Friday, May 29, 2009

Peanut and Sweet Potato Soup

This is a vitamix recipe but I am sure you can make it in a normal blender and heat on the stove.

Peanut and Sweet Potato Soup
Yield: 7 cups

Speed: Variable to High to Variable Time: 6 to 7 minutes

1 cup (240 mL) low sodium vegetable stock
1 cup canned chopped tomatoes, drained
1/2 cup onions, sauteed
3 cloves garlic, roasted
8 ounces silken tofu
1 cup natural peanut butter
15-ounce can sweet potatoes (not in syrup)
1/2 cup red pepper, diced (reserved)
1/2 cup green pepper, diced (reserved)
1/4 cup scallions, chopped (reserved)
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
1/4 teaspoon paprika (optional) with salt and pepper, to taste

1 T cinnamon (my add..I needed it)

Place all ingredients in Vita-Mix container in order listed, except reserved ingredients. Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1. Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH. Run for 6 to 7 minutes. Reduce speed to VARIABLE, speed #4. Add reserved ingredients. Run for additional 10 seconds. Serve immediately.

Garnish: Brown rice, diced cooked chicken, chopped roasted peanuts.
Health Classification: Low Cholesterol, Gluten-Free, Vegetarian, Vegan

Meal Type: Soups

Nutrition FactsServing Size 1 cup (240 mL)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g
Saturated Fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 297mg
Potassium 730mg
Total Carbohydrate 31g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 11g

Protein 14g

Vitamin A 118%
Vitamin C 56%
Calcium 8%
Iron 11%
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on you calorie needs:

Total Fat
Less than
Sat Fat
Less than
Less than
Less than
Total Carbohydrate

Dietary Fiber

Calories per gram:
Fat 9
Carbohydrate 4
Protein 4

Monday, May 25, 2009

Big Boobies Macaroni Salad and so much more!

Hehe, my sister in law gave me this recipe, she has two friend's named Linda so she calls the one Linda Big Boobies Linda (she doesn't mind being called this). She has the best macaroni salad, so I asked my sister in law for it and wanted to distinguish it from the other macaroni salad recipes I had around, so I called it Big Boobies Macaroni Salad. She told Linda this and Linda laughed and said, put it in a recipe book and call it that! So cute!

Being that its picnic time, I wanted to post it on here.

Anyway, here is the recipe. It's truely the best macaroni salad ever.

Big Boobies Macaroni saladFrom big boobies Linda

One green pepper chopped
½-¼ onion chopped
Four hard boiled eggs
Two third box of macaroni
2 c kraft mayo
1½ c sugar
¼ c white vinegar
½-3/4 t mustard
Mix together

If you steal this recipe, you have to keep the name ! LOL.

and while I am at it, here is a hot bologna recipe, I will try and keep the name of this simple and 'clean' lol. Don't buy it, its better homemade.

Hot Bologna (spicy)1 ring bologna
1 tbsp. crushed red pepper
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups white vinegar
3/4 cup water
Cut ring of bologna in pieces, about 2 inches long. Place in a glass jar. Add crushed red pepper, cayenne pepper, and salt. Mix white vinegar and water. Pour over bologna. Shake well, place lid on jar and refrigerate. Should be ready in a day or two.

Here is a refreshing recipe for summer picnics or anytime really. I love it in the summer, its spicy but when you eat it, the coldness of the veggies refresh you.

Summer Salad
3 cans corn (or about two bags frozen is fine)
2 green peppers (chopped)
1 onion chopped
hot peppers (to liking) chopped
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can kidney beans
4 cloves garlic (chopped)
4 cucumbers sliced and diced
4 chopped tomatoes
3 T red wine vinegar
4 T olive oil (or 2 of them can be flaxseed oil)
2 T Cajun seasoning
salt and pepper to taste
mix all ingredients together and let set in refrigerator for a few hours.
This is so refreshing, and healthy. You can add anything you want to it from the garden. I never thought corn would taste good cold, but I can’t eat enough of it in the summer! I love it. I just call it summer salad. Matter of fact, I am going to run to the grocery store right now and get some ingredients to make this, until my garden grows.

And one more recipe for Potlucks and picnics. My sister in law makes something similar to this, I don't know if this is her exact recipe or not..but its pretty close, its what I make anyway, and its good.

Taco Dip
In a 9 inch pie pan or square pan

Double for a lasagna pan (you will want to double it!)

1st layer:
1 can refried beans or Black beans are even better.

