Thursday, December 4, 2014

Best Yet Chicken Enchiladas

  • 1 Tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1/2 small onion, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts, diced into small 1/2-inch pieces
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 diced jalepeno (optional)
  • 1 cup black beans (we have them in the freezer because we cook these ahead, if you use canned please drain and rinse)**
  • 4-5 Gluten-Free corn tortillas
  • 1 1/2 cups Mexican-blend shredded cheese (Gabby's are made with dairy free cheese and a bit of coconut milk which tends to make the recipe creamier)
  • 1 batch red enchilada sauce (below), or 1/2 can store-bought enchilada sauce
  • (optional: 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro)

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  
    2. Prepare your enchilada sauce, if making homemade.
    3. In large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and Jalepeno and saute for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    4.  Add diced chicken, and season with salt and pepper.  Saute for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the chicken is cooked through (you can also use left-over chicken for this recipe).  Remove from heat and set aside.
    5. To assemble the enchiladas, set up an assembly line including: tortillas, enchilada sauce, beans, chicken mixture, and cheese. Lay out a tortilla, and spread two tablespoons of sauce over the surface of the tortilla.  Add beans in a line down the middle of the tortilla, then add in a spoonful of the chicken mixture, then sprinkle with 2 tablespoons cheese. Roll up tortilla and place in a greased 9 x 9-inch baking dish. Repeat with the remaining ingredients.  Then spread the remaining enchilada sauce on top of the tortillas, and sprinkle on the remaining shredded cheese.
    Bake uncovered for 20 minutes.  Remove from oven and serve immediately, garnished with chopped fresh cilantro if desired.
    Enchilada Sauce
    1 Tbsp. coconut oil
     1 Tbsp. Gluten-Free Flour Blend
     1-2 Tbsp. chili powder (some like it hot and some not)
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/8 tsp. cumin
    1/8 tsp. oregano
    1 cup chicken stock


    Heat oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add flour and stir together over the heat for one minute. Stir in the remaining seasonings (chili powder through oregano). Then gradually add in the stock, whisking constantly to remove lumps. Reduce heat and simmer 10-15 minutes until thick.

    My recipes are scaled to serve 2-3 but we usually still have left-overs.  All our ingredients are Organic and meats assumed to be Pasture/Grass Fed Organic.

    **Beans are great for reducing protein costs and stabilizing blood sugars.


    Both recipes adapted from recipes found at: 

    Wednesday, December 3, 2014

    Italian Pork and Potato Cauliflower Casserole

    Since we won't be raising our own meat anymore and good meat protein** is expensive I am looking for ways to create meals that are; low carb, low sugar (moving to no processed sugar), gluten and dairy free.  Our 'meat' servings in this country are way more than a person needs.  We choose to lower the 'meat' serving size and add more vegetables.  Last nights supper was so filling!   I converted these recipes some from the original recipes noted.

    **Good meat protein, for us, is Pasture/Grass Fed, Organic, Locally Raised
    2.NOTE: To make meal prep simpler I combined the onions and bacon from both recipes and cooked them together then divided for the individual recipes and continued each recipe. Instead of simmering the Pork I put it in a casserole and put it in the 350 degree oven for 20 minutes.

    Italian Pork

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    2 tablespoons chopped bacon (we had some shoulder bacon)
    2 teaspoons dried chopped sage (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
    2 teaspoons dried chopped parsley (or 1 tablespoon fresh)
    1 tablespoon chopped dried tomatoes
    2 tablespoons chopped onion
    1/2 pound sliced pork (I used pork chops)
    1/4 cup chicken broth
    1/4 cup coconut milk (I used organic canned)
    1/8 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

    Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Saute the bacon, sage, parsley, dried tomatoes, and onion 5 minutes, until onion is tender. Mix the pork strips into the skillet, and brown about 10 minutes, turning once.
    2.Stir the broth and coconut milk  into the skillet, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until pork reaches a minimum temperature of 145 degrees F (63 degrees C) and sauce is thickened.

    Converted from:

    tasty recipe for potato cauliflower casserole
    Potato Cauliflower Casserole

    1 1/2  cup chopped potato
    1 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
    (I used roughly the same volume potatoes as cauliflower)
    1 teaspoon Olive Oil
    1 ounces bacon, chopped
    1/2 med onion, chopped
    1/2 cup cheese (I used non-dairy for Gabby)
    1/4 cup Coconut milk

    Directions1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.

    2. Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes and boil for 15 minutes, or until fork-tender. Remove to a casserole dish; do not drain the water from the pot. Add the cauliflower to the pot and boil for 5 minutes, or until fork-tender. Place casserole with the potatoes.

    3. Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and bacon and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes, or until soft.

    4. Add the bacon and onion to the casserole dish along with the shredded cheese and coconut milk and stir to mix.

    5. Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until heated through and the cheese has melted.

    Converted from: picture also from that source.



    Sunday, September 21, 2014

    Eating From The Garden

    Well here's some of the pile I have to work with today.  So, for supper today we're having

    Tuscan Pasta

    Serves 3-4
    8 ounces Italian Sausage, browned
    4 ounces gluten-free Linguini
    2 cups shredded zucchini or other summer squash
    1 large, organic carrot, shredded
    2 teaspoons olive oil
    1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
    2 tablespoons plain yogurt (I used Dairy Free Almond Yogurt)
    1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese (I used a non-dairy substitute)
    1/4 teaspoon each salt and pepper

  • Cook linguine according to package directions.  If your squash is frozen and thawed, in a sieve or colander, drain the zucchini, squeezing to remove excess liquid. Pat dry.

  • In a large skillet, brown meat, remove to bowl,  saute carrot and zucchini in oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic; saute 1-2 minutes longer or until vegetables are tender, add meat back to vegetable mixture.

  • Transfer to a large bowl. Add the yogurt, cheese, salt and pepper.

  • Drain linguine; add to zucchini mixture and toss to coat.

  • Fall Menu Plan - September

    Greetings everyone!  Grandma Farmer is back!  I will be blogging about meal planning with meals for two that are also child friendly.  Why?  Well Grandma and Grandpa Farmer are parenting our almost 2 year old granddaughter.  Our hope is to touch her pallet with a variety of foods and vegetables.  We are also eating as organic as possible on our tight budget.  The other obstacle to healthy eating around here is Grandma Farmer and Gabby are both Gluten-Intolerant AND Gabby is Dairy intolerant (Casin).

     If that is not enough Gabby's main joints are all double jointed, she has restrictive airway disease (potential asthma due to cigarette smoke exposure) and was exposed to drugs in utero.  Sound hopeless?  We don't think so.  Gabby is an amazing person and our goal is to make her the best she can be while teaching her about the love of her FATHER GOD and her SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST.

    We live on a small acreage (10 acres) and are passionately against and GMO products for us, our pets and our livestock. We raise much of our own food (crazy about gardening), purchase locally and organic when we can.

    We plan to share our journey with you and hope you'll be able to glean from what we discover as we go along.

    Here's our menu plan for the rest of September:

    Monday:  Goodstuff Casserole,  Broccoli Corn Bake

    Tuesday:  Sesame Wild Caught Salmon, Stir-fried Organic Vegetables

    Wednesday: Tuscan Chicken Stew

    Thursday: Broccoli, Beef, Potato Bake, Carrot Coins

    Friday: Roast Chicken, Carrots, & Potatoes (Crock-pot)

    Saturday: Cabbage Beef Buns

    Sunday: Grilled, Marinated Steak (our own), Baked Potatoes, Salad

    Monday: Chicken Tenders, Broccoli/Cauliflower/Carrots

    Tuesday:  Goulash, Beets

    Recipes to follow!

    Thursday, May 22, 2014

    Strawberry Rhubarb Chrisp

    Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp, I made in this afternoon! I had some rhubarb had to use it up.
    • 1 cup sugar
    • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
    • 4 cups cut up rhubarb
    • 2 cups cut up strawberries
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
    • 1 cup certified gluten-free oats
    • 1/4 cup Grandma Farmer's Better Than Wheat Flour Blend
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground pumpkin pie spice
    • 1/4 cup butter (or dairy free substitute), cut into cubes
    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the granulated sugar and cornstarch. Stir in the rhubarb, strawberries, and vanilla. Pour into an 8 x 8-inch baking pan.
    3. Stir together the oats, flour, brown sugar, and pumpkin pie spice. Using a pastry cutter, cut the cold butter into the oat/flour mixture, until large crumbs, about the size of a pea, remain.
    4. Sprinkle the crisp topping over the top of the fruit in the baking dish, and spread to create an even layer.
    5. Bake in preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, or until the fruit is hot and bubbly.
    6. Remove from oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before serving, the fruit sauce is very hot straight out of the oven. Delicious served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
    NOTE:  If you do not need to be Gluten or Dairy free substitute evenly with regular flour, oats and butter.

    Wednesday, May 21, 2014

    Toddler Size Chicken Pot Pies

    I don't have an actual recipe for you today, just a technique! 

    I don't know about you but I often need a quick lunch for Gabby and sometimes a lunch that I can take for me when I go out with the girls, etc.  Being Gluten-Intolerant is sometimes a problem but if have something to take along then, well, it's no longer a problem.  I can just add a drink and take one of these little pies and my own salad and I'm good to go.

    Here's the pan I used.  I also use these pans to make sandwich buns for myself. This would also make perfect individual sweet pies and I plan to try this tomorrow.


    Use the pie crust recipe you use for any pie you make.  I refrigerate mine for at least an hour.


    You can use any left-over chicken you have, chicken you've picked off the bones when you make stock or just a couple of legs cooked up in some water (make broth for the recipe by adding a couple carlic cloves, some onion, the leaf ends of a couple stalks of celery).  Dice up the chicken.

    I used some left-over peas and carrots and a bit of left over mashed potatoes that helped to thicken the broth.  I put some coconut oil in the bottom of a pan added some finely diced Broccoli stocks (if you are like me you want to use those stalks some paid for them), 2 green onions that needed used up, and a diced cheek from a large red pepper although you can use green (a pepper has 4 cheeks, just slice one off and dice it reserving the rest).  You can also use corn but I tend to have issues with corn so I leave it alone.  Cook up the raw veggies until tender then add some flour of your choice whisked in some chicken broth and make the gravy.

    Roll out the dough.  I used the top of a wide-mouth quart jar to cut out the pie crust and tops and it worked perfectly.  Add a couple tablespoons of gravy after you put the bottom in the pan and add the lid.  I baked these for about 20 minute at 350 degrees.

    Serve them hot today, let them cool and put the remainder in the freezer for a quick lunch.

    Gabby loved them!  She gobbled it up then she gave me one of those great big GABBY SMILES!

    Monday, May 19, 2014

    Chicken, Asparagus and Bacon

    • 1/2 pound asparagus spears, trimmed
    • 2 slices bacon, coarsely chopped
    • 1 large boned chicken breast half, sliced into 4 pieces
    • salt & pepper
    • 1 medium yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise, seeded,  and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 3/4 chicken stock
    • 2 tablespoons dry white wine
    • 1 tablespoons flour (I use my gluten-free blend)
    • 1/4 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel
    1. Cook asparagus in a small amount of boiling water about 3 minutes.  Drain.  Immediately plunge asparagus into ice water to stop cooking.
    2. In skillet cook bacon over medium heat until crisp.  Remove with slotted spoon and drain on paper towel.  Reserving 1 tablespoon drippings in skillet.
    3. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.  Cook chicken in skillet with drippings about 5 min on each side over med-high heat.  Remove from skillet and keep warm.
    4. Add squash to skillet and cook for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
    5. In a bowl whisk flour and broth with lemon peel.  Add to skillet.  Cook and stir until thickened.  Add asparagus and chicken.  Cover and cook about 6 minutes on med heat.  Sprinkle with bacon.
    We added a sliced baked sweet potato to our plates.  Serves TWO.  It was a marvelous supper!

    Salmon Rice Salad

    This quick salad can be whipped up in no time with some left-over cooked salmon, veggies and rice.  Can be served warm or cold.

