Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Flax Seed Crackers

This recipe and deliciousness is brought to you by our parents.  My dad brought these over the other day and they were pretty delicious.  They are a fantastic cracker for the raw foodist and have a great crunch, if you're like me and want to keep your mouth busy.  They found this recipe from the book Living in the Raw by Rose Lee Calabro.  They adjusted the recipe to suit their liking.


4 c. whole flax seeds, soaked 4-6 hours in 3 c. water (Mom and dad pureed this in the blender for a finer texture)
1/3 - 1/2 c. Bragg's Liquid Aminos
juice of 2-3 lemons

Mix flaxBragg's and lemon juice. Keep mixture moist and loose for spreading. Spread mixture as thin as possible. Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 5-6 hours on teflex. Flip over, remove teflex and dehydrate another 4-5 hours until desired crispness. (Mom and dad found that the mixture wouldn't flip, so they simply let it dehydrate on the same side until they were done.  It worked out great!)



 In this shot, you can see how thing these crackers are.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dr. McDougall's Foods

I recently re-discovered Dr. McDougall dry foods.  I've been trying to avoid white flour and also need foods that are very easy to prepare and tasty.  And, when I say easy to prepare, I mean EASY.  So, it was nice to stumble on this again.

Dr. McDougall has a whole diet program, for those interested.  But for me, I am just happy to see non-white pasta in a healthier presentation that is easy to make.  I've decided to keep some varieties at my desk at work for convenience.  There are lots of types of foods to choose from:


I've never had the Asian Entrees, so I think I'll try that next. :)

Goat Milk Yogurt

When I was younger, I was told I had a milk allergy. For a long time, I had goat products instead of cow and did not enjoy them. This was before it was cool to try things non-dairy and there weren't a lot of options. Now, when I drink milk, I have soy milk. I have used almond and rice cheeses and like the SO Delicious Minis (soy-based ice cream sandwiches - As an aside, those minis are DELISH! They have a new coconut one...yummy!!!) But as an adult, I have more dairy than I should so when I saw this goat's yogurt while wandering at Whole Foods, I had to try it.





The taste of the yogurt - I forgot the tang that goat's milk has so I was a little surprised when I tasted it. It was a little too tangy for me, but for goat milk yogurt, I'm sure it was good. I actually thought the vanilla version would made a great dip for celery or carrots.

What I was really impressed with was the company. Redwood Hill Farm is the first certified humane goat dairy farm in the US (per their website) as well as being organic and natural. I did a quick web search to find the dirt on this Farm and couldn't find any. I expected some review saying they are really not as high quality as they sound, etc., but there was no smoking gun. Instead, 4 and 5 star ratings about how eco-friendly this farm is. They also have a line of cheeses that I am so excited to try out. I'll let you know what I find!!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My 100% Organic Meal

I made a 100% organic meal last week, which for me is a big deal. Heidi is so good at this eat crunchy thing, but I am still adjusting. But like her post said the other day about trying things little by little, small changes can lead to good outcomes. So I made a taco salad with lots of yummy organic things - lettuce, tomatoes, olives, sour cream, cheese (I didn't know there was such a thing as organic cheese until this meal), parsley, etc. This was also the first time I had cooked meat following my viewing of Food Inc. I went to Whole Foods and found some meat from animals that had been treated well. Something about the labels just made me feel better. Apparently their is an entire rating system with 5 different levels, but I could only find beef at level 1. Even at that level, though, the animals were not caged and mistreated and that helped me feel better.





I was also reminded how much I love Whole Foods. I have been in the middle of a move and my normal routine has been disrupted. Also, where I am staying, there are no Whole Foods in sight so I have missed wandering around the store, reading about ANDI's labels, and breathing in the health that seems to reside there.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Healthy Substitutes

I'm a big believer in making small changes one at a time.  If you make too many changes all at once, in my experience, you tend to get overwhelmed and fail.  And we all know how we feel when we fail.  It's depressing and it take a lot of time to recoup, emotionally, from the setback.  Each time we fail we feel like it's inevitable that we'll fail again- making it all the more difficult to try again.

When I came across this article about healthy substitutes, I knew I needed to share it.  It highlights what my family and I have been doing over time.  We make small changes each week, month, etc... to eventually have a much healthier diet.  I've found with us the likelihood of us keeping up the change is better if we do it one at a time.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Takin' Care

Those that know me know that the past couple years of my life were a little crazy. I had a job where I traveled all over Dallas County at all hours of the day and night and worked crazy hours. A year ago I changed positions and now my life is a little more normal. I work a normal amount and have more free time.

