Sunday, August 12, 2012

Delicious summer squash/potato/broccoli hash

I'm so excited about this, because it's a recipe I came up with all on my own, and it turned out delicious!  I've been trying to get up the courage to learn to use my pressure cooker the past couple of weeks.  The first time I tried it, whatever I made turned out well (I can't, at the moment remember what it was), but the second time I tried to cook some quartered red potatoes, but it didn't work well.  I had misplaced the manual that goes with it, and I was in a bit of a hurry to get dinner on (which is not the best time to be trying to learn to use my fancy equipment), so I googled "pressure cooker potatoes" and found a page on WikiHow, or something like that. It said to put the potatoes in the cooker with some water and cook them according to the instructions that came with the cooker.  Dude, if I had the instructions, I wouldn't be looking it up, now, would I?  I looked at several other places and couldn't find it, so I just winged it, but I didn't cook them long enough.  They were still quite hard, so we didn't end up eating most of them, and they went in the fridge to live the life of the leftovers.
     Tonight, I decided to see what I  had in the fridge that we could eat, and I realized that we'd better eat those potatoes before I had to throw them out.  I also had some more of the squash that never ends, and some broccoli, so I decided to do kind of a stir fry and see what I came up with.  I chopped the potatoes and squash in my Chopper*, and then I chopped the broccoli into small pieces and cooked them in a frying pan with some coconut oil (expeller pressed, that has no coconut flavor).  After a while I added 1/2 cup of water and then put the lid on to let it all steam for awhile. Then I got the idea to season it like we do fish, with butter, dill weed and lemon.  I put about 1/4 cup of butter and let it melt down, then I squeezed a lemon over all of it and sprinkled the dill weed on top and mixed it up.  I used quite a bit of dill weed.  Then I added salt and pepper and served it.  It was fabulous.  So there's another idea for using your squash.  I guess this would be a summer squash, potato, broccoli hash.

*Do you know about The Chopper?  It is one of my all time favorite kitchen tools.  See it here:

Whoa! I just noticed that the price has gone up about 25% since  I bought mine last year.  There are others that are less expensive if you search "The Chopper" on Amazon, but I can't vouch for the quality.  This has worked very well for me.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Here a squash, there a squash. . .

It seems like this time of year, we either have squash coming out our ears, or we don't have any at all (which probably says something about the number of friends we have, but I hope not).  This year would be the former, and I've actually been getting a little creative about how I use it.  Squash is not an all-around favorite at our house.  I eat it because it's good for me, but I can't say that it's at the top of my preferences list.  I don't dislike it at all, I just don't find it to be all that flavorful, no matter what I do with it.  I have found that we can eat a lot more of it if I put it other recipes, and I just wanted to pass along a few suggestions for using it.  You don't really  need recipes for these ideas, because we're just going to put them in stuff we're already making.  

1.  Squash muffins or bread.  You just use your favorite zucchini recipe and substitute the yellow squash.  Actually, any of these ideas are for any kind of summer squash.

2.  Stir Fry.  Dice or slice the squash and add it to the vegetables in your stir fry.  Put a good teriyaki sauce over it to add more flavor.  

3.  Add to casseroles.  You can dice, slice, or shred squash and add it to almost any casserole recipe.  

4.  Hawaiian haystacks.  Same thing here, and if you want to give it more flavor, saute it in a little oil or butter until it's a little bit browned, then put it in a bowl and serve as one of the toppings.  

5.  In tacos.  You can shred it up and mix it in with the taco meat, or just shred it and use it raw as one of the toppings.

There are a few ideas to get you started.  What do you do with your squash?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Hearty Lettuce Wraps

I love P.F. Chang's lettuce wraps.  The problem I have with them, though, is that I can almost eat them all day long and still be hungry.  I think I've come closer to solving the problem with the way I made them tonight. The original recipe I was using can be found here:

The changes I made were as follows:  I used about a cup of chopped almonds instead of the chestnuts (mostly because I was too lazy to go down in the basement to hunt for them), and I added some cooked rice, probably about 1 1/2 cups.  I also skipped the onions (didn't have any), and I used iceberg lettuce.  I never buy iceberg lettuce, since I think the darker kinds must be healthier, but my son needed that kind for a scout campout, and then went off and forgot about it. Everything else I did the same, and they were fabulous.  Yet another complaint-free meal!  Woot! 

