Archive for the 'Nutritionally Speaking' Category

Breakfast Cookies

"Breakfast Cookies"

I made these this morning, it is what we had for breakfast.  Add a glass of milk and oh well it’s almost heaven, and nutritious.  With almond flour, coconut oil, sunflower seeds, these cookies are packed with nutritional goodness.  I have adapted the recipe from BabyCakes by Erin McKenna.  It is vegan and gluten free.  It is a loose adaptation because I use different sweeteners, flours, and meal…  I will write my recipe…

Breakfast Cookies*

heat oven to 350 degrees

3/4 cup coconut oil

6 tablespoons apple sauce

1 teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons vanilla

2/3 cups sweetner; i have used sucanant, brown sugar, (evaporated cane juice,) agave combinations.  NOTE: The recipe actually calls for 1 1/4 cup sugar.  That is usually too much for me.

MIX these in a medium bowl.

2 cups almond flour  (gluten free mix) sometimes i also add  about a handful or two of oatmeal to almond flour

1/4 cup ground soaked  and dried sunflower seeds (flax seeds)

1 tsp. baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (NOTE: Used in gluten free cooking to substitute for gluten)

chocolate chips

MIX dry ingredients and then add slowly to wet mixture.  Add choc. chips.

Scoop onto parchment paper covered cookie sheets.  Bake at 350 for  18 to 20 minutes. (It could go longer and you should rotate after @ 10 minutes.)

I have had best results using parchment paper.  I am actually a newcomer to parchment paper and do say it really does make a difference.  The cookies are crispier.

I can eat these all day and feel great…

*They are that good…  You have to eat them first thing in the morning.  With tea or coffee or milk.

Garlic PopCorn… Keep the “ill’n” away

the best garlic popcorn ever

So this is the season of the “ill’n”  A time when the kids seem to be physically and emotionally spent .  Actually I think we all are… and that is why we are all susceptible to illness at this time.  We all need to be supported nutritionally at this time so that we don’t get sick.  I don’t like taking a lot of supplements because it gets pricey and do you really know what is in your supplement?  I  believe that my kids have been relatively most healthy since I drastically changed my eating habits and subsequently theirs, two years ago.  It is about changing eating habits slowly, and substituting real food for fake food.  Remember, even stuff from Whole Foods is fake.

even the "meat eaters" get real food

So this winter I have been making a few yummy nutrient dense snack food to support everyone nutritionally.  But the kids do go to school, Brent does work in a bank, and we do have a 2 year old who puts most things in her mouth; WE DO GET SICK.  And when we do I make sure that we stay away from dairy, sugar, bready carbs, and artificial ingredients.  What’s left?  Well we  make eggs and smoothies for breakfast, soups for lunch, and soups or meat for dinner.  Our snack food consists of kale chips, beef jerky,  granola, garlic popcorn, blueberries, oranges, and apples.  So these are the things that we have been eating, even in illness… ( FYI- the discomfort period is shorter when we have eliminated sugar, artificial ingredients, and heavy carbs from diet.)

I think right now my most favorite is the garlic pop corn.

I make my popcorn on the stove top now in a cast iron pot.

I use coconut oil and make sure the entire bottom is generously covered and then add 1/2 cup of refrigerated corn*.

Cover and Keep Shaking….shake… shake…. check!!  watch out!  Shake!

In the meantime, melt pasture butter with lots and lots of garlic. I use almost a whole head sometimes.  Add to popcorn, once popped and mix well so it doesn’t clump.  Add a wee bit of sea salt…  soooo good!

*Why refrigerated?  Well I never used to do it until I read this book, about popcorn. It is really a delightful book full of  the history of corn and how you can get more use out of all the kernals.  Ahem that is where the refrigeration comes in… with more moisture- easier pop… I will leave the rest for interested readers.

Pinto Beans MY way

I have always been a lover of pinto beans. I fondly remember growing up and having them as my most favorite after school snack.  My mom is first generation Mexican American so it was a staple in our home. When I moved out  it took me  a while to reclaim this comfort food, but now as a mom of three, it is back in full force.  We all love pinto beans and live for Taco Tuesday or whenever the mood hits.  Often people ask how I make them and I change it up with whatever I have.

