6-Minute Soft-Boiled Eggs

30 Oct

6 minute Soft-Boiled Egg

I absolutely love poached eggs.  But I just do not have the time to stand over the stove and watch them simmer.  I even tried buying some of the cute little metal poaching bowls, but I still had to be careful not to overcook them.  That’s where the 6 minute soft-boiled egg comes in.  While you do not have the same presentation value of a poached egg, you certainly get the taste and texture.  These eggs taste excellent on my Sprouted Wheat Bread, and make a fast breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

Ingredients

Eggs!

Method

1.  Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil.

2.  Gently add Eggs to the water with a slotted spoon.

3.  Make sure none have busted, or are completely floating on the top (the floaters are rotten eggs).

4.  Set your timer for 6 minutes.

5.  Pour some coffee.

6.  Look out the window.

7.  When the Eggs are done, hold the Eggs in place with the slotted spoon while you drain the hot water out.

8.  Run cool water over the eggs, then pour it out.  Repeat two more times.

9.  If you plan to eat immediately, you may leave some cool water in the pot with the Eggs to cool them rapidly.  I usually leave no water on the Eggs since I can’t get to peeling them right away.

10.  When you’re ready to serve, carefully peel the Eggs (wetting your fingers in cool water sometimes makes the peeling easier).

11.  Serve!

Tomato-Free Sauce

24 Oct
Tomato-Free Sauce and Pesto on Sprouted Wheat Pasta

Tomato-Free Sauce and Pesto on Sprouted Wheat Pasta

Whether you’re allergic to tomatoes, or avoiding produce in the nightshade family, this is an amazing, healthy alternative to tomato-based sauces.  Using beets and carrots to replace the tomatoes adds a unique color and flavor profile that no one can turn down!

For approximately 6 cups

Ingredients

2 1/2 c. Carrots, steamed

1/3 c. Beets, steamed

2/3 c. water from steaming pot

3 Tb. Lemon Juice

1/2 c. Olive Oil

1/4 c. Butter

2 c. Onions, chopped

1 c. Celery, chopped

4 Garlic cloves, minced

8 Tb. Parmesan Cheese, grated

4 tsp. dried Basil

4 tsp. dried Oregano

2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

4 small Bay Leaves

2 tsp. Fennel Seeds

Method

To steam the Beets and Carrots:

1.  Wash and peel the Beets and Carrots.

2.  Add steamer basket to a large pot with 2 inches of water in the bottom and bring to a boil.

3.  Add Beets and Carrots and steam, covered, for 15 minutes, or until soft.

4.  Let sit until cool enough to handle, then set aside Carrots and Beets in separate bowls.

5.  Mash Beets and Carrots (if you have extra, save it in the freezer for the next batch).

To make Sauce:

1.  In a large pot, melt the Butter with the Oil.

2.  Add the Onion, Celery, and Garlic and sauté until soft and transparent.

3.  Add the steamed Beets and Carrots, water from steaming pot, and Lemon Juice and mix well.

4.  Add remaining ingredients, and bring to a slow simmer.

6.  Simmer for 60 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.

7.  Allow to cool and remove Bay Leaves.

8.  Add sauce to blender and blend until smooth (or use an immersion blender and mix directly in the pot).

Pizza Sauce

Pizza Sauce

Use as a sauce for pasta, pizza, or whatever else you can think of!  I freeze the sauce in 1 c. containers and thaw as needed.

Sprouted Wheat Bread (Essene Bread)

18 Oct
Serve with your favorite dipping oil!

Serve with your favorite dipping oil!

Sprouting grains is economical, ecological, simple, and tasty!  There is very little hands-on time, and the result is a highly nutritious, “living” food.  Sprouting, or germinating, allows enzymes in the grains to become active and create a host of nutritional changes:

  • Proteins are converted into free amino acids
  • Starches change into simple plant sugars
  • Minerals combine in a way that increases their assimilation
  • Vitamin content increases from 3 to 12 times

Wheat sprouts, in particular, contain four times more folic acid and six times more vitamin C than unsprouted wheat.

I will be specifically concentrating on wheat sprouts in this post in order to use them for Essene Bread.  Red Winter Wheat Berries are the best choice for sprouting.  Be sure that your grains are not sprayed with chemicals or dyed.  Use only grains that are certified to be edible.  Also, make sure your grains have no traces of mold, as this will get out of control during the sprouting process, and will make you sick.  Always be sure your sprouting container is clean (I always wash mine with hot soapy water when I’m finished sprouting grains in it) to prevent any carryover of molds that may have started to grow from the previous sprouting.

