Eggnog is Reuben's favorite thing to drink. He usually doesn't get super excited (at least on the outside) about food, but I can tell that he is thrilled when eggnog starts appearing in the stores in November.
If any of my immediate family members are reading this...STOP NOW! This post may contain your Christmas presents.
Seriously...click out of this page now!
I don't know about you, but I find it awfully hard to think of gifts for certain family members. Especially parents. I mean, it feels like they already have everything they need, and I don't want to buy them something that they don't.
Food is always a good idea for just about any person on your list. I mean, everybody has to eat! And most people have their special treats that they love. But you can fall into a rut with buying food for parents every year.
For as long as we've been married (and before), Reuben has worked construction. We're so #blessed that he gets to work with his dad and brothers and a couple of friends. If something comes up (like having a baby) and he needs time off, the other guys have it covered.
Last Saturday, I had a lovely morning with Helen...
After laying Jim down for his first nap, I put a kettle of water on the stove to boil. I set the table with teacups and saucers, milk, tea, and shortbread teabag-shaped cookies. Helen watched excitedly.
I am so happy to announce that my third sister had her baby, and they're all safe and sound! Little Charlotte arrived two weeks ago in the middle of the day.
She's the only one of the 2016 Berge girl babies that has an appreciable amount of hair. In fact, her (very blond) 2-year-old sister was a bit taken aback when she saw all the dark locks...I think she was used to seeing bald babies!
I don't know about you, but I tend to enjoy my food more when I know that it's been made from scratch. Sure, I love my share of Stovetop dressing. But if I take the time to prepare it myself, a little piece of me doesn't die when I think about the MSG and corn syrup I'm consuming.
It DOES takes extra time and effort to cook your feast without the aide of modern convenience foods. But with a little planning and prep it's totally doable. Especially if you delegate some of the dishes to other family members.
Here are some recipes and a timeline to help you host a real-food Thanksgiving!
I'm BEYOND excited for Christmas this year, but I don't want it to overshadow fall and Thanksgiving. Fall is a tiny blip as it is, so I want to savor it. Do you feel like that, or are you pulling out the Christmas decorations in October?
I feel like I haven't sipped nearly enough mugs of cinnamon tea, gone on enough sunny afternoon strolls, or baked enough Thanksgiving-themed things for y'all (I can say y'all since my mum is from Missouri, right?).
This may surprise some of you, but I don't use whole wheat flour for baking any more. From research that I've done, unless you properly prepare whole grains to remove phytic acid (an anti-nutrient), you might as well use white flour. The bran in whole grains also contains other plant toxins (such as lectins). In traditional cultures, people would actually sift whole grain flour to remove some of the bran.
If you're looking for a great versatile, all-rounder flour for your holiday baking, Bob's Red Mill's got you covered.
Their Organic Unbleached White Flour is freshly milled from Organic hard red wheat. Both the bran and the germ have been removed leaving the endosperm that is made into white flour.
I personally think that the occasional treat made with organic all-purpose flour won't harm you. Just be careful for flours that are enriched with synthetic vitamins! Bob's Red Mill Organic All-Purpose Flour contains zero additives. Just one ingredient: Hard red wheat. Win!
These gluten free pumpkin waffles are tender and full of spicy fall flavors!
I know I said this in my last waffle post, but...life has been a bit...crazy? Is that the right word? Hectic? INSANE? Maybe that's exaggerating just a hair.
What with work, helping out my sisters after having their babies, battling an illness, and taking care of a clingy baby, I've been worn out more often than not recently. I know, I know...I should practice saying no. But I really feel that the majority of the things I do are necessary. And I know of moms that take on a LOT more than I do. Maybe I'm just a wimp...
After I had James, it felt like I just fought off one sickness after another.
My immunity was so low and I kept getting knocked down. My midwife recommended that I take a Vitamin C supplement to help bolster my immunity. I knew I wanted a food-based (non-synthetic) one. I found a good one in capsule form, but I was going through a bottle quick as lightning. Not so easy on the old wallet.
Then, I heard about camu camu powder. A single teaspoons contains over 1000% (you read that right: one THOUSAND percent) of the recommended daily value of Vitamin C. I was all like: SIGN ME UP. I purchased a bag and started taking it almost every day.
Let me tell you a little more about this amazing superfood:
Pears are one of my favorite fall fruits. There's just something about them that's so comforting and nostalgic to me. Maybe it's because my mom would make a small batch of pear jam each year that we would savor. In any case I'm still a huge pear fan.
