Simple Baked Apples

Tender apples are stuffed with crunchy nuts and sweet raisins, and spiked with cinnamon. This old fashioned treat is not only a frugal dessert, but it is delicious too. I am putting this into the category of “The Healthy $1 Menu”, because each serving cost less than one dollar to make!

This is the type of dessert that Dr. Price would have served to the school children in his programs, by the way. While I don’t think that fruit always needs to be on the menu, fruit can help provide needed vitamins and nutrients not always found elsewhere.

I served this with a side of homemade ice cream. For a dairy-free version you could use my coconut milk vanilla ice cream. We tried a goat milk version, since we just recently found out that goat’s milk may be okay for us. Next time I may try a combination of coconut milk and goat’s milk to up the creaminess of the ice cream. We tried 3 cups of whole goat’s milk (raw and fresh, so that it wouldn’t taste “goaty”), ¼ cup honey, 2 teaspoons of vanilla. Very yummy and light.

When we think of baked apples, we generally think of whole apples, baked. But you don’t necessarily have to leave the apple whole. Traditionally, sometimes they were halved or even sliced before baking. I got tired of coring my apple, so here; I cut them in half and then stuff each half. You could easily make this with any amount of apples you want. I use about ½ tablespoon each of nuts, dried fruit per half of apple, and butter (or coconut oil). Then add as much sweetener and cinnamon as you’d like and you have your stuffing mixture!

I have been making a small amount of apples at a time. This will serve 2 people, for a whole apple each, or 4 people, with a half apple each.


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Miso Brown Rice Congee (and why I love this nourishing & savory porridge)

Brown or white rice is softly cooked in lots of homemade broth until the rice is falling apart into a smooth consistency. Served with a variety of toppings, including soy sauce or tamari, freshly grated ginger, green onions. roasted salmon or other seafood, spiced boiled eggs or poached eggs, ground white pepper, and chili pepper flakes, there are as many variations to this delicious and flavorful dish as there are cooks in the world.

Every Asian or rice eating culture has their own rice porridge or “congee” version. While a very boring name (anything with the word “porridge” in it, seems unsexy), these soups/porridges can be amazingly comforting and flavorful. Some are thick, some are thin, some are fish based, some are chicken or pork, but all are delicious.

Traditionally this nourishing dish started the day out right at breakfast, was given as a first food to young children, or given to those under the weather. With the rich stock base and the softly cooked rice, it is a wonderful food that I think many of us would enjoy. Think about how much more nourishing this dish is in comparison to the typical bowl of cold cereal! We eat it at whatever meal we feel like.

Americans have fallen in love with certain Asian influenced soups, such as beef pho (I know I have!). I think that rice congees will be one of the next soups that make its way to our homes and restaurants. We have already started seeing some attention being drawn to this delicious dish both in some upscale restaurants near us and, of course, you can find it at some authentic Asian restaurants too.

On a personal note, my two year old is a very picky eater but when I first discovered this delicious dish, she gobbled it down like there was no tomorrow! I love this dish and so does my family!

For my book, Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons, I devoted a section on Grain Porridges and Rice Congees. I wanted to share one with you today, so I am bringing you my Miso Brown Rice Congee. Other recipes in that section include: Chinese Congee (with chicken and/or Marbled Spiced Tea Eggs), Thai Congee (a beautiful mix of hot, sour and sweet flavors), Japanese Congee with Soy Ginger Salmon, Simple Brown Rice Congee with Variations, Korean Sesame Seed Porridge, Irish Yellow Broth (oatmeal thickened soup), and Spice Moroccan Millet Porridge with Milk.

This recipe for congee uses miso to both give an oomph of flavor but it also acts as the catalyst for soaking/fermenting the brown rice overnight for better nutrition and absorption (To read more about soaking grains, go here). This is a simple favorite in our household. I hope you like it!


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3 Simple Hummus Recipes (Savory and Sweet)

Katie shares three ways to make hummus, a basic recipe spiked with garlic, lemon juice and tahini. Then, for a twist, she shares two variations. One is spiked with pesto (yum! I love pesto in anything!) and another is a sweet “hummus” of sorts that you use as a fruit dip! Who would have known? Like black bean brownies, legumes can be “hidden” in many recipes. -Kimi 

Fall days tend to be full of hustle and bustle. Right now I, like Kim, am focusing on keeping meals simple. My slow cooker is busy most days with bone broths, main dishes, oatmeal and beans. One bean that has been in my pot a lot recently is garbanzo beans.

