Easy Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry

posted by: Candace Lawhon

Since I have decided to go dairy free I have had a ton of fun looking up new recipes and experimenting in the kitchen.  One recipe that I came across was this super easy and totally delicious Beef and Broccoli Stir Fry.  This is a meal that I can make and have enough for left overs the second day.  It is bursting with flavor, too.  Here is the recipe.

Ingredients:

3 TBS cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup water, plus2 TBS water, divided
1/2 tsp garlic powder1 lb boneless round steak, cut into 3-inch strips
2 TBS vegetable oil, divided
4 cups broccoli florets1 small onion, cut into wedges
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 TBS brown sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
hot cooked rice

In a bowl, combine 2 TBS cornstarch, 2 TBS water, and garlic powder until smooth. Add beef (already cut into strips) to mixture and toss until well coated. In large wok over medium high heat, stir fry meat in 1 TBS oil until meat is cooked to desired extent. Remove the meat from the pan and keep warm (I just threw it in the oven and set it to warm).

Stir fry broccoli and onions in the same pan for about 5 minutes. Return the beef to the pan.

Combine the soy sauce, brown sugar, ginger, and remaining cornstarch and water until smooth; add to the pan. Cook and stir for 2 minutes.

Serve over hot rice and enjoy!  YUM!

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Dairy Free, the way for me…

posted by: Candace Lawhon

Well, the last time I posted, I showed you a great recipe for a delicious and nutritious smoothie.  You can read it here.  But, unfortunately, since then, I have stopped taking in dairy all together and can no longer make that smoothie…sad news bears.  But, no need to get discouraged because dairy free dieting has not been too bad.  Let me start at the beginning…

If you read my posts last year about the 3 day apple fast, then you are in the know with my crazy stomach.  With a horrible digestive tract and constant stomach pains, I decided to pay a little closer attention to what I was eating and what it was that was making my stomach cramp.  And, unfortunately, it was the dairy.  So, I am scheduled to be tested for the dairy allergy soon, until then, I have simply cut it out of my diet completely just to be safe. Bummer…

Cow: Hey, wanna hang?
Me: Maybe some other time cow dude…


But, don’t be discouraged. I was worried that it would be hard to cut dairy from my diet and to be honest, the first few days were rough.  I typically have a lot of dairy in my diet, so going without it seemed hard, but in the end I think it was just hard to constantly be cautious of my diet.  A few days into it, I had done enough research and talked to enough friends to feel encouraged and ready to take on this new stage.

I found some websites that have been super helpful, this one in particular has been the best.  If you are in the same boat as me and are taking dairy out of your diet, then take a look at these websites.  If you are experiencing digestive issues, then try taking dairy out of your diet and see what happens, you may be surprised.

Since I have gone dairy free, I have noticed a huge difference.  My digestive system is definitely running more smooth and to my surprise, my face has been clearing up a lot.  My dermatologist told me that my breakouts very well could be from a dairy allergy and that she is not surprised my face has cleared up.  Sweet bonus, yea?  If you have any questions about going dairy free, please feel free to ask, I will help however I can or direct you to someone or website that can.  Happy eating!

A Nutritious, Yet Delicious Smoothie

posted by: Candace Lawhon

One thing that I have been thinking a lot about lately is what my body needs to be taking in every single day.  After doing a lot of research, I have found one smoothie (inspired by my aunt in Dallas, TX) that seems to do the trick.  There are so many foods out there that are good for you that you should be taking in regularly.  But the contents of this smoothie, are what I believe to be some of the most important food items you can bring into your body every day. Here is how it is made!

Ingredients:
Handful of Frozen blueberries
5-6 Frozen strawberries
Half a banana sliced
1 scoop Whey protein
Handful of spinach leaves
1 TBS Ground flax seed meal
2 large spoonful Low fat – yogurt (I like vanilla flavored)
¼ cup ACAI berry juice
Pinch of Sliced almonds (these are optional.  I don’t particularly care for the consistency of nuts in my smoothie so I like to eat a handful on the side instead)

The ingredients above may seem a little silly to try to throw all together in one blender but maybe not as silly as the idea of drinking the contents afterward…and that’s where you would be wrong my friends.  This smoothie is not only delicious, but each ingredient is packed with vitamins and minerals your body needs.  In addition to being super healthy, it is pretty cheap considering how many smoothies these ingredients will make you.  Below are the nutrition facts of the ingredients along with what I paid for them at my most recent trip to the store.

