the dough rest for 5 minutes.
Grease two loaf pans and shape each ball of dough into two loaf shapes.  Cover with a cloth and let raise for another 30 minutes or until doubled again.
Heat the oven to 425° F about halfway through the second rise.
Slash the tops of the loaves with a serrated knife and put them in the oven.  Brush tops with beaten egg white for a shiny artisan look.  
 Immediately turn down the heat to 375°F and bake for 30-35 minutes.  

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pork Adobo


I have been searching recipes for Adobo Chicken/Pork and none I found online seem to do justice to what I remember my Filipino friend serving.  So I decided to take a crack at what I remember. 

Yield: 5 servings, plus leftovers

5 pork chops
1 tbs coconut or peanut oil
1/2 cup soy sauce
1 1/2 cups rice vinegar
 4 large green chilies
2 large tomatoes
1 large onion
3 tbs fresh minced garlic
2 bay leaves
fresh cracked black pepper to taste
pinch of sugar

Heat oil in large, deep skillet or dutch oven.  Cook pork chops until browned on both sides.  Remove from skillet.  Using a fork, "scrub" the pan to pull up all the crispy bits.  Add soy sauce,  chopped vegetables garlic and bay leaves.  Simmer until onions are soft.  Return pork to pan and add vinegar and sugar.   Simmer until pork is falling apart and sauce has thickened.  Add pepper to taste.  Serve over brown rice.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Veggie Burger for a Meat and Potatoes Guy

 I had a garden burger at a restaurant a few weeks ago, my first ever.  It tasted like...a fried hash brown patty.  I think it was a fried hash brown patty on a bun with burger fixin's!  I figure there's no need to pay the high price for veggie burger patties when I am sure I can make my own.  I wanted a recipe that is mostly veggies, not so much starch, and one high in complete proteins.

The problem?  My husband is a total meat and potatoes kind of guy.  Or rather, burgers and fries kind of guy.  I conjured up this recipe with things I had on hand and he.....ate two!    So I guess that's a win!  Kids liked it as well and wanted to take leftovers in their lunch.

Yield: 10 patties

3/4 cup black beans, mashed
1 small zucchini, grated
1 carrot, grated
1 small potato, grated
1 onion, minced
3 eggs
2/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1 tbs fresh minced garlic
dash of worchestershire sauce
1 tbs grill seasoning (I used mesquite grill seasoning from Costco)
dash of chicken soup flavoring
black pepper


Combine all ingredients and let set for 10 minutes to allow the liquid to absorb into the oatmeal. Shape into patties (I used a wide mouth canning lid for a mold), and cook in lightly greased skillet until browned on both sides and cooked through.  Serve on buns with tomatoes, lettuce, pickles, the works!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Breakfast Muesli: Brain Food Before School!


Getting back to my Swiss-German roots this morning with a recipe my grandma  refers to as her favorite breakfast.   This was a hit with my entire family, it's so healthy, filling, and has NO added sugars.

Traditionally, Muesli is made by soaking oats overnight in water with lemon juice.  This unlocks the nutrients in the grain and makes them more digestible.  However, if you forget to soak your grains, you can still make this quickly the morning of as a hot cereal.

Serves: 5

1 cup rolled old fashioned (not quick) oats
2/3 cup water
2 tbs lemon juice
Chopped fresh fruit of your choice, any combination of:
Peaches, nectarines, apples, oranges, mangoes, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, bananas, etc.

Chopped dried fruit and nuts of your choice:
Almonds, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, etc.
Raisins, Cranberries, Apricots, bananas, etc.

1/4 cup flax seed meal (This is the power punch, adding DHA, Omega-3 fatty acids, and lignins)
1 cup milk
 cinnamon

Directions:
In a small to medium bowl combine water, oats, and lemon juice.  Soak overnight at room temperature.  (If you forget to do this, then combine water, oats, and lemon juice and nuke for 2 minutes in the microwave).

Your oats should still look like oats, but they should be softer and should clump together.  It should not look like oatmeal porridge, if this is the case, try using less water.

  • Divide oats between 5 bowls.
  • Top with:
Portion of chopped fruit
Portion of chopped nuts
Portion of dried fruit if desired

  • Divide flax seed meal between the five servings
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon
  • Divide milk between the five servings
Completed muesli should be no more than 1/2 cereal and 1/2 fruits/nuts.

Some people prefer to eat their muesli with yogurt instead of milk.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Bountiful Baskets vs. Community Co Op, Side by Side Comparison

Instead of a recipe today, I am doing an experiment.  I have been participating in the Community Co Op here in Utah for several months.   I love our Co Op!

