Friday, October 19, 2012

Creamy Carrot Soup

Here's a quick back story: One of our favorite bedtime stories is a book about three bunnies spending a summer evening playing, eating dinner, having family time, then going to bed. In that story, the bunnies eat carrot stew, radishes and lettuce for supper.Of course, as I post this, I can't find the book to refer to. You should have seen me grasping around the book shelf with only Eli's night light, trying to find this book. The name of it is "Sweet Dreams" and I think it was written by Lisa McClure. I am a firm believer in playing with food, making it fun, having the kids help cook and it turn, hope that I am helping them develop a healthy relationship with food. So... we made dinner tonight from one of our favorite children's books.

I searched for "Carrot Stew Recipes" online and found many. I am so glad I chose this one.
Looks like any combination of suggestions below would make a delicious carrot soup. I might have to try all the combinations throughout the winter.

 Carrot Soup from the 1977 edition of Moosewood Cookbook

2 pounds peeled or scrubbed, chopped carrots
4 cups stock or water (I added Wildtree's Chicken Bullion Soup Base, you could also use their Vegetable Bullion)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 medium potato, chopped (optional, for heartier soup)
3-4 tablespoons butter (I used Wildtree's Butter Flavored Grapeseed Oil)
1 cup chopped onion
1-2 small cloves crushed garlic
1/3 cup chopped cashews or almonds (I used almonds)

Choose one:
1 cup milk
1 cup yogurt or buttermilk plus a little honey (I used whole-milk Greek Yogurt and about 1 Tablespoon honey)
1/2 pint heavy cream
3/4 cup sour cream

Seasoning choices:
-2 pinches of nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon dried mint, dash of cinnamon (I used these seasonings but used fresh mint from our garden.)
-1 teaspoon each of thyme, marjoram and basil
-1 teaspoon grated ginger

Place carrots, liquid and salt (and potato if you are using it) into a medium sized soup pot and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer it for 12-15 minutes. Let it cool to room temp.

Saute the onion, garlic and nuts in the butter until the onions are clear. You can sprinkle in a little salt to help draw the moisture out of the onions. Towards the end of cooking, stir in the seasoning combo of your choice.

Puree everything together in a blender until smooth (I deviate from her recipe at this stage. I dump the sauteed onions, garlic and nuts into the pot with the cooked carrots and use an immersion blender to puree. It saves dishes and energy).

Whisk in one of the dairy products. As I mentioned in the beginning, I often leave this step out until I'm just about to eat a bowl of soup. I'll stir in a little milk, a spoonful of yogurt or some cottage cheese just before serving (and just after reheating, if I'm using the microwave).

Garnish with toasted nuts, some toasted bread crumbs or eat just as it is.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Healthy Drink/Lunch

Place 1 banana (ends trimmed but WITH peel) into a blender or juicer.
Add 1 large carrot (ends trimmed but with peel)
And 1 apple, peel on, seeds and stem removed
About 1 cup water (maybe more to desired consistency)

Be sure to wash the banana, carrot and apple well!

Puree until smooth. Makes about 1 16-oz cup.

Thanks to my friend, Kimberly Littreal, I found out that juicing the banana with the peel adds a lot of nutrients and helps with depression and vision. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash

I can't remember where I got the original recipe for this, maybe WebMD? But our family really enjoys it. Just another great way to take a wonderful food such as squash and make it irresistible even for non-squash eaters while keeping it healthy too. 

Moroccan-Style Stuffed Acorn Squash 

2 large acorn squash halved/seeded
     (Bake squash cut side down until tender - 350 degrees for about 30 minutes)
Keep squash warm while preparing filling since you do not return this stuffed squash to the oven.)

(The original recipe calls for 2 Tablespoons brown sugar and 1 Tablespoon melted butter. Dissolve sugar in melted butter and brush into the baked squash cavity. ~ I skip this step, but I'm sure it is a tasty addition.)

