Shamrock Coconut-Chia Pudding

shamrock2

I created this recipe in honor of St. Patrick’s Day.  They have those Shamrock Shakes in season at McDonald’s this time of the year, which are kind of minty.  I think.  It’s been a while.  I had been looking at the unusually large bag of chia seeds which have been in my refrigerator for about a year, found myself with some ultra delicious full-fat canned coconut milk and voilà, recipe magic.

The green tint in this recipe comes this liquid chlorophyll which happens to be nature’s perfect green food coloring.  I feel like it is a job well done when a serving of vegetables is included in an otherwise “eh” meal.  The greener the better.  Chlorophyll has a ton of health benefits.  It assists the liver in detoxification, binds to heavy metals and other toxins to remove them from the body, is anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, antibacterial and anti-fungal.   It is also beneficial for healing the gut and is an antioxidant, which means it protects against disease.  Suffice to say I am pleased to add a little chlorophyll to my children’s diet.

I’ve been loosely attempting to do a Whole 30 diet the past few weeks.  After a miscarriage, my diet and hormones were out of whack and I needed a clean-up, pronto.  I ended up going to Whole Foods and leaving with $30 worth of full-fat canned coconut milk.  Not the gray tinged gross Thai Kitchen kind, but the delicious, sweet and creamy amazing kind, like Native Forest.  I think I may be able to eat the whole can with a spoon, before I fall into a coma of healthy-fat overdose.  I realize that a lot of us are still programmed to fear the word “fat.”  I have done a lot of experimenting with diet in the last few years and I can assure you, healthy fats are our friends.  Unless you overdo it, dietary fat will not turn into bodily fat.  Studies have shown that healthy fats actually help burn stored fat!  It provides more energy per calorie than protein or carbs.  Give me fat over bread any day, please!

Benefits of a high fat diet include:

  • Better nutrient absorption.  The body needs fats to absorb vitamins.
  • Reduction in cravings because it is satiating, making it less hard to over eat.
  • Improves skin, eye and brain health.

Did you know that cholesterol is needed for proper brain and nerve function?  Many purport the increase in Dementia and Alzheimer’s is due to the popularity of a low-fat diet over the last few decades.  Eat your healthy fats!!!

As I mentioned earlier, this recipe also contains chia seeds.  When mixed with liquid, the soluble fiber in the chia seeds creates a gel-like mixture.  It reminds me a little of tapioca pudding. Chia seeds are a source of many vitamins and minerals including calcium, zinc and potassium, to name a few.  They are a strong antioxidant, can reduce inflammation and are a great source of protein.

All of the ingredients in this treat are super awesome, so indulge without guilt.  Let me know how you like it!

Try this healthy, minty, creamy and delicious treat today!

 


 

Shamrock Coconut-Chia Pudding – Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 can full-fat Native Forest coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1 teaspoon liquid chlorophyll
  • 1 drop Peppermint essential oil

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well to combine.
  2. Refrigerate for 12 hours, allowing chia seeds time to absorb liquid.
  3. Enjoy!

 

Sources:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22038065

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14690798

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25650669

http://authoritynutrition.com/11-proven-health-benefits-of-chia-seeds/

http://draxe.com/chia-seeds-benefits-side-effects/

http://www.livestrong.com/article/409614-the-health-benefits-of-coconut-milk/

http://www.askdrsears.com/topics/feeding-eating/family-nutrition/facts-about-fats/why-you-need-fats

http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/fats-full-story/

Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing (Gluten-Free)

pancake header

My kids love pancakes.  I love pancakes too, simply because I can hide fruit or veggies without the kids knowing its there.  When we had to go gluten-free last summer due to allergies, we sadly stopped eating pancakes.  Our breakfast routine became really boring – eggs and sausage, eggs and bacon, repeat.  My 6-year-old doesn’t even like eggs anymore because I’ve made them way too many times.

On a recent shopping trip at Costco, I got really excited when I saw this gluten-free flour mix.  I grabbed it with Christmas cookies in mind, which turned out amazing.  I’ve found this is a perfect replacement for standard all-purpose flour and therefore the glorious pancake has returned to our breakfast menu!

Amazing gluten-free flour blend!

I keep preparing vegetables for dinner, wondering if this will be the time my kids decide they like it and eat it all.  It is never that time.  So the other morning I had a surplus of steamed carrots in my refrigerator and decided to try out a carrot cake pancake and get them to eat all the carrots.  Thank God for food processors which enable me to get away with my sneaky health-food-mongering.

I feel like I hit the jackpot with this recipe, only because the taste of the cinnamon plus the cream cheese icing tastes like a freakin’ Cinnabon!  A healthy Cinnabon, are you kidding me.  Heaven has arrived on Earth.  It may just be my pregnancy talking, but anything that is clean, real food and tastes like a Cinnabon is worth making weekly.  My kids really enjoy this breakfast treat, and I hope your family will too!

cakes


Carrot Cake Pancakes with Cream Cheese Icing (Gluten-Free) recipe

This recipe makes 15-20 pancakes.

Ingredients for the pancakes:
1 cup steamed carrots
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup almond milk (or milk of choice)
2 tbsp coconut oil (or grass-fed butter)
1 heaping cup of flour.  I used this gluten-free blend, it’s amazing!
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon, plus more to sprinkle on finished pancakes
1/8 tsp nutmeg
4 tbsp coconut palm sugar (I like this brand)

Ingredients for the icing:
3 oz. cream cheese
2 tbsp raw, local honey
a splash of warm water

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients for the pancakes in a food processor.  Blend until smooth.
  2. Spoon batter onto a heated and greased pan.  Flip once the bottom edges begin to look cooked.  These pancakes are rather thick so press down on the cooked side with the spatula to help cook the inside of the pancake.
  3. To make the icing, place cream cheese in a bowl and blend with a fork until it becomes soft.  Add honey and blend thoroughly.  Add warm water and blend to desired consistency.
  4. Enjoy!

