Perfect Morning Smoothie

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It is important to start your day of with the right nutrition, and sometimes I just don’t feel like eating a big meal first thing in the morning.  So, some days, I make a delicious smoothie to get me through the first half of the day and to jump-start my metabolism.  Below is my current favorite recipe with links to the brands I use.  This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free and is packed with vitamins, protein and healthy fats…did I mention it was delicious?!

Ingredients

1 organic banana

3-4 Frozen Organic Strawberries

1 Small handful of Frozen Organic Blueberries

1-2 Leaves of Dino Kale

1 Heaping spoonful of Raw Organic Almond Butter

1 Spoonful of Raw Organic Coconut Oil

Homemade Organic Almond Milk (enough to fill the cup about 3/4 of my 20 oz vitamix cup.  Add more or less depending on your consistency preference)

5 Drops of Vitamin D3 (5000 IU total)

Two droppers full of Liquid Vitamin B Complex

1 tsp  Vitamin C Powder

1-2 tbls Protein Powder

 

Directions

Put all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Enjoy!

 

 

Homemade Ketchup!

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We all love ketchup.  But unfortunately, even organic ketchup contains sugar, which I would like to avoid as much as possible.  So, I started looking for a homemade recipe and came across this quick and easy recipe for homemade ketchup on the Mommypotamus blog that replaces the sugar with raw honey or grade B maple syrup, both of which contain healthy enzymes and minerals.  Genius.

Quick Homemade Organic Ketchup

Ingredients

To Make

1. Place all ingredients in a small pot/pan and whisk together.

2. Place on the stove and bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until reduced to the consistency you prefer. Store in the fridge.

Shelf life: Many online recipes for homemade ketchup say they last in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.

Delicious Almond Zucchini Bread Recipe!

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Hi friends!  I apologize for being gone for what seemed like forever! (at least to me)  July was full of fun travels, but I’m happy to be home.  Today, I have another yummy recipe to share with you!  Now that my son is a little older, he wants a little variety in his meals.  So, I’ve been spending some time experimenting with different recipes.  Most recently, I wanted to find a bread recipe that was gluten and sugar-free.  Well, I nailed it on the first try with this Almond Zucchini Bread recipe I found on Running to the Kitchen.  I just made one small adjustment in adding walnuts for a lil crunch.  It is quick and easy, moist (I know, you hate that word) and delish!  See the recipe below and enjoy!  PS.  I shared this recipe with a gluten-free friend who made it as a cake, added homemade cream cheese frosting and served it at her daughters 1st birthday party.  It was a hit!

Almond Zucchini Bread

*All ingredients preferably organic

1 1/2 cups almond flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup grated zucchini (squeeze water out after measuring)

3 eggs

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1 mashed banana

1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil

1/4 cup of walnuts (optional)

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease one loaf pan or two mini loaf pans with a lil coconut oil.  ( I used one normal size loaf pan)

2. Combine dry ingredients, except nuts,  in a small bowl and set aside.

3. Combine wet ingredients, except zucchini, in a large bowl and whisk together vigorously.

4. Add zucchini mix until combined.

5. Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix until incorporated.

6. Stir in nuts.

7. Pour into loaf pan(s).

8. Bake for 32-35 mins.  Until a toothpick comes out clean.

9. Transfer bread out of pan(s) to cool on wire rack.

 

Easy homemade almond milk recipe!

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I never knew how easy making my own almond milk was until I tried it today!  It is SO simple and much healthier than store-bought. It’s a great alternative for dairy if you or your child is lactose intolerant or if you just want to take a break from cows milk every once in a while.  Almond milk is nutrient-fortified, and a good source of several important fat-soluble vitamins.  Surprisingly, almond milk is not only rich in calcium, but it actually provides the same amount per cup as cow’s milk and soy milk!  It also contains vitamin A and E which act as antioxidants, enhancing immunity and protecting the body’s cells and tissues from damage. In addition, vitamin A is important for healthy eyesight and supports normal growth and development. To top it all off, it also contains vitamin D, which helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth, and enhances immunity.  Add it into smoothies, your coffee or just drink it plain!

Recipe

1.5 cups raw organic almonds

4.5 cups of filtered water

1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract (optional)

2 dates (optional)

UPDATE- instead of the dates, I now use a spoonful of RAW honey.  The enzymes in the raw honey (must be raw!!!) make the milk last a few days longer than without.

Directions

– Soak the almonds in a bowl filled with water, on the counter, over night.  This is important, as it increases enzyme activity,  leads to greater absorption of the almond’s nutrients by the body and increases digestibility.  Learn more here.

– After soaking over night, rinse and drain the nuts in a colander.

– Put soaked, rinsed nuts into the blender and add water and optional vanilla and/or dates.  Blend until almost smooth.

– Strain the mixture using a super fine mesh colander or cheese cloth into a bowl or quart size mason jar.  Store almond milk in a mason jar or other sealed glass container for up to 3-4 days in the fridge.  Note: Don’t toss the almond “cream” that is left over!! Add it to smoothies, shakes or yogurt!  Yum!

Get cultured: How fermented foods can help your digestion and your health

Back in the day, people knew how to preserve their food without the use of artificial preservatives, freezers or canning machines.  They did this through the process of lacto-fermentation or culturing. This process involves good bacteria (lactobacilli) working on sugars and starches in food to produce lactic acid, a natural preservative.  Fermenting foods has many more benefits than just preservation.  It makes food more easily digestible, increases vitamin levels, and promotes the growth of healthy bacterias throughout the intestine.  I am of the belief that our immune systems are centered in our gut.  So if we don’t have that good bacteria or flora in our intestines, then we will be significantly more vulnerable to illness and disease.  I don’t think that it is a coincidence that the rise in antibiotic use and pasteurization of foods coincides with the rise in new viruses, intestinal parasites and disease.  We americans spend a ton of time avoiding bacteria out of fear, but our bodies are meant to coexist with bacteria.  It is all around us and if we have the healthy kind inside our bodies, it will help fight off the ones that we don’t want to let in.  In Europe they eat sauerkraut, in Asia a meal isn’t complete without a side of fermented veggies (eg. kimchi), and in Indian culture they ferment fruits and use them for chutney.  In our culture, we are obsessed with killing all possible harmful bacterias, and in the process are killing even the ones we can benefit from.  We need to bring some healthy bacteria back into our lives, or at least our guts.

I’ve read that homemade cultured veggies are quite easy to make, but we haven’t gone there yet. Until then, we buy a wonderful tasting sauerkraut at Whole Foods.  We have a few tablespoons of it every night with dinner.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, it is fermented cabbage and tastes like a strong, delicious pickle.  It can be an acquired taste, but I’ve loved pickles forever, so it was love at first bite for me.

When the process of pickling (same as fermenting) became industrialized, many changes were made to ensure the product was more uniform, but not necessarily more nutritious.  They started using vinegar and then pasteurizing the final product which killed all of the lactic-acid producing bacteria, essentially robbing consumers of the beneficial effect on digestion and the immune system.  So, when you are looking to buy sauerkraut of your own, here is what you wanna look for:  Organic, Raw sauerkraut that is kept in the refrigerated section.  If it isn’t refrigerated and/or if vinegar is on the ingredient list, it isn’t truly fermented and therefore will not have the benefits.

This simple addition to your diet will not only help you digest the food you are eating and strengthen your immune system, but the good bacteria lining that it will create in your gut will produce helpful enzymes as well as antibiotic and anticarcinogenic substances. It is such an easy way to support healthy digestion and a strong immune system.  Below is a recipe to make your own and  a link to the brand we buy.   Try it!

Farmhouse Culture Sauerkraut- http://farmhouseculture.com/shop/classic-caraway-kraut/

Sauerkraut Recipe- From the book Nourishing Traditions By: Sally Fallon (BUY HERE– http://amzn.to/WGRNgq)
Makes 1 quart
1 medium cabbage, cored and shredded
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon of sea salt
4 tablespoons whey (recipe for homemade whey below.  If you don’t have whey use an extra tablespoon of salt, but using whey is preferable.)
In a bowl, mix cabbage with caraway seeds, sea salt and whey.  Pound with a wooden pounder or a meat hammer for about 10 minutes to release juices.  Place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar and press down firmly with a pounder or meat hammer until juices come to the top of the cabbage.  The top of the cabbage should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temperature for about 3 days before transferring to cold storage.  The sauerkraut may be eaten immediately, but it improves with age.

Homemade whey-
Makes 5 cups
2 quarts of yoghurt (preferably organic and raw.  If not available, choose an organic, plain, whole milk yoghurt from the store.)
Line a large strainer set over a bowl with a clean dish towel.  Pour in the yogurt , cover and let stand at room temperature for several hours.  The whey will run into the bowl and the milk solids will stay in the strainer.  Tie up the towel with the milk solids inside, being careful not to squeeze.  Tie this little sack to a wooden spoon placed across the top of a container so that more whey can drip out.  When the bag stops dripping, it is done.  Store the whey in a mason jar in the refrigerator. The whey will be good for 6 months.