Category Archives: cook

Eat Your Heart Out, Storebought Fruit Snacks!

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I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook earlier today of my fruit snack making in progress and got lots of interest for the recipe. I am using an awesome recipe from Thank Your Body but just had a couple things to add so I thought I’d make a quick post. (really, just another excuse to post pictures of my adorable children :blush:)

Healthy Homemade Fruit Snacks Recipe:

  • 2/3 cup of lemon or orange juice (I did both)
  • 2/3 cup of fruit (I used a bag of frozen organic mixed berries but am excited to use my local produce from Urban Acres once berries come in to season)
  • 2 tbsp raw, local honey (we love Round Rock Honey)
  • 5 tbsp of grass-fed gelatin
  • Optional: 1 drop of food grade lemon oil (don’t have any? whaddya know, I happen to sell fabulous oils here)
  • Also Optional: 1 tsp homemade whey (liquid protein made from separated raw milk. The live cultures in whey eat some of the sugars and produce lactic acid which makes it more tart and serves as a natural preservative.)

First, Jack helped me juice the lemons and oranges until we had about 2/3 of a cup.

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Next, put your freshly squeezed juice in a pot with the fruit on low-medium heat. Stir occasionally for a few minutes until the fruit softens.

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Add in the honey and food grade lemon oil (if you want that extra tanginess (which Jon was wanting) “Wait,” you say, “weren’t these for the kids?” Yeah, I know. Daddy’s like fruit snacks too apparently. ;-))

Remove from heat and puree with an immersion blender or pour into a blender.

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Once cooled to room temperature, pour your mixture through a strainer so that there are no seeds staying in there to turn your snacks into crunchy snacks (learned that the hard way).

ImageAdd in your tsp of whey (ours is from raw milk) to help naturally preserve the fruit snacks for longer. Without it, the snacks would only last 2-3 days out on the counter or for about a week or two in the fridge. I haven’t tried freezing but I’m sure they’d freeze well. Anyway, start stirring in your gelatin one tbsp at a time while you whisk so as to avoid lumps. Gelatin gets a bad rap sometimes but traditionally made gelatin is a mineral-rich food that is easy to digest and helps strengthen hair and nails! Pour your mixture into a glass pyrex and shake a little so that it all settles. Set it into your fridge for about 30min-an hour. Once it has firmed up, pull it out and cut into pieces or use cookie cutters for some fun, delicious (and healthy) fruit snacks!

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Enjoy!

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2 eggs a day? why not!

I love eggs, my brother does not.  For every 5 egg lovers, there’s one that can’t stand them. I say “it’s their loss”!!
I eat 1-2 eggs a day in many different forms, and they are delicious. About a year ago, I discovered that Omega-3 is good, and Omega-6 not so much. I also discovered that commercial eggs are totally out of whack with an 18 to 1 Omega-6 to 3’s.. That sucks..  So now I only buy organic, free-range, hopefully pasture fed eggs. The only down side is the higher price. My goal is to spend my $$$ on “super” foods and not at the doctor. You can make your own choice.  Right now I’m reading Nourishing Traditions.  It’s an amazing book that brings back into fashion the wisdom of our ancestors and what and how they ate.  The rest of this post is straight from this book, from the eggs section. I hope you enjoy.

read my latest egg breakfast recipe at the bottom

Shunned for several decades by orthodox practitioners as a high-cholesterol food wrongly believed to cause coronary heart disease, the egg is making the comeback it deserves. Eggs have provided mankind with high-quality protein and fat-soluble vitamins for millennia.  Properly produced eggs are rich in just about every nutrient we have yet discovered, especially fat-soluable vitamins A and D. Eggs also provide sulphur-containing proteins, necessary for the integrity of cell membranes. They are an excellent source of special long-chain fatty acids called EPA and DHA, which play a vital role in the development of the nervous system in the infant and the maintenance of mental acuity in the adult – no wonder Asians value eggs as a brain food.  Egg yolk is the most concentrated source known of choline, a B vitamin found in lecithin that is necessary for keeping the cholesterol moving in the blood stream.

It pays to buy the best quality eggs you can find – eggs from chickens fed flax or fish meal or, better yet, pasture fed so they can eat bugs and worms.  Their nutritional qualities are far superior to those of battery-raised eggs and even many so-called “free range” eggs.  In particular, they contain a better fatty acid profile, one in which the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids exist in an almost one-to-one ratio;  but in eggs from chickens fed only grains, the omega-6 content can be as much as 19 times greater than all important unsaturated omega-3. Other very-long-chain and highly unsaturated fatty acids––necessary for the development of the brain––are found in properly produced eggs but are almost wholly absent in most commercial eggs. Eggs from pasture-fed chickens will become more available with consumer demand.

When broken into a bowl, the eggs should have a dark yellow yolk that stands up in a round hemisphere. The white should have two clearly defined sections––a more viscous part surrounding the yolk and a thinner area on the perimeter.

Never eat powered eggs, a source of harmful oxidized cholesterol.

What about recent publicity regarding salmonella infections from eggs? The blame for such problems lies squarely on crowded production methods that require extensive use of antibiotics in feed. Eggs from pasture-fed hens pose no danger provided they have been properly refrigerated.

It’s fine to eat raw yolks of fresh eggs, but raw egg whites should be consumed only on occasion.  Raw eggs whites contain a substance called avidin, which interferes with the absorption of biotin, a B vitamin; they also contain trypsin inhibitors, which interfere with protein digestion. These anti-nutrients are neutralized by light cooking.

Recipe: Mexican Eggs & Sprouted Toast

2 spoonfuls of Pico De Gallo into a heated, lightly oiled skillet (olive oil is fine)

2-3 Tb spoons of Chicken Chorizo (from Sprouts – ground chicken, vinegar, paprika, sea salt)

• stir it up and let it cook for a few minutes.

Making sure the pico/chorizo mix is spread out in the skillet, crack two eggs on top of everything side by side.

Sprinkle just a bit of grated raw cheddar (from Urban Acres) and let it all cook until the white of the eggs are cooked but the yolk is still partly runny.  Then slide it all off onto your plate, and eat with the toast.

While eggs are cooking, toast up some Ezekial Cinnamon Raison bread and spread some organic butter on it.

The flavors are amazing, and the vinegar in the chorizo will actually help your digestion. Enjoy.

Pan Seared Tilapia with a lemon basil sauce

So tonight we ate an on-the-fly tilapia dish that ended up being so good, I just had to share.  My original thought was a simple breaded tilapia, seared in the skillet, but I hadn’t thought it through until I got into the kitchen. Here’s what I came up with. (dinner for two)

Lemon Basil Sauce
Finely chopped one shallot, and saute in skillet with olive oil for a few minutes on medium. Pour in about a 1/4 cup of white wine like Pino Grigio, and lower the heat. Add 2 Tb of real organic butter, and the juice of half a lemon.  Also add a pinch of organic raw sugar to balance the lemon. Add salt and pepper to taste. Stir it up until the butter is fully melted, then toss in chopped fresh basil (about 5 leaves), and pull it off the heat, and pour into a serving cup.

Saffron Rice
Cook one package of Saffron Rice (leave out the margarine because it’s evil). When it’s about finished, turn off the heat, and add 1-2 Tb of real organic butter and mix it in.

Tilapia
Put a bit of olive oil on the fish and then bread it.  Get your skillet hot again (medium to med high) and cook the tilapia on each side until golden.

Plate the fish and the rice, and serve.  Spoon on sauce as needed to taste.  Amazing!

Total time was about 30 minutes from start to finish.. Logistically, start the rice, then make the sauce, then cook the fish last. The rice will be finished around the time you get the fish cooked.

Good food doesn’t have to take all day :)

Eating for better health – The Sprouted Truth (part 2)

Before I begin, let me just say that there are many foods out there that can cause or contribute to bad health; refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup and hydrogenated oils to name a few. But you already know about the common culprits.  Let’s talk wheat.

How many items of food do you eat each day that contain wheat (of any kind)?  Chances are you eat wheat with all 3 meals plus a few snacks.  We eat a lot more of it than we think we do, and over time, it can really cause some problems.  But don’t take my word for it, I’m providing links to all of the articles that write about this stuff in great detail. (at the bottom)  There are also links to some great sprouted wheat and healthier wheat products.

The One-Two Punch

Unsprouted wheat, along with many beans and other grains contain two evils that are at the root of the issue.  Lectin and Phytase.  Both of these are in the grain to protect it from disease. God made it that way.  Once sprouted, both of them get reduced to almost zero.

The lectin in wheat is essentially a long chain protein that loves to bind to the cells that line the stomach and intestines and cause inflammation and destruction of the lining. It even gets past the intestine wall and enters the blood stream and creates havoc with your immune response.  Your ability to properly digest food is essential to your health.  Lectin also is usually able to bind to the insulin receptor, telling your body to store fat. This response along with the fact that wheat’s complex carb get’s converted to sugars in your stomach real fast means that your blood sugar is freaking out, and your body is mistakenly telling itself to “store fat”. Lectins, in general, are in us all, and in animals and plants, and many have a good role to play, but the lectins in unsprouted grains are not good for us.

Phytase, or phytic acid, is equally menacing.  Here’s a quote from Sue Gregg’s blog.

“Just because you’ve switched from white flour to whole grains does not mean that you are getting all the nutritional value. In fact you may also experience new problems with digestion and assimilation. That is because whole grains contain phytic acid in the bran of the grain. Phytic acid combines with key minerals, especially calcium, magnesium, copper, iron, and zinc and prevents their absorption in the intestinal tract.”

Phytase basically blocks your bodies ability to absorb the things it needs, even if you ate a healthy meal. This isn’t an immediate concern, but over time your body will begin to notice, and systems will start to falter.

So to summarize, wheat basically spikes your blood sugar, allows destructive lectins in, and blocks the absorption of many nutrients your body needs.  This process over time can lead to many health problems including inflammation disorders, diabetes, allergy, fatigue, osteoporosis, and even cancer..

Going Old School

Our ancestors had it all figured out.  The 3 ways to make grains and beans healthy for us are sprouting, soaking or fermenting.  Again, Sue Gregg says it best.

“Soaking, fermenting, or sprouting the grain before cooking or baking will neutralize a large portion of the phytic acid, releasing these nutrients for absorption. This process allows enzymes, lactobacilli, and other helpful organisms to not only neutralize the phytic acid, but also to break down complex starches, irritating tannins, and difficult-to-digest proteins including gluten. For many, this may lessen their sensitivity or allergic reactions to particular grains. Everyone will benefit, nevertheless, from the release of nutrients and greater ease of digestion.”

Sprouting converts the grain into a vegetable. It totally enhances it’s nutrition value, and makes it super easy to digest without the “high glycemic” factor.  And soaking – now we know why Grandma always had a big pot of beans soaking for a day in cold water.

Ideally, all breads everywhere would be made sprouted or at least “sour dough” which uses cultures to ferment it, but we are left to fend for ourselves. So what to do?  I have decided to do two things. One is to reduce the amount of grain products that I eat everyday, focusing on lean proteins, vegetables and good fruits.  The second is to use sprouted or old world grains when I do eat “grain products”.

What the heck is an old world grain?  We now know that modern wheat has been genetically engineered to get a more robust, and high gluten (more lectin) product.  But back when the earth was younger, we ate Kamut and Spelt, and Quinoa.  Kamut and Spelt are both wheat, but they are some of the earliest varieties of wheat on the earth. These grains are more nutrient rich and have lower natural levels of lectin and phytase.

So I eat sprouted for all my breads, and old world for all my pastas, since pastas are going to be soaking a bit in boiling water, and the phytase will be mostly removed since it is water soluble.  It just drains off in the pasta water.  Eden Organic has some amazing pastas made with Kamut, Spelt and Quinoa.

KamutElbows

You can sprout your own wheat, but I prefer to buy sprouted wheat and spelt flour online. Bre and I buy Ezekial bread for most standard bread products, and I make the rest from scratch.  We make pizza crusts, cookies, pie crusts, biscuits and pancakes all from sprouted wheat or sprouted spelt.

Here’s a sprouted wheat crust for our Bacon, Swiss and Spinach Quiche.

piecrust

If you decide to ditch the unsprouted grains, you’ll also want to try to buy chicken and beef that are organic and grass fed, since grain feed animals end up with lectin and phytase in their meat. And do your self a favor and get organic eggs if you can afford them.

It’s a tragedy that eating health has to cost so much and be a pain in the butt while eating poorly seems so cheap and easy.  But if eating poorly leads you to major health crisis in the future, you’ll be paying for it in other ways.  Think of eating well as insurance for your future health.

If you want to read up on the dangers of modern, unsprouted wheat (this includes whole wheat… pretty much everything at the grocery store in the bread isle), then check out these references.

http://www.vrp.com/articles.aspx?ProdID=2009

http://www.suegregg.com/about/c.htm

http://wholehealthsource.blogspot.com/2008/04/leptin-and-lectins-part-ii.html

http://www.krispin.com/lectin.html

http://www.medicinalfoodnews.com/vol09/issue2005/wheat

http://www.ctds.info/high_fiber_diets.html

http://www.sproutedgrainbread.com/

Here are the links to our favorite products or brands for sprouted grain products. :)

You can also find much of the commercial products at Whole Foods or Sprouts.

Ezekial Bread (Food for Life)


Alvarado Street Bread Co. (sprouted sourdough)

– they also have a sprouted hot dog bun.

Eden Organic 100% Whole Grain Pastas

Sprouted Flours (unsifted and/or sifted for finer baking)

speltflour

You can use sprouted flour just like the usual unsprouted kind in any recipe in the same quantities.

I hope you find this info useful.