SIMPLE SUMMER PARFAITS

Summer is around the corner and the weather is confirming this with hot and humid days! I am finding myself choosing cooler foods and yoga as exercise to help endure this weather. I found an amazing yoga studio here in North Palm Beach called Power Yoga Tribe. The community is like family and the instructors/owners, Preston and Christen have some serious love and talent for yoga! Preston’s birthday was coming up and I love to cook for others, so I created a quick and easy summer parfait. I just used a cute little mason jar and layered my cultured yogurt recipe with fresh organic fruit. The cultured yogurt has an amazing taste compared to store-bought and it provides amazing benefits for your gut health.

You can store the parfaits in the fridge for several days but mine were gone the same day. This makes a quick and easy snack that even your kids will love! There are so many things you can do with yogurt in the summer. Keep checking back to see other great recipes I am creating for my family.

Ingredients:

1 cup cultured yogurt (you can use store-bought)

1 tsp raw honey or pure maple syrup

Dash of cinnamon

1 cup of blueberries, raspberries or diced strawberries (whatever you prefer!)

Preparation:

Add a heaping spoon of yogurt to the jar, enough to cover the bottom completely. Add choice of fruit, enough to cover the yogurt. Keep alternating yogurt and fruit until you fill the jar. I topped mine off with fruit for a visual effect. Cover tightly and store in the fridge.

Do you have any great ideas for yogurt? Please share and post to our community!

 

 

HOMEMADE INSTANT POT YOGURT

yogurt-and-raspberries

I have another reason to love my Instant Pot. Yogurt!!!!! I have always wanted to make yogurt but it seemed so intimidating to attempt this task. But with the GAPS diet, it is highly recommended to eat homemade yogurt. It’s like a staple in the menu! So I perused through my wonderful Facebook group of Instant Pot mamas and found some great tips and recipes to glean from, to make yogurt. You can find great video tutorial here by Freida and Cheryl is the master of yogurt tips and recipes here. I HIGHLY recommend you read over both before attempting to make your own yogurt. You will thank me later!

My first batch was a failure due to a faulty thermometer. But my second batch was a hit and I made more batches with great success! I can’t believe how easy this was with my Instant Pot! I start this process about an hour before bed so it can cook overnight. Here is the basic recipe everyone uses and my instructions.

Ingredients:

1 half gallon of organic or grass-fed pasteurized whole milk

2 Tbs organic plain Greek yogurt

Tips:

Make sure your yogurt is NOT ultra pasteurized. It’s not recommended and it didn’t work for me!

I HIGHLY recommend whole milk. Don’t skimp on the fat, it will compromise the taste.

Get PLAIN yogurt for best results. Besides, who needs the extra sugar and if it contains too much sugar it can mess up the culturing process.

Make sure your yogurt has “live and active cultures” listed on the back. You need these in order to “start” the culturing process of your yogurt. Are you beginning to see the science in this process?

I get the small, individual containers for my yogurt. Once you open the container, the cultures begin to die off, causing it to lose its efficacy in creating cultures for your new yogurt. Once you start making your own, you can use the yogurt from your own batch to make more. Just make sure the yogurt isn’t more than 5 to 7 days old.

Kitchen Accoutrements Needed:

Instant Pot

Digital Thermometer

Ladle

Wire whisk

Cup (for mixing starter yogurt with 1 cup of scalded milk)

Large bowl (for an ice bath and then straining yogurt)

Large colander (for straining yogurt – optional)

Tea cloth, cheese cloth or coffee filters (to strain yogurt – optional)

 

Preparation:

STEP ONE: WARMING THE MILK

Pour the milk into the inner pot in the Instant Pot.

Place and lock the lid and make sure the valve is moved to the “SEAL” position.

Press the YOGURT button and then quickly press the ADJUST button until you see the word BOIL on the display. This will slowly scald your milk. (Takes about 30 minutes.) Meanwhile, go and read over the instructions five times like I did and watch Frieda’s video two more times to be sure you know what the heck you’re doing!

Take out the starter yogurt and place in a cup to get at room temperature. I use a Pyrex measuring cup so I don’t have to worry about the heat of the milk when I mix it together.

