Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Whole Wheat (perfect) Peanut Butter Cookies

I have to admit.  These came about because I found jars of Maranatha peanut butter (organic, all-natural, nonetheless!) for 25 CENTS at Dents for Cents when visiting some friends in Indiana.  Of course, I bought a bunch (hmmm, pay $4 a jar later, or 25 cents brainer!), but then decided that I didn't want to move full jars from NC to Utah in a month or so (oh, yeah...we're moving.  More on that later.) cookies it became.  YUM!

My Version of Perfection: Peanut Butter Cookies
2 1/2 C Peanut Butter
1/2 C coconut oil
2 C raw turbinado sugar (yes, it will likely stay crunchy and not totally dissolve.  TRUST me on this, it will be good)
2 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs
3 C whole wheat flour (grind it yourself PLEASE!)
3 tsp baking soda

Cream together oil, pb, eggs and sugar.  Stir in vanilla.  Add flour and baking soda.  You'll probably have to mix this with your hands.  It's pretty stiff.  Make into 1-2 inch balls.  Flatten with a fork (just like every other peanut butter cookie recipe in the world--OK, I'm exaggerating).  Bake in a 300 degree oven for 9 minutes.  Take off cookies sheet and let cool on rack.  Eat.  and Eat.  Mmmm!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Mixing and Grinding!

Mixing and Grinding!--this is a new page tab on the blog.  It will be permanent, so feel free to come back at anytime to access the information.

Currently $259.99, with free shipping.  Contact me for more details & to order.

There are many reasons to grind your own grains.  And I don't just mean wheat!!  Here at the Tueller house, we grind corn, rice, beans, barley, rye, and wheat.  I'm sure, that sometime in the future, I'll experiment further, but those are the things we eat right now.  I prefer to feed my family whole grains, freshly ground, rather than buy whole flours at the grocery store, and here's why:
All commercially made grain flours have had the germ removed. This is the part of the grain that contains healthy nutritious oils. They remove it to extend the shelf life of the grain other wise with it left in the flour would go rancid in a day or so unless it was frozen which is expensive and not something most supermarkets would be willing to do. So by removing the germ it can sit on the shelf for months or even years and still be edible. However, just because it is edible doesn’t mean it is good. Grain flours even those with the bran remove deteriorate quickly and loose a lot of vitamins and minerals. So, those flours you buy in the store while still better for you than white flour aren’t all that they could be and should be.Taken from:

The four vials in the middle show what has to be removed from whole wheat to make it shelf stable!  Look at what you're missing!

Given that  whole grains are a little heavier, people tend to have less luck when baking with them.  They feel that the end result is heavy and bland.  My goal with this blog is to change that.  I really want you to see that healthy, fresh food does NOT have to be boring.  Also, whole grains need to be kneaded a bit more than all white flours, in order to develop the gluten.

For the past 7 years, I've been using and recommending the Bosch Universal Mixer with great results.  It has the ability to knead 12 pounds worth of dough, which you can easily hit by throwing in a few loaves worth of whole wheat dough.    Here's the current model:

Current price (with blender) is $499.98.  Contact me for more information or to order.

YAY! It's the KOMO!

I'm so excited to let you all know that now, rather than just the nutrimill (which I love, and use) I can offer this beautiful brand of grain grinders from my website!!  The KOMO!    They have a large line of products.  Contact me for availability of the models.  My supplier is Pleasant Hill Grain.  If you follow the link, you can see more information about the products offered by KOMO.  I offer them for the same price, so please come back and order here.  They have just done a fabulous job of outlining the benefits of the the product and listing the prices for each in a clear manner, that just can't be copied (plus, I think I'm under contract to send you there first anyway...).  I'll be adding the KOMO to the Mixing and Grinding page (see top tabs) soon, but you can contact me before I do.  :)

Zucchini Recipe As Promised

Hmm, the photo just doesn't do it justice.  It looks boring.  But I can promise your tongue it is anything but!

In a very good blender (I use a Blendtec, a Vitamix could tackle this as well...the Bosch might...perhaps the Oster, but I think, quantity -wise, you'd have to do it in batches of blending...)

Anyhow, in a very good blender (hee! I feel like I'm singing the song, "You're Beautiful"), put about 7 Cups of chopped zucchini.  Pour over it 2 Cups of melted coconut oil (it completely liquefies at 76 degrees, so it's not really HOT--make sure it's not hot, just melted, or it'll cook your eggs!), 5 eggs, and a Tbsp of vanilla.  Blend til frothy.

