Ezekiel Blueberry Muffins.

I will be the first to admit, Ezekiel 4:9 cereal is not the tastiest of cereals. It needs “help” in order for the kids to even bring a spoon full to their mouth. I wanted to attempt soaking the cereal and using that as a base for a muffin. Last night, after doing lots of research on gluten free baking I came up with these. Now, I am no expert on gluten free baking, I am very much a novice when it comes to this department. I am trying to make gluten free easier, cheaper and more accessible to everyone. I have always been intimidated by all the different flours and unusual ingredients, like xanthan gum, so my recipes are basic and use common ingredients you would typically have in your home.

I am not sure if you know much about sprouted grains. They are awesome. I am attempting to eat them and give them to my son to see if they bother his stomach. Since he was not officially diagnosed with Celiacs Disease we have the ability to play around with ingredients like this. Here is a good description of sprouted grains and their benefits from Food For Life’s website (they make Ezekiel 4:9).

“…More and more people are finding out that the only way to unlock the vital benefits we expect from grains is to sprout them first. Here are some benefits you’ll get from sprouted grains:

  • Increased Digestibility – Sprouting breaks down starches in grains into simple sugars so your body can digest them easily.
  • Increased Absorption of Minerals – Sprouting breaks down enzyme inhibitors, so your body can more easily adsorb calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.
  • Increased Antioxidants – Sprouting releases more antioxidants that are naturally stored in the grains and seeds.
  • Increased Vitamin C – Sprouting produces vitamin C.
  • Increased Vitamin B – Sprouting increases the vitamin B2, B5 & B6

In addition to all the vital benefits you’ll receive from sprouted foods, we at Food for Life, craft our food to promise you even more integrity.

  • We use only freshly sprouted certified organic live grains.
  • Our products are kosher.
  • We use absolutely no flour. Studies have shown that grinding grains into flour increases the surface area upon which enzymes in the body can work to more. quickly convert starch into glucose.
  • We don’t use any genetically modified organisms (GMO’s)
  • We don’t use refined sugars. When sugar is refined and processed there are many harmful ingredients that are added to the sugar as a result. Instead, we use malted barley, a natural sweetener produced from sprouted barley, which is basically a carbohydrate comprised mostly of complex carbohydrates rather than the “sugar” carbohydrates.
  • We don’t use anything artificial – no preservatives or shortenings.
  • We use a unique slow-bake process to preserve the natural fiber and bran benefits of grains.

I hope you venture out and purchase this cereal and try these unique muffins. My kids gave them 2 big thumbs up! I will warn you they are not super sweet. I enjoy the natural sweetness from the blueberries coming through without an overpowering sugary sweet. I topped the kids with raw honey.

Ezekiel Blueberry Muffins

photo-59

Ingredients:

  • 2 c. Ezekiel 4:9 cereal
  • 1 1/4 c. whole organic milk
  • 2 1/2 T. vinegar
  • 1 organic egg + 1 egg white
  • 1/4 c. packed organic brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. raw sugar
  • 2 t. vanilla
  • 1 t. orange juice
  • 1 c. + 2 T. All Purpose GF Flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 T. organic baking powder
  • 1/4 t. kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 c. fresh blueberries

Preparation:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  2. Soak cereal with milk and vinegar for 5 minutes or until the cereal is soft. Stir to make sure it all gets covered
  3. Add the eggs, sugar, vanilla and orange juice, mix well
  4. Slowly add the all purpose flour and blueberries and stir just until incorporated
  5. Pour into greased muffin tins all the way to the top. It will be very runny. Mine made 15 muffins
  6. Bake for 20 minutes

Day Fifty Two. Eat Healthy + Gain Weight = Happy.

Day Fifty Two.

190548_10151641874593627_1489466952_n

 

I never thought I would see such a drastic change in my son just by changing his eating habits. I knew that eating healthy has it’s benefits, but I would have never guessed I would get these results so quickly. This update on my sons health makes me tear up with happiness. All those nights spent worrying if my son was growing, why was he hurting, does he have some major illness, etc…all gone, just a memory and a memory that seems like it was years ago, not just a few months.

If you are just joining my blog let me fill you in on our journey. My three year old son suffered several “symptoms” that I could not let pass by anymore and I had to get answers.

