Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A Rare Moment of Wavering on my Rules...



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Bruschetta
Healthier than Plain Bread
As I prepared the ingredients for my grilled chicken salad and bruschetta dinner, I flipped on the TV to check the news. It was earlier than usual.  'Judge Somebody' and  a few talk shows were still clogging the airways. While I washed and chopped veggies I listened, half heartedly, to some diet guru chattering away about balancing our fats and carbs with our proteins and veggies.


Suddenly my ears pricked. "What had she just said about the 'diet of the month'? She continued, talking about the error of our ways in trying to stay thin as a measure of health, and worse yet, trying to do it with fad diets.


Suddenly I lost concentration and thought of my blog. I had always promised myself that I would not, could not and may not become a diet blog--not a weight loss guru. I have no experience with this issue, other than to say that I have (don't hate me for this) never been overweight.


As a child, I was teased with the S word on a daily basis. At least now, it comes out more like slender and less like skinny, in reality, as well.  But really, what do I know about losing weight? Hmmm...a sudden burst of inspiration, a never before realization hit me. By nature of the very fact that I have never had a weight problem, perhaps I am naturally, if not accidentally, eating in a way that encourages....what? What does it encourage?


I turned up the volume on the TV. The diet guru (what was her name again? I missed it!) was now giving examples of how to eat healthier, without taking hours to prepare meals each day. That REALLY got my attention. One of my big three priorities in cooking is related to time and being able to spend it with whomever I am eating with, rather than the pots and pans.


I grabbed a piece of paper, found it had some nonsense printout on it, and turned it over. Before long I had listed two weeks worth of my favorite quick-fix meals that are the staples of our diet.  I reviewed the list, considering the diet guru's comments. Suddenly I realized that we eat much like she suggested. Perhaps, since 90%+ of what I cook is organic, you could even say we eat healthier than her plan recommended. Not bad. 


I patted myself on the back and realized there was a post in this episode. I always thought my activity level was the primary reason for my, well, lack of excess. Even as a child, when Skinny, was part of my daily diet of nicknames, I was extremely active. Today, I spend a good deal of time in water activities and dog activities. Merely the walking of three dogs turns out to be a good workout, but I often bike with them as well.


I'll revisit this food topic in my next post with my 14-day menu listing and some of the diet guru's comments. We'll compare her tips to my implementation. Maybe, just maybe, I'll remember her name. 


What's most important though, I'd like to share with you a typical two week menu plan from my kitchen, with some of the recipes to come. If that interests you, come back for more. Oh! And Tanner is available for walking--anytime! 


The subscription links are in the top right corner. Hope to see you soon!


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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Go Organic by the Pound on Earth Day



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MM....mmm...Good Pound Cake


Today's news, leading up the Earth Day on April 22, seems to be all about pounds of carbon in our atmosphere. All this talk about pounds has me thinking about yummy organic pound cake! Here's my recipe:


Ingredients:

  • 3 Cups organic all purpose flour
  • 3 Cups organic sugar
  • 1/2 lb. organic butter
  • 6 organic eggs
  • 8 oz. organic sour cream
  • 1 Tablespoon organic almond or vanilla (or both) flavoring
  • 1/4 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter and sugar
  3. Mix in eggs well
  4. Stir in sour cream and flavoring
  5. Gently mix in dry ingredients until well-blended
  6. Bake 1 1/2 hours till toothpick comes out dry.
  7. Cool completely on a wire rack
  8. Wrap and refrigerate for 2-4 days before eating; this allows the flavors to blend for maximum taste.
Bet ya can't eat just one slice!



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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Nature's Path Awards FREE Granola Bars



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Peanut Buddy--Winner's Choice

And the winner is...............Marcus. His comments, quirky as they might seem, were taken as from the heart. That was good enough for the folks at Nature's Path:
"In case you've confused yourself, Peanut Buddy isn't just another name for a peanut butter granola bar. It's also a true friend. And who doesn't like friends...especially peanut ones!"
Well said, Marcus, we hope you enjoy your granola bars. They will be arriving at your door sometime soon, so keep an eye on that mailbox, and this one too. We hope you'll keep reading. There will be some yummy organic recipes coming up soon. Be sure to stop in and see what's new.


