Wednesday, May 29, 2013

More info from Dr. Weil

Go to his website for more info and daily health tips:

I'm trying to follow his anti-inflammatory diet: ( more closely.

If you're a visual person, his anti-inflammatory pyramid comes in VERY handy:


An amazing cookbook

Dr. Andrew Weil has always impressed me. I really like his take on things. He's got one of the best pieces of advice on healthy chocolate I've ever seen. I'll post that later. I was reading his cookbook this morning looking for healthier breakfast foods. I read part of his introduction and the following parts really spoke to me:

'Good health begins in the kitchen.' I agree with that statement, because I believe that good nutrition is one of the most important influences on health. Most of us eat three times a day. many of us eat more frequently. Each time we do, we have an opportunity to nourish the body, delight the senses, and calm the mind. It is a shame to waste those opportunities by eating food that is neither healthful nor delicious....Eating habits often develop in early life. For that reason, I encourage parents to involve children in food preparation. Kids love to help in the kitchen, and by having a hand in the creation of meals, they are more likely to want to try new foods, to develop a love of cooking, and to discover the joy of making and eating good food....I am a home cook and a physician who advocates natural medicine. As I said, I believe that eating well is one important determinant of health. By 'eating well' I mean giving your body the fuel it needs, using food to increase your resistance and natural healing power - and not sacrificing the pleasure of eating appetizing, tasty, and satisfying food.... 

The title of this cookbook is The Healthy Kitchen: Recipes for a better body, life and spirit. It's written by Andrew Weil, M.D. and Rosie Daley. One of the fun things about this cookbook is their comments. They don't always agree on foods and preparations and it's fun to read their differences.

Take a look at this cookbook if you haven't seen it before and look up his advice on the only truly healthy form of chocolate. It's on page 301-302.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 of produce

I came across an article I printed out three years ago. It reminds me of what I should be planting in my garden to avoid pesticides. After all, one of the best things about having a garden in your back yard is that you decide how organic it will be. Right?

My printed article is still on line - go to or go to for the whole list.

Hopefully, this will help you in planning your garden this year, too.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Honey Mint Carrots

This is a very simple, yet elegant addition to a meal.
I've served it with chicken and potatoes mostly, but it will go with many other combinations.

10-12 carrots (peeled and sliced thinly)
2 or 3 T honey
2 or 3 T butter
1/2 to 1 T crushed mint flakes

Boil carrots until cooked but still firm. Take out 1/2 c of the boiling water. Mix this water with the honey and butter. Drain carrots and place in a serving dish with a lid. Pour honey water over the carrots and add mint flakes (crushing them in your palm as you add them). Stir lightly and place the lid on the dish. Serve within 3-5 minutes for best results.

Note: After you make this once or twice, you'll figure out how much of each to put in your dish. Do it with the smaller amounts first and then tweak it to your family's taste.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Best pie crust

Pie Crust with Vinegar and Egg
2 1/2 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 c shortening (or marg)
1 egg
1 Tblsp vinegar
1/4 c cold water

Mix flour and salt. Cut in shortening until it resembles cornmeal. Beat egg and combine with vinegar and water. Stir into flour mixture with a fork. Roll onto floured surface between sheets of waxed paper.
Makes 2- 9" crusts or 3- 8" crusts.

Prebaked crust: Bake at 450 F for 10 min.

Note: I was given five different pie crust recipes by a friend and tried them all. This was the one I liked the most. It won the contest for a great combination of flakiness and substance without tasting greasy. Hope you like it too.

Mock Apple Pie - April Fool Favorite

I came across a Mock Apple Pie that has become an April Fool's Favorite treat at our home.
It's hard to imagine, but believe me - it is REALLY hard to tell there are no apples in this pie.
pastry for 2- 9" pie crust (see next blog post for my favorite homemade crust)
36-45 RITZ crackers (coarsely broken, about 1 3/4 c.)
2 c. sugar
2 tsp cream of tartar
grated peel of 1 lemon
2 T lemon juice
2 T butter (or marg)
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 425 F. Roll out half of the pastry and place in 9" pie plate. Place cracker crumbs in crust; set aside. Note: There will only be enough crumbs to be about 1/2 full. Don't worry, it'll grow as it cooks.
The original recipe calls for 36 crackers, I use 42-45.

