Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Fall! Time For Vitamin C...

This is the time of year here in Atlantic Canada when the weather begins to shift to chilly air, and this September, also very damp and rainy.  Everybody seems to get the sniffles, maybe even a bit of a cough.  The schools ask for tissues to be sent in for all the runny noses.  Usually, I head to the store to find some decent chewable vitamin C for the kids to ward off the pesky colds but these days I'm more into natural food sources that not only get the job done better but for much less the cost. 

I went out yesterday and picked some rose hips as I've read they're high in vitamin C and will make some syrup out of them hopefully, to most likely be added to the inevitable hot cups of herbal tea the kids will be asking for, especially if they start to get sore throats or coughs.    But talking to Lydia yesterday reminded me of  the big crock of sauerkraut I've had sitting hidden in the back of my fridge!  Sauerkraut is a veritable superfood and you can't get much cheaper than  cabbage, especially this time of year.  It almost makes you think God put cabbage on the earth for such a season as this...it's sauerkraut weather!  When I was growing up my great grandfather used to have a big barrel out on the deck that they'd fill with shredded cabbage and salt in the fall .  They had big mashers and they'd pound it down to release the juices and then it would just sit there and ferment away.  They'd bring in the sauerkraut as they needed it...  I even liked it as a child! 

Sauerkraut is rich in vitamin C and many other nutrients, not to mention the probiotic benefits.

"Sauerkraut contains large amounts of specific antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin; these compounds are proven preservers of ocular health in humans. Sauerkraut is also rich in many diverse and vital nutrients include essential minerals such as calcium and potassium, as well as magnesium, and an abundance of the vitamins C and K. The great thing is that, there is no requirement to consume large amounts of sauerkraut to gain health. Eating just a few tablespoons of the pickled cabbage on a daily basis will suffice for most people." (taken from this extensive article on sauerkraut)

The question is, will all of my children eat it???  I already know Amilia (10 mos) will eat it, I gave her some this morning.  She is not a picky eater at all and I love it!  My other children are doing better and better, especially since I've removed all processed foods and  even starches and gluten.   I'm slowly adding back a few of these foods (like potatoes and sweet potatoes in moderation)  while monitering to see how they respond.  But I'd love to see them eating sauerkraut this time of year especially!   They all like coleslaw so I'm thinking I could   play around with a version that included sauerkraut, sounds intriguing to me. 

Another natural source of vitamin C is mountain ash berries.  My parents have a mountain ash tree in  their yard but I haven't gotten any as of yet.  The berries can be dried and then ground into a powder and added to food as a supplement.  You can also purchase acerola powder to be used in the same way, which I think is very economical as well as a natural food source.  For more info on vitamin C and foods that contain it you can check out this little article.

Vitamin C cannot be stored by your body so it's very important that you are taking in adequate amounts through your daily diet.   Bring on the sauerkraut!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Special Treat! Grain-Free (Gluten Free) Chocolate Cake With "Boiled" Icing

One of my favorite traditional family desserts is chocolate cake with boiled icing.  Now we're gluten free (for now anyway), grain free, and only using honey as a sweetner, well almost always.  This recipe uses maple syrup in the icing  and makes a lovely rare treat.  I guess honey would probably work just as easily but you just can't beat the maple flavor which is closer to the traditional boiled icing flavor I grew up with since it was made with brown sugar.  So here is the recipe!

Grain Free Chocolate Cake:

1 1/2 cup almond flour  (finely ground)
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup honey
1/2 cup cocoa powdeer
1/2 cup softened butter
1  1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch sea salt
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups hot water

Preheat oven to 350.  Put all ingredients into mixing bowl ( in order) and beat very well. Pour into greased
9 x 13 pan and bake for 40 min. 

"Boiled" Icing

4 egg whites
1 cup maple syrup (the real stuff!)
1 tsp vanilla

Put egg whites, syrup, and vanilla into a  good size pot.  The egg whites will expand quite a bit.  Beat with hand mixer over medium low heat  until soft peaks form and icing is shiny.  This won't take too long, maybe 4  or 5 minutes.  Spread over cooled cake.  This icing shouldn't sit in the pot too long as it will begin to separate so it's best to make it when your cake is already cooled.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Date Sweetened Cinnamon Cookies (Gluten Free, SCD, GAPS friendly)

I just tried a little experiment and I'm pretty happy with the results.  I do quite a bit of baking around here and like to have cookies and baked goods to throw into the kids' school lunches but I don't want to load them up on sugar, even natural sugar or honey (which is all we're using right now).  Eva likes dates and has used date butter (just equal parts butter and dates processed together) on top of her occasional breakfast oatmeal but my boys don't care for them normally.  But I just tried two experiments with dates and both worked out well and are very popular with the boys!  One is peanut butter balls rolled in flaked coconut (containing peanut butter, dates, flaked coconut, coconut flour, and coconut oil) and the other were cinnamon cookies. 

The cookies are not very sweet but are tasty.  If you're kids are used to refined sugar and flour then these may not go over so well... Here is the recipe!

1 1/2 cup dates (loose dates, nothing added)
1 cup almonds (soaked and dried)
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup coconut flour
3 tbs soft butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla (optional)
pinch sea salt

Preheat oven to 350.   Put all ingredients into food processor and process until dates and almonds are well ground and mixture is a dough consistency.  Shape into small balls and place on parchment lined cookie sheet.  Flatten with the heel of your palm (or you could use the back of a greased spoon, etc...).  Bake 12-14 min.  Makes about 2 1/2 dozen cookies.

