A great big welcome to Lexie's Kitchen & Living. I hope you enjoy the recipes and ramblings. For the story behind this site read here

Follow a gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free diet? Check out my recently released cookbook

 

 

 


 

 

 

Sunday
May152011

Reflections on Bolting Cilantro

A guest post from my mom and dad from the Big Island of Hawaii.

Reflections on Bolting Cilantro

The too short useful lifespan of the ''little bit goes a long way'' Cilantro in the garden has, at times, frustrated me.

There is such a short window of time to traditionally harvest the the pungent cilantro leaf! Gleefully snapping up my packet of Cilantro seeds from the garden section of our local store, my taste buds perk up from a vision of Guacamole, Thai Spring Rolls and Curry. 

I am in the habit of planting about 10 seeds a week to have successive harvests that are just right, at the usual stage of neat and tidy large potent leaves which are carefully cut from their stems, and sparingly added to my dishes. I still love using the large leaves in the traditional way for garnish and flavor.

Catching my attention in the back row, I admire Cilantro's next stage, which had always gone to compost. I now find myself watching the cilantro bolt after the first harvest. 

Previously, this stage was dreaded because the leaves are smaller, way milder and too hard to harvest. The voluminous 15'' gorgeous dark green, bushy, leafy, many branched, mild scented and sweet, bolting stage of Cilantro called out to me, so I gently cut the bolting plants one inch from the ground (they'll regrow), and whisked them into the kitchen. The main stem is discarded. Chop quite a big pile of everything else (at least several cups per serving). This makes a winning addition to any soup, stew, or stir-fry dish!

I now find myself wishing my cilantro hurries up and gets to that awkward, bolting stage, for the mildest, best tasting, small leafy greens and tender stems!

Thursday
May052011

The Twisted Sisters

Happy Mothers Day all you Mama Bears! You are the inspiration for this blog. The stories you share and every email I receive reassures me that we all have challenges, but that we are not alone in our journey!

I would like to send my very own mommy a special Mothers Day greeting. Mom, you are my best friend, you have never failed me, you are my safe place. Thank you for all you are to me. And, sorry I didn't send a card this year :), I know you understand.

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What would we do without friends? A couple of mine have stepped up to the plate to guest post in my "absence" and I am grateful! A week ago my father passed and I am with my boys and grandparents in Las Vegas sorting through matters. My best friend and husband has been a champ holding down the home front. Thanks hubby!!

Hearing of our news, one of our long-time friends, Dr. Wayne Tompkins offered to do a "guest appearance" until I am able to get back into the kitchen. Dr. Tompkins has a wellness practice in Hollister, Missouri where he treats patients for fertility, women’s health and a myriad of health concerns. Please welcome Dr. Tompkins! 

The Twisted Sisters: The Female Hormone Saga

Once upon a time there were two sisters who had to live together and get along. One of the sisters was very bossy and had a domineering nature. Her name was ‘Estrogen’. The other sister was quiet and submissive and named ‘Progesterone’. Estrogen tried to run the show and didn’t know her boundaries. Unfortunately, she had all the connections and received a lot of help and support from outside the house. She hooked up with her evil friends like Toxin, Stress, and Pollution. With supervision, Estrogen really shined, but left alone, she made poor choices in choosing her friends which upset the restful order in the home.

Dr. Wayne Tompkins of Tompkins Wellness CenterProgesterone, on the other hand, was pretty smart, but she needed lots of help. When Estrogen and her evil friends ruled the roost, she tended to shut down and not stand her ground. However; she knew what it took to create an environment that was inviting and safe for new little inhabitants in the house. With some support from her friends, Rest, Nutrition, and Purification, she harmonized marvelously and stood her ground with her often dominant sibling.

Now you’ve probably figured out this house is your body and the story is not a fairy tale from ages past. It is present day reality and describes a condition commonly known as ‘estrogen dominance’ ... when estrogen has the upper hand. Estrogen’s friends are what are known as, or false estrogens. They are toxins, food dyes, preservatives and noxious chemicals. They are very good imitators of actual estrogen and easily latch on to its receptor sites. The result is hormone imbalance and a dominance of estrogen in the body.

Keeping a balance between estrogen and progesterone are critical for fertility and female health in general. Read the following lists and decide which category you fit into.

Symptoms of Estrogen Dominance

  • Infertility
  • Painful, irregular menstrual cycles
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic ovarian syndrome
  • Fibrocystic Breast Disease
  • PMS
  • Fatigue
  • Hot flashes
  • Foggy thinking…just to name a few

Results of Hormone Balance

  • Fertility
  • Regular menstrual cycles
  • Sufficient energy levels
  • Normal sleep patterns
  • Smooth transition into menopause
  • Absence of unwanted conditions/diseases such as endometriosis, PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome), fibrocystic breast disease etc.
  • Clear-headed thinking

Hopefully your body is in a state of balance. All too often; however, we see a prevalence of estrogen dominance. Read on to see how balance can be restored in your body.

