Rice Salad With Mandarin Oranges

Rice Salad from What We Eat
What We Eat isn’t primarily a cookbook.  There are only about half a dozen recipes.  Mostly it is a picture book about nutrition, foods from around the world, where food comes from, how it grows, and how different cultures eat.  It’s a good library book, I am not sure it’s worth owning.
The recipe doesn’t give proportions- just a picture and a list of ingredients.  In this case:
Cooked rice or pasta
Orange segments

The text also, unfortunately,  warns its young readers (this book is aimed at grade school and below) not to “be tempted to drown your healthy salad with dressing that contains a lot of fat.’ Kids seriously should NOT be warned off of fat.  It should be ‘good’ fat, certainly (not margarine or corn oil, for instance), but fat is good for them.

What we did instead:
We had cooked brown rice in the fridge.  The 14 year old had the 3 year old help her mix that up with a can of mandarin orange slices, some walnuts they smashed with a rolling pin, a couple handfuls of raisins, and some fresh spinach I cut up by rolling the spinach into cigars and then cutting into ribbons across the small end.
We topped it with a nice full-fat Italian dressing.

I thought it needed garlic, ginger, and some grated carrot. Actually, it needed to taste more like this.
The 14 year old thought it was just okay
The 12 year old said he did not like it.
The 6 year old said it was okay.
The 3 year old liked making it but said he doesn’t eat salad.
The Cherub had seconds.
The Equuschick dropped by after lunch and saw the salad sitting out and asked of she could have some.  She says it’s delicious.

While cooking we had conversations about why we wash our hands, where walnuts come from, why pop-tarts are not good for us, why taking my library card at the library and hiding it was Not a Good Thing, and why 12 year old boys should not be sneaking marshmallows from my pantry.


Posted in Asian, GF, grains, homeschooling, lunch, salad, side dish | Leave a comment

Biscuit Dough Pizzas with Kids

Pizzas with Kids:  from Pretend Soup
The book includes a recipe for homemade dough, but also says you can use 4 unbaked refrigerator rolls or biscuits, and since we were seriously crunched for time, we cheated and bought a can of biscuit dough.*
Tomato sauce
Zucchini, diced
mushrooms, diced,
Parmesan cheese
grated mozzarella
The directions are to roll the dough into small pizza crusts, spread with tomato sauce, top with three slices each of zucchini and mushroom, sprinkle with Parmesan and top with mozzarella
Then bake until brown on the bottom and bubbly

Here’s how we made the pizzas
The six year old used the pastry brush to ‘paint’ oil on the baking sheet
The 12 year old rolled out each biscuit
The six year old put the rolled out crusts on the baking sheet.
We didn’t have tomato sauce, so I cheated and used, gulp, ketchup.  I briefly toyed with smashing up two or three tomatoes from the garden, and that would have been yummy, but I was in a hurry* and wasn’t sure if it would be too soggy or not.  The 12 year old squirted a dollop of ketchup  on each biscuit round, then the 6 year old spread it with the back of a spoon.
I would have had one of the young chefs grate cheese, but I cheated and bought a bag of pre-grated cheese. It was on sale, and it was convenient*.
I sliced mushrooms, a small zucchini, and two hot dogs (yeah, sorry.  They pretty much violate all of Michael Pollans’s food rules, and I only buy them once or twice a year.  This happens to be that time of year).
The 6 year old put the toppings on while the 12 year old unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher and finished putting away the groceries from our shopping trip earlier.
We baked them at 350 for about ten minutes.

I liked them fine, but what I preferred was all the leftover sliced toppings on a cheese tortilla sans ketchup.
14 year old- good, but would prefer a different set of toppings than mushrooms or zucchini
12 year old- good, but would prefer more mushrooms and no zucchini
6 year old- good, really liked putting the stuff on them, but would rather eat them without the mushrooms or zucchini
3 year old- no toppings at all

*Convenience: This is what Michael Pollan, father of one teen-aged son, doesn’t understand or acknowledge in his tirades against the evil corporations which make such bad-for-us convenience food, food they wickedly package and process so it can be eaten one handed or prepared in a tenth of the time the corresponding natural product would take to make from scratch.  Successful Corporations do not make foods that do not sell.  Advertising can only do so much to persuade the public to buy a product, and if Evil Corporate Entity A doesn’t meet the demand for convenience food, Evil Corporation B will step right up to the plate- because Evil, Lazy, Slacker Consumers C-Z are just not going to give up on convenience foods.

