Corn Tortillas

Warm corn tortillas, eaten hot off the griddle is so satisfying. Fill those tortillas with chicken filling, beef or pork and they are even more satisfying. I wrapped them up with melted butter and ate them hot and dripping with butter “taco nada” nothing taco. These also work great for enchiladas, tostadas or home made corn chips. These are so easy I don’t know why I have ever bought the dry flaky ones in the grocery store. I used a tortilla press, which really helped in getting them super thin, a rolling pin works well too. Keep them in a bowl filled with kitchen towels while the others cook and this keeps them warm and steamy. Keeping them soft and ready for your filling.

Combine Masa with water until a soft semi stiff dough forms that resembles play dough.

It should be easily pliable not too stiff and slightly moist but not sticky. Too dry and it won’t hold together when cooking.

A tortilla press makes this so easy to do. Cast iron or stainless steel either will work well.

Place a medium size ball of dough in the center of the press.

Press the handle of the press down several times to assure the dough is pressed thinly

Using a flat spatula gently remove the tortilla from the press.

The tortilla should be thin and hold together well.

Put tortilla on medium hot griddle with no oil. Cook about 30 seconds until tiny bubbles form, then flip over and cook until light brown dots develop about 1 minute. Flip and repeat on other side. Keep tortillas in covered dish until ready to serve.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups masa harina
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups hot water
Instructions
  1. Combine ingredients in bowl, using hands mix ingredients until a soft pliable dough forms.
  2. The dough should be moist but not sticky and hold it shape.
  3. Make golf ball size balls
  4. Place in center of tortilla press sprayed with nonstick spray and press firmly to make thin disks about 6-8 inches round.
  5. Using a flat thin spatula remove from press.
  6. Place on medium high griddle.
  7. Cook about 30 seconds then turn. Cook another minute, then turn again.
  8. Light brown spots should start to appear on bottom side.
  9. Place in a bowl with dish towel and cover, add remaining tortilla.
  10. This will help to steam the tortillas until ready to serve.
Notes
Many recipes recommend placing the ball in between two pieces of a plastic bag, then peeling the tortilla off the plastic. I was not successful doing this. So be patient and keep trying until you find a method that works for you.

If the dough is sticking too much it might need some more flour. If it is falling apart it might need some more water.

Berry blueberry smoothie bowl

This berry blueberry smoothie bowl is so delicious, Blueberries, blackberries raspberries and strawberries, mixed with chia seeds, hemp seeds and protien powder is a great way to start your day. Top this with bananas and walnuts and you will be ready to face your day full of energy that lasts. Chia seeds have sustainable energy are full of fiber and protien, they also contain omega 3 and are full of antioxidants. Hemp seeds are loaded with omega 6 and omega 3 they are high in protien (1 tbl =3-4 grams approximately). Berries are packed with phytochemicals and nano-nutrients that you can not get elsewhere, so load up your daily smoothie with these delicious nutrient dense ingredients and you will feel better and be healthier.

First steps to you blueberry smoothie. Wash and dry, the berries. Add 1 cup of unsweetened fruit juice to blender. Add chia seeds, hemp seeds and protien powder. I also add a handful of walnuts for the healthy polyunsaturated oils they contain. Blend until well mixed. If needed a a small amount of juice to allow blender to mix completely. Unless you have a super blender all the seeds will not get chopped smoothly, so this is a bit chewy. I think this adds to the nutty healthiness of the smoothie.

After blending ingredients in the blender pour into a bowl that will hold about 2 cups. Top with sliced bananas, walnuts halves, blueberries and a strawberry.  Then sit down, relax a few minutes and spoon in the bounty of natural goodness in a bowl. The berry smoothie mixed with bananas, walnuts and blueberry is so satisfying. The long lasting energy in this bowl will make you want to run through your day smiling on every one you see.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup juice unsweetened any flavor
  • 1 cup berries
  • 1 tablespoon hemp seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1 scoop protien powder
  • ½ cup walnuts
  • ½ banana
Instructions
  1. In blender combine, juice, berries, chia seeds, hemp seeds,protien powder and a few walnuts.
  2. Blend to thoroughly combine all ingredients until smooth. It helps to pulse a few times to get things started.
  3. Pour into a bowl that will hold 2 cups
  4. Top with sliced bananas, walnuts and berries
  5. Breath in a nd out a few deep breaths, then dig in.

