Finding myself temporarily short on both food and funds, I decided to see if I could make my own peanut butter. Armed with only a mortar and pestle, I shelled a bunch of peanuts and proceeded to crush them by hand. Once I got every peanut half crushed at least once, I added a little peanut oil to help smooth it out. I then added a touch of agave syrup to make it a little sweeter. This was then put on Nature Bake’s Stoneground Whole Wheat bread with organic strawberry jam. It took about a half-hour to make this little bit of peanut butter. A food processor would have been a huge help in this situation. I think it was worth it though, since Mary likes the result.!

Note: prices are for what you have to buy for the whole packages. If you don’t use the whole item, consider the cost less.
Dishes: 2 skillets (one large non-stick for polenta and later filling, one medium or large non-stick or cast iron for chicken at the beginning), glass baking dish 9”x9”

½ to 1 jar Muir Glen Italian herb spaghetti sauce - $4/jar Fred Meyer (note: money saving tip: thin the pizza sauce recipe on this page, [equal parts tomato paste and water, plus tsp. garlic powder, tsp. salt, 1 ½ tsp. onion powder and Tbsp. Italian Seasoning] by half with water.)
½ can pitted Santa Barbara Olive Co. green olives - $3/can New Seasons
4 boneless organic chicken thighs - $4 Fred Meyer
1 roll Organic basil-garlic or plain polenta - $3 Fred Meyer
1/8 tub shredded Organic Valley Parmesan cheese - $4/tub Fred Meyer (note: money saving tip: buy two single Organic Valley (Not Horizon! Greenwashing “organic” factory farms) string cheese to substitute Mozzarella for Parmesan without buying a whole tub of cheese. Just pull apart lengthwise and cut three times and you have shredded mozzarella. It lacks the kick of Parmesan and its not economical in the long run but it does save money on the preparation cost of this dish.)
2 tbsp. Napoleon olive oil New Seasons or Fred Meyer - $10 ($7 on sale often at New Seasons which is announced on their weekly specials page on www.newseasonsmarket.com)

Cut chicken into chunks (about 8 pieces per thigh) and cook in skillet with 1-2 tbsp. olive oil on medium heat until cooked.
Cut polenta and roll in half width wise, stand each half on end and slice into four strips making 8 sections and cook on large non-stick pan on medium-low until browned, flip and finish browning. Remove and line a 9” square glass baking dish with the polenta.
Slice a dozen or two green olives in halves or thirds.
Heat spaghetti sauce, olives and chicken in the now empty, non-stick skillet until warm (or this will have cold spots when baked).
Pour mixture over polenta, top with Parmesan cheese, bake 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees, et Voila! Whatever it is, it tastes like Chicken Cacciatore!

Please help this site- if you pass on the recipe, mention GMOFreePortland.com.


    Why recipes & tips?

    Disorientation is what we felt when we suddenly felt compelled to shop, cook and dine differently. It happens at that point you know too much to eat GMO’s. It’s probably like being an exchange student. You know a lot of the language perhaps, but there’s layers of knowledge to gain by speaking it all the time.

    Since you’re not a native speaker, you may find out after several years that a word you’ve always used isn’t quite the right one. Plus, sometimes you really need a word and you don’t know what it is- you can’t wait so you put together some phrase that pretty much means the same thing. Every day it gets easier, and by necessity you learn quickly.

    What makes it harder is our assumptions and preconceptions- even half-truths (at best) we’ve been sold. I assumed citric acid came from citrus. I assumed natural flavors would not contain GMO’s. I assumed cage-free meant chickens lived outside of cages. I assumed things like GMO fish and meat and dairy from cloned cows would be labeled and I’d know when they were on the shelves. I thought genes worked the way I learned more than a decade ago and safety tests conducted by scientists proved GMO’s were safe. The reason we have to discuss and link to all the stuff coming from regulatory agencies and scientists is that by not knowing we accidentally ate GMO’s.

    We have only our perspective to write from, and challenges we hear about others facing. By going non-GMO, you are eliminating many prepared foods or switching brands to be non-GMO or organic. When we knew too much to eat any ever again once we spotted them, we suddenly had problems eating because we had some knowledge gaps, it cost too much, we couldn’t find food, and it was taking a lot more time. For some of you, time or money added will keep you from doing it- and you might shut the door on the truth because you think you are helpless until you have more time or money. That isn’t true. It may not all be on the website yet but since we do it, we will write about it and you could always call us (email us so we know what number is yours first and pick up) and we’ll bend over backwards to give you whatever you need to make it work. We’ll go shopping with you or answer your call, text message or email in real time if you have a question at a store or restaurant or whatever you need. Until we have a lot of this up as we think of it, we’ll use a blog so the newest is easily found and you can use key words (“categories”) below. Later we’ll change this page from a random tips and recipes blog to an organized guide page.

    You will see that we didn’t know the basics, so basics are often going to be here- like our fastest best way to cook rice. Anything we know how to do or that folks suggest we pass on will be here and some will be new because they are recipes we made up. Some things only apply to going no-GMO so they might be new too. And some people live on fast food and prepared dishes and will be lost in a kitchen (we know people like that) or think they have to buy Organics because it would be awful to make non-GMO food themselves. Its not- its delightful, easy and cheap. You feel better and eat better food and food becomes an experience that brings very good feelings. I’m not a cook. I throw things together and I’m becoming good at that- so much that some of what I do might now be called cooking. Anything that is really cooking will have come from you all and we’ll post it here too so we help other cooks too. Thank you for reading.


    December 2011
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