Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Perfect Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie is such a great fall dessert. And there's nothing better than a good homemade pie! This is really easy and SO good!

1 whole wheat organic pie crust
3 large organic eggs
2 cups cooked pumpkin, or one can organic pumpkin
1 1/2 cups organic sweetened condensed milk
1/3 cup organic brown sugar
1 ts ground organic cinnamon
1 ts ground organic ginger
1/2 ts organic grated nutmeg
1/4 ts organic ground cloves
1/2 ts sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place crust in oven to warm on a baking sheet.
In a large bowl, whisk together eggs. Whisk in the rest of the ingredients thoroughly.
Pour filling into crust and bake 45-55 minutes or until firm. (I like to jiggle it to see if it's liquidy or set in the middle). Let pie cool on a wire rack.

For a special bonus, top with homemade whipped cream.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if using a hand mixer, pour in one cup of organic cream. Add about 1 TB organic sugar and a splash of vanilla. Mix until whipped cream consistency (5-10 minutes). Taste, and add more sugar and vanilla if you desire.

Jellied Cranberry Sauce

Why buy canned cranberry sauce laden in BPA when you can make your own! It's so quick and easy, let it be a part of your next holiday gathering!

4 cups organic fresh cranberries
2 cups water
2 cups organic sugar (I actually prefer to use less, you could use 1 cup sugar, and substitute some orange juice for some of the water)

Place cranberries and water in a pot and bring to a boil. As soon as it comes to a boil, cover the pot and reduce to medium. Cook until the cranberries have burst. Puree cranberries in a blender or food processor. Pour back into the pot and stir in sugar. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat and let set for at least 30 minutes. Place in the refrigerator if you like your cranberry sauce cold.

Banana Crumb Mini Muffins

I like mini muffins because you can eat more than one and not feel too guilty about it. Plus they are perfect for kids! Try these super yummy banana muffins...and don't forget the crumb topping!

1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour, organic
1 ts baking soda
1 ts aluminum free baking powder
1/2 ts sea salt
3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup organic cane sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup organic milk
1/3 cup organic butter melted

Crumb topping:
1/2 cup organic brown sugar
4 TB organic white whole wheat flour
1/4 ts organic cinnamon
2 TB organic butter, soft

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease or line your mini muffin cups.
In a large bowl, mix together 1/1/2 cups flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, beat together bananas, sugar, egg, melted butter, and milk.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.
Spoon batter into muffin cups.

In a food processor (or in a small bowl with a fork) mix together crumb ingredients until mixture is crumby.
Sprinkle over muffins.
Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Herb Balsamic Tomatoes

Yummy, healthy, side dish. appetizer, or snack. My kids gobble these up!
Picture above is one tomato. I personally consider that one serving, but others may not. So I will write the recipe for one tomato/serving. Multiply as needed!

1 tomato, sliced
A couple fresh basil leaves, chopped
A couple fresh mint leaves, chopped
A couple fresh parsley leaves, chopped
A pinch of fresh dill
Sea salt and ground pepper to taste
A drizzle of balsamic vinegar, organic
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, organic

Lay sliced tomatoes on a plate. Sprinkle with herbs, salt, and pepper. Drizzle with vinegar, and then oil. Enjoy!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Yorkshire Pudding

If you've never had Yorkshire Pudding, it's nothing like pudding. It's more of an airy fluffy muffin/biscuit. My grandmother used to make these. They were always my favorite part of the meal. She would make them with roast beef and gravy. Always a great meal to me! Very few ingredients, but oh SO tasty! Above is a double batch of the below recipe.

3/4 cup white unbleached flour, organic
1/2 ts salt.
1/2 cup organic milk
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup water
Approx. 1/2 stick melted butter, organic

Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together flour and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in milk. Stir. Beat in eggs and water. Beat the batter until large bubbles rise to the surface. If you wish, the batter can be refrigerated for an hour and beat again. Pour about 1/4
inch of hot melted butter into each space in a muffin tin. Heat the muffin tin in the oven until hot. Pour the batter in filling each space about half full. Bake for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake 10-15 minutes longer, until puffed and golden brown. Serve with gravy. Yum!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Lemonade Cleanse

I have read many great things about doing a lemonade cleanse. This can heal so many illnesses and underlying problems. Not to mention it's a great reducing diet. With all the diet fads out there, if more people just tried this lemonade cleanse, they would save a ton of money that they wouldn't have to spend on diet books, pills, diet food, etc. It is a cleanse consisting of drinking a lemonade mixture of fresh lemon (or lime) juice, pure maple syrup, cayenne, and water. You drink this 6-12 times a day, on the lower end if you want to reduce. This combination gives you all the minerals and enzymes to keep you going. It's said that people feel great on this cleanse. As with any cleanse, the first three days are the hardest. Once past those days, it's possible to do long term (10 days, two weeks, 20 days, 30 even 45 days).
Recipe: Juice of half a lemon, 2 tb pure maple syrup, 1/8 ts cayenne, 10 ounces of water.
You are also supposed to drink a laxative tea before bed and do a salt water flush first thing in the morning. A salt water flush consists of putting 2 ts of good salt in a quart of water and drinking.
So here I go!

