Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday!!!


You may have noticed that I use Carob a lot in my cooking. So I thought I would share some things about carob. People use it mostly for a chocolate substitute, I do. It actually is in the Legume family. This picture is of a carob tree. Carob does not taste like chocolate. If you bite into carob thinking it is chocolate, well lets just say that it is not a good thing. Really carob has a very good flavor, but you do have to be careful. I bought carob chips before that were not as good as others. Carob also comes in bars and in powder form just like chocolate does and can be used in cooking just the same. Most people that I know that use carob in place of chocolate do so only because carob doesn't have caffeine like chocolate does. But really carob is very good for you. It is naturally more sweet than cocoa, what chocolate is made from, so you don't have to add as much sugar to it. It is naturally fat free. It has "as much vitamin B1 as strawberries; as much niacin as Lima beans, lentils, or peas; and more vitamin A than eggplant, asparagus, and beets" reports the Gilead Institute. Carob also has some trace minerals and compared to chocolate has three times more calcium. Carob is protein rich and also has vitamins B2, B3, and D. So if you haven't tried carob, buy some, give it a try.


Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Butternut Squash Casserole

This picture doesn't do the flavor of this dish justice! It was so delicious! Defiantly a must if you like butternut squash and want a different way to cook it. In fact this recipe is also going to go with my Thanksgiving recipes. The flavors are so rich and very filling. I got the original recipe here while searching for more butternut squash recipes.
Butternut Squash Casserole
1 butternut squash
1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
1 /2 cups rice milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch salt
2 tablespoon barley flour or whole wheat flour
3 eggs
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup butter, melted (ICBINB spray)
1/4 cup brown evaporated cane juice (organic brown sugar)
3 tablespoons butter, melted (ICBINB spray)
2 cups crushed corn flakes
Preheat oven to 425*F. Cut butternut squash in half and remove seeds. Place squash skin side up on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake until squash is soft and you can insert a knife easily into squash. Then remove from oven and cool until you can handle it. Once it is cooled scoop out squash and put into medium sized bowl and mash. In a 9x13 inch casserole dish combine 3 cups mashed butternut squash, evaporated cane juice, rice milk, vanilla, salt, flour, eggs, and 1/4 cup melted butter. Bake in oven for 45 minutes, or until set. In a medium bowl combine corn flakes, melted butter, and brown evaporated cane juice. Crumble over top of cooked casserole and return to oven to brown.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Potato Salad

I like potato salad, but I do not like store bought potato salad at all. I don't like pickles that much so maybe that is why. But then again this recipe, that I got from my amazing mother, has pickle juice in it. So maybe it is because I like simple potato salad. They put way too many things in store bought potato salad. I like how simple this recipe is and yet it has a very yummy flavor to it. When ever I take it to BBQ's I get tons of good comments about it. People are always shocked when I tell them what is in it. They can't believe that that is it. So if you're looking for a potato salad that is extremely easy to make with lots of wonderful flavor, you've come to the right place. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!
Potato Salad
16 medium potatoes
14 hard boiled eggs, peeled
1 3/4 cup Fat Free Mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/4 teaspoon mustard
3 tablespoon honey
4 tablespoons pickle juice
Wash potatoes. Place potatoes in large pot, cover with water, and boil on stove top until you can insert a butter knife easily into the potatoes. Drain water and let cool. In the mean time, in a medium bowl combine Mayonnaise, celery salt, mustard, honey, and pickle juice. Make sure the honey gets completely dissolved. Set aside. Once the potatoes are cooled, peel and then cube. Then cube hard boiled eggs. Combine potatoes, eggs, and sauce in a medium size bowl, making sure the potatoes and eggs are completely covered. Place in fridge until ready to serve.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Fun Food Find Friday!!

Today I wanted to share with you these Gummy Bears. I talked about them last week in this post. We sometimes add them to our home made suckers. I fill Easter eggs with these and if we have a pinata I put them in baggies. If my children bring home candy from school or from a friends house I have some healthier treats at home they can trade the candy in for. I use these as one of the trades. They are made with evaporated cane juice. They are very yummy and like most organic candies they do not have a lot of food coloring in them. That is a good thing and as you can see they are not quite as colorful as normal gummy bears. The color doesn't bother me or my children. The taste is great.
You can find these in the bulk sections of health food stores. Just remember to read the ingredients when you are shopping in the bulk section. :] Happy Snacking!

