Tuesday, December 14, 2010

breakfast made in heaven: cheesy spinach quiche and Christmas eggnog

Cheesy Spinach Quiche

I love having breakfast for dinner. So do my kids. My husband... not so much. 
So, we picked an evening last week when daddy was out of town and had breakfast for dinner! Yum! 
We started off with my cheesy spinach quiche that even my pickiest of eaters love. The crust on this dish is nice and flaky. It goes well wish the richness of the quiche.We also had a side of my soaked pumpkin bread slathered in Kerrygold butter and a bit of eggnog to drink. Was it ever filling! And oh-so nourishing!

Cheesy Spinach Quiche
2TBSP butter/coconut oil/ghee
10 fresh pastured eggs, beaten
1/2 cup Native Forest coconut milk
1/2 onion
1 bag of organic frozen spinach, thawed and most moisture removed
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup shredded organic cheese

1 1/3 C your choice flour (I used freshly ground white wheat pastry flour)
1/2 C butter
2 TBSP milk
dash of sea salt

Preheat oven to 375
In a large mixing bowl, add your flour and salt. Next, cut chunks of the butter into the flour with your hands to form a nice ball. If you need more moisture, add up to 2 TBSP milk very slowly. 
I pressed the crust into my large iron skillet...no need to roll out if you're feeling lazy!

Next, in another large mixing bowl, add eggs and coconut milk, mix well. Then add thyme and salt. Last, add the frozen spinach and onion, mix well. 

Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the shredded cheese on to the crust, then pour your egg mixture over the cheese. Lastly, top the pie with the remaining 1/2 cup of cheese.
Bake for 40 minutes.

Christmas Eggnog

Christmas Eggnog
*4 egg yolks
2 1/2 C raw milk
1/2 C Native Forest coconut milk (or raw heavy whipping cream if you can get it)
3 TBSP organic pure grade B maple syrup (or raw honey if you prefer)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp ground clove
dash of sea salt

Place it all in a blender (I use a Mason jar and an immersion blender) and blend. Refrigerate over night so the spices meld into the thick, rich, eggy mixture.
Serve with a sprinkling of nutmeg on top!
Serves 4
* It is very important the the egg yolks come from happily pastured chickens who are healthy.  

This post of part of Simple Lives Thursday hosted by Wardeh@GNOWFGLINS.com

farmageddon trailer

We all need to support the right to choose to eat healthy food.

Farmageddon Trailer from Kristin Canty on Vimeo.

Monday, November 29, 2010

feeling overwhelmed? where to start with traditional foods.

I found this great quote recently and it made me think of our family's journey with food - when we began switching from conventional foods to traditional foods. The quote was "Start wherever you are and start small" (Rita Baily). What great advice that is.

We started with cereal. Yes, cereal. It wasn't a small thing at our house though! My kids used to eat cold cereal for breakfast almost every morning. I'll also admit that they'd sometimes eat it for dinner too. And I'm not talking about the so called "healthy" cereals. They were getting loads of sugar from their Cocoa Puffs, Frosted Mini Wheats, and Sugar Smacks. So, that's where our journey began. With cereal.

We started with going from sweetened cereals to unsweetened cereals. The selection included cereals like Corn Flakes, Cheerios and Grape-Nuts. For me (and them!), this was a huge step, but we did it and stuck to it. That was the key. It was also a s-l-o-w first step. We did this for about nine months or so before moving on to eliminating cereal all together! We replaced it with oatmeal, eggs, plain yogurt with added berries and flax, and several other healthier options. 

Our first "radical" step was adding raw milk into to our diets. I had read about it and was very open to it. I was referred by several friends to a local source, we budgeted it, and then we bought it. We haven't looked back! The kids love it and so do I. My husband isn't a milk drinker so he won't go near it. But, maybe someday.

After we began drinking the raw milk, I found a source of local grass-fed beef and bought a half cow. This step led to eliminating much of the prepackaged foods we were consuming and replacing some things with higher quality. One example of that is nixing the conventional butter and replacing it with Kerrygold butter from grass-fed cows. Another example was to find a local source for free-range eggs and replace them with the conventional grocery store eggs. We used to consume free-range eggs several years back, but we moved to a different state and hadn't actively looked for a new source. At that point, my milk man began selling his free-range eggs so it was a natural next step.  

My next two "radical" steps were 1) trying to get everyone to take Fermented Cod Liver Oil and 2) getting my hands on some dairy kefir grains. My first attempt at making kefir was a complete failure. I killed my grains - and that's a hard thing to do! I didn't let it discourage me though. I tried again about six months later and the grains have been alive and multiplying for over a year now. We love kefir smoothies for breakfast.

