Friday, December 31, 2010

Water Kefir {Giveaway}

I have been playing around with water kefir the past few months and this time around have been enjoying the results.   Last year a friend that I met through this blog brought me hers because she was not getting good results with them.  I tried making homemade soda a few times and was only happy with the results once.  It was during the holidays and they were forgotten in the cupboard fermenting for about a month, so I tossed them L

This fall, I took the class on The Nourished Kitchen and learned some new skills.  Then I attended a gardening seminar about EM (effective microorganisms) and I was like “hey. This stuff sounds like water kefir smells like water kefir and looks like water kefir.” They taught composting methods, disease and bug treating methods and fertilizing methods.  I got really excited about it and tracked down some grains in excellent condition.  The girl who sold them to me even had a certificate about where they came from and how humanly they were treated J

Well, the grains have been multiplying like mad and now I want to share the love.

Enter to win 2 teaspoons of dehydrated water kefir grains and re-hydrating instructions.
  •             Must live in the United States or pay shipping
  •             If you are local, you have the option of choosing ¼ cup already hydrated ready-to-go water kefir grains, if you are willing to pick them up.
  •             There will be two winners, so your chance of winning just doubled
  •             Giveaway closes Thursday, Januray 6 at 12:00 pm MST
  •             I will announce the winners next Friday, the winners will have through Monday, January 10 to contact me through email to claim their prize.

Entries include;
1 entry for following my blog
1 entry for sharing this or other Taste is Trump link on facebook
1 entry for commenting on any recipe that you have tried on my blog
Leave a comment on this post for each entry stating which way(s) you have entered.
Maximum of 3 entries per person

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hot Chocolate from Scratch

It is raining and cold.  Brrr.  There are only a few days spread over 2-3 months that hot chocolate even makes sense.  Today the high was in the 50’s.  We haven’t turned our heat on yet, but the thermostat says 67 degrees, so I am thinking it will need to kick on to get me out of bed in the morning.

Our friends gave us these fancy marshmallows in a stick with crushed candy canes stuck all over them for Christmas.  Paired with a nice mug of cocoa, it made a nice dessert.  My husband HATES peppermint (can you imagine!?) so he opted for whipped cream, which I have to say is really good too.

We love Abuelita, but I have been looking for something I can make from scratch.  I found a great mix of chocolate, cinnamon and really good vanilla in raw, whole milk that makes a great replacement.  If you want to add a little kick, add a pinch of chili powder or cayenne pepper.  Not too much, just enough so that people say “what’s that flavor; I can’t quite put my finger on it?”

3 tablespoons sucanat or honey
3 tablespoons good quality cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon ground Saigon cinnamon
1 pinch salt
2 1/2 cups whole milk or coconut milk
1 teaspoon REALLY good vanilla

Over medium heat, mix sucanat, cocoa powder, cinnamon and salt.  Gradually stir in milk and stir constantly until hot, do not boil. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla. Pour into blender and blend until frothy and pour into cups. Serve immediately with marshmallows or whipped cream.
links; Real Food Wednesday, Works for me Wednesday, Things I love Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday, Ultimate Recipe Swap

Monday, December 27, 2010

11 Real Food Resolutions

In 2010, I set a goal to eat more vegetables.  My means for measuring was approximately 60 percent of every lunch and dinner plate consisted of vegetables.  I attained this goal by replacing meat with vegetables in many family favorites, sprouting, and making meals out of side dishes.  The idea evolved into eating less meat as well and I taught classes based on this concept, naming it “vegetarian-ish.”  You can check out some of my ideas here, here and here.

