Thursday, February 28, 2013

Salmon Bugers and Beef Stew

Did two more recipes from the Nourishing Meals Cookbook!
Both are keepers!

Quinoa Salmon Burgers p. 313

3-4 green onions, ends trimmed
1 large handful of fresh cilantro
1-2 teaspoons of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon sea salt  (calls for 1 tsp Herbamare seasoned salt, but I don't have any!)
Ground black pepper
1-1.5 lbs of wild salmon, skinned and deboned  (need to bump this up to 2 lbs, we love fish)
1 cup cooked quinoa
Olive or coconut oil for cooking

Put all ingredients but the salmon and quinoa in a food processor until finely minced.  Add the salmon and quinoa, but leave it a little chunky.  Form into patties.  (My patties were a little runny so I added a couple spoons of oatmeal.  I then put them in the fridge to cook later that night.)

Cook in a pan for about 5min per side.   Made 7 burgers.


Slow Cooked Beef Stew  p.337

1 medium onion diced
3-4 large carrots, cut into 1/4 inch rounds
1/2 pound of mushrooms, quartered (No mushrooms for my hubby!)
1 pound grass-fed beef stew meat (I used a Laura's steak)
(I added 2 chopped carrots and 2 chopped red potatoes)
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup dry red wine
1/4 cup tomato pure (Mom can't do tomatoes so I left these out)
2 tablespoons arrowroot or sweet rice flour ( I used Pamala's all-purpose gluten free mix)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

On Monday I cut up all of the veggies and put them in a plastic container.  I cut up the meat and added the spices, flour and liquid and let it marinade in a separate container in the refrigerator.  Wednesday afternoon I got out the crockpot and put the meat with liquids in first and then added the veggies.  Cooked on High for 4 hours stirring once.  YUMMY!!!!  Served over rice my hubby ate the whole thing!  Makes 4 servings.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meal Planning

It took me a while to get a handle on meal planning. I'm more of a "let's look in the fridge to see what we can make" kind of person.  One of our favorite shows to watch on TV is Restaurant Impossible.  Talk about meal planning!  Even restaurants have trouble with it.  All of the failing restaurants have too many options and too much frozen and boxed food just sitting in their kitchens getting old; and not enough fresh dishes (less expensive and healthy whole foods that taste better) on the menu.

So here is how I took on the challenge of meal planning.
1. FAILED - Option 1 - Buy on sale and figure out menus later.  
This was a failure for me. I bought items I thought I would need for meals I thought I may prepare, just to have the food sit in the fridge.   The fresh food would start to go bad, so I quickly made a smoothie out of it; and the frozen food lingered.  Sometimes I made a great dish, but I usually had to go back to the store for a missing ingredient.  Sound familiar?  I gave this option a FAIL.
2. FAILED - Option 2 - Schedule out a weeks worth of meals and snacks
This failed for me because it was too detailed. I found some great recipes and great meal plans online.  On Saturday I shopped for all of the items I would need to prepare these great dishes.  My food bill was over $200!  Eeek!  With a fully stocked fridge we started the week.  I fix a whole food smoothie for the family and mom and Ted make their breakfasts during the week.  For lunch I was preparing salads and then at 4pm I was in the kitchen prepping dinner.  Phew!  By Wednesday I was ready to eat out. LOL!
3. SUCCESS! - Option 3 - Pick 3-4 recipes, prep on one day, eat healthy all week
I found success in using this method.  I pick 3-4 recipes that I want to cook for dinner during the week.  I make enough for 6 so we can eat the leftovers for lunch.  I shop for only the items I need for those recipes, plus what I need for our lunchtime salads and morning smoothies.  I can easily stay under $100 per week for the 3 of us with this kind of planning.
Then on one-day, for me Monday, I preset the stage for the week.
  • Assemble a weeks worth of salads in a large container
  • Mom makes a pot of rice and divides the rice into sandwich bags for easy reheating
  • Ted is my seafood shopper!
  • I mix up my spices, cut up the ingredients and put it into a container with a little note taped to it saying what to add and how to cook it
I've recently learned how to prep 10 dinners that can be put in the freezer until they are ready to be eaten.  Go to my Healthy Eating page on this blog learn about Freezer Meal recipes.    I'll be facilitating Freezer Meal parties starting 16 March!


Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lentil and Kale Dal

I'm on page 300 for those who are following along in the Nourishing Meals cookbook by Alissa Segersten and Tom Malterre.

Yesterday I tried the Lentil and Kale Dal.
This was an interesting Indian dish.  There is a great restaurant up the street, called the Good Karma Cafe, that really makes a great Dal.

So that was my expectation when I made this dish.  It was good, but not Good Karma good!