Win A Free Copy of Eat Well, Feel Well: More Than 150 Delicious Specific Carbohydrate Diet(tm)-compliant Recipes by Kendall Conrad

I got this cookbook Eat Well, Feel Well: More Than 150 Delicious Specific Carbohydrate Diet(tm)-compliant Recipes a few weeks ago and really really love it. I've already made the cucumber wrapped spring rolls with peanut sauce, french toast with bananas in honey caramel sauce, and more.  Every recipe I've tried has been excellent and the kids have loved it.  So I decided to offer it as a free gift to any readers who would like to enter my little contest.  I'm trying to help promote my friend Lydia's recipe ebooks so here's the deal:  If you buy her September edition for $7.95 and comment here and let me know, I'll enter your name 1 time in a drawing.  She is offering the August edition free with the September edition so you're getting a great deal.  Her recipes are amazing with pictures of every one and all the recipes I"ve tried are excellent and very healthy, gluten free, low carb, low natural sugar etc...

If you have already purchased her ebook this month that's fine, just let me know and I'll enter your name!  If you tell a friend about this contest and they buy a book you can have your name entered again, 1 for each friend you tell who buys a book.  If you buy a subscription, I"ll give you 5 entries, and 3 entries for your friend who buys a subscription.  All you have to do is tell me in the comment section and in one week, Sept. 23, I'll  do the draw and announce the winner.  I'll email you and get your info and have the book shipped to your door.  Either way you'll be winning because Lydia's recipes are amazing!!!!!!!

Click here to go to  her ebook page where you can view the table of contents, pictures, and make your purchase.

Good luck!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Best Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies (honey sweetened)

I've tweaked this recipe a couple of times and I think I will stick to this recipe.  They're very good and makes a large batch which for my family it's a waste of time making small batches of anything!   All the kids like them.  Here's the recipe:

2 cups natural peanut butter (I used smooth, crunchy would be good too)
1 cup softened butter
1 cup honey
3 eggs

Beat together very well.  Then add the following:

1 cup arrowroot flour
1/2 coconut flour
1 tsp baking soda

Beat well, scraping the sides of the bowl.  Shape into small balls and place on cookie sheet, flatten with a fork in criss cross fashion.  Bake in pre-heated oven at 350 for 10-12 minutes until edges brown a little.  You may have to let them cool a bit before removing from the pan.

As soon as they're cool enough I wrap some up and throw them in the freezer so they don't all get eaten up.  That way I still have something for school lunches, which comes in handy if I get behind in baking or low in groceries etc...  If you are doing SCD or GAPS I would just omit the arrowroot and increase the coconut flour to 1 cup and add an extra egg.  The texture will be a bit heavier  but they'll still be delicious.

Oh, and a glass of cold and creamy raw milk would sure come in handy about the time you're taking a pan of these out of the oven!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Frozen Peanut Butter Pie (SCD, Gluten Free, GAPS friendly)

I'm not  a GAPS or SCD diet expert by any means, but this pie I whipped up yesterday is as far as a know compliant.  We are newly trying to follow the basics and so far I really like this way of eating, lots of room for creativity and yumminess.  This is a crustless pie but you could easily add a press in nut type crust, or even a baked coconut flour crust.  Cooking With Coconut Flour by Bruce Fife is an excellent resource and has several good pie crust recipes.

Here's the recipe for the filling:

1 cup natural peanut butter (no additives)
1 cup plain yogurt, NOT low fat (preferably homemade)
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
1/3 cup honey
4 egg whites
pinch of sea salt

beat the first four ingredients until light and fluffy
in separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt until stiff
fold the egg white into the peanut butter mixture in two parts (half at a time)
pour into buttered pie dish and smooth out, cover and freeze until hardened if you can wait that long! 

I served this with homemade vanilla ice cream and it was good.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

An Excellent Article About Julia Child

I didn't know much about Julie Child until I saw the movie Julie and Julie when it came out in theatres.  I absolutely loved it, in fact I think I should watch it again soon.  She held similar passions as I do, especially as it concerns butter!    Anyway, I just found this gem of an article on the Weston A. Price Foundation Blog and thought I'd share it:  The Wit, Wisdom and Naughtiness of Julia Child .  Enjoy! 

If you haven't seen the movie, it is a must see.  Here is the trailer...

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Kombucha Bottled! And Pickles!

Yesterday I bottled my first double batch of kombucha, thanks to the beautiful slimy 'mushrooms' Lydia gave me when we visited her last month.  I'm using 500ml mason jars with plastic lids (just to rule out any problems with metal ) and used 3 different flavors.  Blueberry, apricot, and almond.   I also added a bit of coconut sugar to them (except the apricot) to boost the second ferment and add a touch of sweetness since we're not accustomed to kombucha yet!    I've already stuck my straw into them today for little taste and it's pretty good! 

I can see how it will become somewhat addictive, I'm already thinking about having another taste.  I'm also  drinking beet kvass everyday , 2-3 times per day and am really starting to crave that.  And it's so funny to see Amilia grabbing for the glass and drinking it down!  Will have to get some pictures or video of that for sure.