Thursday, June 24, 2010


(Teriyaki chicken and teriyaki sauce with red, green, and yellow sweet peppers, tomatoes, Parmesan and medium Cheddar cheese.)
(Spaghetti sauce with medium Cheddar and mozzarella cheese with green yellow and red sweet peppers and diced tomatoes)
I LOVE pizza and this is the quickest and easiest pizza I know. If I have some cooked chicken in the fridge along with the Low Gluten Crusty Boule bread found here, I will make this pizza. My kids like to get involved too, which makes making dinner a whole family affair. This makes a great activity for kids. Any time I can have my children in the kitchen helping me is wonderful!
Gluten Free Pizza with Crusty Boule dough
Crusty Boule dough from fridge
Cooked Chicken, sliced or shredded
Sweet peppers
Diced tomatoes
broccoli, cut into bit size pieces
Shredded cheese
Grated Parmesan cheese
Teriyaki sauce
Spaghetti sauce
Pre heat oven to 450*F with pizza stone and broiling pan. Flour surface, sometimes I use corn meal. Take a small of dough and roll out to the thickness you prefer, I like thin crust. Place rolled out dough on parchment paper. Spread your choice of sauce over dough. Top with cheese, chicken, and vegetables to your liking. When finished slide pizza with parchment paper onto pizza stone. Pour water into broiling pan and close oven. Cook for 12-15 minutes or until crust turns golden brown. Cut and enjoy!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday!!!

Ground Turkey

I've used ground turkey before but to be honest I didn't know that much about it. I know that's not the smartest thing to do so I did some research to see what I could find. To see if it really is that much better for you than ground beef. Now don't get me wrong I like ground beef and I feed it to my children. As long as it is hormone free. In fact every year we have an organic cow killed. Really it's the best way to go if you are going to eat meat in your home. You get to choose how much fat is in the ground beef and all of the cuts of meat that you want. And you get to save money too. Not to mention you never have to worry about 'mad cow disease'. For myself my body can not handle ground beef right now. Okay enough of that soap box.

So on to turkey. To start off with I want to make sure you know what kind of ground turkey to buy. It should say on the package the amount of fat that is in the turkey. But just in case, always buy ground turkey breast. Just like in chicken, the breast is the most lean part of the bird. If you buy just ground turkey the fat in it is the same amount as most ground beefs that you would buy. Three ounces of turkey has 65% of your daily value of protein. Turkey also is a good source of selenium, an important trace mineral that is essential to your body for thyroid hormone metabolism, immune function, and your antioxidant defense system. I was happy to find out that turkey is a great source of vitamin B6 and niacin (B3), both of which are important for helping your body produce energy. Red meat has a lot of the B vitamins in it. It also has iron which turkey does not. So if you are cutting red meat out of your diet, make sure you are getting the rest of the B vitamins and iron that your body needs.

I like the taste of ground turkey. Some say that if you replace ground meat with ground turkey in some recipes you can't tastes the difference. I haven't made a ton of different things with it, mostly I've made turkey burgers (recipe will post later). So if you're looking to mix it up a little or if you want to cut red meat out of your diet, turkey is a great alternative.


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Logan and Brin's Favorite Salad

(I didn't know my camera had a dirty lens when I took this)
We have been making this fun and yummy salad for a few years now. It is my children's favorite salad, so it is named after them. I know there are a lot of different ways to make it with different dressings, this is just the way we like to make it. When I make it, I make a lot and it doesn't last that long. It is a perfect side dish for grilled chicken and veggies. Or to take to a baby or bridal shower, because you can make it ahead of time and it can be left out on the counter longer than potato salad can. I've taken it many places and people always ask me for the recipe. It's so simple and easy to make. Hope you enjoy it too.
Logan and Brin's Favorite Salad
1 package whole wheat Rotini, rice penne noodles.
2 small package cherry tomatoes
3 cups medium cheddar cheese, cubed and separated
1 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
2 cans whole olives, drained
2 cups broccoli, chopped
2 cucumbers, peeled and cubed
1 16 oz jar Kraft Sun Dried Tomato Vinaigrette dressing
Cook Rotini according to package directions. After draining the water, rinse well with cold water. (This helps to get off the extra starch and cool the noodles faster) When noodles are cold put into large bowl. Add tomatoes, cheddar cheese, olives, broccoli, and cucumbers. Pour half of the dressing and half of the Parmesan cheese on top and stir well. Next add the remainder of the cheese and a little more of the dressing, about 1/4 of what is left, and stir well. Taste it and see if it is wet enough for your liking. If you think it needs more dressing then add more. It's all about how you like it! Served chilled.
*If serving it the next day you will need to add a little more of the dressing or don't add it until right before serving. It tends to dry out just a little over night.
You can take and add different things to this salad. You can add cooked, grilled, chicken and make it more of a main dish. In the fall I add my own cherry tomatoes with small pear tomatoes. I've put sliced sweet bell pepper in it. What ever vegetable you like. Have fun with it.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Braised Chicken with Fennel and White Beans

