December 29, 2010

Classic Salsa


2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeded and very coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, halved
2 large vine-ripened tomatoes
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes (drained or not, depending on how much liquid you want in your salsa)
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon cumin
1/2 sweet yellow onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
juice of one lime

In the bowl of a food processor, combine the jalapenos and garlic. Process until finely chopped. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add all other ingredients to the food processor. Pulse in very brief pulses until the vegetables have reached the size you desire (it does not take many pulses so don't over do it). Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving to allow the flavors to blend. Enjoy!
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December 21, 2010

Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread

Try this bread warm from the oven topped with real butter (ok just as fantastic with Earth Balance spread too)! I know why the recipe makes 4 loaves, because this bread won't last long around your house.

Adapted from Artisan: Bread in Five Minutes a Day

Makes four 1-pound loaves.

1 3/4 cup lukewarm water
1 1/2 tablespoons granulated yeast (2 packets)
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup butter, melted
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups unbleached white flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raisins (optional)
Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon of water)
1-2 tablespoons raw cane sugar

Mix together the melted butter, warm water, eggs and honey. Add the yeast and allow to sit 5 minutes. Knead in the flour. Knead the dough for 8-10 minutes on low with standing electric mixer or by hand for 10 minutes. The dough will be slightly sticky. Add a little more flour if needed, but don't over do it. Cover (I cover my dough with a plastic bag and then a tea towel) and allow to rest at room temperature until dough rises and doubles in size (about 1 - 1 1/2 hours). Dust the surface of the dough with flour and cut off a 1-pound piece. (Or divide your dough into 4 equal balls if you don't have a scale) On a lightly floured surface, form the dough into a loaf shape. Using a rolling pin (or your hands) roll dough into a 1/4 thick rectangle. Use just enough flour to prevent it from sticking. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon. Sprinkle the brown sugar-cinnamon mixture evenly all over the top of the rectangle, leaving a 1-inch border all around. (You made need to make more brown sugar/cinnamon mixture to complete all four loaves) Top with the raisins. Roll up the dough, jellyroll-style. Allow the bread to rest and rise, covered, in a buttered loaf pan for 1 hour. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush the loaf with egg wash and sprinkle with the raw sugar. Bake near the center of the oven for about 25 minutes. I baked 2 loaves (I cut the recipe in half) at the same time and it took 30 minutes. Remove the loaf from the oven. Let rest, covered with a tea towel for 10 minutes. Remove the loaves from the pans and cover again with a tea towel. Allow to rest 5-10 more minutes and then dig in while still warm. Enjoy!
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December 8, 2010

Ultimate Oatmeal

This is morning comfort in a bowl! I guarantee you will not go back to your old ways of oatmeal making (that is if you don't already cook your oatmeal in this way). When I was head cook for a Christian camp (Tall Timber Ranch!) I would serve this to over 200 high school campers and I would rarely have any leftovers. This is not your average camp slop!

The following proportions will feed around 3-4 people.

2 3/4 cups water
1 1/2 cup extra thick rolled oatmeal (any mixed rolled grains work well (barley, rye ect..), but use at least half extra thick rolled oats)
1 small pear or apple peeled and cubed (this is optional, if you don't use the chopped pear or apple then increase your water to 3 cups)
2 tablespoons brown sugar or honey
chopped walnuts
2 tablespoons organic whole milk (or any milk of your choose)

Place the cubed apple or pear in a pot with the water. Bring to a boil. When the water starts boiling turn off the heat (but do not remove the pot from the burner) and add the oatmeal. Let it sit. After about 20 minutes slightly stir the oatmeal. If there is still water remaining you can cover and let sit a few more minutes. Add the sugar, raisins, craisins, chopped walnuts and milk. Stir and serve. Another way of serving the oatmeal is to put all the "toppings" out on the counter and allow individuals to add what they want to their oatmeal. You can even include fresh berries, apple butter, maple syrup or anything you can think of! The key is in the "cooking" of the oatmeal. Enjoy!
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December 4, 2010

Gingerbread Cookies (vegan and gluten free)

This dough makes a wonderful soft gingerbread cookie. These would be perfect with raisins for the buttons and eyes, but I only thought of this after I baked them. They make a lovely holiday snack!

Complements: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

1/2 cup softened coconut oil
1/4 cup whole raw cane sugar
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons xantham gum
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon ginger

In medium sized mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut oil, sugar, maple syrup, molasses, pumpkin puree, vanilla and sea salt. In a separate bowl, combine the brown rice flour, tapioca flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, and spices. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix well with a wooden spoon. Form dough into a ball and wrap in waxed paper; place in the refrigerator to chill for about 20 minutes. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly flour a surface for rolling out your dough. Place the dough on the surface and roll until it is about 1/4 inch think. Cut out with your favorite cookie cutters and then place cookies onto an oiled baking sheet. You may decorate the cookies before baking by gently pressing whole nuts or raisins into the cookies. I used very old cinnamon balls that I found in my baking supplies. I will do raisins next time! Bake for about 12-15 minutes. Then remove from cookie sheet and place onto a rack to cool. Enjoy!
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December 2, 2010

Pureed Carrot Soup with Nutmeg

This is a fantastic comfort soup.

Complements: Cook's Illustrated December 1996

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion or leek, chopped
2 tablespoons dry sherry or white wine (I used white cooking wine)
1 1/2 pounds carrots (about 8 large carrots), peeled, halved lenghtwise, and sliced thin
2 cups vegetable stock (or organic chicken stock)
1 teaspoon sea salt
ground pepper
Pinch of nutmeg
1- 1 1/2 cup whole milk (or unsweetened soy milk)
2 teaspoons minced fresh tarragon, mint, chive or parsley leaves

Heat oil in large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onion; saute until golden, about 5 minutes. Add sherry and carrots; stir-cook until sherry evaporates, about 1 minute. Add stock, salt, pepper to taste and nutmeg to saucepan; bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer; cover and cook until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. Ladle carrot mixture into blender. Add 1 cup milk; blend until very smooth. Return soup to saucepan; cook over low heat until warmed through. If soup is too thick, stir in additional milk or broth. Adjust seasonings. Ladle soup into individual bowls. Garnish with minced herb before serving. Enjoy!
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December 1, 2010

Glazed Meat Loaf

Complements: Cooks Magazine January/February 2006

3 ounces Monterey Jack cheese, grated
1 tablspoon butter
1 medium onion, chopped fine (about 1 cup)
1 medium celery rib, chopped fine (about 1/2 cup)
1 medium garlic clove, minced
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
1 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 organic chicken broth
2 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon unflavored powdered gelatin
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
2/3 cup fine bread crumbs (gluten free bread if you need to)
2 tablspoons minced fresh parsley leaves (optional)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 pounds ground organic beef or turkey

1/2 ketchup
1 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoon packed brown sugar

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread cheese on plate and place in freezer until ready to use.

Prepare baking sheet. I covered a rimmed cookie sheet with foil. I then placed a cooling rack (like you use for cookies) on top of the covered baking sheet and covered the rack with foil. Then I made large slits in the foil covering the cooling rack. This allows any extra juices to drip off the loaf and into the bottom of the baking pan.

Heat butter in skillet over medium high heat until foaming; add onion and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, and paprika and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and add tomato juice. Cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits from pan, until thickened, about 1 minute. Transfer mixture to small bowl and set aside to cool. Whisk broth and eggs in large bowl until combined. Sprinkle gelatin over liquid and let stand 5 minutes. Stir in soy sauce, mustard, bread crumbs, parsley, salt, pepper and onion mixture. Crumble frozen cheese into coarse powder and sprinkle over mixture. Add the ground meat and mix gently with hands until thoroughly combined, about 1 minutes. Transfer meat to foil rectangle and shape into 10 by 6 inch oval about 2 inches high. Smooth top and edges of meat loaf with moistened spatula. Bake until an instant-read thermometer inserted into center of loaf reads 135-140 degree 55-60 minutes.

