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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Need to eat more fruits and vegetables? If so, have some Cabbage and Apple Salad

Cabbage and Apple Salad - finishedEveryone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables, not just kids, but adults also.  According to the CDC, in the U.S., only 32% of adults eat 2 or more servings of fruit a day and only 26% of adults eat 3 or more servings of vegetables.  

The rates where we live, Oklahoma, are even worse, just 18% for fruit and 23% for veggies.  I wonder why we are so bad at eating fruit around here?  I have NO PROBLEM getting my girls to eat fruit, as that is our go-to snack of choice, but with veggies I have to be a bit more creative.

So, this simple recipe gives you both a vegetable and a fruit in one dish.  I gave you a choice on the dried fruit and the nuts.  I used dried cranberries and walnuts for mine.  I recommend dijon mustard and red wine vinegar, but don’t fret if you don’t have those on-hand; just use regular yellow mustard and apple cider vinegar instead.

This salad is crunchy and just a bit sweet.  I will be serving it tonight with some grilled chicken, but it should go with just about any protein of your choice.

Cabbage and Apple SaladCabbage and Apple Salad - in process

  • 3 cups shredded cabbage (you can usethe pre-cut bagged coleslaw mix for this)
  • 3 apples, seeded and chopped, any color
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/4 cup nuts, sliced almonds or chopped walnuts or chopped pecans
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard or yellow mustard
  • 1/2 Tbsp fresh minced onion (not dried)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp poppy seeds
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  1. Mix all ingredients together, store in fridge. Serve chilled.

– Stacey


Orange Almond Cake – and it is even gluten-free

Sarah and I were watcOrange Almond Cake - slice with whole cake in backgroundhing Laura Calder’s “French Food at Home” show last weekend and she made this as part of her “French Africa” episode.  There are very few ingredients and it looked yummy, so Sarah wanted to make it.  She and Emma helped me in the kitchen today.

This deliciously moist cake really has just four ingredients: oranges, eggs, sugar, and almonds.  Three out of the four are wonderfully healthy. The eggs and almond meal give you some protein and allow you to make a Orange Almond Cake - admiring the cakelight flourless cake.  The oranges provide an intense taste, sweetness, and some Vitamin C.  Sugar… well, it is sugar.  I used a less refined version, but it is still sugar.  Based on 12 servings, each piece will have 1 tablespoon (3 teaspoons) of sugar in it.  Just plan on it being your treat for the day.

I used packaged almond flour, but you could always just grind up some raw unsalted almonds in your food processor instead.  The reason I specify organic oranges it that you are using the zest and you don’t want there to be pesticides on the skin.

The girls described this cake as: juicy, sweet, orangey, tangy and yummy.

– Stacey

Orange Almond Cake
Yield: 12 slices
Variation on Laura Calder’s recipe
  • 6 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar, divided, (3/4 cup goes in cake & 1/2 cup in the syrup)
  • 3 ORGANIC oranges, separate zest and juice (FYI, my 3 oranges yielded 1 cup juice)
  • 1 1/2 cups ground almonds AKA almond mealOrange Almond Cake - Preparing the ingredients
  • 1 Tbsp orange liqueur such as Grand Marnier, optional (I used peach schnapps, what I had in the cabinet)
  • Candied orange zest or rind, optional for garnish (I pulled a few bits of orange rind out of some orange marmalade)
  • Whipped cream, optional for serving
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease and line with parchment a 9-to-10-inch springform pan.
  2. Separate the eggs into two bowls.  Beat the egg yolks with 3/4 cups of the sugar, and the orange zest until bright yellow.  Then, stir in the ground almonds.
  3. In a separate bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks.Orange Almond Cake - ready to go into the oven
  4. Stir a few spoonfuls of whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture, then fold in the rest, gently.  Keep it light and fluffy.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until set, about 40-45 minutes.
  6. While the cake is baking, prepare the syrup.  Heat the orange juice and remaining 1/2 cup sugar together in a saucepan and boil for 5 minutes. Take off the heat and stir in the optional liqueur.
  7. When the cake is done baking, remove it from the oven and spoon the syrup evenly over the cake, letting the syrup soak in as you go; it will absorb all of it.
  8. Let cool, then unmold onto a serving platter. Serve the cake with candied orange zest on top and whipped cream on the side.

Orange Almond Cake - finished cake

Zesty Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup

Zesty Tomato Soup - yummyWhile it hasn’t been a normal winter, no blizzards, no snow even, it is winter.  And, that makes me think of the warmth of stews and soups.  So, here is another yummy soup recipe.

It has red chili pepper flakes in it…that is the zesty part.  The 3/4 teaspoon is the right amount for my kids.  If I was going to make it just for adults, I would probably increase that to a full 1 teaspoon.  But, if you are making it for folks that don’t like it hot, then you might want to cut them back even more, to 1/2 teaspoon.  You know your audience.  If you want it to be vegetarian, use vegetable broth instead of chicken broth; vegans will need to leave the parmesan cheese out.

