Monday, September 15, 2014

Sweet Glazed Salmon


As the mornings grow cooler, and the nights come sooner, it seems that summer is becoming more and more of a distant memory. Though squash, corn, and pumpkins are all the craze at most orchards, my Nanny and I were still able to pick some of the season's last blueberries just the other weekend.  Because using seasonal and locally sourced ingredients is one aspect of cooking that I like to embrace, I decided to skip the desserts and make instead a savory dish that featured the bowl of blueberries sitting on our kitchen counter yet again. 

After seeing my Chinese allergist and immunologist last Saturday, my mother and I stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some meal essentials. Though my family has been blessed with the ability to eat fish caught and frozen from the summer prior,  this year's bite was anything but great. Sadly, we definitely have done more "fishing" than actual "catching." Therefore, with organic fish thawed and ready for eating, I decided to make my own spin on the usual "glazed" recipe.  We paired it with salmon, however, my parents and I both decided it would be equally delicious on top of roasted turkey, lamb, and especially duck.  Blueberries as a savory dish may seem "weird" to those with immature tastebuds, however, it is these different flavor combinations that tantalize and grow our palates the most.  Once your mouth becomes more adventurous, I can promise you that eating becomes significantly more fun and exciting. 



Blueberry Balsamic Glazed Salmon 

(Serves 3) 
Ingredients
  • 3, 6-8 oz salmon fillets 
  • 3/4 cup fresh blueberries (*frozen and thawed will also work)
  • 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard (*honey mustard will also work)
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • Olive oil
  • Fresh rosemary 
  • 1-2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
Process
  • In a small pot over medium heat, bring blueberries, vinegar, and mustard to a boil.
  • Once boiling, turn flame to medium-low, add maple syrup and salt, and let cook for 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently.
  • When the sauce has reduced, let rest for a few minutes.
  • *If you sauce has reduced too much, now is the time to whisk in the lemon juice until fully incorporated. 
  • Divide the finished mixture into two separate ramekins and set aside.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • Grease a medium sized, shallow baking dish lightly with olive oil.
  • Place salmon skin side down and brush 1/2 of the sauce of the fillets.
  • Cover and let marinate for 1 hour, or bake for 10 minutes.
  • Plate immediately and serve with sprigs of rosemary and extra blueberry sauce.  
Enjoy! 



Gabriella 




Exodus 33:14 "And He said, 'My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest." 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday Morning Waffles



Waffles, also known as the vessel for warm maple syrup, are probably one of the most loved foods worldwide.  Whether you like your's light and fluffy, dense and cake-like, homemade, or straight from the freezer section, you cannot deny the joy that comes with eating a waffle. What first started out as Neolithic rustic hotcakes, griddle cakes in the Iron Age, savory wafers in Ancient Greece, honeycomb treats called "oublies" in the early 13th century, Dutch "wafles" by the Pilgrims in 1620, all officially became known as "waffles" (two t's) in the English print during the year 1735.  Interestingly enough, it was our own Thomas Jefferson who brought the first French waffle iron over to America, thus starting the trend of "waffle parties."  By the 1800's, waffles made their way out onto the streets as one of the most popular street foods and, in 1869, a Dutch-American named Cornelius patented the first waffle iron in U.S, making August 24th "NATIONAL WAFFLE DAY!


Though, much to my disappointment, it is not August 24th, today's recipe is one that you can make any day, or meal for that matter.  As some of you know, I follow a ketogenic diet as part of my PK Protocol.  Therefore, starchy vegetables such as sweet potato, yuca, and squash, all must be kept to a minimum. The practical elimination of these yummy foods, a long with my multiple allergies to everything else, can make eating rather boring.  Though I am incredibly thankful for all that I am able to somewhat tolerate, sometimes I just need something a little different, and last Friday just happened to be one of these days.  
As for a health update to those who are wondering, the past month has been rough. Just when I don't think the pain and pure exhaustion can get any worse, it does.  Due to the increase of all my symptoms,  I was instructed by my doctor to take a 10 day break from my IV infusion and PK Protocol supplements.  However, because nothing changed, I was able to resume everything yesterday, and for that I am very thankful.  It is times like these when staying positive and focusing on the vision, not the circumstance, is hard, yet extremely helpful.  Literally crawling out of my own skin, allergically reacting to everything I touch or eat, and riding in pain from head to toe, can make this hard to do.  Yet knowing God is taking care of it all, and that I don't have to even try and think about how I am going to get through the next few hours, is really all one can do.  


