Tag Archives: christmas

Christmas Cranberry Commotion!

Are you like me? I simply crave seasonal offerings, and right now… it’s ALL things CRANBERRY!

Long-time readers of this blog know I am a strong believer in seasonal fruits and vegetables. Sure, we can get most every fruit and vegetable year round, but it’s “fresh” from the opposite side of the world. certainly not “fresh” from our area – and NOT meeting our unique cyclic nutritional needs of the season.

My visions are not of sugar plums, but of cranberries. Their tartness compliments turkey, chicken, and pork based protein dishes, as well as a green vegetable that’s oven roasted in the second recipe below.

As we weigh each food choice with the question, “Will this do my body good?” Cranberries are a seasonal choice that sing the reply, “Yes! This will do my body good!”

Remember the mantra frequently heard: “Go for the color!” Rather than lists of “eat this and not that,” just heading for the seasonal colorful fruits and vegetables, will ultimately steer us on a path of exceptional nutrition.

With holiday meals abound, cranberries will add, not only a divine color, but also an abundance of great nutrition and health benefits.

Long touted for ingredients that prevent urinary tract infections, cranberry PILLS are best suited for medicinal levels of such ingredients rather than just cranberry juice.

But the nutritional profile of EDIBLE cranberries WILL deliver powerful levels of:

  • Vitamin C
  • Fiber
  • Vitamin E
  • Antioxidants
  • Phytonutrients

Consult your health care provider if you take warfarin (blood thinner) or have a history of kidney stones, as cranberries may aggravate your condition or alter the effects of your medication.

So let’s dive into two of my favorite cranberry recipes.

CRANBERRY SAUCE

This is not your normal Ocean Spray cranberry sauce which uses a full cup of sugar. This uses half that and yet maintains sweetness levels through the addition of other healthy fruits.

I actually recommend doubling this recipe – trust me, you’ll want to – in which case, in addition to doubling most ingredients, still use just the one orange but use the rind from half of it.

Ingredients

12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries, rinsed and culled of soft berries

½ cup unsweetened applesauce (or one whole cup if not using grated fresh apple)

½ apple, peeled, grated

1 orange – cut rind off top and bottom, quarter, and peel three of the sections and slice cross ways; thinly slice the remaining section with the peel remaining (see photo)

 

Secret ingredient: 1 cup of raspberries or 2-3 Tbs. of Penzey’s Spices Raspberry Enlightenment

½ cup sugar

½ cup water

Whole cloves – about 10 buds removed from cloves

1 cinnamon stick

Dash of nutmeg

Method

I actually precooked my raspberries using half of the sugar and then pressed them through a sieve to yield a perfect seedless raspberry essence! Ummm!

 

Using a large sauce or soup pot, add all ingredients and cook over medium heat. As the berries heat up, they will pop. Stir occasionally. As things heat up, you can lower the temperature a bit and “smush” the berries against the pan to assist in “popping.” Continue to cook until ingredients meld into a thick sauce.

Transfer into a serving or storage dish, remove cinnamon stick, and cool. The resulting sauce more closely resembles a jam.

In addition to being offered as a colorful relish to accompany turkey, chicken, or pork, this sauce/jam can be spread on top of nut butters (almond is my favorite) as a twist on PB and J.

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Next, I pair cranberries with Brussels sprouts. If you are one of those who is not “in love” with this awesome mini cabbage unless it’s hidden in a vat of melted Velveeta (a nonfood for sure), try this!

If there ever was a vegetable “candy” this recipe is it, and it “will do my body good!”

Take a quick check on the benefits of Brussels sprouts and you will be inundated by page after page of information about phytonutrients, anti-inflammatory factors, antioxidant support, detox support, anti-cancer factors, heart health, digestive health – you name it.

Definitely worth a second look to those who have been leery of these little jewels.

