Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lentils: The Little Legume That Could!

One of the fun things about homeschooling is cooking new recipes that go along with what you are learning.  One of our favorites of all time (and it was a surprise that we ALL liked it) is Lentil Soup.  

Lentils come in a variety of sizes and colors.  Green petite lentils, black lentils, and red lentils are common varieties.

They are considered extremely healthy and are a great "meatless" option to add into your meal rotation.  Not to mention a frugal buy.

Health benefits:
*Great source of plant based protein (lean too, very little fat!)
*Heart Healthy 
*High fiber that helps lower cholesterol
*Contains Magnesium, Folate, iron and tons of other great vitamins.
*Creates energy and stabilizes blood sugar 
*some studies have shown they help prevent breast cancer

One downside to lentils is that they do best when soaked and cooked for 25-50 minutes.  To soak, combine rinsed lentils with water at 90-100 degree water and 2 tsp. salt.  Let sit for 2-3 hours before cooking.  Rinse and cook according to directions.  I often forget to get them started and that can be frustrating if you have lunch planned for lentil soup.  

I recently found a new product that saves me soaking time and cooking time:
Since they are sprouted and dried they will digest easier and cook faster.  Which is a huge game changer!  Plus NO more soaking!  Woo hoo!

Here is our favorite recipe for lentil soup (it is more a guideline then a true recipe):

In a large soup pot saute 1 chopped/minced onion in 2 TBSP coconut oil or olive oil

Add 1 clove of garlic or powdered garlic, brown.

Add 4 cups of water or chicken broth, bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium low and add 1 cup of lentils, 1tsp. powdered cumin, and 2 tsp. Real Salt.

Let cook until tender and soft.  Anywhere from 5-20 minutes.  If you like more broth add more liquid.  We like our lentils super salty (yum) so we add more salt when eating them.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Successful Eating When You're BUZY! A week of meals....

This coming week is busy, we have started school, I am working 4 days, music lessons are in full swing, our homeschool group is starting up, etc.  Knowing this, I wanted to be successful at eating healthy, yummy meals ~not just eat hamburgers every night.

Here is my plan for the week:





carrots, cucumber, and chips

Buffalo Chicken on the grill

Grilled Zucchini
Meal Prep
Prepare for the week/month

*Make bread mixes
*Soak and cook rice
*Cook Spicy Beans
Misc. Notes

Cold cereal with fruit salad

Start Crockpot
“chipotle” style lunch (spicy beans, rice, leftover chicken)

Snap peas

Green beans
Meal Prep

Cook chicken carcass overnight in crockpot for stock
Misc. Notes


Coffee Cake


Grilled Cheese
(Daiya slices)

Hamburgers on the grill with ABC Fries


Meal Prep
Make up mixes:
(bread, GF blend, 4 flour bean blend)

Bake bread

Strain chicken stock
Misc. Notes



Orange (peeled)

Chicken Soup with zucchini noodles

Garlic toast and asparagus
Meal Prep

Thaw out roast for Fri.

Start sourdough pancakes
Misc. Notes

Sourdough Pancakes

Start sourdough pretzels/lentils

Lentil Soup


Turkey Burgers

Bake potatoes
Meal Prep

Soak Lentils in AM

Bake Sourdough pretzels
Misc. Notes

Eggs and Toast

Start roast(shredders)

Sandwiches with chips and sugar snap peas (uncooked)

Roast (shredded beef)


Meal Prep

Misc. Notes





Meal Prep
Misc. Notes


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Beating the Blah's of Chicken

Ever had those days where the chicken is still somewhat frozen, its 5:00, and the wild ones are hungry?  And I mean HUNGRY?  And you can't think of what to DO with said STILL frozen chicken?  No time for rice, or anything complicated.

Rustling through my cupboards I stumbled upon a few ingredients.  One of which was balsamic vinegar.  I have been wanting and wanting to do something with it so I figured tonight was the night.

Somewhat thawed chicken slices much easier then fully defrosted chicken, so I decided to do a kinda stir-fry-ish type dish.  I sliced the chicken thin, heated up my pan and QUICKLY browned it in some Earth Balance Soy Free Butter.  I combined my seasonings, poured them over my chicken and let it cook through.  

Meanwhile, I just roasted some summer squash and zucchini drizzled with olive oil and dusted with garlic powder in the oven.

Supper was served in about 20 minutes.  Not to shabby.  And the wild ones were quickly tamed.  (for now!)

Balsamic Vinegar Chicken

2-3 lbs. chicken sliced thinly
2 TBSP Earth Balance Soy Free Butter 
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp dried thyme (not powdered)
Salt and pepper to taste

Brown chicken in butter.  If there is a LOT of liquid in pan, pour off.  Combine balsamic vinegar and spices, pour over chicken.  Cover and let simmer until done.

