Category Archives: Recipes

Green Cream

green cream edit

Dear Guest to Our Little Spot Here:

Today my daughter and I are sharing our green “cream” recipe.  This green “cream” recipe is very good over berries (strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries). It’s kind of like whipped cream but still very different.  It is super, SUPER yummy.  We recommend it for people who do not tolerate dairy or for those with adventurous spirits.

This makes a nice breakfast or a pretty dessert.  We served it for Easter and made a trifle out of it, layering fruit, green “cream,” and crumbled gluten-free, dairy-free cake in a pretty, clear glass bowl.  We watched our unsuspecting guests’ responses closely as they ate their sweet ending, but their dessert plates indicated our success!  Whew!

Although we think this is a fabulous recipe to have, there are some things you must know for success.  We want you to have success.  Like bananas turn brown, so too does avocado.  Green cream does not keep well.  Serve promptly.  (Tips for using green cream in a trifle are at the end of the post.)  Just like you can’t mash under-boiled potatoes, so too can you not whip green cream.  Use soft, ripe avocados which yield to gentle pressure.  And lastly, this requires a food processor or very good blender to cream up nicely of appropriate size for your batch.

Ingredients:

Scale the recipe accordingly.  One avocado makes about 3/4 to 1 cup of cream, depending on the size of the avocado.  Be sure to use the proper sized appliance according to how many avocados you will be creaming.  We use a mini-food processor for a batch of one or two avocados and a large food processor for more than two.

  • 1 soft, ripe avocado (hard or even mildly hard avocados will not work) 
  • Maple syrup, quantity varies from 1 tablespoon to about 4 tablespoons, depending on taste and consistency needed
  • Vanilla, 1 teaspoon

Instructions:

  1. Peel your avocado and place it in the food processor.  (Do you know how to easily peel most avocados?  Score the avocado in half all the way to the seed, lengthwise.  By lengthwise we mean from the stem to the bottom.  You can’t cut the avocado in half because of that huge seed.Then, after the avocado flesh has been scored all the way around, you can twist the avocado and it usually comes apart in halves.  Cut into fourths and then easily peel the green peel off.  Make sense?)
  2. Add a tablespoonful of the maple syrup and the  vanilla.
  3. Blend very well, until smooth and silky.  Then, ask yourself two questions:  One, is it the consistency I want?  Two, is it the sweetness I desire?
  4. Add maple syrup until you get the consistency and sweetness you want.

 

That’s it!!! This is super, duper simple so give it a try!

green cream collageFamily “gustar” report:  Complete success.  6/6 of us like it.  When making a trifle, make sure to put the berries and cake as the top layers, not the green cream.  This actually allows the avocado cream to keep and not turn brown for hours because it is protected from air.  Once the avocado is exposed to air when serving, though, there’s no stopping the oxidation.  Taste is not affected, just the beauty.

~~Mary
~~Terri

Paprika Chicken: Sure to Please and Super Easy

Our family really loves this recipe. It is very quick to make and super easy. It can be made dairy-free by using olive oil  in place of the butter. It is good for when you want something that is easy but still very yummy! 😉

paprika chicken

PAPRIKA CHICKEN

(Served four with leftovers.)

2 pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into strips or use the pre-cut “tenderloins”
1/4-1/2 cup melted butter or olive oil
Salt, 1 teaspoon
Pepper, 1/2 teaspoon
Garlic powder, 1 teaspoon
Paprika (or smoked paprika), 1 teaspoon
Oregano, 1-2 teaspoons

1.  Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (204 degrees Celsius).

2.  Place the chicken in a 9X11 pan.   (Don’t be afraid to cram ’em in there.)

3.  Drizzle the chicken with either melted butter or olive oil.

4.  Sprinkle the chicken with salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika, and oregano.

5.  Bake for 25-30 minutes, until juices run clear when the chicken is pressed down with a fork.

Serve alongside a side of potatoes or sweet potatoes or rice or squash and something beautifully green.

Family “gustar” report:  100% success rate.  Everybody approved.  Super delicious and super easy.  If you want to make it even better, then consider pounding your chicken.  But this adds a little more mess, work, and time.  I am in fifth grade, and I make this for the family myself.

