Ok, so I don't exactly pass as one of those tall, blond Dutch girls but I did attend Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. I think I was adopted into more than one Dutch family in my four years there. My friend, Jen Vander Meulen, first introduced me to this breakfast treat called a Dutch Baby. I modified the recipe to add some "healthy elements." I love the crispy outside and the chewy inside of this pancake. I used frozen organic peaches since peaches aren't in season in Fresno right now. I can't wait to try it out with fresh, succulant peaches this summer. This would work well with berries or apples sprinkled with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon as well.
-1 tablespoon; 4 tablespoons butter
-1 lb. sliced peaches
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1 cup spelt flour (or whole wheat pastry flour)
-1 cup raw milk
-3 tablespoons sucanat (or organic evaporated cane juice)
-1/4 teaspoon sea salt
-3 large cage-free eggs
-4 tablespoons organic butter, melted
-maple syrup (optional)
1. Heat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Slice peaches. Mix with honey and lemon juice and saute in a pan in 1 tablespoon butter until warm. Set aside.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together flour, milk, sucanat, salt and eggs to form the Dutch baby batter.
4. In a quiche pan or a cast iron skillet, melt 4 tablespoons butter and spread along bottom.
5. Pour batter on top and bake until puffed and golden brown on top (approx. 20 minutes).
6. Spoon fruit onto the middle of the pastry and serve immediately in wedges. You can drizzle some maple syrup on top if you like and garnish with mint.
For years, my sister and brother-in-law have implemented Saturdays as dessert day with their kids. That means they avoid sugary desserts throughout the week but reward the kids on Saturdays with special treats. I've seen other families try this with great success. It gives kids something to look forward to and incentive to make healthy choices throughout the week. Also, it gets away from the idea that we *need* dessert every night.
That said, there is a time for dessert and I'm always on the lookout for "healthy desserts" or ways to tweak old faves to make them more healthful.
Here's a twist on Ghirardelli Chocolate Lava Cakes - great for Valentine's Day treats, Saturday desserts or anytime you want to impress your guests. You will need ramekins or other small pyrex dishes to bake them in. I bought heart-shaped foil pans at Dollar Tree to give them a Hearts Day flair for the fam. Serve them up warm and you will be the new queen or king of the house.
What's the skinny on dark chocolate? They say dark chocolate is a potent antioxidant - great for combatting high blood pressure and other diseases. (You don't have to twist my arm!) Of course, pay attention to sugar additives and avoid milk chocolate or white chocolate. Those don't count. Trader Joe's now sells organic free trade dark chocolate bars. Also check out Whole Foods, Kristina's Market and some conventional grocery stores.
Makes 6-8 cakes
1/2 (2 oz.) dark chocolate (60% bittersweet Cacao or more)
1/4 cup heavy cream or raw milk
olive oil cooking spray
1 bar (4 oz.) dark chocolate (60% bittersweet Cacao or more)
8 tablespoons organic unsalted butter
2 whole cage-free eggs
2 cage-free egg yolks
1/3 cup sucanat (available at health food stores like Whole Foods) or 1/4 cup organic raw sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole wheat pastry flour
Fresh organic raspberries or strawberries
Organic Chocolate Moo sauce (available at Trader Joe's)
1. To make centers, melt chocolate and cream in a double boiler. (If you don't have a double boiler, set a sturdy glass bowl on a top of a small saucepan 1/4 filled with water.) When chocolate melts, whisk gently to blend. Refrigerate for 1 hour or until firm. Form into 6-8 small balls, depending on how many cakes you want to make.
2. To make cake, heat oven to 400 degrees. Spray ramekins or tins with olive oil spray.
3. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler and whisk to blend.
4. With an electric mixer, whisk yolks, sugar and vanilla on high speed about 5 minutes or until thick and light. You will notice the change in consistency.
