Thursday, March 30, 2017
OR, if your husband is out of town for a week - with Amish bacon, and lingonberry jam.
Cornmeal Buttermilk Biscuits
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup buttermilk (or use a cup of milk replacing 1 Tablespoon with lemon juice)
3 Tablespoons honey
2 cups gluten-free baking mix (or all-purpose flour)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
4 oz.(1 stick) COLD butter, cut into 1/2 tablespoon sized pieces.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with two layers of parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, buttermilk, and honey. Stir well and let sit for 10 minutes to soak the cornmeal. Add flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt to a food processor and pulse to mix. Add cold butter and pulse until mixture is coarse. Pour the flour mixture into the buttermilk mixture and stir to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead about 8 times until smooth. Using a biscuit cutter or the top of a glass about 2 inches wide dipped in flour (I dip mine in a little water), cut out 6 rounds. Arrange rounds on cookie sheet. Bake at 450 for 5 minutes or until biscuits really start to rise in the oven, then turn heat down to 400 and bake for another 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and serve with jam or butter and honey.
Tuesday, March 28, 2017
Other than that, I'm not a big fan of most sandwiches made at home. Just meat and cheese and iceburg lettuce is too boring and unless you add a bunch of mayo (I HATE mustard) too dry. My husband happily goes off to work each day with one, mayo-free, just some sandwich sprinkle spice from Penzey's, but his work has a nonprofit cafeteria where he can add a side salad for a dollar or two. But I decided to start adding more veggies to my sandwich and it made a lot of difference. Try sprouts (I make my own as grocery store sprouts do have a higher risk of salmonella than most lettuces), add mushrooms, or avocado, tomatoes or spinach. Cranberry sauce is good with turkey or "veggie turkey" especially with a thin smear of fat-free or dairy-free cream cheese. Ditch the mayo. Keep the meat lean or a vegetarian protein adding a little pepper, teriyaki sauce or barbecue seasoning to it before baking and only use a thin slice of cheese (better yet use hummus, keeps the sandwich moist and also healthy). Decorate with a toothpick with a pickle spear or add some shredded cabbage with rice vinegar as a side (a non-fat "coleslaw")
Serve on a whole grain, sprouted grain, or gluten-free bread, whatever you prefer. No thick white bread - that defeats the whole purpose of a healthy sandwich.
Yum - I didn't know a lunch sandwich from home could be this good!
Friday, March 24, 2017
I actually like this better than just the carrots and could eat it regularly (and it's less than 200 calories a cup and SO creamy.)
Browned Butter Carrot and Sage Soup
2 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
handful of fresh sage (leaves only, and washed)
5 cups chopped carrots
1 and 3/4 cups water
4 cups reduced-sodium vegetable broth (or use chicken or vegetarian "chicken" broth, both also good)
3/4 cup reduced fat half-and-half
dash of salt and white pepper to taste
Heat butter in a Dutch oven and heat until it's starting to brown and go frothy. Add sage and cook until starting to crisp up, remove with slotted spoon. Add onion and celery; cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in carrots. Add water and broth; bring to a lively simmer over high heat.
Reduce heat to medium and gently simmer until the carrots soften (25-35 minutes). Cool 10 minutes minimum (so you're not pureeing piping hot liquid) then puree the soup a cup or so at a time in a food processor or blender until smooth. Stir in half-and-half and salt and pepper, return to saucepan and heat on low until warm. Garnish with a few croutons and a sprig of fresh herb of choice.
Use olive oil instead of butter.
Instead of cream, omit the onion and make a "creme" substitute out of roasted onions (it's really amazing, not tasting exactly like cream but with the same texture and depth to add to recipes). If you don't do onions and can eat soy, blend tofu and water in a 1/1 ratio to make a "cream".
Veggie "Cream Substitute:
Makes 3/4 to 1 cup
3 large sweet onion
Salt, to taste
Lemon juice, to taste
Olive oil, to taste
Coat the onions lightly with extra virgin olive oil, and roast them at 400º F in a pan that's not a lot bigger than they are until they are very dark on the outside and molten soft on the inside—the insides should not have taken on any color. That's about 45 minutes in my oven. Let cool. Once they have cooled, Remove the peels, and add the onions into a blender. Blend until very smooth, about 3 to 5 minutes. Finish by adding salt, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and olive oil to taste, then blend 20 to 30 seconds more. Adjust seasoning if necessary. Use as you would cream to finish a dish. Will keep in the fridge for 3 days and in the freezer for a couple of weeks. Great to make mashed potatoes with for vegan friends.
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
I'm doing 3-4 days a week - 60-minute sessions with one 90-minute session on the weekend, Weights (with an emphasis on arms as that was my weak area), cardio, boxing, and strength training to my Piano Guys CD (seriously, best workout music). I can also do the entire session without having to stop for several minutes to catch my breath between sets. Planks went from 5 seconds to 3 minutes and my partial meniscus-less knee only hurts when the weather is changing (accu-knee) instead of 24 and 7. My 3-pound weights are now 8-pound weights (going for repetition rather than overall weight lifting) and a 10-pound medicine ball was added to the mix.
One year in, without dieting, just cooking healthy food/healthy fats food more often with more fruits and veggie laden meals but still enjoying some wine and treats on a regular basis, I lost 18 pounds and 2 pants sizes. I can also wear sleeveless shirts for the first summer in 10 years.
Saturday, March 18, 2017
Get some rice cooking in your steamer.
In a coffee cup mix a teaspoon of fresh grated ginger (or use half as much of powder), the juice of a lime (about a Tablespoon), a teaspoon of honey (or half teaspoon of sugar) and cayenne pepper to taste (I like mine spicy).
If you want to be totally soy free use gluten free breaded chicken bites. I used the veggie chicken pieces since it was one of my meatless days - I like the Gardein ones which do have a little gluten and soy in them. I cut them in pieces and just nuked for a couple of minutes then crisped them up in a fry pan. Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep warm.
When the rice is a few minutes out from being done, stir fry in a tablespoon of olive oil half a bag of frozen oriental veggies (mine was a mix of broccoli, carrots, sugar snap peas, water chestnuts and red pepper). When veggies are crisp/tender, toss with your protein and sauce and serve with rice.
Friday, March 17, 2017
Horse Creek Soap Berry Vanilla and Lovespell
Today's post is off the healthy recipe theme and covers another part of my life I updated to live healthier, doing so about eight years ago. Just a note: I was not asked to review any of the products here, or provided money to review them. I only post on this website the products I love enough to buy and use in my own home.
What you put IN your body is essential to good health, but what you put ON your body is also very important. The skin is the largest organ of the body and some of what is put on the skin will be absorbed into the body. A study published in the American Journal of Public Health looked into the skin’s absorption rates of chemicals found in drinking water. It showed that the skin absorbed an average of 64% of total contaminant dosage. (1)
You're kidding me right?
Yes, Other studies found the face to be several times more permeable than broad body surfaces and an absorption rate of 100% for (ahem) "delicate" areas of the body. (2)
And another peer-reviewed study showed 100% absorption for fragrance ingredients. (3)
U.S.researchers have reported that one in eight of the 82,000 ingredients used in personal care products are industrial chemicals, including carcinogens, pesticides, reproductive toxins, and hormone disruptors.
Many products include plasticizers (chemicals that keep concrete soft), degreasers (used to get grime off auto parts), and surfactants (they reduce surface tension in water, like in paint and inks).
I started with my soap. Most soap dried out my skin, but looking at the ingredient label of my moisturizing soap was an eye opener. I was using a generic product that was similar to Dove, but not made by Unilever.
SODIUM COCOYL ISETHIONATE AND/OR SODIUM LAUROYL ISETHIONATE, STEARIC ACID, SODIUM TALLOWATE, COCONUT ACID AND/OR LAURIC ACID, WATER, SODIUM ISETHIONATE, ETHYLENE/VA COPOLYMER AND/OR PEG-12 OR PEG-8, SODIUM COCOATE, COCAMIDOPROPY BETAINE, FRAGRANCE, GLYCERIN, SODIUM CHLORIDE, TETRASODIUM EDTA, TITANIUM DIOXIDE, AND TETRASODIUM ETIDRONATE.
Plus it started turning to mush in the shower after 10 days, so even though it was cheap it wasn't a bargain.
You can get unscented or a number of light scents. My all time favorite is Fresh Snow which is just sold around the holidays. When I said favorite - I bought a dozen bars of it as it's just made once a year I didn't want to run out.
OLIVE OIL, COCONUT OIL, PALM OIL, GOAT MILK, AVOCADO OIL, SHEA BUTTER, COCOA BUTTER, CASTOR OIL, LYE, FRAGRANCE, COLOR.
That's it. Now I'm sure someone is going to say "lye? Isn't that caustic?" Technically yes, but you can't make soap without it. Not going to happen. In a soap like Horse Creek, that is superfatted, the chance of any irritation in the tiny amount of lye needed to process is about zip. You are more likely to be sensitive to a fragrance in any brand of soap than the lye that's used to make it.
In addition to the soap and the lotions, there are also some great lip balms (the sweet orange is addicting) and a rose/clay sugar scrub that's just yummy.
At $5 a bar it might seem pricey for soap, but after using them a year, I can tell you a bar lasts 3 times longer than the soap I was using, so it's very competitively priced for the quality.
Next are the skin and body care items that I have used over the years. I admit, I've strayed to try a high end name brand or two a close friend was using or selling and always came back to these products, especially after looking at some of the toxic ingredients in some of the popular brands.
I also always protect my skin from heavy winter winds/cold when working outdoors and summer sun with a layer of beeswax cream before I go outside (which has a natural spf of 15) from
I can honestly say that my skin, using good quality skin care which nourishes the skin with real, not synthetic ingredients, not only does not look eight years older since I started using these products, but I'm usually mistaken for early 40's, NOT late 50's. Good genes, a lifetime of sunscreen and a diet rich in foods that promote collagen have helped a lot, but the skin care has made a noticeable difference. Especially in the chronic redness and irritation I always had with dry skin and Rosacea.
Point and shoot selfie at age 57. (no filters)
1. Brown et al. The role of skin absorption as a route of exposure for volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in drinking water. Am J Public Health. 1984 May; 74(5): 479–484.
2. Kasting and Kretsos.Skin Pharmacol Physiol 2005;18:55-74 Robinson et al.
3. The Importance of Exposure Estimation in the Assessment of Skin Sensitization risk. Contact Dermatitis 2000; 42:251-259.