Many, many people set a New Year's resolution to eat better and fail year after year, or at least feel like they fail, when they have really made some unmeasured progress. In my opinion, the goal is too broad. Narrow it down and greater sucess will ensue. Here I have 11 ideas for you to get the ball rolling;
  1. Find a Pasture.  Eating pastured meat or eggs and dairy from pastured animals is expensive and takes a lot of time to research and track down.  But, I bet you could pick one thing to change over and you will be better for it.
  2. Bag the Boxed Cereal.  I know you are probably not going to be able to just throw out the cereal boxes that are in your house, I might even have a hard time with that.  But what if you stopped buying cereal for a given amount of time, say 6 weeks?  You let your stores deplete, the more you prepare good wholesome breakfast's the slower you run out, it's good motivation.
  3. Move to Organic.  Pick a couple fruits and vegetables (from the dirty dozen) that you are going to resolve to only buy organic.  If organic is not available, you do without.  I have done this with berries, it has made me revamp some recipes and keep my eyes peeled for a good deal to buy a load to freeze.
  4. Avoid a known toxin. Soy, hydrogenated fats, high fructose corn syrup.  Look at the ingredient label on the products in your house and make note of the ones that you are going to look for alternatives to.
  5. Grow Something.  Most of you have a few months to stew on this one for a few months :)  Clear a small plot, or buy a pot or two. If you have a garden, resolve to expand it or learn a new technique to increase yields.  I always recommended to start with herbs, they are easier to grow, more expensive to buy, harder to keep on hand and are great for upping your consumption of vegetables because they will taste extra yummy with your fresh herbs.
  6. Dismantle the Microwave.  Unplug it or even better, move it to the garage for a month.  Figure out how to do without it for a while and when you bring it back, you will naturally use it less.
  7. Learn to Like Something New.  Anything you "don't like" is really just something you "haven't learned to like yet."  Choose something uber healthy, obviously.  Learn about all it's redeeming qualities, buy it every couple weeks and cook it in a variety of different ways.
  8. Upgrade Your Cooking Oil.  Switch over from canola, or any other over processed, cheap oil you are using to coconut oil for cooking and baking and extra virgin olive oil in raw foods.
  9. Get a Grip on Your Sweet Tooth.  Don't sabotage yourself by demonizing all sweet treats.  Make a goal to limit the number per day or per week.  Another idea is to grade all your favorite desserts and just avoid the more junky of the junk.
  10. Get a Culture Growing.  Sourdough, yogurt, kefir.  Track down one of these easy to use starters and get started!
  11. Cook Less.  It takes work to consume raw food, everything is pasteurized, heat processed and cooked to death nowadays.  With a dehydrator and good blender, there are tons of possibilities; raw breads and crackers, green smoothies, juices, nut based sauces, granola and desserts.
If there is something here you are going to resolve to implement, let me know.  Make sure I have your email so that I can check in with you throughout the year.  Nothing helps motivate like a mentor who holds you accountable.  I have loads of other ideas, if you would like me to recommended something more personal, shoot me and email;  Tell me your story, where you are with your diet and any concerns you have.  I will email you back with some questions, you reply with your answers and I will recommended around 3 suggestions.  Be sure to tell me which one you choose, so that I can follow up next month.  Happy New Year!
links; Top Ten {Tuesday}, Tuesday Twister, Hearth and Soul Hop, Tasty Tuesday, Frugal Friday's, Happy Homemaker Monday, Nourishing Resolutions

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Holiday Green Beans

With Christmas only two days away, I have been thinking about how I love to play food dress-up.  I enjoy making food all fancy, especially when it can take the place of a low quality, highly processed dish on the table.  Right here, I am talking about green bean casserole.  Cream of mushroom soup and fried onions in a can?  Boo.  Doesn’t the holiday’s deserve something more classy like pine nuts and prosciutto?

Without a doubt.

Enjoy this weekend with close family and friends as you celebrate the birth of our Savior. Merry Christmas.

2 pounds green beans, trimmed
1 tablespoon coconut oil
2 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, cut into ribbons
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh sage
1/4 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Pressure beans on low for 2 minutes until crisp-tender (or steam for 12 minutes) Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add prosciutto; cook, stirring, until crispy, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the beans, garlic, sage, salt and several grinds of pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are browned in places, 3 to 4 minutes. Stir in pine nuts, lemon zest and juice.
links; Simple Lives Thursday, Things I Love Thursday, Pennywise Platter, Fightback Friday

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Dark Chocolate Truffles

Many years ago, at a church cooking class, this chica did a truffle demonstration.  I was so hooked.  After asking her if I could share the recipe she distributed then, she sent me this link, where she already blogged about it.  She does far better at pictures and tutorials, so I will let you clickity-click over there for the recipe.  Meanwhile, I will share my tips and tricks here about things I do  a tad differently.

I like my chocolate DARK, so I use Trader Joes Pound Plus 72% Dark Belgium Chocolate for the ganache (center).  I melt it with Trader Joes Organic Cream.  It is the best cream I have found, not ultra pasteurized, which is hard to find.  My source for raw doesn’t have a separator that makes it pure enough to whip, meaning there is milk mixed with it.  This moisture would cause the chocolate to clump and seize and get gritty.

There are many candy coating’s you can use; a low grade almond bark, which obviously is made of a bunch of garbage, would be the cheapest option.  My sister made an oreo truffle (crushed oreos and cream cheese dipped in almond bark) with my son on his birthday.  It’s allowed when most of them are not for you and when it is a kid project that creates a lot of waste.  There are also Wilton brand candy coatings in every color imaginable, still full of a bunch of garbage.

This year I found a real chocolate coating at none other than Trader Joes.  It is made with 65% cacao and has only 5 ingredients, the most offensive being soy lecithin.  They are called “Semi Sweet Chocolate Callets.”  What ever coating you end up using, a little weapon for your back pocket is palm shortening.  After dipping and dipping, the melted coating gets contaminated and starts getting thicker, and clumping.  A tablespoon of palm shortening thins it right out again so each truffle is nice and smooth.

For Christmas gifts this season, I made 4 kinds; mint, coconut, raspberry and orange by adding extract to the ganache.  I did a little drizzle that used a total of less than 1 block of almond bark (that I had left over from my sister) that I colored with 4 different colors to indicate the flavors.  They turned out lovely and are the epitome of sinfully delicious, homemade chocolate.
links; Things I Love Thursday, Simple Lives Thursday

Monday, December 20, 2010

Coming Soon

Catching up after a trip.
Kids are out of school.
Making Christmas gifts.

