Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I have had a few requests for the Rosemary Spelt Crackers that I made. They were SO yummy and fun to make. I had never made crackers before so I wasn't sure what I had gotten myself into, but it was surprisingly simple! AND, these crackers were REALLY good - I ate them with homemade hummus, but they are good just by themselves or with a little cheese, too!!!

I got this recipe from HERE, but I will copy and paste the recipe below so you can access it easily! Crackers are SO expensive to buy, especially if you are eating wheat-free or preservative-free. Plus, this dough is "soaked" overnight so they are easier to digest and easier for your body to get the nutrients from them!


Homemade Rosemary Spelt Crackers
    3 1/2 cups of spelt flour
    1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
    1 cup of water with two tablespoons raw apple cider vinegar vinegar (or you could use 2 tablespoons of whey, lemon juice, yogurt, buttermilk, kefir)
    1 teaspoon of sea salt (plus extra for the top)
    1 teaspoon of baking soda
    2 heaping teaspoons of dried rosemary, if desired

1-The night before: Place the flour in a large bowl. Add the melted coconut oil and water and vinegar. Starting mixing with a fork or wooden spoon until it gets to stiff. Knead the rest of the flour in (you can do this right in the bowl if you want, or on the counter) using your hands until it forms a ball. It shouldn’t be too sticky, or to dry. You can easily adjust by adding a bit more water for a dry dough or a bit more flour for a sticky dough. Put back in the bowl and cover well. Leave out on the counter top overnight.

2- The next morning, flatten your ball out on the counter, using a little white flour, if needed to prevent sticking.

3-Sprinkle over the top the baking soda, salt and optional rosemary. Fold in half and knead gently until salt and baking soda are evenly mixed in. You are now ready to roll it out!

4-Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and lightly flour a surface (I use a large wooden cutting board). I liked to roll out a quarter of the dough at a time, for more control. Roll out quite thinly (and as evenly as possible), using as much white flour, or arrowroot flour as you need to prevent sticking. The thinner you roll it out, the more crisp and crunchy it will be.

5-Carefully transfer over to a cutting board and cut out using either use a sharp knife or a pizza cutter. I make about 2 by 2 inch crackers, though I certainly don’t make them all the same size.

6-Place on a greased cookie sheet and prick with a fork. Lightly sprinkle with sea salt, coarse or fine, either is fine. *I used a baking stone and they turned out perfectly!

7-Bake for about 10 minutes and check. They will be done when they are browning slightly. Don’t overcook as they will become bitter. Cool on cooling sheets and enjoy! I like to store them in a glass jar on the counter. They are so pretty!

Chicken & Artichoke Bake

I have neglected my blog lately - - - sorry! I have been feeling the effects of the end of pregnancy....I'm ready for this baby to be born!!! We are due 12/31, but I've always felt it was going to come before Christmas....we'll see if I'm right or if its just wishful thinking.

BUT, it hasn't stopped me from trying a new recipe here and there. Here is what I made for lunch on Sunday - I was trying to avoid going to the grocery store and use what I had, so I found a recipe and make some changes to it....it was SUPER yummy! I think you'll like it! Even my kids ate it up!!!



  • 3 pounds skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces (I used 2 chicken breasts)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 4 tablespoons butter (I used coconut oil)
  • 1/4 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced (Didn't have any - still turned out!)
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons sherry (I used red wine)
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Sprinkle chicken with salt, pepper and paprika to taste. Melt butter/coconut oil in heavy skillet and brown chicken on all sides. Remove to covered 9x13 inch casserole.
  3. Add mushrooms to pan drippings and saute. Add flour and gradually add stock or broth and sherry/wine. Season with rosemary; deglaze skillet.
  4. Arrange artichoke hearts among the chicken pieces and pour sauce over all. Cover and bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 40 minutes or until tender.

This was REALLY, REALLY tasty - it is sort of "juicy", so when I make it again I'll probably serve it over quinoa or couscous, etc. ENJOY!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Homemade "Healthy" MOUNDS BARS

I found this recipe on another site that I love (www.thenourishinggourmet.com). They are "healthy" mounds bars made out of all-natural ingredients, including coconut oil! Coconut oil has been shown to be a great immune booster, not to mention the evidence that those who live in tropical climates and have a diet that is high in coconut oil are healthier, have less heart disease, cancer, colon cancer, etc.

