Sunday, June 30, 2013

Sweet Cream Biscuits



I love these biscuits because they are easy to make and they taste great.  Instead of cutting in butter, cream is used instead.  This is one of the first recipes that I converted (modified ingredients to contain 100% top quality real ingredients).  I have been making these for over fifteen years ago.  I will soon be teaching you how to modify your recipes, if you aren't doing so already.  I still regularly change and modify my recipes.  When I made these biscuits, I used a new wheat berry, which I recently found and love.  It is called Einkorn and it is one of the earliest cultivated forms of wheat.  I think one of the reasons so many people have gluten and wheat tolerance problems in today's society is because of the wheat that is being grown.  Here is a small insert of information that I found when googling "today's wheat":

Whether it comes in the form of organic, sprouted multigrain bread, a squishy white loaf or a strand of spaghetti, all wheat is bad for you, says cardiologist William Davis, MD, author of the bestselling book Wheat Belly. Davis claims that today’s wheat is both addictive and toxic. By eliminating what he calls “Frankenwheat” from your diet, you’ll dramatically shrink your belly and also ward off or reverse myriad health problems.
 
How could wheat be so poisonous? According to Dr. Davis, the vast majority of wheat grown and harvested today is only a distant ancestor of the real wheat that your forebears ate. Over the years, wheat has been modified in order for American farmers to produce a high-yield crop of dwarf-size plants that was never tested to see if it was healthy for human consumption. While mass production of wheat has allowed us to feed more people, it has also resulted in producing a “supercarbohydrate” wheat plant that is far less healthy than its predecessor.

This describes most of the wheat grown today in the United States.  Worse are the recent reports of a GMO wheat never intended for human consumption that crept into the food supply.  This poor quality wheat is then heavily processed, bleached and enriched, and used in the majority of foods Americans eat.  Is it any wonder that our foods are making us sick? 

Information like this is so vital to your health.  Man (our generation) has modified and damaged so much of our food sources, that you must be wise and discerning in what you buy and where you buy it.  Mass produced food by super giant companies is not good for our health.  Support the smaller farmers and ranchers who are trying to bring back better quality foods.

Ingredients:

2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
    (1 3/4 cups soft white wheat or Einkorn wheat berries, ground fine)
1 Tbl aluminum-free baking powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
~ 1 1/4 cups cream (I use the cream skimmed off my fresh milk)
1 Tbl honey (optional)
1/2 cup finely shredded peeled zucchini or patty pan squash (optional)

Preheat oven to 425 °F.  Combine the flour, baking powder and sea salt.  Mix together the honey and cream.  To minimize lumpiness of the dough, I like to use the following technique.
 

First make a well in the center of the dry ingredients.


Next pour the liquid ingredients into the well.

 
Gently mix, stirring in a circle, gradually incorporating the dry ingredients into the wet.  Add more cream or flour to create a dough that is moist, and just slightly sticky.  Do not overwork the dough.  Form into a ball.



Grease a cookie sheet with butter (don't use the nonstick artificial spray).  On a floured surface, pat the dough out to about 3/4 inch thickness.  Using a round cookie cutter, cut out biscuits and place on greased cookie sheet.  Bake in preheated 425 °F oven for 10 - 12 minutes or until done.  I like to use my smallest cutter for these biscuits.  Serve with homemade butter or fruit-sweetened jams. 
 

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Using 100% Real Food Ingredients



Creating delicious meals cooked from scratch starts with a little planning.  I know the thought can be overwhelming for some, so I suggest you start with small steps.  Look through the list below and begin with one meal.  Then expand and try cooking from scratch for multiple meals each week, or for all your meals for one day.  Soon these steps will become a habit, and you will be enjoying 100% God-made foods and the improved health and vitality that comes from eliminating man-made foods from your diet.  The ingredients shown in the photo are for Roasted Potatoes and Sausage Quick Meal.
 
Here is a list of the steps:
 
1.  Go to the recipe box and pick out a recipe for breakfast, lunch or dinner that you think your family will enjoy.
 
2.  Make a list of the ingredients you will need and then see what you have already.  But I want you to use 100% excellent quality ingredients, so for example, if the recipe calls for vanilla extract, make sure you have pure vanilla extract, preferably organic.  If the recipe calls for salt, obtain an excellent quality sea salt.  If the recipe uses beef, find 100% grass fed beef.  Remember that foods taste great when you use the best ingredients.  Though initially the cost may seem higher buying the best ingredients, if you/your family don't throw away food, if you don't let food go bad before it is used, if you eat your leftovers, if you aren't taking over-the-counter or prescription medicines, and if you don't have medical co-payments, then you will actually be saving money and enjoying better health while eating the best quality foods!
 