When the cycle is complete, the timer will beep. Don’t panic. Just make sure your digital thermometer is in reaching distance and unlock and remove the lid. Try to open and then lift back the lid quickly to avoid the water getting into your yogurt.

STEP TWO: COOLING THE MILK

Place the thermometer in the milk and it should read about 180 degrees or higher. I have never had it below that temperature, so this has never been a problem for me thus far. Remove the thermometer and the “skin” of the milk with a spoon or whatever works for you and then prepare an ice bath for the inner pot to cool down the milk. I use an avocado smasher from Pampered Chef to remove the skin. It works really well! Don’t laugh!

Press the CANCEL button to turn off the Instant Pot.

Place the inner pot of milk into the ice bath. This is a VERY FAST cool down for the milk, so make sure you stir it continually with the whisk to avoid “hot spots” in the milk. This only takes about five minutes or less! Once your thermometer reads between 110 to 115 degrees, immediately remove the pot from the ice bath and dry off the bottom of the pot with a towel. (If you cool our yogurt down too much, you can warm it back up a little by using the SAUTE button. Just CANCEL the yogurt cycle and then press SAUTE. Once it warms up, cancel the cycle again.)

Add about half a cup of warm milk to your starter yogurt and whisk until well blended. Add it back to your pot of milk and gently stir it with the whisk. Make sure you don’t scrape the whisk on the bottom of the pot! A film of milk is created on the bottom of the pot during the scalding step and it can affect the smoothness of your final yogurt.

STEP THREE: CULTURING THE YOGURT

If you have managed to heat and cool down your milk accordingly, the hard part is over! At this point, you place the inner pot back into the Instant Pot and lock the lid back on. Make sure the valve is turned to the seal position.

Press the YOGURT button again and hit the “+” button until you see 8:00 appear. (This stands for 8 hours of cooking time.) Pat yourself on the back for totally conquering the yogurt making process! Now go take a bath with some Epsom salt and lavender essential oil and get ready for bed. Tomorrow morning you will wake up to a pot full of delicious nourishing yogurt!

STEP FOUR: STRAINING THE YOGURT (OPTIONAL)

I love Greek yogurt so I always strain mine. If you like a runny yogurt then once the cycle is done you can just spoon the yogurt into a large container. I use mason jars for mine. Try not to scrape the bottom of the pot to avoid the milk film.

If you want Greek yogurt, then you want to get out your colander to strain your yogurt. I place the colander in the large bowl and then place a tea towel to strain mine. I have used coffee filters in the past and they worked very well but I found them cumbersome and it was annoying when they would move around when I was pouring the yogurt into the colander.

Cover the bowel with a large plate or any cover will do and place in the refrigerator for about 4 hours. The longer it strains, the thicker your yogurt. I did it overnight once and I found it to be too thick for me.

I keep my yogurt plain in the mason jar so I can use it in different ways. I use it with fruit, granola, smoothies and even sauces. My son’s favorite way to eat it is with a little honey, vanilla extract and fresh fruit. I hope you enjoy your new world of yogurt!

yogurt

 

 

AUTUMN APPLE BUTTER

apple-butter

I love anything with apples. And this is the time of year I love to play around with apple recipes. The smell of the warm spices and apples, bubbling over on the stove is simply divine! This recipe is a spin-off of my Harvest Apple Butter recipe I did a few years ago. I just tweaked a few things and pureed the final recipe. This is not your traditional dark apple butter, since I left out the clove. And I don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen this holiday season. I am really trying to be more in the moment with my family.

You can slather this smooth and creamy butter on toast, pancakes, waffles, ice cream or even just eat it out of the bowl. You can even make it chunky by not blending it. My husband and son devoured a small portion right out of a bowl. But I’m saving the rest for chilly mornings, when I make toast or pancakes for my hungry guys.

I hope you are enjoying your holidays with your families and created warm and loving memories to cherish!

Ingredients:

5 organic gala apples

1 bartlett pear

1/4 cup filtered water

1 Tbs coconut butter (also called manna I got mine at Whole Foods)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 Tbs pure maple syrup

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp fresh grated ginger

Couple dashes of ground nutmeg

Preparation:

Peel, core and cut the apples and the pear into large chunks.

Add the fruit, water, cinnamon and ginger to a medium sauce pan and cook on medium-high for about 30 minutes. Stir the mixture several times while it simmers, so the fruit doesn’t stick to the pan.

Add the lemon juice, coconut butter and maple syrup and let it simmer for about another 10 minutes. If the heat is too high, lower it so it doesn’t burn. Stir a few times to keep it from sticking.

Blend the mixture or just smash it up to the consistency desired. I used an immersion blender, but you can also use a blender or food processor. This was easier clean up for me!

Spread it on a warm piece of toast, smile and enjoy!

 

 

 

CHOCOLATE CHIP-COCONUT OATMEAL BARS

Chocolate Chip + Coconut Oatmeal Bars

I love making healthful yet fun snacks for my little guy. Anything to get him to eat clean-eating recipes. I don’t keep a lot of packaged snacks in our home, so I try to make some snacks to break the monotony of fruits and veggies.

I haven’t made oatmeal bars in a looooong time, so I had fun making these chocolate chip coconut bars. I added some really hearty ingredients to boost the fiber content and sweetened them with natural sweeteners like raw honey and raisins. These bars are quite filling, so you can even serve them at breakfast.

Ingredients:

2 cups organic rolled oats

1 cup almond meal

1/2 cup ground flax seed

1/2 cup gluten-free flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)

1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips (I used Pascha Organic brand)

1 cup organic raisins

1 cup toasted coconut flakes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 1/2 cups organic plain greek yogurt

1/2 cup organic peanut butter

1/2 cup raw honey

1/4 cup coconut oil (+ 1 tsp for baking pan)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

If you are not using a stone baking pan, grease the cookie sheet with 2 tsp of coconut oil. I use the Pampered Chef large bar pan. It measures 10″ x 15 1/5″ x 1″.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oatmeal through the cinnamon) and mix well.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the wet ingredients (yogurt through vanilla extract) and mix well.

Combine the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients bowl and mix well. Don’t be afraid to get in there and mix it up with your hands! I use a little coconut or olive oil to coat my hands to prevent the mixture from sticking. Plus your hands are really soft after you wash them off!

Press the mixture into the bar pan. Bake for about 30-35 minutes. Oven times vary with different stoves. After they cool off, cut into little squares. I yielded about 32 bars!

Store them in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.

 

 

SAVORY GUACAMOLE – GONE IN 5 MINUTES!

Guacamole Post

This guacamole is probably one of my best snack recipes. So with Cinco de Mayo on the horizon, I thought I would share it with you! I made this dip last week for our marriage ministry and I kid you not, it was gone within five minutes! The balance of the sweet onion, minced fresh garlic, the hint of lime with a dash of cayenne… it was spot on with our Mexican fiesta. Ole! (I swear I just heard a Guitarrón in my head! 🙂

I wanted to keep this recipe clean and authentic, so this is quick and easy for you to create in your kitchen. I used my food processor, but you can totally do this without one. The texture will just be “chunkier”. I added pure doTERRA lime essential oil, at the end of the mixing, to add depth to the flavor. It really brings out that bite of lime that totally compliments this recipe. You can purchase the oil here.

Note: This recipe fed over 20 people (as a garnish/dip). Please use organic ingredients when available.

Ingredients:

3 Haas avocados, quartered

1/2 medium sweet onion, quartered

1 medium ripe tomato, quartered

3 garlic cloves, peeled

1/2 tsp sea salt

1 lime, juiced

handful of fresh cilantro

Dash of cayenne pepper

1 drop pure lime essential oil

Preparation:

Add ingredients to the food processor in order listed (except for lime essential oil).

Pulse mixture until you reach the desired consistency.

Place in a glass bowl and add the essential oil. Stir with a wooden or stainless steel spoon. The essential oil can leach toxins from plastic containers or utensils and I avoid metal, so the avocado doesn’t brown.

Enjoy with a clean-eating salad or tortillas!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!!!

 

 

 

 

SAVORY + CREAMY HUMMUS

Hummus Logo

I have been perfecting my hummus recipe for several years now. I think I finally found a blend I am quite pleased with to share! Hummus is my healthy comfort food. It is my way of indulging and being kind to my body. I use hummus as a dip, spread, and even mix it with a vinegar dressing to add depth to a boring salad. The secret to a good hummus is roasted garlic and then blend the heck out of the mixture!

