I have the HARDEST time finding bouillon that doesn't contain MSG. Here's a solution: no MSG, no fillers, no preservatives. Only what you choose to put in it.
This recipe was adapted from Traci's Transformational Health Principles
by Traci J. Sellers Vegetable Broth Powder
(makes about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup Nutritional Yeast (to make your own, see here
1/4 cup RealSalt (or Himalayan salt; something with those trace minerals)
1 Tbsp. onion powder (see how to make your own, here
1 1/2 tsp. turmeric
1 1/2 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. dried dill weed
1 tsp. marjoram or oregano, optional
1 tsp. dried lemon peel, optional
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. dry basil
1/2 tsp. ground thyme
Put everything except parsley in a blender or food processor, in the order given. Blend until
powdered. Add parsley, pulse just enough to chop it a little bit (you're aiming for small bits). Store in an airtight container indefinitely.
To use, add a heaping 1/2 tsp. per cup of water, or 1 Tbsp. of powder for every quart of water.
We discovered roasting vegetables about three years ago. Now when I buy broccoli or cauliflower, they are almost always served roasted. Even my kids who "don't prefer" (the PC term at our table) broccoli, like it roasted.
Roasted Cauliflower and Chicken - serves 6-8
1 head cauliflower, cut into florets
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups cooked chicken
Preheat oven to 475, adjust the oven rack to the lowest position about 20 minutes. Put the cauliflower on a baking sheet, drizzle with oil, then sprinkle with salt. Roast about 20 minutes, stirring once about after about 15 minutes. Cauliflower is done when parts of it turn a deep golden brown. Stir in the chicken .
We ate this with rice and chicken gravy (see below) on the side; conveniently enough, it also takes about the same amount of time to cook. If you start the rice first, then cut up the cauliflower, the rice should be done about the same time if you're using regular white rice and cooking on a stove top.
Since I didn't have any leftover chicken, I put 1 lb of chicken in my pressure cooker along with two medium-small onions (or use one med-large) and about 1/2 tsp. salt. My pressure cooker does not lose water when it cooks, so I didn't add any. (If your pressure cooker does, please add water! Probably 1/2 cup, as the chicken and onions release moisture as they cook.) It was done after 15 minutes of high pressure.
Clear Chicken Gravy
1 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
1 cup juices from cooking the chicken and onion
In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, stir together the water and cornstarch until smooth. Stir in a little of the cooking juices, then stir in enough that you have 1 cup total. Microwave for 1 minute; stir. If it hasn't thickened yet, microwave another minute and stir again. Add salt if needed. (Mine didn't need it.)
photo: Wikimedia Commons
Have you ever run across a recipe calling for nutritional yeast and you didn't have any? Maybe didn't even have access to some? Or maybe you attempted to make a batch of bread and the yeast wasn't working anymore?
Too bad I didn't know, a month ago, what I'm about to tell you. I threw away an entire pound package of baking yeast (Saccharoymyces cerevisiae
) because it wasn't raising my dough. Sad.
First of all, what IS nutritional yeast? It's deactivated yeast, frequently the strain used is Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Totally dead yeast. Usually it is cultured in something sweet for a few days, then heated to deactivate it. It adds a nutty, savory, almost meat-y depth of flavor to recipes. (The term is 'umami'). It also contains B vitamins and is a complete protein.
I've been studying a new (to me) breadmaking book (more on that later!), and in it, the author, Peter Reinhart, gives instructions for making your own nutritional yeast: Put 1/4 c. active dry yeast in a hot skillet. Toast over med-hi heat until it turns a medium shade of brown.
Now, was my dysfunctional pound of yeast ready to be used as nutritional yeast without toasting? No. It was only partly dead. Or maybe 'mostly dead', to quote a favorite movie. But it needs to be totally dead before you consume it. Besides that, toasting brings out flavor.
