Archive for Food, Recipes, Canning, & More

Apple Cider, the old fashioned way!

ImageLast weekend I met up with some girlfriends for a Sunday afternoon of apple pressing in the country.  It was a blast!  Love getting together with other ladies who enjoy organic foods, gardening, home food preservation, good company and fresh air!  While I had a fun time, apple pressing is hard work.  Megan was gracious enough to open her home and farm up to us and share with us her apple press and grinder.   We all came with local and organic apples, glass jars and a pot luck meal. 

We had an assembly line going beginning with washing the apples and cutting off any wormy, bad spots.

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Next we ran the apples through the grinder. 

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Then we filled the pillow case-lined wooden bottomless barrel with the ground apples.

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They are ready to be pressed!  We turned the crank as far as it would go then inserted a stick for a leaver to crank it down further.  We had to then loosen and repeat with a wooden block under the press to squeeze out all of the juice.  Megan’s husband, Ian helped us get every last drop!  We repeated this over and over again until all of our approximate 4 bushels of apples were processed.  This may sound quick and easy but ittook 7 of us about 3 hours to make 6 gallons of cider to share.  We also had many unwanted guests there, and it wasn’t the fruit flies from my kitchen.  Bees!!  Honey bees everywhere!  Including many that probably got pressed along with the apples.  There were more and more of them by the minute.  We made it through with only one person getting stung once, not too bad.

With the 3/4 of a gallon of apple cider I took home last week there’s maybe a cup left!  DH thought it had a “weird aftertaste” but the boys and I loved it and made some apple cider popsicles too.  I had a great time pressing apples in the country, but I do also appreciate that I can do the same in a fraction of the time with the Jack Lalanne juicer in my kitchen.

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Our garden fresh potluck!  Love the handmade from reclaimed barn wood giant kitchen table too!

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Healthy Dessert’s Cookbook Giveaway!

Congradulations to the winner, Teslaca, picked from random.org

 

Yes, you did read that right.  I did use the word’s “Healthy” and “Dessert” in the same sentence.  And, doing so I’m not talking about “fat free” or “sugar free”, which are not health at all, but thats a topic for another day.  Mom-blogger at Modern Alternative Mama, and author, Kate Tietje has just released her 4th cook book “Treat Yourself:  Real Food Desserts”!

Kate’s book is loaded with fabulous recipes utilizing natural ingredients such as honey (with immune benefits, especially when using local honey), pure maple syrup (not the kind that has corn syrup in it), Sucanat (the least processed form of granular sugar) comparable to Rapadura; also, butter, cream, fruit, almond flour and sprouted grain flour and other natural foods.  For those with food allergies and gluten sensitivity or intolerance she has plenty of grain-free and some GAPS-friendly recipe’s too!

I have tried the Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce from Kate’s dessert cookbook, her version of Nutella, a favorite in many households.  It was extremely easy to make, and no artificial unpronounceable ingredients!  It MIGHT have taken me 6 minuets.  We dipped banana’s in the Chocolate Hazelnut Sauce for an after dinner treat.  Kate also suggest trying it atop her crepe recipe or as a frosting on a cake.  This is definitely a great recipe if you want to impress the family and throw together a quick dessert in a bind.

Tonight my husband requested Lemon cake so I whipped out Kate’s new book and was happy to make Kate’s version of this classic dessert,  loaded with wholesome ingredients and a great fresh taste for the summer.  It turned out very moist and very lemony! Her recipe called for a bunt pan which I didn’t have so I used a 11×8 glass baking dish and enjoyed the same great taste, toped with homemade whipped cream (without white sugar).

GIVEAWAY (starts 9/12, ends 9/16/2011)

Kate has generously donated a free copy of “Treat Yourself:  Real Food Desserts” for one lucky reader.

Here’s how to enter:

  1. To be entered go to Modern Alternative Mama and leave a comment at this post of which recipe from the Table of Contents you would most like to try.   Be sure to leave a valid e-mail so I can contact you to claim your prize.

For Extra entries:

  1. Subscribe to Mom Going Green and leave a comment stating that you did.
  2. Blog about this giveaway and linking to Mom Going Green using  ” Healthy Dessert’s Cookbook Giveaway” as the title in your blog’s post.  Then, leave a comment here with a link to your post.
  3. Go to Modern Alternative Mama and subscribe and comment here that you did so.
  4. Go to Modern Alternative Mama and Follow on Twitter, and comment here that you did so.
  5. Follow me on (DrHeatherP) on Twitter and Tweeting about this giveaway.   Then comment with a  link to your tweet.
  6. Add Mom Going Green to your blog roll and comment that you did so, with a link to your site.

