Sunday, October 31, 2010

Tis the season

I  just ate two pumpkin cookies from miss Molly and a handful of candy corns. It is Halloween, but nonetheless, I am sick to my stomach. I am sure there are a few little princesses and superhero's out there with the same syndrome. And, it is only the beginning of the "sweet" season. I made a deal with my young ones that if they kept only 10 candies and threw out the rest, I would take them to Dairy Queen. They haven't been there in years. They instantly took the deal. Glad to have the candy out of my house.

Want to know a little bit why? Jonell Francis, the creator of the Feel Good Foods yeast cleanse program explains a little bit about sugar. In her words:

    "Sugar is the most acid forming substance known to man. Dairy products and meat are next (as is chocolate). Refined sugar is not only a silent killer, but a mineral thief and pH disruptor in the process. Sugar also shuts down the immune system for about 8 hrs after consumption. Which is one reason we celebrate flu season about a week after Halloween when the holidays begin.

For every gram of sugar you consume, you can lose up to 8 grams of calcium just processing all the acid it creates.  In addition, you'll experience a significant drop in magnesium and other essential trace minerals including B vitamins.

Had to quote that one directly. It makes sense though why the germs seem to come out this time of year. We can't fight them off with all the sugar in our systems. Even if we are eating great, the sugar will come in and rob us of the good. Sugar also feeds cancer cells that loom in our bodies and yeast that lives in all of us.

Now, I am not one to deny sugar completely. Life needs a little sweetness sometimes. But, what happens is we let that refined sweetness creep into everyday life. It should be special. A "treat". I have had too much this week and when you start letting yourself indulge, you start to crave. Time for the fresh vegetable juice tomorrow and a few yeast capsules to kill the yeast I am feeding with sugar. I can feel the difference. The cookies were great. I don't regret it but I don't want to add to it. I want to keep my kids healthy this season to keep our track record of no flu for who knows how many years. 

Stay healthy out there. When sweetening up around your house, try to use raw honey, coconut sugar, stevia, fruit and sucanat in moderation. Your body will thank you. 

Happy Halloween! Hope you had a great one.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin crumb muffins

Being in the season thereof, there is much pumpkin cooking going on at my house. 
The thought of anything "pumpkin" gives me warm fuzzies. It is the holiday smell. It reminds me of  the good ole days when I ate ice cream; when the pumpkin flavor at Nielsen's Frozen Custard would be available. Krispy Kreme has pumpkin doughnuts and Dairy Queen has pumpkin blizzards. (Don't get all worked up....I haven't bought any of that.) 
Friends randomly drop by pumpkin cookies and muffins which of course I have to try. It is all part of the holiday regime.

Molly gave me this recipe from her arsenal of holiday recipes. I have many pumpkin recipes but these were a little different with the added oatmeal. I tweaked them a bit to add a little more nutrition and I ate them up. Breakfast style. You can make them as nutritious as you want. I will give you the recipe straight and then tell you what went down in my kitchen in parentheses.

Pumpkin Crumb Muffins

1 1/4 C oats
1 C Flour  (Whole grain Sprouted flour)
1/3 C chopped nuts (omitted) 
1 t. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt (celtic salt)
1 cup canned pumpkin or mashed sweet potato
3/4 C. brown sugar (3/4 C coconut sugar)
1/2 oil (melted coconut oil)
1/4 c. milk (raw goats milk, thanks Denise!)
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla


1/4 C. oats
1/4 C. flour (sprouted flour)
1/4 C. brown sugar
3 T. chopped pecans (omitted)
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 C. butter

(crumb all these together with fingers)

For muffins: Combine dry ingredients and add moist ingredients. Stir just until moistened. Fill greased muffin tins 3/4 full and top with crumb mixture. Bake at 350 for 18-22 minutes. 

** For even better nutrition, soak the oats in an acid base and flour also if not sprouted overnight or 24 hours ahead. I didn't plan that far ahead. Since the flour was sprouted, I was half the way there! We all need some phytic acid to help detox so don't stress all the time. If you soak, you may need to add extra liquid.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Yesterday was an all around great day. It was one of those very rare days where there was nothing on the calendar. It is purely amazing how much you can get done when you don't have to be interrupted a million times. I had a huge list of "to do's" so I got up ready to go full speed. I had a garden to plant, a house to clean, food to prepare, etc. I am pleased to say that all of my "to do's" became "done's." Nothing can make me happier. I had yogurt culturing, sour dough starter on the counter fizzing, wheat sprouting and kale in the dehydrator.  Super exciting stuff.

