Posted by tntmck on Nov 27, 2012 in Grains, Beans, Legumes and Nuts
I think we’ve all recovered from stuffing our faces at Thanksgiving, so now we are back home and trying new ways to incorporate healthy, whole foods into our meals. I’ve always wanted to make my own bread and to stay away from the yucky additives. But, I also want to make sure it’s healthy and good for us by soaking the grains or using sprouted flour. Right now, I buy sprouted whole grain bread and feel good about the quality, but it is in a bag on the shelf at the store and isn’t cheap. I’m not sure I’ve made it to the point of continuously making our own bread, as other things are at the top of my priority list for now, but this recipe proved to be easy and good!
- 1 cup room temperature water
- 1 Tbs yogurt
- 2 Tbs melted coconut oil (or other oil)
- 3 Tbs honey
- sprinkle of ginger
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 3 cups whole wheat flour
- Mix all ingredients together, cover, and sit out on counter overnight.
- The next day, sprinkle 2 tsp yeast and 1 tsp salt on top of dough. Knead well. I used the dough blade on my food processor, watching to make sure it didn’t get too sticky. Shape dough into loaf and put into greased bread pan. Proof for 30 minutes.
- Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until internal temperature is 200°.
First, let me say HAPPY NEW YEAR to everyone. I hope you had a good close to 2011 and are looking forward to a great 2012. I usually take desserts when traveling to visit relatives for a holiday. It’s just easier than prepping or cooking and trying to keep a vegetable or side dish ready to eat. This year, I tried something different. It’s not my grandma’s pecan pie by any means, but I think it turned out satisfactory. Yes, just ok. Now, I’m only judging from the reactions as I don’t care for pie myself, but overall it was all eaten and some even had it twice. I was told it was a little bitter (maybe the chocolate chips or the rapadura) and even a bit rich. And to some, just having the chocolate added made it just enough different to catch their attention. Anyway, I made this Shortcut Chocolate Pecan Pie from Lisa at 100 Days of Real Food with just a few minor substitutions. Check out her page for the original recipe and I’ll post mine with substitutions here.
For the crust:
- I cheated and used a spelt pie crust from Whole Foods
For the filling:
- 3 eggs
- ½ cup rapadura
- ¼ cup 100% pure maple syrup
- tablespoon melted butter, unsalted
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- cups pecans, chopped or whole
- ¾ cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- In a bowl whisk together the eggs, rapadura, syrup, butter, vanilla, and salt. Fold in the pecans and chocolate chips.
- Pour the filling into the prepared crust and bake until pie is set, about 20 – 25 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 or 10 minutes before serving.
Posted by tntmck on Jun 17, 2011 in Dairy
Well, it’s not officially summer, but it sure has been hot around here. The boys are enjoying lots of fruit, playing in the water, and drinking lots of water, too. We decided to change up snack time a little this afternoon and instead of a smoothie, we made some yummy frozen strawberry yogurt pops. If you have a mold, then the rest of the ingredients are probably already in the fridge. Even without a mold, you could use ice cube trays or any other small containers and even add some wooden popsicle sticks or plastic stir sticks.
Strawberries (or fruit of your choice)
A splash of milk
I simply eyeballed the ingredients and threw everything in the blender and added more of any ingredient as it blended. I only made a small amount, so it really was just a few frozen strawberries, a couple spoonfulls of plain, whole yogurt, a good dollop of honey, a few ice cubes, and literally a splash of whole milk. How’s that for exacting?
Pour the mixture into your molds. Insert sticks and freeze. Remember to let them sit out a bit before trying to remove the pops so you don’t end up breaking them upon removal.
Toddler Timing Tip: Make and freeze these with your toddler as a morning activity. Then, they will be perfectly frozen and ready to go for an after nap afternoon snack!
The boys took a little while figuring out they preferred licking and eating the pops and not playing, dripping, and dropping them everywhere. By the time we made it to the end of the tray (yes, they finished them all off), they were loving them and wanting more!
Well, we had a completely fun-filled, outdoor weekend for sure! The boys got to stay with their favorite babysitter, while we went canoeing with some friends. Then, we spent a day off with extended family… outside, of course! This week, I also embarked on a new adventure to make some soaked-grain breads for the freezer. The boys got to enjoy them for a snack and seemed to like them quite well. I still love making things for the freezer as they make life so much easier and a fun, holiday weekend more enjoyable without having to constantly eat out or eat packaged food.
