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Monday, June 30, 2014

Beautiful Berry Salsa

Berries Abound-Amazing Anthocyanins

Anthocyan… What?  Anthocyanins!  Yes, these antioxidant compounds are starting to get a lot of attention, and for good reason.  They are plant pigments that give the bright purple and red colors to berry fruits and science is discovering a host of health benefits.  In plants, anthocyanins resist light, pH, and conditions that would normally degrade the plant, so they act as its protector.  When consumed in our diets, they serve a similar function in our bodies.
    We find anthocyanins in a variety of plant based foods including some root and leafy vegetables such as eggplants, cabbage, beans, and onions, but they are found primarily in fruit.  Berries, such as blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries, are high in anthocyanins, and purple grapes, red wine, cherries, plums, and blood oranges have them as well. 
   What is so amazing about these compounds?  So far, there have been many studies published that show anthocyanins may lower blood pressure, decrease the risk of having a heart attack, and overall may reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease.  Anthocyanins act as antioxidants.  They block enzymes that cancers need to grow and deactivate some of the substances that promote their growth.  Furthermore, some studies show berries can lower the risk of developing type two diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.  In an aging population, eating berries can improve memory and may prevent cognitive decline by improving blood flow to the brain. 
I am a life-long Texan, and we have our own cuisine called Tex-Mex which influences many of the new recipes I create.  Inspired by this cuisine and the bountiful summer berry season, here is a delicious recipe to amp up your anthocyanins and antioxidants in a new way!  It isn't exactly Mexican food, it isn't exactly American food, but what is: delicious! 
Ingredients: (Use all organic ingredients for your best health!)
1 Cup Strawberries
½ Cup Blueberries
1 Jalapeno
1 Tomato
½ Cup Red Onion
¼ Cup  Cilantro
¼ Cup Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice (about 4 key limes)
Dash of salt and chili powder
Tortilla chips or baked tostadas for serving

Dice all ingredients except for blueberries.  Set in a bowl and let sit, at least 30 minutes, to marry the flavors. 
Serve Chilled

Nutrition Information: Calories: 83; Fat: .4 g; Protein: 1.4 g; Carbohydrates: 18 g; Sodium: 83 g; Potassium: 290 mg   

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Gluten Free, Vegan Tortillas

I stumbled upon a wonderful recipe for gluten free, vegan tortillas. I tried it; and it is fabulous! This recipe is from Megan at I use this recipe for my Breakfast Tacos  and everytime we want burritos. It works, the tortillas are wonderful, this recipe is a must try!! Thanks, Megan!!
  • 1 1/2 cups blanched almond flour, gently packed
  • 1/2 cup tapioca starch
  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot starch
  • 2 tablespoons psyllium husk powder
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4-1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil (I'm sure lard or bacon grease would work, too)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup warm water
  1. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the blanched almond flour, tapioca starch, arrowroot starch, psyllium husk powder, coconut flour, baking powder, and sea salt.
  2. Stir in the olive oil and then slowly pour 1/2 cup of warm water into the flour mixture and stir until combined.
  3. Let the dough rest for 5 minutes to allow the psyllium husk powder and coconut flour time to expand and absorb the liquid.
  4. If the dough is still dry and crumbly, continue to add additional warm water, a tablespoon at a time, until the dough easily comes together to form a workable dough.
  5. Form the dough into 8 even balls and place them back in the mixing bowl; cover with a damp paper towel to prevent the dough from drying out.
  6. Preheat a lightly oiled 10-12 inch cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  7. Roll a dough ball between 2 pieces of parchment paper into a round tortilla, as thin as you can get it (about the thickness of a nickel), about 6-7 inches in diameter.
  8. Peel off the top layer of parchment paper and place the tortilla, dough side down, into the hot skillet. Within a few seconds, you should be able to gently peel off the remaining piece of parchment paper. Cook until bubbly and golden. Flip and continue to cook until bubbly and golden on the other side (Be careful not to overcook. If the tortillas start to burn, beyond normal charring like you see in the picture, reduce heat to medium.).
  9. Place the cooked tortillas on a plate between layers of paper towels (or a clean kitchen towel). Some of the tortillas might come out of the skillet somewhat crispy, but as they sit on top of each other, between the layers of paper towels, the warm moist heat makes them pliable and soft.
  10. Continue rolling and cooking the remaining dough.
Recipe Notes from Megan
There is a difference between whole psyllium husk and psyllium husk powder. Please make sure you use psyllium husk powder in this recipe.
The key to these tortillas remaining pliable is moist warm heat. After refrigerating, simply warm in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to "revive" its pliability.
Q: How do these freeze? A: I don't know. I haven't tried it yet, so if you do, please come back and leave a comment so we'll all know the results!
Substitutions: For those of you who are nut free, you might be able to substitute sunflower seed flour for the blanched almond flour, but I haven't tried it yet, so I can't guarantee it will work. There are no substitutions for the coconut flour, or the psyllium husk powder.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Chocolate Almond Ice Cream Cupcakes

