Friday, December 30, 2011

joy bauer's food cures

Joy Bauer's Food Cures has been revised and updated; I was fortunate enough to have a copy recently come across my desk.

As those of you reading my blog know, I am a huge proponent of food and it's ability to help support a healthy body.  We are what we eat; eating whole food and practicing wholesome nutrition goes a long way toward supporting our bodies and in dealing with health issues.

Broken down into several easy to understand categories this book covers the basics of understanding nutrition as well as how to, as Joy puts it, "think like a nutritionist."  She offers information about how to lose weight and support healthy skin and hair.

Speaking of hair, did you know the average person loses about 100 hairs each day?  It turns out that since hair is made from protein if we don't get enough we can actually cause the rate of new hair growth to slow down.  In the book Joy points out that hair is a good way to determine overall health and highlights which vitamins (and which foods contain those vitamins) are supportive for healthy hair and nails (which are made from the same hardened keratin protein as hair).  Offering more in-depth health and nutrition support, the book also delves into conditions such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, migraines, IBS and more.

The book is easy-to-read and laid out with step-by-step encouragement and support to help the reader reach their goals for health.  The book is also sprinkled with lots of call-out boxes which cover the highlights and answer questions that the reader may have.  She includes stories and examples throughout the book which is helpful.  In addition to providing the necessary information to help the reader better understand the basics of their condition and how to best support their body each chapter has a 4-Step Program which reminds the reader of the basics, provides a grocery list, offers some additional suggestions, and then also offers meal plans with some delicious looking recipes.  Her Citrus Smooth-See recipe on page 272 is delicious as is the Vegetable Oatmeal Bisque on page 322.  And the Parmesan Couscous and Ratatouille with Olives, Tomatoes and Fresh Basil on pages 383 (listed below) is a new family favorite.

Joy Bauer's Food Cures provides what you need to know about healthy eating and whole food nutrition.  It also gives you information to help you understand how to make those healthy changes.

Parmesan Couscous and Ratatouille With Olives, Tomatoes, and Fresh Basil
Makes 3 servings (1 1/2 cups ratatouille and 1 1/2 cups coucous per serving


1/2 pound kale, stems trimmed, thinly sliced
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large yellow squash, cut into small cubes (about 2 cups)
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1/4 cups kalamata or nicoise olives (7 or 8) pitted and chopped
Pinch of ground red papper
1/4 cup whole basil leaves torn


1 cup whole wheat couscous
1 cup sugar snap peas, chopped
1 1/4 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth, heated
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

To make the ratatouille:
Heat a deep saute pan over high heat
Add the kale, a sprinkle of salt, and 3/4 cup water
Cook, stirring occasionally for 13-15 minutes or until softened
If the kale becomes too dry add more water
Stir in the oil, squash, tomatoes, olives, and red pepper
Cook for 5-6 minutes or until the squash is tender and the tomatoes lose their shape
Remove from the heat and stir in the basil
Set aside

To make the couscous:
In a medium bowl, mix the couscous and sugar snap peas
Pour the hot broth on top, stir at once and cover with aluminum foil
Allow the couscous to rest for 5-6 minutes or until all the water is absorbed and the couscous is soft and fluffy
Fold the cheese into the couscous and season with salt and black pepper

To serve:
Spoon the couscous onto a plate or bowl and serve the ratatouille on top

To learn more about Joy and the concept of food cures visit her website.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

luscious lemon

Around this time last year I bought some fruit trees at the local County Extension Service Master Gardener's Sale.  One was a lemon.  All year long we've been watching the tree grow.  It produced just one lonely lemon fruit of enormous proportions - you can see it in it's growing phase here.  We have been waiting for it to ripen.

Today was the day.  Yellow all the way down, smelling fragrantly of....grapefruit?  We decided that this was the perfect time to harvest our one and only lemon.

Turns out it really is a lemon, in spite of the grapefruit-y aroma.  It's huge and juicy, and the flavor is definitely that of lemon.  We all stood around eating small bites of it.  We decided that it's not quite as tart as most lemons, still a bit puckery, however there is a hint of sweetness to it.

As you can see it has an amazing amount of seeds in it.  We're trying to decide if this is normal for this lemon or if it's just because there was only one fruit.