However, friends of mine are heavily involved in Bountiful Baskets and say its an incredible value for the cost.  So I decided to do a side by side comparison.

This week I ordered from the Community Co Op and from Bountiful Baskets.  It made for a hectic morning because pick up times were close together and my daughter had to be at the gym at the same time.  However, I wanted to see for myself which was a better deal, which had better produce, and which seemed to be the most user-friendly.

This week I placed an order with each organization.  With Bountiful Baskets, a first time produce share was $19.50.  At the Community Co Op, I ordered a produce share and 2 loaves of whole wheat bread, for a total of $22.50.  For comparison purposes, I am including only 1 loaf of bread ($3.25) to bring the value of the order to $19.25.  So I paid roughly the same amount for each share of produce. (Note that a Standard Share at the co op normally includes 5 fruits, 5 veggies, PLUS 1 loaf of bread, 2 lbs chicken, 2 lbs ground beef, and 2 lbs bacon for $25.  Bountiful baskets charges less--$16.50--for your second or subsequent shares.This week my order was just a produce share and extra bread to try to make the orders as close to the same price as possible.  )

Here is what I got from the Community Co Op:

And from Bountiful Baskets:

VALUE: At first glance, its clear you are getting more food from Bountiful Baskets.  However, when you consider the value (relative cost and nutritional value) of the types of fruits/veggies included, (ie: blueberries vs brussels sprouts) I believe the value of each share is approximately the same.  Looking at pure volume of food, if you are feeding a large family BB definitely has more bang for your buck. Note that if you buy a Standard Share at the Co Op, the great value on meat and bread I believe makes its a better value over all, but if you are only looking at produce, Bountiful Baskets seems to be the winner.

QUALITY: I felt that the quality of the items included were comparable.  The cauliflower is the exact same cauliflower from each co-op.  All items were fresh, not over-ripe, and unblemished.  Both the Co-Op and BB offer Organic shares (at a higher price) as well.  In the past, the Co Op has included some organically grown items in a standard share as they are available.

CONVENIENCE:  Both Co Ops offer an easy online ordering system, and both require that you order in advance.  However, I like how the Community Co Op sends an email a few days before pick up with exactly which fruits and veggies you will be receiving, which is nice for menu planning.  Pick up at each site was quick and easy, both sides seemed organized and happy to help.  Bountiful Baskets is available every week, the Co Op is only available in my area on the first and third weeks of the month.  Bountiful Baskets sent me 3-4 emails reminding me about pick up and warning about potential changes, but it was harder for me to figure out what the changes were (turns out there weren't any) from the website.

FEES: Bountiful Baskets has a first time fee of $3 to cover the sorting baskets, but if you quit or don't go back you don't get to keep the basket so this is more of a handling charge IMO.  The Co Op asks for a $5 yearly donation, however members can donate extra to help the needy, and if you can't do the donation you can do some extra volunteering instead at the warehouse.

Other thoughts...
  • Bountiful Baskets seems to rely more heavily on local volunteers to sort produce and manage the site.  I received a call before pick up asking if I could come down and help unload the truck because the truck was early and volunteers were not there yet.  
  • At  the Co-Op, a team site coordinator picks up the food from Salt Lake (no doubt this is a chore for the coordinator!), but it is already apportioned out by share, so only 2-3 people need to be at the site on drop off day to check off deliveries.  With the Co Op, I have signed up to volunteer several times, and when I got to the site, I wasn't needed and had little to do.
  • There is no limit to how much you can order from the Co Op, since food orders are made after member share orders are placed.  
  • Bountiful baskets limits you to 3 baskets, and at a busy site, you have to compete to get your order placed before they run out of baskets.  
  • The Co Op shares come pre-boxed with new cardboard boxes.  This is nice if you need a big box for something else every week, however I always wonder how all the packaging costs are impacting the amount of produce I am getting.  
  • BB divides produce into baskets at the site (which are reused), but you bring your own bags/baskets to pick up your order. 
  • Both sites offer add ons.  This week at BB, you had the option of ordering bulk tomatoes for canning this week, bread at a phenomenal price, and various other add ons depending on the week.  
  • The Co-Op offers local as well as organic meats, cheeses, bread, honey, organic snack foods.  They also detail on their website where foods are being sourced from and make an effort to find finds that are locally produced to support local farms.  In the past, my cheese orders came from a farm not 2 miles from my home!
  •  Bountiful Baskets offers add ons like bulk bread, (5 loaves!), and The Co Op offers a standard share that includes meat and bread.  The Co Op also offers a smaller sized share at a reduced cost.
  •  The Co Op has market sales in Salt Lake where you can buy more of this week's offerings, as well as farm fresh milk and eggs.  They are open 3 days a week.
So there's my break down!  Check out both Bountiful Baskets and the Community Co Op to see how you can participate in either (or both) of these great organizations!

