Thursday, April 30, 2009

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce

Ingredients
Roma tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
½ bell pepper
1/2 zucchini, sliced
1 t oregano
1 t Italian seasoning
1 T EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
1 T Coconut Oil
1 t salt and pepper


Directions
1. Stew tomatoes in large pot
2. Once soft, spoon tomatoes into food processor and add zucchini, bell pepper, garlic, seasonings, and oils.
23. Puree and store as you wish. I am not into canning (yet!), and so wish I was! I will store this sauce and use it for spaghetti, pizzas, lasagna or any other “Italian” dish!

Found at: http://www.5dollardinners.com/2008/09/homemade-spaghetti-sauce.html

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Peanut Butter Banana Smoothies

3/4 to 1 cup sliced frozen bananas
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon peanut butter

Blend in the blender until smooth. The above makes about 13-15 oz.
Found at: http://www.moneysavingmom.com/money_saving_mom/2008/11/40-menu-qa-aldi-menu-planning-recipes-and-our-budget.html

Crispy Cheese Crackers

¼ cup butter, softened
¼ t. sea salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, room temperature
1 cup whole wheat flour
¼ t. baking powder
1 T. cold water

Use beaters or food processor to mix butter and salt until creamy. Add cheese. Mix well. Gradually add flour, baking powder and water, mixing until dough begins to form a ball. Form dough into a ball with hands.

Roll the dough into 1/8 inch thickness onto a cookie sheet. (I find that placing the dough between two pieces of parchment paper helps me to roll them out more easily.) Cut the rolled out dough into 1 ½ inch squares. Bake 15 minutes at 350° or until lightly browned. Turn off the oven and leave the crackers inside to crisp up. Store tightly covered.

Found at: http://heavenlyhomemakers.com/blog/high-five-recipes-crispy-cheese-crackers

No sweeteners, please :)

My friend Lauren has a sweet, adorable toddler who (they just found out) cannot eat ANYTHING with fructose and sucrose. That pretty much cancels out anything processed at all. I have a hard enough time just trying to figure out how to substitute natural sweeteners for sugar in recipes. But can you even imagine trying to cook without any sweeteners at all? So I'm on the lookout for snacks, breakfasts, anything without sweeteners. I'm thinking it will have to be recipes with lots of fruit, coconut, and other naturally sweet foods. Please send me an e-mail, comment, or facebook me if you have a good one! Thanks!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Helpful hint: Make your own vanilla extract!

I did this last November and it worked great! Its healthier and saves money, too :)

Commercial vanilla extract usually has simple syrup (sugar water) added to the extract to give it a sweet aftertaste. You can do this if you want, but if you are using the vanilla for baking, there really is no need.

Ingredients
• 3 vanilla beans
• 1 cup vodka
• glass jar with tight fitting lid

Method
1 Use kitchen scissors or a sharp paring knife to cut lengthwise down each vanilla bean, splitting them in half, leaving an inch at the end connected.
2 Put vanilla beans in a glass jar or bottle with a tight fitting lid (mason jars work well). Cover completely with the vodka.
3 Give the bottle a good shake every once in a while. Store in a dark, cool place for 2 months or longer.
Lasts for years. You can keep topping it off with vodka once in a while as you use it, just remember to give it a good shake.
You can also make vanilla sugar by putting a split vanilla bean into a jar of white, granulated sugar. Great way to infuse the sugar with vanilla flavor for baking

Monday, April 27, 2009

Meal Plan 4-26-09

I'm going to start making a meal-plan for lunch on Sundays because its the only day Mark is home for lunch and he appreciates something more than leftovers :)

Snacks to make:
Healthy Chocolate candy (I'm going to add sunbutter to some of them and shredded coconut to others and see if we like those flavors as well :)

Monday

Breakfast: scrambled eggs, toast with coconut oil and cream cheese
Dinner: Sweet N Sour Meatballs over quinoa (double and freeze meatballs)
Tuesday:
Breakfast: Quinoa with cinnamon, vanilla, raisins, and maple syrup
Dinner: Chicken Curry Soup (*oops, didn't get to it last week :)
Wednesday
Breakfast:Peanut Butter Banana Pancakes (new recipe to try!)
Dinner: CORN night
Thursday
Breakfast: Oatmeal Cranberry muffins
Dinner:Grilled Italian Chicken with creamy alfredo sauce (hubby's request!)
Friday
Breakfast: Leftover muffins
Dinner: Taco Soup (double and freeze) (yeah, I know its hot outside, but its easy and we love it :)
Saturday
Breakfast: Scrambled eggs, bacon, toast
Dinner: Chicken divane (from freezer)
Sunday
Breakfast: Home-made hot granola with apples and cinnamon
Lunch: Meatball subs
Dinner: Manicotti (from freezer)