My hope is that next year we will have more lemons as the tree matures, and each year after that even more.  I have a friend whose 12 year old lemon tree is so productive she mails boxes to relatives every year.  For us even this one lemon is a delight.  It was a great moment to harvest, yet again, something that we grew and all marvel at the fact that we produced something of our very own (with the help of Mother Nature of course) from our teeny-tiny backyard.

 As I write this I am enjoying a cup of darjeeling tea with a slice of lemon and somehow, because it came from my garden?, it just tastes better.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

gluten free holidays

christmas cookies | photo:  Till Westermayer
For those who have to avoid gluten the holidays can present a particular challenge.  Especially the winter holidays.  Most of the traditional foods are cakes and cookies, made with wheat, rye, or barley, all grains which contain gluten.

If you're trying to figure out some delicious gluten-free holiday options here's a roundup of some of my favorites found around the web:

Saturday, December 17, 2011

the giving season

hot chocolate | photo: Itizdacuriz
Every year around the holiday season I always find that I need a few small gifts.  Not willing to brave the shopping frenzy at this time of year I turn to the idea of making gifts at home.  I find many people truly enjoy receiving these more personal gifts.

Confession time.  I'm a fairly decent knitter but rather slow at it so whipping out a bunch of hand knitted gifts just isn't going to happen.  (I'm still working on a gift for someone that was supposed to be last year's present.)  I have visions of all of the fabulous crafty gifts that abound on the internet that look so easy.  Following directions closely my version comes out "nice" but certainly not as full of wow factor as the originals; so that's not gonna happen either. love food.  And I love giving food.  And most people I know like getting food.  That makes it a perfect gift in my book.  The best part is that you still have time to put it all together, wrap it up in a pretty ribbon and gift it to that someone special without braving the crowds. the carols, and the olfactory assault that is commercialized holiday shopping.

  1. Chocolate Granola - This recipe is from my friend Christine and is always a huge hit.  Made in the crockpot it's super easy; set it to cook all day (stirring when you remember) while you are doing other things.
  2. Crockpot Snack Mix - There are four recipes on this post Tropical, Tex-Mex, Asian, and Curried; they're all delicious.  Another fabulous use for your crockpot.
  3. Crockpot Nuts - Okay, by now you've figured out that I love my crockpot.  These snack nuts are so tasty that I always have to make extras because they're just that good.
  4. Vanilla Sugar - This is a fabulous gift to give, especially to someone who is a baker.  One vanilla bean pod split and shoved, seeds and all, into a wide mouth pint jar full of evaporated cane juice crystals.  Tie a pretty ribbon on it and you're good to go.  It does need to sit for 2-3 weeks to allow the aroma to infuse so stick a note on it if necessary.
  5. Hot Cocoa Mix - This is based on a recipe from a major food manufacturer.  I've changed it by substituting better ingredient options and removing the requirement for name brand products. 
    • 1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Dutch process cocoa powder
    • 1/3 Cup evaporated cane juice crystals (optional - made into vanilla sugar. yum)
    • 1 1/2 Cups organic milk powder 
    • 1/2 Cup chopped good quality chocolate (I prefer Belgian chocolate)
    • Layer ingredients in order given into a wide mouth pint jar, close and decorate with ribbon
    • Instructions for preparation:  Gently heat 4 cups of organic milk to just below boiling, add contents of the jar, whisking well until fully combined.  note:  if not using vanilla sugar include instructions to use 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla.  
    • Garnish with organic whipped cream and shaved chocolate.  Makes 4 servings  
Whatever your holiday of choice, I hope it's a happy and healthy one.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

heading home for the holidays

over the river and through the wood | photo: ladyheart
The winter holidays are fast approaching.  For many people this includes travel plans to spend the time with friends or family.  If you're going to be on the road, either by plane, train, or automobile plan ahead for snacks and beverages.

Of course on an airplane you can't bring beverages with you.  You can, however, bring an empty, eco-friendly water bottle and refill once you get past security.  Once you are on the plane consider getting juice mixed with seltzer rather than soda or straight juice.  Soda, of course, is not a healthy option while juice alone provides a lot of sugar; diluting it reduces the sugars while still helping you to stay hydrated.

If you're traveling by another method be sure to bring healthy beverage choices with you, such as lots of water.  This can not only help you avoid dehydration, but can also save you money as on-the-road purchases are often much more expensive.

