Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fresh Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce



This recipe in not the traditional way to make pasta sauce using fresh tomatoes. I take the easy and fast route. I just don't have time to remove the skins and seeds from 20 pounds of tomatoes each time I make sauce! Place fresh tomatoes in a blender and blend the seeds, skin, and all. Plus, this way we use the *whole food* -- the whole tomato. Once you begin to make your own you'll never want to go back to store-bought pasta sauce!

I have been buying cases of fresh, organic tomatoes from Smallwood Farms in Eastern Washington because I never get a great harvest in my backyard garden. If you grown your own tomatoes, this recipe is a great way to make use of them. The sauce can be canned in mason jars or stored in your freezer for later use. The other day I asked on Facebook what everyone is doing with the tomato harvest this season. There are so many great comments. Be sure to head over there and check them out if you need more ideas!



Fresh Tomato Basil Marinara Sauce 

If you want to make a smaller batch you can cut this recipe into thirds. Use about 6 to 7 pounds of tomatoes and one large onion. I like to use a 12-quart stock pot when making this sauce. I use a food processor to mince the onions and garlic. Then I process about 1/3 of the tomatoes in it as well. This leaves some of the tomatoes a little chunky. Use a blender or Vitamix to puree the remaining tomatoes. Once the sauce has cooked down to the consistency you like, taste it and add more sea salt as needed.

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 large onions, minced
1 whole head garlic, minced
20 pounds fresh tomatoes
2 cups fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
2 to 4 tablespoons coconut sugar (optional)
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 tablespoons sea salt

Heat a large stockpot over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the minced onions and garlic. Saute for about 10 minutes. Remove the stem-end of the tomatoes. Process some of them in a food processor, leaving them a little chunky. Blend the remaining tomatoes until smooth. Then begin to add the tomatoes to the pot of onions in batches as you puree them. Add the chopped basil, vinegar, sugar, Italian seasoning, and sea salt.

Cook, uncovered, for about 3 hours or until sauce has cooked down and thickened. Be sure to stir it on occasion and keep it on a rapid simmer. Keep cooking until sauce has thickened to your liking. Taste and add more salt if needed. Freeze cooled sauce in jars or can it. Yield: 6 to 7 quarts Source: www.NourishingMeals.com



More Sauce Recipes:
Homemade Chipotle Barbecue Sauce
Thai Green Curry Sauce
Pizza Sauce


Thursday, September 22, 2011

Rice Breakfast Porridge


We have a newborn baby in the house now and that means that our meals have changed a little. A few weeks ago our sweet new baby girl, Camille Rose Malterre, arrived peacefully in our home by candlelight.....a successful VBAC at home! Our children were all there to witness her birth, though we couldn't really wake our 3-year old twin boys to be fully present. I put myself on a mildly restrictive breastfeeding elimination diet once she was born to help ease the transition into life outside the womb.

Newborn babies have such delicate digestive systems up until around three months of age. Compounds in certain foods can cause fussiness and crying, excess gas, and even skin rashes in the breastfeeding baby. Luckily it is really simple to just remove the most common offending foods from your diet at birth or before to keep baby calm and happy. I actually removed any dairy I was eating a few weeks before she was born as it can take up to a month for dairy to clear your system. Dairy, specifically the casein protein, is often the cause of a lot of digestive and skin issues in newborns. Our sweet baby girl has been sleeping through the night since she was a few days old and is a very peaceful, happy baby.....just like our first daughter, Lily. She has had a few bouts of fussiness, you know the kind where they are really uncomfortable and want to nurse and then cry and then nurse and then cry and so on. I realized those were the days that I had eaten citrus. Testing it one more time to make sure, we found that this is the one food that I simply cannot eat. I have not tested them all, such as dairy, cruciferous vegetables, or raw garlic, and in fact, I would suggest not testing these three foods for many months. I can eat cooked onions, a little cooked garlic, and tomatoes....oh we have been enjoying tomatoes in all sorts of recipes lately, thank goodness!

Baby Camille, 3 weeks, with big sister Grace
I did a great post a year or so ago on Nourishing the New Mom with a list of foods to eat and not to eat in the postpartum period. You can refer to that for more information. Below is a short list on the most common foods breastfeeding babies can react to. I would suggest to avoid them all at the time of birth and then if you are feeling up for it, slowly challenge each food in every 4 days, similar to our Elimination Diet. Please note that some babies require mom to go on a much stricter elimination diet, usually eliminating most foods and sticking with only with rice, millet, quinoa, chicken, turkey, yams, squash, salad greens, olive oil, and sea salt for 2 weeks and then slowly adding back in foods like nuts and seeds, other mild fruits and vegetables, and lastly, those listed below to determine the source of baby's upset.

Foods that most often cause issues in the breastfeeding baby:

  • dairy (including goat and sheep)
  • eggs
  • raw onions and garlic (sometimes cooked can also aggravate babies) 
  • citrus
  • tomatoes
  • a lot of acidic fruit
  • peanuts/peanut butter
  • chocolate
  • soy
  • wheat/gluten
  • beef
  • caffeine 













Rice Breakfast Porridge

After all of my babies have been born I have craved rice porridge for breakfast and sometimes even as a bedtime snack. It is easy to digest and easy on baby's newly functioning digestive system. Rice porridge can be made out of any brown rice but our favorite is Brown Jasmine Rice. You can try sweet brown rice, short grain, or even black rice if you desire. I like to top my bowl with a little coconut sugar, ground raw almonds, and lately, fresh nectarines or peaches. We have been buying boxes of fresh, organic fruit every week from Smallwood Farms (delivered to Bellingham once a week). They have the most delicious fruit imaginable, plus we save a lot of money buying it by the case! I have been working to freeze and dehydrate most of it to store for the winter.

2 cups uncooked long grain brown rice
6 to 8 cups water
¼ teaspoon sea salt


Optional Toppings:
ground raw almonds
coconut sugar or maple syrup
cinnamon
frozen blueberries 

diced apples
chopped peaches or nectarines
raisins


Place the rice into a coffee grinder or high-powered blender and grind into a very fine meal, not as fine as flour, but not too coarse either. We use the dry container of our Vita-Mix to grind the rice and then the almonds for the topping.

Place the water into a 3-quart saucepan and heat over medium heat until warm. Pour in the ground rice, whisk together immediately. Turn heat up and bring cereal to a boil, stirring constantly.

Once boiling, reduce heat to medium or medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes. Remove lid and whisk cereal occasionally, adding more water if necessary depending on desired thickness. Cook for a few more minutes then remove from heat. Cereal will thicken as it cools.

Scoop into serving bowls and top with your favorite toppings. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

Baby and I in the kitchen of course! 
More Breakfast Ideas:
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