Gramma Willi’s Chili

This is one recipe that I really love. Friends and family are always asking me to make it for big and small gatherings. Easy on the budget and packed with goodness, it’s best when made with love, tastes even better the next day and it freezes well. A special treat served with Corn Bread or Bannock.

2 C. dried kidney beans (substitute pinto, romano, Jacob’s cattle or other big beans, or mix 3 or 4 together)

water

1 or 2 onions, chopped

2 cloves garlic (or 2 tsp. Garlic powder)

oil or fat for frying

1/2 – 1 pound ground beef (or use TVP – see below)

3-4 T. chili powder

2-3 T. cumin

1 T. dried coriander (cilantro), or 1/2 C. fresh

1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper (optional, add 2 or 3 times as much for a hot, spicy chili)

dash of cinnamon

large can crushed tomatoes (2 1/2 cups fresh)

1 tsp. brown sugar

2 T. vinegar (white, red wine, apple cider or balsamic)

small can peaches in light syrup (optional)

salt and pepper to taste

Soak the beans in water about 2-3 inches above the beans in a non-metal bowl for 6-8 hours or overnight. Discard the soaking water, add beans to a large pot and cover with fresh water an inch or two above the beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the beans are soft (1 1/2 to 3 hours).

Cook the ground beef (or dry fry the TVP) until nicely browned and crumbled, set aside. Sauté the onions in a little oil until soft, then add cooked beef, garlic and spices and cook covered, for 5 more minutes. Add the meat mixture, tomatoes, brown sugar, vinegar and peaches to the beans and stir well. Cover and simmer over low heat for at least an hour to let the flavors blend, stirring occasionally to prevent burning; this is a good recipe to cook all day in a slow cooker or in the oven. Serve over rice.

Suggestions: Vegetarians and Vegans can substitute TVP dry-roasted with cumin for the ground meat to give a meaty texture and lots more protein. Offer crushed red pepper or Tabasco sauce at the table for people who like hot chili.

Hints: The beans will be more digestible if you add a piece of seaweed (kombu or dulse) to the beans while they cook, or you can add 1/2 tsp. baking soda to the soaking water to make the beans less “gassy”.

Time saver: For a quick chili, use 2 or 3 large cans of cooked kidney beans.

Note: Because this is such a good winter meal, we planned to make you a video of this recipe not too long ago when Brian and I were both in Toronto… didn’t work out. We will be getting to that asap, so stay tuned!

Much love, All My Relations, Gramma Willi

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

Magic Muffins

This is a great quick recipe, perfect for those times when you’re being careful with your money or don’t feel like shopping, but need to satisfy a craving for something a little sweet. I give recipes like this the name “magic” because they can be made with a wide variety of ingredients (Magical Options) and they come out a little different every time, depending on what you have in the kitchen…. they’re a nice dessert, a great snack, a quick breakfast and a super gift for friends and neighbours… enjoy!

Ingredients

Dry ingredients:

2-3 Cups Muffin mix and a few Magical Options (see below)

Wet ingredients:

1 C water, 1-2 T cooking oil (or melted margaine or butter) and an extra cup of water

Mix your wet and dry ingredients separately, then make a ‘well’ in the middle of the dry. Add the wet mix to the well, stir it through to coat the dry mix; keep adding water a little at a time until the mixture is moistened all the way through, but not too stiff to stir. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350ºF and grease your muffin tins well. Fill to 3/4 full of muffin batter, bake for 20-28 minutes or until they spring back to the touch and smell just right.

Magical Options (pick a nice combination from below and use your imagination!):

1/2 cup shredded coconut 1/2 C raisins or currants, chopped dates, dried cranberries, papaya, apricots…

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, almonds, walnut or pecans

1 tsp. powdered ginger 1 tsp. cinnamon powder

1 plain chocolate bar, chopped (or 1/2 C chocolate chips, or 2-4 T. cocoa

1 small apple, chopped or 1/2 C blueberries, strawberries

Muffin Mix

1) Store bought mix: you can find cake or muffin mix on sale and add “Magical” stuff from your kitchen

2) Homemade mix: 3 cups flour (or 2 Cups flour and 1 cup oats) 2 tsp. baking powder 1/2 tsp. salt 3/4 C of sugar, or more or less to taste

Suggestions

Fruit Filling: Fill each muffin tin half-way and add 1/2 tsp jam, jelly or soft fruit in the middle. Fill the cups 3/4 full with the muffin batter and bake!