But there are a few basics:

  • Buy your beans bulk, they just look better. I would also highly suggest this mail order company, Rancho Gordo, where I get my  beans because they are awesome and they have many other bean varieties.  They also sell at the SF Farmers’ Market.
  • Be sure to SOAK your beans at least overnight or sometimes even 24 hours.  I have even soaked mine longer, but overnight is fine too. You are doing this step because of the phytic acid which is in the bean and by soaking them you are making them easier to digest.
  • Rinse, Rinse , Rinse- I sometimes rinse my beans two to three times before I cook them.

So it might seem like there is some work to do, but honestly it is so simple and worth it. Once you have soaked and rinsed, you can put them in your slow cooker in the morning on low and come home to some hearty beans.  Now the choices of what to cook them is up to you, but I often just do water and salt. Sometimes homemade broth, sometimes store bought broth, I often add garlic, onions, and other vegetables to add some flavor, but it is really not necessary.  If you really want to step it up, throw in a ham hock, my mom used to do that, and it was oh so good.  I really don’t do that too much, but I have thrown some marrow bones in there for more flavor, in addition to more minerals and vitamins.

So you see the possibilities are endless, you just have to go for it. And then it gets fun when you mix beans and make an awesome chili. I will write about that one later. Baby steps.

My Fantabulous Corn Bread Recipe

So we love corn bread… enough said!!  No really, yes my cornbread love inevitabley came from a jiffy box, (what was I thinking?) but it has evolved into a super moist and flavorful original recipe.

never any leftovers....

I loosely adapted it from one of my favorite cookbooks, Moosewood Restaurants New Classics, but also used some ” nourishing tradition habits” and also made it gluten free.


1 cup soaked cornmeal

1 cup almond flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup melted butter

1/4 cup-1/3 cup honey

1 cup whole yogurt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees and oil your baking dish

Sift together dry ingredients in large bowl and then whisk together wet ingredients.  Put wet ingredients into dry ingredients being careful not to overblend.  It really does not come out as good if you mix it too much.  Put it in your pan and bake for 35-45 minutes.  When you pull it out make sure a knife comes out clean in the middle.

Hope you like it!!!

Top Three Winter Recipes in Our House

"My Mean Lentil Bean"

We all have “go to” recipes…. the ones that we don’t need a cook book for, or the ones that people ask for and we can write it down, or sometimes we can’t because we just “do it.”  For me, the winter months are synonymous for hearty soups and meat and of course the chicken broth makes it…   Here are some of mine for these winter months:

Lentil Bean Soup/Split Pea Soup —- key ingredient here is the “good bacon”

Chicken soup/Tortilla soup

Root Mash

All of these recipes are total hearty kid pleasers,  and it is the homemade chicken broth and garlic what makes them.  In a pinch  I use Imagine Brand Chicken Broth, but mostly I make my homemade broth (Nourishing Traditions Recipe) from my roast chicken carcass or a whole chicken.  I saute onions, carrots and celery and  add water, apple cider vinegar and lemon and boil and then simmer for 12-24 hours.

Local Food Tastes Better

I consider myself lucky having been born and raised in Northern California.  I have traveled extensively and have lived in other states and countries, but I have always managed to come “home” to California.  I really don’t think my parents would have it any other way. And being that I am Californian I have never been of want,  agriculturally speaking.  We grow everything here…practically, and sometimes year round.  But for the first time, which is kind of surprising to me in a good way, is that I am buying what is really in season- LOCAL, and therefore lessening my family’s carbon footprint.  What this means is that I have not eaten tomatoes in a few months, our last batch of apples was just before Christmas, and we are slowly learning to love the root vegetables and citrus.  Oh I must confess that I do still  buy bananas though, because I do have a baby and we love our tropical acai smoothies.  I thought of posting this after my husband came from our local foods marketplace and our box was filled with these lovely tangerines:



I told my kids that this is what “in season” fruit should look like because it has not been transported more than 100 miles.  We also got carrots, potatoes and greens.  To help me out in staying local I try and buy all my produce from our santa cruz local food marketplace.  I also picked up this great local food wheel for the San Francisco Bay Area.  It has really been a fun teaching tool for our whole family.

