It's very important to read all of these instructions from the beginning to end before attempting this recipe.

1 pound of organic drumsticks ($4 Fred Meyer)
1 I'm sure we have noodles
1/2 I'll figure it out

Heat 4 tbsp olive oil and put in not-defrosted-enough chicken in a pan on medium-high instead of the correct medium heat and cover.
Flip the more-frozen-than-you-realized mass of drumsticks over and heap over with garam masala seasoning blend.
Combine whatever bags of pasta frantically summoned husband finds and boil.
Turn the chicken to medium low heat to cook more evenly inside, while the outside is already burned and possibly bitter. Fail.
Microwave drumsticks. Fail.
Cut off meat from drumsticks to reveal overcooked and raw bits and put back in pan with all the seasoning and oil and cook on medium.
Fail to find apricots, raisins, or prunes but instead add a can of cranberry gel
Cover and simmer
Serve over noodles.

As it turned out, I used:

1 pound of organic drumsticks ($4 Fred Meyer)
1 can of cranberry gel
1/3 cup garam masala seasoning
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup rice noodles
1 cup wheat mini-macaroni

This was honestly one of my best dishes ever. You can buy garam masala from Bob's Red Mill (Milwaukie) in bulk if you don't have a wonderful father-in-law who makes it for you!

Here is how to make 2 meals cheaply turning mexican into greek food.

You will need: Mexican seasoning or spices listed below, 1 can black-eyed peas, 1 cup brown rice, 50-100 small kale leaves, olive oil, plus avocado, sour cream, and hot sauce to taste, a ground salt- preferably mineral-heavy, 1 small can of crushed tomatoes. To convert to nearly-dolmathes, you will need possibly more kale if you don't have 2 cups cooked kale in the taco filling, 4 rice wraps, 40 mint leaves, 1 medium lemon or pure lemon juice (like the fantastic long-lasting Lakewood lemon juice sold with organic juices in small bottle)

1. Soak 1 cup your choice of non-white, non-wild rice several hours/overnight in 3 cups water.  Microwave or boil until rice-like.
2 .Saute a LOT of kale in olive oil (2 tbsp)- if this were a small head of romaine it would take 50-100 leaves. Cook until they are JUST soft. (1/2 way between looking like lettuce vs. cooked spinach, they will look like canned grape leaves. Perfect.)
3. Heat rice, kale, and: 1 can black eyed peas, 3/4-1 cup canned crushed tomatoes (should be marinara-to sauce-like), 1/2 tsp ground exotic salt like pink which is high in minerals (or any salt but table salt), and 3 tbsp Mexican seasonings (Bob's Red Mill store bulk section, or 2 tsp ea. cumin, garlic, cilantro and onion flakes plus  1 tsp chili powder) in skillet
For 6 tacos, use 1/2 this filling total, add 1 huge avocado slice and 2 tbsp sour cream each, or less for less fat! (Avocado is a healthy fat with no cholesterol, but try non-fat plain yogurt to sub for sour cream) and sprinkle on some salsa or hot sauce. We use Melinda's xxx hot sauce which is habanero-like but milder and uniquely flavored (and incredibly good. Makes a pimento flavor if you mix it in sour cream or warmed cream cheese and top with green olive on a cracker)
Tacos with ridiculous amounts of sour cream, in organic blue corn shells from Whole Foods served with fruit for a Cuban feel and to keep the tacos standing while filling :) Refrigerate leftover mixture for tomorrow's nearly-dolmathes lunch
How to convert leftover filling to dolmathes (or facsimile thereof) if you don't eat the filling by itself as-is cold which is a fine meal:
1. Take the chilled remainder (1/2) of the taco filling and remove most of the greens, saving. Its easy.
2. Mix in Lots of fresh mint (40 large leaves ripped once or twice should do) or if you must, add 1 tbsp hot water to 3 tbsp mint flakes then mix.
3. Mix in 3 tbsp lemon juice drop by drop so its even
4. Wet a rice wraps and place on plate, put in 1/4 of the kale spread all over wrap except 1-2" on sides, and 1/4 of filling in a row. Wrap, cut in 1/2, repeat for 4.
5. Serve cold or steam in either microwave (glass dish with cover and 2 tbsp water dripped over for 2 minutes) or stove top steamer.
NOTE: This may make 6 nearly-dolmathes if you use more kale. The amount we used was about 50 small leaves in the mexican dish. Saute some more to make more dolmathes. Also, try a bite and if its not perfect, add more lemon or mint!
These are delicious medium pizzas you can make for $4.25 each! This is almost identical to one we made before but less money, fresher, and we think yummier. All ingredients found at New Seasons except Organic tomato paste from Costco. If you look at the amount of meat, the type of cheese and the veges and organic dough, this is a healthy dinner- especially with a fresh salad. Feel free to fix that with substitutions if healthy pizza is against your dogma. :)

