Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Homemade Chicken Salad w/Yogurt Dressing

I am always looking for new flavors for lunches around here... since I am home most days, I can't eat the same thing every. single. day.  Sandwiches are NOT my thing, and I can't make a large meal for lunch then turn around and make another one for dinner.  My other responsibilities don't leave time for that.  So, when I find recipes that catch my interest, I try to make enough to last for a few meals- this is one that fits the bill- and it turned out to be full of wonderful new flavors!

I tweaked  this recipe from one in an old Southern Living magazine.  (Here's the original)

1 can organic garbanzo beans (drained and washed)
2 T flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 T lemon juice
5 T unfiltered extra virgin olive oil
about 4 cups shredded chicken
3/4 cup chopped radishes
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 pt grape tomatoes (halved or whole)
1 1/2 cups chopped Japanese cucumber (no need to peel)

Yogurt dressing:
1 cup plain yogurt
4 oz crumbled feta cheese
2 T chopped fresh dill
2 T lemon juice
1 large garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste

The original recipe called for you to mix this and let that sit... whatever :)  I just threw everything together and poured the dressing over it!  I made three meals out of this one recipe, and it was delish.
If you can, make it the night before you eat it to let the flavors combine.  I found it even tastier on days 2 and 3. Enjoy!

Friday, January 9, 2015

Homemade Rough-Cut Pâté

Whenever I buy a whole chicken, I try to make sure it includes the giblets!  If you avoid them, you are really missing out on a delicious and nutritious snack:  pâté.  (Don't let the other organs go to waste!  Make gravy or stock with them!) .  

This is my go-to recipe for a quick and easy pâté- just 7 ingredients makes this treat a great way to take your organ meats, too!  Usually,  pâté is made with only livers, but I throw the heart in for added nutrients :)

Here's what you'll need to make a fast and tasty pâté:

From one  chicken with giblets:
chicken liver, de-veined with connective tissue cut off, chopped 
chicken heart, cleaned and chopped very fine

salt and pepper to taste
about 2 T minced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
2 T butter

Melt butter in a heavy skillet (I like cast iron)
Put chopped organ meats and onions in hot butter, brown
Just before taking the mixture off heat, add in the minced garlic- stir to heat briefly.
Season with salt and freshly ground pepper.

To serve:  place the warm pâté on a toasted piece of homemade sourdough bread- YUM!!
If you are generous, feel free to cut the toast in half and share with a loved-one.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Homemade Tepache (Fermented Pineapple Drink)

I have to admit, I do miss some things about Florida, especially since I know my citrus trees are in full fruit and we cannot enjoy them.  And, we have gotten more snow here in the past week than I've seen in the past 20 years of my life!  Our friends down south have been enjoying 70-80 degree weather... Winter is definitely the time to visit south Florida, and I am coming to understand why all those snow birds travel so far!

But, I was so excited when I saw that another of my favorite tropical treats was on sale at my local King Soopers:  pineapples!  Right now, they are $1 apiece!   So, I am going to make a tropical drink called tepache that reminds me of warmer climates :) 

What you'll need for homemade tepache:

2 pineapple skins and cores, washed 
filtered, non-chlorinated water
1-2 cups sugar (depending on taste)
1 T powdered cinnamon (you could also add cloves)

Although pineapples are not one of the "dirty dozen" fruits, I am not taking any chances- I gave these babies a nice bath in water and white vinegar to rinse off any residual pesticides.  I will be using the skin to ferment this drink, much like homemade ACV.

Once the pineapples are washed thoroughly, I cut off the skin (and about 1/4-1/2" fruit).  Save the interior fruit for eating!

Put the skins (and cores) into a two-gallon fermenting crock or glass jar.  Just cover the skins with filtered, non-chlorinated water that has been sweetened with 1-2 cups sugar.  I also added a couple tablespoons ground cinnamon and 1/4 c whey.  Stir until everything is combined, then cover with a secured towel.

On day 3 (it will be a shorter period for warmer climates), you will notice a layer of bubbly scum on the surface of your brew.  Just skim this off and re-cover the fermentation vessel! You will need to check for scum on day 4 and 5, and skim off whatever comes to the surface...

Day 5:  Bottling Day!

Since I am in a colder climate, I let my tepache ferment for 5 days.  Bottle yours any time between the 3 and 5-day mark.  The earlier you bottle, the sweeter it will be.  I like tart drinks :)  If you bottle earlier, you will have a better chance at putting it away while still bubbly, although mine was still bubbly on day 5! 

I made just enough tepache to fill a one-gallon re-purposed cider jug.  It is still a touch sweet, so I am leaving mine out on the counter overnight.  This will help the good bacteria consume the remaining sugar.  

If you've never had tepache, it is very pineapple-y.  It is a tropical thirst-quencher and a bubbly treat (even on a cold winter day!).  

So, enjoy this tropical treat and think of warmer days to come!  
To view the the original, inspiring post on Cultures for Health, click here.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Homemade Tooth Whitener

By now, everyone has heard of the wonderfully natural whitening ability of activated charcoal... well, those of us who have tried it in powdered form also know how messy it can be- big time messy. I have discovered a great way to cut down on the mess and make the charcoal experience more tasty, too!  Honey is the answer :)  

While perusing the vintage cookbooks on, I found some beauty tips from the Ugly Girl Papers in the back of the Housekeeper's Friend Cookbook (1876).  One tip was regarding a whitening paste for the teeth.  It reads in part:

     "...charcoal holds the highest place as a tooth powder.  It has the property, too, of opposing             putrefaction, and destroying vices of the gums.  It is most conveniently used when made into paste with honey."

The addition of (raw) honey makes charcoal much neater and more convenient to use! I, and  my bathroom counter, can attest to that :)  

In my charcoal tooth whitening paste, I used about two tablespoons honey and about two teaspoons charcoal.  If you feel you need more charcoal and less honey, go ahead and experiment with proportions!  

So, instead of using chemicals to bleach your teeth, try something natural, something tried and true. My teeth are looking whiter by the day,  and the addition of honey makes my teeth whitening a breeze!  Enjoy!