These delightful gluten free, vegan "cupcakes" feature chocolaty rich ice cream and a tasty almond crust. They are perfect for a special occasion or to keep in your freezer for an after-dinner treat.

  • For the Crust:
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1 cup dates, pitted
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut, lightly toasted
  • For the Ice Cream:
  • 2/3 cup soy, hemp or almond milk
  • 1/2 cup natural cocoa powder
  • 3 ripe bananas, frozen
  • 3 cups frozen dark sweet cherries
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, plus additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup dates, pitted
  • 1 teaspoon alcohol-free vanilla extract
Pulse crust ingredients in a high-powered blender until well-combined. Line 2 muffin tins with cupcake liners. Press crust into bottoms and partially up the sides of lined cups.

Blend ice cream ingredients in a high-powered blender until smooth and creamy. Spoon into muffin cups to about 3/4 full. Sprinkle with additional chopped almonds and/or shredded coconut.

Freeze until firm.

Makes 24 cupcakes


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Best Lasagna Ever!

I  love to make this lasagna for my vegan family, vegetarian family, and omnivores alike. It never fails to satisfy everyone, and if I am lucky there will be leftovers for my lunch the next day, but it doesn't happen often, they gobble it all up!

I am pretty sure you can put any vegetables at all in it and it will turn out amazing. Here is the veggie-packed combo I have settled on as "my lasagna" you may have others that you like to use, so go ahead and try them all! The pepperjack not only lends that creamy, gooey goodness we love about lasagna, but adds just the right kick  to take it up a notch! Now I am pretty much a lightweight when it comes to spiciness, and I love this amount of heat, not much at all. In fact my husband doesn't even notice it!

1 box Rice Lasagna Noodles
2 packed cups fresh baby spinach
6 cups frozen Broccoli, caulliflower & carrots
2 32oz. jars vegan Marinara sauce (I use Classico organic)
1/4 cup Herbs de Province, or mix your own using basil, rosemary, oregeno, etc
1 pkg. Daiya pepperjack shreds (or mozarella shreds)

  1. Place Broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots in baking pan and sprinkle with herbs, roast at 400 degrees for 40 minutes.
  2. Bring a Dutch oven 3/4 full of filtered water to boil, then remove from heat. Add noodles, let soak exactly 10 minutes, drain. (This is the trick to making gluten free pasta turn out right!)
  3. In a deep Lasagna baking pan 10 x 15 x 4 (if you don't have a lasagna pan use TWO 9x13x2 pans and TWO boxes of noodles) place enough marina to just cover the bottom. Layer: 
  • Noodles
  • Spinach
  • Noodles
  • Sauce
  • Daiya shreds
  • Noodles
  • roasted veggies
  • Noodles
  • Sauce 

Top with sliced tomatoes if desired. Bake 35-40 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Never Let Your Guard Down!

