22 Aug

Taste of Summer

Today I felt it was a good idea to share a recipe from my collection, I get recipes from various sources and this one is a favorite.

Corn fritters are a favorite in my house and this recipe gives them a kick in the pants! Get your hands on some fresh GMO free, organic corn and go to town!

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Spicy Corn Cakes with Smoked Cheese and Chilies

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

1/2 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 medium -size red onion, diced, about 1 cup

Salt

3 ears of organic corn, shaved of kernels, about 3 cups kernels

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 or 3 organic jalapeno chilies, seeded and thinly sliced

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 pastured eggs, separated

1/2 pound ricotta cheese, about 1 cup
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1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup unbleached white flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 ounces smoked cheese or a good pepper jack, grated, about 3/4 cup

Olive oil for the pan

Directions:

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet; add the onion and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Saute over

medium heat until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the corn and the cayenne; saute for about 5

minutes,

until the corn is tender. Add the chiles and lemon juice to the warm corn, transfer to a bowl,

and allow the mixture to cool.

2. Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. In a medium-size bowl, combine the egg yolks, ricotta,

and milk. Stir in the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and the baking powder, then add the smoked

cheese.

Stir the corn mixture into this, then fold in the egg whites.

3. Lightly oil the skillet over medium-high heat, and spoon the batter into it, making 3-inch

cakes. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side, until the cakes are lightly browned.

Keep warm in a low oven until all are cooked. Serve immediately with Fresh Tomato Salsa.

Fresh Tomato Salsa

Makes about 2 cups

1/4 cup diced red onion

Champagne vinegar, or vinegar of choice

1 pound ripe organic tomatoes, cored, seeded, and chopped

2 or more organic jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely diced

2 tablespoons coarsely chopped organic cilantro

salt and pepper

Toss the onion, tomatoes, chilies, and 1/4 salt together. Season to taste with salt and vinegar.

Gently stir in the chopped cilantro. Serve at room temperature.

 

Enjoy!

03 Aug

Dying to be Cute and Trendy

Since the birth of my grandson, I have become much more aware of the way baby and kids products have changed since my children were small. Some of the information I come across is genuinely disturbing and my goal is to educate  moms and grandma’s about the dangers that are now present everywhere.

When I was a kid many times my toys were second hand and you know, they never killed me. My mom gave them a gentle washing and cleaned them up to live a new life in my hands. Nowadays though the Goodwill, Yard Sales and the SalVal are growing due to economical issues in the American family,  there may be another reason to look at some of the pre-loved wares offered and think about what I am about to tell you.

One of the publications I swear by is Acres, USA…this book is “The Premiere Voice on Agriculture” but offers a host of news bits that apply to a diverse market. 

Order it right here http://www.acresusa.com/magazines/magazine.htm

In this months isses 2 things popped out to me, the first about lipstick, the staple in every womans bag and in any color of the rainbow these days, but I beg you to pause before you pucker. Researchers at the University of California tested 32 different lipsticks and lip glosses commonly found in stores. They found a plethera of not so pretty things…lead, cadmium, chromium, aluminum and 5 other metals that raise a cause for health concerns. Researchers at UC Berkley estimated the risks by analyzing the concentration of metals and and a consumers daily intake with the existing health guidelines for human consumption. I quote, “Just finding the metals is not the concern, it is the levels, some could pose long term health effects” says Investigator Katherine Hammond.
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Ladies, we suffer to be pretty to the point of making ourselves sick and torturing our bodies. I worry about our culture of women who are not made aware of the caution that should be applied to products. It takes seconds for your skin, the largest organ in your body to absorb the toxins in products that you slather on daily. Most loaded with uneccesary trash that sickens us.

Visit http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ to check what you use, you may be very suprised.

Between that and the deception of GMO’s in our food,  my vision is this….painted, plastic, beautiful people in lovely gowns eating from a dumpster rotting from the inside out. Gross?  it is… but it fits what is happening!

Further in the editorial is where I really get fired up, this involes those adorable little people in our homes that steal our hearts and offer us a hope for tomorrow.

More than 5,000 childrens products contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption and reproductive problems according to reports filed with the Washington State Department of Ecology.

