8 Food Products I Love Right Now (because I’m fickle and, any day, I may change my mind)

IMG_20131016_111405Organic tart cherry juice concentrate. This is from Dynamic Health. I alternate (or mix) it with Country Spoon, which is thicker but not as tasty (seems to be unavailable on Amazon at the moment). I drink 1 – 2 tbs of concentrate in water a few hours before sleep. It’s supposed to be a wonderful source of melatonin, but I find it really helps my pain. Montmorency cherries are the best and you want tart cherries, (e.g., Montmorency and Balaton) and not sweet cherries (e.g., Bing, Lambert, Rainier), although both varieties have healing benefits.

IMG_20131016_105812 (1)Turmeric! A potent anti-inflammatory. I put it in and on everything. Well, almost everything ~ it can get a bit bitter. But it disappears into soups and is wonderful in things like stir fries and curries.

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Flax oil. I’ve been using it on steamed veg to replace butter and on salads with balsamic vinegar. Yum!

IMG_20131016_110439I put this jam on the crackers my husband makes me with some cashew/ walnut/ almond butter. I originally bought it for these almond cookies (they would have been delicious if we hadn’t burned the bottoms). Ingredients = organic wild berries, organic apple juice concentrate, natural fruit pectin, ascorbic acid. No refined sugar.

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After reading about Dr. Cheney’s home brew on Health Rising, I started to drink this cocktail in the morning to increase my blood volume and, hopefully, my blood pressure and maybe alleviate some symptoms (I feel no different, of course, but I’m still doing it to get some salt and fluids into me). He recommends 3 to 8 glasses a day, but I’m still only doing one in the morning. Nu-Salt (called “No Salt” on the links) is potassium chloride, plus less than 1% of cream of tartar, silicon dioxide and natural flavor. I haven’t investigated an alternative potassium source without those added ingredients (I especially try to avoid “natural flavor”). I was originally using packets of regular table salt (packets are conveniently about 1/8 tsp, which is what the recipe calls for), but the ingredients are: salt, tricalcium phosphate, dextrose, potassium iodide, and sodium bicarbonate. Then my husband found these Real Salt packets at Whole Foods. Ingredients = Ancient Sea Salt. Excellent.

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Speaking of salt, I really like Herbamare seasoning salt. It has no MSG! I can’t quite believe it, but I’m hoping the ingredients don’t lie. It is salty and herby and it’s big enough to last the next five years! Ingredients = All organic sea salt,celery, leek, cress, onion, chives, parsley, lovage, garlic, basil, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, kelp.

IMG_20131016_110246Now that I am eating legumes, but not eating refined sugar or soy, Soy-Free Vegenaise fills the mayo niche for tuna, salads, sandwiches, wraps etc. I wish the jar was about half the size because I don’t use a lot of it and wind up throwing it out before it is empty, but, once in a while, it hits the spot. Ingredients = Expeller-pressed high-oleic safflower oil, filtered water, brown rice syrup, apple cider vinegar, pea protein, sea salt mustard flour, lemon juice concentrate.

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When my mother was visiting, she helped me with some recipes that could satisfy my chocolate craving and use the cacao powder I got for my birthday (thank you, E and G!). Both recipes are from Elana’s Pantry and both can be eaten right out of the freezer. They are both gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg-free, and refined sugar-free. The brownies are also nut free (although the next time I make them, I want to add walnuts). I can’t believe how good they are (probably because my palate has changed. While making my brother try one, I said, “I can’t really remember what real brownies taste like…” And, with an unswallowed mouthfull of my healthy brownie, he replied, “Much, much better.” :D) Here is the recipe ~ we substituted coconut sugar for the xylitol. When they come out of the oven, they are quite cakey, but when I froze them, it made them more fudgey = more yummy.

The fudge balls were much better than I anticipated (see? There are only two left!). We used pecans instead of walnuts because that is what I had on hand and I rolled some of mine in coconut and some in the bitter cacao powder, which nicely offset the richness inside.

Honorable mention goes to the homemade veggie broth, chicken broth and beef bone broth that my husband made after I decided that ALL store-bought broth and stock has MSG and nasty stuff ~ even the Kitchen Basics, which I’d relied on for so long. He froze them in individual servings, so I can just take one out, put it in a pot and add whatever veg and seasoning I want. I would have included a picture, but they’re not too attractive.