Essene Bread is so easy and nutritious that it’s the only kind I make.  It has a wonderful sweet, nutty flavor, and it’s chewy texture is reminiscent of an english muffin.  In fact, I use these for everything an english muffin can be used for…which is pretty much anything!

To sprout the Wheat Berries:

Ingredients

2 c. Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries

Large glass jar (I use a 2 quart Ball jar)

Cheesecloth or plastic lid with holes in it

Method

1. Soaking:

Add 2 c. Wheat Berries to the glass jar and cover with two layers of cheesecloth, or a plastic lid with holes in it.

Add warm water, swirl it around to clean the seeds, then pour it out.

Refill with double the amount of warm water as there are seeds.

Place in a dark cabinet, or cover with a towel, and let it soak overnight.

Soaking2.  Sprouting

Pour off the soak water.

Turn the jar to spread out the seed.

Place drained jar in a dark place at an angle to allow any extra water to drain out.

Sprouting

Leave for 12 hours, then rinse the sprouts with cool water, and drain again.

Repeat until the sprouts have “tails” that are twice as long as the berries and have a sweet taste (taste them!).  It usually takes 2-3 days to accomplish this.

Wheat Berry "Tails"

The sprouts should be ready in the evening, so complete the final rinsing and let them dry overnight.  The jar will be packed full of sprouts!

Fully Sprouted Wheat Berries

3.  Grinding

Now that the berries are sprouted and drained (there will still be some moisture, which is needed to keep the dough moist), grind them to make the dough.  You may use a meat grinder, food processor, or hand-cranked grain mill.  I use my meat grinder attachment on my KitchenAid stand mixer.

The resulting dough will be juicy, sticky, mottled light and dark, and have the consistency of raw hamburger.

Ground Sprouts

4.  Kneading

Lightly oil your hands, or wet them with water, and knead the dough within the bowl for about one minute.  Keep repeatedly folding it over on itself, wetting your hands if the dough gets too sticky.

5.  Shaping

Cover a cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Using wet hands, take a small amount of dough and place it on the parchment paper.

Flatten to to approximately 1 1/2 inches.

Shaped Dough

6.  Baking

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake for 2 1/2 to 3 1/2 hours until the outside is firm, not hard (the low temperature, long term baking preserves most of the nutrients from heat).  The bread will spring back slightly after gently touching.  The bottom of the bread will seem a bit sticky, but that’s fine.

Allow the bread to cool on wire racks and then store in sealed plastic bags.  The bread will become softer and sweeter with time.

The bread can be kept at room temperature for three to four days, or refrigerated for up to four weeks!

I have a continual batch of wheat berries sprouting so that I don’t run out of bread.  I can’t get enough of it!

Tomato Pesto Mozzarella on Sprouted Bread

Tomato Pesto Mozzarella on Sprouted Bread

Summer Squash Pasta with Pesto

16 Oct

Zucchini Pasta with Pesto

 

If you’re going grain free or just want to add more veggies to your diet, this is the way to go.  All you need is a julienne attachment for your mandoline slicer.  If you don’t have a mandoline slicer, go get one!  Mine is a cheap slicer from Aldi, but it works wonders.

The Pesto can be used on pasta, corn on the cob, as a dressing for caprese salad, or even as an accompaniment to fish and meat.  The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients

For Summer Squash Pasta:

Summer Squash, washed and dried

Salt

For Pesto:

2 c. packed fresh Basil leaves, washed and dried

4 cloves Garlic, peeled

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 c. Pine Nuts

1/4 c. freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

1/4 – 1/2 c. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Method

For Summer Squash Pasta:

Slice both ends off of each Squash.

Using the julienne attachment on the mandoline slicer, slice Squash until you get to the center where the seeds are.  Discard the center.

Place julienned Squash in a colander and sprinkle generously with salt.

Soaked Squash

Set in the sink and let rest for 20 minutes.

Rinse with cold water, and squeeze out as much water as possible.

For Pesto:

Place Basil in a food processor or blender.

Pulse until well chopped.

Add Garlic, Salt, Pine Nuts, and Parmesan and blend until mixed.

With the motor running, slowly add Olive Oil until a thick paste is formed.

