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!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Amp up the Veggies

I can sometimes find myself in a vegetable rut and serve the same vegetable dishes again and again.  And that's not bad... my kids love steamed green beans, broccoli or carrots and I know they will eat them.

But this week I wanted to reach beyond my normal comfort zone to get a broader range of vegetables in me.  I saw some brussel sprouts on sale this week and it motivated me to create something different. 

I'm calling it:
Brussel Sprout Medley with cranberries, diced roasted beets, carrots, goat cheese and sprouted pumpkin seeds!

1 bunch of brussel sprouts (with bottoms cut off, rinsed and cut in half)
4 carrots (peeled and run through the grate attachment on a food processor)
1 bunch of baby beets (roasted whole then peeled and diced)
1 cup of Go Raw Sprouted Pumpkin Seeds 
1/2 cup of dried cranberries
1/2 cup of goat cheese
3 diced granny smith apples
1/2 cup Chaffin Family Orchards Olive Oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 TBS apple cider vinegar
sea salt/pepper to taste
1 clove garlic crushed 
1 tsp paprika

What I did:
  •  preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • mix brussel sprouts, carrots, apples, cranberries, garlic, sea salt/pepper, paprika in bowl and add lemon juice, apple cider vinegar and olive oil and mix around. 
  • roast in oven until brussel sprouts and apples are soft and seem "done"... which took me about 20 minutes.  Take out of the oven.
  • Add diced beets (if you had wanted you could have just diced them very small raw and added them with everything else)
  • Add goat cheese and sprouted pumpkin seeds (since pumpkin seeds are sprouted and raw they didn't need the heat) 
  • Mix together and serve.  Also delicious later in the day as a cold salad that has been refrigerated. 

I got some of my inspiration for what "goes" well with brussel sprouts from a great book called The Flavor Bible that is a reference book many chefs use to get an idea of flavors that go well together.  In addition to great taste, you can also feel good about the powerhouse of nutrition in all these healthy foods.

Brussel sprouts are a great source of folic acid, vitamins C and K and beta-carotene as well as having vitamin B6, thiamine, fiber and potassium.  They also contain cancer-fighting phytochemicals.  Beets have calcium, iron, vitamin A and C in addition to numerous other health benefits.  Pumpkin seeds are a great source of phosphorous, magnesium, iron, manganese, zinc and copper. The sprouting makes the seeds more easily digested and allows your body to use more of the nutrients in the seeds.  There are 7 g of protein in 1/4 cup of these nuts. 

I enjoyed eating this veggie medley mix all day yesterday and my only regret is that I didn't double the recipe so I'd have had more to eat today!

Also posted at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Crunchy mom makes crunchy chips!

Sweet Potato Chips

There's a crunchy mom video that was circulating around the internet that made me laugh and also got me thinking about these crunchy sweet potato chips that are super easy to make and fit right in with the crunchy mom lifestyle!

 We start with the humble sweet potato and your new best friend for this job, the mandolin slicer.  I put the link not because I endorse this particular one (I have no horse in the race), but just to show you what one looks like.  Essentially, they are slicers that allow you to get a very fine slice, which is vital to the success of the veggie chip!  I found that my food processor did not allow me to get a thin enough slice which makes for more of a chewy chip.... and it turns out that chewy does not make for a good chip!

So it is as simple as this .... take the sweet potatoes and slice paper thin with a mandolin.  Then mix in some good quality olive oil and a mix of salt and pepper.  I also like to throw in a little cinnamon and let the sweet potatoes get wet but not drenching wet.

Then, if like the crunchy all star momma you want to be, you have a dehydrator.... well it is as simple as can be to put the chips on the trays and let them dehydrate at about 105 degrees F for several hours until they are well, CHIPS!  If you don't have a dehydrator, an oven on a warm setting will do but just know you may lose some enzymes and raw food status as you will likely have the oven over 118 degrees F.  However, they will still be crunchy and tasty!