Super Fast Broccoli Millet Salad

I have never been one of this world's most creative cooks.  When I first got married, I was a bit shocked when my husband put vegetables in the macaroni and cheese, as I was a bit of a purist, and since veggies didn't come in it already, it just seemed like they belonged on the side.  I was surprised at how much I liked it, though, and it's been rare ever since that we don't add vegetables to that and other pasta dishes.  Since I latched onto the "grains are the staff of life" idea, I seemed to have turned on a little creativity spark when it comes to putting more grains into our diet.  This week I came up with a couple of great ideas (at least they passed the muster at my house), so I thought I'd share them with you.  I particularly like this first one, as it took me less than 15 minutes to have the meal on the table.

I was searching through the fridge during the nightly 5 p.m. Panic, trying to figure out what I was going to fix for dinner, and I found a couple of bags of shredded broccoli salad (I think sometimes it's called "broccoli slaw") way in the back that I'd totally forgotten about. Thankfully, it was still very good, so I took it out and dumped both bags into a bowl.  I got out a quart of my  home-bottled chicken, chopped half of it up and put it in a frying pan with some barbecue sauce and just heated it a little.  I had a couple of cups of millet leftover from breakfast, so I added that to the broccoli.  Then I made a dressing by mixing 1/2 C. of Vegenaise with a tablespoon of tamari (lower sodium soy sauce), and mixed that in with the broccoli.  After that, I tossed in the chicken, and voila! Dinner was served!  Oh, I also steamed some green beans while I was mixing up the salad.  Even though the children had not been interested in the millet for breakfast (I liked it), everyone ate plenty of this salad, and I had no complaints.

Here's a better list of the ingredients:

 2 bags of shredded broccoli salad (with carrots and purple cabbage--or you could do your own, but why would you?)
2 Cups of cooked millet (cooled, if you weren't using leftovers)
1 pint of cooked chicken
3 to 4 T. of your favorite bottled barbecue sauce

1/2 C. Vegenaise (or other mayonnaise)
1 T. soy sauce

Chop the chicken.  Put in a frying pan with the barbecue sauce and heat through.  Let cool while you do the rest of the salad.  Mix the dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. Mix the broccoli with the millet in a bowl.  Add the dressing and mix well, then toss the chicken in there and toss it well.

This would also be good with some peas, peppers, olives, etc.  There's lots you could do with this.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Whole Wheat Tortilla Recipe

I have now eaten the Breakfast in a Jar four times this week, and I have to say that it is a definite winner.  I realized after posting it that in the recipe I posted last time, I had doubled all the ingredients except for the milk, so I've changed that so it's correct.

I had someone ask me about tortillas yesterday, so I thought I'd just post what we do for them.  Most of the time we just use corn tortillas, since they seem to be made from the whole grain, and that's got to be healthier than the white flour ones, which dissolve into a paste in my mouth.  But that's just me.  What we really like, though, are my home made whole wheat tortillas, but being that they are a bit time consuming for this large crew, and being that I don't typically start thinking about thinking about what's for dinner (no, that wasn't redundant) until around 5 or 5:30, I usually don't have time to make them before the dinner hour of 6 p.m.  When I do make them, they're always a hit, though, and now that our numbers are getting fewer I should probably do this more often.  One thing that I think is an absolute necessity for making tortillas is a tortilla warmer.  It is nothing more than a round shaped insulated container that keeps the tortillas warm and soft while you're making and serving them.  I've seen them all over at grocery stores, and they aren't expensive.  If you don't have one, but you're just dying to make tortillas, you could probably get by wrapping them in a clean dishtowel, but these warmers are definitely worth having, if you're wanting to make your own tortillas.  Here's a picture of a tortilla warmer:

They come in lots of colors and materials.  Some are very decorative and some, like the one pictured are less so, but they all do the same thing.  They can also be used for pancakes.  The one pictured doesn't actually appear to be insulate, so that may not be the most important factor, but I have two that are (meaning they have a double layer of plastic with air trapped between them), and one that isn't, and they do the same job.

