Tuesday, November 19, 2019

It's a Date!

 Over the last couple of months,
I've been searching for a better way to eat.
Considering that I've been a fairly "clean" eater for decades,
it surprised me to find that I could tweak my diet even more.
With the recent elimination diet that my naturopath guided me through,
I found that giving up nuts, seeds, sugar and all things gluten was pretty tough.
Although I'm still avoiding gluten anything,
I have been able to add back a substantial list of items 
that came up negative on my sensitivity panel.
Gratitude prevails for being able to once again 
consume cocoa, coffee, nuts, seeds and certain grains (not wheat).

The book featured here has been a Godsend.
Dana Shultz is a master at what she does,
which is create gloriously simple recipes
for those of us who find ourselves wanting to eat better,
but still harboring cravings for traditional comfort foods.
If you are at all interested in improving your health
without having to sacrifice taste and ease of preparation,
please run, don't walk, to your nearest book source,
and pick up her fabulous cookbook.
You can also check out her amazing website:
Rest assured, her repertoire consists of savory dishes
as well as sweet treats. 
Most of my cookbooks were given away years ago,
but this is one I will be purchasing anew.
The recipes are simple, have few (real) ingredients,
and most take under 30 minutes from start to finish.
I look forward to exploring these recipes.
In fact, until recently, I've been absolutely burned out
with regard to cooking or baking.
This book and website have motivated and excited me
to try new ways to enjoy old favorites.

Medjool dates

I've watched my sugar intake for years,
allowing myself a handful of dark chocolate daily,
knowing that my consumption was far less than most folks.
I'm a label reader, and quite particular about what I buy.
Being able to scratch cook has always been my goal,
and it's the only way I can imagine feeding my family.
One fruit I had never tried before was dates.
Since creating some of the concoctions on Dana's website,
I've discovered what a fantastic sugar substitute they make!
Dates are a great source of fiber, rich in calcium and phosphorus,
and are more easily processed by the body than standard sugars.

Does this mean I'll never again eat sugar?
Nope, but it will no longer be a daily staple.

This is the latest sweet treat I've made using dates.
The recipe can be found here.
I actually used less dates than suggested when I made it,
and it was still mighty sweet.
It's not clear if it's because I've been sugar-free
for going on 7 weeks, or if the dates are just that sweet!

I hope you'll check out these resources.
Dana has found her calling.
And I'm so grateful she has.

Friday, November 15, 2019

Garden Friday

Welcome back to a (frozen) Garden Friday!
Autumn color surrounds us,
but winter temperatures have been sneaking in.

 The poor birds can't even get a decent drink of water,
with the birdbath iced over.
We have been vigilant in keeping the seed and suet feeders full
for our fine feathered friends.

Black-eyed Susan vine

 Some of the flowers we've been enjoying for weeks
have bowed out for the season.
With temperatures plunging overnight
into the 20's, they didn't stand a chance.

The loofah has seen better days.
It's a champion at enduring the scorching heat of summer,
but the cold knocks it for a loop.

Thankfully, there are a handful of crops that don't mind the cold one bit.
The garlic is still doing fine
with its thick bed of straw to insulate it.

 The strawberries are planted in the straw bales,
so they are as snug as bugs in a rug.

 I was a bit worried about the snap peas,
but so far, so good.
Straw was also used here to help keep them a bit warmer.

 The alyssum just keeps on blooming,
taking me by total surprise.
I'm grateful that any pollinators that may still be around
have something wonderful to visit.

 The camelia on the north side of our house
(our backyard of sorts),
is just about to burst into bloom.
What a treat to have color in the dead of winter.

One of our dearest neighbors has been busy raking her drive
and gifting us with the leaves.
These will be mulched with the mower 
and added to our leaf mulch pile.

There isn't a whole lot going on in the garden right now.
Sometimes I wonder what happened to fall?
Next week is supposed to warm up a bit,
and it will lend itself well to getting a few projects started.

Here's hoping for sunny skies and 60 degree days!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Raw Vegan Brownies (gf, df, sf, ef)

In my quest for better health,
I recently went on an elimination diet.
For 5 weeks,
I gave up coffee, dairy, eggs, grains, 
nuts & seeds, sweeteners, wheat,
and a few assorted other things.
Chocolate and sugar were on that list,
and it has been quite a challenge doing without
my favorite sweet treat.
The only real "junk food" I ate 
was my daily handful of dark chocolate chips.
Now my diet is beyond clean,
but it didn't stop me from looking for substitutes.

Next week I plan to go into more detail 
about what I learned
and provide some fabulous resources for clean eating.
I happened upon this wonderful raw brownie recipe
that contains NO SUGAR, which has been
a fairly big obstacle in creating sweet treats.
A few of the ingredients were changed,
as I wanted to use what I had on hand.

I'm adding the link underneath the title of the recipe,
so you can go and check out the creator's amazing website.
I was able to get her cookbook at the library,
so I'll be spending some time this weekend
finding some deliciousness to enjoy.

5-Minute Espresso Walnut Brownies
(Minimalist Baker)

1 1/2 C walnuts or pecans
1 C almonds (I also used pumpkin seeds)
2-2 1/2 C pitted dates
1 C cocoa powder
2 t coffee grounds
pinch salt

~Process almonds and almost all of the walnuts/pecans.
~Add cocoa, coffee and salt.  Pulse.  Remove from processor.
 ~Add dates and process until small bits appear.  Remove.
~Add nut mixture back to processor and drop date bits in.
~Add mixture to parchment-lined baking dish.
~Add remaining nuts on top.
~Combine and press into pan.
~Place in fridge or freezer before cutting.

Will keep 2 weeks in fridge or 2 months in freezer.
Makes about 20 bars.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Taking a Break

C had surgery yesterday,
so we are spending the day
resting and recuperating.
Be back with a recipe on Thursday.

Hope you have a lovely day!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Veteran's Day 2019

God Bless our Veterans
and their families.
Our country would be lost without you.