Strawberry Cookies

Strawberry Breakfast CookiesThis recipe was originally shared on http://ditchthewheat.com with the name, “Paleo Strawberry Breakfast Cookies.” But I say, why just breakfast? My family loves these cookies for breakfast, for dessert after any meal and for snacks in between!

Here’s the recipe with a few minor modifications:

Strawberry Breakfast Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. chia seeds
  • 6 Tbsp. water
  • 3 cups almond flour
  • 3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 cup strawberries

Combine chia seeds and water and set aside for 5 minutes to form a gel.

In a separate bowl, combine the almond flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

To the dry mixture, add the “chia eggs,” vanilla extract, almond butter, and honey. Stir to combine all.

Add the strawberries and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes.

Scoop 1 Tbsp. of dough onto a parchment paper lined baking sheet and flatten the top of the dough slightly.

Bake at 375° for 13-15 minutes or until golden brown.

Allow to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack to cool completely.

Yields: 36 cookies

Foaming Hand Soap

Here’s one of my favorite DIY recipes. Spend a little for ingredients, save a lot over time!

Foaming Hand Soap

Combine the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp. (1.5 oz.) liquid castile soap (I buy Dr. Bronner’s Baby Unscented Pure Castile Soap purchased at Organic Harvest in Birmingham.)
  • 2 Tbsp. (1 oz.) glycerin (After trying several different brands IMG_4610[1] of glycerin,
    I’ve settled on Essential Depot Greener Life Essentials Vegetable Glycerin, available on Amazon. If you opt for a different brand, you may need to add another tablespoon to reach the best consistency of soap.)
  • 8 drops lemon oil
  • 8 drops orange oil (I use Beeyoutiful essential oils. If you opt for another brand, be sure you choose oils that are 100% pure, preferably from a full disclosure company.)

Yields 10 oz. foaming hand soap. Store unused soap in a glass jar and add a dropperful of grapefruit seed extract to serve as a preservative if you are not going to use the soap within 3-4 weeks.

My Favorite Breakfast

For years, my typical breakfast was a bowl of cereal with milk. I branched out some when I realized I needed more fruits and vegetables in my diet. Then, a month of dairy-free eating caused me to try something I was sure I wouldn’t like: chia pudding.

Chia pudding is made with coconut milk, and I don’t like coconut.

But I was pleasantly surprised! I did like it! Chia pudding is so good! It’s better than yogurt. (Scroll down for my recipe.)

My favorite breakfast now consists of about half a cup of chia pudding with about two cups of fruit.  This morning’s treat features 1/2 cup of kiwi, 1/2 cup of pineapple, and 1 cup of blueberries.

What’s YOUR favorite breakfast?

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Chia pudding

Add 1/2 cup of chia seeds and 1/4 cup of maple syrup to 14 ounces of coconut milk. Whisk all together and refrigerate for several hours before serving. Add fresh fruit and enjoy!

Doing My Homework

My health coach gave me a pretty easy assignment this week: think about chewing.

Yes, chewing. She gave me a crash course on the digestive system which brought back memories of elementary school, learning about saliva and the esophagus and food’s journey through the miles of intestines. She also gave me a handout with some suggestions- suggestions which have turned out to be easy to read and not so easy to implement.

Do YOU chew every bite 30-50 times before you swallow it? I found out that my average is about 10. I’m now making more of an effort, but I have some work to do.

Why does it matter, you ask? (I’ve been doing some reading, so I’m not sure now what I’ve read and what Rebecca told me. I’ll give all the credit to her unless otherwise noted!) Saliva is alkaline. Alkaline reduces inflammation in the body. Chewing efficiently alkalizes our food before it’s swallowed which prevents inflammation. I guess that explains why eating on the go or “swallowing your food whole,” as my mother used to say I did, usually results in heartburn, indigestion, and/or stomach ache, i.e. inflammation of the gut. Chewing matters more than I realized.

I’m the one who didn’t want to take time to stop for lunch at all, so this is hard! Eating nine cups of fruits and vegetables every day requires more stopping-to-eat than I’m used to, and now I’m adding more chewing to that effort! But I’m already feeling better, so it’s worth it!