    • 1/2 pound wild-caught Alaskan Salmon fillets
    • 2 cup cooked rice
    • 2 cups organic or naturally grown peas (and carrots, broccoli, red onions, etc)
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
    • salt and pepper to taste
    1. Season salmon fillets to taste with salt, pepper lemon juice and half the dill.  Cook in in butter and coconut oil in skillet over med-low heat. cook fish for 5-6 minutes on each side.  Salmon is cooked when it is firm to the touch and flakes easily with fork.  Flake the salmon with fork into pieces.  Set aside to cool.
    2. In a bowl, whisk oil, vinegar, remaining dill, salt and pepper. 
    3. In separate bowl combine cooked rice, veggies, salmon and dressing.  Toss to combine.

    Sunday, May 11, 2014

    Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cake

    This cake was a favorite when all my kids were home.

    1 3/4 cups boiling water
    1 cup uncooked gluten-free Oats (reg if you don't need GF)
    Combine and let let 10 minutes

    1 cup Brown sugar, lightly packed
    1 cup sugar
    3 large eggs (only 2 if you are not making GF)
    1/2 cup butter (or substitute if dairy free), softened
    Cream together

    Sift together the following:
    1 3/4 cups Grandma Farmers Better Than Wheat Flour (or regular flour if you are not GF)
    1 teaspoon Guar Gum (omit if not following the GF recipe)
    1 teaspoon soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 tablespoon cocoa

    Add flour and the following to the egg mixture
    6 ounces chocolate chips
    1/3 cup chopped walnuts

    Pour into 9x12 prepared pan, sprinkle top with 6 more ounces of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup additional chopped walnuts.

    Place in preheated 350 degree oven and bake for 40 minutes.

    No frosting needed.  You could dust with powdered sugar.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2014

    Great Learning Tools for Kids!

    Timberdoodle was one of my favorite go to places for learning tools kids love! This family does it! Now they have wonderful curriculum kits for all ages. Many of the cool toys I've gotten for Gabby has come from this great family business. The bonus is that they also price match so support a family business vs amazon and get faster shipping and better customer support! 
    Timberdoodle Co provides only the best homeschool products and homeschool curriculum. We specialize in hands-on homeschooling and help you customize...

    Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Parsley Dumplings

    Serves 2-3

    2-3 cups Grandma Farmers Gluten-Free Flour Blend
    1 teaspoon kosher salt
    2 large eggs
    2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
    1 1/2 tablespoons butter
    Black Pepper to taste

    1. Bring a pot of water to a boil
    2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour and salt.  In another bowl whisk together 1 cup water and eggs.  Pour the liquid into the center of the flour mixture.  Whisk until the smooth loose dough forms.  Mix in parsley until well incorporated.  Let rest for 15 minutes.
    3. Place a large colander or strainer from a pasta pot over a pot of boiling water.  You do not want the colander/strainer to touch the boiling water, it should be suspended a couple of inches over the water.  Add half of the dough to the colander and using a rubber spatula press the dough through the holes while holding it over the boiling water.  Allow the dough to fall through the holes into the water.  Let cook for two minutes then remove the dumplings with a slotted spoon onto a sheet pan.  Repeat with remaining dough. (reserve 1 cup of cooked dumplings for making German Dumpling Soup).
    4. In a large skillet over med-high heat, add half the butter.  When it is melted, add half of the dumplings to the skillet, season with salt and pepper to taste and cook until they are golden and slightly crispy in places, about 5 minutes.  Transfer to platter and serve immediately.

    Lamb Schnitzel with Mushroom Sauce

    Gluten-Free Serves 2

    2 Lamb Shoulder Steaks
    1/3 Gluten-Free Flour Blend
    1 large egg, beaten
    1/2 cup gluten-free bread crumbs (plain)
    Kosher salt and pepper, to taste
    2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
    1 tablespoons butter
    4 ounces sliced Bella mushrooms
    1 clove garlic, chopped
    1/2 cup chicken broth (homemade stock the best)
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1/4 cup sour cream (homemade or Daisy)
    1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley (opt garnish

