Thursday, March 30, 2017

Clementine Pecan Salad

This salad was inspired by a recipe in a Taste of Home magazine from the Fall of 2007, but I don't think they would recognize my version. We have enjoyed it several times lately.

Clementine Pecan Salad

2 cups Spring Mix Salad greens
2 cups finely shredded Bok Choy leaves (about 3 leaves).
3 clementine oranges peeled and sectioned
15 pecan halves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons dried cranberriesA

¼ c. cream
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. vinegar
1 t. Dijon mustard
¼ t. salt
1 T. chia seeds

The prettiest way to serve this salad is to layer salad ingredients onto serving plates and drizzle dressing over top. It makes a nice salad for three or four people. I usually intend to start out this way, but end up tossing all the ingredients in a bowl with the dressing and mixing it together well.
Shredded cabbage can be substituted for the Bok Choy, which I have been trying to figure out ways to use. I have a big head of it in my fridge. I like it because it is tender and easy to chew, and has a light delicate flavor.

The dressing is based on an oil and vinegar recipe, but as my husband is avoiding oils but is OK with cream, I made the substitution, and we all loved it. I also put in chia seed instead of poppy seeds, to add a nutritional boost.   

Friday, February 3, 2017

Coconut Flour - A Delicious, Nutritious, Gluten-Free Discovery

I bought a bag of coconut flour about two years ago but after using some in the recipe I purchased it for, it sat, pushed back in the corner of my cupboard, waiting. I didn't know what to do with it or if it was even good for me.

Recently, I found a recipe on "Homemade Healthy", a You-Tube site, for "Coconut Flour 'Cornbread'". I bought some fresh flour and tried again. This is my version:

Coconut Flour 'Cornbread'
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease an 8 inch square pan or a cast iron skillet. Put pan in oven to get hot.
Combine: ¾ c. coconut flour, ½ t. baking powder and ½ t. salt. Stir well.
In a second bowl combine: 6 eggs, ½ c. melted butter and ¼ c. maple syrup.
Stir the two mixtures together till a soft dough forms.
Remove hot greased pan from oven and pour in the dough.
Pat the dough smooth and return to the oven for 20 minutes.

It turned out heavenly! There are many things you can do with it. My dad topped his piece of "Coconut Flour 'Cornbread'" with maple syrup for a sweet treat. We talked about serving it with honey-butter or cream cheese. We also thought of using it like a shortbread topped with strawberries and whipped cream or perhaps a scoop of vanilla ice cream and sliced mangos for a dessert.
I chose to turn the 'cornbread' into a main course by serving a hearty hamburger gravy poured over the top. I am thinking of biscuits-and-gravy, using the "cornbread" as the base. Here is my recipe for the gravy:

Hamburger Gravy
1 lb. hamburger, 1 chopped onion, 2 c. chopped celery
Cook over medium high heat until vegetables are tender.
Stir in ¼ c. gluten-free flour till vegetable mixture is well coated.
Add 1 ½ c. water, ½ t. cumin, 2 t. salt, ¼ t. pepper,
½ t. yellow curry paste or a dash of cayenne pepper.
Cook gently, stirring often till thickened.
Add 1 can coconut milk to cream the gravy.
Heat through.
Serve over "Coconut Flour 'Cornbread'".

Why should I try coconut flour? Is it good for me? Is it worth the bother? How is it made?
These are some of the questions I had as I started learning about this new flour. Here are some of the things that I learned about coconut flour:

1. It is gaining in popularity as a healthy addition to the many gluten-free flours that have come out on the market. It is high in fiber, protein and healthy fats and low in sugar, digestible fiber and digestible carbohydrates and has a very low glycemic rating.

2. Just ¼ cup of the flour has 120 calories, 4 grams fat, 4 grams protein, 10 grams fiber, 16 grams carbohydrates and 2 grams sugar.

3. The flour is made from the white coconut meat inside the coconut shell or from the pulp left over after separating out the coconut milk. Because it is not a grain, it does not stimulate an auto-immune response or cause digestive problems for most people.

4. It has high levels of healthy saturated fats in the form of medium chain fatty acids and other fats, which are used to support healthy metabolism and balance blood sugar levels. Studies have also shown that it helps lower LDL cholesterol levels and serum triglycerides which help us have a healthier heart.

5.It is high in fiber which cannot be absorbed by the body. This is valuable because many of the calories and carbohydrates move through the digestive tract without being digested, acting as a broom to sweep out waste and toxins, which aids in digestive health.

6. Dried coconut absorbs a lot of water sort of like a sponge when cooked, so you need to have enough moisture in your recipe or it will turn out dry. The food will stay moist for a long time because of the sponge effect.

7. Although the 'cornbread' recipe used straight coconut flour, it is often combined with other flours to balance their strengths. Coconut four has a lot of texture and is heavy, moist, and dense. Almond flour is higher in protein and more flaky, Tapioca and arrowroot are creamier and creates a crisper stronger dough. The bean flours make a softer finished product and are high in protein and other nutrients Rice flour is very low in fat and makes a good base to combine with the other flours. It is fun to experiment with them all or try out a variety of recipes.

I have learned that coconut flour is well worth experimenting with and using often in my diet. It tastes good and can improve my health in many ways, adding variety and interest to the foods I serve.

Friday, January 20, 2017

Home-Made Gluten Free Biscuit Mix for Home Food Storage

“Gluten Free Biscuit Mix” is my latest short-term emergency food discovery, and I am bursting to tell you about it. This recipe was inspired by the Betty Crocker recipe site. They have long offered Bisquick, and now have a gluten-free version of it, so I believe they re-worked all the old “Impossibly-Easy” Bisquick creations that I loved back in the late 70's, when I was a young mother with small kids and a busy schedule.

The recipes are made by putting your meat and vegetables, or your apples or peaches, into a pie pan, and pouring a sauce of Bisquick and milk, eggs, and seasonings over it, and sprinkle on cheese, which cooks into quiche like casseroles, pies, and other tasty things. It forms its own top crust almost like magic. The Betty Crocker recipe site has many wonderful choices. 

I make my own Bisquick mix from a recipe by Bette Hagman. She is my favorite author on the topic of Gluten-free Cooking, and has been a wonderful pioneer on this topic for over 40 years. Bette has developed a wide range of simple effective ways to live gluten-free, among them by creating many basic mixes to keep on hand to shorten preparation time for good, low-cost, home cooked meals. I recently discovered 'Biscuit Mix', from her book, “Living Well Without Wheat, The Gluten-Free Gourmet, Revised Edition”, from the year 2000, which was a while ago. I have seen versions of this recipe on the back of several Gluten-Free products recently, so I know that I am not the only one who likes this recipe, though I want to share my version.

3 cups Rice Flour,  4 Tbs. Baking Powder,   1 Tbs. Salt
2 cups Potato Starch Flour, 1 Cup Powdered Buttermilk,  1 cup plus 2 Tbs. Shortening,
1/3 cup sugar 1 Tbs. Baking Soda.

In a large bowl, whisk together all the dry ingredients. Cut in the shortening until the mixture is crumbly. Makes 6 batches of biscuits.

TO MAKE BISCUITS: Add 1 beaten egg and ¼ cup water to 1 ¼ cups mix. Stir gently to moisten, roll out onto a rice-floured board and cut into biscuit shapes. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 12 to 15 minutes. Makes 8 to 10 biscuits.

Nutrients per biscuit: Calories, 130, Fat 6 g, Carbohydrate 18 g,
Cholesterol 25 mg, Fiber 0, Protein 2g.

TO TOP COOKED STEWS OR CHICKEN PIES: Add 1 beaten egg and 1/3 cup water to 1 ¼ cups mix. Stir to moisten and drop by spoonfuls on the hot stew or pie. Bake at about 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until the biscuits are done.

FOR MOST IMPOSSIBLY-EASY PIES: I just follow the directions from the Betty Crocker site, in the place of Bisquick.

Rice flour comes as white or brown, in 25 pound bags at places like Winco. You can also find it in bulk bins at health-food oriented stores, and in packages by Bob's Red Mill. I usually just grind my own in my wheat grinder. I love Jasmine Rice, either white or brown, because when I cook Jasmine rice in stead of grinding it, it stays moist and fresh longer, and smells wonderful when it cooks. It has always been fresh and clean, so the brown Jasmine rice does not need the pre-rinsing that is often valuable in other types of brown rice.

Here then are my variations to Bette's Biscuit Mix. Instead of powered buttermilk, I use powdered coconut milk that I purchase in bulk on the internet from San Francisco Herb company. It stays fresh tasting for a long time. My body doesn't handle milk products well. You could also try almond flour, or other milk substitutes or skip it altogether.

I use powdered butter from my long-term food storage cans instead of the shortening. It is much easier to mix in. I am using it from a very old, but recently opened can, that has held up beautifully over the years. I find #10 cans of powdered butter in many supermarkets and emergency supply outlets.

I also opened a can of powdered eggs, which I am trying to use up in mixes. It works well and makes the recipe even more instant. I use 6 tablespoons of powdered egg in the mix, which is 1/3 cup powdered egg. I increase the water for each batch by one or two tablespoons to compensate for more dry ingredients.

One batch almost fills up an empty #10 can, to keep on my shelf or I divide the mix into pint jars or pouches to seal them with my “Food Saver” which vacuum seals the food. This keeps the Biscuit Mix fresh for longer and I can add it to my longer term food storage collection.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Our First Trial of Wise Food Productss

I am so excited to explore our Wise food storage products that we are selling. We chose to try out the Wise, Gluten Free, Food Storage Entree and Breakfast bucket for 84 servings. There are fourteen packets of main dish type foods, each containing four servings, and 7 packets of Yogurt Style Dessert, for 28 servings. The entrees include Teriyaki and Rice, Loaded Baked Potato Casserole, Tomato Basil Soup with Pasta, Potatoes and Chicken Pot Pie. Basically you heat up a quart of water, add the packet of food, and let it sit for at least 15 minutes. I put a cup of cold water in a pint jar, added the yogurt powder, shook it up and let it sit in the refrigerator until ready.