2nd layer
½ c mayo
½ c sour cream
½ packet of taco seasoning

3rd layer:
2 scallions with greens chopped
2 tomatoes chopped
½ c black olives chopped
garlic to your liking
Jalapeno chopped (optional)

Top Layer:
Grated cheddar cheese

Dip tortillas

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

What is a Recipe?

To me, a recipe book is just an idea book. I get many ideas from reading them, but I almost never follow them, in fact, if you see me cooking, you rarely see a cookbook on the counter.

It's ironic that I collect recipe books but never follow a recipe. They are my inspiration. I read them while watching tv, or in a waiting room, and think..hmmm..that sounds good but how about..and I go into the kitchen and create.

You can swap things in the recipe, substituting say something as simple as banana for pumpkin, or you can add something totally new to it, like cinnamon to spaghetti sauce (my grandmother always did this, cinnamon is so healthy as is tomato sauce, double antioxidants). If you see a recipe and think, ew, I don't like that, sub something else in it. Some people hate beans. You can make a super delicious chili without beans (I love beans personally). Play around, add chicken and beef or sausage to it..make it with what you like.

One thing I also almost never do is measure (unless I am baking, since baking is a science). Anything else, just gets judged and thrown in, and if I love it, more of that ingredient gets thrown in.

A recipe is merely words on paper; a guideline, a starting point from which to improvise. It cannot pretend to replace the practiced hand and telling glance of a watchful cook. For that reason feel free to stir your own ideas into this dish. When you cook it once, it becomes yours, so personalize it a bit. Add more of an ingredient you like or less of something you don’t like. Try substituting one ingredient for another. Remember words have no flavour, you have to add your own!

Words of Michael Smith of Chef at Home on Food TV Canada

(it used to be on here in America and I miss it dearly so I go on his site for ideas all of the time. I also have his cookbooks, not so much recipe books, because I am very much like him, I do not follow recipes, whatever I cook, I make my own)
On that note: here is a recipe from Michael Smith's website, see if you can make it your own.
Apple Chips

1 cup of sugar
1 cup of water
1 x whole granny smith apple, un-cored and thinly sliced into rounds.


Apple Chips

Bring sugar and water to a boil, without stirring. Once sugar has dissolved, simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool.
Soak apple slices in the cooled simple syrup for a minimum of 20 minutes or overnight. Preheat oven to 300° F.
Drain apples and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Bake until golden and crispy.
Here is his website if you want more info on him, his show or his "cookbooks" if you can call them that, they are great reads, don't get me wrong...and he does give measurements but will you follow them? That's totally up to you.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Could you live without closets?

When we bought our early 1800s farmhouse, it was really a fixer upper. The wrap around porch was basically the only thing it had going for it at the time, but that porch was what made me fall in love with the house. Since then, we have done so much work, I still love the porch, but although its still a work in progress, I adore my house and never want to move.

My sister in law had always mentioned her lack of closets in her farmhouse and I never really gave it a second thought. In fact, in looking at the house, the fact that it didn't have closets really didn't cross my mind.

I had lived in a house that had full sized closets that were full. Before that I had a huge kitchen with cabinets that I could not even fill, I had so many cabinets but I managed to downsize and still cook meals from scratch in a smaller kitchen. Not only did I not have closets but this house has no pantry!

Imagine, if you will, taking everything that is in a closet, and pantry in your home, and pretend that the closets dont' exists. Where would you put everything? The vacuum, the ironing board, sewing machine, not to mention the clothes, shoes, etc.
My sister once said to me, you have too much stuff....when I told her to empty her closets and find new homes for everything, she changed her tune.

I have managed to live closet free for 10+ years now. Times were simple when they built my house. I had to be very creative, and, even though there are times when the clutter takes over, I am always keeping on top of it and purging to keep it under control.

My pots and pans hang from the ceiling beams in my kitchen, as well as some baskets I use for popcorn etc. My China cabinet is where I keep the plates we really use (I don't believe in having 'special plates' because my kids are more important to me than the Queen of England, so they eat off of the good plates and when they break, we dont' sweat it).

I have old wooden beer crates in my bedroom that hold my extra sweaters on top of my 10.00 cedar armoire I found at a yard sale. That Armoire holds almost nothing and takes up more room than its worth sometimes. Aprons, and table clothes etc are in the buffet in my dining room. Kitchen towels are in the living room in a Longaberger basket with a lid.

