Lemon, Coconut & Summer Squash Bread

Lemon, Coconut & Summer Squash Bread

Lemon, Coconut & Summer Squash Bread

This recipe turned out so good!  We are living at the beach for a few weeks and it’s the perfect place to invent new recipes as I have much more downtime than normal.  The fresh sea air and beautiful sunshine are great backdrops for creativity.  And, thanks to a brand new Fresh Market opening just down the street, my stash of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables are abundant.  As you know, I am constantly trying to figure out ways to get vegetables into my kids.  I had purchased several organic yellow summer squash and needed to use them.  I kept thinking about preparing a yummy bread (always a hit with my kids) but wanted something a little different.  The idea of zucchini bread kept popping into my mind, but I was fresh out of zucchini.  I decided that yellow squash would work just as well and it would put a new spin on the standard zucchini bread. My mind immediately began thinking of a few other “yellow” foods that could be added to make this bread a little healthier.  Lemons are a staple at our house and we had an entire bowl full.  So, a lemon would definitely be thrown into the mix.  I also try to incorporate healthy additions such as flaxseed or chia seed to all of our baked goods, and the crunchy, Omega-3 packed chia seed sounded like the perfect accompaniment to this bread.  The finished product is golden brown and beautiful.  This bread is light and refreshing on a hot summer day.  It makes a beautiful presentation and I recommend adding it to a luncheon salad or an afternoon tea.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Lemon, Coconut & Summer Squash Bread

2 cups whole grain spelt flour

1 tsp aluminum-free baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

2 TBSP raw shredded coconut

1 TBSP chia seed

1 tsp celtic sea salt

1 lemon – zest plus juice

1/2 cup grade B pure maple syrup

1/4 cup coconut oil – melted

2 organic, cage-free eggs

1 tsp vanilla extract

1/2 unsweetened original almond milk

1 cup grated yellow summer squash

Preheat oven to 350.  Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray of your choice (I use coconut).  In a large bowl, add all the dry ingredients including the lemon zest and whisk until well incorporated.  In a smaller bowl, combine all the wet ingredients except the squash.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined.  Gently fold in the squash.  Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for about 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the top comes out clean.

 

 


Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

It is the quintessential summer snack.  A child can hear and recognize the musical sound of the ice cream truck as a dog hears a high-pitched whistle, even from miles away.  I can distinctly remember being young and staying with my cousin for a week every summer.  The days were filled with hours at the pool, going to see movies and anxiously awaiting the infamous truck. Her neighborhood was a late-day stop for him, so it was an all-day wait.  But, it’s what summer is all about.  Now that I have children of my own and try to instill cleaning eating habits,  I had to come up with an alternative to chasing down a refurbished, refrigerated truck on a daily basis.

These simple pops are loaded with essential vitamins and minerals from the berries and healthy protein from the addition of Greek yogurt.  I use a touch of raw local honey to keep the little ones happy.  After all, a popsicle should be sweet, right?  So, I think I have covered all the bases with this recipe.  Moms will be comfortable letting their children partake in this snack, and kids will love the sweetness.  With the upcoming holiday, let your kids help out with this treat, as it’s quite fun having your kids help in the kitchen.  I hope your family has a safe and happy 4th of July.  Enjoy!

 

Festive Healthy Homemade Popsicles

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh strawberries

2 splashes filtered water

3/4 cup plain greek yogurt

1 tsp raw local honey

small paper Dixie cups

straws – cut in half

plastic wrap

 

In a blender add the blueberries and a splash of water.  Blend until liquefied.  Pour a small amount into the paper cups until all the liquid is used.  Cover each cup with a small piece of plastic wrap.  With a knife, make a small slit in the middle of the plastic wrap.  Place a straw into the cup through the slit.  This will hold the straw in place until completion of the first freeze.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

In a small bowl mix together the greek yogurt and honey.  After the first freeze, remove the plastic wrap.  Add the yogurt mixture to each cup.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

In a blender add the strawberries and a splash of water.  Blend until liquefied.  Remove the cups from the freezer and add the final layer of strawberries.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

After the final freeze, run a little warm water over the outside of the cup and remove the cup.  Your kids will love these!