Working on the full report + a giveaway, yay!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

College Student Cooking {Noodles}

Dear Kate,

I made this yummy pasta dish the other day and thought of you.  With a few bags of Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta Fusilli, vegetables and a few seasonings, you have a great lunch every day of the week.  All pasta recipes can be simplified and modified, you just need to do is visualize and experiment. I usually go with a cultural theme and try to keep my vegetables and seasonings from the same ethnic cuisine. 

This means I pair snow peas with soy sauce and green onions, zucchini with basil and tomatoes, peppers with chili powder and lime.  It is good to note that garlic goes with ANYTHING. If it is too tedious to deal with fresh garlic, try the paste that you can get in a jar, the frozen cubes, or even garlic powder if you must.  You can go at these noodle dishes two ways.

First, find a recipe that already has all the right combinations, then simplify it.  Take a look at my recipe for fideo.  There are tons of ingredients that add good flavor, but it is unrealistic to cook up something like this regularly in a dorm room.

Here is a simplified option that is still highly nourishing and tasty.

College Fideo

2 cups cooked brown rice noodles
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
8 oz can diced tomatoes
¼ cups cheese, shredded

After cooking and straining the pasta, heat hot pot to medium, cook peppers for 5 minutes. Add salt, garlic, oregano and tomatoes. Mix in noodles and cover with cheese. Place lid on pot until cheese melts.

Most of these ingredients are staples, that you should have a shelf for and keep stocked up on; noodles, olive oil, salt, garlic, oregano and canned tomatoes.  That leaves bell pepper, and cheese for your perishable shopping list. 

Another great addition to this that would up the protein, stretch the dish and stay in character would be to mix in a small can of pinto beans.  These would also be a staple to keep on your shelf.  A yummy brand that is good right out of the can is S&W’s Chili Beans.  Always make 2-3 servings when you are cooking so that you can enjoy your effort the following day.

 The second option would be to make up your own combinations and plug then into this simple formula:

1 cup noodles
1 cup vegetables (green beans, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, onions, broccoli, ect)
2 teaspoons fat (butter, olive oil, cheese ¼ cup, ect.)
¼ teaspoon seasoning (garlic, basil, oregano, dill, hot sauce, soy sauce, ect.)
¼ teaspoon salt

Once in a while you might want to splurge on a can of salmon, tuna or even chicken to throw in.  Here is a recipe for you to take a look at and decide for yourself how it could be simplified for dorm room cooking.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Whole Foods for the Holiday's

It is so hard to search out a good, nourishing recipe online these days.  So many people are using boxes and packets and cans of this and that.  When you type in “healthy” with your search, you get a slew of low fat, still processed ingredients.  The term is so broad these days and of coarse everyone has their own opinion.  Mine, being traditional, is not included in the general public “healthy.”

I have found the keyword “nourishing” to be helpful at times while searching for ideas.  There are a fine group of real food bloggers that are right on the money where my “healthy” opinion is concerned. Many of them have teamed up this holiday season to host, round robin style, a progressive dinner blog carnival called “Whole Foods for the Holidays.” This is such a fantastic resource that I will be coming back year after year.  The recipes come from real food bloggers like me and are divided by courses so that everything is easy to find.

I will be better about taking pictures of my favorite holiday recipes this year, so I have more to share when it comes time next year.  In the mean time, are there any great ways you have found to search for nutrient-dense, traditional dishes on the internet?

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Mini Fruit Tarts

Melt in your mouth, tender, flaky, mmmm.  I kinda have a thing for puff pastry! These tasty desserts/extra special breakfast items were born out of an ancestral recipe. Kolaches are a family favorite from my beloved Czechs line again. They are made with simple sweet, yeasted dough and traditionally have a poppy seed or nut and date filling.  Puff pastry is completely different dough, and I use what ever filling is convenient, with gobs of them in my freezer, apricot and blueberry make good sense. 

The last time I had kolaches was when my grandfather died 17 years ago.  Many neighbor’s and friend brought them to my grandma’s house for the family to enjoy, how comforting they were!  Though I have recipes for the sweet treat, I have never made them myself.  I always reverently think of them when I am making these tarts, which makes them extra special.

Trader Joes has their all butter puff pastry back in stock, so if you are not up for making my homemade version at the moment, grab some there.  The glaze is up to you, I think they are still wonderful without, but it is nice to add to your desired sweetness.  It is fun to have a variety of fillings and see all the colors randomly placed together.  Note that a little goes a long way, each little tart can only handle a rounded tablespoon.  Also, jam does not have enough starch to hold up in the oven.

