Wednesday, December 30, 2009


I have come across some really fantastic blogs that share great information on real food. GNOWFGLINS is at the top of the list. I love this video that defines her site.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Roasted Side

Excuse my extended leave, just keeping my priorities in check. I hope you found wonderfully nourishing whole food recipes to fill your bellies through the holidays.

This month, one particular recipe has been made over and over again. It is so versatile, so easy, so delicious and so healthy. I have to admit to eating an entire batch by myself and have started making double batches to feed my family of 5. I have written about roasting vegetables before and it is nothing new in technique, but lately I have been amazed at how we can enjoy vegetables that we typically avoid.

Beets and eggplant; never like them much. I have been getting baskets from Bountiful Baskets (see right for link) for a couple years and now and then I come across them again. I have tried them in this and that and cooked many recipes from salads to spreads to cakes, never liking the results much with these ingredients. Beets are so earthy, they give everything the taste of dirt. Eggplant is so watery making food bland and soggy. In this recipe, the beets caramelize and the earthiness is gone, while the eggplant shrivels to nothing but little bits of delicious garlic flavor.

You will want to peel the eggplant, the peel does not soften when cooked. I don’t peel anything else since the highest concentration of nutrients lies just beneath the peel. If you don’t have convection, I would recommend spreading one batch between two sheet pans to help with browning.

Try a new vegetable, or use what you have on hand. The only vegetable I have tried and not liked so much is broccoli. Great options are;

Sweet potatoes
*in this particular batch

5 cups vegetables, julienne
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried herbs
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425, convection is best. Combine garlic, oil, herbs (I like rosemary, thyme and oregano) and pepper. Drizzle over vegetables and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes; remove from oven and toss, moving the vegetables from the center towards the edges of the pan. Return to oven for 5 to 10 minutes until vegetables are thoroughly browned. Salt, toss and serve.

Winter Roasted Side on Foodista

Friday, November 27, 2009

One Grain at a Time

A truly remarkable grain from Ethiopia, teff is a nutrient dense food. Super small in size and ranging in color from ivory, light tan to deep brown or dark reddish brown purple, depending on the variety. Teff can be used in virtually any recipe because it is so small. It has a mild, nutty, and a slight molasses like sweetness. The white teff has a chestnut-like flavor and the darker varieties are earthier and taste more like hazelnuts. Teff is very low in gluten, so low it has been approved for those with celiac disease.

Traditionally, teff is prepared by fermenting for three days and made into a spongy crepe-like flat bread called injera. Ethiopian’s use this bread to pick up bites of food instead of forks and spoons. In this picture, the injera is what the food is served on and also folded up along side.

20 cents a serving at $2.00 per lb.
1 lb = 2.2 cups dry = 8 cups cooked = 4 cups flour

To Cook:
1 cup grain to 4 cups water
Simmer 10 minutes, soaked
Simmer 25 minutes, unsoaked

To Store:
-Whole; indefinitely in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.
For long term storage freeze for 48 hours before storing.
-Flour and popped grains; up to 2 weeks in an air tight container, or freeze up to 1 year.
-Cooked; refrigerate for up to 10 days, or freeze up to 6 months.

To Use:
-Use flour for thickening sauces and gravies
-Flour may be added to baked goods.
-Cook to make a hot breakfast cereal.
-Add to soups
-Blends well with ground beef
-Use as a substitute for poppy seeds
-Sprout for salads and sandwiches

Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Carbohydrates 73.1 g
Dietary fiber 8 g
Fat 2.4 g
Protein 13.3 g
Thiamin 0.4 mg 26%
Riboflavin 0.3 mg 16%
Niacin 3.4 mg 17%
Vitamin B6 0.5 mg 24%
Pantothenic Acid 0.9 mg 9%
Calcium 180 mg 18%
Iron 7.6 mg 42%
Magnesium 184 mg 46%
Phosphorus 429 mg 43%
Potassium 427 mg 12%
Zinc 3.6 mg 24%
Copper 0.8 mg 41%
Manganese 9.2 mg 462%
Selenium 4.4 mg 6%

