Category Archives: health and nutrition

Recipe of the Week

These are the perfect side for whatever you do on the grill! We love the fact that you can change it up and do something a little different each time.

Grilled Veggie Skewers

A variety of you favorite vegetables, such as bell peppers, squash, zucchini and grape tomatoes, coarsely chopped.
2/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup minced onions
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil or dried basil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients and mix well. .
Skewer vegetables and brush on the marinade liberally. Grill until tender.

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Recipe of the Week

My kids are a little picky about eating eggs, so I’m always looking for ways to include more of them in their diet. Crepes are a great way, and it’s even better if you can make them with a more nutritious flour. We like to fill ours with berries and occasionally we’ll treat ourselves by adding a little
Nutella.

Spelt Crepes

6 eggs
1 1/3 cups milk
4 T butter
4 T raw honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup freshly milled spelt flour (Whole wheat would work too. I just like to mix things up with grains since we use whole wheat with so many things.)

Combine eggs, milk, butter, honey, salt,and vanilla and beat with a hand mixer until well blended. Sprinkle in the flour and beat until combined. Let sit at room temperature for 1 hour or in the refrigerator overnight.

Brush butter on the bottom of the crepe pan and set to medium heat. When hot, drop 2 T batter onto pan and quickly tip to cover the entire bottom. Cook until edges start to brown, about 1 minute. Flip and cook about 30 more seconds. Transfer to a warm plate and do remaining crepes, re-buttering the pan if necessary.

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Recipe of the Week

Here’s a combo that we have really enjoyed.

Whole Wheat Pie Crust

2 cups whole wheat flour (freshly milled if possible)
2/3 cup olive oil (I plan to try coconut oil as well…probably best for a sweet pie)
1/2 tsp salt
1/3 cup water

Mix together until a ball forms. Press into pie plate until it reaches the top edge. Add filling of your choice. Cook as directed in recipe.

Spinach Quiche

6 large eggs, beaten
3/4 cup cream
3/4 cup milk
Salt and pepper
2 cups chopped fresh baby spinach
1/2 pound bacon (nitrate-free), cooked and crumbled
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
1 whole-wheat pie crust

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Combine the eggs, cream, salt, and pepper and whisk. Add spinach, bacon, onion powder, and about 1/2 cup of the cheese. Layer about 1/2 cup of the cheese at the bottom of the pie crust, then pour the egg mixture on top. Top with the last 1/2 cup of the cheese. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes until the egg mixture is set. Cut into 8 wedges.

Assembled and about to go into the oven.

Done!

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Recipe(s) of the…Month?

Ok, so I obviously haven’t been keeping up with sharing a recipe each week like I was doing during the school year, but I have two that I’ve made recently that I felt were worthy of sharing.

This first one I just threw together myself and it turned out great. I love it because I’ve been trying to get my kids to eat more soups with my homemade broth (since it’s a nutrient-rich traditional food). It also offers a nice serving a vegetables, which we try to include in as many lunches as possible. It also doesn’t include any fake processed cheese like most Broccoli Cheese soup recipes!

Easy Lunchtime Broccoli Cheese Soup (As opposed to a more complicated version I make for dinner which also serves more people)

2 T butter

2 T flour

1/4 cup diced carrots

1/2 cup finely chopped broccoli

1 cup chicken broth

1 cup milk

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

1/2 tsp onion powder

Salt and pepper

Dash of nutmeg


Add butter and flour to the pot. Add milk and broth. Bring to a boil and add vegetables. Reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes. Add cheese, onion powder salt, pepper, and nutmeg.

I served it with a slice of sprouted grain toast for dipping.





Homemade Graham Crackers


3 cups whole wheat flour (preferably freshly ground)

1/2 cup untoasted wheat germ

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 cup unsalted butter softened (preferably one from grass-fed cows, like Kerrygold)

3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar (I reduced it down to about 1/2 cup. I may experiment with reducing it even more and increasing the honey)

2 tablespoons raw honey


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk flour, wheat germ, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon in a medium bowl; set aside.

Put butter, brown sugar, and honey into the bowl and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add the flour mixture, and mix until combined. Add a little extra flour if needed.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface, and divide into quarters. Roll out each piece between 2 sheets of floured parchment paper into rectangles a bit larger than 9 by 6 inches, about 1/8 inch thick.

Using a pizza cutter, cut into rectangles. Pierce crackers using the tines of a fork. Transfer crackers on parchment paper large baking sheets. Bake, rotating halfway through, until dark golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough. Let cool on sheet 5 minutes; transfer crackers to wire racks to cool completely.






