Megan Ryan’s Voice – I freakin’ hate eggplant. So does everyone else in our family. Today we celebrated the last eggplant we ever have to eat because I finally used the last bag from the freezer left over from our organic rabbit farm CSA membership. Woohooooooo! Par-tay! Here is the only recipe any of us could stand eating eggplant. Click Here for the original recipe I used and adapted. It’s actually pretty darn good, but if you’ll excuse me, I have to go tear it out of my recipe binder now.
Crock Pot Sausage, Eggplant, And Tomato Casserole
1 tablespoon coconut oil
one pound of sausage
1 Large White Onion, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, crushed
2 Eggplant, peeled and chopped
3/4 teaspoon Chili Flakes
1 (14.5 ounces) can Diced Tomatoes
1 cup Chicken Stock
1/4 cup Flat-Leaf Parsley Leaves, chopped
1 tbsp. salt
1. Heat oil in large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Sautee eggplant until very tender.
2. Add sausage, onion, and garlic and sauté 2 to 3 minutes, turning occasionally until sausage is browned.
3. Dump it and everything else into the crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours, or high power for 4 hours.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - We recently got back on the organic produce co-op bandwagon after a nine month hiatus. Meaning we haven’t been getting weekly bags of produce from a local farm or otherwise. Why? We let our rabbit farm CSA membership expire after the year was up because our two freezers were LOADED with food and we couldn’t keep up with the weekly bags of produce. Why did we stop getting anything for a whole nine months? Because that’s how long it took us to EAT all of it! I’m not freakin’ kidding. I thought it would take our family of six a few months at the most to empty the freezers, but no. And no, we didn’t get food from anywhere else except for the occasional foray to the organic grocery store for a good deal on one or two things like broccoli or sweet potatoes.
ANYWAY, I digress. This bi-weekly pickup of produce contained collard greens and potatoes among other things so I thought I would post our favorite recipe with these two ingredients. Both teenagers would be heartbroken if I ever stopped making this recipe. As a matter of fact, I always triple this recipe and use my four quart dutch oven just so we can enjoy the leftovers the next day. Kiss your box of Betty Crocker (aka Betty Crapper) potatoes goodbye forever because you’ll never want to go back.
Potato and Greens Gratin
3 medium unpeeled potatoes, cut into 1/8 inch slices (use the 4mm blade of a food processor)
2 handfuls of a leafy green like kale, etc., cut into shreds
2 tbsp. salt or more if desired
1 tbsp pepper
¼ cup butter (1/2 of a stick)
3 tbsp. fresh sage, or 1 tbsp. dried
4 cloves garlic, crushed or minced
1 1/3 cups milk
3 eggs (from pastured hens)
1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled
1/3 cup sprouted flour (Click Here to learn how to sprout your own)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Bring water to a boil, add potatoes and cook until ALMOST tender. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Add the greens to the water and boil until tender. Drain and discard the water, Click Here to learn why you should discard the water. Set greens aside. Melt the butter in your pot, add the sage and garlic, then cook a few minutes until fragrant. Put the potatoes and greens back in the pot. Whisk together the milk, eggs, flour, and cheese then pour the mixture into the pot over the potato mixture. Stir gently until combined. Put the lid on your pot, and pop it into the oven for 50 minutes or more. It is done when the center is firm and will no longer jiggle. As always, all of the above ingredients should be organic for best taste and optimum health.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - I’ve been
binging indulging lately on these cookies. I swear I’ve made them at least four times in the past two weeks, and this recipe yields around 40 or more cookies! My only excuse is that our Teenagers and Preschooler have been helping Marcus and I eat them. Click Here for the original recipe, but I tweaked it into two versions: cookies and dough for eating. I use sprouted wheat flour (Click Here to learn how to make your own like we do) and when I want to skip the cooking and just eat the dough I substitute the two eggs for four egg yolks. I use only the yolks because eating raw egg whites is very hard on your digestive tract, Click Here to learn why. I am unsure about eating uncooked wheat flour, even if it is sprouted so we may be shooting ourselves in the foot anyway If any of ya’ll know better, please give us a shout in the comments section of this post. Also, I usually skip the chocolate chips for three reasons, 1) organic chips are stupidly expensive, 2) non-organic chocolate gives Marcus an asthma attack (strange but true!), and 3) call me crazy, but I have always considered chocolate chip cookies to be tastiest in between the chips!