ROASTED BRUSSELS SPROUTS WITH CRANBERRIES AND PECANS

INGREDIENTS

1 lb. fresh Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half lengthwise

Optional: 1-2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup pecans, roughly chopped (see the recipe chapter of my book Toolkit for Wellness to learn how to make all nuts more digestible and better for you)

½ – 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries, coarsely chopped or cut in half

 

4 Tbs. olive oil (use more if also adding broccoli florets to the recipe)

1-2 shallots, thinly sliced

3-5 cloves of garlic, minced or put through a garlic press

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. pepper

METHOD

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a large baking pan or baking sheet, toss all ingredients until mixed, evenly distributed, and are covered with oil. Turn the Brussels sprouts cut side down. Roast for 25 minutes or until edges of sprouts start to turn golden and crispy. Serve.

Wishing all of my readers the happiest of holidays, the merriest of Christmases, and the happiest and healthiest of New Years!

We can celebrate and STILL have food that will, “Do my body good!”

‘Til next year-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing Spooky With This Smoothie!

woman-scaredOne of my Designed for Health students, Steve Lambert, still jokes me about my heavy duty green smoothies that were – in retrospect- admittedly a challenge to drink. Apologies to all!

It is not necessary to add EVERY great and healthful ingredient to one single smoothie. Our daughter, Serena Ann, inspired me to create something healthy AND tasty!

With the basis of frozen fruit, yogurt, protein, and a handful of greens, I am committed to having an ENJOYABLE SMOOTHIE every morning this week!

Today’s concoction included:

  • A generous handful of frozen cantaloupe
  • A modest handful of baby kale
  • A half cup of coconut milk
  • A tablespoon of chia seeds
  • At least a half cup of vanilla yogurt
  • A scoop of protein powder
  • A half cup of water

Tomorrow I may change out the protein for a handful of almonds. This is very drinkable and I am being rewarded with good fats, fiber, probiotics, and a serving of powerfully beneficial greens!

Happy Halloween! May there be NO spooks in your smoothie!

witch-pumpkins

 

Deidre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February Book Fair!

Welcome to the first Foodtalk4you Book Fair!

Since becoming an author, I haveWriter_banner-630x630 been blessed to discover a vast array of new releases that cover a broad range of topics about health, life, self-improvement, and even business. My reading list is growing each week, and contains books that I want to share with my readers.

So, the idea of a monthly Book Fair just came to me. If you like this, plans are set to do a weekly Book Fair during July so you will have extra titles to peruse while on vacation at the beach or in the mountains!
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My Story of Survival, by Mimi Emmanuel, is an inspiring story that takes my message of anti-inflammatory eating another step. Read my review:

5.0 out of 5 starsStory of My Survival

This is a God-send read for those with mysterious food intolerance.

By Deidre J. Edwards on December 6, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

At the end of your digestive rope? Hang on, you are not alone and I have a friend who can help! This is an honest-to-goodness real story of one woman’s grit and self-determination when faced with an overwhelming medical conundrum as to why her body was on revolt.

You can’t be the master of a sinking ship without becoming a master builder – becoming a student on how to patch and rebuild. Mimi Emmanuel learned how to craft her own survival diet out of just a very few ingredients. While she hopes that none of her readers would ever have to follow her diet, she shares this journey to show that there are answers to be found. There are times when the standard elimination diet is far too broad for those suffering from a fried immune and digestive system.

She shares the Spartan but nourishing diet she had to follow for FIVE years as well as how she has tippy-toed into a more varied Phase 2. I especially like her “useful facts” she places throughout the book to not only make her case as to nutritional needs, but also spark a deeper interest for further study and personal application. I will most definitely recommend this book to those I teach about diet and nutrition.

Now let’s hear from Mimi herself:

“Why did I write this book? I wrote this book because I know that many people suffer because of all kinds of health problems and often these problems are diet related. Obviously, not always. But I wrote this book for those people who suffer from health problems due to diet related issues. My diet may be suitable for anyone who suffers from gut problems, food allergies, food intolerance and chemical sensitivities.

In addition, many conditions such as chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, Lupus, Lyme, diverticulitis, and various other health problems and even menopausal symptoms are relieved when all allergens are taken out of the diet or minimized as much as possible.

