Tag Archives: whole foods

A few comfort foods…

What’s on the breakfast menu this fine, fall Sunday morning?

Grilled almond butter and banana sammitches, with a drizzle of honey! :Dbrushed with a touch of coconut oil for a crispy outside!

Mmmmmmmm……comfort food!

Admittedly, this is not what we usually eat for breakfast. But I came home on Friday to find a large box waiting for me, and when I opened it? 2 loaves of Nature’s Pride bread! (Thanks, Foodbuzz Featured Publisher Program!)

One loaf of oatmeal and one loaf of honey wheat with fiber:

Yeah, it’s kind of weird to get bread in the mail. We don’t eat a lot of bread, and when I do buy it I usually end up giving half a loaf to the birds. But, I found myself determined not to waste my special delivery “Bread-O-Gram!” So, grilled sammies it was.

Nature’s Pride bread has no trans fat, no artificial colors or flavors, and no HFCS. BO-nus! The oatmeal has 1g fiber per serving, the whole wheat, 2g.

In a perfect world, I’d choose an organic bread with tons of fiber, but you know how that goes. I’d say Nature’s Promise makes a darn good loaf.

So, since I had leftover pumpkin from my little punkin pancake recipe, and quite a bit of bread to utilize, I felt inspired to make some Pumpkin Butter! I love the feeling of making use of what’s already in my kitchen. (Makes me feel so thrifty!)

I combined 3 cups pureed pumpkin, 1/2 cup apple cider, 2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg and 1/4 cup pure maple syrup, brought it to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered, stirring frequently, until it reached the desired thickness.

And there you have it! Easy peasy Nature’s Pride bread with homemade pumpkin butter. Good for mommy and daddy, and good for baby! I think warm toast with spicy pumpkin qualifies as comfort food, too.

Actually, after last year’s food restrictions with my gestational diabetes, just being able to enjoy the pumpkin harvest this year is pretty darned comforting! Enjoying it along with my boy is about as good as it gets.

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What’s your favorite comfort food?

….and here’s a simple but loaded question: Do you eat much bread?

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Filed under Product & Service Reviews, Recipes & Food

Easy Millet Porridge

I know. I’m a fickle pickle.

Sure, I go on and on about how much I love oats, but I’ve got a new love on the side…

It’s MILLET!

Yes, millet is often found in bird seed. Tweet tweet! Technically, it is a seed, but it’s classified as a grain in culinary circles. It’s also a really yummy source of phosphorous and magnesium that provides lots of fiber… and it’s gluten-free!

I’ll admit, I used to be afraid  of a lot of grains, mostly because I didn’t know how to cook them. But now I know better. See…millet is just little and not very scary at all…

There are probably lots of more sophisticated millet recipes out there, but when I need breakfast, I need it real quick fast in a hurry on the double. So this is a simple method of making sure I have a good, healthy, hearty breakfast a few days in a row, with very little effort. (Just a little extra liquid when reheating results in a lovely, porridgy consistency.) Sometimes, I even toss the extra in with some Overnight Oats. The best of both worlds!

Like most grains and beans, millet should be rinsed clean and picked through before you prepare it to be eaten. Some folks will tell you to soak your millet, some will tell you not to. I do not soak. I heard something somewhere about increasing the bioavailability of the nutrients of millet by soaking, but honestly, I don’t know much about it. (Dietitian foodie friends: Chime in now!)

I recommend toasting millet before cooking. It lends the grain a richer, nuttier flavor, plus it’s just fun to watch the little guys dance in the pan. Just take a dry pan, add the millet, and cook over low to medium heat until the little grains start to jump around and pop. Shake pan frequently to ensure even browning, and watch carefully so it doesn’t burn! 8O

Once toasted, add the millet to a small saucepan with the liquid of your choice. (I use 1/4 cup millet to 1 cup liquid.) Use water, milk, soy milk, almond milk, coconut milk, orange juice, apple cider, or whatever suits your fancy. I like to use plain water if I’m making enough for a few days just in case the next morning brings a craving for a different flavor combination.

