Friday, March 29, 2013

March in the Seasonal Kitchen

Eating locally and in-season has been something that fascinated me and I have aligned our family with for a long time.  It just makes sense to eat whatever has been freshly harvested as often as one can.  It will be nice and nutrient-dense.  Food harvested in this season contain the nourishment our bodies need for this specific time of year.  Of course, each section of the world experiences different climates at different times.  It seems that wherever one lives, your body will thrive most if you feed it what has been grown closest to you and at harvest time.  This is easy for a born-and-raised California girl to say.  We always have produce in season and so many varieties of meat animals thrive here.  We do eat preserved foods, too.  I try to ferment as much as I can, which actually increases the nutrition of items like cabbage (turned into sauerkraut).  We freeze berries, pesto, and peppers, too.  This subject really is a post in and of itself.  What I really want to share with you are the in-season dishes we have enjoyed this month.  If you are interested in eating locally and seasonal, the easiest way to do that is by planting a garden of your own, or benefit from what your local CSA has to offer (find one near you here).

First, here is a list of produce that is currently in-season in our neck of the woods:
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens...)
  • Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Other roots (beets, radishes, turnips, rutabaga...)
  • Citrus

One of our favorite dinners this month (especially on a stormy night) has been a good, slow-roasted chicken (pastured and organic) with cauliflower mash.  I thawed and drizzled some of last summer's pesto over the whole thing which really made this meal pop.

The fact that I actually look forward to cauliflower is astounding.  It was one of the only veggies I never learned to enjoy until just last year.  This grain-free pizza is another cauliflower recipe I swoon over.  Can you tell I'm using up the pesto before the time comes to make it again?  We topped this pizza crust with pesto and kalamata olives.  It was divine.

Another current obsession is roasted broccoli.  Simply rinse the broccoli (pictured below is Broccoli di Cicco), arrange it in a dish, drizzle 2 tablespoons olive oil and the juice of one lemon over it, and sprinkle Celtic sea salt and freshly-ground pepper over it all.  It is baked for about 14 minutes in a 400º oven and it's truly amazing.

I have enjoyed making a large batch of some sort of veggie hash and then warm a bit of it up for lunch on the weekdays.  The picture below has roasted cubes of potatoes and butternut squash, sausage, broccoli, and mushrooms with some cheese melted on top.  Most of the time a handful of sauerkraut is tossed on as well.  I use this winter veggie melt recipe as a reference.  As you can see, I took a quick lunch break with my little seedlings that are currently green-housing it on the kitchen table...

Mandarin oranges are the snack of choice around here in March.  The peel is easy enough for my four-year-old to remove and it's just plain fun to pop the little sections of juiciness into your mouth.

We have made many batches of orange juice...

There was a day, the ninth out of a ten-day tour Jeremy was on, where I was just plain tired.  We all missed daddy.  It was a sunny Sunday afternoon.  I hung my apron up.  We made a trip to Trader Joe's, picked up a few organic pizzas, sliced up some more oranges, and had ourselves a pizza picnic.  It was just what the doctor ordered.

It's amazing to think that next month, we will most likely be enjoying the year's first stone fruit: apriums!

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

March On The Homestead

It' hard to believe how much has happened this month.  We have enjoyed sunny, warm days where we romp in the creek and then jump with glee on the trampoline.  While doing so, my seven-year-old exclaimed, "I haven't had this much fun in years!"

The next day, it's cold and gray.  I was relieved we hadn't planted the seedlings yet after noting the size of the hail.

We added twenty pullets to our little homestead.  It's amazing how they are nothing but chirping little balls of fluff at first...

... and after three short weeks, they look like little hens and have mowed through fifty pounds of starter feed.

Our littlest turned one.  This, my friends, is mind-boggling.  He is a running, front-facing, little ball of joyous energy.  He keeps me in shape and that's the truth.

In March, our days begin with setting eleven trays of seedlings outdoors to harden off and prepare for their new home in the garden.

Speaking of the garden, things are really coming along.  As the plot was grated, we discovered a sink hole in which the skid steer fell half way down.  Our skilled garden-builder was able to shovel his way out as I kept a chain that was connected to the skid steer and a car tight enough to keep it from falling back in.  It was quite the adventure!

The plot is leveled, irrigated, and the fencing (and even some beds!) are going up as I write.  I can't believe my eyes as a new bit is added every day.  It's a very much long-awaited dream come true and there's no hiding my glee!