EDITED:  Since this post, the Community Co Op is now available in my area every week!  

Friday, August 17, 2012

Lactation Cookies: For increasing milk supply.



Eat 4 or more cookies daily to bump up your milk production.  This is a modification of Noell Trujillo's popular recipe.  This one uses whole wheat flour and has half the added sugar.









Ingredients:

Yield: 4.5 dozen

1 cup butter
½ cup sugar
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 mashed banana
 4 tablespoons water
2 tablespoons flax seed meal  (no substitutions, do not omit.)
 2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups oats
 1 cup chocolate chips
2 -4 tablespoons brewer's yeast  (no substitutions, do not omit or use any other type of yeast.)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Mix the flaxseed meal and water and let sit for 3-5 minutes.
 Beat butter,  sugar, and brown sugar well.
 Add banana and eggs and mix well.
Add flaxseed mix and vanilla, beat well.
 Sift together flour, brewers yeast, baking soda, and salt.
 Add dry ingredients to butter mix.
 Stir in oats and chips.
Scoop onto baking sheet.   Bake for 12 minutes.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Protein Packed Zucchini Lasagna

I made up this recipe this afternoon while trying to use up one of those GIANT Zukes my neighbors gave us.  I made my pasta sauce myself by simmering garden tomatoes, carrots, onions, peppers, garlic, and seasoning all afternoon and then blending it up, adding a touch of EVOO and salt to taste.  You can make your own or use jarred.  This recipe is a fusion between paleo lasagna with noodles made from eggs, traditional Zucchini lasagna, and regular old noodley lasagna.  My recipe is lower in calories than regular, higher in protein than veggie, and much more delicious!


Prep: 30 minutes (if using premade sauce)
Yield: 12+ servings

Ingredients:
Pasta sauce
Thinly sliced Zucchini
4 large lasagna noodles, uncooked
2 cups cottage cheese (or ricotta, but I used what I had)
Italian Seasoning
6 eggs
Grated mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375.

Spread a thin layer of sauce in 9x13 pan.  Arrange uncooked lasagna noodles in pan to cover the bottom. Cover with another thin layer of sauce.  Over this, arrange layer of sliced Zucchini.  Now another layer of sauce.

In a small bowl, whisk 5 eggs.  Pour this over the top of the casserole.

 Top this with another layer of Zucchini slices.

In another bowl, mix remaining egg with cottage cheese, spread this over the casserole.

Top with another thin layer of sauce, spread mozzarella cheese over the top and cover with foil.

Bake 45 minutes or until noodles are done and eggs are set.

If you wish, divide into two smaller pans and freeze one for later before baking.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Chicken Alfredo Soup

I made this recipe up yesterday and it turned out really good!

Yield: 6 servings

4 medium potatoes diced (OR 2 cups egg noodles)
1 cup diced carrots
1 diced onion
Other diced veggies as desired (zucchini, celery, leeks, peas, etc would all be good)
3 chicken breasts, cooked and diced
2 cups alfredo sauce
1 cup cream (I had it in my fridge and it needed to be used up)
1 cup milk
1 tbs minced garlic
Salt & Pepper to taste

Throw it all in a crock pot until veggies are tender, or simmer the veggies in water, drain and add remaining ingredients, simmer until flavors marry.

Serve with bread and salad.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Zucchini "Cupcake" Muffins

This healthy muffin packs in the nutrition of zucchini, whole wheat, and flax seed meal for a brain-boosting breakfast "cupcake" my kids love!

Prep: 15 minutes
Bake: 14-55 Minutes
Yield: 24 regular muffins or 48 mini muffins or 2 loaves of bread

2 3/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup ground flax seed meal
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 cups sugar (or substitute 1 ripe, mashed banana for 2/3 cup of sugar)
3 cups finely shredded zucchini
1/2 cup cooking oil
2 eggs
1/2 tsp shredded lemon peel (optional)
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)

Line muffin tins with paper wrappers. In a medium bowl combine wet ingredients and stir until well mixed. Top with dry ingredients and stir together all at once until just blended. Spoon batter into cupcake tins. Baking time will vary by size of your muffins, they are done when a toothpick comes out clean or the top cracks. Mini muffins take around 14 minutes, larger muffins will take longer.

This recipe will alternately make 2 loaves of zucchini bread, baked at 350 F for 55 minutes.