Archive for July, 2010

Wild Week!

Wow, it’s been quite a week! But I survived, and my reward is a trip to one of the most beautiful natural landscapes I’ve seen in my life: northern Idaho.

But back to this week. There have been some blessings, some reliefs, and some trials. For example, this morning I got back from my run, and went in to take a much-needed shower. I had all sorts of wonderful things planned: shaving my legs, doing a deep conditioning treatment, etc. But I turned on the taps, and the water didn’t warm up. Ever. But that was okay, it’s been hot enough that a cold shower really didn’t feel too bad. And it didn’t steam up the shower.

I also have started my moon time, with all its accompanying wonders. While I love to observe my cycles, I don’t appreciate the mood swings. My emotions have been all over the place, and it didn’t help my stress level. So today, I made myself up one of my favorite stress-relieving remedies: Sage tea, steeped really strong, sweetened with some honey, and poured into a big glass of whole milk. Delicious.

So this week has been tough, but I’ve gotten past it, and I’m looking forward to my trip tomorrow. Hopefully, I’ll be able to post some pictures of the mountains.

Frugal Frittata

So all the pictures for this recipe are still on my camera, but I wanted to get the recipe up for Pennywise Platter today. This is a classic Spanish tortilla, made for two. It’s nutrient-dense, and uses eggs, which are frugal, potatoes, which are even more frugal, and green onions, which I always end up wasting when I get them because they always come in bunches that are bigger than I need.

I used a recipe from Simply Recipes for inspiration, but then adjusted the amounts to fit what I needed and had on hand. It’s incredibly simple, if a little labor intensive. I suppose if you were so inclined, you could steam the potatoes instead of frying them to save a little time, but I imagine it would leave your tortilla wetter.

Anyway, I thought you would enjoy another simple weeknight meal. Anyone who read my menu plan on Sunday knows that I wasn’t really planning on making a tortilla, but I ended up with a few more potatoes than I needed, and a few extra green onions that were not going to last to the end of the week.

Spanish Tortilla
adapted from Simply Recipes
3 small red potatoes, sliced 1/8″ thick
3 green onions, white and light green parts sliced
olive oil
salt
4 eggs, beaten with a little milk and pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Add olive oil to a small pan over medium heat. Add the sliced potatoes in about 3 batches, so that there is a single layer of potato slices in the bottom of the pan. Fry on both sides until cooked through, and maybe slightly golden. As the potatoes cook, remove cooked slices to drain on a paper towel before cooking more. Salt the hot potatoes. When the potatoes are done, reduce the heat to medium-low, add more oil if you need, and add the green onions. Saute until slightly tender and fragrant, then remove from the heat. Add the potato slices back in, overlapping them in about 2 layers. Pour egg mixture over the potatoes, and give it a little shake to make sure everything is even. Bake for about 15-20 minutes, or until a sharp knife inserted in the center comes out clean, and there is no oozing from the cut (the tortilla will puff slightly). Loosen from the pan and invert on a plate. Cut into wedges. Serves 2.

A Hearty Meal

Yes, I know it’s hot. But when I get home after working a long day, and I know I might be getting up to go running or do some dancing or whatever in the morning, I want a hearty meal, one that will stay with me at least until I go to bed, and not send me running for my secret stash of chocolate by 8pm.

This is a hearty meal. It is all cooked, but could be served along some raw sauerkraut, or topped with raw cheese, or sour cream for some enzymes.

I simply love it. I’ve been making it with my homemade sage sausage that I made with Ferguson Family Farm‘s fresh ground pork. They raise Berkshire hogs on pasture, y’know. If you’re in the MD/DC area, I suggest you look around for them. The woman who mans (womans?) the booth at our farmer’s market is awesomely knowledgeable and very friendly.

And they do chicken and beef, too! I need to remember to order a turkey, I think…

Sausage, Pepper, and Potato Skillet Meal
a scant pint of small potatoes (or 3-4 medium), in 1/2″ cubes

your favorite cooking fat (I think ghee would be awesome here)
salt
1/2 lb. bulk sausage
1 green bell pepper, diced
1/4 onion, diced
raw cheese (optional)
Heat the skillet over medium-low heat, and add a good tablespoon or two of your fat. When it’s hot, add the potatoes and give them a bit of salt. Cook, stirring every 5-10 minutes, until the potatoes are cooked through (takes about 30-40 minutes for me). Feel free to get off your feet while you’re waiting to stir. When the potatoes are cooked, push them to the edges and add the sausage. Brown on one side, then flip to brown the other side, crumbling it up a bit with the spatula. Then push the sausage to the side and add the veggies. Cook them through, then stir everything together and cook for a few minutes. Serve, topped with raw cheese, if you like. Makes 2 hearty servings.
This is part of Real Food Wednesday.

