Monday, April 30, 2012


This "recipe" is from another one of my Healthy cooking groups.  More than a recipe, it is just kind of an idea of things to toss in to make a home-made muesli.  It is super simple.  There are no measurements, no right or wrong, and I actually toss in ends of other cereals we have at home making it a great way to get rid of that last 1/4 cup of rice crispies someone left in the box.  I've made this a couple of times now, and last time didn't actually "make" a new batch, I just tossed in some more oats, cereal and raisins.  See, super easy right.
Serve this with milk, or on top of yogurt.
Here is what it looked like today.  I had some organic chocolate crisp cereal
I tried in there this time.  The white balls are the puffed millet.  Looks like I got
a bit carried away with it.  :)


  • rolled oats - lots - think about 1/2-3/4 of the amount you want to make.  I use a big bowl and fill it about 1/2 way with oats. 
Optional ingredients - just pick and choose what you like
  • chopped nuts - any type
  • seeds - ground flax, flax, chia, sesame...
  • wheat germ
  • any desired cereal - I try to stick to healthy ones.  Read labels carefully...  Really you can put anything here - just not a lot.  I like the cereal for a change of flavor and/or texture - grape nuts add a great crunch, rice crispies do too.  I also like puffed grain cereal - found a puffed millet I added for fun last time.
  • any dried fruit - raisins, blueberries.... (I love to add raisins - they add sweetness.)
  • unsweetened coconut
  • Granola - home made is great.  Use enough to make the muesli sweet.  
Fill a large mixing bowl about 1/2 way full with rolled oats.  Add any optional ingredients and stir to combine.  Store in an airtight container.

Friday, April 27, 2012

3 cheese spinach orzo bake

Loving that my ipad is letting me post. You may see me post more regularly now. :)   And then again, maybe not.  It isn't letting me publish a draft, and it doesn't even publish line breaks.  Boo.  Ah well, at least the computer is set up again.  :)
Here is our dinner from Wednesday. Also from 6 o'clock scramble. It was so pretty coming out of the oven. My older boys loved this. The younger ones ate it without too much complaint - except for the spinach - OK; maybe that was only Mr. 6 year old. Mr. 3 year old is still pretty picky, but did eat his 3 bites. This recipe is also from six o'clock scramble. It actually called for 1 1/2 cups of red pasta sauce. I made up my own thing which is listed here. Feel free to use pasta sauce to make the meal easier if you would like.
 Prep time - 20 minutes cooking time -30 minutes - oven
servings 6-8 (depending on size. I cut it in 8 slices, little guys got 1/2 a slice, bigger guys got 1 1/2 slices, mom and dad had 1 slice. -2 slices left over for lunch.)

  •  1 cup uncooked orzo pasta 
  • 1 box (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach 
  • 1 1/2 cup red pasta sauce or 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes with a dash or the following - balsamic vinegar, olive oil, basil, oregano, thyme, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder. It's super quick if you are not measuring and just tossing in a dash of everything. Stir and use.
  •  2 eggs, lightly beaten 
  • 1/2 cup ricotta cheese 
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg 
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (or so. I'm sure I put more. ;)  

  1. Cook orzo according to package directions.
  2. Preheat oven to 375.  Spray a 9 inch glass pie pan with nonstick cooking spray (mine was a deeper dish type and I would suggest that type.
  3. Thaw spinach in the microwave (about 4 minutes on high) drain.
  4. Make red sauce if combining crushed tomatoes with other ingredients listed above.  
  5. In a medium bowl, combine the orzo, 1 cup of the red sauce, and the Parmesan cheese.  Spread over the bottom of the pie pan.
  6. In another bowl (or the same bowl rinsed out) combine the spinach, eggs, ricotta and nutmeg.  Spoon over the pasta and spread evenly.  Spread remaining red sauce over spinach mixture and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese.
  7. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes.

Peanut butter stew

So, I am super far behind in blogging for multiple reasons one of which is computer issues. I've finally given up on getting our computer fixed and downloaded picasa onto the random old work laptop DH had sitting around here, and finally got some pictures onto that computer so I could update my blogs - I mean for Heaven's sake I was uploading pictures from all the way back at new years. So I go to upload and blogger won't even let me sign in. Out of curiosity I check on the ipad - NOTE - the ipad has never let me blog. Says it doesn't support html or something, so I haven't even tried using it for ages. Today low and behold, it pulls up a page for me to type, so here goes nothing. I'm just going to start with last night's dinner and we'll go from there to see what we manage to get done.
 One last comment on blogger not working -I find it completely ironic that blogger is not working on my regular computer using all google products - google chrome and blogger. Yet it will work on my ipad????? I'm just glad it is working somewhere so I can at least get something done. I won't be able to add pictures, and it looks like I'll have to go and edit in some bullets and numbers to make things how I like them, but at least I can work while my little one naps.

