Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Blueberry-Cucumber Smoothie

Blueberries and cucumbers are in season right now and with these hot sunny days, a light, refreshing smoothie is simply delightful. Sometimes I like to add everything but the kitchen sink to my smoothies, but a friend of mine who was recently visiting suggested these ingredients and urged me to keep it simple. So, reluctantly, I added just 3 ingredients. Now this is one of our favorite summertime smoothies. Cucumbers are naturally cooling and blueberries are very high in antioxidants, helping to protect our bodies from the damaging effect of the sun's rays.

Our children think this smoothie is divine! When they woke up this morning I asked them what they would like for breakfast, they emphatically exclaimed, "blueberry-cucumber smoothie mom!" Well, we made green smoothies and oatmeal, but will enjoy the cucumber smoothie for a snack later on.

This smoothie recipe can be used during Phase 1 (and all phases) of the Elimination Diet. It can also be used as part of the first 2 day green smoothie fast. I am sure you could get very creative here and add some greens to increase the nutrition. I would start by adding a few handfuls of fresh spinach.



Blueberry-Cucumber Smoothie

Serve this icy cold, refreshing smoothie for a late afternoon summer snack. It is thirst-quenching and full of powerful antioxidants. It can also be frozen into popsicle molds for a nutritious, kid-friendly snack. Happy Summer!

1 large cucumber, peeled and sliced
2 cups fresh blueberries
1 cup apple juice or water
2 cups ice cubes

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend on high for about 60 to 90 seconds. Serve immediately. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com

More Smoothie Recipes:


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Minty Chicken-Zucchini Kebobs

Since it is grilling season, I thought it would be fitting to offer an easy, crowd-pleasing recipe for these sultry summer evenings. Our garden is overflowing with fresh mint and zucchini right now and I'm imagining that these ingredients are readily available for you too right now. Of course most fresh garden veggies would do well here. Think cherry tomatoes, peppers, and chunks of red onions.

Although I don't use an exact recipe when making the marinade for these, you can use my recipe for Pepper-Mint Dressing and Marinade. I use all of the same ingredients, just without measuring. Cooking is much more fun this way. ;-)


Minty Chicken-Zucchini Kebobs

This recipe can easily be doubled for serving a crowd. Add more veggies to make the meat go further. Try adding mushrooms, peppers, onions, and tomatoes to the kebobs if desired. Serve with a large green salad or a Cucumber-Tomato Basil Salad and cooked quinoa.

2 to 3 organic chicken breasts, cut into chunks
4 to 5 small zucchini, cut into thick rounds
bamboo skewers

Prepare the Pepper-Mint Dressing. Set out a 9 x 13-inch or 10 x 14-inch glass baking dish for marinating the kebobs.

Alternate the chunks of chicken and zucchini rounds onto the bamboo skewers. Place skewers into the glass pan and pour the mint marinade over them. Turn them a few times to coat evenly. Cover, refrigerate, and let marinate for 30 minutes to 4 hours.

Heat your grill to medium-high. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning two or three times during cooking.


More Summer Fun Recipes:


Thursday, July 15, 2010

How to Make Honey-Sweetened Jam


Homemade jam is usually so full of sugar, but it doesn't have to be! Using Pomona's Pectin, one can make a low-sugar, honey-sweetened, or fruit juice-sweetened homemade jam. This particular pectin comes from citrus peel. The jelling is activated by calcium water (mono calcium phosphate) which comes with the pectin. It is so easy to make jam from all of your freshly picked fruit of the season. Making and canning jam is one of the great ways to preserve the harvest!

Last year I experimented quite a bit with some of the hundreds of pounds of fruit we harvested. I made an awesome Vanilla-Plum Jam sweetened with coconut sugar, a Honey-Sweetened Blueberry Jam, Spiced Peach Jam made without pectin and with sugar, Blueberry-Lemon Jam made with a small amount of pureed unripe, immature apples as the pectin source (unripe apples are high in pectin), a tart Italian Plum-Agave Jam, and Cherry-Peach Jam sweetened with grape juice concentrate. Let me tell you, homemade jam makes for many wonderful Christmas gifts!

Honey-Sweetened Jam

My recipe is barely adapted from the very detailed directions and variations given in the package of Pomona Pectin. You should be able to find this particular pectin at your local co-op or health food store. I use a blender (Vita-Mix) to quickly mash my fruit. Not so it is pureed, just ground up and still a little chunky. This recipe is for strawberries, raspberries, cherries, currants, and gooseberries. You'll need to add a certain amount of lemon juice for other fruits. Follow the directions that come with the package. The two jams pictured here are Strawberry-Honey and Strawberry-Raspberry-Black Currant-Honey. For the later, I used equal parts of the three fruits.

8 to 10 cups prepared fruit (hulled, rinsed, stems removed) = to 6 cups mashed, ground-up fruit
1 tablespoon calcium water*
1 cup honey
1 tablespoon Pomona Pectin

Boil your jars and lids in a large pot. For this recipe I use five 12-ounce jam jars. Turn off heat and let them stand in hot water until you are ready to use them.

