Saturday, June 26, 2010

Out of the Box Mommy Meal Plan: June 27-July 3

Sneak peak of what is to come this week:

Monday: Picnic-Perfect-Tuna-and-Macaroni-Salad
Tuesday: Spinach-and-Ricotta Stuffed Shells
Wednesday: Southwestern Meat loaf
Thursday: Mashed Potato and Hamburger Casserole
Friday: Cola-Marinated Steak and Potatoes
Saturday: Tuna on my Wasa

How to Series: Freezing Turnips



Turnips? These are new to our palates! While I think of ways to use them I need to preserve them at the peak of their freshness. They were picked today, in my CSA box in abundance, and now I stand in my kitchen curious about my families reaction to the turnip!

How to Freeze a Turnip:

1.  Cut the greens off, but keep them around you can use them! (Turnip greens are delightful in many dishes or green smoothies. I like to use turnip greens in my lentil soup). 



2.  Peel them. Save the peelings in a freezer bag for the next time you make vegetable broth. 

3. Cut them up. 

4.  Place the turnips in boiling water for 2 minutes. 

5. Remove and blanch them, meaning put them into ice cold water. 

6. Drain, bag, and freeze. 


7. Pat yourself on the back. You just preserved a turnip. 

 

Friday, June 25, 2010

Dining Out Deals

Eating out this weekend or traveling, and need a place to stop and eat? Check out these rockin' deals!

Be sure to stop at the closest Pinkberry Frozen Yogurt shop. Beginning, Friday, June 25th, Pinkberry will be hosting a 1/2 price Watermelon Happy Hours starting June 25th from 5-7 PM daily (until the limited time only summer flavor runs out)! During Watermelon Happy Hours,you can score any size serving of Watermelon Pinkberry, including swirls, side by sides and toppings, for half price. Different and delicious, the juicy, lush and fresh combination includes watermelon frozen yogurt topped with watermelon puree and hand-diced watermelon and cucumber. Yummy!

Be sure to hang onto your receipt, and you’ll snag 1/2 off any single Pinkberry item when you bring your receipt back the next day (i.e within 24 hours)…click here for more information.

(Thank you Hip2Save!)

Head on over here to refer your friends to the Smokey Bone eClub and you’ll score a $5 coupon! You will get the coupon whether or not your friend joins!

Boston Market is celebrating their 25th anniversary by offering up a Rotisserie Chicken Meal Deal for just $4.99– the price of the meal deal in 1985! The meal includes 1/4 white or 3 piece dark chicken, 2 sides, and cornbread! You can check out all the yummy details here.

Head on over to the Del Taco Facebook page and “Like” them to print a coupon valid for a FREE Taco Del Carbon with Any purchase!

Go here to print a variety of Chuck E. Cheese coupons!

(Thanks, Who Said Nothing In Life Is Free, Smart Couponing & Tightwad in Utah!)

Hard Rock Cafe is offering up a buy one entree get one FREE coupon, valid thru June 30th! Just head on over here to print this great coupon. Find your nearest Hard Rock cafe location here.

Cracker Barrel has a great rewards program available! It’s called the Front Porch Friends rewards club! Just for registering, you’ll get $5 off your next Cracker Barrel purchase of $20 or more added to your account! You also get special rewards when you visit each season + more! Also, I’ve heard from a few readers now that Cracker Barrel is having a huge porch sale this weekend– which means lots of items will be reduced 80% off… possibly more!

Bob Evans is offering up FREE Kid’s meals, thru 8/18! Just purchase any Bob-B-Q meal priced at $5.99 or more to score a FREE Kid’s Meal! You’ll need to head on over to their facebook page and click on the “Bob-B-Q Offer” tab to print your coupon.

Sign up to be a Ruby Tuesday “So Connected” member and you’ll score lots of great benefits! FREE Handcrafted burger on your birthday, food and bar redemption offers, money-saving coupons and much more!

(Thanks, Doris, Clippin’ With Carie, & Aleshia!)


Thru 6/30, you can take 80% off of $25 Gift Certificates and pay ONLY $2! Just use promo code SUMMER at checkout.