Sweet potatoes are a great source of carotenes, vitamin C, B6, manganese, copper, biotin, pantothenic acid and dietary fiber.  They provide glutathione, one of the body's most important internally produced antioxidants.  Additionally unlike other starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes have been shown in animal studies to help stabilize blood sugar levels and improve response to the hormone insulin.  

So next time you feel "crunchy," reach for something like these sweet potato chips that you can feel good about and still get your crunch on!

Also posted at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wed

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I get by with a Little Help from my Friends!

My take on Three Stone Hearth's Blessed Beet Salad
 Humming the Beetle's tune as I write this, I want to give thanks to two "friends" for inspiring my family dinner last night.  The first "friend" is Jessica Prentice of Three Stone Hearth  in Berkeley, California.  I read Jessica's book, Full Moon Feast a few years ago, but it remains a powerful inspiration source for me.  Jessica is offering a Blessed Beet Salad this week at Three Stone Hearth and the ingredients are Beets, celery, fennel, oranges, olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, lime zest and juice, garlic, salt, anise seed and black pepper. 

I'm not exactly sure how she prepares it, but I roasted some beets and then peeled them when they were nice and soft.  I then cut up some fennel (which I deviated a bit and did a quick saute in butter), cut up the oranges and then made a "sauce" with the olive oil, parsley, lemon juice, lime juice and zest, garlic, anise seed and black pepper.  I also just now realize I forgot to put in the celery (however it was still delicious).  Maybe that was part of the destiny for what I needed yesterday!  I drizzled the sauce over the warm beets and oranges and fennel mix so that the flavor would be soaked in by the warm beets.  I think the salad could be served warm or chilled.  It was a delightful burst of citrus yet with depth from the beets.  The anise seed and lime zest added extra complexity to the flavor.  Best of all, my kids actually ate some of it and seemed to enjoy it! That's big news here because I have not had a lot of luck getting them to eat beets.

My Take on Rick Osborn's Best Pot Roast Ever
I found it to be a perfect companion for the pot roast that I was inspired to cook from my newest "friend", Rick Osborn, who boasts a "best pot roast recipe ever!"  I met Rick this weekend in Baltimore, Md at the FourFold Path to Healing conference. The weekend, a blog post perhaps in itself, was jam packed full of information and insight and amazing food.  Rick turned out to be on both my flights this weekend and attended the same cooking class with Monica Corrado (excellent!) and also attended many of the same lectures throughout the weekend.  As much as I learned from all the "official" speakers from the conference, I learned quite a bit also from just the terrific people at the conference and Rick was one of those people.  It turns out he does executive coaching and he also is a bit of a renaissance man in general as he has a wide range of interests and made for great company.  I think it is great that Rick understands that what you eat also plays an important role in helping you reach your maximum potential.  If you are seeking any coaching, I would recommend you check out Rick's website.  

Now to me saying "the best pot roast ever" is quite a statement and I thought I should check it out.  I was looking for a nice family dinner for my family last night since I'd been away for a few days and so I gave the recipe a try!  Of course, I hardly ever follow a recipe to the letter and so I added several more vegetables to the mix beyond the carrots and onions including some zucchini, squash, green beans and a small potato or two.  (I like one pot dinners and I wanted to add a few more veggies).  I also found some grass fed beef with the bone in and so I added the bones (which I removed before serving) to up the flavor and add hopefully some extra minerals.  

I've got to say,  it was super easy and absolutely delicious.  I never thought I could tackle pot roast mid week but with this simple recipe as a guide, I will do it more often!  My kids and husband and I all thought it was the best pot roast ever so thank you Rick!

I think it is wonderful how if we are open to receive the gifts of this world, there are people we will meet that can help us on our path.  Some of them, like Jessica Prentice, we may not meet in person (yet) and sometimes they may be the person you are sitting next to on your flight.  So be open to listen to what other people are all about, and you may be amazed at what amazing gifts will come your way.  My dinner on Monday night, with a little help from my friends, is a great example.  May you meet the people you need to meet today and be open to receive their gifts while at the same time always looking for ways to be a gift yourself to someone else. 

Also posted at Kelly the Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesday