February 14, 2011 § Leave a Comment
First of all: Happy Valentine’s Day! <3 I hope you’re spending the evening with your honey, your friends, or doing something special for yourself. Personally, I feel like curling up on the couch with a bowl of banana soft serve and watching Eclipse. However, I think I’m legally bound to lavish affection on my husband tonight. My work is never done. I keed, I keed, I hope we both can stay up past 9:00 p.m. to watch “Eclipse” together.
Secondly: I hope you had a nice weekend! We took Peter to the movie theater for the first time to see “Gnomeo and Juliet” (not the best animated movie I’ve ever seen, but it was cute).
After the movie, we came home and I made my Comforting Cabbage dish for dinner. It was just as good as I remembered.
Undoubtedly, this week is already better than last week when I remained culinarily (real word?) uninspired. I didn’t cook much at all….well, I did make homemade applesauce, but it was nothing to write home about. I got a little overzealous in Trader Joe’s two weeks ago and bought 8 pounds of apples. I had four pounds sitting on the counter last week getting all kinds of wrinkly, and the mere thought of chewing all those apples within a day or two made my jaw tired.
I first thought I’d make apple crisp, but realized that most of it would probably go to waste since we’re not big sweet eaters here. My second thought was applesauce since it’s multifunctional. We could eat it plain, put it in oatmeal, over pancakes, freeze some for later, etc.
So, applesauce it was. I followed this recipe, but used brown rice syrup instead of sugar. I did learn that an immersion blender is a perfectly suitable way to mash the apples once they’re cooked (my potato masher is practically useless.)
Now, here’s what you came for, the Mom’s Club recipe of the week. Nancy provided two great recipes this week, and here they are:
For this recipe I usually make a huge batch of homemade sauce on the weekend, and then freeze individual bags of sauce to thaw and use as needed. This is great for all those lasagna noodles that have been broken and you don’t know what to do with them.
prep : 5 minutes cook: 30 minutes
1/2 lb ground beef, pork or turkey (or none at all)
2 tbs of balsamic vinegar (omit if not using meat)
2 tsps of Italian seasonings
4 uncooked lasagna noodles, broken into large pieces
1 (14.5) can diced tomatoes with onions undrained, OR I use same amount of home-made sauce
1 cup of bottled roasted red bell peppers, chopped ( I omit because I put peppers in home-made sauce)
3/4 cup of water
5 tsp pesto
1 cup skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup mozz and parm shred cheese
Cook meat in a large nonstick deep skillet. Add vinegar (to beef) and Italian seasoning. Dollop ricotta over meat, and add shredded cheese. Top with broken noodles, making one flat layer (noodles will overlap a little bit).
Pour tomatoes and peppers over noodles, making sure that noodles are completely covered (or pour sauce over). Repeat 2-3 layers ( top layer should be noodles, just like regular baked lasagna). Add water. Dollop pesto by half tsp over top ( if I don’t have any I just omit). Bring mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes or until noodles are cooked through. Uncover and sprinkle shred cheese on top. Cover let stand 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Cut into wedges, remove with a slotted spatula.
Fennel Salad ( can’t really get the kids to eat this yet, they get a different salad, but us big people like it)
2 cups thinly sliced fennel bulbs ( about 4 small bulbs)
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1 cup bottled citrus sections or fresh orange sections
2 tsps olive oil
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I have used sea salt)
1/4 tsp black pepper or to taste
1 tablespoon fennel fronds
Combine first 3 [ingredients] in a large bowl. Add oil and remaining ingredients toss gently to coat.
These recipes have been adapted from CookingLight Superfast suppers.
(Thanks , Nancy! I cannot wait to try the fennel salad. I actually just bought some at Trader Joe’s – pwa)
Talk to you soon!
October 7, 2010 § 2 Comments
I know, we all have our food triggers. At certain times I crave salty and cheesy food, and these little buggers get me every time:
I buy a huge box of them (the “whole grain” kind, as if that makes any difference) under the pretense that they’re a snack for Peter. Well, he hardly eats them. My husband doesn’t eat them either. Which means that I eat just about the whole box. All by myself over the span of two weeks. Luckily, there’s nothing too disturbing in the ingredients list, but still, they’re not giving me any nutritional boost and I try to only eat foods that support my health.
For other people–maybe the majority of people?–sugar is their trigger. For me, it’s no big deal to have an apple crisp in the house. If we’re out at dinner, I usually pass on dessert. [The two desserts I won't pass up are molten chocolate lava cake and chocolate souffle, but I see those desserts on a menu once in a blue moon].
But some people can’t stop eating a sugary treat, much like I often can’t eat just one dang cheesysalty little devil of a Goldfish cracker
The other day I posted on Facebook that I had an apple crisp baking in the oven. A friend of mine commented that–I’m paraphrasing here–one can’t be healthy AND eat apple crisp. (He actually wrote “pure wellness and apple crisp sounds like jumbo shrimp.” He’s funny.) Anyway, I told him, a bit defensively, that that is untrue. One CAN be healthy and eat apple crisp (as long as they’re not diabetic or have celiac disease).
I said that because there is nothing inherently “unhealthy” in the apple crisp I made. It contains apples, flour, oats, sugar, butter and spices. Those are, for the most part, whole, natural ingredients.
But I guess if sugar is your trigger, your weakness, then apple crisp will be the antithesis of healthy for you.