In a separate bowl mix together:
6 C whole wheat flour
4 C sucanat or rapidura
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking soda
6 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
Whisk ingredients together.  Pour blender concoction into dry ingredients (I hope you're using a huge bowl right now...a large family popcorn bowl for instance, this makes 4 LARGE LOAVES.). Mix well.

Decide if you want to further the flavor and health by adding nuts (chopped walnuts are good) or make this bread become insanely delicious (think salty, spicy, and chocolaty all at once!) by adding semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Either way, if you choose to add them, about a 1/2 C per loaf is sufficient, so 2 C here.  (I'll admit, I upped it to 1 C chocolate chips per loaf for mine...muahahaha!).  Or add both, it's up to you.  Or leave it plain (boring...).

Pour into 4 greased loaf pans.

Bake at 300 degrees until done.  Again, if you've read prior posts, you know that I'm not really sure about my oven, so your guess is as good as mine on timing.  I'm thinking about 45 minutes.

Edit:  I was just thinking...not everyone keep sucanat and coconut oil on hand.  If you don't, you can make this recipe substituting brown sugar for the sucanat & canola oil for the melted coconut oil (ohhh, or, even better, melted butter!).  It won't have the health properties and extra minerals that the above recipe has, but the taste will be close.

Monday, March 28, 2011

If All Else Fails, There's Always Zucchini Bread!

Today, I don't really have a meal plan to publish, though as I write this, it seems my head thinks I have, maybe it's an unwritten habit already.

I added a list of chores to my son's homeschool to-do list.  He has a weekly list with five assignments in each subject on it, and he can choose to work ahead or get behind...but it ALL has to be done by Friday afternoon.  He's only 7, but I truly believe this is teaching him great time management, as there have been weeks when he's spent hours on Monday and Tuesday working through his assignments (of course, this means I have to be willing to answer questions and guide him through tough assignments, but isn't that what parenting is all about?), then only having short assignments on Wednesday and Thursday, and Friday off!  He planned it that way.  There are also days when he reads ahead in history or geography, BEFORE I wake up (and I get up at 8) just to have it out of the way, so he can play Legos.  Anyhow, I added chores to the list (five kind of big ones, besides his usual help mom pick up the floor).  This week's were:

  • Help Mom clean out the fridge (scrubbing shelves and such)
  • Take the sheets off your bed, wash and dry them, replace them (I usually do this, and I will help him)
  • Help Mom clean out the van (get it ready for our friends' visit!)
  • Decide what favorite meals you'd like to have prepared while friends are here
  • Vacuum bedroom (which requires putting those Legos away for awhile!!!)
 While cleaning out the fridge today, we discovered a handful of zucchinis we'd forgotten about, and they weren't in any shape to be steamed into a wonderful side-dish.  But they hadn't gone bad yet, either.  So, we made Zucchini bread.  Tonight, we had stir fry, and the girls weren't big fans of it (two lovely daughters who usually like veggies and steak, however, this momma put in fresh ginger...A LOT of it, and soooo).  They ate much of their dinner, but I'm happy to say that I was good and made a decent veggie filled, whole wheat zucchini bread that rivals all.  And...I'll give you the recipe tomorrow.  ;)

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Yummy, yummy!

Tonight's dinner was so simple, I realized I had to share it.  I didn't take a photo, but if you google Red Lentil Soup and click on images, there are thousands of photos of it, many are quite the same, and they probably all have close to the same ingredients.

I've been putting off making this soup for awhile now because it seemed like it would be boring.  It's an Arab soup, and a dear friend of mine added it to our church cookbook when she noticed how many expectant mothers there were (it's high in folic acid).  When we lived in Northern Idaho, red lentils could be purchased for $4 for a 10 pound bag.  I still never caved and made this exact soup.  Tonight I did, and there were no leftovers.  There was a request for a repeat to be made soon, and I sat there wishing I'd made it sooner.  So...learn from me!  Make this for your family and enjoy!

Red Lentil Soup
1 small onion (diced small)
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 C red lentils
7 cups broth (I used chicken stock.  Beef or veggie stock would be fine)
salt, pepper, cumin, parsley, & lemon to taste. (I didn't have a lemon on still was wonderful)

Saute onion and garlic in oil.  When soft, add lentils and broth.  Add cumin.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer til lentils (did you rinse them!??) are soft.  If using lemon and parsley, add to bowl at serving time.  Enjoy!

