Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Step Up

I haven't tried these, but it looks good for those who might want to upgrade.

Dinner Diva
Chicken Nuggets

By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Admittedly, it doesn’t take much to get my nutritional feathers ruffled. I’ve seen a lot of things that have made me crazy over the years and you’ve heard me harp on them—from “healthy” whole wheat donuts to artificial sweeteners, Olestra and acrylimide. I’ve sang the siren’s song about good nutrition and what I believe too, to be common sense nutrition. Why would we drink something, in the name of quenching our thirst, that looks like toilet bowl cleaner or antifreeze?

Anyway, today I stop singing and start sounding the alarm. We absolutely must stop the madness that is fast food. We absolutely must stop the madness and the obesity and the rise in degenerative diseases. We are raising an unhealthy generation because we feed this junk to our kids! PLEASE STOP!

I know there are attempts at some fast food places to do better. As Oprah says, “When you know better, you do better.” Well, today you are going to know better about chicken nuggets, because today, I am going to tell you all I know about them.

First, McDonald’s Chicken Nuggets contain 38 ingredients. Yes, THIRTY EIGHT ingredients! Some of those ingredients are things you wouldn’t give to your DOG. Some of those things, you could use to start a fire—well, almost. Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ) is a derivative of petroleum that is sprayed on the nugget or in the box that holds the nugget to keep it fresh. TBHQ is also a derivative of butane, also known as lighter fluid. It is furthermore a suspected carcinogen—cancer-causing agent.

The batter is set in shortening (hydrogenated oils) and in turn, it is cooked in partially hydrogenated oils at the restaurant. Some of the additives in there are antifoaming agents, emulsifiers, leavening agents, preservatives, fillers and binders. Sounds yummy, doesn’t it? Something you’d want to feed your kids?

The nuggets themselves contain 53% chicken. You wanna know what that 53% chicken is? I promise you it isn’t nice white chicken breasts! If you find those nuggets spongy and watery it’s because the chicken meat and skin is ground into a slurry, binders and fillers are added, plus lots of water, then formed into neat little nuggets.

I don’t know about you, but I’m ILL. Why do we manufacture stuff like this and then call it food? Where’s the value in it?

Please, for the children’s sake and for your own health’s sake, let’s stop this craziness with the food. It’s time to get back to basics and only eat food that is 100% identifiable. If you don’t know exactly what went into what you’re eating, you’re making a mistake. Our bodies do not need to contend with more pollution than what is already in our environment.

Here’s a quick and easy alternative to chicken nuggets:

Crunchy Honey Mustard Chicken Fingers
Serves 4

1 pound chicken tenders
1/4 cup honey, warmed
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup corn flakes, crushed

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

In a small bowl, mix mustard and honey together. In another bowl, place the crushed corn flakes.

In assembly line fashion, dip the chicken tender in the mustard mixture, then roll in the corn flakes and place on the cooked sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, or when cooked through.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Carrot Rice

This is a recipe we've been enjoying lately. It's a great way to enliven your rice side-dish. We've had it with fish, it would be good with Indian food, and I've even used it as a pseudo main dish with a huge salad and a bunch of other cooked veggies from the garden.

The ginger is not a strong flavor, and the onions can be chopped however finely you'd like. I slice them and like the texture they add. My little boy likes onions, but for those who have to hide them a bit more, just chop them smaller. The original recipe called for cilantro as a garnish, so garnish away if you like that.


  • 1 cup brown basmati rice
  • 2 1/4 cups water (for cooking rice)
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds* ( or roasted peanuts, cashews, etc.)
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or olive oil)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root
  • 3/4 cup grated carrots (thin or thick side of grater, your choice)
  • salt to taste
  • cayenne pepper to taste (optional, of course)


  1. Cook your brown rice however you so choose.
  2. While rice is cooking, pulse nuts in a blender (or chop by hand) and set aside. Heat the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in ginger, carrots, and salt to taste. Reduce heat to low and cover to steam 5 minutes. Stir in cayenne pepper and nuts. When rice is done, add it to skillet and stir gently to combine with other ingredients.

*You can click the link to try soaking and dehydrating your nuts beforehand (to improve digestibility), but you can use any kind of nut, soaked or unsoaked.

Original Recipe Yield 6 servings

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A note.

My friend wrote me a note. Said friend was worried about feeding her family perfectly. She wondered how far she would have to go to make real, God-made food standard in her house. She said:

"I made homemade chicken soup for my family, but I didn't make my own noodles. Do you do that? I also make my own spaghetti sauce, but I don't make my own spaghetti. Maybe this is the wrong question, but at what point down the processing chain does something stop being God-made? Just the thought of having to make everything my family eats from scratch makes me feel even more tied to the house than I already feel."

I understand this sentiment very well. Here's some of my reply to her, just in case any of you feel the same way:

"It is never my hope to cause people to worry. All we can do is our best.

All that you put into preparing meals for your family is wonderful, and to be commended. The good that you do is not negated by the "un-perfect." People can become really crazy about this and get really overwhelmed and worried. I think that's counter-productive.

