Thursday, December 25, 2008

Asian Sesame Dressing

We had leftovers for Christmas dinner. Lame. I know. But I cooked a feast last night and a feast this morning and after traveling to my parents house and back in a storm and cleaning up after Christmas Morning, the though of whipping up something new was far too daunting. My kids chose leftover Pasta with Spinach Garlic Cream Sauce (recipe coming soon). My husband chose leftover roasted veggies, mashed potatoes and balsamic honey salmon. And after all the holiday junk food, I chose a lovely colorful green salad with and lot of avocado sliced on top, a little crumble of leftover salmon, and a generous sprinkle of ground flax. But the only dressing I had in the fridge was Ranch- and that did not go with my salad mood! Necessity is the mother of invention right?

Asian Sesame Dressing

1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup rice vinegar or sushi vinegar
1/2-1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tbsp agave
1 tbsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp powdered ginger
approx 1/2 tsp wasabe paste (optional)

Put it all in a bottle and shake it up baby! Couldn't be much easier!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Vegan French Toast

I went looking for some healthy breakfast ideas for a Christmas morning treat and here is one of the favorites I found. I think I'll be substituting coconut oil for the margarine.
These are very banana-y depending on how ripe your bananas are. I loved them! We had them Christmas morning with homemade hash browns, orange juice, and a little splurge of turkey bacon.

Vegan French Toast
  • 2-3 ripe bananas
  • 3/4 cup soy milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • bread, any kind is fine
  • vegan margarine
Blend bananas, soy milk, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla in blender or food processor and pour mixture into pie plate or wide dish. Gently dip bread slices into the mix, coating both sides. Fry in vegan margarine in medium-hot skillet until golden brown. Serve with maple syrup if desired, and, as always, enjoy your wonderful vegan French toast!
This comes from Jolinda Hackett on

*Extras can be frozen and cooked up in the toaster or flashed in the oven.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Breakfast Cookies

Per the holiday season, I've been getting requests lately for healthy dessert recipes. Our family doesn't have desserts that often so I knew this would take some experimenting, but my first experiment turned from intended decadent dessert, to cookies so healthy my kids have been eating them for breakfast! When sleepy mommy is trying to feed the baby, sending the kids off to grab a cookie or 3 for breakfast is awesome! I'll be making another batch for my husband to eat during the drive to work on cold mornings (When smoothies are just too cold!).

Breakfast Cookies

1 apple (of the sweet variety- jonagold, gala, fuji), peeled and finely diced
1/2 cup water
3-4 tbsp coconut oil
2 tbsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp nutmeg
1/2-1 tsp ground clove
1 banana, mashed
approx 6 dates, pitted and diced
1-2 tbsp agave nectar
3-4 tbsp ground flax seed
2 cups rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
approx 3/4 cup raisins
approx 3/4 cup chopped almonds (optional)

Place water, coconut oil, diced apple, cinnamon, nutmeg and clove in a small pot on stove top and bring to a simmer over medium heat for about 3 minutes. Add mashed banana and dates and let simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and add agave.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In mixing bowl, combine flax seed, oats, baking soda, flour and sea salt. Mix together. Add fruit mixture to dry ingredients in bowl, along with raisins and almonds. Mix well, adding more water if needed.
Roll golf ball sized scoops and place on greased cookie sheet. Press down into cookie shape. Bake at 350 F for 15 minutes.

Delicious Quinoa Tabouleh

This year my family decided to have a Middle Eastern evening for a more authentic Christmas experience. It was awesome. We all lounged around on blankets around the food, dressed in galabeas and robes. We enjoyed hot lentil soup, dates, almonds, grapes, boiled eggs, hummus with pita bread, and I volunteered to bring the tabouleh. Taboubeh (tab-oo-lee) is a very light and fresh tasting salad made traditionally with bulghar wheat. I chose to make it even lighter by using quinoa. (I love quinoa.) I made a huge batch- that fed 20 people generously, so I am going to cut it in half for this recipe.