2 Tablespoons Grapseseed Oil or butter
2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
2 stalks celery, chopped (Sometimes I use one diced apple in place of the celery)
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup Garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup raisins (I have also used dried Cranberries in place of raisins)
1&1/2 teaspoons ground Cumin (I use Wildtree's "Rockin' Moroccan Rub!" YUM
Salt and Pepper to taste (I use a shake of Wildtree's Rancher Steak Rub in place of salt and pepper)
1 14-oz can chicken broth (I use Wildtree's chicken or vegetable bullion soup base)
1 cup uncooked couscous

Heat grapeseed oil or butter, Stir in garlic, celery (or apples, whichever you are using) and carrots. Cook five minutes. Add Garbanzo beans, raisins and seasonings. Cook until veggies are tender. Add chicken broth and couscous. Cook, stirring often, just until couscous is tender. Pile mixture into squash halves and serve.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Marinated Moroccan Chicken

 I just threw these ingredients together and we LOVED it.

1 pound chicken breasts or tenderloins, (thawed)
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
2 Tablespoons Wildtree's Rockin Moroccan Rub (Could use any seasoning you like really.)

Rub Greek yogurt and Moraccan Rub over chicken. Marinate for several hours. Grill.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Skillet Supper

This recipes comes from our church cookbook. It was submitted by Winnie Wilfong. This was a big hit with the adults and the kids at the Harlow Homestead.

Skillet Supper

1 pound ground beef
4 medium potaotes
4 medium carrots
2 medium oninos
3/4 cup Pet milk (I used regular milk and added 1/2 cup Wildtree Kids Cheese to make a cheesy sauce)
1&1/2 teaspoons salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper (I used Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub in place of salt and pepper)
4 Tablespoons shortening (I used Wildtree Grapeseed oil)
1 Cup water

Method: Brown hamburger slowly in skillet with shortening or Grapeseed oil. Add chopped vegetables and water. Cover and cook slowly 20 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir occasionally. Add Pet milk (or cheese sauce ((Wildtree Kids Cheese mixed with milk)) and continue cooking about 3 minutes longer or until thickened.


Roasted Cauliflower

This makes a delicious side dish and the leftovers make an excellent addition to a toss salad. I couldn't find my photo of the cauliflower in the pan or plate, but I have included one of the leftovers on a toss salad.This recipe is easily doubled for "leftovers on purpose." I got the original recipe here.

1 head cauliflower
2-3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
Lemon juice from half a lemon
Grapeseed Oil (or oil of your choice)
Coarse ground salt and pepper (I use Wildtree Rancher Steak Rub)
Parmesan cheese (I skipped this because I didn't have any on hand, but know it would be a tasty addition!)

Method: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut cauliflower into florets and place single-layer into oven-proof baking dish. Toss the minced garlic and salt and pepper or steak rub in with cauliflower florets. Squeeze lemon juice over top and drizzle with Grapeseed oil.

Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until cauliflower is fork-tender and cauliflower tops are lightly browned. Remove from over. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese (if using) and serve immediately.

Well, I thought I had a photo of the roasted cauliflower, but here it is as leftovers on top of a salad.

Stuffed Butternut Squash

Our family loves this dish. I found the original recipe in "Mennonite Recipes from the Shenandoah Valley."
I will include the original as well as my adaptations. One thing I have found is that because you have to bake the squash then stuff it and bake it again, I have to plan well ahead. I often bake the squash in the morning or around lunch time and even make the filling, refrigerate, then stuff and bake them for dinner. Let me know if you try it and what you think.

Stuffed Butternut Squash
Makes 6 large servings

3 small to medium-sized butternut squash
1/2 to 3/4 pound ground sausage (browned and drained)
1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
1 & 1/2 cups soft bread crumbs (not the prepackaged kind)
1/4 cup butter, softened (I use a scant 1/4 cup Wildtree Butter Flavored Grapeseed Oil)
3 Tablespoons chopped green peppers
2 Tablespoons chopped onion
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 tsp black pepper (I use a dash of Wildtree Rancher's Steak Rub in place of the salt and pepper)

Method: Split squash. Remove and discard seeds.

Place squash cut side down in baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45-90 minutes, or until tender. Remove from oven. When cool enough to handle, scoop out pulp, leaving shell 1/4 inch thick.

Mash pulp and mix with remaining ingredients. Pile lightly back into shells and bake again at 350 degrees until lightly browned, about 30 minutes.