Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Easy Fruit Salad

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This is such a good breakfast, mid day snack, or dessert!! There has been a ton of strawberries on sale lately, and other berries, so I have been eating this yummy salad almost daily.

5 strawberries
1 mini pineapple
1 oarnge
1 banana
1 mango
1/4 C walnuts
1/4 C coconut**
drizzle of honey

Chop up the fruit, and walnuts, put in a bowl. Drizzle with honey, and the coconut. Simple, but so delicious.

Any fruit would be good in this, just throw whatever you have in on hand.

** Make sure the coconut is not sweetened, you can get it at the health food store, look for it in the bulk section. Coconut that is sweetened is soaked in high fructose corn syrup and a lot of other preservatives, who knew!!

Money saving tip: When fruit is on sale, buy double or triple of it, and freeze half of it for smoothies

Fun in the Kitchen

Lets just say Isaiah wanted to express his own creativity in the kitchen with the baking soda!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Coconut OIl, Why is it Good For You

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Coconut Oil

Good fat

Today, healthy fat deficiency is prevalent throughout the North American diet. Studies show consuming a sufficient amount of fat, in the right forms and proper proportions, has significant health benefits for both body and mind. Among other things, good fats can strengthen the immune system; greatly reduce cardiovascular disease; increase energy and performance; grow healthy skin, hair, and nails; regulate body weight; improve organ and gland function; and enhance brain and nervous system functions such as mood, intelligence and behavior.

Weight Loss Aid

VCO, a healthy fat due to its composition of medium chain fatty acids, is a natural weight loss aid. VCO gives you a full and satisfied feeling, resulting in less total calorie consumption throughout the day. Virgin coconut oil also contains rare medium-chain triglycerides (MCT), which are digested more rapidly than the more commonly consumed long-chain triglycerides (LCT). LCT is prevalent in most diets because it appears in commonly used oils like safflower, corn, soybean and canola oils. The rapid digestion of MCT results in a rapid rise in metabolism and energy levels, resulting in more calories burned and weight loss. A 2002 study conducted by Marie-Pierre St-Onge and Peter J. H. Jones, published in the "Journal of Nutrition," states "research conducted to date in animals shows that replacing dietary LCT by MCT causes a rise in energy expenditure, a depression of food intake and lower body fat mass. Similarly, in humans, MCT increase energy expenditure relative to LCT consumption."

Candida Cure

Candida albicans is a yeast microorganism that lives naturally in your intestinal tract. Candida overgrowth symptoms occur when the yeasts multiply and spread throughout the body. The effectiveness of virgin coconut oil as an anti-fungal agent on these candida species was tested in a 2007 study performed at the Department of Medical Microbiology & Parasitology, University College Hospital, in Ibadan, Nigeria. The study found that candida albicans, the most common isolate from clinical specimens taken, was 100 percent susceptible to pure coconut oil. The study concluded that "coconut oil should be used in the treatment of fungal infections in view of emerging drug-resistant Candida species."

Disease Treatment and Prevention

Virgin coconut oil contains medium chain fatty acids, including lauric acid (also found in human breast milk) and caprilic acid. VCO contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties due to these medium-chain fatty acids. On a smaller scale VCO can strengthen the immune system and prevent the common cold and flu. On a larger scale, a study performed on HIV infected patients at San Lazaro Hospital found that "coconut oil does have an anti-viral effect and can beneficially reduce the viral load of HIV patients."

Skin Care

Virgin coconut oil is an excellent face and body moisturizer. Use a small amount of VCO daily for wrinkle prevention on the face, or as a gentle replacement for baby lotions. The anti fungal properties of VCO will effectively kill fungal infections like athletes foot when applied liberally to the infected area twice daily.

Here are some excellent ways to use coconut oil in your beauty regimen:

· As an all-over moisturizer, keep a jar handy near your shower. Before drying off with a towel, apply the coconut oil to damp skin. The oil works as a water sealant, keeping the moisture locked in. Then simply pat yourself dry.

· Try using it as a gentle, effective eye make-up remover, even for stubborn waterproof mascara.

· Use it before and after sun exposure to protect and soothe skin from harmful UV rays

· It is a remarkable hot oil treatment for those with damaged hair or dry scalp (dandruff). Gently heat the oil and massage it into scalp and hair. Don’t forget the ends! Leave it on over night for the ultimate deep conditioning treatment. Remember to cover your pillow with a towel. Then just shampoo it out in the morning.

· Before retiring for the evening, try applying it to your face, hands, elbows, knees and feet. Wear hand gloves and socks to wake up with an ultra soft experience.

· Use it to moisturize cuticles while relaxing in front of your favorite TV show.

· Slather on chapped, winter lips.

· Mix with a coarse sugar or salt to make your own economical body scrub.

· Finally, because of its anti-viral, anti-fungal properties, it can be used to soothe and help heal eczema, fungal infections between the toes and when applied underarm, can prevent body odor.

-taken from

Where to get it?
I like to buy mine in bulk because it is a lot cheaper. I buy mine at Mountain Rose Herbs. It is the best price, and has such a good flavor. I just bought the 5 gallon bucket, it worked out to be 36 dollars a gallon with shipping.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Sprouted "Grainola" with Strawberries

Here is what I do with the sprouts, I like to make breakfast cereal out of them. Sprouts can be kind of crunchy, so for the texture I like to take rolled oats and pour almond milk over them, then I add sprouts to the oats. I put a little honey on it, and dried fruit, chopped nuts, and there you have a really healthy, tasty, fast breakfast. In this picture I mixed applesauce in the with the sprouts, added goji berries, dried coconut, and strawberries. I just went to class on sprouting and she added applesauce to it, I thought it was a great idea. She also made crackers with the sprouts, I am going to try that next. I will let you know how it goes.
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Sprouting 101

What is sprouting?

Sprouting is soaking seeds or grains so that they are an actual live food. Like a seed that you plant in the ground and water, they start to grow, this is the same thing, you are essentially "planting the seed" and making it a live food.

Why should I sprout?

Enzymes are important for sustaining all of the functions of the body. "Without enzymes we would die. Thus enzyme depletion causes aging, slowing the cellurlar processes and cellular reporduction and causing cells to be susceptible to free radical damage. We age as the body becomes unalbe to replace old cells with healthy new ones. Staying young and healthy is simply a matter of keeping enzyme activity maximized in your body" (12 Steps to Whole Foods). Sprouts do exactly that they are a powerhouse in enzymes. Wheat that has been sprouted has 28% more thaimine, 315% more riboflavin, 66% more niacin, and 65% more pantothenic acid, 278% more folic acid and 300% more vitamin C. It also has 300-400% more fiber and 40 times more enzymes. Are you excited yet! Sprouting is great for food storage, because if anything ever happened you could get all of the nutrients you needed from sprouts.

What can I sprout?
Grains, seeds, legumes, and even nuts. Make sure that they are organic though, because a lot of conventional seeds are sprayed with chemicals and will not sprout.

How do I sprout.

Get a quart jar, and fill it a 1/3 of the way with seeds. Fill the rest of the 2/3's with filtered water. You want clean water to soak the seeds, so make sure that it is filtered. Leave it to sit on the counter over night. In the morning drain the water and rinse off the nuts, seeds, or grains. Let it sit on the counter top for 3-4 days, and rinse it twice a day. The seeds, and grains will start to grow little tails. When the tail is as long as the seed, that is when they are at peak nutrition. They are ready to eat. You can then put them in the fridge to slow down the growing process and continue eating them. Nuts on the other hand will not grow a tail, they are ready to eat after you have soaked them and drained them overnight.

Step 1
Put the dry seeds in the jar. Here I have rye, millet, oat groats, amaranth, and teff.
Step #2
Soak the grains overnight. This picture is the next morning after I had dumped off the soak water, and then rinsed them again.
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Step #3
Here is the grains after I have let them sit out on the counter top and rinsed them once a day for three days.

Sunday, March 21, 2010


A garden is the cheapest way to get the best tasting, organic produce. Not having a particullarly green thumb, I decided to take a gardening class. It was a six week course by an amazing gardener, he has a masters in gardening and a book, it was such a good class, although a lot of it was over my head. But it motivated me to attempt to grow a big garden this year, so we expanded the garden to take up all of the available space that we have. We are following the steps in his book, and will update the blog on the progress and steps of gardening according to his method. The only draw back to our little garden is that we don't have a lot of sun, cross your fingers something grows!

Here is the steps to getting your gardening ready....
# 1. Fertilize
He recommends putting ironite, 16-16-8, and sulfur to fertilize your garden. 2 quarts of sulfur dioxide, and 1 quart of a mixture of ironite and 16-16-8 (2/3 of the jar 16-16-8, and 1/3 of the jar ironite) per 180 square feet. To find out how much you need to sprinkle on just find out the number of square feet of your garden and divide that by 180.

