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Posts tagged ‘recipes’

Everyday Loaded Oats

I am not a food blogger.

I just wanted to get that out there right away. I don’t have lots of pretty pictures, this isn’t going to be like going to epicurious.com or anything. However, I do think about food in a way that I think others might not, so once in awhile, I have to talk about it. I have mentioned my oatmeal to others, and have gotten requests for the recipe, so I thought I’d put it out there. It isn’t just a recipe for a meal, so it takes some explanation.

Food is more than taste, but taste is important.

I eat based on health, for the most part. I am not an ascetic, I will indulge in a variety of deserts from time to time. I try to plan my meals ahead of time, and pick healthy and tasty items. Breakfast for me is a no brainer. Partially because thinking before coffee in the morning is almost impossible. (Insert laughing emoticon here.) I started with oatmeal. I didn’t want to add a lot of sugar, but unsweetened was unappealing. I started with molasses, so I’d get some good things in my sweetener. I added cranberries for sweetness and texture, and a drop of fiber. Walnuts for taste and omega three. After reading about green smoothies I started blending kale and cooking my oatmeal in that. I like to lift weights, and don’t eat much meat, so I started adding plain, unflavored protein powder.

You can see where this was going. My quick and easy breakfast was turning into a twenty minute project every morning. Not to mention the calorie creep as more and more ingredients kept being added. Not that that is necessarily a bad thing. I believe in front loading your calories: a big breakfast, smaller lunch and a snack like dinner, but I also want to be in control of how much and when.


So this went on for awhile, then at some point I got the idea to dehydrate my blended greens, turning them into green powder. Adding that was easier than blending them up fresh every morning. My latest epiphany came after I bought another batch of protein powder. They had a deal on getting oatmeal with add ins already mixed in. Eureka! MIX ALL THE INGREDIENTS AHEAD OF TIME! Then all I would have to do is scoop out a serving and add the liquid. I could also measure and be consistent.

It took some experimentation. I started by selecting a quantity of oats, figuring out how many servings that was and multiplying all the other ingredients by that number. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple. When you make one serving the old way, you measure a half cup of oats, then add 1 tablespoon of this, and one of that. With the all in one method, if your serving is going to be 1/2 cup, you have everything together in that 1/2 cup, so you have less oats and more everything else. This means your consistency, no matter what, is not going to be quite the same. Having said that, I like it, especially as overnight oats, where you don’t cook it, you just let it soak in milk or water overnight.

Here’s the recipe that I am currently using. This is such an elastic recipe, play with it to your taste. If you don’t like the first serving, add something to change the taste. The rest will be better.


I told you I wasn’t a food blogger!

Loaded Oats

  • 6 C. Old fashioned oats
  • 2 C. Protein powder- unflavored, unsweetened
  • 1 C. Cranberries
  • 1 C. Hemp seeds
  • 3/4 C. ground flax seeds
  • 1/2 C. chia seeds
  • 1 C. chopped walnuts
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1/3 C dried, unsweetened coconut (Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 C. dried greens
  • 2 T. cinnamon
  • 1 t. nutmeg

Mix all the ingredients and store in a moisture proof container.

To make: scoop ½ cup, add water or milk ( just use enough to cover, I don’t measure, sorry.) You can cook it right away, or let it soak overnight for a cold dish. I prefer it soaked right now.

Makes 26-28 servings, approximately 270 calories each. Substitute and change as you like. Use raisins instead of cranberries, add sunflower seeds, dried peanut butter, whatever floats your boat. Make sure you use ground flax seed, whole ones can make you quite gassy.

In Praise of Pumpkin

Pumpkins are a super food. They probably won’t make a list as such, but 100 gr. only has 26 caloriesbeautiful orange pumpkin. They are high in fiber, vitamins a, c and e. Plus, they taste so good, even people who “hate vegetables” will eat them. If you are trying to lose weight, they can your best friend. If you want to talk about hunger in the world, they are prolific and one good sized pumpkin can produce 8 cups of food. Even the seeds make a tasty, healthy snack.

I just got one from a friend, and that’s what prompted this blog. I quartered it, put it in a pan with some water in the bottom and baked it in the oven at 350 until the skin darkened and the flesh was soft. I can’t recommend a time, since they vary so much in size, but I would say about an hour. Then I scooped all the flesh out and threw away the skin, into my garden for  compost. I also scooped out the seeds and put them in a shallow pan. I have an oven over my fireplace, so I dried and toasted them there, with some olive oil and salt. This was a decorative pumpkin. They aren’t supposed to be as flavorful as pie pumpkins, but it tastes great to me. I would recommend pureeing them before eating, if you are used to canned. I was surprised at how close to spaghetti squash the texture was.

