Food Quotes

"No therapy or drug known to modern medical science can rebuild tissue that has been damaged by disease or trauma. Food alone can accomplish this feat. It is for this reason that nutrition is an indispensable weapon against disease".
Dr. Bernard Jensen (1908-2001)

Friday, December 12, 2008

Blog Nog

Here's a good and simple recipe for eggnog. It does use raw eggs - the healthiest way to eat them. If you are hesitant to use raw eggs because of food borne illness, you should know that the only pathogens (illness-causing bacteria) that can be found with eggs is always on the shell of the egg (never inside).

If you clean the outside of the egg with an efficient pathogen-killing cleaner, then there is no way you can contract salmonella or any other food borne illness. I keep one spray bottle filled with full-strength hydrogen peroxide and another with full-strength white vinegar. To clean the outside of an egg, spray first with eitherthe vinegar or peroxide and then spray again with the other solution. Wipe with a clean paper towel and use as directed in the recipe below:

Blog Nog

4 cups milk
2 cups half and half
6 eggs, well beaten
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup
4 teaspoons stevia
dash of salt
8 ice cubes

Directions: Place ingredients in a blender. Blend until completely combined. Serve with extra nutmeg sprinkled on top. Makes 6 twelve-ounce servings.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

Salad Croutons

This recipe is taken from Nourishing Traditions Cookbook, the book that got me started cooking like my Great Grandmother Franziska.

3 slices sprouted or sourdough whole grain bread
6 tablespoons melted butter
1 clove garlic, mashed (optional)
1 teaspoon fine herbs (optional)
1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional)

Directions: Trim crusts off bread. (Save for making bread crumbs.) Mix optional ingredients with melted butter. Brush on both sides of bread. Bake at 250 degrees fro about 1 hour, turning once, until toasts are crisp. Allow to cool slightly and cut into small cubes. Makes about 2 cups.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Addendum to Best Pasta and Meatballs Ever Recipe

Cut your work in half by making the meatballs ahead of time and freezing them.

When I put up the post for this recipe I forgot to add the following. I did go ahead and add it just now to the bottom of the original post, but for those who have already looked at the recipe, it might be best to call your attention to this little time saver by adding an addendum.

Note: You can make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them until you need them. They should last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Just follow the recipe for the meatballs only. After they have cooled on the platter, put them, in a single layer on a large baking sheet, leaving space in between them so they do no touch. Put the baking pan in the freezer for 3 or 4 hours. They should be frozed after this amount of time. Remove the meatballs from the pan and put into gallon zipper baggies and back into the freezer. When you plan to serve this meal, make the sauce and add in as many meatballs as you need (frozen). They will thaw out in the sauce. Just plan to add another 15-20 minutes to the cooking time for the sauce (and keep the flame on low). There! You 've just cut your work load in half (or less) on the day you serve this recipe.

The Best Pasta and Meatballs Ever

This, if I may boast a little, is the best sauce and meatball recipe we (my husband and I) have had anywhere, ever. And my husband is hard to please when it come to this dish. To give you an idea, for the first five years of our marriage, he couldn't stop talking about his step-mother's spaghetti and meatballs. When I introduced this recipe, he ceased talking about her cooking altogether. I think I finally made the grade! I tweaked a recipe I had by adding the bacon drippings, herbs and a few other ingredients. Hope you enjoy it too!

2 T. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
2 T. bacon drippings (from range-fed pigs raised with no growth-hormones, antibiotics, and processed with no nitrites or nitrites)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
Two 35-ounce cans Italian plum tomatoes, crushed (do not drain) (If you cannot find these, regular tomatoes will work fine.)
1 t. crushed hot red pepper flakes (optional)
1 t. crushed, dried basil leaf
2 bay leaves
Redmond Real Salt or real sea salt (is gray in color, not white), to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
*tomato paste (if necessary)

Directions: Heat oil and bacon drippings in a heavy 4 to 5-quart pot over medium-high heat. Add onion and cook and stir till onion is wilted, about 3 or 4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for one minute. Add tomatoes, pepper flakes, basil, and season lightly with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes. *If sauce is too thin, add a little tomato paste to thicken, according to personal taste.

1/2 lb. ground pork
1/2 lb. ground beef
1 cup fine, dry sprouted bread crumbs
1/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large egg, slightly beaten
1/4 c. fresh Italian parsley (the flat-leaf variety)
1/2 t. each, dried crushed basil and dried crushed rosemary (or twice these amounts fresh, finely chopped)
1 t. salt (as mentioned above)
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
unbleached all-purpose flour for dredging
1/4 c. extra-virgin, cold-pressed olive oil
1/4 c. bacon drippings (as mentioned above)

Directions: Into a large mixing bowl, crumble pork and beef (do not mix yet). Add bread crumbs, grated cheese, garlic, egg, herbs and salt and pepper. Don your kitchen gloves and mix all ingredients until combined, but be careful not to over mix, as this makes the meatballs tough. Shape the mixture into 1 1/4-inch meatballs.

To dredge the meatballs, put flour into a one-gallon size zipper baggie. Add a few meatballs at a time, close bag and gently shake to coat meatballs. Repeat with remaining meatballs. Heat a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot but not smoking. Add oil and fat to skillet, being careful that it does not smoke. Add meatballs to skillet without crowding so there is room to turn them. Brown, turning as necessary, until golden brown on all sides, about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the meatballs to a platter and repeat process as necessary for remaining meatballs. Add browned meatball to the sauce, cooking gently for about 30 minutes.

1 lb. Tinkyada brand brown rice fettuccine or spaghetti
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmigiana-Reggiano cheese

Directions: Bring 6 quarts of salted water to a boil in an 8-quart pot. Add pasta to water, making sure to stir 2 or three times to ensure that noodles do not stick together. Bring back to a boil and cook according to package directions. Drain pasta into a colander and rinse well with hot water, as brown rice pasta tends to stick to itself if not rinsed well.

Pile pasta on a large platter. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese. Spoon sauce over pasta and top with meatballs and a sprinkling of remaining cheese.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cucumber and Feta Salad

Balsamic and Oregano Dressing:
1/4 c. olive oil (extra virgin, cold-pressed)
3 T. lemon juice
1 T. balsamic vinegar (I use "white" balsamic vinegar which is clear)
3/4 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 English cucumber, sliced thin
1/2 red onion, sliced into thin rings
12 grape tomatoes, halved
1 c. frozen peas (they will thaw by the time the salad is served)
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced thin
12 Greek olives such as kalamata
8 oz. Feta cheese, coarsely crumbled
Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the dressing ingredients. In a large bowl, toss salad ingredients together. Pour dressing over the salad and toss again. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Makes 6 servings.

Crispy Slow Roasted Pecans

These are delicious. But not only is the flavor enhanced by this process, the nutrition level increases greatly. And for those who are sensitive to walnuts (cause sensitivity or blisters in the mouth), this process removes the phytic acid that causes that problem. (Several of my grandchildren cannot eat raw or roasted walnuts, but they chow down on these with no problems.) For more info about phytic acid see Real Food Recipes - Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding.

Crispy Slow Roasted Pecans or Walnuts:
1 t. real sea salt (if it is all white, it is processed - not the real thing) or Redmond Real Salt
2 c. warm filtered water, plus more as needed
2 c. raw pecan or walnut halves (or whole pecans or walnuts)

Directions: In a medium sized-bowl, mix together the salt and 2 c. warm water. Stir to dissolve salt. Add nuts and stir well. Add more filtered water (does not have to be warm) to cover nuts by one inch. Let set is a warm place (for instance, a gas oven with pilot light is perfect) for at least 7 hours.

Drain nuts in a colander. DO NOT RINSE! Preheat oven to 150 degrees or lowest setting. Spread drained pecans onto a baking sheet or shallow baking pan. Let roast for 12-24 hours. Turn occasionally, until nuts are completely dry and crisp. (Check periodically to make sure nuts are not drying out too much, especially if your oven is hotter than 150 degrees).

Almonds: To 2 c. of raw almonds, add 1 1/2 t. salt. Proceed in same manner as above. Note: Raw almonds are now hard to find since the government decided they should be pasteurized using chemicals and/or heat. Perhaps you know of someone who has an almond tree and would share them with you. They can still be purchased through health food sources but are very expensive.

