Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chevre, Pesto, and Mushroom Pizza

I've been really into making pizza lately. I love how creative you can get with it. The crust is like a clean canvas for me! Last night I made a super delish pizza using some garden fresh ingredients and some great local chevre. YUM! This is my own recipe.

Chevre, Pesto, and Mushroom Pizza
Whole wheat pizza gough (I use Trader Joe's)
Chevre -- look for a good local cheese
Homemade Pesto
Mushrooms, sliced
Scallions, sliced
Fresh Dill
Fresh Basil

- Heat oven to 450 degrees. Prepare pizza dough. Cover prepared pizza dough in pesto. Top with chevre, mushrooms, scallions, dill, and basil. Bake for 12-15 minutes.

Green Farro

I had a lot of green veggies that needed to be used up so I decided to cook them up and mix them in with some cheesy farro. The results were super delish. This is my own recipe.

Cheesy Farro
1 cup farro
1 cup white wine
1 cup water
Fresh grated parmesan cheese
Juice of one lemon
Olive oil or butter

- Combine farro, wine, and water in saucepan. Bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes or until most water is absorbed. Remove from heat. Add freshly grated cheese (I like lots of it), lemon juice, and butter or olive oil. Mix together. Season with salt and pepper.

Green Veggie Mix-In
One bunch Fresh asparagus (locally gorwn)
2-3 cups Fresh spinach leaves (from my own garden)
Fresh Dill, I used A LOT (from my own garden)
2-4 Fresh scallions, chopped (from my own garden)
Olive oil

- Add oil to pan and heat. Add scallions. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add asparagus. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add dill and spinach leaves and cook until spinach leaves wilt. Season with salt. Serve over cheesy farro.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Crockpot Mu Shu Chicken

Recipe adapted from a recipe found on Family Fun Magazine -- I made quite a few changes. We really liked this easy to make meal. It was almost like we had ordered in Chinese. Next time I'm going to try to make my own chinese pancakes, as the flour tortillas just didn't taste the same.

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken thighs
1 cup hoisin sauce
2 T Soy Sauce
2 T Honey
1/4 t ground ginger
1 12 oz. bag of broccoli slaw mix (Trader Joe's has a great mix)
3 eggs
Flour tortillas

Combine all ingredients except the eggs in a crockpot and cook on low for 4-5 hours. Shred meat mixture. Scramble three eggs and add to meat mixture. Serve mixture in warm flour tortillas.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Yesterday's Lunch

Next week Jake and I are doing a 7-day detox. Not the kind where you only drink lemon juice and take a million supplements. We are simply cutting out the following things from our diet: meat, dairy, sodium, caffeine, alchohol, gluten, wheat, and white sugar. Basically, we'll be eating a ton of fruits and vegetables and chugging down lots of water and green tea. Sounds refreshing, huh?

I thought I would practice for the detox by making a lunch that didn't contain any of the banned foods. I ended up with this: a bed of mixed greens topped with sliced avocado, tomatoes, pinto beans, cilantro, onions, and dressed with lime juice and Mrs. Dash's Extra Spicy seasoning (sodium free). It was so good and provided me with plenty of energy for my afternoon workout.

Look for posts on our 7 day detox starting next week!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Raspberry Granola Bars

I found this recipe while searching Ziplist. My changes or additions are noted in red.

Neena loves packaged cereal bars, but they contain a lot of sugar, and many times the fruit isn't real. Plus, I was getting tired of paying so much for six scrawny bars, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and whip up some homemade cereal bars that are healthy, have real fruit, and taste delicious. Oh, and these are great for nursing mamas since they have old-fashioned rolled oats!

Bars freeze well. So double the recipe. :-)

Back-to-School Raspberry Granola Bars (recipe

1 C pecans, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour -- I used 1/2 cup wheat, and 1 cup all purpose
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup granulated sugar--I cut this to 1/4 cup
1/3 cup dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 cup raspberry preserves -- I made my own by using a bag of frozen raspberries, a bit of sugar, a bit of water, and a bit of cornstarch
2 tablespoons wheat germ
Dash of cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. .Butter and 8-inch square baking pan and line with parchment paper.

In a large bowl combine pecans, flour, oats, sugar, brown sugar, baking soad, salt, wheat germ, and cinnamon. Stir in melted butter until the mixture is througly combined.

Press 2/3 of the oat mixture in an evne layer into the prepared pan and top with raspberry preserves. Sprinkle the preserves with remaining oat mixture.

Bake the bars for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let granola bars cool. Cut into squares and serve or package.