First, I pureed some and added it to vanilla ice cream with some of the traditional pumpkin spices, to make a lower calorie desert. Very tasty. I added some to my oatmeal this morning, along with some molasses and spices. Pumpkin is not overwhelming, so you can add it to a variety of things. If you live with people who are used to you trying to make everything healthier, and very suspicious, this isn’t kale, it won’t turn your food green, and it doesn’t announce itself.  You can sneak it into the meatloaf, oatmeal, and spaghetti sauce. You can serve it openly in breads, cakes pies and puddings. It can go savory as well. You can make soup, or stew out of it. You can use it in place of the oil in cake and cookie recipes. You can serve it by itself, either with salt and butter, maybe some sage, or go sweet and add brown sugar and cinnamon. How about a pumpkin smoothie? Just take some pumpkin, milk, molasses and pie spice, and there you go. Add your protein powder and you are all set.

Ok, so could I torture you with all this talk about pumpkin and not throw in some recipes?

Here’s one from my daughter:

Turkey Meatloaf in a Pumpkin
serves 2-4
One 6-inch pie pumpkin (regular pumpkin)
2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped (I used about 1/4 c minced dried onion because i wanted to use it up)
2 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 small Granny smith apple, chopped (I used half a fuji apple b/c that’s what i had on hand)
1 pound ground turkey (1 lb ground beef)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper (1/2 tsp)
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon fresh sage, minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup dried cranberries (raisins)
3/4 cup fresh breadcrumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
Heat the oven to 400°F. Cut a lid off the top of the pumpkin in a zigzag pattern. Clean pumpkin of seeds and stringy interior, replace the lid, and bake on a roasting dish or deep baking sheet for 1 hour in about 1 inch of water. Remove the pumpkin from the oven and let it cool. Once cool, coat the inside with the mustard and brown sugar. (Here I just used half of a regular pumpkin. no zigzags 🙂 and i saved the seeds for toasting today.  YUM! )
While the pumpkin is baking, melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add onion, celery and apple (and raisins) and cook until just softened. Remove the skillet from heat and combine its contents with the remaining ingredients in a medium bowl.
Stuff the meatloaf mixture into the pumpkin, leaving an inch of space at the top (I didn’t leave any space on top, in fact, my meat was overflowing out of the pumpkin) . Place the lid on top (Since i didn’t have a pumpkin lid, i used the roaster lid to cover it) and bake at 400°F for 1 hour.
Let stand for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
And here’s mine:

Baked pureed pumpkin in a dishPumpkin bake

2 cups pumpkin
1-2T whole wheat flour
1 egg
2T molasses
2T brown sugar
1/2-1 C. milk ( I don’t measure, I just eyeball it)
1 t. cinnamon
1/8 t. each of cloves, allspice and nutmeg. You could also add cardamom and mace, if you like. or just add a hearty teaspoon of pumpkin or apple pie spice.
If you aren’t using canned pumpkin, I would puree the pumpkin first, then mix all the ingredients together. I only made this mildly sweet to be a side dish, but you can increase the sugar/molasses and make it into a desert.
Anyway, bake at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes till the top darkens. It won’t get too set, it has a pudding consistency.
There you go, one sweet, one savory. Oh, here’s one more for the super healthy, Pumpkin pie Quinoa casserole. Bon appetit!

Fall, the Ultimate Time for Food

I always say I’m not a foodie, but I did two dishes this week that I thought were worth sharing. I don’t slavishly follow recipes, I find them to be suggestions. Most of the time it works well.

The first is a squash casserole. I was craving anything with squash or pumpkin, and sweets. I looked around the web, and I decided to approximate a pumpkin pie recipe.  All measurements are approximate. I never worry about amounts too much. I thawed a two cups of squash, added 1/4 c. molasses, 1/4 c. brown sugar, 1/4 c. w.w. flour, 1/2 cup soaked 9 grain cereal, 1/2 a can of evaporated milk, 1 t. of cinnamon, 1 t. of chinese 5 season spice,   a sprinkle of nutmeg, salt, and ginger and 2 eggs. Oh, I also threw in some pumpkin seeds and some pecans. I mixed and baked at 350 until it looked and smelled good. Hopefully I’ll be able to add a picture later, I emailed it to myself twice, and it still isn’t showing up. It isn’t very pretty anyway, just tasty.

Meatloaf in the pan with ketchup on it.Then I wanted to make a healthier meatloaf. I blended three kale leaves with a hearty splash of the leftover evaporated milk. In a bowl, I added a scant 1/4 c. of wheat bran, two slices of whole wheat bread, some steak seasoning, ketchup, a-1 sauce and Worcestshire, 1 egg and the hamburger, and the contents of the blender. It did have a green hue, but you really couldn’t taste the kale.

Two Recipes for your Health

I’m not a foodie, but I do have my moments. I made two recipes today to use lots of veggies since I have a garden, belong to a community garden and belong to a C.S.A. To explain, a C.S.A. is Community Supported Agriculture- you buy a share from a farm at the beginning of the summer, and you get a share of whatever is produced throughout the summer. Anyway, I have LOTS of veggies in the house, and part of our goal with our community garden is to encourage our church members to eat healthier, since the garden is a church activity, so I came up with some recipes that I thought everyone would like. Eating lots of veggies is the BEST way to stay healthy. While people can argue the point, I see a strong correlation between taking care of your physical body and taking care of your spirit. I also make a “kale slaw”, but that is just cole slaw with kale substituted for the cabbage. I didn’t have enough after the pot luck to bring any home, so I guess it was successful.