In the Pantry - Beans, Legumes, Grains, Flours, Pastas and Nuts

One of my faithful readers, Anne, suggested that I do a pantry post. This is an excerpt from what she wrote:
Here are the specifics of what I need to know about stocking the pantry: basic pantry items (anything you'd need to bake and cook basic meals/breads, etc), how much of each item to keep on hand depending on your household size, where is the best place to purchase it based upon quality or price; refrigerator/freezer items that should be kept on hand such as vegetables (in season), sauces, eggs, meats, cheeses (I have thrown out so many silly sauces that are packed with sugar and preservatives that I need never have purchased!); maybe even a list of basic kitchen necessities (some of my friends don't know what a pastry cutter is). It would be super cool if you tied your recipes to this list and if it called for an ingredient not in your cupboard it would be on a "shopping list". That's what keeps me away from most recipes - concern that I won't have half of the items called for and have to go to the grocery store a million times!
So, starting today I will be posting what I keep in my pantry. This information will be in a post titled "In the Pantry" and there will be more than one. I see this as ongoing (till it is finished anyway). Keep in mind that these are my pantry items and that you can certainly vary the items however you want. On this post I will cover beans, legumes, grains, flours, pastas, rice and nuts.

My basic pantry:

Beans, legumes, grains, flours, pastas, rice and nuts (always buy these organic):
If you buy the above items out of bulk bins (best price), get them from a store where the turnover for the bins is good and steady, such as Whole Foods (these items do go rancid when exposed to air, heat and light for long periods of time).
dried beans - pinto beans (about 2 lbs.);
canned beans - red kidney, black (1 can each of Trader Joe's organic);
frozen beans - pintos; I always make more than needed (go here for a recipe for great tasting pinto beans) and freeze what we do not eat in labeled plastic quart containers (Trader Joe's organic whole milk yogurt containers work great).

dried legumes - split peas (get Split Pea Soup recipe here), lentils and some kind of multiple legume-bean soup combo, all in 1 lb. packages.

grains - high-protein hard white wheat berries (I buy a 25-pound bag from my food co-op whenever I need to replenish). I grind as much grain as I need for immediate use. I also stock whole rolled oats for Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding - usually about 6-12 cups since one recipe calls for 6 cups.

flours - King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour (5-lb. bag from Trader Joe's). I use this for dredging and occasionally for thickening (I do not bake with it); arrowroot for thickening (5 lb. bag from my co-op).

pastas - I only buy Tinkyada and Trader Joe's brands of brown rice pasta. No one in my family, including myself has ever cared for whole wheat pasta (yuk!). Brown rice pasta tastes so much better and does not contain the phytic acid that whole wheat pasta does. (To learn about phytic acid in food, click here). I stock fettuccine, elbows, (1 -lb. packages, both Tinkyada from Whole Foods), penne and spaghetti (1-lb. packages, both from Trader Joe's).

rice - I am very particular about rice. I love organic brown jasmine rice and find it at Whole Foods in the bulk bins. I usually buy about 2 lbs. at a time. Click here for Soft and Savory Brown Rice recipe.

nuts - I buy nuts at Costco in bulk - raw walnuts and pecans. I used to buy raw almonds there but now that the government has mandated pasteurization for almonds, I haven't really figured out where to
get them at a price I can afford. So for now I am not stocking them. I soak all the nuts I buy in a salt-water solution and then slow roast them in my dehydrator. They are then stored in zipper baggies in the freezer. You can find the recipe here for soaking and drying nuts.
That's it for now. Next pantry post will be on breads, cereals and more. Thank you, Anne, for this suggestion!

Friday, August 22, 2008

In the Pantry - Baking Items, Spices, Herbs, Extracts, Sweeteners, Bread and Breakfast Cereals

Thank you, Anne, for the idea of devoting some time to write about what I stock in my pantry. I hope it is helpful for those of you who visit The Good Woman because it has certainly been helpful for me to think about. It is resulting in greater attention to my pantry for the purpose of frugality and some reorganizing also.

Here is what is on the list for the pantry this week:

Baking items: salt (I use Trader Joe's Coarse Sea Salt from France - ugly grey color - for foods which have a liquid base that simmer for awhile on the stove such as soups or stews. Since it is coarse, it needs time to dissolve and doesn't work for sprinkling on from a shaker. The finer salt that I use in cooking and in a shaker for table use is Redmond Real Salt which I get from my food co-op in a 25 lb. box. It is shared between 4 or 5 people. It is also available at Whole Foods in pound bags. Sea salt that is white has had all the minerals removed and is no different than regular toxic table salt.); baking powder (the kind with no aluminium, which I get at Whole Foods); baking soda (Arm and Hammer is fine - I buy it in bulk at Costco); yeast (I like SAFF, which I find at Smart and Final in a one-pound package. Keep it in the freezer and it will last three years);

Spices in bottles (these are not fresh, such as ginger) - I have started buying organic as I run out; listed in order of frequency: ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, cardamom seed, ground ginger, ground cloves, ground allspice, ground cardamom, pumpkin pie spice, allspice berries, whole cinnamon, whole cloves, ground mace.

Herbs (not fresh) - Again, as I run out, I am replacing with organic; these are also listed in order of frequency: basil, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano, rosemary, black peppercorns, Italian seasoning, thyme, sage, celery seed, poppy seed, paprika, cayenne pepper, ground mustard, curry powder, ground coriander, coriander seed, turmeric, dill seed, onion powder, white pepper, fennel seed, tarragon, whole mustard seed, fennel seed, gumbo file, cream of tartar, green peppercorns.

Note about some of my spices and herbs: I use certain herbs and spices extensively in my cooking, so I order them in organic one-pound bags from my food buying co-op (so much cheaper that way). I store them in antique quart canning jars with the old metal and glass lids (these are part of my kitchen decor). What is left in the bag after I fill the jars is tightly closed and stored in the freezer. The following are the herbs and spices referred to: basil, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder, oregano, rosemary, black peppercorns, coarse ground black pepper, Italian seasoning, bay leaves and cinnamon.

Extracts - I only use real extracts, never imitation since they are chemical in nature: vanilla, lemon, orange, maple, chocolate, pineapple and coconut.

Sweeteners: Rapadura or Sucanat cane sugar (these are completely unprocessed whole cane sugars - the only ones that I know of. I get them at Whole Foods), pure organic maple syrup (Whole Foods), stevia sweetener (an herbal sweetener that contains absolutely no sugar, which I buy at Trader Joe's), raw, unfiltered honey (I get it at Trader Joe's as spun uncooked, unfiltered honey), pure palm sugar (this is a very healthy option that I am learning how to use; find it at oriental stores; it looks like a jar of peanut butter) and organic unsulfured molasses (Wholesome brand which I get at Whole Foods Market).

Note about sweeteners: I have used and promoted agave nectar in the recent past. Unfortunately, there is now information from the Weston A. Price Foundation that challenges all the previous information regarding agave nectar. It is fructose sugar which causes many profound health problems over time. It is also, as it turns out, very highly processed and does not at all resemble the original product taken from the agave plant. So I have steered clear of it. Instead, I am now only using pure organic maple syrup, honey, Rapadura, sucanat, stevia and am learning how to use palm sugar.

Bread: I either make my own (hasn't happened recently) or I buy Alvarado Street or Trader Joe's brand sprouted wheat, rye, barley or sourdough. Alvarado Street is available at Whole Foods and Raley's (more expensive than Whole Foods) and of course the Trader Joe's brand. I like to use Alvarado Street pizza bread for pizza, and Alvarado Street hot dog and hamburger buns. Sprouted bread is, by far, the healthiest bread going. For more info about sprouted breads, go here and look for the subtitle A Real Food Lesson in the post.

Breakfasts Cereals: Most cold breakfast are highly processed and one of the most compromised faux foods in the modern grocery store. Test animals die when fed breakfast cereal exclusively. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, when your body needs dense nutrition after a night of fasting. (Sorry for the lecture - I can't seem to help myself.) We rarely eat cold cereal or even hot cereal for that matter. But when we do eat the cold variety it is a cereal that is sprouted. I stock only one called Ezekiel 4:9 Sprouted Whole Grain Cereal. It tastes very much like Grape Nuts Flakes without all the processing. It can be found at Whole Foods Market.

