Organic Home Gardening 101

Have you ever tasted a tomato that you didn’t buy from the grocery store? If the answer to this question is no then you’ve been robbed, my friend! Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to only have access to store bought foods. Living in bustling cities where you’re more likely to see buildings than a skyline, it becomes difficult to access farm fresh produce.

Many of the fruits and vegetables we eat come from other parts of the globe, which means they’ve been bathed in preservatives just to make it to your table. Eating organic means eating clean fruits and vegetables, and you can buy them at a Farmer’s market or your grocer.

But, what if there are several varieties of edible plants you could grow in your own backyard?
What if a yard wasn’t even necessary?

Health Benefits

CNN explains that home gardening has several benefits beyond nutrition. Most Americans spend Monday through Friday sitting at a desk for 8-hours only to come home and do the same. Gardening gets you outside and moving!

You’re lifting bags of soil, reaching deep into your garden beds getting a good stretch and moving around more than you did the entire day. Having a garden not only benefits you physically, but studies have shown that it helps your emotional health as well.
It reduces stress and depression and even promotes general brain health by improving memory, among other things.

Getting Started

• One of the most important things to consider when starting an edible, organic garden is the planting zone you live in. This determines which plants will thrive in a given environment. Plantmaps.com is a great place to find out which zone you’re in, so take a look before you map out your garden. If you’re living in an apartment and plan on having an indoor garden this won’t matter as much since your plants will generally just need a certain amount of sunlight, watering and feeding to thrive.

• Second important thing in getting started is deciding what you like to eat! Choose plant varieties that you know you’ll consume regularly and read up on them. You don’t want to plant a lemon tree just to have it dumping decaying fruit all over your yard. Plus, you’ll be more likely to properly care for your plants if they’re something you really enjoy eating. Some of the best plants to start with are fresh herbs.

They’re low maintenance, work for both indoor and outdoor gardens, and preserve nicely. A useful tip is to freeze herbs in olive oil. They’ll stay fresh and you’ll cut down on waste, not to mention cooking time. Just toss a frozen olive oil cube containing your favorite herb into a skillet and you’re good to go!

Third, choose a plant varietal that fits into your schedule. Fact of the matter is that some plants are more finicky than others are and will require more of your attention.

The easiest plants to grow for beginners are:

• Greens
• Tomatoes
• Cucumbers
• Carrots
• Radishes
• Zucchini
• Green beans

Keeping It Going

Once you’ve figured out what you’ll be growing in your garden, you have to figure out how to keep it blossoming. As much as we’d like to hope that you can “set it and forget it,” your garden will need regular TLC. But don’t let that scare you off! There are tons of helpful tools to assist you in staying on top of things.

For example, Smart Gardner is a free app that helps you plan the layout of your garden, find plant varietals appropriate for your planting zone, and even sends you weekly To Do notifications to help you stay on track.

Also, enlist the help of your family members or others in the household. Encouraging children to grow their own food not only teaches them a skill but also demonstrates responsibility in caring for something other than themselves. Serving the foods you’ve harvested from your homegrown garden will give everyone a sense of accomplishment and pride.

Organic gardening will take some effort to start but once it gets going you’ll soon realize the fruits of your labor (pun intended). It is an incredibly satisfying feeling to feed yourself and loved ones something that you’ve grown with your bare hands, and not to mention, outrageously delicious.

 

