healthy living

Party Favorite: Green Sauce

Party Favorite: Green Sauce

Imagine seeing a bowl of green looking sauce at a potluck. Your first thought might be "guacamole", but further investigation with a chip would convince you otherwise. "What IS this?" you would exclaim in sheer delight as your taste buds explode like exhilarating fireworks in your mouth. Before long, as everyone tries (and devours) this mysterious, delicious green sauce, it would be gone, with only the teasing remnants of it's flavor resting on your tongue. The sadness at the disappearance of this green sauce would be immense...

Ginger Bread and a Salad

Here is another of my favorites: greens and ginger bread. So yummy.

INGREDIENTS
1/2 cup organic butter OR 1/2 olive oil OR 1/2 cup coconut oil
1/2 cup sweetener (honey, sucanant, maple syrup, etc)
1/2 cup blackstrap molasses
2 organic eggs
1 cup applesauce
2 cups all-purpose flour or spelt, brown rice flour, etc
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup finely chopped greens such as kale, collards, arugula, etc

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9- by 13- inch baking dish.

2. Mix all wet ingredients together.

3.. Sift the flour, baking soda, ginger, and cinnamon into the applesauce mixture and stir well to combine thoroughly.

4. Spoon into the baking dish and bake for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes. Turn onto a wire rack; cool completely

Phoebe's Gone Crackers!

Homemade Crackers! How absolutely exciting! I love snack crackers (especially with some good organic cheeses and hummus, mmm) and these homemade crackers are a perfect, easy way to have both health and movie-night indulgence.

In this photo, I have 3 different kinds of crackers: "cheez its" made with grated cheese and wheat flour. Almond olive crackers, with lots of almond flour and extra olive oil, and a third variety with extra seeds (I've got 3 kinds in there!). See the recipe below and play around with making your own varieties. 

In this photo, I have 3 different kinds of crackers: "cheez its" made with grated cheese and wheat flour. Almond olive crackers, with lots of almond flour and extra olive oil, and a third variety with extra seeds (I've got 3 kinds in there!). See the recipe below and play around with making your own varieties. 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour or other flour (whole wheat, spelt, quinoa, etc)
  • 3/4 cup almond flour or other flour (whole wheat, spelt, quinoa, etc)
  • 2 tbsp ground flax (if you don't have it, use some ground oats or add 1 egg)
  • 1 tbsp nutritional yeast (or if you eat dairy, add 1/2 cup grated cheese)
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or other spice of your choice
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary or other spice of your choice
  • scant 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tbsp sesame seeds or other seed (hemp seeds, flax seeds, poppy seeds...)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment or put a little oil down.

2. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Add wet ingredients and mix well with spoon. Knead dough with hands until it comes together. Shape into a ball.

3. Place ball of dough on the cooking tray. Roll out dough until it’s about 1/8th inch thick, or as thin as you can get it without ripping. With a knife or pizza slicer, slice into cracker shapes.

4. Bake at 350F for 18-20 minutes until slightly golden in color. Check them often- they burn quick!

5. Cool on baking sheet for 10 mins. Store in air-tight container once fully cool.

Yummy Roasted Root Veggies

This is one of my favorite meals for a busy night. It's simple, delicious and very grounding. Great for times when you're stressed!

Root vegetables are naturally very grounding and relaxing to our body, making them an excellent choice meal for stressful, busy days. Sweet vegetables are also naturally calming and grounding so choosing veggies like sweet potatoes, parsnips or beets (both sweet and root veggies!) can create a very satisfying meal. To top it off, sweet root vegetables can help get rid of low energy and sugar cravings!

Here's one of my favorite and insanely easy ways to make root veggies:

Roasted Root Vegetables

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cooking Time: 30- 50 minutes (depends on size of chucks and type of root veg- but you can be multitasking here!)

