Best Smoothie Making Tips

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smoothieTop Tips For Making A Delicious Smoothie  (Island Smoothie Recipe Below)

Now that the season of overeating all those tasty, but typically not-so-healthy treats is over, it’s time to re-energize our body with tasty and healthy treats….a yummy, energy and nutrient dense smoothie.

How to create a truly delicious smoothie:

1.  Throwing a bit of this and some of that into a blender may make a smoothie, but taste is really important, so make sure that to every cup of greens you’re going to use, add 1 ½ cups of fruit.

Greens to choose from: Spinach, Kale, Collards, Romaine (use 1 cup (tightly packed) greens for each serving)

Liquids to choose from: Water, Milk, Almond Milk, Rice Milk, Coconut Milk (use 1 cup of liquid for each serving)

Fruits to choose from: Berries, Mangos, Bananas, Peaches, Pears, Apples, Avocados, Grapes, Pineapple (use 1 ½ cups of fruit for each serving)

Additions (optional, and to taste): Spices (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg), Protein Powder, Nut Butter  Continue reading

2.  The order in which you blend things will determine whether you end up with something lumpy-bumpy or smooth and yummy. Follow these steps and you’ll be a smoothie-master in no time:

  • Step 1: Blend Greens with Liquid until smooth
  • Step 2: Add Fruit & optional Additions, and blend again til smooth

Note: Some of the Fruit or Greens can be frozen to make a chilled smoothie. (No need to defrost them…just toss into your blender straight from the freezer following the Steps above)

Also, using frozen fruit instead of ice will enhance the thickness and pleasant mouth-feel of the finished smoothie, not to mention better taste.

3.  Instead of using sweeteners, try using sweet fruits, such as bananas, dates (pitted), figs or mango to kick up the sweet factor in your smoothie.

4.  If you’re really pressed for time in the mornings, make your smoothies the night before and store, with a well-fitting cover, in the fridge. In the morning, pour your smoothie into your travel mug, and you’re on your way!

Island Smoothie Recipe (one of my fave’s!):

Serves 1

  • 1 cup fresh Spinach leaves
  • 1 cup Coconut Milk
  • ½ cup Mango chunks
  • ½ cup Pineapple chunks
  • 1 banana
  • pinch of cinnamon

Blend following the Steps above.

Do you have a favorite smoothie recipe?  Post in the comments, and Thanks for reading.

 

 

Scrumptious Gluten Free Coconut-Vanilla Cupcakes

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vancupI had a hankering for something sweet, but not chocolate.  I know, right?  I must have lost my mind…no chocolate?!  Banish the thought!  But there I was, in the middle of my kitchen, my tastebuds fully in control of my brain – desiring something a bit sweet, definitely fluffy (which ruled out cookies or brownies), and it had to be light (not dark, gooey, and decadent as per usual).

Cupcakes…Vanilla Cupcakes…fluffy little sweet pillows from heaven.  Then I was looking through my recipes (yes, I still keep recipes from days long gone – just in case.  In case of what I don’t know.  The internet blows up?  Who knows.)

I stumbled upon an old recipe my sweet grandma used to use when I was a wee widdle one.  Of course it called for regular flour and cows milk – both easily “fixable”.  And lots of sugar – another pretty easy fix (reduce, reduce, reduce).

Voila! My tastebuds were dancing with anticipation as if the lottery numbers were being read, and each was a match to the ticket I held in my hand.

Continue reading

These are delicious, moist, well-crumbed cupcakes, that fluff up like magic for any type of frosting delicacy that you’d like.  (I didn’t frost mine tonight – I know, right?  Shame on me!)  But they’re so delicious, that if you want something sweet, but not cra-cra over the top sweet, they’ll fit the bill perfectly.  If you want them really sweet, add more sugar to the batter, or frost them to your heart’s delight (and you can even fill them!)

Makes 10-12, depending on how much batter you pour into each cupcake liner.

