Vanilla Chai Baked Oatmeal

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This has been a very exciting week.  I am starting a new project and the pieces are all falling into place very, very  nicely.  Some time in January, 2018, I will be giving a Whole 30 cooking demonstration at Natural Grocers.  Ever since I started blogging 3 1/2 years ago, I have wanted to find away to teach people how to cook.  The cost of renting a place to cook, the cost of ingredients and incidentals and the cost of advertising the event have always put it out of my reach.  Knowing I really couldn’t afford to do it, I really just quit thinking about it.

Last week, after an incredibly encouraging conversation with one of my online friends, I decided to try finding a place to do this one more time.  I went into Natural Grocers and asked about renting their kitchen space.  About 5 minutes later, I had a potential place to cook, a potential budget and a belly ache, I was so excited.  I still have one hurdle to jump, I need to submit a proposal to the corporate office and they have to accept it.  The lady I was talking to at the store was really excited about the idea and said it shouldn’t  be a problem getting my idea accepted.

I am proceeding like this is a done deal and starting to develop my presentation, make a handout and deciding what I want to cook.  I could use your help with this.  If you have any questions about the Whole 30 ask them in the comments.   I will answer them to the best of my ability here and use them to help me draft my presentation.  Thanks in advance for all your help.

 

Vanilla Chai Baked Oatmeal

from Running With Spoons

1/2 cup rolled oats or flaked grains

2 TBS oat bran

2 TBS flour

1/4 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/4 tsp ginger

1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/8 tsp cloves

1 TBS maple syrup or brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoon milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a l cup baking dish with cooking spray.  Place dry ingredients in the baking dish and mix well.  In a small bowl, combine vanilla and milk and mix well.  Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix well.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Serve with additional milk and sweetener, if desired. 

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Eggs In Hell (Whole 30)

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I don’t have much to say today.  I have been working dumb hours and not sleeping well.  I wanted to post this today, however, because it is too good not to.  The recipe was inspired by a recipe in Michelle Tam’s cookbook, Nom Nom Paleo Food For Humans.  Michelle’s recipe called for a jar of marinara sauce.  I decided to make a homemade tomato sauce.  You can make the sauce and the sausage ahead of time and throw a serving together and bake it when your ready to eat or make the whole thing ahead of time, bake it and just reheat it when you are ready to eat.

Eggs In Hell

Tomato sauce:

1 TBS olive oil

1 cup onion, chopped

1 tsp basil

1/2 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp thyme

1 14.5 oz can diced tomato

1 1/2 tsp honey or three chopped, pitted date, if Whole 30

3 TBS tomato paste

salt and pepper, to taste

Sausage:

1/2 lb ground beef

1 tsp dried parsley

1/4 tsp basil

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp oregano

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp  crush red pepper flakes

1/2 tsp fennel see, optional

For the sauce, Heat olive oil in a small sauce pan or skillet. Add onion, bell pepper, herbs and salt. Sauté over medium heat until the onion is very soft, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, honey and black pepper. Use a spoon to break up the tomatoes into bite sized pieces. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes.

For the sausge, in a medium bowl, combine the chicken and all the spices.  Using your hands, mix the chicken and spices well.  In a medium frying pan,  melt a teaspoon of olive oil and  cook the sausage, breaking it up as you go, until no longer pink.

At this point, I like to make individual casseroles but you could just mix everything together put it in 1 1/2 quart casserole, crack a couple of eggs over it, I use 2 per person, and then bake it at 350 degrees until the eggs are done to your liking.  I like my eggs cooked well done so it takes about 20 minutes to bake.  Experiment until you find the exact time to cook the perfect eggs for you.  

 

 

Pressure Cooker Breakfast Casserole

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Sometimes I really hate being proven right.  I have always said “just because they never have doesn’t mean they never will” in response to people who tell me their cats and/or dogs have never bothered their birds or other prey animals we keep for pets.

I keep my bird cage and rat cage in the same room about 50 feet from each other.  I have been very careful about training my birds to stay away from the rats cage.  For the 4 years I have had rats and birds keeping them so close together has never been an issue. Its never been an issue until yesterday morning.

I was in my bed room getting ready for work when I heard a loud squawk.  It didn’t concern me too much because my birds fight like brothers and sisters, someone is always squawking  at someone else.  However, the second time I heard it I went to investigate what was going on and found my cockatiel, Squeak, hanging on the side of the rat cage and my rat, Bug, hanging onto Squeak’s toes.   I grabbed Squeak and saw his toes were bloody.  I freaked out a little bit.  Since I couldn’t see where the blood was coming from I used the corner of my shirt to put pressure on his foot.  Fortunately, the wounds didn’t bleed for long and the wounds weren’t severe.  The situation could have resulted in the amputation of toes or foot.  The wounds could have resulted in blood loss that killed Squeak. I will be watching Squee for signs of infection in his wounds, for probably, a lot longer then I need too.

This story has a happy ending.  As I type this,  Squeak is sitting in his favorite place preening his feathers and telling his cage mate, Riley, off for trying to sit next to him.  Squee is eating well and gripping my fingers with both feet when I pick him up.  As of this posting, Squee’s adventure has been more tramatic for me then it has been for him. If you have a flock of predator animals and prey animals please don’t assume just because the predator animals have never bothered the prey animals they never will.  You might not be as lucky as I have.

