Friday, August 27, 2010

Kitchen Experiments

So for our Shabbat meal tonight we decided to go with homemade (grain-free) pizza and the kids picked a Peanut Butter Pie (also grain-free) for dessert. They both turned out super delish!

Peanut Butter Pie (Grain-Free)
- 6 eggs
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup peanut butter
- 2 cups carrot pulp (leftover pulp from juicing carrots) OR grind up 2 cups of carrots in the food processor until they make a "carrot meal"
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 2 lg. cooking apples
- handful of raisins

Core and cut the apples into small pieces and layer in bottom of greased pie pan. Top with the raisins. Blend all the remaining ingredients together and pour over top the apples and raisins. Bake at 300 degrees for 50-60 minutes, or until it is baked through in the middle.

We thought it tasted a bit like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with the raisins in there! Yum!

Grain-Free Pizza

- 2 1/2 cups ground almonds (or other walnuts, pecans or hazelnuts)
- 1/4 cup softened butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 tbsp pizza seasoning
- 1/4 - 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 jar organic pizza sauce
- favorite pizza toppings (we like red onions, garlic, olives, red and green bell peppers, turkey sausage or venison summer sausage, and peccorano romano cheese)

Stir together almonds, butter, eggs, pizza seasoning and salt. Add a little water if necessary to make a spreadable consistency. Spread on greased pizza pan (we love stoneware for a chewy/crunchy texture). Bake crust at 300 degrees for 20 minutes or so, until baked in the middle. Top with pizza sauce and favorite pizza toppings. Put back in the oven at 325 and bake for 20-25 minutes or until pizza toppings are heated and melted.

Both recipes are taken from "Gut and Psychology Syndrome" by Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride. They're both absolutely worth the effort it takes to make them!!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Two Sides to Every Story

Right now is the season of repentance as we're heading into the fall Biblical holidays. One issue (of several!) that I am trying to work on in my life is the issue of passing judgment too quickly. It is so easy sometimes to just make a quick judgement, isn't it? We look at a situation and so often, it's a "what you see is what you get" mentality. I think this is one of the hardest parts of marriage and parenting! When the kids are bickering, who do you believe when you weren't there to witness it? Lately, my kids have taken to the "he/she started it first!" reasoning. Drives me nuts! As a parent, I want to punish appropriately and fairly, but sometimes it's hard to know what that is, isn't it?

My solution these days is to remove them both from the situation until they can both tell me their version of the story without the other one their to jump in and say "no...that's not how it happened!" Most of the time, they feel like they are the only ones who've been wronged and somehow it was most certainly the other person's fault. Usually, they were both at fault in some way. How often do we grown-ups find ourselves doing the same childish things in our marriages and other relationships? I know I do, far too often.

The Bible has a few things to say about this topic of passing judgement without having concrete evidence. Deut 17:6 says, "The death sentence is to be carried out only if there was testimony from two or three witnesses; he may not be sentenced to death on the testimony of only one witness." We read in Deut 19:15, "One witness alone will not be sufficient to convict a person of any offense or sin of any kind; the matter will be established only if there are two or three witnesses testifying against him." Matt 18:15 also has something to say on the topic, "Moreover, if your brother commits a sin against you, go and show him his fault — but privately, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won back your brother. If he doesn't listen, take one or two others with you so that every accusation can be supported by the testimony of two or three witnesses." We see the concept reiterated several times, so it's definitely something worth considering...even in minor situations. When we go around judging one another on even the small matters, it blossoms in to bigger problems and then we have a vicious cycle of the blame game on our hands. We can kill (figuratively speaking) each other with our assuming and judgmental words, so we have got to watch how we're accusing each other.

It's an act of love to overlook the wrongs that have been done against us, especially considering that so often, the other person wasn't trying to offend. "People with good sense are slow to anger, and it is their glory to overlook an offense," Prov 19:11. In home life, there often aren't two witnesses to every wrong doing. That's probably to our benefit...if we don't have two witnesses we have no right to carry out "punishment" against them. We have no right to vengeance. I think of all people, it's hardest to forgive our loved ones, but they are the ones that we should be forgiving the quickest. After all, there are two sides to every story.

Every truth has two sides;
it is as well to look at both,
before we commit ourselves to either.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Get Your Chocolate Fix On

Fierce chocolate cravings today demanded that I make the kids and I some banana-fudgesicle milkshakes for a treat! It was a complete experiment and I wish I would have measured exact amounts so I could replicate it exactly! This recipe should be pretty close. It's a not-AS-bad-for-you-milkshake. Adjust any amounts to your taste...I did...