I hope that my low reactive diet will give my readers the inspiration, in collaboration with their health professionals, to come up with their own variation suited to their situation.”

Here’s the link to Mimi’s book. CLICK
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5.0 out of 5 stars I’m ready to put my spare room up for rent!

Our daughter has happily used Airbnb accommodations for years, so I was interested in the behind-the-scenes story on how someone becomes an Airbnb host.

AirbnbRead my review here:

I’m ready to put my spare room up for rent!

By Deidre J. Edwards on November 3, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Sally takes the reader on the journey she and her husband took–all of the thinking, emotions, planning, and how to avoid any pitfalls in this delightful, easy-to-read guide to all things Airbnb!

So many people are downsized out of a job, or long for a form of self-employment that will actually PAY for something. You can succeed with your dream of adding extra income to the family coffers with this guide by your side! She has already done all of the leg work and research for the reader–she has done all of the heavy lifting–all the reader has to do is follow her lead and profit!

From an exploration of different motivators for Airbnb hosts, to an understanding who the ideal client would be for your location, this guide leaves nothing out from the process. There’s how to communicate with clients, how to prepare the home/room, safety tips, legal issues, problem solving tips, and worthy resources for further study. Rest assured, by reading this book, you will be well-prepared on all aspects of launching your own Airbnb career with your eyes wide open!

Here’s what Sally has to say:

After my daughter was born, I left Corporate America to be a stay-at-home mom. We took a drop in family income. We no longer had a cushion to pay for the “luxuries.” Things like a family vacation, a new car, or home improvements. Saving for retirement was completely off our radar. I also missed the freedom and success that came from earning an income of my own. Yet, I knew I wanted to be a full-time mom to my kids. So I made a decision: I’d be a stay-at-home mom and earn a side income.

Since then, I’ve started a local business, built affiliate websites, created an online course, conducted user testing, sold used items, offered freelance services, and more. All in my “spare” time. Some of these things worked out… and some didn’t. In my book, Make Money On Airbnb, I share one of my most successful ventures. I teach you exactly how we earn $2,500 a month renting out our home on Airbnb.

Here is the link to Sally’s book. CLICK

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I am sharing another medically-related book with you because so many are searching for answers outside of a doctor’s office. Irene’s book underscores and amplifies everything I have written.

Read my review:

How to be your own patient advocate!Power of Ed. Pt.

By Deidre J. Edwards on November 12, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

No one should EVER go into a doctor’s office without some kind of education about health; and especially, how different diseases can be treated by alternative methods. If getting educated about self-care is something new for you, Irene’s book is a great start!

From my own experience with a daughter who was an undiagnosed celiac for a decade, I knew immediately from reading about the author’s daughter what the problem was. Anytime you can learn something new about non-celiac gluten sensitivity, it’s a great thing; and I encourage potential readers to learn from this easy-to-read resource!

Irene follows many different patients as they bounce around the medical system looking for answers when the answers were in plain sight. Just look at the table of contents which covers most of today’s prevalent conditions and buy this book immediately! Really, I just kept nodding my head in agreement as I read case-after-case; and how in each one, a treatment was found – often from outside of the mainstream medical community – and patients’ lives were changed for the better.

If you are dealing with any of the diseases mentioned in this book, please read! As a retired RN, I have seen similar things many times. We as patients MUST come to the doctor’s office with a knowledge base, and you can get that here!

Irene shares her thoughts:

This information-packed reference book offers the wisdom, strategies, and stories of over 20 health experts who started their professional paths after overcoming their own health challenges. Unable to find solutions within the conventional medical system, my storytellers embarked on their own health journeys and discovered alternative healing strategies that allowed them to heal. These people share their proven tactics and fundamental principles that guided them to recovery, they empower us by illuminating the path they took, so we can apply what they learned to our own health and well-being.

This book is designed to educate and empower the reader as a patient.

As an empowered patient we become our own best health advocates!

As our own health advocates – we determine and choose what works best for us from both alternative and conventional medicine, and propel our road to recovery, vibrant health and joyful life!