  1. He never had a normal bowel movement, it was always diarrhea and frequently would have whole undigested food in it.
  2. Horrible, horrible foul smell from BM’s.
  3. Was very irritable.
  4. He wet the bed.
  5. Would wake up several times throughout the night whether it be a bad dream, tummy ache or just restlessness. At 3 years old he still had only “slept through the night”  maybe 3 times. Sleep stretches would be no more than 3 hours at a time.
  6. Nail biting.
  7. Poor weight gain, which eventually started to get to weight loss (this is when we took him to medical doctors).
  8. Poor growth, short stature, although this was less concerning being that both my husband and myself are shorter.
  9. Extremely picky eater. Poor appetite.

It might not seem like a lot to you, but for me as a mom I just knew something was not right. We went through several different tests which all came back clear for any major problems. Whew. All we discovered was that he had high fat content in his stools and had trouble with nutrient absorption. Our GI Specialists suggested taking him off gluten to see how he responded.

We not only took him off gluten but we proceeded with a 60 day detox of all GMO’s. I started seeing results almost immediately. His attitude seemed different. He was a happy kid again, as the weeks go by things keep improving.

  1. His bowel movements look normal. No more diarrhea. Food is processed and it smells SO much better.
  2. He was happy. Still whines like your normal child, but nothing like before.
  3. No more bed wetting! Bye-bye pull ups!
  4. Sleeps 12+ hours a night. Seriously, amazing.
  5. Still bites his nails, but I think it has to do more with just being nervous. It did stop for awhile, but that has returned.
  6. February 2nd weighed in at 31 lbs. June 2nd weighed in at 35.5 lbs! 
  7. February 2nd he was still wearing 24 month clothing. June 2nd he now fits 4T perfectly!
  8. “Better” eater, still picky, but he does not gag on food anymore.

I cannot say enough about our new lifestyle and how much it literally has changed our life. Whenever we slip out of our diet due to a vacation or pure laziness I can tell the difference. It is really weird how quickly your body responds to poor eating habits. You start craving sweets and fats more, you get irritable,  it’s a beast. The opposite happens if you increase healthy foods and good fats. Your mood lightens, your are happy, you feel energized and sweets are a thing of the past (haha, yeah right!).

I know I have been lacking on posting, Summer has been super busy. I know you understand, right? Our littlest started walking, she is such a monkey and always into trouble. The other two are just as busy as ever, parties to attend, vacations, swim lessons, etc… I really do want to be posting more and cooking more but life has taken over. I will get back into a regular routine very soon. All Summer vacations are over at this point. We just have one more major event… My Husband and Brother-in-law have been working tirelessly on creating an iPhone app and I have been writing for them as well. I will be announcing their app Thursday, it goes public Friday, and I couldn’t be more excited for them!

 

 

 

Day Forty Nine. Revenge Of The Sugar Demon.

Day Forty Nine.

 

Can I just say living with small children in a world surrounded by sugary treats, packaged in boxes plastered with their favorite TV and movie characters is SO HARD. Not to mention all the super cute birthday parties they go to with cakes, cupcakes, cookies and candy all begging for them to consume them…in large quantities. Drive through fast food chains with bright colored signs and the most fun looking playgrounds conveniently placed right in the front of the store, and do not forget all those toys they “give” you in a kids meal. Marketing to kids does not stop there. It continues to toothpaste, soaps, lotions and even medication. My kids are bombarded daily with reminders that we “eat differently” now and it has been a source of constant discussion to “why” we cannot eat this or buy that. Topping the list off my son, poor thing, for the time being has to eat a gluten free diet. This causes even more questioning to why Sissy gets to eat that sandwich bread and he has to eat the grainy, smaller gluten free piece.

 

You might think I am complaining, I am not, really. I am just even more aware recently to how addicting processed foods can become, not only with the way they taste, but also with the novelty of their favorite characters being on them. If Cinderella and Spiderman like fruit snacks then they must be good for you and you better believe your kids will beg just to hold that box. We have been on a journey to eat no processed foods or foods containing GMO’s over the last few months. It has been hard, but oh so good. However, recently I have found myself “slacking” when we are out. Letting my kids eat a piece of candy at a birthday party or giving them a cookie while in Publix (my friend just started a blog and she has a hilarious post about Publix here). I have become lazy and it is paying, the sugar demon has emerged and it.is.nasty.

