Sunday, May 27, 2012

Granola Girl

Growing up in a small town in Washington, I was a country girl, low maintenance, no make-up and some even called me "Granola Girl."  Then, I'd just smile and considered the comment for being 'earthy' or 'natural.' Today, I reflect back and seem to appreciate it even more.

Enough of history for now...making homemade granola IS SO EASY!!! and it makes the house smell amazing. About a year ago, I discovered some fun granola made through a Co-op here but then when I looked at the price, it was $10 for 2lbs....ummmm whoa! Then I saw on Food Network, the Neeley's were making their own. (Love the rest stops)  So I ventured to make my own. I couldn't keep it stocked as my husband was devouring it as fast as I could make it. Back then he was very ill & he wouldn't eat much so I thought it was a good thing that he had found something he liked. Today I know that the oils used are extremely important and canola oil (what the Neeley's used) is no longer in my pantry. For high temps, I use coconut oil or almond oil. Extra Virgin Olive Oil goes rancid after it hits around 170'F so I mainly use that for salads, etc.

Okay so this granola was inspired by Fake Ginger BUT I substituted the infamous coconut oil for the vegetable oil. (I like to think of our hearts getting healthy fats instead of artery clogging fats these days.) I did NOT stick to her recipe completely as I added dried apricots, dried cherries, dried coconut and craisins.  I used pecans, almonds and chia seeds but omitted sunflower and sesame seeds. Sometimes I have personally found that sunflower seeds can overpower a recipe. The added applesauce was a twist that I had never thought of for added sweetness. I also substituted in sucanat for the brown sugar. I apologize for the sticklers on measuring; I didn't really measure much here. It seems more free-spirited that way AND it still turns out amazing!

So returning to my roots, earthy and natural that is, this one's for you. A little salty, a little sweet and a whole 'lotta' natural! Spread those pantry doors open wide, dive in and mix it up! I promise being "granola" is a fun journey.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Chip Cookie!

vegan cookie cake

I decided after finding Chocolate Covered Katie yesterday, it was time to put my sweet tooth to rest. With all of these graduations going on and me passing up cookies and cake, I was excited to dive right into something healthy without any guilt! MAN O MAN does this cookie hit the spot! Thank you CCK!

Here is her recipe for the giant chocolate chip cookie cake

  • 1/2 cup quick oats
  • 2 tbsp unsweetened applesauce (So fun using homemade!)
  • 1 can white beans or garbanzos (drained and rinsed) (250g)
  • 1.5 tbsp canola oil  (here is where I substituted in coconut oil) 
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cups brown sugar (You can try adding less, (I did a lil less)  if you’re used to healthy desserts. Also, white sugar will work if you don’t have brown, but brown is recommended for the best taste. I can’t personally vouch for the results, but some commenters have reported success with xylitol, if you want it sugar-free.)
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Blend everything (except the chips) very well in a food processor. Mix in chips, and pour into an oiled pan. Cook at 350 F for around 20 minutes. Let stand at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan.
My little guy and I truly enjoyed this treat. He even wanted more! It's hard to believe there is NO flour in this recipe. Truly amazing.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Spring Cleaning

To re-organize the pantry has been on my  to do list for months now. I had already cleaned out a lot of the old junk, ie. trans fat, sugars, processed boxes etc. but I really wanted to clean and switch plastics to glass too.  With each passing day, I would see things that no longer had a place in our life. It was liberating to get this done.     

Organizing always seems to be a work in progress but this was where I stopped at 11pm last night. 

Honestly, a highlight for me now in my pantry is there's a place for my recipe books and I can walk in it! 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

RAW crackers

I had a friend call me and say they tried to make RAW crackers and that I needed to try them. (Thanks Vic & Grace!) So I decided to toss in some pecans, almonds, green pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, soaked flax seeds and soaked chia seeds with a lil bit of the water they were soaking in. Also a dash of sea salt.  (Sorry, I don't measure. It's more fun that way.)
I was really surprised to find out how oily this mixture turned out to be. 
I left them in the dehydrator for about 30 hours or so checking them and rotating the tray levels. 
 I could continue to leave them for a bit longer to be crunchier and add a little bit more sea salt and other seasonings. (Vic loves them spicy!) Overall, these are moist (naturally oily) and knowing that this snack is a protein & fiber filled OMEGA punch~ that is GLUTEN FREE is an awesome experiment! I say go for it!  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Kombucha Wha?

