Category Archives: organic

Candied Ginger & Simple Ginger Syrup

Okay, so…. not original idea, and I have made candied ginger and the accompanying simple syrup, but it was a different recipe and although the ginger was edible and the ginger syrup was perfect, the ginger stayed “wet” despite my best efforts. But today I got out ginger rhizome number 2 and saw that I wasn’t going to be able to wait to be able to use it and had to cut off part of it! Nooooo…. So I did some more searching and checked some of the recipes I had bookmarked, but it wasn’t until I came across Kimberly’s recipe over at The Daring Gourmet that I knew it sounded like a winner. Simple yet delicious. It didn’t seem like there was excessive water or sugar. As usual, I did tweak it just a tiny bit. I LOVE ginger! Sweet and spicy and great for those of us that have sensitive tummies! I am sorry, but as I am still on the mend from upper respiratory infection this week, I wasn’t feeling up to taking pictures (and by the way, the cabbage is almost to sauerkraut perfection!). But here is the recipe (with my changes marked by ***):

How To Make Candied Ginger
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
1 hour
Total time
1 hour 10 mins
: Kimberly Killebrew, http://www.daringgourmet.com
Ingredients
  • 1 pound peeled and sliced ginger, preferably young/smaller roots, sliced about ⅛ inch thick (by hand or use a mandolin)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar ***I used raw organic Demararra sugar which turned out great!***
  • Extra sugar for coating
  1. Place the sliced ginger in a medium pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil and simmer for 30 minutes. Reserve ½ cup of the ginger water and then drain the ginger slices.
  2. Place the sliced ginger back in the pot with the reserved ginger water, sugar and pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium, and simmer uncovered for 35-40 minutes or until the temperature on a candy thermometer reads 225 degrees F.
  3. Drain the ginger in a colander over a bowl to catch the syrup (see Note).
  4. Lay out the ginger slices on a cooling rack over a cookie sheet, separating the slices the best you can. Let cool for 2 hours (you want them sticky but not wet so that the sugar will adhere without dissolving).
  5. Toss the ginger slices in a bowl of sugar so they are coated all over. ***Tossed in raw organic cane sugar***
  6. Place the ginger slices back on the cooling rack to sit overnight.
  7. Store in an airtight container in a dark, cool place. Will keep for several months.
Notes
This recipe makes a delicious byproduct: Ginger Simple Syrup! Add a teaspoon or two to your drinks for a refreshing ZING!
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Sunny Days & Golden Rays

“It was a beautiful day and the sun beat down,
I had the radio on, I was flying.
The trees went past, me and Dale was singing
Little Runaway; I was flyin’.

Yeah, runnin’ down a dream
Whatever would come to me
Workin’ on a mystery
Goin’ wherever it leads
Yeah, runnin’ down a dream!”

Running Down A Dream – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

It WAS gorgeous today. Felt like spring. Aaaand I promised last night I would start sharing information and secrets to my weight loss and health. Confession: I don’t eat breakfast! *GASP* I’ve never been a big breakfast person. Don’t get me wrong; I LOVE some breakfast foods, just not in the morning. I get up and drink a cup of organic or fair trade or rain forest alliance coffee with pastured cream, coconut sugar and coconut oil. It’s good and it holds me over till about 11’ish.  I tend to eat lunch between 11 and 11:30. Whatever I do, you know I always have to have music playing. Today, it’s definitely a classic rock day. Tomorrow it may be Indie Folk, or Adult Contemporary or Instrumental Rock or Jazz or any number of genres! Oh, you didn’t come on here to read that, huh? Okay.

I wish I had gotten pictures, but unfortunately I didn’t. But I made a homemade simple Traditional Hummus, sans tahini. Turned out fabulous, too!  It is a slightly tweaked recipe by Kelly over at LifeMadeSweeter. I (as well as other family members) can’t use paprika not to mention I have to be careful with any and all things from the “nightshade” family. Like red pepper flakes. A pinch doesn’t USUALLY cause problems, but here lately, more food and medications are giving me problems, so I am just avoiding those things. Also, I don’t have a food processor so I had to bag the handful of ingredients needed and march over to my sister’s house (behind ours) and use hers. No problem. That is, until the food processor decided to fight me and not want to work. It finally gave in! Woohoo!

Ingredients

2 (15-ounce) cans chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed

2 large garlic cloves

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon cumin

1/4 teaspoon paprika (OPTIONAL)

1/4 cup water, plus more as needed to thin out hummus to desired consistency

salt to taste

black pepper to taste

1-2 tablespoons olive oil

chili flakes for garnish (OPTIONAL)

Instructions

  1. Place chickpeas in a blender or food processor with garlic, lemon juice, cumin, paprika and water. Blend or puree until very smooth, adding more water as needed to thin out to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper and add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to help achieve a super creamy texture.
  2. Serve on pitas, crackers, veggies, or sandwiches. Adjust seasonings as you like and sprinkle with red chili flakes if desired.

Notes

*Can store in an airtight glass container in the fridge for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months.

I normally buy Boar’s Head non-GMO Traditional Hummus in the Publix deli department which has very few ingredients, but the price is ridiculously high. Plus, it is soy free and nut free. But paying $4.99 for a small container that lasts a week compared to 2 cans of organic chickpeas (Garbanzo beans) at less than $2 each while I already have the other ingredients and now I have double the amount that the store bought containers come in. And it is DELICIOUS.

It’s great at lunch! My typical lunch? It varies, but one of my favorite lunches is Crown Prince Sardines in Olive Oil, traditional hummus with The Better Chip chips (right now I’m on a kick with the Beet chips; although I’m a huge fan of their Spinach & Kale and the Radish Chia is great, too!), a cup of fresh brewed Cinnamon Ginger tea (I make that in the mornings around 8:30 and let it sit covered till lunch when it is at room temperature), and a square of dark chocolate (85% cacao) with about a teaspoon of Polaner’s non-GMO Seedless Raspberry Spread. I love berries with dark chocolate, but raspberry is by far my favorite. One day, I’m going to make my own fruit preserves. On the days I don’t eat sardines, I have either Wild Planet tuna (Albacore Wild Tuna in EVOO, or rather, Extra Virgin Olive Oil) or Ocean Naturals Albacore Solid White Tuna in Italian Olive Oil. BOTH are delicious! And when I can afford it, I drink GT’s Synergy Kombucha, usually Raspberry Chia (my favorite). They have a few I really like, but the Raspberry Chia? Mmmm, can’t be beat!

My dinners? Depends on what the rest of the family is having. I tend to buy my own chicken (non-GMO, cage free, organic) and Sockeye Salmon which Wednesdays are my fish, kale and quinoa day since they eat at the church (and I can’t…every time I have, I’ve gotten sick because of food additives…ugh). I eat sweet potatoes pretty regular also. And I make my own sauerkraut which I will share that process with y’all tomorrow since I’ll be making some to which I eat with all meat except fish. Well, except I don’t eat pork. I can’t eat pork. I LIKE pork meats, but they don’t like me (yeah, part of my ever growing list of foods that I can no longer eat without getting sick or suffering) just like beef is starting to do the same. I eat them in very small amounts with a good portion of sauerkraut. I don’t eat bread or pasta and rarely eat rice and quinoa is once, maybe twice a week, and I occasionally whip up a batch of gluten free biscuits so I can have one when I get the craving (not often, but I am southern, ya know!). About half an hour before dinner, I get 2 tablespoons of Bragg Apple Cider Vinegar in 4 ounces of water with a little stevia and drink it, chasing it with some filtered water. THAT, my friends, is not easy for me, but with my thyroid condition, I’ve noticed a lot of benefits in drinking it!

The only other thing I do is I tend to eat a spoon of Smucker’s organic peanut butter and a cup of fresh raw milk (I can’t consume pasteurized dairy…talk about several gastrointestinal discomfort!) at night when I take my medicine. Usually have a second square of dark chocolate too. So that pretty much sums up my eating habits. Tomorrow, homemade sauerkraut!

Gluten Free Brown Butter Brownies

Ever have a craving for chocolate that won’t go away? Like, desperation setting in, just got to have some? But do you also have multiple food allergies, intolerance and /or sensitivities that makes it hard to eat chocolate due to soy, nuts or gluten (or even dairy; I solved that one by buying fresh from a local dairy farm)? Search no more. This recipe is absolutely to die for! It is a modification of Ashton’s recipe at Something Swanky. Hours upon hours of surfing Pinterest for a good, easy gluten free brownie recipe turns up many recipes that are similar to one another, some that are vegan, and some (gasp!) RAW! Not sure I’m ready to go raw. Some of those raw dessert recipes actually look and sound pretty good, but brownies? Eh. But I’m not going to ramble. You want the recipe. Disclaimer:  I use organic ingredients. Kerrygold lightly salted grass fed butter, Florida Crystals Organic Cane Sugar, Now Foods Organic Cocoa Powder (although you can also by organic/non-GMO raw cacao; I haven’t tried that yet), sea salt if you decide to use unsalted butter (I use Himilayan Pink whenever I do need to use salt…read this to see why it’s so much better for you), organic or certified Rainforest Alliance coffee (this time I used Green Mountain’s Organic Sumatra Aceh), Twin Oaks organic pastured eggs (farmer’s markets; I can’t eat eggs, per se, without horrible side effects, but in minute doses cooked in things like, say  BROWNIES, I do okay), Bob’s Red Mill gluten free flours (I made my own mix that I learned on the GlutenFreeGirl.com website that has no xanthan gum, but you can always buy theirs here), and Enjoy Life Semi Sweet Mini Chocolate Chips (those are so delicious and only 3 ingredients!).

Gluten Free Brown Butter Brownies

Ingredients:
-2 1/2 sticks butter, softened
-2 cups sugar
-1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt** (if you use unsalted butter)
-1 tablespoon fresh brewed strong coffee
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-4 eggs
-140 grams gluten free flour
-1 cup high quality semi sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Prepare a 9×13 baking pan by spraying with a non-stick cooking spray and line with parchment paper (makes getting the brownies out so much easier and cleanup a breeze).

browning-butter-2

2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat (you will want something to keep around the pan to prevent a mess from the moisture evaporating when it starts bubbling). Keeping a close eye on it, as soon as it has reached a light golden brown color and has little “bits” formed (like in this photo), it’s ready. Remove from heat promptly to avoid burning it.

4. Turn oven on to preheat to 350 degrees F.

step-2-add-sugar

5. Pour into glass bowl and add sugar…..

step-3-add-cocoa

and cocoa powder and beat until smooth.

step-4-add-coffee

6. Add salt (if using unsalted butter), coffee….

step-5-add-coffee

and vanilla.

step-6-add-eggs

Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing in between each addition.

step-7-add-flour

7. Add the flour and mix…..

step-8-add-chips

and chocolate chips, and stir well (it will be quite thick).

step-9-spread-in-pan

8. Using a sturdy spatula, spread the batter into lined pan. Bake for 20 – 25 minutes until when toothpick inserted is slightly moist (hey, you don’t want a dry brownie!).

yummy-brownie

9. Let cool completely on wire rack, and cut into 2-inch squares. I don’t use xanthan gum (after reading and researching, some gluten free foods don’t really need it). Some people who are gluten intolerant or Celiac can’t tolerate xanthan gum either. If you really do need a binder say, for a cake, try ground chia seeds, ground flax seeds or arrowroot. This is really delicious when it’s been in the freezer and you let it thaw just long enough so that when you eat the brownie, you get the little crunch of the chocolate chips! 😃

The Fresh Market: Not So Fresh!

So it’s been a little over 2 months since I last blogged. The person whose laptop I was borrowing needed it back and my laptop which died 2 years ago was still inoperable. But my middle son came to my rescue! Thought it was just the hard drive that needed replacing, but turns out that when the hard drive died, the motherboard got fried and the video card was shot. Bummer. But it’s fixed and it’s wonderful to have my own laptop back and running! They asked if I wanted Win 8 installed. HE** no! I’ve experienced it on a couple of family members’ computers and hate it so they put Win 7 back on it. But now it’s updated to Win 10 and I’m in love with this new OS! What a delightful marriage of Win 7 and the actual likable features of Win 8! But I digress.

Over the past 19 months, I gradually migrated to a healthier way of eating, but not by choice. However, I’m so glad I did! I’ve dropped 60 pounds in that time, and learned about food. HEALTHY food. And discovered that what used to be foods that just didn’t agree with me will send me to the ER if I eat them again. Progression of evil food allergies. Nightshades… OFF LIMITS. Gluten… AVOID.  Tree nuts… AVOID. Preservatives and processed foods… AVOID. Over the past few months, I’ve really started doing my research and educating myself on why so many foods were making me sick. And what a journey it has been!  With the growing trend of organics and more people being aware of GMO’s and their effect on the body, it’s mind blowing how Walmart has come along in that industry!  They just don’t carry organic produce. Well, unless you count the tiny section of organic spinach and mixed salad containers.