I decided to order a new culture from my favorite place; Cultures for Health. They have it all. There is a culture for yogurt called Villi that makes yogurt without being cooked. You just add it to your milk of choice and leave it on the counter. That easy. That way, if you use raw milk, you are keeping it raw and keeping the nutrients. Anyone can do it. I talked to the sales lady and asked if I could carry their products in my store. "Sure", they say. Just like that. I can share with you what I love. They have all sorts of things and you can check their website here:

If you get it from me in the next order, you get to save on tax and shipping costs if you are here locally. If you are out of state, there is a small shipping charge of $2 and still no sales tax. I need to do a large group order so email me if you are interested. Some of their great products and prices are:

Water Kefir Grains 
Milk Kefir Grains (I use this ALL the time)
Kombucha Tea Starter (Scoby)
Buttermilk Starter
Viili Yogurt Starter
Piima Yogurt Starter
Greek Yogurt Starter
Bulgarian Yogurt Starter
San Francisco Sourdough Starter
New England Sourdough Starter
Camaldoli (Italian) Sourdough Starter
Parisian (French) Sourdough Starter

*****All prices are $11.99 except for the kefir and kombucha starters which are $16.99.

Culturing food helps with digestion. We need a good digestive system so we can get the nutrients out of food that our bodies need. 

Take care of the tummies. Don't be afraid to try something new and culture your own products. Easy, Peasy. The culture does the work. You just add the ingredients and sit it on the counter. Once you make your yogurt, you can keep using the same culture so you don't need to buy it again. What a deal! You can also strain the yogurt in a cheesecloth to make soft cream cheese. I am venturing into raw goats milk to see what I can do with that. Even easier on tummies. 

Also on the topic of tummy health, I can now order probiotics since it is cooling down. Those of you who have been asking, I will order next week so email away. 

Hope you all have something planted for the fall season. Even if it is one pot. Here's a little sneak peak at what will be on my dinner table soon.......

 Bet you can't guess what it is.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

An Italian Love Affair

I love to read cookbooks. The good, juicy cookbooks with lots of narration. I love to read of cultures, traditions and history. Food is beautiful to me and because of that, I am simply in love with Italy.

To the Italians, food is their history. Food represents more than satisfying hunger. Food is what their life is centered around; it is their existence, so to speak. Meals are not rushed through. They are an event. They are not drive thru's. Meals are a passion. They tell a story, a tradition, a culture.

They celebrate nature and the seasons. They eat based upon this cycle. Food at it's peak is eaten. They look at color, the smell of the earth, the region it comes from.They know the health properties of food and eat not to excess but to fulfillment. They celebrate food. They write about food like it was their child. I want to be an Italian. I want to go there and stay for a good while. I want to eat everything there is to eat in Italy.

For now, I will just keep reading and learning from those wise Italians. Someday, I will walk among them. I am sure of it. Someday.

If you find a good Italian cookbook, a real authentic cookbook, it won't just tell you to add some cheese or some beans; it will describe when to buy them, what variety and to smell the earth. It will tell you things like buying ricotta in spring when the sheep get fresh, green grass to eat; they will tell you the cheese will be at it's peak during this time. It will instruct you to eat fennel and marjoram at the end of meals for digestion. It will tell you what region will give you the best potatoes and why. I eat it all up.

America doesn't really get food, in general. If we did, we wouldn't have all the movies being made about us right now about how we are destroying food in our country. It is sad. We are buying it, however. We are letting it happen. Food is what keeps us alive. We should have deep gratitude for it and show a respect. 

Really this post was only going to be about a recipe I made tonight and somehow, I went all Italian on you. I really only wanted to talk about Parmesan cheese.
I love it. I always have a fresh wedge of it in my fridge. Good, quality Parmesan. It makes all the difference.

Why Parmesan? It is packed with calcium. In Italy (see, there I go again), they eat lots of it. Their percentage of Osteoporosis is almost non existent. Parmesan is aged so the proteins that are hard to digest in milk and broken down. The body can use the nutrients and even those intolerant to milk can often handle Parmesan. It has intense flavor and makes a dish. It is my staple in any Italian dish.

Tonight I had a couple zucchini's to use and some marinara sauce on its' way out. I made some Zucchini Parmesan that is simply delicious and fools everyone that there is not any pasta in it. It's all about the way the vegetables are prepared. Keep veggies firm and in small pieces. Kids won't even notice.

