Archives For recipes

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

December 4, 2013

Christmas Cranberry Chutney

This is a simple recipe, yet the resulting chutney is so full of flavor and colorful!

Enjoy!

Nan’s Christmas Cranberry Chutney

2 cups fresh cranberries

2 cups sugar

3 Tbls. water

1 apple, chopped

2 celery ribs, chopped (I slice very fine in cuisinart)

1 Tbls. orange rind

1 cup orange juice

1 cup raisins (use golden)

1.2 teas. ground ginger

1/4 teas. ground cloves

cook cranberries, sugar and water for 5 minutes over medium heat. Then add all ingredients and continue cooking at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring often. Let cool. As this cools, it will thicken. You will get about 3 cups of chutney.

Cranberry Chutney

This goes very well with ham. Place into jelly jars and share with friends and family!

Show us your OMGuac Lunch!

August 20, 2013

Wholly Guacamole Creative Lunch Contest

You could win $100 gift card and FREE Wholly Guacamole® dip!

I love using Wholly Guacamole® in my kids lunches with the little packs. But now, even I am feeling extra creative after seeing the lunch ideas the people at Wholly Guacamole® have come up with!

I think this website and contest are fun and full of healthy ideas, so I’m proud to share:

“The Wholly Guacamole® brand wants to help you make lunch for you and your kids OMGuac-tastic!  After all, Wholly Guacamole is the Offical sponsor of the OMGuac Lunch!

Stop by eatwholly.com/omg for some great ideas, a coupon and a chance to win $100 gift card with FREE Wholly Guacamole products! Three winners are chosen weekly through Sept. 27.

The One Lunch, Two Ways gives you inspiration on how to create two completely different lunches with most of the same ingredients! Take a look and print out the shopping list for your favorite ideas. 

Wholly Guacamole One Lunch 2 ways

This is a great resource for healthy  & fun lunch ideas!

  • Get OMGuac Lunch inspiration and shopping lists to print
  • Watch fun videos to help break out of the boring lunch mode
  • Print your $1.00 coupon good for anyWholly™ product
  • Enter your OMGuac lunch photo for a chance to win $100 and FREE Wholly Guacamole products”

Go check out OMGuac Your Lunch! and make some fantastic lunches!

Breakfast Wrap with Udi's tortilla

Breakfast Wrap with Udi’s tortilla

sponsored post image3

During the Summer, I can get really lazy about breakfast. I mean, the kids are getting up later and at all different times and I am not craving something hot like I do in the Winter. Yet, ironically, Summer is when the family is super busy physically, going swimming and hiking and traveling and we need a healthy breakfast to get going.

I like to just go ahead and call our Summer breakfast “brunch.” Seriously, do not wake up kids if you don’t have to, right? But I do like to feed them decent meals…so we just start later in the day.

When I got an Udi’s Gluten Free Foods Sampler last week, I was glad to test out some new breakfast goodies.

Now, we are lucky in that no one in our home is officially celiac. But, I do have sensitivity to gluten, so I try to avoid gluten in general.

When I first tried Udi’s, I had been gluten free for over six months and I was thrilled to find something I could eat I did not have to bake for myself! (And the Udi’s bread and cookies I tried at the time were way better than mine).

If you or a loved one need to totally cut out gluten, many of Udi’s choices are very useful. All Udi’s Gluten Free Foods are certified gluten free. I wish they were organic as well, but most are certified kosher. Many Udi’s products are totally nut free unless clearly marked (like some granolas) and some are even dairy, soy and egg free.

I was expecting to try a new granola flavor or bit of bread so and I was pleasantly surprised to find a large number of new baked goods in my sampler.

Udi's baked goods

Udi’s baked goods…and they must know I have kids, some granola bars on top:)

When my children tried some out, there was definitely no contest about which baked goods they would try first. They ate all the muffins and cinnamon rolls right away that week. I thought the cinnamon rolls were good when heated. Not especially great for you, but a really nice treat! I really liked the muffins. A little less sweet than the cinnamon rolls and so moist, you would never guess they were gluten free.