The great thing is that you won't really even feel guilty when you eat them!! YUM!!! Here's a not-so-good picture of the smaller ones I just made for our "Pastor's Wives Retreat" that I am going to Seattle for with Kristyn Brown and Karla West tonight (mostly this "retreat" will involve eating, shopping, movies, etc) :GetAttachment.aspx.jpg

"Mounds" Candy Bars
1 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp almond extract (i didn't have this and didn't use it)
almonds (about 36), left whole OR chopped

1. Melt coconut oil and honey over low heat until just melted. Whisk to combine. Add the almond extract and coconut flakes.

2. Now take out muffin tins (I use the small ones) - in each compartment, place 2 or 3 almonds or divide the chopped almonds. Then divide the coconut mixture over each compartment, making sure you get an even mixture of coconut flakes and coconut oil. Place in freezer on a flat surface and freeze until hard (about 30 minutes).

3/4 cup cocoa powder (not dutch cocoa)
1/4 cup honey
1 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp Vanilla extract

3. Combine these ingredients in a glass 2 cup measuring glass and place in a pot of simmering water. Heat until everything is just melted and remove from heat. Either wisk briskly or use a hand held blender to combine well.

4. Take out the frozen coconut flake mixture and divide your chocolate mixture over each compartment.

5. Freeze until hard.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

A natural version of Tamiflu??

OKay, so I know most of us are dealing with the H1N1 flu going rampant in our communities. We made the decision not to vaccinate for that (or the regular flu, for that matter) and so we're keeping healthy in other ways - you can read my other blog (search for it) on natural immune boosters.

BUT, yesterday I came across some information on a natural alternative if you DO start feeling the symptoms of the flu. Its called ELDERBERRY SYRUP....its all-natural and therefore is free of the nasty side effects of other anti-virals like Tamiflu. I've been looking into the safety of taking while pregnant and some sources are saying "yes" others say "ask your healthcare provider"....so if I need to take it I will call and ask first. Here are some studies on the effectiveness of Elderberry Syrup which were pretty impressive.....

Try elderberry syrup to fight the flu, more

You can use it preventatively or when you actually feel the flu coming on - just like Tamiflu, it says to start using it regularly within 24-48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

I bought some yesterday and I'll let you know how it works (although hopefully we won't have to use it!!)

Monday, October 19, 2009

Tuscan Zuppa

If you love the Olive Garden, you will love this soup. I totally stole this from someone at our church - Jan Cichowski (actually she gave it to me!). And then I found pictures online with the same recipe!!! So, its not authentic nor are the pictures of me preparing it. BUT, you will LOVE this soup - its super yummy. I tend to leave out the red pepper flakes so that my kids will actually eat this!

You'll see it calls for bacon...I am careful to always purchase nitrite-free bacon. Why? Nitrites are found in lunch meats and most all processed meats, and they are shown to cause stomach/pancreatic and prostate cancer - or at least increase the liklihood of those. To read more about that, click HERE. I would also just prefer to have my food, and especially the meat I use, be un-messed-with, ya know?! SO, bring on the bacon and sausage (nitrite-free, of course) and ENJOY!!!


  • 1 lb ground Italian sausage
  • 1½ tsp crushed red peppers
  • 1 large diced white onion
  • 4 Tbsp bacon pieces
  • 2 tsp garlic puree
  • 10 cups water
  • 5 cubes of chicken bouillon
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 lb sliced Russet potatoes, or about 3 large potatoes
  • ¼ of a bunch of kale
  1. Sauté Italian sausage and crushed red pepper in a large pot. Drain excess fat, refrigerate while you prepare other ingredients.
  2. In the same pan, sauté bacon, onions and garlic for approxiamtly 15 mins. or until the onions are soft.
  3. Mix together the chicken bouillon and water, then add it to the onions, bacon and garlic. Cook until boiling.
  4. Add potatoes and cook until soft, about half an hour.
  5. Add heavy cream and cook until thoroughly heated.
  6. Stir in the sausage.
  7. Add kale just before serving. Delicious!

