Friday, December 7, 2012

Neat Foodie Link

Chocolate Cobbler

DIL: Ryann made this chocolate cobbler recipe last night!

I will try to find an easier way to post pictures on here because I have this tendency to not take all the steps from phone or camera to computer to blog. I am working on it!


Hungarian Mushroom Soup

I eyed the ingredients and used parsley in place of dill (it already called for it and I just added extra) and I used Bragg's Liquid Aminoes in place of the soy sauce. I used vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth and I think that was the main changes. Very good on a day like today and was very filling.

Hungarian Mushroom Soup
recipe image
Submitted By: HAMM
Photo By: LynnInHK
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 35 Minutes
Ready In: 50 Minutes
Servings: 6

"This creamy mushroom soup is seasoned generously with dill, paprika, parsley, and lemon juice. Sour cream is added at the end of cooking, making the soup very rich and filling."
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups chopped onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
2 teaspoons dried dill weed
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon soy sauce
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
ground black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup sour cream
1.Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Saute the onions in the butter for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and saute for 5 more minutes. Stir in the dill, paprika, soy sauce and broth. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2.In a separate small bowl, whisk the milk and flour together. Pour this into the soup and stir well to blend. Cover and simmer for 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.Finally, stir in the salt, ground black pepper, lemon juice, parsley and sour cream. Mix together and allow to heat through over low heat, about 3 to 5 minutes. Do not boil. Serve immediately.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2012 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 12/7/2012

Thursday, December 6, 2012

From the kitchens of . . .

As a special holiday gift, I am going to share with you blessings from my kitchen and more! I am going to share recipes and food ideas from the "Willoughby Women" around here! I will try to find pictures of each to show you...

My daughter, Lauren. 18 years old and can make edible things artistic, delicious, and well loved by all. She has been urged by so many, so often to go to culinary school or to choose a career with food. She just loves eating it, creating and sharing it. 

Brandy is married to Michael and they have blessed us with our oldest three grandlittles - Emily, Caden and Hailey. Brandy provides meals for her family, shares our favorites and new dishes with us and tries festive and fun things for elementary school events for the darlings. 

Laura is married to Brandon and they blessed us with our youngest two grandlittles - Elijah and Isabelle. Laura has a natural hand making breads. She wanted me to teach her how to make homemade bread and she ended up making a beautiful loaf totally by herself. She is also becoming known for her banana bread!

Ryann is married to Matthew and they live a few minutes down the road (smile) ... 
She has been trying all kinds of new cooking ideas but baking is becoming her favorite. Ryann has made granola bars, totally natural sauces, main dishes, and of course - baked goods. She is the one who made the spotlight recipe for this post: 

We ate this moist wonder with Earl Grey tea ... just right! 

My D-I-Love was looking up a way to use her pears and this was the first thing she came to: 
Laurie's Pear Tart
3 or 4 ripe juicy pears....
Peel,core and cut into sixths, or eighths
1 stick butter
3/4 c. sugar
1teasoon vanilla..
2 eggs, one at a time...
1 c. flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 t. salt...
Add to butter mixture.
Spray an 8" (important) spring form pan with Pam...Spread the batter in it..Now, in a pinwheel pattern, press the slices of pear, peeled side up, into the batter...Cram in as many as you can; since the batter rises and covers the pears, there's no points given for style here(g)...The more pears, the moister the cake will be.
Bake at 350 degrees til a skewer comes out clean, about an hour...If you have any doubts, UNDERBAKE....This is a whole different animal if it dries out...Then it's just a cake; correctly done, you'll love it.
Her husband (my dear son:) l.o.v.e.d this and everyone here who tried it felt the same. She said it was very easy. 

A salad dressing I LOVE!

 I've stopped buying salad dressings and have gone back to making my own for better nutrition and flavor. I have liked some and not cared for others but today... I just LOVED the one I made to go over a huge salad I ate for lunch. 
I make changes as I have learned to do with ingredients and so on and they are in parenthesis) 

Bob's Salad Dressing

2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
1/3 cup tahini
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/4 cup tamari (I used Bragg's Liquid Aminoes)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon mayonnaise (sour cream instead)
salt and pepper to taste (also added a clove of garlic) 
1.    In a blender, combine olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, nutritional yeast, tamari, honey, oregano, mayonnaise and salt and pepper. Process until smooth and serve over salad.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2012 Printed from 12/6/2012

I might eat this every day! 

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Roasted Squash Soup/Stew

I made a very easy and quick soup tonight and it is one I hope to try again because there are so many possibilities for it!

There was a container of oven roasted butternut and other winter squash I had peeled and my D-I-<3 helped me cut into cubes. I sauteed that in a cast iron skillet with a drizzle of olive oil and pat of butter. I added some salt, pepper, fresh garlic and basil.

In a sauce pan, I sauteed some fresh pressed garlic in olive oil before adding vegetable broth. I added a generous amount of squash from my container (not from the skillet) to the broth and gave it a whirl with an immersion blender. When it was smooth, I let it keep simmering until thoroughly heated and then swirled some half n half in it. I served it with a scoop of the sauteed squash in the middle and some freshly grated parmesan cheese. We ate it with some of the whole grain loaves I made four loaves of yesterday (along with two loaves made into garlic parmesan bread sticks) ...