As an added bonus, while you are roasting your tomatoes, onions, and garlic, your house will smell wonderful.  All the girls liked it and Leah had three servings.

Zesty Roasted Tomato & Garlic Soup
Inspired by a recipe from Tasty Kitchen
Make 6-8 servings depending on appetite

  • 15 whole Roma tomatoes (3-4 lbs, depending on the size of the tomatoes)
  • 1 whole onion, peeled and quartered
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp turbinado or brown sugar (I used “sugar in the raw”)
  • 2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp red chili pepper flakes, reduce amount if you want it less zesty
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning (mine consists of oregano, marjoram, thyme, basil, rosemary, and sage, NO salt)
  • 2 whole heads of garlic (peels left on)
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped or 2 tsp dried parsley
  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup dried bread cubes or crumbs, optional
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line 2 small or 1 large baking sheets with foil, parchment, or a silpat.
  2. Cut the Roma tomatoes in half and place on lined baking pans cut side uZesty Tomato Soup - Garlic Prepp.  Peel and quarter the onions and place them on baking sheet with tomatoes.
  3. Drizzle tomatoes and onions with 2 Tablespoons of the olive oil as well as the balsamic vinegar and other ingredients down through the Italian seasoning and toss to coat.
  4. Cut the tops off ofZesty Tomato Soup - roasted veggies the 2 heads of garlic and place on a piece of aluminum foil.  Drizzle garlic with 1 Tablespoon of the olive oil. Wrap the heads tightly in the foil.
  5. Place foil packet of garlic on the baking sheet with the tomatoes and onions Roast everything in the preheated Zesty Tomato Soup - in the potoven for 60 minutes.
  6. Once tomatoes, onions, and garlic are roasted, set aside to cool, until they can be handled.
  7. Squeeze the roasted garlic cloves out of their papers, discard papers and set aside the roasted garlic aside.
  8. Place a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Immediately add the roasted tomatoes and onions, all of their juices from the baking sheet, and the roasted garlic.
  9. Add the chicken stock, the chopped parsley, and the bread, and allow to simmer Zesty Tomato Soup - immersion blenderwithout lid, for about 20 minutes.
  10. Add the grated parmesan cheese, and stir.
  11. Using a hand immersion blender or countertop blender, purée the soup until smooth and all tomatoes are completely puréed. Note: If using a countertop blender, work in small batches to purée. Be careful to not overfill the blender, as hot soup can splatter.
  12. Check the salt/pepper, and adjust to taste, if necessary. Ladle into serving bowls, sprinkle with a little extra grated parmesan, and enjoy.

– Stacey

Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili – a vegetarian recipe for everyone

You can definitely tell by the number of dishes including meat on my blog that we are omnivores, not vegetarians.  But, everyone needs to eat more fruits and vegetables, so a good vegetable stew or salad recipe is always helpful. 

The chili spices in this dish predominate, so you don’t even miss the meat.  I was concerned that with both the honey and sweet potatoes, the chili would be too sweet, but it isn’t.  To make the recipe vegan, substitute the honey with maple syrup or other vegan-acceptable sweetener and don’t use the optional dairy-based garnishes.

The coffee is just to give it a bit of a smoky taste. So if you don’t drink coffee, use water instead and then add a bit of smoked paprika.  That should give you the same effect.   I have given the recipe using canned beans and tomatoes; the ones I used were organic.  But, it is always better if you have the forethought to soak and cook your own beans and use fresh tomatoes.  But, I am not usually that organized.  🙂

The kids all loved this recipe.  We served ours with a dollop of plain yogurt on top, but no cheese.  You could also garnish with a bit of chopped cilantro.  The sweet potatoes will be giving you lots of vitamins A & C and the beans will give you lots of fiber.

– Stacey

Sweet Potato & Black Bean ChiliSweet Potato Black Bean Chili - potatoes and onions
Yield: 2 quarts, about 8 servings

  • 2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp olive, peanut, or coconut oil (I used coconut)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 cans (15 oz. each) Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili - adding garlic and spicesblack beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 can (28 oz.) diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1/4 cup brewed coffee
  • 2 Tbsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese or mexican cheese blend, optional for serving
  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt or sour cream, optional for serving
  1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat.Sweet Potato Black Bean Chili - ready to simmer
  2. When oil is hot, sauté sweet potatoes and onion in oil stirring often, until the onion is beginning to soften, about 4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic, chili powder, cumin and cayenne; cook stirring constantly 1 minute longer.
  4. Stir in the beans, tomatoes, coffee, honey, salt and pepper.  Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for about 30 minutes or until sweet potatoes are tender.
  6. For serving, you can top with a dollop of plain yogurt and/ or a sprinkle of cheese.

Note: Another lazier option for making this is to just throw everything in your crockpot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Beef Jerky – Dad’s favorite, and the kids like it too

beef jerky - close-upMy husband loves beef jerky.  It is probalby one of his favorite snacks.  But, storebought beef jerky is expensive and has lots of unpleasant chemicals in it.  So, make your own. 

