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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Pumpkin Spice Cake with Ginger Frosting

This cake is Delicious and great this time of year when you want the taste of Pumpkin Pies but not ready for Thanksgiving yet

Dry ingrediets, mix together and set aside
3  cups organic Spelt Flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp ginger powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg

Wet ingredients, mix together and add to dry 1/3 at a time
3 eggs  *Look below for vegan instructions
1 1/2 cups organic sugar
1 1/2 cups soy milk or milk
2 Tb mollasess
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1 Tb vanilla

Once you have mixed the two batches together pour into a greased 13x9" pan. Bake at 350' for 25-30 min or until a toothpick stuck into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool then frost with ginger frosting.
*If you want this to be vegan substitute the eggs for 1 1/2 Tb egg replacer whipped with 6 Tb water and 1/4 tsp citric acid along with the baking soda and salt mentioned in the dry ingredient list.fold this into the wet ingredients then proceed with remainder of recipe.

1 1/2 cups  earth balance or room temp butter
1 lb powdered sugar
1 Tb ginger powder
1 tsp vanilla

Cream earth balance or butter in a mixer on medium speed until creamy with no lumps. Add powdered sugar all at once with vanilla and ginger powder, cream on medium speed until thick and creamy. You may want to put in refrigerator until it sets up a bit if its too soft to spread. Frost the top of cake cut and serve. Refrigerate remaining cake as the frosting will become very soft if you don't. Enjoy!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Chicxen and Polenta with Mushroom Marinara

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Chicxen and Polenta with Mushroom Marinara

This dish has a layering of flavors and textures 

  Marinara Sauce  (start the sauce first this makes enough for 4 servings)

1 large can  Chopped San Marzano Tomatoes (these are expensive but well worth the price and naturally sweet so they are a must unless you want to cook this for at least an hour or two)
6-8  baby bell mushrooms cleaned and sliced
3 large cloves garlic peeled, smashed and finely chopped
¼ cup red wine (remember when choosing a wine for cooking only use one that you would actually drink)
2 TB  fresh basil leaves julienned

Place a sauce pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot add 1 Tb grape seed oil and add the garlic, sauté until soften making sure to watch carefully being sure not to burn it. Add the mushrooms and sauté 2 minutes. Add the wine and stir well, then add the tomatoes. Bring sauce to a boil then simmer (at a low boil) for 30 minutes while you prepare the rest of the dish. The last 10 minutes add the fresh basil leaves to the sauce.

The Rest of the Dish
12  slices of polenta 1/4 “ thick
1    sweet red bell pepper (cleaned and sliced into thin strips)
1    bag of Quorn chicken strips or chicken style Seitan
8   slices fresh mozzarella or vegan mozzarella

Heat a skillet (cast iron is the best) on medium high till it’s pretty hot add just enough grape seed oil to coat the pan toss in the peppers and quickly stir fry till they are chard on the edges (this is important for the finished dish in regards to texture and flavor.  Remove the peppers and set aside. Turn the heat down to medium.

If you are using Seitan cut it into strips if using Quorn use them the way they are toss them with salt and pepper. Add 2 tsp. oil to the hot pan and then toss in the Seitan or Quorn strips saute’ until heated through and cooked, remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the pan back up to medium high and add the slices of polenta, fry on each side until browned and crispy. Remove them to a paper plate of paper towel lined plate.

To assemble this dish place 3 polenta on a plate, top with 2 slices of the cheese, next divide the Quorn or Seitan between the 4 plates piling them up into a mound, then do the same with the peppers. Lastly pour ¾ of a cup of sauce over the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Garnich with more fresh basil leaves . Serve with crusty bread and your favorite wine.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Organic apples reduce harmful pesticide exposure for kids