These waffles, though lacking in grains, dairy, and eggs, are incredibly scrumptious.  One key to their outer crispiness and inner dough-like texture, is allowing them to keep cooking even after the outside is slightly brown.  Unlike any "egg-free" waffle I have ever tried, these are not dense, or full of extra ingredients to bind and rise the mixture. Because I cannot have sugar in any form, I topped mine with raw sheep yogurt sweetened with lucuma powder, and stevia sweetened chocolate chips. However, I know they would be equally perfect topped with maple syrup, berries, or even turned savory with bacon and sausage.  Though you might be a bit wary of the ingredients, believe me, the tasty results are so surprising that even my mother thought they were exceptionally delicious!  Whether you can have butter or not,  drizzling these waffles with warm bacon fat like myself is highly recommended :). 


Crispy Waffles

(1 serving of  2 square waffles)
Ingredients
  • 1 greenish yellow plantain (6-8 oz) *The more black spots, the sweeter it will be.
  • 1 flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tbsp of water)
  • 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar (I used chicory root
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp MCT oil (or any other oil available) 
  • Warm bacon fat. 
Process
  • Preheat and grease waffle iron.
  • Peel plantain and place in a food processor. 
  • In a small dish, make your "egg" by mixing flaxseeds and water together. 
  • Add plantain to processor and pulse a few times until plantain is minced small.
  • Next, add your flax-egg, sweetener (if using), oil, vanilla, and baking soda.
  • Allow processor to run until a smooth batter has formed. 
  • Once waffle iron is ready, pour the batter in and spread evenly with spatula if necessary.
  • Close the iron and let cook until red light has turned green, or the machine has beeped.
  • After your waffle is done, allow to cook for a few more minutes, in order to obtain maximum crispiness. *If you take it out to early, it might seem a bit too doughy. 
  • With a fork, remove waffles from iron and top with butter, bacon fat, maple syrup,  yogurt, or anything you like! 
Enjoy!






Gabriella



Psalm 121:2 "My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth."

Friday, September 12, 2014

Caution: Artificial Hazard

The Sugar Free Dilemma 



Much like the low-fat fad, it seems that "no sugar" diets are promoted in various weight loss programs and protocols advertised all throughout social media.  Though eliminating the majority of sugar ladened  processed food is a good idea in general, the danger comes when consumers replace these products with the seemingly healthier, low or "zero sugar" products.  Some that may be familiar include diet soda, Jello, sugar-free gum (Orbit, Trident, Extra etc...), Equal, Spoonful, Splenda, Nutrisweet, Smuckers Jelly, Delight Coffee Creamers, and much more.  Whether you are looking to lose weight, or simply cut back on the sugar in your diet, choosing these foods might appear to be a good idea.  However, truth is, not only will the excess weight stay stubborn, but your cravings will shoot through the roof, along with some other side effects that seem to mysteriously appear. 

So what makes products such as Diet Coke "diet worthy" anyways? Well, in a 12 oz can of Coca-Cola, there are 39 grams of sugar (or 10 sugar cubes), equaling to 140 calories, all of which are from the sweetener.  Therefore, when you remove the processed sugar from the drink, you are left with zero calories, making it a healthier choice, right? Wrong.  The problem with this reduction of calories is that there must be something to replace the extreme sweetness of the drink.  That secret ingredient is called aspartame, which actually tastes 200 times more potent than sugar.
The majority of people do not know where this zero calorie "sweetener" came from, which is not surprising since it was created by accident through a chemist seeking, and failing, to created an anti-ulcer drug back in 1965.  Due to various lab studies that left rats with numerous seizures and brain tumors, the FDA would not allow this newly discovered chemical to be added to products for another 16 years. Finally, after much political pressure and shady special interest, aspartame was officially allowed onto supermarket shelves in 1981.  Now, most assume that because this product has not yet been discontinued or banned from stores after 33 years of production, it is safe to say that it is not harming us humans.  However, this is the furthest cry from the truth.  What the FDA does not want us to know is that 92% of independently funded studies revealed aspartame to have many significant safety hazards. Not only does it excite and thus kill specific neurons in the brain, it also over-activates neurotransmitters and excessive damaging free radicals in the body.  Children's consumption of aspartame is especially dangerous in that it is able to pass through the blood brain barrier incredibly easy, causing a multitude of disorders. 