Greek Frittata

Recipe from The Petit Appetit Cookbook by Lisa Barnes. This was an easy recipe that packs a lot of flavor. Neena loved it, too!

1/2 C water plus 1 T water
1/3 cup uncooked couscous
1/2 t salt
1/4 t black pepper
5 eggs
2 t canola oil
1/3 C slivered oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 C chopped kalamata olives
1/4 C diced onion
1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
1/4 C crumbled feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small saucepan, bring 1/2 cup water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in couscous, remove pan from heat, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff and separate with fork.

Combine 1 tablespoon water, salt, pepper, and eggs in medium bowl and whisk together. Heat oil in large ovenproof skiller over medium-high heat. Add tomatoes, olives, and onion and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Remove pan from eat and stir in couscous and egg mixture. Level mixture with a rubber spatula. Sprinkle cheeses over top. Bake frittata for 10 minutes, or until set and cooked through. Let stand for 5 minutes. Cut into wedges with a knife or pizza cutter.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Celebration Cupcakes

Yes, these are named celebration cupcakes, but we made them just because. And, because I've had a major sweet tooth. These cupcakes have healthy ingredients but don't let that fool you into thinking they are low fat or low calorie. They are perfect for a child who is on a high fat, high protein diet, which is another reason I made them. Our little peanut, Neena, is a whopping 18 lbs at 14 months old so we're trying to fatten her up a bit, and these cupcakes have all the essential fattening ingredients in them.

The recipe comes from a great little recipe book, The Petit Appetit Cookbook:Easy, Organic Recipes to Nurture Your Baby and Toddler, by Lisa Barnes.

1 cup organic whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup organic wheat germ
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon dried ground ginger
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup unsweetened organic applesauce
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup organic sugar
1 large egg

Frosting Ingredients:
4 oz softened cream cheese
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons honey

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin pan with baking liners or grease cups to prevent sticking. In a medium bowl, combine flours, what germ, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, and allspice. Combine buttermilk and applesauce in a small bowl. In a large bowl with an eletric mixer on medium speed, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg to butter mixture and continue to beat. Alternatley add flour mixture and buttermilk mixture and beat to combine.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


(Neena with a buck my cousin shot)

We are a deer meat family. I honestly can't remember the last time we had beef. Our freezer is packed full of ground deer, deer loins, deer sticks, deer salami, and deer sausage thanks to my father-in-law the hunter. I make venison chili, venison burgers, venison tacos, grilled venison loins, venison barley soup, and much more.

When I tell most people we eat deer, they shoot me a disgusted look and proceed to talk about how gross deer is, and sometimes tell me about how inhumae it is to kill an innocent animal. I ask these people if they eat meat. Most say yes. I then ask them if they know where their meat comes from. Most do not know.

I know where our meat comes from. I know the hunter who shot the deer. I know that the deer was not raised in a tiny stall and force fed a corn based diet and most likely shot up with antibiotics and growth hormones. The deer we eat have a healthy diet and are free to roam wherever they please. Deer meat is leaner and better for you. Take for instance this quote from,

"A three-ounce portion of cooked venison contains 3 g of total fat, 1 g of saturated fat and 95 mg of cholesterol. Even with the majority of fat trimmed off, an average three-ounce cut of cooked beef contains 15 g of total fat, 6 g of saturated fat and 74 mg of cholesterol."

To find out more about the nutritional values of venison and beef visit this link.

Okay, so you understand that deer is nutritionally better for you. Why else should you choose to consume venison over beef?

Eating venison is an environmentally friendly choice! Since deer are foragers they do not consume massive amounts of corn and farm raised grains, hence deer do not require massive amounts of polluted farmland to survive.

Eating venison is more humane than eating beef. As mentioned befored deer are able to roam freely whereas cattle are mostly forced to live in dirty CAFOS (contained animal feeding operations). Yes, to some shooting an innocent deer may seem vulgar and barbaric, but let's face it, deer must be hunted to prevent overpopulation. To find out more about Iowa's deer population please read, Deer in Iowa: A Historic Perspective.

I'm not telling everybody to go out and get a hunting license, but I am encouraging you to consider where the meat you consume comes from? Do you have a connection to it at all? Or, are you just buying it off the grocery store shelf? Venison may not be everybody's cup of tea, but there are ways to consume beef, chicken, and pork in more responsible ways. I encourage you to find a small family farm in your area and give them a visit. Pet the animals, shake the farmer's hand, breathe in the fresh country air, and know that you are doing your part to make food real again.