Part of using more whole foods is longer preparation times and so once again I find myself trying to figure out a menu for the next couple weeks. When even cornbread takes 24 hours to make, it takes a little more planning. This morning we tasted the steel cut oats that I put in the crock pot last night before bed, YUM! So we're liking this a lot, it just takes a little more brain power than using prepared foods.
I've been wishing for a while that I could find something hot that I liked to drink, mostly because my hands are cold in the evening, especially if I've been on the computer much and it'd be nice to have something to warm them on. I can't stand coffee, no matter how I try it, or who makes it or how expensive it is it just always tastes like coffee to me, yuck. I have the same problem with beer, but that's has nothing to do with this. Hot chocolate is good, but it's too much sugar and the non-sugar stuff is fake tasting and well ick. We did get hot chocolate from Starbucks the other day, and well okay now I can understand why people rave about the place, YUM! Finally I decided to try tea, I've never liked hot tea. Mom made us drink it when we were sick and it was always bitter, or you had to put sugar in it, which I didn't want to do. So I asked Mark if he liked tea and what do you know, after 12 years of marriage he finally tells me that he loves the stuff and starts telling me about the kinds that he likes. The man is sometimes a mystery to me. So we started with a box of Earl Grey, okay this stuff is quite yummy and doesn't need any sugar or honey, at least for me, Mark likes his with wildflower honey in it. The first cup we had solo, that was good. This afternoon while John was napping we had a cup with a piece of Ghirardelli 60% Cacao that was wonderful and last night we had a cup with popcorn, hmmmm, this tea thing is pretty versatile. When we go shopping on Monday maybe we'll try another of the kinds that Mark listed that he likes, I wonder, just how many teas out there go good with both popcorn and chocolate.
Well Old Potatoes, in our house we tend to throw away the last potato or two out of every bag that we buy because they have grown eyes or are mushy or are just plain rotten. This happens to us whether we buy a 5# bag or a 10# bag, and at one point I got to where I was buying one or two baking potatoes at a time. We just don't eat that many potatoes. Well I just put the last of the potatoes from a bag that I bought in early December into Spicy Potato Soup and they were fine. Hmmmmm...these were the first organic potatoes that I've purchased, and I've noticed this trend with other organic produce too.
So let me share those recipes, they are yummy!
1 cup steel cut oats
2 cups raisins
4 cups water
1/2 cup half-and-half or heavy cream
Combine all ingredients in a slow cooker and cook on low for 7-8 hours. In the morning stir and serve.
The raisins make it sweet enough that even Mark didn't add honey or sugar, we did add some butter for that yummy buttery flavor and a sprinkle of cinnamon because well cinnamon is just plain good.
Spicy Potato Soup
1 pound ground beef
4 cups 1/2" cubed red potatoes, peeled
1 small onion, chopped
3 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons pepper
1 teaspoon ground oregano
few drops of hot sauce
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
Brown ground beef in dutch oven. Drain. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cook uncovered for 1 hour or until the potatoes are tender.
I made this tonight with ground deer. My theory tends to be if beef is good, deer is better, at least for most things. I tried substituting Spicy V8 juice, um well no, that doesn't work and added the tomato sauce anyway to give it more depth and richness. The best experiment of all, when it's all hot and piping in our bowls, I added a tablespoon or so of thick heavy cream, oh man is that good! It elevates this dish from regular old hey this is good soup, to holy cow this stuff is AMAZING! We like it with French bread to get every last drop.