Friday, November 30, 2012

Raw Food Friday #3 Green Onion Dip

This is an amazing dip for any veggie!  While it may not be a low-fat meal because of the nuts it is extremely healthy!  The recipe does not specify but raw nuts should be used for the dip.  YUM!

Raw and Dairy-free Green Onion Dip
from Diana Stobo

1 1/4 cup Water
1/4 cup Lemon juice
1 1/4 cup cashews, un-soaked
1/3 cup macadamia nuts, un-soaked
2 teaspoons onion powder
1 1/2 teaspoon Himalayan Sea Salt (or regular sea salt)
6 scallions, chopped

Place Water, lemon juice, cashews, macadamia nuts, onion powder and salt in a high-speed blender and process until creamy. Add scallions, and blend on a low setting to incorporate but not break down completely, (10 seconds). Cover and let sit in refrigerator to chill and fuse flavors for about two hours.
Serve chilled with flax crackers or beautifully sliced vegetables.

I have not made this recipe yet but I'll have plenty of time at lunch plus a massage this afternoon.  YES!  Looking forward to an amazing weekend.

Don't forget to enter the Seeds in a Stocking Giveaway! 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

DIY Foodie Gifts: Vanilla Extract

As my own Vanilla Extract supply is diminishing I figured it's about time I made more.  Thought I'd share the recipe with you.  AND...If you're looking for an even more exciting gift, check out Mary's Real Food Cookbook.

I bought these beauties at Amazon!

DIY Vanilla Extract
from Mary's Real Food Cookbook
This will soon be Vanilla Extract!
1 – 750ml bottle of Vodka, rum, or brandy 
(80 proof = 40% alcohol)
12 – vanilla beans

Remove approximately 1/2 cup of vodka to make room for the vanilla beans.  Slice each vanilla bean lengthwise along one entire side of the bean.  Place the beans in the vodka bottle, replace the lid, and shake.  

Shake the vanilla once/week to agitate the beans and speed the extraction process.  Your vanilla should be ready in 6-8 weeks.

*Don’t throw away those vanilla beans.*
Reuse them to make more vanilla extract!

When the vanilla is ready I'll bottle them up in something like these:

The Frisky

More exciting recipes Available here:

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Easy and Tasty Strawberry Shortcake

Do I even need to explain?  Strawberry Shortcake is divine.  With a few tweaks this recipe can be made low-fat.  I prefer to splurge every now and then and enjoy every minute!

I'm not ready for Meatless on Monday just yet so I thought I'd share a deliciously simple, blow that diet out in the street dessert.

Easy and Tasty Strawberry Shortcake
from  Servings:6

1 1/2 lbs strawberries , stemmed and quartered
3 tablespoons sugar

For the cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

For the whipped cream
1 1/2 cups heavy cream, chilled
3 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest

Mix strawberries with 3 tablespoons sugar and refrigerate while juices develop, at least 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, remaining 2 tablespoons sugar, and salt in a medium bowl. Add heavy cream and mix until just combined. Place mixture in an ungreased 8-inch square pan and bake until golden, 18 to 20 minutes.

Place a metal bowl and beaters in the freezer during shortcake cooking time.

Remove shortcake from pan and place on a rack to cool slightly. Cut into 6 pieces and split each piece in half horizontally.

Mix all whipped cream ingredients in the metal bowl with metal beaters about 1 1/2 to 2 minutes.

Spoon some of the strawberries with their juice onto each shortcake bottom. Top with a generous dollop of whipped cream and then the shortcake top. Spoon more strawberries over the top and serve.

Totally off the subject of cooking, I'm hosting a super fun, Heirloom Seed giveaway over at Back to the Basic!  Just in time for Christmas!

Enter to win the Seeds in a Stocking giveaway!
Linking up HERE!  

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Theodore Roosevelt
Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds.

William Shakespeare
Small cheer and great welcome makes a merry feast.

I considered not even turning on my computer today but the I realized how many of my recipes are on my laptop.  Enjoy the Pumpkin Smoothie which I'll be making again this morning!

