Saturday, January 14, 2012

Cheesy Tex-Mex Casserole

I'm not usually a big casserole making fan...but it had me at "tex-mex" =) This is a variation of Emerill's Ooey Gooey Tex Mex Casserole. His recipe calls for stew meat AND ground beef (among several other variants) my opinion that's just too much beef! But if you're a big beefy fan, go ahead and try it. Or add some beans instead like I do and have a great well rounded meal, not too beefy. This is the first recipe with beef in it that my 2 year old has EVER eaten! AND she had seconds!!! Granted, I slathered it in organic sour cream...but still, I've never been able to get her to eat beef before. This is one of hubby's favorite meals. He once came home from a long day and had eaten a burger on the way home but didn't want to tell me (I hate it when he eats right before coming home when I've made a yummy meal!!). I had made this meal that day and he still had 2 servings of it because it's just THAT good. He JUST told me tonight about the burger, and that was like 2 years ago! So even if you're anti-casserole, try this, it really is THAT good!

1 lb organic ground beef
2 cups organic black beans, cooked
1 organic onion, chopped
4 TB organic tomato paste
2 large tomatoes diced
1 veggie boullion cube
2 cups of water
(or instead of water and boullion you could use 2 cups veggie stock, or beef if you must be that beefy, ha)
Approximately 6 whole wheat tortillas
2 cups organic jack cheese, shredded
2 cups organic cheddar, shredded

In a large skillet, saute onion in a little oil for 3 minutes. Add ground beef stirring constantly until cooked through. Add beans, tomato paste, tomatoes and boullion/water or stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes. Turn off burner. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a large baking dish, pour a couple ladles full of beefy/bean mixture. Top with a layer of tortillas. If using small tortillas, place two side by side. If using large ones, place one whole one and a strip of another to cover the remaining space. Sprinkle cheese over tortillas, and cover with beefy/bean mixture. Follow with another layer of tortillas, cheese, and beefy/bean mixture. Keep layering until beefy/bean mixture is done or you're at the top of the dish. Your last layer should be tortilla covered with cheese. Bake for about 10 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving. Top with a dollop of sour cream and some hot sauce

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Chocolate Chip "Cookie Dough" Balls

These are super yummy and taste amazingly like cookie dough! But these are much healthier for you. You could "almost" call them health food ;) ...but I wouldn't, ha! I adapted this recipe from one I found at

Makes approximately 20 1 inch balls
1/2 cup unsalted raw organic cashews

1/2 cup organic rolled oats
1/4 cup organic white whole wheat flour (unbleached)
1/2 tsp real salt
2 tbsp organic cane sugar
4 tbsp organic pure maple syrup (add gradually until desired consistency is achieved)
1/2 tsp organic pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic cacao chips
1/4 cup EnviroKidz organic Koala Krisp cereal (like a chocolate rice cripy cereal)

In a food processor, process cashews and rolled oats until fine. Add flour, salt, and sugar and pulse to combine. Add vanilla. Add maple syrup while processor is running, a little at a time. (If you wish, you could substitute 1 tb of maple syrup for 1 tb organic sunflower butter, that would be really yummy!) Occasionally check dough to see if it's a consistency to make balls. If too sticky, add more flour. If too dry, add more syrup. When your dough is ready, pulse in chocolate chips. Scoop dough out into a bowl and knead in cereal. With wet hands, form 1 inch balls. Store in the fridge or freezer. Enjoy! Yum!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mexican Stuffed Poblano Bake

This is so yummy, I could eat it all the time. Well...almost all the time...I have to leave room to eat enchiladas and french onion soup =) This turned out to be totally family-friendly. The first time I made it just for hubby and I because I thought it would be too spicy for the kids. They kept asking for bites and ended up eating a ton of it. Though, here's a disclaimer, some poblano peppers are spicier than others so if I had really spicy ones it wouldn't be so kid-friendly. But I've made it many times since then and they still gobble it up. So maybe cooking them for so long makes them less spicy, I don't know. Either way, we love this recipe!

24 oz organic crushed tomatoes or tomato puree
2 organic onions, chopped, divided
1 jalapeno, chopped
Sea salt and pepper
3 cloves organic garlic
2 cups organic beans, black or pinto
1/2 cup organic cornmeal
1 cup pepperjack cheese
1 ts organic cumin
4 large poblano peppers, organic if you can, I can't find them =(

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a blender, puree tomatoes, 1 onion, jalapeno, 2 garlic cloves, and a dash of salt. Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.
Mince remaining garlic clove. In a large bowl combine garlic, beans, cornmeal, 1/2 cup cheese, 1 diced onion,  cumin, 3/4 cup water, 1/2 ts salt, pepper to taste.
Slice peppers in half and remove stems and seeds. Place in baking dish and stuff with bean mixture. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top.
Invert another baking dish to cover the dish and place in oven for 45 minutes. Uncover and bake another 10 minutes until cheese browns.