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Spinach, Fig and Prosciutto Pizza

A pizza for the winter season. I have loved getting feed back on my pizza creations, as unusual as they are. This one was inspired by the local restaurant Le Grande Orange. It is so perfect for this time of year; the lemons are just starting to ripen and the spinach will soon be flourishing (that is if I can keep the rabbits off of it). I have never tried it with fresh figs, but would imagine that would be good too. Prosciutto is a dry cured ham, it is super flavorful, a little goes a long way. I have found the best place to get it is Trader Joe’s.

Pizza is just the thing to mix up those thanksgiving-dinner leftovers. Spread the dough with cranberry sauce or gravy, add turkey, maybe a little dressing or potatoes and top with cheese! Mmmm. It’s really good, trust me. So there you go, a two for one on this thanksgiving eve day.

Per Medium Pizza:
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 cup fresh spinach
4 dried figs, sliced
1 slice prosciutto, thinly sliced and cooked
1/2 fresh lemon

Preheat oven and pizza stone to highest setting (mine is 550) Roll out the dough and place on parchment paper. Sprinkle ¼ of the cheese evenly on dough. Lay spinach leaves as flat as possible on cheese. Layer figs on spinach, sprinkle with cooked prociutto and remaining cheese. Bake for 5-7 minutes, until crust is brown. While still hot, grate lemon zest on top of cheese and sprinkle lemon juice over entire pizza.

This post is part of  Whole Foods for the Holidays, Real Food Wednesdays.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Red Quinoa Coconut Sweet Potatoes

For years I worked with Chef Brad, a local chef who has a passion for whole grains, and he really got me hooked on red quinoa. It can be hard to find, but is slowly becoming more widely available. It has the texture of white quinoa, so that would be the best substitution, but the flavor is pleasantly nutty and is worth getting your hands on.

Yams and sweet potatoes are very different tubers. You will not find an authentic yam at a regular grocery store, even chain health food stores have them mislabeled. Instead we see an orange variety and an orange-red variety, sometimes you may come across a whitish yellow variety. They are all very similar in texture and even flavor and nutrition, so find the one that suits your taste.

This is a recipe from Chef Brad that I adapted many times over as my food knowledge expands. Again I urge you to try using slightly less sugar each time you make sweets, you will notice more flavor and crave less sweetness in all your meals. This dish goes perfectly with Thanksgiving dinner and with many fall season meals. We have this for dessert on most days. The sweetness is a happy medium, I could do with less, but for a big family gathering I use more.

I like that there are no oats to worry about soaking and such, still the nuts give a nice crunch. I use this same topping for apple crisp on the apples from my apple turnovers. Save time by making a double batch of topping and refrigerate up to a week to use on a fruit crisp.

4 cups cooked sweet potatoes
1/4 cup honey
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon salt
2 cups soaked and cooked red quinoa
1 cup unsweetened coconut
1 cup roasted or soaked and dehydrated walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup sucanat
½ cup sprouted flour
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon nutmeg

Mash sweet potatoes and mix with sweetener, milk, butter, eggs, vanilla and salt. Spread evenly in a 9x9 dish. Layer quinoa over potato mixture. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle on top of quinoa. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

If you need to free up some oven space and cooking time on thanksgiving day, may I suggest this cold, make ahead side. For more great ideas on thanksgiving sides go to this gallery.

Red Quinoa Coconut Sweet Potatoes on Foodista

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Oldie but Goodie

I have edited my Coconut Rice recipe to include the traditional method of soaking. Two simple extra steps, soak and rinse. Soaking with the acidic solution breaks down phytic acid and the rinsing washes away the sour flavors. So the breakfast tastes the same, but is more nourishing.