Stay tuned, I will write about the new doctor when I have the energy. He didn’t look at my list, of course, but he listened to me talk for an hour and a half, which was the longest I’ve talked in over a year!

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My Very Easy and Healthy Smoothie and Granola Recipes!

I find it amusing and perplexing that bloggers love recipes and anything written about food. I could have 99 posts about ME/CFS that never get read, but the 100th post about my oat bar recipe will have 10 bloggers “liking” it. So, with that in mind, listen up foodie bloggers! (foggers? bloodies?) I -somebody with too little energy to shower most days- make a smoothie every day and granola every week. They’re easy and they cost such an exorbitant amount of money at the shops, that you should start making your own immediately!

Triple Berry Smoothie 1

[Edit: I have since started doing green juices and not eating so much fruit, but this is still delicious for a yummy treat.]

E.M.’s Basic Smoothie (dairy-free, sugar-free, gluten-free etc.)

Blend:

  • 1 banana
  • a few handfuls of frozen mixed berries
  • almond milk (sweetened or unsweetened, vanilla or original)

Now, here are the variations that make it interesting:

  • 1 banana (or pear, if bananas are too much sugar or too many carbs. Often I’ll put half the banana in my granola for breakfast and then use the other half in a smoothie for “elevensies”)
  • a few handfuls of frozen mixed berries (or fresh berries or mango or…)
  • almond milk (or coconut milk or soy milk or hemp milk or cow’s milk or yogurt or ice cream or frozen yogurt or…)
  • splash of orange juice (really kicks it up a notch)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • pinch of cinnamon and/or nutmeg
  • agave nectar or stevia to taste (but you don’t need it!)
  • 1 tbs flax seed meal (I always do this)
  • a few walnuts (I always do this, too. You wouldn’t believe how good walnuts are blended up in a smoothie)

Also, you can add water or ice to thicken or thin the smoothie without adding calories, but not affecting the taste too much.

Granola after roasting

Granola consists of oats, a far and something sweet. So, it can be as simple as oats, oil/fat and honey… and then you get to add any seeds, nuts or different flavours you like. I made up all these measurements, you less or more to your liking.

E.M.’s Healthy Granola (dairy-free, refined sugar-free, gluten-free)

  • 4 cups gluten-free rolled oats 
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds (can be salted. If not, add 1/4-1/2 tsp salt to recipe)
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup chopped nuts (any kind: I like pecans, cashews and almonds. If I didn’t put walnuts in my smoothies, I’d put them in my granola)
  • 1/2 cup coconut (can be sweetened or unsweetened)
  • 1/2-1 tbs cinnamon
  • 5 tbs fat of choice (butter, high-oliec sunflower or canola oil, heated up coconut oil… lately I’ve been using olive oil and the taste has not overwhelmed the finished product)
  • 5 tbs honey (or brown rice syrup or maple syrup or whatever liquid sweetener you like)
  • 2 tsps pure vanilla extract (I add much more because I love vanilla)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, apples, cherries etc.)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Combine dry ingredients. Heat oil, honey and vanilla over low heat until it is runny but not boiling. Pour over dry ingredients, mix thoroughly and spread over 2 baking trays lined with foil or parchment. Bake for about 30 minutes until golden. When cooled, add dried fruit (otherwise they have a tendency to get a bit crispy and charred in the oven). I love mine in clumps, but I think you’d need more honey to get that effect. The NY Times recently said that if you leave a “donut hole” in the middle of the baking trays and don’t stir the granola while it’s baking, it’ll come out clumpier, however, it didn’t work for me.

Which brings me to the variations: obviously, you can have no seeds or no nuts or no coconut. You can have no vanilla or cinnamon or dried fruit. Tinker with the oil and honey. I only put 2 tbs honey and 2 tbs agave nectar in my last batch, knowing I could always add more to my bowl of granola when I’m eating it … but, I didn’t think it was quite sweet enough. This is not grocery store granola! This way you can make it healthier or not ~ whatever you like. You’re in charge. 🙂

Enjoy!