Day 1
It's the afternoon of day 1 and I'm super excited to start this cleanse! I'm shooting for 10 days. I'm really eager to see if I can keep it up that long. After my last 3 day juice fast I felt really well and like I could go on longer. So I'm optimistic that this will go really well.

Day 3
I'm feeling good and amazingly have no desire for food. I'm making food for the family and it's not bothering me at all. I have plenty of energy and I'm not hungry. Very grateful for that!

Day 5
Today is the first day I felt any hunger. So I had an extra lemonade drink and felt better. I didn't really feel hungry until evening time. Still have good energy even though I haven't "eaten" in 5 days! I walk on the treadmill everyday for 20-30 minutes. I have done the salt water flush 3 out of the last 5 days, not really enjoying that, not sure if I will continue with it.

Day 7
Wow, I have gone a week! I'm starting to really look forward to eating again and for this to be over but I'm not miserable. The last couple days I have felt hungry in the evening. With an extra lemonade drink I feel better.

Day 10
I cannot believe I made it to day 10!!!! Today is the last day and I really have no desire to continue it but I'm very happy I made it this far. I really would like to get back to eating, only because I really want to taste something different. I'm rather bored of the lemonade drink. But I'm still feeling really well. I did the salt water flush a few more times but not everyday.

2 days post cleanse
I have been eating all raw food for the last two days. Seriously I take like two bites and I'm full. If I try to eat more than that my stomach feels like exploding. It's so weird. I make a big glass of carrot juice and can barely get through half of it.

7 days post cleanse
I feel really good after doing this cleanse. My body feels really healthy. I still can't eat a regular portion of food. So smaller portions. I thought I should just have smaller portions throughout the day but even hours after eating I'm still full. I'm guessing eventually I'll be able to eat normal portions again.

10 days post cleanse
I'm starting to "try" to eat normal portions but can't always finish. Just making sure I get plenty of raw veggies.

Final thoughts
I feel like I accomplished something big. With that said though, I'm not sure if I would do this cleanse again in the future. Maybe it's too soon to decide that. I do feel like my body is functioning really well, so that's a plus. I really got bored of it near the end though. A 3-5 day regular juice fast is probably more up my ally. It felt like this cleanse was never going to end. But then when it did end, it felt great that I got through it. I don't recommend anyone does this as their first cleanse, unless you have a serious health issue you are trying to heal and time is of the essence. I'm glad I did a 3 day juice fast the week before this. I believe that made it so I didn't have any bad detoxing in the beginning, which is always nice. All and all, I'm very glad I did it, maybe I'll do another in a year or so.... =)

*Consulting a natural or holistic health care practitioner prior to starting this cleanse is highly recommended.

Juice fast final thoughts

Ha, sorry about that, totally missed coming back and posting day 3! Day 3 went fine. Finished up the fast feeling like I could keep going. With Thanksgiving approaching quickly, it just wasn't possible to continue. I was glad to feel well though. Day 4 I eased back into eating. I had juice for breakfast because hubby was still on day 3. I had a smoothie mid morning. I had veggie juice again for lunch. Then a salad midafternoon. Boy that salad filled me up after fasting for 3 days. I didn't feel hungry again the rest of the day. I had another small salad before bed. All and all it was a great fast. I felt well through most of it. I feel confident now to do a longer fast!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Juice Fast Day 2

