Tag Archives: kitchen

Need some Non-GMO Halloween Candy Options?

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OR MAYBE THIS WILL HELP…

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OR THIS…

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‘fast food’ for kids with autism…

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Autism is described as a developmental disorder that has a collection of symptoms in three major areas such as, social interaction, language and behavior.  But not every child is exactly alike with some showing signs in infancy and others in the first few years of life.

The Mayo Clinic has given some more specific symptoms:

SOCIAL SKILLS

    • Fails to respond to his or her name
    • Has poor eye contact
    • Appears not to hear you at times
    • Resists cuddling and holding
    • Appears unaware of others’ feelings
    • Seems to prefer playing alone — retreats into his or her own world
    • Doesn’t ask for help or request things

LANGUAGE

    • Doesn’t speak or has delayed speech
    • Loses previously acquired ability to say words or sentences
    • Doesn’t make eye contact when making requests
    • Speaks with an abnormal tone or rhythm — may use a singsong voice or robot-like speech
    • Can’t start a conversation or keep one going
    • May repeat words or phrases verbatim, but doesn’t understand how to use them
    • Doesn’t appear to understand simple questions or direction

BEHAVIOR

    • Performs repetitive movements, such as rocking, spinning or hand-flapping
    • Develops specific routines or rituals and becomes disturbed at the slightest change
    • Moves constantly
    • May be fascinated by details of an object, such as the spinning wheels of a toy car, but doesn’t understand the “big picture” of the subject
    • May be unusually sensitive to light, sound and touch, and yet oblivious to pain
    • Does not engage in imitative or make-believe play
    • May have odd food preferences, such as eating only a few foods, or craving items that are not food, such as chalk or dirt
    • May perform activities that could cause self-harm, such as headbanging

Since there is no one cause of autism, and no single treatment, making some changes in the diet might help with a few behavioral or developmental challenges!  Try to remove gluten, milk products, sugars, soy and artificial flavorings and coloring from his or her diet.  Remember that protein, fiber and good fats are needed to stabilize blood sugars .. which is critical in autistic children.

SO WHAT DO WE DO?

First of all, STAY AWAY FROM SODAS!  Instead try giving your child water or diluted juices, vegetable juices or seltzer water.

PASS THE PROTEIN, PLEASE!  Try chicken, turkey, meat, eggs, beans, or seeds.

REMEMBER SOME FIBER!  How about some high fiber options such as fruits, beans nuts or seeds.

ALWAYS CHOOSE ORGANIC!  If it’s USDA Organic, then it has been produced without the use of harmful pesticides, artificial fertilizers, growth hormones or antibiotics and other nasty’s that shouldn’t be in our food anyway.

SOME IDEAS TO PACK IN YOUR CHILD’S LUNCHBOX!

  • carrot sticks and hummus
  • fresh fruit or fruit salad
  • hard boiled eggs
  • gluten-free crackers with nut butter
  • rice cakes and tuna or chicken salad
  • gluten-free spaghetti noodles and meatballs
  • chicken drumettes or wings with boiled potatoes
  • apple slices with nut or seed butter

Avoid plastic wraps for sandwiches and opt for wax paper or parchment paper.  Let your child help you pick out their lunch container and remember to keep it fun.  Use a cookie cutter for unique shapes for sandwiches!  Make it interesting and remove all the stress out of lunch or dinner time.  Most schools give the kids 20-30 minutes for lunch so pack what is healthy yet in small bites and focus on healthier options.

Planetbox-lunchbox(source)

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miracle fruit? yes, please!

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Synsepalum dulcificum……..yeah, it’s easier to call it Miracle Fruit.

This plant from West Africa has a berry that is completely organic, all natural, non-GMO and contains an active glycoprotein called miraculin. 

When you eat this little berry, the miraculin temporarily binds to your taste receptors (buds, I call ‘em) to block the ability to taste sour flavors and even alters many other flavors in food like spicy, salty and bitter tastes!