Ways to use nutritional yeast:
- as a topping on popcorn
- sprinkle on top of things in place of cheese
- mix into mashed potatoes or scrambled eggs in place of cheese
- add to soups or white sauces to improve flavor (the flavor acts similar to adding bouillon or broth)
- use in this recipe for dairy-free buttery spread
- sprinkle on top of homemade crackers or breadsticks before baking
- make your own vegetable broth recipe, on this post. Tastes like chicken. :)
Curry is becoming known as a bit of a superfood. The spice blend's famous color is from one of its ingredients, turmeric. Turmeric is now known to reduce inflammation- brain, systemic, and joints. Here's a great way to use up some leftovers in a flavorful, healthy way!
Curry has an affinity for sweet, so it mixes perfectly with sweet potatoes or yams.
When I was in college, I lived in the cheapest off-campus apartment around. There were several foreign students in the complex, and one day we had a potluck dinner together.
One of the first foods on the table was an amazingly yellow... something. So I asked what it was. "Curry," she responded, "It's a food from Korea.".
Further down the table was another bowl of yellow food. I asked about it. "Chicken Curry," she explained, "The Jamaicans invented it."
Another friend walked up with a now-familiar color. I asked.
"Curry. It's from Africa."
It was good. All three were. Good enough I could see why everybody claimed it was from their own native country.
Since my roommate was the Jamaican, that's whose recipe I got, though I had to watch her make it and estimate the amounts at the time. This recipe is based on hers, though she used bone-in chicken thighs, less onion but added a couple green onions, potatoes instead of sweet potatoes, and serve it not only over rice, but also with thick, chewy 'Jamaican Dumplings'. The recipe is flexible.
Curry. From America.
Sweet Potato Curry with Turkey- makes about 6 cups
2 Tbsp. oil
1-2 Tbsp. curry
2 medium onions, sliced into rings
1 c. cooked turkey, cubed (can use chicken instead)
1 lb. sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed*
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4- 1/2 tsp. pepper, to taste
*I used raw sweet potatoes, but feel free to use cooked ones- you can even get away with using leftover Thanksgiving baked sweet potatoes as long as they're not too saccharine; reduce cooking time accordingly.
Heat oil on medium-high heat until shimmering-hot. Add the curry powder- amount depends on how strong you like it. (I like it strong.) Stir, and let it heat for about a minute to 'bloom' the flavor. It's done when it starts to smell delicious and a little toasty. DON'T burn it. (Nasty, bitter flavor!...) Reduce heat to medium, add onion; cook until they are tender, stirring occasionally.
Stir in turkey, then add sweet potatoes, salt, and pepper. Add water until the food is nearly covered. Put a lid on the pan and simmer, covered, for about 20 minutes or until just tender. Remove lid, increase heat and gently boil until liquid is reduced by about half.
Serve hot by itself or over rice.
Optional:sprinkle with any of the following:
mandarin orange segments
dollop of sour cream or unsweetened yogurt
chopped hardboiled eggs
bits of dried fruit
See the bottom of this post for photos on making the heart-swirl pattern.
A friend of mine has to avoid dairy, wheat, and oats- and we were going to be together at a potluck lunch on Thursday. The pumpkin cheesecake last week
(for a different group) was such a hit I decided to adapt it so she could enjoy it too. But with a bit of chocolate. Like pumpkin-chocolate chip cookies.
I wanted it to be relatively inexpensive- no quart of coconut yogurt! -that stuff's pricey. Coconut milk and coconut cream, sure. I have that on hand.
No recipes using those appeared to be online anywhere, though I found the chocolate-version crust here
. There were some cashew-puree based ones- but not only did I not have time to soak nuts, but wanted this to be a recipe even the nut-allergic could use. So I started with my tried-and-true 'normal' recipe, and adapted. And I was willing to buy one 6-oz cup of coconut yogurt to put in the (optional) topping.