3.  Make a list of the ingredients you need to buy and find sources for each.  Possible choices include:
 
    a.  Natural grocery stores such as Whole Foods, Natural Grocer, Sprouts, Trader Joe's
    b.  The natural grocery section of some standard grocery stores.  I buy various things at Costco, Kroger, Market Street, Target and Kroger.
   c.  Local specialty stores.  A few that I am aware of include Local Yocal (McKinney) and Cupboard Natural Foods (Denton).  For raw milk, Lavon Farm's store in Plano.
   d.  Local farmers and ranchers and farmer's markets.  I personally have purchased my 100% grassfed beef from Burgundy Pasture Beef for years (they deliver).  Find local sources; be sure to read the post, It's All About Quality if you haven't already. 
     From that post:
       Here are a couple websites to get you started. Google, search, ask around.
        http://www.eatwild.com/products/texas.html
          http://www.localharvest.org/
          http://www.ediblecommunities.com/dallasfortworth/farmers-markets/farmers-markets.htm
   e.  Buy on-line.  I buy many things on-line that I cannot find locally.  Some of the resources I use include:  Tropical Traditions (every couple months they have a free shipping day if you are on their email list), Frontier Coop (start or join a wholesale group for incredibly low prices), Vitacost, Sunfood Organics (expensive but good quality), and even Amazon at times.  There are many, many more.  This is just the tip of the iceberg to get you started.  Google, research, find good prices and buy the best.
   f.  Join a food coop.  Some areas have great local food coops and coop stores.  If you live in an area with one, join and enjoy your blessing.  While traveling the United States, the boys and I found many outstanding coop stores and groups.  I have recently joined Azure Standard, which originates out of Oregon (so not local) but they provide many excellent ingredients that I cannot find locally.  There are also a number of organic produce coops with delivery in the Dallas area.  Two that I know of include:  Your Health Source and Greenlings.  (I have never ordered from either so I don't know about their quality or prices.)  My son, Tom, is going off to college in the fall and has joined a food coop near his college.  Don't settle for the man-processed foods sold in most grocery stores.
 
4.  Prepare ingredients needed for your recipe.  For the Roasted Potatoes and Sausage Quick Meal, I needed leftover Oven Roasted Potatoes and beans cooked from scratch (I will be providing directions soon).  You might want to start with a meal that does not require previously cooked ingredients, such as Oven Roasted Potatoes with hotdogs (suggested brands on oven roasted potato recipe) and Cole Slaw.  But after you have mastered these individual dishes, it is great to have extra things, such as beans and rice, or potatoes in the refrigerator for quick meals like Tom's Quesadillas or the Roasted Potatoes and Sausage Quick Meal.  Serve either of these with some raw produce such a simple salad or carrot sticks.
 
5.  Now you can prepare your meal.  Make sure you give yourself plenty of time and remember it always takes longer the first few times when you are unfamiliar with a recipe or cooking technique.  If you are just beginning, don't start with a difficult meal, try something simple.  There are now many recipes to choose from in the Recipe Box with more coming almost daily.  Pick a meal that you and your family will enjoy.
 
For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.”  2 Thessalonians 3:10


Friday, June 28, 2013

Tuna Salad Wraps



Tuna salad was Tom's favorite lunch when he was a toddler.  But he did not get it very often.  Even if you buy the best tuna available, it will contain toxins.  In fact, all fish now contain toxins.  It is very sad because fish has been a staple from early times with outstanding health benefits.

We eat tuna salad every month or so.  When Tom was a toddler, the United States government recommended that pregnant women and small children limit their intake of tuna to no more than 4 ounces a week due to high levels of mercury.  Since I feel GMO crops, pesticide use, and man processing of foods is toxic to all person's health, and the United States government feels all of these things are just fine, it really concerns me when they actually issue a food warning about fish.

The EPA has actually changed their recommendations in the past 15 years.  Here are the current suggestions:

By following these three recommendations for selecting and eating fish or shellfish, women and young children will receive the benefits of eating fish and shellfish and be confident that they have reduced their exposure to the harmful effects of mercury.
  1. Do not eat Shark, Swordfish, King Mackerel, or Tilefish because they contain high levels of mercury.
  2. Eat up to 12 ounces (2 average meals) a week of a variety of fish and shellfish that are lower in mercury.
    • Five of the most commonly eaten fish that are low in mercury are shrimp, canned light tuna, salmon, pollock, and catfish.
    • Another commonly eaten fish, albacore ("white") tuna has more mercury than canned light tuna. So, when choosing your two meals of fish and shellfish, you may eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) of albacore tuna per week.
  3. Check local advisories about the safety of fish caught by family and friends in your local lakes, rivers, and coastal areas. If no advice is available, eat up to 6 ounces (one average meal) per week of fish you catch from local waters, but don't consume any other fish during that week.
Another thing to consider is that there are many petrochemical and other man-made chemicals polluting our waters which end up in the fish we eat.  So the intake of toxins when eating fish is actually much more severe than just mercury.  If you think you will do better eating farm-raised fish, think again.  Farm-raised fish is extremely unhealthy because it is fed man-processed fish food laced with antibiotics, and some fish, such as salmon are genetically modified to enhance their color and speed their growth.