My priority list goes like this:

1. Do my best to make dinner, and have us eat as a family. (I think this is the most important)
2. Start adding in good things as my knowledge (and desire to do so) expands.
3. Expand my repertoire of healthful dishes that use whole food ingredients.
4. And by so doing, I reduce things that are clearly bad, like hydrogenated oils and processed sugar, etc. until they are no longer things I buy and use, just as a natural consequence.

Way to go with avoiding processed foods as much as you can, and taking more and more steps toward better things. I know it has made big differences for us, and it makes me glad now that when we slip-up, we notice the change. Today I ate a salad with a store-bought dressing on it and got a tummy-ache. That's progress! Wahoo!

Now I have more motivation to take and extra five or ten minutes one day to make a batch of home-made salad dressing and we enjoy it and feel better. But I haven't grown, picked and pressed my own olives to make oil, and I don't see that happening in the near (or distant) future.

Do your best. Read the ingredients list on the packaged goods you buy and get the best stuff you can. Keep making meals and improving on that as you are ready and desirous. It is a labor of love, but it's not supposed to consume you--you are supposed to consume it!

Enjoy what you eat! You are doing great things.


Making changes gradually isn't overwhelming, and as you continue along the path you'll realize how far you've come. It's very encouraging.

Friday, September 10, 2010

And Yes, More Zucchini

Here are some good recipes from other sites:

Zucchini boats for those zucchinis that are way huge.

Baked Zucchini. Looks good. This post also includes other ides of how to incorporate (hide, if you must) it into other recipes.

Roasted veggies. This is so great. You can use in season veggies now, and as the title will show, your winter root veggies too. It's the best way I've ever had turnips and celery root. :)

Italian Summer Squash Side.

And of course, bread. Use this banana bread recipe, but sub grated zucchini in for the bananas.

Yes, the above are all Kara's. I trust her stuff. And there's more. Go to her blog and type zucchini in the search bar.

Use this quesadilla recipe for all the veggies you have on hand, and if you don't want to fry them, try this easy baking method for them.

This is one we like, and you can use zucchini and/or yellow squash. Disregard the "margerine or butter" and just do butter. Real butter. You can make it as a side dish or double (or more) it for a main dish.

Go to and type in zucchini. LOTS of recipes there. Modify them to be real food and to your tastes if need be.

Have you tried it sliced up on pizza? (we had it on our pizza last night and it was great)
Raw, cut up in salads (go for chunks or something to break up the monotony of the same slices every time)?
In smoothies?
How about juiced in your green or fruit juices? It has a lot of liquid in it. Paul Bragg called those kinds of liquids "living waters." I like that. Plus, it doesn't taste like much, so why not?

Thursday, September 9, 2010

A Calorie is not a Calorie.

Dietitians today say that we the people are eating too much and exercising too little. While that's true, it is not the reason alone, or even primarily, for our sad state.

Simplified the wrong theory is this: If a person eats only a specified number of calories and burns an equal amount of calories during the day, that person should be fit and lean. They are being responsible for their health.
So, this person could eat only 13.3 Twinkies and fit the FDA's guidelines for calorie intake. They could run for half of the day and break even.

It seems strange to write it out, but by and large, we believe it. We are wrong.

All calories are not created equal. This is one problem I have with diets of today. A popular diet plan says you can eat only cake in a day, as long as you only eat the "right" amount of "points" (I'm sure it suggests better balance, but the point stands). It makes eating a mathematical experience. Ugh. Maybe this works for a short-term fix, but I don't know anyone who went long-term on such silliness. Counting calories is the pits. It's not the way eating was meant to be.

Were our ancestors suffering on a large scale from obesity, diabetes, heart disease? No, they ate food. That is the main difference. They ate food. We eat food-like substance. Chemical and dye-laden foods that have been changed so much from their natural state that our bodies no longer know what to do with them. I liken it to a garage where we put all the stuff that we don't know what to do with. That's what our bodies do with the stuff they don't know what to do with. Why do they hold on to it? Because it's all they've got! They will try and make it of some use.

Here's the next thing: our bodies are STARVING. They are starving for real nutrition. Not a multi-vitamin. Not a low-fat, low-carb food item. They want real foods. Real, whole, and natural. When our bodies get food, they rejoice! They clean out the junk and do some re-modeling. As for supplementation, I think it can be necessary for rebuilding certain things your body lacks. Check out this book, The Diet Cure. It is such a fascinating read, and it may give you tools to overcome food addictions, depression, etc. and help you restore a natural, healthy you. *

God is the one who made our bodies, and He made the foods that should go in them for the best health and vibrancy. Read the Word of Wisdom again in this light. If we want the blessings contained therein we have to abide by the laws. Put in the right fuel. Eat FOOD, un-tampered with and from home, or as close to home as you can get it.

Here is quite a lengthy, but informative video on sugar. Here's a shorter video summary of the original. It explains how we are ingesting toxins on a large scale and not knowing it. It explains obesity, diabetes and heart disease differently than you may have heard before. I don't suggest these things to scare anyone. I have found greater freedom from knowing the truth and changing to live in better accordance with it, one step at a time.