Protein is important to help stabilize blood sugar.  Consider bringing snacks with you to avoid the munchies and the temptation to purchase non-nutritious, fatty, sugary road food choices.  Options might include:

  • my favorite trail mix (raw and unsalted):  3 parts nuts, 2 parts seeds, 1 part unsulfured dry fruit
  • a salad with some healthy protein: chicken, turkey, beef, or ham, or eggs
  • a wrap with some healthy protein: chicken, turkey, beef, or ham, or eggs
  • cheese and whole grain crackers with delicious olives, pickles  and other finger foods
  • those little pouches of tuna (w/o liquid), add your own whole grain crackers
  • preservative free turkey jerky
  • healthy protein bars
Planning ahead for your travel needs can help you avoid the pitfalls of on-the-road non-nutritious food choices.  You'll arrive with stable blood sugar and well-hydrated, a great start to a happy, healthy holiday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

online store for grains&more

I haven't been writing much in the last couple of days because I've been busy playing with this lovely new graphic.

Some time back one of my friends, Darbi, started asking "What would Mira eat?"  She took it one step further and started sharing that question with other friends.  It became a fun joke with my friends.

But it also highlighted for me one of the challenges of being a Nutrition Educator.  Going out to eat with other people.  The situations sometimes go something like this:

  1. They wait until I order because they want to see what I'm going to eat and then they order the same thing whether they want it or not.
  2. They order something telling me to avert my eyes because I'm "not going to like it."
  3. They order something they don't really want (different from what I order) because they're afraid I will disapprove.
  4. If I want a cookie they are shocked [don't be, I'm human and yes, I do, occasionally, eat cookies.]
I tell people all the time.  I'm am NOT the food police.  Your food choices are your business and it would be rude, inconsiderate even, for me to comment on your choices unless you asked me to do so.  And truthfully I have more important things to do than to micro-examine what other people have on their place (such as enjoying the company I'm with).  If you want me to tell you I will but otherwise, what you eat is up to you.  I saw the WWME comment as a gentle way for friends to remind themselves to eat well without my having to be the food police.

So back to Darbi and the gang...another friend of mine, the talented and amazing Dawn, came up with this really cute design.  I love it.  I thought it was so much fun that I decided to throw it on a t-shirt.  Well, one thing led to another and I wound up putting it on a whole bunch of stuff.

If you like it too, and if you can see your way clear to wearing it, please visit my new store at and buy something.  I do make money when you do this, one dollar from each product.  And each dollar helps me out.  So in advance, thank you to those of you who choose to help support me in writing this blog.

Monday, December 5, 2011

the hygiene hypothesis

washing hands | photo: Lars Klintwall Malmqvist
There seems to be an increasing number of people affected by asthma and allergies.  Especially children.

One reason put forward is that as we have become more focused on cleanliness, to the point where we have created problems.  Overuse of antibiotic cleansers has reduced our exposure to pathogens, or germs, in our environment.  Because our bodies have been designed to fight these germs, to develop a healthy immune system, when we severely reduce our environmental exposures it is theorized that our bodies over-react.  They become sensitive to increasingly more substances, most of them environmental or food exposures.  As odd as it may sound, the research supports this.  Studies show that children who grow up in rural areas, especially non-Westernized countries, with more exposure to a wider range of microbes, have a vastly reduced rate of allergies.

Of increasing interest to me is the concept that this hyper-clean state that we've created has affected our intestinal health which in turns leads to more problems.  Gary Huffnagle, co-author of the The Probiotics Revolution has gone a step further with the hygiene hypothesis and developed a concept that he calls the microflora hypothesis.  He posits that our Western lifestyle and diet have altered our microflora, our ecosystem, and opened us up to more allergies and, by extension, more digestive disorders.  By not gaining exposure to a wider range of microbes we are unable to build an ecosystem that is fully supportive of our overall health.

Part of the reason that this is of so fascinating to me is because in working with clients I am also seeing more and more digestive health issues.  And I believe the numbers are rising.  More leaky gut, more IBS, IBD, more dysbiosis.  Dr. Liz Lipski, author of Digestive Wellness, in her work shows that the immune system is very strongly tied to digestive function.