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100 Cooking Hacks Tips

  1. Don’t have any buttermilk? Add 1 tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of milk.
  2. Ready to peel the shells off eggs? Wet your fingers first—the peels won’t stick.
  3. Guesstimating baking powder amounts is easy when you remember this formula: 1 tsp. baking powder per each cup of flour.
  4. No baking powder? Substitute ½ cup yogurt, sour cream or buttermilk for the liquids in the recipe. Then add ½ tsp. baking soda.
  5. Don’t add too much baking powder: Your cake or quickbread will actually rise less; not more. And taste bitter.
  6. For gluten-free gravy, throw away the flour. Try cornstarch, arrowroot powder or tapioca starch instead.
  7. For low fat baking, use applesauce instead of butter, oil or margarine. Your baking will be a little heavier, but tasty.
  8. When trying to remember which to use, keep this in mind: Baking powder adds acidity; baking soda is alkaline.
  9. Save time by pre-prepping ingredients for recipes you often make, and storing them , sealed, in your refrigerator or freezer.
  10. Before putting your cake in the oven, let your filled baking tin gently drop straight down on the counter. It knocks out air bubbles.
  11. To keep brown sugar soft, stick a piece of apple or a slice of bread in the bag. You’ll never have to find rock-hard sugar again.
  12. If you want to prevent cookies from hardening, store them in a sealed cookie jar with a slice of apple.
  13. Buy frozen Yorkshire Puddings to go with your roast. They heat easily in one pan for only 3 minutes—and there is no messy clean-up.
  14. Never make fudge on humid days. The sugar will go “grainy”. Make fudge on cool, clear days – and use a marble board or countertop.
  15. “Room temperature” ingredients or liquids should feel neither cold nor hot when you test them on the back of your wrist.
  16. Put a few grains of rice in your salt shaker, if you live in a humid climate. This will stop your salt from clumping.
  17. Flour your surfaces or flour your dough before rolling—and to make extra-sure it doesn’t stick, place between floured parchment paper.
  18. Follow recipes exactly, the first time you make them. After that, you’ll have a much better idea on how to successfully adjust ingredients.
  19. Don’t store meats in your refrigerator without first putting them on a dish, to catch blood that might escape and contaminate your fridge.
  20. Remember that the outside of frozen turkeys will thaw much faster than the inside, so thaw yours in the fridge for safety.
  21. If thawing a turkey in cold water, it is vital for food safety that you change the water every half hour.
  22. Make sure you put all leftovers back in the fridge within two hours of serving. After that, food can begin to spoil.
  23. When making holiday meals, first clear your counters. Remove unnecessary items to give yourself maximum work space.
  24. When buying your holiday squash, save time by choosing pre-cut, pre-peeled, packaged fresh squash.
  25. Beef keeps longer in the freezer than fish or chicken. You can store beef for up to six months; fish and chicken, no more than three.
  26. Buying fresh, local fruit and freezing it in a chest freezer ensures that you and your family can enjoy it all year round.
  27. If you plan to freeze a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, invest in a vacuum sealer.
  28. Don’t try to freeze vegetables that are normally eaten raw (lettuce, celery, etc.) They will not freeze successfully.
  29. Blanch vegetables before freezing to stop sugars turning to starch—which does happen quickly after picking.
  30. To blanch vegetables, drop them into boiling water for a minute or two: Then drain and plunge them into ice water.
  31. You can store asparagus for up to two weeks in your refrigerator, if you stand it in a jar of cold water with tips up.
  32. Make 3-4 days’ worth of carrot sticks in advance and store in your refrigerator in a glass container of cold water, for maximum freshness.
  33. Make up salads in a jar for lunch: Heavy items like carrot slices at the bottom; grains, fruit and nuts in the middle, greens at the top.
  34. Assemble all your blanching and freezing equipment ahead of time. Speed is everything, when it comes to successful blanching.
  35. Blanch peppers only if you plan to serve them cooked at a future date. For crisper peppers, freeze raw.
  36. Fruit does not need to be blanched before freezing—but you can freeze it in a light syrup, if desired.
  37. Did you know that frozen bananas make wonderful, creamy “ice cream”, when puréed in a food processor?
  38. If you’re going to freeze bananas, always choose ones that are fully ripe. Even at the edge of over-ripe is preferable to under-ripe.
  39. You can freeze bananas in or out of the peel—but they will last longer out of the peel and look nicer when served “as is”.
  40. Be aware that if you freeze bananas in the peel, the peel will turn black. This is normal, and the bananas inside are perfectly good.
  41. For under-ripe bananas, bake them on a cookie tray for 40 minutes at 300ºF. The skins will turn black, but when cool, they’ll be ripe.
  42. To freeze bananas for banana bread, purée first, and add 1 tsp. lemon juice per cup of puré Mix well. Store in plastic tubs.
  43. If you want frozen banana pieces or slices, remove the peel and cut into chunks or slices first. They are impossible to cut when frozen.
  44. If you want to stop clumping from occurring, first freeze fruit or vegetables pieces on a tray. Then quickly bag the frozen pieces.
  45. Be sure to pat your fruit or veggie pieces thoroughly dry with paper towel, before freezing.
  46. For optimal freezing of fruits, meat and vegetables, freeze in a deep freezer at zero degrees. Buy a freezer thermometer.
  47. When freezing anything, be sure to mark the date frozen on the bag or label and mark the expiry date too, if you wish.
  48. All baking ingredients—including eggs—should be at room temperature for at least an hour before baking.
  49. If a recipe calls for separating your eggs, do so while they are still refrigerator-cold. It will be much easier.
  50. Whipping up a meringue? Make sure your egg whites are at room temperature
  51. Worried that your eggs have been in the fridge too long? Put one in a bowl of water. If it sinks, it’s still fresh.
  52. When trying to soften butter more quickly, don’t cut in a chunk…use a cheese grater to make fine pieces.
  53. If a recipe tells you to alternate dry and wet ingredients, start and end with dry ingredients.
  54. Keep all your cake decorating utensils and ingredients in one small plastic tub with a lid. You’ll never lose a cake icing tip, that way.
  55. Are you someone who always uses a cookbook? Buy a cookbook holder from a kitchen store or online—it will make your life easier.
  56. Running your mixers at half-speed or lower will greatly extend their lifespans.
  57. Try turning a metal magazine holder on its side and sliding into your kitchen drawer to stop items from jamming up your drawer.
  58. De-clutter your kitchen at least once every six months. Donate pots and pans you don’t use. Throw out ingredients you’ve never touched.
  59. Invest in a jar-opener. It is an inexpensive utensil—and you’ll be surprised at how often you find yourself using it.
  60. If you can’t open a jar and have no jar opener, try slipping on a rubber kitchen glove first.
  61. Use plain dental floss to cut cheeses and other soft foods. Use a sawing motion; or circle the item with the floss—and pull.
  62. Use pots with two handles if you have health issues like arthritis. This will make your grip more stable—and help you avoid accidents.
  63. Can’t reach items on your top kitchen shelves? If stepping stools feel unstable, buy a long-arm grabber from a Home Health store.
  64. To avoid nasty accidents, never store heavy items, glass or other breakables on your top kitchen shelves.
  65. Place items or utensils you use all the time at waist height or in your first row of overhead shelves.
  66. Do a “safety check” on your kitchen periodically. And look for ways to improve functionality as you improve safety.
  67. Have a “kitchen maintenance” day, once in a while. Deep-scrub stains from cutlery and pots and pans. Throw out worn items. De-clutter.
  68. Clean your kitchen thoroughly before you cook, and clean as you go during cooking. You’ll have minimal clean up after.
  69. Be sure to have fine steel-wool on hand. You can use it to clean deep stains or burns from stainless steel pots in an instant.
  70. Never, ever soak silver-plated cutlery or dishes in water with bleach. Your silver-wear will blacken instantly—and permanently.
  71. An envelope cut diagonally, with the remaining point also cut off, makes a handy impromptu funnel for dry ingredients.
  72. Use a griddle iron or heavy fry pan for pancakes. If you use cast iron, never wash it—wipe and season it with oil after every use.
  73. Make French Toast in your crockpot. Lace layers with non-acidic fruit like currants, apple slices or raisins.
  74. Place cookie cutters on your griddle. Pour in pancake batter or eggs to jazz up those brunches.
  75. Mix spices for recipes ahead of time in a small shot glass. Add after you’ve added sauce ingredients for best flavor.
  76. Mix up your own pumpkin pie spice: Two parts cinnamon to one part ground nutmeg, one part ground allspice, one part ground ginger.
  77. Add a pinch of freshly minced ginger to your pumpkin pie mix for a zestier taste.
  78. Making salad ahead of time in a jar allows you to refrigerator-store it for up to seven days.
  79. Print cooking infographics or charts from Pinterest or cooking sites. Tape up inside your cupboard doors, for easy reference.
  80. To make perfect white or green tea, let your kettle rest for a few moments after reaching a boil. Never use boiling water on these teas.
  81. Stock your kitchen with staples so you can quickly whip up anything: Flour, bouillon cubes, spices, sugar, salt and olive oil to start with.
  82. After making a recipe with bouillon or broth in a carton, pour the remaining broth into ice cube trays and freeze for later.
  83. Gravy turning gray? Check out your pan—it’s probably aluminum. Use stainless steel or copper instead.
  84. Replace half of the oil in your marinade with wine for a more acidic effect.
  85. If you plan to go vegetarian, buy a big spice rack and stock it with fresh herbs and spices to add excitement to your cookings.
  86. Substitute coconut milk for condensed milk, if you’re making a vegan-friendly cake.
  87. ¼ cup applesauce, puréed tofu or one mashed banana will replace one whole egg in vegan recipes. Use tofu in savory recipes.
  88. Bake for longer at a lower temperature for most vegan recipes. You’ll have much less stodgy results.
  89. Add hemp hearts to muffins instead of bran: No, you won’t get high and it will make a delicious, nutritious change.
  90. Need to improvise kid-friendly pizza? Use frozen dinner roll dough. Spread with tomato sauce and sprinkle with cheese. Bake.
  91. Roll peeled banana chunks in toasted coconut, cocoa powder or chocolate sprinkles to increase kid-appeal.
  92. For almost-instant applesauce: Microwave apple pieces for 3-4 minutes to soften. Add cinnamon. Purée in food processor.
  93. When pre-preparing sandwiches, don’t cut the crusts off till right before serving. The sandwich edges will dry out and curl if you do.
  94. Use beer or sparkling wine to make a tasty, unique mock loaf of “bread”—without yeast.
  95. To make bread “crack” on top in a rustic manner, place a pan of water on the bottom rack of your oven, when baking.
  96. Slightly toast sunflower seeds or nuts before sprinkling them on top of bread. They will be much more digestible.
  97. Soak grains such as oatmeal for at least ten minutes with a splash of boiling water, before adding them to bread.
  98. To make “tulip”-shaped cupcake liners, fashion out of squares of parchment paper in your muffin tin.
  99. Place a paper lace doily over your cake and sift icing sugar all over it. Carefully remove doily—the pattern remains.
  100. To make any color, shade or tint of frosting, check out the chart at: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/frost-by-numbers-how-to-make-frosting-colors.html

 

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How to keep strawberries fresh

To keep the strawberries fresh longer in the refrigerator, use 1 Part White Vinegar to 10 Parts Water. Soak the strawberries, leaves and all in the vinegar/water mixture for a few minutes. Then drain the strawberries in a colander until they are completely dry.
Then place strawberries in an uncovered bowl in the refrigerator. The vinegar/water mixture kills any mold spores on the strawberries and keeps them fresh longer. The vinegar does not affect the taste. This also works for all kinds of berries: blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, etc. It really works!!