Day 2 has gone well. No serious detox symptoms. Though on a recommendation, I drank a laxative tea last night and did a salt water flush (2 ts salt in a quart of water) this morning...ick, never again. I remember doing a salt water flush many many years ago...apparently I didn't remember it well enough. But for the juice fast...going well. Having a little trouble looking at Thanksgiving recipes but atleast I  have something to look forward to =) I'm feeling pretty good. My mouth is a little fuzzy, but as bad as it was last time I fasted. That's a pretty standard thing, just annoying.
After the awful salt water flush this morning, I had a large glass of fresh vegetable juice (carrot, celery, kale, spinach). Then prepared a glass of lemon water to have a little later, and a glass of detox tea. At lunch another glass of veggie juice, same as above but with some chard. Before dinnertime, more lemon water and a cup of peppermint tea. Dinner veggie juice (same as above but with beets added). If you juice beets, don't be alarmed when you go to the bathroom #2 ;) Then some more lemon water. I also decided to try something new. I was craving something with a savory taste so I had some herb broth, straining the herbs off after steeping for awhile. Now, as I'm getting ready to head to bed, I'm sipping on a cup of chamomile tea.
All in all, a good day! Good night!

Juice fasting basics

If you read my previous post, I'm currently on my third juice fast of the year. Today is day 2. I'll update on day 2 later but wanted to give some other insight into juice fasting. Prior to this year, I had only done one other juice fast. For the last 8 years I've either been pregnant or nursing and didn't find it advisable to juice fast. Between my first and second kids I did my first ever juice fast. It went ok, but I detoxed a lot and felt icky. But I was still up and around taking care of a 1 year old. One thing I still remember vividly (it was 6 years ago) is how the smell and taste of cabbage juice made me want to vomit. To this day, I still feel the same way. It turned out that I was a few weeks pregnant with #2 when I did this juice fast, which I'm guessing had something to do with that. If I had known I was pregnant I never would have fasted, but it was too early to know.
So back to my three juice fasts this year. The first one I was very motivated to start. The first day was a bit rough. The second day wasn't too bad. And the third day I felt so good I organized and cleaned out our toy/school room. The second one this year went pretty much the same way. Except on day 1 I had unexpected guests and also had two extra kids I was watching that day. Both were last minute things that I couldn't help. So the first day was very tiring with no nap and the craziness. The other days went fairly well though. I had prepared meals ahead of time for the kids and hubby. So I wasn't driving myself too crazy with food right in my face. This fast isn't too bad on the detoxing. I'm thinking maybe it's because I've done two already this year. Or maybe my pre-juicing preparation was longer this time. Though it might be a combination of both. I've been colon cleansing and drinking detox tea for about a month now.

Benefits of fasting
Fasting regularly gives all your organs a rest. It's not just good during times of poor health. Fasting will help reverse the aging process and live a healthier life. Fasting will boost your immune system, release fat stored chemicals (pesticides, anti-biotics, other drugs), lowers your body toxicity, reduces cravings, reduces dependence, heal with greater speed, cleanse your liver, kidneys, and colon, purify your blood, help lose excess weight and water, flushes out toxins. A 3 day fast helps the body rid itself of toxins and cleanse the blood. A 5 day fast begins the process of healing and rebuilding the immune system. A 10 day fast can take care of many problems before they arise and help to fight off illness, including degenerative diseases. If you have diabetes, hypoglycemia, or another chronic health problem, any fast should be supervised by a health care professional. Those without chronic health problems should check with a health care provider before doing a fast longer than 3 days. Use your best judgment in those situations.

Preparing for a juice fast
If you prepare for your juice fast  you can lessen the detox effects and fast more comfortably. Colon cleansing is very important. The amount of time you colon cleanse is really going to depend on how soon you want to fast. I would recommend atleast two weeks though. A month or more would really do you more benefits. A good colon cleanse on it's own should take 3 months. If you've never done that, I recommend to each and everyone out there. Your colon health is so vitally important to every aspect of your body. Intestinal problems can cause problems throughout your entire body. Everybody should do a three month colon cleanse once a year. There are many ways to do it. Two that I highly recommend are: using psyllium husks and molasses, or purchasing Fiber Cleanse from Hallelujah Acres Fiber Cleanse is self explanatory in the directions that come with it. As for the psyllium husks and molasses, here's what to do: 4 times a day, morning, lunch, dinner, and before bed. In 8 oz of water mix in 1/2 ts molasses and 1-2 TB psyllium husks. Drink. (Start with 1 TB and after a week or 2, move up to 2 TB)

Another important preparation is to drink a detox tea. I like Traditional Medicinals Lemon Everyday Detox. Drink that 2-3 times a day before and during your fast.

If you don't already juice regularly, start. There are so many health benefits to juicing. Even if you can only juice three times a week, that's better than nothing, get to it!

Eat as much raw food as you can for two days before the fast. Go all raw if you can! That would be the best option and help with the detox effects.