I got a fennel and didn't quite know what to do with it. I love the flavor of fennel. It is what they use to flavor black licorice. And like I've mentioned before, I LOVE black licorice! That being said I had no idea how it would taste in food, with other things besides treats and candy. I searched and found the original recipe here. The title sounds like it's a hard gourmet dish to make, but it was actually easy, just a little bit of cutting. I was surprised by the flavor, very sweet. It didn't taste like black licorice at all. I was so shocked by it that I took it to two different families to have them try some. There reactions was it was delicious, sweet, and the flavors complement each other very well. So if you're in the mood to try something new, try cooking with fennel with this recipe. :]
Braised Chicken with Fennel and White Beans

10 chicken tenders
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 small onion, sliced
2 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 fennel bulb, quartered, cored, thinly sliced
1 medium red bell pepper
1/2 green bell pepper
1 small orange bell pepper
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup white grape juice
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
1 1/2 tablespoons butter (ICBNB spray)
In a deep pot, heat butter over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pot. Cook 5 to 6 minutes, turning occasionally, until chicken is light golden brown. Remove chicken from pan. Add onion, garlic, fennel, and bell peppers. Cook 2 to 3 minutes, stirring constantly, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Add chicken, tomatoes, and white grape juice. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat, cover and simmer 20 t 25 minutes or until chicken is tender. Uncover, and stir in beans and parsley. Cook about 5 minutes longer or until sauce is slightly thickened with juice of chicken is cooked through. Serve in shallow bowls. The Crusty Boule bread from here would be wonderful to dip into this dish with it's wonderful flavors.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Fun Food Find Friday!

Yummy Earth Organic Suckers is our fun food find today. If you don't have time to make your own homemade suckers like I told you about yesterday, you can buy these. The taste is very good. They are not too sweet like conventional suckers. They are made with evaporated cane juice. They color the suckers with beet and carrot juice, so no dyes! And no you can not taste the beet or carrot. :] I keep these all over, in the car, in my purse, in our 72 hour kits, and I've even taken lots of these to my children's school. The teachers have used them to give to all of their students and especially to my children when other treats are given.
You can find these at the health food stores in their bulk sections. I've also bought these from for very cheep too.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Homemade Suckers

We love homemade suckers in my home. I've been making suckers since...well to be honest I can't remember when I started making them. My mom always made them growing up and I'm not sure when she started teaching me how. I've been making these healthier suckers for about three years now.
There are so many fun things that you can do with homemade suckers. You can do half flavors like shown in the picture below. This one is half strawberry and half pina colada, my personal favorite.
You can add jelly beans, gummy bears, and gum to them either in the middle or just sticking out. My mom was very creative with the suckers we grew up with. We always made them for our Valentine's to take to school. Now you can't do that because they're not wrapped but I still make them for my kids to take to neighbor friends. Depending on the molds you have, you really can make them for every holiday.
So now that you know some of the possibilities of suckers, let me share with you how I've changed my mom's recipe and made it a little healthier. First of all I use evaporated cane juice, then I use Agave, that's it! If you search it on the internet you'll find lots of places that say you can't make hard candy using Agave. Well I'm here to tell you, you can! See my pictures. I've also made suckers with just Agave and no evaporated cane juice. The pina colada half from the sucker in the picture was made with just Agave and water. So have fun with it, experiment at home, and have your kids help you with the molds and sticks.