One last comment...Nature's Path was kind enough to offer a contest for free granola bars at my other blog, as well: New Kid on the Green Block. The winner of those bars will be announced today also. Who do you think it is?

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Thursday, April 8, 2010

OJO's Favorite Organic Picks: Canned or Bottled Soups and Sauces



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Basic Staples for Much of My Cooking
Much of my day to day cooking involves marinades, simmering in liquids, or braising--also requiring liquid. A quick perusal of my pantry and I'm presenting the top 7:
  1. Pacific Organic broths (packaged in juice box type containers)--don't miss their coupons!
  2. Imagine Organic canned soups
  3. Health Valley organic canned soups
  4. Drew's all-natural and organic salad dressings
  5. Lakewood Organic Lemon Juice
  6. Green Mountain Gringo Salsa: Try their organic corn chips too--excellent!
  7. Walnut Acres Pasta Sauce, Garlic-Garlic flavored
My family's favorite marinade for kabobs is a combination of Italian salad dressing and red or white wine, depending on the meat. The more garlic, the merrier!

Broths are great for cooking rice or other grains to add flavor, as well as extending a soup recipe and adding to stews.

Chops and chicken breasts are easy and tender when browned quickly, and then simmered in a can of soup till done. Muy bueno!

Homemade organic Lemonade is nearly always in stock in my fridge. I've tried others, and fresh is always best, of course. But when you run out of fresh lemons, it's nice to have a backup. Some of the bottled lemon juices have too much lemon oil in them, making for a tangy taste of rind that I don't find palatable. Lakewood's flavor is more true to fresh. Try my lemonade recipe here. Hint: It's at the end of the post.


I've saved the best for last. Pasta sauce is again, something I'm very picky about. While I generally make my own from a recipe once found in a novel, the Walnut Acres Garlic-Garlic is a great substitute when dinner needs to be ready in a jiffy. I also use it for pizza sauce to give this homemade Italian specialty a little garlic addition--fabuloso!


Does this have your mouth watering for a homemade pizza? Try our quick and tasty favorite pizza here

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Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter from the Organic Easter Chicks: the Bunnies are on Strike



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Eat More Organic Chickens
and Organic Eggs
Just a quick reminder...The absolute worst offenders in the conventionally grown food choices of your grocer are meat and dairy products. From growth hormones to antibiotics to CAFOs and pesticide laced corn feed. None of this is natural. Are you willing to risk your liver for all this?

If you have to choose any category of food to switch to organic, choose dairy first and meat second. Meantime, have a 

Happy Easter!




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Saturday, April 3, 2010

OJO's Favorite Organic Wine and Beer



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My Connoisseur's Organic Wine Picks

Thankfully, Organic wines are becoming more widely available. We've seen them on restaurant wine lists and even traditional grocers are adding small sections of sustainable vino. That's a good thing to encourage competition and growth of this narrow niche.

At my house, there's not much competition. The wine drinkers' hands down favorite Cabernet is Badger Mountain, with Parducci's Sustainable Red coming in a close second. Bonterra and Our Daily Red are quite tasty too, according to my wine tasting committee.

Beer has not been such an easy search. Between what's available in our area and the selection brought in from a cousin who has a large warehouse nearby, we've still only found one brand that is truly enjoyable to the whole committee--Caledonian Golden Promise. You can check them out at the link. The beer is sold in pints, rather large, but for the true beer lover, that doesn't seem to be an issue. Price is not terribly out of line, so we recommend you give it a shot, or perhaps I should say a 'pint.'

Of course, I realize we have left out white wines. Duh! While the only white wine that is truly enjoyed in my house of wine lovers is Reisling. I'm eager to find a bottle of Sustainable white to taste test. Meanwhile, you might try Sterling's organic choices. They're not bad, but my gang has a particularly picky palate. We'll continue the hunt and keep you posted when we find a really flavorful choice. You know--the kind with good legs!

In a world where variety is the spice of life, organic wine and beer does not yet have a good deal of variety to offer. The more we drink or serve our guests, the more experimentation and variety we will see in the market. Do you have a favorite that I have not mentioned? I'd love to hear from you with the brand and type of wine. The comment link is always available, as is my email at CarrieLeaJohnson@gmail.com
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