Sun-dried tomato and feta quinoa

Sun-dried tomato and feta quinoa. I love quinoa, it is my new favorite food. I discovered this grain several years ago about the time it came on the American grocery store shelves. I think I had my first taste in a local bistro.  I was hooked. This recipe for sun-dried tomato and feta quinoa is a staple for me.  I have it often for lunch, dinner or a snack. Sun-dried tomatoes mixed with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, fresh basil and fresh feta really gives this a kick. A mere 1/2 cup of this can carry you through a long afternoon at work.

Sun-dried tomatoes mixed with kalamata olives, artichoke hearts, fresh basil and fresh feta all tossed in with the protein rich quinoa has such a great flavor each ingredient adds to the next. Making it more and more appetizing with each bite.

This recipe is a bit ingredient dense but keep chopping it will be worth it. White, red, black or tricolor quinoa all work well, the colored ones are a bit more nutty tasting. Cook the quinoa by bringing 2 cups of chicken broth to boil, add 1 cup of quinoa, add 2 tablespoons coconut oil and 1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash garlic and herb seasoning. Simmer on medium low for 20 minutes, stir once or twice to mix in oil and seasonings. Drain any excess liquid.

Meanwhile prepare the other ingredients; if tomatoes are not already sliced then do so (save the oil), cut artichoke hearts in quarters (save the oil), dice onions, slice olives, slice basil and crush the garlic.  Toast pine nuts under broiler for a few minutes just until they start to turn brown.

While quinoa is still warm, combine with chopped onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, toasted pine nuts and sliced fresh basil, gently toss to combine. Once mixed, sprinkle feta cheese on top and mix it in a bit. Serve this warm or cold either way it is delicious.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon Mrs Dash garlic and herb seasoning
  • 1 (8oz) bottle artichoke hearts marinated in oil
  • ¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes marinated in oil
  • ½ cup kalamata olives sliced
  • 4-6 fresh basil leaves sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves minced
  • ½ c diced purple onion
  • ½ cup toasted pinenuts
  • ¼ cup crumbled feta
Instructions
  1. Cook the quinoa by bringing chicken broth to boil,
  2. Add quinoa, coconut oil and Mrs Dash.
  3. Simmer on medium low for 20 minutes, Stir in oil and seasoning, drain any excess liquid.
  4. Meanwhile cut artichoke hearts in quarters, (save oil), slice tomatoes (save oil) dice onions, slice olives, slice basil and crush the garlic.
  5. Toast pine nuts under broiler for a few minutes just until they start to turn brown.
  6. While quinoa is still warm, combine with chopped onions, garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, olives, toasted pine nuts and sliced fresh basil.
  7. Add the reserved oil to the quinoa.
  8. Toss to combine all
  9. Sprinkle feta cheese on top and gently toss to mix it in.
  10. Serve this warm or cold either way it is delicious.

My new food plan

have been on a paleo gluten free eating plan for a while. I started this plan because I am sick and tired of being sick and tired. I have been working with a doctor of functional medicine who has tested me in several ways and we discovered my allergies are milk, eggs, gluten, almonds, peanuts and soy. I also found out that I had zero bacteria in my gut, no good bacteria no bad bacteria. So basically my gut was not doing anything. Since being on this eating plan my overall well being has improved dramatically.

I have suffered with chronic joint pain most of my life. As I have mentioned before I have had severe depression for 25 years. I have also suffered with irritable bowels for over 12 years. I was waking up exhausted and dragging through the day. Then I would finally collapse in bed only to toss and turn and not be able to sleep because of the pain and discomfort I was living with.

Since starting this plan a few months ago, most of my pain has been relieved, by irritable bowel has ended, I have had less headaches and my depression has decreased to a manageable level. I am even sleeping at night. The greatest benefit has been that for the first time in more years than I can count I see hope in my future. I wake up happy and stay happy all day.

I have had to give up most of my favorite foods however. But once I began to see results it really was not that hard to avoid breads, milk, eggs, and sugar.  If I have a moment of weakness and eat pasta or sugar I actually get quite ill. I am reminded of my past ailments. Knowing the cause of my discomfort keeps me away from the trigger foods.

I am basically following a Paleo diet, this helps to prevent autoimmune reactions in the body. I am telling you about this because some of my recipes may sound strange to some. I encourage you to try them even if you are not doing Paleo. They are tasty and very nutritious. I will try to still include my delicious comfort foods, it is hard to make them when I can’t eat them.

There are so many books and websites about Paleo that I will not refer to any one resource. My version works for me, it may not work for others. You have to determine what are your triggers and avoid them.