Bring mixture to a boil, then simmer over low heat (watching closely) for approx. 30 minutes or until water is absorbed and millet is tender. Remove from heat and let sit for a few minutes, then fluff with fork.

Once your millet is cooked, just add your favorite mix-ins! Today’s were cinnamon and cardamom, sliced banana, a drizzle of maple syrup and some crumbled Artisana coconut butter.  Oh, and one big, hefty Medjool date!

The smushed up version…

Tomorrow, I’m thinking banana with honey and almond butter!

A few add-in suggestions:

  • cinnamon
  • cardamom
  • nutmeg
  • vanilla
  • chia seeds
  • nut butters (almond, cashew, soy nut)
  • fruit butters (apple, pear, pumpkin)
  • dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, apricots, prunes, dates)
  • fresh fruit (bananas, berries, sauteed apples, stewed pears)
  • citrus zest
  • coconut
  • pumpkin puree
  • honey
  • maple syrup
  • agave nectar

The possibilities are endless! :D

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Have you ever eaten millet? Do you like it?

Have you ever been intimidated by an ingredient because you didn’t know what to do with it?

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Mommy and Me Recipe: Fall Veggie Crisp

Since returning to work full-time, I’ve learned one thing for sure: Anything I can do on the weekend to help myself out during the week makes me my own best friend when workdays kick my butt. So, Sunday has become the day to cook!

Today, I made this yumminess with some of the last garden tomatoes, to be delivered to my father-in-law…

…and these belated birthday cupcakes for my very understanding husband…

(although I do admit to using this, enhanced with some applesauce and dried cranberries:)

Also in the lineup: the filling for our favorite Quesadilla Casserole, so the huz can just layer it with tortillas in a casserole dish tomorrow night and bake. What a team we make! :D

But my favorite creation of the day was a new Mommy and Me Recipe

So many fall veggies, so little time…what to do? For some reason, fall makes me crave a crisp, crumb topping on everything, and apple crisps are so last week. So, why not a veggie crisp? 

My handy dandy food processor made quick work of 1 butternut squash, 1 large sweet potato, 3 parsnips, 5 carrots and 1/2 large sweet onion. (Nice, even slices make for nice, even baking!)

I set aside some of each veggie to be baked for little man, and added just a little water. (Hold the onions and broth, please! At least for now…) 

I poured one can of  low-sodium veggie broth into the dish until it was about 1/2″ below the level of the vegetables. 

The “cross your fingers and hope it’s good” topping consisted of: 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, 1/3 cup old fashioned rolled oats, a Tbsp of amaranth (just because :) ), a light handful of chopped, fresh parsley, rosemary and thyme, and a sprinkle of sea salt.

Both dishes were baked at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes, covered (or until the broth bubbled up through the crumbs and veggies were soft.)

I just love filling the house with the scents of fall, and this recipe did just that. It was easy, yet satisfying and comforting, and made use of lots of different veggies. It also made lots of beautiful puree, although the orange was INTENSE, so I added a bit of applesauce to take it down a notch. (Just sounded good to me, and baby boy seemed to agree!)

Which brings me to my Bonus Tip of the Day: When baby flings a big spoonful of pure orangetasticness onto your white carpet, try a little bit of Lulu’s in the Fluff!

Good as new! ;) Let the workweek begin!

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How do you balance home and work life? Do you do anything on your days off to help yourself out on busier days?

Does the onset of fall make you crave anything specific? 

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Filed under Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food, The Everyday

Simple, Beautiful, Whole Foods

I don’t eat whole foods exclusively, but I definitely take advantage of their wonderful simplicity whenever I have the opportunity.

One of my favorite things about eating whole foods is the appreciation I’ve gained for natural, beautiful, single ingredients

Like these tiny little organic potatoes I purchased from a local farmer…

There was a time when I would have fiddled with these potatoes, adding ingredients until they were unrecognizable.

No more.

Now, I know that letting these babies shine on their own, roasted with just a touch of olive oil and sea salt, is what appeals to me most.

Sometimes, a single, perfect ingredient can really help take a few others to a whole new level. 