Warmest wishes for health and happiness from our kitchen to yours–from our family to yours!

~~Mary and Terri

Salmon OCD Dip

 

Today’s recipe is my take on a delightful appetizer made by a mysterious, black-haired, smokey eyed, Romanian gypsy who weaves her Eastern Romanian fare with Italian and Camaroonian accents.  With her help, I have learned to appreciate wpid-IMAG1331.jpgtraditional foods full of nutritional goodness.  I could sit all day and listen to her stories of growing up in a Communist state.

She made this appetizer for a get-together and served it with Belgian endive leaves.  I told her I think she is a great cook.  She attributes it to the fact that, because she has been many places besides the United States, she has no preconceived idea of what she “needs” to make to please people.  So she is free to “just make.”

I think this would be a great dip to take to a Super Bowl party.  It is called Salmon OCD Dip to help you remember why it is so good for you.  Omega-3.  Calcium.  Vitamin D.

Salmon OCD Dip

1 can of salmon, 14.75 ounces (I use wild-caught, intact salmon, meaning the bones and skin included.)
1/2 tin of sardines
10 capers or more
1/2 of a small onion, chopped
1/4 cup of softened palm shortening or leftover bacon drippings
Juice of one lemon
1/2-1 teaspoonful of salt
Optional:  2 small, thin anchovies

Put the salmon in a food processor, blender, or mini food processor.  Don’t look at the disgusting mixture.  Just think and repeat “omega-3, calcium, and vitamin D.”  Process well.

Add the sardines, capers, onion, palm shortening or bacon drippings, salt and lemon juice.  (And the anchovies if desired.)    Process well.

Transfer to serving bowl.  I prefer to serve this with fresh carrots and sliced apples.  My friend served it with Belgian endive which she had separated into “boats” and arrayed on the serving platter.  Lovely.

Family “gustar” report:  My kids won’t try it.  If your kids love seafood a lot, it may go.  If they don’t, probably won’t.  My husband and I both think it’s great.

I wish you health and hope that you will consider what intensive nutrition could do to help you attain it, even if it seems like a problem that would have NO nutritional connection.  You may be very surprised.  I was.

Terri

A Twist on Zuppa Toscana

Sopa ToscanaThis is a good soup, a twist from an Olive Garden recipe, Zuppa Toscana.  It is fantastic.   My family loves it.  I took it to a get-together, and the nice guest sitting next to me didn’t know I had made it.  I was tickled when he said at least a couple of times, “This is good sausage soup.”  That, along with another guest’s recipe request told me this soup is a crowd pleaser.

Take this soup to your New Year’s gathering or cook it up simply for a New Day!

I have made this soup with both potatoes and sweet potatoes.  The potato is my family’s favorite, but they also like the sweet potato version too!  So don’t be afraid to substitute.  Using squash would taste good too, but you will lose the “comfort” texture the starchy potatoes and sweet potatoes offer.  In addition, look for the sausage with the least ingredients.  This is often difficult to find, so when I find it, I stock up in bulk.  Lastly, I use homemade broth because it tastes so good and I know exactly what is in it.  Making broth is not hard at all.  It mostly just requires us to step outside of our comfort zone.

Zuppa Toscana

1 pound sausage, browned and drained
5 slices of bacon, browned, reserve drippings
1 onion, diced
3-5 cloves of garlic
6 medium potatoes
Broth, chicken or beef, variable but approximately 9 cups (about 2 quarts)
Spinach or kale, about 2 cups chopped finely (either one is great)
2 teaspoons parsley, dried
1 teaspoon rosemary, dried, broken into small bits/crumbled
2 teaspoons basil, dried
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste (I used about 1/2-1 teaspoon)

