Friday, November 30, 2007

Easy, Cheap, Healthy & YUMMY!!! Fried Rice

I suspect this will become a regular lunch around here. Awhile back when I was at Trader Joe's, they had frozen vegetarian fried rice so I got some to try & the girls (& I) gobbled it up! Soon after that L started her "yuck!" phase where she proclaims "yuck" to whatever I say I'm fixing for a meal. So, the next time I made it, when I said I was making fried rice, she proclaimed yuck! And asked for a peanut butter sandwich, shrug, ok, more for me . . . but then once she saw me eating it, she said "I didn't know it was THAT!! I want some!" and proceeded to gobble it down again. So, the frozen fried rice from Trader Joe's has been a quick, easy lunch we've had every so often, but it's not exactly bargain food. So, I kept thinking I should try making fried rice from scratch, but from what I'd read, it works best with leftover rice, and I never thought about it when I had sufficient leftover rice in the fridge. Last night we had black beans & rice, and I made a point of making plenty so there'd be some leftover. So today for lunch I made fried rice. I kind of read a couple recipes online & then went & did my own thing:

Heat oil (I used olive oil) in a skillet (all my skillets are cast iron to avoid the carcinogen concerns of teflon). Saute some onion (I had a really small one that was in the bag of onions I'm currently using from, otherwise, for the quantity I was making I probably would've used half an onion, but it's really how much you want). Once it's sauteed a little, add cold brown rice to fill the skillet and throw in some frozen peas. This would be a great way to use up bits of leftover veggies like corn, green beans, etc too. I had an open bag of frozen peas, plus the girls like peas & dh doesn't so peas are a good lunch veggie for us. Meanwhile scramble some eggs in a separate pan. Once the eggs are scrambled and the rice is heated through, mix the eggs in with the rice & veggies and serve.

The girls didn't appear to notice a difference from the Trader Joe's version, and the 3 of us ate a medium skillet FULL, and A asked for more, so it gets their vote of approval.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


This is adapted from The Optimal Diet, cookbook. I noticed it when flipping through the cookbook and thought it sounded simple enough, and certainly healthier than store bought ketchup, which is great since my kids are typical kids in their love of ketchup on anything & everything. So I figured, why not try it. Last minute, as I was dumping stuff in the bowl, I hesitated to use the honey that the recipe calls for, more because I didn't see how in a room temperature concoction the honey would truly blend together, so I decided in the grand scheme of things, the sugar in this recipe isn't that much, and I'd just use sugar, which wouldn't add the flavor that honey has, and also would for sure mix in evenly (a clump of honey while eating ketchup just grossed me out LOL). So, here's what I did.

1 c tomato sauce (from a can)
1 can (5.5oz) tomato paste
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp basil, crushed
3/4 tsp garlic powder (I used granulated roasted garlic, would assume regular wouldn't change the taste noticably)
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 tsp salt

Combine all, stir well. Store in refrigerator up to one week, or freeze.

And the "test", I just served it to the girls w/ fried potatoes, they ate it up, licked the plate clean, and asked for more, just like they do regular ketchup, so it gets their stamp of approval. I won't say it tastes exactly like ketchup, but I think it tastes as good or better, then again, I'm selective in what I like ketchup on.

ETA: Bummer, when I got the jar out of the fridge yesterday to put ketchup on the girls' plates at lunch, it was much too "chunky" to pass for ketchup. The recipe indicated that it froze well, and I froze about half the batch, so I'll see how that is when it thaws, if it works ok that way I'll freeze it in small containers from now on and use them that way or something . . . but I'm so bummed that this didn't keep in the fridge at the right consistency. :( I'm going to throw the rest in the freezer and I think I can at least use it mixed into pasta sauce so I don't have to throw it out, but still . . .

