Fava Beans

 

 

We ventured into a new vegetable for Easter this year – fava beans! I was uninterested in them for quite awhile, but I finally gave in and was glad I did. Beware! Shelling and removing skins takes quite awhile … and also a large bunch of fava beans ends up shrinking down quite a bit. Everyone enjoyed this recipe! You can leave the yogurt out if you are concerned about dairy.

An easy way to shell your beans – put the fava beans in boiling salted water to blanch for 30 seconds. Remove the beans from the boiling water and submerge them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. This step softens the second skin, making it easier to remove.

Ingredients:

1-2 pounds fava beans, shelled and inside skin removed
1 bunch spring onions
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup chopped parsley
2 tablespoons chopped basil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
water or stock
¼ cup whole milk yogurt

Directions:
1. Finely slice the white parts of the onions and an inch of the greens. Chop the rest of the greens into 1/2–inch pieces, keeping them separate from the bottoms.
2. Warm the oil in an 8-inch skillet. Add the onion bottoms and cook over medium heat for 1 minute. Add the fava beans, two thirds of the parsley and basil, 1 teaspoon sea salt and water or stock to cover. Simmer until the beans are soft, about 10 minutes. Add the green part of the onions and cook until the beans are completely tender, about another 10 minutes or so. Taste for salt and season with pepper.
3. Turn off the heat, stir the yogurt into the hot fava beans, add the remaining parsley and basil. Serve warm.

Yogurt Chicken Salad

 

 

I will admit – I LOVE mayonnaise. Not just any mayo, but the Best Foods straight up bad stuff. I used to adore white sourdough sandwiches layered thick with mayo and salami. Mmmmm … but ever since learning how bad store bought mayo is, I have cut it out of my diet. (note, real mayo made at home or with real ingredients is just fine). The mayo I like from the store is made from soybean oil, high fructose corn syrup, corn starch, etc. All of these come from GMO crops. Your body can’t break down soybean oil well and treats it as a toxin, sending it straight to the liver. Anyways, this is a conversation for another day … I digress.

At the gym, I try to pretend I don’t know about store bought mayo and I often get myself a treat: the chicken salad snack. It’s soooo good. I KNOW it’s made with the addictive Best Foods mayo.  So I decided I have to take matters into my own hands and find a way to recreate this yummy dish without the mayo at home. Right now, I don’t have the time or interest to make my own mayo – although maybe someday I will and I will use the previous link when I do!  So for now,  I wanted to try a quick yogurt alternative. I played around, and this recipe is very similar and quite tasty. Would be excellent to make a huge batch and have it ready to go throughout the week for an easy healthy lunch.

Chopped cooked chicken breast (i used a costco rotisserie chicken)
Chopped red or green onions
Dried cranberries (trader joes and costco both carry brands that do not add sugar to their dried fruit!)
Sliced grapes
Chopped apple
Sliced almonds
Garlic powder or salt
Black pepper
Plain yogurt

Mix and determine amounts as needed. You can see my amounts in the picture. Play around with what suits your taste buds. Enjoy on bread or wrapped in lettuce!

Coconut Lentil Soup

I cannot compete (nor do I want to) with the beautiful pictures and message of this meal.  So, PLEASE, check out Ashley’s post about feeding South African children on Not Without The Salt.  There is one more day to donate to her wonderful cause!  So many are hungry – but our eyes and ears have become numb to it.  As you sift around in your cupboards, thinking of what to make for dinner, consider those who have nothing to sift through.

2 Tbsp olive oil

1 large onion, diced

1 large carrot, diced

1 celery stalk, diced

1 red pepper, diced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

salt & pepper

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 bay leaves

pinch chile flake

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 can (14 ounces) coconut milk

3/4 cup black Beluga lentils (I’m sure other types would be fine, you may have to adjust the amount of water and cooking time)

2 cups water

Plain yogurt

Heat the oil over medium-high heat in a large pot or Dutch oven. When the oil is shimmering add the onion, carrot, celery and red pepper along with a pinch of salt. Saute until the vegetables are tender and lightly golden, 7 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic, coriander, bay, chile flake and a few grinds of black pepper. Continue to saute for 3 minutes until fragrant and the garlic softens. Stir in the tomato paste and coconut milk. Scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan then stir in the lentils. Add the water and 1 teaspoon kosher salt, bring to a boil then cover and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 20 minutes, remove the cover and continue to simmer for 10 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Taste and adjust seasonings.

Garnish with fresh cilantro, shaved radish and a drizzle of olive oil or unsweetened yogurt. To our family, the yogurt MADE the soup come alive – highly recommend!!

Elderberry and Echinacea Syrup

 

Making your own elderberry and echinacea syrup is so easy! And cheaper too than buying it in the store. You can make this healthy immunity boosting syrup with just elderberries, or you can add the other ingredients. At first sign of illness, we drink bone broth, cut out all sugar, take some echinacea tinctures and drink herbal tea! Add this syrup too and you’ll put your cold dead in it’s tracks. Thanks to OhLardy website for this recipe and info! I buy all my herbs on Mountain Rose Herbs online.

