Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Pumpkin dessert

I love pumpkins whether its dinner or dessert. Every year I buy pie pumpkins and try to make something new. This is new a new one for me. I got the idea while researching. There are a lot of similar recipes online but they call for unnecessary sugar or use methods that didn't seem as easy. This will take a couple hours to make BUT most of it is just baking time. Prep time is about 15-20 minutes. Enjoy!

1 medium sugar pumpkin or 2 small pumpkins, washed
5-6 granny smilth apples, cored,and chopped
1 (16 ounce) can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple tidbits, drained
1/2 cup broken walnuts opt.
1 TBSP ground cinnamon
1 TBSP ground nutmeg (preferrably fresh ground)
2 TSP fresh grated ginger
1/4 tsp salt


Cut the top off the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Place cut side down in a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees F for about 40 minutes or until soft. Cool for a few minutes.

With a metal spoon, scrape out the cooked pumpkin, leaving a 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick shell. Stir together scraped out pumpkin, apples, pineapple, walnuts, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Spoon mix into the pumpkin shell. Cover with the top. (At this point you can put it aside to cook later when you are ready) Bake in a preheated oven at 400-degree F oven for 45 minutes or until the filling is hot. Serve plain or over vanilla ice cream.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Greens Pizza...delicious AND healthy

One of our favorite meals at our house is homemade pizza. It's so easy and there are so many versions that we never get sick of PIZZA! About a week ago I came up with another version. Dark leafy greens are so nutritious but can be a challenge to add into the diet. Well, I made a small pizza with this topping (because it was an experiment) when I should have made more. It was a hit with everyone...It may seem a little involved but it's not.

Here goes:

1 medium precooked sourdough pizza crust (or other of your choice)

12 ounces chopped chard
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup olive oil
2 tsp fresh grated garlic clove (or more if you like)
2 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp black pepper
1 cup dried tomatoes (I dried from the garden)
3-4 Tbsp water
Feta cheese

In a medium pan put greens, water to cover and salt. Simmer 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a pan on low gently heat oil and garlic. allow to infuse for 3 minutes. Add rosemary, pepper and tomatoes. Toss together. Add water and cover. When greens are done strain and press water out. Add to tomato pan. Toss together and keep over low heat until water is absorbed. Spread on pizza crust. Top with feta cheese and bake in a 450 degree oven 7-10 minutes until done.

Olive oil is a healthy oil. We should all know that we need generous amounts of HEALTHY fats in our diet every day to aid in weight loss, help hormone regulation, encourage healthy heart function, and in reducing cancer.

Garlic has been used for centuries as a medicine that helps fight infection and helps clean the blood.

Dark green leafy vegetables are, calorie for calorie, perhaps the most concentrated source of nutrition of any food. They are a rich source of minerals (including iron, calcium, potassium, and magnesium) and vitamins, including vitamins K, C, E, and many of the B vitamins. They also provide a variety of phytonutrients including beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin, which protect our cells from damage and our eyes from age-related problems, among many other effects. Dark green leaves even contain small amounts of Omega-3 fats.

So you see, pizza can be tasty, filling and nutritious. Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Mmmm, Mmmm, Miso soup!

Miso soup is a wonderfully nourishing soup that has been consumed all of over the Orient for over 2,500 years.

What is miso? It is a fermented soy bean past that is so delicious and good for your health. Many people will have a bowl or cup of miso soup before their meal to help digestion and increase meal nutrition. Below is a list of SOME of the benefits of miso

1. Contains all essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.

2. Stimulates the secretion of digestive fluids in the stomach.

3. Restores beneficial probiotics to the intestines.

4. Aids in the digestion and assimilation of other foods in the intestines.

5. Is a good vegetable-quality source of B vitamins (especially B12).

6. Strengthens the quality of blood and lymph fluid.

7. Reduces risk for breast, prostate, lung and colon cancers.

8. Protects against radiation due to dipilocolonic acid, an alkaloid that chelates heavy metals and discharges them from the body.

9. Strengthens the immune system and helps to lower LDL cholesterol.

10. High in antioxidants that protects against free radicals.

(Taken from

I love having miso when i start to feel like I'm getting sick, when the weather changes or need something quick. At Wal-mart I buy the little bead containers and fill them up with this recipe, then just add water. it's great on the go and you can make it a light broth OR a filling soup.

1 Cup hot but NOT boiling water water
1 TSP white miso
¾ TSP fish sauce
1 clove of grated garlic
¼ TSP tamari
Optional add-ins (in small amounts):
Fresh Ginger juice to taste
Crushed arame (seaweed)
Pressed tofu
Cooked brown rice
Fresh or frozen peas or carrots

Mix all ingredients together and enjoy.

On the GO:

Combine all ingredients BUT water in a small container. When ready to enjoy add ingredients to a cup of warm water and stir for an instant, nourishing soup

So, there's the Yummy recipe. There are a few ingredients that I was skeptical about eating, like fish sauce, but it makes all the difference in the taste. Trust me I DON'T LIKE FISH FLAVOR.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Fermented Cod Liver oil

Cod liver oil. It’s possibly one of the most disgusting substances on the planet (slight exaggeration) with the longest continual use for the hard to find vitamins A and D. I have my degree in Holistic Nutrition and several certificates in the field of health and wellness. After studying and experimenting with many of the trendy diets and suffering from different maladies I stumbled into what is, quite possibly, the best nutritional books I have ever found (trust me I have and have read too many to count? ) My questions were the same as yours…1)Which diet is the healthiest…Atkins, South Beach, Vegan, Vegetarian, Mediterranean, etc? 2)Why is there a huge list of foods I cannot eat? One day something is good for me and then WHAM it’s on the “no-no” list. 3) When I look at the research it seems like I have to choose a diet based on the diseases I can live with…If I can live with heart trouble go for Atkins…If I can live with crazy diseases stemming from artificial sweeteners and processed meats go with South Beach…and it goes on. How do I choose a diet that I can feel satisfied with and feel great? 4)Why all the supplementation (pills, powders, etc)? Shouldn’t I be able to get the nutrients I need from FOOD?

Then I came across The Weston A. Price Foundation (and his book) and Nourishing Traditions cookbook. It not only challenged a lot of what I had researched but it answered my questions. Anyways, that is a whole different subject. I am here to tell you about Fermented Cod Liver oil. My family enjoys good food (traditionally prepared, local, seasonal, and organic if possible), Fermented Cod Liver Oil (FCLO), exercise and a few tonic teas to give us optimum nutrition. The information I will be giving is from Nourishing Traditions by Sally fallon and a few quotes from Staying healthy with Nutrition by Elson Haas, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration by Weston A. Price and The New Optimum nutrition Bible by Patrick Holford. All of these are amazing books, huge, but full of information.

1)CLO is an excellent source of vitamins A and D. CLO also contains DHA, a fatty acid essential to the development of the brain and Nervous System“. ---NT p 237

2)“Vit A must be supplied in liberal portions not only during the growth period but during the adult period as well if a good condition of nutrition and a high degree of health and vigor are to be maintained" --NT p 302

3)FCLO is one of the most concentrated food sources available for omega-3 fatty acids, including both EPA and DHA.

Where can I get FCLO?
I have found that I like . You can try to get one of the flavored ones but in my opinion “oil” from a “COD fish LIVER” that’s been “fermented” doesn’t taste any better if it’s orange or cinnamon flavored or drizzled on ice cream.

Can I overdose?
No (not the fermented kind). First off, you’ll probably NEVER get a hankering big enough and it’s a FOOD!

CLO can be given in moderate doses without injury and to great advantage. …it is better to take clo with the meal rather than before or after, as it aids in the utilization of the minerals in the food-NT p. 391

Why “Fermented” Cod Liver Oil?

It is important to choose a high quality, toxin free oil. Walmart won’t do. Radiant living ( ) sells a wonderful oil and HIGH vitamin oil. You can research the benefits of combining the two though
FCLO has not been damaged by heat and, therefore, contains a balance of A and D.

How can I take it?
After much trial and error we (my family and I) found that the best way we can take it is with a chaser of prune juice. In the beginning when they complained I told them I’d double the dose!! I’m a mean mom ;O) There are also capsules you can take…but…it’s more cost effective for my family of 5 this way.

Read these books and visit the websites below for more information. There is sooooo much about this subject that it requires more than a blog post but I hope the above information will get you started.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Facial class...

A few of you have asked me to put together a class on making face cream. Most of the products out there are FULL of carcinogens (known cancer causing), toxins, irritants, and fillers. I will teach you to make a face cream that not only works amazing but is completely natural and toxin free.

You will learn:
How to make the base cream
The benefits of the ingredients used
Essential oils that are good for skin
Where to find the ingredients
How to do a safe, natural, nurturing, low-cost and no-chemical facial

What you’ll get:
Hands on instruction
A facial
Informational handouts
Samples to take home and use

The class will be held July 27th at 6pm. If you’d like to join the cost is $8 before July 23 and $10 after. There is limited space so make sure you get in early. You can send checks or cash to 316 S. Pine St., Fremont, Ia, 52561 to reserve your spot. See you soon.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Cold showers?!?! You’re kidding, right?

I have often wondered at the insanity of some of our Northern (and European) friends who will bask in the moist warmth of a sauna and then, stoically, walk across the ice and plunge into the water where a hole has been cut through the ice. You’d think that the craziness would stop there…lesson learned but, NO!! They will do this repeatedly. Time and time again. As a student of life I began to wonder, “What would drive a person to such madness?”

ONE WORD!!! Hydrotherapy (hydro=water + therapy). Hydrotherapy is basically the therapeutic use of water, steam and ice for treatment of injuries, illness or prevention. It can be used for the entire body (baths, steam rooms) or parts of the body (sitz baths, compresses, foot/hand baths, etc.) Water therapy has 3 general categories:

1)HOT WATER: 98 degrees (F)and above. Hot water stimulates the immune system, increases circulation which helps relieve the body of toxins. Soothing to the nerves, hot water, relaxes and calms the body. “The hot immersion bath is probably most useful for producing powerful eliminative effects primarily through increased sweating.” (The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, Green, 261)

2) COLD WATER: Below 65 degrees (F). Cold water causes a reflex and constricts the blood vessels which helps to reduce inflammation and fever. “Cold water is a physiological tonic that awakens the quintessential nervous activity without putting a burdon on any vital organs and without hampering the activity of any bodily function…the skin, with its vast network of sensory, motor, sympathetic, vasomotor, and thermic nerves, arouse every center, every sympathetic ganglion, every sensory and motor filament in the entire body to heightened life and activity. Every blood vessel and cell in the entire body is awakened and quickened with vital impulse.” (The Herbal Medicine Makers Handbook, Green, 255)

3)ALTERNATING HOT AND COLD: Alternating water temperature has been found to stimulated organ function by increased circulation, alleviate upper-respiratory infections and, in my opinion, enjoy the benefits of both cold and hot water.

From here I am assuming that most of us enjoy hot showers regularly but that the majority of us avoid cold. Whenever I am playing with an idea I research it…sometimes to death. First, I found several lists of pros for cold showers. Second, I searched contraindications. Third, I compiled ways to do this successfully. Fourth, tips others have found.

Pros for Alternating Hot and Cold showers:
*Makes hair healthy and shiny
*Better looking skin (with a glow)
*Reduces the appearance of eye circles
*Reduces grey hair
*Keeps skin soft (natural body oils)
*Flushes toxins from the skin
*Cold showers are one of the great antiaging secrets for keeping your skin tight, elastic and vibrant

INTERNALLY: (get ready for this…)

* Brings blood to the capillaries, therefore increasing circulation throughout the body.
* Cleans the circulatory system.
* Reduces blood pressure on internal organs.
* Provides flushing for the organs and provides a new supply of blood.
* Strengthens the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
* Contracts the muscles to eliminate toxins and poisonous wastes.
* Strengthens the mucous membranes, which help resist hay fever, allergies, colds, coughs.
*wakes the body and mind creating energy for the day.
*strengthens immune system
*Less steam is made in your cold showers because it is not hot (Therefore less chlorine is inhaled into the lungs through the steam.)
*Increases fertility in men
*Has an anti-depressant effect on your mood
*Balances the autonomic nervous system (This makes you feel relaxed and peaceful, yet still alert, when you get out of the shower.)
*Helps you develop the ability to handle lower temperatures while maintaining your body heat (No more complaining about cold weather!
*Cleanses your body and mind of negative emotions that are your own or picked up from others
*Enhance immunity against infections and cancer
*Give your glands (thyroid, adrenals, ovaries/testes) a boost, improving hormonal activity
*Crank up your metabolism to fight type 2 diabetes, obesity, gout, rheumatic diseases, depression, and more
*Normalize your blood pressure
*Decrease chronic pain
*Deepens your breathing
*Help with insomnia
*Improve kidney function
*Reduce swelling and edema
*Regulate temperature, fighting chronically cold hands and cold feet and excessive sweating
*Improve hemorrhoids and varicose veins

Wow!!! So if that’s not enough here are a few more:

~Although this is counter intuitive, in the winter, cold showers are the best thing to keep you warm for the rest of the day (It's ideal to have a heater in your bathroom so that as soon as you step out of the shower you can quickly towel off and have warm air on your skin.)
~You save money on your energy bill
~You will have a shorter shower time
~Builds courage and will power (A.k.a. nerve force, which makes other tasks in life easier to conquer with the "soul mirror" exercise.)
~Contributes to your longevity potential

I am not suggesting that this is a “cure all” but with a list like this it’s worth a try. There are some Contraindications.
*Cold showers should not be taken during a women's time of menstruation. A woman needs extra rest and gentleness during her menses. Taking a cold shower is too much for the reproductive system during menstruation. A lukewarm shower is recommended. Generally speaking, hot showers are not good as they tend to depress the various physiological systems of the body.
*Heart disease. If my normal, healthy heart felt like it was about to explode, imagine how a diseased heart will feel.
*High blood pressure. The contraction in your blood vessels caused by cold water could cause a stroke. Apparently.
*Overheated or feverish. Your blood vessels need to dilate in order to release heat. Cold water causes them to constrict.
*Women after the 7th month of pregnancy (This all depends on your reaction to the water. If you're not thrown into shock by the cold water, it might be OK.)
*Immediately after a man has ejaculated (His body is focused on making new sperm cells and semen at this time, so cold showers can be a bit too stressful.)
*Suffering from an eating disorder
*Immediately after a vigorous workout (Start hot and finish cold to avoid muscle cramping, it can happen!)
*If you are underweight
*Some people have experienced cold showers making depression worse (Although it has also been said that cold showers can help depression, it's best to use your own judgment.)

The Majority of the lists I have gathered from books, websites and other sources. I do not claim that ALL of these are my findings but a compilation of many sources and personal experience. So, without further ADO Her is My regiment:
1)I do an ALL over body brush
2)get into a nice warm shower
Wash hair
Condition but DON’T rinse
3)Stand under the water and slowly turn the cold water on until it’s as cold as I can handle.
4)Shave again (inevitably I have gotten goose bumps)
5)wash my body and rinse (my hair too…it makes hair nice and shiny)
6)turn the hot water on just to barely warm to take the edge off.
7)Dry off and wrap in my fluffy robe.
8)oil my body with my personal essential oil blend.

There you have it. Many reasons why you should try it, a list of benefits/contraindications and a tried and true way to experience the wonders of an insane BUT effective form of hydrotherapy.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Creamy coconut Fruit easy!!

Please read further for nutritional information
1 can coconut milk
1/2 TSP cinnamon
1/2 TSP stevia or other sweetener to taste (local raw honey, real maple syrup, etc)
pinch of salt optional

cheese cloth (may need to be doubled)
rubber band

lay cheese cloth over the bowl. Open can of coconut milk and empty it into the cheese cloth. Gather all of the corners and secure with a rubber band. Suspend cheese cloth above the bowl using a hook or kitchen knob. Allow to fully drain, about 2 hours.

When coconut milk is drained place it in a clean bowl. Mix in cinnamon, sweetener and optional salt. Chill. Serve chilled with slices of apple, strawberry, jicama, etc.

Nutritional information:

Years ago coconut milk/oil and eggs (mainly yolk) carried a similar negative connotation. They were branded as being severely unhealthy and should be avoided, if not, eliminated from the diet. New research has found that not only do they have health benefits but they now encourage everyone to partake. (I do have to add that the health benefits of the egg yolk is from free range organic eggs that contain high levels of vitamin K and healthy omega fats. Not just any egg from the grocer.) So in light of this "NEW" information I want to share a recipe that is easy, healthy and very tasty.

As always I want to share with you the health benefits of the ingredients. There are only 3 ingredients to this recipe. Coconut milk, cinnamon and stevia (or honey, real maple syrup, or other sweetener). The benefits of Coconut milk include (but are not limited to):

Aids in weight loss
contains MANY vitamins, minerals and electrolytes
Is considered anti-bacterial, anti- microbial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral
gives relief from sore throats and ulcers
Supports immune system
Lowers blood sugar
Lowers blood pressure

Cinnamon benefits:
regulates blood sugar
aids in digestion
anti-clotting effect on the blood
contains fiber, iron and calcium

As many of us know our health (or lack of health) is a result of habits. If we make walking meditating, deep breathing, healthy eating and healthy life choices a habit our health will mirror that. Consequently when our habits are stress, sedentary lifestyles, drive-thru's, and excuses our health and well-being will reflect that into our lives.

Food is one part of a multifaceted plan.

Today's Quote: A man (or woman) with his health has a thousand dreams and wishes; a man without it has only one wish; to regain it!!!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lacto fermented Soda---for health!?!?!?

History: In 1776 Dr. Joseph Priestly created the first man-made glass of carbonated mineral water. Bottled mineral water was not well received in America until 1832 when it was considered a health practice. American pharmacist who were selling the bottled water started adding medicinal and other flavorful herbs (ie. Dandelion and sarsaparilla). Sugar Kefir grains, however, have an even deeper and more nourishing history. The sugar kefir grain combined with herbs and juices make a delectable healthy “soda”. The Kefir does this because it consumes the sugar and the by products are beneficial bacteria, yeast and minimal to no sugar and carbonation. If the average American consumes 50 gallons of sugar-laden, artificial colors, flavors and neurotoxins wouldn’t it make sense to completely avoid it and enjoy beverages that are nutritious, bubbly and very tasty? Well here’s ONE way.

Step 1:Basic Kefir Soda 1st fermentation:
Large jar with lid
12 cups filtered, chlorine free, water
1 cup sugar
1 TSP molasses
2-3 slices of lemon (preferably organic)
Small piece of organic dried fruit
¼ TSP baking soda
¼ TSP clean egg shell
2/3-1 cup Sugar Kefir grains

Fill jar with water. Add sugar, molasses, lemon, dried fruit, baking soda and egg shell. Stir until all is dissolved. Add kefir grains. Cap the lid tight. Let sit in warm room (about 68-74 degrees) for 24 hours. Open jar, stir and taste. If there is a very mild sugary taste and it’s effervescent you are done and ready to move to the next step. If it is flat and sweet cap and let sit another 24 hours. The temperature of the room will determine the length of fermentation. Strain the liquid (basic kefir soda water) out and use it in the next step. Discard used fruit, rinse grains and start over again.

Step 2: Grapes Soda (2nd fermentation):
Screw or flip top bottles
Grape juice with NO preservatives
Basic Kefir soda

In a ratio of one to one add soda and kefir to bottle. Cap tightly and let sit in a warm place in your kitchen until the outside of the bottle is very hard. Chill. Open over a sink because these can get explosive. Enjoy.

Frequently Asked questions…
General care guidelines:
Sugar kefir are like little pest that require just a little attention. They like to be fed sugar, have space and to be active they need to be warm. You will want to always start with the “basic kefir soda” recipe. To keep your grains uncontaminated do not mix with juice or syrups. For more information go to google: Doms Kefir site. Make sure you are reading about SUGAR KEFIR GRAINS.

*What is a SCOBY?
Symbiotic Culture Of Bacteria and Yeast. This is what Kefir and Kombucha are.

*What can be fermented into soda (2nd fermentation)?
Almost anything as long as there is enough sugar (about ¼ c in 1 Quart of liquid). I love using grape or apple juices because they already have enough sugar. Feel free to experiment with different juices or syrups. Remember fermentation is sometime unpredictable.

*Why are Lacto-Fermented Soda better for me?
Each starter culture is never the same but will contain Lactobacillus bacteria, Streptococcus bacteria, Pediococcus bacteria, Leuconostoc bacteria, Saccharomyces yeast. Naturally fermented soda aids in digestion, detoxify and purifying the body. They also provide an easy to make and consume probiotics as well as a good source of B vitamins (another byproduct). Making herbal infusions adds to the nourishing tonic as well.

*How much sugar is in a soda?
Well that depends on how long you leave it to ferment. The longer you leave it the more the sugar is consumed. I leave my second fermentation at least 3-5 days.

*Is there alcohol in these sodas? How much?
Alcohol is a natural byproduct of fermentation. The amount is typically less than 1%, hovering somewhere between .05% and .075%, so very minimal, or about the same amount that you’d find in an over-ripe banana.

*What is the difference between 1st and 2nd fermentation?
In the first fermentation you are basically creating a “base” for your soda. This base is often consumed “as is”. The second fermentation is used for flavoring and/or extra effervescence.

*What is the difference between water kefir and milk kefir?
They are completely different grains. Milk kefir feed on lactose and creates a runny yogurt sort of drink. Sugar Kefir Grains (SKG) feed on sugars. There are times when you can intermix them but I’d only do that with EXTRA grains.

Frequently Asked Questions Continued…

*What’s the ratio of juice to kefir? Typically 1:1

*What kind of sweetener can I use and can I use less?
I use plain white sugar, raw sugar, turbinado, sucanat or rapadura. You DO NOT want to use honey, agave or other sweeteners as they may weaken your SCOBY. Do not use less than the recipe.

*How long can I ferment?
You do not want to ferment more than a few days as all the sugar will be consumed and your grains will suffer and may die.

*What do I do with extra grains?
Several things. 1)Share them with friends 2) Set them on the counter to dry and have back-ups should anything happen 3)start another jar 4)eat them 5) add them to the garden/compost.

*Are there other ways to make soda?
Yes there are. The 3 ways that I am familiar with are 1)SKG (this lesson) 2)ginger bug and 3)whey (liquid from yogurt with LIVE/ACTIVE cultures).

*What if I want to take a break?
There are 2 ways that I have done and that have been successful (there may be more). 1)Dehydrate the grains: this is for long bouts of time in between. They take 3-5 days to re-hydrate and a few batches to really get working again. 2)Put up to 1 cup in a quart jar and cover them with sugar water (½ cup to the quart of SCOBY)

***IF you'd like some kefir grains and are local (Fremont Iowa area) e-mail me at and we can arrange for a pick up.****

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Chocolate Sourdough cake

Frequently Asked Questions:

What can I use my sourdough for OTHER THAN bread?
Almost anything. Tortillas, muffins, cookies, crackers, crust and much more.

Do I have to refrigerate my starter?
No. But you do have to make sure that it is well fed. If you get into a routine of baking something everyday you can keep a live, healthy, active starter on your counter with no problems.

What if I don’t get around to making what I planned and there‘s sponge waiting on the counter? What do I do?
Feed it and do it tomorrow. That’s the joy of sourdough. So many adjustments and bendable rules.

Chocolate Cake
makes (1) 8” or 9” square or round cake pan
Adapted from gnowflings

Who doesn’t like chocolate cake? This cake is perfect for the chocolate lover who doesn’t want to sacrifice nutrition and taste. Serve this with a dollop of freshly whipped cream or make plenty for cupcakes! ~Jami

1 cup fresh-ground flour (½ wheat+½ white)
1/2 cup sourdough starter (heaping)
1/2 cup whole milk
1/2 to 3/4 Rapadura, Sucanat or other unrefined sugar
1/2 cup barely melted coconut oil, butter or tallow
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
¼ cup + 1 TBSP cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon finely ground coffee substitute (opt)

Combine the starter, milk, and spelt flour in a mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly, cover and let rest at room temperature for 8 to 12hours, or overnight — up to 24 hours.

After soured preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously grease an 8″ or 9″ square or circular cake pan with oil; set aside.

In a separate mixing bowl or mixer, combine the sugar, oil, vanilla, egg, and cocoa powder. Beat until well mixed. Add sourdough mixture, salt, baking soda, and coffee substitute. Beat until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and set on a rack to cool.

Frost when cooled. We like to whip up fresh cream sweetened with stevia for a topping. It is delicious served with fresh ripe mangos, strawberries or other sweet fruit.

If you have any questions or comments you can leave them below or visit my website @

Monday, May 9, 2011

Stress tools

Stress Tools

Jamilee McQuivey

We’ve all heard the benefits of reducing stress over and over again. We buy books, listen to tapes, etc. all in the pursuit of the ever evasive secret of how to reduce stress not only in the long term but, also, on a daily basis. As an instructor, I am frequently confronted with questions revolving around stress and the emotions that come with it. Stress in our lives, relationships, and jobs eventually cause anger, frustration and/or resentment. Stress reduction can be simple and inexpensive.

First (you knew this was coming), exercise!! Exercising works for many reason, but in the interest of time I’ll mention only a couple. 1) Exercise releases endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals in the brain that are responsible for positive moods. Your active body will soon begin to crave it. Optimism counter acts stress 2) Exercise will clear your thinking. Take a walk, let your mind de-clutter and your body unwind. Soon you’ll wonder what the fuss was all about.

Write it down! Stress Diaries are important for understanding the causes of short-term stress in your life. They also give you insight into how you react to stress, and help you to identify your level of stress. The idea behind a stress diary is that, on a regular basis, you record information about the stresses you are experiencing, so that you can analyze these stresses and then manage them.

Use your imagination! Imagine yourself stress free. In other words use your imagination to relieve stress. A lot of people create their “Happy place”. Create, in your mind, a place of calm, relaxing and nurturing surroundings. Piece it together in great detail, tuck it away and then take a vacation anytime that you wish. You can find yourself on a warm sunny beach, on a boat, on a swing or nestled in the mountains. The possibilities are endless. Leave any time you want and the best news’s free!!