So, I thought I would share the two recipes to help others enjoy their veggies.

Americanized Tabbouleh western version of a middle eastern salad

I changed it to use all the kale I have:

3-4 kale leaves, finely chopped
1 c. Bulgar wheat, prepared
1-T. lemon juice
1t. lime juice (optional)
¼  of an onion, chopped
1 cucumber peeled and chopped
1 c. cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2T. Italian dressing
1-4T. chopped fresh mint
Mix and chill

All amounts are approximate, I don’t measure things, I go by look and taste.
Now, this second is based on a possible memory, I thought I had heard of something like this, but couldn’t find any recipe, so I just “winged it”. It turned out fantastic.

Beet slaw

beet salad

pretty too!

1 peeled shredded beet
6 or so baby carrots
a few splashes of balsamic vinegar
a dab of  molasses
a dab of strawberry jam
a good squirt or two of olive oil mayonnaise
a handful of dried cranberries
I wasn’t sure what raw beets would be like, but it was really, really good. I had a carrot salad that was a bit sweet with raisins at a restaurant the other day, giving me the idea of what to put in.

Spices are also a good reason to cook.

I thought I would follow up from yesterdays post, by noting that most commercial food is bland. It is marketed to the lowest common denominator, in this case, fat, salt and sugar. Not everyone has the same tastes, and for some reason, there are some who are afraid of new tastes. This would reduce sales of packaged foods, so they make sure their food is appealing to the widest audience. Even restaurants, unless they are marketing themselves as trendy, avoid using herbs and spices that would add odors and flavors that might not appeal to everyone.

This is reason # 4,349,867 to cook at home. While cooking at home can be time consuming or inconvenient, it is the best way to ensure you are eating healthy. As I noted in yesterday’s post, spices add health giving benefits and flavor to your food. If you do succumb to buying your food ready made, take it home and add spices too it. You can split the difference, buy frozen veggies, frozen chicken breasts, partially microwave a potato and saute all that in a little olive oil, maybe some balsamic vinegar, add some rosemary, thyme, sage garlic, or whatever else strikes your fancy and you are good to go. While making coleslaw is a breeze in a food processor, if it doesn’t appeal to you, then buy the slaw mix, make your own dressing, substituting balsamic vinegar for regular, add some dill, marjoram or parsley to it.

Here are some basic rules to try, and it doesn’t mean they can’t be broken, but if you are timid and want some guidance. Dill, Tarragon, Marjoram, parsley and sage are rather mild herbs, they can go in most any “white” dish, cream based, fish based, or mayonaise flavored. Try adding one the next time you make a cream soup or mayonnaise based salad. The “red” spices, that you are already familiar with from Italian cooking, are oregano, basil, rosemary, and thyme. They have strong flavors and you either like them or not. I would suggest them in any tomato dish, even canned tomato soup. Thyme on a pork roast with garlic, salt and pepper is out of this world.  As I noted in a previous blog entry, I LOVE roasted veggies with rosemary. The “hot” spices, chili, cayenne, black and red pepper, can add zip in surprising ways. I add some red pepper flakes to my chicken soup. just enough to “wake it up”. The “sweet” spices, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger, are most familiar to us from deserts like pumpkin pie, apple pie, ginger bread and oatmeal cookies. They can go other places and be paired with hot spices for an exotic flavor. Chinese 5 season spice pairs cinnamon, star anise, and pepper, and I love it sprinkled on my roasted chicken. When you smell that cooking, you can hardly wait to get it out of the oven. Ginger is great in green tea. Mexican cuisine pairs chocolate and pepper in several dishes.

Everyone loves tasty and easy. Spices and herbs are a great way to achieve that. Please leave a comment if you have a favorite use, or a novel one you think others should try.

While This is Not a Cooking Blog, I am Impressed With Myself.

Ok, maybe not with myself, as much with certain recipes. I don’t how many of you use “allrecipes.com”, but I love that site. It’s quick, easy, and it appears to have every recipe ever thought up. I got this one for coconut curried chicken, and oh my goodness. you’d have thought we had Indian take out here. I love ethnic food, from every country’s cuisine that I have tried. The only two I might not be crazy about are German and English, but even they have their good points. I’d have taken a picture of the curried chicken, but it isn’t the most appetizing to look at. The aroma and flavor are heavenly.

The second success on the cooking front was sushi crab salad. I love sushi. As sushi fans know, part of what makes sushi so good is the wasabi and ginger. Well, I made crab salad as usual, with imitation crab, celery, onion, green pepper, pickle and carrot, covered in Mayonnaise. Then I added wasabi and ginger until it tasted like sushi. I didn’t have fresh ginger, but with the pickle already in there, it tasted remarkably similar to pickled ginger.

MMM-mmm-good. What’s your big culinary achievement of the week?

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