November 17, 2008

Magelby's Muffins

Anyone who has lived in Utah has probably eaten here and they have delectably good rolls and muffins. Here is a recipe for their muffins, healthified of course. I will write in the recipe as I have it, but in parenthesis I'll write in my variations.
I usually complain that whole wheat muffins are too dry, these are anything but. They are super moist.
Apparently the real secret to the muffins is the "secret caramel nut topping"; out of laziness I didn't do it and the muffins were still great!

Magelby's Muffins

10 TB butter (I used some butter and some coconut oil- the coconut gives great flavor)
1 1/4 cup honey (I used about 3/4 C Sucanat and 1/2 c Honey)

Add in:
2 eggs
1 Tb Vanilla

Add and blend until creamy:
1 1/2 Tb Baking Powder
1/2 Tb Salt
1 1/3 C Whole Wheat Flour

Add and stir until lumpy:
2 cups each, rice milk and whole wheat flour

Fold in one of the variations below:
Blueberry or Raspberry: 1 cup fresh or frozen
Pumpkin Carob Chip: Substitute 1 cup pumpkin for 1/2 c milk; add 1/2 Tb cinnamon, 1 tsp cloves, and 1 cup carob chips
Lemon Poppy Seed: substitute 1/2 c lemon juice for 1/2 c milk, add 1 Tb poppy seeds
Carrot Raisin: substitute 1 c grated carrots for 1/2 milk, add 1/2 c raisins
Banana Nut: substitute 1 c mashed banana for 1/2 c milk, add 1/2 c chopped nuts
Zucchini: substitute 1 c grated zucchini for 1/2 c milk, add 1/2 c chopped nuts

Pour into greased muffin tins. (I filled them 2/3 thinking they would rise, but they didn't so go ahead and fill them) It makes about 2 dozen. Sprinkle warm "secret caramel nut topping" over each.
Bake 350' for 12 minutes, then turn down oven to 250' and bake 12-14 minutes more. When they are just firm to the touch they are done.

"Secret Caramel Nut Topping"
Saute until bubbly:
4 Tb butter
1/2 c honey
Add and simmer 1 minute:
1 cup chopped nuts
1 Tb cinnamon
Spoon warm nut topping over muffins before baking.

As I said, they didn't rise like I expected, but they were so moist and sweet, that I didn;t mind. Next time I am going to try the lemon poppy seed variation.

November 12, 2008

Pumpkin, Zucchini or Banana Bread

I have found this recipe to be very versatile and we just love it. The last batch I made I used the pumpkin recipe but added 3 cups of zucchini as well as the pumpkin- Super Yummy!
(I would also like to try adding some grated carrot or other squash)

Pumpkin Bread
1 cup honey
4 eggs
1/3 c oil + 1/3 c applesauce
1 (16 oz) can pureed pumpkin
2/3 c water
3 1/3 c whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp each of cinnamon and ground cloves
Chopped nuts and chopped prunes (the prunes look and feel like chocolate chips)

Cream honey and eggs. Add other wet ingredients. Add dry stuff and mix well. Bake in 350 oven for 1 hour in greased bread pans. Small pans take about 45 minutes.

Zucchini Bread
Same as above, only substitute 3 cups of zucchini for pumpkin and add 2 tsp. vanilla.

Banana Bread

Same as above, only substitute 3-4 mashed bananas for pumpkin.

November 8, 2008

How do you afford to eat this way?

I get asked this question a lot. I have become more and more disenchanted with traditional grocery stores. So much of the food that they offer I don't want in my home, let alone my body. I have really started to look for alternative ways to buy food. I thought I would share a little of what I have found. I am sure some of you have some great tips as well, and I hope you will share them in the comments.

A garden is the best way to get fresh fruits and vegetables economically. Plus it allows you to know exactly how they were produced and the level of chemicals used. I recently discovered a great book called Four Seasons Harvest. The author, Eliot Coleman, lives in main so I know his tips should work in my cold climate. I hope to get someone to help me build some of the cold frames.... However, in all honesty I am not a very good Gardner. I am working on it and get a little better every year. This year I actually got at least one of everything that I planted (with the exception of Butternut squash, I just couldn't save them from the silly snails).