Echinacea fights inflammation, bacterial and viral infections. It is good for the immune and the lymphatic systems. It is helpful for allergies, colds, flu and other infections.

Elderberry fights inflammation and relieves coughs and congestion . It enhances immune system function, lowers fevers and soothes the respiratory tract. It is very effective against flu viruses.

Cinnamon counteracts congestion, warms the body and enhances digestion.

Clove has antiseptic and anti parasitic properties.

Ginger fights inflammation and stimulates circulation and digestion. It is a strong antioxidant and has antimicrobial properties. It is helpful for headache, indigestion and vomiting, among other ailments.

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup elderberries
  • 1/4 cup dried echinacea
  • 1 inch or so of ginger
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 6 cloves
  • 1 cup (or less) of raw honey

Method:

  1. Mix all ingredients, except honey, in a saucepan.
  2. Bring to a simmer and simmer for 45 minutes or so.
  3. Strain.
  4. Let cool.
  5. When cool, add honey in to taste.
  6. Then pour into jar.
  7. Keep in refrigerator and use within 2 months.

Kerry’s Overnight Cinnamon Rolls

cinnamonroll

 

I’ve tried lots of cinnamon roll recipes, but Kerry’s is the best!! And the easiest!! This is what we eat every Christmas morning.

1 cup boiling water

3/4 cup butter
3/4 sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
2 packages dry yeast
1 cup warm water

Boil 1 cup of water and add butter, sugar, and salt. Let sit and cool until luke water. In a separate bowl, add yeast and luke warm water. The water needs to be warm enough to activate the yeast but not too hot, which would kill the yeast. Let sit until bubbly. Add eggs and yeast mixture to the cooled water/butter/sugar/salt mixture. Then mix in flour, 3 cups at a time. Dough should be somewhat wet. Refrigerate and cover overnight.

The next morning, roll out dough. Smear generously with softened butter, cinnamon, and brown sugar. Roll up and slice. Place rolls in a large baking dish, bake at 350 until golden brown on top.

Cover top with a cream cheese frosting or powdered sugar frosting and serve!

Annemieke’s Dutch Meatballs

My lovely friend Annemieke is Dutch, and when Alice was born she made us these amazing Dutch meatballs! I’ve been craving them ever since, and yesterday my Christmas wish came true and Mieke gave me a Dutch seasoning packet and the recipe to her famous meatballs. You’ve got to try these. Delicious!! You DO have to buy the dutch seasonings online. I’m sure you could make your own, but I used the pack that Mieke gave me. You can purchase the same one here.

Picture Credit: Alice lovin’ her meatball!

Ingredients:

1 Cup Bread Crumbs (don’t do progresso, just plain simple bread crumbs like panko)
1 egg
1-2 tbsp ketchup
1 stick butter
1 lb ground turkey or beef
1 seasoning packet (salt, corriander, pepper, ginger, mace, nutmeg, cardamon, chile, majoram)

Directions:

Mix breadcrumbs and seasoning packet together. Beat egg with ketchup. Mix all ingredients with meat and make 4-6 large meatballs. Heat butter on medium heat until melted. Place meatballs in pan. Sear for 4 minutes on top, then 4 minutes on bottom. Turn heat to medium low and cook for 15 minutes until cooked through.

Served with potatoes or over rice.

Picture Step by Step Chicken Soup Tutorial

Here is a step by step picture tutorial on how to make your own nourishing chicken soup.  In our house, we use quinoa instead of noodles, but Chicken Quinoa Soup just doesn’t have the same ring to it ask Chicken Noodle Soup!  So, if you prefer noodles, go ahead and skip the quinoa prep parts, but I do highly recommend you try it with quinoa instead because of the wonderful nutritious value of this super grain.

Do youself a favor when you make this – make it BIG so that you have some to freeze for the future, when you are feeling under the weather, and you need a quick hardy soup on hand.  I always feel infinitely happier when I know there is frozen soup in my freezer!!

And forgive the quality of my pictures.  I’m not going for a food blog award here.  These are iPhone photos taken in my small messy kitchen with poor lighting.  It’s real life folks.  Real life.

And onward to the soup!!

Step 1: Peel and chop half an onion.  Ignore the Safeway receipt.  

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Step 2: Sauté chopped onion with a few pats of butter in a stock pot or dutch oven.

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Step 3: Peel and mince a few cloves of garlic, add to the sautéing onions


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Step 4: Toast 1 cup of quinoa in a saucepan for about 6 minutes. Just quinoa in the pan, nothing else. You will know it’s done toasting when you can smell it. Don’t let it go too long or it will burn. If you need to, put a timer on it!


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Step 5: Chop several stalks of celery

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Step 6: Add chopped carrots. These are extra carrots and green beans that I had over the summer, so I chopped them up and tossed in a freezer bag. Perfect and easy to put in soups when you are short on time! I put them in the soup completely frozen. Freezing pre-chopped veggies is amazing and so helpful.  How did I just learn about it?  Life changing!!


