Guest post written by Erin Wooster
I am quite the cook. Or I guess that I would rather say the baker. See I’m not that into cooking, but I really love baking things. I just think it’s so much easier to mix something up and let it bake on its own instead of standing there and supervising it. To me, that’s just plain annoying and too much trouble.
Plus, it seems to be a general consensus that most of the things that you can bake are far yummier in comparison to things that you just plain old cook. I love to look online for all kinds of new things that I can try baking as fun. I was online a few weeks ago looking up some new fall baking recipes when I ran across some info on internet providers. I looked through it some and after that I decided to change over my home internet service to it.
I found these really awesome sounding pumpkin cookies and made those for my family. They were quite the hit! But so are all of the other things that I bake for them.
Recently a friend of mine found out she’s gluten intolerant. Wow, what a change that has made in her life. She’s had to totally rethink everything she eats. Today gluten intolerance is one of the fastest growing segments of the population.
Sometimes finding gluten free products can be challenging, especially that taste good. Schär is at the forefront, bringing new and innovative gluten-free products to the consumer.
Recently they’ve re-launched some of there heat and serve items. Now you can have Ciabatta rolls, baguettes, or simple sandwich rolls, all gluten-free. What could taste better than bread fresh from the oven! You can enjoy them slathered in butter, or be more creative and prepare a grilled-veggie sub.
They even have a club specifically for people who are gluten intolerant. Members of the Schar Club get free product samples, coupons, and advice on how to live a gluten free life. Right now they’re offering members who request it a Schar free sample of the Ciabatta rolls.
Once you’ve signed up for the club look at the left side of the page. You’ll see a column titled “Toolbox.” “Giveaways” is under this column. Just click there and you’ll be taken to a page to order your free Ciabatta sample. But hurry, because it is limited to the first 2,000 requests.
I’m going to let my friend know about these products and the offer. I’m also going to keep these products in mind for her Christmas gift. She especially misses crackers and pasta, as she hasn’t found anything she likes that’s gluten free. Ordering her some of those might be the best present I can get for her, as Schar is not readily available in our local stores.
Shar products are available at many stores. However, if your area doesn’t carry them, you can order online and have it sent to your home. You may want to do that anyway, with the cost of gas. A truly no hassle way to get healthy products in your hands.
If you have any comments, tips, or questions regarding how to eat gluten free, please add a comment to this entry. We enjoy sharing helpful information. That’s what this blog is all about
Are you left with a kitchen full of green tomatoes due to an early frost? There are a number of things you can do with them.
- Wrap them individually in newspaper, store in a box at room temperature. Check them regularly and eat them as they ripen. We did this one year in a zone 5, where the first frost hit at the end of September and we had tomatoes all the way until after Thanksgiving. Really fun to actually be eating some of your harvest, since that what the holiday was originally all about, being thankful for a bountiful harvest after almost starving the year before.
- Eat a lot of fried green tomatoes. These are really yummy and super easy to fix. All you do is slice the tomatoes and fry in a little bit of olive oil, salt them and munch them down. Wonderful tangy taste.
- I found an very interesting recipe for Green Tomato Mincement as a Dave’s Garden article:
- Also, there are recipes for green tomato chow-chow.
- Check out Ruth Blair’s Picallilli. I’ve not tried it, but learned to love picallilli when I lived in New Mexico.
- You could probably replace tomatillos with green tomatoes for tomatillo salsa.
The one thing you shouldn’t do is despair. There are plenty of ways to eat green tomatoes that are really delicious. If none of these are to your liking, just do a search on the Internet and I’m sure you’ll find something that works for you.
This year I have almost no green tomatoes as we had a long warm fall. I don’t even have enough to make a decent pan of fried green tomatoes!
Looking at the calendar today I was shocked to see we’re just two and half weeks away from Thanksgiving! Now’s the time to start looking through your cookbooks to pick out those just right recipes. Most families have their traditional favorites, but why not add a little something new and different. Maybe it’s just a new pumpkin pie recipe, that uses different spices than you ordinarily do. Or maybe you want to try something entirely different, something healthier than in the past.
Whatever it is, having the right ingredients and equipment on hand makes the day run much more smoothly. Nothing like getting ready to make the whipped cream for on top of the pies and finding out you forgot the whipping cream.
If you’ve never cooked the main meal before then checking things out on Google or Wiki could be in order. Our favorite saying around here is, “Google knows everything.”
Feeding a large crowd may be a little hard on a tight budget. Now you can save on goods and groceries with coupons at Savings.com. They have the latest coupons for savings on all your favorite items and they’ve recently added groceries to the list.
So whether you’re going for the traditional turkey and mashed potatoes, or going to give a vegetarian meal a try, there’s probably a coupon to help you save on doing it. Now that’s giving yourself a early holiday gift and leaves you more to spend on other’s gifts, too.