Deliciously Low-Fat Pumpkin Smoothie

adapted from healthful pursuits
1 cup milk 
(or non-dairy milk such as Soy or Almond milk)
1 cup pumpkin Puree
1/2 banana 
1 tablespoon flax seeds
1 teaspoon  pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
pinch ground nutmeg
pinch ground cloves
pinch all spice
Whipped topping (optional)
Place everything but whipped topping in the blender.
Blend until smooth
Sprinkle with cinnamon if you’d like!
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Meatless On Monday #16 Healthier Holiday Sides

It's that time a year again! I looked for stats on how many calories the average American eats on Thanksgiving.  I found numbers ranging from 3,000 to 5,000!  Marie Claire had a great breakdown HERE of different foods and their caloric content.

Below are a few healthier sides.  Some I kinda just threw together and they're "hubby approved," others I found around the web and plan on trying this week.

Sesame-Ginger Broccoli Slaw
dressing from one lovely life

For sesame-ginger dressing:
4 Tbsp rice vinegar
2 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp sesame oil (it’s not too strong in this. Promise.)
5 tsp soy sauce
4 tsp sugar
2½ tsp fresh ginger, minced
2 tsp sesame seeds (optional)
½ tsp pepper
½ tsp Asian chile sauce (optional)

For the salad:
1- 12 ounce bag Broccoli Slaw
1/8 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup fat-free feta cheese, optional
*Extras* 1/4 cup shredded carrots, 1/4 cup shredded purple cabbage, chopped celery


In a jar or lidded airtight container, combine dressing ingredients and shake to combine well.

In a large bowl combine salad ingredients.
Up to an hour before serving, toss just enough dressing with the salad mixture to coat. You’ll likely have leftover dressing.

OR...My favorite...Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Garlic!

Fat-Free Sweet Potato Fries
from fitness magazine

2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Scrub potatoes and cut lengthwise into quarters. Cut each quarter lengthwise into four wedges. Arrange potatoes in a single layer in pan. Coat lightly with cooking spray.
2. Combine salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika, and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle over potatoes.
3. Bake for 20 minutes or until brown and tender, turning once.

I know I'll be making the Broccoli Slaw this Thanksgiving.  My hubby keeps asking if there's anymore left!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Let's Talk Turkey!

The last  2 years I have used a brine recipe from Martha Stewart.  We have a love/hate relationship!  I love this recipe but I'm thinking about trying something new this year.  One of my very first blogs I started following is Dog Island Farm.  I found them from   I'll share both recipes since I'm still on the fence about which recipe to use.  

I love Rachel's recipe for "The Best Turkey You'll Ever Eat."

Martha's Turkey
"The Perfect Turkey"
from Martha Stewart

3 cups coarse salt, plus more for seasoning
5 cups sugar
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
2 medium leeks, white and pale-green parts only, rinsed and coarsely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
2 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
2 dried bay leaves
3 sprigs fresh thyme
3 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
Freshly ground pepper
1 fresh whole turkey (18 to 20 pounds), rinsed and patted dry, giblets and neck reserved for gravy

Put salt, sugar, onions, leeks, carrots, celery, bay leaves, thyme, parsley, peppercorns, and 10 cups water in a large stockpot. Bring to a boil, stirring until salt and sugar have dissolved. Remove from heat; let brine cool completely.

Add turkey, breast first, to the brine. Cover; refrigerate 24 hours. Remove from brine; pat dry with paper towels. Let stand at room temperature 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees, with rack in lowest position. Stir together melted butter and wine in a medium bowl. Fold a very large piece of cheesecloth into quarters so that it is large enough to cover breast and halfway down sides of turkey. Immerse cloth in butter mixture; let soak.

Place turkey, breast side up, on a rack set in a roasting pan. Fold wing tips under turkey. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon each salt and pepper inside turkey. Loosely fill body and neck cavities with stuffing. Tie legs together with kitchen twine. Fold neck flap under; secure with toothpicks. Rub turkey all over with softened butter; season with salt and pepper.
Remove cheesecloth from butter mixture, squeezing gently into bowl. Reserve butter mixture for brushing. Lay cheesecloth over turkey. Place turkey, legs first, in oven. Roast 30 minutes. Brush cheesecloth and exposed turkey with butter mixture. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees. Roast, brushing every 30 minutes, 2 1/2 hours more; cover with foil if browning too quickly. If making gravy, add giblets and neck to pan 1 1/2 hours after reducing temperature; roast 30 minutes, and reserve.

