I remember telling a friend, years ago – ’You don’t really like kale! You just like it because it’s good for you!’ I had tasted some very bitter, over-cooked greens once, and since I hadn’t been raised eating things like kale or collards, I couldn’t imagine anyone really ate them for their flavor. Over the course of time I too have become crazy for kale. I realized, like many vegetables, it’s all in how you prepare it. Our family truly does love kale for it’s flavor AND because we know it’s good for us! Read up on why dark leafy greens are so good for you here.
We grew 3 varieties in our first year of growing kale. I realized quickly that I loved the Nero de Toscana Kale (sometimes called Tuscan, Lacinato or Dinosaur Kale) the best. It’s Italian and it’s just beautiful. It’s smooth, thick leaves have great texture and the flavor is the mildest that I’ve tasted (though, like all kale, it tastes sweeter after a frost – and a tad more bitter during the warmer months). My favorite way to cook it is chopped into thin strips, sauteed on med-high heat with a generous amount of fresh chopped garlic and olive oil. Cook until some of the strips get crispy in the pan – but the color is still bright green. Sprinkle with sea salt. And who doesn’t love homemade, crispy kale chips?
It has begun. Days in the triple digits, or just under. Sweat pouring from every inch of your body when you are just standing there. Big sun hats, long-sleeves, and working in the garden early in the day.
The calendar may not agree, but here in central Texas summer seems to be upon us. We live off-grid so air conditioning is non-existent and fans are minimal. So we find old-fashioned ways of staying cool and hydrated.
I made this homemade gatorade the other day for a community gathering. After a 99 degree day spent working, it seemed like just the right thing to do.
It is incredibly important in this heat to maintain your electrolytes and not just drink water. We eat more unrefined sea salt, pay close attention to consuming potassium-rich foods like potatoes, zucchini, avocados, coconut water, and bananas. And now for the rest of this summer I’ll be making this slightly-sweetened homemade electrolyte drink regularly.
It’s that time of year again! Time for barbecues and roasted marshmallows! Time for chasing fireflies and getting dirty feet! Time for mommy to get a clue on how to get grass stain out of the seat of britches.
Sometimes cookouts can be last minute thoughts. In my family, we might decide at lunch to have a cookout for dinner. While that drives the planner in me INSANE, I am glad my family can be spontaneous – even if I am not. But, I have this little trick up my sleeve. I actually AM prepared to be spontaneous…and they don’t even know it! *Insert evil laughter here* Continue reading
I’m always on the hunt for recipes that stretch a pound of meat to feed 6 (or more) people. I believe meat has a place in my family’s diet. And I believe in buying the best quality meat I possibly can. And I know what that kind of meat costs per pound. Yikes. Feed a family of 6 on that kind of food three times a day and “Whole Paycheck” becomes a misnomer. It’s more like “Whole Salary”.
For this reason, recipes like this one often end up in my stash. But they don’t always turn out as tasty as this one.
It’s pronounced like this: (flow-NYARD)
I promise this dish really isn’t as stuffy as its pronunciation makes it out to be. In fact, it is easy enough to make on a Saturday morning when you are half asleep, hearty enough to fill a family of hungry bellies, and delicious enough that there will be no leftovers — all characteristics of a perfect recipe to have in our Saturday morning repertoire (re-pə(r)-ˌtwär).
I’m always delighted to receive copies of cookbooks to review. I love books. I love cooking. We’re a good match for each other, cookbooks and I. I’m always twice as delighted when the books come from people who are really nice and enclose hand-written cards with their cookbooks. And if the author has a pretty blog to go along with the cookbook, well, it just puts me over the moon.
So I was really excited when I received Amy Green’s cookbook, Simply Sugar and Gluten Free. And she sent two extra copies to give away to two of you!
I’m not here to tell anyone they have to avoid GMOs. But judging by the outpouring of action against all things GMO recently, many of us are waking up to the fact that this experiment with our food is going on and it’s probably not going to end well.
If you’re concerned about them, as we are, then it’s helpful to know just where they are. Ignorance is not always bliss, as they say. And while it’s easy to get up in arms about the situation in general, I find that it is helpful to avoid the victim mentality.
By that I mean we need to recognize that we hold all of the power. I know that sounds crazy when you’re dealing with billion dollar multi-national corporations, but we choose how we live our lives, how we spend our dollars, and how we eat.
Our favorite pasta salad – really the only one we make – is a pretty simple combination of noodles, sausage, greens, beans, onion, and some dressing (recipe below). We make a huge bowl full of it, use it as a main dish several times, and then finish it off as a side dish with other fare like hamburgers or BLTs.
The pasta salad is meant to be flexible, allowing for variation in the vegetables and beans, but to my mind, if we’re asking this dish to go far, a few of the items are necessary: noodles (of course), sausage (of course), some kind of dressing, and – I argue – the greens.
Why should greens be vital? I’m all for meat and pasta, but vegetables really do balance it out. But why greens? We are, after all, talking about leaves – not firm crisp roots, or stalky stalks, or succulent fruits, or even densely packed florets. Thin, floppy leaves.
Here are a few arguments for leaves. Fewer vegetables have more variety and subtlety in flavor. Grown properly – in cool weather, generally – flavors may range from nutty to peppery, from sweet to chalky. And delicacy, which is intrinsic to most greens, is rare in our diets. With all the heating, freezing, burning, and fermenting, it’s nice to eat something the way it is. Continue reading
I know you probably didn’t get excited when you read that recipe title. I wasn’t too excited either. In fact, when I saw it on the list of most-imported recipes to Plan to Eat (near the top of the list, even! Number 13!) I frowned and thought, “Really?” But there it was, and I needed lunch for the next day, so I gave it a shot. We were not disappointed.
Pictured below: the non-GMO corn tortillas that led me into so much more!
(here is part 1 and part 2 that started this story).
Before I move beyond the corn tortilla recipe… I have to add a recent discovery that has absolutely cured my ‘delicious, flavorful, but a bit stiff’ natural tortillas. I added some arrowroot powder to my masa corn mix (a natural thickener, similar to cornstarch). I added approx. 1 tablespoon to 2 cups of the Masa Flour mix and WOW. It improved the softness – and really created a softer tortilla. Try it!
I have absolutely LOVED this adventure of searching for real food. Some of my favorite documentaries on the topic are: Food, Inc., Fresh, Food Matters, and Dirt, the movie – as well as the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle.
All of this information, as well as our own experiences in healing our bodies through food – have kept me on the journey of replacing (a little at a time) anything processed, with food that is grown either in our yard, or as close to it as possible. Purchasing organic and GMO-free ingredients is important to me, not just because of the health effects, but it matters to me morally, ethically, even spiritually. (Watch the above listed documentaries if this doesn’t make sense to you – and I promise, it will). Continue reading