December 7th, 2010

Welcoming December With Potstickers

As my sweet husband put it, the seasons are beings very organized. Fall was fall, and Yesterday, on December 1, it snowed for the first time. It wasn’t anything major, but I nice little dusting to put me into Christmas cheer.

We actually spent the day with my Dad, waiting on our new countertops to show up. After they were finally installed, (at 6:30 PM!!) B and my Dad could get to work putting the plumbing back together and tiling. I felt bad because my dad drove up for just the day and thought he could be home that night to eat dinner with my mom. They live an hour and a half away.

Since we were taking him hostage for the night, we thought we would go get something to eat. Since I’m eating gluten-free, organic and for the time being, dairy-free, it’s hard to think of restaurants I can eat at! I always forget about it but we have a great Thai restaurant in town that use organic ingredients, free range meats and as much local as posible. My Dad loves asian food so this was a win win for me.

It was just us in the restaurant since it was a little before the dinner rush. The food was great, but what made it so awesome was looking out of the window at the falling snow, illuminated by the street lamps. It was such a perfect site to jump start the Holiday Spirit.

I don’t know what it is about winter but all I want to eat is potstickers. It was the highlight of my Chinese Restaurant experience as a kid. Every year since I’ve learned to make them, I just can’t get enough.

The best thing about food blogs, is that people bring their family recipes to the cyber table to share. I love Chinese food but could never recreate it at home, especially potstickers. I found a great blog, UseRealButter, that showed step by step instructions on how to make them. I make these babies in bulk and given them as gifts, they are so good.

I have since played with the ingredients and made my own, vegetarian, gluten free version, that hits the spot every time.

For the Wrapper

1/2 C. Tapioca starch
1/2 C. White rice flour
3/4 t. Xanthan gum
1 T. Toasted Sesame oil
6 or 7 T water

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix all ingredients until well combined. Add the water until it forms a soft but not stick dough ball. Be sure to keep it moist until ready to use. I cover the bowl with a damp cloth or plastic wrap.
Adapted from Hey that tastes good!

Pot sticker filler

2 green onions
1 C. Quorn grounds
2 leaves of napa cabbage
1 oz gluten free soy sauce
2 T chopped ginger
1 clove of fresh garlic
1/2 C. dried shitake mushrooms
1/4 C. mushroom water
1 T tapioca starch
1/3 C water (for steaming)
2 or 3 T sunflower oil

In a skillet, heat the sesame oil to medium heat. Add the quorn grounds (I use them frozen) and cover to cook. Once the grounds are soft, add the soy sauce. Chop very finely the ginger, napa cabbage, green onions, and garlic. Add the dried shitake to a small pot of water and rehydrate them. This takes me about 10 minutes. Once they are soft and rehydrated chop them very finely. You can put all the “hard” ingredients into a food processor, but you need to be sure not to make it too paste. Add all the chopped food to the skillet and cook until every thing is cooked through and not raw. With 1/4 C of the remaining mushroom water add it to 1 T of tapioca starch and combine with your clean fingers. Add to the filling mix over medium heat. It will thicken everything, making it easier to fill the wrappers. Cool completely.

To assemble

Roll a small ball of the dough, about 1 tablespoon, and place between 2 pieces of parchment paper, do not use wax paper. With the back of a small pan, flatten the ball. Once it’s flattened, you can use a rolling pin and roll it a little thinner, but be sure to keep it circular. Peel it from the parchment and in the middle of the circle place a small teaspoon amount of the filling in the center. Fold it in half and press the sides together and place on parchment until ready to cook. Or you can lightly oil a pot sticker press and use it.

To cook

In a skillet that has a tight fitting lid, add 2 or 3 T of oil on med/high. Place the dumplings, side down in a circular pattern around the skillet, facing the same way to make the most room. Pan fry until the bottoms are golden brown. Once the bottoms are cooked, quickly add 1/3 C of water, it will spit and spatter, and cover with a tight fitting lid. Cook until the water has all cooked off. Uncover the pan and brown up the bottoms a little more to make sure they don’t stick. These are very hot, too hot to eat, so once they slide around, turn off the heat and make your dipping sauce.