You can see from the picture that I've got a jar of pickles fermenting as well.  This batch is cucumbers and onions, with pickling spice and garlic and a touch of coconut sugar.  In the future I'll use honey but I'm all out right now.  We cracked open a jar of pickled (lacto-fermented) carrots and peppers last night with my in-laws and they were a big hit. (I put dried dill and fennel seeds along with garlic cloves and celery tops  in that one.)   Wish I could say the same for the beet kvass haha, so far Amilia and I are alone in our enjoyment of that!  

Lydia at Divine Health has written about brewing kombucha as well.  You can also do a search on her site for even more info on it.  A quick google search will provide you with simple instructions for brewing your own (or follow directions in Nourishing Traditions).  And I found another excellent article discussing the history and the many health benefits on drinking kombucha tea, as well as suggestions on how much to drink and other tips.  That site also has much more information available, so be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Beautiful Blueberries and Thinking About Back to School (already!)

It's blueberry time!  I've been out of frozen blueberries for a few months now and I'm determined to fill my freezer while I can.  We use blueberries in smoothies, tossed into yogurt,  the occasional batch of muffins, or dessert such as pie or my favorite, crepes with cream cheese filling and blueberry sauce.  Eva eats her pancakes with blueberry sauce too claiming that maple syrup hurts her stomach.  So far I've been picking 3 times for a couple hours each time and probably have a couple of gallons or so in the freezer. I want more!  I'd like to try my hand at blueberry wine and also freeze some blueberry syrup (lightly sweetened with a touch of honey).  We'll see how far I get! 

According to my family age-old wisdom, blueberries should NOT be washed before freezing.  Of course, I've been notified that some people do wash them, but I pick wild berries way back in the woods on my parents' land so washing is unnecesary. If you do wash your berries make sure they are very dry and then freeze first on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper before storing in containeers.  I  pick fairly clean to begin with, but later I also pick through lightly and pull out any twigs , leaves or bad berries I find.  Then dump into a container, snap the lid on and put in the freezer!  Simple!

Today I also made pancakes with coconut flour and buckwheat flour and they turned out really well.  Ben, my pancake addict, ate them up.  I also made some with mashed banana and am going to work on them until they make a really good school lunch snack.  I realize I'm going to have to be more creative this year to figure out how to incorporate all the changes I want to do with our diet.  For one thing, I may not have any bread to work with, or if I do it will be very different. 

Thankfully I've been able to talk with Eva  a lot already about the changes and why we're doing them. She's had a really great attitude so far and really seems to be understanding the basics of gut healing and nutrition.  I've already got a fair amount of homemade chicken stock in my freezer and she's looking forward to taking a thermos of that in her school lunches (she drinks it with a straw, I'm lucky she's always liked it so much).  As soon as my in-laws travel back home in a few days I'll be ready to really dig in, though I still have to order the GAPS book and read it!  I'm not sure if we'll follow it exactly or not until I read it all but I think we'll be following at least 90%  from I've read on their website. 

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Farmer's Market High

I know I'm very strange and I guess it doesn't take much to make me happy, but I had the most amazing time yesterday morning. I made my weekly trip to my local farmer's market, making my normal rounds and of course I needed bacon.  Bacon is one of the first things on my list, it's cheap and sometimes it may be the only meat I buy if I'm strapped for money (I've usually got a few other meats lurking in my freezer anyway).  Well this week when I showed up the farmer lit up  and started calling other people who were working there to come over, saying "this is the lady that told me about the vitamin D!!"  The previous week I had mentioned to him that bacon fat and lard were excellent sources of vitamin D and that I ate bacon every day almost and cooked with all the extra bacon fat.  I told him that his bacon was the best because it had so much fat.

Anyway, I hadn't realized that it had interested him so much.  He was pretty excited about it and I gave him the website for the Weston A. Price Foundation as well as some info on Nourishing Traditions.  And there's more good new!  I asked him about lard and he says he makes it in the fall for a local baker.  They have so much fat they don't know what to do with it, people don't want lard.  Well, some people do, some people do!!  He sells it for  2$ a pound, soooo cheap, more than half the price of butter!  I'm so excited, I'm dreaming of filling my freezer with pounds and pounds of lard, edible sunshine for the long winter months.

And if all this wasn't enough, at a quick stop at my local Bulk Barn I discovered a new product...is the suspense killing you yet?  It was organic coconut sugar.  Yes. It's true.   It's even a little less than rapadura.  I tasted it and it's sweet and flavorful.  Vaguely similar to maple sugar, but  a little moist and chewy.  I believe it's made from the sap of the palm tree, not the actual coconut.  I haven't done much research on it yet but I did find this basic info (coconut sugar) that is very helpful.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Amazing Gluten-Free and Kid Friendly Recipes!!! And So Cheap!

Really, I am a collector of recipes.  I"m addicted to cookbooks, I read them by the hour.  I LOVE them.  And I love the ones with pictures. So, you might consider me an expert of sorts and I'm here to tell you where you can find some amazing healthy recipes that will enable you to make the most beautiful and delicious food!  Please head over to Lydia's Divine Health Blog where her August e-book is now available for a mere pittance.  Or you might consider purchasing a subscription and save even more!   You can check out some pictures before you purchase if you like, and the book includes beautiful color photos of each recipe.  I know you won't be disappointed!

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Body Ecology Diet and GAPS Diet Meet! LOVE This!

The author of  The Body Ecology Diet, Donna Gates, and the author of  The Gut and Psychology Diet, Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride have gotten together in this inteview to discuss Autism and the serious problem of gut dysbiosis.  I really LOVE this stuff, so good and so important for anyone with children, not just autistic children.   You can read the amazing story of  Dr. Campbell-McBride's son has completely overcome autism  on her site.