Discard cheesecloth; rotate pan. Baste turkey with pan juices. Roast, rotating pan halfway through, until skin is golden brown and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 180 degrees and stuffing reaches 165 degrees, about 1 hour. Transfer to a platter. Set pan with drippings aside for gravy. Let turkey stand at room temperature at least 30 minutes. Garnish, if desired.

"The Best Turkey You'll Ever Eat"

For Brine:
1 gallon unsweetened apple juice
3/4 cup salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
6-8 slices of ginger
2 Tbs peppercorns
2 Tbs allspice berries
2 Tbs whole cloves
2 bay leaves

Combine all ingredients in a large sauce pan. Stir in salt and sugar. Bring to a boil for 3 minutes and then allow to cool completely.

Unwrap the thawed turkey, remove the giblets and place neck end down into clean cooler. Pour cooled brine over the bird. Add water until the bird is completely submerged. Add a bunch of ice on top to keep cool. Put lid on cooler and leave undisturbed for at least 12 hours.

For Roasting:

1/4 lb butter (1 stick) cut into pats
2 Tbs chopped fresh rosemary
2 Tbs chopped fresh Thyme
2 Tbs chopped fresh Oregano
2 cups chicken broth
Olive Oil

1. Remove bird from brine and let brine drain out of cavity. Don’t rinse bird.
2. Coat roasting pan with olive oil and place bird breast side up in it.
3. Using your hands separate skin from breast and legs. Rub the chopped herbs onto the meat.
4. Place the cut pats of butter under the skin in various locations, including the legs. Pour chicken broth over bird.
5. Cover bird with lid of pan or foil and place in a preheated oven at 350 deg.
6. Roast for two hours basting every hour. Remove foil and allow bird to brown, basting every 20 min.
7. Continue to roast bird until interior temp reaches 165 deg. Can range from 1-2 additional hours depending on whether the bird is stuffed. Make sure when taking the temp that the thermometer is through the thickest part of the breast and is not touching bone.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Raw Food Friday #2 Kale Pesto

There is more to raw food than shakes and salads but I'm just getting started.  I am including more raw foods in our daily meals lately but I don't think I'll go completely raw.  We eat oatmeal for breakfast every morning (which my hubby makes) and I'm not trying to mess with a good thing.

Why raw food?  The phytonutrients in fruits and veggies are essential to our bodies.  They help our immune systems fight colds and cancer.  I could go on but I'd rather let the experts do the talking.  
Check out:
Why Raw Food?
The Raw Food Institute

I'm going to try my best to share at least 1 raw food recipe every Friday and I encourage you to try it out and share your own recipes.
I love Kale!
Lemony Kale Pesto
from Diana Stobo

1 bunch lacinato (dinosaur) kale
1/4 cup nutritional Yeast (optional substitute for cheese)
3/4 cup pecans (I used sunflower seeds)
½ teaspoon sea salt
zest of 1/2 lemon
1 tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
1 clove garlic, grated
¼ cup cold pressed olive oil

Remove stems from kale. In a food processor fitted with an s-blade, add the Kale, nutritional yeast, pecans, salt, lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and garlic. Process until coarsely chopped. Slowly add olive oil and pulse to incorporate. Taste for salt and add more oil if it is too dry. This should not be an oily pesto, only add enough oil so it is moist. Toss with a zucchini Pasta (or raw veggies), use as a raw pizza base or as a delicious dip.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

MIA! Raw Food Friday Tomorrow!

Yes I have been missing in action most of this week.  Work is crazy (good) and I wave a charity event tonight with my Women's Club.  I just wanted to remind you that tomorrow is Raw Food Friday #2.  If you have a raw food meal please feel free to share your link.  I'll feature my favorite!

Remember those  Royalty Purple Podded Beans?  They're growing!
I soaked the beans for 3 hours.  The pic above is approx 3 days.

