Friday, March 29, 2013

Something Delicious

Blueberry in breakfast food...

I made these and LOVED them. Doug liked them ok but thought they needed more sugar. I would agree if you are making muffins for snacks or treats or whatever. For a hearty breakfast carb to go with your eggs and bacon, however, I think these are great. The whole grains and such keep it from giving me my usual hypoglycemic sugar ride.

Anyway, here's the recipe- I decided to be a jerk and use decimals instead of fractions (no reason, I'm just in a persnickety mood:)

1.25 cups whole rolled oats
1 cup whole wheat flour ( I used white whole wheat)
0.33 cups sugar
1 tbsp baking powder ( buy aluminum-free- alzheimer's is a bitch)
1 egg
0.25 cup melted butter (or coconut oil for the milk-free)
1 cup blueberries (I am trying some cranberries this time, though.. more sugar should balance them out.)

You can either soak the flour and oats in 1 cup of water with some lemon juice for a while (an hour, a day, whatever) or you can cut the baking powder by half and go straight to work.

Bake for 20 minutes at 425. Freeze or eat immediately- for some reason, soaked (in the refrigerator) recipes will go bad sitting on the counter after being baked. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

By the way- the ginger ale was HORRIBLE. It might have cleaned the drain out, though....

Everyone's Crazy About Raw Milk....and Organic...

I've been reading quite a bit about Paleo/Primal eating and some of it seems to make sense. Other things are just completely wacky. For example, raw milk people and their detractors. On the one hand, you've got these people who are terrified of life and convinced you will die if you drink raw milk, which, as someone who has inadvertently eaten a good bit of horse sh*t can tell you is unlikely... not that it can't happen, but if you're worried about dying of food poisoning, I would be WAY more afraid of KFC than raw milk.

On the other hand, a lot of the stuff the raw milk people say just doesn't make sense. For example, what do they think happens when you make muffins with raw milk? Does the milk undergo a miraculous insulation that prevents it from cooking? Or does that raw milk become the very thing they are preaching against? Being afraid of using ultra-pasteurized (heated to 250 degrees for 2 seconds) organic milk to make brownies that you will cook at 350 degrees for half an hour is silly.

Now, here's what I think... unless you love to drink pus, steer clear of conventional milk (at least in the US- I've seen some pretty clean Canadian dairies.) A lot of organic milk isn't pastured, and therefore I would steer clear of that too. Since I seem to have gotten over the allergy I had to milk before I had my little one, I drink local, pastured milk that is low-temp-pasteurized and un-homogenized. It isn't prohibitively expensive, it doesn't require a contract, it is as healthy as milk gets, and I don't have to worry about E. coli or Virginia's silly ban on raw milk.

Here are my rules for buying milk (and most food, really):
1. Buy as close to the natural state as possible. I don't know if homogenization does any harm, but I can shake my milk and have my food just a little less processed.
2. Which is related to one- buy pastured animal products when possible. Notice I say "pastured" not "grass-fed"? I believe in primarily grass-feeding and pasturing, but I see no harm in animals that are being raised in appropriate, healthy, traditional conditions (not feed-lots) having some grain. We've been graining milking animals and animals to be slaughtered since the domestication of animals and the rise of agriculture. That said, primarily grass-fed meat is definitely superior, since it contains CLA and higher levels of other nutrients than feed-lot meat. It has even been theorized that the "bad fat" in beef is actually a by-product of the corn-based diet most cattle are raised on.
3. Screw "organic". It's a fancy, expensive label that often means very little. It is very easy for a big factory farm to change a few practices, or the type of feed they give their animals without really doing anything that benefits the consumer. It is ridiculously hard and expensive for a small farmer to get an organic label when they are following practices that the average organic consumer would approve of. Not only that, to get an organic label, some farmers follow policies that I would consider inhumane- for example, not using insecticide ear tags that keep flies out of the faces of grazing cattle, or restricting anti-biotic use in an infected animal.

Let me make this perfectly clear- your "organic" chicken probably never saw the sun. The only difference between it and the chicken next door is probably just the food they ate. In the case of chickens and pigs, "vegetarian-fed" is unnatural, though I'm not sure which is worse- soy protein or slaughter-house refuse. If it was "free-range," it probably never dared to venture out into the tiny outside pen because by the time it was moved to "free-range" quarters it was acclimated to the chicken barn and terrified of the outdoors. The only way to get quality meat is to buy from someone you know and trust. Same with eggs.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Making my own ginger ale

I am trying an experiment- seeing if I can make my own actually decent for you ginger ale. I have a ginger bug starting on my counter. I foresee this being really good (delicious soda alternative) or truly horrible. Ah, well, nothing ventured nothing gained.

My Pad Thai

There is one good thing to say about city living- you can get good Asian food. When you live out in the country, the Asian food sucks. So I decided to make my own Pad Thai. After a little trial and error, it actually turned into a good and pretty healthy recipe.  I was surprised at how good it came out, and it is actually kind of good for you. It has eggs and shrimp (both healthy protein), carbohydrate (can be whole grain) and vegetables- bean sprouts and chives. It is also milk and gluten free.

 My main source for the recipe was here It goes through all your options and how to make it. In basic terms, though (so you don't have to read her ten page recipe) it starts with your sauce. You need tamarind, sugar and fish sauce (if you never want to look at Asian food the same way again, look up how fish sauce is traditionally made). I would not buy the tamarind bricks in the Asian section of the store- I can't seem to get them to un-brick and mix with the other ingredients. That and I think they have a funky flavor. I would get the un-shelled tamarindo from the Mexican market. You mix equal parts fish sauce and tamarind pulp with a little less sugar (half cup of tamarind and fish sauce and a third cup sugar). Mix that up- it will keep in the fridge.

Then boil your noodles- I use brown rice penne from Hodgeson's Mill or Tinkyada brown rice fettucine but I'm trying to maximize my B vitamin intake. Most people will like plain old white rice noodles just fine and they are cheaper. If you do go for the good stuff be warned- the package directions will have you cook it down into rice glue. I cook for about 75% of the recommended time and then taste test every few minutes from there. BTW, you want your noodles a little underdone.

While the noodles boil, start your wok or frying pan. Use medium high heat. I use about two tablespoons grease and fry the shrimp or chicken in that. Then I add the noodles tot he meat and put in about a tablespoon of sauce and stir. Don't try to make more than a plateful at a time or the noodles will get all sticky and gluey. As soon as your sauce is mixed in, push your stuff to one side of the pan and crack an egg in the other half. While the egg fries, put a handful of bean sprouts (mung beans are best and super easy to sprout for yourself in a few days) and some chives on top of the pile to take the chill out of them. Then chop your egg up with the spatula and mix it all together. It's ready to eat!