Anyway, I wanted to post  part 1 of the 6 part  youtube videos of the interview.  Hope you enjoy! It's worth watching the rest of the interview...

And Amilia loves beet kvass, that makes me happy!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Gluten-Free, GAPS, Gut Healing...etc, etc,...

I've been scouring the web looking for info.  The kids will be arriving home this weekend and I'm gearing up for big changes around here.   I've been diving back into Nourishing Traditions, checking out the GAPS diet, looking at tons of gluten-free recipes, and percolating.  I've got my first couple of batches of kombucha brewing and some beet kvass ready to store in my fridge as well.  I'll also be lining up an appointment for Eva with Dr. Gleixner as soon as she gets home, apparently our supplemental health insurance will cover 80% of the cost up to a certain amount each year, YAY! 

I'm not sure how difficult this is going to be, I do know that the change will not be fun at first, especially after coming back from grandma's house, a processed/refined food nightmare (I try not to think about it).  I'm thinking about school lunches, I'll have 3 in school this year.  I'm thinking about all the food available at school from breakfast club to halloween, christmas, and valentine's parties, to birthday cupcakes sent in by other moms.  How will I deal with all this?  I'm considering having the school freezer stocked with a few cookies and other healthy treats for those unexpected treat days if possible. 

So in all my surfing, here are a few great and very interesting sites and blogs I've run across:

The Spunky Coconut, a blog written by a mom of two young children with various health challenges who has authored a cookbook that I WANT. 

The Art of Gluten-Free Sourdough Baking, an intriguing concept I think, with recipes (and recipe ebooks available) and thoughts by Sharon A. Kane who I discovered when she commented on one of my posts

The GAPS diet, based on Gut and Psychology Syndrome by Dr. Natasha Campbell-Mcbride.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

How To Make Your Blood Boil! Govenment Dietary Guidelines....

I hope other parents out there are aware that your child, if in the public school system anyway, is being indoctrinated into life threatening nutritional lies.  Of course I don't blame the teachers or anything, but it's something to keep in mind as you try to find the delicate balance of teaching your children the truth about nutrition in a way that is respectful of those who are sincerely wrong though their intentions are wonderful.  These teachers are just doing their jobs of course, they're not educated in real food. 

But somewhere there are many rich and fat men who are at least somewhat aware of the lies they are perpetuating.  Adding purposefully addictive ingredients to foods they KNOW has absolutely no nutritional value, foods they KNOW are killing people.  I just read an article about the new USDA dietary guidelines (which is pretty much based on the same ideas as the Canada Food Guide) for 2010 on the Weston Price Foundation site and it makes me so angry!  How can these people who have so much power and control and influence over how people think about food continue to recommend such horrible food choices????  I feel the food industry is linked with the pharmaceutical industry and they have a very happy money making scheme, the first makes everyone sick, the second drugs and sedates them all so they die slightly more slowly  in a semi-conscious state. 

What can we do?  We can learn, we can teach our family and friends through beautiful delicious nourishing real fresh foods.  The way to the heart is the stomach, and believe me, you will win your children, friends, and other family over through fresh raw homemade ice-cream and juicy grass-fed steaks, crispy farmer's market bacon and fresh pastured eggs, hunks of creamy yellow butter melted generously over hot veggies fresh from the garden, sprinkled with real salt, a hot baked potato with lots of butter and thick sour cream..  MMMMMMMMMMMMMM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Take that margarine and fat free chemical laden sour cream!!!!  Would you like a chocolate covered granola bar now?  How about some tasteless white 'bread' or MSG chips?  These 'foods' are not real and once people get a taste of the real things and if they can realize these things are healthy and no guilt should be experienced when eating them, they will choose the real foods easily.  EASILY.  And we'll all feel better, look better, think better, love better.  Honest. 

OH, so here's the article called " PROPOSED 2010 USDA DIETARY GUIDELINES --A RECIPE FOR CHRONIC DISEASE" over at the Weston A. Price Foundation that set me off a little.  There are some good food guidelines at the end of the article.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Looking For Amazing Recipes? Gluten Free? Low Sugar/Carb?

My wonderful amazing friend Lydia from Divine Health has put out her first e-book!!!!!  I just finished ordering mine and can't wait to try out the recipes, the pictures look soooooooooo good!  Please head over and check out her blog and consider buying her Divine Living Ebook – July 2010 edition.  Here's the description:

"This month’s ebook includes 8 entire meal plans, so you can have 2 new dinners per week to add to your repertoire, plus a few extra recipes, such as muffins, brownies and a divine chocolate recipe you won’t want to miss! I am selling each monthly ebook for $7.95 – (that’s $1 per meal plan)."

You may also subscribe and pay one discounted price to recieve a new ebook full of creative and nourishing recipes each month for a whole year!

Gluten Free--Never Say Never!

So I believe I've mentioned that one of the things I most want to see is my oldest daughter overcome some health issues she's had pretty much her whole life.  She's had stomach pain and problems associated with it (such as gas, constipation, and some other embarrassing symptoms) since she was a baby, she's also is very prone to blood sugar fluctuations, has vision problems (for which she wears corrective glasses), headaches, shoulder and neck pain sometimes, hay fever, and randomly breaks out in hives for seemingly no reason at all.  She got the poorest start in life compared to the other children because she lived the longest without the benefit of decent real food on a regular basis--I didn't start looking into nutrition until she was almost 3. 