My husband, the kids and I loved it!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Making it my own Banana Bread

I made a loaf of this last night and we finished it off today. Delicious! The only changes I made were:
I had no buttermilk so I used some strawberry kefir and half and half. I used 1/2 cup of olive oil instead of vegetable oil and 1 1/2 cups of loosely packed brown sugar instead of white. I also added cloves I ground previously, some cinnamon and a generous sprinkle of freshly grated nutmeg. Everything else was the same.

Best Ever Banana Bread
recipe image
Submitted By: Rose
Servings: 12

"Buttermilk is the secret ingredient in this moist, nutty loaf. This bread freezes well."
2 eggs, beaten
1/3 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1.Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Spray one 9x5 inch loaf pan with non-stick spray coating.
2.Blend together the eggs, buttermilk, oil and bananas.
3.Sift together the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add to banana mixture and stir in pecans. Mix well.
4.Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake 1 hour and 20 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2012 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 12/1/2012

Whole grain bread

I made this six loaf batch today --- well, four loaves of bread and two loaves braided and rolled into bread sticks. I rolled the bread sticks using milled grain a little more coarse than usual and sprinkled with garlic granules before baking. When they were out of oven and still warm, I melted butter and pressed garlic and drizzled over all. We LOVED them! The kids chose these over the pizza my MIL ordered! 

* Exported from MasterCook *
Recipe By :Vickilynn Haycraft © 2000
Serving Size : 72 Preparation Time :0:00
  • 6 1/2 cups water — warmed to 100-110
  • 3 tablespoons instead yeast — SAF preferred
  • 6 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup vital gluten
  • 9 cups whole wheat flour — more or less as needed
In a large mixing bowl (I use a Bosch) place warm water, SAF yeast and 4 cups flour. Stir to mix well, then cover and let sponge 30 minutes. The sponge will be bubbly and smell “yeasty.”
Stir to punch down; add oil, honey, gluten and salt. Mix to blend; add 2 cups flour and turn mixer on low. Add flour by 1/2 cupfuls until dough cleans the sides of the bowl and is no longer sticky. Knead on low speed 6- 8 minutes. The flour amount is approximate, use only enough flour to cause the dough to pull away from the sides of the mixer bowl. Do not add more flour.
Let dough rise in covered bowl 30 minutes until doubled. Punch down dough place on oiled counter and divide into six pieces. Form loaves and place in greased loaf pans. Let rise in warm oven (turned off) until 1 1/2″ above the rim of the pans.
With loaves still in oven, turn oven on and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.
Remove from oven and cover with clean towel to soften crust.
“Makes 6 loaves, each 12 slices. Each slice is 2 points”
Per Serving : 113 Calories; 2g Fat (18.6% calories from fat); 4g Protein; 21g Carbohydrate; 3g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 61mg Sodium. Exchanges: 1 Grain(Starch); 0 Lean Meat; 1/2 Fat; 0 Other Carbohydrates

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Beautiful, green juice!

 Green Juice
This is the juice I shared about 
in a previous blog but I am 
just now sharing the photo!

Simply So Cuticle Comfort

Instant relief of painful and almost bleeding cuticles:

Coconut oil and lavender essential oil.
I love simple things that do wonders and the combination of these two products do just that. You can blend the coconut oil and lavender essential oil together and gently rub into cuticles or rub the coconut oil in and on and then add a drop or two of lavender and softly massage that in. This is something I have used and found wonderful and my DIL used it tonight and was instantly soothed!

Please explore natural and safe options of self care before buying the latest commercial item. . . pretty, please even.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Today and Yesterday

I just found out that a concern I heard before is true and I shouldn't be juicing anything not organic. This is so disheartening because I have been enjoying all sorts of juices SO much but it makes sense. . . if the nutrients go straight into your system so do pesticides and you end up drinking concentrated versions of them. Apparently, smoothies and eating them aren't as bad because they take a bit longer to digest.
I do not have access to organic versions of just about ANYthing. So far, I have managed to start buying organic carrots, spinach, and salad mix. Almost everything else is hard to come by organic wise.
Oh, well, I will figure it out.

Today, I had a nourishing green smoothie with water, an apple, cardamon, cinnamon, vanilla extract and collard greens. Very delicious!

I also had turkey chili (left over from last night) and griddle corn cakes made with cornmeal, a free range egg, kefir, salt, pepper, and some sharp cheese.

For dinner, my daughter made the best sloppy joes I've ever eaten with turkey, cumin, bbq sauce, sun dried tomatoes in olive oil, and more. She sauteed mushrooms and onions to go with it and they were so good I ate some of them by the fork full!

I made guacamole and seared the buns before spreading it on. We topped them with cilantro leaves and for dessert, I made coffee and my daughter made pumpkin bars from a mix. They were SO good!

All the dishes were washed up with just a few left soaking and I have two quarts of kefir on the counter.

Last night, we had turkey chili and gluten free cornbread made from a mix. We also had homemade hot chocolate and homemade cinnamon rolls. My DIL brought the cinnamon rolls and it was her first time making them. They were SO good!