Okay, enough babbling, let's get on with the recipe!  Here it is:

Whole Wheat Tortillas

2 C. whole wheat flour
1/2 t. salt
3 T. olive oil
2/3 C. warm water

Mix the flour and salt together, then add the oil and stir until blended.  Slowly add the water and stir to make a nice dough, and knead 10 or 15 times to form into a ball.  Let sit covered for about 20 minutes and divide dough into 10 or 12 smaller balls.  (I think 10 is better.)  Roll each ball out onto lightly floured surface into 6 to 8" circles, and cook on a hot griddle for about a minute on each side, until it forms bubbles, and the bubbles start turning brown.  Keep them in the tortilla warmer and serve from there.  With leftovers, you can make some delicious chips, too!  Just stack them on top of each other and cut into 8 sections, and bake on a cookie sheet at 350 for about 5 minutes, or until they start to brown and get crisp.  You need to watch them because they cook pretty fast.  You could spray a little oil on them and season them with garlic salt or other seasoning, or do like we used to do with pie crust leftovers and put cinnamon and sugar on them.

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Great (Grain) Way to Start Your Day!

Overnight No-Cook Refrigerator Oatmeal

I first saw this recipe posted on Pinterest, so of course I pinned it, and then, of course, I never did anything with it.  That seems to be the way I use Pinterest most of the time.  I get on there to find a recipe and get distracted pinning and totally forget what I was on there for in the first place.  Someone sent the link out to one of the email lists I'm on, reminding me of it, and last night I actually remembered to make it before I went to bed.  I tried it this morning, and it was fabulous!  I think I'll pretty much be doing this all the time now.  Below is the link to the original recipe from The Yummy Life blog.  I think I need to spend some more time at that blog, too, if this is any indication of the kinds of recipes we can expect.  Below the link I'll put in how I made mine, because, true to form, I didn't do it quite like the original.  Well, the original link gives lots of variations, and I just did my own that wasn't on her list.

I was a little confused at first trying to follow her recipe amounts, because in her pictures, she clearly is using a pint-size jar, but I realized when I was half through measuring out the ingredients, that the amounts she had put in the recipes was only enough to fill a 1/2 pint (1 Cup) jar.  I wanted the larger amount, so I went back a doubled the ingredients. I didn't have any Greek yogurt on hand, so I just used more milk, and it was fine. I think I prefer it without the added sourness, but that, of course, is a personal preference. Here's what I did:

Strawberry Maple Oatmeal in a Jar

In a pint jar, put the following:

1/2 C. regular or quick oats (dry)
1 C. almond milk (when I buy it, I always dilute it 1/2 and 1/2 with water)
1 T. chia seeds
1/2 t. vanilla
1 T. maple syrup

Put the lid on the jar and shake well.

Add enough to cut up strawberries to almost fill the jar and stir them in.  Put the lid back on the jar and put in the fridge over night.  She says it will last 2 to 4 days in the fridge, but I'm pretty sure mine isn't going to make it past noon today.  I think she may be mixing up a bunch of them at once, though, and in that case they might last longer.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The best Whole Wheat CORN BREAD I've ever made!

I think I mentioned before that I am not the world's best cook.  I kind of believe that anyone who can read can cook, but my problem is that I'd rather read than cook, so I spend more time doing the one than trying to improve on the other.  Good whole wheat corn bread is one recipe that has eluded me.  It's passable, and no one really complains, but it was always drier than I wanted, and the corn I used seemed to be too coarse, or something.  Tonight I decided to try grinding up popcorn for a change, and then I ended up doing some other substitutes using what was easily available in my kitchen, and I'm ecstatic to announce that it was fabulous.  I'll post the original recipe below (called Perfect Corn Bread, even though it never was for me, and which I've had around so long that I have no idea where it came from), and then I'll put the recipe I ended up doing underneath it.  I think the original recipe probably would work well with the white flour it calls for, but I always use whole wheat, which may explain why it didn't work as well for me.

