Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Great Reminder (for Great Cookie Cutters!)

Hey, you guys!!!!!!
From now until this evening~ Saturday Night 10pm~ you can enter the Great Cookie Cutter Give-Away! Meal Planning Mommies have teamed up with Ann Clark to send some sweet cookie cutters your way!

In addition, Ann Clark is offering a 10% discount on all cookie cutters to MPM readers through December. Whoop! 

If you have not done so already visit our Cookie Cutter Give-Away and best wishes!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Fiesta Sloppy Joe's on Rice



We purchase our beef through a local farm in our community. It is tasty. So much, in fact, that my hamburger loving husband announced at Ruby Tuesday's the other night that he much prefers our beef to dining out. This is a big deal.

The farm fresh, organic, pastured beef is more expensive than purchasing beef at the grocery store. It is worth the extra cost for the environmental, ethical, and nutritional aspects though in every way. However, because my beef is more costly I do something I am not used to doing with my food~ I hesitate to use it. 

If I can make a meal vegetarian and save the beef (although I do the same with my turkey and chicken) then I will save the meat for another time. I am trying to find a balance here, hang with me.

But, the good news is that when I to tend to use my beef it is for a meal that I am certain is going to be delicious. This meal, Fiesta Sloppy Joe's on Rice, is one of my favorite "serve that beef!" meals.

I orginally came across this recipe at GNOWFGLINS (God's natural, organic, whole foods, grown locally, in season). Here is the original recipe. 

2 Cups of Brown Rice
4 Cups of Water
2 Tbs Raw Apple Cider Vinegar (this is your acid medium which you will soak your rice with, lemon juice would work as well.)
1 Pound grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, diced
Garlic (2-3 cloves)
1 can tomato paste
3/4 cup water
Sea Salt
3Tbs Olive Oil
3Tbs Honey
Garnish: Red Onion, Avocado, Cheese, Sour Cream, cilantro 

In a bowl soak the rice in the 2 cups of water and raw apple cider vinegar/lemon juice for 7-24 hours. The next day, add the 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until all liquid is absorbed and grains are fluffy and tender. Meanwhile, put the ground beef into a pot and begin to brown on medium heat. Add the diced onions and garlic, saute them with the meat. As this is browning blend together the 3/4 cup of water, tomato paste, salt, pepper, olive oil, and honey. Add the sauce to the meat and cook together for a good twenty minutes.

Put the rice into bowls and heap on the sauce. Garnish well with red onion, avocado, cilantro and sour cream/cheese. My husband eats this without the garnishes, but boy oh boy I would not dare. The garnishes add so much to this meal that I insist upon them!

Serve with some seasonal fruit like apple sauce (anyone else loving apple season now?!) and soaked whole grain cornbread.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Homemade Soaked Crepes

My crepes from the Pancake Pantry in Gatlinburg, TN



My crepe addiction came with the realization that crepes are actually (a) ridiculously easy to make, (b) incredibly versatile, and (c) impressively delicious.

I like to make crepes for guests when they come visit and then let them leave believing that crepes are really hard to make and thus I must truly be handy in the kitchen....which despite this food blog...I am alas a kitchen fool.

But, not with crepes. With crepes I am the Queen of the kitchen.  A Queen that does her own dishes.


I am going to give you my crepes recipes and then provide you with some links of other creative cooks that have some neat crepe ideas. This recipe for crepes freezes well, so make extra!

CREPES:
In your blender put the following:
3/4 cup kefir
2tsp coconut oil
1/2 cup flour (if using a raw whole grain, which I highly recommend, then use 1/3 cup. Kamut and spelt make for amazing crepes!)

Blend the above together and let this rest over night, reducing the phytic acid, making it healthier for your body and all around tasty!

In the morning mix in~
1 Egg
Pinch of Salt


Blend again.

Place coconut oil in your pan. I like using my cast iron pan, on low heat.
A little bit of batter goes a long way, remember crepes are very thin.
Using a spatula keep going under the cooking crepe so that it does not stick, flip when ready. They only take a few moments each. This process goes very fast!


Once you have your crepes ready you can do many things with them.

Breakfast: 
Fill them with cottage or ricotta cheese, fruit, and maple syrup. We really like them with ricotta, maple syrup, almond slivers and home canned peaches!

Lunch: 
Fill them with black beans/salsa/cultured sour cream
Fill them with brown rice and lentils
Fill them wtih leftover taco fixings from a previous meal

Dinner: 
Fill them with chicken and top it off with a cheese sauce. 
This idea comes from Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a great foodie blog I just happily stumbled across. I have not make this meal, but plan on doing so this upcoming week. I will be modifying the recipe to use slightly different ingredients such as butter verses margarine. Stock verses cubes. Etc. I am looking forward to letting you know how it turns out!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Surrender to the Homey.

Sarah sat in my basement today while our five children ran a silly muck all around us. We parented here, there and everywhere all the while trying to carry on a conversation.  Like Alisha, the other darling Meal Planning Mommy responsible for this site, Sarah has been a dear friend to me for many years. Long enough that not only do I let her see my house messy, but I can count on her to simply step over the recently projected baby puke without missing a beat on her way to the couch which no doubt has dog hair on the cushions, with a wipe in hand to kill the gigantic spider that has me corned on top of the tonka truck.  It is the same with Alisha and I am so grateful for friends, for women in my life, who not only expect but demand that I be authentic.