And that is good! If you take time to really dig and read, the companies whose brands they carry are MOSTLY good companies. You can find grass fed beef, wild caught Alaskan Salmon, Organic Florida Crystals cane sugar (non-GMO), Polaner non-GMO organic fruit spread (which is sweetened only with other organic non-GMO fruits/fruit juices) which is DIVINE, GT Synergy Kombucha (which I’m addicted to, just wish I could afford it more regularly), and more. For the time being, I’m drinking a glass of Organic Valley whole milk at night with a tablespoon of Smucker’s Organic Peanut Butter because I haven’t been able to find any non-homogenized grass milk!

Then I saw where The Fresh Market just opened up at the beach a week and a half ago. I’ve heard such wonderful things about TFM that I was truly excited and looking forward to shopping there. Wow. What a disappointment!  I can truly say that I’m hoping I catch the window of opportunity when it arises to purchase some organic non-GMO raspberry and blackberry plants next season and guess I’m going to join a co-op. The Fresh Market was such letdown to say the least. After all the good things I’ve heard about it, it did not meet expectations. As far as produce goes, their selection is about as big as Walmart’s. Conventional grown is bad enough (getting a healthy dose of Roundup with each bite), but most of what I saw was as lethal as it gets. With my health finally better from avoiding those foods, I am not going backwards by eating fruits and veggies that are genetically modified (you do realize that biotech companies, most notably Monsanto, scientists take bacteria and/or viruses and inject them into the plants so they can withstand heavy herbicide spraying, right?)! All you have to do is do some research to find out just WHY plants can handle all that herbicide and insecticide spraying while anything not genetically engineered/modified around it dies.

Wonder why America is so overweight and wrought with disease? Yep. All started with WWII when they used gases to kill people. Scientists found it killed weeds and took off from there. My digestive problems are under control now that I’m not eating junk food, fast food, or processed food. Soy, corn, canola, and cottonseed are the 4 worst things to ingest and they are the things you find in processed foods. I’d rather pay my doctor WHEN I need to go once or twice a year for bloodwork (and a slow but steady weight loss) and spend the rest of that money on organic, non-GMO food than spend it on processed crap that keeps me overweight and sick and making many trips to the doctor!

Wish people would realize that all the skyrocketing health problems are related to diet heavy in glyphosate/GMO’s: cancer, tumors, birth defects, autism, diabetes, hormone disruptions, endocrine problems (thyroid disease and thyroid cancer),auto immune disorders, etc. WAKE UP, AMERICA! Monsanto is keeping you in the DARK and keeping you sick while trying to basically patent life, poison us, and the bottom line… LINE THEIR OWN DEEP POCKETS.

If you care about your health, take charge of it! In the mean time, here are a few links to read (but there’s so much more information out there!):

Long-term Feeding Study Shows Effects of GMO’s
World renowned scientist lost his job when he warned about GE foods
Long term toxicity of a Roundup herbicide and a Roundup tolerant genetically modified maize
Dysfunctional Science: Towards a “psuedoscientific world order”?
Dr. Swanson: GM Crops and Glyphosate Linked to U.S. Health Deterioration
What is a GMO? Explained in 1 minute
The A to Z guide of the food industry’s most evil ingredients
WHO Glyphosate Report Ends Thirty Year Cancer Cover Up

Food & Chemical Allergies…Seriously? YES! Here’s Why

There are many of us, and I’m quite guilty of this myself, who over the years looked at those who seemed to be “health nuts” or said they have Fibromyalgia, Lupus, or that their child (children) has ADHD, Autism, or a myriad of other health problems and allergies and thought they were crazy. How could it even be possible? But as we grow up and grow older and if you have always eaten conventional foods, many like donuts and deep fried foods, we start feeling sluggish, start having health problems, and recall what our parents and grandparents have always told us: “Once you hit your 40’s, you start going downhill and after your 60’s, you go downhill at lightening speed!” Why is this?  We laughed at them, but all of a sudden, it’s not funny because it’s US! WHAT??? You mean they weren’t kidding? This blows. Seriously. But why does this happen? And why is it happening at earlier and earlier ages and cancers and diseases are afflicting younger and younger people, including infants, especially things like autism that once were unheard of?

After doing some reading and research and wanting some answers and help for myself (part of my problem IS spinal related and much of it inherited: osteoarthritis of the spine and hips, spinal stenosis, and degenerative disk disease), I have found some articles that are very much worth the read and quite eye-opening. Granted, type 2 diabetes can definitely be controlled with diet, but certain foods will definitely cause a spike in blood sugar that you can feel if you’re in tune with your body even a little bit! However, problems with food sensitivity/intolerance/allergy as well as multiple skin allergies have a lot to do with the world we live in and the toxins we are exposed to in conventional foods (MOST of them, but not all). I am not going to sit here and write it all out, but I am sharing with you links to some reading that everyone should read, especially if you want to regain control of your health and feel better again (and probably shed some weight in the process). I will get around to sharing recipes (and music… I was a music major in my past life and very much love to sing and play the piano as well as occasionally write music) within the next few days as I learn to navigate blogging and how to follow fellow bloggers!

1. Want to know just how toxic pesticides are in just very tiny amounts? Research published by the National Institutes of Health shows that common pesticides are far more toxic than is advertised! Check out this article to see what companies aren’t telling you. It is huge cause for concern!

2. Studies in Europe have brought to light that glyphosate is present in soil, ground water, surface water, air, and people in levels far higher than is allowed (glyphosate is the most widely used pesticide). This PDF is an extended read, but very enlightening.

3. It’s a misleading argument that finding chemicals coming through the urine means that ALL chemicals are coming out completely. Measurements show only what the body can excrete. There is an abundance of evidence that these toxins are being stored in the body as well. It should be of GREAT concern that conventional foods are increasing the toxic load! With all the chemicals floating around modern life, as well as the dramatic increase in pesticide use in the past decade, in particular Roundup (which is by far the worst), it would be ridiculous to think it is just all going through you without doing any harm at all. Roundup is LEGALLY classified as a BIOCIDE (a chemical substance or microorganism which can deter, render harmless, or exert a controlling effect on any harmful organism by chemical or biological means). It works partly by killing bacteria. Unfortunately, you have a LOT of useful bacteria in you that is at risk of getting killed off from exposure to Roundup. This slideshow is great at showing and explaining the lowdown on good bacteria that our guts need and what happens when it is disrupted by bad invaders from what we ingest. I believe in Creationism, so the evolution part towards the end is laughable to me. But this blog post is not about starting a debate on religion. It strictly is to inform so you can make wise decisions in your diet. Anyways, you are putting Roundup in your gut and it kills your intestinal bacteria which is essential for digestion and absorption. Urine samples do not show that effect!

4. Killing your essential bacteria has an effect of letting BAD bacteria thrive in you. HERE, we read how glyphosate suppresses the antagonistic effect of enterococcus spp. on clostridium botulinum. A lot of these pesticides are showing up as carcinogenic, which of course, is an action that doesn’t show up directly in the urine either. In this article here (which takes less than 2 minutes to register for The Lancet for free to have access to full articles and newsletters), it enlightens the readers about a meeting of experts at the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC; Lyon, France, March 2015) in assessing the carcinogenicity of the organophosphate pesticides, tetrachlorvinphos, parathion, malathion, diazinon, and glyphosate. Take the time to register and read!

5. Roundup also is a broad spectrum chelator which binds minerals in a way that makes them unusable by the body, despite the fact that they are technically “detectable” as present in the crops, which allows the industry to say “nutrients” are present without having to say that they are rendered useless to the body! Other problems are also being linked to Roundup and other glyphosate-based pesticides: Celiac disease and gluten intolerance. This is just a sample to show how all is not all rosy and wonderful with pesticides! The assertion that organic production uses more toxic stuff than conventional is a straight-up LIE. It is impossible to imagine how anyone in science or the chemical industry could maintain their self-respect while saying that it’s not. However, they do, in the face of over 30 years worth of mounting evidence to the contrary. The Rodale Institute itself reports AFTER a 30-year side-by-side comparison of conventional and organic “that organic systems match, or even outperform, conventional systems in terms of yield, profitability, and energy efficiency, while having positive effects on soil health, water quality, and rural communities.”

6. It may be true that SOME conventional foods are not so loaded with pesticides, but unless you really know what to choose, you can get yourself a major toxic load quite easily! Consumer Reports has a great article and video that shows how toxic conventional foods are and which you can safely eat after cleaning and which you should choose organic.

It’s best to truly do your homework/research on the subject of conventional vs. organic and not rely on skewed studies that are funded by the food or chemical industry with the intention of making themselves look good (and most often this is indirectly through educational institutions). If you are like me, your body is a clear indicator of whether or not the food you’ve ingested is organic or not within a very short amount of time! This was a fairly long read, but well worth the effort and reading time!