Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chocolate Pumpkin Coconut Pudding (dairy free, cane-sugar free)

My daughter is a budding chocoholic like my sweet husband, and nothing makes me happier than creating a healthy, nutrient dense treat for my girl.  I use cacao on occasion in desserts.  Due to this sparing use it’s greeted with treasured delight.  I used what I had on hand today, but you can throw just about anything in chocolate and it will tastelike chocolate!  I made an allergy-friendly version of this pudding (coming soon) for my son who can’t have chocolate, and I have to say it’s mighty tasty.  I actually prefer it over the chocolate, which causes my husband to seriously question my sanity.  I’ll tell ya, my husband and chocolateget a room!    

Ingredients
-1 can full fat coconut milk (I prefer Native Forest, which has a BPA-free can or Natural Value, which is free of gums and preservatives).
-1/2 cup plain pumpkin puree
-3 tablespoons raw cacao (or more to taste)
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-2 tablespoons ground chia (I ground the seeds in a coffee grinder)
-3 to 4 tablespoons sweetener (I have used honey and maple syrup)
-1/2 ripe avocado (optional) for added nutrition  

How To
1.  Combine all ingredients in blender, high speed or otherwise
2.  Transfer to glass container and store in refrigerator
3.  Pudding will thicken as it cools

 Check out these links for more chocolate + pumpkin recipes 

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Labels: cane sugar free, chocolate + pumpkin, dairy free, dessert, gluten free, pudding, vegan.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Healthy Green Drink (bulk) Recipe

I now present you with a fantastic bulk green drink recipe, sure to help you get your green-drink-on all month long.  This green drink is the answer for those who cannot, for various reasons, digest large amounts of high fibrous foods (I’m raising my hand here).  I happen to love all greens and could eat them everyday, unfortunately, this isn’t the best choice for intestinal diseases, such as Crohn’s.  Eating too many raw vegetables and leafy greens can really wreak havoc on sensitive intestines.  In an effort to get my greens, I created this bulk green drink.  Partly out of necessity and partly out of laziness (I greatly dislike cleaning my juicer – why does it have 500 parts?).
 

 

Green Drink (bulk) Recipe.
 
Ingredients
  • 3½ pounds carrots, washed and tips chopped off
  • 8 oranges, peeled
  • 3 large cucumbers (about 2 pounds) washed
  • 1 pineapple, peeled and cut into long chunks
  • 10 ounces of spinach, washed
  • 1½ pounds kale, washed
  • Optional: 4 apples
Instructions
  1. Juice all the veggies (FYI: the veggie pulp makes a delicious vegetable stock)
  2. Juice the orange and pineapple
  3. Mix together in a large pot
  4. Pour into favorite storage containers and place in freezer.
  5. Defrost what you need, when you need it, and enjoy a green drink all month long!

 

 

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Labels: better digestion tips, digestion, drinks, green drinks, Holistic healing, vegan, vegetarian.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Delicious Vegetable Stock from Leftover Vegetable Pulp

Want to use that gorgeous, healthy pulp from juicing?  Well here’s a great idea for you.  This week I made a huge batch of green juice and used the vegetable pulp to make a stock.  I have to say this stock is outrageous, bursting with deep flavors of kale and carrots!  Perfect for your vegetable or meat-based soups.
Vegetable Stock

Ingredients
Pulp from: 3.5 lbs. of carrots, 1.5 lb. of cucumbers, 10 oz of spinach, 1 lb. of kale 
2 medium yellow onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, smashed
3 bay leaves
6 fresh sprigs of thyme
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon peppercorns 
Filtered water (1 or 1 1/2 gallons)

How To
1.  In a large stock pot, combine above ingredients
2.  Simmer for about an hour and a half 
3.  Skim off foam once in a while
4.  Let cool
5.  Strain through cheesecloth and mesh strainer (place cheese cloth on top of a mesh strainer)
6.  Store as desired


Shared on: Wellness Weekend

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Labels: how to, soups, vegetarian.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Parfaits with Panache: Persimmon-Cranberry Pudding with Coconut Ginger Granola (vegan, gluten free, cane-sugar free)

