Benefits Of Spelt Flour

Benefits Of Spelt Flour

Spelt is an ancient grain which has been referred to as “The Grandfather Of Wheat”. Spelt flour is high in fiber & manganese. If you are not familiar with the trace mineral “manganese”, just take note that it helps your body utilize key nutrients, protects cells from free radical damage, maintains normal blood sugar levels, promotes optimal function of your thyroid gland and keeps bones strong. And only 2 oz. of spelt pasta contains 8 grams of protein.

Spelt flour is more easily digested than wheat and is often tolerated by those with “Gluten Sensitivity”. This is not a gluten free food however, so those who have a gluten allergy should not try spelt without their doctor’s approval.

Spelt has also been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and reduce the risk of diabetes. A complex carbohydrate found in spelt known as mucopolysaccharide, is thought to boost immunity & prevent blood clotting.

If you are thinking that this information sounds great, but are wondering how you will get your kids to actually eat spelt, no need to worry. Spelt flour pasta is delicious, and truthfully my kids don’t even taste any difference from their usual whole wheat pasta.

My favorite brand is “Vita Spelt”, and they offer many varieties of pasta including spaghetti, angel hair, penne & rotini. I recently made spelt penne tossed with fresh tomatoes, onions, garlic, basil, parsley & olive oil. So easy. So healthy. And truly delicious!

Whole Wheat Banana Blueberry Muffins

I was trying to come up with a healthy breakfast muffin recipe, without  white flour or refined sugar. Whole wheat flour, fresh fruit & maple syrup are perfect ingredients for these morning muffins. They are not super sweet, but put a little Earth Balance spread on them while they are still warm, and YUM~breakfast is served!

Set oven to 375 degrees

Ingredients:

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. baking soda

1/4 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. cinnamon

1 cup almond milk

1/3 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla

1 large banana mashed

1 cup blueberries

1/2 cup maple syrup

Mix together dry ingredients. Then add the remaining ingredients. Blend well and scoop into greased muffin pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Makes 12 muffins.

A Review Of “Raw Star Recipes” Organic Meals, Snacks & Desserts In 10 Minutes

Apparently the universe has been listening to my constant jibber jabber about my desire to incorporate more “fun” raw food recipes into my family’s life. We do eat lots of raw fruits & veggies, and gallons of homemade green smoothies, but nothing too exciting… I picked up a raw foods cookbook a few months back, but most of the recipes called for a dehydrator, which I have had sitting in my Amazon.com cart since last summer. Yeah, yeah, I’ll get around to buying it one of these days.


A couple of weeks ago a friendly, cookbook author & Eco Chef named Bryan Au contacted me, and asked if I would test out some recipes from his Award Winning cookbook “Raw Star Recipes”, and give my opinion. Of course I happily agreed since this was the extra little push I needed, to come out of my Vegan comfort zone and try something new.

Over the past week I have made Fruity “Tuna” Wraps, Carrot Ginger Soup, Energy Bars, Spinach Herb Dip, Chocolate Shakes & Cinnamon Donuts! And YES all of these recipes are completely RAW!!

I love the fact that Chef Bryan uses organic ingredients, most of which are completely whole & in their natural state. A majority of the recipes do not call for any appliances other than a blender. Each meal can be prepared in around 10 minutes and costs somewhere in the $10 range. This is music to this mom’s ears!

Energy Bars

I began my raw food adventure with “Energy Bars”. I combined nuts, seeds, dates, buckwheat groats & goji berries to create yummy & healthy snacks for my family. They were quick, easy & totally yummy! I will surely make these again soon!

Carrot Ginger Soup

My favorite recipe is the “Carrot Ginger Soup”. The zesty flavor of the fresh ginger combined with carrots & chickpea miso is incredible! I basically threw the ingredients into my Vitamix, and I had a healthy & delicious lunch for myself. This is a great soup that you can throw together quickly, that will wow your house guests!

Fruity "Tuna" Wraps

Fruity “Tuna” Wraps, was the first recipe from the book that I made for my husband. He is a huge hummus fan, but he doesn’t love cauliflower, which is a key ingredient. I knew that he would enjoy the texture, but I was not sure about the flavor. Surprisingly, blended with the walnuts, lemon, miso & spices, he didn’t even notice the cauliflower and he ate 4 wraps! I garnished them with yellow pepper & crunchy apple. So Good!

Spinach Herb Dip

Guacamole lovers will go crazy for this flavorful “Spinach Herb Dip”! Avocado blended with spinach, herbs & spices make for a delicious dip experience. I strongly recommend dipping and array of raw veggies. This may be the perfect way to get your kids to eat raw broccoli, it worked for me!

I was really excited to make raw “Donuts”! The recipe shows how to make cinnamon, chocolate & glazed varieties. I stuck with cinnamon, but I will be trying the other two very soon. I think I whipped these up in about 5 minutes and I made a new best friend along the way.. “Coconut Nectar”!! Have you ever tried this? It’s not quite as sweet as Agave, but much better for your body. I drizzled it over the flax & banana donuts, along with lots of cinnamon. I ate them for breakfast and had no guilt, because they were incredibly healthy and very,very, yummy!