We had a cozy evening sipping hot things, emptying bowls of steaming chili, and talking about all sorts of things. Today, we shopped, cooked and cleaned together and that was a blessing as well.

Hope your kitchens are whistling away. Any of you caught in the after effects of storm, "Sandy" --- let me know how you are doing!

Executive Summary: Eat your fruits and vegetables! | EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Executive Summary: Eat your fruits and vegetables! | EWG's 2012 Shopper's Guide to Pesticides in Produce™

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Tuesday: On our table...


I drank watermelon juice using all of a personal sized watermelon except the last fourth or so of it and that was chilled for a snack.

We also ate tomato sandwiches and ended up getting deli sandwiches at a local place (a franchise)  along with potato soup for $1.00. You got a free meal for a wee one as long as said wee one was present so thankfully small grandgirl came in with her mama.

For dinner, my daughter made her own recipes (she is so good at that) and she made split chicken breast with bone stuffed with goat cheese, cranberries, garlic and butter. She served it with a tossed salad (seasoned with garlic powder and other spices) and made a homemade cranberry sauce. SO GOOD. She took a picture so I will try to get it on here.

I made pinto beans I soaked for two days instead of overnight and simmered them with lots of fresh garlic, onions, and olive oil. I salted and peppered last. The beans needed a few more minutes of cooking but it works out well because I made them to use for a couple of things in the next day or two.

Rose girl also made baked apples with cinnamon and honey drizzled over and she mixed some of those in her overnight oatmeal and saved some to serve on top in the morning.

I made a gluten free cornbread from a Bob's Mill mix and it was very good. Tired husband even liked it and he doesn't eat cornbread. The man was born, raised and lived his whole life in the south but he doesn't eat cornbread, gravy of any kind, or beans. He does love a huge variety of other things, thankfully!

Bedtime for me should have been hours ago but the house was quiet, reasonably clean and cozy enough that I flopped around in it for the evening.

If I get disciplined and/or organized enough, I will post more of what we eat and more from the wacky, little kitchen here!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Fluffy Pancakes

Fluffy Pancakes
recipe image
Submitted By: kris
Photo By: Dianne
Prep Time: 10 Minutes
Cook Time: 10 Minutes
Ready In: 25 Minutes
Servings: 4

"Tall, fluffy pancakes are delicious served with butter and syrup or top with strawberries and whipped cream for a real treat."
3/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons white vinegar
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
2 tablespoons butter, melted
cooking spray
1.Combine milk with vinegar in a medium bowl and set aside for 5 minutes to "sour".
2.Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk egg and butter into "soured" milk. Pour the flour mixture into the wet ingredients and whisk until lumps are gone.
3.Heat a large skillet over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © 2012 Allrecipes.comPrinted from 10/27/2012

I've been making these for awhile now... not regularly but just here and there or for special occasions. Once, my two Daughters-in-Love and one DIL to be had these when we had a get together. They are quite delicious!
A quick note is to make them right away because they stay fluffy if you do.

I've made a whole grain pasta dish recently (just a quick toss with a white sauce and some freshly grated parmesan on the top) and a few other things I haven't added.
Just sharing as I go!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Smoothies & Such

Daily Smoothies!

I have been keeping up with having a green smoothie or at least some type of healthy smoothie every single day for weeks now. I can tell SUCH a difference adding these to my diet.

Here are two of the latest:
(From: The Green Smoothie Bible by Kristine Miles)

This was under a section of Autumn Smoothies -

I cut the recipe in half so I halved each of the ingredients except the spices and I just added those to taste.
I will share the amounts listed in the book so you can choose to make 2 as is or half for one.

3 pears
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
1 inch fresh ginger
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups almond milk

The next was under this section - Recipes for blood sugar maintenance.

1 small banana
1 apple (I used a Pink Lady)
1 pear
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

So good! I am juicing, drinking smoothies, building my water intake back to what it should be, getting back to my organic apple cider vinegar tonics, exercising more and working on making an all over healthier diet. I'm going for the 80/20 rule where I am doing the very best I can for 80% of the time and the other 20% ... I am just trying to not let get out of control!


Saturday, September 8, 2012

Today & Yesterday: Green Smoothies

Testing send:

Yesterday's Green Smoothie:
purified water
frozen banana
frozen blueberries
chia seeds
vanilla stevia
organic, baby spinach
peeled orange
cored apple

Today's smoothie:
homemade almond milk (I made my first two batches and they are BEAUTIFUL!)
peanut butter powder
cocoa powder
vanilla extract
mustard greens

Wednesday, August 29, 2012


I made my own juice yesterday because I had my youngest grandbaby here and I needed to get it done. I made him some fresh apple juice but added too much water and he could barely taste the apple, I think. He put his little hand on his 2-year old little head and said, "I have a headache" as a means for having me not expect him to drink more than three swallows. [Smile]

Back to the other juice:

one apple (I used green)
one carrot
one pear
1/2 cucumber
handful of organic, baby spinach
two celery sticks

Made up one full size glass. Wonderful!

Monday, August 27, 2012

A Juice for good skin!