Step # 2
Sprinkle it on your garden area. Just like you are salting a steak he says, to give you the mental picture of how much. Don't over fertilize or you will kill your garden off. Stick to his recomendations.
Step #3
Till it into the dirt. We just borrow our neighbors tiller, but you might be able to rent one from a nursery, or IFA, not sure. Or maybe they are cheap enough to buy, or better yet just find a nice neighbor that has one to borrow.Step #4
Level off the space, and then make rows. We did 3 rows 28 inches apart and 3 rows 26 inches apart. Some plants require more growing room. Then make a furrow down the sides of the lines, with a hoe, so you have somewhere to walk that doesn't trample down your beds. I will post a pic of the rows.
Step #5
Plant, that is for next post, we haven't planted yet. We just ordered our seeds from Stoke seeds and are waiting for them to come in! In the class he gave us a list of the best varieties to plant, that produce the most, and are the hardiest. When we get them I will post what we ordered.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Rich Gluten Free Brownies

Again these brownies have been a work in progress, and along with the "work" that means that Scotty, Isaiah, and I have the hard job of "testing" lots of pans of brownies. Good thing I am in the middle of marathon training. (Although these are healthyish, you probably shouldn't eat half the pan like I have been doing). So as I mentioned before I taught a gluten free cooking class and in the class I also taught these brownies. While I was teaching I forgot to add the oil, and they actually ended up being really good.

1/2 C + 2 T almond flour*
1/4 C sweet brown rice flour*
2 T cocoa powder
2/3 C dark chocolate, chopped from a chocolate bar
6 T coconut oil*
1/4 C chocolate chips
2 eggs
1 C sucanat
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 T vanilla

Preheat oven to 350. In a medium sized mixing bowl sift the dry ingredients together. Melt the 2/3 C chocolate, and oil (if using) in a seperate bowl. I put it in a glass measuring cup and melt it over simmering water in a pan. Once fully melted, pour the chocolate over the dry ingredients, don't mix yet. Then in the same bowl, lightly beat your eggs, this saves you a dish. Add the eggs to the brownie mixture, and the vanilla. Fold in all the ingredients until incoporated. Pour into a 8x8 pan lined with parchment. These brownies are so gooey that the parchment helps to lift them out of the pan. Bake for 25-35 minutes. When they are done the top is shiny and the edges have come away from the pan. Stick a toothpick in if it comes out with a few crumbs they are done. Let sit for at least a 1/2 hour, the longer the better. Torture I know but it really helps them set up.

Variation: To make the coconut butterscotch brownie pictured above. Add a layer of butterscotch chocolate chips to the brownies when they come out of the oven hot. Spread the melted chocolate chips evenly over the top to make a frosting, and then top with toasted coconut.

*to save money I buy the almonds, and sweet brown rice in bulk, and grind the brown rice myself in a grinder. The almonds I blend in my blender until they are powder, like flour
*brown rice flour will work too, but the sweet brown rice gives it a sweeter flavor
* don't substitute chocolate chips they will result in a squatty brownie, you could also use melting chocolate
*As I mentioned before I completley forgot the oil in the class, and they turned out really good, experiment without oil

Go Bananas for Banana Bread

Lets just say this recipe has been a work in progress. This is the version that I like the most. It is so GOOD, moist, sweet, and gluten free! I have probably gone through 10 dozen frozen bananas making versions of this. So without further ado, here is the recipe. ENJOY.

1 C almond flour*
1 C brown rice flour (or half coconut flour, half brown rice flour)*
1/2 C toasted coconut (unsweetened)
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. sea salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 C sucanat
3-4 bananas ripe, mashed 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 C yogurt
4 T coconut oil
2 eggs, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Whisk together the first six ingredients in a medium sized bowl, set aside. Pull out your mixer and add the eggs, lightly beat them. Then add in the coconut oil (melted), yogurt, mashed bananas, and beat. When all of the wet ingredients are mixed well, add in the dry ingredients and mix well. (unlike wheat flour which has gluten and is not good over mixed, gluten free batters work better mixed well to whip air into them and make them lighter). Oil a bread pan, or four mini loaves, and cook for 40 minutes for mini loaves, or 55 minutes for one big loaf. Don't be tempted to pull the bread out early, it browns more than normal banana bread because of the flours. Let rest 5 minutes before taking out of pan. ENJOY.

*I make my own almond flour by blending up almonds in my blend tec until they are powdered, but don't blend it too long or you will end up with almond butter. I also make coconut flour the same way from dried coconut shreds.
*Toast the coconut for 8 minutes in the oven while it is preheated and you are mixing the other ingredients.

Update: I just saw a recipe that caramlized the bananas before adding them to the batter so you can lessen the sweetener in the recipe. I also am going to try and make this with agave.