Buon appetito!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Food intolerances and a great recipe for Gluten-Free Bread for the BREAD MACHINE

About a year and a half ago, I had suspicions that our son Levi may have a food allergy/intolerance of some sort. He had sandpapery-feeling skin, especially on his torso, very large tonsils, daily complaints of stomachaches and irregular bowel problems. On the recommendation of a friend, I took him to a local Naturopath Doctor. With a background as an RN, I was a little hesitant with the whole naturopath thing, but I was pleasantly surprised!
The first thing I noticed was that they spent a LOT of time with us - as in almost an HOUR total! I was impressed. I took Julia in as well as I figured if I was getting one of them tested I should just do both (and me, too, while they were at it!) She listened, asked questions, took notes and addressed my concerns.

Then, a simple finger prick (which both of my kids tolerated without any tears or cries of "ouch") was enough to squeeze a little blood on 3 different strips. Those were sent in to test both the IgE and IgG levels, or antibodies. They tested for 96 different foods using the ELISA testing - you can read more about the IgE and IgG antibody testing HERE. I should mention that IgE antibodies indicate IMMEDIATE, more serious reactions, and none of us had any of those. IgG antibodies, on the other hand, are "delayed reactions" - think along the lines of something your body doesn't tolerate well and the more you eat of it the more it stresses your body out. It wears down your immune system over time and can likely cause chronic health problems.

A week or two later, we went for a followup appointment to discuss the results....the 3 of us were free from any IgE reactions. But, as for IgG reactions, what we found was that there was some wheat/gluten intolerance in Levi (on the lower side, but we had cut out wheat/gluten for about a month or two prior to that) and that BOTH of my kids had HIGH-level chicken egg reactions, to both the egg yolk and egg white. Very interesting. I was sad, but not surprised to see my IgG levels for all dairy products come up in the mild/high levels, along with a low/mild reaction to chicken eggs. Due to my myriad of sinus problems growing up and into adulthood, the Dr had suspected before I got my results back that dairy was likely the issue.

After finding these results out, we went ahead and continued cutting out wheat/gluten for a while, but also eliminated the use of chicken eggs. Because the protein is different, they suggested using duck eggs in baking, which I have incorporated without too much difficulty due to the fact we have friends from church who have an over-abundance of duck eggs!!!

Gradually, we have added wheat/gluten back into our diet - I have found that Levi seems to be okay as long as he doesn't have TOO much...so we just try to really limit it at home and so if he has it other places it doesn't seem to bother him too much.

After I cut out dairy, my results were amazing - no more gastrointestinal issues, no more post-nasal drip, and I have been FREE of sinus infections for almost 2 years (prior to that I would get them at least 3 times a year). AMAZING! After eliminating it for a while, I do find that I can tolerate a moderate amount of yogurt and cheese without too much problem, which is good, because I REALLY like cheese!

With these changes along with eating healthy, whole, natural foods when at all possible, I have also noticed that we don't get sick very often - and if we do, our immune systems are a bit stronger so the symptoms are more mild and we fight it off quicker!

Whew, so, after all of that, I have a great link to a Gluten-Free Bread that you can make in your bread machine! YUM! I typically change the following:
- use 1/2 cup millet flour instead of 1/4 millet and 1/4 garbanzo bean flour
- use coconut oil instead of canola oil



Sunday, October 11, 2009

Quinoa - the almost-perfect food!

Quinoa_Grain_250.jpgQUINOA!!! Have you ever heard of it? Its pronounced KEEN-WAH and is an "ancient" grain that was used by the Incas...its actually the seed of a leafy plant, a plant related to spinach. Quinoa is unique because you can use it like a grain, grind it into flour and use it in baking. It has a nutty flavor and is a source of ALL essential amino acids. Its protein content is 12-18% and it is wheat and gluten-free. This is a 100% whole grain and I often use it like I would rice. Quinoa is covered with saponins - saponins are a "plant's natural immune system, a natural antibiotic that protects the plant against harmful microbes and fungus (and insects)". I found this statement and some other great info about quinoa HERE.