Day 5! (above)
Day 8! (above)

With a little water and Florida sunshine I'll have Royalty Purple Podded Beans in approx 48 more days!

I found a RAW recipe for these beans at Addicted to Veggies.  It looks amazing!!!  You'll have to check out the link since I don't want to steal her photos.  The countdown has begun!  Stop by tomorrow for another Raw Food Friday!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Creamy Potato Soup Meatless on Monday #15

I needed a bit of warm soup today since it's a bit chilly here (for Florida anyway).  I used "food storage" items to make this and it was delicious.  What do I mean by food storage?  I feel very strongly that everyone should be prepared.  I won't get into the why but items like instant potatoes and milk, rice and beans, canned food and water are all very important and store for long periods of time if kept in proper conditions.  Not to mention a supply of heirloom seeds but that's for another time and you'll find that info at Back to the Basics!

All that to tell you that I made this deliciously creamy soup today and below is the recipe!

Creamy Potato Soup Recipe 
adapted from DIY Mom 
4 tablespoons onions chopped
4 tablespoons chopped celery
3 tablespoons margarine or butter
4 cups milk*
4 servings worth of dry instant mashed potatoes
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste
*1/2 teaspoon crushed garlic, optional*
*Omitted: 1 1/2 teaspoons chicken boullion*

In a saucepan, saute onion in margarine or butter over low heat. Add milk, seasonings and instant potato flakes. Heat to almost boiling, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Garnish with paprika, parsley or grated cheese if desired. Add milk (*or water) if it is too thick.

I always try to just use up what I have in my fridge or pantry.  You can use regular onions or green onions.  You can also substitute herbs, salt and pepper for the boullion.
*You can also reduce the cost and calories by substituting 2 cups of water for 2 cups of the milk.  I don’t keep milk in the house so I used instant non-fat milk and followed the directions to make 4 cups of milk*

Friday, November 9, 2012

Raw Food Friday #1

Happy Friday!  As I mentioned on last week, I'll be making a few changes to our eating habits.  I hate the word "diet."  At some point in the last 6 months we started eating a bit less healthy so it's time to make a change.

I thoroughly enjoyed the No-Bake series I posted here a few months ago so I've decided to make a long-term series called Raw Food Friday.  There are SO MANY healthy, raw food meals out there and I can't wait to share them.  Every Friday I am going to try my darndest to eat raw.  All day!  I won't bore you with in-between snacks of carrot and celery sticks but I'll try to include more than one meal when possible.

1 tablespoon chia seeds (or flax seeds)
1/2 cup vanilla or plain yogurt
1/2 cup mango juice
1/4 cup fresh blueberries
1/4 cup fresh mango chunks
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)
1 stalk of celery, chopped
1/c cup spinach
*I add 2 scoops of SP complete powder which is a whole food protein powder with veggies included* It also comes Dairy-free 
Add all of the ingredients into your blender and blend until smooth.   Add ice and blend until smooth.  Serve.  It might be easier if you blended your chia or flax seeds in a food processor first but that just makes more to clean up.

Today I'll have a shake for breakfast and another for lunch!  Dinner will be a large salad with homemade Apple Cider Viniagrette dressing!  It may not sound all that exciting but I'm looking forward to sharing more next week!

I'm over at It's Your Life today so stop by and say Hello!
Linking up HERE!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Have you ever seen a Purple Podded Bean?

Yes?  No?  I've seen them on the internet but never in real life.  I'm going to change that!

If you don't get the newsletter...Last night I added a few new seed varieties at Mary's Heirloom Seeds.  One of the super cool varieties is a Royalty Purple Podded Bean

56 days.  Bush variety.  Tender, bright purple pods turn green when cooked.  Prolific producer and a good home garden variety.  Beautiful addition to your garden and very tasty.  Plant a row every three weeks until July for a long harvest period. 