1.  Brown sausage.  Drain drippings.  They will not be needed.  Reserve sausage and set aside.
2.  While sausage is browning, scrub and slice potatoes thinly, like you would for fried potatoes.  It’s up to you if you want skins on or off.  I can give you pros and cons to both ways health-wise.
3.  Brown bacon.  When crispy, remove the bacon from the pan and set aside on paper towel-lined plate to drain.
4.  In bacon pan and drippings, saute the chopped onion until golden brown.  Mince, press, or chop the garlic into the browning onions.  Saute a little.  Transfer onions and garlic to your soup pot.
5.  Add the sliced potatoes.
6.  Cover potatoes, onions, and garlic with broth.  Do not use all of the broth.  Use enough to cover and boil potatoes.
7.  Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.  Simmer until the potatoes are fork tender and even a little bit mushy.
8.  While the soup is cooking, clean and chop the greens.  If I use kale, I remove the thick stems before using.
9.  Smash some of the potatoes to make the soup thicker.  Add more broth to make the soup the consistency you want!  Do you want it soupy or more stew-like?
10.  Add the dried parsley, basil, and rosemary.
11.  Season with salt and pepper.  (Taste before adding much salt.  Certain broths are already salty!)
12.  Finally, add the chopped kale or spinach.  Remove from heat.

Family “gustar” report:  Every man, woman, and child goes for seconds on this one.  Bingo.

Added bonus:  I’ve found some Brewer’s yeast to add to soups.  It packs a huge B vitamin punch!  As I’ve observed some diet logs, I’ve seen that even in people with good intake of vegetables and meats, there is still a low intake of B vitamins!  Brewer’s yeast has kind of a cheese-like flavor suggestion and merges well in some recipes.  This is one of them.

Have a great day!

Terri

How Do You Eat THAT Vegetable? Butternut Squash.

Squash up some butternut squashVegetable Series: When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.

Okay. We’re back on the vegetable trail.  Have you tried rutabaga yet? Artichoke? Kohlrabi? Jicama?  If not, you ARE missing out!  Today’s featured vegetable, butternut squash, should be one of your favorites.  Why?

1.  It’s long-lasting , edible interior décor AND does not require a face.  While pumpkins are great for edible, fall interior décor too, those with young kids know that all orange orbs require faces.  (Halloween is over.  That’s not a Jack-O’ Lantern.  That’s a Pilgrim now.  See the arms?)pumpkin

2.  Sweet potato . . . sweet potato . . . where are you?  Drat.  I’m out of sweet potatoes.  Where’s a pumpkin?  I’ll substitute with pumpkin.  Pump-kin . . . pump-kin . . . where are you?  Oh.  No pumpkin either, canned or otherwise.  Well, shoot.  What’s left to substitute?  I AM making this recipe today. . .

Aha!  Butternut squash.  Butternut squash can often be substituted for pumpkin and sweet potato in pies, casseroles, and soups.  Great for poor planners.  (No.  That’s self-deprecating.  Let’s practice re-phrasing and positivity to help reduce stress levels which lead to chronic disease.)  Great for busy moms who prefer to spend time with their kids–rather than shop with them.

3.  “National” pride:  Apples originated from Asia.  Potatoes from South America.  Brussels from Europe.  What about North America?  Don’t we have any yummy, native vegetables and fruits to call our own?  Yep!  Squash.  (I use that tid-bit factoid to get my kids to eat it, along with the miraculous story of how the Native Americans graciously taught the immigrant Europeans how to grow and prepare it.)

Do not be intimidated by squash.  Butternut, acorn, pumpkin, and delicata squashes are usually interchangeable.  Spaghetti squash is NOT interchangeable.  And yellow, summer squash is NOT interchangeable.  Let’s make sure we are on the same page here.   Here is a pile of butternut squash:Cucurbita_moschata_Butternut_2012_G2

 

We eat a lot of hard squashes in our house, particularly butternut and pumpkin, but here is a no-frills recipe which is simple and gets the following remark:  “What is this?  Sweet potato?  Tastes like sweet potato casserole.”  The hardest part of working with hard, winter squashes is cutting them.

  • Get out your biggest butcher knife to cut that thing in half!
  • Then, lay a half on its flat surface and start cutting it into half-rings.
  • Cut the half-rings into wedges–like you would a pineapple!
  • Use a smaller knife to then slice off the peel left on one side of the wedge.