Pressure Cooker Breakfast Casserole

1 TBS olive oil

1/2 small onion, diced

1/2 small bell pepper, diced

1 cup baby spinach

1/4 cup cooked pork sausage

1 1/2 cups potato, peeled and shredded

3 egg , beaten

1/2 cup cottage cheese

1 cup mild cheddar cheese, shredded

In the liner of your 2 quart pressurecooker, Saute onion and green bell pepper in hot oil until soft, about 5 minutes.  Add the spinach and cook until wilted.  Add cooked sausage and shredded potatoes.

In a small bowl mix the eggs, cheddar cheese and cottage cheese.  Gently stir into the vegetable mixture.  Lock the lid and bring to high pressure.  Cook for 5 minutes then natural releaase.  

Whole30 Day 5 — Chicken Apple Sausage I

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I had my first Whole30 food dream today.  In my dream I had a whole bottle of pink decorating sugar in my mouth before I remembered I was doing a Whole30.  I tried to spit it out but, of course, it didn’t work.  I woke up pissed as hell I ruined my Whole30 over something sooooo stupid.  It took me quite a while to realize I was still in bed at home and not at work where I have access to big bottles of pink decorating sugar.  It was just a dream.

The literature says dreaming about eating non compliant food is your brain’s last-ditch attempt to get you to go back to eating the way you did before your Whole30.  All I know is my food dream was the start of the hardest day of my Whole30 yet.  I spent the whole day battling the desire to get in the kitchen and bake and the desire to eat all things. I watched movies, took a hot bath with a good book, dug through the Whole30 blog, crocheted, absolutely anything I could think of to distract me from the thoughts going through my head about baking and eating.  I am proud to say I won this round of Julie’s brain fights back but it was a close thing several times.

I have a hard time finding some of the compliant premade foods that the people doing Whole30 talk or when I do find it is so expensive I can’t afford it on my budget.  I am constantly looking for ways to make homemade versions of those things.  This one version of chicken apple sausage I found.

Chicken Apple Sausage I

1 TBS coconut oil

1 small onion, chopped

1 medium apple, peeled and chopped

1 lb ground chicken

1 tsp ground sage

1 tsp fennel seeds

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp smoked paprika

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

In a medium size bowl, combine all the ingredients, except the coconut oil.  Mix well.  Form into equal size patties.  In a medium frying pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil.  Add the patties and cook until golden brown, 3-4 minutes per side. You could also cook it without forming it into patties and use it in salads, omelettes and breakfast bakes.  Keep covered in the fridge for a few days or freeze for a few months.

 

Cleaning out The Pantry #1 Birdseed Cereal

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For the month of March,  I am taking my blogging inspiration from Therese at Road Wordy. Therese is the middle of a 100 day challenge to use the ingredients she bought for a recipe then kind of forgot about using again.  She has dedicated herself to finding recipes to use up the things she already has.

After cleaning out my pantry last week I found myself in a similar position.  I have a lot of partially used bags of things like quinoa, millet, barley, farro, amaranth, buckwheat, rice, wild rice, lentils, dark rye flour, pumpernickel flour, bread flour, don’t even get me started on the craziness of my canned pantry. So for the month of March, i am going to dedicate myself to finding recipes to use up what I already have.  I will only buy milk, eggs, fruit and vegetables.   My goal is to publish 15 new recipes featuring the things I have in my pantry in March.

My first cleaning out the pantry recipe is Birdseed Cereal from Big Sis, Little Dish. I loved her story about how her husband fed this mixture to his two doves and they have been around a very long time. I don’t know if it is what is giving the doves a long life  or not I just think it is a tasty breakfast I can share with my entire flock of 8 parrots, 1 grumpy gerbil and 2 rats.

I love how versitile this recipe is.  I didn’t have any sunflower seeds or chia seeds so I left them out.  I added some dried cranberries to my first batch because, well, I love cranberries.  It would be equally good with dried apricots, dried apples or perhaps, dried mango.  I didn’t have any dried fruit for the second batch so I used some cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  You could experiment with whatever spices you like best.  I serve the cereal with a splash of milk and a bit of sugar.

Pantry items used – quinoa, amaranth, millet and buckwheat

Birdseed Cereal

2 cups quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, millet and teff

1/4 cup sunflower seeds, optional

2 TBS chia seeds, optional

Mix all ingredients in a jar, using any ratio of seeds you want.  I used a 1/2 cup  each of quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat and millet because those were what I had on hand.  If using teff, keep the mixture in the fridge or freezer. Mix well before scooping it out to cook it because it likes to settle.

To make the cereal

6 TBS cereal mix

1 cup water

Combine water and the cereal in a small saucepan.  Bring to the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cover and cook for about 20 minutes.

If you have a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients to a heat proof bowl. Place the bowl on the trivet in the pressure cooker liner.  Add enough water to the liner to bring the pressure cooker to pressure.  Lock the lid.  Set the timer to high pressure for 15 minutes.  Use a natural pressure release.