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Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mint Chocolate Creme Tart

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas celebration with your loved ones!  This was our first year away from home for the holidays, which for us is the U.P. of Michigan.  A little bittersweet to be away from from family and snow, and still have a good time with our Austin on his first Christmas.  We ended up driving up to the Washington D.C. area to spend Christmas with my aunt.  We had a cozy time with good food, drinks, and stories of past years.  Very fun!  Here is our 2011 family portrait:

I have a lovely dessert recipe to share today.  This dessert is a lighter version of my Grasshopper Pie that I shared with you last December.  It turned out this year I couldn't find any avocados that weren't shipped in from Mexico (and in extremely bad condition, if I may add), so I nixed that layer of the pie and changed it up a little.  This Mint Chocolate Creme Tart was delicious with a dollop of my Advanced Plan vanilla flavored Coconut Whipped Cream on top (find that recipe in my Season's Eatings Holiday e-Book).  Sorry no picture to accompany...we had the intention but devoured the tart before grabbing the camera!

Mint Chocolate Creme Tart
Makes 8 Servings

1 1/4 cups coconut flour, sifted
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
5 Tbsp coconut oil (room temp solid)
1 Tbsp raw almond butter
2 tsp spoonable Stevita stevia powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

2 1/2 cups cashews, soaked 6 hours in water
1 cup unsweetened organic coconut milk
1 tsp pure liquid stevia, or to taste
5-8 drops pure mint essential oil, or to taste
5 drops liquid chlorophyll (for natural green color)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp sea salt
5 Tbsp coconut oil, melted

1.)  CRUST    In your food processor, add all crust ingredients and pulse until it is of uniform consistency.  It should be crumbly.  Transfer your crust to a spring form pan or 9 inch tart shell and press firmly and evenly to line it.  Place in fridge to set slightly while preparing filling.

2.)  FILLING    In a blender, combine the cashews, mint leaves, and coconut milk.  blend until smooth.  Add remaining FILLING ingredients and blend until combined.  (Start with less mint oil and stevia, tasting between blends until you get the perfect combination to your personal taste.  I shared my preference above in the ratios. You can use mint extract instead of oil, but will need to use lots more to achieve the right taste.)

3.)  Pour filling into chilled tart crust.  Cover and place tart in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.  Best if in fridge over night to set.  Enjoy!

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Season's Eatings e-book is ON SALE now thru midnight on December 25th!  You can now purchase the holiday e-book for only $10!  There is still time to plan your holiday menu and keep it healthy.  I promise my recipes are simple to prepare and will take the same, if not less, time to prepare compared to the "traditional" sugar and gluten laden dishes of this time of year.

Check out the e-book here for the types of recipes included and how to purchase.

Merry Christmas everyone!  We are off to spend the holiday (and Austin's first Christmas!) with my aunt who lives in the Virginia/Washington D.C. area.  Hoping to get over to the White House to see the national tree!  We hope you all have a wonderful time with your families and loved ones!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Planning Your Holiday Menus

It's about time to begin planning your holiday menu, if you haven't started already.  Giving yourself at least a week to plan ahead is ideal, leaving yourself plenty of time to do the shopping and make sure you have the serving platters and utensils needed.  Planning in advance also means you'll be less stressed the day of!

The advice I have to offer for your holiday menu is captured in my Season's Eatings holiday e-book.  Inside you will find more tips for planning and preparing your menu, how to deal with the stress of the holidays, as well as 62 Core and Advanced Plan recipes which are redesigns of holiday classics!  It's not too late to purchase your copy in time for Christmas!

A Charlotte mom shares her story of how Season's Eatings has helped her make healthier choices for her family:

"I am embarrassed to admit how many cookbooks I own, but Season's Eating is on the short list of my favorites.  I received your e-book as a gift and it is one of the nicest presents I have ever received.  The book has a beautiful layout with great pictures, the recipes are filled with tips and practical advice, and the recipes are written with a lot of explanation and can be followed by people who may not have a lot of experience cooking.  My family is new to Healing Cuisine and eating following Maximized Living, and your website and this book are my constant companion.  As Dr. Oz would say, the food 'is delicious and it's healthy.'  Believe it or not, my 2-year old son (who is generally a non-vegetable eater) asked for seconds of the Christmas Kale Salad (which is delicious) and all 3 of my children get excited when they see that we are having 'dessert' (your protein bars) for breakfast!  Thank you for the great recipes and for helping me make better choices for my family and me."   - Kim T.  Charlotte, NC
Thank you for sharing, Kim!  I am honored to help you and your family reach a greater health potential!  Keep it up!  I'm excited to see the health goals you reach in the coming year!  :)

You CAN eat healthy thru the holidays, and it doesn't take a lot of work either.  Find out how!  Check out Season's Eatings either for yourself or a friend who will appreciate it as a Christmas gift.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Cookie Swap Recipes to Revisit

Unfortunately there are no new cookie recipes to share this Christmas from my kitchen.  With a newborn in the house, I'm lucky if I make it in there to make dinner every night!  But I've been reading your emails and requests for cookie recipes, with cookie swaps holiday parties coming up!  Wanted to send along a list of the cookie recipes from years past.

And just a reminder, I have already included all of my favorite holiday cookie recipes (made Maximized Living approved) in my holiday e-cookbook, Season's Eatings.  You can purchase and download here.

Cookies and desserts found in Season's Eatings e-book:  Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Balls, Chocolate Truffles, Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, Cinnamon Walnut Cookies, Coconut Flour Brownies, Dark Chocolate Bites of Heaven, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties, Gingerbread Cookies, Pumpkin Coconut Squares, Raw Chocolate Fudge, Snowball Cookies, Apple Pie, Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie, Fruit Cake, Pumpkin Pie, Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake, Vanilla Cheesecake, Almond Flour Pie Crust, Coconut Flour Pie Crust, Crumb Pie CrustFind them for purchase here.

Free cookie and dessert recipes from Elise:

Cocoa-Nut Bites
Peppermint Bark
Candy Cane Macaroons
Chocolate Chip Cookies
Almond Cookies
Banana Bread
Cranberry Nut Bread
Blueberry Bread
Apple Crumb Pie
Chocolate Chocolate Chip Cupcakes
Coconut Dream Cake
Grasshopper Pie or Bars
Pecan Pie
Bumble Bars
Moist Chocolate Brownies
Nut & Seed Bars

And, just one more thing...a huge request.  I have entered a gluten-free Christmas cookie contest.  It is hosted by Jules Gluten Free and is taking place on Facebook. If you would take a moment to VISIT THIS LINK and "like" my recipe for Candy Cane Macaroons, it will count as a vote in the contest.  I have a chance to win a Kitchen Aid mixer, kitchen bakeware, and a few other great items.  Hope you'll vote for me, and take a second to share with your friends!  (Don't forget to try the recipe in your own kitchen, too!  It's a fav of ours!!)  I appreciate the help!!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Healing Cuisine 2011 Holiday Gift Guide

It's time for Healing Cuisine's 2011 Holiday Gift Guide!  I'd like to share my top gift ideas, including new products I have discovered this year and quality staples that every foodie or natural lifestyle enthusiast will love.  Be sure to refer back to 2010's Holiday Gift Guide, too!  This year's list is a bit abbreviated compared to 2010's, but that's only because I listed evvverything I adore on last year's list!  2011 introduces some fresh ideas and new companies I discovered this year.