In order to support our health we need to stop killing off our symbiotic partners, those bacteria that inhabit our gut, through overuse of antibiotic and antibacterial products.  We also need to feed and support these probiotic colonies.  What do they eat?  Prebiotics.  Their food comes from insoluble fibers found in our food.  Berries, onions, legumes, oatmeal, and other whole grains support not only the probiotic bacteria, but also help maintain good bowel health.  We also need to re-inoculate our systems with a steady supply of healthy bacterial colonies.  Those are found in fermented foods such as kefir, kombucha, and kimchi.  Not that we need to eat an overwhelming amount of these on a regular basis, but they should be a regular part of our diet.

Research does not, as yet, appear to show how much we can reverse the affect on our immune systems, but we certainly can keep it from continuing to decline.  Dr. Natasha Campbell McBride, at the recent Wise Traditions Conference in Dallas, stated, "We are a shell, a habitat for our eco-system."  We need to suport our eco-system.  We can also protect future generations by focusing on and acknowledging that that eco-system needs to be fully supported in order to function properly.

Friday, December 2, 2011

curried cauliflower

cauliflower | photo: jeltovski
In my part of the world cauliflower is in season.  Yummy cauliflower, it's so easy and versatile to prepare in a number of different ways.

One of the things that always seems to surprise people is that you can use the green leafy bits too, not just the white florets.  The greens make a great vegetable to go along with your cooked cauliflower.

In the summer I often roast the greens right along with the florets.  Drizzled with a fruity olive oil, some sea salt and fresh ground pepper they are truly fabulous.

But now that we're heading into colder weather I'm not roasting vegetables as much, preferring different cooking methods.  At this time our year with cauliflower I often like to curry it.  The flavors of curry go well with the cauliflower and greens.  Over a bed of rice with some protein on the side it's a very satisfying dinner.

Curried Cauliflower

generous pinch of mustard seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion minced
1 clove garlic minced
1 cauliflower cut into florets
cauliflower greens cut into bite size pieces
1 teaspoon of curry powder
1/4 cup water
salt to taste
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Heat olive oil in the pan
Add mustard seeds and cook until they just start to pop
Turn heat to medium
Add onions and saute until starting to soften
Add garlic and saute one minute more
Add curry powder and stir well
Add cauliflower, greens and water
Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 8-10 minutes until cauliflower is tender
Season with salt and cilantro

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Thursday, December 1, 2011

holiday roundup

The holidays are rapidly approaching.  I often get questions about what would be a good eco-friendly/healthy gift to give.  Because I seem to be suggesting the same ideas to a lot of people I thought it would make sense to share my top ten list.  In no particular order they are:

  1.  Stainless Steel Drink Staws - These are on my wish list and I think they make a great gift for anyone.  Environmentally friendly and strong enough for travel it's a great way to take your straw with you.
  2. Mesh Reusable Produce Bags - I have these and think they are fabulous.  Very eco-friendly, easy to use, I often get positive comments from cashiers and other shoppers.
  3. Nourishing Traditions - I own a thumb-marked, dog-eared copy of this book.  For those who are getting started with whole food nutrition this is a great beginning.  For those who have started and want to learn more it's a wonderful resource.  Definitely one of my top book recommendations.
  4. Blendtec 40-609-BHMV 2-Quart Blender Jar - I think the Blendtec products are good ones.  For those of you who are getting into green smoothies this is a must have in order to make them.
  5.  Green Smoothies Diet - and if you're going to start making Green Smoothies you need the book that got it all started by Robyn Openshaw.
  6. CuisinartSmart Stick Hand Blender - I have this and it is one of my all-time favorite appliances.  Quite frankly I'm not sure what I would do without it, I seem to use it almost every day.
  7. Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day - Store bought bread often has all sorts of chemical ingredients in it, dough conditioners, preservatives and the like.  For those who want to skip those unhealthy ingredients and learn to make bread at home this is a great place to start.
  8. 7-Quart Oval Slow Cooker, White - I love my slow cooker and use it frequently.  I've even use it overnight to make breakfast.
  9. Not Your Mother's Slow Cooker Cookbook - if you're going to give a slow cooker you probably want to throw in a cookbook to go with it.  This is one of my favorite slow-cooker cookbooks I use it quite often.

  10. To-Go Ware Reusable Bamboo Utensil Set - and for all those eaters out there...your very own, eco-friendly tableware.  I carry a set with me all the time in my purse and it has often come in handy.  Inexpensive and good to have, consider this as a stocking stuffer.

