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I recently was blessed to be able to start ordering food from a coop out of Oregon called Azure Standard.  I had heard about it for a couple of years; it is highly regarded and used by the healthy blogs that I frequent.  This past month I got a catalog with my order, and I found this recipe which excited me.  Mike LOVES no bake cookies, but I have never made them.  I decided to take a chance and try these out, and he gobbled them down.  If you are looking for a new dessert recipe that is “healthier”, you might want to try this one (in the future I might try to use soaked/dehydrated oats in them to remove the phytates and make them even healthier). 

No Bake Cookies

1.5 cups sucanat or rapadura

1/4 cup carob powder (I used half raw carob and half Dagoba cocoa)

1/2 cup milk (preferable whole, raw milk)

1/2 cup butter

3 cups quick cooking oats (I used regular rolled oats, and they were fine)

1/4 cup peanut butter

Boil sugar, carob, milk and butter in a large pan for one minute.  Mix in oats and PB.  Drop by teaspoonfuls onto waxed or parchment paper.  Refrigerate until set.  Store in fridge or freezer.

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I found this yummy (and not very sweet) recipe for cookies on a website for the paleo diet: http://www.sonofgrok.com/2009/02/recipe-carrot-cake-caveman-cookies/.  I made some modifications based on the comments I read at the end, our own preferences and the desire to keep more enzymes and vitamins in them.   Here is the recipe I used…

1 large and 1 small carrot

1/2 cup almond flour

1/2 cup shredded coconut (I used a “powder” that I got at an Indian food store for a good price)

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 egg

a few shakes pumpkin pie spice

chia seed (a couple of tablespoons or so… I was just experimenting.  I think you could toss all sorts of things in  like sesame seeds, hemp seed, etc).

Bit of honey (probably about 2ish tablespoons)

Do you like how specific I am???  I grated the carrots in the food processor and then mixed everything else in there.   I dropped them by the tablespoon full on the mat of my dehydrator trays and then flattened them a bit.  If you want to put them in the oven, you can put them in at 400* for 10-11 minutes.   I dried mine at 125* for 2 hours, flipped them (removed mat from tray) and dried them for another 2 1/2 hours.  You could do more if you want them drier, but I figured they might be best more chewy.  I hope someone will try this!

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This is a super easy recipe that I used out of the book: Special Diets for Special Kids 2.  It is a gluten and casein free cookbook mainly geared toward kids on the autistic spectrum.  Check out the ingredients…

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That’s all there is to it!  I used sucanat instead of white sugar, and I think this affected the texture a bit since sucanat is so course.  I just prefer to give our family things sweetened with honey, maple syrup or sucanat whenever possible.  Daniel was my helper making this- he even cracked the eggs for me!

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So, here is the recipe:

1/4 cup peanut butter (preferably chunky)

2 eggs

1 cup chocolate chips 

3/4 cup Jif  chocolate silk smooth sensations (I used Archer Farms dark chocolate PB because I thought it would be healthier than anything JIF makes)

1 cup sugar

Preheat oven to 350*.

Combine all ingredients.  Drop by teaspoon full on greased cookie sheets.  Bake approximately 10 minute or until lightly browned.  Cool on racks.

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How easy can cracker making get???  Well, as long as you have a dehydrator (preferably the Excalibur), it is SUPER easy!  All I did was soak some whole flax seeds with a little dried, minced onion, garlic and salt  in water that was about one inch above the seeds for 30 minutes.  Then I mixed it up well and spread it out on a teflex sheet on the tray and dried it until it was crispy (105*).  That’s it!   These are very good with homemade hummus! 

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I found this recipe on the blog, “Keeper of the Home” last week and was really excited to try it.  I have been wanting to make a soaked, raw granola, but I didn’t really like the last one I made (it involved soaking the oats in kefir to release the phytates and then cooking in the oven).  I had been thinking through in my head how to do this in the dehydrator instead to help the texture.  Then, lo and behold, here is one that is gluten and casein free!  -Not that Daniel will eat this yet, but at least he can when he gets used to the idea.  Mike and I really like it even though it tastes quite different from granola with oats.  I gave it to the girls in my accountablity group, and they liked it too.  Yum! 