There is just something about a creamy pudding (or yogurt) and granola that is deliciously lovely.  It’s the most divine afternoon snack.  When I made my persimmon cranberry pudding (which is a nice yogurt substitute for me) I knew a granola was soon to follow.  It’s like the snappy shoes after the cute dress.  I’m very pleased with this granola recipe.  It’s sweet, but not too sweet, full of protein and fiber.  I make one batch and we are set for the week.  My husband loves it on yogurt, my kids enjoy it on pudding and dairy free ice cream, and this granola makes an outstanding cereal.  
 There are so many variations of granola, endless really, but I have to say I’m hooked on this recipe and hope you enjoy it too!
See here for vegan persimmon cranberry pudding recipe



Ingredients 
dry:
-2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats (omit and sub more nuts and coconut for grain-free)
-1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut 
-1/2 cup raw almonds
-1/2 cup walnuts
-1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
-2 tablespoons hemp seeds
-1 tablespoon chia seeds
-1/8 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon ginger 
wet:
-1/4 cup honey
-1/4 cup coconut nectar
-1 teaspoon vanilla 
-2 tablespoons oil


How To
Preheat oven to 375
1.  Combine oats and coconut
2.  In food processor (with S-blade), chop up almonds until they are in little bits and then add to oats and coconut
3.  In food processor, chop up walnuts and pumpkin seeds until in small bits, add to mixture.  Add hemp, chia, salt, ginger and cinnamon.
4.  Mix well.
5.  In separate bowl add honey, coconut nectar, oil and vanilla.  Mix well with spatchula (I use a silicone). 
6.  Add wet ingredients to dry and mix (with hands preferably) until the entire mixture is well incorporated and moist.

A note on how to cook the granola:



a.  If you prefer a chewy, soft granola, use this method:


-Spread mixture out on a silicone baking mat (I don’t know how this would turn out on unbleached parchment paper or just a baking sheet, but please let me know if you try).  Okay, so spread it out until it reaches all edges and tap it down a bit.  Place the mat on a baking sheet.   
Bake for 10 minutes.  

It will look something like this:

b.  If you prefer a hard, crunchy granola use this method:

-Spread mixture out on a silicone mat until it reaches all edges and tap it down a bit.  Place the mat on a cookie cooling rack and place directly in the oven.  Bake for 8 minutes.  
It will look something like this:

*

I went a little crazy over the Holidays and made like 10 batches of this granola and gave it as gifts.  I’m pleased to say it was well received by all!

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Labels: breakfast, cane sugar free, dairy free, gluten free, snacks.

Monday, January 9, 2012

10 Minute Creamy Dairy-Free Mushroom Soup (SCD Friendly Recipe)

I grew up on mushroom soup.  Loved it.  But as an adult I haven’t given much thought to this popular childhood staple and funny thing I’ve never attempted to make an allergy friendly version for my kids?  Not sure why.  So I’m pretty excited about what I whipped up today.  I had a bunch of mushrooms in the fridge on the verge of going bad (like, I’m going to forget about these puppies and I will be sad when they are old and stinky).  Also in the fridge sat some left over cashew milk (used for a previous dinner).  Same scenario (cashew milk was on the clock).  So I said to myself: Could this work?  Could I actually make a decent batch of mushroom soup (dairy free even)?  By golly I did.  So excited about it.  And it took a whopping 10 minutes.  Hello.  No doubt there are many variations of dairy-free mushroom soup out there.  I used what I had on hand.  Sometimes things just work out.  
Good times.   
Ingredients
1/2 yellow onion, small chop
1/2 teaspoon salt
4-5 cups chopped crimini mushrooms (or preferred mushrooms)  
2 cups cashew milk* (see below notes for water-cashew ratioI make a thicker milk for baking and “creamed” dishes)
1 cup homemade stock (of choice: chicken, mushroom, veggie, etc.) 
1 1/2 teaspoons garlic granules
Pepper for garnish or to taste 
Preferred oil 

How To
1. Add some oil to pot (I use a dutch oven); add onions, salt and saute until translucent
2.  Add mushrooms and saute until soft
3.  Add garlic granules, stir
4.  Add cashew milk and broth
5.  Bring to a simmer
6.  Simmer until mixture starts to thicken: about 5 minutes 
7.  Remove from heat and blend with immersion blender (or any blending method of your choice) 
8. Soup will thicken up even more as it cools

Notes
* For cashew milk: soak 1 cup of cashews in filtered water 4 to 8 hours.  Drain, rinse, and blend with 3 cups filtered water (I use a Vitamix).  Poor into glass jar and store in fridge up to 4 days. 
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Friday, January 6, 2012