Sprouted Chocolate Chip-less Cookies
2 sticks butter, softened (raw and organic is best)
2 1/4 c. sprouted wheat flour
1 3/4 c. organic sugar
2 eggs (from organic pastured hens)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 c. chocolate morsels (optional)
1 c. chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. In a large mixing bowl, Mix butter, sugars and vanilla together with an electric blender until well blended and creamy. Add eggs and mix.
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium bowl. Mix dry ingredients with creamy batter until well blended and thicker. Fold in morsels and nuts. Spoon batter onto pan an inch apart. Bake 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – Our organic guava bushes are fruiting which also happens to be the first ever from our yard. Marcus planted them a year or two ago and they are finally bearing fruit. Cute, little, red guavas the size of large grapes. They do very well in our climate and are shockingly nutritious, not to mention tasty. Also nice because you don’t have to peel or seed them, but you can if you wish. So then it hit me. Whoa, we have to of those good sized bushes out there and they are both covered in unripe fruit. What the heck am I gonna do with all those little suckers when they become ripe at approximately the same time? So what did I do? You guessed it! Research. Thank you Jesus for the internet, and thank you for Marcus and all his hard work planting them. Here is a nice and simple recipe for guava jam and they are also surprisingly yummy eaten raw with a dash of salt and pepper. Like lots of fruits they do well in salads (savory or sweet), and my current favorite, smoothies! Click Here for my personal recipe that can be used with just about any fruit. I also read that several cultures use them to flavor savory/salty dishes. When I find the time (Ha. Ha. Ha.) I’ll search the internet for a few.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – LOL… a.k.a. hahahaha – Yep. Guavas for everyone. Nope. Not really. Just about thirty or so little rascals. In Puerto Rico we used to have a guava tree that gave us quite a load of fruit. The problem later was that it got so sick that worms started damaging the fruit from the inside. A total waste. Inedible, unless you didn’t mind munching on the little squiggling things. Since then a certain desire to avoid eating the delicious fruit grew in me until recently. I still take a peek inside the fruit whenever in doubt. Eek!
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We’ve been on a smoothie marathon at our house lately so I thought I’d share my ridiculously simple recipe with you. The teenagers crave these smoothies, and the little ones ask for a “smoovy for dessert”.
Hint: I do this all by using the measuring lines on my blender to avoid washing any extra dishes.
Raw Yogurt Smoothie
one handful of the fruit of your choice
approx. 3 cups raw yogurt, unstrained (Click Here to learn how to make your own and save money)
½ cup raw honey
In your blender add the banana and other fruit. I use any seasonal fruit that I have in the freezer, or four frozen cubes of fruit puree leftover from making our own baby food.* (See TIP below) Then I pour the yogurt until it reaches the 3 cup mark on my blender. If you don’t have unstrained yogurt, you can always use two cups of thick yogurt and one cup of whey or raw milk. Then add honey until the mix reaches the 3.5 mark on your blender. Pop on the lid and blend like crazy. Taste, add more honey if desired. The end result will be the consistency of a milkshake, only slightly thinner.
*TIP: If you are using a seedy fruit like guava, you may blend/puree the fruits at this point to reduce the amount of whole seeds in your drink.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – One of the most delightful things about summer is red, juicy, homegrown tomatoes. My favorite gourmet, haute cuisine, fancy meal to make with them is… a sandwich. Yep, a mater sammitch. We just gathered the last of the tomatoes from our local organic farmer and have been savoring each bite. Marcus and the Teenagers like tomato sandwiches just fine, but Preschooler and I are NUTS about them. I’ll slap one down on the table in front of Preschooler and he’ll squeal like it’s Christmas morning. I used to put mayonnaise on them, but Yummy Inspirations gave me the idea of using plain homemade yogurt instead. It is delicious and Preschooler gives it his “squeal of approval”. So are you ready? Here is the super complicated recipe:
2 slices of bread slathered with plain yogurt
several thick slices of tomato
sea salt (If you’re anything like me, make that, “a ridiculous amount of sea salt”)
Okay, excuse me. I have to go eat another one now.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We’ve been making this recipe like crazy for the last two weeks so I thought I’d share it with you. Use it as a dip, sandwich spread, or anything else you can think of. This recipe is also a nice basic hummus that you can tweak to your own preferences, or jazz it up with other ingredients like avocado, tomato, olives, artichoke, etc., etc.! This is my modified version of the recipe from A Few Shortcuts, Click Here for the original. Remember, we use organic so if you use conventional spices, you’ll need to use more to get the big flavor.