 

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Ranch, Dry Onion Soup Mix and Taco Seasoning

 

Make your own Ranch, Dry Onion Soup Mix and Taco Seasoning and store in small mason jars…

Taco Seasoning:
1/2 cup chili powder
1/4 cup onion powder
1/8 cup ground cumin
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon paprika
1 tablespoon sea salt
Put ingredients into a jar and shake.

Dry Onion Soup Mix:
2/3 cup dried, minced onion
3 teaspoons parsley flakes
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons turmeric
1 teaspoon celery salt
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground pepper

Mix all ingredients in a jar, then give the jar a good shake. I’d recommend shaking the jar to mix the ingredients well before each use.

Use 4 tablespoons in a recipe in place of 1 packet of onion soup mix. Store this in a dry, cool place.

Ranch:
5 tablespoons dried minced onions
7 teaspoons parsley flakes
4 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Mix together and store in an air tight container.
For dressing: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 1 cup mayonnaise and 1 cup buttermilk or sour cream.
For dip: Mix 2 tablespoons dry mix with 2 cups sour cream.
Mix up a few hours before serving, so the flavors all blend.

*Can also substitute Greek Yogurt in the Ranch! I PROMISE your kids and spouse will NEVER notice!

 

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Spiral Your Health Upward with Vegetable Spiralizers

 

There are certain times in your life when you just feel that your health isn’t all that it could be. You may feel sluggish and catch every bug that comes along. If you feel that your health isn’t up to par, take a close look at your diet.

 

Are you consuming all of the vegetables that you need? Most of us don’t. We snack and drive through fast food establishments to save time and effort and end up avoiding the veggies that could make us healthier.

 

Kids especially are notoriously wary of vegetables on their plates. But what if you could make them appetizing and fun? Try a vegetable spiralizer to put some fun and health back into your veggie servings.

 

A vegetable spiralizer can sensationalize a boring meal, letting you and your family enjoy all your favorite foods such as pasta with only a small amount of calories – but all of the nutrition that veggies can bring to a meal.

 

Most families have pasta at least once a week. It’s delicious and comforting, but it can contain too many calories and carbs for a healthy diet. If this sounds like your family, consider using a vegetable spiralizer as a kitchen accessory that can make a difference.

 

The spiralizers create pasta-type lengths of such veggies as carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and zucchini that will blow your mind and make you and your family think differently about including healthy vegetables in your meals.

 

The benefits of spiralizing also include the fact that it’s quick and easy, taking mere seconds to prepare and less time to cook than ordinary pasta, noodles or rice. After you spiralizer a veggie, you can cook it immediately – no more waiting for the water to boil.

 

If you’re watching your weight, a spiralizer is almost a necessity in your kitchen arsenal. You can make vegetable or fruit noodles and concoct incredible meals that are light in calories, fat, sugar and carbs and can eat more of them without suffering the consequences.

 

Since vegetables are significantly higher in water content, you’ll also help detox your body when you eat more of them through spiralizing. It also keeps you feeling fuller, longer and aids in digestion.

 

Eating spiralized veggies and fruit rather than heavy and high-in-calorie pastas will leave you energized rather than feeling stuffed after a meal. And a small, seemingly insignificant vegetable can reap mounds of healthy, spiral vegetables.

 

Spiralizers come in a variety of shapes, sizes and prices. Check them out online and choose one that’s best for the way you cook – and how many you cook for.

 

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Substitute some healthier seasonings/oils/Skillet meals:  For more information about  Wildtree products go here: http://mywildtree.com/wendywilkes

Choose Steamers for Smart and Healthy Meals

 

Some methods of cooking can extremely negatively affect the nutrients contained in healthy foods.

A good steamer is a  nutritious way to cook food from vegetables and rice to fish, chicken and other meats. And steamers don’t use as much energy and are quick to clean up.

There are several types of steamers you can choose. The Chinese have been using bamboo steamers for centuries – and besides providing healthier fare when steamed, your food retains its fresh color and flavor – and those all-important nutrients.

Don’t confuse rice cookers with steamers. You can cook several layers of food items with steamer baskets, whereas rice cookers are more suitable for one layer. The lower levels of a steamer cook foods more rapidly and the steamer doesn’t require any fats at all.

Simply season your foods by adding them to the water or marinating them before steaming. The lower levels of a good steamer will cook your veggies or other items more rapidly, whereas the upper levels take longer and are perfect for larger food items.

Cooking a variety of foods at the same time in the steamer makes for easy cleanup and perfect timing for your meals. Choose from a variety of food steamer types. For example, bamboo steamers can cook food with very little water (no oil) or you can choose a stainless steel steamer that’s BPA-free and dishwasher-safe.

There are certain things you may want to remember when choosing and using a steamer. First, choose a steamer which doesn’t let steam escape. To get the job done perfectly, the steam should remain within the pot.

Always use fresh ingredients when possible and if you’re steaming in one layer, make sure that you cook foods of the same size at the same time. Use as little water as possible (look at instructions for the steamer for guidance) and don’t let it touch the food for perfect steaming.

Also, allow enough space between the food items in the steamer so the steam can circulate to do its job. The instructions for the steamer will recommend certain cooking times, but use your own judgment and consider how much or little you like your food cooked.

Most of all, have fun with your steamer. Add spices and herbs to your food for flavorful seasoning and use your favorite wine or beef, chicken or vegetable broth in place of the typical water for your steamer.

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How to Plan Enough Time for Holiday Baking By Organizing Your Kitchen

organize-kitchen

Baking during the holidays is supposed to be fun, but sometimes it can feel like just another chore that you have to get done. Thankfully it doesn’t have to be that way. You can ensure that your kitchen is organized for holiday baking and that you know how to plan enough time for the baking that you want to do.

It all starts with a super organized kitchen. Don’t wait until the day you bake to get this organization done. Start today getting your kitchen properly organized. This organization will not just be great for holiday baking but for all year long. You’ll not only save time baking but also save time in your daily household chores with an organized kitchen.

Store Your Dishes and Appliances in Logical Places

Anything that you regularly wash in the dishwasher should be stored as close to it as possible. The reason is that you save valuable time and steps by being able to unload the dishwasher quickly. Likewise, anything you normally use near the stove should be as close to the stove as possible such as spices, oils, and vinegars.

If you’re right handed put them to the right; if you’re left handed it’ll work best to the left unless the cabinet on the left opens in your face. Ideally you want the cabinet to open easily so you can grab what you need and put it right back. Try using special spice cabinet inserts like a lazy susan or other device to make it easier. Using a logical method to store your dishes will save time today and on baking day too.

Put Extra Dishes and Appliances Out of Sight

If you have special dishes or extra place settings and other appliances that you do not use on a daily basis, put those in a hutch or other location when not in use. This saves space, and makes your kitchen less cluttered. For example, if you have a family of four, you really only need a place setting for four in your cabinet at any given time.

It may seem like it’s better to have more, but that just means more to clean up. Running out faster will signal time to clean faster. If you only use the pressure cooker once a week, put it away when not in use to save counter space. Plus you are more likely to have to wipe down appliances that you’re leaving out all the time than if you put them away. Taking that extra step will save more time on a regular basis than you realize.

