About

This blog is a work in progress and will contain a collection of recipes, ideas and links that I have collected over the years.

Everything I post is easy to make, good for you and not bad for our planet.

My philosophy on natural health, avoiding GMOs, eating organic and being vegetarian is not up for debate. While I am very passionate about the evils of Monsanto and Big Pharma, the state of our agriculture and animal rights, I do not intend to preach or offend.

The Facebook Page will have updates with new posts.

And please remember, if you haven’t done so already, please do so now.

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Gluten-free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

IMG_3115

This is a slightly modified version of the Elana’s Pantry recipe. The most time consuming part is ordering the almond flour online and buying the other ingredients at a good healthfood store. The actual prep time is no more than it takes your oven to heat. Super easy, healthy and delicious.

Difference: I use maple syrup instead of Agave, vegan chocolate chips instead of Dagoba; add a bit of coconut margarine for taste and texture and a pinch of cayenne for fun and thermogenesis.

Preheat oven to 350F

    Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups Almond Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 teaspoon Celtic Sea Salt
pinch of Cayenne Pepper
1 cup Vegan Chocolate Chips–with the mini chips I use, this amount makes for a very chip-rich cookie, but consensus has been that this is a good thing.

1/4 cup Grapeseed oil
1/4 melted Coconut oil margarine
1 tablespoon real Vanilla extract
1/4 cup organic Maple Syrup–the Elana’s recipe uses 1/2 cup Agave. I reduced this to 1/4, otherwise it’s too sweet (imo)

Mix dry ingredients; in separate bowl mix wet ingredients and then combine.

Place on cookie sheet in 4×3 rows and bake at 350F for ~12 minutes.

If they don’t taste delicious and basically as good as regular cc cookies, you didn’t do it right.
The key to success is the quality of the ingredients:

Almond Flour: I’ve tested Benefit Your Life, Honeyville and Nuts.com. The first two are great, the nuts.com flour (as well as the bob’s red mill) is too coarse. It’s damn near impossible to find organic almond flour, even the ones that are labled cannot be guaranteed to be organic. Most almond flour comes from CA, so I hope that a certain standard of low pesticide use is implemented, but who knows. So, given that, I chose the BYL as my favorite, although it is markedly more expensive than the Honeyville (which is a very close second)

Salt: Celtic Sea salt is the key

Chocolate Chips: I use the “Enjoy Your Life” chips available at Whole Foods. They are dairy-free, soy-free and made with cane juice and real cocoa.

Coconut Margarine: from Earth Balance

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No Flu for You!

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It seems like everyone and their cat has “the flu” this season. With many of the afflicted continuing to grace us with their viral presence at work, parties, in bars and in markets, it’s pretty hard to stay immune.

Some of the first signs that your body is under attack are fatigue, watery eyes and a slight runny nose. Sore throat is the most noticable, but not always present, and if not treated early enough will move further down the respiratory system. If you have a sore throat gargle with sea salt in warm water (use enough salt so that the solution is saturated) until symptoms subside.

The first line of defense, aside from staying home, is washing your hands often and well. A scrubbing action with hot water is important, not just wetting your hands and smearing the towel. Pretend you’re a surgeon or that you have something really gross on your hands (’cause this virus is nasty). A sufficient wash will take about 20 seconds, which will seem like 5 minutes, but that is what it takes.

When you don’t have access to soap and water, use a hand sanitizer. I keep an essential oil spray in my purse and the car. EO (cobalt blue bottle) makes a nice spritzer with lavender (has anti-viral properties) and other essential oils. They have a slim bottle that will even fit in a pant pocket. Spritz your hands when you can’t wash them, whenever you’ve touched something or someone. It seems anal, but it helps tremendously. Viruses won’t enter your skin pores, but you never know when you’ll touch your nose, mouth or eyes, especially in dry weather. side tip: spray a bit on a tissue and inhale in regular intervals if you’re in a crowded area e.g. airplane.

The key to staying healthy is to support your immune system before/ as soon as you notice symptoms. Here are some simple tips, in no particular order:

1) Avoid sugar (suppresses your immune system), dairy (produces phlegm), wheat (suppresses immune system) and over-eating (taps energy).

2) Take a daily probiotic. (quality is key). 70% of your immune system is in your digestive tract. By supporting your digestion, in this case by increasing the number of “friendly” bacteria in your gut, you prevent the “unfriendly” bacteria from proliferating and weakening your immune response.

3) 15 minutes before breakfast, take a shot of apple cider vinegar (raw, organic and undistilled with “mother” [a cobweb like deposit] e.g. from Bragg’s) with warm water. Shot glass- 1:4 vinegar: water. The efficacy of ACV is controversial, but there are enough people who sing its praises to make it worth a try. It’s hard to drink, especially for those who hate vinegar. If you loathe it, don’t do it.

4) Squeeze juice of 2 washed, organic lemons into tea pot, add peel, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2 teaspoons fresh ginger juice, add boiling water. Add 1 teaspoon of raw honey to cup before pouring tea. If you have a juicer: Juice two lemons with peel and 2 generous cubes of ginger, stir and add 2 teaspoons of that to a cup, then add a pinch of cayenne and hot water with raw honey.

You can also make an immune boost shot: fill 1/2 shot glass with fresh lemon+ginger juice, fill to top with tepid water, add a sprinkle of cayenne. Take shot and chase with 1/2 teaspoon of honey. Drink any of these versions 3 times per day, before meals.

Note: not all raw honey is created equal. Make sure the name and address of the producer is on the bottle. With the honey shortage in recent years (poor bees), there has been an influx of honey from countries like China that have illegally circumvented quality assurance. 75% of honey in the US isn’t actually pure honey, this means that either it has been watered down or the pollen has been removed to the point that it isn’t considered pure and it loses its medicinal benefit. So buy local, organic, raw honey, if you can or from a certified trusted source. Supposedly Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods carry real honey. It’s better to spend a little more on a good product than to get a dose of sugar paste.

If you’re already feeling the effects of a cold/ flu, you’ll want to add some fresh garlic for an added anti-microbial boost. If you have low blood pressure, don’t use garlic.

5) Stay hydrated with herbal teas and water (viruses like it dry and your nasal passages and lungs needs moisture). Gaia Herbs has a “Bronchial Wellness” tea that will support your lungs before and during a cold/flu. (note: it contains licorice, so if you have high blood pressure, don’t drink more than 1 cup per day) Traditional Medicinals also has one, but it contains a Chinese proprietary blend and although effective, I’m always a bit leary of herbs from China. This product is also only 88% organic. It works, though, so better than nothing.

6) Green Tea is part of a daily healthy diet and especially effective during cold/flu season. Some researchers have found that the catechins in green tea inhibit the replication of influenza virus. As with anything else, organic is best.

7) Olbas makes a nice massage oil that works well as an inhalant. If you don’t have a humidifier, boil some water and steam inhale with 3 drops of oil, add more oil as needed. It’s pretty potent, so inhale gently.

8) Gaia has an expensive (~$26), but good, elderberry syrup for night-time immune support. It also contains Poppy and Lemon Balm to relax the nervous system.

9) If you can’t expose 10% of your body to 10 minutes of sunshine per day, then take a vitamin D supplement. Solgar has a 2200IU vegetarian capsule.

10) Vitamin C- Solgar: Ester C in 500mg or 1000mg capsules. Take 3000 mg per day.

During the high risk weeks, avoid drinking caffeine stimulants in the morning, so you can assess actual energy levels. If you feel especially tired and don’t have a probable cause, it would be advisable to take it a bit slower. If possible, take an illness-prevention day from work. Exercise is still great, but keep it moderate.

From anecdotal evidence and research these easy tips can help prevent/ lessen the effects of a cold/flu; assuming that you have a healthy digestive system. If your digestion is not optimal, (1 nicely formed BM per day, no cramping, bloating or belching), then you should address that as well; not just to prevent the flu, but for all other health maintenance and illness prevention measures….but that is another topic.

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Gluten-free Pasta with Vegan Pink Sauce

Normally I wouldn’t bother with pasta at all while adhering to a gluten-free diet, but this pasta from Bionaturae is so good, that you will barely notice the difference, add to it this amazing Vegan Vodka sauce and you won’t feel like you are on a restricted diet:

IMG_3154 (I used spaghetti for this dish, the elbow is better used for mac & “cheese”)

Cook pasta as instructed. Meanwhile, prepare your sauce:

    Ingredients

1/2 cup cashews (can soak in filtered water for 20 minutes, but don’t need to)
1/4 cup filtered water
2 tablespoons quality, organic tomato paste
Spices (i like: himalayan salt, lemon pepper, cayenne pepper, red chili powder, basil, thyme and fennel)
Grapeseed oil
Vodka
Olive Oil

Mix cashews, water, spices and tomato paste in food processor (even a mini will do). Blend until smooth. The nuts will still be visible, but it will add a nice texture, like a pesto.
If the color is a light red, you have the right paste to cashew ratio.