When I first ransacked my kitchen and dumped any and all processed and refined foods she experienced immediate improvement in some areas, mainly her moods and temper tantrums.  Taking the sugar out really seemed to help her.  At that time I also switched to soaking all my grains, using raw milk and cream, natural sweeteners, more organic and grass fed meats and wild caught seafood, and plenty of fresh veggies and fruits.  I look back on that time as a time I never felt healthier or had more energy.  I've never really been able to recapture that feeling fully since. 

I've been searching the internet and books, reading, reading, reading....and listening to interviews ect...and I have to say I'm coming more and more to the conclusion that we need to go gluten free.  To me, this would explain why I did so well on Fat Flush the first time I did it when I was quite a few years younger.  I experienced such good results but since then it seems to take longer and longer every time I try it.  I think it may because the longer I keep eating certain offending foods, the more damaged my digestive system has become.  Just a theory anyway.  The other factors that I can't get away from are taking a look into my family.  Celiac itself is an autoimmune disease that contributes to a host of other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes (on both sides of my family), arthritis (rheumatoid, my grandmother), thyroid disease (on both sides of my family), Alzheimer's (on my mom's side) and more.  Celiac is very often never diagnosed and underlies so many of these conditions that I'm now very suspicious of our genetic predisposition of gluten intolerance whether it's truly Celiac or not. 

So when Eva gets back from her grandparents' house I'm taking her to see our local natureopathic DR. so we can hopefully get to the bottom of all this once and for all.  I could go gluten free on my own, but for her I think she will do much much better with it if she has a doctor explain it to her.  On the one hand I don't really want to go for the full fledged gluten free life, (which will NOT be just for Eva or even for her and I but for the the whole family) but on the other I'm already familiar with plenty of great recipes and have experimented a lot with gluten free cooking and baking.  I already make several cookie and muffin recipes that are gluten free, and even always make gluten free pasta and lasagna when we have it.   

And all this just after I said I wasn't giving up bread haha!  Oh, but I'm NOT giving up bread, I've already discovered a gluten free recipe for sourdough buckwheat rolls....and I have many more delicious alternative ideas percolating.... Once thing I won't do is use those gluten free recipes that I find nutritionally very weak or use weird and complicated ingredients.  Whatever we eat will have to be richly nourishing, extremely delicious, and simple to make!

Check out this great interview with Dr. Thomas O'Brien on Underground Wellness Radio on celiac disease and gluten sensitivity for more information on all this.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Fermented Pineapple Drink and Oatmeal Muffins

I have a pineapple,  so I googled 'fermented pineapple drink'.  Now, this is what I've found and I think it looks very interesting and summery. 

Fermented Pineapple Drink (Guarapiña o Mavi de Piña)

The great thing is, you use the skin of the pineapple which I normally throw away.  The skin can also be used for pineapple vinegar, also known as cortida, which is supposed to be yummy as well.  In fact, this recipe is probably very similar to making vinegar except the addition of sugar and optional spices, the fermentation time would obviously be much shorter for a drink.  I'm going to try this in the next day or two so I'll let you know how it goes!
In other news, I've just made a big batch of one of my kids' favorite muffins.  But this time I fooled around with the recipe quite a bit  and did some pre-soaking.  I don't think I've ever done conversions yet involving soaking so I'm quite pleased with the results.  Here's what I did:

The recipe actually says to soak the oats for 10 minutes in buttermilk, so I figured, why not longer?  And why not throw in some oat flour with it?  Of course it says to use all purpose flour, 3 cups to be exact.  So I used half that amount of oat flour, and for the other half of the flour I used half as much coconut flour (so that would be 1 cup) which I mixed with all the dry ingredients for the base.  I followed the rest of the recipe except adding an extra egg to offset the coconut flour a bit, the oat flour also offsets the dryness of coconut flour because it's so moist. 

Here's the recipe which will make 3 dozen, half it if that's too many muffins for your house!

Oatmeal Muffins

3 cups rolled oats
1 cup oat flour
3 cups buttermilk (or soured milk, or equal parts liquid whey and water)

Mix this together in large bowl, cover, and soak for 12-24 hours.

When you're ready to bake the muffins preheat the oven to 375 and  stir the following together in large bowl:

1 cup coconut flour
1 1/4 cup rapadura
3 tsp ground cinnamon
3 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp real salt

Then add 2/3 melted butter and 5 fork beaten eggs to the soaked oat mixture.  Add to dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Fill buttered or papered muffin cups about 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes. 


mix 2 tbs rapadura and 1 tbs cinnamon together and sprinkle the tops of the muffins

decrease butter to 1/2 cup and add 3 cups grated peeled cooking apples to the egg mixture

My kids approved the recipe changes and I'm limiting muffin intake as I type!  They also LOVE the apple version, though I haven't tried it yet with the new changes.  There's no reason it shouldn't work just fine!

Another Saturday, Another Trip to the Farmer's Market!

Here in NB, we may not have access to the best of everything this world has to offer, but our local farmer's markets (yes, we have TWO)  which are open Saturday mornings all year round, are absolutely amazing.  Local farmers and artisans gather every week and sell everything from prepared foods, fresh meat and produce and wine and maple syrup, to jewellery and handmade wooden toys.  I buy all of our meat products and  most of our produce and dairy from this wonderful local source.  I love being able to chat with the  farmers  as well! 