Keep Your Counters Clear

The clearer you keep your counters, the easier it will be to bake a batch of cookies from the dough you froze when you have 20 minutes to spare. If you have a tendency to put coupons, bills, and other things on the kitchen counters or even in a kitchen junk drawer, try to figure out an alternative. One good way to organize that type of thing is to use your fridge and a magnetic box or clips to easily store coupons, notepads, grocery lists and whatnot.

It’s definitely a good habit to have a grocery list and pen hanging on your fridge so that when you run out of something you can write it down on the list right then. Eliminating the need to scan your cupboards for the basics when it’s time to make your baking shopping list is a good habit to get into any time of year. Be sure that you have stored your baking items, bowls, tools, pans, and even ingredients if there is room, in the cabinets nearest to the largest area of counter space. Try using clearly labeled containers to make it easy to see what’s there.

Now that your kitchen is organized you can more easily find time to bake. You don’t have to do all the holiday baking in one session. There are several things you can make in advance. Here are a few ideas.

Make and Freeze Cookie Dough Ahead of Time

If your baking includes many different types of cookies, it is simple to make the cookie dough in advance, and then freeze it. One good freezing method is to wrap the cookie dough into a long roll with parchment paper, then put into a zippered freezer bag. Be sure to label the dough so that you know what type of cookies they are. You can also write down on the label the temperature for cooking as well as how long, to make it even faster.

Then, any time you have an extra 20 minutes you can grab the dough, cut it into cookie-sized bites, place on your cookie sheet and bake them. This method allows you to use your limited time better. You can make the cookie dough a week or more in advance of baking. You can make it one day when you have 30 minutes, freeze, and then make the cookies another day. After you’ve cooked dinner is a great time to bake cookies because the oven is already hot and ready. After the cookies are cooked you can freeze them again for use on the big day.

Make and Freeze Yeast Based Dough in Advance

One of the more time-consuming baking items for holiday baking can be making rolls and yeast breads. Fortunately, you can actually freeze them ahead of time. The trick is to only let the bread rise once, then shape it into a proximity of the shape you will bake it in, wrap with butcher paper, freeze solid, then put it in an air tight freezer bag. Label it, with the cooking temperature, cooking time, and type of bread.

To prepare the frozen bread dough, the day before you want to bake it put it in the prepared baking container you want to use, cover the dough with plastic wrap, and then put it in the fridge. Alternatively, you can let it thaw on the counter in the prepared cooking pan. It will take about three to five hours. The second rise happens as it thaws. Once raised, bake as usual.

You can also freeze cooked bread. The trick is to cook it a little less than you normally would for serving, until it’s done but very light in color. Take it out of the oven and let cool completely on a wire rack. Then, wrap the bread with parchment paper, then saran wrap and toss into a zipper freezer bag. Freeze. When you are ready to enjoy it, take it out in the morning that you plan to use it. You can reheat it in the oven for three to five minutes just before serving.

Make and Freeze Cakes in Advance

When you make and freeze a cake in advance, you don’t have to frost it. Just bake the layers of your cake and cool completely. Wrap with parchment paper, freeze until solid, and then put into freezer bags. It’s important to have a large freezer to make this work. Simply unwrap and thaw on the day you plan to ice the cakes. You can actually frost cakes that aren’t completely thawed with good results.

If you have the room you can even fully frost and prepare a cake, then freeze it, thawing the day you want to serve it. You can get good cake boxes at a baking supply store and sometimes arts and craft stores. You can also use items you already have. The trick is to fully protect the cake from freezer burn by using parchment paper that is greased to prevent it from sticking to the cake. Once the cake is fully frozen, you can put the wrapped cake into a metal pan and back in the freezer. The pan will protect the cake. Take note that fat-free cakes and desserts do not freeze as well and neither does cream or cream cheese fillings. As with anything you freeze, label it well.

These tricks will help you find more time to get baking done because you soon realize you do not have to do it all in one day. You can do a little bit, each day, over a few weeks if desired and have delicious and wonderful results.

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How to Bake in Batches to Make the Most of Your Holiday Baking Time

batches

One way to handle your holiday baking is to bake in batches, then freeze and store for the big day. You can do this successfully over a couple of weeks with batch baking and batch preparing.

The biggest thing to remember is to only try a few different types of things in one day, or focus on just one type of baked good in one day. For example, you might want to bake all your quick breads in one day. Another day you can prepare all your cookie dough. Yet another time, you can bake all your fruit pies and so forth. This process makes the most of the time you have, the space you have, and your skill level.

Find a Basic Starter Recipe

Every type of baked good has a basic starter ingredient mix. You could start with one basic cookie dough, or a basic quick bread recipe. These are mixes that you can add a few extra ingredients to in order to make them into new recipes. For example, a basic bread mix can become several different types of bread and a basic cookie recipe can become several types of cookies. For pies, you can make one type of pie crust, and freeze them as they are, or you can fill with different fruit mixtures for fruit pies. It’s up to you how to do this.

Get Prepared

Don’t try batch baking without a plan of action. Be sure to write down your plans in advance so that you are sure you have enough time to do everything that you’ve planned. To figure out a basic time line, add up the prep time, the baking time for each oven full, and then multiply that by 1.5 to account for a little extra issues happening. Then you should be sure that you have enough time.

Get Everything Ready to Go

Your kitchen should be spotless when you start, and ensure that you have all the ingredients and appliances necessary to make each item ready to go. If you know, for example, that today you’ll be using about 10 pounds of flour, consider using a large bowl to hold the flour so you can easily spoon the flour into the measuring cup, flatten off over the bowl, without having to get into the bag over and over which usually means spillage.

Clean as You Go

Fill your sink immediately with hot soapy water so you can clean as you go. You will want to wash your mixing dishes and other utensils during the baking process so that you can use them again. There’s no point in totally destroying your kitchen as you batch bake, and you don’t have to. Set out a draining board, fill the sink with hot soapy water, and wash as you go. There are many opportunities during baking to wash a couple of dishes, and this will make the clean-up faster, and the process more organized.

All Day Batch Baking

You can set aside a day for batch baking such as a Saturday. Plan for all day baking, which usually entails 8 to 10 hours of work. Ensure that any other chores are done, including the shopping, and the kitchen is clean and ready prior to baking day. It’s important to organize your recipes with some logic behind them. For example, if you need dough to rise, start that first, so that it can be rising as you are preparing other things such as cookie dough or pie crusts. Both can be put in the refrigerator or freezer after preparation while you bake the bread, then baked after you bake the bread while the oven is still hot and ready.

Read each recipe that you plan to use and pay close attention to certain clues. For example, if an ingredient requires a cold kitchen, you’ll want to start that first. If something takes an hour to bake like banana bread, you can use that hour to mix other batter, dough, crust, filling and so forth that you can store in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake them.

Organize the kitchen in stations. You will want a station for each type of baked good that you want to create. It’s a lot easier to lay out four pie crusts in pie tins, ready for fillings, than to do one at a time. As much as you can do for one type of thing in one run, do so. A bread making station is also essential. It needs to be a place you can freely flour the counter space, and easily clean up.

Be careful about combining batches in one recipe. If you have a cookie recipe that uses measures instead of weights, it’s better not to do them in more than one batch at a time, but you don’t need to clean the bowl between each batch that you make. Make the lightest type of batch first; for example, make sugar cookie dough before you make chocolate chip cookies, before you make peanut butter cookies. Consider the flavor, the ingredients, and everything before making the batches so that you can wash as little as possible.

The important thing about all day batch cooking is that you can choose to make only one type of baked good or you can make a number of different baked goods depending on how many people you need to feed.

