Tag Archives: aspertame

Welcome All! Let Our Journey Begin!

Welcome to the growing family of foodtalk4you.com readers! By signing up either here, on our site, or as the result of talking with me at a recent book signing, you will never miss a new post full of ideas on how to improve your health one bite, one breath, or one movement at a time.

Whether it’s a new recipe featuring nutrient-dense foods, a reminder about how to survive the flu season, or some thoughts about finding your “word of the year” to guide your life intentions, there’s always something valuable to read and apply to your life.

We are always growing and changing.  A good “stretch” in our comfort zones never fails to strengthen our souls.

At a recent luncheon sponsored by the local chapter of the American Association of University Women, I was honored to be one of their ten featured authors. In addition to the book signing venue, we were treated to a great lunch and then were given the opportunity to give our “story” in five minutes to the 100 in attendance. What we said might inspire those listening to take a look at our book and buy it.

No pressure.

Do you know that the number one thing people fear – even more than death – is public speaking?

It was interesting how each of us ten author’s responded. If ever there was an opportunity for self- growth and “stretching” this was it.

To the best of my recollection, every one of us had notes. Leaving nothing to chance, we authors wanted to put our best foot forward.

What was so interesting to me was the vast array of public speaking skills that were presented. Clearly many had done this before, myself included, but those less skilled at speaking to groups were still effective in telling their story.

One author used breathing techniques to help himself. He blew through his lips after each page he read, as if he were saying, “Whew, that’s over!” It was beautiful watching him grow and stretch! After a while, he looked up more at the crowd as he described the passion behind his story.

That’s what we need to do. Find our passion and share it. It may require some stretching. If we aren’t pushing our comfort zones just a little bit, we are stuck in a rut.

Learn. Grow. Stretch.

Explore your passions and include a stronger relationship with your body. We expect our bodies to always be on duty for us, doing what we expect of them, expecting perfection.Are we doing our part? It’s a two-way relationship. What are you feeding your mind, body, spirit? Is it good food?

Ask yourself every day if what you are doing, eating, or thinking going to do your body good.

In health-

Deidre

Author, Toolkit For Wellness

 

 

 

 

It’s Not Your Normal (Fattening) Dessert – It’s Chi-Chi-Chi-Chia!

Dessert? I want!

But wait. That’s not good for me. RIGHT?

 

 

 

You’re not going to give me a stick of celery and call it dessert are you?

No way!  Instead, I’m going to share some options with you that revolve around some pretty amazing seeds.

If you’ll permit me to review a short segment from my book, Toolkit for Wellness, I’d like to reintroduce you to:

Chia Seed Secrets

Chia seeds. Possibly the 8th wonder of the world!

Consider this nutritional profile for 2 tablespoons of chia seeds:

  • Protein keeps you full and decreases appetite, two times the protein of other grains or seeds
  • Calcium, calming and beneficial to bones, 5 times the calcium of milk with 18% of the RDA
  • Omega-3 fatty acids, very anti-inflammatory and beneficial, 5 grams
  • Fiber, essential for smooth functioning bowels, 11 grams; 40% fiber by weight
  • Net carbohydrates, which we do not want in abundance, 1 gram
  • 30% RDA of manganese, magnesium, and 27% RDA of phosphorus
  • Full of anti-oxidants
  • Slow absorption which keeps you feeling full and satisfied

If you are just starting to “do your body good” with each meal, you may have some sense of a lack of fulfillment – or downright panic -with no added sugars. Dessert seems to be a thing of the past.

You can rest easy!  All you need to do is incorporate a modest amount of chia seeds into your cuisine.

It’s amazing what you can do with just one tablespoonful of chia seeds, one-half cup of near boiling water, a half-cup of unsweetened applesauce, and six minutes! Just watch as I share with you some chia seed magic!!

One tablespoon of chia seeds in bowl-

 

Add one half cup of near boiling water-

 

 

Seeds are swelling a bit at 1 minute 30 seconds –

 

 

It will be thicker at 5 minutes-

 

 

 

Now stir in your favorite unsweetened applesauce-

 

 

Voila! She won’t win a beauty pageant, but she’s good!

In the recipe section of Toolkit for Wellness, I included a few ideas to dress up these seeds into what I call a jam. If you add berries and cook them in on the stove, you can get a bowl of chia goodness (that will be prettier).

I had some unsweetened strawberry applesauce I used the other day, so the color and texture is a nice shade of seedy looking dark pink. And just remember, this has natural sweetener – no added sugar!

What this chia seed, pudding-like mixture is doing for me is providing satiety through its protein and high-fiber content. That little gnawing feeling that can creep into your tummy around eight o’clock at night will go right away with a bowlful of chia seed pudding.

Your constipated bowels will love you. Regular ingestion of chia seeds can be a great part of assisting in normal bowel function.

No guilt! The seeds are flavorless in and of themselves; what you add creates the flavor. A small handful of dried fruit works well, too.

By the way, this can make a great snack any time of day, and has often been my quick breakfast if I was short on time or didn’t want to eat a lot first thing in the morning.

Chia seeds check ALL of the boxes for “doing a body good.”

In health and EMBRACING all of the goodness chia seeds provide-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embrace Your Word!

And the award for the Word of the Year goes to…”

No, it’s not that kind of thing, even though this is awards season.

Have you ever been directed in a yoga class to think of your intention for that session? I have; and it really helped me color what I was releasing with an exhale, and what I was absorbing when I was inhaling.

Sometimes my mind would drift to calm – worthy – flow … or other concepts that reflected my needs at the moment. We never shared our intentions … It was just something that helped us enrich our yoga experience, and something to carry with us as we walked out the door of the studio and back into the world.

Recently, I stumbled upon a book that promised to guide the reader through the process of selecting their own “Word for the Year.” The author’s website extolled the benefits of doing this, and how they were going to lead the reader through a process of questions and reflections in order to find that perfect word. Testimonies of readers praised the author and her process; they had been doing this for years and had experienced personal growth and achievement.

Okay. With my yoga experience as my own personal testimony, I could hang my hat on this idea. But in spite of being a self-help author myself, I just did not want to spend $14.99 to find my word … and I did not want to go through pages and pages of exercises to get one.

I just filed all this information away in my brain and heart.

Then, after ten days of being home bound due to snow and ice and a lack of caregivers for my husband, I was gratefully out and about once again, sitting at a favorite breakfast spot, sipping coffee.

Embrace.”

The word just came to me out of nowhere. Well, I know where due to my personal faith.

Embrace is my word for the year. My personal intention for my inner self.

  • Embrace the day, this moment, and give to it my best.
  • Embrace myself, accepting myself as I am – warts and all.
  • Embrace others with good intentions and actions.
  • Embrace my gifts and use them.
  • Embrace my weaknesses and find a way to improve them or get help to do so.
  • Embrace even the hard situations in life; lean into them, and learn from them.
  • Embrace the beauty of the world and absorb it into my very being.

Every day I am finding new ways to embrace. I have been somewhat energized with this experience. It is improving my outlook and my take on each day’s activities, and I’m excited to share this concept with you, too.

Maybe you can ponder on this idea of creating your own Word of the Year.

If your life seems to be stuck, maybe you need a word such as reach, or grow, or discover.

If you are starting a long stretch of schooling, maybe words such as steps or empowered, or learning, would meet your needs.

Sorry, but I can’t offer a questionnaire nor probing exercise to plow through to get to your word. This is something you must find by your own journey!

Just ponder on it, and it will come.”

Embracing my day-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

A Little Bit of T.L.C. To Calm The Winter Storm

Have you noticed?

Can you hear that?

People whimpering… Aches, pains, and just feeling bad are all around.

After maintaining stable health and immune systems through the fall and early winter, folks are dropping like flies to bronchitis, strep, sinus infections, colds that travel through the entire family and even to the pets, (a Chihuahua sneezing is a sad state of affairs), flu, and pneumonia. I have friends on Facebook with tender bodies who even complain their hair hurts.

That’s bad.

Forget the New Year’s party hats. Where’s the chicken soup?

If you or your loved one fall into the category of the “whimpering needy,” then some serious TLC is headed your way! With minimal energy, you can fix these soothing, nutrient-enriched recipes in a jiff! With a few basic ingredients, you can go a long way to body-friendly comfort measures.

One is a healing and strengthening tea, and the other is soup. While others are dashing to the store for peanut butter, bread, milk, and eggs in the face of winter storm advisories, make sure you grab: lemons, fresh ginger, fresh garlic, honey, chicken, quality broth, and green tea.

Background information:

Fresh ginger, lemon, and honey tea is a tried-and-true standard for throat therapy and protection.

