Sugar Free Breakfast Smoothie

green-smoothie

Breakfast is tricky for me. I am not hungry in the morning! I know it’s supposed to be this big healthy meal full of protein and fabulous vitamins to start the day off, but quite frankly at 7am I am too tired to chew. I also love to sleep! So I wake up at the last possible second. If I am to eat a ‘proper’ breakfast, I would have to wake up earlier in order to prepare it. Realistically, in the actual life of me…..not going to happen.

So I have resorted over the years to either a piece of fruit in the car while I’m driving to work, or a smoothie. Since I am erradicating all Candida from my life for this experiement, I can no long have fruit sugars. According to the experts I’m allowed to eat only the following fruits:

  • Berries
  • Grapefruit
  • Lemon
  • Lime
  • Green Apples
  • Avocado
  • Fresh Coconut

Part of me is tempted just to throw every one of those fruits into a blender and call that a smoothie, but that would be WAY too much fruit sugar all at once. So I add as much protein as I can. I have noticed that this keeps me full for a very long time. I normally take a lunch hour around 1pm, and this satisfies until then for sure!

smoothie 1

Green Apple Smoothie

1 Large  Green Apple- seeded & cored (if your blender is a little on the wimpy side you may want to peel it as well)

5 medium carrots

1 cup homemade yogurt

2 raw eggs*

1 cup greens (not Kale, not making that mistake again)

1 Tbsp coconut oil

Directions:

  • Put it all in the blender, duh
  • Pour it in a glass and get in the car and go to work! Hurry up you have 1 minute and 8 seconds to be out the door!
  • * I wouldn’t consume the average commerically farmed egg raw. That shit will kill you. I am lucky to be madly in love with a chicken farmer, who grows me organic, completely free-range and soy-free eggs (why soy free you ask? READ THIS). They are bright orange-yolked bundles of goodness, full of Omega 3’s and all 23 essential amino acids. Really, the perfect food. You should find yourself such a source and eat raw eggs until the cows come home. Or the chickens in this case.

green smoothieWhat does it taste like you ask? It tastes mildly sweet and very creamy with a bit of tartness from the yogurt and the apple. You could probably sweeten it with Stevia or something, but I like it just fine as is. But I’m weird so…

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Coconut Oil Popcorn on the Stove Top

This is almost too easy to post about, but it’s one of our favorite snacks, so I thought I’d share. You can use coconut oil, or butter or a mixture of the two. I like a mixture, but that is totally up to your taste buds! This is a large recipe, because for some reason this doesn’t go stale like other recipes I’ve tried. I pack a bag in my lunch and eat it cold the next day. If you want just a small, easy snack 2 Tbsp of dry popcorn kernels make 1 Quart of popcorn.

Coconut Oil Popcorn

makes about 2 1/2 quarts (10 cups)

1/3 cup organic popcorn kernels

3 Tbsp coconut oil

2 Tbsp grass-fed butter

salt to taste

I use a very heavy bottomed, stainless steel stock pot with a lid for this recipe. I think just about any heavy pot will do (including heave frying pans).

Place coconut oil, popcorn kernels and butter in pot. Turn heat to medium-high and place lid on pot. Every 10 seconds or so shake the pot to avoid burnt popcorn. Once the popcorn starts to pop, you can stop shaking. There will be a fast burst of popping, after that turn off the heat and let it finish popping. Remove lid and add salt to taste.

butter, coconut oil and organic popcorn in pot. Medium high heat.

I have made this many times and have never had burnt popcorn or un-popped kernels in the bottom of the pot. We eat a lot right away, and then store the left overs in sandwich bags for lunch or snacks.

Empty pot, no burned or un-popped kernels.

Other popcorn flavor ideas that I plan to try:

Grated Parmesan cheese

Italian seasonings (basic, oregano, parsley)

Salt & Vinegar

Lemon pepper

Tabasco sauce

Celery salt & Dill

Garlic Butter

Homemade taco seasoning

What are your ideas?

