Archive for the ‘Recipes’ Category

Sauteed Baby Turnips and Greens

While he won’t readily admit this and in fact would probably protest this statement that I consider it to be fact, (in a similar manner to the way he says he doesn’t like ketchup, but uses it on hamburgers, fries, hash browns….) my husband is not a huge fan of vegetables.? He is pretty dubious and not-so-open-minded when it comes to them, especially greens.? I am telling you this because he loves this dish!? Don’t ya’ hon?? If you don’t believe me, look at the comment below.? He will tell you himself (although, he will probably also tell you that it isn’t true that he doesn’t like vegetables).

Okay, okay enough with my cheek and razin’ my beloved.

The recipe was kindly shared with us by the farmer that sold us the baby turnips and it rocks.? We have found that it is also good with radishes (cooked this way it takes a bit of the heat and bitterness out of them) and we have also enjoyed them mixed together.? Can you tell we have cooked this a lot recently?

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil
  • 1 bunch of baby turnips or radishes with their greens
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 garlic clove minced

Cut the baby turnips or radishes away from their stems.? Cut the ends off and then cut them in half.? Rinse them to remove any residual dirt in a colander and then lay them on a clean dish rag.

Heat a skillet over medium heat (we use a cast iron skillet) with enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan.? When the pan is hot toss in the baby turnips/radishes and let them brown.

While these are cooking clean up the greens by removing any pieces that look yellow and cutting of any real stem-y bits.? Then cut them up as much as you want (they are going to wilt down when you put them in the pan).? Place the greens in the colander to rinse off any residual dirt.? Then place these on a clean dish rag (I just use the same one) and try to get as much water off of them as possible.

When the baby turnips/radishes are nice and brown toss in the green and salt and pepper to your palates pleasing.

At the very end, when the green are cooked but still a nice bright green toss in the minced garlic and mix it around a bit.? Then take it off the heat.

Voila! You are ready to eat!

Applesauce Recipe

Applesauce recipe

We bought a beautiful box of apples from our farmer’s market a couple of weeks ago. The box above was round two of our splurge on local, crisp, sweet, Fall Apples. Unfortunately we were not able to make our way through them as quickly as our first and they began to loose their wonderful texture and rich flavor. So, on Sunday night Kendall and I made a double batch of applesauce. One with cinnamon and one without and both are delicious! It took us a leisurely 35 minutes from start to finish and was so easy.

Ingredients:

  • 9 medium apples, peeled, quartered, and cored
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/3 to 2/3 cup sugar (I would imagine that you could substitute honey for sugar. I think I will try this next time.)
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
  1. In a large pot combine all ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Cover, simmering for 8-10 minutes or until apples are tender, adding more water if necessary.
  2. Remove from heat. Mash mixture with a potato masher, food processor, or blender to desired texture.
  3. Serve warm or chilled. We stored our in some glass food storage containers and have been adding it to oatmeal, eating it with lunch, and as a snack or dessert.
*From the Better Homes and Gardens New Cookbook
Enjoy your weekend!

Natural flea fighter

I don’t have any pets, but I came across this natural flea fighter on Care2 and wanted to share it. Usually I test any recipes or remedies that I post, but since I don’t have dogs, cats, or fleas I cannot tell you how well it works or ways that I may alter it. However, if any of you do try this I would love to hear your thoughts through some comment feedback.

Citrus peel extract is an excellent choice against fleas for dogs, because its components d-limonene and linalool kill all stages of the flea’s life cycle. I have completely eradicated our home and dogs of fleas using citrus peel extract I don’t think anything else works as well. Still, you must use caution: while it is a natural material, and much safer for health and the environment than toxic synthetic pesticides, it is not without problems, especially for asthmatics (see Caution below). Citrus shouldn’t be used around cats.
SIMPLE SOLUTION: For Fleas from and on Dogs
Assuming you don’t own a cat, and you keep your windows open when using citrus peel extract products, get rid of fleas in your house by washing floors twice a week with a solution of 1/4 cup citrus peel extract (available in health food stores–citra solve is one brand) in 1 to 2 gallons of water. Spray bedding with a mixture of 2 teaspoons citrus peel extract and 2 cups of water in a spray bottle.To make a fur rub for the dog, cut up 4 lemons, and simmer for one hour in 1 quart of water, adding more water as it evaporates. Cool the mixture, strain, and massage into the dog’s coat. Note that there are a number of pure citrus-peel-based pet products on the market (see Shop for Supplies, below).For Cats *and* Dogs
Herbal repellents work well to repel fleas. Make an herbal infusion by adding a handful of dried herbs (available in most health food stores) to a tea pot and fill with boiling water. Let the tea set overnight, and then strain it into a spray bottle. Recommended herbs include southernwood, rue, rosemary, sage, catmint, eucalyptus, and leaves from the black walnut tree. Start with just a small amount to make sure the pet can tolerate the herb.