 

We love fish.  Some of the very best fish is freshly caught.  When in Maine, we indulged in freshly caught lobster.  When in the upper peninsula of Michigan, we indulged in freshly caught walleye.  When in Seattle, we indulged in freshly caught wild salmon.  When at home, we seldom eat fish and when we do (a few times a year), we only eat wild caught Alaskan salmon or a good quality tuna, such as the Wild Planet, shown in the photo. 
 
Some tuna salads are nothing more than tuna, mayonnaise and some seasonings.  But good quality tuna is very expensive and I am trying to limit how much tuna we consume.  So I load my tuna with fresh celery and green onions, which greatly enhances the taste and uses less tuna per person.  We also typically have our tuna salad in a whole grain tortilla as a wrap to minimize the quantity of bread we are eating. 
 
Don't eat fish often and when you do, eat only the best quality prepared with fresh ingredients.  Savor those times you eat fish by waiting for when the best in available.
 
Ingredients:
 
1 can good quality tuna with no added water or oil, such as Wild Planet
2 stalks celery, diced
1 green onion, chopped
1 - 2 Tbl good quality mayonnaise (one without soy oil)
1 tsp Gomasio
1 tsp sweet pickle juice (homemade or good quality such as Bubbies)
1/4 tsp dill weed (or 1 tsp freshly chopped dill)
sea salt and pepper to taste
 
 
In a medium size glass bowl, add tuna (don't drain - add tuna and any liquid), celery and green onion.  In another small glass bowl, mix mayonnaise, pickle juice, and spices.  Mix well and stir mayonnaise mixture into tuna.
 
Place lettuce on a whole grain tortilla, add tuna salad, and roll up to eat.

"So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb."  Luke 24:42

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Making Homemade Kefir



Making your own kefir is so incredibly easy; much easier than making yogurt.  Kefir is very similar to yogurt, but I have read that it is considered to have even better health properties than yogurt.  It is a fermented milk product loaded with beneficial bacteria and healing abilities. 
 
The kefir I currently have I received as many straight strands, which results when kefir grains are split too often.  In time each kefir strand will develop back into a ball, looking a bit like a moist plump cauliflower floret.  I value our kefir and raw milk so much, that I always took my jar of kefir and raw milk along on our homeschool trips around the country.  On our longer trips, I found sources of raw milk to replenish my supplies all across the United States from the state of Washington to Florida to Vermont. 

If handled properly, raw milk will last up to three weeks in the refrigerator before starting to sour.  I transfer my raw milk to sanitized half-gallon wide-mouth glass canning jars when I receive it.  You can see the cream layer that has developed at the top.  This layer helps keep the milk from souring, so I only skim one half gallon at a time.



You only need one kefir grain per jar to make kefir.  I took two bundles of strands from my friend, and have been feeding two jars of strands so that I have lots of extras to share.  Once a kefir grain gets larger than about an inch in diameter you can split it in half and share with a friend (though never cut it with something metal).  The kefir grain shown in the photo above is starting to develop into a ball (it is actually a couple of strands balling up together).  How quickly it grows depends upon how often you use it.

The following is how I take care of my kefir.  I store it is the refrigerator in between uses since I do not use it every day.  If you plan to use your kefir daily, you do not have to ever put it in the refrigerator.  If you are planning to be gone, it does fine for about 3 weeks if left unattended in the refrigerator.  If doing this, pour off the liquid from your kefir jar, refill the jar with fresh milk, and place immediately back in the refrigerator.  The fresh milk is its food. 

If you plan to make your own kefir, be sure to obtain raw milk to feed it.  If you live in the United States, where it is illegal to buy/sell raw milk in most states except from the farm, here is a great website to find raw milk in your area.  If you are interested in learning more about the problems and benefits of raw milk, a great book to read in The Untold Story of Milk by Ron Schmid. 

I have been drinking raw milk exclusively from a number of different farms since my boys were born.  They have grown up on raw milk.  My family would not drink milk if raw milk was not available because I personally feel homogenized, pasteurized milk is very detrimental to a person's health.  Pasteurization was begun so a known poor quality product could be sold to the general public and homogenization because we became lazy and did not want to deal with the layer of cream that forms on the top of cow's milk.

