Thursday, February 28, 2013

Jenn's Molasses Cookies

I can't wait to try Jennifer's new cookies.  Thanks, Jenn!.


These cookies are very light and fluffy. The kids especially liked them and they are sweet without being too sweet.

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
1/2 cup applesauce (no added sugar)
1 egg, fork beaten
1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
2 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 2 cups soft white wheat berries, finely ground)
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Mix together the melted coconut oil with the honey and molasses.  Add the egg and applesauce.  In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon and ginger.

Add the flour mixture to the molasses mixture and mix forming a thick dough.  Drop by spoonfuls onto a butter greased cookie sheet and bake for 10 minutes.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Banana Bread

Great way to use up those extra bananas that got a bit too ripe.  Banana bread is an excellent choice for breakfast or for an afternoon snack.


1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup honey
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 or 3 bananas)
1 tsp. pure vanilla (don't use imitation)
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (or 1 3/4 cups soft white wheat berries, ground fine)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 °F. 

Cream together the butter and honey.  Beat in the eggs, bananas, and vanilla.  In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and sea salt.  Then blend the liquid and dry mixtures together.  Add the chopped walnuts, if using.

Pour batter into a greased (use butter, not a spray) and floured loaf pan and bake for about 60 minutes.  Started watching it at 50 minutes, bake until center is set.  (I bake it in a glass loaf pan and baking it for 70 minutes at 325 °F works well for me.) 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 9 (2/26/2013)

Eat at least one raw vegetable serving each day.
I don't believe an all raw diet is healthy or necessary, but raw foods do provide essential vitamins and enzymes and other nutrients, that are not fully understood by man.  So this week have at least one piece of raw fruit (week2 challenge) and one serving of raw veggies each day.

This can be very simple.  Some possibilities include organic carrot or celery sticks (see Jennifer's post about swords).  When my boys were little, while I was fixing dinner, I would cut up celery sticks (the swords) and carrot rounds (the eyeballs).  They loved to munch on their eyeballs and swords while playing 'knights' nearby.  I made it fun and thus they loved their veggie snack, especially when they were hungry right before dinner.  Serve with a homemade dip, such as ranch dip.  Buy organic carrots and celery (celery is #2 on the pesticide contaminated list).

A salad is another wonderful choice - enjoy a green salad, spinach salad, egg salad, chicken salad, or cole slaw.  If you have a good homemade dressing on hand for your salad, a salad can be as simple as a bowl of lettuce by itself or with one other ingredient.  Just be sure to use ingredients that are in season when possible.  Put lettuce, spinach, or bell pepper on a sandwich or in a wrap (made with nitrate-free meat and whole grains).  For these vegetables: lettuce, spinach, and bell peppers, buy organic.  Bell peppers are heavily contaminated with pesticide residues.  Mushrooms and onion slices are good raw additions also, and these are o.k. to buy conventional if organic is not available or too expensive.

Another good option is avocado (I count this as a vegetable).  We use fresh avocado on almost all Mexican dishes.  I buy conventional and organic, depending upon price and what looks the best.  Radishes are another spring vegetable, one my husband loves.

Lots of recipes are also available for smoothies that have veggies added.  (Doesn't 'veggies' sound more yummy than 'vegetables' - take advantage of this when introducing your challenge to your family!)  If you have a Bullet or VitaMix or another good blender, give a smoothie with veggies a try.  For this type smoothie, your base ingredients are fruit, veggies, and some ice.

Enjoy the bounty of wonderful fresh vegetables that we have available to us!

Advanced Challenge for those already eating one serving of raw vegetables each day:

Include a raw vegetable(s) with both lunch and dinner, or try something new for you, such as some shredded jicama on a salad.

“Please test your servants for ten days: Give us nothing but vegetables to eat and water to drink." At the end of the ten days they looked healthier and better nourished than any of the young men who ate the royal food.      Daniel 1:12, 15 

Monday, February 25, 2013

Ranch Dip

Another simple to make, yet delicious, condiment.  You can use fresh drained yogurt instead of sour cream, and fresh minced garlic for added nutrition.  You can also substitute fresh herbs.  Double the quantity for any fresh herbs you use.  I do not buy Horizon products; Organic Valley or Wallaby are better choices if you buy your sour cream.  Do not buy low fat versions.  Remember, it is important to have a dip with good quality fats with fresh veggies to help you absorb the fat soluble vitamins.


