Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Whole Foods Way

(time sensitive sale today and tomorrow- there is a wonderful whole foods living ebooks on sale with some great extras to get you started... I purchased it and am very happy with the goodies(salt and sour starter) and the books)

FYI- there are many links in this post so please hover over with your mouse to be able to see the highlighted items that you can click on for links.
    So as we wait for the calendar to clear a little to have a fall/winter potluck I will share some info here.  So my tips for making some great cold weather foods and remedies.
    First lets look at what is in season because when you are eating for nutrition with whole foods you want to be eating what is the best in season.
 Right now that is:
brussels sprouts
winter greens-kale, collards, mizuna, arugula, lettuces, swiss chard, mache
Rutabaga, carrots, celeriac root(my new favorite veg) and red onion
pumpkin and winter squashes
parsnips, turnips, and rutabagas
sweet potatoes and potatoes
dried beans

Notice everything on the list except citrus can be grown here in our northeast climate. So if we look at this list and we are already whole foods eaters we can see what recipes would work for those ingredients. Also a note on nutrition- these are the foods we should be eating in this season that give us the nutrition we need for this time of year. I don't buy fresh tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, or strawberries in winter. I do have some frozen/canned tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers(pickles) and strawberries(for smoothies) though, that were made when they were in season.

Some of my favorite recipes are:
Roasted vegetables( I have cut up carrots, beets, parsnips, cauliflower, broccoli, squash like Delicata, potatoes, sweet potatoes, baby turnips and brussels sprouts or any combination of the above, then mixed with a splash of walnut oil and some rosemary or parsley, roasted on stoneware or cookie sheet with an edge at 400 degrees for almost an hour, check after 45 minutes. You are looking for browned edges but not burnt)
Winter Squash or Pumpkin bisque- Roast squash and/or pumpkin in oven till tender and blend in a pot with immersion blender or in regular blender. Combine 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth with pumpkin. Saute 1 chopped onion and 1/2c. celery in some butter till it is just starting to brown and add to broth mix. Add some chopped potatoes, sea salt, pepper, 1/2 t. thyme, and 1/2 t rosemary. Heat on medium till potatoes are done. Add 1 cup cream if you want a creamy traditional bisque. I have also served this with a dollop of sour cream sprinkled with pumpkin seeds. I have served this with a side salad and fresh bread with butter.
Apple-Walnut Salad with vinaigrette-here
Meat Pies like Shepherd's Pie(made with lamb), Cottage Pie(made with beef), Steak and Guinness Pie, Chicken Pie(I mix leftover roasted veggies with leftover meat and this homemade cream soup and top with my favorite pie crust), etc.

Soups/stews- White Chicken Chili, regular Chili, Beef Stew, Lamb Stew, Lentil Soup, Turkey Wild Rice(non-dairy), Italian Vegetable Soup, Chicken Noodle, Clam Chowder and Garden Chowder. 
    For soups and meat pies you NEED a good homemade broth. My favorite chicken one is here and beef one here. I make these up ahead of time. Each recipe I make about 4 quarts and freeze them in wide mouth mason jars... leave head room. Then I thaw in fridge over night or on counter in the morning. NEVER put in hot water because it may break the glass.
Chicken broth
Lentil Stew

    Some recipes I want to try-
Raw Carrot Beet Salad-here
Cheesy Stuffed Pumpkin-here

    Soups or meat pies served with a winter salad that contains pears or apples with a nut or seed make for a yummy lunch or dinner. The soups are warm and filling and the salads give us that crunch we miss of summer but with winter fruits. So my challenge to you is look at what is in season only and add that to your soups, stew and salads. It is cheaper in season and loaded with more nutrition. When you can find it local it hasn't traveled as far and it is usually picked ripe making it better for you and tastes better.
    So how do I get my kids to eat all this.... get them involved in the kitchen, have them taste individual ingredients, don't give them bad choices and find great recipes. I don't buy a lot of processed foods so there is no choice in our house. Yes, this did take a while to transition but we learned real quick what simple things to have on hand. We keep a stock of carrots to munch, popcorn, homemade trail mix or Lara bars(homemade), raw cheese, Real sour dough bread(with homemade jam, fresh ground peanut butter, almond butter or butter), naturally brined olives, apple sauce, fruit, nuts and dried fruit.
    We typically eat one or two heavy meat meals like a roast or roast chicken in a week. Then the small amount I have left over(key is YOU fill their plates and put the rest away) gets put into soup or meat pie. The roasted meat tastes wonderful in these other meals. A tip-you can give soups and stews added flavor by sauteing onions, garlic, and celery in some butter till slightly browned before adding them. If we ate more like peasants with meat being a flavoring we would be healthier for it.
    Now I know this gets a bit more challenging if you have very active kids, really picky eaters or are in the transition stages(remember processed foods makes us more hungry because we are not getting the nutrition we need.) As a christian I tell my kids that we are eating to LIVE not living to EAT and this in the temple so lets take care of it. That doesn't mean we don't make healthy treats like the Best Brownies ever or a homemade fruit pie with some local ice cream but these are once a week not everyday.

    Some sites that you might find fun and inspiring:
The Stone Soup- love the simple easy recipes with a short ingredient list
Honest Fare- again simple recipes with seasonal ingredients... so yummy
Smitten Kitchen- again real ingredients with yummy food
Nourishing Days- real food and gluten free
Gnowfglins- lots of info

I hope this helps you and your family on this whole foods way of eating. One step at a time and a focus of better nutrition is all you need. God bless.