Saturday, July 30, 2016

Vegan Sourdough Eikhorn Pancakes

Having great fun with my Jovial Eikhorn flour I purchased, I tried to come up with a fluffy pancake that was not only vegan (as I eat meat free at least two days a week) but was extremely low in gluten. Eikhorn flour, which is not hybridized, is VERY low in gluten compared to genetically modified modern wheat flour and most people that are gluten sensitive (not Celiac) can eat it without issues.

I'm not  sensitive (unless I eat a huge portion) but I love the taste and it IS more digestible than wheat flour.  The sourdough starter doesn't leaven, as these have no rise time, but add healthy probiotics and a nice taste.

Vegan Sourdough Eikhorn Pancakes  (they're so fluffy!)

3/4 cup sourdough starter (made with whole wheat Eikhorn flour and wild yeast sourdough starter from Azure Standard)
1/2 cup Eikhorn flour (I used regular, not the whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
dash of vanilla extract
1/4 to 1/2 cup milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
2 Tablespoons vegan buttery spread (melted) or vegetable oil
egg substitute:
1 T. flax seeds
3 Tablespoons warm water

Put 1 Tablespoon of flax seeds in a blender or food processor and pulse until ground.  Place in small bowl and add thewarm water, stir and set aside for 5 minutes so it can "gel".

Mix sourdough starter, flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and soda in a bowl.  Add egg institute and 2 Tablespoons melted vegan buttery spread or vegetable oil.  Add enough milk so that the batter is quite  thick but pourable (this depends on the amount of liquid in your sourdough starter).  For a thick starter it may be as much as 1/2 cup, for a watery starter, it may only be 1/4.  Add the smaller amount in, stir, they add more as necessary.

Cook on preheated griddle until starting to bubble up in the center, with dry edges, flip and finish. Serve with buttery spread and syrup or jam.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Salt Roasted Potatoes

Since Carol asked why restaurant potatoes taste so much better than ones cooked at home - I can tell you the secret is salt.  Restaurants rub the skins with oil or bacon grease then rub with salt (no wholes are poked into the potato) then baked.  But I found a way to make them without a ton of salt sticking to the skin.

Salt Roasted Potatoes.

I'd heard the concept and lumped it in there with Radiator Roasted Rump Roast and Steam Engine Steamed Salmon , But after reading of it on Cooks Illustrated  Oct. 11 website, which had a recipe for salt roasted potatoes with thyme and shallots, I had to try a Johnson household edition.

Most recipes just call for burying a baker under a mound of salt. The premise is there is a moisture exchange between the salt and the spud, the moisture escaping the potato being absorbed by the salt and then reabsorbed by the potato making the interior, not only well seasoned, but very light and fluffy. Store brand salt was 32 cents   The four potatoes were about 50 cents (two for dinner, two chopped and reheated for home fries in the morning)  The worse case  scenario if these turned out like mortar rounds was I was only out  out a buck and there was still pork tenderloin, salad and garlic cheese biscuits (knock off Red Lobster version). if needed.

You start by laying 4 potatoes in about 2 and a half cups of salt (one 26 ounch package) in a 13 x 9 pan.   To the salt was added a clove of garlic and some sprigs of rosemary instead of the thyme and shallots.  In hindsight, I would have left some of the paper surrounding the garlic on there, so it didn't fall apart, and was a little softer at the end of cooking.

Cover TIGHTLY with foil and bake in the middle rack of a 450 degree oven for 1  hour and 15 minutes.  When there's 30 minutes left to cook, pop in a 1 and 3/4 - 2 pound pork tenderloin which you have rubbed with garlic and herbs and laid in a small glass pan on top of a little EVOO and salt, then covered with foil.

When time is up, remove potatoes and pork.  The pork should be about medium rare,  Keep foil on it, set on a trivet and allow to finish cooking to medium with the foil on it.  Remove foil from potatoes and remove the garlic to a small dish while you raise the heat on the oven to 475 degrees (my oven tends to be "hot" so 475 worked better than the 500 degrees the web recipe called for)  Brush the tops of the potatoes with a Tablespoon or so of EVOO and return to oven for 15-22 minutes. 