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Peanut Butter Squash Brownies

1 egg
1 cup peanut butter or sunbutter, smooth or chunky
½ cup honey
½ tsp baking soda
½ cup frozen butternut or winter squash puree, thawed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8x8 square pan and set aside. In a bowl, beat the egg with a whisk and then add the peanut butter and honey. Beat until smooth. Add the baking soda and squash and whisk until mixed. Pour into pan and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

You can increase the sweetener if your family hasn’t weaned down on their sugar intake yet.

If you’d rather make your own puree instead of buying the boxed puree, cut a butternut squash in half and scoop out the seeds. Place cut-side down in a greased roasting pan or 9x13 and pour in a little water. Bake at 350 degrees until tender. Cool, cut off skin and puree in a food processor.

http://www.tfrecipes.com/forum/showthread.php?p=524

Oatmeal cranberry Muffins

I double this recipe and freeze lots of muffins for quick breakfasts. And any dried fruit will work nicely -- I've even used dried figs :) I like to soak my grains for better nutrition, so I just soak the oats and flour in the yogurt overnight, adding a tiny bit of water to make sure they are all moist.


2 Cups old-fashioned rolled oats

2 Cups yogurt (plain or vanilla only, please)

2 large eggs, beaten

1 Cup brown sugar (I'm going to use maple syrup)

2 sticks butter, melted and cooled

2 cups flour (I've used both white whole wheat and all purpose with great results)

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup dried cranberries

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup chopped nuts (I recommend almonds, walnuts or pecans)

In a large bowl combine oats and yogurt and let stand 12-24 hours.

When ready to cook muffins, first melt butter and then leave to cool.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and grease muffin pans. At this time, measure cranberries into a glass measuring cup and add hot water to cover. This will plump up the dried cranberries and make them softer in the muffins once baked.

Add egg, sugar and melted butter to oat mixture, stirring until just combined. Sift on top of creamed mixture the flour, salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda and stir until just combined. Drain cranberries and fold in to batter along with chopped nuts.

Divide batter evenly among muffin pans. Bake muffins in middle of oven until golden and toothpick test comes out clean, about 20 minutes.

Makes two dozen muffins.

http://sarahs-musings.blogspot.com/2007/10/on-menu-oatmeal-cranberry-muffins-and.html

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Helpful Hint: Add extra veggies!

Just wanted to let you know that I posted about ways to add extra veggies to meat sauces and other dishes on my family blog HERE

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Meal Plan 4/12/09 & 4/19/09

Sorry this is late -- we've been out of town and I didn't get to meal planning until last night :) I'm going to try to go back to planning for 2 weeks because it definitely saves time and money. And I'm going to also add in my breakfast menu because I need to be more diligent about planning that as well :) Each week I ask my husband if there is anything he would like me to cook that week. I'm going to note his request each week so you can see which meals might be a guy's favorite :)

Snacks to make: Granola

Monday:
Bfast: scrambled eggs and toast
dinner: yummy Easter leftovers from my Mom :)
Tuesday:
Bfast: Fried eggs
dinner: Beef Tenderloin, creamed spinach, cheesy rice pasta
Wednesday:
Bfast:Homemade cereal
game night covered dish
Thursday:
Bfast: Apple Omelet (new recipe to try)
dinner: Best Ever Sloppy Joes (husband request :) (double and freeze), side salad
Friday:
Bfast: Blender Pancakes (from freezer)
dinner: B-day dinner out with my folks!
Saturday:
Bfast: Quinoa with cinnamon, apples, and a little maple syrup
dinner: Out with the fam :)
Sunday:
Bfast: French Toast
dinner: CORN night

