Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stewed Tomatoes

It is TOMATO time!!!!

We have been getting some beautiful tomatoes! I know I have mentioned this before but I am the only one who enjoys eating tomatoes. and there is NO way I can make it through all the tomatoes we are getting.

This week I made 2 pints and 1 quart size jars of Stewed Tomatoes.

They look delicious and I can't wait to add them to stews and soups!!!!

The Ingredients:
Tomatoes - All sorts & sizes, peeled and chopped
1 small green pepper, diced
2 celery ribs, diced
1/2 onion, diced
1 TBSP Raw butter
salt & pepper
Italian Seasoning
Palm Sugar (just a little - maybe 1 TBSP)

The Directions:
Place tomatoes in a medium saucepan; cover tightly. Cook tomatoes over lowest heat for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the salt, pepper, sugar, and butter, along with minced onion and green pepper, if using. Simmer over low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until juices are slightly reduced.

For Canning - Carefully ladle hot vegetables into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles with a Ball® Bubble FREER™, a nonmetallic spatula, or a plastic straw. Wipe rim and threads of jar with a clean damp cloth. Place lid on jar with sealing compound next to glass. Screw band down evenly and firmly just until a point of resistance is met - fingertip tight.

Process pints 15 minutes, quarts 20 minutes.

AMAZING Potato Soup

The past few weeks we have been getting New Potatoes in our food share. I have only used a potato here and there and my stock just kept growing.

I decided to try to make a healthier Potato soup with out all the Velveeta Cheese and Milk.

I think I did a good job!!!!
Still have a few more little changes I need to do but AMAZING!!!!

The Ingredients:

  • 6 cups diced potatoes
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 Leeks, diced
  • 3 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth, divided
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 6 tablespoons RAW butter, melted
  • 6 tablespoons whole wheat flour (I used 3 TBSP Quinoa flour and 3 TBSP Whole wheat)
  • 4 cubes chicken bouillon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

The Directions:

In a large pot, bring potatoes, celery and onion to a boil in 2 cups of broth. Cook until potatoes are tender, 15 minutes. Drain and reserve liquid.

Combine reserved broth and half-and-half in pot. In a bowl, combine melted butter and flour. Stir into half-and-half mixture over medium heat. Stir until thickened. Stir in reserved vegetables, remaining broth, bouillon and pepper. Heat through and serve.

I topped the soup with Raw cheddar cheese.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

What would you like me to try???

Calling all recipes...

What would you like me to cook and change??? Leave your post below under the comment section!


My family and I went on a weekend getaway and still ate healthy!!!!

We served these roasted vegetables with T-Bone steaks.

It is all about planning!!!! :)

Mexican Zucchini Soup

My garden is doing great! Two more skinny, forearm sized zucchinis harvested!

I saw this wonderful looking recipe a few weeks back for zucchini soup. The original recipe had jalapenos, which would not mix well with a nursing mom, so I made a few changes.

My husband said this was a great soup. He was convinced there were potatoes in the soup because of the texture but no no no... no potatoes in this soup.

This is a great tasting soup, and a good use for those extra large zucchini that often appear in the garden. Of course, a normal size zucchini also is good.

The Ingredients:
2 large skinny zucchinis, chopped in small cubes
1 small yellow summer squash (I just had this on hand and needed to get rid of it - could do without!)
1/2 - 3/4 red onion, chopped
1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cup yellow corn
1 TBSP Olive Oil or Raw butter
2 vegetable bouillon cubes
2 cups water
1/2 - 3/4 cup tomatillo salsa
1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese (you can use more or less!)
The Directions
Saute onion in Olive Oil or Raw butter until glassy, about 3 minutes.

In a blender add zucchini, in sections, and pulse zucchini until finely mince with a few bigger pieces. You do not want to completely puree the zucchini but you do want a variety of sizes.
(this is how I tricked my husband into thinking this was a hardy soup)

Add zucchini to the onions. Saute with onions until tender. Stir in water, bouillon cubes, corn, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Bring soup to a gentle boil, reduce the heat and cook until corn and zucchini are soft but not mushy.

Add Parmesan cheese and tomatillo salsa.

Garnish with fresh Parsley. (I did not have any on hand and the soup tasted wonderful!)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Perfect Pear Baby Food

Pears are high in fiber, potassium and Vitamin C. High in fiber, Pears like other fruits, are great aids in reducing the risks of cancer and heart attack and sustaining healthy cholesterol levels. They are also a great fruit to offer as a remedy to help alleviate baby's constipation.

Pears are gentle on the tummy and thus are wonderful for babies who may be suffering from Reflux. Pears contain no sodium, saturated fats or cholesterol. They contain two types of sugars, glucose and fructose. A pear is very nutrient dense meaning that there are more nutrients per calorie than calories per nutrient. There is no need to peel a pear unless feeding one to a small infant. A pear's skin is easily digestible.