    Tuesday, November 29, 2011

    reconditioned food

    Under the what's-in-your-food article caught my attention at the beginning of the week about reconditioned food.  I'll be totally honest with you and share that this idea never ever crossed my mind.  I assumed that if food was in any way spoiled it needed to be discarded.  This article, however, made it abundantly clear that this is not the case.  The fact that the company in question only received a "sharp censure" from the FDA is truly wrong.

    In Home Ec (as we used to call it) I remember being taught in the sixth grade that soft foods with any hint of mold, discoloration, or odor should be immediately destroyed as bacteria travelled quickly through them, whereas in hard foods they are more localized.  I don't know about you but in my book applesauce is a soft food.

    The FDA has a manual that talks about food reconditioning.  But just because you can doesn't mean you should.  With the increasing rates of food recalls due to bacterial infections, poor sanitary conditions and massive outbreaks of illness why is our government willing to allow corporations to knowingly serve bad food for profit?  Silly question...we all know the answer is money.

    As a consumer the answer boils down to what is one of my top catch real food.  Do I buy some packaged foods, yes I do.  But I try to buy as little as possible, purchasing most of our groceries as whole food and then making the items myself.   We have already severely reduced our canned goods (most of what we have on hand is in our emergency preparedness closet), and are weaning ourselves off of most snack foods.  This last is not so popular with our teens but we certainly don't have nearly as much as we used to.  I also get more and more products from local sources that I trust.

    The more I learn, the more I am motivated to make things myself.  For example learning that "an average of 225 insect fragments or 4.5 rodent hairs per 8 ounces of macaroni or noodle products." is okay is motivating me to get out the pasta maker again.  I still, and always will, throw out whatever is contaminated in my house.  When we have had a moth infestation everything they got into was destroyed. That's why my dry goods are stored in glass or plastic, to keep them out.  Hard food products can be washed, and cleaned so although I don't like it I understand how it can be allowed in a case like the one in Illinois.  But it's motivated me to double check the pantry seals on things.

    The FDA has set up a Reportable Food Registry which is a first step.  But I believe they need to know that this practice is unacceptable.  What are your thoughts on the matter?

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    do you know what's in your food?

    image from:
    I've been writing more about Genetically Modified (GM - also referred to as GMO or GE) foods lately.  Part of it is because the problem seems to be getting worse.  I am concerned that there is still no labeling required in this country.  According to this article from the San Francisco Chronicle 93 percent of Americans polled want their food labeled.  They want the right to know.  But it's still not happening.  Why?  Because it's bad for business.

    I'm reminded of the fight over Recombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH) when the dairy industry fought like mad to stop farmers from labeling their milk as free of this harmful additive hormone which is not healthy for cows or humans.  The farmers prevailed in that they were allowed to label their products as being rBGH-free but were forced to put a statement on their product that there was no difference between dairy from cows treated with or without rBGH.  Science has since proved them wrong and we now know that rBGH increases Insulin Growth Factor 1 (IGF-1), decreases nutrition in the milk, increases mastitis in the cows (requiring antibiotics which we ingest because they don't stop milking the cows while they are giving them antibiotics), and decreased fertility in cows.  That's obviously a problem for the cows, if they can't be bred, or "freshened" in dairy parlance, they can't be milked and therefore are no longer useful.  If  rBGH causes infertility in cows (apparently studies have showed a reduction of as much as 40%), what does it do to the people who drink the milk?

    We are the only industrialized nation, to my knowledge, that still allows this harmful chemical in our food.  Europe, Canada, Australia, and Japan, among others, have all banned it's use.  Purchasing dairy products labeled rBGH-free or organic is the only way to avoid this chemical.

    But with GM foods it's a completely different thing.  Yes, purchasing organic is one way to avoid it, but no GM foods are labeled, not everything is available organic, and it's not financially feasible to purchase everything organic (at least not in our house).  You would be amazed at how far GM products have crept into our food supply.  We deserve the right to know what is in our food.  I believe that corporate interests and profits should not supersede the right to choose clean food.

    I also wonder what it says when the employees of the company that makes most of the GM foods, Monsanto, won't eat it, demanding GM free foods in their cafeteria?  If they won't eat it why should you?

