Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Things were busier then I thought this week. I was still able to make some new yummy food and have others to share but for now here are some links to some great stuff you just have to try!

Mangoes and Sticky Rice
Oatmeal Bake- Except I didn't add the nuts or fruit.  It turned out great and was even good with a touch of maple syrup on top.  Great before school breakfast.

To come (when I get home)
Coconut Flour Pancakes

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Soup in 100+ degree weather

Yes, I made soup for us last week. Yes, it was hot outside but I just had to give it a try. That is one of my weaknesses- when I come across a recipe that interests me I usually have to make it and make it soon no matter what. Being anxious to sprout and try some lentils this seemed like the perfect opportunity.

Slow Cooker Sprouted Lentil Soup

2 cups green lentils, sprouted or soaked overnight
2 large carrots, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 celery stalks, diced
1 cup cooked, diced turkey bacon
4-6 cups chicken stock or water
2 bay leaves
1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
sea salt and plenty of black pepper to taste

For sprouting instructions go here. Note that you will need to start the sprouting process a few days ahead of time.

Combine all ingredients EXCEPT crushed tomatoes in slow cooker. (The acidity of the tomatoes tend to make the lentils toughen). Cook on high four to six hours or until lentils are tender.

Add the crushed tomatoes, salt and plenty of black pepper to taste. Cook an additional 30 minutes or up to two hours.

Remove the bay leaves and serve alongside a salad or bread if you like.

This makes a nice warm- comforting soup.  This will be a regular when the weather gets cold.  I will  serve it along with something else as my 2 year old didn't care for it (she is the reason I made it because she loves soup, go figure!).  My 6 year old, however, had three bowls and leftovers for lunch the next day.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Soaked Whole Wheat Biscuits and much more

If you haven't tried this whole soaking business- do!  It really isn't that hard or time consuming.  It just takes a little bit of planning to be able to soak for 12-24 hours but who doesn't like to have things planned out?  It makes things easier.  I can definitely tell a difference when I slack and stop soaking grains.  Especially with my one year old- his tummy just can't handle the grains but if they have been soaked it is no problem for him.

I am so very excited to share these next two recipes.  I had originally planned on making the biscuits to go along with some eggs and turkey bacon but at the last minute I changed my mind and decided to try to make one of my favorite breakfast foods much healthier.

Here is my healthy version of Chocolate Gravy (I will include the non-healthy version too).  If you haven't had chocolate gravy just trust me and make the version that best suits you.

Soaked Whole Wheat Biscuits

2 1/1 cups of whole wheat flour
6 T of coconut oil
3/4 cup of coconut tonic water
1 T of lemon juice or raw apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. salt

The night before, measure the flour into a medium size bowl. Using a pastry cutter cut in the coconut oil into the flour. When the oil is the size of peas or smaller, you are done. Add the coconut milk tonic and lemon juice/vinegar, and mix in until just combined. Leave overnight at room temperature, well covered. 

The next morning preheat the oven to 450. Press down the dough a bit right in the bowl. Sprinkle the baking soda, baking powder and salt on top of the dough, then fold it in half, top to bottom and press down firmly Fold in half again from the side, and press down firmly again. Starting at the top, repeat this process until you have folded the dough about 10-15 times (do so until you feel the rising agents and salt have been well mixed).

Place on a clean surface, and roll out into a rectangle. It should be about 1/2 an inch thick.  You can use biscuit cutters to get nice round biscuits, but I like to simply cut it into squares as there is no waste this way. A pizza cutter works great here. I cut them into small pieces, so I get 20 pieces. If you wanted to make bigger biscuits I recommend that you lower the temperature to 425 degrees and cook for a bit longer .

Place on an un-greased cookie sheet or jellyroll pan and pop it in your preheated oven. Cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the top and bottom is lightly browned and the middle is cooked all the way through. Remove to cooling racks when done.

Biscuits are best warm, but we certainly enjoy them cold too!