 

Butternut Squash Up

What you’ll need:

1 medium-sized butternut squash, cut into pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup oil (I used melted coconut oil but olive oil or melted butter would be great, too)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Dash of salt

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (177 degrees Celsius).
2.  Cut your squash if you haven’t already.
3.  Place the chunks into a casserole dish.  (You don’t want it to really fill the dish by more than half.)
4.  In a smallish to medium-sized bowl, whisk together maple syrup, melted oil, and spices.  Pour over squash and give a quick stir to coat squash.
5.  Bake for about 45 minutes to an hour.  (Baking time will vary based on your oven and on sizes of the squash pieces.)  Squash is finished baking when it is fork tender.
6.  You are not done!  Use a large fork or a hand-masher gadget to squish up the squash.  Then, give it a few good stirs.
7.  Transfer to a pretty serving dish and serve warm.

Family “gustar” report: 6/7 eaters liked this.  (We have company staying with us.)  My youngest eater took her mandatory bite. She used to be my best eater, but she is going through a picky time.  I also served this at a large family get-together, and it was well-received by my mom, dad, and sisters, a fussy, honest crowd.

You can see below the casserole dish I chose, the “wedges” of squash I described, and squashing it up (and why I suggest putting it in another serving dish).

photo 1 photo 2

Do you eat squash?  Which is your favorite?  How do you fix it?

Terri

Photo credit:  Wikipedia, public domain photo.   Butternut squash, cultivar variety of Cucurbita moschata, ripe fruits. Ukraine.  Photographer, George Chernilevsky.

 

Folate Delivery Dressing

I have one more post on folate to share before I leave it behind.  It is a recipe I use to help my family eat more greens,Greens eat good food including the folate-powerhouse spinach.

Goal: 

Eat more folate-rich foods, including greens.

Why:

Some people–maybe you–can’t metabolize the form of folate called folic acid very well.  Folic acid is what is added to most grain-based processed foods and used in most vitamins.  These people do much better with folates found naturally in foods.  Since they don’t metabolize folic acid very well, their bodies are basically functioning on a “folate deficiency” despite adequate intake of folic acid.

So what?

I don’t know.  Which reason do you want?  Folate deficiency may play a role in depression?  Bipolar disorder?  Birth defects?  Anemia?  Atherosclerosis?  Alzheimer’s?  Chronic fatigue syndrome?  Gout?  Hearing loss?  Blood clots?

Although the research on folate’s connection to many of these conditions is not clear-cut, there are some suggestions.  On something as simple as eating real, folate-rich food, I don’t see a need to wait around for the million dollar research study.

Plan:

When it comes to folate, spinach leads the pack.  I use this simple dressing which the kids enjoy to deliver folate-rich greens, including spinach, to my family.

 

Folate Delivery Dressing

1/3 cup of bacon drippings
1/4 cup of maple syrup (or honey or sweetener of choice)
1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
Diced onion (may omit)
Salt and pepper to taste
Spinach (or greens of choice)

Heat bacon drippings in skillet over medium-high heat until melted and hot.  Add onions and saute until golden brown.  Add the maple syrup and whisk.  Allow to thicken and bubble.  Add apple cider vinegar and whisk again.  Allow it to reduce and thicken a little.  Salt and pepper to taste.

Use the dressing to pour over fresh spinach, tossing to wilt.  Use just enough to coat as desired.  Alternatively, the greens may be added to the pan and cooked a little.

 

warm bacon dressingBottom Line:

Nutrient deficiencies abound.  Not huge deficiencies that can be pointed at directly.  But little micronutrient deficiencies.  Feed yourself and your families fresh vegetables, fruits, and foods to overcome these deficits.  You’ll feel the difference!  It is important.  I just wish I could emphasize this enough!

Thank you to my lovely, young daughters for the graphics on this post.

~~Terri

How Do You Eat That Vegetable? Parsnips.

Vegetable Series: When we changed our eating two years ago, I resolved to be afraid of no vegetable. Not knowing how to cut it or cook it was NOT going to keep it out of my cart. For a long time I’ve wanted to do a series of posts on all the different vegetables we have tried and what we do to the poor things. May you, too, vow to try any and all vegetables in your supermarket! Go get ’em, tiger.

 

“I LOVE those French fries!”Parsnips in basket edited

Have you tried parsnips?  Have your kids tried parsnips?  Do you or your family like parsnips?  Do you have a great parsnip recipe?  Do you know what parsnips are?