Ginger is often referred to as a universal medicine and dates back to ancient Chinese and Ayurveda traditions. Ginger tea contains high levels of vitamin C, amino acids, and trace minerals. As an anti-inflammatory, ginger calms down unhappy tummies and helps to open airways.

Lemon is also a good source of vitamin C and has long been touted as a benefit to daily detox, get-your-body-started-for-the-day, and a help for regularity. My spry grandmother was a firm believer in daily lemon water; she lived a healthy 100 years. So, there you go!

Honey is not only a good source of energy, but packs a powerful load of antioxidant, has antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, and is a natural cough suppressant.

Hot or cold, ginger-lemon-honey tea can be just what the doctor ordered. Given the current freezing temperatures, hot is preferable.

Here’s what you’ll need to do for a quick healing brew:

GINGER LEMON HONEY TEA

In a saucepan, assemble:

About 1 to 1 1/2 inch of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

Juice of 1 lemon – And a few extra slices of lemon to float around, if desired

Honey to taste

5-6 bags of green tea

6 cups of water

Heat all ingredients on medium heat and let steep awhile.

Strain and serve. Refrigerate leftovers to reheat.

This can be a bit tangy thanks to the ginger and lemon; vary the amount of honey to balance the sweet-to-tangy ratio.
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That wasn’t too hard to do! Now you have something helpful to sip on while you prepare this gentle, healing, and easy-to-prepare meal.

Background information:

Garlic is rich in allicin, which has powerful antioxidant properties and is beneficial to blood pressure and blood sugar regulation (See my book, Toolkit for Wellness for more information about garlic and other allicin-containing foods.)

Chicken soup – aromatic and therapeutic – just ask Grandma. It works!
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GARLIC LEMON HERB CHICKEN

Any cut of chicken will do. Today I used a chicken breast, semi-frozen and chopped into small pieces. Other times, I have used thighs with bones in to stew a long time. Whatever cut of chicken you have around will do.

About 5-6 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped (do this at least 10 minutes prior to cooking to release the good things – allicin – that make garlic good for you)

About 1 inch to 1 1/2 inches of peeled, sliced fresh ginger

One lemon, rind ends removed, sliced and seeded

Some onion, chopped (Do this 10 minutes before cooking, as well)

Salt

Pepper

Dill weed – The dill weed pairs very well with the lemon

Chicken Broth – free range, if possible

Optional, rice-based, gluten-free noodles

Sauté the onions, garlic, ginger, and lemon slices in butter and olive oil until onions are translucent.

Add chicken. If cubed, stir until all sides lose their pinkness. If whole pieces, brown on each side.

Add broth and seasonings to taste. Simmer until meat is done and flavors have incorporated.

Optional: Before serving, add some Thai, thin rice noodles if your tummy will allow. These cook in a couple minutes.
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The good thing about this soup is you can eat it in stages as your constitution allows:

Savory broth first.

Broth and a few noodles next.

There is nothing like Mama’s TLC and chicken soup, to be sure, but this comes in at a close second- especially if you are the source of your own TLC!

Cuddles to my friends in need. Sorry you have whatever version of the “crud” you have. Nurse yourself back to health with this healing tea and soup. Don’t try to get back onto your feet too fast or your body will let you know who is boss for sure. Relapses are usually worse that the first round!

Be safe!

In health-

Deidre …  Healing from a sty that has made me feel like I had a cold.

Now, where’s my tea?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can You Hear Me Now?

Your body knows best.  Are you listening?

Many of us have bodies that are screaming at us; but we aren’t listening. Instead, we grab another Tylenol and hope for different results. Right?

How’s that working for you? Doing the same things and hoping for different result.

Come on, folks!

Case in point is my Great Oatmeal Experiment.

For many years, I have followed the anti-inflammatory style of eating as described in my book, Toolkit for Wellness. The part I was particularly careful about was no gluten-containing grains; no wheat, barley, or rye grains. But other grains such as corn, rice, oats, and others could be problematic because of their lectin and phytate components.

Lectins can mess with the hormone that tells us we are full and satisfied. Phytates can make the minerals we eat bio-unavailable for proper absorption and use by our body.

Each of us has different levels of tolerance.  We won’t know what our tolerance levels are unless we LISTEN.

Listen to what?

Our body talking to us! Do we feel energized? How are those muscles and joints feeling? Headaches again? Unhappy belly? More bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea?