Unlike animals, such as the ones used for the lab studies of aspartame, our bodies do not contain certain enzymes to deal with the toxic effects present in this product. Therefore, the fact that the experimental rats could not fight against the chemical, proves that human consumption of it is incredibly dangerous. One key result of ingesting aspartame is the over-production of the amino acid phenylalanine, which causes mood disorders such as depression and anxiety.  Methanol, another major ingredient in this "zero calorie, "zero harm" sweetener, is broken down in the small intestine and turned into a deadly neurotoxin called formaldehyde (aka a carcinogen).  Together, these literal poisons have been proven to cause chronic diseases such as MS, rheumatoid arthritis, diabetes, Parkinson's, Epilepsy, ALS, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, brain tumors, and much more.  Less "severe" conditions include ear buzzing, chills, gastrointestinal disorders, vision problems, vertigo, retinal damage, suppressed DNA replication, birth defects, insomnia, nausea, rashes, weight gain, asthma, numbness, hearing loss, joint pain, migraines/headaches, dizziness, and the list goes on! In the end, because aspartame upsets our natural brain chemistry, eating it will do anything but help your body.  
Though I have only covered the tip of the ice berg on how aspartame, as well as other artificial sweeteners, are harmful to the human body, I hope this post will shed some light on why they should always be avoided (if not banned). If you are someone who eats this ingredient on a daily basis, I highly encourage you to start replacing it with natural sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, or even coconut sugar.  Though a high consumption of real, unprocessed sugar is not necessarily helpful to the body,  I do not believe (nor is there evidence) that it is as detrimental as the effects of artificial sweeteners.  Below is a new recipe featuring just the right amount of natural sweetness from coconut sugar.  After baking the same cake for my brother who is in college, I decided I wanted to create my own version.  The result was a moist, yet fluffy cake, blended with the flavors of three delicious fruits; lime, fig, and blueberry. Though I use lard as the fat (and highly recommend you do too), you can easily substitute coconut oil, palm shortening, grass-fed butter, or any other oil you have on hand. Overall, this "coffee-cake" like dessert has been a hit in my house, and I am sure it will be in yours too! *If you have any questions regarding the sweeteners used in my recipes, please feel free to contact me on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, email, or simply by leaving a comment below. 



Fig Blueberry Cake

Ingredients

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 1 lime-juiced (2 tbsp)
  • 2-3 tbsp lime zest
  • 1/2 cup homemade lard-melted
  • 4 figs-cut into 6th
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries 
  • 1 1/2 cup coconut sugar
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup 
Process
  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  • Position racks- 1 high and 1 low.
  • With a mixer, beat together coconut sugar, maple syrup, and eggs for 2-3 minutes.
  • In the meantime, zest your limes and melt your lard.
  • Once the eggs & sugar are done mixing, add your lard and zest.
  • In a separate bowl, mix together your almond and tapioca flour. 
  • Next, beat in lime juice and flour mixture until just combined.
  • Pour batter into a greased 9 inch pan (I used a pie plate but any shape works)
  • Cut figs into 6 wedges.
  • Press fig slices and blueberries in to the top of the cake.
  • Place in oven and bake on the lower rack for 40 minutes.
  • After 40 minutes have passed, cover pan with tin foil and transfer to the high rack, letting bake for 35 more minutes.
  • Take out of oven and let cool for at the least 1 hour.
Enjoy!




Gabriella




Hebrews 11:6 "And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The Not-so-New Superfood

Eating Nose to Tail 






When it comes to eating, especially Paleo eating, it is important to incorporate a blend of beneficial foods to optimize one's health.  We all know that too much of anything in life can become a bad thing, however, what seems to be ignored in today's society is the fact that not enough of certain things can be just as detrimental.  It just so happens that throughout the years of industry and population growth in America, we have deviated from many of the customs that our ancestor's brought to the country in the first place.  One of these long forgotten practices includes the consumption of organ meats, as well as the bones that make up our favored ribeye steak or fried chicken wing.  Not only has the lack of these foods been completely disregarded by the majority of people, but it simultaneously has contributed to the rise of health issues, both big and small. 