It’s amazing how, as you get older, the type in your cookbooks can appear to get smaller and smaller. Or maybe you feel like you need to hold it further and further away to see it clearly.
If that’s the case, then it’s probably time to make an appointment with your eye doctor. In many instances you may just need reading glasses. You might want to buy a pair of cheap eyeglasses to keep in the kitchen. That way you’ll never have to run all over the house locating your glasses before you can prepare a meal.
Just the other day I heard a funny story. This guy owned a Mexican restaurant and was very well known for his delicious salsa. One day, one of his servers comes into the kitchen and tells him that there’s a customer complaining about his salsa. The owner is livid. How can anyone have a complaint about his famous salsa, he thinks. Once in the dining room he sees it is a friend of his who has complained. He’s about to give him a piece of his mind, when his friend plunks the salsa in front of him and tells him to taste it. The owner does and gets a horrified look on his face. His salsa tastes terrible! What had happened was the prep chef had accidentally grabbed the sugar instead of the salt, and the result was ghastly.
The point is, you could be reaching for sugar instead of salt yourself if you can’t see the ingredients well, or adding too much or too little of a key ingredient. So, in order to keep your friends and family munching happily, take the time to get the cookbook in focus with a fun or fanciful pair of glasses.
Recently I became aware that some white sugar (made from sugar cane) is run through a charcoal filter. However, it isn’t necessarily vegetarian. They take animal bones throw them in a fire and use the leftovers for what is called bone char. YUCK! I’ve decided not to eat anything with white sugar in it, because I don’t know if some poor animal had to die to make it white (beet sugar is naturally white).
Where did we ever get the idea that white sugar is better? This is certainly a conspiracy. Did you know that when they strip all the nutrients off of sugar to “purify” it and make it white, your body thinks it is a poison? The reason we have sugar highs and lows is, once you’ve eaten something with white sugar in it your body sees that as an invader and sends out the troops to get it out of your body fast. Thus the crash when it leaves your body so suddenly. Not only that, since there are no nutrients left in white sugar, it means that you have to rob your body of stored nutrients in order to digest it properly.
Whole sugars, those that only have impurities, like bits of stems, removed from them interact with your body in a whole different way. They have all the nutrients left in them, too, so your body can easily process them without putting any strain on your system.
When we lived in New Mexico I had a problem with hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar. We were living at 6500 ft, which meant our blood had to become pretty thin. It must have been because my blood was thin that I started having problems, but I sure would get whacked out every time I’d eat anything with sugar in it.
One day we found a whole sugar product for sale and decided to try it. To our surprise and delight I had no sugar highs and lows, none at all!
What I’m aggravated about is that evaporated cane juice needs a lot less processing than white sugar, but it is around twice as expensive, so manufacturers are naturally going to grab the white sugar to keep their products competitive.
I’m tired of eating healthy meaning paying through the nose for your food. I’m also exasperated by food companies that will feed people poison, or something near it, just to save a little and make more profit. Aren’t we worth more than profit? Isn’t a human life the most precious thing on the planet? It doesn’t seem like it anymore. Money is more important in food, medical care, and housing.
I’ve been using whole sugar in my home for over a decade. The only white sugar we have is used to make nectar for the hummingbird, but now there is a whole plethora of things I can’t eat, including almost all restaurant foods. I dream of a world with healthy, tasty, nutritious food for everyone. Where people have lots of energy, creativity, and zest for life, and everyone is at or near their ideal weight.
For many years I’ve known that many foods people are eating are unhealthy and some dangerous. Most of the information I got was from fringe groups, but now it’s becoming mainstream. I’m going to include sites and videos that I think are worth taking a look at.
The first is a YouTube clip that has a lot of interesting information, that is backed up by documentation. Often times web sites and videos are just people getting up there and ranting, without anything to back their claims up. They say there are hidden documents, but somehow they got a hold of the information and didn’t publish it? That has always sounded fishy to me. But this video the person has clips of the actual articles (some of which are his own, but not all) that show outline what is happening to our food and it isn’t pretty.
Please try to ignore his purely political agenda and look at the actual information he’s giving. You’ll see that our food is not being produced to nourish us, rather to control us, possibly even to the point of controlling the population, but I’m not going to go there. What I’m concerned about is that we start getting food that truly nourishes us. We’d have so much less disease, less ADHD, less violence and aggression. When the body isn’t getting what it needs, even if its eating enough calories, we cannot operate optimally.
So, start reading labels. Become aware of what is being put in your food. Do research on additives, especially if you can’t say them. Most importantly start cooking your meals from scratch, buy organic when possible, buy from farmers you know and trust, and grow your own if possible. That’s the best way to ensure what is in your food. Check out my gardening blog to find out about buying seeds from companies that have signed the safe seed pledge, too.
