Saturday, October 18, 2014

to the mullies with 52 new foods

"the 52 new foods challenge is about more than the foods - it's about the journey the foods take you on.  along the way, you will experience failure and frustrations, successes and celebrations.  in the end, though, you will transform the way your family eats because of the experience you have together."    - jennifer tyler lee, author of 52 new foods challenge

oh my dear jennifer...

did you write this book just for meeeeeeeeeeeeee?!  

because it's exactly what i need to keep me plugging along in the mullies kitchen.

for what you have found in your kitchen is indeed what i have found in mine. 

if you're new to the mullies, here's a quick poetic recap on why i became a food ambassador a little over 2 years ago:

my daughter was a new 1st grader and a year behind in school.
struggling with paying attention, socializing, following directions, reading... 
intervention meetings were part of our worried life.
i decided to make a food change before the next panicky step (official ADHD diagnosis & ?!?)
went gluten free (gulp).
she was symptom free less than a month later.
what a celebration!
what a new gig to keep up!
spreading food education for all.
no longer cooking good food for only myself.
getting my kids to cook with me & change picky taste buds.
the evolution of a food revolution.

thank you thank you thank you for writing this book.

i dedicate this post to you, to all of the parents out there trying to find balance with... 

our kids
our schedules
our spouses
our friends
our lives
our health

"meet your family where they are, and move forward from there.  everyone will start at a different place, and everyone can make lasting changes.  this is your family's adventure, and like any good recipe, the secret is to make it your own."  - jennifer tyler lee 

this classic book takes it one week at a time, step by step to help us cook more real food and move off of the fast & plasticky (yup some foods have plastic in them!) processed food high way.  holy moly could i have used this book two years ago AND it's still relevant to me today as a mom and ambassador in the trenches, working to get my kids cooking and hoping to inspire others to ride along with me!  

let's tap into our inner indiana jones.

let's go after the adventure and the treasure we might not yet see in our kitchens, hearts and bellies.

so what if a snake (er... i mean... insert your picky eater here) scares you off and makes you want to jump off the train!

they do it to me all of the time.

this can help you + me stay.on.the.tracks.

each of the following recipes were cooked by yours truly and developed with gumption (except for jennifer's lovely brussel sprout chips) around a chosen few of her 26 fall & winter foods.  any of her 52 new foods can be found in bold throughout this post.  each of my recipes is gluten free and the produce gathered for the recipes was either from my organic garden, my local organic CSA share at midnight sun farm or the organic produce box program at all ways healthy

here we go, here we go, here we go now!!


banana pumpkin muffins

2 smashed bananas
1 c home roasted pumpkin pulp
2 local pastured eggs (midnight sun farm egg share)
1/4 c melted coconut oil
1 c coconut palm sugar
3 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 c gluten free (gf) flour
1 tsp xantham gum
2 tsp gf baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  combine first 6 ingredients in stand mixer until fully incorporated.  in a separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients and slowly add to mixer.  using an icecream scooper, fill up your paper cups 1/2 way and and bake for 25 minutes.  place a toothpick down the center of the muffin and if the stick comes out clean, you're good!  (i also gently push on the top of a few muffins to see if they spring back at me).

how to roast a pumpkin

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  cut off your top.  scoop out the pulp and seeds (save the seeds for jennifer's savory or spiced roasted pumpkin seed recipe!).  rub extra virgin olive oil over inside of pumpkin.  sprinkle with sea salt.  wrap in a double layer of tin foil and bake for an hour.  once cooked, slice pumpkin in half and scoop out the flesh for your recipe.  jennifer's cookbook includes a different method that is just as good!

pumpkin gnocci

1/2 c home roasted pumpkin pulp
1 lb organic russet potatoes
1/4 c grated parmesan reggiano (or use cashew cheese to make it vegan)
1 pastured egg
2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp sea salt
7-10 turns of freshly ground black pepper (adjust to your taste)
3-4 c gf flour
8 oz manchego cheese cut into small cubes (inspired by mambo italiano!)

christina erickson (girlfriend, mom, high school foods teacher and food ambassador) and i got our kids together for this fun dinner cooking party!  

using a food processor, combine all ingredients except for the flour until smooth.  transfer to a large bowl.  combine with 2 cups of flour.  continue mixing in more flour until dough is just thick enough to handle and shape into logs like play dough (you gotta use some gumption here!).  sprinkle flour over a large cutting board or clean smooth surface.  dust your hands and go to town making logs and balls.  gently press a cube of cheese into the center of the ball and smoosh over with dough to form a ball.  your kids will be super into this!  tommy (above first picture) was not wanting to take turns with the gnocci roller and had a little cooking tantrum (is it possible to be happy about a tantrum!?) you can also use your fork to make fun lines or just make plain ol ballz!!!  ...and hey, the thumbs-up come with thumbs-down... stay the course:)

watch tommy and i make sweet potato gnocci here


plum gumption sauce
tip: if you use the purple carrots in the sauce as you'll get a very purply sauce!  leave them out for a more traditional tomato sauce color (thanks for the great tip food ambassador terri!)

