Thursday, November 15, 2012

Holidays from Scratch

Because many holiday traditions involve food, I wanted to give you some healthy and delicious choices.  When we eat food that is prepared from scratch and we choose the best ingredients available, our bodies are nourished and better able to function through this enjoyable but often stressful holiday season.

My new book, Holidays from Scratch, Making a Healthy Delicious Holiday Season, is now available in both hard copy and eBook format.  

There are 50 recipes in this book, including a list of essential holiday spices.

The recipes include beverages, salads and dressings, soups, side dishes, main disses and delicious baked goods.  The recipes are brand new or improved updates from Scratch.

The following is one of my favorite new recipes. 
If you're lucky you can serve this at Thanksgiving dinner, instead of the cranberries from the can!

Cranberry Chutney

2 cups fresh cranberries, washed & drained
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled cored & diced
1 small onion, chopped
zest of 1 orange
juice of 1 orange
1 cup sucanat
1/4 tsp. stevia powder, optional
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup Braggs raw apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. fresh ginger, peeled & chopped
1/4 cup dried apricots, chopped
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped

Toast Pecans and set aside.

Prepare ingredients depending on the texture and consistency that you want.

Place all ingredients, except pecans, in a medium, stainless steel sauce pan over medium heat.   Allow to cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Cool and stir in the chopped pecans just before serving.

Serves about 10 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

It has been almost three months since my last post.  Have I been too busy...yes, but that's not the reason.  Something was wrong with my blog, I could log in and delete items off of the side bar but I couldn't add any items or post anything.  Because I am so savvy with technology I was able to get it fixed super fast...not.  The blogger forum was not the most helpful or convenient way to solve the problem.  So after checking almost daily for three months, I got a little surprise this morning when I  logged in and found I could post!!

Stay tuned for some more ways to Nourish your Family!!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A Delicious Way to Eat Your Dandelion Greens

Spring Greens Salad with Sweet Lemon Dressing

Eat Your Veggies and Eat Your Weeds

“Eat your Vegetables!”

How many times have you heard this advice?   
How often do you follow it?

Every health agency and nutritional guru recommends at least 3-5 servings of vegetables per day.  Research shows that only about 9% of the population gets the recommended amount and even more concerning is that over half of the population may go days without eating a single vegetable.

Let me give you some good solid reasons why eating vegetables is a good idea:
·         Lowers your risk of heart disease
·         Reduces your risk of certain cancers
·         Improves teeth and bone structure
·         Improves memory and brain function
·         Less chance of weight gain
·         Improves immune function
 If you need to increase your vegetable consumption and are looking for a good place to start, start with leafy greens.   
They are superstars and there is a wonderful world of variety when it comes to greens.  

Kale: Is loaded with antioxidant vitamins, and rich in the natural plant compounds
called photochemicals.  Provides high doses of Vitamin K, A and C. 

Spinach: One of the best food sources of vitamin K.  It's also rich in flavonoids
compounds that do double duty as antioxidants and cancer-fighters.

Swiss Chard: Is a close relative of spinach and of beets.  It is a great source of 
beta-carotene, vitamin A, potassium, calcium and vitamin C.

Dandelion Greens: Contain more beta-carotene than any other green veggie, and have
more vitamin A than any food except cod liver oil and beef liver! They are also rich in 
calcium, potassium, vitamin K and fiber.

Eat your veggies and eat you weeds!!  

 Not only do dandelion greens provide a wealth of vitamins and minerals they are also beneficial in easing digestion, decreasing inflammation, aiding in detoxification and eliminating water retention.  Many grocery stores are beginning to offer cultivated dandelion greens during the spring, you can also grow and harvest your own.  Just be certain that your dandelions do not come in contact with any fertilizers or pesticides and are away from any exhaust fumes.

Every year I get so excited as my garden begins to come back to life after a long winter.  The very first greens to start popping out of the dirt. . . these are my dandelion plants.  Some people would quickly get out the shovel and dig out the roots or spray on the Round-up.  Not me!  I love watching the dandelions grow.  I harvest them for salads, toss some leaves into my morning smoothie or layer them on a veggie sandwich.  My son uses them to feed Smaug his bearded dragon.  If we can’t keep up with their production, I wash them, spin them dry in a salad spinner, bag them and freeze them for future smoothies.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Happy Mother's Day from Nourishing Families!

(Purchase "Scratch" cookbook by clicking on the paypal button in the right column) 
You may not even be thinking of Mother's Day yet, but it's on the way and will be here before you know it!!
If your looking for the perfect gift for your mom, your wife, your best friend who is a mom or that fabulous gal in your life, look no further!  Nourishing Families is offering a special that is sure to be wonderfully delicious.

My Mom instilled a love of cooking in me from a very early age, in fact I recently read a journal entry where my mom talked about how I made dinner all by myself when I was just 6 years old!  After that she started teaching me everything she knew about cooking delicious meals.  I know that as you share time together preparing and as you enjoy a meal together that you will build and nourish strong family relationships!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Nourishing Families with Cultured Foods

Bloating. Heart burn. Indigestion. Constipation.  For an unfortunate many, these symptoms are a nagging and frequent experience, all of which stem from an imbalanced and over-burdened digestive system.

The answer to these modern digestive complaints may be found in studying the eating habits of diverse cultures from other parts of the world.  These cultures regularly consume foods that have been “fermented” through a variety of natural processes. This fermentation or “culturing” of foods contributes to enzymatic activity – the breaking down of complex substances into smaller parts - thus easing the burden on our digestive tract. In addition, during the fermentation process naturally occurring beneficial bacteria, or probiotics, both enrich and preserve the food. 

It’s very recent that cultured foods have begun to disappear from our plates. Modern pickles and sauerkraut are made with vinegar instead of the traditional method of lacto-fermentation using salt. Bread and pasta are made with commercial yeast instead of being naturally leavened with wild yeast (sourdough). Milk, yogurt and cheeses are being pasteurized, which kills off all the friendly bacteria we so desperately need to maintain health.

There are many advantages to going back to the traditional ways of our ancestors, and eating more cultured, fermented, foods.

Fermentation precedes human history, but since ancient times people all over the world have been controlling the fermentation process. There is evidence that people were making fermenting beverages in Babylon around 5000 BC, there is evidence of leavened bread in ancient Egypt dating back to 1500 BC and of milk fermentation in Babylon circa 3000 BC.

Traditionally people wouldn’t have to think twice about replenishing the bacteria that allow us to digest food. But we live in a “war on Bacteria” world with products like; antibiotic drugs, chlorinated water and antibacterial soap that kill not only harmful bacteria but friendly bacteria and if we fail to replenish the friendly bacteria we won’t effectively get nutrients from the food we eat.

Top 5 Reasons to Eat Cultured/Fermented Foods
1.    Improved absorption and digestion 
2.    Restore the proper balance of bacteria in the gut
3.    Rich in enzymes
4.    Preserved vitamin content
5.    Inexpensive

Below I have included a recipe for Orange Marmalade and Berry Preserves, pictured above topping a GF waffle and homemade Kefir milk.

There is also a recipe for making Sauerkraut, this will only take about 20 minutes to prepare and then 7-10 days of fermentation time.

Cultured Berry Preserves

Cultured Orange Marmalade