Monday
Jun112012

Hydrate That Bod

Water. A simple and pure necessity for vital health.

In some parts of the country, temperatures are climbing. As they do, I am keeping hydration at the forefront of my mind, and hope you are too. Today my friend Dr. Wayne Tompkins is back to encourage us to meet our daily requirement of pure, clean, life-giving water during these hot summer months.

The Gift That Keeps Giving: Hydration

By Dr. Wayne Tompkins, DC | Tompkins Wellness Center | Branson, Missouri

Proper hydration is one of the best gifts you can give to yourself. This gift, proper hydration, is going to keep giving to you:

  • Increased energy
  • Detoxification
  • Weight management
  • Mental clarity
  • Help with hypertension

The Blood Pressure Connection

"Help with hypertension?" you perk up.

Many people who are being prescribed blood pressure medication could avoid it if they just started drinking adequate water and here’s why.

High blood pressure means the pressure against your arterial walls is too high either when the heart is pumping (the top #) or when it’s at rest (the bottom #). Drinking water causes the arteries to vasodilate. This means they stretch open to make a bigger carrying vessel. If you have a one-inch diameter tube, the pressure against the walls of that tube are less than if you are trying to carry the same amount of fluid (blood) down a tube with only a half inch diameter. 

Feeling Tired & Depleted?

But Doctor, I drink lots of iced tea…doesn’t that count?

No it doesn’t. Actually most tea has caffeine in it which depletes your body of water making you require more than if you hadn’t had any tea at all. We call caffeinated beverages “diuretics” because they make us lose water. Instead of reaching for iced tea, or a coke or coffee, try grabbing a big drink of water. It will leave you feeling more energized without stressing out your adrenal glands (the gland which helps you adapt to stress) and causing your heart to race.

How Much Water Do I Need?

The simple equation is half your body weight in ounces of water per day. For easy math, let’s say you weigh 200 pounds. Take your weight, divide by 2, and that’s the amount of water you need in ounces. In this case it would be 100 ounces. Yes that’s a lot and you’re probably not getting nearly enough. If you’re just starting out making friends with water, try 2/3 of this amount. (Take half your body weight, then multiply that number by 0.66). Believe me; your body will thank you.

..............................................................................................................

If you are looking for someone who can dig deep into your health
concern to determine its cause and do everything they can to address
and eliminate the root of it (not just cover it with medications), find a
doctor in your area like Dr. Tompkins or consult with him over the phone.
Call 417.336.2620 or visit Tompkins Wellness Center.

Sunday
Jun032012

Stacked Polenta with Bolognese Sauce

Last week I posted a recipe (if you can call it that) for a four-ingredient Italian Sausage Seasoning blend—the secret ingredient in my Bolognese sauce.

This week I'm dishing up the recipe for that Bolognese. It's makes enough to feed a crowd and then some, and freezes well for a quick mid-week dinner. Serve it over brown rice pasta or spaghetti squash or layer it between slices of polenta and sauteed veggies for a quick "lasagne" (our lates family favorite).

Quick Crockpot Bolognese Sauce

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Corn-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF

Serves: LOTS
Prep Time:  20 minutes
Cook Time:  4-6 hours in crockpot

Ingredients:

1 pound GROUND BEEF
12 ounces GROUND TURKEY
12 ounces GROUND CHICKEN
1-2 tablespoons Italian Sausage Seasoning
3 jars of your favorite MARINARA SAUCE (I use Classico® Organic that I buy at Costco)

Directions:

  1. Brown meat together. Drain fat if desired.
  2. Season with Italian Sausage Seasoning.
  3. Add meat to bowl of food processor and pulse a few times. You want a fine-ground meat (think the texture of Taco Bell burger "meat", gross, I know). This step makes for a thicker sauce.
  4. Toss meat into crockpot along with marinara sauce.
  5. Give it a good stir and cook on low for 4-6 hours.

Polenta Stacks

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Tree Nut-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF

  1. Slice a roll of PRE-COOKED POLENTA into 1/4-1/2" slices.
  2. Brush with oil and pan-fry or bake until they begin to crisp a bit.
  3. Make stacks by alternating polenta slices, Bolognese sauce, your favorite sauteed veggies, maybe some of this if you can't have dairy or maybe real cheese if you can. 
  4. Serve.
Wednesday
May302012

Proud Mamma. New Look. Big Thank You.

A Proud Mamma

My heart is filled with joy. This afternoon my oldest graduated from kindergarten. I didn't know what to expect. The tears were a surprise. At least 100 times during the program the future flashed before my eyes—highschool graduation, college graduation, a wedding? And it would all be here in the blink of an eye.

Many of you mammas can attest to that.

Surprisingly I felt no sadness. This thing of life, this journey, is a beautiful thing of learning to let go and that means of our little ones, too.

Let them fly. Let them soar. Let them find their path. Just always be there for them.

To say that I am impressed with the principal and teachers of the school is an understatement. They have instilled in these kids the things that matter. They have guided them to be: Safe. Respectful. Responsible. The teachers haved worked hard to teach these kids the basics of reading and writing by the age of 5 and 6! And his teacher was always kind enough to provide my guy with GFCF snacks. Wow! Impressed is definitely an understatement. I tried to thank them all at the ceremony, but know I missed a bunch.

When we got home, Wyatt was flying high. He threw off his cap and gown and got to work writing a recipe (that came out of left field). The inspiration hit and like his mother he got to work. I was so wowed. He sat down and wrote this out all by himself! We actually made them ... used sweet rice flour, some coconut sugar, almonds clusters, water and baking powder. Not bad. They definitely were edible! Here's the interpretation of Wyatt's hand written recipe:

Recipe for Nut Ball Cakes
(make at your own risk)

1-1/2 cup powder (I suggested flour) and sugar.

Mix and add a 1/2 cup of baking powder and some water and
mix and nuts and mix and turn into a ball and
bake for 20 seconds (I suggested 20 minutes).

Pull out at 4 o'clock. Done!

(What a hoot!)

A New Look

Today I'm also tickled to have launched the new look of Lexie's Kitchen. I hope you like it. It was time and it sure feels good to freshen things up a bit. This thing of blogging really stretches you to learn, grow and acquire new skills. Three years ago I would have never thought I'd be able to create my own website from the ground up or take a picture of food! It feels good to still be learning.

Big Thank You

Lastly, a huge thanks goes out to all who helped land Lexie's Kitchen in the Top 25 Foodie Mom Blogs over at Circle of Moms. You blew me away with your love. My heart overflows! You are THE best!

xoLexie

Saturday
May262012

Italian Sausage Seasoning Recipe

Here's a simple 4-ingredient copycat of Penzey's Spices Italian Sausage Seasoning.

Every couple of months we make it down to Denver where I hit the Cherry Creek Penzey's Spices store to "provision up" on flavors from the around the world—Vietnamese Cinnamon, French Thyme, Chinese Five Spice—to name just a few.

