Thursday, February 18, 2010

Granola

Modified from Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten's, recipe
(Love, Love, Love her show)




4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
2 cups sliced almonds
1 cup flax seed
3/4 cup coconut oil
1 cup your favorite honey or real Vermont maple syrup
1/2 tsp vanilla extract (home-made recipe coming soon)
1 cup small diced dried dates
1 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Toss the oats, coconut, almonds & flax seed together in a large bowl. Whisk together the (melted) coconut oil, vanilla and honey(or syrup) in a small bowl. Pour the liquids over the oat mixture and stir until all the oats and nuts are coated. Pour onto a 13 by 18 by 1-inch sheet pan. Bake, stirring occasionally, until the mixture turns golden brown, this should take about 45 minutes.

Remove the granola from the oven and allow to cool, stirring occasionally. Add the dates and cranberries. Store the cooled granola in an airtight container.

Goes well with previously listed home-made yogurt.



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Home-Made Yogurt

I'm hopeful for a bounty from my garden garden this year. It will be nice to have a variety of pesticide/preservative-free veggies & berries to keep me on my weight loss path.

Home-Made Yogurt

I love this yogurt because it is so versatile. You can make it plain & use it to make salad dressings & dips or you can sweeten it & add fruit for a sweet, healthy snack.
The recipe calls for whole milk; quite frankly, I was looking for a more economical way to make yogurt & started using powdered milk. Due to the fact that powdered milk is fat free, the yogurt came out being not as thick and creamy as I would've liked;  no one in the family liked it.  So it looks like we're sticking to the pricey stuff.
If only I knew a dairy farmer! I'd love to have fresh, raw milk for this recipe. I bet the texture & flavor would be Divine! Don't be turned-off by the idea of cooking with raw milk, it's pasteurized in the cooking process. Also, if you live on a dairy or know someone who does & can get it for free...BONUS! .

You can make a smaller quantity of yogurt if you're worried you won’t be able to use 4 quarts in a month. Just use a half gallon of milk and two quart jars. No worries here, we eat yogurt every night before bed; sometimes with granola and sometimes fresh or frozen fruit, it's our little bed-time snack.

The first time I made this with my kids, we were 'sold out' in two weeks. WOW, found out they really like home-made yogurt. I thought this funny because they've never liked store bought yogurt.

Boil jars and lids for about 10 minutes & keep them hot.

Ingredients
1 gallon of milk
1 cup yogurt starter

If you're a 1st timer , you can use 1 small container of plain, regular...not reduced fat, of store bought yogurt for your starter.
In a dutch oven, heat the milk on low until it reaches 180 degrees.
Once the milk reaches 180 degrees, take the pot off the heat and place it in a sink filled with cool water until the temperature drops to 120 degrees.
Stir in the starter when the temp drops to 120. 
It's time to pour the milk into your sterilized quart jars.
This is a good point, when you're making sweetened, vanilla yogurt*, to add your sweetener. If you're feeling daring pour some into a small cup & drink it warm...Yummy!
Turn on light in your oven, top jars with lids, place jars in oven near the warm light, shut the oven door, and leave there over night.
or
Place into a ice chest with 1 gallon water heated to 120 degrees, shut the lid, and leave for at least three hours. (I prepare my batch in the evening & leave it in the ice chest over night)

After three hours, place the jars in the fridge.

Homemade Yogurt makes 4 quarts, which will keep for at least a month in the fridge (if you can keep it in stock for that long)


*To make the sweetened-vanilla version of this yogurt, add 1/2 to 1 cup of raw sugar (raw honey or real VT maple syrup) to the four quarts of milk when it’s cooling in the sink. Then stir in 1-2 tablespoons of vanilla (soon to come "home-made vanilla extract" YUMMY),  and proceed as above with the recipe.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Day 4 of Detox Diet

I woke up this morning feeling fine I got to lay in bed with the babies for a good hour and just relax and watch t.v. I love lazy days.  Today was really a hum-drum day. Nothing imparticular happened, nothing much at all.

My meals were mostly left-overs.  A banana for breakfast, a piece of my egg & veggie frittata.  By the time dinner rolled around I almost forgot all about my diet (woops). I popped a lasagna in the over that I made last week and put in the freezer. It smelled sooo good. I couldn't wait to cut into it and serve myself up a piece.  I grabbed a plate for my husband and one for myself. Then it dawned on me, I can't eat this!  What a bummer.  I decided to steam some broccoli and cauliflower in chicken stock instead.  To wrap up the day I had a smoothy made with frozen fruit, orange juice and ice this evening.

Kind of boring, but at least I'm still trucking along.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Farmers Market

In the near future I would like to start making my own burdock tea, peanut butter, and vanilla extract. The problems that I am having is that I don't know where I can buy burdock root, peanuts and vanilla bean pods in bulk.

I'd love get as much of my produce from a farmers market. However, I'm new to Vermont & I don't know where to go to get the local fares. 

I'm also hoping that I will be able to find some bees wax for my beauty products before summer.

