girl scouts gone healthy

Credit: Kimi Harris

I’ve never met Kimi Harris, a real food blogger, wife, and mother of three. Regardless, her writing and example have impacted my life in a significant way– after working through her e-course about two years ago, I better understand and see food, health, medicine, lifestyle choices, and even politics in a different light. Her e-course engendered my intense curiosity in health, which in turn led to a significant career decision to pursue nursing instead of music education (my intention since sixth grade). Since that course, I have loved reading her blog with all its helpful information and creative (and devilishly tasty) recipes. So it comes as no surprise that she has (once again) succeeded to make one of my all-time favorites in a healthful manner– thin mints, the Girl Scout cookie.

Even better, I’m making these for my dad’s birthday coming up. They are his favorite cookies too (he introduced me to them), but he has been trying to cut refined and artificial sugar out of his diet ever since he’s done some research (and patiently listened to me gab non-stop about the topic). I can’t wait to make and give these to him!!

Here’s the recipe. (I will probably make these with unbleached white flour, as he isn’t quite sold on the robust flavor of its whole, unrefined cousins. As for all the other ingredients, I will be using completely unrefined materials. Note that there are gluten and dairy free options as well.)

bone broth + a challenge

credit: Kimi Harris @ The Nourishing Gourmet

Bone broth is one of the healthiest foods you can make at home. It’s also one of the cheapest and easiest. It’s a superfood that does it all:  it assuages an irritated throat, nurses the sick back to health, helps aid healing for arthritis and inflammation, eases childbirth, and wakes up the fatigued (1). It also provides proline, glycine, and gelatin, essential nutrients that the body needs for healthy cartilage, bones, joints, skin, muscles, and a healthy digestive track, immune system, and heart. (2) It also contains other nutrients and minerals–like calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, silicon, sulphur, and other trace minerals–  in a form that the body can easily absorb. (1,4) As if it didn’t do enough, it also improves liver function (3), heals the mucus lining of the small intestine, improves digestion, dampers allergies, heals nerves, provides electrolytes in an absorbable form (4), and smoothes out cellulite and wrinkles. (5) Why, yes, you did read that correctly.

Not only is it nutritionally sound, it, by nature, provides that wonderfully warm sense of healing and comfort– it really is food that soothes the soul and welcomes the weary traveler home.

And it’s frugal. The bones used to make it are cheap to buy, but most bones found on the table are usually thrown away with the other table scraps. Also, save your onion skins, carrot and celery peels, and you don’t have to use up your vegetables stores to make the broth. If you do those things–keeping the bones and vegetable scraps–you’ll make the broth for the cost of the water and herbs (and your time and effort, if you want to be precise). Since the cost of those things are so small, you’re pretty much making it for free, since you’re using things you would usually throw away.

 

It’s healthy, frugal, and easy. Bone broth is probably the most hands-off thing to make in existence. Once the ingredients have been combined, the soon-to-be broth sits out of the way, minding its own business for 12-24 hours. (If you get ugly foam rising to the top, however, you will have to strain that off, since those are unappetizing impurities. But even then, you only strain the foam only once an hour for maybe the first two hours– that’s only twice!)

 

So, go. Make yourself some broth. Make yourself at home.

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a garden special: roasted radishes & sweet potatoes

Seven years ago, my brother started the prize of our family’s back yard– our garden. It started out as a tomato garden; then it became a vegetable garden, and now, it’s a vegetable garden with some strawberry neighbors (my addition). For six of those seven years, it was almost exclusively taken care of by my faithful brother, but I joined him this year in selecting the plants and weeding out the obnoxious trespassers. It’s been fun, and today, we reaped the first of our harvest.

Radishes. I love ’em. However, I’ve only had them raw, and I recently learned that not all raw vegetables are so hot (no pun intended) (why?). In a nut shell, radishes contain goitrogens which, when eaten in large amounts, can cause iodine deficiency, and thus seriously interfere with the thyroid’s functions. Most of the potentially harmful substances seem to be released while chewing a raw crucifer (a vegetable that contains the thyroid-inhibiting materials), so, while I was plucking this intimidating harvest of radishes, I decided to roast them. It just sounds right, don’t you think?

Just to keep things interesting, though, I decided to roast the radishes with potatoes (in case the radishes turned out to be disgusting, we could always pick them out and eat the old and faithful potatoes). But, apparently, my family ran out of potatoes a while ago, and we just had sweet potatoes. So I went with it, cringing. (Sweet potatoes and radishes!? Really??)

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peanut butter

Here’s a very quick side-track because I’ve been super busy & haven’t had a whole lot of time to write about what I’ve been up to.

So what have I been up to?

Trying, failing, trying again, failing again, trying desperately again, and finally succeeding to make a healthy peanut butter. (Oh, and about a thousand other things too.)

But about the pb. I have a confession: I absolutely love pb&j’s. I really, really do. I have, in fact, been known to eat them every day for two solid weeks– and I would have been perfectly content to continue the dietary habit if it weren’t for my mother’s gentle persuasion to pursue something more nutritionally sound.

Well, as I’ve matured and noticed the unnecessary additives and bothersome anti-nutrients in the humble ingredients of my beloved sandwich, I’ve felt the need to make a healthy alternative. Having acquired such an alternative, I would be able to enjoy my childhood favorite in peace.

And so the adventure began.

After four or five trials (with some almost-hits, some definite misses, and much prayer and supplication), I finally produced a characteristically sticky, creamy, all-around splendid peanut butter.

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GF Oat Pancakes

Confession: I love oats. A lot. I know they’re not as healthy as wheat (being higher in phytic acid [which I’ll talk about soon] and lower in vitamins), but I love them with childlike abandon. I often find myself reaching for the Quaker oatmeal cylinder with a secret smile on my face. (I’m not kidding.)

When I stayed with a friend (who avoids gluten) this summer, we enjoyed some fun oat pancakes one morning. They were a revelation. (No, really. To say they were amazing would be an understatement.) Ever since that morning, I’ve been bound and determined to make my own. So I did.

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