Pizza Dough $3.30 (with the refrigerated  breads.) Follow directions on the bag of taking it out and letting it sit for 1/2 hr at room temp. You'll let it sit 10 more minutes after shaping it too.  See below for pizza dough tips so you don't do what I did!

1/4 lb. ground spicy sausage (new seasons case pork from local farm/ pacific village is not reared with GMOs.) $0.75. Cook in skillet on medium, dividing with spatula into fine crumbles until there is no pink in the meat. Just a few minutes.

After the pizza dough has rested for the first time, you're ready to divide it in half and prepare it for two pans.

Pizza dough tip: Get it in one try and leave it alone if its not perfect! Split it in two for two pizzas. Its so much more manageable than one giant one would be. Stretch the dough out by pulling the sides and rotating to make a disc evenly so it doesn't get too thin or tear. When its the size of a medium plate, put it on a baking sheet and push the dough to flatten out from the center like you were pressing down a pie crust into a pan gently. If you have a hole, patch it from some dough on the edge you cut off. DO NOT roll it back up to start over because it totally changes into something unworkable like rubber! Don't do what I did and try to add water. Rolling pin? Nightmare. One of my pizzas was so easy.

While you're letting it sit for 10 min. per the directions, make your sauce:

1 can organic tomato paste mix w/ 1 can of water $0.50/can in cases of 12.
Stir in some spices you got in the bulk section for pennies at N.S. or in bottles from Winco when they have their amazing sales on spices:
1 1/2 tbsp Italian spices ( or 1 heaping tsp ea. thyme, oregano, rosemary & basil)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 tsp onion powder
optional: crushed red pepper. grind it fine in a dedicated hand-held coffee grinder by shaking up and down. How much? We used 1 cayenne, about a heaping tsp. We ground up the rosemary with it while we were at it.
Spread on two pizzas- If you have extra it makes a nice dipping sauce.

1 small block of the new Provista organic mozzarella cheese (for $2.50!!) grated, put on pizzas

Slice an organic yellow squash into 1/4 inch slices. Yum. Slice up a little tomato too. They total $1.50.

Add squash and sausage to pizzas, tomato now or after it cooks.

Bake at 425 until you're satisfied. Ours was 20 minutes.
It was handy to just cover the whole pizza on the pan with wrap after it cooled and put it in the fridge. 2 days later we warmed it up at 300-350 for 10 min and it was delicious. What a nice surpro

Broke or snowed in? Get these ingredients in your cupboard now. This is one of the most nutritious meals ever- especially the chard variation at the bottom! Makes 10 cups or more. 4 really big servings. We're calling this 5 servings.

Two recipes here- one is with hot spices or other favorites, the other is with coconut cooked chard.

1. Cook 1 cup Pearl Barley. And read this article to see how and why to incorporate barley into your diet if you aren't allergic or gluten-intolerant. It takes 3/4 of an hour but its all just simmering- no stirring or anything.