The miraculin is considered to be a sugar substitute.  And this little berry, my friends, could change the way we look (and taste) our food!  Imagine…enjoying all kinds of ‘forbidden’ foods again!  It’s true!  Lemons taste like candyLimes taste like a sweet orange!  Can you imagine squeezing lemon juice into your coffee to sweeten it naturally?

WHERE CAN I GET IT?

If you are not going to wait and grow your own berries, then you can purchase it in a tablet form.  This is the most practical way because the berries are freeze dried and then formed into tablets, which give them a longer shelf life.  You can find them from www.mberry.us or even on Amazon HERE.  If you buy frozen berries, do not thaw them unless you are going to consume them right away.  Let them come to room temperature for about 20 minutes.  And if you get the whole berry, don’t eat the pit, of course.

Also keep in mind that the effects of the miracle berry last approximately 30 – 45 minutes and varies with each person.

Here is a simple recipe taken from the Miracle Berry Diet Cookbook that I highly recommend if you are going to try out this berry!

SWEET YOGURT PARFAIT

1 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup strawberries, blueberries, raspberries or blackberries

1/4 cup granola

Combine the yogurt and lemon juice.  In a tall glass, layer half each of the yogurt, berries and granola.  Repeat.

When you are ready to eat, let the miracle berry tablet dissolve on your tongue and then enjoy the dish!

YOU JUST SAVED 144 CALORIES BY REPLACING 3 TBS. SUGAR!

miracle-berry-eating-lemon(photo source)

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Rambutan…..rambu-what???

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Native to Malaysia, this fruit is also grown in  Indonesia, the Philippines, and Australia.  This particular tree can grow to about 50 – 80 feet high, but it’s not the height that interests me….look at the fruit!  Have you ever seen anything like this before??

Rambutan is closely related to the lychee fruit (and I know you remember THIS post, she said sarcastically).  And here’s the weird part…there are three different kinds of rambutan (no, that isn’t the weird part, the next part is the weird part). 

There is the male fruit, the hermaphrodite functioning as males and the hermaphrodite functioning as females Wha???

To the peeps in southeast Asia, this little beauty is as normal as an apple is to us, or at least most of us.

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YepShe’s pretty hairy, isn’t she….or he?  The word rambut in Malay is ‘hairy’, which you can see on the spiky rind, but don’t worry…if you bit into one of these little jewels there would be no ouchie.  They are soft and harmless.

So what do we do with it and how the heck do we eat it:   You can purchase the rambutan in Asian/Chinese markets in the produce area.  And you want to look for ones with bright red skin, not so much orange or yellow.  And don’t purchase if you see they have ‘black’ hairs….in fact, don’t purchase anything in the produce section with black hair on it…..(insert gag here).

Health Benefits:  Rambutans are high in vitamin C, plus copper, manganese, and trace elements of many other nutrients such as potassium, calcium, and iron.

How do we get to the good part:  Make a cut through the skin with a sharp knife.  Note: If your rambutans are very ripe, they can also be twisted open between your hands, and the fruit simply pops out.  Next peel away the skin and either cut out the seed inside or pop it into your mouth and have fun spitting the seed out!  (they frown on this in the produce department so wait until you get home).

Here’s a beautiful and tropical fruit salad to enjoy! (via)

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Ingredients:

  • YIELD: 1 large bowl of fruit salad
  • 1+1/2 cups fresh papaya, cubed
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, fresh or canned
  • 1 banana, sliced
  • 1 cup mango, cubed
  • 1 cup strawberries, sliced or cut into quarters
  • 1 cup other fruit, local OR exotic such as blueberries, melon, dragon fruit, lychees, longans, or rambutans
  • Garnish: starfruit slices
  • FRUIT SALAD DRESSING:
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lime juice
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar OR palm sugar

Preparation:

  1. Stir fruit salad dressing ingredients together in a cup until sugar dissolves.  Set aside.
  2. Place all the fresh fruit in a mixing bowl.
  3. Pour the dressing over and toss well to mix.
  4. Pour or scoop the fruit salad into a serving bowl, or into a prepared pineapple boat (as pictured).  Garnish just before serving with a star fruit slice.