Serene’s Rejuvenation Granola (from Rejuvenate your Life– a raw “cook”  book)

4-5 cups dry whitish green buckwheat (NOT THE DARK BROWN KASHA)… I bought mine in the bulk section at Whole Foods and just eyeballed how much.  This will make about 14-16 cups of sprouted buckwheat. 

¾ cup coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup raw honey

½ cup ground flax seeds

1 cup ground raw sesame seeds (I used whole ones)

Cinnamon to taste

Vanilla (I also added a bit of almond extract)

Lots of raisins or other dried fruit to taste

Lots of other yummy things like raw nuts or seeds (I used soaked nuts that I already had prepared with the exception of some pecans.  These were in my freezer, so I just pulled them out the morning I was going to mix it all together and soaked them in water and a bit of salt.  Then I threw them in wet to the mix since they would dry in the dehydrator).  I also added hemp seed since it is so good for you… it’s one of our new favorites, and it does not need to be soaked since there are NO PHYTATES.  Awesome. 

1.  Sprout the buckwheat:  Soak buckwheat overnight in a bowl of water. In the morning, put the buckwheat in a colander, and rinse it very, very well with cold water (buckwheat emits a mucilage, much like flax seeds when they get wet, so if you don’t rinse well enough, they get goopy and smell very off- make sure to shake them around while rinsing to do a thorough job each time). Set the colander in or over a bowl, cover it with a towel and set it aside. Before you go to bed, rinse very well again, and cover overnight. Continue to rinse at least twice a day until it has short sprouts- around 1/2 cm (maybe a 1/4 of an inch or a little shorter?). It usually take 2-3 days.

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2) Mix the buckwheat with all the other ingredients in a very large mixing bowl.

3) Spread on greased mesh dehydrator sheets, just high enough so you can easily fit the next tray on top- I filled 4 of my square trays. 

4) After a few hours, use a fork to break it up a bit into chunks. Leave it to dehydrate overnight or until completely dry and crispy.

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I enjoyed a bowl of it this morning with some strawberries and fresh raw cream from the dairy!!!

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Here is the link to order “Rejuvenate your life”… I had heard about it for a while, but wanted to try a recipe from it before spending money.  Well, this granola sells me on it, so I think I will be ordering it today! 

http://rubies.articledirectoree.com/component/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,27/page,shop.product_details/category_id,11/flypage,shop.flypage/product_id,27/index.php?option=com_virtuemart&Itemid=27&page=shop.product_details&category_id=11&flypage=shop.flypage&product_id=27&vmcchk=1

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I like to make crackers for Daniel out of brown rice tortillas.  These tortillas are not pliable like most since they do not have gluten, so we don’t like to use them like a regular tortilla.  Normally I will smear them with coconut oil and then shake a little herbamare to give them some zip.  I thought I would do something a little different this time, though, so I mixed a bit of ghee (supposedly it does not have any casein left in it since it is clarified butter) and raw honey and cinnamon to make some breakfast crackers along the lines of cinnamon toast.  After I put the topping of choice on, I cut them with a pizza cutter and then put them on a cookie sheet to bake for 10-20 minutes at a low temp (about 300).  Give them a try! 

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I just had to add this picture even though it doesn’t have to do with cooking (but it does have to do with Daniel since he put the bunny ears on our patient, wonderful cat). 

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This is failure number one… sorghum waffles.  They actually taste pretty good, but Daniel wouldn’t touch them.  He was excited about them while we were making them, and he was happy about the raw honey that we put on them, but that was as far as we got. 

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Failure number two… coconut flour bread.  I actually think this tastes better than any coconut flour food I’ve made before, but would Daniel taste it?  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO.   Argh!!!!!!!!   I finally realized this morning that I need to stop wasting my time and money trying to make gluten free bread products.  I think Daniel really equates them with stomach pain, so I need to cut them out. 

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Here is what I have attempted to do instead… spinach tortillas made in the dehydrator:

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I made a turkey sandwich on the tortilla since I cooked it a little bit too long (it was slightly crispy).  I loved the “dough” for this, but as it dried the spinach flavor got really strong.  I haven’t given any to Daniel yet, so we shall see.  I also have a recipe for a raw tortilla with avocado in it that is good.  I might make that one soon.  Tomorrow I am finally going to make the corn tortillas that I prepared a few months ago and froze (as you can see, tortillas seem to be the one bread-like product that Daniel will eat right now). 

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Here is the biggest winner so far… honey mustard!  Some kids dip everything in ketchup, but Daniel goes nuts over honey mustard.  I decided that I was going to have to make my own if I was going to give it to him.  This one is actually very nutritious since it has raw honey and raw apple cidar vinegar; talk about a lot of enzymes and good stuff!!!!!!!!!!   Here is the recipe:

Honey Mustard Dressing

5 tablespoons honey

3 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons apple cidar vinegar

Blend and enjoy!  (As you can see below, rice crackers are even good when dipped in this).

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Well, I think you might be getting the picture that I am having a difficult time with this gluten-free situation.  It is definitely easier for me to get rid of dairy products than wheat/grains.  I am getting ready to look for a sunflower seed cracker recipe (to make in the dehydrator) since he will eat crackers.  I’ll also share later about the rice crackers that I make.  Get excited!

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I am finally posting this yummy, frugal recipe for you, my friend.  I am not the biggest fan of ground beef, so the fact that I eat this means it is good (I hope).   I hope you give it a try.  If you do, don’t put anything else on the bun except mustard even if you are not the biggest mustard fan!  Mike isn’t, but he still really likes it.  Give it a whirl- be different. 

NU-WAYS

1 pound ground beef

1/8 teaspoon oregano

1/4 cup chopped onion (sometimes I just throw in some dry, minced onion)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce

Brown hamburger in seasonings.  Steam over low heat for 1 hour.  Drain off water and serve on buns spread with mustard.  Enjoy!

Here is Daniel eating his the gluten free way- no bun!  He gets some GF pretzels instead. 

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Today at our Natural Mamas meeting I showed my friends how to make whey and then we used that to make sauerkraut.   I have given the recipes for these 2 things on a previous post: https://homecharmer.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/yummy-sauerkraut/  It is so easy… you have to try it!  Here are some other yummy things to do if you are up to the challenge. 

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SALSA

4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced (since it is winter I used a large can of Muir Glen Whole Fire Roasted tomatoes.  If you do this, don’t add the salt until you have mixed it up since there is salt in the tomatoes, and then see if you need any)

2 small onions, finely chopped

3/4 cup chile pepper, hot or mild

6-8 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped (optional)

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

1 teaspoon dried oregano

juice of 2 lemons (this sounded strange, so I added lime juice)

1 tablespoon sea salt

4 tablespoons whey

1/4 cup filtered water (since I used canned tomatoes, I used a little of the juice from can instead). 

Mix all ingredients and place in a quart-sized, wide-mouth mason jar.  Press down lightly with a wooden meat pounder or a meat hammer, adding more water if necessary to cover vegetables.  The top of the veggies should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temp for about 2 days before transferring to cold storage.   (I did 3 days). 

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PINEAPPLE CHUTNEY

1 small pineapple (I was in a hurry, so I actually used frozen)

1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped

1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 tablespoon sea salt

1/4 cup wey

1/2 cup filtered water

{Variation: Hot pineapple chutney… Add 1 small red onion, 1 jalapeno pepper and 1/2 red pepper, all finely chopped.  Again, I was in a hurry, so I added chopped red pepper from a spice jar instead of jalapeno.}

Mix together and put in jar, adding more water if necessary to cover pineapple.  The chutney should be at least 1 inch below the top of the jar.  Cover tightly and keep at room temp for 2 days before transferring to refrigerator.  This should be eaten within 2 months. 

That’s all for now.  Happy cooking!

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For those of you who don’t speak Spanish, the title is: “Fried Plantains”.  For those of you who don’t know what plantains are- shame on you!  (Just kidding!)  This was one of my absolute favorite Peruvian dishes, and it always makes me want to go back to the jungles of Peru.  Maybe someday…. For now, though, I will just make some at home and daydream. 

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All you have to do for this easy dish is to allow the plantain to ripen until it is black or almost completely black so that it is sweet enough.  Then you cut it up- I like to cut the plantain in thirds and then cut each section in 3 pieces to get them even and fairly thin (around 1/2 inch thick, I guess).  Heat up some coconut oil in a pan, and then fry them until they get a beautiful golden brown.  Flip them over and cook the other side.  When they are done, you can let them drain on a paper towel. 

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Oops!  I forgot to adjust the color- they really aren’t blackened.  Serve them along with dinner and enjoy!

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