Zucchini Parmesan

3 1/2 cups zucchini, coarsely grated
2 large eggs
2 C. shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/2 C. Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
1/3 C. Flour
1 T. olive oil
1 C. marinara sauce
1 t. dried oregano
1/8 t. crushed red pepper flakes

Press grated zucchini between paper towels or cheese cloth to remove moisture. Combine zucchini, eggs, 1 cup mozzarella , Parmesan and flour in a bowl. Stir well. Spread in a greased 9X13 pan. Bake uncovered at 350 for about 20-25 minutes. Remove from oven, brush with oil and broil 5 inches from heat for 5 minutes. 

Remove from oven, spread on sauce and top with remaining mozzarella, oregano and red pepper. 

Bake uncovered at 350 for additional 20 minutes, lowering rack back down to the center of the oven.

Serve with an Italian salad and a big chunk or rustic Artisan bread, just like the Italians!

Bon Appetite! 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

So long to summer....

It seems like it has been summer forever here in AZ. I mean, it gets a bit ridiculous when it is still 100 degrees in October. But, "They" say it is over. "They" say we are now in an official cool down. Beautiful. However, I have a bit of sadness as it means that my summer produce is about done. I LOVE summer produce. Really. Since I like to stick with what is mainly in season, this means that I will be missing fresh berries and melons, peaches and nectarines. Winter just doesn't give me as much to work with so I am using up what I can these last few weeks of summer bounty. Tonight we had some of the last fresh picked, local corn....again. We served it up in a tasty "sweet" dinner.

It started with these few items hanging around in my kitchen: The "Sweet" ingredients: sweet onions, sweet corn, sweet potatoes. 

Hmmm, what to do with them.

We already had our meat dishes for the week so it needed to be vegetarian. I still had those delicious whole grain tortillas in the fridge so naturally they were going to join the party. The weather was beautiful so I preferred to be outside grilling. It came together rather nice. 

I will call it my "Sweet Stuffed Quesadilla"

If you would like to make this tasty meal up for your family, here you go. Enjoy.

Sweet Stuffed Quesadilla

3 cups coarsely grated sweet potato
1 cup chopped sweet onion
2 cups fresh, sweet corn 
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 T. oil
1/2 t. dried oregano
2 t. ground cumin
generous pinch of cayenne
salt and pepper to taste
Spanish rice
grated Mexican cheese

Make Spanish rice. I used Basmati cooked per instructions and added 1 cup fresh salsa per the 2 cups of dry rice. (pureed type salsa, not chunky)  Set aside.Would be great and more nutritious with Brown rice as well.

Saute onions in oil until limp then add sweet potatoes, fresh or frozen sweet corn, garlic and spices. Do not add salt until done. Saute just until tender, not mushy. Salt and pepper to taste.

Oil underside of tortilla then spread rice, then "Sweet" mixture and then some cheese on one half of tortilla. Fold in half and then put on the grill. Make sure the grill is not too hot.  Flip over when golden. Careful not to loose your filling! 

Serve with some fresh salsa and a great Southwest salad. Watermelon would be nice too.

P.S. If you see some of that great , local corn at the farmers market, grab it, slice it off and freeze it up. Lay the corn on it's side to slice off instead of standing it up. It is much easier to get all the corn off. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Real Food

Vacation was wonderful. I relaxed and ate way too much. However, whenever I return back from a trip, I crave good food. Real food. Food that isn't the same color. Food that is fresh and from my kitchen. We ate out way too much and I don't care if I see a burrito for months. That may be an exaggeration but right now I mean it. I missed my rainbow of colors. I came home, unloaded the car and as soon as I could get the sand out of my suitcases, I hit the farmers market.

I LOVE the farmers market. I loaded my cart with fresh farm eggs, whole wheat, hand spun tortillas, local red new potatoes, fresh picked corn and melons, tender asparagus and much, much more. I only stopped when my cart would hold no more. I became inspired to cook again. Hooray. My husband requested roasted sweet potatoes, Basmati rice and a good smoothie for dinner. It was perfect. The teenagers were gone so we were able to pull that one off. Light and flavorful.

I couldn't wait to cook up the fresh asparagus for dinner tonight along with the corn and melons. The potatoes were amazing. You don't know what a potato tastes like until you get them fresh from the ground. I roasted them in some olive oil and fresh chopped rosemary with a little Celtic salt. Heavenly. The veggies were roasted with a little olive oil and Herbs de Provence. I served them alongside some garlic Parmesan chicken that was packed with flavor. My palate is pleased. We finished it all.