Homemade Gifts  Save time.  Save money.  Show you care.

Jarred Spice Rub
- This year we are making homemade vanilla, bottling it up and sharing with loved ones.  My personal directions to come when our first batch is finished, but you can start here.

- Create gourmet spice blends and package in individual jars or designed baggies.  Check out About.com and BlogHer for some spicy inspiration.  Attach a recipe to each jar that uses the unique spice blend.

- Give a container of homemade natural dish washer detergent.  Find my recipe here.  Make a unique label for it, and even include a bottle of distilled white vinegar relabeled with your personal logo.

- Sort of like homemade gifts, just not by you...I've really gotten into Etsy.com lately.  It's a site for people who make crafts and products by hand to sell them world wide.  It's quite amazing really, the things that people can do from home in their hobby shops.  Hop on there and browse, I'm sure you'll find something you like and someone to help support for their hard work!

Kitchen Supplies  Stuff healthy peeps always need.

Local Harvest's Map of Farmers
- A Local Harvest CSA Membership:  Check out Local Harvest to find a farm that offers a Community Supported Agriculture program in your recipient's neighborhood.  Usually you can purchase membership by the month, season, or year.  Your foodie friend will receive fresh, local produce (organic if you choose) and you will be supporting a local farmer.

- Give them a few months supply of coconut flour, almond flour, raw nuts, coconut oil, chia seeds, etc...something they will definitely use and enjoy while testing recipes in their kitchen.  My favorite bulk sites to order quality food products from:  NutsOnline.com and CLNF.org.

- L.O.V.E the natural lunch supplies offered by Nubius Organics.  While they do offer plastic options, try to stick with the stainless steel, bamboo, and cloth as much as possible. Great for adults and kids!

- 98% dark chocolate bars SWEETENED WITH STEVIA!!!!  Find them only on Amazon.com.  You can only order them in bulk, so plan to give some as gifts and save some for yourself.  I had the opportunity to try these bars, and they are very good.  Advanced Plan approved guys!! :)

Body Care  Organic.  Natural.  Health-inducing.

Florere natural deodorant
- Any of the products from SKIN Organic Body Care.  My favorites are the Hand and Body Cream and the Naked Face Wash.  I love everything Stephanie, the owner, makes!  Your skin is guaranteed to respond well to it all as she uses whole food organic ingredients!

- Okay, not kidding here, this is THE BEST completely all-natural and organic deodorant we have used yet! And to boot, it's a vegan product!  It passed the "Dave test," meaning he approves it with flying colors. He's tossed out every past "natural" deodorant option we have tried except for MiEssence, but even with that brand he had to reapply at least twice daily.  With Florere brand, he applies in the morning after showering and that's it, he's good for over 12 hours no odor.  Two thumbs up for quality and performance, two thumbs up for being completely all natural and safe!

Kids and Baby  Mixed bag of my favorites.

- For a crafty kid or teen, a Paper Flower Kit from PS.  They offer many different flower options.  I like this summer bouquet -- brings the summer cheer indoors when it's winter white outside for so many months!

Lil' Sprout Creations
plastic-free mobile
- Snuggle Me Cushion for baby.  An all-natural transportable infant sleeper.  We have one and LOVE it!  Truly a life saver!  Austin loves his, and even hangs out in it with a smile while he's awake.  We also use it when co-sleeping, and when traveling for an easy napping place.

- Robeez or Bison Booties soft sole shoes for babies and toddlers.  They stay on and keep feet warm while providing the best opportunity for the development of their tiny feet.

- Kiss Naturals Lip Balm Making Kit: all natural, eco friendly

- What Does It Mean to be Green book

- Recycled paper supplies from Julia on Etsy.  I am in love with her notebooks that use recycled Dr. Seuss book covers!

- Classic all-natural wood toys from Verry Cherry Toys on Etsy

- One of the cute all natural mobiles from Lil' Sprout Creations on Etsy

- Praise Baby Christian songs and videos for babies and young children

Stocking Stuffers All natural and healthy.

Nellie's PVC-free dryer balls
- A new BPA-free reusable bottle from Lifefactory! You can order online or find at your local health food store.  They come in different sizes and you'll fall in love with the vibrant colors!  These bottles are made of glass wrapped in silicon to prevent damage if dropped -- and to provide a grip while using.

- Pack of Nellie's all natural laundry detergent or dryer balls.  The company uses completely natural ingredients, and the surfactants used in the detergent come from coconut!  Awesome company, LOVE their dryer balls!

You can also visit TreeHugger for some other great eco-friendly gift giving guides.  Do YOU have any other great gift suggestions??  Happy gifting! :)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Project Christmas Tree CONTEST

I have an exciting contest to share that YOU can enter to WIN BIG!!  It is called Project Christmas Tree 2011, and it's happening now thru December 15th!

I have teamed up with Jade Louise Designs and 11 other fabulous bloggers and companies to host this huge giveaway contest.  You have the chance to win a bunch of prizes and $cash$, total value of $295.80.  I am donating a copy of my Season's Eatings holiday e-cookbook!

We are selecting just ONE winner, so be sure to enter all the ways you can to deepen your odds.  Here's how it works:

-  The giveaway is open to US residents only
-  One winner will take home ALL of the cash and prizes.
-  Entrants must like/follow each of the sponsor's site to qualify to win
-  The giveaway ends at 12:01AM EST on Thursday, December 15th
-  Entries and the winner will be managed by the service Rafflecopter.  See all the ways to enter below in the Rafflecopter box OR visit Jade Louise Designs here. (Failure to follow every sponsor will result in a forfeit of winnings.  This will be confirmed before rewarding the Winner.)

Most of the entries are a one time option, but there are a few at the bottom that you can enter every day!  Don't miss out on that opportunity!  GOOD LUCK everyone!!  Merry Christmas! :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Questions Answered: Pecan Pie

I had the request for Pecan Pie from Melanie on my facebook page:

"I grew up on an awesome tasting Pecan Pie, but unfortunately it calls for both dark Karo syrup and Light Karo syrup.  What would I substitute instead for the same flavor and texture?  I make this a lot at Thanksgiving and Christmas, but I really want to have the healthier version!"  - Melanie C.
Can you believe that I have not only never made a pecan pie before, but never tasted one?  It's just not something my family ate growing up.  Being from northern Michigan, we were a pumpkin pie or apple pie family.  But now that we're southern dwellers, I suppose it's about time I tried my hand at a pecan pie.  To be honest, since I didn't know where to begin, I tasted a not-Maximized Living approved pecan pie first...just a couple bites to get the texture and flavors into my brain.  And then I got to work.  Those who love your pecan pie, please try this recipe out and let me know how it compares to what you think a pecan pie should be!  I need your opinions and suggestions!