Posted in appetizers and snacks, frugal, lunch | 1 Response

chocolate banana shake

The Cherub and I made the chocolate banana shake together- it comes from Pretend Soup by Mollie Katzen, but we increased the proportions and fiddled it a bit.
The original recipe:
1 cup of milk in the blender (nasty surprise, Mollie says it tastes like it’s made ice-cream even with lowfat milk.  We used whole)
1/2 banana
2 tablespoons sweetened cocoa
3 ice cubes-
Mix all in a blender.

We used two bananas, six ice cubes, and filled the blender about 3/4 of the way with whole milk, I didn’t measure the chocolate milk powder, which I had to buy special for the occasion, and I added two large spoon fulls of natural peanut butter.
Verdict: It’s probably better without chunky peanut butter and with more ice, but I liked it.
The FYG doesn’t like bananas, so she didn’t like it at all.
The FYB wished I’d left the peanut butter out, and says it would have been really good without them.
Nod gave his to the Cherub
Blynken says it’s good
The Cherub drank hers and Nods’ and would have taken anybody else’s.

You know what I think would have been really yummy?  A couple spoonfuls of jam instead of peanut butter or chocolate- then it would have been a strawberry banana shake.  Mmmmmm.   We’ll try that another day.


Posted in beverages, dairy, dessert | 1 Response

Tuna and Tomato Mayonnaise

Tuna and Tomato Mayonnaise (adapted Lunch Boxes and Snacks: Over 120 healthy recipes from delicious sandwiches and salads to hot soups and sweet treats)

3 five ounce cans of tuna, open and drain (the Boy was insulted when I asked him if he knew how to drain a can of tuna properly)
3 Tablespoons softened butter
6 Tablespoons or a little less than 1/3 cup each of Ketchup and Mayonnaise (we had to google the conversion)
1 cup diced cucumber (cukes from the Equuschick’s and Shasta’s garden, diced with the Zyliss food chopper)
4 scallions (we didn’t have any, so we just used a vidalia onion

Mix butter, ketchup, and mayo with a fork in a medium sized bowl, until well blended. Open and drain tuna, flake with a fork in the same bowl. Add cucumbers and onion. Stir well.

Serving suggestions:
Have on sandwiches
spread over tortillas and roll up
Add a bit of cream cheese and use to fill celery sticks or Bok Choy (sometimes erroneously called Chinese Cabbage or Chinese celery)
Have as a dip with crackers

I love this stuff. Tangy but fresh tasting (I think it’s the diced cucumber that really makes it specially fresh and summery tasting)
The Boy is not a huge fan of mayo and ketchup together. He eats his burgers with just mustard. He said that the cucumbers and onions really helped make up for the ketchup and mayo, so he can eat it cheerfully.;-P
The FYG says it’s weird
Jenny (my pickiest eater) says she would make it without the onions and then it would be good.
The HM says he prefers regular tuna salad, he thinks it’s a little too sweet (probably the cucumber) but he loves the onions.
Pip isn’t home for dinner tonight (Updated- when she came home she said it was good, but she’d rather have no onions)
And the Equuschick and the Mom of the Four Boys came over and even the Equuschick liked it – she said it was fresh and very good until after she swallowed and she could taste tuna.  She NEVER eats tuna or any other fish.  The Mom of the Four Boys says it was delicious and very fresh tasting.

Conclusion: leave the onions in a bowl on the side and have it for a ladies luncheon.=)

In spite of these wide and varied opinions, everybody ate theirs without complaint.

Posted in appetizers and snacks, condiments and substitutions, fish, lunch, salad | Leave a comment

Quinoa and Amaranth Crockpot Breakfast

This was ridiculously simple. It made more than enough to feed 5 people with leftovers (because two of the 8 people here are teenaged boys who rummaged for leftover pizza).

2 cups of amaranth
2 cups of quinoa
8 cups of water
brown sugar to taste
about 1/3 cup coconut oil or other fat

Melt coconut oil or other fat in your crockpot and turn the crockpot in order to coat crock with fat
While coconut oil is melting, rinse the quinoa well and add to crockpot*
Pour amaranth into crockpot
Add water and brown sugar (approximately 1/2 cup) and stir all well. You can skip sweetener or choose a more natural alternative (honey, maple syrup, apple sauce)
Turn crockpot on low and cook about 6-8 hours

If you don’t like quiona, you won’t like it, because it still tastes like quinoa. It also has such a nutty flavor, that my kids didn’t believe me when I told them there was no peanut butter in it.

I stirred a bit of jam into mine. It was really pretty good as is, but other additions could include:
chia seeds
diced apples
maple syrup

*quinoa should be rinsed before cooking to remove the natural bitter coating on the seeds. Because quinoa seeds are so small, you need a small seive. I used a Bacon Splatter Screen
over a bowl of water (and spilled out more quinoa than I wish I had). Another solution would have been a jar with a square of nylon stocking (knee hi-s) stretched tightly over the top and held on with a rubber band.