During the juice fast  
During the juice fast you will abstain from all solid food. Start your day with a large glass of water. Continue to drink water throughout the day. A minimum of 80 oz, closer to 90 or 100 oz would be better to help flush your system and keep you hydrated as you detox.
Drink fresh juice 2-3 times a day. I do it three times a day at each regular meal time. Make sure you are getting a variety of vegetables. The only fruit you want to juice with vegetables is apples. You can juice other fruits just don't mix them with the veggies. Here's the veggies I like to get if available (all organic): carrots, celery, beets, kale, collards, spinach, apples, romaine, chard, parsley, mint. I've opted out of using cabbage anymore, just due to the reaction my body has to it, but it would be good for others that actually enjoy cabbage. It's really good for ulcers, cancer, and all colon problems.
Detox tea 2-3 times a day.
Lemon "tea" 2-3 times a day: Juice half a lemon into a cup and add warm water. For an added benefit, add a dash of cayenne.
Other herbal teas as needed. Peppermint is very cleansing. Chamomile will help to calm you for naps or bedtime.

Light exercise is highly encouraged and beneficial during a fast. Do not do anything too strenuous. Walking or riding a stationary bike a moderate speed are both good options. If you feel dizzy, stop immediately.

Shower regularly (not that it isn't a good idea on a normal day!!!). Many toxins are released through your skin. Shower once or twice a day to remove those toxins being excreted.

Make time to rest and pray!

After the fast
For two days after your fast you will want to slowly introduce solid foods back into your diet. Continue to juice and eat only raw fruits and vegetables. Introducing cooked foods to quickly can ruin the desired effects of the fast.

I hope some of you out there are ready to jump into a juice fast! Please let me know if you try it and how it goes. Come back and comment here!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Juice fast day 1

This is my third juice fast this year and I thought I would blog about it. Why not share my pain...haha. It's really not that bad. From past experience, the first day is usually the worst. By the third day I feel like I can go longer. I've done 3 day juice fasts only because of the hecticness around here. Hmm, spellcheck says hecticness isn't a word, weird...though it also said "spellcheck" wasn't a word either...hahah! Spellcheck must be two works, but I really enjoy it being one word....maybe I should add it to the dictionary ;) So I always do a three day juice fast because I like to fast when we don't have too much going on so I can rest and take a nap during the day. But considering I have to make meals for the family, it's hard to not want to eat by the end of it. The last two times I fasted, I prepared meals ahead of time for the kids and hubby. That way, all I had to do was throw something in the oven and I was done. It worked out great! Well...this time, I had scheduled to start the fast next weekend, so I'm not prepared. Hubby is off for this week so I thought it would be a better idea to start his vacation with the fast (he's doing it with me this time!!!) rather than end his vacation with it. So on a whim this morning I said we should start! So no food is prepared for the kids, but we can tag team it since he'll be home. One of us can juice and one of us can make food for the kids. They'll be happy with sandwiches or pasta for a couple days =) Hubby decided to start the fast tomorrow instead of today. I really want to have a raw day after I'm done with the fast and he doesn't care. So I'll be done fasting on Tuesday, I can have a raw day onf Wednesday, and then Thursday is Turkey day! We'll go easy for Turkey day though, small portions. I'm considering starting a Lemonade cleanse next week, for ten days, but I'm not totally committed to that, we'll see. I've always wanted to try it.
So anyway, as for day 1...would have been better if we didn't have a field trip with the kids planned. But I feel good considering I didn't get to rest or nap all day. No headache. I think that's the first time I've juice fasted and not had a headache on the first day. Started the day with a smoothie, before I had decided to juice fast. So I'll probably go atleast half way through Wednesday still fasting. Then had two servings of carrot juice, spaced out. We were heading out for the day so I took a big jar of detox tea and a big jar of peppermint tea with us, and water of course. I got a little hungry but not bad. When we got home I had too much work to do to whip out the juicer and juice my dinner so I had two glasses of lemon water  (half a juiced lemon, water, and cayenne). Now I'm ending my day with some laxative tea and I'll head to bed. Overall, not a bad first day. Wish we hadn't been gone all day and I could have juiced more but I still feel good. On to day 2....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Mango Guacamole

A unique take on the standard guacamole. Try it with tortilla chips or just by the spoonful!

1 mango, diced
1 avocado, diced
1 green onion, chopped
Pinch of sea salt
2 ts evoo
1/2 cumin

Gently toss all ingredients together. That's it...super easy!

Mexican Chicken and Beans

You had me at "mexican" =) Quick, easy, and yummy!

1 lb organic chicken thighs or breasts, diced
2 cups organic corn
1 cup organic black beans
1 ts oil for cooking
1 TB cumin
1 ts chili powder
1 ts garlic salt
1/2 cup water

Tortillas (fajita or burrito)
Sliced jalapeno
Organic sour cream

Cook diced chicken over medium in a skillet with the oil. When fully cooked, add the beans, corn, water and seasonings. Cook about 10 minutes until sauce thickens and flavors are mingled. Serve with or with a tortilla if you wish and top with sliced jalapenos, salsa, and a dollop of sour cream!

Kale Chips

Ok, seriously, these are MUCH better than they look! I tend to not be able to stop eating them. You could flavor these any way you want. Below is a basic yummy recipe. They crisp up nicely like chips!

1 bunch organic kale
Olive oil
Garlic Salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove kale leaves from stem and rip or cut into bite size pieces. Toss with olive oil. Spread the leaves out on a parchment lined baking sheets or lightly oiled baking sheet. Sprinkle garlic salt and pepper over all the leaves. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crispy. Enjoy!

Quinoa Tabouli

Quinoa is so very good for you with 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, 4 grams of fat in a one cup serving. It is a gluten-free grain, so it's great for everyone. You can use it in place of rice on most recipes. Tabouli or Tabbouleh usually calls for bulgar wheat. This is a yummy side or main dish. Enjoy!
This is a variation of a recipe I saw at

1 cup organic quinoa
1 cup organic grape tomatoes, cut in half
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, minced
A couple mint leaves, minced
3 cloves organic garlic, minced
 Half a cucumber, diced
1 bunch of green onions, chopped
Juice of one lemon
2 TB gluten-free tamari (or organic soy sauce, braggs liquid aminos)
2 TB olive oil
1 ts sea salt
pinch of cayenne

Place quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse. Rub the grains together.
Place quinoa in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, cool.
In a small bowl, mix together lemon, tamari, olive oil, salt, and cayenne.
Toss all ingredients together.
Let mixture sit for an hour for all the ingredients to mingle. Refrigerate until ready to serve and toss one more time. Enjoy!

Berry lemonade

So what if it's 30 degrees outside and this should be more of a summer drink....drink this and dream of summertime! Super yummy, and good for you too!

2 whole lemons, peeled
1 cup mixed organic berries, frozen or fresh
2 tb organic raw honey

Place all ingredients in the blender with enough water to cover them. Blend for a minute and enjoy! A nice vitamin packed drink!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Banana Bread Breakfast Smoothie

This is a great smoothie to start off your day or a mid-day power packed snack. The first thing my husband said about it was "It tastes like banana bread!" There originated the name! My kids slurped this down in minutes.

Makes 4 servings:

3 cups organic raw milk, or almond milk (coconut milk might be yummy too!)
2 frozen bananas
2 shakes organic cinamon
2 ts raw organic honey
1 avocado
1 cup organic granola, or "grainy" type cereal. (I used Cinnamon Raisin Ezekiel 4:9 cereal)

Blend all ingredients for a minute. Enjoy!

Friday, November 11, 2011

Vegetarian Nachos

Nachos are such a well rounded meal! So grab a tray of them and head to the living room for movie night with the kiddos! That's what we do! (You can even throw on some meat if you must for those meat eaters!)

1 bag organic tortilla chips (important to get organic since a huge percentage of corn is GMO)
2 cups shredded organic cheese, jack or cheddar
1 can sliced black olives
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tomato chopped
1 organic onion chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped (optional)
1 cup organic black or pinto beans (already cooked)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lay chips on a parchment lined large baking sheet. Scatter all the ingredients except the cheese all over the chips.

Top with cheese. (I like putting the cheese on top of the toppings because it holds them to the chips)
Cook for 10-15 minutes until cheese is melted. Serve sour cream and salsa on the side, Enjoy!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Avocado and Banana Hair Mask

This hair mask is wonderful for dry hair. This will make your hair super soft! Repeat once a month or so. I suggest doing this at night, your hair will be a little oily immediately after. So doing it at night makes it so you can shampoo it in the morning before heading out for the day.

1/2 ripe banana
1/2 ripe avocado
1 tsp olive oil
a few drops of an essential oil you like (optional, but makes it smell nice)

Mash banana and avocado real smooth, a blender would do a great job. Stir in oils. Wash your hair and towel dry. Work hair mask all through your hair and then put a shower cap on. Leave mask on for atleast 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly. I suggest putting a paper towel or wash cloth over the drain to catch the "chunks".