Well, it's been more than a couple of months, supplies are running low, and last week I found myself in a bind. You see, the kids and I are saddling up and heading to Idaho later this week and I wanted to cook up a huge pot of Bolognese to freeze for my husband so he won't whither away while I'm gone.

But agghhhh!

I was out of Penzey's Italian Sausage Seasoning—the secret ingredient in my Bolognese!

What to do. What to do!

So I made some.

And it was fantastic!

I've been sprinkling it on my morning scramble, on veggies, on quesadillas, you name it. My friend Kelly over at The Spunky Coconut made grilled chicken breasts with it—brushed on a little oil and seasoned liberally. Funny though, I have yet to make Italian sausage with it.

This blend is a little lighter on the salt than the Penzey's version so if you like yours extra salty, just add a 1/2 tablespoon more.

As for the Bolognese recipe, you can find it here. Crock pottin' easy!

Lexie's Kitchen Italian Seasoning Blend

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 | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Paleo (omit sugar)

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon FENNEL SEED
1-1/2 tablespoon SEA SALT
1-1/4 teaspoon TELLICHERRY BLACK PEPPERCORNS
1/2 teaspoon granulated SUGAR

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to coffee or spice grinder.
  2. Grind to a fine powder.
  3. Store in airtight jar.

More DIY Spice Blends

Blackened Seasoning Mix over at Gluten-Free Easily
Taco Seasoning
over at Alisa Cooks
Holy Curry Batman
over at The Urban Poser
Bahrat Spice Blend
over at Diet Dessert and Dogs
Ras al Hanout
(Moroccan Spice Blend) over at Cara's Cravings
Spice Blend
over at The Balanced Platter via Tasty Eats At Home
Jamaican Curry Powder Blend
over at Tasty Eats At Home
Lexie's Beef Stew Seasoning
here at Lexie's Kitchen
Lexie's Chili Seasoning here at Lexie's Kitchen

Thursday
May242012

Holy Ninja Cupcakes Batman!

 

When it comes to birthdays I pretty much turn a blind eye to the whole "avoiding" sugar thing. It's a no holds barred feast on gluten-free chocolate cake and buttercream frosting.

And so it was with this batch of Batman and Lego Ninjago cupcakes. Can anyone help me here? Is the green guy Cole or Jay, or wait maybe it's Kai? My boys would be aghast if they knew I didn't know which was which.

Birthdays can be hectic. So to save time I usually turn to three friends—Bob, Pamela, and Michael. Bob faithfully brings the super-moist Gluten-Free Chocolate Cake Mix. Pamela rocks it home her sugar coma-inducing (but oh so good) Vanilla Icing Mix.

The cake is easily made without eggs and milk—just sub with chia eggs and non-dairy milk. The icing may be made dairy-free by using either Earth Balance Soy-Free Buttery Spread or Spectrum Palm Shortening.

For decorating, I grab the fondant and food coloring (yep, the artificial stuff). My kids know that these decorations are just that—for decoration. We don't eat them. I draw the line at artificial colors, even on special days.

Blocks of white fondant and a rainbow of food coloring can be found at Michaels (they offer cake decorating classes, too—something I could really use to improve my lame buttercream piping skills). All you do is massage the coloring into the fondant and then treat it like playdough (if it gets too sticky, toss it in the freezer for a bit). You could try all-natural India Tree Nature's Colors, however the colors just won't be as intense. A halloween bat cookie cutter came in handy for the Batman cupcakes. An edible food coloring pen for the ninjas' eyes.

A Special Thank You

A special "thanks" goes out to Pamela, Bob, and Michael for helping me look like a rockstar mom at my kid's party. The "mom, that was the best day EVER!" was the best part and made the extra (but not so extra) effort worth it.

This month we have celebrated National Celiac Awareness Month. My son is going on his 6th year of life and 4th year of being gluten-free. I would like to extend a special thank you to companies like Bob's Red Mill and Pamela's for making the transition an easy one for us.

Some other folks hard at work for the gluten-free'ers have been Jules Shepard, John Forberger, and the American Celiac Disease Alliance. They are the founders of 1in133.org, a collaborative effort to refocus attention on the overdue gluten-free labeling rules. Learn more about their cause here and updates on where things stand on Capitol Hill.

Tuesday
May222012

Memorial Day BBQ Menu

We're crossing our fingers for a glorious Memorial Day weekend here in Wyoming. Enjoy yours! Here's a taste of what we'll be having. Looking for dessert suggestions.

Cucumber Watermelon Salad
Hawaiian-Style Potato Mac Salad

Dairy-Free Jalapeno Poppers
Teriyaki BBQ Chicken

Monday
May212012

Cheery Cherry Detox Smoothie

As the sun rises, the first sounds coming out of my kitchen are the drip, drip of the coffee maker and the whir of the blender. Most mornings start with a smoothie—my way of packing a good nutritional punch into a single glass.

This Cheery Cherry Detox Smoothie is a new favorite. I'd describe it as happy. Cheerful. It's tart with just enough sweet for balance and offers a good dose of greens and antioxidant-packed cherries.

We've been drinking a lot of these lately, and not just for the yum factor but because they are loaded with the fluids, fiber, and antioxidants that are helping Miles flush some nasty toxic heavy metals from his little body. 

If you are interested in the progress we've made with chelation, be sure to read through to the end of this post. If you just want the recipe : ) ... here 'tis.

Cheery Cherry Detox Smoothie

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free (do not use Emergen-C) | Corn-Free (do not use Emergen-C) | 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 | Sweetener-Free (do not use Emergen-C) | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Easily Raw

Makes: 4 cups
Prep Time: 3 minutes 

Ingredients:

1 cup frozen CHERRIES (in the U.S., check Costco for organic)
2-4 KALE CUBES or a handful of fresh kale
1 cup non-dairy MILK (I use SoDelicious® Coconut Milk Beverage)
2 cups WATER
2 tablespoons fresh LEMON JUICE
2 tablespoons CHIA SEED
1 teaspoon gluten-free VANILLA EXTRACT
Liquid vanilla STEVIA to taste
Optional: 1 pack Emergen-C Kidz Fruit Punch (if tolerated)

Directions:

  1. Add all ingredients to a high-powered blender (like a Blendtec or OmniBlend) and blend on high until super smooth.
  2. If you like your smoothies cold and frosty (like I do) throw in a few ice cubes at the end and blend until smooth.

A Quick Update On Our Journey to Recovery

We are seeing great progress with our little guy. He has not had a flare-up of Candida in over two months. His gut is well on it's way to being healed, if not already there! We continue to steer clear of gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, most fruit and excess sugar—all of which have set him off in the past.