1 cup pureed fruit (may be slightly chunky)
½ cup honey (I used sucanat with blueberries)
2 tablespoons arrowroot powder
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 recipe puff pastry
½ cup powdered sucanat
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Warm fruit in a sauce pan.  Stir arrowroot powder in with the honey and add to fruit.  Cook to a simmer.  Remove from heat and stir in lemon juice.  Let cool.  Cut pastry with a round cookie cutter and place circles on baking sheet 1 inch apart.  Combine the left over pieces by pressing them together lightly and cutting for more rustic rounds (this keeps the light texture, re rolling makes them tougher.) Let rise for 30 minutes.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Push your thumb in the center of every round to make a dent for the filling. Carefully place 1 heaping tablespoon filling in each dent.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until pastry is lightly browned.  Mix sucanat, butter and vanilla until smooth.  Drizzle on warm tarts or brush glaze on edges. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

I have had good luck freezing the finished product and popping them in the toaster oven on low for 10 minutes to thaw and reheat.

links; Simple Lives Thursdays, Whole Foods for the Holiday's

Monday, November 29, 2010

Equipment {The Christmas List}

Dear Kate,

I know most college students have microwaves in their dorm rooms.  I get that they are allowed and quick and easy to use.  Yet, I have a problem with what they do to food.  Putting “making it taste bad” to the side for the moment, I want you to actually think about how the machine works.  “Micro” waves (radiation) are thrown around inside a box, penetrate the food, vibrates the moisture to heat it from the inside out.

There have been studies that have shown that it deteriorates the nutrients in breast milk (a food of nature) to the point that infants cannot thrive.  If it does this to one natural food, why wouldn’t it affect others.  Try an experiment with two small plants on your window sill (that one with a killer view).  Water one with plain tap water (even with all the yucky chlorine) and the other with tap water that was heated in the microwave, then cooled to room temp.  Guess what happens.

I know hot plates are not allowed, but what about an electric hot pot that is all one entity, much like an electric kettle? Besides, what college student isn’t a total rebel and has a toaster in their dorm? These electric hot pots are very cheap (under $20) and if bought at the right place, like Bed Bath and Beyond, you can return it if it peters out in the first semester.  Because they are plastic, I have a few reservations about how long they will last.  My version of these electric hot pots is my $80 electric pressure cooker that has warming and sautéing setting as well. This has a metal insert, so it will hold up much longer.

This simple appliance opens up a wide range of healthy options; Boil pasta, eggs, reheat left overs, simmer soup, hot breakfast cereal, steam vegetables.

Other items of importance;
A decent knife, because you will be cutting up a lot of vegetables for healthy meals
A cutting board, never use your “decent knife” on glass or it will soon be a “worthless knife.”
A cheese grater (as mentioned here)
A large spoon
A few containers for leftovers
An all in one bowl with lid and strainer, often called berry bowl

Once you are equipt with these few simple items, there will be a wide variety of recipes that can be adapted.

With Love,

Friday, November 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Pizza?

What a great holiday, food and family, the bomb.  We had a fun day in the kitchen, and a beautiful feast and an energizing sunset hike.  Now our fridge full of ingredients has turned to a fridge full of leftovers.  You know what I love to do with leftovers, right?

Use this yummy dough and top with Thanksgiving Day leftovers.  Any combination works turkey, potatoes, dressing, gravy, cranberry sauce, you can even top it with cheese because anything is good with cheese.  So when you get back from shopping, throw together a creative pizza pie.

Other great uses for leftovers;

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Simple Turkey Brine

I swear by brining my thanksgiving turkey.  You can get fancy by adding a bunch of spices and herbs, but I just keep it simple with salt, sugar and water.  Alton Brown has a great Good Eat’s episode that got me started on brining my first turkey.  I have been impressed year after year with how tender, moist and flavorful it is.  If you get a more natural bird, it will not be saline injected, and therefore tends to have less flavor when not brined. 

Jenny at Nourished Kitchen is offering some incredibly useful online cooking classes for holiday cooking.  If you are like me, you are online trying to search for doable recipes that are made with quality and nourishing ingredients.  It is an overwhelming task to work your way through the mountains of holiday recipes to find just the right kind.  Take a look at what she is offering, and be sure to take advantage of the free thanksgiving mini lesson that is available now just for signing up for her newsletter.

1 1/2 cup kosher salt
1 cup sucanat
1.5 gallons pure water

Boil salt and sugar in 2 quarts water until dissolved, ice down, put clean thawed turkey (well rinsed and giblet bag removed) in clean cooler (or pot or bucket if you have one that it will fit in.  Pour the brine and enough water to cover the turkey.  Find some plates and weight it down with cans so that it is completely submerged.  You can put it in the fridge if there is room, or keep it on ice.  I usually put the cooler outside and make sure there is plenty of ice.  Keep in the brine around 12 hours... at least 4, but not more than 24, it's flexible.

When ready to bake, remove and dry with paper towels.  Rub skin with butter or coconut oil.  For delicious gravy, stuff cavity with aromatics, but never stuffing.  If you have a roasting pan with a rack, that works good, otherwise you will have to get your oven rack dirty by placing the turkey directly on it with a sheet pan under it to catch the drippings.  Bake at 425 for 15 minutes, turn 180 degrees and bake another 15 minutes.  Lower temperature to 325 to finish.  Do not rely on the probes that come in the turkey, those are set to pop at 180.  Cook to 160, remove from oven, tent with foil and rest for 30 minutes before slicing.

links; Tuesday Twister, Real Food Wednesday

Monday, November 22, 2010

A Series for the College Student {Introduction}

Dear Kate,
I am right proud that my own baby sister is looking for some better food than cafeteria slop.  I know, being in a dorm room, you are very limited on space and have rules on cooking appliances.  Not to mention the broke, tiresome lifestyle of a college student.  I gotta say that eating well is going to require big effort.  Why do you think everyone eats at the campus cafeteria? It’s not because the food is outstanding, or that they love the extra pounds they gain each semester.