    1. Set up a breading station with three pie plates or shallow dishes.  Put the flour in one and season with a generous pinch of salt and pepper, the beaten eggs with 2 tablespoons of water (combined) in another, and finally the breadcrumbs in the third. Dredge the lamb steaks in the flour, then the egg wash, then the bread crumbs.  Set aside.
    2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add the oil.  When the oil is hot, add the steaks and cook until it is golden brown and crispy, about 4 minutes per side.  Drain on towels and keep warm while you make the sauce.  (You want the lamb to be pink inside or it will not be tasty).
    3. In another skillet over medium heat, add the butter.  When it is melted, add mushrooms and season them with salt and pepper.  Cook until they are browned, about 6 minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add the stock and simmer for 4 minuets and reduce by one third.  Add the Worcestershire sauce, turn the heat off, and let cool for a minute before stirring in the sour cream.  Serve the Schnitzel with the sauce poured over the top, garnish with parsley.
    Great served with Fried Parsley Dumplings!

    Tuesday, April 8, 2014

    April - Menu Eight

    All my recipes are Gluten-Free any scaled to serve 2-3, so double if need be.  Most of my recipes are also dairy free.  If you don't see a recipe highlighted it means that I haven't gotten time to add it yet!  Come back, I'll get them on soon!

    Palm Sunday:  Brats, Sauerkraut & Potatoes, Cole Slaw

    Passover Monday:  Lamb Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy, Parsley Dumplings, Roasted Asparagus, Candied Carrot Coins,  Lemon Bundt Cake with fresh Strawberries.

    Tuesday:  Parmesan Chicken, Vegetable Stir-Fry

    Wednesday: Spaghetti, Salad

    Thursday:  Irish Stew, Muffins

    Friday: Shrimp Salad, Coconut Cake

    Saturday:  Chicken Alfredo Pizza

    Resurrection Sunday:  Roast Chicken and Vegetables, Strawberry Peach Pie

    Monday:  Low Carb Shephard's Pie, Peas and Carrots

    Tuesday:  Szechuan Noodles with Chicken and Broccoli

    Wednesday:  Salmon Cakes, Sweet Potato Fries

    Thursday:  Chicken Asparagus Pasta Casserole, Carrot Coins

    Friday: Cowboy Chili, Herbed Cheese Biscuits

    Saturday:  Vegetable Chicken Calzones

    Monday, March 31, 2014

    Salisbury Steak

    Giving credit where credit is due I think that the Pioneer Woman hit the nail on the head with her Salisbury Steak Dinner.

    Click the link to get her recipes.

    Chicken Coleslaw

    Another great Gluten-Free Meal!

    ·                         2 tablespoons soy sauce
    ·                         1 tablespoon  vinegar
    ·                         1 Tbsp. brown sugar
    ·                         1 clove garlic, minced
    ·                         1/2 tsp dry mustard
    ·                         1/2 tsp. fresh ginger, grated
    ·                         ground black pepper, to taste
    ·                         11/2 teaspoon sesame oil
    ·                         1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
    ·                         4 ounces gluten free spaghetti noodles
    ·                         1/3 c. chopped celery (chopped diagonally)
    ·                         1 small-sized onion, thinly sliced
    ·                         2 c. finely shredded cabbage
                  1/4 cup red pepper, julianed
    ·                         1-2 cups shredded, cooked chicken
    ·                         ½ cup toasted, slivered almonds (opt)

    1.           In a small bowl combine soy sauce, brown sugar, garlic, ginger and black pepper. Set aside.  
    2.       Heat Sesame and remaining coconut oil in a large wok or skillet. Add celery, red pepper and onion and saute for about 1-2 minutes or until onions start to become soft and transparent. Add cabbage and saute an additional minute.  
    3.       Toss noodles and soy sauce mixture with the vegetables over medium-high heat for an additional 2-3 minutes or until noodles are heated through.  
    4.        Add Almonds just before serving.

    Serve with Stir-Fried Snow Peas

    Saturday, March 29, 2014

    Shephard's Pie - Low Carb

    1 head cauliflower, roughly chopped
    1 stalks celery, finely chopped
    1 1/2 bell peppers, large dice (use variety of colors)
    1 pint jar tomatoes
    1 small onion, chopped
    1 clove garlic
    1/2 pound ground beef 
    1 cup cooked Kidney Beans
    1/3 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped and loosely packed
    2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, to taste
    1/4 cup homemade beef broth 
    extra virgin olive oil

    1.  Preheat oven to 450° F.
    2.  Place 1 rimmed baking sheet to preheat in the oven. (optional, but helps cook the veggies faster and gives them a nice roasted bottom.)
    3.  Take chopped cauliflower and toss it in a large bowl with 1-2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil. Add in d salt. Toss to coat.
    4.  In another bowl, toss the tomatoes, onion, and peppers in a tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly ground pepper.
    5.  Once oven is heated, take out baking sheet and line with parchment paper, if desired. Place in an even layer the cauliflower on one side and the rest of the veggies on the other.
    6.  Bake until nicely roasted, about 20-25 minutes.
    7.  While baking, saute garlic in extra virgin olive oil over medium heat.  Add celery and cook until slightly softened.
    8.  Add in beef and brown, adding salt and pepper to taste. Add cooked beans to beef.
    9.  Once veggies are done, remove them (except for cauliflower) from their baking sheets and add to the beef mixture.  Pour in broth and vinegar and simmer until cooked down slightly. Stir in parsley.
    10.  While mixture is cooking down, place the cauliflower in a high-powered blender or food processor and puree. You may need to add more salt at this point.
    11.  Pour into 8″ pie plate and top with the roasted cauliflower puree.
    12.  Bake at 375° for 15-25 minutes or until heated and the topping has a golden colour. 

    April Menu Seven

    Sunday:  Crock-pot Roasted Chicken and Vegetables, Gluten Free Cherry Cobbler

    Monday:  Salsibury Steak, Broccoli & Carrots

    Tuesday:  Chicken Coleslaw Salad, Snow Peas

    Wednesday:  Cowboy Chili 

    Thursday:  Grilled Salmon, Sweet Potato Red Flannel Hash

    Friday: Unstuffed Cabbage, Superlicious Green Beans and Carrots

    Saturday:  Chicken Enchalidas, Salad

    Sunday:  Braised Short Ribs & Cannellini Beans, Gluten-Free Carrot Cake

    Monday:  Chinese Five Spice Chicken, Asian Broccoli Stir-Fry

    Tuesday:  Tex-Mex Beef, Beans and Rice

    Wednesday:  BBQ Chicken Sandwiches, Baked Beans, Cucumber Carrot Salad

    Thursday:  Tuscan Beef Stew with Biscuits

    Friday: Chicken Pasta Primavera

    Saturday:  Cowboy Calzones

    Unstuffed Cabbage Casserole

    1 small onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/4 red pepper, chopped in 1" pieces
    2 cups shredded cabbage
    8 ounces grass-fed, ground beef (1/2 pound)
    1 pint jar tomatoes
    1 tablespoon pure apple cider vinegar
    Salt and pepper to taste
    Extra Virgin Olive oil

    1. Lightly grease casserole dishes with extra virgin olive oil.
    2. Sauté  the onions in extra virgin olive oil until translucent and edges browned. Add in red pepper and 1 clove garlic, sauté until softened. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl.
    3. Return pan to the stove and sauté the remaining garlic and beef, cook until beef is browned add more Olive oil if necessary.
    4. Season beef with salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste (I used about 1/4 tsp of each). Drain excess moisture/fat if desired.
    5. Layer the ingredients starting with shredded cabbage, then the onion and pepper mixture then the ground beef in a 9x9 inch casserole.  Repeat until all the ingredients are used.
    6. Add the apple cider vinegar to the tomatoes, add salt and pepper as needed and pour over the casserole. 
    7. Bake for 45 minutes at 350°F. or cook in slow cooker on low for 3-4 hours.
    8. Great served with carrots or green beans.

    Thursday, March 27, 2014

    Is Sea-Food the Only Source of Omega 3's?

    Omega 3 fatty acids have come to the for front as an important nutrient in modern diets and for very good reasons.  Research now shows that omega-3s lower the risk of heart disease and may also help depression, diabetes, joint conditions and other chronic conditions, boost brain health and can reduce inflamation so it's little wonder that omega-3s remain a hot nutrition trend.