Fill your Vita-Mix to the brim with your fruit. Pulse and blend until you have 6 cups of ground-up, slightly chunky fruit. Pour into a large pot. Add the calcium water. Stir well. Bring to a boil. In the meantime, mix one cup of honey with the one tablespoon of pectin. I use a fork to do this. Add honey-pectin to boiling fruit and stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Bring back to a boil for a few more minutes.

Carefully lift your jars out of the pot with a pair of tongs, empty out any water, and set onto a towel on your counter. Pour jam into each jar, leaving about 1/4-inch of space at the top. Wipe any excess from the rim using a moist clean towel. You need to make sure the rim is completely clean so you get a good, solid seal. Lift the lids from the hot water with the tongs and place onto the jars. Screw on lids. Place jars into a boiling water bath for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove and let cool on counter. After 24 hours all lids should have sealed. They usually seal within the hour. You'll hear a loud "pop." Please refer to the post I did last year on How to Make and Can Applesauce for detailed photos on the canning process.

*The Calcium Water is made by mixing the powdered calcium with water. Directions are in the package.


Pictured above is my recipe for Oatmeal-Banana Pancakes spread with the Strawberry-Raspberry-Black Currant Jam. The pancake recipe is in the cookbook! :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Strawberry-Hazelnut Shortcakes (gluten-free)

It is still strawberry season here in the Pacific Northwest. The other day I picked about five pounds of those tasty, sweet early summer morsels right from our backyard patch. If you have extra berries I suggest hulling them and freezing them on a cookie sheet to use for smoothies or strawberry lemonade throughout the summer. If you have a surplus of strawberries then making jam might be a good thing. A honey-sweetened strawberry jam recipe will be up on the blog soon!

I've added a finely ground hazelnut meal to these shortcakes to boost their nutritional value. As a bonus, they're also rice-free. I use the hazelnut meal from Bob's Red Mill. You can find it on amazon.com if you would like to get it in bulk. If you can't find it, a good substitution would be to use a finely ground almond meal.


Strawberry-Hazelnut Shortcakes

This gluten-free, egg-free shortcake recipe is actually the topping for my fruit cobblers. So yes, hint, hint, if you would like to make a peach, cherry, blueberry, or plum cobbler you can drop this biscuit dough on top of your prepared fruit in a baking pan and bake away! The sorghum flour in this recipe can be replaced with brown rice flour or a mix of brown rice flour and millet flour if need be. If you want to have "whipped cream" you can place a can of coconut milk in the fridge to chill for several hours. Open the can and remove the cream from the top to dollop onto the shortcakes. Be sure to keep the coconut cream chilled until use.

3/4 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup finely ground hazelnut meal
1/4 cup tapioca flour
2 tbls organic cane sugar, maple sugar, or coconut sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
5 tbls organic palm shortening or cold unsalted butter
1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use hemp milk)

strawberries, hulled and sliced
sprinkling of sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a medium sized bowl, add the sorghum flour, hazelnut meal, tapioca flour, sugar, baking powder, xanthan gum, and salt. Whisk together well.

Cut in the shortening or butter with a pastry knife or your fingers until pea-sized crumbs form. Add the milk and quickly stir using a fork.

Drop dough into four shortcakes using a large spoon. If desired, you can gently shape them with your hands into circular, flat biscuit shapes. Bake for 15 to 17 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

While the shortcakes are baking, prepare your strawberries. Place the slices berries into a bowl with a sprinkling of sugar and let macerate for about 20 minutes.

Top shortcakes with berries and a dollop of coconut cream. Serves 4. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com


More berry recipes:

More berrylicious recipes from around the blogosphere:

Other News:

My friend/colleague Andrea Livingston has just launched a truly brilliant-sounding program to teach parents how to best nourish their child toward health and vitality. Your Vibrant Child Tele-seminar Series beginning this Thursday, 7/8.


Andrea is a vanguard holistic chef in Portland, OR, working to create delicious and nutrient dense foods for her clients and community. In her business she's found the benefits of food to be especially critical for kids, whose developing bodies and brains need great nutrients, plus they need them to taste good. She's teamed up with Andrea Nakayama, an innovative nutritionist to design this upcoming tele-seminar series for parents entitled Your Vibrant Child. www.yourvibrantchild.com

  • Introduce nutritious foods that your kids will love
  • Remove the anti-nutrients that can make your child sick
  • Understand why and how to do it!
  • Become part of a revolution of parents who are gracefully guiding their children toward the vibrancy they deserve

Because Andrea's a good friend/colleague, she's allowed me to offer my friends and family a discount of $25 on the program fee. To redeem this discount, use the code: ALSE when signing up for the program.


You can hop on over to the Your Vibrant Child website www.yourvibrantchild.com to check it out now. And help me support her in getting the word out! Thanks! :)


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