Delicious Quinoa Tabouleh

1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed in hot water
3 1/2 cups water
1 medium/small bunch parsley, finely chopped, stems discarded
2 tbsp fresh mint (or 1 1/2 tbsp dried)
1 medium-large cucumber seeded and chopped
(if you leave the peel on, wash it well- the peel is where the vitamins are!)
approx 1- 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, quartered
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup lemon juice
Sea salt to taste (about 2 tbsp)

Place water in rice cooker or pot. If in rice cooker, add quinoa and a little salt and set to cook. If in pot, bring salted water to boil, add quinoa, cover, turn to low heat and cook for approx 15-20 minutes until water is absorbed.
Transfer cooked quinoa into a large bowl and let cool.
Once cool, add parsley, mint, cucumber, tomatoes and onion. Mix well. Combine olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and sea salt in a bowl or magic bullet and whisk or blend. Pour over quinoa and vegetables and mix well. Cover and refrigerate for at least two hours. Serve cold.
For presentation, I lined my serving bowl with romaine lettuce.

We had baklava for dessert... YUM!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Yummy Yam Pot Pie

Perfect for a cold winter night. It was hard to remember and measure what I put in this one- it was very on-the-fly. My family LOVED it though, so I had to try!
The crust can be substituted with puff pastry sheets for convenience.

Yummy Yam Pot Pie

3 yams or sweet potatoes, peeled and dice in 1/2-1 inch cubes
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
approx 1 cup chopped carrots
2-3 tbsp flour
approx 2 cups mushroom broth and/or vegetable broth (I used a mix)
approx 5-6 spears asparagus, chopped in 1/2 inch long pieces
approx 1 cup frozen whole green beans, chopped in 1/2-1 inch pieces
approx 1- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
1-2 tsp dried bouquet garni (basil, thyme, sage, oregano mix)
Sea salt or Realsalt to taste

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Steam yams in steamer or steamer pot until soft- approx 10-15 minutes.

Heat oil over medium high heat. Add diced onion and carrots and saute for a few minutes until onion is soft. Whisk in flour and then broth a little at a time. Add asparagus, green beans and corn. Simmer over medium low for approx 10 minutes stirring occasionally. Add cooked yam cubes and stir well. Add more broth if needed. Let simmer until carrots and asparagus are mostly soft.

1 1/2 -2 cups flour
1 tsp sea salt
2-3 tbsp butter (might be able to substitute with coconut oil for vegan)
approx 1/2 cup cold water

Mix flour and salt in bowl. Dice cold butter. Cut butter into flour or mash in with fork. Add water gradually, stirring until soft dough is formed. Add more water if needed. Divide into two sections (one slightly larger than the other) and roll out thin on floured surface. Line greased baking pan (9x9 or similar) with larger dough sheet. Place in oven for 10 minutes. Add pie filling and cover with other dough sheet. Make two small cuts in top and bake in oven for about 30 minutes until crust is golden brown.
Let cool slightly and enjoy!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Sweet Simmered Black Beans and Green Chile Brown Rice

I love restaurants like Cafe Rio, Bajio, Costa Vida, etc. Before I cut back on the meat and basically became a pescatarian, I had perfected a marvelous sweet pork/chicken recipe for salads, tacos and burritos. These beans serve as a substitute for the shredded meat. I don't miss it too much. The rice compliments them beautifully. I used the rice in the burritos or salad with the beans.
They can be used in burritos, salads, tacos, or served on their own.

Sweet Simmered Black Beans

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can petite diced tomatoes (you can just do two cans of whichever tomatoes you have)
1/2 large sweet onion
4-5 cloves garlic
juice of 1-2 limes
3 cans black beans, rinsed and drained
approx 1/3-1/2 cup agave
approx 3 tsp sea salt
approx 1/2 tsp ground cumin
approx 1/2- 1 tsp chili powder
(optional) 1 cup frozen or fresh corn kernels

Place 1 can of diced tomatoes including juice in food processor or blender with onion, garlic, salt and lime juice.
In medium pot, saucepan or crockpot, combine tomato mix, can of petite diced tomatoes, beans and remaining ingredients, bring to a simmer and cook on low heat at least until warm, stirring occasionally (if on stovetop), or for at least 1-2 hours (if in crockpot). The longer it simmers, the better- the flavors will combine and the beans will soak them in.

Green Chile Brown Rice

2 cups brown rice
3 cups water
2 cups vegetable broth
2 cans mild green chiles
2-3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/3 cup agave

Place all ingredient in rice cooker and follow cooker instructions. Fluff with fork.

Combine beans and rice together in whole wheat tortilla for healthy, yummy burritos served with colorful salad.

For an amazing salad:
Crisp up tortilla in a little olive oil in a skillet, then place on plate, layer rice, beans, salad greens and colorful veg mix, top with favorite dressing (I like lighthouse ranch) or salsa and enjoy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Update from Potty Training post

My 8 month old daughter has taken to this potty training thing like a fish to water! We are 2 days in and she's gone in the toilet many times- both liquid and solid. She wets her diaper during naps, but we've only had one wet diaper besides those today! She is so excited about it! I can hardly believe how smart she is! I wish I'd known about this sooner!
When she finishes she wants to sign to everyone in the house that she went potty and have them cheer for her. SO cute!
I think the unused cloth diaper fabric will become some little training pants.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Smart Babies!

When my oldest was about 9 months I came across information on Baby Sign Language. This would prove to help form many of my views and methods of parenting. He picked up on it fast. Within mere days he was communicating things to me like, "I need medicine, my teeth hurt." with only a few hand gestures. It hadn't really occurred to me that my baby comprehended things so thoroughly and at such a young age. Our learning to communicate with each other opened up our relationship and closed the door on so many manipulations that children learn to use to get what they need or want when they have no other means of communication. With subsequent children I have begun signing to them at 5-6 months to get them used to the idea of communication and how to do it. They start signing back around 7 or 8 months. My second son learned "milk" (for nursing) and "change" (for diaper change) and then tossed it all out the window and started talking early. He is 3 and has a larger vocabulary and comprehension than many kindergartners and 1st graders. He is learning to control and deal with his emotions and the the frustrations that come with his body trying to catch up with his brain. My daughter is 8 months old now. A couple weeks ago she started signing 'milk'. Now she signs 'please', 'change', 'medicine' and reaches for things she doesn't know signs for. This week she started telling me 'change' before she went or as she was trying. I thought laughingly, "I could potty train her!" But of course, brushed off the thought. The today when researching baby sleep patterns, I ran across a website for Infant Potty Training. INFANT! I'm a little late on the learning windows, but considering her behavior lately, I think I might try a little and see where it goes. I love ideas outside my automatic western mindset that turn me on my ear a little.
Here is an exerpt from the webpage:


Babies are smarter than we think! The big mistake that people make is to presume that a newborn baby is unaware of going to the toilet. We assume an infant is incapable of toilet learning since infants are small and uncoordinated and also because they cannot walk or talk. An infant is helpless in so many ways that it is hard for Westerners to imagine such a tiny being could be aware of peeing and pooping. It is even harder for us to believe that an infant has some control over elimination. With these preconceived and narrow views, we encourage and teach our babies to be unconcerned about wetting and soiling diapers. In short, we teach our infants to use diapers as a toilet.

A normal, healthy infant is indeed aware of the bodily function of elimination and can learn to respond to it from infancy. By using diapers, we condition and thereby train baby to go in them. Later the child must unlearn this training. This can be confusing and a traumatic experience for the child.

An infant does his best to communicate his awareness to you, but if you don't listen, he will stop communicating and gradually lose touch with the elimination functions. He will be conditioned not to care and learn that you want him to use his diaper as a toilet.

Not only is toilet training from infancy basically unheard of by many, but it also strikes some as inconvenient. With relatively few exceptions, however, toilet training is by definition inconvenient no matter when or how you do it. If you wait for your baby to self-train at 2, 3, 4 or older, you are subjected to years of diaper changes and clean-up as well as diaper struggles.

Diapers, especially disposable ones, are a temporary way to deal with toileting. We attempt to "plug up" our child's disposal system with diapers in the same way as we temporarily stop the flow from a leaking pipe. How many parents have pondered whether or not this is the most hygienic solution for the child? How many parents care about the effects of diapers on the environment? How many would care if they knew of an alternative to full-time diapers?

I am intrigued. let's see where this goes...

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Interesting Thoughts on Animal Proteins

This came from 'the body fat guide website'. Which I ran across in researching animal protein and butter.

