Thursday, May 23, 2013

Paradise Cake Part II

So, how do I remedy my husband's sweet tooth and not poison him with all the stuff mentioned in Paradise Cake I? Please enjoy the delicious recipe below!

Ingredients:
Simply Organic Golden Vanilla Cake Mix 
1 Can of organic pineapple chunks in pineapple juice
1/2 cup organic shredded coconut
1/3 cup organic coconut milk (I make mine from the shredded coconut, check out this link)

1. Drain your canned pineapple and reserve juice for later. Mix all other ingredients. Don't add anything the        
    boxes instructions tell you to.
2. Preheat your oven to whatever temperature is in the box.
3. Grease your pan well (I use a glass pan and coconut oil).
4. Bake according to the instructions on the box.
5. When cake is ready to cool, poke holes throughout and pour reserved pineapple juice over cake.
6. Turn off the oven but allow cake to sit in the oven for 10 minutes.

  Enjoy!
Paradise Cake

My not so crunchy, sweet toothed husband loved this cake!



Monday, May 20, 2013

Paradise Cake Part I

Currently, on Pinterest, easy cake recipes are all the rave. You know, the ones where you get a boxed cake mix and add a can of something and bake it into deliciousness? Well, I agree that they are quite tasty, however, they are loaded with some terrible ingredients. Here is a list if ingredients from one common brand of boxed cake mix:

Sugar, Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour (Flour, Niacin, Reduced Iron, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin, Folic Acid), Vegetable Oil Shortening (Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters Of Fats, Mono and Diglycerides), Leavening (Sodium Bicarbonate, Dicalcium Phosphate, Sodium Aluminum Phosphate, Monocalcium Phosphate). Contains 2% Or Less Of: Wheat Starch, Salt, Dextrose, Polyglycerol Esters Of Fatty Acids, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil, Cellulose Gum, Artificial Flavors, Xanthan Gum, Maltodextrin, Modified Cornstarch, Colored with (Yellow 5 Lake, Red 40 Lake).

Let's review some if these ingredients in more depth.

Sugar: Refined sugar, just to clarify. This type of sugar is toxic to our systems. High in calories, causing spikes in blood sugar, feeding bad bacteria and yeast in our gut this ingredient is one we could all do well to avoid.
Enriched Bleached Wheat Flour::Most of us can quote the health no-nos in this ingredient, but just to be sure, I will review. Chlorine bleach is used to strip the outer fibers of the wheat grains rending it nutritionally void and a completely empty carbohydrate.
Partially Hydrogenated Soybean Oil:  Soy was once touted as a health food and even I used to drink soy milk and cook with tofu. Shame on us! Soy is loaded with plant estrogens that are not good for male or female endocrine systems. Oh, and GMOs are another good reason to avoid soy. Nearly all soy is GMO.
Need I explain that any hydrogenated oil is just terrible for you? 
Monoglycerides and Diglycerides:: Used as a preservative and to "emulsify", or prevent ingredients from separating, these fellows are not natural. 
Propylene Glycol Mono- and Diesters of Fats:: Additives, additives, additives! Similar to their partners above, these guys are rarely from natural sources.
Sodium Bicarbonate:: Just baking soda - assuming it is aluminum free, this ingredient is one we don't need to hate on!
Phosphates:: Makes our cake fluffy and our teeth and bones brittle.
Wheat Starch:: Pure carbohydrate. Processed chemically twice! 
Dextrose:: A natural sugar found in honey and fruit. However, added to the sugar already in the box, this stuff is just packing in the calories!
Cellulose Gum:: Not harmful. Just a form of fiber, yay! 
Artificial Flavors: Ug. Hidden, nasty stuff. Can be pretty much anything - wood resin, MSG, pectin, who knows? 
Xanthan Gum: Comes from natural sources but poorly tested. 
Modified Corn Starch: Almost always GM. Need I say more?
Maltodextrin: Again, almost always GM,
Yellow 5 Lake and Red 40 Lake: Without question, artificial dyes are a great offender when it comes to ingredients that are unnecessary and unhealthy. Many research studies prove these dyes cause great harm to the brain of a developing child and are linked to behavior disorders. There is also evidence that these dyes may be carcinogens. Several European countries have banned these and other dyes due to the clear health issues associated with them. 
So there you have it, that tasty Pinterest recipe should probably be avoided. So what's a crunchy gal to do? Bake everything from scratch and spend her days in the kitchen indefinitely? Let me be the first to admit that I just cannot always spend hours in the kitchen on one dish! My four month old usually allows me to do a task for 30-45 minutes before he either needs to nurse, wants to cuddle, or expects me to hold him while he has a good cry! Despite all of my efforts to convince my husband we don't ever need to eat any cake again, he insists on the occasional baked treat. So, what do I do? This picture will have to suffice while you wait for Part II!
Organic Paradise Cake