Frozen Blueberries-$3.99/bag: full of antioxidants that help the body fight off unwanted diseases and toxins to help build the immune system.  Blueberries are also great for cardiovascular strengthening as they provide 38% more free radical fighters than red wine.  For more information on these nutritional fruits, browse this website.

Frozen Strawberries-$2.49/bag:  These berries are packed with vitamins and minerals that can help to build the immune system.  Just to name a few, vitamin C, vitamin b12, vitamin b5, vitamin b6, and vitamin K.  Strawberries are also rich in dietary fiber and when eaten regularly, can be used as an anti-aging regimen.  Check out this website to find out more.

Bananas-$1.15/lb(3 bananas = $0.62): Although rumors float around that bananas are not that healthy for you, I would like to take a moment to disagree and tell you, the rumors are not true.  Bananas are an excellent source of potassium and manganese.  These fruits can provide tons of energy, which is why this fruit is usually an athlete’s first choice.  Two bananas can provide enough energy for a 90-minute work-out.  In addition, bananas can help boost our kidneys, help with our memory, and our cardiovascular health.  Find out more here.

Whey Protein Powder-$11.97 (this will make about 30 smoothies): Whey protein is a powder protein from a cow.  Protein is essential for the body as it helps to repair and rebuild muscles.  For those of you that work out often (and I strongly encourage a normal work out routine even for those of you that eat super healthy) protein is necessary to help our bodies maintain the strength to continue working out.  Whey protein is the most nutritious protein available even next to soy.  Take a look at this website to find out more.

Organic Spinach-$2.50: Popeye ate his spinach to make him strong, and so should you!  Ok, maybe it won’t make you strong right away but the high amount of vitamin k1 will eventually help strengthen the bones in your body, helping to fine osteoporosis or other bone diseases.  Spinach eaten daily, really can help you to grow stronger. Learn more about it here.

Flax seed meal-~$4:  Although this little grain like sbstance is tiny, it is fearce!  Flax seed is full of B vitamins as well as tons of other minerals that are great for your body.  Special side note: sugar can be substituted with flax seed meal in some cookies…what’s that?  Cookies can be healthy?  Sign me up please!  To find out more about flax seed, read here.

ACAI berry juice-$3.99: This mighty juice is said to have more than 30 times the antioxidants than pomegranates, grapes, and even blueberries.  Drinking this juice daily is a huge immune system booster!  Read more about it here.

Almonds (in bulk at Hyvee ($6/lb – I buy just a little baggie = ~$3):  These itty bitty but yummy nuts are just a step in the right direction for reducing the risk of heart attack, lowering cholestorol, and cancer prevention. On top of that, almonds are often used or age fighting as it can freshen and rejuvenate the skin.  Find out more here.

Yogurt-$2.94:  There are some nutritional benefits to yogurt that I will let you look up on your own time.  But for me, it is used mostly for the purpose of thickening up my smoothie!

While the prices of these items seem expensive at first (totaling $35.50), it is important to remember that they will make multiple smoothies for you.  On average, we spend about $4.50 when we buy a smoothie from a shop and they often lack the proper nutrition.  If we consider that we can make 10 smoothies without restocking our ingredients, we can see that we are spending $3.50/smoothie when made at home.

But wait! One batch makes enough for 2 smoothies! So…we are actually making 20 smoothies. Which means we are actually spending $1.77/smoothie, saving us $2.73/smoothie.  That adds up my friends!

To make your smoothie, dump all the ingredients into a blender and yep, you guessed it…blend until smooth.

If the consistency is off (i.e it’s too thick or too runny) just add more ingredients.  Add more yogurt or fruit if it is too runny and add more juice if it is too thick.

You won’t be sorry.  This is will now be my daily breakfast meal.  It is fast, healthy, and it makes enough for two.  Put one away for later or  you can share your healthy breakfast or snack with a friend…another healthy practice for yet another day!


Worthwhile Websites

posted by: Bethany Jones

Two websites that are visually stimulating:

foodgawker.com and tastespotting.com

Websites that my mother enjoys:

copykat.com and chow.com

I’m Sure You’ve Heard….

Posted by: Jake Wandel   

….about the EGG RECALL CRISIS 2010!!!!! If you haven’t, then you’ve lived under a rock.  If you buy local eggs then there is no need to worry, if you don’t (or just picked some up from the grocery store, like me) then listen up!  You should check the provider of your eggs and then check the number on the side of the carton.  If it’s P1026, P1413, or P1946, throw them away or hard boil them.