Back to the subject of kefir:  there is no comparison between homemade raw kefir and store bought kefir.  Store bought kefir is pasteurized and typically loaded with sugar.  Pasteurization kills all the beneficial bacteria, rendering the kefir useless for health benefits.

I use my kefir typically is three ways:

1.  Instead of yogurt in fruit smoothies.  Don't sweeten your kefir with sugar - use only raw, unfiltered honey.
2.  In place of buttermilk in recipes such as pancakes and waffles.
3.  Medicinally when feeling my immune system is low in an elderberry shot (will provide recipe soon).

Making your own kefir:

NEVER USE METAL WITH KEFIR.  If you remember nothing else, remember to never use metal with your kefir.  No metal utensils or containers.  Metal kills a kefir grain. 

1.  Obtain a kefir grain.  (I have several extras right now if you live in the Dallas area and need one - click on the weekly challenge tab above to obtain my email.)
 
2.  Place the grain in a clean glass jar, and fill the jar with milk (I skim the cream off my milk first and reserve to make butter).  I recommend using at least a quart size jar.  I use a canning jar as shown in the photo.

3.  Cover jar with something breathable, such as a paper towel or light clean cloth.  I use a paper towel and the ring of the jar top to keep it in place.

 
 

4.  Let stand at room temperature, not in the sun, for 4 to 12 hours (dependent upon the temperature in your house).  Experiment.  The longer it sits, the stronger the resulting kefir.  Placing it in the refrigerator stops the kefir grain from feeding on proteins in the raw milk.  It is because the kefir grains are partially digesting the milk protein (resulting in the fermenting of the milk) that even persons who are lactose intolerant can typically drink kefir. 

5.  Unless using immediately, place the top on the jar (if you are using the metal sealing lid, be sure you don't turn it over).  Place in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Using your kefir and making more:



1.  Using a wooden spoon, find your kefir granule in the jar.  Lift up gently or hold to the side.  Pour out all of the liquid into a separate glass container.  If you have some separation of liquid (a whey layer), just gently stir with the wood spoon before lifting up the kefir grain and pouring out liquid.  The liquid can become quite thick like yogurt.  Pour all of this out, just making sure you have found your kefir grain first.  Don't forget - don't use a metal spoon!

2.  Refill your kefir jar with raw milk.

3.  Repeat steps 3 through 5 above:  cover, let sit out, use or place in refrigerator.

Learn what your kefir should smell like - this is a excellent way to know if it is still good if you forget about it and leave it out or in the refrigerator for too long.  Kefir has an odor between that of bread yeast and yogurt.  When I started using kefir about 15 years ago, I used to put it in a new sterilized jar and 'wash' it is filtered water every couple of months.  I no longer do this.  I find that once the kefir is doing well, it is actually unhealthy for it.  If you forget about it and leave it out on your counter for longer, it will start to ferment like alcohol.  You can probably recover it.  Pour off the liquid, and give it fresh raw milk.  Use it two or three days in a row, without placing it in the refrigerator.  (Pouring off the liquid kefir and refilling with fresh raw milk.)  I have lost my kefir grain only once when accidentally baking it in a batch of muffins.  Kefir living on raw milk is extremely hardy and very forgiving.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 26 (June 25,2013)

Clean out your freezer.



 
Whether you have just a small freezer attached to your refrigerator or you have a deep freeze, this is the week to toss anything that contains man-made, processed, artificial, colored, enriched, hydrogenated or chemically processed ingredients.  I hope you have now memorized the list of foods/ingredients to avoid and are reading the ingredient labels.  So much of the food available in the standard grocery store contains HFCS (or some form of white sugar) and cheap hydrogenated fats and cheap salt.

It is NOT possible to eat a diet of man-made, man-processed foods and maintain your health or the health of your children.  Is it worth poor quality of life to eat these foods?  Obviously not all pain and suffering with chronic diseases is due to diet, but most is in the United States.  Read the guest posts of a few people who have seen major changes within short time periods by changing their diets.  Also remember that eating real foods is a privilege, a blessing, not a sacrifice.
 
So are you ready to tackle the last area of food in your home, the freezer?  Again keep two things in mind.
 
1.  Toss anything that contains foods/ingredients to be avoided for someone who is eating 100% God-made foods.  One addictive food found in many people's freezers is ice cream.  Look at the ingredients of yours.  Is it loaded with sugar (or worse HFCS) and artificial ingredients?  We make our own ice cream because it is extremely difficult to find honey or maple syrup sweetened ice creams.  Occasionally I buy Coconut Bliss as a special ice cream treat.  We also freeze leftover fruit smoothie in popsicle molds.  Try to think about eating in season.  Summer, when it is hot out, is the time to enjoy frozen treats.  Try not to eat them in the cold winter months.    
 