An analysis of the reports by the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States found that the makers of kids products reported using a total of 41 chemicals identified as a health concern that includes toxic metals. Listed were cadmium, mercury, and phthlates. The major Retailers listed are Wal Mart (go figure), Gap, Gymboree, Hallmark and H &M.

Shame, Shame, Shame on all of you!

Tell me who on God’s green earth allowed this? As parents we should be outraged! Would you buy your small child a science kit that contained chemicals  and say here play with this and go ahead put it in your mouth.
Here is another great piece that drives my point home….

http://www.rodalenews.com/childrens-products-and-safety?cm_mmc=TheDailyFixNL-_-1291390-_-05132013-_-Whats_Lurking_In_Your_Childs_Toybox

Babies and small toddlers are forming new cells and making connections in their budding little brains on a daily basis. What if you are introducing a chemical compound that may alter the way that naturally occurs? My personal belief is the rise in ADHD and pshychological problems in children is largely in part to what is largely accepted in our culture. Just because it is on TV or it made it onto a store shelf does it mean it has a safety seal.

We know from Prop 37http://www.carighttoknow.org that the food industry allowed Genetically engineered foods to be put into mainstream food products that are consumed daily by all ages with not so much as a nod back in the 90’s. When I finally watched the documentary “Seeds of Deception” http://seedsofdeception.com and gained an understanding of how marketing and media tied this process up with a bow for the American public I was downright mad.

Hence my decision to opt for organic, whole foods and eliminate as much of that garbage as I could. When I found out about my Lyme and realized my immune system needed to heal I began to read about Clean Eating. I’ve talked about Alejandro Junger MD before and his book “Clean” is my second Bible. I detoxed, a few times, and I am not done yet….my body tells me there is more to be done, I felt the effects of all of the things I have exposed myself to, mostly pharmaceuticals, beauty products and GMO foods.

Extreme? Not really…. what is extreme to me is the fact that the leading toy companies are hand in hand putting chemical into kids products that are not labeled as containing toxic material.  Extreme to me is altering the genetic makeup of an ear of corn and marketing it as safe when research shows genetically modified foods cause large freakish tumors in rats.

Seek out your food as close to the source as you can find it, ideally you can pick it from your unsprayed garden and carry to your kitchen. Or sign up to get our list of local, organic foods and try something new. There is a clear health benefit to the avoidance of GMO Foods, pesticide laden fruits and veggies and raw foods.

If you are curious, here is a resource http://www.beyondpesticides.org/organicfood/health/

So that is my contrubution to the betterment of our lives for today. I too am learning as I go so don’t take this as a hand smack, consider it a warm, gentle hug from someone who cares and wants you (and your kids) to be the healthiest you can be.

Blessings….

 

 

 

 

Featured at the Homestead Bloggers Network

02 Aug

Keep Calm and Make Pizza

It has been a nutty last few weeks, cloudy head and achy body rule sometimes and blogging falls to the wayside.

But as I feel better I wander to my favorite place, my kitchen, and find my heart there. There is nothing more I love than putting love into food by using the best ingredients and taking time to do it right. I post photos of my creations to Facebook which always prompts a request for recipes so here we go at last….

You will need time, all good things take time so start your dough early, this also will refrigerate for 1 day but no longer.

Pizza Crust

In a small bowl, mix 1/4 c. warm water, 1 tsp. raw sugar or rapadura, and 1/2 tsp active dry yeast (I love Hodgson Mill) stir it up well. In another small bowl, mix 3/4 cup warm water, 2 tbsp. olive oil and 1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar (I use organic of both)

In a large bowl combine 2 1/2 c. flour, 1/4 c whole-wheat flour and 1 tsp kosher salt, mix it up, create a well in the center and add the liquids. (I also use organic flours)

Using a wooden spoon, stir and bring the flour in from the edges until a soft shaggy dough forms. Add more water if needed. Turn out onto a floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes. Form a ball and place it into an oiled bowl in a draft free place covered by a damp towel, let it raise for about 2 hours.

