Make Tea Not War

I love autumn but I hate all the warm, cold, warm, cold, warm, cold confusion. It just wreaks havoc on our immune systems in this house. We have one kid with a cough, one kid with the sniffles, one who is exhausted and one who is, well he is a teenager. Finally today I declared war on seasonal change! And by war I mean I made tea. Here is what I made.
All quantities are eyeball estimates of volume and not weight. The highly complex reason for this is that I am a busy woman and eyeballing is just fine for this. Don’t judge my imprecision! How much measuring do you do when you make tea?

2 oz broken up cinnamon sticks
6 oz hibiscus flowers
4 oz elderberry flowers
4 oz rosehip

Dump it all into a quart size mason jar and shake till well mixed. It will be about half empty. You can add more herbs to fill it if you want, I just like having space to easily blend.
Scoop about an ounce into a quart size mason jar, add boiling water to fill.
Allow to steep until some child comes in complaining or coughing or asking for a tissue.
This may be 8 minutes or 8 hours, both are fine. One is stronger than the other but both have major benefit.
Strain out the infusion. Add water if it is too strong. And raw local honey if you must get it sweetened in order to attain .. compliance, as they call it. It should be yummy so they chug it and ask for more, but too much sugar (yes even honey counts) is not good for the immune system. You know your audience, make your decision for them.
I also sometimes add a cup of the strong (~ 8 hour) infusion to a pitcher of water and put it on the table for dinner, it is always gone by the end of the meal.
Enjoy! Be well!

Refreshing electrolyte drink for summer that kids love – recipe by Ora

What to do, we don’t have soda in the house, and straight juice doesn’t happen either, but sometimes friends come over who aren’t accustomed to drinking water. I have discovered that being a house with good snacks and drinks is an important thing. Apparently carrot sticks, hummus and water don’t make you the house to visit. This little bevy recipe seems to meet some needs. It’s not as sweet as what they are used to, but it is very quenching, and so it is fun to watch them drink it all up when you can see that they are not sure why they want it. Hey we have to get our kicks somehow.h

  • 1 cup pomegranate juice (fresh or bottle)
  • Juice of one lemon or lime
  • 3 cups good clean water (or carbonated water to make it extra fun)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or raw honey
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon good quality salt (like celtic or pink himalayan)

Mix, refrigerate, serve on a hot summer day. You may want to double the batch.

How to Make Green Eggs That Your Kids Will Love

Last week my childrenʼs school celebrated Dr. Seussʼs birthday. In the kindergarten class they made green eggs by mixing spinach with eggs. My 5 year old who had been refusing eggs for months came home asking for green eggs. I wasnʼt there when they made it at school so I winged it.

I filled the container with fresh spinach and then added 3 eggs. I use organic extra large. I then sczoozced them together.

photo 1 (7) photo 2 (6)

photo 2 (5)photo 1 (6)

I heated my trusty cast iron frying pan, added a pat of good quality butter, spread it around the pan and added the green mixture and cooked it just like regular scrambled eggs.

I called it “green eggs in a pan” … get it? Green Eggs and Ham… green eggs in a pan…? My 5 year old didnʼt get it either, she said “No! Itʼs just called green eggs!” Ok, we can call it whatever you want.

Served it with tomato salsa and a size of frozen cherries.

Why frozen cherries? She wanted frozen cherries, what can I say.

This was a super easy way to get some protein, iron, B vitamins, and fiber into my kid with a bout 5 minutes of cooking time. My kind of instant gratification.

photo 3 (2) Green Eggs

Toss in and walk away broccoli rabe and baby zuchini weekday dinner!

Ora's Amazing Herbal

Got your attention didn’t I? That gorgeous brilliant green in a setting of rustic homey and wholesome cast iron did it. Well I hate to tell you, this is no knock out recipe. Since our business has been growing, I have been finding myself taking the softer easier way when it comes to food prep. I suppose my background in holistic nutrition and whole foods preparation makes my easier softer way meal look like a gourmet meal compared to a Wacky Mac  kitchen adventure, but still I feel the need to confess last nights dinner. I put it all in the oven and walked away to “do homework with kids”. Translation: play with essential oils so finalize next product formula by deadline while yelling from my home office “Stop goofin around and do your homework!”

Preheat oven to 425.