 On to the meal. I really liked this meal. Loved the combination of the peanut butter and the sweetness the tomatoes and the sweet potato added. Very interesting flavors. Brandon says he liked it better before I added the peanut butter. (I had him check the sweet potatoes for doneness while I was making a salad. The younger boys didn't like it at all and were not happy to take their 3 and 6 bites, but finally did comply. The older boys ate it without complaint and Duncan even took it for lunch today. (I do have to say this could entirely be because we said it was a West African inspired stew and he loves anything that says it is from Africa. I'm not looking any gift horse in the mouth though, so I'll take it.
 The original recipe is from the book The Six o'clock scramble. One of my favorite books lately because it does have a lot of vegetarian options. I did make a couple of adjustments. Like my sweet potato was extremely large so I added another cup of cabbage. I had no peanut oil so I used butter and olive oil. Had to use white grape juice because it was the closest I had to apricot or apple..... You know me. Always changing things around. Of course, that would be why I blog -so I can remember what I've done to a recipe. :)

Oooh, just checked out this post on the computer.  In the time it took to pick up my kiddos from school I have had 4 views.  Sorry to those viewers.  I see that the ipad did absolutely NO editing, not even paragraphs or lines.  Lesson learned - type into the ipad, but don't hit publish or you'll have large hard to read blob of text.  Oops!  Here is the edited version.
Sorry about this picture.  It is what happens when your computer is down so long you stop taking pictures of meals.  This is a random shot out of the container of left overs... Not wonderful - although I can't say that this was ever the "prettiest" dish.  :)

 Time - prep 25 min + 20 minutes simmer
Servings 8

  • 1 Tablespoon butter 
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil 
  • 1 large onion, diced, I used 1 cup - I'm very partial to sweet onions and that is what I used here.
  •  2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • 3 cups chopped cabbage (close to 1/2 of a small green cabbage) 
  • 1 large sweet potato, diced into 1/2 inch cubes - mine was very large. I thought I was picking medium large at the store, but when I started dicing and tossing in the pot, it was a lot. If yours is only medium large, you may choose to reduce the cabbage to 2 cups. 
  • 3 cups tomato juice 
  • 1 cup white grape juice - original said apricot or apple - I'm sure any mild juice would do. 
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt 
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger 
  • 1 15 oz can dice tomatoes, drained (or 2 chopped tomatoes) 1/2 cup smooth, natural peanut butter 


  1. In a large pot, heat butter over medium-high heat. Add the onions and saute until softened and fragrant.
  2.  Add the olive oil, garlic, cabbage, and sweet potatoes. Saute the mixture for 5 minutes. 
  3. Add the juices, salt, ginger and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover the pan and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender. 
  4. Add the peanut butter, stirring thoroughly until incorporated. Serve hot.
Ah, that looks much better.  Glad I found this out before hitting publish on the other one I'm typing.  :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

ice cream

So I finally got a blendtec about 2 weeks ago.  I use it all the time now.  At least 2 times a day and sometimes more.  I have to say it isn't perfect, it has jammed on me, and can't seem to ever finish an ice cream cycle without me having to push the ingredients down.  In that respect, I guess the vitamix and it's tamper would be nice.  However, I wouldn't trade the capacity of the wild side jar for anything.  It's the only thing that will make enough green smoothie in the morning for my family.   OK, enough about the blendtec.  I'm happy to have such a powerful blender that cleans up so easily.  This recipe is actually a modification of a recipe in the blendtec book.  Their strawberry ice cream had lemon juice in it.  I didn't have lemons so I left it out.  Today I made the same recipe with cherry.  Also turned out well.  A bit tangy, but still sweet enough for my tastes.  Would have been better with sweet cherries, but I have pie cherries this year.  Anyway, on to the recipe.  LOVE it - couldn't be simpler.  Can't say that the half and half is wonderful for you, but at least I know exactly what is in my ice cream, and over half of it is frozen fruit.


  • 1 1/4 cup half and half
  • 3 Tablespoons agave
  • 16 oz. frozen fruit
In a high powered blender, blend until smooth. (unless you want a couple of frozen chunks of fruit left.)  

We have tried this with strawberry and cherry, but I have plans to try it with other fruits in my freezer like peaches, pineapple (will probably throw in some coconut with that one.), loganberries, raspberries (may need another tablespoon of agave for that one.)  You get the idea.  I bet it would even be good with the tropical blend of fruits I use in my smoothies sometimes.

veggie sandwiches

Today we had some sandwiches which were extremely reminiscent of these.  Of course I just now looked them up to make sure this was worth a post.  2 things make it worth the post.  #1 these were on a bagel.  I have to remember to do that more often, it is so yummy.  #2, they had other veggies.  They were tasty, but my poor 3 year old had a fit when I threw veggies on top of his bagel.  He ended up dipping his veggies in Catalina and eating them, then eating his bagel and cream cheese.  I was fine with that so long as he was eating his veggies.
I guess a third thing that I love about this, and a reason to re-post is that you can really throw any veggies you want on this sandwich.  I think I just need to remind myself of that.  The kids were happy not to have to eat a salad.  :)  I figured they got their raw food in their sandwich.  