1/2 cup sour cream (or drained yogurt sour cream)
2 Tbl mayonnaise (I use Hain's Safflower mayonnaise)
1/2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp dried chives
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly ground black pepper

In a bowl, whisk together above ingredients.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Sweet Potato Biscuits

A fun twist on a biscuit.  Sweet potatoes are extremely easy to grow in Texas, and store well over the winter in a cool place.  We keep them in a brown grocery bag in the garage.  I also use fresh kefir in the recipe, but buttermilk can be used instead.  These whole grain biscuits are filled with nutrition.
Ingredients (I use organic ingredients):
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour (I use 1 3/4 cups soft white wheat berries, ground to pastry flour)
3 tsp baking powder (get an aluminum-free brand)
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3 Tbl melted unsalted butter
3/4 - 1 cup baked, peeled, and mashed sweet potatoes
3/4 cup plain unsweetened kefir or buttermilk
2 - 3 Tbl maple syrup
Mix together the dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, mash melted butter and sweet potatoes together.  In a third larger bowl combine the kefir and maple syrup.
Alternate adding the kefir mixture and dry ingredient mix to the sweet potatoes, about 1/3 at a time.  The dough will be sticky.  Do not over mix.  Form into a ball and press to 3/4" thick patty on a floured cutting board with floured hands.  Cut into biscuits and place on a greased cookie. 
Bake for about 20 minutes at 425 °F or until slightly browned.
Use real butter to grease the cookie sheet, not one of the man-made sprays.   I use a very small, 1 1/2" cookie cutter, to make small biscuits.  This small size fluffs up well.  I purchased the set of cutters from William-Sonoma years ago but they are still available.


Saturday, February 23, 2013

Melted Brie with Jam

This simple, yet elegant snack, is inspired by Whole Foods, who has promoted this for years around the Christmas holidays.  This one is just a bit different though because I use jam that is fruit juice sweetened, rather than sweetened with sugar (or worse HFCS, high fructose corn syrup).  We also eat it year round; it is a great and easy appetizer to serve visitors. 

Make sure your crackers do not contain enriched flour - there are not many available but you can find them if you look around.  The Whole Foods crackers shown use white flour, but are not enriched, and the Mary's Gone Crackers are organic and 100 % whole grain.  It seems people either love or hate the Mary's Gone Crackers (no connection to me!).  I buy the brie cheese wheel and Mary's Gone Crackers at Costco, and the water crackers at Whole Foods.  Be careful with Carr's water crackers - read the labels.  Some varieties contain enriched white flour, which is on my never to eat list of foods and ingredients.  Find a good quality cracker.
One round of brie cheese
Fruit juice sweetened jam (I use Crofter's Just Fruit Raspberry Spread)
Crackers (read the ingredient label)
Preheat oven to 350 °F.  Cut the top layer off of the cheese wheel (but do not cut off the side layer or your brie will be a melted puddle) and place on an oven-proof dish or plate.  Spread the jam over the top (about 1/4" thick) and place in preheated oven for about 10 minutes or until cheese is soft.  Remove and serve with crackers.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Green Salad with Homemade Dressing

The key to a salad that tastes good and that is good for you is homemade salad dressing.  We need good fat in our diets to absorb fat soluble vitamins (A, E, D, and K) and to keep our cells flexible.  A huge misconception is that one should eat low-fat or no fat foods for health and proper weight.  This is simply not true and was popularized after so many diseases developed from people eating bad fats.  The problem is not 'fat' in one's diet, but cheap 'bad' man-processed fats, such as hydrogenated oils. 
Lettuce, washed and torn into bite size pieces or a spring mix
Homemade Croutons