Salmon, picked up from fish store on way home from driving carpool. Midpiece, 2 #. Not the tail, it’s dry. Put in baking dish, slice across 3-4 times to allow seasoning in, pour on some soy sauce, maple syrup, garlic powder and squeeze 1/2 lemon on it. Plop in oven.

Red potatoes. (Organic important) Wash, put in baking dish, cover with lid or foil. Plop in oven.

And now the moment you have all been waiting for.

Broccoli rabe and baby zucchini. Open package of broccoli rabe, run water over it while checking for aphids, this season, not aphids so far. Place in cast iron skillet. Cut open package of baby zucchini. Fill package with water and drain repeatedly 2-3 times or until emotionally secure that we can pretend its been really washed. Place in pan with broccoli rabe. Peel a few cloves garlic and put them is. Sprinkle some sea salt.  Drizzle some olive oil. Shmoosh around with fingers. Plop in oven . Walk away.

Come back when it all smells good.

Run some water over some organic (tomatoes are on the dirty dozen now) grape tomatoes and pour into a bowl.

Bring out some organic butter and sour creme if desired for potatoes.

There! I made a multicolor fresh meal and spent 10 minutes in the kitchen.

Hey, maybe we’re not doing so bad after all.

I really don’t like that toothfeeling of biting into eggplant

So I cooked this stuff so well that you almost can’t tell it’s eggplant. Oh and I added more oil than I will ever admit. Hey it was extra virgin olive at least! This is 2 eggplants, olive oil (probably a cup), lemon juice of 3 lemons, paprika about a tablespoon or 2, tomato paste/sauce (it’s that Israeli one that’s sort of in between, 1/4 cup water, garlic, and cilantro and dill.

all mixed up in a bowl.

and roasted to high heaven, I garnished it will parley to make it look as yummy as it really is

see it glistening with oil? YUMmmm

And we are going to eat it on this fresh whole wheat bread, well I’m not goig to eat it because I’m GF but everyone else will. I use this amazing flour

http://www.amazon.com/Great-River-Organic-Milling-Unbleached/dp/B0049YMAII/ref=sr_1_9?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1380924903&sr=1-9

Did I do that right?  I’m new to this.

Yummy Swiss Chard Recipe (It’s A Superfood) And Why You Don’t Need A Knife Like They Are Showing In This Photo!

Everyone loves a good user friendly but super healthy recipe. This is simple and so yummy it disappears. You may want to double it. Here we go. My mother in law hates raisins but I forgot and put raisins in the pan but she didn’t even notice because they just cooked down so nicely in this dish. AND she made my father in law try it because it was so yummy. Ok so here it is, fresh from my awake and blogging even though I should be fast asleep form of memory. More importantly this is a delicious and full of super immune boosting foods recipe. Everything should be organic when possible and not organic when you are just too busy to make it all the way to the farmers market or co-op  or too broke and feeding too many people to pull it off anymore. Hey, we’ve all been there.

1 bunch swiss chard
1/2 bulb fresh garlic (not a 1/2 clove, 1/2 bulb, so that’s lots of garlic)
2 Tablespoons butter or maybe a little more let’s be honest here
1 teaspoon good quality salt
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (I used raw but toasted is fine too)
1/4 cup raisins (these really should be organic, grapes are heavily sprayed)
1 oz water
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1-2 (really just filled the cap and poured so its about 1 1/2 teaspoons) pomegranate concentrate, or honey if you are fresh out of this staple ingredient

Wash and de-stem the chard saving the stems. You do not have to spend an hour de-stemming the chard like they are presumable doing in the photo that I put with this post. All you do is hold the stem end of the chard leaf in one hand (your right hand if you are a righty ) and with the other hand rip off the leafy part. Start where the leaf begins and just slide your hand up the leaf ripping it off the stem. 2 second action. Quite satisfying too. The next part you do need a knife for though.

Chop the leafy part of the chard roughly and place in a bowl. Chop the stems as thin as you have patience for. Pause to cut a kiwi in half, get a spoon, and give it to the toddler so she will keep her fingers off the cutting board.

Peel and chop the garlic.

Use a good pan. Do not use toxic nonstick, get yourself a good ol cast iron pan. You will be glad you did.