The book has been endorsed by such gurus in the health and wellness world, as Bernie Siegel (a great surgeon, and NY bestselling author recognized as one of the Top 20 Spiritually Influential Living People on the Planet), Jamie Reno (author, award-winning investigative reporter, global patient advocate, and three-time cancer survivor), Burton Goldberg (publisher, producer, and author of 18 books on alternative health), Kenneth R. Blanchard (an exceptional MD and author), and a number of other outstanding authors and health practitioners.

Here’s the link to Irene’s book. CLICK

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I love children’s books that have built in value and life lessons!

Read my review for Sheree Alderman’s book:

GeorgiChristmas Classic in the making that can be read all year long.

By Deidre J. Edwards on February 28, 2015

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase

Her first book is a new Christmas Classic to be enjoyed all year round! This mindful tale of Georgi, a camel, helps children identify with growing up, lasting friendships, and finding one’s calling. Families should read this aloud every Christmas, right next to, Twas the Night Before Christmas! Discovering one’s destiny, having faith to step forward, and the sweet reward of having done a job well, are but a few of the life lessons Alderman helps children discover. Well written, great story line, and easy to read, with a rich vocabulary to stretch young minds.

Let’s hear from Sheree:

Georgi Who Saw the Angel is not just a holiday story… It is a rainy day… snowy day… grandparent’s day… mom and dad day…stay in bed day…any kind of day… journey where you will meet the most unloved, unwanted, and unimportant little camel named Georgi, and see how he becomes the priceless servant of a very high-ranking king. Georgi is blessed by God to lead the smallest parade of believers to the biggest event in human history.

Here is the link to Sheree’s book. CLICK

Hope you have found our first Foodtalk4you Book Fair to be interesting and that you have found some titles you would like to read or pass along to a friend.

Definitely food for thought and food for action!

-Deidre

 

 

 

 

Free Affirmations Flash Cards!

As a National Board Certified Teacher, I was well acquainted with affirmationsflash cards. The students loved them. A flash card is the only way to learn facts, in my opinion. I have also used them to benefit my meditative time. Positive messages, or affirmations, are also a hot topic for: stress reduction, calming down before bed to get better sleep, mindfully starting the day, and putting your consciousness and faith in the right place.

These flash cards are near and dear to my heart. They came about as a result of reading Dr. Norman Vincent Peale’s book, The Power of Positive Thinking. His up-lifting Bible quotes and affirmations that he penned or quoted from others so moved me that I wrote them down on pretty square sheets of paper.

A medical team performing an operation
A medical team performing an operation

Around the time of my retirement in 2012, I felt a need to shore my spirit up with affirmations that would sustain me through a waiting period before some much needed major surgery. Contrary to what I thought, I was not going to just ‘have my usual care-free summer’ then have my surgery in late August. No. My physical activity ground to a near halt. My spirit wanted me to hustle around walking along the beach, straightening up the house in anticipation of a post-surgical healing period, and tucking away teaching mementos.

Nope.

It seems that patience is a life lesson that I keep having to work on. It’s a recurring personal theme. Anyway, to get myself in the right frame of mind, going through these affirmations waaffirmation2s pure gold. After using these precious squares of wisdom and calm on a daily basis, somehow they got shuffled off into a drawer.

Recently, a friend of mine was facing some major surgery herself, and was a bit tearful about the whole thing. This had been something she had vowed she did not want to do, but do she must. When trying to console her and give her my prayers for peace and a successful outcome, I remembered these gems. How I wished I could have handed them to her!

I had needed my surgery badly, too, and was happily anticipating the day of its arrival. After a recovery period of several months, I was going to be and feel so much better. When waking up from the anesthetic, the first thing I said was, “I’m so happy!” I was so happy for the waiting to be over and so happy to start my recovery, but still in need of my affirmations! Recovery can be maddeningly slow.

