Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Whole Foods Fast: Sugar Free Taco Seasoning Mix

Everyone is happy on Taco Day in our house.  I am happy because it is a healthy meal with little prep work or clean-up work that can be made ahead that our kids love to eat.  The kids are happy because they love the taste and have fun making their own tacos.


Sugar Free Taco Seasoning Mix
Adapted from Family Feasts for $75 per week

1/2 cup of dried minced onion
1/4 cup sweet paprika
1/4 cup organic corn starch
3 Tablespoons Chili Powder
2 Tablespoons of Salt
2 Tablespoons of Garlic Powder
1 Tablespoon of Ground Cumin
1 Tablespoon of Dried Oregano

1. ) Place all the ingredients in a pint-size canning jar.  Put lid on and shake to combine.  Use 1/4 cup for every 1 pound of ground beef.

* You will thank yourself over-and-over again if you cook 4-6 pounds of ground beef and use what you need the first day and put the rest in freezable Pyrex containers (I find the 3 1/2 cup rectangular size is the perfect serving size for our family of four)
* This is my go-to meal when we get a last minute invite out on an afternoon when I haven't made dinner yet, but I want to eat at our usual 5/6PM time.  I pop one of these out of the freezer, take the meat out of the pyrex, put it in my slow cooker on high, chop up some tomatoes, shred the cheese and go have some fun.  Then when we get back home a dinner everyone likes is waiting for us.
* If you want to have this every week, alternate between tacos and taco salads every week.  That way you won't feel like you are serving the same thing every week.

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Monday, May 09, 2011

CSA Options in the Rochester Area

Residents in the Rochester Area interested in joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program have a few options to choose from for the 2011 season.  May is the time to decide what CSA is right for your family because most CSAs begin distribution in June.  Below I have detailed a few of the bigger CSAs in the Rochester Area.

Maple Creek Farm

Website: http://www.maplecreekfarm.com/

How you Get Your Food: You drive to one of the 25 drop-off points around Metro Detroit and pick up your box.  There are two drop off locations in Rochester to choose from.

Cost: 20 Week Distribution.  Single Share Size $400.  Family Share Size $750 (my pictures represent the family share size)

How to Sign-up: http://www.maplecreekfarm.com/membership.html OR they are at the Royal Oak Farmer's Market on Saturdays if you would like to meet your farmer in person.

What does a Share Look Like?:  This is the CSA that I have been doing for the past 2 years.  You can see all the produce that I received each week throughout 2009 and 2010 the pictures I put together on Flickr.

Upland Hills Farm

Website: http://www.uplandhillscsa.org/

How you Get Your Food: You pick up at the farm on a Tuesday or Thursday at a specified time.

Cost: 16 Week Share.
They have several pricing options based on if you work on the farm or not.
1. Non-working Full Share   ($580 Pickup once a week)
2. Working Full Share           ($400 Pickup and 2 hours work once a week)
3. Non-working 1/2 Share    ($340 Pickup every other week)
4. Working 1/2 Share            ($250 Pickup and 2 hours work every other week)

How to Sign-up: Fill out their application form (pdf)

What does a Share Look Like?:  They list these photos on their website.

Blue Water Organics

How you Get Your Food: Pick up at the Rochester Farmer's Market.

Cost: 18 week season.  $375 for a small share.  

How to Sign-up: Go to the Rochester Farmer's Market, they are there every week or email: lee@bluewaterorganics.com

What does a Share Look Like?:  There are no photos posted on the website, but I am familiar with their high quality of their produce because I frequently purchase food from them at the Rochester Farmer's Market.  

Other Options
Antaya Acres - I found this CSA mentioned on Craigs list, although I have no experience with them: http://detroit.craigslist.org/okl/grd/2331832825.html

* Door to Door Organics Michigan offered a CSA last summer.  Not sure if they will do the same for 2011.  You can still sign-up for their non-CSA option for weekly delivery of organic food (not always local).

* Raub-Rae Farm is at the Rochester Farmer's Market weekly and offer very good organic produce, and in my opinion the best eggs in town. So good, that I get up at 7AM to make it to the farmer's market in time to buy them, because they run out later in the morning.  They are a great alternative for someone who doesn't want the commitment for a CSA for a full summer, but wants fresh, organic food.  Connect with them on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Raub-Rae-Farm/296325419291

* Local Harvest (http://www.localharvest.org/) is a great website to find farms selling the products you are looking for close to your home.