Heat the pan gently on like 2 or 3 heat level or low/med. Add the butter and garlic. Let them cook gently till definitely not raw but not brown. Add sesame seeds, give them a few minutes to sort of fry and brown a little, then salt and chard stems. Allow to cook until stems have softened. No one loves to chew chard stems all night. Add raisins, water, chard leaves, balsamic. Let it cook down stirring every few minutes. You want the balsamic to cook down a bit and everything a little shmooshkaly but still kind of chewy so it has a satisfying bite. When you think its almost done, add the pomegranate concentrate. Be careful, it burns easily, mix it in well and cook a minute or 2 more.
There. You made Swiss Chard for dinner. And everyone loved it! Good job, you totally rock.

Ice Cream for Breakfast?!

I just gave my kids ice cream for breakfast!

What kind of nutritionist are you, you ask?

Check it out:

As usually, be forewarned, all quantities are guesstimates, but are actually surprisingly accurate. 

  • one bag frozen organic strawberries 
  • one bag frozen organic berry mix (cherries, blueberries, raspberries) 
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup
    (You can always increase this if it doesnʼt come out sweet
    enough, but donʼt underestimate the suggestive power of a frozen fruity treat, especially with the vanilla aroma. Try it with just a little sweetener first, less is better for the immune system and so on.) 
  • 2 cups organic plain yogurt.
    (I use dairy yogurt but you can use any kind of yogurt. If 
    you donʼt want to use yogurt, you can soak a cup of raw cashews overnight and put them in instead, adding water as needed to get the texture you want.)

Place all ingredients into your food pulverizing appliance of choice. Let it rip and then, when you think itʼs done, give it a few more minutes. You want it very creamy.

 

“Do all your kids eat this,” you ask?
Yes, and no. Feeding four children is proving to require some creativity when it comes to providing options.

I have one kid who only will eat one food at a time, but with very low predictability. For example, if I make rice and red lentils with greens, he may eat the lentils, may eat the rice or may eat the greens – but never all three. I have two kids who will eat all of it and one kid who will most likely not eat any of it and will cry that she is hungry but will refuse all options posed to her until I put her to bed with crackers.

No Iʼm not proud. Go figure.

So the breakfast “ice cream” option is great one because I can make one round, and then just rinse and repeat to make the custom orders. Two kids eat the above recipe, one kid will only eat it if it has mango only “and no other fruit,” and one kid will only eat it with strawberries, mango and/or cherries – but no blueberries. No worries, it stores well in the fridge, and never goes to waste.

 

Food pulverizing appliance choice considerations

When my kitchen is a total mess and I have no usable counter space, I just shove as much frozen fruit and yogurt into a quart size wide mouth mason jar as I can and use an immersion blender. Then I can just rinse off the wand and use the mason jar for serving and storing leftovers in the fridge. Itʼs easy clean up and can be done amidst even the highest levels of chaos.

This method, however, requires that you stay focused, keep all childrenʼs hands away, unplug the appliance every single time you put it down (even for a second) and excludes small children from helping with the funnest (I know this is not a word but itʼs the funnest way to say most fun) part of the whole thing. This is an important point because the more fun the food prep, the higher the chance of actual ingestion of any food.

I recently finally discovered that if I use a food processor,  I can make more at a time, and the kids can push the button. This is a plus, but requires a bit of counter space, and clean up involves a few more parts.

A blender would work too, but I find that it requires more fiddling and a little more liquid to get all the chunks processed. You donʼt want to add too much liquid because then it doesnʼt look like ice cream and you loose your key selling point.

So there you have it folks, ice cream for breakfast. Enjoy.

Nori Roll

Itʼs official. It was one of those days.

It rained all day. Our lip balm tubes decided they didn’t fit into our pouring trays, and after hours of shoving them in anyway, we realized that after we made it work, the caps would now be impossible to remove. 

Now we have to send the tubes back and it’s holding up production for at least a week. 

But regardless, the kids got hungry at dinner time. I tried to avoid this as much as possible by letting them snack on dried mango and whatever else they could. It didn’t work, though, so I heated up a big pot of chicken soup and experimental Gluten-Free kneidle I had made over the weekend. I have made very delicious GF kneidle before, but these were not it.

So they had some soup but were all still hungry. Which brings me to the point. How many last minute dinner ideas are in your cabinets?

Not enough, I bet.

Well, here is another one. Not totally guilt free, but actually not so bad. I always happen to have a pot of organic brown rice in the fridge. I probably make something that goes with rice at least once a week, so I always make a little extra. 

This way when everyone decides they want something else, we just make nori cones. 