He has made fabulous strides in speech. The other day I found myself crying as I held him in my lap. You see, we are finally connecting and conversing and there are no words for that—the feeling of finally connecting with your child. We continue to work on appropriate social behavior—specifically who to hug and who not to hug and to do it gently : ).

Now, with his gut in shape and supplements to support the methylation process, we are seeing good things. This next phase involves chelation. Here is an update on that front ...

Heavy Metals Versus Toxic Heavy Metals

Living organisms require varying amounts of "heavy metals." Iron, cobalt, copper, manganese, molybdenum, and zinc, for example, are required by humans. Lead, mercury, aluminum and a host of others are not and can be very toxic. In particular, lead and mercury are known to interfere with how nerves communicate.

Chelating with DMSA

For some time we have known of our son's heavy metal burden. Before tackling it, we've had to restore his gut health and fine-tune his supplement regimen. The next step, chelation. We are using the oral DMSA method under the supervision of Miles' doctor. The process is nicely outlined here.

Following are most recent Toxic Heavy Metals Urine Test results. I find them quite fascinating. It's in test results like these that we find hope and determination to continue in this journey of healing.

NOTE: Though DMSA can be purchased without a prescription, I strongly advise chelating under the supervision of a doctor. Along with lead and mercury, DMSA can pull and deplete the body of zinc and essential minerals. A doctor can monitor these levels to ensure you are not putting your health at risk.

"Pre" Toxic Heavy Metals Urine Test

Before adminstering DMSA (dimercaptosuccinic acid) capsules, these were the minimal levels of heavy metals our son was peeing out—likely on a daily basis.

"Post #1" Toxic Heavy Metals Urine Test

After taking the "Pre" test urine collection, he was given a single dose of DMSA to see if DMSA would be an effective treatment. The answers were in the results. This next report shows that the DMSA is pulling metals out of the system and that they are being excreted. Without the help of DMSA his lead number was 0.4 and mercury 0.7. With the help of DMSA those levels jumped to 8.3 for lead and 13 for mercury. Proof that it's coming out is in the pee!

"Post #2" Toxic Heavy Metals Urine Test

This is the most recent report. This reflects 3 days on DMSA and 11 days off, repeated 3 times for a total course of treatment of 42 days. Pesky cesium hasn't changed, however that's to be expected as DMSA is most effective at pulling out lead and mercury. And where did that Thallium come from? Our son is being exposed to it somewhere some how. As for the lead and mercury, the levels have come down which is a good thing, a great thing! We will proceed with another round of DMSA to see if we can bring those levels down even further. We are not as concerned about being "Outside Reference" range as much as we are getting mercury and lead levels down to within 5 times the "Pre" test levels. Our goal; lead 5 x 0.4 = 2.0 and mercury 5 x 0.7 = 3.5. 

What has been your experience with DMSA? Share your experience with us.

Wednesday
May162012

Yogurt Machine Recommendations

 

Lately I have received a handful of requests for recommendations on yogurt machines so thought I'd share my yogurt makin' set-up with you. These are my essential tools for making both cow's milk and dairy-free yogurt.

The Machine

You don't necessarily need a machine to make yogurt. All that is required is a quiet, consistently warm spot (usually 100˚-110˚F). I just am partial to machines because they take the worry and guess-work out of yogurt making. You plug it in and forget about it. Pretty fool-proof if you ask me.

There are two styles of machines; the single container and the multi-container.

I use the single container Yogourmet Multi Electric Yogurt Maker (see pic at top). I find making one large 2-quart batch much more convenient than making several individual servings (fewer dishes to wash). But it's a personal choice.

If you are new to yogurt making and are not ready to make a $50 investment in a machine, swing by your local thrift shop. You just may find a nice, lightly used one. I picked up a second Yogourmet Multi for $2 at Goodwill (steal!) which I loan out to friends.

The only drawback of the Yogourmet Multi is that the fermentation container is plastic. Now it's probably safe and fine to use, but I take all precautions to avoid any leeching of chemicals into our food. So, I have replaced the plastic insert it ships with with a 2-quart (1/2 gallon) glass jar like this one:

You can purchase these 1/2 gallon glass inserts from Lucy's Kitchen Shop for under $10 or check around locally. I saw them at Sprouts in the bulk food section. It's a pretty common size, you just may have to hunt around.

Other machines you may want to look into ...

Euro Cuisine Yogurt Maker: If you prefer individual servings, Cultures for Health recommends the Euro Cuisine which comes with seven 6-ounce glass jars and lids:

YoLife Yogurt Maker: Now this is cool! This versatile yogurt maker can be used with the included seven 6 ounce glass jars, canning jars, or an optional 64 ounce (1/2 gallon) glass jar. Click here for info on this machine.

YoLife Yogurt Maker.

Yogotherm: Live off the grid? Here's a reliable way (that's the manufactuer's claim, not mine) to make yogurt without electricity. The insulated container maintains the appropriate temperature throughout the culturing process. Click here for more details.

Yogotherm yogurt maker. No electricity required.

There's no rocket science that goes into yogurt machines. They really are just little incubators. The critical thing is that they maintain that consistent temperature (usually between 100˚-112˚F).

The Thermometer

Whether you are working with cow's milk, goat's milk, or plant-based milk, you will be heating the mixture. It is essential that that mixture cool to a safe temperature (around 100˚F) before adding the yogurt starter. Too hot and the friendly bacteria that cultures the milk will fry (this usually happens around 118˚F). I have gone through six thermometers and have learned that hard way that WATERPROOF and digital is the way to go. This one has performed like a champ!

Yogurt Starters

When I made cow's milk yogurt, it was possible to culture the milk with a half cup or so of plain store-bought yogurt. However, with non-dairy milk I have always used the direct-set (dried yogurt culture) method. In my research, most sources say that alternative milk yogurts (like almond, coconut and rice) are most succcessfully made using the direct-set method.

Up until October 3, 2012 I recommended Cultures for Health Vegetal vegan yogurt starter. However, I no longer do. Labeling now reads that this product is produced in a facility that also manufactures wheat, soy, eggs, nuts and fish. In addition, I have learned that barley is used as a fermentation nutrient however the manufacturer has determined that "fermentation nutrients are outside the scope of US and EU food allergen labeling requirements." Had I not dug and nor reviewed the manufacturer's spec sheet (how many of us do?), this bit of knowledge would have gone unnoticed. So this is where I leave it up to you decide what that means to you. I am no food scientist, but if I were super sensitive to gluten, I would avoid the product.

That said, Cultures for Health provides a wealth of information on the topic of non-dairy yogurt making. I just can no longer endorse their Vegetal starter as being 100% allergen-free.

So what do I use now? I've returned to using 35-40 billion CFU's (colony forming units) of Klaire Labs Ther-Biotic Complete probiotic capsules per 2 quarts of liquid. The only downside with Klaire Labs is that they do not sell direct. Products are sold exclusively to healthcare professionals, authorized distributors, and patients with a physician-supplied authorization code. However, because it is impossible for me, a consumer, to oversee every step in the manufacturing process, I must leave it up to you to research and decide which yogurt culture or probiotic is safe for you and your family.