2 bananas (could do 3 for more banana flavor)
2 ripe avacados
2 cups almond milk (ours is homemade so it is unsweetened)--you could also use regular milk
3/4 c. dutch cocoa powder (appx.)
1 tsp. vanilla
ice to fill rest of blender
appx. 1/2-1 c. honey (sweeten to your taste)
1/2 tsp. cinnamon (if desired)
pinch salt

Blend all together in high powered blender. Don't be put off by the avacados. They make a beautiful smooth and creamy consistency and you don't even know they're there! Not to mention that because of the avacados and bananas, this shake is loaded with potassium and other good-for-you ingredients. It's very filling so we had enough left over to pour the rest in some popsicle molds and pop them in the freezer for fudgsicles later. YUM.O.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Collision Course

This was a video link sent via Joel Roesenberg's Blog. Although I don't agree with some of the end-times theology presented toward the end of the video, I especially appreciated what General Boykin and Mosab Yosef had to say. It was made for TV and now they're making the video, Collision Course, available via internet. Just wanted to share!

Kitchen Business

Today I just wanted to share a little more detail about what happens in our kitchen during the week. We do a lot of fermented foods because they aid digestion, boost immunity, and they're yummy to boot! This came about as a result of the GAPS diet we've been doing and we're lovin' it!

Pretty much, once a week or every 10 days, we make a batch of Sauerkraut. After trying a few different things, our favorite recipe was one of the most basic ones and I've adapted it from the recipe in the Nourishing Traditions cookbook.

1 head of green cabbage, shredded
1/4 head of purple cabbage, shredded
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. caraway seed
1/4 c. whey (I like to add a dash more, too)

Pound all the above ingredients together with a meat pounder for about 10 minutes. Put into a glass jar and add a little extra water if necessary, so that the juices come to the top of the cabbage. Cover (but don't seal tight) and set in a dark place at room temp. for 3-5 days. In my house, which is usually around 70 degrees, 3 days is usually enough. Make sure to use a jar with some extra space for expansion. After it's bubbly and fermented, put in the refrigerator. It's great with any meal and is loaded with good-for-you probiotics! The kids love it too!

Today we also made some Lacto-Fermented Ketchup because we just finished our last jar. This is a ketchup that you will want your kids to eat because it, too, is loaded with probiotics and isn't full of the sugar that you get in store-bought varieties. It is alive and soooo tasty! After a few tries, this is our favorite recipe!

3 c. tomato paste
1/4 c. whey
1/4 c. - 1/2c. grade B maple syrup (we like about 1/4 c. + 1/8 c.)
pinch - 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper (we like 3 pinches)
1 tbsp. sea salt (and i usually add about 1/2 tsp. extra)
3 cloves mashed garlic (we use lacto-fermented garlic but it's not necessary)
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1/8 c. Braggs Liquid Aminos
1/2 c. spring water (don't use tap water if it's chlorinated as it will ruin the fermentation process)

After 3-5 days, when it's done fermenting and tastes just the right amount of tangy, put it in the refrigerator for storage. It will keep for several months. Delicious!

Today I was also soaking almonds and tonight they're de-hydrating in the oven so that tomorrow I can make some No Grain Banana Muffins from the Healthy Home Economist Blog.

2 1/2 c. finely ground almond flour (from soaked/dried raw almonds)
1/4 c. expeller pressed coconut oil
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2 very ripe, mashed bananas
2 tbsp. honey (or 5 drops stevia extract)

Mix everything together well in a glass bowl. Pour batter into a muffin pan and bake for about 50 minutes at 300 degrees F. This will be a yummy treat for breakfast on Shabbat!

Also out of some of our soaked almonds, we made almond milk. (Don't mind the wierd paper on the jar in the photo -- we reuse glass jars from the store all the time!)

1 cup almonds
3 cups water
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Soak the almonds in the water for 8-10 hours or so. Blend in a strong blender or food processer with vanilla extract until almonds are ground into fine meal. Strain in a nut bag over a bowl or jar. Milk will strain out and you can use the leftover dried almond meal in baking.

Tomorrow, Lane plans to use the almond milk to make a raw Kohlrabi soup for dinner. We've been eating a lot of Kohlrabi out of the garden lately so we thought we'd try a new recipe out for some variety! He's going to make the cold raw soup to go with a german fish recipe that he found online. Could be interesting!

The photo to the right is water kefir brewing. Every three days, we also make a fresh batch of this great stuff. Pretty much every day we make a green smoothie of some sort using our water kefir. It, too, is loaded with probiotics, and it's a little fizzy and lightly sweet, so it makes for a great smoothie. Heidi and I also like to drink it straight because it's quite refreshing. I don't really have a recipe for the water kefir. I just take the grains I have (and sometimes take some off if they've reproduced too much), pour a bunch of spring water over them (about a half gallon) and stir in about 1/2 c. raw sugar. The grains feed on the sugar and it's molasses and their by-product is probiotics. Instead of water or milk, I'll often use it to make salad dressings as well. Tasty stuff! On the left is another picture of the finished water kefir. At that stage, we could add fruit or many other things to flavor it, but our favorite is just plain.

