Organic Cooking Tips for Winter

We are most of the way through the holiday season at this point, but winter is just beginning.  My chickens are still laying luscious rich eggs (blog coming soon!) and comfort food is in full swing. to cook and bake at this time of year while keeping things healthy and organic?  It is far simpler than you may think!

A few tips and tricks to de-stress your winter cooking while staying healthy:
  • Keep a bottle of organic olive oil next to the stove at all times.  This will keep the basis of your stove-top cooking healthy and can also fill a small sprayer with olive oil to spritz salads and pans for stick-free cooking.
  • Purchase pre-washed baby greens, and always have them on hand.  Olivia's organics are my favorite!  Add them to salads, frittatas or omelets, sandwiches, and smoothies.  Super-healthy way to eat greens every day.
  • Use raw organic apple cider vinegar, and raw local honey.  You can use them in dressings and  in smoothies to tang things up and keep your body healthy.
  • Purchase organic flour and organic evaporated cane juice in place of sugar in bulk.  It is very reasonably priced, and lasts a long time.  You can purchase enough for months and it will keep just fine!  If there is a food co-operative in your area you can purchase it locally, or through an online grocery. 
  • Add at least 1/3 spelt flour to recipes calling for white flour.  You will not notice a texture difference and you will be adding a bit of fiber and whole grain.
  • Organic herbs and spices are fantastic, so is vanilla. 
  • Find a friend with chickens or a local organic farm, and buy fresh eggs.  Totally worth it, and not much more than grocery store eggs!
  • Eat less meat, and purchase hormone-free.  Our local store has "smart meat"...a bit pricey, but worth the extra cost.
  • Roasted vegetables are delicious, inexpensive, and can make a meal by themselves...try them!  Just drizzle with olive oil, sea salt and pepper, and roast at 400 degrees on a cookie sheet or roasting pan.  Turn a few times.  Cook until tender (20-40 minutes depending on the veggie).  They carmelize a little and taste incredible!  Try it with cabbage, fresh brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, beets, squash pieces, or turnips.  You will not be disappointed.
  • When switching out white rice for brown, check cooking times.
Finally...Let the kids cook!  They love it, and are able to do far more than you think.  My 7-year-old nephew made artisan bread his first time cooking, and my grandchildren regularly make bread, cookies, and rice with just a bit of supervision from their parents or myself.  It keeps them off the electronics and producing something they can be proud of.
My oldest granddaughter showing the youngest how to make oatmeal cookies.
No need to modify recipes when you cook.  Just replace most or all of your ingredients with organic.  So far, my best result has been organic Christmas cookies...I made old-fashioned ginger snaps and Italian snow balls.  My favorite ingredient was pasture butter from Organic Valley, which I used in both recipes.  They were incredible!

What are you doing this year to make your diet more healthy and organic?