To give you an idea of the great things I usually pick up,  today I brought home buttermilk, yogurt, raw cheese, sour cream, fresh sourdough breads, chicken livers, bacon and back bacon, maple syrup, beets, sweet potatoes, pears, peppers, tomatoes, and bagged baby lettuce mix.  It was a light day for me at the market since last week a bought a box of beef with tons of steak, 2 roasts, and lots of ground  beef.

Make sure to check out your local farmer's markets!  Ours are the Dieppe   Market and the Moncton Farmer' Market.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Baby Foods...

It's funny that in our culture we are instructed to offer babies difficult to digest processed grain cereals as a first food.  With my first I never thought about it, I just did the 'normal' things everyone else was doing, right down to the dry cheerios for snacking.  By the time she was 2, she was waking up begging for marshmallows and cookies and having violent  fits that lasted up to 45 minutes.  That's when I first started learning about nutrition.  I knew I didn't want to live that way, and I didn't want my children living that way either.

Still, information on good starter foods for babies is somewhat difficult to come by.  There is a very small section in Nourishing Traditions, and they have some helpful articles on their website http://www.westonaprice.com/.  I don't think it should be complicated and there's certainly no need for bottled and prepackaged baby foods.

 My youngest son loved mashed bananas and sweet potatoes with lots of butter or coconut oil and sometimes cinnamon. What could be easier than mashing up a banana with a fork?   He loved to have a bowl of homemade chicken soup (drained a bit) and pick through it with his fingers (I often kept broth or gravy aside to mash with his veggies later as well) .  He ate tons of yogurt and berries or raw cheese pieces, and loved black olives.  Basically he ate what we ate modified a little for his convenience or age  if  necessary, and there really wasn't much he wouldn't eat!  And he had a crazy big appetite, still does. 

My youngest is 7 months old today and up until today, not particularly interested in any foods I've offered.  I've tried banana several times, sweet potato pureed with butter, and cooked apple.  While she accepted the food she made many faces and gagged over and over.  I think she still swallowed some but it didn't appear she particularly enjoyed eating it.  I haven't been really persistent, just trying every few days to see if she's ready.  She seems to be hungrier so it seems like she might want to eat something!

Today I had the sudden idea to try feeding her some coconut milk, I thought the texture would be perfect.  She absolutely loved it!  I've been trying to find out whether this is a good baby food (I can't think why not) and all I could really find was that coconut jelly from young coconuts is the first solid food given to Thai babies.  So I'll watch and see how she reacts to it, but so far so good. 

I think I will try the soft boiled egg yolk next, something none of my other babies really cared for.  I also hope to make some homemade chicken broth and soup and try pureeing that for her, perhaps she'll be more interested in real hearty food like that, especially if she takes after me.  Oh, and I'm going to get a little more adventurous than I generally have been and try to pick up some grass fed chicken and/or beef liver at the farmer's market within the next week.

 Here is a good link on learning more about the many health benefits of coconut.  If anyone out there has more information on feeding babies coconut, I'd love to hear it, thanks!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Real Bread vs. Fake

Just put my sourdough starter in a nice big jar, so should be whipping up some loaves of sourdough spelt bread in...9 days?  Can't wait to try it again. My one and only attempt at sourdough a few years ago didn't impress me much. It was ok, but nothing to be excited about. I didn't realize that the flavours and techniques take time to develop and I think now that I"m older and wiser I'm ready to try again.  While gluten free has many benefits and some people are forced down that road whether they like it or not, I'm honestly not willing to give up bread.  I would be if I thought I should, but I don't seem to have a problem with properly prepared breads in moderation. 

What I am going to give up is flashy new versions of wheat that  pale in comparison with older varieties in terms of nutritional value.  And I'm on board with soaking and fermenting flours properly.  I've pretty much totally replaced whole wheat with spelt, and I love to mix in other gluten free flours in my other baking (such as coconut flour or buckwheat, sometimes oat flour) as well as do a fair amount of gluten free baking.  I just think wheat and gluten are eaten so disproportionately that I want my kids to have a fighting chance, they'll be faced with all sorts of gluten and cheap wheat horrors every time they step out the door of home.

I'm using the sourdough recipe I've found in my new cookbook "Forgotten Skills of Cooking" by Darina Allen and love the little into to the bread section "What's Happened to Our Daily Bread?"   She talks about how up until about 1960 bakers made bread in traditional ways which took 5 hours or longer, and used traditional ingredients.  But as food became industrialized new methods (such as CBP, ADD, and the Do-maker process)  that saved time and money but never bothered to take nutrition into account became widespread.   The typical bread you pick up at the grocery store takes less than 2 hours from start to finish, and the wheat used is far inferior to traditional varieties.   Many of the other ingredients used are not even food, and may or may not find their way onto the label. 

She says:  "During the last 50 years the sales of bread have plummeted and the number of people with wheat allergies and full-blown celiac disease has skyrocketed.  Once the CBP was universally adopted all research was dedicated to producing varieties of short-stem wheat, strains of yeast and additives to facilitate this fast production method.  Nourishment just simply wasn't a factor.  Advances in functional properties of wheat have come at the expense of nutritional quality.  Several research projects have shown that modern wheat varieties have less than half the mineral and trace element content of traditional wheat varieties."

These are things worth looking into, especially if you have children who love bread, any kind of bread.  I know that if packaged white bread is anywhere around, my kids dive into it like candy, which is about how nutritionally valuable it is.  In fact, some natural candies would be better.  I don't keep that stuff in the house, though it does occasionally find it's way here through other people.  I tend to toss it if it makes an appearance, hopefully before the kids find it!  My oldest son loves anything that resembles bread, which is good and bad.  On the one hand he can't resist the saltines at nanny's, but on the other he'll even eat my soaked spelt hockey puck biscuits (which I won't be making again any time soon LOL). 

We are blessed, as I've mentioned before, to have a great source of real bread at our local farmer's market.  A traditional German bakery that uses whole grains and no yeast, only real sourdough methods.  The spelt bread I get there, and sometimes other varieties, is amazing and has good shelf life for fresh bread as well.  Lately I've taken to frying a slice in bacon fat and OH MY GOODNESS, its soooooo good!   The other day I fried a slice and topped it with fresh tomato slices and grated raw Gouda and broiled it for a minute, mmmmm.    But I still just have to make my own bread!  It's a part of my heritage, though the homemade bread I remember was always white...if I could look back a little further I'm sure I'd find sourdough...

Monday, May 31, 2010

Mexico Countdown: 4 Weeks!!!

Last fall my husband Aaron won a trip from work, but I was about to have a baby so we put it off for a bit.  About a month ago on a crazy day I phoned him and said "the last day of school is June 25, let's leave on June 25, let's plan that trip!".  So we did.  Now I've never been down south and I suppose this is not the best time to travel somewhere hot but I don't care.  We're both so excited to have a whole week ALONE. 

Anyway, since planning this trip I've been slightly more motivated to lose some weight!  I guess about 8 lbs. have dropped off in the last few weeks, but I need to drop at least that many more if possible in the next 4 weeks.  Time to be a little more consistent with exercise and more mindful of my eating.  I find my biggest challenge is not restricting  food intake too much, it seems that once I start trying to lose weight I almost lose my appetite and weight loss stalls.  I'm not sure why, unless it's simply that I"m trying to force myself to eat more foods that I don't like as well.  I've been doing well without snacks most of the time lately, just eating more substantial meals, especially breakfast.  I do know that if I drink lots of water, cranwater, and green tea (with coconut oil) and eat enough protein I do fairly well slimming down. 

So here goes!  I plan on bursting (walking/sprinting) 3 days a week, and alternating upper and lower body 3 days a week with core work on all strength training days.  So hopefully something like this:

Monday:   bursting
Tuesday:  arms, shoulders, back, chest, core
Wednesday: bursting
Thursday:  weighted squats, step-ups, lunges (12-15 reps, 2-3 circuits) , core
Friday: bursting
Saturday: arms, shoulders, back, chest, core
Sunday: rest

I may throw in some rebounding  as well, probably 5 or 10 minutes a day for overall toning and lymph stimulation.   As for eating, I'll be following (loosely) Fat Flush phase two.   I'll also be focusing on getting enough sleep, which is an extremely important facet of weight loss as well.  Now, I'm off to  to my  bursting in the driveway!  My neighbors must think I'm crazy...

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Fried Bread

Inspired by my new cookbook, "Forgotten Skills of Cooking" by Darina Allen, I decided to try a piece of fried bread this morning with my breakfast.  I fried up my farmer's market bacon, then took a slice of true spelt sourdough bread (also from our amazing local farmer's market) and one of our freshly laid eggs and fried them both in the bacon fat.  I topped the crispy bread with the egg and threw in some bacon slices and I have to say this was very very good.  Who knew something so simple as fried bread would be so good?  If you ever eat bread of any kind, this is definitely something you should try, so much better than toast!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Wonderful Wonderful Books!

Every few months I splurge a little and order some books online.  They are discounted as compared to their local bookstore and if I order a certain amount I get free shipping.  Recently I ordered 4 books and I've been really enjoying them all; yes, at the same time!   They are "Six Weeks to Sleeveless and Sexy"  by JJ Virgin, "real food for mother and baby" by Nina Planck, "Fat Flush For Life" by Ann Louise Gittleman,  and 'Forgotten Skills of Cooking" by Darina Allen

I'm almost finished "Six Weeks To Sleeveless and Sexy" by JJ Virgin, who I heard recently interviewed on Underground Wellness Radio (a must listen web radio show!!!).  I especially appreciate her views on exercise which for me are revolutionary.  It's not that they are completely new ideas, but hearing her talk about it was a bit of an 'aha' moment for me.  The book is very simple, easy to read, and gives a basic understanding of health and weight loss.  I would definitely recommend it though probably not as a comprehensive stand alone book, which I'm sure it was not meant to be.  It has a few basic recipes but I think if someone was serious about overhauling their diet they'd want to pick up a few more books to go along with this.  I guess I'd view this book as a great  intro to basic simple changes anyone can begin making when embarking on a new healthy lifestyle.

So that's my little review.  I'll post my thoughts on the other books when I've read more of them, but so far I'm excited about every one of them!  The cookbook literally has me in glorious rapture, I can't even explain the high I get from reading a good cookbook.  I'm really addicted to them (shhh, don't tell anyone) and I can't wait to try some recipes from it.  To give you a little idea of how amazing it is the front cover has a quote from the San Francisco Chronicle "The Julia Child of Ireland" and it's almost 600 pages long.   Doesn't that give you goosebumps??? It will definitely be worthy of a post all its own...