5. Fold melted chocolate into egg mixtures until combined.
6. Spoon batter into ramekins or tins. Place one chocolate ball in the middle of each ramekin.
7. Bake about 15 minutes until cake is firm to the touch.
8. Cool for 5 minutes then invert onto your serving plate and garnish.
Some of the steps we've been working on:
-eliminating white sugar and subsituting natural sweeteners (mainly honey and 100% maple syrup)
-avoiding white flour and substituting 100% whole wheat flour and other types of whole-grain flours
-reducing the amount of meat we eat and investing in grass-fed, hormone-free options
-incorporating more seeds, nuts and vegetables into our everyday fare
-buying locally-grown and/or organic
-avoiding processed foods and fast food at all costs
Of course, we didn't embark on all this at the same time. We started small. We looked for budget-friendly options by going to the farmer's market weekly and comparing prices at local grocery and health food stores.
In September, we also started rereading WHAT THE BIBLE SAYS ABOUT HEALTHY LIVING by Dr. Rex Russell with a small group of three other couples from our church. Our group has been meeting for four years, sharing meals, fellowship and reading books together. We asked the group to join us on our journey, mainly because we wanted moral support from Christian friends and we desired a core group to make similar lifestyle choices with us. We are all on our own journeys but praying, eating and learning together.
What we've noticed since we started making these changes:
-We've noticed increased energy, which contributes to that "fullness of life" we're going for.
-We've experienced minimal sickness. (We know we're not totally immune, but we definitely have been sick less than in the past and less compared to those around us.)
-We've lost weight, which wasn't really one of the goals but has been a healthy outcome. Ericlee has lost about 10 pounds since August. Dorina has lost 15 pounds and about 3 sizes (Never thought she'd see the day!)
-We've survived on the same food budget. (This was something we were really nervous about back in August, but the slow changes and shopping around has helped with all that.)
-We're discovering new healthful and yummy foods each day - grains, seeds, fruits, vegetables, all kinds of things we never knew about before.
-We look forward to weekly trips to the farmer's market for in-season goodies. We are thrilled by kale, bok choy, butternut squash, raw milk and cheese as well as old favorites like oranges, strawberries and tomatoes.
-We actually feel the difference when we eat out or eat unhealthy foods because our bodies are not used to it. Wild!
Probably the most amazing and unexpected part of this journey has been the opportunity we have almost daily to share and influence others to also pursue this healthier and fuller life. Ericlee's sphere of influence includes Fresno Christian Schools where he coaches P.E. He is so proud when his elementary students find him at lunch to tell him and show him they are choosing fruits and water and avoiding soda or other sugary drinks. The third and fourth graders even "compete" now for who can bring the healthiest lunch.
Ericlee also started the Wellness Council at Fresno Christian this school year. He's proud of the work parents, teachers and administrators are already doing to make healthy choices for the school. Currently, the group of about 10 people are working on "wellness policies" to implement at Fresno Christian. These policies affect Fresno Christian's identity as a school and how they influence others around them.
Dorina feels humbled by daily opportunities to share her findings with other moms and friends. She continues to tinker with new recipes in the kitchen. Check out her menus (more than a month's worth now), incorporating some of these healthy options. Dorina will also be speaking on Friday, February 29 at Moms & More for the Well Church. (She's excited and nervous about this new opportunity to share her passion.)
Tonight our small group met at our home for an Indian-themed meal (packed with nutrients, vegetables, legumes and healing spices). We shared around the table about ways God is blessing each of us. We prayed. We read chapter 6 on "Grains" in the book. And we've noticed a breakthrough even with this group of friends. We see a hunger for knowledge and a sense of encouragement as we walk this road together.
Are you on this journey? We invite you to share your struggles, questions and victories. We would love to hear about changes you've made in your life and what you've noticed in the last few months.