To learn more about soaking, Lindsay has a great post on Passionate Homemaking of the how's and why's.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apple Turnovers

When it rains, it pours! I seem to be accumulating apples these days. I had ordered a 30 pound box of honey crisps at the beginning of October, soon after I came across a really good deal on organic granny smith’s and thought I needed to have them for baking. Every week since then, I have gotten a bag of apples in my bountiful basket. Therefore apples have made their way in my tummy for the last 30 some days, and I am not complaining.

There are so many apple recipes out there, some things to watch out for are;

1) too much cornstarch, apples have a natural pectin that helps them “set up” so they are naturally not as watery as cooked peaches, plums or berries. A dab will do ya, less you end up with a gooey, hard to swallow mess. I have replaced cornstarch with arrowroot powder for a healthier alternative.

2) too much sugar, I can’t stand an overly sweet dessert. Learn to appreciate the natural sweetness of foods and just enhance the sweetness slightly when it comes to desserts.

3) too much spice. Cloves, ginger, all spice, nutmeg, cinnamon even cayenne pepper, all go nice with apples, just not all at once. Keep spices simple and let the apple flavor be the star.

This is an easy dessert that has a grand presentation for guests. I talk a bit about puff pastry here. Turbinado sugar is not much better than white sugar, but I use it for the unique crunch in lends. You could use white sugar in a pinch, but don’t even think about insulting my dessert with cool whip!

2 lbs. apples, peeled and diced/sliced (whatever you like)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup sucanat
1 tablespoon arrowroot powder
½ teaspoon cinnamon
2-10x10 sheets of puff pastry
1 egg beaten with a tablespoon of water
1 tablespoon turbinado sugar

Place apples, lemon juice, sucanat, cornstarch and cinnamon in a sauce pan and simmer until apples are slightly tender and create a thick sauce. Let cool to room temperature. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Roll pastry sheets out to 12x12. Place side by side on a sheet pan with one of the corners of each sheet hanging over the two short sides of the pan. Spoon half the filling onto the inside halves of the pastry sheets. Dab egg wash on two sides of each pastry. Fold over into a triangle and pinch the seams to seal. Brush the top of each turnover with the egg wash and sprinkle with turbinado sugar. Cut 2-1 inch vents in the top of each pastry and place in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown and delicious. Cool 15 minutes before slicing. This recipe makes 4 hearty servings, 6 regular servings and 8 dainty servings.
links;  Whole Food for the Holiday's

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sweet Potato Oven Fries

I tried growing sweet potatoes this year, all the leaves that were growing on top of the dirt made me think they were doing well. After 120 days in the ground, I decided it was time to dig some up and see what was down there. Lots of roots, that’s about it. I was bummed.

I have been making sweet potato fries for years and had found a way that yielded pretty good results, but it involved carefully slicing into sticks and arranging on a baking sheet in a single layer with no two sticks touching. It was a high maintenance side dish that never was quite as crisp as I'd like. I admit to buying frozen packages of pre cut and fried sweet potatoes from Trader Joe’s for convenience. They use cheap oils and give me a tummy ache.

This recipe evolved from regular potato oven fries when I decided to give sweet potatoes a try. PERFECTION. It helps to shop for potatoes with good shape and like in size. You know when a recipe calls for sucanat, you can substitute brown sugar, right? Probably works better because it will dissolve in the oil. I choose to avoid white and brown sugars where ever possible so I always list my alternative sweetener in my recipes.

3 lbs sweet potatoes or baking potatoes
1 tablespoon sucanat
1 dash cayenne
1 teaspoon homemade taco spice mix or chili powder
2 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, it helps to use convection. Wash and cut potatoes (no need to peel) into wedges of equal size. Combine sucanat, cayenne, taco seasoning, cornstarch and coconut oil (it will be clumpy, that’s okay), toss the wedges in mixture. Lay wedges on sheet pans in a single layer and bake for 20 minutes. Turn over with a spatula and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and serve. We usually do a “fry sauce” (mayo and ketchup) with a little horseradish. I am ready for a change. Please post a link or a recipe in the comments section for me to try.

links; Whole Foods for the Holiday's
Sweet Potato Oven Fries on Foodista

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Roasted Butternut Squash

Working with butternut squash can be quite a chore when you don’t have the right tools. First off you will want a sturdy vegetable peeler, that is comfortable to hold, is sharp and has a swivel blade that can easily run along the squash’s wide curves. If you tire, get blisters, peel off (your)skin, get frustrated or take more than 3 minutes to peel your squash, you need a new peeler.