The French Paradox

Looking first at the role of animal fat in producing disease, one comes across a contradiction to the conventional wisdom: the French Paradox. If eating animal fat produces heart disease, why do the French, who eat plenty of saturated animal fat, have lower rates of heart disease?

The explanation that is consistent with the research on animal protein is that the French consume animal fat largely in the form of butter and cream, which is very low in animal protein. When considering the overall diet of the French, one sees that it is much lower in total animal protein then the Western diet, even though it is higher in animal fat.

Similar to aspirin, red wine is reported to make blood platelets less sticky and thus less likely to form blood clots that cause arterial obstruction leading to strokes and heart attacks. Even so, wine has not been reported to directly reduce arteriosclerosis and cholesterol levels. However, since wine contains no animal protein, while milk does, wine may indirectly lower cholesterol levels because significantly less animal protein is included in one's diet when one drinks wine at meals instead of milk, as do the French.

This does not mean we should start drinking wine; rather, it implies we might be better off drinking less milk! But, before striking out animal-protein foods altogether, such as milk, meat and eggs, it is best to analyze how much animal protein these foods contribute to one's diet. One can then decide how much of these foods, if any, to eat.

Percentage of Calories from Protein in Animal Foods
Food % of Calories from Protein
Beef, Regular Ground 21.42
Beef, Lean Ground 26.84
Beef, Extra Lean Ground 31.84
Butter 0.49
Cream, 25% Fat 4.04
Sour Cream 5.92
Cheddar Cheese 20.00
Cottage Cheese, Lowfat 62.22
Chicken, Skinless Breast 73.60
Egg, Whole 33.60
Egg White 82.35
Fish, Flat 82.30
Milk, Whole 21.19
Milk, Skim 39.06
Tuna, Solid White, Water 85.71
Turkey, White Meat 76.17

Here is the entire article.

The more I research, the more I find that the choice to consume under 10-20% animal products seems a sound guideline. The processes required to digest animal protein tend to leech our bodies of vitamins and minerals and makes it hard for us to keep up!

See related post: Calcium Without The Cow.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Coconut Shrimp Curry

Oh, this one turned out good. I try to listen to my body and it was craving seafood and coconut milk!

Coconut Shrimp Curry

2 tbsp coconut oil
1/2 sweet onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
1-2 Tbsp curry powder (depending how spicy you like it)
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1-2 tsp cumin
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
1 14 oz can coconut milk
2 tbsp corn starch
approx 4 cups shrimp (I used frozen, pre-cooked, de-veined, tail off)
1 red bell pepper, sliced or coarsely chopped
approx 4-5 cups loosely packed fresh spinach, chopped
approx 1 1/2 cups frozen sweet corn
Sea Salt or Realsalt

Start brown rice cooking. (I do mine in the rice cooker. 1:3 ratio rice to salted water.)

Heat oil in skillet on medium heat.
Saute onions and garlic until soft.
Add curry, cumin and cinnamon and mix until onions are coated.
Add tomatoes in their juices and coconut milk and mix well.
Whisk in cornstarch.
Add shrimp and red pepper and bring to a strong simmer. Reduce heat to medium low continuing to simmer.
Add spinach. Mix in until wilted.
Add in corn and continue to simmer until sauce thickens a little (about 10 minutes).
Salt to taste.

Serve over brown rice and enjoy!

Brown Rice

Brown Rice vs White Rice

Simple and straight forward explanation.
(click link for pdf)

Coconut oil and Agave

It is said the best way to learn is to teach.
There are things that I kind of know about health and why I cook and eat the way I do. But when someone asks me why, I want to be able to answer with facts. And so, the fruits of some of my research courtesy of (By the way their website has great prices on both coconut oil and agave. You can also find great deals (and free shipping) on

Why Coconut Oil?

Canola oil was the oil we used for many years. We heard it was good for you because it was polyunsaturated. The oil in meat is a saturated fat and the cause of many health problems. The problem with canola oil is the toxins. It comes from the rape seed plant. I have seen them growing in Canada. In order to make it edible the company has to process it to remove the toxins. It still has many toxins. When it reaches the body temperature the toxins are worse. We studied this and came to the decision to change our cooking oil. When Faye stopped using canola oil she overcame many health problems. We have the studies and Faye's experience for our evidence. If you use canola oil, find a way to experiment and see how you feel with it or with the oil we recommend.