I was reading about five weeks ago on about Kombucha tea. I was instantly intrigued but totally clueless. This is a perfect example of a "rest stop" as I call them where I feel like God honors my desire to know more and understand more so He opens up a journey to do just that!

Last week, I was at the health food store right here in town and it's a very small town! The owner there told me about a lady here in town who makes her own Kombucha and sells it for $12 a gallon.

(These 16 oz. bottles in the picture, I have found at Fred Meyer's or Rosauer's for $3 each. The Grape on the left has chia seeds (mega healthy! another future post) in it and the Passionberry Bliss is my favorite so far!  But you can slightly see the enzymes on the bottom of the bottle on the right. Trust me, they are more scary in person!  DO NOT SHAKE!!! Shaking will destroy the enzymes and become less beneficial to your digestive gut. When I get to the bottom, I give it a swirl and swallow hard, picturing only the benefits going in.)

Yesterday, I met Mary, "Kombucha Mama!" The entire trip to her house was a gift. She walked me through how she makes it, dates it and how she stores it. I got to try several different kinds that she makes and was so impressed. When I originally went on the link "KombuchaKamp" from realfoodfreaks above, I thought, I'll just buy and never brew; it's too overwhelming and I'm too frugal to purchase the brewing system they showed.

If I have learned anything at all on this journey thus far, it's that whenever I say "never" in my thoughts or out loud, God has a way of bringing it back around to fruition each and every time! I guess this one slipped by my conscious mind until today. Mary doesn't use the expensive brewing system that I saw previously online. Instead, she starts by boiling water, sugar, (yes sugar) and black tea. This begins the process but when the tea has sat for a day and the "Scoby" is added, it consumes the sugar and leaves behind natural enzymes & probiotics. These are natural probiotics and definitely cheaper than the ones you buy in capsules on the shelf for $40-50!!  These days, yogurts unfortunately are so processed that there are very few probiotics or live cultures left by the time we consume them. Now, my lil guy thinks Kombucha is the soda that I never use to buy!

This tea ages back far into cultures where refrigerators didn't exist and natural fermentation was considered a healthy thing. People were way more healthy! Where did that go? Oh ya, our culture & society today says carbonation belongs in soda, otherwise it's garbage. Huh?  I beg to differ! There are SO many benefits from Kombucha, I've snagged a few here:

  • Liver detoxification
  • Increase metabolism
  • Balance internal pH
  • Rebuild connective tissue
  • Cancer prevention
  • Relieve headaches & migraines
  • Increase energy and vitality
  • Reduce blood pressure
  • Reduce kidney stones
  • High in antioxidants & polyphenols
  • Improve eye sight
  • Heal eczema
  • Fight candida & other yeast infections
  • Reduce gray hair  (this one alone was worth a try for me!) 
  • Lower glucose levels
  • helps leaky gut
  • aides in digestive issues
After reading up on Kombucha benefits & talking with Mary yesterday, I hardly think this ancient tea is "garbage" because of its' fermented goodness! Yes, the scoby is a bit scary but I think over time, with Mary's help, I may just try brewing it myself.  After all, my kid thinks it's soda! When something SO great for your body tastes that good, I take it as a gift from God! Kind of like the stumbling over Kombucha five weeks ago...this whole health kick in our New Year has this amazing magnetic force to unravel more hidden health secrets. I'm slowly becoming less clueless and more intrigued...and I'm lovin' it!       

Half pizza, half vegan

I found organic pizza dough through Co-op this week so I decided to try it tonight. I'd definitely get the dough again. Since Dres is a huge fan of "just cheese" pizza, I decided to journey through the fridge for my half. My sauce topping is a favorite go to for me; green hummus! What else could I name it...AvoMus? (let me know on that one.)