For a total of just $2, you’ll end up getting a $25 gift certificate! I always stock up on certificates when they are 80% off. They don’t expire for a year after purchasing, so you’ll definitely have lots of time to make use of them.

Woo Hoo! From June 23rd through July 5th, kids eat FREE at participating IKEA stores. Kids under 12 will be able to choose any 3 kid-sized items to create a meal, including five meatballs, mac and cheese, PB&J sandwich, kids yogurt, two cookies, chocolate milk and more (a $2.49 value)! No adult purchase necessary and store participation varies. Click here for more details.

(Thanks, Miami Mommy Savings!)

Tully’s Coffee (located throughout the Western U.S.) is currently offering a coupon found here good for Buy 1 Bellaccino Bliss Drink and Get 1 Free. These drinks are currently priced at $2.99 so only $1.50 per drink. Limit one coupon per customer and coupon expires August 31st. Check out all the Tully’s Coffee locations here.

(Thanks, Chi-Town Cheapskate!)

Panda Express is offering up FREE Orange Chicken with ANY purchase! All you have to do is bring in this coupon after 9pm– great for all you night owls! ;) This coupon is valid thru July 11th. You can find a location near you here.

**Note: This coupon is only valid at participating locations, so make sure to call ahead and ask if they’ll accept this.

(Thanks, Penny Pinchin’ Mom!)


Recieve a free slice of pie at the Waffle House. Coupon offer expires July 10, 2010. Good for dine-in only. See printable for more information.

Thanks, My Springfield Mommy!


Black Bean Dip

Want a simple dip to go along with those home made crackers? I have the answer.

Here I am holding a bag of black beans bigger than my head. I think this officially makes me a legumaniac!


Here is a black bean dip I made yesterday for the first time. Its pretty darn good.


What you need:

Black Beans, soaked. 
Cumin to taste. 
A blender. 
Some water. 

After soaking your beans, boil them until soft.
Let them cool and then put them into your blender with a bit of water.
My blendtec did awesome! Do only process a cup or so at a time, however, as this is thick stuff!

When blended nice and smooth add cumin to taste. Stir it in.

For a little extra oopmh add some fresh cilantro.

Serve warm or chilled!

Homemade Crackers



In an effort to eliminate processed and refined foods from our diet I made a list of foods we love. I had my family participate in this, to make sure that I included foods that they enjoyed and thought of as staples in our kitchen.

My hubby is a cracker nut. I have, for years, purchased boxes upon boxes of crackers for him to dunk in peanut butter or place a slice of cheese on top. After further research, however, I felt strongly about purchasing most brands of store crackers.

So, I set out to make my own.

Here is the great thing. Crackers are actually easy to make.

Double or even triple the batch if you have crackers lovers, and freeze them until needed!

Here is what you need:


1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (soaked!)
2 Cups of grated cheese
1/2 cup of pastured butter
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbs Chives (dried, fresh, or frozen)
Water


Let's roll! No seriously, you are going to need your roller.

1. Melt your pastured butter in a sauce pan.
2. Grate your cheese.
3. Blend your cheese, butter, salt and flour together.
4. Cut up the chives nice and small. Add them to the dough.
5. Mix, adding small amounts of water, until a nice dough forms. You do not want a sticky dough so take your time here. I add about 1/2-1 cup of water.

6. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. You are going to want to roll it out very thin for nice crispy crackers. I turn the dough as well to help it not stick and roll it out again.

7. Using a pasta cutter (or a pizza cutter or knife) cut out your crackers.

8. Place onto a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. Flip and bake on the other side for about 12 minutes. Bake them until they are as crispy as you like.

Store in an airtight container or freeze.






Thursday, June 24, 2010

Soaked Whole Grain Pancakes/Waffles, Con't

It has been 12-24 hours since we began soaking, so now we are ready to make the pancakes.

You have a bowl full of soaked grain. You can use my recipe, make up your own, or follow one of hundreds out there!