Yields: 4 servings

3-4 tbsp. coconut oil or olive oil
2 tbsp. fresh oregano (chopped) or other herbs and spices, fresh or not
4 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, halved lengthwise, then cut crosswise into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch pieces
1 pound carrots, peeled, cut into 3/4 inch thick rounds (about 4 cups)
1 pound parsnips, peeled, cut into 3/4 inch thick rounds (about 4 cups)
2 medium red onions (about 1 pound), peeled, and cut into 1/2 inch thick wedges
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste

(*Note- you can use any root vegetables you desire, sweet potatoes and carrots are just my suggestions!)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ºF.
  2. Stir the oil and oregano in a large bowl.
  3. Add yams, carrots, parsnips, and onions and toss to coat. Sprinkle vegetables generously with sea salt and pepper and then spread them on baking sheets. Roast veggies until tender and brown in spots, turning occasionally, for about 50 minutes.
  4. This dish can be made up to 4 hours ahead. Let it stand at room temperature. If desired, re-warm in 350ºF oven for about 15 minutes, or serve at room temperature.
  5. Also great stored in the fridge as leftovers. Also great as cold topping for salad or rice the following day. YUM! EnJOY!

Veggie Soup for the Soul

Lentil Vegetable Soup (vegan, gluten free)

Prep Time: 10 minutes Cooking Time: 45 minutes
Yield: 5 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup lentils
1 medium onion, diced
1-2 cloves garlic
1/2 sweet potato, cubed
4 collard leaves, finely chopped
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
4 cups spring water or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon basil
1 teaspoon rosemary
squeeze of lemon or 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Directions:
1. Spread lentils on a flat surface and pick out any stones, then wash and drain them.
2. In a soup pot, warm the oil over medium heat.
3. Add onion and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until translucent.
4. Add carrot, sweet potato and celery and continue to sauté 3-5 minutes.
5. Spread lentils on top.
6. Add water and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes or until lentils are tender.
7. Add chopped parsley, collards, salt, and a squeeze of lemon juice or umeboshi vinegar.
8. Simmer another 2 minutes and serve.

Variations:
Add a small piece of kombu, rinsed, to help digest the beans and to add minerals and flavor. 

Make extra and store in the freezer to pull out and reheat on busy nights!

Homemade Kale Chips: An excellent substitute for potato chips!

Homemade Kale Chips: An excellent substitute for potato chips!

Ever heard of kale chips? Believe it or not, they're actually quite delicious and can satisfy a craving for crunchy potato chips like a champ. When I was first experimenting with my diet, I didn't believe they were good until I tried them, but now I love them! I provided a recipe for you below. It only takes 15 minutes and is very easy so now's your chance to stop thinking about eliminating junk food snacks (like potato chips) from your diet and to really do it.

How to Make Your Own Yogurt

Making your own yogurt is fun and easy and it saves you money in the long run. Plus, it's a great way to impress people! :] Not that that's what I'm trying to help you achieve with this blog, but there is something fun and satisfying in saying "oh yes, I make my own yogurt!" So talented!

Here's How in detail:

You will need:
2 quarts fresh whole milk
1/2 cup plain yogurt containing live cultures
Kitchen thermometer (optional-Can be found in the baking section of every grocery store chain in North America I think. But I'll tell you what to do if you haven't got one too. Yogurt makers have been going by feel for centuries.)

Warm your milk in large saucepan over gentle heat, stirring occasionally, until it reaches 180 to 185 degrees Fahrenheit, and hold it at this temperature for a few minutes. If you don't have a thermometer, bring the milk just to a boil, then immediately turn down the heat until it's barely simmering. The milk burns easy so be sure to stand over it and watch until the outside edges are bubbling vigorously and there is a lot of steam coming off the milk (don't let it get hotter than this). Allow it to simmer for a few minutes.

Remove the milk from the heat and cover it. Cool the milk to the point where you can put a clean finger in the milk for a count of 10 before it becomes uncomfortably hot.

Whisk one-half cup plain yogurt into the hot milk until completely combined. Choose a yogurt with live cultures and a taste you enjoy.

