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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Super duper FIBER biscuit

Teff Flour was on sale at my co-op today and I decided to grab it up.
What is Teff? It is a gluten-free grain; used in Ethiopian staple bread, injera; it makes tasty quick breads, pancakes and waffles; substitute up to 20% in recipes; teff has a sweet, malty flavor; use to thicken stews, soups, sauces. 

Teff is high in protein and I look for that in my grains. A whole grain and protein combination is helpful as it allows the absorption of the sugar into the body more slowly so that we receive steady energy from that food. That means that we are less likely to keep snacking mindlessly on a food. Unlike, say eating regular cookies we may purchase from the store where the flour has been reduced to the endosperm of the grain and no longer whole. Therefore, we are left with only the sugary part of the grain and this can lead more quickly to blood sugar imbalances.


Ideally I wanted to make a gluten-free bread, but given the fact I didn't have all the ingredients, I settled for teff cookies. I remembered seeing a recipe from my friend Michelle and I decided to use her recipe as a guideline. What I found however is that these cookies had a firmer more biscuit consistency than a chewy cookie (perhaps a bit of baking powder would remedy). 
  • 1 1/2 cups teff flour
  • 1/2 cup roasted butternut squash puree
  • 1/4 cup agave/molassas mix
  • 1 cup coconut cream concentrate (from Tropical Traditions)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt celtic or himalayan sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla
Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F. 
  2. I tossed all the ingredients, except the teff flour into my Vitamix Blender because the coconut cream concentrate is very solid at room temperature. So I needed to break it up and make it smooth again and the vitamix can easily handle that manipulation. You might need to add a little coconut oil to do so.
  3. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and blend well. 
  4. Scoop out the dough with a cookie scoop or a tbsp spoon and place on parchment lined cookie sheets (super easy clean up). 
  5. Using a fork, press down to flatten the cookies
  6. Bake for 10-13 minutes
  7. Approx: 2 dozen cookies 
We did a little culinary math and it seems these cookies have approximately 5 grams of fiber per cookie - that's a lot.

If you order from Tropical Traditions they have wonderful coconut goodness. Enter this code 5531550 when you order and you will receive a free coconut oil book with your order which has some great info as well as recipes!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Quote of the Week

This is a great quote that was sent to me last week and I wanted to share it with you for the coming year:

"This is my wish for you: peace of mind, prosperity through the year, happiness that multiplies, health for you and yours, fun around every corner, energy to chase your dreams, joy to fill your holidays!"

~ D.M. Dellinger

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Lighten up

 "I now chose to make my life light, easy and joyful" ~Louise Hay

Instead of taking everything so seriously - lighten up your mindset and truly enjoy your life. Release your grip on what needs to happen AND when things need to happen. Let go of what you need to be OR how things are supposed to be...Instead let things be easy and joyful! Stop worrying about what you aren't and focus on what you are. You are unique and special in your own precious way. Learn to embrace the qualities that make you different. There is NOTHING healthier than that.

What do you think when you see someone smiling and laughing? When you notice a person who is glowing from head to toe. What do you think? I think, "wow" that person is beautiful and I could use a bit of that sparkle in my life. Then I remember "oh right" - I have access to that feeling as long as I am willing to enjoy and relax.

Please don't stop reading and think "well that's easy for you to say." This isn't easy for me. I'm a recovering perfectionist who sees fault in most of the things I do, say, wear, etc. Which can leave me paralyzed in fear of "what if I do it wrong?" I especially see fault in everything I write, but as my goal in life is to "let go" I am writing through the fear. Fear that my lack of grammar, spelling mistakes and punctuation make me seem silly and stupid. There are many times I feel angry, overwhelmed or disappointed in my progress in life. But, if I choose to picture myself as the positive and playful person that I am I usually bring myself out of whatever "funk" I've fallen into. And I call that progress (progress not perfection...).

I encourage you to say this affirmation or read/write it as often as you like until you start feeling easy and joyful.