I got this juice idea after going to the gym today from The Everything Juicing book and I really enjoyed it. It is literally just two red apples, 2 peeled carrots, 4 kale leaves and a handful of spinach. SO good and SO good for you!


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies & Sandy's Cinnamon Roll Frosting


Pumpkin Whoopie Pies 

 By: Vonieta Stogner  

Original Recipe Yield 3 dozen 


 2 cups packed brown sugar

 1 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

 1 1/2 cups solid pack pumpkin puree (used a whole 15 ounce can)

 2 eggs

 3 cups all-purpose flour

 1 teaspoon salt

 1 teaspoon baking powder

 1 teaspoon baking soda

 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (added this and an extra splash!)

 1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon (added a bit more)

 1/2 tablespoon ground ginger (alas, another I added a bit more on)

 1/2 tablespoon ground cloves (out of these so I added more of the spices above and added some pumpkin pie spice and freshly grated nutmeg)

 Filling: (I didn't make this one but I will share the one I used below)

1 egg white

 2 tablespoons milk

 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 2 cups confectioners' sugar

 3/4 cup shortening


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease baking sheets.

2. Combine the oil and brown sugar. Mix in the pumpkin and eggs, beating well. Add the flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda, 1 teaspoon vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and cloves. Mix well.

3. Drop dough by heaping teaspoons onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies cool then make sandwiches from two cookies filled with Whoopie Pie Filling.

4. To Make Whoopie Pie Filling: Beat egg white and mix with the milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 cup of the confectioners' sugar. Mix well then beat in the shortening and the remaining cup of confectioners' sugar. Beat until light and fluffy.  

Sandy's Cinnamon Roll Frosting for Pumpkin Whoopie Pie Filling: 

8 ounces of cream chese

6 T. of salted butter

1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar

LOTS of freshly grated nutmeg

An overflowing teaspoon of vanilla extract


I just beat the cream cheese with a paddle attachment on my blender and when it is creamy, I add the butter and let these blend together until not chunky or lumpy. I add the vanilla and blend and then the powdered sugar and last the nutmeg. This has become famous and THE MOST requested thing I make (well, only if it is on top of homemade, whole grain cinnamon rolls!) for birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, family gatherings and more!


These were the loveliest little cookie pies and provided a delicious sweet gift for our family of five, our daughter's friend, and our oldest son and his daughter!


It might have been 93 here today and the oven didn't help a house with no central heat and air but we had fun pretending the leaves were falling while it lasted!



Nutritional Information  

Amount Per Serving  Calories: 425 | Total Fat: 21.7g | Cholesterol: 24mg

Saturday, August 25, 2012

BRIEF Post: 2 small ideas!

I haven't kept up with all we are eating and making in the kitchen right now so some of the lovelies will have to be added later or not at all. We'll see how it goes!

Saturday Smoothie:

Purified water
No fat yogurt, plain
frozen bananas
honey drizzle

The boys wouldn't try it because it wasn't a pretty color (not quite purple enough from the blueberries, not bright green... just different, I guess) but it was okay. I was drinking it more for the nutrition than for flavor anyway.

Open faced sandwiches:

I just took some left over turkey and shredded it quickly in my little food chopper thing that I adore and use ALL the time. I put about an ounce per piece of whole grain bread and topped with a slice of smoked Gouda cheese. This was broiled and brought out of the oven before having Newman's Own low fat ginger salad dressing drizzled over. Very good!

I lost six pounds but gained two of those back after two bad eating days!

I am making up our menu today and hoping it will be nourishing, energy lifting and nurturing all at once. Hopefully, I won't be so scattered I neglect to share any of it here. Smile.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Good morning!

Good day, eve, and what not!

I was out of half n half this morning and my coffee cup was in tears (better it than me, you must agree) and remembered seeing creamer recipes on a blog. I typed the closest thing I could remember and found the site right away!

The recipes called for coconut milk and I just used a partial can for yesterday's Summertime Corn & Zucchini soup so the rest was in the fridge.  There were a few flavors to choose from and I opted for the Cinnamon Streusel since I LOVE cinnamon and there are so many lovely healthy benefits to it.

 I made the date paste used for sweetener (so easy) by following the directions to add one cup of dates (de-seeded) to one cup of water in a blender. Mixed that together with one cup of coconut cream and added a teaspoon of cinnamon (more than the recipe called for) and about 1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract.
So, if you see the recipe, you'll notice that I veered off of it but I do that from time to time.

The first sip or two were not pleasant for my personal taste buds. I added a packet of Stevia in the Raw and sipped a couple more times and found it quite nice. So, I am half way through my "make it work when I don't have creamer" coffee. I am a bit delirious over using the keyboard for it has been far too long since I used it other than flinging a sentence or two out between cooking, cleaning and catching the many spinning plates of summer.

School is back and so are nicer routines and better bedtimes and the bliss of it all is just a smile! It allows for entire blocks of time to clean and breaks in noise levels to make thinking up food ideas possible. I mean, we ate over the summer, of course but by the end of it... what a flurry of forgotten meal plans, lost shopping lists and thrown together dishes.