Once your body is “cleansed” for a while by removing inflammatory foods, reintroducing potential offenders has to be handled very carefully.

Just like introducing one new food at a time, not unlike that of a baby learning to eat foods, we have to be careful to reintroduce only one new previously eliminated food at a time, to identify something that is going to cause a bad reaction.

I have corn-based food every once in a while. When corn-on-the-cob “comes in” during the summer, I do indulge. Corn tortillas for tacos? Sure.

Still steering away from gluten.

Enter “Gluten Free Oatmeal.”

I needed to shake up my husband’s breakfast menu a bit; provide more fiber – you know – good for you oatmeal?

I even posted on Foodtalk4you’s Facebook feed about how I had ramped up oatmeal’s “goodness” factor by adding chia seeds and coconut oil. I created another oatmeal recipe by adding collagen hydrolysate and coconut oil. Ramped-up protein and brain healthy fat! What could be better?

I was pleased as punch in making double recipe “vats” of this so I could easily nuke a bowl of goodness for EACH of us in the morning.

Or so I thought.

There are so many factors affecting how we feel. Sometimes it’s hard to tease out the one offending element.

I was still sitting way too much at home while I spent time in my husband’s room (he is confined to a hospital bed at home). On top of that, I am currently writing another book, “Caregiver’s Handbook for Caring for the Bedridden,” which requires more sitting at the computer. Efforts to go to the gym once or twice a week are being met, along with home stretches to break up sitting sessions, and almost daily planks.

But something was WRONG.

Everything from my waist down hurt. Heels first. Then hips. Then legs. Is it possible to get that old so fast? Is this my life forever?

Didn’t seem natural. Certainly, I am living under unusual and stressful circumstances – but, I was falling apart. Grabbing two Ibuprofen, for heaven’s sakes.

We are “Designed for Health”. That’s my mantra. Geez! That’s the name of the classes I teach!

“Can you hear me, now?”

Could it be my “super-healthy-ramped-up-gluten-free-oatmeal?

Only one way to find out.

Stop the oatmeal.

Well, I did.

After just seven days with no more oatmeal, I can get up and start walking with feet and hips that are not screaming.

I listened, and I did something about it.

Yes, I miss my hot, steaming bowl of healthy comfort food, but I LOVE not hurting.

Goodbye oatmeal. Hello happy body!

It’s a choice.

Are you listening? Your body will love you for it.

In health-

Deidre

 

 

Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad!

Espousing coping skills, and actually using them, are two different things. As my beloved continues to slumber more than 15 hours a day now, it would be easy for me to just ‘spin in place’ as I watch his winding down. The three rounds of planks that energized me on Tuesday, are just not motivating me today. My yoga mat is not calling to me.

Today’s coping skill is in shifting focus away from me and onto sharing something good with YOU my dear readers!

I have clipped out and saved so many nifty-sounding recipes for salad dressings; and yet have used virtually none of them. If you are like me, then I even hesitate to share a recipe. Rather, I am sharing a concept instead.

Necessity being the mother of invention, an idea came to mind this week that answered several needs:

  • Something to moisturize some dry leftover baked chicken that was destined to be chopped up into a salad.
  • Something that would use at least a part of my over-abundant supply of mint. Note to self: plant less mint and more basil.
  • Something that would ‘smile’ at me from the salad bowl and lift my spirits.
  • Something that would use up this watermelon that I am the only one eating now.

Voila!

Watermelon Mint Salad Dressing

Remember, this is a concept, not a ¼-teaspoon-at-a-time recipe!

The first step is to smash-up some watermelon.

For my solo serving, I used half of an inch-slice of watermelon taken from one of those mini bowling ball-sized melons. An old fashioned potato masher does the job and leaves some small chunks.

Add some chopped up fresh mint leaves. I generally use the leaves from a 12-inch stem.

Salt

Pepper

Splash of EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

Splash of white wine vinegar

That’s it! Stir and pour over your salad!

Having made this three times this week, my salad contents have varied with the addition of leftover sautéed okra, avocado, mango, blueberries, steamed broccoli, and of course that chicken.

Salads are a wonderful way to keep soaking up all of that fresh summertime vegetable goodness. Cooking pretty much for one now, I tend to cook more than I need for one meal.

Just convert most leftovers to salads in the summers!

This Watermelon-Mint Summer Salad Recipe concept has revitalized my flagging spirits and has given me fun nutritional meals.

We’ll be needing this added aspect of cooling, as yet another heat wave is in progress!

Thanks for reading-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Staying Balanced

Are you feeling like you need to come up for air? Gasping and gulping in fresh air before taking another dive? That’s me, too! Taking vacations can definitely help, but we need to “breathe” more often than that.

I am already seeing some leaves changing color. Yesterday, a couple yellow leaves skittered across the still verdant and rapidly growing lawn. A quick look around at some sassafras saplings showed speckles of orange leaves.

Where’s the ‘pause’ button? Summer’s half over and there are already signs of fall in mid-July! Yikes!

One thing I’ve gleaned from our daughter’s successful completion of residency in family medicine – is how to survive and thrive. She had, very carefully, selected a residency program that ensured plenty of coping skills with all of its residents including:

  • Weekly group, how-are-you-doing, sessions of sharing the good/bad/ugly happenings, which became spring boards for processing their intense experiences.
  • Every-other-week meditative sessions with the entire group of residents took mental processing into the physical and spiritual realm.
  • Naturally, there was regular exercise emphasizing outdoor experiences … often in groups.
  • Frequent and spontaneous group meals, featuring nutritious whole food.
  • Their group was ever-vigilant to ‘pick up a brother’ when they fell into difficult times.
  • Lots of hugs. The real ones that last for at least three breaths. The healing kind.

What’s the ‘take away’ from all of this?

We cope and heal on so many levels, that a multifaceted approach is best.

In my case as a 24/7 caregiver, just getting away several times a week has helped – but only so much. Solo trips to the gym or walks around the waterfront answered only a part of my needs.

A quiet lunch with a friend or two is helpful; but sharing a meal with several friends meets needs you might not know were there.

What is the dynamic of a larger group?

Perhaps it’s because the conversation is not just about us.

We pour our hearts out to a friend — and that has its place.  Usually in group conversation, however, the talk bounces around; others throw thoughts into the mix, and more diverse news is shared.

There is so much more inner balance to be experienced when we participate in groups of 5-6 or more. Our perspective broadens and, quite frankly, it is so refreshing to have the focus on someone else for a bit. Additionally, we may be just who someone else needs to provide a different thought or a helping hand.

I am seeing that the scope of my ‘balancing needs’ is much broader than I had thought.

  • Improved nutrition- check
  • Time away from responsibilities- check
  • Gym 2-3 times a week-check
  • Meals with a friend or two- check
  • Personal meditation and prayer- check
  • Small group activities — need to do this more

Life is like a multifaceted gem. We need to move it around to let the light shine into all of its angles in order to appreciate its full brilliance.

Coping and balancing are the same. Are you shining light into all of your facets to achieve that inner balance?

I’m still learning … and that’s the best part!

Always learning.

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lessons From a Gardener’s Promise

If by recent post we have inspired you to take in the “pulse of life” at a local nursery, maybe you are wondering how so many people are gushing with optimism and hopefulness? How can holding a little six-pack of plants instill such anticipation and confidence? Are there bigger lessons for us to absorb and to apply in other aspects of our lives?

How does the gardener approach … well, gardening?

Soil prep. This step is essential for a plant to thrive. Can’t grow in rocks. Think about it. Are we expecting our bodies to thrive while we ‘plant’ them in rocky soil filled with added sugars, unpronounceable chemicals, or ingredients that are incompatible with digestion?

Plant selection. What’s the goal for the plant? Beauty, crop yield, or an attractiveness to butterflies, bees, or hummingbirds? What are our goals? What is the effect of our actions today? Are we being true to ourselves? Are we adding beauty, yield, and attractiveness to the world around us?

Care. This is where the “Gardener’s Promise” comes in. The gardener knows, by doing the right things consistently, the results will come … in time. Water. Pull a few weeds. Prune as needed. Fertilize regularly. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Will the desired results come in a day… a week … or even a month? Often not! Why do we expect instant results for ourselves?

One kind word to an unfriendly acquaintance will not yield a bosom buddy. Relationships are built over time. Generally, a consistent effort to reach out in friendship will break down barriers.

Launching any self-improvement program will need careful and patient tending as well.

Case in point. I wanted to build upon my at-home exercise efforts which always include 2 minutes of daily planks and Super Brain Yoga with Power Poses. I started going to a gym in January that features a 30-minute circuit, along with its other activities. Twice a week. Like clockwork. Hadn’t gotten a swimsuit look; but if I skipped, I could tell a difference.