Discount Code

If you do not win the giveaway but would really like to own this fabulous cookbook you can purchase the book at Modern Alternative Mama and receive 25% off using the following code: GREENTREAT.  It expires on: 9/19/1

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Nothing Beats Farm Fresh

This summer I have started my mission to get as

Visiting the Cows

much food as possible from local farms, farmers markets, and our own garden, and as little as possible from grocery stores.  I am so frustrated with the way our country’s food industry works.  Like everything else, its all about the money.  Cheap, unhealthy ingredients, and a lot of them is what you will find in most processed convenience foods.  My grandma recently tried to buy a package of frozen fish at the store and put it back on the shelf when she saw it came from china!  My mother-in-law recently saw on the news that there are 30% fewer nutrients in our foods now than when she was growing up.  Large industrial farms are more concerned with the look and size of their food than the quality.   Food on grocery shelves with few ingredients and healthy, natural ones are few and far between!  Its so sad to see.  Its no wonder I see young people come into our chiropractic office unhealthy, overweight, and on multiple medications.  They are a product of our society today and the food most readily available and affordable.  I imagine my generation and those to come will not live as long as my grandparents generation.  There is just too much intervention ruining our food, and most in the name of money.  Now that I have ranted for a while, and I could go on for pages, I’ll move on to the good stuff.

Jack checking out the Pigs

In my mission to obtain farm fresh foods and without breaking the bank, I have decided to start with meat and dairy (which we don’t eat a lot of), the foods highest  on the food chain and most likely to be contaminated.  I was so happy when I received an email from friend and fellow mom, Kate of Modern Alternative Mama, inviting me to join a group of local families ordering meat and raw milk from an Ohio farm.  The farm is Luginbill Family Farm.   For any family’s in Northwest Ohio, Columbus, or Dayton, I highly recommend Luginbill.   We have had a wonderful experience so far and have enjoyed quality meats and eggs at affordable prices from a family farm.  We have tried eggs, chicken, turkey, and beef.  The eggs are huge, and a challenge to crack open and obviously from a healthier chicken.  My husband wonders if the grocery store eggs could even capable of hatching a chicken.   Last month we tried a whole chicken and enjoyed 2 meals of white meat and then froze the remaining chicken pieces for later and boiled everything else to make 8 cups of stock!  I am planning on trying their raw milk soon too!  In addition they have lamb, and many cuts of beef and pork.  Kate toured the farm and interviewed the farmer before organizing the ordering group, but recently we made our first trip to the farm to do a pick-up!  We enjoyed a tour of the farm.  Jack had a great time watching the animals!   If you are local and interested in joining our ordering group let me know.  The prices are on the farm’s website.  If we get enough people in our group, the farm will deliver to Columbus.

Free Range Chicken's

Chasing the Turkey's

Dr. Heather’s Recommendation on choosing a farm

    1. Visit the farm – personally meet the farmer and take a tour of their farm.  You will be able to see first hand how they care for their animals and quality of food and have an opportunity to ask them any questions you have.
    2. Look for a farm that is either certified organic, in the process of getting certified, or who follow organic practices.  Some smaller farms may not have the resources to get certified but are as organic as any other certified farm and often have more affordable prices and offer more of a personal experience.
    3. Ask if they will be able to keep up with your needs, and do they have a variety of offerings to suit your family’s menu.
    4. How local are they and are they willing to deliver?  The closer the farm, the more “green”!  If the farmer is delivering from a far distance, you and the environment may be paying for the fuel costs.

Friendly Farmer's

Have you tried a local farm?  Have you noticed a difference in the quality of food?

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Refreshing Raw Summer Soup

I love making soups for lunches in the winter.  Its a great way to warm our bodies and house and there is so much room for creativity and nutrients!  In the summer, cold soups can be just as enjoyable!  Try this refreshingly healthy and light creamy tomato soup from Alive in 5 by Angela Elliott.

Combine the following in a blender:

3 Large tomatoes (I used 5 medium)

1 Cup Almond milk (preferably homemade)

1 Ripe Avocado

1/2 C fresh basil (I used a medium handful)

1/4 C fresh oregano (I used a small handful)

1 tsp salt

1 tsp fresh squeezed lemon juice (I used a little extra)

1 tsp curry powder (I forgot this one and it still tasted great.

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1/8 tsp black pepper

If it’s too many flavors for your child or you can’t get the texture smooth enough, try without the fresh herbs.  That is what I did with Jack.  He was hungry and didn’t want to wait on me to go out to the garden and he loved it – ate 2 bowls!  I added the herbs for my husband and I.  The book says it makes 3 servings but mine made a little more.  I will definitely make this one again!