the food wheel


Here’s a super easy recipe with root vegetables:

  • saute one onion and  some garlic
  • add any combination of cut root vegetables such as parsnips, turnips, beets, potatoes, carrots, celery root, etc.  and saute for about 10 minutes.  
  • add chicken broth
  • mash or put in blender  and return to pot.  Add dash of apple cider vinegar (b/c I do that with all my soups) and salt and pepper.
  • enjoy

Now, of course the  best way to stay local is to plant your own garden or participate in a community garden, as well as to preserve  your summer bounty… but I am not always so well organized!  I am going to try better this year with a garden.

gratitude for my kitchen

I am grateful for my family, and for my kitchen.   Today I hosted my first Thanksgiving.  It was awesome.  It was different without my dad here, but it was nice celebrating with my sister, brother in law,  three nieces, my mom, and my family.  We had a “rural Pennsylvania thanksgiving,”  from this month’s Gourmet Magazine.   Oh my goodness, it was an incredible edible experience, and even more so because I cooked it with my mom and fed our family from my kitchen. My kitchen is rather small, and more than two people makes it crowded, so although there was a lot to do, we just put on some good music and got to work… I will not bore you with all the details of preparation, except to say my  mom and I had a super fun time cooking such goodness.  And even though we read two different turkey preparation recipes, with different times and degrees, it still came out super juicy.  And even though I bought half and half rather than creme…dinner was still splendid!!!

It looked like this- everything from scratch: (except the whipped creme which came from a can from our way too close to our house 7-11, bought at 7:25 tonight)

crispy nuts, tzaziki dip with toasted pita, deviled eggs

green salad, cranberry-orange relish, bacon smashed potatoes,  kale with pan fried walnuts, carrot casserole, stuffing with walnuts, apples, raisins, mushrooms, sweet potatoe bisquits

18 lb. beautiful turkey and gravy

apple and pumpkin pies


"my plate"



Gratitude for my kitchen and for my family…

Dinner was good… a nice walk, a game of scrabble for the adults, movie for the kids= a memorable and wonderful Thanksgiving.

…going to bed in anticipation for tomorrow- my girl is turning “6”  —-good times

a most perfect lunch

This morning’s post is about apple cider vinegar, also commonly known as ACV.  I was reintroduced to apple cider vinegar this past spring because after my hospitalization and antibiotic treatment, my body was very acidic.   My naturapath recommended Apple Cider Vinegar to  alkanalize my body.   After a few weeks, I noticed a difference.  I now use it most regularly in my soups, bone broths, salad dressings,  and sometimes I just take a swig or add some to water for a little kick.


 This website  answers most questions one would have about apple cider vinegar, including  history , recipe and random uses.   It does a much better job than I ever could…  

Currently I am using apple cider vinegar almost daily on a tasty salad that I make up for lunch and/or dinner.

Here are the ingredients: apple cider vinegar,  coconut oil, carrots, sunflower sprouts, 

soft cheese, and the best packaged organic dehydrated sprouted sunflower bread ever, made by Lydia!!!!


all local -within 75 miles (except Braggs)


add 1 tbs clarified coconut oil to 2 tsps. apple cider vinegar—- pour over grated carrots and mix.  It is a most splendid and nutritious salad this way,  or do as I did in the “most perfect lunch,” and put in on some cheese and  bread and top with sprouts… DELISH… and super easy!


"a most perfect lunch"

Kid Made Root Beer

Despite all the warnings, people still drink soda…   I am grateful that my own children do not like soda or juice too much. Of course, I am sure they would if given the opportunity, but I do a good job of extolling the value of real drinking water and always having it readily available, especially in their own Klean Kanteen water bottles.  These bottles are the original stainless steel containers and they were designed and are sold  by friends in my old college town. And by the way, here is another product made by friends in Chico that is both groovy and green.

Back to soda talk:  I know a lot of people have tried kefir soda pop made with water kefir grains, and to be honest I have tried it, but am not yet a fan.  I want to try it again, and hope that my experience would be similar to that of homemade kombucha…which I now love.  However, it too was definitely an acquired taste.  So today’s post is another soda alternative for the kids and one that they can help make (if they are old enough)…  I found it in this awesome  book which we are using as part of our homeschooling science (herbs and plants) curriculum. The herb sasparilla is very healing to the liver, skin, and blood.  All of the ingredients can easily be found at a natural foods store.