I wanted more. More results. Is it possible to really have a tighter tummy? I’ve seen videos about grannies who have turned things around. Why not me?

Time to apply the “Gardener’s Promise.” More sunshine (more effort and a wider variety of exercises), fewer weeds (sugar and carbs), better fertilizer (fortified protein shake for lunch), and patience. If you are doing the right things, keep at it day-by-day, and the results will come.

My morning plank routine is now twice a day. I have added 15 minutes of cardio before hitting the machines and doing other exercises. Still not ready for that swimsuit quite yet.

But I am standing taller. I am stronger. When my abs hurt a bit the next day, I know that I am making a difference. Some recently acquired winter bulges are disappearing.

I am remembering the “Gardener’s Promise.”

Happy “gardening”-

Deidre

PS- Cardio exercise today will be 5 minutes longer. Smoothie already enjoyed for lunch. (Primal Protein, frozen cantaloupe, frozen banana, ground flax seed, collagen hydrolysate).

 

 

 

 

 

Spring Sings In Color!

Picture this: vitality and positive energy coupled with a calm satisfaction and sense of well-being. That’s something we can use – right now.

Well, I found it!

It may have something to do with the waterfall effect of negative ions that prevail in the air around waterfalls and other moving bodies of water. It may also be associated with the positive vibrations being emitted from masses of growing plants.

Let me explain.

If you want a snapshot of human kind at its best, spend some time at your local nursery this spring.

Take in who you see. Young couples full of anticipation as they decide how to put their own landscaping and beautifying mark on their home. A business man in white shirt and tie after work, selecting flowers and herbs to plant when he gets home. Seasoned gardeners checking off items on a list. Lots of couples of every age. Neighbors. Children. Single people. Many with pensive looks as they imagine plant combinations. Some who are undecided and who are trying not to buy everything in sight.  Every one of them with a little bit of ‘nature’ in their hands, or lots of ‘nature’ in their crowded carts and dollies.

Take a deep breath. The smell of plants and rich growing medium fill the air. Brush against an herb to release the scents of basil, mint, rosemary, lavender, and more. Smell the damp soil keeping young roots alive.

Listen to the sounds around you. Discussions about the right shade of rosebush. Questions being answered, not only by nursery staff, but by other shoppers willing to share their knowledge. Offers for assistance from everyone around as someone tries to wrestle a bag of mulch or potting soil onto their cart. The sounds of plants being watered.

Feel the neighborly atmosphere all around you. This is like the opposite of the evening news. Calm and order prevail. Then focus on the young growing plants; they are absolutely exuding a positive aura…you can feel it!

Moving water allows us to relax and feel better because of a change in the charge of ions in the atmosphere. Finding peace at the beach? It’s the negative ions. Feeling edgy on a dry, windy day? It’s the positive ions. In the case of atmospheric ions, negative is better.

You can catch that feeling around a waterfall. That’s why even a garden fountain helps us to relax.

I credit the man watering all of the plants at our local Lowe’s nursery – Joe. Not only is he lovingly giving water to all of the seedlings and plants from the sprinkler head nozzle he holds, he is changing the atmosphere! Calming water sounds seem to caress the shoppers as they select the “just right” shade of Impatiens.

Thank you, Joe!

After multiple trips to several local nurseries, I have created my own little “Eden” on the back porch, spruced up the front entrance to our house, and added to our back decorative garden.

“Satisfaction” hardly describes the feeling after planting all of my beauties!

And sitting from the porch swing, I can survey color, life, nature, attractiveness, and a benefit to local humming birds and bees! What could be better?

Feeling renewed-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Hmmm! Scones That Love You Back

Chef vs. Baker

Which are you? Pinch of “this,” and a dash of “that”?  Or, “one level cup of sifted flour”? Chef or baker?

It’s just that I’m more of the chef type; but sharing recipes requires more refined explanations of measurements for predictable outcomes. Thus, MANY batches of scones have been prepared, photographed, recorded … and eaten. *burp*

Pardon me!

I know, I know. Tough job but somebody has to do it.

Foodtalk4you has been ever so quiet lately due to my caregiving ministrations, which are always a priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding concerning my unpredictability. My dear husband continues to be under hospice care and my care at home. Still confined to bed, his uncomplaining and appreciative attitude is sprinkled with humor, insight, and love.

The kitchen “laboratory” however, has seen a lot of activity as I tried to optimize my favorite scone recipe to give you consistently wonderful results.