When I cook it like rice, I soak it overnight...this removes the saponins from the outside of it. If you cannnot soak it overnight, you can get by with soaking it for a half hour or so. Then you want to rinse it well (a strainer with VERY small holes will be needed! I've used a gravy strainer with best results).

THEN, I put it in a pan with twice the amount of liquid as quinoa (so 1 cup quinoa = 2 cups liquid). I typically use chicken broth to give it an even yummier taste! Cook for 15 minutes, then remove from heat and let it sit with the cover on for about 5 minutes, then fluff with fork! YUM!!! You can eat it plain as a side dish or in any recipe that calls for couscous or rice!!!

Here's one of our favorite quinoa recipes - its very yummy and I found it HERE.

Crockpot Chicken and Quinoa

1 cup quinoa (soaked overnight in water, than drained and rinsed in a strainer. If you don’t soak your grains still rinse to remove a bitter substance from the grain)
2 cups of chicken broth
1/2-3/4 cup of white wine (amount depending on your taste and wine used)
2 cups of water
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon of salt
4-6 carrots, peeled and cubed
3 celery, sliced
1 onion, minced
2 chicken breasts or thighs
3 Tablespoons of butter (opt, for added richness and flavor)

Mushrooms - optional

Throw all the ingredients in your crockpot, cook on high, 4 hours or on low, 8. Shred the chicken when done, and stir into the stew and you are done! You can easily adapt by using different herbs, more meat/less meat, etc.

When you cook QUINOA, it will look like this (little spirals come loose from the grain):


We've also enjoyed Quinoa Pasta from HERE. You can find quinoa products at your local health food store or at online stores such as Azure Standard.

So my advice - try it, you might like it!!! (actually, you probably will!)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Farm-raised or wild fish?

Next, we're moving on to the topic of fish. At our house, we try to have it once a week - and its usually salmon. Our kids LOVE salmon! And thankfully, living in the northwest on Puget Sound, its easy to find really great salmon. Friends we know that have gotten salmon have given us some and we usually put a bunch in the freezer to enjoy at later times!
search.jpgFarm-raised fish are grown in controlled environments or "fish farms". They are usually housed with LOTS (thousands) of other fish and are fed fish pellets (made up of sardines/anchovies, and other small fish). They are also most often treated with antibiotics to treat/prevent the multitude of diseases that can be present when that many fish are in a small area together. Another problem with this is that if the "fish pen" is in open water, it contaminates and causes problems in the surrounding area and the fish/plants that are wild in that area. The meat of farmed fish are also often paler in color and so are often given chemical coloring (canthaxanthin and astaxanthin) to turn their flesh pink and make them more appealing to the eye. They also tend to have higher PCB and dioxin levels and lower Omega 3 concentrations.
sockeye-salmon_image.html.jpgWild-caught fish, on the other hand, eat food from their natural habitat, turning their meat a natural pink color. They also tend to be leaner than their farm-raised variety as they are allowed to swim wherever they want. They usually have lower PCB and mercury levels and are higher Omega 3 (heart healthy essential fatty acids). Basically, more "good" stuff and less "bad" stuff in them!
***Also, I would recommend NEVER buying farm-raised fish from anywhere in China...I've read some disturbing things about them, some of them are summarized HERE. (Read labels - it will tell you where its from - I've mostly seen frozen tilapia and shrimp from China)
Fish can be a great addition to your family's food diet...it is heart and brain-healthy!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Why eat grass-fed beef???

(first of all, for all the family/friends wondering, I WILL be posting pics/update on Julia's little 3rd Birthday Princess Tea Party from yesterday VERY SOON!)

Meat. I really like meat - especially beef, chicken and fish. Over the last 2 years as I've been on my "healthy, natural, whole foods learning journey", I have learned a bunch about why we should eat grass-fed beef, pastured chicken and wild-caught (as opposed to farm-raised) fish.

Today I will focus on BEEF.