Healthy Chocolate Gravy

1 1/2 cups of coconut tonic water
1 egg
1/4 cup of agave
1 T of cocoa
1 T of organic butter
2 T of whole wheat flour
1 tsp. of vanilla

Mix coconut milk, egg, agave, cocoa and vanilla in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  As it begins to melt add the flour whisking together. Slowly pour in the wet mixture and continue to whisk.  It should start to thicken.  When it comes to a boil remove from heat and add vanilla.  As it sits it should set up into a nice gravy like substance.  Pour over biscuits and enjoy!

Original Chocolate Gravy

1 1/2 cups of milk
1 egg
1/4 cup of sugar
1 T of cocoa
1 T of organic butter
2 T of whole wheat flour
1 tsp. of vanilla

Follow the same instructions and use the drop biscuit recipe on the back of the Bisquick box.

Monday, July 12, 2010

This week

This past week I have been preparing the house, grocery shopping, menu planning, and all sorts of things to get ready for my sister to come visit for a week.  After her week stay the four kids and I are flying back to Tennessee with her.  We will be gone for 2 + weeks and coming home with a week to spare of summer vacation. 

I have some new recipes planned out to experiment on with my sister and even some things to try out on the whole family while in Tennessee.  Along with trying to figure out how to be organized enough to have food in our freezer waiting for us when we get home.  Not to mention the whole idea of starting to pack a lunch for my oldest to take to school.  I see this as a challenge that I am very excited to conquer.  I hope to be able to come up with some great ideas that others will be able to enjoy also.

To get through this week I will be sharing some of the other things I made last week, new recipes for this week, things I plan on taking on the airplane to keep four children full and not have to buy or eat any airplane/airport food, and if I am lucky some ideas to help get the school year off to a good healthy start.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Smart little girls...

We had a big bag of gluten free pretzels in our house for a while. When we got towards the bottom my oldest girls asked if we could save them and cover them in chocolate. I said great idea- put them up high- and started brainstorming of how we were going to do it. The other day they reminded me of their suggestion so we got to it. Now, my 5 year old, who had the original idea, ended up having something else in mind but even she loved the creation I came up with.

I used: 
semi sweet chocolate- we only had one small square and a little less then 
1 tsp. of coconut oil brought them to a melting point
stirred to get nice and smooth and then dipped our pretzels
set on a plat or pan with wax paper
store in the refrigerator due to hot weather

**adjust ingredient for how many you want to make**

They were a perfect sweet, salty, cold treat.  If you dip them like this you may be less likely to have messy hands while eating.  If you soak them in chocolate you will have a nice thick layer of chocolate chilled to the bottom of the pretzels and fingers to lick  Your choice!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Homemade Frozen Strawberries

Okay so they aren't really homemade- if we grew them in our garden then I would be able to say they were homemade.  This is simply price comparing.  Sometimes a bag of frozen strawberries is much cheaper then fresh strawberries- sometimes fresh strawberries are much cheaper then frozen ones- sometimes we have eaten too many strawberries and right when I buy a new big box from Costco the family is burned out.  I got a tip from a friend on what to do when you find yourself in that situation.

        -Pat your strawberries clean
        -Cut the stem off
        -Place on a pan that is lined with freezer or wax paper
        -Put in the freezer. When frozen put in a freezer bag and you have yourself
         "homemade" frozen strawberries or just a frugal tip.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Soaked Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

This pizza dough was excellent!!

I am really loving this new method of soaking my grains.  It helps me be prepared and actually makes things a little easier when it is time to make the meal.  Our stomachs feel great and not heavy and weighed down.  One thing I loved about this pizza dough- besides the soft yummy taste- is that I have two bags in my freezer full of dough ready to make two more pizzas.

 Soaked Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

3 cups of water (about 110F)
8-10 cups of whole wheat flour
1-2 T of your acidic component- buttermilk, kefir, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of honey
2 T dry active yeast
1/2 cup of water (about 110F)
1 tsp. honey
1 T salt

You want to soak the flour in advanced to receive the full nutrients and break down the phytates.