There is that lesson in patience, again. Without these little gems, I would have gone out of my mind before and/or after my surgery.
We do not need to be getting ready for surgery, though, to benefit from daily affirmations. They are a great way to start, finish, or revive during the day.

These affirmatioCosmetic-Surgery-recoveryns would be best printed by you on some pretty paper. Choose your favorite color or find a great floral print or gentle pattern that would not take away from the message on them. So, print your set; there are 8 pages. Each page has lines for you to cut them out. I do keep mine in a certain order because the flow of thought works well for me. You’ll notice there are some blanks on page 8 and a full blank page for 9 so you can add your own.

How to use your affirmations:

The whole idea behind putting these on ‘cards’ and not just printing them out as a list is to give us an opportunity to mindfully read and reflect on each one; taking time to consider, ponder, and apply its truth.I-believe

Many of these are Bible quotes that may appear to repeat, but the message is from a different source. Sometime we need repetition. The one about the ‘rough being a state of mind’ is in reference to golfing. When the ball lands in the rough, it is our mindset that controls how “doomed” we feel. It’s not being Pollyanna, it’s being optimistic and embracing a can-do spirit. Mindset is everything.

CLICK BELOW FOR FREE AFFIRMATION FLASH CARDS!!  (.pdf format). You can download and print them off!

Affirmation Flash Cards   

So, let’s continue with the positive flow of the New Year.

Gosh, we have tackled: 1) Stress, 2) Kale, and 3) Water intake already! Now we can continue with positive thoughts each day.

It has been a personal pleasure to share these Affirmation Flash Cards  with you! Please share with me any of your own that I could pass on to others!

In health-

Deidre

 

 

 

 

Santa’s Got a Brand New Bag! (Oh yeah…)

Poor Santa! So much sugar! But the poor fellow LOVES cookies! Is there an answer? Yes! santa 2No need for the Old Elf to be totally deprived of his seasonal favorites! Step into my Christmas kitchen for a quick recipe share of two satisfying confections that do not deliver a huge sugar/carb hit. These macaroon and oatmeal recipes will more than fill the bill for treats that do not overdo things and Food-Talk-4-You-12will keep you in balance.

Midnight Macaroons were developed to be part of a regular care package sent to our daughter for a moment of hugs-across-the-miles during her grueling night shifts as a Resident Physician. She shared them with her fellow residents during their – rare – breaks.

Midnight Macaroons

Preheat oven to 350 degrees or convection oven to 325 deFood-Talk-4-You-3grees

Cover baking sheet with parchment paper

Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl:

• 1 1/3 cup unsweetened, finely shredded coconut
• 3 tablespoons gluten-free flour (I used Krusteaz Brand)
• 1/8 teaspoon sea salt
• ¼ cup cocoa
• 2 tablespoons mini dark chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli Brand)

Food-Talk-4-You-2Beat/whip 3 large room temperature egg whites until they become fluffy.

Then gradually add 1/3 cup white sugar while beating.

Add ¼ teaspoon almond extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

Spoon whipped egg white mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and gently fold Food-Talk-4-You-5ingredients until combined.

Using a cookie scoop – I used a 2 inch scoop – place dough onto prepared baking sheet. These will not spread out.

Bake 25 minutes and cool on a rack. Smaller cookies will need less time to bake.

For an optional added chocolate “hit” you can easily dip the tops of these into melted dark chocolate.

These are not especially sweet (YAY!) and are totally satisfying and provide LOTS of nutritional goodness through the egg whites, coconut flakes, and dark chFood-Talk-4-You-6ocolate.

I stress in Toolkit for Wellness – barring severe allergic reactions – an 80/20 approach to anti-inflammatory eating should meet our needs to be mindful of how we ‘fuel’ our bodies without making Food-Talk-4-You-8us obsessive. I choose to stray from the path of “no grains” once in a while as a serving of white rice is savored or a gluten-free corn chip is enjoyed at a party. But, oatmeal labeled “gluten-free” has been calling me like sirens from the deep.