What are your favorite extras to jazz up hummus? Tell us about it in the comment section below.
- 3 cloves fresh garlic (1 clove if using organic)
- 1 can drained organic Garbanzo Beans
- up to 1/2 cup water
- juice of 1/2 organic lemon
- 1 teaspoon organic apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or organic coconut oil
- 1/2 tablespoon paprika
- 6 leaves fresh organic chive (optional)
- Throw everything but the water into a blender or food processor.
- Blend, then add water as needed, until desired consistency is reached.
- Place in serving dish and sprinkle with more paprika.
Megan Ryan’s Voice – We finally emerge victorious from a prolonged battle with Infant 0.9′s wicked diaper rash! We have cloth diapered her since the beginning and use an organic disposable at night. We did the same for Preschooler 4.9 although his disposables weren’t organic. In fact we use his same old cloths on her, because that’s the beauty (and $ saving) of cloth diapers. To make a long story short, she developed a large, painful looking, burn-like rash a while ago. Nothing we did made it go away. Out of desperation we switched her solely to organic disposables (ouch – SO expensive!) and the rash faded after a while. Switched her back to cloth and !BAM! rash city. Hit the reset button. Back where we started. So we sent an email shout out to our Catholic homeschooling group for help. Why not just go to the pediatrician? Because when it comes to curing things naturally and without prescriptions, we don’t have much faith at all in modern medicine. Once you read below, you’ll have a better understanding why. NO WAY would a pediatrician in our town have figured out the problem. They would have simply treated symptoms over a series of wasted office visits. Sad but true. We got tons of great advice from our friends, and now we’ll share with all of you the advice that won the day.
I washed all of her diapers several times in hot water alone, then once with a long soak with washing soda, followed by a few more rinse cycles in hot water. The washing soda balanced out the pH of the diapers as there must have been some buildup. The several hot rinse cycles removed any oily residue from the store-bought organic detergent (with fabric softener) I was using. An oily residue also would have trapped ammonia and contributed to the pH buildup. Click Here for the website that taught us about pH.
Then I made some homemade, organic laundry detergent using Dr. Bronner’s organic castile soap, washing soda, borax and water. It wasn’t much effort at all and yielded four gallons of detergent – yay! I made a liquid version of my friend’s recipe, but you can Click Here for a similar version.
In the meantime I used organic disposable diapers and liberally applied a homemade balm of organic coconut oil and tea tree oil with every changing – just in case it was a yeast/bacterial thing. The recipe is 10 parts coconut oil to one part tea tree oil. I used tea tree oil because it is anti-fungal, but diluted it with coconut oil because the tea tree can be quite strong. I chose coconut oil because it is anti-fungal AND antibacterial while remaining very mild.
Finally, I switched from using a wet diaper pail system (a plastic kitchen garbage can filled with water and detergent) to a dry diaper pail (no water/detergent). This also helps keep the pH neutral.
All in all, she has extremely sensitive skin. The same system that gave her a horrible rash was the same one (the diapers too) I used with our previous baby with no problems whatever. I guess it proves (once again) what one of my wise momma friends told me: Just when you think you have the parenting thing down, you get a new baby with a whole new set of obstacles to overcome
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Thanks be to God. We spent a few months battling the little one’s issue with her rash. Megan had to stop eating certain foods for fear that the foods may have been the culprits. Little did we know. Megan, don’t forget about all those baths in the natural goat’s milk soap we got from the local lady at the farmer’s market. It appears that the way to cleanliness isn’t always what doctors and commercial product companies have in mind for us. What I mean is that chemical soaps apparently aren’t reliable enough to keep us clean from everything. I personally wouldn’t mind doing it the way it is healthy and literally clean.
