Monday, February 1, 2016

We've Moved! Check Out Our New Blog...

First of all, I want to thank all of our readers for following us and trying our recipes over the past several years!

As you may know, we have been working on updating our blog network over the past few months. After lots of thought, we have decided to discontinue our Cooking From Scratch blog. You can still find all of our past recipes here, so feel free to look for your favorites and bookmark them for future use!

Saffron Chicken (827857596)
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We will still be posting recipes, however - they will just be on our new health blog. We will be posting a delicious, whole-food, health-oriented recipe every Friday, so be sure to check it out!

You can find us now at:

Just click the "Real Food Recipes" category to pull up all of our new recipes.

Thanks again for reading, and don't forget to come back and browse through the previous recipes here whenever you feel like finding a new idea for dinner!

We'll see you on our new healthy living blog soon!


Friday, January 29, 2016

Low-Carb Recipe: Crockpot Coconut Mushroom Soup

Yum! Coconut mushroom soup is one of my favorites! I usually love the Thai versions, which this one is not, but it's easy to modify. If you want a more Asian flavor, simply omit the thyme and add 2 tsp minced fresh ginger, and swap the bay leaf for a lime leaf. You can also add a Tbsp of fish sauce instead of the salt if desired.

Either way, this hot, creamy, and delicious soup sure hits the spot on a cold winter evening! And it's great for low-carb and gluten-free diets.

Crockpot Coconut Milk Mixed Mushroom Soup
(4-6 servings.)
(Image courtesy of Apolonia at


2 lbs fresh mixed mushrooms (choose a variety)
1 cup boiling water
1 small onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme, rough chopped
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 bay leaf
4 cups vegetable broth
1 cup coconut milk, natural not sweetened
4 tsp coconut oil

  • In a heat-resistant glass bowl, put the mushrooms, pour in the boiling, and let steep for 30 minutes.  Drain mushrooms through a fine metal mesh colander or sieve, reserving liquid.
  • Put mushrooms on a cutting board and dry with paper towels, then chop up fine; set aside.
  • In a large skillet over medium heat, put 1 tsp of the coconut oil and heat until melted and hot.
  • Add the chopped mushrooms and cook until mushrooms brown slightly and liquid evaporates.
  • Transfer mushrooms to crockpot.
  • In same skillet, add the remaining 3 tsp coconut oil and heat over medium heat, then add onions and cook until just softened.
  • Pour reserved mushroom liquid into skillet with onions, and add the garlic, thyme, salt and black pepper, and cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
  • Transfer this mixture to crockpot with mushrooms.
  • Add bay leaf, broth, and coconut milk to the crockpot, stir.
  • Cover crockpot, set temperature to LOW, and cook for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Uncover, remove the bay leaf, discard, and serve hot in soup mugs.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Recipe: Garden Veggie & Ginger Beef Stir Fry

There is a myth out there that eating healthy or trying to lose weight means eating boring, flavorless foods, but nothing could be further from the truth! The best foods for your health are often some of the tastiest as well! This delicious, healthy stir fry packed with flavor and nutrients is a great example.

Lots of fresh veggies and tender grass-fed beef will make this a super healthy and delicious meal, without all the fat-promoting carbs. For even fewer carbs, omit the rice and serve over shredded cabbage instead, but a bit of brown rice now and then is fine for most diets. You can easily make this vegetarian as well; just use tempeh or firm tofu in place of the beef.

Garden Veggie And Ginger Beef Stir Fry
(Serves 4.)
(Image courtesy of zirconicusso at


1 tsp soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2 tsp minced fresh ginger (to taste)
1/3 cup water
1/4 cup avocado oil or coconut oil
8 oz lean grass-fed beef, sliced thin
1 cup carrot, cut into thin strips
1 bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
1 small onion, sliced into thin strips
2 cups broccoli, small florettes
8 oz fresh mushrooms, sliced
Cooked brown or wild rice, optional

  • In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and water, and mix together; set aside.
  • Heat 1/2 the oil in wok or large frying pan, when hot add beef and stir, cooking quickly; remove beef.
  • Put remaining oil in wok and add the carrots, cook for 1 minute, stirring, then add the remaining vegetables and cook, stirring often, until vegetables soften slightly.
  • Pour in the soy sauce mixture you made earlier, stir, reduce heat, and cook for another minute until hot and bubbly and aromatic.
  • Remove from heat, add beef back into the mixture, and stir.
  • Serve over cooked brown rice or wild rice if desired.

Monday, January 25, 2016

How Carbs Play Into Your Health & Weight - Both Here & Abroad

The modern American diet (sometimes called the Standard American Diet - or SAD) tends to include a lot of refined flours, sugars, and bad carbs.  Unlike other parts of the world where life is a bit slower paced, we in the United States want everything fast, and we want it now, and we're used to getting it now.  We want the convenience of fast food, instant food, frozen food, prepackaged food, and microwaved food.  And we get it.

What we get along with it is a growing epidemic of obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other health problems....

(Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at
Unfortunately, we are all so busy with our fast-paced lives that the majority of us don’t put healthy eating first.  This is also a big reason that our country is growing quickly into an obese nation.   An uncomfortably large percentage of our population eat the wrong types of food and lead sedentary lifestyles.  Then, there are others who are really trying to eat healthy, but are confused about how to eat right.  These folks may not have all the information, but are trying to make wise choices. With all the conflicting information and different choices out there, it can definitely be confusing!

This is probably why so many of us have been hopping from one fad diet to another. At one point, it seemed those little frozen 'diet meals' were the best way to lose weight and get healthy.  Then I learned to read nutrition labels and I realized there was no fiber, high amounts of sodium, and unhealthy additives.  Those easy weight loss plans quickly lost their appeal.  What are we to believe and what do we really need in our diets to eat healthy and lose weight?  Let's compare what works and what hasn't worked:

Food and Fitness in Europe

If you visit northern Europe, you'll see people are walking the trails alongside all of the roads.  Many people do not own cars; they walk, ride bikes, or take public transportation.  There are ferry boats, buses, and company vans that pick up crowds of people to bring to work.  Getting from Point A to Point B is somewhat of a task, which takes some energy, aka burning calories.

Shopping at the corner store, you'll find freshly baked whole grain breads wrapped in brown paper and tied with twine.  There are fresh whole chickens and meats available only at the butcher counter.  There are fresh fruits and vegetables almost on every corner.  Barely any processed and refined foods are to be found (although this is changing in recent years.)  Oh, and don’t even think about soda pop!  The only 'pop' or 'cola' available is in the  occasional convenience store that caters to the American tourist, where you may find a bottle at three or four times the cost as in the United States.

You will not only notice people eat cleaner and healthier, with more raw organic foods that are farm-grown or raised, but our European neighbors also stay more active in general day-to-day activities.  In fact, in much of the world, people do not lead sedentary lifestyles like many of us in the United States.  Of course this is a generalization, but statistics still prove this to be the sad truth.

Food and Fitness in America

The way we want things here, convenient and fast, has caused food manufacturers to add plenty of refining, processing, preservatives, and food additives into our food to get the job done.  We speed up the production of food so we have a lot more food to fill the grocery store shelves.  In order to do this, we fatten up animals with hormones to grow faster, faster, faster.  We treat produce with chemicals so they get bigger, bigger, bigger (at the cost of nutrition, which comes from good, healthy organic soils).

(Image courtesy of Witthaya Phonsawat at
Couple this super-charged food production with the fact that most Americans hop in their car to drive even a few blocks to the grocery store, and you can see why we have a serious health and obesity problem.  Fast food filled with bad carbs purchased while sitting in a car driving through a pick-up window is a formula for disaster when it comes to your diet and health.  Again, it boils down to wanting it fast, wanting it all, and wanting it now.  But, there's more.

Another factor along with 'fast, all, and now' is CHEAP!  We can't ignore the fact that you can buy a frozen pizza at your local grocery store for $2.50 when to make that same pizza with fresh, nutritious, high fiber foods could cost around $4 to $5.  We also can't ignore the fact that stretching a meal to feed a family is easier and cheaper to do with macaroni and white bread than with protein and produce.

The thing is, what do you want - to eat a lot of empty calories and get fat and unhealthy, or to eat healthy?  We can read labels, prepare ahead of time, and budget properly to get more of the high nutrition, high fiber foods into our diets and avoid or limit the bad carbs from our diets.  Becoming aware is the first step.  Bad carbs aren't only about putting on pounds.  A diet of bad carbs is creating a nation of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a host of other health problems.

I think that's reason enough to take a lesson from those who live a slower lifestyle, choose more natural foods, and spend more time on their feet than their bottom.  When you stock your pantry with nutritious, high fiber, low carb foods, you are taking a step in the right direction. 

I know you want it all, you want it fast, and you want it cheap... but when it comes to your health, that mantra just doesn't work.  You've taken the first step by just becoming informed.  Now take the second step, and do something about it.  Congratulations on choosing a healthier lifestyle!

Stay tuned in the coming weeks, as we discuss how to eat fewer unhealthy carbs, and more healthy, delicious, and nutritious whole foods. We'll also be sharing some simple, tasty recipes for enjoyment and good health.

Friday, January 22, 2016

Recipe: Turkey Artichoke Salad With Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing

With their large volume and low calories, salads are a big part of the Volumetrics Diet.

This version can be modified in many different ways depending on your goals and preferences. Don't have turkey on hand? Substitute chicken. Want more protein? Add a couple of handfuls of cooked navy, black, or kidney beans. Want less fat? Cut down on the cheese, or use a lower fat variety. If you like strong flavored cheeses such as blue cheese or feta, a little goes a long way, so you can use less and still get a lot of flavor.

However you make it, this is a great option for a lunch or light supper, as it will fill you up and leave you satisfied for hours!

Turkey Artichoke Salad With Red Wine Vinaigrette Dressing
(Serves 2-4.)

