First of all, let me apologize for the silence over the last couple of months. One of my goals this year was to post at least once a week and we can all tell that didn’t happen. I don’t have a great reason, other than letting myself get busy and distracted. I can’t promise any huge changes, but my hope is to give this ol’ blog some more attention in the coming months.
So, lets get down to the business of why I’m here right now. Today is the first day of fall! And we all know what that means, right? Pumpkin.
I’ve been impatiently waiting for this day all summer and it’s finally here! The day that I can give in to my obsession of pumpkin infused food and drink and not be scolded for it still being summer. The day that fall wreaths and harvest scented candles are socially acceptable. Ah…a good day indeed.
A couple of years ago, I brought you a recipe for Pumpkin Spice Coffee Syrup. Although that recipe is a good one, I think I may have come up with a new one that is at least 2 times better. For starters, it calls for about 1/2 of the ingredients and is ridiculously easy. Instead of white sugar like the old recipe, I used brown sugar. That was a brilliant idea (if I may say so myself). It has a rich, molasses-y flavor that makes me all warm and fuzzy inside (if brown sugar can do that, and I propose that it can). Enough small talk…here’s the recipe!
UPDATE 6/26/15: Okay, so before you read this recipe, please note that in the past 2 years my understanding of Whole30 has DRASTICALLY improved. I know that the following recipe is not a Whole30 approved option as it is what some people call SWYPO (sex with your pants on). Please proceed forward with the understanding that this recipe is a great one – but not necessarily during a Whole30 challenge. One very important aspect of Whole30 is to get away from paleo-fied foods, such as baked goods, desserts, etc. This recipe is great breakfast option for after your Whole30 if you find that baked goods are not a stumbling block for you. Now, proceed with fair warning :)
We are not dieters. We don’t jump on the bandwagon of fad diets simply because they. don’t. work. Josh and I have however, realized how awful we’ve been at eating well rounded meals and that food may actually have a pretty big impact on our bodies and well being. Duh.
This past week we started the Whole30 Program, which is basically Paleo but with a few more restrictions for 30 days. The key things they tell you to avoid are added sugar, alcohol, grains, legumes, dairy, white potatoes, and preservatives of any kind. The idea of the whole thing is to focus on eating real food – meat, veggies, fruits, eggs, nuts, etc. – and reset your “relationship” with food. I don’t see either Whole30 or Paleo as diets, but rather a lifestyle change. Because I have some auto immune deficiencies, I figured that it could do no harm at all to cut out things that could potentially be causing me more problems (inflammation of my joints, lack of energy, unexplained weight gain, etc.). Although we don’t think we’ll stick with it forever, I doubt that I’ll stray too far from the basics. In the past week, I’ve felt awesome (other than sugar withdrawal headaches). If you’ve never heard of Whole30 or Paleo, I really encourage you to check them out! It is so worth giving it a try, because the worst thing that could happen is that you find you enjoy eating more fruits and veggies!
I’ll do a full recap of what I’ve been eating and will be posting more recipes over the coming weeks, but right now I want to tell you about the banana muffins pictured above. Although some may argue that a few of the ingredients aren’t 100% Whole30 compliant (baking soda & baking powder), I say…pick your battles. I’ve been having a hard time getting a decent breakfast in me before work, so if a wholesome muffin can do the trick I think that’s worth it!
My recipe is inspired by this one. Because I didn’t have cashews or walnut oil, I figured I’d fudge the recipe a little and create my own. (BTW- this gal’s blog has been such a great encouragement to me and has supplied some pretty awesome recipe references! PLUS she’s a young Christian woman who met her husband while working at Camp. Bonus points!)
I have a problem that maybe you can relate to. I love breakfast. But, I love sleep too. Each morning it’s like WWIII trying to figure out which one wins. Typically my love for sleep outweighs my desire to get something nutritious into my body before work. In an effort to fulfill a few of my 2013 Challenges I’ve been slowly working to change this bad habit. I’ve figured out that if I have something reeeaalllyy tasty to wake up to, the Battle of Comfy Bed is more easily won. This recipe comes from my Mama. I’ve tweaked it a little but all glory goes to her for the original idea!
Start off with 2 1/2 cups of rolled oats, 3/4 cup chopped walnuts, 1/2 cup unsalted sunflower seeds, 3/4 cup slivered almonds, 3/4 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 cup dried cranberries and 1/4 cup ground flax seed. You’ll also want to measure out 1/4 cup canola oil and 3/4 cup honey. Microwave the oil and honey for about a 1 1/2 minutes to warm it up.
Mix the oats, walnuts, sunflower seeds, almonds, and coconut in a large bowl.