Roasted Leek and Mushroom Pork Chops Topped with Homemade Applesauce

This is the easiest dinner in the world to make and it tastes like you spent hours meddling with it.  I’m a sucker for the sweet/savory factor, and this dish delivers.  The leeks and mushrooms become perfectly roasted under the pork chops and the applesauce is a burst of sweet delight.  It’s extremely satisfying.  This is my sweet husband’s new favorite dinner.  And it’s so easy – even he can make it! 
 .
Roasted Leek and Mushroom Pork Chops Topped with Homemade Applesauce (SCD Friendly Recipe)
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless pork chops (please see note section about brining the chops)
  • 3 cups chopped leeks
  • 3 cups chopped crimini mushrooms
  • ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic granules
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Half leeks and chop (use all the white and the green until the leaves), large chop mushrooms; put leeks and mushrooms in your favorite roasting dish
  3. Place pork chops on top of leeks and mushrooms
  4. Sprinkle the salt and garlic granules over the leeks, mushrooms, and pork chops.
  5. Cook for 20 - 30 minutes, or until internal temperature of chop reaches at least 160 degrees
Notes
I HIGHLY recommend brining the pork chops. I find that pork chops get very dry and brining helps retain moisture during baking. At least five hours before you cook the chops, place them in bowl/pot with water (covering completely). To the water add 1 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Place the brine in the refrigerator. Before you bake the chops, simply remove from the brine and place in your baking pan.
 .
Homemade Honey Sweetened Applesauce
 
Author:
Ingredients
  • 4 apples of your choice (I use a mix of green and red)
  • ¼ cup filtered water
  • 2-3 tablespoons orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
Instructions
  1. Peel and small chop apples
  2. In a pot over medium heat, add apples and salt
  3. Cook for about 2 minutes, add the water
  4. Cook for about 2 minutes, add orange juice
  5. Cook for about 2 minutes, add honey & cinnamon
  6. Give a good stir and turn down to low, cover
  7. Allows apples to steam cook in the covered pot on low heat for 10 minutes. Turn off heat and let applesauce sit in pot until you're ready to spoon them onto your pork chop
 .
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Labels: dairy free, gluten free, main dish, SCD.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Holistic Healing for The Common Cold

Information in this post was complied from a 
popular Holistic Healing Reference Book:
 
The Common Cold
The common cold is an infection of the upper respiratory tract caused by a virus.  Cold weather does not cause colds, although most colds are caught in the fall and winter.  This is because cold viruses thrive better in colder temperatures, when there is less humidity in the atmosphere.
There are more than 200 viruses that can cause the common cold, but the most common ones are rhinoviruses.  The well-known symptoms include head congestion, nasal congestion, sore throat, coughing, headache, sneezing, and watery eyes.  Children may develop a low grade fever, but this is rare in adults.
Colds usually strike eighteen to twenty-four hours after the virus enters the body.  Most colds clear up on their own in a week to ten days, but occasionally a cold can lead to a more serious illness, such as bronchitis, a middle ear infection, or sinus infection.  It is estimated that healthy adults get an average of two colds per year.  Children generally get many more because their immune systems are immature and they have not yet developed immunity to many of the viruses that cause colds.  
 
*Unless otherwise specified, the dosages recommended here are for adults.  For a child between the ages of 12 – 17, reduce the dose to three-quarters of the recommended amount.  For a child between 6-12, use one-half of the recommended dose, and for a child under the age of 6, use one-quarter of the recommended amount.  


Nutrients ~ Essential 

1.  A supplement blend of A, C, E, plus the minerals selenium and Zinc (If looking for an allergy friendly brand (including wheat and dairy free) try ACES + Zn from Carlson Labs).  Use as directed on label.

2.  Vitamin A plus carotenoid complex (betatene).  Helps inflamed mucus membranes and strengthens the immune system.  15, 000 IU daily, DO NOT exceed 10,000 IU if pregnant.  

3.  Vitamin C with bioflavonoids (5,000 – 20,000 mg daily in divided doses).  Fights cold viruses.  For children use buffered vitamin C or calcium ascorbate.

Nutrients ~ Important 

1.  Free Form amino acid plus N-acetylcysteine.  (use as directed on label).  To supply needed protein for healing.  The N-acetylcysteine is a powerful antioxidant. 