Take a few cups at a time and put it into your blender. I add milk into mine, just enough to make sure can blend well. Perhaps a 1/2 cup of milk for every cup of grain. Go ahead and blend it all, a few cups at a time. When it is finished it will look just like "normal" pancake batter.

We now want to add the eggs.  For this large amount of batter I would add three to four eggs. Check out the eggs below. Do you see the color difference? Both of them are free range, organic eggs...but the one with the dark golden yolk comes from a local farm. It is the healthier egg. Darn pretty too.



Now, we need to add the baking soda and baking powder. For this huge batch of batter I added 2 Tbs of baking powder and 1 Tbs baking soda. I felt that I had a bit to much baking soda, so will keep tweeking this until I get it right.



Add a cup of raw sugar.


And, a cup of unrefined organic coconut oil (the best stuff on earth!)

Mix, blend, beat, stir~ just get it all stirred up.

Plop onto your griddle and brown.

See, now, it was worth all the work. These pancakes are delicious and super healthy! Plus~ its always good to have pancakes around! This batch of batter makes a lot of pancakes/waffles. I free the leftover ones in ziplock bags and they serve for quick breakfast or snacks through out the week.

I will be posting more soaked pancake recipes as I come across and test them. Let me know if you find any that you want me to review for you!


Soaked Whole Grain Pancakes/Waffles



I am not doing you justice with this post because there should be a large amount of information to go along with the recipe I am going to provide you. My hope is to share the information with you later this week in depth.  However here is a super quick glimps into what is to come.

1. I want you to start thinking about grains.
              Kamut. Millet. Barley. Whole Wheat. Amaranth. Brown Rice. Oats. Spelt.

2. White flour is nothing. It is empty. It is stripped of all goodness.

3. Whole Wheat is great, but can be very over used. There are a wide variety of other grains to get into your kitchen! Whole wheat flour, the type you buy in the store, may already be rancid by the time you bring it home. If you buy your whole wheat from the store please remember to keep it in your fridge in order to preserve any nutrients that might still be there.

4. Grains were terrificlly made by God to last in their whole form. This means that they are pretty tough little guys! The phytic acid in grains makes them difficult for your body to digest. In order to nueatralize the phytic acid, thus making the phenominal nutrients of the grain available for your body, you have to either soak or sprout your grains.

5. You can soak your grains for 7-24 hours (a mininum of seven!) in the liquid required for the recipie and an acid medium. I will be writing a lot more about available acid mediums and giving you very specific information regarding soaking soon. But, for the purpose of this recipe let me introduce you to one of my favorite acid mediums.

Kefir meet readers. Readers meet Kefir.




Kefir is a probiotic, not to mention a substance with a very interesting bit of history. Its been around a long time, which is often a good sign of something you want in your kitchen! Kefir can be made from coconut milk, water, cow's milk, and goat's milk. I use both goat's milk and cow's milk kefir. You can purchase it at your local natural food store, online, and through a good natural food's co-op. You can also make your own with kefir grains....see there is so much to tell you!

I use kefir to soak my grains. You can use kefir,cultured buttermilk, cultured yogurt, whey, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar. These are your acids!

Ok, so enough background information for today. Let's make some pancakes and waffles!



What you can use: Remember there are a variety of grains you could choose! This is just option!


2 Cups of Kamut 
2 Cups of Wheat Berries
1 Cup of Buckwheat 
1 Cup of Oats 


Begin by grinding your wheat berries into flour. For this task, which gives you fresh and nutritious whole wheat flour, I use my blendtec. 

I also ground up by buckwheat and oats into flour, but you can wait until tomorrow.

In a LARGE bowl add the grains/flours. In order to soak them you are going to add about three cups of water. I say "about" because you will only want to add as much as you need to make the grains look like a porridge. For every cup of water you add put in a Tbsp of your acid medium. In my case, 3 cups of water and 3 Tbsp of kefir.

Stir.

Place a towel or plate over the bowl. Set aside on your counter. Let this soak for 7-24 hours.


*******************


Coming soon~ the soaking if finished. Let's make some pancakes and waffles!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday: Mojardra



The conversation began as such~

"Yes, there are onions in this dish.", I said before he even asked.

