Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Fruit Bowl




I have meeting tonight for work and I am taking a fruit bowl. Since we are in the process of moving I bought a watermelon and grapes and used what I had in the house to complete my bowl. Here is the fresh fruit I used.

Pineapple at the bottom of the bowl. Try this cool tool to slice fresh pineapple. I have the plastic version which cost about $10. This stainless steel one looks nice though. You will never be intimidated to buy fresh pineapple again. It is so easy.

Mango chunks ( I buy the organic frozen mangoes and put them in frozen to keep the bowl cool and then it cuts down on prepping your fruit to put it in the bowl.

Watermelon (seedless)

Green grapes

Strawberries

Frozen raspberries to keep it cool.

The frozen fruit mixed with the fresh fruit will keep the salad cool and it won't have such a heavy juice content, so the fruit will not get all mushy. You want to make it ahead of time so the frozen fruit thaws enough to eat when ready. If you are going to sit the bowl outside you don't want to make it too far ahead of time. The hot sun will do the trick to help thaw.

I didn't mix the salad together because I liked the layered look and I did not want the delicate raspberries and soft watermelon to get bullied in the bowl. It will mix once we scoop it out.

Yummy!! I hope I make it all the way to the meeting with the fruit bowl.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Naked Fruit:Buying Orgainic Produce


I am enjoying a Sunday morning with my husband and I happened to stumble along an article about buying organic produce and thought I would share with you. It is not the best article or information on the subject, but it is worth reading. I am happy to share some better books and resources if this is something you are interested in. As most of you know I have been eating organic for about 13 years now. Yes, since I was a teenager. People ask me why we eat organic and how we afford it. It seems like a no brainer to me. My health and the health of my husband is way more important to me than our bank account. I had to learn how to "afford" it and how to make it work, but let me give you hope that it is doable. The article was only about produce, but as you read along I also want you to think about your meat and grains being organic as well.

A good rule to follow when you are starting to eat and buy organic produce is to ask yourself..."do my fruits and veggies wear clothing?" Let me explain. Peaches, strawberries, apples, pears, peppers, carrots, lettuce are all "naked." I mean they don't have a coat to protect them from the tons of pesticides that are poured on them when they are growing. So when you are trying to make this work for your household start small and don't get overwhelmed. These would be fruits and veggies you would for sure want to buy organic. I buy a lot of my fruit in the frozen food section and thaw them in the fridge and they are yummy. My favorite is blueberries. Frozen fruits and veggies have about the same nutritional value as fresh fruit and can be cheaper and they are yummy in smoothies! It is good to buy frozen when a certain fruit you may want is not in season. Generally fruit is frozen in the height of their season so they are the sweetest and yummiest.

There are some others that are a bit more protected because they do wear some clothing. Pineapple, mangoes, watermelon, onions, avocados have a bit of a coat to them so they are a bit safer from the heavy residue of pesticides. This does not mean they don't have any pesticide residue, but just that their flesh is protected a bit more.

Here are some of the things people say to me about buying organic.

" The amount of residue on the fruit and veggie is so small there is no way that it could cause a health concern."

This frustrates me the most. Would you feed you family or yourself a little side of rat poison or chemical pesticide with every meal. I mean not enough to kill you or cause a disease after that one dose, but just a little everyday? What is the big deal, it won't kill you or cause an immediate problem? Ahhhh!!! I just don't get it. A little bit of something put into the body every day will eventually cause a big problem. It's just not worth it.

"I would rather have the pesticide than have a worm hole in my food, gross."


I don't know any real statistics on this, but I am pretty sure I have not heard of a case that worm poo killed a person or caused cancer. That is all I can say about that.

I would love for some of you to check your area and see if there are local organic farmers around. Do some research and see why you would want to start eating organic. Do you care about the earth and where your food comes from and supporting the local farmers that are trying to keep our soil the way God intended it to be? Do you want your children to be free of all those chemicals? Do you want to protect you own body and prevent illness and cancers in your body? What we put in our bodies is so important for our health, our health now and our long term health. Before you eat, ask yourself where you think this item came from or how it was produced. I am pretty sure if you become conscience about this you will change your eating habits quickly.