Simply breathe! Breathing is as old as time. Its truly one of the most fundamental things we can do. Most people take shallow, short, fast breaths. Focus your mind and energy into your breaths. Fill your lungs from top to bottom, left to right. On the in breath imagine filling your body with patience, love, whatever you need. On the out breath release your stress, frustration, anger, etc. Initially it might take many breaths but pretty soon it’s as easy as…breathing!!

Meditation, focus on it!!! It’s not always sitting in the lotus pose humming (although it’s very effective) 1) Sit quietly and comfortably. 2) Close your eyes (using a timer allows you to free yourself from checking your watch and wakes you if you accidentally fall asleep) 3) Start by relaxing the hair on your head and every muscle downward until you reach the tips of your toes. Remember the little guys!! 4) Focus your attention on your breathing (above paragraph) 5) Relax, breathe, repeat!!!

Get positive!! Positive thinking and acting is essential. Many times we fall into a rut. Things get bigger than what they actually are. Try to answer questions in the positive. (Example: child: “Mom can I go outside to play?” Parent: “Absolutely, as soon as you’re finished with your chores.) Positive thinking (and acting) change your perspective and create a positive atmosphere. Focus on what you can change and let the others take their course. This is one that takes practice but pretty soon life is extraordinarily sunny.

First things first!! Kids, work, school, grocery shopping, community, etc. Prioritize!!! Pre-plan. What’s important to you? What comes first in your head and heart? Then plan for the expected. Was seeing the hurt on little Timmy face worth it when you yelled at him to hurry because YOU were late? Prioritize!! Is getting a speeding ticket on the way to work worth it because you didn’t pack your lunch last night? Pre-plan!! Remember the saying “lack of preparation on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.” That goes both ways. If you know it’s going to take extra time to get to work at a particular hour plan in advance. That way you don’t become angry, frustrated and stressed.

Honesty, honestly!! Learn to be honest always. Whether it’s with yourself, a colleague or friend. If you don’t think you can make that appointment or baby-sit while your friend goes shopping, say so. It’s better to be honest and say no than stress yourself out over it then find yourself apologizing or worse resenting. This, often times means getting rid of the guilt. It’s okay to say no, in the short and long run your honesty will be appreciated. Remember nobody appreciates a flake.

Look up, look down, look all around! Look at your environment. Is there something around you that is bothering you; that you can rid yourself of. Clutter? Broken appliances waiting for repair? A pile of things to return to others? An out of control desk? Push your sleeves up, take a breath and Do It!! Procrastination equals stress. Get it out of the way so you can focus on something worthwhile.

Stretch your way to less stress! Move your body. Focus on postural awareness. When you’re sitting in traffic and you start to wear your shoulders as ear muffs you have stress. When you’re standing in line at the grocery store and the person in front of you is paying $28.93 in pennies and your head and shoulders slump forward in agony…stress. Sit up strait, throw your shoulders back, and think tall. Stretch your neck, shoulders and back. Enjoy the moment to focus on you!!

Ahhh, the sound of silence!! Sleep!! I sit and wonder at my toddler who repeatedly, day after day, fights bed time. As an adult, that moment, when I crawl into bed is a beautiful thing. Benjamin Franklin said, “Early to bed and early to rise makes a (wo)man healthy, wealthy and wise.” Is T.V. really so important you’ll risk your health? Can that task wait until tomorrow when you can think more clearly? Whether it’s a cat nap or a full nights rest allow yourself to rejuvenate. Your body will be able to work harder and more effective for you when you’re gentle with it. Everything will be a lot clearer (and less stressful) in the morning!

Food, for stress relief??? Lastly, eat well. Enjoy healthy, invigorating, and nourishing foods. Give your body the fuel it so desperately needs to function and keep things in perspective. A lot of times the food we eat (sugar, caffeine, processed fast foods) can interfere with our ability to effectively rationalize, concentrate, and problem solve. Imagine that. Wow, the places we can go!!

To sum it up…find balance and harmony in your life. Incorporating one or many of these ideas into your daily living will drastically reduce stress. The key is consistency. Be gentle with yourself, take time, enjoy the process…it’s a journey not a destination. What have you got to lose…stress?!?!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Sourdough 101 class and recipe

Frequently asked Questions and recipe…

How can I get/make a starter? has a great selection to order online. You can find a friend who will share some or, I prefer, to make, keep and share my own. Mix 1/2 c. water and flour together in a jar. Cover loosely and set in a warm part of your kitchen on the counter. For the next 2-3 days stir in 1/4 cup flour and 1/4 cup water until it becomes bubbly. That's it, now you have a starter.

What’s the difference between the “sponge” and “starter” ?
The term “sponge” is used, generally, when your starter has been fed the night before. “Starter” is used to make the sponge. When you save the sponge and put it in the fridge it now becomes your “starter”

How often should I feed my starter?
I feed mine at least once a week. Remember this is a living “pet” and needs just a little attention now and again.

Is it bad when there’s murky water on the top?
No. This just needs to be stirred back in a fed a little.

What if my sourdough smells bad?
There are a few ways sourdough “should” smell. Smells like “beery” and “sour” are normal. If there’s really funky smell and your instincts tell you to run go ahead and dump it down the sink and make a new starter.

What if I am going out of town and can’t feed my starter?
I feed mine the night before I leave. Right before I go I put it in the freezer. When you get back place it on the counter overnight and feed it in the morning. Make some bread or put it back in the fridge.

Why is sourdough healthier than regular bread?

* Breaks down gluten
*Naturally preserves bread
*Has a better nutrient profile
*Neutralizes anti-nutrients
* Is easier to digest
*Keeps blood sugar regulated
*Has lower carbohydrates
*Has/uses lactobacillus (friendly bacteria)
**It tastes WONDERFUL!!!

Makes 2 Loaves

4 cups starter
1 ½ c. warm water
1 ½ c flour (½ white; half wheat)
2 TBSP olive oil
2 TSP Salt
2 TSP sweetener
4-6 cups flour ( half white and half wheat)

Combine starter, water and 1 1/2 cup flour. Allow to sit at least 8 hours-24 hours. Remove 2 cups of sponge and replace it in the jar with your starter and feed equal amounts of flour and water. With remaining (5 c.) sponge add remaining ingredients but flour. Stir well. Add flour 1 cup at a time alternating wheat and white. Begin by stirring with fingers. As it gets thicker begin to knead in dough. keep adding flour until the dough is smooth and SLIGHTLY tacky. At this time you can shape and put in 2 lightly greased bread pans. Cover with lightly sprayed plastic wrap and set aside until it rises. keep in mind that it won't rise like yeasted bread but you will see it get fluffier. The longer the better for digestion (24 hours= more sour).

Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes until golden brown. Allow to cool before you cut or it will be dense. Enjoy!

For more information on me, my cookbook or classes visit

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tofu & Sprouts UNVEILED!

As usual, there is information before the recipes to help you get started on the right foot. The marinade recipe is from Sheryl Ellenwood who is the co-author for our book 3 Plates at the table. If you have questions or comments you can e-mail me (which most of you do) or leave a message here.

*What can I sprout?
I like to sprout lentils, mung beans and wheat These are the tastiest to me. Many people like to soak alfalfa, broccoli seeds, fenugreek seeds. The list goes on. When soaking nuts (almonds and walnuts) it mainly soaking them for 10-24 hours to remove phytic acid. Do not expect or anticipate a sprout “tail” as it doesn’t have one.

*Do I need special equipment to sprout?
Sprouting seeds requires no special equipment. You can buy a seed sprouter but you can also sprout seeds in a bamboo basket, a colander covered with a plastic bag, sprouting bag or a wide-mouthed quart jar covered with cheesecloth or linen and secured with a rubber band.

*Can I mix and match?
Yes you can. Take care that you are sprouting grains that will go well together. Here are some examples of 50/50 ratio:
Wheat/chic pea
Wheat Rye
Wheat/ sunflower

*Why are sprouts good for me?
Alfalfa sprouts have more chlorophyll than spinach, kale, cabbage or parsley.
Grain and nut sprouts, such as wheat and sunflower, are rich in fats. While fats in flour and wheat germ are going rancid quickly – we should refrigerate them, fats in sprouts last for weeks.
By sprouting nutrients are broken down and simplified: protein into amino acids, fats into essential fatty acids, starches to sugars and minerals chelate or combine with protein in a way that increases their utilization. These processes all increase nutrition and improve digestion and assimilation. Certain acids and toxins which ordinarily would interfere with digestion are reduced or eliminated.
Next to sea vegetables, sprouts are the best source of minerals and trace minerals. Most salad sprouts are rich in calcium and magnesium, have more phosphorus than fish, and are excellent sources of hard to find trace minerals such as tritium, selenium, manganese, chromium and others.
Baby green sprouts, like all green vegetables, are an excellent source of B-vitamins. B-vitamins like riboflavin, thiamine, folic biotin, lecithin and others increase an average of 4 to 16 times during the first 7 days of germination. Some factors increase even more. B-12, the elusive vitamin alleged to be unavailable to vegetarians, increases almost 2000%, Vitamin B-17, also known as laetrile, multiplies 50 to 100 times that of the original seed. Nucleic acids, fundamental agents of cell growth and regeneration, increase up to thirty times upon sprouting.

*What can I do with sprouts?
Sprouts can be used in salads/dressings, dips, casseroles, soups/stews, sandwiches/wraps, snacks (raw or dehydrated...crackers, etc), breads, seasoning, stir-fry, drinks (rejuvelac, milk, juiced, smoothie), "cheese", crackers, "cadies" (with dried fruit) and cereals.

*Why should I sprout?
1. Only Pennies Per Serving
One tablespoon of seeds will fill a quart jar with several ounces of sprouts. A 4-ounce package will yield several pounds.

2. Simple and Easy
Take less than a minute per day to grow and prepare. They will grow nearly anywhere indoors, in any season. Sprouts require very little space and travel well. They are the ideal vegetables for campers, boaters and RV’ers.

3. Fresh and Ready Quickly
This “garden in your kitchen” grows very fast, in any kind of weather. No digging, planting, weeding, pests or chemicals involved. And there’s no long wait, as in seasonal outdoor gardens. Just 3 to 7 days to a bountiful, nutrition-packed harvest. When stored in your refrigerator, they will stay fresh for days- even weeks if rinsed properly.

4. Toxin-free Food
Sprouts are as sweet and pure as Nature intended food to be. NO pesticides and no chemicals needed.

5. Complete Foods
Sprouts are real health food. They are full of life- as you will see in how fast and luxuriously they grow. The right combination of sprouts contains many nutrients for life and health. All their many nutritional elements are easily assimilated and readily available to your body. When home-grown, you know they are pure, and you can enjoy them at the peak of their perfection.

6. Tasty and Delicious
Bursting with flavor, you may be surprised how truly delectable they are. Enjoy them in salads, on sandwiches, stir-fried, steamed, or even baked in wholesome, home-made breads.

7. Highly Nutritious
Several contain more protein (though not as complete) than cooked meat-at a tiny fraction of the cost. The presence and balance of amino acids makes this protein very digestible. All sprouts are rich in vitamins, minerals, trace elements, enzymes, and fiber. When exposed to light, several become rich in chlorophyll.

8. Low in Calories / Fat
One fully-packed cup of alfalfa sprouts contains only 16 calories. These are simple sugars for quick energy. Sprouts contain no cholesterol and provide several essential fatty acids. Sprouts are perfect weight-loss and body-purification.

9. Help Detox your Body
Chlorophyll helps cleanse and oxygenate the blood. Enzymes aid in the digestion and assimilation of nutrients, and contribute to the body’s life force. Fiber aids elimination and their lecithin helps the body get rid of cholesterol.

10. Build your Immune System
Antioxidants protect you from radiation and toxic chemicals. They help the body to cleanse, detox, rebuild and heal itself. Sprouts are rich in antioxidants and help protect your health from toxic build up. Antioxidant enzymes are especially important, because they are essential for the proper function of the immune system. Sprouts are one of the best sources for these important nutrients.
**The Sprouting Book:How to Grow and Use Sprouts to Maximize Your Health and Vitality- Ann Wigmore
**Rawsome!-Brigitte Mars

*What is tofu?
Tofu or “bean curd” is a fermenting of the soybean that renders it digestible and free of phytic acid.

*What kinds of tofu are there and how do you use them?
There are 2 categories that most tofu can fit into. These are firm and silken. Firm tofu can be pressed, chopped, crumbled, sliced and more. Silken tofu is used in puddings, sauces, desserts, etc. You must know which one to use for a successful tofu experience.

*Why do I have to press tofu?
It isn’t necessary to press tofu. Unfortunately, un-pressed tofu has given ALL tofu the bad reputation for being slimy, tasteless and weird textured. Therefore, I suggest always pressing for a minimum of several hours. This ensures that most of the liquid will be removed and the tofu can soak in the marinade and have a more enjoyable texture.

*What can I use tofu in?
Tofu is known as a “meat substitute”. It can be use with rice, in stir-fry, casseroles and wraps. The list goes on. Tofu is relatively tasteless and can be used in any way that the imagination takes aim.

