Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Night Lite- Pumpkin with White Beans

Tried this dish created by Martha Stewart from my new magazine "Whole Living."
 It was another great way to celebrate the pumpkin season in a bowl of warm goodness. 
Pumpkin with White Beans


Serves 6
  • 8 ounces dry white beans (about 1 1/3 cups)
  • 4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, minced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
  • 1 serrano chile, sliced
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot or sweet paprika
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3 cups chicken stock (or water)
  • 15 sprigs cilantro
  • 1/2 small sugar pumpkin (peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch chunks)


  1. Place beans in a medium saucepan and cover by about 2 inches of water. Bring to a boil; remove from heat and let stand for 1 hour. Drain and rinse.
  2. In a stockpot over medium-high heat, warm olive oil. Add onion, garlic, serrano chile, and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt. Saute until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in hot or sweet paprika and tomato paste; cook for 1 minute. Add beans, chicken stock or water, and cilantro. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for about 35 minutes.
  3. Peel, seed, and cut half small sugar pumpkin. Add pumpkin to bean mixture, plus additional stock or water to cover, and simmer, partially covered, until tender, about 25 minutes more. Remove and discard cilantro. Serve immediately.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Penne

You will love this subtle flavored harvest pasta dish. Feel free to get creative and add chicken Italian sausage.
Pumpkin Penne
1 pound whole wheat penne pasta cooked according to box
½ white onion chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
2 C MSG-Free Chicken Broth such as Pacific Organic
2 C pumpkin puree (I puree in food processor)
½ C organic half & half
1 T hot sauce
1 T Flaxmeal
Salt and Pepper to taste
a couple pinches cinnamon and nutmeg
optional: pecans and dried cranberries (these will definitely add color to dish)
grated Parmesan, dried cranberries, and chopped pecans for garnish
pumpkin penne before toppings
In skillet, on med-heat, cook EVOO about a minute. Add garlic and onion and saute until translucent
Add the pumpkin, half & half, broth, hot sauce, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Bring to boil then reduce to simmer until thick
Combine sauce, cooked pasta, flax, and cranberries/nuts
Serve warm with toppings sprinkled on top.

Trick-or-Treat smell my feet, give me something fake to eat

     We avoid synthetic dyes in our household. Manufacturers put them in everything from pie crust, to cereal, to mac-n-cheese (not my Annies mac though:). "A recent recent report for the Center of Science for the Public Interest, suggests that these dyes have consequences when it comes to hyper activity in children and cancer".
     I've had this topic on my list of things to blog about for a while, so when this article came out last week I wanted to make sure and share it with you all. Please take the time to read the Full Article Here and remember to reduce your exposure especially with the holidays on the horizon.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

  I was a bit nervous to trust my creativeness with this recipe, but they came out AMAZING. Enjoy!

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Chocolate Cookies
2 C Whole Wheat Flour
1 C quick oats
1 T flaxmeal
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t cinnamon
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
2 T butter
1/4 C Organic Applesauce
3/4 C Honey
1 egg
1 t vanilla

1 C pumpkin puree (DIY Pumpkin puree)

3/4 C Ghirardelli 60% Cacao Baking Chips
optional: 1/4 C chopped pecans
Mix wet ingredients. Mix dry ingredients. Combine. Bake about 10 min @ 350

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pumpkin Prep

   In celebration of the coming Halloween holiday, I'll be doing several pumpkin recipes this week. Pumpkin is a great source of fiber and vitamins. Before we tackle these recipes you'll need to roast your pumpkins. I've roasted them both whole and halved and found that whole was a bit easier. Here's How:
To Roast your medium-size pumpkin:
Roasting Time!
* Preheat oven to 400 degrees                      
* scrub and wash pumpkin
* coat with a light layer of olive oil
* place pumpkins on top rack and a cookie sheet on bottom rack to catch any         possible mess
* bake 60-90 min, or until you can easily cut into skin with a butter knife
remove from oven and let cool
 * cut in half and remove "guts" (remember to save the seeds for roasting later!)
 *  scoop out the pumpkin and store in refrigerator for later use (or divide into zip lock bags and freeze)
 * puree in food processor for recipes that call for puree or canned pumpkin

Friday, October 22, 2010

Friday Night Lite- Oven "Fried" Zucchini Sticks

Trying to figure out what to do with all that zucchini from the garden? Fret not. Your family will love this healthy version of fried zucchini. Makes a great appetizer or side dish. Enjoy!