My friend’s comment pushed my buttons a little bit because I’m so tired of the good food/bad food/food guilt game. I played it for way too long and I’ve been out of it for only a few years. Admittedly, I still pause when I see a recipe that calls for a whole stick of butter, but then I remind myself that I’m not going to be eating the whole stick in one serving. I absolutely would rather eat a dessert in which I can identify all the ingredients than eat something lower in fat and calories that has a paragraph-long ingredients list that includes the words “high fructose corn syrup” and “artificial flavors.”
In my ideal world, people will stop looking at food in terms of calories and fat grams and rather choose to eat foods based on nutrition and nourishment, and quality, not quantity. That’s what ”eat consciously” means in my tagline up there.
In my eyes, I can be healthy and eat a sweet treat now and then provided it’s made with whole, natural ingredients. I refuse to use fake food like low-fat butter substitute or an artificial sweetener. Frankly, I consider those things to be poison and I try my best to keep fake food out of my life.
In fact, I think those fake foods are a major cause of people’s cravings. Our 21st century bodies are malnourished. The majority of Americans are overweight and undernourished. It makes no sense. We have aisles and aisles of food to choose from and most of that food is nutritionally vacant. It’s not nourishing us and in some cases [GMOs, trans fats] may actually be harming us. Our bodies are craving nourishment, but instead of asking for an apple, a body will crave apple pie for all that “energizing” sugar it contains. Our bodies are tired and looking for energy because they are depleted.
I’m a true believer that once you start eating a balanced diet based on whole, natural foods many of your cravings will disappear. I believe that because it has worked for me. I struggled with food issues for about 20 years. I know about cravings and out-of-control eating. I know more than I want to know.
To this day, I keep a food journal, although I no longer keep track of calories and fat grams. Now I use the journal to remind me when I need to eat more greens. Or if my jeans are feeling a little snug, I can look back and see what I’ve been eating that might have caused me to gain weight or become bloated. It really just keeps me accountable and reminds me to nourish myself. I also keep track of my exercise schedule and vitamin intake.
With all that said, here is a recipe for the apple crisp I made the other afternoon with the apples Peter and I picked from a local orchard.
I hope you consider it dessert and not an evil entity. Come join me in my ideal world where we eat only whole, nourishing food (and the occasional school of Goldfish crackers. It’s all good). It’s a fun place, I promise.
Adapted from Carrots ‘n’ Cake
5 medium-sized apples (almost any kind will work. ‘Tis the season for apple picking, so get thee to an orchard!)
1 cup spelt flour*
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup sugar
1 stick organic butter, softened**
Cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger to taste
1 Tbs. apple cider, optional
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Chop apples into small pieces and place in a pie dish. (You can peel the apples, but I didn’t).
2. Sprinkle cinnamon and nutmeg all over the apples. I used about a tablespoon of each and then sprinkled a very little bit of ginger powder on top. It wasn’t even 1/8 of a teaspoon. Just like dark chocolate, a little goes a long way.
3. Combine flour, oats, sugar, and a little more cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in a bowl. Using a fork, combine the softened butter with the flour, oats, sugar, and spice mixture. The mix should begin to look crumbly throughout. My mix needed some help to clump up, but rather than adding more butter, I drizzled in some apple cider to help it get more crumbly.
4. Cover apple pieces with the crumbly mixture.
5. Bake for 40-45 minutes until top becomes crisp and begins to brown and apples are soft (stick a fork in one to test it).
6. Remove from oven and let cool for 5-10 minutes. Enjoy in moderation!
*I used spelt flour only because I had it in the fridge and thought, “why not?”
**I always use organic dairy products.
It was really terrific and I think the ginger gives it a nice kick. I may try Tina’s version sometime just to compare. Although I liked the topping–it’s thick and almost cookie-like–next time I may change the ratios to : 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup oats, 1/2 cup sugar.
September 21, 2010 § Leave a Comment
Peter’s school throws a birthday party for each child on the class day nearest to his or her birthday. So, today is Peter’s first school birthday party! And that requires me to provide the snack for the day.
I don’t know if you’re aware of this, but the days of bringing birthday cupcakes to school are over. It says so right in the school’s handbook. You see, those cupcakes may contain peanuts, eggs, dairy, wheat, gluten, chocolate, and for all we know, mad cow disease. Cupcakes and birthday cakes are forbidden at many schools now since they may contain potential allergens.
I take allergies very seriously. My niece has a peanut allergy and because of that I held off giving nuts to Peter until just a few months ago. Thankfully he is not allergic, which makes snack time so much easier now that I can give him the nut-filled Lara bars that I am addicted to often eat. Being a student of nutrition, I am confounded by the number and types of allergies kids have these days. I just don’t get it. Searching the web brings up an array of theories, none of which provide a definitive explanation. But, that topic can be a post (or book) on its own.
I wanted to bring a snack a little more festive than a box of Goldfish crackers, so today’s post is about the wacky, but hopefully allergen-free, ”cupcakes” I made for Peter’s class this morning. I got the idea from Angela at Oh She Glows . (Thanks, Angela!)
I made a “frosting” by combining sunflower seed butter and brown rice syrup fluff:
Cored and halved organic apples:
Plopped the “frosting” on the apple halves and jazzed them up by topping them with carob chips:
(I apologize for the horrendous pictures. I was running very late this morning.)
OK, so this version tastes…fine. However, when I make them for us at home, I’ll definitely use the peanut butter and fluff “frosting” with real dark chocolate chips version. Peter liked both versions, actually. Regardless of the version, I think it is a cute idea and it will be fun to experiment with different types of “frosting.”
I’m off to pick up Peter from school. We’ll see how well these “cupcakes” went over with the rest of the class!