Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

It is the last day of 2010 and tomorrow we begin a new year.  I am still rolling in holiday treats.  Shaylee asked to buy chips today and I actually said that I'm sick of chips!  Yes, I said that!  I am tired of the treats and goodies and have a feeling some will find their way to the compost bin soon since I am usually the one to finish things off.

I have made some changes over the year but probably not as much progress as I would of hoped.  I am finding it easier to say no at the grocery store.  As I have mentioned, I am not perfect.  In time, I will get to where I want to be even if it takes a little longer than I would of liked.

Many of my favorite blogs are doing a recap of their most popular posts.  Out of curiosity, I checked the ones which got the most page views on this blog.   Here are the top five in descending order:

5. Chicken Soup x 2 .  This is still something I crave often.  
Chicken stew/soup=delicious!

4. Real Food In An Emergency Situation .  I don't know why this surprises me.  
I'm sure that many people are curious about it and it is still something I think 
aboutfrom time to time.

3. Big Mac Salad .  This is my all time favorite salad and I am glad so many 
people enjoyed it!

2. Move Over, Taco Bell .  Homemade tacos, way better than chain made!

1. Crackers! .  A very simple recipe yet it had the most views :)

I want to thank everyone who has visited my blog!  It is always nice to share things 
with other people.  There is such a great community of people in the real food world 
and I am glad to be a teeny tiny part of it :)

Happy New Year, Friends!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Honey Garlic Sauce

Well, due to an issue of burning out my frying pan, I never got to make those wontons last night.   It was pretty bad.

I did, however, make the honey garlic sauce I had planned to use and boy is it yummy!  I made sure there was enough left for when I can chisel out my frying pan.  Maybe this will give me incentive to finally de-rust and season my cast iron skillet.

Note to self, a frying steak can turn on you in an instant!  Good thing the steak was still delicious and barely burnt at all!  My pan on the other hand.....

The best thing about this sauce is it retains most of it's goodness since it is not heated to a nutrient killing cooking temperature.  I don't know if it would still be considered raw by some standards but in any case, it's far more delicious and nutritious than the jarred stuff at the store or what they serve in a Chinese restaurant!

Honey Garlic Sauce

1 cup of water or beef broth
1/2 cup of raw honey (or more to taste)
2 or more large cloves of garlic , finely minced or grated
1tbsp molasses
1tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup water
1 heaping tbsp arrowroot powder/flour (or more if a thicker sauce is desired)

Honey garlic sauce on my basmati rice, veggies and steak,mmm!
Combine water/broth and honey in a small saucepan.  Stir well to mix and add garlic, molasses and Worcestershire sauce.  Heat at a low temperature until warmed.  Mix the second measure of water and arrowroot powder in a cup and add to the saucepan.  Keep stirring while it heats on low until it reaches desired consistency.

Cook Notes: I used water but I think it would be far better using beef broth.  The local garlic I use is huge.  Two cloves is half the bulb and is very potent so definitely adjust to taste!

Part of Simple Lives Thursday!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Taste Changing Seasonally?

I notice that my tastes are changing to reflect what is seasonal(ish).  Not entirely but getting there.

We live in a world where we can eat any food we want any day of the year.  Strawberries in January?   Yep, the store has them!  Salad on Christmas?  Why not!  Well, you get the picture.

I have always eaten salad year round, for example. Now it just does not appeal to me.  I have bought organic salad greens twice this month and other than my daughter who loves salad, it has largely gone uneaten and bad.  I bought some cherries the other day and they just were not good to me.  Over the years I realized that cucumbers any time of the year than when they come out of the garden are mealy and gross.  You can just tell when something does not taste right.

Let your labels be your guide.  If the produce at the grocery store has a local label, you will know that it was not shipped in from far away where it is either in season in another part of the world or artificially brought into season (usually they will say hot house if it is raised that way and I am still deciding how I feel about that but since hot houses are not common here, I guess I don't need to worry too much about it since I don't eat them).  (I edited this to add at our stores, it says where the food comes from either on the signs or labels.  If this is not the case where you shop, don't be afraid to ask!  If enough people ask for local food, it may drive demand for stores to carry it).

Find out what is in season locally.  While some places that are cold in the winter don't grow much in the winter, like here, many things keep well over winter and are considered winter vegetables.  This time next year I will be part of a CSA so I will find out just what they have this time of year.  Quite frankly, I'm really excited about that!!  See if that is an option in your area.

Eat what you stored.  I have tons of berries and veggies I froze when they were in season.  I didn't can this year at all but for some people, that is a great option.

Now, I'm not perfect.  I don't ever want anyone to get the idea that I do everything perfectly, no, no, no.  I still sometimes buy things that I'm not sure of, sometimes I go the cheap route because we're poor, sometimes I buy things because the kids like them and yes, more than I care to admit, we have eaten out recently at fast food joints (cringing inside because of the canola oil).  I am on a journey and I can't get there in one giant step, but in lots of baby steps.   Real food living takes a lot of changes, requires a new way of thinking and seeing things.  It is a process, one that is not popular in the "real world" in which I live in.