Time Savers:

1) Keep half of the batter in a clean jar in the fridge to make fresh muffins quickly anytime; the batter will keep for 4-7 days.

2) Make a big batch of dry muffin mix and keep it in the freezer – When you’re ready to make muffins, shale out what you need into a big bowl, add your wet ingredients and magical options and bake.

Sweet combinations:

“Fruity” explosion: Add chopped apple and a few raisins and berries to the dry mix; put a spoonful of jam in the middle of 2 layers of batter.

Ambrosia: Add coconut, ginger, cinnamon, almonds and orange essence, diced orange rind or mashed banana.

Gourmet ideas: You can blend a whole orange with the seeds removed into the wet mix, add some chocolate chips or cocoa to the dry and make a nice chocolate orange muffin!) How about lemon, poppy seed and cornmeal?

Savory Combinations: Leave out the sugar and add one or a combination of: Shredded cheese, chopped sundried tomatoes, cooked beans, diced carrot, fried minced onion, celery

Add herbs and spices – chili powder, oregano, rosemary, parsley , olive oil

Rough Times Bacon ‘n’ Egg Muffin: (you’ll never want to stop at a fast food place for breakfast once you’ve tasted these! ) Put a small piece of cooked bacon (vegetarians can use soy bacon), a bit of grated cheese and a spoonful of stirred raw egg in the middle of each muffin, fill the muffin cup with no-sugar batter (you can add a few herbs too!) and add a little grated cheese on top. Bake as usual.

Tip: Don’t have a muffin tin? Well, use a cake pan, a frying pan with a heatproof handle, small tart or other baking dishes – or get to the second hand store and find a nice muffin tin… it’s still probably cheaper than buying those store-bought muffins.

Much Love, Gramma Willi

Good Clean Food for Everyone!

Good Clean Food For Everyone! The Food Security Revolution and Environmental Health

by Gramma Willi

Relatives – like so many of us, I find myself more and more pleased that being an activist has become an easier road to walk. Victories for human rights and for the Earth increase in number and significance and we hear about them sooner than we used to. Everyone’s talking about green jobs. Our hopes are up, we may actually have an activist leading the free world – Yes We Can! It’s quite a time to be a part of it all, isn’t it?

One of my favorite stories about the changes in public attitude towards environment and health concerns feeding our children. So much has changed in my lifetime. As a young mother, it was almost impossible to find, let alone afford, organic baby food; it was tricky to find a place to breast-feed a baby in peace. These days, parents can find a wide variety of organic baby foods and formula in almost any supermarket; my grand-babies were all breast-fed (even the twins!) and fed organic baby foods. Now that the monopolies have more “natural” offerings available to consumers, are we happy with the production? Is there a next step that we need to take?

IICPH (International Institute of Concern for Public Health), whom I have worked with for many years, has a stellar reputation for providing independent, thoughtful analysis and corroborating community environmental health concerns. Most of our works for communities report on contamination of the air, land and water. It has always given me sadness when we report arsenic, tritium, mercury, lead or other highly damaging pollution where people have food gardens or farms. Food discussions at our youth and elder gatherings took on sad notes when realizing how very careful we must be where we grow our food, where it comes from and how it is prepared. We can make sensible choices when we consider our health.

The good news is, learning to choose, grow and cook good food provides not only sound environmental education, but when applied, benefits everyone’s health and saves people money! The truth is out there, people want clean food and groups like IICPH are uniquely positioned to help them to learn about it. Never has environmental health education been more timely and important… and good food is a delicious place to focus.

Perhaps the silver lining of the economic collapse is that the cards are on the table. Finally, the voices of old hippies and tireless activists are welcome and needed. The public continues to become informed and grows in wisdom as the next generation begins making its mark in history books and business reports. Let’s fill their bellies and minds with good things.

Remember that I love you

All My Relations,

Gramma Willi

~~~~

Gramma Willi has been working with IICPH since 1997. Expressions of her dedication to the clean food revolution can be found at http://roughtimes.ca and http://YouTube.com/roughtimescooking.