2.  Toss anything that is unidentifiable or heavily freezer damaged.  How long you can keep something depends upon how it was packaged and how good your freezer is.  Something that is freezer damaged will start to look like a piece of dehydrated food with lots of frost on it.  Typically you can keep things in the freezer for 6 months to a year or so. 
 
I will give you a list of what I keep in my freezer later in the week.  For now, you need to clear out your freezer and make space for excellent quality foods.  It is important to have some extra space so that when things are in season, such as organic strawberries, you can buy extra and freeze some.  Or when you find 100% grass fed beef or organic free-range chickens on sale you can buy extra and freeze some.
 
Freezers are one exception for plastic storage.  I NEVER store anything hot in plastic, so if I am freezing homemade broth or some leftovers, I first put them in a glass container and cool them in the refrigerator.  I then transfer them to a plastic container to put in the freezer.  I freeze lots of produce and put that in Ziploc bags.  I do not repackage meats purchased from the store, but freeze them as bought.  Unfortunately, it is very difficult to freeze foods in glass but I don't think it is that critical since chemical reactions at the colder temperatures with plastics is virtually nonexistent.
 
Advanced Challenge for those who only have God-made foods in their freezer:
 
This challenge is for me this week!  Go through your freezer and find things that are getting old and plan a meal that will use it.  Something I find GREAT things like a bag of peaches from my trees last summer.  Freezers are very hard to keep organized.  Some tricks to use include: 1. Date everything that you can before placing it in the freezer, 2.  If it is not obvious also write what it is on the label (this is especially important to do for things like shredded cooked chicken), 3.  Keep like items together and place the new ones in the back or in the bottom.
 
I am going to work on clearing out one of my two deep freezers this week so I can then defrost them.  I have been freezing a lot of fruit and just placing it on the top.  Once defrosted, I will reorganize my freezers putting like items together.  Spend the time doing these challenges (cleaning out your pantry, refrigerator and freezer) - you will be blessed. 
 
"Take a lesson from the ants, you lazybones. Learn from their ways and become wise! Though they have no prince or governor or ruler to make them work, they labor hard all summer, gathering food for the winter."  Proverbs 6: 6 - 8 




Monday, June 24, 2013

A Look in My Refrigerator


 
 
 
Here are my refrigerator photos again; have you cleaned out yours?  Many 100% God-made foods need to be stored in the refrigerator once opened because they do not contain preservatives and thus spoil quickly at room temperature.  Two such items are natural peanut butter (and other nut butters) and maple syrup.  Breads also mold quickly so I keep our breads, muffins, LO waffles, etc. in the freezer.  We will be working on the freezer next.

I like to keep like items together and I place items that need to stay colder in the coldest parts of my refrigerator and those that will get damaged (like produce) in warmer sections.
 
A Well Stocked Refrigerator (the items I use most in my kitchen and keep on hand):
March 13, 2008 (updated June, 2013)
 
Produce (I store garlic, yellow onions and potatoes at room temperature)
Organic carrots
Organic celery
Organic bell peppers (Green, red, yellow and/or orange)
Green onions
Organic lettuce and spinach
Avocados
Organic mushrooms
Seasonal vegetables: (early summer) cucumber, summer squashes, etc.
Seasonal fruit: (early summer) strawberries, peaches, cantaloupe, watermelon, etc.

Nuts (Raw) and Seeds
Brazil nuts
Almonds
Pecans
Walnuts
Pumpkin seeds
Sunflower seeds
Sesame seeds - tan and black
Flax seeds

Dairy
Fresh whole milk (unhomogenized) - raw milk must be purchased directly from the farm.  Lavon Farms (Lucky Laylas) in Plano sells raw milk.
Cream (skimmed from my raw milk)
Unsalted butter (homemade and Organic Valley)
Raw cheeses - cheddar, Jack, Colby (Organic Valley or local)
Other white cheeses - mozzarella (all yellow or orange cheeses are dyed by man)
Parmesan cheese (I keep a grater filled with a chunk of parmesan in the refrigerator)
Brie cheese
Homemade plain yogurt (or whole milk plain Stoneyfield or equivalent)
Kefir, cultured milk similar to yogurt (homemade - have extra kefir grains to share if you need one)

