Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Hippie-Dippy Granola Mom.

I should have realized I was skipping down this road when we started out this whole, raw, juicing, unprocessed food thing.  I am officially one of those moms that makes kids homemade granola bars because there's too many preservatives, sugar, and unpronouncable chemicals.  Plus, and this may be oversharing, but my kids are poop hoarders.  Let me explain.

They both have hereditary bowel problems; they don't poop for a week and then they howl while passing a fencepost. It's horrible, just horrible.  About a year ago we started giving them Miralax in their milk with dinner, and now they are just regular gals.  However, it's always really bothered me that we tried what should naturally work (no dairy/bananas/breads, tons of fruit and veggies) and nothing worked except giving them this "polyether compound with many applications from industrial manufacturing to medicine."  Really?  Industrial manufacturing?  I can't believe this stuff is sold for consumption.  So tonight I looked for a granola recipe. 

I found a recipe for Healthy Nut-Free Granola Bars on SweetGirlConfections.com.  Instead of using a 9 x 13 pan, I made a double batch and used a jelly roll pan.  They turned out beautifully.

I omitted the brown sugar entirely, and I didn't have any wheat germ.  I used 3/4 cup organic dried cranberries instead of 1/2 cup raisins and 1/4 cup cranberries.  Instead of butter I used melted coconut oil.  I also threw in a tablespoon or two of poppy seeds, and a couple of tablespoons of millet, for crunch.

Homemade high-fiber granola bars is one half of the equation.  The other half is what Miralax actually does:  it holds water in the stool and that's what softens it and helps move it along, which acts like peristalsis in moving material along in the bowel.  Water is the other component of this experiment.  I plan on being Nazi Poop Patrol every morning and make them drink 8 ounces of water as soon as they wake up, before they can watch TV.  Then they need to drink another 8 ounces with their breakfast granola bar.  Jess can take one to school for snack, or she can take her usual snack of an apple or carrot and celery sticks.  In the evening, they need to drink 8 ounces of water before dinner, and if they choose to have a granola bar after dinner, they need to drink 8 ounces of water with that as well.  Since they only get dessert on Tuesdays and Fridays, I am thinking they'll jump at the chance of any sort of treat after dinner every night.  Especially ones that look as inviting as these, right?

I hope this regimen, along with our new habit of having a big green salad before "real dinner" (per Jessica) every night, and using more whole grains and vegetables and less meat in our "real dinner", will have some real effect on their digestive problems.

Here's hopin' for poopin'.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Our first quinoa recipe. Success!

On Sunday I was looking through one of the blogs I like to read, The Healthy Foodie.  She seems like a nice, down-to-earth person, and she takes way better pictures of food than I do. 

While browsing through her recipes, I came upon one for Quinoa Cakes and Poached Eggs.  Oh my.  Be still my heart!  I love poached eggs, and there's nothing finer than whole wheat toast breaking open an over-easy yolk.  We'll definitely try that some Sunday soon.

However, we were looking for recipes for weeknight dinners, so we decided to put the quinoa cakes on top of big green salads, with avocado, cucumber, red peppers, tomatoes, sliced almonds, paper-thin discs of radish, and a drizzling of Lime Ginger Dressing

The quinoa cakes called for bread crumbs.  Using our delicious homemade bread crumbs instead of the sawdust-textured store-bought variety was a very satisfying feeling.  For the cheese, we used a few ounces of gouda.

The quinoa cakes were fried in about 2 T. EVOO, and the recipe made nine 4-inch cakes.


I changed the dressing recipe up a bit.  I grated the fresh ginger, and omitted the garlic.  I substituted honey for the sugar, and 2 T. EVOO + 1 T. garlic grapeseed oil instead of the vegetable oil.  I also added a splash of white wine vinegar.  We had both jalapenos and jicama on hand, so I added both.  Then I blended the whole lot in a bullet-style processor.

Now that I've written up all the changes I made to the dressing, I see that I probably created an entirely different dressing in the end.  Well, either way, it was very good.  I picked it originally because I was looking for a dressing with both sweet and tart components, to play opposite the slightly salty flavor of the cheese in the cakes, and the comparably unctuous, crunchy fried crust.  All of those qualities were also complimented beautifully by the big chunks of avocado, and the sharp bite of radish.

The quinoa cakes were so satisfying.  The crunch, the flavor, the texture, the warmth, were all perfect pairings with the fresh crispy romaine and tender spring greens.  Definitely a winner!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

The Farmers Taft

My but we are embracing the agrarian lifestyle lately.  Farmer Taft is preparing for spring, and lustfully thumbing through seed catalogs.  He mentioned to me yesterday that he is thinking about sprouting his own seeds this spring using peat sprouting trays.  I think he said that the tray itself with 30 peat sprout containers was $50, and the peat refills for the tray were $20 for 30. 

I reminded him of the magazine cover I pointed out at the grocery store a few weeks ago that showed little sprouts coming up out of an eggshell.  So today when we made quiches for lunch we saved the eggshells. 

I guess the thing to remember is when you're planting your little sprouts (shell and all), just make sure to crush it a bit so the roots have an easier time getting through to the soil.

Saturday I had some time to myself, so I went to Slow Pokes in Grafton to check it out.  I found some organic raw milk cheese, grass-fed organic beef, and better prices on raw cacao and coconut oil than I'd found online.  The produce and meat are all local.  For example, the beef I got came from Kay's HomeFarm Meats, just outside of Cedarburg.  I'm very happy to have found this wonderful, reasonably-priced source for local organic produce and meats. 

Saturday night I decided to try out a raw recipe, so I checked out Ani Phyo's Raspberry Ganache fudge Cake video on YouTube.  Here's the recipe, and here's the pics. 

Richard's summation:  "This is GOOD.  Wow.  You could take this up north and they'd never know it wasn't just a flourless cake, that it was raw."

Pretty high praise, that you could fool the folks up north!

One last project this weekend was to take the breads out of the freezer that I'd been saving to make bread crumbs, and actually make the bread crumbs.  I used two lovely rustic-style loaves from a local bakery that we hadn't been able to eat before they got stale.  I let them thaw, and cut them up into cubes before putting them on a cookie sheet and drying them in the oven at 300 degrees for about 25 minutes.  After a few spins in the food processor, I ended up with a 3-cup container of high-quality bread crumbs that will be part of some lovely home-cooked dish in the future.