This blog is a place to share my passion for cooking and inspire people to cook more from scratch. With six people in the family, cooking is something that is always on my mind. I want to share some of my favorite foods and recipes and share more about traditional diets (like the kind of food our great, great, great grandmothers would have made). Right now I am fascinated with fermented vegetables, coconuts, seafood with a cerviche twist and organ meats... although maybe not all in the same meal!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Donna Moment

Oh, how I love when I get a chance to just be me!  It is not that I don't love my family dearly, but when you have four children it is good for your sanity to sometimes be alone.  

I had the chance to get over to our fabulous local farmer's market and delighted myself with all the food available for purchase.  I feel so fortunate to live in an area where there are so many great farms and farmers that produce such healthy food.  After shopping in my own private Idaho bliss, it was time to go home and make lunch.  

The house was still quiet so I indulged myself with a lunch that perhaps only I would love... certainly I think it was too weird for anyone in my family to consider eating.  But to me, it was perfection on a plate.  I just took all the great things I bought at the farmer's market and put them together to make a salad of sorts...
 I bought some Kimchee from The Farmer's daughter, some roasted red peppers from Peregrine Farms (where they roast the peppers for you right on site!), some purslane greens, and some pecans from the pecan guy... his name escapes me at the moment but he has great pecans and I buy them whenever I can.  I finished up with some goat cheese and made a delightful salad that I enjoyed in complete peace!

While the photo is blurry, I hope you can see the vibrant colors and flavors in the dish.  I'm not even sure what to call it as there are so many things going on but I felt like it was an explosion of flavor and I enjoyed every bite.  The Purslane greens are loaded with vitamin A, Omega 3 fatty acids (apparently more per serving than any other leafy vegetable plant), Vitamin C, and some B complex vitamins too.  When you add in all the benefits of the homemade Kimchee, this lunch is almost too healthy to be allowed!  It just shows that good taste can be GOOD FOR YOU too!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Give yourself a boost with some CLO!

Here's just a mini post today to pass along my "cyber friend" Kelly the Kitchen Kop's giveaway to get some free Cod Liver Oil.  Perhaps those not in the know will gag at the thought of Cod Liver Oil, but I have found this stuff to be great for keeping the kids and the whole family healthy and for protecting teeth from cavities.

Kelly is offering a giveaway for some free Cod Liver Oil from Green Pastures at this link Kelly the KItchen Kop's Green Pastures Giveaway

Even if you don't win the giveaway, I say you'd be giving yourself a gift if you check out the Green Pastures site.  I seriously love their stuff and you can get the CLO (Cod Liver Oil) there if you don't win.  (By the way, one of my little fun hobbies is to make up acronyms for everything... bjb is big juicy burger, cpc... is clean plate club, pdt is pretty darn tasty!  It is so funny how my kids know all my little lingo and can usually figure out my new codes when I make them up.)  I hope that adds some fun to their childhood to have a silly mom sometimes....

Anyway, I'm not getting any freebies for the post except hoping to win Kelly's contest too, but I really do use and think very highly of the Green Pasture's products so check them out if you want!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Turning back Time...

So today's "food" post turns out to be more about fitness, but it is related to food also because I am learning how to be a more conscious eater.

Around last summer it kind of hit me that there was a bad little trend on the horizon.... One where I seem to weigh my age plus 100.  Now this equation worked out just fine in my teens and twenties and was sort of OK in my thirties too.  But when I realized the trend was continuing into my 40's it kind of hit me that this could get ugly in the next few decades if I don't stop the trend.  I suppose I've been lucky in that I really have never worried about my weight for most of my life and I've never really done any funky diets that damaged my body.

But as I said, the 40's have been a different story and I decided last summer that I needed to make some changes.  I actually started going to a gym regularly and I started to think more about when and what I was eating.  The 9 pm trip to the fridge for a tablespoon of peanut butter with a sprinkling of chocolate chips, the mindless eating of a wad of cheese just for opening the fridge.... well these were things I knew I had to change if I wanted to see any results on the scale.  And I will say change comes, but not always as fast as you want.  But if you keep doing the right things for long enough, I think the change does come eventually.

I have now lost about 15 pounds since last summer and lost some body fat and gained muscle too.  A big breakthrough for me this week is that when I stepped on the scale today, the tens digit was a 2 as in I could officially say that my weight is in the 120's... never mind that it is barely true.... give me time to fix that!  But it is a big breakthrough nonetheless because that puts me back to the weight I had in my twenties.  

I feel like a huge shift happened on our most recent vacation.... normally it is just hard not to gain about 5 pounds when you drive almost twenty hours across the country in two days and then spend a quiet week visiting family.  Especially when you are in new places and there are chocolate treats in every new store and restaurant that call out your name like a siren song as you sleep....  But not this time.  I didn't reach for the chocolate treats!  I didn't snack in the car!  I kind of put a plan together for meals to eat on the trip... things like canned oysters and my homemade sauerkraut and I drank some green tea to give me a little boost.  But no in between meal snacking!  Which I repeat that when you spend 10+ hours in a car is very hard to do!

And this vacation I made it a priority to keep up my regular exercise schedule which it turns out I really enjoy!  And the reward for keeping up these good habits is that I lost 1 and 1/2 pounds on my trip away even while still managing to have a few scrumptious desserts at the end of meals (I think it is best to indulge at your lunch meal because your body has more time to deal with it).  I just didn't eat snacks and didn't eat after 8 pm but otherwise I enjoyed great, REAL food and did allow myself a dessert every few days.  

So to all out there in cyber land I say keep doing the right things and I think you will see results at some point.  It has taken me a year to make this much progress so don't expect huge changes immediately if you want to make healthy changes that will last a lifetime.  I'd still like to get my BMI down a few more points just for safe keeping, so I intend to keep on keeping on and doing the right things!  I wish for you, too, to turn back your body in time!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Rainbow Slaw

In these dog days of summer, it is hard to even think of turning on the oven when there is a constant oven on outdoors.  So when it came time for lunch, I started searching for a cool alternative. 

As with much of my cooking, I started out looking to use what I had in the kitchen rather than be guided by a particular recipe.  I had some lovely beets that were striped purple and white and some carrots, turnips, basil and other assorted greens.  I think I had a bit of fennel as well and I also had some apples that I diced which added a lot of flavor.  If I had walnuts and or pecans on hand, those would have been perfect too.  I used the grating attachment on the food processor and just went shred happy.  

The resulting mixture was a perfect lunch for a hot day once I made a little dressing.  I almost hate to influence you here by telling you what I made as a dressing because there are so many ways to play it from here.  I chose a simple dressing with lemon juice, sea salt, some grated ginger, a dash of maple syrup and olive oil to dress my salad.  But there are so many options here and I think it shows how you can never get bored with vegetables if you allow yourself to be creative on the final dressing.  

To make this a full on meal, you could have added a few sea scallops or if you are looking to eat on the cheap, even some canned oysters or wild salmon in a can sprinkled on top would have been a great ending as well.  If there is any lesson from this rainbow of slaw, it would be to keep trying new combinations and not be afraid of the results.  In general, I have found that as long as you keep adding things that you like, the dish has a way of turning out just fine!

Also posted at Real Food Wednesday