Boric acid and borax are also widely used against fleas. Sprinkle a thin powder or boric acid or borax on carpets, leave on for a few days, and then vacuum up.

Other Flea Controls

HELPFUL HINTS: Caution

  • One controversial study found that when fed extremely high doses of d-limonene, male rats developed cancer. There was no evidence that it did so in female rats or in mice of either sex.
  • Citrus-peel extract is a strong volatile organic chemical (VOC). Make sure you use adequate ventilation when using. Asthmatics should not use this approach.
  • Don’t use pennyroyal around pets, especially pregnant pets or people.
  • Avoid pet’s eyes when using any of the above recommended ingredients.

Breakfast treat

So, today, I have been trying to decide between two recipes both of which I want to share with you. Each of them allow you to stroll through the farmer’s market looking for the perfect piece of fruit which you will then purchase and bake into this delicious breakfast item.

I think this is an enjoy the sunshine, a cup coffee, and muffin all while in your pj’s kind of weekend. Muffin it is.

When I made these muffins about a month ago cherries were all I could think about. So, in order to satisfy my cherry cravings they found their way into much of my baking. The recipe below (which is an adapted recipe from the fabulous SouleMama blog) uses cherries, but basically you can substitute whatever fruit is in season and suits your fancy.

1.5 cups unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking soda

1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup honey
1 stick melted butter
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp grated orange rind (optional, but oh-so-good)

2 cups pitted cherries (if, like me, you don’t have a cherry-pitter this takes fooooreeeevverrr.)

Mix dry in a large bowl. Mix wet separately. Add wet to dry. Stir in fruit. Spoon into greased muffin pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. Make a cup of coffee and dive in.

Ideas for fruit substitutions (depending on the season these may or may not be available to you): Apples, peaches, strawberries, rhubarb, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries or even a combination of them.

Sorry there are no pictures.? We ate them up before I had a chance to take a picture for you.? Yes.? They were that good.
Have a great weekend!

Safe cutting board cleaners

safe cutting board cleaners

Coming home from your local farmer’s market with a basket of fresh veggies, fruit, and maybe for us carnivores, some ethical meat choices. One of my favorite parts of summer are the simple meals prepared by cutting up a few fresh veggies, maybe grilling some meat, and polishing it all off with a bowl or strawberries or maybe even a peach cobbler.

With our boards and counters getting so much use it is important to keep them clean. The answer to keeping our counters and cutting boards clean IS NOT bleach. My southern friends, more than any other people I know, LOVE bleach. They love feeling like they have killed every last germ and they even love the way bleach smells. Because I care about the health and well being of my dear friends I am going to share a few alternative cleaning recipes.

Here are a few germ-killing solutions for your cutting board and your counters from Care2:

Plain Old Soap and Water:
The Environmental Protection Agency notes that soap and hot water kill bacteria. Wash the cutting board with soap and water (note: use real liquid soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s); it is effective to do this using a good scrub brush, to get into all the nooks and crannies.

Hydrogen peroxide and white distilled vinegar:
Wash your board with hydrogen peroxide followed by straight white distilled vinegar. Leaving each one to rest on the cutting board for 10 minutes or so before rinsing. (The smell of the vinegar will dissipate.)

A straight 5 percent solution of vinegar such as you can buy in the supermarket kills 99 percent of bacteria, 82 percent of mold, and 80 percent of germs (viruses).

Lavender antibacterial spray:
If you like the smell of lavender, make an antibacterial spray by mixing about 20 drops of the pure essential oil of lavender to 1 cup of water in a spray bottle. Shake to blend. Spray on the cutting board and don’t rinse.

New research is proving that the old folk recipes using herbs and essential oils to kill germs, such as those used by 14th century doctors during the Black Plague, were based on good science. Many essential oils, such as the oils of lavender and thyme, are more antiseptic than phenol, the industry standard. Research is also showing that antibacterial plant oils may not cause drug resistance, as could be the case with common chemical disinfectants. The essential oil-based spray, below, leaves a lovely, clean scent. It is a good choice to use for misting your cutting board after use.

Recipe for a hot summer day

Recipe for a hot summer day

Ingredients:

  1. Get outside, sweat, and catch every breeze you can.
  2. Sit, lay, sleep, rest, read, and chat under the shade of a tree.
  3. Water. Drinks lots of it and find some body of water to swim, splash, sit, or dangle your feet in. We took a walk to The Sound and dipped our feet in the deliciously, cold, clear water.
  4. Enjoy little treats. Make some iced tea. Eat popsicles and ice cream/frozen yogurt. Fill up on cucumber sandwiches and slices of watermelon.
  5. Go on a long, slow, gentle walk visiting your favorite places.
  6. Adjust your attitude. Come to terms with the fact that you are just. going. to. be. hot. When you try to fight weather you lose. If you live in Seattle you just know that you are going to get wet, everyone is. Just put on a rain jacket and keep going about your life. It is not the end of the world to have frizzy, rain jacket hair or wet legs. If you live in Texas just know that you are going to be hot, everyone is. If you try to fight it you are going to be miserable and you. are. going. to. lose. Cranking air conditioners is only going to keep making the world warmer (Ahem…global warming and we all know how that is going to turn out.)
  7. Cool off before bed with a short “slow cool” rinse. This means you start off with luke warm water and continue to make it colder until it is as cold as you can stand it. Dry off. Get in bed.

Directions:

  1. Slowly combine the ingredients* above on a hot, summer day along with a generous amount of (aluminum-free) deodorant and (paraben-free) sunblock. Continue to mix until the days become cooler.

*Add more of the ingredients you love and adjust the mixture to your environment. If you have to stay indoors to work replace going outside with opening ALL your windows and doors, add some Jon Mellencamp music, and mix in as many of the ingredients as possible.

Homemade yogurt

Homemade yogurt

That’s yogurt pronounced yog(as in jog)-urt.

Ingredients:

1 Bottle of whole milk

1/4 C of yogurt (you need this as a starter, so you can buy some and then just save a quarter cup of your yogurt for your next batch)

Optional powdered milk

1) Boil whole milk (for some reason it doesn’t come out right with less than whole milk) in a large pot until it boils and foams at the top. Shut if off before it spills over.

2) Let the milk cool off until you can keep your pinky finger in the milk for 10 seconds without burning it (a temperature reading would have been great for this step but I don’t think they had these back in Greece 70 years ago), so this will be the most difficult step.

3) In a small bowl (that holds about 2 cups) add the live yogurt and beat it until smooth. Slowly add to this starter one cup of the milk from the pot stirring slowly until combined.

4) Transfer this mixture (in #3 above) to the pot of boiled milk slowly pouring it in the pot while mixing the pot of milk the whole time to combine thoroughly (with a spatula or long spoon).

5) Pour into glass or plastic containers and seal them.

6) Arrange the containers together and cover with 2 to 3 towels keeping them in a warm place of the house (and no, you don’t need some sort of a yogurt maker gadget to keep them warm). Let them sit overnight.

7) In the morning place them in the refrigerator and they will get cold. Yogurt is done.

8) Do a dance!

It tastes delicious but comes out a little runny but I have read that you can add some powdered milk to the mixture to make it thicker.

Recipe from No Impact Man

Honey Whole Wheat Bread recipe

Here is a recipe for Honey Whole-Wheat Bread. This is a good basic bread recipe; especially if you have never baked bread before. I have not managed to keep a yeast starter alive as of yet, but once I figure out how to do that I will post a recipe using a self-made starter.

Ingredients:
5 teaspoons instant yeast or dry active yeast
2 C whole milk heated to warm (105 degrees-115 degrees F)
1/4 C honey
2 large eggs
6 C whole-wheat flour (I substitute some of the flour for more hearty grains, usually 2-3 cups) plus extra for kneading (only use whole wheat flour for kneading)
2 teaspoons sea salt
6 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temp (I also sometimes substitute part of the butter for olive oil, up to 3 tablespoons)

*I try to use as many local and organic ingredients as possible.

In a large bowl dissolve the yeast in the milk and let stand until foamy–about 5 minutes.