I carry my vacuum downstairs to the basement when company is coming (well when I have notice that company is coming, which doesn't happen often)..otherwise, my kirby sits in the dining room lol. I upgraded to a laptop so that I don't have to have a big clunky computer and I can sit on my patio and surf the web.

I was talking to a man the other night who told me that he bought an old farmhouse and I said to him...let me ask you a question, do you have closets..he looked at me like I must have been to it, and said, how'd you know? I said I too have an old farmhouse, they are famous for no closets lol. He said his clothes are everywhere, and I told him, I live here for 10+ years and still do not have my clothes under control, you never will! lol

I would not give up my old farmhouse for all the tea in China! Closets or not...I love it.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Deirdree Imus's The Essential Green You

Another book I can't put down! I have read the other books in her series and this one is another fav that I will keep in my library and not part with (sorry, get your own, I won't loan it lol).
She offers great info on both becoming vegan/vegetarian, and if you chose, how to find safe and environmentally friendly meats and dairy products. What to look for on labels, where to find good safe food, personal products, medicines, make ups etc. This book is a must read for those who are conscious about their health.
The Review from her page
In THE ESSENTIAL GREEN YOU! Easy Ways to Detox Your Diet, Your Body, and Your Life – Volume Three in the Bestselling Green This! Series (Simon & Schuster Trade Paperbacks; December 30, 2008; $15.95) Deirdre Imus, philanthropist, environmental and children’s health advocate, explores ways individuals can change the way they live their daily lives for their own benefit as well as the benefit of the environment. Imus gives readers advice on how to protect themselves from toxins and empowers them to lead a healthy life.
The Book You Need to Kick Off to a Healthy 2009Available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Target stores,or go to Amazon to order now.

100% of the author's profits from this book will benefit the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer.
Imus shares tips on how to green the way we take care of ourselves. Topics include: the food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the cosmetics and toiletries we use. Imus educates consumers on a wide range of issues, including: how to eat green without paying a premium; how to identify nontoxic personal care products; which kinds of medication have the least toxic impact on our bodies and the environment; where to find clothes that are both environmentally friendly as well as fashionable; and so many others. “Greening your life isn’t about sacrifice,” says Imus, “it’s about adding quality to your life. A cleaner, healthier lifestyle can bring us closer to nature and the people we love.”
THE ESSENTIAL GREEN YOU! includes the most up to date scientific research and motivates conscientious consumers to reduce their exposure to environmental toxins and to make realistic and affordable changes to conventional care products and techniques. Filled with effective solutions to the many problems our modern environment presents, THE ESSENTIAL GREEN YOU! features:
A list of labels found on a range of food and grocery store products, with helpful definitions and safety precautions for staples like meat and fish, for shopping smarter every day.

How to make sense of the many unstudied substances in personal care products we take for granted, like shampoo and deodorant, with clear recommendations for specific nontoxic products and when to compromise.

A walkthrough of a wardrobe’s entire life cycle, to better understand the enormous impact clothing production has on our environment.
An even-handed, no-nonsense examination of dietary supplements, alternative remedies and holistic healthcare. Packed with reliable research and Deirdre Imus’ common-sense know-how, THE ESSENTIAL GREEN YOU! proves just how easy it can be for even the busiest people to make effective, wholesome lifestyle choices for healthier, happier lives.
* * * ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Deirdre Imus is the Founder and President of The Deirdre Imus Environmental Center for Pediatric Oncology® at Hackensack University Medical Center and Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer. Deirdre is the author of two New York Times bestsellers -- the newest book in the Green This! series, Growing Up Green, Baby and Child Care; a practical family guide to raising children in an ever increasing toxic world; and Green This! Volume 1: Greening Your Cleaning, offering a wealth of insights and expertise for protecting families from harmful chemicals.
She is also author of The Imus Ranch: Cooking for Kids and Cowboys, a national bestseller, and a frequent contributor to the Huffington Post. She has also written several articles for Town & Country, Commerce, and other magazines. ABOUT THE BOOK: THE ESSENTIAL GREEN YOU! How to Detox Your Diet, Your Body, and Your Life – Volume Three in the Bestselling Green This! series By Deirdre Imus Simon & Schuster Trade Paperbacks Publication Date: December 30, 2008 Price: $15.95 ISBN-10: 141654125X / ISBN-13: 9781416541257
100% of the author’s profits from this book will benefit the Imus Cattle Ranch for Kids with Cancer.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

newer hummingbird pics

I took some more hummingbird pics on my porch this week. Not bad for using my 5+ year old digital camera.

