Latest Recipes

Gingerbread Cake w/ Lemon Curd (& No Leftover Egg Whites)

I had to post this recipe for the Christmas season- my aunt used to love this dessert, and it brings back such good memories… Another memory: several years back, we made huge batch of this (20 x recipe), to serve at our church’s annual Women’s Christmas Dinner. (Contact me if you need THAT recipe!)

Gingerbread w/Lemon Curd- no leftover egg whites!I don’t typically want to save egg whites in the freezer- I just want a recipe that uses the whole egg! So I came up with this recipe, which uses the egg whites leftover from making Lemon Curd, in the cake. Heating the butter and lemon juice for the lemon curd before it adding to the egg yolks, speeds the process along. Serves 9 or so.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/3 c. flour
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2-4″ piece ginger (or substitute 2 tsp. dry ginger)
  • 1 c. (2 sticks) room temperature butter, divided
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 1 1/2 c. light molasses
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 4 lemons, zested and juiced (1/3 c. total)
  • 1/4 lb. (1 stick) butter

PREPARATION

1. Mix dry ingredients together first: > 2 1/3 c. flour > 1/3 c. sugar > 1 tsp. baking soda > 1 tsp. cinnamon > 3/4 tsp. salt

2. Grate: > 2-4″ piece ginger (or substitute 2 tsp. dry ginger)

3. Mix the dry ingredients and the following in mixer on low, then 3 minutes on medium: > 1/2 c. (1 stick) butter, soft > 1/2 c. olive oil > 5 egg whites > 1 1/2 c. molasses > the grated ginger

4. Oil and flour 9″ square pan (or 13 x 9″ pan, which will cook quicker). Bake 45-55 min. at 300 degrees. Cool; serve w/ lemon curd.

 

Lemon Curd

This will make about 1 pint, enough for the above cake.

PREPARATION

1. Mix together until smooth: > 5 egg yolks > 1 cup sugar

2. Microwave or heat in pot, 1-2 minutes, until melted and bubbly: > 1 stick butter > 1/3 c. lemon juice > zest from 4 lemons

3. Slowly mix hot butter/lemon into yolk mixture. Microwave 30 seconds, then stir and repeat until thickened, or- warm gently on the stove just until thickened. This can store 2 weeks or more, refrigerated.

Stock- Homemade & Easy!

Stock is so easy to make! Yes, it’s easier to buy a carton or can of it, but I think some of the nutrition and flavor is lost. A good batch of stock is full of gelatin, congealing after refrigerating, so you know it’s rich. With homemade stock, you can also use minimal salt. I always like to add salt just as I’m finishing preparing a dish. Otherwise, I believe too much sodium soaks into the ingredients. Not that it makes the finished product taste that salty. But it IS loaded with sodium! The salt added to dishes last is more pronounced, so you can use less.

Some folks might add carrot, celery, herbs, and/or onion to the pan when roasting their meats, to add to the stock. It will add more flavor, but I prefer an unadulterated stock: other extras can be added in later, when using the stock in various soups and sauces.

Chicken, Turkey, Beef, or Pork: Homemade Stock

Stock Recipe from "Soup's On" (Jen's Book)

Gingerbread Cookies, Natural Style

I’m pretty excited about ginger right now. It fights inflammation and can help regulate blood sugar, serum cholesterol, and cortisol levels. Not that I’m chowing down on Gingerbread cookies for health reasons (although I am making some ginger tea). But for the holidays, these cookies are a fun, special treat, even for some gift-giving!

Christmas Gingerbread Cookies, Decorated w/Nuts, Dried FruitsUsing fruits and nuts to decorate allows for creative input from cookie-bakers of all ages- easier and less messy than frosting! Makes approx. 15 cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  •  1 stick butter
  • 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 c. molasses
  • 1/4 c. water
  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 TBS. (or more) fresh grated ginger (or sub powdered ginger)
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. allspice
  • OPTIONAL: 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • Cashew pieces (for smiles)
  • Dates and sweetened dried pineapple (for hair)
  • Pecans, almonds, and chocolate chips (for misc.)