Transfer milk to a large glass bowl or jar and cover it. Plastic wrap can work if your bowl/jar doesn't have its own cover. Place this mixture in a warm environment of approximately 115 degrees Fahrenheit. If you have a food dehydrator, place the bowl in the dehydrator at 115 degrees. If not, you have more options: place your bowl of milk in a sink full of 115-degree water, adding warm water as needed to maintain 115 degrees, using your thermometer or the finger test to gauge heat. You can also turn on your oven briefly to the lowest heat setting, turn it off, and let it sit with the oven door open for a few minutes. If you have an oven thermometer, wait until the oven reaches 115 degrees. If not, use your best judgment. Place the bowl of milk, wrapped in a towel or blanket, into the oven and close the door. Or wrap the bowl of milk in a wool blanket or shawl and leave it in a warm place. If you live in Florida like me, this shouldn't be a problem.

Let this milk mixture sit undisturbed for four to eight hours. After four hours, check to see if the mixture is thick, creamy and slightly sour. If not, check again every hour until it reaches the desired consistency. The yogurt will grow more acidic over time; let it culture longer for a tangier end result.

Chill your freshly made yogurt in the refrigerator for several hours. It will continue to firm up as it gets cold. Your finished yogurt may produce some whey, a thin yellowish liquid. I encourage you to drink it as it's full of beneficial yogurt cultures and protein. Oh and be sure to save a little bit of this batch of yogurt to use for starting your next batch. That way you won't have to keep buying conventional yogurt!

Here's how for the people who want a quick list:
Preheat oven to 110F. Or just set it on the lowest possible setting just when the light comes on, no more. Heat milk to 180F. Remove immediately from heat. Allow to cool to between 110-115F. (Or if you have no thermometer, until you can hold your pinkie finger in the milk for a full 10 seconds without it burning.) Skim the skin off the top if you'd life. Add the yogurt. Stir together. Pour into storage containers. Place storage containers in the warmed oven. Turn the oven off. Wait 4 to 8 hours before opening. When the milk stays firm when the container is tilted remove from oven and place in fridge.


Raw Chocolate Strawberry Cheezecake (orgasmic)

One word: YUM.
Heaven in my mouth. Never again will real cheesecake satisfy me. If you like dessert, you've got to try this.

Raw Chocolate Strawberry Cheezecake

 Crust
1 cup walnuts
½ cup brazil nuts
½ cup almonds
½ cup chopped dates
1 tbsp raw agave
1 tsp cinnamon
pinch of sea salt
To Prepare:
Chop the nuts in a food processor then add the dates, agave, cinnamon and salt and process until this dough forms a ball. Remove from processor and press the dough into a pie pan or spring form pan. Make sure to get the sides and to press it so it has even thickness.

Cheeze Filling
½ cup cacao
1/3 cup raw agave
1/3 to ½ cup water
Seeds from vanilla bean or use a splash of vanilla extract
2 cups cashews (pre-soaked in water for 2 hours then rinsed and drained)
To prepare:
Put agave, water, vanilla in a blender and blend. Slowly add the cashews and continue to blend until smooth.

Strawberry filling
1 pint strawberries or other berry (about 2 cups)
½ cup raw agave
1 tsp Lemon juice
pinch of sea salt
To prepare:
Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth.

Topping
Get creative! Sprinkle on more raw cacao, some coconut, a cup of raw berries, fruit, nuts, etc.

To put the cake together...

Layer 1/3 of the cashew cheeze mixture over the crust, spreading it evenly. Next layer about ¼ of the strawberry sauce mixture over that. Add a sprinkle of raw cacao powder here if you wish. Repeat, making a second layering. Add some chopped fruit/berries here if you wish. Repeat the layering until you run out of stuff, ending with a layer of cashew cheeze then strawberry sauce. Top with your desired toppings. Place in the freezer to chill and solidify then serve.

Coconut Almond Pumpkin Cookies

Coconut Almond Pumpkin Cookies

These cookies were a creation from pumpkin left-overs and I must say they turned out great. They took about 10 minutes to mix up and only 10 more to bake. They are incredibly moist and soft and have the perfect amount of delicate sweetness, while still being amazingly good for you! Even if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen or used to baking, these are incredibly easy. Getting active in the kitchen is a number one step to improving one’s health!