Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Grandma

One of our guest Pastors for the summer gave a sermon on treating everyone as if they are God's masterpieces. Everyone. Don't push people to the sidelines just because you aren't like them. Get to know them. Hear their story and how they got to "today". Don't judge them on what you see in the here and now.  We all have a story. Some stories are more like fairy tales and some aren't so easy to hear.

(that's me on the left)

I spent a great deal of time getting to know my 83 year old grandma this weekend on a personal level...talking...looking at pictures...and more talking as we stayed two nights with her in her tiny 2 bedroom home out in the country.  She literally only had a good 18" x 24" space to prep food. Even with that lack of space she made me delicious vegetable soup. She doesn't use a cutting board, she cuts it all by hand without even touching the countertops. Impressive. And she gives her rinds and scraps to the raccoons that visit her property at night.

She would tell me stories of how her and the kids had very little money for food and some times they even ate just plain macaroni pasta because they couldn't afford anything else.  I am beyond grateful I can provide my children with real whole food and a rather endless supply of it! For many years they didn't have plumbing in the house, which I'm guessing that anyone reading this has plumbing. Be grateful.

I won't say it was easy to live in a VERY little kitchen for around 48 hours. BUT I learned a lot.  I must get a lot of my frugal traits from my gram (and dad). I don't like to waste!  I am grateful always for money to go into ANY grocery store and purchase food for my family. Lots of food.

I can't stress enough how important it is to grasp the fact that many of you reading this have more than most. Way more. You have access to read this message. You probably have electricity to cook a good meal. You probably have a working stove and fridge. If you do, be grateful and don't let these luxuries go to waste. Cook meals for your family or yourself. Eating real food is a blessing. Stop spending money on restaurants that don't have your best interest at heart.  Don't let food go to waste. Be frugal!

Don't settle for crappy food if you don't have to! Drive a cheaper car if you have to. Buy cheaper clothes. Live in a smaller house. Do whatever you have to do because one day you could wake up with a load of regrets as your health starts to decline rapidly. I am so grateful for my health I have today. I pray that I have great health for many years to come, but it's not guaranteed.  I just want to look back and know I tried my best.

Do your best. Learn often. Eat clean. 

xo
Angie






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Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

I've got some good news and some great news for ya. The good news... I have a dip for you that is so delicious. The GREAT news... it's dairy free! And I don't even miss the dairy. True Story.

Give this a try. Even if you "hate" cashews.


Dairy Free Spinach Artichoke Dip

Ingredients:
  • approx. 5 oz Organic Spinach (rough chopped, more so if you don't plan to throw it in the blender)
  • 1 small sweet onion (chopped, I use my Vitamix)
  • 3-4 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 Tbps Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 Tbps lemon juice (approx one lemon)
  • 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts (approx 12-15oz), chopped.
  • 1-1 1/2 cup of cashew cream*
Directions:

1) Saute the spinach, onions, garlic and EVOO in a pan until spinach has wilted nicely.
2) Add in the sea salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, cayenne pepper, dijon mustard, lemon juice and artichoke hearts. Stir.
3) Add in the cashew cream and stir until combined.
4) Eat cold or bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes. I love it warm straight from the oven. 

NOTE:  I use my Vitamix to make this. After I have made the cashew cream I add in all the stuff from the oven pan (which I don't bother chopping my spinach much or the artichoke hearts because the Vitamix will do that) I coarsely chop on #4 until it's the consistency I like. Then I pour directly into oven dish. So simple!

*Cashew Cream:

Soak 3/4-1 cup of cashew in enough filtered water to cover them for AT LEAST 2 hours or overnight (especially if you don't have high speed blender they will need to soak longer).

Drain and rinse and add to blender with 1/2 cup of filtered water. Blend on high until it's smooth and creamy. You can add more if you need to to get it to the creamy consistency. 

ENJOY!



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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Carrot Cake Muffins

My daughter and I created these together. We think they turned out great. If you are gluten free you could try making these will oat flour. Or a mix of your two favorite gluten free flours.

They turned out very moist which is great when working with wheat flour. This is a GREAT way to get some veggies in your morning or on the go! Plus, coconut oil is said to help reduce appetite. Win Win!

Carrot Cake Muffins


Ingredients:
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup coconut sugar (I like to grind mine in the Vitamix)
  • 1 Tbps cinnamon
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt 
  • 1 Tbps pure vanilla extract (read the ingredients not the front label)
  • 1 cup raw pecans
  • 6 dates (if you don't have these, then add more coconut sugar by 1/4-1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup pure pineapple juice (or you could just grind pineapple into a liquid in your Vitamix)
  • 1 cup Organic Coconut Oil, unrefined. (My favorite is Barlean's but I often use Costco Organic due to budget and the amount we go through)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 cups grated carrots (I chopped mine in the Vitamix instead)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

1) Mix the flour, coconut sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and sea salt in a bowl. Set aside. 
2) Add pineapple juice, pecans, vanilla and dates to high speed blender (I'm obsessed with my Vitamix) and blend until smooth. You can leave it chunkier if you wish but my kids don't care for nuts in their muffins so I hide them.
3) Whisk the eggs together and gradually add in the coconut oil (You will need to melt the coconut oil, but don't get it too warm and cook the eggs)
4) Add items from steps 2 and 3 to the bowl in step 1. Mix until incorporated.
5) Fold in the carrots.
6) Scoop into muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean)

NOTES: When using whole wheat flour you need to move quickly, so don't make it and walk away. Or forget you are even baking muffins in the first place.  It will lead to firm muffins. You need to scoop it right after it is mixed.  

My baking isn't rocket science. If it isn't easy, them I'm not doing it! With that being said, if you don't have coconut sugar you could use raw cane sugar instead. You could even try honey instead of coconut sugar (which is a great choice).  It's all about finding what you want to sweeten the muffins with that is considered clean. 

Also, keep in mind my family is off refined sugar. This muffins are plenty sweet to us but that may not be the case for someone just starting to {eat clean}. You can always add more dates to help sweeten and get more fiber in the process. Everyone needs a little more fiber in their life. 

ENJOY!




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Monday, July 7, 2014

Canola Oil {why to avoid it}

A fellow Clean Freak brought up the point of Canola Oil containing GMOs. I thought I would make sure you all know this fact and other reasons why you should avoid it. Choosing the right oil is very important when eating clean and working towards optimal health.



Let's start off with this...Canola Oil = BAD FAT

Olive oil comes from olives, Coconut oil comes from coconuts, and canola oil...comes from...well, it's derived from the rapeseed plant and then genetically modified.

In 1956, when it was still called rapeseed oil the FDA banned the produced because it was too toxic for human consumption. Years later in the 1970s they lowered the toxic erucic acid and introduced it as Canola Oil.  Canola oil is coined from "Canadian oil, low acid". That's right, it's a Canadian invention!

Read more here: 
Stop Using Canola Oil

and here's another link:
Don't Let Organic Cooking Oils Fool You 

Just make sure you read up and know the facts!  


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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

{gluten free & dairy free} Clean Brownies



I have only made this recipe in mini bite size Silicone molds.  It was a huge hit and they are perfect for fitting into the kid's Planetbox lunch system.

This recipe is sweetened only with dates and coconut sugar.

{gluten free & dairy free} Clean Brownies

Ingredients:
  • 1/4 cup Organic (cold pressed) Coconut Oil (I love Barlean's), melted
  • 1/2 cup Water + 12 pitted dates (blended in Vitamix until creamy)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup Organic Coconut Sugar
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I recommend Ghirardelli)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 cup Millet Flour
Optional: I added 5 mini Enjoy Life dairy free chocolates on top of each before baking. 

Directions:

1) Mix coconut oil, "date water", 2 eggs, coconut sugar, and vanilla extract together in a large bowl.
2) In a small bowl mix the cocoa powder, baking powder, sea salt, and millet flour.
3) Add the dry to the wet and mix well.
4) Add batter to whatever baking dish you will be using (spray with oil). I'm guessing 9 x 9 pan if you are going a full pan brownie route. I will have to update that later if I try it. 
5) Bake at 350 until toothpick comes out clean. Approx 13-18 minutes.
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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

I have yet to come up with an icing for this but I wanted to get it posted for you. My kids both liked them without icing, but, of course,  love icing (aka more sugar) and would LOVE it even more then. 


Dairy Free Cinnamon Rolls

Ingredients:
  • 2 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/4 cup powdered cane sugar (or try regular cane sugar)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 3-5 Tbps Coconut Oil (I recommend Barlean's) + a little extra (or use organic butter)
  • 3/4 Coconut Milk, Vanilla (I used sweetened)
  • 1/2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
  • 2 1/4 tsp yeast
  • 1/2 cup coconut sugar (grounded to fine preferred)
  • 2 Tbps cinnamon

Directions:
1) Add flour, sugar, salt and coconut oil to a bowl and combine. (I melted my coconut oil first)
2) Heat the 3/4 cup of coconut milk for 45 seconds in microwave to reach around 120 degrees.  Add vanilla and yeast to milk and let sit for about 2-3 minutes. It will look frothy.
3)Add the wet to the dry. Mix well. Then knead if necessary for a couple of minutes until it can form a ball.
4) Roll out on a floured surface to about 1/4 inch thick rectangle that is about 12 inches long. (make more out of the scraps, until all is gone)
5) Combine the coconut sugar and cinnamon in a Vitamix or any blender (or simple mix by hand without)
6) Coat the dough with melted coconut oil with your fingers (or brush). Sprinkle heavily with the coconut sugar/cinnamon mixture.
7) Cut long strips in the dough (about 1 inch wide).
8) Roll the strips into a cinnamon roll shape and place on a nonstick pan.
9) Bake at 350 for about 13-15 minutes.

NOTE: I had leftover coconut sugar/cinnamon mixture I will save for another recipe. 


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Monday, February 10, 2014

{clean} Biscuits/Rolls

It is VERY hard to find clean biscuits and rolls out there! I am so glad this recipe I found is both simple and delicious. Give it a try. This would be great for breakfast, lunch, or dinner!

{clean} Biscuits/Rolls

(adaped from www.food.com)

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup white UNBLEACHED flour
  • 1 cup white whole wheat
  • 1/4 cup raw cane sugar*
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil or 3 tablespoons organic butter
  • 1/4 ounce dry yeast (2 l/4 tsp)
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm water

Directions:


1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2)In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, salt and oil, shortening or butter.
3)Dissolve the yeast in the water and add to flour mixture.
4)Knead slightly.
5)Roll out on lightly floured board to 3/4 inch thick.
6)Cut with a cookie cutter and place on greased baking sheet, cover and let stand for 30 minutes.
7)Bake in preheated 350 degree oven 10-15 minutes (depending on thickness), until golden.

NOTES:

I used powdered sugar made from blending my raw sugar in the Vitamix to a fine powder. I like to keep this on hand now as I think it works AWESOME!  

I used butter this time around. I will probably try it with coconut oil at some point.  

The picture is what it would look like if you rolled the dough too thin like I did the first time. Still good. Also, I let mine rise about 60 minutes. I had leftover white flour to use up. I need to try this with all white WHOLE wheat and see how they rise and bake. 

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