~~~~

Here are a few more resources to get you started if you want to do more about clean food:

http://www.foodsecurity.org/
The Community Food Security Coalition (CFSC)
is a non-profit 501(c)(3), North American organization dedicated to building strong, sustainable, local and regional food systems that ensure access to affordable, nutritious, and culturally appropriate food for all people at all times.

http://www.toronto.ca/health/tfpc_index.htm
Toronto Food Policy Council
, 277 Victoria Street, Suite 203, Toronto, Ontario M5B 1W1l: Wayne ““Taking control of our food” Roberts, Project Co-ordinator: 416-338-7937. Friends of Toronto Food Policy Council is on Facebook.
Their aim “is a food system that fosters equitable food access, nutrition, community development and environmental health.

http://www.foodsecuritynews.com/Resources.htm
The Food Security Network of Newfoundland and Labrador
have a great page full of links to action going on all over!

Please email to Gramma Willi if you know of any more independent and reliable resources to help our Rough Times mission:

Good Clean Food For Everyone!

Published in: on November 17, 2009 at 2:00 PM  Leave a Comment  
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Rough Times Cake

Rough Times Cake

Watch a video of this recipe at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e_aMmz_nhhE

This is a simple and not-too sweet cake, sometimes called “Depression Cake”. So easy to make, it is free of eggs or milk, so it’s vegan friendly, easy on the budget and delicious.

Ingredients

2 Cups Raisins

1 Cup Brown Sugar

2 Cups Water

1/3 Cup Margarine

1 tsp Cinnamon

1/8 tsp Nutmeg

1/8 tsp Allspice

2 Cups Flour

1/4 tsp Salt

2 Round Tbsp Baking Powder

Sift dry ingredients together or stir well. Mix the wet ingredients in a big cup or bowl, add to dry mixture to make an easy-to-stir dough. Pour into a greased and floured 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Bake at 350ºF for 50-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean and dry.

Suggestions: While it’s still warm, spread a thin layer of corn syrup over the top for a nice glazed, elegant-looking cake. Freezes really well if it’s wrapped twice; since it’s such a big cake, I usually freeze half for later). Add nuts, raisins, currants, sweet cranberries, chopped apples or coconut to the dry mix… use mashed bananas, a little less water and make it a banana cake… forget the spice and add chopped strawberries, peaches or blueberries… use less water and a beaten egg or two for a rich texture – there’s no limit when you use your imagination!


Ginger Recipes – Good Old Time Medicine

My mother taught me to use ginger to chase away colds and flus and to soothe upset stomach and moon-time pain. I love ginger because it makes your breath smell good, its nice hot taste sure does warm up the body and it makes me and my family feel a lot better. Chopped fresh ginger is a great addition to stir-fry meals and curries.
Recently, my pal Tahnee said she’d like it if I put some of my ginger recipes on this blog.
I did a little research first. Among other sources, I found a great article at the University of Maryland web site (http://www.umm.edu/altmed/articles/ginger-000246.htm). Many reports stated that ginger is a natural antibiotic, helps digestion, gas, nausea, headaches, arthritis and menstrual pain and is a time-honored remedy for cold and flu symptoms. I also read that for children under 2 yrs. and people on blood thinners, you should ask your doctor before using ginger as a medicine. There were a few reports that using too much ginger will cause stomach ache or diarrhea.

African Ginger Drink
I learned this recipe from a strange and beautiful man that I met in the produce section of a supermarket. We somehow ended up discussing that year’s flu epidemic and prophecies. He claimed that this recipe will cure even the new antibiotic resistant strains of flu. This is what I cook up when a really bad cold or flu hits our friends or relatives; I’ve had many requests for more and for the recipe. Look for ginger that has a nice smooth skin; if it’s wrinkled, then it’s old – still usable, but fresh is definitely best.

a fist-sized piece of fresh ginger (1/2 to 1 lb.)
6 quarts of water – enough to fill a Dutch oven (small stew/spaghetti pot)
2-3 C sugar
Peel the ginger with a spoon (use a small knife to remove lumps) and cut into thin slices. Put the ginger and sugar into the pot, bring to a boil and simmer for 4-6 hours, let cool. By this time, you should have a nice, hot-spicy, golden-brown “juice.” You can drink this as is; I drink a half cup a few times a day for colds and flus. If you want a thick syrup, boil it down some more until you can eat it by the spoonful – good for kids.
You can also mix it with orange juice or put it in cake and cookie mixes. My favorite, put a few tablespoons in a regular cup of tea with milk – tastes like India Chai tea – yummy!