Dumpling dipping sauce
1 oz. soy sauce
1 t. honey
a little bit of chopped green onion
1/2 t rice wine vinegar

Combine all ingredients. You can heat all the ingredients to concentrate the flavors.

December 1st, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

November 18th, 2010

Vegan Cashew “Cheesecake”


I don’t know when it happened. The point of which your 8 year old self would have gagged at your adult self for eating something you wouldn’t have touched with a 10 foot poll. I feel like I liked most things as a kid, and I don’t think I was too fussy when it came to food. I definitely was born with a sweet tooth, as most people in my family have one. It’s such a big part of our family celebrations. There’s a cake for everything!

One of the family recipes I just couldn’t get behind, as a kid, was cheesecake. My Oma passed down her recipe and people would flock to it when my Mom would make it. I just didn’t get it. It wasn’t my idea of dessert! The turning point happened somewhere in my early 20′s. I lost that need for one note sweets. I started appreciating the balance of flavors that things like dark chocolate offered, as well as coffee with desserts. Cheesecake was naturally part of the balance.

I had a major craving for cheesecake for the past couple of weeks. I was sad because I was trying to cut back on dairy, so I wasn’t thinking I could indulge myself. I’m cutting back because I was relying so heavily on it, and I was suspecting it was causing some sinus issues I’ve have for quite awhile. I knew I could do it since I was a vegan when I was 16.

With my craving still lingering, I happened to be watching a food show about nuts. One of the things featured was “cheesecake” that was vegan, raw and made with nuts! The custard was made mostly with soaked cashews. I had heard of this before but I thought it was way too complicated and took too long, plus, until a couple of months ago, I didn’t have a high speed blender, which is needed to really get it processed.

It sounded so good, I researched how to make this type of dessert, mashed a couple of recipes together and voila! I satisfied my cheesecake craving without compromising my dairy cut-back. I couldn’t believe the comparable texture soaked cashews could be to cheesecake custard. It was tangy, smooth, nutty, rich and surprisingly wholesome!

All the nuts provide lots of minerals, protein and fiber that most desserts can’t offer! I used raw honey as the sweetener, lemon juice for that tangy cream cheese taste, and raw nuts for the crust. It was easier than I thought and it was totally delicious. I’m excited that I can eat this and not feel like I’m clogging my body up! I added toasted nuts, chocolate chips, and maple syrup to top it off, which changes it to “mostly” raw. I will be making this for the holidays for sure!

Nutty crust

1 C whole raw almonds soaked for 1 hour
1 C whole raw pecans soaked for 1 hour
1/2 t salt
1/2 pitted majool dates
Soak the nuts in water for 1 hour. Drain them and grind them in a food processor. Add the salt and dates and grind until fine but not powder. At the bottom of a spring form pan, I used a 10 inch, line it with plastic wrap and press the nut mixture to cover the bottom. Freeze for 1 hour.

Cashew Custard

3 C. soaked raw cashews
1/2 C fresh squeezed lemon juice
3/4 C. raw honey (to keep it vegan use agave or brown rice syrup)
3/4 C. coconut oil (warmed to liquid)
1/2 C. pitted majool dates
1/2 t salt
2 t. vanilla
Add in order listed to a vitamix or blendtec blender. Blend until completely smooth and thick like cheesecake batter. Add the batter to the springform pan and freeze for 1 hour and it will be set and ready to eat! You can also leave it in the refrigerator for longer to set up. Top with whatever toppings you like. Maple syrup makes a delicious topping! Enjoy

November 17th, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

November 16th, 2010

Tuesdays Tip: Saving $ On Organic Foods

I get asked a lot how to save money on Organic/Natural foods and supplements. Here are some tips that I use and an Ex coupon junkie.

