Saturday, January 28, 2012

Aloo Baingan (AKA, potato with eggplant)

Eggplant is one of my favorite foods. Close to that is potato. What better than the two together? I had started the day planning eggplant with peas, but unbeknown to me... the peas disappeared! I needed a few items from the store, so I ran out and picked up some organic potatoes. Makes sense, right?

  • 2 American eggplants, un-peeled, cut into 1/2 - 3/4'' inch slices
  • 3 medium russet potatoes, un-peeled, cut into 1/2 - 3/4'' inch slices and then cut in half
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 1 teaspoon Black mustard seed
  • Pinch of asafetida (hing)
  • 1 teaspoon Whole Cumin Seed
  • 1 chopped green chili adjust to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Crushed garlic
  • 3/4-1 full white onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon Coriander Seed, Ground
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric
  • salt to taste
  • High quality cooking oil
Preheat oven to 425. Place eggplant on a buttered/margarined cooking sheet. Lightly salt the eggplant. Place in oven to roast for 25-30 minutes. While this is cooking, place potatoes in a microwave safe bowl, and microwave for 4 minutes, softening the potatoes (not required).

Heat oil in pan and when hot, add  the black mustard seed. When it begins to pop, stir and add hing. Stir and add in cumin seed, roast lightly add in coriander. Add in garlic stir, and add in the onion. Stir and when it is translucent, add in turmeric and chili. If you don't like it spicy, remove chili after it has cooked a few minutes.

Add in your potato and tomato. Stir and cover.
When eggplant is finished, peel (optional) and add into the pan. Stir well, add salt and cook for 15-25 minutes, until well mixed and potato is completely soft.

Serve with indian bread... ENJOY!

Good Morning Oatmeal

According to there are plenty of benefits to eating oatmeal, including: lower cholesterol, higher fiber, anti-cancer properties. However, it is also a way to help boost milk supply, since it is a galactagogue. I've been nursing for almost 4 years and this week my supply seemed to diminish. The reason? Who knows (I am not pregnant!), but I'm adding some oatmeal and more water to my diet, since my 1 year old especially is not happy about this situation!

Here's what went into our morning yum!

In a pot add 3 cups water.
Add into it: 1/4 tsp salt, crushed cardamom seeds (no pods)
Sugar to taste (or real honey)
1/4 c almonds (sliced)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp butter (or high quality alternative)
3/4 cup dried cranberries (raisins is a great option as well!)

Mix well, add in 2 cups rolled oats.

Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. 

When water is absorbed, add 1 cup of milk (cow's, goats, almond, etc)
Stir well. Serve with a dallop of butter!

Happy eating!

Meal planning with Bountiful Baskets Organic Basket 1/28/2012

So here's a track back to an earlier post that describes our plans to use this week's basket up and WASTE NOT! We aren't big meat eaters in our house, so vegetables take main stay in our house. 

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch:  leftovers
Dinner: tofu and grilled veggies (potatoes from the store, eggplant, red peppers and zucchini)

Breakfast: blue berry pancakes
Lunch: left overs from Saturday dinner
Dinner: Crock pot chicken stew with home made noodles, eggplant, 1 pepper and carrots

Monday (au pair cooks dinner)
Breakfast:  cold cereal and fruit
Lunch:  left over stew
Dinner: spaetzle and a side salad (using tomato and 2 lettuce)

Tuesday (Hubby cooks dinner)
Breakfast:  hard boiled egg, yogurt and fruit
Lunch:  mac n cheese with frozen veggies and orange slices
Dinner: Cauliflower with peas (frozen)

Wednesday (au pair cooks dinner)
Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch:  fruit salad and left overs
Dinner: quesadillas with home made guacamole and friend plantain

Breakfast: nutella bread and fruits
Lunch:  sandwiches, carrot sticks
Dinner:  eggplant thai/Chinese style using pineapple with Dessert of Asian pears with mint/dates. May make kale chips with frozen kale (I failed to use the pineapple)

Breakfast: oatmeal
Lunch: left overs or something quick      

What was in your bountiful basket this week? Meal planning for 5

Organic basket - 1/28/2012 - cat not included
This week we picked up our Bountiful basket and added on one of their "tropical packs." I also have some fresh veggies left over from last week's Market on the Move. We have a few other items in our refrigerator (blueberries, carrots...) but my goal is to use up as much of the below items this week through meal planning.