That's all for this time. Now I've got to go get things organized in my pantry. These posts are very motivational for me!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Franziska - Chapter One

I’d like to introduce you to a real woman - real, not only in the sense that she actually existed, but real in the sense that she truly lived out God's design for her as a woman.

Her name was Franziska. I became acquainted with Franziska after my father went to be with the Lord in May of 2003. It was then that I acquired and began reading some of the family history books. Franziska, I discovered, was my great-grandmother – my dad’s father’s mother. This is chapter one of Franziska’s story.

Franziska Agnes Maria Hoenow was born into a wealthy Catholic family on January 6th, 1862 in Berlin, Germany. At the tender age of 5, her mother passed away, overshadowing her young life with a dark cloud. Franziska was the only child at the time.

Soon after his wife's death, Franziska's father remarried. It was customary in Germany at this time for a widower to marry the sister of his dead wife. So, true to custom, Franziska's father married his late wife’s next youngest sister. Sometime later she became pregnant. She had a healthy baby, but she, herself, died in childbirth. Franziska’s father then married the next sister, who was already pregnant with his child. She gave birth shortly after they married. This time the baby died, but the mother lived.

Franziska was not treated well by either one of her "aunt-mothers". They resented her and treated her accordingly. She felt rejected and unloved. Her second aunt-stepmother did not try to hide the fact that she favored her own children over Franziska. Though she was the oldest child, a position deserving of respect from her siblings, Franziska was made to walk behind the youngers. Add to this her father’s immorality and the family deaths, including her own mother’s, and we begin to sense the strain of grief that was laid upon this girl at such a young age. In light of Franziska's sufferings, I am ashamed at how little it takes for me to offer objections when my life is slightly uncomfortable.

One positive aspect of her young life was that she received an excellent education and in her adolescence was apprenticed to a milliner (hat designer and seller). She learned this trade well and enjoyed it immensely. Franziska also began to keep a diary of sorts. She called it Poesie (pronounced poe-EE-zee) which is the German word for poetry. She began making entries in this little book from the time she was 12 and continued until she was 19. Poesie was a type of autograph/photo book which must have been a good distraction for Franziska during this period of her life.

But as a teenager, with all of the difficulties she had faced in her early years, Franziska desperately needed some good news. That’s when God graciously intervened by sending someone her way to share the wonderful message of the gospel. She was convicted of her sin, received Christ as her Savior and experienced God' s forgiveness.

Happy day for Franziska! She was a good woman at that point. Now that God had imparted His goodness to her through the new birth, she was ready to learn how to walk in the good works He had prepared for her from before the foundation of the world. Ephesians 2:10 would be the expression of the remainder of her life. "For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."

This began with her attendance at a local church. Franziska was soon baptized by her pastor and added to the fellowship of the Konig Strasse Baptist Church in Berlin.

Stayed tuned for chapter 2. Here's a preview: "Because she was a serious disciple of Christ, Franziska's grandparents, with whom she had enjoyed a close relationship, now disinherited her, giving her portion of their wealth to the Catholic church."

Real Food - Not to Fear

For the past 30-40 years we have been hearing that real food is very bad for us. Everyone is afraid to eat, but we must because of our unrelenting cravings. Butter is bad, eggs are bad, red meat is bad, cholesterol is bad, carbs are bad, fat is bad, etc. Well if that is true, what on earth is there left to eat? Only faux-foods produced by factories that have no fat or carbs, no cholesterol, nor any nutrients. What they do have are toxins in the form of preservatives, steroids, antibiotics, aspartame, and more. These processed foods are supposed to make us all feel better. But we’re fatter and sicker than ever.

I used to believe all the media-myths about food and ate the "healthy" way. By the time I was 30, I began to develop arthritis. At 40 I started struggling with my weight, had my gallbladder removed, and went on acid reducing meds for Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD). By the time I was 50, I was dead on my feet all the time, weighed close to 200 pounds, had unrelenting pain from osteo-arthritis, high blood pressure, mitral valve prolapse that kept my heart in palpatations, fibroid tumors, ovarian cysts, was lactose intollerant and struggled with the flu and colds frequently. Having felt that bad eating a "healthy diet", I surmised that I probably would have died had I eaten butter, eggs, saturated fat, etc.

How wrong I was! Shortly after I turned 50, I really began to research nutrition and I was amazed at what I uncovered. And it all made marvelous sense. I discovered that there is actually a large body of information out there that supports Biblical, or what is also called "traditional" or "ancesteral" nutrition. I found a wealth of honest, credible research that discredits not only our Standard American Diet (SAD for short - really!), but also what is considered healthy eating by most professionals.

I mentioned that this information supports Biblical foods. But what are "Biblical foods? Some say they are only what God gave at creation. But really, it is any food that He has sanctioned as "good" in both Old and New Testaments. If God says it is good, who am I to say differently? This includes meats, fish, pork, poultry, lamb (any type of meat) dairy products, fruits, vegetables, grains, legumes, seeds, nuts, and sweetners such as honey and dates, etc. Really, God has given all forms of food from His creation for the nourishment of mankind.

In Acts 14:17, speaking to unsaved men, Paul said, “God did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” God sustains His creatures with food that strengthens, heals, builds, satisfies and tastes good to boot. “He gives food to all flesh, for His lovingkindness is everlasting. Give thanks to the God of heaven…” (Ps 136:25-26).

Food that God provides for man has always tasted good and been good for the body. A good God could create nothing less. 1 Tim 4:1-5 tells us that in the latter times there will be men who fall away from the faith, “men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth.” That is exactly what is happening now - forbidden foods that we are all afraid to eat. The text goes on to say that “…everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude; for it is sanctified by means of the word of God and prayer.”

Part of what I discovered was that before food changed so much (over the past 40 years) people ate what God put on the earth and did not get fat unless they were gluttons. There was little heart or other degenerative disease. Now we eat less and constantly struggle with weight gain and hunger pangs, are plagued with syndromes, conditions and diseases that did not exist when I was growing up. In fact, when I was growing up, I knew of very few people who were overweight and fewer that had diabetes. It is quite different now. It is expected, says the Surgeon General, that one in every three children born in the year 2000 or later will develop diabetes 2 in their youth, all because of the eating trends in our country.

So, after doing my food homework, I decided to take the plunge - to start eating whole, unprocessed, organic foods. Real butter, eggs, cream, real sour cream, whole milk (raw), red meat, saturated fat as well as fruits and veggies (about the only foods that are not demonized nowadays), and other foods we are supposed to be afraid of and avoid. I also stopped eating man-invented, factory-manufactured, damaging food-like substances.

That was over four years ago. Within two months, I stopped gaining weight though I ate large portions and still do; my blood pressure dropped drastically so I threw out my blood pressure meds; my cholesterol improved; I stopped feeling like the tin man in The Wizard of Oz with his creaky, stiff joints; my energy levels soared; the GERD resoved completely; my lactose intolerance disappeared along with the horrid food cravings; and my heart stopped pounding out of my chest. I ate all I wanted and was satisfied until the next good meal with no desire to snack in between. I very rarely got sick.

All this amazing improvement happened because I started eating real food exclusively - the diet God gave us. When I thank God for my food now, I really mean it because I know how amazing real food is and who gave us such goodness. It not only sustains us, it actually heals our bodies. God is good to give us such sustenance. He gives only what is good for us.

And not only is real food good for our bodies, it also tastes good. Arthur Pink writes, “The goodness of God is seen in the variety of natural pleasures which He has provided for His creatures. God might have been pleased to satisfy our hunger without…food being pleasing to our palates – how His benevolence appears in the varied flavors He has given to meats, vegetables, and fruits! God has not only given us our senses, but also that which gratifies them; this too reveals His goodness.”