Crockpot Organic Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is such an easy recipe, yet so yummy!  Enjoy!

4 tb organic olive oil
4 large cloves organic garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 organic onion chopped
2 large tomatoes, chopped
6 cups organic chicken broth
2 organic bay leaves
1 tb organic chili powder
4 tb organic cumin
1 ts organic garlic powder.
1 1/2 ts good salt
4 shakes cayenne pepper
2 cups cooked organic chicken, I used 3 thighs, diced or shredded

chopped green onions
dollop organic sour cream
tortilla strips (a couple corn or wheat tortillas cut into strips, brush with oil and bake for 10-15 min)

Optional: Before starting to put everything in the crockpot, you could saute the garlic, cilantro, onions and tomatoes first. I personally don't like dirtying pans when I'm using the crockpot, but it would give it a deeper flavor...I think, I don't know though, since I don't do it =) Otherwise:
Heat your crockpot to high and add oil. Chop garlic, cilantro, onions, and tomatoes and stir into oil. Let these heat up for a few minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Cook on high 4-6 hours or low 6-8 hours.

Make your own oatmeal flavor packets

I've heard many times that you should never eat instant oatmeal but have never actually heard a reason why. So until I learn why I keep buying instant oatmeal (Now I know someone is going to tell me since I said that!!!). I'm a busy mom of 4 kids, I love instant oatmeal. Granted I also have regular cook on the stove oatmeal too. But sometimes I just don't have the 10 minutes to cook it. Now that I've typed that it seems silly that I don't have 10 minutes to cook oatmeal. But every time I cook oatmeal on the stove it's guaranteed that someone didn't want oatmeal, or someone wants more than I made, etc.  But organic instant oatmeal packets are SO expensive for what you get! There's only like 6 packets in a box, divide that between 4 kids....yeah, a day and a half of oatmeal IF they only want one packet each, which rarely happens. So I thought, why couldn't I make my own? Absolutely I could! Our grocery store sells canisters of plain organic instant oatmeal. So I buy a couple of those for a week. So at $2 each, that's a max of $4 in oatmeal a week...IF they finish both, and they don't usually. For $4 I can buy one box of 6 packets of instant oatmeal. To go with the oatmeal I take a small glass jar with a lid. I fill it about 3/4 of the way with Sucanat (stands for sugar cane natural). Then I add a couple tb of organic cinnamon. Shake, and voila, flavor for your oatmeal. In the past I've also dehydrated apples, ran them through the food processor to get small pieces and added that to the flavor container. But with four kids I've learned that not everyone of them will want the same flavor as everyone else every time. So I now keep them in a separate container and sprinkle them on if requested. Or raisins, same deal. Or dried cranberries. Or blueberries. You get the idea! Keep all those in separate containers and it's like your own homemade oatmeal variety pack =) I think it's genius, my kids think it's breakfast.

Oatmeal Flavor container
Small glass jar with a lid
3/4 full with organic Sucanat, or organic sugar, or turbinado, or brown sugar
2 tb organic cinnamon

Optional ingredients in a separate container:
organic dehydrated apples, chopped
organic raisins
organic dried cranberries
organic dried blueberries (or fresh...or frozen!)

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Friday, December 23, 2011

Kiwi-Dew Juice

Makes approximately 2-3 cups juice. Very light and refreshing!

1 small honeydew, or half a large
2 kiwi
1 organic apple (green would be best, but any kind will work)

Run fruit through a juicer, minus the skin on kiwi and skin and seeds from honeydew. Pour, serve, and Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Make your own butter

I get my cream by letting my raw milk sit and separate from the cream. Then I slowly pour it off the top. To start, you can culture your cream first, or not. Cultured butter does have an excellent taste. But, homemade butter, in my opinion, is great either way! There are many ideas out there on how to culture the cream. I've seen that you can just leave the cream at room temperature for about 12 hours. I've also seen you should stir in 1/3 of a cup of buttermilk or plain yogurt, and then let sit for 12 hours. For me, sometimes it's just easier to let the cream come to room temperature and then have at it. Either way, you want your cream at room temperature when you start.
Then pour cream into a food processor with a dough blade, or in a stand mixer with a dough hook. I like to add a tiny bit of salt, but you don't have to. Turn on. It's going to probably take 10-15 minutes but check it occasionally. Once there are hard chunks floating in the buttermilk, you're probably good. Taste it, does it taste like butter? I then take a fine strainer or cheesecloth, and pour off the liquid. Some people like to rinse the butter at this point. I've rinsed sometimes, and sometimes I don't. I think if you rinse it will last longer, in my experience. Scoop your butter into a covered container, glass or ceramic. You can serve immediately or refrigerate until needed. Serve with some fresh bread, you won't be disappointed!