Everything is blooming and it makes my heart sing with hope.  

blueberry buds
 Little figs have even begun to grow!

And I keep discovering new plants on the property.  These bridal vail flowers have captured my heart.  Aren't they cute and tiny?  They are about the size of half a dime.

I made it through my first speaking engagement in eleven years.  The audience was amazing.  Thanks for being so kind, folks.  It was quite fun talking about what I love: good, healthy food, family, and how to marry the two.  If you are interested in watching the wellness seminar, you can buy it here.

The last day of winter ended with a rainy day and a burn pile.

It's amazing to think that next month, just a week away, even more will take place.  Our Christmas Cabin will undergo it's first process of expansion.  The garden will be complete and hundreds of seeds will find their home in it.  Our little pullets will leave the brooder to free range on our pasture.  The most amazing, exciting part of all will be spending a first full month with my parents as our neighbors.  This is a massive dream come true and I am humbled and honored to have them close after living nine hours apart for the past six years.  March has been a beautiful month.  We welcome in April with open arms.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan #69 Easter Week!

Happy Easter week!  We will be hosting a family barn party for Easter Sunday, potluck-style.  I included what I'll be contributing below.  He is risen!

To do: make cookie dough balls, thaw ground beef for Wednesday
Breakfast: Paleo Cinnamon Faux(st) Crunch
Lunch:  Raw Cheese, Summer Sausage (organic, grass-fed, & nitrate-free), Mandarin Oranges, Almonds 
Dinner:  Potato Leek Soup, Beet Salad, GF Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

To do: make yogurt
Breakfast:  Fried Eggs & Avocado Slices
Lunch:  GF Almond Butter & Manuka Honey Sandwiches, Hummus, Carrot Slices, 

To do:
Lunch:  Turkey, Cheese, Mustard & Mayo Wrapped in Lettuce, Cookie Dough Balls, Mandarin Oranges 

To do: soak porridge
Lunch:  GF Ham Sandwiches, Cookie Dough Balls, Apple Slices
Snack:  Orange Julius

Friday: Good Friday (kids home for lunch!)
To do: thaw beef for Sunday
Breakfast:  Porridge & Eggs
Lunch:  Quesorritos & Apple Slices

To do:
Breakfast:  Paleo Breakfast Bread
Lunch:  Irish Nachos
Dinner:  Leftovers & Daikon Slaw

Sunday:  Easter!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Make It Count! Time-Saving Kitchen Tips

time saving tips for the kitchen

When I first delved into the world of real food and traditional cooking, I spent a good six or more hours a day in the kitchen.  Eight years later, I have learned a few things and have been able to cut my time to one hour and forty-five minutes a day without compromising the nutrition and safety of the food I prepare.  Today, I share some of those tips over at Modern Alternative Kitchen.  Always looking for new methods, I'd love to know what you do to save time in the kitchen, so please do share.  Happy Friday, friends!

Monday, March 18, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan #68 ~ First Week Of Spring!

This morning after rubbing the sleep out of my eyes, I went to check the menu plan to see what I was making for breakfast and behold, there was none.  Woopsies!  So here we go.  Oh, and happy spring!

To do: make hummus
Lunch:  Raw Cheese, Summer Sausage (organic, nitrate-free), Tangerines, organic freeze-dried strawberries

To do: make yogurt
Breakfast:  Fried Eggs, Avocado Slices
Lunch: GF Almond Butter & Manuka Honey Sandwiches, Apple & Raw Cheese Slices, organic freeze-dried strawberries

Wednesday: First Day of Spring!
To do: make sauerkraut
Lunch:  Hummus, Carrot Sticks, Raw Cheese, Summer Sausage, Mandarin Oranges
Snack:  Orange Julius
Dinner:  Chicken Enchilada Salad (using leftover chicken from Tuesday)

To do: make cookie dough bites, soak porridge
Lunch:  GF Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Mandarin Oranges, Walnuts & Dried Cranberries

Breakfast:  Porridge & Eggs

Breakfast:  GF Snickerdoodle Pancakes (modified)
Lunch:  Quesorritos

Breakfast:  Breakfast Popcorn
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner: Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan #67 Saint Patrick's Week!

With the Wellness Seminar coming up this Saturday, getting the garden ready, caring for two new lambs and twenty new chicks, this week is quite full and the menu plan reflects that.  I'll be using up whatever I have found in the freezer (there were quite a few forgotten surprises in there!), so this week might look a bit random, and definitely very simple and un-frilly.

