Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Sunflower Butter and Jelly Popsicles

My 4 year old's favorite food in the world is sunflower butter and jelly sandwiches. So he just about fell over in happiness when I presented him with these! Have you ever made banana soft serve? This is like that but taking it further and freezing them into popsicles. These are so good, and good for you! You can feel guiltless eating these! You can vary this up with different nut/seed butters and different flavors of jelly/jam. Just make sure they're organic ;) These recipe was adapted from Angela's recipe This was her genius idea, I just varied it up a little. I also think this would just make a great banana soft serve recipe and you wouldn't have to wait for the looonnnngggg freezing time for the pops! I'm impatiently waiting for bananas to freeze right now, I can only imagine that I will be much more impatient for the popsicles to freeze too! But they are so worth it! Enjoy!

Sunflower Butter and Jelly Popsicles
by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

6 frozen bananas (when freezing, I do have to suggest breaking them into small pieces first)
2 heaping spoonfuls organic sunflower butter
1/4 cup organic milk (raw cow's milk or coconut milk)
1 heaping spoonful organic sunflower butter (to mix in later)
3 spoonfuls organic jam/jelly (to mix in later, I used my blueberry jam)

In a food processor, blend bananas, milk, and 2 spoonfuls of sunflower butter, until smooth. Stir in the rest of the sunflower butter and the jelly/jam in a swirl. Spoon into popsicle molds. Freeze for 8 hours (I know, this is soooo long to have to wait!!!) Enjoy!
Smooth banana/sunflower butter mix

With sunflower butter and jam swirled in

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Apple Cider Vinegar

Check out this great graphic from Natural News. Apple Cider Vinegar is great for your health. Put a few ts in a glass of water and sip. You can mix in a little raw honey for added benefits too!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Fermented Salsa

This is a great fresh tasting salsa with all the benefits of being fermented. Great alternative to cooked/jarred salsa. This is pretty spicy since there's a whole jalapeno in one quart jar of salsa, but that can be omitted if you don't want it so spicy. This is a great snack you don't have to feel guilty about!
This is adapted from Sally Fallon's book "Nourishing Traditions"

Fermented Salsa
by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

4 organic tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
1 medium organic onion, diced
1 organic jalapeno, chopped
6 cloves organic garlic, chopped
1 bunch of cilantro, chopped
1 ts dried organic oregano
Juice from 2 lemons
1 TB real salt
4 TB whey (only homemade whey. Sally Fallon says you can subsitute with an additional TB of salt but I think that would be pretty salty, but worth a try(
1/4 cup filtered water

To peel tomatoes easily, boil water in a pot and dip tomatoes in for 5 seconds, they should peel easily at this point.
Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and stuff into a wide mouth quart size mason jar.With a wooden spoon or pounder, press down gently on the mixture so the water rises above the veggie level. If the water doesn't rise above the salsa, add a little more water. You want atleast an inch between the top level and the rim of the jar...it will expand....and leak all over your counter if it's not. Put the cap on tightly and leave at room temperature for 2 days and then transfer to the fridge.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pineapple Pops

It's been hot, really hot....and humid. No, not as humid as the south, but compared to Cali, this IS humid! Totally understanding the "dry" heat of the desert and how much more tolerable it is than heat and humidity. I'd rather 100 degrees and dry than 80 degrees and humid, but that's just me. I like to actually be able to dry off after a shower.
So in the spirit of the warmth, I've been making popsicles like crazy. My kids are torn between these and the strawberry ones as their favorite. Though I couldn't get a pick of the strawberry ones before they were devoured and looking at the pick above I barely got a pic of these ones!

Pineapple Pops
by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

1 cup pineapple
1 banana
1 cup coconut milk
1/2 ts vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a blender and pour into popsicle molds. Freeze all day or overnight. This makes about 8 pops depending on how big  your molds are. For me it made 4 big ones, and 4 small ones.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blueberry Jam

Nothing says summer in NY like blueberry picking! Now I must say, blueberry picking is not my favorite thing but I do enjoy the benefits. It just seems to take forever to fill those buckets. But it is peaceful and quiet, unless my kids get bored and start running up and down the aisles...or hubby decides to start throwing "accidentally picked" green berries at me. So I had a plan this year. Due to a death in the family I had to take a trip to California for a couple days. So hubby took time off work to hang with the kids. I thought it would be great if he took them blueberry picking. I'd hate it if we missed blueberry season while I was in Cali ;) But after giving him directions 4 times and telling him friends he could call for help, he never found the place. Alas, my plan didn't work. He gave up and took the kids to the park.
This last weekend we picked 50 lbs of blueberries. When we got home I realized I still had 5 gallon size bags from last year =/ Not sure how that happened. Sooo....blueberry jam it is! I'm not an expert jelly/jam maker but I have made it many times over the years and this is the easiest I've ever made! So get out there and pick some blueberries and make this!

This made almost 4 pints of blueberry jam. Feel free to increase or decrease as needed. Some like to do it in half pint jars...not me, we go through a lot of jelly/jam and I don't want to be constantly going to get a new jar.

Blueberry Jam
by Amanda @ Natural and Organic Lifestyle

4 lbs blueberries
2 1/4 cup organic sugar
1 cup water
4 sterilized pint jars and lids, keep warm while making jam

Wash and pick through blueberries, removing stems and leaves. Place in a large stainless steel pot. With a potato masher, crush the blueberries. They don't have to be completely crushed, just mush about a layer of them leaving some whole. Add water. Cook over medium heat, simmering until berries are tender. Add sugar and stir well. Boil rapidly, stirring often, until it reaches the jelling point.

Jelling point can be determined many ways, do your research. But I like to use a thermometer to keep an eye on it until it's almost there. At sea level the jelling point is around 220 degrees F. Before it hits 220, I place a small plate in the freezer. Once the temp gets close I pull the plate out and put a small spoonful of jam on it and place back in the freezer for a few minutes. To avoid overcooking you may want to remove the pot from heat while you wait to check it. When you pull it out, run your finger through the middle. If it runs right back together, you need to cook longer. If it slowly runs back together it will be a soft mold. For a harder mold you want it to not come back together but leave the line down the middle.

Once you've reached the jelling point, spoon jam into warm pint jars leaving 1/4 inch head space and put lids on. Process for 10 minutes.