Wasn’t life grand back when you came home hungry, peeked into the fridge and pulled out a container of Mom’s chili for dinner?  The reality of being an adult is that you are going to be responsible for fixing your own chili from here on out.  Sad?  Kind of, but it puts you in the position to make healthier, tastier chili too.

 Your first assignment is cheese.  Good quality would mean you are looking for ingredients like whole milk, cultures, salt and rennet not skim milk, emulsifiers such as sodium phosphate, potassium phosphate, anti caking agents such as cellulose powder (which means you’ll need to grate your own) and calcium sulfate and coloring (cheese is not orange).  The best quality would be raw and made with pastured milk.  Try the farmers market near you or a bus trip to Trader’s Joes will have you covered.

The right cheese adds great nutrition and substance to a meal or snack. The texture gives interest to keep things tasty and the fat is important for vitamin absorption.  Eat with fruit, melt on vegetables, a slice of bread, rice or noodles. 

With Love,

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Garden Journal 2010 {Peppers}

I planted a variety of peppers this year and they are very happy right now.  The sweet peppers seemed to grow well in the spring, but by the time they put on fruit, it would get scorched by they sun.  The hot peppers slowed down in the summer and came back full throttle in September.  These mature plants took off with new blossoms and now we are harvesting a whole lot of peppers.  I even transplanted a few volunteer pepper plants that are just starting to set peppers.

My jalapeño plant is on its second year and though it produces abundantly, the fruit doesn’t grow very large.  I think it gets too much shade or maybe phosphorus.  I have also been disappointed in my plants I grew from seed, they are small, light in color and thin walled.  So strange as they are planted right along side the thriving volunteers and nursery –bought plants.  I also have a huge gold bell pepper plant that did NOTHING this summer, but has quite a few really nice green fruits right now.  Hoping to enjoy those before the frost.

The banana peppers have gotten spicier than they were in May.  It makes it harder to use them up because the kids can’t handle too much heat.  I need to find poblanos next year, those have always been my favorite pepper.  Any other recommendations?

For dinner tonight, we are making good use for some of those peppers in fajitas.  Right now I have the venison marinading, got to make room in the deep freeze, Dad is bringing more at Thanksgiving!

4 garlic cloves, minced
1 banana pepper, finely chopped
1 teaspoon freshly ground cumin seeds
1 large handful fresh cilantro, leaves and stems, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Thinly slice 1 pound meat. Place in marinade and refrigerate at least 1 hour. Saute a mix of  peppers and onions. Brown meat on high heat for 2 minutes. Serve in warm tortillas with lettuce, salsa, cheese and guacamole.

links; Simple Lives Thursday, Things I love Thursday, Pennywise Platter

Thursday, November 4, 2010

My Big Fat Foodie Life

Really enjoyed getting out and picking up some new ideas at a gardening class this morning as my melons, cukes and bean are being consumed by aphids. Yes, my life revolves around food and why shouldn't it? Join me at I Heart Mesa, where I dish my ideas on growing, preparing, learning about, buying, eating, preserving and storing FOOD!

links; Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Raspberries Drizzled with Chocolate

Most days, a piece of fruit does the trick for the role of dessert after dinner.  If I have been eating well, I am without sugar craving and am more satisfied this way.  When the holiday's hit, I usually like something stronger for dessert.  Sugar is an addictive substance.  If you, or your children don't like fruit in general, there is too much sugar in your diet.  Fruit should taste sweet, which is a highly desirable attribute in food.  When one over indulges with the potent sugars that are in processed foods, the taste buds become less sensitive to the delicate sweetness of whole foods.

This dessert is somewhat of a transition, it bridges the gap between too much and feeling deprived.  When a bowl of raspberries doesn't sound so great to your sweet tooth, raspberries drizzled with chocolate surely does...without going over the top.  Guilt free.

I like Trader Joe's Pound Plus 72% dark Belgian Chocolate.  You can play around with the amounts depending on where your sweet tooth lies.  This will make a drizzle that sets up as a brittle drizzle, the same texture and hardness of the original chocolate bar.  If you like yours to be more pliable like a ganache, add 1 tablespoon of cream to the melted chocolate.

