Monday, July 30, 2012

Smoothies - Beginner Berry Smoothie

I love to read.  I love to read romance novels, cookbooks, inspirational stories, and all things about health and nutrition.

Smoothies have been my latest desire.  I've looked at lots of recipes,  read lots of blogs,  and bought magazines because of the smoothie articles. 

I had one major miss conception though:  I thought I had to have a Vitamix or something similar to accomplish these healthy cocktails full of nutritional goodness.  I finally decided to give my good ole blender a try and low and behold it performed beyond my expectations.  Keep in mind that I am using an old (at least 16 years old) Oster blender.  Nothing fancy, just a regular blender you get for a wedding gift.  (that's how i know how old it is :) )

I finally found a recipe that sounded like a jumping off point for me.  All the "green" smoothies made me a little nervous so I wanted to start out a little fruity to begin with.  I'll be completely honest here, if I don't like the way something tastes I won't eat it.  Simple as that.  I don't care how good it is for me, if I can't get it past the lips and over the tongue without gagging I won't be having it.

So here is my recipe for a fruity smoothie for those beginners out there.

Beginner Berry Smoothie

1/2  c frozen assorted berries - organic
1/2  c frozen peaches - organic
1/4  c fresh blueberries
 1   c fresh spinach - frozen is ok also - organic
 1   c almond milk - unsweetened
 2   tbs flax meal
 3   tbs coconut flakes - organic
 1  tbs agave nectar - organic

Combine all ingredients in the blender and process until smooth.  You may have to stop the blender and push some of the frozen fruits down.   Please be sure to stop the blender before doing this otherwise you could get hurt and make a huge mess.  Add more milk if you desire a more liquid consistency.  Enjoy!

*Note: add the milk first to keep the frozen fruit from getting hung up in the blender.*

I have not tried adding any ice cubes to my blender yet but the frozen fruit is processing quite well.

So the moral to this story is you don't always have to have to latest gadget to live a healthy lifestyle.  Sometimes you already have what you need in the back of your pantry.


Paleo Diet week 1 - Zucchini Noodles with Red Sauce

Last night I came up with a marvelous idea.......

I've been reading a lot of blogs and drooling over kitchen gadgets and the newest gadget that I would love to own is a spiralizer.  Check out this link to amazon with several different types of spiralizer .  Have you seen these things?  They take any vegetable and turn it into something that looks like spaghetti noodles.  I keep looking at them but I haven't broken down and bought one yet.  But I had a crazy idea. 

Why can't I make my own "spiralized vegetable spaghetti"?  So I took out my julienne peeler/slicer and grabbed one of the many overgrown zucchini that has come out of our garden and began julienning (sp?) the zucchini. 

First I peeled the zucchini and then used the julienne peeler and pulled it down the length of the zucchini and made the slice/noodle as long as possible.  Some "noodles" were shorter than others just so i could use up as much of the zucchini as possible.  2 large zucchini's made 4 cups of spaghetti like noodles.

Zucchini Noodles Ingredients:

2 large zucchini
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 large cloves or minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste

Next I added 3 tablespoons of coconut oil and 2 large minced garlic cloves to a pan.  After I sauteed the garlic a little, just about 2 minutes until it was fragrant but not brown,  I added the zucchini.  Sprinkle the zucchini with salt and pepper and make sure the skillet is hot.  The salt with bring out some of the moisture that the zucchini is known for and the hot pan will help evaporate off the liquid so your "noodles" don't turn into mush.  I sauteed my zucchini noodles about 10 minutes.  I like my "noodles" to be a bit crunchy.  Just keep tasting them as you cook them and remove them from the heat when they are at your desired consistency.

The noodles stay a slight green color but that didn't bother me at all.  Zucchini really has little to no taste so it will take on the taste of whatever spices you choose to add while sauteeing.
Finally I topped my "noodles" with my favorite tomato sauce.  (I will post a recipe for this at a later date).  I love a simple red sauce sometimes without meat but last night I added browned ground venison to our red sauce last night and it was delicous.

I also made the Gluten Free Goddess' Tomato - Garlic focaccia - italian flatbread.  I just had to try it and it was awesome.  My husband, who is not gluten free loved it also and he is a tough critic when it comes to bread.  Find her recipe here.

Such a simple but satifying meal.  Hope this sparks some cooking inspiration for you.


Saturday, July 28, 2012

Specialty Diets - am I up to the new challenge?

For the last 8 years I have been following an almost dairy free diet (I love cheese and can't seem to give it up entirely). Lactose intolerance is definitely hereditary in my family. In fact if my older brother hadn't told me of his ailments I probably wouldn't have figured out why I had such terrible abdominal issues after consuming milk and milk products. I've managed to control my lactose intolerance. I avoid all regular dairy milk, in fact ice cream is a real killer for me. Ice cream makes me so ill that I don't even miss it anymore. Cheese on the other hand, cheese is my mistress. (can women have mistresses?) oh well you get my drift. I love the saltiness, the tanginess, the smokiness of beautiful cheeses. Although I eat dramatically less cheese than I used to I still can't seem to shake the tempting hold it has on me.

I have also been following a gluten free diet for the last 4 years. My Naturopath Chiropractor told me that for many lactose intolerant people, gluten intolerance was the next issue. This was frustrating news for me. You cant imagine how much pasta my husband and I have consumed. But, that day finally came and I had to face the music. My abdominal issues were out of control. The frequent bathroom visits were embarrassing and I simply felt pooped (pun intended).  My Dr. Finally told me that I needed to try the gluten free diet. Well I bit the bullet and I tried it. It was hard, very hard. But after about 2 weeks I noticed a difference. My diahreaha was getting better and so was my energy. It was a very good decision for me and my body. In fact, my psoriasis that I have had for the past 38 years has almost vanished.

Now my Dr wants my to try the Paleo Diet. This is also a tough one. I love sweet corn and 3 bean salad. I love corn chips and corn tortillas. I LOVE Mexican food. So for the last couple of months I have been researching how all grains can contain gluten. This just sucks. Rice had become the go to side dish in our house to take the place of pasta.  Hindsight now tells me that wasn't a great decision. 

So I have been searching the Internet and all the blogs. Pinterest has also been a great help in inspiring me to cook more Paleo meals. Is it easy? Not exactly.  But it really is only just changing the way I think.

I can do this!

I am in it for the long haul. I can do this.

Keep inspiring me my favorite bloggers and Pinterest and help me keep my creative juices flowing.