Natural Root Beer

sasparilla, water, anise seeds, and cinnamon bark is all you need.

simmer 1 tablespoon sasparilla in 1 1/2 cups of water covered for 15 minutes

add 2 teaspoons anise seeds and add 1 piece of cinnamon bark

pull of heat and steep covered for 10 minutes

strain and add 1/4 cup carbonated water

let cool


The kids did all the measuring and watched it simmer on the stovetop:


It smelled so good...

And then they watched it cool and drank it up:


"kidmade root beer"

Have fun and enjoy!!

Posted as part of REAL Food Wednesdays hosted by  Cheeseslave.

REAL Breast Milk… and the next best thing.

This post is dedicated to breast milk and mamas because it truly is a real food, and mamas are the only ones that can make it.   The research has been done and most people know that indeed, “breast is best.” But what if you can’t breastfeed? Before my third baby and the complications post partum I never had to think about not being able to nourish my babies, for I had easily nursed my two older children past two years old.  So as I am sitting in the emergency room with  an i.v. shooting serious pain killers in my arm, I knew I had to come up with something. I had to give in, or so I thought.  You see I am a bit compulsive when it comes to real food and what I put in my body.  I had all three of my children (two at home) drug free, and I’m proud of that.  I never gave them formula…but what else was I going to do?  Within a period of 6 hours I could not walk, the pain was debilitating.  I remember my husband coming home and I was on the phone on all fours talking to  my midwife, trying to figure out what was going on in my body. Earlier in the morning I was enjoying tea showing off my 5 week old baby, having no idea of the storm that was taking place in my uterus, and now here I was struggling to figure out what to feed my baby. I knew I would have to give her formula because I had not pumped yet.  (I wasn’t planning on going anywhere without her) I looked at the Similac label and cringed but yet knew it had to be done and I would be home tomorrow to resume our routine…or so I thought.  

I was diagnosed with a serious staph infection in my uterus.  I stayed in the hospital for five days, and although I was on antibiotics I still nursed my baby. I had too, even though I knew it wasn’t the best, it was better than the alternative. There are many websites and books to choose from that explains what is ok to take while you are nursing. I researched here and here and cross referenced with my doctor, and found that many of the antibiotics were rated from ok to good.  I took over 5 different antibiotics,  and because of that I came down with a serious intestinal infection, c. diff,  contracted in the hospital.  Because I had so many antibiotics in my body,  my good flora  was wiped out and made me susceptible to get new germs.  I lost 9 pounds in 6 days, and had to be put on a very strong antibiotic… one that was o.k.from my  doc’s perspective, but there was contrary evidence online… I  realized that I couldn’t do this to my baby if I was still nursing.  I had to do something else!!

And so I did.  I put the word out. Why did it take me so long? Within days I had moms donating breast milk to my baby. A new dad drove 15 miles to give me milk and moms met me at the farmers’ market to give me their milk…   Oh, how blessed I felt during this difficult time.  Our families had stepped up and now our community helped as well. But the supplemented breast milk was not enough, and another friend stepped in.  

In the chaos that followed  a friend stepped up and told me about the Weston A Price formula recipe and how it was most like human breast milk.  I remember looking at it and being intimidated by the long list of instructions…

She was insistent and went out and bought most of the ingredients, and made the first batch. Our daughter loved it and it felt so good to give it to her than regular formula. I knew exactly what real food was going in there and I made it in small batches.  I knew that she was going to be fine; looking at all the ingredients and being amazed at the superfood I was making was somewhat inferior to what I produce naturally.  WHOA!!!  

So this is my shout out for Nourishing Traditions Baby Formula. If you know a mama who is unable to nurse,  help her with this recipe. Go and buy some of the ingredients and make the first batch.  After the first batch it is easy, well relatively speaking of course,  and so much better for baby.

Posted as part of REAL FOOD Wednesdays with Kelly the Kitchen Kop and Cheeseslave.