One of the things I’m doing right now is trying to find really tasty, healthy snack foods, especially what I call crunchy-salty snacks. We’ve got a good stash of sweet treats, but finding recipes for healthy crunchy-salty snacks has been a challenge. We’re trying to avoid fried foods, too. Often either the list of ingredients or the steps to make something are daunting. As I’ve said before I’m always for tasty and quick.
Anyway, I found this great cracker recipe in Yoga Journal, so I’m going to share it with you.
These were reprinted in YJ from Eat Well, by Charity Ferreira (Oxmoor house, 2008).
Seeded Amaranth Crackers
Make 3 dozen crackers
- 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup amaranth flour
- Coarse sea salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 2-1/2 T olive oil
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 tsp each poppy, fennel, sesame, and amaranth seeds
- 1/2 tsp paprika
- Preheat the oven 375˚. Line a baking sheet with cooking parchment.
- In a food processor, blend flours, ½ tsp salt, and baking powder. Add 2 Tbsps oil and pulse until the mixture resembles course crumbs. Slowly add water, pulsing just until the dough comes together.
- Scrape out onto a floured board and use a floured rolling pin to roll out a rectangle that is 1/8” thick. Cut into squares and place on baking sheet. Brush with remaining oil and sprinkle with seeds, paprika, and ½ tsp salt.
- Bake until crackers are golden on edges and bottoms, 10-15 minutes.
Soon this will be my own recipe, as I already changed several things. First, I used white whole-wheat flour. Also, I ended up making my own amaranth flour, as I couldn’t find any available in our area. Last I rolled the crackers out on the parchment and then slipped it onto the cookie sheet. Much easier than picking each one up by hand. I cut them with a pizza cutter, worked great! Already my head is busy with different seasonings, flours, oils, etc. I’ll share my permutations with you as they develop. Mostly I needed a cracker recipe that actually came out like a cracker and not like a biscuit and this it perfectly.
Yeow! I was going to include a picture of some crackers in this post, but all I could find was where white pasty junk crackers! So you’ll just have to imagine some beautiful whole grain and seed crackers…
Using fall fruits can make excellent smoothies. Below is a recipe I prepared recently.
- 1 pear, peeled and quartered
- 1 banana, peeled and broken into several pieces
- 4 chard leaves with stems, washed and cut into large pieces
- 1 cup soy milk
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt
- ½ tsp Chinese five spice
Put all ingredients in a high speed blender or Vitamix and puree until smooth.
You can substitute almond or rice milk; ½ cup plain yogurt, 1 tsp vanilla extract, whole sugar to taste; leave out the Chinese five spice, add cinnamon and/or ginger; frozen banana for fresh.
By continuing to drink smoothies into the fall months, you’ll continue to get great nutrition by including leafy greens and fresh fruit in your diet.
This works great as a breakfast drink, or have it ready for the kids when they get home from school.
Very dear to my heart is helping kids to stay healthy and vibrant. Today over 30% of children are considered obese, what a tragedy. Obese children usually make obese adults, and obese adults leave themselves open for many more diseases than adults within their normal range of health.
One thing we need to remember is that kid’s taste is different than adults. Finding recipes for kids that they really like is an important key to the success of a healthy diet. If the kids don’t like the food, they won’t eat it. They’ll trade with their friends for food less desirable, but more tasty.
Children set their taste preferences early, so it is important to offer them what you would like to see them to eat when they get older. Don’t start out using white bread and then expect your child to willingly change over to whole wheat, even if it is better for them and tastes better to you. Avoid foods that are high on the glycemic index. Those are foods that are converted into sugar rapidly and often contribute to weight gain. That means all the white stuff: sugar, flour, rice, etc. You can find a list of foods by doing a quick search on the Internet.
Another thing to remember is that kids don’t eat as much. They are smaller, so make their portions smaller. Cut up fruit and only give them half and apple at a time. Make carrot sticks that are small and easy to crunch, then add a nice hummus or bean dip to go with them. Using a thermos and sending nice hot homemade soups or chilled smoothies when the weather is cold or hot is always a welcome treat.
I’ve heard many parents moan that they can’t get their kids to eat anything healthy. I’ve never known children to starve themselves to death, so just start having only healthy alternatives available. If you don’t have sodas, candy, white bread, and other highly processed foods available they will eat what is there. You might have to experiment a little to find what will satisfy their sweet tooth without it being a disaster nutritionally. Maybe try fresh fruit, a smoothie, frozen banana with peanut butter, yogurt with some fruit in it, etc. The best thing, though, is to start them out right.
I was on a diet when I was eleven, because my mother was concerned that I was gaining too much weight. I hated it, but it taught me a very important lesson. If I don’t regulate my own eating, someone else will, be it a parent or doctor. I didn’t want that, so I’ve managed my diet carefully since and I’ve never been seriously overweight my entire teen and adult life. Now I choose healthy food with a 5% leeway for some old favorite, comfort food. If you start them off right their comfort food will also be healthy for them!