I like eating. I like good food. I don't count calories. Try it. I think you'll like it too.

*Any book I suggest is likely filled with great information, or I wouldn't do it. But very few are perfect sources. Measure it up with the Word of Wisdom. Take the good and/or experiment until you find the right balance.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

More Zucchini

Zucchini Tomato Soup

I found this a couple years ago, and we have really liked it. I made some modifications from the original recipe to our liking. Feel free to do the same.


  • 1 pound zucchini, sliced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth (or stock)
  • 1 large tomato, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce (more, to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Noodles of your choice (We like medium-sized curly noodles. Wheat, rice, or quinoa noodles are options as well)


  1. In a large colander, sprinkle salt over zucchini slices. Let stand 30 minutes to drain then pat dry.
  2. In a stockpot, heat vegetable oil over medium high heat. Sautee zucchini onion and garlic in the hot oil for about 10 minutes or until onions are translucent. Stir in the chicken broth and tomato; simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the vegetables from the broth using a slotted spoon and puree them in a blender or food processor.
  3. While you're doing that, boil up your noodles (if you want them), drain and set aside.
  4. Return the pureed vegetables to the stockpot and stir in the lemon juice, sugar, oregano, basil, parsley and nutmeg. Season with Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Add in noodles, and enjoy!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Soaking vs. Sprouting

Thanks, Nicole, for your question. This is such a fabulous topic. You asked it just at the right time, because Kimi from The Nourishing Gourmet is doing an in-depth look into soaking grains all this week. I highly recommend her website. It's so great.

Click here to visit her site or just go there from the sidebar.

The very quick answer to Nicole's question about the difference between soaking and sprouting grains is this (as I understand it, and I'm not an expert): soaking can also be called fermenting. Sprouting means you actually get little sprouts going. They can be very little, and often people use the terms interchangeably. It can be rather confusing. But the point is that the foods are being made to be more nutritious and easier to digest.

Pre-industrialized peoples treated their grains this way before eating them, and when white flour came into play we lost a bunch of good knowledge as well as the bulk of the nutrition (and no, enriching and fortifying flours does not make them nutritionally equal to whole grains, to say the least).

Soaked grains are soaked in some sort of acidic solution, like kefir, buttermilk, lemon juice, or vinegar. This releases the phytic acid present in the grains and changes the composition of the sugar molecules so that your body can implement the nutrition better and without digestive woes.

Nuts can also be soaked and the enzyme inhibitors present in them can be released to create a more digestively-kind end product. Here is a post on that. In it, I again reference Kimi (who is referencing Sally Fallon).

In sprouting grains, one must first soak the grain, sprout it, re-dry it, and grind it into flour.

You can also soak/sprout beans for a better end result. Sally Fallon is really the guru on all of this, so if you want to check out her book Nourishing Traditions, do so. If not, go to Kimi's website and do a search. She has probably covered it.

Kara has a lot of great soaked and sprouted recipes and instructions on how to do so. Check her out.
Here are some great recipes to try that implement soaking and/or sprouting: Here. Here. Here.

As I go along, I'll try to do more on this and include some more recipes. But for now, I've got a very busy one-year-old who requires my attention.
Enjoy experimenting and see what changes you notice.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010


Is anyone else loaded down with zucchini? We have been having zucchini everything lately. I thought I'd share some ideas for those of you who may be feeling as blessed as we are. :) The recipes for today both had their beginnings at I often get recipe ideas from there. You can type in the ingredients you have on hand and it will bring up recipes you can make. Very nice.

I have tried two recipes so far for zucchini cakes or patties, which we had previously not tried, but really liked. These were the ones that turned out the best. The recipe could be modified more than I have here to make it healthier, but it's pretty good, especially if you use whole, natural ingredients.

Zucchini Patties


  • 2 cups grated zucchini
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup unbleached flour
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a medium bowl, combine the zucchini, eggs, onion, flour, Parmesan cheese, mozzarella cheese, and salt. Stir well enough to distribute ingredients evenly.
  2. Heat a small amount of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Drop zucchini mixture by heaping tablespoonfuls, and cook for a few minutes on each side until golden.
Serve with some of your favorite tomato-based sauce or with a bit of sour cream. My husband thought they'd be great to put on some biscuits for a breakfast sandwich with a slice of tomato. Be creative.

This next one is more than easy. It's SO easy. It's simple, but my guy thought they tasted like fajitas. That's not bad for an all-veggie meal.

Zucchini and Squash Burritos


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 small summer squash, sliced (or a mixture of squash and zucchini or just zucchini)
  • salt to taste
  • 4 (7 inch) whole wheat tortillas (or whatever you prefer)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato


  1. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat; cook and stir the onion in the hot oil until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the squash in three batches, making sure the first has softened slightly before adding the next. Season with salt.
  2. Heat the tortillas in the microwave until warm, about 10 seconds. Spoon the squash mixture into the center of the tortillas; top with the Cheddar cheese and tomato. Roll into a burrito to serve.
More to come.