 

Prep:

  • Melt the butter and let it come back to room  temperature.
  • Get eggs out to come to room temperature.
  • Measure Coconut Milk and let come to room temperature.
  • Line cupcake pan with liners.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees (or if you prefer, preheat oven to 325 and cook the cupcakes a bit longer than called for here)

 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups Gluten Free All-Purpose Flour (I recommend using a mix that already has the Xanthum Gum added to it)
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt (reduce this if you’re using salted butter)
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), preferably unsalted, melted and at room temp
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can use white sugar instead, or you can use more sugar if you’d like the cupcakes to be sweeter.  You can use alternative sweeteners, if you prefer – though check conversion  measurements)
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten and at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure Vanilla Extract (use gf if you have gluten sensitivities)
  • 3/4 cup Coconut Milk at room temperature

 

Directions:

  1. In a medium size bowl, whisk together gf flour, baking powder, baking soda, and sea salt. Set aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix butter with sugar until well combined, about 1 minute.
  3. With the mixer running, add the beaten eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla, mixing 30 seconds after each addition.
  4. Reduce mixer speed and slowly add about half of the flour mixture. Then add half the milk, then the rest of the flour mix and the rest of the milk. Mix until just combined and smooth (don’t overmix), scraping down the sides of the mixing bowl as needed. The batter should be thin.
  5. Pour batter into the lined cupcake pan. Fill each to about ½ full.
  6. Bake for 12 -14 minutes at 350°F, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. (Mine took just under 14 minutes)
  7. Remove from oven, let them cool in the pan for a couple minutes, then remove them to a cooling rack.
  8. They’re done and ready to dive into unless you want to frost them.  Let them cool to room temp before frosting so your frosting doesn’t run down the sides.

 

What frosting would you choose for these?  Leave your comments below, and thanks for reading!

 

 

Apple Pie Spice Mix Recipe

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Make This Yourself

Easy to make and you can use this in coffee, on coffee cakes, add to your basic muffin mix…oh, and let’s not forget, Apple Pie!

 

 

Apple Pie Spice Mix

  • 1/2 c. ground Cinnamon
  • 2 Tbps. ground Allspice
  • 4 tsp. ground Nutmeg (if using fresh, cut this down a bit, so it doesn’t overpower the other spices)
  • 4 tsp. ground dried Ginger
  • 1 tsp. ground Cardamom (optional, though I like the extra depth of flavor it gives)

 

Mix all the above together well, and store in an airtight container.

Do you use this mix for something special?  Leave and comment, and thanks for reading!

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe

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Make This Yourself

Make This Yourself

This is so easy to make, and is very versatile to use as well.  Besides using in making pumpkin pies (yum), you can use this recipe for scrumptious pumpkin latte’s, great tasting pumpkin bread, luscious pumpkin ice cream…you name it!

Do you have a special way of using this spice mix?  Leave a comment and thanks for reading!

 

Pumpkin Pie Spice Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Allspice
  • 2 Tbps. Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp. ground dried Ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground Nutmeg

 

Mix all the above together, and store in an airtight container.

The recipe can be doubled or tripled.

Vitamin D – Are You D-ficient?

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Important Things To Know About Vitamin D:

Vitamin D and You

What Vitamin D is:

  • It’s not really even a vitamin – it’s a hormone in the end.
  • Mammals (such as us) make it in our body from sun
  • Vitamin D is vital for the health of every body.
  • light exposure.
  • Northerners even developed fair skin with less melanin, which maximized their ability to produce vitamin D from less sunlight than those living closer to the equator.

What Vitamin D Does:

  • It regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate in the bloodstream.
  • It promotes strong, healthy bones.
  • It plays a HUGE role in the body’s immune system response for defense against infections, bacteria, and other nasties.
  • It reduces systemic, chronic inflammation.
    It plays a potential role in decreasing the risk of various types of cancers.
  • It has been shown to reduce osteoporosis.
  • It plays important roles in making sure your heart, brain, lungs, immune system, muscles, organs – and pretty much everything in your body – works well.
  • A lack of Vitamin D has been shown to be linked to a number of health issues, including: heart disease, various cancers, diabetes, auto-immune diseases, gout, chronic fatigue, Parkinson’s, poor dental health, Alzheimer’s, dementia, schizophrenia, fibromyalgia, MS, asthma, hypertension, glucose intolerance.