Original recipe:

Perfect Corn Bread

1 C. sifted enriched flour
1 C. yellow cornmeal
1/2 C. sugar
4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. salt
2 eggs
1 C. milk
1/4 C. soft shortening
Mix dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then add the wet to the dry and mix well.  Pour into a greased 9x9x2" pan, and bake at 425 for 20 to 25 minutes.

My version:  Perfect Whole Wheat Corn Bread
1 C. whole wheat flour (I used white wheat)
1 C. ground popcorn
1/2 C. sugar (I use Sucanat)
4 t. baking powder (I use Rumford)
3/4 t. salt
2 eggs
1 C. almond milk (purchased, then diluted 1/2 and 1/2 with water)
1/4 C. coconut oil
Mix the dry ingredients and wet ingredients in separate bowls, then add the wet to the dry and mix well.  Pour into a greased 9x9x2" pan and bake at 375 for about 25 minutes, until golden brown.

To complete the meal, I opened a can of baked beans and made a green salad.  No complaints! Woot!

By the way, the picture above is not the cornbread I made, but it looked just like that.  We ate it too fast for me to think about taking a picture. :)

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Dr. Kim on Dairy Products

I have recently subscribed to a health newsletter by Dr. Ben Kim.  His articles seem well balanced, and are very informative.  Today's email linked to an article he wrote a while back on milk and dairy products, and I just wanted to share the link with you.  His issues are with pasteurized and homogenized products, and he gives a plug at the end for the raw products.  Some of you might find it interesting.  Here's the link:

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Four Benefits of Eating Whole Grains

Recently, I came across on article online that cited several studies showing some of the benefits of eating whole grains. I always find it exciting when science validates what we already know, which, in this case, is that whole grains protect us from common diseases.  The evidence shows that those who eat more whole grains have less chance of getting diabetes, heart disease, rectal cancer, and of being obese. Three or more servings a day was the amount that the people were eating in some of the studies, which correlates very well with the idea of grains being the staff of life.  It seems like the majority of our calories should be coming from grains, not that that's hard to do, really.  Grains have several times the calories per cup that vegetables do, so, for example, you can put a cup of rice, on your plate, and then pile the vegetables around it, and still have less calories in the veggies than in the rice (not including avocadoes).
     So if you want to be healthier, eat more grains!

See the whole article here: 

Have a Rice Day!

My main grain for today was rice.  I didn't actually plan it that way, since I don't actually plan anything, but that's how it turned out.  I think using one main grain for the whole day may not be a bad idea, though, so I'll probably do it again.  This morning, I put on a pot of rice to cook for breakfast, and we had that with diced mangoes, chopped dates, and almond milk, with a drizzle of maple syrup.  

Then for lunch, I made a salad with homemade lettuce (you can see our spontaneous lettuce patch below), diced peppers and cucumbers, corn, Greek olives, avocado, a few heaping spoonfuls of rice, and a little bit of Ranch dressing.  I was, sadly enough, out of the grape tomatoes that I usually put on it, but the salad was so good that I didn't miss them.

Here's our spontaneous lettuce patch.  I'm on a quest to figure out how to get all my gardens to do this with everything I plant. We usually get hundreds of tomato plants that come up in here, but the kids and I got the bright idea last year to shovel the spent tomatoes into a corner of the garden patch so there wouldn't be so many of them.  Somehow in all that, we, or something else, managed to spread lettuce seeds all over it (we only had 8 plants last year, and about half of them went to seed, because we didn't pick them before it got hot), so this is what we have this year.  There are now some tomatoes coming up, so they must have decided that the weather is going to be warm enough for them.  This is way more lettuce that we're going to be able to eat before they start to bolt because of the hot weather, so if you live near me and want some, please come and get it.  :0)

Then for supper, I cleaned out the refrigerators to see what treasures lay buried there, since I haven't been shopping for awhile.  I found several peppers that were only fit for the compost barrel, but among the stuff that was still good, I found: broccoli, cauliflower, celery, and onions.  I sauteed the onion in some oil, then added the other vegetables that had been cut into pieces, and stir-fried them for about 5 minutes.  To speed up the process, I added some water and quickly put the lid on the pot, so they'd steam a bit.  After the vegetables were crisp tender, I added a couple of cups of rice, and then put some leftover teriyaki sauce (recipe here:  over it that I also found in the fridge.  I mixed it all together, put the lid on it and let it cook for a while longer, and served it with a fruit salad on the side, made out of some leftover watermelon and a cantaloupe that was threatening to go the way of all the earth if we didn't eat it soon.  It was a delicious meal, and I had no complainers, which is always a plus.  Here's dinner.  Isn't that lovely?