Mix sugar and cream of tartar in medium saucepan. Gradually stir in 1 3/4 c. water until well blended. Place on stove and bring to boil on high heat. Reduce heat to low, simmer for 15 min. Take it off of the stove and add lemon peel and juice. Let cool (when tested, it should not be too hot to touch, but doesn't have to be room temperature). Pour syrup over cracker crumbs. Dot with butter; sprinkle with cinnamon. Roll out remaining pastry and place over pie. Trim and seal the edges. Slit the top crust in a few places to allow the steam to escape while baking.

Bake 30-35 min or until crust is crisp and golden. Cool completely. Serve with vanilla ice cream.
You've gotta try this one. It'll make your unsuspecting family and friends amazed.

See my best pie crust recipe as the next entry.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

More Bean Flour subs: Cornbread & Peanut Butter Blossoms

I have continued trying to use bean flour in some favorite recipes and am glad to report three more successes:
My Molasses Crinkles (see recipe posted on 3-22-12), Buttermilk Cornbread and Peanut Butter Blossoms are also good with a combination of white, wheat and bean flours. Don't use more than 20-25% bean flour when switching it out in a recipe.
Here again is a photo of the kidney bean flour and white flour side by side:

I list my original recipes for both with bean flour alterations in ( ).

 Buttermilk Cornbread (my version of my grandmother's recipe):
2 eggs
1 c flour (1/4 c bean, 3/4 c white)
1/4 c sugar
2/3 c cornmeal
2 tsp baking pwd
1/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk (alt: 1 c milk + 1 tsp vinegar or lemon juice)
1/4 c butter, melted (I use olive oil)
Preheat oven to 400 F. Butter and flour 8x8x2 or 9" pie pan. For a large crowd, double recipe and use a jelly roll pan. Beat eggs in large bowl. Add sugar and mix well. Add flour, cornmeal, baking pwd, soda, and salt. Gently stir together dry ingredients on the top a few times to mix flour and cornmeal with others. Create large depression in center (so it looks like a volcano) and pour buttermilk into center. Mix entirely until mostly smooth (a few bumps like in muffins is okay). Add melted butter (or olive oil) and stir again. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 22-25 min. Cut and serve warm with butter.

Peanut Butter Blossoms:
1 c shortening (you can substitute 1 c olive oil, but not marg or butter)
1 c peanut butter
1 c brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp baking soda
1 c white sugar
2 tsp vanilla
3 c flour (1 c. bean flour, 2 c. white flour is okay - see below)
6-10 oz semi sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 300 F. Do not grease cookie sheets. Mix together shortening and peanut butter. Add remaining ingredients (except chips) and mix well. Fold chocolate chips in. Drop onto cookie sheet by Tablespoon. Do not press with fork (hence the blossom look of the finished cookie). Bake for 15 min. Let cool completely on cookie sheet or they will fall apart as you're taking them off.

I've used many different flour combinations over the years. Once I did 1 c oat flour, 1 c white, 1 c whole wheat and it was still good.

(I'll add a photo the next time I make these).

Friday, February 22, 2013

Bean Successes: Rolls & "Sausage"

I have been preparing to team teach a class on beans for the last two weeks and have come up with two winners to share - recipes and samples.

Here is the info and recipe:
I took my favorite roll recipe (see Easy Rolls, posted on 4-3-12) and switched out 2 c. of white flour for 2 c. of red kidney bean flour. They were light and did not taste like beans. I don't think they are any healthier, except for some extra fiber, but they will help my family's digestive system get use to beans faster. As you can see from the photos the dough is mixed, rolled out and placed on the pans just in the same way as the original. The dough is not completely white (as you can see with it next to the flour on the side), but has speckles (which are actually red, but look like wheat).
The last photo shows you the bean flour and white flour side by side in a measuring cup to give you an idea of the color difference. Rising time is the same.

The other winner is a (pretend) sausage recipe I got from a Vegan Cookbook. There are many good cookbooks I found at the library in preparation for this class. I'll list them in the next post.

Black Bean Sausage (p. 75-76 in Quick & Easy Low-Cal Vegan Comfort Food):
Note: I doubled many of the spices because the original amounts didn't seem to hide the bean flavor enough for me, so this recipe is what I used - a little different than what is in the cookbook.
1 T + 1 tsp canola oil
1/2 c. diced yellow or white onion (I used the bottom of green onions)
1/2 c. diced green bell pepper
1/4 c. quick oats (I'd use twice this next time for a chunkier texture)
1 1/2 c. canned or cooked black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 c. brown rice ( I used 1/2 white, 1/2 wild rice)
2 tsp fennel seeds
4 tsp sage
1 tsp oregano
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne
If you are making your own beans, start 1-3 days ahead with soaking and cooking and cooling the beans.