 

One taste of processed sugar after several months of eating a clean diet and now my kids are begging constantly for sugar. It is crazy how quickly your body remembers the pleasures of processed sugary treats and once you eat one you cannot stop. Your body only craves more and more. It is a vicious cycle.

 

One addiction for this Mommy is in the form of drinks. I know, you are never supposed to drink your calories. I love coffee, specifically Starbucks. Their drinks are so bad for you and I know that, but for some reason (sugar demon?) I keep wanting to go back for more. Do you find this is the same for you? Maybe it isn’t Starbucks, but some other guilty pleasure? Please tell me it is not just me 🙂

 

Here is a healthier recipe for one of my favorite cold drinks at Starbucks: Sweetened Iced Passion Tea Lemonade.

 

photo-50

Ingredients:

  • 3 Tazo Passion tea bags
  • 2 lemons, juiced
  • 1/2 c. raw sugar
  • Lots of water and ice

Preparation:

  1. Boil a full tea kettle of water
  2. Place 3 tea bags in a large, 1/2 gallon pitcher
  3. When the water has boiled pour over tea bags and let it steep for 5 minutes
  4. Remove tea bags and stir in sugar and freshly squeezed lemon juice
  5. Add cold water to fill the pitcher
  6. Serve over ice and a slice of lemon

Have a happy and healthy Memorial Day!

 

 

Day Forty Eight. The Best Gluten Free Pancake.

Day Forty Eight.

Italian and gluten free really do not fit in a sentence together. However, this is where I find myself, trying to figure out how to make the two work. I have an Italian background and have a Mom who taught me the skill and love for baking. It gets worse, add to that marrying into a VERY Italian family – we are talking family who owns a New Jersey Italian bakery – where cooking is a way of showing love. Pastas, pastries, pizza, breadsticks, cookies, rolls, cakes, pies, etc…the list goes on and on….

So what does this have to do with pancakes? Nothing really. I just wanted to give you a little background as to why I am so stinkin’ excited about a pancake recipe 🙂

This recipe came from a friend who has a son with Celiacs Disease. She spends so much time in her kitchen experimenting with different recipes, flours and ingredients trying to come up with delicious gluten free foods that you would never know were gluten free! This one is fantastic! My son gobbled down 6 in no time and was still asking for more.

The Perfect Gluten Free Pancake.

20130520-223254.jpg

<a

20130520-223409.jpg

Ingredients
1 1/2 c. all purpose GF flour
2 T. raw sugar
1 t. baking powder
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. kosher salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 c. buttermilk (I made mine by using organic whole milk and added 2 T. white vinegar)
1 t. vanilla

Preparation

1. In a medium bowl mix all then dry ingredients together
2. In a separate bowl blend the wet ingredients well.
3. Mix them together and let it sit for 5-15 minutes before making. The more bubbles you see in your batter the fluffier the pancake

Serve with butter and warm maple syrup. Enjoy!

Cinco de Mayo, Recipe #5 {Organic Margarita}

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 7.48.42 AM

I am ending today with a classic Cinco de Mayo favorite, margarita’s. Did you know there are organic tequilas out there? I was pleasantly surprised. The unfortunate thing is they are not sold everywhere. If you cannot find one near you I would suggest getting the highest quality tequila you can find. Here is a list of all the organic tequila’s I could find: 

  1. Republic Tequila 
  2. 123 Certified Organic Tequila 
  3. Tequila Alquimia – Añejo
  4. Tequila Tierras – Añejo
  5. Artá – Reposado
  6. Casa Noble

Screen Shot 2013-05-05 at 8.04.42 AM

 

Photo Credit: www.examiner.com

This margarita is simple and refreshing:

  • 2-parts organic tequila
  • 2-parts agave nectar
  • 1-part fresh lime juice
  • 8oz ice
  • shaker

Serve it blended for a frozen drink or on the rocks, my personal favorite. Drink responsibly and Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

 

In case you missed the 5-days of healthy Cinco de Mayo recipes here they are again:

photo-43 Recipe #1 – Homemade taco seasoning 

photo 2 Recipe #2 – Fresh Salsa 

photo-23 Recipe #3 – Kicked-up Guacamole 

photo-44 Recipe #4 – Slow-Cooker Chicken Taco Soup