Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Strawberry Baked Oatmeal

This is a delicious baked oatmeal that everyone loves.  Except my husband who hates strawberries.  I still cannot figure out how anyone can not like strawberries...  You can substitute blueberries, but we all like it way better with strawberries. 

5 cups regular rolled oats
1 TBS baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups milk (can sub rice or almond milk)
4 large eggs1/4 c. melted butter
2/3 cup honey
1-2 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped fresh or frozen strawberries

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Combine all wet ingredients except strawberries in a medium bowl.  Add wet to dry and still till mixed.  Fold in strawberries.  Pour mixture in greased 9x13 pan. 

Bake 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden brown and set in the middle. 

You can serve this with milk and/or butter on top, but it's delicious as is. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Oatmeal Apple Bars

Tasty for a snack or breakfast.  And gluten free! 

3 c. rolled oats (not quick)
2-1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 TBS cinnamon
6 TBS sweetener (honey, agave, or sucanat)
1 can coconut milk
2 eggs
1/2 c applesauce
1/4 c melted butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 apple, diced.

Mix all the dry ingredients in a medium bowl.  Mix all the wet ingredients in a small bowl.  Add the wet to the dry.  Stir in the apple dices.  Pour into greased 9x13 pan.  Bake 350 for 25-30 minutes. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Honey Caramel Popcorn

It's harder than you think to find a sugar-free caramel corn recipe!  This is delicious and no one will miss the refined sugar.  

12 c. popped popcorn (6 TBS unpopped)
4 TBS butter
4 TBS honey
Dash sea salt

Pop your popcorn, using either an air popper or use 2 TBS coconut oil in a pot or old fashioned popcorn popper. In a small saucepan, heat butter and honey at medium high heat, just until completely melted. Add dash of sea salt and mix.

Pour honey butter over popcorn, stirring to coat all pieces.  Bake at 325 degrees for 8-10 minutes, stirring often.  Cool slightly on pan.  Store in airtight container.   

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crockpot Beef Stew

Simple, delicious and easy.  Makes a big crockpot full (feeds my family of 9).

1-1/2 to 2 lbs beef stew meat.  Cut into 1" pieces.
1/2 c. flour or cornstarch (or other thickener)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 bay leaves
2 tsp worcestshire
1 onion, chopped or pureed
5 c. beef broth
6 -8 potatoes, diced
4 carrots, sliced or chopped
2 stalks celery, sliced or chopped

Put meat in crockpot.  In a little bowl, mix together flour or cornstarch, salt & pepper.  Toss with meat and stir to coat.

Add garlic, bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, onion, broth, potatoes, carrots and celery.  Stir it up.

Cover, cook on Low for 10-12 hours or High for 4-6 hrs. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Gluten Free Skillet Cornbread

This good enough to eat even when you're not gluten free. 

1 TBS oil
1-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
1/2 c tapioca starch (or other starch)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
2 TBS oil
1/2 c buttermilk (or any other kind of milk with 1 TBS vinegar or lemon juice to make 1/2 cup)
2 - 4 TBS honey (depending on how sweet you like it, can omit completely)

*For oil, I use olive oil.

Turn oven on to 425.  Pour 1 TBS oil in cast iron skillet.  Put the skillet in the oven.   If you don't have a cast iron skillet, you can grease a 8x8 pan with a stick of butter.  The cast iron skillet gives a nice crisp crust.

In a medium bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together.  In a small bowl, mix wet ingredients.   Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix until moistened.  Pour into preheated skillet or 8x8 pan.  Put into oven and bake 15-18 minutes until golden brown and crisp. 

Serve with honey butter

Friday, October 12, 2012

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

Want the deliciousness of chicken pot pie without the hassle?  This is super quick & easy if you have already cooked chicken and some baked potatoes on hand! 