You won't taste the apple cider vinegar, but it adds both the tartness and savoriness you'd get from cream cheese. If you have 2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk and a 19-oz can of coconut cream, that will be exactly enough for the filling, the topping, and the ganache.
If you want to use honey in the filling instead of sugar, use just 1 cup honey plus 1 Tbsp. Since this also adds about 1/4 cup of water, add about a tablespoon additional pumpkin powder OR a tablespoon oat or coconut flour so the cheesecake won't be too soft.Gluten free, dairy free Pumpkin Cheesecake
1 c. fine-shred coconut, toasted
1 Tbsp. coconut oil, melted
1 ½ Tbsp. honey
1 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ Tbsp. cocoa powder
Stir together and press firmly onto the bottom of a 9” springform pan. Set aside.
For a fall-spice crust instead of chocolate, omit cocoa powder, and instead use ½ tsp. cinnamon + ¼ tsp. cloves + ½ tsp. ginger Filling:
1 1/3 c. sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
3/4 tsp. ginger
¼ tsp. nutmeg
¼ tsp. cloves
½ tsp. salt
6 Tbsp. (slightly heaped 1/3 c.) pumpkin powder
2 (14-oz) cans coconut milk
3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 Tbsp. vanilla
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 c. coconut cream
Mix all together, in order. Don’t overmix or whip air into it, or it may crack while baking. Bake at 350 F for 75-90 minutes in a water bath, until center jiggles like Jello and internal temperature is 145-150 F. Cool in oven or on counter, then chill, covered, in fridge 4 hours or more. Rum-flavor Topping:
1 cup coconut cream, well chilled
½ cup coconut yogurt
½ cup brown sugar
1/8 tsp. salt
1 ½ tsp. rum extract
Whip cream until just beginning to thicken; add all else and whip. Spread over chilled cheesecake. Chocolate Ganache drizzle
¼ c. (1 ½ oz) dairy-free chocolate chips
3 Tbsp. coconut cream or coconut milk
Heat gently to melt chocolate chips; whisk until smooth. Drizzle on cheesecake.
Today I have a free e-book offer for you, a cookbook, “The Egg and I.” It has tons of recipes for making omelets and frittatas, along with great tips on mastering eggs in the kitchen.
It's just over 40 pages of recipes for all kinds of omelets plus pages of frittatas
You can get it here
, and you'll get to choose from four formats: PDF, Microsoft Word, HTML, or Kindle.
Here's what Dennis Weaver, the cookbook's author, says:
The difference between a frittata and an omelet is that the ingredients in the frittata are mixed into the eggs instead of folded into an omelet. Usually a frittata is started on the stovetop and then baked in the skillet in the oven. They are sometimes called flat omelets or farmers’ omelets. They are larger and cut into slices to serve.
This is not your ordinary e-Book
! It has 31 different scrumptious omelet recipes. Omelets you won’t find anywhere else plus more than $30 in recipe books. Plus it tells you how to make them and gives video instructions. Start making omelets like a pro. You can
eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The last time we visited my son and his family in Minnesota, we stopped at Keys Café in Saint Paul where I had “The Loon Omelet” which personifies how versatile an omelet can be. The Loon Omelet is made with wild rice, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, Swiss cheese, turkey, and topped with a hot mushroom sauce.
You can even make a party out of omelets, or host the next family gathering with an omelet bar. You’ll learn how here
Omelets are easy, you can make one in as little as five minutes. You can make American omelets, Italian omelets, puffy omelets, and Irish omelets; even an omelet casserole.
Breakfast at your house will never be the same.
Or Cherry Cheesecake Frosting.
Yes, if you've noticed a common thread in the last few frosting recipes, I have a thing for cheesecake!
Once again, the basic recipe is the no-cook Ultra Gel frosting, though you can use cornstarch or flour if you're willing to cook the initial mixture.