Megan Ryan’s Voice - I made my in-laws recipe for chicken and rice soup this week and the Teenagers asked for an encore since we annihilated the first big pot in 24 hours. All of their recipes are delicious, and I try like crazy to duplicate them. Unfortunately, they don’t go by written recipes so I have to stand by, watch, and write it down the best I can approximate the amounts. As always, try to use all organic ingredients for the best flavor.
Rice & Chicken Soup
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, shaved into thin, irregular slices
1 tbsp. Apple cider vinegar
1 red pepper, diced (or one 4oz. can pimiento)
6 leaves sawtooth culantro*
1 tbsp dried coriander (or ¼ cup cilantro chopped)
8 oz. tomato sauce or puree
1 whole chicken, deboned and cubed**
1 large potato, cubed
1 ½ cups rice, white and short grain
Water (or your favorite bone broth), enough to fill your pot ¾ full
1 – 1 gallon pot
Add sofrito to the pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for five minutes. Add all other ingredients. Return to a boil, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until potatoes are done – about one hour.
*Sawtooth culantro is not too common so you can omit it if needed. The soup will still be delicious, but the culantro truly makes a difference. We grow our own specifically for recipes like this one.
**Pork or beef also works nicely. On meatless Fridays we omit the meat and use bone broth instead for the rich flavor.
Liam Marcus’ Voice – Mark my word, an aneurysm may become her. She went out in the middle of the evening yesterday to no other place than a GMO lathered, chemically created doughnut shop. Yeeawk! The thought of it makes me want to…. Okay, enough with the guilt trip. How do you feel this morning, honey? Like a two-ton steak? That’s how I would feel. Hey, that’s all right. She has the right, right? We need to find a way to make and bake some wholesome homemade doughnuts. That’s all. PLEASE, anyone out there who may know how to do this… HELP! Yes, I know how to search the internet for something useful. However, I trust our friends and readers to provide us with something honestly, brutally, direct and wholesome. Okay, leave us your comments! God bless!
Okay, honey, what do you have to say for yourself? – Megan Ryan’s ‘confession’ - Okay, so I ate a donut. What’s the big deal? Okay it was three donuts…all in one sitting…and two more today. I only have a modicum of guilt because we eat so healthy the other 364 days of the year so I’m okay with a crazy splurge like this one. Surprisingly, I feel just fine. Actually, I feel GREAT! Not because of the donuts, but because I got a good night’s sleep for a change. Infant 0.8 only woke up twice and slept like a rock in between. <sigh> Thank you, Jesus. I was super cranky that (infamous donut) day because Infant and I got the worst night’s sleep ever the night before. She is cutting her top teeth so, woe is us. That’s why the emergency run to the donut shop after Preschooler was in bed, a little treat at the end of a looooong and cranky day. Hmmm, maybe all the donut junk I ingested got into my breastmilk and made her crash…
Infant 0.8 has been busy lately! She took her first few unassisted steps about two weeks ago, and now she will toddle a good eight feet or so all by herself and unprompted. She is almost two months ‘behind’ Preschooler when he started to walk, but she is much more sure-footed than he was. He was walking and falling/crashing all over the house, but she rarely falls. Instead she just plops down onto her bum, or catches herself with her hands. Bravo muñeca! You already know she says bye-bye, but now she is saying “Gah!” every time she sees one of our cats (cat = gata in spanish). Plus I just retired her infant car seat today and moved her into Preschooler’s old toddler car seat. I could let her sit forward-facing too, but I honestly think she would miss watching Preschooler 4.9 since he sits right next to her in our tiny backseat. He is a huge help when she gets cranky back there, plus he always tells me when she drops a toy, etc. Cute!
So waddya think? Is Megan going to keel over dead tomorrow from her splurge? How about a wholesome treat recipe of yours so she won’t have to go nuts next time?