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Recipe: Leeks and Greens Soup

 

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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This tasty green soup will keep you warm and healthy this winter.  Homemade soups are a stable in our house in the winter.   Soup is fun because you can get creative with it.  I like to make soups with seasonal foods when possible.     Eating warm foods can also make you feel more full faster than eating colder foods.

3 Tbs Butter

1-2 Garlic cloves

1 Onion

1 Leek

8 oz Brussels sprouts (i used frozen to keep the cost down)

4.5 oz green beans

5 Cups organic vegetable stock

1 Cup frozen peas

1 Tbs lemon juice

1/2 tsp coriander

4 Tbs organic heavy whipping cream

Salt & Pepper to taste

Directions:

Melt the butter in a saucepan.  Add the onion and garlic and saute over low heat until soft.  Slice the white part of the leek thinly and set aside.  Slice the remaining leek, the brussels sprouts and beans.  Add all 3 to the saucepan along with the vegetable stock and simmer for 10 minutes.  Add the peas, seasoning and lemon juice, simmer 10-15 minutes.   Let the soup cool then process in a food processor or blender until smooth.  Pour back into the sauce pan and add the reserved leek, boil for 5 minutes, until the leeks are soft.  Adjust the seasoning if needed, add the cream and heat gently.  Serve and enjoy!  Servings:  6, Total time:  1 hourI sometimes top with mozzarella cheese.  I like to make a double batch and freeze some for later.

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Baffled by Sugar

Healthy Home

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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Options for Sugar

The sugar aisle in the grocery store is the most confusing and frustrating for me.  So many choices, UGH!!  I don’t like so many choices, it brings out my indecisive side.  Do I go with regular white, brown, Raw, Demerara,

Turbinado, Rapadura, Sucanat, Stevia???  Where do I start?  What’s the difference?  Is one cup of white sugar the same as 1 cup of Rapadura or Turbinado, or Raw?  I’m getting a headache!

After putting in several hours of research here is a synopsis of what I found and a handy chart to tuck in your re-usable shopping bag when at the store.

 “White” & “Brown” Sugar

Let’s start with the traditional refined white sugar.  If you guessed this is the worst and most unhealthy, you are correct!  White sugar has been heated and filtered to the max, not to mention, bleached, so that all nutrients and molasses is filtered and heated out and what is left is fine white crystals with no nutritional value.  Brown sugar goes through the same process but with some of the molasses or caramel coloringbeing added back in (at different ratios for light/dark).

 Turbinado Sugar

This sugar is produced when the juice from crushed sugar cane is extracted and evaporated with heat.  The sugar crystallizes and is spun in a centrifuge.  This removes additional moisture and molasses (the nutrient dense portion of sugar).  A small amount of molasses remains.  Turbinado often comes from Hawaii, one company that produces a form of turbinado is Sugar In The Raw, out of Maui, Hawaii.

 Demerara Sugar

(Washed Raw Sugar) is processed similar to Turbinado.  The name Demerara is from the Demerara River in the Guyana region where this sugar was grown.  It has similar nutritional value to Turbinado.  They are both a light brown, large crystal sugar.  An example of Demerara is here.

 Muscovado Sugar

A dark brown sugar from sugar cane after evaporated, heated, pan-evaporated in the sun, and finally pounded.  It retains a lot of nutrients and is tends to be hold extra moisture, therefore it may take some experimenting before using in baked goods.  Muscovado comes from Mauritius, an island of the coast of Africa.

 Organic Whole Cane Sugar

(formerly Rapadura)

This is an unrefined and unbleached sugar by Rapunzel, harvested in Brazil.  Organic Whole Cane Sugar is not separated from the molasses during the squeeze-dried process.  It is known for a unique caramel flavor.  It can be substituted for white sugar in a 1:1 ratio.  The Rapunzel is very eco-conscious and has been since 1974.  They grow and purchase through the Hand in HandTM Fair Trade program.   Rapunzel works with local small farms in South America and contributes to educational, health and environmental programs in the local community.

 Sucanat

Sucanat stand for SUgar CAne NATural which is a brand name of this first whole, unseperated, unrefined sugar sold in the US. Sucanat comes from whole sugar cane from Costa Rica.  The sugar cane is crushed, the juice extracted and heated then hand-padded dry.  They are certified Fair Trade and Organic.  I have read several sources that state that for a period of time Sucanat  removed the molasses and then added it back in, therefore no longer “whole”, but have since reverted to their original practices.    I have not confirmed this information with the company but have read it on several sites.

All of the above sugars can be subsituted in a 1:1 ratio for white or brown sugar or used in coffee and other beverages.  I have tried Demerara and now moved onto Rapadura.  I like their green practices and consistant product.    I feel liberated to know that I know have more nutritions and healthy staples in my cubbards.  I only wish I would have found these jewels years ago.   Most of these sugars can be purchsed in bulk online at Azure.

