Thursday, July 26, 2012

Weighing in: food vs exercise

A research group investigated the metabolic rate of a hunter-gatherer tribe and found it comparable to people that live a modern lifestyle, providing evidence for the theory that the food we eat - the type and quantity - matters more than exercise in overall body weight.

Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity
Hunter-Gatherer Clue to Obesity as reported by the BBC, with some quotes from study authors.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Chocolate Chip Quinoa Cookies

Adapted from
1 c cooked quinoa
1/2 c chopped blanched almonds
1 c old-fashioned oats
1/4 c unsweetened shredded coconut
2 T honey or maple syrup
1 t vanilla extract
2 T nut butter
1/3 c chocolate chips
1/4 t salt

If you quinoa is still hot, it will melt the chocolate chips when you mix it, so plan accordingly: if you want the chips to be whole, let the quinoa cool.  Mix nut butter, vanilla, and honey together in a small bowl and set aside.  Mix remaining ingredients and then add in the nut butter mixture until combined.  Roll into small balls and store in refrigerator or freezer (chill before eating).  Makes 2 dozen 1" cookies.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Notfried Pinto Beans

1 lb dry pinto beans
3 bay leaves
1/2 tsp cumin seed
1/2 tsp salt
1 green bell pepper
1 onion
ground cumin, oregano, salt to taste

Soak pinto beans and cook using your preferred method, with the measured salt, cumin seed, and bay leaves.  When the beans are done, preheat oven to 400.  Chop finely the onion and bell pepper and place each on a baking sheet (no oil needed).  Roast for about 20 minutes or until the pieces have lost most of their moisture and are beginning to brown (check every 5 minutes).  Strain beans, reserving liquid.  Puree beans with onion and pepper pieces, adding liquid as needed.  Season to taste with salt, oregano, and cumin.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Summer Reading Programs

Half Price Books: Read 300 minutes in a month, earn a $5 book credit.  Runs June 1 - July 31.
See link for downloadable reading log and more information.

Barnes & Noble: read 8 books, choose a free book from list.  Grades 1-6. 
Reading journal & more information available at link.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Rhubarb Custard Pie

5 dates, chopped roughly
1 c old-fashioned oats
1/2 c. pecan meal
2 T flax meal
3 T water

Preheat oven to 400. Mix flax meal and water in small bowl; set aside. Chop dates in food processor until very fine, then add oats and pecan meal and process until a coarse meal has formed. Add the flax mixture and combine. Press into oiled pie plate.

2 c. milk of your choice
1 T cornstarch in 2 T water
10 dates, finely diced
1 T maple syrup
3 eggs
1-2 c. rhubarb, finely chopped (1c. will be very subtle)

Place rhubarb in pie plate on crust. Heat milk; add dates, maple syrup, and cornstarch mixture. Cook gently, stirring occasionally. When the mixture has thickened and the dates are soft, puree with an immersion blender. In separate bowl, beat eggs. Whisk 1 T milk blend into the eggs at a time until tempered, then whisk in the rest and pour into the pie plate.

Bake for 10 minutes at 400, then 30 minutes at 350.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Non-food items to hide in plastic eggs

  • coins
  • erasers or other small desk items
  • ribbons for hair, ponytail holders, etc
  • puzzle pieces (thanks, Estelle!)
  • poems about spring (in entirety, or cut into verses to sort later)
  • funny poems for children
  • notes to child
  • scavenger hunt clues
  • fortunes (fortune egg, instead of fortune cookie!)
  • comic strips
  • homemade coupons for fun family activities
  • homemade coupons for special privileges

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Navratan Korma

Adapted from 660 Curries by Raghavan Iyer. This was excellent and much easier than I expected. Modifications: ghee eliminated; roasted tofu subbed for paneer; vegetables increased and adapted for what was available; roasted instead of boiled.

The tofu: 1 lb tofu, drained, pressed, cubed, and roasted at 400F for about 30 minutes.

The vegetables:
1 c cauliflower florets cut to 1/2 inch across the top, roasted at 400F for 15 minutes
1 c red bell pepper, in 1/2 inch pieces, roasted at 400F for about 10 minutes
1 c green peas
1.5 c green beans, cut into 1 to 2 inch pieces
2 c carrot pieces, about 1/2 inch diameter by 1/4 inch thick
--- Steam peas, green beans, and carrots over 1 c water for about 5 minutes. Set steaming basket aside and leave steaming water in pot. (Use two baking trays for the roasting; put tofu and cauliflower in the oven first, then remove the cauliflower and use that baking tray for the peppers.)