See?!?! I told you it was super simple.  We enjoyed ours with some homemade bread & butter.  Mmmmm.  Did I mention it is insanely cheap?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Re-Reading The Tightwad Gazette

Have you read this book?  I found it accidentally about 7 years ago, and my life has never been the same.  Well, it hasn't been much different either, but at least I found a name for what I am:  frugal.  Let me clarify.  I am not cheap, I don't skimp on gifts, I still give to charities that I find worthwhile, I eat out if I want to (but not because I have to due to lack of planning), and I like to dress well.  However, I will do my best to make sure that I know where my money is going and that I'm only paying what I think an item is worth--not what a retailer tells me it's worth.

Yes, I do haggle...even in stores.  My most successful haggle was where I walked into a hotel that was renovating and asked them how much they would sell their hotel room desks for (you know, the ones that hold the phone and menu in the nicer hotels...I wanted two of them to use as a buffet in my dining room).  They stated $20 each.  I asked them what the price was for them to have them taken to the dump if they didn't sell.  $3/each, they said.  Sooo, I offered $5 each, pointing out that they were actually making $8 because they weren't paying someone else to take them.  I came home with two desks for $10.  It works.

My main thought with this read-through, though, was that I don't really keep up on information that I should when it comes to our expenses.  For example, the Frugal Zealot (Amy) often would cite how much it cost to run her stove when calculating the cost of a meal, and whether she should grill outside or bake something (24 charcoal briquettes on the grill equaled 1 hour of oven time, cost wise).  Does everyone else track these things, too?  Am I just missing out on something for not doing it? Could I really be making that big of a difference in our budget if I knew those things?  Perhaps get a booger or two out of Lincoln's nose? (Penny pinching joke, sorry).

What do you think?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Menu Plan Monday--Use up the greens week!

Woot!  This weekend's farmer's market trip was wonderful.  Mustard greens, romaine, spinach, napa cabbage, green, green, green!  Must be spring in NC.  *Contented sigh*

So, now what to do with all of it?  Here's the plan:

Monday:  Using the cabbage, some ginger, some chicken, some peppers and some Asian noodles (mung bean flour ones...they were $1 at Big Lots) all tossed together.  Cooked lightly (well, except the chicken, it'll be well done!) in a light broth.  Mmmm.

Tuesday:  I was going to have us eat the left over soup from Sunday night (mustard greens, potatoes & hot pork sausage in a chicken broth--don't knock it til ya try it.), but everyone ate lots...soooo, since there are still mustard greens left (t'was a HUGE bunch!), I'm going to try this recipe:

Wednesday:  Something with green beans.  I have enough for two meals for the green beans to be the main course.  I'm still searching for inspiration.  Perhaps this night we'll do our favorite:  Green bean fries (recipe in another post--after I make them again), tomato slices on the side.

Thursday:  Church dinner to celebrate the birthday of the Relief Society.  My husband is helping in the nursery, so there will be no need to cook.  Yippee!

Friday:  Green beans, day two.  I'm thinking along the lines of garlic & ginger beans.  Simple, yet satisfying.  Since they are really saucy, I'll toss in some chicken.  Chicken tastes good with ginger on it.  :)  Plus, this dinner has to be light...we'll be eating bunches of birthday cakes since it's my and my youngest daughter's birthday weekend!  My wee little baby will be three!

Saturday:  We'll see what we haven't finished off for lunches and left-overs from dinners.  And we'll EAT EM! Unless of course we go to dinner for someone's birthday...  ;)

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Making Banana Bread Healthy

How many of you have heard of the Weston A. Price Foundation?  They have a lot of great research that shows the benefits of healthy fat in the diet (as opposed to the low-fat stuff you can get at the grocer).  There are studies that talk about how butter fat and cream, when coming from grass-fed animals (cows, sheep, goats--I suppose buffalo as well, if you're into that) has high levels of vitamins that the brain needs to prevent things such as ADHD and depression.  This is a big deal to our family, due to my having Tourette's Syndrome, and my son having been diagnosed as well.  Tourette's is a dopamine receptor problem, where the body exhibits the lack (or what it perceives to be a lack) of dopamine with twitches rather than depression.  If the twitches get bad enough, the treatment is actually anti-depressants.  My son is only 8, so his symptoms are mild.  However, we've been told by the neurologist that in males, hitting puberty really messes with the dopamine receptors anyway, and so having Tourette's makes it a VERY good idea for us to watch for any signs of depression as he starts to change and grow.

