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What if ….bloggers decided to join together and promote healthy snacks?

26 Feb

Have you noticed that there are many bloggers who are avoiding processed food for snacking?  These bloggers are already influencing the people who read their blogs and the people that live and work in their life.  Many bloggers I read have chosen to go the real food route because of health or allergies.

Photo of inspiration for healthy snacksWith each of us influencing our little world, the economy and the demand for products is changing. Instead of hitting the aisle in the convenience stores we are checking Pinterest on our smart phone for inspiration and making sure we have some healthy items stashed away in the car, backpack or pantry.  It hasn’t made a huge difference yet.  However food companies are feeling cumulative effects of changes to snacking. What could we do if we bloggers worked together?  Maybe a bunch of bloggers could do a day of the healthy snack?

If you like that idea, write a post about it or send a suggestion.  If you have a post on healthy snacking, post it below in the comments so I can pin it to my board.  In the meantime, here is a the recipe I fixed today that was inspired by the one in the picture.  I adapted it and preparing it got me thinking about this post. 

Spicy Crunchy Chickpeas

makes a small batch for one or two snack-ers

1 cup cooked chickpeas  (can use can or cook your own)

1 tablespoon oil  (I used avocado oil on half and Extra Virgin Olive Oil on the other half)

1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika

1/2 teaspoon ground cuminchickpeaingredients

pinch cayenne

salt to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse cooked chickpeas and dry by rolling in a towel.  If the skins come off,  you can discard them.  Combine spices and oil and add chickpeas.  Toss to coat evenly and place in a single layer on a baking sheet.  Bake till crispy for about 25 to 35 minutes.  Serve immediately or pack in a dry storage container for later.   There are some recipes that suggest cinnamon.  I will try those next time.

Ponder the possibilities of our consumer actions leading to good results for your body, your family, your community, and our world. That is what we will do right here once a week. ♥ We’ll explore
  • choices made in the home
  • choices made in our places of worship, schools, and other institutions
  • our everyday career, dining, and shopping choices

Send us ideas and comment on suggestions.

 

Cool Caribbean Salad Made with Lentils

24 Feb

by Deanne

Photo of Cool Caribbean SaladA few weeks ago Steve’s mom, Mary Jane shared an e-cookbook that she has been using from The Northern Pulse Growers Association

Photo of Steve and Mom

She discovered that pulses, which are peas, lentils, and chickpeas, are good sources of beneficial soluble fiber and proteins.  Since she is on a gluten-free diet she comes up with some good ideas.

According to the book:

Peas, lentils and chickpeas are among the most ancient crops in the world. Peas have been discovered in caves in Thailand dating back more than 11,000 years and lentils have been found in Egyptian tombs.

I am excited to cook my way through this book.  Here is the first recipe I selected.  It was so good, I felt like snorkeling after eating the salad.

Cool Caribbean Salad

 Makes 2-3 servings

1⁄2 cup dry lentils, rinsed (I used green lentils)

1 1⁄2 cups water

1 cup diced fresh pineapple (I used canned pineapple)

1⁄2 cup finely chopped cilantro or to taste

1⁄2 cup finely chopped red onion

Dressing

 2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

1⁄4 cup fresh lime juice

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

2 Tbsp peanut oil  (I used olive oil)

1⁄2 tsp grated lime zest

1 clove garlic,minced

1⁄4 tsp salt or to taste

  1. Combine lentils and water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lentils are just tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.
  2.  In a small bowl combine dressing ingredients; in a serving bowl, combine cooked lentils with pineapple, cilantro and red onion.
  3.  Stir in the dressing. Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.

CoolCaribbeanIngred

 

Homity Pie: Inspired by the Land Girls of WWII

18 Feb

by Deanne

Last weekend Francine reported in from her life in England. Here she tells about stopping at Raspberry Tea Room in Llanyrafon Manor in Wales.

We ran in between a rain shower and saw lots of yummy things in the pastry case. The lady behind the counter said Homity Pie is a favorite of locals. She told us it’s a recipe from the war…the girls who farmed here used to make it with potatoes, spinach and cheese. And it’s made with veg from the kitchen garden.