Quick’n’Simple Ginger Tea
My Mom gave me this for tummy aches. It works well. Powdered ginger isn’t as strong as fresh, but it will do when it’s already in the cupboard and you don’t want to run to the store.

1/2 tsp. powdered ginger
1 tsp. sugar or honey
1 C. freshly boiled water
Mix in a cup and drink while warm.

Candied Ginger
Also known as crystallized ginger, it takes a few days to make, but it’s worth it because you get a nice juice to drink and use in teas while you’re waiting for the candy to be ready!

2 fist-sized pieces of fresh ginger (1 to 2 lbs.)
6 quarts of water – enough to fill a Dutch oven (small stew/spaghetti pot)
2-3 C sugar

Peel the ginger with a spoon (use a small knife to remove lumps) and cut into thin slices. Put the ginger and 1 C sugar into the pot, bring to a boil turn heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, let cool. Drain, keeping the ginger water in a jar to use in tea, etc.

Put the ginger back into the pot, fill it with fresh water and add 1 C sugar. Bring to a boil, turn heat to low and simmer partly covered for 20 minutes, let cool and let stand overnight.

Bring the pot to a boil and add 1 cup sugar, stir until dissolved, turn heat to low and simmer simmer partly covered for 20 minutes, let cool and let stand overnight.

Bring the pot to a boil, add 1 cup sugar, stir to dissolve and turn heat to low and simmer partly covered for about an hour, stirring often so that the mixture does not burn or stick to the pot. The liquid should be quite thick and almost like a syrup when it’s ready; if it’s thick when runs off the back of a spoon, it’s done. Let cool.

Put the slices of ginger on a rack to dry (6-10 hours or overnight). Coat the dried pieces with sugar, store in an airtight jar; keep the remaining syrup for tea, baking, etc. Should last a few months without refrigeration, longer in the fridge. Eat as a candy, suck and chew it slowly to get the most benefit.

Tips: I travel with candied ginger and use it for upset stomach, if I get symptoms of a cold or flu and to prevent infected people from passing on their germs to me.

A few drops of essential oil of ginger is a sweet-smelling addition to a bath. It is good and warming, helps to chase the chills out of the body and soothe aches and pains.

Baked Macaroni and Cheese

This is one of my all-time favorite comfort foods. If you buy the cheese and pasta on sale, it actually costs less per serving than packaged noodles with cheese powder, cooks almost as quickly, tastes better and is a lot better for you.

2 – 3 C. pasta (macaroni, rotini, shells, etc.)
2 – 3 T. cooking oil
1 C. cold water
2 – 4 T. flour
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. ketchup
1/4 pound cheddar cheese, grated

Cook the pasta until almost tender, drain. Put a little cooking oil in the pot, add the pasta and toss to coat. Put the cold water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Mix the flour, salt and pepper with a little more cool water in a jar, mix in the ketchup, and add this mixture to the boiling water. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until thickened, add grated cheese (reserve some for the topping) and stir constantly until cheese has melted – don’t let the sauce burn! Stir most of the cheese sauce into the pasta to coat it evenly. Place pasta in a baking dish (glass is best) pour the rest of the cheese sauce over the top, sprinkle with the remaining grated cheese. Bake in a 350ºF oven for 20 – 30 minutes. Serve hot.
Hints: Use good olive oil or margarine to coat the pasta if you have it. Using fancy pasta like rotini, fusili or shells gives that “gourmet touch” for the same money (but most kids just love old fashioned macaroni).
Suggestions: Mix chopped tomatoes, green pepper, frozen vegetables into the pasta mix before placing in baking dish. Double the recipe and freeze individual or family portions for quick meals on busy nights.

Apple Crumble

Rough Times Cookbook Recipes

This dessert smells and tastes like apple pie, but is a lot quicker and easier to make. It’s one of my standard contributions to pot luck dinners and “emergency” fancy dinners when unexpected hungry guests drop in.


