You need to make these.

squash squaresAwesome.  These are just lovely, delicious treats that get squash into your family in a new way.  Inspired by my friend Jenna’s recipe over at Whole-istic Living, these little squares unexpectedly made my day.

I had leftover baked squash in the fridge and a whole bunch of nuts.  I scoured my recipe books, and didn’t find anything good.  Without internet access for the morning (what horror!) I was unable to look up a recipe online, yet I remembered Jenna’s so I tried to recreate it from memory.  Here’s what I ended up with and loved.

They’re sweet, but not too much.  They don’t pretend to be a brownie or kitchen sink bar.  They are what they are: maple-syrup sweetened buttery squash sitting nicely on a rich pecan crust and topped with crispy flaked coconut.  Rich and delicious as a stand alone healthy snack full of a balance of Omega 3 & 6 fatty acids, protein, and trace vitamins and minerals.

These were a hit in my house.  My kids don’t usually eat squash or nuts, yet my 4 year old loved the top, and my 2 year old loved the nut crust.  Together it makes a great after-school snack, and they’re also firm enough to withstand lunch-box travel.

Perhaps the best part of this is that it uses only 1 piece of kitchen equipment!  Hurrah for easy cleanup!

Enjoy!

Crust

2 cups pecans

1 pastured egg

1 tbsp organic butter

pinch of salt

Squash Filling

4 cups cooked/skinned butter nut squash

2 pastured eggs

1/2 cup of real maple syrup (you can substitute raw honey if you prefer)

4 tbsp pasture butter

1 tsp cinnamon

1 pinch of cloves

pinch of salt

For the crust:  Put nuts in a food processor and grind until smooth.  Add in the egg & salt and grind some more.   With your clean fingers, spread the butter around an 9 x13 pyrex baking dish until it’s well covered.   Then spread the pecan mixture out evenly over the butter.

For the filling: Put all of the squash into your food processor.  I didn’t bother to clean mine after the pecans, as I figured a few stray pecan bits in the filling would be just fine.  Once the squash is pureed, add in the eggs, syrup, salt, cinnamon & cloves.  Mix until blended.   Spread evenly over the top of the pecan crust, and sprinkle unsweetened coconut flakes over the whole thing.  Bake at 3:50 for an hour.  Baking this low and slow will allow the squash to firm-up without burning the crust or coconut.

Let cool and slice into bars.  These keep very well in the fridge.

Want more recipes and ideas on how to get healthy foods into your life?  Check out the great deal I’m offering only through Friday!

 

 

 

 

Ta Da!

Real Food Transformation ImageHave you ever worked hard on a project, focused time energy and funds to something that you truly believed in?  If so, then hopefully you’re also familiar with that giant sigh of relief when it’s done.

That’s where I’m at folks, I’ve completed my Real Food Transformation eCourse and it’s already changing the way people look at food.  Through videos, documents for you to print and use, journal assignments, and daily emails, this course will help you change the way you look at food and your body.  This course will walk you at your own pace, step-by-step through changing your diet and changing your life.

I’m in that lovely place of having a finished product, wanting to share it with the world so badly that I’m nearly giving it away.  If you take this course with me one-on-one, you’ll pay over $400.  However, I’m offering the eCourse at the incredibly discounted rate of $70.   That’s right, just $70 until October 31 when the price will go up to the regular (and still low) price of $95.

Share this with your friends and family.  This is an awesome way for anyone who’s interested in nutrition to get started on healthy eating.   Join me for the ride!

 

 

 

Bread, homemade and delicious

IMG_1389This is nice, sitting down in the quiet morning to write.  In the oven is a loaf of bread, another on the counter waiting to go in which will be followed by a quiche to make the most of such a hot oven and the energy required to heat it.   This tea is in hand as I fight the tail-end of a spring cold.  I quickly fly through emails, organize, and relax.  I haven’t done this in a while, but the impetus is 2-fold.  First, a new puppy which has come into our lives and wakes even earlier than the kids, and an indulgent new habit of baking bread.

But wait, why am I baking bread?  Aren’t all carbohydrates bad?  Isn’t that what everyone from Dr. Oz to the Paleo craze is telling us?!  Well, the answer is complex, so let me help clarify.

Carbohydrates are not bad, rather they’re a necessary source of energy.  In fact, a body fed absolutely zero carbohydrates will sooner or later go into starvation mode and feed on stored fat and muscle for energy.  While certain degrees of this can be helpful for weight loss and other issues such as epilepsy, a long-term burning of fat and muscle is not recommended nor healthy for most of the population.

Carbohydrates are found in fruits and vegetables in addition to grains.  Clients of mine who are on the most strict of regimens due to digestive disorders consume lots and lots of high-carbohydrate vegetables such as butternut squash to maintain energy levels, without which they may have a hard time.   I do suggest that fruits and vegetables are the main source of carbohydrates in one’s diet, but that does not mean there isn’t a place for grains.

Let’s simplify:  Some people can tolerate grains.  Some people can tolerate gluten.  Some people can tolerate more than others.  Not everyone can tolerate grains or gluten in any amount. Uh oh… maybe that’s not as clear-cut as I’d hoped!  This is because the issues is complex and every person and their digestive systems are different.   Are you unsure if you’re able to tolerate grains or gluten?  Contact me and I’ll help you find out.

