Sometimes I get really tired of breakfast. I’m not really a breakfast food person, although I won’t turn down pancakes or crepes. I prefer leftover dinner for breakfast, but even that has me feeling “blah” lately. A smoothie is a wonderful way boost your vegetable, fruit, and protein intake. They are easy to make, convenient, and a light and healthy way to consume high fiber and nutrients that most of us have a difficult time getting enough of in our diets.
This recipe is adapted from Women’s Health Magazine. Theirs didn’t have protein powder, or pineapple. They also had two apples and ginger where I had 1 apple and no ginger (I love ginger, husband doesn’t). They also juiced theirs. I don’t believe in juicing. Although it looks gorgeous, whereas mine resembled a bit of pea soup, you miss out on all of that amazing fiber if you juice instead of simply blending. If you can, use all organic ingredients.
Pea soup look aside, this smoothie is delicious and fresh tasting. Sure to give you a light and energetic start to your Friday!
Going Green Smoothie
*Makes two 16 ounce smoothies
1 Large Packed Handful of Baby Spinach Leaves
2 Medium Carrots, peel on
2 Stalks of Celery
1 Apple, cored, skin on
1/2 Cup Pineapple
Juice of 1/2 Large Lemon
2 Scoops Protein Powder, I use brown rice protein
About 8 oz. Spring Water
About 8 oz. Ice
Place all ingredients in a heavy-duty blender and blend until smooth. You can add more water for whatever consistency you desire.
Over the weekend I ordered a hot chocolate at a specialty shop downtown. I like to go to that particular shop because I know that their sipping chocolate is dairy free and they will make me a hot cup with almond milk.
Or so I thought.
If possible, I usually watch people make my food and drinks. Because honestly, no one cares as much about my food allergies as I do. But on this occasion I was on a date weekend with my husband who has been traveling a lot. My focus was on him and we were chatting away, not paying attention to my favorite cup of sipping chocolate. As we walked out the door with my to go cup, I first put my nose to it and inhaled deeply as I always do. Ahhh…chocolate. Is there anything better on certain days?
Hmm…it smells different.
I stopped in my tracks. Took a couple of sips and again realized…something is different. I looked at my husband and said, “Do you think I should go back in and double-check if they made this with almond milk? I asked her to make it with almond milk right off the bat.” For whatever reason, I hate to be an alarmist. I hate to be one of “those” paranoid people who whine, or throw a fit when they think their order isn’t prepared properly. But my husband looked at me and said, “Just go back in really quick and ask. What’s wrong with asking?”
So I popped back in and nicely asked and… you guessed it. She made it with cow’s milk! I told them I was allergic to cow’s milk and that I had asked for almond milk. They apologized (kind of) and gave us a tiny little vegan caramel to share. How generous…and of course, made me another sipping chocolate with almond milk.
Luckily, those two or three sips only resulted in mild stomach issues and a little swelling. There’s a theory that if you abstain from your sensitive foods and allergens that you can eventually add them back into your diet at some point once your gut has healed. Not so with me. My body now recognizes gluten and dairy almost immediately, where several years ago it would take 12-24 hours to appear.
This “accidental” exposure has happened to me numerous times with gluten and dairy. Seriously, more than I can count. It can make even the most anti-alarmist a little paranoid and skeptical. It has even happened in restaurants where I order off of the gluten-free menu and make sure there’s no dairy in my entrée. As a matter of fact, sometimes when we are extremely busy, which we have been, we eat out a couple times a week. Even though I’m careful, very careful, I can tell after a few restaurant excursions that I am slowly being fed allergens in one form or another even if they tell me I’m not. Swelling joints, stomach issues, headaches, and if it’s really bad, shingles appear. Then I know for sure.
When we were standing at the counter waiting for my sipping chocolate, my husband looked at me, shook his head, and said, “Always go with your gut.”
Always. Go. With. Your. Gut.
Who cares if people think you are an alarmist, paranoid, or just into the latest crazy diet fad? It’s your health and it’s important. A good reminder.