Star Fruit Tip: To keep starfruit from going brown after slicing, simply drizzle over some fresh lime or lemon juice.

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Yacón……what is it and what do I do with it?

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Well here’s another beauty that has escaped me.  The yacón. (pronounced ya-kon) In the Inca language, yacón means ‘water root’.

Another name for the yacón is Peruvian ground apple.  A perennial tuber grown in the ground, with a taste similar to a cross between celery and a Granny Smith apple and a touch of pear.  This little treat is naturally low in calories and high in fiber….and can’t we all use a little more fiber?  (is it me or does this sound suspiciously like Jicama?)

“The tubers and leaves contain high levels of inulin, a form of sugar humans  cannot easily break down, making it low in calories. Inulin also aids digestion  and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria in the intestine, while  inhibiting toxic bacteria. Recent research also has found that yacon tubers and  leaves are a good source of antioxidants.”(source)

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Yacón also benefits the bacteria in the intestinal tract and colon that boost the immune system and aid digestion, something else we need….digestion! This potential as a dietary aid and as a ‘sweet spot’ for diabetics has led to yacón being grown more widely, and thankfully in America!

Here’s what the Guardian News has to say:

“Yacón has a crunchy texture, slightly reminiscent of water chestnuts, and a sweet flavour, so it’s rather good simply peeled, sliced and eaten as a snack. It’s great in salads too, though its tendency to brown means that you should add it at the last minute, once everything else is assembled and ready to be dressed, or sprinkle with a little lemon juice to prevent it discolouring as it’s peeled (and do peel it, the skin can be a little bitter).

Yacón also has a delightful tendency to absorb sauces and dressings, which make it a fantastic vehicle for other flavours. Try it grated with carrots in a mustardy vinaigrette with a handful of sunflower and pumpkin seeds, or in the traditional South American fruit salad, salpicón. Combine peeled, chopped yacón with chunks of pineapple, chopped papaya and mango and dress in freshly squeezed orange juice and a spritz of lemon.

You could also use yacón instead of apples in a Waldorf salad. Just peel and dice the yacón and toss it in lemon juice to stop it from going brown, then combine it in a bowl with chopped celery, some raisins and walnuts. Dress with mayonnaise thinned with a little sour cream and serve.”

You can purchase yacón in powder or slices HEREOr find it in syrup form HERE.

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Lucuma? Here’s the sweet story…

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First of all….did you even know there was a lucuma tree? With lucuma fruit? Well, you’re in for a sweet treat!

Apparently, Lucuma trees are native to the highland tropics of the Andes mountains in South America.  They are also the national fruit of Chile.  Side note: USA does NOT have a national fruit, but some individual states do.  You’re welcome.

And they’ve been around forEVER without my knowledge.  They are also called, ‘egg fruit’ since the fruit has a dry flesh (think hard boiled egg yolk texture).

So here we have a fruit with a dry flesh and a taste that is sort of maple syrupy and sweet potato rolled into one!  Some say it tastes like custard and a bit like pumpkin, but you will have to judge it for yourselves. You can purchase it HERE.

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Benefits?  How about beta carotene, 14 trace elements, potassium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus…to name a few!

So what do we do with it?  You can purchase lucuma powder and use it in baking cakes, cookies, pies and muffins. Lucuma powder can also be used to sweeten smoothies, yogurt, or just eat it raw!  There are so many possibilities!  It has a naturally sweet taste and does NOT increase your blood sugar levels! 

Try this smoothie from Navitas Natural

J+C Detox Smoothie

afternoon pick me up

Need a lunch meal replacement or an afternoon pick me up? This is a Navitas office favorite.

Ingredients

2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Chia Seeds (*for Chia Gel)

2 Tbsp Navitas Naturals Lucuma Powder

2 tsp Navitas Naturals Wheatgrass Powder

1 Cup Water (*for Chia Gel)

1 Cup frozen Mango

1 Cup Pineapple

1½ Cup Pineapple Orange Juice

1 Cup Almond Milk

½ Cup Coconut Water

1 Cup Green Mango Peach Green Tea (cooled)

1½ Cup Ice

2 Tbsp Lime Juice

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil

Directions

*This recipe calls for ½ cup chia gel. Click here for the Basic Chia Gel recipe.

