Thursday, June 18, 2009

Healthy Desserts: Quick Compromise Cupcakes

My youngest son turned 2 yesterday. We had just returned from a trip out of town but I really wanted to bring something for celebration to my eldest son's soccer class (filled with lots of mutual friends and little siblings who watch). This gave me about an hour to come up with something. Sadly, not enough time to soak or sprout and grains. However, if a pie can have unbleached white flour for the crust, then surely some birthday cupcakes can have un-soaked, non-sprouted, whole spelt flour.

Quick Compromise Carob Cupcakes
makes 12

Cake Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups whole spelt flour (use sprouted flour to remove the compromise! Though be prepared to use more milk)
1 cup milk
1 cup rapadura
1/3 cup carob powder
1/3 cup melted butter
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp chocolate extract (optional)
1 tsp vinegar

Topping Ingredients:
1-2 cups heavy whipping cream (not ultra-pasteurized)
pinch of stevia powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350. Place all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with a hand-held mixer. Divide into muffin tray lined with baking cups and bake for 20 minutes. Remove from tray immediately and let cool on wire racks. In the mean time, whip cream until soft peaks form, add stevia and vanilla extract and whip until cream is quite thick (but not butter). Place a dollop of cream on each cup cake and enjoy!

One of the moms commented on how "organic" these cupcakes look. Organic in the sense of simple and from the earth, not necessarily that they looked certifiable =) I enjoyed the novelty of cupcakes with cream rather than frosting as well, and the kids all thought it was grand (and no one seemed to mind the carob!)

Monday, June 15, 2009

CSA Report: 3rd Week of June

Please forgive the horrible image quality

Flowers and Food!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Healthy Desserts: Lemon Merengue Pie

This is a lovely cold dessert for warm summer nights.

Have a partially-baked pie crust ready (partially bake by placing in cold oven set to 300 for 15 minutes)

In a sauce pan, combine grated rind of 2 lemons, 1/2 cup lemon juice, 3/4 cup pure maple syrup, and a mixture of 4 tbsp Arrowroot powder with 6 tbsp water. Cook this mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly until well combined and thickened (it will not thicken into jelly until it cooks in the pie and cools). Let the mixture cool and then beat in 3 egg yolks and 1 tbsp butter.

Meanwhile, beat 4 egg whites (or more) with a pinch of sea salt until softly stiff. Mix in 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 2-4 tbsp Rapadura and beat until stiff

Pour lemon filling into the partially baked crust and top carefully with the meringue, sealing in the pie from the crust.

Bake at 325 for about 20 minutes. Let cool completely before serving, this pie tastes even better after it has been kept in the refrigerator over night.

Monday, June 8, 2009

CSA Report: 2nd Week of June


Mystery item:
Turns out to be anise flavored Fennel!

Great Give-a-way

New Urban Habitat is hosting a great give-a-way this week. It is for the book The Backyard Homestead. This is a great resource for gardening and seed saving. This book will teach you to maximize the most local food source possible - your own backyard "farm".

Enter for a chance to win!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

June Challenge: Kick the Sugar Blues

I think summer is the perfect time to wean yourself off refined sweeteners. There are so many lovely and naturally sweet options available. June begins berry season, and I already have plans to do some picking next week. For the U-Pick options in your area, peruse Pick Your Own.

Why kick sugar? Refined sugar is not a food, regardless of how much more "natural" it is than the packaged chemical substitutes. The process sugar cane is taken through to produce that white stuff we Americans are so addicted to is the same process that opium poppies are taken through to produce heroine. This is not a food; it is a drug.

Like all drugs, when you ingest sugar it has profound effects on your body. The moment your body registers that you've eaten sugar, it tells your body to fuel itself on the sugar and carbs rather than burn fat for energy (want to loose a couple pounds for the summer? Cut white sugar and white flour!). Here are some other interesting links on removing sugar from your diet.

Sugar picks you up and lets you down ("sugar blues"). It interferes with clear mental processing, natural energy, and normal body rhythms. It is unquestionably linked as a cause of diabetes (along with refined flour). It is addictive! The more you eat, the more you crave. Further, it does nothing to satisfy. Your body registers fullness on fat content and nutrient-density. Sugary snacks will only leave you hungry for more as your body will not recognize that you gave it something to feed itself. Before you reach for that sweet snack, opt for a big glass of raw milk first, or some buttered toast with honey.

William Dufty's "Sugar Blues" converted me nearly overnight. I literally went through my cupboards and threw away anything with any form of sugar or high fructose corn syrup on the label (ketchup, mayo, cereal, bread, you name it!).

However, I know for many people cold turkey is rarely an option. I had also just discovered I was pregnant with my second child, which was a large motivator for me. As with any drug addiction, it is the first few days that are the most difficult. For me, this is why removing everything from my house was a good first step. You will also need something to replace the sugar. Even if you are still eating far too many natural sweeteners while you transition, they will not give you the same addiction problems as they are actually foods. After you transition you will naturally wean yourself down to healthy levels of natural sweets.