In 50-60 days I hope to share a picture of a recipe that I made with my new purple beans!  For now, enjoy the recipe I found at Thyme for Cooking, the Blog

Braised Green and Purple Beans with Green and Purple Basil

8oz (250gr) green and purple beans
3 shallots    preferably freshly dug
2 tsp olive oil
1/4 cup chicken stock
handful green basil, snipped
handful purple basil, snipped
2 tsp butter

Top and tail beans...cut off the ends. Cut in half.  Cut shallots in half.  Heat olive oil in a small skillet.  Add shallots and sauté until starting to brown about 5 minutes.  Add beans, stock, cover and simmer over medium heat until just barely tender, about 7 minutes. Uncover and cook off any remaining liquid.  Remove from heat, add butter, herbs, stir to combine and serve.

***On a side note***
I am trying to start a little 'trend' here at Mary's KitchenI missed Meatless on Monday this week because I just HAD to share my Giving Back post.  One of these days I might add a link party but for now I'd be thrilled if you joined me!

Mondays will be Meatless on Monday!
Fridays will be Raw Food Friday! 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Giving Back!

No recipe today!  I'm posting this at Back to the Basics tomorrow but I just couldn't wait to share!

I had planned on starting a short series this week on Homemade, Handmade and Eco-Friendly gift-giving but I have something to share that is SO MUCH more important!

Every year around Thanksgiving people start thinking about what they are thankful for and ways they can give back.  This is the season of food drives and toy collections.  But what about the rest of the year?  

I am a member of a local non-profit Women's Club which is part of the GFWC or General Federation of Women's Clubs.  There are volunteer opportunities year round (plus a bit of socializing).

Since becoming a member of the GFWC I have been involved in homeless shelters for women and children, donating thousands of dollars in school supplies and funds for local schools and children in need, collecting books to help support our local libraries, several fundraisers to help save our historical building and SO MUCH more!  I am proud to be a member!

I am confident that my time and donations have been put to good useWe are women serving our community!

I have an opportunity for you to support our military families.  Jessica over at Battling the Home Front brought to my attention that Military families are in need.  She has asked for donations of expired coupons but I think we can do better than that!

What you may not know: Commissaries both in the US and around the world will accept manufacturers coupons up to 6 months after they expire!
Approx $500 worth of printed coupons
I asked our club to get involved and I am collecting coupons for our Military families both in the US and around the world.  I urge you to get involved! 

Overseas Coupon Program
Coupons to Troops
Approx $1500 worth of coupons

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Yummy Cheesecake Brownies

I really need something chocolatey this week.  I was trying to figure out how I could make a yummy dessert and use up what I had in my fridge and pantry.

Brownie mix? Check!  Eggs?  Check!  
Fat-free sour cream?  Oh Ya!

Cheesecake Brownies
adapted from allrecipes

Brownie mix
*Prepare according to package*
**To make it healthier, use no sugar added apple sauce instead of oil**

For the topping:
9 ounces softened cream cheese
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg


Prepare the brownie mix as directed by manufacturer. Preheat oven to temperature indicated on box. Grease a 9x13 inch pan.

Spread the brownie batter evenly into the prepared pan. Using an electric mixer, beat together the cream cheese, egg and sugar until smooth. Dollop the cream cheese mixture on top of the brownie batter. Swirl together using a knife or skewer.

Bake according to manufacturer's instructions. Brownies will be done when a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool in the pan, then cut into bars and serve.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Another Feature and Hidden Veggies

November is finally upon us!  I'm am so happy that it's been chilly at night here (for Florida anyway).

Mary's Breakfast Sammies have been Featured over At Battling the Home Front: In the Kitchen Thursday.  Hop on over and check out the links.  Link up if you wish!

On to the food!  When I was visiting my family we had a quick/last minute dinner at my sister's house.  She has three little ones and is amazing at hiding veggies!  She made spaghetti and added tiny chopped zucchini to the sauce.  It was fantastic!!!  Over the last three weeks I've added zucchini to several pasta dishes and we really like it.

This isn't like my normal recipes.  You'll have to decide how much of each works for you.  I didn't measure anything! My sister chopped her zucchini smaller but I wasn't trying to hide it.

Pasta with Zucchini

*I use 1 whole one for 2 people*
Grapeseed oil
Chopped garlic, optional
Cheese, optional

Chop zucchini (and garlic)and saute in a pan with grapeseed oil.  In the meantime, boil water and cook pasta.

Add sauce to sauteed zucchini and warm.  Pour over cooked pasta.