While meat loaf cooks, combine ingredients for glaze in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat and cook, stirring, until thick and syrupy, about 5 minutes.

When meat loaf is done cooking remove from oven and turn on broiler. Spread half of glaze evenly over cooked meat loaf with rubber spatula; place under broiler and cook until glaze bubbles and begins to brown at edges, about 5 minutes. Remove meat loaf from oven and spread evenly with remaining glaze; place back under broiler and cook until glaze is again bubbling and beginning to brown, about 5 minutes more. Let meat loaf cool about 20 minutes before slicing. Enjoy!
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November 22, 2010

Hot Chocolate (Stevia Sweetened)

Who can resist a warm cup of hot cocoa after a morning playing in the cold winter snow or while sitting next to a crackling fire during a crisp, blustery fall day. Hot chocolate typically includes lots of sugar or artificial sweetener. If these are two ingredients you don't want every time you sip on a cup of hot chocolate try out this stevia sweetened cocoa drink!

Complements: Baking with Stevia

4 cups of organic milk (any kind of milk works great)
4 level tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon stevia extract (or to taste, I use the white powder stevia extract for this recipe)
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla

Blend milk, cocoa, stevia, salt and vanilla in blender. Pour into a pan and heat. Do not boil. I place the cocoa in a crockpot and let it warm for an hour or so. Serve hot. Enjoy!
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November 17, 2010

Ambrosia Fruit Salad

Our 7 year old daughter planned lunch for us today. It included Ambrosia fruit salad and whole grain spelt bread toast. She used the recipe from the book, "Kids Cooking". She was the cook from start to finish. It turned out lovely!

4 cups for copped fruit (it is fall and she choose apples, oranges and grapes)
1/2 cup organic vanilla yogurt (it called for sour cream, but she made the decision to change to yogurt)
1 teaspoon honey
3 tablespoons coconut
1 handful of mini marshmallows (can't leave this out mom!)
a sprinkle of cinnamon (another change my daughter made, she added cinnamon (what can I say she is like her momma and has to tinker with the recipe :) )

Place chopped fruit into a serving bowl. Mix the remaining ingredients together and pour over fruit. Stir until combined. Serve right away. Enjoy!
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November 13, 2010

Gluten Free Sugar Cookies

These are delicious covered in chocolate, dipped half in chocolate or topped with my favorite vanilla cream frosting (recipe follows). If you can't have gluten and are craving a good iced sugar cookie (or chocolate covered) this recipe is a must!

2/3 cup raw cane sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup brown rice flour (or white rice flour for a little lighter cookie)
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons milk (any kind you use)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together sugar, shortening, and vanilla with electric mixer to partially combine. Add rice flour, tapioca flour, baking soda and salt. Mix on low; slowly add rice milk until dough is smooth. Roll dough out (1/2 inch thickness) and cut into desired shape. Bake 12-15 minutes or until edges are golden and tops are cracked. Remove from oven, let cool 1 minute on baking sheet, then remove from baking sheet, and cool completely on flat surface. Dip in chocolate or cover with frosting (or eat them plan). Enjoy!

Vanilla Cream Frosting:

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons milk (or half-n-half)
1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar (powdered sugar)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Beat all ingredients together until smooth. Enjoy!
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October 27, 2010

Crockpot Cinnamon Apples

You can mash these up into applesauce or keep them in chunks. These apples are wonderful as a side dish, a snack or to use as a topping for desserts.

4 pound of apples, cored and sliced into thin chunks
2-4 tablespoons raw cane sugar (optional)
1-2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 - 1 cup of water

Mix apples (about 10 - 12 cups) with cinnamon and sugar and put into crockpot. Pour water and lemon juice over apples. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. Enjoy!
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Gingerbread Cake topped with warm Crockpot Cinnamon Apples

This is a scrumptious gluten free, vegan gingerbread topped with warm crockpot cinnamon apples and honey sweetened whipped cream!