Meal Plan 4/19/08

Snacks to make: Graham crackers, soaked and dehydrated almonds

Monday:
Bfast: Oatmeal with cinnamon, raisins, and maple syrup
dinner: Chicken Cordon Blue (double and freeze), fried squash and zucchini in coconut oil)
Tuesday:
Bfast: Breakfast cake, fried eggs
dinner: Taco Salad (hubby's request :) (double and freeze taco meat)
Wednesday:
Bfast: Breakfast cake leftovers
dinner: Turkey and Cheese Pockets with Sweet Potato Spinach Bake
Thursday:
Bfast: Scrambled eggs and bacon on toast
dinner: Chicken Curry Soup (new Recipe!), broccoli, bread
Friday
Bfast: Home-made Granola cereal
dinner:CORN
Saturday:
Bfast:Baked oatmeal casserole
dinner: Homemade pizza, tossed salad
Sunday:
Bfast: leftover Baked Oatmeal, fried eggs
dinner: Poppyseed Chicken (hubby's request :)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Chicken Curry Soup

This is so healthy with fresh garlic, egg yolks, chicken stock and coconut milk: a perfect soup for healing if you are coming down with a sickness! My husband thought I was crazy because it is so different from our normal types of meals, but he actually really liked it! And my picky toddler asked for seconds. So its a keeper for us :) I left out the cumin because I didn't want it spicy.


4 Cups Chicken Broth (homemade is best)
1.5 cups of chopped cooked chicken
1 Medium Red Onion
6 Garlic Cloves, minced
1 can of coconut milk (i bought 2 whole coconuts and used the milk from them, but a can would work-I couldn't find any at my grocery store)
1 Tbls curry powder
1 tsp cumin
salt and pepper
2 cups of veggies (I threw in frozen peas and frozen corn)
4 raw egg yolks
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Cup cooked rice (optional)

Saute chopped onions and garlic in butter until soft (we like them a little crunchy).

Throw all but the egg yolks and CO into a stock pot. Bring it to a boil and then reduced it to simmer for 20 minutes.

Melt the CO oil and add the egg yolks and mix well. Next, add a little bit of stock and stir. Once it's mixed nicely, add the mixture to the soup and stir to incorporate.

Serve with rice as we did, or with some buttered sourdough bread. Yum!! http://innisrecipes.blogspot.com/2009/02/chicken-curry-soup-recipe.html

Cinnamon Apple Omelet

Yum, yum! We loved this different kind of omelet! I am always looking for ways to get my husband eat eggs other than with bacon and cheese on toast. This recipe is totally different from any other I've tried and we all really liked it.


  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple -- peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon sour cream (we used cream cheese because my hubby doesn't like sour cream. You could probably use plain yogurt as well :)
  • 1 Tablespoon cream
  • 1 Tablespoon brown sugar (I use maple syrup, but you really don't need much because the apples are sweet enough by themselves :)
  • 2 teaspoons butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Beat eggs with cream until fluffy; set aside.

In a large skillet/frying pan, melt half (1 teaspoon) of the butter. Add apples, cinnamon and brown sugar. Saute until tender -- stirring often. Empty contents to a bowl or plate and set aside.

Clean the frying pan. Melt remaining butter. Pour in egg mixture. Cook as you would an ordinary omelet. When eggs are 90 percent set, flip the omelet. In the center of the open-face omelet, spread the sour cream and top that with most of the apple mixture.

Fold omelet and transfer to a plate. Top with remaining apple mixture.

http://www.mrbreakfast.com/superdisplay.asp?recipeid=1236

Thursday, April 9, 2009

(Mostly) Healthy Chocolate Candy!

I was super excited to find this easy, yummy, and even (mostly) healthy candy recipe from Kelly ! I tried it several different ways, so please read the notes at the bottom for add-ins and tips :) And it definitely melts in your hand, so keep them stored in the freezer til you are ready to eat them :) I call them "mostly" healthy because they do have maple syrup in them, (so you don't want to eat them in excess) but at least it contains all natural ingredients instead of refined sugar or HFCS!

  • 1/2 c. coconut oil
  • 1/2 c. real maple syrup (use less to make them healthier, but they tasted too dark for me without more maple syrup!)
  • 1/2 c. organic cocoa powder
  • 1 t. organic vanilla
  • 1/2 t. sea salt

Melt together gently in a saucepan over low-ish heat until it’s all mixed together. I kept it super easy and instead of using molds or ice cube trays, I just put some parchment paper on a couple cookie sheets and dropped quarter-sized candies onto that. (Makes about 7 dozen.) Freeze for a little while to cool them down. Freeze leftovers (if there are any:) for a quick, yummy treat.