*Why must tofu be organic?
Organic tofu is made from organically grown soybeans. Any product, which is certified organic, does not contain genetically modified organisms nor has it been subjected to radiation. Radiation has become an otherwise accepted (and not indicated on labels) way of helping preserve some food products. Even though the federal government has declared that genetically modified foods are acceptable, there are no long-term studies to prove that they are not harmful. We do know that conventional farming practices do lead to contaminated streams and soil depletion. Organic farming practices help sustain the planet’s natural eco-systems.(see

Sprouting 101:
1) Place rinsed 1/3 cup of grain/legume in a jar.
2)fill jar with warm water, cover with cheesecloth, secure with rubber band and let sit overnight or up to 24 hours.
3) Strain water out and rinse seeds.
4)rinse and drain and sit at a 45 degree angle.
5) Repeat #4 2-3 times a day for 2-3 days until sprouts are long enough for you.
6) Refrigerate to STOP the sprouting and to store.
7) use liberally.

Miso Tofu Marinade:
1 TBSP Red or white miso
3 TBSP lemon or lime juice
3 TBSP Agave/honey
3 TBSP Tamari or liquid aminos
2 TSP sesame oil
1 TBSP nutritional yeast powder
1 TSP smoked paprika or ¼ TSP liquid smoke

Mix together all ingredients. Pour over to pressed cubed/cut tofu. Marinate at least 1 hour. Line a pan with parchment paper or foil. Arrange tofu on paper in a single layer. Bake 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Flip/stir tofu pieces and bake another 20-30 minutes taking care not to burn. Remove from oven and cool. Serve or store in refrigerator.

For more information about me, my services or to buy 3 Plates at the Table visit

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gratifying Grains with Quinoa recipe

How many different kids of grains?
*Grains come in all shapes and sizes. Grains vary from origin, use, taste, nutrient content and preparation. Grains can be used by themselves, as substitutes, combined, ground or whole as food or drink. There is no limit

Why do we need grains in our diet?
* Whole grains are a great source of dietary fiber, protein, minerals, antioxidants and B vitamins.

How can I get the most nutrition out of my grains?
*Choose whole, fresh organic grains
*prepare them by soaking, fermenting or sprouting.
*Vary your diet to include and enjoy many grains

*ALL grains have phytic acid (Untreated phytic acid can combine with calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and especially zinc in the intestinal tract and block their absorption)
*2 general categories: Gluten grains (oats, rye barley, wheat) are hard to digest and should rarely or not be eaten unless they are fermented, soaked or sprouted.
*non-gluten grains buckwheat, rice and millet and are more easily digested but should still be soaked in some cases.
*Whole rice and whole millet contain less phytates making it not “absolutely necessary” to ferment them.

How do I cook grains?
Grains can and should be used in a variety of different ways. Options can include one or a combination of boiling, sautéing, simmering in soup, pressure cooking (on occasion), baking, frying, in a crock-pot or rice cooker or on a skillet.

Frequently Asked Questions Continued?
How can I flavor grains?
Some grains have a beautiful flavor on their own or lightly seasoned with salt (basmati). To flavor grains decide on a “theme”. Are you going for Italian, Mexican, Indian, Chinese, Texas Style, Louisiana style, etc? After you have decided you can use a variety of herbs, spices, vegetables, sauces, or stocks to manipulate the flavor to your palate. Some popular add ins are tomato sauce, stock (chicken, beef, shrimp, etc.), vegetables (peppers, onions, garlic) or tamari (naturally fermented soy sauce). Other ways to change flavor is by sautéing grains in oil or roasting them.

How Can I make grains fluffy when boiling them on their own?
*Never peek. After you have brought your water to a boil keep the lid on. I would suggest getting a pot with a glass lid so you can see the progress. If you peek grains will be less apt to fluff. Also, let rest 5-10 minutes BEFORE taking the lid off.

How can I make my grains sticky?
*To determine the “stickiness” of the grain you need to know your grain. Short grain brown rice, Japanese sushi rice, amaranth and millet are a few of the sticky grains.
* A few techniques to make grains sticker is to boil them a bit longer with a bit of extra water or pressure cook. These techniques will yield stickier grain.

***Note: when you are working with grains and the different techniques do a little research. The “GENERAL” rule is that grains receive a 1:2 ratio (grain:water) This is not always the case especially when using a pressure cooker or crock pot. Also, determining the final product must be taken into account. For example: making Groatmeal is a 1:4 ratio as Brown Rice Cereal is a 1:2 ratio.

Southwest Quinoa Taco Salad
I LOVE salads that are hearty, flavorful, quick and full of nutrition. This salad sports grains, beans, vegetables and flavor with beautiful color and texture so everyone leaves satisfied. ~Jami
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ Cup water
1 TSP salt
1 Cup salsa
½ cup plain yogurt
3 TBSP cilantro
2 TSP olive oil
Pinch of chipolte powder (opt)
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 Can of beans rinsed
½ organic red or orange bell pepper
1 Cup frozen corn thawed
1 Avocado, chopped
1 large tomato chopped
Homemade tortillas (see previous post for recipe)

Soak quinoa in water 7-24 hours. Add salt, cover and bring to boil until all water is absorbed 8-10 minutes. Turn off heat and KEEP COVERED letting sit 5 minutes. Meanwhile, in a blender mix salsa, yogurt, cilantro, olive oil, lime zest and juice. Blend until smooth. Toss quinoa with beans, corn, avocado and tomato. Place heaping amount of quinoa mixture on a bed of lettuce and serve with tortillas.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bountiful Beans

Frequently Asked Questions…

*Why do I need to soak beans and how long?
Beans and legumes contain a compound called phytic acid. This is an anti-nutrient that inhibits the absorption of nutrients into the body. By soaking the beans in slightly acidic medium the phytic acid is release and the body can enjoy the host of nutrients beans/legumes have to offer. Soaking, also, takes up to 1/3 off the cooking time! Soak 12-24 hours.**Sometime you may need to sift through beans/legumes for any shriveled beans or debris of other sorts**

Do I soak beans in hot or cold water?
I always fill my bowl with hot water and soak my beans for 12-24 hours in that same water. Others will change it out periodically with fresh hot water. It can be hot from the tap or boiled water poured over.

*Why should I add beans/legumes to my diet?
Beans/legumes are cost effective, versatile, and come in amazing variety. Beans/legumes are full of:
~healthy protein. Protein builds and repairs body tissue, regulates body processes, gives energy and more.
~fiber. It helps digest food, flushes toxins, and helps in weight loss.
~B vitamins which are necessary for healthy brain and nerve cells, for normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.
~calcium for strong bones and teeth and to help keep the body more alkaline, rather than acidic.
~potassium helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
~folate a B vitamin that our bodies don’t produce yet dry beans are our single best source of this important vitamin which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.