We recommend coconut oil for all cooking and baking. It is the most stable at high temperatures. It is even more stable than olive oil. Many years ago a scientist did a bogus study on coconut oil. He used the hydrogenated form and showed a high increase in cholesterol levels. The word got out that it was not good. When the scientists at Harvard learned that it was actually good for you the word was slow to catch on. Coconut oil does not have to be hydrogenated to stop rancidity. Although it is a saturated fat, it is actually very good for you. The medium chain fatty acids help the body use all other fats. It has lauric acid which is anti fungal, anti bacterial, anti viral. It is so healthy that it is being tested for the help with aids patients.

As an extra plus it actually makes foods better.
We sell it in the form that has no taste. It is naturally a solid in the winter and a liquid in the summer. It does not have to be refrigerated. It lasts for years. I use it in all the recipes that call for butter or vegetable oil. You will be amazed at how soft and tender the whole grain foods are when made with coconut oil.

You will be even more impressed with how you feel when you use it. You can go to to learn more. For cooking and baking use coconut oil. Make sure it does not get so hot that it smokes. This causes carcinogens in any oil. For salad dressings use olive oil.
  • Contains lauric acid also found in mother's milk
  • Anti viral, anti fungal, anti bacterial for use against measles, common cold, influenza, yeast infections, ring worm
  • fights against herpes
  • protects against heart disease
  • promotes weight loss because it helps the body use all other fats
  • under investigation to see if it will help aids patients
  • seems to help thyroid
Why Agave?
(I personally prefer raw blue agave.)

Benefits of both White Agave and Xagave

Low on the glycemic index .The problem: sugar raises your blood sugar levels of insulin, a hormone that signals your body to stop burning fat, and start storing it. agave, a low glycemic index food (approximately 30), does not raise your blood sugar levels

Tastes like sugar

All natural nectar derived from cactus plant, not like splenda or other artificial sugar substitutes
  • Weight Loss and Management.
    Xagave saves calories in two ways: (1) it is sweeter than sugar therefore, you use less, thereby saving calories; and (2) it moderates blood sugar levels leaving you feeling more "satisfied" after consumption – so you eat less and feel more satisfied.
  • Improved Energy.
    Unlike sugar or high fructose corn syrup, Xagave will not "spike" your blood sugar levels and will let your body know that it is consuming calories. Xagave contains Fructose and Inulin that help moderate and manage consistent blood sugar levels. Eating regular small meals of low GI foods can provide consistent energy all day long without feeling tired or hungry.
Added Benefits of Xagave:

The Xagave was developed by a company because of their concern for diabetes in their family. They noticed that the blue agave had more inulin. The raw agave tastes better. They combined them to get the wonderful taste of the raw and the inulin from the blue.

Premium Blend.
Xagave is a special blend of the nectars derived from Agave Azul (Blue Agave) and Agave Salmiana (White Agave). It contains the inulin from the blue and the great taste from the white.

Low Glycemic Index.
The Inulin (a soluble fiber and probiotic), helps moderate blood sugar.

Xagave is grown in the rich, volcanic soils of Central Mexico. Xagave is a RAW product in that the nectar is processed at temperatures that never exceed 117 Degrees thereby retaining all its natural enzymes to help you digest it better.
  • Enhanced Immune System.
    Inulin, improves your digestive health by stimulating growth and activity of the good micro flora while inhibiting growth of bad bacteria in your intestinal tract. Studies have shown that daily consumption of Inulin may reduce frequency of fever, diarrhea and other illnesses. 70% of your immune system is located in the intestine. The carbohydrates in agave are not digested by the body, but used to feed the good bacteria in the intestine.
  • Improved Bone Density.
    Studies have shown that Inulin enhances calcium and magnesium absorption by as much as 20% and increased bone density by as much as 15%.
  • Improved Elimination.
    Studies have shown that daily consumption of Inulin improved both fecal weight and frequency of extrication. This is extremely important as once food is digested and makes its way to your gut, it becomes toxic. The quicker you get waste out the better and healthier you will be.
  • Diabetic Friendly.
    Consult your physician, but Xagave has been tested and has a GI level of about 30. This puts it in the low category and is considered safe for most diabetics.
  • Lowers Cholesterol.
    Inulin helps lower cholesterol
Directions For Best Results: Use Xagave instead of sugar, brown sugar, honey or other artificial sweeteners in your favorite recipes and save significantly on calories consumed. As a general rule, Xagave is considered to be 1.5 times sweeter than sugar and honey – so you use less than sugar and honey and save significantly on calories without sacrificing flavor. There is no "after taste" like artificial sweeteners or limitations on how or when you can use the product. With experience, you will be able to quickly make adjustments in all of your favorite recipes and improve their flavor over sugar.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Whole Wheat and Veggie Mini Calzones