Gingerbread Cake complement of: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

2 cups brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
2 teaspoons ginger powder
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 cup melted virgin coconut oil (or butter or olive oil) (I use 1/2 coconut oil and 1/2 butter)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8x8-inch square baking pan. Combine the dry ingredients in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine the wet ingredients. Add the wet to the dry and mix well with a wire whisk. Pour the batter into the oiled baking pan and bake for about 25 minutes. When the cake is cooled I serve it topped with warm crockpot cinnamon apples and honey sweetened whipped cream. Enjoy!
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October 21, 2010

Honey Wheat Sandwich Buns

1 1/4 cup milk, warmed
2 1/4 teaspoon yeast
2 cups unbleached white flour
1 cup whole wheat bread flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour (or more whole wheat)
1 /2 teaspoon salt
1 egg, at room temperature
1/4 cup honey

Add the yeast to the warm milk and stir to dissolve. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flours and salt. Mix on low speed to combine. Add the yeast-milk mixture, egg and honey. Knead on low speed for 8-10 minutes. You may need to add a few more tablespoons of flour until the dough clears the sides of the bowl and you have the desired consistency (smooth and tacky, but not sticky). Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Once the dough has risen, transfer the ball to a lightly floured work surface and gently deflate the dough. Divide the dough into 9-10 equal sized pieces. Form each piece of dough into a flattened round, 3.5 to 4 inches in diameter. Transfer the shaped rounds to a baking sheet. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise until nearly doubled, about 1 - 1 1/2 hours. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. If you want you can combine 2 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoon honey and lightly brush the tops of the rolls. Bake for 14-15 minutes. I like to brush the rolls with a little more butter when they come out of the oven and then cover them with a clean tea towel until they have cooled. Enjoy!
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Gluten Free Vegan Magic Bars

These are another wonderful treat to add to your gluten free Christmas cookie platter. They also make a great guilt-free treat for everyone who finds them delicious. I encourage you to try them even if you can have gluten and aren't a vegan!

2 cups almond flour (I placed 2 cups of raw almonds in my magic bullet and made my own almond flour/meal)
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1/4 cup honey
3 tablespoons melted non-dairy butter substitute (like Earth Balance) - I just used real butter, but I do love Earth Balance as a spread
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup coconut milk - (or any kind of milk would work great too)
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot powder
2 cups dairy free chocolate chips (or whatever kind you prefer)
1/2 cup maraschino cherries, drained, patted dry and quartered (I used some frozen cherries I had from this last summer)
1 cup sliced or slivered almonds
1 cup sweetened flaked coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9 inch by 12 inch baking dish with gluten-free non-stick cooking spray (or butter or olive oil). In a mixing bowl, mix the almond flour with the sugar, honey, butter and salt until well combined. Moisten hands with water and pat the mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan. (This will make a nice thin layer) In another mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, honey and cornstarch (I heated it a little on the stove top until well blended, but only slightly warm). Pour over the almond crust. Sprinkle the chocolate chips, cherries, almonds and coconut evenly over the top. Gently press down. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until the almonds and coconut flakes are browned and toasty (I think mine took about 25 minutes). Let cool. I placed them in the refrigerator after they were cooled down. This made them easy to cut into squares. I also like to keep them in the refrigerator and take them out about an hour before serving. Enjoy!
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October 7, 2010

Gluten Free Ginger Snaps

If you can't eat gluten and are looking for holiday cookies to make this recipe might make your list!

Complements: Enjoy Life's Cookies for Everyone!

4 cup butter
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 cup brown sugar (or 1/2 cup brown sugar and 1/2 cup honey)
1/4 cup flax meal
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup brown rice flour (they use white rice flour)
1/2 cup rice bran (I used oat bran because that is what I had)
1/3 cup tapioca flour
5 teaspoons water (may be able to omit most or all of the water if you are using 1/2 cup honey)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Icing (I recommend cutting it in half, you can just drizzle the icing)
1 cup powdered sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter, molasses, brown sugar, flax meal, and salt. Mix in rice flour, bran, tapioca flour, 5 teaspoons water, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon; form into ball. Dough will be dense. Pinch off pieces of dough, and roll into 1-inch balls. Place about 12 balls on greased baking sheet. Flatten balls with spatula. Bake about 12 minutes, until middles are firm. Let cookies cool 1 minute on baking sheet before removing to flat surface to cool completely. To make Icing: Mix sugar and lemon juice until mixture reaches spreadable consistency. Drizzle over or frost cooled cookies. Makes 2 dozen. Enjoy!