Super Simple Hummus: 1 can of garbonzo beans aka chick peas, (I do canned because I've tried soaking these raw and then cooking them but even after a week, they were still too hard for me to enjoy) extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, 2 garlic cloves, 1 avocado and juice of a lemon & lime! Taaa Daaaa!  Green Hummus!

I also topped my side with quinoa, which I also keep pre-made in the fridge, sun-dried tomatoes (Costco) pickled asparagus, avocado, dehydrated tomatoes and pecans. I'm thinking this half could qualify for vegan...? Not that I am, but thinking it could be an overwhelming diet to tackle, I can't help but get excited when I can successfully take a recipe down for the vegan team!

I've always heard that Chicago & Italy are the pizza capitols of our planet. Maybe one day, I'll be blessed enough to visit and try the pizza there. Until then, have fun experimenting with toppings and allow your taste buds to dance to a new beat. Blessings, B

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Crazy ride outside a box

All of these ingredients were tossed together tonight for a sprouted bean trio (Costco), coconut and pecan "salad" if you will.... Definitely a different concept to throwing things together but again I revert back in my mind, "What's my intent with food for this meal?" This dish is full of fiber, protein, vitamins, minerals & nutrients my body will love AND I will be fulfilled by my positive choices. I am finally realizing that food is fuel for the body; not a journal to pour my emotions into. I saw a word poster on Pinterest saying, "You are not a dog so don't reward yourself with food." Boy, did that hit home. I love how my "rest stops" always have a gift of empowerment. Jesus, I am truly blessed by you!

How does one draw emotion away from the food we consume? Well, I am finding that it's a journey and different for every soul. As I rid the toxins of my spirit, my body and mind are enjoying life truly on a different level. Heck ya better late than never!  

Recipe Ideas

 Coconut Flour Chewy Chocolate Cherry Granola Bars Recipe photo

Check out for some great ideas! I love that I can now take old recipes when I used to use "WHITES" and substitute for the healthier options: 

sucanat, xylitol, real maple syrup, evaporated sugar cane juice for white sugar
coconut flour or almond flour for whole wheat or white flour
coconut oil for any other trans fat oil 
(I wonder if coconut butter could work for butter....hmmm butter and I have been the best of buds since I was six...that one may be hard to say "see ya" to...although these days, coconut oil is moving in closer) 

As far as recipes go, when it comes to making dinner, hands down most overwhelming meal for me to be creative with. So I'm learning to think outside of the box. Some days are easier than others. But for snacks and smoothies, I love throw caution to the wind and explore! Let me know if you find any keepers!    

Today's Favorite Foods

So I have been on a kick to add more protein to our diet simply because I do not consume meat on a daily basis and like fiber, protein helps fill us up so we are no longer hungry. It also helps in the muscle department but that's another post.

I discovered "pea powder protein" but then found these organic peas at Costco. I've included the Nutrition Facts to show how much fiber and protein are included in such a small amount. I've started to add these to our smoothies, also on top of my eggs in the morning, and sometimes a side at dinner. I keep them in the freezer and find them super simple to use. (I found a protein powder but go figure; the lil guy doesn't like it!)
Super nutritious! 
 HA! Bet ya never thought you'd see "fries" on here did ya? Well peeps, these are sweet potato fries baked in coconut oil with a dash of sea salt! Man o man, I love these!  So good and also super nutritious! I'd love to know what are some of your favorite foods? 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My morning detox

So I have to confess about something...Last night I went to the local frozen yogurt place for a play date and to meet a dear friend who just had her second baby. We walked in and the girl greeted us at the beginning of the yogurt line. Out of curiosity, I had asked her if she had a list of the ingredients that they used and SHE DID!  Little did I know I was about to be overwhelmed on a level with food that I have never experienced before. The one prior 'splurge' to this was eating Red Velvet Cake for Rob's birthday back in early February but even then, all of this info was still so new. There was SO MUCH RED DYE in that cake, I regretted my few bites the next day.  I know we are "allowed vacation meals" but this lifestyle change after 4 full months has left me not even wanting anything like cake or ice cream etc.  (We had a Groupon to use up so that's why we went there.)