2.  Garlic capsules.  Kyolic is a great brand.  Check your local natural foods store.  (Use as directed on label).  A natural antibiotic and immune system enhancer. 

3.  L-lysine.  500 mg daily on an empty stomach, take with water or juice.  Do not take with milk.  Take with 50 mg vitamin B6 and 100 mg vitamin C for better absorption.  Aids in destroying viruses and preventing cold sores.  Caution: do not take lysine for longer than 6 months at at time.
 
Nutrients ~ Helpful

1.  Multi-Vitamin: (dosage: as directed on label)

All nutrients are necessary in balance: use an iron free, wheat-free, yeast-free, dairy free product only.
2.   Kyo-Dophilus from Wakunaga (dosage: as directed on label)
A dairy-free and yeast free probiotic formula.  Or use probiotic of your choice. 

3.  Olive leaf extract.  (dosage: as directed on label)

Supplements with antibiotic and antiviral properties. 

Recommendations

1.  Sip hot liquids such as turkey, chicken or vegetable broth.  Drink potato peel broth twice a day – make it fresh daily.  You can add a carrot, celery, garlic and/or onions.  

2.  Remain as active as possible.  Not only is staying in bed for ordinary sniffles unnecessary, but it will probably make you feel worse; moving around helps loosen built-up phlegm.  If you have a fever, do not engage in excess activity or exercise.  

3.  Wash your hands often & flush facial tissues.  Remove aggravating food from your diet, such as dairy, wheat, sugar, and alcohol.  Increase healing foods such as fresh, organic fruits and vegetables.  Include these in smoothies.  

Helpful Herbs

1.  Elderberry is recommended for upper respiratory tract infections and headaches associated with colds.  It promotes sweating and can help to break a fever.  Research has found that elderberry is effective against colds because it contains antioxidant flavonoids that protect cell walls against foreign substances.

2.  Eucalyptus oil is helpful for relieving congestion.  Put 5 drops in a hot bath or put 6 drops in 2 cups boiling water and inhale the stream.  Add 3 drops of oil to lotion and rub on chest and back before bed.  

3.  For sore throat add 3 – 6 drops of pure tea tree oil to water and gargle.  Repeat this up to three times per day.  Take up to 2 tea tree oil lozenges and allow them to dissolve slowly in your mouth.  

4.  Ginger, pau d’arco, slippery elm, and yarrow tea can calm the common cold.  Hyssop an evergreen that can be taken as tea, acts as an expectorant and has antiviral properties.  Mullein is useful for coughs and congestion.  Red clover helps clear accumulated toxins in the lymphatic system that may cause congestion and inflammation.  (For making a tea, add 1 teaspoon of dried herb to 8 oz boiling water).

Cautions

1.  Do not take sage if you suffer from any type of seizure disorder or pregnant/nursing.  

2.  Do not take goldenseal internally on a daily basis for more than one week at a time.  Do not use during pregnancy or if you are breastfeeding, use with caution if you are allergic to rageweed.  If you have a history of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or glaucoma, use it only under a doctor’s supervision.  

3.  Talk with your holistic healer or medical doctor before taking ANY herbs while pregnant or breastfeeding.  Some can be very dangerous to your baby! 

Conclusions

1. Colds are inconvenient, but with healing foods, herbs, and positive energy, you can kick the virus sooner than later and be back to your active self.    

2.  Love your body – cherish yourself and treat your body and health as you would if you were taking care of another.  Respect your body and provide nurturing, healing foods, be empathetic and refrain from directing anger and negative energy within.  Stress, anxiety and negative energy will only break down your body, destroy your healing anddamage your immune system.  Work with your body, love your body…it’s the only one you’ve got!

Shared on: Traditional Tuesdays, Healthy Second Wednesday

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Labels: Holistic healing.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Monthly Round-Up (December 2011)

Dashing through the snow, 
with an alternative menu in tow,  
check out this spread, 
it’s a feast instead 
of the traditional one you know…”
(How I would sing Jingle Bells on my way
to a Holiday dinner.)

Here are my 10 picks for December.  
Some I’ve tried, others I look forward to trying:

I’m swooning over this recipe.  The ingredients are right up my alley.  
My kids would LOVE this!