Below is a handy chart I found at The Center for Process-Free Living.

Amounts based on 100 grams White Sugar Raw Brown Sugar (Sugar in the Raw) Sucanat Rapadura
Minerals
Potassium (mg) 3-5 15-150 570 600-1,000
Magnesium (mg) 0 13-23 8.7 40-100
Calcium (mg) 10-15 75-95 110  80-110
Phosphorous (mg) 0.3 3-4 37 50-100
Vitamins
A (IU) 0 0 <20 120-1,200
B1 (mg) 0 0.01 0.007 0.023-0.1
B2 (mg) 0 0.006 0.55 0.06-0.15
B6 (mg) 0 0.01 0.27 0.02-0.05
Niacin (mg) 0 0.03 0.7 0.03-0.19
Pantothenic Acid (mg) 0 0.02 0.33 0.34-1.18

Have you tried any of these sugar alternatives?  What has been your experience?

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Hydrogenated Oils: Information You’ll Want to Read!

 

Healthy Home

Welcome to Healthy Home, an enlightening weekly series on Mom Going Green.  Healthy Home focuses on natural health topics for the whole family.  The goal of this series is to provide moms (and dads too), with information on how to achieve optimal health for the entire household naturally.   The series will include the latest in natural health news, wholesome health tips, yummy recipes, and natural health remedies that have worked for healthy homes in years past.

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Are the chemically altered oils in the foods you eat Killing you?

Watch out for these foods

Hydrogenated and Partially Hydrogenated Oils are found in countless processed foods on grocery store shelves.  So what are hydrogenated and partially hydrogenated oils?  They are liquid vegetable oils which have been turned into solid fat.  This is done by a process called hydrogenation where the structure of the oil has been chemically changed by adding hydrogen atoms.  During this hydrogenation process, some of the fat molecules change shape to create a completely unnatural type of fat known as trans fat.  One example is margarine.  Trans fats are appealing to food producers because they increase the shelf life of the product.  They are commonly found in baked goods, pastries, packaged crackers and cookies, and other processed foods marketed toward children.  There are 2 types of hydrogenated oils, partially hydrogenated and fully hydrogenated.  Partially hydrogenated oils are by far the worst.  They contain significant amounts of trans fat.  Fully hydrogenated oils have no trans fats and contain saturated fats only.  However, during the process of hydrogenation, there are likely to be some fat molecules that slip through the cracks and are not fully hydrogenated.  These fats remain partially hydrogenated and therefore, are likely to contain some small level of trans fat.     

Health Ramifications of Trans Fats

Health ramifications

Health ramifications of trans fats are evident and not good.  Trans fats increase LDL, the bad type of cholesterol, and decrease HDL, the good type of cholesterol.   According to a 2009 study by Harvard School of Public Health, “if you add just 2% more calories from trans fat to your diet there is a 23% increased risk for heart disease.”  Trans fat also increases inflammation in the body.  Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, acne, eczema, psoriasis, and multiple sclerosis.   It is widely agreed that trans fats are far worse for our health than saturated fats.  There are no known health benefits of trans fats.  So read your labels and be an educated shopper, and your family will reap the benefits.

Misleading FDA Labeling:

Is Zero Really Zero?  No!   According to the FDA a product can be labeled zero Trans fats if it has less than .5 grams.  If you have one serving of “zero” trans fats for each meal a day, after a week you could be taking in 10.5g Trans fats, that is 546g a year, when you think you are getting zero!  As a health conscious consumer I find this extremely frustrating and deceiving!  It’s loopholes like this that make it difficult for consumers to put their trust in the FDA, that they really do have the consumer’s best interest in mind.

Read your Labeles

Therefore when reading labels it is best to look at the ingredient list.  If it contains hydrogenated oil but states zero trans fats, you can guarantee trans fats are in the product.  Additionally you need to pay attention to the wording.  Often times it will say hydrogenated oil in the label and won’t specify if it is partially or fully hydrogenated.   “Hydrogenated oil” and “Partially Hydrogenated oil” are sometimes used interchangeably.  Therefore if it doesn’t say “Fully Hydrogenated Oil” then you have to assume that there are trans fats in the product.

Knowledge is power!  You may be overwhelmed when first digging through your cubbards or walking through the grocery isles at how many products have hydrogenated oils on the label.  Don’t be discouraged.  There are many healthy foods out there to choose from, it just takes a little more time and effort to find them.  The peace of mind I get from knowing that my family is eating wholesome foods without dangerous additives and ingredients such as hydrogenated oils makes the extra for reading labels well worth it!  I hope this gives you the knowledge and power to feel confidant in the foods you give your family.

Have you come across any foods you were surprised contained hydrogenated oil?  I’d love to hear from you.

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