I bought a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Brand Gluten-Free Rolled Oatmeal last year and ended up just giving it away to a friend. I didn’t trust myself to not go down a very slippery slope into regular bowlfuls of carbohydrates in the morning. Well, I took the plunge this year and used some of that oatmeal to create a fabulous treat. So far, so good. One cookie every other day or so! Who is in control at all times? Me! I can do this!

Traditional oatmeal cookies call for a total of 1 cup sugar (brown and white), but I eliminated one third cup of that and did not lose a bit of flavor or fun. I think this could even be made with less sugar than that and be just fine.

Low Sugar, Gluten-Free Oatmeal, Raisin, Walnut Cookies

Food-Talk-4-You-1Preheat oven to 350; or 325 degrees for a convection oven. Cover baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine in a medium-sized bowl:

• ½ teaspoon gluten-free baking soda
• ½ teaspoon gluten-free baking powder
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 1 teaspoon xanthan gum
• 1 cup gluten-free flour

Cream in a large bowl:

• ½ cup grass-fed butter
• 1/3 cup brown sugar
• 1/3 cup white sugar

Mix into the butter mixture:

• 1 egg
• 1 teaspoon vanilla
• 2 teaspoons water

Add dry ingredients to the wet and mix until combined.

Stir in:

• 1 ½ cups gluten-free rolled oats
• ¾ cup activated nuts, chopped (See Recipe chapter in Toolkit for Wellness)
• ½ cup golden raisins

Using a cookie scoop, put scoops of dough onto prepare baking sheet.
Bake 10-12 minutes for 2” cookie scoops. Smaller scoops will require less time.

cookies in freezzer
Cookies in freezer

My only improvement on these delicious recipes is that I will use a smaller scoop next time so I can have more cookies and smaller servings.  A move to smaller treats will keep these cookies closer to the 80 side of the equation! These both freeze well, by the way; so the treat can last longer if you are not sharing them.

icaughtsantacom-2-90_grid_6So, now we see Santa settling by the hearth with his NEW, favorite book to learn of other amazing ‘tweaks’ he can make in his daily life that will revolutionize his health and peace of mind!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to one and all!

Deidre

PS- Thank you for making Toolkit for Wellness a Best Seller in ALL of its categories at one time or another!

Remember! The eBook is still at $0.99 until Christmas when the price goes up. If you prefer reading on a devise, that’s a great bargain for yourself or someone you care about.

But wait, there’s more! The paperback version is ready and also available through Amazon! Click HERE to get yours today!

 

 

 

 

The Time for Thanks Has Come

AutumnleavesSTAs the temperatures start falling, along with the glorious and colorful leaves, our attentions turn inward and homeward to Thanksgiving! Whether you celebrate once, or several times with different groups of family and friends, this is a time of reflection and gratitude. I learned a new twist on my usual turkey and stuffing prep, and wanted to pass this along to you. See, we had our family Thanksgiving early in November this year, so this approach is fresh from the kitchen and just in time for the actual holiday!

With two grandchildren on cranberry cleaning and culling duty, and cleaning-cranberriesthree adults to tackle everything else, this Thanksgiving was a delightful process, running like a well-oil machine, intermingled with uproarious laughter and memory making for the ages. Even after final cleanup, there was still enough energy for more laughter and stories.

Raw-Turkey-2

Our daughter created a turkey rub mixture that took a garden-variety-store-label-turkey into the moistest and most flavor-infused turkey I have ever eaten!

Moistness had usually been a hit-or-miss thing for me; but this rub will take chance and good luck out of the recipe, and should guarantee great results every time.

Into our small food processor, Serena put the following ingredients:

Turkey rub:

Rosemary-food-talk-4-you
Sprig of Rosemary

1 cup sauteed onions and red bell pepper

5 – 6 cloves of raw garlic

1/2 stick of butter

Large sprig of rosemary

Handful of parsley

Several sprigs of thyme

Dash of cuminHappy-Thanksgiving-2

Salt

Pepper

Blend all ingredients together in a food processor and rub underneath the skin on the breast of the turkey, inside the cavity, and all over the top.