Where Does Vitamin D Come From:

  • Sunlight is what provides our body with Vitamin D.
  • If you don’t get enough daily sunlight exposure, then supplementation would be an alternative.
  • Foods alone provide very small amounts, usually not nearly enough Vitamin D for a healthy body.

Continue reading

Suki Update

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Suki2Suki turned 15 years old!

People are asking more often about Suki…”how is he?”  “he looks great for his age” “does he sleep alot these days?”

Not that folks weren’t interested in Suki pre-15th birthday mind you.  Some days you’d think he was a rock-star, especially if he wasn’t with me at the time.  Lots of inquiries.  “is he ok?”  “did something happen?”  “oh, thank goodness that he’s ok”, “he’s just home?”, “sleeping?”, “how old is he again?”  Clients, neighbors, friends, you name it, all cheering him on.  Suki has a very special place in the hearts of those who know him, as do all the 4-legged little angels that share our lives.

Continue reading

He just got groomed this morning, and he’s looking super-spiffy.  Those big brown eyes are now clear of the bangs that were partially blocking his “view”.  And if his eyes could see better, he’d be seeing the whole world today.Suki loves it when he gets all trimmed and primped.  He’s proud as a peacock walking around, with a big smile on his face…patiently waiting for his requisite treat, while I schedule his next appointment with the groomer.

Make that 2 treats…and if he keeps milling around?  Yeah, 3 treats…I’m a sucker for a cutie pie (inside joke for those who’ve known me for years).

He’s sleeping now.  It’s lunch time and until the scents of food reach his nostrils, he’s out like a light.  But even at 15 years old, when he smells food, there’s no arthritis in his leg, or weak heart, keeping him from getting up to check things out (not to mention supervise every move I make in the kitchen, as if he’s Mr. Miagi teaching Emeril Jr. or something to “wax on, wax off”)

Chicken – check.  Broccoli – check.  Kale (yes, Kale) – check.  Green beans – yummy – check check!  Suki has always had quite the fondness for eating real food.  (And, no, he’s not a bit spoiled, either!)   😉

I think Suki has had maybe 2 cans of dogfood…in his entire life.  (Yeah, before you get in line to come back as my dog, just know that I have position #1 on that, lol!)

Two home cooked meals every day for 15 years.  Some have said that Suki eats better than I do…and I’d have to certainly agree, especially some days, when my tastes go toward foods that are, let’s say, less than ideal for good human health.

His energy levels have been slowly declining, with his major energy burst these days being in the morning.  The typical morning is: wake up, find out where mom is…uh oh, she moved…find where she is now.  Wait for the leash.  Yey, it’s walk time!!!!  (He may even do a hop-skip-jump to celebrate).

Ok, out the door we go.  Pee on something…pee on next thing….pee A LOT on that thing.  Sniff…and sometimes sniff for minutes at a time (what the heck could be so dang interesting to sniff for that long?!).  That was a rhetorical question, btw.

Do his business.  Kick a bunch of sand everywhere. (Sometimes more sand lands on my feet than on his business, if I’m not paying close enough attention that early in the morning.)   Have I mentioned that it’s early and I’ve not yet had my coffee…..?

And the further into our (short) walk, the slower he goes, even in the mornings.  His precious heart just can’t handle more than limited stimulation these days, not to mention Suki wanting to savor every last sniff and pee along the way.

Back to the house (finally!!) and then a treat.  How do I know this?  Because he waits patiently until I remember that I’ve forgotten (once again) to give him his requisite treat after his walk.  (Some mornings call for a large coffee, right?)

He eats a hearty, home cooked breakfast, then we play a bit (fetch, tug-a-war with the 2 teeth he has left to tug with)…and then he naps.  And naps, and naps.

During the day he’ll go out to pee a few times…then more treats…then more napping.

Dinner is served promptly when his tummy calls for it.  Another short walk in the evening to make sure he does his business before going to bed – but equally important, Suki makes sure to update all the places he peed on earlier to let his “4-legged friends” know that he’s been ’round again

He dreams while he sleeps. I hope they’re happy dreams, like him swimming with me in the ocean, then floating on my chest when he gets tired.  Or flirting with the “new girl” in the neighborhood.  He’s totally cute when he does his “prancy-dance”, where he prances and dances to show off for the cute gals he meets along his path.