These were a hit with the kids. My nephews tend to be picky about their veg, so hiding it in a "pizza pocket" let them munch happily and be well nourished as well. You could leave out the mozzarella to make it vegan.
The crust is the same as my whole wheat pizza crust but I give it a little less rising time to keep the pockets compact and contained.

Whole Wheat and Veggie Mini Calzones


1 cup warm water
2 tbsp agave or honey
1-2 tbsp active yeast
1 tsp realsalt or sea salt
2 tbsp olive oil
approx 2 cups whole wheat flour

Place warm water in a mixing bowl and dissolve the agave or honey in it. Sprinkle in the yeast and let sit for 10 minutes until foamy. Add the salt, and oil and gradually mix in the flour until a soft dough forms. All the flour may not be mixed in yet. Dump it all out on a clean surface and mix in the rest of the flour by hand, kneading well for about 5-10 minutes. Should be slightly firm and not sticky. Lightly oil a clean glass bowl and set the dough in, rolling to coat lightly with oil. Cover and set in a warm place for about 30 minutes. Dough shouldn't quite be double in size.
Divide into 6-8 balls.

1 small can tomato sauce (if you like a slightly thicker sauce, toss a can of diced tomatoes in the blender and pulse a bit instead)
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well.

Topping possibilities:
shredded mozzarella
Chopped fresh spinach
diced red, yellow or green peppers
corn kernels
grated carrot
diced red onion
chopped mushrooms
sliced olives
(For tonight's dinner I used sauce, cheese, spinach, red pepper and grated carrot for the kids, and added red onion for the adults.)

Putting it all together:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Take one of your dough balls and roll it out into a circle. stretch it with your hands as well and get it nice and thin. Place a fairly generous amount of sauce in the middle and spread it around, making sure to leave about an inch of edge clean. Place cheese on half of the sauce. Add your toppings to that half in layers, then top them with more cheese. Fold your sauce-only half over the topped half and pinch the clean edges to seal. Gently slice a couple little cuts in the top to let air escape during baking. Place on a baking sheet prepared with cooking spray and a light sprinkling of cornmeal. Repeat until all are done. Place in oven and let bake for 20 minutes. Remove and let cool slightly. Serve with a colorful green salad and enjoy!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Whole Wheat Spinach Ravioli

This was another experiment gone right! The dough rolling takes some time and effort (which is way easier if you have a pasta roller) but they turned out to be worth it! If you wanted to cheat or you don't have the time, get some wonton wrappers or pre-made pasta sheets.

Whole Wheat Spinach Ravioli

2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tsp realsalt or sea salt
2 tbsp butter or vegan butter spread
3/4 cup boiling water

Place dry ingredients in food processor or blender and pulse until coarse (looks like cornmeal). Slowly add hot water while mixing. Dump out on clean floured surface and knead until you have a stiff dough. Add water by the drop or flour as needed. Separate into 3-4 balls and roll out with rolling pin as thin as you can get it (about 1/8 inch or thinner). Use 2 1/2 to 3" round cookie cutter or cup and cut out as many circles as you can, gathering scraps and rolling out again. Place dough that is not being worked with (cut outs as well) under a damp cloth to keep from drying.

1-2 tsp olive oil
1/2 red pepper
3 cloves garlic
3-4 cups fresh spinach
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1-2 Tbsp dried basil
1-2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp realsalt or sea salt

Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Rub red pepper and garlic cloves in a light coating of olive oil and place on a dish or baking sheet in oven. Remove garlic after approx 5 minutes and red pepper after approximately 10 minutes. Turn off oven. Place all ingredients in food processor and pulse until finely chopped and mixed well.