Soaking really isn’t difficult at all. It is just an extra step to remember the day before you to plan to bake. I actually find that it makes the process easier by breaking up the time needed for preparation. I made blueberry muffins and banana bread this week. Both used whole grain flours soaked overnight.
You don’t see any grains or liquids in these pictures, because those are actually in the white bowls in the background with plates on top since they were soaked overnight.
Soaked Whole Grain Banana Bread
2 cups flour or more, depending on consistency, (I use spelt, kamut, or whole wheat) and dash of salt
½ cup extra virgin coconut oil
½ cup sour milk (you can use regular milk just add a few drops of vinegar to sour it)
½ cup warm water (only for soaking)
¾ cup raw honey
3 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 cup walnuts (optional)
The night before baking, combine the flour, oil, milk, and warm water.
Cover and leave at room temperature 12-24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350.
Add honey and eggs and mix thoroughly.
Fold in the mashed bananas.
Quickly mix in the salt and baking soda.
Pour mixture into a buttered loaf pan.
Bake for 45-60 minutes. Cool on a rack.
Soaked Whole Grain Blueberry Muffins
1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
2/3 cup coconut oil, melted
2 TBS kefir or buttermilk (for soaking)
water (for soaking)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup rapadura or sucanat
1 1/2 cups blueberries, frozen
2 eggs, well beaten
The night before baking, combine the flour, oil, kefir or buttermilk, and just enough water to get all the flour wet.
Cover and leave at room temperature 12-24 hours.
Preheat oven to 400.
Add remaining ingredients to soaked flour and mix well.
Pour mixture into 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 15-20 minutes. Cool.
What I Learned
Freezing is a great option for breads. Based on your needs, freeze in slices or in half loaves. Preheat the oven to 350 and reheat for 10-12 minutes. If you do loaves or half loaves, you will need to take them out of the freezer the night before.
The boys loved these, but they love anything in bread form.
I love, love, love bread. I am officially a carb lover and soaking the grains and using healthy ingredients like coconut oil makes me feel better about mine and my family’s grain consumption.
This week was all about breakfast and trying out some new things. Some were successful. Some were not. One was so good that we also enjoyed it for dessert. Owen is now feeding himself well from a spoon and a fork. He needs some help with scooping and stabbing, but the rest is mastered. Wyatt is just starting to be willing to even hold the utensil for a few minutes of a meal. Both boys enjoy drinking water straight from a cup and getting about 5% in their mouths and the rest down the front of their shirts. This is a great outside summer activity!
Eggs and healthy grains are a great way to start out your day. Add in some fresh fruit and vegetables and you’ll really be off to a great start. We find breakfast an important meal in the day and really enjoy this time together before we all go about our days.
Easy Breakfast Frittata
1/2 onion, minced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
1/2 tomato, seeds removed and diced
4 large eggs
splash of milk
3 T fresh basil, chopped
salt and pepper, to taste
Cook onion over medium-low heat for about 3 minutes or until translucent and soft.
Add garlic, mushrooms and saute for 2 min. Add tomato, salt and pepper and cook for another minute. Stir well.
Beat eggs well with a splash of milk and season with salt and pepper. Mix in basil. Pour eggs over veggies evenly and turn heat to low. Cover and cook about 5 minutes or until firm. Cut into wedges and serve.
Cinnamon Sugar Muffins
adapted from Muffins that Taste Like Donuts
INGREDIENTS FOR MUFFINS
1 3/4 cup Spelt Flour (or whole wheat)
1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Nutmeg
1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/3 cup Coconut Oil
3/4 cup Rapadura (or sugar)
1 whole Egg
3/4 cup Milk
INGREDIENTS FOR TOPPING
1/4 cup Butter
1/3 cup White Sugar (I used Rapadura)
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Grease one standard size muffin pan with butter or coconut oil.
Mix together flour, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Mix together oil, sugar, egg and milk. Add dry ingredients and stir only to combine.
Fill standard sized muffin tins with the 1/4 cup batter per muffin.
Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes.
Melt the butter in a bowl. Combine the Rapadura (sugar) with the cinnamon in another bowl. Shake muffins out of pan while still hot. Dip muffin tops in butter, then into the sugar/cinnamon mix. Let cool.
Makes 1 dozen.
