Thursday, April 16, 2015

Yuca Paleo Pizza Crust with Vegan Pesto (Gluten, Grain, Yeast, Dairy Free, Vegan)

Going Paleo, easy.  Giving up pizza, HARD!  How I loved that ooey, gooey stretchy mozzarella on that crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside crust.  Well, folks, this is not that pizza.  This crust, however, is nutritious since it's made from a vegetable and satisfies my family's pizza cravings, even without cheese!  And in my opinion, anything has got to be better than cauliflower crust!   If you're desperate for cheese, try this vegan moxarella recipe.  I've also included the pesto recipe I used.




Pesto:
1 C fresh basil
4 C fresh spinach
1/2 C walnuts
2 fresh garlic cloves
1/4 C dried basil
1/2 C Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 T nutritional yeast (optional)
Salt to taste

Directions:
This is my poor man's pesto.  I didn't have a lot of fresh basil or any pine nuts so I used what I had on hand.  If you have an abundance of fresh basil, skip the dried and add more fresh.  Add all ingredients, except oil, to your food processor and pulse 4 or 5 times.  Turn processor on low and drizzle in oil.  Continue to process to desired consistency.  Adjust oil as needed.  If this is to oily for you, add more spinach.

Crust:
3 C yuca** (cut and boiled until fork tender, about 20 minutes)
1/4 C EVOO
1/2 t sea salt
1/2 t garlic powder (or 1 clove fresh)
1 T Italian seasoning
1 C tapioca starch (for flouring your cutting board)
2 T coconut flour (or cornmeal) for flouring pizza peel

Directions:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Place boiled and drained yuca into your food processor along with the olive oil and spices.  Process until it forms a dough ball.  This doesn't take long.  Remove dough from the food processor and allow to cool.  Lightly flour your cutting board and flop your cooled dough down onto the cutting board.  I divide my dough into however many pizzas I'm making.  Smaller, personal size pizzas are easier to work work.  Sprinkle your pizza peel with a little coconut flour.  Roll your dough ball out, using tapioca as needed to prevent sticking.
I slide my dough scraper under each side then gently lift and place on the peel.  I have a pizza stone and I slide my crust right onto my stone and cook for about 5 minutes.  If you don't have a stone, lightly oil a cookie sheet and bake your dough on that.  You can also precook these in a cast iron skillet on the stove top, then top and bake in the oven.  If you are making several, as in you have 6 people in your family, I would suggest stove top as it is quicker. 

Now that your crust has precooked, top it and quickly get it back into the oven.  If you let it sit too long, it will be difficult to move.  I top mine with either a vegan pesto or Whole 30 compliant pasta sauce and your choice of meat (if you desire) and veggies.  The pizza pictured was topped with vegan pesto, fresh, sliced tomatoes, calamata olives, onions and artichokes.  If you eat it, a little fresh goat cheese would not be remiss here.  Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 5+ minutes.  Watch it and don't let it burn.  Slice and enjoy!
**You can find yuca in most grocery store produce sections but a friend recently told me about the frozen ethnic section where you can find frozen yuca and plantains!  I never knew.  If you buy it fresh, it goes bad pretty quickly, characterized by black streaks running through the white flesh and a terrible odor.  So, either plan to use within a day or 2, or buy frozen.

I have to give credit to my friend, Chef Gina, over at food highs for introducing me to yuca.  The egg rolls were fantastic but my entire family looked at me and said, "I wonder how this would taste as pizza dough???"

This also makes an awesome flat bread.  Cook as instructed above in a cast iron skillet, until golden on each side.  The sandwich below was made with leftover dough from the pizza pictured on the top.

Click here for printable version: Paleo Pizza Crust with Vegan Pesto


Yuca Crust with Tomato Sauce, Moxarella Cheese, Meat & Veggies



Yuca Flat Bread with Pesto, Spinach and Avocado

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Merging




I don't often have time to post but I am going to try to start again so once again I will have everything in one place.  At the beginning of February, our family began a Whole 30 and it has definitely changed our lives.  Since we are no longer just gluten free, I thought it would be easier to incorporate the recipes we are now using into this blog.  I'll be transferring over some of the recipes that fit into our new lifestyle from my gf blog.  I will also continue to include natural/herbal remedies and I will be including some fitness tips as well.  Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Essentials for Your Natural Medicine Cabinet



As cold and flu season approaches, it's time to make sure our medicine cabinets are stocked and ready.  There is nothing worse than someone coming down with something and not having what you need on hand.  Here are my go-to remedies for whatever ails ya!

Colds and Flu

Morningstar Minerals Vitality Boost
Alacer Emergen C
Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care
Elderberry Syrup (recipe on this site)
Grapefruit Seed Extract

Chest Congestion (in addition to above)

Boericke & Tafel Cough Syrup (Nighttime is awesome)
Enzymatic Therapy Air Power
Traditional Medicinals Herba Tussin
Vapor Rub (I make my own)

Stomach Bugs

Colloidal Silver
Powdered Ginger
Slippery Elm (powder or capsules)

At the first sign of any illness, we start taking Vitamin C, Minerals, GSE and elderberry syrup (if available).  We add in other things as needed.  Sometimes less is best and other times you have to break out the big guns!  You just have to figure out what works for you and what you're comfortable with.

We've found the minerals don't do well on an upset stomach, except in very small doses.  Best to ease any nausea with silver and ginger first.  The dosing for silver is 1 tsp every 15 minutes for the first hour and then 1 tsp/hour until symptoms resolve.

I've found the best prices for most things at Iherb.com.  Use code CAN094 to receive $10 off your first order.





Saturday, November 16, 2013

My secret weapon against colds and flu!

This post could actually be a 3 parter because my secret weapon is comprised of 3 parts.  However, who knows how long it would take to get it posted if I had to do 3 separate posts so I will try to consolidate and fit it all in because I really want to get this out there before cold and flu season gets into full swing. 

This is a long story, be forewarned but I will try to shorten it as much as possible.  First, I started drinking water kefir a couple years ago.  Great source of probiotics, vitamins and minerals.  Easy for homeschooling mom of 4 to keep up with (unlike kombucha and milk kefir).  Makes great lemonade and is ingredient # 1 in my secret weapon.  I purchased my water kefir grains from www.culturesforhealth.com.  You can also find information about water kefir there.  On a side note, I put something in my buggy (I have an account) and left it and they sent me an email for 10% off to come back and checkout with what was in my buggy.  Just so's you know.  So, # 1, water kefir.


This is someone else's awesome picture.
Next, I make my own elderberry syrup but you could also purchase some already made.  It won't be as good.  I use raw, local honey in mine and add the honey after the syrup has cooled so that nothing beneficial in the honey gets killed.  I'll post my recipe for that also, later, hopefully.  If you need it before I post it, just post a comment reminding me to post it.  So, # 2, elderberry syrup.

Lastly, once when I was sick, I remembered a friend talking about how she had used fulvic acid and it was like a natural antibiotic.  I had some minerals which are derived from fulvic acid on hand, so I began taking them at the rate recommended when you need a little extra and got better within a day after having been battling the illness for 10 days with no improvement.  I became a believer and have since had success using it when I feel like I'm going to get sick and also giving it to the kids either before they get sick (they usually don't) or after.  It really shortens the length and severity of the illness.  So, # 3, Morninstar Minerals Vitality Boost.

Having had such success with each of these ingredients individually, I decided to combine them into one powerful, cold and flu-fighting combination.  You might just call this the super hero of natural remedies.  Really, it is that good. 

I mix about 1/2 cup to a cup of water kefir with 1 tablespoon of elderberry syrup and 1 capful (about 2 oz) of minerals and drink it down.  In addition to this, I also mix up a regular jug of my water kefir (about 2 cups water kefir, 2 cups water, juice of 1 lime and stevia to taste) and add about a tablespoon or 2 of elderberry syrup to that and drink on it throughout the day.  I might make up 2 of those over the course of the day.  Sometimes, I do, sometimes I don't.  Depends on what's happening that day.  I take the secret weapon at least twice a day, but preferably 3 times.

My theory on this is that the water kefir helps open up your cells and makes it easier for the minerals and vitamins in the others to be absorbed.  Just my thoughts, no scientific data to back it up!

Now, if you also have a cough or some kind of lung congestion, I also recommend these products, Air Power and Clear Lungs.  Both have worked wonders for us.  They recommend taking them every 4 hours so we alternate, taking one at 8am, for example, then the other at 10am, then back to the first one at it's next scheduled dosage of 12pm.  For little ones who can't swallow pills (or adults with one of those coughs that keep you up nights), I recommend any of the Boericke & Tafel cough syrups, just remember no zinc with a fever.  The nighttime one is a blessing! 

As I've said before, I am not a doctor, not even an herbalist or doctor of natural medicine.  Just a mom, who devours info on natural medicine like I devour chocolate, experimenting on my family and finding what works best for us.  What works for us, might not work for you.  There are things my own mother uses that do nothing for me and vice versa.  Do your own research.  Don't be afraid to try things and don't be afraid to scratch things when they don't work, even if they worked for someone else.  