Next would be a real knife that is made with German steel, properly maintained with a honing steel and regular sharpening. I like a 7 inch chef’s knife, mine is made by J. A. Henckels. If you have to exert a dangerous amount of force while slicing the squash in half or the metal flexes, creating a concave slice, it is time to get yourself a better tool.

I also like a grapefruit spoon to scrape the inners out. The serration and the curve of the spoon make the task of removing the stringy mess a breeze.

One of the main purposes for roasting vegetables (opposed to steaming) is to draw out moisture, which concentrates flavor. If you have a convection setting on your oven, this would be the perfect application to use it. Convection baking moves the air around more for even baking and browning.

2 lb butternut squash
1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees (convection if possible). Peel squash, cut in half lengthwise and remove seeds. Place one half on cutting board flat side down. Make one inch slices horizontally all the way down the length of the squash, then cut each slice into 1 inch cubes. Toss in oil to coat, arrange cut squash in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Serve as a side dish or snack.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Vote With Your Forks!

I have not read a book for pleasure in a long time. Finally, I figured out my ipod (who said Apple programs were user friendly?) and loaded the audio book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. It is so refreshing to hear a voice defending real food against the “edible food-like substances” of our time. Pollan advises a simple diet of eating high quality real food that consists mostly of plants. There are no restrictions in the way of real food; if you love potatoes, eat them every day. If you hate eggplant, you never have to eat one again and you can still be entirely healthy. The obvious issue with our society is HOW things are grown, raise, formulated and processed.

My favorite quote so far is “…a health claim on a food product is a strong indication it's not really food." This is referring to A) it is in a box/bag to advertise a claim and B) the claims are “low fat, no cholesterol, heart healthy, good source of whole grain, sugar free and high fiber. All of these latter claims are slapped on packages of fake food that can be synthetically altered to make such claims.

A great disservice has been done to food. Scientists create synthetic beta carotene and call it a carrot. Whether using this to create a vitamin or enriching an “edible food-like substance,” it is in direct violation of God’s creation and in turn our very bodies. Conspiring men believe and are good at making others believe that they can make foods better than nature. Our society is brainwashed into thinking fake foods are better than the real thing because they can formulate it and reformulate it to fit the fad of the season.

There was a really interesting section in the book where it talks about the evolution of food labeling. From 1938 to 1973 the term “imitation” was used on the product labels of fake foods posing as a real one. The FDA changed this law to one of broader interpretation; “as long as the new fake food were engineered to be nutritionally equivalent to the real article, they could no longer be considered fake.” This is when traditional grocery items like bread and yogurt were reformulated from a simple 2 to 5 ingredient lists to recipes containing 30 plus ingredients.

When I was growing up, my poor mother didn’t stand a chance, it was impossible to get foods grown without synthetic chemicals and pastured animals raised without pharmaceutical. Even most people growing/raising their own, had no idea it would be wise to avoid such mainstream practices. It is such a blessing in our day to be able to obtain real, high quality food. In Defense of Food reminds us that you can “Vote with your forks!” Support local, organic farmers and local, organic farmers will become more accessible.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Carmel Banana Pecan Topping

We were in need of a new syrup for Friday Morning Waffles. My last creation was a bomb; a goopy, grainy, bitter mess (I blame the peaches, anybody found a way to use up icky mushy peaches?) Usually fresh berries and whipped cream suffice, only one problem, berry season is gone. We have done syrups from frozen berries and those are nice too. But for this morning I came up with a nice buttery topping with bananas that was such a treat. I can see this going well on a lot of things… hot cereal, ice cream, brownies, vegetables.
For the waffles I used the same recipe as my soaked pancakes, sometimes changing up the grains to spelt and oats. Make sure you have a nice, clean, nonstick waffle iron that gets really hot to prevent sticking. Even with all that, I still spray the iron before the fist one goes on, just for good measure.

