Latest Recipes

Chocolate Strawberry Truffles, Healthy Style

Even my skeptical son enjoyed these. He and his cousin are highly suspect of my “healthy” treats, since they’re so unlike typical sweets. But he gave these a thumbs-up!

Showing Love with Healthy Truffles!These make a healthy treat for those of us not eating the usual desserts- a great chocolate fix with a healthy dose of coconut oil (to stimulate metabolism and nourish the brain and such). For those with a sweeter sweet tooth, a hearty sprinkling of palm sugar on top of the chocolate after dipping will help “sweeten the deal”.

At one point in my experiments, I tried using palm sugar in the blended strawberry mixture. Big mistake. There was some kind of reaction, and the mixture turned an unappetizing brown color. Don’t try that!

Makes about 12 half-ounce truffles; extras will hold up well in the freezer.

STRAWBERRY PUREE INGREDIENTS

  • 6 oz. frozen strawberries (half a 12-oz. bag, making about 2/3 c. puree)
  • 2 TBS. melted butter
  • 1/2 c. coconut “spread” (ie. “manna”, “butter”), melted
  • 1 TBS. honey

CHOCOLATE DIP INGREDIENTS (Enough for a double batch)

  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 TBS. honey
  • 1/3 c. cocoa powder

PREPARATION

1. Let frozen strawberries thaw, then puree. Use: > 6 oz. frozen, thawed strawberries (or fresh)

2. To the strawberry puree, add: > 1/2 c. coconut “spread” (ie. “manna”, “butter”), melted > 1 TBS. honey

3. Let mixture firm up, then form into half-ounce-sized balls. Set aside on wax paper in freezer until solid.

4. Prepare “chocolate” for dipping. Gently melt coconut oil and butter in pan: > 1/4 c. butter > 1/4 c. coconut oil

5. Stir in: > 2 TBS. honey > 1/3 c. cocoa powder

6. Let chocolate mix sit out 20-40 minutes to thicken up some. Stir well, then dip strawberry balls into chocolate mixture. Sprinkle with palm sugar as you go (while chocolate’s still warm), if a sweeter truffle is desired. There will be left-over chocolate (enough to make another batch). We like this, as it makes a wonderful addition to our smoothies and such.

7. Store in refrigerator, or for several months in the freezer.

Use Frozen Strawberries, Coconut & Honey, For Healthy TrufflesPS. I’ve linked this to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Blog Carnival. Kelly hosts this thing regularly, where you can find all kinds of cook, healthy recipes and articles. Thanks, Kelly!

(Also posted on June’s Blog, Raising Homemakers.)

 

Portabella Mushroom Burgers- Vegetarian Style

Use the mushrooms in place of hamburger patties, for a “meaty” vegetarian alternative at dinner. Or let the mushrooms cool off a bit, slicing into strips. Toss a simple salad of greens, olive oil, vinegar, and salt (or your favorite dressing), dish up onto salad plates, topping with the mushroom strips. What a salad!

 Vegetarian Main Dish: Portabella!INGREDIENTS

  • 4 Portabella Mushrooms
  • 1/2 c. or so olive oil
  • 1 TBS. chopped fresh garlic
  • 1/2 lb. mozzarella, provolone, or Jack cheese, sliced
  • 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

PREPARATION

1. Get enough Portabella mushrooms for the number of people you’re serving. Typically, it’s one burger-sized mushroom per person, or just a half mushroom per person for a salad. Remove stem and drizzle olive oil on the inside; rub more olive oil onto the outside. For four burgers, use: > 4 Portabella Mushrooms > about 1/2 c. or so olive oil

2. Next, spread some chopped garlic around the inside of the mushroom. Use: > 1 TBS. chopped fresh garlic

3. Add: > 1/2 lb. mozzarella, provolone, or Jack cheese, sliced (or grated)

4. Top with: > 1/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

5. Bake the cheese-mushrooms at 350 degrees for 30-40 minutes or so, until cheese is lightly golden. Serve on toasted hamburger buns, with all the fixings, if desired, or atop a salad.

6. If you’re short on time, you can speed things along using the microwave. Microwave the cheese-mushrooms (about 1-2 minutes per mushroom), then broil just a few minutes, until cheese is golden and mushrooms are soft.

Springerle- Easy Anise Cookie for Christmas

It’s great to involve kids in cookie-baking projects, but attention can wane. This particular recipe is perfect for those with a limited time/attention spans, of all ages! A special rolling pin is required, which will emboss a design on the cookie. But the dough is easy to make- just a few ingredients. Other recipes may contain extra ingredients, but this simple recipe seems to work perfectly.

Easiest Christmas Cookie: Springerle!

Although this festive cookie takes little effort, some waiting is involved. The dough refrigerates for several hours, and the cut-out cookies need to air dry on parchment for at least half a day before baking. This gives them their texture- perfect for dipping in tea and such. Makes about 4 ½ dozen cookies.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 2 1/4 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. anise seed
  • Optional: 1/2 tsp. anise extract, if desired

PREPARATION

1. Cream: > 2 eggs > 1 c. sugar

2. Stir in, until very stiff: > 2 1/4 c. flour > 1 tsp. anise seed > 1/2 tsp. anise extract, if desired

3. Place on plastic wrap, patting out into a rectangle shape, for easier rolling later. Refrigerate 3-4 hours or more.

4. Roll or pat out on floured board, into a piece (or two) that are about the width of the rolling pin. Roll out with a “springerle cookie rolling pin”, pressing down firmly to emboss. Cut into squares, let dry at least 10 hours on parchment paper.

5. Before baking, use a spatula to lift the cookies from the parchment (so they stick less). Bake on the parchment at 325 degrees, 12-15 minutes. They shouldn’t brown, although the edges can get slightly golden. Let cool on racks; store for 1-2 weeks (these actually keep quite well).

Springerle cookie rolling pin embossed design on cookies

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
  • 1/3 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!

Coconut oil also works!

 

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 other Healthy Thyroid posts, “Jen’s List: 8 Diet Ideas“, or my “Top Ten List “. 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 have generic insurance that just covers catastrophic events; I 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 going off the medical grid here (ever since I was way-overcharged due to misinformation).
  • 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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