Assignment number two was to learn about albumin. I had heard of albumin in connection with eggs, but this time I was seeing the word on some blood work results. My albumin level was low, and Rebecca suggested I find out what it was and why it mattered. Albumen is the white of the egg, but, albumin is “any of numerous simple heat-coagulable water-soluble proteins that occur in blood plasma or serum, muscle, the whites of eggs, milk, and other animal substances and in many plant tissues and fluids,” per Merriam-Webster.

From various medical websites, I learned that albumin is produced by the liver, and it carries substances such as hormones and enzymes throughout the body. If the albumin level is low, it might indicate kidney failure or kidney disease or liver disease. Or it might indicate malnutrition. Well, none of those conditions appeal to me, but malnutrition seems to me to be the easiest one to correct!

My question is, will my nine cups of improved nutrition correct my albumin level? Maybe. Hopefully. According to Registered Dietician Sarah Pflugradt, “increasing the overall quality of the diet may help increase albumin levels in those who are malnourished.” Writing for livestrong.com, she also noted that some recent research indicates that “albumin was not a direct indicator of nutritional health, but rather a marker of the influence of illness on albumin. For instance, inflammation- present in many diseases- causes protein to break down in the body, leading to a decreased albumin.”

Homework results: I hereby promise to make every effort to efficiently chew every bite of nine cups of fruits and vegetables every day, hoping to reduce inflammation and to increase albumin.

Here are a few pictures of some of the delicious and nutrient-rich meals I’ve eaten lately. Recipes don’t seem to be necessary since a picture paints a thousand words, but I’ll be glad to give you the details if you ask.

 

Melissa’s Peach Pie

I promised my husband last year that I would bake a peach pie any time we had access to fresh peaches. We had two pies last year, baked from a recipe my mother-in-law copied from an old edition of Farm Wife News. Farm Wife News was revamped and renamed Country Woman in 1987, so this recipe has been around a long time. Credit for the “Colorado Peach Cream Pie” recipe goes to a Ruth Andrews. If you happen to know her or her descendants, please pass on our thanks!

This year, we’ve had fresh peaches two weeks in a row, thanks to Helena Market Days. I decided to tweak the tried-and-true recipe to produce a gluten-free, sugar-free peach dessert that was still delicious. Last week’s crust held together beautifully; this week’s didn’t and the result was more like a cobbler than a pie. Both, however, tasted delicious, so I’m calling them equally successful.

Here’s my new recipe. The flour ingredient determines the quality of the crust, so feel free to substitute your favorite to produce the crust you desire.

Melissa’s Peach Pie

Crust
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. gluten-free flour*
1/2 tsp. sea salt

Filling
4 cups fresh sliced peaches
1 cup xylitol, divided
2 Tbsp. gluten-free flour
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream or plain Greek yogurt

Topping
1/3 c. xylitol
1/3 c. gluten-free flour
1/4 c. butter
1 tsp. cinnamon

Crust: Cut butter into flour and salt. Press dough into 9-inch pie pan.

Filling: Slice peaches into a bowl; sprinkle with 1/4 c. xylitol. Let stand while preparing rest of filling. Combine 3/4 c. xylitol, flour, egg, salt and vanilla. Fold in sour cream. Stir into peaches. Pour into crust.

Bake 15 minutes at 400°. Reset oven to 350° and bake another 20 minutes.

To prepare the topping, combine all ingredients until crumbly.

Sprinkle the crumbs of the topping evenly over the top of the pie or around the edge. Bake the pie another 10 minutes at 400°.Melissa's Peach Pie.JPG

Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream if desired.

*Arrowhead Mills Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix produced a firm crust. King Arthur Gluten-Free All-Purpose Baking Mix produced a less firm, more crumbly crust. You know what they say about financial investments? “Past performance is no guarantee of future results.” I’m pretty sure that applies here, too!