To do: soak beans
Lunch:  Leftover Baked Oatmeal Squares, Hummus, Carrot Sticks, Raw Cheese, Apples

To do: make yogurt, make refried beans, thaw chili for Thursday
Breakfast:  Fried Eggs & Avocado Slices
Lunch:  Almond Butter & Manuka Honey Wraps, Mandarin Oranges, Raw Cheese, & Apple Slices
Snack:  Orange Julius
Dinner:  Quesorritos

To do: make cookie dough bites
Lunch:  Hummus, Carrot Sticks, Raw Cheese, Apples, Almonds, goji berries

Lunch:  GF Turkey & Cheese Sandwiches, Tangelos, Cookie Dough Bites
Dinner:  Thawed Chiliroasted broccoli

Lunch:  GF Ham & Cheese Sandwiches, Apples, Goji Berries, Cookie Dough Bites
Dinner:  Bacon Spinach Oven Omelette,  GF Apple Cinnamon Coffee Cake  (Breakfast For Dinner!)

Saturday:  Wellness Seminar
Lunch:  Provided at Wellness Seminar
Snack:  Tangelos
Dinner:  Leftovers

Sunday: Saint Patrick's Day!
Breakfast:  Fried Eggs over Shredded Kale & Cheese
Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Corned Beef, SauerkrautColcannon

Friday, March 8, 2013

Healthy Mexican Beef & Potato Melt ~ A Gluten-Free Recipe

Casserole-type meals never seem to be the prettiest dishes but have always been my favorite.  It seems generic and distasteful to admit that, but it's true.  Good ones are so warm and cheesy and comforting.  It's a nifty thing when one can serve an entire dinner in a single pan.

I would like you to meet my newest addiction.  The best part is?  Everyone in the family loves it, too!  Not too spicy for sensitive little tongues, but flavorful enough to satisfy grown-ups, this hearty dinner of crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside potatoey, cheesy, Mexicany goodness is a happy dinner and potluck offering.  Try it and see if it doesn't become a new favorite in your home, too.

Mexican Roasted Potato Casserole
Prep time: 15, bake time: 45 (divided); serves 6-10
  1. Preheat oven to 425º.  Place potato cubes in 9x13-inch pan.  Drizzle olive oil over the potatoes and mix until pieces are coated.  Stir in the first tablespoon of taco seasoning.  Bake potatoes for 40 minutes.
  2. While potatoes bake, brown ground beef.  Turn heat to simmer and pour 1/4 cup water into cooked beef.  Stir in the other 2 tablespoons taco seasoning and turn off heat once water has been absorbed (I've also been known to stuff a food processor full of spinach or other greens, run them thru, and mix it in with the beef at this point of the preparation).
  3. Once the potatoes are browned and done, layer beef on top of them.  Pour salsa over beef.  Top with grated cheese and sprinkle green onions on top.
  4. Bake 5-10 minutes to allow cheese to melt.  Serve warm with a dollop of creme fraiche on top.  Other yummy garnishes are fresh cilantro and avocado slices.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Grain-Free Coco-Vanilla Cake With Creme Fraiche Frosting ~ Joseph's First Birthday Cake

It is hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this littlest one of ours is one year old.  It seems he "popped out" (as his sisters would say) only a couple of days ago, but at the same time I feel that he has always been in my life.  A sonnet of love is bubbling up from within me, but that must wait for another time and place.  This post is about his cake.  I can't help but share one picture of the birthday boy right here and now, though:

I wanted him to enjoy his first cake without introducing him to refined ingredients and artificial colors and dyes.  Coconut flour came to the rescue.  With a little bit of this and that added to it, this little cake was born.  Frosted with creme fraiche which imparts an irresistibly smooth, tart rounding out of flavors, this cake remains simple yet complete.  I had to add little frozen blueberries because they are his favorite.  A single bees wax birthday candle topped it, and we all erupted in laughter when he spit-blew it out (with some spitless help from dad, of course).  By the time he was finished, not a scrap was left on that plate.  Baby and mama, both satisfied.

This can obviously be enjoyed anytime by anyone.  It is not meant to be boxed in only as a first birthday cake, but to be enjoyed at any time of year by all ages; GAPS dieters included!

