Saturday, October 31, 2009

Our Daily Cocktail

Since this blog is supposed to be about health & wellness, not just recipes, I thought I would post our daily cocktail. With everyone trying to stay healthy this flu season, this concoction was recommended to us by our homeopath as well as pediatrician and it definitely gives me some peace of mind. Many of these products can be found at any health minded store.
  • Vitamin D ~ There are SO many studies out today showing the positive effects of vitamin d on our immune system. Even in sunny SoCal, we are not getting enough. I just got my levels tested and I'm anxious to see the results. I've been giving it to Oliver since last year!
  • Moxxor ~ Omega 3's support our immune system, among other things. And not all 'fish oils' are created equal.
  • Pro-biotic ~ Another important supplement to support your immune system. I take Culturelle and Oliver takes Ultrabifidus.
  • Immunition (from our homeopath)
  • Each day I alternate giving Oliver Child's Life' First Defense and Immunity Plus (from our homeopath)
  • I also alternate each day between Astragalus and Echinacea for Oliver
  • For me, I also take Polycil Wellness, folic acid and calcium.

Oliver takes Moxxor and Immunition in their pill forms, but I put the rest into his orange juice. I would love to add in vitamin c, but I can't find one Oliver likes. And if we ever do get sick, there's another whole cocktail we add in!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicken & Onion Stew

This recipe is from one of my all time favorite restaurants ~ Amoul's Deli in Little Venice, London. I befriended Amoul when we lived there several years ago, and she continues to inspire me with her passion for cooking good, wholesome, healthy and delicious family food. I was beyond excited when her cookbook became available as I just couldn't figure out her simple, yet hidden ingredients. If you ever have the pleasure of eating her food, you will not regret it. Habib's Chicken and Fatoush are incredible works of culinary art! Chicken & Onion Stew is a favorite in our house - requested often by Oliver! It is perfect for these cool, fall days.

This is taken directly from Amoul's amazing cookbook, 'Amoul ~ Some Family Recipes'

1 whole chicken or 2 breasts and 2 thighs (I've even used whole chicken breasts)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon salt plus salt for washing the chicken
2 pounds onions, sliced thinly (sounds like a lot but believe me you need them!)
2 large cinnamon sticks
1 whole nutmeg

1. Wash the chicken with lemon and salt, then rinse and put it into a pot. (I love to use my Le Creuset pot for this!) Cover with water and bring to a boil. Using a slotted spoon, remove the foam that collects at the top of the pot.

2. Once all the foam has been removed, add the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg and 1 teaspoon of salt to the water. Keep the chicken over medium heat into it is well cooked (about 30 minutes, although this will depend on the size of the chicken). If the water evaporates , add a little more. I usually remove the bones of the chicken and add stock.

3. Meanwhile, put the oil in a frying pan over medium heat, and when it is hot but not smoking add the onions and saute until well browned.

4. Remove all but 1Tbsp of the onions from the pan and put them on top of the chicken. Continue frying the remaining spoon of onions until dark brown then add one or two large spoonfuls of the stock and mix until the water has turned dark brown then add this mixture to the chicken and simmer for 20 minutes.

Best served over short grain Egyptian rice with a squeeze of lemon. Serves 4- 6

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Weekly Meal Planner

Here's a weekly meal planner to get you started. Recipes are coming!
Day 1 ~ Turkey Meatballs made with all kinds of veggies in the crockpot with red sauce and whole wheat spaghetti.
Day 3 ~ Nutritional Nuggets (Oliver's latest favorite!) with roasted yam fries and roasted red chard.
Day 4 ~ Pork Tenderloin with Asian Spiced Pears and roasted butternut squash.
Day 5 ~ Chicken & Biscuit Casserole

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

After a fun trip to the Pumpkin Patch, we decided to make our own! Oliver loves the feel and the smell. We even made a few extra batches to bring to school to share.

1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
food coloring (6 drops red, 15 drops yellow)

1. Combine the dry ingredients in a non-stick saucepan. Add the oil, water and food coloring and whisk until smooth. Stirring constantly with a rubber spatula, cook the mixture over medium heat until it forms a ball, about 3 - 4 minutes.

2. Turn the dough onto a counter, let it cool slightly, then knead the dough until it has a smooth texture, about 1 minute. The dough will keep up to a week in a ziploc bag.

