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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies and Gift Jars, oh and HAPPY NEW YEAR!

Happy New Year!

I am super excited about 2015.  I believe this will be the best year ever.    I have much to share on the blog and will get back into blogging some more this winter; I've been doing a lot of reading, 'personal' work and feel more hopeful and healed and ready to move forward than I have in a long time.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe I used for gift jars this past holiday season.  I know it is past December, but this is a good one to hold onto or maybe would be a nice Valentine's gift for someone.  Much healthier than a box of chocolates!

I found a recipe for cranberry-pistachio cookies here:

http://www.hungryhealthygirl.com/2014/12/19/mason-jar-gifts-cranberry-pistachio-oatmeal-cookies/
and here:
http://myvega.com/vega-life/recipe-center/mason-jar-gifts-cranberry-pistachio-cookies/





There are actually several listings of this same recipe out there on the web, so I am going to break 'blogger protocol' and put the recipe here.

Cranberry-Pistachio Cookies

Dry Mix:
1/2 C dried cranberries
3 T pistachios, chopped
pinch salt
2 T ground flax
1 1/2 C oats
1/2 C oat flour (I just ground up oats)
1/2 C almond meal
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda

Wet Mix:

2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup nut butter
2 T coconut oil, melted (can sub out oil, applesauce or nut milk works well*)
3 T maple syrup (*I did a few soaked dates and this works too, include soaking water)
5 T water

Drop by spoonful onto parchment paper-lined baking sheet.  Bake at 350 for about 15 - 17 mins.

I gave out a lot of these jars this year and I was surprised by the response.  One of my gift recipients is a very non-vegan, very high-processed,  high-sugar eater and she LOVED the cookies and asked for the dry mix recipe.

(Be sure to include ingredient list for wet mix and instructions with your gift).

I am keeping a batch or two of the dry mix in the frig so I can whip up some cookies quickly (could bake as bars in a baking dish), and I want to experiment with different dried fruit/nut combinations.


The dry mix really does look festive with the red of the cranberries.


Happy, healthy snacking in 2015.

Sue, loving the fresh start of a new year, in frozen Ohio

Monday, November 17, 2014

Cranberry-Mango-Orange Ice Cream and 100th post

With it looking like this outside:



...it seems untimely to be thinking of ice cream, but I had some odds and ends to use up in the frig, including a bit of coconut milk, so I thought, aw, what the heck.

First I started with my basic Vanilla recipe....soooo simple:

 --- a few frozen bananas
 --- a few Medjool dates, pitted
 --- tiny bit of vanilla powder (probably 1/8 teaspoon- I LOVE this brand:                   http://shop.hempspread.com/Pure-Vanilla-Powder_c44.htm )
 --- coconut milk (I use canned coconut milk, not the packaged coconut drink/milk)

I don't measure, but there is a feel for what the correct balance is between frozen fruit and milk after making it a few times....too much milk, and it is too slushy (although still yummy) and not enough and well, the Vitamix will scream at you.

Blend all ingredients well in the Vitamix.  I use the plunger continually and aggressively when I am doing this.    If you just want Vanilla, you can stop here and serve as is immediately, or put in a container in the freezer for later (it will have to sit out for a few minutes to soften before serving).

For the Cranberry blend, to the above I added:

 --- a good amount of fresh cranberries, approximately 1 cup
 --- one orange, peeled
 --- frozen mango, approx 1/2 cup.

Blend in Vitamix.  Serve or freeze.

This was very good and I left it a little bit 'chunky', leaving visible bits of cranberry.  I liked the citrus overtones (I may increase the amount of orange or garnish with a few gratings of orange zest) and the tart bits of the cranberry.

Cranberry-Mango-Orange Ice Cream

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100th post.  
I haven't been as active on this blog as I thought I might be this year and have many blog posts started but not finished, that cover topics I want to get on here; I hope to spend a bit more time on the blog in the coming months.

