In America there is a constant battle as to what is better: ground turkey or ground beef. I think cow is disgusting and the very fact that we could halt climate change by not eating beef confirms that turkey is the smarter choice. And of course, there is the argument that we should all be vegan or revert to a hunter-gatherer lifestyle (that's probably the right move).
When I make chili, you better believe that I am using ground turkey. I grew up eating Diestel Turkey because the ranch is just down the street from my childhood home but other great brands include Jennie-O. My favorite chili is one that is just spicy enough, but not burning. It's loaded with veggies and beans, and it deserves chips to dip into it. It's hearty. And best of all, most kids dig into it without questioning the veggies.
When I was a little girl, my aunt would bring fudge to Christmas dinner and it was delightful. Later, when I learned what goes into fudge, I cried because I had sustained a pretty healthy lifestyle. All that sugar and milk and ... ugh.
For my family, I knew I wanted to make a treat that tasted like candy but didn't end in cavities and tummy aches. Enter the invention of protein powders and their remarkable abilities to congeal.
I played around for awhile to get this right, but I've come up with a peanut butter fudge that is easy to pack and fun to eat. The kids get vitamins and think they're pulling one over on me...I've got them fooled.
Did you know that Ignacio Anaya invented the first plate of nachos? Yep! He did it for a group of hungry military spouses in Mexico. Bam! Thank you 1943. I am an avid eater of nachos, although, these days my nachos look more like salads with lettuce as the chips, but you know what? Every now and then, we make the most delicious batch of baked nachos.
My favorite way to make nachos is with vegan ground "meat", black beans, olives, and avocado. I've provided our recipe and a few ideas for variations. Bake them on a huge baking sheet and put it in the center of the table for everyone to enjoy.
I roasted a ton of sweet potatoes today. Then, I started by adding 1/4 cup of cocoa powder per potato. I will admit that if you start with 1/4 cup cocoa for every sweet potato, the essence of sweet potato lingers, but it is a delicious sort of lingering.
Just add a dash extra of vanilla or more cocoa and that sweet potato flavor will fall away. It depends on how much you or your little ones like potatoes...I have a kid who hates potatoes of all sorts.
Somehow I managed to fit bananas, pumpkin, soy milk, chocolate, and flour into these brownies that are TO DIE FOR. The kids will be thrilled that you gave them brownies that have less sugar than the average brownie and manage to stuff them with vitamin A and potassium. Bwa ha ha.
One of my favorite breakfast recipes for the family is no-cook Swedish oatmeal. We eat a lot of oats and I really don't feel like standing over the stove in 90 degree weather at 6AM. Enter cold oatmeal. Delicious. Flexible. Kid-friendly.
This no-cook kid-friendly oatmeal is made the night before and ready for morning. I love that I can make this breakfast right before bedtime or as I am cooking dinner knowing that the family will have a nutritious breakfast for the next day.
Being from the West coast has been a gift of life because I am always two skips shy of a river with salmon in it. Salmon is my second favorite fish, coming in shy behind rainbow trout. I wrote this recipe after we went on a fishing trip at the Columbia River Gorge. We had so many beautiful salmon that I had to do them justice.
Of course, my youngest daughter insisted that she get sashimi because she is the sweetest and most darling cousin of Gollum. Everything is better raw she says,...and shoot, the kid won't eat salmon unless it is raw.
Anyways, this salmon is dressed with dijon mustard, lemon juice and fresh dill. Yum.
As a kid, my mom used to make BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches. The chicken was tender and the barbecue sauce perfectly sticky and sweet. I ate those sandwiches up.
From plants, grains, and seeds. I make my own tofu. I make my own seitan. I make my own everything. We do not eat a lot of processed foods.
Note: Since this post, we have removed wheat and many other processed foods from our kitchen, but I still wanted to share our story and recipe with you all!
Cookies do not make a visit to my house regularly. But every now and again, I stare into the cupboard at the chocolate chips and just can't help myself. These cookies are vegan.
This double chocolate chip cookie doesn't taste vegan, though. It tastes delectable. This recipes hails from a billion places and eventually has become my own as I have rearranged to fit our lifestyle.
Cookies can be really 'bad' for you. Loaded with cholesterol and saturated fat. Tons of added sugar. Ew. When I make cookies, I make yummy, good for your soul cookies.
For these cookies, I use coconut oil, bananas, almond flour, and almond milk in exchange for the 'normal' ingredients. Don't worry. These cookies turn out just fine. If you are not used to using these ingredients feel free to swap in what you have.
Most nights I like to make dinner from scratch, but Fridays are my, "I'll cook, but not all of the way" days. Naan pizzas are my go-to for Fridays. They are yummy and they make use of the produce in the garden.