3. To make stems, place fusilli into a small plastic bag with about 5 drops of green food coloring. Smoosh it all around and then let it air dry on a piece of waxed paper for about 5 minutes or until it is dry.

Roasted Red Chard

My New Favorite Veggie!
So healthy!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse and cut one or two bunches of red chard into strips with ribs removed. Place on Large Bar Pan and drizzle with Garlic GSO & kosher salt.
Roast for about 6 minutes. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar before serving.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Freezer Meal Workshops

Tame Dinnertime Chaos Save Time ~ Save Money ~ Have Fun
Want to get out of your dinnertime rut? Want to add some new family favorites to your repertoire?
Want to feed your family healthy meals in minutes?
Then come to my freezer meal workshop! Bring your cooler and your friends and you will leave with dinner in the 'bag'. I will provide you with a list of proteins to bring (flexible for vegetarians) and you will create 10 easy, healthful entrees and a few side dishes using Wildtree's all natural products. You will go home with recipes, cooking directions and samples to try. For a $35 fee ($30 for my Culinary Club Members), you will try an endless array of Wildtree sauces, grapeseed oils, rubs, marinades & spices to see which ones quickly become family favorites! Upcoming Workshop Dates & A Couple Menu Ideas
Sign up now to reserve your spot - menu changes each month! One Pot Meals ~ Thursday Nov 12 @ 10 am or 7 pm
Mexican Skillet Meal
Orange Salmon
Pork Chops with Apple Stuffing Cheddar Herb Skillet Meal
Tuscan Beef Stew Slow Cooker Meals ~ Thursday Dec 3 @ 10 am or 7 pm
Harvest Chicken
Tortilla Soup Lager Stew Hearty Spaghetti Sauce Chicken Fricassee Turkey Chili Citrus Rotisserie Chicken
Call or email me for more information. Happy, healthy cooking! Jen

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nutritional Nuggets from Mom-a-licious!

My son has never been a typical kid eater in that he doesn't like mac & cheese, hot dogs, carrots or ketchup. His favorites have included fish, asparagus, butternut squash, meatballs and my homemade red sauce. It sounds good, but believe me when I say I struggle too! He won't eat most fruits and he would like to live off of crackers, bread, cookies and ice cream. He has discovered chicken tenders or nuggets when we are at a restaurant - and to be honest I oftentimes don't even tell him when they are on the menu as I know he will eat something healthier. And now I have discovered a really easy and completely nutritious way to make chicken nuggets at home. I found the recipe in the Mom-a-licious cookbook, Wildtree-ized it and they were a huge hit!
I served them with Roasted Swiss Chard and Risotto.

Nutritional Nuggets
4 half chicken breasts or 2 whole ones
1 cup breadcrumbs (I used Panko but you could also use a whole wheat version)
4 Tbsp nutritional yeast
3 Tbsp Wildtree's Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix the breadcrumbs, yeast, oil and parmesan cheese in a bowl. The recipe calls for pounding the chicken first and then cutting into strips - I just cut it into strips! Coat the chicken with the breadcrumb mixture and place on Large Bar Pan. Cook for 10 minutes or until chicken is done.
To order your Roasted Garlic Grapeseed Oil or any other Wildtree groceries, please go to

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chicken Tropicana

Last week was another great Freezer Meal Workshop and this is one of the recipes we made. I cooked it Friday night after a hot day at the pumpkin patch. Dinner was ready in about 30 minutes - mind you I had prepped and frozen most of the ingredients already so it was just a matter of cooking it all up! A few days before cooking, this is what I placed into a freezer bag: 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (or however many you need to feed your family) 2 Tbsp Pacific Fusion 2 Tbsp Natural GSO 4 slices of pineapple and some juice 1/2 tsp Garlic & Herb Blend handful of bell pepper strips 1/2 cup Moroccan Salmon Sauce The night before cooking, I took the bag out of the freezer and placed into the refrigerator to defrost. For dinner, I started by putting the rice on to cook with 1 Tbsp Butter GSO. Then I pre-heated a large skillet with a drizzle of Garlic GSO and quickly browned the chicken from the freezer bag, then I added the all the sauce and goodies and even cut up a zucchini to throw in. I let it simmer until the chicken was done, the veggies were tender and the sauce had condensed slightly. Served it over rice and it was a delicious sweet & spicy dinner!

Monday, October 5, 2009

What does it mean to you to be healthy?

