TGIF!

What a week it’s been!

Getting back into routines after a holiday break is always a little bit of a challenge. We are sleepers. So, when it’s time to get back to the rat race, these rats stru-ggle. We would much rather stay warm and cozy in bed than to get up early and head out of the house with temperatures that are single digits. Brrr!  The kids check the “snow day calculator” on a regular basis while praying for a blizzard to come so they can get a snow day. Gotta love the optimism. 😉

Well, getting back to school means this momma is back to packing lunches and making sure there is plenty of yummy snacks available for after school. Things need to be quick, portable, and car-ride friendly.

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll see that I posted my version of Lara Bars. My kids like me to shape them into balls because it’s more fun to eat when you can pop them in your mouth. They are like little balls of energy. I find comfort in the fact that I know every ingredient that went into them. They go great with my first cup of coffee in the morning and pack well in lunch boxes.

This week, I made three flavors; Choo-coco, Express yo-self, and N’apple cinnamon. 🙂  I literally put all of the ingredients in the food processor and go! Once the nuts are broken down and all of the ingredients are blended well enough, I simply start rolling and place them on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. My kids like them after they’ve been in the refrigerator and the coconut oil adds just the right amount of ‘glue’ (and healthy fats) that they will hold together well once packed for travel.

We hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

CHOCO-COCO

2 cups pitted dates

1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1 cup almonds

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

4 teaspoons cocao powder

4 teaspoons melted coconut oil

Dash of salt (optional)

 

EXPRESS-YO SELF

2 cups filberts

1 cup sliced almonds

2 cups dates

2 teaspoons vanilla

6 teaspoons melted coco oil

3 teaspoons cocao powder

2 teaspoons expresso powder

Dash of salt (optional)

 

N’APPLE CINNAMON

2 cups walnuts

2 cups dates

2 cups golden raisins

2 tablespoons cinnamon

Dash of salt (optional) 

*this one tastes like the apple pie Lara bar, minus the apples of course 😉

 

What are your favorite flavors? Let’s figure out how to make it at home and save you some cash this year! 😉

Keepin’ it real,

Elena 🙂

“Our Daily Bread” (BEST recipe EVER!!)

While I greatly rely on the Word of God to be my daily sustenance for life, I too must nourish my body with healthy food.

Not sure about you, but I was raised on good ol’ white bread.

After I became a mother, I gave my first born children, good ol’ white bread.

As my spiritual life  grew, I learned so many new things, and began to make changes.

Believe it or not, my spiritual life changes included my food choices.

I began looking at what I was putting into my body, and my family’s, and realized that there were better choices out there.

I had learned that in the bible it clearly states, several times, that our bodies are temples bought with a price, and we are responsible for taking care of it.  It also speaks to the fact that we are to be good stewards of what we are given.

I realized that those statements included how I was caring for myself, physically and spiritually.

And so began my journey to health and wellness and my passion for educating others, hence my certification as a holistic health coach!  (Yes, I do private coaching.  No, I don’t know everything.)

If you’ve read some of my other posts or if you’ve known me long enough, you know that I believe in the “good”, “better”, “best” principle.    I believe that there is always room for improvement and BALANCE is key!

Back to the bread……..

I began feeding my family what I thought was ‘whole wheat bread’.  I later learned that it was not actually ‘whole wheat’ and what ‘enriched’ meant.  So, I knew, I needed to look for a “better” choice.

We then went to 100% whole wheat bread.

Soon after, I began trying to make it at home so that I could save money and more importantly, give my family a loaf of bread without any additives or preservatives.

I have soaked my flours, I have purchased whole grains and used my grinder to make the flour myself, I have tried multiple recipes and I’ve studied for hours………just about grains!   *did I mention that I have a tendency to go from one extreme to the other before I find balance?   (Hey, it’s all about learning and progress, not perfection!)  

Well anyway,…..the experience has paid off!

See, after all of that hoop-lah….. we learned that I, and some of our kiddos, have a gluten intolerance and I carry 3.5 of the 4 markers used for diagnosing Celiac disease.

So the process began, all. over. again.  *sigh*

But hey, if you stop learning, what fun is that?!

I started with purchasing gluten-free products.  I researched.  I bought grains. I make my own.

Today, thanks to the encouragement of my wonderful husband, who by the way, should get some kind of metal of honor for being the most loving ‘guinea pig’ on the planet for trying all of my recipes……….I’m sharing our favorite bread recipe.  I have to admit, while I’ve wanted to share it with y’all for a while, I wanted to make sure it was not going to be a recipe for cardboard.

It’s what we used daily.

I make it into sandwich bread, I modify it for rolls, I add different herbs and seasonings for  savory/sweet indulgences,….even my kiddos who can eat gluten, prefer this bread to any other!   (So I guess it really passes the test.)

Without further delay, here it is!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

Our Daily Bread

2 cups rice flour

1/2 cup potato starch

1/2 cup tapioca flour

2 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum

2/3 cup powdered milk (not reconstituted)

1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

3 Tablespoons sugar (I use organic cane sugar)

1 1/2 Tablespoons yeast

2 cups warm water (FYI–if you are doubling this recipe, I have found that 5 cups of water is needed)

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar ( I use Bragg’s)

3 whole eggs

*Mix all of your dry ingredients into a large bowl.

*Add your wet ingredients and incorporate well.  It will “batter-like”.  (this is the point I will add things like minced onion, herbs, cinnamon, dehydrated veggies, grated cheese, etc. to change the flavor of the bread depending on what I’m using it for)

*Place dough in your greased bread pan (OR ‘plop’ scoops onto parchment paper lined baking sheets for rolls) and bake for 35 minutes at 350 degrees. **that could vary a bit depending on how your oven bakes**

That’s it!

I hope you enjoy this versatile recipe as much as we do!  AND…..I hope you’ll tell me what fun things you do with it to “change it up”!

~By the way, I have also been eating less and less grains in an attempt to heal my body further from a few minor issues.  If you are interested in seeing my “grain-free” bread recipe, I’ll be posting that in the near future too.

Keepin’ it real,

Elena

smile

Harvest Soup

10 cups cooked butternut squash

1 firm apple (I used a gala) finely diced

1 yellow onion finely diced

1 T extra virgin olive oil

1 quart chicken stock (I used homemade)

1 can coconut milk (I use regular, never light)

2 T curry powder (or to your taste)

Salt and pepper to taste

**I roasted the squash in the oven and scooped it out.  At this point, you can store it in the refrigerator or freezer and use it when you want.

Saute the diced onion and apple in the extra virgin olive oil for 4 minutes.

Add all of the chicken stock and simmer for 10 minutes.

Then, add your cooked squash and all of your seasonings; simmer for 15 minutes.

Add 1 full can of coconut milk and if you would like a VERY creamy soup, use an immersion blender until creamy.

Enjoy!  🙂