Some time this week my son stopped eating bananas. It has happened before. Luckily the past boycotts haven’t lasted more than a week or two. However, in the short term, I have been collecting the peeled and barely eaten pieces of fruit and turning them into simple smoothies. Today’s recipe:
- H2O : 6 oz
- Hemp seeds : 2 Tbs
- Banana : 1
- Kale : 1 leaf
- Raw Honey : 1 Tbs
- Vanilla : Splash
Blend in high-powered blender and serve. If using regular blender, strain before serving. Even though my son is 19 months old, I use a bottle for smoothies(just cut the nipple hole bigger). It’s easier and less of mess than him trying to drink from a regular cup and I don’t have to ruin his sippy cups by making the holes big.
This is my favorite weather: crisp, cold, and sunny. The autumn light is dancing off the brightly colored leaves and much to my son’s delight, there are large orange gourds on nearly every doorstep. Sebastian turns 19 months today and to honor the occasion and his new absolute adoration of pumpkins, I decided to finally break out some autumnal recipes.
Pumpkin pie pudding is one of my favorite post long-run meals when the weather is chilly. Its combination of silky smooth and sweet and spicy makes it incredibly satisfying any time, but especially when you’ve worked up a good appetite! I probably eat it more for breakfast than I do for dessert.
The last two years I have made versions of pumpkin pie pudding countless times. In fact, I usually double it because I love it too much to eat just a little. I also think it gets better after a couple days in the fridge so the flavors intensify. I have a great affection for warm spices and love to grind my own. I didn’t add exact measurements because I rarely measure. I just like to shake and taste. Mix your own favorites and enjoy.
This recipe is incredibly versatile and can be made to accommodate any number of dietary restrictions. The following version is gluten free, soy free, dairy free and technically grain free. It calls for buckwheat, which is a pseudograin and contrary to its name, does not contain gluten. You could substitute any gluten free flour or pancake mix for the starch/buckwheat. I’ve added a vegan substitution for the eggs as well. And it makes a delicious sugar free dessert!
Pumpkin Pie Pudding
- 1 15 oz. can organic pumpkin
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 2 eggs (or 2 Tbs chia seeds soaked 1/2 cup water- use the gelled water with or without the chia seeds)
- 2 Tbs virgin coconut oil
- 1/4 cup organic evaporated cane juice
- 1/4 cup potato or tapioca starch
- 1/4 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/8 tsp pure stevia powder**
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 Tbs cinnamon
- a few good shakes of allspice, ginger, nutmeg, and cloves*
Blend all ingredients in a blender, or whisk together by hand. Pour mixture into slow cooker and cook on low for approximately 5 hours. (depending on your crockpot, it might take a little longer or shorter). Let cool before servings.
*You can also sub pumpkin pie spice or any of your favorite warm spice combinations. Sometimes I add in a little sprinkle of cardamom too, especially if I’m low on allspice.
**To make this recipe sugar free, just increase the stevia to taste and omit the sugar
I don’t do well with grains. In fact, because of their effect on my digestion, I don’t eat them very often… (except for my long-standing vice: tortilla chips). The reason for my disharmony with grains could be due to my IBS, celiac disease, or my ancestral ‘O’ blood type. Whatever the cause, over the years I have learned that I feel better if I limit or omit them entirely. For some more information on nutrition-typing, you can take a free test on Dr. Mercola’s website.
These cookies are a recipe that my carb-loving toddler and husband love! I’ve realized that it’s easy for kids to end up with diets heavy in grains, sugar, and carbohydrates if you don’t make conscious choices to add in high quality fats and proteins. To make these cookies specific carbohydrate diet compliant, you can substitute raw honey for the evaporated cane juice and leave out one (or both) of the bananas. I will work on adding more grain-free, SCD, GAPS-friendly and anti-candida (Natalia Rose’s Detox for Women) recipes to this site. I love any excuse to add more coconut oil to my diet. Not only is it delicious and bakes superbly, but the medium chain fatty acids support thyroid function and aid in metabolism. Yummy.
Here is the recipe:
- 1/2 Cup Virgin Coconut Oil (plus more for greasing sheet)
- 1 Cup Coconut Flour
- 1 1/2 Cups Almond Meal or Almond Flour
- 2 Eggs
- 2 Very Ripe Bananas
- 1/2 Cup Evaporated Cane Juice
- 1 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Vanilla
Combine ingredients in food processor. You may need to warm the coconut oil first if it’s too solid. Process until well combined- you don’t need to worry about over-mixing. Grease baking sheet with extra coconut oil. Drop by the spoonful. Cookies won’t spread while baking, so avoid making them too high or the centers won’t cook all the way. Bake in a 350 oven (325 convection) for 10-12 minutes.
I love sunflower seed butter, aka sunbutter. These tiny seeds are the most concentrated source of our body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant: vitamin E. Vitamin E is a potent anti-inflammatory with great cardiovascular benefits, plus it’s wonderful for your skin! Interestingly enough, some of the symptoms of vitamin E deficiency are digestive problems and nutrient malabsoption. If you are like me, the last thing you need is another factor contributing to digestive woes or anemia.
Sunflower seed butter is a great nut-butter alternative for those with allergies or people looking to diversify the nutrient content of their diet. My son’s daycare is entirely “nut-free” so I use sunflower seed butter or tahini often as a sandwich-filler.
Unfortunately most of the store bought sunflower seed butter is expensive and contains added sugar. My favorite store bought variety is the Organic Sunbutter because it’s unsweetened and very creamy. However, I almost always end up whipping up my own version of the spread using a mix of roasted and raw sunflower seeds. Trader Joe’s carries one pound bags of roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds for less than $2.00! The salted sunflower seeds often have way too much salt to make a palatable butter. You can also roast your own if you like.
My simple recipe:
- 1 lb Roasted Unsalted Sunflower Seeds
- 1/2 Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds (hulled of course)
- 1-2 TBS Virgin Coconut Oil (you could sub any oil or try without as well)
Whir all ingredients like crazy in your trusty food processor. When making nut or seed butter, I’ve found that you just have to be patient. Sometimes you need a little more oil to get the spread going. You could also use a Vitamix or Blendtech type high speed blender. I prefer to use the food processor because it’s easier to get nut/seed butters out after you make them.
Kale is such a nutritional superstar that it has an ANDI score of 1000, meaning that it contains the highest nutrient content per calorie of any food (along with other leafy greens like collards, mustard greens, and watercress). In addition, it is an excellent source of the often overlooked Vitamin K, which is poised to become the next nutrient media darling, (move over Vitamin D).
Kale is truly a superfood, but it’s a cruciferous vegetable and should be cooked. Like soy, raw cruciferous vegetables contain goitrogens that disrupt thyroid function. While consumption of goitrogens by those with robust thyroids might not pose any harm, a large number of individuals have compromised, undiagnosed, or subclinical thyroid issues. The simple act of cooking lessens the presence of goitrogens, increases the bioavailability of some nutrients, and helps break down the insoluble fiber for easier digestion. This last point is especially helpful if you (like me) have difficulty breaking down roughage. It is also important to remember to consume good quality fats along with vegetables to ensure the absorption of fat soluble vitamins (A, D, E, and K).
- 16 oz Kale (frozen or fresh)
- 1/2 cup veg broth
- 1/3 cup raw brazil nuts
- 1 Tbs nutritional yeast
- 1 white or yellow onion
- 3-5 mushrooms*
- dash of granulated garlic
My husband and toddler likes this mixed in with quinoa. I like it thinned out as a base for soup. The possibilities are endless!
*I often use fancy dehydrated mushroom mixes and add them in with fresh mushrooms. Just rehydrate the mushrooms first to use in this recipe. To rehydrate, place mushrooms in a boil and cover with hot water. Let mushrooms sit for a couple hours before use. Alternatively you can cover with room temperature water and let sit overnight in the fridge. I’ve found that they often need a long soak time or they will be a bit rubbery.
Samantha at Color Wheel Meals is putting together an ebook full of fun and healthy recipe ideas for kids. I finally was able to send my recipe submissions to her recently. I realized it was a great excuse to actually write down some of my favorite dishes instead of always just mixing, baking, and cooking on intuition. I am very guilty of eye-balling and not following formalized directions! This creative outlet is undoubtedly what I love most about food. Making something delicious that is at the same time nourishing is such a great feeling of accomplishment!
And what better place to exercise unrestrained creativity than smoothie-making?
So here is one of my toddler son’s favorites. Blend all ingredients together and enjoy:
- 4-5 oz water
- 1 TBS hemp seeds
- 1-2 tsps bee pollen
- 2 dates
- 1-2 oz of unsweetened almond milk
- splash of vanilla extract
- large handful of baby spinach
The Natural Mommie blog is giving away a set of Blissoma skincare worth $75. Blissoma is a cruelty-free, vegetarian natural skincare company. A few of their products are geared toward sensitive skin and I can’t wait to give them a try. I have really found it difficult to find natural products that aren’t irritating, so I’m anxious to test this new company. (Maybe I will really be able to throw out my Cetaphil for good!)
If you would like to enter the give away, just go to Natural Mommie’s website and leave her a comment about which products you’d like to try. Here is the link to her post: Blissoma Giveaway
The 2011 Sunscreen guide arrived in my inbox this morning thanks to one of my favorite organizations, the Environmental Working Group. If you are at all interested in keeping carcinogens, neurotoxins, endocrine disruptors, etc. off your skin and out of your body, then EWG’s Skin Deep database will be your best friend. Years ago, when I first found Skin Deep I dropped my “natural” Aveeno sunscreen into the trash. Reading the list of potential side effects of these everyday products is gross. And EWG just gets better and better all the time. The number of products they’ve scored in their database has grown exponentially.
