7/14/17

Lemon Vanilla Sponge Cake | SCD + Paleo

SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
SCD Paleo Sponge Cake
"When I got to France I realized I didn't know very much about food at all. I'd never had a real cake. I'd had those cakes from cake mixes or the ones that have a lot of baking powder in them. A really good French cake doesn't have anything like that in it - it's all egg power."
Julia Child

While the origins of the sponge cake date back to Italy, there is no denying that eggs play an essential role in this light, fluffy dessert. A traditional sponge cake is very easy to make, consisting of just three very basic ingredients: flour, sugar and eggs. When you take away two of those key ingredients, flour and sugar, you need to get a little creative in your recipe development. I've made this cake three times now and by the final round my family was asking for more.

No summer is complete without indulging in sponge cake that is drenched in fresh, local fruit and a whipped topping. You can easily add ice cream made with coconut milk, icing made with coconut cream, fruit preserves or the mernigue icing mentioned below. Just make sure not to overcook this delicate dessert!

Lemon Vanilla Sponge Cake
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free
yield: 8-10 pieces

INGREDIENTS: 
1 ½ cups raw cashews
4 eggs, separated
zest from one lemon
¼ cup lemon juice
2 tsp vanilla
¼ c honey
1 tsp baking soda
3 Tbs coconut flour
½ tsp sea salt

EQUIPMENT NEEDED:
9 inch springform pan
parchment paper
food processor
Vitamix (or blender)

DIRECTIONS:
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Beat the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer until soft peaks form.
3. Place the raw cashews in a food processer and process until creamy, about 5-7 minutes.
4. Grease a 9 inch spring-form pan with coconut oil and line the bottom with parchment paper.
5. Once the cashews are creamy and resemble the texture of cashew butter, add the egg yolks, lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla and honey. Pulse to blend. Add the baking soda, coconut flour, and sea salt and pulse until blended together.
6. Transfer the cashew mixture to a large bowl and fold in ½ cup of the egg whites until combined.
7. Fold in the remaining egg whites. Make sure not to overmix.
8. Transfer the batter to the spring form pan and bake for 25 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and firm to the touch. Do not overbake!
9. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
10. Top with berries and icing and enjoy!

Meringue Icing
SCD, Paleo, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free

INGREDIENTS:
2 egg whites, room temperature
1/3 cup honey
¼ tsp lemon juice

DIRECTIONS:
1. Bring the honey to a boil in a saucepan over medium heat.
2. Beat the egg whites and lemon juice until soft peaks form.
3. With the mixer running on medium speed, slowly pour the honey into the egg white mixture.
4. Continue beating the meringue on high for approximately 5-8 minutes or until the meringue forms stiff peaks and has doubled in size.
5. Chill in the fridge for ½ hour before using.

**This post contains affiliate links.

7/11/17

How to Eat Healthy at an Amusement Park

Theme Park Tips
Theme Park Tips
Theme Park Tips
While amusement parks and theme parks deliver the thrills of excitement and adventure, they can be challenging for a family like ours who focuses on a lifestyle of clean eating. And unfortunately, for our family, splurging in moderation is not an option since we are using diet to treat our son's Crohn's disease. This summer we decided to stay local and embrace what Ohio has to offer, and any Ohioan knows that Cedar Point is a must. This particular trip was slightly out of our comfort zone, especially when it comes to the food department. If you've been following along for awhile, then you know that food plays a huge role in our travels and vacations. Just take a look at our trip to Friday Harbor last year and you'll see what I mean.

Unfortunately, most amusement parks have very little to offer when it comes to healthy food choices. Sugar-filled treats, preservatives, fried foods, high-calorie meals and processed drinks seem to be lurking around every corner. While it seems almost impossible to eat healthy at a theme park, it is not impossible. It may take a little work on your end, but it is well worth it to stay on track.

EAT BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
We try to enter to park as soon as it opens so we can make sure we're out of there well before dinner. Before arrival, I made sure we ate a large, healthy meal to fill our bellies and fuel us for the day. Be sure to include a protein, a healthy fat and plenty of fruits and veggies. Make sure you do a little research. Some parks will allow you to bring a cooler and leave it outside the park in a designated area with picnic benches. If this is a possibility, I highly recommend planning out your meals and taking advantage of this opportunity. You'll be able to stick with your healthy eating, save on money, and take a break from the park.

BRING YOUR OWN SNACKS
Bringing your own snacks is absolutely essential, especially if you follow a strict diet like the SCD diet. Since you'll be running around from ride to ride, you'll be burning off energy that will need to be replaced. Homemade snack bars, cubed cheese, fruit strips, meat sticks, packaged olives and and nuts all make good options. While some of the following snacks are not technically SCD complaint (because there is no letter from the company) we have found that our son can tolerate them in moderation. Packing Larabars, Epic bars, just fruit bars and apple or beet chips can cut down on the packing time and preparation time for homemade snacks. It's very important to remember, that even if you can tolerate these packaged foods you should only eat them in moderation.

DRINK WATER
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I can't say this enough. Did you know your brain is made up of about 75 percent water? Drinking water will actually help you think, focus and concentrate better and it will boost your energy levels. When fatigue hits, there is a chance that you are showing signs of dehydration. Water helps to flush the toxins out of your system and plays a key role in overall body function.