PREPARATION

1. Cream in mixer, several minutes on high: > 1 stick butter > 1/2 c. brown sugar, packed

2. Add the following, beating just until blended: > 1/2 c. molasses > 1/4 c. water > 2 1/2 c. flour > 1/2 tsp. salt > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1 TBS. (or more) fresh grated ginger > 1/2 tsp. nutmeg > 1/4 tsp. allspice

3. Refrigerate dough several hours, or longer. (Dough will keep in refrigerator for several weeks, wrapped in plastic.) Roll dough out to 1/4″ thickness (easily accomplished rolling it between 2 pieces of plastic wrap, floured some as needed). Cut into gingerbread people.

4. Decorate cookies before baking, using the following, or your own creations: > Cashew pieces (for smiles) > Dates & sweetened dried pineapple (for hair) > Pecans, almonds, and chocolate chips (for misc.)

5. Bake cookies at 375 degrees for 10 to 12 minutes.

Homemade Gifts: Natural Skin Care Goodies

Part of my enthusiasm for making my own skin care products is my love of essential oils, which I use regularly in face creams and bath salts for myself. Certain ones are perfect for skin, for mood; some have hormone-balancing and other benefits. I’ve shared my favorites at “Jen’s Shop“; if you’re interested in aromatherapy, take a look at the oils I suggest there (under the “Health, Beauty, & Lifestyle” section). I mention the qualities each is known for; also, I’ve chosen oils that are more therapeutic. Some “essential oils” may be a blend of an expensive variety (like, of lavender), but mixed with a carrier oil or even a sub-par plant variety. But I’ve picked out the best quality and value for you, at Jen’s Shop!

Oh, for another fun, homemade gift (that you can make with your kids), check out my “Cinnamon Ornament” post!

Homemade Gifts: Natural Skin CareWe had a lot of fun at a recent “Spa-rific” New Deli party, where we made up various creams, balms, and such to give as gifts. We made body butter, bath salts, lip balm… all using natural, top-quality ingredients. We didn’t have to bear with any shopping crowds- got all this stuff online! Below are some favorite recipes.

Homemade Body ButterBODY BUTTER

INGREDIENTS

PREPARATION*

1. Warm the 1/2 c. coconut oil in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Use a warm oven, or a double-boiler (with a folded towel set in bottom of pot to protect the glass cup).

2. Add cocoa butter pieces to the melted coconut oil, until it measures another half cup (that will be one cup total).

3. Warm this mix some more, until mixture’s melted. Add in the 1/2 c. shea butter using the same “displacement method”.

4. Let warm again, enough to blend the mixture, then mix in about 20-30 drops of favorite essential oils. (Lavender’s a nice one.)

5. Refrigerate the mix enough for it to set some, then whip it, then fill glass jars with it (these 4oz Amber Glass Jars are cute). Label cutely and you’ve got some nice gifts on your hands!

*General Tip: Three or four parts hard butters to one part oils works well. If you have a scale, you can measure equal parts of the four fats and oils, melting them gently in a small saucepan.

 

Homemade Bath SaltsBATH SALTS

  • 3 c. Epsom Salts
  • 2 c. Baking Soda
  • 1 c. Sea Salt
  • 8 drops or so  Lavender essential oil (or other)
  • 1 TBS. Vitamin C powder

Just mix and store in cute mason jars. My husband says most people aren’t as into Epsom salts as I am, but if you’re concerned about chlorine, this recipe helps address that issue. (Read my article, “Turning Chlorinated Water into Liquid Gold“, for more info on the subject.)

 

 

Homemade Face ScrubEASY FACE SCRUB

  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. olive oil
  • 2 TBS. fine sea salt
  • 4 or more drops favorite essential oil ( Lavender, lemongrass, linden blossom, etc.)

Mix, then put up in 4oz.-size jars (like these) – a good size for most of us. I don’t recommend white sugar–it doesn’t mix well with the oil, and the granules are larger and harder on the skin, so it’s not really suited for the face. Also, although other oils are an option, I’ve found that olive oil is superior for a scrub. It will moisturize as dead skin cells are exfoliated, but excess oil will wipe off, so your pores can still breath. An alternative could be the pricier jojoba oil, but I figure that I’m rinsing this scrub off afterward, so I don’t really want to waste something like jojoba!

 

Homemade Lip BalmLIP BALM

Gently melt the first two ingredients, then add your choice of essential oil. “Decant” into little tins (like these little steel ones) or into lip balm stick containers (like these- a pack of 12 for under $1/ea.).

 

PS I’ve posted this link on the wonderful “Raising Homemakers” site. Find even more cool stuff there!

Thyro-Green: Natural Hypothyroid Treatment

I believe God gave us the tools to be healthy. I love the verse from Revelation 22:2- describing the wonderful fruit trees lining the river, and how “…the leaves of the tree will heal the nations.” I’m getting healed daily!

Mix of chlorella, ashwagandha & more, for natural thyroid healthYou might want to check out my post, “Jen’s List: 8 Diet Ideas for Thyroid Health“. But below is the main “recipe” I use to treat my hypothyroidism naturally. It’s not for everyone. Most folks would rather get a prescription and take a capsule. My friend can get Armour Thyroid from Kaiser through her insurance, and that’s just great. But, being self-employed, I get a more generic insurance that just covers catastrophic events; I have to pay for office visits and prescriptions. So, when my doctor and pharmacy were both causing me grief, I went this route instead. Five things I love about this little recipe:

  • I can support my thyroid gland with various supplemental food/herb powders that have been found to improve its function
  • I order the ingredients online- super easy!
  • It’s all over-the-counter stuff; the “ThyroGold” is rated a “food” (it’s dessicated thyroid gland from cows), so it doesn’t need a prescription.  Good news for me since I’m practically going off the medical grid- I had such a bad experience with my doctor and pharmacy.
  • I can easily adjust my quantities (even if going down to a quarter pill per serving), because there’s only a half-capsule of ThyroGold in each tablespoon of the powder. To reduce dosage is easy- I just take less than a tablespoon-size serving.
  • If I was to try to wean myself completely off of even natural thyroid, I could do it very gradually with this powdered mix

I originally took 6 capsules of the Thyrogold to get the same effect that I was getting from my 97.5 mg. of prescribed thyroid. I don’t actually know exactly what I was getting from the pharmacy, whether it was comparable to Levothyroxine, Synthroid, or what. They had originally promised they could get me something akin to Armour Thyroid, which was unavailable at the time. After six years, I discovered they’d been giving me synthetic thyroid the whole time. I was pretty disappointed! (Was that why my health and well-being had gradually declined?) I started in on my new, natural approach, and as my thyroid health improved over this past year, I’ve worked down to one capsule of dessicated thyroid per day, split into two doses. I have not felt this good in eight years, since originally getting diagnosed and getting treated by my doctor. The synthetic thyroid had been better for me than nothing at all (I was starting to really fall apart), but it never seemed to improve my health as much as this natural approach has.

THYROGREEN

This makes about 7 1/2 cups, lasting me just over two months when using 1 TBS. twice a day. It’s got a half capsule of Thyrogold in each serving. And it mixes easily into a small jar of water- just shake it up and drink! (Be sure to add water first, “ThyroGreen” next.)

Mixing the dried ingredients up and putting into jars can be messy, but it’s worth it for me. Let me know if you try it!

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops: Paleo Appetizer

Wrap scallops in lightly-browned bacon, top w/tomato, basil, & broilThe combination of flavors here is perfect. Even without a party excuse, having these around will give reason to celebrate! I like using large scallops- they’re especially delicious. And this recipe is perfect for those Paleo folk looking for tasty gluten-free appetizers! Makes about 15 pieces, serves 5-8 people.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 lb. frozen (or fresh) scallops, thawed (approx.. 15 or so)
  • 8 oz. bacon (approx.)
  • 1/2 pint cherry tomatoes
  • Parsely, basil, or spinach

PREPARATION

1. Bite-sized, medium large scallops will use about one slice of thin-sliced bacon per piece. Grill the needed amount of bacon until just golden but still quite soft.

2. Set bacon aside, drain off excess fat, and turn pan back on high. Sear the scallops briefly in the bacon pan. Don’t fill pan too full, or scallops will steam and not brown.

3. Arrange a piece of basil, parsley, or even spinach on top of each scallop, plus half a cherry tomato. Wrap a soft-but-grilled piece of bacon around each scallop, and broil 5-10 minutes until bacon has browned more. (Or bake in 475 degree oven 10 minutes or so.)

Paleo Appetizer: Bacon, Scallops

Lentil Soup w/Veggies: Popular New Deli Soup

Add carrot, celery, tomato sauce, liquid smoke... great Lentil Soup!When we make a new batch of tomato sauce at the deli (with lots of sauteed, sweet onions, garlic, etc.), we like to make a batch of Lentil Vegetable Soup too, since it uses the tomato sauce, plus a few other goodies. A bit of sweetness (using brown sugar, or honey or palm sugar, if desired) seems to go well in this soup. That plus some “liquid smoke” makes it almost like a more natural, heartier version of baked beans. You know how overpoweringly sweet those can be, right? This soup just has a hint of sweetness. Like I said- a better version. Like, a healthier comfort food!

Below is the recipe, but in jpeg form, since I can’t actually publish the recipe directly onto this blog due to copyright hindrances (since my soup cookbook is already available on Amazon). You can find this recipe there, but I put a different copy below, in case you really want to make that soup now, and just aren’t ready to buy a digital copy of “SOUP’S ON!“. (Which, by the way, is just $6.99, and full of pictures and New Deli extra cooking tips!)

Lentil Soup Recipe
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Grilled Eggplant (Because- It’s a “Clean 15” AND Delicious)

Eggplant- A Clean 15 Veggie

This is a simple eggplant recipe, but once you know how to cook eggplant this way, you can add it to a variety of dishes. Just change up the spices and seasonings, adding some kind of protein, for a great main dish. Another plus- eggplant’s not on the “dirty dozen” list, so I’m not as concerned about buying it organic.

We make a yummy sandwich with this eggplant (and some melted cheese, with or without bacon) at The New Deli. We also serve a salad with the grilled eggplant in it, tossed with Italian dressing, avocado, tomato, and Parmesan cheese. I love it in an omelet, or on pizza. A big batch of this will hold up for at least a week in the refrigerator; the reduced vinegar and soy sauce act to preserve the veggies. Serves 4 to 6.

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 large eggplant, or several Japanese eggplants
  • 1 red pepper
  • 1 medium onion
  • Olive oil, to drizzle on layers
  • 1/4 c. soy sauce
  • 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

PREPARATION

1. Add to a hot pan (preferably a 12″ iron pan, as it holds heat and distributes it well) and grill* : > 1 red pepper, sliced into strips > Drizzle of olive oil

2. Add and keep grilling on medium-high heat, stirring some: > 1 onion, sliced

3. Move grilled peppers and onion off to side, and add: > 1 eggplant, sliced into strips > Drizzle olive oil (2-4 TBS.)

4. Pile the grilled pepper mix back on top of the grilling eggplant, to help it to steam some. Turn the pan on low to finish cooking the eggplant until tender, stirring occasionally.

5. When eggplant’s cooked through (no longer white and spongy looking), turn pan back on high heat. Add: > 1/4 c. soy sauce > 1/4 c. balsamic vinegar

6. Let the mix cook on high just a few minutes, stirring often, so the soy sauce and vinegar can boil off some. Remove from heat, and continue stirring occasionally, to let off steam so mixture won’t be too soggy.

7. Serve this dish hot or cold, by itself, over rice, with salad greens, or as a sandwich condiment.

*An alternative method is to use the oven; no stirring of veggies is necessary. Roast the vegetables at 350 for 40-60 minutes, in a clay pot( or in an iron pan), until tender. An alternate method is to microwave the veggies for 10-20 min., using the clay pot or a ceramic bowl with a plate over it.

Orange Polenta Cake (Olive Oil Cake to Some)

My husband was a tad disappointed the first time I made this, since we’d bought a deluxe amaretto for it. He felt like you couldn’t taste it enough when it was added to the cake. Good point- so much of it bakes away, and almond extract would produce the same results, for probably less money. So next batch, I added the amaretto to the candied orange peel. Whoa- THAT was good!

Olive OIl Cake w/ Orange, Corn MealHere’s a cake recipe that’s quick and easy enough, but still delicious (& slightly healthier than average!)- a moist cake with a fresh orange flavor and slightly crunchy texture from the cornmeal. Traditional Italian recipes might add some Amaretto to the cake; to preserve more of the liqueur’s flavor, it can be added to the orange peel garnish. (Unless serving the under-aged, that is!) Serves 12.

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 c. milk (or yogurt or buttermilk)
  • 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for coating the pan
  • 3 oranges, for zest and garnish
  • 1 TBS. orange zest
  • 1/2 tsp. almond extract
  • 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
  • 1/2 c. coarse-ground cornmeal (fine-ground works too)
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • Optional: 2 TBS. each sugar and water, for orange peel garnish
  • Optional: 2 TBS. amaretto liqueur, added to orange peel garnish
  • Optional: (Instead of orange peel) Confectioner’s sugar to decorate top

PREPARATION

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Press foil into a 9” spring form pan and coat with olive oil and flour. Or, use two 9-inch round cake pans, which won’t need a foil liner, but which should still be coated with olive oil and flour. (If using two pans, they’ll bake faster.) Tap out any excess flour.

2. In a large mixing bowl, whip until well blended and light in color: > 3 large eggs > 1 c. granulated sugar

3. Stir into whipped egg/sugar mix: > 1 1/2 c. milk (or yogurt or buttermilk) > 1 c. extra-virgin olive oil > 1 TBS. orange zest > 1/2 tsp. almond extract

4. In another bowl, stir dry ingredients together: > 1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour > 1/2 c. cornmeal > 1/2 tsp. baking powder > 1/2 tsp. baking soda > 1/4 tsp. salt

5. Add egg mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until just blended (the batter should still be slightly lumpy). Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan(s). Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean, about 40 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven and let the cake cool, then run a knife around the edges of the pan and turn it out onto a serving plate.

6. To make a garnish of candied orange peel, carefully cut away the outer peel of one orange, slicing it into thin strips. Mix together in a microwavable bowl (or in a small saucepan): > Thin strips from 1-2 oranges > 2 TBS. sugar > 2 TBS. water

7. Microwave (or heat in pan) the sugar/orange/water mix for one minute. If using microwave, stir and repeat this three times, until peel has absorbed most of the sugar. (In saucepan, just keep simmering a few minutes until peel gets soft.) If desired, at this point, stir in: > 2 TBS. amaretto liqueur

8. Garnish the cake with the orange peel. Alternately, it can be decorated with a dusting of confectioner’s sugar instead.

Pesto: Make from Scratch, Freeze Portions- So Fresh!

I was sorting through old food pics and found this colorful one of pesto. Seemed apt to post the recipe, if only to enjoy all the bright colors of summer in the picture- before summer fades!

Pesto- Add Spinach, Garlic, Pine Nuts, ParmesanTake advantage of fresh basil in its prime in late summer. To keep it at its greenest, process it first with the olive oil and spinach; the oil seems to protect the leaves from oxidizing and darkening. The acids in the garlic, nuts and parmesan can darken the basil, so add those last. Another tip: pesto seems to stay greener when the leaves are processed at room temperature. In our many years of making pesto at The New Deli, we’ve found that the leaves don’t seem to like to get too cold in the fridge, only to heat up when processed…

Some recipes suggest blanching, to retaining pesto’s ideal green color; experiments at the deli have not proven that technique to be superior. Plus– this recipe’s easier!

Frozen portions of the pesto will keep for months. For an easy meal, add pesto and grilled veggies to pasta (tortellini is especially tasty). Or add to pizza, drizzle in soups, or use for a Pesto Torta appetizer . Makes approx. 2 lbs. (4 c.).

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.)
  • 4 c. fresh spinach
  • 3/4 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 c. pine nuts

PREPARATION

1. Process the following: > 4 c. fresh basil leaves (12 oz.) > 3 to 4 c. fresh spinach > 3/4 c. olive oil

2. Add and process again with: > 1/2 c. fresh garlic cloves, peeled (or 1/4 c. minced)

3. To the above, add and process: > 1 c. pine nuts > 2 c. parmesan

4. The pesto can be stored in the freezer, added to a zip-lock bag and flattened out; this makes it easy to break off a chunk of it as needed. Or, it will keep a week or so in the refrigerator; add a thin layer of oil on top (or press some plastic wrap against the surface), as exposure to air will darken it.