To prepare Summer Squash Pasta with Pesto:

Preheat a non-stick skillet over medium high heat.

Add desired amount of Pesto to pan, stirring until fragrant (approximately 30 seconds).

Add Summer Squash Pasta and briefly sauté until warmed through and well coated with Pesto (keep the sauté time short, in order to retain a bit of “crunch” to the Squash).

Serve warm.

The Pesto can be kept refrigerated for several days, or frozen for up to 3 months.  I usually make a large batch in the Summer and freeze it to keep me going through the winter.

Lacto-fermented Salsa

12 Oct

Lactofermented Salsa

Lacto-fermentation is a traditional preservation method that has been used for thousands of years.  It relies on the activity of lactobacilli, bacteria that are present on the surface of all living things.  The lactobacilli convert the starches and sugars in fruits and vegetables to lactic acid, thereby preserving the food.  Lacto-fermentation is a process that is ongoing, so once you have the flavor you want, refrigeration is required to slow the fermentation.  A root cellar (or any space that stays around 40 degrees Fahrenheit) will do as well.  For more information on Lacto-fermentation, I highly suggest reading Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon and Mary G. Enig, Ph.D.

This Lacto-fermented Salsa will blow your mind!  I have kept jars in the fridge for months, and the flavor is still as amazing as the day I made it.  The Onions and Peppers keep their “crunchiness” too, which is really what makes this recipe a winner in my book!

Adapted from Nourishing Traditions:

Makes approximately 1 1/2 quarts

Ingredients

 4 medium Tomatoes, cut in half and seeded

2 small Onions, coarsely chopped

3/4 c. Chile Peppers, coarsely chopped (hot or mild)

1 Jalapeno Pepper, seeded

8 cloves of Garlic, peeled

1 bunch Cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 tsp.  dried Oregano

juice of 2 Lemons

1 Tb. Sea Salt

1/4 c. Whey (from strained yogurt) or an additional 1 Tb. Sea Salt

1/4 c. Filtered Water

Method

Add Tomatoes to a blender or food processor and pulse until chopped.

Add Onions, and pulse again.

Add Peppers, Garlic, Cilantro, and Lemon Juice and pulse until well mixed.

Add remaining ingredients and continue to pulse until well mixed.

Place salsa in two 1 quart canning jars, mashing vegetables down to ensure they are covered by the liquid.

Make sure the vegetables are at least one inch below the top of the jar to prevent leaking.

Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for approximately 2 days.

Be sure to loosen the lids and “burp” the jars periodically during fermentation to prevent leaking (tighten lid back when you’re finished).

Transfer the Salsa to cold storage.

Taco Seasoning

11 Oct

Taco Seasoning

This is so easy to make, and it keeps well too.  I use this seasoning not only on ground beef, but on beans as well.  I mix beans with the ground beef to make the meal “go a bit farther” and to save money (meat is SO expensive!).

Ingredients

6 Tb. Chili Powder

3 Tb. Cumin

1 1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1 1/2 tsp. Onion Powder

3/4 tsp. Red Pepper Flakes

1 1/2 tsp. Oregano

1 Tb. Paprika

2 Tb. Salt

1 Tb. Black Pepper

Method

Place all the ingredients in a jar and SHAKE!

Use approximately 2 Tb. of seasoning per pound of meat.

Remaining seasoning can be kept in an airtight container in the pantry.

Soaking and Fermenting Nuts, Seeds, Grains, and Legumes

10 Oct
Soaking Spelt Flour and Yogurt

Soaking Spelt Flour and Yogurt

Most people soak their legumes in order to help decrease the possibility of digestive upset and reduce the cooking time.  But what about soaking grains, seeds, and nuts?  How many times have you eaten a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast only to feel tired, sluggish, and hungry only an hour later?  What about whole grain muffins?  Seems like they would be healthy and filling with all of the fiber that they have, but I know from personal experience that I always feel bloated and sluggish after eating them for breakfast.  For the last year, I have been experimenting with soaking not only my legumes, but nuts, seeds, and grains as well, and I have noticed a big difference in how I am able to digest these foods.

It turns out that soaking and fermenting nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes not only improves their digestibility, but the absorption of nutrients as well.  Phytic Acid is present in nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.  It binds with Calcium, Magnesium, Copper, Iron, and Zinc in the intestinal tract, thus blocking their absorption.  In the long term, this could lead to serious mineral deficiencies and bone loss.  There are also Enzyme Inhibitors in raw nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes that can neutralize our own enzymes in our digestive tract.  Soaking and Fermenting allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to break down and neutralize phytic acid.  During the process of Soaking, gluten and other difficult to digest proteins are partially broken down into simpler components that are more readily available for absorption.

