Sunday, December 12, 2010

Blueberry Syrup

This morning we wanted french toast but didn't have any syrup in the house. Normally, I would just sprinkle with powdered sugar and all is well, but today required syrup. Blueberries were on sale yesterday, so I bought a few fresh pints. Banana french toast topped with homemade blueberry syrup was a hit this morning.

What you need:

1 cup fresh blueberries
3 tablespoons coconut milk
1 tablespoon raw honey

Place blueberries and milk in a pot and cook on medium heat until blueberries soften. Add honey and stir. As you stir, mash the blueberries into the mix to reach desired thickness.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Pizza Sauce with Carrot

I made this last night, and the family liked it better than my original recipe.

What you need:

2 tablespoons olive oil
2 medium tomatoes
1/3 cup of fresh basil
1/4 cup of fresh oregano
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 cup of fresh carrot juice
1 tablespoon flour (optional)

Juice 1-2 large carrots (or use 1/4 cup carrot puree). Heat oil in a pot on medium heat. Chop tomatoes, basil, oregano and garlic and combine in heated pot. When the tomatoes are soft add the carrot juice and stir. Mix in flour to thicken. Blend in a food processor or blender until smooth.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Chocolate Chip Muffins

We tried this recipe for the first time this morning and it is a winner! My son doesn't like yellow squash, but he will munch down these muffins in a heartbeat! In preparing for the upcoming birth, I made this a double batch to store some in the freezer. I didn't even try the recipe in a single batch so the recipe below will make about 24 muffins. Also, I haven't sat down to calculate the cost, but I'll get that up as soon as possible.

What you need:

Non-stick cooking spray or butter to grease the pan
4 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
6 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups almond milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 cup yellow squash puree

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and chocolate chips. In a medium bowl, mix milk, vegetable oil, eggs and squash puree. Add the liquid mix to the flour mix and mix just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Bake for 20-22 minutes.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Blueberry Smoothies

These yummy smoothies are a great start to the day, rich in vitamins and antioxidants. It is simple and delicious!

The Recipe

What you need:

2 Large Carrots, Juiced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 Cup Kefir, your favorite flavor
3/4 Cup Frozen Blueberries

Juice carrots if using fresh carrots. Blend ingredients in blender until smooth. Enjoy! Makes 16 ounces.

The Cost

Carrots - A 5 lb bag of carrots is $3.09 at my local grocery store. This has 20-22 carrots in it, making each carrot $0.16 - $0.14. We'll use the higher price.

Kefir - A carton of Kefir is $3.99. Using 1/2 cup servings allows 8 servings per container, which brings it to $0.50 per serving.

Blueberries - A 48 ounce bag of frozen blueberries is $9.89 (Publix brand). This allows 6 cups per bag of blueberries, so we're working with 6 smoothies. This brings the blueberries to $1.65 per cup.

This brings the total cost of 1 smoothie to $2.47, making it cheaper, fresher and healthier than any store bought or restaurant smoothie.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Basic Biscuits

You'll notice in following recipes I will be addressing the cost to make each recipe. Since I started cooking from scratch there has been a significant drop in our grocery bill each week. I used to believe the misconception that it was cheaper to buy prepared food. Now I am witness to the opposite. It is much more inexpensive and healthier to cook from scratch. This basic biscuit recipe is simple and inexpensive.

The breakdown of the cost will follow the recipe. Note: Prices may vary by store and location. The prices provided are from my local grocery store, directly from my receipt.

Basic Biscuit Recipe

What you need:

2 cups self-rising flour
1/2 cup no-trans-fat tub butter or margarine
3/4 cup (almond) milk

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place flour into large mixing bowl and cut in butter until crumbly. Gradually add in milk and stir until the dough comes off the side of the bowl. Lightly flour a flat surface, pat and fold dough until it is no longer sticky. Use a biscuit cutter or roll into balls. Bake 10-12 minutes.

The Cost

Self-Rising Flour - A $2.99 package of flour has approximately 19 cups of flour in it. This totals $0.16/cup ($0.32 for this recipe).

Margarine - A small tub of no-trans-fat margarine is $2.49, which makes the cost $0.41/half cup.

Almond Milk - A $2.99 half gallon of almond milk contains 8 servings (1 cup is a serving) making each serving $0.37.

One batch of 10 biscuits will cost $1.10. You could make about 6 batches of biscuits and still have left over milk and flour to use in other recipes.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Breakfast for 10 for under $10

This week my husband wanted to take breakfast to his crew at work to show appreciation for their hard work. There are 10 people, so he thought he'd just pick up 10 of the McDonald's $1 Sausage Biscuits. Ew, say I. I suggested he let me make them breakfast instead. He thought it would just be cheaper to get the $1 biscuits from BarfDonald's. This set off a mission to provide breakfast for 10 people for just $10 - and in a much healthier way.

