Tuesday, April 29, 2008

What If??????

What if there was a truckers strike, What if our borders were closed, What if we could not get gas, What if you lost your income? What if for only a few months, or a few weeks, we couldn't get supplies to our stores? Our grocery stores would run out of food in a couple of days, if not one day. If all of these What if's become realities, would you be able to feed your family?

Us crazy mormons have been talking about a year supply for decades and still many aren't even prepared for a week. Now, not only are the crazy mormons talking about it, it is all over the news. I am sure you have all heard about the rice rationing and the wheat supply problem. If not, turn on the news. This is a small part of the food supply, yet it is causing such a buzz. Why are we surprised? Do we just all expect that our food will just always be there. Do we take it for granted? Do we somehow think that this council is not for us? Let us all remember Noah and the people laughing at him for building the arc. Are we laughing? Are we prepared for the flood? Were you running to Costco to get your rice or were you sitting back feeling peaceful knowing you have a closet full of rice and wheat? Not only should we be worrying about the basic staples, but we should be focusing on what we eat everyday. I was listening to the news today and they, the news people, not the church, were advising people to stock up on food. "They" were saying that food prices are going to go up continually. It is time to prepare. Fill our freezers and our closets. The economy is a tricky thing right now and no one or no job is safe. There is no guarantee that we will just be able to go to the store and get what we want. That is a privilege. As mothers, we need to be able to take care of our families. We cannot live without food. New shoes can wait. I have my year supply of my basic staples. Now I am going to focus on a three month supply of what we eat daily. I am going to pick items each shopping period to focus on. Last time it was on tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and spaghetti sauce. This time I am going to stock up on Butter and Cheese. I will try to buy the things to put together a basic menu of dinners if I had to rely on what I had on hand. If you are starting from scratch, just start to stock up gradually. As much as you can afford.

I know that the world is a scary place to live in, especially now. But, I also know that if we are prepared, we need not fear. This is a promise. We have no excuse. We have been warned. Let us all make sure that we are ready for the What if's in our lives. It probably isn't a flood we have to worry about or earthquakes or wide spread drought. It may be as simple as a truckers strike that would leave us without a good food supply for a few weeks or months. It is time to get our houses in order.

There's my 2 cents for the day.

FYI Bountiful Baskets Orders are due April 30th, Wed.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Corn enchiladas

I first have to share a funny little "kids say the darnedest thing" story. We were at grandma's tonight with the family and my 5 year old came out with a drawing he did. He explained that the drawing was a mix between a fox and a duck. He wanted to know what to name it. Thank goodness he decided to name it a DOX. Few. He may have learned early what the "F" word was.

Now for the recipe I forgot to post the other day. I love corn and green chilies. This is one of my favorite recipes, Corn and Green Chile Enchilada's. It is so easy to make and so fresh tasting. My children all love it, my husband prefers something with a little more kick, so spice it up as much as you want. I love the sweet and the spicy taste together. I think it tastes better the next day so make extra.
Corn and Green Chile enchiladas
12 corn tortillas
2 T Butter
1/2 t. Cumin, or more if you desire
1 C. Sour Cream
1 (4oz) can green chilies, diced
3 Cups frozen white corn. (I use the Costco organic type, it tastes fresh or you can
also use fresh corn, six ears with corn sliced off)
1 Medium onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup water
1 Cup shredded jack cheese
Cheese for top
Melt butter in pan, add onions and saute until limp. Add corn, water and cumin. Cover and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Remove cover and cook over high heat to boil away any remaining liquid. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients including 1 cup cheese. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fry tortillas in oil just to soften them, not crisp. Put a little filling on bottom of 9X13 pan sprayed with pam. Spoon about 1/3 C filling down center of tortilla and roll up, place in pan seam side down. After all are filled, spread remaining filling on top and top with grated Mexican cheese mixture or jack and cheddar. Bake uncovered at 375 for 20 minutes or until bubbly. You can throw in other chilies or top with Valentino or any taco sauce to spice it up.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Safe Food Friday

Not a whole lot to blog about this week. I didn't do a lot of shopping to check out new products. I did get emails from a few of you about two products at Fresh & Easy. Check out their Soy sauce and their BBQ sauce. They look good.

If I haven't mentioned the Healthful Handfuls from Costco, they are a good snack for the little ones. I saw on Amazon that you can order them also, and separately in case you don't want all of the varieties. They have the only cheesy, gold fish type crackers that I have seen that don't contain yeast extract. They taste good.

I also have to report that we cooked up some of the Annie's mac n cheese, the Arthur variety and it was not good. No one ate them. I will try another type and see if it is any good. I don't want to eat it just because it is healthy, I want it to taste good too!

I have also been told that the Nutri mill wheat grinder is on sale at Shar's I think until Mother's day. This is a must in every kitchen so if you don't have one, check it out. You can also visit her online at Shar's Bosch center. She will ship it. If you are going to cook with whole wheat, you really need to grind your own to get all of the vitamins. It also tastes so much better.

I will post a recipe tomorrow , one of my favorites. Have a good night enlightened homemakers of America!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

To top it all off.....