Here's your homework:
Make a list of all the simple things you love and then start doing them daily.

My Simple List
- Affirmations
- Reading a good novel
- Selecting the perfect essential oil for the task at hand (like Joy or Valor)
- Singing in the car
- Dancing
- Chatting with friends
- Snuggling with my dog
- Yoga class
- Walking the dog
- Taking a deep breath

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quote of the week


Alone we can do so little.  Together we can do so much.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Creamy Coconut Lentil Soup

One of my all-time favorite cookbooks is a book I got years ago called healthy 1-2-3. Its by Rozanne Gold and I like it because it isn't about fancy cooking its about functional food. Yet, the recipes are delicious, which helps.

Last weekend I was asked to make a Vegan Soup for an event down the street at my neighbor's house. I decided to make a lentil soup with coconut milk and scallions. You might have missed it, but that's it. Those were the 3 ingredients. Super simple.

I made a HUGE pot of this soup by doubling/nearly tripling the recipe. I'm going to give you the basics and then tell you what I added, but let me tell you it is all about taste. One of the biggest tricks to good soup is seasoning. Seasoning is best done after you cook the soup. Then you can add whatever bits are necessary.

I do not have a picture of the end result as I was having "one of those days" where I wasn't sure if the soup was really all that great. However, that HUGE pot of soup was empty early in the evening (even though there was LOTS of other things to eat). It was a hit. That made my heart smile a bit!


Anyway here is the recipe and a picture of the soup before it was finished.

Ingredients:

  • 1 3/4 - 2 cups of Red lentils
  • 2/3  - 3/4 cup of Coconut Milk
  • 2 - Bunches of Scallions (chop them up and reserve the very green pieces for garnish and the light colors for the soup)
  • 5.5 cups of purified water

My Optional Items:

  • Garlic - 2 or 3 cloves sliced or more if you love the stinking rose
  • 2 tbsp of extra-virgin olive oil 
  • Pink Himalayan Sea Salt - to taste
  • Ground Pepper - to taste

Directions:

  1. Rinse lentils well with cool water (look for small stones)
  2. Saute sliced garlic and scallions in extra-virgin Olive Oil on low for 5 minutes
  3. Add lentils and 5.5 cups of water in a pot 
  4. Bring the pot to a boil
  5. Lower heat and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes - stirring occasionally to keep the lentils from sticking 
  6. Once the lentils are very soft turn off the soup and let the steam release
  7. Then using a Vita-Mix blender (a super star blender) start adding the soup in batches for blending.
  8. Depending on your preference you can leave the soup somewhat chunky
  9. Add coconut milk to the soup
    1. If the soup is super quick add some water
  10. Season the soup - add more salt, pepper, garlic, herbs, etc
  11. Ladle into bowl and drizzle the reserved coconut milk over the top and sprinkle with the green onions
  12. Enjoy!
SERVINGS - Approx 6. or try double or tripling this recipe for a big party.

If you are interested in the Vita-Mix then use this Coupon Code for free shipping (US and Canada) =06-00503

Monday, December 13, 2010

Care to dine on Chemicals?

Dining on chemicals sounds pretty gross right? However, many of us do not take the time to read labels. Whether its a food label or a hygiene product we seem to think that the words on the label like "Natural," "Pure" or "Clean" actually mean something. However, most of the time we are using dangerous chemicals that we wouldn't actually eat or drink. Take a look at the small list below or browse out to the main site and then review your prepackaged foods. Take a few minutes to review the items you frequently eat and drink and see if there are any chemicals that might be of concern.

Photo credit here


Acesulfame Potassium - May cause cancer. This is found in diet soda, chewing gum, no-sugar-added baked goods and desserts

Artificial and Natural Flavorings - May contain MSG or HVP. Found in breakfast cereals, candy, soda, and many other foods

Aspartame (NutraSweet) - May increase the risk of leukemia, lymphoma, breast cancer, dizziness, hallucinations, headaches. Found in frozen desserts, diet soda, tabletop sweetener (Equal).