Don’t try to stuff your oven too full. At most, you’ll want to cook two pies, four loaves of bread, and one large sheet of cookies at a time in one oven. Putting too many things in one oven can drastically change the temperature settings. Also, putting a dry item with a moist item in the oven at the same time can change the temperature needs. Read directions, plan ahead, and you’ll be fine.

After Dinner Small Batch Cooking

Another great way to do batch cooking is each evening after dinner or even while you are preparing dinner. Anytime you make something in your oven is a good time to throw in a few loaves of bread. For example, if you wanted to make one loaf of bread for dinner tonight, why not make four and save three.

Feed the freezer – In some circles this type of baking is called feeding the freezer. It can be done with any type of baking, not just desserts and bread. If you’re having lasagna tonight, why not prepare two pans of lasagna and freeze the second. You can do this with many things. You can also take one night to prepare a lot of cookie dough, bread dough, and pie crusts for freezing, then the next night bake all the cookies, freeze, and the following night bake the bread and freeze and so forth until you are done.

Use the time available – What’s important is that you use the time you have available the best that you can. It’s important to be honest with yourself about the time you have to get things done. If you only have evenings after work, and don’t get a lot of time off, then you’re going to need to bake a little each evening for a couple of weeks to be ready for the holidays. Thankfully nothing smells better or more relaxing than freshly baked bread, cookies and pies.

Downsize – Small batch baking isn’t about trying to do a marathon on a night you have to work; instead it’s about just adding in a batch of cookie making, dough making, or something that takes an hour or two at the most after dinner or in conjunction with cooking dinner. Remember that you’ll be adding to these items later, so even if it seems like a small amount over the course of time it will be plenty.

Baking in batches is a great way to increase your production amount, as well as to save time. After all, the holidays are so that you can enjoy your family and guests. There is no reason to get stressed out about the baking part. Instead, craft a plan, stick to the plan, and hey, why not ask for help from family and friends.

You could have a cookie party where you don’t eat the cookies, but instead you meet together and each of you then trade a few dozen of a different type of cookies. So one family would make sugar cookies, another chocolate chip, and another peanut butter and so forth. Trade, and then you each have some of all of them.

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Turkey Thawing Times & Tips

Turkey tip

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Is it safe to turn a toaster sideways to make grilled cheese?

toaster1Toaster

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have seen this posted ALOT on many sites.  At first I thought it was a great idea…….

But then I started thinking…….Is it a fire hazard?

Toasters have ‘feet’ because the sides and the top can get very hot.  Maybe this is not such a great idea after all.

Whatever you choose, just be careful please.

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Hot Cocoa Reindeer!

Hot Cocoa Reindeer!

Aren’t these the cutest little things?????
Hot Cocoa Reindeer!

With Christmas right around the corner there are all sorts of cute craft ideas that are sure to make someone smile.
This is an awesome DIY craft for kids!! and they are a fun way to celebrate the season. This is pretty much the cutest gift for anyone!!!

For the hot Cocoa Reindeer’s’ project you will need:
Hot cocoa (powdered)
Mini marshmallows
Chocolate chips
Piping bags
Red Pom Poms
Brown Pipe Cleaners
Googly eyes

Instructions:
Fill your Piping bags with the hot cocoa mix (2 cups worth per bag)
Top with chocolate chips and mini marshmallows
Wrap your pipe cleaner around the top to make them look like antlers
Using glue, glue the googly eyes, and red pom poms to your bags, draw a smile, and
Voila~ You are done!!!

I hope you and your children enjoy making these this Christmas!!!
★¨`*•♫.• Thank you for coming to visit my page daily 💕

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10 Super Veggies to Add to Your Diet

superfoods

10 Super Veggies to Add to Your Diet

Eating vegetables instead of processed foods is a simple, proven way to give your health and disease resisting ability a boost. Still, some fruits and vegetables are considered to be better than most, in fact they are considered to be the best things that you can eat for a healthy body and mind. If you are ready to experience the best health possible, add the following 10 vegetable superfoods into your diet and then sit back and enjoy all of the amazing health benefits they have to offer.

1 – Watercress

This bitter green is a cancer preventive and thyroid supporter. The cruciferous plant also boosts your body’s natural ability to resist disease and infection. Hippocrates, known as the father of medicine, consistently used watercress to treat his patients for a number of conditions.

2 – Napa cabbage (Chinese cabbage)

Napa cabbage is related to kale, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. It is excellent for cleaning out your digestive tract, has been linked to cancer prevention. It also delivers one of the highest rates of healthy free radical-fighting antioxidants per serving of any food. Recent research shows steaming Napa cabbage releases more healthy nutrients, minerals and vitamins than eating it raw.

3 – Chard

Like Napa cabbage, chard is chock-full of healthy antioxidants. These antioxidants help regulate your blood sugar level, protect your heart, effectively breakdown carbohydrates and regulate your blood sugar level. Chard also delivers an incredible 24 important nutrients, while supporting bone health and fighting inflammation.

4 – Beet greens

These are the greens attached to the beet root. They are among the healthiest foods in the world. Toss them in a salad, steam or sauté them, or add them to a healthy soup. This dark green leafy vegetable contributes to strong vision, delivers plenty of healthy dietary fiber and offers up a full 20 nutrients and vitamins that your body craves. Eating beet greens lowers your risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, as well as stroke and high blood pressure.

5 – Spinach

Spinach made Popeye strong, and also resists the development of prostate cancer better than most other vegetables. Just 1 cup of spinach delivers nearly 10 times your daily recommended intake of vitamin K, and all of the vitamin A you need each day. Spinach keeps your heart healthy, lowers inflammation, keeps multiple cancers at bay and boosts bone health as well.

6 – Leaf lettuce

Leaf lettuce forms in a loose bunch from a single stock, rather than forming a tight head. Leaf lettuce may also be called Simpson lettuce or looseleaf. It may have leafy red or crinkly green leaves, vary in color from medium to dark green, and can have red-tipped leaves as well. Leaf lettuce supports healthy vision, a strong immune system, cellular protection from free radicals and is a staple of healthy weight loss programs.

7 – Kale

Kale is known as one of the world’s superfoods. It provides healthy dietary fiber for a strong digestive process, antioxidants that fight cancer, and regulates a healthy cholesterol level. Kale is known to resist 5 different types of cancer – bladder, breast, colon, ovary and prostate cancers. It detoxes your body while acting as an anti-inflammatory, and is extremely versatile in the kitchen.

8 – Romaine lettuce

Romaine lettuce delivers an extremely low amount of calories considering the high amount of nutrients and vitamins it offers. You receive dietary fiber, which helps regulate a healthy digestive process. Romaine lettuce helps maintain a healthy cholesterol level, while lowering your risk of heart disease and other cardiovascular conditions.

9 – Collard greens (Turnip greens, Mustard greens)

Collard greens are thought to lower cholesterol better than any other cruciferous vegetable. Antioxidant-high collard, turnip and mustard greens deliver plenty of cancer fighting antioxidants, and also lower inflammation throughout your body. These 3 greens boost your body’s detox system as well, helping your body clean itself properly.

10 – Endive

This curly-leafed green vegetable has a crisp, robust texture and flavor. It keeps your eyesight healthy, keeps your skin strong and youthful, and protects against cancer of the lung and mouth. It also helps your body properly metabolize the nutrients, enzymes and vitamins in the foods you eat.