The process of hard boiling an egg will kill any potential Salmonella that resides in your little breakfast gems.  I just hard-boiled some today so I can have them as snacks throughout the week.  They’re high in protein and a hard-boiled egg will last a while in the fridge.

So, I’m not going to update you on the news, but I am going to remind you how to hard boil an egg, because, if you’re like me, a refresher course might be fitting:

1. Put eggs in a pot and fill with water 1 inch above the eggs.

2. Heat water to a rolling boil.

3. As soon as it’s boiling, kill the heat.

4. Cover the pot and let the eggs cook for 12 min.

5. Take the eggs out of the pot with tongs and ‘shock’ them in a bowl of ice water.

6. Either store them back in the carton they came in or eat them.

I mark an “X” on my hard-boiled eggs with a sharpie to keep them distinguished from non-boiled eggs.

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If you have any more egg-related tips or crazy EGG RECALL CRISIS 2010 stories, please share!

What the Kale?

Posted by: Jake Wandel  

You know that lettuce-looking stuff that’s used to garnish around catering tubs and salad bars?  That’s called kale and it’s actually really good for you!  It’s a green, leafy vegetable that’s high in beta-carotene, Vitamin C & K, lutein, zeaxanthin, and is considerably high in calcium.  I must admit that I don’t know much about kale, in fact, only as much as you do, really.  But in what I’ve read, I now want to make it my staple in my refrigerator (or freezer! More on that later…).

I first heard about the super-food known as ‘kale’ when I was at the salad bar at the Whole Foods behind my apartment back home.  They had steamed and tossed it with almonds and it looked delicious…so I tried it. Man it was good.  So today I went grocery shopping as my first trip since I’ve been back and decided to buy it.  I mean, why not, right?

Well, yesterday I used my newly bought vegetable on a tuna salad sandwich and it was delicious!  Here’s the recipe I whipped up really quick for lunch:

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1   can of tuna in water

1   tbsp. mayonnaise

small handful of dried cranberries

pinch of kosher salt

Combine all above ingredients in a small bowl and spread on oat bread with a few leaves of kale. Enjoy!

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I read somewhere online that kale freezes well and actually gets sweeter when it’s exposed to frost.  That would make sense when you look at the growing season for kale: late winter to early spring.  That in mind, I’m testing it now.

Besides being freezer-friendly and super-nutritious, kale is exceptionally versatile and it can be steamed, blanched, boiled, braised, stir-fried, or sautéed.  As well, VegFamily.com tips that you can mince it up and put it in smoothies for a nearly tasteless nutrition boost to your breakfast smoothie, which, by the way, I have a recipe for. I made it this morning for breakfast, here it is:

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4 oz.     milk (soy or regular)

4 oz.     Welch’s Concord Grape Juice (or açaí juice if you can find it!)

2     large scoops of plain yogurt  

2-4 oz.     frozen blueberries

2-4 oz.     frozen strawberries

1/2     banana

Combine all ingredients into a blender. Blend until the smoothie starts to vortex and let spin for a couple of minutes to allow air intake for one smooth smoothie!  Add finely minced kale for a boost in calcium, beta carotene and Vitamin C.

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The point I’m trying to make is that kale is a wonder food that I’m not sure gets the credit that it deserves.  Try it.  If you don’t like it, come back to this post and comment your brains out about how much you’d rather eat the bottom of your shoe than eat kale.  And if you do like it…well…spread the word!





Did You Miss Me?!

Posted by: Jake Wandel  

Chances are you didn’t, but don’t tell me that. I’m tender. Anyways, I thought I’d answer some of your questions and wet your palette for posts to come!

First, I know all of you loyal Healthy Desire fans just can’t help but ask yourself:  I wonder what Jake has been up to all summer?

…and to that I answer, “Lots o’ stuff!” I worked part-time at the local St. Louis Bread Co. (or Panera Bread Co. as you other people call it!) and went to a counselor and also did group therapy because I’m, well, broken. Aren’t we all.

Aside from those part-time ventures, I’d say that I invested most of my time with the high school youth ministry of my St. Louis home church, Krew.  I was only a summer college-student volunteer but I might as well have just donned ‘intern’ status because I did it all!  I never minded volunteering that much time while not having the intern title until just the other day when I realized I had to leave it all behind to head back to school. 😦   O well, God remains faithful and, therefore, so must I.

Okay, now I know what you’re thinking… all good things, but what do they have to do with food, health, or healthy desires?

They don’t, I mean, they could if you wanted to assign auxiliary meaning to my summer happenings, but I wouldn’t.  I just wanted to tell you what took me away from your wonderful time and attention when you read the blog this summer.