Now, I am back to getting up by 4:30 am or 5:00 am to get my husband a cup of coffee to drink right away, a thermos full to take to work, a smoothie to drink on the way to work and a thermos of oatmeal for once he settles down at work!
After this, the last of our five beautiful children is in school. How can we hold them up for neck kisses and spend entire portions of a day changing diapers and wake up to have them holding their own babies so quickly? No time for tears (well, there is time but I'm not in the mood for crying) so back to breakfast talk ---
A quick emptying of the dishwasher, laundry started, my own coffee in hand and I have time to read my Bible and pray! Love, love.
I time this so I can finish up about five minutes before our over energetic, happy, sad, mad, loud, striving always to control everything and everyone and HUGE hearted boy who drives me to my knees for prayer more than anyone has in my entire LIFE... is roused out of slumber. He gets to choose between smoothie or breakfast of the day (whatever I chose for the day at large) and we pull his lunch from the freezer and fridge together. I pack the room temperature things the night before.
After the basic dressing, teeth brushing, and back pack grabbing, we head out and pray on the way to school.
Once home, I clean a bit and either hop on the computer (it has been too long!) or share a cup of coffee with one of my darling loved ones or write. Sometimes, I do all and more.
Either way, it's okay, I wake up with myself.
Sorry, I simply love Billy Joel songs and always have and have heard them so often that sometimes they show up in my speech... or writing.
This morning, I decided to make a juice later and something with more substance for breakfast. I drained a can of white tuna and put half of it on a piece of whole grain bread. I put a 60 calorie slice of Gouda cheese on top and broiled until bubble and starting to have golden brown places on the cheese. I threw a grand hand full of organic spring lettuce mix on top and drizzled with 1 T. of Bolthouse Farms Caesar Parmigiano yogurt salad dressing. It is only 45 calories for 2 tablespoons!
SO good and filling.

If there is someone out there reading this (and I would not blame the world for not since I haven't shown up in such a long time) ... I hope you have a day overflowing and flowing of God's blessings. They surround us, follow us, find us and keep us all the day long and they ride on wings of endless love for us. How much we have to praise and thank Him for...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer soup and Carrot Cake

I still haven't managed to keep up with every new and comfort standby I've put together in my kitchen but get there, I shall... I hope.

Anyway, lots going on with school starting back and adjustments are made with so many ages and stages of loved ones. We are eating a lot and I am scaling recipes to cover anywhere from around 7 to 15+  at a time. We only have five living here but three of the five need leftovers for lunches and we also gather our other loved ones frequently to share in visits and foods!

The recipe I made for today's dinner served five with two left over plates/bowls so I'll need to up it next time to offer one more left over.

We took the suggestion of the cookbook's author I got the recipe from and served this over Basmati brown rice. I cook up a batch at a time of different rices in my rice cooker and it has a steamer basket on top so I almost always fill it with vegetables to serve with the rice. Last night, we had a coconut and chicken cream dish (from a jar) added to bite sized chicken breast pieces I browned and simmered until fully cooked. This was served over the just mentioned rice and steamed broccoli.
Onto tonight's:

Summer Lovin' Curried Corn & Veggie Chowder
* My daughter was helping gather ingredients for this and we both kept mixing two of the book's recipes. As a result, I have one or two extra seasonings and messed up on the actual steps. It still turned out well liked by everyone. *

1 t. canola oil (I used extra virgin olive oil)
1 c. shallots, finely chopped (I used Vidalia onion)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped finely (I used yellow bell pepper bec/ we didn't have any red)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 T. minced fresh ginger
1/2 t. red pepper flakes (also out of these delicious things so I used red cayenne pepper)
1 zucchini, sliced into small pieces (about 1/2 pound)
1 3/4 cups corn, from 3 ears of corn (reserve cobs) --- I just scraped all the corn off of the 3 cobs and used it so I don't know if it added up exactly.
1/2 t. salt
3 cups vegetable broth (I used chicken broth...didn't have the other)
2 t. arrowroot powder
1/2 cup peeled, finely chopped carrots - author's note: "I cheat and use baby carrots, 'cause the work is half done for you".
1 heaping T. mild curry powder
3/4 c. light coconut milk (used regular)
Juice of 1/2 lime, or to taste
Fresh cilantro, for garnish (optional)

Per serving: 1/4 recipe
Calories: 180
Total fat: 5 g
Carb: 30 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sugars: 8g
Protein: 7 g
Sodium: 760 mg

Preheat a 4-quart pot over medium-high heat. Saute the shallots and red bell pepper in the oil until translucent, about 4 minutes. Use a little nonstick cooking spray or brother if needed. Add the garlic, ginger, and red pepper flakes, and saute for another minute. Add the zucchini and corn and sprinkle in the salt. Cook for about 3 minutes, stirring once.
Measure 1 cup of the broth into a measuring cup. Mix in the arrowroot with a fork until dissolved. You do the s because it's just easier to get the arrowroot dissolved into smaller quantities of liquid. Add the arrowroot mixture to the pot, along with the rest of the broth.  Mix in the carrots and curry powder. Cover the pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, break the corn cobs in half and add them to the pot. Lower the heat to a simmer and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Remove the corn cobs. Add the coconut milk and lime juice.
Use an immersion blender to blend about half of the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender (get one!), then transfer about half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth, then add back to the pot. If the soup is still steaming hot, make sure to either keep the opening on top of your food processor open, or lift the lid often for steam to escape. If steam builds up in a  closed container it can explode the lid off. Ouch. Taste for seasoning. Serve garnished with cilantro, if you like.