Pour the oil and honey mixture over your dry ingredients, mix to combine, and then spread out onto two parchment lined sheet pans.
Bake for 20 minutes at 325 degrees – stirring halfway through, until the nuts are toasty and golden brown. Remove from oven and add your dried cranberries and flax seed and gently mix on sheet pan with a spatula.
Let cool completely on the sheet pan and then store in an airtight container. It will stay fresh for at least 2 weeks!
Add a little milk (some almond milk maybe?!), some yogurt, add it to the top of a smoothie, or just eat it plain. Any and all ways are delicious!
Hope you enjoy this simple recipe as much as I do. You can really substitute a million different things. Next time, I think I’ll use maple syrup instead of honey and add some pecans…maybe even add some cinnamon if I’m feeling crazy! Thanks for the great recipe, Mama!
Back at the beginning of January I said that one of my 2013 challenges was to juice more often and I’m here to report that in the past month I’ve done…okay. Like maybe a “C” if you were to grade me. Not an epic fail (like my goal of blogging once per week…) but definitely not a stellar job. I’ve juiced a few times a week for the past month, so there’s a TON of room for improvement. Our goal is to replace one meal a day with juice or a smoothie.
A few months ago Josh and I watched the popular documentary Fat Sick and Nearly Deadby Joe Cross on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it yet, GO WATCH IT RIGHT NOW! It’ll shock you how well our bodies can heal themselves if given a half a chance and a good diet. Anyways, we were really encouraged by the film and purchased this Breville juicer shortly after seeing it. We’ve put it to good use so far and have really enjoyed coming up with new recipes to try. A lot of people will tell you to buy a more intense, masticating juicer ($$$), but we figured the base model would be a good start for us as we were starting at zero. Maybe one day we’ll graduate to a bigger, badder juicer, but right now little Brevvy is doing just fine!
Here are a few of our favorite juice recipes so far!
1/2 a pineapple
2 handfuls of spinach or kale
2 handfuls of spinach or kale
1 small beet
1 inch ginger
We hope to increase our intake of fresh juice over the next month. Although it requires some commitment, juicing is so rewarding, healthy and delicious!
Have you jumped on the juicing bandwagon? What is your favorite combination?
Little known fact about me: I’ve often been told that I say certain words funny, milk being one of them. Apparently, to some people (ahem, my husband!), the way I say milk sounds a whole lot like melk. When I say something like, “Hey sweetie, can you pass me the melk?” He responds with, “Well, I don’t have any melk but I do have some milk. Would you like that?” And to that I say, “Just give me some dang melk! I mean…miiiiillllk!!”
Annnnyyyyyways. We’ve been trying to cut out processed and preserved foods whenever we can. I am constantly appalled at how many words I cannot pronounce in any given ingredient list. I figure, if I can’t pronounce something it shouldn’t be in my body, right?
The other day I whipped up this almond milk (not melk). It’s such a simple recipe and has zero preservatives in it! Double score.
Homemade Almond Milk (Printable recipe at bottom of post)
1. Place 1 cup of almonds in a bowl, cover with water, and soak for about 8 hours, or overnight.
2. Drain and rinse your almonds.
3. Place almonds in a blender with 5-6 cups of filtered water. You can use a regular blender, but a high speed one (such as a Vitamix, Ninja, Blentec, etc.) definitely makes quicker work of it.
4. Blend until smooth, about 90 seconds in a high speed blender. Longer in a regular blender (up to a few minutes).
5. Lay a linen or cotton towel (just don’t use terry cloth!) in a bowl that is large enough to hold all of your liquid. If you wanna get fancy, you can use a nut milk bag like this one. Otherwise, a plain ol’ towel will work :)
6. Carefully pour your milk into your towel lined bowl.
6. Gather your towel up and gently squeeze the liquid out of the pulp into the bowl.
7. Don’t throw your almond pulp away! You’ve just created what’s known as almond meal- which is great for baking and is sold for a pretty penny in grocery stores!
8. If you’d like to try using your almond meal, spread it out on a sheet pan and bake at 350 F for 15 mins. Let it cool and store it in a zip-loc in the freezer.
9. At this point, you can add some honey or agave to sweeten your milk and some vanilla and/or almond extract to add some flavor. Some people like it completely plain, but I like mine sweetened with honey and a splash of vanilla and almond to add some extra flavor :) I found it easiest to rinse out my blender, pour the milk back in, add my honey and flavoring and give it a quick whirl to blend it all together.
Pour your finished product into a airtight container and stash in the fridge. It’ll keep for about a week and is perfect over cereal, in coffee, with cookies, in almost any recipe that calls for milk…the possibilities are endless!