Citrus Glazed Tofu

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You’re thinking this is a good blog post to skip aren’t you? I know…Tofu. But, trust me on this one.  My awesome cousin-in-law (as in she is married to my cousin) has vegetarian / vegan cooking down to an art form.  This is her tofu recipe and I’m sharing it because its so good you’ll be converted to a tofu eater after just a bite.

Citrus Glazed Tofu

You’ll need:

1 package of extra firm tofu

cooking oil (i prefer coconut)

Seasonings: Salt, pepper, garlic, cumin, red pepper, and paprika

What you do:

1. Drain the tofu (its got a lot of water in it so do your best) and cut into little cubes.

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2. start off on high heat with a little oil in a non-stick pan. Tofu is very sticky and a non-stick pan with oil is the best way to cook it and have it keep its shape and not turn to sticky yuck.

3. Once it starts to brown, season it with a little of each of the seasonings listed.  This is totally a preference thing so add as little or as much as you like but taste it to make sure you are happy with your mix.

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4. After it is browned off, pour about a 1/3rd of a cup of your favorite citrus fruit juice (lime, pineapple, orange, etc) and remove the pan from the heat.  Give it a few minutes to sit and let the juice reduce.  The end result is a glaze that coats the tofu and gives it this yummy sweet / spicey flavor.

5. Serve in a million different ways.  Its great in tacos or as a topping on a big salad but really you could do just about anything with it.

So what do you think? Will you give it a try?

Adding More Vegetables to Your Diet

I am always looking for ways to add vegetables (especially greens) to our diets.  We try and stick to real foods and I make as much as possible from scratch but even still greens are not easy to get past a 2 year old so i’ve had to get creative.

Kale Powder

Kale is my new favorite “seasoning”.  I dehydrate the leaves for around 4 hours or until they are crispy.  Then I pulse them to dust in my blender.  I store this in a mason jar on my pantry shelves along side all my other seasonings and no one even notices (shh don’t give away my secret).  I add this stuff by the spoonful to spaghetti sauce, meatball or meatloaf mix, casseroles, eggs…literally everything.

Green Cubes



This stemmed from needing to preserve large amounts of produce because I tend to buy a lot when it’s in season and on sale.  I’ve used pretty much every vegetable imaginable but my favorite is a mix of broccoli, zucchini, and celery.  I give them all a quick rough chop and then throw them in my little food chopper until they are very finely diced.  Once everything is diced I fill ice cube trays with them and pop them into the freezer.  After they have frozen, I transfer them to freezer bags for long term storage.  These make cooking so easy! All I have to do is grab a couple cubes and toss them into anything that I want to add veggies to, no chopping or prep required.

How do you add more vegetables to your diet?

Apple Cornmeal Cakes

It’s no secret that I love breakfast.  Morning, noon, night it’s all pancakes time to me.  Well, except for tonight, when it was cornmeal cake time.   I was feeling creative and really wanted to use up some cornmeal that we’ve had kicking around in the pantry for a little too long.  It turns out that cornmeal makes a mean pancake, so mean in fact that I had to share it with you.

Apple Cornmeal Cakes

1 cup of cornmeal (try to find non GMO / organic cause its way better for you)
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons baking powder (aluminum free)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 small apple grated
3 tablespoons maple syrup (the real stuff, duh)
1 egg
1/2 cup of milk
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

Mix all dry ingredients together, add the grated apple and then the rest of the wet ingredients and mix some more.  I used a spoon and my muscles but you can use a mixer if you want.

Melt a little coconut oil in a pan until hot.  Add a couple spoonfuls of batter and cook until golden and crispy on each side.  Keep going till you run out of batter (just like making pancakes but better).  You might need add a bit more coconut oil as you go, the cornmeal liked to soak it up.


I topped mine with a little butter and maple syrup.  Tilly topped hers with some homemade mixed berry jam.  We were quite happy with our topping choices so feel free to try them both.