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Place back on floured surface, and divide in half, there will be enough for 2 pizzas. Flatten into a circle and place on oiled pan, pizza stone or a pizza peel with cornmeal. Stretch to shape of pan or stone and top with your yummy stuff.

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Bake at 450 for 10 to 15 minutes, use bottom rack of oven for crispier crust.
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The usual fare is a red sauce that begins simply, if I have my own tomatoes it just that with olive oil, garlic and herbs simmered a good long while. In a pinch a can of organic tomato paste, 3 cans of water, season to taste with parsley, oregano, dried onion flakes, salt, pepper and basil. I’m not fussy and I let my creative juices flow!

Variations that are favorites in my house are not just regular pizza but Buffalo Chicken and Garlic Parmesean Chicken…not hard at all, read onward and don’t be scared!

I start with chicken breasts, 2 nice sized organically raised, in olive oil which I season with salt and pepper and saute them. If you have pre-cooked chicken that is fine, if I roast one of our pastured hens I save some just for this, usually about 2 cups of meat.

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When it is done , I tear it up, shred it into smaller pieces and set aside.

For the Buffalo Chicken Pizza, take a saucepan and put 2 tbsp of butter and about a cup of Franks original Hot Sauce or homemade if you dare (not hard either), melt the butter and mix well, add the cooked chicken and let it simmer a minute or two.

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Place this all over your crust and top with mozzarella cheese.

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Bake until crust browns and toppings are bubbly. Before serving I drizzle homemade ranch dressing or bleu cheese over the pizza.

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One other is the Garlic Parmesean Pizza, for this one you will also need 2 cups of cooked chicken.

Melt 1 tbsp butter in a large saucepan and saute 8 chgopped cloves of fresh organic garlic for about a minute. Add in 2tbsp flour to make a roux and mix well, cook about 1 minute. Slowly, whish in 1/2 cup milk ( I use raw from pastured cows) and 1/4 c organic half and half, then mix in 1/2 tsp black pepper. Cook for a few minutes until it thickness, whisk often. Remove from heat and mix in 1/2 cup chredded parmesean cheese.

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Top your dough with this sauce, add the shredded chicken and 1/4 cup diced red onion, finish off with about a cup of mozzarella cheese.

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Bake at 450 until crust is golden and cheese is melted. (10 to 15 minutes) Sprinkle with 1 tbsp fresh parsel, 1 tsp fresh thyme and 1/2 tsp dried orgegano before you serve it!

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2 words….Absolute Heaven!

Now I can’t leave you hanging without dessert…I take advantage of some local “in season” fruits. For me in NE PA were are blessed with an orchard that has been in place for generations doing it right and using the right techniques such as mating disruption and minimal invasive practices.  It is K. Schlegel Fruit Farm in Dalmatia, I cannot give them enough props!

http://www.localharvest.org/k-schlegel-fruit-farm-M16636

The recipe is for a Peach and Blueberry Buckle…my thoughts are that peaches and blueberries should get married and always be together, perfect pair!

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together 1 3/4 cups organic flour, 2 tsp. aluminum free baking powder, and 1/2 tsp sea salt.

In separate bowl, beat 1 stick organic room temperature butter, with 1/2 cup raw honey (or 1 cup raw  or rapadura sugar) on high until fluffy about 3 minutes. Add 1 room temperature pastured egg and 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract.

Reduce speed to low and add half the flour and 1/4 cup sour cream, then the rest of the flour and another 1/4 cup sour cream. (I use Daisy or Cabot, no Bovine Growth Hormones) and remaining flour. Mix well at every addition.

Lastly fold in 4 cups of ripe fresh peaches and 1 pint of ripe blueberries. (*note: if you cannot get to clean fruit that is not pesticide free, soak your fruit in a dilution of 1/2  vinegar to 10 cups water and scrub) Read more here: http://whfoods.org/genpage.php?tname=dailytip&dbid=372

Don’t worry if it seems you have alot of fruit, it will all form up. Here is what mine looked like before baking.

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And after…

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Heaven in a dish!

I used honey as I avoid sugar, and I can say the sweetness of the fruit made up for anything lacking in the batter.

I hope you all enjoy…

Blessings,

Marla

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