Dr. Wayne’s Protocol for Restoring Hormone Balance

1. Get a clear picture of your hormone health. Visit with a Natural Women’s Health Practitioner you trust to order a female hormone panel which is customized to your stage of life. (See special offer at the end of this article to get started)

2. Commence recommended female hormone balancing program which usually includes:

  • Specific herb and supplement protocols
  • Detoxification and lifestyle modification
  • Possible adjunctive therapies such as chiropractic and acupuncture
  • Labs to determine initial baseline and progress

Dr. Tompkins offers free 10 minute consults over the phone. To schedule time with him for a chat, call his office at 417-336-2620. In addition, Dr. Tompkins is extending the following Mothers Day special offer to readers of Lexie's Kitchen! For more information, visit www.tompkinswellnesscenter.com.

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Mother’s Day Special Offer

25% off: Initial Female Health Panel

Good through May 18, 2011 

Call: 417-336-2620

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Sunday
May012011

Taking a Break

 

Dear all,

I have a family matter to attend to and must take a brief break from blogging. I will be back as soon as I can.

Love you all so very much!

-Lexie

Tuesday
Apr262011

Chive Pepper Muffins & Cookbook Review

Seven-ingredient Chive Pepper Muffins from Elana Amsterdam's new cookbook "Gluten-Free Cupcakes." These muffins were quick and easy to prepare and made a tasty addition to a pot roast dinner. With my kiddos in mind, I used 1 teaspoon black pepper and substituted 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes for the chives. Yum!

Much Anticipated Gluten-Free Cupcake Cookbook Launches!

Today is a day to celebrate! Elana Amsterdam's Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour has hit the market and is flying off Amazon's shelves like hotcakes—or rather, shall I say, sweet and tempting cupcakes.

I have read my preview copy of Gluten-Free Cupcakes cover-to-cover, have made five recipes and want to share my impressions.

Simple Recipes, Quick Prep

If you’ve met Elana, you quickly pick up that she is a no-nonsense lady and the same goes for her recipes and cookbooks. She’s all about keeping it basic and simple (yes!). Ingredient lists are short and directions are clear and concise. Take, for example, her three-ingredient Flourless White Chocolate Cupcake. It calls for is three, yes only three, ingredients—buy the book to find out what they are :).

And speaking of ingredients, after stocking up on the few basics Elana suggests, you can make virtually all of the cupcakes and frostings in the book. For those unaccustomed to baking with ingredients such as almond flour, coconut oil or chia seed, Elana explains what they are, what they do, where to buy them and how to use them.

A Treat for Everyone

If are nut-free, dairy-free, sweetener-free, kosher, paleo, vegan—there are recipes in this book for you. Some recipes call for almond flour, some for coconut flour. I really enjoyed the date, banana and stevia-sweetened Banana Pecan Cupcakes, and made extra to keep in the freezer for a quick bite.

I will note that if you are egg-free, all but one of the cupcake and muffin recipes call for eggs.

Satisfying and Nutritionally Dense

Like Elana, I gravitate to foods that are nutritionally dense; foods that pack goodness into every bite. Unlike traditional cupcakes, Elana's use of high-protein almond flour and eggs ensures just this. I was pleased to find six savory muffin recipes that require not sweetener. The great thing about nutritionally dense foods is that they fill you up. One cupcake (okay, maybe two) and I am satisfied.

Sweet Toppings

Gluten-Free Cupcakes offers a whopping 14 frostings, fillings and toppings—four of which are vegan! I used the Vegan Buttercream to top the Vegan Chocolate Cupcakes I made. Delightful! Elana uses agave nectar in most of her recipes but encourages experimentation with honey, brown rice syrup, xylitol or fruit purees.

Tasty Photos and Clean Layout

This cookbook is very easy and pleasing to the eye. The layout is clean, the photos are rich. It’s a fun book to flip through.

Keep In Mind

Follow Directions: I like it when an cookbook drives home the importance of following directions. Elana tactfully does this. I need the reminder, for I am the queen of improvisation in the kitchen. Follow the directions for optimal results.

Let the Cakes Cool: With these cupcakes, cooling is a step that cannot be skipped. Keep the temptation at bay to pop a fresh one in your mouth and let the cupcakes cool for the length of time Elana says they should.

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WIN IT!

Be one of the very FIRST to own a copy of Elana Amsterdam's new cookbook, Gluten-Free Cupcakes.

To Enter: Leave a comment at the end of this post. If you'd like, share with us the one cookbook you could not live without. For and additional chance to win, "LIKE" Lexie's Kitchen on Facebook.

Deadline: To qualify, leave your comment by 5:00 p.m. (CST) Wednesday, May 4th.