We are also starting to make milk kefir. Yes, we're in love with kefir. This tastes a lot like yogurt and is just a thinner consistency. It also works great in smoothies or just to have as a treat. I use this in dressings and any other way I can think of as well. This is just an itsy-bitsy batch because we haven't had our grains very long and they're still growing, so we only get about 8 oz. every couple days. But they are growing! Lane doesn't handle milk very well, but he can do the milk kefir because it is pre-digested thanks to those lovely kefir grains. The grains feed on the lactose in the milk and again, their by-product is probiotics. Yay for kefir!

I'm really looking forward to the day when we can eat sourdough bread again, but in the meantime, we certainly aren't lacking good things to eat!

Great Resource!

I just wanted to share with you a great resource that I just finished reading through last night. They are just two little booklets but they are loaded with great information and I highly recommend them to any believer.

With the fall Biblical feasts just around the corner, now is a great time to read up on them! There are two booklets that discuss the Biblical Festivals, one about the spring feasts and one about the fall feasts. So good! They're available from a ministry with a long track record of teaching simple truth. I got some for myself and to share with our Bible study group. You can get them from RBC Ministries and it's from their Discovery Series called The Holidays of God: The Spring Feasts and The Holidays of God: The Fall Feasts. Please check them out, they're free!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


Well we've survived our GAPS diet least the introduction, anyway. We've pretty much moved into the normal GAPS diet, which is great because it adds a ton of variety to what we can eat. Variety is good, but also a lot of work! So I'm simplifying, at least for now.

For breakfast, it's the green smoothie of choice. For lunch, some kind of soup (to keep that nourishing broth in our tummies!) Snack, usually veggies or fruit and nuts or nut spread. For dinner, meat and veggies or a salad of some sort. And we make sure to get some good probiotics with every meal (and even enjoy it)!

Pretty easy! For dinner we try to make a wide variety of things. Some days it's chicken sausages with apple and gouda cheese, venison steak, or a roasted chicken. One of the kids new favorite things is cauliflower mashed potatoes smothered in cheddar cheese. And the old standby, taco salad...yum!

Lane seems to be able to eat some dairy without any tummy trouble, which is huge! Tempers are very temperate these days...a huge blessing! Heidi's been able to continue gaining weight...yay for growth! We're able to have eggs once a week without a problem. Gluten still throws us all off but that's okay because we've been enjoying nut flour pancakes and breads that are delicious! I've still gotta try making some soaked nut flour muffins...yum!

I'll leave you with one of my new favorite's loaded with awesome recipes and ideas! The Prairie Mom. I love her meal plan.

And another one that is also full of yummy stuff! GNOWFGLINS

The Superior Church

I've got a bit of a bone to pick. Before I go any further, though, I have to clarify. I love church. I love the worship, I love the friendships made there, I love the sermons, I love teaching the kids, I love the potlucks, the weeknight Bible studies...I love the whole kit-n-caboodle. Maybe that's why I so often get perturbed about this particular topic. Really, what would there be to be disgruntled about if I didn't like it anyway?

My bone to pick is this: many congregations think they're superior to all the others in some way or another. Most people are there because they are with people who believe like them, think like them, even act like them. They're comfortable in that place. That's okay to be comfortable. But what bothers me is that in our comfort...we oftentimes get to thinking we're BETTER than those OTHER churches (and hence, the people in them).

This isn't even about whose beliefs are the most correct. I've spent a lot of time in a lot of different denominations and in all honesty, every single one has it's strengths and it's weaknesses as far as what they believe. Despite my own obsessive quest for truth, I certainly don't have it all figured out either. This bone picking is about ATTITUDE.

When we get comfortable right where we're at and develop the attitude that our preacher is the only one who teaches the truth and our congregation is just where we should stay because they have got it figured out, maybe at that moment, we're too comfortable. Our attitude loses it's humility and our growth becomes stagnant.

When we put the shoe on the other foot, also fits. We probably shouldn't go around church hopping. It is good to stay in one place, stick it out with one core body of believers and grow with them. That's the clincher right there...the growing part. Everywhere I go, it seems like the church is stuck. People are just comfortable and it seems they've got it all figured out. In general, we've got our nice homes, our nice families, our beautiful buildings to congregate in. We've got friends who are pleasant and jobs that are pleasant. Life is good. What is there to be concerned about? We go to church, worship, hear a sermon, chit-chat a little...maybe over a meal, and get on with our lives. The depth is gone. Our Christianity has insulated us and brought into our lives an air of superiority. Some contentment is good, but we are strangers in a strange land and our home is not of this world. DIScontentment should be weighing on us, at least a little.

There really isn't a right or wrong's different for each of us.

Maybe it's time we take some risks, step out of that comfort zone and tear down some insulation. Learn something new. Pray something new. Do something difficult. Seek something greater. The destination is not worldly, so it is impossible to fully arrive. The whole process is about getting a taste, just enough to wet our whistles and make us thirst for more!