Thursday, January 31, 2008

Featured Food of the Week: Millet

So, why should we be eating millet? Well, here is how Americans found out back during World War I; food was scarce and some people in desperation started to eat their chicken feed. Chicken feed contained millet and to their surprise, they were healthier than before they lived on chicken feed. In fact,many of their diseases disappeared altogether. Why? Well, millet is one of the only alkaline grains. When your body becomes sick, it is a sign that your body is too acidic. Millet will help rebuild your cells. It is very easy to digest and is one of the most completely balanced of all grains. It is rich in vitamins and mineral, lecithin and amino acids. Millet has a very mild taste and you can add it to anything. You can also cook this up and eat a bowl of it with a little honey, especially if you are feeling a little under the weather. I throw this in my smoothies, wheat when I grind it into flour and into baked goods. It just tastes crunchy. If you want to cook it, here is how:

Boil 3 cups water, add 1 T or oil, dash of salt and 1 cup millet. Boil 2 mn, turn down heat and simmer for 30-40
mn. In a pressure cooker, bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil, add 1 cup millet, oil and salt. Cook on first ring for 10 mn. Release pressure naturally.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Cookie Success

Thanks to my fellow E.H. , Angela Ferrin for inspiring me to make a whole grain cookie! I spent the afternoon testing various recipes and adding different ingredients to make a cookie that is all whole grain and tasty. Well, I had the taste testers, the beautiful girls above come to my kitchen for the real test. I told them they were healthy cookies and they all kind of turned up their noses. I gave them each one, they picked a small piece off, then one by one they said, "Wow, these are so yummy", "Are you sure these are healthy?" "Can I have another one?". So, I guess it was a cookie success. Just remember ladies, whole grain nutrition does not mean no calories. I must go to the gym tonight from all my cookie sampling. Try them out. Kids will love them. Tomorrow I will blog all about Millet and why you should be using this in your diet.

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookie

AKA Bird Seed Cookies

Mix together:
1 cup soft butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Whip until very light and creamy.


2 cups ground wheat or ground spelt flour
2 1/3 cups rolled oats
2 tsp baking soda

Mix until all incorporated.

Then, add :

1 package chocolate chips
1/2 cup whole millet
chopped nuts if you like them

Drop on a greased cookie sheet and cook at 350 for 10-12 min. I like to make these into little chipper size
cookies , bake for a bout 6-8 min if they are small.


Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What adding a little pressure will do...

Valentines Day has never been much of a celebrated holiday in my home, a theme shared by us equally but last year I have to say, my sweetheart came through big time. I was teaching a class that day at church using my beloved pressure cookers, of which I had two and I had made a comment to him a day earlier that I wish I had one more bigger one so I could use all three at one time. The next day, just before I was leaving to teach the class, he pulled this beautiful pressure cooker out and wished me a Happy Valentines Day. Honestly, to me, it was better than jewelry. Ever since I started using the pressure cookers, I can't imagine life without them. They have saved me more time than I can calculate over the years cooking. They cook in about 1/3 the time and seal in the nutrients lost in other cooking processes. This one above, is my favorite. The Cadillac. Not all pressure cookers are created equal. The Kuhn Rikon line is the tops sold at Shar's Kitchen store in Gilbert but can be ordered on line at They are pricey, but will last a long time. Many are intimidated at first, it is a different way of cooking, but being able to make homemade re fried beans in less than 30 minutes makes learning something different worth it or cooking a roast in 45 minutes! Just think of what you will do with all of your spare time! Do I hear pedicures?

Canister Crazy

I have to admit that I have a bit of a love affair with containers. I especially love these square containers for all of my grains,beans and baking ingredients. I have at least 20 in different sizes. The best thing about these is that you can buy all the bulk foods and save the cost of packaging. Shar's kitchen center also sells her products in these great containers so everything matches. I also like them so I can see what I have and what I need to buy since they are clear. The square shapes are great because they fit so well in the pantry. I also have small ones in the fridge for my yeast and other grains. You can buy these at smart n final, Shar's and possibly sams club. They are real cheap and are a good quality.

If you do not live by a sprouts or natural food type store, you can order grains and cooking items online at The prices are pretty good and shipping is low cost. I have ordered many things from them when I couldn't find them anywhere else.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Snack Time

In response to the emails, here are a few of the basic staples of snacks we have around our house:

Chips and Salsa (tostitos, sprouts brand mostly)
fritos and bean dip, made with homemade beans and salsa
chips with melted mexican cheese
natural line popcorn
gold fish crackers, now without trans fats
gorilla munch cereal, as a snack , not a cereal.
Trail mix, watch out that it doesn't have partially hydrog. oils
apples and peanut butter
whole wheat toast with jelly
fruitabu fruit roll ups
Healthy handful snacks from costco
homemade granola with good yogurt, either homemade or cascade type brand
Homemade cookies and treats, try to use butter recipes, not shortening and put in some whole wheat, you can also easily sneak in shredded zucchini to brownies and muffins.
Mini muffins, whole wheat flour only. Somehow the mini size makes them more appealing!
Tree top all natural fruit snacks, still has sugar but mostly good for a treat

I will post more ideas as I think of them and give you recipes to try out. Here is my granola recipe that never seems to stay around very long in my house! I love it with fresh yogurt and fruit. It is also a great breakfast.

Fruity Granola

1/2 cup butter
1/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup jelly
4 1/2 cups rolled oats

melt butter , sugar and jelly in saucepan until sugar is broken down and all melted. Toss with oats . I also like to add shredded unsweetened coconut and slivered almonds . You could also toss in other grains. Spread on 15X10 jellyroll pan sprayed with pam. Cook at 325 about 25-35 mn or until slightly golden brown. Let cool then break up and store in container. It should be crunchy. You can add dried fruit at this point. I like to use a jelly that is either low in sugar or sugar free. Your kids will love this! You could also cut it into granola bar squares when it is still warm if you want.

Artificial America

Do you really know what you are eating? Do you have any idea what is in the food you are feeding your children? None of us would feed our child poison but how many of us are allowing them to eat food that is so packed with artificial ingredients that to the body that is exactly what it is: poison. The truth is, America has gone artificial. Why? Because it is cheaper. Real food cost money and big companies know that. They can switch to a cheap , processed, artificial means of food and no one really says anything. It tastes good and packages well but, what really are they feeding us? Since America is really run by big companies, ie, the American Dairy council, Coca Cola, Drug companies, how can you trust what they are saying. Although so many issues are being brought before congress for investigation, the big companies use any means possible to stop these, knowing that regulations would affect them greatly. So, enlightened homemakers of America, it is your responsibility to know for yourselves what you are eating and what you are feeding your little Americans at home. What are we going to find out in ten years that causes cancer when it is too late? The information is out there now. Research, know for yourselves. I do believe that in moderation, most things will not kill us, but, I do have a list of the ingredients that I simply do not buy:
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Partially Hydrogenated oils
Food Dyes
Go look in your pantry today. What are you feeding your kids? If you understand that what we eat has a direct correlation to how we feel and act, it is easier to be concerned with what we are eating. If you don't know about these ingredients, give it a google. These artificial ingredients are not recognized by the body and cannot be processed like real food. They are stored as toxins, and toxins cause diseases. Why is America so sick? Why is cancer out of control, MS, Autism, ADHD? Fortunately, it is much easier and cheaper now to find good foods. Companies are removing the partially hydrogenated oils. 0 trans fats means they do not contain the bad oils.
I urge you all to read your labels, know what you are eating. Take a look in your pantry today. It is our jobs to take care of our children, to give them the opportunity to feel good and to focus and enjoy life. I believe we will be held accountable for our care we give our children. What is more important than their health?

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Recipe request

I have many emails and comments requesting various recipes. Since it is easier to copy an email, if you are interested in receiving some recipes, please email me at and I will pass some on to you. If you have recipes to share, please also send them to me. I will send them on to the whole group. If you type a recipe, please type it in word and send as an attachment.


Friday, January 25, 2008

Wendi Lee Photography

Just a little blurb for my sister-in-law, Wendi - Check out her website at,or use my link below to see the Valentine specials she has going. She has a studio in her home in Mesa and makes the cutest cards with the pictures. She also designs Blog headers, like mine if you are in need and can't figure out the what the heck HTML is all about!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Simply Organized

A simple way I have discovered to eliminate the "Where is that paper....?" is to have a hanging file folder for
each of my children in my file drawer where they can access. Anytime I get a paper that I will need ie. dance
recital information, soccer sign up sheet or class phone number list, I know just where it will be. If my little ones make a picture for grandma, we will know right where it is the next time she comes over. The kids know that if they have a special paper they did at school, they put it in their file. When the file gets too full, it is time to sort through it and empty as needed. The special papers they still want to keep go into their big rubermaid bin that they have for their favorite pictures and school papers. I will send that bin off with them when they are married. This system has worked great for me. Before I had file drawers, I just had a pocket folder for each of them.

While I have some simple organization tips to pass on, my friend, Molly, has many "cute" organization tips to pass on. I am not a "fluffy" person, too practical, but Molly makes everything cute. I have asked her to write some blogs for me with her tips . She is known for her talents in this area. So, keep your eye out for her upcoming column. If any of you have an area of expertise or info you would like to pass on, email me or make a comment and I would love to have you guest blog. That was my intention of this blog, all of us sharing our ideas. Thanks for all of your emails and comments. I have learned from you all.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Can you say "Quinoa?"

The American Cancer Society states that 45% of all cancer is caused by the lack of fiber in our diet. In America, since we live on such a white flour , processed diet, our colons are suffering and as nutritionist say, death begins in the colon. Why? Well, if you have ever taken white flour and mixed it with a little water, you make paste. That is exactly what happens when you eat the white flour. It turns into paste and clogs up your system, ruining the digestive process and creating all kids of havoc. If you added water to whole wheat, the fiber will keep it from turning to paste. It will flow on through. If you are eating properly , food should exit the system within 24 hours. That means, yes, you should be "Pooping" at least once a day. If you are not, you are not healthy. Therefore, I will introduce you to a wonderful grain for my featured food of the week: Quinoa (Keen-wa).

Quinoa is a super grain that is used so very little in America but is widely used in other cultures. In fact, it is the main food of many Andes tribes which are known for their endurance. Quinoa can be purchased at Sprouts, and other health type stores. You can grind it in a grinder like wheat or cook it up like rice. You can then add it to salads for a little nutty taste. As flour, it has a bit of a strong taste so you want to use it in small amounts with other flours. I sneak it in to muffins, waffles, bread , etc. It is the most nutritious grain of all. It has a high level of lysine which helps maintain a lean muscle mass, helps produce antibodies and hormones and helps to keep the vascular system healthy. Take a look in your pantry, if you are living on a "White Flour" diet, make some changes today. You are what you eat. Who really wants to be paste?

Nature Bracelet

I love to take walks right now with my little 3 year old because to him, there is nothing funnier than mom running and crunching through the leaves. He loves to pick them up and throw them at me or stuff them in my pockets. It is just a hilarious game he thinks he made up. He also loves to collect cute little things he finds along the way. Rocks, feathers, leaves, etc. A fun little way for him to keep his collections as he walks is to make a duck tape bracelet. Put a strip of duck tape around their wrist, sticky side up like a bracelet. As they walk and find their treasures, they can stick them on the tape. When they get home, cut it off and they can keep it to show everyone. This is much better than digging them out of their pockets when you do the laundry! Take a walk today! Life is beautiful especially through a 3 year-olds eyes.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Salad Delish

I love salads and am getting quite bored with my regular repertoire of recipes. So, my enlightened
homemakers, I am making a plea for your favorite salad recipes. Anyone out there who has one
to share, email me with your recipe in word format as an attachment. In return, I will email you back all of the recipes that I get. Hopefully, all who participates will come out with a whole batch of salad
recipes. I tried a great one out the other night with a dressing recipe copied from Cafe Rio ( A very tasty mexican restaurant). Here is the dressing, also great for a chip dip. I tossed it with chopped lettuce, sweet corn, pulled pork, avocados and other shredded veggies. My kids loved it.
Cafe Rio Dressing
1 Buttermilk Ranch Dressing packet (Mix per instructions)
2 Tomatillos (Not tomatoes)
1/2 bunch cilantro
1 clove garlic
juice of 1 lime
1 jalapeno ( or about 3 -4 slices from a jar)
Put all in a blender or food processor until mixed. Chill.

The "Post its" are Back

Why does it seem that every morning, it seems to come as a surprise to my children that they have a job to do, the same job they have had to do for the past year? Why must they be asked 10 times at least to get it done? This seems to be the theme every morning this month. Contrary to what my children may think, I do actually hate to yell at them, and think it quite unfair that I am pushed to this point to simply get some work done. Therefore, the "Post it " system is back! This system was a little brain child of mine a year or so ago that revolutionized the way the morning ritual went in my house. We seemed to forget it so they will remember beginning tomorrow morning. Here's how it goes:
I no longer have to ask them to get the work done. They know what their jobs are and know that they must be completed before they go to school. If, by chance they do forget this very simple thing, when they return home from school, there will be a post it on the counter with their name and a harder job that must be completed before any food or privilege is to be received. That is in addition to whatever job they missed in the morning. I told them that I hope they forget their morning job because I have a really big job I need done in the afternoon that would really help me out. Well, it took only two days for them to figure out that doing the morning job was a lot easier. I didn't have to yell or even say one word. It worked like a charm, at least for a good year. We seemed to forget this game so they will remember tomorrow. Try it out! Our job is to teach our children responsibility, not to teach them to respond only when we get mad. We need to teach them that they work because they are part of a family not because they get money. We have to teach them that in the real world, Mom will not be there to tell them daily to get the work done! If they don't, they will loose jobs, fail classes and loose friends. That is life.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Just a little info from my friend, Anne. She said that you can
buy the pink Holy Cow cleaner (multi purpose one) in bulk at Sam's
club. It comes in a gallon container with a separate hand container.
She also said that if you are interested in getting a Nutri Mill (the best
wheat grinder on the market), prices are going up Feb. 1. Right now
they are on sale at Shar's Bosch Center in gilbert for $239.00. That
is a great price. For you out of towners, I think you may be able to
get this on line from her~ Thanks for the info Anne!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Do NOT make this cookie!

Since I just gave you some sugar facts, I thought it natural that the next blog is about cookies! Hey, if your going to eat sugar, make it count! Well, Saturday my daughter and her friend wanted to make some cookies. I don't like cookies in general except for chocolate chip. I decided that since I was trying to loose a couple Christmas pounds, I would stay away from the chocolate chip and try something I thought I wouldn't like. Well, after pounding away at least 4 cookies, I had to physically remove myself from the kitchen. These were quite tasty to say the least!

Here is the recipe but first let me pass on a few cookie tips that I have learned from my very talented sister-in-law, Melissa, (who really should open a bakery) and my neighbor, Anne. To get that perfect shape to your cookie, like Mrs. Fields, the key other than a good recipe is to beat the sugar and the butter until very light and creamy. Not just mixed. You want the sugar to no longer be in the crystal form. This keeps the cookie from looking like a cowpie. Next, when the cookie is done, just after taking the pan out of the oven, drop the pan hard on the counter. It flattens the cookie and gives it a perfect shape. Try it out! Just be careful when making
this cookie, as I stated, do not make this cookie if you are trying to loose weight!

Triple Chocolate Cookie

2 cups flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 cups softened butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup white chocolate chips

Beat butter and sugar till very light and creamy. Add eggs and vanilla
and beat again until even more light and creamy. Add the rest of the
ingredients except for chips. When mixed, fold in chips. Bake at 350 about
8- 9 mn . Take out and drop on counter!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Hey Sugar! Whatcha eatin'?

I had a few friends over the other day and we were discussing what we feed our children for
breakfast. I am a big breakfast fan and never skimp in this area. We were talking about what we put on waffles which led me to later google a bit about sugar content in various toppings. At our house, we usually put fruit and a little real whipped cream. I am not a big dairy person but we do eat some, just not drink it at all. Anyways, I looked first at the sugar grams in Mrs. Butterworth syrup. A shocking 36grams in only 1/4 cup. In whipped cream, there is only 2 grams in 1/4 cup. Real Maple syrup has 50 grams but it isn't refined sugar so that is a whole different story. Real Maple syrup has a natural sugar that the body can recognize and easily process. It isn't toxic like white refined sugar. The recommended max. of sugar grams recommended per adult is 40 grams per day. If this is the case, how many are we already starting our kids off with per day just on breakfast alone? the 40 grams is added sugar, so not the natural sugar in fruits, honey or carbs. FYI, Fruit Loops has 13 grams per cup. But, hey, if you are eating all those red , purple and green food dyes, who really cares about the sugar!

Just a little food for thought.

Monday, January 14, 2008

A "Clean" Conversation

After taking my son to his specialist for Autism and having him
tested for all kinds of toxins, his Dr. started to ask me questions.
The first was about cleaners. I am an avid Windex fan and as my husband says, will probably be the first person to actually wear a groove in our glass door. She told me to switch to a non-toxic cleaner. So, I found these cleaners, the Holy Cow brand, which you can find pretty much everywhere. I have only seen the pink and blue kinds.Wal-mart is the cheapest and actually these are even cheaper than windex. They smell great and work great. The pink one can even be used on wood floors and granite counter tops. It is a little streaky on the granite but the window cleaner is great. I love that my kids can clean with it without me worrying that they get it
on their hands and that I can clean the counter without worrying that they eat off of it . It is completely biodegradable, non-hazardous and non-toxic. Try it out! And, since we are on the subject of "clean", what is your favorite cleaners? Hazardous or not! I am always looking for a great shower cleaner.

Simply Organized

Last year was my year to get my house totally organized.(I'm almost there!) Everything in a place.My favorite accomplishment was all of the loose papers in the kitchen- those handouts from enrichment, ward lists, kitchen manuals for all of the kitchen novelties I buy, etc. I went to costco and bought a bunch of binders and sheet protectors. I have many binders each with a different topic, Kitchen manuals, Phone lists, Recipes, etc. They are each filled with sheet protectors so that when I get a new paper or manual, I just slip it into the plastic. I always know where everything is. I especially love having all of my manuals in one place. I keep the warranty card with it so I never have to wonder, "Now, where did I put that information!"I have one for my year supply so I can list what boxes I have and where in the house they are stashed along with dates of when I bought them. This helps me with rotation. My other favorite binder is for my loose recipes. Whenever I print one off or get one from enrichment, I just throw it in the plastic. This was so simple and left me wondering, why did I not do this before!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Featured Food of the Week

As resident family chefs, it is very easy for us homemakers to get stuck using the same ingredients over and over, not venturing out to try new things. I am hoping that with this weekly section, I will help introduce you to a new food that is nutritious and tasty for your family. I will tell you a bit about it then tell you how to cook it and give you a recipe. I hope that this will help broaden your recipe portfolio and help give you a little education about what foods there are out there.

This is my first week and I thought I would start with the PERUANO BEAN since I just listed a Mexican recipe. We all know that beans are high in protein and a great food source for us all. When beans are combined with corn, such as a corn tortilla, it becomes a complete protein.Most kids will eat them which also makes this a plus. I was introduced to this bean by my mother-in-law about a year ago and it quickly became my substitute for the regular pinto. It is a yellowish bean on the outside but cooks up to a lighter version of the pinto. It is very creamy and even a little sweet. It is great to use in any form just like the pinto. It absorbs flavors very easily so it is great in Mexican food. It comes from Mexico and has been there most popular bean since 2005.
Now, if you are not a "bean cooker", you need to get on it. Beans are so good for you and so easy to cook with. I cook beans regularly and use my pressure cooker as I can finish them in about 45 minutes unsoaked or about 20 mn presoaked. If you don't own a pressure cooker (Which you really need to consider), you can cook them just like a pinto:


Rinse beans, cover with twice as much water and
soak overnight. Dump water, rinse and cover again
with twice as much water. Bring to boil then simmer
until soft. About an hour. This just depends oh how
long they have soaked. Salt and pepper after you
cook them. Salting before will increase cooking time.
If you do not soak them, Rinse and cover then cook
as above but cooking time will be around 3 hours.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Crispy Chicken Taco

I tried this recipe from the Sunset magazine my sister-in-law signed me up for.
I have found that most of their recipes are very delicious, usually restaurant quality.
This recipe is no exception. This quickly became a family favorite and my kids
ask for them weekly. They are very simple to make and ooooh so delicious!

Crispy Chicken Tacos

3 cups packed shredded cooked chicken
2 cups shredded jack cheese or mexican cheese
vegetable oil
16 corn tortillas
1 cup chopped fresh cilantro
fresh salsa or western slaw (recipe to follow)

In a bowl, mix chicken with cheese and season to taste with salt
and cumin. I usually use about 1 tsp cumin.Pour 3 TB oil into a
medium fry pan over hight heat. When hot,add tortillas, 1 at a
time, heating just until soft, not crisp. stack on paper towels.
Mix cilantro with chicken filling. fill each tortilla with about
1/4 cup filling down center. Fold in half then fry in about 1/2 in.
hot oil. You can secure with a toothpick if needed. Tacos should
sizzle in hot oil. Fry until golden brown. Let tacos drain, then
Lay on single layer on baking sheet and keep warm in oven with
foil till all ready to eat. We never make it this far, we eat them
before they get cooled down. Fill with salsa and whatever else you

Southwestern Slaw

shredded and chopped green cabbage
sour cream
salsa, like Pace

Mix sour cream with salsa, equal parts. Mix with cabbage until moist
and a little saucy. Refrigerate for about 30 min.
Homemade Yogurt
Most people who know me know
my position on milk. Our bodies
cannot properly digest the
proteins in pasteurized milk.
Because of that, yogurt too
cannot be properly digested as
we get it in the store. However,
yogurt has many very healthy
properties that are so beneficial
for our bodies. In researching
about yogurt, I have found the
solution- The milk in yogurt can be digested if only processed
properly. In almost all commercial yogurts, the yogurt is cured
for about 4 hours. To help break down the hard to digest proteins,
24 hours is needed. So, I bought this yogurt maker several months
ago to start making this myself. It has sat in my pantry until a
few days ago. I pulled it out and found out how easy this is! It
makes 8 cups at a time. My kids loved it and I am making it
again today. It costs half the price of regular yogurt and only
contains what you put into it, no blue food coloring or sugar.
We love it with honey, vanilla and homemade granola. Try it out!
I bought it online at Lucy's Kitchen shop for about $60.oo. You
can buy the starter at the same company. Enjoy!