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Meet Elana

Elana launched the blog Elana's Pantry in 2006. Five years later she continues to serve up at least one new gluten-free recipe a week. In 2009 she published her first cookbook The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. Elana is near and dear to my heart and I am honored to call her a friend. Though she may not know it, through her blog, she was a help and inspiration to me long before we met. I am certain thousands of others would say the same. Her recipes and anecdotes were rays of sunshine and hope in our home in the days following our food allergy diagnosis. Elana lives with her family in Boulder, Colorado.

Support a Food Blogger

Bloggers do what they do because they love it, because it is their passion—sacrifices are made to bring you the posts that they do. If you'd like to show your appreciation for the efforts of your favorite food blogger turned cookbook author, consider purchasing their book. Here are just a few you might enjoy.

NEW! The Spunky Coconut Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts: Gluten Free, Casein Free & Often Egg Free
Kelly V. Brozyna | www.thespunkycoconut.com

NEW! Cooking for Isaiah: Gluten-Free and Dairy-Free
Silvana Nardone | www.silvanaskitchen.com

NEW! Everyday Paleo
Sarah Fragoso | www.everydaypaleo.com

NEW! More Make it Fast, Cook it Slow
Stephanie O’Dea | crockpot365.blogspot.com

NEW! Simply...Gluten-free Desserts: 150 Delicious Recipes for Cupcakes, Cookies ...
Carol Kicinski | www.simplygluten-free.com

NEW! Good Morning! Breakfasts Without Gluten, Egg, Sugar or Dairy
Ricki Heller | www.dietdessertndogs.com (pdf e-book)

NEW! Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free: 180 Easy and Delicious Recipes You Can Make ...
Amy Green | www.simplysugarandglutenfree.com

Some of the recipes in these cookbooks call for ingredients I do not regularly stock/use (e.g. cane sugar, eggs, etc.). If you have certain dietary restrictions, read the full description and reviews of a book to ensure it is a right fit for you.

Friday
Apr222011

Sunflower Carob Milk | Dairy-Free, Nut-Free

Nut and seed milks have been our saving grace.

When our son was 14 months old, chronic sinusitis and GI "issues" led us to suspect an intolerance to cow's milk and soy milk. Shortly thereafter, skin and blood allergy tests confirmed it.

Hearing of our plight, my raw foodista sister showed up on our doorstep with a pitcher of creamy, date-sweetened almond milk. "Try this," she said, and showed us how easy it was to make.

Two years later and thanks to my sis, nut and seed milks have become a staple in our kitchen. We use the milks in smoothies, in baking, for making ice cream and over hot cereal. We've tried almond, cashew, Brazil nut, hazelnut, sunflower, hemp, sesame and even rice and oat.

This week sunflower seed milk is the flavor in the fridge. Sunflower seed milk may not be as neutral in taste as say, almond or cashew, but it's one of the creamiest by far, and super rich when mixed with carob powder (or cocoa) and a touch of sweetener.

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Just one ounce of sunflower seeds boasts a whopping 76% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance
of vitamin E—a powerful antioxidant that protects the body from the harmful effects of toxins and
carcinogens that cause free radical damage to cells in the body. According to the USDA Nutrient
Database sunflower seeds are the best whole food source of vitamin E. 

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Making nut and seed milks is so easy! A good blender and a bag for straining are the only tools needed. Sources online sell bags specifically designed for straining nut milk. I started out using these but have discovered a more durable and economical solution—reusable produce bags from 3B Bags. 3-packs of these 100% polyester, fine mesh bags may be purchased from the Lexie's Kitchen Amazon Store, direct from 3B Bags and from a number of natural food stores (Whole Foods, Sunflower Market and Vitamin Cottage to name a few). They retail for around $7.50. Locally they are as low as $4.99! Clean-up is easy, just rinse and toss the bags in the laundry and hang dry. The great thing about buying them in 3-packs is that it ensures you always have a clean nut milk bag on hand!

 

Sunflower Carob Milk

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Easily Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Easily Vegan | Raw

Serves:  Makes approximately 4 cups
Active Time:  5 minutes
Soak Time:  2 hours

Ingredients:

1 cup raw, hulled SUNFLOWER SEEDS, soak in water for 2 hours, rinse, drain
4 cups WATER
1 small CINNAMON STICK (optional), soak with sunflower seeds
1/4 cup CAROB POWDER
STEVIA, raw HONEY or SOAKED DATES (4-5) to taste
Pinch SEA SALT

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender. Blend on high until smooth.

Drape nut milk bag over a large bowl. Pour milk mixture through nut milk bag. Pull draw string tight and gently squeeze milk out of bag into bowl. Discard pulp or use in crackers. Transfer milk to a pitcher or jar, chill and serve. If milk separates, just give it a good stir before serving.