I enjoy pears raw, but something sort of magical happens when you cook pears. Their flavor is enhanced and they get almost custardy.
This post is sponsored by Honest Cooking and Potatoes USA. All opinions are my own.
We're big potato fans in this house. In fact, Reuben is pretty disappointed if I serve a starch other than potatoes. Yeah, we're Scandinavians.
I think potatoes have gotten a bad rap in recent years. They ARE carb heavy, no doubt about it. But did you know they also contain Vitamin C, Thiamin, Vitamin B6, Potassium, Copper, Manganese, Iron, and more? I believe that within a balanced diet potatoes are a delicious way to get your starch. Make sure to choose organic potatoes when possible to reduce your pesticide load.
When I first heard about Spanish omelettes, I was all, "An omelette filled with potatoes? SIGN ME UP!"
A little over a month ago,Butcher Box sent me one of their new boxes so I could let you guys know what I think of it! The newly-launched boxes contain not only the signature grass-fed beef, but also organic chicken and heritage-breed pork.
I'm all about high-quality meat, so I was more than happy to work with ButcherBox.
First, a little background.
WHAT IS BUTCHER BOX?
ButcherBox is a subscription service that delivers 100% grass-fed beef directly to your door every month. Their dream is to make grass-fed beef more accessible than ever before. They call themselves the neighborhood butchers for modern America. All of their products are free of antibiotics, GMOs, and hormones.
Basically, you get a selection of meat for the month, plus recipe cards with ideas for what to make with your meat. The meat arrives frozen in a cooler with dry ice.
You can choose from 4 different types of boxes: All beef, a mixture of beef, chicken, and pork, just beef and pork, or just beef and chicken.
You can also customize how often you receive the box: once a month, every other month, or every three months.
Now you can also purchase a double portion of meat for less than double the price of a regular box!
I'm going to show you everything I made with my ButcherBox, and let your know what I think about the service at the end!
Fall is absolutely my favorite of all the seasons. If Christmas were a season, I guess I'd choose that. But winter is far too long here in northern Minnesota for me. 3 months of beautiful snowy landscapes would be lovely. 5 is a bit ridiculous.
So autumn it is.
To describe the feeling that fall gives me is difficult. I'm not gifted with words. But I feel a bit achy when the air turns crisp and fragrant with the fallen leaves. I know that fall is fleeting and I won't be able to do all of the autumnal things I would like.
So I pull out my mug and make myself a good hot drink. It helps me to slow down during my day and savor the season.
Before we begin this time, there's something I'd like to explain: These posts are meant to inspire you in your real food journey. Maybe they'll give you some ideas to help you change up your cooking routine. Or maybe they'll encourage you by showing that my diet is certainly not perfect, and that's okay!
Also, to put my meals into perspective, I am a petite woman: 5'2" with a small frame. My meals may seem small to some of you, or they may seem huge to others! Keep in mind that I include a LOT of fat in my diet, so my portions may seem small, but they are calorie dense. Right now I am nursing a 7-month-old baby, so I'm eating more than I usually do.
The other day, I did TWO embarrassing things at the grocery store. I hurried into our little health food store to grab just a few items. Reuben and the kids were in the car, so I needed to shop quickly.
When I made my way to the produce section, I heard a distinct chirping. Thinking a cricket must have somehow made its way into the vegetables, I continued with my shopping.
An older gentlemen came up to two ladies shopping next to me.
"Did a cricket get into the store?" he asked them with a smile.
I turned and said, "I know, right?!"
"It's my hearing aid," a young lady replied.
I cringed and moved on to the dairy section, hoping they hadn't heard my response.
As I was checking out, I lifted a half-dozen carton of duck eggs out of my cart. To my horror, the package opened, spilling the eggs into my cart.
"Did any of them crack?" the young man at the register asked.
A couple of them had. But I was just going to purchase them anyway and use them up fast. But the young man grabbed me a new carton. I was grateful to him, but I still felt bad for dropping the eggs.
In my recent reader survey, y'all asked for more healthy main dish recipes. So I thought I'd show you one of my favorite quick-and-easy suppers: Shrimp Stir-Fry!
I think all of us have at some point been strapped for time and scrambling for an idea for what to make for supper. Your husband and kids are staring at you because they were hungry YESTERDAY. You desperately want to call in some takeout, or pack everyone up and head to the nearest restaurant.
But in the time it takes for the delivery guy to make it to your house or for your food to arrive at the restaurant, you can have this healthy 30-minute stir fry on the table.