Put the yeast in first and then pour the milk on top of it–doing that will mix it enough without you having to do anything. Yeast is basically good bacteria that makes the dough rise. In this case the yeast is dry and the warm milk acts as an agent to activate it.  If the milk is too cold or too warm it will kill the active dry yeast. Heat the milk either over the stove or in the microwave and use a candy thermometer to gage what temperature it is. If you over heat the milk simply let it cool and pour it over the yeast when it reaches the right temperature. When the mixture begins to foam a bit (or produce gas bubbles) you will know that you have properly activated it.

Using a wire whisk stir in the honey and eggs. Add the flour, salt, and butter and stir with your hand or a wooden spoon until rough mass forms. Using a plastic pastry scraper. scrape the dough out of the bowl onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until it is smooth and elastic, dusting the work surface with only enough dough to keep it from sticking. Approximately 10 minutes.

Kneading is what gives the bread its consistency. If you don’t knead it enough it will be crumby and the more you knead it the better it will bind and hold onto itself (it will be structurally weak).? It is pretty hard to over knead it when doing it by hand, but it is possible.? If you kneed it too much the dough will be tough and therefore it will be difficult for the gas produced by the yeast to cause the dough to rise.? Kneading bread is basically taking the bread and folding it over into itself and punching it down, turning it, fold, punch, repeat. Use flour to keep it from sticking to your hands and the work surface.

Form the dough into a ball and transfer to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft free spot until it doubles in bulk, 1.5-2 hours (you will need a fairly large bowl for this).

Grease two 9-by-5 inch loaf pans.

Punch down the dough and, using a pastry scraper, scrape it out onto a clean work surface. Cut it in half and with a sharp knife or a bench scraper. For each half, evenly flatten the dough with the heal of your hand. Roll the bottom third up onto itself and seal it by pushing it gently with the heel of your hand. Continue rolling and sealing the dough until you have an oval log. Place the log, seam side down, in the prepared loaf pans. Press on them to flatten them evenly into the pans.

Punching down the dough is to even out the air bubbles. The goal is not to punch all of the air bubbles out, just to even them out and to get rid of any large air bubbles that will leave you with gaping air pockets in your baked bread. The more you punch the bread down in this process the denser you bread is going to be. You usually don’t want dense bread. Dense bread tends to be dry, tough, heavy, and brick-like.

Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let the loaves rise in a warm, draft-free spot until they double in size, 45-60 minutes.

Position rack in the middle of the oven, and preheat to 375 degrees F.

Dust the tops of the loaves with whole-wheat flour or grains. Bake until they are honey brown and sound hollow when tapped on the top, 35-40 minutes. Be careful not to over-bake this bread or it will be dry. Carefully remove the loaves from the pans and let cool completely on wire racks before slicing.

Let the loaves of bread cool completely before cutting because they are still cooking at this point.

Store the bread in a reusable container either on the counter or in the fridge or freezer. I usually cut the loaves in half, wrap the halves in kitchen towels and leave one half loaf (or however much I will be using in the next few days) on the counter or freeze the rest. Remember that this bread will go moldy quicker than store bought bread because it is not chock-a-block full of preservatives.

**Here is little tip for reviving a stale loaf of bread. Give the loaf a good spritz of water with a spray bottle. The crustier the bread the more generous you will be with the water. Put the loaf in the oven anywhere between 250-300 degrees for about 5-7 minutes. This will get any moisture that has been lost back into the bread.

Enjoy and let me know if you have any questions! Have a great weekend.

Adapted from Essentials of Baking.

Fresh Strawberry Jam recipe (pectin free)

Fresh strawberry jam with no preservatives

This is a super easy recipe, but does take a bit of time, therefore perfect for a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

2 cups of strawberries
3-4 tbsp of sugar
1-2 tsp lime juice

Chopped strawberries

Chop the strawberries fine.

Strawberries and sugar

Mix them with the sugar in a pan and cook over low heat. (Start with a small amount of sugar and add more to taste.)

Strawberry jam cooking

Stir the mixture often while mashing the strawberries with the back of the ladle. If you prefer your jam smooth instead of chunky (like me) after the strawberries have started to soften and break down pour the mixture into a blender. Blend to desired consistency and then pour back into pan and continue cooking over low heat.

Keep an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t burn and stir frequently (and don’t get impatient and turn the heat up, IT WILL BURN). At this point it is best to put the kettle or coffee pot on, grab a book, and cozy up in the kitchen. It takes a while for it to thicken and needs to be kept an eye on and stirred. Because there is no pectin in this recipe it will never become jelly-like.