I have been asked about what I use on pancakes. I blog about this a little now and then, but here is my usual options.
Regular syrup; only in a great while. Why? Well, I figure that I go to great lengths to make sure the pancake is such a whole grain nutritional breakfast that I have issues with topping it off with ingredients such as these in Mrs. Butterworths:
High fructose corn syrup
Corn Syrup
Cellulose Gum
Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Hexametaphosphate
Natural and Artificial flavor
Citric Acid
Caramel color
mono and diglycerides
I can't say that I never use they syrup, but it is maybe once a month on french toast. I will use mostly fresh whipped cream, using organic cream and very little sugar and fresh fruit. Sometimes we use freezer jam diluted with a little water and heated up. Real maple syrup is great but it does have a little different taste that sometimes need to be acquired. We love hot apples with a little cinnamon and sugar or hot peaches. I also love buttermilk syrup on wheat waffles. Here is the recipe for those who don't have it. It is definitely not on the low fat side, but you don't need much. Just make sure that you find a buttermilk that has decent ingredients. I usually have to find the organic valley brand.
Buttermilk Syrup
1 stick butter
1/2 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. sugar
Let melt on medium heat until it starts to boil, stirring occasionally. When all melted and just boiling, remove from heat, stir in 1 tsp. vanilla and 1 tsp. baking soda. Stir until all mixed. It will foam up so make sure you start off with a bigger sauce pan. Serve hot.
The buttermilk syrup does have sugar but much lower than real syrup. I would rather have sugar than high fructose syrup!
As for the questions I get on the new sweetner xylitol, I have been trying to research that. I cannot find any negative info on it unless you are a dog. It is processed much like sugar is from a sugar cane only derived from a type of bark from what I understand. It has a good effect on teeth unlike sugar and tastes great. I am nervous that since it is new that the long term effects are not know yet, but it looks promising. I did buy the Spry gum with it to try it out. It is better that glee and xylitol has to be better than aspartame. That's what I know. I will keep checking out links but I have looked at hundreds of sites and that's all I can find. Nothing negative.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The most important meal of the day....

You can't expect to fill up your unleaded vehicle with diesel gas in the morning and expect it to run smoothly. Likewise, you cannot expect to fill up your children with Fruit Loops in the morning and expect them to run smoothly. When I am asked where one should start to change their diets, I always tell them to start with breakfast. It truly is the most important meal of the day. It is a meal that anyone can cook. No real talent needed. It is the meal that gets us going and jump starts our metabolism and brains. If we dump in the sugar and empty calories, we will be hitting a sugar low early on. If we skip breakfast, the body will never quite rev up, it will try to conserve and the metabolism slows down to compensate. This is a true mistake for any dieter. Kids are so often sent out the door bouncing off the wall from the high sugar intake and by mid morning, they are left in a slump when the sugar wears off. Ask any teacher, they know the routine.
To get out of this bad morning routine, the first thing to do is to build up your breakfast recipe repertoire. I love breakfast. It is my favorite meal and I always eat like a champ every morning. The only time in my life where I didn't eat breakfast was my first year in college when I only had lunch and dinner. I gained 15 pounds. As soon as I returned home and started back on eating a great breakfast, the weight fell off. Our bodies need it. It is so important, however, that we fill up on the nutrients our bodies need. Whole grains, fruits, proteins. I have given many recipes out in my classes for breakfasts but need to pass them on to my blog family. Once you get into the routine of a hot breakfast, if you haven't already, you will find that it doesn't really take a lot of time and much can be done ahead of time. Pancakes and Waffles freeze great along with muffins and granola. If you don't change anything else, start the day off right. Make breakfast your most important meal of the day.
One of my favorite pancake recipes is the Banana Buttermilk Pancake. I love it , of course, with a little dollop of fresh whipped cream. I use very little sugar in the cream. These are also great plain. We just have to play the "Banana Pancake" song by Jack Johnson when we make these. Ambiance is everything! Try these out.
Banana Buttermilk Pancakes
1 C. whole wheat flour
3 T Brown sugar
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. baking soda
1/4 t. salt
1 C. Buttermilk
1 egg
1 1/2 T melted Butter
2 t. oil
1 large ripe banana, thinly sliced
Combine dry ingredients, whisk in the wet until just mixed. Stir in bananas gently. Cook on griddle.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Just a little aside, I have finally started to label my blogs so you can go to the topics you want. At the end of this page, there are a few topics. Click on the topic you want and those subjects will be grouped. This will keep the recipes, safe food fridays, nutrition, etc. organized.

Iron Chef here I come.....