Homemade Agave Suckers

1/2 cup evaporated cane juice
3 tablespoons agave
1/4 cup water
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon flavoring
food coloring (optional)
In a medium sauce pan on stove top combine evaporated cane juice, agave, and water over medium high heat. Once combined, cover and bring to boil for one minute. Then uncover and place candy thermometer on the side of pan and cook until the temperature almost reaches 300*F, or until drops of the syrup form hard balls in cold water. Remove promptly, the temperature will continue to raise after taking it off the stove and you don't want it to burn. Stir until the large bubbles have gone down, let sit for 30 seconds. Next stand back and add food coloring, flavoring, and stir. Be careful when adding flavoring it will cause steam to raise! Make sure that the flavoring and coloring are well incorporated. Do not add to molds until the candy liquid starts to thicken slightly. Once the candy liquid is slightly thick pour into slightly greased molds and let cool completely before serving. If adding gummy bears or other types of healthier candy (see future posts) wait to add them until the candy liquid has cooled down even more in the molds or the candy will melt.
-If you are using an oil based flavoring you don't need to add that much, only 1/4 teaspoon. The flavoring should tell you if it is oil based or not. If it isn't an oil based flavoring then add 1/2 teaspoon.
-Because Agave is not clear some of the flavors you don't have to add coloring to. I never add coloring to my root beer, because the candy liquid is already brown.
-If you've ever made suckers before you will have a hard time waiting for the liquid to thicken. Be patient!!! Just trust me, I've been making these for years now and I've messed up a lot. Agave takes longer to cool down than corn syrup does.
-Make sure you have your mold ready with the sticks in them before starting to make the suckers.
-Agave can burn very easily, so Watch the temperature closely!
-This recipe only makes about 6 large suckers and about 10 small suckers. It can be doubled very easily. I like to make several different flavors and not have suckers coming out of my ears.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday!!!

Goat's Milk

A few weeks ago I had a comment from Gwenever. She was thinking about using Goat's Milk instead of Rice Milk. I didn't know that much about Goat's Milk so I thought it was time to start researching. Today I'd like to share with you what I've learned.

I'm going to start off by saying that as much as I looked for the dangers of goat's milk the only thing I could find dangerous was if it was raw. The FDA suggests that no one should consume any milk product unless it has been pasteurized. So that being said I found some amazing things about goat's milk. I am going to reiterate that I didn't know anything about goat's milk. Well I did know that my Grandma never had her breast milk come in and was unable to nurse her children. So my father was raised on goat's milk along with his other siblings. After reading about goat's milk I understand why my Grandma used goat's milk. It is the closest milk you can find to a mother's breast milk. The one thing that it doesn't have is folic acid, which is very important in a baby's development. I was still amazed at how close the two milks are. Go here to see a side by side comparison of cow's, goat's, mother's, and formula milks.
Unlike cow's milk, goat's milk doesn't need to be homogenized. The fat globules are so much smaller in goat's milk that they stay suspended in the milk and do not raise to the top. Goat's milk has more shorter chained fatty acids than cow's milk making it more nutritious and also much easier for our bodies to digest. One thing that I loved finding out is that goat's milk is alkaline just like mother's milk is. Cow's milk is acidic. We are told over and over again that in an acidic environment bacteria and other harmful things can grow. So we are supposed to eat a more alkaline diet. Now you can add goat's milk to your list to help alkalize your body.
Also the protein in goat's milk is much easier for your body to digest. On top of that goat's milk contains ''13% more calcium, 25% more vitamin B-6, 47% more vitamin A, 134% more potassium, 3 times more niacin, and 27% more of the antioxidant selenium than cow's milk does" reports But like I said before goat's milk doesn't have the folic acid or vitamin D that cow's milk does, so it is fortified. With all of that being said I personally would still stay away from goat's milk if you have mucus or candida problems.
So now on to the taste testing part. I bought some vanilla ice cream made from goat's milk. I found it to be very yummy. I thought it tasted just like any other vanilla ice cream made with cow's milk. I also bought some goat's milk. When I gave it to my children they didn't like it. They said that it had a funny after taste to it and dumped it down the sink. Remember that my children have been raised on rice milk after they were breast fed. So they don't like the taste of cow's milk either. I didn't think that taste test was very fair, so I took a small glass to two neighbor boys who drink a lot of cow's milk in their homes. Both boys did not like it and one even spit it out. So after that I decided to have my nephew try it. He, and his dad, are huge cow's milk lovers. They would probably have cow's milk at every meal. When my nephew tried it he really liked it. He said it was "good". I was raised on cow's milk but I haven't had any, not even a sip, for over 4 years now. I didn't find the taste that bad. I tried hard to remember what cow's milk tasted like and I just couldn't remember. But I really didn't think it had a bad flavor to it. It was creamy like I remember cow's milk being. Of course I'm not going to buy it tons. It is very expensive. I paid over $5 for one quart and when my children will not drink it, it is not worth it to me. I will, however, experiment with what I have left over. It would be nice if I could make some yummy white sauces with it.