2 TBS butter
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion, chopped (or pureed)
6 cups chickens stock (or 6 c. water & 2 TBS Better than Bouillon paste from Costco)
2-3 cups chopped veggies  or frozen mixed veggies or leftover steamed veggies
1-2 cups chopped cooked chicken
4 baked potatoes, cubed
1/4 c. flour, corn starch or tapioca starch
1/2 c water
1/2 tsp to 2tsp salt (to taste, depends on your chicken stock)
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp ground sage or poultry seasoning

Melt butter in a large pot.  Add garlic & onions and saute until onions are translucent.  Add the chicken stock.   Add any hard veggies  and simmer until soft (depends on what you're adding, carrots & celery take longer - probably at least 20 minutes)  Add frozen veggies (such as beans, carrots, corn, etc) so they will cook for about 5-7 minutes. Mix the thickener (flour or starch) in 1/2 c water in a jar.  Put the lid on and shake it.  Now add the chicken, potatoes, and any leftover steamed veggies. Bring back to a boil and then slowly pour the thickener into the soup while whisking.   Simmer until soup gets thick (may need to add more thickener depending on your soup.) Season with salt, pepper & sage or poultry seasoning. 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Pad Thai Noodles

The whole family LOVES this.  That's saying something. Plus it's super quick and an easy way to get lots of veggies into a meal.   

12 oz pad thai (flat rice) noodles
2 T butter
1 lb chicken
4 TBS oil, divided
3 garlic cloves
1 bunch green onions
4 eggs
1 T rice wine vinegar
2 T fish sauce
3 T Sweetener - agave, apple juice concentrate, etc
1/2 T soy sauce
1 T lime juice
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes (more or less, depending on how spicy you like it)
2 c. bean sprouts

1 c. matchstick carrots
1/2 head cabbage, shredded (or chopped in thin slices)
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1/2 c. crushed peanuts

Get all the ingredients ready first so you can make this smoothly.  This part takes about 10 minutes:

1 - Put large pot of water on stove, turn on high
2 - cut up chicken
3 - Slice green onions and get garlic ready to press
4 - Mix sauce:   Combine vinegar, fish sauce, sweetener, lime juice and red pepper flakes.
5 - Wash/chop or shred any veggies you want
6 - Chop peanuts

Now begin the assembly.  This will take another 10-15 minutes

1 - Take your boiling pot of water off the burner.  Add the package of noodles.  Put the lid on the pot and let it sit for 8-10 minutes (set timer.)
2 - While noodles are sitting, heat butter in electric skillet (or wok).   Toss in chicken and fry until no longer pink inside (5-6 min)
3 - Remove chicken to a bowl.  Heat up 2 TBS oil and press the garlic into the oil.  Add sliced green onions.  Stir for about 30 sec - 1 min until fragrant and softened.  Add bean sprouts, carrots & cabbage and stir for 1-2 min.
4 - Remove veggies to the bowl with chicken.  Add 2 TBS oil to skillet and then crack the four eggs into the hot oil.  Use a spatula to chop the eggs up as they cook.  Cook until no longer runny (3 min or so)
5 - Drain the noodles.  Add noodles, chicken/veggies, sauce, peanuts and cilantro to the skillet  Stir it all together and heat another 3-4 minutes.

Could easily make this vegetarian without the chicken.  

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Quinoa Salad for Beginners

I HATE the smell of quinoa when it's cooking.  It smells terrible.  I can rarely ever eat something made of quinoa right after cooking.  That's why I usually cook it, then refrigerate it, then make something out of it.  

Anyway, this is one delicious salad!  My 1, 3, 11 &16 year old kids all love it.  The 6, 8 & 18 yo didn't dare try it.  This recipe is very forgiving, you can pretty much just throw in what you have. 

4 cups cooked, refrigerated quinoa
1-2 tomatoes, chopped
1/4-1/2 cup chopped celery, carrots, cucumbers, sprouts, peppers, cilantro, parsley (all or any combination)
1/4 c. chopped green onions (or other onions)
1/2 c. chopped cooked chicken (or omit, it's good either way)

1/4 c. lemon juice
1/2 c. olive or sesame oil
1/2 tsp salt

Mix dressing.  Mix quinoa & veggies.   Pour dressing over salad and stir.  Add extra salt if needed. 