I am ready for the Iron Chef challenge. As in the show, you are given ingredients that you must use in a dish. I had my basket full of ingredients, my challenge is to use it all. So far, on day two, half the basket is gone. My biggest challenge: the mysterious artichoke. My first step, study on how in the world to prepare this odd looking vegetable. If you are wondering the same thing, click here to find out step by step. I had researched on line to find a great new recipe including an artichoke. I have had this on pizzas, in salads and as a dip but never made one myself. I found a recipe for a pasta dish that sounded great. I did my prep work. carefully trimmed the points off the leaves and trimmed the base and the top. I steamed them in my pressure cooker for 14 minutes. My first dish was going to be an appetizer with the leaves. Miss Molly had already used her artichokes and told me she dipped them in a mayo/curry dip. Me and my two little kitchen testers tried that out and they were pretty tasty. I was then all prepared to get to the hearts and slice them up for my extraordinary pasta dish. To my great disappointment, the hearts were not good. Molly said hers were great, mine were a bit moldy. Darn. My dinner had to be switched using a few other ingredients in the basket. My mexican squash and the swiss chard. It turned out rather tasty. I have no idea what to name it, but here is what I put into it:
1 C. heavy whipping creme
1/2 C fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 stick butter
salt, pepper and garlic to taste
Melt all together stirring frequently on medium to low setting. Thicken with ultra gel if needed.
Pasta ingredients:
I used Cannelloni pasta, use whatever shape you want. I used about 10 oz.
cook till al dente.
Cut up squash, use any kind, into 1 inch chunks. saute in olive oil with a little garlic until just tender. I added 2 cans albacore tuna and heated until all warm. You can use chicken also or any fish.
Toss in noodles and cover with sauce. I shredded the swiss chard into really thin ribbons and sprinkled it on top. Probably about a cup worth. You can use spinach.
You can add whatever you want.Mushrooms, sun dried tomatos, peppers would all be great. The sauce is great and really low fat. (HA)
We also ate the radishes by slicing them and dipping them in ranch with our lunch.I have a few left that I will grate in our salad tomorrow. All of the mango's were used in my smoothies. All of the other normal produce has tasted great. I have been very impressed. So far, I have heard only positive things about this co op. For those of you who haven't joined in, I have added them to my links under Bountiful Baskets. I wish they had this every week because we go through it so fast. Tomorrow morning we will be having banana pancakes!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

My Bountiful Harvest

Well ladies, here is is. My first Bountiful Harvest. I have to say, the experience was over all a good one. This Co op is very well run and I was impressed. Me and a few gal pals decided to volunteer today to get the whole experience. It was smooth and took only one hour total. If just picking up the produce, it would take about 10-15 minutes. You can also pair up with people and take turns doing the pick up for each other. They organize the produce in two different baskets for fruit and veggies. You show up with your baskets and just put the items from your designated baskets into yours. The bread is Alpine Valley bread and is real fresh. I also bought the cheeses.
The produce is all in really good shape. I did a little calculation and if I were to buy it all on sale, I still saved about $15.00. So, this basket with all of the contents above was $15.00. I will still definitely have to supplement this with other items from the store, but it is a great start. If you are not the type to want to try out a few new things, maybe this isn't for you or if you have a real small family. But, for me, this is a great idea. The location is so close and I can't wait to try it all out. I have never cooked an artichoke or used radishes. My children were so strangely excited for this harvest. They couldn't wait to try it all out. We always have carrots but since these were big carrots, they thought it was something new and wanted to eat one right away. I am sure this enthusiasm will wear off. I will be posting all of my recipes I used these items in. I used a few of the mangos in my smoothie this morning. They were really ripe and sweet.
Every order brings you new things. Its like a little adventure in a basket. I guess this idea appeals to me because I am the one who always makes the lists, plans out each item, takes the time to select each item and finds the best deals. This way, someone does it for me and I still save money. It seems like a very small form of pampering. I will take what I can get!
I hope you all enjoyed your baskets. Leave me comments on what you thought of the experience and help me out with any good artichoke recipes!
Basket Contents:
2 bunches bananas
6 mangos
14 red potatoes
1 bunch radishes
4 large carrots
2 artichokes
1 cantaloupe
3 mexican squash
3 cucumbers
1 bunch broccoli
1 bunch green onions
1 romaine
1 swish chard
6 fiji apples
1 package red grapes
Bon appetite! I feel healthy just looking at them.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Safe Food Friday

It's Friday again and I do have a few new finds for you. Once again, Costco is the place of choice. I am so glad that they really try to get good foods out there. Now, we just need the public to buy them so that they will continue to stock them!

Kirkland extra large roasted peanuts. These are roasted in coconut oil. This is one of the best oils for you!
Pesto. This is sold in the fresh pasta section. You can split this into smaller batches and freeze it if you have a smaller family. I made delicious paninnis in my foreman on some Naan bread from fresh n easy, grilled chicken, spinach and mozarella. Delicious!
Organic Blue Corn chips. I hate the color of these but they actually taste better than Tostitos. Organic corn is really the only corn we should be eating since most corn is so modified and processed. These were great.
Wholly Guacamole dip. This comes in a three pack, eat one, freeze the other two. This had a really great fresh taste, great with the blue corn chips.
Mango Salsa. This is a fresh salsa sold in the fridge section. Love it especially on mango tacos.

I stopped in Fresh N Easy the other day in the afternoon after their markdowns. They have a produce shelf for items on a quick sale basis. 50% off. I bought 4 beautiful perfectly ripe pears for $1 and a bag of 8 limes for $1. Usually limes are about $.50/each. I also found my favorite mini corn tortillas for $.66 for 36 count. They were expiring the next day. I bought all three bags and froze them. Thawed one last night and they were great. I love their afternoon sales!