1.5 ounces dark chocolate
12 ounces organic raspberries

Slowly melt chocolate over low heat, stirring frequently.  Carefully wash raspberries in a bowl of water and dry with paper towels.  Place raspberries on silpat or parchment and drizzle with melted chocolate.  Place in refrigerator 15 minutes, but no longer than 6 hours.  We get 4-5 serving from this, but use your own judgement.

links; Tuesday Twister, Tempt My Tummy, Tasty Tuesday, Top Ten Tuesday, Hearth and Soul Hop,  Whole Food for the Holiday's

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Pear Butter

After my recent post on preserving pears, I learned that I had not nearly exhausted the possibilities.  I ended up dehydrating more to grind up for a crumbly topping on oatmeal and muffins.  I canned loads of pear sauce and I had my first attempt with pear butter.  This stuff was worth making just to enjoy the smell that wafted through the house.  I never wanted it to be done simmering!

It ended up cooking down to about half, I canned 8 half pints in a water bath, just as you would regular jam.  As long as you have a good blender, you don’t even need to peel the pears.  I loved how it was super sweet without too much sweetener added, unlike common jam.  AND, no pectin requiredJ

10 pounds bartlett pears, cored
1 cup white grape juice
2 inches fresh ginger, quartered
1 cup lemon juice
1 cup sucanat
1 cup honey
½ teaspoon all spice
1 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Simmer pears in white grape juice until very soft (20 minutes).  Puree very finely (I used my vitamix).  Place pear sauce, ginger,  lemon juice, sweeteners, all spice, cardamom and nutmeg in crock pot or other deep pot to simmer for 12 or more hours.  Tent with tinfoil, or position lid to keep the splatters in, but allowing steam out. When first setting the temperature, stir every 20 minutes.  Once a low simmer is holding, stirring is unnecessary.  After 12 hours, check the viscosity.  Take a spoonful out and drop it on a plate.  If liquid pools around it, it needs to simmer longer.  Once the dollop stays set, without pooling juice, it is done.  Pull out the 4 pieces of ginger, mix in vanilla and lemon zest and bottle up!  Makes about 8 half-pint’s.

Great on toast, waffles, pancakes, biscuits, in muffins, on top of pastries, yogurt, oatmeal or ice cream.

links; Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Frugal Friday, Fight Back Friday, Grocery Cart Challenge

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Partly-Sprouted Puff Pastry

Who new such a fancy treat could be so attainable in any ol’ kitchen?  I have been sad that Trader Joe’s no longer carries their all butter puff pastry. Other health food stores ask a steep price, while regular grocers only carry the hydrogenated types.  I always assumed it to be too complicated to make myself.  Although it turned out great my first try, it was after my second that I found my groove and decided this was a recipe to be made again and again.

I adapted this recipe for Peter Reinhart’s "Laminated Dough" in his cookbook Artisan Breads Everyday, which is a GREAT read.  Recently I made a double batch and have a nice stack in my freezer for quick dinners and desserts.  I canned some apple pie filling this fall, which means SUPER fast and easy apple turnovers!

¾ cup milk
¼ cup yogurt or kefir
½ cup water
2 tablespoons butter
2 ½ cups sprouted or whole grain flour
2 cups white flour (plus more for texture and rolling)
¼ cup honey
1 tablespoons yeast

Mix all ingredients in mixer with dough hook for 1 minute.  Add more white flour as necessary.  Dough should be very sticky, but not batter like. Knead an additional 1 minute.  Place dough in oiled bowl, cover and refrigerate overnight and up to 2 days.

Butter Block:  Just before removing dough from the fridge, cut up 1 ½ cups cold butter into ¼ inch pieces.  Whisk with 2 tablespoons sprouted flour, scraping down the sides as needed to make a smooth paste.  Form into a 6 inch square about ½ inch thick, smooth the top and square the corners.  Envelope in plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed.

Roll dough into a rectangle that is just wider than the 6 inch butter block and twice as long dusting the counter with white flour as needed.  Place butter block on one half of the rectangle and fold the other half over to encase.  Seal the edges by pinching all around the sides.  Rest in the refrigerator for 20 minutes. 

After rest time, roll dough to a large rectangle about 16 by 9 inches taking care to keep the butter inside the dough.  Fold dough into thirds, rest in refrigerator and repeat 2 more times.

After final rest, roll out dough to final thickness, depending on the recipe.  I like to roll out to ½ inch thick, cut into large squares and freeze between sheets of parchment.  The dough can always be rolled thinner once thawed.  This pastry should be risen slightly before baked at 400 degrees until golden brown, approximately 7 minutes.

links; Real Food Wednesday, Hearth and Soul Hop, Top Ten Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday, Tempt My Tummy, Whole Foods for the Holiday's

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

6 Tips For Your Real-Food Journey

It has been many years since I have put the boxes aside and  enveloped a whole food repertoire of skills, recipes and creativity.  I can bring back some thoughts and feelings of those early days, but much is gone and much has changed.  It is an exciting time, one of the many reasons I love teaching classes!  Witnessing that rapid learning and zeal for food is euphoric.