Authentic. The desire for this in my life was ignited in my spirit several months back.  I blogged about it here, one of my favorite little late night writings on SuBRABia.  The post is entitled Behold, the Mom.  If you have a second, check it out, you will understand the background for this current post better!

I have been breastfeeding now for ten months. Not too long ago I picked up an old copy of Mothering Magazine and came across a terrific article on breastfeeding in Mongolia.  The best information I came away with after reading the article? The term: working boob.

That term hit home with me. I currently have working boobs. They are on the job. They have purpose. The gals are currently fulfilling a long term and incredibly necessary function. There is no lace, push ups, and frills here right now.  Picking out what to wear has little nothing to do with how it may look and everything to do with how comfortably and conveniently my clothes permit me to whip out lunch whenever and wherever needed.

It would not make sense for me, while breast feeding to wear something (as pretty as it may be!), that makes it difficult for me to nurse my baby. Working boobs require working boob clothing.  I am a breast feeding mother, I embrace that, and I happily work with that fact to make life as simple as can be for me and the babe.



So, why is it so hard for me to translate that to my kitchen? 

I like a clean kitchen. My guess is that most of us would say that we like a clean kitchen. It is welcoming, inviting, easier to navigate. For many years, however, I have interpreted clean as barren land.  A clean kitchen has all the appliances stored away, counter tops completely cleared off,  evidence of cooking, cleaning, children neatly tucked behind cabinet doors.  I have even seen blogs of amazing women showcasing their spotless kitchens and nodded my head in agreement and excitement.

But, here is the thing.  Ready for this?

We live here. 

Yep, that's it.

We live here. My family lives in this house. We are in and out of the kitchen all day long. It is in the kitchen we prepare our meals, sit on the counters chatting over coffee, toss the camera so that it is within reach for an in the moment snapshot of our children's hilarity's. I soak my grains in the kitchen, store my food,  experiment with sprouting, canning, baking, and play dough making.  My kitchen is the hub for all the beautiful chaos that takes places in this house.

Here is the connection. (I was not just talking about boobs for fun, but don't put that past me either!)

My kitchen, is a working kitchen.

It is not a showroom. It is not for sale. It is not perfect.  And, nor should it be.

My kitchen should be clean for cooking. My kitchen should be clean so that I can enjoy it. My kitchen should be clean so that it serves us functionally. Clean works.

But~ Clean is not barren. Clean is not perfect. Clean is not hiding my blender, coffee pot, grinder, and mixer behind doors. I use those things, every single day.  I waste more time getting them in and out of cabinets in the name of  a clean kitchen!

I declare, in my quest for authenticity in my life, to find contentment in my working kitchen and to stop hiding the evidence of the labor and love that takes place in it each and every day.

Workings boobs.
Working kitchens.
Working Mommas
Seek after functionality, after practicality, after beauty, and after authenticity~ but not the illusion of perfection.

I was telling Sarah about this today and she said, "we need to surrender to the homey".
Just perhaps, if you cook in your kitchen it should look like it.
The appliances you frequent, favored bowls you reach for often, grandma's wooden spoon, the bread ready to serve as toast~ perhaps those things can be put away each and every day~ or maybe they could be left neatly out on the counter ready and willing and eager to buzz and chop and saute and stir life and love into your kitchen each and every day. 

What makes your kitchen a working kitchen rather than a showroom? 
For me~ my coffee pot, a little blue piece of pottery that holds my beans, my children's art work taped to the cabinets along with favorite recipes, sticky notes with quotes, songs, and scriptures that I love,  sourdough starters, and my blendtec. Tonight, that evidence of my working kitchen remains out. And, surprisingly surrendering to the homey did not come as difficult as I thought it might.

Tuesday: Homemade Soaked Tortilla with All the Fixings!



I know what you are thinking.  That does not look like a tortilla.
Trust me, I know. This is not my first tortilla, in fact, I make these a lot and yet I can not for the life of me make dough into a circle.

This is not my only obvious fault of current.

I also am 29 years old and still have no idea what I am doing with my hair. It is just kind of there. Bangs? No bangs? Long? Short? Straight? Curly? Flipped out? In? Ponytail?  Ah, yes....there we go. Almost thirty and still sporting the ponytail almost every day.

Anyone else stuck with the hair blues? And, the "I can't make a circle tortilla blues"?
If so, let's talk.  Seriously.

Circle or not, these tortillas are delicious, easy (sans the circle) and nourishing.
Here is the Recipe~ Passionate Homemaking Soaked Tortilla's

To them off with whatever you like. This time around I did black beans (leftover from yesterdays meal!), lacto-fermented home made salsa, pastured beef, cultured sour cream, and raw milk cheese. They were amazing! 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cookie Cutter Give-Away Reminder!


From now until Saturday night you can enter to win the Great Cookie Cutter give-away thanks to our friends at Ann Clark!

