Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Sourdough Carob Cake

This was a fun cake to make!  I've never made anything with my natural sourdough yeast besides bread and waffles.  I was worried this wouldn't turn out with my modifications.  Although the cake is a little more dense than your average cake and the flavor isn't overwhelming sweet, I was quite happy with it!

 This cake is a recipe modified from the book "The Art of Baking With Natural Yeast" by Caleb Warnock & Melissa Richardson 

Sourdough Carob Cake
Sponge ingredients:
(allow at least 8 hours for sponge process)
1 cup starter
1 cup water
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 tsp. salt

Pour water and starter into mixing bowl and stir until starter is dissolved.  In a separate small bowl, combine all the dry ingredients.  Add the wet ingredients, and mix until everything is evenly moist.  The batter will be quite thick.

Final Batter Ingredients:
2 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1/2 cup Almond Milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350. 
Combine all ingredients EXCEPT baking soda in a blender.  Stir in baking soda and batter into a pregreased 9-inch round pan.  Bake cake for 30 minutes.
Sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

*Fresh berries or a spoonful of jam is also yummy with this!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

BBQ Summer Squash With Rice

This yummy dish is an awesome way to use up some of your garden zucchini & yellow squash.  This sauce is also yummy using any meat substitute as well as with any veggies of your choice: carrots, onions, celery, potatoes, etc...The sky is the limit!

BBQ Summer Squash Over Rice
3 small zucchini diced
1 small yellow squash diced
1 onion finely chopped
1 cup Catsup (organic, low sugar)
3/4 cup water
2 tomatoes pureed
1/3 cup maple syrup
juice of 1 lemon
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Braggs Liquid Aminos
4 tablespoons mustard
1 teaspoon ginger
2 teaspoons garlic & onion powder
Dash of Cayenne

Combine sauce ingredients and pour over your veggies and saute until veggies are tender and sauce has thickened.  Serve over brown Basmati rice.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Honey Sesame Chex Snacks

As you can tell, I haven't been baking a whole lot.  I have gotten into the swing of throwing quick meals together.  However, recently I've gotten the bug to try new things!  Hooray!  Today, I was in the mood for a healthy snack.  I found this yummy recipe from this amazing book I bought from a sales guy that came to my door (yes, soliciting might sometimes work, ha ha!).  The book is 7 Secrets Cookbook by Neva & Jim Brackett.  I made a few simple modifications and it turned out so delish, I can't stop eating it!  The happy news is, it's relatively healthy! It is going to be an awesome snack for the movies or for when hiking.  YUM!

Honey Sesame Chex Snacks
3 Tablespoons honey or agave
3 tablespoons Silk Coconut Milk
1/2 teaspoon onion power
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups Rice or Corn Chex
1 cup pretzel sticks (broken up)
1/2 cup each chopped almonds & sesame seeds

Combine the wet ingredients.  I heated mine in the microwave for a minute or so.  Mix all the dry ingredients and the seasonings in a large mixing bowl.  While mixing the dry ingredients, pour the honey, coconut milk mixture over the pretzels and chex.  Make sure to mix it very well, gathering the sesame seeds that like to sink to the bottom!

Using Non-Stick Spray on a large flat cookie sheet first, make sure to coat the bottom well.  Pour the mix onto the cookie sheet and bake at 250 for about 2 hours. Let it completely cool and then break it up and store it in a cool, dry place.


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Physical Problems = Psychological Roots?

"It is estimated that 90 percent of all physical problems have psychological roots.  That may sound like a gross exaggeration.  In fact, it's probably a conservative estimate.  A growing body of evidence indicates that virtually every ill that can befall the body - from acne to arthritis, headaches to heart disease, cold sores to cancer - is influenced, for better or worse, by our emotions. (Quoted from The Complete Guide to Your Emotions And Your Health p.563 by Emrika Padus and the editors of Prevention Magazine.)

What do you think?

Shortly after my journey towards a more plant based way of eating I read and interesting article written by my cousin Trent Jessee called "The Effect of Thought on Health & Body".  He quoted a great deal of the book "As A Man Thinketh".  This is a book to which I'm sure many of us are familiar with.  He quotes:

Disease and health, like circumstances, are rooted in thought. Sickly thoughts will express themselves through a sickly body. Thoughts of fear have been known to kill a man as speedily as a bullet, and they are continually killing thousands of people just as surely though less rapidly. The people who live in fear of disease are the people who get it. Anxiety quickly demoralizes the whole body, and lays it open to the entrance of disease; while impure thoughts, even if not physically indulged, will soon shatter the nervous system.
Strong, pure, and happy thoughts build up the body in vigor and grace. The body is a delicate and plastic instrument, which responds readily to the thoughts by which it is impressed, and habits of thought will produce their own effects, good or bad, upon it.
Change of diet will not help a man who will not change his thoughts. When a man makes his thoughts pure, he no longer desires impure food.
If you would perfect your body, guard your mind. If you would renew your body, beautify your mind. Thoughts of malice, envy, disappointment, despondency, rob the body of its health and grace. A sour face does not come by chance; it is made by sour thoughts. Wrinkles that mar are drawn by folly, passion &  pride.
After reading this article, it sparked something inside of me.  Actually, it rang so true to me that I knew what the key to my success on my journey to better health would be.  It would be tapping into my heart. The heart?  Why not the mind? Don't we control our thoughts first, and then that will control our heart or what we feel? Karol Truman, in her book Feelings Buried Alive Never Die states:

Control begins, first of all, with our feelings -- what we feel, and what we feel controls our thoughts --  what we think, and that leads to how we perform -- to our actions.  BUT ALL CONTROL BEGINS WITH TAKING CONTROL OF THE FEELINGS WE HOLD IN OUR HEART, because these feelings determine the thoughts we hold in our conscious mind.

I'm not going to lie.  This stuff is hard hitting.  I knew I needed to make some BIG changes deep inside my heart.  For years, I'd held onto hurt feelings, blame and anger.  I think we all do, to some degree, whether we realize it or not.  We each know our own hearts.  If we feel so confused that we don't know our hearts, or need help with our hearts, we can look to the scriptures for insights.  If you don't believe in God, or have a different belief system, it would be safe to say a healthy way of living is believing in a Source.  As we draw closer to our source, we receive answers and insights into our hearts.  I, however, believe in a Heavenly Father and in His Son Jesus Christ and in the Holy Ghost which reveals, to my heart, mind, and spirit, TRUTH.

Here are a few thoughts from the scriptures as to the power God has to help change our hearts or to reveal to us the things we must change in our hearts in order to find peace, happiness and joy.

"...The Spirit of the Lord Omnipotent, which has wrought a mighty change in us, or in our hearts, that we have no more disposition to do evil, but to do good continually."  Alma 5:2

"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men" Isaiah 29:13

"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:28-30

These are a just a few examples of the teachings of Christ, in which I studied and used to help cleanse my heart. As I drew near to God the Father and His Son, I felt the comforting power of them through the Holy Ghost.  I came to see me as God see's me.  It has been one of the most healing and rewarding experiences of my life.

I firmly believe that we each have our light.  We are each unique with no one else like us!  We have something to offer and as each of us let our lights shine, we create an incredible symphony.  There is no good in comparing ourselves to others.  There is no good in being jealous at the successes of others.  Our hearts heal when we recognize the beautiful talents, capabilities and light in others.  The more we compliment and rejoice in this, the lighter and happier we will feel.  I know this!  I work on this all the time! I haven't arrived :)

Another answer in my journey was to dismiss any negative thoughts about myself or others.  The second a thought of inadequacy or judgement entered my mind, I had to train it, exercise it and control it to dismiss that thought and replace it with a positive one.  My test was to do this in myself and then to take that out and exercise it when interacting with others.  A very special friend shared part of this quote with me and I cherish the words. 

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”  Marianne Williamson

Obviously when we glorify others and acknowledge the divine in them, and as we work on BEING the best we can be in thought and deed, we are letting God's light shine and in so doing, this will draw others to HIM.  As we draw closer to Him, He heals us. How wonderful that not only can we help ourselves heal, but we can bless the lives of so many, by simply letting our light shine and acknowledging the divine in others! This reminds me of this scripture:

“Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
“Neither do men light a candle, and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house.
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” (Matt. 5:14–16.)

As my health has dramatically improved over the last couple of years, I would be so incredibly ungrateful if I didn't acknowledge that God answered every single prayer I uttered.  As I worked for years to control my weight, it wasn't until I worked on the deep, inner most parts of my soul, releasing anger, comparing, all that was unfair about my world, negativity and an unhealthy desire for worldly perfectionism that my health improved.  It has improved continually and I'm excited for what is in store as I continue down my path.  I absolutely believe that most of our physical problems are a result of emotions (energy in motion) that we carry and are unwilling to resolve or maybe we are afraid to.  I will leave you with this beautiful quote.  How true it is.
"The point of greatest resistance is often the place of greatest learning." Melody Beattie

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread

For years I've wanted to try making sourdough bread.  I haven't done a lot of study, but know that it's a natural way to raise your bread and the fermentation breaks down the hard to digest proteins found in some grains, like wheat.  I've noticed on my journey towards health that sometimes my digestion with all of the grains and beans isn't great.  A good friend of mine shared with me her sourdough start and taught me how to maintain it as well as cook bread with it.  I'm incredibly grateful to her!  Since her visit with me about a month ago, I have been making sourdough bread.  I've not been eating any other bread except Sourdough, as a test to see if it would help my digestion and it has, tremendously!  Even eating more beans in conjunction with the sourdough has helped my total digestion.

If you are interested in creating your own Sourdough Start, I found a recipe HERE.  There are many starter recipes available, if you don't like this one, feel free to find your own!  Experiment and have fun!

Above is a picture of my start.  I add to it daily or every other day and stir it daily.

There are also many bread recipes available.  Below is the recipe I use.  Its from the book "The Art of Baking With Natural Yeast" 

Whole Wheat Sourdough Bread
6 cups Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup starter
3 cups tepid water
1/4 cup honey or agave

Add all ingredients in a large mixing bowl.  Mix well. Don't worry about the stickiness of this dough.  It will be different than any other bread dough you've ever made.  I promise! :)
Cover and set aside for 8 hours.

Spray 2 loaf pans with non stick spray.  Wet hands and separate dough in two.  Using your hands to gently shape the dough (it won't be perfect, that's ok) and place prepared loaf pans.  Let rise on your counter for 2 hours.  It will not raise above the bread pan edge like normal bread will.  After two hours of rise time, place in the oven and cook at 350 for 45 minutes.

My kids LOVE this bread.  It makes amazing toast with coconut oil and honey spread on it or with Vegenaise & heaps of veggies like avocado, tomato, cucumber, lettuce, etc.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Garden Harvest & White Bean Chili

Hello Fall!!! I'm so in love with the weather right now and loving HARVEST TIME!  My garden is in full force and I'm overeating all kind of amazing things like, tomatoes, swiss chard, zucchini, beets and carrots!  We also enjoyed peaches and apples from the trees in our yard as well, although they need some serious grooming.  
Above:  These are our square foot gardens with tomatoes/zucchini/squash planted behind them straight in the ground.  These gardens are so incredibly easy!  As you can see, they are sectioned off into squares and I plant per square instead of in rows.  This way of gardening has made life so much easier!  Weeding is minimal and the weeds pull out quickly and easily.

I'm thrilled that as Fall sets in I am able to make soups, stews and chili's.  There is nothing more comforting to me that having something like this for dinner!  This Chili has been one of my favorites and I used to make it with Chicken, and I decided to try it without.  Just as good!  Yes!  Hope you enjoy.

White Bean Chili
1 onion, chopped
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 heaping tablespoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt or 2 tablespoons Liquid Aminos
1 small can diced green chile peppers
4-6 cups Great Northern Beans, cooked 
(add as many beans as you'd like for thickness)
6 cups vegetable broth

Saute onion and garlic in a little water.  Add cumin and saute for at least 1 minute.  Keep a little moist with water.  Add diced green chile peppers, beans, & vegetable broth.  Season with a little salt or Liquid Aminos.  Heat through and serve with chopped green onions, cilantro, salsa on top, or as seen above, hot sauce!  It also makes a great dip for chips!  Enjoy!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Creamy Summer Squash Soup

My garden is overflowing with produce right now!  I can't believe it!  We are enjoying zucchini and yellow squash like crazy.  I decided to make a quick soup for dinner tonight and it turned out so good!  My kids ate at least 2 bowls each.  Love that!  They were pounding veggies and didn't even care.  Stellar!  Hope you enjoy this soup, especially if you have zucchini and squash coming out your ears like us!

Creamy Summer Squash Soup
One large yellow squash, cubed
One large zucchini, cubed
1 onion, cut in chunks
2 cups vegetable stock
1-2 cups almond milk
1/4 cup Braggs Liquid Aminos

Combine the veggies and vegetable stock in a large pot.  Bring to boil, turn to low and cook 15 minutes or until veggies are soft.  Add almond milk and liquid aminos.  Blend well.  Flavor with a little more salt, 21 Salute or whatever sounds good to you.  We didn't add anything else to ours.  Delish!