Perfect Pear Mash (4 months on)

1 ripe pear

1. Peel and de-seed a fully ripened pear
2. Mash or puree as needed for your baby's preference
3. Add cereal (if desired) to thicken up.

You may wish to steam pear chunks for a bit to soften them and enable easier digestion for a younger baby who starts solids early.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Quinoa - Stuffed Peppers

I am so excited for today's post. I picked 5 delicious green peppers from my garden!!! This is my first year gardening so everything I am able to pick and eat, I am excited!!!! :)

I am so glad that so many peppers were ready at one time because I have been craving stuffed peppers. I love stuffed peppers!
The Ingredients:

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil
  • 2 ribs celery, finely chopped (1/2 cup)
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
  • 2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes, drained, liquid reserved (I used homemade sauce, instead)
  • 3/4 cup quinoa
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 4 large green bell peppers, halved lengthwise, ribs removed
  • The original recipe called for 1 can of black beans. I did not have black beans so I used ground beef.

The Directions:
Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, carrots and celery, and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add cumin and garlic, and sauté 1 minute.

Cook ground beef and drain all the grease.

Prepare quinoa, if not already made. 1 cup quinoa 2 cups water ( see post on cooking quinoa)
Stir in quinoa with the carrot mixture. Add cooked ground beef. Add tomato sauce and season with salt and pepper, if desired.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Pour liquid from tomatoes in bottom of baking dish.
Fill each bell pepper half with heaping 3/4-cup quinoa mixture, and place in baking dish. Cover with foil, and bake 1 hour. Uncover, and sprinkle each pepper with 1 Tbs. remaining cheese. Bake 15 minutes more, or until tops of stuffed peppers are browned. Let stand 5 minutes. Transfer stuffed peppers to serving plates, and drizzle each with pan juices before serving.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Chicken Broth

1 whole pastured chicken or 2-3 pounds chicken bones with or without bits of meat, including feet if you have them
4 quarts cold water
2 T vinegar
1 large onion, coarsely chopped (or your bag of collected frozen onion parts)
2 carrots coarsely chopped (I omit this sometimes)
3 celery sticks, coarsely chopped (I omit this if I don’t have celery)
The Directions:
Throw all of your chicken parts in a pot, add the water, vinegar and vegetables. Let sit for a half hour, then bring to a boil and remove the scum/foam that rises to the top. No need to remove the floating fat. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours. The longer you cook the stock, the more rich and flavorful it will be.
If you used a whole chicken, don’t leave the meat in there for more than about 3-4 hours. Remove the chicken, remove the meat and reserve, and put the bones back in the broth to cook.
Remove the whole chicken pieces with a slotted spoon. Strain the stock into a large bowl, then ladle into mason jars. Let the jars sit until they are pretty cool, then freeze or refrigerate.
If you want to defat: put the mason jars (or the large bowl) into the fridge until they’re completely cool then break off the fat. Freeze the fat for use in gravies.

Soaked Zucchini Bread

I am embarrassed to say another flop. I guess this time would be considered a 1/2 flop.

I found a zucchini bread recipe in my Nourishing Tradition's cookbook and just had to try it! Since finding out that I have an allergy to gluten, I am researching and coming up with new bread favorites.

This is not going to be easy!

I have now made this bread twice and 1/2 failed. I am pretty sure this bread will cook more evenly if I use a stoneware bread pan versus my regular bread pan. Since I do not have a stoneware pan, yet, I made both batches with my regular pan.

Outer dark brown and a few burnt corners. The inside not evenly cooked. Part left doughy while others cooked perfectly.

* Advise try cooking this with stoneware!


3 cups freshly ground spelt, kamut, or whole wheat flour
2 cups buttermilk, kefir or
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon sea salt
1/4 to 1/2 cup grade B maple syrup
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 cup melted butter
2 cups grated zucchini
1/2 cup chopped
crispy pecans


Soak flour in buttermilk, kefir or yogurt in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours – bread will rise better if soaked for 24 hours. Those with milk allergies may use 2 cups filtered water plus 2 tablespoons whey, lemon juice or vinegar in place of undiluted buttermilk.
Blend in remaining ingredients. Pour into a well-buttered and floured loaf pan (preferably stoneware). Bake at 350 degrees for at least 1 1/2 hours or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Note: you can substitute the zucchini for 2 ripe bananas for banana bread!

Stuffed Zucchini

What does one do with a Zucchini bigger than ones forearm?

Make stuffed zucchini!!!!

I really altered the original recipe so bare with me! :)

The Ingredients:
4 medium zucchini (I used 1 EXTRA large zucchini)
1 tsp RAW butter
1/2 small onion, finely diced
1 shallot, minced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 lb ground beef (this is optional but it was really good with it!)
1 large egg
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup fat free chicken broth
2 tbsp seasoned breadcrumbs (I used planko)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp marjoram
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and fresh pepper

The Directions:
oven to 400°.

Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4" thick. Arrange in a baking dish. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces.

In a large saute pan,
melt butter and add onion, shallot and garlic. Cook on a medium-low flame for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini and season with a pinch of salt, cook about 2-3 minutes. Cook ground beef and season with salt and pepper, cooking until beef is cooked, breaking up in smaller pieces. Add paprika, garlic powder, marjoram, nutmeg and basil. Add ground beef to zucchini mixture and mix well and cook another minute.

Place zucchini meat in a large mixing bowl and set aside to cool. When cooled, addparmesan cheese and egg white, mix well. Using a spoon, fill hollowed zucchinis with stuffing, pressing firmly and top with bread crumbs. Place chicken broth in bottom of the baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake 35 minutes.

We served topped with a little homemade marinara sauce! Taste just like spaghetti.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Homemade Buckwheat Soba Noodles

My darling husband bought me the noodle maker attachment for my kitchen aid mixer for our last anniversary. We are about to celebrate another year and I just figured out I have been doing it all wrong for a year.

I have tried several times to make noodles. I have had some success stories but nothing like my new recipe!!!! :) For some reason this time I added another step and the noodles were a huge success.

See, my noodles always feel apart when running them through the noodle attachment. My floor was always covered in noodle parts. My kitchen a mess.

Again, not this time!!!! :)

The Ingredients:
2 cups buckwheat flour
1/2 cup water
1/2 tablespoon raw apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

The Directions:

The night before, place the flour in a medium size bowl. Pour the water and vinegar/lemon juice into the bowl and mix with a wooden spoon until you’ve combined it as much as you can. It will most likely be a crumbly mixture at this point. Using your hands, start kneading the mixture until the water and four starts turning into a ball (at which point you can knead a little on a clean surface outside the bowl). Knead for a few minutes until it forms into a firm ball. If needed, you can add 1-2 tablespoons of more water, or flour. You want a firm, but not dry, or wet ball. 1/2 cup of water to 2 cups of flour was perfect for me.
Clean out your bowl and place the dough ball back into it. Dampen a clean dish towel, and wring dry. Place over the ball of dough to keep it moist while it “soaks”. I also put plastic wrap over the bowl, just to make sure that everything stays moist. Leave the bowl out on the counter top overnight for 12 -24 hours.
When ready to roll out, first place a large pot of water to boil on the stove. While the Japanese don’t salt their pasta water, I like too, as the dough doesn’t contain any salt. So salt it generously.
Meanwhile, divide the dough into four sections. Using arrowroot powder, buckwheat flour, or even white flour (once again, only if you don’t have to be gluten free), flour the rolling surface well. If you have a large wooden cutting board, it’s nice to roll and cut directly on it. Flour the top of the dough and your wooden rolling pin. With gentle, but firm motions, start rolling out the dough. You want to roll it out to about 1/8 inch thickness or even thinner! During this process make sure that you are keep both sides of the dough well floured.
To make it easier to cut, I cut the dough into thirds (about 4 inches tall), and laid them on top of each other (just make sure they are lightly floured to prevent sticking).
Using a sharp knife, cut the noodles into 1/8 inch “slices” all the way down the dough.
Repeat this process with the rest of the dough and let the noodles rest for about 10-20 minutes.
Meanwhile, your pot of water should be ready. Make sure it’s at a rolling boil, then add all of the noodles at once, giving a gentle stir to make sure they don’t stick to each other. It should only take two minutes to cook. When done they should be tender, but still be slightly chewy.
Drain the noodles, making sure that you use a colander with fine holes so the noodles don’t fall through!
You can now rinse with cold water to cool them if you are using it in a cool dish, or keep warm for whatever dish you have planned for it.
I sauteed 2 zucchini, 2 squash and garlic. Then added fresh basil, homemade pesto and Parmesan to the Buckwheat noodles.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Soaking Grains

I am going to be honest with you up front - Soaking Grains is new to me. I am not an expert but when I find out something new, I like to share it with everyone! That is just who I am!

I was giving a cookbook while I was pregnant called Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon. This cookbook challenges politically correct nutrition.

I will be honest with you, when we first got this cookbook my husband and I were not so sure about it. I put it aside until a few weeks ago when I was looking for some new recipes. I started reading and haven't stopped!

Here is what I have learned so far.