Thursday, May 27, 2010

New Blog Address For Lydia's Blog Divine Health

This is just to let you know that Lydia has changed her blog address so if you've bookmarked it you should make note.  The new address is  http://www.divinehealth1.blogspot.com/ .

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jennifer Mclagan, Author of "Bones" and "Fat"

Often times when I get out on my own for a few hours I end up at the bookstore browsing and not buying.  I usually spend a long time in the cookbook section, often shaking my head in dismay, but sometimes coming across a little treasure.  Last time I was there I came across a book simply titled "Fat" and though I've not purchased it yet it looks wonderful.  It made me think of  Lydia right away!   So today I''ve looked it up again and discovered the author has written another book and has a blog as well.   I haven't read through too much but from I've seen so far it looks like it should be amazing!  Go ahead and check out Jennifer Mclagen's blog and if you're interested in purchasing her books you might consider ordering from Amazon through Lydia's Divine Health store.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Migraines and Chronic Shoulder Pain...GM Corn?

When I went away to college at 17, I began experiencing pain in my right shoulder that has been with me mostly ever since.  A few times it's gone away when I was eating healthier, especially when I did my first  liver detox (Fat Flush).  Recently I've had major improvement in this area again as I've begun eating non-processed simple organic foods.  But every once in a while I have another flare up, usually after eating something   highly processed (such as fast food, I know why do I do it!) or popcorn at the movies.  Usually I get migraines that last 2 or 3 days when my shoulder is really acting up, which used to be as often as once a week!  

Today my shoulder is bothering me and I don't have a migraine (at least yet) but I do have a headache.  And guess what?  Last night Aaron and I went to see a movie and I had popcorn.  Methinks I'm seeing a pattern!   And do you know what I found out after a little online research?  Most fast food is made up primarily of corn, along with  many other yucky things of course, which I'm pretty sure will be of the cheapest non-organic GM variety.  I don't think this is a coincidence! 

I don't know a whole lot about genetically modified foods, but I do not it's neither safe or natural.  I plan on studying it more and I'll share whatever I learn.  Meanwhile I think I should always pass on theatre popcorn and fast food!   I think I already knew that....

Anyway, here are a couple of more links if you're interested in reading more:

Genetically Modified Foods: The Latest Findings

How to Avoid Genetically Modified Foods

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I've been thinking about why I am so passionate about nutrition and health.  It really started when my oldest child was around 2...she had (and still has)some health problems such as stomach pain, but she had horrible tantrums that would last for half an hour or more.  They were really similar to night terrors which she also had.  And she was clearly a sugar addict.  I began my journey to learn more and began with raiding my cupboards and removing all processed and refined foods, much to my husband's horror!  I started out with Fat Flush and Nourishing Tradtions, first detoxing myself and then spending hours on end in the kitchen trying new things and putting great fresh food on our table.  It was amazing, we lived like that for a few  months, until I got pregnant with our third child which means I was pretty sick for 9 months, and also bought a house in need of major renovation which had no kitchen for the first several months. Alot of stress and our healthy habits eventually got lost somewhere.  But not all of them, and I couldn't unlearn everything I believed about nutrition and of course never lost my interest even if  I didn't have much time to invest in it! 

Now we have 4 children from 9 yrs. down to 6 months and I'm on  a mission to look and feel healthy again.  And I want to teach my kids foundational nutrition that will hopefully help them for the rest of their life.   But I have some pretty specific goals, both long term and short term,  and I thought I like to throw them out there so I can look back and see how far I've come. 

So here are a few in no particular order:

lose excess fat (just me), help my daughter overcome her health issues, eat more diverse real foods as a family, have clear skin that does not require makeup, get rid of bad body odor, improve our teeth,  get more sugar out, be more or less wheat free (replacing with other grains/flours yet cutting back on intake of grains in general, especially gluten),  harvest my own organic veggies and store for winter through root cellaring and fermentation,  exercise regularly (especially weights and  circuit training (including bursting/intervals, also rebounding),  involve the kids more in food preparation and education, take some holistic nutrition classes either locally or online, continue to build library and self-educate, have lots and lots and lots of ENERGY!

Well, those are a few.  I've a got a good start on some of them and will continue moving forward but without any pressure.  These are things I want, not need, to do.  I find it fulfilling and enjoyable and look forward to feeling better and better!   As for the health issues with my daugher, I plan on taking her to a local natureopathic doctor soon and will include that process as well.  Should be interesting!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Divine Health, My Amazing Friend Lydia's Blog!!!

I'm kind of addicted to learning more about how to be my healthiest and look/feel my best.  I'm pretty passionate about good real food and getting my family to try new things and opt out of junk food on their own, even my young children (a work in progress!)  Lydia is probably even more passionate about all this than I am.  She is an amazing woman (and great friend!) who cooks gourmet meals, is raising 4 young boys as a single mom, and somehow manages to always be learning more about health and nutrition.  I have no doubt she'll be an amazing success as she begins to embark on her new adventure of pursuing business and career ideas.   So go check out Lydia's blog, there's tons of great reading about her day to day health journey and lot of great resources to check out there as well. She is hoping to be producing  some short recipe ebooks in the very near future--I can't wait!  (Please consider donating even a small amount on her site or ordering amazon books through her store to help her get things rolling...she is a stay-at-home mom needing to begin bringing in an income from home.)