The one tip I can provide when selecting a non-dairy yogurt starter or priobiotic capsule is to select one that includes the lactic acid-producing bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus. In the United States, the USDA defines "yogurt" as containing these two strains bacteria.

A Big Pot

I heat my milk in a 5-quart stainless steel pot. I really would like something a little bigger. When heating milk, watch it carefully. Look away for a second and you could have a messy boil-over on your hands.

A Whisk

When adding the powdered culture to the cooled milk, you want to mix it in thoroughly to distribute evenly. A silicon-coated whisk comes in handy for this.

Yogurt Recipes

Here are links to non-dairy yogurt recipes on my site:

Coconut Milk Yogurt (by far the easiest and quickest to prepare)
Almond Milk Yogurt
Almond & Hemp Mill Yogurt (my first yogurt post and painfully long : )

For those who do dairy, recipes abound online. If you have a link to one, please leave it in the comments.

Why Yogurt Can Fail

Milk that's too hot when the culture is added, dead starter, unsanitized equipment, and inconsistent temperature during fermentation are the four most common reasons for a botched batch of yogurt. Other than that, yogurt is so easy to make and the results so rewarding (and tasty).

Happy yogurt making. I hope this post has been helpful.

xoLexie

 

Tuesday
May152012

New! Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cookbook

Yesterday was a great day! Kelly Brozyna, aka The Spunky Coconut, released a THIRD cookbook and one that will rock your summer.

If I recall, the idea for The Spunky Coconut Dairy-Free Ice Cream Cookbook came along early last summer when Kelly was quite pregnant with this little cutie.

Author Kelly Brozyna and daughter, Ginger.

"I've decided to write an ice cream cookbook!" Kelly remarked. My thought ... "how does this with-child lady do it?" Home school, develop recipes, blog, take care of her family, prepare for a baby, AND write a book?!

Fast forward almost a year and there we are sitting on a bench in Loveland, Colorado making goo-goo faces at that little baby and thumbing through a copy of that book! To say that I have been anticipating its launch is an understatement. It is a remarkable collection of recipes. I have never seen a cookbook quite like it.

About a month ago I popped in on Kelly. That day she sat me down in her kitchen and proceeded to dish up five flavors for me to try. I practically begged for more. I mean who can stop at just one scoop of creamy Rocky Road? Or Lemon Lime Frozen Yogurt reminiscent of cheesecake?

All of them were non-dairy (many coconut, cashew, coconut water and/or hemp milk-based) used alternative sweeteners (like honey, dates, stevia, coconut sugar) in place of cane sugar and were, hands down, some of the best scoops of ice cream I have ever had. Ever.

I will post a full review of Kelly's book once I receive my copy. But if the five recipes I've taste out of this book are any indication of what the other 50 are like, this book will be a hot seller!

So dust off that ice cream maker (or buy one here), order the book and get ready for a summer full of divine frozen treats.

For a little taste of what's to come, here is a recipe out of the book for Pomegranate Sorbet.

Enjoy! Trust me, you will.

 

Read more about the book over at The Spunky Coconut. All of Kelly's books may be purchased through The Spunky Coconut Bookstore at a 10% discount using the code: APYTME6C. They are also available on Amazon (but Kelly profits more if you buy direct from her store ... don't tell her I told you :).

 

Monday
May142012

Frozen Kale Cubes for Smoothies

One afternoon last summer I dropped in on my brother and found a load of kale piled on his kitchen counter. I had mentioned blanching as a way to preserve the harvest. I think he took that to mean that it went for kale as well, because blanch that kale he did.

Hey, That's a Great Idea

"Blanching kale?" I snickered. I had only eaten kale fresh and sauteed. But you know what? He was on to something—what a great idea. Even our nutritionist thought so. Kale—in the form of frozen cubes—at the ready for smoothie making? Brilliant.

Happily, I am now never without kale for my smoothies. Morning smoothie making is quick and easy. Into the blender go two to four kale cubes, one lemon juice cube (I use these all the time), berries, milk, chia seed, a little stevia—delish. Here is the recipe. Sometimes I throw some parsley into the mix for even more green goodness—double brilliant.

From what I have read, the loss in nutrients when steaming kale is negligible. Furthermore, steaming is said to make vegetables easier to digest and so I have to wonder if the body is actually able to absorb more of the nutrients in kale when it's made more digestible. Anyone want to pipe in here? 

A Powerhouse of Nutrition

Kale is a food superstar. Kale has THE most nutrition per calorie of any plant. This member of the cabbage family contains powerful phytochemicals known to fight cancer. It is loaded with calcium, iron, and vitamins A, C, and bone-building vitamin K. Two cups of kale contain about 4g of protein and 3g of fiber.

An Easy-to-Grow Crop

And for you gardeners, you know that kale is quite easy to grow. Here are a few tips on growing kale. It is a cooler weather crop with a growing season that varies by climate. I like the recommendation of planting 4-5 plants per household member (maybe more). My personal favorite—green curly kale.

 A pot of curly kale and parsley ready to be steamed

Frozen Kale and Parsley Cubes

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 | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw | Low (er) Oxalate | Paleo

Ingredients:

Two bunches KALE
One bunch PARSLEY (optional)
WATER to blend

Directions:

  1. Wash and de-rib kale and remove stems from parsley.
  2. Steam kale and parsley 3-5 minutes until limp but still bright green.
  3. Plunge steamed greens into cold water.
  4. Transfer to a high-powered blender and add enough water (I use about 1/2 cup) to blend to a smooth and pourable consistency.
  5. Pour into ice cube trays and freeze.
  6. Once frozen, transfer to airtight container and keep frozen.
  7. Use within 2 months.

More Kale Recipes

For more ideas on what to do with fresh kale, check out this extensive list of 52 Ways to Eat Kale over at Daily Bites. Oh, and least once a week I have one of these. So good!

Sources:

1 Wikipedia: Kale

Sunday
May132012

Motherhood and The Monastic Bell

"A mother raising children, perhaps in a more privileged way even than a professional contemplative, is forced, almost against her will, to constantly stretch her heart. For years, while raising children, her time is never her own, her own needs have to be kept in second place, and every time she turns around a hand is reaching out and demanding something. She hears the monastic bell many times during the day ..."

Continue reading Ron Roheiser's The Domestic Monestary here. And happy, happy Mother's Day to all you mammas. The role of "mother" truly is a gift.

xoLexie

Wednesday
May092012

Rice Dream® Bites Oh My

Cast your vote(s) for the 2012 Top 25 Foodie Moms. If you love Lexie's Kitchen, I'd appreciate your vote. Just click here, scroll down and click again. No signing up, no giving of personal information. It's that easy. xo and thanks, Lexie

Where have I been?

