Health

Category Archives — Health

Apple & Sausage Breakfast Pizza

Sometimes it can be fun to experiment in the kitchen. I consider myself a decent cook but that doesn’t mean every attempt at a new creation is a success. Even so, this recipe is definitely a winner as far as my family is concerned. We often use it as a breakfast dish but it is tasty any time of day.

What you’ll need:

  • 4-6 Whole Wheat Tortilla Shells
  • 1 Package Cream Cheese
  • 1 Pound Ground Sausage (Or Diced Bacon)
  • 3 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup (or to taste)
  • 2 Apples, Any Variety
  • 1 Vidalia onion
  • Shredded Cheese, Any Variety (I like an Italian Blend)

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Meanwhile, remove cream cheese from fridge to soften. Dice apple and onion, then set aside.

Step 2: Begin to brown sausage on medium-high heat (or medium low for bacon, started in a cold pan).

Step 2: When it is nearly done, drain some of the excess liquid if necessary and add apple and onion. Cook until sausage is browned and onion and apples are soft.

Step 3: Remove from flame and stir in maple syrup.

Step 4: Place tortilla shells on a baking sheet and spread cream cheese onto shells. Add a layer of the sausage mixture and cover with shredded cheese of choice.

Step 5: Bake for around 10-15 minutes. Enjoy!

Tips:

-If you have a wood stove, use it to your advantage. We have successfully used our wood stove instead of an oven to make these breakfast pizzas. Simply place them on top of your clean stove and put foil over it to trap the heat.

Spaghetti Squash “Lasagna”

Recently I’ve undertaken the task of cooking more nutrient-dense dinners for my family. We don’t have a problem with the classics but any opportunity to increase the health benefits of a meal is welcome. The cold weather has given us a taste for comfort foods, making a warm and cheesy lasagna dish a great choice for experimentation. Replacing whole wheat lasagna with spaghetti squash cuts down on carbs (now you don’t have to feel guilty about that extra slice of garlic bread on the side) and gives you a little extra boost of nutrients such as vitamin C, which comes in handy this time of year. To top it all off, this recipe is grown-up AND toddler approved.

What you’ll need:

  1. 1 Medium Spaghetti Squash
  2. 1 Lb of Ground Meat (e.g., beef, bison, chicken, etc.)
  3. Pasta Sauce (Approximately 25 oz)
  4. 1 Cup Spinach (or other greens)
  5. Fresh Basil, to Taste
  6. 8-12 oz Shredded Cheeses (Mozzerella, Parmesan, etc.)
  7. 16 oz Ricotta Cheese 
  8. 3 Eggs
  9. Pinch or Two of Salt
  10. Black Pepper, to Taste
  11. 1 Onion
  12. 1-2 Bell Peppers, any variety
  13. 3 Cloves of Garlic
  14. 1 large Tomato, Diced

Prepare the Spaghetti Squash

Step 1: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.

Step 3: Drizzle each half with olive oil and lightly season with salt.

Step 4: Place each side face down on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for approximately 45 minutes, then let cool. The outside of the squash should give slightly when ready. 

Step 5: Scrape the inside of the spaghetti squash into a large bowl. With a paper towel, squeeze out, remove and dispose of as much excess moisture as possible. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and three eggs to the bowl with the squash. Mix thoroughly. 

Making the Lasagna

Step 1: Preheat oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 2: In a deep skillet, cook ground meat over medium-high heat until browned. Transfer your meat to another container for later use and leave some of the juices in the pan. 

Step 3: In the same skillet, start your onion on medium to medium-high heat and cook for approximately 5 minutes, then add peppers and garlic. Cook until peppers have softened and slightly browned, about 10 minutes. 

Step 4: Lightly oil your 9 x 13 baking dish and layer the bottom with some of the pasta sauce.

Step 5: Transfer half of the prepared spaghetti squash to your baking dish.

Step 6: Layer half of your caramelized onion mixture, all of your meat, all of your diced tomato, all of your spinach and basil, half of your sauce, half of your ricotta cheese, and a light sprinkling of your shredded cheese blend over the spaghetti squash.