Measurements are Happy-Thanksgiving-3approximate. 🙂

The turkey was baked covered with foil until about the last 30-45 minutes until the pop-up timer came up.

Even our cornbread stuffing/dressing seemed extra special this year. The non-dressing lovers among us couldn’t get enough! Here’s what we did:

Stuffing:

gluten-free-cornbreadGluten-free corn bread made with applesauce***

3-4 slices of gluten-free bread (we used Glutino Brand, seeded bread)

One onion

3-4 cloves garlic

Poultry spice mix

Salt

Pepper

Cut the breads into cubes and toast. Sauté onion and garlic in butter. onionSeason with poultry spices, salt, pepper. Mix into toasted bread cubes. Moisten with turkey broth taken from the simmering pot of giblets destined to become gravy. When the turkey comes out, add turkey juices from the roasting pan to the stuffing.

Bake at 350 for 30 min, covered in foil.

Enjoy. 🙂

TURKEY RUB AND STUFFING RECIPE

***We had made a square pan full of cornbread using about a half-bag of Bob’s Gluten-free Corn Bread mix. After six of us all had a piece, we used the rest for the dressing. The mix seemed a little dry because it was probably more than half a bag, so we added 4 oz. of unsweetened Thanksgiving-Table-Decor-Martha-Stewart-07applesauce. The texture was less crumbly.

So, may you savor the moments with family and friends along with some savory turkey and dressing! You will find, using Serena’s method, the meat throughout the turkey will be moist and kissed with the flavors of the rub. No more dry white meat!ToolkitforWellnessBolder(1)

I hope to be publishing Toolkit for Wellness very soon! An announcement will be forth-coming!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Deidre

… and Visions of Macaroons Danced In Their Heads …

I just read the title of the food section in today’s newspaper: “Sweeten up the Holidays!” Gadzooks! Do we really need lots more sugar? Now to be sure, Christmas cookies happen; but we should be looking for ways to celebrate using less sugar!

Medi brand knee highs
Medi brand knee highs

I want to share with you the results of yesterday’s cookie baking marathon! Thanks to my new Medi-brand maximum-support-knee-highs-without-a-prescription, I was able to happily crank out three batches of macaroons and not kill my legs. Seriously, a wise young Physician’s Assistant recommended these to me and I can genuinely recommend this leg-saving approach to all those who stand a lot. Save your legs NOW! These knee highs are super sheer and really have made the difference in my legs not getting achy and complaining. The best $45 Christmas present to myself … EVER!

Macaroons
Macaroons

Back to macaroons. After our daughter treated us to some designer coconut macaroons from a whole-food-type grocery store, I have longed to recreate some of that tastiness. I think I have found a recipe that can be tweaked in different flavor directions such as mocha, peppermint, cherry, and the like, that could become the centerpiece for your SANE-ish cookies.

Lemon Coconut Macaroons

INGREDIENTS

3 extra large egg whites, room temperature (save those yolks for scrambled eggs using egg whites from a carton)

3 Tbs. raw honey

Honeycombs
Honeycombs

2 Tbs. lemon juice (about ½ lemon)

Zest from a whole lemon

1 tsp. lemon extract

2 cups unsweetened finely shredded coconut

3 Tbs. all-purpose gluten free flour

1/8 tsp. sea salt

DIRECTIONS

cut-macaroons 2
Macaroons

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Combine coconut, gluten free flour, and salt in a prep bowl.

Beating egg whites
Beating egg whites

Using the whisk attachment to a hand-held or standing mixer, whip egg whites to soft peaks. Gradually add the honey, lemon juice, zest, and extract while continuing to whip until the mixture is glossy and forms stiff peaks.

Pour dry ingredients in and gently fold to incorporate using a rubber/silicone spatula.

Use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to drop ball-shaped scoops of food-talk-4-u-scooper-Rcookie mixture onto prepared baking sheet.

Bake for 12-15 minutes, depending upon the size of your scoop.
Yield is about 22 cookies if you use a 1 ½ inch scoop like I did. That size gives a good dimension that is not excessive (trying to hold things down for the holidays), but is enough for a treat.

