Roasted Carrots

One of the easiest ways to prepare vegetables is to roast them.  I drizzle them with olive oil, a little bit of real salt and pepper, then pop them in a 400 degree oven.  It is as simple as that.  I roasted carrots for a side dish a few nights ago, and they were delicious.  Roasting brings out the natural sweetness of the carrots.

I cut up 8 carrots on the diagonal – as shown below (these are pre-roasted, I forgot to take an after picture – it was dinner time, and we were hungry).  It took 35 minutes to get them to the perfect tenderness for me.  I roast all my veggies on my Pampered Chef Large Bar Pan.  It holds heat really well, and has a nice lip so the oil and juices don’t run off the end and make a mess in the oven.

photo 2-1

What Real Foods Means to Me

20130109-134749.jpg

Everybody defines real foods a little differently. I think in general, most people agree it is eating food as close to the original as possible without a lot of processing, additives, etc. I don’t have a specific set of rules, but here are the guidelines we use in our family:

– Organic fruits and vegetables whenever possible and not cost prohibitive, as fresh and local as I can. If it’s not in-season, or available fresh, I buy frozen fruits and veggies over canned

– 100% whole wheat flour instead of refined white flour – I bake some of our bread, and get some from a local bakery that has only 5 ingredients

– Brown rice instead of white, or often we sub organic quinoa instead

– We drink pasteurized but not homogenized whole milk from a farm near our home, I make yogurt from the same milk, and we eat local cheese & butter from the same farm, and local eggs whenever possible

– We don’t eat a ton of seafood, but I’m trying to incorporate it into our diets more as I learn to prepare it – when we do eat it, it is wild caught not farm raised

– We get all of our meat (pork, beef & poultry) from polyface farms, which they define as “a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm and informational outreach”

– I use honey, Grade B maple syrup, or rapadura to sweeten things, and I almost always cut the sweetener in recipes

– I avoid high fructose corn syrup, refined sugar & GMO ingredients as much as possible

– We don’t often eat out – when we do, we try hard to eat real foods, but it’s not always possible. I need to get better about packing whole foods when we travel because that is probably when we slip the most

That’s where we are. It has been a slow evolution over the past 4 years switching everything over, researching local options, figuring out what this all really meant and learning to cook things unprocessed that I previously purchased canned, packaged or pre-made.

Menu Plan Jan 7-13

Menu Plan

I thought I’d start posting my menu plan after I make it every Monday (even though today is Tuesday) – here’s what we’ll probably be eating this week – sometimes I call an audible if I don’t have as much time as I think and need something quick and easy, but I usually stick pretty well to the plan.

Monday:Yogurt & Blueberries, leftover black beans and rice with pears, Chicken Curry

Tuesday: Coconut Flour Muffins, leftover Chicken Curry, Salmon Cakes & Balsamic Carrots

Wednesday: Coconut Flour Muffins, Grilled Cheese with apples & carrots, Chili & Cornbread x 6* & salad

Thursday: Yogurt based Strawberry Banans Smoothies, Leftover Chili, Burrito Bowls

Friday: Peanut butter Banana Shake, Leftover Burrito Bowls, Veggie Pizza & salad

Saturday: Sourdough Pancakes, any leftovers in fridge, Tomato Lentil Soup & salad

Sunday: Eggs & Breakfast Sausage, quesadillas, BBQ pork & sweet potatoes

* I’m participating in a freezer meal swap with some friends on Saturday, and I’m making chili & cornbread for my meal, so I’m making a HUGE batch

Chicken curry

My husband and I took an Indian cooking class 4 or 5 years ago. We made a ton of different recipes. One of the few I make on a regular basis is this chicken curry. It is so delicious, and pretty easy to make at home. I made some modifications from the original recipe because I had some trouble finding a few of the ingredients, and I prefer coconut oil.

Here are all the ingredients lined up and ready to go.

20130107-155331.jpg
I have recently been more intentional about having everything out and ready to go so I’m not scrambling around looking for a specific ingredient in the middle of a recipe. Everything goes much smoother.

Here is the recipe card. I use the My Recipe Book app for iPad which is where the format for the recipe card comes from.

20130107-161619.jpg
The directions call for a whole chicken cut into pieces, I cut it into 8 pieces – 2 legs, 2 thighs, 2 breasts and 2 wings.

20130107-160613.jpg
It is really helpful to measure out all of your spices ahead of time, and have them all in one bowl to dump right in when you need to.

20130107-160820.jpg
I need to get a better photo of the final product, this looks somewhat unappetizing, but this is what I have for now.

20130107-161517.jpg
Also, usually I finish it in my enameled cast iron pan, but this time I needed to go somewhere for a few hours, so after it was all done except the simmering, I dumped it in my crock pot for 2 hours on high. It worked really well. I love it when a recipe works out in the crock pot, so I can get dinner ready earlier in the day, and it is ready to go when dinner rolls around.

Homemade Yogurt

Filmjolk YogurtI ventured into making homemade yogurt about 6 months ago.  We eat a lot of yogurt for breakfast, and it started adding up.  I looked into making my own, and didn’t really want to get a yogurt maker, or worry about getting things up to the right temperature, let it sit at the right temperature for the perfect amount of time, etc.  It seemed like a bit of a pain.

I started reading about the different types of starters at Cultures for Health, and was intrigued by the mesophilic starters.  They have a great page to help you choose the right yogurt starter for you.  I knew I wanted an heirloom variety so I could re-use the starter perpetually instead of using new starter each time.  So, I bought the villi starter.  It was so easy!  You just mix milk with the starter, leave it out at a warm room temperature until it sets.  I put it in a quart canning jar with a coffee filter on top secured with a canning lid ring.  You know it is set when it pulls away from the side of the glass.  I leave it sitting on top of my dryer in my laundry room which is off my kitchen – it stays warm in there.  Then, you just use 1 tablespoon of yogurt for each cup of yogurt you want to make for the next batch.  I make it about once a week.

I liked it so much, I got some Filmjolk starter.  The description says it has a slightly cheesier flavor.  It was just as easy to start, and has perpetuated quite well.  I have used a nut milk bag to strain some whey out of it to make it more like cream cheese – it is a great substitute for cream cheese.

Enduring food

I picked the name of this blog from John 6:27. “Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you. For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval.”

It is a reminder to me that what I feed my family spiritually is, ultimately, more important than what I feed them physically. But, we strive to eat as clean as possible around here. We eat mostly organic produce, and almost no processed foods.

I love to experiment in the kitchen, and sometimes things work out…and sometimes they don’t. I’m blessed to have a husband who will eat just about anything, so not much goes to waste around here.

I’ll link to other sites and blogs that have helped me along the way, and share how I’m feeding my family on a budget in one of the more expensive areas to live.

I also love to sew, so I’m sure some of my sewing & craftiness will show up here, too.

Whole wheat blueberry muffins

20130103-092034.jpgLast night, I made the 100% whole wheat blueberry muffins from King Arthur flour. Check it out here. It is my older daughter’s turn to bring snack to preschool tomorrow, so I doubled the recipe.

I changed it a little, I used this whole wheat flour, rapadura instead of brown sugar, melted butter instead of vegetable oil, and regular milk instead of buttermilk or whey (because I was out of both).

They were delicious. I love my stoneware muffin pan. It makes such a great crisp crust that is delicious. I don’t use muffin papers, because I love the flavor of the crust of the bottom so much more when I don’t. They taste too mushy to me.

So, we each had a muffin to go along with our homemade yogurt this morning for breakfast – yum!

I posted this on the nourishing gourmets penny wise platter.