While that finishes, squeeze the garlic bulbs gently (and carefully, they're hot) to remove the garlic pulp and mix with a big pinch of chopped fresh rosemary and 4 Tablespoons of butter and a dash of sea salt to make a paste.

The potato skin will be dark golden brown and firm, but when poked with a knife, the interior should be quite soft when done.  Remove any clumped salt from the bottom of the potato with a clean kitchen towel , and serve with the garlic herb butter. (The salt in the pan can be strained and reused for another batch of potatoes before discarding).

Seriously, this was the best baked potato I've ever had. The interior was incredibly soft and fluffy, with a hint of garlic and rosemary in it, even without the butter and  there was no  "salty" taste.  The skin was crisp but not shoe leather, making it easy to scoop out the well seasoned flesh with a spoon.

Inexpensive, easy and delicious, that's what home cooking is all about.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Dinner on the Quick - With Real Food

It's easy to rely on convenience or frozen food when life gets busy, but look at the labels of some of those pre-packaged or "helper" dinners.  They are full of additives, preservatives, sugar, and sodium.  You can make a really tasty meal in 30 m minutes with a lot less of that, and cheaper too.

This was easy - VERY low in saturated fat and really tasty (husband  gave it two thumbs up)

Simple Sloppy Joe Stuffed Potatoes (serves 4)

1/2 of a large sweet onion  or bell pepper, finely chopped
1 pound ground bison (or replace with cooked lentils for a veggie version)
1/2 teapoon Penzey's roasted garlic powder OR 1/4 teaspoon ground celery seed
1 teaspoon Worchestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Molasses
4 drops of  hot sauce (I used Scoville Brothers cowboy crooner hot sauce)
2 shakes crushed red pepper
several shakes ground black pepper
tiny pinch of sea salt
Brown meat and veggies (or saute veggies and add cooked lentils).  Add to rest of ingredients and simmer, covered, for 20  minutes (or put in crockpot on low for 2-3 hours if the rest of the family isn't home yet). Serve on a half of a baked potato (wrapped in wet paper towel and nuked 8-11 minutes) with a sprinkle of cheese and veggie of choice.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pasta Pronto

Yes, that's a 75 year old gas stove. It's nice having something older than me in the kitchen.

I love mac and cheese - homemade, even better, but once in a while will give in to the childhood craving for the "blue box" cheese (though come to think if it my Mom always made homemade - I think I found Kraft in college in the 80's with the raman noodles).

However, I found that you don't NEED to add a quarter of a stick of butter to it for it to be good.  It was when I traded in my well known brand for the Annie's  organic mac and cheese which doesn't instruct you to add butter that I realized how good it can be without all that added saturated fat.

Annie's isn't just for hipster mom's to serve to their kids after an afternoon of organic gardening and lacrosse - it's good for everyone, especially when I see that it's got less fat, sat and calories than the big name brand .

But still it was reserved for times I was teleworking and just needed a quick lunch.  But I hated to lose that 10 minutes to standing and stirring the pasta as it cooked. (that's the whole epitome of  I'm too busy "I don't have TIME to stir a pot of noodles!")

Little did I know all these years I didn't have to.

Thanks to my friend Carol at
I discovered her trick to easy fuss free pasta for two (I'm not sure if this would work in large amounts but for a serving for 2-3 it's perfect.)  Bring your water up to a full rolling boil, covered, pop the cover, pour the pasta in, give it a stir, and quickly cover it.

Then turn off the heat.

You heard me.  Turn off the heat, set the timer for 10 minutes and walk away.  Go do something you'd rather be doing.
Clean the garage  (I think I'll pass), pet the dog,. read your favorite blogs.

In 10 minutes you'll have perfect al dente pasta.