Here’s a very interesting article that popped into my email this morning. I am set up on Google Alerts for gluten and dairy intolerance articles. This article is very simple and informative in the way it explains the body’s response system to allergens, antibodies, and how the inflammation process works.
*Photo courtesy of DrOZFans.com
Guess what? You can freeze goat cheese. Who knew?
I had no idea. According to the internet, soft cheeses freeze quite well, actually. This opens up all kinds of ideas for different types of goat and sheep’s milk cheeses. This cheese is mild and delicious. Not overly “goaty” like a lot of aged goat or sheep’s milk cheese. Perfect on crackers, toasted baguette slices, on top of a baked potato, in your favorite salad, sprinkled over your favorite pasta dish…the options are endless. You can make it sweet with zest and agave nectar or savory with herbs and spices. I’ve used sweetened goat cheese with breakfast crepes and it was amazing. Get creative!
Goat’s Milk Cheese Logs
*Makes four 4-5 inch logs
1 Gallon Raw Goat or Sheep’s Milk
3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt + more for seasoning later
Juice of 10 Organic Lemons, about 1 Cup Fresh Lemon Juice
About 2 Tablespoons Organic Chives, chopped
About 2 Tablespoons Organic Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped
About 1 1/2 Tablespoons Organic Thyme, chopped
About 2 teaspoons Chopped Garlic ( I used the organic garlic that comes in the jar)
I have a new obsession. Making my own goat’s milk and sheep’s milk cheese! Once you try it, you won’t believe how incredibly easy it is.
I’ve read that it’s important to use raw milk because pasteurized milk doesn’t clot the same way. If you’re able, I would suggest trying to find a local organic farm where you can buy the raw milk. And then of course, use organic lemons and organic herbs. I buy organic and all natural whenever possible. It just makes sense to eat pure, clean, food as much as I can.
But as you probably already have experienced yourself…pure, locally grown food comes with a little sticker shock.
I paid $16.58 for 1 gallon of raw goat’s milk. One gallon of goat’s milk made into cheese gives you about 12 ounces of cheese. That’s about $1.38 per ounce. Expensive, but really no more than you pay in a grocery store. And the satisfaction of making it yourself and knowing exactly what is in it and where the ingredients come from…priceless!
So give it a try, you won’t be disappointed, I promise:
In a large dutch oven or stainless steel pot (do not use aluminum) add several inches of water and bring to a boil. Boil for about 5 minutes to sanitize. I carefully sloshed it up and around the sides. Drain, add the milk and salt, stir. Heat to 185-190 degrees stirring frequently. Keep an eye on it so it doesn’t scald on the bottom of the pan.
Meanwhile, line a large strainer with the cheesecloth. I used all of the cheesecloth in the small package I purchased. Just fold it over and make sure it drapes over the sides. Place the strainer over a deep bowl.
When the milk reaches 185-190 ish degrees, remove from heat.
Slowly stir in the lemon juice. It starts to curdle right away.
Add a pinch of parsley, chives, and thyme, reserving the rest for after the cheese has drained. Allow to rest for 25 minutes in the pan.
After it has rested, pour slowly into the cheesecloth. Allow to drain for about 30 minutes.
Do yourself a favor though…keep an eye on it and don’t go check your blog or your Facebook page while you’re waiting for it to drain. Because you’ll end up with this:
And more importantly this…
Carefully pull the sides of the cloth in and twist into a ball, carefully squeezing out some more of the liquid. Allow to rest and drain for another 25 minutes or so checking and draining the bowl every so often so that it is not sitting in its own liquid.
Remove the cheesecloth from the strainer and scrape the cheese off with a spoon into a bowl. Add the remaining herbs and garlic and stir to combine.
Taste and add a bit more kosher salt and a few grinds of good peppercorns.
On a clean working surface pull out a piece of plastic wrap and fold in half. Spoon goat cheese onto the middle of the plastic wrap in a small row.
Gently roll up one side of the plastic wrap and snuggle it over the log. Roll the log to the other end of the plastic wrap, twist the ends tight and tuck under.
Continue to do this with the remaining cheese or if you’re going to use it within a couple of days, you can also make it into one large log or any shape you like, really.