So what are organ meats exactly?
The most common are liver, heart, tongue, and kidney, while others include thymus (also known as sweetbreads), brain, pancreas, and even tripe (the stomaching lining of certain animals).  These foods, though nauseating to most of pop culture, have been eaten by our ancestors for well over hundreds of years. In fact, most international countries still keep these foods as essentials in their everyday diet.  However, because of America's greed and corruption in the food industry, organ meats became all too quickly regarded as unnecessary.  You will notice that now in days, the majority of protein in any grocery store comes from the muscle tissue of an animal. Though these cuts of meat are beneficial to the human body when properly raised, there are many more nutrient dense and cost effective foods hidden in between every pork shank, lamb chop, beef steak, and turkey breast.  Not only does this include organ meat, but also the nutrient dense substance located in the bone of an animal called marrow.  
The first question that usually pops into anyone's mind when confronted with this subject is, "who in their right mind would eat THAT?" However, for those of us who have had the privilege to try these foods prepared correctly, would simply answer, "why not?"  To start off, eating organ meat and bone marrow nourishes the body from the inside out, and due to America's ignorance of its value, is fairly cheap. At first you may be a bit squeamish at the appearance, or even the thought of slurping marrow out of a roasted bone.  However, have you ever wondered why household pets chew on bones or large predators such as lions and coyotes go for the heart when killing prey? One word: flavor.  Due to the high nutritional content of marrow and organ meat, both naturally contain 10x more flavor than any popular meat product, no matter how much seasoning, sauce, or beer you marinate it in. This unmatchable, indescribable taste is just one reason why native cultures never even ate the muscle cuts of their game, but instead fed them to the dogs as scraps. In the end, between the extreme nutritional content and "taste factor" that organ meat and bone marrow possess, it is safe to call these foods, SUPERFOOD. 
Of course, unlike spinach, berries, salmon, and almonds, you will not see any healthy living magazine featuring these seemingly "exotic" foods on their front cover.  
Yet do not be deceived. Liver, just one of the many edible organs, contains the most nutrition per ounce than any other food available on the face of the earth.  Not only is it extremely high in vitamin A, choline, folate, and vitamin B12, but it is also packed with many trace minerals that are critical for bodily function.  No need for a multivitamin here as selenium, zinc, iron, and calcium, are all abundantly present in liver.  Simply adding this prize organ meat into your weekly, or even monthly dinner rotation can significantly help support your bodies immune system, ability to fight free radicals, nerve and thyroid function, fertility, cell, tissue, and skin growth, appetite, growth of blood cells, strong bone development, energy, and the list goes on. 

Another aspect of eating nose to tail includes bones, also shown to be the key ingredient behind creating a powerful and healing broth, are filled with a sponge-like substance known as marrow.  This worldwide delicacy is not only incredibly satisfying to the palate, but much like organ meat,  is loaded with essential fatty acids like omega 3, vitamins, minerals, lipids, and an anti-cancer, anti-oxidant element called CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). A further benefit of consuming bone marrow is that it is high in glycine, an amino that helps restore protein tissue throughout the body, as well as in detoxing, and sleeping.  Alkylglycerols found in marrow (also present in mother's milk), are the supporters behind white blood cells in our own human bone.  When are bodies are depleted of this chemical, we become inflamed, unable to fight against infection or disease, thus ultimately losing proper cell function.  However, consuming alkylglycerols has been shown incredibly effective in preventing and treating cancer, along with other health conditions.  Interestingly enough, Northern Canadian Indians have been documented as splintering and cracking open the bones of their kill, in order to obtain their much needed nutrition during the winter months. There was also a great emphasis on children consuming bone marrow, and was even eaten in place of milk during early childhood.  If you don't think marrow is for you, then maybe the fact that Queen Victoria of Great Britain, who lived to be 81 years old and had it on a daily basis, will change your mind. 