Does this list mean that you should stop eating broccoli, bell peppers, brussel sprouts and carrots? Should you eliminate cauliflower, cabbage, tomatoes and turnips from your diet? Of course not. All vegetables are remarkably good for you, especially when compared to processed foods.

Nutritionists recommend eating a rainbow of colors each and every day. This guarantees you get all of the important nutrients your body needs to function properly, and to resist disease. Continue to enjoy your favorite vegetables. They are good for your body. Just make sure you also eat the top 10 vegetable superfoods listed above for the maximum health advantages.

Disclaimer:

This website does not provide medical advice.

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention.

 

©2016 WendyWeighsin

All rights Reserved

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Whole Foods Thanksgiving Table

Whole Foods Thanksgiving Table

Whole Foods Thanksgiving Table

When you are on a whole foods diet, whether you follow the Whole30 diet religiously, or you have your own version of a whole foods diet, holidays can get a little tricky. While you can still have all the ham and turkey you want, depending on how it is cooked, a lot of the desserts and side dishes are off limits. This is because with a whole foods diet, the majority of foods you eat are meat and seafood, fruits, and vegetables, with some healthy fats included in there as well. This means that regular mashed potatoes made with milk, deviled eggs made with mayonnaise, and pumpkin pie are not included in your whole foods diet plan.

However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have a delicious and satisfying Thanksgiving meal with your family. You just need to adjust how you prepare some of the food items. Starting early is essential to planning and getting ready for a whole foods Thanksgiving meal.

Planning Your Whole Foods Thanksgiving Meal 

When you are going to plan a Thanksgiving meal that involves whole foods, you need to get some planning done. Make sure you don’t rush into the meal planning, or you are going to end up with something that doesn’t fit in with your diet. Try to give yourself at least a week or two to get ready for the holiday dinner. Know how many people are going to be there and whether or not you want others to bring dishes to the meal. If your friends and family don’t follow the whole foods diet, make sure they are aware of what you intend to provide.

Communicate With Loved Ones Beforehand

If you are hosting the Thanksgiving meal, most or all of the foods you prepare are probably going to be whole foods. If you are concerned about friends and family members who don’t follow this diet to not be happy with what you have chosen, it is best to start communicating this ahead of time. Make sure you take the time to let them know about the whole foods diet your own family sticks to and that while you will try to prepare foods everyone will enjoy, there may be certain Thanksgiving staples not offered.

Since you are hosting, this is completely your choice, but if someone really wants their regular mashed potatoes or stuffing, consider offering to let them bring these dishes on their own. However, if you are going to someone else’s house for Thanksgiving dinner, ask if you can bring a dish or two so that you know of at least a couple things that you can eat while still following the whole foods diet.

Start Working On Your List Early

Another part of planning for your whole foods Thanksgiving dinner is to create a list of foods you will be making and get it ready for the holiday food shopping. Since shopping for food when you are on a strict diet get a little complicated, you need to have a detailed list so that you don’t end up with extra items you didn’t want or need. To create your list for the Thanksgiving dinner, make a list of the main course, side dishes, and dessert. You can then take that list and make sure you find recipes for each food item and write down ingredients for all of the recipes. Check off anything you already have, then create a grocery list with whatever is left. 

How to Shop Whole During the Holidays 

Having a grocery list is one of the best things that can help you when food shopping time comes. However, there are also quite a few other things that will be helpful. With a whole foods diet, you want your family to enough for the holiday season to have a full Thanksgiving dinner reminiscent of a classic dinner, but you also want to remember extra things like snacks and appetizers, and breakfast on Thanksgiving morning. Also consider who might be coming over to have dinner with you and what they would enjoy eating, even if you get them something special that might not be on the whole foods diet.

These tips will help you get your food shopping done for the holidays while still staying on the whole foods diet:

Bring Your List With You

 Now that you have your detailed grocery list, you can remember to bring it with you. It is essential that you work only from this list and you don’t get anything extra. This can be difficult to do when there are so many other tempting things, but unless there is an ingredient you forgot to put on the list, leave everything else behind and only get what you have written down. Not only does this allow you to only get approved whole food items, but it helps to manage your food budget for the Thanksgiving dinner a little better.

Only Shop the Perimeter of the Store

 This is a good recommendation for any type of special diet or lifestyle choice. When you want to get only natural, whole, and healthy foods, you typically only need to shop the perimeter of the store. In the middle aisles, the only thing you should need is the oil section and perhaps the herbs and seasonings if they are not close to the produce. Most supermarkets keep all meat, seafood, and produce on the edge of the store, which is the majority of the items you will need.

Choose ‘Treats’ That Are Still Whole Foods Friendly

Your family might feel like they are missing out a little bit since it is the holidays and they are still restricted to the whole foods diet. A good way to remedy this is by including a little treat on your list. Something that you can give them or prepare for them that will remind them of the holidays. This could either be a special dinner the night before Thanksgiving that is a family favorite, or a pumpkin pie recipe that is Whole30-approved.

Let Your Kids Pick Something Special

Your kids might also feel like they are missing out, so it is a good idea to let them pick something special as well. Make sure they only get something that is whole food approved and is on your list, or at least something small that is still healthy for them. This can get them in the spirit of the holidays without going off the whole foods diet.

Finding Holiday Whole Food Deals

 You may also want to stick to a strict budget when you are shopping for your Thanksgiving meal. Thanksgiving meals in general tend to cost a lot of money, even when you don’t have any food restrictions. However, when you are eating all fresh and whole foods, it can sometimes cost a little more. You are using all high-quality meat and produce, trying to get organic as much as possible. This can add up if you aren’t smart about it. In order to avoid going bankrupt just to feed your family for the holiday, follow some of these helpful budgeting tips for your Thanksgiving meal.

Check Deals and Coupons While Making Your List

 When you are making your list for the Thanksgiving dinner, you should be doing so while you are looking at the deals and coupons from all local supermarkets. This lets you decide between two recipes that you want to make, but only have the budget for one. You can choose the recipe with more foods or ingredients that are currently on sale. The week before Thanksgiving usually produces a lot of great coupons on veggies, turkeys, and other similar ingredients, so this will really come in handy when shopping for deals for your holiday meal.

 Buy in Bulk When You Can

 Buying in bulk is a really good idea when you are going to make food from scratch, especially with everything you need to pick up for your big holiday feast. Stores like Costco are perfect for buying food that is cheaper in bulk, but that is also high quality. Costco and similar stores are known for having great deals when you buy more. If you can get 2 hams for the price of one, you can cook one and put the other in the freezer for another time. The same can be said for many of the other ingredients on your list.

 Consider Less Quality Meat

 In general, when you are on a whole foods diet, you are going to try to get the highest cuts of meat as you can. This is because you eat so much of it, so you want to eat the best. However, if you are on a budget, don’t worry about getting the cheaper cuts of meat for your Thanksgiving dinner. If the regular Butterball turkey is half the price of an organic, free-range turkey, consider making an exception just this time to give you more wiggle room in your budget for the rest of the ingredients you might need.

 Make Everything From Scratch

 You are probably already planning on doing this, but it helps as a reminder: the more food you make from scratch, the more you will save. Ingredients seem like they cost a lot, but many of the ingredients you buy will last longer than just what you use for holiday dinner. If you buy seasonings, herbs, oil, or other pantry essentials, you will have plenty leftover for other meals in the future, which means you are saving money just by making these food items from scratch.