For those not interested in cold-turkey sugar abandonment, this article provides great baby-steps towards transitioning sugar out of your life.

Challenge Level One:
Pay close attention to what your actual sugar intake is for this month. Write it down. 100 years ago the average American ate roughly 5 pounds of refined sugar per person per year. Now, the average American consumes 175 pounds of sugar per year. That is alarming! Read labels on EVERYTHING and make a list of all the places sugar is hiding in your diet (remember, look at the ingredient list, not the grams listed on the "nutrition" panel).

Challenge Level Two:
Purchase William Dufty's "Sugar Blues" or check it out from the library and put it on your early summer reading list. It might change your life. OR Read the above mentioned article on transitioning sugar out of your life and see how many of the steps you can implement in June. Let me know!

Challenge Level Three:
See if you can go the whole month sugar free. Gorge on fresh berries, substitute with raw honey, pure maple syrup, stevia powder, Rapadura, and Molasses. There are candies and chocolates you can buy - but still read the ingredients! Some of the alternate flavors use different sweeteners.

In order to help you this month, I will try to post a dessert recipe each week (or more often!). I will be catering a graduation reception mid-month and will be crafting several desserts for the celebration so it should be easy to share some of that goodness here (though it is likely I will also provide some sugared pies since it is for such a large group and I have not been asked to cater it in the Weston A. Price style).

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

CSA Report: 1st Week of June


This week's CSA box provided (from left to right in 4 rows)

Top "Row": Red Leaf Lettuce Head, Green Leaf Lettuce Head
Second "Row": Purple Kale, Dill, Cilantro, Chard
Third "Row": Radishes, Garlic Snapes, Purple and Green Kohlrabi
Fourth "Row": Large bag of Spinach, Zuchini, Cucumber, Rainbow Chard

The garlic snapes were new to me. I had to look up "curly long green things" on google, which produced this page that enlightened me and provided recipie ideas.

I thought they looked lovely as as a centerpiece,


But decided they were even tastier as a "pesto"


Raw Garlic Snape Pesto (as per the website mentioned above)
1 bunch garlic snapes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 cup freshly grated raw Parmesan cheese

Process garlic snapes and olive oil in food processor until well combined and transfer to a serving bowl. Fold in Parmesan by hand.

Everyone raved about the pesto (children included)! It served as as topping for the roasted chicken last night, and as a sandwich base for leftover chicken sandwiches today. It would also be lovely with chips or crackers and I might have enough left over to experiment with it in a salad dressing for tonight. YUM.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Photobucket

Here is the meal plan for this week after perusing the pantry and our CSA box.

Monday
B: Scrambled Eggs and toast, raw milk
L: PB&Honey, carrots, raw milk
D: Roasted Chicken with gravy (little bits of liver hidden here), Fresh green salad, Sauteed Kale, Raw Garlic Snape Pesto, raw milk.
Dessert: Lemon Merengue Pie
To Do: Soak peanuts, begin buttermilk marinade for roast, marinate stew meat, make pie crust + extra for later, soak oats

Tuesday
B: Oatmeal porridge (with butter, cinnamon & raisins), raw milk
L: Chicken sandwiches with garlic snape pesto spread, carrots, raw milk
D: Potluck! Contributing "all day" beef stew and a large green salad
To Do: Begin dehydrating peanuts, soak flour for buttermilk bread, feed sourdough mother, soak oats

Wednesday
B: Oatmeal porridge (with butter, cinnamon & raisins), raw milk
L: Chicken sandwiches, carrots, raw milk
D: Beef Roast, Mashed Yams, Sauteed Chard, Green Salad, raw milk
To Do: Make Buttermilk bread, feed sourdough mother, make coconut "white fudge", soak oats

Thursday
B: Oatmeal porridge (with butter, cinnamon & raisins), raw milk
L: Roast beef sandwiches, carrots, raw milk
D: Spinach Quiche, Green Salad, raw milk
To Do: Soak wheat berries, make yogurt, make homemade dill mayonnaise, soak oats

Friday
B: Oatmeal porridge (with butter, cinnamon & raisins), raw milk
L: Quiche, Salad, Raw milk
D: Burgers, Steamed Kohlrabi, Green Salad, Raw milk
To Do: Rinse and continue soaking wheat berries, start new batch of Kombucha, soak flour for pancakes

Saturday
B: Soured Pancakes, raw milk
L: Fritattas, raw milk
D: Leftovers from week with Green Salad and sauteed Chard, raw milk
To Do: Make zarathustra crackers, make creme fraiche

Sunday
B: Eggs and toast, raw milk
L: PB&Honey, raw milk
D: Burritos, Rice, Cilantro salad, raw milk
To Do: Soak rice in AM, soak oats

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This post is participating in Menu Plan Monday at OrgJunkie.org
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