Now if I could just find a way to dry my hair every morning without the hair drier.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Diet Danger Zone - Quiche

Film Noir Night with a friend.  This one starring Hugh Beaumont of later "Leave it to Beaver" Fame. "When you deal with dames you are in the danger zone". A cheating wife, a dead husband, a shady "private detective" who has a history with the wife and the good guy that gets involved in what was to be a simple job of taking a beautiful socialite to a yacht party. Coming from a family in law enforcement we always get a kick out of these old movies.

The guns are tiny, the women of dubious reputation, the good guys brave.  But one can't help but chuckle when the hero is knocked out at least twice in an episode including once by someone throwing a bottle at his head from a distance.  Of course, the dialogue is always entertaining-
Professor - "She and Spadely indulged in an adolescent romance in high school.  She's been an old fashioned girl every since."

Dennis O'Brien (Hugh B.) "Old fashioned?"

Professor - "Unfortunately she drank too many of them with too many different men to suit her husband."

It was a perfect night for "breakfast for dinner" and one that could be made without a trip to the store. I really can't say quiche is "low cal", as there is usually cheese and eggs involved, but I made this one healthier but NOT using one of those trans fat soaked store bought crusts, and made the crust out of - - - ready for it? - - - HASH BROWNS.
I just need to fill it up with lots of veggies (ooops some bacon fell in there) and the usual trimmings, including my favorite hot sauce.

MMM hash browns -r ich, crisp, buttery and NO Trans Fats.

The filling - farm fresh brown eggs with a blend of Italian cheeses for a delicate taste.

And Bacon!   

Quiche with Hash Brown Crust -

3 1/2 cups shredded potatos moisture removed (use a salad spinner or blot well with paper towels).
several grinds of pepper
a shake or two of sea salt
1/2 stick of butter melted. (that seems like a lot but this is very filling so you'll not be having a huge chunk).

Mix and pat in a large pie pan and bake at 450 F for 22-25 minutes until edges are browning up.   Remove and lower oven temp to 325. (if you want the bottom a little crispier, put some foil gently around the edges and cook an additional two minutes).
Cook 8 pieces of bacon, drain,

Chop and toss with 1/2 teaspoon pure maple syrup.

Mix in large bowl:

the bacon
1 and 1/2 cup slightly steamed broccoli
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (I threw in an extra little pinch)
1/8 teaspoon of favorite hot sauce.  I would highly recommend you get what I use, Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke hot sauce, not too hot and a rich, natural smoky taste, it's a must have for eggs and casseroles in my home..
You won't be in any danger of overly acidic, bland or bitter sauce here.  The Scoville Brothers make THE best hot sauces and since they are located in Indiana where I lived so many years before I got married, even better.
In small bowl mix:

4 eggs whisked
1 cup half and half. 

Pour over veggies/bacon in the bigger bowl.

In a cereal bowl toss:

1 cup of  Italian  blend cheese (Asiago, Romano, Mozzarella, Parmesan)
1 Tablespoon of flour.

Gently stir cheese into quiche filling in the large bowl.

Gently ladle into crust and cook in 325 degree oven for 50-55 minutes. (knife inserted into center should come out clean).

Let sit 10 minutes and serve with  leftover salad or fresh fruit. 

click on photos to enlarge

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

DIY Larabar

Most of you are familiar with Larabars - alongside the RX bar from Chicago, they are my favorite fruit/nut snack bar and come in all kinds of flavors. My favorite is the lemon.  I love anything lemon.

When I'm traveling I will always pick up a few in place of a candy or chip snack.  But at an average of $1.50 a bar, if you eat one every day (as I happily will) that $45 a month.  So I set out to make my own.

I will still purchase them, as there are some of their yummy flavors I probably could not duplicate and I love their little individual wrapped mini bars for my purse. But the lemon and key lime ones, are easy to do (simply sub  key lime for lemon in this recipe.)

Texture and  taste was spot on.  Even better - they were 1/3 of the cost!  No baking, and just a few cooking implements to wash up.  Here's a picture of a Larabar from the web (this is the Alt Lemon Pound Cake flavor)
Here is my DIY version before cutting.