Obviously not perusing the ice cream novelties section of the grocery store!

Long ago I wrote off that dream—the one of my kids and I swinging into Baskin Robbins or Dairy Queen for a sweet treat. With intolerances to gluten and dairy, that Norman Rockwell experience would never be—could never be—ours. And it made me sad. I mean come on! I experienced it as a child, why couldn't they?!

Well … [yippee skippy, yippee skippy] now I/we/they can.

Feeling the heat of an unusually warm May day, and grocery shopping on an empty stomach [tsk tsk], I thought I would inspect the ice cream offering at our local Natural Grocers. I scanned the non-dairy ice cream shelf for that handy dandy “gluten-free” tag (love those!) and behold ... were my eyes a foolin' me? Could it be? A gluten-free, dairy-free ice cream novelty?

Rice Dream® Bites—Simply Divine

I snatched up a carton of these Rice Dream Bites. If you can, you have got to try them! Some compare them to Edy’s® Dibs (never had ‘em so I wouldn't know). I compare them to bite size Dairy Queen Dilly Bars—nuggets of sweet vanilla rice ice cream coated in rich, thick chocolate. They are lactose, cholesterol and gluten free, with no trans fat. I especially like that they are bite-sized so that I can ration out smaller servings instead of doling out entire bars (which Rice Dream also makes).

Rice Dream Bites debuted back in 2009—hence my “where have I been?” I've been missing out! Last year Almond Dream Bites were added to the line-up. I am sure they are just as awesomely good. Thank you, thank you, thank you Rice Dream and the Hain Celestial Group for offering the great foods you do. You’ve made it possible for my sons and I to take part in an American tradition—enjoying an ice cream novelty on a park bench sharing mutual “mmmmmm’s.”

Rice Dream® Bites Ingredients

This information was taken from the Rice Dream website. Manufacturers may change ingredients at any time. Always consult the product label.

Filling: water, organic brown rice syrup, organic rice maltodextrin, organic agave syrup, organic expeller pressed oil (sunflower and/or safflower and/or canola), natural flavors, organic tapioca starch, soy lecithin, sea salt, guar gum, carrageenan.

Coating: coconut oil, evaporated cane juice, unsweetened chocolate, soy lecithin, vanilla.

CONTAINS: SOY AND COCONUT. DUE TO SHARED EQUIPMENT, UNSWEETENED CHOCOLATE MAY CONTAIN TRACES OF MILK. Manufactured in a facility that uses peanuts and tree nuts. Good manufacturing practices are used to prevent the introduction of these or any other unlabeled allergens.

Tuesday
May082012

The Spunky Coconut Bagels

Yes! You CAN enjoy hot, fresh bagels, even if you follow a gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, dairy-free diet.

The other day I was chatting with Kelly of The Spunky Coconut and asked if she would mind sharing her fabulous recipe for gluten-free, grain-free, egg-free, and casein-free bagels here at Lexie's Kitchen. You see, Kelly was one of the first bloggers I began to follow when our dietary world was turned upside down and I will promote her any chance I get. And not just because she is a friend, but because she is one of the most innovative recipe developers I know. I hope that you will get acquainted with Kelly and her food.

Anyway, Kelly said "sure!" And in her generous way gave me her blessing to print the recipe here in its entirety ... however ... I chose not to do that because if you don't already frequent The Spunky Coconut, I think you should. How about you head on over there right now, print this bagel recipe and get yourself into the kitchen. You're in for a real treat!

The Spunky Coconut Bagels

Gluten-Free | Casein-Free | Citrus-Free | Dairy-Free | Egg-Free | Fish-Free | Nightshade-Free | Peanut-Free | Potato-Free | Rice-Free | Shellfish-Free | Soy-Free | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian

Ingredients you will need:

FLAX SEED or CHIA SEED
APPLESAUCE
APPLE CIDER VINEGAR
XANTHAN or GUAR GUM
NON-DAIRY MILK
HONEY
GHEE or COCONUT OIL
COCONUT FLOUR
TAPIOCA FLOUR
BAKING SODA
BAKING POWDER
CINNAMON and RAISINS OR ONION POWDER and POPPYSEEDS

Directions:
Please visit The Spunky Coconut for the complete recipe.

 

Look at these beauties! Gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free bagel goodness.

Kelly's Cookbooks

Kelly is also the author of two (soon to be THREE) incredible cookbooks. I own both and consider them priceless. They may be purchased from her e-bookstore at a 10% discount. For the The Spunky Coconut Cookbook, 2nd Edition click here and for Grain-Free Baked Goods and Desserts click here. The discount code for both books is APYTME6C.

 

Thanks, Kelly, for the great work you do!

This post links to Allergy Free Wednesdays.

Thursday
May032012

Burgers with Liver 

As I write this I am wondering how many will have glanced at the title of this post and hightailed it on to the next food blog. So, let me just say ... if you're still here, kudos for your bravery, your curiosity—whatever it is that has compelled you to read—in my best Paul Harvey voice—the rest of this story.

Today I welcome back my friend, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and Autism Diet Specialist, Julie Matthews. In a recent email exchange, Julie and I spoke of our mutual admiration for Dr. Terry Wahls. One thing Dr. Wahls encourages is the consumption of one serving of organ meat per week to fuel your mitochondria.

Truth be told, I have NEVER eaten organ meat. I think it's not just a mental thing with me, but a practical thing. I have no clue how to prepare organ meat—much less how to make it palatable. Well, Julie is here to show us how. Watching her video sold me. "Kid's love 'em," she assured.

So last week I did it. I practiced a little mind over matter and gave these burgers a go. I whizzed up the chicken liver I pulled out of an organic hen (purchased at Costco) and hid it in a pound of ground beef. Oh the sneaky smile I had plastered on my face as I watched the boys gobble down those burgers. Ha!

 

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 4
Kids Love Liver: Burgers with Liver

Believe it or not—and most parents do not—kids love liver! In my experience of working with thousands of children with autism (some of the pickiest eaters), overwhelmingly they love my Burgers with Liver.

For you squeamish parents out there, why eat liver?

Liver is rich in many nutrients. Because it's an organ with so many jobs, the liver stores a large number of nutrients for its many needs. Liver from chicken, beef, lamb, or a grass-fed or pastured animal contains high levels of iron, vitamin B12, folate, vitamins A and C, and zinc.

In the spirit of wanting more families to eat liver, I’d like to share my kid-approved “Burgers with Liver” recipe from Cooking to Heal with you. I know this dish may not sound tasty but these burgers are delicious.  Time and time again, parents tell me that their kids say, “These are the best burgers ever!”  No one will know they are eating liver.