I am currently reading a great book by Nina Planck called "Real Food For Mother and Baby". It talks about pre-conception food, eating while pregnant and breastfeeding, along with the best "first foods" for babies.


Its an excellent book, and I've also read her other book which is intended for all readers called "Real Food - What to Eat and Why"

ref=dp_image_0.jpgIf you are aiming to eat healthy, natural foods, I HIGHLY recommend reading this book!!!! You should be able to find it at your local library. It gives you more of the science and reason behind eating those sorts of food. AND it will take away some of the guilt from eating things like bacon, butter, etc.

ANYWAY, back to the topic at hand - Grass-fed Beef.

Here are a few benefits of Grass-Fed Beef ("Real Beef" as she calls it, as compared to industrial beef):

* it contains more omega-3 fats, vitamin E, beta caroteen and CLA, an anticancer fat

* less likely to carry a dangerous form of E.coli

* no hormones, no antibiotics (growth hormones are often used in beef cattle to speed up their weight gain....antibiotics are used in industrial beef to prevent infections/illness due to overcrowding - which in turn can likely cause drug-resistant bacteria)

* assurance they are eating their "natural diet" - cows are herbivores and due to 4 stomachs that contain necessary bacteria, they can make "green things" like grass, etc into meat and milk.

* virtually no incidence of "Mad Cow disease" - which resulted from cows being fed infected sheep and cattle to other cattle - (ewwww.....aren't they supposed to be herbivores?!)

--> These are just a few highlights - in her book she goes in to greater detail about "real meat" and the reasons why it is better...

Here are some reasons in addition to those above why I like grass-fed beef better:

* tastes better!

* healthier!

* I get to support a local farmer or family whom I know and trust to provide food for my family!

So here's to eating Beef! (By the way, I usually purchase a 1/4 cow in fall or Spring when farmers butcher. Sometimes, if I have a lot left in my freezer from the last cow I split this 1/4 cow with another family.)

A yummy recipe for

SPAGHETTI SAUCE (from one of my often-visited blogs called "Passionate Homemaking":

1 onion, chopped
1 green or red pepper, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dried parsley
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 Tbls. olive oil
1-2 lbs ground beef (pork roast, italian sausage or whatever!)
2 large cans diced tomatoes (28 oz each)
1 large can tomato sauce (28 oz) - you can add more of this if you like a more "liquidy" sauce
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/2 cup red wine, optional (you can also use dry white wine, but I like red best)

Saute onions, pepper, garlic, parsley and celery in oil until soft. Add meat and cook until pink is gone. Add remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for several hours, stirring occasionally. Serves 8.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Natural Immune Boosters!

Well, its that time of year when the flu and viruses start flying around! I thought I'd share a bit of what I've learned about natural ways to boost your immune system. It must be working, because I really haven't been sick at while being pregnant (other than the nasty all-day morning sickness I had until 18 wks!)....and Levi just got over what I'm guessing was the flu or swine flu.

Here are some things I use:

1) Coconut Oil - to read more about the benefits of coconut oil, go to
http://www.coconutoil.com/viruses.htm (this link specifically talks about viruses and how coconut oil is useful against them). The site www.coconutoil.com has a lot of other info about coconut oil too!

From his extensive research of the medical literature, Dr. Fife has come up with a slew of health benefits associated with coconut oil. Some of them are:

.. Reduces risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease
.. Reduces risk of cancer and other degenerative conditions
.. Helps prevent bacterial, viral and fungal (including yeast) infections
.. Supports immune system function
.. Helps control diabetes
.. Provides an immediate source of energy
.. Supports healthy metabolic function
.. Promotes weight loss
.. Supplies fewer calories than other fats
.. Improves digestion and nutrient absorption
.. Helps prevent osteoporosis
.. Helps keep skin soft and smooth

- I sometimes will take just a 'ole big spoonful of it!
- It is the ONLY oil I use to do high-heat cooking/sauteing, as it does not oxidize at high temps!
- It is AMAZING to use to make homemade popcorn! YUM!! I also stir a little into my oatmeal in the mornings, along with some rapadura and raisins!
- Honestly, it has really seemed to give me more energy and I haven't really been sick at all since using it regularly!