People with kids, don't forget to check out my other blog!

I have homeschooling ideas, tips, as well as fitness info and other ramblings on this blog

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Sweet Chili Tofu Fried Rice from Tyler

I love Tofu, and Tyler Florence lol.

I removed the video because it was playing at the same time as other sounds on my page.

If you want to see him make it (he is nice to look at and he cooks!! whoo!)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I love my Vitamix !!!

This is the model of vitamix I have. There are newer models with speed control dials on them, but this suits us just fine.

My father in law got us a vitamix a few years ago. We thought he was crazy to spend so much money on a "blender". Its not just a blender, it's so much more! You can make soups and all in it, and it heats them too. We love it.

Super heathy, better than a juicer too because it grinds up the fruits and veggie pulps to a smooth liquid, that you get the whole food in your soup/drink. if you want to see what all it does, they have a video on their site and recipes etc.

Here is a recipe I got from the vita mix group I am in.

Black Bean Soup

3 cups Chicken or vegetable stock
28 ounce Can of black beans (1/2 reserved)
30 ounce Can of chickpeas (1/2 reserved)
1/2 cup onion, cooked
3 cloves Garlic, roasted
3 T lime juice
1 Jalapeno pepper, seeded
1/4 cup red pepper, diced (reserved)
1/4 cup green pepper, diced (reserved)
1/4 cup yellow pepper, diced (reserved)
1/4 cup scallions, chopped (reserved)
1 t cumin
2 t chilli powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients in container in order listed.
Secure 2-part lid. Select VARIABLE, speed #1.
Turn on machine and quickly increase speed to #10; then to HIGH.
Run for 6 to 7 minutes.
Reduce speed to VARIABLE, speed #4.
Add reserved ingredients.
Run for additional 10 seconds.
Serve immediately.
Yield: 7 1/2 cups (1.8 L)
Note: If you look behind the bar in restaurants, most have the vitamix back there!


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Recovery Drinks and Fitness Supplements

Marian Nestle is an amazing woman and I just want to post a excerpt from her blog about supplements and recovery drinks...
My "recovery drink" after a workout comes from FOOD...REAL FOOD! I take out my vitamix, throw in some walnuts whole and bananas, and grind away till it makes a paste...then I add some milk and cocoa powder...the bananas make it sweet for me...and give me potassium. I need the chocolate because, that is me!!! So cocoa is a healthier choice than something like a sugary fake chocolate syrup. I add a few ice cubes to make it really cold and there is my "recovery drink" Simple and all REAL!

Do Sports Supplements Help?

September 2, 2007 Today’s question: Dear Prof. Nestle, I enjoyed your article in the recent Scientific American and thought that you would be a good person to ask the following: Food supplements have become a huge fad among people who “work out”.Protein powders, various lipids, amino acids and dozens of other arcane pills and potions. My step son, who is otherwise a very sensible and educated young man, indulged in some of them (maybe still does) when he lifts weights. I tried to convince him that a normal, healthy diet is all that one needs. That perhaps these supplements make a difference to competitive athletes who want to shave a few milliseconds off their speed, or add a few pounds to their weight-lifting, but that for a person who just wishes to be fit (even REALLY fit!) they are a total waste of money. One pays tens of dollars per kg or two of protein extract. For a similar cost, relief agencies ship hundreds of times that weight of basically the same material to 3rd world countries.

Moreover, I doubt very much that most of the claims made for them have ever been proven in proper clinical trials. I’m not even sure whether some of the nutrients that are known to be part of normal metabolic pathways cross the plasma membrane that readily. And even if they do, do they provide enough extra to make any detectable difference in performance. I raised this issue with several colleagues in our Physical Education Faculty…and they seemed equally sceptical about the value of these substances. One of them said that the supplements might help decrease the time at which one reaches a specific level of performance, but not the ultimate level itself. What might be your thoughts? My thoughts: I devote a chapter in my book, What to Eat, to the question of supplements. The chapters come with extensive end notes and references, which may help convince colleagues. My understanding of sports supplements is similar to yours–they give a tiny edge to elite athletes but act as placebos for everyone else. The marketing hype is so over the top that the attorneys for several states are taking them on. But I like to put sports supplements in context: they are generally harmless and are a whole lot better than steroids.