1/3 cup sucanat
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup soaked and dehydrated pecans
2 bananas, sliced

Melt sugar and salt in butter until smooth. Add vanilla, pecans and bananas. Heat through and serve.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Cinnamon Pizza

Another blast from my past of high school employment at The Pizza Ranch. There they called this dessert “Cactus Bread,” remember the western theme. Of coarse I had no recipe to work off of at this chain restaurant. The instructions included mixing this bag with water to make the dough, open this bucket for the preserved margarine stuff and that bucket for the strudel, then cut open a bag of frosting. I may have made the cinnamon sugar from scratch. Anyway, it was pretty darn yummy, so I did a little experimenting to recreate and here you have it; made with whole grains and all real food, from scratch, cinnamon pizza.

parchment paper
2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sucanat
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Roll dough out to ½ inch, place on parchment paper. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar.

2 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons sucanat
3 tablespoons sprouted flour
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt

Cut butter into dry ingredients. Crumble the strudel on top of the dough and let rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 500 degrees for 5 minutes.

1 teaspoon milk
1 tablespoon butter, melted
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¾ cup powdered sugar

Whisk until smooth. Let bread cool slightly and drizzle with glaze.

I have heard you can powder sucanat in the vitamix. I'll have to try it and let you know how it goes. I am really trying to avoid white sugar without sacrificing flavor, any tips?

Friday, October 2, 2009

Coconut Carrot-Ginger Soup

I’ve been jonesing for some soup for the last few weeks. On Tuesday, when it was 108 degrees outside, I gave in. I turned my thermostat down to 76 and downed a couple bowls of soupilicious. If I had been able to wait just one more day I could have had my first soup of the season on a more appropriate, under 90 degree day. I suppose it was the lack of groceries that pushed me into premature soup making.

Brilliant orange, sweet, creamy and a hint of spice. Eating vegetables is so dang easy! I serve this to my kids in a cup with a straw as a “warm vegetable smoothie.”

Don’t forget to adjust the seasonings at the end. There is no way to give you a good amount of salt to use as it depends on your stock. I add another good teaspoon because my stock is sodium free. Also important to heat the stock to boiling as it freshens it up a bit and kills some of the froth created by your blender. Do in batches if your blender is smaller than 8 cups. Sautéing in the case of onions improves the flavor of them, but the carrots could be easily steamed first to save time.

1 tablespoon coconut oil
1 medium onion, diced
8 large carrots, chopped
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
pinch of cayenne (optional)
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 cups vegetable/
chicken stock
2 tablespoons grated ginger
1 can coconut milk

Sautee onions in coconut oil, add carrots and salt, cook through. Season and add garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and remove from heat. Place vegetables in a blender with stock and ginger, blend well. Return to heat and bring to a boil for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in coconut milk. Add more salt to taste. Makes about 8 cups of soup, I can eat half of it in one sitting. Leftovers reheat well.

Coconut Carrot-Ginger Soup on Foodista

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Good-Egg Salad Sandwich

Eggs are way, way, way unappreciated by people who eat ; ) They get a bad review from most every mainstream diet. The egg yolk is where all the amazing antioxidants, healthy fats and delectable flavor are found. Yet, low carb-ers and body builders use only whites for their high protein content. Low fat dieters are afraid the fat in the yolk means fat on their thighs. Worst of all medical doctors encourage less yoke-age because of cholesterol. Unbeknownst to most is that the conclusive studies on cholesterol were done on powdered eggs. Powdering anything with cholesterol begets oxidized cholesterol, which no doubt is entirely unhealthy! All of this has led to a low nutrient dense product that is held in high regard by the health savvy consumer--an eggs substitute made with egg whites, lovely.

