Monday, December 28, 2009

My New Seasonal CookBook!

Since I've been home, my mum and I have been doing some heavy-duty organizing and uncluttering. So heavy-duty, that we have thrown out all of our cooking magazines! I know. This was really hard for both of us to do. So... our solution was to go through all of the magazines (I learned a lot along the way BTW - like how to make homemade ricotta) and rip out all of the recipes I liked. I took these recipes and made my own revised cookbook. And, guess what.... Its arranged by seasons! I'm sure that this is something that is out there already, but it is this new creation that I can't wait to use and add to!

It works perfect with my New Years Resolution (I really don't like New Years resolutions because I like to make them all year long) to eat more seasonally! In doing this I will get to slim my grocery bill, experiment in the garden, and there is a lower chance of the use of nasty chemicals and other unnatural growing.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Another go-around with Biscottis that Hit Successful Scores!

I am going to say that it was from the help of my dad and my new bread knife! This biscotti recipe was inspired from Cooking Light's Savory Two-Cheese Biscotti from a magazine cut-out.
Ingredients (modified to our liking):
2 3/4 c Flour

3/4 c Shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c Shredded mozzarella cheese
2 t Baking powder
3/4 t Salt
1/4 t Ground red pepper
1/4 c Skim milk
2 t Olive Oil
3 large eggs
Cooking spray

1. Preheat Oven to 350.

2. Mix flour with the next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Combine wet ingredients in a separate bowl, and whisk. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients, and stir until well mixed. The dough should be crumbly and dry. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead 8 times. Divide dough in half. Shape each half into 8 inch long by 1 inch thick strips. Bake these two halves in the oven for 30 mins. Remove from oven and let sit on a wire rack for 10 mins. 3. Reduce the oven temp. to 325. 4. After the two halves cool cut them up into 2/3 inch pieces diagonally and place slices, cut sides down, on baking sheet. Bake for 10 mins at 325. Remove from baking sheet and let cool on wire rack before eating. I couldn't wait more than 2 mins!

We dipped these in bean salsa! Delish! Try it out an let me know what you think!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas day at our house...

Christmas day is here and our family always likes to take the day slow. We usually sleep in, check to see what kind of surprises Santa left with a big cup of coffee to drag us out of bed. And then we sit around the kitchen and visit, listen to music (currently Tom Petty), and cook, prepare, bake, etc... depending on what we have going on and what we are craving. My dad usually gets that look in his eyes and you know that you are in for a kitchen treat.

This morn we decided to counteract all of that sweet that we had yesterday by chopping up some veggies and made Pico De Gallo! One of my mom and my favorites.

These spicy pickled garlic cloves my dad got for Christmas yesterday, and we thought it would be the perfect new ingredient to include in his Pico De Gallo. OH, and it was.

Avocados. Not necessarily in season, but still great to add to this concoction. Only put avocados in what you are consuming or it will all be brown in a couple of days.

Our final result. Delicious, snack to counteract all of the sweet toothing we did and will be continuing today! YUM!

Back to more eating! I hope everyone is enjoying their Holidays!
Merry Christmas!

Pico De Gallo
equal parts:
Green, Yellow, and Red Peppers
Jalapeno (quantity depending on how spicy you want it)
Garlic (we did 8 cloves [our bowl was about 2 gallons])

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Winter dull-drum?

With winter moving briskly in, I am starting to feel the need to hibernate and stay cozy. This time of year it is hard for me to avoid the "bad" foods that seem to give me the instant satisfaction that I need to pick myself up after trudging through the snow. My aunt Vickie sent me a very good article from the Maharishi Ayurveda website about the good ways to treat our selves, so that instead of dreading winter, we can look at it as a time to gather and treat ourselves to the things that are truly good for us.

Why not...

  • Go to bed earlier. It is natural for your body to need more sleep at this time of the year.
  • Stretch more and longer
  • Eat more wholesome foods (i.e. whole foods - not processed, veggies, fruit, whole grain, rolled oats, organics, potatoes)
  • Look for natural sugars and spices that are very good for your body (cane sugar, )
  • Read more books (my goal this christmas break is three)
  • Learn more about your hobbies.... knitting or sewing anyone??
  • Plan out next years garden!- its something to look forward to and you can purchase the seed packs ahead of time and store them in a dry shaded spot.
  • Play more cards and board games with friends and family
  • Watch some movies... old, new, classics, TV series, documentary, etc...

Does anyone have any other favorites or goals for winter hibernation??

Immunity-boosting Foods and Lifestyle Tips for Winter

In general, immunity-boosting foods include those that are fresh, organic, easy to digest, pure and wholesome. These include fresh, organic milk and yogurt, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and ghee (clarified butter).

Foods that are hard to digest should be avoided if you want to increase your immunity. Commercially processed foods, as well as canned, frozen, and packaged foods are old and difficult to digest, so they weaken immunity. Leftovers, foods grown with chemicals, and foods laced with preservatives tax the digestive system and clog the channels of circulation, creating a sluggish, compromised immune system.

Foods that nourish and balance the body in the cold, dry, winter season are the sweet, sour and salty tastes. It's best to eat less of the astringent, bitter, and pungent tastes in winter, although all six tastes should be included in your diet. Warm, home-cooked, unctuous foods are ideal, as long as they are not deep-fried and are cooked with easy-to-digest oils such as ghee or olive oil. Avoid cold or ice-cold foods, as cold foods and drinks douse the digestive fire and decreases immunity.

Lifestyle also impacts immunity. Staying up late, working at night, eating at irregular times, exposing the body to stress and fatigue, and sleeping during the day can all affect the digestion and body rhythms--and thus compromise the immune system. That's why it's important to follow the ayurvedic daily routine, to keep the digestive system and other bodily rhythms working smoothly, and thus keeping the immunity high.

In winter, when the days are shorter and the nights are longer, it's natural for the body to crave more rest. Try going to bed a little earlier, and you will wake up with more vitality and freshness. Winter is a more inward season, when nature is at rest, so you can take advantage of this natural tendency by giving the mind and body extra nourishment in winter.

Doing a daily self-massage (abhyanga) will also help enhance immunity. Self-massage stimulates all of the organs of the body, flushes out impurities, and builds resistance to stress and disease.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bleached vs. Unbleached

My curiosity has gotten the best of me and I am finding time to quickly get on here to share something interesting that I just learned. (Many of you may be ahead of me on this one!)
According to Better Homes and Gardens, there is really no baking/cooking difference between bleached and unbleached flour. The only differentiation between the two is that the bleached flour is made chemically whiter. Whoa! I think from now on I am going to be going the unbleached route!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Blog Hiatus!

(this picture is from an Etsy artist! Artist, if you read this please reveal yourself so I can put a link on here for you. I forgot exactly where I found it!)

Sorry guys I know I've been neglectful. No excuses! I'll be back at it after finals I promise!