In the end, the most important thing to remember when consuming both bone marrow and organ meats, is to get them from a grass-fed, organic source.  Much like the dangers of eating GMO meat, eating the organs or bones of inhumanly raised animals can be just as toxic.  However, when meat products are treated and fed correctly, their insides become happy and healthy resources for our own bodies to thrive off of.  If you have not had the experience of eating organ meats, I highly recommend you start with either chicken heart, chicken liver pate, or beef heart.  From experience, I have found that these meats tend to have a more subtle flavor that is best for beginners.  On the other hand, you cannot go wrong with bone marrow.  If you enjoy devouring a bone-on steak, lamb chop, ribs, or even a chicken wing, I know you will fully enjoy eating bone marrow! For more information, recipes, and tips, please visit the following sites:

Offal Guide Departure from Organ Meat
100+ Recipes
Liver: Chris Kresser
Preparing Bone Marrow




Gabriella


Deuteronomy 31:5 "Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid if the nations in the Promised Land; for the Lord your God, He is the one who goes with you. He will mot leave you not forsake you. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Blueberry Ice Cream


Now that it is September, pretty much everyone I know is back in school, however, this week's weather is anything but cool. That being said, recipes for pumpkin bread and apple pie are the last thing on my mind.  Speaking of fall desserts, make sure to check out Foodbabe's investigation of Starbuck's Pumpkin Spice Latte. Being a rather fast food coffee shop, it was quite obvious to me that their flavored products are full of hidden ingredients. Does that mean that you have to shun Starbucks? Not necessarily.  However, it makes you wonder what else is lurking behind the seemingly healthy labels of other products they stock. Personally, I would rather support a local, fair trade coffee shop (like Ben's Beans ) that roasts daily and actually uses real ingredients, subsequently making their drinks naturally taste 10x better (without the need for toxic ingredients). In the end, I am not here to tell you what you can or cannot eat, that decision is up to you and only you.  However, I am not sure anyone in their right mind would openly drink petroleum oil, sulfites, pesticides, and ammonia, if they knew they were doing so.  All in all, simply being aware (not overly paranoid) of the ingredients behind processed food, and thus making the educated decision to eat (or not eat) something, is part of a balanced life.  If you are similar to me and would rather make your own pumpkin spice latte at home, check out this simple recipe by The Nourishing Gourmet. *As an update, for those of you who use Twitter, you can now find me by clinking the icon on the upper righthand corner of my site, or the link above. 








Because last weekend was Labor day, and a close family friend was in town, I knew making something special to celebrate was a must.  After flipping through various cookbooks and being totally indecisive as to what I wanted to make, I decided to brainstorm and create my own recipe.  With a huge bowl of fresh picked, locally grown berries sitting on the kitchen room counter, blueberry ice cream it was! Sweet creaminess from the coconut milk, yet with a subtle pop of lime in the background, this frozen delicacy will leave you completely refreshed and satisfied. Not only will you not miss the dairy, but I can promise that you and your guests will always come back wanting more.



Blueberry Ice Cream
Ingredients
  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk
  • 1 cup cashew milk
  • 1/2 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh blueberries
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tbsp vanilla 
Process
  • In a large blender, add the cashew and coconut milk, 1 cup of blueberries, vanilla, lime juice, maple syrup, and blend until fully incorporated. *If your blender is not large enough, simply add the blended mixture to a large bowl and then whisk in the maple syrup and cashew milk.
  • Place in prepared ice cream maker and churn for 30 minutes.
  • After 25 minutes have passed, sprinkle in the remaining 1/2 cup blueberries and allow to run for 5 more minutes.
  • Scoop ice cream into container and freeze for at the least 1 hour for firmer consistency.
  • When ready to eat, place out on the counter for 20-30 minutes, allowing the ice cream to soften a bit.
  • Scoop and serve topped with more blueberries or chocolate sauce.
Enjoy!




Gabriella 




Lamentations 3:22-23 "The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Your Pathway to Paleo


What is it?