Burgers With Liver

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 | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Low Oxalate | Paleo

Ingredients:

1 pound GROUND BEEF
2-3 ounces organic LIVER
1-2 teaspoons ONION POWDER
1 teaspoon SALT
ROSEMARY, WHITE PEPPER, or other SPICES

Directions:

  1. Add liver to food processor and blend until smooth. Remove any bits/strings of liver that are not thoroughly blended.
  2. Mix liver with remaining ingredients and form into patties.
  3. Cook as usual—in a pan, on the grill, or as desired. I prefer cooking them until they are well done.

Notes:

  • Diet Compliance: Gluten-Free/Casein-Free, Specific Carbohydrate Diet, Low Oxalate Diet, Feingold Diet without herbs and spices except salt.
  • White pepper is low oxalate.

Julie's Past Guest Posts Here at Lexie's Kitchen

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 1: Nourshing Hope for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 2: Food Matters for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 3: Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 4: Limit Sugar for Good Health

Julie is a  Certified Nutrition Consultant and Autism Diet Specialist based out of San Francisco, California. She offers consulting in-office and around the globe via Skype. Follow her on her blog and learn more about the services she offers at Nourishing Hope.

Friday
Apr272012

How to Make Coconut Butter

 

Coconut Butter: Easy to make and a great substitute for peanut or almond butter!If you love coconut butter, raise your hand!

Coconut butter is a densely nutritious spread made from whole, raw coconut flesh and is loaded with medium-chain fatty acid-rich oil, dietary fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. I've been using it as a spread on toast, much the same as I would peanut butter or almond butter.

One of my readers and suppliers on Etsy, Claudine, and I had an email exchange recently on the best way to make coconut butter. We love brands like Artisana and Tropical Traditions, but knew there had to be a way to make it from scratch.

We tried blitzing coconut flakes in a food processor.

No go. Not smooth enough.

Then tried a mini batch in a coffee grinder.

No good. That just resulted in coconut meal.

We both have Blendtecs and considered ordering the Blendtec Twister Jar specifically designed for thick blending. But we didn't want to fork out the money. That's when we agreed that adding liquefied coconut oil to our blend could possibly be the trick.

And it was.

This stuff is unbelievably easy to make in a high-powered blender such as a Blendtec, OmniBlend or Vitamix.  You can sweeten it, add some cocoa powder, or leave it as is. This recipe yields a coconut butter that remains spreadable at room temperature.

Coconut Butter

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 (exception of coconut) | Wheat-Free | Grain-Free | Sesame-Free | Sweetener-Free | Yeast-free | GFCF | Vegetarian | Vegan | Raw | Paleo

Makes:  2-1/4 cup
Prep Time:  4 minutes

Ingredients:

5 cups shredded COCONUT, unsweetened (not reduced fat or fat free)
1/3 cup COCONUT OIL, liquefied

Directions:

  1. Add 3 cups coconut and oil to high-powered blender.
  2. Blend on high until smooth, scraping sides as needed.
  3. Add another cup of flakes and blend until smooth.
  4. Add final cup of flakes and blend on high until super smooth, 1-2 minutes.
  5. The mixture will be runny. Pour into airtight container and transfer to fridge to firm up.
  6. Store at room temperature or in fridge.

How to Use Coconut Butter

This week I turned to my dear Lexie's Kitchen Facebook followers for ideas on how they use coconut butter. Here's what they said:

Deanna: Oh man a million things. I love coconut butter cookies (recipe here)

Suzanne: I mix it with cocoa powder and put it on coconut milk ice cream or banana soft serve. I also love it on sweet potatoes.

Maggie: I'm dreaming of a frosting that's made of coconut butter...

Rachel: Whipped with some maple syrup, vanilla, and a little extra coconut oil makes a really good frosting! I also use about a tablespoon blended into about one cup water as the "coconut milk" in my smoothies.

Deanna: I do what Rachel does, too - sub it with some warm water for coconut milk (in a pinch). I also ALWAYS make it from scratch. I've never bought it already made.

Monique: It's great to thicken up Thai curries :)

Alta: I eat it with a spoon. I've also used it in cookies (like a thin nut butter) and while making a "frosting" for cinnamon and orange-cranberry rolls. But honestly, eating it with a spoon is best.

Jenn: Brown rice krispy treats. Use the coconut butter instead of marshmallow.

Leanne: Frosting for cupcakes!

Kelly: I just mix coconut butter, cocoa and date paste together for a sweet paleo treat...not exactly a recipe but it hits the spot.

Audrey: As part of the ingredients in opera fudge (white).

And Love it Too: I have used mine in sweet potato mash, on top of shrimp (when my shellfish allergic child was away at scout camp),  and in place of butter on grain-free pancakes and waffles.

As for me, coconut butter gives these crispy on the outside, chewy on the inside maple macaroons a double dose of coconut goodness.

Thanks for all the great ideas!

How do you make and use coconut butter?

Tuesday
Apr242012

How to Make Nut and Seed Flours

Elana of Elana's Pantry has some incredible almond flour-based recipes in her Almond Flour Cookbook. If you haven't tried them, make a batch of Elana's Chocolate Chip Cookies. Out of this world and egg-free, too!

I think Elana put Honeyville Food Products on the map when recommending their almond flour in her cookbooks. It is a superb flour; nice and light. Because it's a mail-order product, I stock up and buy five pounds at a time ($30 plus shipping). The only problem is that if I run out halfway through a recipe I can't just run to the store and pick up more. So, that's when I whip out my three dollar Goodwill find—a Braun coffee grinder.

Here I compare storebought almond flour to a small batch I ground up myself. Had I used blanched almonds, my flour would have looked exactly like Honeyville's.

With these flours, I proceeded to make two batches of Elana's gluten-free Snickerdoodles—from this cookbook—one with the freshly ground almond flour and one with Honeyville's. Once again, no difference—in taste or texture.

If you do a lot of baking with almond flour, it's probably best to keep a bag of Honeyville's on hand. However, if you only use it occasionally and in small measures (1-2 cups at a time), then give making your own a try.

And there are tons of other flours you can grind up at home, too!

My coffee grinder is an older model of this one and has become one of the most essential gadgets in my kitchen. If you have one hiding in the depths of your cabinet, pull it out, dust it off, and start grinding away!

Grind Nuts and Seeds into Flours and Meals

Here are some of the nuts and seeds I grind regularly in my coffee grinder. Wonder if your favorite nut or seed will grind? Just experiment. You might stumble upon the next great "flour!"

Chia Seed: Due to Miles' egg intolerance, I bake with chia eggs. To make a chia egg I grind white chia seeds in the coffee grinder and mix with water (here's a post on chia and how to make a chia egg).

Flax Seed: Another great foundation for an egg replacer and a nice flour to add to baked goods. What to make with it: Kim Wilson's Soaked-Grains Flatbread over at Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen is incredible!

