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Monday, November 29, 2010


I can't remember.  Is the saying 3rd time is a charm or is it 4th time is a charm?  Anyway, I've been testing these in the home kitchen lab and this time it is 4th time is a charm.  I did all the hard work so that you guys could enjoy gluten free peanut butter and honey cookies with chopped pecans.  These things are addictive so be careful...they might even be outlawed if the word gets out, and then we'll have to pay premium price for them and people could get hurt or go to jail over these things. 
You will need:
1 cup of chopped pecans (plus some whole ones for the tops of the cookies)
1/2 cup all natural peanut butter (peanuts and salt - smuckers makes a good one)
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1/2 cup honey (raw, unfiltered if you can)
1 egg beaten
5/8 cup gluten free all purpose flour (Bob's Red Mill)this is just a smidgen more than 1/2 cup
1/4 tsp baking SODA
1 tsp xanthan gum (optional)
Mix all ingredients together, grease a baking sheet and dollop some of this batter in spoonfulls on the sheet.  Pop a little pecan on the top before you pop them in the oven.  I baked them at 350 until they were golden brown and then I just took them out and let them cool before I ate like 5 of them with milk, ohhhhh did I say that out loud?  If not, I just took them out and let them cool before I ate 2 of them with milk.   These are some good cookies, and you can make them a little more crispy by finishing them off in the oven at 450 for a couple of minutes.  Try them out and let me know how you like 'em.  Also I left a pic of my plate from Thanksgiving at my family's house - it was absolutely fabulous!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Noodleless and Vegetarian LASAGNA!!!

If you're Italian then you may need to cover your eyes and hit the back button quick!!....OK, now that the Italians are gone it's safe to unveil what I will call lasagna, even though the word lasagna is a big-time understatement for what I am about to share.  I realized that some reading this blog may actually be trying to make these dishes, and that it is really annoying when I list ingredients right in the paragraph as I usually do, so from now on I will list them...sorry about that.  For this you will need the following scrumptious ingredients:
2 large potatoes
3 large carrots
1 large white onion
1 1/2 cups mushrooms (I used canned organic)
1 can plain artichoke hearts
1 or 2 packs frozen leaf spinach
1 large container crushed tomatoes (Pomi makes them in a box instead of a can, but they only come in smaller containers so if you go this route you will need about 3 boxes.  Also, the amount of sauce you use can vary depending on how much sauce you like in your lasagna.)
1 whole head of garlic
3 cloves of garlic separate from head of garlic
Mozzarella cheese
Cheddar cheese
Feta cheese
1 large container cottage cheese
Fresh Italian herbs (oregano, thyme etc.)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil (first cold press)
salt and pepper
Having a block of Parmesan on hand wouldn't hurt

Are you still awake?  I know, that was a huge list, but a lot of these things may already be on hand if you cook on a regular basis.  If many of these items aren't already on hand, it's no problem because most of them are pretty cheap.  Just remember that buying fresh produce does not mean more "nutritious" and that frozen items may still have more intact nutrients than some of the "fresh" stuff because the frozen was more than likely frozen directly after harvest whereas the "fresh" stuff in your produce section has been travelling from California, or another country and most of the available nutrients have been oxidized, not to mention the fact that many of them have been sprayed by who knows what during the trip in order to preserve the cosmetic quality of the produce.  I would go on, but the main point here is to not get fooled by "fresh produce" because truly farm fresh items, that should be our first choice for produce, is rarely sold at our supermarkets.  Let's move on.

I will make this quick -Do not forget to do this first - heat the oven now to 350 and slice just the very top off of the head of garlic.  Pour some olive oil in to the top of the garlic head until the head is full, wrap in tin foil and put it in the oven for about an hour or the time it takes you to do everything else in this recipe. Finely chop the carrots, and onions, and 3 cloves garlic and saute them in the EVOO until soft.  While this is going pour your tomato sauce in a saucepan and add some salt, pepper, and about 2 tablespoons of Italian herbs and keep on medium heat stirring occasionally.  Peel the potatoes and slice them cross ways (so you are left with something resembling chips) about 1/4" thick.  Put those in a pot, cover with water and boil them until almost soft, but with a little crisp left.  OK, give your big fat lasagna pan a little pep talk about what is fixing to happen and then proceed to the following:

Lather the bottom of the pan with a smidge of your Italian tomato sauce (you are going to use the sauce three more times so make sure and conserve it throughout this process)
Mix in about half of your cottage cheese in a  fine layer over the sauce
Ring the water from the spinach and layer it on top of the cottage cheese
Randomly crumble feta cheese on top of spinach
Grate a little mozzarella on top of this
It is a good idea to lightly salt the top at this point
Now for the kicker, layer half the potatoes on top of this first layer series
Now layer more sauce and the rest of your cottage cheese
Layer the sauteed carrots and onions and garlic on top of this
Layer the artichoke hearts and 2/3 of the mushrooms on top of the sauteed carrots and onions
Crumble more feta and grate more mozzarella on now
lightly salt
Use the rest of the taters to make another layer on top of this second layer series
OK, at this point, take the garlic out of the oven.  It's hot, but carefully squeeze the garlic out of its skin in to the remaining tomato sauce.  Mix in well with the sauce to make an Italian roasted garlic tomato sauce, and layer it on the top of your potatoes.
Grate mozzarella and cheddar with long strokes (so the cheese doesn't dry out and burn) to cover the sauce.  Lay the remainder of mushrooms all over the top of the cheese and if you have it, grate some fresh Parmesan on top of this.
Bake on 300 degrees until the cheese is all melted and bubbly, and then crank it up to 450 for just a few minutes to brown it a little.  All in all you should only have to bake this for 20-25 minutes.  Take it out, let it cool a little and serve some up, but remember, it is about twice as good the next day.  I know this is a lot to do, but it is worth it.  Gluten free, vegetarian, and minimally processed food.  Remember that when you go shopping for all of these ingredients, whatever brand you buy, you should be looking for 5 or less ingredients, but on most of the stuff here you should really shoot for 3 or less.  So do you want to see it?  By this point, if you're even still reading you are probably thinking that in order to tackle this you are going to need some real it is, Enjoy!!

Also, here is a pic of some goodies Mandy and I picked up at Whole Foods on our way to see Harry Potter last night.  Mung beans, red lentils, french green lentils, and California brown basmati rice!!! Wooohooo!!  I encourage everyone to check out the nutritional data for this stuff through this link .  This site is really cool and can really enlighten you as to the value of what you are eating.  Please check it out!!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Throw it together and chew it up

I was hungry.  I was in a hurry.  This is my typical excuse when I have eaten something odd that was put together at the last second because I wanted something, but the "on the run apple and peice of cheese" wasn't cutting it today.  I told you I wouldn't share it if it wasn't worth eating, and I really started to not show you this one, but I thought to myself that this is exactly what eating for wellness is all about - making the effort to find a few wholesome things, throw them together, spice 'em up and chew it up.  I enjoyed this lunch, and it's a good example of something you can do with leftover noodles from the night before.  I took some frozen green beans from this summer's garden and cooked them soft with salt, pepper, and a touch of oregano to give the beans a little italian flare.  We had some rice noodles leftover from last night's dinner, so I tossed them in a little oil and salt and slapped them beans right there on top of them there noodles and dang!  Like I said, it was good.  We got the rice noodles from Trader Joes - they look clear in the package, but they cook up white and they're really good the next day too.  Try it out and let me know what you think.

New food options in Easley...

Hello, I wanted to share a new small business in Easley called Back to Nature.  I have included a link to the facebook site for this store.  Here is the link:  Just copy and paste the link into your url box and check this out.  I haven't been yet, but Mandy has.  This is a great resource in Easley for natural, unprocessed foods as well as gluten free products, so if you're looking for a place in Easley to get some good ingredients then you have a new option.  Just wanted to pass this along, and remember, support local, independently owned business if for nothing else, these are the people who are actually passionate about what they are selling, and developing a real relationship with a local store is very rewarding in many ways.  Support your community, even if it is a dollar or two more expensive - collectively, it will pay off in the end.  One more thing - y'all need to be watching out for gluten free peanut butter cookies soon!!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The scoop on some serious soup

Thick, creamy, extra tasty and cheap with a twist.  This is the potato soup that you always wish you could make but you didn't know the SECRET ingredient to make it thick and hearty without adding the dreaded ingredient that all of the other "soup makers" out there use....flour.  Not here.  Plus, you're gonna get a huge extra portion of vegetables in this one.  Have I held you off long enough?  OK, here it is, but don't squish up your face and say eeeewwww that's gross because if I didn't tell you, you wouldn't even know the secret ingredient was in here - just savory, filling, buttery potato soup.  Ready?  It's pureed cauliflower, that's right, I said pureed cauliflower.  No more carrying on and on, here is the recipe - and I won't bug you with calories, and fat and all that mess this time because when it comes to potato soup, does it really matter?  The answer is no. 
Start out with 3 good sized potatoes and peel them ( I normally wouldn't, but Mandy says so, and plus you get to make really awesome fried tater skins with these.)
Cube the potatoes up into as uniform as possible 1/2 inch cubes.

 Put the taters in a good sized pot and just cover with water and add one stick of butter to them (just throw it in) and a good pinch of salt and turn the heat on high.  As you are doing the next step, keep an eye on those taters because you only want them to actually boil for about a minute or two and then turn the heat to low - that way the taters won't turn to mush later on.  Next you want to steam two bags of frozen cauliflower.  Don't use fresh unless you have farm fresh which means it was from a local farm and hasn't been on a truck from South America for the last week.  After you steam the florets, stick them in the blender with a clove of garlic per bag (2 cloves total) a little salt and pepper, and some of the liquid from the pot of potatoes and then puree.

 Add the puree to the pot of taters, mix it all up, salt and pepper to taste and you have the ultimate potato soup.

  Note, if I ever make something that isn't good (to me), I will not trouble you with it, so when I say it was good, I'm not just blowing smoke.  I think eating healthy absolutely has to be eating tasty too or how can you really make a lifelong habit of it?  We want food that tastes great, so we have to be creative in order to find ways to combine ordinary food to make fabulous concoctions that we could eat over and over again.  I used to think that eating for wellness was gonna be all about making myself eat things I didn't want in place of things I did, but now I know that it's about creating the things I want the way I want them instead of buying the things I want that were prepared with things my body doesn't want.  OK enough already, enjoy the soup.

P.S. - that orangey (not an actual word), handsome looking stuff is cheddar cheese - as if I had to tell you I sprinkled a little cheddar on it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Best Sunday lunch...

Who needs meat on a sandwich like this one?  Mandy and I have decided to go as much vegetarian as we possibly can, which makes us what they call flexitarians.  As of right now we are probably eating meat once every two weeks or so.  I love a tall sandwich that falls over and apart when you look at it the wrong way, but unfortunately, most of those types of sandwiches are piled high with slices of processed meat and loaded with condiments like mayonnaise (which I love, no seriously, LOVE).  Since I did not have time to dive in to making my own mayo. today, and the mayo. in the fridge has natural flavors and soybean oil in it (two things I personally am trying my darnedest to avoid) I have opted to take a different approach in my quest to make a vegetarian, gluten free, mighty tasty, wicked good for you sandwich.  The idea came to me yesterday, and it had been tweaking and building in my mind until today.  I got stuck on the mayo thing because until I checked out the mayo. we had, I was not aware that the natural flavors and soybean oil were present.  Mandy comes to the rescue and says, "oooh, why don't we put hummus on it?"  Pure genius.  We had a fresh container of horseradish hummus from Trader Joe's ($1.99) just waiting on me to spread it all over a piece of toasted millet and flax bread.  The rest of the sandwich?  Here you go:  Melted mozzarella and sharp cheddar on a slice of millet and flax bread (wheat free from Sami's Bakery and available at Earth Fare), piles of fresh broccoli sprouts, red onion, fresh tomato from the garden, baby greens, and yes...a thick spread of horseradish hummus on the other piece of bread.  Mouth watering?  There's more.  We happened to have some fresh potato skins lying there, which you'll find out the reason for that tomorrow, and I said mm mm, fried potato skins-so that became our naughty little side for this rockin' sandwich.  At this point you might be thinking that I am getting a little too excited about a sandwich, and that my choice of adjectives to describe it make you want to vomit, but I am this excited because the sandwich was truly that good, not to mention the fried potato skins that went with it.  Throw in a glass of honey sweetened sweet tea, and that's why I say, best Sunday lunch....ever.

One more thing.  I harvested a few collards today, so I left a few pics here for you to check out.  Collards weren't on the menu for this week so these went to the freezer.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dinner and some pictures (instead of a movie)

 My wife (who I will from now on refer to as Mandy... because that is her name) said this would be good and she was right.  No meat here for the vegetarians, sorry vegans but this one needs sour cream and cheese.  I won't go in to all the nutritional facts on this one, just know that it's awesome good and stupid easy.  2 cans each garbanzo beans, black beans, pinto beans, Rotel original, diced tomatoes, fiesta whole kernel corn, throw in some cumin, chili powder, onion powder, garlic, salt, and pepper heat it up and you're done.  Just don't forget the shredded cheddar and plop of sour cream.  All of these items should be easy to find with little to no additives.  Get ready for your mouth to water.  After the dinner I've added some random pics taken today from the garden.  Enjoy!!
Almost time for collards

Oh yeah, peas
The fall green bean experiment
Once again, oh yeah, peas
Still getting tomatoes
Mandy's favorite
Okra still hangin' around