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:  http://drbenkim.com/articles-dairy.html

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: http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/05/easy-homemade-teriyaki-sauce.html)  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.