Yes, that is kind of a lame way to share recipes, but since I didn't use one, there wasn't really one to share. It's just a matter of using the amounts that your family will eat.  The meals were varied enough that nobody even said "Rice again?!"  and I managed to use it in all three meals. The kids made themselves sandwiches for lunch, so they only had it twice, but it didn't bother them.  The nice thing about eating lots of grains is that they keep me full longer, and I don't start hunting around the house for chocolate, or other less  healthy alternatives.

I could have made the lunch and dinner recipes just the same if I'd had any other grain or pasta on hand. (I haven't yet tried pasta for breakfast, and I probably won't any time soon.)  It's nice to have it already cooked up, and then to just add it to some fruit or vegetables to make a complete meal.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

My Take on Dairy (today)

I just received an email from a friend rightly pointing out that the Word of Wisdom does not mention dairy products, and that there are scriptures that mention a land of milk and honey, and why would it say that if we weren't supposed to drink milk.  She said that she does think that raw dairy products are okay.  
    I will share my response to her here, for anyone who might be interested, and I would invite anyone who feels so inclined to weigh in on the subject.  I don't claim to be right in my opinions, only to have them, and I'm certainly open to being corrected.  I actually don't have any reason to want to defend or villify dairy products.  They are some of my favorite foods, but I do want to be healthy so I continue seek for the truth of the matter.  
    I think she may be right about the raw dairy products being better than what we currently have available at the store.  I know there a lot of people who use them and say that their health has improved as a result.  If that's the case, and the Word of Wisdom is silent on the matter, then that should probably settle the matter for them.  I don't believe that pasteurization nor homogenization have done us any good, and I don't believe that processed dairy is good for us.  I think using a little of it, sparingly, probably is all right, if one feels the need, but as the promises at the end of the Word of Wisdom are given to those who keep it, without it having mentioned dairy of any kind, I have to believe that we can be perfectly healthy without them.  At least Elder Widtsoe seemed to think so, according to his quote that said that plants contained all the nutrients we needed to be healthy. 
     Sometime back, I had wanted to start my family drinking raw milk, and I knew that it was available at Real Foods Market in Orem.  When I mentioned it to my husband, he very adamantly told me that I was not to give it to the children.  My husband is the most mild-mannered man you can imagine, and it's rare that he gets his dander up about anything, so I knew he was serious.  At the time, I did a Google search to see what I could find out about Real Foods and their dairy products, to show him that they were safe, but all I could find were articles about how they'd had problems with the raw milk.  I came away from it feeling like maybe he was right, so I let it drop.  Which isn't to say that I think raw milk is necessarily bad, just that there are so many things that can go wrong with it these days, that those who use it need to make sure that it doesn't get contaminated, and unless you have your own animals, you don't really know.    
      I wonder about the statistic that says that a high percentage of the world's population is lactose intolerant.  It doesn't surprise me, being that it does make sense to me that mother's milk would be intended for the young of that species.  However, I was reading in the Essene Gospel of Peace recently, and they said that the Lord told them that the milk of all animals was intended for humans. I don't take that as gospel to me, but I did find it interesting.  Of course, they weren't  homogenizing or pasteurizing it back then, either.
      Bottom line for me is that I don't really know the definitive answer to the milk issue, but I'll probably continue to use dairy products very sparingly, just because I do like them, and I occasionally like to add a little bit of cheese to things as flavor.  I think it's a matter of doing what feels like the right thing to do for you.  It isn't mentioned specifically in the Word of Wisdom, so maybe it's something that has been left up to us to figure out.  If you find that you are having certain health problems that could be diet related, you might try giving up dairy for a time and see if your health improves.  It has for many people.  
      And that's what I think about that, for what it might be worth to anyone, opinions being worth almost as much as you pay for them.