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely diced
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons turmeric
1.5 teaspoons garam masala ( I have no idea what this is so didn't put it in the dish.  Perhaps this was the golden egg that would have made the dish complete!)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
2 1/2 cup of lentils - I used sprouted lentils which were quite yummy and cut the cooking time.
3 cups of water (instead of 6 with dry beans)
4 cups of chopped kale
1.5 teaspoons sea salt
handful of chopped cilantro ( I used the dried herb)

Heat the pot and add olive oil and the onion.  Saute for 5 min until the onion becomes clear.  Add the ginger and spices.  Add the lentils and water.  Cover and simmer for 20 min.

Add the kale and the salt, stir and simmer uncovered for 10 minutes to cook the kale and reduce the liquid.  Continue cooking if you like thick dal.  (which I do)  Turn off the heat and add the cilantro.
Serve over rice or quinoa.   (I served mine over brown rice.  The recipe recommends brown basmati rice. )
Good dish.  Mom didn't like it, hubby ate it, I loved the ingredients but didn't love it like the curried Lima bean dish.

How many fruits and veggies do I need to eat each day?

How many fruits and veggies do I need to eat each day?

You often hear that you need to eat fruits and vegetables but how much do we need to eat?
Can you get fat eating all of those carbs?

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, they recommend 4-4.5 cups per day for women and up to 6 cups per day for men. 

Now this amount is for healthy adults.  I checked the Gerson Therapy site for people who are sick with cancer or other major illnesses.   They recommend 15-20 pounds of produce...which equates to over 40 cups of fruits and vegetables a day!

So how do you consume all of this produce?  One way is a green smoothie which was described in an earlier blog, as well as, juicing.

Another way is to do a little pre-planning!  You can easily have a salad a day, all week, with little preparation on the weekend.

7 quart sized glass or BPA-free plastic containers
3 of your favorite fruits and veggies (washed and chopped--pick a red, orange, yellow or purple colored food)
2 cups of lettuce (washed and dried)
(optional: 1/8 cup nuts or seeds)
Dressing: Use a plain vinegar/oil mix or look for a dressing that does not contain preservatives, fructose corn syrup or other artificial ingredients. Be wary of low fat dressings that have artificial ingredients.
Pour 1/8 cup of dressing in the bottom of the container.  Layer in each vegetable/fruit starting with the hardest one.  This bottom layer will marinate in the dressing.  Always put the lettuce in last to keep it away from the dressing which will cause it to wilt.  When ready to eat, just shake the container to toss the salad and enjoy!

I was so inspired that I decided to make some as gifts!

The jars are simple quart sized canning jars from Winn-Dixie.  A pack of 12 costs $13.  You can also reuse jars and make labels to cover the tops.    Plastic containers are easily stacked in the refrigerator.  You can also put your salad in quart and gallon sized zip-locks if you are short on space.  If you do, I suggest keeping your dressing in a separate container to avoid sloshing and wilted lettuce. 

Have fun getting more fruits and vegetables in your daily meals!!!  Yum!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Workout horror...don't let them stop you!

Yoga Nightmare
Did I tell you they laughed at my mat on my first day at a new yoga studio? 
The instructor asked if I brought my own mat or if I needed one. "I brought my own", I said with a smile as I unrolled my blue stickie mat...that was only half the size of the other mats! "Oh my" the instructor said. Is that a kid's mat? To my horror I guess the other half of the mat was cut and used for something else, like carpet pad or a door stop...who knows at this point! All I know is I have a half a mat! So all I could do is laugh and say "Oh my! Where is the rest of my mat?" as she hands me one from the closet. After class I went to Dick's and finally used my gift card. I got a yoga mat, a block (on sale for $2) and a dozen tennis balls for $4 out of my pocket. It was a good day indeed.  
So, don't let a little horror stop you from exercising! 
Here is a creative use of a yoga mat! Use it to make a stencil or a stamp. LOL!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Great snack or breakfast: Gluten-free Carrot Almond muffins

Need a whole foods snack with protein or something quick for breakfast?
This is the snack for you.   (About 6 grams of protein/muffin.)

I make these after making my almond milk this morning.  Before I didn't know what to do with the almond pulp after running it through the juicer.  Well, I found this great recipe using ground almonds and thought I would give it a try!

2 cups raw almonds ground (if you didn't just juice them, then put dry almonds in a blender or food processor until almost powdery)
1/4 ground golden flax seeds
1 teaspoon gluten free baking soda (it needs to say gluten free on the box to be sure)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 and line a 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.