This is a Core Plan pie, because it definitely still needed maple syrup to get the texture right.  But this is much healthier for you than using corn syrup or processed sugars!  Hope this is what you were looking for, Melanie!

Pecan Pie
Makes one 9" pie

2 cups almond flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
Dash of sea salt
1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
20 drops pure liquid stevia
1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cup raw pecans, chopped
1/3 cup Grade B maple syrup
1/4 tsp pure liquid stevia
1/4 cup coconut oil
1 Tbsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp fresh flax seed meal
1/2 tsp arrowroot powder
2 Tbsp unsweetened almond milk
A couple pinches of sea salt for pecans

1.)  THE CRUST  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.   In a large bowl, stir together almond flour, baking soda, cinnamon and sea salt with a fork.  Add in the remaining liquid crust ingredients.  Stir together with fork until well combined and crumbly.

2.)  Press dough into a 9 inch pie shell (or tart pan -- that's what I used).  Bake at 300 degrees F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove from oven and set aside to cool.

3.)  THE FILLING:  In a medium sauce pan, mix together the coconut oil, maple syrup, stevia and vanilla extract.  Bring to a boil over Medium-High heat, then lower the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes, whisking it frequently. (It will seem like the oil and syrup are separating.  The flax and arrowroot mixture will act as an emulsifier later!)  Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

4.)  In a large stainless steel skillet, toast the pecans on Medium-Low heat for about 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.  Remove from heat and sprinkle with sea salt.

5.)  In a small bowl, mix together the flax seed meal, arrowroot powder and almond milk.  Let it sit for 6 minutes.

6.)  Once the sugar-oil mixture is cooled to room temperature, whisk in the flax/arrowroot mixture until combined and smooth.  Stir in the chopped pecans until combined.  Pour onto the cooled pie crust and distribute evenly.

7.)  Bake at 350 degrees F for 18-20 minutes or until the filling begins to set and loses its shine. Remove from oven and let cool to room temperature.  Chill in fridge at least an hour or two before serving (we found it easier to cut and serve when slightly chilled).

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

Pumpkin Ice Cream
Makes 4 Servings

1 can full-fat organic coconut milk
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin, pureed
20 drops pure liquid stevia
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cloves

1.)  In a medium bowl, mix together all ingredients until smooth.

2.)  Pour into ice cream maker bowl.  Follow ice cream maker's instructions.

3.)  When ice cream is set, eat immediately or store in freezer to firm up if desired.  Top with cinnamon coconut whipped cream (add 1 tsp of fresh cinnamon to the mixer while whipping the cold coconut milk).

Friday, November 25, 2011

SKIN Organic Body Care Giveaway #2 WINNER

Hi folks!  Hope you had a splendid Thanksgiving!  We had our first holiday with just us, and it was really nice.  Especially because we have the greatest little guy to share it with this year and start new family traditions with!  I made many of the side dish and dessert recipes from Season's Eatings and also tried out some new recipes and ideas I have been playing with.  I'll share our successes soon in future posts!  We also skipped the turkey this year and did Cornish hens.  They were so cute on our plates!  And only take an hour to cook...even if you have 4, 5, 6...in the oven at a time.  An hour, people!  They came out with crispy skin and super juicy meat, too.  No basting required!  I'm sold, Cornish hens for all future Thanksgivings in the Schwartz household.

Now enough of my babbling.  Time to announce the SKIN Organic Body Care giveaway winner!  And the winner is Nancy D.!  Nancy, please send me an email with your mailing address and Stephanie from SKIN will send you your very own jar of Healing Calendula Cream: elise@healingcuisinebyelise.com.  Congrats!!  And thank you to all who entered and took the time to tell us what you are grateful for this year.  We loved reading your responses!

I do have a quick recipe to share today.  Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.  Since I started breastfeeding, I've been craving oatmeal.  Every day for the last 2 months.  You'd think I'd be sick of it by now, or at least I try to tell myself I should be sick of it.  Sometimes I (embarrassingly) have two bowls of oatmeal in one day.  A lactation consultant and friend told me that there's something in oats / oat straw that stimulates milk production and that some women need different things in their diet to enhance milk production.  Oats seems to be my thing.  Since I'm boiling up a bowl of steal cut every morning, as I stand there watching it and stirring occasionally, I have been thinking of ways to switch it up and make it more flavorful, more than my bland butter, stevia and oats.  Sure there's cinnamon, raisins, coconut milk...etc that can be added.  "But why not pumpkin?" I thought to myself one morning.  And that was the beginning of Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal.  It is the perfect fall comfort breakfast!

This is a Core Plan treat because of the oats folks, just to clarify.  (Shhh...even though Dave has me on the Advanced Plan for Austin's dairy allergy, he *probably* doesn't know I've been eating oatmeal every single day since Austin's birth.   Don't tell him! ;)

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
Makes 1 Serving

1 cup steal cut oatmeal, cooked
1/2 cup cooked pumpkin, pureed
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
12 drops pure liquid stevia (more/less to taste)
Full-fat organic coconut milk (optional)

To warm prepared steal cut oatmeal, stir in pureed pumpkin, spices, vanilla, and stevia until well combined.  Serve as is or drizzle a couple spoonfuls of coconut milk over top.  Dave likes to add hempseeds to his bowl for extra protein.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Product Review & GIVEAWAY {#2} from SKIN Organic Body Care

Do you remember last month when I introduced you to Stephanie Simkins and a new (to me at least) body care line called SKIN Organic Body Care?

Stephanie has sent me a new product in her line to sample and test on my skin.  It is called Healing Calendula Salve and is formulated specifically for Eczema, dry cracked skin, rough elbows/feet/knees, sore cuticles, etc, etc.  It is perfect for this fall and winter season, when our skin really takes a beating from the dry indoor and cold outdoor conditions.

Calendula is a natural antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antibiotic; a true healing oil direct from nature.  The Healing Calendula Salve blends calendula with other soothing components such as olive oil, jojoba oil, shea butter and almond oil.  The salve smells great!  Very fresh, with a mild citrus scent from pure (fragrance free) orange, lemon, and tangerine essential oils.  It's got quite a lovely smell and texture to it.

I think I put SKIN's Healing Calendula Salve to the test.  On my right hand, I've recently had a flare up on my middle and pointer fingers of this patchy dryness and cracking skin.  It first made its appearence two, maybe three years ago when I did my candida cleanse.  My skin was damaged on those fingers as the yeast left my body.  I get a flare up whenever I eat a large amount of yeast (we had a lot of bread the week family was here to help us take care of Austin) and have my hands in water many days in a row (increased dishes to wash with family here, and bathing Austin, and rinsing bottles/toys, and rinsing diapers...you see the problem?).  This flare up is pretty painful on those fingers and once I get it, it usually takes me about a month to heal it back up, even when I go back to my Advanced Plan eating and leave all the water interaction to Dave.

