Category Archives: organic

Eat Local

These peaches are picked locally in the morning and delivered same day. Eat local. It tastes better.

I have been exploring several locally grown vegetable farms and trying them, off and on to see which one suits my schedule. The CSA sounds like a great idea.. but they are usually on a very limited pick up schedule, so just purchasing various weekly available things from the farmer’s market seems to be a better option, for now. There are several options for local food, to purchase in my neighborhood.

  • CSA – several to choose, each with varying delivery/pickup days and locations
  • farmer market- there are three, the big one downtown, the one on Saturday mornings, and the one that is open T-S 9-3 and it’s only 2 miles from my house!
  • farmer roadside: just a pickup or two on the side of the road selling veggies – most days, if you know where to look.
  • Co-op: with a Wednesday afternoon 4-6 delivery site that is kind of close – but you have to order online on Sunday and then remember to go pick it up on Wednesday… not exactly convenient. Delicious.. but not convenient.

So, we have options… delicious options. Here’s to SUMMER!!

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Giant Sweet Potatoes

Egads. The sweet potatoes are taking over the planet! These things are ginormous!

I am used to shopping at the generic grocery store and purchasing sweet potatoes that are usually the size of my hand. So, when I was placing my order with the co-op veggie people this week, I thought I would try some of their sweet potatoes.

This is what I got:

One potato, two potato...

Note: those are quarters in the picture next to the potatoes.

Cubed and boiled up in the largest stockpot I have. So, in the end it was 8 cups of mashed sweet potato ready to eat, or use in a recipe. Yummy.

Pumpkin bread/cake

O M G

Stop whatever you were doing and make this.

This is a keeper. I actually think it’s BETTER than the wheaty-gluten-filled version. Oh yes. It’s good by itself, it’s good with jam on top, and I think I may try a choc chip version as well….. ahhhh fall foods make me happy.

  • 1/4 C safflower oil
  • 3/4 C pumpkin paste (also known as canned pumpkin)
  • 3/4 C brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 C chilled coconut milk (so that it’s thick and creamy)
  • 1 egg (replaced with egg replacer)
  • 1 TABLESPOON baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp soda
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 1 cup of rice flour mixed with potato starch (I used 1/2 and 1/2)

Mix it all up. Bake at 350 for 35 minutes. I used an oiled 9 x 7 cake pan (heavy ceramic -LeCruset) and it was perfect. Time in the oven may depend on what pan you have. Glass pan- probably 30-35 minutes. I suppose that cupcakes would work too, but bake them for a shorter amount of time.

Chicken soup

Lunch out + wheat noodles = sick child. Hmmmmm.

Yeah. Well, so… after a nap she was “sort of” hungry again. I was skeptical but I made Gluten free chicken soup. I was going to put rice noodles into it, but decided to use pre-cooked rice instead.

  • 2 C organic vegetable broth
  • 1 C peeled and minced zucchini
  • 1 slice of onion – minced

Cook the onion and zucchini in the broth- then blenderize it all to make it disappear. Then add:

  • precooked rice about 3/4 to 1 C or so
  • precooked chicken bits – leftovers work great

and simmer awhile. I suppose you could add even more veggies and blenderize them too, but that’s what I had on hand. Broccoli is good, lentils would be good too, but the clear soup then would be thicker…. hmmm…”Sneaky veggies”? or just “cooking” you decide what’s best in your kitchen with your kids.

I also added a bit of salt, and white pepper and some poultry seasoning to taste, with a dash of safflower oil.

She said it was tasty. That’s good. Eat your soup.

Loaded Veg Lasagna

Well, finally there is something to eat around here that actually reminds me of “food”. Oh, sure, there have been things “to eat” for sure….but not on the level of comfort food. Lasagna is serious. And this works. It’s a long way to get there, but the end result is:

  • a.) good  (OMG. It’s like real food.)
  • b.) makes great leftovers, and best of all
  • c.) freezes well for later. YAY!

Step one: Make Vegetable Chili (see notes below)

Step two: Add organic pasta sauce to premade chili (I used Full Circle Brand)

Step three:  Layer mixed sauce with rice lasagna noodles and mozzerella cheese. The first one of these lasagna experiments,  I also crumbled little BabyBel cheeses into the cheese layer. That helped too, but wasn’t totally necessary.

Of course this is only gluten-free, not casein free. Whatever. I am concentrating on the GF part for right now. One pan of lasagna deserves (tolerated) cheese once in a blue moon. I am serious. This was really good. And it made tremendous leftovers. I plan to serve this soon to some unknowing gluten eaters and dare them to tell the difference.

NOTES: To make the veggie chili.

Blenderize beyond recognition:

  • one can of drained green beans
  • one can of drained chickpeas
  • 1 cup cooked/steamed broccoli

Add:

  • one can (drained) pinto beans
  • one can (drained) red kidney beans
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • as much chopped fresh spinach leaves as you can stand (1 bag)
  • 4 peeled, chopped zucchini
  • 2 C cooked lentils
  • 2 C organic vegetable broth

Add to taste:

  • chopped garlic
  • onion powder (or chop an onion and throw it in there too)
  • chili powder
  • white pepper
  • sea salt
  • oregano leaves
  • basil leaves

I let that all simmer for awhile to mingle everything and the froze it in portions for quick lunches.