While I'm standing there, I'm letting everyone else go first as if I was debating on whether I was really going to do this! The feeling of being this overwhelmed ABOUT SUGAR was an eye opener to me. It was as if I was looking back on how hard I have worked to learn everything I can and now for a few minutes, I'm going against these grains. It truly felt so un-natural. Speaking of un-natural, this morning my body was NOT happy. I WAS EXHAUSTED!  Instead of waking up with the sun- naturally, I drug and drug and drug, sleeping in an extra three hours. I was relating to why they say that sugar is like cocaine; controlling your body, spirit & mind.

When I finally put my feet on the ground, I made a smoothie for the lil guy and proceeded with extra's just for me. (If I would have given this to my lil guy, he would have said, "Uh no thanks.")

This smoothie consisted of: 
coconut water
almond milk
red bell pepper

In my mental state, I was appreciating the natural foods that can go in and detox genuinely when we've veered off the natural food path. This was proof that my body does perform differently when fed good versus not so good foods. Tonight, I am finding myself still more tired than I am used too. I am curious for tomorrow if I will be able to naturally rise with the sun once again. Stay tuned.....   

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Coconut to the rescue!

Can I just say, " I LOVE COCONUT!" Maybe you didn't quite get my drift. I ABSOLUTELY TURN TO COCONUT ON A DAILY BASIS THROUGHOUT MY DAY!!!

When I discovered that there was 10,000 pus cells in 2 TBSP of dairy milk, not to mention that it interferes with our bodies natural ability to produce much needed hormones to be healthy, I QUIT BUYING DAIRY MILK!  I never looked back. SO I have turned to Coconut Milk. Occasionally, we'll pick up Almond Milk as an alternative but Coconut Milk is our staple. I mix it with Coconut Water to drink my vitamins, I put it in smoothies, and even pina colada pops! (Pinterest calls those "crack on a stick" and they don't kid!) Coconut Water has more electrolytes than Gatorade and guess what? THEY ARE NATURAL!!! 

I absolutely LOVE Coconut Butter (in the little jar). A spoonful in the afternoon is a great snack and FULL OF FIBER!! 

Coconut Flakes are great in RAW snacks such as RAW nut balls. YEP ya just crush nuts, RAW honey, Coconut Oil and some sea salt. Roll into balls and toss into freezer. I keep them there for a snack on the go! I have learned NOT to use peanuts as they are grown with a natural layer of mold, YES MOLD! plus they go rancid very quickly. YUCK! and then a waste of the other awesome ingredients. 

The gallon bucket is my favorite: Coconut Oil! If you've ever heard anyone say it's bad for you, send them my way. I am a walking testimony of how coconut oil has transformed my journey. I use to cook with, bake with as many other oils go rancid when they reach high temps or they just plain SUCK for your insides. Vegetable oil, Canola oil, Safflower oil, Sunflower oil...the list is long but they pretty much CLOG YOUR ARTERIES and are known as TRANS FAT! As soon as Coconut oil hits your tongue, your body recognizes it as a good fat, knows exactly what to do with it and where to put it AND its' used right away as energy! Tell me that's NOT a WIN/WIN!  

Okay so back to my uses...Cook, bake, fry, YES FRY because it's a healthy oil, a spoonful in smoothies for energy, RAW snacks, smear on almond butter sandwiches, (bread is a whole other post) a base for my deodorant, lotion, YEP LOTION. After watching David Wolfe (on You Tube seminars) he has mentioned that using coconut oil as a lotion helps penetrate into the skin, promoting our bodies natural ability to balance our hormone levels. And are you ready for this one? After researching cosmetics on the market, I decided to try it as my moisturizer and I ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT! In the past week since using it on my face, I have had two people comment on how the color in my skin looks so healthy. Ahhhhhhh music to my heart. So yes, this is definitely a LOVE!  I'll never be the same and I LOVE it!