 Shop Around at Different Stores

 There is nothing wrong with buying different ingredients from different stores when you really want to find the best deals. This might seem like it would use a lot of extra gas, but you can still end up saving money if you do it right. You need to plan ahead of time and have a really good plan of attack so that you aren’t wasting gas and are actually saving money. Keep in mind that health food stores are often more expensive when it comes to packaged food and meat, but their produce is usually cheaper. You can save quite a bit by getting your produce at health food stores or farmer’s markets, then getting your meat in bulk from a big box store, and the rest of your ingredients from the supermarket.

 Keep Your Meals Simple

If you are really concerned about how much you are going to spend on the holiday meal, don’t try to get fancy or make anything too complicated. While there are a lot of Thanksgiving dishes that are substitutes for the real thing, they sometimes use a lot of ingredients that aren’t exactly budget-friendly. Instead of trying to find a dozen ingredients for Whole30 pumpkin pie, consider a different dessert that is a little more simplified and uses ingredients you already have on hand. The simpler the meals are, the less money you are going to spend.

Whole Foods Approved Food List For the Holidays

 As you are getting ready to decide on what to prepare for your Thanksgiving meal, it helps to know what the approved foods are. While you probably have a general idea of what you can have on the whole foods diet since you are likely already on it, it does help to have a list specifically for the Thanksgiving foods and ingredients. This list includes the meat, vegetables, fruits, and other ingredients that you can use as inspiration for your holiday meal.

Meat

Protein is a major component when you are on the whole foods diet, so that is a good place to start. Most families like to have turkey for their Thanksgiving dinner, and luckily this is something you are free to have while on the whole foods diet. Just make sure when you are cooking it, you are only using the approved seasonings and spices. Any turkey is fine for Thanksgiving, but for this type of diet, free-range and organic is typically preferred. If your family is smaller and you like to make a chicken instead of turkey, the same rule applies. On the other hand, if you want to do something a little bit different and have ham instead, try to get grass-fed ham that doesn’t contain any type of hormones.

Vegetables

You can have just about any vegetable you want when you are on the whole foods diet, but you might want to just consider the ones that are in season during the fall. This list of vegetables includes those that are in season and are really great to add to your Thanksgiving side dishes and courses:

  • Pumpkin
  • Butternut squash
  • Green Beans
  • Mushrooms
  • Sweet potatoes and yams
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Brussels Sprouts
  • Kale
  • Spinach

Fruit

Some Thanksgiving dishes also call for fruit, whether as an added component for an Autumn salad, or when creating a healthy dessert for after the meal is over. Some good fruits that are available in the fall and perfect for Thanksgiving include:

  • Cranberries
  • Grapes
  • Figs
  • Apples
  • Cherries

Fats

In addition to these ingredients, don’t forget about healthy fats that are allowed for the whole foods diet. For Thanksgiving, you might want to flavor with oil, such as coconut oil or olive oil. Coconut milk and coconut oil, raw nuts, and avocadoes are also allowed.

Whole Food Thanksgiving Dinner Ideas

 If you still need some more inspiration, you will be glad to know that there are quite a few ways to turn the old unhealthy Thanksgiving favorites into cuisine you can have for your Whole30 holiday dinner. We aren’t going talk about the turkey, since you already know you can have as much turkey as you want on a whole foods diet! The following dinner ideas include the side dishes for your main meal.

Stuffing

One of the most popular sides to have with Thanksgiving dinner is stuffing. Since you can’t have bread or grains on a whole foods diet, traditional stuffing is out of the question. However, you can make an alternative version by using ingredients than you are allowed to have. This stuffing isn’t actually made from any bread crumbs, but instead uses a combination of ground beef and ground walnut pieces that are soaked overnight to make them a big softer. The taste is delicious and the look is very similar to a real Thanksgiving stuffing.

You should also add some fresh herbs, such as sage, thyme, and rosemary. Seasonings you can have with this stuffing include sea salt and garlic powder. If you like your stuffing with onions and celery, go ahead and add in those as well.

Cranberry Sauce

Another good side dish to have with your whole foods thanksgiving feast is cranberry sauce. Luckily, you can have fruit with a whole foods lifestyle, so the main component is going to be allowed. The thing you don’t want to add is sugar, since this is a big no-no for Whole30 and any type of paleo or whole foods diet. You should use bags of fresh cranberries that are available in the produce section of your local supermarket, not any frozen or canned cranberries. These are usually very easy to find during the holidays.

If you can make your own apple and orange juice with a juicer, that is definitely recommended. Otherwise, you can add the juice to your cranberries, but make sure it is pure with no added sugar or preservatives. That is really all you need for a simple cranberry sauce, though you can add in some other seasonings if you like.

Cauliflower Mashed ‘Potatoes’

Cauliflower is perfect when you want mashed potatoes, but you are trying to stay away from white potatoes. While potatoes are technically allowed with a whole foods diet, many people like to avoid white potatoes while on Whole30. Cauliflower is an ideal consistency to turn into mashed potatoes with a food processor. You can puree your chopped cauliflower until it looks like potatoes, then mix in your other ingredients. The other difference to regular mashed potatoes is that you are not going to add in milk and butter.

Instead of dairy products, you are going to make it creamier by adding in some coconut milk and clarified butter or ghee. Olive oil can also be used if you can’t find ghee. For seasoning, salt and pepper, truffle salt, and most herbs are also allowed on the whole foods diet.

Whole Food Thanksgiving Dessert Ideas

When it comes to dessert, it can be a little more difficult to put together desserts that are approved under this diet. For the most part, your regular desserts when it isn’t a special occasion consists of fruit, since you can’t have ice cream, frozen yogurt, cake or pie. On Thanksgiving, apple pie, pumpkin pie, and other similar desserts are often served. Since these aren’t going to be an option, you will need to get creative. But don’t worry; there are plenty of delicious desserts the family will enjoy that taste just like fall. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

 Seasoned Apples

Apples are one of the most popular fruits for fall, so it makes sense that you would want to use them in your Thanksgiving dessert. Apples are nutritious, low in fat, and really easy to incorporate into a whole foods dessert option. This will also take a lot less time than trying to bake a pie from scratch. Seasoned apples can be made any way you like, but using seasonings often used for similar fall desserts is recommended, such as with cinnamon and nutmeg. A pinch of sea salt adds a nice flavor as well. You can sautee sliced apples in coconut oil on a skillet, the transfer them to a plate and coat with your cinnamon, nutmeg, and any other spices you intend to use.

Pumpkin Bars

Instead of making pumpkin pie, you can use this yummy vegetable to create whole food-approved pumpkin bars. These pumpkin bars don’t have any ingredients that aren’t approved for the Whole30 diet, plus are paleo-friendly, dairy-free, and gluten-free. You really can’t go wrong with these. To make pumpkin bars, you typically start with some pumpkin puree, preferably puree you have made yourself. Add in some pumpkin pie spice, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, and some flour. Coconut flour is usually allowed, along with baking soda and raw walnuts on top.

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Another type of pumpkin dessert you can make for Thanksgiving are pumpkin pie cupcakes. These use a lot of ingredients found in pumpkin pie without the crust, which is not allowed when you are on a whole foods diet. You will also want to use pumpkin puree for these cupcakes, along with ripe bananas to make them a little thicker and add some flavor at the same time. While you can’t use regular table sugar for the cupcakes, you can still use coconut sugar, since it is more natural. Add some nutmeg, ginger, and cinnamon to that as well.

 Whole Food Thanksgiving Breakfast Ideas

 If you like to make your family a nice breakfast on Thanksgiving morning, then you are probably looking for holiday breakfasts that aren’t too difficult to make, use fall ingredients, but are also allowed on the whole foods diet. These breakfasts fit into all of these categories and won’t make your family feel like they are missing out. Here are some different recipes you might want to make for Thanksgiving breakfast.