Once all of the cheese has been rolled, refrigerate for three hours. Remove from fridge, roll in one more layer of plastic wrap, cover in tin foil, enclose in a freezer bag and freeze up to one month.
We’ve had a few blustery, chilly, days in my neck of the woods. That usually automatically puts me into the comfort food zone. Yesterday I made a big pot of homemade soup with homemade bread. Today it’s braised beef with sun-dried tomatoes and roasted garlic, mashed Yukon gold potatoes.
Hopefully soon the weather will be so sunny and warm that we’ll be craving big salads with fresh tomatoes, marinated and grilled things, and light, fruity, desserts. But for now, it’s warm and loving comfort food.
Braised Beef with Sun Dried Tomatoes
1 – 3.25 lb. Cross Rib Roast, cubed
1 Large Sweet Onion, sliced
About 10 Cremini Mushrooms, sliced
4 Garlic Cloves, minced
1/2 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes Packed in Oil, chopped
1 Bay leaf
6 0z. Tomato Paste
1 1/2 Cups Good Red Wine
4 Cups Gluten Free Beef Broth
1 Heaping Tablespoon Fresh Rosemary, chopped
1 Heaping Tablespoon Fresh Oregano, chopped
1 Heaping Tablespoon Fresh Thyme, chopped
Freshly Ground Pepper
Heat a dutch oven on medium-high, drizzle generously with olive oil. Brown cubed meat in small portions, removing to a dish or plate when finished. Reserving browned bits in the pan, drizzle a little more olive oil in the dutch oven and add the onions, mushrooms, and minced garlic. Cook until onions begin to caramelize and mushrooms begin to brown. Stir often so the garlic doesn’t cook too quickly or burn. Turn down heat if necessary.
Next, add the tomato paste and stir to combine. Add sun-dried tomatoes,wine, beef broth, bay leaf, and herbs. Stir to combine and bring to a boil. Season generously with kosher salt and pepper.
Cover and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is fork tender. Taste and re-season if necessary. Serve over roasted garlic mashed potatoes.
What is it about “those” women and power trips?
You know exactly the type of woman I’m talking about. The type of woman that makes us look at our close girlfriends and say, “She’s one of those”. There’s usually one on every committee, the grumpy one, the one that is such a stickler for rules that it surpasses logic, the one who always talks first and has the last word, the one who doesn’t like anyone’s ideas but her own, the one who the entire world revolves around, the one in every church bible study that thinks it’s a personal counseling session, that one overly enthusiastic, volunteer at your child’s school who the school loves, but the other mothers all roll their eyes at because they know what she’s all about. Heaven forbid you give them a title of head volunteer, president of such and such, or leader, then you’re really in for it.
The problem though, is that they’re sneaky. They volunteer for things that others don’t want to do. The things we think to ourselves, “There’s no way I’m doing that, I’m too busy and I don’t want to take on that responsibility.” And then… we find ourselves stuck with a highly annoying know-it-all that succeeds in being the thorn in everyone’s side.
You know the one?
What is it that we are lacking as women, that some of us need to have this control and this hunger for attention? This need to irritate everyone around us, even if it causes us give the rest of the female population a bad name? How is it that some of us are so focused on what we are doing that we don’t even notice how our behavior and attitude affects the people around us?
How it alienates us from each other?
We all like to have control over our lives. But when that need for control takes over your personality and turns you into a self-serving, unpleasant person, it spreads like a dark cloud around everyone you’re with. Something that those personality types don’t seem to understand…most people don’t like people like that. Sad really. Because their behavior just further alienates them from the very people from whom they are seeking attention.
What do we do about that?
Well, I certainly don’t have all the answers, or even a few, but I can tell you what I did.
I woke up this morning. Did my morning routine and went straight to the kitchen and started baking. Some of my best work comes when I’m frustrated or annoyed and need to let off a little steam.
I’d probably be much thinner and in better shape if I liked to work off steam by running 10 miles or getting in touch with my inner calm self by doing 2 hours of yoga…but such is life. I prefer baking, cleaning, and gardening when I have a thorn in my side.
Apple Cinnamon Pull Apart Bread
4 Tbsp. Earth Balance Natural Butter Spread
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Almond Milk,warmed but not hot to the touch
1/2 Cup Canola Oil
2 tsp. Pure Vanilla
1 1/2 Tbsp. Yeast, dissolved in the warmed almond milk
1 Cups Sorghum Flour
1/2 Cup Mama’s Almond All Purpose Gluten Free Flour
2 Cups Potato Starch
1/2 Cup Tapioca Flour
4 tsp. Xanthan Gum
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Sea Salt
2 Gala Apples, diced (about 2 1/2 cups)
Juice of 1 Lemon
About 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup Dairy Free Butter
1 Cup Packed Dark Brown Sugar
3 Tablespoons Cinnamon
Pinch of Kosher Salt
1 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
About 3 Tablespoons Dairy Free Butter
1 1/2 teaspoons Almond Extract
About 2 teaspoons Cinnamon
Almond Milk for Thinning
Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Cream butter and sugar in an electric mixer on high until thoroughly combined and fluffy. Warm the almond milk lightly, not hot and add yeast. Stir and let rest while you’re measuring the flours, etc. The yeast/milk is ready when it is bubbly on top. About 5 minutes or so.
Measure the sorghum flour, almond flour, potato starch, tapioca flour, xanthan gum and salt in a medium bowl and whisk together. Set aside.
To the creamed mixture, add the eggs, oil, and vanilla. Mix thoroughly, scraping down the sides once or twice. Add milk/yeast mixture. Mix on medium speed until combined.
With the mixer on low, slowly add the flour and scrape down bowl. Mix on high until thoroughly combined (about 1-2 minutes). Dough will be sticky.
Next, flour a piece of parchment paper and scoop dough out onto paper. Flour the top of the dough and pat down. Flour a rolling-pin and roll the dough into a 24×15 oblong “ish” form.
For the filling, place the butter in a small dish and stir until softened enough to spread with the back of a spoon. Spread the butter carefully over the entire surface of the dough.
Sprinkle the apples as evenly as possible over the butter. Crumble the brown sugar over the apples evenly and sprinkle with cinnamon.
Carefully slice the dough into 4 rows lengthwise and 6 across. Spray a non-stick bread pan lightly with oil.
Stack the first row (lengthwise) on top of the second row. Stack the third row on top of the fourth row. Taking two slices at a time, hold the pan on end and begin stacking dough two pieces at a time until all of the dough is in the pan.
Spray a piece of plastic wrap with oil and cover the dough loosely. Allow to rest in a warm place for 30 minutes. Then remove plastic and bake in a preheated oven for 40 minutes. (I use convection.)
While the bread is resting, prepare the frosting.
Melt butter in a small bowl, add sugar, almond extract, and cinnamon. Whisk with a tiny whisk or fork until combined. Add almond milk a teaspoon at a time until it reaches drizzling consistency. But not too thin!
Remove bread from oven (you can even do a happy dance like I did, because I was so thrilled it turned out), allow to rest for 5 minutes. Slide a knife around the edges and carefully remove from pan onto a plate or board.
Drizzle with frosting and serve. Can be served warm (unbelievable) or at room temperature (still unbelievable).
(Megaphone photo courtesy of SheMarketer)
Sunday is my favorite day of the week.
I’m not sure what it is about it really, but I love it. Maybe it’s because we are saying goodbye to the week behind us, which was hopefully successful and peaceful, and preparing to say hello to the week ahead. Sundays are usually a slower day for us. We try to squeeze in a little more time with each other, hang out with the dogs, mill around the house and yard, I usually make a nice dinner and bake something for dessert, and then we just soak in the last day of the weekend. This weekend seemed to go slower than usual, which was an extra bonus.
I ran across this little guy while I was watering. They are so diligent. I’m sure in a day or two the wind or my cat’s tail will come along and de-construct the web. He’ll have to move along and find a better place. Right now, he’s just soaking up the sun like the rest of us.
A few more pictures from the garden…
Happy Monday and have a lovely week!