Thursday, October 29, 2009

What's up with kale?

Did you ever go to a salad bar and see those leafy curly dark green robust leaves that were garnishing the edges of the refrigerated trays... highlighting the likes of iceburg lettuce?  Ironic really.  That's kale.  So often taking the lesser role of decoration rather than being recognized as the nutrient-dense food it is.  Get to know kale.  It's time.  It's easy to grow.  It resists pests heartily.  And it keeps growing after frost.  I like to cut it out of the garden, strip out the main vein, wash it, chop it, and boil it for 1-2 minutes, then drain, and toss with butter.  My 4 year old loves this vegetable!!  It tastes great!!  Sorta like broccoli but more mild.  And full of things your body will LOVE.  It's a part of the cabbage family.  You can also cut it up and eat it raw in a salad.  Or saute it with garlic and sea salt then add some soup broth.  Very good!  Here's some data from wikipedia:  Kale is considered to be a highly nutritious vegetable with powerful antioxidant properties and is anti-inflammatory.[2]
Kale is very high in beta carotenevitamin Kvitamin Cluteinzeaxanthin, and reasonably rich in calcium  

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What to do with pumpkin in season?

Yesterday, I was walking from "Miller's Natural Foods" to the nearby farmer's stand when a bug flew in my eye.  Bam!  Way in.  Ow.  It's just one of the risks you take when you shop outside.  I bought a big 8 pound long-neck pumpkin for $2.50, slung it over my shoulder, walked back to my car with one eye open, and found a hand sanitizing wipe to clean my hands, dug around in my eye for about 3 minutes (no lie), successfully extracted the bug, and headed home with clear visibility.  Ahhhh... that was a relief.  Anyway, it turns out that an 8 lb. long-neck pumpkin yielded about 5 lbs. of cooked mashed pumpkin, which was about 9 and a 1/2 cups.   *I washed it and cooked it by cutting off the ends, cutting it into 6 big pieces, taking seeds out, and boiling it for about 45 minutes.  After boiling, I took off the skins, and mashed it up.  At this point, you can use it or freeze it.  So, what can you do with it?  Try these delectable muffins.  I like to make a triple batch and freeze them for kids' lunches.

Pumpkin Muffins

 1 c. unbleached white flour

1 c. wheat flour or sprouted wheat flour

1 TBSP. baking powder

1 tsp. ground cinnamon

¼ tsp. salt

¼ tsp. baking soda

¼ tsp. ground nutmeg

1/8 tsp. ground ginger or ground cloves

1 c. pumpkin (canned or cook your own pumpkin*)

1/3 c. milk

2 eggs

1/3 c. coconut oil (or lard or butter)

½ c. agave nectar or maple syrup or honey

¼ tsp. stevia

1 c. chopped walnuts

 Mix up all dry ingredients.   Mix up all wet ingredients.  Combine wet and dry ingredients. 

Put in muffin cups and bake at 350 degrees for 25 min.

Or to make pumpkin bread, bake in greased bread pan for 1 hour.

Serve with fresh organic butter.  My kids like to put the butter on top and they say it's icing.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My favorite lunch right now

One of my favorite stands for lunch-to-go is called "Lettuce Toss Salad" at Lancaster Central Market.  It's along the short wall closest to the Lancaster Dispensing Company.
They pack in so many tiny-cut fresh ingredients into your salad bowl, it's amazing.  The first time I ordered a salad there, I thought for sure the woman wouldn't be able to fit anything in the bowl past the huge bed of spring greens and spinach... but as I called out my ingredients, she just kept stuffing them in... generous portions of fresh tomatos, celery, cucumbers, hard-boiled eggs, shredded cabbage, carrots, beets, chick peas, edamame, sunflower seeds, broccoli, cauliflower, olives, parmesan cheese, etc... densely packed into a clear plastic bowl with a lid.  I like to get a big bowl, and eat a salad every day for 3 days from it.  What a treat that they do all the washing and chopping for you.  My body feels happy on this food!     

Monday, October 12, 2009

Bird Seed Bars

Hi all.  I've been spending a lot more time than usual taking care of my normally independent 4 year old daughter.  She has a skinned foot injury and hasn't been able to walk for a week now.  The good news is that her injury is healing little by little every day with no set-backs!  She will walk just fine and dandy once the top of her foot has some new skin on it.  But for now, it cracks open if she bends it at all, so she crawls and scoots quite proficiently.  What does this have to do with Bird Seed Bars?  Nothing.  But it's a blog and blogs are like that.  Check out this awesome recipe that my neighbor came up with.  Her and I have been going back and forth experimenting to make the best granola bars on the planet.  We are getting very close!  It's a variation on the first granola bar recipe I posted, but this one has a lot more seeds.  And is it ever tasty!!!   After giving it out to friends for taste tests, with great results, it's time to unveil the granola bar that our friend Michael affectionately calls... 

BIRD SEED BARS (for human consumption)

1 c. natural unsweetened peanut butter

½ c. brown rice syrup

¼ c. raw honey

2 tsp. vanilla

½ c. butter melted


3 c. oats

2/3 c. unsweetened shredded coconut

¾ c. sunflower seeds

2/3 c. sesame seeds

1/3 c. pumpkin seeds (optional)

½ tsp. sea salt (optional)

½ c. real chocolate chips, set aside (or raisins)

Mix wet ingredients.  Mix dry ingredients except chocolate chips.  Combine wet and dry ingredients. Spread into 13x9 greased buttered pan.  Push chocolate chips (pointy end first) into the top of the bars.  Score into desired sizes.  Small is good.  Refrigerate until set (1 hour or overnight).  Cut into bars.  Pry out of pan and put into sealed container to freeze and grab as you go.   If you want chocolate chips throughout the bar, then mix in ½ c. of mini chocolate chips (rather than the regular sized ones) to keep bars together.


Thursday, October 1, 2009

sweet potato bliss

Wanna make some sweet potatoes tonight?  Here's a great way to do it.  Peel a big raw sweet potato and cut into thick half-inch slices.  Fry in a shallow layer of coconut oil, both sides, until light brown.  Place in a 13x9" baking stone (single or double layer of potato slices).  Sprinkle with sea salt.  Pour apple mixture on top and bake at 375 degrees for 30 min.  Almost like dessert.
Here's the recipe for the apple mixture: 3 tart apples peeled and diced, 1/2 cup broken pecans, 1/4 c. melted butter, 1/4 c. maple syrup, 1 tsp. cinnamon... all mixed up together.  Enjoy!
Here's the nutrition information on a sweet potato:  This food is low in Sodium, and very low in Saturated Fat and Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin B6 and Potassium, and a very good source of Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese.
Live well!