Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins with Whole Wheat Flour

I was ecstatic about my first CSA delivery.  I was trying to guess what I might get based on what would be in season.  I knew I was going to get lots of greens but was surprised when I got rhubarb and strawberries.  The strawberries were ready to pick early this year because of the unusually warm weather. Rhubarb took me by surprised because I thought I checked to box that said “No Rhubarb”.  I’ve never actually eaten rhubarb but I passed on it because I didn’t know what to do with it. 

When I saw the two ingredients, I immediately thought pie but I knew strawberry rhubarb pie typically has LOTS of sugar.  I wanted something that we could eat everyday without the guilt.  How do you find something like that? Search the internet! 

I found a wholewheat oatmeal rhubarb recipe and set out to make it work for me.  The first change should be obvious; I needed (or wanted) to add strawberries.  I decided to do 1 cup of strawberries and 1 cup of rhubarb.  The next adjustment I made was switching “vegetable oil” for coconut oil.  While coconut oil used to be categorized as a no-no, research is beginning to show that it does have positive benefits.  Finally, I switched out the brown sugar in exchange for honey.   Voila, now you have…

Strawberry Rhubarb Oatmeal Muffins

·       1 cup fresh rhubarb, chopped
·       1 cup fresh strawberries, chopped
·       1 egg
·       1 cup whole milk
·       1 tsp. lemon juice
·       1/2 cup maple syrup
·       1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
·       1/4 cup coconut oil
·       2 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
·       1 tbs. honey
·       1 cup rolled oats *I actually used Old Wessex Organic Irish-Style Oatmeal because I know it was verified GMO-free by the Non-GMO Project
·       1/2 tsp. cinnamon
·       1 tsp. baking soda
·       1/4 tsp. salt


In a bowl or a stand mixer, whisk together the egg, milk, lemon juice, unsweetened apple sauce, honey and coconut oil. 

In a large bowl, mix together the whole wheat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking soda and salt.

Make a “well” in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour the egg mixture in, and stir just until combined. If using a stand mixer, you can slowly pour the dry ingredients into the wet ingredient mixture. 

Gently stir in the chopped rhubarb and strawberries. Let batter rest for about 10-15 minutes. Resting the batter allows the flour to absorb some of the liquid in the batter, while allowing the gluten to relax.

Pour batter into paper muffin cups or greased muffin tin.

Bake in center of oven at 350° F for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool muffins in the pan for about 5-10 minutes, and then remove to a cooling rack.

Makes about 16 muffins

Nutritional Information

Calories: 169, Fat: 4.8g, Cholesterol: 12mg, Sodium: 126mg, Carbohydrates: 28.3g, Protein: 3.7g

Sorry for the less then stellar pic, it was from my phone

Monday, June 11, 2012

I'm jamming!

Every Sunday, I start to prepare for the week.  I try to get meals planned, and breakfast options made.  My boys go to daycare three days a week and I like to have muffins ready for those days.  It just makes everything run smoothly.  The boys get a muffin and fresh fruit then we are off and running but this Sunday I mixed things up. 

I had an opportunity to get a flat of strawberries through my CSA with Kretschmann’s Organic Farm last Friday.  They don’t actually grow the strawberries but get them from a local partner farmer.  Unfortunately, they are not organic.  I had done some searching and it is very difficult to find local, organic strawberries.  I took them anyhow and decide to embark on my first canning experience.

I cleaned all the strawberries on Saturday night, made a trip to Wal-mart Sunday morning for supplies, and started my strawberry jam on Sunday afternoon.  I enlisted my husband to cut the strawberries with me.  He did a much neater job then I did.  I was covered in strawberry juice by the time we were done cutting the probably close to 9 lbs of strawberries. 

I used a no refined sugar, pectin-free strawberry jam recipe provided by 100 Days of Real Food.  The process was fairly easy.  The biggest issue I encountered was my stove.  I have a beast of a stove from the 70’s.  It is brown and it is a double oven/stove all in one big monstrous piece. The canning pot I have barely fit on the back burner.  I would have used the front big burner but I had little choice since it doesn’t work… umm did I mention I could use a new stove/oven?

The strawberry jam turned out good.  All 14 of my jars sealed and while I know that doesn’t guarantee everything went well, I was excited.   The jam itself was pretty good, it is a little sweeter then I like but it was definitely a good, easy recipe to start with.  I tested a small drop on a plate and my boys would have licked it clean if I let them.

I was also successful in making my neighbor hungry and reminiscent.  My neighbor to the right asked my husband if we were making strawberry jam because she could smell strawberries all afternoon while she was working in her garden.  She also said it brought back memories of making jam with her mom as a child.  

I’ve got the itch to do more canning.  Do you have any tried and true recipes you love?

Monday, June 4, 2012

The best shampoo you'll never find in a store

I'm here to let you in on an amazing deal for a fantastic shampoo that leaves your hair moisturized and feeling squeaky clean. It's also very safe to use, but you can't search for it on the Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep database. The best part of all, it is super inexpensive!