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Canning With Kids: Applesauce

My kind neighbor let us pick their apples so we ended up with about 2.5 bushel, yeah!  Currently, a 1/2 bushel of apples is about $17-$20 from the nearby fruit stands, so I was very grateful.  I added the neighbor's apples to the 1.5 bushels I already purchased.  We canned for 5 hours and ended up with 30 quarts of applesauce and about a 1/2 bushel left for eating. 

Here's how to do it. Read all directions before beginning to ensure you've got everything!

An hour or so before you start - wash the lids & jars in the dishwasher.

Step 1. Fill one side of the sink with water.  Add apples to wash them. 

Step 2. Set the kids to chopping.  Give them a cutting board & knife.  Cut the apples in fourths, cutting out any bad parts like worm holes.  Leave skin, stems, core, etc on.  Send younger kids out to play with the 6 year old watching them. 

Step 3. In a large pot (mine is 12 quarts), put about 1-1/2" of water on the bottom.  Add apple pieces to this.  When it's really full, put the lid on and set it on the stove on med-high heat.  Bring to boil, and boil about 40 minutes until apples are soft. 

Step 4. Keep on washing & chopping apples while boiling apples.  Set up a food strainer (victorio strainer is the kind I have.) 

Step 5.  When apples are soft, drain the water out.  Put soft apples in the top of the food strainer and set the kids to work pushing the apples in on top and turning the handle. 

Step 6.  I keep washing & chopping apples while the kids are making the applesauce. I get the water bath canner ready to go by adding water to the bottom and putting it on the stove to start boiling.

Step 7. Get a small pot and put an inch or two of water in it. Add the lids and start it boiling.

Step 8.  Hopefully by now, the kids have 6-7 quarts of applesauce made.  Get a towel out and set a couple hot jars from the dishwasher on it.  Put a canning funnel in the first jar.  Scoop the applesauce in the jar, leaving a 1/2" head space.  Tap the jars on the towel to help them settle.  You can use a table knife to help the applesauce settle and avoid air bubbles.  

Step 9. Wipe the top of the jar with a paper towel so no residue remains. Get a lid from the pot of boiling water (use a magnetic canning wand or if the kids stole yours like they did mine, you can use tongs.) Put on top of the jar and put a ring on. Tighten, but not too much.

Step 10.  Continue to fill your jars until you have enough to fill your canner.  If you have extra jars that won't fit, put them in hot water in the sink so that they stay hot. 

Step 11. If your jars from the dishwasher are no longer hot, you can put them in clean hot water in
the sink. You want the jars hot when you put the hot applesauce in. 

Step 12. Put the jars in the canner and process for the recommended time (see your instructions.) My quart jars had to be processed for 30 minutes in a steam canner because I live at a high altitude.

Step 13. Call all the kids back to continue making applesauce, since they all ran away when your back was turned filling the jars with applesauce Repeat until you've got them all done!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Peanut Butter Chocolate Smoothie

This smoothie needs very little if any sweetener at all.  Much better for you than a milk shake!

1 can coconut milk
3 TBS peanut butter
5 TBS cocoa powder
1.5 to 2 frozen bananas
2 cups ice
2 cups water
0-2 TBS agave or honey to taste

Put it all in a blendtec or vitamix blender.  Blend it up and serve! 

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Cheesecake Tarts

Simple and yummy!

1 c. butter, soft
1/3 c. evaporated cane juice (can use sugar)
1 tsp vanilla
2 c. whole wheat pastry flour

Beat the butter, cane juice and vanilla till fluffy. Gradually add in the flour, mix well. Press into the bottom of 18 muffin pan holes, about 3/8" thick in each one. Can make a well in the middle if preferred. Bake 350 degrees 8-10 min. Let cool.

8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tsp lemon juice
3 TBS sugar (could try subbing agave)
1 c. heavy whipping cream

Beat together cream cheese, lemon juice and sugar. When smooth, gradually add whipping cream. Beat until fluffy. Spread on top of crust. Chill several hours or overnight.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Buttermilk Waffles

These are 100% whole grain, but they look like they're made from white flour!  