Now, today I am hoping to make what will be a real treat.  My favorite Chinese restaurant has something called "Honey Garlic Wonton Strips" which are so good.  Basically they fry thin strips of wonton wrappers and serve them in a heap with honey garlic sauce (which still has bits of the beef in it).  I am going to attempt something but with my sourdough.  It should be interesting :).  We want to have Chinese food for New Years Eve (I did cheat and buy a pack of frozen appetizers though.  Like I said, I'm not perfect!).

Part of Kelly The Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Salisbury Steak

Jenny at the Nourished Kitchen recently posted a recipe for Salisbury Steak.  I was intrigued because I always loved those frozen dinners and it was the only way I could ever find this dish.  Why it didn't occur to me to make it is beyond me.

Her recipe is far more developed than what I made as I did not do a reduction sauce.  I didn't have any broth and we don't have wine (and de-alcoholized wine wasn't appealing to me).  I also used organic mini-bella mushrooms instead of wild ones as I did not want this lunch costing us $20+.  I was quite surprised that the organic mushrooms were the same price as the regular ones ($3), although both are grown without pesticides, so I wonder what the difference is.  With the beef being $2.50 a pound, for us it is a relatively inexpensive meal and it would go well with rice, potatoes or noodles of choice (we had it plain).  The meat could also be stretched with soaked oatmeal or sourdough bread crumbs or another traditionally prepared starch.

So basically, visit Jenny's site if you want the full flavor experience of a well bodied salisbury steak.  Check my recipe out for a quick and cheap version ;)

Quick and Easy Salisbury Steak

2tbsp. butter
1lbs grass fed beef
1/2 tsp. sea salt

2-4 tbsp. butter
1/2 lbs mushrooms, chopped or sliced
1 cup chopped onions

Salisbury Steak on our fancy second hand Tupperware plates.
Melt butter in frying pan.  Form beef into 4 or more patties and fry until done.  Remove patties and add butter to frying pan.  Use it to loosen any yummy bits of beef left in pan and to well coat the pan.  Add the mushrooms and onions, stir to coat with butter and gently cook until onions are done to desired texture (I like mine a little crispy).  Serve patties with mushroom onion mix on top.  Yum!

Mark and I thought this was very good!  We actually used all the mushroom onion mix on our two patties since we didn't eat it with anything so I have two burger patties for another meal.  Total cost of this meal for me was about $6.50 and we get two meals out of it (not including what I use for the other meal).  We could not eat out for that and this is mostly organic, locally grown/produced goodness.


This post is a part of  Tuesday Twister@ GNOWFGLINS

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Monday, December 27, 2010

Stew and "English" Muffins

Since my sourdough starter was doing really well, I decided it was time to do something with it.  I really liked the no-knead dough in a bucket idea so I ran with it.  The ratio is 6-3-3-13, which is 6 cups of water, 3 tablespoons salt, 3 cups starter and 13 cups of flour.  I mixed it all together very well and placed in a large food container I purchased (I knew I couldn't get a bucket in my fridge so I got a rectangular container which is flat and fits well).  I then put it in the fridge overnight.

To make the English Muffins, or rustic muffins since they are not cut out, I just sprinkled the top of the took a small amount of dough and shaped it into a thin circular shape.  I was making stew at the time so I wanted to wait until that was done before I started to cook them.  I let my cast iron 2-burner griddle heat up and cooked on each side until browned.

The stew was just a basic beef stew with lots of veggies.  I feel I have not eaten enough vegetables so I was really craving them.  Here is what supper looked like:

Big Bowl O' Beef Stew and english muffins, aerial view.

Close up, after butter melted.
The english muffins puffed up a lot waiting to cook them so I found they didn't cook all the way through even though I was only cooking them on three.  They will be great for toasting, but I do not like doughy bread products where the middle is kind of uncooked (Mark does).  I will probably make them again, but a lot thinner as I didn't realize just how puffy they would get.  I did eat the outer crust and it was yummy :).  I'm not sure what I'll make next as there are so many things.  I may make tortillas because there is something yummy I want to make soon.  Cinnamon rolls are also a big hit here.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Party Loaves

I didn't know what else to call these since there are so many variations which one could make.

On Tuesday, my family had their annual Christmas party.  I made fudge to bring but changed my mind after I left it in the fridge too long and it got kind of dried out and a little too eaten (Mark and the kids were taking pieces which were 4-6 piece serving sizes since I hadn't cut it.  It was kind of hard to cut since it had marshmallows in it.  Yes, delicious Christmas junk!).

This left me at the last minute trying to decide what to make.  A woman at church often makes a ham and cheese loaf but I couldn't find anything online that resembled it.  So I made my own version!

I made a loaf sized batch of dough.  This would work well with sourdough and I plan to make it when I get my sourdough on the go.  A loaf sized batch of bread dough will make three.  Divide it into three equal parts.

Roll the dough into either an oval or a rectangle shape.  I did it on parchment paper to make it easy to transfer.  Then on either side, make about eight slits which are about a third of the width on each side leaving the middle third uncut, which is where you put your toppings of choice (I made a ham and cheese one with a base of mayo and I made a pizza one which had pepperoni, mozza and a base of tomato sauce.  Sorry they are sideways, I forgot to rotate them and I'm too lazy to redo it ;) ):

Rolled out dough.