1 lg red or yellow onion diced
2-3 orange and white rainbow carrots diced
3-4 stalks of celery stalks (you can add in the leaves too!) diced
(i add in red pepper and zucchini diced sometimes too!)
1/3 jar of oven roasted organic roma tomatoes packed in olive oil
5-6 large quartered garden tomatoes 
3 plums pitted and diced
1 handful purple garden basil
1/2-1 red chili minced (optional)
1 c vegetable stock 
1/2 c white wine
coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

heat a 5 quart dutch oven (the video's recipe is doubled for a 10 qt dutch oven) on low heat and coat with a few T of oil.  sauté onion, carrots, celery to make your soffrito.  mix occasionally and cook low and slow for 20-30 minutes until veggies are translucent, fragrant and beginning to slightly caramelize.  add tomatoes, plums, chili, basil, vegetable stock and and bring to a boil.  once boiling, add wine, stir and cover.  turn burner down to low.  simmer for at least 45-60 minutes.  using a handheld emersion blender, puree.  or keep it chunky and lovely.  

excluding the soffrito base, this sauce recipe is one that changes with the contents of my fridge.  

watch our plum gumption cooking video here 

homemade ranch dressing (beware: its highly addictive)
i eyeball everything with gumption to taste.  here's my best guess and feel free to tweak it yourself.

about a cup of organic or soy free vegenaise
2 T 21 spice blend (trader joes or costco has this blend)
1/2 T each dried basil, parsely and chives
1 clove garlic minced 
1/2 sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
juice from one lemon
2-3 T plain yogurt (optional)
organic rice milk (i add this to thin it out... some like it thick, some like it runny... you pick!)

combine all ingredients and whisk until smooth.  play with ingredients!  i use sriracha sometimes, add ketchup, salsa or even sprinkle in old bay seasoning.  the combinations are endless.


to the mullies with breakfast cookies
ambassador christina (pictured in the gnocci recipe!), gave me the outline for this recipe over a year ago and i have tweaked it into this lovely concoction!

2 c gf oats
1 c cooked quinoa (usually have leftovers from dinner!)
3/4 c almond meal/flour or gf flour 
1 apple grated 
1 pear grated
3-4 mashed bananas
1 tsp salt
1 T honey
1 tsp vanilla
raisins & mini dark chocolate chips

preheat oven to 350 degrees.  mix all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined.  line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silpat mats.  place large spoonfuls of batter on the baking sheet and cook for 25-30 minutes or until browned.  

leftover pancake n crab cakes with apples and kale
make pancakes for breakfast and reserve a cup of batter for these crab cakes!

1 c leftover gf pancake batter (52 new foods has a great whole wheat flour pancake recipe!)
8 oz wild caught lump crab
2 green onions finely chopped
1/2 chili finely minced (no seeds)
1/2 tsp sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
coconut oil
organic apples

quick jam jar dressing

juice of 1 lemon
3 T plain yogurt
3 T avocado oil
pinch of sea salt
freshly ground back pepper
a squirt of honey

combine all crab cake ingredients in a bowl.  over medium heat, melt coconut oil and coat pan.  place two spoonfuls of crab cake into a patty shape and cook approx 3-4 min on each side until cooked through with a nice brown crust.  serve over a bed of curly kale tossed with dressing and top it all off with a ton of freshly chopped organic apples.


this recipe was inspired from a wonderful trip with friends to the dominican republic last year.  i recently brought this to a friends house and we piled it on top of gorgeously grilled new york strip steak.   hummina hummina.