Step 7: Add your remaining spaghetti squash to the dish and cover with the remaining sauce and ricotta cheese. Top with remaining shredded cheese blend.

Step 8: Bake for about an hour until mixture is set and top is golden. Let cool and enjoy!

Tips:

-Cooking times can vary with different ovens so be sure to keep an eye on your meal.

-If cheese is getting too done, cover with foil for the remainder of the cooking time.

-Water from the squash can cause the lasagna to not set properly, which is why it is important to remove excess moisture beforehand. You can also try letting it drain in a colander, just be sure the holes are small enough that your squash strands don’t try to escape. 

-As a remedy for picky toddlers, I have found that finely dicing ingredients like onions, peppers, and spinach makes my child less likely to decline to eat his meal.

What is Homesteading?

While the definition of homesteading has changed over the years, homesteading today is, at its core, a lifestyle of self-sufficiency. Merriam-Webster dictionary defines self-sufficiency as the quality or state of being self-sufficient. More specifically, to be self-sufficient is defined as [being] able to maintain oneself or itself without outside aid.

Homesteading is encompassed by a variety of skills which enable a family to live with limited assistance from the outside world. That being said, there is not one proper way to commit to homesteading. While the resulting goal is generally the same, you’ll find that many people who claim this lifestyle have differing ideas of what it means to them. Their objectives could entail one or more of the following:

  1. Growing vegetables and fruits
  2. Raising animals for meat, dairy, eggs, etc.
  3. Preserving food by canning, dehydrating, curing, smoking, etc.
  4. Producing electricity by means of solar, wind or water
  5. Building shelters
  6. Collecting rain water
  7. Hunting and foraging
  8. Making clothing or supplies
  9. Storing food or other necessities
  10. …And much more!

Why commit to this lifestyle?

1. Emergency Preparedness

What would you do if these displays were empty?

Life in society as we know it today might not be sustainable under certain conditions. Many families would lack proper knowledge of how to care for themselves outside of the current model of living. Unexpected events can leave us without access to things and places we are accustomed to having at our disposal. Even if you aren’t facing a societal crisis, a personal emergency can come up at any time. Having extra supplies and food on hand can make all the difference.

Here are some scenarios to consider:

  • Natural Disasters
  • Unemployment
  • Power Outage
  • Medical Emergency
  • Vehicle Trouble
  • Violent Crime
  • Terrorist Attacks

In an ideal world you would never be forced to experience such a thing, but our world and our lives are imperfect and the best you can do is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst.

2. Financial Security

What if you didn’t have to worry about affording groceries each week?

Admittedly, you aren’t going to start saving money overnight. In fact, the initial cost of starting up a homestead can seem burdensome at the time, but you need to consider the rewards that you reap after you sow the seeds. Ultimately, you will reduce your need to spend outside of the home to maintain your lifestyle. The tasks that you decide you are capable and willing to undertake will determine how much you rely on external sources. If you have a surplus of certain items, such as produce or eggs, you can also generate income. The more you are willing to commit to, the more control you have over your situation, which will likely allow you to feel more ease and less stress about your financial situation. 

3. Health

Food plays a significant role in your overall health.

Generally speaking, if you are in control of your food, you are in control of your health. There are exceptions to that rule, but healthy dietary habits can be a crucial step in paving the way to a healthy life. One important thing to consider is what is in the food you are eating. What better way to stay familiar with your food than to grow or raise it yourself? By growing your own food you can avoid:

  • Questionable herbicides and pesticides
  • Added hormones and antibiotics
  • Foods stripped of nutrients with artificial vitamins added
  • Excessive amounts of sodium and sugar 
  • Dangerous bacteria exposure

Additionally, you get the health benefits of being outdoors, such as the production of vitamin D. A 2010 Harvard Health Letter highlights the reasons why time outdoors can be good for the human body.

You may or may not be convinced that homesteading is the right choice for you. Maybe you do have an interest in such a lifestyle but don’t know where or how to start. Just remember that progress is progress, no matter how small (definitely not a “Horton Hears a Who” reference).