Warm 1 tsp of oil in med skillet over med heat. Saute onion and bell pepper until soft (abt 3 min). Set aside.

Mash beans. Pulse oats in food processor until a fine flour. Add sauteed items, beans and rice to oat flour.

Pulse until no lg pieces of bean left. Do not puree. Turn out bean mixture into lg bowl and add spices.

Combine well using hands if necessary. Form "sausage" by rolling small balls then flatten into patties. opt: chill for 1 hr up to 3 days. I left mixture in fridge for three days and then made sausage. Flavors blended well that way. The smaller and flatter the patty, the more like sausage it seemed to me.
Warm 1 T canola oil in lg skillet or griddle per batch. Cook until brown and slightly crispy on both sides (abt. 3 min/side).

Warning - the mix looks grey. The patties themselves, once cooked have a nice brown look (note the different colors in the photo). Much more appetizing to eat; don't worry.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Frugal gift ideas

While looking for some recipes using bean flour as a soup thickener,
I found a fun website with some great frugal ideas and projects.
Check out
There are a few recipes I may try there too.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Snickerdoodles & Bread with Bean Flour

I have taken a couple of recipes and tweaked them to incorporate bean flour without much sacrifice of taste or texture.
Disclaimer: I don't think there's anything wrong with wheat flour, I'm just trying to incorporate more fiber and beans into my family's diet.
I took my Better Homes & Garden's book to look up some cookie recipes hoping to find one I could switch out some bean flour and white flour. I landed on Snickerdoodles, partly because I hadn't made them in awhile, but also because I thought with the cream of tarter, it might cover up the bean flour twang. I ground up what I had handy- red and pinto beans. I'm sure a great northern white bean would be more suitable. I may try that next time.

Snickerdoodles (in BHG cookbook: p. 117)
½ c marg
½ c olive oil
2 c sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 ½ c white flour
1 c whole wheat flour
½ c bean flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp cream of tartar

4 T sugar + 2 tsp cinnamon (*)
Directions: In mixing bowl, mix oils, sugar, eggs & vanilla. Beat on high speed for 30-45 seconds. Add whole wheat and bean flours, cream of tartar and baking soda. Mix well. Add white flour and beat until smooth.
Refrigerate for 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375 F. Then roll dough into 1” balls and roll these balls into cinnamon/sugar mixture (*). Place on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-11 min or til edges are golden. Cool cookies on wire rack. Makes 5-6 dozen.

Note: My changes were to double the recipe and then changed oil to ½ olive oil, ½ c marg + flour (not only white)

Although I have quite a few good bread recipes, I looked up an easy bread recipe that I could tweak a little.  I came up with this:

Amish White Bread (makes 2  9x5 loaves)
2 c warm water (110 F)                         
2/3 c white sugar
1 ½ T active dry yeast                          
1 ½ tsp salt
¼ c veg oil       (4T)
6 c bread flour

1.     In a large bowl, dissolve the sugar in warm water, and then stir in yeast. Allow to proof until yeast resembles a creamy foam.
2.     Mix salt and oil into the yeast. Mix in flour one cup at a time. Knead dough on a lightly floured surface until smooth. Place in a well oiled bowl, and turn dough to coat. Cover with a damp cloth. Allow to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
3.     Punch dough down. Knead for a few minutes, and divide in half. Shape into loaves, and place into two well oiled 9x5 inch loaf pans. Allow to rise for 30 minutes, or until dough has risen 1 inch above pans.
4.     Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 30 minutes.

My tweaks - did ingredients for 3 loaves using 3 ¾ c whole wheat flour, ¾ c bean flour + 4 ½ c white flour. Needed to rise a little longer to get to double (although the cold day probably caused that). Very fluffy and tasty. Might need a little more salt.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Using beans

I am trying to use more beans in our diet. It has been challenging since many in my family do not like any kind of tomato based product. I've gone to a class to learn about sprouting beans and have done that a few times, just adding the sprouted beans (1/2 c or so) to the regular bean recipe. The family has not noticed a change.
Today, I'm trying to substitute bean flour in a recipe.
I went to for some background info on how to use bean flour. Then I found a couple recipes I thought I could try.
I went to and am doing the Amish White Bread - substituting 1/2 c. of bean flour for 1/2 c. of the white (there's 6 c. of flour all together).
Then I'm going to try a non-tomato based chili found on the same website. It's called White Bean Chicken Breast Chili. I'll let you know how it goes.

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