We chose the Chicken Pot Pie along with the Yogurt Dessert. We had just gotten it mixed when we realized that we were almost late to pick up a friend at the Salt Lake Airport.
We rushed to the airport and waited for about an hour. The “En route” notification finally changed to “Pickup”, and we went into the airport to find my friend, as I could not get through on the phone. Lots of people were getting their luggage but finally my friend called from the Front Runner. We had missed her! She had come in on time. Perhaps we were waiting for the wrong plane or something but our wires got crossed.

We hurriedly got on the freeway and rushed back to Orem to the Front Runner station arriving about five minutes before she did.

This little experience does not really count as an emergency but we were certainly hungry and tired after our adventure and so was our friend. We were so glad for a pot of still warm food waiting for us at home.

The pot held four, 1 ½ cup servings, which the three of us ate quite nicely. It was surprisingly very delicious. It truly tasted like chicken pot pie. We quite enjoyed it. We also added leftovers from our refrigerator and a fresh vegetable plate. The Yogurt Dessert had set up in the pint bottle that I had shaken it up in and placed in the refrigerator. It makes almost 1 ½ cups of a mildly sweet sauce. We decided it would be good over some granola that I had made long ago, with the fruit all dried out and hard. So I cooked it into a sturdy mush and poured the yogurt over the top. It wasn't particularly good, but OK. I later poured some leftover yogurt over the dry crunchy granola and felt it was much better.

My friend had been to a conference encouraging people to get prepared for hard times that are coming. She liked the food enough to ask about buying some, so I became interested in the cost of things.

The bucket is listed at $190. I figured that we could say that the 28 servings of yogurt could cost about $1.50 per serving, so $190 minus 42 equals $148. Fourteen packets times four servings is 56 main dish type servings, which is $2.64 per serving or $10.56 a packet.

Wise Foods also offers a combination of gluten free buckets. This combination of 6 buckets contain meat, vegetables, fruits, milk and eggs, as well as the entree and breakfast bucket that we purchased. As you put together meals containing a selection of choices from these buckets your meals can be both delicious and satisfying.w

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Getting Started

We are working on actually opening our store!  It requires so many details we feel a little bit overwhelmed.  One of the first thing we decided to  do is purchase samples of our product and try them out.  We have become Wise Food Distributors, and we also carry Guardian Survival kits and supplies.  We ordered a bucket of gluten free entrees with pudding.  We like it better then we expected.  Hurray!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Learning about Food Storage

A bag of lentils was my first experience with food storage.  Mother left me with the last gallon or so of her fifty pound bag when she and daddy left for a Building Mission in Tonga.  I was a new bride, just setting up a home on a collage campus with a food budget of about $30. a month.  I discovered that Lentils cook in about 15 minutes, and taste great!...with just butter and salt.  Daddy told a story of a Basque Sheep-hearder-missionary companion who lived on them every day of the week, when he gave us the bag, and I thought it was a great idea for lunches.  As a busy student wife, we could eat for nearly free, in about 15 minutes.  Wow!

My patient, long suffering husband finally admitted he would like some more variety.  

We had been given a very small, slow wheat grinder, and a bucket of someone's food storage wheat for our wedding.  Mother mailed me a recipe for whole wheat bread, and with great excitement  about midnight one night we struggled through the instructions.  It  was not as easy as it looked when Mother did it. How hot is warm water? How wet, or how dry was the dough?  How much kneeding?   How much should it rise? When is it done?  It was quite an adventure each week to see how the bread would come out.  You could serve it with lentils even if it was crumbly, hard, fallen, or very occasionally, perfect.  You could serve it as bread and milk, or breakfast toast, or as a sandwich.  Wow! 

 My husband suggested a little more variety would be nice.  And he really didn't like lentils.

An aunt taught me how to bottle peaches and tomatoes and lots of other things. We got big buckets of rice and beans.  We grew a garden.  I expanded in many other ways too. I had five children,three Indian Placement daughters, Laotion Refugees, friends and neighbors, to teach me and give opportunities for growth.  I loved feeding people.  The bread was usually good.  Wow!

My husband got seriously ill and lost his job.  We lived mostly on our food storage for several years.
We had purchased many cases of no. 10 cans of dehydrated food, but I did not know how to use them, and I was afraid of wasting what was inside if I opened  a can of something, and and then did not know what to do with it.  It's a good thing they keep for 20 years isn't it?

Things eventually got better, but I was left with a great appreciation of food storage.

 I was introduced to the idea of placing foods from the number ten cans, all mixed and seasoned as complete meals, and re-sealing it with a Food Saver in quart canning jars. , There are several meal-in- a-jar books out and I finally opened my Number 10 cans, and re-composed them into smaller portions with the seasonings and all the ingredients that I would need to complete a meal.  The food in the cans was still good, and I spent lots on more of them to complete meals.  I love the concept, and worked very hard on it.  But I did work very hard, and eventually petered out.  I still love the idea but started to look for something a little more simple.

I found the food storage system from Wise, and wanted to share it with you, along with what I am learning to make using food storage successful.