* Dobrasevic Food Company offers weekly delivery of local food (not organic) throughout Metro Detroit.  Check their website for more details: http://www.dobrasevicfoodcompany.com/

Are you a Rochester Area resident with experience with a different farm?  If so, please include the information in the comments.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Marlene's Sugar Free Experience

After a whole week last week of eating way more sugar than I normally do, Sunday I started  "Kick the Sugar."  Julie posted that she wanted others to join with her for a month-long sugar fast.  I decided I needed to try this and see if my headaches would improve, if my cholesterol would lower and my over-all energy and mood would get better.  

We came home Saturday afternoon from visiting the grandchildren in two states, so I didn't have a lot of food in the house.  This was good for one reason-no treats or goodies; and bad  for another reason,  because I had no substitutes to help with the diet.  I am planning on some hummus and- more veggies and fruit- only jam.  I plan to watch what is in the packaged food I eat, but that will be easy since I don't eat too much pre-packaged food.

I will do it a little differently than Julie in that I am not going to cut out fruit from my diet for now, but just cut back to 2-3 servings a day.  My lo-carb sprouted bread from Trader Joes lists honey and molasses at the end of the ingredient list but shows no measureable grams of sugar.  I also plan to eat 1 to 2 pieces of very dark thin Ghirardelli chocolate which is 72% Cacoa.  I just need it; at some point I may be able to cut that out. I read Julie's blog recommendation www.sugarshockblog.com  and ordered the book "Sugar Shock."

Sunday the only sugar I had was:
*a little regular jam on my toast
*1/2 apple
*2 rings of fresh pineapple
*2 dark chocolate squares
*1 cup of hot milk with plain cocoa in it- whippped.

Oh, and I have to mention that I gained 2 1/4 lbs last week.  I am hoping the swimming I do everyday and cutting the sugar will help me lose those pounds and a few more.  This is a challange and discipline that I think will be good for me.  We need to nuture ourselves sometimes and I think this is a good way to do it.   Thanks Julie for starting me on this program.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

No Sugar Almond Flour Muffins (with low sugar option)

These muffins are what I eat for breakfast every morning with my coffee or tea.  They have no added sugar, only the sugar from 1 banana and 1/2 cup of blueberries spread out between the 24 muffins.  I like to use almond flour because I find it much more filling than a wheat flour.

Sugar Free Muffins (with low sugar option)

5 cups of balanced almond flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
6 eggs
2 tablespoons of vanilla
1 banana
1/2 cup of honey (optional)
1/2 cup of blueberries

1. ) Mix all of the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center.
2.) Put all of the wet ingredients in the well of the dry ingredients.  Use a hand blender or a fork to mash/mix the eggs, banana and vanilla (and honey if using).  
3.) Mix in blueberries, fill muffin cups 1/3 to 1/2 the way full with batter.
4.) Bake in a 300F oven for 25-35 minutes.

Almond Flour Muffins

A few notes:
* I find that these do not store for very long, so I put them in the freezer and defrost them in my toaster oven each morning.
* Did you notice how brown the banana was in the picture?  That is because when they get old, I throw them in the freezer and then pull them out when I need to cook with them.  Once defrosted, just snip off the top of the banana with a pair of scissors and press out the banana from the bottom right into your bowl.  It will be pre-mashed.  

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Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sugar Free Salad Dressing Recipe

Well, today is the 1st day of giving up sugar.  I am super excited that two other people have decided to join me and will be writing guest posts here about their experience.  If you would still like to join in, there is still time!

One store-bought item that frequently has added sugar is salad dressing.  To avoid this, I usually make my own.  My absolute favorite recipe that works well on a variety of salads is an adaptation I have worked out from the Greek Salad Dressing recipe from Family Feasts for $75 per Week (a very good book).

Greek Salad Dressing

Greek Salad Dressing
Adapted from Family Feasts for $75 per week.

I usually make a couple of batches in the pint size canning jars.  I will mix the liquids into one, and then put the rest in the pantry, so when I am ready for the next batch, I only have to add the liquids.

Dry ingredients:
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt (1/2 teaspoon will taste good too)
1 teaspoon onion powder

I put the fill line measurements for canning jars in ( ) so you don't have to get out the measuring cups.

1/2 cup olive oil (fill to 6 oz. line.  Note: The dry ingredients take about 2 oz of space, so even though 1/2 cup has 4 ounces in it, we start measuring the liquids at 6oz.)
1/2 cup red wine vinegar (fill to the 10 oz. line)
1/4 cup water (fill to the 12 oz. line)

Shake and use or place in fridge for up to 2 months.

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