Because of this crazy schedule, I often got ready for work in the car, at stop lights, in parking lots, etc. Hair, make-up, sometimes clothes. Today is the first morning in at least a year that I got completely ready for the day at home before I left. Clothes, hair, make-up, jewelry...everything. I left feeling put together, confident, and happy. It reminded me that I have not been doing a good job of taking care of myself. Self-care is such a vital part of life and wellness.

So I pass my lesson onto you. Take time to do what you need to do to help you feel put together, confident, and happy.



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Healthy Places To Try In DFW

Just found this article with a list of new places that I want to try here in the DFW area.  So, look for reviews on these places soon...

Spiral Diner, Kalachandji's, Cosmic Cafe, and Southpaw's Organic Cafe.  Read about them here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Pick Your Own Farms

I love Texas.  We have a little bit of everything!  I recently came across this website, which lists Pick Your Own farms!  Awesome!

Every Halloween, the hubs, kiddo and I head to a local pick your own pumpkin patch.  We love that we're helping a local farmer, and having a lot of fun.  It was so cool to learn that we have Pick Your Own farms as well.  There's no better way to know your food is local than by picking it yourself!

Do you go to a Pick Your Own farm?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Farmer's Markets

This is great to see:  Farmer's Markets have increased by 17% over the past year and more than doubled in the past decade. 

“It’s really important to support the local farmers,” says Bitterman, corporate executive chef for The Ralph Brennan Restaurant Group’s six restaurants. “Especially since Katrina, we all really learned that we needed to come together as a community and support each other. And that’s my part. I try to buy product for the restaurant at the farmers market as well.”
In part because of sentiment like that, the number of farmers markets around the country has more than doubled during the last decade, according to federal statistics. Last year alone, the number of markets jumped 17 percent to 7,175.
In one form or another, farmers markets have been around for quite a while. But culturally, the timing is right for growth. Consumers are increasingly interested in eating locally and sustainably produced foods. Government programs that channel funds to small farmers also have helped.
“They are a way people can reconnect with agriculture, with farmers, with how food is produced,” says Kathleen Merrigan, deputy agriculture secretary. “Once farmers markets start popping up, people start to see this works, and they start replicating.”

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The "heart attack proof" diet? Interesting read...

While scrolling CNN's website, I came across this article that claims the heart attack proof diet.  It claims that regardless of your genetics and family history, if you follow a plant based diet and consume no meat, no eggs, no dairy and no added oil- you will be free from the chance of a heart attack.  It turns out that even greasy food loving Bill Clinton follows this diet!

One thing the article points out that I really loved was a quote by the diet's founder, Dr Caldwell Esselstyn, about heart disease.

 "It's a foodborne illness, and we're never going to end the epidemic with stents, with bypasses, with the drugs, because none of it is treating causation of the illness."

How many times have you considered something other than the stomach flu a foodborne illness?  The power to control a lot of modern diseases is at the dinner table.

Not always easy, but definitely worth it in the long run.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Start a 1-Acre, Self-Sufficient Farm

Okay, this is a cool article.  I recently discovered Mother Earth News and fell in love with this magazine.

After reading, I started to believe that I can quit my job and start a community farm, or that I can buy some land and build a house from scratch. Now, keep in mind, in my real life (not the fantasy in my head), I barely cook, I pay someone to come clean my house, and I've managed to find someone else to mow my lawn this summer.  But, when I read Mother Earth News, I find myself believing I can do anything.

So, here is another example.  This is a detailed article about how to start a 1-acre, self-sufficient farm.  Here's an excerpt:



Your 1-acre homestead can be divided into land for raising livestock and a garden for raising fruits, vegetables, plus some grain and forage crops. 
 
Everyone will have a different approach to keeping a self-sufficient homestead, and it’s unlikely that any two 1-acre farms will follow the same plan or methods or agree completely on how to homestead. Some people like cows; other people are afraid of them. Some people like goats; other people cannot keep them out of the garden. Some people will not slaughter animals and have to sell their surplus stock off to people who will kill them; others will not sell surplus stock off at all because they know that the animals will be killed; and still others will slaughter their own animals to provide their family with healthy meat.

Read more here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Sister Is Cool

Okay, if you haven't gone back and read all of the columns of my sister Heidi, you need to do it.  She is amazing!  She has a toddler (and as much as I love him, he is a handful) and yet she still finds time to cook these amazing meals and try out great homemade stuff.   For instance, did you see her article on DIY Dishwasher Detergent?  It is unreal to me that someone would even attempt this.