The Best Squash Casserole

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I’ll admit it. Squash is not my favorite vegetable. Not even close. But my new squash casserole recipe definitely moves it up in the rankings. I’ve been baking squash casserole for years now, and the gluten-free version I whipped up this week is the best squash casserole I’ve ever eaten- far better than the traditional recipe I’ve been preparing. (I’m sure it didn’t hurt that I started with fresh squash from Boozer Farms that I picked up Saturday at Helena Market Days!)

Gluten-Free Squash Casserole

 4 cups summer squash, sliced
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup 4C Gluten Free Plain Bread Crumbs*
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper

Add sliced squash to small amount of boiling water. Cover. When water returns to boiling, lower heat and cook until tender. Drain thoroughly and mash.

In a medium bowl, mix together all other ingredients. Combine with squash and mix well. Pour into a greased 1-quart casserole. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until casserole is slightly browned.

 *You can use any bread crumbs you have on hand, of course, but this is the ingredient that determines the texture of the casserole. The 4C brand bread crumbs yield a creamy casserole, unlike my usual dressing-like dish baked with regular bread crumbs. Experiment! I hope you enjoy yours as much as we enjoyed ours this week!

Fighting Inflammation

I was so thankful for Bromelain yesterday- still am, actually.  But then I learned that Bromelain and other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) should be discontinued about two weeks before any surgical procedure to reduce the risk of post-operative bleeding.  And since I have surgery in my near future, I have discontinued my Bromelain.  I miss it already!

I quickly consulted my essential oil books and mixed up a blend of inflammation-fighters.  Here’s my recipe…

Anti-Inflammatory Essential Oil BlendOils for Inflammation.jpg

Combine the following oils in an amber glass bottle:

I took my blend to my physical terrorist therapist who used the oils during my session this morning.  (I can’t take the credit for that PT insult.  I overheard it at therapy today!)

While I can’t address inflammation with a supplement, I’m glad to be able to address it with essential oils.  How do YOU fight inflammation?

Thanks for reading!

There’s a lot to read out there.  And we appreciate you taking the time to read this blog.

We want to thank you for reading this blog post by giving you something else to read!  Today, when you place an order of $25 or more with Smith Family Resources, we’ll add a copy of Nourishing Traditions to your order, at no extra cost.

If you shop in our online store, send an email to smithfamresources@att.net after you place your order and tell us you saw this offer on the blog.

If you’re a local customer, mention this blog post when you place your order and we’ll tuck the book in with your products when you pick up.

This offer extends until Friday, February 5, 9:00 a.m., CT, or while supplies last, whichever occurs first.  Sorry, but this offer does not apply to orders placed before February 4.

Thanks for reading!

Nourishing Traditions, Sally Fallon

Nourishing Traditions is an amazing handbook of information about food, health and nutrition.  It has 688 pages and 773 recipes!

 

Natural Detangler

When I came across a recipe for a natural detangler recently, a certain curly-haired young friend came to mind.  This little guy not only has very curly hair but also has a very tender scalp.  Smoothing out those tangled curls becomes a very unpleasant experience for him.  I wondered if this combination would work for him.

So, I whipped up some detangler and gave it to his mom to try.  Success!

detangler before and after.png

Natural Detangler

Place ingredients in a 4 oz. spray bottle and fill with water.

Recipes for Natural Cleaners

Natural Cleaning Products, Smith Family Resources recipes

Last year I blogged about our homemade glass cleaner and wood cleaner.  The article that I shared on Pinterest has been re-pinned 174 times!  So, in case you missed it on our old blog, here are those recipes again…

Homemade Glass Cleaner recipe, Smith Family Resources

Homemade Glass Cleaner

 2 Tbsp. distilled white vinegar
1 qt. water
5 drops lemon essential oil
($1.99 spray bottle purchased at Publix)

Homemade Wood Cleaner, Smith Family Resources

Homemade Wood Cleaner

8 oz. distilled white vinegar
8 oz. water
8 drops lemon essential oil

Have you made any cleaning products that have worked well in your home?
Share your recipes with us!

Click here to order Beeyoutiful essential oils
to add to your own homemade cleaners!