These are the ingredients I used in our class salad.  Pick your favorite fresh ingredients to add and use what you have on hand.  Below is the recipe for the dressing we had on the class salad; it is a good base dressing.  Have fun and experiment.  For the dressing my team made at my house, we added 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard and 1/2 tsp of honey to the base recipe.  Raw minced garlic and/or ginger are also great additions.
Simple Dressing:
2 Tbl. organic extra virgin olive oil (get a good quality oil)
1 Tbl. balsamic vinegar (or raw apple cider vinegar)
1 tsp. Gomasio
a few grinds of sea salt
a few grinds of pepper

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spinach Salad with Poppy Seed Dressing

~ 6 oz of spinach (I use organic baby spinach leaves)
1 organic apple, cored and diced (don't peel)
1/4 cup chopped walnut pieces
fresh organic lemon
poppy seed dressing (below)
Place spinach in a medium large bowl - fill bowl 2/3 to 3/4 full.  Add apple chunks and squeeze lemon over apple pieces.  Sprinkle walnut pieces over surface and gently toss.  Make dressing and pour over salad mixture.  Toss again until thoroughly coated with dressing.  Do not add dressing until right before serving.
Poppy Seed Dressing:
1 Tbl. raw apple cider vinegar (I use Braggs)
2 Tbl. good quality organic extra virgin olive oil (I like Montebello)
1 Tbl. raw, unfiltered pure honey
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. poppy seeds
1/4 tsp. sea salt

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Scrumptious Egg Salad

My egg salad received a new name after last night's class.  I am so glad everyone enjoyed it so much.  The key to making a scrumptious egg salad is using good quality eggs.  Enjoy it by itself as we did last night or in a wrap with some spinach as shown in the photo.


5 hard boiled eggs, chopped 
3 stalks of celery, diced
2 green onions, including top greens, chopped
2 Tbl. minced red onion

2 Tbl. mayonnaise
1 Tbl. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. dill
1/2 tsp. paprika
1/4 sea salt
a few grinds of fresh black peppercorns

Place eggs, celery, and both types onions in a large bowl.  In a small bowl mix up the mayonnaise, mustard, and spices.  Add mayonnaise mixture to egg mixture and stir well until thoroughly blended.  Chill in refrigerator until ready to eat.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 8 (2/19/13)

Drink only things that do not contain sugar (or HFCS) or artificial sweetener.  Choose a better option.

It seems that there are two groups of people:  those who drink sodas*, and those who no longer drink sodas.  Those who no longer drink sodas typically have no desire to have another knowing the struggle and difficulty of breaking this very, very addictive habit.  These substances are so powerful that it can take years without a soda to be truly free and not slip back.
* When I use the word soda, I am referring to conventional sodas such as Dr. Pepper, Coke, Pepsi, Mountain Dew, Sprite, etc.
Depending upon which group you are in, this challenge will be very easy, or it will be incredibly hard.  Drinking soda is one of the worst things you can do if you wish to achieve or maintain good health and vitality, and thus one of the first things to tackle. 

Sodas present several very difficult challenges.  They are loaded with sugar or HFCS (high fructose corn syrup) and caffeine.  Both sugar and caffeine are extremely addictive substances.  It takes great conviction to claim victory in this area.  You will never gain the health and vitality that could be yours, and thus your greatest potential if you have a food idol such as this in your life.
I don't think I need to go into detail about the adverse health effects that soda has including robbing your bones of calcium, lowering your immune system, and rotting your teeth - this is just the tip of the iceberg. 
A few suggestions to try:
1.  You must recognize the seriousness of this addiction to overcome it.  Many people tell me, "Oh, I could quit anytime but I enjoy drinking a soda so I think it is o.k. since I am making changes in other areas."  Don't be fooled into thinking this way.  If you can't give up soda this week without serious side affects (caffeine headaches, agitation, strong cravings), then you are being controlled by what you eat/drink, by sugar and/or caffeine.
2.  For some people, slowly weaning off soda works.  For others (like me), only going cold turkey works to stop the soda and sugar addiction.  For the first two or three weeks, the cravings are intense, but then things become easier.  If I keep thinking I can cut down and eat just a little less, I continue the cycle of cravings and eventually end up back to where I started, and thus frustrated and discouraged.
3.  Find a replacement, a good substitute, as you transition to a diet of God-made food.  The Izze sodas shown above are a great option.  They are fruit juice sweetened and do not contain sugar or caffeine.  My boys' friends, who drink regular sodas, prefer an Izze over a Coke or other soda.  They are an excellent transition drink.   
4.  Pray; seek God's strength.  If you sincerely wish to be free of the control food has over you, God will help you succeed.  But you must ask Him for His help.  God wants no idols to control you - He wants you completely.
5.  Be careful that you don't increase your consumption of other man-made foods for your sugar and caffeine cravings.
6.  Eat/drink lots of God-made easy foods - fruits, raw nuts, pure water.  Loading your body with good nutrients will help make your struggle easier.
Advanced Challenge for those who have already overcome the addiction of soda:
Identify another man-made food, perhaps sugar, that you eat regularly to cut out of your diet this week.