To make the lasagna: layer chili+pasta sauce mixed, cheeses and dry (yes-dry) rice lasagna noodles as many times as will fit your pan. Bread loaf pans make great deep dish lasagna.

Bake 30-45 minutes @350 or until browned and bubbly.

I threatened to make a sausage version.. and add some cooked, crumbled sausage into the layers, but that hasn’t happened yet. Maybe this weekend… hmmmmm.

Make some garlic flaxseed bread (recipe in another post) to go with. Whip up a green salad and you have a feast.

The perfect cookie

There may be no such thing as a perfect cookie… but these come pretty close. Gluten free baking is difficult at best, and making them look like the orginals?? really not that easy.

I reduced the sugar in the recipe.. mostly because I forgot to put it in, the original recipe called for another 1/2 C of granulated sugar…but they turned out great! Less sugar is a good thing. The chocolate part is really good. Makes them *fancy*. Actually I like this version even better than the “full of gluten” ones. Go figure. AND they look just like the ones at Grandma’s house. Perfect.

Peanut Butter Cookies

  • 1 C creamy peanut butter (I used MaraNatha organic)
  • 1/2 C Spectrum shortening (palm oil)
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (replaced with 2 T flax meal and 4 T HOT water-let sit and then blended the daylights out of it with the stick blender to make it fluffy/frothy/more egg like.)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp xanthan gum 
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 C gluten free flour ( I used a mixture of mostly potato starch with some sorghum, rice flour and tapioca starch in there too)

Mix dough, roll one inch balls and place them on the baking sheet. Smoosh them slightly with a fork and criss-cross the design on the top. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or until they start to brown. Let cool on the baking sheet of a couple of minutes before removing them to the cooling racks. This allows the cookie to stay together and not crumble when you touch them later.

To make them really *fancy*, melt some Enjoy Life chocolate chips and drizzle chocolate over the baked cookies.  I put a blob of melted chocolate in the middle of each cookie and just smooshed it across the top like frosting. Yum.

Being Veganistic

Vegan – vegetarian… hmmm. I am vegan by allergy, not by choice. (Egg/dairy)Mostly I am veganistic. 90% vegan, with occasional changes to test a recipe for the family and whatnot. Although I am sure that it’s the right thing to do for everyone and the planet and all that, my dietician person recommended that if I could include “some sort of” meat in my diet to some extent that I should do that, since I am so limited in other things that I can have.

So far, acceptable meats are pork and lamb. On occasion. Limited. Sometimes. Like once a month kind of deal. I am so leery of a reaction that I just don’t want to try it. (Don’t make me explain the reaction to the turkey at Thanksgiving… whoa.

Corn fed beasts are OUT!)

That’s it for the meat selections. And I have to work myself up to lamb. It’s not a meat that I grew up with, and it takes a definate learning/tasting curve to enjoy it. I have found that the spicier it is the better I like it, so that’s a plus. And I am learning to cook all over again. wheeeeeee. New recipes, new spices. fun fun fun…

Using ground pork is an easy substitute for ground beef, or turkey for things like tacos or casseroles. Only the one switch at the market and dinner looks the same. *Poof*

I really hate that they add “up to 12% solution” in the packaging of the stuff though. That really bugs me. What is in the solution anyway? gross.

So I am looking for an alternative to prepackaged ground pork. But there is just a limit to butchering an animal in the suburbs. Way out west? no problem, lay ’em out on my kitchen table and hack away at it. Used to fill my freezer every fall with former woodland-forest creatures. Butchering now? in the burbs? not so much.

Now that I think about it… All that venison saved me for years. Not only was it cheaper- it was more of a perfect (for my allergies) food. Organic meat. Deer eat grass. I am not allergic to grass as a foodstuff. Corn is a different problem.  I just didn’t know it until I “had to” buy meat at the market again. ick. It’s been ten years of trying to get used to it and I just can’t. I avoid store meat like the plague. All the recent recalls help to make the choice for the rest of the family too.

Hmmmmmmmmm…*note to self*…. Find a local hunter willing to give me some venison so we can go back to that maybe.

I think that I saw some wild bison or something in the meat case at the market. I might try that, but I am tired of buying “food” that no one here will try with a ten foot pole. Let them eat peanut butter and jelly! ha. They should just eat their veggies.

Organic

I grew up on the WEST COAST. … in the 60’s….::::gasp::: and, yes, I know some hippies. People who forty years ago started eating organic foods and living a cleaner lifestlye. HA! turns out that much of what the general west coast lifestyle screams about is turning out to be true for me. Drat. I will admit to actual wearing birks, and wearing organic cotton clothing.. but organic food? no. It’s a gimmic.. it’s expensive… blah blah… no, it’s my new reality. I can’t do preservatives. Or MSG, or a zillion other things.

I loved the years that I could cruise into fast food lanes and have my dinner handed to me out of that little window. But now, it turns out that the actual food value of those “value meals” is exceedingly low. Drat.

So back into the kitchen I go. ….. to cook endlessly from scratch, and back to the grocery store to search endlessly for food I can eat. I am really getting tired of reading labels on the backs of “food” products.

I have a new rule. If I can’t pronounce it- I don’t buy it. And if the list of “ingredients” is more than about five things… I don’t buy it either.

::::sigh:::::

I don’t want to actually plant a garden… but I may have to.