As you can see, it took several small steps that led to so many changes in our lives - for the better. It is overwhelming to look at the big picture and to try changing everything at once. Especially if you have a family. You've got to worry about your budget, the time and planning it takes to prepare traditional foods, and don't forget about the picky eaters. I found that by changing one thing at a time, it was possible to see what once seemed impossible.
This leads me to another great quote by Saint Francis of Assisi:
"Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible." 

A great source to check out is this article at the Weston A Price Foundation website that covers families and budgeting food. The article is titled "Healthy Eating Shouldn't Cost an Arm and a Leg". She gives practical advice on budgeting, what to buy, and meal plans.
I also enjoy scouring through the Cooking Traditional Foods forum for all sorts of advice. 

More examples...

  • Eliminate canned beans and buy dried beans. Don't forget to soak them!
  • That goes for re-fried beans too.
  • Store-bought milk for raw milk
  • Store-bought eggs for free range eggs
  • Sour cream for organic cultured sour cream
  • Throw away the margarine and replace it with grass-fed butter (Kerrygold)
  • Replace flavored low-fat yogurt (contain loads of sugar) with full-fat plain organic yogurt - add your own berries and raw honey
  • Replace store-bought "dead" honey for raw "live" honey
  • Replace your refined white sugar with sucanat
  • Replace your Mrs. Butterworth "syrup" with real organic Grade B maple syrup
  • Replace your white flour with whole wheat flour (unbleached, unbromated)
  • Replace canned vegetables with fresh or frozen ones. Organic is best!
  • Use Fermented Cod Liver Oil as a Vitamin D supplement
  • Replace "vegetable oils" (peanut, soy, canola, etc.) with unrefined coconut oil for cooking and extra virgin olive oil for non-cooking such as for salad dressings
  • Replace your baking powder with aluminum free baking powder (Rumford)
  • Get rid of those MSG filled bouillon cubes and use real bone broth
  • Replace your ultra pasteurized coffee cream with healing coconut milk
  • Replace your morning coffee with organic tea (free of fluoride)
  • Make your own bread with sprouted flour or a sour dough starter
  • Replace conventionally raised beef with grass-fed beef
  • Replace conventionally raised chicken with free-range chicken
  • Throw out the instant oatmeal and soak your oats the night before
  • Toss out the condiments like salad dressing and mayonnaise and make your own to avoid the soy and HFCS
There are many, many more examples I'm sure I'm missing. These were just some I quickly thought up off the top of my head. What was your first step? If you haven't taken that first step yet, what do you plan to start with?

This post is part of:
Hearth and Soul Hop@ Frugality and Crunchiness w/ Christy
Real Food Wednesdays @ Kelly the Kitchen Cop

Sunday, November 28, 2010

taste of fall: hearty chili and corn bread

Hearty Chili and Corn Bread
I love chili in the Fall. I find myself making it once a week. It's especially hearty with a hunk of corn bread in the middle... all slathered with butter. 
You can adjust the heat. I will sometimes add a little more red pepper flakes when I want to feel the heat. You can add less for children who might be a bit more heat sensitive.

Chili Ingredients:
1 pound dried kidney beans, soaked, cooked
1 pound grass-fed ground beef
1 onion, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
6 cups beef stock
1 28 oz can organic fire roasted tomatoes, diced
1 TBSP chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Prepare beans as directed. Make sure they are soaked in filtered water for 18-24 hours to help neutralize phytates. Drain water and cook.

In a large stock pot, cook beef and onion together. Add celery and garlic, sautée for 3-4 minutes.

Add spices, stir well.

Add tomatoes and stock.

Bring to a boil and then simmer with the lid on for at least an hour. I let mine simmer for several hours before serving so that the spices incorporate nicely into the stock for that rich flavor.

Corn Bread Ingredients:
2 cups cornmeal (use organic to minimize GMO exposure)
¼ cup whole wheat flour 
1 TBSP sucanat
½ TBSP baking powder
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp baking soda
2 eggs
1 cup milk (I like to use coconut milk)
½ cup coconut oil or unsalted butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Grease an 8x8 baking dish with butter or coconut oil and set aside.

In large bowl, combine the dry ingredients. 

In a separate bowl, combine the eggs, milk and oil. 

Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.

Pour into baking dish. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and a toothpick comes out clean.

creamy coleslaw


I've been making my own coleslaw dressing for years now. I like it a little sweet and a little vinegar-y. This combination works well. 
Depending on my mood, I will either shred the cabbage with a knife or with the food processor. I hate cleaning the food processor so it mostly gets done by hand. Remember to use fresh local or organic vegetables if you can. 