Note: They also use flax meal instead of an egg. If you don't have flax meal try using one egg instead, although I encourage you to keep flax meal on hand if you don't already. Flax meal is a great way to get essential fatty acids without any added cholesterol or saturated fat.

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October 5, 2010

Cooking with Kids!

Your kids see you cooking in the kitchen from day one of their lives. Do you desire to raise healthy, wholefood loving children? Children are going to learn to eat from example, exposure and experience!

Right around the ripe age of 7-9 it is time to start your kids in the direction of independence in the kitchen! (You want them cooking meals for you by age 10 right :)). "Kids Cooking" is one cookbook that is great for starting your kids off in the kitchen. It has pictures for the ingredients and a picture for each step of instructions.

If you have a 7, 8 or 9 year old start by having them choose one meal to make each week or every other week (or once a month). Have them start by making a grocery list from the ingredients listed for their chosen recipe. Then when it comes time for them to prepare the meal have them gather everything from around the kitchen and do each step as much on their own as possible. This particular book calls the adult in the kitchen the assistant (my kids love that part of it).

A few examples from the book include: Four ways to cook an eggceptional breakfast (4 ways to cook an egg), Guacamole, Popcorn (using the stovetop!), homemade applesauce, alphabet soup (from scratch), spaghetti (sauce from scratch, well using a can of plan tomato sauce and adding all the yummy spices, but you can explain how the sauce is just purred tomatoes, or better yet puree your own to use :)), non-yukky vegetables (cooking/steaming your vegetables just right and not over cooking them, or use the chance to talk about the benefits of eating vegetables raw too!), green salad with homemade dressing, frozen bananas (covered with dark chocolate, walnuts and coconut), banana and strawberry smoothly and even recipes for homemade playdough and giant soap bubbles.

*NOTE: This book is only one small example of a kid friendly cookbook. The recipe book, "Kids Cooking", that I have posted here was not created to be a wholefoods super healthy cookbook for kids. The point is to get your kids in the kitchen. Make it fun. They want to feel in control. This book is just a platform for talking about healthy eating habits, learning how to read a recipe and practicing cooking techniques. You can mention how a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, but encourage them to use whole wheat pastry flour or half spelt flour. Point out how they use honey for making the ambrosia salad and honey is an excellent alternative to refined white sugar. If they make the "Buried Treasure Muffins" you can talk about why you are using raw cane sugar instead of refined white sugar and inform your child that the raw cane sugar still has molasses left in it which is a source of healthy nutrients (not to mention all the chemicals used to process the refined white sugar that they are missing out on).

Your children WILL learn from example, exposure and experience. If they see you cooking with wholefoods on a daily basis then it will rub off on them. They'll get it. If you are offering a raw salad or vegetable tray a few times a week (or better yet sometime each day) eating raw vegetables will become a habit. If you go to the farmers market and pick out fresh and local (and it would be great if it is organic too) fruits and vegetables this will be part of a way of life for your kids.

Always talk about any unusually ingredient you are using. Hopefully, unusually ingredients (for example: various grains/flours, all different healthy oils, alternative sweeteners, raw foods) will not be unusually to your kids when they leave the nest!