Stephanie sent her Healing Salve to me in perfect timing!  I had been suffering already a week with the miserable, cracking skin.  I dipped my fingers right in the day the Healing Salve arrived to our mail box.  SKIN's products never cease to amaze me!  At first it felt a little more greasy on my skin than SKIN's body lotion (which I am IN LOVE with), but it soaked in and began soothing almost immediately after a little rubbing in.  The greasiness was gone.  I watched the redness disappear within a half hour on my fingers.  I applied the salve two to three times daily and I am on day 6 of using it and my fingers are almost fully healed up!  I am so so happy!!  This is the quickest it has ever happened for me, this has been fabulous!

SKIN's Healing Calendula Salve is wonderful!  If you've got an area on your body that needs some attention, or maybe nothing else has worked for it, give this salve a try!

SKIN is offering a DISCOUNT on all Healing Calendula Salve orders, but you better act fast as it ends at midnight on Thanksgiving day!!  At checkout, enter the code SKIN10 to receive 10% OFF on the Healing Calendula Salve.  Place your order HERE.


To kick off the Thanksgiving weekend and holiday season of giving, Stephanie would like to give away a full size Healing Calendula Salve to one lucky winner!  The Giveaway Contest will run from Monday November 21st until Thursday November 22nd (Thanksgiving Day) at 11:59pm.  I will use Random.org to select the winner and announce it here at Healing Cuisine at 9:00am on Friday November 23rd.  One lucky winner (open to U.S. residents only) will receive a full size jar of SKIN's Healing Calendula Salve.


MANDATORY:  Visit SKIN, Organic Body Care's Facebook page, "Like" it, and tell Stephanie what you are grateful for.  (Don't do Facebook?  Leave a comment at the bottom of this post telling me what you are grateful for instead.)

Additional ways to enter:

1.)  "Like" Healing Cuisine on Facebook

2.)  Share this giveaway via Twitter (@EliseJSchwartz) and/or Facebook (@Healing Cuisine) being sure to link back to me so I see you did it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Questions Answered: Pumpkin Spice Latte

Kristin commented on my Chai Tea Latte recipe asking for one of the most amazing fall drinks ever - the Pumpkin Spice Latte!

"I just started working for a Maximized Living doctor and am doing the Advance Plan.  Have you ever made a Pumpkin Latte that fits the plan?"  - Kristin
My answer is no, not until today!  But what a fabulous request!  Too many autumns have come and gone since my last taste of a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte.  Did you know the kinds of chemicals, artificial sweeteners, HFCS, and food dyes put into many of the drinks at commercial coffee shops like Starbucks?  Once I started asking the cashier What's in my drink?, that was the last sip of Pumpkin Spice Latte for me.  So I have no clue why I never thought to create this delicious treat at home!  I tried it a couple different ways, after consulting a few different friends' blogs and based on what we had in the pantry.   The recipe below turned out great, and I think better than the commercial version.  :)

Pumpkin Spice Latte
Makes 1-2 Servings

2 cups unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp unsweetened pumpkin puree (canned is fine)
1/4 cup espresso OR 1/2 cup strong brewed organic coffee (we took the coffee route)
3/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground ginger
Liquid stevia, to taste

1.)  Whisk all ingredients together in a medium saucepan until well blended.  Heat over Medium-Low until it reaches a simmer to ensure pumpkin completely dissolves.  Remove from heat and pour into mug(s).

OPTIONAL:  To create a foamy top, add 1 teaspoon unsweetened pumpkin puree, 1/4 cup warmed coconut milk, 12 drops Stevita liquid stevia, a dash of nutmeg, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon to a blender.  (We used out Bullet blender and it worked perfectly.)  Blend on High for 30 seconds or so until foamed.  Pour on top of the warm latte and serve immediately.  (You can also create foam using an electric stirring rod and a tall glass.)  (Don't have a blender or stirring rod?  Top it with a dollop of hand whipped organic cream sweetened and spiced up.)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Pumpkin, Pumpkin, Pumpkin & Holiday Recipe Ideas

I have been meaning to post more fall and pumpkin-themed recipes since September!  I have a list racking up on my desktop.  So look forward to a round of fall inspired recipes coming out for the next couple of weeks!  Austin is finally getting into a sleeping/eating routine, so I can once again (and finally) add blogging back into my daily schedule.  SO happy for that, I've missed talking to all of you!

First, I wanted to share some pumpkin recipes from the past that will be perfect for the upcoming Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays.  Also, please check out my Season's Eatings Holiday e-Cookbook!  It is full of 62 Core & Advanced Plan recipes specifically tailored to the holidays to help you plan your menu and prepare your family meal with success!  I have included almost all of my favorite dessert and cookie recipes in the e-book, as well as favorite holiday side dishes made "Healing Cuisine"!  You can purchase your copy here.

Here is the list of recipes included in Season's Eating Holiday e-Cookbook:

Holiday Spiced Pecans
Mini Herbed Scones
Chocolate Spiced Peanut Butter
Double Green Dip
Feta and Cucumber Dip
French Onion Dip
No Cheese Ball
Olive Dip
Pumpkin Dip
Spinach-Artichoke Dip

Salads & Sauces
Basic Tossed Salad
Celery Salad with Walnuts & Dates
Christmas Kale
Merry Berry Salad
Ginger Lime Cranberry Sauce
Easy Pan Gravy

Side Dishes
Coconut Bread Stuffing
Brussels Sprouts with Pistachios
Caramelized Broccoli with Garlic
Green Bean Casserole
Mint Smashed Peas
Pan Fried Beans & Spinach
Roasted Vegetable Medley
Rosemary Garlic Mashed Fotatoes
Savory Collard Greens
Sweet Potato Cranberry Casserole
Wild Rice Pecan Stuffing
Zucchini Mushroom Crumble

Main Course
Balsamic Broiled Salmon
Black Pepper-Crusted Beef Tenderloin
Lemon, Sage and Garlic Roasted Chicken
Herb Roasted Turkey

Breads & Rolls

Coconut Flour Gingered Bread
Pumpkin Bread or Muffins
Savory Coconut Flour Bread & Rolls

Apple Pie
Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie
Fruit Cake
Pumpkin Pie
Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake
Vanilla Cheesecake
Almond Flour Pie Crust
Coconut Flour Pie Crust
Crumb Pie Crust

Cookies & Bars
Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Balls
Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies
Cinnamon Walnut Cookies
Coconut Flour Brownies
Dark Chocolate Bites of Heaven
Dark Chocolate Peppermint Patties
Gingerbread Cookies
Pumpkin Coconut Squares
Raw Chocolate Fudge
Snowball Cookies

Frosting & Icing
Coconut Icing
Coconut Whipped Cream
Cream Cheese Frosting
Traditional Frosting


Eggless Nog
Stevia Hot Chocolate
Mulled Cider

And now on to past Pumpkin recipes!

Pumpkin Chili
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds - 3 Flavors
Pumpkin-Coconut Soup
Pumpkin Puddng
Apple-Pumpkin Soup

And remember, stay tuned for the next couple weeks for even more pumpkin goodness!!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Product Review: Snuggle Me Cushion

Hi all!!  My silence is finally broken!  Austin and I have made it thru the last few weeks of a growth spurt and recovery from a dairy protein allergy.  Let's just say my time has been completely consumed by caring for him and making sure he is happy, safe, and most importantly healing at 100%!  Everything is under control again -- and I am back on the Advanced Plan.  No more yogurt or raw cheese for me.  :(  All for the sake of a happy healthy baby!