The difference between this and the others I've tried is that the earlier ones all used pureed fruit
or else jam as part of the ingredients. This time I used concentrated fruit juice- in this case, a delicious cherry-pomegranate blend- the kind that comes frozen in 12-ounce cans. This opens up all KINDS of possibilities! Use lemonade concentrate- or orange passionfruit mango- or whatever else is in your grocer's freezer.
In the photo above, after spreading the frosting on the cake top, I mixed 1/4 cup of jam with about 1- 1 1/2 Tbsp. water, dribbled in parallel diagonal lines, then ran a butter knife lightly through it, alternating directions every other time, to create the chevron pattern. Then I added the border.
To protect the frosting from drying out overnight, since this one was made ahead of time, I stuck mini marshmallows on the ends of toothpicks, poked them into the cake, then rested plastic wrap on top of the now-blunt toothpicks. Works great.
Cherry Cloud Frosting
2 sticks butter, cut into tablespoon-sized pieces
1 c. sugar
1/4- 1/2 c. Ultra Gel* (higher amount if yours is fluffy like powder snow, lesser if dense like baking soda is)
1/8 tsp. salt
1 c. (8 oz.) juice concentrate, thawed
1 tsp. vanilla or almond extract
Beat the butter until smooth, then add everything else at once: sugar, starch, salt, juice concentrate, and extract. Beat on low for one minute, until combined, then beat on high 5-6 minutes, until fluffy.
*to use cornstarch, use 1/4 cup. To use flour, use 1/2 cup. Either way, mix this with the sugar in a small saucepan, then gradually stir in juice concentrate. Bring to a boil, stirring often; cook and stir until thick, about 4-5 minutes. Cover and cool to room temperature, then add all other ingredients and beat until fluffy.
To make the 'cheesecake' version, use only 1 stick of butter, and one 8-oz block of cream cheese, softened.
The sauce in this filling is from my great-grandmother, who I hear was an excellent cook. She lived in the ‘Mormon’ colonies in Mexico, left in 1912 to avoid Pancho Villa
and other warring factions, returned after the Revolution, and earned money through millinery (making hats) and sewing. Her last few years were in Arizona, where she cooked and sewed at the LDS Mesa temple
. This recipe was her enchilada sauce, only she used 3 cups of water and 3 Tbsp. chili powder when using it over enchiladas, since more liquid is needed for those.
These are gluten-free if you use cornstarch and not flour in the filling. Using shredded meat instead of burger makes these a little more authentic, but ground meat is awfully convenient. Unless you happen to have some leftover roast available to shred.
Individual Tamale Pies Makes 12 muffin-sized ones, or can be made into a 9" pie pan Crust
2 c. masa harina (OR use 1 c. cornmeal and 1 c. flour)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 c. coconut oil or other fat (oil, butter, lard, etc)
about 3/4 to 1 cup water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix all together to form a moderately thick dough. Grease 12 muffin cups. Shape a ball a little bigger than a ping pong ball (3 Tbsp. dough), then press dough in a muffin cup, making a layer about 1/4"- 3/8" thick. Repeat until finished. Set aside. Filling
2 cups cooked burger or shredded beef, pork, or chicken
8 oz. can tomato sauce
2 Tbsp. butter, optional
1/2 tsp. salt
1 Tbsp. sugar
2 Tbsp. chili powder or to taste
1 Tbsp. cornstarch OR 2 Tbsp. flour
Mix together the meat, tomato sauce, butter, salt, sugar, and chili powder, and bring to a boil. Stir the cornstarch or flour into 1-2 Tbsp. water, to form a slurry. Gradually mix the slurry into the boiling mixture, cook and stir until thickened, about a minute. Taste it and add a little more salt if you like.
Spoon 1/4 cup of filling into each of the lined muffin cups. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the crust is set and the filling just starts to bubble around the edges. Let sit for a couple minutes, then remove them by placing an upside-down cookie sheet on top, then flipping the whole thing upside down (see slideshow below).