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Homeschool Lunchtime

One of the things I’ve loved about homeschooling is that we get to spend lunchtime together everyday. Of course, one the reasons I like that so much is that I have more options regarding food since it doesn’t have to be packed and that I have more control over what the kids are eating. I admit to being a bit of control freak…..but when it comes to what my kids eat, I don’t think that’s such a bad thing. One thing I do to make sure they are eating what I want them to eat is I give them what they will be least excited to eat first, and only upon finishing that do they get the rest of their lunch. We do lots of vegetables for lunch, which my kids are great about eating, but I know if I’d give them the option, they’d fill up on other stuff first and wouldn’t leave room for the good stuff. They know that they are expected to eat what I serve them without complaining, and they’ve even learned to enjoy most of it.

We also try to make the most of lunchtime in other ways. Before we get started on eating, we do a daily devotional reading together and have a little discussion. They are very short and sweet so that even Caroline can listen and participate. Sometimes if I am asking Elliot a lot of questions, she’ll say, “Can you ask me a question too, Mommy?” It’s so sweet. We’ve also been known to enjoy praise music together during and after lunch, especially if we think of a song that goes along with the devotional we just read. And if we have some free time afterwards, we’ve listened to an episode of Adventures in Odyssey. It’s just plain great to have this kind of time to spend together.

They love to be goofy together during lunch. Sometimes they have a “race” to see who can finish their veggies first.

This is the devotional we are using right now.


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Recipe of the Week

I don’t remember where I originally got this recipe, but I’ve been making it for over a year now and have made a few small changes here and there. They are a great way to satisfy a sweet craving with something that is still nutritious. If you’re not familiar with the many health benefits of coconut oil, take a look at this page.

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

1 cup of organic peanut butter
2 tablespoons of raw honey
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
1/3 cup of raw chopped nuts of your choice (my kids prefer no nuts, so I omit)
3 tablespoons of flax seed meal
handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1-In a small bowl combine the peanut butter, 1/4 cup coconut oil, vanilla, honey, nuts and flax seed meal. Mix until well combined.

2-Drop by the heaping spoonful into mini-muffin tin. Should make about 20 cups. Place in freezer for about 5-10 minutes, so they just begin to firm up.

3- Take them out and place 1 or 2 chocolate chips in the center and then place back in the freezer to harden completely. (I used to put a little melted chocolate over the top, but then realized putting one chocolate chip on there was more than enough to get my kids excited about having it as their “dessert” and it’s so much easier.) Remove from the pan and keep in a quart-sized freezer bag. *They need to be stored in the freezer or else they will be too melty.
**I highly recommend getting the mini-muffin cup liners. I used to just put the mixture into the muffin tin but popping them out was such a pain. Plus, they just seem more like a treat when you pull them out of the freezer and peel off the “wrapper”.



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Recipe of the Week

I just recently got a Blendtec blender, and with it I can grind grain so I’ve been making my own whole wheat flour. I’ve been learning about how much more nutritious it is for you when it is freshly ground so I’ve been trying to find a variety of recipes I can use it with. This one was really good! It makes four pretzels total, which doesn’t sound like that much but these babies are SO filling and none of us could eat more than half of one at one time.

Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels

1/2 c. water
1 T. yeast
1 t. honey
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 stick butter
1/4 cup honey
2 t. salt
4 cups whole wheat flour
butter

kosher salt



In a large bowl, mix 1/2 cup very warm water, 1 T. yeast and 1 t. honey. Stir this together and kind of mush the yeast around. Let this sit for a few minutes while you do the next step.

Melt the 1/2 stick of butter in a large saucepan.

Add 1/4 cup honey, 2 t. salt and 1 1/4 cups of milk, bring to a boil and simmer a few minutes.

Pour milk mixture into yeast mixture and stir. Stir in 4 cups of flour. Add a little more if you need it, until it’s not sticky. Knead the dough for 5-10 minutes.
Plop it into a bowl, cover it and let it rise for 1-1 1/2 hours.

Pull it out of the bowl and knead it a few times to get the air out.

Pull a ball of dough, about the size of your fist, roll into a long snake, and twist into pretzel shape.
After you shape each pretzel, put them on a cookie sheet about an inch apart. Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

Melt 2-4 T butter in a saucepan. Right when you take the pretzels out of the oven, slather them with butter and sprinkle with kosher salt.