The verdict was mixed.  But I found it nummy, worth a repeat.  However next time, I would love to serve it over rice with stir-fry veggies.  YUM!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sneak Peak Sourdough Preview

So the gluten free sourdough is a' souring.  I'm learning.  Researching.  And eating yummy experiments.  While I am not quite ready to share the recipes (they are still in test version with my three trusty taste testers) I am pretty confident to have them ready soon.  But to help give you an idea of what it looks like here you go!

Bubbles, people, we have BUBBLES!


Round one of the pancakes! 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A New Frontier

One thing I just LOVE about teaching cooking classes is it allows me and forces encourages me to try new recipes.

I am entering the world of gluten free sourdough.  With a bit of excitement and trepidation.  

The worrier in me is worried it won't work.  (Even though others have blogged about success)

The perfectionist in me has stalled the project because "What if it doesn't taste right/good?"

The adventuresome me is giddy over the thought of a bowl of goo to feed three times a day. Waiting to see it bubble. I am positive my dearest will roll his eyes when he sees another covered object lurking on the counter... I mean, there is only three gallons of kombucha fermenting in my cupboards, water kefir brewing on top of my fridge, and I am soaking rice for lunch.  Oh don't forget the crockpot going. Poor guy.  Did I mention I am out of counter space? 

So the finished post on gluten free sourdough is in the making, but I had to share the beginning of the journey.  The new frontier in baking for me.  

I began by mixing equal parts brown rice flour and water with just a pinch of sugar.  Mixed well, covered.  I'll begin feeding it tomorrow.  And, I probably bore you all with pictures of that.

For now... the beginning....

Saturday, August 3, 2013

If You Give a Mom.....

If you give a mom your dirty clothes, she will run down to start the laundry.

She will then see the freezer and remember she forgot to take something out to thaw for dinner.

When she is putting the meat into the refrigerator upstairs, she will see a cookie mix on the counter she need to make.

To make the cookies, she needs sugar in the basement.

While in the basement, she will notice the cat's litter box needs to be cleaned.

After cleaning the cat's box, her cell phone rings upstairs, so she runs up the stairs.

While chatting on the phone, she remembers the laundry and while heading downstairs notices the bag holding the litter had ripped and left a trail of litter up the stairs.

After grabbing the vacuum and cleaning the trail of litter, she realizes she forgot to actually START the laundry.

While starting the laundry, she remembers several towels that need washing and that she has room for.

As she collects the towels, she empties the full tub, cleans the mirror and sink.

Returning to the laundry room, she realizes she NEVER SHUT THE LID!  She restarts the laundry.

Dumping the towels on the floor, she sees the freezer, remembers the sugar for cookies and heads up to bake the cookies and start dinner.

As she bakes cookies and dinner, she realizes she never ate lunch, is starving and wonders, "Why, oh why am I so hungry?"

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Dutch Babies (Say What?)

Eat quickly before it goes flat.
I just had to find out for myself what a Dutch Baby AKA German Pancake was.  I had been seeing tons of Pinterest posts on them.  All containing gluten of course.  I had to come up with my own to make it gluten free.  Sitting down with about 5 versions of Dutch Babies, this is what I finally came up with.  Was quite delish, especially with maple syrup.  Oh yeah!

Seperate yolks and white,  combine dry ingredients with the yolks.

Whip those whites up until they form nice stiff peaks.

Combine yolk mixture and whites by GENTLY folding them together.  
Pour into a hot cast iron pan, cover with a lid let cook on stove top.
Ahem, please ignore the oven, its been used quite a bit lately.   Put your Baby in the oven.  (not a literal one... the yummy egg thingy)

Drizzle with maple syrupy goodness.

German Pancakes

4 eggs (yolk and whites seperated)
¼ cup gluten free flour
¼ cup water
¼ cup coconut milk
¾ tsp. salt
1 TBSP sugar
(optional~ 1 tsp. grated lemon rind)
2 TBSP butter, coconut oil or butter substitute for pan

1.)Bring water and coconut milk to 85° degrees.
2.) Heat a cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat and turn oven on to preheat to 400°
3.) Mix egg yolk, milk, water, flour, salt.  Set aside
4.) Beat egg whites until soft, firm peaks form, but not dry peaks.  Lightly beat in sugar.
5.) Gently fold in yolk mixture.
6.) Add butter to cast iron pan, when melted add mixture, cover and let cook for 5 minutes on stove top.
7.) Remove cover and place in the oven for 5-7 more minutes.

Serve immediately with syrup, jam or topping of choice.  This will fall as it cools and that is normal.