Unfortunately, of the 65,000+ products that they review, they don’t have my favorite facial sunscreen: Eminence’s Tropical Vanilla Sun Cream SPF 32. Though the price is a bit prohibitive, it is the best mineral sunscreen that I’ve used. The “cream” part means that it is more moisturizing and it leaves much less of a white mask than the others I’ve tried. It also provides a sort of matte finish that I think looks a bit like wearing powder. Oh, and it smells amazingly edible.
However, I feel like all mineral sunscreens are somewhat terrible for running. Even in the non-warm Oregon spring, they are suffocating and seem to slide off. Oh the irony: Sweating in the sunshine only increases the need for protection, but sunscreens (and mineral ones in particular) don’t work well in a slippery environment. Regular “sport” sunscreens do better, but the chemicals really bother my eczema. The compromise that I’ve come up with is the occasional use of Alba Botanical ‘s SPF 45 Sport. EWG scores it as a 5, which is higher than I normally would consider using, but it seems to be less irritating for my hands and better at staying in place (and actually providing sun protection!).
As for my son… I just love everything California Baby. Maybe being born in the OC makes me biased?
The sun was shining brightly today in Portland. It was definitely the nicest day in a long time and actually really felt like Spring. Unfortunately, that meant allergies for me and a trip to the pharmacy to get a refill inhaler, something I haven’t used in about 2 years. Not sure why I didn’t have allergies as a pregnant person or why I wasn’t bothered by them last Spring right after giving birth. It was really nice while it lasted!
The weather has me itching to “Spring Clean” and get rid of even more non-necessities: a sort of detox home tune-up. Lately I’ve been having vivid dreams. A few days ago, I woke up in a panic because I thought we were moving to a new city. Not that I wouldn’t welcome a change, but the actual process of packing, organizing and moving is just so… well… so much work! It made me long a little for the college days when all my possessions fit inside my little green Saab 900s, and then later when it all fit inside the smallest Uhaul trailer with room to spare (thank you Ikea furniture).
Decluttering is so easy at the beginnings. Then the process becomes much harder once you are down to only quality and sentimental items, or things used very infrequently (my nice NorthFace backpacking tent anyone?). From experience I know that it’s extremely rare that I’ve regretted getting rid of something. I always get a receipt from Goodwill or the donation pick-up guys and if I don’t write exactly what was in the pile right away, I have a hard time recalling the items.
I have been taking baby items (clothing and gear) to some resale stores around Portland. The ones that I’ve tried are Baby to Baby on SW Canyon, Bella Stella on NE Broadway and Piccolina on SE Clinton. I admit that I like Baby to Baby because they give you cash after stuff sells, like regular consignment. Store credit is nice and probably a better deal, but I often have a hard time finding things that I need. With my next stash I am thinking about posting items on Craigslist to see if I can get any direct sales, if not… I’ll probably haul a car load out to the shops again.
I think my new “Spring weeding” goal will be to pretend that we are actually moving. For me there is no greater motivator to clear out non-necessities! Maybe it’s the changing seasons, but I am just craving the feeling of lightness.
Last night Dave Yudkin, owner of Hot Lips Pizza, came to talk to my Sustainability class about his adventures and trials in implementing the Natural Step to make his restaurants ultra-green. One of his main themes was that sustainability isn’t an end goal, but a continual process. It’s an ideal that we never really reach, but must constantly strive toward.
I couldn’t help but draw parallels to the other moving carrots in life. Just like in running or wellness, you can’t reach an optimal level of fitness and then decide to rest on your laurels. It takes constant effort. In the pursuit of health or sustainability, changing habits at the beginning is difficult but the gains are much bigger. Once you pick the low hanging fruit, the rate of return diminishes and you have to work harder to see incremental improvements. However, the initial stage of changing and forming new habits is hardest. For me at least, once I am over that hump, the journey becomes more enjoyable.
In my own life, I equate living sustainably with employing a certain amount of minimalism. Though the two are not entirely interchangeable, they work in concert. The Natural Step encourages creating a vision of an ideal future and “backcasting” to determine which steps will lead you down the right path toward the goal. I tend to think of my own quest for minimalism in the same way. Though I am no where near the extreme of living with only 100 possessions, I have my own vision of what a streamlined, efficient life with less looks like for my family.
To be honest, the 100 things challenge would have been a great exercise in my life BS (before Sebastian). Not only do babies seem to come with their own plethora of possessions*, but being a mom has also changed the way I view the world- almost like a soft focus lens. I was resistant to believe all the people who insist that having a baby changes everything, but it does. I’ve seen my priorities shift and my edges soften. Becoming a mom has altered my life in that it has forced me to strip away the non-essentials. It hasn’t changed my beliefs, but rather it’s helped refine them. Though I own more things now, I own less things that I don’t use.
Now, unfortunately, Hot Lips doesn’t make a gluten-free crust** so I might have to satisfy this new craving (too much talk of sun-dried tomatoes!) with a trip to Mississippi Pizza in the next few days.
*Coming soon… Suggested minimalist baby items for a natural-minded mom
**Hot Lips let me know that they do offer a gf crust, just not produced in a gf environment.