There is a misconception in our culture that it is cheaper to buy prepared food than to cook from scratch. I'm going to show you that this just isn't true.

Note: Prices may vary by store and location. The prices provided here are from my local grocery store.

What you need:

10 cage free, organic eggs ($2.99/dozen, $0.24/egg)
16 ounce package of ground sausage ($2.99)
1 cup cheddar cheese ($2.00 for a 2 cup package, $1.00/cup)
1 batch of basic biscuits ($1.10/batch, 10 biscuits/batch)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown sausage in pan over medium heat. While sausage is cooking, lightly beat eggs in a separate bowl. Place browned sausage in a single layer of a casserole dish. Sprinkle half of the cheese over sausage. Pour eggs over sausage and cheese and sprinkle the top with remaining cheese. Salt and pepper to taste. Bake 25-30 minutes or until eggs are cooked through.

The McDonald's $1 Sausage Biscuit is just that - sausage on a biscuit. I was able to make a sausage, (organic) egg and cheese casserole and biscuits for just $7.58! And it tastes great!

Those who are familiar with me know that ground sausage is not a typical menu item around here. I don't like it, and I don't consider it healthy. However, I understand that not everyone likes or wants to eat the way I do. Many people, especially hard working men, love ground sausage. In an effort to stay with the sausage theme, meet the eaters palates and stay within cost, I went with regular ground sausage. At home, you can make this meal healthier by using organic turkey sausage or turkey bacon for close to the same price.

Note: The cheese was on sale, 2 packages for $4. However, even at it's regular price (about $0.50 more) the total cost of the meal is still under $10.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Morning Boost Smoothie

This smoothie gives me a big burst of energy in the mornings. Sometimes I think it is better than coffee. It doesn't leave me with the down effects of coffee because it is a natural, veggie and fruit induced energy.

What you need:

1/2 cup fresh carrot juice (2 large fresh juiced carrots)
1/2 cup almond or coconut milk
1/2 cup (a handful) fresh spinach
1 cup fresh or frozen fruit

Blend ingredients together and enjoy. If you're using fresh fruit you may want to add some ice for thickness. For those worried about not liking the taste of the carrot juice or spinach, I promise it is barely noticeable. Add a couple of tablespoons of fat-free fruit yogurt to cover the taste more, but it really isn't needed.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Herb and Cheese Biscuits

This was a simple, plain biscuit recipe that I decided to spice up. I could see the hesitation on my husband as he watched me chop basil and roast garlic, but there was no hesitation in eating the finished product. These would be delicious with dinner, but today I used them to put a kick in breakfast.

What you need:

2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
1/2 Cup No-Trans Fat Butter or Margarine
3/4 Cup Milk
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese
1/3 Cup Fresh Basil (Chopped)
3-5 Cloves Roasted Garlic

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. When oven is preheated, roast the garlic for 5-10 minutes until soft.

Place flour into a large mixing bowl and cut in butter with a fork and mix until flour is crumbly. Mix in cheese, basil and garlic (mince garlic before mixing). Stir in mik a little at a time until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Place some flour on a flat surface and fold dough until it is no longer sticky. You may need extra flour for folding. When dough is no longer sticky, pat it down and cut with a biscuit cutter or roll into balls. Bake for 10-12 minutes.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Banana Nut Pancakes

This is a fun and healthy spin on a breakfast favorite. My kids love to help make them and eat them!

What you need:

2 Cups Self Rising Flour
1 Cup Milk (we use almond milk)
1 Large Egg White
2 Bananas
1/3 Cup Chopped Walnuts
1/4 Cup (Organic) Pure Maple Syrup
1 Tablespoon No-Trans Fat Margarine or Butter
2 Bananas for Topping (optional)
Sprinkle of Confectioner Sugar (optional)

You could just mash the bananas and put it in the pancake mix, but my kids like to use the mixer. This is what we do - Put the 2 bananas in the mixer and beat. Add egg, milk, flour and walnuts. Mix until smooth. Use a 1/4 cup to scoop mix into a preheated pan on medium heat. Flip when the pancakes are bubbly. Top with butter, maple syrup and extra bananas and sugar.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Simple, Fresh Homemade Pizza Sauce

Making a homemade pizza just isn't the same using sauce from a jar. Jar sauces contain a ton of salt, sugar and preservatives. The more my family moves toward a fresh food diet, the more concerned I get with buying jarred food. This recipe is simple, fresh and delicious!