"You shall have no other gods before me.  You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below.  You shall not bow down to them or worship them: for I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God ..."  Exodus 20: 3 - 5a

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Yellow Rice

I developed this recipe because Jon, my youngest, did not like the brown rice I was cooking in chicken broth.  Since I wanted my boys to love good foods, I did a lot of experimenting with dishes they didn't enjoy when they were younger.  It paid off because now they love and desire to eat only real foods made from scratch and are even cooking and experimenting with recipes themselves.  I also wanted to incorporate turmeric into our diets (it is a spice with amazing healing powers).  

Jon loves this rice, as has everyone who has tried it.  This is a staple that I keep in my refrigerator, making a batch or two each week for the last several years.  I have given you our standard recipe; just cut everything in half if this quantity is too large for you.  Take a little extra time and add the optional ingredients for greater healing power.  This is incredibly easy to make and is a great base to go with so many dishes, such as chilies or stews.
Yellow Rice
4 cups filtered water
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp turmeric
Place water, sea salt and turmeric in your rice pot.  Bring to a boil.
2 cups brown rice (I typically use organic long grain)
Add rice and bring to second boil.  Place tight fitting lid on pot, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 40 minutes.  Turn off heat and let sit at least 5 to 10 minutes to absorb the remaining liquid before serving.
¼ cup finely diced yellow onion
3 – 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced
~ 1 tsp fresh ginger, peeled and grated
~ 1/2 Tbl organic extra virgin olive oil

Sauté above optional ingredients in olive oil and add to water and spices.  Bring to boil and continue with directions above.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 7 (2/12/13)

Cook with fresh garlic.

In today's world, everyone wants a 'magic' bullet or pill to cure their current ailment.  Fresh garlic is God's magic bullet.
Please note that I said fresh, not raw.  I am not suggesting that you eat raw garlic, especially if you do not regularly use fresh garlic in your cooking.  The only way I use raw garlic is in salad dressings and sauces, where it is coated with oil or fat.  Eating a raw garlic clove by itself can cause stomach irritation.  Eating raw garlic cloves is not recommended and not necessary to benefit from garlic's magical properties.
I had NEVER had fresh garlic used in any food in my life growing up!  I now ALWAYS have a couple heads of garlic in my house; it is an item I always want to have on hand.  It is an essential staple in my kitchen.  Garlic has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-parasitic properties.  Even the traditional medical community has good things to say about garlic.  Besides boosting the immune system and fighting infections, it has anti-inflammatory properties, it fights cancer, it strengthens the heart lowering blood pressure and cholestrol, and it is packed with vitamins and nutrients.  This is truly God's superfood.  NOTE:  Garlic also improves blood circulation because it has blood thinning properties, but if you are having surgery or if you are on blood thinning medication, you should be careful when using garlic in your diet.

Some tips concerning garlic:

1.  Store your garlic in a container that breathes and place in a dark cabinet or counter area.  Do not store your garlic in the refrigerator.  My garlic holder is shown in the photo above. 

2.  Get a good garlic press.  I have purchased many different ones, and have been extremely frustrated with most.  The one I finally found that works well is the Zyliss Susi.  (I have never tried the Susi 2 or Susi 3 presses so I don't know how they work.)
3.  Buy a head of fresh garlic - buying the already minced garlic in a jar or garlic powder is not the same.

4.  Start slowly if you typically don't use garlic.  One or two cloves go a long way in a dish.  During the winter, when colds are rampant, I use a clove or two of garlic, along with yellow onion in most of our dinner meals.

5.  Yes, eating garlic can give you 'bad' breath, especially when you first start eating it.  I wonder if this effect is due to the 'kill-off' of germs.  Brush your teeth well and follow the 'break fast' routine.  I have lots of friends who eat garlic daily and they do not have bad breath from the garlic, so don't let this thought scare you away from using garlic.

6.  I also have many people tell me they don't like the taste of garlic or that they can't eat it because it upsets their stomach.  However, don't give up on garlic.  Just start extremely slowly and use it in very small quantities, making sure it is well cooked.

7.  To use fresh garlic, pull off a clove and cut off both ends.  Then peel off the skin and place in a garlic press and mince.  You can also smash it with the side of a large knife and then finely chop if you do not own a garlic press.  When making one-dish foods, I press out the garlic into my diced vegetables and saute' everything together.  Here is a photo of the vegetables I sauteed for an egg frittata last week.  I then added eggs and cheese, and baked. 


Advanced Challenge for those already cooking with fresh garlic:

Buy and use fresh ginger in your food.  Ginger also has many amazing health benefits, one is that it is a powerful digestive aid.  I store my ginger in the freezer.  When I want to use it, I take a knife and peel away some of the outer skin and then use a very small grater - I've pictured the two types I own.  Start by adding 1/2 to 1 tsp. of freshly grated ginger to a dish - fresh ginger is very subtle and you probably won't even taste it.  Experiment and enjoy.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows."  James 1:17

Monday, February 11, 2013

Mexican Layer Dip


This is a great recipe to play with and vary depending upon the ingredients you have available. 


1 - 2 cups refried beans (I make my own but you can also use Bearitio Refried Beans in a can; I like the Green Chili ones)
1 cup gaucamole (I make my own or use Wholly gaucamole)
1 cup sour cream (don't use low-fat - I like Organic Valley or Wallaby organic)
1 Tbl Taco Seasoning or Mexican Seasoning (I use Frontier)
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 - 1 cup salsa (I like Muir Glen's Chilpotle Salsa)
1 - 2 cups grated cheese (I use a mix of organic, or white, cheeses.  Grate your own - it is cheaper and pre-shredded cheese has anti-caking chemicals added to it.)

Mix the taco seasoning with the sour cream.

On a large plate with edges (as shown in the photo), spread first a layer of refried beans, and then a layer of gaucamole.  Next spread on the sour cream mixture, making sure to completely cover all gaucamole so it doesn't turn brown.  Then sprinkle on green onions and salsa.  Lastly, top with grated cheese.  Keep in refrigerator; can be made a day in advance.

Serve with organic tortilla chips (only eat organic corn products since almost all non-organic corn that is grown in the United States is GMO, genetically modified).