With a Valentine’s Day post in mind, I kept making these little darlings in heart shapes. Needless to say, I missed that deadline; but a heart-shaped scone is so precious any time of year! A good way to say, “I love you!” don’t you think?

You can make the typical scone shape which is achieved by rolling the dough into a circle, slicing into wedges, separating the wedges, and baking.

The heart-shaped scones require a bit more effort using a cookie cutter; and can be problematic if the walnuts are not finely chopped. A secret method? I ended up actually filling the heart shape, pressing the dough down to reach the edges and height of the cookie cutter exactly. Consistent results and portion control.

Long time readers of Foodtalk4you and Toolkit for Wellness know that, just because a recipe is gluten-free, does not make it healthy. I am always trying to pack in extra good-for-you ingredients and to dial back added sugars. This recipe for scones that love you back does that with:

Quinoa Flakes- a rare source of plant-based essential amino acids. Those are the amino acids our body does not make by itself, thus we must get them from our diet. Amino acids are the “building blocks” of proteins. Just 1/3 cup of quinoa flakes contains 4 grams of protein.

Collagen Hydrolysate – unlike gelatin, this powder does not congeal. It is a power house of satisfying, satiating, healing protein that is packed with 20 amino acids! Two rounded tablespoons of collagen hydrolysate yields 11 grams of protein.

Walnuts- a great source of plant-based Omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and an amino acid l-arginine which is heart healthy. Walnuts have been shown to help with brain function, suppression of tumor growth, weight control through increased satiety, as well as improved blood sugar levels. Experts say that even a quarter of a cup of walnuts a day can positively impact our health.

Regarding all nuts: Please buy raw, organic nuts for maximum benefit. But wait! You’re not done! Remember to soak your raw walnuts overnight in salted water; rinse and drain; then dehydrate at a low temperature (110-118 degrees) until light and crispy. The results are crunchy and much more digestible. As always, refer to your copy of Toolkit for Wellness for the full scoop on the whys and wherefores of sprouting all of your nuts to ease their digestion.

Another plus to this recipe is it requires a minimal number preparation tools and little clean up. Check out my new cool stirring device.

Instead of using a floured surface to roll out the dough, I just use the same parchment paper sheet used for the baking. Easy-peasy clean up!

So, that’s the back ground material on “Scones that love you back.” Let’s get to the recipe.

SCONES THAT LOVE YOU BACK

Dry Ingredients

  • 1 cup Quinoa Flakes (I use Ancient Harvest brand)
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ¼ cup collagen hydrolysate (I use Great Lakes brand)
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Rind of one orange, zested
  • ¼ dried cranberries, chopped
  • ¾ cup walnuts, chopped
  • Have on stand-by: 1 or more Tablespoons of ground flax seed if dough is too wet

Wet Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter, melted (I use Kerrygold brand – from “happy” grass fed Irish cows)
  • 1/3 cup orange juice with pulp
  • 1 egg, beaten

Glaze

  • 1 egg, beaten

Optional

  • Turbinado Raw Cane Sugar Crystals to sprinkle on top before baking

Method

Put all dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir well to combine.

Add wet ingredients, stirring well to combine and create dough. If the dough seems too wet or sticky to a light touch of finger tips, add one tablespoon of ground flax, stirring well. Flax absorbs moisture. Wait a minute to test dough again before adding another tablespoon of it, if needed.

Turn dough out onto a parchment paper covered baking sheet. Form into a smooth ball and press down to a circle with ½ inch thickness.

For traditional scones: cut into 8 wedges using a knife or pizza cutter; separate slices on baking sheet; follow baking instructions.

For heart-shaped scones: use a cookie cutter to press out shapes, reforming scrap dough into another ½ thick layer until all dough is used. OR use my secret method of filling each heart-shaped scone, hand pressing the dough into the shape, and level with the top of the cutter. Separate scones on baking sheet.

Apply egg wash using a brush.

Sprinkle just a dab of Turbinado crystals on top of each scone, if desired. It looks nice but is not intended to become a sugar-bomb coating.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. My heart-shaped 2 ½ inch across scones take 18 minutes. Scones should be golden brown when done.

Cool on wire rack.

Enjoy these healthy scones for a delightful start to your day.

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For a printable recipe, CLICK HERE: SCONES-THAT-LOVE-YOU-BACK-PRINTABLE

In health-

Deidre