Be careful not to become overwhelmed by all of this, it can be fun and it will be a life saver for you and your family and not to mention organic food taste way better than chemical laden food.

I will receive our first basket of organic produce from Kretschmann Farm on June 4. This will be the first year we get our produce from a farmer. I will let you know how it goes. Do your research. I am happy to help in anyway I can.

P.S. Thanks for the image pwinn .

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Recipes

Some of you know that I went on an elimination diet about a month ago so I could test to see if I had a food allergy. I will say it has been great, don't get me wrong when you know you can't have the creamy alfredo sauce or the chocolate brownie you want it even more. I am not even a big brownie person, but it's a mental battle. I made it through and felt great doing it. I would recommend a 21 day cleanse if you will to anyone. It was such a great discipline and such a great break for my digestive tract. Yes you eat the whole 21 days for those of you who think I have not eaten for 21 days. I just had things I had to take out of my diet to make it work.

Anyway, I had some great recipes to use during this time and I wanted to post them for anyone who has allergies or just wants to try to make a healthy version of some traditional snacks. I used all organic ingredients.

Applesauce Bread

1 c. teff flour
1c. oat or rice flour ( I used brown rice flour, organic of course)
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 c. unsweetened applesauce
1 Tbsp. safflower or sesame oil ( I used safflower oil)
1/2 c. brown rice syrup or fruit juice concentrate ( I used apple juice concentrate) Just go to your freezer section and buy the frozen apple juice in a can and let it thaw in your fridge and use that.
Egg Replacer equal to one egg ( to make egg replacer you will use 1/3 c. filtered water and 1 Tbsp. whole or ground flaxseed, I used ground. Just put them in a bowl and let them gel together for about 5 min, this becomes your binder. This recipe is equal to one egg.)
3-4 Tbsp. Apple butter (unsweetened)
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Combine the wet ingredients in a small bowl and mix into the dry ingredients. Pour into an oiled 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 min. Enjoy!

Banana Bread

1/4 c. walnuts, ground finely in food processor
1 3/4 c. brown rice flour
1/2 c. arrowroot
2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
1 1/2 c. ripe mashed bananas
1/4 c. safflower oil
6 Tbsp. apple juice concentrate
Egg Replacer ( equal to two eggs, egg replacer recipe above)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Juice of 1/4 fresh lemon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix finely ground walnuts with flour, arrowroot,baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Stir in the chopped walnuts. In a separate bowl, mix together the banana, oil,
apple juice, egg replacer, lemon and vanilla. Add to the flour mixture and stir until just moistened. Do not over mix. Pour into a greased 9"x5" loaf pan and bake for 55-60 min or until cake tester inserted in middle comes out clean.

I left my bread in the dish and let it cool and just cut a piece as we wanted. Sean even loved this recipe and we will continue to make it even know I am not still on the diet. It is so good for you and it was yummy!

I also made lentil soup which I am about to make a second batch because it was so good and cheap to make even with all organic ingredients.

Lentil Soup

2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, chopped
2 large carrots, sliced or chopped ( I used 4 carrots and did not use celery, I just wasn't in the mood for celery)
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 1/2 c. red and/or green lentils, well rinsed (I used both)
2 quarts water or broth ( I used 1 qt. organic vegetable broth and 1 qt. water)
Pinch of thyme or any herbs of your choice
Salt to taste

Combine first 6 ingredients and bring to a boil. Add seasonings. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, partially covered, until lentils are soft. Green lentils need about 45 min to 1 hour, while red lentils only need 20-35 min. I used both and simmered the soup for about an hour and it was great. If you want a creamier soup you can puree half of cooked soup in a blender. I did not blend my soup.

Tonight I baked oatmeal banana cookies. They have a texture of muffin, but they were yummy.

Oatmeal Banana Cookies

2c. oat flour (you can find it at a health food store or use rolled oats and blend them in a good blender to a very fine powder) I used 3/4 cup oat flour and 1/4c. rolled oats not blended.
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 overripe bananas
1/4 c. sunflower seeds (I used chopped walnuts and just a bit of sunflower seeds, I wasn't crazy about the sunflower seeds so I will only use walnuts from now on or maybe almonds next time.)
1/4c. dates ( I used medjool dates and chopped them)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper lightly oiled. Combine oat flour, cinnamon, baking soda, walnuts or sunflower seeds in a bowl.