Now, sugar and honey net the same bodily response. They both turn into glucose and cause an insulin response. My goal with a sweet treat is to keep the sweetness in rein so there is not a major swing in blood sugar levels. Many prefer the unrefined nature of raw honey as in the previous recipe, and that is good. I did use white sugar in the next recipe, but there is just 1/3 of a cup spread out over 20 small macaroons, so I am happy with that. I am sure the sugar could be replaced with honey (probably less than 1/3 cup) if you wish.

Chocolate macaroons
Chocolate macaroons

Chocolate Coconut Macaroons

INGREDIENTS

1 1/3 cup unsweetened coconut

3 Tbs. all-purpose gluten-free flour

1/8 tsp. salt

¼ cup cocoa

2 extra large egg whites, room temperature

1/3 cup sugar

¼ tsp. almond extract

Chocolate drizzle macaroons
Chocolate drizzle macaroons

Chocolate Drizzle: ¼ cup dark chocolate morsels melted with 1 tsp. coconut oil

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line cookie sheet with parchment paper.

Blend coconut, gluten-free flour, salt, and cocoa in a prep bowl.
Using a hand-held or stand mixer with whip attachment, whip egg whites to the soft peak stage. Gradually add the 1/3 cup sugar and almond extract and whip until glossy and stiff peaks can be formed.

Gently fold in the dry ingredients using a rubber/silicone spatula until all is incorporated. Using a cookie scoop or spoon, place ball-shaped scoops of mixture onto prepared cookie sheet.

Bake about 25 minutes for 1 ½ inch scoop-sized macaroons which will yield about 20 cookies.

If desired, drizzle with melted dark chocolate.

I can easily see how this recipe could use espresso, mint, or finely chopped almonds to change up the flavors!

My third recipe? Well, always being one who is keen on the flavor of almonds, I bought my first-ever box of almond paste and I followed the recipe as printed on the box for almond macaroons. No coconut in these. The reason was, I really wanted to pipe these out with a pastry bag! But because they are sooo sweet (in my book), I made them quite small. You know, “a little dab will do ya’?” My sweet-aholic husband loved these the most, of course! The box’s recipe is follows:

Almond cookies
Almond cookies

Almond Macaroons

INGREDIENTS

1 carton Solo Almond Paste

1 extra large egg white

½ cup sugar

They called for maraschino cherries halves for the top, but after reading an article about what’s in those little delights, I decided not to. Yes, I will eat one once in a long while but not this time.

DIRECTIONS

ALMOND-PASTE-RPreheat oven to 325 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper.

Break almond paste into food processor, add sugar and blend together. Add egg white and blend until a dough ball forms.

Bam! That’s all, folks!

Form into desired shape. I used my largest star tip, (#1M), to create many little treats! Bake in prepared cookie pans. Time in the oven depends upon size. My little guys were done in 12 minutes.

I hope this helps you get into a festive mood to fix treats that aren’t so awful for your health. As you start heading off to holiday parties, remember to either eat correctly before going out and then just nibble at the best choices you can make at the party, or concentrate on the veggie and meat trays and eschew the sweets altogether. If gluten is an absolute no-no for you, remember most store processed meatballs are made with gluten-y bread. Also, no one would fault you if you brought your own gluten-free crackers for dipping or spreads.food-talk-4-u-coffee-brewing-R

Holiday exercise? What holiday exercise? I am trying to awaken my “sleeping bear” of a body now! Let’s not wait until January to fix the damage. Not a big deal, but in addition to the jog out to the mail box, I am dedicating coffee brewing time for a little bit of kitchen exercises: kitchen counter push-ups done in slow motion—eight will do, thank you. Eight slow motion squats. Eight palm-up, straight arm, slow motion arm “flaps.” It’s amazing how refreshing coffee-brewing time well used can make me feel!ALMOND-COOKIES-R-2-RR2

Best wishes for a blessed, safe, health holiday season to one and all!

Deidre