Friday, April 23, 2010

Earth Day and Liver

Happy day after Earth Day - or as my son kept calling it Green Day. I think the green logos and the said named band got twisted in his head and it made for some funny moments.

We began the day with something I called Fruits of the Forest Oatmeal. Why the name ? Because I got tired of saying oatmeal with berries, pears and apples. Fruits of the Forest sounds so much more interesting, don't you think ? Great oatmeal dishes deserve fun PR !

I had originally planned on certain lessons and activities for the day, but Nick was so excited that it was Green Day that I abandoned those plans and decided to turn a lot of earth day programs and activities into our lessons. It's one of the beauties of homeschooling- the ability to change plans and strike when and where the iron is hot. One of the things we caught was a program called Life after Oil- which dealt with a scenario of life once the globe's oil supplies run out ( something the Peak Oil people are predicting to happen in the next 20 years). He was pretty cool with the idea of no cars until he saw this meant no shipment of foodstuffs and forced rationing. That scared and greatly upset him, until I explained that it simply meant people would have to do things in a different way and that there is indeed food all around you , outside your front door. This became a biology lesson where we grabbed the field guides, headed out the door an found food in our back yard. Dandelion leaves wrapped around orange sections are absolutely delicious - if you make sure you are picking dandelion greens from a non sprayed source and carefully was them before eating. These and several other foodstuffs are growing right out your door, at your feet. Nick was impressed and reassured that life would go on - an important belief for any human being !

Eventually it was lunchtime and I decided to make something I saw on Marissa's blog , but with some different ingredients. Lithuanian rye bread ( love love love !) with red pepper hummus, baby spinach , sliced avocado and cucumber slices. I paired it with some baked pita chips and veggies- it was really tasty ! I think I am ready to classify hummus as one of my favorite foods in the world .

The following meal may cause memories of childhood trauma, responses of EEWWWW and other such side affects.
With that said, I present to you last night's dinner- Healthy Saute'd Liver and onions with Vinegar and Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Couscous salad and a green salad with cranberries and walnuts

Healthy Sauteed Liver and Onions

1 medium red onion
3 TBS low-sodium chicken broth
3 TBS low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 lb calf's liver -- sliced thin (1/4-inch)
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic -- chopped or pressed
1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and pepper to taste

Thinly slice the onion. Chop or press the garlic.
Turn stove to medium. Heat 3 TBS low-sodium chicken broth in a stainless
steel skillet.When the broth begins to steam, add onions, cover and
Healthy Sauté for 4 minutes.When the onions have lost most of their water
content and have become dry, push them to the side of the skillet,
leaving space in the center.Heat the second 3 TBS broth in the center of
the skillet, leaving the heat on medium.When the broth begins to steam,
add the sliced liver and Healthy Sauté uncovered for 3 minutes.
The pieces will be browned on one side, and the liver will release
Turn the liver pieces over and brown the other side for 3 minutes. When the liquid has evaporated, the
liver is done.Remove the pan from the heat and drizzle the liver and
onions with balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil,
and garlic. Add salt and pepper to taste.Transfer to a serving plate and
serve immediately.

Vinegar and Honey Glazed Brussels Sprouts

1 pound Brussels sprouts
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
¼ cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 425°F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Trim the ends off Brussels sprouts and halve. Set aside in a mixing bowl.
In a small saucepan, combine vinegars and honey. Bring to a boil over
medium heat and cook, stirring often, until mixture is reduced to ¼ cup.
Toss vinegar and honey mixture with sprouts, and spread on prepared
baking sheet.Bake for 25 minutes.Makes 4 servings

Confession- as a child , one of my favorite meals was Liver and Onions, and we ate it once a week because liver was cheap, high in protein and good for you. My mom would coat it in flour and spices, pan fry it quickly , and it was one of the most tender, tasty things she made. I ate a lot of organ meats as a kid- at that time they were considered to be healthy. Then came the late 70's and a really bad study on cholesterol led people to believe that eating eggs, liver and so many other foods would lead to heart attacks. Finally, the truth is coming out . These foods will not raise your cholesterol and are actually good for you. Did you know that liver contains compounds that help to actually prevent a heart attack ? It's true. The danger form eating liver too often comes from it's incredibly high level of Vitamin A, and certain health conditions make it hard for the body to process the level. Liver supplies 29 grams protein,36 percent of the RDA for iron and 634 percent of RDA for Vitamin A.162 percent DV of riboflavin, 72 percent DV of pantothenic acid, 72 percent DV of folate, 66 percent DV of niacin, and 54 percent DV of
vitamin B6. It does a body good !


Marisa (Loser for Life) said...

You would have LOVED growing up in my house!!! ;)

Dutch said...

I love liver and onions. I haven't had it in ages because no one in my house will eat it. I just may have to get some this weekend. Have a great day.

spunkysuzi said...

When my husband had a heart attack last year he was sent to cardio rehab. Which was exercise, diet etc.
They have a hospital dietician there and she said for heart patients they are not to eat any organ meat!
And we both liked liver but i haven't made it since then.

Leslie said...

Hi! I didn't know you homeschooled, but I really respect that. I was a mom who was all too glad to push my kids out the door for the school day!

I used to love chicken livers but wouldn't have admitted it to any of my friends! I'm sure I still would but haven't had any. The brussel sprouts sound great!

Thanks for your nice comments on my blog!

Deena Cessna said...

I Just want to say that I enjoy reading your blog...I am trying to raise my 2 daughters the healthy way like you are and enjoy all the food recipes. They are great help.
Keep it coming....

blessedmama said...

Okay, I admit it - I love the Fruits of the Forest idea, but eww is right to the liver! Even when I ate meat as a kid, I had to smother it with ketchup to get it down. The funny thing is, my mother only served it about once a year to boost our iron. What happened - suddenly our iron is depleted once a year and we must scarf up some liver? I never got that. I think that's a tip hidden in her "How to Torment Adolescents" handbook.

Diane Fit to the Finish said...

I had to do a "fast scroll" over the liver and onions! Sorry but that does bring back some unpleasant memories! Glad you like it though.

Sounds like you and your son had a great experience doing Earth Day your way!!