DIY  "Larabar Style" Lemon Bar (note - my first batch were a little thin for my taste so I increased each of the ingredients by 50% and got just the right thickness of bar - recipe below is the adjusted one).

In a food processor pulse:

1 cup plus 2 Tablespoons salted cashews
3/4 cup plain almonds

until you have big crumbly bits.


1 8 ounce package pitted dates
3 Tablespoons plus 1 and 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
some grated lemon zest (a generous half teaspoon)
a drop of Vanilla extract.

Pulse until you have a thick crunchy dough.  You will have to stop and redistribute the mixture with a wooden spoon 3 or 4 times as it's pretty thick and will bunch up on one side of the food processor making the blade ineffective.

Pat down into a 8 x 8 pan sprayed with non stick spray.  Refrigerate a couple of hours, then cut into squares.  I simply cut into squares, lifted them out with a spatula and then just smoothed the tops with a rolling pin (as I got lazy patting them out in the pan.)

Store in a Tupperware using wax paper to separate the layers of stacked bars or in individual snack plastic zip bags.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Advice for the Day

Note to self - don't go all afternoon without a healthy snack - you'll scarf up ANYTHING.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Herdsman Chili

Chili tends to be a dish most people make in winter - but I like to make a pot in the summer on the weekend.  (and yes, I have enough friend in Texas to know it's technically considered chili with beans but I'm an author, I'm going to write it my way :-)

It's a way to crock pot cook so I don't have to heat the oven and leftovers are great on a baked potato or a piece of cornbread with a big salad or in a Tupperware with chopped raw vegetables and some fruit for dessert for a tote-able lunch to work during the following week.

This is made with bison for a low fat punch of protein - but feel free to substitute TVP or extra beans for a vegetarian version. If you don't do garlic and onion you will find the other spices still make a wonderfully fragrant pot of chili.

2 pounds ground bison
1 sweet onion chopped
4 teaspoons minced garlic
1 bell pepper finely chipped
1 cup carrots julienned then chopped  (I use my "zoodle" tool from Amazon)
1/2 - 1 cup cup celery (whatever you have on hand)
1 jalapeno, de-seeded and chopped
can of tomato sauce
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes (I LOVE Muir Glenn fire-roasted organic)
2 teaspoons honey
1 teaspoon molasses
1 can black beans drained
1 can kidney beans drained
2 Tablespoons Penzey's Chili 9000 (or your favorite chii powder)
1 Tablespoon oregano
1 Tablespoon basil
1 Tablespoon Cumin
dash of Scoville Brothers Singing Smoke hot sauce (or your favorite)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (use a pinch if you want it milder)

Saute onion and garlic (if using) with bison in pan over medium heat. When meat is no longer pink, add to slower cooker with remaining ingredients.  Cover and cook on low 8 hours.

Top with tortilla strips, non fat sour cream or greek yogurt, reduced fat cheese (just a little bit) and cilantro and or/onion

Note:  I've also made this and used just black beans, replacing the celery with finely chopped sweet potato. and substituted a small shot of tequila for the honey and molasses - YUMMY!

Sunday, July 17, 2016

That's How We Roll - Simple Thai Meal

Lunch was an outing with friends that my husband went to college with. With two kids under the age of three - we went to them so they didn't have to get the kids rounded up in the car, and they just ordered pizza to be delivered that we could enjoy as the kids (who ate earlier) were down for a nap. The pizza was excellent but after having three pieces I didn't want a heavy dinner.

It's a good night for Thai Summer Rolls (sometimes called Spring Rolls). Unlike the fried rolls that are made with a wheat wrapper these are made out of rice paper (found in the non refrigerated oriental section at larger grocers). You can dress these up with cut veggies such as colorful peppers as a topping, but I was going to simple and quick, so I just filled up the rice wrappers rolled, and dinner was on the table.
One of the cutting implements to make "zoodles" works great on the carrots.

It doesn't get easier. Simply chop up some salad materials and whip up a sauce to dip them in. It can be as simple as some Red Boat Fish sauce mixed with  a little honey and the juice of a couple limes or this more complex sauce (garlic optional) which was really good.