Suki’s a precious soul, with a beautiful (and sometimes mischevious) smile, and those big brown eyes.  Though his body struggles more and more to keep up with “him”, Suki is determined to live as much of today as he possibly can (which is really all we can all do, right?)

I think a nap is sounding good right now…

Stay Cool Tomato Salad

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Tomato SaladThis is so easy and tasty – a perfect salad for hot summer days.

Serves 1-2

 

 

Ingredients:

1 large tomato, cut into 1″ chunks

1/2 cucumber, cut into 1/4″ slices, then quarter the slices

2-3 radishes, cut into small chunks

Dressing of choice, to taste (Italian and Vinaigrettes work well) Continue reading

Directions:

Cut and place vegetables into serving dish.

Sprinkle dressing over the top.  (Less is more)

Add a small pinch of salt & pepper, if you desire.

Mix gently, and serve.

Enjoy!

 

Suki – Two Weeks Into the Transition

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Suki2I have to begin this post with a heartfelt Thank You to everyone who has been praying, and sending positive energy, and encouragement to Suki and I.  I’m deeply touched that Suki and I are surrounded by such wonderful people!

It’s been two weeks since I began transitioning him over to homeopathic and natural remedies.

I’m excited to report that I’ve noticed some definite improvements.  Within the first few days, I noticed Continue reading

that Suki has more energy, and that has continued. His cute pink tongue is a more healthy shade of pink these days too, rather than the lighter, paler color that it had been over these past months.

He still sleeps many hours, which I suppose is to be expected for a dog that is around 98 years old in human years.  Most people are very surprised to hear that he is 14 when we stop along our walks to socialize with neighbors and their dogs.

Things I’ve been watching (for) very closely are his breathing, the syncope (weakness and fainting), and a dry, unproductive cough, which, for Suki, sounds more like he has something stuck in his throat.  The syncope has lessened dramatically, although still shows itself a little bit now and again.

Suki’s breathing has been very good overall, even with increased walking distance.  The holistic vet recommended that Suki get out and walk regularly, which is quite the contrast to what the allopathic vets have recommended.  I’m to watch carefully for symptoms, so while Suki and I have been walking a bit further, I cautiously observe him to see that he’s doing well.

The dry, unproductive cough has arisen 2 or 3 times, though I’m unsure if it was a “symptom” or just that he was cleaning himself and actually had a hair in his throat.  Each time it was very brief, and then abated.  For the time being, I’m going with him having had a hair in his throat, while yet keeping a very close eye on him.

Now that we’ve built up Suki’s system somewhat, it’s time to very slowly, and very cautiously, begin reducing the meds, bit by bit.  I will continue keeping an ever-watchful eye on my sweet li’l one.  (Some days I wish he was able to speak english)  

Thank you for your continued prayers and encouragement.  They mean the world to us both.  I will post another update shortly.

Stove-top Roasted Vegetables

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Stove-top Roasted Vegetables

Roasting vegetables brings out their sweet, earthy flavors.  The brussel sprouts take on a mellow flavor very unlike the way they taste when boiled.

The carmelized onions and the ground black pepper make this dish really tasty.

Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 lb fresh green beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 lb fresh brussel sprouts, rinsed
  • 1 ear corn, shucked and rinsed
  • 1/2 med onion, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp good olive oil
  • pinch of salt & pepper (to taste)
  • pinch fresh thyme (or dried is fine too)
  • pinch garlic powder Continue reading

Suki – Beginning the Transition

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Suki1Some of you know that my dearest li’l one, Suki, has leaky valves in his heart. He’s 14 years old, he is stable, and has been on meds since late last year. Due to side effects from the meds, I have consulted with a holistic veterinarian to see what the complimentary options are to allopathic drugs. 

We’ve thoroughly discussed all aspects of “Suki”, and are slowly Continue reading

building him up on homeopathic remedies that will strengthen Suki’s system. The vet has had really good results with these remedies. My goal is to provide for my little guy the best quality of life and enjoyment for the time he has left in his precious body.