Monday, June 4, 2012

The Staff of Life

In Doctrine and Covenants 89:14, 16-17, it says:

 "All grain is ordained for the use of man and of beasts, to be the staff of life, not only for man but for the beasts of the field, and the fowls of heaven, and all wild animals that run or creep on the earth. . . all grain is good for the food of man; as also the fruit of the vine; that which yieldeth fruit, whether in the ground or above the ground—nevertheless, wheat for man, and corn for the ox, and oats for the horse, and rye for the fowls and for swine, and for all beasts of the field, and barley for all useful animals, and for mild drinks, as also other grain."

While I was doing the Biggest Loser contest with some friends, I studied the writings of several medical doctors who prescribe nutrition to their patients, instead of drugs and surgery.  Most of them (80% or more) lose weight and regain their health by just changing their diets and getting some exercise.  The diets these particular doctors recommend is a plant-based diet, and excludes animal products and junk food.  They focus on grains, fruits and vegetables, with a high emphasis on green vegetables, with a varying degree of the amount of starches (grains, legumes, and potatoes) that they recommend.  My past experiences with different plant-based diets were usually short-lived, because no matter how many fruits and vegetables I'd eat, I would always feel hungry.  One doctor whose ideas particularly appealed to me is John McDougall, who recently released a book entitled The Starch Solution.  He recommends that his patients use starches as the main part of their meals, and then add fruits and vegetables to round out the meal.  I found that when I started doing this, my cravings went away and I wasn't hungry in between my meals.
     One night as I was studying the Word of Wisdom, trying to get some wisdom on the subject, I came across the verses I quoted above, and it was as if a light bulb went off in my head.  I realized that Dr. Mcdougall was basically recommending that his patients follow the Word of Wisdom diet, and he probably doesn't even know anything about it.  I believe that this is the big secret that most of us who are trying to follow the Word of Wisdom, but maybe not seeing the results we want, might be missing.  If we want the blessings the Lord has promised for keeping His laws, we have to keep those laws in His way.  If He says that the blessings will come by putting grains at the center of our diet, then we can't expect to receive His blessings of health by eating a high protein, low carb diet, since grains are carbs, and a diet of grains, fruits and vegetables is anything but low carb.  As so often happens, the Lord's ways are completely at odds with what the world tries to teach us, and we have to have faith to do it His way.
       I am finding it to be a bit of a challenge to eat grain so often, just because we eat more potatoes, beans, fruits and vegetables.  While all those things are wonderful and should be eaten in abundance, they aren't grains, and I want to follow the Word of Wisdom in the way the Lord set out for us.  My purpose in this blog is to find recipes that I believe fit into the Word of Wisdom.  I'll be on the lookout for great ways to eat grains, as well as sharing other plant-based recipes.  I'm hoping that others who may read this blog and who are also trying to incorporate more grains into their diets will share some of their good ideas with us.  I can't wait to see what we come up with!

Sunday, June 3, 2012


I'm on a quest for good grain recipes to help me make grain the staff of my life.  This next recipe is a good one, and even satisfies some of the most ardent meat addicts. I do have one dear brother-in-law who takes himself out for hamburgers and Coke after eating here, but most others that I've served this to have really liked it.  It came from my friend Fawn, whose family owns a health food store.  

I absolutely love this recipe for several reasons.  One, it totally takes the place of hamburgers for me.  We haven't been big meat eaters for a long time, but these patties make great burgers, and the toppings can send them way over the top. Another thing I like is that it makes a ton and these freeze great, so you can use them for several meals.  Put these on whole wheat buns with your choice of the toppings listed at the end of the recipe and you'll be in heaven.  I especially like to put mashed avocado on the bun, then add sliced cucumber, pickles, peppers, tomatoes, sauteed mushrooms, onions, salsa and lettuce, but you can do whatever floats your boat. Bon appetit!