Tomorrow I get my first Bountiful Basket order. I will take a photo of the basket and let you know just how I plan to use each and every item in the basket with some great recipes. I hope I get something crazy and have to really venture out. It feels like Christmas. Pathetic, I know.

Hope you all have a great weekend! Thanks for checking in.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I'm Strong To The Finich.....

Cause I eat me spinach....... Popeye knew nutrition! Spinach is one of the very top super foods and we should all take a lesson from the famous sailor of yesteryear. Spinach is full of Vitamin A, C, E, K, magnesium, folic acid, iron, calcium and several vital antioxidants. It is best to eat it fresh. As with any vegetable, cooking it will diminish many of the nutritional properties of the food. I use spinach in place of lettuce on most anything. It is always on our sandwiches, always in our smoothies, tossed in with eggs, cheese crisps , beans and salads. It has a very mild flavor and can easily be hidden in dishes. You can buy a big box of organic spinach at Costco for under $4.00. I cringe when I have to pay the same price for a little package at the grocery store. We go through it so fast.
Since many of you have been stock piling the strawberries that were on sale, I thought I would give you my favorite salad recipe; Strawberry and Spinach with raspberry vinaigrette. I love this salad and all of my children will down it. It tastes like a dessert as it should be, it definitely has a bit of sugar tossed in with it. But, as they say, a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down. Whatever gets the veggies down these little ones! I am sure most of you have a recipe like this one at home. If not, try it out. The dressing makes plenty to save for later. It will last several weeks in the fridge.
Strawberry Spinach Salad
1 Bunch spinach
1 head lettuce, romaine, butter, etc.
1 pt. strawberries
1 cup sugared nuts
1/3 cup raspberry vinegar
1 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp minced onions
1 T poppy seeds
Tear up lettuce and spinach into bite size pieces. Slice strawberries. Toss in sugared nuts and add feta if desired. For dressing, mix vinegar, sugar, salt and onions in mixer. On very slow speed, drizzle oil in very slowly until all incorporated. If you do this very slowly, the dressing will not separate. When done, stir in poppy seeds. Do not blend. Toss some in salad just until lightly coated.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A little more shopping tips.....

I haven't been to Walmart in quite some time but decided to see if there were any thing worthy in the health line to purchase. I was very surprised and actually quite excited. The stores are figuring it out. The people want good food and we don't want to have to pay top dollar for it. Walmart has the Nature's path line at prices that are almost the same as the Nabisco line. You can get the Chocolate Chip cookies for $2.74 and they also have the Crispy Wheats for about $2.00. They carry Annie's mac n cheese for $1.17 per box, the same price they sell Kraft for! The Herdez salsa was only 1.74 per bottle, $.26 less than the sale price I just paid to stock up on. Wish I waited! The only juice boxes I could find without natural flavors is the Minute Maid apple, they sell a pack of 10 for $2.50. The Natural Line chips from frito lay are $3.oo.
If we all buy these types of products, our voices will be heard and more stores will carry them and the price will keep going down. Supply and Demand. Remember.....the cookies and pasta are still white flour so moderation. You can get some whole wheat mac n cheese but check the ingredients on the Annies, not all the mac n cheese are free of natural flavors.
Friday I will have some new products for you. More recipes to come this week.

Sunday, April 13, 2008


Regarding my previous post, the tomatoes from Muir Glen are not on sale anymore through Amazon. Sorry. But check them often for great sales.

Eating Healthy on a Budget......

I hear from so many of you that it is just too expensive to eat healthy. With careful research, I am finding that there are so many ways to cut down the costs and to even save money over eating unhealthily. Sure, you are never going to get good organic cookies for the same price that you can buy a box of Little Debbies Zebra cakes of whom I have a secret love affair once in a great while with ... I know it's wrong and I don't even read the ingredients. However, with combining shopping and stocking items on sale and making your own cookies, you can keep your eating within budget. I have never done much of online grocery shopping, but with a few tips from some of you, I am learning what great bargains there are to be found on the net.

First of all, you can go to the companies you like and see if thy offer coupons. This Organic Valley is the buttermilk and cream that I buy and the milk for my yogurt. They offer a dollar off coupon on their site. I printed a few without a problem. Juicy Juice gave me some coupons by calling them of which I will use to purchase the apple juice only. I also checked out Amazon grocer and was really surprised at their prices. If you purchase over 25$ worth of products which is so easy to do, you get free shipping. No gas dollars spent! They have cans of Muir Glenn organic diced tomatoes for around $.50 per can, almost half the savings. You can get all kinds of organic snacks and cracker, cereals and cooking supplies at a great savings. You do have to buy in bulk but that just gets us a little more motivated to get our pantries stocked in case of emergencies. Sometimes that means only 6 boxes of something instead of one box at a time. They have the Annie's Mac n Cheese for $.50 less a box than at sprouts right now. Thanks for who ever told me to check out Amazon! I will definitely be placing an order.

As for produce, there are always deals to be had. Just try to plan the menus around the food that is on sale. I am excited to get my first basketful of goodies from Bountiful Baskets this Saturday. I know a lot of you are trying this out so I will have to post recipes using what's in these baskets. Let me know how you did on your order!

If any of you find great deals out there or websites, let me know. I am trying to find a local dairy that I can buy cream from that do not contain hormones. I used to buy all of my dairy this way. I would also like to find a place that sells farm eggs. I am tempted to get chickens but I remember being hunted down by a rooster from our chicken coop growing up, not sure I want to revisit those memories!

Pass on the tips, keep them coming. I am learning from all of you.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Safe Food Friday

I found a few products in my travels this past week to pass on. There are foods out there that you can buy. Yea!

Nature's Path Crispy Wheats (Just like wheat thins)
Nature's Path chocolate chip cookies
Nature's Path Oatmeal Cookies
Spectrum Mayonnaise
Annie's Cowboy ranch (Not hidden valley taste but try it out on the kids)
Annie's arthur macaroni and cheese
Juicy Juice Apple juice boxes
Gorilla Munch cereal (great for little fingers)

I tried the Herdez salsa and for a salsa not freshly made, it is pretty good. It Would make a great salsa to put in taco meat.

I will keep my eye out for more products, they are hard to come by but I am sure they are there. I searched for a buttermilk but could only find organic buttermilk and organic cream that is free from the ugly stuff.

FYI I talked to a friend today who has done the Bountiful Baskets for a couple years, she loves it. She says it is run really well and usually gets really good produce. I can't wait to try it out. Thanks for the info!

Have a great weekend, go make your freezer jam and enjoy the beautiful weather you AZ gals!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bountiful Baskets

I taught a class tonight and one of the girls told me about this produce co op. I have heard about one before but you had to take turns going to Phoenix. This is a great deal and I am so excited about it that I just had to come right home and blog about it. Check it out at bountifulbaskets.org. Here is the skinny. There are several drop off locations all over the valley. Sorry if you don't live in AZ, plug your ears. The drop offs are every two weeks and you go online and purchase what you want. The produce basket, laundry basket size, is full of fruit and veggies, all varieties that are purchased in bulk like the restaurants do. That's why it is so cheap. You get the whole basket for 15 bucks! About $50 worth of produce. You don't know what you will get which I think is half the fun. The challenge will be to use all of it. You can also order great breads for only $2 and even no hormone or antibiotic cheeses and even raw milk cheese for really cheap. You place your order then make sure you pick it up at the designated time. If you come help volunteer for an hour, you can even get extra free stuff. The first pick up is on the 19th so place your order soon. There is a location right by me. I can't believe I didn't know about this! They are even going to have organic soon. I will die and go to heaven. So , jump on the website and place your order.

Stay tuned....Tomorrow is Safe Food Friday!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Antioxidant Superstar

The Strawberry: the antioxidant superstar known anciently for its medicinal purposes. Today, we know it as that little piece of fruity goodness topping our pancakes, ice cream and in a pie. To give you a little history on this berry you must go back many centuries. The name was derived from the fact that the berries were "strewn" all over the plants. Strewn berry became Strawberry. There are accounts of the berry as early as the 1300's but it wasn't a major staple for eating until later. At this point, it was used largely medicinally by the early Romans. They would use it for digestive aid and as a skin tonic. The berry was prescribed to relieve diarrhea and the berry was also smashed up and put on a sun burn or a blemish. Those in high society would eat these at a banquet to show their status. Today they are still served between matches at Wimbledon with whipped cream.
The nutritional facts on these berries put them on list of the top 100 superfoods. Just one cup will give you 140% of the daily recommended dose of Vitamin C, this is more than many citrus foods! It also contains fiber, folate , potassium and antioxidants. They are packed with flavonoids to help cholesterol. They contain ellargic acid which help "bind" the cancer causing chemicals to make them inactive. They also prevent the binding of carcinogens to DNA reducing cancer risks.
Of course, the down side to these delicious snacks is that they are sprayed with pesticides unless you can find them organically grown and want to shell out 5$ per pound. I do my best but just wash them as best as I can. I guess since they contain antioxidants, maybe they can help rid themselves of pesticides? Good thought anyways.
For you local ladies, Sprouts just put them on sale till next Wednesday for $.97 per pound. They are beautiful. I just made 15 cups of freezer jam today with them and it only took me 45 minutes. No peeling at all. Easy. I love to use it for my granola and thin it a bit for syrup. Sure, there is tons of sugar but much better than the stuff you can buy in the store. Just make sure you buy the pectin that doesn't require you to use corn syrup. I used the Sure Jell brand today.
You can also freeze the berries. Just wash them and let them dry on paper towels. Lay them on a cookie sheet in a single layer and put saran wrap on top. Put them in your freezer and when hard, put them in a freezer bag. Much cheaper than buying them already frozen.
Another tip, only wash your berries just before serving them. They will keep much better!
My favorite plain pancake recipe I use when I want to smother them in fresh berries is this Whole Wheat Griddle Cake recipe. I now switched to making my own whipped cream since I can't find one that is suitable for eating. The only cream I find is organic. It is crazy that the companies can't even keep MSG out of cream! Try these delicious babies out.
Whole Wheat Country Griddle Cakes
1 1/4 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 1/2 C Buttermilk
1/3 C Instant Cream of Wheat (DRY)
1 Egg
1/3 C Sugar
1 t. Baking Powder
1 t. Baking Soda
1/4 C oil
1/2 t. Salt

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Thanks for the comments on the Coke or Water post. I did state that this was an email I recieved, not my words. I will no longer post any emails I recieve. However, thank you to my fourth comment about how they use Coke in the hospital. If you check out snopes.com, you will see that their analysis sites that the information this was written about was sited from a book on household cleaning tips. It is true that Coke will clean all of these items. Their rebutal is that you need a high concentration of Coke to cause harm. I have always contended that, that most everything in moderation is Ok. However, a good majority of those who drink soft drinks do not drink it in moderation. It is the constant consumption of this acid that causes so much problems not too mention the other harmful ingredients. The acid is only a very small part of the problem and that is what this article is about. You can read my Aspartame article to get more information. The fact is that it will remove rust and that it will clean a toilet. Yes, there is acid in orange juice, but it does not have carbonation and the mixture of the two are what cause the problem. All acids are not the same. The phosphoric acid in this soft drink neutralizes the hydrochloric acid in the stomach which leads to all sorts of problems. We need the acid in our stomach. That is how we get the food digested and the enzymes and good properties from the foods. The jist of the story is correct. The problem with this article is that it leaves out the important information. Sorry for those of you who want to keep the justification that it is Ok to live on soft drinks. No matter how you coat it, it will never be a health drink. I enjoy my Dr. Pepper on occassion, don't get me wrong, but it must be in moderation. Thanks for the comments. But you also need to check the facts. Don't just read my posts, be curious and start googling yourselves. I blog to try to get you to think. Not only do I blog information that I read from several sources and very credible Dr.s, I research hours to try to prove it wrong. Believe me, I wanted to prove wrong the MSG additives in food. In over 200 sites, I never found one article from any Dr. saying it was false information. My life would be much easier if it was all a lie. If you can prove me wrong in anything I post, I welcome the proof. Your anonymous comments are merely based upon snopes.com and if you look into the facts of that article, and go beyond in research, you will find that they just try to sugar coat what the real facts are. I am sure who ever wrote the snopes article is a Coke drinker. Think for yourselves.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I take it all back.....

I received a great email from a friend and it appears I may be wrong about coke after all. Read some statistics on water and Coke and see for yourselves.

Water or Coke?
Water: 1. 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
2. In 37% of Americans, the thirst mechanism
is so weak that it is mistaken for hunger.
3. Even MILD dehydration will slow down one's
metabolism 3%.
4. One glass of water will shut down midnight
hunger pangs for almost 100% of the dieters
studied in a University of Washington study.
5. Lack of water, the #1 trigger of daytime fatigue.
6. Preliminary research indicates that 8-10 glasses
of water a day could significantly ease back and
joint pain for up to 80% of sufferers.
7. A mere 2% drop in body water can trigger fuzzy
short term memory, trouble with basic math, and
difficulty focusing on the computer screen or on a
printed page.
8. Drinking 5 glasses of water daily decreases the risk of'
colon cancer by 45% plus it can slash the risk of
breast cancer by 79% and one is 50% less likely to
develop bladder cancer.
Coke: 1. In many states , the highway patrol carries two gallons
of Coke in the trunk to remove blood from the highway
after a car accident.
2. You can put a T-bone steak in a bowl of Coke and it will
be gone in two days.
3. To clean a toilet: pour a can of Coke into the bowl and let
it sit for one hour. The citric acid removes stains.
4. To remove rust spots from chrome car bumpers, rub
the bumper with a rumpled up piece of foil dipped in Coke.
5. To clean corrosion from car batter terminals , pour a can
of Coke over the terminals to bubble away the corrosion.
6. To loosen a rusted bolt, apply a cloth soaked in Coke to the
bolt for several minutes.
7. To bake a moist ham: empty a can of coke into the pan.
8. To remove grease from clothes, empty a can of coke into the
regular cycle, add detergent and the coke will loosened the stains.
So you see, I guess I am wrong. It turns out that Coke is a good thing.....for
cleaning up that is. So, if you must have Coke, use it on your toilet bowl only!
Some more information for you:
1. the active ingredient in Coke is phosphoric acid. It will dissolve
a nail in four day. Phosphoric acid also leaches calcium from bones
and is a major contributor to the rising increase of osteoporosis.
2. To carry Coca-Cola syrup, (the concentrate) the commercial
trucks must use a hazardous material place card reserved for
highly corrosive materials.
3. The distributors of Coke have been using it to clean engines
of the trucks for about 2o years!
Now, the question is, would you like a glass of water? or Coke?
(For you Dr. Pepper drinkers, you are not off the hook. Put it down and get a glass of agua.)

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Moo Shu Wraps

I used to really shy away from a recipe that threw in an uncommon ingredient. Not being adventurous cost me some really great recipes in the meantime. This one is a very tasty and simple recipe that has hoisin sauce, not a common staple in the pantry but it should be! It adds that restaurant flavor to the recipe. My kids like this dish a lot and needs to be served on a really good tortilla. No whole wheat this time. I like the fresh tortillas from Costco. Check your ingredient list on the soy sauce and hoisin sauce. I bought the organic soy sauce from Kikkoman and it has great ingredients. I am out of Hoisin so I need to go check out a good brand for that sauce. I am making this tomorrow. I hope you all try it out and see what you think! I received this recipe from Amy Fraughton in our recipe club. I changed a few little things for family preferences. This is a Weight Watchers meal for those of you watching those calories.
Moo Shu Wraps
8 oz lean sirloin beef
3 T organic soy sauce
1 t. cornstarch
2 t. vegetable oil ( I use grapeseed oil)
2 medium scallions, chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
2 T. sherry cooking wine
2 C. Chinese or nappa cabbage. ( I used regular green cabbage and it was great)
1 C. sliced mushrooms (less if no one cares for these)
1 large egg, beaten
8 flour tortillas
1/2 C hoisin sauce
Place beef in bowl, thinly sliced into about 2 inch by 1/2 inch strips. Add 1 T. soy sauce and cornstarch. Stir to coat. Heat oil in large skillet. Add scallions and garlic, saute 1 min. Add beef and cook until browned, about 2 min. Add remaining soy sauce and sherry, cook 1 min more.
Add cabbage and mushrooms. Saute until vegetables are tender but not soggy. Stir in egg and cook until done. To serve, place heated tortilla on a plate. Spread about 2 tsp. of hoisin sauce down middle of tortilla and then place about 1/2 cup of filling on tortilla. Roll up.
For your picky eaters, just make sure that you roll this up before they see the cabbage. It looks mostly like beef when it is cooked and they won't really notice the veggies when they are eating it. Its all about presentation!

Friday, April 4, 2008

Safe Food Friday

Thanks for all of those who are keeping an eye out for great foods. I have a couple for you today.

Costco carries a new dressing called Far East Sesame Dressing. It is great for a Chinese chicken salad and a marinade. They list spices but I called the company and they said it is only ground pepper. It is also gluten free. Cindy Thomas emailed me about Costco's Zesty cilantro dressing, kind of like a spicier ranch. Everything looks great in there as well and has real good flavor. You could always do better by having expeller pressed oils but beggars can't be choosers. I will take it!

Another blogger advocates the Herdez salsa. Great ingredients and she says that it tastes great! Thanks Terri!

Thanks to Jan King for sending me this ranch dressing recipe. The recipe is for a vegetarian dip but you could use regular milk and mayo if you want. Just try to find a good mayo. I am going to look for that this weekend. Sounds like a good recipe. I will try it out!

Ranch Dressing

1/2 C Rice milk (plain) or regular milk
1/2 C Vegenase or mayo
1 t. garlic powder
1 t. onion powder
3 T. Red wine vinegar
1 T. dried parsley

Blend all until smooth in blender. Store in refrigerator for up to a week.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

"Let food be thy medicine"

Although I am very strict on certain nutritional areas, I will not ever call myself a fanatic. I will never be one of those people who will not color their hair, use make up, eat any food not organically grown and processed or eat sugar. As I state frequently, moderation is the key. I get worked up now and then, but the truth is, we do have to live in this world. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect but it is what it is. We can try our hardest but I don't want to give up everything. For those who are sick or suffer from neurological or other disorders, I believe you need to be strict. For those of us who are relatively healthy, we can probably eat a little more of the bad now and then and go on relatively unscathed. Let me tell you why and how you can live in the world and still be ok.

Our bodies were made to withstand an imperfect environment and diet. Of course, if subject to constant abuse, it will deteriorate. But, if we feed ourselves with the vitamins and nutrients our bodies need, there will be a protection made to your body so that many of the harmful things; the parasites, metals, toxins that are in our foods and environments will not be absorbed in great amounts. The problem is , we are not getting the nutrients we need and so our bodies are weak and can't protect us. That is what happens with these little ones especially who are on constant antibiotics, ruining this protective layer and having a bad diet . They become malnourished and anything harmful that they come in contact with are absorbed. Even though we try to eat a good diet, our food supply is so different than it was decades ago. A typical steak will have a lot less vitamin properties than the same amount of steak 50 years ago. Same with veggies. The pesticides used to grow food and the antibiotics given to cows change the nutrients in the food. Therefore, some of the essential vitamins and minerals we need are not there in the quantities that we need. Many times, we need to have supplements.

One of the very most important elements we need in our diets is magnesium. Most people don't even know anything about this but Magnesium is used in about every cell of the body. It is needed for every function. When a person suffers a heart attack, they may be injected with magnesium. When a woman goes into preterm labor, they use magnesium. If information was given out about what magnesium truly is and why it is so necessary, pharmaceutical companies would be out of business. That is why, of course, you will not hear much about it. It is very cheap and would solve a majority of issues out there.

Magnesium stimulates white blood cells. It is the best weapon to defend the body from viral and bacterial disease and from the toxic environment that we live in. No prescription is needed at all! Magnesium also blocks the glutamate receptors. These are what go crazy when we eat all of those MSG additives, so , if we can block them, the amounts we get can be greatly lessened. Most people are living completely deprived of the levels of magnesium they need. Magnesium is used for healing, energy production, skin integrity, cardio health, diabetes prevention, pain management, calming effect on the nervous system, sleep improvement and
blood pressure among many other things.