1/2 cup flour (I used whole wheat, but bread flour may rise more)
1/2 cup milk
pinch of salt
1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Melt 4 TBS butter in 8″ or 10″ cast iron skillet in oven to while preheating to 400°. (9×9 pan will work as well, or double recipe for 9×12 pan)
Mix all ingredients together.
Pour into hot pan, allowing butter to rise to the top.
Bake for 20-25 mintues.
Serve with pure maple syrup or your choice of toppings. Consider fruit or cinnamon in the mix or on top.
What I Learned
Breakfast has always been a favorite meal of mine, but I realized recently that we were having scrambled eggs and fruit way too often. It was time to change it up a little. Variety is good and breakfast is yummy.
Both boys enjoy most everything at breakfast, so these have also been a big hit. The German Pancakes and Muffins were a true highlight to our week. We even enjoyed the rest of the muffins for a few after-dinner desserts the rest of the week.
These foods have been added to the weekly rotation as Jonathan would say. When I get that comment, then I know it’s good.
Posted by tntmck on Jul 18, 2010 in Weekly
Well, I’ve always felt this way about food, but I think my boys had a fun-filled food week this week. It just seems that we let loose a little and they enjoyed a few things that are just plain fun to eat. Overall, I had a couple of big dinner eaters on my hands this week. These were those meals where you get up from the table to get seconds, thirds, fourths, and have to just “call it” once the food runs out. I couldn’t get food fast enough and definitely watched them out-eat both me and Jonathan at the table for dinner.
From the usual roast, salmon, fruit, and broccoli to pasta, smoothies, and a trip for ice cream, everything was a big hit this week and we enjoyed some beautiful messes along the way.
Chicken Sausage Pasta
2 cups tomato sauce
1 tsp oil
1 clove garlic
1 cup spinach
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
4 chicken sausages
8 ounces dry pasta
Slice sausages into bite-size pieces.
In a large pan, heat garlic in oil.
Add sausage to heat through.
Add spinach, tomato sauce, and seasonings.
Lower heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Add pasta and mix well.
1/2 cup dairy ONE (choose one: whole yogurt, kefir, cow’s milk, or goat’s milk)
1/2 cup dairy TWO (choose one: whole yogurt, kefir, cow’s milk, or goat’s milk)
1 TBS flax seed oil
1 TBS raw honey
1/2+ cup fruit ONE (dominant flavor, usually a berry)
1/4+ cup fruit TWO (underlying flavor, usually pineapple, mango, or second berry)
Blend well in blender, adding extra dairy or ice cubes to thin as needed. I like to use frozen fruit with mine so the smoothie is more like a milkshake or ice cream consistency and not runny. The smoothies of choice this week were strawberry-pineapple and strawberry-mango. Each contained half and half of kefir and yogurt along with a splash of cow’s milk. Yum! You can always add kelp or spinach for a green smoothie or include other healthy additions like wheat germ or egg.
What I Learned
Those big messes are what make life fun with little ones. We had pasta on stuck to the table, the highchairs, and the floor. At least nothing hit the wall, was smeared in hair, or went flying across the room. We did go straight upstairs for baths which was a smart move, but upon draining the tub, I had to clean it as well as it looked like a pasta bowl of leftovers as well.
As usual, both boys enjoyed food this week. The pasta was a hit as you can see and the smoothies were mesmerizing and delightful through a straw. Our trip to the Nolensville Feed Mill again this weekend offered my boys another taste of the sweet strawberry ice cream which they loved again thanks to Mimi.
Summer is fun. Eating is fun. 17 month old boys are fun.
Posted by tntmck on Jul 10, 2010 in Batch
This was a busy, hot week, but I planned Friday to do some freezer cooking for family meals. It’s hot and I don’t prefer in the kitchen heating up the oven this much, but it does save me some hot kitchen time down the road. The boys are continuing with their utensils and do eat every meal straight from their plates without any issues. We do still use the catch-style bibs to save a little floor cleanup, but not as much food is going in there these days and nothing is put on the table or chair for which I’m extremely grateful.
It is no secret that I like to make food in batches. Whether it be for initial baby purees, baby and toddler finger foods, or family meals, I prefer to knock out more than one thing at a time. If I’m going to be heating it up in the kitchen, why not make the most of it?
My focus for this Freezer Friday was 3 main dishes. I made meatloaf, chicken nuggets, and chicken divan. This made a total of at least 6 family meals sure to each have leftovers.
