Food Made Simple

Learning to Eat Sardines

Posted on March 20, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , |

Sardine Lettuce WrapsDid you know that you can learn to eat new things if you want?  It’s a matter of practice and maybe a new and easy recipe.

I have bought cans of sardines in the past, opened them up, and lost courage.  Then they went to the dogs.  But I know that sardines are super healthy, full of good fish oils and with little or no mercury being that they are such small fish.  In addition, they are exactly where we want to be eating on the food chain for the health of the oceans.  But I just couldn’t do it until I discovered a super simple recipe by K.C.’s Kafe.

It’s just mashed sardines, finely chopped onion, and a little mayo.  I put mine in lettuce or cabbage leaf wraps to save calories and keep grains to a minimum.  Bill likes his on whole rye crackers.

Sardines on crackersI love this!  Now I’m wondering about the sardines in tomato or mustard sauces.  That doesn’t sound good, but I may try them.  I’ve already tinkered with this recipe, adding chopped dilly beans and diced red peppers.  It’s such an easy recipe!

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Blood Orange

Posted on March 12, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , |

Blood orange

I hope you’ve been eating a variety of citrus all winter long because this is the season they shine like the sun!  If not, go get some right now.  You can use the fresh burst of flavor and dose of vitamins.  But try to break out of the orange mold.  There are fabulous grapefruits, tangerines, mandarins, meyer lemons, and blood oranges too.  What’s a blood orange you say?  It often will have a red blush on the peel, but also may look just like an ordinary orange until you open it up and see the red-purple flesh.  It’s a shock the first time.  The flavor is too, as it has a distinct berry tinge to the orange taste.  Yes, they are pricey, but you deserve a treat.  You have almost made it through this horrible winter.  What better to spend your pennies on?!

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Replanting the Kale Babies

Posted on March 3, 2014. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Plants, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , |

Kale Babies 1I promised to explain what to do with the kale seedlings after they started to grow their second set of leaves (true leaves).  This takes a few weeks to get to after they come up initially.

You need a knife, some individual pots with soil in them, and water.  I also like to have everything on trays that are easy to clean the soil from, but some people use newspaper and then put it all in the compost afterward.

Kale Babies 2Gently use the knife to go under and around the plants and lift them out.  Then you might have to disentangle them a bit to get individuals.  You must not break the main stem.  If you do, discard that one and get a different one to plant in the individual pots.  Stick your finger or a dowel in to the soil to make a spot for the little plant.

Kale Babies 3Then drop the roots in deeply and gently firm up the soil around the plant with your fingers.  Water.  If after watering the soil has settled too much or has left holes, add some more loose soil on top.

Make a whole tray of them and put the tray in a bright window.  Once they get their own pots they really start to take off.  It’s fun to watch them strengthen and grow.  They will be tender little guys from growing so safely indoors, so you cannot put them directly outside.  The process of hardening off must happen first.  For at least a week before you plant them outdoors you will keep them in their pots in a shady spot outside during the day and then protected at night like in the garage or on the porch.  After a week or so they are ready for real outside conditions.  By May 31st, Wisconsin’s safe to plant outside date, you’ll have strong plants with a pot full of roots ready to go into the ground and start making you food!

Favorite things to do with kale?  1.  Wash, dry, slice super thin all the way through the tough center rib.  Slice super thin the other way to make tiny pieces.  Drizzle olive oil and seasoned rice vinegar and toss/press down into bowl.  Let marinate for 20 minutes minimum, then add other salad veggies and enjoy!

2.  Wash, chop coarsely and throw into whatever soup you are making.

3.  Wash and throw into blender with fruit smoothie ingredients – you won’t even know it’s in there!

4.  Enjoy the freedom from cancer, heart disease, and diabetes!  Truly!

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Robust Health Instead of a Flu Shot!

Posted on December 15, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , |

Food - Juicing

I don’t get a flu shot.  I don’t believe the risk of heavy metal accumulation and immune system interference are worth the small possibility that the drug companies have selected the exact flu viruses that I will be subject to getting.  I also don’t believe I’ll die if I get the flu.

So, what to do to stay healthy in winter when, it seems, everyone is coughing and suffering with some sort of illness?

Well, supporting robust health to be able to fight it all off is the way I choose.  For me this means plenty of sleep, exercise, and super nutrition.  In winter I like to fire up my superb Super Angel 5500 all stainless steel juicer.  What a great machine!

I started juicing again a few days ago.  This is today’s version:  6 big fat carrots, 2 apples, 2 inches of fresh ginger, 1 small beet – all organic, of course, and this makes 2 servings.  I drink mine immediately and my husband’s goes into 2 small stainless steel thermos containers in the freezer.  They don’t freeze the juice, they are just super cold and hold the juice with minimal nutrient loss until he is home to drink it.   This juice tastes great and I can just feel my cells soaking up all that nutrition.  My body definitely functions better when it has nutrients to accomplish its needs.  A strong, well-fed body will be better able to fend off any bug floating nearby!

Please note:  I am not giving advice to anyone else here.  I am tell you what has worked for me.  And I do believe in shots for things that kill you.  I do keep my tetanus shot up-to-date and my dogs both have current rabies shots.

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Oven Roasted Veggie Soup

Posted on December 8, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Roasted Vegetable SoupThis is the easiest soup to make!  I was amazed at how delicious it was and truly a snap to put together.

This is for a day you are hanging out at home.  Roasting the vegetables in the oven is not hard, but it helps to have time to do it without pressure because you want them to be completely soft.

Food - Roasted Vegetables 1

Oven Roasted Veggie Soup

1.  Scrub and chop off ends of winter vegetables:  turnips, sweet potatoes, carrots, rutabagas, onion.  Put in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and salt.  Toss with big spoon and then lay out on a pan.

2.  Do the same with squash and beets and put on a separate pan.  Peel the squash if you want to make it easier later, otherwise you can scoop out the flesh later.

Food - Roasted Vegetables 23.  Bake at 350º for about an hour or until soft.  You may need to stir them up once or twice.

4.  Put in a big soup pot with some chicken or vegetable stock (I used turkey stock I found in the freezer).  Heat through.   Blend with an immersion blender to make a smooth, creamy soup.

5.  Add 1 whole can of coconut milk and blend  together.

6.  Here are some spices I used but make it your own:  thyme, Penzey’s Berbere Seasoning, aleppo Pepper, fresh rosemary minced, roasted garlic (I threw some cleaned cloves into the oven with the veggies), S+P.

7.  For a garnish I put a fresh chopped honey crisp apple on top.  This was a perfect hearty dinner for a very cold winter’s night.

Thanks to Glenda for her inspiration on this recipe!

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Wheatless Pumpkin Pancakes

Posted on November 18, 2013. Filed under: Breakfast Made Simple, Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , |

Food - Pumpkin Pancakes

These were quite a treat for Sunday morning with a side of fresh pears and maple syrup both locally produced, of course!

Pumpkin Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1      cup milk (or coconut/almond milk)
  • 1      can pumpkin puree (or equivalent cooked/mashed fresh pumpkin/winter     squash)
  • 1      egg (or 1 Tablespoon chia seeds added to a little water and stirred to gel)
  • 2      tablespoons olive oil or good farm lard which is soft enough to use unmelted
  • 2      tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 1/2 cups spelt flour
  • 1/2  cup almond flour
  • 3      tablespoons brown sugar or buckwheat honey
  • 2      teaspoons baking powder
  • 1      teaspoon baking soda
  • 1      teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1      teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2      teaspoon nutmeg (fresh grated if possible)
  • 1/2      teaspoon salt

Directions

  1. In a bowl, mix together the milk, pumpkin, egg, fat and vinegar (and honey if using). Combine the flour, brown sugar if using, baking powder, baking soda, allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a separate bowl. Stir into the pumpkin mixture just enough to combine.
  2. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium high heat. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Just a couple closing thoughts:  Leftovers of these were excellent today with a fried egg on top.  Also, I recently saw a recipe online for pancakes which called for stevia, a natural non-sugar sweetener.  This is silly.  You don’t add a little sugar product in pancake batter for a sweet taste!  The small amount of sugar is in there because it produces a crispy outside to the finished pancakes.  And lastly, give up the packaged mixes.  Pancakes and waffles of all types are easy to make from real ingredients you throw together yourself.  Save money and cook/eat real food without any preservatives/additives!

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Wheatless Apple Cake

Posted on November 11, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health | Tags: , , , , , , , |

Food - Apple Cake 3This is a great time of year for apples.  I came into a free bushel of very small, somewhat wormy, but organic apples.  After cleaning some up I adapted this recipe I found at a blog called Buttered Up.  I include the original ingredients and then my changes in parenthesis.   This was a nice way to go without using wheat which is still what I’m trying to do.  Almond flour is too heavy/sticky to use all by itself, but it was great to include here as it made the batter heavier so it sunk under the apples and created almost a dense crust there.  I know spelt is an ancient version of wheat, but remember, I’m not trying to be gluten-free, just modern wheat-free.  I will say this was delicious especially with a dollop of vanilla ice cream on top.  My plan is to make coconut milk ice cream today for the leftovers.

Wheatless Apple Cake

Ingredients
½ cup spelt flour
¼ cup (almond flour)
¾ teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large apples (+1/4 C. buckwheat honey and 1 T. cinnamon mixed in as I was chopping)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¾ cup sugar (1/2 C. buckwheat honey)
3 tablespoons dark rum (or light rum which worked fine since I had the dark honey)
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup (1 stick) butter, salted or unsalted, melted and cooled to room temperature (or ½ C. melted coconut oil)

Preparation
1. Preheat the oven to 350ºF (180ºC) and adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven. Heavily butter an 8- or 9-inch (20-23cm) springform pan and place it on a baking sheet.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.

3. Peel and core the apples, then chop into pieces. Food - Apple Cake 1

4. In a large bowl, beat the eggs until foamy then whisk in the sugar, then rum and vanilla. Whisk in half of the flour mixture, then gently stir in half of the melted butter.

5. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, then the remaining butter.

6. Fold in the apple pieces until they’re well-coated with the batter and scrape them into the prepared cake pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Food - Apple Cake 2

7. Bake the cake for 50 minute to 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 5 minutes, then run a knife around the edge to loosen the cake from the pan and carefully remove the sides of the cake pan, making sure no apples are stuck to it.

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Italian Sausage Bean Soup

Posted on November 5, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Health, Soup Made Simple | Tags: , , , , , , |

Food - Sausage Soup

Staying with my Monday-make-soup theme, I whipped up this beauty yesterday in about 30 minutes.  It will feed us for 3 days!  Whoo-hoo, I don’t even have to think about dinner until Thursday!!

Hunting in the freezer I found 3 leftover Italian sausages from summer which I fried up in a pan and cut into small chunks with my kitchen scissors while they were still a bit frozen which made the cutting easier.  I had some yard work to do so I gently simmered 2 small bags of black-eyed peas and 2 small bags of garbanzo beans which I found in the basement storage bin.

I cooked them separately because the beans are two different sizes and I didn’t want the little ones getting mushy while the big ones were still cooking.  Each took about an hour and a half to cook up.  This was fine as I was busy with other things.  I like to do this because I freeze about 3/4 of the cooked beans and then it’s really easy to take them out and use them without having to start with the dry beans.  I avoid canned beans because of the plastic can lining which leaches into the food inside.

So, again, I started with sautéing a big onion in butter/olive oil.  Then I plopped in some frozen turkey stock with a little water.  The turkey stock was too much for this batch of soup so I just waited until enough of it melted to pull it out.  I threw it in a container with some of the beans and into the freezer for a future soup.

Then I chopped up some carrots and cabbage.  Also, I found some gorgeous dried mushrooms I brought back from Italy last month to throw in.  Then when there was a lot of hot liquid in the pot I put in a dozen medium sized frozen tomatoes.  After about 2 minutes I slipped the skins off of them and they just melted into the broth.  I really love frozen tomatoes in soup broth.

Lastly the spices and sausage went in.  I used Penzey’s Cajun spice again (trying to use that up) and some thyme, marjoram, and Aleppo pepper for zing.  I also peeled and crushed up about 8 cloves of my garden garlic to throw in.

Well, one bowl of this was plenty, it was so filling!  It felt like a grand reward for all the yardwork and window cleaning I did yesterday!  It would be easy to make this vegetarian/vegan by simply omitting the sausage – the beans were plenty of heft.  Also, veggie stock would be fine and the onion can sauté with coconut/olive oil.  Give soup-making a try – it is so much better than anything that could possibly come out of a can!

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Tapioca with Cherries Made Simpler

Posted on November 1, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple | Tags: , , , , |

Food - Tapioca with CherriesI wanted tapioca pudding but I started too late for the crock pot method I wrote about last February.  So I experimented and came up with a great way to do it!

I used:

1/2 C. tapioca pearls

3 raw sugar cones (could be maple syrup, or your favorite sweetener to taste, start with about 1/4 C. you can always add more at the end)

2 1/2 C. milk I concocted out of organic cream (1/2 C. organic cream and the rest water.)

I put these 3 simple ingredients into a small enameled cast iron pot on a small burner on the stove.  I brought it to a simmer on medium and then turned it down as low as it goes.  I stirred it about ever half hour, but it only took 2 hours and it was done.  Be careful with the heat.  Keep as low as you can throughout because milk products don’t do well over high heat, they are prone to curdle or separate.  The 2 hours was no big deal as I was doing other cooking and some computer work so it was fine to just sit there while I was busy with other things.

Then I used the Italian wild cherries I brought back from Italy in September as a topping.  Oh my.  That’s all I can say!  I think I will be ordering more of these cherries once they are gone.  I see Amazon has them now!  Or maybe I can justify another trip to Italy….

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Growing Garlic 101

Posted on October 30, 2013. Filed under: Food Made Simple, Plants | Tags: , , , |

Plants - Garlic 1Now is the time!  Go to the farmer’s market and buy some garlic bulbs.  Break them apart.  Put the pointier end up and the flatter part down – about 2 inches down and about 3 inches apart.  Cover with the plentiful leaves that are everywhere right now and forget about them!

I planted about 50 plants the other day.  It’s supposed to rain tomorrow.  Perfect.

Plants - Garlic 2Now they will grow their roots.  All winter they will settle in and get comfortable,   readying themselves for the spring that is certain to come!

Plants - Garlic 3In spring they will steadily grow to about 3 feet tall.  Come June they will produce flowers, called scapes, which I will cut off to sauté and enjoy like asparagus.  And by mid-July the greens will be about halfway dried up.  Time to harvest!  I then dig them out, hack off the tops and place them in a box to cure in the basement.  Then I’ll be eating and re-planting next fall.  Easy peasy!  Garlic is extremely healthy, it’s a great first crop for anyone, even kids, because it is super successful (no pests bother it really) and it’s yummy!

I got a good question on facebook:  What do you mean by cure?

Here’s the answer:  Cure is for root vegetables like sweet potatoes and garlic that benefit from a drying time which is why I put them in the basement near my dehumidifier.  You can eat the garlic fresh, but curing the bulk of it by just letting it rest and dry for about a month will make it keep longer/better.  Some people bundle it together by the stalks and hang it up for good air circulation during the curing time.  It also stops all the growing and readies it for planting.  Thank you to Glenda for the question!

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