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 24-March 1
Baby Greens salad with pomegranate seeds & goat cheese
Garlic Italian Bread
Chicken Marsala with cheesy whole wheat shells
Flat bread pizzas
Maple Glazed Walnuts
Butternut squash lasagna
Rasberry-chocolate bread pudding
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 17-23
minestrone soup (I love Giada's recipe minus the pancetta. You could substitute some turkey bacon for that meaty flavor if you're trying to avoid pork.)
Dark chocolate Lava cakes
Feta lamb pita pocket sandwiches
Indian Tandoori-grilled chicken
Garlic Naan (purchased from Trader Joe's or a local Indian market)
Basmati Rice with Dried apricots and craisins(a long grain rice available at most grocery stores)
Yogurt Raitha (Meilani calls this "dip" or "deep" in her speak. It's a great yogurt sauce for cooling the spicy Indian flavors. Chop up some cucumbers or tomatoes and add it to plain yogurt for a quick version.)
Crockpot lentil-turkey chili (I added some ground turkey to this lentil soup recipe and did it up in the crockpot.)
Whole wheat sourdough bread (They sell this in Fresno at Le Boulangerie in Fig Garden. Stop by between 5 to 6 p.m. and all the day's bread is half off. It's a steal!)
Tortellini with sun-dried tomato sauce
Roasted butternut squash
Baby greens salad with blood oranges & goat cheese
Spinach & Artichoke Chicken pizza
COOKING CLUB - Food 4 Red Hot Lovers
Chile Relleno appetizers
Kung Pao Chicken
Brown Jasmine Rice
Sauteed Bok Choy
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 10-16
Crockpot beef stew
with potatoes, carrots & onions
Whole Wheat rolls
Dorina's Tortilla Soup
served with blue corn tortilla chips, salsa, cilantro and sour cream
Mixed organic green salad with black beans, olives and cotija cheese
Stuffed eggplant with quinoa, kidney beans, peppers & mozarella cheese
thurs -Happy Valentines Day!
Filet mignon with gorgonzola cheese sauce
Italian mushroom risotto
Roasted orange cauliflower
Coconut chocolate chip cupcakes
Cori's Kicked-up Chicken salad sandwiches
Dorina's Mahi Mahi Green Enchiladas
Costa rican gallo pinto (beans & rice)
WEEK OF FEBRUARY 3-9
Dorina's Rainbow Vegetarian Lasagna
with butternut squash and purple kale
Zucchini "no crab" Cakes
Roasted potatoes with parmesan cheese
Chicken Sausage Jambalaya
Thai chicken & Coconut Soup
Leftover Brown Rice
Turkey & Bacon Chowder
Whole Wheat Rolls
Spinach-stuffed Manicotti Shells
Topped with Marinara Sauce
Herbed Foccocia Bread
Roasted Acorn Squash and Gorgonzola Pizza
Baby Greens salad with sliced pears and walnuts
Whole Wheat Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
WEEK OF JANUARY 27 - FEBRUARY 2
Dorina's Italian Chicken Sausage & Kale Soup (I've been reading lots of great stuff about kale and it's health benefits so I decided to make a soup that used this unique in-season veggie.)
Split pea dip & Trader Joe's Everything crackers (We have this dip and crackers on hand every day of the week. It's a great snack for kids while they are waiting for dinner or after an trip to the park when they're ravenous.)
Tilapia with Purple Potato Crust and Chive Oil (I saw Giada making this one on her Food Network show and I wanted to lick the screen. So yummy, especially coupled with this adult mac & cheese.)
Gouda & Spinach Mac & Cheese
Grilled Teriyaki Chicken (Whip up an easy marinade with one part honey to one part low-sodium soy sauce.)
Brown Jasmine Rice
Sauteed Bok Choy
Spinach salad with dried cranberries, walnuts and goat cheese
Cumin, Honey and Mint-marinated Lamb Chops
Whole Wheat Couscous (available at Trader Joe's and other local groceries)
Whole wheat penne pasta with pesto sauce (I grow basil in my yard and freeze it for a quick pesto sauce during the cold days of winter. Fresh basil is also available at our local farmer's market or at Trader Joe's this time of year.)