Brominated Vegetable Oil (BVO) - Small residues of BVO remain in the body fat, but it is unclear what, if any long-term risks exist. Found in Soft Drinks

Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA) - Based on animal studies this is "reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen" says the federal government's National Toxicology Program. Found in cereals, chewing gum, oil, potato chips.

Caffeine - May interfere with sound sleep, cause jitteriness, mildly addictive, causes headaches, irritability, may increase the risk of miscarriage or rare birth defects. Found in soft drinks, flavored waters and naturally occurs in coffee, tea, cocoa and chocolate.

Casein - If allergic to milk avoid. Used as a thickening agent, found in coffee creamer, ice cream, ice milk, ice milk.

Cochineal or Carmine - May cause a range of allergic reactions. Coloring made from the bodies of pulverized insects - TASTY! Found in beverages, candy, ice cream, yogurt.

Corn Syrup - Promotes tooth decay and has no nutritional value. Found in beverages, cake, candy, cereals, cookies, syrup, yogurt.

Hydrolyzed Vegetable Protein (HVP) - Contains MSG. Found in beef stew, frankfurters, instant soup, sauce mixes.

*Adapted from Nutrition Action Healthletter, May 2008 "Chemical Cuisine: A guide to food additives"

These are just a few of the chemicals typically found in prepackaged products.

More detailed list found here: http://www.cspinet.org/reports/chemcuisine.htm

Monday, December 6, 2010

Gooey Goodness

This week I had one of those days where I wanted a treat. In fact, I needed a treat and only a chocolate chip cookie could squelch my desire. I searched one of my favorite gluten-free sites knowing that Elana would inspire me. I came away with lots of ideas, but decided to create a cookie based on her Double Almond Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe. In typical MulberryMary fashion I could not follow the recipe 100% as I believe recipes are really just a guide or a road map to get one started. So I made a few changes. This isn't always a good thing, but this time it worked out pretty well even for someone who doesn't spend much time baking. Who am I kidding? I do not spend any time baking for a reason. When I was younger I had CRAZY sugar cravings and I would sometimes polish off way more of whatever I had made, usually homemade brownies. I considered baking to be a very dangerous hobby so I  stopped. Many of you know that curbing sugar cravings is one of my favorite healthy topics and specialty. Now that I don't turn into the cookie monster every time I eat something sweet I figured I could handle baking a bit more. That doesn't mean I don't have something sweet daily - fruit, smoothie, made up dessert - it just means I usually only make enough for a single serving.

Not so classic chocolate chip cookie recipe:
2.5 cups of almond flour
1/2 tsp pink himalayan sea salt
1/2 teaspoon aluminum free baking soda
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1/2 cup vanilla agave nectar
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I use the Enjoy brand as they are dairy, nut & soy free)
1/2 cup goji berries (also known as wolfberries)
1/4 cup of shredded coconut




Here is where I tried my best to follow Elana's directions. However, my cookies did NOT yield 3 doz. My cookies turned out pretty big so I had one dozen cookies. Also, my cookies were really soft and chewy and not firm and hard. I could have added a bit more flour, but I was totally okay with this. You can also see that the outsides of the cookie look burnt, but they actually weren't.

Instructions per Elana:
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt and baking soda
  2. In a medium bowl combine grapeseed oil, agave and vanilla
  3. Stir wet ingredients into the almond flour mixture until thoroughly combined
  4. Fold in chocolate chips, goji berries and shredded coconut(try adding sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds and a bit of cinnamon)
  5. Spoon dough 1 heaping tablespoon at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet, pressing down with palm of your hand to flatten
  6. Bake at 350 for 7 to 10 minutes, until lightly golden (Mine took about 12 minutes to bake - I checked often)
  7. Cool cookies on the baking sheets for 20 minutes, then serve
Enjoy!

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