IMG_5854The countdown to the end of Kung Fu camp is on… Two more days.
I’ve ended up having to help out more than I thought I would, so haven’t had nearly as much time as I’d wanted to get stuff on here. As I sit here in my cubicle at the Kung Fu school, I am trying not to worry frantically about the fact that I have massive amounts of herbs that desperately need to be harvested back at home. Worried I’m going to lose the rest of my chamomile and red clover, due to the incessant rain we’re having;worried my milky oats and rose hips are just going to rot. Just have to hope for the best…
I’m also hoping we get enough time this weekend to pick and freeze blueberries and boysenberries that seem to be ripening rapidly (and early!) this year (one of the benefits of the unbearable heat, humidity and excessive rain, I suppose). We managed to get them all netted this year, so won’t lose any to birds. (We didn’t manage to get our elderberries netted. I thought we had a couple more weeks, but the birds ate them all unripe, which I was totally not expecting. Got enough elderflowers to make tincture, thankfully!) We’ll have two days to get all of this done before my daughter and I take off to the Cape to visit family and go surfing (such as it is on the east coast in summer), plus making home-made chocolates and grain-free/sugar-free banana bread for our trip (check out this recipe I found–I had to modify it a bit to make it lower sugar;I’ll get my modified version up on here soon), so she has some healthy treats that she loves when her cousins eat ice cream, etc.

OK, will get a few more recipes up before the end of the week. Have to get back to researching computer animation programs for my daughter. She’s decided she really wants to make movies out of her drawings and photos, etc. Being a complete Luddite, I know absolutely nothing about this, so have messages out to all my illustrator/computer graphics friends to try to find how to go about this. If anyone (homeschooling moms out there?) has any suggestions for me, please write!

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Sesame-Garlic Kale-Sweet Potato Salad

IMG_5691The key to the delicious taste of this one is the dressing, which is actually very simple, and we use it on lots of other veggies (sauteed broccoli is a favorite). It’s a great way to get kids to eat lots of garlic and ginger when they’re sick, too.
You can also have the dressing with just kale, to keep it really low carb. For the most part, we avoid sweet potatoes, but I’ve found that the small amount of sweet potato per serving in this doesn’t spike my daughter’s sugar.

Dressing ingredients:

1 cup toasted sesame oil
1/4–1/3  cup olive oil (make sure it’s extra virgin, organic)
tons of garlic, minced
approximately a 2″ X 2″ piece of fresh ginger (or more to taste), grated
1/8 cup rice vinegar
2 or 3 T tamari (make sure it’s organic–you don’t want to get any GMO soy)
1 scoop KAL organic stevia (or 1 tsp raw honey if you’re not doing really low sugar/carb)

Shake all ingredients together well in a jar. This makes quite a bit of dressing, not just enough for this salad. It’s always good to have around, and keeps really well for a long time in the fridge (though ours usually gets used up within a few days).

Other ingredients:

1 medium-sized bunch of kale, chopped into bite-sized pieces
1 medium to large sweet potato, also chopped into small bite-sized pieces
Coconut oil or Olive oil

Preheat oven to just below 325 F if using olive oil;just below 350 F if using coconut oil.

Toss the sweet potato with olive oil, then roast in oven until pieces just start to brown. Remove pieces onto a plate and let cool. They will become a little chewy. Once cool, combine sweet potatoes and kale together in a large bowl. Add as much of the dressing as you want and toss until veggies are all coated. Julienned red bell peppers are also good in this salad, and add some great color.

 

flourless gluten-free sugar-free brownie-truffles

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My new favorite ingredient discovery is Creamed coconut (not to be confused with coconut cream). I found it at our local co-op, but if you can’t find it, I’m sure you can order it online.

Anyway, so, this is a very simple recipe, once you have your creamed coconut. I’ve seen a few versions out there, but all with sugar of one sort or another.

Ingredients:
1 package (7 ozs) unsweetened creamed coconut
3/4 cup unsweetened chocolate chips or pieces, or 6 ozs worth of chocolate bars (either homemade chocolate, unsweetened bars or 85% cocoa is what we use)
1 to 2 T raw cacao powder (or good quality, organic, non-alkaline cocoa powder)
2 tsp vanilla extract and/or 2 tsp almond extract or orange extract (orange oil also works wonders here!)
2 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 tsp baking soda
4 to 8 scoops of KAL organic stevia (optional) (we actually like this with or without stevia. The creamed coconut has a pretty sweet taste to it, but we also like very dark bitter barely-sweetened chocolate, so experiment according to your taste buds. If you’re someone transitioning from sugar, you may be surprised to find that after a few weeks you won’t need to add any extra sweetener). In the picture above, we made them without stevia, but sprinkled a tiny bit on top of each one, which tasted great!

Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin pan with parchment-paper muffin cups.
Melt the chocolate bars/chips and creamed coconut together in a double boiler, whisking occasionally. Once this is all melted together, remove from burner and add the rest of the ingredients, continuing to stir. As soon as you add the eggs, the mixture will thicken a lot, so you may want to add them last.
Fill each muffin cup about 1/3 full. Bake for about 15 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool in pan for about 1/2 an hour, then cool on a plate for another 15 minutes or so, then cool in the fridge until cold. These will be a little crumbly until you get them fully cooled down, at which point they become completely stuck together and kind of soft-hard like a cross between brownies and truffles! Enjoy!

Raw Sugar-Free Chocolates

These are SO good (again, if you like strong dark bitter REAL chocolate), and so good for you. Terrific holiday treats for the kiddies (and the kiddies in all of us!).

Cacao is full of heart-protective anti-oxidants similar to polyphenols found in red wine and green tea. It is full of many minerals too, and extremely high in magnesium, a mineral many diabetics in particular are often deficient in. The problem with commercial chocolates is that they are full of sugars or chemical sugar-substitutes. Any chocolate that contains under 70% cocoa shouldn’t even be called chocolate!

Anyway, here’s my basic recipe, with suggestions for variations afterwards.

Approximately 7 ozs raw cacao butter, melted slowly in a double-boiler
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted over a very low heat
2 cups raw cacao powder
1 T vanilla extract
1 T almond extract
Approximately 20 scoops of KAL organic stevia (or to taste, depending on how sweet you want it)
Chocolate molds and/or ice cube trays

Combine the melted oils in a large bowl or measuring pitcher. Add the extracts and stir well. Stir together the cacao powder and stevia powder, then pour these dry ingredients into the wet and whisk together until no lumps remain. Pour or spoon chocolate into molds and refrigerate. They should set in about an hour. These need to be kept in the fridge. They’re a little more melty at room temperature (approx. 70 degrees F) than commercial chocolates, as they don’t contain soy lecithin or any chemical emulsifiers. You can also try a higher percentage of cacao butter (or no coconut oil at all), and they won’t melt as easily. I’ve never done this, I guess just because I like them cold out of the fridge anyway.

Here are some of the additions we’ve done:
mixed dried berries
goji berries
golden berries
orange extract
mint extract
powdered dried mint leaves
powdered  dried basil leaves
turmeric, almond butter and black pepper
almond butter
peanut butter
crushed pecans
chopped almonds and walnuts

If you add some raw cream while you’re making them, they come out thicker, like truffles. Experiment!

Spicy Almond-Pecan-Cranberry Holiday Bread

OK, It’s been a long time since I’ve posted recipes on here, so I am going to try to put up a whole bunch of posts today with holiday ideas among them (and yes, more breakfast ideas for those who keep asking!)

First on the list of holiday recipes is this delicious pecan bread that I adapted from a recipe a friend gave me a couple of years ago, which I think she may have adapted from The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cook-Book, by Elana Amsterdam, a great resource for how to use almond flour I have recently discovered, though she uses ingredients I don’t recommend, such as Agave Nectar, which is basically High Fructose Corn Syrup. Anyway, here’s my final adaptation of this bread, great for the holidays, but also a good low-carb, sugar-free, gluten-free breakfast staple. (Pictured above with home-made yoghurt cream-cheese.)

Ingredients:
3/4 cup creamy raw almond butter
4 large eggs, beaten
1/4 cup blanched almond flour
1 T maple syrup (optional, for a sweeter bread)
1/4 cup arrowroot powder
1/2 t baking soda
10 to 12 scoops KAL organic stevia (or to taste–this bread is good sweet or not)
1 t cinnamon
1/8 t cloves
1/8 t fresh ground black pepper
1 t nutmeg
1/2 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
1/4 to 1/2 cup dried cranberries (or dried tart cherries, like Montmorencies)

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a bread pan with butter or ghee and dust with almond flour.  Mix together the almond butter and eggs (and maple syrup if using) until thoroughly blended. In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, arrowroot powder, baking soda, stevia and spices. Combine the wet and dry ingredients well, then fold in the pecans and cranberries or cherries (or both!). Pour batter into the greased pan.
Bake for about 40 to 45 minutes, or until a fork inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean. Let bread cool in the pan for about an hour. Keeps well in the fridge for at least a week. This bread makes great toast and great french toast too (more breakfast ideas).

Like this knife? Check out Zeke’s amazing new knives at his etsy shop, echtzeke. He’s getting new ones up every couple of days, so keep checking back. Great gift ideas!

Link to “suger-industry-lies” article. A Must-read!