From a strictly definition standpoint, Paleo (or Paleolithic) eating is a diet that mimics how our ancestors ate hundreds of years ago.  Also known as the “hunter gatherer” diet, people following this way of life try to eliminate as many modern day processed and unnecessary foods from their diet as possible.  The reasoning behind this is to not only strengthen the body from the inside out, but also to cut excess inflammation and irritation that is inevitable due to today's industrialization. As the ever growing number of machine and lab invented products has expanded the idea of eating real foods, that were native to this earth, has been ignored.  This supposedly satisfactory lifestyle full of hidden toxins may seem easier and cheaper at present, however, the harmful, life altering effects always reign true either in the individual, or their offspring.  Looking too far for evidence is not necessary, as the rise of disease, heart attacks, food allergies, birth defects, and much more, steadily incline.



One common misconception of the Paleo diet is that it is "low carb," and though it may be lower in carbohydrates than the standard Western diet (which is over 300 grams per 2000 calorie intake), it is in no way insufficient with carb sources.  Sweet potatoes, yuca, taro, plantains, parsnips, and winter squash are all promoted while eating Paleo.  The overall gist of this "diet" is to create a lifestyle that suits your body the best and helps it function in its utmost ability.  Though you may think your morning bagel, lunch sandwich, and pasta dinner make you feel great (gluten free  or not) they have actually been proven to do more harm than good in even the healthiest of individuals. 
What I like the most about Paleo is that it is not a diet plan where "one size fits all."  After a 30-60 day elimination trial, experimenting with grey area foods such as white potatoes, rice, and dairy, are all part of the journey.  Some people find they do fine with a white potato at dinner or a bit of jasmine rice throughout their day, and truly know it is helping them thrive.  However, in the end, everyone is made different and can handle different foods better or worse than the next.  One example of this is dairy (technically from the neolithic era), a food that can be somewhat beneficial when raw, yet is a food intolerance becoming incredibly common in today's world.  However, if raw milk, real butter, or grass fed yogurt sit well in your stomach, then most Paleo experts say to go ahead and eat it.  Though there seems to always be an ongoing debate as to whether a food is "caveman worthy" or not, it answer ultimately comes down if is a real, wholesome food.  Therefore, is Vermont maple syrup, straight from the hands that prepared it paleo? I'd say, in moderation, yes.  Is a white potato grown in a local farmer's backyard paleo?  Certainly!  Again, the Paleo lifestyle is not a strict list of "do's" and "don'ts," and really, could not be easier once your mind is out of the LED lit grocery store shelves. That being said, the Paleo diet is not about who can eat the least, lose the most weight, or exercise the hardest.  Though shedding unnecessary weight and being at the peek of athleticism can be results of living a truly nourishing life, the Paleo approach is really about feeling and being the best that you can be. 



Courtesy of Primalpalate.com 

JERF "Just Eat Real Food" 



If you would like to learn more about different aspects of a paleo life please visit the following links, or contact me through email or Facebook!




Gabriella 



1 Corinthians 6:19 "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own."


Friday, August 29, 2014

Biscuits & Jam Thumbprint Cookies

Always be creative with what you've been given. 

I love food, obviously, and personally it doesn't matter if I am making it for myself, or someone else, it is always enjoyable.  Giving and serving people with my food over the years has become almost like my way of making sure everyone is happy and getting the most out of their life. If somebody had told me that, by the age of 14 I would be sick in bed going to various doctors, I most likely would have been ten times more adventurous and appreciative of everything going on around me. It is not to say that I was a boring individual, however, when everything is taken away in life, you realize how good you truly had it. I am sure that most of you reading this can understand what I mean. We tend to trudge through our days apathetically, wishing something exciting would happen. In reality, every moment of life, especially when in true health, is a blessing.  This however, is something that is sorely taken advantage of.  Most people don't get what it means to appreciate every little thing or detail in life, until they are on their death bed or told they only have a few months to live. When we experience these eye opening moments, our minds go into overdrive, trying to see if we have checked off as many things on our bucket lists as planned. However, enjoying life does not always have to be from these mountain top events, but also can be in the small day to day things. One way that we can do this is by finding something we love in our life, regardless of if it is easy or not, and make the best of it.  For me, this is working in the kitchen. Not only does it give me gratification, but those who are receiving end up with satisfied stomachs and a smile on their face.  Starting a blog seemed to be just another way that I could reach people with my talent and passion.  "Beyond the Bite" is a reference to about three different things, all of which come together as one.  Not only is my blog about getting beyond the tick bite and fighting chronic lyme and its numerous complications, but it is also about addressing the fact that what you eat does effect your body in different ways, regardless of your health.  My third mission of Beyond the Bite is to show others that eating in a way that's different from the standard American diet can be just as fun, and if anything, more interesting and satisfying regardless of if it is "health food."  This reference of simply getting beyond the mental block of eating something you think you won't like because its ingredients are foreign, is where today's recipe stemmed from.  