What is the alternative for those of us that aren't great gardners? A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which provides a mutually beneficial arrangement between farmers and consumers. People join by purchasing a "share" of produce pre-season, then pick up their weekly produce from a central drop point in their area during the harvest season.
CSA Benefits for the farmer? When signing up, you dedicate yourself to being a customer for the season, providing the farmer a secure market. CSAs enable farms to share the risk and abundance of producing food with the consumer, resulting in a more direct and rewarding link between farmer and community. (Payment in the Spring also provides cash to the farmer when it is needed most. )
CSA Benefits for the shareholder? No more guessing where your food comes from! Members receive a weekly supply of diverse produce with "the farmer’s face on it." You can talk with the farmer, and many offer opportunities to visit the farms. Your produce is harvested and delivered directly to you, generally via a drop–off point, ensuring the freshest produce with a high nutritional value. You also get the satisfaction of knowing you are supporting a local farm. I found the ones in my area by going to then clicking on my state and following the links. I found out about these too late to be able to join last year, but I am already working on which I will join for next year. The cost was a little daunting to me to start with, so I broke it down and started setting aside some money so this year I will have enough saved to be able to pay for my share up front. Then I can save what I would have spent on produce to be able to pay for next years share. Where I am, the CSA's generally go from June-October, some areas may be longer or shorter depending on the growing season.

Farmers Markets are another great alternative. I followed the same links to find out about the farmers markets in my area. However, the early bird gets the worm at most Farmers Markets. I am not an early bird so I didn't fare very well. Hopefully I will improve at that as well.

Food Co-ops are another great way to get your food. I have friends that have found amazing food co-ops in their areas, Here we only have one and it isn't as nice as the others I have heard about, but still better than nothings. Food co-ops work like this, a group of people get together to order in bulk and share the work and the benefits of bulk buying. You can find local co-ops through the same link above.

What if there aren't any co-ops in your area? See if you can start your own. Start talking to everyone you know. See if they would be interested in splitting large orders of things. You can buy a 50 pound bag of flax seed for much cheaper than buying it in single pound bags. Then divide it up. I have ordered from a few different companies locally, but I think my new favorite is Azure Standard. They have an amazing selection and really reasonable shipping if you are willing to meet the truck at their drop point. In my area, if our order is over $200 then shipping is only $5. I have had no problem finding $200 worth of food that I want, and it is even easier if you have a group that wants to split a few items. I am ordering bulk grains and beans, as well as seasonings this month. I hope to start ordering from them every other month or so. They have specials every month as well. Ordering is very simple, you can do it by phone or online. I personally hate using the phone so I use the online method. It was very simple and they also allow you to change your order up until a few days before it ships. They ship on a rotating schedule so that each delivery area gets one delivery a month. They deliver to the following states Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. I think they will ship UPS to areas they don't drive to.

There are several other companies you can order through. If you start asking around, you will be surprised how many people might be interested in sharing bulk items. As you start to ask around you will find others who are interested in the same type of orders. They will let you know about deals they have found and it will start to snowball. I started asking around in August, and I have already started to find a network of people who are interested in sharing bulk buys. We have bought Honey, Almonds, Agave nectar and several different grains and legumes to share this way.

Buying in bulk may be intimidating at first, but once you start it is a wonderful way to always have a wide variety of grains and other items on hand at a more affordable price. Sharing with others allows you to try new things and find out what your family loves, and what they don't love so much... Sharing also increases your resources for new recipes and tips from the people you share with.

I hope this helps someone. If you have any questions, be sure to ask and I will answer as best I can!

November 5, 2008

Veggie Lasagana!

I have tried many a veggie lasagna recipes and this one is far superior!. The consistency was good and it tasted delicious, all of us had seconds, even Afton and Madelyn.

(Makes on 9x13) (I actually halved the original recipe, so you could easily double it and freeze one for later.)

1 Pkg. whole wheat lasagna noodles

Mock Ricotta Filling:
1 (10 oz) box Firm Tofu
1 Tb olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
2 Tb. Parmesan Cheese (I like buying the grateable kind, it has much better flavor and you can use less)
1 Tb. Parsley Flakes

Veggie Filling:
1 cloves garlic, crushed (I actually just sprinkled in powder)
2 Tb. olive oil
2-3 cups grated Zucchini
1 cup fresh or frozen Spinach (if you use frozen, thaw a little)
1 tsp Basil
1 tsp Oregano
1/4 tsp Paprika
1/4 tsp. salt and pepper
2 cans (15 oz) diced tomatoes

1 (8oz) can tomato sauce

Cook only 1/3 of your noodles (so probably 4) for the top layer of lasagna, leave the rest uncooked. (Sounds weird but worked great). Layer ingredients in lasagna pan. First put about 1/4 cup of tomato paste on the bottom. Then place a layer of noodles (3), then veggie filling, then Ricotta filling and repeat.. Top with a layer of noodles (the ones that are already cooked), some tomato sauce sprinkled over with a few tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and Parsley flakes. Bake covered at 375' for 50-60 minutes, uncover and bake 5 more minutes. Let cool 10 minutes before serving.

If you have never used Tofu, give it a try. It takes on the flavor of whatever you are making so it works well in a lot of things. It is a healthier alternative to cheese in this recipe.