So there you go. That is what I've found out. Part of me wishes that my children liked the taste. It really does have so many more nutrients than rice milk does. It was still fun and and exciting to research and to try something new.


Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Strawberry Orange Buckwheat Pancakes with Strawberry Orange Syrup

It was Mother's Day. My husband was out of town. So what did I do, I experimented for myself. I went kind of crazy on this one and it payed off. This was so delicious! My 2 year old couldn't get enough. And days after he was still asking for 'Straw orange cakes'. The pancakes alone were very yummy, but I think it was the Strawberry Orange Syrup that really makes these. Since then I've made the syrup over and over. It is the syrup of choice now for my three kids. I hope you enjoy it too!
Strawberry Orange Buckwheat Pancakes
1/2 cup buckwheat flour
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup strawberry puree
2 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
1 teaspoon orange zest
Preheat griddle to 375*. Add evaporated cane juice to strawberry puree. In a medium bowl mix flours, salt, xanthan gum, and baking powder well. Then add egg, vanilla, strawberry puree, and zest and mix well. Pour onto griddle. Turn over when bubbles being to pop and edges begin to dry. Serve with Strawberry Orange Syrup (see below).
Strawberry Orange Syrup
Juice of 2 oranges
1 1/4 cup strawberry puree
1 tablespoon orange zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice
2 tablespoons corn starch
Note: Before you squeeze your juice out of your 2 oranges make sure you zest them first.
Add enough water to your orange juice to make 1 1/2 cups. Then add your strawberry puree, vanilla, zest, and evaporated cane juice. Mix well. Pour syrup mixture into small pot and bring to a boil on stove top, stirring occasionally so evaporated cane juice will mix in well. In the mean time add corn starch to 1/4 cup cold water. After syrup starts to boil add cornstarch mixture and stir continually for 2-3 minutes or until desired thickness occurs. Remove from heat and pour on top of pancakes. Enjoy!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup

The other day I was browsing through recipes at when I came across this one. It looked good and most of the comments said that it was the most authentic tasting tortilla soup they've come across outside of Mexico. That sparked my interest, so I made it. I didn't really change that much of it. I do have to tell you, it was amazing! It made my house smell so wonderful all day long. But I was a little unsure because it didn't really look like much when it was finished. It almost looked like all the flavors were cooked out. I can say, after eating it, that they were not cooked out. It truly is my most favorite tortilla soup to date, and so easy to make being cooked in a crock pot!
Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup
12 chicken tenders, frozen
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 can enchilada sauce (you can add the whole thing I just didn't want it too hot for my kids)
1 4oz can diced green chiles
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup water
1 14.5 oz can chicken broth
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 10oz package frozen corn
Pour tomatoes, water, and enchilada sauce into crock pot. Then add onion, green chiles, garlic cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix well. Then add chicken and corn. Place bay leaf on top and over. Cook on high for 4 to 5 hours or until chicken is cooked through. At about 1 hour stir to make sure the chicken is separated. At 3.5 hours (if chicken is cooked through) take chicken out, shred with fork and knife and return cooking for at least another half an hour to help soak up some of the broth. Remove bay leaf before serving. Serve with crushed corn chips, sour cream, shredded cheese, and guacamole.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Fun Food Find Friday!

Today our fun food find is Carob Chips. Carob is a chocolate substitute. There are a few differnt types of carob chips. Some better tasting than others that's for sure. Now that a WinnCo grocery store has opened up close to where I live I have now found the best carob chips I've ever tasted! They are located in their bulk section and the price isn't too expensive. The taste is sweet and for those who don't like the taste of carob, try these and it will change your mind I'm sure of it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Strawberry Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes

Here is another experiment with Strawberries and Bananas. This is a little easier to make because you can use your mix. Oh so yummy! My oldest son liked it with the pureed strawberries on top with syrup. I laughed at that, but he liked it!