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Recipe of the Week

This has been one of my absolute favorite dishes for about a year now because it’s so tasty, relatively inexpensive (no meat), and offers a good serving of vegetables. This last time we made it, we used brown rice pasta, which is my latest big discovery. I feel better about using it than white flour pasta, and we’ve never been a fan of whole wheat pasta because it’s so gritty. Brown rice pasta is a great alternative to regular pasta! And if you’re into politically correct nutrition and the cream and oil scare you, just remember that a little fat along with your vegetables will help you to absorb more of the vitamins.

Pasta with Broccoli and Tomatoes


2 cups fresh broccoli, cut into bite-sized florets
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
Grape Or Cherry Tomatoes, sliced in half length-wise
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 lb pasta (I prefer brown rice pasta)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
⅔ cups White Wine (or Chicken Broth)
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3/4 cup heavy cream
Parmesan cheese
a few leaves of fresh basil,chopped, or 1 T dried basil
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, go ahead and cook the pasta according to directions on the package, on the al dente side so it has a nice “bite” to it.

While the pasta is boiling, heat a couple tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and broccoli florets. Saute in oil until tender and bright green, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and tomato and turn heat down to medium. Saute a few minutes until onions and tomatoes soften a bit.

Pour in 1/3 cup white wine (or chicken broth) and with a whisk or spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan so all the flavorful bits will be released.

Pour another 1/3 cup wine (or chicken broth) into a dish and add in the cornstarch and stir. Pour this into the pan with the broccoli, onions and tomatoes, and now add in ¾ cup cream. Allow the sauce to simmer a few minutes to cook off the wine. Toss in basil.

Grab a cup or two of the cooking liquid from the pasta and pour into the saucepan if the sauce needs to be thinned out a bit.

Salt and pepper to taste.

To serve, pour the drained pasta into a large serving bowl or platter. Top pasta servings with vegetable/sauce mixture and generously sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

My kids like this meal a lot. Elliot claims that tomatoes and broccoli are his favorite vegetables.


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Recipe of the Week

We made these this weekend for the first time and thought they were really good.

Easy Fish Tacos

1 pound tilapia filets

1 garlic clove, minced

7 teaspoons lime juice, divided

1/4 teaspoon white peppe

r2 tablespoons sour cream

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 dash hot pepper sauce

7 (8 inch) whole wheat flour tortillas

2 tablespoons butter

1 cup shredded lettuce

1 cup pico de gallo or chopped tomato

Cut fish into 1-in. cubes. In a nonstick skillet, saute garlic in butter and 5 teaspoons lime juice for 30 seconds. Add fish and pepper. Cook for 6-8 minutes over medium heat until fish flakes easily with a fork.

Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, mayonnaise, hot pepper sauce and remaining lime juice. Place as spoonful of fish on each tortilla. Top each lettuce, pico de gallo, and sour cream sauce; fold over.

These would have looked a lot prettier had they not been on a paper plate, huh? Sometimes on the weekend I give myself a break from the constant stream of dishes to wash.




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Recipe(s) of the Week

I have two today that I’m going to share. I love both of these!

Chicken Fajita Soup

2 tablespoons oil

1 pound skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into strips

1 (1.27 ounce) packet fajita seasoning

1 red bell pepper,cut into thin strips

1 green bell pepper, cut into thin strips

1 large onion, cut into thin strips

1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted diced tomatoes

2 cups chicken broth

1 dash hot sauce

salt pepper to taste


Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Place chicken in the hot oil; cook, stirring only occasionally, until brown, about 10 minutes. Sprinkle fajita seasoning over the browned chicken and stir well to coat. Add the red and green bell pepper, and onion to the seasoned chicken. Stir and cook over medium heat until the vegetables are soft, about 10 minutes.
Pour the fire roasted tomatoes and chicken broth into the pot with the chicken and vegetables. Bring the soup to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Season the soup with hot sauce, salt, and pepper to taste and serve with sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese, and tortilla chips.

This soup is so quick and easy and I love that it’s overflowing with bell peppers! (one of our favorite, super nutritious veggies)

Homemade Whole Wheat Crackers


The night before cream in a large bowl:

1 cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt
1 cup of butter, softened

Mix in:

3 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons of salt

Cover and leave in a warm place for 12 to 24 hours. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Using white flour to dust your surface and dough, roll your dough out thin. Using a pizza cutter, cut into squares.Place your squares on an ungreased cookie sheet and prick with a fork. Bake for about 8 minutes and check, keep checking every two minutes until done (mine took about 14 minutes total). They should be browning slightly on the edges, when done. Place on a cooling rack. Store in an airtight container.




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