When she got home she did a bit of research and found that the farming girls are called Land Girls and they were part of the WLA or Women’s Land Army.

Photo of WLA posterFrancine also mentioned the BBC show Land Girls.  I have been watching it on Netflix. If you like Downton Abbey, perhaps you will enjoy this show set during WWII.

After searching around a bit I settled on a recipe that also had apples in it.  Here is the original recipe I used.  I made some adjustments including making sure I used Picket Fence Creamery cream.  The whole idea with this dish is making do with what a person has available locally.  Sounds kind of like being a FarmerChef.

homitypie

Homity Pie (makes 2 five inch pies)

1/2 small onion

1/2 leek

1/2 apple

1 tablespoon oilPhoto of Homity Pie ingredients

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 pinch black pepper

2 slices Swiss cheese (original recipe called for cheddar cheese)

2 tablespoons cream

1/2 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon parsley

2 eggs

  1. Dice and sauté the onions and leeks over a gentle heat in the vegetable oil, until they’re soft. Add  diced apple pieces and mix in.
  2. Cut slices of swiss cheese into small pieces.
  3. Add the garlic, followed by the potatoes, parsley and thyme, the eggs, half the cheese and cream.
  4. Season with salt and pepper and combine the mixture well together.
  5. Fill the pies and cover them with the remaining cheese.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for one hour until the top is golden

Easy Shortbread Crust

(adapted from this recipe)

1 cup flour

1/4 cup water

4 tablespoons butter-cut into small pieces

salt to taste

Mix together and press into greased pie or tart pans. Place in refrigerator while preparing the pie filling.

HPOven

Chinese New Year Inspired Dumpling Soup

3 Feb

by Deanne

When I was seven, I experienced my first Chinese or Lunar New Year celebration.  I think it was coincidental as I observed the festivities from a distance. Our family lived near San Francisco and often went to my dad’s office in the city on weekends.  I remember hearing noise and arriving at the window in time to see a colorful dragon as it streamed below us on the street. 

I cherished this memory enough to take my own kids to see a very small Lunar New Year celebration in 1989. It was at a local Chinese restaurant near our home in Louisville, Kentucky.  The kids were too small to remember but perhaps Francine was influenced because she actually lived in China twice as an adult.  Luke had a chance to visit her and travel in China.Photo of Dumpling Soup

This last Friday evening Steve and I set about to make something in honor of the new year celebration.

Chinese New Year Inspired Dumpling Soup

Filling for Dumplings:  (Makes about 30)

1 carrot

2 celery stalks

1/4 head green cabbage

1 cup spinach

1 and 1/2 inch ginger-minced

3 green onions – diced  (reserve green tops for garnish)

5 oz. tofu cut in 1/4 inch cubes

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons soy sauce

2 tablespoons diced cilantro

1 egg

1 package won ton wrappers  (we used square wrappers)

Start by cutting the tofu in 1/4 inch cubes and fry in about 3/4 inch of  vegetable cooking oil in a frying pan until golden brown. While tofu cubes are cooking you can dice the carrot, celery, cabbage, spinach, and onion. 

In a saute pan sweat onions, carrots, and celery.  Add cabbage and cook until softened. Add spinach and ginger and cook until spinach is wilted. Pull off heat. Combine diced cilantro, soy sauce, and sesame oil.

Mix together with 1 egg and the drained tofu.

Set each won ton wrapper on a flat surface and use a bowl of water to wet two edges of the wrapper with your finger. Use about a teaspoon of the filling placed in the center of the won ton. Fold in half diagonally and press edges together.  

Gently boil in vegetable broth for vegetarian or (chicken broth if you prefer) for about 3-4 minutes. Serve with broth and garnish with reserved diced green onions. We cooked about 3 to 4 dumplings at a time. 

Does your family celebrate Chinese or Lunar New Year?  San Francisco is one of the best places in the US to experience Chinese New Year. It is not too late to participate in the February 15th celebrations.