Friday, November 23, 2007

To Try: Cheap Easy Mayo


2 eggs
2 Tbsp vinegar
2 Tbs veg oil
1 tsp salt
2 Tbs prepared mustard
2 1/2 c vegetable oil

In blender, combine eggs, vinegar, 2 Tbsp oil, salt & mustard. Whip 1 min. Continue whipping while slowly adding remaining oil, stop when oil is throughly blended and slightly firm.

To Try: Chewy Granola Bars

From budget101.c0m

1 1/2 c Bisquick like mix
1 1/2 c quick oats
1 c brown sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine - softened
1 egg
1/3 c chocolate chips

heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix all until well blended. Press evenly into un-greased 9x13 pan. Bake 15-17 min. Cut while still warm. Variations: add 1/3 c chopped dried fruit.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Whole Wheat Bread - Bread Machine

I've been using a bread machine recipe for ww bread (for those days when I'm just lazy & in a hurry, when we have time to "play" the girls enjoy making ww rolls from scratch using a recipe from the Waldorf Kindergarten Snack Book) and while the bread tastes fine, I've been annoyed by the fact that the top always looks funny (bumpy) and it makes a small loaf, but when I tried doubling it, it overflowed my bread machine pan. So, then I noticed there was an all whole wheat, simple (not alot of ingredients) recipe on so I tried it last week. The bread tasted good, but there was a huge air bubble in the top half of the loaf that collapsed at the end, so it looked really funny (caved in) and the top half of the loaf wasn't useable for sandwiches and such (I meant to toast them to use as bread crumbs and such, but forgot to do it before they got moldy). So, I tried the recipe again today, figuring the air bubble was a fluke. And it made a BEAUTIFUL load that completely filled my bread machine pan (so about twice the size of the loaves I was getting with the old recipe!) The girls each ate 2-3 slices for breakfast, so it has their stamp of approval, apparently. Here's the recipe:

1 2/3 c warm water
2 Tbsp oil (I used olive oil)
1/3 c sugar (I used honey, and it was a scant 1/3 c)
2 tsp salt
4 2/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp active dry yeast

Put in bread machine in the order listed for your machine. Bake using the whole wheat cycle. This makes a 2lb loaf.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Mom's Potato Noodle Soup

This is my mom's recipe, she's made it since I was a kid. I made this last winter when all 4 of us were sick, and the kids & dh ate through it in no time flat.

2 c potatoes, diced
6 c water
1 onion, chopped
3 Tbsp chicken seasoning
3 oz egg noodles (I use whole grain ones, and you can't tell the difference)
2 scrambled eggs

Combine all but eggs in stockpot. Boil long enough to cook noodles and potatoes. Add eggs just before serving.

Five Can Soup

This was a recipe I found when I was doing the South Beach Diet. I modified it to make it vegetarian. I haven't tried it for awhile, will probably try it with soy curls instead of fri chik.

1 can refried beans
1 can rotel tomatoes (I find these too spicy, I generally use the garlic & italian flavored ones, or plain)
1 can kidney beans, drained (or whatever kind of beans I have on hand)
1 can black beans, drained
1 can fri chik, chopped

Mix all ingredients, including broth from fri chik in stockot. Heat and add herbs to taste.

Lentil Garlic & Rosemary Soup

I found this recipe awhile ago when a friend who's dd was allergic to dairy & soy was coming over for lunch. It's easy, yummy & healthy!

2 c lentils
9-10 c water
1 bulb garlic, peeled & chopped (I always have minced garlic in the fridge, so I just dump a couple spoonfuls in)
lg sprig fresh rosemary, finely chopped or 2 tsp dried
4 med carrots, diced (I usually use potatoes instead, since none of us are fond of cooked carrots)
sea salt to taste

Place lentils in lg saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer & add garlic, rosemary and carrots. Cook 20 min & add salt.

Angie's Macaroni & Cheese

This is one of the recipes my friend Angie stocked our freezer with when our twins were born. It's yummy, and easy, so I got the recipe from her once the girls were old enough for me to think about cooking and such LOL.