Magnesium is found in almonds, peanuts, walnuts, brown rice, whole grain breads (4x more than white flour),
beans , spinach and bananas to name a few. Another benefit of whole grains, along with the magnesium content is that when used with sugar, it causes the sugar to be digested slower so you are not absorbing as much.

Magnesium is not absorbed as well as a supplement in pill form but best taken transdermally, on the skin. I have a great product that I buy that is a magnesium gel. I rub it on my kids at night and myself. My little one always baffles the Dr. that his magnesium level is so high. Most kids, especially autistic kids are way down on the scale. It is so important for all of us. It is very cheap and goes a long way.

I feel that if we do our best to pump up our bodies with what we need, we don't need to stress out so much. I can't live that way .
I won't ever give up some good chocolate. Life is too short! Go grab yourself a handful of almonds, rub in some magnesium oil and drink a spinach smoothie. Then, enjoy a night out now and then with a great big dish of MSG! Just remember, our master planner created these bodies and the food around us to work together. As Hippocrates stated,

"Let thy food be thy medicine, and the medicine be thy food."

It is all here for us. Knowledge is key. Keep cleaning out your cupboards and don't get overwhelmed.

If interested in some magnesium oil, the company is called Powerhouse Holistic Health. The number is 1-866-256-8206.
I am not selling this product so I don't get anything by mentioning this product. It should be in everyones medicine cabinet.

If you would like to read more about magnesium, email me and I will send a very detailed email back with an attachment book to read.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

You are making me crazy!!!!

OK. I started this blog to share some ideas. I wanted to get some tips and recipes together. I did not want to learn that I can't eat anything man made anymore. You email me with questions, call me at home, leave your comments and then I have to go and google. I google to find out answers to your questions if I haven't already googled them , then I google to make sure that I have all of the viewpoints possible, then..... I go crazy. I really didn't want to learn all of this. I didn't want to learn that virtually all of the foods in packages at the stores contain harmful ingredients. I didn't want to learn that no one is really doing anything about this and I certainly did not want to learn that this poison is even in baby food. I feel so ashamed that we have stood by and let this happen to what we have been blessed with on this earth to nourish us. I feel devastated that we have let these toxins take away the minds of our sweet children and elderly. I feel hopeless that the big companies will ever change this. But, with all of the emails and phone calls I get from you, I feel more energy than ever that this is a mission that we must all join in on. Before, nutrition was something to me that was important, so we can get our vitamins and get rid of headaches. Now, nutrition is something to me that is critical to stop the epidemic that is happening. If you think that you are somehow immune to this, reevaluate. I don't have time right now in my life to change the world, but I can go to the people who matter the most, the Moms. We may not be able to change the world, but we can change our homes and in turn perhaps save one little life at a time. Please spread the word. Please take the time to really think about what you are feeding your family. The more frustrated I get, the more passionate I get. You are all making me crazy with the googling you are making me do. Thank you for that.

With that said. Today's topic is Natural Flavors and Flavorings. This is something new to me. I thought that if it said "Natural", it must be good! I have blogged about foods to buy that I thought were great. Then I learned that most of them contain natural flavoring. I even went to the store today and even in the health section came away with only a bag of corn chips. I couldn't believe it. These companies know what they are doing. If you call them to ask what the flavorings are, they will not tell you. If they were really a food, it would be listed. Once again, I realized that I must make the food in my house. I will not worry when I go out to eat or go to a party, but my house will be a house free from contaminates.

To understand what "natural flavors" are, you can get real confused first of all by looking at the definition under the code of Federal Regulations:

"The essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis which contains the flavorings constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry , eggs, dairy products or fermentation products thereof whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional.""

Did you get that? So, as long as it was once derived from any natural source, its OK to use and doesn't need to be labeled. Now, here is the good part. Flavorings are made by flavorist in a laboratory by blending either natural chemicals or synthetic chemicals to make flavorings. If it was a real whole food, it would be listed in its natural state.

Gary Reineccius, a professor in the department of food science and nutrition says,

"The distinction in flavorings--natural verus artificial--comes from the source of these identical chemicals and may be likened to saying that an apple sold in a gas station is artificial and one sold from a fruit stand is natural." And,he adds, " Artificial flavorings are simpler in composition and potentially safer because only safety -tested components are used."

The natural flavors may have once come from a natural source, but they are so chemically processed that they no longer have a property that are probably safe to consume. This may not be in all cases, but you will never know in which case it is OK. Most of the time, it is a free glutamate that is another name for MSG. I have looked at every label possible on my previous list of good foods. It is even in Juicy juice! There has got to be something out there that is OK to eat. Please join me on a quest to find out what are the safe foods! Please use the additive list I gave you all and hit the stores. Email me when you find a "safe food". I will get a list together for us all. I know too much now to eat blindly any more. Like I said, moderation is key but our families get so much of the bad at school, at parties and at friends house that our homes should be the safe place. Please join me in the effort to change the world one bite at a time!