Filling:
5-6 large apples, washed, cored and diced or thinly sliced
cinnamon and brown sugar to taste

Crumb topping mixture:
2 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. rolled oats
1-2 tsp. cinnamon, to taste
1/2 tsp. nutmeg (optional)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4-1 1/2 C. brown sugar (depends on sweetness of the apples and your taste)
3/4-1 C margarine or butter

Lightly grease a regular sized cake pan or small casserole dish.
Mix the dry crumb topping ingredients really well with a fork in a large bowl. Cut in the margarine or butter with the fork and mix until crumbs are even sizes, not too large. Spread 1/3 of the crumb topping mixture on the bottom of the pan, press down with the fork; top with the chopped/sliced apples and sprinkle them lightly with a little cinnamon, nutmeg and brown sugar.
Add the rest of the crumb mixture evenly over the apples, pressing lightly with the fork, especially in corners. Bake at 350ºF for 40 minutes to 1 hour (until it smells just right the apples are nice and soft and the topping is golden brown).
Serve as is or with whipped, thick or ice cream (Maritimers will probably enjoy a little canned milk on top.)

Hints: You can use white sugar if you have no brown; add a little extra cinnamon to improve the flavor… this makes a great breakfast in a bowl topped with yogurt or heated with warm milk. A great way to use up apples that are past their prime; no one will notice wrinkled skins or little bruises once the apples are all baked and smelling soooo good – I promise! This recipe is easy to double or triple.
Variations: You can vary this recipe by adding dried raisins, currants, fresh or dried cranberries, even frozen fruit like strawberries to the filling. Add flaked coconut, sunflower seeds or other nuts to the crumble topping for a nice texture, flavor and extra protein.

Bread – Bannock

Baked Bannock

This is our family recipe, rooted in the traditions of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. It’s easy to make and delicious …a good reason to keep a bag of flour in the cupboard. Why run to the store for bread?

3 C. Flour
2 T. Baking powder
1/2 tsp. Baking soda
1/4 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
2 T. Oil or shortening
2/3-1 C. Water

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Stir well with a fork or sift dry ingredients together. If using shortening, cut it well into the flour mixture. Make a well in the center of the bowl, add water (and oil), mix quickly to get a firm, but not too dry consistency. Pour into a greased pie plate or 9 x 9 in. baking pan (glass is best). Bake 25-35 minutes until a toothpick inserted in centre comes out clean and dry. Serve warm with butter or margarine, jam, peanut butter. Enjoy!

Options: Use unbleached flour, half & half whole wheat and white flour, bran. Substituting 1/4 C. soy flour and adding milk powder adds extra protein.
Add 1/2 C. sugar to mix and: On top of half the batter, add any of the following fruits: blueberries, apples, strawberries – sprinkle 1/2 C. sugar over fruit. Cover with rest of batter and bake.
Mix raisins into dry mix and drop biscuit-size spoonfuls onto a greased cookie sheet – a great favorite with kids for breakfast and snacks!

Suggestions: Warm leftover bannock in a slightly damp kitchen towel, paper bag or paper towels in the microwave for 2 minutes or for 10 minutes in a low oven.

Rough Times Cookbook

RoughTimesCookbook.jpgAbout The Book

ROUGH TIMES COOKBOOK: How to Cook, Eat and Shop on a Low Budget. By Willi Nolan

Written by a former welfare mother and legendary human rights activist, Nolan’s cookbook is a labor of love and a chance to help low income people to eat well for life. People on the smallest budgets will find ways to stretch their food dollars and make delicious, gourmet-quality, quick and easy, meals at home with this timely, simply written book. Sure-to-become a kitchen classic, The Rough Times Cookbook teaches common sense, tried and true ways to shop on a budget, stock a kitchen, store good food and eat healthier.

Although it was written to meet the needs of people who live on very low incomes, anyone who wants to eat well and still have money left to enjoy life will appreciate The Rough Times Cookbook’s no-nonsense approach to eating and living well. Drawing from grandmothers, students, and single parents, The Rough Times Cookbook gives plenty of great tasting, inexpensive and nutritious recipes, from main dishes and soups to quick breads and desserts using ingredients found in most kitchens.

Its great combination of home-style and unique recipes include low meat, no meat, East Coast, Asian, Jewish, wartime and Native Indian cookery. An entire “Meatless Meals” section is devoted to vegans and vegetarians. The thought-provoking section on “Healthy Foods” takes the mystery out of health food, while the mouth-watering recipes provide plenty of helpful hints and suggestions for saving time, substituting ingredients and putting your personal touch to any dish. Most main dishes will feed 4 people and can be prepared for $2.00 -$5.00

The Rough Times Cookbook makes a great gift for anyone who wants to get the most out of their food dollar, and is especially useful for the budget-challenged. $20.00.

Contact: Willi Nolan, The Backwoods Writing House