Another new study links pesticides commonly used on apples, a kid favorite, to abnormalities in the developing brain. Here's why apples are the most important organic purchase you can make for your kids.
When I read news this week of yet another study about the negative health effects of the pesticide chlorpyrifos on children, as a mother, I got mad. As a New Hope Natural Media editor, I want to urge retailers out there to step up efforts to educate shoppers about why organic apples are the No. 1 organic buy to make for their family.
The study found that prenatal exposure to the organophosphate (OP) pesticide—now banned for residential use but still widely used on many crops—may be linked with abnormal changes in the cortex of a child’s developing brain. Other recent studies show that exposure to chlorpyrifos in the womb and early childhood may be linked with lowered IQ and increased incidence of ADHD.
A few more persuasive facts:
  • Apples are one of the top fruits consumed by U.S. children
  • Conventional apples are No. 1 on EWG’s Dirty Dozen; 98 percent of apples tested had pesticides.
  • Conventional applesauce, another kid favorite, retains much higher residues of several pesticides on average than organic applesauce.
  • Even officially allowable levels of OPs may harm humans, according to recent studies.
  • Apples are also frequently sprayed with Paraquat, a pesticide that may have a link to Parkinson’s disease.
  • The health of families in agricultural communities is directly affected by either doing pesticide spraying, or by runoff or drift.
I won’t say it doesn’t pain me to spend as much as $2.99/lb on organic Honeycrisps at certain times of year. But the pleasure of savoring their clean, wholesome, juicy crunch without worrying about ingesting poisons is truly priceless. (Plus, if I’m feeling thrifty, I can choose the cheaper bagged organic apples.)

GMO's Whats up with Dow Chemical and the FDA

The current state of GMOs

Bill Freese, science policy analyst with the Center for Food Safety, recently sat down with Organic Connections, the magazine for Natural Vitality, to discuss the latest in the battle against GMOs.
According to the Just Label It campaign, more than 900,000 people have signed the petition to the FDA to label foods containing GMOs, and 92 percent of Americans support the labeling of genetically engineered foods as well. But while the non-GMO movement is certainly heating up, massive biotech companies such as Dow Chemical and Monsanto have filed concerning petitions with the FDA to deregulate their patented crops.
Bill Freese, science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety—the nonprofit leading legal and scientific battles against GMOs—shares his views with Organic Connections magazine.
Dow is now seeking approval for a corn seed resistant to the highly toxic herbicide 2,4-D. “It’s associated with a number of diseases such as non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which is cancer of the immune system,” says Freese. “2,4-D is also an endocrine disrupter. [It’s] very volatile and it drifts a lot,” he explained. “When you spray a herbicide it can drift hundreds of yards, and in some cases even more, to land on a neighbor’s crops. In the end 2,4-D is going to kill a large number of crops that aren’t resistant to it.”

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Loaded Graham Crackers

When you have a craving for something sweet but don't have anything in the house but the fixins try making these

6 whole graham crackers (check your ingredient list if you want them to be vegan)
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate or bittersweet
2 Tb earth balance or real organic butter
1/4 cup milk, soy milk, half-n-half what ever you have in the fridge
20 drops of liquid stevia (if you have any of the NuNaturals flavored ones use 10 orange and 10 vanilla)
1 Tb organic brown sugar or organic cane sugar
Chopped nuts of your choice (almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans)
Shredded Coconut
Dried fruits like cranberries, raisins, blueberries


Place chocolate and earth balance in a double boiler or if you don't have one use a metal bowl on top of a pot with 1/4 pot of water. Place this on medium heat stir chocolate and butter until melted, turn off heat and add the cream stir until well blended.
Place the grahams out onto a sheet of waxed paper or cookie sheet. spoon the warm chocolate sauce onto the top of the grahams 1 at a time. Then quickly sprinkle with your choice of toppings press them into the chocolate so they will stay put. Place in fridge for 15 minutes till set up, don't leave them too long or grahams get soft. Take out of fridge and endulge.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Coconut Oil's Health Benefits