I bought a food dehydrator a year or so ago, a NESCO American Harvest one.  It is on the lower end of the dehydrator price spectrum and is available online from WalMart and other stores.  I have used it to make jerky and also to dry fruit.   You can apparently make it in the oven if your thermostat will allow you to barely heat your oven, but our old oven won’t.

The recipe I used is a cross between the one from Alton Brown on the Food Network site and the one in the recent issue of Clean Eating Magazine.

Dad’s Favorite Beef Jerkybeef jerky - marinade ingredients

  • 2  to 2.5 pounds beef roast or flank steak, trimmed of visible fat
  • 2/3 cup Worchestershire sauce (read the ingredients, Lea & Perrins original seems the most “real)
  • 2/3 cup soy sauce (use one that is actaully soy sauce, not brown colored salt water)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika 
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper (adjust to suit your tastes)
  • Food Dehydrator
  1. Trim the beef of any excess fat, place in a zip-top bag, and place it in the freezer for 1 to 2 hours in order tobeef jerky - slicing meat firm up.
  2. Remove the beef from the freezer and thinly slice the meat with the grain, into long strips.
  3. Place the strips of meat along with all of the remaining ingredients into a large, 1-gallon plastic zip-top bag and move around to evenly distribute all of the ingredients. Place the bag into the refrigerator for 4 to 6 hours or even overnight.beef jerky - marinading
  4. Remove the meat from the marinade. Evenly distribute the strips of meat onto the trays of your food dehydrator.
  5. Close the dehydrator and set at 155 degrees F.   Allow the meat to dry for 6-8 hours.
  6. Once dry, store in a cool dry place, in an airtight container for up to 3 months. although it probably won’t last that long.

Mike and the kids all love it.  The girls even took a piece of it for snack yesterday at school along with a handful of fresh cherries.

 – Staceybeef jerky - happy kid beef jerky - finished drying

Fruity Terrine – an updated gelatin salad

Most folks wouldn’t admit to liking a gelatin salad.  And considering some of the weird combinations that people have come up with, especially during the 1950’s and 1960’s, I don’t blame them.  The recipes always seem to start with some bright artificially colored gelatin and then add things like vegetables, canned fruit cocktail, cooked seafood, mini-marshmallows, or cottage cheese.  The results looked something like this:

Weird Jello Salads

But, a gelatin salad doesn’t have to be yucky; it can be yummy.  You just have to use juice to flavor the plain gelatin and be very selective with the add-ins.

This recipe is really just a souped up version of the Juicy Gelatin Jigglers recipe that I posted awhile back.  I was inspired by the Citrus Berry Terrine that Dorie Greenspan has in her “French Fridays with Dorie” cookbook and that had been the featured recipe for the “French Fridays with Dorie” group where lots of folks make and photograph the same recipe from the book with their own variations.

Fruity Terrine – an updated gelatin salad
Serves 4-8 depending on your appetite

  • 2.5 cups of orange juice (I used refrigerated not-from-concentrate, but freshly squeezed is always better)
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 2 envelopes of unflavored Knox gelatin, each envelope holds about 1 Tbls gelatin
  • 2 cups fresh fruit of your choice (strawberries, orange segments, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, etc.)
  1. Place 1.5 cups of juice in a microwavable 2-cup measuring cup. Microwave juice for 60-75 seconds.
  2. Pour hot juice into a 5-cup container (I used a Rubbermaid plastic container with a lid). Stir in honey.
  3. Sprinkle gelatin powder on to hot juice and use a fork or small whisk to mix it in until it dissolves and there are no clumps.
  4. Pour in the other 1 cup of juice and mix well. Put the lid on your container and refrigerate for about 30-45 minutes while you prepare your fresh fruit.
  5. When the gelatin had slightly thickened but is not set, stir in the fruit.  Continue to refrigerate for 4+ hours.  Unmold and serve with additional fresh fruit as a garnish.  I unmolded mine by setting the mold in the sink filled about halfway up the mold with hot water for a few seconds.

I made this as a part of our Christmas meal to add something “fancy” that contained fresh fruit.  I used just strawberries and clementine orange segments.  The kids liked it so much they wanted me to make it again. So, I made it again for New Year’s Eve dinner with different fruit, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries.  I have since made it yet again with just blackberries and raspberries.  They really like it.

– Stacey

Two notes:

  1. Gelatin is made from animal parts, so it is not vegetarian or vegan.  If you want to make a veggie version of this recipe, I have been told that you can substitute agar-agar for the gelatin.
  2. If you want to use pineapple or pineapple juice in this recipe, you can’t use fresh of either and have it work.  Fresh pineapple has an enzyme in it called bromelain that will prevent the gelatin from jelling.  Apparently, papaya and kiwi also contain similar enzymes.  But don’t fret, canned pineapple and pineapple juice don’t contain bromelain. The canning process heats the pineapple to a temperature sufficient to break the enzyme down, making it gelatin friendly.
Fruity Terrine - Christmas

Fruity Terrine - Christmas

 Fruity Terrine - New Year




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