(Do the best you can on the ingredients, and if you don’t have some of the stuff, don’t worry about it.  Probably the most important parts are the oats, water, and tamari.)
In a large pot, start boiling 12 cups of water. While it’s heating up, add:
1 T. dried parsley
1 t. olive oil
4 t. (total, not each, of) thyme, basil, marjoram (or just Italian seasoning)
½ C. dried onion
½ t. garlic powder
½ C. nutritional yeast
1-3 t. nutrisoup, or other bouillon flavor
½ t. celery pwd.
1 ¾ C. tamari (soy sauce)
1 C. sunflower seeds
When the water is boiling add at least 12 C. regular oats (quick is probably okay).  The mix should get almost instantly stiff.  If it seems too liquidy (sp??), add more oats.  Remove from heat, cover, and let sit for ½ hour.  Use a ½ c. ice cream scoop to put balls on greased cookie sheet.  Then flatten with a spatula inside a baggie. (If that doesn't compute,  it means to put a sandwich baggie over the spatula head, then press down on the balls of mix to flatten them.) Bake at 350 for 15 minutes, then flip them over and bake another 15 minutes.*  This makes about 56 burgers that can be stacked after they’re cooled, and stored in plastic bags and frozen. You do not need to put waxed paper or anything in between them.  They don’t stick together.  When you want to use them, put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 10 minutes, or until warmed.  Suggested toppings:  bell peppers, onions, pickles, tomatoes, avocado, salsa, sautéed mushrooms, lettuce, sprouts, condiments, the kitchen sink, etc.  J

*A tip for baking a lot at one time, if you don't have a convection oven:  Fill 4 baking sheets with the patties, put them in the oven on two racks with 2 sheets per rack, and bake for 7 minutes.  Then, switch the ones from the upper rack to the lower and the ones from the lower racks to the upper and bake for another 8 minutes.  Then, flip all the patties over and do the same thing again, switching the pans half way through.  This makes them bake evenly and they turn out perfect.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My Favorite Popcorn Recipe (or at least one of them)

I don't even know what the name of this is.  It's a healthy version of a Cracker-Jack type of popcorn (does just saying the name take your mind back like it does mine? Ah, nostalgia. . .), but this is a good, no-guilt, healthy version.  Super easy and delicious!

Here's the recipe for the no-name popcorn:

Pop 3 batches (1/2 cups) of popcorn

1/4 C. peanut butter
1/4 C. honey
2 T. blackstrap molasses  (don't use the other kind of molasses, it really loses something)

Melt the topping ingredients in a small pan on the stove, then pour over the popcorn, and mix well.  The original recipe, as I recall had you then spread it on a cookie sheet and bake at a lower temperature, stirring every few minutes to kind of dry it out, but I found that if it just sits for a bit, it dries out any way, and really isn't very messy.  

Beans and Greens Soup

This is a great recipe, and one that everyone at my house likes, which is saying a lot, since there are a lot of us. This is one that I shared at the presentation, and I got lots of compliments on it.  I hope you like it!

  •                                                 Beans and Greens Soup

  • Ingredients

      • 3 -4 garlic cloves, minced
      • 2 tablespoons oil
      • 1 large onion, chopped
      • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
      • 2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans (or other beans of your choice)
      • 3 to 5 leaves of Kale, and more if you like
      • 1/2 teaspoon salt
      • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper (adjust to taste)


    1. Wash kale well and chop leaves into pieces
    2. Saute onion and garlic in oil in medium size pot until slightly brown, slowly add chicken broth stirring well.
    3. Add one can of beans with juice and one can without, kale and salt and pepper.
    4. Cover and simmer 20 minutes on med-low heat.
    5. Serve with fresh bread for dipping.

  • Wednesday, May 23, 2012

    The Presentation

    At the bottom of the presentation click on the Full Screen Button^
    in order to see the lesson notes (they are needed). Once that page
    opens, click on the Notes button underneath the presentation box
     to see the notes.