Chop some shallots or garlic and onion and heat in grapeseed oil (high heat and adds a nice buttery flavor) until glassy, then add a shot of vodka, stir then add the sauce and stir. Add more water as needed. Reduce heat to very low and cover. Drain pasta rinse a bit, then return to pot with some olive oil. Add sauce and combine on a medium flame. Stir for 30 seconds. At this point the sauce will appear pink.

Garnish with Italian parsley and if desired a dash of red chili pepper flakes.

(picture of final product to follow)

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Roasted Garbanzo Bean Snack

One can of organic garbanzo beans
Sesame oil
Spices

Preheat oven to 400F
Drain and rinse beans
In a bowl add a teaspoon of oil and spices
Spices example: salt, cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, coriander, chili pepper

Stir and with a fork transfer to lined baking sheet. Try to strain the oil, so there isn’t a puddle.

Bake ~ 40 minutes (depending on your oven). The aim is to have them crispy and crunchy, no soft center, but not burned. Dark brown in color.

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Dessert Green Drink

This is a special treat because it is a little sweeter than the other drinks.
This recipe makes 48 oz:

    All ingredients are organic:

1 bundle Spinach
1 bundle Italian Parsley
4 leaves of Romaine
1/2 Fennel
1/2 Lemon-with peel
3 red Apples (e.g Honeycrisp)
1 Parsnip
2 cubes of Ginger
1 Cucumber

Clean all items, preferably in a vingar bath (this is especially useful in winter, when people walk around the produce isle coughing and grabbing with bacteria claws).
Peel cucumber and ginger.
Juice
Add 2 cubes of ice to container, stir and serve.

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Gluten-free Breakfast Bowl

One of my favorite breakfast treats is Bircher Müsli. This however is made with oats and dairy, both of which I am avoiding…unless I
find myself in Europe.
So, for an easy alternative to oats, which contain gluten, I use Buckwheat groats, which aren’t as flavorful, but certainly a decent substitute.
You can wash and soak the Buckwheat groats in a non-dairy milk overnight and they will be ready to eat for breakfast (i find this method to be too raw, the groats taste gritty) or, if you want it here and now and a softer texture, you
can follow this recipe:

Basic Ingredients
Buckwheat groats (can find these in the bulk bins at Whole Foods)
Non-dairy milk* e.g. Hempmilk
Chia Seeds (even available at Trader Joe’s)
Ground Flax seeds
Goji berries
Maple Syrup*
Maca powder

Wash buckwheat in a sauce pan, letting the shells float out, if there are any. Add what ever amount you’d like to make (one serving or several to be kept in fridge)
Add equal amount in water and a pinch of salt. Bring to boil and lower heat. Let simmer for 3 more minutes.
Drain and let cool
In a bowl combine your serving of buckwheat with two tablespoons of chia seeds. Add enough ‘milk’ to cover and let soak for at least 10 minutes. Stirring occasionally to break up the chia clumps. (soaked chia turns into a gelatinous mass). Sweeten with maple syrup to taste.
Add Goji ( I rinse them) maca powder and flax seeds.
This is a delicious base and good as is, but for variation and added nutrition you can add fresh fruit and/or nuts.
I added organic blueberries and raw cacao nibs.

Please make sure your fruits are organic. Blueberries especially are spritzed quite a bit. A basket of fresh, organic blueberries can cost up to $6, so
I use organic, frozen berries. They defrost pretty quickly, so you can add them when you add chia or if you’re soaking the night before, add them then.

*Maple Syrup: I read somewhere once that Grade A is less healthy than Grade B because it is processed more, a side effect of which is the production of formaldehyde. I haven’t found that report since, but have come across the supposedly outdated method of using formaldehyde pellets in syrup production. This no longer being the standard, but not controlled either, I would say that buying organic maple syrup is the safest bet. As to the grade, it’s a matter of taste until proven otherwise. I also read that the grading system will change in 2013.. I use Grade B because I like the flavor.

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Favorite Items

Baking Sheet-I use this baking sheet for everything I bake. It cleans easily and will save you money and resources.
http://www.silpat.com/

Hand Mixer- I use this easy hand mixer to make hummus

http://www.cuisinart.com/products/hand_blenders/csb-76m.html

Juicer–this is the juicer we currently have. Will probably upgrade to a cold-press, but it works just fine for daily juicing.

http://www.brevilleusa.com/beverages/juicers/juice-fountain-multi-speed.html

Zester–I use Lemon Zest (only organic) in many recipes and this zester is great:

http://us.microplane.com/microplaneclassicserieszestergrater.aspx

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