One of the things I’ve noticed over the past 2 days, is that he has a bit more energy…he’s looking for a bit more attention, and playing more often.

I’m a big believer in “the body is designed to heal”, given the proper support. And while I’m not against allopathic medicine (it saved my life many years ago), I’m all for utilizing natural substances that support the body’s innate healing abilities.

I’ll keep you all posted as we move forward along this path.

Natural Bug Repellent

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Natural Bug RepellentI’m often asked “Why don’t those pesky bugs bite you, Sandy?”

My reply is Vitamin B1.  By taking B1 on a daily basis, the bugs may circle you, but they won’t bite.  This includes mosquitos, flys, gnats, no-seeums, etc.

Vitamin B1 – Thiamin, is a water soluble vitamin, which means your body does not store it.  So no worries of it building up in your system.

According to The University of Maryland Medical Center, Thiamin is important for converting the carbohydrates that we eat into fuel for our body to run on.  It also strengthens the immune system, and the B Vitamins in general are known as “anti-stress” vitamins.

And for me, one of the best benefits of B1 is Continue reading

that I no longer get bit by mosquitos and such, because I no longer have “sweet blood”, as it’s called.

How I did it:  Start by taking 1 50mg capsule 3 times a day for a few days, and then reduce the dosage over the next few days to 1 capsule 2 times a day, then to 1 capsule per day.  You’ll notice after a few days to a week of regular usage that bugs will still come around you, but they will bite you less and less.

Stay at 1 50mg capsule per day as long as the bugs continue not to bite.  If you miss a day, no worries.  If you miss multiple days, you may want to then take 1 capsule 2 times a day for 2 days to rebuild the repellant action.  Then return to 1 capsule per day.

Also, Mint repels many bugs, including the ones that like to bite.  Mint also repels rats, but that’s another post altogether.

How I do it:  Always plant mint in pots in areas where it can take over.  Mint can quickly become invasive in some areas.  Check with your local garden supply to make sure.

Plant mint(s), there are lots of varieties, in pots, and group the pots in areas where you like to be that you do not want the bugs to be.

Citronella is another good bug-repellant plant.  It is one of the main ingredients in mosquito repellents.

Marigolds also repel bugs.  They contain pyrethrum, which is found in many insect repellents.

Eat Better And You’ll Live Better

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Natural FoodAccording to The World’s Healthiest Foods, to ensure we get the RDA of all the vitamins & minerals our body needs, our daily intake of the following food groups should be:

6 servings of Vegetables
4 servings of Fruit
2-3 servings of Whole Grains
2-3 servings of High-Calcium Foods

plus during the course of each week we should have the following:

5 servings of Beans (Legumes: Black Beans, Kidney Beans, etc.)
5 servings of Nuts and/or Seeds
3 servings of Fish (including Pacific Salmon & Albacore Tuna)

This sounds like a lot of food, until you take a look at the serving sizes: Continue reading

For Vegeys & Fruits, the following Serving Sizes apply:
1/2 cup Chopped, Cooked, or Raw
1/2 cup Juice
1 cup Raw Greens
1 Medium Piece of Fruit

A Serving of Beans (Legumes) is 1/2 cup cooked

A Serving of Nuts is 2 Tablespoons

3 ounces of cooked Fish is 1 Serving

For Whole Grains a serving is:
1 Slice Whole Wheat Bread (100% Whole Wheat)
1/2 cup Brown Rice (no, the white stuff doesn’t count)
1 cup of Whole Wheat Pasta (or other Whole Grain Pasta)

A High-Calcium Food Serving is:
1 cup low-fat Milk, Yogurt, or Cottage Cheese
1 ounce Reduced Fat Cheese

Eating 3 meals a day, plus 1-2 nutritious snacks would easily cover the recommendations.

For more information on which foods provide the most nutrition per serving, visit The World’s Healthiest Foods at http://www.whfoods.com.  They also have a variety of easy & tasty recipes, simple yet nutritious menus, healthy cooking tips, and much more.

I would enjoy your feedback and wish you THE BEST of HEALTH.

Live Life Fully,

Sandy