Then, I was curious to try the tortillas. My family enjoys a breakfast burrito, with scrambled eggs with monterey jack cheese and onion and green pepper, rolled up in a tortilla. I wondered how a tortilla could really be gluten free and still taste good. When I made these, I heated the tortillas up individually in the skillet with a bit of butter. I did need to be delicate as the tortillas can break easily. Once they were heated up though, the wraps were almost more like crepes in texture and were very easy to work with. The breakfast burrito wraps were a hit!

I think my favorite things of all were the bagels and the cinnamon bread. Oh my goodness, a bit of that bread, toasted, with coffee was delicious. The cinnamon bread tasted just like regular cinnamon bread, I thought.

 

Cinnamon Bread toast

Cinnamon Bread toast

And, the Everything Inside Bagel and the Mighty Bagel were very good.

The Everything Bagel has 7g of protein, 3g of fiber and non GMO canola oil. The Mighty Bagel has 8g of protein, 3g of fiber and some great flavors, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds and dried cranberries. The kids loved these also except for the flax seeds. These would also travel well for a healthy breakfast.

While we were gobbling down the bagels, my husband quietly took the granola samples. He always likes Udi’s granola and I do buy the Vanilla granola for him. This time, the difference in the newer type of granola was that they have added Antioxidants and Omega 3’s to their Active Granola line. The bag is 11oz, just a teeny bit smaller than the older versions of granolas at 12 oz per package. My husband did like the Blueberry Cashew flavor and found it full of nuts and fruit.

You can find Udi’s even at Walmart, now, I see. You can also buy them online if you cannot find locally.

Don’t forget to check out the Udi’s Website. You can read many tips about Gluten free living and get tons of recipes, as well as get a $1 off coupon for Udi’s.

You can also find ideas for recipes on their Pinterest and on Facebook.

*I received Udi’s samples to review for this post. I have given my honest opinion and received no additional compensation.

Eating granola

When I went gluten-free, I assumed I would never be able to eat some of my favorite foods again. Yet, it was worth it to me to feel better.

Over time, I have discovered that many of my old favorites do exist in a gluten-free form. In fact, my whole family likes many of the gluten-free recipes I make and products I use, which makes cooking much easier, since I can make one thing for all of us.

When I first found Udi’s products, I was glad because they made my life easier because I did not have to make something from scratch to have some bread or cookies…even a hot dog bun.

Udi’s offers four types of gluten free granola right now, and we just tried all four!

  • Original
  • Vanilla
  • Cranberry
  • Au Naturel

I have to say, I love having all kinds of “stuff” in my granola, so my favorite was the gluten-free cranberry granola. It was full of big chunks of cranberries and walnuts. It is such a treat to enjoy an old favorite food without having to worry about Gluten.

I also like the fact that the Udi’s granola has very few ingredients. In fact, the Au Naturel variety has three (what??? only 3!!) ingredients! This is good. Certified gluten free oats, Colorado sourced wildflower honey and canola oil.

The main problem?

My kids want to eat it all because they are delicious. I will have to hide a package in my closet!

Udi's granola

These run around $6.50 for the package. You can also buy them online if you cannot find locally.

Do not forget to check out the Udi’s website. You can read many tips about Gluten Free living and get tons of recipes, as well as get a $1 off coupon for Udi’s.

You can also find them on Facebook and Twitter.

*I received Udi’s samples to review for this post. I have given my honest opinion and received no additional compensation.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Bite Size Brunch

From a Mother’s Day celebration to a weekend brunch with friends to a springtime gathering, eggs are a tried and true favorite ingredient.

Did you know that sometimes even Moms can be wrong?

Seriously! Well, not My Mom of course, I am referring to me. When I first began our family quest to eat only whole, natural and organic foods, I did not realize that some of the tried and true brands I had used in the past would still work for us.

A perfect example includes Land O Lakes. Until I sat down and really looked at their website I was unaware of how many nutritious options they carry for eggs.