Healing Mineral Broth

Healing Mineral Broth

Healing Mineral Broth

I make this healing broth all year round, but this batch is on a targeted mission.  My family has a very special friend who has taken on, not at her choosing, the fight of her life.  She was diagnosed about 4 weeks ago with pancreatic cancer and given only a few weeks to live.  Even though this sort of diagnosis is devastating, she is a true fighter.  I have had the privilege of spending time with her the past few weeks and her faith and resolve truly astound me.  She is also very open to alternative methods for helping fight this beast.  One of these alternative methods is food.  Not just any food, but true healing foods.  Foods that were created to benefit and protect our bodies. Foods that were created to be used as medicine. This is where I have had the pleasure of helping this sweet family.  We have been bombarding them with information, fresh juices and now this mighty broth.

Most of us are deplete of the vital minerals needed to keep our bodies running healthy and efficient.  The human body uses these minerals for many things such as bone and blood cell health.  If an essential mineral is lacking, the body will not be able to work at its best.  With the standard American diet chock full of preservatives, GMO’s, artificial everything, high levels of processing and environmental toxins; it’s no wonder we are sicker than ever.  I very respectfully say all these things as I know how hard change can be.  I made the decision to try to limit, if not remove, most of these things from my life about 10 years ago.  It was not an easy task, but one that I am so grateful I did.  From that one decision came health, energy, vitality and most importantly, the ability to help others.  This recipe is loaded with the vital nutrients needed to sustain our bodies at a very healthy level.  I would recommend making a batch of this broth every few weeks and either use it to prepare soups or just drink it from a mug.  I use it to replace store bought broths that are often loaded with sodium.  I hope you prepare this yummy broth for your family and then pass the recipe along to someone you love.  Often times when a loved one is sick, you are at a loss for what you can do to help.  Make this recipe for them and share all the added benefits.  Sometimes a little bit of information and a gesture of love can encourage someone to continue the good fight.  Enjoy!!

 

Healing Mineral Broth – Adapted from www.rebeccakatz.com

 

6 unpeeled carrots – cut into thirds

 

2 unpeeled yellow onions – cut into chunks

 

2 leeks, white and green parts – cut into thirds

 

1 bunch celery – cut into thirds

 

4 unpeeled potatoes – 2 red and 2 purple

 

2 unpeeled sweet potatoes – quartered

 

5 unpeeled cloves of garlic

 

1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley

 

1 8-inch strip kombu

 

12 black peppercorns

 

1 TBSP ground allspice

 

2 bay leaves

 

1 tsp celtic sea salt

 

filtered water

 

Rinse all the vegetables really well, including the kombu.  In a large stockpot, add all the vegetables except the salt.  Add filtered water leaving about 2 inches from the rim.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Decrease the heat to low.  Simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours.  Strain the broth through a large sieve.  Add salt and stir.  Leftovers can be refrigerated or frozen after coming to room temperature.


Healthy Travel Snacks

Healthy Travel Snacks

People often ask me how I stick to my clean eating lifestyle while traveling.  It’s not always easy.  So I wanted to share a few of my favorite “go-to” travel snacks that help keep my family satisfied while ensuring we continue to eat as clean as possible.  Now, at home we don’t eat very many processed foods, but while traveling that can often times be hard to accomplish. So, I assembled a great list of what I consider to be healthy snack foods that will make traveling so much easier.  I hope you have safe and happy travels this summer.  Here you go:

 

Healthy Travel Snacks

1.  electrolyte water – always stay hydrated

2.  fresh apples, carrots, peppers and grapes – cut and bagged

3.  larabars

5.  squeezable veggie and yogurt pouches – easy for children

6.  raw date and nut bars

7.  fruit leathers

8.  baked snap pea crisps

9.  justin’s travel packs of almond butter – add this to an apple or cracker

10. annie’s bunnies

11.  homemade raw nut mix – cashews, walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds

12.  mary’s sticks and twigs gluten-free pretzels

13.  nut thins

14.  garden of life raw greens packet to add to juice or water


Homemade Hummus

Hummus

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I have posted.  We have had a whirlwind of sorts the past few weeks.  Just to give you a bit of background where housing is concerned….my husband gets bored very easily.  When we were newly married we decided to take on the renovation of a small mill house.  That one little project turned into a passion the both of us possess, and we have flipped many a house over the past 19 years.  We have done everything from sanding hardwood floors to stripping wallpaper to installing an entire 2nd floor in a house.  All the while with big smiles on our faces.  Needless to say, we haven’t lived in one spot very long.  We stay the required 2 years so that we will miss the capital gains taxation and then move on.  The house that we sold last week was no exception.  We built it 2 years ago almost to the day and the last 2 weeks have been spent packing it up and saying “goodbye”.  Our new house (the 4th on this particular street) won’t be ready for several months.  So, we are spending quality time with family and friends, taking trips and making memories this summer to pass the time.  I plan to share our journey with you in discussing healthy travel snacks, exploring new restaurants and local sights in the cities we visit.  Please stay in touch with the blog and Facebook over the next few months.

Back to today….This recipe is one of my most requested.  I have been making homemade hummus for quite a while now and finally got it perfected.  I usually make a batch once a week and my family generally eats it in some capacity on a daily basis.  It is a great snack dip for carrots and celery or as a spread on a sandwich.  Try it however you think would work.  I hope you enjoy this quick, easy and nutritious recipe.

 

Homemade Hummus

2 15 oz organic canned chickpeas – drained and rinsed

2 TBSP tahini paste

1 large clove fresh garlic

2 tsp ground cumin

1 1/2-2 tsp celtic sea salt – salt to taste preference

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 TBSP water

In a blender add the ingredients in the order listed.  Blend until creamy.  Feel free to add additional water or oil to get the desired consistency.  You should have a creamy texture.

 

 


Healthy Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Apple Cinnamon French Toast

Who doesn’t enjoy crispy bread, eggs and maple syrup?  AKA - French toast.  I am a sucker for this kind of food.  So, when I saw a healthier version on the Food Babe blog (www.foodbabe.com), my interest was instantly peaked.  My family made her recipe on Mother’s Day and it was as yummy as advertised.  I will continue to use the original recipe for weekends and family gatherings, but this version is quick, easy and simple for breakfast during the week.  And, that is something I am always looking for.  With two boys that generally wake up hungry, my brain needs to begin working as soon as my feet hit the floor.  And I must admit, my brain isn’t always that snappy first thing in the morning.  So, having a few “no-brainers” to reach for, really helps my day get started in the right direction.

Some of you have asked me about bread.  Yes, I do eat bread.  Most of the time I make all of our breads and baked goods, but I do keep Ezekiel 4:9 breads in the freezer for times just as these.  Ezekiel 4:9 breads are prepared using a combination of 6 grains and legumes without the use of flours.  According to their website, www.foodforlife.com, Ezekiel 4:9 breads are a complete source of protein, contain 18 amino acids, increase digestibility, increase the absorption of minerals and are a great source of fiber.  I recommend you trade in your white breads and flours for this far superior option.  As most of you know I have a wheat intolerance, but due to the nature of these breads, I am able to digest them without any problems.  I hope you enjoy this treat.

 

Healthy Apple Cinnamon French Toast – Serves 2

1 Ezekiel muffin split in two

1 apple

2 cage-free eggs – feel free to add an additional egg if you prefer a more “eggy” French toast

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp grass-fed butter

grade B pure maple syrup – drizzle

 

Preheat oven to 400.  Spray 2 ramekins with cooking spray of your choice.  Place 1/2 of the muffin into each ramekin.  Cut the apple in rounds so that it fits on top of the muffin.  Add 2 pieces of apple to each dish.  Be sure to remove all the seeds from the apple rounds.  In a small bowl whisk the eggs and spices together until well incorporated.  Pour 1/2 of the egg mixture into each ramekin.  Place 1 tsp of butter atop each ramekin and bake until the egg is puffing and golden brown around the edges, usually 20-30 minutes.  You can double or triple this recipe to meet the needs of your family.