Salad, turkey, sundried tomatoes, spring onion...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp grated sweet onion
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
8 cups mixed greens, washed and dried
1 lb. roasted turkey breast, cut up bite sized
2 celery stalks, chopped
2 sweet red bell peppers, diced
1 jar (6 oz) marinated artichoke hearts, chopped slightly
4 oz. soft mozzarella cheese, chopped

  • Put the olive oil, vinegar, onion, salt, and pepper in a bowl and whisk vigorously until foamy.
  • In a big bowl, toss together the remaining ingredients.
  • Spoon salad out evenly between cold salad plates and drizzle the blended dressing over as desired, taste and season with salt and pepper if you wish.

 Check Out These Resources for More Tasty Volumetrics Recipes:


Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Recipe: Crazy Crunch Cannellini Salad

If you're following the Volumetrics approach, this salad will be a great option for a filling meal. Packed with tons of fresh, healthy veggies, along with beans for protein, and some tasty herbs for great flavor, you can pretty much eat as much as you want of this delicious salad!

Crazy Crunch Cannellini Salad


4 small cucumbers, scrubbed clean and diced small
1 sweet red bell pepper, cleaned and diced small
2 green onions, chopped small
1 celery stalk , chopped small
1 radish, chopped small (optional)
1 Tbsp parsley, chopped fine
1 can (15 oz) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained well
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp grated sweet onion
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/8 tsp black pepper

  • Put all the prepared vegetables in a large bowl and toss together, then add the beans and lightly toss just to combine.
  • In a small bowl put the remaining ingredients and whisk vigorously until blended well and dressing gets lighter in color and becomes frothy.
  • Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary.
  • Drizzle about half the dressing into the bowl with the vegetables, toss, and add more if desired, tossing again.
  • Serve immediately or chill slightly (about 20 minutes) before serving if you wish.
  • If your diet doesn't allow cannellini beans, you can substitute another form of protein such as diced cooked turkey or chicken.  This is a very refreshing salad that can take a lot of tweaking.
  • This makes a nice side dish for a grilled fish, chicken, or other meat dish.  You can also serve it as a light supper, lunch, or even a brunch dish.
  • Use a variety of herbs in the dressing to make this dish different every time you make it. You can also change the beans to others you may prefer.

 Check These Out for More Tasty Volumetrics Recipes:


Monday, January 18, 2016

The Volumetrics Diet: Eat More To Lose More?

The Volumetrics Eating Plan is based on the simple fact that people like to eat. And, if people are given the choice between eating more and eating less, they'll take more almost every time. Want proof? Just look at meal sizes over the last thirty years and you will notice that not only have the portions increased, the size of the plate has increased too.

Unlike diets that are based on deprivation, the Volumetrics diet doesn't try to fight this natural preference. Its creator, nutritionist Barbara Rolls, PhD, argues that limiting your diet is not sustainable; you will just wind up hungry and unhappy and revert back to your original eating habits. Let's take a look at the basics of the Volumetrics Eating Plan.

The Volumetrics Approach

The approach Dr. Rolls takes is to help people find food they can eat lots of while still losing weight. The diet revolves around the feeling of fullness, or satiety. The theory is that people feel full based on the amount of food they eat, not the number of calories or nutrient density.

So, the trick is to fill up on foods that aren't full of calories, which allows the dieter to stick to the main principle of calorie restriction. Dr. Rolls claims that in some cases, following a Volumetrics diet will allow you to eat more than you do now, while still slimming down.

Dr. Rolls has excellent credentials. She a professor of nutrition and director of the Laboratory for the Study of Human Ingestive Behavior at Penn State University. She is also the author of more than 200 research articles. Volumetrics is based, in large part, on the work done in her laboratory.

What You Can Eat on the Volumetrics Diet

Since the diet doesn't revolve around differences in body types or “good” foods and “bad” foods, Dr. Rolls doesn't ban food types as part of the Volumetrics diet. She does, however, urge people to evaluate foods based on their energy density which is a critical concept for the diet.

Energy density is the number of calories in a specified amount of food. Some foods are more energy dense than others, like fats, which have a lot of calories packed into a small size. Water, on the other hand, has an energy density of zero.

Basically, this diet is a game to see how you can eat more food while eating fewer calories.  Here is a short break down to give you an idea of what Volumetrics is all about.

Very low-density foods include:
Non-starchy vegetables
Nonfat milk
Soup broths

Very high-density foods include:
Chocolate and Candies
Butter and Oils

Since water is the ultimate zero-density food, Volumetrics relies heavily on foods with a high water content, such as many vegetables and fruits, which are 80 to 95 percent water. These will fill you up without adding a lot of calories. Dr. Rolls also suggests eating lots of foods with filling fiber, along with adequate portions of lean protein and healthy fats from fish and other sources. Of course, energy-dense foods, like sweets, fats, and alcohol, are still allowed, but only in moderation.

Anyone who loves lots and lots of food, will enjoy the Volumetrics diet. You will still have to do some simple math to calculate the energy density of foods, but at least you don't have to track calories or deny yourself a small bite of that delicious chocolate mousse.  If endless bowls of soup and piles of veggies and fruit appeal to you, dig into Volumetrics and watch the weight come off.

Learn More About the Volumetrics Diet: