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Chia Seed Ice-Cream (Sugar Free and Vegan)

My favorite commercial right now is the Geico one where ex-NFL player Ickey Woods is waiting in line to buy cold cuts, and gets ridiculou...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Aloe & Sea Salt Green Smoothie


For a few months I've been making green smoothies with almost no fruit, except for an occasional low-sugar fruit like lemon, lime, or green apple.  The reason - I'm still on a Candida cleanse where sugar of all kinds, even fruit, is off limits.  At the same time, I've been adding aloe vera juice to my smoothies, for the incredible gut healing properties.  Specifically, aloe is useful in healing leaky gut syndrome.  I have no idea if I have that, but it goes hand in hand with Candida, as well as nutritional deficiencies.  Since my naturopath determined that I had a few surprising deficiencies, Vitamin D being a big one, I am taking steps to heal that as well.  I am eating an extremely balanced diet, along with getting tons of sun exposure each day, so the fact that I'm deficient in anything is a good clue that Candida caused a little bit of leaky gut. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunshine Smoothie

This week has finally felt like winter here in Colorado.  We just spent the entire weekend indoors, really the first time that we've had to do that all year.  The rest of the country has been dealing with frigid temps and snow as well, and I know most people are ready for spring weather. 

Although I would rather be on some island somewhere right now, I don't really have the winter blahs.... but if I did, this is what I would drink.  Like a burst of sunshine to break you (and your eating habits) out of a winter funk, this green smoothie is loaded with bright, tangy flavors and tons of nutrients.  What a perfect start to your day!

INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup spinach
  • 2/3 cup cucumber
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1/2 grapefruit
  • 1 orange
  • 2/3 cup cabbage
  • 1 banana
*optional - handful of ice

Place the orange, grapefruit, and cucumber in a high powered blender, followed by the rest of the ingredients.  Blend until smooth.  Store any leftover smoothie in a tightly sealed jar for up to 36 hours. 




 
 

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Lemon Pizza

Lemons and pizza.  Doesn't exactly sound like a match made in heaven.  But oh, it is.  Especially for this time of the year.  Ok, so it's February, but it's been 70 degrees here in Colorado for the past week.  We've even had dinner on the patio a few nights.  So I'm starting to crave spring food. 

I have made lemon pasta for years.  Gluten free noodles with a simple white sauce, full of lemon and garlic.  We even have what I call "clean the freezer out lasagna" every so often....and I always make a lemon cream sauce for it instead of marinara.  It's the perfect way to brighten up all of the miscellaneous frozen veggies that I use to make it.  

We were going to have a lazy Sunday night last week, so I told my husband to get a few pizza crusts from the store.  I decided to try a lemon cream sauce on our pizza.  It was good, but a little two one-note for me.  I had kept it simple with ricotta and smoke Gouda cheese, but decided it needed a salty bite of prosciutto, as well as a garlic butter sauce and spinach.  So I tried again, and bingo!  That did the trick.  Perfect, creamy, zesty, spring pizza.


 *Lighten it up!  This is definitely a splurge recipe....try this recipe on my cauliflower pizza crust to make it healthier.
 
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 whole wheat pizza crust (like Boboli)
  • 1 cup full-fat ricotta cheese
  • juice and zest from 1 large lemon (about 1 tsp zest and slightly less than 1/4 cup of juice)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp minced garlic (3 large cloves)
  • 2 cups fresh spinach
  • 4-6 slices Prosciutto, cut into ribbons
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cups smoked Gouda cheese (shredded)
DIRECTIONS:
1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  To a large bowl add the ricotta, lemon juice and zest, salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. 

2.  In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the minced garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes, being careful not to let it burn.  Remove garlic butter and add to bowl of ricotta. 

3.  To the large skillet, cook the spinach until it wilts, about 4-5 minutes.  Add the cooked spinach to the ricotta mixture, and stir well to combine.

4.  Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray, or cover with foil.  Place the pizza crust on the sheet, and top with the ricotta mixture. 

5.  Slice the prosciutto into ribbons, and lay on top of the ricotta. 

6.  Shred the smoked Gouda cheese , and top the pizza with the cheese. 

7.  Bake for 12-15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.  Drizzle pizza with a little olive oil, and sprinkle with sea salt, if desired. 






Friday, February 13, 2015

Sugar Free Almond Flour Chocolate Chip Cookies




On of the hardest parts about being on a Candida cleanse is giving up absolutely all types of sugar.  Even fruit is off limits, which means that your favorite healthy treats, like cookies made from bananas and honey aren't allowed.  It's not that I want double fudge covered brownies made from white sugar and topped with frosting, (well, ok, once in awhile I do) it's just that there are days, for instance when I'm baking cookies for my boys, that I get a craving. 

Monday, February 9, 2015

My Favorite Workout for Spring


I try really hard not to slack off on my workouts during the winter, it just happens.  Starting around Halloween, my to-do list gets out of control, as it does for most people.  There are just not enough hours in the day.  It even seems too busy after the holidays, as January is my month to organize the house and closets, and catch up on ordering pictures from the year. 

Now that the weather is nice, I'm feeling a bit more motivated to get at it again.  I wanted to share with you my favorite workouts for easing back in to a fitness routine - the Tone It Up DVDs.  I alternate them with twice weekly runs. 

Back in November, my cardiologist shook my world upside down when he informed me that I should no longer be lifting heavy weights.  Sounds a little dramatic, but I was seriously devastated for days!  But I got over it, and realized I will do whatever it takes to keep my heart healthy, (I was born with a valve deformity) and find a new way to work out.  So I gave my husband my beloved P90X box set, and started looking for an easier toning method. 

What surprised me the most was how much I loved these workouts.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a heavy lifting fan, but there's something almost relaxing about their workouts, which is nice when the only available time that you have to work out with 3 kids is naptime - I'm always torn about using that time to relax and do something for myself, or work out.  This accomplishes both, these routines are great for relieving stress.



They are also the perfect way to gently get back into shape after a long winter.  Filmed at the beach in Hawaii, with gentle toning movements and quick routines, they almost feel like a vacation instead of a workout, but I still feel it the next day!  Give them a try - here's where to order:

http://www.shoptoneitup.com/collections/dvds


Friday, February 6, 2015

Chia Seed Ice-Cream (Sugar Free and Vegan)


My favorite commercial right now is the Geico one where ex-NFL player Ickey Woods is waiting in line to buy cold cuts, and gets ridiculously excited, doing a little dance and exclaiming "gonna get some cold cuts today!"  It makes my boys and I laugh every time we see it, and we have even started imitating it - acting silly over mundane things, just to keep a happy vibe in the house.  For instance at breakfast the other morning, my sleepy (ok, crabby) 7 year old was whining about going to school that day.  I started dancing as I was cooking the oatmeal, saying "Woo-hoo!  Going to do some spelling today!  Going to learn some math!"  Silly, yes, but pretty soon there were giggles all around.  I even break into it while taking out the trash or unloading the dishwasher, just to remind them to find happiness in everything. 

I don't however, have to do this silly dance routine to psyche myself up to enjoy this ice-cream, even though it is sugar and dairy free.  The indulgent, silky texture, and rich chocolate taste take care of that for me.  A lot of the time when you are limiting things in your diet that you really want to eat, (like ice-cream), you have to pump yourself up to enjoy it.  Not this. 

I was having a chocolate craving the other day when I came up with this.  The only "sweets" that I had in the house that were sugar free, was some chia seed pudding in the fridge.  So I dumped it in with some coconut milk, cocoa powder, and ice, and was astounded at how delicious it was.  I have made plenty of healthy, vegan ice-creams  with frozen bananas, but since I can't have sugar right now (even fruit) I figured it was just off the menu.  Turns out chia seeds worked wonderfully to hold the ice-cream together, and since they are pulverized in the blender, the resulting ice-cream is silky smooth. 

And do I even need to mention the health benefits of chia seeds?  If you are curious, check them out here.  Health and Fitness Shop has a list of 7 ways that these seeds can improve your health.  http://healthnfitnesshops.com/health-benefits-of-chia-seeds.html/

Let my kids eat their double chocolate cookie dough cones in front of me, I don't care!  This tastes like heaven, not deprivation!


INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 can full fat unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp xylitol
  • 2 packets of stevia
  • 1 cup ice
  • unsweetened chocolate chips (optional)
DIRECTIONS~

1.  Pour the chia seeds in a bowl and cover with the almond milk.  Stir gently, and cover tightly with a lid or plastic wrap.  Store in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours.  (I usually do this the night before and let it sit all night.)

2.  Add the coconut milk to a high powered blender.  Be sure to scrape the cream off the lid of the can.  Add the chia seed mixture that has been soaked, along with all of the other ingredients.  Process until smooth.  It takes a few seconds but it will combine.  If your blender is having trouble with it, add a tiny bit of almond milk to get it going.  Serve immediately as soft serve, or store in the freezer.  Allow plenty of time to thaw before serving, or if you are impatient like me, thaw in the microwave for a minute.  Top with the unsweetened chocolate chips. 




Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Roasted Radish and Brussels Sprout Wrap with Caramelized Onion-Tahini Dressing

 
Don't you just love a good fridge dump recipe?  Maybe that's just me, but on days when I'm hungry and know I'm not going to make it to the store, I start throwing random leftover things together.  This one turned out oh so delicious.  A few days earlier I had roasted some Brussels sprouts and radishes, planning on eating them the next day.  But I just finished a workout and was too hungry to get excited for simple roasted vegetables.  So I found some sprouted grain wraps in the freezer, made a quick sauce from leftover caramelized onions and tahini, and added the veggies.  Boom.  New. Favorite. Lunch. 

Monday, February 2, 2015

Aronia Berry Green Smoothie


    A few years ago while visiting my parents' farm back home in Iowa, I noticed some bushes growing at a farm just down the road.  My Mom told me that they were Aronia berries, which was very surprising to me.  I had heard about them and their powerful antioxidant content - the highest content of any berries, or fruit for that matter -  but didn't expect to find them in Iowa!  That is until I read more about them.  I assumed they, like a lot of superfoods, came from somewhere exotic, making them hard to find everywhere.  It turns out that the berries are native to the Midwest. 
    The grower, Larry Turner, turned to a manufacturer to transform the berries into a concentrated juice, so I bought some because I knew I had to make a green smoothie out of it. 

    The berries are thought to have anti-viral and anti-cancer properties, as well as protect digestive, respiratory, and circulatory systems.  Therefore they are a wonderful addition to your green smoothie.  The berries are hard to find however, in fact the only place I've noticed Aronia in any form, is in the grocery stores back home in Iowa, where this syrup is made.  I love the fact that it's so concentrated, a serving size is only 1 Tbsp, so the bottle will last you quite some time.  If you are interested in purchasing a bottle (they ship!), call to place an order:

    #515-571-3264

    OR
    visit this Facebook page and send Larry a message:
    https://www.facebook.com/WindingCreekGardenCenter

     
INGREDIENTS:
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1 apple
  • 1/2 cup asparagus
  • 1 1/2 cups kale
  • 2 Tbsp concentrated Aronia juice
  • 1/2 cup frozen mixed berries
  • 3 sprigs parsley
  • 1/2 lemon, peeled
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 packet of stevia (optional)
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk (optional)*
*Add the almond milk if you want a creamier texture

DIRECTIONS~
1.  Place the cucumber, apple, and lemon in a high powered blender.  Add the rest of the ingredients, and blend until smooth.  Store any leftover smoothie in the refrigerator, tightly sealed, for up to 24 hours.