That aside, I think many American's would benefit from a little knowledge of how fat really works, rather than seeing it as the evil cause of obesity.  It doesn't have to be.  Over-eating is.  As is excess consumption of processed junk.  People who eat REAL fat (and not vegetable oil, either) along with fresh vegetables and whole grains tend to be quite lean.

Anyhow, since we've been cutting processed dairy from our diets, but don't want to join the local raw milk group in our area (we're only going to be here three more months, it makes no sense to buy in for the annual rate!), we've been adding coconut milk and almond milk (whole, not fat free of either) to make sure our family gets some good fats into our system. 

Here is a wonderful recipe for Banana Bread that our family enjoys! (Makes 2 LARGE loaves)

Cream together:  (I like to throw it in the blender)
1 C coconut oil, melted
4 eggs
2 C of a pure sweetener like raw sugar, sucanat, or rapadura.  These are just dehydrated sugar cane, ground.  NOT brown sugar, which is processed and the molasses is added back in.  This sugar has the fiber and minerals that come from pure sugar cane, as it wasn't stripped.
4 bananas
a dash of vanilla extract (optional, but yummy)

In another bowl, whisk together:
3.5 C of whole wheat flour (fresh is best!  So many great vitamins.*)
2 tsp. baking soda
1 pinch of salt

Pour liquid mixture into dry, whisk together.  Pour into two large baking pans.

I'm going out on a limb here and saying bake until done.  For awhile at 350, but if it's getting too dark, lower the heat.  Reason being that my oven does weird things and I'm not really sure how long things take in it anymore.  Sometimes they take longer than the recipe states, sometimes they are done quickly, and burn if I'm not watching.  Eh.

*All commercially made grain flours have had the germ removed. This is the part of the grain that contains healthy nutritious oils. They remove it to extend the shelf life of the grain other wise with it left in the flour would go rancid in a day or so unless it was frozen which is expensive and not something most supermarkets would be willing to do. So by removing the germ it can sit on the shelf for months or even years and still be edible. However, just because it is edible doesn’t mean it is good. Grain flours even those with the bran remove deteriorate quickly and loose a lot of vitamins and minerals. So, those flours you buy in the store while still better for you than white flour aren’t all that they could be and should be.
Taken from:

Coconut Oil Book Giveaway

Click here to see details on book.
Unfortunately, this isn't a drawing.  Maybe someday.  Tropical Traditions is giving away a free book with every purchase when you use referral code 5356715.  Put it in where they ask you where you heard of them.  Say "from a friend" and use my number posted above.  The book retails for $25, is currently on sale for $15, but is free with purchase if you use my code.  I've read this book, and enjoyed it.  So, if you want to try out some excellent quality coconut oil, here's the time to try it.  

They sell much more than just (the best, least-processed) coconut oil, too!  Grass-fed meats, other fats, and cleaning supplies.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Menu Plan...Tuesday?

In all honesty, this was already done.  I'm not behind!  I just didn't post it.  ;)

I'm trying to keep unpasteurized dairy out of my youngest child, which basically means out of everyone due to her seeing things and wanting to eat them.  The rest of us don't show symptoms of being reactionary to processed dairy, but her constant runny nose (even when not sick, never a fever, nothing works--doctor won't even consider her sick when we bring her in due to it only being the one symptom of LEAKY NOSE).  So, we're using coconut milk & nut milks.  She's almost three (in two weeks!  Aaack!), so we're not worried about nut allergies.

Monday:  We had chicken curry over rice.
Tuesday:  Asparagus/coconut soup
Wednesday: Chicken with peanut sauce.
Thursday:  Going mountain biking...taking portable food.
Friday:  Corn soup (dairy free)

Is Providing For Oneself Innate?

Yesterday, I posted about our walk in the park bringing some knowledge back to mind that I'd since long forgotten.  That post started my brain on another long thought-process while I did other things that day.  I thought of the things my children were saying:

Here's a glass bottle!  We could turn it into a lantern!
I wish we had coconuts, they have water and food.
Let's gather moss for softer pillows.
If we make bedframes with sticks, we can fill them with these long pine needles, that'd be comfy.
Our shelter is good enough, we need to go find food.

I tried not to interfere much as I took their photos.  I did begin to wonder, is this something we LEARN or is this desire to be a provider, a comforter, a survivor something we are born with?  Are we training it away?

I don't have the answer to that, but I am continuing to think about it.  Any ideas?