I am highly bugged when people think they can make food healthier than our creator. There is a new-ish food system that was created to "help" consumers make healthier choices. Rating products points from 1 to 100, the higher the number the heathier the product. NuVal rates an egg subsitute 67 and real eggs only 33. No wonder consumers are confused, there are a contant stream of organizations conspiring against us.

Eggs are one of the only animal products that have not been completely adulterated by mass commercial farming techniques. Though a properly cared for chicken yields a far superior egg, a super food in fact, the average grocery store egg benefits your health more than anything in a box. Do something good for yourself, eat whole eggs.

A favorite, simple (that is if I have mayo made, bread baked and eggs boiled and cooled) lunch of mine is egg salad sandwiches. They bring me back to childhood; loved them then on my Wonder Bread with Miracle Whip and Frenches Yellow Mustard, love them now on my whole grain bread, olive oil mayo and stone ground mustard. Here is my formula for making a simple egg salad sandwich per person.

2 slices of bread
2 hard cooked eggs
1 tablespoon mayo
1 teaspoon mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Multiply ingredients for number of people. Peel and mash eggs with a fork, combine with mayo, mustard, salt and pepper. Sandwich mixture in bread slices.
Good-Egg Salad Sandwich on Foodista

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Feel-Good Granola

I have had a hard time finding the right granola. The bars of coarse have all the icky vegetable oils and high fructose corn syrup, tasty, conveniently packaged, deceptive health food. There are tons of “natural granolas” that use less refined oils and sweeteners, but still contain lower quality ingredients for a sky high price. Besides, I always feel yucky after eating any more than a handful. Come to find out, oats are SUPER high in this new common term “phytic acid.” Along with nuts that are heavy in enzyme inhibitors—this stuff is just plain hard to digest.

Granola is great to have on hand for a filling, shelf stable snack and a quick breakfast cereal. Commercial boxed breakfast cereals are dangerously toxic. It is so sad that so many people are eating these every day, sometimes twice a day, most of the time doubling or tripling the serving size. The media and FDA have pushed these boxes as health food. Sadly, even the low sugar, color-free, natural and organic brands are making us sick. The problem is with the way that the grain is processed; high temperature, high pressure. This process of extrusion destroys nutrients and fatty acids and renders the amino acids toxic.

This has been such a wonderful replacement for us. Same great sweetness, crunch and shelf life of the boxed variety with none of the awful effects. When I have this for breakfast I am so satisfied, for a long time. The food is easy to digest and the nutrients are easily absorbed because proper care is taken in the preparation. I love that I can keep this raw by dehydrating instead of baking. Do yourself a big favor and master the art of nourishing granola making.

4 cups rolled grains (I use oats, barley and rye) THE MUSH
1/2 cup whole flax seeds
1/2 cup whole
1/2 cup
kefir (vinegar or lemon juice)
5 cups water
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1 cup raisins
1 cup previously
soaked and dehydrated walnuts
1/2 cup
sprouted kamut flour

In a large bowl, place rolled grains, flax seed and millet.
Add kefir and water, mix, cover and let soak on counter for 12 to 24 hours. The mixture will become a bowl of mush. Place mixture in a mesh strainer and rinse well. In a large bowl combine oil, sugar, syrup, cinnamon and salt. Fold in rinsed mush, coconut, raisins, nuts and flour. Spread out in a thin layer on 3 lined baking sheets. Bake on lowest oven setting until dry, turning as needed. I used my oven’s dehydrating setting at 115 degrees to preserve the enzymes and turned about every 6 -8 hours for 24 hours. The higher the heat, the more you turn and the less time it takes to dry.
Feel-Good Granola on Foodista

Monday, September 7, 2009

Nourishing Pizza Dough

I have edited my favorite pizza dough recipe to include the soaking method for a more nourishing whole grain meal. No more work really, just some forethought to get it going the day before. The flavor is slightly more sour and the flavors have more depth.