Three weeks ago I got the news that the cancer markers were high in numbers in my blood. Last week the PET scan confirms tumors and I am immediately counseled to have radical surgery, chemo, and radiation. I will not let cancer take control of my life. I have complete confidence, in fact I am betting my life on, the Gerson Method of treating cancer. Not the best timing, I must say, my husband was laid off  a few months ago and is still looking for work, and I am a student with a 10 hour a week work-study job. I don't have a $2500 Norwalk Juicer as The Gerson Institute  recommends, nor can I afford to buy and juice 30 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables daily. I can't afford the Gerson clinic or a Gerson therapist at home. If I went through conventional therapy (which I believe is poison)  perhaps there would be ways to provide  the treatment and pay  for it forever, but not so with "alternative" therapy. I can see why some may resort to conventional in the absence of ability to pay. It is ironic that one's life-worth must be summed up in a dollar value. We barely survive by renting out our spare bedrooms. I shall not let the circumstances deter me, and will do as much as I am able with a second-hand Omega juicer and my small stipend  I can purchase organic produce with, and with God's help, I will detoxify and rid my body of cancer once and for all!

The China Study showed that on a diet of 5% or less casein (the protein in dairy), cancer tumors shrink, and on a diet of 20% or more casein, cancer flourishes. I am a full time, non-traditional student, but susceptible to stress of school and lack of time like anyone else.I didn't think a few M&Ms scarfed between classes would hurt .... but 6 months of  cheating on my vegan diet with M&Ms and my Breast Cancer is back. Nothing else has changed, I still eat only gluten free, organic vegan meals, drink plenty of water, and have gotten even better at avoiding chemicals in soap, shampoo, cleaning products, deodorant, makeup, etc. I use glass or stainless containers, cook only in stainless or ceramic cookware, and freshen my home using Himalayan salt lamps and essential oils. We have eliminated dry cleaning and permanent press (chemically treated) clothing, and sleep on organic cotton bedding. Thus, I can be certain the only change in my lifestyle is the small addition of casein, and I didn't run the numbers daily on my nutrients to see if it was less than 5% of my diet.

The Cancer industry is a multi-billion dollar, for-profit entity feeding off the frail, the fearful, and the uninformed. I am none of those, and will not be it's victim. I am well-read and convinced that the body can and does heal itself given the correct fuel, and not inundated with more poison. I have heard it said, "everything gives you cancer" by persons who disregard the information they read or hear as something they don't need to bother with avoiding or think it would be too hard, yet they should.  I can remember 25 or 30 years ago when I heard that cooking meat over open charcoals could cause cancer, and then a meat eater, I scoffed and said, "well at least I'll die happy with a delicious tasting burger in my tummy!" I scarcely believe that was me, but I not only said that, but continued to cook many meals over charcoal over the coming years, until I went vegan. Like the average American, I actually trusted my government to keep me safe. When I heard saccharin causes cancer in laboratory mice, I decided "if it was unsafe for humans, the FDA wouldn't allow it on the market." I wonder how many substances I had the chance to avoid, but didn't because of that faulty thinking?  So it is also with our food supply. Chemicals are sprayed, dusted, and even genetically engineered into our food and our meat's food, and have been for 50 years. Chemical such as hormones, steroids, and antibiotics are pumped into the meat, dairy, and eggs of this country. We actually charge more for food grown without chemicals, how in the world does that even make sense?   Every morsel of food in America is contaminated  unless it is 100% organic (not just claiming organic somewhere on a label) TV ads convince us our homes are smelly and dirty and we need to buy their chemicals to remedy it. Shampoos, soaps, deodorants, and toothpaste increasingly contain more ingredients made in a laboratory than are needed to get the job done. Our kitchens are full of carcinogenic teflon, BPA, aluminum, and chlorine and fluoride lurk in the water that our city's tell us are safe to drink. However, I believe it IS possible to avoid contaminants, and everyone reading this should endeavor to do so. Every step you take towards ridding your life and your body of carcinogens is a step towards health and longevity. Take control of your health, and your body!

Why am I telling you all of this? Because I became too comfortable, less-diligent, even arrogant about the massive (and the small) changes I made in my life, and I assumed I was safe from disease and from cancer. Though mostly true, the changes I made and live by from my plant based organic diet to my choices in body care and home care are well and good,  keeping stress down and the mind calm is a must, as is a clean, vegan diet. So if you are one who has become less diligent about your diet (M&M's like me?) or if there is an area you haven't made the healthier change, I urge you to not let your guard down,  make the change for your health, and for the planet. To read more about these chemicals, where they lurk, etc. see this post:  My anti-cancer regimen
I will fight. I will win. How about you?