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Category Archives: Food and Recipes

The Best Mashed Potatoes Ever

With Turkey Day coming this week, I thought I’d repost my recipe for the best mashed potatoes ever – seriously, ever. And the best part is that not only do they taste good, but by making them in the morning you save yourself a ton of stress during the last-minute, rushing around, get-the-dinner-on-the-table time.

I stumbled across this recipe in my “Fix it and Forget it” slow cooker cookbook a few years ago. Not only are these potatoes delicious, they make my life so much easier because I prep them in the morning and they just cook all day. They are always hot, creamy and ready to go whenever dinner is ready.

First start with organic potatoes. The problem with conventionally-grown potatoes is that they are treated with fungicides during the growing season and sprayed with herbicides both before harvesting and after they’re dug up to prevent them from sprouting. Potatoes, being a root vegetable, absorb all the chemicals that wind up in soil. Washing and peeling is not enough – all those herbicides, fungicides, and pesticides are absorbed into the entire vegetable.

I read an article a few years ago called “7 Foods that Should Never Cross your Lips”. One of those seven of course… non-organic potatoes.

Organic potatoes are around $1-$2 a pound, just slightly more expensive than conventional spuds. It’s worth the few extra dollars. They aren’t hard to find. I just picked up mine at Trader Joe’s.

Extra Good Mashed Potatoes
: (makes 12 servings)

5 lbs. of potatoes, peeled cooked and mashed

8 oz. package of cream cheese, softened

1 ½ cups sour cream

3 tsp. onion or garlic salt

½ tsp pepper

2 tbsp butter, melted

Peel and cook the potatoes. I like to leave a little bit of the skin on to give the potatoes some texture – and since they are organic, I’m not worried about chemicals on the potatoes’ skin getting into our meal. Also, they don’t have to be mashed completely as they soften up in the slow cooker and you can stir them every couple of hours to creamy perfection.

Combine potatoes and all the ingredients in your slow cooker. Cook on low for about six hours, stirring occassionally. That’s it!

You can also add shredded cheese, chopped garlic, paprika, organic chives or other spices to the mix. Experiment and see what works for you.

Seriously, these mashed potatoes are so easy, so delicious, and make meal preparation much less hectic.  I promise you’ll love them.

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Wishing you and your family a happy, healthy, and wonderful Thanksgiving.

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Recipe: Acai Bowl

I am a big fan of Bowl of Heaven and Banzai Bowls. Healthy, delicious, especially refreshing in the summer – but expensive and not something you have time to go out and buy very often.

For some time now, I’ve been trying to perfect these bowls at home. This weekend, I think I finally got it right.

Acai bowl recipe: (makes two bowls)

Two packets Sambazon organic acai superfruit pack – frozen*

Two small to medium bananas

3/4 cups frozen kale (or spinach)

1/2 cup frozen organic mango*

1/2 cup frozen organic antioxidant blend*

1-2 scoops protein powder of choice (optional)

Combine all ingredients (except protein powder) in Vitamix (or other high-speed food processor). Start on low speed. Gradually increase to highest speed, while inserting tool (the Vitamix one is called the “tamper”) into slot in top cover of Vitamix – never use tamper without the top of Vitamix on.

Using tamper, continuously press mixture down into blades. This process takes 3-5 minutes and takes some muscle. Once the ingredients are almost blended, add the protein powder. I prefer a vegan, unflavored powder so it doesn’t interfere with the delicious taste of the bowl.

Continue blending until mixture blends well but is not too defrosted that it becomes runny. It’s important to get the right consistency. Do not add any liquid to mixture!

Divide completed mixture into two bowls. Top with fruit of choice. I like sliced bananas and strawberries.

In addition, I topped with some granola, toasted coconut* and then drizzled with honey.

OCGreenMama_AcaiBowl

Pretty and delicious. Now hurry and enjoy your creation!

*purchased at Costco

Summer Snacking Made Easy

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One of my kids is a grazer. He’s on a growth spurt right now and wants to snack all day long. After finding empty popcorn and Pirate’s Booty bags around the house yesterday, I decided to take some action to ensure better, healthier snacking this summer.

I noticed that if I buy the organic pre-cut apples, my kids will grab those when they are hungry first. I usually avoid the pre-packaged foods because of the waste, but at Costco yesterday these were the only organic apples they had, so I broke down and bought them. Immediately after getting home, both kids grabbed one and started snacking. That’s when I had an idea.

This morning, I spent 15 minutes washing fruit and vegetables – in a one part vinegar to ten parts water solution to prohibit mold growth and prolong shelf life of fruit and veggies. The vinegar evaporates and leaves no taste on your produce so don’t worry.  Then, I divided everything into individual servings and loaded up the fruit and veggie drawer. Making fruit and veggies as easy as grabbing a bag of chips.

Here’s hoping for healthier snacking this summer.

SummerSnacks

 

Wordless Wednesday: Future Foods Farms

I had the opportunity to tour Future Foods Farms in Brea this week. I met Chef Adam and heard all about the sustainable aquaponic farming techniques he has pioneered. I could not be more impressed. This is truly the future of farming.

Lots of details coming in my March OC Metro article, but thought I’d share some of the pictures I took of their beautiful greens in the meantime.

Future Foods Farms

Cheers to healthy eating and the people who make it possible!

Give Meatless Monday a Chance

It’s Meatless Monday again and if you haven’t tried it yet, make 2013 the year you give meatless a chance.

I’m a big fan of Meatless Monday. It’s a simple, easy thing that you can do to make a difference. The health and environmental benefits of going meatless (even in small amounts) are many, for both your own health and the planet. It saves money too – a bag of quinoa costs a lot less than a steak.

It doesn’t have to be complicated, you don’t need special recipes or hard-to-find ingredients.

It can be as simple as picking up a meatless protein source, combining it with some vegetables and grain you already have on-hand, heating it all up, and serving it to the family.

If you need ideas for meatless protein sources, check out this awesome, informative article “7 Proteins for Meatless Mondays (and How to Use Them)”.

One of my go-to meals for Meatless Monday is tofu-veggie stir fry. It’s easy, inexpensive, and my kids love it.

I start with tofu – obviously. I prefer the sprouted, organic tofu from Trader Joe’s. I cut it into small pieces (like the size of well-diced chicken). When cut super small and seasoned, I haven’t found a kid yet that doesn’t like tofu. Some, after digging in, have even asked my how I seasoned my chicken. 😉

Then, I clean out my vegetable drawer. Basically, I take all the produce that’s just about ready to turn, and cut it up into small pieces and toss it in.

I usually add some organic GMO-free edamame (easily found for a great price at Costco) – for additional protein and because my kids love it.

Then, just heat up some sesame oil in the wok, toss the whole mix in, and season. I like to use a little rice vinegar, a healthy dose of Bragg liquid aminos and a little bit of sea salt. Heat in the wok for about ten minutes and it’s done.

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You can throw this mix on top of rice, noodles, or just eat it as is.

So there is one idea for a simple, affordable Meatless Monday dinner. For more meatless dinner recipe ideas, check out my Meatless Monday Board on Pinterest or the recipe page of the MeatlessMonday.com site.

Do you have some good Meatless Monday recipes? I’d love it if you would share the link in the comments below.