I pick up the naan bread from a local bakery, the mozzarella from a small farmer, and the rest is from the garden. The basil. The pesto. The tomatoes. All from the yard.
You are probably wondering how the heck do I grow tomatoes during the winter/spring...Siberian Pole Tomatoes. Look'em up. They are native and grown in Siberia. They can withstand anything.
Make some naan pizzas tonight.
I have a confession to make. I'm not a HUGE fan of corn. At least, I don't like corn from a can or corn as a side dish...unless it is fresh-from-the-stalk corn. And I get that because I grow corn in my spare time. Seriously. This means that I only eat corn in the late summer and early fall.
And I really only like corn prepared a few ways. First, I love to saw it off raw and throw it in a salad. And then I love corn in a chowder. But my FAVORITE way to eat corn is roasted and on the cob.
Since I don't feel this is a "recipe" in the traditional sense of the word, I am going to keep this short and savory.
The warm fire and the cozy sweater that my nanny got me for Christmas was all that I needed this morning to make a fresh loaf of banana bread Goodness, do I live for baking. The combination of measuring ingredients out as a chemist would in a lab alongside the musical stylings of AWOLnation just gets me worked up. And not to mention greasing my favorite bread pan...the one that I bought ten years ago when I began baking.
This banana bread follows a standard recipe that I created years ago for cranberry walnut bread. That is the beauty of the recipe. It interchanges without fail and can be a staple for any design that you create (hello, zucchini bread, carrot bread, and even lemon poppyseed lavender bread). My suggestion for this bread is to watch the oven carefully to avoid burning the bottom of the delectable bread.
We've been into baking lately and sometimes that really just means mixing things together. Mostly this is part of our baking unit study that we have been conducting for most of the summertime. Summertime is the perfect time to bake and learn because we have a garden full of fresh produce and an oven begging to be used.
Today we whipped up fresh strawberry crepes using the berries from the backyard. This isn't paleo or grain-free, but it could be adapted to be so. Then again, I never claimed to be either of those things. Live life. Eat well. Be smart. That's what I like to say.
Black beans are a staple in my home. Whether it is a bowl of seasoned black beans with broccoli for breakfast, or a piping hot mug of black bean chili for dinner, black beans are here to stay. My favorite way to cook black beans is with a spoonful of feta and a sprig of cilantro. What can I say, I'm fairly boring.
But not tonight. Tonight this lady is going to be fancy because black beans were on SALE last week. Okay, so I'm cheap too --oh god, that extra two cents toward saving for a house -- and so I bought 10 pounds of them.
Yes. Ten pounds. Don't worry, the house doesn't stink like poo. I used my stock pot with a LID to keep that stench in the pot...at least until I turn up the heat. When you eat enough beans, you stop tooting.
This is my recipe for chunky black bean soup. It is vegan, but you could switch it up by adding chicken or steak to it if you must. My mom always adds cheese to hers...
Shoot me in the head and call me crazy. This might be my favorite recipe ever! And that is saying a lot because I love to cook. After reading several vegan cookbooks such as Forks Over Knives, Veganomicon, and How to Cook Everything Vegetarian, I recreated bits and pieces of pies and mousses to make this oh-so-delightful dessert.
Since I have a little helper who loves loves loves to "stir" everything that I am cooking, I knew that this chocolate mousse would be the perfect dessert to make...it really is great for kids.
The wonderful asset about this mousse is that it is quick to make and so good after any meal. We made it to be served after a light white bean and kale soup.
Portable food is a must in my house. Not because we are all over the place or anything, but because I need go-to food at a moment's notice...I have one of those kids who is always hungry, you see.
And having something on hand is makes feeding such a child efficient. She can go into the fridge and grab a wrap, a burrito, or a sandwich without having to ask me about it. When she has eaten two bites because that's all she ever eats, she can put it back in the container and get it again later.
No fuss for me. No grumbling tummy for her. Win-win.
Since we make so many on-the-go meals, I have found it better to make the wrap at home. We save a lot of money doing this since I can make a dozen or more pita breads on Sunday and freeze half of them for the second week. Easy peasy.
My pita recipe comes out warm and delicious every time and you can easily make this recipe in your kitchen too. The pita bread is a little time consuming, so I recommend making it on the same day you do meal prep. Preferably start it in the morning, let the dough rise while you are grocery shopping, and then come back to finish the bread.
Roasted cauliflower, carrots, and spinach go into this warming red curry made completely vegan and completely good-for-your-soul. When I lived in San Francisco, I was able to stop into any of the hundred Asian market to pick the ingredients, but now, I have to make a solid effort to find these ingredients. In my hunt to make this Thai soup, I was able to source the lemongrass and ginger from a small market with the rest of it from the local market.