Like I said earlier, though I cannot eat sweets, baking them for others does not bother me one bit. I am not tempted to eat things that harm my body, and I got over long ago of feeling deprived. Of course I have my moments when I feel so awful that I wish I could just forget it all and eat anything I wanted. However, I do not let this way of thinking ruin my attitude towards my situation, nor let it take me away from enjoying and embracing the few foods my body can tolerate. That being said, I do occasionally make "normal" baked goods full of wheat, cane sugar, and dairy. However, most times I like to make things that trick even my 15 year old brother into thinking he's eating "junk food." There have been many successful attempts, all of which I like to capture on Instagram. Through my experience and various experiments with "alternative" cooking, I have come to learn the science behind making something worth eating.  For me, if something is not tasty or the texture not right, then there is no use in wasting what I call  "my allergy" on it.  So, though I cannot eat thumbprint cookies, my friends and family can, both of which loved the treat before I even told them the ingredients. The difference between my recipe and normal thumbprint cookies? They feature wholesome ingredients that will not leave a pit in your stomach, nor make your blood sugar drop a hour later. In reality, you could have them in place of a meal, or right a long with one if that is your thing (my parents has been having them with their morning of eggs and bacon). You will notice that I do not title my recipes as "paleo," even though 90% of them are.  This is because 1. Paleo means a diet in most peoples minds, 2. Diets mean restriction, and 3. Restriction means no fun, or in this case, flavor. Therefore, instead of telling people I made super healthy cookies that are guilt free, gluten free, dairy free, and refined sugar free (all of which make you think of anything BUT a cookie),  I first let them experience the deliciousness for themselves.  In the end, everyone who has tried these cookies has been quite surprised, and could care less of their ingredients because they are so dang good. I say this simple way of cooking and baking is how everything we eat should be.  Out with the processed foods with labels that sport a list of over 50 ingredients, and in with food that IS the ingredient list.  It is time for people to realize that real food, is truly good food.


Apricot, Strawberry, and Blueberry Jam

Biscuits and Jam Thumbprint Cookies 

(Makes 1 dozen cookies)
(Great for breakfast, brunch, or afternoon snack)

Ingredients
  • 1 cup almond four
  • 1/2 cup tapioca flour
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil (liquid to room temperature)
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 tsp almond extract
  • 1/2 cup jam (I used blueberry and strawberry rhubarb) 
  • Electric mixer (I use a stand Kitchenaid mixer)
  • Paddle attachment


Process
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • In a medium sized bowl, sift together almond, tapioca, and coconut flour.
  • Add cinnamon and salt to the bowl and set aside. 
  • With an electric mixer, beat coconut oil and coconut sugar together on medium speed for about 2 minutes.
  • Switch speed to low and add the egg, maple syrup, and almond extract.
  • Turn speed to medium and continue to beat until the egg is fully incorporated.
  • With mixer on low, slowly spoon the dry mixture into the wet ingredients until a sticky dough forms.
  • Turn mixer off.
  • Let dough sit for a couple minutes. (*This allows the coconut flour to soak up any extra liquid) 
  • Using a cookie scoop, spoon dough on a parchment lined baking sheet 2-3 inches apart from each other. 
  • Using your thumb or back of a small spoon, make a indentation into the center of each cookie.
  • Place in oven and bake for 6-7 minutes.
  • Take out of the oven, indent your cookies again, and place back in the oven for 2-3 minutes.
  • Allow to cool slightly on baking sheet and then transfer to a wire lined rack.
  • Once able to handle, scoop 1 tsp of jam into the center of each cookie.


ENJOY!







Gabriella 





John 6:29 "Jesus answered, "the work of God is this: to believe in the one He has sent."