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

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.


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.)

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

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.