1 c. white wheat pastry grains
2 c. buttermilk
2 eggs
2 T melted butter or olive oil
1/2 tsp vanilla 
2- 3 T honey or sucanat 
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder 
1/2 tsp salt

The night before you want to eat waffles, put 1 c. white wheat pastry grains  into 2 c. buttermilk (if your buttermilk is super thick, use 1-1/2 c buttermilk & 1/2 cup water.)  Blend in powerful blender (like blendtec) for about 2 minutes, or until smooth.  Let sit for at least 7 hrs in the covered blender.

When you're ready to cook the waffles, preheat the waffle irons.  Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and honey.  Blend until mixed.  You want a good vortex going in the middle, so add more water if necessary.  Mix together the baking soda, baking powder & salt.  Turn the blender on low speed and pour in the dry mix slowly.  Once it is added, turn off the blender and let it sit for 5 minutes.

Spray the waffle irons with oil.  Pour batter in and cook for 2.5 to 3 minutes. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Beanoa Skillet Dinner

Here's one idea for a quinoa skillet dinner, but I bet you can make almost any flavor with your leftovers! Good enough that my teenaged son said, "This is actually something I would eat."

2-4 TBS Butter / Coconut oil (or combination)
3 garlic cloves
8 c. quinoa
3 c. frozen green beans
2-3 c. chopped cooked chicken
1-2 C. cheddar
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese
garlic salt & pepper to taste

Melt butter, fry minced garlic cloves. Add quinoa, beans & seasoning, saute for about 5 minutes until beans start to defrost. Add chicken, saute for another 5 minutes. Add cheese, stir it in until melted and serve.

Other flavor combo ideas (add all or any combo):
Summer: Ground bee/chickenf,Zucchini, Basil & Mozzarella
Mexican: ground beef, beans, corn, green onions, tomato sauce, cumin, garlic salt, cheddar
Italian: Sausage, basil, spaghetti sauce, mozzarella, parmesan
Fajita: Chicken, onions, peppers
Oriental: Eggs, green onions, soy sauce, stir fry veggies, sprouts, cashews

You don't have to add a protein, as quinoa is a complete protein. Add any veggies, seasonings, nuts, meats, cheese, etc for a tasty dish!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Why we use agave

There's a huge controversy about agave. Many people say far worse than corn syrup, others say it's the best natural low-glycemic sweetener. Dr. Mercola wrote this article two years ago, and he vilifies agave. Dr. Weil says it's not so dangers in this article.

Who to believe? I liked what Green Smoothie girl says. Essentially she says that saying fructose is bad is crazy because fruit has fructose in it too. Agave is not on par with an apple, but it has it purposes.

Sweeteners should be used in moderation, no matter what they are. If you avoid processed foods, you can avoid many sweeteners. And if you make healthy treats at home rather than buying convenient ones, you will also avoid many sweeteners because you'll have to make it first. Agave is a good substitute in our home-sweetened foods as we transition away from sugar. And more importantly, my husband likes it. I know it's not a whole food, but I think it's a better choice.

In my research, I've found that source and processing matters a lot. I try to purchase from the company I believe has the best: They often sell 1 gallon jugs at Costco when the vitamix or blendtec people are there.

Friday, March 23, 2012


I've just recently dared to try quinoa. I always hated the smell of it. Big surprise! After cooking it up I found it's actually really tasty, and everyone in the family liked it. If you have cooked quinoa on hand, it will make fast, versatile dinners! And even if you don't, quinoa cooks pretty quickly.

Quinoa is a complete protein, is very nutritious and is gluten free. To properly prepare quinoa, you should soak it first.

To soak:

1 cup quinoa
1-2 TBS of an acid (whey, buttermilk, yogurt, vinegar or lemon juice)
1 c. filtered water

Put in a cooking pot, let it soak for 7-24 hours. Rinse overnight in filtered water and an acid. In the morning, rinse it well. This is much easier if you have a fine meshed strainer, but if not, you can put in a tea towel.