Pumpkin Seed: Makes a great flour. I throw some into my pancake batter for added protein. What else to make with it: I've been wanting to try Maggie's Pumpkin Seed Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Walnuts, Cashews and Pecans: A great addition to baked goods. With softer nuts like these, be careful not to over grind or nut butter will be the result. What to make with it: Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge over at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Hazelnuts: An alternative to almond flour. What to make with it: My Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Egg-Free Hazelnut Brownies.

Almonds: What to make with it: Any of Elana's Pantry's almond flour-based recipes!

Buckwheat and Quinoa: A great addition to baked goods. Some prefer to sprout/soak, dehydrate and then grind.

Spices: And don't forget to use that coffee grinder for grinding up whole spices like cumin, coriander, peppercorns and small pieces of cinnamon stick.

How to Grind Nuts and Seeds into Flour and/or Meal:

  1. Fill a coffee grinder 1/2 to 3/4 full (maxmium) with raw nuts or seeds.
  2. Grind until you have a nice, fluffy flour.
  3. If the grinder sounds like it is slowing down, check to see if a nut or seed is lodged under, or stuck on, the blade. Dislodge and off you go.
  4. Repeat until you have the amount your recipe calls for.
  5. Pick out chunks and grind again or toss.
  6. Sifting the flour is optional, but ensures a consistently fine flour. I picked up a gently used turn-handle flour sifter at Goodwill (is it any secret how much I love that store?) much like this one. It worked like a charm to sift out the larger bits of hard nuts like almonds. Avoid the multiple screen style sifters like this one. I tried one and it made for a big headache.
  7. Store any unused flour in an air-tight container in the fridge.

Notes:

I suggest purchasing a separate coffee grinder for this task. I have not repeated it hundreds of times and don't think it would damage a grinder, but at the same time I don't want to be responsible for damage done to anyone's precious coffee grinder. :) Grind flour at your own risk.

Monday
Apr162012

Easy No-Cook, Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge 

Photo courtesy of Diet Dessert and Dogs.

This week I was hoping to post a new yogurt recipe that's been in the works. Alas, sigh ... I ran out of a key ingredient in the final test round.

So thank you, Ricki Heller, for coming to my rescue and sharing a fabulous recipe for a no-cook, gluten-free, grain-free porridge. I have been making this regularly for months now—so good, and the kids love it, too!

Ricki is a whole foods chef, recipe developer and writer. Her blog, Diet, Dessert and Dogsfeatures stories about anti-candida living with over 600 whole-foods recipes free of wheat, dairy, eggs or refined sugars—plus regular commentary from her two adorable dogs. Her cookbook, Sweet Freedom, is the only Canadian book recommended by Ellen DeGeneres on her website. Ricki lives just outside of Toronto with her husband and two “girls.”

Ricki and I share similar tastes and it's a sure bet that I will always find a great recipe on her site that fits my criteria. She was a lifesaver during our time on the Anti-Candida diet—and still is! If that is a realm you are venturing into, you will want to bookmark Diet, Dessert and Dogs right now.

In addition to the many recipes you'll find on her website and her hardcover cookbook, Sweet Freedom, Ricki has published three e-cookbooks, all of which are gluten-free, refined sugar-free, egg-free and dairy-free, with many grain-free options, too! Support a blogger ... order yours today:

Anti-Candida Feast Ebook

Desserts without Compromise Ebook

Good Morning! Breakfast Ebook

 

____________________________________________________________________________________

Guest Post: Breakfast Porridge by Ricki Heller

One of my favorite childhood comfort foods is oatmeal. I mean, who among us has never tasted a big bowl of steaming, thick and sludgy oatmeal? Add a splash of milk and a sprinkling of brown sugar, perhaps an additional scattering of raisins, and you’ve got a hearty breakfast enjoyed by hoards of children the world over.

I do still love my oatmeal, but these days, I often opt for the grain-free kind. That’s right: following a grain-free diet does not mean you have to forfeit that bowl of rich, creamy morning goodness! This recipe for almost-instant, nut-and-seed based porridge is so much like “the real thing” that you could even fool your family (but you want to let them in on the secret so they can appreciate all the amazing nutritional value in this cereal—and compliment you on your culinary sorcery!). And the beauty of this breakfast is that it doesn’t have to cook on the stovetop the way true oatmeal does.

Feel free to top your cereal with berries or other chopped fruit, raisins, or toppings of your choice; this recipe is very versatile.  However you prepare it, you’ll be guaranteed a full serving of pure winter comfort in a bowl.

Easy No-Cook, Grain-Free Breakfast Porridge

This porridge is quick and easy, and infinitely variable: use sunflower or hemp instead of the pumpkin seeds; substitute another favorite nut instead of the walnuts; include the coconut or omit it, as you wish. It is suitable for all stages of the Anti-Candida Diet.

To tempt you and show you how chock-full of goodness this porridge is, here are the ingredients you will need. For the complete recipe, click here and you will be redirected to the original recipe over at Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Ingredients:

Unsweetened Coconut Flakes or Shreds
Raw Pumpkin Seeds
Raw Flax Seeds
Chia Seeds
Raw Walnuts
Cinnamon
Hot Water
Vanilla Liquid Stevia or Coconut Sugar
Coconut or Nut milk
Fresh Berries or Dried Apricots

Directions:

For measurements and directions, visit Diet Dessert and Dogs.

Note:

You can make a large batch of this cereal in advance and store it in single servings in the freezer so it's ready to go when you need it: defrost overnight in the refrigerator and enjoy!

Tuesday
Apr102012

Raw Cultured Cashew "Cheese"

Feeling adventurous? How about fermenting some Raw Cultured Cashew "Cheese"? It's so easy!

Where is Alton Brown when we need him?

If I could, I would sit down with that man and pick his brain about cultures. And I don't mean cultures in the anthropological sense, but rather those ubiquitous one-celled organisms we call bacteria—the stuff that makes cheese (and feet) stinky and yogurt tart.

Recently, I've been working on another yogurt recipe (to come next week!), but in the interim have dabbled in the making of cultured nut "cheese." I used a recipe from Carmella Soleil that I found in her book Deliciously Raw: Easy Recipes for the Omni Blender. The book accompanied my high-powered Omni Blender which BTW really busted a move on this here cashew cheese. Just look at the smooth texture! 

 

All You Need to Make This Cheese

Carmella also blogs over at The Sunny Raw Kitchen. A very similar recipe to the one in her book can be found there. All that's required to make this cheese is:

  • Raw Cashew Nuts or Macadamia Nuts
  • Water
  • Allergen-Free Probiotic Capsules 
  • Cheesecloth

The recipe can be found here.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Carmella's recipe online calls for rejuvelac. Further on down in her notes she mentions that water can be used in place of rejuevelac. Rejuvelac is a general term for a fermented liquid purported to improve digestion of food. It is commonly prepared using whole wheat, rye, quinoa, oats, barley, millet, buckwheat, rice and other grains. If you are gluten-free, stick with using water for this recipe and/or use rejuvelac made from a certified gluten-free grains. I just used water. Easier peasier.