To cook pearl barley: In medium saucepan with lid, bring 3 cups water to a boil. Add 1 cup pearl barley and return to boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook 45 minutes or until barley is tender and liquid is absorbed. Makes about 3 to 3-1/2 cups.In a crock pot or slow cooker: Place 2-1/2 cups boiling water, 1 cup pearl barley and 1/2 teaspoon salt in crock pot or slow cooker. Cover and cook on HIGH for approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Read more: How to Incorporate Barley Into a Diet |

NOTE: Links above have problems. Here is an update 8/11: Cook barley:
Incorporate barley:

2. Also cook rice. 1 1/2 cups sushi rice with 2 1/4 water in covered microwave glass dish 5 minutes, let sit for 5 minutes, stir, cook 5 more minutes. Why wait? The sticky rice glue won't overflow.

3. Chop up a small habanero into 1/4 inch chunks (this is a spicy recipe with us of course. How do the mild-loving people even eat? But any very flavorful spice mixture will do. A good bet would be mild mexican seasoning or a number of Simply Organic blends. Check labels on spice packets, pick the top ingredients and make yourself.)

4. Grind 1 whole dried chipoltle pepper, 2 whole cayenne peppers, and 1 tsp of whole cumin in your dedicated spice coffee hand grinder from the resale shop ($3 or $4- there's always one for sale) which wipes out beautifully. You'll have to shake it up and down as you grind for less than 30 seconds.

5. Heat red beans in a large saucepan with spices (for us the spices are steps 3 and 4) on lowest heat until barley is done. You may need to add 1/4 cup of filtered water to the beans first and check on it. (Do you have a filter for your water? It helps get Roundup and other chemicals out of it.)

6. Add everything together, add 2 tbsp Annie's organic Worcestershire sauce simmer for a while until nice and hot.

7. Serve up with coleslaw or cabbage.

8. Freeze the rest. How long? Not sure- a while though.

When we say this is good pantry food you can make any time, how long will a can of beans, dried peppers, rice and barley keep? Not sure. A long time if stored correctly.

If you buy canned beans, rice, barley and buy dried peppers or dry them yourself and/or have spices and a bottle of organic worcestershire, you  will have food if you're snowed in or flat broke.

Variation: (this is fabulous!) boil up a can of coconut water (its in the drinks area of the store if they have natural foods) and throw in some  ripped up, beet-tastic rainbow chard or any chard for a few seconds (this is often a good deal for produce) and then stir it in after the rest. If you have enough of this, you won't need spice! This is so delicious.

Price: habanero, almost nothing. 1 1/2 cup rice and 1 cup pearl barley- $0.75 together. Can of red beans $1.25. spices and peppers- almost nothing if you have it on hand- $0.50 maybe. Prep time 15 minutes, total time 1 hour without doing anything for 45 of them but waiting. However, side of cabbage which lasts forever can be $2 bagged at Winco or a small cabbage $2 or $3- or Chard $2.50-$3 at Fred Meyer (best selection) or New Seasons (very good too). coconut water $1.50 or $2. In other words, you can add $5. that makes it $0.75 per serving.
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

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!

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2 juice recipes below. Wanna see the juicer first? Here's a link to the product page on the Brivelle site with specs or see the pic below. We don't own kitchen appliances to speak of- just the toaster, microwave, and coffee maker. Oh- we have a thrift store toaster oven. But we spent $150 or so on a juicer. This is why- I imagined a good juicing experience. Then I imagined a bad juicing experience. Some things you're paying to avoid a hell. And we love it! It really does juice an entire apple at once like they say. The food prep is negligible and we have the cleaning down pat so its not a big chore. Its fun. Anyone that wants to talk about juicing, cleaning, sale produce shopping, recipes... write a note on our Facebook page or email us please! But if you read below, you don't have to necessarily own a juicer ...
2 juice recipes
1. Equal parts Carrots, Apples, Bok Choy, and Red Cabbage. That's it. Just remember,  Cab cab.
2. Equal parts Carrots and Apples - (8 small apples and 10 good sized carrots split between 2 quick batches will fill up that 16 oz repurposed Santa Cruz juice jar)
A chunk of ginger root the size of a deck of cards or less.
Also, 4 tbsp or so pure lemon juice added after to the batch (found next to the organic juices in small jars, not a concentrate). I guess instead of cab cab, this would be "Glac." No job in juice marketing for me.