Chicken Nuggets A yummy alternative to those preservative-laden frozen store-bought nuggets.
- 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 cup bread crumbs (save bread ends and make your own)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Pound chicken to tenderize, then cut into 1″-2″ pieces.
- Put melted butter in BOWL ONE.
- In BOWL TWO, mix together breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, and spices.
- Dip chicken pieces into BOWL ONE and then BOWL TWI. Put on lightly greased cookie sheet in a single layer. Cook about 12 minutes (20 if not freezing).
- Let cool and store in freezer bags with date and final cooking instructions below.
- Remove from freezer and cook at 400° for about 8-10 minutes.
Freezer Meat Loaf A super easy, simple meat loaf for the freeze
- 3 pounds ground beef
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 3-1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup minced onion
- 2 eggs
- 2 TBSP sea salt
- 2 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 tsp ground pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, getting messy and really squishing everything together well with your hands.
- Divide into two 9″x5″ loaf pans.
- Wrap, label with date and cooking instructions below, and freeze.
- Remove from freezer and unwrap 3 hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 350° and cook for 2 – 2-1/2 hours.
Try this spinach meatloaf perfect for a wholesome toddler meal.
Chicken Divan A easy, creamy, green-filled complete meal in a dish.
- 40oz frozen broccoli (cooked)
- 4 cups cooked chicken, sliced into pieces
- 3/4 cup butter
- 3/4 cup flour
- 6 cups whole milk
- 1 cup whole cream
- 2 cups grated Parmesan cheese
- 3 TBSP mustard
- 4 TBSP minced onion
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- salt & pepper (to taste)
- In one large or two smaller casseroles, place cooked broccoli and top with chicken.
- In a large pan melt butter. Gradually add flour. Once thickened, add milk, stirring until combined. Once smooth, add remaining ingredients, stirring until heated through and cheese is melted.
- Pour sauce over chicken and broccoli.
- Allow to cool, then wrap, label with date and cooking instructions below, and freeze.
- Remove from freezer and unwrap 2-1/2 hours before cooking. Preheat oven to 350° and cook for 2-1/2 hours.
WHAT I LEARNED
I’ve had some people ask me how I do this with little ones at home and there are two things that I would say. Preparation and timing are key. I spend time preparing the meals I will prepare, making grocery lists, and then scheduling. I schedule the process from start to finish, including prep and cleanup and plan my cook time during long afternoon naps. There are times when I will do some prep the night before or finishing on a Saturday when dad can watch the kids. Either way, I know exactly what I will do when because of the initial planning and scheduling.
I can’t attest to the quality or taste of any of these meals yet as we have not thawed and enjoyed any of them yet. However, I can say that my husband commented on how nice the freezer looked with all of the blue plastic wrap.
I really, really, really cannot say enough about how much I enjoy freezer cooking. I do it to fill in meals during the week and especially on weekends. I like to mix it up with quick, fresh-cooked meals for nice variety and a good break from the kitchen in the week.
Posted by tntmck on Jun 19, 2010 in Dairy
Egg is such a great food. They are a great source of protein. This is one that I’m sure to buy from organic, cage-free chickens with omega-3
I introduced egg yolks at 8 months and the whole egg 1 year. The easiest way to separate the yolks is simply with the shell.
Eggs can be easily scrambled even with just egg yolks. Then, you can expand to frittatas, omelets, quiches, and all kinds of recipes with eggs. They are also a great way to include yummy veggies like spinach, peppers, and onions. I love eggs and my boys do too.
Here’s how I make an easy frittata for a quick, healthy, filling morning breakfasts. The whole family enjoys these or Jonathan and I eat half and I save the other half for the boys’ lunch.
BREAKFAST FRITTATA I prep all of my veggies the night before and have them ready in the fridge.
- 1/2 onion, minced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 cup thinly sliced mushrooms
- 1/2 tomato, seeds removed and diced
- 3 large eggs
- 3 TBS fresh basil, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
1. Saute onion over medium-low heat for 3 minutes.
2. Add garlic, mushrooms, and any other veggies and saute for 2 minutes. Add tomato and cook for another minute.
3. Beat eggs well, mixing in salt, pepper and basil. Pour eggs over veggies evenly and let cook 2-3 minutes. Turn heat to low, cover and cook about 5 minutes or until firm. Cut like a pie and serve.
Be sure to check with your pediatrician when serving eggs. They are one of the top 8 allergens.