This is gluten-free, wheat-free, dairy free, grain-free etc, etc.

Quinoa and amaranth are technically seeds and not grains, which is why they are gluten free.  Both have high levels of lysine, an important amino acid (and one that is good for reducing cold sores).

According to Livestrong.com:


A serving of amaranth carries 46g of carbohydrates. These consist of 40g of starch, 5.2g of dietary fiber and 0.8 g of complex carbohydrates. The same amount of quinoa delivers 39.4g of carbs: 32.6g of starch, 5.2g of fiber and 1.6g of complex carbohydrates. According to Walter Willett in “Eat, Drink and Be Healthy,” the higher a grain’s content of complex carbohydrates as compared to starches, the healthier that grain is.


Quinoa delivers significantly more vitamins than amaranth. A serving of quinoa gives you 19 percent of your daily dose of folate, more than 10 percent of your B1, B2 and B6, and smaller but appreciable amounts of vitamin E and B3. Amaranth does bring 14 percent of your B6 and folate to the table, but contains less than 5 percent of your daily allowance for other vitamins.



The situation is reversed between amaranth and quinoa when it comes to minerals. Amaranth brings over 100 percent of your daily manganese and over 25 percent of your iron, magnesium and phosphorus. It delivers more than 10 percent of everything else, except for sodium. Of this more harmful mineral, it carries only 1 percent of your allowance. Quinoa carries 58 percent of your manganese and between 10 and 20 percent of your daily need for iron, zinc and copper. It also contains just 1 percent of your sodium.



According to About.com:



Carbohydrate and Fiber Counts for Quinoa

  • ½ cup cooked quinoa: 17 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 2.5 grams fiber, 4 grams protein, and 111 calories
  • 4 oz. uncooked quinoa (¼ lb): 64 grams effective (net) carbohydrate plus 10 grams fiber, 18 grams protein, and 412 calories

Glycemic Index for Quinoa

One set of studies reported an average glycemic index of 53 for quinoa.

More Information About the Glycemic Index

Glycemic Load of Quinoa

  • ½ cup cooked quinoa: 9

  • 4 oz. uncooked quinoa (¼ lb), which is then cooked: 40

Posted in breakfast, crockpot, frugal, GF, grains | Leave a comment

Broccoli Cottage Casserole

Part of a OAMC plan

Broccoli Cottage Casserole

For each pie pan, combine:
16 ounces cottage or ricotta cheese
4 eggs, stirring well.
Stir in:
10 ounces of frozen, chopped broccoli
1/2 cup diced peppers or green chiles
salt and pepper to taste

Turn into oiled pie pan, top with Parmesan cheese or minced onions. Freeze, cover, sealing well, and label.

To serve: Thaw. Remove cover. Bake at 350 for about half an hour, or until set and not jiggly.

Also good topped with sliced fresh tomatoes and then sprinkled with parmesan and put under the broiler for just a couple of minutes.

Posted in OAMC, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Black Bean Sloppy Joes

Part of a OAMC plan

Black Bean Sloppy Joes

(serves 15, or three meals for 4-5 people)

1/3 cups olive oil, or other fat
3 onions, chopped
6 tablespoons chili powder (optional, we usually use less)
1 1/2 green pepper, chopped
9 cups cooked black turtle beans
6 tablespoons Bragg Amino Acids (or soy sauce)
2 teaspoon oregano
3 cups tomato sauce
Molasses/brown sugar to taste (the more the merrier!)
perhaps some ketchup- adds to the ‘joe’ flavor
Splashes of Worcestershire sauce
Dash of mustard

In large skillet or pan, saute onions and peppers with chili powder in oil and cook until just fragrant. Add remaining ingredients, simmer briefly. Either serve immediately on toasted buns, or freeze in three zippered plastic freezer bag.

If your family is like ours, you’ll want to freeze a package of buns along with the black beans, too, because if you don’t hide the buns in the freezer somebody will eat them before you have the black beans.

To serve, thaw overnight in refrigerator, heat through on saucepan just before serving or simmer in crockpot all day. Serve on toasted bread or rolls.

Good with cole slaw and chips, or stewed tomatoes and a salad.

Posted in OAMC, vegetarian | Leave a comment

Crockpot Chicken Adobo

This is part of a OAMC plan

crockpot chicken adobo

Crockpot Chicken Adobo
–3 large whole chickens
For each chicken:
–1/4 cup soy sauce (we use Bragg – Bragg Liquid Aminos)
–4 cloves garlic, chopped
–1 tsp black pepper
–1/2 tsp salt
–1/2 cup apple cider vinegar (can use regular white)
–4 bay leaves
–1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
–1 yellow onion, sliced in rings
The Directions.
* Combine all ingredients except the chicken and freeze.