To make the rolls, place the sheets of rice paper (which are like paper thin hard Frisbees) in a dish of warm water for about 30-40 seconds.


Place on clean, dry towel, put a bit of veggies (I did mint, lettuce, carrots, and cucumbers but you can add sprouts, bits of tofu, fresh basil, cellophane noodles - be creative!) Then you roll one end over the filling, tucking it in, then fold the sides towards the center and roll up. If you are making several get a fresh kitchen towel about halfway through so they don't stick to a damp towel. There's a number of online tutorials that show how to roll them up. The rice papers range from 20-34 calories each, so you can eat several, filled with healthy choices, and have a meal for under 300 calories.

An easy, fun and healthy cold supper or appetizer, great on a warm summer day.

Sweet and Spicy Dipping Sauce

(serves 2-4)

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
2 Tablespoons warm water
1 clove garlic minced (optional)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 drops of Scoville Brothers Rockin Red hot sauce (or to taste)
2 Tablespoons honey
juice of one lime

Stir - let set a few minutes to blend flavors and service in individuals serving cups.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

No Dairy/No Egg Eikhorn Sourdough Muffins

These were an experiment, not from any particular recipe, and turned out really good. The outside was nicely crisp, but not hard, and the interior was soft and moist,  wonderfully textured with a light, sweet taste.  Made with vegetable or coconut oil, no dairy, and no egg these are perfect for your vegetarian or vegan friends and with just Einkorn flour, they are very, very low in Einkorn's unique gluten which those who are only gluten sensitive (not Celiac) can likely enjoy.

I baked mine for 25 minutes which was a bit much, as noted by the browning (though they were still really tasty).  I adjusted the cook time below for you, and that should be perfect.

In addition to the  probiotics in the sourdough and the overall increased nutrition of the Einkorn flour over traditional flour, these are a very filling and satisfying muffin to start your day with or have alongside a savory vegetable soup or stew.  If you don't have sourdough starter add 3/4 cup extra flour and 1/4 extra liquid in its place, but seriously try making some sourdough starter, I use mine 3-4 times a week and since switching over to Einkorn and less commercial yeast, I have ZERO of the tummy issues I used to regularly have.
 EACH muffin contains roughly:
170 calories
6 grams of protein
3 grams of fat
3 grams of fiber

Sourdough Eikhorn Muffins (no egg/no dairy)

2 cups Jovial Einkorn flour
1 cup wild yeast sourdough starter (fed with Einkorn)
3/4 tsp salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch of cardamom
1/2 cup sweetener (I filled up half cup measure two thirds with honey and the rest with maple syrup - use all maple syrup for Vegan).
1/4 cup nut milk
2 Tablespoons vegetable or coconut oil (melted)
2 Tablespoons whole flax seed divided
3 Tablespoons warm water

Put 1 tablespoon of the flax seeds in a blender or food processor and pulse until you have ground flaxseeds, add warm water, set aside for 5 minutes. It gels up during this time.   This is your egg substitute and works great in all quick breads. The remaining seeds go into the muffins whole.

Mix all dry ingredients in a big bowl, adding remaining Tablespoon of flax seeds that were left alone.

With a hand mixer in a small bowl mix flax liquid with sweetener on medium for one minute and high for four minutes until thick and creamy (this was a tip from Carla Bartolucci in her great Einkorn cookbook for a better texture).

Combine wet and dry ingredients by hand (it's a thick batter)  Spoon into 10-12 greased muffin cups (I used 10 to make them a little bigger).  Let rest 20-30 minutes then bake for 18-22 minutes at 400 F.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Einkorn Flour - For a Healthy Sandwich Bread

Have problems digesting modern wheat products? I'm not surprised, most of them are more "frankenwheat" than the grains that grew wild for millions of years.

Modern wheats have been hybridized through years and years and millions and millions of dollars in research. The goal of hybridization has been to increase yields, fight against plant disease, pests, weather conditions, etc.  In and of itself that's not a bad thing but many are starting to wonder if this long history of hybridization is the explanation for the rising number of people with a high intolerance to gluten.