Juicing Keeps My Kids Healthy

juicing

My son has not missed a day of school for illness this year.  I can’t believe I can actually say that!

You see, my six-year-old has been prone to getting sick at least once every two weeks.  Colds, coughs, throw-up… what ever was going around daycare or kindergarten, he was sure to catch it.  He had been this way since he was an infant.  When I was a working mom, I would use up all my vacation hours because he was always sick.  And by this time last year, he had missed at least 5 days of school due to illness.  It was pretty awful… helplessly caring for a constantly sick child.  I am thrilled to say that this year he has been healthy all fall!

What are we doing different?

This year we have been doing a few things which I can say have helped us all stay well.  Diffusing a ton of Thieves Oil, eliminating foods like gluten and soy which we finally determined he was allergic to, and getting a lot of fresh veggies and fruits in our diets are a few.  What a pain the last one can be.

Getting my kids to eat fruits and veggies is borderline impossible.  Especially if your kid has texture issues like my 6-year-old does.  He will eat blackberries and tomatoes willingly.  Everything else is a battle.  And some things, like squash, I’ve learned the hard way to avoid completely.  A plate or two of throw up will make you learn real fast.  I get tired of forcing my child to eat healthy.  But friends, I have found a solution to his fruit and veggie-void diet.  There is a way to get a ton of fruits and veggies in his diet without a fight, and I have made sure to do this every few days…

Juicing!

Who doesn’t love a refreshing and tasty juice made from only fresh ingredients?  Recently, the folks over at Williams-Sonoma invited me to participate in their Juicing Initiative.  We’ve had such a beneficial experience with juicing this fall, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share this with you all.  Sometimes juicing can get boring if I get into a recipe rut, or if I get a little over-zealous (anyone noticing how this is becoming a repeating theme with me?) with my recipes and make a terrible recipe combo.  Thankfully, Williams-Sonoma has compiled a panel of juice experts to share a rainbow of tasty recipes.  Check out their page here.  My kids and I head over to their site, view the beautiful rainbow of juice glasses, choose a color and then try out that recipe.  It’s been fun, delicious and best of all, nutritious!

Can you imagine getting your child to eat a meal with kale, apples, lemons, cucumbers and parsley in it?  Juicing can do that!  I am a huge believer that nutrition is our #1 tool to prevent illness and disease.  I tend to stress when my kids don’t eat enough (or any) fresh fruits and veggies, but juicing has been a great way to resolve my problems.

Most days we make our fresh juice after school when we have ample time, as opposed to first thing in the morning.  It can take a bit of time to wash and cut up everything we need for a recipe, and I like to let my kids drink their juice while relaxing.  This way the juice will take the place of a less healthy snack, which is a double win in my opinion.

Over the course of time, I have learned some tips that made juicing much more appealing for my kids.

  1. Keep the recipes simple at first.  Keep it under 5 ingredients.  Give your kids time to get used to this naturally sweet tasting juice.  It is much less sweet than the store-bought kind which is typically loaded with extra sugar.  Try a little more fruit than veggies at first.  I have found that adding an extra apple can turn a rejected juice into a tasty winner.
  2. Strain out any pulp.  We use this model of juicer which keeps most of the pulp out, however some “froth” gets through and I strain that out with a metal strainer.  My son started liking juice a lot more after I began this practice.  I know fiber is really important part of the fruit or veggie and I would prefer my kids enjoyed a little pulp, but they don’t.  So I strain and they drink!
  3. Don’t juice everyday.  As much as I would love to juice at every meal, I don’t.  People get tired of eating the same thing every day, and this is especially so with my kids.  This is kind of like an ace in my pocket, I don’t want to blow the whole operation by over-doing it.  We juice once every two or three days and they are still enjoying it.  (I still get excited that my kids are enjoying drinking fruits and veggies!)

Our favorite juice recipe.

This is an easy and palatable recipe that even a toddler can enjoy.  If your child is a fanatic of the color green like mine is, then this recipe is also for you.

If you are wary about the taste, try first making it without the romaine and then slowly add it in as you repeat this recipe.  You can also reduce the amount of celery if you find the taste is too strong.

Ingredients:

  • 2 medium-sized apples, cored.  (Don’t juice the core.  Apple seeds contain a cyanide compound.)  I use a red variety like Fuji because it is sweet.
  • 1 lemon, peeled
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1/2 a head of celery
  • 4-5 stalks of romaine lettuce

Directions:

  1. Throw the ingredients through the juicer.  I do it in this order:  apple, lemon, celery, lettuce, cucumber.
  2. Strain if needed, and enjoy!

Don’t have a juicer?  Williams-Sonoma has a large selection of great juicers which you can check out here with many informative user reviews.  I actually bought my juicer from a different retailer a few years ago, but I have found that Williams-Sonoma has prices comparable with even Amazon.

Do you have a favorite juice recipe?  Please share it in the comments below!

Happy juicing, and we wish you and your family the best health in the approaching winter!

Juicing keeps my kids healthy

 

This is not a paid post.  All opinions are my own!