Sauteed peppers & zucchini
Garlic Cheese Bread
Asian Chicken salad
Grilled Turkey Burgers (Why not try ground turkey for your next burger extravaganza. The taste is a little lighter and turkey is much healthier than most beef.)
Grilled Zucchini Spears with Goddess Dressing (I pretty much invent stuff to put my Goddess Dressing on. It's a mix of ranch with hummus taste because of the tahini. Just love it!)
Blue Corn Tortilla chips and Double Roasted salsa (Find these healthy munchies at Trader Joe's or Whole Foods.)
WEEK OF JANUARY 20 - 26
Dorina's chili pizazz (See recipes in previous post)
Roasted salmon with grapefruit shallot sauce (Looking for ways to use those grapefruits in your your yard or from your neighbors? This winner recipe is from Food Network's Ellie Krieger. It's a wonderful melding of light flavors with a spicy kick, depending on how much red pepper you add.)
Brussel sprouts with pistachios (I have never eaten brussel sprouts before and I'm definitely converted after trying this recipe in the Green Issue of Bon Appetit magazine. I'm wondering why this vegetable has such a stigma. They're great!)
Garlic chicken quinoa stir fry (I found this recipe on the back of the quinoa box from Trader Joe's. This grain originally from the Incas in Peru is packed with flavor and protein.)
Grilled mahi mahi
Sweet potatoes with cranberries & walnuts
Sauteed Broccolini (A fabulous find at the Vineyard Farmer's Market in Fresno)
Harvest Blend pilaf (Find it at Trader Joe's)
Baby greens salad with cucumbers, red onion and mandarin oranges
Butternut squash lasagna (This recipe is to die for - although I did ditch the cookies??)
Whole wheat herb bread
Make-your-own beef burritos
Brown Mexican rice
Whole grain tortilla chips & Guacamole
Chicken Tikka masala (I am a sucker for tikka masala; I always order it when we go out to Indian food. Found this in one of my Ethnic Cookbooks and just had to try it.)
Naan (We get ours from Trader Joe's or a local Indian grocery store.)
Spinach & garbanzo curry (I looked this recipe up on Epicurious while the chicken was cooking and made it right away. It's a snap!)
Think a Romantic Breakfast in Bed
*Ellie Krieger's Heart-Shaped Pancakes with Strawberry Sauce
*Dorina's Quiche with chard, red pepper & turkey bacon
*Dorina's Blueberry muffins with a Strawberry Smoothie
BERRY-HEALTHY BLUEBERRY MUFFINS
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw sugar or sucanat (or 1/3 cup honey)
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup milk (We use raw milk. Could substitute goat's milk, soy or almond milk.)
1/2 cup organic butter, melted
1 cup frozen organic blueberries
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
2. Grease muffin tins or use paper liners.
3. Mix milk, butter and eggs.
4. Add dry ingredients. Mix just until ingredients are incorporated.
5. Add frozen berries.
6. Spoon into muffin tins and bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown on top.
7. Cool 5 minutes and serve.
Makes 1 dozen muffins.
Luscious Lunch for the kids or your Lover
Heart-shaped grilled cheese (with goat cheese & turkey) - Use a large heart cookie cutter to cut whole wheat bread into heart shapes
Blue tortilla chips with mango salsa
Honey-Lemonade with frozen raspberries
Dark chocolate-dipped strawberries
Filet mignon with gorgonzola cheese
Italian Mushroom risotto
Roasted orange cauliflower
Drop-dead yummy Desserts
Coconut Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Ellie Krieger's Mocha Chocolate Cake
Banana Cream Pie with Whole Wheat Chocolate Crust
Pears in Honey-Caramel Sauce
Dorina's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Heart-shaped Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
3 cups flour (I use 2 cups unbleached white and 1 cup wheat)
4 teaspoons baking powder
4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon flaxseed (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 15-oz. can pumpkin (100% pure)
4 large eggs
1 cup honey
2 medium mashed bananas
3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 bag chocolate chips (optional)
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 8-oz package cream cheese
1/2 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup honey (or until consistency you like)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 2 heart-shaped cake pans or round cake pans.