Garbanzo beans (or chickpeas) like all legumes are high in protein. They are popular in Middle Eastern, Indian, Mediterranean and Italian cuisines. You can find garbanzos featured in hummus, curries, salads and falafel. Recipes are popping up on the Internet for roasted chickpeas, garbanzo bean milk and in gluten free deserts.

Hummus is one of my all time favorite ways to use garbanzos. It’s something I don’t get tired off. You can use humus as a dip, add it to a sandwich or pita. Hummus makes for a quick and easy meal or snack. I cut up cucumbers, carrots and bell peppers and serve them with pita bread. It is nourishing, frugal, full of protein and delicious! Most days I prefer to keep my hummus simple but sometimes it’s nice to mix it up a bit. There is no end to combinations of flavors.

For added nutrition I like to soak my beans over night with an acid medium before cooking. You can also use canned beans. A 15oz can has about 1 ¾ cups of beans; if you use this instead it shouldn’t effect the recipes.

Here are the two favorite hummuses at my house along with a surprising sweet treat!

Basic Hummus

2 cups garbanzo beans
½ cup water
6 cloves garlic
6 TBS tahini
4 TBS olive oil
2 TBS lemon juice
1 tsp salt

1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or a food processor until smooth. If necessary drizzle in additional small amounts of olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.

2. Put in a bowl and drizzle olive oil over the top. Garnish with fresh parsley and a sprinkle of paprika if desired. It stays fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. Makes about 2 cups.

Pesto Hummus

2 cups garbanzo beans
½ cup water
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese (if desired)
1 handful fresh sweet basil
3 cloves of garlic
4 TBS lemon juice
1 TBS tahini
1 tsp salt

1. Blend all the ingredients together in a blender or a food processor until smooth. If necessary drizzle in additional small amounts of olive oil until it reaches your desired consistency.

2. Put in a bowl making a well in the center and drizzle olive oil over the top. Garnish with basil and whole garbanzo beans if desired. It stays fresh in the fridge for up to 5 days. Makes about 2 ½ cups.

You would never guess that this sweet treat has garbanzo beans in it! My girls where shocked when they found out how I made it. This is a sweet treat that you can feel good about giving to your kids. If you are concerned about the sugar, feel free to leave out the chocolate chips. We like to eat our dip with cut apples or by the spoonful.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip

2 cups garbanzo beans
½ cup milk of choice
1/3 cup peanut butter
¼ cup raw honey
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 TBS vanilla extract
½ tsp salt
½  cup chocolate chips

1. Blend all the ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) in a blender or food processor until smooth. If necessary drizzle in additional small amounts of milk until it reaches your desired consistency.

2. Put in a bowl and stir in the chocolate chips. Serve with cut apples. Makes about 3 cups. Coconut oil becomes solid when cold, so take the dip out of the fridge 15 minutes before you are ready to serve, so it can soften enough to dip apples.

Katie Stanley is a dorm “mama” to 12 amazing girls ages 8 to 18 at a home and school for the Deaf in Baja California, Mexico. She and her “hijas” can be frequently found in the kitchen, the garden or making friends with their new chickens. She loves to read, hike the hills near her home and spend time with her girls. In her spare time Katie blogs at Mexican Wildflower about nourishing foods, herbal remedies, simple living, the Deaf, raising her girls and encouraging other women in their walk with Christ.

Ribbon Zucchini and Carrot Salad with Basil

Carrots and zucchini are gently made into thin ribbons with a vegetable peeler and tossed with a simple dressing of tart but sweet balsamic vinegar, rich fruity olive oil and fresh basil. It makes a refreshing, simple salad to make on a busy night.

Like last night. I turn in my manuscript for my new cookbook today. This last week has been a fun time of seeing extended family, staying up late, and eating too many sweets. It will surprise no one to find out that I caught a cold after a week of this (and being exposed to several people who already had it).

Not feeling well, and having several things piled up to do on my proverbial plate, I wanted to make a quick dinner last night. We had been at the beach and around town eating at local restaurants with the family for too many days in a row, and I felt very much like I needed nourishing, simple food again. Within a half hour, I had rice, meat, and two simple salads on the table, this one included. I felt a little better already. I lit some candles on the table, and my husband surprised me with a bottle of Rosé wine. It turned out to be a nice dinner after all.

With my book being turned in today, my thoughts for the next couple of weeks involve lots of simple food, and good family time while enjoying the beautiful frugal things in life. Look for those upcoming themes from me this next month.

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