This is a very, VERY exclusive opportunity. It's only available to you because it's actually made by you, in your home, with ingredients that you've likely already got in your pantry (or can find easily in most grocery stores).

I made the commitment to green up my shower routine a few months ago and have experimented with umpteen different combinations - baking soda paste dry washes (icky chalky mess), apple cider vinegar rinses (tolerable, but never made my hair feel absolutely clean), coconut oil treatments (hello greasy, stringy hair), "safe" shampoos from natural foods stores (buh-bye money and easily combed hair). I wasn't totally satisfied with any of those, but I wasn't ready to give up. Enter pinterest.

I can't express how much I heart pinterest. From ideas for gardening that I will likely never successfully implement in my yard to elaborate recipes that are intimidating yet enticing, you can find everything on that site. It is an especially good resource when researching ways to live clean and green. I've made a ton of homemade cleaners thanks to strangers pinning ridiculously easy "recipes". So, I was beyond excited when I came across a pinned photo of the back of a woman's head...her hair looked healthy, smooth, and beautiful. The pin promised access to the best homemade shampoo EVER or something to that extent. SOLD.

I would try to convince you that this is my beautiful head of hair, but I have no time for styling.

I originally intended to use my homemade coconut milk for this recipe, but I wasn't thinking straight and added vanilla to it for my kids to drink. Oh, well...Native Forest canned coconut milk is thick and creamy (while my homemade was not), plus their products are organic and BPA-free. This was so easy to mix together and I decided an unused, cute hand soap pump dispenser was perfect for this use.

Here's the recipe (adapted from
  • 1/3 cup coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup liquid castille soap (I used Dr. Bronner's almond)
  • several drops of vitamin E oil
  • Lots and lots of the essential oil(s) of your choice (I decided to rip off Aveda and do rosemary and peppermint oils)
Place all ingredients in the dispenser and shake.

You will need to shake the dispenser before each use. I use about two palms full of the shampoo each time because I have very thick and pretty long hair. This will lather up a little, which I like. Natural shampoos tend to not lather at all and conventional (read: chemical soup) shampoos lather a ton...this is somewhere in the middle. I make sure I rinse very well to prevent any build-up because I have extremely hard water. Occasionally, I'll follow a normal shampoo routine with an apple cider vinegar rinse just to be sure that everything has been totally cleaned out.

Since I started to use this shampoo, my hair has been much more manageable. I can run a brush through it without encountering tangles and my hair looks and feels great once it's completely air dried.

Give it a try and let us know how it worked out for you!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Foodie Friday Meal Plan 6/4-6/11

Red meat lovers rejoice! I've got two - TWO - beef recipes to share this week! Additionally, I've got some seriously delicious meatless recipes that will satisfy all the picky eaters in your house (well...they satisfied mine, at least). Obviously, I was on some sort of Italian kick which is always appreciated at our dinner table.  
As usual, the recipes can be found here.

Zucchini, Tomato, and Fresh Herb Fettucine
I substituted yellow squash for the zucchini since it was readily available.

Sausage and Kale Mock Lasagna
Cauliflower Pizza Bites

Noodle-free lasagna! I used a combination of Swiss chard and kale - DELISH!



I've never been a fan of green beans, but my CSA basket has had a pound each week this month, so I've had to get creative.

Penne with Balsamic Sweet Potato, Arugual, and Parmesan
Roasted Green Beans and Mushrooms


Steak (I'm a steak purist - simply season with salt and pepper, then sear it on the stove for a couple of minutes each side, then finish off in a hot oven)
Slow-Cooked Bacon and Cheese Potatoes
Wilted Spinach with Garlic and Red Wine Vinegar
Sauteed Green Beans with Creamy Garlic Sauce (simply trim, saute with garlic and add some heavy cream)

Italian Stuffed Patty Pan Squash
Whole Wheat Israeli Couscous
Sauteed Broccoli with Garlic

Patty pans have very little flesh on the inside, but they make a cute vessel for stuffing!

Eggplant Parmesan Soup (I was able to modify the recipe to make it in the crock pot!)
Easy Spicy Garlic Bread
Mixed Greens Salad with Peaches and Plums 


Clean Eating Sloppy Joes
Homemade Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns
Crispy Oven-Fried Green Beans
Mixed Greens Salad with Cherry Tomatoes and Onions

Culinary Lessons
Fruity Freezer Pops

P and I combined Greek yogurt, fresh strawberries, and frozen raspberries in the food processor. Then we filled these cute pop molds and froze them for about three hours. They were perfect for our Memorial Day BBQ and pool party!

Homemade Natural Peanut Butter


Simply throw a bunch of raw peanuts into a food processor and GO! Let it run for a few minutes then drizzle in some of your go-to oil (I've tried coconut and olive, both work well). Voila! Peanut butter!!

Hooray for healthy eating!!!