Sorry, no time lately to post anything. I’ve been trying to work on this massive amount of paperwork I have to get through to see if we can get a paraproffessional in my daughter’s classroom next year (or maybe even miraculously next semester!), so we don’t have to keep homeschooling her in the afternoons and going up to her school for lunch and recess, which is just an insane marathon for us, and causing me to have no time at all to work on my book or this blog. Please, as usual, bear with me. I know those of you who are parents of diabetic kids will understand, but for the rest of you:I’m lucky if I get 4 to 5 hours’ sleep a night, and am trying my best. I am compiling recipes for the holidays, so hopefully soon I’ll be able to get a whole bunch of them up for those of you who have been calling me and emailing me for recipes. I promise I’ll get some up before Thanksgiving…

Meanwhile, here’s a new article not to be missed:

http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2012/10/sugar-industry-lies-campaign

A couple of breakfast recipes

Recipes Included on this page:
1. Hot Nutty Cereal
2. End-of-summer Veggie Scrambled Eggs

Some moms of diabetic kids have been asking me to get more breakfast ideas up on here, as breakfast really is the most difficult meal for people who are used to a standard american diet (aka SAD) to figure out recipes for. The one piece of advice I keep giving is:think outside the box. Americans are so used to eating these ridiculously high-carb/sugar breakfasts that have everyone, diabetic or not, falling asleep (after bouncing off the walls, in the case of some sugar-laden kids!) by mid-morning, as they have a sugar-spike and then crash. So many of these breakfast “foods” people are used to are highly processed stuff that comes in a box. Think cereals, muffins, toast, pop-tarts. Grains, grains, grains. I don’t care if they are organic, whole-grain, even sprouted grain, whatever:it’s ALL SUGAR when it hits your blood;all has the same effect. If you want your kids (or yourself, for that matter) to sustain level blood sugar, especially after breakfast, you want to feed them good fats and proteins. Fat is slow-burning energy that sustains, unlike carbohydrates that is fast-burning energy that spikes sugar (and insulin). Combining some good carbs (such as veggies and/or low-glycemic fruits) with good fats and protein will sustain energy for long periods. If a kid eats a good healthy breakfast, he or she should not need a snack until lunch (I notice it’s become standard practice for schools to give kids a snack around 9 or 10 in the morning, 2 or 3 hours after breakfast. These kids are eating sugary, high-carb breakfasts, then “starving” and eating more sugary high-carb snacks mid-morning. It’s crazy, but has become common practice in this country, unlike in many other places.

Anyway, here are a couple more breakfast ideas that have been big hits in our house:

I’ve seen many versions of this oatmeal (or cream-of-wheat) substitute. This is one I’ve put together after trial-and-error with many of them:

Hot Nutty Cereal

2 cups raw walnuts (soaked and dehydrated) (you could also use 1 cup almonds/1 cup walnuts)
1 small to medium apple, diced
2 T ghee and/or coconut oil
1 T cinnamon
1 to 2 tsp cardamom (optional)
3 cups home-made almond milk and/or whole-fat coconut milk (we use Thai brand organic, which you can now find in most supermarkets, definitely in co-ops)
1 T vanilla extract
stevia to taste

Process nuts in a food processor until pretty finely ground. Stir in the cinnamon, cardamom and stevia.
Meanwhile, saute the apple in the coconut butter/ghee, until soft.
Add the nut/spice/stevia mixture into the apples in the pan, and stir for a minute or so until coated with the  oil.
Reduce the heat and add almond/coconut milk and vanilla extract. Stir well, then reduce heat even more, to low.
Cook, uncovered, stirring as needed, until mixture thickens to your liking (usually about 15 minutes).
Serve warm. Sometimes we pour raw cream over it, just like we used to with oatmeal. Or add berries. It’s a very filling breakfast, with all the good nut fats and proteins. It’s good cold later, too (this recipe will serve 2, but you may have some leftover).
Keeps in the fridge for about 5 or 6 days.

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My daughter is not crazy about plain old scrambled eggs, but when we add things in, she loves them. This is just one of many ways we prepare them that makes her gobble them up, no problem:

End-of-summer Veggie Scrambled Eggs

For one serving:

2 eggs, beaten well
2 to 4 T of full-fat cream cheese (raw, cultured, if you can find it locally)
2 T red onion, diced
2 T fresh basil, minced
1 T fresh parsley, minced
2 T fresh kale or other garden greens), diced
5 or 6 ripe sungold tomatoes (or other cherry tomato), halved
ghee for sauteeing/frying
Half an avocado for “garnish”

Add cream cheese by the tsp to beaten eggs (so you have 6 or 7 dollops of the cheese in the eggs). Saute onions in the ghee, over medium-low heat, until softened, then add other veggies and herbs. Cook for another 5 minutes or so, stirring frequently, then pour in egg/cheese mixture. Make sure to stir constantly so they don’t burn or stick (we have a great black-steel pan that is dedicated to cooking eggs, nothing else, and we keep it well-seasoned so we don’t get sticking problems. I do NOT recommend using any of those awful “non-stick” pans that seem to still be on the market). Cook to your liking.
Serve warm with avocado slices on the side (and a dollop of cultured sour cream on top if you like).