What you need:

2 Medium Tomatoes
1/4 Cup Fresh Basil
1/4 Cup Fresh Oregano
Pinch of salt, if desired

Cut up the tomatoes into inch size pieces. Chop basil and oregano. Mix together in a pot and cook on medium-low until the tomatoes are soft and mushy, stirring occasionally. If you like your sauce chunky, then just leave it this way. If you like your sauce thin, mix in a blender. Add a pinch of salt, if desired. Makes about 1 cup.

Homemade Pepperoni Pizza

My family loves pizza! Pizza is always on the menu once each week, even if I try to avoid it. I have tried taking it off the menu, but we always end up with pizza on a busy day or when I just don't feel like cooking. It got to a point when it would make me sick (literally) and I tried very hard to avoid it all together, which is just impossible in this house.

Then I decided to take the pizza out of the restaurant. Instead of settling for picking up or ordering out, I started making our pizza at home. The fresh ingredients brought me back to the joy of pizza and didn't make me sick.

My kids only like pepperoni pizza, but feel free to add your own toppings as desired!

What you need:

1 Cup Homemade Pizza Sauce
10 Slices of Large Pepperoni
5 Slices of Gourmet Mozzarella
1 Large Thin Pizza Crust (recipe for homemade pizza crust coming soon!)
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil (optional)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. If desired, brush 2 tablespoons olive oil over pizza crust. Coat crust with sauce, almost to the edge. Cut mozzarella into squares and spread across crust. Add toppings. Place pizza directly on the center of the over rack. Turn oven down to 425 degrees and back for 7-10 minutes until crust is crispy.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Simple, Low-Fat Fruit Smoothes

These smoothies are fabulous! My kids love eating them with a spoon.

What you need:

1 Cup Almond Milk
1 Cup Mixed Fruit - fresh or frozen
(Strawberries, Peaches, Cantaloupe, Pineapple, Red Seedless Grapes)
Approx. 3 Tablespoons fat free yogurt

Mix ingredients together in blender and grind until smooth. Add extra fruit or milk for desired thickness. Only 160 calories and 2.5 grams of fat!

Mixing Tip: Add a handful of fresh, organic spinach. The kids won't know the difference, and spinach is rich in nutrients such as vitamin A, B, C, E and K.

Shopping Tip: Check the sugar on the yogurt label. "Fat-Free" can often lead to higher sugar, so beware. I use Publix brand because it has less sugar than other name brands.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Pumpkin and Butternut Puree

Making purees can be fun, easy and used in a variety of foods. Here is a simple way to make pumpkin or butternut puree.

What you need:

A casserole or baking pan with about 1 inch of water
1 pumpkin or butternut squash
A small amount of water
Storage bags

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut the pumpkin or butternut in half (you may need to cut the pumpkin into quarters depending on the size of your pan). Remove the seeds. Place the squash meat side down in the baking pan with water. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until squash is tender. Allow to cool. Place in blender or food processor with a small amount of water and puree until creamy (about 2 minutes). Store what you will use within a few days in the refrigerator, and store the rest in freezer bags (using 1/2 cup portions).

Simple Pumpkin Pancakes

My kids love these pancakes, and they don't even require syrup! They are simple, delicious and good for you, too!

What you need:

2 Cups Self-Rising Flour
1 Cup Milk (We use Almond Milk)
2 Large Egg Whites
4 Tbsp Pumpkin Puree
1 tsp cinnamon
No-trans-fat, soft tub margarine and a sprinkle of confectioners sugar

Mix all ingredients except margarine and sugar in a bowl until smooth. Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray and pre-heat on medium high. Use a 1/4 measuring cup to scoop batter into pan. When the pancakes begin to bubble, flip and cook for another 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan, spread on some butter and sprinkle a little confectioners sugar on top (I use about 1 teaspoon for 3 pancakes).

The kids love to have a cup of Almond milk to drink along side their pancakes. My daughter even likes to dip the pancakes in the milk.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Making Stock

Over the past couple of months I have been determined to make all of our meals from scratch (or at least our dinners). This pregnancy and cooling weather has my body craving warm, fresh soups. The last couple of weeks I have experimented with making stock broth. It has turned out pretty well, so I'd like to share and enable others to make their own fresh stocks.

The first key to saving money and making good stock with fresh food is to buy whole products - whole chicken and ham, not partial. Using the chicken in soups and casseroles allows me to use 1 chicken for at least 2 different meals, and I can freeze the stock for future use. I'll be using chicken as the meat in this recipe, but ham may be used as a substitute.

To make the stock, fill a pot with water and bring to boil. While waiting for water to boil, prepare vegetables to add to stock:

1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
2-3 cloves of garlic, cut in half
2-3 large carrots, peeled and cut in half

*More vegetables, such as celery, may be used if desired.