The reason its so delish is the sauce. Now, the first time we had nori cones was at the local, awesome, Teaneck Fish Market, and the sauce was actually a complex and high quality teriyaki. This is not what I make. I just pour soy sauce and maple syrup into a bowl in about equal amounts,  sometimes I drizzle a little toasted sesame oil or olive oil in there too. Mix it up in a small bowl . Then make the nori roll.

All you do is take a sheet of nori – yes, the seaweed used to make sushi – and fold it in half so you have a rectangle. Then you roll it into a cone shape. Start with folding one corner in and roll. It may crack a little as you go but just ignore it. Remember, you are just pretending to make diner at this point but really you are just filing up those little tummies so you can get them into bed. Then while holding your nori cone, stuff it with rice, and spoon on some sauce.

My picky eater will eat 3 or 4 of these.

Now how bad is this as a dinner in the grand scheme of things? Nori is super packed with minerals, has some significant protein, anthocyanins, fiber and so on. Brown rice is at least whole grain, and gives them enough calories to make it to breakfast, has good B vitamins, and fiber and so on. Anyway, it’s no wacky mac, and it’s super quick and a sure bet in my house.

Warning: All quantities are estimates:

  • 1/4 C cooked organic brown rice
  • 1 sheet nori

Sauce
(you will have some left over unless you let your kids have a party with it)

  • 1 Tablespoon soy sauce (gluten free if you need GF)
  • 1 Tablespoon maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil 

Done! Bedtime!

Dinner: Cheaters’ Broccoli, 10-Minute Chili and More

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We eat dinner every day. When I was exclusively a stay at home mom, I always cooked.

Some green leafy veggies, some protein source, you know the drill. I would start cooking at 2:00pm every day so I could put a nutritious whole food dinner on the table before meltdown time.

Now that I am working, I must admit that the standard has changed. Do I feel guilty? YES! Some days I cook and get such happiness watching my kids eat healthy food. All is right in the world on those days. Other days I work until everyone is melting down hungry and we boil some whole grain gluten-free or whole wheat noodles – depending on who has already filled up on dried mango or pretzels for dinner (aaaaah!). On those days, I have to make a decision to forgive myself; that being a mother is not only about food.

Today was the best of both worlds! Sure, the dinner was not all grown in the garden, but it was a delicious vegan, relatively well rounded meal that everyone loved and I seriously whipped it up in 15 minutes – no joke.

I was so impressed with the outcome I decided to post it. It fed all six of us nicely, with one kid taking the leftovers for lunch in a thermos.

Cheaters broccoli

Put oven on broil.

Open a bag of frozen organic broccoli florets.

Dump it on a baking sheet.

Drizzle a small amount of olive oil and good quality salt and mix.

Place in oven at bottom of oven, away from the flame – you donʼt want to burn the oil.

Let it roll for about 5 minutes depending on your oven. I like to let it brown a teeny tiny bit.

Dump into a bowl.

Put in a big spoon. 

Done!

10 minute chili (I admit I used canned beans and sauce but at least I didnʼt just order a pizza)

Everything is organic which is GMO free (supposedly) and BPA free cans so keep those eyebrows down all you crunchy yoga moms!

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

one large onion, diced as ine as you have patience for

pinch of good salt

2 cloves garlic, roughly sliced

3 cans organic black beans, drained sort of

1 can organic tomato sauce (BPA free can)

1 bag frozen organic corn 

2 Tablespoons organic molasses

1 teaspoon cumin

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon dried oregano 

[disclaimer: all spice measurements are estimates; I didn’t really measure]

Heat a large pot at medium, add olive oil, and onion. Stir every so often till transluscent.

Add garlic after onion gets translucent, let it go till onions are slightly browned but not burnt. Add everything else, stir every so often in between stopping to yell at kids to come set the table, and checking other kids homework, so nothing burns.

Cook till bubbly. Done.

 

Cut open avocados, cut into cubes, put in bowl. Sprinkle with a little good fine salt. 

Squirt some lemon juice. Mix.

Done.

Cube some nice fresh tomatoes. Put in bowl.

Sprinkle some garlic powder and tiny pinch of salt. Mix.

Done!!!!!

I served it with some taco shells and some whole grain wraps on the table so everyone could make what they wanted out of it. Itʼs a nondairy, gluten free, vegan meal but some kids ate it with cheese and some went and got some plain yogurt to garnish, which is nice for the probiotics.

Rockin!