Essential Christmas Treats

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I’ve been learning about and using essential oils more and more this year, but my new favorite way is to incorporate them into FOOD.  (Note that not all oils are created equal, and only Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade can be ingested.)  So we get the wonderful health benefits of essential oils while also satisfying our sweet tooth.  Not a bad holiday plan…

Food + Essential Oils = These are a Few of my Favorite Things….

My momma friends and I recently had a “T’is the Season for Essential Oils Party” (to smell and learn and try) and we brought the following essentially yummy treats: Continue reading

Healthy Jello? Hello!

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Jello Parfait in poor lighting

I never recall being a big fan of the jiggly stuff.  But once I got into eating Real Food, and found out that Jello’s main ingredient (gelatin) is good for you, I was ready to try my hand at Bill Cosby’s favorite treat – minus the pesky flavorings, artificial colors and added sugar.  J-E-L-L…No.

With  apologies to my vegan friends, gelatin is a powdered supplement made from animal bones and connective tissues and has many health benefits, like aiding digestion, improving hair/nail/skin growth, helping joint recovery, and providing protein in the form of necessary amino acids that we rarely get in our SAD (Standard American Diet.)   Continue reading

Have Yourself a Healthy Christmas Goodie

Too. Many. Cookies. http://www.lifelovebeauty.com

A fellow healthy-oriented mama friend emailed me with her Christmas cookie dilemma – her girls have caught the Christmas baking bug this Advent season, but she wants to keep them from going into insulin shock.  So I sifted through my Safari dessert bookmarks and found a Pinterest-worthy amount of great ideas.  And much like Pinterest, I’ve only actually tried some of them, so let me know what you think!

So what makes a treat HEALTHY, you ask?   Continue reading

Thanksgiving Proclamations and Probiotics

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I’m feeling nostalgic for the East Coast during these fall days.  Santa Barbara is undeniably beautiful, but we are longing for the seasons.

Enter Thanksgiving.

Crisp air and colorful leaves (or not), Thanksgiving declares Autumn like nothing else.  Obviously the fall foods play a big role, but it’s more than that.  There is something special about the timing of reminding ourselves to be grateful, just as we head into a season of longer nights, barren landscapes, and dormant life.  (Not to mention all the commercial Christmas nonsense…) Continue reading

RECIPE: Simple Ice Cream (plus more summer desserts!)

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I make simple desserts.  I like to eat complicated desserts when someone else (like my gourmet sister-in-law) makes them.  (Gluten-free tiramisu for my birthday last year.  Yeah, she’s amazing like that.)  But I try to keep it simple at home.  Despite all the unhealthy additives in the store-bought kind, ice cream was once a simple dessert to make.

As mentioned in my Summer Fun list, we got a new-to-us ice cream maker off of Freecycle and are determined to use it regularly this summer!  So far, we’ve made chocolate with mini chocolate chips, lemon (with fresh zest and juice), and then back to chocolate again, because you can’t go wrong with chocolate. And my son has requested pineapple with mint from our yard for our next experiment.  Creative, no?  We watch a lot of cooking shows…

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Not Your Childhood’s Breakfast Cereal

Chocolate Cereal from Tanya Dawn Flickr photostream

Many of us have cereal memories.

Perhaps you were the poor kid who had to break your teeth on Grape Nuts (AKA Gravel Nuts) and only got the pleasure that is Honey Nut Cheerios on special occasions.  Or maybe you were the one who had to make the painful decision between Cookie Crisp, Cap’N Crunch, Fruity Pebbles, et. al. – ultimately deciding based on the color the milk would turn.

Well, I was the first kid, but I had plenty of the second in my neighborhood.  =)  I was that child who would stare longingly into my friends’ candied pantries and ask if we could PLEASE eat something before we played.  

And now I am raising those children.  But that’s for another post…

In the meantime, our family has come up with a new alternative to boxed breakfast cereals that everyone seems to be happy with.  (Except for the hubs, whose price-love and desire for TJ’s Honey Oat O’s has yet to be broken…)

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RECIPE: Nourishing Citrus Smoothies

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Before we lived on the East Coast for eight years, I was a California girl for eleven.  And yet during that initial residency in the Sunshine State, I was never much of a citrus person. Now that we are back, however, I’m all over the citrus.  We even lived on Citrus Street at one point.

We’ve inherited a (sad) orange tree that I plan on not neglecting soon, friends with bags of lemons to give away, an intrastate gift of delicious grapefruits from my parents tree and a recent glut of limes from my favorite farm stand’s dollar table.  With this overabundance of vibrant spheres of Vitamin C sourness (#overthetopeuphemisms), I have been forced to find ways to consume them.  

Enter our friend, Vita-Mix.   Continue reading

RECIPE: Chocolate Deliciousness

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This stuff surpasses any label you could try to burden it with.  It’s thicker than pudding, less sugary than a ganache, denser than a mousse and easier to make than a custard.  I know, I know.  People always say a recipe is easy and then they start saying things like “prepare a water bath,” “separate the white from the yolk,” or “sift the dry ingredients.”  (What?  I don’t sift.)

Well not this time.  This recipe is TRULY easy.  It’s all of four ingredients and requires very little heating.  And it’s healthy, what with all the dark chocolate, eggs & coconut.
I whipped it out again for another of my husbands birthday desserts and this time made it dairy free.  He gave it his ultimate food compliment:  “Restaurant Quality.”   Continue reading

Coconut (Kefir) Soda

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With all things coconut trending in the food world and all things probiotic gaining popularity in the health arena, this little dandy is a delicious, simple drink that has wonderful health and digestive benefits.  (As if the benefits of regular coconut water aren’t RIDICULOUS enough…  Sheesh.)  And it can be a great first fermentation experiment for the culturing newbie because it’s easy-peasy-coconut-squeezie.

(If you are wondering what kefir is or you know just enough about it to be a little scared, here’s a simple primer.)  Otherwise, let’s do this!

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RECIPE: Choc-amole’!

Choc-amole!

Have you ever had awesome neighbors that bring you bags full of avocados that their large tree keeps churning out?  Us too!  Thanks to Carl and Debbie, we have had those rough Santa Barbara days with more avos than we know what to do with.  So when in doubt, search for dessert recipes!

This odd combination of avocados laced with chocolate ends up being a healthy, creamy, satisfying treat to fill that sweet craving that you get at the end of a long, pregnant day.  *Happy sigh.*   Continue reading