For example, the beautiful bright red tomato from our garden that, when combined with our basil, garlic and yellow pear tomatoes (along with a bit of fresh mozz) took our quickie pizza from merely “good” to “Let’s make another one!”

And once in a while, a very special magic happens, and a few of these simple ingredients that are so perfect on their own come together to create a whole foods masterpiece. (Which is exactly what happened when I checked my inbox and found this Guacamole Salad recipe from Katie at Health for the Whole Self. Thanks, Katie! I just happened to have all the ingredients on hand, although in different colors…)

In case you haven’t noticed, eating clean, natural, whole foods makes me downright giddy.

The only thing that makes me giddier (giddier?!) is the hope that I can pass on an apprecation for whole foods to my boy.

On that note, I’m off to the garden to go find some more! It’s a stellar September day, with a little sun and a little breeze, and there are lots of butternuts and beets in the garden, waiting patiently to be roasted for this little one…who, incidentally, turns 10 months old today! 

He’s far cuter than my computer, so today I’m all his.

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Do you try to incorporate “whole foods” into your everyday diet? Is there a whole ingredient (veg, fruit, grain, etc.) that, in it’s simplicity and perfection, you just LOVE?


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Filed under Green Living, Home & Garden, Parenting & Family, Recipes & Food

Know Your Neighbors: Tomatillo Chicken Stew

I don’t want to invite trouble, but I just might be able to die a happy woman after this weekend. It was perfect. Yup, I said it. Perfect.

There was a little time spent in the kiddie pool, a fun impromptu picnic snack with Daddy, a short but delicious nap, and lots of baby snuggles. All wonderful, but there was a high point…

It was my first Saturday off in months, and I was busting at the seams at the thought of spending the whole day with my boy (make that boys.) It was also my first opportunity to check out the Selinsgrove Farmer’s Market. Don’t get too excited…it’s not like many of the others I’ve seen and salivated over on other blogs. But, small as it may be, there were treasures to be had!

We met a local farmer, Giles, who told us that he operates an organic farm nearby, Mystic Springs. And get this: he’s one of our neighbors! I had no idea! We chatted for a bit, and he told us that he and his wife have 8 children, and their desire to feed their family organic foods is what sparked their farming career. They’ve chosen not to seek certification, but they do run a sustainable, energy efficient, organic farm. What a find! I can’t stress this enough: Get to know your local farmers!

This totally makes up for that guy in Lewisburg who told me pesticides were OK because “my daughter eats my peaches and she’s fine…” :roll:

Here’s the Mystic Springs farmstand, CSA baskets and all…

We grow many of the same items, so we didn’t need much, but I just couldn’t pass up the challenge of the tomatillos!

Pretty, aren’t they?

We picked up a brochure and found that the Mystic Springs mission statement includes “integrating spirituality with farming” and Giles’ wife, Marcia, is a lactation counselor! I wonder if I can talk them into being our new best friends… :D

I strolled away, tomatillos and a few other purchases in hand, feeling a little less alone in the world. *sigh*

So what do you do with tomatillos? I wasn’t feeling the salsa idea so much, so I set out on a Google hunt for a new recipe…and found Tomatillo Chicken Stew! 

This recipe required me to roast the tomatillos under the broiler (which was fun because they pop and squeal!) and make them into a sauce, which I refrigerated overnight to let the flavors meld. I finished the stew up on Sunday in a matter of about 35 minutes. It was a tart change of pace, and we really enjoyed it! Although next time, it definitely needs a little more heat. My jalapenos must be a little dull…

Here are some pictures of the “stew progression.” For the sake of time (since the baby is tucked in and I’d like to savor the last few hours of my perfect weekend with my husband…) you can find the original recipe here.

Many thanks to Giles and his family for their produce, which mingled with ours in a lovely locally grown collaboration. They are expecting delicata squash next week…I can’t wait! 

Go bug a local farmer today. You’ll be glad you did!

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Do you make an effort to support local farmers? Have you found any hidden gems?

Have you ever eaten a tomatillo?



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Filed under Green Living, Recipes & Food