Oven “Fried” Zucchini Sticks

Canola or olive oil cooking spray
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 T flaxmeal
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
                                                        1 1/2 pounds zucchini, (about 3 medium), cut into 1/2-by-3-inch sticks
                                                        2 large egg whites, lightly beaten

    1. Preheat oven to 475°F. Coat a large baking sheet with cooking spray.
    2. Combine flour, cornmeal,flax, salt and pepper in a large seal-able container. Dip zucchini in egg white, shake in the container to coat, and arrange, not touching, on the baking sheet. Coat all exposed sides with cooking spray.
    3. Bake on the center rack for 10 minutes. Turn the zucchini and coat any floury spots with cooking spray. Continue to bake until golden and just tender, about 8 to 10 minutes more. Serve hot with my Healthy Yogurt Dressing

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Happy cows come from grass

    We don't eat a lot of beef in our household, but let's face it- sometimes you just want a juicy burger or steak! When that time comes we eat grass-fed beef.
     I'm not sure why companies brag about their cow's being corn-fed, but cows are meant to graze on pastures. Not stuffed on a feed-lot, pumped with antibiotics, corn, and hormones so that we can get them onto our tables as fast as possible. While grass-fed beef can be pricey, it's doable if you reduce your consumption. Read below for all the benefits of grass-fed beef.
Benefits of Grass-Fed Beef:
* Higher levels of Omega-3's
* Twice the amount of CLA's (a key ingredient that is linked to easier weight-loss, reduced heart disease, and certain types of cancer)
* Possible reduced risk of food sickness (grain-fed cattle have a stomach more susceptible)
* Less green house gases emitted
* Cows eat a "natural diet" which in turn means you eat a more natural diet
* Helping out the "little farmer" (if that's your cup of tea)

Below is information on where to buy and where to dine on Grass-Fed beef. The information is specific to the Twin Cities. I'd love to hear from you about other locations in the US, so please share.

Where to Buy:
Grass-fed ground beef:  Supertarget, CUB, Byerly's, etc
For additional cuts:
Fresh and Natural Foods, Whole Foods, The Wedge Co-op, Mississippi Market (any local co-op will likely have)
also available for purchase online-see resources below

Where to Dine (click on restaurant name for website):
Casual fare: BRASACommon Roots CafeBirchwood Cafe
Fine Dinning: The Strip ClubALMAHeartland

Grass-Fed Beef Sources (information provided by Women's Health Magazine)
A state-by-state directory of more than 800 pasture-based farms, including farms that ship meat if you can’t find any in your area.
An online directory of thousands of family farms, restaurants, and stores selling sustainably-produced meat, dairy, and eggs. Grass feeding isn’t required for all outlets listed (though many do), so check descriptions.
Search for restaurants or producers offering sustainable foods, including grass-fed meats, in your area.
The website of the American Grassfed Association, it lists all of the organization’s member farmers by state and types of meat or milk they produce.
The U.S. Wellness Meats online store offers 55 different cuts of grass-fed meat.
This site offers a monthly buying club that lets you choose which types of beef they mail and credits your 12th month free.
A recipe section includes suggestions by their master chef to make the most of your buy.
The online store sells combo packs for special events—everything from a brand-your-own steaks party pack to a summertime grill pack. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deals to sweeten your Monday

Here's a few great giveaways and coupons to brighten your Monday.

Free Snack from Kashi
Stoneyfield Yogurt Coupons
Organic Valley Dairy Coupons
Seventh Generation Product Coupons

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Friday Nite Lite- At Home Take-out

     This week's recipe comes from Good Housekeeping magazine. Get the great taste of take-out without all the extra calories and preservatives with this yummy Asian inspired DIY dish.

Peanut Noodles with Shredded Chicken
Adapted from Good Housekeeping
  • 12 ounce whole wheat spaghetti or linguine
  • 1 clove garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 medium (1 1/2 pounds) skinless, boneless chicken-breast halves
  • ¼ cup rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/3 cup smooth natural peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 small kirby cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 bag (8 to 10 ounces) shredded carrots
  • 1 medium red pepper, thinly sliced
  • Cilantro or green onion for garnish
  1. Heat large covered saucepot of salted water to boiling on high. Add pasta and cook as label directs. Drain pasta. Rinse under cold running water; drain again.
  2. Meanwhile, in covered 12-inch skillet, heat garlic and 1 inch water to boiling on high. Add chicken; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook 13 to 14 minutes or until chicken loses its pink color throughout. With slotted spoon or tongs, remove chicken from skillet and place in large bowl of ice water; chill 5 minutes. Discard poaching liquid. Drain chicken; with hands, shred chicken.
  3. whisk vinegar, soy, peanut butter, ginger, and water until smooth.
  4. To bowl with peanut sauce, add drained pasta, shredded chicken, cucumber, carrots, and pepper; toss to coat. To serve, garnish with cilantro or green onion

Heartland Hippie Shortcut: if you're pressed for time, you can shred a store-bought rotisserie chicken (aim for free-range if possible, and remove the skin)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Yogurt. Plain and Simple

Did you know that plain low-fat yogurt is a great healthy substitute for many not-so-healthy recipe add-ins (ie; sour cream)? I discovered this while making a box of Annie's Organic Mac and Cheese. They suggest substituting yogurt for butter/milk, so I decided to try it, and it was great! Since then I've used it  in many pasta dishes, casseroles, and dressings. It's lower in calories and fat and gives you an extra protein boost.

