raw apple pie

Thanksgiving Recipe Roundup

Wondering what to make for Thanksgiving dinner? Here are a few tried-and-true ideas…many of which I’ll be making for my own family next week! I’ll also be making a pumpkin custard (pumpkin pie without the crust), as well as a pumpkin/cream cheese fruit dip. Mmmm! You can look for those posts after the holiday! In the meantime, maybe some of these will give you inspiration!

Curried Butternut Squash Soup – This soup is creamy, with a combination of sweet and savory. Really good with some crumbled bacon and slices of mild cheese melting on top!
butternut squash soup

Maple-Cider Sweet Potatoes – this is my absolute favorite sweet potato recipe! So good. Sweet potatoes sprinkled with cinnamon and pecans, dotted with butter, and then drizzled all over with a mix of spiced cider and maple syrup. Mmmm! A real crowd pleaser
Maple Cider Sweet Potatoes

Herbed Corn - this is another Thanksgiving staple in my home. The sweet corn, creamy butter, and savory herbs all go together perfectly in this side dish!
herbed corn

Whole Grain Honey Cornbread - Looking for an alternative to bready stuffing? Perhaps this cornbread will fit the bill instead!
Whole Grain Honey Cornbread

Creamy Balsamic Vinaigrette – How about a holiday salad of spinach and greens, pomegranatet seeds, and walnuts? This simple, delicious dressing goes perfectly with any salad.
dressing

Stewed Apples with Nut Streusel – This could be a perfect dessert alternative for those who can’t tolerate any sweetener at all, or could be simply another side dish!
apples

Raw Apple Pie – This pie is sweetened only with fruit, and so is safe even for the most inflammatory-sensitive person!! You can change it up and add things too – like cranberries, or nuts, or other fruits.
raw apple pie

Ginger-Molasses Muffin Tops – These use dates to substitute for some of the sweetener, leaving a fluffy, pillow-like, spicy dessert that’s something between cookies and muffins!
gingerbread muffin tops

Frozen Mexican Hot Chocolate – How about ice cream?! This chocolate ice cream is jazzed up with a pinch of cinnamon. Perfect for this time of year!
chocolate ice cream

Hot Cranberry-Cider Swizzle - I serve this every Thanksgiving and Christmas! It’s a great drink to have waiting hot, in the crock pot, for people to drink while they wait for dinner to be ready!
Hot Cranberry Cider Swizzle

liver

Liver Pills (or, How To Eat Liver If You Think It’s Gross)

Liver.

For more than a year, I’ve had a liver sitting in my freezer. I got it as part of my meat share, from a grass-fed cow raised on a local farm. It’s just been sitting there, a big lump wrapped in butcher paper, getting in the way of the food I actually want to eat. I finally shoved it down into the darkest, deepest corner of the freezer to get it out of the way, and tried to forget about it.

But, I never really did forget about it, because I knew that it was good for me. Like..super, duper, one-of-the-best-foods-a-person-could-eat good for me. Liver is one of the best sources of iron, as well as Vitamin A and all the B vitamins (B-12 in particular), and a mysterious “anti-fatigue” element that dramatically increases energy and stamina. Surely, I had to find a way to get this stuff into my body.

But every time I thought about it, I just shuddered and then quickly shoved the thought into the same deep, dark corner in which the liver was languishing in my freezer. I just couldn’t face it.

Well, folks, I finally faced it. Two weeks ago, knowing that my health is still on the mend from adrenal fatigue and that I needed extra support with winter coming on, I decided I should take advantage of the wonder-food I had hidden in my freezer. I recalled an article I read once about someone turning their liver into easy-to-palate frozen liver pills – things you could just pop in your mouth and swallow down with juice. So I thought, “I can do that,” and set out to transform my lump of scary organ into something I could imagine putting in my body.

Continue reading

IMG_2866

Long Absences, Trips to China, and Adrenal Fatigue

I’ve been gone a long time. I know! My last post was waaaay back on June 28, which is an eternity ago in blogging years!

So here’s what happened: My family and I went to China in August. And the preparation for that took over every millimeter of brain space for the entire month of July so blogging completely went out the window. And then I got back and kind of became a raving lunatic in the grips of adrenal fatigue. (That picture up there really just sums up how I felt for about 2 months). But more about that later.

First, it was an amazing trip! We went to volunteer with an organization called Evergreen. Evergreen runs a camp for children and youth in the summer called Joy in the Journey, a place where they can practice English and also just have a break from the intense academic pressure that’s put on Chinese kids. My husband is friends with the man who is in charge of that camp, and so we were excited to go help! We taught English, helped cook, led activities, learned some Mandarin, and forged relationships. And we got to see the Great Wall! As a mother, it was completely satisfying to see the impact the trip had on my children, and how much of a life-changing experience it was for them! Here, briefly, are a few pictures for the curious among you, before we go on with the point of this post.

food We got really good at chopsticks! d and t eating IMG_3327 IMG_4672 Fulfilling a life long dream to walk on the Great Wall! IMG_4301 IMG_4398 IMG_4083 This was a completely exhausting, but also completely amazing, bike ride through the Shanxi countryside. IMG_4162 IMG_4170 IMG_2890 IMG_4180 IMG_4175 IMG_2957

As amazing as the trip was, though, it took a HUGE toll on me physically. I knew I wasn’t doing well while we were there, but I thought I’d just push through it and come home and be all better again.

Well, I was wrong.

After a few weeks back home I was doing worse than ever. I was tired all the time but I couldn’t sleep. I was extremely, irrationally emotional. Tiny little life stressors became huge deals that sent me spiraling. I cried all the time. I was, in short, a complete mess. And the very last thing on my mind was keeping up with the blog!

It finally dawned on me what I was experiencing.

Continue reading

quiche

Cheddar and Bacon Quiche (with spelt crust)

I don’t think I’ve mentioned it on here before…but we got chickens last spring. Their names are Rosemary, BBQ, and Scramble. My daughter named them. 

chickens

We’ve had them for a year now. And they’re marvelous! Yes, apparently I have fully embraced the pseudo hippy in me and I now own backyard chickens in the middle of a town, for the sole purpose of getting eggs that I know are from pastured chickens but not paying a fortune for them. It’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be. (Though once in a while they do escape and we have to go chasing them down the alleyway….)

eggs

And the eggs are delicious. With dark orange yolks and firm whites, the way eggs are supposed to be! And this quiche is one spectacular way to use them up. Bacon, cheese, onions, in a tender flaky crust? Yes, please!!

The quiche itself is perfectly simple. But the crust is a little trickier. It’s a lot more fragile than crusts made with white flour, so it takes some special handling. For that reason, this will be a long post because I’m going to walk you through the crust carefully so that you know exactly what to expect. Don’t be scared away by the length of the post, though! Once you get the hang of the crust it’s really not hard!

Continue reading

pan-caramelized chicken breasts

Simple Pan-Caramelized Chicken Breasts

I want to share something with you that’s so simple it’s hardly even a recipe – more like a method. But it’s one of my go-to foods in my arsenal of keeping me away from simple carbs because it’s quick, easy, and delicious both hot and cold!

All it is is chicken breasts, sauteed in a cast iron pan until caramelized and crisp and flavorful. Here’s the best thing about this chicken: since it’s delicious cold, this is perfect for food on the go. If I’m going to be somewhere that I need to pack lunch, or on a trip and want to take easy protein along, I’ll cook up three or four chicken breasts this way, cut them into bite sized pieces, and store in a container. All I have to do is pop a few in my mouth whenever I feel peckish and they’re so good – so completely flavorful and satisfying. So if you’re stuck for what to do about lunch on the go without being able to eat sandwiches anymore, this is your answer!

A note about cookware: For this to really work, a cast iron skillet is really necessary. There’s no way you’ll ever get that beautiful brown, caramelized goodness from a nonstick pan. If you don’t have a cast iron skillet you can always do this anyway in whatever pan you have and it’ll taste fine – but it won’t come close to the fantastic goodness that a cast iron skillet will give it! (consider this your motivation to go get one. A 12 inch Lodge pan at Target is only like $20, so what are you waiting for?)

Continue reading

Strawberry Shortcake

Strawberry Shortcake

Technically, this is dessert. I know that. It is not, and nor should it be, lunch. Or dinner.

And yet, in the past two days I have had it for both of these things.

Yesterday I made a whole bunch to take to a friend’s house for a lunch-time “strawberry shortcake feast.” And then, tonight, my husband’s working late and it’s just me and the kids and I didn’t feel like cooking and there were all these left-overs from yesterday’s lunch and so….

Strawberry shortcake for dinner. Yes I did.

The kids think I’m the best mom in the world right now.

But, really, it isn’t SO bad if you think about it. (Or, at any rate, that’s what I’m telling myself so that I don’t feel guilty about feeding my kids dessert for lunch. And dinner.) Because, really, what is it? It’s biscuits – tender, flaky biscuits. And sweet strawberries. And freshly whipped cream. None of which have a lick of refined sugar in them at all, with only the tiniest bit of maple syrup. Really, (if you cross your eyes and squint) it’s just like having a piece of bread, some fruit, and a glass of milk! Right?! So, see, it’s not THAT bad!

So, there you have it, folks. Your ready-made rationalization as to why it’s okay to have dessert for dinner!

And here’s how you make it. It’s basically just my standard Spelt Biscuit recipe with a few minor changes.

Continue reading

scalloped ham and pasta

Scalloped Ham and Pasta

When you cook with good quality ingredients – especially grass-fed butter and raw milk – it gets kind of expensive. They’re treasures, and you start to understand why someone might, indeed, cry over a glass of spilt milk when it costs $8/gallon!!

Because of that reason, I’ve been terrified to try to thicken any of my sauces with something I’m unfamiliar with, like arrowroot or tapioca powder. I’ve been sticking to whole grain spelt, because the last thing I want is to waste an entire pot of sauce made with Kerrygold butter and $8 milk! I’ve been total chicken.

However…I’ve been having a LOT of problems with my sauces breaking (or curdling), and since I never used to have such a problem with it, I’m wondering if the whole grain spelt is to blame. And so I wanted to try something different. With much trepidation, therefore…I tried making a cheesy white sauce with arrowroot powder.

And…it worked! It worked just fine! The sauce was beautiful, without a weird texture or mouth feel, and – even better – didn’t break!

This recipe is something I’ve made for years and years – but this was the first time I’d tried it with arrowroot. It’s a great recipe because it uses up all that leftover ham that you loved so much when you made it, but three days later are starting to get really sick of eating cold from the fridge. And, it’s an all-in-one meal, which I always love!

So, this is my debut of my adventures into trusting arrowroot powder more often! (I think I’m going to have to go back to my macaroni and cheese recipe and make a note!)

Continue reading