This is by far, the best nutrition book I ever read. (her blog link is here too)
I also want to note that what it says on the container of your powdered protein drink (or whatever nutritional supplement you are taking, herbals etc) may not be what is really in it.
There is no one to mandate that its bad for you, that it really has what it says is in it...its a free for all. The only thing the FDA does, is once its already on the market, test it and if they find it to be harmful they can pull it from the shelves...the damage to you may already be done! Why do you think you see the lawyers on TV asking if you have been hurt or lost a family member to something such ephedra or diet supplements etc...The supplements you use may not be safe (and don't fall for the products study..they are selling it, of course their study says its good, duh).
Be safe, get your nutrition from REAL FOOD... and in as natural of a form as you can!

this is a cross post from my Enzo's Galaxy blog, because I like to get my point across.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Artisan Bread in Five Min a Day Pizza Crust

I found my flour!!!!! I made pizza last night that tasted exactly the same as pizzerias. My family loved it so much. We made it Neopolitan style (thin crust, but not thin like paper thin)...
It's so easy using the Artisan Bread In Five Minutes a Day book. I used flour, water, yeast, sugar and salt. Throw it all in and mix with a wooden spoon. So lazy to make, yet so good. Let it set on the counter for 2 hours, throw in the frige and its ready to grab a wad and use at a moments notice...make bread, pizza, bagels, etc.

The flour I used is....King Arthur Unbleached High Gluten Flour (sir lancelot)
made from high protein hard red spring wheat of the highest quality available. (haha took that right off the sticker on the bag) I use 1 C semolina and 5.5 cups of the king Arthur High Gluten.

I got it in a 5 lb bag at the mennonite country store near my house for $ 3.03! They buy it in bulk and bag it in many quantities, so you can buy smaller bags and bigger bags.

I will use it again and again. Says on it its used to make bagels and pizza dough. Now if I can only find NYC water in a bottle to make it even more like NY pizza...this was truly the best ever and we make a lot of pizza, always changing and looking for the perfect combo.
I used the Master Recipe (from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book) and added about two tablespoons of sugar. You can make it thin like we did and I am sure it will be good as a sicilian style pizza too if you prefer that.

Its crispy outside and chewy inside. yum.

before baking...little mozzerella balls all over it. YUM.

My husband and I make a great team. I make the dough, and he forms the pizzas. This below was my favorite, I ate almost that whole pie...white pizza with spinach and garlic is my weakness! He makes it on my pizza stones but he puts it on parchment so its easier to get in and out of the oven.

To watch the authors of this book make the dough in no time at all, watch this you tube video.
Also, see the authors blog. I have it in my fav links section too. I found this book over a year ago and adore it, they are coming out with a whole grain version of this book in the fall or winter of this year and I can't wait.
I promise you, anyone can make this dough! It takes no kneading..its a lazyman's dream come true for havin homemade pizza, breads, bagels etc. My son loves the cinnamon raisin bread. I make it in the early morning in less than five min, let it rest and then bake it, and he wakes up to hot cinnamon raisin bread.

This is the best book by far for making breads and doughs.  Below are the Author's making the bread on video. 

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Make your own Hummingbird Nectar

This is the hummingbird at my house at was getting really dark, I never expected to see one this late. In these pictures I used the nectar that came with my new feeder, hence the red color, but I make my own nectar easily with sugar and water and no color.

The hummingbirds at my house fight over the three feeders we have. Its quite enjoyable to watch them fighting, it resembles a quiddich match like in the movie Harry Potter. I see them mostly in the mornings and early afternoon, and then in the early evening, up until a bit past dusk. I don't see them during the hot times of the day, I guess they are smart and stay in shady locations when the temperature soars.

Here is a recipe to make your own nectar, we make our own every year. It does not need to be red...we have alot of activity at our feeds with just clear nectar. Its super fast to make, and very inexpensive!

Hummingbird Nectar Recipe

Directions for making safe hummingbird food:

Mix 1 part sugar (use raw sugar if you can help it) with 3 parts water and bring to a boil to kill any bacteria or mold present.
Cool and fill feeder.
Extra sugar water may be stored in a refrigerator.
Red dye should not be added.
The hummies are attracted to the red flower on your feeder, not the color of the nectar.  I love the feeders with landings because they stay longer when they can sit to eat.

All about HummingbirdsIncluding hummingbird-attracting plants, zoom pictures of a hummingbird garden, colorful pictures of tropical hummingbirds, and much more!