2) Cod liver oil
Another great source to boost immune function. I have taken both the capsules and straight up liquid stuff (which I usually mix into yogurt for the kids and they don't even know its in there!) A study found that children taking a half teaspoon of flax oil a day experienced fewer and less severe respiratory infections and fewer days of being absent from school. The omega 3 fatty acids in flax oil and fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel) act as immune boosters by increasing the activity of phagocytes, the white blood cells that eat up bacteria. (Perhaps this is why grandmothers used to insist on a daily dose of unpalatable cod liver oil.) Essential fatty acids also protect the body against damage from over-reactions to infection. When taking essential fatty acid supplements, such as flax or fish oils, take additional vitamin E, which acts together with essential fatty acids to boost the immune system. One way to get more omega-3 fatty acids in your diet is to add one to three teaspoons of flax oil to a fruit and yogurt smoothies.

Rather than me spewing a bunch of other facts and figures, here are a few reputed links to check out:

3) Natural Multivitamins
I use "natural" food-based ones from a health food store as most others are synthetic vitamins (man-made). I would rather get the good natural stuff. Currently, I'm using the SuperNutrition Prenatal's - (http://www.supernutritionusa.com/productpages/simply_one_prenatal.html)

4) Garlic - this flavorful member of the onion family is a powerful immune booster that stimulates the multiplication of infection-fighting white cells, boosts natural killer cell activity, and increases the efficiency of antibody production. The immune-boosting properties of garlic seem to be due to its sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin and sulfides. Garlic can also act as an antioxidant that reduces the build-up of free radicals in the bloodstream. Garlic may protect against cancer, though the evidence is controversial. Cultures with a garlic-rich diet have a lower incidence of intestinal cancer. Garlic may also play a part in getting rid of potential carcinogens and other toxic substances. It is also a heart-friendly food since it keeps platelets from sticking together and clogging tiny blood vessels. (http://askdrsears.com/html/4/t042500.asp#back)

These are a few natural immune boosters that I use! Seem to be working well!!! I prefer to forego the Flu Shot and for sure the H1N1 (swine flu) shot, so i plan to do the above things, eat healthy, get enough rest and wash my hands a lot!!!

Here's to a healthy "flu season" for you and your family too!

Monday, September 28, 2009


Yum - cheesy, creamy, warm and still somewhat healthy with lots of veggies!!! This is what we are eating tonight! Due to some dairy issues that I've found I have if I eat too much milk/ice cream, etc, I often will substitute COCONUT MILK for the regular milk. It actually gives it a really nice flavor!!!!

Here's a link to the GARDEN CHOWDER recipe that I "stole" from someone else's blog!!! *I also usually leave out the green pepper and before adding milk I often puree about 1/2 of the soup just to give it some different consistency.

I also make the HOMEMADE CROUTONS to put on top of it. She also talks about how to use stale bread for bread crumbs! SUPER idea. I often keep a ziplock bag in my freezer and when we have bread that is stale (or the ends of the loaf), I put them in the ziplock bag in the freezer until I'm ready to grind them up into bread crumbs!!!

*Note, since I am trying to be super frugal and not "waste" a lot of things, if I ever have extra broccoli or cauliflower that I cannot use before it spoils, I par-boil it (boil for like 2 minute), then freeze for later use. It works GREAT in this soup. I also peel and chop up the "softer" part of the broccoli stems (and freeze until I need it) because it works great in this soup too!!!

*This soup freezes well, so I often double and stick some in the freezer for a day when I don't feel like cooking!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a FAVORITE soup of ours - its more like a stew....nice and hearty. And we often top it with diced avocados, shredded cheddar cheese and my favorite - crunchy tortilla strips!!! (I cut corn tortillas into strips and then fry them in coconut oil, scrunching them while they cook. Drain on paper towels and let cool). YUM!!!

1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or other oil)
1-2 Tbsp cumin (to taste)
chili powder - optional, to taste
1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup whole corn kernels
1 cup white hominy (mexican style hominy)
1 can (4oz) green chiles
1 (15oz) can black beans (or equivalent of soaked beans, cooked)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 boneless chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pcs.