This recipe uses a method that really makes corn chowder shine: Let the corn cobs stew in the pot. They hold lots of maize-y flavor, so don't let 'em go to waste. At the end, you remove the cobs and only your delicious soup knows they were ever there. I suppose you can use frozen corn instead, but only if you 're really crunched for time.

From: Appetite for Reduction by Isa Chandra Moskowitz

Help for last night's sweet craving:

This is from my Blendtec cookbook so is set up for a high speed blender.

Carrot Cake
2 1/2 medium carrots, cut in half

Directions: Place above ingredients into blender jar and secure the lid. Be sure carrots are placed vertically in blender jar. Press the Speed Up button until blender reaches 3. Allow the cycle to run for 50 seconds. Pour carrots into a separate bowl.

Note: If batter is not blended to desired consistency, remove jar after the cycle has finished and shake until the batter removes around in the jar. Place back on the motor base and press the Pulse button 3 to 4 times.

1 medium apple, cored into eighths
1/2 medium orange peeled

Directions: Place ingredients into the blender jar and press the Pulse button 30 to 40 times. After every 10 press, remove container, shake, place back on blender and continue to press Pulse button.

1/2 c. water
1/4 c. oil
1 t. cinnamon
1 t. salt
1/2 t. allspice
1 t. baking soda
1/4 c. cornstarch
1 1/4  c. sugar
2 cups flour

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Add above ingredietns and carrot mixture into jar. Press the Speed Up buton until blender reaches speed 7. Press the Stop button halfway through the cycle (when the display reads 30 seconds). Pour into round 9 x 9" sprayed baking pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Two Juices & a Lunch

Okay, I neglected to include a daily sodium goal and have found it is between 1,500 and 2,300.  My DIL sent me this Live Strong site to get the info from.

Some from today:

Early morning juice:

4 apples
2 limes (peeled)
1 lemon (peeled)

I juiced them all and drank the whole glass!

I got this recipe from The Top 100 Juices by Sarah Owen.

 The Top 100 Juices: 100 Juices to Turbo-Charge Your Body with Vitamins and Minerals (The Top 100 Recipes Series)

Another juice I had recently was supposed to be good for eczema. It was:

Juice 3 medium carrots, 1/2 medium beet, 1/4 bunch spinach, 1/2 cucumber, and 1/4-1/2 bunch parsley.
This one was gleaned from: Juice Alive by Steven Bailey, ND and Larry Trivieri, Jr.
Juice Alive: The Ultimate Guide Juicing Remedies

I don't get anything from posting these cookbooks, I just prefer having links and pictures of them when I am on blogs so I thought you may like the same:)

My lunch was a big plate of organic baby spinach based salad (with 1 T. of walnuts and 1 T. dried cranberries) topped with 1 ounce of turkey breast, 1 ounce of shredded cheese, 1 teaspoon of Bragg's Ginger & Sesame Salad dressing, and 1 T. of cucumber garlic yogurt. Delicious!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Salad & Soup Recipes

I am trying to be creative in the kitchen and make vibrant eating ... colorful and pleasant. I don't want to feel I am depriving myself or my family by cutting out a lot of standard and harmful foods. I am attempting to overflow with good things and finding ways to nourish our bodies.

Even though we have eaten healthy in some ways over the years (sometimes quite religiously and other times, here and there) ... I really want to make a life style change and stick with it. I believe it is important to get plenty of fresh water, fruits, vegetables, various grains, whole proteins, fermented foods and so on.

Through all the reading, recipes, revamping of this and that ... I am reminded of what is most important and first above any and that is to feed our spirits. We need the Living Waters washing through us, we need the Living Word working in us and we need Jesus Christ to be where we go to fill up to overflowing and for the meeting of every need.

Here are some verses that nourish my spirit:

Isaiah 44:14
He cuts down cedars, or he chooses a cypress tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest. He plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.

Ezekiel 31:4
The waters nourished it; the deep made it grow tall, making its rivers flow around the place of its planting, sending forth its streams to all the trees of the field.

Aren't those verses so soothing and nurturing?!

Here is a salad I made and very much enjoyed from Bragg Vegetarian Health Recipes:

Spring Salad Bowl
1 clove garlic
1 large head of lettuce
1/2 cup of radishes, slice
1/2 cup carrots, grate
3 green onions, finely cut
2 large, ripe tomatoes, slice
1 cucumber, slice
2 celery stalks, chop
Bragg Ginger & Sesame or Organic Vinaigrette Dressing (to taste)
*TIP* I used a Salad Shooter I got years ago for under $2.00 at The Salvation Army to slice the radishes, grate the carrots, slice the cucumber and chop the celery!
Rub salad bowl with garlic clove cut in half. Wash and dry head of lettuce thoroughly, separating and tearing leaves into bowl. Add radishes, carrots, celery and green onions. Slice tomatoes and cucumbers, retaining the skins: skins are not only nutritious, but colorful when serving. Use Bragg Ginger & Sesame Dressing or Organic Hawaiian Dressing. Serves 4.