Doesn't that make sense? If God was so wise and creative to form us from nothing with all of our complex systems, is it too much for Him to create foods that nourish, build, repair and delight us? No longer am I afraid of real food. It has healed me as He intended food should. He is a good God who gives us good gifts – one of which is delicious, nourishing food. “…give thanks to the LORD for His goodness, and for His wonders to the sons of men! For He has satisfied the thirsty soul, and the hungry soul He has filled with what is good.” Ps. 107:8-9

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding

6 cups rolled oats (not quick-oats)
2 1/4 cups whole pasteurized milk – not homogenized or ultra-pasteurized
2 1/4 cups filtered water
2 tablespoons plain whole milk yogurt
1 1/4 cups pure organic maple syrup (not maple-flavored pancake syrup)
1 cup butter or coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
4 tsp. baking powder – non-aluminum
1 tsp. Redmond Real salt or real sea salt (gray in color)
1 tsp. cinnamon

Directions: Up to 24 hours before baking, combine oats with milk, water and yogurt in a bowl*. Cover bowl and let soak 8-24 hours in a warm place. In morning, combine the rest of the ingredients and pour into a greased 9x13-inch pan. Bake at 375° for 45-55 minutes until lightly browned and set in middle. Serve with maple syrup and cream or half and half. This recipe makes a very large pan of oatmeal. Leftovers can be cut into squares and refrigerated or frozen. Can be eaten cold like a bar cookie or reheated.

Raisins: Add 1 c. raisins when you prepare the oats to soak the day before.
Nuts: Add 1 c. pecans, walnuts or other nut of choice to batter before baking.

*A Real Food Lesson:
Oats are soaked to remove the anti-nutrients, specifically something called phytic acid. Phytic acid is in all seed-type foods. It protects the viability of the seed so that when it is planted, it still has locked within it all the nutrition it needs to feed upon while its roots are setting down. Within the first few hours of being in the ground, the phytic acid in the seed also draws minerals from the ground to the seed, another needed element for a the health and productivty of the plant. After the seed has been in the damp ground for 7 hours, the phytic acid is neutralized and the nutrients are released to feed the sprouting seed.

Phytic acid left in the seed (we harvest the oat seed and it is rolled to flatten, thus rolled oats), acts the same way in our bodies as it does in the ground. It locks the nutrition into the oats and out of our bodies. It also acts like a magnet to bind minerals in our bodies to itself. The minerals are then flushed out through elimination.

Farmers, before the industrial revolution, tied theirs bundles of oats or wheat or other grain into sheaths and left these bundles in the field for a few nights, allowing the dew to settle on the grain. This process neutralized the phytic acid. The grain was then taken to the miller and ground into flour. Since this is no longer happening, soaking the oats in a bowl, in essence, accomplishes the same thing.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Crustless Vegetable Quiche

2 c. coarsely chopped mushrooms
2/3 c. chopped onions
2/3 c. chopped green pepper
1 c. chopped yellow squash
1 t. minced garlic
2 T. butter
5 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. cream
real salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
One 8-ounce pkg. real cream cheese (not low-fat), cubed
1 1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1 1/2 c. croutons made with sprouted bread (get recipe here)

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Saute the mushrooms, onions, green pepper, squash and garlic in butter until tender. Let this mixture cool while making croutons. Mix together the eggs, cream, salt and pepper and add the cooled vegetable mixture. Fold in the cubed cream cheese, Cheddar cheese and croutons and pour into a greased 9x 13-inch casserole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Pasta Pie with Sausage

6 ounces organic brown rice spaghetti noodles (Tinkyada is good)
2 links uncooked Italian sausage (either hot or sweet)
4 T. extra-virgin, expeller-expressed olive oil, divided
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tomato, sliced thinly
1 t. real sea salt (this is gray in color), or Redmond Real Salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 c. cheddar cheese, grated

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat a 9-inch pie plate with soft butter. Cook noodles according to pkg. directions. Drain and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Brown sausage links in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in heavy skillet till no pink remains. Remove to a plate and let cool. Stir eggs, Parmesan cheese and remaining 2 T. of oil into cooked pasta. Press pasta mixture onto bottom and up sides of prepared pie plate to form a crust. Slice cooled sausage into 1/4-inch thick slices. Lay sausage and sliced tomato on pasta. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with cheddar cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes until hot and cheese is lightly browned. Makes 6 servings.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Asian Lettuce Wraps

1/3 cup orange juice
1 T. each organic maple syrup and rice vinegar
1 t. sesame oil
1/4 t. crushed red pepper flakes

8 oz ground beef (grass-fed, raised without antibiotics or hormones)
2 tsp each minced garlic and minced fresh ginger
2 c. Trader Joe's Organic Broccoli Slaw
1 medium red pepper, cut in strips
6 scallions, thinly sliced (1/2 cup)
2 T. hoisin sauce
8 butter-leaf lettuce leaves, washed

Sauce: Whisk ingredients in small bowl; set aside so flavors blend.

Wraps: Meanwhile, cook beef, garlic and ginger in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat for 3 minutes. Add broccoli slaw and red pepper strips; cook 2 minutes more until heated. Remove from heat; stir in scallions and hoisin sauce. Divide beef mixture among lettuce leaves. Drizzle sauce on top.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Split Pea Soup

1 lb. split green peas
filtered water to cover peas
2 ham hocks (from pig raised without antibiotics or hormones and also without nitrates or nitrites)
2 carrots, chopped
1 large yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 qts. chicken bone stock (get recipe here)
1 bay leaf
1 T. fresh thyme leaves or 1 t. dried thyme

Directions: Cover peas with filtered water and let stand in a warm place (inside oven with the light on) for 7 hours or overnight. Rinse the ham hocks and place in a stockpot or Dutch oven along with the remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook for 2-3 hours or until meat is tender and separates from bone easily. Remove bay leaf and ham hocks from soup. When ham is cool, remove from bone, cut into bite-sized pieces and return to the pot. Makes 4-6 servings.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tandoori Chicken

1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 tablespoons water
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, sliced into 3 cutlets each and pounded to flatten

Directions: Preheat grill for high heat. In a medium bowl, mix curry powder, red pepper flakes, salt, ginger, paprika, cinnamon, and turmeric with water to form a smooth paste. Rub paste into chicken breasts, and place them on a plate. Cover, and allow to marinate for 20 minutes. Brush grate with oil. Place chicken on the grill, and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until juices run clear when pierced with a fork.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chicken Parmigiana

10 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 1/2 c. unbleached organic all-purpose flour
real sea salt or Redmond Real salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
3 large eggs and 1 T. water, beaten together well
whole wheat bread crumbs
2/3 c. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
expeller-expressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1 jar Trader Joe's Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms (fat free)

Directions: In a zipper baggie (do not seal), pound chicken gently with the smooth side of a mallet to 1/2-inch thickness. If chicken breast is very large, butterfly thickest part and then slice breast evenly into 2 pieces before pounding. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Place flour in a shallow bowl, eggs also in a shallow bowl and bread crumbs mixed with Parmesan in a shallow bowl (3 shallow bowls altogether). Lightly dredge chicken in flour then dip in egg, coating completely and then in bread crumbs. Prepare all chicken before frying to keep cooking time uniform. Heat 3 T. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large skillet. Make sure pan is well heated (but not smoking). Place chicken in pan (it should sizzle) and fry for 4 minutes on each side until golden brown, turning once. As chicken comes out of pan, place in a 9x13-inch baking dish. Continue to fry chicken, adding more oil as needed. When all chicken is fried, heat the spaghetti sauce in the same skillet chicken was cooked in, scraping up the stuck on flour. After sauce is hot, pour over chicken. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Sprinkle extra Parmesan over chicken and serve. Makes 10-12 servings.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Spinach and Mushroom Quiche

1/2 cup butter
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 (6 ounce) package herb and garlic feta, crumbled
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
real sea salt or Redmond Real salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1 recipe yogurt dough (get recipe here)
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup whole cream-top milk real sea salt or Redmond Real salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium skillet, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion and mushrooms in butter until lightly browned, about 7 minutes. Stir in spinach, feta and 1/2 cup Cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Spoon mixture into pie crust. In a medium bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Season with salt and pepper. Pour into the pastry shell, allowing egg mixture to thoroughly combine with spinach mixture. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Sprinkle top with remaining Cheddar cheese, and bake an additional 35 to 40 minutes, until set in center. Allow to stand 10 minutes before serving.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Chili Steak Tacos

One 2 lb. beef round steak
lard (not hydrogenated) or bacon drippings (from bacon with no nitrites or nitrates)
2 t. chili powder
1 t. ground cumin
filtered water, as needed

corn tortillas
coconut oil
shredded cabbage
real sour cream
sliced green onions

Directions: Slice beef thinly - no more than 1/4-inch. Heat a skillet and add lard or bacon drippings. Brown beef strips. Do not boil off liquid. Add chili powder and cumin and stir to combine. There sould be a sufficient amount of liqud on beef. If not add 1 c. filtered water to pan. Put lid on skillet and let cook for several hours, checking occasionally to make sure there is plenty of liquid in pan. After beef is done, heat another skillet and add coconut oil. Cook tortillas in hot oil till they are completely heated through. Fold in half. Place several spoonfuls of beef in each tortilla. Top with the rest of the ingredients.