To learn more about soaking, Lindsay has a great post on Passionate Homemaking of the how's and why's.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Soy Story

I want to thank Jennifer for her question on my last post Vegetarian-ish. There are so many things I avoid in terms of food that I loose track of what I have covered.

When it comes to vegetarianism I believe soy to be the element that commonly gives this lifestyle a a downward spin. Soy is heavily relied on as a health food, especially where meat in avoided.

So here is why I avoid soy in a nutshell;

Almost all soy is GMO - they have this pesticide called "round -up" that is super toxic and kills everything in a field. They have genetically modified soy (and other crops) to withstand this harsh chemical. Aside from that gruesome fact, soy is super high in phytic acid, anti nutrients and inhibitors that create problems with mineral absorption and digestion, with longer term affects of cancer, infertility, thyroid problems, autoimmune diseases and stunted growth. When soy beans undergo processing, their fragile proteins are denatured. Toxins and carcinogens are formed along with MSG and aluminum.
There is tons of technical terms that I avoided that would add about 10 more reasons that it is bad for you. With fairytale marketers any food can appear to be an amazing super food. Do research, pay attention to your body, use new products in moderation and be skeptical of anything a company is pushing on you as they are in it for the money.

Saturday, August 29, 2009


That's what I'm calling it. Not extreme like vegitarianism, but similar in principle. I make a conscious effort to generally center meals around whole grains/beans, vegetables and fruit. Good quality fish, eggs and dairy are all nourishing animal products that are often included. While the Lord gave us dominion over animals he also commanded that meat should be used sparingly and who knows how to nourish our bodies better than our own maker?

I took a trip back home to Iowa this month where hamburgers (grain fed beef) and sweet corn (GMO) is the meal of the season. We mixed it up a bit with a pork tenderloin or rotisserie chicken then ate fresh garden vegetables in between, but it sure was a lot of meat! And my body complained. Not good.

I make a conscious effort to avoid meat when possible, I use good quality meat in small amounts once a day or less. I am not fanatic, just conscious. Our society is so reliant on meat as a staple that it has become a disgusting industry all about producing the largest cow in the shortest amount of time. This is the kind of meat that adorns the dinner tables of most Americans and is best to be avoided when ever possible.

Be mindful on your journey not to compensate for lack of meat with more processed foods and soy replacements, this is a step in the wrong direction. TVP, tofu and soybean oil are all much, much worse than a juicy burger even though they are found in the health food section, health food they are not.

Check out my new link to the right to find recipes on my blog that are vegetarian-ish.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Home-Sprouted Flour

In the process of experimenting with soaking grains for added nutritional benefits, I have come across some instances where it is not always possible. Sometimes a little more flour is needed at the end or there is no liquid in the recipe to begin with, other times I have just not thought ahead sufficiently. A healthy solution is to use sprouted flour which is whole grain that has been sprouted, dehydrated and ground, preferably right before use.

Sprouting changes the composition of starch molecules, converting them into vegetable sugars, so the body recognizes and digests sprouted grains as a vegetable. Enzymes are also created that aid digestion, complex sugars are broken down which can eliminate painful gas, and vitamin and mineral levels increase. Furthermore, sprouting neutralizes carcinogens and enzyme inhibitors, as phytic acid that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.

I have stayed away from sprouted flour because it is expensive to buy/ship and hard to find. Mostly, I am skeptical of the quality because I know how quickly flour looses it's nutrition once milled and going through a storage/buying/shipping/process takes a lot of time. Not to mention keeping it on hand for months as you need it. So when I found out I could do it at home, I decided to go for it.

The steps are simple if you have ever sprouted any grain. I used kamut and spelt my first time because I have had great success in sprouting those. I started in the afternoon and soaked the grains in half-filled quart jars, covered with filtered water. In the morning I rinsed them 3 times, swirling each time. I put a cut piece of cheese cloth held on by a jar band (could also use clean pantyhose.) This made it easy to dump the water each time while keeping the grain in the jar. I then let them drain tilted top down in a large bowl. I repeated the rinse in the afternoon and just before bed they had sprouted. Just a short white tail growing out of one end. I rinsed again and spread out in a thin layer on sheet pans. I set my oven to the dehydrate setting at 110 degrees and left them overnight. In the morning they were completely dry and ready to mill.