Miscellaneous
Range-free soy-free eggs (from my chickens)
Hard boiled eggs
Baking yeast
Iced tea (homemade)
Izzie sodas
Bionaturae or Crofter's 100% organic fruit spreads (no sugar added)
Arrowhead Mills plain or crunchy peanut butter
Raw nut butters - almond, walnut, etc.
Organic hummus (homemade or store bought)
Organic soy sauce and other Asian oils/sauces
Hot sauce
Organic miso
Cod liver oil - Carlson or Nordic Naturals (used in winter when immune system down)
Probiotic (used occasionally throughout the year when immune system down)

Other
Open containers of things like maple syrup, strained tomatoes, BBQ sauce, salsa, pickles, salad dressing, ketchup, mustards, etc.
Leftovers in glass containers
Extra unopened bags of brown rice, nuts, olive oil and other similar items best stored cold or frozen.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Flat Green Chili Enchilada

 
My husband's specialty is making flat green chili enchiladas with an egg on top.  We all love them, including the boys.  Market Street and Whole Foods both sell roasted Hatch green chiles for about two weekends late summer when they are in season.  We usually buy about 20 pounds and put them in the freezer so we can have this dish year round.  When we first got married (before children), we would drive to New Mexico for vacation, pick chili on the day we were leaving, and bring it home.  We would then roast it and freeze it ourselves.  We freeze the roasted chili after it has cooled in gallon Ziploc bags.  We have found them easier to peel after they have been frozen.  If you have never tried these, you should this year!
 


Ingredients:

1 gallon Ziploc bag of roasted green chili (or about 3 - 4 cups chopped)
1 yellow onion, diced finely
2 clove garlic, minced
1/2 - 3/4 cup olive oil, depending on green chili quantity
~ 3 cups water
~ 3 Tbl flour
~ 1 tsp sea salt
 
2 - 3 corn tortillas per person (be sure to buy organic)
2 - 3 cups grated white Colby or Jack type cheese (grate it yourself)
 
Peel, devein, and deseed chili. Then chop chili into small pieces.  Heat a heavy skillet (don't use one with a nonstick cooking).  Put the olive oil in the hot skillet and heat.  Sauté onion and garlic in oil. Remove from heat, sprinkle in flour, stirring constantly.  You want flour to absorb oil, but you don't want a thick paste.  Place back on low heat, stir in water slowly, so flour/oil mixture and water combine well.  Add green chili and stir.  Add sea salt (don't over salt - initially it will not taste salty enough so wait until it has simmered awhile before tasting).  Simmer for 15 to 30 minutes.  Sauce needs to be on the thin side so it spreads nicely on tortillas (you don't want it to be a thick sauce).
 
Put a little chili sauce on a oven-safe plate, add a corn tortilla, more chili sauce, then a thin layer of shredded cheese (use white cheese since all orange cheeses have been 'colored' upon processing).  Add another corn tortilla, chili sauce and cheese layer.  Repeat a third time.  We make them three corn tortillas thick, but you can make them 2 corn tortillas thick for a smaller portion.  Place in oven at 375 °F for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted well and chili is bubbling.  Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes.  During this time, cook eggs over-easy.  Place egg on top (I like two eggs on mine) and serve.  The egg is a wonderful addition, cutting the heat of the chili.  These chiles can be very hot so buy the mild, or make a mix of mild and medium.
 
Green chili enchiladas with New Mexico Hatch green chili smell and taste so delicious that I forgot I was going to take a photo before eating a couple of bites from my plate!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Buy in Season and Freeze


 
Since bags of frozen organic fruit are so expensive and often not that tasty since they are picked too early, I like to buy extras when they are in season and I find them at the stores and then freeze some.  Costco has recently had large tubs of organic strawberries.  So I have purchased several extra cartons and put several bags in the freezer.  We also finally have some raspberries from the garden, so I am putting the first bag of the season in the freezer (shown in the photo with another tub for the refrigerator).  I use new Ziploc bags, label them with the date, and then fill them with the fruit.  I rinse the fruit first and let it drip dry thoroughly.  For the strawberries that I put in the freezer last week, I cut off the tops and cut large ones in half so they fit together better in the bag.  I also love to freeze organic blueberries and organic peaches (which I deseed and slice) if I find them at a reasonable price.