The sauce:
1 c diced onion
1/3 c cashew pieces
1/3 c minced prunes, or raisins
1 T minced ginger root
1 clove garlic, minced
2 whole cloves
1/2 tsp cardamom seeds
1 bay leaf
1 T ketchup or tomato paste
1 t salt
3/4 t turmeric
3/4 t garam masala

--- Heat vegetable steaming water and add onion through bay leaf. Cook gently about 10 minutes or until onion is soft and prune pieces are plumped. Remove bay leaf and cloves. Transfer to blender and add ketchup, salt, turmeric, and garam masala. Blend well.

--- Put vegetables in pot and pour the sauce over them. Turn heat to low, just to reheat all ingredients gently. Add 1 c water to blender and blend again to get the rest of the sauce ingredients; add to pot and stir well. Serve when hot, over rice if desired.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Whole Grain Pancake Mix

This is a mix I used prior to our less-flour eating.  It is a useful blend to speed baking and cooking, and also is infinitely adaptable to introduce kids (and adults!) to different whole grain flours and flavors. 

It greatly speeds the process of making multigrain pancakes as there are just a few things to combine at cooking time.  Put the mixing instructions on a label right on the bag or container for easy reference.

Options to replace sugar: another dry sweetener, such as date sugar, in the mix; liquid sweeteners added at cooking time; no sugar, but jam or maple syrup on top of the pancakes; fruit added in the form of a puree, dried, fresh, or frozen fruit; etc.  Experiment!

9 c flour, vary with your preferences.  Suggested mixture:
    3c unbleached or white whole wheat,
    2 c whole wheat flour,
    1 c each quick oats or old-fashioned,
    1 c barley flour,
    1 c rye flour,
    1 c buckwheat flour
1/3 c sugar, or less (since they will have syrup on them, anyway)
2 tsp salt
6 tbsp baking powder

Mix together and store in a cool, dry location. 

To make 4 servings of pancakes, mix together:
 1 1/2 c pancake mix
1 egg, or your choice of egg substitute
2 tbsp oil
1 to 1 1/2 c liquid which can consist of a couple tbsp of plain yogurt in water, or buttermilk and water or regular (dairy or non-) milk and water in a 1:1 ratio - start with 1c liquid and add more to make a pourable but still thick batter.

This mix can also be used to make muffins, biscuits, and other quick breads. 
For 12 muffins or 1 loaf, use 2 c mix, 1 egg, 1/4 c oil, and 1 c liquid.  Add more sweetener if desired, and fruit of choice.  Bake muffins at 400 for about 18 minutes, loaf at 350 for about 50-60 minutes.
For biscuits, use 2 c mix and cut in 1/4 c butter (4 tbsp) or 1/4 c frozen canola oil.  Add 3/4 c liquid.  You can add an egg if you like.  Drop biscuits or roll and cut out, and bake at 400 for about 10-20 minutes, depending on size.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday Soup: Roasted Vegetable Pinto Bean Soup

 The roasted vegetables leave a fabulous aroma in the house and lend great flavor to this simple bean soup.  Estimated cost for the pot of soup: $4.65 - about 6 servings at $0.78/each, plus extra cooked beans for another meal - huevos rancheros, or burritos, or to add to salads.

1 lb dried pinto beans, soaked and drained
2 bay leaves
1 piece nori
1 medium yellow squash
14 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
1 medium onion
1 red bell pepper
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. cumin
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley

Preheat oven to 300F. Bring beans to boil in water to cover with nori and bay leaves.  Boil for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to simmer and cook until done.  Meanwhile, chop squash, onion, and bell pepper into bite-sized pieces.  Oil a 13x9 pan and mix together the squash, onion, pepper, and tomatoes.  Roast in the oven for about an hour, stirring after 30 minutes.  Turn off oven heat and leave vegetables until the beans are cooked.  Remove half of the beans from the pot and save for another use.   Add the vegetables, salt, and spices to the beans and bean broth in the pot  and cook another 15 minutes.  By this time, the nori should have dissolved into small pieces; if not, chop finely and return to soup.  Add the fresh parsley, stir well, and serve.

Monday, January 30, 2012

PFCs and immunity

The Atlantic, reporting on a recent article in JAMA, said today that "PFCs, found in pizza boxes, fast-food wrappers, popcorn bags, certain clothing, and more, have been tied to a lower level of antibodies in kids."

 This may be of particular concern in the eastern Twin Cities region, where groundwater contamination has occurred.

Alarmingly, the impact of the PFCs was worse than for PCBs, according to the author of the study.