Shredding the cabbage by hand

1 large head of cabbage, shredded (either by hand or with a food processor)
1 carrot, julienned 
2 green onions, chopped 

3/4 cup real mayonnaise (preferably homemade) 
3/4 cup sour cream
2-3 TBSP Bragg's vinegar
1 TBSP raw honey
1 tsp prepared mustard
1-2 tsp seasoning (like Mrs. Dash, etc. I like Trader Joe's Everyday Seasoning)
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

Place the cabbage, carrot and onion in a large bowl and mix.

Mix the dressing ingredients in a separate bowl and pour over the vegetables. 

Mix well.

Cover and let sit in refrigerator at least 3 hours prior to serving. 
I like to mix it up 24 hours ahead.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

happy thanksgiving!

What a beautiful Thanksgiving Day we were blessed with here, today, in Atlanta. Sunny and warm - a high of 70. Just delicious Fall weather. We invited another family over for our feast since their family is far away, like ours. I'll admit, this was my first Thanksgiving - I mean, one where I cooked! We've always been with my husband's family for Thanksgiving and all I've had to bring was a side dish. This was definitely a challenge I was up for! A very nourishing Thanksgiving. 

I was nervous. I wanted it all to come together nicely. I didn't want the food to be cold. I didn't want to get stressed out. I wanted everyone to be happy. Oh, too many wants! I just prayed that God would give me the graces I needed to do it all and that I wouldn't lose my patience.

I started cooking yesterday so that my stress level would be less today. My husband, God bless him, he cleaned (with the help of the kids) while I cooked. He was also my kitchen helper and was right there behind me cleaning up my messes and doing the dishes. What a huge help. I think this was the key to less stress and more fun!

Around 11 am yesterday, I started my stock.  I planned on making that green beans with mushroom soup casserole from scratch, so I needed to prepare the stock to make the cream of mushroom soup. I forgot that the soup called for chicken stock - I made beef stock! In case you're wondering, the beef stock worked out just fine as a substitute in the recipe.

I think the first thing I made was the coleslaw. I wanted it to marinate in the dressing for a good 24 hours. After that, I made the mashed potatoes and placed them in the crock-pot for today. All I did was turn it on low this morning and add more milk and butter and they were fantastic! I figured it would also be a good idea to cook the bacon (for the green bean casserole) and sausage for the dressing. I also pre-baked the sweet potatoes at 350 for an hour so that I could easily peel them this morning and spend less time sautéing them before we ate. I baked the pumpkin pies and apple pie before bed. 

I got up at 5:00 this morning and put the turkey in the oven - then I went back to bed for a few more hours! Around 10:00 am, I made the cream of mushroom soup for the green bean casserole. Next, I made the dressing. I had made a loaf of bread to use for it two days earlier. Then, I put the green bean casserole together, took the turkey out, peeled, cut, and sautéed the sweet potatoes, made an apple cobbler, and last was the gravy. Did I forget anything? We had enough food for a small army. There were 4 adults and 10 children and we barely put a dent into all that was here. We'll have leftovers all weekend. YES!

It was a lovely Thanksgiving and fairly low stress - thanks to my husband. We had such a nice time. I am so thankful for the abundance of food we had have. I am also thankful for my husband and children, family and friends. I am thankful that my husband has a job and we have a roof over our heads. I'm thankful for our health and I'm thankful for the ability to nourish my family both spiritually and physically. I'm also thankful for the mounds of laundry waiting on me to be put away tomorrow because that means we are not in need. Thank you, God, for all of Your blessings each and every day.  

maple syrup and sucanat sweetened apple pie

Maple Syrup and Sucanat Sweetened Apple Pie

Who doesn't love a nice warm and spicy apple pie? Don't forget the whipped cream! Our family loves a good pie and reserve them for special occasions. For Thanksgiving, we made this pie. The children were worried it wouldn't be sweet enough. I was worried it would be too sweet. I think we met right in the middle with this one - it satisfied everyone's taste buds.

Maple Syrup and Sucanat Sweetened Apple Pie

pie crust - two, one for bottom and one for the top
8 medium granny smith apples peeled/cored/sliced
1 tsp cinnamon
3 TBSP sucanat
2 TBSP grade B maple syrup
2 TBSP butter


place the first crust in the baking dish

take the sucanat and cinnamon and mix them into the apples.

pour apple mixture into pie shell and drizzle with maple syrup.

dollop the butter on top.

place second crust on top - don't forget to poke a few holes to vent the pie

bake 350 for 60-70 minutes

let cool a bit before serving.

repeat: don't forget the whipped cream!