1 small onion
5-6 radishes
2-3 green onions
1/2 c sliced raw almonds
3 cloves garlic 
1 jalepeno finely minced
1 bunch garden cilantro
1 bunch garden parsley
1 bunch garden oregano
1/3 c extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c red wine vinegar
2 T freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 tsp sea salt

place all ingredients into a food processor and whiz.  

chimichurri goes with everything as far as i'm concerned.  meat, fish, pasta, toast, soup... it's balls out.


jennifer, not only did the kids love to help me with this, but it totally beats the hellerrrrs out of kale chips (and we all like kale chips!)  

brussel sprouts
1-2 tsp melted coconut oil
pink sea salt 
freshly ground black pepper
(i love em with a little tequila lime seasoning on them too!)

peel em, toss em with oil and sprinkle with s&p.  i baked these for only 15 min at 350 degrees and took them out because they were done!  finger lickin good.


a crab salad with avocado & artichoke

mixed greens
sliced avocado
marinated artichokes & red pepper
kalamata olives
wild caught lump crab meat
homemade ranch

the picture says it all.  oh yea.

a cacao and avocado smoothie/fudgsicle
my kids like this so much that i make a batch at least 2x's a week!  mac can make it on his own now, which is really cool.

2 frozen or fresh bananas
5 pitten medjool dates
2-3 T hemp seed
3-4 T raw cacao powder
1 avocado (flesh only)
1 scoop unflavored vegan plant protein powder (optional)
1 tsp vanilla
2-3 T almond butter
2 c chopped ice (not necessary if you are making fudgsicles)
3 c almond milk

place all ingredients into a high powered blender (i have a vitamix) and whiz.  add more almond milk if needed to thin.  if the kids don't finish the smoothie, i put it in the fridge and it's a perfect after school snack!  to make fudgsicles that bring us back to childhood, simply pour them into a pop mold and freeze.  briefly run the plastic under hot water and get those suckers out!

light up the food revolution with me!

let's strike a match and with this brand new cooking map.  wanting more info? you can pre-order this puppy & get an exclusive cookbook bonus and definitely check out this 52 new foods challenge video for more inspiration.

turn up the music
get your apron on
invite a little chaos in the kitchen (my sanity comes and goes)
get chopping with those kiddos, family and friends
make & eat your own rainbow with 52 new REAL foods

play + cook + eat = a healthier & happier you + me!


Wednesday, October 15, 2014

food day 2014 - join the fun in mundelein and chicago!!!

have you heard about food day 2014?

it's the united states of america coming together to change our diets AND our food policies.

it's all about real food.  just food.

check out these wonderful food day resources, infographics, fact sheets, curriculum guides and so much more to help you and yours dig in.

here's what's cookin good lookin:

oct 24 @ 4:30pm - 7:30pm: revolutionize your family meal plan - community recipe sharing event

ambassador christina erickson and i are putting on a FREE community shin dig and we sure hope you come join us!

just click the link above, clear your calendar and RSVP.  i simply can't decide what family friendly recipe to share!!!!  what made from scratch dish sends your family into heaven? entrees, soups, sides, desserts, anything goes... with one caveat: please hold the fake food: artificial color, preservatives and sweeteners!  there will be a fun halloween craft for the kids, lots of food to munch on (if you COME!) and we'll share our best tips and tricks for meal planning and even put on a rad food demo or two for you!

we are so thrilled to partner with fremont township for this wonderful community event.
big thanks go out to our fremont township supervisor, diana o'kelly! i also have to give a big shout out to heather manning williams for writing this wonderful article promoting our event in the little lake county website!

can't make it out to us in lake county?


well you have an even bigger party happening!!!  the amazing chicago food day team is putting on quite an amazing weeklong series of events.  check this link out to find out about all the dates/times/locations of events happening at daily plaza, 2 north riverside plaza and tons of other local participating retailers!  i'm especially thrilled about the depaul food patriots screening on oct 16th and the free online screening of food patriots on oct 23rd!

do you like cash?  

do you like gift cards?

on oct 22 & 23, join chicago ambassador sarvin haghighi and our ground team for the first ever chicago food day hidden cash hunt!!

how does it work?
1. get your butts downtown on oct 22 & 23rd.
2. follow @hiddencashchi1@FoodDayCHI.  we'll be tweeting out pictures and clues so that you can find a lucky food day 2014 envelope packed full of goodies just for you!!
3. spread the word bird!

i can't hardly wait for this new adventure... i'm going to need some compfy gym shoes cuz we'll be putting some mileage on...

how are YOU going to celebrate food day?

cheers to making a few more messes in our kitchen every week...
to inviting our kids in the kitchen with us...
to eating and cooking more real food...
to finding our balance...

**thank you for including me in your food day 2014 coordinated blogger event!** 

wet your whistle with these other lovely food day blog authors and articles!