I wanted to pass on some info on Coconut Oil its such a nutritious oil. This is taken from Dr. Joseph Mercola's blog, he is one of the foremost experts on coconut oil.
The Hidden Truth About Coconut Oil
The truth about coconut oil is obvious to anyone who has studied the health of those who live in traditional tropical cultures, where coconut has been a nutritious diet staple for thousands of years.
Back in the 1930's, a dentist named Dr. Weston Price traveled throughout the South Pacific, examining traditional diets and their effect on dental and overall health. He found that those eating diets high in coconut products were healthy and trim, despite the high fat concentration in their diet.
Similarly, in 1981, researchers studied populations of two Polynesian atolls. Coconut was the chief source of caloric energy in both groups. The results, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, demonstrated that both populations exhibited positive vascular health. There was no evidence that the high saturated fat intake had a harmful effect in these populations.
The many benefits of coconut oil are finally reaching the mainstream.
Benefits like:
  • Promoting your heart health
  • Promoting weight loss when and if you need it
  • Supporting your immune system health
  • Supporting a healthy metabolism
  • Providing you with an immediate energy source
  • Helping to keep your skin healthy and youthful looking
  • Supporting the proper functioning of your thyroid gland
the MCFAs in coconut oil are more health-promoting, because:
  • MCFAs are smaller. They permeate cell membranes easily, and do not require lipoproteins or special enzymes to be utilized effectively by your body.
  • MCFAs are easily digested, thus putting less strain on your digestive system. This is especially important for those of you with digestive or metabolic concerns.
  • MCFAs are sent directly to your liver, where they are immediately converted into energy rather than being stored as fat.
  • MCFAs in coconut oil can actually help stimulate your body's metabolism, leading to weight loss.
·         In fact, the ability of MCFAs to be easily digested, to help stimulate the metabolism and be turned into energy has entered the sports arena. Several studies have now shown that MCFAs enhance physical or athletic performance.
·         Additionally, research has demonstrated that, due to its metabolic effect, coconut oil increases the activity of the thyroid. And you've probably heard that a sluggish thyroid is one reason why some people are unable to lose weight, no matter what they do.
·         Besides weight loss, there are other advantages to boosting your metabolic rate. Your healing process accelerates. Cell regeneration increases to replace old cells, and your immune system functions better overall.
·         Nature still has a few miracles up her sleeve.
·         You've probably heard that breast milk is jam-packed with nutrients and disease-fighting ingredients that help keep babies healthy.
·         Well, incredibly, coconut oil contains one of the same compounds -- lauric acid -- found in mother's milk! And lauric acid is the predominant type of MCFA found in coconut oil.
·         Fortunately for our health, lauric acid in both breast milk and coconut oil transforms when consumed into a substance called monolaurin, the actual compound responsible for helping to strengthen the immune system.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

3 worst artificial ingredients, plus natural alternatives

Synthetic colors, artificial sweeteners, and genetically modified organisms. Here's how to eliminate them from your diet with healthier natural choices.
They’re cheap, colorful, and preserve shelf life—it’s no wonder artificial ingredients are now in most processed foods. Every year, U.S. food manufacturers use 15 million pounds of synthetic dyes alone, even as scientific evidence increasingly links some additives to health issues such as allergies and certain cancers. “The body doesn’t recognize these chemically produced ingredients as simple foods, so it has to work harder, and that leads to irritation over time,” says Ashley Koff, RD, coauthor of Mom Energy (Hay House, 2011).

One way to avoid additives is to buy foods labeled USDA Organic. Here are the top questionable ingredients—and healthier natural choices.

Synthetic food dyes (Red 40, Yellow 5, Yellow 6, Blue 2)

Synthesized from petroleum products, artificial food colors are in cereals, baked goods, and even salad dressings. Some clinical studies link them to hyperactivity in children.
In 2009, Britain insisted food makers take them out of foods marketed to kids. The U.K. version of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese, for instance, is now free of artificial growth hormones and colors.
Better alternatives: Vegetable (or no) coloring. Try mac and cheese that’s colored with annatto, derived from achiote seed. Vegetable-colored jelly beans (look in your bulk section, or try Surf Sweets) are better choices than, say, fake-color Skittles. Instead of blue yogurt tubes, offer kids plain or vanilla yogurt with granola, honey, or chocolate chips. And avoid rainbow-hued sports drinks; try uncolored coconut water instead.

Artificial sweeteners

Controversial synthetic sweeteners such as  aspartame (Equal Classic, NutraSweet), acesulfame K, and sucralose (Splenda) don’t seem to work well for weight loss or diabetes prevention, the health issues for which they’re commonly marketed. In a recent study at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, drinking diet sodas increased waist circumference in humans; a second study found aspartame raised blood sugar levels in diabetes-prone rats.
Better alternatives: The herbal extract stevia, or rebaudioside A, has a long history of safe use in foods. The sugar alcohol erythritol serves as the base of sweeteners like Swerve, which provides an easy 1:1 replacement for sugar. Xylitol is another good option—especially in gums and mints because it fights tooth decay—but it can upset tummies in large doses.

Genetically modified organisms

Introduced without labeling into the U.S. food system in the 1990s, GMOs are now in the vast majority of packaged foods. (Governments in Europe, Japan, and other countries mandated labels because of a lack of research on long-term safety.) GMO-food consumption is now considered a risk factor for allergies, autism, ADHD, and asthma, says Charles Benbrook, PhD, chief scientist at the nonprofit Organic Center.
If you see corn, soy, canola, cottonseed, or sugar (made from beets, not cane) on an ingredients label—and the product isn’t organic—you can assume it contains GMOs.
Better alternatives: Non-GMO Project verified and USDA Organic foods. Organic regulations prohibit GMO ingredients. Also look for the Non-GMO Project seal  which means the food has met thresholds mandated in Europe.