Homemade Garlic Butter Croutons

Salad season is a lot of fun for me this year. I am having a blast coming up with all sorts of salad dressing and fun creations. But what is a salad without a crunchy, salty, buttery crouton? I had Rob time me, and these took exactly 3 minutes and 4 seconds to prepare, and 9 minutes to bake in the oven. Now, that’s what I call fast food! (and a great use for stale bread).

Homemade Garlic Butter Croutons

1 Tbsp Butter

2 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Cloves garlic, crushed

salt and pepper

Dash of basil, thyme or parsley for color (totally optional)

4 slices bread, cubed

Preheat the oven to 425. Heat butter, olive oil and garlic in a skillet. Cube some stale bread (I used whole wheat sourdough, but whatever you have around will work) and throw it in the pan. Toss the bread around and stir to coat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread onto a cookie sheet and bake for 9-10 minutes. Let them cool completely and store in an airtight container. They will keep for 2-3 months.

 

Our Favorite Blue Cheese Dressing

We’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with salads and dressings lately. I have noticed an amazing change in my tastes since I bought a juicer last month. I start the day off with a 12-16 ounces of fresh vegetable juice. Now I am actually craving vegetables. Crazy huh? So we have been really enjoying all of the fresh salad greens that are in season right now.

Blue Cheese Dressing

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Red Win Vinegar (or lemon juice)

4 Tbsp Blue Cheese (or Roquefort if you can find it)

1 tsp raw honey

2 tsp Dijon mustard

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup thick yogurt (or mayo or sour cream)

Mix all ingredients in a bowl and funnel into an old salad dressing bottle. We like ours chunky, so I just mix it up with a fork. If you like it creamy, you can purée until smooth. Delicious!

 

Homemade Hippie Orange Cleaner

This is almost too easy to post about. I feel like I should have been doing this my entire life, and somehow I got tricked into paying $4 for a spray bottle of orange cleaner. Craziness.

I have a juicer now, and I am really enjoying fresh vegetable & fruit juices. However, I now have citrus peels coming out my ears. This is just one of the many uses for them. I’ll keeping posting more ideas to get rid of them, as I find them. Unfortunately chickens don’t like citrus peels, which is what I do with the rest of the veggie pulp, and I can’t bear to throw them away! (no I’m not a hoarder, just a crazy hippie)

Homemade Orange Cleaner

  • Vinegar (just plain organic, white vinegar will do)
  • lots of citrus peels (orange, lemon, lime or a combination)

Place peels in vinegar. I cut mine small and put them right in the original vinegar bottle, because I’m crazy like that. Let this sit around for 6 weeks or so. When you remember to shake it, shake it. This releases oil from the peels and makes it more a more potent grease cutter. I shook mine a lot and vigorously and let it sit around for about 2 months. You’re going to love this and use it like crazy, so I would recommend that you start a new gallon every month or so, so you never run out. Also, writing the date on the jug/jar really helps 🙂

Strain out the citrus when you think it’s “done”. Refill an old spray bottle (because I know you’re saving those right?) I honestly don’t think I will need to make any other cleaners now. This one just takes the cake. I have cleaned my oven, stove top, kitchen counters, sink, added 1/2 cup to the mop water, and sprayed the whole bathroom. It is very excellent for dusting! The only thing it won’t work for is windows/glass or to polish faucets and such. It is also excellent added to your sink full of dishes. If you are soaking some kind of baked on nasty lasagna or something, this does the trick. We all know that vinegar is great for cleaning and is a natural disinfectant, who knew that adding a bit of citrus oil would improve it so much?

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Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers (soaked)

I am still playing around with cracker recipes! I have never eaten so many crackers in my life. But we all know that I am an absolute cheese-oholic. And what better to place under my cheese, then a nice crispy cracker. Why bother making them yourself you ask? This is the ingredient list from a regular box of plain Wheat Thins:

  • Enriched Whole Wheat Flour- enriched because they strip and extrude the grain at extremely high temperature and pressure, killing every vitamin and mineral naturally found in wheat. So synthetic  vitamins are added back in to try and fool you. I personally doubt that we absorb much, if any, of these synthetic vitamins.
  • Soybean Oil- from GMO soybeans. Don’t even get me started
  • Cornstarch-from GMO corn
  • Malt Syrup-sweetener made from GMO corn
  • Sugar- made from GMO sugar beets
  • BHT- added to the packaging to “preserve freshness” This is a fancy way of saying, “you are eating a rancid food and we added a deodorizer to the box so it doesn’t stink when you open it.

Sound appetizing? These crackers are really very easy to make. And the soaking step is ridiculously simple. I hate to shop, so for me this is actually a much easier option than going to a store and buying a box of premade crackers. Ha!

Homemade Wheat Thin Crackers (soaked)

1 1/4 cup organic wheat flour (freshly ground if you can)

1/4 cup water + 2Tbsp

4 Tbsp butter (unsalted)

1 1/2 Tbsp sugar

1/4 tsp paprika

1/4 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp salt (plus more for salting before baking)

  • Combine flour, sugar, salt, and paprika.
  • Cut in the butter. I used a food processor, but you don’t have to.
  • Add water and stir to combine.

Wrap dough tightly in plastic wrap and place in a very warm location. Mine took a nice long nap over night on top of the fridge. The ideal temperature would be between 110 and 130 degrees. Maybe the oven with the pilot light? And ideas? Between baking and letting it sit out for 8-24 hours you are breaking down a very large portion of the phytic acid and pre-digesting the gluten. I also like soaking because it breaks your recipes up into two seperate days, which to me feels like less work for some reason….If you don’t care about soaking, then carry on with the baking right now!

Flour your counter top and roll out the dough. You want the crackers to be very thin, so they will be crispy. Transfer the dough to a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Score the crackers deeply with a sharp knife. I make mine exactly the size of my mouth 🙂 Sprinkle with a small amount of extra salt. I over did it the first time and they were too salty, so beware.

Bake in a 400 degree oven for 5-10 minutes. Check them after 5 and remove the crackers that are smaller or thinner and are browning too fast. You’ll know the ones….cool. break. eat.

For the sake of the experiment I actually “borrowed” some wheat thins from a co-worker and brang them home. I ate a real wheat thin and a homemade wheat thin and they tasted EXACTLY THE SAME. I made Rob test them both with his eyes closed and he couldn’t tell the difference. Success!

For the absolute best nutritional value, grind your flour fresh. I have not squeezed the grain mill into my budget yet, but I am almost there. I can’t wait!

P.S If you have a Kitchen Aid Mixer, you can buy a very inexpensive attachment for it that will grind fresh grain! I wish I had one…..but I am still using a good old fashioned wooden spoon 🙂

10 Minute Dinner: Shrimp and Garlic Pasta

Rob is a big fan of shrimp. He once ate an entire bag of cocktail shrimp by himself (and groaned for the rest of the night about it). I love them too, and shrimp are a fast easy way to pack in the nutrition. 4 ounces of shrimp contain 23.7 grams of protein. They are also high in selenium, magnesium, Vitamins B12 and B3, choline, iron, phosphorus, omega 3 fatty acids, zinc and copper. So eat as many as you like 🙂 We like this dish heavy on the shrimp, and light on the pasta, but you can adjust according to your tastes.

Shrimp & Garlic Pasta

1/2 pkg fettucine style brown rice noodles (or other pasta of choice)

3-4 Tbsp raw grass-fed butter

2-4 cloves of garlic, crushed (I’m a freak and put 5 in)

1 bag (16 oz) frozen cocktail shrimp (with tails removed)

1 tsp homemade Italian Seasoning (sometimes I’m too lazy and just throw in some parsley for color)

Pour shrimp into a large bowl and fill with cold water, to thaw. Boil water and cook pasta. Drain pasta and stir in garlic and butter and spices. Drain shrimp thoroughly and mix into pasta. Eat and enjoy.