In fact, right around the corner at my local grocery store I am able to purchase Land O Lakes® All-Natural Organic Eggs. The price is reasonable and oh so convenient. And, I feel great about serving my family eggs, which are full of protein and no animal by-products, no antibiotics and no chemical additives. A few other options, such as Land O Lakes® All-Natural Eggs pictured, are available as well.

eggs

So, now I want to celebrate! How about a Mothers Day Celebration with an Egg Inspired Party?

(Yes, those burned eggs your kids make you for Mothers Day are priceless, but let’s talk about some delicious Brunch choices that you can serve at any time of day, really.)

A Spring Menu with the bite size nutritious treats below, simple, vibrant fresh flowers and some colorful drinks make a perfect Mothers Day Brunch.

I was recently visiting family and I tried out some of the inspiring recipes I found for adorable bite size egg dishes. Really, they were all so easy to make and lasted well, and the kids felt good…not all full of sugar!

Breakfast mini bites

Breakfast Biscuit Bakes smell sooo good!

I strongly believe that fresh, quality products will make delicious meals. I am glad to see Land O Lakes offering these eggs!

I tried the following recipes, with a few small adaptations (for example, I just used my own homemade biscuit dough). All are available on the Land O Lakes website:

All the mini bites plate so well, also!

breakfast Biscuit Bakes plated

Such pretty little bites!

For some sweet ideas for decor and maybe dessert, visit the Land O Lakes test kitchen.

Want to win an amazing Egg Brunch Pack?? Look at this!

Spring Brunch Prize Pack

A premium gift package (valued at more than $100) including an On-Ice Deviled Eggs Server, Mini Muffin Tin, Two-Tier Server with Plates.

Okay. So enter via rafflecopter below. Good luck!
Continue Reading…

Happy Holiday Baking!

December 19, 2010

GIVEAWAY CLOSED. It is the Season for baking and cookie making and treating!! I hope you are having fun as you plan and prepare all your Holiday treats. I, personally, really enjoy trying out new recipes and surprising my family with unexpected treats. The cake above was our Absolutely fabulous Thanksgiving Red Velvet and Cream Cheese Cake…and it was even more special because I did not make it!  My son’s girlfriend brought this for us and it was an unexpected and delicious dessert. (Thank you again, A!)

I think it is wonderful that she is such a good baker–at such a young age. I was very impressed. Anyway, what brought this up was that Blogspark sent me a Bake Your Holidays Merry gift pack, along with info about a new baking site with some great ideas for figuring out your favorite traditions for baking…and sharing!  I am enjoying their ideas–especially the little coconut snowmen!

So, here’s the details:

BakeYourHolidayMerry“This year, why not start a new tradition? With a little help from Betty Crocker, GladWare® and the Safeway Family of Stores, you can keep your loved ones’ hearts and homes filled with holiday spirit and homemade goodness of Betty Crocker. Whip up a plate full of cookies using a recipe from BakeSweetMemories.com and host a cookie exchange. What better way to escape the hustle and bustle of the holiday season than inviting your friends and family over for a night of swapping cookies, recipes, and memories?

Once you’ve finished baking, share it in GladWare! Glad® food storage products are the perfect solution for preparing, storing and transporting holiday goods. They’re also great for gift giving too, so count on Glad® products to help keep your holiday foods fresh and festive and ready to serve.

For great holiday recipe ideas, how-to videos, and tips for hosting your very own cookie exchange, visit BakeSweetMemories.com. While you’re there, be sure to play the new Sweet Memories game that gives you the chance to instantly win free Betty Crocker products!”

So go check out the baking site & win something! And…

I have a giveaway for a “Happy Holiday Treats” prize pack!!

Your pack will include a package of Betty Crocker Sugar Cookie Mix, a GladWare sample pack and a $25 Safeway gift card (also valid at Dominick’s, Tom Thumb, Randalls, Vons, and Genuardi’s).

To enter, visit BakeSweetMemories.com and then comment here, telling me what you won. Or, tell me your favorite holiday cookie!

That’s it. One easy entry method–I know how busy we all are! Go make some cookies! I will choose a winner Dec. 26, 2010.

Safeway, Betty Crocker, and Glad provided me with the gift card, information, and prize pack through MyBlogSpark for this review and giveaway.
Official seal of the National Organic Program

Image via Wikipedia

Long before we actually went organic, I had been thinking about the benefits. But, deep down, I thought going organic was for people who had more time and energy than I did. I have 5 kids and I do not like to cook!

I figured maybe we really needed a garden…a farm.

402_IMG_1799

You know, we needed to be one of “those” kind of people. The kind of people who really put time and effort into their food…their health. Ummm….A person who likes to cook.

Thankfully, one day I read The Conscious Kitchen and turned to my husband and said,

“You know, we can do this”

and, truthfully, that was it. We changed our eating habits overnight.

Because it was early Spring and we were new in our town, I knew of no local organic choices. So, the first thing I did was go to a Whole Foods–my husband enjoyed that trip, but was worried about costs.

Also, we knew there must be local farms who did low or no spraying, so little by little over the next two months we began to actually know which questions to ask.

Surprisingly Costco has some organic items. And our local Farmer’s Market is in full swing right now…and we have found a big organic center in a nearby college town…and a local butcher nearby. In fact, we were watching Food, Inc, and realized one of the people in the movie actually stocked our local butcher’s shop.

Overall, we are eating so well! Our food budget did spike in the second month. After that bad month, we made some decisions to do more pasta and vegetables…to eat less, but eat better.

Overall, our food budget is reasonable for a family of 7 now. If I cooked more, I know I could get it lower. I am lucky that one of my sons loves to cook. He is making a lot of bread right now–so that helps!

We have a lot to learn–I would like to have a large garden and eat more fresh vegetables–and then can more fruits and vegetables. And, I am thinking it would be useful to buy some organic staples online….maybe go ahead and get a wheat grinder….

But, meanwhile, I am pleased with all the change we have made. I have even changed over many of our personal and cleaning products. I laugh when I hear the kids say that they can’t imagine why everyone isn’t organic–because it tastes so much better. I agree.

Ok. Here are the Top Ten Easy Organic changes around here:

Only organic meat. If you can't find a local option/butcher, Costco carries organic ground beef. I get 3 lbs for 12.99.

#1 Only organic meat. If you can't find a local option/butcher, Costco carries organic ground beef. I get 3 lbs for 12.99.

I can also get organic milk from Costco. I'd rather a milk share...but this works, too!

#2 I can also get organic milk from Costco. I'd rather a milk share...but this works, too!

Organic eggs--again, I can even get these at Costco. At first, I thought I had been tricked when I couldn't find the USDA logo--but it is on the inside of the carton:)

I love the Pasta at Whole Foods. I buy the 1.99 organic version.

#4 I love the Pasta at Whole Foods. I buy the 1.99 organic version.

Fruit at Farmer's Mkt is reasonable. Otherwise I have to get it at Whole Foods and it is more expensive.

#5 Fruit at Farmer's Mkt is reasonable. Otherwise I have to get it at Whole Foods and it is more expensive.

I find cereal to be a problem item. It is so expensive! I am trying an organic granola recipe this week.

#6 I find cereal to be a problem item. It is so expensive! I am trying an organic granola recipe this week.

I was surprised to find organic yogurt at Costco...reasonably priced

#7 I was surprised to find organic yogurt at Costco...reasonably priced

My New Cast Iron Skillet...yes, this is making me want to cook again!

#8 My New Cast Iron Skillet...yes, this is making me want to cook again!

I like this deodorant crystal--I had tried Tom's and it irritated me. This lasts for so long and seems to work just fine

#9 I like this deodorant crystal--I had tried Tom's and it irritated me. This lasts for so long and seems to work just fine

This shampoo is my new favorite--it has a rich lather and my hair looks great. The matching conditioner works well on my daughter's long hair...

#10 This shampoo is my new favorite--it has a rich lather and my hair looks great. The matching conditioner works well on my daughter's long hair...