 Vegetable Hash

 Instead of making a traditional breakfast with eggs, hash browns, and processed breakfast meats, you can go with a more natural type of hash. The difference is that you aren’t using packaged hash browns that are filled with preservatives, are skipping the fattening vegetable oil, and aren’t going to use processed bacon or sausage, which is not usually allowed on the whole foods diet. Instead, you will start with organic sweet potatoes. You can do half white potatoes and half sweet potatoes if you allow yourself to have white potatoes.

Add plenty of vegetables to the hash, such as onions, bell peppers, and mushrooms. If you want to add meat to the hash, go with all-natural chicken and apple sausages, such as the ones by Aidell’s, instead of regular packaged sausage. Olive oil should be used instead of vegetable oil.

Pumpkin Custard

If you are looking for more of a pumpkin dessert breakfast, you can make some custard. This is really delicious, easy to make, and uses ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen since they are commonly used for other fall and holiday recipes on the whole foods diet. Pumpkin custard uses pumpkin puree, which as a reminder, you should try to make yourself. Chopped raw nuts, ripe bananas, coconut milk, and pumpkin pie spice are all added. If you have eggs on your version of the whole foods diet, those should be used for the custard as well.

Chicken and Apple Sausage

If you want to do Thanksgiving breakfast truly on the whole foods diet, you won’t get any type of sausage from the supermarket. Sausage in the package is highly processed and frowned upon, even when it is the all-natural kind. However, there is a version you can make on your own. You will need your choice of turkey or chicken, along with chopped apple, raw nuts, seasonings, herbs, and coconut oil. You will combine the ingredients in a bowl, form them with your hands, and heat them up in a skillet to hold the shape.

Disclaimer:

This website does not provide medical advice.

You must not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or other professional healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about any medical matter, you should consult your doctor or other professional healthcare provider.

If you think you may be suffering from any medical condition, you should seek immediate medical attention.

 

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Freezing and Storing Tips for Your Holiday Baking Delights

freeze-dough

Freezing and Storing Tips for Your Holiday Baking Delights

One way to make your holiday baking go better is to have a plan for freezing and storing your holiday baked goods so that you don’t have to do all the baking in one day or that you can spend a day or two baking and freeze for later. It all depends on the type of time you have available but learning to freeze and store the delicious creations will help a lot.

The first thing you need to be able to freeze and store your holiday baked goods is the right supplies. You’ll need parchment paper, freezer safe containers, plastic zipping bags, butcher paper and spray oil. These things will help you save your baking goods properly so that they taste freshly baked on the day you enjoy them.

Some of the baked goods that freeze the best are brownies, quick breads, cookies, muffins, snack cakes, yeast breads, regular cakes, cheesecake and pies. All of these need various methods of freezing to ensure that they are still fresh and tasty when it’s time to eat them. One important tip to remember is not to freeze any of your baked good recipes that are low fat or fat free. They are best cooked and served the same day as they get dry or conversely gummy when frozen.

The hardest of the above to freeze are fully made cakes, cheesecakes and pies. These require specialty containers to ensure that they don’t get too much frost and that you also thaw them properly for best results. We’ll start with these.

* Fully made cakes – If you completely frost and prepare a cake you can still freeze it. It takes a little more work, though. Use parchment paper or freezer paper oiled up really good with spray oil that is flavorless like corn oil or you can also use Crisco. Then wrap the cake tightly with the freezer paper, wrap that with plastic wrap, freeze until solid and then put the entire container into a tin or hard freezer safe box to protect it from other things in your freezer. Unwrap completely before thawing.

* Cheesecakes – These have very high moisture content, but can be frozen if you are careful. Most cheesecakes are made in a spring form pan. You can freeze directly on the spring form or you can make a round of hard cardboard (or buy one at the craft store). If using cardboard, the best way to do it is to wrap the cardboard with foil. Slide the cheesecake onto the foil-wrapped cardboard; you can spray some spray oil on it first to help remove it later. Then wrap with plastic wrap (bottom and all), spraying oil on the top layer too. Wrap with multiple layers, freeze fully, and then place in a harder container to protect. Unwrap completely to thaw in refrigerator. When almost completely thawed, put back on spring form bottom or other serving platter for serving. For fruit-covered cheesecake, make that at the time of serving for added freshness.

* Pies – Freezing cream pies doesn’t work very well, so use these instructions for fruit pies and make creamed pies closer to the time of serving. You can freeze pie crusts in their tins and bake from frozen. To freeze a fully baked fruit pie, place it in the freezer uncovered, freeze, and then pop it in a freezer bag. To serve, unthaw overnight in the refrigerator or thaw on the counter for three to five hours. Break open the seal so that the moisture from freezing can escape to avoid a mushy crust. You can freeze unbaked pie crust the same way. Just don’t slit the crust, unwrap, slit the crust and bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 Fahrenheit and bake for 45 more minutes.

The other items mentioned above can be frozen very easily just by first bringing to room temperature, then starting in the refrigerator. Finally wrap with freezer paper or parchment paper, and then pop into a freezer bag. You can freeze these items for six months. To thaw, just take out and put on the counter. Or for anything with eggs in it, start in the refrigerator.

Other Tips for Freezing Your Holiday Baked Goods

* Cookie dough – The great thing about cookie dough is that it can be frozen and saved for up to six months. You can make a lot of dough, separate it up into “serving” sizes and freeze in a long bar to chop into the right size for baking. You can also save in balls for cookies like peanut butter cookies that are supposed to start as balls. Thaw, and then process as usual. Always unwrap fully before thawing.

* Raw yeast dough – Shape the dough after the first rise into the shape you will bake it in. A ball for a roll, three balls for a clover roll, a log for a bread loaf, and so forth. Shape the dough, freeze on a pan in the freezer, then pop into freezer bags. You can also wrap the dough in parchment or freezer paper, then pop into a larger freezer bag to keep more in one bag. To prepare, thaw in the prepared baking pan that you want to cook the bread in. It will rise as it thaws. You can start in the fridge the night before or you can do it within 3 to 5 hours the day of. It’s up to you. Bake as usual according to your instructions.

* Fully cooked cookies – You can also freeze fully cooked cookies. Find a round freezer save container and put a single layer of fully cooled cookies in the bottom, top with parchment paper, adding layers until the container is full, topping again with parchment, and then sealing the container. To thaw, just remove cookies to a serving platter and let thaw for about 2 or 3 hours the day you want to enjoy them.

* Quick breads or muffins – Fully cool the bread or muffins after baking, then wrap tightly in freezer paper, parchment paper, or foil. Then wrap with plastic wrap tightly and put inside a freezer bag. The extra steps will ensure that your bread is moist and delicious after thawing. To thaw, unwrap and thaw on the counter for 2 to 3 hours, or in the fridge overnight. Wrapping in foil is especially good with coffee cake. You can thaw in the foil, then toss in the oven to warm.

Freezing your holiday baked goods and storing them for later is a great idea because you can bake just a little at a time, or have a quick bread baking day, a cookie dough mixing and freezing day and so forth. Most of these items will still taste fresh with proper storage for up to three months, some for six months. If you have extra freezer space, this gives you quite a long time to prepare for your holiday baking.

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Turkey Tip

Getting ready for that big day.  Here is a helpful chart to help make that day easier

Turkey Tip

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