 

 


Healthy Pad Thai

Healthy Pad Thai

We recently began getting our weekly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), so I am 100% in cooking mode.  Each week brings a new opportunity to use my imagination and creativity to produce wonderful fresh dishes with local fare.  We have fallen in love with Greenbrier Farms and get all of our produce and some of our meats (chicken) from them.  They run a wonderful farm where their love for the animals and the crops is evident in their weekly production.  They use the best methods for farming and therefore yield beautiful, healthy, seasonal foods.  Please check out their website at www.greenbrierfarms.com.  This week we were loaded with greens.  Our bag contained green garlic, spinach, bok choy, swiss chard and green onions to name a few.  My mind immediately went to Thai cuisine.  I am a huge lover of Thai food, but I realize it is often loaded with sodium or even worse, MSG.  So, since I keep my pantry and fridge stocked with items that can quickly produce an Asian meal, I began preparing my version of Pad Thai.

The creamy sauce for this recipe is non-traditional as I opted for ingredients such as almond butter and tahini to help increase the protein level as well as the nutritional value of this dish.  If you are unfamiliar with tahini, it is sesame seed paste, and contains high levels of magnesium, calcium and iron.  Most people are familiar with its use in hummus, but it can also be added to smoothies, salad dressings or marinades.  I am excited about this recipe as I hope it helps families to introduce new foods and flavors into their meal planning.  I understand that bok choy is one of those greens that many are not very familiar with and my hope is that this recipe will allow you to dip your toe into the wonderful world of Thai food.  I hope you all enjoy!

 

Healthy Pad Thai

1 TBSP coconut oil

1 bulb green garlic – chopped

thumb size piece fresh ginger – chopped

2 small green onion – chopped (leave some for final garnish)

2 stalks celery – chopped

3 medium carrots – chopped

3/4 cup broccolini – chopped

2 cups bok choy – chopped

8 oz brown rice noodles – cooked according to package directions

Sauce

1 TBSP creamy almond butter

1 TBSP tahini

1 TBSP full fat coconut milk

1 TBSP plus 1 tsp tamari

1 TBSP brown rice vinegar

1 tsp pure maple syrup

1 tsp garlic powder

1 tsp ground ginger

1/4 tsp celtic sea salt

In a wok or large sauté pan, add coconut oil.  Add all the chopped vegetables except the bok choy.  Saute until vegetables are tender.  Add the bok choy and sauté just until wilted.  In a small bowl, add the sauce ingredients in the order listed and stir until creamy and well combined.  To the sautéed veggies, add the noddles and sauce.  Toss to coat.  Sprinkle each bowl of noodles with remaining green onions.  You may wish to add a drizzle of tamari to the finished dish, depending on taste preference.

 


Clean Eating on a Budget

cleanfifteen2013dirtydozen2013

When someone is toying with taking the plunge into a clean eating lifestyle, they often question how to purchase fruits and vegetables.  They want to know and understand all the “ins and outs” of organic vs. conventional.  I have spent much time and energy researching and understanding this question myself.  The main drawback to purchasing organic fruits and veggies is the price differential, and I completely understand.  So here is my take on the whole thing….Every year I familiarize myself with the current list of  the most pesticide heavy fruits and vegetables (dirty dozen) and the list of fruits and vegetables that is least likely to hold pesticide residues (clean fifteen).   According to The Environmental Working Group (EWG) www.ewg.org, 99% of apple samples tested positive for at least one pesticide residue.  The average potato had more pesticides by weight than any other food, and a single grape contained 15 pesticides.  On a happier note, avocados are the cleanest, only 1% of samples showed any detectable pesticides.  No single fruit from the clean fifteen list tested positive for more than 4 types of pesticides.  So…when I think of where my budgetary money for groceries should be spent, I use this list for fruits and vegetables.  In my opinion, the dirty dozen should always be purchased organically. Familiarize yourself with these two very important lists and it will help clear up confusion and concern about whether or not you are feeding your family clean nourishing foods.  I would even recommend making a small card with both lists and keep it in my bag or wallet, so you won’t have to memorize them.  Happy Shopping!