Chocolate Shake

The last recipe that I made was a “Chocolate Shake”. It actually calls for carob powder, but you would never know it from the look on my kid’s faces after they took a sip! I never let it slip, that their creamy, delicious, chocolate shake, didn’t actually contain chocolate!! That was priceless!!

Eco Chef Bryan Au has created an amazing array of raw meals that will delight & entice your entire family. If your children are hesitant to eat raw foods, give this book a try. The health benefits of organic, uncooked, plant foods are practically endless, and all human beings will benefit from adding more raw foods to their diet. These recipes are good for our bodies, friendly to the planet and safe for kids to help prepare! 🙂

 Be a “Raw Star” and buy this book!!

Visit Bryan’s website at www.rawstarrecipes.com 

A Review Of “Happy Thanks Living” Coloring Zine

I have recently come across a sweet & informative coloring zine called “Happy Thanks Living”, created by children’s author, Nathalie VanBalen.

This 20 page black & white book is filled with adorable illustrations and cute poems for your child to enjoy. Pictures of Turkey friends, apple trees & yummy veggies will not only foster your child’s creativity, but also teach compassion & respect for the inquisitive birds that represent Thanksgiving.

If you would like to purchase a coloring zine for a child you love, visit www.thorathinks.com

Let’s teach our children that turkeys are friends! Not Food!

-zines cost $5 each (this includes shipping within the U.S.)
-20 pages, black and white, printed on 100% post-consumer recycled paper
-bound with thread rather than staples for the safety of little ones
-coloring fun for people of all ages! 🙂

Chocolate Chip Banana Muffins

This recipe is my daughter’s favorite & it is very easy to make! If you are making these for your child’s class or a party, I suggest using soy milk instead of almond milk because of nut allergies.

Ingredients:

3 ripe bananas

1/4 cup canola oil

1/2 cup brown rice syrup

1/4 cup soy or almond milk

1 tablespoon molasses

1 cup unbleached white flour

1 cup whole wheat flour

1/4 cup wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup non dairy chocolate chips

1.Preheat oven to 350 degrees

In a large bowl mash bananas & mix with oil, brown rice syrup, soy milk & molasses. Add dry ingredients & chocolate chips. Stir well & scoop into oiled muffin tins. Bake for 15-18 minutes.

“All Aboard! A Vegan Family On A Carnival Cruise”

For spring break this year our family decided to take a cruise. Normally we sail away on the Disney Cruise, but we booked our vacation last minute & Disney did not have availability. The 5 night cruise aboard the “Carnival Inspiration” was one of the few ships that we were able to find an available cabin, so we booked it!

Minutes later I was surfing the web, trying to find any information about Vegan dining on this ship, or any Carnival ship. But information was hard to find. I came across a few comments here & there, but nothing too helpful. I did read that is important to let your server know of any dietary restrictions during the first evening on board.

My husband and I explained our Vegan diet to the server as soon as she greeted us. She explained that we would be working with a “special diet hostess’ during the week, and we should find plenty to eat. This was music to our ears. Our dinner that first night was a simple gluten free penne with marinara sauce, and I must say, it was excellent. I don’t usually enjoy gluten free pasta, but this was a good one. During our meal the “special diet hostess” came by and pre-ordered our dinner for the next evening. This is what we would do each night. For dessert our only option was a fruit platter, but we were assured that we would have better desserts throughout the week. Cookies & cakes were mentioned….

The next evening we were told that our dinner “pre-order” had been accidentally deleted and all they were able to make for us were grilled vegetables & rice or the same pasta as the night before. My husband and I chose the vegetables & the kids ordered the pasta. We all enjoyed our food. Unfortunately, the fruit platter was still the only “dessert” we were offered again. The kids were not happy. We were told that homemade cookies would be made for us tomorrow…..

For breakfast each morning we stuck to toast with jam, cereal and fruit. Soymilk was always available. Lunch each afternoon was a treat! There is a noodle station where rice noodles & vegetables are made to order. The chef uses chicken stock to stir fry, so he had us bring him a cup of water to cook with each time. The kids LOVED this, and so did my husband and I! Best Vegan food on the ship, no joke! Aside from the noodle station, there is a large salad bar & a grilled panini station. It would have been nice if they offered a vegan entree’ along the buffet line, but we still found plenty to eat.

Our third dinner on the ship was a delicious vegetable fried rice! How were the cookies you ask? Non existent. We had fruit again. This time it was cooked berries in a sugared sauce. Good, but still fruit. Thank goodness I brought my own cookies for the kids. Poor things were on vacation and they couldn’t get one decent dessert! I was seriously going to offer my Vegan baking expertise to the kitchen staff and teach them how to whip something up, but my husband thought that was tacky.