Immune Boosting Gummy Squares

Seeing as we’re stuck in the winter that won’t end, I figured I’d share a little trick I have to getting some immune system support into Matilda (and us big kids too).   These immune boosting gummies are super easy to make, it seriously took me 5 minutes and it packs a punch. *Please excuse the pictures.  We polished off the last batch before I was able to take pretty blog pictures.  So, you’ll have to look at the couple I managed to snap with my phone.  Or you could make a batch for yourself and take all the pictures you like :).  

Ingredients:
2 cups of your favorite flavor of juice, I chose grape (100% juice, preferably organic)
3 tablespoons of elderberry extract
1-2 tablespoons raw honey
2 dropperfuls (yes, that’s a measurement) of echinacea extract
2 packages or 4 tablespoons of plain gelatin

Directions:
1. Heat 1 cup of the juice and the honey up on the stove until just starting to boil.
2. Remove from heat and add the gelatin (stir to mix)
3. Combine all of the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix.
4. Pour into a small shallow pan or ice cube trays and refrigerate until set.
5. Enjoy!

Linking up with: Homestead Barn HopHomemade MondaysModest Monday

1st Birthday Cupcakes

Last week our tiny little Tilly turned 1-year old! You can read all about her original “Birth Day”HERE

To celebrate we had some close friends and family over for a little party.  The birthday girl enjoyed her pizza and veggie sticks, showed off her almost walking skills, and really liked the wrapping paper on all of her gifts.
I wanted to make cupcakes that Tilly and her party guests could enjoy, cupcakes that were as healthy as possible and that had no refined sugars or food dyes.  Here is what I came up with.

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
3 cups whole wheat flour (I use white wheat)
3 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 cups of grated green apples (squeeze out the liquid as  best you can)
1 cup mini chocolate chips / chopped walnuts / raisins / whatever! (optional)

Directions
Step 1: Line or grease a cupcake pan (This ended up making 18 cupcakes) and preheat oven to 350 degrees
Step 2: Melt coconut oil, butter, and honey on the stove.
Step 3: Mix all dry ingredients and honey / oil / butter mixture
Step 4: Add in eggs, yogurt, apple and any optional whatnots
Step 6: Fill cupcake pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until cooked through

The cocoa taste is subtle, it’s more like a spice cake.  I “frosted” ours with some lightly sweetened whipped cream but a cream cheese frosting would probably be awesome too (when is cream cheese frosting not awesome?) or you could go really crazy and leave them frosting-less, call them muffins, and eat them for breakfast…Not that I did that.


What did you serve at your little ones first birthday?

Linking up with: The Modest MomHomemade MondayHomestead Barn HopFrom the Farm Blog HopNatural Living Link UpPin It Party

Chicken Dippers

A Guest Post by Adrianne Gordon*

Like most two year-olds, my daughter isn’t all that adventurous about her foods.  She has her favorites, some things she’ll eat sometimes and will try something new if the mood strikes.  There are a few things she has refused to try – greens of any variety are “salad” and greeted with a quick “I don’t like that”.  Chicken is eyed with suspicion and declined no matter how it’s presented.  I wanted to expand her protein source and decided to experiment with homemade chicken nuggets…..er…..”dippers”. Not only was she willing to try this recipe (with a tiny bit of ketchup on the side), she had eight in her first sitting! I declared them a success and so long as I remember not to call them chicken, I think they will be a regular on her menu.

Homemade Baked (Chicken Nugget) Dippers
1 lb white meat chicken (we prefer antibiotic free tenders)
1 c  whole wheat flour
1 beaten egg
Salt, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese  


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Cut the chicken into 1 inch pieces
Season the flour to taste. We eat a lot of garlic and my daughter loves it. Try Italian seasoning or go with simple salt and pepper.
Divide the flour into two shallow bowls.
Beat the egg in a third bowl.

Roll individual chicken pieces in the flour, then the egg and then the second bowl of flour to coat.
Place on a greased cookie sheet.
Bake for 18 minutes.
Feel free to freeze what isn’t eaten right away for a quick meal later. 