  • Bagels (My kiddos had the choice of Thomas' whole wheat or everything bagels today.  Had I been better at wanting to continue cooking after dinner last night, I would have started a dough for some home-made bagels.)
  • cream cheese (my kiddos had a choice of plain, or onion and chive)
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced (Don't usually peel my cucumber but this one had a really thick skin that was hard to chew.  Sad that my nice English cucumbers were gone.  I do cut my cucumber in half lengthwise and remove all of the seeds before slicing.)
  • alfalfa sprouts
  • 1 tomato thinly sliced.  
  1. spread bagels with cream cheese, top with veggies and serve as a sandwich.  

This idea came from 6 oclock scramble.  She suggests serving them with scrambled eggs.  I just made some ice cream -- so much healthier right?  Actually it is just fruit, agave and half and half.  Not too bad if you ask me.  I just realized I haven't posted the recipe for it, so it will be next.

sweet potato pancakes

So, I've tried potato pancakes before and not been very successful, so I approached this meal with a bit of trepidation.  However, I will worry no longer because these were SOOOO delicious.  I absolutely loved them.  Everyone else did too.  Even my non potato eaters (I'll admit, I was quite worried about them.)  Definitely a meal worth repeating.  As I was making them Brandon walked by and said they make them in Germany and eat them with applesauce.  That was actually suggested in the recipe book I used, but honestly, I loved them plain.  So sweet and delicious.  Serve with a large salad.
This recipe idea came from The Six O'clock Scramble.  I love that book.  All healthy meals, and many meatless.  Of course I had to modify somewhat.  Much of it due to the size of my sweet potato - let's just call it Texas large.  But I also made some healthy and preferential substitutions.  Here's my version.


  • 1 extra large (or 2 medium) sweet potatoes
  • 2-3 medium/medium small potatoes (mine had quite a few bad spots so it was really about 2.5 potatoes from the 3 I used.  Together it was actually less in quantity than the 1 sweet potato.)
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced (probably close to 1 cup diced)
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • Coconut oil for frying - about 2 Tablespoons per batch.  I did about 6 batches of 4 pancakes each so 12 Tablespoons for me.  Although I may have not used a true 2 Tablespoons - I didn't measure.)
  1. Coarsely grate the sweet potatoes and potatoes.  (I used my food processor on the thicker grating side.)  You can also grate the onion, but I thought that would make it entirely too juicy so I diced it.  
  2. Drain the veggies and wrap them in a clean dish towel for a couple minutes to get the remaining water out.
  3. While you are waiting, in a small bowl, combine the flour salt and cayenne pepper.   Stir to mix.  In a large bowl, beat the eggs.  Add the veggies to the eggs and stir to coat.  
  4. Toss in the flour mixture and stir to combine.
  5. In a large nonstick skillet, heat approximately 2 Tablespoons of oil over medium high heat.  When oil is hot, scoop in spoonfuls of the potato mixture and flatten them out with the back of the spoon.  Cook until browned on that side, flip and cook until browned on the other side.  For each pan full add a tablespoon or 2 of oil.  If they brown too quickly reduce the heat, but I found medium high to be just right.  Medium was too slow.  
  6. The author of the book tells you to keep these in a warm oven while baking.  I transferred them to a plate and covered it with my microwave cover to keep warm.   

Catalina Dressing

One of my favorite salad dressings is Catalina.  With all of the salads we've been having lately I really needed something I really liked to make my salads tasty.  I searched online for a "Catalina" recipe and they all had ketchup.  Seems to defeat the purpose of buying commercial salad dressing if you're just going to use commercial ketchup in the recipe.  In addition to the ketchup, they also all had a full cup of sugar.  I used agave and cut the quantity in half but then added an extra bit to make up for missing sweetener in the ketchup.  Here is how I made it.  I loved it just like this.
My 3 year old loves this.  He calls it pink ranch (even though it is more orange in color.)  He has it on the side and dips individual pieces of lettuce in the dip and devours them.


  • 1/2 cup + 2 Tablespoons Agave  (5/8 cup or 10 Tablespoons
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • dash paprika
  • dash garlic powder
  • larger dash onion powder (original was grated onion to taste.  I almost threw in a chunk of onion but I got lazy and went with the powder.  I'm sure you could use 1/2 teaspoon and be fine.  I just sprinkled.
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water (can trade for more olive oil if desired but I don't like things to feel too greasy.  Can also omit for a more concentrated sauce.)
  • 1 8 oz can tomato sauce

Blend until smooth.  I found this tasted better the next day when the flavors could blend a bit, but it was still plenty tasty the first day.


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