Lettuce (BB)
Lettuce (BB)
Lettuce (BB)
Eggplant  (MOM)
Eggplant (MOM)
Eggplant (MOM)
Eggplant (MOM)
Eggplant (BB)
Zucchini (BB)
Zucchini (BB)
Cauliflower (BB)
Oranges (BB)
Tomatoes (4) (BB)
Red pepper (2) (BB)
Tomatoes (4) (MOM)
Avocado (2)
Pineapple (BB)
Bananas (5) (BB)
Asian Pears (3)
Minneola (5)
We also picked up a tropical pack:
Ripe Pineaple
5 kiwi
2 vanilla beans
5 lemons
1 banana
2 mango
1 coconut (and my son is going crazy about opening it already!)

So what would you make this week? Check back later for our meal plan!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Roasted tomatoes and eggplant with goat cheese

Market on the Move is a food rescue that allows the public to pay an insanely low amount ($10) for up to 60 lbs of food. The food would otherwise be trashed (probably not even composted? who knows!), and the money is then given for food banks.

We recently participated and took home a lot of tomato and eggplant. I used some goat cheese I found at 50% off and made some extremely yummy appetizers.

First, preheat the oven to 425.

Slice tomatoes in half and place on a lined or greased cookie sheet.
Slice eggplant into 1/4-1/2'' slices. Also place on the line cookie sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil.
Shake salt and pepper over and place in oven
Bake for 25 minutes.

Layer eggplant on top of your tomato and then place goat cheese on top. Sprinkle with extra black pepper if you desire...

(note, if you prefer you may peel the tomato, but then use the eggplant as the base.)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Easy home popcorn

Over the past years there has been some discussion over carcinogens in microwave popcorn, due to diacetyl fumes which are emitted when cooked. However, that doesn't mean your family can't enjoy popcorn at home!

Popped corn in a pan is easy and fun! Plus you can customize it to your taste!

Start with a heavy pan, add oil. I used 2 tbsp of coconut oil. If it is melted then turn on the heat to medium and add your Organic Yellow Popcorn. 1/3 cup is good for a small family serving.

Add in organic popping corn of your choice (organic helps prevent unknowingly consuming GMO corn). Shake the pan gently back and forth so all the kernals have some oil on them.

Cover. Do not allow kernals to burn - keep gently shaking the pan.

Allow some steam to escape by gently opening the pan, slightly on one side.

Continue to shake every 15 or so seconds...

In around 3 minutes you'll have a pan full of popcorn! Healthy and as tasty as you'd like it!

Possible ways to season:
- regular ol' seasalt and butter
- Chili Powder and seasalt
- cinnamon and Natural Cane Sugar
- melted peanut butter
- melted cheese and of course,


Enjoy home-popped popcorn!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Vegetarian Bulgar Wheat Pilaf style

Bulgar Wheat is a whole grain that cooks quickly and very nutritious without a lot of grainy taste.

  • 1.5 cups uncooked bulghar wheat
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 16 oz sliced mushrooms (button is fine, but the earthier, the better in my book!)
  • 1 bunch scallions, chopped
  • 1/2 red onion (optional)
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped
  • Lime from one key lime
  • 1 tbsp dry chili powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
Rinse your bulghar wheat through a thin sieve or by pouring water in and out (without losing all the wheat).

Add 3 cups water and bring to a low boil in a thick pan (I tried to minimize cleaning and used a wok, not recommended as the veggies didn't take the flavor of the spices well). Cover. Allow to simmer after the boil until almost all the water is absorbed, around 15 minutes.

In a separate pan, melt the margarine and add your chili powder, salt, pepper and your sliced vegetables. Stir well and cook until your mushrooms are well done. About this time, your wheat will be done. Mix the two together...