Ingredients:

2 cans garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained

4 cloves of roasted garlic, peeled

1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves (lightly packed)

1/4 cup + 3 Tbs. extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbs. tahini

Juice of half a lemon

1/8 cup filtered water

3/4 Tbs. sea salt

1/4 teaspoon cumin

1 drop of pure lemon essential oil (I only recommend a certain brand.)

Preparation:

Add all of the ingredients, except for 3 Tbs. olive oil, filtered water and lemon essential oil to a food processor and blend for a few minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl and blend for another couple of minutes. Scrape down mixture again and add filtered water and blend for a couple of more minutes. Finally add the 3 Tbs. of olive oil and blend for a few more minutes. Blending in phases, really makes a difference in the creamy texture. Be patient, it will definitely be worth the wait! Scrape the hummus into a glass bowl and then add the drop of lemon essential oil and mix well with a metal or wooden spoon. (Lemon oil should not be used in plastic containers, due to the petrochemicals in the plastic.)

Enjoy with a plate of crudités, sandwich or salad!

CHOCOLATE ENERGY PROTEIN BALLS

Chocolate Protein BallsI’m a busy mom, so often I need something quick to eat. I love healthful snacks, but they are hard to find. And the ones you do find are quite pricey. So when in doubt, create your own recipe! This recipe is adapted from the infamous Tony Horton’s protein ball recipe. You can watch his quite animated video here. I wanted a snack loaded with protein, flavor and low on sugar. So here ya go!

Ingredients:

1 cup rolled oats

1 cup raw walnuts

1 cup of almond butter

1/2 cup vanilla protein powder mix

1/3 cup raw cacao

1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

1 tsp. cinnamon powder (cinnamon essential oil would be great too)

Dash of sea salt

6 Tbs. raw honey (buy local! better for your allergies)

Organic coconut oil (as needed)

Preparation:

Please use organic ingredients when possible.

In a large bowl, mix the oats, walnuts, protein powder, cacao, cinnamon, sea salt, and mix with a large spoon.

Then add the almond butter, vanilla extract, honey and stir together. Add coconut oil by the teaspoon, if it seems too dry.

Wash your hands and then get in there and mix it up real good with your hands. Don’t be shy! Use an ice cream scoop to form little balls. (Like Tony says, “Ping pong ball size”.) Place your yummy creations on a cookie sheet and put in the freezer for about an hour or two. Store them in an air tight container in the freezer.

I think they taste best frozen and they have a better consistency. But that’s my preference since I like my dark chocolate frozen. Get creative and roll them in different toppings. I tried shredded coconut since that is one of my husband’s favorites!

Let me know what other toppings you can thing of to add to this healthful snack!

CHEWY GRANOLA BARS – CLEAN EATING STYLE!

Chewy Granola Bars
I don’t keep processed snacks in the house because they have NO nutritional value and they are quite addicting and toxic. Excitotoxins, food dyes, corn syrup and a myriad of other things are often added to packaged snacks. These ingredients can actually make you addicted to the food item they are in and often times you may not feel satiated. Ever notice your little one eats a snack and ten minutes later they are still hungry?

Snacks are also an habitual way to dent your budget. So this is a great way to save money and eat healthful. Oatmeal is a big staple in our home and even the organic version is affordable. So I created a granola bar that my son keeps coming back for more! I hope your family enjoys these bars as much as we do!

Ingredients:
1 ¾ cups rolled oats
¼ cup oat bran
½ tsp. sea salt
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 cup dried cranberries (sugar-free!)
1 cup organic raisins
½ cup almond butter
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
6 Tbs. coconut oil
1 banana
6 pitted dates, chopped
1 Tbs. ground flaxseed
2 Tbs. filtered water
Preparation:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease an 8” x 8” pan with coconut oil.
Mix together in a medium mixing bowl, oats, oat bran, salt, cinnamon, dried fruits.
Puree banana and dates together in a blender.
Mix flaxseed and water to form a paste with a small whisk. (This also helps bind the bars. )
In a separate larger bowl, whisk together the vanilla, coconut oil, almond butter, banana date mixture and flaxseed paste.
Combine the dry ingredients into the wet, just enough to combine well.
Spread into the pan and press down gently with the palms of your hands. I rub some coconut oil on my hands before doing this so the mixture doesn’t stick to my hands  Plus it’s a great moisturizer for you!
Bake for about 35 to 40 minutes. The top and edges will get a little brown.