Also, she actually made homemade terriyaki sauce.  Again, amazing.

This is the stuff that I say that don't do because I work full time and am in school part-time.  But, in reality, I don't know that I'll ever be someone making these things for myself.

So, Heidi, great job!  You are awesome!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Braum's Cares For Cows and Chickens

So I was driving home from work the other day needing a few groceries and thought I'd pull into Braum's. I was so excited about what I found.

Who knew Braum's cows were rBGH free??


Really? Cage-free chickens??

How cool is that?? And the prices were the same as a regular grocery store. AND you can take a tour of their bakery in Tuttle, OK. I wonder if you can see the cows?? I'm thinkin' road trip!!

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Tuesday, August 16, 2011

McKinney Farmers Market

After having heard about the McKinney Farmers Market from numerous sources, you know we had to go!  We seemed to picky the only weekend during this droughty summer that had rain- but that didn't deter us (or the farmers!)  We were so glad we made the journey- this was the best Farmers Market yet!

This farm was awesome.  It kind of took us back to being on the East Coast with the trees and the siding on the houses nearby.  The set up at Chestnut Square was really cool.  I won't go into detail about all the vendors they had, you can see those at their website here.  I will say, though, that they had everything, from produce, to jams, to pasta, to bread and jerky.  Their vendors were super friendly, and very knowledgeable about their product!

Enjoy some pictures of our trip!
McKinney Farmers Market is located in Chestnut Square on Saturdays from 8a-12p.
This is the view as you go into the market.  Notice how many trees!
A closer up view of just some of the vendors.

Don't these tomatoes look so good?  The rain even made them MORE appetizing.
Produce vendors.  There were three right near each other all offering delicious choices!

Okay, look at that watermelon!  You want to eat it, but you kind of want to smash it too just for kicks!
An berries!  Fresh berries!

There were actually two honey tables, this is just one of them.
The bread vendor (Village Baking Company).  We bought bread from them and it was so very good.  

Very reasonably priced at Dominion Farms.
There was a second area across the street with more vendors that included things like art and glass decorative items.
Pasta.  This is Lucidos, and if I'm remembering correctly, they were also at Frisco Farmers Market as well.
Unfortunately we spent our budgeted money before we found these guys.  We have heard their tamales are the best thing to have in your freezer for a quick meal.  Next time, guys, next time.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Southwestern Burritos

You might start noticing a theme among my recipes since I last featured a Southwestern Couscous.... I like southwestern food.

Well, today I made a killer Southwestern Burrito.  It tasted very similar to the Southwestern Eggrolls you might find at Chili's- except it was healthier.

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow or red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, finely minced or pressed
1 green or red pepper, diced small (I used green, but red would give it more color)
1 jalapeno pepper, membranes removed (use more, or keep the seeds if you want spicy)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
10 ounces frozen, chopped spinach (defrosted and drained)
1 cup frozen corn
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro
2-3 cups shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack, but whatever suits your fancy)
8 10-inch round tortillas (You can use smaller tortillas for appetizers as well- I like the tortillas from Central Market they make in store.)  This recipe would also be good with whole wheat tortillas or jalepeno tortillas.

Heat oil in pan.  Add diced onion and saute for about 3 minutes.  Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add peppers and cook until somewhat tender.  Then add black beans, corn, spinach, cilantro, cumin and chili pepper.  Mix well and cook until evenly heated.  Take pan off heat and add cheese.

This is what you should end up with.  If you're preparing ahead of time, you can put this mixture into the fridge  and come back to the recipe later when you're closer to dinner.  You can see here how the red pepper would have given the mixture a good color.  Also, I think you could add other veggies, like carrots or even zucchini.

 Warm tortillas in the microwave so they're easier to roll and won't tear.  I heated each one for about 15 seconds.  Place about 1/2 cup- 3/4 cup mixture in torilla.
Roll up!  Man my rolling skills are dang good.  Then place them on a lightly greased pan.  (For easy cleanup, you can line the pan with foil and lightly grease the foil.)  Bake at 400 degrees for 10-15 minutes.  Until the top is golden brown and the burrito has a hardened crust.
 While your burritos are cooking, make yourself a little dipping sauce.

1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup salsa
1 teaspoon minced chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (add more for extra zing)
hot sauce to taste

Mix all the ingredients together.  Add whatever is necessary to get the desired flavor.  I liked a little hot sauce, my husband liked a lot.

 Allrighty, your burritos are done and it's time to serve these bad boys up!  Enjoy your meal!