Happy cooking with those little ones and enjoy!
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October 3, 2010

Old-Fashioned Apple Crisp

Have you made your first crisp of the season yet? This is the only fruit crisp recipe you'll ever need! In the fall and winter you can use crisp apples and tender pears. In the spring and summer you'll want to use luscious seasonal berries. Any combination of fruit and you can't go wrong with this recipe. It is a crowd pleaser ever time.


note: This recipe makes a lot. It will make 2 -8" pie pans full or 1 big deep dish full

5 pounds apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-2 inch cubes (or any combination of fruit, I often don't measure and just fill a medium to large size mixing bowl full of the fruit(s) I have chosen to use)
grated zest of 1 orange (optional, I typically omit)
grated zest of 1 lemon (optional, I typically omit)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice (optional)
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4-1/2 cup cane sugar (it depends on how sweet your fruit is)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

for the topping;
1 1/2 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I think I'll try a gluten free flour next time and see how it turns out. I'll let you know)
3/4 cup cane sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup oatmeal (I use extra thick rolled)
1/2 pound cold unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the apples (or your chosen fruit(s)) with the zests, juices, sugar and spices. Pour into the dish. To make the topping, combine the flour, sugars, salt, oatmeal and cold butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on low speed until the mixture is crumbly and the butter is the size of peas. (Or use a pastry blender) Scatter evenly over the apples (fruit). Place the crisp on a sheet pan and bake for 45 minutes - 1 hour until the top is brown and the apples are bubbly. I then take it out of the oven and let it sit for at least 1 hour before serving. You can serve it warm or at room temperature. Enjoy!
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October 2, 2010

Bob's Red Mill "Outrageous Muffins"

These muffins are loaded with healthy fats, protein and a variety of grains. They are low in sugar and have a very "hardy" taste to them.

Complements: Bob's Red Mill

1/3 cup whole soy flour
1/3 cup cornmeal
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup ground almonds (I ground them in my magic bullet)
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 large eggs, beaten
1 cup yogurt, plain
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup vegetable oil
grated peel of 1 large orange (no white pith) (optional)
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup dried apples, diced

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare muffin tins, set aside. Mix dry ingredients and dried fruit together in a large bowl. Combine wet ingredients and stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Batter should be lumpy. Fill prepared muffin tins 2/3 full. Bake 25 minutes. Allow muffins to cool for 5 minutes before serving. Makes 12 regular sized muffins or 24 mini muffins. Enjoy!
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September 19, 2010

Fall Pinto Bean and Yam Soup

Welcome back fall soup! I love the peak of harvest and the joyous flavors of autumn.

Complements: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

2 cups dry pinto beans, soaked overnight (if you do not want to cook your own beans then use 3 cans of organic beans)
6-8 cups water
4 cloves garlic, peeled
one 2-inch piece kombu seaweed (optional)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
5 cloves garlic, crushed
1 to 2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (optional)
2 small yams, peeled and diced
3 carrots, cut into rounds
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon chipotle chili powder
8 cups bean cooking liquid and/or water
1 28-ounce can diced fire roasted tomatoes (or plain diced tomatoes)
2 to 3 ears fresh corn, corn cut off cob
1 small bunch black kale, finely chopped
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/2 lime, juiced (optional)
2 to 3 teaspoons sea salt or Herbamare

Rinse and drain soaked beans, place into a 6-quart pot with the water, garlic, and kombu; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer and cook for approximately 1 hour, or until beans are soft. Remove pot from heat. Drain beans and reserve the cooking liquid. To make the soup, heat olive oil in a large 8-quart pot over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute for about 5 minutes. The add the garlic, jalapeno peppers, yams, carrots, cumin, paprika, and chipotle chili powder. Saute and sir for another 5 minutes then add water. Mix well to remove any spices that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add the cooked beans, bean cooking liquid or water, tomatoes, and cut corn, mix well. If the soup needs more liquid, then add more water. Cover pot and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 20 - 25 minutes. Then add chopped kale, chopped cilantro, lime juice, and sea salt or Herbamare. Simmer for about 5 minutes more. Taste and adjust salt and lime juice if needed. Enjoy!
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Gluten Free Honey Whole Grain Bread

If you are use to baking gluten free you will most likely have many of these "not so traditional" ingredients on hand. If you don't eat gluten free very often I encourage you to! Give your bodies what they crave...... a wide variety of whole grains. I will do my darnedest to post the best of the best recipes when it comes to gluten free breads, because believe me there are not too many great ones out there. This one tops my list. My husband, kids and I all agree it is a keeper!

