Eating foods that vibrate in harmony with themselves, our bodies and nature will help us to heal and to thrive.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Grain Free Bagels and Dairy Free Creamy Cheese

It's the time of year for traditional Jewish foods, and I've been getting lots of great ideas from Elana at Elana's Pantry!  My family and guests especially loved her Honey Cake and Tsimmes (I made with dates instead of prunes), which I didn't take pictures of because we devoured it all so quickly!  I also learned by making the cake that substituting ghee for palm shortening works just great!

Today I made her bagel recipe and everyone loved them!  I used chia seeds (ground in a nut grinder first) instead of flax and I left out the poppy seeds.  You can see the recipe here:  Elana's Paleo Bagels.

My son wanted some cream cheese and since we don't eat dairy, I had to be creative.  I found a recipe here and then I did my own thing with it:

"Dairy Free Creamy Cheese"

1 1/2 cups cashews
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
around a 1/4 cup water (enough so that the blender will work, but not so much that it is runny)
sea salt

I don't plan ahead for recipes well.  When I get a taste for something, I want to make it right away.  So, I didn't have 24 hours to soak cashews.  But, I do have a high speed blender.  So, I just placed the first 3 ingredients into the blender and blended on really high until smooth.   Then, I mixed in sea salt to taste.

At first I thought that the apple cider vinegar flavor was too strong.  But, after I placed it into the refrigerator for a few hours, the taste was perfect!  And the texture was also just right for spreading or even dipping.  I had to make myself stop eating!  My son and husband ended up enjoying their bagels with organic strawberry preserves, and everyone was happy!

Shrimp and Broccoli

An easy to make dinner that my son loved!

Fresh or frozen broccoli florets
Wild, peeled and deveined shrimp
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
Ghee or coconut oil - will provide different tastes in the end, and either is great!
Sea Salt

Steam broccoli until soft, but still bright green
Saute onions and garlic in ghee or coconut oil in a pan
Boil shrimp in water until curled up and able to be poked through with a fork
Add cooked shrimp and broccoli into pan with onions and cover with more ghee
Add some salt to taste

Grain Free, Sugar Free Muffins

I have been on a sugar free, grain free muffin kick for about two weeks.  I took some recipes I found in different places and changed them to be sweetened only by fruits and stevia.  All were delicious!  Above you see Date Pecan Muffins.  Below, Apple Cinnamon Walnut Muffins.  And last, Strawberry Banana Muffins!

Now that I've been cooking for a few years (I used to only eat pre-packaged food or take-out from restaurants), I feel much more confident about changing other people's recipes to suit my family's personal needs.  I'd share the recipes I used for the above, but I was creating them on the fly and not completely measuring everything.  All three are made from almond flour and eggs, use about 10-15 drops of vanilla stevia, and contain some amount of coconut milk and unsweetened applesauce.  I usually look for recipes from Elana Amsterdam of Elana's Pantry, or Danielle Walker of Against All Grain, and then modify them.  Also, Kelly of The Spunky Coconut shares creative ideas, too.

I encourage you to do this, too.  Don't ever feel limited by a recipe you find.  Paleo recipes are especially open to change.  For instance, when you see palm oil as an ingredient, you can substitute with ghee and sometimes coconut oil for more nutrition and less damage to the rainforest.

Happy Baking!

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nutrient Density and Superfoods

We know that we are supposed to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables.  However, not all fruits and veggies are created equally.  That is, they don't have the same quality of health-promoting nutrients.  Here are some of the ones that we make sure to get into our diet so that we are getting plenty of colors (these different vibrations are important and beneficial to the body), antioxidants, vitamins and minerals.
  • Superfruits:  Gogi berries, mulberries, golden berries, blueberries - Berries are the key!  They are lower in sugar, come in a multitude of colors, and are so healthful.
  • Green Veggies:  From leafy greens to broccoli, green is vital to life.  You can blend or juice green veggies, break them up and add them to soups, or use them a little wraps for sandwiches.  My son adores eating broccoli with ghee and a little sea salt.  Make green a daily habit for everyone in your family.  Be creative to find ways to get it all into everyone's bodies.
  • Yellow and Orange Veggies:  Squash and sweet potatoes are a good source of carbs and beta carotene.  They are especially wonderful to enjoy as carbs in diets that exclude grains.
  • Nuts and Seeds:  Soaked and dehydrated pecans, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, and almonds provide nutrition, good fats, and proteins.  It is nice to enjoy them with some superfood berries!
If you fill up on corn, peas, and white potatoes as your veggies, there is no room left for the ones that are more nutritious and less sugar-dense.  Likewise, grapes, watermelon, and bananas are so fun to eat, but their sugar content is very high.  Peanuts are not even actually nuts, and don't contain the nutrient density of other nuts, in addition to being a common allergen.  If you can get your nutrients from other sources, like superfruits and berries then you are doing your body a great service.  Try to make these sugary fruits and veggies a sometimes food, while eating the superfoods everyday.

Go For Nutrition When You Eat

Make everything you eat have a purpose toward nourishing your body.  Nutrient dense foods can be really delicious.  Adding a little coconut oil or ghee with some sea salt to your veggies can bring in beneficial fats and minerals, while making them taste great!  Our bodies aren't designed to utilize empty calories for the purpose of being able to thrive.  If you want a snack, think about what nutrition your body is needing in the moment and then put that food into it.  Not a grain cracker or cereal fortified with vitamins, but pure vitamins right from the natural source.  If you need protein, don't opt for some kind of overly processed protein powder drink or bar, eat some pure protein from an organic source.  And yes, despite what marketing will tell you, your body can tell the difference.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Simple Sweet Potato Fries

I find that eating the simplest foods that are the most packed with nutrition possible is the best.  Loading up with too many ingredients just makes more for sensitive bodies to work to digest.  Here is a two ingredient, super-delicious, kid-friendly recipe!  My son loves these - he won't eat sweet potatoes in any other form!  I have also served these to other kids and to my husband, and everyone loves them!

To make these delicious sweet potato fries, all you need is:
Organic sweet potatoes
Sea Salt

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
  • Cut up the sweet potatoes in the shapes and sizes you like.  Try to make them a somewhat uniform thickness so that they will bake evenly at the same time.
  • Place onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper.
  • Bake in the oven for 20 minutes and then flip them over.  Keep an eye on them from this point on.  My son likes them kind of crunchy, but you can also cook them for less time and they will soft and also super yummy.  You don't want to take the out before they are soft, though, or they will not be thoroughly cooked through.
  • When they have reached your desired texture and doneness, sprinkle with sea salt, allow to cool slightly and enjoy!