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Sprouted Crust Pizza

1 Alvarado Sprouted Pizza Bread (crust)
1 jar Trader Joe's Organic Spaghetti Sauce with Mushrooms (fat free)
3 T. extra-virgin, expeller-pressed olive oil
cheese, grated (whatever variety you like of real cheese)
other toppings of your choice such as pepperoni, bacon, ham or salami (no nitrites or nitrates in any of these), black olives, thinly sliced onions, pepperoncinis (sliced), sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil (drained), Italian sausage, minced garlic, pineapple, mushrooms (sliced), red or green bell pepper (sliced)
more cheese, grated

Directions: Preheat oven to broil. Lay pizza crust on a baking sheet. Drizzle olive oil on pizza crust. Spread sauce over top (as much as you like). Sprinkle a generous amount of cheese over sauce. Lay the other toppings on and then sprinkle more cheese over to top. Put the baking on a lower rack in oven to allow the toppings to bake before the cheese gets bubbly. Remove from oven when cheese is nicely browned.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Franziska - Chapter Two

When we left Franziska she had become a recipient of God’s goodness. She was a teenager when God saved her. Having been born into a Catholic family, she now faced new challenges. Because she was a serious disciple of Christ, her grandparents, with whom she’d enjoyed a close relationship, now disinherited her, giving her portion of their wealth to the Catholic church.

In her adolescence, she had already experienced the cost of following Christ. Because she had tasted of His rich mercies and grace she was willing to give up family relationships and temporal comforts. Earthly riches paled in comparison to God’s love for her. Difficult as it must have been, she accepted her grandparent’s severe judgment rather than deny her Lord the right to rule her heart. She knew the power of the risen Lord which enabled her to commit to this heartbreak. She also knew the empowering of the Spirit of God who was working in her both to will and to do His good pleasure. I wonder, did she sing Be Thou My Vision because she certainly lived it:

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine inheritance, now and always;
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart;
High King of Heaven, my treasure, Thou art.

When Franziska was 20 years old, she married a man named Hermann Gustave Meyer. There were 2 ceremonies, the first of which the state required, performed by a state official. But in another ceremony on May 29th, 1882, shortly after the state ceremony, Hermann and Franziska recited their vows again to their pastor in the presence of their church family and loved ones. This was done because of their desire to honor the Lord in their marriage – making Him central from the onset. They considered May 29th their wedding anniversary.

For awhile the couple lived with Hermann’s mother, Anna, and cared for her before she died. Then because they wanted to spare their children the cruelties of German life with its wars, the couple immigrated to the U.S. in 1886 with their only surviving child, Helmuth, who was 3 years old. Two other children, both girls, Hedwig, age one, and Hermine aged two, died shortly before Franziska and Hermann left for America.

The story behind their daughter’s deaths is mysterious. It seems that as the couple was preparing to leave for America, a woman with whom they were acquainted, having no children of her own, approached Hermann and Franziska asking that they give their daughters over to her rather than take them on the arduous trip. They, of course, refused. The woman, at that point, angrily predicted that the girls would never make the trip, that they would, in fact, die before the Meyers departed.

How this unkind prediction became reality is not known. The details were not recorded or verbally passed down to subsequent generations. But it certainly makes one wonder if the angry woman had a part in the sad outcome. It is not known. What is obvious, however, is that the enemy of Franziska's soul was certainly at work trying to instill unfounded fears in her. But overall, God was working out His sovereign plan for her and her husband.

Though she was no stranger to calamity, Franziska now desperately needed to cling to the truth that God was still good and even this circumstance was wrought out of His love for her. “Though He slay me,” Job said in his affliction, “yet will I trust Him.” Though she undoubtedly struggled, Franziska ultimately consented to God’s sovereign hand molding her, remembering His goodness displayed to her through Christ’s sufferings for her. We know she submitted because of her lifelong testimony of love for her Savior. Bitterness was not a part of her life.

Regardless of this sad turn of events, the Meyers did leave for America as scheduled on a passenger ship called the S.S. Donau in the summer of 1886. Of course they traveled in steerage, the lower-most part of the ship, like most other immigrants. The trip itself was grueling and long. Steerage offered no fresh air and the atmosphere was heavy with darkness, dampness and foul odors. Along with all of the other immigrants, the Meyers slept in narrow bunks stacked three high. Food was served in one enormous kettle from which each family portioned out their share into a bucket. From this common bucket the family ate. There were not even simple amenities such as tables or bathing facilities. Chamber pots served as the "indoor toilets" and of course added to the stench of the crowded hold. For weeks this was the lot of Hermann and Franziska and their little three year old boy, Helmuth, as the ship tossed and turned over storm-impacted waters.

With all this unpleasantness I am sure dry land - any dry land - would have been perceived as blessed relief. But what really awaited them in America? They believed they were destined to arrive in a land of promise and opportunity, but the facts will reveal quite a different scene. The information from which they derived their plan, which was to homestead in Nebraska, was flawed. Land developers in the U.S., at that time, were advertising extensively, even in Germany, praising Nebraska as a wonderland, although Americans knew it as the “Great American Dessert”. Because of these glowing reports, by the time the Meyer’s disembarked the ship in the U.S., they were determined to settle there. So upon their arrival in Baltimore, after a bit of a respite, they began making arrangements to move on to Nebraska to homestead.

Chapter three will unfold the story of Franziska and Hermann's American advernture.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Ground Beef Shepherd's Pie

1 tablespoon expeller-expressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 pound ground beef (grass-fed and raised without hormones or antibiotics)
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 cup green beans
1 cup tomatoes, diced
2 potatoes, cooked and mashed
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup filtered water
1/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degree C). Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with cooking spray. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook onion in oil for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the ground beef and basil, and cook and stir for 5 more minutes. Mix in the garlic, green beans, and tomatoes, and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer beef mixture to prepared dish. In a mixing bowl, mix together the mashed potatoes, egg, and water. Spread evenly over meat mixture. Bake in a preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until potatoes start to brown on top. Sprinkle with cheese, and continue cooking for 5 minutes.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Tart and Sweet Coleslaw

3 T. expeller-expressed, extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. organic apricot or peach fruit-only type spread
2 T. organic unpasteurized cider vinegar (with "mother" type such as Bragg's)
1 T. organic ketchup
1 t. dry mustard
1/2 t. real sea salt or Redmond Real salt
3 c. shredded cabbage
1 c. shredded carrots
2 green onions, thinly sliced

Directions: In a large bowl combine dressing ingredients: oil, fruit spread, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, salt and pepper. Add cabbage, carrots and green onion and toss to coat. Makes 4 servings.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sesame Chopped Salad

1 small head cabbage, shredded
1/4 head iceberg lettuce, shredded
1/2 lb. fresh bean sprouts
1 c. jicama, cut julienne style
1 c. toasted slivered almonds
1 recipe Asian Salad Dressing (see recipe below)

Directions: In a large bowl, combine cabbage, lettuce, bean sprouts, jicama and almonds. Drizzle dressing (see recipe below) over salad and toss to combine. Makes 6 servings.