2 cups grated carrots (I just put 4 small carrots in a blender)
1/4 cup of olive oil or melted coconut oil (I used olive this time, but will do coconut next time for a sweeter tasting muffin)
1/4 honey or maple syrup (I used maple syrup for the richer flavor.)
1/2 cup unsweetened apple sauce (I threw 1 cored apple into the blender.)
4 large eggs

Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Blend wet ingredients in a blender or food processor, then mix in with the dry.  Fill the cups to the top with batter.  
I had leftover batter so filled up some greased mini-tins and make 6 bite sized muffing.  Great for kids!
Bake for 30  minutes and cool on a wire rack.
I had to bake mine for 40 minutes.  I think my batter was wetter since I used a whole apple and whole carrots.

This was a good way to use up that almond pulp.  I think next time I'll add a tablespoon of cinnamon or ginger or maybe even cayenne pepper.  It's needs a little zing. 

p. 140 Nourishing Foods cookbook

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Loving the Curried Lima Beans

This is an awesome recipe.  You can make a big batch, put enough for a meal in the fridge and then freeze the rest in small containers for easy heating up later!   It will take you about 90 minutes to make it, including prep time.

3 cups of dry lima beans, soaked for 12 to 24 hours (put them in water now for tomorrow!)
2 tblsp coconut oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 tblsp curry powder (we really like curry so I added extra...the house smelt amazing!)
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
(I added a tsp of chilli pepper too for flavor.)
10 cups of water (makes a thick stew)
2-3 cups of fresh chopped carrots and celery (you can used any veggies you like)
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper

In a big pot saute the onion in the coconut oil until they soften and change color, about 5 minutes.  Then add the spices and a little water and simmer for about a minute.  
Add the beans and water and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and add the other veggies.  Simmer for about 60 minutes stirring about every 20 min. 
Pour into bowls and let it cool a bit before you eat it.  Curry lovers enjoy!!

Serves 10
Nourishing Meals P. 191

Monday, February 4, 2013

Decreasing my dependence on allergy medication

It wasn't instant, but I'm so happy to report that I'm going through my third allergy season without suffering and without meds!

What did I do?
I stopped eating dairy and increased the amount of veggies at each meal.


How did I do it?
In February and March of 2012 I weened myself off of dairy products, not by eating non-dairy, but by adding whole foods.  I replaced 2% milk with Almond Milk, made rice pudding with coconut milk.  Instead of ice cream I eat fruit for dessert and put Almond Milk in my occasional cup of decaf or when I make a tea latte.  I also stopped putting cheese on everything.

Baltimore Raven Cabbage salad and asian dressing

Here is the recipe for the great salad I made for our mini-Superbowl party.
I made it in honor of the Ravens because I used the purple colored cabbage!
I'm actually a Saints and a Chargers Fan.

10 cups shredded napa cabbage (1 cabbage)
1 cup shredded red cabbage (1/2 cabbage)
1 can mandarin oranges (couldn't find any fresh at the store)
8 green onions (organic!  Walmart!)
2 cups of mung bean sprouts (I actually sprouted some beans earlier in the week.)
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (totally forgot to put these in...too much merlot)

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 tblsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar
2 tblsp of peanut butter (fresh from the peanut thanks to 5 Seasons Market)
6 tsp of honey
1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix the salad and then add the dressing just before serving.
I should have squeezed the water from the cabbage because there was a lot of liquid at the bottom of the mixing bowl.  I think the dressing would have more kick if I didn't have so much liquid in the bowl.

Overall it was a success!  We ate almost all of it between 5 people, along with some Jambalaya!  I only have a pint of the salad left. There is only 2 cups of my sister in law's Jambalaya left too. 

Taken from P. 211 - Nourishing Meals cookbook

Recipes from the Nourishing Meals cookbook

The more I'm learning about nutrition, I've started a quest to find allergen-free recipes.
Just in my family alone we have gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance and caesin allergy.  My mom can't digest raw foods and tomatoes, my husband won't eat peas, mushrooms or avocados but we all love seafood!

So, what should I make so we all have access to the foods we need to nourish our bodies?

I found this great cookbook called Nourishing Meals and another called Whole Life Nutrition by Alissan Segersten and Tom Malterre, MS, CN.

They also have this great blog and website.  I've found some great recipes for people with all kinds of food sensitivities!  

So, I've started trying some of these recipes which you may have seen pictures of on my Facebook page or saw my tweets on Twitter.    Several friends have asked for recipes, so I'll start posting the recipes here and the changes I made and a few thoughts about the whole thing.

I never thought I would do a cooking blog!   So enjoy this turn to food, but still remember that our trash goes into landfills and those landfills leach into our soil and water. So waste=food,  even if you have amazing recipes!   Now that I'm back in our house I need to set up a composting system again. Right now my dogs get the fresh veggie scraps and are loving it!  Spoiled pups!

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