    Monday, May 21, 2012

    My Story

    I have been a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints all my life.  I have always tried to live  The Word of Wisdom in varying degrees, and I've been blessed with good health as a result of it.  I've never been perfect at it, and I go through periods, around holidays, typically, where I'll binge out on sugar and chocolate, but eventually I'll come to my senses and try to do better for a time.  For the past 18 years or so, I have tried to serve my family meals that mostly followed a plant-based theme, using the occasional meat that we eat more like a condiment, than as the center of the plate.  I wasn't doing something right, though, because the past few years I had started putting on weight, until I had gained an extra 10 lbs, which probably put me about 20 lbs. over what I really needed to be. I made some half-hearted attempts to try to lose the excess pounds, but protein drinks just clogged my plumbing, and eating less just kept me hungry so I'd make up for it when I finally did eat.  I was also doing a lot of snacking while reading and studying, which I do a lot.
        At the end of 2011, some of my friends on Facebook were talking about doing a Biggest Loser contest, and for some reason I got it into my head that maybe it would give me some motivation to try to lose the weight I was hanging onto.  We started the contest the first of January.  My strategy was to just watch how many calories I ate, just trying to eat as healthy as I knew how most of the time.  That worked pretty well, and I started to lose some weight.  During this time, I started to read books on weight loss and health to see if I could get any great ideas on losing the weight faster.  In the back of my mind was the idea that I should just follow The Word of Wisdom, but I thought I was already doing that pretty well, and it hadn't made much difference. Or so I thought.
         One of the doctors whose work I started following was Dr. John McDougall.  I had read some of his books many years ago and had been impressed at that time with the research he had done, and the results he had seen with his patients, when he put them on a plant-based diet.  In recent years, he had been lecturing about centering our diet on starches and claimed to get really great results when his patients would center their meals around starches (grains, potatoes, and beans), and then add fruits and vegetables on top of that.  This kind of flies in the face of a lot of the current trends in diets, where they try to tell us that carbs are bad for us.  Starches are carbs, of course.  I decided to try it for awhile, just for fun, and see what happened.  Amazingly enough (to me), the weight really started coming off, and it seemed that the more starches I ate, the faster it came off.  I wasn't hungry, because they kept me feeling full longer, and this also made it so that I didn't crave chocolate or other things that I might normally snack on.
           I got really excited about this, and wanted to share the information with my friends at church, so I asked if I could teach a class on diet and health.  I believed that what I was doing was in keeping with The Word of Wisdom, so rather than push the starch idea, my plan was just to teach what The Word of Wisdom said.  When I started going through it, verse by verse, I was surprised to see that it actually is a starch-based diet, actually emphasizing grains as the "staff of life," or the center of the diet.  I realized that Dr. Mcdougall had nailed it right on the head, and that the reason I was seeing the results I was seeing, is because I was doing what the Lord had told us to do through revelation to one of his prophets.  My weight now, after nearly 5 months of eating this way, has pretty much stabilized after losing 20-22 lbs.  I feel great, and none of my clothes fit any more (a delicious dilemma, I call it).   See the next post for the power point presentation to understand what The Word of Wisdom teaches, and to get some ideas for implementing it.

    Why I Am Doing This

          The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (a.k.a. The Mormons) has a diet code called The Word of Wisdom, that was given by revelation to the prophet Joseph Smith in February of 1833.  Now, over 175 years later, medical science has caught up with the wisdom contained in this standard, and is proving it to be the best diet for a healthy life.  The diet, or better called, lifestyle, if adhered to, consists of a diet of grains with added fruits and vegetables, using meat very sparingly.  The code does not mention dairy products at all, but this could be because milk from animals was intended for the newborns of each species, and no animal on the planet (except for man) drinks milk of any kind after it's weaned, and certainly wouldn't think of drinking milk from another species.  Regardless of whether one chooses to use dairy products or not (depending on their own interpretation of the Word of Wisdom), we need to understand that current research does not support it as a needed element in a healthy diet.  Quite the contrary, many of our current chronic ailments can be traced to the overconsumption of dairy products.  
            My purpose here is not to spend time bashing any other diet, but to promote The Word of Wisdom as it is written, and to encourage others who may wish to live it, also.  It's a daunting prospect to think of changing our habits, whatever they are, and I want to help others find ways to easily incorporate the principles of a plant-based diet, by sharing what I am learning about this subject.  I invite everyone to do their own research, but I will say that, believing as I do that Joseph Smith was an inspired prophet of God, I compare other diets to The Word of Wisdom, and when they teach ideas that fall outside those guidelines, I discard them and move on.  

    If blogger allows me to do it, I will post my power point presentation to lay a groundwork for where I will go with this blog.  Once you understand where I'm coming from, the recipes I share will make sense.