For an 8x8 pan: (double for 9x13)

2 c macaroni, cooked (whole wheat works fine)
2 Tbsp butter
sm onion, chopped
2 Tbsp flour (whole wheat works fine)
salt & pepper
2 c milk
2 c cheese, plus extra for top

In saucepan, saute onion in butter. Add (on med-low) flour, salt, pepper, slowly add milk. Let thicke, add cheese (on low) and melt. Pour over macaroni. Mix and put into casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Bake uncovered 1/2 hr at 350.


I love this (don't remember where I got it), though I didn't make it as much this past summer because my kids decided they didn't like it, and I tend to be lazy about making things that only I will eat.

1 c bulgar wheat
1 c boiling water
1 sm onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced (opt)
1 cucumber, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1/2 c fresh chopped mint
2 c fresh chopped parsley

1/4 c lemon juice
1/3 c olive oil
1/2 tsp salt

Pour boiling water over bulgar wheat, let sit 1/2 hr. combine all ingredients. Mix dressing & pour over tabouli, mix together, chill.

Note: all the measurements in this (except the bulgar/boiling water ratio) are very approximate, just use however much of each ingredient you have/looks good :)

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Homemade Butter

Since we buy raw milk and the farm we buy it from doesn't offer other products made from the raw milk (other than hard cheeses), we make our own butter when needed, from the raw milk. Here is the recipe I use, adapted from the directions provided by the farm where I buy our milk:

Allow milk to sit undisturbed for at least 12 hrs so that cream rises to the top. Skim cream off with a spoon (or I often just pour it off and make sure to only get cream, this leaves some cream in the milk, but that's ok too). Let cream sit out (in a covered container) until it is room temperature. Put room temp cream in food processor (or a blender would work too) and "whiz" it until the butter forms. Pour the butter & buttermilk through a cheesecloth lined sieve (catching the buttermilk to use in recipes). Drop the clump of butter into a bowl of ice water and squish it out 3-4 times to remove excess buttermilk.

Place butter in a clean, dry bowl & use a spatula or clean hands to work the water out of the butter, tipping the bowl to the side to drain the water out. Once the water is worked out, add a little salt, work it in & you're done. We don't use alot of butter here (really only on bread, for cooking we generally use coconut oil for solid fats (butter, shortening), and olive oil for liquid fats) so I generally make this in small batches that I can put the butter in a small jelly jar and store in the fridge. If you make it in larger quantities, you can form it into "logs" and freeze until needed.

Banana Oatmeal Cookies

These came from my friend Mary, several years ago, they're yummy & relatively healthy too!

3/4 c butter
1 1/2 c flour (ww works fine)
1/2 c sugar (can be reduced, esp if bananas are very ripe)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 egg (or 1 T ground flax + 3 T water)
1 c mashed banana
1 3/4 c rolled oats
1/2 c chocolate chips, dried fruit, &/or nuts

Cream butter & sugar. Add egg & banana. Mix dry ingredients (flour thru cinnamon) together & add to wet. Add oats slowly. Mix in optional. Bake at 375 for 12-15 minutes.

Cornmeal Mush


1 c cornmeal
1 c water + 3 c water
1 tsp salt

In a small bowl, combine cornmeal & 1 c water. Meanwhile in 2 qt saucepan combine salt & 3 c water. Bring water to a boil over high heat. While water is heating, add cornmeal mixed with water. Reduce heat to low. Simmer about 10 min. until thick. Serve with maple syrup or honey and milk if desired.