1. In med. stock pot heat oil over med. heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft. Stir in cumin, chili powder, tomatoes, broth. Bring to a boil and simmer, 5-10 minutes.
2. Stir in corn, hominy, chiles, beans, cilatnro and chicken. Simmer 10 minutes.

Ladle soup into bowls and top with desired toppings!!! YUM!!!

Chili and Cornbread

I cannot remember who should have the credit for this yummy chili recipe, but it is REALLY good.

*IF YOU ARE USING DRY BEANS LIKE I DO, here's a link about how to use them, store them, cook them, soak them, etc.

1 cup kidney beans -* I use dried beans & soak overnight
1/2 cup pinto beans - *
1/2 cup black beans - *
1 lg. onion
1 Tbsp coconut oil (or olive oil)
1 lg bell pepper (any color), diced small
1 lb ground beef
1 28oz can diced tomatoes
2 5.5oz cans of tomato paste
3 large carrots, shredded
1/4-1/2 cup water

1 Tbsp cumin
2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp chili pepper flakes (optional)
1 1/2 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp fresh pepper
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1 Tbsp honey
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

* In a medium pot with lid, put in beans and add enough water so its several inches over beans. Soak over night.

1. The next day, carry on with chili with putting the pot of beans and water on stove, on high (add more water if needed). Bring to boil and skim foam if needed, then turn to low and simmer, covered, until tender - approx. 1 hr. Drain, rinse with cool water, set aside.
2. Add onions and oil to large stock pot on medium heat, and saute' until the onions start to soften. Add the peppers and continue to cook until onions are translucent.
3. Add ground beef and cook thoroughly.
4. Add diced tomatoes, tomato paste and shredded carrots, as well as the beans. Add 1/4-1/2 cup water to thin, if necessary. Bring to a low boil and then turn to low and simmer for at least 30 minutes.
5. Add seasons, simmer 10-15 minutes.

Serve with cheese/sour cream or any other desired toppings!!!

Goes well with soaked CORNBREAD!!!! I am sort of new to soaking grains, but if you want to learn more about benefits of soaking, read HERE.

Here's the recipe for that:

1 cup whole grain flour (wheat, spelt or kamut)
1 cup cornmeal
Either 1 cup buttermilk or 2/3 cup yogurt + 1/3 cup water

1. With a spatula, mix the cup of liquid with the flour & cornmeal in a small bowl until it is evenly moistened. Cover with a slightly damp kitchen towel and let sit overnight.

2 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 beaten eggs
1/4 cup butter

1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees and grease either a 9x13 or 8x8 pan
2. In small sauce pan, melt butter & honey.
3. To the flour/cornmeal/yogurt from night before, add the baking powder, salt and eggs and mix thoroughly. Pour in the butter/honey mixture and stir until just mixed.
4. Pour batter into pan (bake 25 min for 9x13 pan or 30min for 8x8 pan), until toothpick comes out clean.

Yellow Split Pea, Kale & Italian Sausage Soup

A yummy, different sort of soup that we've enjoyed!
If you have younger kids, be sure you get the least
spicy Italian Sausage - otherwise its an instant
turn-off for them!

2 cups yellow split peas, soaked overnight & rinsed
1 onion, peeled/chopped into about 1/4 inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, pressed
3 Tbsp. Coconut Oil (or other oil)
2 tsp. dried basil
1 bunch of kale, washed, tough stems cut off
and coarsely chopped
2 lg. tomatoes, washed & chopped into lg. chunks
3/4 lb. mild Italian sausage (either ground or links
with casings removed)
8 cups water
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp salt
fresh pepper
2 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1. Heat oil in lg. soup pot over med. heat. When hot, add onion and cook until just starting to soften (stir often).
2. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Then add yellow split peas, 8 cups water and the basil & cumin. Bring to a simmer and cook covered for about 30-40 minutes, until peas are soft (but not mushy).
3. Add kale and tomatoes and cook 10-15 minutes until the kale is soft. Meanwhile, fry sausage in saucepan over medium heat, stirring and breaking up large pieces. Drain fat.
4. Add sausage and vinegar and add about 2 tsp salt and pepper.