LOVED this. We devoured this bowl by the end of the day!

More spirit feeding:

Ephesians 5:29
For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church,

Colossians 2:19
and not holding fast to the Head, from whom the whole body, nourished and knit together through its joints and ligaments, grows with a growth that is from God.

This next recipe was a complete surprise hit. I was making it for myself and had NO idea anyone else would even try it. Our 9 year old son wanted to help from start to finish! He used a corn cutter thing I bought and scraped the delicious, fresh kernels off the cob and he peeled and cut the garlic. He chopped the tomatoes and wanted to peel and cut the potatoes but I finished them while he was working on something else.

Not only did he eat some of it but my 18 year old daughter, her 18 year old friend AND my 19 year old niece LOVED it! They came in and ladled a big bowl each and ended up finishing the whole soup pot before dinner time!

I felt it needed more seasoning and I added sea salt and pepper to mine along with 2 Tablespoons of parmesan cheese. So good!

Corn Chowder (it was more of a summer chowder than specifically corn)
2 medium yellow onions, peeled and diced small
2 red bell peppers, seeded and finely chopped
3 ears corn, kernels removed (above 2 cups)
3 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 large russet potatoes, peeled and deiced
1 1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes (about 4-6 medium), diced
6 cups vegetable stock
3/4 cup basil, finely chopped
Salt and black pepper to taste

1. Place the onions and peppers in a large saucepan and saute over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add water 1 to 2 Tablespoons at a time to keep the vegetables from sticking to the pan. Add the corn and garlic, and saute 5 more minutes. Add the potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, and vegetable stock. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 25 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender.
2. Puree half of the soup in batches in a blender with a tight fitting lid, covered with a  towel. Return to the pureed soup to the pot. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper. NOTE: I used my immersion blender right in the pot and saved a LOT of hassle!
You can also make this with leeks instead of onions -- substitute 2 leeks , white part only, diced and rinsed, for the onion.

From: Forks over Knifes, The Cookbook by Del Sroufe

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Daily Nutrition Goals

I have been spending any time I can scrape for such things continuing my personal ... better health guidelines. .. research.
I've written the following down several times using a variety of sites, publications and other resources but they are all over the place. It dawned on me that I could post here and share for anyone desiring to find out their own info and I will have it in one place!

I want to make a colorful chart with all of this info to hang in my kitchen and make it a lot easier to keep up with! I've been planning to do this for years and I just need to get it going!

 smile529: I have been trying for months to find out my exact nutritional needs. How much protein each day? Fiber? Calcium/Dairy? Fat? Servings of fruits? Vegetables? Grains?

I am finally figuring out some basics!

Protein: 180-225 grams of protein per day?!
I got this from
36-45 per meal when I eat five small meals?!
Our 9 year old son needs approximately: 80-96 grams per day and 13-16 grams per meal.
Our 18 year old daughter needs around 104-120 grams per day and 17-22 grams per meal.
My husband 156-195 grams per day and 39-49 per meal. says I should be having 1,000 mg of calcium a day.
According the the Mayo Clinic, I need to aim for 25 grams of fiber per day. My husband needs 38!
Our daughter needs 26 grams per day and our son needs 31.
I got the kids' numbers from:

As for fat 
 suggests no more than 25-35 percent of my total calories for the day. I don't want to mess with all the math but I plan on eating only healthy oils and I should get an adequate amount if I am keeping up with my calories.

Fruits: From what I've read... it appears I can do well on at least 3 servings per day and the same for my daughter.  My husband and son need around 4 servings per day.
Vegetables: 4-6 servings is my goal. The guys in our home need 5-6.


5 – 10 servings

This depends on the total number of calories you consume in a day.
  • If you consume 1600 calories, eat 5 servings per day.
  • If you consume 1800 – 2000 calories, eat 6 servings per day.
  • If you consume 2200 calories, eat 7 servings day.
  • If you consume 2400 calories, eat 8 servings per day.
  • If you consume 2600 calories, eat 9 servings per day.
  • If you consume 2800 calories, eat 10 servings per day.
One serving of grains is equal to:
  • 1 slice of bread
  • ½ cup cooked rice, pasta, or cereal
  • 1 cup ready-to-eat dry cereal
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2005

Here is some helpful information for what kids need: (I focused on this age group but they have all of them on the site).

9 to 13 Years

Mayo Clinic states that girls age 9 to 13 require between 1,600 and 2,200 calories a day and boys need 1,800 to 2,600. The wide range in energy needs is dependent upon growth and activity levels. At this age, many children are involved in sports and other activities, which require energy. On average, recommendations include consuming seven servings of grains, two servings of vegetables, three servings of fruit, three servings of dairy and three servings of meat daily.

Read more:

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies

These cookies are becoming more addictive than traditional chocolate chip cookies around here! I am known for my chocolate chip cookies (actually, my daughter passed me and is now the family's cookie queen all the way around) but we are eating better and watching our fat, calories and nutrtional needs.

