Tuesday, December 27, 2011

New Year's Eve, Budget Finger Foods for Kids

Easy and Inexpensive Ways to Have Fun for New Year's. Keep kids healthy and happy during New Year's without the expense.

Kids tend to eat a lot during special events and that can lead to tummy aches from too many rich foods and headaches from not getting enough fluids.
Instead of filling that punch bowl with a lot of sugary fluids, how about filling it with ice and then placing several water bottles inside. Keep a marker handy to write the child's name on the bottle so you don't have community backwash. 
Kid's often complain of a headache near the end of festivities and this can be due to several factors, but dehydration may be one of them. Parties often have soda pop and juice boxes which only adds to the sugar load they're already receiving from food. This can shift the solute load within the blood stream requiring more water intake. If the body, especially that of a child, does not receive the water it requires, you can end-up with a nasty headache. 
Right now you can pick-up a 24 pack of water bottles for 3 to 5 dollars.
Finger Foods
Old fashioned popcorn can be popped on the stove and placed in individual baggies or containers. 
Place a small amount of olive or canola oil in a dutch oven and lightly heat on medium high, add 1 cup of popcorn kernels, cover, and shake the pot frequently (almost constantly) while gradually lowering the temperature on the stove top after it starts to pop. Remove from heat when popping starts to diminish. There really is no need to add salt as fresh popped popcorn has lots of flavor. 
You will get a huge bowl of popcorn that's inexpensive and not laden with preservatives and salt.
Fresh oranges can be rinsed, cut in half, use a knife to cut around the rim between the flesh and the rind, and then dig out with a spoon. This method is quicker and each child will receive at least half an orange (depending on how much you buy). This will help provide fiber (in addition to the popcorn), and vitamins A and C.
Wheat crackers that have at least 2g of fiber per serving tend be much lower in fat than some of the other varieties. You can pre-make a cream cheese dip with a low fat block of cream cheese, softened and whipped with a 1/4 teaspoon of garlic powder, dill, or whatever herb fits your fancy. Buying cream cheese by the block saves on cost. Be careful of "major-loaders"...kids who tend to have more dip than they do cracker.
Raw vegetables cut in small, bite-size pieces are always a winner. They're nutrient content is rich in many vitamins and minerals. You can choose which vegetables you want to serve based on current sales if you want to save on cost. Some ideas: broccoli, cauliflower, sugar snap peas, carrot chips. 
Low fat, plain yogurt used as dip is a healthier alternative to sour cream dips. You can serve the yogurt plain or add a small clove of crushed garlic and mix well.
Fun foods such as cookies and tarts can be added to the celebration, but place a limit on them. Save on expense by rationing out how many of the sugary or fatty foods each child may have. Or, instead of having dessert-type foods laying around for the quick grab, you can bake a cake. This way everyone gets dessert but the urge to graze at the dessert table is eliminated. 
If you want to place bowls of food around the house, use the popcorn for this instead of potato chips.
For adults, if you eat a meal before festivities, you're likely to eat less later. This is recommended for children too, but keep in mind that they tend to eat whatever they see just for the novelty of it. This is where those picky eaters are sometimes at an advantage.
Use your best judgment when it comes to kids and holidays and have fun! Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Legumes or Dried Beans Are an Inexpensive Way to Add Fiber, Protein and Nutrients to Your Holiday Meals

On a Shoestring Budget? Just Want to Get Healthy? Incorporate Packaged and Canned Beans into Your Diet.
The easiest and cheapest way to add fiber to your daily diet is by incorporating legumes.
They are a low-fat, low-sodium product. Dried beans are a plant food so there is zero cholesterol.
But, they are high in fiber, amino acids (the building blocks of protein) and potassium.

Legumes include:
  • black beans,
  • garbanzo beans (chick peas),
  • chili beans,
  • kidney beans,
  • Great Northern beans,
  • split peas,
  • blackeye peas (cowpeas),
  • lentils,
  • lima beans,
  • navy beans,
  • pinto beans,
  • white beans
  • and more.....
The Cheapest way to purchase legumes is dried:
Before bed, pop a cup of rinsed, dried beans in a pot of water to soak over-night. In the morning, drain the water and cook according to package directions. Refrigerate or use immediately.