I love soups. I am going to post some soup recipes
because its getting to be that time of year!

Here's a quick and easy recipe for a yummy soup.....


coconut oil (or other oil)
1/2 lg sweet red pepper
1/2 cup diced baby carrots
4 cups chicken broth (low sodium)
1/4 tsp garlic powder
a 9oz package of cheese tortellini
3 cups baby spinach - stems removed
diced tomatoes - optional

1. In Large pot or Dutch oven coated with oil, saute' chopped pepper and carrots over med-high heat for 5 minutes, or until tender.
2. Add broth and garlic powder, raise heat and boil about 5 min. Add tortellini. Reduce heat to low and simmer about 7 min. or until tender.
3. Add spinach, stir until wilted.


Friday, September 25, 2009


Here's one of my favorite foods - tomato soup....of course this is best served with Grilled Cheese Sandwiches! Good comfort food I found this recipe on the Passionate Homemaking site and its REALLY good. You HAVE to try it. When you do, you will never want to eat canned tomato soup again!!!! Its the time of year when I lot of us have a LOT of tomatoes and this is a great way to use them. Although I've never tried, I'm sure this could be frozen very easily and pulled out during those winter months when you just CRAVE a fresh veggie taste!!!

Homemade Tomato Soup
4 cups tomatoes, diced
1 onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced (or garlic powder)
1 cup chicken broth
1 tsp sea salt or garlic salt
1 Tbsp. dry basil (FRESH basil is best if you have it - add to taste)
dash of pepper
2-3 tsp. rapadura or other natural sweetener

1. Saute garlic and onions in a little coconut oil (or other oil) until tender or translucent.
2. Add tomatoes and chicken broth and cook over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes.
3. Remove from heat and puree completely with a blender. Return to pot and add remaining ingredients to your taste.

Serve with a dallop of sour cream and/or grilled cheese sandwiches for a perfect lunch!!! ENJOY!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Here is what you’ve all been waiting for!

Remember, find recipes that you and your family like. I will be linking the actual recipes to this as I have time as well as adding breakfast and lunch ideas. But for now, here’s the next 30 days of dinners at the Boersma home (highlighted in red are things I do before going to bed in order to be prepared for the next day):

Sunday: Lunch at friends’, leftovers for dinner - soak beans, get grd. beef from freezer

Monday: Beef & Bean Casserole, raw carrots - soak black beans

Tuesday: Chicken Tortilla Soup with toppings

Wednesday: Church Dinner night! YAY! - take salmon out of freezer, soak quinoa

Thursday: Salmon, veggies, quinoa

Friday: Neighborhood dinner

Saturday: Homemade Pizza

Sunday: Homegroup for lunch/potluck - take veggies out of freezer, if needed

Monday: Cheesy Vegetable soup w/ homemade croutons, fruit - take chicken out of freezer

Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie, fruit or applesauce

Wednesday: Church Dinner Night!

Thursday: Spaghetti w/ homemade sauce, veggie, bread

Friday: Out for dinner or leftovers

Saturday: Homemade pizza night, fruit/veggies - soak quinoa

Sunday: Crockpot Chicken Quinoa, spelt rolls - take grd beef out of freezer, soak beans

Monday: Tacos, pinto beans, veggies/fruit

Tuesday: Tortellini Soup, veggies/fruit

Wednesday: Church Dinner night! - chicken out of freezer

Thursday: Stir-fry with chicken/veggies, brown rice

Friday: Spaghetti Pie

Saturday: Hotdogs, veggies, chips

Sunday: Homegroup Potluck - soak split peas, take sausage out of freezer

Monday: Split Pea/Kale/Sausage Soup, spelt rolls, applesauce - chicken out of freezer

Tuesday: Chicken Divan

Wednesday: Church Dinner Night - soak cornbread and beans, beef out of freezer

Thursday: Chili/Cornbread

Friday: Date night! (kids get “natural chicken nuggets”, veggies, fruit)