And, one more thing….I love cleaning the bathroom with just a bit of vinegar and water–who knew that really worked?? It does. Just mix 1 cup vinegar with 1 cup water in a spray bottle. You can add a drop of soap if you like. Spray in shower and be surprised it works. (if the shower is really bad, you can add a bit of baking soda, for a scrub) The vinegar scent is not great, but it evaporates quickly and your shower is looking good and shiny!

I have tried many other organic products and you can see a couple of reviews on my organics page.

UPDATE: As of 6/14/10, we have VERY much changed our habits and are eating sooo much better! I also enjoy Alexandra’s Facebook updates- like her page, here

You know, it is not often that you can change your entire life in a month. However, around here, we have basically done just that. This all began with a simple giveaway kit from Seventh Generation and a book called The Conscious Kitchen from Alexandra Zissu…

Going green is easier than ever!

Yes, I have another kit to giveaway, but stick with me a little bit.

First off, I have to admit, while I always felt guilty about it, I was not very environmentally conscious. When my youngest was born almost 5 years ago, I realized her birthday coincided with some cool Earth Day festivities in our town. So, I paid a bit more attention. You know how once you “see” something, you see it everywhere? Well, I had that going on. So, I visited health food stores and began attempting to recycle.

Sadly, I have to admit, my feeble attempts to get “greener” never lasted. I have 5 kids and making drastic grocery changes seemed so hard…so maybe that played a role? Is it because I am ADD? Oh, and we are not rich or really hippie, so maybe that was it? In my mind, I rationalized all kinds of reasons why I could not be more environmentally concerned.

Then I read Alexandra Zissu’s book, The Conscious Kitchen. And I changed. Because…well, I could. I suddenly got it. Now, I am just sorry I did not understand some of the concepts earlier. I feel bad that I was not one of the pioneers. Because this is worth doing and it is not hard anymore.

I was lucky enough to get to interview Alexandra! I totally recommend reading her book (You can buy it on Amazon, here). The clear writing with specific examples about how to have great tasting food and maintain a green and healthy kitchen made going green the most natural thing in the world for us!

This interview will give you some great ideas about how to get started. As you will see in the interview, Zissu is very smart, down to earth and kind:

1) Alexandra, I am a busy mom of 5 children. I am also a lousy cook. I try to buy organic food and I download articles about cleaning with vinegar (but I have not done that)…I have begun to buy Seventh Generation products often. But, I have to admit that is about all I have done to “green my kitchen” What would you consider the main steps for “going green” in feeding your family?

First of all I’m sure you’re not that lousy of a cook! If you’re buying local food in season, you’re off to a great start — stand back and let the ingredients shine. Secondly, no need to download another article on vinegar. Just do it. Stick some in a spray bottle and use it the next time you want to wipe a counter down. Simple as can be.

Here are some other thoughts: Steal away from the five kids and peek through The Conscious Kitchen. It’s a friendly and accessible guide (I hope!) to methodically working through the kitchen. Anyone can turn their kitchen into a safe, non-toxic environment for the whole family. Source the best, purest, most local produce, meat, seafood, and dairy products you can find. Cook in and store food in tried and true materials (cast iron, enamel coated cast iron, stainless steel, glass) that aren’t known to leach harmful chemical components into your food. Keep the kitchen well ventilated. Clean only with natural products. Filter your tap water if needed. Avoid plastic whenever you can. Repair, reduce, reuse, recycle, compost.

If you can’t do all of this at once – and who can? — choose what you’re willing to do and add more steps as it makes sense. It’s a process, but a very worthwhile one.

2) What would you consider a number one, first step for “going green” in choosing cleaning products for your kitchen? Does your answer change if there are toddlers involved?

I like to say that if I won’t eat it, I won’t clean with it. Chemical residues for cleaners can and do remain on surfaces for a long time after you clean. I don’t want these getting on my food. I spend time and money making sure my food doesn’t have pesticides on it, so it wouldn’t make sense for me to then prep my food on surfaces that have been disinfected with pesticides.