Blend ½ cup chia gel and remaining ingredients – enjoy!

Yield: 5-6

Submitted By

Navitas Naturals

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cha cha cha cherries!

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Oh yummy, yummy cherries!  It’s the sign of summer!!!

Yes, they are delicious but did you know can knock the socks off gout and also help in alleviating arthritis?

IT’S TRUE!

Just one cup of sweet or sour cherries contains about 130 calories and are a source of beta carotene, vitamin C and potassium.  There has even been research that has found the quercetin in cherries is linked to a reduced risk of coronary artery disease.  And they taste great!!

Here is some great news for those suffering with pain and swelling:

“In research published in 2004 at Johns Hopkins University, rats were injected  with either a solution containing tart cherries or a prescription non-steroidal  anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and exposed to either a heated surface or an  inflammatory agent. The tart cherries significantly reduced pain sensitivity and  at the highest dosage were as effective as the drug. The authors conclude that  tart cherries may have a beneficial role in inflammatory pain. In a 2001 study  at Michigan State University, the anthocyanins in cherries were found to be  equivalent to two common over-the-counter painkillers(also NSAIDs) for  inhibiting the COX-1 and COX-2 enzymes associated with inflammation.” (source)
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Remember when buying cherries, look for plump, firm fruit with green stems.  Both sweet and sour cherries will spoil quickly.  Find them at your local farmers market since imported cherries aren’t as flavorful.   Unwashed fruit should keep in your refrigerator for up to a week.  Be sure to wash right before eating, since water can cause the cherry to split and soften.

YUMMY CHERRY TART

  • 9 graham crackers (each 2 1/2 by 5 inches)
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1/4 cup sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 6 ounces bar cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1 pound fresh sweet cherries, such as Bing, pitted and halved
  • 1 tablespoon seedless raspberry jam

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor, pulse graham crackers and 2 tablespoons sugar until finely ground. Add butter, and process until combined. Transfer mixture to a 9-inch tart pan with a removable bottom. Using the base of a dry measuring cup, firmly press mixture into bottom and up sides of pan. Bake until browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat cream cheese, vanilla, and remaining 1/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually add cream, and beat until soft peaks form; spread mixture in cooled crust. Scatter cherries on top.

In a small saucepan, combine jam and 1 teaspoon water; heat over low until liquefied, about 2 minutes. Using a pastry brush, dab cherries with glaze. Refrigerate tart at least 30 minutes or, covered, up to 1 day.  (from Everyday Food, June 2007)

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nuts over this yummy scrub!

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Rosmarinus officinalis, or Rosemary is  a wonderful herb to have in your garden, your kitchen and even your bathroom!

Rosemary has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties that leave the skin smelling clean with its earthy aroma.  This particular scrub is made with rosemary and pecans, which have more than 19 vitamins and minerals to their name!

You’re going to want to keep this scrub near the sink with a small (think demitasse) spoon nearby.  Use this scrub after gardening or whenever your hands feel dry and need an extra kick of moisture.  This is also good to have in the shower for elbows, feet and knees.  Just be careful if you use a glass container….maybe you should find a cute plastic one for the shower.

ROSEMARY PECAN SUGAR SCRUB (recipe source)

1/4 cup turbinado sugar

1/4 cup pecans (raw)

1/4 cup sea salt

6 T. coconut oil

2 T. fresh rosemary

In a food processor, combine all ingredients.  Pulse until well blended.  Pour mixture into a decorative glass container with lid.

Gently rub spoonful of scrub onto hands (or feet) and rinse with warm water.  Use scrub within one week for best results.

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tips, tips and more tips!

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I freaking LOVE those tips that make me wonder if I lived under a rock all these years!

These were gathered from some old  Farmers Almanac publications.  Let’s jump in….

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  • Before peeling an orange or juicing a lemon or lime, grate the peel (zest) into a small container and freeze for later use
  • Stale bread?  Cut into 1 inch cubes to make croutons.  Toss with seasonings and oil and bake in a 325 degree oven until crisp
  • OR use Chex cereal instead of croutons on salads
  • Add a pinch of baking powder when mashing potatoes to make them fluffier.
  • Mix in broken chips in the bottom of a nearly empty potato chip bag with bread crumbs to coat chicken and fish
  • Substitute club soda for milk in pancakes to make them lighter and fluffier
  • When slow cooking pinto beans, add a carrot.  When the beans are half cooked, rinse the beans and discard the carrot.  Add more water and a new carrot.  Finish cooking
  • Keep a slice of white bread in the cookie jar to keep cookies moist
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon to chocolate chip cookie batter
  • Add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the water when boiling pasta
  • Add a dash of cinnamon to chili to help to smooth out the flavors and round out the heat
  • Add shredded carrots to spaghetti sauce to cut acidity
  • If soup or stew is too salty, add one cut up potato
  • Place hot hard boiled eggs into ice cold water or add 1 Tbs.vinegar to the boiling water and the shells will come off easily

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  • Wrap celery in aluminum foil and place in refrigerator to increase from spoiling quickly.
  • Dip the cut end of banana in sugar to prevent browning
  • Store yogurt, cottage cheese and sour cream containers upside down in the fridge
  • OR add a pinch of ginger when cooking pinto beans
  • Freeze leftover coffee in ice cube trays for use later in cold ‘iced’ coffees
  • Put a wet paper towel into a sealed plastic bag with lettuce to keep it from turning brown

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  • Gather old ‘net’ onion bags together with a rubber band and use as a scrubby when washing dishes
  • To removed baked on food from a frying pan, put a dryer sheet and warm water into the an.  Soak overnight and then wash the pan
  • Spray a dirty cast iron pan generously with oven cleaner and put into a plastic bag large enough to completely contain it.  Close the bag securely and set it aside for 24 hours.  Remove the pan, discard the bag and thoroughly wash and re-season the pan
  • Spray a spoon or measuring cup with nonstick cooking spray before measuring honey or molasses
  • Use a baggie on your hand when greasing baking pans

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your knock-out-the-migraine grocery list…

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MIGRAINES……ugh.  Just the word sends me into a tizzy!!

If you have them, you know that there are certain foods that trigger those horrible headaches.  You know, so now let’s look at the flip side.

 THIS is a list of foods that have high levels of nutrients such as, riboflavin, magnesium, and omega-3 fats, so we can knock out those nasty migraines!

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FRUIT

  • apples (green and yellow, not red)
  • berries
  • cantaloupe
  • cherries
  • cranberries
  • honeydew
  • mangoes
  • nectarines
  • peaches
  • pears (brown and green only, not red)
  • watermelon

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VEGETABLES

  • artichoke (fresh, not canned)
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • beans, starchy (black cannellini, garbanzo, kidney and white)
  • bell peppers
  • broccoli
  • broccoli raab
  • brussel sprouts
  • carrots
  • cauliflower
  • celery
  • corn
  • cucumbers
  • dark leafy greens
  • lettuce
  • mushrooms
  • potatoes
  • pumpkin
  • rhubarb
  • spinach
  • squash, summer
  • squash, winter (acorn and butternut)
  • turnips
  • zucchini

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LEAN PROTEINS

  • fresh beef (organic, grass fed lean cuts)
  • fresh chicken (organic, free range)
  • eggs (organic, free range)
  • fresh turkey (organic, free range)

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NUTS AND SEEDS

  • chia seeds
  • flaxseeds
  • pumpkin seeds (raw)
  • sunflower seeds (raw)

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WHOLE GRAINS

  • amaranth
  • bulgur
  • cereal, whole grain
  • bread, whole grain
  • crackers, whole grain (no MSG)
  • millet
  • oats
  • pasta, whole grain
  • popcorn, air-pooped
  • quinoa
  • rice, brown and wild

Some of these foods might be a trigger for YOU.  Keep a food  diary and try a one month long elimination diet by eating foods from this list.  Slowly introduce potential trigger foods one at a time so you can determine which foods to avoid.

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