Please share your thoughts and ideas.
Posted by tntmck on May 23, 2010 in Meat
In an effort to continue towards our GOAL: Eating With the Family we made yet another yummy chicken meal this week. We’re also working more with plates, utensils, and cups as well as healthy snacks to keep happy tummies throughout the day.
This week, I decided that Jonathan and I needed something quick and easy to take for our lunches. Well, I also wanted this to be something the boys could eat, so I went for chicken salad. If you know me, you’re thinking I’ve completely lost it because I don’t like chicken salad. Well, let’s just say I’m trying new things and giving old things another shot.
- Zesty Chicken Salad A nice flavorful way to spice up the standard salad.
- 1 tsp. Italian herbs
- 1/8 tsp. garlic powder (+ more for salad mixture)
- 4 chicken thighs, skinned or boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- 1 tablespoon of omega–3 mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed oil or garlic–chili flax
- chopped onions
- chopped peppers
- chopped celery
- Place chicken in a greased glass baking pan.
- Sprinkle herbs, garlic powder and paprika on both sides.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 45 minutes or until chicken juices run clear when tested with a fork.
- Let chicken cool, then cut into pieces.
- Combine mayonnaise, flaxseed oil, onions, peppers, celery, and chicken. Taste, then add paprika and garlic powder as desired and mix together.
- Serve over lettuce or on toasted bread.
[I used thighs and they were super moist and yummy, but you can use breasts if you like white meat better. I forgot to get a picture of the finished salad...wow, what a let-down, huh?]
WHAT I LEARNED
The chicken salad is great for adult lunches, but the chicken makes perfect food for little fingers or those just learning to use a fork.
The chicken was a hit with the whole family! Be sure to check out this other chicken recipe to fill your fridge.
I love the versatility of this recipe for sandwiches, salads, and protein for little ones. I will make it again, maybe even this week!
On a separate note, Owen is using a fork and spoon well when the food is loaded on it for him. We’ve also mainly switched to using our regular plates as the solid, white, heavy plates don’t seem as interesting to “play” with during mealtimes. I did see a few times this week where I thought the appetite was decreasing a bit, but it turned out to be a ear infection and a fever which both resolved quickly and appetites came back in full force. The boys continue to eat food more quickly than I can prepare it.
Please share your thoughts or ideas.
Posted by tntmck on May 8, 2010 in Meat
This week we stepped up our chicken cooking a notch. Chicken and beef are such staples around here that I’m determined to find many ways to prepare. You may think, what does this have to do with feeding my baby or toddler. Well, just read GOAL: Eating With the Tamily and you’ll get the idea. Over the past few months, we’ve really been making big steps as a whole family in eating well together. I’ll also note that more things are changing around here in reference to Babies Changing Parents’ Habits and I hope to share more on that in the coming weeks as well.
Instead of baking, sauteing, or grilling chicken breasts, thighs, or tenderloins, we went for the whole bird. It really is super easy and you get a lot of meat for your endeavors. There’s so many ways to season, but I’ve shown one option below that I tried this week.
- Roast Chicken with Rosemary & Lemon A tasty way to roast a nice, beautiful chicken right in your oven at home.
- 1 whole chicken, rinsed
- Butter, salt and pepper to taste
- 1 small onion, quartered
- 1 lemon
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary (I only had dried on hand, but I think fresh would be best.)
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Remove any giblets from the chicken. Rinse and pat dry.
- Rub the chicken with the butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Drizzle lemon juice on top. Stuff with the onion, rosemary, and lemon halves after juicing.
- Tuck the wings under the body and tie the legs together.
- Place chicken a shallow roasting dish, breast-side up, preferably on a rack.
- Roast in the preheated oven for 20 minutes per pound, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of the bird and your oven.
- Allow to rest, then carve and serve or store.
[I forgot to get a picture of the golden roasted chicken, but believe me...it was beautiful!]
I roasted in the morning, let it sit and served for lunch. I also carved the rest to store in the refrigerator for later lunches and dinner.
WHAT I LEARNED
Chicken is good, but much better when bought fresh, whole and roasted. It’s juicy and flavorful and great for leftovers or use in other dishes.
The chicken was a hit!
Chicken will continue to be a primary source of protein around here and I’ve recently found that I can buy 2 whole organic chickens at Costco…yippee!
Please share your thoughts or ideas.