Though the list of ingredients may seem daunting, making this recipe isn't - Complements: The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook

1 1/2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 teaspoon whole cane sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 cup tapioca flour
1/2 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup teff flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat oven to 200 degrees and oil a 9x5 inch loaf pan. Place the warm water and teaspoon of sugar into a small bowl. Make sure the water is the right temperature. If the water is too cold the yeast will not become active and if the water is too hot it will kill the yeast. Add the yeast and stir. Proof the yeast by allowing it to stand for 5-10 minutes. It should become bubble, if not start over with fresh yeas and water. Then add the honey, oil, and apple cider vinegar. Stir well with a fork or wire whisk. In a large bowl, add the arrowroot powder, tapioca flour, brown rice flour, sorghum flour, teff flour, buckwheat flour, amaranth flour, xanthan gum, sea salt, and baking soda. Combine the flours with a wire whisk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk them together as you are pouring to avoid lumps. Continue to whisk for another 30 to 60 seconds or so, or until the batter thickens and becomes smooth. Transfer batter to an oiled loaf pan and gently spread out with the back of a spoon. Place pan, uncovered, into the 200 degree oven. Let rise for 35 minutes with the oven door cracked OPEN. After it has risen, close the oven door and turn the oven temperature up to 375 degrees. Bake for 30 minutes. Brush loaf with a little butter and cover with a dish cloth. Let sit about 20 minutes. Remove from loaf pan and let rest on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Enjoy!
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September 17, 2010

Apricot-Brown Sugar Shortbread

You will need a plan of were you will be taking these heavenly bars or you will eat the entire unhealthy batch yourself. Yes, these innocent looking bars of shortbread are that good!

Commplements: My sister, Beth Contreras

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
12 tablespoons butter (1 1/2 sticks), at room temperature
1 1/2 cup all purpose white flour
1 cup apricot preserves (or you could try other fruit preserves)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 7 by 11 inch baking dish. (I used the large Pampered Cheif bar pan and needed 1 1/2 of the recipe) Press a piece of plastic wrap over the bottom of the prepared dish, letting the ends hang over the sides; smooth out any wrinkles. Combine brown sugar and butter in a mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. On low speed, beat in flour until the mixture is well blended and holds together when pressed. Gather the dough into a ball. Divide the ball in half and press one half into an even layer over the bottom of the prepared dish. (Yes, it will be pressed thin) Lift the rectangle of dough out of the dish (this will become the top layer). Press the remaining half of the dough over the bottom of the dish. Spread the apricot preserves on top. Invert the first half of the dough directly onto the filling; peel away the plastic wrap. Bake the bars for 20 - 25 minutes or until golden. Transfer the dish to a wire rack to cool completely. Cut into 12 rectangles, then cut each rectangle into two triangles. Dust with confectioners' sugar (optional). Enjoy!
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September 16, 2010

Butter Horn Rolls

The eggs and butter in these rolls help bring up their protein and fat content. I always encourage a bread product with good sources of protein and fat to balance out the carbohydrates. You can make the dough in the morning and then have fresh rolls for dinner! Or you can make the dough in the evening and then make them into sweet rolls in the morning (see note below directions).

2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
1 cup warm water
3 eggs, well beaten
1/2 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup cane sugar
1/2 cup barley flour
1/2 cup whole spelt flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
2 1/2 cup unbleached all-propose flour

Dissolve yeast in water and add remaining ingredients in order, stirring well. I placed the ingredients in my mixer and mix for about 1 minute. The dough will be sticky. DON'T add any additional flour. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel and refrigerate overnight or during the day. I only let the dough sit for four hours in the refrigerator (I didn't plan ahead too well) and they still turned out great. Turn the cold dough onto a floured board (the butter in the dough has hardened and the dough is no longer sticky, but you'll need to flour your working space well). Roll into a large circle 1/3-1/2 inch think. Butter dough, cut in about 40 narrow, pie shaped wedges and roll from wide end to the point. Place on a greased baking sheet, turning pieces into slight crescent shapes and let rise until light (20 - 30 minutes is fine). Bake at 400 degrees for 12 minutes (or until lightly browned). Enjoy!