Try some Einkorn wheat. Einkorn has an entirely different genetic makeup than modern wheat. I get mine from Jovial Company, discovering them when I bought Carla Bartolucci's great cookbook titled "Einkorn - recipes for nature's original wheat." (it's an awesome bread baking cookbook that I'm going to spend many a Saturday playing around with as I do LOVE to bake and I could just sit and look at the beautiful photos of the food for hours).
Einkhorn is different from modern wheat may explain how, for many people, it does NOT contribute to gluten intolerance:

Most modern wheat is a hybrid of many different grains and grasses. Einkorn has a 14 chromosomes , whereas modern wheat has a 42 chromosomes which changes the gluten structure.   Einkorn is considered more nutritious than modern wheat, based on the higher level of protein, essential fatty acids, phosphorous, potassium, pyridoxine, and beta-caroten.

Einkorn is the world’s most ancient wheat,and the only wheat that’s never been hybridized. Einkorn is a delicious, healthy alternative to modern, mass market wheat as it was one of the first foods planted, at the birth of agriculture 10,000 years ago. It grew wild for millions of years before that

Einkorn isn’t just rich in history and nutrients, it’s also very flavorful.  Intensive farming stripped most wheat of its taste along with its nutritional value. Go back to nature’s original wheat for a surprisingly pleasant taste that doesn't need a lot of spreads or butter to taste moist and wonderful.

Einkorn is packed with more nutrients, vitamins, and dietary minerals than regular wheat. Einkorn has 40% more protein and 15% less starch than commercial wheat, plus abundant B Vitamins and trace minerals like iron.

This was my first try.  It made a great bread with a wonderful taste and is so easy you can always have some on hand for toast, sandwiches and french toast. Two hours start to finish including rise and bake time and literally a few minutes of my time to measure and mix.  This recipe was on the bag of flour (though the cookbook has more detailed instructions which I summarized slightly).

 I had a piece very lightly toasted with sugar free jam for breakfast and wasn't hungry until lunch. I made a small sandwich out of two slices with a piece of sharp cheddar with some raw veggies - and at 4 o'clock I'm not searching for my usual "snack" because I'm hungry.  It is light in the stomach, but very filling.

Jovial Two Hour Sandwich Bread

1 and 1/4 up warm water (120 degrees F)
1 and 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
2 tablespoons oil or melted butter
1 Tablespoon honey or sugar
3 and 3/4 cups Jovial Einkorn flour.
1  and 1/4 teaspoons sea salt (you can leave out - it just won't brown as much)

(Note:  Jovial says that sourdough bakers can also bake this loaf by substituting ½ cup (100 g) of refreshed starter for the dry active yeast and lengthening the first rise to 10 to 15 hours at room temperature. After shaping the loaf, the second rise should be lengthened to 60 to 90 minutes.)

Mix, warm water, yeast, honey  and oil together and stir until cream in a large bowl. Add flour on top of liquid, sprinkle sea salt over the top

Mix with a spatula or wooden spoon until you have a wet, sticky dough.

Cover with plastic wrap and let raise in a warm place 45 minutes.
Shape dough into a loaf on a well floured cutting board by gently kneading it a few times (it will be sticky - put a little flour on your hands but don't add to dough) then form into a 8 inch oval. Fold the oval into thirds like a letter, lifting and pressing the ends to the center m then just stretch  and fold, pressing the top and bottom into the center to form a loaf shape. This "turning" process, which is outlined with photos in the book, is essential to working with the Eikhorn which absorbs liquids slower than other flours and remains a wet stick dough (if you add extra flour to make it "dry" dough, you'll just be baking a brick)

Place in a non stick bread pan, cover with oiled plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes while oven preheats to 375 F.  Bake for 30-40 minutes.  Cool completely before slicing.

I think this recipe, making it with sourdough starter is going to be my "go to" sandwich bread from now on.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Don't Turn on that Oven!

