Monday, February 28, 2011

The apple doesn't fall far from the tree...

This is my mom. 
It's not a current picture, but it's my favorite one of her. She was really something on the sailboat... handy, loving and a superior cook, despite the challenges the size of our galley brought. Whether on land or at sea, on Sunday evenings we often had soup and sandwiches. She would start a pot of something after church or a early sail, then create a meal around that soup, adding open faced sandwiches and a salad. Then she would fix us each up a tray, and we would go into our four corners - bedroom, den, living room or office - though, she and I often took to watching a program and eating our dinners together. It was my favorite day of week for a while, mostly because of dinner. The rest of the week we ate together as a family, always in the dining room, so Sundays were special. 

Here are two our favorite Sunday soups.
In each recipe, if you choose to leave out the ham bone, they become vegan and gluten free.
I have made variations of each over the years and they freeze well, are nutritionally dense, inexpensive and can easily be done in the crock pot.

1 1lb bag lentils (usually brown ones) 
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, diced
1-1/2 cups celery, chopped
1-1/2 cups sliced carrots-1/2 inch pieces
2-3 large cloves of garlic, minced
1 large can diced tomatoes
1 ham bone, optional (ham hocks will do and are easier to get, but not much meat on them)
4 tomato cans worth of water
1 Tbsp ground cumin seed
Salt and pepper to taste
Rinse lentils in a colander. Heat oil in large soup pot, add onion, celery and garlic. Saute over medium-high heat until vegetables are softened and fragrant, about five minutes. Add carrots, tomatoes, water, cumin seed, salt and pepper. The ham bone is important for flavor, but soup will still be good without it, just different. Bring to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cover the pot, but tilt lid, so soup can cook down. Put the fan on and simmer for about two hours, stirring occasionally. Add water if necessary, a cup at a time. When soup is done, remove ham bone to a colander set over a bowl to catch liquid. Let bone cool. Remove ham, cut up pieces and return to pot. Good for dinner with a salad and some good bread. Put in storage container(s) and eat for lunch or freeze some for the future. Note: I wash a bunch of celery and cut it straight across, leaves and all; just easier.
1 1lb bag split peas (green or yellow)
1 large onion, diced
1-1/2 cups chopped celery
1-1/2 cups sliced carrots - 1/2" slices
1-2 large cloves garlic
2 quarts water
1 ham bone
Salt (start with 1 tsp)  and pepper to taste
1 cup parsley (any kind), chopped
Rinse the peas in a colander. Heat oil in large soup pot, add onion, celery and garlic. Saute over medium-high heat until vegetables are softened and fragrant, about five minutes. Add carrots, water, salt and pepper and ham bone. (I have never made pea soup without a ham bone or ham hocks.) Bring soup to a boil and turn down to a simmer. Cover with lid cocked slightly to let out steam. Put the fan on and cook for about two hours, stirring occasionally (set the timer if you think you'll forget and carry it with you.) When soup is done, remove ham bone or ham hocks to a colander set over a bowl to catch the liquid. Let cook and remove meat from bone. Add ham to pot with the chopped parsley. It will cook a little in the hot soup and add to flavor and looks good. Have for dinner with a salad and some good bread. Save the rest in container(s) for lunch or freeze for the future, called "frozen assets". Note: I wash a bunch of celery and cut it straight across, leaves and all; just easier that way. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Winter "Root and Tuber" Fries

This is a fantastic way to use up those winter roots and tubers. Potatoes, sweet potatoes, rutabagas and parsnips work best, and you can use just one or all of these together, if you like. You may coat them in a dressing of olive oil and almond butter, plain egg white or garlic infused oil... Spread out on a lightly sprayed or oiled cookie sheet, or on top of some parchment paper... add diced jalapeños, minced garlic, fresh ground black pepper and sea salt after coating, and bake at 450 for 30- 45 minutes, flipping them around and over occasionally, until crisp or just bubbly. Sprinkle with nutritional yeast, sea salt or grated Romano, and let cool. 

High in fiber, full of flavor, yet low in sugars, makes winter "root and tuber" fries an excellent snack for those who are trying to control their weight, manage diabetes or support digestion. Nutritionally dense and filling!

For more information on the nutritional benefits of "roots and tubers", click any of these links:

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Eating Healthy IS Affordable!

There seems to be three HUGE misconceptions about eating healthy...
1. Eating healthy is too expensive.
2. Eating healthy is too complicated.
3. Eating healthy doesn't taste good.

YUM Food Solutions is all about disproving all three, one by one, beginning with the first. Expense.

Sure, there are ways you can spend all sorts of money on processed, prepared, specialty and hard to find items... not to mention organic produce, especially when the item is out of season, or must travel long distances to fulfill an organic need.

However, by learning which things *should* be organic, you can prioritize:

Buying in season and buying local, also encourages farmers to utilize what produce works well in the climate and region already, eliminating many, if not all, of pesticide use. Just because a local farm isn't certified organic, does not mean the crop has been sprayed. Help find seasonal produce using this link from Epicurious:
and use local farms whenever possible. The quality of your food will improve and you'll help support your local economy at the same time!

If you have the desire for certified organic or sustainable farms, seek out a local Community Supported Agriculture Farm Share, like 47th Avenue Farm: Get to know your farmer, experiment with new and interesting vegetables and gain some clarity about some of the challenges of the harvest.

If you need an indulgent amount of veggies for juicing, etc... consider striking a deal with a local farmer through the Farmer's Markets. I've heard that this can be an inexpensive way to obtain larger quantities of nutrient dense seasonal veggies.

I also discovered the food co-op's and places like Limbo, near Trader Joe's in SE... where sometimes you will find an entire cache of an item for $1! Like the jalapeños I recently scored from a friend who couldn't possibly use them all. So she shared, and now I get to make relish, jam and poppers galore! Fred Meyer recently had rutabagas, 2 lbs for a $1! Buy them up, make soup and freeze!

Even when excess is not desired and a modest trip to the store must ensue, I've discovered that some of the cheapest items are the fresh ones, whole, and in season. A recent trip to Freddies yielded this list:
  • 2 bananas
  • 4 local pears
  • 2 organic sweet potatoes
  • 1 head of organic cauliflower
  • some mushrooms
  • 2 organic apples
  • some Brussels sprouts
  • several organic rutabagas
  • 2 bunches of radishes
  • 3 broccoli crowns
  • 3 organic leeks
  • a grapefruit
  • a head of garlic
  • 6 carrots
  • 2 yellow onions 
  • a head of red cabbage
All of this cost me $16.31!

Combined with staples I already had at home... rice, olive oil, quinoa, dried beans, lentils, etc... I'm able to make a plethora of homemade meals that are both nutrient dense, as well as delicious. 

Contact me, for more information... I'll show you how!