Toes

I try to live as naturally as possible, eating local food, and using personal care products that use as few harmful chemicals as possible. Plus, I run as often as my body will let me. These two factors pretty much add up to no nail polish. Seriously, I don’t know exactly what they put in it, but it has to be bad, as awful as that stuff smells.
Have you ever closed the bathroom door and painted your nails without turning on the fan? Not a good idea.
But I want cute toes. And I want cute toes that I don’t have to think about very often, that won’t chip. And that don’t involve nasty chemicals that stink. So I’ve gone the henna route. Unfortunately, henna is one of those creatures that’s pretty personal, so I can’t make any guarantees that you will like the color henna gives on your nails. It’s also messy, and takes a few hours to give a stain, and then you have to let it oxidize.
These are my toes after their very first henna application. As you can see, they’re pretty orange. After one more application, and a few days to oxidize, it turned into this:
I like it.
So how does one henna one’s toenails? Personally, I mix up a small amount of Jamila henna (body-art quality) with enough warm water to make a creamy paste. I let it sit for 24 hours, covered in plastic. Then I use a teensy bit (maybe 1/4-1/2 tsp.) to dye my nails and pack the rest into the freezer in small blobs. I’ve recently discovered that if you freeze your blobs in the cut-out corners of a plastic bag, they come with their own little applicator. Then, I let the henna sit for 1-3 hours. You can wrap your feet in plastic (that silly picture earlier), but that will result in a little staining on your skin.
But don’t worry, the stain on the skin wears off in a couple of days, and the stain on your nails will last pretty much forever. Doesn’t chip. It does grow out, so if you don’t like the color, you have to wait until your toenails grow out. Not a big deal for the little guys, but I rarely have grown out more than half the big toe’s color before coloring again. When you color again, there will be a little demarcation where you colored previously, but it blends pretty well. Your tips might get a little dark, but I still like it.
Hooray for cute toes!

Cucumber-Carrot Salad

This is a recipe inspired by a friend of mine. He posted the recipe on Facebook, which sounded delicious, but I promptly ignored it and came up with my own version. His original recipe called for peanuts fried in Worcestershire or soy sauce. I forgot to buy whole peanuts at the store, and I always have peanut butter around, so I made the dressing into a kind of peanut-sauce hybrid. Maybe I could have used a little more peanut butter — the moisture of the veggies will thin the dressing out a lot, so use your judgement.
This was a wonderful lazy meal for a Sunday night, complete with cold noodles and boiled eggs. The eggs and noodles could even be made the night before (in the middle of the night while the house is cooler… maybe), and assembled cold for dinner the next day. You’ll probably want to put a teaspoon or two of oil in with the noodles to keep them from sticking together.

Cucumber-Carrot Salad
1 cucumber, seeded and cut into half-moons on the bias
2 carrots, peeled and julienned
2 scallions, white and light green parts sliced
Dressing:
1.5″ ginger, grated
1 clove garlic, grated
juice of 1 lime
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
3 Tbsp. tamari
1/2 tsp. honey
1/4 tsp. chili sauce
1-2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. peanut oil
Mix together the dressing ingredients and pour over the veggies. Toss to combine, and refrigerate for an hour or so to let the flavors meld. I served this with cold whole-wheat noodles, and boiled eggs, for 2 meal-sized servings.

Mindful Menus: Flexibility

“Locked into a rule … , how can I be ready to receive the abundance of the universe, the mother’s nourishment in its multifaceted forms?”
~Susun Weed, Healing Wise

This week for my Mindful Menu, I looked at the value of menu-planning with flexibility. Yes, I like to have a menu plan, and I generally do better at the market/stores when I shop with a list based on a weekly menu plan.
Then, my mother showed up last night bearing the bounty of a visit to a local farm run by old friends of the family. And most of what she brought did not fit into the plan I had made for my week. Being as I am, my first instinct was anger, anger that she had surprised me with a challenge to my plan. But why should I be angry that my mother has provided me with nourishing food, grown with love, and gathered and gifted with even more love?
So I changed my plan.
Then I got to the market, and the meat lady was out of ground beef. Being in the flexible mood I was in, it was no problem. I got ground pork. And it went on from there.
Week of July 19th:
Sunday: Cucumber-carrot salad with peanut-ginger dressing, cold noodles, boiled eggs
Monday: Homemade sage pork sausage with peppers and brown rice
Tuesday: Salmon cakes and buttered kale
Wednesday: Crustless quiche with cucumbers and carrot sticks
Thursday: Ground pork, caramelized onions, and fried apricots, tossed with whole-wheat pasta, and served with sauteed yellow squash
Friday: Potato soup made with homemade chicken stock, with cheddar cheese and sauteed yellow squash
Saturday: Vegetable omelet with vegetables leftover from the week, plus raw cheese

Mindful Menus

A Good Start

Welcome to the new and improved Wild, Not Wise blog. With a new blogging style, and a new-ish location, I’m feeling the need for renewal and rededication. In a week, I go to visit my in-laws across the country, and I know I won’t be able to stick to my food philosophy as strongly, so I want to start in a good place. This past week, I’ve been drinking black tea instead of herbal infusions, and eating a lot more packaged and fast food. And I’m totally feeling it.
So I thought I would rededicate myself to the real food cause, and to my own health, with a blog post about good breakfasts. What does a wild woman eat for breakfast?
Eggs. I love eggs for breakfast. Bacon goes well with eggs, but it’s a catch-22 for me because the local farmer who raises her Berkshire hogs on pasture puts nitrates in her bacon, while the nitrate-free bacon I can get at the store is hormone-free, but ultimately commercial. So bacon is a rare treat.
Lately, I’ve played a little with adding my own spices to the ground pork from the lady at the farmer’s market. So maybe I’ll try adding that to my breakfast once in a while. But I don’t like to eat too much meat. Apart from everything else, it’s expensive.
But fried tomatoes and mushrooms. I love fried tomatoes and mushrooms with my eggs. And I usually have a piece of fruit. Yogurt is key, plain and full-fat. And a cup of tea or herbal infusion. This week, it will be herbal infusion.
Of course, sometimes I just mix it up and have berries, cream, nuts, and honey. Because variety is the spice of life.