Soaking: Combine flour, 3 cups of water, honey, and acidic component.  Adding the honey for the soaking process helps keep the dough moist.  Cover and leave on counter in a warm place for 12-24 hours.

After soaking activate the yeast in the remaining 1/2 cup of water and 1 tsp. of honey.

Combine activated yeast, salt, and soaked mixture.  You may need to add more flour to achieve a workable yet moist dough.  (I was frustrated with this process at first due to like the reasons to soaking grains but I didn't have to add a lot of flour and we still had great results.)

Knead for 5-10 minutes.  Let rise for thicker dough.

Divide into four sections for four 15 in. pizza crusts.  Put the extra dough in individual freezer bags and store in the freezer.

Place the dough out on the pan you are going to use and form it.  I was able to just use my hands- the dough was very easy to work with.

Preheat oven to 500 degrees and cook for 10-15 minutes.

For my toppings I rubbed organic butter and fresh minced garlic onto the crust.  Then added my long simmered spaghetti sauce, raw mozzarella cheese, sprinkled with Italian seasoning and a touch of garlic salt.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Energy Sustaining Bars

I found this recipe a couple of years ago from the Sara Snow website.

She introduces the recipe by saying, "This recipe was inspired from a diet recipe for breakfast bars.  I took that recipe and turned it upside down, added fiber, protein, antioxidants and lots of healthy goodness.  These are incredibly easy to make and keep on hand for grab-and-go mornings."

With my new obsession with soaking grains I made a change but you can easily skip the soaking process and combine everything.
(I never said they look pretty.)

Energy Sustaining Bars

2 ½ cups old fashioned oats
½ cup whole flax seed
½ - 1 cup HOT water ¼ cup organic dark cocoa power (or slightly less)
½ cup natural peanut butter
½ cup honey
½ t spirulina

Soak the oats and flax seeds in warm water with 1 T. of lemon juice for 12-24 hours.  You may need to add a little more water to get a good soak.

After the soaking process combine the other ingredients.  Form into individual sized cookie shapes or even shape it into a bar.  It helps if you just put a scoop onto the plastic wrap and fold over to shape- this leaves your hands clean. Wrap in plastic and store in refrigerator or freezer. A little information about spirulina: You can find it in your health food store in the bulk section for the herbs and spices. If you are local, Dixie Nutrition has it. It is a bright green powdered substance. Spirulina has amazing health benefits- it is a complete protein, containing all essential amino acids. You can find out more here.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

The claims of an amazing pot of pinto beans are true.  They were everything I hoped for them to be.  These beans along with my sprouted rice were apart of my birthday dinner last Saturday.  I had a day of food made at home and ended the day with an amazing flavorful dinner that I was secretly bursting at the seams with pride for.

Slow Cooker Pinto Beans

4 cups of pinto beans soaked for 24 hours
1 tablespoon of cumin
1 tablespoon of sea salt (I only added one teaspoon at the beginning and added the rest later)
4 garlic cloves smashed and peeled1
1 sliced jalapeno (I didn't have this but think it would be a great addition)
water and chicken stock to cover

Rinse beans that have been soaking for 24 hours.  Dump them in your slow cooker along with all the ingredients.  Cover with half water half stock.

Cook on high for 6-8 hours until beans are tender.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

My little sprout

For some reason I was so proud of my little short grain brown rice that I sprout.  I have had some failed attempts on sprouting beans, fermenting a sourdough starter, and such that I was nervous about this supposedly easy process.  The reward was big for me and I was ecstatic to make a pot of brown rice with my freshly sprouted rice to go along with a taco salad.

It was a fun process- one I will let the kids join in on next time (I didn't want to disappoint anyone the first go around).  I couldn't tell a difference in the taste- the texture seemed fluffier and softer- but the nutritional benefit outweighed anything else and the fact that I was just tickled pink to achieve these results.

I followed the instructions from sprout people and can't wait to try something else.

Here is the link for sprouting, short grain brown rice.