The good thing about this diet is I get to eat. I have been on so many diets where I had to starve and my will power was never strong enough. With paleo I can eat lots of delicious foods. Best of all I can have chocolate (85% cacao and higher)

Chicken pizza pockets

Make your kids lunch boxes say WOW!!!  Chicken pizza pockets are great.  Your kids will NOT trade these lunches. What is better than a food that you can hold in your hand?  Plus it is pizza and chicken all in one. These are really delicious made with fresh ingredients in your kitchen. The spicy sauce with chicken and cheese folded in a wheat pizza crust is perfect for dinner, lunches, picnics, or an any time portable snack. When my kids were young I would make a batch of these and then the kids could have a wholesome treat anytime. These chicken pizza pockets are even good cold out of the fridge for a late night munchie. Your kids will say,  “I have such a cool mom”  with these waiting in the fridge when they get home from school. And they will want to share chicken pizza pockets with their friends.

Prepare dough according to instructions. Roll out pizza dough to 1/2 inch thick. Cut 3-4 inch circles with glass or biscuit cutter.

Place a scoop of filling in the center of dough.

Fold dough over filling to create a semi circle, pinch edges to seal in filing

Fresh chicken, fresh basil and shredded mozzarella are what you need to make your filling. Cook the chicken as shown below and shred it. Grate the mozzarella and slice the basil.

After cooking chicken shred it and add to basil and cheese in a food processor. Cook and prepare chicken as shown below.

Gently pulse items in a food processor. Just enough to combine do not over process or you will end up with chicken basil goo. Add a few tablespoons of the pizza sauce below to bind it all together.

These can be made in any shapes, half circles using one dough circle, or rounds using two circles and balls, seal the edges by pressing with a fork. For the balls the dough is pulled all the way over the filling and pinched to make a ball. Place seam side down. Whatever shape you choose they will be delicious. Bake 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until top turns slightly brown.

Homemade pizza sauce is so easy that you will never pay $5.00 for bottled sauce again.  Simply combine 1 can of tomato sauce, add 1/2 teaspoon basil, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and  1 glove garlic. Cook over medium heat until it boils. Remove from heat and you are ready to go. All it cost was 30 cents and a few minutes of time.

To make fresh shredded chicken. Boil chicken in a shallow pan just until the meat turns white on the inside. About 10 minutes.

Using two forks pull the meat apart to create shreds. Pull to a medium fine texture.

Ingredients
  • Filling
  • 1 chicken breast cooked and shredded
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 4-5 fresh basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoon pizza sauce
  • Crust
  • 1 cup water, (very warm, just barely too hot for comfort)
  • 1 envelope (2¼ teaspoons) rapid-rise or instant yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2¾ cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Pizza sauce
  • 1 can tomato sauce
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 crushed garlic clove
Instructions
  1. Dough:
  2. Dissolve yeast in water wait until it is foamy. Add oil to yeast.
  3. Add to flour, sugar, salt. Combine by hand until all ingredients are well mixed.
  4. Knead a few times on a floured surface. Let rest 15 minutes.
  5. Prepare filling:
  6. Combine shredded chicken, basil and mozzarella cheese.
  7. Pulse in food processor a few times to combine ingredients.
  8. Prepare sauce:
  9. Combine tomato sauce, spices and garlic in sauce pan.
  10. Bring to boil over medium heat. when it starts to boil remove form heat.
  11. Add a 2 tablespoons of sauce to to chicken to bind it together.
  12. Crust:
  13. Roll out dough to ½ inch thickness.
  14. Cut dough in 3-4 inch circles with glass or biscuit cutter.
  15. Prepare [pockets:
  16. Place on circle on counter, place 1-2 tablespoon of filling in center.
  17. Pick up dough and using fingers press the edges together. Be sure to seal all the edges.
  18. Place pocket on cookie sheet sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  19. Using fork crimp the edges to prevent leaking.
  20. To make full circles use two dough circles. Place 3-4 tablespoons of filling on one then pinch edges together and crimp with fork.
  21. For balls, place dough on one circle then pull the dough around the filling pinch dough together. Place sealed side down on cookies sheet.
  22. Bake 15 min in 400 Degree oven just until they turn brown.
  23. Serve with left over pizza sauce.
Notes
This is really good with pepperoni, ham or sausage in place of chicken.
Olives and peppers can also be added to the filling.

Paleo blueberry muffins

Paleo blueberry muffins, hot from the oven with juicy blueberries that pop in your mouth is a morning delight. Since my earliest memories homemade blueberry muffins were a common breakfast item in my house. My aunt lived outside of Seattle Washington when I was a child and she would often ship us a box of fresh blueberries. 40 years ago fresh blueberries were unheard of in Utah so when we opened that box we were in heaven.  I have created a paleo free version of blueberry muffins that is so delicious you will never know it is gluten free.