Sesame and Ginger Dressing:
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. white wine vinegar
3 T. pure organic maple syrup
1 T. organic peanut butter (peanuts and salt only kind)
1 T. grated fresh ginger
1/2 t. dried coriander, crushed
1/4 c. expeller-expressed safflower oil
1/4 c. toasted sesame oil (expeller-expressed)

Directions: In a bowl combine all ingredients except safflower oil. Whisk to combine. Slowly drizzle in oils, whisking until thickened.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Romaine and Apple Salad

1/2 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 c. expeller-expressed, extra-virgin olive oil
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 t. real sea salt or Redmond Real salt
1/2 t. freshly ground black pepper
2 heads Romaine lettuce, outer ragged leaves removed, ends trimmed and cut crosswise into 1-inch slices
1/4 lb. Gruyere cheese, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 green apple, sliced thin
1 large avocado, peeled, seeded and sliced
1/4 c. dried cranberries
Directions: For vinaigrette, whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Refrigerate till ready to use. In a large bowl combine romaine, cheese, apple, avocado and cranberries. Drizzle vinaigrette over salad; toss to combine. Makes 4 servings.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Beautiful Breakfast!

Nourishing Smoothies

A comment from Anne referring to the Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding:

"Oh, that sounds so yummy! I must admit that I'm a breakfast-skipper. I usually resort to cereal by my 10am break because I'm blacking out. Okay, Sharon, I'm going to turn over a new leaf and start making us good breakfasts. I really can't wait to hear about the smoothies!"

Today's breakfast topic guessed it...smoothies. But before that, I want to remind you of my breakfast plan. Here it is once again:

1. Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding
2. An Omelet or Frittata (or occasionally a quiche) of some kind with bacon or sausage
3. A Smoothie of some kind
4. Yogurt with fruit, coconut, nuts and pure organic maple syrup (this is the only fixed menu item - always on Sundays)
5. Waffles, French toast or pancakes with bacon or sausage
6. Breakfast Flan with bacon or sausage
7. Bacon (or sausage) with eggs and sometimes country potatoes

The recipe for the smoothie includes two raw eggs per person. (You will be surprised when you taste it, that you can in no way detect the raw eggs.) Now we hear so much hype about the dangers of raw eggs. But we need not fear salmonella as long as we have our trusty spray bottles of full-strength white vinegar and full-strength 3% hydrogen peroxide. These two used together are more effective than phenol, the industry standard.

Since the salmonella bacteria can only exist on the outer shell of the egg, a spray of both vinegar and hydrogen peroxide on the egg shell will kill any of those nasty little bugs present there. The inside of a fresh egg is always sterile. But the truth of the matter is that only one in 30,000 eggs is contaminated and if you use good eggs from humane sources the percentage drops drastically. Another safeguard is the coconut oil in the smoothie. Coconut oil is antibacterial (pathogenic bacteria). It will kill any pathogens in the mix (not that I think there would be any, but perhaps once in a lifetime it could happen).

This smoothie will keep you satisfied all morning. The recipe for the Cinnamon-Berry Smoothie is been posted on the right sidebar. In fact, it is the first recipe listed there. So enjoy!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Beautiful Breakfast! - Omelets, Frittatas and Quiches

Omelets, Frittatas and Quiches

Breakfast really is the most important meal of the day - a good breakfast that is. We eat a substantial breakfast every morning as you can see. And we do not gain weight. What we do gain from these wonderful meals is a satisfied tummy. Both my husband and I remain satiated till well past 1 PM. We do not snack nor even have the have the desire to.

All your eating throughout the day depends upon how you eat in the morning. If you have a breakfast of carbs (or none at all), you will get hungry before lunch and find yourself snacking. Most likely that snacking will be poor quality food, which supplies little or no nutrition, but plenty of calories and usually bad fat along with a host of other toxic ingredients. Thus a breakfast of carbs does not meet your body's needs and actually ends up causing weight gain, even though it is probably low-fat. And you will continue to feel hungry.

Your first meal of the day should include a healthy dose of good fat, adequate protein and some healthy carbs - preferably a fruit that is high in antioxidants and low in calories, such as blueberries, blackberries, raspberries or strawberries. The fat satiates your hunger, enables the carbs and protein to be absorbed more evenly and slowly and gives you lots of energy. With a breakfast like this, you will be able to function unstressed with a clear head and quiet tummy.

My Dad always used to tell his daughters, "Eat a good breakfast. The health of your future children depends upon it." Most every morning we had eggs. I remained healthy as long as I ate that way at home before school. When I got into college, I began to eat on the fly. Skipping breakfast most mornings, I would eat an orange once I got to school. It wasn't long before I started getting colds.

I'll never forget, as a college student, the first time I ever had a sore throat. It was after I had stopped eating breakfast at home. My throat hurt so bad. I really had never felt anything like it. At the time I couldn't figure out why all of a sudden I kept getting colds and painful throats. Now I know why. My Dad was right. The health of my future children would be affected because my health was affected by what I ate or did not eat in the morning hours.

Here again is my breakfast plan:

1. Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding
2. An omelet or frittata (or occasionally a quiche) of some kind with bacon or sausage
3. A smoothie of some kind
4. Yogurt with fruit, coconut, nuts and pure organic maple syrup (this is the only fixed menu item - always on Sundays)
5. Waffles, French toast or pancakes with bacon or sausage
6. Breakfast Flan with bacon or sausage
7. Bacon (or sausage) with eggs and sometimes country potatoes

Omelet: Omelets are easy and quick to make. I do not follow a recipe specifically. I use 2 eggs per person (just myself and Robert), whisked together with a little filtered water (2 T. for four eggs). Then I:
1. Saute whatever veggies (about 2 cups) I have on hand in bacon drippings (after having cooked the bacon), butter or coconut oil. That might be mushrooms, bell peppers, onion, squash or broccoli, etc.
2. Remove the veggies, clean the pan; place back on medium-high heat; add a little coconut oil or bacon drippings to the pan after it is hot and then add the eggs.
3. Move the eggs to the center of the pan from the edges as they set.
4. Lay on the veggies when the eggs are almost done (on half of the omelet), sprinkle on an herb (fresh or dried) such as basil or cilantro and spread grated cheese on top of the veggies and herbs.
5. Fold half the omelet over onto the half that has the veggies and cheese on it.
6. Remove from the pan onto two plates. We might use toppings such as: sour cream or salsa, etc.

Frittata: A frittata is simply an unfolded omelet run under the broiler. Many times I start out to make an omelet only to find that when I go to fold it, it sticks to the bottom of the pan and is very difficult to turn. When that happens, I redistribute the veggies and cheese so it covers the entire top of the omelet. Then I put the pan under the broiler (I cook in cast iron skillets) until the cheese is bubbly and the egg is puffy. When you take it from the oven, cut it in pie-shaped slices. Though it stuck before it went under the broiler, you will find that it now releases from the pan with absolutely no difficulty.

Quiche: Once in a while I will make a quiche. Quiches are more work than either omelets or frittatas. There are several quiche recipes here on my blog. Click on the Recipe Index on the top navigation bar and look under Main Dishes.


Beautiful Breakfast!

Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding
Mondays posts have been, when I have managed, my weekly menu plans for the evening meal. I have never posted breakfasts or lunches, though I prepare each of those on a daily basis. I do not plan breakfast menus specifically. Rather, I find that we eat the same things on a weekly basis and within those regular servings, there is room for variety.

Over the next few days I will give recipes and explain my breakfast plan. Today's breakfast topic will be Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding.

First, however, is a list of what I prepare throughout the week for breakfasts:

1. Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding
2. An omelet or frittata (or occasionally a quiche) of some kind with bacon or sausage
3. A smoothie of some kind
4. Yogurt with fruit, coconut, nuts and pure organic maple syrup (this is the only fixed menu item - always on Sundays)
5. Waffles, French toast or pancakes with bacon or sausage
6. Breakfast Flan and bacon or sausage
7. Bacon (or sausage) with eggs and sometimes country potatoes

Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding: This is so delicious - such a treat. I'll never go back to plain oatmeal in a bowl. I especially like it because it contains eggs, which are the best breakfast food there is. Once a month I make baked oatmeal. The recipe makes a lot. We eat it hot with cream and a little pure organic maple syrup. Then when it is cool, I cut what is left over (about 10 more servings) into serving-size squares and package the squares in sandwich zipper bags. These individual bags I put into a one gallon-size zipper bag and freeze. So my Baked Oatmeal cooking is done for the month. In a week when it is time to have Baked Oatmeal again, I take out 2 servings from the freezer and heat it (no need to thaw) in a steamer - takes about 15 minutes to get hot. (Get the recipe by clicking above on Baked Oatmeal Breakfast Pudding.)
Tomorrow, Lord willing, I will continue with the second breakfast option - Omelets, Frittatas and Quiches.


Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Mixed Greens, Toasted Maple Pecans and Goat Cheese with Balsamic Maple Vinaigrette

6-8 slices bacon, slivered
8-10 c. baby field greens or torn leaf lettuce
1 c. crumbled chevre (goat cheese)
1 recipe Toasted Maple Pecans (get recipe here)
Directions: In a large bowl, toss together bacon, greens and goat cheese. Drizzle with desired amount of dressing (see recipe below). Add pecans and toss to combine.

Balsamic-Maple Vinaigrette:
1 c. expeller-expressed high oleic safflower oil
1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
1/2 c. expeller-expressed, extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 c. pure organic maple syrup
2 T. Dijon-type mustard
1 large shallot, minced
1/2 t. real sea salt or Redmond Real salt
1/4 t. freshly ground black pepper
Directions: Add all ingredients to a large jar with a tight fitting lid. Cover and shake well. Will last about one month refrigerated. Shake well before serving. Makes about 2 1/4 cups.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Optimum Food Choices: Part One

Though I am not a licensed nutritionist, I do consider myself to be a nutrition researcher. Really, we all are. We hear stuff all the time from the media, our doctors, our mothers, etc. about nutrition and we either listen and adhere to what we've heard or we opt not to act on that information. Which ever is the case, our research is really hands-on and we are the guinea pigs. What we put into our bodies does affect us tremendously. I found out how true that is when I "listened" to what "traditional food" resources were saying, started eating traditional food and got better all the way around.

If you have not read the first two posts, Real Food - Not to Fear, and Real Food Recipes - Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding, it would be helpful to read them before diving into this one.

But we are all experimenting with our bodies everyday concerning food, so we really are food researchers in a sense. I've just taken it one step further by purposely seeking out pertinent information. Now that I know what real food is, I continue to read about optimizing the diet my husband and I eat.

For the next six or seven weeks I will be posting what I've learned in a sort of practical way, with "food reviews" and also nutritional information about the foods that we commonly eat. The review will concern optimum food choices, why these foods are the best choices and where to find them. For the first lesson, I want to give you a picture to grab onto that will help you understand why some foods are better than others.

This is really simple. We all know what happens to an apple when it is cut it in half and laid out on the counter for awhile. Of course, it starts to turn brown on the cut sides. This is called "oxidation". Wherever an apple is exposed to air, heat and light, it starts to deteriorate and succumb to"free radicals". Food of this nature is damaged and when you eat damaged food with its free radicals, it causes damage in your body. For lack of being able to repeat the technical, scientific jargon, I think of free radicals as out-of-control, marauding rebel cells that go about causing harm to healthy cells. That is actually exactly what they are and what they do.

Now that you have that picture, think of the old t.v. commercial about "horrid age spots" that appear on an older person's hands. I have them. (I don't like the way that sounded!) Those brown flecks are what free radical damage or oxidative stress looks like on our bodies. This same kind of damage happens on the inside our bodies also. Granted, age spots appear as we age. But we can age faster or slower depending on the foods that we eat or don't eat. Free radical damage not only ages us, it causes weight gain and also degernerative diseases such as arthritis, diabetes 2, heart disease, cancers and more.

You have probably heard or read recently about "antioxidants". An antioxidant is a component in foods that prevents oxidation, so that is a good thing. If we squeeze lemon juice onto the cut surface of the apple, the vitamin C in in the lemon prevents the apple from turning brown or from damaging oxidation. Hence vitamin C is an antioxident - one of many. It's good to eat lots of antioxidents, for they reduce the free radical damage done in your body, just as vitamin C does for the apple.

Now translate that simple lesson into all of the food we eat. Processed food undergoes damage in the processing phase. When foods are exposed to high heats, oxygen and light for sustained lengths of time, they become very damaged - full of free radicals.

Polyunsaturated vegetable oils are some of the worst culprits. Just like an apple, when the seed - let's say corn seed - is broken open and exposed to air, heat and light, all parts of it begin to oxidize. The oil from the seed is extracted by high, prolonged heat. Then the last 5% of the oil that still remains in the seed is pulled out by a solvent called hexane gas (similar to gasoline). When all of the oil is extracted, the hexane gas is boiled off (residues always remain, however, and it is found in human breast milk).

After this destructive process, the oil looks gray and murky and smells rancid, as it is, so it is deodorized and bleached, for no one would buy it if it was not. This is the pretty, sparkling golden corn (soybean, safflower, etc.) oil that you pick up and pay money for at the supermarket. When you take it home and heat it in a pan, it is further damaged.

Anyway, as I begin to share info with you about specific foods, one of the food reviews coming soon will be more about fats and oils. Though I may not specify when I refer to the foods in the food review, it is a given that they are in the best state possible - organic - without the dangers of pesticides, chemical fertilizers, genetic modification, steroids, antibiotics, etc. Also when you see a #1 or 2 listed, the number one refers to the optimum-most form of the food with number two being the next best choice and so forth.

With that in mind then, let's consider the following:

Beans, legumes, grains, rice, nuts
– buy them organic and whole. If you buy these out of bulk bin containers, make sure to get them in a store where the turnover of the bins is good, such as Whole Foods Market or Raley's. Otherwise buy them in vacuumed packages if you can find them as this will keep the oils from turning rancid. Most all beans, legumes, grains, and nuts (not rice) need to be soaked for 8-24 hours to remove phytic acid and other anti-nutrients. Soybeans are never a good chooice because of the extremely high phytic acid content, anti-nutrients, carcinogens, goitrogens (cause thyroid goiter) and phytoestrogens. WFM; TJs; FC; R*

Note: For more information about phytic acid, please refer to Real Food Recipes - Baked Oat Breakfast Pudding

Bread – 1) sprouted, 100% whole grain breads or sour dough whole grain breads (Alvarado Street Bakery makes delicious sprouted whole grain breads, hamburger, and hot dog buns as well as dinner rolls and sourdough bread.) If you decide to make your own bread, soaking the flour for 7 hours in the water called for in the recipe removes the phytic acid (this robs the body of minerals and locks away the nutrition of the grain). WFM; TJs; FC; R*

There will be a post in the next few days for a recipe for easy slow roasted nuts (so yummy!) Look for that soon. Also, for the next food review, I will cover butter (and other fats and oils), breakfast cereals and cheese.

*WFM = Whole Foods Market
TJs = Trader Joes
FC = Food Co-op (email me about this if you want more info)
R = Raley's Food Stores

Monday, June 23, 2008

Franziska - Chapter Three

We left Franziska in Baltimore with her husband and three year old son, Helmuth, having just arrived from Germany on Sept 28th, 1886. Hermann had $700 in his pocket when they landed in the U.S. He was fascinated with Baltimore because it reminded him of Germany. But since he and Franziska had firmly decided on Nebraska, they soon continued on their journey.

When they arrived in Nebraska they settled in the small town of Beatrice. One of the first things they did was to join the local church. They were drawn to Beatrice because other German immigrants had settled there. It wasn’t long, however, before they picked up stakes and moved to Palisade, Nebraska.

Here, the couple homesteaded, erecting a sod house. Agriculture was somewhat familiar to Herman for he had farmed in Germany and had some experience operating steam engines and also threshing machines which were used to harvest wheat. He was kept busy six days out of the week with this new venture.

On Sundays the neighbors crowded into Hermann and Franziska's tiny 2-room sod house for Sunday School and church services. Franziska was troubled about the large man who came to the meetings. It seems that he enjoyed stomping his feet rather vigorously to the music and she was concerned that he might break through the floor boards and fall into the dugout beneath.

Though that never happened, this bird’s eye view into the worship services that were held in their home reveals the fact that these were no stogy meetings, rather, they were full of life and obviously enjoyable. Franziska's reaction to this man's energy is a confirmation of this for she was not critical of his expression of joy, only concerned for his safety.

