Vegetarian, Gluten-free Gravy!

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How, on earth? Vegetarian and gluten-free gravy? You heard me correctly. I’ve been using this recipe for the past few years and it has been a fan favorite. Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients

3 tbs of butter (you could use your choice of oil for a vegan recipe!)

2 tbs of finely chopped onions

2 minced garlic cloves

3-4 tbs of oat flour (if you don’t care about the gluten, whole wheat flour will do!)

1 tbs of soy sauce

1 1/4 cup of vegetable broth

1 pinch of salt (optional)

Instructions

Saute the onions and garlic until golden in a saucepan (or pot will work too) with butter (or oil). Once golden, add vegetable water and soy sauce, stir, then directly stir in the flour bit by bit with a whisk to avoid clumping. If you like your gravy thin then put less oat flour, if you like it thick then the full measurement will do. You may need to add more water, soy sauce, etc. until you get the consistency and taste that you prefer. Some black pepper added to it is delicious, too! Enjoy.

Why I’m Currently Obsessed with Coconut Oil!

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In a recent post I discussed the benefits of oil pulling with coconut oil. Here I will discuss the benefits I’ve experienced from pulling and the benefits from adding coconut oil to my diet.

So, I wake up in the morning, swish my mouth quickly with water then begin pulling about one tablespoon of coconut oil (I really like Nutiva coconut oil) as I dry bush. It hasn’t noticeably whitened my teeth–but I believe that is because I like my morning Early Grey and a post-surf coffee everyday. However, it has shown some significant positive effects in other ways.

Benefits I’ve Experienced from Oil Pulling with Coconut Oil:

1. It has completely diminished all my tooth pain. I had some exposed nerves from receding gums, which bothered me from time to time, but that has completely gone away. I also had some undetermined pain in one of my molars, which I thought perhaps was a previously-filled cavity that had lost a piece of filling, but since pulling it hasn’t bothered me since. (Note: when I say bothered, I mean I couldn’t chew on that side of my mouth and was extremely sensitive to temperature).

2. My teeth are silky smooth. I don’t have any plaque build up–which is great when I’m too lazy for a thorough brushing.

3. My lips never need moisturizing as the oil does it for me!

4. My skin is better. When I first started pulling, I had a few breakouts then they all just went away. Now I only have the very occasional menstrual breakout–if even. The pulling brought out all the bad stuff and got rid of it.

5. All mouth sores, such as canker sores or bit lips, heal very quickly with pulling and offer relief from the pain until healed. As the pulling did with my skin, at first I had three breakouts of canker sores in my mouth for about three days, then they went away and I haven’t had any since–again the pulling brought out the bad stuff and killed it.

Benefits I’ve Experienced from Adding Coconut Oil to my Daily Diet!

Photo from Paleoista.com

Photo from Paleoista.com

Coconut oil has been coined a superfood for a plethora of reasons. I stumbled upon this article: “Coconut Oil Coffee, Blended not stirred…the secret!” Now, I bet you’re thinking, “Ew, oil in my coffee?” My husband still turns his nose up when he sees me add it to my coffee. In fact, people have been putting natural butter in their coffee as well–the Wellness Mama adds both!

Before I begin: I don’t blend mine as I’m afraid of putting hot beverages in my blender, so I put mine in a tumbler then shake it fairly well, making it equally nice and frothy. Or, you can poor from one cup to another cup, back and forth repeatedly 4-5 times. 

1. After a cup of coconut oil coffee, I definitely notice an increase in energy and a significant improvement in my mood! This is very important for me, because as an English as a Second Language phone tutor who teaches back-to-back classes for five to six hours, with approximately 15-20 students/classes as my full-time job with often no breaks for a snack or lunch, I need something to keep me upbeat and cheerful on the phone with my students.

2. As for the no break for a snack or lunch bit, another positive effect is that it suppresses appetite.

3. It tastes yummy! But if you’re not a fan of flavoured coffee, it may take some getting used to!

 

For more/different ways to add coconut oil to your diet check out these tips from the Wellness Mama!

For a list of the why coconut oil is being coined a superfood check out these links:

The Wellness Mama

Organic Facts

Authority Nutrition

For a list of other uses of coconut oil:

The Wellness Mama

Mercola Health Website 

 

Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pie!

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This is actually a super simple recipe–if you don’t mind roasting your own pumpkin, that is. I opted for a graham cracker crust so I could have a gluten-free crust. It makes for a much richer pie!

Gluten -free Pumpkin Pie

Gluten -free Pumpkin Pie

Instructions

Crust

1. 2 cups of gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (I like  Schar Honeygrams™ Gluten Free, I buy them from Safeway, so they should be found at most grocery stores in the baking aisle. I didn’t see crumbs though, so you’ll have to process the crackers into crumbs.)

2. 1/2 cup (1 stick) melted butter

3. 1/3 cup brown sugar (organic cane sugar is good too!)

Instructions

1.As you let the butter cool, you can process the graham crackers in a food processor or, I  just use, a coffee grinder. It may stick to the sides in a paste, but just scrape it off and fluff it up in the bowl with the rest of the crumbs, you’ll see it’s still dry, it just compacted together as it’s so finely ground. OR, you can crush and pound them with your hands while still in the packets.

2. Combine the butter, sugar and graham cracker crumbs together, mixing with a fork until a crumbly.

3. Pour onto (approx.) nine-inch pie plate. Use the bottom of a cup or glass, or large spoon, to press the mix over the bottom and up the sides of the plate. 

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Gluten-free Pumpkin Pie dressed with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream by Haagen-Dazs.

4. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. (Don’t go over time!!)

Pie Filling

1. One half of a roasted pie pumpkin. You could use canned pumpkin (15 oz), but make sure it has one ingredient: pumpkin. Nothing is more rewarding, however, than roasting your own pumpkin! It’s so fresh, healthy and delicious.

2. 3/4 cup of brown sugar (organic cane sugar is good too!)

3. 2 1/2 teaspoons of Pumpkin Pie Spice (OR 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/4 ground cloves, 1/4 nutmeg)

4. 1/2 teaspoon salt

5. 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

6. two eggs, beaten

7. 1 cup half and half (or 2% milk), soured with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice. (no evaporated milk needed!)

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 425.

2. Peel the skin off your roasted pumpkin and plop half of it in a blender.

3. Before blending, add cream, eggs and vanilla. Blend until smooth.

4. Pour mixed ingredients into mixing bowl, and add sugar, salt and spices. Stir with rubber spatula.

5. Pour final mixture over pie crust slowly (you don’t want it to overflow!), you can also use a big ladle for more control.

6. Bake for 15 minutes at 425, then reduce heat to 350, and back for another 40-50 minutes until knife or fork comes out clean (if it isn’t quite clean, that’s okay!).

7. Let chill in the open air for an hour or so before serving. Or, I like to refrigerate overnight. Serve with some vanilla ice cream! I like Haagen-Dazs’s Vanilla Bean because they use the simplest ingredients.

Happy Thanksgiving! ~Namaste

Why I started jogging again!

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It has been just over one year since I fractured my patella (kneecap). One year and roughly four months ago, actually. My kneecap is completely heeled and has been for a year, but my leg was still showing signs of atrophy and would sometimes buckle randomly. So, I thought, it’s time, time for me to really get moving again.

I used to run, a lot. I began running in high school, continued to run in university, and even ran during my time living abroad in Korea. I practiced yoga and ran. I am starting to see, however, how much I took it for granted– how easy it was to slap on a pair of running shoes and trot my way out the door. Over the past year, since my injury, the thought of having to trot lightly across the street made me wince in pain.

Everyday, I surf in the morning and practice yoga at least five times a week in the afternoon. I also bicycle, but only to run errands (as I work from home). These activities have made me the fittest I’ve ever been in my life, but they aren’t exactly the leg strengthening exercises I need. So, I began doing thigh strengthening exercises with an exercise ball in addition to jogging!

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I started jogging again about two weeks ago. The first time I went, I began as though both knees–or leg muscles, rather–were perfectly capable of going for a run. Nope, was I ever wrong. It didn’t take long for the pain to hit. I had started too hard, too fast. I ended up walking most of the five kilometers I’d set out to jog. I thought to myself, “Either, this is not going to be easy or it’s going to be impossible to ‘run’ again.”

Luckily, I took the “it’s not going to be easy” route. Upon my second jog a day or two later, I ran double the length I did the first time. I decided to skip a day or two between jogs to allow my muscles and knee to recover and heal, and hopefully become stronger and ready for the second attempt–and, clearly, it worked!

Upon my third jog, a day or two later, I ran three fourths of the (approximate) five kilometers. I really surprised myself! On the fourth attempt, I ran the whole thing with a rest and stretch midway. The route is uphill halfway and downhill halfway. Going downhill with my sore knee was not something I’d think I’d be capable of this early on, so I’m very, very impressed with the improvement and recovery!!

IMG_2119Lesson learned: Rest is the KEY to getting better at any physical activity. If you are tired from a long day of surfing, hiking, swimming, bicycling, yoga, etc. maybe it’s a good idea to take the day off tomorrow. I promise it’s the best thing you can do for your body.

Lesson #2 learned: Never give up after an injury, your body is very resilient, it just takes time. ~Namaste~

Yoga and Bicycles Will Save the World

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Sarah Moore:

Can Yoga and Bicycles save the world? Perhaps.

Originally posted on Holly Troy ~ Sacred Folly:

I’d say this about sums up my life for the last two decades – and I’ve loved bicycles since I was first brave enough to ride.

Freedom!

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I don’t know who created this graphic, but I love it!

View original

Orange and Date Oat Flour Loaf

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This recipe is fun because you can be as creative as you like. The more orange zest you add, plus juice, the orangier! You can add nuts for a more crumbly texture. I recommend making the loaf over the muffins, as it holds together better. The muffins don’t seem to rise as well as the loaf.

Ingredients
Dry:

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2 cups rolled oats ground into oat flour (see: make your own oat flour)

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds, let sit in 1 tbls of water)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

½ teaspoon nutmeg

*2 ½ tablespoons grated orange peel (approx two large oranges, the more the orangier)

(Optional) ¾ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Wet:
½ cup or a stick of butter (or 1/2 cup applesauce)

¼ cup chopped dates (or raisins)

(Optional) 1/4 coconut

½ cup orange juice (from 1 orange)

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 cup almond milk (soy or coconut, okay too)

(Optional) 1/2 cup sour milk (1/2 tbls lemon juice into half & half)

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 F, bake for 15 minutes, then bring temperature down to 375 F and back for 30-40 minutes, (this is important with oat flour).  Prepare loaf pan (use non-stick pans or use parchment paper to line loaf pan).

2. In a bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a blender, combine wet ingredients and mix on high for two minutes, until dates are not visible. Fold together wet and dry mixtures. Fold in orange peel and nuts (optional).

3. Pour batter into pan. Bake 1 hour if using a loaf pan or bake for 25 minutes if making muffins. Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.