Just Right: Oatmeal Apple Pancakes

27 Jan

by Deanne

I have been working on this recipe for awhile.  I found a recipe online but it made the pancakes too rubbery.  I liked the recipe because there is no added sugar.  The sweetness comes from the apples. With a few adjustments I knew I was on the right track and then Sunday morning Steve and I tried them again. They were delicious! Photo of Oatmeal Apple Pancakes

You will find this to be a super easy wheat-free recipe that doesn’t have any special gluten-free flour or any of the gums usually added to gluten-free flour.   If you are sensitive to gluten, you know the drill by now, to purchase oats that were processed in a gluten-free facility. 

Oatmeal Apple Pancakes  (makes 5 medium to large pancakes)

2 apples, peeled, sliced and cored

1 1/2 cup oat flour*  (156 grams)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

2 eggs

1 cup milk  (we used coconut milk)

Start by cooking the apples in a pan over low heat.  The apples will  get soft and you can mash them and continue cooking.  If you use a low enough heat you will not need to add any water. 

Combine  oat flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon mixture in a bowl. 

To the dry mixture add the cooked apples, mix in eggs and milk.  Mix away!

If you’ve made wheat flour pancakes in the past you have been told to not over mix the batter. (Like in this recipe by Alton Brown) The reason for this caution is that the gluten in the flour will start to develop to the point of making the pancakes tough.  For this batter you can mix it as much as you like since there is no gluten to develop. So when making pancakes with kids this would be a good recipe to use.

Heat a dry non-stick skillet and spray with a pan release product before you cook your first pancake. 

*How to make Oat Flour

Making oat flour is as easy as taking old fashioned oats and pulsing them in the blender.  If you make extra you can use in other recipes like the Oatcake recipe we did in the past.   Thanks, Francine for teaching me that. :)

What if… Restaurants Promoted Cooking at Home?

23 Jan
by Deanne

It seems like a crazy idea for a restaurant to promote cooking at home.  But being concerned about the quality of prepared food that is normally served in restaurants, we instigated a promotion during the month of August and September called The FarmerChef Project. Photo of Pickle Recipe  We recruited two other restaurants to join our restaurant in offering recipes of dishes that we prepared using local ingredients.  Then offered recipes for customers to prepare the dish at home.  Even though the promotion is officially over, you can check out the recipes by clicking on our icon which will take you to the  pinterest page. Logo for FarmerChefs

As part of the promotion we worked with University of Minnesota Extension to help us survey restaurant customers about their preferences for local food and cooking. There is a myth that says people won’t pay for better quality ingredients. Our survey respondents reported that they were willing to pay from 5% to 25% more for a meal prepared with local ingredients?

Would you like to see more restaurants promote cooking at home with local products?  If they did, would it help to repair our broken food system?

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

14 Jan
by Deanne

All the reading I did about Food Trends for 2014 got me hungry for biscuits.  So I followed Steve around the kitchen last night as he put together a batch of whole wheat honey biscuits.  He doesn’t follow recipes so I have to have a pen in hand if I want to re-create it later.Photo of biscuits

Lightly crisp on the outside and warm and steamy on the inside, was the experience I enjoyed when I sampled them.  Oh yes, they have a hint of sweetness from the honey.  The were even slightly FarmerChef-y. The honey was purchased last summer at the farmers market.  If you get a chance, do buy local wheat flour from a local farmer as we have done in the past.

Whole Wheat Honey Biscuits

(makes 9 biscuits)Photo of teapot and biscuit

1 cup all purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 stick butter, cut into small pieces

1/4 cup honey

3/4 cup milk

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl and use pastry cutter to mix in the small pieces of cold butter.  Combine until the mixture looks like gravel. Then add honey and milk and combine into a ball in the center of the bowl.  If needed add a little more flour to hold everything together. Place on a floured surface and shape into a square.  Use pastry cutter to cut into 9 or 12 biscuits depending on how big you’d like them to be. Put biscuits on a baking sheet and bake about 10 minutes at 400 degrees.

Snuggle up with a cup of tea and good book and enjoy!