What if you know you functionIMG_1398 fine on grains and gluten, have no digestive troubles, and/or you simply don’t want to or can’t give it up grains entirely?    Here are some basic guidelines.   I talk about everything on a spectrum, with one end being the pie-in-the-sky goal which isn’t always attainable, and the other end is the I’d-rather-starve-than-eat-that quality.   For bread, here’s what the priorities would be:

  1. Always organic flour (no GMO wheat, thank you very much)
  2. True sourdough or sprouted grains, which means no yeast in the ingredients.
  3. Whole wheat, at least partially
  4. Fresh from the bakery section, not on the middle aisles of the grocery store
  5. Should have three ingredients only:  wheat, salt, water.
  6. Homemade is the best way to ensure all of the above!

Now, I realize it can be hard to hit all of these marks.  Here’s a tip: if I’m not making it at home, I always ensure I get the top two on my list, and the rest tend to happen automatically.

Why sourdough or sprouted grains, you ask?  All grains contain phytates or phytic acid, which is the plant’s defense against consumption.  This makes it hard for humans and our one measly stomach to break down (cows have 4 sections in their stomach to break down grains!).  In addition, phytic acid is a nutrient inhibitor so when we don’t break down the phytic acid, it prevents other nutrients from being absorbed by the body.   If we’re going to be eating grains, then we definitely want to be reaping the nutrients from the bread and also from the other foods we’re consuming along side it, so I always recommend either true sourdough bread or sprouted grain bread, both process break down the phytic acid and renders the final product more digestible anIMG_1385d nutritious.  This is true for ALL grains including those in processed foods such as crackers and goldfish, so it’s worth paying attention to how-much grains is going into you or your family.

As a rule of thumb in my house, we aim to eat grains no more than 1x per day.  This gives our digestive tracts a break and also ensures we focus our meals on more nutrient dense foods.   While this can be challenging at times, a little planning goes a long way, as do leftovers from dinner.   These days, that one grain is a thick slice of homemade bread slathered with butter.

Nothing says “love” like good gut bacteria!

 

Show your love by getting your partner a spot in this upcoming class!

Culturing Dairy 101: Yogurt, Kefir, & Creme Fraiche

March 1, 3-6pm
Hyde Park MA
Cost: $40 in advance via this link, or $45 at the door

This class takes you step by step through the process of culturing your dairy to reap the benefits of beneficial bacteria in your diet.  These foods aid in digestion and play a major role in a healthy diet.  In this class, you’ll gain the following:

  • Skills to make your own cultured dairy at home
  • A wide range of nutritional information and guidance
  • Samples of items we’ll make
  • Extensive Q & A opportunity
  • $10 discount on future consulting services

This is a great class for anyone with any sort of digestive disorder including acid reflux or GERD, on the SCD or GAPS diets, or anyone simply looking for ways to add more healthy options to their menu.

Space is limited to 15 people.  Payment in advance will reserve your spot, and is highly recommended.  Contact me with any questions.

 

She should sell this stuff

Cereal: one of the hardest things to give up when making the change to a real food way of life.  I won’t get into it now, but lets just say that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize many of the “breakfast cereals” on shelves nowadays as food, many of which really look more like toys than food.  You know who you arIMG_0764e, Lucky Charms!

My family is now used to an eggs-for-breakfast way of life, with the occasional soaked-flour-pancake-morning mixed in, and we all are happy.  Yet when we go to grandparents houses or visit other friends/family, my kids gobble down bowls of cheerios like they had never before eaten.  How is it possible, when they’ve had only a handful of interactions with such things that they’re so enchanted?  Maybe its the cold milk combined with the crunch & slurp.  Maybe its the sugar.  Whatever it is, they gobble while I turn my head and mentally vow to get some liver in them when we get home.

Then along comes my friend Liz, who casually mentions her soaked granola when we were over for dinner.  After one taste, yum!   When I tried it at home, there were 8 hands nibbling from the trays as they cooled.  This will be what saves us on sleepy mornings during the school week.  Since she’s not selling this, I bring to you Liz’s soaked granola recipe:

Note: in typical fashion, I didn’t have the right seeds/nuts on hand, so I subbed in cashews for almonds, and simply omitted the pumpkin & walnuts.  It still worked great!  My kids love to put raisins on top too- anything with toppings pleases the little ones.

Liz’s Soaked Granola

Soak 6 cups organic rolled oats in water (just enough to barely cover) and six tablespoons yogurt or whey overnight. Soak one cup sliced almonds in water with one tablespoon yogurt or whey.

The next morning, dry oats and almonds at 200.  It takes roughly 4 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.

When oats and almonds are dry, add in:
1 c. Sprouted sunflower seeds (if you don’t have sprouted, soak overnight in the same manner as the almonds)
1 c. Sprouted pumpkin seeds  (same as above, if you don’t have sprouted)
1 c. Shredded coconut
1 c. Pecans or walnuts, crushed

Mix dry ingredients.

Mix wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

3 tbsp coconut oil
1/3 c. Olive oil (can use just coconut oil if preferred).
4 tbsp maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp salt only if nuts are unsalted, otherwise omit.
2 tsp vanilla
2 tsp cinnamon

Mix wet & dry ingredients together, then bake on baking sheets at 300 for 20-30 minutes.  I baked at 325 and it worked, but browned quick so you’ll need to be ready to take it out at 15-20 minutes or less- keep a close eye on it.  Mix every 10 minutes.  When out of the oven, mix in 4 tbsp of ground flax seeds.  Enjoy!