*We made some with sunflower butter (Karis is allergic to P.B.) instead of cocoa powder and my family actually preferred those! But the best mix was 1/4 cup sunflower butter and 1/4 cup cocoa powder. We tried out all kinds of different add-ins like coconut, raisins, and slivered almonds! They were all yummy, especially the combination of all three!

*I also tried out 3 different ways of freezing them: dollops on wax paper, mini-muffin tins, and filling up a wax-paper-lined cookie sheet completely with the melted candy and breaking it into "candy bark" after freezing. The last method was the easiest because the melted form is pretty runny til frozen.

Great Website for Healthy Cooking!

If you are wanting to cook healthy food for your family, check out THIS website. It has great links for feeding kids healthy snacks, converting your favorite recipes to healthier ones, and much more.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Resurrection Cookies

My friend Sandy Deal sent me this recipe for Resurrection Cookies and it sounds like a fun and yummy way to explain the real meaning of Easter to children!

1 cup whole pecans
3 egg whites
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vinegar
1 pinch of salt
mixing bowl
wooding spoon
Bible
zipper baggie
waxed paper
cookie sheet
tape
Try to do together Saturday night before Easter Sunday. Preheat oven to 300 degrees (you must turn the oven on before beginning) Place pecans in zipper baggie and let children beat them with the wooden spoon to break into small pieces. Explain that Jesus was arrested, he was beaten by the Roman Soldiers. Read John 19: 1-3. Let child smell vinegar. Put 1 tsp into mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, he was given vinegar to drink. Read Jon 19: 28-30. Add egg whites to the vinegar. Eggs represent life. Explain that Jesus gave his life to give us life. Read John 10: 10-11. Sprinkle a little salt into each child's hand. Let them taste it and brush the rest into the bowl. Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus' followers, and the bitterness of our own sin. Read Luke 23:27. So far, the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 1 cup sugar. Explain that the sweetes part of the story is that Jesus died because he loves us. He wants us to know and belong to him. Read Psalm 34:8 and Jon 3:16. Beat with a mixer on high speed for 11-15 minutes until stiff peaks are formed. Explain that the color white represents the purity in God's eyes of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John3:1-3. Fold in broken nuts. Drop by teaspoon onto waxed paper-covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Read Matthew 27:65-66. Put cookie sheet in the oven. Close the door and TURN THE OVEN OFF. Give each child a piece of tape and seal the oven door. Explain that Jesus' tomb was sealed. Go to bed. Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus' followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20 and 22. On resurrection morning, open the oven and give everyone a cookie! Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow! On the first resurrection day, Jesus' followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty! Read Matt 28:1-9. He has Risen!!! Hallelujah!

Resurrection Rolls

My friend Lori Woolf shared this recipe with me and it sounds so easy and yummy. Its great for kids; I think it will become an Easter tradition :)

1 can of crescent rolls (burial clothing)
3 tbsp. butter, melted (oils used for Jesus' body)
large marshmallows (Jesus)
cinnamon and sugar (spices used for Jesus' body)

Lay out the crescent rolls
Roll marshmallow in melted butter and then the cinnamon sugar
Lay marshmallow in crescent roll
Roll up crescent roll
Baste rolls with leftover melted butter
Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar
Bake according to the directions on the crescent roll tube
When they are finished the marshmallow will have melted and the roll with be hollow just as the grave was on Easter when Jesus arose.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

weekly meal plan 4/5/09

Not too much to plan this week since we will be out of town for most of the week...

Mon: grilled Salmon
Tues:Pesto Chicken
Wed: CORN night -- don't want to leave anything in the fridge that won't keep while we are away!
Thurs-Sun: out of town for Easter!

To make for trip:
Toddler crackers

Friday, April 3, 2009

5 minute Artisan bread!

Bread in 5 minutes? Yay! OK, I haven't tried this yet, but so many people said it was so fast, easy and yummy that I have to try it! I'll let you know how it goes :) THIS link even gives instructions on making it healthier by soaking the grain.

my fav natural remedies

In case you are interested, I blogged about my top 5 natural remedies HERE