The real reason I’m back writing for Our Healthy Desire is because I set a goal at the end of last school year, and you’re going to help me stick with it! Alright?!

Jake’s Fall2010 Goal: To cook as many meals for himself and others as much as possible this school year by creating menus each week and by making the grocery store his friend.

I know, I know… where and how do I help you with this, Jake?

Simple! Just sit back and continue doing what you’re doing now, reading my posts.  By holding me accountable, I’m more apt to stick with my goal and you could even join me in whatever sense that makes to you.  I’ll try to post the menu that I plan for each week along with other potential lists and know-hows so that whether you’re just curious as to “what’s on the menu?” or you really want to do this with me, you can!

No task is a success with out the proper tools.  Here are my resources:

Alton Brown. He is awesome!  Here’s his wiki page so I don’t have to explain his biography, but trust me, this guy’s the MAN! His knowledge of simple food science, his flair behind and in front of the camera, and his not-to-serious attitude towards cooking makes me want to be like him. Plus he’s  a solid Christian, which makes us like family! I’d have him over for dinner for sure!

How to Boil Water: Life Beyond Takeout.  I just picked this up the other day and devoured it!  It’s full of pictures, diagrams, recipes (of course) and strong tips that are sure to help in any kitchen, especially mine.  It’s actually laid out in a way that suits my goals for making meals this semester and the recipes are simple. I’d recommend you have your mom buy you a copy as a “back to school” gift, like I did.

Most of all, YOU!  *insert celebratory applause here*

Thanks in advance. . .really.  I hope you’re looking forward to the upcoming months just as I am.  The LORD has much in store for those who love Him.

As is written,

“What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him”— 1 Corinthians 2:9

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DISCLAIMER: I am a failure at a lot of things but that doesn’t keep me from trying, however it does tend to keep me from continuing.  With my honesty up front, I hope to do all the things I’ve promised to do like regular postings, making weekly menus and the like. So, keep with me! Encourage me, tell me you’re following these posts, welcome me back gracefully if I forget to post some weeks. All this, and I’m confident and excited to start and achieve this goal!!


Indoor Gardening

posted by: Rachel Schomaker


One of the reasons that I want to own land some day is to have a huge garden. The weekends that we have spent at Anna’s parents have been great food weekends. We walk out to the garden to get lettuce, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and broccoli. Then we move to the trees surrounding the garden to collect peaches, cherries, and pears. I could eat only what we collected and be perfectly happy.

There are so many reasons to have your own garden. They are a lot of work, for most people it is very rewarding and stress relieving. You can achieve this sense of accomplishment after pulling in that first haul, knowing that you grew what you were about to eat and are able to maintain a level of self-sustainability. Also, it’s cheaper! I think that gardeners always have tomatoes out the yahzoo, which you could use to make a lot of Stoplight Salad!

Since most of us don’t own a house or land that would allow us to grow our own food, I wanted to look at some ways that we can use our green thumb in our apartments. One of the easiest ways to start your inside garden is with herbs. Chives, basil, lavender, parsley, mint and thyme are some excellent choices. They are not difficult to grow and make for a pretty and useful kitchen display.

Herbs aren’t the first choice for many people when they want to start their own garden. Cherry tomatoes, leaf lettuce, radishes, onions, even avocado plants can be grown inside. Indoor plants take more attention than outdoor gardens. You will have to water plants frequently and move them around your house at times depending on sunlight. I think it’s worth it. Depending on how much room you have to dedicate to your indoor garden, you could also grow squash, cucumbers, and kale (which is one of the best vegetables ever, kale chips baby, nuff said). So go to Salvation Army, pick up a couple of planters, and get the garden going.

Here’s a good article on indoor growing from someone that knows more than I do. Hopefully Candace, Bethany, and I can start this up in our house soon to offer some pointers to others down the road.

Voting No on Regulation

posted by: Bethany Jones

Here is an NPR article about raw milk.

I think my favorite quote is “I can buy as much alcohol as I want. But I can’t drink this enzymatic, nutrient-rich superfood?”

If you plan on purchasing your own raw milk you need to go directly to a farm near you. “They need to go and look that farmer directly in the eye. They need to see the facility — and it also needs to be regulated by state and local authorities.” Anyone want to find a farm with me when I get back to Columbia, Missouri?

I Completely Agree

posted by: Bethany Jones

Don’t try buying Vitaminwater instead. It is detrimental as well.