The 4th evening we did not make it on the ship in time for dinner in the dining room (too busy discovering ancient Mayan ruins), so we grabbed some veggie sushi & a grilled veggie panini at the buffet. Quite good actually.

Our last dinner on the ship were vegan stuffed peppers, and we all enjoyed them. Bananas were our dessert. Surprise, surprise.

Overall we had a great time. I feel that Carnival has the right idea, offering a “special diet hostess” to work with guests, but I do think they are dropping the ball when it comes to dessert. Vegan cakes & cookies are not difficult to make, and if Carnival Cruise Line put a little more effort into catering to vegan guests, they would get 2 thumbs up by “The Vegan Mom” instead of one.

“Good Morning” Strawberry & Walnut Quinoa

Here is a nutrient packed energy breakfast that the whole family will enjoy!

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

2 tablespoons pure maple syrup

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 cup fresh or thawed frozen strawberries

1/4 cup walnuts

1/4 cup almond milk

Rinse quinoa & transfer to saucepan. Stir in water, maple syrup & cinnamon. Bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer for 12 minutes or until water is absorbed. Add strawberries & walnuts. Serve with almond milk.


Do Vegan Parents Raise More “Ethically Aware” Children?

If someone had asked me this question a few years back, I would have stared at them, wide eyed & confused and said….”huh?… what do you mean?” It is difficult for me to believe, that I was once so completely clueless about something that I am so truly passionate about now.

Veganism has become a way of life for my family, and everything we do in some way or another, reflects on our views of living compassionately. Every dollar we spend, every bite we take and even our words, define our “ethical awareness”.

What is “ethical awareness” exactly? An easy way to describe it would simply be, “knowing what is morally just or unjust in the world around us and feeling a sense of moral obligation to do whatever is in our power to make a difference.”

Back to the question, “do Vegan parents raise more “ethically aware” children? And do our children have a greater feeling of obligation, to help end the immoral treatment of sentient beings on our planet, along with the unthinkable abuse of our beautiful earth?

As a Vegan parent, my answer is yes. Most omnivorous children have absolutely no idea of the pain that animals endure before their meal hits the dinner table. Aside from that, I have not met a child, other than my own & other Vegan children, that have any knowledge of how destructive corporate agriculture is to the planet.

I can not speak for all Vegan parents, and assume that every Vegan child is aware of these issues, but I can speak for many of us. Vegan parents simply want their children to be aware of the “negative”… so we can all begin to make changes for the “positive.”

I think most non-Vegan parents want to shield their children from the unfortunate truth, and do not want their child to feel any guilt over what they eat. I also believe that many non-Vegan parents truly believe that eating meat and other animal products is how it’s meant to be, and there is nothing to feel guilty about.

Until the children of the world become “ethically aware”, our next generation will continue follow in our cruel and immoral footsteps. We must open the eyes of today’s young people and make them understand that the selfish & unethical behavior of mankind cannot go on forever.

As Gandhi said “Be the change that you want to see in the world.”

Valentine’s Day “Love Cookies”

1/2 cup Earth Balance

3/4 cup sugar

1 tablespoon ground golden flaxseed

3 tablespoons warm water

1 tsp. raspberry extract

5 drops red food coloring

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1 cup confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp. light corn syrup

2-3 tbsp. soy or almond milk

heart-shaped candies for decorating

Whisk ground flaxseed & warm water, let sit for 3 minutes. Mix Earth Balance and sugar together. Add flaxseed mixture. Blend in extract and food coloring. Combine dry ingredients, and add until well blended. Shape into a flattened ball. Wrap in plastic wrap and chill at least 1 hour.

Pre-heat oven to 350. Roll out onto lightly floured board until approx. 1/4″ thick. Cut into heart shapes with cookie cutter. Place on parchment covered baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake until golden brown, about 10-15 minutes. Cool.

Stir together confectioner’s sugar, corn syrup and milk until smooth. Dip half of a cookie into icing, then set on waxed paper and sprinkle with heart-shaped candies. Let dry about 1/2 hour. Repeat with the rest of the cookies.

Homemade Granola

A friend recently shared this tasty & simple recipe for homemade granola. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! 🙂

Ingredients:

3 cups rolled oats

3/4 cup agave

4 Tbsp. water

1.5 tsp. almond extract

1/2 cup soy nuts

1/2 cup wheat germ

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1 cup mixed dried fruit

1/2 cup raisins

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place oats on 2 cookie sheets. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring twice.

2. In a large bowl combine agave, water, & almond extract. Add toasted oats, soy nuts, wheat germ, sesame seeds, and stir to coat well.

3. Spread oat mixture again on 2 cookie sheets and bake for 15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.

4. Cool

5. Transfer to larger bowl & stir in dried fruits & raisins.

6. Store at room temperature in tightly covered container for up to 1 month.

Makes 18 1/2 cup servings.

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