    Web MD states; "Omega-3 fatty acids are a group of three fats: alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA).
    Once eaten, the body turns ALA into DHA and EPA, though not very efficiently -- some estimates say the conversion is as low as 5%. Thus, many dietitians recommend we focus most of our efforts on consuming DHA and EPA fatty acids.
    While there's no standard recommendation yet for how many omega-3s we need, suggestions range between 500 to 1,000 mg daily. You can find over 500 mg in a tin of tuna or a few ounces of salmon."

    This is not new information we all know that Sea-Food is an important source of this important nutrient, however with the seas becoming tainted, certain fish being over-harvested, cost and farmed fish a less than desirable option we've started looking to other options for putting Omega-3's in our diet.  

    Here's some ideas:

    1. Dairy foods - Particularly if they are Grass-Fed
    • Eggs, especially if their feed is fortified with flax seed
    • Milk
    • Butter
    • Yogurt
         2.  Nuts, Seeds and Grains
    • Flax
    • Walnuts
    • Pumpkin
    • Chia
    • Butternuts
    • Sprouted Radish Seeds
    • Oats
          3.  Leafy Greens

    •  Kale
    •  Mint
    •  Parsley
    •  Spinach
    •  Watercress
    • Brussel Sprouts
    • Grape Leaves
    • Broccoli
    • Spinach
          4. Oils
    • Rapeseed
    • Cod Liver
    • Krill 
    • Walnut
    • Flax Seed
    • Hemp
         5.  Herbs & Spices
    • Basil (make pesto)
    • Oregano
    • Cloves
         6.  Grass-Fed Meats
    • While meat is generally higher in omega 6 fatty acids than omega 3s, there has been some suggestion that grass fed cattle meat has a higher ratio of omega 3s, making it a healthier option in terms of fat content.  It may also be the case that products produced from grass fed cows, such as milk and cheese may have higher omega 3s.

    Monday, March 24, 2014

    BEANS......What is Cheaper, Canned or Dried?

    So which is cheaper, canned beans or dried and is it worth the difference?  I confess, I'm a foodie and watch several food shows on the TV.

    I was challenged that making a pot of beans to use for the week or freezing in 1 1/2 cup portions was not only cheaper but more healthy for me I wondered if the time it took to cook the beans would really make a difference.


    Then I found out about cooking those beans in the slow cooker!  It took no time at all to rinse the beans (saving the water to water plants), throw them in the slow cooker (with a bit of salt) and let them cook for 6-8 hours (not all slow cookers are the same so start checking them at 5-6 hours). After cooking drain the beans and freezer or store in your refrigerator for the weeks meals.  The bonus was I got firm tasty, low-sodium beans instead of mushy beans laden with salt (even after I rinsed them).

    I am weaning my family off meat (Nutritionists say our meat portion should only be the size of a playing card) so I'm making menus that include meat and beans to make the transition until I can include all beans/no meat meals in several meals a week.

    So I checked and here's what I found out!  A can of Organic Black Beans can cost around $2.26 a 15 ounce can (contains water that I pay for).  I can buy a bag of Organic Black Beans for $31.91 or $1.28 a pound.  That pound of Black Beans can make roughly 5 cups of cooked beans or 3+ cans a savings of $7.63 for a few minutes of your time.  The entire bag will save you a whopping $190.75.  If you just use 1 1/2 cups of beans to reduce your meat bill for 1/2 pound of grass-fed ground beef at $7.50 a pound, you've saved $3.08 on that meal (serving 4) alone.  You do the math!  It was never my best subject.

    Now that's saving more than just pennies!  You can afford to buy organic with that kind of savings!

    See our favorite COWBOY CHILI recipe

    Saturday, March 22, 2014

    Saving Pennies Counts in This Economy

    The 6:00 news may tell us that we are in a economic recovery but it doesn't look like it at our house.  You may think you've done all you could but the author of the following blog shows us ways we can still cut costs and YES, pennies add up!

    Friday, March 21, 2014

    Fresh Veggies in the Winter

    Actually it's time to start planning for your winter vegetables now, especially for those of us who cannot grow vegetables in the winter without having a heated greenhouse.  How you say?

    I plan my culturing, canning, freezing and dehydrating BEFORE I make my garden plan.  I need to know how many veggies I will need to fill my pantry.  Remember that you should only freeze or dehydrate what you will use through the next growing season.  Cultured veggies can last all winter under the right conditions if they are not canned....and they are best never canned anyway (sauerkraut).