Their cookie cutters are ridiculously adorable and very affordable. They are offering all MPM readers 10% off through December!

To enter the give-away visit here ~ The Great Cookie Cutter Give-Away.

Monday: Black Beans and Rice (CSA Style)





We eat black beans and rice every single week, if not for dinner than for lunch.
Yep.
For real.

Why?

It is delicious. 
It is frugal. 
It is nourishing and incredibly healthy. 
It is easy. 
We believe having some staple in your diet is a good thing. 

The good news for variety is that I jazz it up differently each time I get.....but truth be told...it still mostly tastes like black beans and rice. And, that is how I like it.


Main Ingredients:
Apple Cider Vinegar
Brown Rice
Black Beans
Sea Salt/Pepper
Water

In the most basic form, the above is all you need.
Begin by soaking your beans in water and apple cider vinegar for 7-12 hours prior to cooking.
At the same time, in a seperate bowl, soak your brown rice in water and apple cider vinegar for 7-12 hours before cooking.I use one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to each one cup water.
So~ here you have two bowls each soaking for the same amount of time. Easy Beany.

After the soaking, cook your beans until cooked through. Cook your rice until the water has steamed out of the pot. Salt and Pepper...and serve together with corn bread.

Now~ that is ok. But.....what you really want to do is liven this lovely frugal dish up.

Things you can use to help those beans make some racket on your plate.
1. Tomatos/Tomato Sauce
2. Green Peppers
3. Okra
4. Onion/Red Onion
5. Garlic
6. Red Peppers
7. Spicy Peppers
8. Squash/Zucchini
9. Cumin and other spices

I use most of what I have in my CSA basket. This week that meant dicing up some garlic, green peppers, okra, and onion. Sauteing this together in a pan with a little bit of coconut oil. Adding some cumin and then mixing this in with the beans.

This is a fantastic way to use okra....which I have an abundance of and do not even really enjoy all that much. In this dish you do not even taste the okra, but your liver will thank you, a lot. So eat your okra and give your liver a hug.

Black beans and rice....mmm....just another excuse for hot cornbread and lots of butter. Amen.

The Great Cookie Cutter Give-Away!

Do you like cookies?

How about really cute cookies?

Cookies in the shape of fire trucks, choo-choo trains, high heel shoes?

Ann Clark Cookie Cutter's has it all! And, they are sharing cookie cutters with us this week for a fun give-away on Meal Planning Mommies.



To enter the Ann Clark Cookie Cutter give-away simply leave a comment.
To enter twice, leave a comment here on MPM and on our facebook.
To enter three times, leave a comment here, on facebook, and blog about our give away too!
To enter five times, send us your favorite cookie recipe to share with our readers!
To enter six times, ok...just kidding. :)

What should your comment be about...hmmm....how about cookies?!

Make sure to leave us your email address so that you can be reached!

Many best wishes and sweet cookies. Winner will be announced on Sunday morning!

~ Katie


ps...Ann Clark is offering a 10% discount to all MPM readers from now until Christmas! Whoop! Whoop!
Enter code BLGA22 at checkout.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

10-10-10



Can't publish this post without first saying, Happy Birthday Mom.

Happy Birthday to you. I love your cooking. And, the way that you crack yourself up. And, that time you thought it was really funny when the thing came on the TV that said, "this film has been formatted to fit your screen." And, you thanked them like a big dork and then laughed so hard you had to pee. Happy Birthday dear Mom. Happy Birthday to you. 




This week is exciting.

Why?

Well.

(1). because I have declared war upon the disaster in my house. Although some battles may be lost, I will be victorious thanks to the flylady and the goodwill drop off center where I shall be taking everything that I do not want to put away. (That and freecycle, check it out in your area!)

(2). because we have a really fun give-away this week!

(3). because  I adore pumpkins and have a love affair with squash and the week began with an abundance of both.

(4). because my meal plan is actually pretty darn awesome too!


I am going to tell you my meal plan now....what?....what did you say? 
Meal Plan Smeal Plan? You just want to know what the give-away is??? 

Oh, ok.

At the end of the week we will be giving away three incredibly adorable cookie cutters from Ann Clark!!! 

I like their saying.....Eat more Cookies.

Yes sir.  Yes ma'm. Will do!

The cookie cutters make me want to bake cookies. They are cute! cute! cute!

So, we are giving some away to get those creative cookie juices flowing for you as well.
 

The give-away will officially begin Monday 10/11 and end on Saturday 10/16.


And, back to my meal plan. It is good to get distracted by cookies.

Monday~ Black Beans and Rice (using a lot of my CSA veggies..okra anyone?)
Tuesday~ Home made soaked tortillas and all the fixins.
Wednesday~Soaked Whole Grain Crepes
Thursday~ Fiesta Sloppy Joes on Rice 
Friday~Lentil Soup with Green, Salad, Homemade Graham Cracker Muffins 
Saturday~ Panko Chicken Nuggets and Baked Curly Fries


Plus, some sweet apple treats, dehydrated apples, canned apples, and apple sauce......yes...we just picked apples!