Mayo, ham and cheese.
Pizza toppings, I kept it basic.

 After you have your toppings on the dough, start braiding the sides.  Kind of tuck in the tops and bottoms to seal them in.  Next time, I think I would coat with an egg wash before baking.  
Braided loaf.
 After you braid your loaf (loaves), bake at 350 degrees for about half an hour.  Slice and serve!

Finishes loaves on plate, cut into pieces and my itty bitty netbook in the background ;)
This was a hit at the party!  Everyone loved them and they were soooo goood!  You could put any toppings you like, even making it a sweet loaf.  It would be good to assemble, wrap and freeze to have on hand as something to cook on short notice or for an easy lunch/supper.  It probably took an hour and a half from the time I started the dough until it was cut and we were out the door, but that was only because I left for an hour to shop while the dough was in the bread machine.  If you made a bunch, it wouldn't even take any extra time.  I am planning to make some and along with some other goodies, will be part of our Christmas Day brunch :)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

My Sourdough Starter

I started another starter on Sunday because my previous attempts were pretty disastrous.  Here is my little beast tonight:

Whoo!  My baby is growing!  When I stirred it down, it was about half the amount so I dumped half and did my feeding.  I always get a lot of hooch when I make a starter.  Today I had a thick layer on the top after about 2 hours so I added a quarter cup of just whole wheat flour and it was fine.  Then tonight I had a mass of bubbles!  Basically what I'm doing is adding 1/4 cup each of water and whole wheat flour every 12 hours, stirring vigorously, scraping the sides down, covering with a cloth napkin and putting it in the cupboard (we have a serious fruit fly problem at the moment and my ferments aren't helping!).  I may start adding a little extra flour at each feeding because it is eating it up like crazy.

I should soon be able to start using it.  The videos from the sourdough e-course through were so helpful.  There was a bucket method shown, which is similar to the artisan bread in 5 minutes method.  She had a friend on it who was more of a "little of this and a little of that" like me, so it seemed like a method that would work well for me.  They made bread, cinnamon rolls, pita, english muffins and so on from it.  Very cool.  My fridge is teeny tiny so I may have to move shelves around to get a little bucket in there.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Sad Day


Wardeh, you have change my life.  Your e-course was spectacular and I learned so much.  I wish I could continue my membership but things are financially really hard and that extra money is needed for groceries.  If things look up, I'll be back in a heart beat.  The videos and accompanying dialogue made everything so clear and really help me see and understand how to make traditional foods (can you believe dialogue is not in my spellcheck but Facebook is?).

I have spent the last few days watching videos.  I even dreamed Wardeh was with me on a cross province trip, making stops at bake offs last night and checking water levels in small communities, lol!  Yeah, kind of weird!

So friends, if you are overwhelmed and not sure how to get going with traditional food preparation, I highly recommend signing up for these e-courses.  Click the banner for a link.  It is very reasonably priced with courses for all price ranges but it is still a hardship for us right now.

I am planning to do a complete overhaul of our eating in the new year.  I am going to find things the kids LIKE.  I am tired of catering to their picky food likes.  They even turn their noses up at things most kids love!  I am making tacos for lunch and while I just have my son home, I am hoping he will try and like them (I once made them too spicy so they would never eat them again.  Update: it is like trying to get a rock to eat.  He will not try it, just nibbling some of the tortilla.  He was moaning and upset over trying something new; have I mentioned he has sensory food issues?).    I have my dough resting for tortillas and while my hamburger is frozen, I find it's easy to cook if it is going to be in crumbles anyway.  It is a quick, easy to prepare lunch.

I don't really have any recipes because to be honest, I haven't really been cooking.  I have still been very sick and very tired.  This illness has taken a lot out of me.  I haven't had the energy to keep up with dishes (until this morning, every single dish, utensil and pot and pan was dirty, literally).  I haven't had the energy to shop.  I haven't  felt like making real food, even though I made a pot of stew and a batch of rolls for a friend who just had a baby.  We have been relying on easy junk and it is showing.  I am so bloated and ill and I know it's not helping me get better eating junk.  My Candida is so bad it is affecting my mouth so I know I need to get the sugar and refined grains out.

So enough whining.  I will be better prepared in the new year.  Wardeh is a great example of organization.  When I watch,I think she must have OCD too, lol!!  (I have OCD but a weird kind)  I must meal plan again.  I must stop wasting food and making better use of the food we have.    There is a lot I want to do but the ultimate goal will be to nourish our bodies.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Where Have I Been?

Well, I can't account for the whole time I was gone but for the  most part I was sick.  Not sort of sick, not really sick, but the sickest I have ever been in my entire life!!  I am entirely serious.  Mark keeps saying he can't believe how sick I am, that he's never seen me so bad ever.  It's true.  The first couple of days were a blur because of my extreme fever.  It's funny as I had been tracking my temperature for reasons I'll write of after then all of a sudden, it was super high.

Then when my fever broke, I started getting cold sores.  I have always had them from time to time.  But not like these suckers!  My whole right side of my face was puffed up and it was so blistered I couldn't move my mouth. My neck glands were so swollen that I could not sleep laying down since it hurt my neck so bad being on a pillow.  Yesterday they were at their worst and today they are almost gone.