Add the vegetables to the water. Rinse chicken and add to boiling water. Let chicken boil for about 5 minutes, then cover and simmer on low for 6-8 hours.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Pretzels Make Me Sick

Below is a letter to the owner of Pretzel Twister in the Gainesville Oaks Mall.

Just to make a few things clear - I have replaced his name with "owner." In the letter I am sending, I used his real name. I suppose I am more insulted by what happened because I go here so often that I know his name as he is always working.

Also (for my health nut friends) I do not eat pretzels or give my kids pretzels multiple times per week. Many times I just get a drink, especially for work. The point is that I am a regular customer, and the owner recognizes me when I am in work attire and is always friendly. Several of his employees know recognize me outside of work attire. Today, he was the only one present.

Dear Owner,
I have worked in the mall for nearly a year, and each time I go to work I make a purchase at Pretzel Twister. Aside from work, I take my family to the mall several times a week to walk around, play at the playground, shop, etc, and we almost always make a purchase at Pretzel Twister. Needless to say, we make multiple purchases each week at your store. You and your staff are always friendly, and a few of them recognize me outside of my work uniform.

This morning, I decided to take my kids to the mall for a walk and to play at the playground. Our trip was cut short because my daughter (21 months) got sick without warning, and she threw up on herself and the stroller. We were near your store, so I stopped to ask for some napkins to clean her up. You, Owner, told me I had to make a purchase to get napkins. When I explained that my little one had just vomited, you hesitantly gave me 4 napkins. As I started to clean her, I looked up to located a trash can. Then, you told me to make sure I put them over there, and you pointed to the trash can I had located seconds before.

I felt like both of your comments were very rude and unnecessary. I am a regular customer and have always been happy with the service I receive at your store. How much did those 4 napkins really cost you? Was it really too much to spare for a regular customer? Did you really think I would leave napkins covered in vomit on your counter?

It makes me wonder why you felt the need to be so rude and unhelpful today. As you have always been friendly, I can only assume that you did not recognize me outside of my work attire. That still does not justify your attitude. Did you think, by looking at me, that I was not a decent person or parent? I'm just curious what judgment was made for you say such rude things.

Why would you think that I would not put trash in the trash can? Even when I only purchase a drink I make sure my straw wrapper (and any laying on the counter) goes into the garbage can. What made you think that I am such an irresponsible parent/adult? I do not offend easily, but I can only assume something about my appearance turned you sour. Why would you deny a regular guest - or anyone for that matter - a few napkins to clean their child? I am highly disappointed. Before today I would not have expected such a response from you or any of your staff.

I hope you realize that your actions and words effect each person you encounter, whether they make a purchase or not. My family and I will no longer take our business to Pretzel Twister. We will go to Auntie Anne's for our pretzel needs from now on. I also hope you realize that word of mouth can help or hinder a business. This unhappy customer will share her experience.

Take Care,

Monday, February 1, 2010

Anti-Candida Recipes

I am currently working on a website that focuses on treating Candida naturally. The website will hold much more information about Candida, but while it is being worked on I'd like to make some anti-candida recipes available. These are recipes that have helped us a great deal in treating Candida. I created them myself (unless otherwise noted). Please ask any questions and make alterations to better fit your need. All of these items can be found at your local health food store (and some can be found at your local grocery store in the natural food section).

ACV Tonic

16 oz of water

1 TBSP of unrefined virgin coconut oil

1 tsp of organic flaxseed oil

2-3 tsp of unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV)

*Add coconut oil to water and warm (can be heated in microwave for 1-1:15 min). Stir coconut oil to complete melting then stir in remaining ingredients.

Daily Massage Oil

1TBSP unrefined virgin coconut oil

1-2 tsp organic flaxseed oil

*Coconut oil is a solid unless heated. Mash the coconut oil into the flaxseed oil and mix well. When you massage the oil onto the skin the leftover "bumps" will liquify and absorb into the skin. This can be used all over the body but is especially useful on a skin infection caused by Candida. It is the perfect follow up to the ACV wash (below).

ACV Wash

8 oz of water

2-3 tsp of ACV

3-5 drops of Grapefruit Seed Extract (GSE)

2 drops Tea Tree Oil (TTO)

*Mix ingredients into a bowl. Dip a wash cloth into the mixture and dab onto affected skin. This is particularly good for treating thrush.

Yoni Powder (Thank you Vanessa!)

1 Cup of fine white clay (can be found at most natural food stores)

1/2 Cup of corn starch

2 TBSP of Black Walnut Hull Powder

2 TBSP of Myrrh Powder

1 TBSP Goldenseal Powder

2-3 drops of TTO

*Using a wire whisk, mix ingredients together. Put some in a spice jar with a shaker top for easy application. Store the rest in a glass jar with a tight lid. Keep away from moisture.