I'd appreciate any feedback that would help out.

Detox Day 3

I am tired. It could have something to do with my baby boy not sleeping well last night. He would cry but didn't want to nurse. I think his ear hurts, but he's not very congested and he doesn't have a fever.

When my toddler was an infant and she would have an ear infection, it was pointless to take her to the dr. because they wouldn't treat her. They told us that they wanted her body to learn how to fight off infection. So, we gave her motrin and she nursed and that was that. She had fluid in her ears from the time she was 2 months old until she was about 18 months, only had fever on a few occassions though. She seems fine now & has never been on prescription medication other than for allergies.

I'm hoping that my baby boy won't have to suffer like my little girl did.

Other than being tired, I was only slightly congested this morning. However, when I went to bed last night I was itchy like crazy. I wish I was not allergic to dogs, the rest of my allergies I could live with.
BREAKFAST

I had quite a few bananas today...not sure if that's bad for you or not though.  Let me see, I had 2 bananas with my tea this morning.  And that was it until lunch time.

LUNCH

I grabbed about 3 different bags of fruits out of the freezer and put them in the blender with some ice and 3 bananas and blended it with orange juice.  I had a large glass, my toddler had a small cup with a straw (this made her happy, she usually gets a sippy cup).  I put the rest in the refrigerator so that I can have it another day.

Pre dinner snack

I fixed some brown rice with broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage in chicken stock.  It taste good, but in the future I will have to remember to wait longer to add the veggies. They came out all mushy, I would not serve this to company.

DINNER

Chicken legs are in the microwave defrosting, I have rice with veggies left over from earlier, and I will be making garlic cheese biscuits for the family.  I'm not sure how I will make the chicken.  I may grill mine with salt & pepper and make a salad with the dressing that I prepared on day 1.  The kids will get bbq sauce on theirs.  Still not sure though.

Today left me wanting bread.  It's only been 3 days since I've had any, it feels like an eternity.  I don't care about coffee, pepsi or ice cream; but I sure would like to have a burrito, sandwich, or nice big buttermilk biscuit! 

Home-made bread, muffins, cake, dinner rolls....now I'm just torturing myself.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Day 2 of Detox

I have allergies, ugh. They consist of dogs, cats, birds & juniper....Right now having a dog is not agreeing with me, but he was a gift for my husband; so what can a girl do? I wonder if my diet will affect my symptoms I'm suffering with. I'll have to take note of how I'm feeling each day & see.


Today I woke up feeling groggy, puffy/itchy eyes and congested. No headache from lack of caffeine though =D

Must brew a pot of tea... Green tea, a couple slices of ginger and honey. That hit the spot. I'm not even missing caffeine. I've come to the conclusion that I just need something hot to drink in the morning. Bonus, green tae should help my rhumatiod arthritis.
Breakfast

Last night I prepared some brown rice with ginger, orange zest, raisins & honey. I put it the microwave this morning & heated it up. I had mine as is, mixed some of the yogurt that I made a couple days ago into my toddler's. We both ate it up. We all like rice pudding around here so this was my version of it today. There was enough left over for us to snack on all week.

I haven't put much thought into what I'll be eating the rest of the day, but I don't really care at this point. When I get hungry, I'll figure something out. I need to remember to buy some dried beans and frozen fish. Beans can be prepared a variety of ways and fish will make a nice change from eating chicken all the time. I love Salmon, hopefully they will have some at the grocery store.

Ok, I got hungry. So, I pulled out a bunch of fresh veggies from the fridge. Sauteed them in chicken stock, mixed up some eggs, put them all together in a pie pan & baked it in the oven... YUM! If I hadn't been on this diet, I would've never tried this without milk and cheese. However, it was wonderful...I plan on making this for breakfast in the future.
Frittata

1/4 c home-made chicken stock
1 c chopped broccoli
4 sliced mushroom caps
1/2 onion chopped
1/2 sliced zucchini
4 eggs whisked (I am only going to eat 1 serving per day.If I entended on consuming the entire thing in one day, I would only use 1 whole egg and 3 egg whites)

Pre-heat oven to 350
Sautee all veggies in stock then add eggs, mix well. Transfer to pieplate coated with non-stick spray. bake until eggs are no longer loose....about 15 minutes. I cut mine into 1/4's.

Well I sort of cheated for dinner and had KFC, but I wanted to stay on track so I really considered what I was ordering. I got a meal with 2 pieces of grilled chicken, plain mashed potatoes and a water to drink. Technically this is bad because, I do not know what was in the potatoes or on the chicken and the whole point of the diet is to detox from dairy, caffeine, sugar, gluten and preservatives. I figure at least I didn't get fried chicken with gravy soaked potatoes, cole slaw, biscuit and a large soda (this is my favorite KFC meal) .

I'm now home, relaxing with my baby in the rocker sipping some green tea. I would like a snack though. It's time to ask my honey if he'll run down to the store to get me some mixed nuts with sea salt.