The miracle of coconut oil!  I had been putting it on since I got the cold sores and the healing process has been going very fast.  I've healed what would normally take a week in two days.  I am simply amazed.  This morning I was carefully wiping my mouth off after eating something and layers of scabs came off (sorry, gross I know!). There is no swelling, just some scabbing which will probably go away quickly.

Wow.  Food really is medicine!

So why did I get so sick?  First of all, I think a big reason is that I haven't been taking my Vitamin D and cod liver oil regularly.  I did last year and never got sick (except the odd cold).  As well, I believe that I have adrenal fatigue.  I was actually going to write about it much sooner, actually, right after my last post I was thinking of what I was going to write.  Then things started happening.  There was a lot of stress in the family, our washing machine broke, things piling up around the house, money problems, other things I can't even remember, Christmas, just stress stress everywhere.  Plus I had taken to eating poorly because I have no energy to do anything.

I started looking up about it and came across Matt Stone's 180 degree health blog.  I was blown over because he could of been talking about me.  It's been nearly a couple of week since I read it (well, 10 days as I found it the day I wrote my last post).  He talks about RRARF, recuperative (or is it restorative) rest and refeeding.  It is a way of healing your metabloism so you can function again.  Basically, you find out if you have metabolic damage by taking your temperature every morning for a week.  If it unusually low, then you proceed (my average is 96.5, sometimes its lower).  Then, you spend about a month resting and eating.  Not just eating everything, but a specific way and as often as your body needs.  And I haven't gotten to what you do after that yet.

I don't want to butcher it but if you sign up, you get a free e-book which explains everything.  It just makes so much sense to me and why I am the way I am.  It helped me understand why I am so darn tired all the time and have so much trouble losing weight.  It is a life numbing, crippling fatigue that I am hoping that I can over come because no one understands what it is like.  I plan to start in January simply because of the stresses of December and holiday eating.

I am still recuperating from being sick so I have not been cooking.  I was hoping to have some holiday recipes on the go but I think I have to find my kitchen first ;)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Get Well

Link to Kelly The Kitchen Kop: Announcing the 21-Day Wellness & Weight Loss Adventure: Coming January 3rd, 2011

I need this. I mean REALLY need it! I feel like I am spiraling out of control food-wise and with Christmas this month, I know it is going to get worse.

Funny thing is that if I compare how I eat to how I ate a year ago, I know I'm eating much better. Much healthier. But it's not enough because I am heavier than I was last year. I need to get stronger, be firmer in my resolve not to have junk in the house and work on my family to eat real food as if our lives depend on it because I firmly believe it does.

I am going to have two sets of goals, one for me and one for the family. I am stricter with myself for a number of reasons but the main one is that I seem to be the only one who cannot tolerate many carbs. If I limit them, I end up binging. That is where I am right now; I can't get enough!

So after Christmas, after New Year, when the holiday feasting is done, I am going to get down to business.

It will take me a while to work on my goals because I am not entirely sure just what it is I want to accomplish. I have my ideals but I want to make them workable. I do not want to set myself up for failure. My main objectives are to get healthy and lose weight. I know being the weight I am is setting me up for potential health problems and I am not getting any younger. I need to get moving, even if it is only a 10 minute walk a day to start out (walking the kids to the bus stop is a 20 minute walk each time, so I could do that even just to pick them up).

I am tired of being tired. I am tired of how things are, of having ideals and not pulling through, especially when I am weak at the grocery store and pick up food which is not ideal. it is hard to change. It is hard to go against the grain. But it will be worth it :)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Light I Like

Ours does not look like this but I think it's
too new in Canada to find an online picture :)
Sometimes we will have compromise foods in our life, especially when starting out trying to eat better (especially with very picky kids!!).  For example, a quick easy meal that I can make in minutes is spaghetti and meatballs.  The meatballs are frozen (precooked, I throw them in with the pasta to cook), I use whole wheat pasta and the kids favorite sauce is Ragu, straight from the bottle.  That is my compromise as it has soy oil in it, one of the things I try hard to avoid.  I do like that it is in a bottle instead of the bpa lined cans (although the lids most likely have it).  Plus I find it has a better taste (I have grown to hate the taste of canned foods).

Now, here in Canada we don't get products  like they do in the US.  I have been looking for sugar cookie Celestial Seasonings for years and have finally given up, for example.  When I was low carbing and into the products, they didn't come here for a couple of years after they were in the states.

This week Ragu was on sale for $1 a bottle so I was stocking up (it's usually about $3 a bottle).  There was a new kind, light spaghetti sauce so I got half original and half light.  When I got home, I realized the light had no soy oil in it!  Whoo hoo!  I know what I'll be buying from now on!  I went back and got some more because we use a bottle a week between spaghetti, pizza and other dishes.

Photo credit:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Foodie Glee

Now, a few days I probably would not have known what these two items are.  Now, not only do I know, I have them!!

Yesterday, Mom wanted to go to the valley so the kids and I went with her.  This time of year, the farm stands are all closed but I thought it would be a good time to go to Ran-Cher Acres.  The last few times, we did not have time to stop since it is a ways in from the main road (as most treasures are).  So I asked her if we could go.  I think she was kind of hesitant since it was more than 8kms off the main road and everyone had to pee (lol!) and when we got there, "it's just a house" but we made it.

