My Top Ten

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Garlic Hummus & Homemade Meatballs

Making hummus is easier than you think; the most necessary item is not actually the ingredients. It's a high quality food processor or blender such as a Vita-Mix. You can make this in a non-commercial grade blender, but just be warned that it's going to be a bit of a process: periodically starting & stopping the blender, scraping down the sides of the blender to help it puree this thick mixture. The result is smooth, creamy fresh hummus. This recipe does not call for tahini, the typcial ingredient found in most hummus dips. I found that I didn't make hummus enough to merit purchasing a jar of tahini. It would usually go bad before I could get through it. I found raw cashews to be an exellent substitute.

1 can organic garbanzo beans; reserve the bean juice
3 tablespoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup raw cashews
2 garlic cloves
6-9 tablespoons of the bean juice; use as much as needed to attain a smooth dip texture

Place all ingredients in blender/food processor and process until smooth & creamy.

Chop a tomato, and put it atop your fresh hummus dip, then drizzle with a bit of olive oil.
Serve with pita wedges, carrot sticks & bell pepper strips.

Add these pan-roasted meatballs for well-rounded meal!

Lish's pan-roasted meatballs
1 egg
1 slice of bread; blended into small, but not fine bread crumbs
1 teaspoon cumin
2 teaspoons parsely
1/2 teaspoon each salt & pepper
2 garlic cloves; fresh pressed
1/2 small yellow onion; finely chopped (abou 1/4 cup)
1 lb of  ground beef or bison
1 28 oz can tomatoes; blended to a slightly chunky sauce
1 bay leaf

In medium bowl; beat egg, add bread crumbs, spices, onion, garlic, & meat. Work ingredients together thoroughly with your hands, and then form mixture into 1" balls.

Get a large frying pan heating on the stove top with a generous amount of olive oil.

Fry in batches, do not crowd the pan, on stove top over medium-high heat.

Turn the meatballs to brown each side, and remove them once they are browned but not fully cooked.
Remove to a plate and let rest while you cook all meatballs.

Once all meatballs are browned, add them all back to the frying pan.

Pour the tomato sauce over top, add the bay leaf, and let the mixture cook & bubble away to finish cooking the meatballs.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Gourmet Peanut Butter & Jelly

Well, I don't know any mom out there who can get around this ever-dependable lunchtime food. But I've got a delightful idea....make it "gourmet". This means you've got to spring for the good stuff. I promise it tastes so much better. And what makes it gourmet you ask? Justin's Honey Peanut Butter plus a real fruit spread = waa-laa.

If you know you're going to resort to this on days when lunchtime sneaks up on you or you just don't have the energy to make another meal 'cause - hey, didn't I just finish cleaning up breakfast no too long ago? Then do yourself and your kiddos a big favor, and make it taste good as well as be good for your body. Most jellies & jams are made with high fructose corn syrup, this bad, bad, bad! Purchase a real fruit spread made with cane sugar or organic sugar. I know Justin's costs a little more than other peanut butters, but the quality shines through. So, take my word and give it a try. You will not be disappointed. I still use other organic peanut butters for baking, but for the sandwich making, it's got to be Justin's. You know what they say...."Once you go Justin's you never go back".

Justin has created a very appetizing line of unique nut butters; including various peanut and almond butters to an outstanding chocolate hazelnut butter that outshines Nutella any day of the week. I haven't come across any Justin's nut butter that I didn't absolutely love.

Oh, and did I mention his new Organic Fair Trade Milk & Dark Chocolate Peanut butter cups? Mmm - good. Bonus, right now, there's a $1.00 off coupon inside each peanut butter cup package (or at least inside all of the ones I've been buying!) good on any jar of his 16 oz nut butters.

p.s. Justin's Nut Butter is a local company from Boulder, Colorado; but they are making concerted efforts to expand across the USA. My local mom n' pop health food stores, Whole Foods, Safeway and King Soopers carry his nut butters. Here is a list stores who carry his product, if you don't see it at a grocer near you then just ask the store manager the next time you shop about stocking Justin's on the shelf. Don't be afriad to let them know what you want! You are the customer, and they want to sell what you want to buy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baked Oatmeal

Baked Oatmeal

2 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk (I use almond)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup apple sauce or 2 mashed bananas
1/2 cup brown sugar or 1/2 cup honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
2 1/2 cups rolled or steel cut oats (NO instant oats! preferrably no quick-cooking oats)
I personally like rolled oats for this recipe.

This is a one bowl recipe. Add to large mixing bowl in order of ingredients listed, and mix well. Pour into a greased 8X8 pan and bake at 335 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes, until edges are golden brown. Baked oatmeal is suposed to be super soft and moist, almost having a spongy texture.

This recipe is seriously delicious and very easy to make. It's wheat & gluten-free, low sugar, low fat - an all around healthful recipe. Not to metion all the benefits of consuming rolled oats. Alright, you twisted my arm; I will mention them. Oatmeal aids in lowering cholesterol, improving heart performance and is full of B vitamins, which help regulate metabolism. Oatmeal digests slowly, supplying you with a steady stream of energy. It is an excellent breakfast choice for a diabetic.

