Posts filed under ‘Food & Recipes’

Tips for Freezing Foods

One way to simplify your life and increase your frequency of eating homemade, nutritious meals is to double or triple your favorite recipes and freeze the extra food for future meals. Here’s a link to a great reference with freezing tips, guidelines, and more.

http://allrecipes.com/HowTo/freezing-foods-a-real-time-saver/Detail.aspx

Some of my favorite tips from this site:

Foods freeze best (meaning they last longer in the freezer and taste better when thawed) if they are in a sauce or broth. This is why soups are great to keep in the freezer. Everyone knows that when you have soup as a leftover, it’s better the second day, because all the flavors have had time to meld and intermingle. The same thing happens when you freeze a soup. Casseroles and lasagna also freeze well, for the same reason.

My favorite food to freeze is meatballs and sauce. As delicious as they are the first time around, the meatballs are always even tastier as leftovers. I usually make a triple recipe (requires a big pot but it’s worth it!) on a Saturday or Sunday when I have some extra time. Then we have a great dinner that night, and I get to put two dinners’ worth in the freezer for future nights when I need a healthy, filling dinner for my family but have no time to make one.

Cool cooked foods as quickly as possible before placing them in the freezer, to ensure freshness and avoid spoilage.

Leave as little air in the container as possible when freezing. The more air remaining in the container, the greater your chance of freezer burn.

Freeze in small containers (around 1 quart should be the largest size) to make sure food thaws quickly and evenly. You don’t want a huge container of warm food sitting in your freezer. It will raise the temperature of the freezer which affects the other foods surrounding it. This also increases the risk of bacteria growth. As a rule, food that is two inches thick takes about 2 hours to freeze completely.

The best way to thaw foods is in the refrigerator. If you can, put the frozen food in the fridge the night before you plan to eat it. This way it will thaw slowly with minimal risk of any bacteria showing up. It will be fully thawed and guaranteed fresh and delicious when you’re ready to heat it up the following evening. (Note – Thawing at room temperature carries a high risk of bacteria growth.)

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June 7, 2011 at 10:46 pm Leave a comment

Inspiration and Strawberry Muffins

There are certain things in life that always make me feel inspired and motivated. Listening to my baby’s laughter makes me focus on what’s really important in life. Yoga brings me back to earth and centers me. Browsing through a bookstore fills me with possibilities. Listening to the summertime leaves rustling in the treetops slows my hurried thoughts and clears my mind.

If I had to choose one website that falls into this inspirational category, it would be Weelicious.com. Its premise is that you can make healthy homemade food that your family will love, even on a hectic schedule. That in itself is quite inspiring, and if you read through some of Weelicious creator Catherine’s recipes, you’ll see that they really are kid-friendly, and quick to make, and healthy as well. She encourages parents to include children in cooking so that they learn about healthy eating choices and take a real interest in their food choices. The site is very well-organized, and has a search function, so you can easily find a recipe for any need you might have.

Weelicious has plenty of healthy and creative recipes for homemade baby food. You can click on the “Recipes 6-9 months” or “Recipes 10-12 months” to find age-appropriate recipes for your little one. Check out the Banana Molasses Oatmeal Mash (a 6-9 month recipe). Sounds scrumptious! There are some fantastic (and seriously tasty) recipe ideas here. Not your standard steamed and pureed green beans.

But you really have to explore this website on your own because there are so many facets to it other than recipes. Catherine offers tips for getting kids to try new foods; information on allergens and when to introduce certain foods to baby; and cooking videos with her kids. There’s a great Q&A section where Weelicious readers can ask Catherine their own personal questions and she writes back with tips and advice, such as suggestions for different creative foods to tempt a 9 month old baby’s taste buds.

So when I bought beautiful fresh strawberries at my local produce stand, I went straight to Weelicious for inspiration. I was not disappointed. Catherine’s strawberry muffin recipe is unique (it includes honey and lemon zest) and creates a delicious muffin without too much sugar. It was easy for me to make a dairy-free version by using soy milk instead of regular milk, with no effect on the taste. I brought a bunch into work and they disappeared very quickly. Here’s the link to the recipe: http://weelicious.com/2010/05/17/strawberry-muffins/.

Delicious Strawberry Muffins!

I used 2 cups of strawberries instead of 1.5 as the recipe calls for. The strawberries just looked so delicious, I wanted to pack the muffins full of them. Luckily this turned out fine. Also as you can see, I probably could have filled the muffin cups a little fuller. I got 17 full-size muffins out of the recipe, but probably could have filled the cups more and had 12 larger muffins.

Either way I was very happy with the result. My 17 muffins are long gone, so I’m getting ready to make another (double) batch tonight to share with family and friends over the Memorial Day weekend. Yum!!

May 28, 2011 at 1:58 am Leave a comment


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