Strawberry Banana Whole Wheat Pancakes

1 cup whole wheat pancake mix
1 cup rice milk
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 ripe bananas, smashed
1/2 cup strawberries, cut small and slightly smashed
1 1/2 tablespoons evaporated cane juice

Preheat griddle to 375*. Add evaporated cane juice to strawberries. Mix all ingredients in a medium size bowl very well. Pour on greased griddle. Turn over when bubbles begin to pop and edges begin to dry. Serve with more cut up strawberries or syrup.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday!!

Vitamin D

Today I wanted to talk about Vitamin D. It is very important to our bodies. It helps our body to absorb calcium. It helps our body to regulate that calcium between our blood and our bones. Vitamin D promotes healthy cell growth, and helps maintain hormonal balance and a healthy immune system. It also helps us have more energy.
A lot of people don't think much about this vitamin. They think that if they go outside for a few minutes every day that they'll be okay. And yes that is true, kind of, but most people are not going outside everyday. You need to go outside for 15 minutes every day in order for your skin to get the UV-B rays it needs to convert into Vitamin D. But there are also many variables to consider if you really are getting enough sun light. For starters if you live above 40* latitude, which is about where New York is, then the sun's rays are only strong enough from May through September to trigger the vitamin D process. If you have darker skin you need to be in the sun longer. If you are overweight then the fat makes it harder for your body to process the rays into vitamin D, so you need to be in the sun longer too. And one of the biggest factors is Sunscreen. Putting sunscreen on stops the UV-B rays from absorbing into your skin, which is what sunscreen is supposed to do. By putting on sunscreen, even the low 8 SPF's, you are not allowing your body to work as it should. Now I'm not saying to go without sunscreen. I have two boys that are very fair skinned and on a hot enough day can burn very quickly. I'm just suggesting that you first go outside and get the exposure your body needs and then apply the sunscreen. For my kids, especially in the early morning, I let them play outside for about a half an hour before calling them back in to put on their sunscreen. In the spring I try to make it go longer or not apply at all depending on how hot the day is.
Some might say that I'm crazy, that I'm increasing the risk of my children having skin cancer later on in life. Well through research they are finding out that many, even children, are vitamin D deficient. There are many health issues related to being vitamin D deficient. Some of these health issues are; rickets in children, osteoporosis, prostate cancer, ovarian cancer, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, increased risk of death from cardiovascular disease, asthma in children, depression, energy loss, high blood pressure, and obesity to name a few.
So really sun exposure is extremely important. It is the best form of vitamin D for your body because your body is making it. There are only a few other ways that you can get vitamin D. You can take a supplement. You can eat a few foods including, some fish, fish oils, egg yolks, beef liver, and some green leafy vegetables. More and more they are fortifying foods with vitamin D, though that is not the best source.
Whatever you do make sure you are getting enough vitamin D. Some of the signs and symptoms of being vitamin D deficient are, bone pain, muscle weakness, low energy and fatigue, getting sick more often, symptoms of depression, mood swings, weird sleeping patterns, and in women that have IBS or Chrohn's Disease there is a very good chance they are already vitamin D deficient because they can not absorb adequate nutrients through their intestinal wall in their colon. Now just because you have some of these symptoms doesn't mean you are vitamin D deficient. If I felt some of these I would change my diet and get more direct sun light. If symptoms didn't leave then I would call my doctor and see if he could run some tests. There are tests out there to determine if you are vitamin D deficient. But above all, and the point I'm trying to make, is vitamin D is extremely important for your health. So go outside enjoy the warm, lovely sunlight and make some vitamin D.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Low Gluten Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

I was so extra excited when these turned out! Like I said here, I love pumpkin bread. Now it's low gluten and still so very yummy!! I used the same original recipe from my neighbor CW that I talked about last week. Can you just smell the pumpkin with all the delicious spices? I can!
Low Gluten Pumpkin Bread/Muffins
1 15oz can pumpkin
1/4 cup applesauce sauce
1 egg, beaten
1 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons LG flour mix
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/ teaspoons ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 1/2 cup honey
Preheat oven to 320* F. Mix all ingredients well. Pour into 1 or 2 greased loaf pans. Bake for 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
For muffins: grease muffin tins or use liners. Scoop out batter into tins, fill each tin 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15-20 minutes or toothpick come out clean.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Baked Scalloped Potatoes