Five more children were added to the family in Palisade – Helene Anna Marie (1887), Reinhold Gottlieb (1889), Herbert August (1890; my grandfather – my father’s father), Frederick Wilhelm (1892), and Rudolph Ewald (1894). Now with five more mouths to feed there was greater pressure upon Hermann to see that his crops would provide for the needs of the family. But this was not the case. The land was of very poor quality. Scarcity of food became a problem and at times they barely survived. With nothing but crop failures year after year due to very dry conditions the Meyer family was forced to move several more times, to Culbertson first, still attempting to farm, but the conditions got no better.

This was the land that was portrayed by American land developers as heavenly. In Germany, ads were posted on street corners picturing a chicken with a fork stuck in it, as if all one had to do was grab a utensil and eat. Now reality was before this couple and trusting God in the midst of the famine (literally) was not an easy thing to do. These were very difficult times for the family, sometimes barely staying alive because of a lack of food.

Three more children were born in Culbertson – Emma Amalia, Hannah and a little boy, Max. Hannah, however, died in infancy, meaning she may have been as old as one or two, as were the two little girls who died in Germany just before Hermann and Franziska left for America. It was also said of them that they died in infancy, though Hedwig was one and Hermine was two.

With one disaster following another we might wonder where God was in all of this. Did He not love Hermann and Franziska? If His love is measured only in doses of material prosperity and "good times", then we would have to say that He did not love them. But God's love does not work that way. Romans 8:38-39 assures us "that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." No difficulty can separate us from His love. His love is upon us in the midst of the difficulty which, in fact, is designed by His hand of love for us. He draws us to Himself through the difficulty to pour Himself out in comforting billows upon our grief-stricken hearts.

In Jeremiah 32:40-41, Gods tells us, "I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them; and I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me. I will rejoice in doing them good...with all my heart and all my soul." What we think is good and what God knows is good are sometimes two different things. He is in the process of training us. But everything, pleasant or unpleasant, that comes to the child of God is from His sovereign hand of goodness and love - even the deepest, most heart breaking situations.

Did Franziska bear up under this great distress by remembering that nothing would ever, could ever or had ever separated her from her Heavenly Father's love - that, in fact, the trial was even His love expressed working for her good and His glory? She must have settled there on that truth for she never stopped serving her Savior out of a heart full of love for Him.

In 1899, 13 years after having arrived in America, following many sad experiences, including times of near starvation, the family traveled in three covered wagons, crossing the Missouri River into South Dakota to join relatives who lived there. Here they attended the Avon Baptist Church and continued farming. Two more children were born in South Dakota, Gustav and Arthur, but both died in infancy.

With every move, the family became part of the local church. Their life was centered there, and they regarded it as an extension of their immediate family. Hermann and Franziska served wherever they were needed. They regarded the church as precious – as the manifestation of Christ. With such heartache to endure, surely the church was a wellspring of compassion and stability for this couple.

Chapter four will follow and will tell a brighter story as God works to establish a stable residence and livelihood for Hermann and Franziska's family.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Franziska - Chapter Four

If you remember from chapter three, the family made a move to South Dakota in 1899. This location was chosen because two of Herman’s aunts lived there.

The trip from Nebraska was an arduous, long 360 mile journey. That, by today’s modes of travel, is nothing. But moving along slowly in a covered wagon for 360 miles with seven children and livestock in tow would take much endurance. The wagons only covered 12 – 20 miles on an average day, so it would have taken anywhere from 18 – 30 days to make the trip.

My grandfather recounted one of his memories of the trip, “When we – that is my folks – moved to Avon, South Dakota from Nebraska we crossed the Missouri River on a flat ferry boat...crossed…with our 3 wagons and 7 others besides. It was a broad flat boat with railings almost all around propelled by a steam engine built on that great platform, and while crossing it belched great volumes of black smoke; it didn’t go fast but we got across alright.”

Traveling in three covered wagons, two of the sons, Rhinehold (called “Ray”) and Herbert (my grandfather) were given the great responsibility of leading several mules on horseback. They had difficulty keeping up with the wagons because the mules were stubborn and traveled slowly or not at all if they had such a mind.

At times the mules were so immoveable that the boys would lose sight of the little wagon train. At those times, in fear, they wondered if they would ever see their parents again. But all family members made the journey safely. It is interesting to note, however, that these two boys were only 8 and 10 years of age at the time, Herbert being the youngest. What a great weight of responsibility for such small boys!

In South Dakota a farm was rented and Herman raised corn, wheat, oats and had pastures of grasslands – I assume for livestock to feed on. He supplemented the crop income, if a crop was actually produced and sold, by painting buildings and digging cisterns.

Franziska and Hermann’s relatives – his two aunt’s families – helped each other in the fields, threshing grain and working together six days out of the week. On Sundays they worshipped and served together in the German Baptist Church in Avon.

The family continued to struggle in South Dakota as they had in Nebraska. As mentioned in the last chapter, two more children were born there, Gustav and Arthur, but died in infancy. My grandfather, Herbert Meyer, remembered that one child died as a result of drinking tainted water. This hardship, coupled with the same crop difficulties they faced in Nebraska, had to have been extremely disheartening.

About this time, Hermann’s brother, Ewald, who had come to America shortly after Hermann and having settled in LaSalle, Colorado, began urging Hermann and Franziska to join him there. Ewald was the pastor of the Beebe Draw Baptist Church in LaSalle and also farmed. He implored Hermann, “Why, with all those boys you could really make money raising sugar beets.”

But these moves were difficult for Franziska. Imagine her weariness with seven children to care for and the continued struggle she faced with each of the little ones that were laid to rest over the years. There was also the burden of farming, which the wife shared in most of the time. I’m sure she was doubtful after so many moves, each with its accompanying disappointment, that their lot would be any better in Colorado. Despite her initial reluctance, however, in 1904 the livestock and farm machinery were loaded onto a railroad car and the family of nine picked up and moved to Colorado.

Once there, Hermann and Franziska joined the Beebe Draw Baptist Church, where Hermann’s brother, Ewald, pastored. Hermann began farming again and he also preached at the church when his brother needed him to fill in. But Hermann not only preached at church, he made sure also that no one left his home without an encouragement from the Scriptures.

Hermann also enjoyed writing poems in his native German language for special occasions. These verses Franziska faithfully recorded for him. During dinner one evening Hermann suddenly sprang from his chair and motioned for Franziska to follow him. They went in the bedroom and shut the door. I'm sure the children wondered about this, but they stayed seated at the table nonetheless. Sometime later the bedroom door opened and Hermann and Franziska joined the children again. They then listened as Hermann read the poem he had just composed and that Franziska had recorded.

Max, a little boy born in Culbertson, Nebraska, died less than a year after the family moved to Colorado. He had contracted diphtheria and was so ill that the doctor was asked to come to attend him. Unfortunately, the doctor arrived, but was completely intoxicated and could therefore do nothing to help little Max. It may have been too late anyway by the time he arrived. Sadly, on Valentine’s Day, 1905, Max died, having just turned six years of age a few days before.

The family had a photograph taken soon after this loss. Perhaps Franziska felt a need to have a tangible record of her children that remained after having given Max over to the grave. (For those of you who read the first three chapters before this chapter was posted [Feb. 16th, 2008], you remember that this was stated to have occurred in Culbertson in chapter three. However, I had the chronology wrong and apologize for the confusion.)

In all of her struggles, I’m sure there were times when Franziska felt like giving up. After all, she had surrendered 6 of her 13 children over to the grave. She had faced the near starvation of her living children and the failure of one crop after another. She had seen her husband labor strenuously, long hours each day to get a crop into the ground only to watch it sprout and then die in the blasting heat of an arid summer dust storm.

I wonder what Scriptures Franziska turned to in order to find solace? Perhaps she was familiar with Habakuk 3:17-18: "Though the fig tree should not blossom and there be no fruit on the vines; though the yield of the olive should fail and the fields produce no food; though the flock should be cut off from the fold and there be no cattle in the stalls, yet I will exult in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvaion." Did she read Isaiah 41:10? "Do not fear for I am with you; do not anxiously look about for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." Or Psalm 34:18: "The LORD is near to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit."

But Franziska's story does have many years of joy. In chapter five we will discover that now, after much past difficulty, with the family settled in LaSalle, Colorado, at long last, they were able to prosper. We will also get to know Franziska a little better – how she spent her time, what she enjoyed doing at home and how she ministered in the body of Christ.


© Franziska's Pantry

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