Note: For a delicious sweet roll: After buttering circle, sprinkle lightly with cane sugar and dot with raisins (or Cinnamon). Roll and bake as directed above. You could even frost with powdered sugar frosting ;).
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September 10, 2010

Salted Double Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Salted Carmel seems to be the big thing right now. Salted chocolate anyone? These are truly a divine chocolate fix. They are soft and chocolate rich all the way through. The salt gives these cookies an extra bite. These are a "pure indulgence".


8 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
4 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoons sea salt, plus more for sprinkling
2 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used 1 cup of chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Combine the 8 ounces of chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, and heat until the chocolate and butter are melted and smooth, stirring occasionally. In another mixing bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Beat on medium-high speed until the sugar has completely dissolved, about 4 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and add the melted chocolate mixture, blending until incorporated. Add in the dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Fold in remaining chopped chocolate with a spatula. I let my batter set-up in the refrigerator for a half an hour. Otherwise, it was too soft and the cookies spread out too much. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough onto baking sheets about 2-3 inches apart. Bake until the cookies are just slightly soft in the center and crackly on top, about 10 - 12 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with additional salt and let cool on the baking sheets a few minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Enjoy!
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August 31, 2010

Island Pork Tenderloin Salad

16 ounces lean pork tenderloin
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon chile powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 tablespoon Tabasco hot sauce
3/4 orange, peeled and cut into slices or cubed
1 1/2 cup fresh spinach
3/4 red pepper, cut lengthwise into thin strips
2 tablespoons golden raisins
1 1/2 cup Napa cabbage, shredded
3 tablespoons Cumin Vinaigrette (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir the salt, pepper, cumin, chile powder, and cinnamon together and rub all over the pork loin. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet and brown the meat on all sides. Mix the brown sugar, garlic, and Tabasco and cover the meat. Put the pork in a roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes. (I cover it the first 15 minutes and add a little water in the bottom of the baking pan, this keeps it very moist. Then I uncover for the last 10 minutes or so) Mix the spinach, cabbage, bell pepper slices, and raisins in a bowl, then spread over a large plate. Place sliced pork and orange slices over the greens and drizzle the dressing on top. Enjoy!

Cumin Vinaigrette:
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 tablespoon orange juice
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil

Whisk all the ingredients together until blended.
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Squash Corn Muffins (Stevia sweetened)

We have yellow squash growing like crazy in our garden. These muffins were super and no sugar added. They had a lot of flavor (although you could not taste or see the purred squash) and the muffin stayed together wonderfully (not a crumbly cornbread). What a creative way to use squash (and stevia). I will be canning or freezing pured squash so we can enjoy these all fall/winter long.

Complements: Baking with Stevia by Rita DePuydt

1/2 cup safflower or olive oil
2 eggs
3/4 teaspoon stevia extract (white powder form)
1 cup organic buttermilk (or unsweetened soymilk)
1/2 cup organic cows milk (or unsweetened soymilk)
1 cup pured squash (packed) (yellow, butternut or delicata squash all work well)
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup unbleached white flour
2 cups corn flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil muffin pans. Yields 18 muffins. Whip together the oil, eggs, and stevia. Add the milk and beat. Fold in the pured squash, just lightly mixing. Sift together the flours, baking powder, and salt. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet without over-mixing. Spoon into muffin pans. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
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August 29, 2010

Cauliflower and Kale Salad

Complements: adapted from Steamy Kitchen

6 large kale leaves (I mixed part kale and part spinach)
1/2 head cauliflower
1.5 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon finely chopped onion (I used a few tablespoons)
1 teaspoon snipped chives
1/2 cup diced cucumber
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Tear the soft leaf of the kale away from the center stalk that runs throughout the length of the kale. Discard the tough stalk. Finely chop the kale leaves. Add to a large bowl, along with the cherry tomatoes, chives, onions and cucumber. Grate the cauliflower using the large holes of a box grater. Add to the bowl and mix. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, pepper and the olive oil. Pour dressing into the bowl and toss gently.
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