Soaking your nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes only requires one more step in food preparation.  Depending on the food, you need to soak your nuts/seeds/grains/legumes for 7-24 hours (usually overnight).  An acidic medium is required in order to break down the phytic acid.  This is obtained my mixing Whey (the liquid “stuff” in yogurt is the easiest way to obtain it), pure yogurt, kefir, or buttermilk with warm water (see the link for the chart below for specifics on how to soak nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes).  If you suffer from milk allergies, you can substitute Vinegar or Lemon juice.  After soaking, you simply prepare the meal the same way as if it weren’t soaked (sometimes with less water, of course).  If it is boiled, always skim the foam off the top as these are the anti-nutrients that you have removed by soaking.

Below is a PDF of a simple chart to refer to when soaking the different types of nuts, seeds, grains, and legumes.  Specific recipes will be added to the site shortly.

Soaking and Fermenting Chart

Lemon Rosemary Cookies (Sugar Free, Low Carbohydrate, Grain Free)

1 Oct

These tasty little morsels got out of my dreams and into my oven.  Really.  They will blow your mind.  And would you believe that they’re sugar free, low carbohydrate, and grain free?  Using simple, easy to find ingredients puts them at the top of my list for quick and healthy treats!  

Lemon Rosemary Deliciousness!

Lemon Rosemary Deliciousness!

Ingredients

2 c. Almond Meal

1/2 c. (1 stick) Butter, softened

3 Tb. Powdered Stevia

1 tsp. Grated Lemon Peel

2 Tb. Lemon Juice

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1 Egg

1/2 Tb. Fresh Rosemary, minced and crushed in pestle and mortar

Method

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.   In a large bowl, cream butter and stevia with a hand mixer until mixed well (stand back while you do it, or you will inhale powdered stevia!).

3.  Beat in the lemon juice, grated lemon peel, and vanilla.

4.  Beat in the egg and mix well.

5.  In a medium bowl, mix the almond flour and rosemary.

6.  Gradually add flour mixture to the creamed mixture and mix well.

7.  Drop dough by the tablespoonful on a cookie sheet lined with foil.

8.  Flatten to a thickness of about 3/4 of an inch.

9.  Bake in the top third of the oven for 10-12 minutes, until brown on the top and bottom.

10.  Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Yields approximately 22 cookies.

What is Stevia?

3 May

Unknown-1There are certainly a lot of misconceptions about Stevia.  I had never even heard of the herb until a few years ago.  Now that Stevia is becoming more mainstream, there are a lot of different varieties available.  Most have fillers in them to make it measure for measure like sugar.  The fact is, though, that Stevia is 250 to 300 times sweeter than sugar, so it only takes a small amount of pure Stevia to equal the sweetness of sugar.

My favorite brand of Stevia is SweetLeaf.  It is an all natural Stevia, with no fillers.  There is no bitter aftertaste.  You may need to modify your Stevia measurements if you are using another brand of Stevia.

Here is a great resource for any questions/concerns you may have about Stevia.

Updated 9/26/13.

Sugar Free Low Carb Peanut Butter Cookies

27 Apr
Don't forget the milk!

Don’t forget the milk!

This is a wonderful recipe for a healthy “treat” that my children absolutely love!  Most of the time I hide some so that I can get some too (just don’t tell the kids!).

Ingredients:

3/4 c. Unsalted Butter, Softened

1 c. Unsweetened Peanut Butter

3 Tb. Powdered Stevia

2 Eggs

2 tsp. Vanilla Extract

2 1/2 c. Almond Meal

1/4 tsp. Salt

1 tsp. Baking Soda

Method:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

In a small bowl, mix Almond Meal, Baking Soda, and Salt.

In a large mixing bowl, mix Butter and Peanut Butter until smooth.

Add Powdered Stevia and mix just until combined.

Add Eggs one at a time while mixing.

Add Vanilla and continue to mix.

Last add the Almond Flour mixture, and mix until combined.

Scoop approximately 1 Tb. of dough at a time and roll into balls.

Lightly press each ball down on cookie sheet with a fork.

Bake for 10-12 minutes, until golden.

Yields 3 1/2 dozen cookies

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