Monday, February 8, 2010

Burdock Root

Today I learned about Burdock Root. It's an ugly little thing that grows wild. I guess it's fairly abundant in Vermont. I'm not sure if it grows other places or where. It looks very similar to a toxic plant & can be easily confused. So like mushrooms, you should not gather from the wild unless you know what you're doing.

From what I've read, it looks like people have been using it a number of years for detoxing. But aside from that it's tea is supposed to have medicinal qualities. In addition it is said to increase lactation for breastfeeding women, but a uterine stimulant to stay away from during pregnancy. Burdock is used as a blood purifier, diuretic, and as a topical remedy for acne and other skin issues.

I do believe I am going to be buying some of this at our farmers market & add it to my detox diet. I will be able to use it in my tea & cut the root up like carrots in my soups & stews.

1st Day of Detox

Today wasn't bad. I started the morning off with a tangerine. No coffee this morning (I like lots of creamer & milk in mine) I can manage without for a couple of weeks. I opted for green tea with honey instead. I snacked on pieces of fruit while I was preparing my two year old's breakfast.

Everyday when she gets up I ask her, "are you hungry". And each time she says yes. When I ask her what she'd like to have, the answer is always, "MEAT". So today I gave her some leftover chicken pot pie that I made two days ago.

While she was eating her breakfast pie, I started to prepare my lunch so that I wouldn't be tempted to grab something forbidden when I got hungry. I defrosted some chicken & chicken stock that I prepared last weekend and froze. I got out my George Foreman grill & cleaned it up (it's amazing how dirty that thing got in my cabinet since I last used it)

I began to grill my chicken (with extra for dinner), got out some green leafy things that were on sale yesterday, and mixed up some salad dressing.....

salad dressing

1/4 c apple cider vinegar
1/4 c lemon juice
1 c chicken stock
1/2 tsp Italian herbs
sea salt to taste

I tore the chicken from the bone and mixed with lettuce and dressing...a little more salt & I was fighting my toddler over this one. I was surprised at how yummy it was.

Next time I'm making more.

For dinner I had some of the chicken that I grilled earlier, brown rice cooked in my homemade chicken stock & broccoli steamed in the micro....I must say the brown rice wasn't bad. I guess my past bad experiences were because I wasn't cooking it long enough....I'll have to remember in the future to cook for a full 45 minutes and not the usual 20 that I cook white rice.

I decided to make another pot of green tea to sip on. This time I added ginger to it. It added a nice fresh scent & flavor. An entire day without soda & coffee wasn't bad at all. I hardly even thought about it, until I began to get a headache...I hope it's ok to take Advil, because I'm doing it.

After I had my dinner, I cooked up some more brown rice in water with some fresh ginger & orange zest. When it was done I added raisins and honey....now I'm ready for breakfast =) this makes me happy. I will be able to get up knowing that I have a plan in place & won't have to wonder what I'll be making.

While watching evening news I had a tall glass of orange juice with frozen berries in it. I usually put ice in my drinks, but thought this might be a nice treat. Can't wait until my blackberry & raspberry bushes start to produce!

Today's challenges

The only thing I found myself wanting today was ice cream. Of course, I would not suggest starting your diet on your child's birthday. But I wanted to start on a Monday, so today was the day.

Detox Diet

After about 6 months of careful thought (and witnessing my BFF going through the detox diet), I decided to take the plunge myself. I remember asking my friend when she was done with her diet if she felt noticably different. She told me that she didn't feel tired and groggy like she usually does. The biggest difference that she noticed was when she went back to her old life-style, she felt noticably worse.

I blame it all on the soda. We are both soda freaks, we love it & don't want to go without. Now I find myself wondering if it's worth it to drink soda everyday if this is the way it makes me feel.

So the diet goes like this: you can eat anything that can be pulled out of the ground or off a plant or tree.

can eat...............................................cannot eat
frozen & fresh fruit ...................anything with preservatives
frozen & fresh veggies ..............meat (with a couple of exceptions)
chicken & fish...........................bread of any kind
brown rice........................................sugar
honey or real maple syrup.................dairy products
home-made chicken stock.................table salt
fresh squeezed lemon juice.................pasta
apple cider vinegar...........................crackers
1 egg yolk a day
(all the egg whites you can handle)
any tea, coffee or juice with no caffeine, sugar or preservatives
fresh herbs & spices
sea salt

The diet lasts 2 weeks and when it is over you should only add things that you cannot live without. The idea is to change your eating habits to select more healthy choices. However, most people really want their bread and pasta....so everything in moderation after the initial 2 weeks.

As I learn more about the diet, I will post updates

My beginning stats:
158 lbs
Suffer from allergies
    Rhumatoid arthrites (I have trouble lifting my babies regularly and occasionally have difficulty walking)
Feel tired, groggy and have lots of aches & pains on a regular basis

I love cheese
Skim milk with my meals
Soda, soda, soda
Brownies
My BFF's chocolate cake
Ice Cream
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