Sweet and hot peppers also freeze well.  In the photo is one of the bags of frozen jalapenos still in the freezer from our garden last fall.  These are great when making refried beans (recipe coming soon), tortilla soup, Dudley's Calabaza Stew, etc.  Frozen red, orange, yellow, and green bell peppers are good if used in soups or stews or spaghetti.  So when you see a great sale on organic berries or peppers, or other fruits and vegetables that freeze well, think about buying some extra when in season and putting them in the freezer.  You will be happy you did next fall or winter!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Leftovers Lunch



What leftovers do you have in your refrigerator?  I hope you have leftovers in your refrigerator.  Make it a habit to include these on your meal planner.  I keep all my leftovers together in one area of my refrigerator so I don't forget what I have available.  Depending upon the dish and your refrigerator temperature, leftovers are good for about 5 or 6 days in your refrigerator.  This leftover lunch included macaroni and cheese, quinoa with celery and almonds, organic spinach cheese ravioli (something we sampled at Costco and liked), and spaghetti squash with tomato sauce and pine nuts.  For leftovers like the plain spaghetti squash (extra from a dish I'd made), it is simple to add a few new things to make it more interesting.  I mixed in some Bionaturae strained tomatoes (I had some left over in a jar after making tortilla soup and pizza), pine nuts, Italian seasoning and sea salt. 
 
Three things to think about when cooking your meals from excellent quality ingredients made by God.

1.  Obviously excellent quality ingredients are probably going to cost more (unless you find a fantastic sale on something in season), so you don't want to be wasting food or ingredients.  Only put on your plate what you will eat, and save the rest for another meal.  This is especially important to teach children.  Have you mastered the weekly challenge, "become a member of the clean plate club"? 

2.  As you are learning to listen to your body, be aware of when you are full.  If you are trying to loose weight, try putting 2/3 to 3/4 of the amount you would normally eat on your plate.  Once you have eaten that amount, stop and see if you feel full.  If not, don't stop, get seconds.  Fill up your plate with the other 1/4 to 1/3 amount you did not take at first.  The purpose of this is not to starve yourself (that only slows down your metabolism), but to help you not overeat or waste food.  This is a much better strategy than to take a huge plate and either stuff it all in or throw away the extras when you decide you took too much. 

3.  Plan meals around your leftovers.  We save whatever is left, even if it is a small amount.  Those small amounts are great when mixed with other small amounts to make up a meal, as my lunch shown above.  I reheat my leftovers on the stove top (soups and stews) or in the oven.  A toaster oven works great too for reheating if you have one.  For my leftover lunch shown above, since I had only a tiny bit of quinoa and 4 ravioli left, I placed them side-by-side in a small glass baking pan to reheat them.  If you are placing a cold glass dish into the oven (that you have stored the item in), do not preheat the oven.  I place the cold dishes in the room temperature oven, then turn it on to 350 °F and set the timer for 20 - 45 minutes, depending upon the size of the dish I am reheating.  I have several glass dishes with plastic lids of various sizes for leftover storage.  Take off the plastic lid and cover the glass dish with aluminum foil to reheat.


A leftover lunch takes almost no time to prepare and since we have done this since the boys were little, everyone in the family enjoys a lunch like this.  We typically have some raw carrots or a salad on the side to complete the meal. 
 
"When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, “Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted.”  John 6:12

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 25 (June 18, 2013)

Clean out your refrigerator. 


 


You should have been expecting this one, since I mentioned it last week.  If you have two refrigerators (one in which you keep sodas, etc.), then clean it out too. 
 
When you clean your refrigerator, I want you to look for two things.  First, look through everything and toss anything that is looking like a science fair project (moldy) and anything past its expiration date.  Next, toss anything that contains ingredients on the ingredients/foods to avoid list.  If you are going to eat a diet of 100% God-made foods, you cannot have any poor quality processed food within reach.  They are addictive; you will not be able to resist them.  Get rid of them.  Find and buy only good quality foods.
 
The two photos above are snapshots of my refrigerators that I took when writing up this post.  I did not do any cleaning prior to snapping the photos.  I wanted you to see how my refrigerators really look if you would stop in to see me. 
 
These shots are pretty typical.  The 'leftovers' vary by season and week-to-week depending upon what I have made the last few days.  I just went on my grocery store shopping loop, and I baked two Costco chickens and made two pots of broth, so my refrigerators are very full right now.  But don't worry, we will eat all of this food before it goes bad.
 
We seldom throw away any food in our house.  Since we have several little containers of leftovers right now, we will be having a smorgasbord of leftovers for lunch.  I love leftovers, a free meal that requires no preparation!  Don't let your leftovers rot in your refrigerator.  I find that home cooked leftovers made with top quality ingredients taste very good reheated, sometimes even better than the first time for some soups and stews.
 
I also plan my meals around the 'oldest' produce that I have so that none rots and needs to be tossed.  Both of my refrigerators are filled with fresh produce; a definite staple in our home.
 
You need to first clean out your refrigerator before restocking it since you must come home and immediately put your purchases away.  So work on cleaning out your refrigerator, then wipe down the shelves if they are dirty, and you will be ready to go on a grocery store shopping loop.  I will do posts on what I keep stocked in my refrigerator and my typical shopping loop.
 
Don't forget, eating 100% God-made good quality foods is a blessing!  It is not a matter of what you don't get to eat, but what you DO get to eat.  Enjoy, have fun, and feel good for doing so.

Don't forget, next week you will be cleaning out the freezer.  So don't buy anything at your next trip to the grocery store that you will need to toss out!
 
Advanced challenge for those already eating 100% God-made foods:
 
The same as last week.  Toss anything that contains processed refined sugar (which has many names such as cane syrup, raw sugar, evaporated cane juice, brown sugar, beet sugar, fructose, glucose, etc., etc. ).  Look at ingredient labels and don't be fooled by the marketing ploys.  Even if something is organic, such as jellies and jams, they are not good for you if the contain sugar, even organic sugar. 
 
"Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life."  Psalm 143:8

Monday, June 17, 2013

Macaroni and Cheese

 
This recipe is a must for anyone with kids.  We don't have it often, since we don't eat pasta often, but it is a special treat that the boys love.  (We don't eat pasta often because it does not have much nutritional value and is a processed food.) 
 
The boys are the ones who make it now.  So much better to eat homemade macaroni and cheese, then packaged, even the organic packaged varieties.  We use organic pasta that I buy at Costco.  Make sure you use a pasta that does not contain 'enriched' flour.  This one has one ingredient on the list - organic durum wheat semolina.  You can use whole wheat pasta or a gluten-free pasta too, just get a good quality one.  We find the whole wheat pastas to be grainy; this one from Costco tastes good and is reasonably priced.



Ingredients:
 
1 bag pasta noodles (ours is 17.6 ounce size)
1 cup milk, try to find non-homogenized (we use our raw milk)
1/4 stick unsalted organic butter (we use our homemade butter)
1 1/2 Tbl unenriched flour
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (shred it yourself)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste (we don't add either)
 
Place butter in a saucepan (don't use a pot with a nonstick coating).  We use my medium-sized glass pot and heat on the lowest setting.  As it starts to melt, add the flour and stir.  Next add the milk, stirring continuously.  After all is melted and warmed, add shredded cheese and raise the heat to medium, but be sure to keep stirring continuously or it will burn.  While still stirring, bring to a boil and it will begin to thicken.  At this point, turn off heat and stir occasionally until pasta noodles are ready.
 
In a separate large pot (again don't use nonstick), begin water boiling for the pasta.  We start the water heating in my large glass soup pot just before starting the cheese sauce.  When it comes to a boil, add the pasta noodles and stir.  Stir a few more time at the beginning to prevent noodles from sticking to the pot.  Stir occasionally, and boil gently until cooked (taste test) which is about 10 - 12 minutes for this pasta. 
 
Drain the pasta and place back in large pot.  Pour the cheese sauce over and mix thoroughly.  Eat immediately.  (We reheat leftovers in a covered glass pan in the oven.)

Saturday, June 15, 2013

French Toast


French Toast is so easy to make and a much more filling breakfast option then plain toast.  It is also a great way to use all the little pieces of bread leftover in a loaf that don't work well for sandwiches, unless you have toddlers.  French Toast is fun because you can vary the ingredients for a slightly different taste each time you make it.  The last time I made it, I added organic orange zest and it had a delicious hint of orange flavor.  (Only use organic oranges for zest.)

I am always looking for ways to reduce my wastefulness and to use ever bit of food.  For example, as I have mentioned previously, I use the leftover liquid from making butter in my oatmeal, rather than tossing it down the sink).  Or I use the leftover drippings for oven roasting meats in my bone broths or to make soups.  After we use the larger slices of bread (we buy bakery bread that is hand-baked so it does not contain uniform slices like more processed breads do), we start putting the smallest end pieces together in a bag, which we keep in the freezer.  In fact, we keep all of our bread in the freezer since we do not go through a loaf of bread fast enough.  Breads or muffins without preservatives only last a day or two on the counter before starting to mold.

Once we have enough of the small pieces, I have French toast for breakfast.  Since we don't eat a lot of bread, this is once every month or so.

Ingredients (quantity for 2 persons):

1 range-free egg, fork beaten
1 - 1 1/2 cups milk
dash nutmeg
dash cinnamon
butter for greasing skillet


 

Place egg in a small flat bottom container which your bread slices will fit into.  Add rest of ingredients except butter and stir with a fork. 


 
Heat skillet (don't use a skillet with a nonstick coating).  When skillet is hot (if it is not hot, the bread will stick to the skillet), grease generously with butter.  Then place each piece of bread into the liquid mixture, flipping over to coat both sides and set on the hot, buttered skillet.  After about a minute or when browned, flip over.  Serve with fresh fruit or eggs, but remember to eat the fruit first.