I have found the best prices on Iherb.  If you happen to order from there, use my code CAN094 to get $10 off your first order, plus, I think I will get some kind of reward!  

Here's hoping you and your family have a healthy cold and flu season!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

A year without Dad...

My Dad and Me

One year ago today, I lost my dad.  He was killed tragically in a freak car accident.  He was 60 years old and healthy as an ox.  It was the first time in my life that I had lost someone in such a shocking, unexpected way.  My grandmother had died 3 years before from cancer and I was actually there when she died, but she was sick before and we had time to adjust to the fact that she wasn't going to make it.  There was no warning, no preparation with dad.  He was here one minute and gone the next.

My dad was often described as being bigger than life.  Over 1,000 people tied in by phone or attended his funeral and he had impacted every single one of their lives.  He was generous and kind.  He was the king of the catch phrase and he had a nickname for everyone, at least if he liked you.  He always brought me fruit in the summer, his favorite being strawberries for strawberry shortcake.  In the winter, it was pilau (pronounced per-low), a rice dish with chicken, sausage and bacon.  He loved it with soy sauce. 

Have you ever heard that song by Tracy Lawrence called "Find Out Who Your Friends Are"? (video)
That song describes my dad to a tee!  I can't begin to tell you the number of times he jumped in his truck to go rescue someone on the side of the road or to help someone get into their car after locking their keys inside.  He was the guy to call because people knew that he would not hesitate to help out.  He also volunteered much time in helping people learn about the Bible and on building projects like the Orangeburg Assembly Hall.  He was the Food Overseer and was known far and wide for the fun and laughter he brought to anything he was involved in.

Papaw and his favorite grandson
I miss my dad.  I firmly believe in the Bible's promise that the dead will live again, right here on this earth, and that death will be no more. (John 5:28,29; Revelation 21:3,4)   I do.  That's what keeps me going.  But it still hurts.  I still think about all that he is missing now.  9 grandkids, 6 of which he saw almost daily, are growing a little each day and he is missing it.  His "favorite", as in only, grandson grew 6 inches in the past year.  He's starting to become a man and Papaw is missing it!  He would be so proud of all of them.  

There were so many times in the past year when I wished I could have just one minute with my dad.  Or a DeLorean.  Wasn't that what the car in "Back to the Future" was called?  If I could just go back and tell him not to take that road.  If only someone had distracted him for 5 minutes or not distracted him.  Any little variance in the events of that day and my dad would be here.  It is truly as the Bible says, "Time and unforeseen occurrence befall us all." (Ecclesiastes 9:11)  We definitely did not foresee this happening.  Quite frankly, on the road is the last way I would have envisioned losing my dad.  He was a professional driver.  He had even driven straight through to California from the east coast at one point.  He'd been hauling trailers since he was a teenager working on the carnival.  That he would die in a car accident, unfathomable.  Yet, it happened and we can't go back, we can't have a minute and we can't change anything that happened that day.

I have lived in a bubble the past year.  I did okay at first.  I think the shock kind of envelops and protects you for a while.  Then I just lost interest in life.  Not in living, I wasn't suicidal or anything.  I just didn't care whether I was part of my life or not.  It was easier to bury my head in a book and read about other people's lives than to live my own.  I guess that is a form of depression.  I wasn't sad or crying all the time.  I just didn't have any motivation to do anything.  Couple this with serious health problems and it just leads to a lot of time in bed and a messy house!  My husband was quite patient through it all though he had his moments.  My kids were really a big help, more than they know.  And my mom, she has been the glue that has held us all together.  She, who lost her husband of 39 years.  I know she's had it worst of all but she keeps moving forward, keeps busy and keeps focused on the Bible's hope for the future.

Anyways, I'm back.  We had our district convention this past weekend.  It was another milestone in a year of milestones.  First convention without dad with the 1 year anniversary of his death just 4 days later.  The convention was so upbuilding though and the drama Friday was our life this past year.  It really helped me to refocus and I came back feeling like a weight I didn't even know I'd been carrying had been lifted off my shoulders.

One year.  It took me a whole year to get here.  I'm sure to have days now and again but I feel like I've turned a corner.  With the continued support of my family and lots of prayer, things will only continue to get better.  We'll be giving Dad/Papaw hugs and kisses before we know it!  We'll look back at these dark days and be happy that we made it through to enjoy the wonderful blessings Jehovah had in store for us!
 

If you would like to learn more about the Bible's hope for the dead, click here: www.jw.org