1. Buy supplements on Ebay. As long as they aren’t outdated and are sealed, you can save a lot buying online.
2. Write the companies you buy from frequently, tell them you like their products, and if they can send you some coupons. Most companies will send you some sort of savings.
3. You can buy organic food coupons on Ebay for cheap.
4. Go to websites such as HealthEsavers.com or the companies own websites. Some have on-line print outs.
5. If your favorite item goes on sale, buy a lot of it if it’s non perishable. I always buy my natural dishwasher detergent on sale and buy a couple of boxes because when it’s on sale, I usually save at least $2 per box!
6. Sometimes, the stores will have coupon books in the front of the store or at the customer service desk. Just ask!
7. Look at expiration dates. If things are close the the expiration date and you knew you will use them before, ask for a discount.
8. Buy in bulk from Amazon or other online companies. Sometimes this is cheaper than buying from the store.
9. Bring your own bags! Some stores give bag discounts, if you bring your own.
10. Shop the bulk bin section for common kitchen ingredients, such as rice, nuts, flour, oats, etc. This is often cheaper than buying a pre-packaged item, because they are saving on packing materials which brings savings to you.

This is how I try to save the most money I can. Living organically can be expensive, but there are savings to be had! It’s better for you and the environment, so it’s worth it in every way!

November 12th, 2010

Fitness Friday With Bellicon!

Whoops! Where has the time gone! I realized I did not do any posts this week, just now! I’ve had a busy week getting some things done before the holidays begin. I always like having a head start. That’s why I have been absent.

I’ve tried to refrain from posting about rebounding every week because it’s hard to see results when you’re looking for them every day.

Since I’ve started rebounding, I’ve done different intensities, and they all seem to be effective. I have noticed that my back is stronger and I have less random sciatic pain. My waist has also come in a noticeable amount, which is surprising, because I’ve always been pretty straight waisted.

I’ve also noticed that my chest is stronger, as if I had been doing chest presses but I’ve only been rebounding.

It’s going great and I’m still loving it and it’s so easy to do. Click “> here for more info

November 2nd, 2010

Pumpkin Waffles With Apple Maple Syrup


There it is! I’ve been waiting for my cooking/baking urge to kick back in. It took a break after my umpteenth batch of summer ice cream.

I was getting a little worried because it’s fall. What’s better than baking in the fall?! All the cinnamon, clove, pumpkin and apple flavors to play with. Here’s a secret, I don’t like cinnamon! I mean, not to the point of refusing to eat something because it has cinnamon in it. I guess I just don’t like just cinnamon as the main flavor. I hate snicker doodles, oatmeal raisin cookies, cinnamon coffee, you get it. I like the smell of it but I guess in my mind, I figure if you’re going to eat something decadent, why wouldn’t you eat chocolate! I know there is the other side of the argument, where people just don’t like chocolate, like my Dad for instance.

I do like when cinnamon is an accent flavor. On Saturday, it felt like the perfect fall morning, crisp and cool and I could smell the neighbors wood burning stove. B was outside raking leaves. This was the morning I would make pumpkin waffles for the first time this year. I knew it would be a little different, since the last time I made them they were made with wheat flour. These would be made grain and gluten free.

They were a success! Warm pumpkin, spiced up with cloves, ginger, cinnamon and vanilla. I think they were even better, because I made a homemade apple syrup from reduced, fresh pressed apple juice, mixed with warm maple syrup. Fall perfection! These were also guilt free since they were grain-free. No grains to burden your body and made with healthy ingredients.

Grain-free Pumpkin Waffles
3 T coconut flour
1 T mesquite flour
1 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t cinnamon
pinch of ginger
1/8 t ground cloves
2 T almond flour
3 eggs
3/4 C. pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 T virgin coconut oil melted

Combine all the dry ingredients with a whisk in a medium bowl. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil until well combined. Heat your waffle iron on medium (if you have numbers I used about a 3.5). Mix the dry into the wet. I did not butter my waffle iron since I think there is enough oil in the batter. Spoon your batter evenly on the waffle iron and cook until it lets you know they’re done. This makes 4 square waffles.

Reduced Apple Maple syrup
juice of 4 apples (I used a juicer)
Reduce the juice in a sautee pan until thick and syrup-y. Add in about 1/4 C. of maple syrup and serve.