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Step 7: Add herbs. Here I am using fresh parsley. If you have it, great. If you don’t, no worries. Allow veggies to cook until softened.  Also add some salt.


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Step 8: By this time, you should smell your quinoa toasting up nicely. Measure 1 3/4 cups water, preferably boiling hot, but it’s ok if it’s not.

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Step 9: Add the water to your quinoa

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Step 10: Add a tbsp of olive oil to the pot with the water and quinoa. I don’t measure, just a quick pour.

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Step 11: Add a tsp of salt to the quinoa. 

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Step 12:  Bring quinoa to a boil, then down to low and simmer for 20 minutes.

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Step 13:  Revisit your veggies.  Add spices.  These are my favorite cast of characters.  Just a pinch or two of the turmeric will give a nice flavor.  I like to be generous with the garlic salt and other seasonings.  Other yummies to add are dried onion, onion salt, thyme.

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Step 14:  Add your cooked chopped chicken.  Stir to get them covered with the flavors and cook for a minute.  This is where already cooked chicken from the freezer comes in very handy – preferably if you made a roast chicken and shredded the extra meat!  Also another great way to save $, one whole chicken can make several meals if you roast it, then shred it, make broth, and soup.  Our family of 5 can use one 4 lb chicken for 3 meals.  You rock, roast chicken! 

(here it is out of the fridge)

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(then chopped and in the soup!)

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Step 15:  Add your homemade chicken broth until the veggies are completely covered, and then some.  Yes, homemade broth.  It’s where all the nutrients and healing “powers” of the soup come from.  Store bought broth does not have the same nutritional qualities.  But if you are pressed, store bought is OK.  Just promise me next time you’ll do homemade, ok?  

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Step 16:  Bring to a boil.

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Step 17:  Once your quinoa is done, it should look like this.  Add to your soup.  I like to add all of it.  I think it makes a hearty soup and keeps you full longer.  Of course, if you are doing noodles instead, add the cooked noodles now.

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Step 18: Check your flavors.  Taste, adjust, taste taste, adjust more!!  I always end up adding more salt and seasonings.  Just use a clean spoon for every taste.   :)  And voila!  Your soup is done!  Super healthy, warms up up inside (which helps fight germs, too!), veggies, bone broth gelatinous goodness to keep your immunity up, and all the delights of the complete protein, high calcium, magnesium, and iron of the lovely hardy gain quinoa.  Eat!  Enjoy!  (remember to stir well when serving because the quinoa is heavy and sinks to the bottom).

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Cloth Napkins

This isn’t a recipe post, but a frugal saving money post which in turn helps to benefit the ability to make delicious meals! Check out the lovely post about using cloth napkins <<<<< click and read if you are interested!! Our family uses cloth napkins and they are great. I find them much softer and more absorbent than paper napkins. Not to mention the cost savings (which I like to roll over into buying yummy ingredients for recipes). We also use white “rags” as my children affectionately call them – they are harder workers than they typical paper towel and one bunch of $11 white kitchen cloths at Costco last for at least 5 years. I can’t remember the last time I purchased paper napkins or paper towels. Such a wonderful and easy way to save on your grocery bill. I can’t do all the math now, but I’m guessing that if you do use paper towels, you probably spend more than $11 dollars on them for 5 years. Yes, washing is a cost to consider – but again the total cost is certainly less than the cost of spending on paper towels and napkins!

Breakfast Pizza

breakfastpizza

The morning of Thanksgiving, we love to make this breakfast pizza! It’s filling and a great brunch type meal to keep you full until the big feast later. You can make it any time of the year though of course. I like to use a pre-made dough from Trader Joes, but check out the original recipe from Smitten Kitchen here to see how to make your own pizza dough.

Ingredients:

6 strips bacon
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups grated mozzarella
6 large eggs

Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons minced flat-leaf parsley
2 tablespoons minced chives
2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 shallot, minced

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees 30 minutes before you are ready to bake the pizza.

Prepare the dough and toppings: Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat until crisp. Cool on a paper-towel-lined plate; roughly chop.

Generously dust the surface of a pizza peel or large inverted sheet pan with flour and place the stretched dough on it. Sprinkle the dough with half of the Parmesan, mozzarella and bacon. Crack 3 eggs over the top and season with salt and pepper.

Bake the pizza: Shake the pizza peel slightly to make sure the dough is not sticking. Carefully lift any sections that are sticking and sprinkle a bit more flour underneath, then slide the pizza directly onto the baking stone in one quick forward-and-back motion. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating after 5 minutes. When the crust is golden, the cheese is melted and the egg yolks are cooked, use the peel to transfer the pizza to a cutting board. Sprinkle half of the parsley, chives, scallions and shallot on top, cook for another 5 minutes.. Prepare the second pizza in the same way.