I have a wonderful product to share with you, one that has helped me SO MUCH over the last two months since Austin's birth.  It is called the Snuggle Me Organic Cushion.  The Snuggle Me Cushion is a portable infant bed that can be placed just about anywhere in your home, so that mom knows where baby is and that baby is safe.  It allows mom to have her hands free to take care of herself or, in my case, the much needed house work.  Simply Mommy was so kind so send me a Snuggle Me Organic Cushion to try out with Austin.

The Snuggle Me Organic Cushion is specifically designed to help baby feel secure and cozy while not in mom or dad's arms.  To me, it sort of looks like a little baby nest.  Baby is placed on their back in the non-padded center of the Snuggle Me Cushion and the sides pull in to gently hug the baby's sides.  (Watch a demo here.)  I truly believe, from seeing it with my own eyes, that baby feels like they are being held or that they are laying next to mom or dad while in the Snuggle Me Cushion.  We started using ours just hours after Austin was born.  He really enjoys it!  We have him fall asleep in our arms, then place him in his little nest and he stays soundly asleep.  If we place him anywhere else (his crib, our bed, the floor) without pillows or my husband or myself right next to him (which isn't always possible), he wakes up a few minutes later because he is a baby that really responds to and enjoys physical touch.  It reminds him of what it was like during those 9 months in my womb.  He feels too free on an open space by himself.  The Snuggle Me Cushion has made it possible for him to sleep soundly without me having to be laying right next to him or wearing him for every nap thru the day or night.

Because I practice Attachment Parenting, I want to make sure Austin feels comforted even when I need to put him down.  The Snuggle Me Cushion does that! I think I have found the Snuggle Me Organic Cushion most helpful when I needed to take a shower, wanted to cook a meal or simply make myself a salad, and when I just needed a little break to myself while Austin slept.  It fits right into the Attachment Parenting lifestyle.  And baby doesn't always have to be sleeping to be in the Snuggle Me.  I have placed his Snuggle Me Cushion on our kitchen table with him in it, wide awake, while I prepared dinner.  Austin loves to hang out in it, too.  And as long as you place the Snuggle Me Cushion on a flat non-slippery surface, you can feel safe because baby isn't going anywhere.  That is something else I love, the security you get from knowing he is safe right where you left him and can't roll off.

I also use the Snuggle Me Cushion while changing Austin's clothes, especially after a bath or if I need to run to the laundry room to get something out of the dryer for him.  I can step away for a moment knowing he's not in any danger while I'm gone.  And he stays right there for me even if he's slippery from his bath or wriggly from not wanting to put on a pair of pants.  The Snuggle Me Cushion makes life with infant easier!

Austin at 3 weeks using his Snuggle Me Organic Cushion
Another cool use for the Snuggle Me Cushion is for co-sleeping.  I know I had mentioned that Dave and I are doing co-sleeping with Austin, and a few of you raised your concerns with co-sleeping.  Well, we have been using the Snuggle Me Cushion right in bed with us, to keep Austin safe all thru the night!  We place it right in between us and the three of us get a good night's sleep.  You can also put it on the other side of mom, next to the edge of the bed.  The Snuggle Me Cushion stays where you put it and baby is not going anywhere!  I love having him right in bed with us, easy to nurse or change a diaper in the middle of the night!  And in case you are worried about a dad who is a moving sleeper, if he was to roll near baby, the edge of the Snuggle Me Cushion would be what he would touch first, not the babe.  It makes co-sleeping all the more safe for parents and baby!

I am also a proud supporter of organic products.  The fewer chemicals you bring your baby into contact with, the better for their long-term health.  This is why I love that the Snuggle Me Organic Cushion is hypo-allergenic and covered with certified organic cotton twill.  It also comes with a slip-on cover made of certified organic cotton fleece.  AND, get this, the ENTIRE CUSHION is machine washable and dryable!  How cool is that?!  I must confess, the fourth day Austin used his Snuggle Me, he had an explosive diaper and his mustard colored poo was all over the cover and seeped thru to the cushion.  At first I was freaked, thinking "How could we stain this after just a few uses?!"  But after the quick wash in the washing machine (no rinsing, scrubbing, or pre-treating necessary), it came out just like new, no stains left behind.  It really is simple to use AND simple to clean, just what a mom ordered!

Please go here and read more about the Snuggle Me Organic Cushion and all that it can be used for.  There are so many benefits that will help make mom's life easier!  I think our Snuggle Me Cushion has come so in handy that I've used it in just about every way on the list with Austin.

I also wanted to share the chiropractor's opinion of the Snuggle Me Cushion.  My husband, Dave, uses the snuggle me when he adjusts Austin.  He used to place Austin simply on the adjusting table, but he would squirm and move around, making what should be a simple and quick adjustment take a few minutes.  Now, Dave places the Snuggle Me on the adjusting table with Austin resting on it.  The sides hug him and Austin remains calm while Dave completes the adjustment.  We are talking about getting one for use in his practice for adjusting the many babies he takes care of, and also a place for moms to put their babies while they get their adjustments.  Dave also approves the Snuggle Me for the great spinal support.  It is so important for babies to sleep in a proper position while their bodies grow.  The Snuggle Me ensures their neck and back stay in alignment while baby sleeps.  Two thumbs up from Dr. Dave!

The Gift

The makers of the Snuggle Me Organic Cushion would like to extend a special discount to all Healing Cuisine followers!  Now thru the end of November, receive 20% off the Snuggle Me Organic plus FREE Shipping & Handling!  Visit their website using this special link to take advantage of this great gift: http://www.snugglemeorganic.com/special.html

Whether you are a parent, a parent-to-be, or you have someone in mind who could benefit from the Snuggle Me Cushion, take advantage of this offer!  The Snuggle Me Organic Cushion will make a great Christmas gift for baby, and is of course a great baby shower present! 

Visit and "like" the Snuggle Me Cushion on Facebook!

Monday, October 24, 2011

How To: Soothing Dry Cracked Feet

It seems dry, cracked feet becomes a bigger problem in the fall and winter months than the summer.  (At least I hear more about it from my clients during this time of year...)  Of course this can be due to the dryer climate both outside and indoors, but it can also be a sign of malnourishment or toxicity in the body.  It is best to take care of your feet year round so the problem doesn't get out of hand, in to severely cracking skin with bleeding.  Here are my recommendations for soothing dry, cracked feet.

1.) Drink more water:  Increase your water intake to, at minimum, half your body weight in ounces of water daily.  This helps to not only rehydrate your skin, but flush the lymph system to ensure toxins are moving to the colon and out of your body.

2.)  Increase your healthy fats:  If your body is deprived of the healthy fats (DHA & EPA), your skin will be the first to show it.  This doesn't necessarily manifest down in your feet, but all over your body you will notice dry skin lacking resilience.  I recommend everyone supplement at least 2-4 grams daily of a good clean fish oil or hemp oil.  Also add in plenty of healthy fats to your diet - avocados, coconut milk, eggs (the yolks!), nuts, grass fed meats, wild caught salmon..  Over time your skin will repair itself.