    California is, potentially, about to become the first state to require mandatory GM labeling.  With 80 percent of those polled in California supporting this initiative I am hopeful that they will win.  Striking a blow against these modified foods and their manufacturers.  I'm also hopeful that this will be the first of a steamroller effect across the country.

    To stay informed about this issue you can follow along on the blog as well as at Organic Consumers.

    Saturday, November 26, 2011


    coconut | photo: Robert Wetzlmayr
    This Thanksgiving we had coconut cream instead of whipped cream.  It was a delicious substitute for those at the table who could not have dairy and it paired very well with the pumpkin custard.

    Coconut is a great food item to have in your pantry.  A source of phosphorus which is beneficial for strong teeth and bones as well as supporting kidney function, there are many different ways in which coconut can be added to the diet.

    Let's start, though, by addressing the allergy issue.  According to the FDA coconuts must be labeled as a tree nut.  And there does appear to be a potential for cross-reaction for anyone who is allergic, or sensitive, to either walnuts or hazelnuts.  This means that if you have a sensitivity to either walnuts or hazelnuts and consume coconut products, you may want to discuss this with your allergist or to try an elimination diet and see if you should not eat coconut.

    Ways to use coconut include:

    • Coconut meat - a tasty treat which can be eaten fresh or dried.  
    • Coconut flour - the dried ground meat can be used in baking and is especially popular for gluten free baking.  It's also a good source of protein with 100 g of coconut flour containing just over 19 g of protein.
    • Coconut water - sometimes called coconut juice, this is the liquid from the center of the coconut.  It is a fairly balanced electrolyte fluid; far tastier, and certainly far healthier, than sports drinks.
    • Coconut milk - made from the ground meat this is a tasty dairy substitute that many people enjoy.
    • Coconut cream - the solid section of the coconut milk which rises to the top; this can be skimmed off and used the same as whipping cream.
    • Coconut oil - made from the meat, this is a healthy source of medium chain fatty acids and can be used in baking and cooking.  It even makes a great facial moisturizer. 
    Coconut flour, milk and water all substitute fairly well at a one-for-one ratio for their conventional counterparts.  Coconut oil substitutes one-for-one although I have found that because it melts differently it sometimes gives a different texture to baked goods.  We have added this versatile range of products to the pantry and are enjoying the tasty variety that they add to our diet.  I'm sure you will too.

    Friday, November 25, 2011

    pie for breakfast

    cherry apple streusel pie with gluten free crust
    Thanksgiving has come and gone.  Maybe there's a few crumbs left on the tablecloth, but for sure there's a fridge full of delicious leftovers.  I'm so grateful for so many things this year.  Having all of my children around the table, plus extra guests, plus an array of food that is truly bountiful.

    Resonating in the back of my head among all of the pleasant memories and musings is this article that I recently read about Thanksgiving Thrift.  Which leads me to be grateful that at least for this one holiday there probably won't be much food waste.  Jonathan Bloom talks about how much food we waste in this country both on his blog and in his book American Wasteland: How America Throws Away Nearly Half of Its Food (and What We Can Do About It).

    One way to avoid waste is to utilize leftovers.  This is a concept that I embrace whole-heartedly at all times of the year.  I've written about it before here and here.  Not only does it cut down on the grocery and trash bills, it also helps cut down on my time in the kitchen.  Don't get me wrong, I love to cook and bake.  But even so I don't feel the need to create a full three course meal from scratch every single night of the week.

    I was struck by the thought, prompted by the article, that other folks don't utilize their leftovers to plan other delicious meals for their families.  Except for Thanksiving.  Well at least for today the twitterverse is aflutter with ideas for leftovers.  Starting with pie for breakfast and wandering through a host of culinary genius I'm struck by the creativity and enthusiasm with which so many people greet the concept of Thanksgiving leftovers.  And hoping that it will continue throughout the year.

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    pizza as a vegetable

    My mind is reeling.  Last week Congress declared pizza a vegetable, again.  Having just returned home from the Wise Traditions conference of the Weston A. Price Foundation (WAPF), where the focus was on whole, nourishing, traditional foods, to a this kind of absurdity is mind boggling.

