Friday, May 17, 2013

Nutrition classes week 2 (May 13-19th)

Ok, so for this week's cooking assignment for the Child Nutrition class, our object was to make a "balanced breakfast."

We needed to include 1 source of complex carbohydrates, a source of protein and at least 1 fruit or veggie.  I decided to make a quiche. I'd seen a recipe for an oatmeal pastry crust from the 1940's rationing website ( and figured I could adapt that fairly easily to be gluten free. It doesn't roll out like a traditional pie crust, instead I just plopped it in the pan and spread it around with damp fingers, but it worked well and tastes very good. Will probably be using that crust a lot.
So here is my modified recipe:

Gluten Free Oat Pastry Crust:
      3/4 cup of Pamela's Baking and Pancake mix (It originally called for a self rising flour.. I had this handy, so used it.. any good flour blend will do, just make sure to include baking powder)
      Pinch of salt (I didn't add and didn't notice it missing, though with a different filling it might be more noticeable)
      1-2 tbsp of butter or "cooking fat"
      1/4 cup rolled oats
      1 tbsp ground flax seed meal ** (this was not in the original, but I thought it would make a good addition as I'm also working on getting more fiber into my diet. You don't need to add if you would rather not.)

Mix the flour, salt and butter and then add in the oats. Combine well and then drizzle in enough water to form a sticky dough.
Spoon into a greased pie plate and spread mixture around with damp fingers.
Par bake the crust at 350 for about 10 minutes.

Then I chopped and fried up 3 strips of turkey bacon and chopped up some assorted veggies. I used pea pods, onions, green beans, assorted bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini, carrots and mushrooms. Then I diced 2 tomato and basil flavored mozzarella cheese sticks. I combined all of these and filled the pie shell up, adding more veggies as needed until it was full then sprinkled it with some garlic powder and pepper.
I cracked 6 eggs into a bowl and added some Worcestershire sauce and whisked those together and poured it over the veggie/cheese/bacon mix.
Out it into a 350 degree oven and baked for about 35-40 minutes until the eggs are set.

A serving would be 1/6th of the quiche. I have been having it left over and cold for my breakfast all week and am really enjoying it. You could easily change up your fillings to  use whatever your family likes or what you have to hand.

These classes have really gotten me thinking and paying more attention to what my family is eating, and it's really coming at a great time as we are still coping with some financial recovery from our stints with unemployment. One of the videos we watched in the Nutrition, Health and Lifestyle class featured a chat with Peter Menzel about his book, Hungry Planet. It showed pictures of families from around the world with 1 week's worth of food... everything they would typically eat in a week and the USD equivalent of what was spent on that food.  It was really interesting and fascinating.. refugee families in Chad were living on basically less then $1.50 a week.. not per person, but for the WHOLE family. And there was 5 or 6 people in that family if I recall correctly. Just amazing.
So, to help us save money right now (so we can pay down the credit cards and such we lived on while unemployed..) we're going to be trying to simplify our diet and our food budget. It's going to mean giving up some variety and we might get mighty sick of some things after a while, but we're going to give it a try.  And we're not giving up everything or going too drastic all at once.. I know there'd be a revolt in the house if I tried to do too much, but we are going to be cutting back. We're going to try to focus on more veggies as well. Lunches are going to be some nice, lovely big salads. (I'd rather do them for dinners, but Hubby needs easily packable lunches, so I would have some problems with making that our main meal just yet.. and everyone's a bit scattered in the mornings yet, but I've got some ideas there too... just have to see if I can pull them off... This quiche would be great, though there's too many "weeds" in it according to Hubby... his limited veggie tolerance is one of my biggest hurdles...)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Nutrition classes weekt 1 (May 6-11th)

So, in the midst of the on-going babysitting/homeschooling I'm doing this month, I also signed up for some online nutrition classes. I've been having a lot of fun and learning all sorts of things. I'm taking the classes through and really have nothing but good things to say so far. I'm taking a Nutrition, Health and Lifestyle class and a Child Nutrition class.
For the Child Nutrition class, we have a weekly cooking assignment where we make something that meets certain requirements, then post pictures and a description and the other class members review and  evaluate.
For our first week, we were asked to make a "colorful vegetable main dish featuring at least 3 vegetables."
Now, if you know me, you know I'm going to play around with a few things for something like this... and I did.. I make 4 different dishes then picked the one that I thought tasted best, photographed best and best met the requirements.. so, here are the 4 dishes I made:

The first one I did was simply a veggie pizza.
 I used:

Rustic Napoli herb gluten free crust
Fred Meyer pizza sauce
fresh mozzarella cheese
sugar snap pea stir fry veggies (carrots, pea pots, yellow peppers, onions, mushrooms)

The pizza crusts are pretty small so this made a very small pizza which I had for lunch one day. It's not my favorite gf pizza crust, but it's one I had on hand, so I used it.. I would have liked to have tried a cauliflower/cheese crust, which I've seen online, but I didn't have any fresh cauliflower, so maybe next time... This was pretty good, though could have used more veggies then I used.. 

The second dish I tried was a baked omelet (aka fritata) 

2 whole eggs
2 yolks (they were in the fridge and needed using up)
2 spears asparagus, frozen
1 inch zucchini, sliced and quartered
sliced bell peppers
1 mushroom cap, large, diced

baked at 350 til done. Added flax seed meal at the end for fiber and covered with a little bit of mozzarella cheese and placed upside down on the plate. I split it to show off the veggies.

This was probably the biggest failure. It needed.. something... maybe some more cheese or some Worcestershire sauce or something.. it was still edible, just not very great.. 

Meal number 3 was a veggie enchilada!

broccoli, zucchini, bell peppers
sugar snap pea stir fry veg. - sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, water chestnuts
enchilada sauce
cheese sauce
tortilla wraps

I sauteed the veggies and mixed them with the enchilada sauce and the cheese sauce.
I greased a small mini-pan and placed a spoon of plain sauce in the bottom, spread it around and then put in a layer of torn tortillas. Cover with the veggie/cheese/sauce mixture, cover with tortillas and another layer of the mix and repeat until pan is pull. Cover the last layer of tortillas with a thin layer of the veggie mix and a little more of the plain enchilada sauce. I cheated horribly and broke up a piece of sandwich cheese for the top and sprinkled some chopped olives over the top. 
Bake at 350 for about half an hour or so until done. Serve with sour cream.

This one was a bit spicy but very good. I had enough left over veggies that I made a second one of these and tucked into the freezer for later.

And the last one I made, this is the one I wound up submitting. It was really down to this and the enchilada, but this one photographed so much better, so it won... 
Veggie Spring Rolls!

cauliflower “rice”
veggie stir fry – sugar snap peas, carrots, mushrooms, bell peppers, onions, asparagus, water chestnuts
soy sauce
garlic powder
butter powder
spring roll wraps

I steamed some frozen cauliflower and mashed it up with a little bit of butter powder to make a "rice" substitute.
Then I sauteed the rest of the veggies with a little bit of garlic powder and soy sauce.
One at a time, soften the wraps as directed on package, place a spoon of the cauliflower "rice" mix, top with a spoon of the veggie mix, add a sprinkle of sesame seeds and roll.

I've been on a little bit of a spring roll kick lately, as it's such an easy way to make lunch with assorted left overs, so it really wasn't much of a surprise that this is what I picked.. I will get to see my evaluations in a few more hours, and am working on the next assignment (A Balanced Breakfast)  and am pretty sure I know what I'm going to do so I will be posting that here in the next few days if all goes well (and we don't have repeats of last week's tantrum melt downs... oye... )