I think about this a lot! And each person's answer will be different. For some, it means going to McDonald's only once a week, for others it means never eating at the Golden Arches. For my family, it means trying the best we can to fill our bodies with healthful food, but appreciating that food should be soul filling, savored and shared. I try to look at the big picture instead of worrying about every meal. And I definitely make room for sweet treats, which many will argue is not healthy, but life without chocolate just isn't a fulfilled life to me! I would love to hear what it means to you to be healthy. Please feel free to post your family's routines and traditions as maybe we can inspire each other. Here are a few things that I try to do for my family...
1. We switched from white rice, pasta and bread to whole grains. One word of advice - try short grain brown rice and dif't brands or pasta and bread until you find the one your family likes. UPDATE: We are now Gluten, dairy, egg and yeast free.
2. We drink mostly water - no soda in the house which is difficult for my husband but so important to model for OIiver! I also try to limit juice to about a cup a day. It's usually orange juice in the morning loaded up or taken with immune boosting supplements such as probiotics, Moxxor, echinacea, vitamin d and other things. UPDATE: Still water for us all but Oliver also likes hazelnut milk too. And we have added Juice Plus gummies and Protandum to our daily regimen.
3. I try to include Oliver in the cooking process as often as I can. I find he is more open to trying things and has a growing appreciation for different ingredients. One day he will hopefully cook me dinner! UPDATE: Oliver has grown into an amazing little chef in training!
4. I meal plan. Without a plan, I will spend most nights at Koo Koo Roo! I find I save time and money when I have my week in order. This ensures less take out, less fast food and a lot less stress! UPDATE: Meal planning has evolved into Freezer Meal Workshops aka lifesavers!
5. I don't feel guilty when we indulge in a brownie or a cookie or an ice cream cone. Life is short and I want to enjoy it! I try so hard to fill my family's bodies with healthful food, that I try not to freak out about a few treats. That being said, we talk a lot about why we have to balance 'sweet treats' with 'good for our body' food. UPDATE: We still love our treats!
I'll update my 'healthy' list in the future - but in the meantime I look forward to reading yours!

Greek Rice

Yesterday was our back to school picnic and it was the perfect fall day! Everyone brought a dish that reflected our family's heritage...we brought Greek Rice. And no, we are not Greek! Andy is mostly Italian and about a 1/4 Jewish, I am mostly English with some Welch, French and Spanish thrown in the mix - so our dish reflected the Mediterranean side of our family. The recipe is from a very dear friend of mine who is a culinary inspiration among other things! Her name is Kristen and her blog, Vegetarian Family Cooking, is full of the most delicious recipes. I cannot take any credit for the Greek Rice recipe - it is all hers - and it is delicious! (The picture above is from Kristen too.) It's filled with sundried tomatoes, kalamata olives, feta cheese, zucchini, garlic, spinach and more! I added a little salt and pepper before serving and some green beans when cooking the zucchini as I only had one. You can use it as a side dish, a lunch entree, wrapped in a tortilla with avocado or a tasty and healthy snack. Click here for the Greek Rice recipe. Happy, healthy cooking! Jen

Friday, October 2, 2009

Catering a Heartlink Meeting

I helped cater a Heartlink meeting the other night and had the most wonderful time! Mindy Schinnerer, who is not only one of the most generous and kind woman I know with a personal story to tell, she is also the area coordinator for Heartlink - an incredible way for women to support one another in all that we do! I always walk away feeling inspired, uplifted, supported and most importantly, that I have spent good times with wonderful friends!

One might think that catering an event is difficult, but I must confess, Wildtree makes it so easy! I made our Mexican Skillet Meal, Cheddar Herb Skillet Meal, Baked Brie with Apple Cranberry Jelly, Rustic Eggplant Caponata, Gingerbread and Marbled Pound Cake. We also used a variety of Wildtree's salad dressings on the most delicious organic salad which Denise brought.

Other than baking the desserts the night before, I made the entire meal, which fed 23 women, in about an hour! We used short brown rice in the Mexican Skillet Meal, which some women thought was risotto and could not believe it was brown rice.

If I can feed 23 people in such a short time, imagine what you can do with 20 minutes to feed your family. That's all you need to make a one pot meal using our new skillet meals. I even added brocolli to the Cheddar Herb Skillet Meal so that it was a complete dinner. Don't despair over what's for dinner anymore! Keep one of each of our Skillet Meals on hand (Mexican, Cheddar Herb and Stroganoff) and you will always be able to get dinner on the table for 2 or 23!