These were such a nice alternative to traditional sugar cookies
and Santa loved them too

A blast from my pastcan’t wait to make these!
Maggie’s Gingerbread Cupcakes
Ginger is my all-time favorite!  I will be making these very soon.
Our tradition is chili on Christmas Eve, and this year
I tried Shirly’s version with mushrooms. Loved it!
So inventive – so wonderful for the SCD community
Amber’s Vegan Persimmon Cranberry Pudding
So fun to eat pudding without any added sugar
Scroll down to check out the recipes.  Ingenious!
I mean, come on, look at that centerpiece!!!

Pecan pie is my Husband’s favorite, but the traditional version makes me cringe. This recipe looks like a wonderful, satisfying alternative; can’t wait to try it
Meghan’s Better Than Caramel Corn 
This was super goodand ridiculously easy.  Such a nice alternative for those
of us who can’t digest corn, or for those with corn allergies

*
Wishing you laughter, love and peace in the New Year.
Warmly,
–Amber 
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Labels: Monthly Round-Up.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Roasted Garlic Lentil Hummus Dip

I was recently introduced to Mrs. Ed’s blog by Shirley @ GFE.  Among other things, Mrs. Ed’s blog is dedicated to recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD) and she has a fantastic recipe index.  I was so thankful for this reference and Mrs. Ed’s wonderful information.  So keeping in theme with the SCD, I created a fun twist on traditional hummus by using lentils.  Lentils are legal on the SCD if prepared properly.  Breaking the Vicious Cycle recommends soaking lentils to remove indigestible sugars (up to 6 hours is fine).  Chickpeas are illegal on this diet, so lentils make a great substitute for hummus.  And you know I’m insane over garlic so of course I threw in a ton.
I always have dip in the fridge.  I snack on it throughout the day, and all you busy mommies out there know how easy it is to forget to feed yourself  – and feed yourself healthy food!  Here are some other fun (not necessarily SCD dips I love to make during the week):

Have dip…will have dippers!
In all honesty, my favorite dippers are fresh fruit or vegetables.  Simple carrot and celery sticks, sliced apple, dehydrated bananas, etc.  I also LOVE Kohlrabi (although this is illegal on the SCD) it doesn’t bother me at all at this time.  When I start the diet I will see how it works with my system as I progress.  But for now it’s a fave.
 Ingredients

-2 cups cooked green lentils (shown with yellow lentils above, but these are hard to find, so green lentils are great and actually much more flavorful)!
-1/4 cup tahini
-1/4 cup lemon juice
-1/2 cup roasted garlic (or 2 teaspoons garlic granules)
-1/2 teapsoon salt
-1/3 cup oil of choice (more if needed)

How To
1.  To prepare lentils: soak 1 cup lentils up to 6 hours.  After the soak, discard water.  Cook lentils with  1 1/2 cups water (bring to boil then cover for about 15 minutes) until water is absorbed.
2. In food processor fitted with the s-blade, blend cooled lentils, tahini, lemon, garlic and salt.
3.  Drizzle in oil, add more if needed
4.  Garnish with dried apricots and pine nuts – this hummus is super yummy with the contrasting flavor of dried apricots!
5.  Store in airtight container in fridge.

Salud!

Shared on: Fat TuesdaysTraditional TuesdaysWellness Weekend Pennywise Platter

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Labels: dairy free, dips, gluten free, go ahead honey, SCD, vegan.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The Liebster Blog Award

What an honor from Tessa The Domestic Diva who chose my blog, along with 4 other fabulous blogs, for the Liebster Blog Award!  Thank you Tessa!!  Please check out Tessa’s blog.  She’s a fabulous mommy of three with a wonderful blog showcasing her delicious, easy and allergy-friendly recipes.   

I started The Tasty Alternative a few months ago after years of alternative cooking.  The motivation and inspiration that once encircled me was dangling by a mere thread.  I needed something more! I was in need of inspiration and a feeling of connection to others who, out of necessity or other reasons, follow an alternative food lifestyle.  Blogging offers me this validation and connection to so many kind and talented folks dedicated to health, family and alternative cuisine.    

Here are 5 wonderful blogs that have fewer than 200 followers. Please take the time to check them out.
The Liebster award originated in Germany. The word “Liebster” is a term of endearment meaning “dearest”, “beloved” or “favorite.” The aim of the award is to bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers. 

To accept the award Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog, then

  1. 1.  Link back to the blogger who awarded you.
  2. 2.  Give your top 5 picks for the award
  3. 3.  Inform your top 5 by leaving a comment on their blog.
  4. 4.  Post the award on your blog.
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