Blend bananas in a blender until they are very smooth and put in a bowl and add dates.

Combine all ingredients and mix in a bowl until blended together. Spoon out a tsp. batter onto baking sheet. Bake for about 12 min.

I found this recipe here.


Well, let me know how it goes and if you have any cool recipes to share or let me know if you tweaked them at all so I can try too!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Moving

Sean and I are in the process of moving these next couple of weeks. Today my wonderful in-laws came in and we all went to church together and then they helped us move some furniture. We successfully moved all the furniture and boxes we had planned to move and even managed to execute some of our "stretch goals" which always makes my husband happy. He is a bit of a plan maker and I do my best to help execute the plan which does not always happen being the free spirit that I am, but we always get it done.

The apartment we are in now is a bit empty which is a good thing and quite a mess, but as I was making dinner for us tonight I realized I am the happiest girl alive! With all the stress of moving and learning how to be a married couple that comes from two different backgrounds ... I have never felt so in love with Sean.

It is such a gift to grow with someone and learn from them and how you will work together forever and a day, what a blessing.

We will be in our new apartment on June 1st and we are so excited!

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Life Wish

Yesterday I watched David Blane hold his breath under water for 17 min 4.4 seconds on the Oprah show. No illusions, or magic just his mind and his body keeping him under water for 17 min 4.4 seconds. He broke the Guiness Book of World Records. The last man who did this was from Switzerland and he just made that record in February 2008...bummer for him. His time was 16 minutes 32 seconds.

Anyway watching him do this yesterday made me think. I almost didn't watch it because I thought "Oh come on you are going to die on live television!!!" I watched...he didn't die. It made me think how powerful our bodies and our minds truly are. Our God gave us theses amazing tools to be able to do amazing things. All we have to do is take care of it. It usually means a change of lifestyle which for most of us is not so fun, but too bad, it is important.

I have been on an elimination diet for about 5 days now to rule out a food allergy I may have. The first couple of days were great and the next couple of days I realized that I am making a big life change and I also realized how bad I wanted a cheese burger with a nice cold beer and a chocolate brownie for dessert. I can have none of these, but it is for a good reason and hopefully temporary. I am trying to heal my body without taking some pill that will take away a symptom and make me feel like I am all better...sorry I can get a bit fierce with the drug companies.

I have a book that I LOVE called Healing Foods Nutrition for the Mind, Body and Spirit by Michael Van Straten. You should all have this book and you should challenge yourself to know what you eat and what it does for your body which is your temple.

David Blane trained for months to get his body in the perfect condition for this mind blowing event. He made his mind and body complete the task and all with diet and exercise and meditation. I am fascinated by that. It made me think my 2 or 3 month elimination diet is nothing compared to that...bring it on!

Oprah asked him if he had a death wish on the show and he chuckled and I think he thought she was crazy. He said..."no, I have a life wish." I loved that.

What do you have a life wish for? Do you know how powerful your mind and body really are? What are you putting in your body to keep it strong and healthy? Keep track of what you eat in a day or even a week and know what it is doing for your body. Do you eat it just because it taste yummy or because it is vital for your life? Do you pack your diet full of "fat free" or "diet" products? Please don't, they generally are terrible for you. Just eat stuff that is fat free naturally like fruit. Of course I eat because it is yummy. For those of you that know me, you know how much I love food, I mean I really love it. If I am going to eat a cookie, I don't want it to be fat free, I will just eat less of them.

Right now I have a banana bread in the oven that is made with rice flour and no eggs or sugar. I will let you know how it is and pass along the recipe if it is yummy. I will tell you it will be the healthiest banana bread I will ever eat and I love that I know every ingredient in it and what it will do for my body.

I hope you take on this challenge. We usually are more particular about what we put in our car and not what we put in our mouth, that is scary. I am happy to help with this challenge if you have any questions. I have been using food as a healer for my mind and body for almost 15 years now.

My bell just went of for the banana bread...we'll see.