Thursday, May 2, 2013

For Mrs. Marks...and Everyone Else Too!

Okay, dear friend, this one is for you! A post all about broths and bouillon!

Actually, I have only recently begun making my own (meat) broths and bouillon. In the past, I just purchased organic broths like this one; however, it has always bothered me that these types of broth are so pricey and usually contain loads of sodium. Even on sale, the best price I can find these types of organic broths for is two dollars for 32 ounces (about .06 cents an ounce). In this post I will share three recipes that I have been using in place of the more expensive broths and the nasty, sodium loaded bouillon cubes.

Homemade Chicken/Bone Broth
You can use these directions to make beef/bone broth as well!

Ingredients:
  • Organic/free range chicken bones and skin (I cook a whole chicken in my crock pot once a week,   I save bones and skin in a freezer bag and store it in my freezer until I am ready to make bone broth or bouillon - I use about two sets of bones/skin to make this)
  • Crock pot
  • 12 cups of water, a splash of Bragg's ACV
  • Any veggies you have on hand (I usually use onions, carrots, parsley, and celery, but I have also thrown in radishes and parsnips because I had them)


Directions:
1. Place your ingredients in the crock pot, and add water.
2. Simmer on HIGH for 2 hours.
3. After 2 hours, change your crock pot setting to LOW and cook for 12 hours.
4. Pour your broth through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the bones.
5. Allow your broth to cool and then pour it into storage (I reuse glass jars).
6. Refrigerate (if you plan to use within 48 hours) or freeze.

All the nutrients and minerals from the bones makes this a dense, nutritious addition to any recipe.



Homemade Bouillon Cubes (looks similar to above recipe, but follow the directions carefully)

You can use these directions to make beef bouillon cubes as well!
Ingredients:
  • Organic/free range chicken bones and skin (I cook a whole chicken in my crock pot once a week, I save bones and skin in a freezer bag and store it in my freezer until I am ready to make bone broth or bouillon - I use about two sets of bones/skin to make this)
  • 2 large pots (at least one of which has a wide base and is deep)
  • 12 cups of water, a splash of Bragg's ACV
  • Any veggies you have on hand (I usually use onions, carrots, parsley, and celery, but I have also thrown in radishes and parsnips because I had them)
Directions:
1.   Place your ingredients in the pot, and add water.
2.  Bring to a boil, add Bragg's ACV then simmer for 2 hours (a little longer is fine, but it begins to stink once you pass 8 hours)
3.   Pour your broth through a fine mesh sieve. Discard the bones.
4.  Pour your broth into a wide and deep sauce pan (you want as much broth touching the heat source as possible).
5.   Boil again, then reduce to a simmer.
This is what mine looks like while simmering.
6.   Simmer until the broth reduces by over half its volume and/or looks kind of like syrup, remove from heat and pour into your chosen container (ice cube trays work, as do muffin tins). Refrigerate (if you plan to use them within 48 hours) or freeze.

Notes:
  • 1 cube (think ice cube size) makes 1 1/2 to 2 cups if broth
  • You will want to add salt when you reconstitute or add this to a recipe

Dry Onion Soup Mix

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup dried, minced onion
  • 1 T parsley flakes
  • 4 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp sea salt (optional)
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
Notes:
  • I usually triple this recipe because I use this mix so often
  • 2T is the equivalent of 1 pack of onion soup mix
  • This goes great in green beans, soups, beans, dips, etc.!
You can read up on bone broths using the links below:

Hope this is helpful for those of you who enjoy using broths and mixes in your meals. Please let me know how they work for you!