You could easily leave the sugar out of this recipe, and top it with fresh fruit and a drizzle of honey on top. We like to eat it with a dallop of vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries. Highly recommeded. If I knew how to put a "like" button on my blog, I'd place it right here and I'd hit my own like button.

Excellent for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack, well....anytime actually. Yeah, it's that good.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Simple Chocolate Cake

It is a serious dis-service that I did not take a "before" photo of the inside of my oven. A few months ago, I thought to myself "Hey, I needed to clean the oven", and then a few more weeks went by and I knew I really needed to clean the oven, and then last week we had friends over for dinner. And I had to apologize for the oven smoke as dinner was finishing up cooking. Yikes, right? Good thing they are true friends, most people would've run the other way! Anyhow, dinner was delicious. But the oven was...well, disgusting. So my husband set to cleaning it for me, which was a big project in and of itself. And here it is now.....

It actually sings when you open it, you know the lovely angelic monotone "laaaaaa". It glistens with light because it is so clean. Thanks babe.

I made this delectable chocolate cake to celebrate. It is very moist, and can be made with pantry staples. It can be eaten with or without frosting, with fresh berries, or with homemade whipped cream. This recipe calls for vinegar which gives the cake nice volume, keeps it soft and makes it vegan. I like it with chocolate frosting to cover up the vinegar taste, to me it is hardly noticeable.

Simple Chocolate Cake - adapted from a recipe my girlfriend Paula gave me, but I *hacked it. 'Cause hacking recipes is what I do!

Mix liquid ingredients in large bowl:
1/3 cup canola oil (you could use grapeseed or coconut)
1 cup brewed (cooled to room temperature) coffee OR 1 cup herbal spiced tea or chai tea
1 1/2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
2 teaspoons vanilla

Mix dry ingredients in medium bowl:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup white flour
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup sugar
4 Tablespoons cacao powder or cocoa powder

Gently mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Do not overmix.
Pour into 8X8 greased glass pan. Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

Over low heat, melt 4 tablespoons butter or earth balance, add in 4 oz unsweetened baking 60% + cacao bar. Remove from heat and with electric hand mixer, beat in tablespoons of powdered sugar until the frosting reaches a thickness you like. Taste it as you go. If needed, add more liquid 1 teaspoon (milk or milk substitute) at a time to smooth it out. Let cake cool completely, then frost.

*Hacking is the new lingo for taking a recipe and changing it to make it your own.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

How to shop non-GMO

Disclaimer: I didn't intend to write a book, but I got to researching this topic and am passionate about it and just couldn't keep all of this information to myself. If this overwhelms you, then at minimum - dowload, print and use the Non-GMO shopping guide to help you purchase brands that do NOT use GMOs in their ingredients. Or, to be safe and effective, buy organic. GMOs cannot be present in Organic Certified foods.

Shopping non-GMO is more difficult than you might think. GMOs are laced into much of our food supply. Even if the product itself is not made from genetically modified ingredients, many of the additives can be. For example: soy is present in most pre-packaged foods as a stabilizer and a filler. It is estimated by experts 96% of the soy crop in America is genetically modified. Start checking your labels, you will be surprised to see how often a soy product shows up. I challenge you to try to remove soy from your diet - try it for a week. Most things have soy in them, and those that don't are made in a factory where soy is present so they could theoretically be contaminated. Here is a list of "invisible GM ingredients", these ingredients are found in things you eat everyday - bread, Coca Cola, gold fish crackers, margarine, and the list goes on.

Monsanto has made large strides in an effort to achieve a monopoly on America's soy crop. Monsanto controls soy {almost} in it's entirety - 96%! They are not far behind with the GM corn crop, coming in at 80%. Guess who President Obama named Head of Agriculture when he took office? Now the company who is going after our food supply is "in-like-Flynn" with our President. And make no mistake, Monsanto IS going after our food supply. Monsanto's long term vision is monopoly. When one company controls food, one company controls the people - all people. Or, when one company closely linked with our government controls the food supply, the government controls the people. At that point in time, it won't matter if you're rich or poor, black or white. If you think I am blowing this out of proportion, allow me to point out that American soil is currently laiden with Monsanto's genetically modified soy, corn, cotton, sugar beets, canola and they are pushing hard to plant GM alfalfa.

(If you want more information on Monsanto, click here to visit the Organic Consumer Association's website)

What's the big deal with GMOs? Well, for starters it's not natural. This is not the way we were ever intended to eat. Our bodies were designed to eat an apple grown from the earth, not from the pocketbook of man. We don't fully understand the repercussions of consuming modified food. The first GM seed was planted in US soil in 1996, and only recently have people started talking about it. Only recently has it made it's way to headline news reports. We don't know what affect it's going to have on the human popluation, and yet Monsanto pushes forward with introducing new GM seeds into our food supply, with the backing of the USDA.

This is a great article from Mother Earth News, please take a few minutes to look it over and to take action to let President Obama and Head of Agriculture Tom Vilsak know that you will not tolerate un-labeled GMO products.

More excellent resources found at the Organic & Non-GMO Report.