My husband likes scalloped potatoes. So when I saw this recipe, I thought it could be modified pretty easy so we tried it. It turned out really good but there were some extra things I had to do, I'll explain in the directions. It had really good flavor. My kids wanted to eat only this for dinner and not their main dish.
Baked Scalloped Potatoes
6 large potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 can cream of mushroom soup, undiluted
1 1/4 cup rice milk
1 onion, diced
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2 teaspoons celery salt
2 cups medium cheddar cheese, shredded.
Preheat oven to 375* F. Grease a 2 quart casserole dish. Layer potatoes slightly overlapping each other along the bottom of dish. Sprinkle some of the onions on top. Then do another layer of potatoes and more onions. Continue until dish is full of the potatoes and onions. In a medium bowl combine soup, rice milk, pepper, celery salt, and garlic powder. Pour mixture over potatoes. The mixture should cover the potatoes. Cover dish and bake for 60 minutes or until the potatoes are cooked through. At 40 minutes, remove the dish from oven and take out at least 3/4 cup of the liquid. Uncover and return to oven. At 55 minutes, remove from oven and add cheese on top of dish. Return, uncovered, to oven until cooked through.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Fun Food Find Friday!!

Yes, another Healthier bar!! These Clif Bars are so amazingly yummy!! I really don't know what my favorite flavor is. They all are just delicious. So incredibly moist for a energy bar. They are made mostly with oats and oat flour. They are gluten free but they might have traces of wheat in them. They don't have any refined sugars. And I know that will surprise you when you taste one, oh so sweet. They use mostly evaporated cane juice and brown rice syrup. I know you'll just love them! They are another thing that I keep in the car, diaper bag, purse, and 72 hour kits. Go try one!
You can find these anywhere! They are at the health food stores and all grocery stores. They are usually in the protein bar section. Costco is now carrying them, so that is the cheapest place to get them. But they are under 1 dollar a bar at WinCo foods.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread/Muffins

I love pumpkin bread. My neighbor, we'll call her CW, has the most amazing pumpkin bread recipe. It was very simple to modify it a little and make it even more yummy to eat. I think things can taste better just knowing that it is good for you. I only make this into bread every once in a while. I mostly make muffins out of it. My kids love to eat them with scrambled eggs for breakfast. Plus these are a great afternoon snack. They also freeze really well, which is great because this recipe makes lots!
Whole Wheat Pumpkin Bread/Muffins
1 large can pumpkin
1/2 cup apple sauce
2 eggs, beaten
3 1/3 cup whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 to 2 cups honey
Preheat oven to 350*F. Mix all ingredients well. Pour into 3 greased loaf pans and bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
For muffins: grease muffin tins or use liners. Scoop batter to fill each muffin 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 15 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wisdom Wednesday!!!

Cow's Milk
Last week I talked about Rice milk vs. Soy milk. I mentioned that they were both a better alternative to Cow's milk. So today I am going to talk about Cow's milk and why I don't drink it and I don't give it to my family. You can decide for yourself and for your family.

Cow's milk has several problems with it, but there are some benefits too. The benefits are calcium, magnesium, vitamin D, vitamin K, and if they are grass fed cows they have the essential fatty acid conjugated linoleci acid.