Joseph's Grain-Free Coco-Vanilla Cake
Prep time: 10 minutes; bake time: 18 minutes; makes 12 cupcakes or 1 single-layer round cake
  1. Preheat oven to 350º.  Line 12 muffin cups or grease 1 cake pan or 8x8 square pan.
  2. Mix all ingredients thoroughly and place batter into prepared cupcake or cake pan.
  3. Bake cupcakes for 18 minutes or cake 25-30 minutes, or until a fork stuck into the center of the cake comes out clean.  Cool completely before frosting.
For the Frosting:
  • 1 cup creme fraiche (also sold at Trader Joe's if you would prefer to buy it already made)
  1. Frost each cupcake as liberally or as sparingly as you want.  Serve immediately or store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.  I recommend not frosting them until right before serving the cakes.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Weekly Menu Plan #66 ~ Meals For March

It's been a few weeks so you know what that means.  We are due for another family birthday!  It's hard to believe that our littlest is turning one on Tuesday.  My baby!  Didn't I just "pop him out" (as my seven and four-year-olds would say) a couple weeks ago?  Goodness gracious.  He might be too little to voice his menu wishes, so I am choosing foods that observe to be this carnivorous little man's favorites (and yes, he adores sauerkraut!).

To do: thaw chicken stock for Wednesday
Lunch:  Hummus, Carrots, Raw Cheese & Apple Slices, Cookie Dough Bites

Tuesday:  Joseph's 1st Birthday!
To do: make yogurt
Breakfast:  Poached Eggs, Raw Cheese, Avocado Slices
Lunch:  Cream Cheese, Apple & Cinnamon Wrap, Almonds, Leftover Baked Oatmeal Squares

To do: thaw beans for Friday's lunch
Lunch:  GF Turkey Sandwich, Tangerine, Cookie Dough Bites

Lunch:  GF Peanut Butter & Manuka Honey Sandwiches,  Apple & Raw Cheese Slices, Hummus & Carrots
Snack:  Orange Julius
Dinner:  Winter Veggie Melt (using leeks, collard greens, & turnips instead of cabbage, broccoli, & carrots)

To do: make breakfast cookies
Lunch:  Quesorritos (half day of school: kids home!)

Lunch:  Irish Nachos

Lunch:  Leftovers
Dinner:  Leftovers
(Sunday is my day off)

I'm sharing this at Pennywise Platter.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Bethel's Wellness Seminar: I'm Speaking!

Each year, I look forward to Bethel's annual wellness seminar.  Our journey to gluten-free started two years ago after listening to Dr. Rhonda Nelson teach on it.  I learned so much and our family has had noted increased health since then.

This year, I am honored to speak at Homegrown Wellness on Match 16th, along with other amazing health advocates! Beni Johnson and Dr. Nelson will be the main speakers (always loaded with knowledge and insight), and the rest of us are running workshops.  If you are interested in attending, you can register here.  The great thing is, the seminar will be streaming live and you can register to watch online from anywhere in the world!  I am not sure if my workshop will be the one that streams live, but no matter who it is, I know it will be well worth a watch.

My workshop is entitled Real Food for Real Families: Finding Peace and Joy at the Dinner Table with Healthy Meals.  I will be sharing a bit of our family's health journey; how we transitioned from refined to whole ingredients, techniques and strategies that worked, and how I went from being chronically lethargic to full of energy in a very short amount of time, just by changing a few things in my eating habits.  There will be a time of question and answer, and we will wrap it up in prayer.  I'm quite excited to share the best of all I've learned from the past eight years of researching and developing a healthy lifestyle.

Here's a look at the seminar's line-up:


7:30-9:00   REGISTRATION

9:00 - 10:00  Main Session #1 
Dr. Ronda Nelson
Building a Healthy Response System

10:00 - 10:15  Break

10:15 - 11:15   Main Session #2 
Ronda Nelson
Don't Freak Out When You Eat Out

11:15 - 11:30   Break 

11:30 - 12:15   Break-out Session #1 
Organic Gardening – Jacque Stickels
Juicing as A Part of A Balanced Lifestyle – Kezia Neusch
Real Food for Real Families – Katie Riddle

12:15 - 1:15  Brown-bag lunch


1:15 - 2:00   Break-out Session #2
Thriving Despite Circumstances – Jen Johnston
Live A Healthier Lifestyle – Kat Kunde
Total Transformation – Chris Overstreet

2:00 - 2:15  Break 

2:15 - 3:30  Main Session #3 
Ronda Nelson
Enjoying The Second Season of Life: Preparing for a Smooth Transition

3:30 - 3:45  Break 

3:45 - 4:30  Main Session #4
Beni Johnson
Prayer and closing
Will you be there?  Come say hi!


Related Posts with Thumbnails