Gather ingredients

Gluten free flour, milk substitute, eggs, baking powder, salt, coconut oil, honey and of course fresh blueberries.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt together in a mixing bowl. Create a deep well (indentation) in the center of the flour.

Combine dry ingredients, add wet ingredients

The standard for making muffins is to make a well in the flour then pour the wet ingredients into the well. Beat the eggs, melt the coconut oil. Pour the milk, eggs and oil into the well.

Combine with a fork

Using a fork gently fold the wet ingredients over the dry.

Gently stir together

The secret to tender flaky muffins is to not over mix the batter. When most of the flour is combined, but batter is still lumpy with dry areas of flour. You are done, STOP mixing. Resist the urge to keep mixing in the flour. The flour will get absorbed during the cooking process.

Add blueberries

Once the batter is blended, put the blueberries on top. DO NOT MIX IN. At this point you are going to scoop the batter in the muffin tins.

Scoop batter into tins

As you scoop the batter into the tins the berries with get mixed in. The reason for doing this is to prevent to blueberries from turning the batter blue and ending up with BLUE berry muffins. If needed you can fold the batter on top of its self in tin. This would be necessary it there were not any berries inside the batter only on top or on bottom, as you scoop the batter.

Bake in 350° oven

Bake the muffins in a 350° oven for 15-18 minutes until the tops are golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes before removing from tins. Especially if you did not use muffing papers.

Ingredients
  • 2 cups gluten free all purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons raw honey
  • 2 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup milk alternative
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil melted
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries
Instructions
  1. In mixing bowl add flour, salt and baking soda, stir to combine.
  2. Form a deep well in the center of the flour mixture.
  3. Beat the eggs, and melt the coconut flour.
  4. Combine milk and honey, stir until honey is mixed in.
  5. In flour well, pour milk mixture, then egg mixture.
  6. Using a fork gently fold the flour over the wet ingredients.
  7. Do this until a lumpy batter forms with areas of dry flour. DO NOT continue to mix.
  8. Add blueberries to top of batter, do not mix in.
  9. Place paper muffin cups in muffin tins or spray with nonstick spray.
  10. Scoop batter into the muffin tins.
  11. Bake 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes
  12. Let muffins cool 10 minutes before removing form tins

Broccoli and Cauliflower Salad

This is a great  cauliflower salad for family gatherings or just for everyday meals. It tastes best the day after it is made. It makes a really lunch with the leftovers as well. There are several versions found on the internet some with cheddar cheese, some with out parmesan and no onions. In my opinion this is the best broccoli and cauliflower salad, the mozzarella cheese does not overpower the broccoli. Some versions have sunflowers, nuts or craisins. Whatever family rendition you may have, the classic is always the best.

1 head broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, 1 cup regular mayonnaise, 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup seasoned rice vinegar, 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/2 pound bacon cooked crumbled, 1 bunch green onions, 1 cup mozzarella cheese. Traditional vinegar is too overpowering for this salad.

Combine mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, and parmesan, let marinate in fridge while you prepare broccoli and cauliflower.

Cut up broccoli and cauliflower into bite size flowerettes, cut up onions and fry bacon.

If you slice the bacon before cooking, it is super easy to fry up, slice onions including tops. Reserve 2 tablespoons of bacon, and 2 tablespoons onions, add the rest of onions and bacon to broccoli/cauliflower.

Mix with broccoli, cauliflower, onions and bacon with mayonnaise mixture, spread in a 9 x 13 cake pan. Sprinkle top with mozzarella, reserved bacon and green onions. I like to put onions on top so people will know that there are onions in this salad (for those odd people who do not like onions).

Cool in fridge for at least one hour, served best cold.

Full fat mayonnaise works best, but lowfat can be used if desires.

The dressing will thin a bit ass it sits in the fridge this is normal.

Ingredients
  • 1 head broccoli
  • 1 head cauliflower
  • 1 cup regular mayonnaise
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup seasoned rice vinegar
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese
  • ½ pound bacon cooked crumbled
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
Instructions
  1. Combine, mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar and parmesan
  2. Let rest while you prepare vegetables
  3. Cut broccoli and cauliflower in bite size floweretes
  4. Slice bacon thinly and fry until crisp. Reserve 2 tablespoons
  5. Slice green onions, reserve 2 tablespoons
  6. Combine dressing with broccoli/cauliflower, bacon and onions, toss to combine
  7. Spread in 9×13 glass pan or similar
  8. Sprinkle with mozzarella, reserved bacon and green onions
  9. Chill 2 hours before servin