Squeeze lime juice on top... and SERVED!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Ginger Chai

Chai is a staple of an Indian household. The first time I heard of having milk in tea was from my uncle's wife (non-Indian). I totally did not understand it. Years later my husband was doing the same.. PLUS sugar, and sometimes spices! Wow! I had no idea tea could be flavored like coffee. Oh the life of a small-town girl!

Any or all of these extra items are optional, but a good Indian tea varies based on "locale" and also by family. My favorite basic chai includes:

slice of ginger, minced
sugar (1 teaspoon)
black pepper corn (1)
Clove (2-3)
cardamom (3)



This is for two cups of tea. Fill up two cups of water (using the cups you'll be using to drink from works well) and put in a sauce pan.

Add in sugar, you can always add more! Don't make it "extra special" if you don't like it that way!

In a grinder or by hand, grind your spices.

Add to the water that may be boiling. Be sure to allow the spices to rapidly boil for at least 30 seconds.

Add in two- three tablespoons of black tea.

Turn off the flame and add 1/4 cup milk. If you've boiled too long because you walked away, add some extra milk... and you have "milky chai" - Using a strainer, pour directly into your cup and enjoy!

Oh and like coffee, the brand of tea probably matters.

If you need quick, try boiling water (even in the microwave) add sugar and use two "dip" instant tea bags. Steap, add milk and enjoy! Try this Organic one!

Preparing vegetables for use - Soaking

All vegetables and fruits that aren't "peeled" need to be washed before use. Some may have waxes, others have residue that need to be removed, and the risk of food borne illness is there, especially with non-local uncooked food. For leafy greens, a good water soak with grape seed extract or a fruit wash is beneficial.

Fill your (clean) sink or large stock pot with warm water and a drop of produce wash. We love Biokleen Produce Wash
here - it may cost a few dollars more than expected but the bottle does last a long time.

Swish the vegetables around in the water a few times and allow dirt to fall to the bottom of the pan/sink.

You can see the dirt has fallen to the bottom in this spinach soak.

I usually de-vein, etc while in the water, then rinse as I pull them out of the water, then chop or otherwise prepare. It works quite well and I feel much better about the vegetables.

Happy eating!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Quick and easy Vegetarian UnChili

As mentioned in prior posts, due to BPA we try to limit our use of canned goods, but sometimes a deal is a deal and I know I'll need to make something quick. As was this meal...

All I used for the dish is shown,except the invisible/hiding garlic.

In a medium pot (heavy bottom works well), add a teaspoon of cooking oil
Add crushed garlic and sliced onion. Stir well.
When onion is translucent, add in chili powder and turmeric (if you have it, if you don't, you can pass, but go buy some!) (1/4 to 1/2 is generally good)
Add in diced sweet potato (2)
Add in corn (1/2-1 cup)
Stir well
De-vine the greens (any of your choice) - rinse and chop thoroughly (alternatively you can puree them or process them to your liking in a food mill/grinder/chopper/blender, etc)
Add in your canned beans of choice, stir well.
Bring to a boil.
Add your mock meat. Stir well
Once the frozen mock meat is back to a simmer, your food is ready to serve!

Some may choose to add more salt, but I don't... Hypertension and high blood pressure risks just aren't worth it here!

Kid size portion of veg chili served with whole wheat pita.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

It is that time again - Girl Scout Cookies - trans fats and hydrogenated oils

It is Girl Scout Cookie time... I love me some cookies. NUM NUM NUM.. But, I don't like (um, maybe Hate, though that's a horrible 4-letter word) that most of the cookies contain hydrogenated oils, palm oil, many have HFCS and they even defend those choices in the name of "baking." From the Girl Scout answers page, "Q: What about partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats)?
A: Girl Scouts of the USA is proud that all Girl Scout cookies are "zero trans fat per serving" with the same great taste that has made them one of America's favorite treats over the years. All varieties contain less than 0.5 grams trans fat per serving, which meets or exceeds the FDA guidelines for the "zero trans fat" designation, and selected varieties can claim 100% trans-fat free status, meaning there's not a speck of trans fats in the whole box. For a list of specific cookie ingredients, please visit"

So yeah, .5 trans fat when most people don't eat just one serving in a day (being honest here...) means YES you're getting more than "allowed" trans fat and TRANSFAT SUCKS. It kills. Stop eating that crap!