It never occurred to me that people might be reading my blog and NOT making the recipes.   Kami, from Birth with Confidence is helping me out on this one.  There are so many obstacles, it is no wonder many people grab a box of cereal in the morning instead of embarking on a recipe for granola with 14 ingredients, half you have never heard of and 10 plus steps that take almost 2 days to carry out.  Yikes!  I am scaring you away.  On with Kami's tips to bring you back;

1. Read, Read, and then Read some more! There is nothing more powerful than knowledge. Learn about food. Learn about its origins, where it comes from, why we eat it, how it's made. Learn about your body - how it functions and how food affects it positively or negatively. Read anything and everything you can get your hands on about whole, real food. The more you read and learn, the easier it will be to make changes. The changes will come naturally as you learn. If you are trying to make changes without really knowing or understanding deeply why you're making them, it is likely that the changes will not last. However, if you have a foundation of knowledge and understand why you are on your journey to whole foods, you changes will become a lifestyle. Learning also makes changing easier. It isn't hard to stop eating processed food once you understand how truly detrimental it is to your health.

2. Find replacements. Don't learn about how bad sugar is for you and say that you will never eat sugar again. Although that is a wonderful goal, it is probably one that is easily broken by cravings or stress. Instead, find replacements. Instead of white sugar, convert to using honey or maple syrup. Instead of making a cake mix out of a box, try making one from scratch using
whole grains and natural sweeteners. You can still enjoy many, many things while eating only whole foods. Once you've found replacements, you'll realize you really aren't missing out on anything after all. You might even be surprised to find that your whole food meals/treats taste even better because you know deep down that they're better for your body.

3. Commit to change. Do you want to dive into whole foods? Commit to doing so. Commit to ridding your life of anything artificial or detrimental to your health. Make a commitment, and keep it. That's all there is to it. Make the decision.

4. Be daring. Buy new things - branch out. Never heard of kamut, amaranth, sucanat? I hadn't heard of them either. In fact, I read blogs that used those foreign terms for a good 6 months to a year before I ever bought any of those "strange" ingredients. Now those ingredients are staples in my house. Try new things - you'll find that most of the time, you'll love them and wonder why you've been missing out all this time!

5. Don't get discouraged. Moving to whole foods is a journey. It takes time and it takes dedication. We live in a world of processed foods. It is not easy to go against the grain, so to speak. It's not easy to make choices that are different than 99% of Americans. But making choices is not always easy and moving to whole foods is a choice that, hard as it may seem, will bless your life abundantly. Take baby steps - pick one thing you want to change and focus on that thing for a week or a month. Then, move onto the next thing. Or if you're more stubborn, do it all at once (I did!). However you do it, remember why you're changing and remember that you are not alone. Many people are realizing more and more that food, made and prepared the way God intended it, is critical to our health and wellness. Enjoy the journey because soon you'll look back and think "It wasn't that hard, after all."

6. Realize that while you may feel you're paying more for "real food," it is a much better investment. You are investing in yourself - your health, your vitality, your life! Those who eat diets of whole foods and avoid processed foods are healthier and experience less disease than those who eat a diet high in processed foods. You may spend more on your groceries than your friends and neighbors, but it doesn't have to break the bank. There are many ways you can save money. Some quick examples are: buying in bulk, making things from scratch (homemade  granola vs. store-bought), meal planning, eating the best quality of meat sparingly, etc. You also may tweak your budget so that, say for example, you spend more on groceries but you go without cable or expensive cell phones. Or, perhaps you eat out less than your family and friends. However you choose to balance your budget, know that eating a diet of whole foods can be done, even on a tight budget.

If you missed it, last week Kami shared an incredible recipe of her own creation; Roasted Vegetables and Garlic Quinoa.

links; Works For Me WednesdayWhat's Cookin Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Things I Love Thursday

Monday, October 4, 2010

Bok Choy Lentil Pita Sandwiches

In our area there is a co-op called Bountiful Baskets that is wonderful.  I participate every other week when an organic basket is offered.  They really do a great job overall, offering high quality and a pleasing variety. Anyone who is working to up their fruit and vegetable intake, look for a like program in your area.  It really forces you to try new things and find new loves.

Once in a while I have to be super creative, like the week I got 8 bunches of bok choy! But there was good that came out of it.  I like the uniqueness of this meal.  I think it is so important to give thought to eating raw foods at every meal.  This is where the vital enzymes come to aid digestion and help you feel really good.  I have never sprouted lentils before, but would like to try that sometime here.  I did soak them in an acidic medium for 12 hours before cooking, which is better for digestion as well.

2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup purslane or bean sprouts
1 cup thinly sliced bok choy
1carrot peeled, and cut into strips
1 ripe mango peeled and diced
⅓ cup apricot jam
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
¼ cup cider vinegar
½ teaspoon curry powder
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
¼ teaspoon Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the lentils, purslane, bok choy, carrot, and mango in a mixing bowl.  In a small bowl, combine the apricot jam, ginger, vinegar, curry powder, Worcestershire sauce, and TabascoStir well and season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the sauce over the filling, and toss gently to coat all the ingredients.  Scoop filling into pitas and serve.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Waste Not {Pears}

After canning over half of my 50# load of the most lovely bartlett pears, I tinkered out.  Peeling, quartering, coring, boiling syrup, filling jars and carefully wiping the rims, all by myself…for days.  Next day I decided to do the rest without peeling, it made a huge difference in time.  I had a good amount left that was not going to fill another canner load, so I decided to experiment with dehydrating.