Randy, one of the owners, came down and let us in.  I was asking for kefir grains since I knew they had them.  When he was showing them to me, he mentioned something about kombucha.  Well, I nearly jumped out of my skin in excitement and asked if they sold scobys!  He went upstairs and came down with a huge pickle jar filled with brown liquid and a huge scoby on top.  There was one on the bottom and he (ever so carefully with gloves) peeled it off for me!  It was all I could do not to explode when he said I could have it!

He asked how I got interested in this stuff and I said that I have been sick and I'm trying to eat for health, including lots of probiotics (well, it probably didn't come out that way since it was like the first time I got to talk to a real person about these things).  He gave me a Weston A. Price foundation brochure as well as the number and email address of their local chapter leader (it's the closest one to me, over 2 hours away).

As I said, it was so nice to talk to a real live person face to face about these things.  I could tell he was just as excited as I felt.  Mom and the kids probably weren't too happy I was taking so long, lol!  Randy was so nice, I wish I could of talked to him all day and afforded to buy tons of things.  He only charged $3 for the grains and I left feeling so blessed!  I have bought some of their products at other markets and I will continue to knowing that the people who made them are wonderful and kind who love what they do.

I forgot to mention, the grains were used with goats milk.  He told me to divide them by half, half for milk and half for water kefir and they should be fine.  I am so excited to be making real kefir, especially water!  I never thought I would have access to these things.

Usually I come home with a lot more produce (I bought 3 bags of dulse, 4 or 5 squash, bananas, carrots, spinach and a few things I forget in addition to the kefir grains and scoby) but I feel like I came home with a lot more!

Now, I just need to get cracking on doing something with them!  I am a little timid about the kombucha.  Being LDS, we don't drink tea (other than herbal) but I think I will get either green tea or roobios, I'm not sure yet.  I need to clean my disastrous kitchen before I do anything.  Not feeling well and recovering from our trip yesterday (in addition to not being home much for almost three days straight, broken washing machine and some other crisis-es) have left the cleanliness of our apartment much to be desired!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Note To Self:

Follow the instructions!

We were going to make vanilla frozen yogurt tonight and I wasn't thinking of the proper order of doing things.  So I put the ingredients in and put the top on, turn it on and nothing.  In the couple of seconds it took to put the cover on, the outer layer of ingredients froze making the paddle impossible to turn.  So it was a wasted batch.  Grrrr.  At least now I know and will remember for next time.

I also learned how to fix the pop top button when it fell off and I was in a panic that I broke our brand new ice cream maker!  The downside to ordering online is if something doesn't work, it can be a hassle to return.

Tomorrow I am planning on making a batch of pumpkin pie ice cream in the morning (made with buttercup squash instead of pumpkin) and egg nog ice cream around supper time.  The annual Christmas parade is going on tomorrow and I want to treat our family who watch it with us with hot chocolate and yummy homemade ice cream.  These are two pretty festive flavours and I can't wait to try them!!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Vanilla & Ice Cream

20 Rich Aromatic ORGANIC Bourbon vanilla beans/pods (eBay item 350413984313 end time 15-Dec-10 21:23:40 AEDST) : Home Garden: "This vanilla is of the V.Planifolia variety which is like the Madagascan bourbon"

I finally found locally made vanilla. It is made in West Pubnico which isn't too far from here (Gavel brand, I believe). I was so excited! It was also only $2.05 for a big bottle. I scooped it up and planned to buy it but then thought to read the ingredients. Propylene glycol, one of the ingredients I wanted to avoid. Sigh!

So this morning, after at least a month of looking, I finally broke down and ordered vanilla beans off ebay. I decided on the ones in the link above mainly because I didn't want to commit to a big order of half a pound since finances are tight.

The hardest part will be going to the liquor store to buy either vodka or bourbon for the base for the vanilla extract I plan to make. I do not drink alcohol at all and have literally not touched the stuff in about 15 years (except, of course, in extracts).

I am also planning on making other extracts for ice cream making so I hope it turns out. Mint would be nice, as would orange. It will also be a lot cheaper than buying those tiny little bottles which also contain questionable ingredients.

I think I mentioned making ice cream a couple of times.  Yes, I finally got an ice cream maker!  I'm so excited about it :).  So far we've only made old fashioned vanilla but today I'm making pumpkin pie ice cream and Saturday I am making egg nog ice cream.  Mmmmm!  This is the one I got, Hamilton Beach and it was $46 something Canadian on  I had $40 in gift certificates from swagbucks so I didn't have to pay much at all!  I really wanted a Cuisinart but when I put it in my cart, they jacked u the price.  Then it went down when I ordered this.  It seemed strange.  Then they went on sale at Canadian Tire for $59 but I am not going to complain.  I have what I want and I'm going to be happy with it!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy and Healthy Holidays E-Course @ The Healthy Home Economist

Link: Giveaway! Happy and Healthy Holidays E-Course | The Healthy Home Economist

Two things I really love, The Healthy Home Economist and The Nourished Kitchen. Make that three things, add in an e-course :)

Click the above link to find out how to enter to win a fabulous prize, an all encompassing healthy holiday cooking e-course offered by Jenny of The Nourished Kitchen. I have come to love e-courses and wish I could sign up for every one (but can't due to lack of funds).

