Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buckwheat Pecan Thumbprint Cookies



Try making these healthy, vegan, gluten-free cookies on a rainy afternoon with your children. They will surely brighten your day! Recipes made with freshly ground buckwheat flour (from raw groats) do not require the addition of xanthan gum in order to hold together without crumbling. Buckwheat is a grain that is quite often heavily contaminated with gluten grains so be sure to purchase your groats from a certified gluten-free mill, such as Bob's Red Mill.

I use the dry container of my Vita-Mix to make homemade buckwheat flour. It quickly grinds up into a soft, non-gritty flour. You can use a coffee grinder too if you don't own a high-powered blender. Store the flour in a glass jar in your pantry for up to 3 months, or freeze it for longer storage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Low Sugar Green Smoothie



Okay, this smoothie doesn't look too green now does it? Berries and greens blended up equal brown. Although the color may not look too appetizing, the flavor is amazing! Our 4-year old twin boys drink it with a straw. They now race to see who is done first. We hear "done" and then "done" and then "no, I was done first" and then "I'm not playing first game." Just so you all know, drinking your smoothie as fast as you can is not optimal for digestion. It is best to let each sip sit in your mouth for at least 30 seconds to allow for enzymes such as amylase to begin to break down the fruit sugars.

We've been asked many times to offer green smoothie recipes that don't contain too much fruit sugar. Normally we use two tart apples and two pears in each smoothie, but by using berries instead you keep the overall glycemic index much lower. Plus, the combination of the berries, cherries, and greens create a superfood smoothie! No need to buy expensive, exotic fruits such as the acai berry! Did you know that blueberry consumption can lead to an increase in beneficial bifidobacterium in the gut? They are also effective at eradicating harmful, pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Another reason to make blueberries a regular part of your diet!

Use a glass or stainless steel straw for children. Straws seem to make green smoothies much more fun to drink!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Simple Whole Roasted Organic Chicken with Garlic & Herbs


We like to roast a whole, organic chicken on occasion for family meals. In the wintertime I will serve it with sautéed winter greens, such as kale and collards, a few spoonfuls of raw sauerkraut or cultured vegetables, and roasted root vegetables. In the springtime, I like to serve it with a light quinoa radish salad with fresh parsley, lemon, and chopped sorrel or napa cabbage. The next day I pull the meat off the bone and use it to make chicken salad, chicken pot pie, or toss it into soup.

So nothing goes to waste, I put the bones and skin into a stockpot along with a chopped onion, celery, carrot, garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, a piece of kombu, and a little cider vinegar; cover with water, and simmer for about 6 hours. This creates the most wonderful, nutritious, healing soup stock. You can freeze it in quart jars and use it everywhere stock or broth is called for in a recipe.

We always use organic chicken, but prefer to use organic chicken that is also local and pastured. What's the difference? Well, organic chickens can still be mass produced in large open hen houses. They are fed an organic grain feed and sometimes have access to the outdoors. Non-organic chickens are generally raised in cramped quarters and fed non-organic grains, which are most likely genetically engineered. (I won't even get into antibiotic use here). Pastured chickens can be ordered online but usually you will be able to find a farmer who sells them locally. We have quite a few around us, in fact you can find them in the frozen section of our local food co-op and health food store. Pastured chickens are usually fed some organic grain but also eat a diet rich in vegetable scraps, bugs, grasses, and moss creating a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. They also have plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and space to move.