Pour it back into the pot and add 1 c. filtered water & 1/2 tsp real salt. Bring it to a boil, then turn down to low. Cover it and let simmer for about 12-15 minutes.

1 c. dry quinoa will yield about 4 cups cooked quinoa.

I cook extra and freeze it in 4 c. bags.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Coconut German Pancake with Apple Pie topping

This disappeared so fast that I'm afraid I'll have to make TWO next time. This recipe is adapted from

2-3 TBS coconut oil (best quality)
1/2 tsp real salt
1/3 c. coconut flour (or blend coconut in seed grinder)
6 TBS arrowroot powder
8 eggs (farm fresh)
1 c. coconut milk

Preheat oven to 425. Spread the coconut oil thick and generously in a 9x13 pan. Mix together salt, flour and powder. In another bowl, mix eggs and coconut milk together. Whisk liquid into dry and mix well. Pour into prepared 9x13 pan. Bake 20-25 minutes until set and golden on top.

Meanwhile, prepare the apple pie filling:

3 large apples, chopped
1 tsp cinnamon
2 TBS butter
2 TBS honey

Mix apples with cinnamon. Melt butter & honey in skillet. Add apples and stir fry until apples are soft.

Serve german pancake with butter and apple pie filling on top.

NOTE ADDED: Don't forget to add the milk. Not so fun. Still edible, but not nearly as tasty. :)

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Instant Oatmeal

It's better to soak your oatmeal first to make it more digestable, but this is a nice quick breakfast option to have around.

4 c. rolled oats (GF with gluten free oats)
1/2 c. sweetener (sucanat, evaporated cane juice, sugar, etc)
1 tsp real salt
2/3 c. Coconut milk powder (you can use dry milk, but coconut is healthier!)
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon

Pulse the rolled oats in the food processor 8-10 times. Mix all the ingredients together and put in a container with the directions:

2/3 c. mix
1/2 TBS dried blueberries, apples, raisins
1 c. boiling water

This way you don't have to put everything in individual baggies as "packets" - which is a whole lot more work and a lot more wasteful.

Before you mix it all together, take 1/3 c. sweetener and add 1 tsp vanilla and 1 tsp butter. Bake in 250 oven for about 1 hr or until dry. Pulse in the blender. It expands from the butter so you need less sweetener. You may want to store this in the fridge if you're not going to eat it quickly.

I tripled the batch and put it in a big container. Of course, I also have 7 children including two teens!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Coconut Curry Chicken

Wow, this was yummy and easy. The more adventurous ones in the family really liked this. I do think that some of the kids who didn't dare try this probably would've liked it.

5-6 chicken breasts, cubed (about 2.5 to 3 lbs)
1 can coconut milk
3 TBS curry powder
3/4 tsp salt
1 TBS agave

Whisk together everything except chicken. Put chicken in a ziploc bag and pour sauce over the top of it. Let marinate for at least an hour, up to overnight. Cook in 9x13 pan, covered, for about 50-70 minutes or until chicken is done.

Serve with rice & stirfry veggies.

Put chicken chunks on skewers (soak in water first if bamboo) and then grill the chicken. Then you've got chicken satay sticks. Serve with Thai Peanut Sauce.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Whole grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is my "healthier" version of Neiman Marcus chocolate chip cookies that I've been making for years. My husband doesn't even know (don't tell him!) If you want to make it less healthy replace with the ingredients in the parentheses.

Cream together:
1 c. butter
1 c. evaporated cane juice (white sugar)
1 c. sucanat or rapadura (brown sugar)

2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 TBS milk

Mix in:
1-1/2 c. whole wheat pastry flour (white flour and omit milk)
1/2 c. white flour
2-1/2 c. blended oatmeal
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

2 c. chocolate chips

Roll in 1" balls, bake at 375 for 10 minutes. This does make a lot of cookies, I freeze the balls.