This approach doesn’t change for me if there are toddlers or infants or puppies or grandparents: natural cleaning products are better for the whole family. But certainly the smallest among us are the most vulnerable. Pound for pound their exposure to toxic chemicals is higher than for us adults. Of course you always want to make sure you have a lock on the cabinet you’re storing cleaning products in, especially if there is a toddler around.

3) I have a large family–I feed 7 people each day. I worry about costs–for cooking and cleaning. What two products–one for cleaning, one for cooking would you consider essential? (ie, like skillet?)

There are cost-effective ways of getting organic local foods. Have you ever heard of buying a share in a farm through a system called Community Supported Agriculture? I talk about it in The Conscious Kitchen. It’s also a great thing to get the kids involved in. Or, if you have the space, time, and desire to plant a vegetable garden, that’s another great way to bring costs down.

Green cleaning products don’t cost more than conventional cleaners, and many of them are multi-taskers – you can use an all purpose product for just about anything, even mopping (dilute in water). And there’s pretty much nothing in a kitchen that cannot be cleaned with warm water and natural dish soap.

I have a few pots and pans that really never leave my stove top I use them so much, including an enamel coated cast iron dutch oven. There’s nothing I can’t make in there, and they’re great for stews and soups that can feed large families. These can be expensive to buy new, but might be something you could find second hand. Cast iron versions are less expensive and also very safe to cook in. I also really like a stainless steel pressure cooker for when I need to feed a lot of people well and quickly.

4) And, what one or two things would you consider important to teach your children about being green in the kitchen? My teen son, who loves to cook, asked me to ask you–“what oil do you use?”

That’s too sweet about your son! The number one thing I always say is to involve kids in the discussion so that they will be interested in being green, and identify themselves as green. Teaching by example is key. Getting children involved with cooking is among my favorite things to do, hands down. There are many important lessons in understanding what food is and where it comes from – that it’s not just something that appears on your plate or comes out of a package. And it’s a great way to introduce many flavors. Please tell him that I use many oils but my favorite is organic olive oil. I try to eat mainly local food and sadly we don’t live near any olive groves. But I love it and it’s good for you. I use other oils, too, to flavor various dishes, and some of these are more local than others: pumpkin, sunflower seed, sesame. If you’re using canola, it’s always a good idea to buy organic. It’s made from a crop that tends to be genetically modified (GM). USDA organic regulations do not permit GM foods.

5) I hardly ever cook fish. My husband does not like it and I am not a great cook–and need to have 7 servings of everything. What would you recommend as an organic and easy way to add fish into our diet?

Seafood can be very contaminated with things like mercury and PCBs so whatever you choose, choose wisely. Fish is one of those things – some people just really don’t like it. If you’d like to add it to your diet, I’d suggest looking up a handful of species on an environmental website that lists safe fish (like OceansAlive.org – I list many others in The Conscious Kitchen), and then tasting through them to see what you like. If you live near waterways, and they’re not contaminated, always buy local wild fish that has been caught in a sustainable fashion. It’s really hard to go wrong if you bake a piece with olive oil, fresh herbs, and sea salt in a glass dish. Just don’t overcook! That’s the main mistake that happens with fish.

For more information, visit Alexandra’s website and Seventh Generation.

Thanks to Alexandra, and also to Seventh Generation. I loved the “Disinfecting Cleaning Kit” that included the new Botanical Disinfectants–disinfecting multi-surface cleaner, bathroom cleaner, wipes, my copy of The Conscious Kitchen, a cleaning caddy made from recycled plastic, and two rolls of 100% recycled, unbleached paper towels…the cleaners worked so well and I prefer the lavender scent.

You can sign up and get coupons from Seventh Generation on their site, here

I get to giveaway this Great Earth Day gift pack!

For your main entry, leave me a comment telling me what is the best thing you have done for the environment this year–or something you plan to do!

Additional Entries: (please leave a separate entry for each)

My trial products, the gift pack and information were provided by Seventh Generation through MyBlogSpark.