3.)  Begin a dry brushing regimen:  Read more about dry brushing here and begin your 3 month commitment, paying extra special attention (and pressure) to your feet.  You should notice huge changes in just one month, but allow at least 3 months for full effect.  I recommend dry brushing daily, just like we brush our teeth and shower.

4.)  Follow up your dry brush with a foot bath:  After you've sloshed off all the dead skin from your body, treat yourself to a healing foot bath (recipe below).  The Epsom salt pulls toxins from your feet.  The baking soda neutralizes the skin as toxins come out (can also substitute with apple cider vinegar).  The honey, oatmeal, aloe, and lavender sooth and replenish the skin.  Follow up the foot bath with a massage of olive oil, put on some thick socks, and let the healing nutrients soak in.

Dry Cracked Feet Bath

1/4 cup raw honey
1/2 cup dry oatmeal (can run thru food processor for finer texture)
1/4 cup pure aloe vera
1/3 cup Epsom salt
1/4 cup baking soda
20-30 drops pure lavender essential (or oil of choice)
Hot water to fill foot bath

Mix all ingredients together in the foot bath with water as hot as you can handle. Soak for at least 15 minutes. Simple, quick and easy but very relaxing and moisturizing!

If you suspect your body is suffering from more than simply dry skin, toxicity may be an issue.  It is correctable and you don't have to suffer!  Email me any time for advice and a free initial consultation on what could be going on and how to heal.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Bumble Bars

These are a little different than the "traditional" bumble bars made with sugar, Cheerios, etc, that my family made growing up.  I've put my Healing Cuisine spin on it!  Feel free to add a handful or two of 73+% dark chocolate chips to the bars, too.  Stir in with the nuts.

Bumble Bars

2 cups raw sesame seeds
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup coconut flakes
2 cups organic raw unsalted Valencia peanut butter OR almond butter
1/3 cup honey
2 tsp sea salt

1.)  Line a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (or a 9 x 9 inch pan for thicker bars) with unbleached parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.)  In a large bowl, stir together Valencia peanut butter, honey, and sea salt.  Stir in nuts and coconut flakes, mixing until evenly combined.

3.)  Pour and spread mixture into baking pan.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Cool to room temperature.  Cut into individual bars, wiping knife clean between cuts as needed.  Enjoy or store in fridge until ready to eat.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Green Green Smoothie

Smoothies are always fun to create. It's especially fun to make green smoothies, hiding the sometimes bitter and pure vegetable flavors in a refreshing glass of energy. Feel free to twist around my Green Green Smoothie below. I throw in usually whatever we have on hand. Kale instead of spinach, a frozen cucumber or fresh grapefruit instead of banana. Play around with ingredients and see what new creations you can come up with in your blender!

Green Green Smoothie
Makes 2 Servings

1 1/2 cups organic unsweetened almond milk
1 head organic Romaine lettuce, chopped
2 handfuls organic spinach
3 stalks organic celery, chopped
1 organic Granny Smith apple, cored and chopped, frozen
1 organic pear, cored and chopped, frozen (Core Plan only)
Small handful fresh cilantro
Small handful fresh parsley
1 organic banana, frozen (Core Plan only)
3 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 scoops plain or vanilla protein powder

Add almond milk, romaine lettuce and spinach to blender. Starting the blender on Low speed, blend until smooth.  Gradually moving to higher speeds, add the celery, apple, pear, cilantro and parsley. Finally, add the banana and lemon juice. Finish with 2 scoops of your favorite protein powder. Serve immediately.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Product Review & GIVEAWAY: SKIN Organic Body Care WINNER

I am excited to announce today's SKIN Organic Body Care giveaway winner.  One lucky lady will receive a prize package of body care products from SKIN valued at over $100!  Thank you to all who participated in this month's giveaway!  I hope you have enjoyed getting to know this great company and will enjoy trying out their fabulous products in the future!

And the winner is........

Hannah Baldwin!  Congrats girl!  Send me an email and I will get back to you with details on how to claim your prize: elise@healingcuisinebyelise.com.

Come back tomorrow for a great new recipe, y'all!!!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Product Review & GIVEAWAY: SKIN Organic Body Care

Alright folks, I have discovered a fabulous new organic product line to share with you!  I am so excited about it!  The company is called SKIN -- a complete body care line free of chemicals, parabens, fragrances, and preservatives.  I love it because SKIN is completely organic and natural.  Check out SKIN's product ratings on the Skin Deep Cosmetic Database from the Environmental Working Group.

SKIN was founded by Stephanie Simkins who has a passion for organic eating and holistic healing.  She saw the need for truly natural beauty care products and created her SKIN line using organic oils and botanicals.  Her products are designed to nourish and heal your skin, specifically formulated with food-grade ingredients such as green tea, fruit extracts, and coconut oil.  Stephanie was so sweet to send Dave and I a goodie bag of her products to test out and review.  And I must say, we were both deeply impressed by the quality and results.  It has been almost 3 months since we began using her facial cleanser, toner and moisturizers and our skin has never looked or felt better!

My favorites from SKIN are the Lemon Aid Face Wash, Lemon Fresh Toner, and Daily Greens Cream.  The face wash is like no other I've ever used.  I have combination skin, so it's always hard to find a good cleanser that gets rid of the oily buildup without drying me out.  Well, SKIN's Lemon Aid Face Wash is PERFECT!  Any blemishes are healed up after one or two washes.  Followed up with the Lemon Fresh Toner, and my pores are tight and face glowing afterward.  I like the use the Daily Greens Cream around my eyes and along my cheek bones.  It is infused with green tea which helps to neutralize free radicals, and amped up with vitamins and minerals.  I noticed after a couple weeks use my eyes were less puffy and those dark circles that came with my pregnancy were diminishing.

I encourage all of you to check out this fabulous product line.  And fellas, take it from my husband: he's IN LOVE with the cleanser from SKIN!  It's not just for the ladies!  And I've been using the Lemon Mousse Hand & Body Cream on baby Austin's bottom when he needs a little diaper rash refreshening.  Works like a charm!  These products will be featured on my Healing Cuisine's Christmas Gift List this year for sure.


I have great news for you.  Stephanie has generously offered to share the same product package she sent use with one of you!  The Giveaway Contest will run from Wednesday October 12th until Monday October 17th at 9:00am.  I will use Random.org to select the winner and announce it here at Healing Cuisine at 11:00am on Monday, October 17th.  One lucky winner (open to U.S. residents only) will receive one each of the following shipped directly to your door:

Lemon Mousse Hand & Body Cream
Apricot Eyes Eye Makeup Remover
Lemon Aid Face Wash
Tropical Orange Hand Cream
Naked Face Wash (unscented)
Lemon Fresh Toner
Daily Greens Hydrating Repair Cream


There are three ways to enter:

MANDATORY: Visit SKIN's website, check out the products page, and come back here to leave a comment about which product you'd like to try the most and why.