I actually lied: this recipe only took me 26 minutes to complete from start to finish. I was working quickly, but I wasn't going at breakneck speed.
One of my all-time favorite snacks is dark chocolate chips poked into almond (or peanut or cashew) butter. It's salty, rich, and just a bit sweet. A cold glass of milk is an imperative accompaniment.
As many of you know, I've really been trying to step up my health game after giving birth. Commercial nut butters were one of the things that I decided to let go in my attempts to clean up my diet. Of course I still wanted a treat, so I got into making my own.
Now, why would I want to avoid commercially produced almond butters? Let me explain...
Guys, I've totally jumped onto the whole Matcha bandwagon. I'm sold hook, line, and sinker. It is DELICIOUS.
Yes, matcha can be a bit of an investment. But it's totally worth it in my mind.
I love a good, flavorful drink. Coffee is my favorite, but it gives me the shakes. Even decaf affects me a bit. Matcha on the other hand, even though it contains caffeine, doesn't make me jittery. At all. And I'm pretty sensitive to caffeine.
So if you're looking for an iced latte that doesn't make you want to do ten million jumping jacks and twenty million pushups (at the same time), an iced matcha latte could be just the thing for you. Plus it tastes pretty awesome.
Many frappuccino drink recipes call for ice. It's what makes your drink nice and cold and thick. But I don't like to water down my drinks if I can help it.
So I came up with a way to have my cream and drink it too (so to speak): use frozen cream instead of water! Not only does it keep the fat ratio nice and high, it makes for a very smooth drink.
My one caveat: Matcha is definitely an acquired taste. My husband thinks it tastes like grass. My sister thinks it tastes healthy. Me? I think it tastes fantastic.
All of that to say: don't get mad at me if you try matcha because Erica told you to, and then hate it. But I don't think you will...it's absolutely sublime. Just make sure you get the good stuff!
If you have any questions about Matcha, don't hesitate to ask!
Iced Matcha Latte
Recipe by Erica Kastner | 5 mins | Serves 1 | PRINT
1/2 cup heavy cream, frozen in an ice cube tray, 1/2 cup whole milk, 1 teaspoon matcha green tea powder, 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1-3 teaspoons pure maple syrup (depending on how sweet you like your drinks),
Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until completely smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula a couple of times to make sure all of the match gets dissolved.
Welcome to another addition of Eat Your Greens, where I encourage you to eat more leafy green vegetables!
Today we're going to be talking about Collard Greens.
Collard greens are a cruciferous vegetable related to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. They are actually native to the Mediterranean.
Collard greens contain High levels of vitamin K and A, a good amount of vitamin C and folate, moderate amounts of Vitamin B6, Riboflavin, Calcium, Manganese, and Vitamin E , plus other vitamins and minerals in lower amounts, as well as antioxidants.
Collard greens are available year-round, but they are at their peak in Fall, Winter, and early spring. So technically they aren't at their peak right now (late summer), but I found some local ones at our natural foods grocery store.
PREPPING YOUR COLLARD GREENS:
To prep you collard greens, begin by slicing out the stems. You can do this by sliding a knife along the stem on both sides, or just tear it off by hand.
You can then chop up the leaves.
As with spinach (and other green leafy vegetables), collard greens contain oxalic acid, which inhibits mineral absorption.
A great way to reduce the amount of oxalates and goitrogens is to steam (or boil) your collard greens for about 5-7 minutes. Make sure you throw out the water, because the oxalates and goitrogens leach out into the water.
I recently read this article saying that the fear of goitrogens in food is a myth, but I still feel that greens benefit from being cooked.
HOW TO EAT COLLARD GREENS
My personal favorite way to eat collard greens is to chop them up and sauté them in bacon grease. Mmhmm.
One of my all-time favorite summer desserts (or breakfasts, if I'm honest), is perfectly ripe fruit topped with some form of fat. Heavy whipping cream is quite fabulous. It's super quick and simple, but oh so satisfying.
Another great topping for fruit is rich custard. Granted, it is more time-consuming, but it is sublime: so rich, so smooth, so dreamy-creamy.
If you know me for long, you come to realize that I have two requirements for my desserts: not too sweet and heavy on the fat content. This egg custard definitely fits the bill.
As I said, I like my desserts quite un-sweet. If you have more of a sweet tooth, you can always add more sweetener. I wouldn't recommend going over about 3 tablespoons unless you like things REALLY sweet.
This custard is extremely rich, so you don't need a whole lot. You can make it less rich by using half and half instead of cream, but you'll probably want to make a double batch then.