    I ran across this great article on Culturing your Veggies.  It's a great way to have a healthy snack!

    fermented vegetables

    Part of the reason I have an extra refrigerator in my kitchen is because I need so much room to keep raw nuts (should never be stored out of the frig or freezer) and all the cultured veggies I have.  I love to serve them when having guests in pretty bowls with pretty little spoons.  The guests always dig in!

    Friday, March 14, 2014

    Cowboy Chili

    We always make lots of this chili so that we can either have it as left-overs or freeze for lunches, etc

    1 pound organic, grass-fed, ground beef
    2 cloves garlic, chopped
    One 16-ounce jar canned tomatoes
    2 tablespoons chili powder
    1 teaspoon ground cumin
    1 teaspoon ground oregano
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 cup corn flour

    One 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups, cooked)
    One 15-ounce can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups, cooked)
    One 15-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups, cooked)
    Shredded Cheddar, for serving
    Chopped onions, for serving
    Tortilla chips, for serving

    Place the ground beef in a large pot and throw in the garlic. Cook over medium heat until browned. Drain off the excess fat, and then pour in the tomato sauce, chili powder, cumin, oregano, salt and cayenne. Stir together well, cover, and then reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. If the mixture becomes overly dry, add 1/2 cup water at a time as needed.

    After an hour, place the corn flour in a small bowl. Add 1/2 cup water and stir together with a fork. Dump the mixture into the chili. Stir together well, and then taste and adjust the seasonings. Add more masa paste and /or water to get the chili to your preferred consistency, or to add more corn flavor. Add the beans and simmer for 10 minutes. Serve with shredded Cheddar, chopped onions, tortilla chips and lime wedges.

    Adapted from a recipe by Ree Drummond

    Bestest Green Beans

    1/2 pound green beans, fresh or frozen
    1 tablespoons bacon grease (can substitute 2 tablespoons butter)
    1 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 large onion, chopped
    1/2 cup chicken broth, plus more if needed
    1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper
    1/2 t kosher salt 
    Ground black pepper

    1. Snap the stem ends of the green beans, or cut them off in a big bunch with a knife if you'd prefer
    2. Melt the bacon grease in a skillet over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and onions and cook for a minute. Then add the green beans and cook until the beans turn bright green, about a minute. Add the chicken broth, chopped red pepper, salt and pepper to taste. Turn the heat to low and cover the skillet with a lid, leaving the lid cracked to allow steam to escape. Cook until the liquid evaporates and the beans are fairly soft, yet still a bit crisp, 20 to 30 minutes. You can add more chicken broth during the cooking process, but don't be afraid to let it all cook away so the onions and peppers can start to caramelize.

    Crockpot Pork Chops

    • 2 1/2-34-inch pork loin chops
    • 2 tablespoons flour, divided
    • 1 tablespoons olive oil 
    • 2 medium potatoes, red or Yukon gold, cut in cubes
    • 1 medium onion, chopped
    • 1/2 green pepper chopped
    • 1/4 small cabbage, cut in wedges
    • 1-2 carrots, diced
    • pinch teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
    • 1/2 cup beef stock 
    • 8 ounces diced tomatoes
    • 2 tablespoons sour cream or yogurt
    • 2 tablespoons tapioca Starch


    Trim fat from chops; coat with 1 tablespoon of the flour.
    Brown the pork chops in skillet in hot oil over medium heat.
    Place potatoes, onion, pepper and carrots in slow cooker. Sprinkle remaining flour over the vegetables and toss to coat. Layer over potato mixture the cabbage wedges, salt, pepper, the browned pork chops, beef stock, and the tomatoes. Do not stir the mixture.
    Cover and cook on HIGH for 3 1/2 to 4 hours, or cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours.
    In small saucepan, stir together sour cream and tapioca until smooth. Pour cooking liquid into a 2-cup measure; add enough water or milk to equal 3/4 cups. Stir into sour cream mixture in saucepan. Cook and stir over medium-low heat until thick and mixture comes to a boil. Serve the sour cream mixture with pork chops.