Mexican Pasta

I got this from my friend Angie (who found it in one of the little books of recipes (this one was vegetarian recipes) you often find with the magazines at checkout at grocery stores). It started out as stuffed shells, but I'm lazy so we progressed from stuffed shells, to lasagna, and now more of a "baked ziti" type thing (it can also be made into enchiladas, using flour toritillas).
8 oz cooked & drained pasta (shapes like penne or rototini work well)
2 tsp veg oil (I use olive oil)
1 med onion, chopped (1/2 c)
1 can pinto beans or black beans (or one of each if doing a double recipe). For those who make beans from scratch a can is generally about 2 c cooked beans.
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 pkg cream cheese, softened
3/4 c taco sauce
1 c shredded colby-jack cheese (or taco cheese) . . . or now that we use raw dairy, I'll probably try it with cheddar since that's what I can get raw.
1/2 c crushed corn chips
Sour cream to garnish

Heat oil in 2 qt saucepan over med heat. Cook onion in oil about 5 min, stirring frequently. Stir in beans, chili powder, cream cheese & 1/4 c taco sauce. Heat over med-low 2-3 min. stirring occasionally until cheese is melted. Heat oven to 350. Spray 8x8 pan with cooking spray. Stir mixture and pasta together and place in pan. Pour remaining taco sauce over top. Cover and bake 20 min. Sprinkle with cheese and corn chips. Bake uncovered 10 min. Garnish with sour cream.

Alpine Casserole

1 Tbsp butter
2 c diced celery
1/4 c minced onion
3 c diced (vegetarian) chicken (we generally use "Fri Chik")
2 c herb stuffing
1 c shredded cheese
1 c swiss cheese
3/4 c mayonnaise
1/2 c milk
1/2 c water

Melt butter in skillet, saute celery and onions. Combine with all remaining ingredients and place in a 9x13 casserole dish. Bake covered at 350 for 45 minutes.

Flour Tortillas


4 c flour (last time I used 3 c ww, 1 c white, next time I may try all ww)
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c coconut oil (recipe calls for shortening)
1 to 1 1/4 c water

In lg bowl combine dry ingredients. Cut in coconut oil w/ a fork. Add water a little at a time until dough forms a cohesive ball. Knead about 20 times. Let rest in bowl about 10 min. From into 10-12 equal balls. roll ball in flour, then on a clean well floured surface, roll into a 6-7" circle (mine are never round, but close enough). Try to get it as thin as you can. Fry, 1 at a time in a dry, hot skilllet (since we use cast iron, "dry" is a relative term, but I don't add oil to it when I make these). Cook 30-45 seconds until under side is dry w/ a few brown spots. Flip & cook on the other side. Repeat with remaining tortillas.

DH was very skeptical about these, but after trying them, he conceded that they are better than store bought ones LOL.

Skillet Corn Bread

I got this recipe off a TLC show (I don't remember which one). In our house, we start this recipe by making butter, so that we have butter to put on the cornbread & buttermilk to use in the recipe.

2 c buttermilk
1 c cornmeal
1 c flour (ideally whole wheat)
1 T baking powder
2 eggs
2 T butter

Melt butter in cast iron skillet (or other oven safe skillet). Mix all ingredients together. Pour into skillet. Bake 1/2 hr at 425.

"Chicken" with Basil Cream Sauce over Pasta

A couple handfuls of Soy Curls, reconstituted in chicken seasoning.

3 T Butter (or coconut oil)
1 T olive oil
1/2 c broth from reconstituting soy curls (add water if needed to make 1/2 c)
1 c heavy whipping cream (that's what the recipe says, since we use raw milk, I poured cream off the top of the milk)
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c minced fresh basil (or 1 t dried)
1 t cornstarch

8 oz cooked pasta (we use ww spaghetti)

In lg skillet (I use all cast iron skillets) brown soy curls in butter and olive oil. Remove soy curls from skillet & set aside. Add broth to skillet, bring to a boil over med heat and stir to loosen browned bits from pan bottom. Stir in cream, boil and stir 1 min. Reduce heat. Stir in parmesan & basil and cook till heated through. Mix corn starch with extra chicken broth and stir into skillet if needed to thicken.

The recipe calls for layering everything together, because my children don't like the soy curls, I keep everything seperate and let each person layer things the way they want at the table.