So, while I really would love to win, I will also spread word of the contest around since it would be awesome for anyone who is interested in healthy holiday cooking to win!

Check it out!!

Basmati Rice

I am going to ease back into writing again because being depressed is taking a toll on me.  I know it is related to health in some way but I don't have a doctor to whom I can go to so we can figure out what the heck is wrong.  I am trying to be more diligent in changing how we, and especially how I, eat because it is taking its toll.

So why did I decide to write about basmati rice today?  Well, I need to write about something, don't I?  ;)

Actually, it started with me trying to find things to put in the kids lunches.  Boy, they are hard to pack for.  I always fall back on tomato soup because it's easy, cheap and they will eat it all.  But when they eat something too often, they get bored.  So I have been exploring options.  Rice is something they said they would like to bring.  I can butter it up so they have a nice healthy fat to go with it.

I have always thought brown rice was the healthiest.  Never mind it tasted a little odd but you do what you do.  The long cook time puts me off making it very often and when I do, I make a large pot.  Most of it goes to waste that way since it gets shoved to the back of the fridge and forgotten about.  Plus everyone in my family likes white better.

Then I was reading the Healthy Home Economist's blog saying that brown rice may not necessarily be the best.  Apparently the phytic acid in brown rice is really hard to break down which means you do not absorb the minerals.  Hmmmm!  She also talks about how the fiber in whole grains is actually really bad for our bodies.  Fruit and veggie fiber = good, grain fiber = bad.  That makes sense to me based on how I feel when I eat either one.

Sarah says that her family eats basmati rice, which is more nutritious than plain white rice.  Well, if that's the case, I decided to give it a try.  We better like it because I bought a 4.54kg bag of it today on sale!  (approx. 10lbs).  The best before on it is August 24, 2012 so we have time to use it up, although I may store it in the freezer.

(Update: Mark and I had some for lunch with our taco soup {recipe to come} and I LOVE it!  It is the best rice I ever had!  I soaked it for an hour and it took about 10 minutes to cook to tender perfection.  With salt and butter, it can stand alone for taste. )

On the package it still suggests soaking it for at least half an hour.  I'm sure it is to improve the taste or cook-ability.  I could always soak it overnight, cook in the morning and put it in their thermos's. has basmati rice if you want to check out these links (yes, I am an affiliate).  I did not buy organic as the store did not have it:
Village Harvest Organic Basmati Premium Aromatic Rice, 30-Ounce Bags (Pack of 6)
Rice, Brown Basmati, Organic, 25# Bulk
Rice, Basmati Brown Lundberg, Organic, 3lb
Laziz Basmati Rice, 10-Pound BagSBR White Basmati Rice - Certified Organic Gluten-Free Kosher Certified- 2LB

photo credit:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Meal Plan: Sunday Nov. 14th to Nov. 20th

Saturday I actually cleaned out my fridge, sat down and made a meal plan for the week.  I am trying to get some of this stuff eaten up.  I love shopping then I have all kinds of things I don't know how I'm going to use it up!

I didn't include breakfast as for me it's usually eggs.  This is also mainly for me.  The kids usually bring different things to school and Mark brings whatever for his work meals.  During the week I will be posting some of the recipes of the things I have eaten.  As you can tell, I am kind of gluten free/low carb/paleo kind of diet.  I'm trying to eat more veggies because it is hard for me, even though I love vegetables.  Also, everything is open to change if something isn't going to work.

Lunch: sandwiches (whatever everyone wants.  I'll soak the flour tonight and bake in the morning), soup
Supper: Crockpot chicken, potatoes, corn, brussel sprouts

Lunch: fried collard greens (in bacon grease), onions and sausage
Supper: steak, rice (soaked rice for family, riced cauliflower for me) and carrots

Lunch: cabbage fried in coconut oil, broccoli salad, leftover chicken
Supper: noodles for kids, mixed veggies, pork loin chops

Lunch: Onion leek soup with coconut flour garlic cheese biscuits
Supper: Pizza (soaked flour for family, cauliflower crust for me)

Lunch: baked sweet potatoes, leftovers
Supper: Spaghetti and meatballs (I'll have spaghetti squash)

Lunch: stew with coconut flour garlic cheese biscuits
Supper: hamburgers with fries and carrots

Lunch: an all dressed salad (big salad with meat or tuna and hard boiled eggs)
Supper: Taco Bake

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Some Recipes (not mine)

This blog was originally a placeholder for recipes I used and didn't want to lose or recipes I found online that I probably would never find again so I would place them here.  These recipes are in the comments of a Kelly The Kitchen Kop blog post so if I don't put them here, I will probably never find them again.  I want to go gluten free and eventually want my family to join me so I need all the recipes I can find!