When it's really hot and humid - the last thing you want to do is turn on your oven?  How about making a Mediterranean plate (this one was for two).  With hummus, herbs, olives, low fat softcheese, garbanzoes with a little oil and turmeric and a few small slices of whole grain bread (plus some carrots which were on another little plate) it was light AND delicious.

OK and there was white wine - it's Monday.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

The Devil Made Me Do It

The little  solar powered devil with the forks in his hand was something my only brother always had in the window.  After a debilitating motorcycle accident some 10+ years ago that had him in and out of the hospital for a year, trying to fix a crushed leg, he gained 70 pound and developed type 2 diabetes. With stubbornness and willpower he lost most of the weight, but we always laughed at the little devil as the sunlight makes him raise his little arms (with the forks) up and down as he bobs his head.- tempting us to have something fattening in the kitchen. Silly - but it makes me smile remembering my brother.

I thought it had disappeared after he died suddenly, figuring his daughter took it as a keepsake, but I found it at Dad's tucked away in a cupboard and it's now on MY kitchen windowsill.

After cinnamon rolls for breakfast I wanted to make something light for supper.  I LOVE Thai food, which I actually never tried until I was in my 30's (Thai in a small Scandinavian logging, mill area wasn't popular).
There's an excellent tiny Thai place within short driving distance, but you never now how much sugar and oil is used, and dinner for two with a drink is usually $30 though it is where we go for monthly "date night" as it's such a small elegant little place.

So I'm working on making my own, adding the spices and sauces to my cabinets a bit of the time and keeping both sugar and oil to low levels..  Tonight  I made Thai Ginger Chicken (Gai Pad Khing) and it was incredible and also very filling for a small portion with the protein from the chicken..  I also loved  it with the" buy one get one free" chicken tenders and some garden veggies and bulk rice the whole meal was about $3 and there is enough leftovers for several more servings.
I made a run to our local small "ma and pa grocery" which has some pretty good deals for being locally owned (most of us prefer to avoid the little hell on earth that is Jewel Osco on a Saturday Morning after driving further into the city).

It was easy - mixing up the 4 ingredient sauce and chopping up some veggies and fresh grated ginger, then cutting some chicken tenders into bite sized pieces.  Don't turn up your noise at "fish sauce" and "oyster sauce"  I HATE oysters and am not a fan of fish (unless sufficiently battered and deep fried and served with beer) and this doesn't taste "fishy" just rich and complex.
I got the rice started.  This Oster steamer gets used a LOT at my house - There's a second layer to it and when it's hot  and you don't want to turn on the oven I've cooked an entire meal (including tenderloin in here). Plus, rice cooked in here is always perfect, unlike my cooking rice on the stove which is like playing "grain lottery".
Gai Pad Khing

Serves 4

2 Tablespoons  plus 1 teaspoon fish sauce (use Red Boat brand, available on Amazon, trust me on this).
1 Tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon oyster sauce (available in most oriental sections at the grocers).
2 teaspoons sugar or honey
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 Tablespoons high heat oil (not olive).
1 and 1/2 pounds chicken breast cut into bite sized pieces (or tofu or vegetarian substitute)
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 large red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 large sweet onion thinly closed.
2  heaping Tablespoons FRESH ginger, pealed and cut into matchstick size pieces (available in the veggie section, it looks like a small light colored gnarled root).

Mix sauces sugar/honey and crushed pepper in a small bowl and set aside.
Heat a wok or large skillet on high heat until hot.  Add oil and swirl around the pan.  Add garlic and lightly soften until fragrant and golden.  Add the chicken or veggie substitute a bit at a time, cooking in batches until it's about 90% cooked through.  Drain off most of the extra liquid and add a teaspoon of oil to the pan.  Add chicken and the veggies and stir fry until the veggies are tender crisp.  Turn off heat and add sauce (you can thicken with a bit of corn starch but I like mine liquidy to pour over the rice).

Serve with rice or salad.

Monday, July 4, 2016

There's Always Time for a Smoothie!

I have to work to add more fruits and veggies to my diet, as I don't eat them as much as I should. One way I WILL readily eat them is in smoothies.  With enough protein -  a smoothie is a great, refreshing and filling meal replacement. This is one of my favorites.  You don't taste the leafy greens but they add a punch of nutrition.  This kale was fresh out of the garden.
In a blender place:
1/3 of a block of firm tofu (yes, this adds protein and gives it a satisfying milkshake like texture).
1 cup of blackberries
a drop of honey (optional)
1 cup fresh kale (or other dark leafy green)
3/4 of a  12 oz. can of sparkling mineral water
1/2 scoop  Berry flavored veggie protein powder

Blend longer than just to mix - the more air that is incorporated into the drink - the more volume you will have to keep you full longer.
The smoothie is only 250 calories, with 9 grams of fiber and 20 grams of protein so you can add a sourdough corn muffin along with it for a quick meal on the go that will keep you full for hours.

Wild Yeast Sourdough Honey Corn Muffins 

1 cup Azure Standard wild yeast sourdough starter
1/4 cup  whole wheat flour
1 cup Bob's Red Mill cornmeal
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup  plus 1 Tablespoon honey
3/4 cup low fat milk or nut milk
4 Tablespoons of melted butter
2 eggs

Mix dry and wet ingredients in separate bowls, adding the melted butter in a thin stream, whisking constantly.

Combine wet and dry and place in 12 count greased muffin tins (these don't rise much so the tins should be fairly full).

Bake at 400 F. for 15-17 minutes (until a toothpick inserted in center comes out with just moist crumbs or dry).

Azure is GREAT to do business with and delivers all over the country. For starter ordering info cut and paste this in your browser:

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Talking Turkey - Meat Free Meals

Today was "meat free" Monday a day early as with the holiday we will be eating whatever friends are serving tomorrow.

But I try and eat meat free a minimum of 3 times a week, though not normally vegan.  I'm very much aware of the effect on our environment with factory farming, as well as the ethics of it, and most of my diet tries to have a varied diet of veggies and  grains, keeping the meat mostly to lean and or "wild" cuts, procured from small family farms that treat their animals as humanely as possible.

I also add a daily serving or two of really good quality dairy  (from Oberweis Dairy).  I lost about an extra half pound a week when I added the rBGH free milk back in my diet  (treated milk made my stomach very upset). But we make sure to get only non factory farmed products, humanely and locally produced if possible.

Breakfast was french toast with the leftover sourdough English muffin bread (recipe in a previous post).The batter is simple, some Oberweis milk, eggs, vanilla, a dash of honey and a pinch of cinnamon.  It had a nice, dense soft texture.

Lunch was Gardein brand turk'y cutlets -  a new product in their line. With that was some wonderful kale my personal trainer Birgit brought over from her garden Thursday, served with a vinaigrette, with rice, hummus and some mutant carrots (note to husband, please buy BIG carrots :-)

The "gravy" included with the cutlets was a bit lumpy though it had a nice taste so next time I think I'll just top with a squeeze of lemon.  The cutlets were amazing and tasted just like turkey. They are NOT gluten free but they have WAY less artificial ingredients than other faux "meats" on the market. Gardein products are, by far, are still my favorite vegetarian meat substitutes and they area reasonably priced.
Snacks were a Greek yogurt and an apple and later some popcorn to which I added a Tablespoon of Nutritional Yeast  right after cooking, shaking with the pan cover on so the powder sticks. It gives the popcorn a nice almost nutty/cheesy taste while adding B vitamins, protein, and fiber. My husband tried it and said it was really tasty as well.
Dinner - was "flying Frisbee's"", which is what we call tostados in our house. Leftover corn tortillas were lightly fried, then covered in non-fat refried beans, cumin/oregano/chili powder, Scoville Brothers cowboy crooner hot sauc infused TVP, and topped with Oberweis sharp cheddar, finely grated, lettuce and some of their yummy peach/mango salsa. (Oberweis delivers so all these great products show up on my porch and I don't have to go to the store!)