IMPORTANT TIP!!!! Take out to cool for about 30 minutes and then place in the refrigerator to “set” for about an hour. This part is crucial in having firm, not crumbly bars!
Once they set, cut with a sharp knife and bon appetite!
Salubrious Tip: You can add any nuts, coconut or other dried fruits you love.

Sweet Lemon Coconut Bread

coconut-bread 1

I am slowly transforming my family’s diet to gluten-free, since I have found that works best for our health. So being a total foodie and cooking connoisseur, I am learning to create healthful versions of great food! I wanted to make a healthful treat for my guests, at my essential oils class I taught in my home. So I adopted a coconut bread recipe from another recipe I found here, from the Candida Diet website. (I will soon be posting more about Candida and how it is affecting my health.) I love, love coconut oil and all of the medicinal properties it brings with its delicious flavor! I added a little zing to the recipe by infusing it with pure lemon essential oil. Essential oils are one of my new loves and I simply can’t live without them! After months of research I have chosen to partner with an AMAZING brand of essential oils. They have extremely high standards in the process and the sources in making their oils. Oh and they smell divine and have amazing results in our family. Most essential oils are not food grade, so be careful when choosing for consumption.

Studies have shown that coconut oil can help fight off bacteria, viruses, fungus and even Candida. Coconut oil contains a saturated fat called lauric acid, a medium chain triglyceride which helps improve cholesterol levels and helps restore your thyroid function. So why would you not want to eat this  yummy treat?

Ingredients:

1/2 cup coconut flour

1/2 cup almond meal

1/2 cup coconut milk Use only creamy part on top – so don’t shake the can!)

5 organic eggs

2 Tbs. coconut oil

1 tsp. pure Madagascar vanilla extract

1 tsp. aluminum-free baking powder

1/2 tsp. sea salt

1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp. of stevia

8-10 drops of pure lemon essential oil

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a loaf pan with coconut oil. Blend the eggs, oil, stevia, salt and vanilla together in a blender. In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and then add the wet mixture and whisk together until there are no lumps. Pour mixture into a loaf pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes. Oven temperatures may vary so check after 30 minutes. If the bread seems “springy” to touch and a knife comes out clean, its done!

Bon appetite!

Do you have any great gluten-free recipes you would love to share with me? I would love to hear any suggestions from you or if you tried my recipe!

Harvest Apple Butter

Harvest Apple Butter

Every year in the fall, my heart pines for the crisp cool breeze, the beautiful and vibrant colors of fall leaves, and the smell of sweet cinnamon spiced comfort foods. Since I live in South Florida, for now I can only get the comfort foods. So to celebrate our version of fall, my son and I whipped up some delicious, clean-eating harvest apple butter! We had so much fun mixing up the ingredients and savored the fragrant smell of apples and cinnamon in the air. So we hope this brings a little genuine “fall” into your home.

Harvest Apple Butter

6 organic honey crisp or gala apples

2 organic Bartlett pears

1/2 cup of filtered water

1 Tbs. of pure maple syrup

1 Tbs. of coconut butter (also called manna)

1/2 tsp. of ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp. of freshly grated ginger

Preparation:

Peel, core and cut the apples into small chunks. Peel and cut the pears into small chunks. Add fruit, water, cinnamon, and ginger to a medium sauce pan and cook on medium-high heat for about 1 hour. Stir mixture several times during this simmer process so it won’t stick to the bottom of the pan. Add syrup and coconut butter, mix well and let cook another 15 minutes. Remove pan from heat and mash up the fruit with a wooden spoon. If you desire a smoother consistency, you can blend in a food processor or blender. We preferred our recipe chunky.

You can eat this like apple sauce (like we did), or use it on pancakes or waffles for a clean-eating meal, with yogurt or even some homemade ice cream. Oh it really is so yummy!

Bon appetite!

Harvest Apple Butter 2