Don't want the fuss? Buy canned legumes. They are still inexpensive especially if you catch a good sale.
  1. Be sure to rinse canned beans in a colander to remove excess salt.
  2. Purchase refried beans that are labeled "vegetarian" or do not contain lard (of course, you cannot rinse refried beans so you may want to look for "low sodium" as well).
How to incorporate into popular foods: 
  • · Add black beans to spaghetti sauce.
  • · What's a good chili without beans?
  • · Add them to green salads. They add flavor, texture, color and a host of nutrients.
  • · Serve as a side dish.
  • · Serve as a main course. Just mix with fresh, chopped tomatoes and herbs such as chives and basil. Throw in a few cubes of mozzarella cheese.
  • · Blend into a chunky paste with onions, garlic and tomatoes for a bean dip. Options: add cilantro and fresh, squeezed lemon or lime juice.
  • · Top rice with your favorite legume.
The possibilities are endless! Be creative! Start a new habit. Research cooking sites for legume-based recipes.
Precautions: Consult with a physician and a registered dietitian if you have a special medical condition, such as: kidney disease, before incorporating legumes in your diet. 

Monday, November 28, 2011

Best Healthy Substitutes to Traditional, High-Fat Holiday Foods for Those on Strict Diets

Don’t Leave the Holiday Table Feeling like a Bloated, Bowl Full of Jelly

For those on strict, weight loss or medically prescribed diets, splurging during the holidays is not an option. Gradually forming new habits and achieving weight-loss goals will not be effective if interrupted for the holidays. Instead, use the holidays as the ultimate challenge towards your healthy future.
Green Bean Casserole 
Skip the green bean casserole and go for the vegetarian salad with no more than a teaspoon of salad dressing. Green bean casseroles are traditionally made with cream of mushroom soup and butter which will provide you with at least 8 grams of fat per one cup serving. Plus, you can tack on a few more grams of fat if there's cheese involved. A green salad made with only fresh vegetables will provide a host of vitamins, minerals and fiber in addition to being low in fat.
Mashed Potatoes and Gravy 
Mashed potatoes and gravy are the most difficult holiday favorite to avoid. But if you substitute baked yams or sweet potatoes with an herb seasoning mix, you won't be disappointed. Traditional mashed potatoes are made with butter and whole milk then served smothered in fat-laden gravy. A one cup serving of mashed potatoes and gravy will provide 10 to 18 grams of fat. A one cup serving of yams or sweet potatoes served roasted with an Italian herb blend will only cost you up to 1 gram of fat plus you'll get a healthy boost of vitamin A, folate and more than 5 grams of fiber.
If you're serving the turkey this year, skip the stuffing and serve wild rice instead. Your turkey will cook faster if it's not stuffed and you'll be adding a low-fat alternative to the traditional bread crumb, butter and turkey drippings, stuffing mix. Stuffing cooked in a turkey cavity will provide you with around 5-10 grams of fat where wild rice will only provide around .5 grams per ½ cup serving.
Traditional pies are made with loads of sugar and butter, lard or hydrogenated, trans-fats. For dessert this year, try fresh fruit and dip made from low-fat yogurt and pureed berries. Squeeze fresh lemon juice over the fruit to keep it from browning. Stick with this pie alternative and you will eliminate 10-20 grams of fat per 1/8 slice of a 9" pie.
Forget the fatty egg nog, sugary punch or high-calorie alcoholic beverages this year and try something new. An iced mint, green tea served in a punch bowl with pureed cantaloupe as flavoring is delicious and won't make you feel bloated. Plus mint is considered an anti-spasmodic which simply means it calms the gastrointestinal tract.
Snacking during social events is one the first challenges to tackle in a weight loss plan. Instead of putting out potato chips for the quick grab, consider the old stand-by, vegetables and dip. A low-fat dip can be made with yogurt mixed with dill or a crushed garlic clove. Fresh vegetables can include broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini and bell peppers.
These are just a few ideas to help you through the holidays. Keep your portions of turkey, baked not deep-fried, or ham to about a 2 ounce serving which is smaller than a deck of cards. Blaze a new trail and take control of your health with leaner foods. Just think you may become the example that others follow. 

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Pumpkin Time!

Canned pumpkin or pie pumpkins are in season! Celebrate Thanksgiving with some pumpkin nutrition.
Pumpkin is a nutritious food as it is a source of fiber, vitamin C, A and K, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium and calcium.

Pumpkin can be incorporated into more than just pie.

  • muffins
  • coffee cake
  • bread
  • cupcakes
  • soup
Yes, that's right! Soup!
Whisk some mashed or canned pumpkin with low-sodium broth, finely minced onion and garlic, and legumes such as black beans.  
Options, add:
  • cilantro
  • parsley
  • corn
  • tomato sauce
  • use split peas instead of black beans
  • spice-it-up with peppers
  • combine with squash or sweet potatoes
  • make it sweet with cinnamon
  • use leeks instead of/or in addition to onion
Br creative! have fun!
Pumpkin Seed Nutrition Informationhttp://www.examiner.com/health-news-in-ann-arbor/pumpkin-seed-nutrition-information

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Dipping Oils

Now is the time to harvest and use those healthy herbs.

Rinse, dry thoroughly and place them in brown paper bags in a cool, dry place until they are dry and crispy.
With clean hands, crush them up and place them in bottles. Store in a cool, dry area and use during winter.

Pick herbs just before using for the freshest taste. Especially for salads, pickles and kabobs.

Experiment with combinations and mix them with extra virgin olive oil and a little vinegar. Or crumble some dried herbs onto a plate and drizzle olive oil over-top. Dip crispy Italian, French or Italian white ciabatta bread.

Possible combinations, fresh, dried or a combination of both:

  • basil, oregano, chives, crushed garlic
  • tarragon, parsley, oregano, milled peppercorns
  • mint, basil, fresh squeezed lemon juice
Options: Add shredded parmesean

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mint Ideas and Uses

Many herbs are easy to grow and abundant at this time of year. Herb gardening itself has been around for centuries...used for medicinal purposes, to flavor foods, and for their nutrient properties. We can harvest, rinse, dry and bottle, but what else can we do?
Mint is an herb that grows like crazy and often , Read More....

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fish With Sour Cream and Tomatoes

Fish from clean waters contain healthy omega-3 fatty acids, potassium, phosphorus, calcium and essential amino acids.
The American Heart Association recommends eating at least two servings of fish per week.
Tomatoes provide fiber, vitamins A and C, and the antioxidant licopene.
Combining fish and tomatoes with the smooth texture of sour cream will provide a healthful, mouth-watering meal. Read More....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Herb Gardening and Cooking

There really is nothing like FRESH!
Once you grow a few herbs and use them in your recipes, you're instantly spoiled.

Dried parsley is nice for color, but fresh is best for flavor.
Dried chives are low in flavor, fresh chives are exploding with flavor.
Tarragon is powerful and you only need a little bit.
Cilantro is great in Mexican dishes...but it also makes a great tea.

All of these are easy to grow.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Roasted Tomato Garlic

Here's another idea on a delicious way to use those tomatoes.

High in potassium and licopenes.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Experiment with Spring Herbs

Start your "cold food" menu planning now.
What does that mean?
Well, as the warmer months approach, the less we want to heat-up the kitchen by turning on the oven. Using the BBQ is fun and can be done outdoor, but we don't always feel like doing it everyday.

Now is the time to start planning fresh salads that incorporate spring herbs such as chives. Chives and green onion  are cheap, easy to grow (if you want), full of flavor, and can replace onions in many recipes.

Try a few strips of green onion in place of that slice of onion on your hamburger.
Chop-up some chives and sprinkle on that hot dog.

Snip some mint and use in that iced tea.
Place a few mint leaves on your chocolate ice cream.

Find out about ways to purchase quality produce:
With consistent talk about food recalls, preservatives, artificial ingredients, BPA, and food borne illness, more and more people are asking, "so what's this Sustainable Foods diet all about? " At the same time we're hearing terms like, "Community-Supported", "organic" and "green." Plus, you've heard the push for buying local or growing your own fruits and vegetables. 
But, you don't have the time or motivation to grow your own food. That's okay, having choices to fit yourlifestyle is good.
Community Supported Agriculture...Read More

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Gazelle Pan Sausage Breakfast Sandwich

You can certainly use any kind of pan sausage for this recipe. I just happened to have Gazelle.
1 # Pan sausage
1 c Spinach, fresh and rinsed
1/2 c Basil, fresh and rinsed
1 medium Onion, chopped
1 medium Tomato, cut into small slices or use grape or cherry tomatoes, whole or sliced.
1 tsp Extra virgin olive oil
Texas toast (toasted)
Shredded cheese (optional)

Cook the sausage in a pan, turning over as needed.
In another pan, lightly saute the onions in a tsp of olive oil. Add one cut-up tomato (or you can use salsa) and the spinach and basil leaves; cook for a few minutes.
Place the sausage patty on the slice of Texas toast and top with onion mixture. Sprinkle-on a little cheese and pepper if desired and enjoy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Venison Avocado Burgers

This was a very easy twist on a traditional American favorite. The venison patties tend to be much leaner than ground beef.

You will need:
Venison Patties; grilled
Hamburger Buns
Thick slices of onion
Thick slices of avocado

Simply grill your patties. If you live in the north and prefer not to grill outside during the winter, you can use a fry pan or George Forman grill to cook your patties.

For a Tex Mex twist add the remaining ingredients to your hamburger.

You can add a little mustard for more flavor.

For more nutrition information on avocados, click the link on the left.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Crockpot Venison Stew

This recipe can also be used with beef.

You will need:
1 # of venison stew meat
2 T of extra virgin olive oil
1 can of beef broth
2 large onions, quartered
4 medium potatoes, chopped into large chunks
4 medium carrots, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
fresh ground pepper
1 t cumin

The venison stew meat that I had was extremely lean. I could not see any marbling. So I browned the meat in olive oil before transferring it to the crock pot.
Then add the beef broth and onions and cook until meat is done. The duration of time it takes to cook will depend on your crock pot. Some cook ultra fast at a high heat. Others, not so much. Do not keep meat on low if it does not bring meat up to a temperature that will prevent food borne illness.

About 1 hour before serving, add the potatoes, carrots, garlic, pepper and cumin.

Seasonings are highly individualized. Play with this recipe using seasonings that appeal to you.

Serve with a crunchy, green salad.

What is the food danger zone:

Monday, February 28, 2011

Venison Pasta Sauce

What's the first thing we think of when we're talkin' ground meat? Spaghetti sauce, of course. This is a recipe you can tweak to your fancy. Here's what I did ( it's a great recipe for busy people who are pressed for time):

You will need:

1 # ground venison
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 jar of pasta sauce
1 cup cooked chili beans (I used canned)
1 T oregano
Romano cheese
For the Spaghetti, I used one part whole grain to one part regular white pasta.  This is a great way to introduce whole grain pasta to your family, and the color is great.

Brown the meat in the olive oil (in a dutch oven...you'll need the extra room) until red is pretty much gone. Add the onion and garlic and brown a few minutes more until onion softens. Most venison is very lean, however, drain the fat if you end-up with any.
Add the sauce, chili beans and oregano. Stir well and simmer for about 15 minutes to blend the flavors.
While the sauce is simmering, boil the pasta in a separate pot according to package directions (cook until al dente which means "to the tooth"; firm not mushy). Drain.
Place pasta on a platter and cover with sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top.
Serve with large serving forks.

This recipe is high in fiber.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Ground Axis (Venison) Nachos

This certainly can be made with any ground meat. But if you're using venison, keep in mind that it may be very lean and will require the addition of a little cooking oil when browning.

You will need:
1 pound of ground venison
1 teaspoon of extra-virgin olive oil
1 can green chili sauce (found in the ethnic isle of most stores, we used Old El Paso brand)
1 bunch green onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic (crushed)
1 lime
1 or 2 fresh tomatoes, cubed
1 avocado, cubed
1 cup of your favorite shredded cheese
1 bag tortilla chips

Brown the ground meat with the olive oil until pink is gone then add the crushed garlic and brown for a few more minutes.
Turn down the heat to simmer and pour the green chili sauce over the meat mixture, stir. (This ingredient creates that yummy, mouth-watering taste)
Place some tortilla chips on a large platter then pour the meat mixture over-top.
Cut the lime in half and squeeze over the meat mixture.
Add the shredded cheese immediately if you want it to melt a little bit.
Now add your fresh ingredients; green onion, tomatoes and avocado.
Optional: squeeze the other lime half over the nachos for extra lime flavor.
Serve and enjoy!
Read more about the benefits of Avocado.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Ostrich Sausage Kabobs

This can be made with any type of sausage. I just happened to have ostrich with jalapenos sausage (yes, I know this is not technically venison, but I had it available).
You will need: 

  • sausage
  • mozzarella chunks
  • basil leaves
  • grape or cherry tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • oregano
  • wood skewers

  1. Par-boil the sausage for about 10 - 20 minutes depending on how thick the sausage is. Place the meat in the water AFTER it starts to boil, then lower the heat to medium-high.
  2. Cut-up the sausage and lightly saute (just a couple of minutes) in a little extra virgin olive oil sprinkled with about a teaspoon of oregano. Heat the oil first over medium-high heat for about a minute before adding the meat, to prevent sticking.
  3. Skewer the sausage with fresh basil leaves, cherry or grape tomatoes and chunks of fresh mozzarella cheese.
  4. ENJOY! This is delicious!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Welcome to my new Recipe Blog.

I was graciously blessed with a large supply of venison meat in several forms: ground, sausage, stew meat, burgers, etc.. from some very dear friends.
I have been having a lot of fun developing recipes with this meat. I will post these recipes with pictures to share with all of you.
This meat tastes great and is not "gamey." However, you can certainly substitute these recipes with lean beef.

I may change this blog in the future to accommodate recipes that come straight from my garden.


Currently, I have been cooking with:

  • Roan Antelope
  • Ostrich
  • Gazelle
  • Deer
  • Axis
  • Sika