Saturday, February 9, 2013

January 2013 Class - Read Labels

So much misinformation - don't be fooled by the marketing tricks used to sell foods.  Your health is not their main goals; it is making a profit. 
We read the ingredient labels for the above chicken soups and broths at the January class.  All contained MSG (which has many names) except the 365 Organic Whole Foods brand (no longer true**).  Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, the staple my mom fed me as a child when I was sick, is loaded with man-made ingredients.  She knew that the old wives' tale which says, "the best medicine for a cold is Grandma's chicken noodle soup" was true, but she did not understand that it had to be homemade. 
Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup:  chicken stock, enriched egg noodles(wheat flour, eggs, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), chicken meat, water, chicken fat, salt, lower sodium natural sea salt, monosodium glutamate, cornstarch, mechanically separated chicken*, modified food starch, yeast extract, flavoring, sodium phosphate, soy protein isolate, beta carotene, chicken*              *dehydrated
Healthy Choice Chicken noodle soup is not much better:  chicken broth, white meat chicken, carrots, enriched egg noodle(durum wheat semolina, whole egg, egg white, niacin, ferrous sulfate, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid), celery, modified food starch, flavorings, yeast extract, salt, potassium chloride, sugar, isolated soy protein, chicken fat, maltodextrin, sodium phosphate, malic acid, beta carotene(color)
The Swanson and even the Trader Joe's organic broth contain MSG.  MSG, or monosodium glutamate, is a excitotoxin.  While you may think you are not affected, and not too concerned, don't think that what you don't know won't hurt you.  One cannot ingest toxins without eventually developing significant consequences.  The health of most older Americans is terrible.  Don't let your food wreck your life.  Be informed.
According to Dr. Mercola's website, "One of the best overviews of the very real dangers of MSG comes from Dr. Russell Blaylock, a board-certified neurosurgeon and author of “Excitotoxins: The Taste that Kills.” In it he explains that MSG is an excitotoxin, which means it overexcites your cells to the point of damage or death, causing brain damage to varying degrees -- and potentially even triggering or worsening learning disabilities, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Lou Gehrig’s disease and more." 
In Dr. Mercola's article, he also lists the other names of MSG.  Some of the most common ones are:  yeast extract, autolyzed yeast, and hydrolyzed protein.  Along with any ingredient that is listed which has the word 'glutamate or glutamic' in the name.  All of these ingredients are on my 'never to eat' list.
The best broth of all is homemade.  Making chicken broth and other bones broths will be demonstrated at the March class.  I will provide the instructions over the coming weeks though for those who want to get started making broth now. 

I always have frozen broth is my refrigerator or freezer.  Homemade bone broths, that have been simmered for hours, pull healing minerals and gelatin from the bones.  Bone broths aid digestion and can heal gastro-intestinal problems.  My homemade chicken soup (recipe coming soon) with garlic and fresh herbs is my medicine for a cold or the flu.  It works.  My family spends no money on prescription or over-the-counter medication.  These are not needed when you understand and eat God-made foods.
You cannot substitute a store bought version and expect to receive the same healing properties from the soup.  Though the Whole Foods 365 Broth** does not have toxins, it does not contain the super nutrients that a homemade broth will have.  Here is a photo of some broth I made this past year.  You can see that it is very rich and gelatinous; it contains incredible healing power. 

**The one brand of chicken stock that I had pointed out in the January class that did not contain hidden MSG was Whole Foods 365 Organic brand. HOWEVER, they have changed the label recently and have changed the ingredients which now include yeast extract, a hidden source of MSG. I no longer recommend this product. Learn to make your own broth!

Friday, February 8, 2013

January 2013 Class: Easy Snack Foods

In the January class, we focused on easy foods that take little or no preparation and snack options that are made with just a few natural ingredients.

Fruits are a very easy, sweet treat.  Keep lots of fresh fruit (fruits that are in season) in your house for a quick snack.  The fruits we cut and sampled in class included grapefruit, oranges, apples, pears, and pineapple.  We also cut up a mango and made a mango lassi.


Other snack options include sesame sticks and chocolate energy chunks, shown in the photo below.  Savor these snacks, eating just a small quantity.  They are not addictive like the man-made foods, so it is much easier to eat just a little.  My favorite treat though, which I enjoy when I have a sweet craving in the afternoon, is a piece or two of dried organic mango.  Be sure to purchase dried fruit that is organic since sulfur is used in the conventional drying methods.  I buy these three snack options at Natural Grocer.  There is a Natural Grocer store in Richardson and a new store that just opened in Denton.

The other simple foods we tried in class, which are great to serve when you have guests, include Mexican Layer Dip with tortilla chips, Melted Brie with Jam, and Mary's Cookies.  The quality of the ingredients you purchase is very important.  Buy the best you can find.  If you substitute other ingredients, be sure that you read the ingredient labels and purchase items that do not contain sugar (which has many names) or man-made ingredients (such as artificial sweeteners).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

February Class

My team and I (plus a great friend and master chef, Lynn) met last night to plan for the February class. We had lots of fun cooking, eating, talking (of course) and praying for your success in eating God's foods.

We have planned lots of fun things to share with you; I hope you will join us at the next class if you live in the North Dallas area.  The class will be Tuesday, February 19th beginning at 5:00 p.m. with hands-on demonstrations.  While the classes are free, registration is required.  Email me if you would like more details about the class.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Weekly Challenge - Week 6 (2/5/2013)

Buy and use good quality sea salt.