I only mill as needed and store the rest whole to preserve nutrition. Under these instructions, this flour is a raw food. Most ovens do not have a setting under 170. While this cooks the grain, which effects the enzymes, I feel this is still a worthwhile process. Most flour you are using for baking purposes, thus cooking the flour in the end anyway. I have not experimented much with the end result, but as I use this nutritious flour in recipes I will report back.

Do you use sprouted flour? If so, do you have any tips?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Marinara Sauce

The perfect marinara is all about balance: salt, sweet, a hint of spice with fresh acidic notes. When the tomato sauce is center stage, the flavor must be top notch. If you are enjoying tomatoes galore right now, this recipe can be used with fresh tomatoes by doubling the cooking time and using the full 6 oz. of tomato paste for 4 cups peeled tomatoes. On the other hand, use 1 teaspoon of dried herbs when fresh are not available. To taste a slammin' marinara, buzz by my favorite restaurant Red, White & Brew, they were my inspiration on this one.

What is your perfect marinara?

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1-2 teaspoons hot pepper flakes (optional)

1 medium yellow onion, diced fine

3 large cloves of garlic, minced

28 ounce can Muir Glen crushed tomatoes

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 teaspoon sucanat

1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped

1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped

1 teaspoon salt

Saute onion in olive oil for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light golden. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the tomatoes and vinegar. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the tomato paste, sugar, herbs, salt and pepper. Simmer another 10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Slammin' Marinara Sauce on Foodista

Friday, August 14, 2009

One Grain at a Time


A versatile, gluten free grain with a rich history.This small, yellow seed was quickly recognized by early Aztecs as a power food for their warriors. Amaranth is harvested from an attractive plant which grows like a weed and produces edible leaves that can be used like spinach. The grain itself has a mild grassy flavor that is especially wonderful toasted or popped.

To pop use a deep pot with no oil. Heat the pot and add a pinch to see of the pot is hot enough. If those pop without burning quickly, you have found the right heat (about medium high). Add no more than 2 tablespoons at once, quickly swirl around the pot until mostly popped and dump into a galss bowl before adding more. 1/4 cup will yield 1 cup of popped.

20 cents a serving at $2.00 per lb.
1 lb = 2.2 cups dry = 5 cups cooked = 3 cups flour

To Cook:
1 cup grain to 3 cups water
Simmer 15 minutes, soaked

Simmer 45 minutes, unsoaked
Strain and rinse if desired

To Store:
-Whole - indefinitely in an air tight container in a cool, dry place.
For long term storage freeze for 48 hours before storing.
-Flour and popped grains - up to 2 weeks in an air tight container, or freeze up to 1 year.
-Cooked - refrigerate for up to 10 days, or freeze up to 6 months.

To Use:
-Grind in blender and cook for a nutritious baby food

-Use flour for thickening sauces and gravies
-Flour may be added to baked goods.

-Cook to make a hot breakfast cereal.Link
-Whole amaranth adds crunch to breads.

-Pop and use in breads, cookies, candies and salads.

Nutritional Value per 100 grams (3.5 oz)
Calories 371
Total fat 7 g
Dietary fiber 7 g
Protein 14 g
Carbohydrate 66 g
Thiamin 0.1 mg 8%
Riboflavin 0.2 mg 12%
Niacin 0.9 mg 5%
Vitamin B6 0.6 mg 30%
Folate 82mcg 21%

Pantothenic Acid 1.5 mg 15%

Calcium 159 mg 16%

Iron 7.6 mg 42%
Magnesium 248 mg 62%
Phosphorus 557 mg 56%
Potassium 508 mg 15%
Zinc 2.9 mg 19 %
Copper 0.5 mg 26%
Manganese 3.3 mg 167%
Selenium 18.7 mcg 27%

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