Want to try it out? It would make a great family night dinner.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken

1 C. soft whole grain bread crumbs (finely crumb bread in blender)
3/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
1 T. dried parsley flakes
1/4 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. salt
1 T. poultry seasoning or 1 t. thyme and 1/2 t. ground sage
1 T. olive oil
dash of pepper
1 stick of butter
chicken breasts or tenderloins

Mix bread crumbs with Parmesan, seasonings and olive oil. Add more salt if needed. Cut chicken into smaller pieces, about three inch sections or use tenderloins. Dip in egg and water mixture and coat in crumb mixture, piling a little extra on the top of the chicken. Put in pan that has been sprayed with oil. Drizzle some melted butter on top of chicken.

Bake at 350 until done, about 20-25 minutes depending on thickness of chicken.

You can freeze the breading for later use if you want to double the batch. I usually get about 12 tenders out of this mixture.

****I am putting in oil and supplement orders at the end of the week.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Kitty needs home, asap.

I have a really cute 7 month old cat that needs a home asap. Her mom just had another litter and won't let her stay around. They are fighting to the point of blood and she needs a home soon. She is the sweetest cat around. She loves people, especially kids and is very calm. She would make a great indoor or outdoor cat and I have even paid for a spay on the 22nd of October.

Please, if you want a little pet, I would love to let you have her. I will send pictures if interested. She is a tiger stripped gray and black cat.

Thanks!!! Please.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

climbing out of my slump

I haven't been able to find my "Mojo" lately. You may have noticed by my lack of posts. My creative juices stopped flowing. My enthusiasm for much of anything has been shut away in some dark corner somewhere. Usually the posts come to me daily just waiting for moments to type but truthfully, I have nothing. I am sure I haven't run out of things to say, I just have been in a little funk, so to speak. I can't seem to stick to any exercise routine and my days seem to blur into one long trip in the car from here to there.

I am not moping or complaining. Really I am happy, just a little lost.

Well, I figured it out. I have been without goals. I haven't had anything stirring up my motivation or will to press forward. A most unappealing place for me to be. I hate being lukewarm. I hate to be living a daily routine without something to be striving for ahead. I hate to not have something I am researching with a book in my hand to study. I am just vanilla.

Then, my SIL lit my fire. She just did the Rim to Rim challenge with her husband and some other family members. It is a crazy hike at the Grand Canyon from the North to the South rim in one day. It is hard. Very hard. Even she said it was the hardest thing she did. Then, she had the nerve to ask if I would do it next year. WHATEVER!!! But, as the day went on, I thought about it. I NEED TO DO HARD THINGS. I FEEL HAPPY WHEN I AM DOING HARD THINGS. THIS IS A HARD THING.

With a single text, I was committed. No backing out now. There is also the London's run in January to train for so there is no way I can let life pass me by right now. I must hit the pavement. I must climb stairs. If I don't, I will be dead at the bottom of the canyon. I found my motivation. I found desire. I want to live life not let life live me.

Where are you? Are you feeling a little vanilla? Do you need to change up the routine a bit? Try it. Commit to something crazy. Log onto current race websites in your area, do something bold and without thinking it through, sign up for something harder than you think you can do. Pay for it so you won't back out. Then, go for it. Promise yourself that you will do it.

It is liberating. It makes you feel like a person , not just a mom and a wife. I really need to feel like a person.

I am still waiting for the cooking motivation to come. I can't think of creative new dishes right now as time seems to be incredibly unavailable at night. But, I am pretty sure that while I am running the streets in the morning with nothing else to do, I will dream up something wonderful to cook for you all. I have a little trip to the beach next week so the head will be cleared. I will be ready to conquer it all and climb the hills.

I am ready for the next adventure. Ready to join me???
I would sure love to have a gaggle of Enlightened Homemaker supporters at the London's run with me to show the world that moms can make a difference. You have 4 months to train. Cinchy. If you are ready now, there is the Shun the Sun race coming up in Mesa in November. Another worthy cause put on by our very own Enlightened Homemaker, Miss Tiffany. I am sure she will leave a comment to let you know more about that one! I just might be there also!

Have a great fall break whenever that is for you all. Maybe I'll see you at Disneyland.

Peace out.