2. Mix eggs, butter, sugars/honey, pumpkin and banana.
3. Mix in dry ingredients.
4. Add chocolate chips & nuts. Do not overmix.
5. Pour into loaf pans and bake 25-30 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean.
6. Cool completely on rack. Meanwhile, whip softened cream cheese with whipping cream and honey with mixer until consistency you want - not too runny.
7. Frost with cream cheese frosting.
Dorina's Chewy Oatmeal-Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
1 cup organic evaporated cane juice or sucanat
1 cup butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 3/4 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup rolled oats
1 c. dark chocolate chips
1 c. craisins (dried cranberries)
1/2 c. chopped nuts (optional)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix honey, butter, vanilla and egg.
3. Add flour, baking soda, cinnamon and oats. Mix just until incorporated.
4. Add extras like chocolate chips and/or dried fruit.
5. Drop tablespoons of cookie dough onto greased baking sheet.
6. Bake for approx. 12 minutes or until puffed and golden brown on top.
7. Cool on a rack for 5 minutes and serve.
More healthy recipes and Valentine menus can be found in Eating Well magazine. Check out their ideas.
I've been hunting down creative ways to use winter produce and get the best bang for our buck from vegetables at the farmer's market. It's all part of our quest to eat local and organic as much as possible. I was inspired by a recipe I saw in Sunset magazine for a Butternut Squash & Kale Lasagna. Of course, I love to read lots of recipes to get ideas and then come up with my own. Here's a new fave in our household - quite a twist on the classic lasagna. I like it because it uses whole wheat noodles but the whole wheat taste doesn't dominate the flavor. Let us know what you think!
Dorina's Rainbow Lasagna
3 tablespoons olive oil
olive oil spray
1/2 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 29-oz. can chopped or crushed tomatoes (I used Trader Joe's organic chopped tomatoes.)
1 t. oregano
1 t. basil
1 t. chopped bay leaf
1 t. salt
1 t. black pepper
4 cups butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (Trader Joe's sells it already cubed in the refrigerator section if you don't have time to cut one up.)
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 bunch purple kale
8 oz. mushrooms, sliced (I used the classic white mushrooms.)
1 package whole wheat lasagna noodles (We found a new Ronzoni brand & they were great!)
1 15-oz. container ricotta cheese (Trader Joe's brand is good if you don't have a local Italian market where they sell it fresh.)
3 cups shredded mozarella cheese
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. For sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add red onion and garlic and cook until onions is soft and translucent (approx. 5 minutes). Add tomatoes and spices. Reduce heat and simmer about 30 minutes while preparing the rest of the lasagna.
3. While sauce is cooking, spray a cookie sheet (the kind with sides) with olive oil spray. Put cubed butternut squash on the cookie sheet. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil and 1 tablespoon maple syrup. Bake until soft (approx. 10-15 minutes).
4. Meanwhile, bring 3 quarts salted water to boil in a large pot for the noodles.
5. Tear kale leaves from center ribs and discard ribs. Chop kale into thin ribbons.
6. Slice mushrooms.
7. Cook lasagna noodles in boiling water until tender. (Check package for timing - usually aobut 10 minutes).
8. Coat the bottom of a 9x13 pan with tomato sauce (approx. 1 cup). Layer lasagna noodles over sauce. Top noodles with 1/3 squash, kale and mushrooms. Add 1/3 of ricotta cheese. Sprinkle with 1 cup mozarella cheese.
9. Repeat step 8 until all ingredients are gone. The top layer should be the mozarella cheese.
10. Bake lasagna until juices bubble and cheese is melted and starting to brown at the edges of the pan (approx. 30 minutes). Remove from oven and let stand 10 minutes before serving.