I removed the stems and sliced them whole, vertically, with my mandoline at 1.5mm.  Next, I laid them out in a single layer on large cooling racks and placed them in the sunshine.  They took one full day of Arizona summer sun to dry sufficiently.  At this point they were barely pliable and so delicious!  I was surprised as how yummy they turned out, much better than dried apples and peaches.
If I did a lot of these, I would keep them in the freezer for long term storage to be assured they wouldn’t go bad incase there is still some moisture left.  It was surely a great way to preserve, we all loved them to munch on for a snack, but if we had copious amounts, I would make a galette and other fun baked goods.  8 large pears, once dried, took up the space of one quart jar.  I bet pears would make good fruit leather too, anyone tried it?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Roasted Vegetable and Garlic Quinoa

I am so happy when I see others diving into new territory and embracing it. You know you have "arrived"  when you start making your own original recipes with things you have on hand and they turn out great.  I have met just such person through my classes.  Kami, from Birth with Confidence has written this guest post.  She has put together some fabulous stuff I am so excited to share here on Taste is Trump.

I am a newbie to "real food," meaning, I've only been on this journey for about a year now, but it is a journey that has changed my life and my family's health. I feel happier, have more energy than ever before (quite a feat, for me), and am thinner than I've ever been. I am passionate about real, whole food and it is something I find great pleasure in learning about.Here is a simple, whole foods recipe that is not only incredibly nourishing, it is also delicious!

This recipe is extremely versatile. If you don't have the vegetables on hand that I listed, you can always use anything else. Other favorites of mine are asparagus, zucchini or yellow squash, sweet or red potatoes, and broccoli. If you prefer, you can roast the garlic along with the vegetables. I've kept it raw in this recipe in order to take advantage of the health benefits of raw garlic. It tastes wonderful either way!

6 brussels sprouts
1/2 head of cauliflower
1 red pepper, sliced
1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
5 grape tomatoes, halved
2 carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 cups water
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
Herbes de Provence

The night before, soak quinoa in 1 cup water and 1 tablespoon lemon juice. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place all vegetables in a glass dish and drizzle with olive oil and salt, to taste. Roast vegetables in oven for 20-25 minutes, or until slightly tender. Meanwhile, bring remaining 1 cup water to a boil. Stir in soaked quinoa mixture. Bring back to a boil and reduce heat to simmer. Simmer quinoa until water is gone. Remove from stove top and stir in salt, crushed garlic, a dash of balsamic vinegar, and herbes de provence to taste. Remove vegetables from oven and gently mix the quinoa into them. To serve, top with freshly shredded parmesan or romano cheese. Enjoy alongside a salad and crusty bread, to make it a fuller meal. Enjoy!

links; Works for Me Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday

Monday, September 20, 2010


All this talk and research about traditional foods has gotten me interested in what my own ancestor’s ate.  I would really like to do some more research and find where things went awry in my own history.  My forefathers’s lived in Iowa for four generations and were all into farming.  This means all the way through to my own parents, they had home grown vegetables, chicken eggs, fresh milk and meat from their own animals, mostly pigs.

Looking through my grandmother’s cookbooks, it was obviously a pretty gradual change over time from real to processed to more processed.  Lard changed to shortening and margarine, unbleached flour to bleached white, cans of this and that started popping up and I found it interesting when a recipe was calling for a new pre-made product, it would be extra specific.  Another thing I noticed is that as the print date of the cookbook became more recent, there was less use of animal parts like tongue, feet and liver, cream and full fat dairy. 

I came across the recipe for Jaternice in a cookbook lovingly known in our family as “The Duncan Cookbook,” compiled by a town of mostly Czech immigrants, including my great grandmother. It is a charming, community compilation that was carefully typed out on a typewriter.  It reads:

Liver Sausage “Jaternice”                                                       Mrs. George Malek

Boil a pig’s head.  If too fat and large, trim off the fat.  Boil the heart, lungs and kidneys in the same kettle.  When all is done, grind up fine.  To one part of meat add two parts of stale bread.  If meatier sausage is desired, add more meat.  The bread must be soaked in water and squeezed dry.  Add pepper, salt and marjoram.  Other spices may be added also. Have ready beef casings cut into strips 6 inches long and tie one end.  Proceed to fill casings with meat filling and tie remaining end.  Put them in the liquid in which you have boiled the meat, putting it into one or 2 medium sized kettles. These should be not quite half full.  Let the sausages simmer.  Boiling rapidly will burst them.  When they come to the top, remove them from the liquid and lay out to cool.

My mother comes from a Czech line, which is where Jaternice originated, but this same recipe was shared around their community and went by many different names.  My parents both have fond memories of this dish as children.  Traditionally the meat mixture went into beef casings to make sausage links, but both my parent’s families served “the slop” over bread.  My mom remembers having to compete with all 7 of her siblings for seconds and would often gobble up the topping and sneak some more before the others would have time to finish their plate’s.
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