Do watch the amount of ginger and lemon juice. 4 oz. is very strong ginger flavor which we love. Also, there is a big difference in lemon juice concentrate in a plastic lemon and Santa Cruz or Lakewood Organic pure lemon juice. The latter is sweet and tart, cloudy and a lovely citrus. The former is strong and sour and clear and if you add the same amount of it, you will probably just taste lemon. Pucker up. The Lakewood made the other flavors come out and I thought it even sweetened it somehow.

Produce prices
How much is this stuff? Everything is $3 each. A large bag of carrots, a bag of small gala or other apples, a red cabbage, a jar of lemon juice, each are $3. The ginger was less, plus you can often get just half a red cabbage.  You could make both juices (2x14 oz) for $14.
That's right- a 6 oz. serving is $3. But you seriously just ate 3 apples, 3 carrots and some ginger or cabbage- nothing digestible was lost and it was put in a form that your body will absorb the most. If you're really into it you can ask the grocer about buying boxes for juicing instead of the regular sizes of produce- or find a good CSA. That works well if you have other juicing friends to split a CSA share with. In fact...

No juicer?
I didn't start out owning a juicer. I went over to a friend's house who invited others over to juice with him. I lost track of Juice Dave. :( Anyway, Juice Dave got into it when his roommate taught him and he was always in upscale food service/bartending to begin with. I would be invited over (this was years ago!) to juice with him and maybe others. We shared in cutting and cleaning the veges and washing up the juicer. He treated me to the actual produce but a person could go in halvsies easily. It was an event- something enriching to do. There was always something funny as we did this. Chances are, you have a friend with a juicer. In storage! If you ask them they'll say, yeah they really should- they used to then stopped. If you have special relationships with friends because you walk with them, or play cribbage with them, this is that kind of thing. Its really social and you're accomplishing something that feels absolutely purely positive and full of self-love as you give yourself good food, and its always with that friend that has the juicer who appreciates you for getting them back into it. Try our recipes, try your own, go easy on the celery and have an excuse to spend some quality time with those friends. Do it early so you can get revved up to do more fun things together. Nothing makes you say Carpe diem like a morning juicing party with friends.

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Put ¼ tsp each oregano, mint (maybe extra mint!), basil, thyme, marjoram, and kosher salt with 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil right in a nice sized glass baking dish, like 8x8x2”. The tall jars of spice are $1.98 at Winco, no kidding. Figuring in that you have some and whatever you buy you’ll use again, we’ll call spice $1 for this recipe. Our 33.8 oz Napoleon brand olive oil at New Seasons was $9.99- sometimes its on sale.

4 chicken thighs (this time with bones and skin) Fred Meyer $4.18.

I spread the spice / oil mix around in the dish, put in the thighs and rubbed them around on both sides and under the skin. We cooked at 400 degrees for 45 minutes, flipping them at 25 minutes. The chicken fat and most of the oil remained in the dish when we removed the chicken.

Here are a few pictures- the olive oil & spice mixture, Ernie with the baked chicken and our dinner. Hey- its after midnight. It's halloween! Like Ernie's shirt?

The salad was all about the Feta. I saw the new Organic Valley Feta at Food Front because we tabled there today- $1 less than other places- next to the shelf coupon for $1 off and built the salad around it. (This coupon was $1 off for 2 products, sometimes they are for just one.) We’re now committed to using Feta- probably for salads or antipasto this week. We’re okay with that!
We got a huge head of organic Romaine at Fred Meyer for $2!