Great with a green salad with homemade salad dressing or just in a pretty bowl with a large side of raw milk 🙂

Sometimes you need dinner in 10 minutes. Lately I have been trying to work out more often, so I need quick meals a few times a week. It’s either the trusty crock pot, a grilled hunk of meat and a salad, or this yummy pasta dish. If you are eliminating grains, I have made this with spaghetti squash and it is very good. This is the simple, basic version of this recipe to save time. You could add any vegetable or spice combination that you wish to change it up.

Orange and Ginger Carrots

I recently purchased a juicer. Anyone with a juicer knows that you have A LOT of carrots around the house all of a sudden. I decided to actually cook and eat these carrots, rather than squeeze the life out of them and throw the pulp out to the chickens.

Orange and Ginger Carrots

1 lbs carrots

2 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp fresh grated ginger

1/3 cup orange juice

Salt & Pepper to taste

dry basil, dill or mint to garnish (very pretty, but optional)

Oh ginger, you ugly little root

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Turn down to low and cover tightly with a lid. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until tender. Remove the lid and boil off any remaining liquid.

Garnish and serve hot (with butter if you’re smart).

Homemade Cheese Cloth Bags

I make a lot of yogurt. With a lot of yogurt comes a lot of whey, yogurt cheese, sourcream, and cream cheese. In the past I had a small local fabric store, that sold the sturdy cheesecloth by the bolt. I would buy a few yards for a few dollars and I was set for the year. That store went out of business and now I’m lost! All I can find is the flimsy cheesecloth with holes that are way too big, and is so cheap that you can’t reuse it. That can end up being expensive. And we all know how cheap I am….

But alas I found the answer! And a permanent answer, that you won’t have to buy again and again and again.

I don’t normally shop at Walmart. Not for any ethical reason really, it’s just a total zoo. In our area there are only 3 Walmarts for 5.7 million people. Crowds are not my favorite thing. However I am the ultimate cheapskate, and so I ventured in to Walmart, bought 4 packages for these flour sack towels (for $2.79 per package) and ran for my life. (to be honest it took me two trips. The first time I was so depressed with the lack of healthy choices, and disgusted with the families in there with shopping carts full of garbage that I had to leave. But that’s a whole other topic…)

At home I washed and dried the towels and got to work straining yogurt. I loved the durability and texture of the towel, it was perfect. But I had a problem with yogurt going around the edges of the towel and into the whey. So I folded one towel in half, and sewed up the edges (by hand, because I don’t have a sewing machine) and ran a ribbon through the top for a drawstring.

Now I can pour a whole gallon of yogurt into this bag and hang it over a bowl and leave it to strain. I don’t have to babysit it, I can just come back the next day and it’s cheese…

Your other option, and I am going to do this next time, is to skip the drawstring part. These towels are the perfect shape, if you just sew up the long sides. They fit right down into a 1 gallon pitcher. Just fold the towel edges around the rim of the pitcher, and secure in place with a rubberband. Pour in your yogurt and leave it to drain.

They rinse out really easily under warm water, and can be thrown right into the wash. God, I love being cheap. 1 towel makes 2 large, gallon-sized bags. So you can make at least 10 bags for $0.27 cents per bag! That was worth the trip!

Add some herbs and homemade crackers and this is the perfect snack!

Soap Nuts Liquid Around the House (and on your head)

In case you have no idea what on earth a Soap Nut is….read this first. I have been doing laundry with soap nuts for years, and I love them. You can also make liquid soap with these versatile little buggers and use it all around the house. Soap nuts liquid is also the best shampoo I have ever used!

Soap Nut Liquid

6 cups water

12-15 soap nuts (or pieces)

Bring water to a boil. Add soap nuts and turn down to low. Simmer for 30-45 minutes. You will end up with about 4 cups of concentrated soap. You have extracted every bit of soap when the soap nut shells turn very light tan or gray. (If you are super frugal you can take the used up soap nuts and puree them. The paste is an excellent, high-powered cleanser)

Because Soap Nut Liquid is a botanical tree fruit and free of all preservatives, PABA, sulfates, lanolin, parabens,  phthlates, phosphates, formaldehyde, petro-chemicals, fragrance, dyes, alcohols, chlorine, and talc, it can be stored at room temperature for 4-5 days. Soap Nut Liquid will keep in the fridge for 2-3 weeks. I keep mine in a small jar in the door of the fridge, and I pour the rest into an ice-cube tray and pop it in the freezer. One cube is perfect for one load of laundry, one load of dishes, or one mop of the whole floor. I also fill my small plastic shampoo bottle (an old ketchup dispenser with a tiny nozzle that I got at Walmart for .98 cents works perfect!) and keep it in the shower.

I buy my soap nuts from Naturoli, and I highly recommend them. Check out these suggestions from www.naturoli.com:

For Jewelry: Soak jewelry in soap nuts liquid for a few minutes. Use an old soft toothbrush to remove debris. Rinse with clean water and polish with a soft cloth. Soap nuts have been used as a fantastic jewelry cleaner for eons. There’s no need for harsh, toxic chemicals!

For Pets: Superb for pets! Your little loved ones will never feel and smell this fresh again! They’ll appreciate it, too! (note from Heather: this soap does not strip the natural oil from your pets fur/skin, thus reducing dander)

For Shampoo: Use soap nuts liquid to shampoo hair. Leave in for about 5 minutes.  Rinse as usual with warm water. If you prefer more suds, add a little of your favorite shampoo. We know it’s hard not to want more suds, but trust us it really is cleaning your hair. You will be amazed at the results. AND you don’t need hair conditioner, because soap nuts are a natural conditioner and anti-static.

For Dishwashers: Fill the dishwasher soap dispenser with soap nuts liquid. Wash as usual. Tip: For extra sparkle, add a half-ounce of vinegar to the rinse dispenser or during the rinse cycle.

For Hand Wash: Add about 2 tbsp of soap nuts liquid to wash water and stir, or make a tea with your soap nuts muslin bag. Simply hand wash as usual.

For Steam Cleaning Carpets: Soap nuts work exceptionally well in carpet cleaners because they are so low sudsing and odor reducing. Add about a quarter cup of soap nut liquid to hot water in the portable cleaner. Great for urine stains!

For Household Cleaning: Pour soap nuts liquid into a spray bottle. Use full strength or dilute as desired. Use for sinks, counters, floors, etc.

For Windows and Glass: Fill a spray bottle with about 8 oz of water. Add a half-ounce of soap nuts liquid and a half-ounce of vinegar. Spray and then wipe clean with dry cloth.

So what do you think? Worth a try? I had a really hard time at first, because of the lack of suds. I found it really difficult when I was hand washing dishes! We are so used to suds, that it just doesn’t feel clean enough when there aren’t bubbles!

My shampoo bottles. Because soap nuts shampoo is runny, these dispense just the right amount of soap. I keep one in the fridge and one in the shower.

 I was really sold when I started washing my hair with this liquid. My hair has never been softer. The cool part is you can wash your hair, body, face and the shower, all with the same soap. Talk about frugal. I also think this would be a great alternative to the no-poo method, because it does not strip the natural oils from your hair, and leaves it very soft and moist. Zero hair conditioner is needed! I will never have to buy shampoo again.

I pay $46.00 for a 5 lb bag of soap nuts from Naturoli. (keep in mind that ONE pound does 160 loads of laundry. That’s 0.5 cents per load of clothes) so this soap nuts shampoo costs me just under .02 cents per head wash. Not too shabby….considering I don’t have to buy conditioner anymore either.

P.S If you don’t want to hassle with boiling the soap nuts, and the fact that the liquid spoils quickly, you can grind the dry soap nuts into a powder in a coffee grinder and put the powder directly on your head, or directly into the washing machine, or use as a scouring powder etc.

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