Additional ways to enter:

1.)  "Like" Skin, Organic Body Care and Healing Cuisine on Facebook

2.)  Share this giveaway via Twitter (@EliseJSchwartz) and/or Facebook (@Healing Cuisine) being sure to link back to me so I see you did it.

GOOD LUCK to each one of you!  These are amazing products that I know you'll love, and your skin will thank you :)  See you back here on MONDAY to announce the winner!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Season's Eatings Holiday e-Book

Do you ever ask yourself this question?  The holidays are here, now what?  This was my inspiration for creating Season's Eatings, my holiday e-book modeled around the Maximized Living Nutrition Plans.  Within its pages you'll find 62 Core Plan recipes, 46 Advanced Plan recipes (view the recipe list), advice on managing stress (Essential #1) thru the holidays, how to cook with natural sweeteners, a shopping guide, and bright tantalizing pictures to guide you thru!

Season's Eatings is so much more than a recipe book.  I designed it to be a menu planner and resource guide you can come back to year after year.  And what is the most loved food tradition of Thanksgiving and Christmas?  The cookies and desserts of course!  Well, I've loaded this e-book up with all of my favorite cookie and pie creations.  You will not be disappointed!

This e-book is also a fabulous resource for the array of holiday parties coming up.  Whether you have volunteered to bring one dish to share or are hosting a dinner party of your own, Season's Eatings will supply you with health-inducing, whole-food options that taste SO GOOD your guests will never know they're healthy!

It's about living a Maximized Living lifestyle every day of the year.  And just because holidays come with a tradition of processed, high sugar, trans fat, and gluten laden dishes DOES NOT mean you have to eat that way.  Holiday eating should be guilt-free!  Start a new tradition within your family of Maximized food that tastes good and is good for you!


It is a blessing to hear and read how my recipes have been helping Maximized Living families all over the world.  I wanted to share what a couple families have to say:

This book is one of the best books we have ever cooked from.  There is no book out there that we have found that has perfect ratios for the recipes, great tasting food and wonderful ideas.  Eating healthy CAN be fun and extraordinarily tasty with Elise's "Seasons Eatings" e-book!  This year we are having my family over for Christmas and were worried how to make healthy desserts, side dishes, and entrees for them, but now we have a great book that we are comfortable cooking from.  Our favorite side dish from the book is the coconut bread.  It can go with so many things, stuffing, scones, etc.!  Our favorite dessert is the "Double Dark Chocolate Mousse Pie."  She even tells you how to make the crust.  We have literally gone through a ton of healthy cookbooks and recipe guides when it comes to healthy eating, but they all had horrible ratios of ingredients or never worked out like the picture showed.  With Elise's "Seasons Eatings" book all we have to do is follow the recipe and it turns out amazing!  If you were worried about how to make a healthy holiday meal and have the WHOLE family like it, this is it.  Completely worth the price!
               -  David and Abby Janis
                  San Leandro, CA
This next review is from a fellow blogger.  She goes by Tall Girl and is currently living in Wiesbaden, Germany.  Check out her post, Season's Eatings is toward the bottom.

You can read more about Season's Eatings holiday e-book here and purchase and download it here.  And don't forget to visit my YouTube channel to watch me make Pumpkin Pie Cheesecake from Season's Eatings!

With Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas now just weeks away, the holiday rush will be starting.  I want to wish each one of you many blessings with your families thru the holidays!  I am thankful for you, your support, and the impact we are creating to help others live healthier lives every day.  Happy, Healthy Eating!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Our Baby is Here: Austin Wayne Schwartz

Announcing the arrival of our first bundle of joy, Austin Wayne.  Born Sunday, September 18 at 5:32am, 7lbs 4oz, 21 inches.  We call him our smiley baby:

Austin had his newborn photo shoot this past Tuesday, and our photographer, Lora, was able to capture some of his most precious moments, including this photo of Austin smiling sweetly.  Warms my heart every time I look at it!

Austin is such a sweet, sweet baby.  He's almost always in a good mood, and we just can't get over how cute and cuddly he is!  He's always making us smile.  Dave and I could just sit and stare at him all day!  Here is more of Austin smiling:

Adjusting to the life of parenthood has been going well.  I am enjoying our Babymoon, spending all hours with Austin, most of the time in bed getting to know each other and bonding.  I love this little man so much!!  He is entering his first growth spurt already (already!), eating every hour and sleeping allll day.  My baby is getting chubbier every day and his newborn onesies are getting tight.  Everyone told me how fast babies grow up, but experiencing it first hand is surreal.

Back to recipe posting soon!  Have been out of the kitchen since Austin's arrival and Dave has been head chef of the house.  I also have a few GREAT product reviews and giveaways coming up soon!  So stay tuned, you'll want to enter the giveaways for sure!

Thank you to all of you who had us in your thoughts and prayers while we patiently waited for Austin and brought him into this world.  We so appreciate the support and love all around!  ((hugs))

Monday, September 19, 2011

Almond Joy Ice Cream

Okay, you can't pass this recipe up.  This ice cream reminds me of an Almond Joy bar...all the flavors are there, but hey, it's Advanced Plan!  :)

Almond Joy Ice Cream
Makes 6 Servings

2 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup full-fat coconut milk
3 free-range egg yolks
1 Tbsp arrowroot powder
1/2 tsp pure liquid stevia
2 tsp pure vanilla
Pinch of sea salt
4 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup raw chopped almonds

In a blender, mix almond milk, coconut milk, egg yolks, arrowroot, liquid stevia, vanilla, sea salt and cocoa powder until smooth.  Add in coconut flakes and almonds and pulse a few times to fold in.  Pour into your ice cream machine (be sure bowl is prepped if needed) and follow your makers instructions.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Raz-Apple Smoothie

A tasty tart and tangy smoothie!

Raz-Apple Smoothie
Makes 1 Serving

1/3 cup organic unsweetened coconut water or almond milk
1 Granny Smith apple, cored, chopped, frozen
1/3 cup organic raspberries, frozen
1/4 cup full-fat organic Greek yogurt or coconut milk
8 drops pure liquid stevia
1 scoop plain or vanilla protein powder
Ice (optional)

Blend together the frozen apple and raspberries with coconut water until smooth.  Add in remaining ingredients and blend until smooth.  Serve immediately.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Coconut Dream Cake

This cake is for the coconut lover (aka my hubby)!  I've titled it as Coconut Dream Cake as it's got a dreamy like texture to it, almost a custard-like cake if you will.  Yummmo!  Crushed macadamia nuts only add to the dreamy flavor.  For our second serving, we dolloped on a spoonful of my Coconut Whipped Cream (recipe found in Season's Eatings e-book) as a topping and it was truly divine!  A great coffee or tea cake.

Idea just came to me -- would also be great topped with fresh crushed pineapple, ooooo, trying that next!