1 Roma tomato $0.75
1 package Organic Valley Feta $4.99 with coupon
1 large head of organic Romaine lettuce (Fred Meyer) $2
Annie’s creamy balsamic is shown here ($4), but we also use Ernie’s own mix of balsamic vinegar, olive oil and Italian seasoning that we pay very little for per serving. (If you like it sweet, add cane sugar or agave. We’ve seen creamy Italian dressings with mustard powder, cream, and clove in the store.)

We’d suggest adding cucumber and mushrooms, but this was just fine as is!
Also shown, a fig from Food Front and some Nature Bake bread with butter.
Been a bit behind in posting new content to the site, what with Mary & I getting married and all! While some people would think that October is a bit late in the year for barbeque, that fact is, as long as you have some sort of cover, you can grill all year long. Here is something quick and easy we learned when we were in Hawaii. As mentioned in the previous recipe, we did all of our meals pool-side at the hotel. This is something we picked up from one of the other guests.  One night, we saw someone grill up chicken and put it in a tortilla. We thought it was such a great idea, that we went and did the same thing for lunch the next day! Cook the chicken and sweet onion on the grill. When done, quickly take them off and dice them. Put them in an organic tortilla and add slices of cheese. Place the tortilla back on the still warm grill. Make sure the flame is out first! Leave it on for a couple of minutes,  just long enough for the cheese to melt. Take it back off of the grill and add tomatoes and salsa.  Accompanying this particular meal is Garden of Eatin’s Maui Onion chips. We first found these in Hawaii. We were excited when New Seasons started carrying them locally. This is a quick and easy meal that can be put together in about 20 minutes. You can prepare most everything while the meat is being grilled. This is one that can be easily altered depending on what ingredients you have available. Feel free to experiment with different meats, veggies or cheeses.  Kick back by the pool and enjoy!

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Here is something we discovered early in our quest to become GMO-Free. When we stopped eating GMOs, we discovered that we had to dispose of almost all of our oils and sauces, since the majority of them were made with soybean or canola oil. Losing the spicy stuff was one of our biggest disappointments. It was in Hawaii that we found a replacement. While on vacation in Kona, we avoided eating out. We had a plan that we were going to make all of our own meals while we were there. This would let us save money and avoid GMOs. The hotel we were staying at was supposed to be equipped with a full kitchen. This “full kitchen” turned out to be just a small microwave and a coffee maker! However, there was a community barbeque next to the pool. So we hit the local farmers market for veggies and a couple of local grocery stores for fresh meat and seafood. We then proceeded to grill all of our meals.  That’s right! Fresh, homemade, poolside, barbeque, every night! It was at Island Naturals in Kona that we discovered Pele’s Fire, a chili-infused Macadamia nut oil, from Oils of Aloha. Our first meal with this wonderful oil is the dish you see here. We grilled up a couple of chicken breasts, diced them up and put them on a plate of noodles. We then topped this off with the mac-oil.  Accompanying the chicken & noodles is asparagus, also cooked on the grill, and fresh, organic mango. We brought a couple bottles of this oil home with us, and have since ordered more. This has become one of our favorite meals. Sometimes we use a chicken breast, other times it will be a thigh or leg. Most of the time it will be cooked on the outdoor (gas) grill, but pan-frying is an option if the weather is uncooperative. Cooking time will be about 25 minutes on high with the outdoor grill. If you choose to pan-fry, I would suggest dicing up the chicken and cook over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes. The noodles will vary a little as well. Sometimes it will be a fettuccine style like in the photo. Other times it will be angel hair pasta or a Japanese Soba noodle. In any case, the noodles will always be organic. Bring the water to a boil, add about a tablespoon of oil and add the noodles. Cooking time for the noodles will be about 8-10 minutes for Italian style pastas, but only about 4-5 minutes for Asian style noodles. If you are one of our local friends, contact us and we will have you over for a meal. We hope you will enjoy this little taste of the islands.

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    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.


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