I have not made these but I plan to!  The lady who posted these recipes  can be found blogging here:

Paula Runyan October 21, 2010 at 12:06 pm

Here is the chocolate recipe.
Please head the cooked bean part, and DO NOT grind and use dry beans.
Because this cake is made with honey, you must let it set a good 12-24 hours prior to eating, to let the sweetness set in.
If you eat it before that, you will be disappointed for sure.
Black Bean Chocolate cake.
24 hours prior to making this cake, soak 2 cups of black beans in water, with a little bit of raw whey added.
Cook and cool the beans in fresh water, prior to making the cake.
(Beans may be cooled quickly by rinsing with cold water)
This method assure that your beans will not cause gastric issue of any kind.
If you do not have dry beans available to you, you can use one can of rinsed black beans,
However, I cannot vouch for their not causing gastric distress.
On to the recipe!
In your blender, combine the following.
1 1/2 cups of cooked and cooled beans
3 farm fresh eggs
1 tsp of vanilla
1/2 tsp of sea salt
6 Tbls of cocoa powder
1 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda.
Blend until smooth.
Add the following ingredients.
3/4 cup of honey
7 tbsp of warmed butter
2 eggs.
Blend again till smooth.
Pour into a buttered 9x9 pan that has also been “floured” with a bit of cocoa.
Bake at 350 degrees until center just springs back when pressed.
Allow to fully cool, and ideally, let sit for a few hours prior to serving.
Serve with a dollop of fresh raw cream and a few sliced strawberries.

15Paula Runyan October 21, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Banana Bread
This recipe is adapted from my grandmothers recipe, to make it gluten free.
Preheat oven to 350
Butter, and then flour with rice four, one bread pan.
1/2 cup butter
3 bananas (frozen and thawed are best)
2 eggs
2 cups of brown rice flour
1 tsp of baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup of kefir
1/2 cup of soaked.dehydrated nuts (optional)
Soak flour with kefir overnight, or all day.
Mix rest of ingredients in, pour into pan, and bake till done.
Allow to cool. Loosen the sides prior to dumping out.
You will find that this recipe is very similiar to the wheat version of banana bread.
Very little difference in texture or flavor.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Vegetable Oils

"When making generic vegetable oil, the goal is to create a flavorless, odorless, mostly colorless product as efficiently as possible. That’s done using a process called solvent extraction, in which the base plant (e.g., soybeans) is ground up and mixed with a chemical solvent. The most commonly used solvent is hexane, which boils at a low temperature. The hexane dissolves the oil, then the solid plant matter is removed and the remaining mixture is heated so that the solvent evaporates, leaving behind only the oil. The oil is flavorless and odorless because the volatile compounds responsible for the taste and smell also evaporate when heated. Taylor says only trace amounts of solvent are left behind, if any."

I Eated A ButterHmmm, I don't think this makes me want to eat vegetable oil anymore, lol!   Solvent in oil, ew!!  It has been a long time since I have purposefully used it, although I bought some to use in soap making to see how it works.  

The problem is, it is so prevalent in foods. How to avoid it?

Don't eat packaged foods!

Simple but efficient.

Canola especially is becoming a real problem. It is everywhere and being touted as the healthiest fat there is. Sally Fallon wrote an article about this that should be read if you haven't already:  The Great Con-ola by Sally Fallon

I grew up thinking that fat was bad. Butter was bad. Real mayo was bad. We ate fakey margarine and fakey mayo, low or no fat. Skim milk. Fat and skin cut off meat (although we secretly ate it and loved it!).

What I am now learning is that fat is good. Our cells need it, our brains need it, it is healing and nourishing *IF* you eat the right kinds. Kids need fat to develop. We need it to be satiated. Fat does not make you fat.  I don't claim to be an expert on it but I do know that we've been duped. I still have a lot to learn because even though I read and read, the science is hard for me to understand. However, I do not need to fully understand the mechanisms of how our bodies need fat in order to know how much better I feel and how much better things taste with good healthy fats.

A quick list of the best fats are as follows (I do not have all the healthy fats listed as many are unavailable where I live):
-olive oil (best if not heated)
-coconut oil

Animal fats are best from grass fed, organic sources but I know for me, it is literally impossible to find (other than what fat comes on the meat, and it isn't much). Coconut oil is great for the metabolism and it is food for high temperature cooking, such as frying (I can't afford enough of it for that purpose since it is very expensive here). No fats should be hydrogenated. That is a whole other kettle of bad news for health.

So basically, don't be scared of fats as long as they are the right kind! They are good for you and your body will thank you for nourishing it :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Real Food In An Emergency Situation

I had hoped to blog more but I have been rather distracted.  My county is in a state of emergency due to incredible amounts of rain over the weekend.  Roads are crumbling, bridges are collapsing and being washed away, homes are flooded to the point of being like little islands in an ocean, people are being evacuated and it is getting worse by the day with more rain on the horizon.  This picture is an aerial shot of a close by community to show how extensive the damage is.  Photo Credit: (November 8, 2010 Aerial Photo by Peggy D'Entremont).   Fortunately, I live in town on a hill so we are not in a danger flooding zone unless the ocean rises a few meters.

With disaster, my thoughts often turn to having emergency food on hand.  My church places great emphasis on being self sufficient and prepared for times of emergency.  My family should have 72 hour kits but we currently don't.  The premise is you have a backpack for each person with clothes, food, medication and comfort items that would last for 72 hours, which is the average length of an emergency.  Water is a good idea too, especially with flooding situations where bacteria counts in water systems may be compromised.

This brings to mind, what real food can one put in a 72 hour kit?  It needs to be something that stores well, doesn't take up a lot of room, something that is easy to eat without heat, nourishing and filling.  This is my dilemma.

Since I haven't given it a lot of thought and I'm still kind of new to real foods, here are some ideas off the top of my head:

-peanut butter or other nut or seed butters (commercially bought as home prepared do not have a long shelf life)
-soaked and dehydrated nuts/seeds
-canned tuna or wild caught salmon or other meats (maybe less than ideal but still life sustaining)
-homemade jerky
-home dried fruits and vegetables
-soaked flour hardtack (sounds good in theory, would it work?)
-coconut oil
-vitamins, cod liver oil

See, I kind of struggle with ideas.  Most real food isn't meant to be stuffed in a backpack for long periods of time to be grabbed in case of emergency.  It is meant to sustain life during a time of emergency, not be a long term way of eating.  These items could be rotated out ever 6 months (more or less depending on the shelf life of the food item).

So, do you have any ideas of food items that could easily be stored for long term use?  Please share your thoughts in the comment section.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Market Report November 8th

Well, I don't have pictures and I don't have a total accounting of what I spent and what I bought.  I am trying to set some real food goals and this month I wanted it to be to buy nothing with any more than 5 ingredients.  I failed with tomato soup.  It is so hard to find things the kids will eat in their lunches and they always eat tomato soup, but, of course, there are more than 5 ingredients (8 to be exact).  In the mornings it is so rushed and I like putting something hot in their lunch so they usually have it two or three times a week.  I am not going to beat myself up over it as overall I'm doing much better.

At the market, I bought a large lovely leek, a big bunch of green onions, a bag of zesty salad greens, a bag of sweet potatoes, 4 of the most delicious red delicious apples I have ever had, a big bag of cranberries and something else that is not coming to mind.

At the grocery store, I loaded up on marble cheese (for the kids lunches), bought some eggs, milk, raisins, natural cheezies, chips, and french fries,  Gah!  I get in the store and I am totally like the girl from "Confession of a Shopaholic" (I am currently reading the whole series and I can totally relate to her, except for me it's food shopping).  It is crazy.

I really want to get into meal planning.  It is FlyLady's habit of the month.  I hate to say it but we waste a lot of food because either I forget we have it or I poorly plan our meals around what we have on hand.

Today I spent around $60 grocery shopping, but $30 of that was for boots for Shaylee and a notebook and pens that I bought (half my shopping trouble is you can buy everything you need at the grocery store!) and $10 for boxes of  Pot of Gold chocolate for Christmas.  I am going to try not to buy any thing else this week, even though it will be haaaaaarrrrrd!  I will have to force myself to use up what we have on hand.

(clipart from )

Saturday, November 6, 2010

A Day Of Win

Today was another rainy, windy day but it did not stop the hoards of people from attending our towns Fall Harvest Fest.  We would of walked since it is only four or five streets over, but we drove due to the weather.  The cars were lined up and down the entire street, both parking lots full, no where to park!  Wow, this was pretty amazing!  I eventually found a spot and we headed in.

By the front door was a man with a hand cranked cider press.  It was kind of crowded so we decided to check it out later.  A nice lady at the door told me where everything was going on and we chatted a little bit.  Then we headed into the fray.  Wow, wall to wall vendors.  So much locally produced goodies as far as the eye could see.  The canteen was serving up yummy local fare, there were booths talking about topics of interest such as community gardens, school edible gardens, composting and more.

A lady announced the class was starting for edible wild greens soon so I made a quick run through the market to get some things I wanted then we headed over.  There was a children's activity room right next door.  After we wrangled them in there, we went to the class, which was just starting.

The class was being presented by Tony Papadogiorgakis, a local man who originally came from the Isle of Crete in Greece.  He had pretty extensive knowledge of edible wild greens and was very descriptive.  I scribbled lots of notes in the booklet they gave us.  We didn't stay for the whole class (about 45 minutes) because we could see it would take a long time, but I really learned a lot.  I will not look at weeds the same again!

We tried to get the kids out of the activity room but they were having too much fun!  They made tons of play dough sculptures, they played games, dug for potatoes, painted, read and so on.  They were having a blast so Mark and I ended up browsing the market a little more. We saw some people we knew and picked up some more fruits and vegetables.  I noticed a fellow local blogger was there, but I was too shy to introduce myself (I am an extremely shy, insecure person in real life.  Plus I didn't want to feel like a stalker :) ).

Most exciting of all is I signed up to be part of the Tri-Country Local Food Network!  I talked to someone there about it, telling them I don't grow or produce anything but I want to support local food as much as possible.  She said that was great!  They need people who are willing to give input, to give support and to help the network grow.  I am really excited about it :).  I figure if I am going to talk the talk, I better be ready to walk the walk.  Food security and the future of local foods depends on communities for support.

So then we tried some apple cider and the kids got to take turns turning the apple cider press, which they thought was a blast.

We all left happy, having had a great time.  I love the sense of community that I feel when we go to the farmers market.  I love knowing where my food comes from and being able to talk to the people who grow it.  They have more invested in the food they sell than the grocery store does and it is worth supporting.