Coconut Dream Cake
Makes 12 Servings

8 free-range eggs
3 cups unsweetened almond milk
1 cup full-fat organic coconut milk
1 cup coconut flour, sifted twice
1/2 cup xylitol
3 tsp Stevita Spoonable stevia
1/2 cup melted butter or coconut oil
2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
3 cups unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 tsp nutmeg (plus more for top)
1 tsp cinnamon (plus more for top)
Handful or two of chopped macadamia nuts (optional)

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Grease a 9"x13" glass baking pan with coconut oil and line with unbleached parchment paper.

2.)  In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat eggs, almond milk, coconut milk, coconut flour, xylitol, butter/coconut oil, baking powder, nutmeg, and cinnamon until smooth.  Fold in coconut flakes and chopped nuts.

3.)  Pour batter into pan and sprinkle additional cinnamon and nutmeg over top.  Bake at 350 degrees F for 60-70 minutes, or until top is golden brown and a knife inserted in middle comes out clean.  Remove from oven and cool to room temperature before cutting and serving.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vegetable Frittata

We've been eating a lot of frittatas lately.  For some reason I'm finding it easier to whip one of these up than our usual sunny side up eggs or an omelet.  Not to mention a frittata holds much more room for flavor combinations!  I love them!  We've been doing at least one a week, and sometimes one every day.  :)

You can use any combination of veggies, about 4 cups total for this large frittata.  My favorite right now is in the recipe below, onion, zucchini, green pepper, spinach, chicken if we have some leftover from dinner, and salsa.  Another great combo is leek, tomato and fresh rosemary. 

Vegetable Frittata
Makes 4 Servings

2 Tbsp coconut oil
1 onion, diced
2 organic zucchinis, diced
1 organic green pepper, diced
1-2 handfuls free-range chicken, cooked and chopped
2 large handfuls organic spinach
2 Tbsp organic unsalted butter
6 free-range eggs, beaten
Herbs to your liking (basil and oregano are my staples)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Organic unsweetened salsa, optional

1.)  Preheat your broiler with oven rack at highest level.  In a large stainless steel skillet on your stove top, add coconut oil over Medium-High heat and saute the onion, zucchini, and green pepper about 5 minutes, until softened.   Add in the chicken and heat thru for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to Low and add the spinach on top and wilt down, about 30-45 seconds.

2.)  Add the butter to the pan, melting it down and incorporating all thru the mixture, making sure the bottom of the skillet is well coated.  Pour beaten eggs over top, tilting pan as needed to get egg mixture to coat all the veggies.

3.)  Sprinkle optional herbs over top.  Season with sea salt and pepper.  Turn off heat on stove top.  Place skillet under broiler for about 3-5 minutes, until fritata is puffy and light brown.  Remove from oven, cut into wedges and serve.  Top with fresh salsa (optional).

Monday, September 5, 2011

How To: Homemade Dishwasher Soap & Rinse Agent

Here it is, y'all!  The long awaited Homemade Dishwasher Soap recipe.  We are usually a wash-by-hand family, using dish soap (recipe to come for that as well) as little as possible, only when something is pretty scuzzy or oily.  We like to conserve water and soap (and electricity) as much as possible.  But, we broke down and started using our dishwasher starting in July, as we got moved into our own place again and I started cooking A TON more.  Dishes were piling up...literally on every counter top.  And by the time I was done cooking the dish, I was dead tired and baby and I would have to go sit down to catch our breath or take a nap to recoup.  Dave commits most of his time to work right now, so it's pretty out of the question to ask him to do a sink full of dishes when he gets home late after a long day.  So I cracked, and began researching natural dishwasher detergent options.

Shocked at what I could (or couldn't?) find.  Looking at the various manufacturing websites and calling about their ingredients list, I was shocked that these companies called themselves eco-friendly and organic.  But it's just like with body care products of our world I suppose.  There are no laws about labeling, and they can say these things as long as they have one "natural" ingredient in the product, even if that means they have 20 or 100 other bad ingredients.

So using a liquid or powder detergent from the store was out of the question for our family.  Did you know that dishwasher detergent is one of THE most toxic substances in your household?  And that when you run the dishwasher, the chemicals are literally vaporized and expelled into the air of your home?  It was very important to us to not use any chemicals if we were really going to begin this dishwasher endeavor.  So I got to work!  I pulled out my Easy Green Living book and utilized my best friend Google to find various homemade dishwasher soap recipes.  There are so many different ones out there, I kind of adapted a few different ones to make the recipe that turned out the best for us.  We have super hard water here in North Carolina, so had to increase the citric acid to get it just right.  But this recipe works WONDERS on our dishes!

And the key is the rinse aide.  Your dishes will come out spotty if you do not add the vinegar to each and every load to the "Jet Dry" compartment.  Trust me, I've done many different trials and they come out perfectly every time when directions are followed exactly as below.  The ingredients can be found from your local grocery store, in larger sizes at Walmart/Costco, or in bulk online (I'll link to where we bought ours).  And I forgot to mention the cost savings in making your own dishwasher soap.  I mean, talk about frugal AND green for the family!  This homemade detergent costs only about $.05 cents per load versus a conventional soap, around $.14 cents average per load!!  The savings will certainly add up over time, and you're offering a much cleaner option for your family.

Here's the recipe.  I doubled it in the picture below since I had enough of the ingredients, but you don't need a container quite as large as mine:

Homemade Dishwasher Soap
Makes 2 1/2 cups

Container with tight lid that fits at least 2 1/2 cups (a mason jar 32oz or larger would be great)
1 cup Borax
1/2 cup Salt
1 cup Citric Acid (use 1/2 cup for normal to soft water)
1 cup Baking Soda
1/4 cup Distilled White Vinegar
A scooper of some sort (I use and old scoop from a protein jug, works perfectly)

1.)  To your container, add the borax, salt, citric acid, and baking soda.  Pop on the lid and shake or use a wooden spoon to stir until well combined.  Add your scooper to the jar and seal the lid.  It's ready to go!  In the dishwasher fill both soap containers full of this powder, it'll be about 3 Tbsp total per load.  Very important to fill both containers so it does a pre-wash to begin breaking down the grime.  Remember, you're avoiding the use of chemical surfactants here, so we need to allow the natural ingredients a little extra time to do their magic!

2.)  With each dishwasher load, add 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar to the rinse agent compartment.  This is a MUST step to avoid spotty dishes.

And that's it!  I run the load on Normal Wash and turn off the "heated dry" to save energy.  Also run it only when jammed full of dishes to maximize its use, and run it at night so A) we aren't directly breathing in any vapors from the dishwasher (plastics and such) and B) the A/C doesn't have to work as hard as it would during daytime hours.  Dishes come out sparkling and literally squeaky clean every time!

A little clumping of the finished product due to the citric acid is normal, as you don't have the chemicals in there to prevent clumping.  Just break up any clumps as you go along with your scoop, no sweat!

A disclaimer about using powders -- you may want to wear a mask around your nose and mouth while preparing this detergent.  If you breathe in the powder dust as you pour/mix, the dust particles can go into your lungs and they then stay there.  This can be dangerous to your health, so I recommend wearing a mask at mixing time.

Enjoy natural cleaning!  I have many other great homemade cleaning recipes to share, so keep an eye out!

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