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Week 2: I Am An Artist!

30 May

Garden vegetable Pie
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Week 1: What To Make With Squash Blossoms

22 May

In the summer our garden is overflowing with tomatoes, the only thing that rivals the tomatoes for sheer abundance is the zucchini and squash. With zucchini and squash come the blossoms.  My mission this week was to come up with a dish for squash blossoms. Most people, including myself have not had a lot of experience with cooking or eating the squash blossoms. The only recipe I know is stuffing them with a cheese mixture and frying them. I wanted to do something a little out of the box and a little healthier for you. The only pasta I had on hand was a macaroni rice noodle. You really could use whatever is your favorite kind of pasta. I also thought that instead of making a traditional spaghetti sauce this would be a great alternative. I was really happy with how this tuned out. It took a little work peeling the tomatoes but was totally worth it!

Squash blossom tips:

Ultimately, you want to use squash blossoms the same day they are picked. If that is not possible, put them on a paper towel in an airtight container. Don’t squish them!  Take care of your ingredients and they will take care of you.

Squash blossoms, Zucchini, and Tomatoes over Rice Pasta

Serves: 4-6

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large onion, diced

6 cloves garlic, minced

4 small-med. zucchini, halved lengthwise, and sliced

8 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped

A pinch of red pepper flakes

7 very fresh squash or zucchini blossoms, pistils removed and cut lengthwise into thin strips

Handful fresh basil leaves

2 Tablespoons half and half

Salt and pepper to taste

freshly grated Parmesan

1# rice pasta

Salt for your pasta water

First put a large pot 3/4 the way full of water on high and bring to a boil. Add Pasta and salt, cook until al dente’. Once you cooked the pasta, drain and set aside, keep warm.

In a large skillet over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onion and saute’ until fragrant, about 5 minutes or until golden. Add the garlic and zucchini and saute’ until the zucchini begins to soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and red pepper, cover and simmer until the tomatoes have cooked down and the zucchini are tender, about 10 minutes. Add the squash blossoms, basil leaves and cook uncovered, stirring until flowers are wilted, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and stir in half and half.

Spoon half of the sauce into a warmed serving bowl, Add the pasta, top with remaining sauce and toss well. Add the Parmesan for flavor.

Adapted from: Savoring Tuscany by Lori De Mori

Seasonal Recipes

22 May

Summer is upon us and I am so excited about all the new vegetables that we are getting out of the garden. Each week I make a new recipe to put in the CSA boxes for Ray and Ashley of Rose Creek Farms. I am very fortunate to live with them and get all the access I want to the fresh produce. Over the summer I will be featuring a weekly recipe according to what is in abundance in our garden. I hope you like them.

Alaina’s Glorified Granola Bars

3 Nov


I don’t really know why I named these bars Alaina’s Glorified Granola Bars. Except the fact that I thought that sounded good, and I really do like these bars. I was really getting tired of the institutional granola bars from the store so I decided it was high time to make my own. This is what I came up with. These are a very, very, very delicious granola bars. I love them, but that is not what makes me think they are so good. All the kids love them. They are moist, a bit chewy, and are healthy too. I knew I knew I wanted them to be healthy, so honey and molasses are the sweeteners I chose to use. I didn’t want you to feel like you were eating a candy bar but something that would give you energy and leave you feeling good about the food you just put into your body. Ok so I admit, I was scared to put molasses in them. I am not a huge fan of just eating molasses, and the smell has always scared me away. I love the benefits of molasses and so I decided to be brave. What do you know…It made the whole bar! The molasses in the bars gives it a good dark rich flavor that I wouldn’t trade out.

These bars are very versatile. If you can’t have wheat just change the wheat bran to oat bran.  You can also change what dried fruit you put in it. My favorite are dried cherries or blueberries. This last time I made it I put a mix of dried cranberries, apples, apricots, and pears.You can tweak these granola bars any way you want. Like it sweeter? Put more honey. Really it is simple. I know there are  a lot of ingredients are in them, but really they are a breeze to put together. Don’t feel like you have to stick to the recipe exactly. If you don’t like an ingredient that I have in here simply change it. If you don’t have flax, change it out and put sesame seeds in it. Try these granola bars and let me know what you think. I would love your comments!

4 c. Oats

1c. Wheat bran

2T. Cinnamon

2/3c. Ground Flax

1 c. corsely chopped nuts, I used pecans

1/2c.  Pumpkin seeds

2c. chopped, Dried fruit

1 t. Salt

1c. Honey

1/4c. Molasses

3 Eggs

1 1/2c. Canola oil

2T. Vanilla

Here is a picture of what it looked like before I baked them

Mix the dry ingredients together, add the nuts and dried fruit. In a separate bowl mix the wet ingredients and add to dry mixture. Put in a greased large Pyrex dish. (I used the size up from the 9×13 pan and it was perfect) spread evenly, and bake at 350F. for 25 minutes. When finished pull out of oven and let rest for about 10 min. Cut into bars before totally cooled. Once they are cooled all the way put I eat one just to make sure they are good and put the rest in snack bags. Depending on how big you cut them really depends on how many bars you get. I got 24 out of the pan. I hope you enjoy and don’t forget to come back and comment!!!