For my kids, I often find keeping dishes simple and flavors not too complex suits their taste buds more at this young age.  Plus, when you’re eating a whole, real foods lifestyle, faster and easier is much better for the cook, too!  We made parsnip “fries” to prepare for this post.  When my husband and kids came into the kitchen, I was frantically grabbing fries to stash and hide behind the coffeemaker so I wouldn’t have to make more to photograph!  I was glad the “fries” were a gastronomical success!  M5 year-old daughter said, “I love those French fries, Mom.”

This wasn’t always the case.

If you can do it with a potato…

As I’ve pointed out, we’ve only been eating this way for about two years now.  The word out there is:  If you can do it with a potato…you can do it with a parsnip.  So I tried parsnips in soups, roasts, mashes, and casseroles.  (“What is this, Mom?”  As in, they didn’t approve.)  I even made parsnip fries, which you could tell they didn’t mind, but they didn’t really eat many.  My kids were just too close to their potatoes.  Near removal of the potato and addition of parsnips on occasion, and my kids can now tally parsnips to the growing list of vegetables they’ll eat!

What am I saying?  If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again!  Kids need repetitive exposure and a great example.  Persist in a vegetable-rich diet for your family.  Understand it may take years.  Accept it and don’t give up.  In the meantime, just be prepared to eat a lot of vegetables yourself…

What is a Parsnip?

It is a root vegetable which looks like a fat, white carrot (one of its relatives).

  • Commonly cultivated and eaten in Europe before the potato was introduced.  (Do you know where potatoes originated from?  The mountains of Peru.)
  • Usually thought of as a fall and winter vegetable, but since it stores so well, it is available year round.
  • It is a starchy vegetable and has a sweet, nutty taste and a potato-like texture when cooked.
  • Frost and refrigeration bring about a sweeter taste.
  • Neck to neck, there’s not much nutritional difference between a parsnip and potato.  Parsnips have a little more calcium and a little more fiber.  Parsnips are a little (not much) lower on the “net carb” ladder than a potato.  The only real difference I can think of is that a potato belongs to the family called a “nightshade” and a parsnip doesn’t.  (Nightshades are excluded for people who follow an anti-inflammatory diet because some minor research indicates they may be detrimental to the lining of the GI tract, may increase the body’s production of inflammation-producing chemicals, and increase arthritis and achiness in people.  So someone on an anti-inflammatory diet could easily replace the potato with the parsnip.)

Parsnips are nice because they keep in your refrigerator forever.  I choose them and store them like I do carrots.  Often they come coated in a waxy material, so I always peel my parsnips with a potato peeler before using them to get this strange stuff off.

Then, do what you’d do to a potato!  Here’s one to try, but don’t stop here!

Parsnip Fries

Parsnips, washed and peeled
Olive oil
Salt as desired
Garlic powder and onion powder if desired

Preheat oven to 375-400 degrees Fahrenheit (191-204 degrees Celsius).  Cut the parsnips so that they resemble French fries.  Toss in just enough olive oil to lightly coat.  Sprinkle with salt and other seasonings.  Lay each cut fry on a baking sheet so that the fries have space between them.  You may need to use two baking sheets if you’re making a lot.  (If you get them too close together, they steam each other and get soggy rather than crispy.  Uck.)

Baking times seem to vary immensely.  The best idea is to just watch.  I start by baking in the preheated oven for about 10-15 minutes (but still watching them), and then I take them out and flip the fries.  I bake for another 10-15 minutes or so.  The goal is a fairly golden brown fry that isn’t burnt and isn’t soggy.  Sometimes I remove the ones that look done before the rest.Taste before serving and add more seasoning as desired.  Serve hot.  Nobody likes cold fries of any kind.  Do they?

Parsnip fries edited Cutting parsnips edit

 

Family “gustar” report: 5/5 ate these fries all gone. Will definitely try to include these more in our repertoire.

Note: Parsnips are discouraged for the GAPS/SCD diets.

So what vegetables are YOU all eating?  ~~Terri

Other vegetables in The Vegetable Series:  Rutabagas, artichokes, kohlrabi, and jicama.