What's so great about yogurt anyway? 
The following are the top benefits of yogurt according to WebMD: 
1. May help prevent Osteoporosis
2. May reduce risk of high blood pressure
3. Yogurt with active cultures helps the gut (AKA live bacteria)

4. May discourage vaginal infections

5. May help you feel fuller

To sweeten plain yogurt for eating "plain":
* 2 T jam of choice (I use Trader Joes Organic reduced sugar strawberry preserves),1T Flaxmeal
* 1 T honey and 1 T flaxmeal, top w/frozen berries of choice

Yogurt Coupons and Recipes:

For More Information:

Friday, October 8, 2010

Friday Night Lite - "Healthy" cookies that actually taste good!

Happy Friday! Today's Friday Night Lite comes from my family's favorite cookie recipe. I've been perfecting this recipe for a few years, and have come up with what I think is a pretty darn good "healthy" cookie. So, grab your apron and let's bake.

Jenny B's Whole Wheat Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies


1 C Whole Wheat Flour
1/2 t soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 c brown sugar
1/2 t cinnamon
2 T Flaxmeal
2 T butter
1/2 c honey
1 egg
1/4 C Applesauce 
1/2 t vanilla
2 C oats
1/2 C dark choc chips (I use Ghirardelli 60% Cocoa)
Optional: Walnuts
Optional: 2 T Cocoa Powder


mix dry ingredients
mix wet ingredients
bake @350 about 9 min. Key is to not over bake

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Organic in a BIG Box

   First let me start out by saying that it's always healthier for your body, the environment, and the local economy to buy locally or homegrown whenever possible. However, for many reasons this can't always be done, and many people don't realize how many organic offerings are available at places like Costco.
     Below is a list of a few key staples I usually purchase at Costco along with their approximate savings.
Product Costco Price Avg. Grocery Store Price Savings
Org. Whole Milk 8.99/3 half gal 3.5/one half gal $1.50
Org. Mixed Greens 4.29/2 lbs 2.99/1 lb $1.70
Org. Butter 6.99/two-4 packs 4.99/one 4-pack $3.00
Org WW Bread 4.99/2 big loaves 2.99/loaf $1.00
Uncured Bacon 10/Three packs 4.50/pack $3.50
Org. Half and Half 2.99/half gal 2/pint $5.00
Total Savings: $15.70. And who doesn't like a good bargain?!
You may be thinking "I don't want three cartons of milk-it goes bad before I can drink it." Fret not; organic milk stays fresh much longer than conventional. 

Friday, October 1, 2010

Friday Night Lite- Whole Wheat Pizza Dough

     Last weeks Friday Night Lite was such a hit, I've decided to make it a recurring "event".  This Friday's dinner? Homemade Pizza with whole wheat flax dough. This week we did chicken sausage and onion pizza. Get creative with your toppings and sauces! If you need some inspiration I've included a list below of some of the pizza's we've made in our household along with the recipe for our crust.

Chicken Sausage, Onion
Pesto, Feta, Artichoke, Garlic

Caprese Pizza with Red Sauce
Sausage, Bell Pepper, Onion, Mushroom

Deep Dish Pepperoni

Additional Pizzas:

Veggie Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Mexican Pizza, Chicken Pesto Pizza

Special Note: I always use organic or homemade sauce, organic chicken, and NO NITRATE or Preservative sausage/pepperoni.

00% Whole Wheat and Flax Pizza Dough

1 packet dry active yeast
3/4 cup warm water
2 cups 100% whole wheat flour
1 T Flaxmeal
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons olive oil + more to rub on bowl
1/2 teaspoon salt (I sometimes also season w/garlic powder, and oregano)

1. Mix yeast and ¼ cup warm water (and 1 tsp sugar, molasses or honey) and let sit until foamy and doubled in size (about 10 minutes). 
2. When yeast is ready, stir in the remaining water, olive oil and honey. Mix into flour and knead to create a dough (You may need to add a bit more flour if dough is too sticky).
3. Place in an olive oil-rubbed bowl and cover. Let rise for 2-3 hours. Then refrigerate. (it is easier to work with the dough if it’s chilled a bit)

Creating your crust:
The dough will make two large thin crusts, or one thick crust. The whole grain flavor can overwhelm the toppings, so pick thin vs. thick accordingly. 
1. Form the dough into ball(s). 
2. On a flat surface sprinkled with loose flour or corn meal, press down in the middle of the ball to make a bowl. 
3. Do your best to make a circle.
      Thick crust: use your fingers to flatten outward from the middle.

      Thin crust: use a rolling pin.

4. Transfer to pan and poke some holes with a fork to prevent air bubbles. 

*Add sauce and toppings, and lightly brush uncovered crust with olive oil.