To cook, chicken.

*Slice an onion in rings, spread them out in the crockpot, top the carrot/cider mixture.

*Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 4-5. This is done when the chicken is cooked through and has reached desired tenderness.
bone-in chicken for four hours will be completely done and falling apart.

Low-carb: leave out carrots or substitute grated turnips or kohlrabi

Serve over rice. Reserve broth and carcass when finished and use to make chicken stock.

Posted in crockpot, OAMC | Leave a comment

Bombay Chicken

This is part of a OAMC plan.

Bombay Chicken

Adapted from the recipe here.
This will make a lot of meals. It might be as few as 3 meals for a family of 4 or 5, it can easily become 9meals, and if you are creative with your side dishes and additions it can be much more, depending on how you decide to serve it. On serving day you can dice the chicken and toss with stir fry vegetables and serve over cooked rice to get the most servings out of it.

3/4 cup melted butter, ghee, or coconut oil
3/4 cup mustard
1 1/2 cups honey
3 teaspoons seasoning salt
1 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3/4 teaspoon onion powder
3/4 teaspoon curry powder, to taste
1 tsp turmeric
3/4 teaspoon pepper
9 lbs frozen boneless, skinless chicken pieces, do not defrost. (you can also use fresh chicken pieces, I just find the 3 pound bags at Aldi’s to be the best price for the thighs, which I prefer)
Combine all Ingredients except chicken, in a small sauce pan. Heat over medium heat until smooth and slightly smooth. Set aside to cool. Label 6 gallon sized bags with ‘Bombay chicken’ and cooking instructions (see below). Divide chicken pieces between the bags, pour sauce over the chicken, dividing it as evenly as possible.
Serving options:

Bombay Chicken Crockpot: thaw a bag in the fridge overnight, put in the crockpot and cook for four to six hours. Serve over rice.
Bombay Chicken Bake: Thaw, turn into greased baking pan and bake at 375 30 minutes.
Serve over rice.
Toss cooked and diced chicken with soba noodles and a jar of mango chutney
Mix with diced, cooked potatoes and/or peas
Mix with ramen noodles
Add about two to three cups of diced bok choy, mushrooms, water chestnuts, maybe bamboo shoots, and diced radishes and snow peas- or any combo of these vegetables and some soy sauce. Stir fry the vegetables quickly in a skillet until crisp tender. Remove from heat. Simmer chicken pieces until done, dice, return stir-fry vegetables to the mix, and thicken the sauce with a bit of corn-starch or arrowroot powder (dissolve about a teaspoon or two in 1/4 cup of water, stir this mixture into the chicken/vegetable/sauce mixture and stir quickly while heating over medium high. Liquid will get cloudy and then clear up, thickening as it does so.

Posted in crockpot, OAMC | Leave a comment

Burrito Pie

Burrito Pie

Ingredients for 3 deep dish pie pans:

combine about 4 1/2 cups of the cooked ground beef for each pan with these ingredints-
2 tsp ground cumin
2 jar (16 oz) salsa
1 1.2 cup chopped fresh tomato
3 can (4 oz) chopped green chilis
6 cups cooked and well seasoned pinto beans (or kidney or black)
Salt and pepper to taste

spray pans with foil (for ease of prep I bought disposable pie tins. You can line your own pie pans with foil, spray the foil, and then freeze the dishes, removing the food and wrapping it better after it’s frozen).

flour tortillas (8-in)- about 5 per pan, depending on the size of your tortillas and pans.

cheese, 6 cups grated combination of cheddar, monterey jack, or colby

Toppings: sour cream and chopped tomato; cilantro

Line the bottom of prepared pie plate with one tortilla. If your tortilla is too small to cover the bottom, take two tortillas and tear them in half, arranging them on the bottom so the entire bottom is covered. Spread with a layer of the meat mixture, then sprinkle w/a layer of cheese. Top with another tortilla. Repeat layers until you reach the top of the pan, finish that layer with tortilla; cover with foil. Wrap very tightly. Freeze. Put about 1/2 cup of cheese in a small freezer bag and attach it to your pan for later. If you need your pie pans and you lined the pan well with foil then you can later remove from pans, put foil wrapped casserole in bags, seal, return to freezer. On cooking day you would unwrap the still frozen casserole, put it in the pie pan to defrost.

To serve:
Bake 1 hour, covered. Uncover, sprinkle with more cheese and bake 10 minutes longer or until cheese melts. Let cool 5-10 min before cutting in wedges.
Serve with toppings; garnish with cilantro.

If you defrost it before baking you can bake it for about 1/2 an hour instead of an hour.

You can substitute refried beans for the cooked beans.

Posted in OAMC | Leave a comment