Eye balling... Ones without hydrogenated oils
Savannah Smiles
Dulce de leche (but does contain artificial colors)
Thank U berry much
Shout Outs

CONTAINS HYDROGENATED OILS - TRANSFATS, don't eat them, don't feed them to your kids
Samoas (darn!)
Peanut butter sandwich
Peanut butter patties
Caramel delites (also has artificial colors)
Thin Mints
Thanks A Lot (also has HFCS)

It should be assumed that all cookies are trademarked  or registered trademark by either the baker or Girl Scouts.

Eat with care... or consider baking at home :) If you note any errors, please comment or message me!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Natural and Organic meat sources

If you do eat meat, be sure to know its source. While not all "care" about humane circumstances in which animals are kept (Unkept?), if you eat meat, know that non-organic and "feed" fed animals are less nutritious. A decent source if you don't have your own local, trusted source in the southwest is TopLine Foods. We're planning our first purchase soon! Their facebook page has a current special for a family's first order.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Mama Ganoush - A twist on a family favorite - TAHINI FREE

When we needed to make something quick for dinner today, I had my dearest husband pick up some pita on the way home, since I knew we had an eggplant waiting to be used up. I do not like the taste of Tahini, thus, a tahini-free recipe.

1-2 large American (or 3 italian) eggplants
1/2-1 bulbs garlic
Olive oil
Chili pepper (Paprika may work as well), to taste
Fresh Mint (optional) - 3+ sprigs
3-4 red potatoes (microwaved to soft)
Packaged meat-substitute crumbles (or cooked ground meat if you are not vegetarian)
1/4 tsp cumin powder
Salt to taste
Preheat oven to 400
After washing eggplant,
Cut the top off your eggplant and poke holes through body and rub with a small amount of oil
Bake eggplant for 30 minutes, until tender
Remove skin

Add 1/4 cup of oil in thick bottom pan. Do not turn on stove until after you've added your crushed garlic. Olive oil has a low smoking point (especially EVOO), so it is important to not pre-heat the oil.
After adding your garlic, turn on the heat, stir.  Add pepper and cumin. If cumin has too strong of a taste for your family, you can omit this. Add your peeled eggplant, stirring well.

My 1 year old son's dinner portion of "MAMA GANOUSH"
Add in salt followed by potato and your meat substitute. Mix well so it is well combined. Add in your mint and salt, stir well. I don't own a food processor so it isn't as smooth as some people like, but it does well in our house.

You can garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

Serve with pita, pita chips or veggies. A great way to get extra vitamins in would be to add in spinach or other greens in puree form.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Modified Finnish Salmon Soup - With Greens!

This is modified from a Finnish-American cookbook I have.

4-6 baking potatoes, peeled and sliced to less than 1/4 inch thick
Filleted salmon (I used trader joe's salmon from a can, watch for BPA though!) COOKED
3 cups milk (or cream or half and half)
2 cups cheese (Swiss or Finnish Swiss is great!), I used what I had on hand, shredded blend of cheeses
2 tomatoes diced (or 1 can of diced tomatoes)
1/4 c butter
1 bunch of greens of your choice (kale, spinach, etc)
1/2 - 1 white or yellow onion
Peppercorn (black) 3-4
Garlic (to taste)
Paprika or red pepper
Clove (whole, if desired)

My 3 year old enjoying her salmon soup with extra cheese :)
Preheat oven to 375

In a deep pot, melt butter over medium heat. Add in crushed garlic, stir and add onion. When onion is translucent, add peppercorn, paprika and clove. Stir and add your potatoes. Pour in milk. Stir and cover.

Check every few minutes and stir until potatoes are mostly cooked.

In a 9x13 pan, add some butter/margarine or olive oil to the bottom of your pan to prevent sticking, then add your greens. (If they are fresh, de-stem them and chop roughly.)
On top of the greens add in half your tomatoes, and pour the potato mixture over the bed of greens. Add the remaining tomato and your salmon. Ensure everything is well distributed.

Place in oven for 20 minutes, covered. Uncover, sprinkle (or place sliced) cheese on top and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Serve warm and in bowls, as it will be liquidy.