So far, every single person who tried them went wild over them except my husband. He said the texture wasn't right for him. It sure was for the 11 others, ages 2 to 43!

Ice Box Chocolate Chip Cookies from: Going Raw by Judita Wignall

1 1/2 cups cashews
2/3 cups Medjool dates
3 T. almond butter (I made mine in the Blendtec)
1/8 t. sea salt (optional)
3/4 cup chocolate chips (the first time, we used regular semi-sweet chocolate chips and the next time, we used mini semi-sweet chocolate chips)

1. In a food processor, grind the cashews into a flour.
2. Add the dates (without the seeds), almond butter, and sea salt and process until it sticks. (I added some coconut oil to make it easier to work with). Use a spatula to scrape down the sides as needed.
3. Transfer to a bowl and mix in the chocolate chips with a spatula or your hands. If you're not using tempered chocolate, add the chips after you roll out the dough or they will melt.
4. Roll the dough with a rolling pin on a nonstick sheet or patchment paper, making the dough about 3/8 inch (1 cm) thick.
5. Cut out with cookie cutter and freeze. These are best served frozen. (Note: some of us loved them not frozen as well as frozen!)

Summer Style Stew

Summer Style Stew

I came up with this with a few goals in mind:

1. It had to be healthy.
2. It had to feed a crowd.
3. It needed to call for a lot of vegetables so I could make full use of my friend's garden gifts and my farmer's market finds.

I am pleased to say that not only were these things met but everyone loved it as well!
Here is how it is made:

olive oil
kale (washed, the main stem cut out and cut or torn)
cabbage (outer leaves off, washed, cored and cut into about 8 wedges)
eggplant (chopped and salted)
fresh garlic (about 4 cloves, through a garlic press)
sea salt & pepper
vegetable stock
chicken stock
fresh green beans
okra (I used sliced, frozen from our farmer's market that I had in the freezer)
lima beans (a hand full)
hard, parmesan wedges cut in big pieces

Saute the onion in olive oil and add kale, letting everything simmer while cutting the other ingredients.
Add cabbage and eggplant, and green beans and let simmer, stirring frequently.
Add tomatoes and salt and pepper all.
Add one box of chicken broth and stir as you go and eventually, add a box of vegetable stock.
Add the rest of the ingredients and just let simmer until cooked.

We shaved a bit of real parmesan on the top of ours and ate big bowls with no crackers, bread or anything!

LA Style Chimichurri Tacos

It is so hot.
I am literally using small towels to wipe the sweat off and you could probably wring it out of my shirt when I am done cooking! People wonder why I get so excited when fall and winter finally come around. We only get a few months of cool winds and the rest of the year is just sweltering.

Anyway, enough whining.
I am finding ways to make things that cause as little heat as possible because each meal needs to feed anywhere from seven to 20.

For lunch today, we just had seven and most of us were in the kitchen working! I assigned tasks to each of the girls and we got a very nice and healthy meal done far more fast than if I had worked alone. I am trying to get better at delegating.

Onto our recipe...

I chose LA-Style Chimichurri Tacos from, Chloe's Kitchen by Chloe Coscarelli. This author was a winner of the Food Network,'s Cupcake Wars. I miss that show so much and there are some other cooking shows I would love to see. We got rid of cable a long time ago so I just catch glimpses of them when I visit my kids;)

Here it is from the book:

Serves 6 (I doubled all the ingredients)

Make-Ahead Tip
All components of the tacos can be made in advance and kept refrigerated for 3 to 4 days. Reheat and assemble when ready to serve.

2 T. olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1/2 t. sea salt
1 tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup brown or white rice
1 cup vegetable broth

Chimichurri Sauce
1 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup fresh Italian parsley (I used fresh dill bec the store was out of the other)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lime juice
4 cloves garlic
2 T. agave nectar
1/2 t. ground cumin
1 t. sea salt
1/2 t. freshly ground pepper

Taco Filling
2 T. olive oil
8 ounces crimini mushrooms, trimmed and sliced (I used baby portabella's because I couldn't find the ones suggested)
1 package 8-inch tortillas (I served regular and whole grain/low carb)
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained (used organic)

Optional toppings: Sour cream, chopped tomatoes, sliced onion, shredded lettuce, or diced avocado. We used all these toppings along with some spicy salsa!

To make the tomato rice: In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat and add onions and salt. Saute onions until soft. Add tomato, rice, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, until all broth is absorbed and rice is cooked. Turn off heat and let sit, covered, 15 minutes.

To make the chimichuri sauce: Blend cilantro, parsley, oil, lime juice, garlic, agave, cumin, salt, and pepper in a  food processor until combined and herbs are very finely chopped.

To make the taco filling: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat and saute mushrooms until they have released their juices. Add black beans and half of the Chimichurri sauce and cook until heated through. Reserve the remaining half of the Chimichurri Sauce to spoon onto the taco, if desired.

To serve: Fill each tortilla with tomato rice, taco filling, extra chimichurri sauce, desired additional toppings, and a dollop of sour cream. Fold over and serve.