Phew - a simple challenge for everyone this week (but also VERY important for everyone).  I've photoed a few of the sea salts that I am currently using.  I will explain how I use each and where I got them, but first some tips.

Some tips concerning sea salt:

1.  Throw away your table salt or use it to make 'play dough'.  It is that bad for you and it is dirt cheap so not much of a loss. 

Table salt is what is left when sea salt is processed by man and all the trace minerals are removed and then iodine and various chemicals are added to prevent clumping and caking.  This man-made salt has transformed a healthy necessity that God created into a toxic substance which creates numerous health problems.  After realizing table salt was causing health problems, man using the world's wisdom decided salt was not good and began to recommend low salt and no salt diets, instead of going back to God-made sea salt.  Sea salt has been a part of man's diet since the beginning of time.  Don't be misled by this misinformation.  A good quality sea salt contains about 80 trace minerals, 2% of its composition.  Trace minerals are essential for good health.   
2.  Get the best quality sea salt you can find.  Look for one that is minimally processed: hand-harvested or sun-dried.  Don't go for cheap.  Though a good sea salt may be 10 times as expensive as table salt, it is only the cost of one or two Starbucks and should last you for months.  A bag or shaker of good sea salt typically costs about $5 to $10.

3.  Don't put a salt shaker on your table.  While the many trace minerals in sea salt are essential to our health, most Americans tend to use too much salt in their foods.  Try to break yourself of the habit of salting your food at the table.  As you eliminate man-made foods from your diet and your taste buds reawaken and as you begin you use other spices in your foods, you will no longer crave an excessive amount of salt.   

4.  Use only good quality sea salt in everything you cook and bake.  Some people tell me, "I don't use salt so I don't need to buy an expensive sea salt."  But if you are eating a diet of God-made foods, even if you don't cook much, you will need to have a good sea salt available to put in your foods.  You will definitely need it for the recipes I will be sharing with you. 
Advanced challenge for those who already own and use a good quality sea salt:
Buy a second or third type of sea salt to use.  I like to have different sea salts from different places for a couple of reason.  First, the naturally occurring mineral content within the sea salt is going to vary from place to place.  Thus by using different salts, I am potentially get a more even mix of the trace minerals that my body needs.  Second, our world is heavily polluted.  Though the hand-harvested sea salt should be coming from clean deposits, just in case, I use different ones to spread out my exposure to potential pollution from a single source.
The sea salts I am currently using:

The salts shown above are just some of the many different sea salts that I have used over the years.  There are many other good ones.  Read the label about how it is made and where it comes from. 

For baking, I like to use the Swanson Himalayan sea salt (on left in top photo) because it is very fine and thus distributes well throughout dough. I order this on-line.  It comes in a small and large size.  The Celtic sea salt, on the right in the second photo,  is a somewhat fine grain and an acceptable option also for baking.  Any of the grinders could be used, but it is more work to grind and then measure.

For soups and stews, I exclusively use the coarse Celtic sea salt, pictured on the left in the second photo above.  I use it in dishes which I am cooking that have a liquid base in which it will dissolve.  This sea salt in the staple that I always have on hand and that I have used since the boys were born.  I buy this from local natural foods grocery stores.
For salad dressings or any dish that needs an unmeasured amount of salt (salt to taste), I use the salt grinders, such as the two Frontier salts shown in the top photo.  These are my fun salts and an extravagance.  I purchased the Frontier shakers on-line directly from Frontier.  The Himalayan pink salt on the right in the top photo I purchased at Costco.
I do not recommend buying cheap sea salts - you do get what you pay for with salt.  These two sea salts both cost less than $2 and they are the ones I use to clean my chicken prior to baking (I salt the inside of my chicken to clean it).  The salt is all completely rinsed out of the chicken before stuffing and baking. I do not recommend buying either of these as your good quality sea salt.  I do not use either of these in the food I eat.
If you are just beginning the weekly challenges, be sure to read the posts under Weekly Challenges - In Advance
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men."  Matthew 5:13