Once cultured, you can enjoy your "cheese" as is or mix in herbs, spices, salt—whatever you want! There's a world of possibilities. I think I stuck to thyme and dill and threw in some salt and nutritional yeast. Voila, spreadible, edible cheese. Next go-round I'm thinking pepper jack!

The Million Dollar Question

"So, how does it taste?!"

Well, quite like cheese actually—like cream cheese or that Alouette stuff. Kinda blew my mind. My husband approved. I took a batch to a barbecue last week and even our friends liked it. 

For the probiotic I recommend Ther-Biotic® Complete by Klaire Labs. I am checking around for a non-dairy cheese culture to experiment with next time—don't even know if one exists ... do you? I'll let you know what I find. The culturing time depends on how warm your house is and how "ripe" you like your cheese. I opted for a milder cheese.

Another Recipe to Try

Here's another recipe that comes by way of The Urban Poser. I have not tried it but it looks divine! I mean doesn't the name say it all? White Wine Pecan Cashew Cheese Ball!

Happy cheese making!

Sunday
Apr082012

KitchenAid Giveaway & Month Full 'O Recipes

Tess, The Blender Girl at Healthy Blender Recipes is hosting a great event this month. Not only is she giving away a KitchenAid mixer (hey! I don't even have one of those!), but every day this month she is featuring recipes that can be made with a KitchenAid mixer (okay, I better get one!). The recipes come from a great list of gluten-free bloggers.

To enter the giveaway, sign up for Tess’s weekly mailing, enter, and share with your friends for more chances to win.

Today Tess is featuring one of my oldie but goodies—Lexie's Scones—using Bob's Red Mill All-Purpose Gluten-Free Flour.

Enjoy the rest of the event! Here are the other participating bloggers:

Becky Ross from The Freedom Chef
Hallie Klecker from Daily Bites
Carol Fenster from Carol Fenster Cooks
Kelly Courson from Celiac Chicks
Elizabeth Kaplan from The Pure Pantry
Valentina Kenny from Cooking On The Weekends
Sarah M Boudreau-Romano from The Allergist Mom
Lexie Croft from Lexie’s Kitchen
Alisa Fleming from Alisa Cooks (Go Dairy Free)
Ricki Heller from Diet, Dessert and Dogs
Colette Martin from Learning To Eat Allergy Free
Lisa Cantkier from Gluten Free Find
Cybele Pascal from Cybele Pascal – The Allergy-Friendly Cook
Beth Hillson from Gluten-Free Makeovers
Karen Morgan from BlackBird Bakery
Alta Mantsch from Tasty Eats At Home
Maggie Savage from She Let Then Eat Cake
Amie Valpone from The Healthy Apple
Patrice Pollack from A Health Foodie
Jeanine Friesenfrom from The Baking Beauties
Carla Spacher from Gluten Free Recipe Box
Carrie Forbes from Ginger Lemon Girl
Heather from Gluten Free Cat
Kim Lutz from Welcoming Kitchen
Amy Green from Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Lisa Natcharian from Allergy Free Vintage Cookery
Jennifer Ward from Be Free Bakers
Megan Lust from The Gluten Free Vegan
Kalinda Piper from Wheat Free Meat Free
Jennifer Cafferty from Gluten Free Life with Jen
Silvana Nardone from Silvana’s Kitchen

Friday
Apr062012

Limit Sugar for Good Health

Sugar lurks everywhere, even in that innocent orange.Welcome back Certified Nutrition Consultant, and Autism Diet Specialist, Julie Matthews! Today Julie is here to share her thoughts on sugar. 

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 4
Limit Sugar for Good Health 

Most nutritionists recommend avoiding sugar in the diet—and applying this basic notion to autism makes sense. Not only is excessive sugar a problem in conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and obesity, sugar affects many of the systems frequently weak in autism, therefore negatively affecting symptoms and biochemistry for people with autism.

Sugar—Especially Problematic for Children with Autism

Sugar depresses the immune system and contributes to inflammation—two areas where those with autism are often deficient and in need of support. Sugar also feeds Candida, a type of yeast, common in autism. For children with autism, this combination can be particularly problematic. In this case, sugar depresses the immune system, contributes to further inflammation in the gut, and feeds Candida. Those with autism also benefit from a diet low in sugar as it supports balanced blood sugar. All of these imbalances affect the health and behavior of children with autism.

A Good Rule of Thumb

A good rule of thumb is to keep servings of sugary foods to a minimum or to avoid them all together. One teaspoon of granulated sugar has 4 grams of sugar. One tablespoon of ketchup has a teaspoon of sugar—that means it’s 1/3 sugar! When sugar is concentrated, such as in fruit juice, you are getting a lot more sugar than you’d get from eating fruit (about 4 pieces of fruit in one bottle) with no fiber to balance it out.

I suggest limiting sugar to one teaspoon of sugar per serving or about 4 grams, and minimizing sweet treats all together. Here are some surprising sources of and amounts of sugar:

  • Fruit juice (12 oz), 35 grams of sugar
  • Gluten-free muffin, 20-40 grams of sugar
  • 1 cup gluten-free cereal with non-dairy milk, 18 grams of sugar
  • 1 cup rice milk, 14 grams of sugar
  • GF Cookie, 15 grams of sugar
  • Fruit leather, 8 grams of sugar
  • Yogurt, 19 grams of sugar
  • ¼ cup raisins, 29 grams of sugar
  • ½ cup non-dairy ice cream, 15-20 grams of sugar

Being aware of the sources of sugar will help you choose wisely. Focus on feeding your child a well-balanced diet with minimal sugar. It’s well worth the effort, as it will support your child’s health for a lifetime.

Giveaway!

Julie has written one of the most comprehensive books on autism and diet. Nourishing Hope for Autism is an indispensible handbook and one that I refer to often. You may purchase a copy here and/or enter to win one!

To Enter: Leave a comment at the end of this post by 5:00 p.m. (CST) Sunday, April 15.

Julie's Other Guest Posts

Julie Matthews | Guest Post 1: Nourshing Hope for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 2: Food Matters for Autism
Julie Matthews | Guest Post 3: Food Allergies, Sensitivities and Autism

...........................................................................................................

Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in autism spectrum disorder for ten years. Her award winning book, Nourishing Hope for Autism, is based in scientific research and an understanding of the biochemistry of ASDs and the role of food, nutrition, and diet to aid digestive health, systemic healing, and relieve symptoms of autism. Julie presents at the leading biomedical autism conferences in the US and abroad, writes for autism publications, and has a private nutrition practice in San Francisco, California. Julie is available for long-distance consults via Skype. Learn more, visit NourishingHope.com

Julie can also be found on YouTube!

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