    I should not be surprised, this has been policy up until now but I confess I'm appalled to think that anyone in our government is stupid enough to believe that the tomato paste on a slice of pizza in any way counts as a serving of vegetables.  It's barely got any nutrition at all and comes wrapped in highly processed, chemically conditioned dough, covered with cheese that is no doubt loaded with rBST and antibiotics and possibly some preservative-laden pepperoni.  As the video above states, we, and our children, are having their taste buds conditioned to prefer unhealthy foods.

    While this is nothing new, it is certainly getting a lot of press.  I hope it's also getting a lot of attention from a lot of parents.  This is not what you want to feed your kids to have them grow up strong and healthy.  I encourage everyone who cares about these issues to get involved:

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    zucchini noodles

    I wanted to share this dinner that I made recently because it was quick, easy, and very tasty.   It's an assembly style dish, you cook each of the layers and when you get to the last layer dinner is done.  Most of the time is spent in prep-work, the actual cooking doesn't take too long.  I do keep the dish in the oven in between layers (set to 250 degrees) to make sure everything stays warm.

    This recipe came out of a need to provide a meal for someone who follows a gluten free diet.  Many people are avoiding gluten these days.  And while there are certainly a number of gluten free pasta options out there, quite a number of people are also not getting enough vegetables.  I think this idea is a delicious way to add more veggies to the diet.

    Zucchini noodles.  So yummy and so easy to make.  The best part is that you can even use the oversize-on-their-way-to-baseball-bat sized zucchini.  Wash the zucchini, trim both ends, and using a vegetable peeler begin to peel long strips all the way down the length of the zucchini.  After several strip rotate the zucchini one-quarter turn and make more strips, rotate again, repeat.  This helps to make thin enough strips width-wise.  I peel all the way down to the seeds but don't peel the seeded part of the zucchini.

    Here's the recipe for you to enjoy.

    Zucchini Noodles and Sausage 

    1 package pre-cooked, chicken cilantro sausage
    1 large zucchini, turn into noodles, dice the center part
    3 tablespoons olive oil
    1 large sweet onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 large tomato, diced
    1 green pepper, diced
    1 tablespoon tomato paste
    1/2 cup minced cilantro
    salt and pepper to taste

    Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet
    Add 1/2 of the diced onion and the garlic
    When the onion starts to soften turn down the heat slightly and add the zucchini
    Toss and cook the zucchini for approximately 5 minutes until it is coated in oil and warmed through
    Place zucchini and onions into a serving dish
    Add 1 tablespoon olive oil to the skillet
    Add the rest of the onion
    When onion starts to soften add bell pepper, diced zucchini center, tomato, and tomato paste,
    Saute until bell pepper starts to soften
    Add salt and pepper to taste
    Spoon mixture over zucchini noodles

    Place sausage in the skillet and heat until browned on the outside
    Remove sausage from skillet and slice into bite sized pieces
    Sprinkle sausage pieces on top of dish
    Garnish with cilantro

    Note:  if necessary you can make this dish ahead.  Simply reheat in a 300 F degree oven for about 20 minutes until all of the ingredients are warmed through

    Sunday, November 13, 2011

    baking mishaps

    A lesson in humility... Just a week ago I posted a recipe for lemon millet muffins.  I was so happy with how the recipe came together the first time.  Often that doesn't happen.  This next effort clearly demonstrates that.

    I wanted to make cookies.  The family has been requesting chocolate chip for a while and I've been experimenting with lots of other types, peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, snickerdoodles, etc, that I decided the time had come to make chocolate chip cookies.  Never content to just pick a tried-and-true recipe I wanted to make gluten free, dairy free, egg free chocolate chip cookies.

    The picture shows that it was less than successful.  I will share that they taste great but they don't look so hot.  The biggest concern is what will happen when they cool.  In my experience if they spread this much they are often inedible when no longer warm.  We'll see how it goes.

    And it goes without saying that this particular recipe is not exactly ready for prime time.

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    weston a. price foundation

    Wise Traditions Conference ~ Dallas, TX ~ November 11-14 2010

    I'm so excited. In a frenzy of last-minute packing and organizing, I'm off to the Weston A. Price Foundation Conference.  I've been a member for several years but this is the first time I've been able to go to one of their conferences.  Looking forward to learning an enormous amount of information from people whose work I have been following for some time.

    Leaving the family behind I'm off to immerse myself in the world of traditional foods, fermentation, and holistic health.  I can't wait to come back and start sharing all the wonderful information I've learned.