The eye brows went up. I know he hates onions, or the thought of onions.

My husband eats dishes when he does not know that their are onions, but I was unable to slip these past him. I did not try really. I am wanting the man to learn that onions are amazing, terrific, a fantastic little root that can dice up, spice up, and crunch up a dinner plate.

"But", I continued, "before you rule this out please try it. Consider that you are eating a very healthy meal, a delicious meal, and a very economical meal."

Economical caught his attention.

He took a bite. He grinned. "What is this?", he asked.

I told him....and now I will tell you.

Mojardra (Lentils and Brown Rice)

2 Tbsp Ghee or Olive Oil
1 Cup Brown Rice
1 Cup Lentils (brown or green)
1 Bay Leaf
3 3/4 cup water
2 Tbsp Sea Salt
2 Onions, sliced or cut however you can get your husband to eat them.
2 Cloves Garlic
Coriander, Cumin, Cayenne (to taste)
1 Cup of plain yogurt with a bit of fresh dill~ this is to use as a topper for the Mojardra

You are just a few steps away from Mojardra. I made the rice/lentils in the morning and then it only took me 5 minutes to put dinner together in the evening! I can get used to that.

1.  Put your ghee or olive oil into a sauce pan. Add your washed and rinsed brown rice and lentils.
Saute until nicely coated with the ghee/olive oil. It is amazing how quickly this will begin to smell amazing.
2. Add the bay leaf and the water. Simmer for 45-50 minutes or until the water has evaporated from the pot. There is no need to stir, this will disturb the natural steam holes that are created!
3. Add your sliced onions to a pan and saute in olive oil. When they have carmelized add the spices. The cumin, crushed coriander, and cayenne are fabulous in this dish. Don't skip them!
4. Mix them all together and top with the dilled yogurt if you like.

Tip~ before adding the onion/spices set aside the cooked rice and lentils. Puree for baby! 
Tip~ eat this tomorrow for lunch left overs in a pita or tortilla! 

Flop: Nori Wraps






On this food adventure we have thus found new foods, textures, and tastes that we are enjoying way more than we could have imagined. Not so with this, however!

Let it be known that we declare Nori to be disgusting!

I tried. I did. I was even excited.

I made vegetarian nori wraps. The rice was good. The avocado was perfectly creamy. The cucumber was divine. The whole grain sprouted burrito was substantially delightful. But, the nori...ohh...gag.

We could not do it folks. There was serious gagging. Then laughing. Then more gagging.

Anyone out there like Nori and have some suggestions? I would love to hear some success stories!!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Hummus

I would say, "Holy Guacamole!", but that would not be appropriate because we talking about hummus.

Hummus is some amazing stuff. Every Sunday night I make a large dish of hummus and we snack on it through out the week. It is perfect with crackers, veggies, and as a spread on sandwiches.

It is healthy. It is easy. It is delicious.
I think hummus is incredibly kid friendly. Start your little ones off eating hummus and provide them with fresh veggies to dip. Kids love to dip stuff! Plus between the chickpeas and the tahini you are providing a very high protein spread to your little darlings.

There are a variety of hummus recipes. I am going to provide you with a no fail BASIC hummus recipe. You can then take this recipe, put on a little Bob Marley, and lively up my basic hummus to your tastes.


Basic Ingredients: 


2 Cups of dried chickpeas, soaked and cooked. 
5 Tbs Tahini (this is a sesame paste, a great addition to many whole foods recipes) 
Salt to taste 
1/3 cup of fresh lemon juice 
2 to 3 cloves of garlic 
3 Tbs olive oil 
1/4 cup water 

Possible ways to liven it up~ paprika, parsley, cilantro, chipolte anything.....oh there are so many things you could do. Have fun!

This is a one step recipe.

Add all the ingredients to a good food processor or blender.  And, well, blend.
You will want to add the water a little bit at a time in order to get the correct consistency, that being as thick or thin as you prefer.

After passover crispy Matzo crackers were on mega clearance at many stores. We bought a huge box and have been enjoying them with hummus daily! Just a money saving idea for you!