SEEK OUT FRUITS & VEGGIES
As mentioned above, you should have plenty of snacks with you, but if you need to purchase a snack seek out freshly cut fruit and vegetables. Often you will be able to find a container of fruit or a side of carrots and celery. In order to stick with your clean eating, omit any sauces provided for the vegetables because they will contain sugar, preservatives and most likely starches.

While smoothies always sound like a healthy choice, I highly recommend avoiding smoothies in theme parks, malls and restaurants. The terms natural, made with fresh fruit and preservative-free are EXTREMELY misleading. These smoothies are often times made from a pre-made frozen concentrate that contains sugar, natural flavors, cellulose gum, dyes, and maltodextrin. These drinks that are being sold as "healthy" are in fact the complete opposite and offer little to no health benefits and can wreck havoc on your gut micro-biome.

FIND THE HEALTHIEST OPTIONS
There is bound to be a time when you don't have a choice and must eat out while visiting a theme park. For obvious reasons, steer clear of the classic stands that carry cheeseburgers, hot dogs, pizza and French fries. Try and find a sit down restaurant and don't hesitate from starting an open dialogue with your server and manager about your dietary requirements. Choose simple, customized meals and avoid all sauces and dressings. A salad is a good choice but try and avoid cheese (unless you know it's an aged cheese and not processed) and ask for olive oil, vinegar and lemons to use as a dressing. If you order a steak, make sure it is only cooked in butter or olive oil and avoid spices with the exception of salt and pepper. We avoid chicken in restaurants, unless we know that it is a quality product. Chicken is often injected with water, salt and other additives and preservatives to help it stay juicier and more flavorful, therefore making it a questionable choice. This is the same reason why we avoid pork. Grilled fish with a side of steamed veggies is always a decent option as well.

TALK TO YOUR KIDS
Probably the most important step you can take is talking to your kids. Explain to them why you choose the lifestyle of clean eating and healthy living. It's very important that you focus on healthy eating and physical exercise rather than weight. Clean eating is not just another diet. Rather, it is a lifestyle that focuses on overall body and mind health. By promoting a healthy lifestyle, hopefully your children will learn to understand why certain foods like sugars, preservatives and so forth are bad for the body and how they negatively impact the gut flora. And don't forget, children learn by their parents example. If you lead a healthy and active life then chances are your decisions will trickle down to your children and they will follow in your footsteps.

6/23/17

The Weekly Roundup | IBD News, Clean Eating, Simple Living

Beach
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will instruct his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease."
Thomas Edison


The Weekly Roundup is a well-curated selection of insightful articles related to health, clean-eating, the gut microbiome, the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, a Paleo lifestyle, simple living, positive parenting and delicious recipes.

It's been awhile since I've posted "The Weekly Roundup" and I've come across so many good articles that have been accumulating on my computer. The Weekly Roundup is a great way for me to organize these important articles, share them with you and have a platform to reference them later if needed. Speaking of organization, it was brought to my attention over on Instagram that some of my recipes are not listed under the Recipe button. After investigating, sure enough, my labels were incorrect and not all recipes were listed. That has since been changed. I am also brainstorming some ways to organize my recipes on this site, especially since the main focus of my blog is geared towards food and SCD recipes. At this point, I am not ready to create a new website but in the future I hope to upgrade to a site that is better fitted for recipes, printable recipes and cooking tips and techniques. But for now, I have added a "Recipe Index" tab on my side bar and will list all my recipes by category. A project I hope to finish sooner than later! I'm all ears if you have any suggestions.

1. Beware! High fructose corn syrup now goes by a new, deceitful name. It is SO important to always, always read labels.

2. Parkinson’s disease, which involves the malfunction and death of nerve cells in the brain, may originate in the gut, new research suggests, adding to a growing body of evidence supporting the idea.

3. There seems to be quit an uproar over the American Heart Association's recent release warning against coconut oil. This article gives fair insight into the debate. The bottom line? Everything in moderation.

4. BUT, this clip by Dr. Mark Hyman sums up why vegetable oil should NOT be included in your diet! Vegetable oils, which include corn, soybean, sunflower, canola, and safflower oils, are all omega 6-rich, inflammatory polyunsaturated fats. Omega 6 fats not only fuel inflammation in the body, but also reduce availability of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats in your tissues, resulting in more inflammation. These oils should be avoided at all costs and replaced with extra virgin olive oil, coconut oil, grass-fed organic butter and ghee.

5. Inflammatory bowel disease is becoming more common in kids. Since Jonas' diagnosis almost three years ago I am amazed by how many families I have met who have a child with gastrointestinal problems. Just from my own experiences, I can tell that these diseases are, sadly, on the rise.

Happy reading and cheers to a healthy, active weekend!

6/21/17

The Road to Summer + Little Green Radicals

Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
Little Green Radicals
“Green was the silence, wet was the light,
the month of June trembled like a butterfly.”

