Friday, October 29, 2010

Taco Seasoning

This is one of my favorite healthy, inexpensive ingredients to use: ground beef.  I buy it in bulk from U.S. Wellness Meats here.  If I could fit 50 lb. into my freezer, I would.  Lucky for me, I have a friend who likes to order with me and we each put 25 lb. in our freezers.

I found a recipe for homemade taco seasoning over at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and she is right, it does taste just right.  I made a few changes, but it's essentially the same.  I can't tell the difference between this seasoning and the packets I used to buy at the grocery store.  (Except after I eat this real food version, I don't get that sick feeling from the MSG in the commercial kind.  Remember that MSG isn't just in monosodium glutamate.  It is also in hydrolyzed food starch, autolyzed yeast, and citric acid among others.)

I either make tacos out of this recipe or taco bowls.  By using sprouted corn tortillas, shredded raw cheddar cheese, salsa, and cubed avocado, you have great classic tacos with the real food spin.  Or skip the tortillas and layer meat, cheese, salsa, and avocado in a bowl.  You could also add lettuce and diced tomato.

Taco Seasoning
1/2 cup onion powder
1/4 cup chili powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (this gives medium heat, adjust to your preference)
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1/4 cup sea salt
1/8 cup garlic powder
1/8 cup ground cumin

1. Place all spices in a glass jar, then cap and shake to combine.  Use two heaping tablespoons per one pound of ground beef.

Taco-Seasoned Ground Beef
1 pound ground beef, thawed
2 heaping tablespoons taco seasoning

1. Brown entire pound of ground beef over medium-high heat until lightly browned on each side, then break up and cook until no pink remains.  Sprinkle with taco seasoning and optional 1/2 cup water (I don't use it), cover and simmer 5-10 minutes.  Serve.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Mushroom Lasagna

These days, it takes a lot to get me to try a new recipe. Back in August, I made a recipe from a trusted blog that turned out so bad that we threw the whole thing away and went to MacDonald's. And, with my energy level so low with pregnancy, it feels easier to stick with tried and true recipes.

But, I couldn't resist trying this one from a trusted (and different) blog and the Barefoot Contessa. These two ladies have never steered me wrong, and I think I now have a new favorite vegetarian lasagna:

I halved the recipe, making this dish in an 8x8 pan, and followed all of Smitten Kitchen's suggestion, except for the garlic. I doubled it and cooked it with the mushrooms instead of the white sauce.

I just wish I had doubled it and frozen an extra pan!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Real Chocolate Chip Cookies

M has been begging me for chocolate chip cookies.  I had not found a good real food recipe yet, so I didn't have one on hand when he asked.  I spent some time perusing Teh Interwebz for a good recipe to modify, but nothing really spoke to me.  Then I remembered that my sister T has a good recipe in the Martha Stewart Cookies book that I had made before.  So I tracked that one down, modified it with real food and it turned out beautifully!

I haven't been making much food in the past several days, since developing a nasty cold given to me lovingly by my boys.  It was nice to mix up some cookie dough and make the house smell warm and homey while knowing that the next morning my little M would wake up to cookies for breakfast.  I didn't worry about the fact that they were eating cookies for breakfast, and here's why:

  • grass-fed butter is good for you

  • palm shortening is good for you

  • sprouted whole grain flour is good for you

  • sea salt is good for you

  • pastured eggs are good for you

  • rapadura is good for you (in small amounts, not at every meal)

  • cacao nibs are good for you

  • I made these cookies, and they were not only good for my kids, but tasted pretty good too.  The recipe yields a flatter, chewy cookie.  The rapadura and homemade vanilla give a nice earthy, carmel flavor.  The cacao nibs give a nice chocolatey crunch.  Enjoy it with glass of crisp, clean raw milk and afternoon snacktime is a big hit.

    This recipe makes quite a bit of dough.  Feel free to freeze half the dough in logs wrapped in plastic wrap and then placed in a freezer bag.  That's what I did.

    Real Chocolate Chip Cookies
    2 sticks (1 cup) grass-fed butter (I used Kerrygold)
    1 cup palm shortening* (I used Tropical Traditions, it's made by non-exploited workers)
    3 cups rapadura, or other whole sweetener* (I used Rapunzel I bought from Azure Standard)
    4 large eggs (I used duck eggs.  Yes, duck eggs!)
    3 1/2 cups sprouted whole grain flour (I used soft white wheat berries)
    1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt (I used Celtic Sea Salt)
    2 teaspoons baking soda (I used aluminum-free from Food Wise)
    1 1/2 cups cacao nibs (I bought these in bulk at Whole Foods)

    1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper and set aside.  In a stand mixer, cream butter and palm shortening until creamy.  Add rapadura and cream together until fluffy, about 3-5 minutes.  Beat in eggs and vanilla.  
    2.  Into a large bowl, combine dry ingredients: flour, salt, baking soda.  Whisk with a wire whisk to remove lumps and sift ingredients together.  Add to wet ingredients in stand mixer slowly.  Mix until combined.  Fold in cacao nibs.
    3.  Drop by large spoonfuls (2-3 tablespoons) either with a tablespoon or small ice cream scoop.  Space at least 2 inches apart to give them room to spread.  Bake two cookie sheets at a time with racks placed in the upper and lower thirds of your oven.
    4.  Bake for 8-10 minutes, until golden.  Remove from cookie sheets and let cool on cooling racks.

    Friday, October 8, 2010

    Chocolate Sandwich Cookies

    A special thanks to Jones family friend Debbie for this classic recipe.
    1 box devil's food cake mix
    1 egg
    1 cube of butter melted
    Mix and roll into quarter size balls.
    Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Look for the tops of cookies to start cracking.
    Let the cookies sit on sheet for a minute and then place on wire rack to cool.
    2 C powder sugar
    1/4 C shortening
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    splash of milk
    Mix and leave filling a little stiff.

    Tahini Cookies

    We've started a multiple food elimination diet at our house (for 7 days only, thank heavens) but I found this recipe that is actually adequately good for a cookie. And my kids loved helping me make it. With no eggs, the dough can be eaten raw.


    • 6 tablespoons tahini
    • 1/2 cup honey
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    • 1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats
    • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (I used sliced almonds)
    • 1/2 cup raisins (optional)


    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets.
    2. In a medium bowl, stir together the tahini, honey and cinnamon. Mix in walnuts and oats until well blended. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 2 inches apart.
    3. Bake for 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges are slightly brown. Cool on the baking sheet for a few minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
    (Courtesy of Allrecipes)