Press thumb in center of 2 dough cutouts to make them curve a bit and scoop approx 1 tbsp filling into the center of one. ( I used my melon baller to scoop.) Cover with second dough round and pinch edges together tightly to seal. Repeat until all cut outs are used.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Gently drop in 5 or 6 ravioli at a time and let cook for 3-4 minutes. Ravioli will float consistently when they are done. Remove from water with slotted spoon and place in a bowl or dish. Drizzle with olive oil.


1-2 tbsp olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced or micrograted
1 can tomato sauce
1 can petite diced tomatoes with sweet onions
(you can use regular diced tomatoes, this is just what I had and your sauce won't be as sweet. You can add a little agave and onions if you want it sweeter)
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1-2 tsp dried basil
1/2 -1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp sea salt

Heat oil on medium low in sauce pan. Saute garlic for about 1 minute, then add all other ingredients, stirring occasionally until heated through. Serve over raviolis.

Serve with a colorful green salad and enjoy!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Red Pepper and Lime Hummus

This was an experiment with a happy ending!

Red Pepper and Lime Hummus

1 can chickpeas or garbanzo beans mostly drained
2 tbs olive oil
juice of 1 small lime
1 large clove of garlic
1/4 red pepper
2-3 drops sesame oil
dash of cumin
approx. 1/2 tsp sea salt

Put it all in the blender or magic bullet and blend until smooth.

This is an awesome dip or spread for chips, veggies, pitas, wraps, sandwiches... you name it!
I slathered it on a whole wheat tortilla and wrapped it around leftover salad for lunch.
So good and so healthy!

To treat an ear infection... without trauma or antibiotics

Our bodies are normally populated with friendly, helpful bacteria. These bacteria do all sorts of things from aiding in digestion, to keeping the unhealthy, unfriendly bacteria in check. Thus taking antibiotics orally and wiping out all bacteria, good and bad, can be harmful to everyday health. Now, I'm not on any mission against antibiotics- they are necessary at times, but they are highly overused in our society. When they are necessary, I always try to accompany them with probiotics (acidophilus being one) to help repopulate the colonies of good bacteria. I have a real problem with pumping my children's tiny bodies with antibiotics because they have an ear infection that causes pain, but will probably go away on it's own. There comes the catch- no one, especially me, wants to see their baby in pain. This is my rescue. You have to catch the infection pretty early. If the infection gets deep into the inner ear, you'll probably have to resort to other measures.

Take a fresh, peeled garlic clove and cut the outside and ends off to create a small plug (you want it juicy on all sides). Place the plug in the middle of a tissue or square of toilet paper, wrap it up and twist the end. cut off the excess tissue. Take a little olive oil on your finger and rub the ouside of the tissue in a light coating of the oil. This acts as a conductor. Have the child (or adult- it works on us too) lie down or recline with the infected ear up. Place the wrapped and oiled plug in the ear opening. Don't push it in, just set it there and let it sit for 10-20 minutes if possible. Usually pain relief occurs within 15 minutes and the infection will be gone within 24 hours. If symptoms return or persist, try it again. If syptoms worsen or persist beyond 48 hours after 2 treatments, call the doc and do what you have to.

This has proved to be a major source of relief for my kids (and me) and has saved us plenty of doctor visits.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Quick and Easy Vegetarian Burritos

When I need a quick and easy dinner, this one is my fallback. It's quicker without the chopped veg, but quick is a relative term. ;) Health is worth the time.

Quick and Easy Burritos

1 can vegetarian refried beans
2-3 tbs lighthouse ranch dressing
2-3 tbs favorite salsa (optional)
1-2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4-1/2 red pepper, minced
about 1/2 cup corn kernels
about 1/4 cup grated carrot
about 1/3 cup grated fresh mushrooms
finely chopped spinach
1/2 can rinsed black beans
precooked brown rice
shredded mozzarella cheese

Whole wheat or white flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Combine all ingredients except rice and cheese in a bowl and stir well.
Place a few tablespoons of rice and a large pinch of cheese in the middle of a tortilla. Top with a large dollop of bean mixture. Fold in ends and roll. Place on baking sheet. Repeat until filling is gone. Bake for about 15-20 minutes depending on burrito size.
Serve with a colorful green salad and enjoy!