Now on to the bad side of cow's milk. Lets start off with the hormones. Cow's milk has natural occurring hormones just like a woman's breast milk does. They are for calves and their growth rate, which is a lot quicker than human growth rate. Calves stop nursing after 8 to 10 months old, when they don't need their mother's milk anymore. Currently cows are given a genetically engineered hormone manufactured by Monsanto, called Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH). This hormone acts like the natural hormone the cow already has but it makes the cow produce more milk than the cow normally would. This causes many problems. We've all seen the commercials on T.V. promoting new drugs, they list off all of the side affects really fast hoping no one will remember them or pay attention to them. This is part of what the warning label on the Monsanto's Posilac drug (the hormone) says, "Cows injected with POSILAC are at an increased risk for clinical mastitis (visibly abnormal milk). The number of cows affected with clinical mastitis and the number of cases per cow may increase... In some herds, use of POSILAC has been associated with increases in somatic cell counts [pus & bacteria]." Then is goes on to say, "The use of POSILAC may result in an increase in digestive disorders such as, indigestion, bloat, diarrhea... Studies indicated that cows injected with POSILAC has increased number of enlarged hocks and lesions of the knee and of the foot region." Quoted by Mike Ewall. Amazingly after reading only that small part of the warning label the farmers are still injecting their cows every TWO weeks! When the cows do get mastitis they are given antibiotics which in turn the residue from those antibiotics end up in the milk, yuck! I don't want to drink that, do you? And that was only one side affect of rBGH. Remember that it can increases pus and bacteria and you are drinking that. Now if that doesn't turn your stomach maybe this will. When cows are given rBGH it also makes the cows increase production of another hormone called Insulin-Like Growth Factor-1 (IGF-1). This hormone is actually in mother's breast milk too. It is the hormone responsible for growth. In humans it is bound to proteins so it is perfect for our bodies to digest it and use it to help us grow. In cow's milk it is not bound to proteins and thus harder for us to digest. But the biggest concern/problem with this is it behaves, in adults, as a cancer accelerator. Normally your cells know when to divide and when to die, but when your cells are promoted to grow and divide from IGF-1 they don't know when to die, they are out of control and that is what cancer is, out of control cell division.
Okay that is enough on that "soap box".

If you are drinking milk for the benefit of calcium I'm sorry but it's not the best source of calcium for your body. In fact the best ratio for calcium and magnesium (you need both together) is a 1:2 ratio. The ratio in cow's milk is a 10:1 ratio. So your body is not able to process the calcium and use it and you can actually have a magnesium deficiency. Also because of this ratio in cow's milk the calcium can cause kidney stones and gallstones to form. You can get the correct ratio from seeds and crunchy vegetables like carrots and broccoli.

There are just three more things I would like to talk to you about cow's milk; homogenization, pasteurization, and mucus growth. Many people think that homogenization makes the milk more healthy. Really all it does is make the milk last longer on the shelf. In the process of homogenization they take the fat from the milk and they break it down into very small fat globules so it can't raise to the top of the milk like the cream does. The big problem with this is that your body can not process it. Usually your liver can help digest the fat but after it has been homogenized it can not and it goes directly into the blood stream and starts to cause damage to your body. Pasteurization isn't good either. Remember all of those good vitamins and minerals that are in milk, well when it is pasteurized (heated to 160*F or higher) it diminishes those vitamins and minerals. It destroys the B vitamins and kills the good bacteria. Pasteurization also denatures (breaks down) the proteins so our body can not use them. Drinking milk also promotes mucus growth in the body. There are two places that mucus starts to grow first, your lungs and your intestines. In your lungs it can cause problems like asthma. In your intestines it coats the walls and inhibits your body from absorbing the nutrients from the food you eat. There are many health problems that can come from drinking milk especially in young children. Here are a few websites that go into more detail on that.

There are some other reason why I don't have my children drink cow's milk. I won't go into them now. I think I've talked your ear off enough for one day. Now you can make the decision for yourself and for your family.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Crock Pot Tin-Foil Dinner

(in the picture my potatoes are cut too big!)
My family loves, I mean LOVES, to cook tin foil dinners. There is just something about being outside on a perfect summer night with your family, a camp fire, and food. We just can't get enough of it. Really any excuse we get to make a fire and cook in it we do. So a few nights ago I thought, "What if I could make a large tin foil dinner in the crock pot?" There are many ways to make a tin foil dinner. This is usually what I put in mine, so that is what I experiment with. :] It turned out so yummy, and very close to the real thing. It was missing a few crispy sides and some of the soot from the fire. Other than that it was same, very delicious.
Crock Pot Tin-Foil Dinner
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup, undiluted
1 can Cream of Chicken soup, undiluted
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
salt and pepper
8 medium potatoes, washed and cubed (make sure not to cube too big or they'll take longer to cook)
1/2 to 3/4 small bag mini carrots
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced


Mix Soups, celery salt, and garlic powder in a small bowl. Salt and pepper the chicken. Pour 1/2 of the soup mixture in the bottom of the crock pot. Add Carrots, potatoes, and chicken. Pour remaining soup mixture on top. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or until chicken is cooked through and potatoes are soft. With 30 minutes left in cooking time, stir and then place bell peppers on top and cover. When finished cooking stir one more time before serving to coat peppers. Enjoy!