So, I always have them in stock. My kitchen is very rustic, Asian-inspired, and a little wacky. This curry is spicy, but in a warm sense and will appease kids and adults. Your entire home will smell of lemongrass, ginger, and meaty roasted cauliflower.
I'm not stressed out or anything, but maybe you are. Most of the world seems to be running a high intake of stress these days. The other day, we were walking across the street and the woman in the car was slowly rolling toward us, and the look on her face for just having to wait for us to reach the sidewalk was haunting.
Americans are faced with stressful schedule daily. And all of that stress adds up. It really adds up. Which got me to thinking about foods that could help taper stress levels. After all, we know that Americans are not eating properly, and that can further contribute to stress levels. Here are the five foods that I researched that have stress soothing benefits.
Potstickers make a meal that adults and children can both fall in love with. Potstickers can be eaten with a fork, chopsticks, or cute little fingers. They can be baked, broiled, fried or steamed, and then dipped into a variety of sauces.
Perfect way to teach kids how to cook too.
I love potstickers. In my home, we make potstickers every week because I am a ninja. Actually, at the beginning of every month, I make a batch of 200 potstickers and freeze them.
Talk about hard work, but it definitely pays off on those nights that I have nothing left and am on the verge on committing fast food suicide. And then a child reminds me that she "sure wishes that she could just have a potsticker" and BAHM...dinner is done.
Once you have mastered this recipe, you will find yourself doing all sorts of good and not-so-great variations. Honestly, I like to think of potstickers as teeny tiny vegetable delivery pouches. Kids and picky adults love love love them.
Need I say more? I guess I should. If you thought that I liked oats, well you'd be surprised to discover that I love peanuts even more. Peanut butter is my very best friend. And I don't care how much Paleo folks tell me peanuts are "bad for me" because peanuts and I will not be parted.
I wake up every morning and scoop a spoonful of peanut butter into my mouth. I use peanuts to make fresh peanut butter. And I stockpile peanut butter (the kind made with JUST PEANUTS) when it goes on sale at the store. I have an entire cupboard dedicated to my peanut butter "habit".
Needless to say, I love peanut butter. I also love chocolate. I'm not sure which one I like more, but I am pretty sure it is peanut butter. But the combination of peanuts and fudgey chocolate make it hard to decide. When I am unsure if I want a scoop of peanut butter or a tablespoon of chocolate chips, well, I'll just have my cake and eat it too.
My peanut butter fudge brownie bites are ideal for quick fixes, lunch boxes, and more. Heck, after I make these, I wrap them up and put them in the freezer for a "rainy" day...which is all of the time where I live. Bonus points for living in the PNW.
Enjoy the recipe!
Did you know that January is National Oatmeal Month? Thank god because all we do in this house is eat oatmeal. And to make it extra special this month, I am going to feed my kids cookies for breakfast. At least that's what they think they are...but not to worry-- these aren't your traditional, sugar-loaded cookies
My vegan oatmeal cookies are loaded with protein and packed with fiber. And you know what? My kids love them and they make great portable meals for when we are out and about --- because I have one of those kids who grazes all freaking day long and she is never not hungry. Seriously. The kid has a six pack too! Geez...
These oatmeal cookies contain protein powder, peanut butter, oats, honey, soy milk, vanilla, and raisins...which are totally optional because I hate raisins. Just swap it out for dark chocolate.
And if you are concerned about soy in the diet, take a look at this article to a fuller view on the current soy information.
Call me crazy, but I love beets. The red, staining root that is beet is one of my favorite winter treats. Each winter, after the beets have grown big, red, and juicy, I pull them from their cozy homes and make raw red beet salad.
That's right. Raw. Acidic. Surprisingly cleansing.
This red beet salad is loaded with vitamins. I combine grate beets, apples, and chopped celery tossed in olive oil and apple cider vinegar to create a stunning side salad that will detoxify your blood.
Hearth bread is one of our favorite breads to bake. Hearth bread is a fancy way of saying calzone dough. This bread is used to wrap fillings inside and serve piping hot alongside a huge salad (unless, you are like me and put your salad inside your calzone). Calzones are ideal for portable, hearty meals. You can make them for breakfast, lunch, or dare I say it, dessert.
As with any yeast bread, this is a time-intensive recipe. Loads of waiting. I like to start this one in the morning before we head to the garden because I know that I can complete the next step when we get back from picking tomatoes and infant-sized zucchini. The dough is a blank slate. Add herbs to the dough. Knead in some cinnamon and nutmeg...you get the point. Be daring with this one. You'll thank yourself later.