Baby Steps to Whole Health

…steady is as steady goes.

Healing Lemonade!

Folks, I haven’t been sick in a long time. Seriously – it has been over two years since I have succumbed to any form of seasonal virus or bacteria. I reside in the body of the most amazing immune system on the planet, I’m sure of it. Last February, my entire family got a horrible flu – fevers reaching 105 degrees, coughs, headaches, noses, ears, the whole shebang. Me? I intimately took care of every single one of them without developing so much as a sniffle. You know why? Because my immune system rocks. And because I have a couple little tricks that I like to employ throughout the year to keep myself healthy.

Firstly, I eat very little sugar at all. My husband and kids like to indulge more often than I do (I don’t purchase soda or energy drinks, but they are permitted to use their money for whatever they like), and knowing that sugar lowers the immune system response for up to 5 hours after consuming it, I do believe my lower intake of sugar is part of the reason I don’t get sick. Secondly, I eat more fruits and vegetables than they do. I serve them to everyone, but I enjoy them more and understand the good they do for my health, so I choose to eat more of them and more often. Even if I don’t particularly enjoy something, knowing it’s going to benefit my health is a good enough reason for me to eat it – not so with children! Just knowing there’s something green in a delightfully flavored smoothie is a good enough reason for them to NOT drink it!! Which brings me to my third secret (well, I suppose the others aren’t really secrets), my Healing Lemonade!! My kids absolutely loathe this drink, so getting them to drink it is nearly impossible, even when you give them just a single ounce and tell them to chug it. Every time I feel a bit of anything, sinus-y or otherwise, attempting to come on (the tickle in your throat, a small ache in the ears, that funky mouth feeling you get, etc.), I whip up a batch of this lemonade and drink a glass. And then some more in the morning. Did I mention I haven’t been sick in over two years?? When people complain on Facebook about being sick, I share this recipe with them. The people who use it feel better! So I bring you my feel good recipe for keeping myself healthy…

Healing Lemonade

2 cups water (hot or cold, depending on your mood)

Juice of 1/2 a lemon

1 inch of ginger, peeled

1 Tbsp RAW honey (you can use regular, but raw honey has benefits that cooked honey doesn’t)

Process all ingredients in blender and drink. If you don’t like the little bits of ginger, you can chop it finely and place it in a piece of cheesecloth (or even cut it into pieces large enough to remove with a spoon), then steep in the warm water for a few minutes. Personally, I think the benefit of having it all outweighs any unpleasant feeling in my mouth. And if you’re doing the steeping, you don’t even need a blender – just mix all the stuff up in a mug and drink up!

A votre sante!

*** In making this recently, I discovered that actually grating the ginger into a pan of water and boiling it for a few minutes actually renders a better flavored result! I then pour the liquid through a cheesecloth sieve into a mason jar before adding the lemon and honey! ***

Do you have any healthy tricks you use to keep yourself going strong throughout the year?

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Savory Gluten Free Tartlet (Mini Quiche Shells!)

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I’m REALLY, REALLY excited to share this recipe with you! What is perhaps most exciting to me is that I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve been able to save and adapt a recipe!

This recipe started out as what were supposed to be gluten free cheddar crackers. I’ve made the recipe many times before and never had an issue. I’ve even adapted it into bacon ranch cheddar crackers! This time, I forgot to add the butter, added too much water, realized I forgot the butter and used a pastry blender to get the butter in after I had already created a dough. I wound up with a dough that wouldn’t roll, therefore – no cheddar crackers 😦

One of the things that was extremely difficult for me at the beginning of our gluten free journey was how incredibly expensive every. single. thing. was/ still is. We’d buy a box of crackers or breakfast bars, and Lu would hate it. No one else wanted to eat it, either, so it was money down the drain. And not a $2.00 box of granola bars. No, it was a $6 box of granola bars, which came with 3 bars less than the $2 non-gluten free box! Oh how I cried so many times over the agony of being wasteful. Eventually, little by little, we learned which brands and which items Lu enjoyed, and we stuck to them. Though we tried many cracker brands, we never found one that she liked. So to Google I went, searching for recipes. There were many failed online recipes, too. Even following direct, step-by-step instructions, we had some horrible tasting cookies, breads and crackers!

Anyway, onto the recipe!

SAVORY GLUTEN FREE TARTLET (Adapted from this cracker recipe):

Tools needed: Food processor, mini tart pan and presser.

Ingredients:

  • 8 ounces grated mozarella cheese
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) cold butter, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cup gluten free flour blend (without Xanthan gum) – I used King Arthur brand
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (you can use regular, too)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder (NOT salt!)
  • 2-4 Tablespoons ice water

-Preheat oven to 375 ° F.

-Place all ingredients except for ice water in food processor.

-Process until ingredients are well combined. It will look like a thick powdery substance.

-Add 2 tablespoons of the ice water and continue to process until ingredients become doughy. If they don’t seem to get doughy, add another tablespoon or two of ice water and process again. Often, after processing, I just pull the dough out and knead it for a minute until everything comes together and makes a dough.

-Pinch off about a tablespoon of dough and roll it into a ball. Place in one cup of tart pan. Repeat until all cups are full. Use your tart presser to press the balls into the cups, making sure the bottom is fairly level.

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-Bake at 375° for 15 minutes.

-At this point, the tarts will have puffed up a bit in the middle and around the edges. Use your presser to press in each of the tarts, removing to cooling rack as you go (tarts will stick to the presser as you pull it up and out, so it’s super simple).

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VOILA! Mini savory tart shells!! Oh, the things you can fill these with!

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I chopped up some Polska Kielbasa into tiny cubes and dropped three or four into each shell. I then beat two eggs with about 3-4 tablespoons of milk and a little salt. I used an Asian soup spoon to spoon the egg mixture into the shells on top of the meat cubes. I baked 6 right then and there for my daughter’s afternoon snack yesterday. I placed the rest directly in the freezer (raw egg and all!) on a cookie sheet. Once they were frozen, I removed them and placed them in a zipper bag for storage.

To heat and serve these frozen babies, simply preheat your oven to 375°  and bake for 15 minutes until the eggs get fluffy! This is what Lu had for breakfast this morning and boy, was she thankful!

(Yeah, I need to be a better food photographer!)

Do you have a favorite ‘accidental recipe’? Let me know what you think if you try these!

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