Pablo Neruda, 100 Love Sonnets

It feels like the beginning of June was just yesterday, yet July inches closer and closer with each passing day. The road to summer swiftly arrived, and we happily welcomed it with open arms. But we're trying our hardest to stay on the path. We're trying to continue on the road to summer, the road to adventure and endless endeavors, the road to childhood and bliss, and most importantly, the road to memory making.

Since the arrival of summer we've barely had time to rest. We have yet to fully slow down and breath in the spirt of June; the balmy days calmed by long hours at the pool, homemade popsicles dripping down hot, sweaty cheeks, bare feet gently stained with the color of grass and scraped knees from long bike rides. We have yet to swim in the lake, touch our toes in the sand or pick fresh fruits and vegetables from local farms.

But the road to summer is here.

We are casually falling into our new routine and embracing the sense of laziness that seems to grace our mornings and evenings. I've noticed a change in my attitude; the slow leisurely pace that I carry throughout the day, my nonchalant approach to chores and responsibilities. I haven't exactly pushed everything aside, but I am channeling my inner childhood and adolescence. I want to read more this summer, I want to read stretched out on a canvas of grass in the middle of the park and I want to read with the children under the darkness of the blankets with a flashlight in hand. I want to dance across our yard with sparklers clenched tightly, leaving a trace of light as I swiftly run with the kids. I want to chase the fireflies, count them and collect them. I want to dive off the diving board, attempt a flip (even though its been ages since I've done one) swim under the moonlight, try my hand at tennis and did I mention read more this summer?

Most importantly, I want to make this summer count.
I want to make as many memories as possible so I can gift them to my children.
I want the road to summer to be memorable.
To be meaningly.
Extraordinary.

The months of June, July and August are like little treasures we collect. Those tiny shells we find on the beaches of Kelly's Island or the smooth pebbles from Friday Harbor. Small glass jars of these treasures decorate our home and they are a constant reminder of our travels. Over time I hope to fill our hearts and minds with similar treasures; the treasures gifted to us by the essence of summer.

Thank you Little Green Radicals for working with me on this post/review. For those of you who have never heard of this company I highly suggest checking them out. Not only is the clothing ethically made and organic, but the pieces are high quality and true classic designs. Their organic farmers, based in India, get a guaranteed price for their cotton and they don’t use nasty pesticides. The employees in the factories get fair wages, maternity leave and several other benefits that, unfortunately, most factory workers overseas do not get. Over the years this ethical, organic and Fairtrade company has blossomed into an award winning beautiful brand. Little Green Radicals combines fashion with comfort and delivers a quality line ranging from newborn to eight years of age. And make sure to check out their organic skincare line as well!

Click the links below to shop.

Little Green Radicals // Website, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook

5/26/17

Raw Raspberry Coconut Bars

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DSC_3589
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DSC_3596
There is always something nostalgic about long holiday weekends; the moments spent with friends around the pool, the backyard dinners with family and the late conversations over soft music on the patio. Memorial Day weekend is a time to celebrate the end of a long school year, it's a time to remember the men and women who died while serving our country, and it's a time to reflect on the treasures in our own lives.

After spending last weekend in Florida with friends, I feel refreshed and renewed. Being away for just a few days made me realize how blessed I am to be the mother of my precious children and the wife of my amazing husband. While I was gone, I saw friends and family pitch in and help out and I realized how grateful I am for this generosity. It also made me realize that I want to be generous and self-less. I want to put the needs of others first. I want to mother with my whole heart and I want to continue to grow in my marriage. Of course, you need time for yourself but it's all a balance.

“Do things for people not because of who they are or what they do in return,
but because of who you are”
Harold S. Kushner


I want to strive to be a better person. Not just in my own home, but a better person for society. I want to give back and contribute, which is part of the reason why I blog and share our journey with health and clean eating. I want to help others and I want to find my meaning and purpose. But in the meantime, I know this weekend is meant for family and friends and I look forward to spending quality time with my loved ones. And of course, eating lots of good, clean food and enjoying a glass of wine.
Cheers!

Raw Raspberry Coconut Bars
SCD, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free, Dairy-free, Raw 
yield: 20-24 squares

INGREDIENTS: 
2 cups medjool dates, chopped
1 ½ cups pecans, or other nut of choice
1 cup raw cashews, soaked overnight
1 cup coconut cream
¼ cup honey *
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
2 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp Himalayan salt
1 cup plus 3 Tbs shredded coconut
¼ cup raspberries, puréed

DIRECTIONS:
1. In a food processer combine chopped dates and pecans, pulse until the mixture is combined and sticks together.
2. Press evenly into the bottom of an 8 x 8-inch pan lined with parchment paper. *
3. In a food processer, add the cashews, coconut cream, honey, melted coconut oil, vanilla and salt. Process until smooth.
4. Fold in one cup shredded coconut and spread evenly over the date, pecan mixture.
5. Spoon the raspberry purée over the coconut mixture.
6. Sprinkle with remaining 3 tablespoons of coconut flakes.
7. Cover with plastic wrap or a lid and freeze for two hours. Allow to thaw for 10 minutes before serving.

*TIPS: You can use up to 1/3 cup honey for a sweeter treat. In addition to lining the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, grease the sides with coconut oil.