*Adrianne Gordon lives in Asheville, NC and recently married her partner of 14 years.  She fills her days as a full-time University staff member, mom to a fun two year-old (she swears there is such a thing), birth doula and coupon clipper.  My oldest cousin on my mom’s side, she was the flower girl in my parent’s wedding and taught me to tie my shoes.

Linking up with: Homemade MondayHomestead Barn HopThe Modest MomThe Pin It PartyNatural Living Link Up

Quick and Easy Tomato Salad

The other  day I was having an “Oh shoot I forgot all about meal planning” moment and was in desperate need of a side dish….okay that’s a bit of an exaggeration but you know the feeling, babies are hungry, guests are pulling in the driveway, and you are standing in the pantry with your head in the fridge trying to figure out what to do. 


Out of my panic came this simple tomato salad.  It took all of two minutes to throw together and nobody knew I wasn’t prepared. So, next time you realize you forgot dinner, don’t worry I’ve got you covered!

Ingredients
3 cups of chopped cherry tomatoes
*I used both red and orange which made it very pretty
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 to 2 cloves of garlic minced (depends on how bad you want your breath to be)
1 handful chopped basil (yes, a handful is an exact measurement)
1 pinch red pepper flakes *optional

Mix all the ingredients together in a big bowl and chill until you are ready to serve it (which in my case was immediately).  

Note: This tasted good right away but tasted great after it sat in the refrigerator overnight. 
Linking up with: What I Am EatingHomemade MondayThe Modest MomHomestead Barn HopThe Pin It Party

Eggplant Chips

I’ll be honest, I’m not an eggplant fan.  I really only like it one way, deep fried and covered with tomato sauce and cheese. But, every year my mother-in-law gives me eggplant starts and every year put them in my garden. I just can’t say no to free plants.
So once again, I am on a quest to find ways to eat eggplant…

Or people to give them to, who wants eggplant?  

I posted on facebook asking for suggestions and my friend Steph happily suggested eggplant chips.  She bakes hers but I did a little research and decided it was time to break out the old dehydrator and give it a whirl.

Turns out eggplant isn’t all that bad in chip form…isn’t everything better in chip form?


2 medium eggplants sliced as evenly as possible (I really need to get mandoline)
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
Salt (you’ll see why there is no amount in a minute)

Sprinkle both sides of the eggplant slices with a little bit of salt and lay them out on some towels for 15 minutes.  This will help draw out some of the water, making them easier to chipify (yes, thats a word).

While they are resting, mix the remaining ingredients in a bowl.

Dip each slice into the vinegar mixture and lay them onto the dehydrator trays.

Turn it on and let them dry, mine took about 6.5 hours but it will depend on how thick your slices are and how speedy your dehydrator is.

I kept mine in a tightly closed container and they stayed nice and crispy, just like real chips, though they still have a bit of that eggplant taste to them.

What’s your favorite eggplant dish?
Linking up with: Healthy 2daySimple Living WednesdayHomeAcre HopNatural Living Link UpHomemade MondayFrugal Days Sustainable WaysReviving Homemaking

Simple Tomato Sauce



The gardens at camp are full of tomatoes and not many people are around to use them.  So, today I made tomato sauce.  I have made it before (in a much larger quantity) and I remembered it being way messier and way more work than it turned out to be.  I took the time to peel the tomatoes, which actually took no time at all.  I just dropped them into boiling water for 30 seconds and then into ice water.  The skin practically fell right off of them!


Here is the recipe:
10 tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I prefer amish paste tomatoes for sauce)
1 red onion minced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 pinch of sugar
1 pinch of salt
seasonings to taste (basil, oregano, rosemary, and fennel seed are my favorites)


Add all the ingredients to a saucepan on the stove and let it simmer till its good and cooked.  You can add cornstarch or flour if you want a thicker sauce but I just left mine as is.  
Store it in the fridge, just like you would an open jar of store bought sauce.  Enjoy!