Once the mixture is to its desired thickness take it of the heat and let cool.

Add some lime juice to taste.

Sterilizing jam jars

Put the jam in a sterilized bottle. To sterilize a glass bottle and lid put it in boiling water for a few minutes and then fill it with the jam right away.

Store your lovely jam in the fridge and enjoy frequently!

Co-op America’s list of Ten Things You Should Never Buy Again

Co-op America put together a list of 10 things you should never buy again, with some facts and alternatives choices. I thought this would be perfect for you one/changers so here it is with a few added links:

1. Styrofoam cups
Styrofoam is forever. It’s not biodegradable.
Alternative: Buy recyclable and compostable paper cups.
Best option: Invest in some [if possible used] reusable mugs that you can take with you.

2. Paper towels
Paper towels waste forest resources, landfill space, and your money.
Alternative: When you do buy paper towels, look for recycled, non-bleached products. Search the National Green Pages for recycled paper products.
Best option: Buy dishtowels or rags to wash and reuse.

3. Bleached coffee filters
Dioxins, chemicals formed during the chlorine bleaching process, contaminate groundwater and air and are linked to cancer in humans and animals.
Alternative: Look for unbleached paper filters.
Best Option: Use reusable filters such as washable cloth filters.

4. Overpackaged foods and other products
Excess packaging wastes resources and costs you much more. Around thirty three percent of trash in the average American household comes from packaging.
Alternative: Buy products with minimal or reusable packaging.
Best Option: Buy in bulk and use your own containers when shopping.

5. Teak and mahogany
Every year, 27 million acres of tropical rainforest (an area the size of Ohio) are destroyed. Rainforests cover 6% of Earth’s surface and are home to over half of the world’s wild plant, animal, and insect species. The Amazon rainforest produces 40 percent of the world’s oxygen.
Alternative: Look for Forest Stewardship Council certified wood.
Best Option: Reuse wood, and buy furniture and other products made from used or salvaged wood.

Learn how to become WoodWise at home and in your office?

6.Chemical pesticides and herbicides
American households use 80 million pounds of pesticides each year. The EPA found at least one pesticide in almost every water and fish sample from streams and in more than one-half of shallow wells sampled in agricultural and urban areas. These chemicals pose threats to animals and people, especially children.
Alternatives: Buy organic pest controllers such as diatomaceous earth.
Best Option: Plant native plants and practice integrated pest management. Plant flowers and herbs that act as natural pesticides.

7. Conventional household cleaners
Household products can contain hazardous ingredients such as organic solvents and petroleum-based chemicals that can release volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into your indoor environment, positing a particular danger for children. The average American household has three to ten of hazardous matter in the home.
Alternative: Look for nontoxic, vegetable-based, biodegradeable cleaners.
Best Option: Try making your own green cleaner using vinegar, water, and castile soap [click here for some easy recipes].

Find safe, green cleaners in the National Green Pages?

8. Higher octane gas than you need
Only one car in ten manufactured since 1982 requires high-octane gasoline. High-octane gas releases more hazardous pollutants into the air, and may be bad for your car.
Alternative: Buy the lowest-octane gas your car requires as listed in your owner’s manual
Best option: Make your next car purchase a hybrid. Or ditch the car and take public transportation, ride a bike, or walk.

Learn more about green transportation?

9. Toys made with PVC plastic
70% of PVC is used in construction, but it is also found in everyday plastics, including some children’s toys. Vinyl chloride, the chemical used to make PVC, is a known human carcinogen. Also, additives, such as lead and cadmium, are sometimes added to PVC to keep it from breaking down; these additives can be particularly dangerous in children’s toys. PVC is also the least recycled plastic.
Alternative: Avoid plastics that are labeled as PVC or #3.? Look for #1 and #2 plastics, which are easier to recycle and don’t produce as many toxins. Use sustainable construction materials.
Best option: Take action to tell manufacturers to stop using PVC plastics, especially in children’s toys.

Find safe toys in the National Green Pages?

10. Plastic forks and spoons
Disposable plastic utensils are not biodegradeable and not recyclable in most areas.
Alternative: Use compostable food service items. Companies such as Biocorp make cutlery from plant materials such as corn starch and cellulose.
Best option: Carry your own utensils and food containers.

I learned about this list via The Worsted Witch.

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