What started out as a tentative chronicle of my journey to attempt a path to a healthier me over 4 years ago, now feels like an important aspect of a true and committed way of living.  Of these changes, I am very proud.  I have many more improvements to make in myself, and of course, no journey of this type ever really ends, but it does feel like a bit of a milestone here in this moment, so I'll celebrate with a bit of ice cream, (followed by some hot tea as it is cold here!)

I hope you are firmly on your chosen paths and enjoying your journeys as well....

Sue, still on the (snow-covered!) path, in Ohio

Friday, October 24, 2014

Fed Up, the Documentary

I recently got a chance to view Fed Up, a documentary by Stephanie Soechtig and narrated by Katie Couric, who also co-produced the film.  You can click through to the trailer for it here:  http://fedupmovie.com/#/page/home .

I was generally pleased with the overall message of the film although of course I always think these efforts could go further and I found some information not specific enough.  (For example, a very vital point made about how many cases of Type 2 Diabetes in adolescents were reported in 1980, zero, and how many were found in 2010, 57,638, gave no point of reference....is that in the U.S., worldwide or what?).  A quick check on the CDC's site did not give me this info.

I know other bloggers and investigators have questioned other statements and statistics purported in the film and I expect even more fallout will ensue (especially from individuals connected to the powerful food products industries that would be negatively impacted by radical change).

Regardless of actual facts and statistics, it doesn't take any hard science (other than maybe a field trip to Wal-Mart or other large grocery box store) to see that (1) we have a serious health problem in this country, that we are now exporting to the rest of the world and (2)  food choices are a big part of that problem.

As a vegan for over 4 years now (yeah!), I know how very limited my options are in any food store or restaurant, and this is in a day and age when awareness about whole food is on the rise. And yet, how can it not be understood that encouraging and facilitating the consumption of fresh, whole foods will help with our current health threats?

To say there is no connection between the amount of processed food Americans consume and the unhealthy lunch choices available to our children and the enormous rise in childhood obesity is just beyond logic.  Even the most avid soda pop drinker I know has an understanding that consuming this beverage is not a healthy choice to make and yet in one store I visited recently, the pop display vastly out-sized the entire produce section by a factor of 3 in my estimation.  Soda is a highly profitable commodity and is in part subsidized by our government.  For more on unhealthy subsidies:  http://www.thefiscaltimes.com/Articles/2012/07/25/Billions-in-Tax-Dollars-Subsidize-Junk-Food-Industry

Even more troubling is the consumption of pop by our kids and I remember serving on our local school board's Superintendent Advisory Council when BIG SODA offered money to be put in our vending machines in our high school.  I voted strongly against it, but the money was too enticing and 'desperately needed' to be turned down.

And this is just the pop selections and vast advertising campaigns and doesn't even touch the other candies and sugar-chemical-laden choices that bombard us at every turn.

Again and again we choose money and profits over health and taking the harder road.  I worry about the bigger lesson that is being taught here to our children.

Fed Up is, I think, a good film to refer people to who are maybe not making the best food choices, want to do the best for themselves and their families, yet don't know exactly where to start.  The overall message of getting off of processed foods, or at least reducing them and going back to the basics of cooking real whole foods is prominent in the film.  It is heart-breaking to see the obese children featured in the film who are suffering, but through their bravery in exposing their stories, inspiration to take that harder road can be found.

In the end, we can start by focusing on ourselves and what we CAN do to better improve our own health and for those we hold dear.  I've been taking my little 4 year old grand-daughter shopping after our play time in the parks and trying to teach a bit here and there and encouraging her to pick out the fruits and veggies she wants.  She LOVES broccoli and this week we went to a rural year-round farm market, the only one I know of in our area, and she found some beautiful broccoli.  I was even more excited to hear her ask for carrots and to tell me that 'they are good for me, Mi-ma.'.  This is something I told her a few shopping visits ago but she turned up her nose at them.  Now, she couldn't get them into the basket fast enough.  Progress.







If we don't have our health, all else is impacted drastically.  It is worth all that it takes to live healthfully.  I wish you success on your journey to optimal health!

Sue, snacking on kale, in Ohio