October 29th, 2010

Butter Beer

Harry Potter is one of those movies I always try to squeeze in, in October, to get into the fall/Halloween season. This did not happen.

Some how, I was at the grocery store, saw a lady running out of the store with bags of candy in her arms, and thought to myself, “I should probably get some trick or treat candy soon”. The thought stopped there! When I came home, B reminded me that beggar’s night was that night. I freaked out a little because I was so unprepared. The kids would be ringing out door bell any moment.

I was busy cooking dinner and awaiting my brother-in-laws arrival. B made the fastest candy run ever. I called him right after he left (I thought) to tell him to get packs of organic raisins instead of candy. Yes, I’m that person who would give the weird, healthy snack! I don’t want to give my money to companies that contribute to our country’s obesity problem. B made the run, so we had a bowl full of typical Halloween fair.

Back to Harry Potter- I love when Harry and his mates visit The Three Broom Sticks. The minute I saw “Butter Beer”, I could taste it! I knew exactly what was in it. When you see it, in the movie, you see the golden, buttery color, and the lovely white foam on top.

I looked up recipes, but all were loaded with artificial flavors and ingredients. I like to keep it natural. I whipped up a batch of salted butter caramel ice cream and added cream soda, and BAM! Butter Beer. It tasted just like it should. a little salty, sweet, and warm from the intense vanilla. I recommend using a high quality cream soda such as Virgil’s. It’s the creamiest cream soda I’ve ever had!

I’m sure vanilla ice cream would be equally delicious, but won’t give off that buttery flavor. This would be a great addition to a Harry Potter themed party or any Halloween party!

Salted Butter Caramel Ice cream

For the caramel
3/4 C organic gran vanilla sugar
1/2 t Fler De Sal
2 T salted butter

In a small sauce pan add the sugar to the dry pan. Heat on Medium heat, do not stir. The sugar will melt slowly and you may swirl it, but not stir. Once it’s melted and starts to smell like might burn, take it off the heat and add the salt and butter. Stir until completely combined. You can add it back to the heat for just a little bit to combine them but don’t let it burn, which happens fast.

For the ice cream base
2 C heavy cream
2 1/2 C whole milk
1/2 C vanilla sugar
1/2 t salt
1 T honey
1 T + 2 t tapioca starch

Add the milk (reserving 1/4 C), cream, sugar, honey and salt together in a medium pot. Bring to a boil to evaporate some of the water in the milk, this should take just a couple of minutes. Add the caramel and stir to combine. With the reserved milk add the tapioca starch and dissolve with your clean fingers. Add the starch mix into the cream base and on medium heat stir until thick and coats the back of a spoon. Remove from heat and cool over an ice bath if you like, or just cover and refrigerate over night. Churn according to manufacturer’s directions .

For the Butter Beer
Add 2 scoops of the caramel ice cream to a large glass or stein and pour in a 12 oz. bottle of cream soda

October 27th, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

October 22nd, 2010

Fitness Friday With Bellicon

I had to take quite a few days off of rebounding. We spent a long weekend visiting my family in Wisconsin. This was the first time that I would be taking a significant amount of time off from rebounding.

I could tell my body was getting a little stir crazy during my days off. I would describe my feeling as stagnant. As soon as I got home, I did 30 minutes on my Bellicon. I felt amazing after I was done. I had blood running to every part of my body.

As I’ve gotten back to it, I’ve now noticed that my back has shaped up quite a bit. It seems as if my “soft spots” have thinned out and firmed up. This has really been the first physical difference I’ve noticed so far. I’m excited too, because my back has been one of the hardest things to work out.

I’m still amazed at the quality of the Bellicon. It’s so sturdy and quiet. I saw the movie “Jackass” and they had a rebounder, which I think was a Needak. It looked small and they guy that stepped on it didn’t even bounce, just stepped right on to the ground. The Bellicon is much higher up so you’re not going to hit the ground while rebounding. I’m so glad I get to use a Bellicon! If you want to learn a little more about Bellicon, visit their facebook page by clicking here.