Serve with plain or with shredded cheese, sour cream, chopped tomatoes, lettuce, or anything else that sounds good.
A friend sent me instructions for making Easter Story
Cookies. I tweaked the ingredients, tweaked the instructions, and changed some of the scriptures to ones I thought my younger ones would relate to. (In other words, I don't know whose idea this originally
was, but should no longer be considered plagiarism.:) This is a sweet way to bring some of the real meaning of Easter into your home! For more Easter ideas, click on the "Easter" category on the right.
Mix these cookies the evening before Easter, they sit in the oven overnight, as an Easter morning surprise.
You will need:
- 1 tsp. vinegar
- 3 large egg whites
- Pinch of salt
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup pecan pieces
Waxed paper or parchment
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. (This is important, so don’t wait until you’re half-way done with the recipe).
Smell the vinegar
. Put 1 tsp. into the mixing bowl. Explain that when Jesus was thirsty on the cross, He was given vinegar to drink. Read John 19:28-30
or Psalms 69:21
Add egg whites
to the vinegar.
Explain that eggs represent life. Jesus gave His life to give us life. Read John 10:9-11
Sprinkle a little salt
into each hand. Taste it and brush the rest into the bowl.
Explain that this represents the salty tears shed by Jesus’ followers, and bitterness of our sins. Show the wooden spoon, it represents the cross he carried and was nailed to.Read Luke 23:27
With a mixer, beat on high speed until soft peaks form.
Explain that the color white
represents the purity of those whose sins have been cleansed by Jesus. Read Isaiah 1:18 and John 3:1-3
So far the ingredients are not very appetizing. Add 3/4 cup sugar
, a tablespoon at a time, as you continue to whip. Keep mixing until they reach stiff peaks.
Explain that the sweetest part of the story is that Jesus died because He loves us. It wasn’t the nails that kept Him on the cross because nothing earthly could have. It was His love for us! Read Ps. 34:8 and John 3:16
Fold in the nuts
using the wooden spoon. Drop by teaspoons onto wax paper covered cookie sheet. Explain that each mound represents the rocky tomb where Jesus’ body was laid. Read Matthew 27:57-60
Put the cookie sheet in the oven and close the door and turn the oven OFF! Each person places a piece of masking tape
and seals the oven door. Read Matthew 27:62-66
Explain that they may feel sad to leave the cookies in the oven overnight. Jesus’ followers were in despair when the tomb was sealed. Read John 16:20, 22
On Easter morning, watch the 4-minute video “He is Risen
”, then open the oven and give everyone a cookie.
Notice the cracked surface and take a bite. The cookies are hollow!
Explain that on the first Easter, Jesus’ followers were amazed to find the tomb open and empty. Suggested scriptures to read: John chapter 20
(5 minutes), 1 Corinthians 15:22
(two lines), Mosiah 16:6-9
Happy Easter, Everyone! Christ Lives & Loves Us!
These have fiber, protein, and much lower in sugar than almost any baked treat! And they really are good. My family snarfed down this batch.
Besides all that, they're also wheat-free and dairy-free.
Healthy Peanut Butter-Chocolate-Banana Bars
1 1/2 cups cooked white beans (one can, drained and rinsed)
2 ripe medium bananas
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. brown sugar or honey (1/2 c sugar. if you like things on the sweeter side)
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup quick-cooking oats
1/3 c. chocolate chips (the darker the better)
Preheat oven to 350 F. Put the beans, eggs, bananas, peanut butter, brown sugar, and vanilla in a food processor or high-powered blender. Run until very smooth. Stir in the baking powder, salt and oats. Spread in a greased 8x8 pan then sprinkle with chocolate chips. Bake 30 minutes or til test done with a toothpick. Cool at least 15 minutes before cutting. These are even better the next day.
For a variation on this, substitute pumpkin puree for the banana, increase sugar/honey to 1/2 c., replace almond or cashew butter for the peanut butter, then add 1-2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice.