Saturday, March 18, 2017

Fresh Golden Ginger Milk

I guess I got on the "golden milk" train this past month. It's been dreary, cold and in need for some liquid sunshine and warmth. February was unseasonably warm this year and now in March we are seeing the other end of being unseasonable cold. So this is what forced my desire for some liquid sunshine. A few weeks ago I was ready to start thinking about some spring cleaning smoothies and flushing tonics, but then with the freezing cold and sickness bugs still moving around fiercely, I felt my body saying to still burrow inward with warmth and grounding roots and herbs. 

Fresh ginger and tumeric have been making me 'happy and warm' all winter. I have been buying them fresh at my local health store and have been adding them in all my soups and stews and curries this winter. I like using dried too, but there is something so deep and strong about the strength and power of the fresh roots. Tumeric and Ginger are antioxidant and anti-inflamatory roots that have been proven to prevent, treat and restore the body after many health ailments. We all need more of these 'super foods' in our lives.  And I swear they have been keeping my family away from the sick germs too. Some how we have managed to escape weeks of illness this winter and I completely credit this to chewing and sipping on fresh ginger. Well, that and sleep.

It is not too crazy complicated to make this little spicy tonic. It's main ingredients are fresh grated ginger and fresh grated tumeric. There are literally hundreds of recipes out there on the internet for this and you can google and read all about the benefits and pre-made powders and secrets. This is just the simple version I have been making in my kitchen and thought I would share if you haven't been exposed to these ingredients before.
Fresh Golden Ginger Milk
1/3-1/2 cup of fresh grated ginger (2 smaller claws)
2 TB of fresh grated tumeric (2 inches long piece)
1 ts. of black peppercorns
a cinnamon stick or a hearty pinch of ground cinnamon
pinch of cayenne
pinch of sea salt
2-3 TB of raw local honey
4 cups of non-dairy milk or regular milk (I have used coconut and rice)

In a medium saucepan, put all of the above ingredients in and heat on medium heat till it starts to steam and then be careful to not boil or scald the milk, you are just heating and steeping. Let this low-to medium heat steep the ingredients and after about 10 minutes you can use a very fine sieve or even cheese cloth to drain the milk from the grated ingredents. Then I usually use a cheap milk-frother, or you could even put in a high powered blender to get a frothy milk latte treat. 

Also, my friend Tina is the queen of making herbal tonics and remedies and in "latte" form is my favorite. Here is a few of my favorites.... Chamoline LatteCardemom LatteGinger Chia, Tumeric+Ginger Latte. Her recipes were my inspiration to even doing this homemade milk latte treat anyways.  I've had the gift of being a recipient to her amazing concontions in person- check out her magic!

I hope you are staying warm. Let this little cup of sunshine help give you the strength and hope you need to make it to the spring and summer. Much love as always, xoxo

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Banana 'Caramel-Date' Pancakes

Some days call for pancakes and snuggling. If we could do that most days, I bet we would be so happy... but...... get tired of it eventually. But because in real life, pancakes usually land on a day on the weekend and it really is a special occurrence- we treasure the time. We can look forward to it. It's one of the simple loves of life that get us through the hard or exhausting moments of life throughout the rest of the week. Pancakes and snuggles are those little gifts that make the world go round. 
These pancakes are made from bananas and dates mostly- but they do not contain eggs because my littlest one is still very sensitive to eggs. So we have discovered a way to make pancakes vegan without the eggs by adding bananas and dates too. These little touches help keep the cakey texture and from being a floppy mess. There are so many pancake recipes out there with lots of protein, easy with just a few ingredients to keep things easy and still full of great nutrients, but I have found all of those to be containing eggs, so this is my contribution to the recipe piles of pancakes.... one without eggs for those of us that are sensitive and still looking for a little fun and cozy-ness over the weekend. 
If you can tolerate nuts, this would be a great pancake recipe to add some crushed walnuts or pecans too- or a sprinkle of mini chocolate chips- if you want to go all crazy about it. These pancakes have that subtle sweetness from the dates that have that caramelly touch with the bananas. Such an amazing combo! You gotta love that bite of the stack of 'cakes all smothered in maple syrup caramel goodness.... is it Sunday yet?!? This is your mid-week motivation to get to the weekend- it's coming folks so let's not loose heart in the hard stuff. Let's keep going and when the 'day-off' comes.... let's really rest and enjoy it. Living fully present in the good and hard and beauty and brutal is what makes this life more worth it. I hope you find ways to do this- and my hope is that this little recipe will only help us all find the simple ways to truly live into that. 
Banana 'Careamel-Date' Pancake Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and refined sugar-free}

fruit mixture:
2-3 small medium ripe bananas mashed up
(about 1 cup of mashed banana)
1 cup date puree paste
(1 cup of pitted dates mixed with 1 cup boiling water to sit for 10 minutes and then blend in high-powered blender to make a puree date pudding-like mixture)

'buttermilk' mixture:
2/3 cup of non-dairy milk (I used So Delicious Coconut Milk Beverage)
------mixed with....1/3 cup of fresh squeezed lemon juice

1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup of avocado or light olive oil
1/4 cup of maple syrup
1 ts. of fresh pure vanilla

flour mixture options:
2 cups of finely ground certified GF oat flour or buckwheat flour or a mix of each
PLUS
1 cup flour mixture options:
1. tapioca, potato starch, rice (1/3 cup of each)
2. millet and quinoa (1/2 cup of each)

So you will need 3 cups of flour total---but depending on what you got in your pantry and if you want more hearty whole grain pancakes, you can mix up your choice of flours in few ways. I grind my own GF oat, buckwheat, millet and quinoa flours from the dry grain/seed.

Then you need to add the baking powder, one of the most important ingredients in vegan pancakes!

4 ts. of corn-free baking powder (I use the Hain brand)
1 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
1 ts. of ground cinnamon or ground ginger

2-3 TB of coconut oil for cooking on electric skillet or pancake pan

In a large mixing bowl, add in the fruit mixture and mix well. Then add in the buttermilk mixture and the rest of the wet ingredients. Then add in the flour and start folding in and then add in the baking powder and rest of the dry ingredients and whisk together well. It will start to bubble and rise right before your eyes. Fold together with hand held whisk or spatula for best results. 
Then use an-oiled-1/3 cup scoop and scoop on the batter on a preheated-coconut oil-greased pan. I pull out my electric skillet and get 8 pancakes on there twice for a total of 16 pancakes with this recipe. Let the pancakes cook on each side for 3-5 minutes and try to keep the heat around 325-350 degrees on the electric skillet to help with not burning. Keep the pancakes warm in the oven or serve right away with vegan butter (or regular or ghee), maple syrup, jam, or fresh fruit or any other favorite pancake toppings.
This meal is not super 'green' with veggies- but it is a special occurrence. If you want to add a veggie or egg scramble to this and omit the turkey/tofurky sausage or if you want to add a squash or potato hash those are also great additions to a breakfast meal for breakfast, lunch or dinner for that matter.
I hope you find the little moments in life- yes this can be found in the simple pleasure of fresh and enjoyable foods- to help you live life in a full and real way. A way that can travel through the hard and exhausting, but also look forward to and treasure the rest and downtime of being with those you love. Much love to you friends, xoxo

Monday, March 13, 2017

"YES" Cookies

The kids were helping me the other day in the kitchen. We decided to bake a batch of cookies to share. I asked... "Should we add chocolate chips? Should we add raisins? Should we make them chocolatey? Or what about molasses cookies?"... and the answers kept being "Yes! Yes! Yes!" So these are the cookies where everything was thrown in and it actually turned out kid-approved-amazing. They are a mix of just a plain oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with added chopped dates and sweet raisins. Also some how a little molasses into the dough added a whole new level of taste and now I'm so glad the kids said "yes!" Sometimes it's the curious creativity of kids that reminds us that there needs to be more YES's and less NO's in life.
We made these from my base Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe idea and added in some extras with what we had in the pantry. I used up some date paste and added some chopped dates as well- so the cookies have the sweet and soft caramelly taste weaved throughout the rest of the crunchy chewy goodness. Dates are a new favorite combo with chocolate chip cookies.... it's a sweet and salty component that can't be beat!
They remind me almost of a trail mix granola bar type treat because of all the crunchy and sweetness of the dried fruit. I bet you could make a big batch of these before the hike, camping trip, or long-drive adventure and your people will thank you for it. Seriously- I know if we are going on a little adventure my people seem to stay happier longer if I have little treats to keep us going. Not to mention.... nourished! These little babies are packed with protein, minerals and vitamins- also all things my kids can say "yes" to without really knowing it while chomping on a cookie ;)
"YES" Cookies Recipe
{gluten, dairy, egg, soy, nut, seed and refined sugar-free}

2 cups of rolled gluten-free oats
2 cups of finely ground certified GF oat flour (I grind my own out of rolled oats)
1/3 cup of cocoa/cacao powder
1/3 cup of tapioca flour (or arrowroot)
1/3 cup of potato starch
1/3 cup of rice flour

2/3-3/4 cup of coconut palm sugar
1/2 ts. of baking powder
1 1/2 ts. of baking soda
1 ts. of sea salt
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ginger

1/2 cup of date puree paste (I make this out of pitted dates soaked in boiling water and blending in high powered blender until you get a pudding like substance- same amount of dates per water, in this recipe that would mean 1/2 cup of each but you can make a few cups at a time and store in the fridge for further use)

1/4 cup of maple syrup
1/4 cup of blackstrap molasses
3/4 cup of soft or melted coconut oil

1/2 cup of chopped dates
1/2 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of dairy-free chocolate chips

Mix all the dry ingredients together first, then add the wet and mix well and add the oil and mix into a sticky dough. Use a TB to spoon the dough into balls onto a baking sheet. For best results one your baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 12-14 minutes or until your desired crispy cookie liking. Let the cookies cool for at least 15 minutes before moving to avoid cookie breakage. This recipe made about 2 dozen medium/lg sized cookies....but you could make 3 dozen small ones I bet.

I hope you can say "yes" to this cookie recipe and make some for yourself. Happy baking!!!!

Much love, xoxo

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Buckwheat-Quinoa-Millet Bread

This is my 'good ol bread recipe' again. But this time I revised it to be made without gluten-free oats and rice flour. The three main flours are buckwheat, quinoa, and millet. All 3 are alkaline-producing, protein-packed and have amazing doses of minerals and vitamins. All things your body needs in recovering from malnourishment from an auto immune disorder or other digestive ailments.  My oat bread is fabulous as is, but this one offers a break from GF oats and has a much earthier taste and component. This bread also contains the psyllium husk powder and so lots of good fiber added to your gut as well. Just make sure to keep up with water drinking while consuming fiber for best results ;) I won't go into more details here...you get the point ;)
Our bodies love vegetables and fresh food, yes, but there is something very comforting and grounding about a good loaf of hearty bread. I think the vitamins and minerals in these seed-grains really have something to do with it too. The protein gained in these flours are also something wonderful and nourishing as well.  I could go on and on about my love for bread and the ways it centers, grounds and bring much love into our lives. It is something we learned to hate after our diagnosis of the GF allergy or other food allergies. It can be loved again and it starts here...
This recipe has changed my life. It all started with trying to create a GF bread without yeast and without gums. And it truly has been a gift to me and those who cannot eat yeast, and other gluten-free grains. Also such a great way to create a baked good with only a little honey to add in for breakfasts, lunches and snacks. It is the perfect pair for soups or for jam. My hope for you if that you will be brave enough to try again- start here- this is a bread recipe to pursue as you pursue healing and hope in your journey. Much love as always, and happy baking xoxo
Buckwheat-Quinoa-Millet Bread 
{gluten, yeast, dairy, egg, nut and sugar-free}

3 TB of psyllium husk powder (must be powder, not seed or husk)
1 cup of pure water
1 cup of non dairy milk (I used coconut milk beverage)
2 TB of apple cider vinegar
2 TB of raw honey
2 TB of olive oil

1 cup of finely ground fresh buckwheat flour
1 cup of finely ground quinoa flour
1 cup of finely ground millet flour (plus an extra 1/2 cup for kneading and rolling out)

*all 3 of the above flours can be ground from seed in the Vitamix or high powered blender* You can even grind them up together if that works best for you in the moment. I had my buckwheat and quinoa already ground up together and then I just added fresh ground millet to the mix.

1 ts. of sea salt
2 ts. aluminum-free baking powder (I use Hain brand)
1 ts. of baking soda

You may need 1/2 cup more of flour (a mix of the 3 or just millet) to knead and get less sticky

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the psyllium husk powder, water, milk, and apple cider vinegar together. It will turn into a thickened blob in a few minutes, then whisk in the oil and honey in together. *You can sub the honey for maple syrup if you are a strict vegan* 

Then, add all of the dry ingredients. Add in all the flours right on top of the wet ingredients blob and start by mixing with a spatula or wooden spoon until all of the flour is blended, but be careful to not over mix and make it too clumpy.  Then sprinkle in some more flour and use your bare hands to knead and turn over until you get a no-sticky anymore blob of dough that you can roll into a loaf on a parchment papered baking sheet. 

Don't be afraid to use extra rice or out flour to roll out if it is still sticky and not moldable.  Try and roll out a 12-15 inch loaf and roll out as many creases as you can. 

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 50 minutes, but can last for 60 minutes if you want a crispier/thicker crust.

Pull from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes before cutting into. This will be hard for you because this bread makes your kitchen smell heavenly!

I hope you give this recipe a try if you are looking for a protein-packed and nourishing bread. Happy baking and much love and light, xoxo