Why We Soak Grains
Grains require careful preparation because they contain a number of antinutrients that can cause serious health problems. Phytic acid, for example, is an organic acid in which phosphorus is bound. It is mostly found in the bran or outer hull of seeds. Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption. This is why a diet high in improperly prepared whole grains may lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss. The modern misguided practice of consuming large amounts of unprocessed bran often improves colon transit time at first but may lead to irritable bowel syndrome and, in the long term, many other adverse effects. Other antinutrients in whole grains include enzyme inhibitors which can inhibit digestion and put stress on the pancreas; irritating tannins; complex sugars which the body cannot break down; and gluten and related hard-to-digest proteins which may cause allergies, digestive disorders and even mental illness. Most of these antinutrients are part of the seed’s system of preservation—they prevent sprouting until the conditions are right. Plants need moisture, warmth, time and slight acidity in order to sprout. Proper preparation of grains is a kind and gentle process that imitates the process that occurs in nature. It involves soaking for a period in warm, acidulated water in the preparation of porridge, or long, slow sour dough fermentation in the making of bread. Such processes neutralize phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors. Vitamin content increases, particularly B vitamins. Tannins, complex sugars, gluten and other difficult-to-digest substances are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption. “
And from Nourishing Traditions…..
“Traditional methods for preparing grains and legumes supply those factors that nature uses for neutralizing phytic acid in seeds so that they an then sprout and grow: warmth, moisture, time and slightly acidity. Soaking whole grains and flour overnight in a medium like cultured milk or warm acidulated water activates the enzyme phytase, which then neutralizes phytic acid. Studies show that salt added to the soaking medium inhibits this process, so the time to add salt to porridges and batters is just before cooking, not during the soaking period. ” Nourishing Traditions


It is zucchini time! This week was a very exciting week for me! I picked, or should I say harvested, my first zucchini's, 4 to be exact! I also picked up a few large zucchini's from a fellow food sharer and my husband's uncle gave us a LARGE zucchini. We have a lot of zucchini! Oh, did I mention I also received zucchini's yesterday in our share!
I am so excited that someone suggested that I make Ratatouille. I love the movie Ratatouille! I had never heard of Ratatouille before watching the movie. Yes, I know, CRAZINESS!

Here is my first Ratatouille!!! I must say it smelt wonderful and tasted just as wonderful!

I can’t believe how well this worked out.
The Ingredient:
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

The Directions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Marinara Sauce

I love Wednesdays! I know, I have stated this before, but I love Wednesdays because it is food share day! Wednesdays are like Christmas in this household and Wednesdays happen weekly! We are so excited all day to see what vegetables and fruits we will be having in our bag. :)

Yes, I know it sounds silly but really I am like a little kid every Wednesday! Once we pick up the share I can't wait to get home and wash everything and then, of course, eat everything!!!!

Yesterday, we got tomatoes!!! I love tomatoes! My almost 3 year old loves "matos" too but my husband does not.

Sorry to call him out but he doesn't. It's a texture thing.

Knowing that - being a nice wife, I decided to make Marinara Sauce with some of the tomatoes.

Don't worry I saved some tomatoes to eat! :)

Did you know:

One of the most well known tomato eating benefit is its' Lycopene content. Lycopene is a vital anti-oxidant that helps in the fight against cancerous cell formation as well as other kinds of health complications and diseases.

Free radicals in the body can be flushed out with high levels of Lycopene, and the tomato is so amply loaded with this vital anti-oxidant that it actually derives its rich redness from the nutrient.

Lycopene is not a naturally produced element within the body and the human body requires sources of Lycopene in order to make use of this powerful anti-oxidant. While other fruits and vegetables do contain this necessary health ingredient, no other fruit or vegetable has the high concentration of Lycopene that the tomato takes pride in.

Studies involving the tomato have cropped up all over the world of medical science. There are more health benefits derived from eating a tomato than the scientific community is able to print, at least yet.

These studies have proven not only the benefits in preventing cancer, heart disease as well as high cholesterol are also in the tomato’s sights.

This is really exciting information. The health benefits of tomatoes are becoming more and more documented every day as we learn new uses of this amazing fruit.

Cancers such as prostate cancer, cervical cancer, colon cancer, rectal cancer, and cancers of the stomach, mouth, pharynx, and esophagus have all been proven to be staved off by high levels of Lycopene.

Marinara Sauce Recipe

The Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups onions, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups celery, finely chopped
1 cup carrots, finely chopped
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
8 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon granulated sugar (optional)
Freshly-ground black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil, oregano or marjoram
1/4 teaspoon fennel seed (optional)
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)

The Directions:
Cook onion, celery and carrots in olive oil over medium heat in a large pot, covered, until the vegetables are tender — about 20 minutes. Stir occasionally. Add garlic and cook 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, sugar and pepper. Simmer over low heat for 15 minutes. Put the sauce through the medium disc of a food mill if you prefer a smooth sauce. Omit this step if you prefer a smoother sauce.

Add remaining seasonings (except salt) and simmer, stirring often, until sauce reaches desired consistency (about 20 minutes). Add salt. Remove bay leaf.

Pack into clean, hot jars, leaving 1/2-inch headspace; seal. Process in boiling water bath 45 minutes.
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