* How can I add beans/legumes to my diet?
There are over 60 beans/legumes that can be used in soup, salads, salsas, burritos, casseroles and smoothies. Beans can be used whole or smashed. They can be the star of the meal or a side. We are only limited by our imagination.

*How can I get my beans to be soft?
It is important to:
1)soak your beans 12-24 hours in mild acid medium (add a couple of tablespoons of vinegar)
2) NEVER put salt in the pot until last minute when beans are soft.
F.A.Q continued….

3)add a pinch of baking soda to the water if beans aren’t softening.
4)If beans aren’t softening after a couple hours of cooking add a pinch of baking soda &/or a splash of vinegar to the cooking water.

*How can I reduce gas and bloating?
1) Always soak 18-24 hours and throw away used water
2)simmer with a KOMBU strip
3) Eat with digestive herbs and spices
4)make sure to cook beans until completely soft.

*What are the methods of cooking beans?
1)Stove top: After soaking beans drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Place beans in a large pot. Fill the pot with cold water. Bring beans to a boil skimming off all foam. After about an hour (for hard beans) check to see if they are getting soft. If they aren’t add some soda/vinegar. Continue simmering until done. Add spices at the end and simmer to combine flavors.

2)Crock pot: After soaking beans drain and rinse beans thoroughly. Place beans in crock pot. Place on high for a few hours or on low for several hours. At the end of cooking add spices and allow time to blend flavors.

**These and other methods can be found in Three Plates at The Table on page 59 including: canning and pressure cooking***

Red Curry Lentil soup
This is a recipe that is easy, quick and great reheated. It’s also a creative way to add more greens to your diet.~Jami
Makes 4 , 1 cup servings

1 cup green lentils
2 TBSP real butter or tallow
½ chopped yellow onion
3 cups broth
1 TBSP red curry paste
Chopped carrots &/or greens optional

Soak lentils in hot water as long as 24 hours then strain.

To make soup: In a pan melt butter and sauté onion until translucent. Add lentils and sauté 2-3 min. add broth and paste, carrots stirring well. Simmer 15-25 minutes until done. If using greens add last five minutes of simmering. Eat as is or use a hand blender to cream it up.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Basic Bread Baking

Frequently Asked Questions
*Why should I choose to make bread instead of buy it?
Baking your own bread is more cost effective and healthy to the consumer. There are fewer additive and more nutrients. When making bread the baker has the ability to customize bread to the taste, texture and complexity of those who eat it and the meal it‘s being served with. There is great satisfaction in making a fresh delicious healthy bread at home.

*Why would I want to put wheat bread? Red or White?
Whole wheat bread provides your system with fiber and other important nutrients like Vitamin E, selenium, iron, magnesium, zinc and B vitamins. Wheat helps regulate insulin. Whole wheat bread is also low in fat and cholesterol. Wheat contains elements that help lower the risk of cancer, heart disease and diabetes.

*What kinds of bread are there?
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of types of breads. Most breads will fall into these categories: Leavened (yeast, sourdough, baking soda etc), unleavened (flat) or batter breads. They can be steamed , fried, baked. It can be as basic as liquid and flour or complex when adding fruits, nuts, seeds, herbs or vegetables. We are only limited by our imagination

*What are leavenings?
Leavening are what make the bread rise. These are the ones that I use and am familiar with: yeast, eggs, baking soda and powder, and wild yeast (sourdough).

*What are the Healthiest breads?
Breads that use whole grains and take time are the healthiest. To make grains more digestible and their nutrients more available I suggest soaking sprouting or fermenting grains. (that's a whole different lesson)

*How do I choose and interchange grains?
Not all grains are created equal. Grains differ in their nutrient values but also their gluten content. When interchanging grains it is necessary to make sure the substitute has similar gluten content or make adjustments in the leavening. Start by substituting ½ cup at a time and adjust from there.

*How can I know what temperature “warm” is for the yeast?
Yeast like warm environments. It wakes them up. This is why we should store yeast in the refrigerator or freezer, they live longer. You want the water to be warm enough to COMFORTABLY wash your hands.

*Why should I add sweetener or salt to my dough?
Sweetener feeds the yeast and adds a little bit of# flavor as well though sweetener is not necessary. Adding salt affects more than taste. It strengthens the gluten, making the dough more manageable and predictable. If you choose to omit salt it’s important special precautions are made.

*Why is kneading important?
For the best flavor , rise and keeping quality knead the dough 8-10 minutes with a mixer or 15-20 minutes by hand. Whole grain breads take time to develop gluten. Taking the time on this step really enhances the crumb and success of bread baking.

Basic Wheat Bread Recipe

1 Cup water or milk
1 TBSP baking Yeast
1 TSP salt
3 TBSP sweetener (raw sugar, honey, agave, etc)
1 egg, lightly beaten
3 Cups flour (½ white, ½ wheat)
1 TBSP Italian seasoning or other herbs (OPTIONAL)

Mixer method:
1)Heat water or milk to warm.
2)Stir in yeast, salt, and sweetener.
3)Add egg and blend well.
4)Add 1 cup flour at a time thoroughly mixing.
5)After all the flour is incorporated put mixer on low setting and allow to knead, with dough hook, for 8-10 minutes.
6) Allow to rest 30 minutes or until doubled.
7)Press dough back down releasing all the air. Turn onto counter (it may need to be lightly floured) press into a 6x8 square. Roll into bread shape.
8)Place in lightly sprayed pan and press down. Cover and allow to rise until when you poke it the indention stays.
9)Bake 350 for 40 minutes…cool 30 minutes BEFORE slicing.

By hand: Follow above directions but knead 15-20 minutes by hand.

Mixer method:
1)Heat water or milk to warm.
2)Stir in yeast, salt, and sweetener.
3)Add egg and blend well.
4)Add 1 cup flour at a time thoroughly mixing.
5)After all the flour is incorporated put mixer on low setting and allow to knead, with dough hook, for 8-10 minutes.
6) Allow to rest 30 minutes or until doubled.
7)Press dough back down releasing all the air. Turn onto counter (it may need to be lightly floured) press into a 6x8 square. Roll into bread shape.
8)Place in lightly sprayed pan and press down. Cover and allow to rise until when you poke it the indention stays.
9)Bake 350 for 40 minutes…cool 30 minutes BEFORE slicing.

By hand: Follow above directions but knead 15-20 minutes by hand.

**For more information about me, my services or my cookbook visit

Thursday, March 24, 2011

April Classes--Fermentation

Fermentation: the breakdown of sugar into an acid or alcohol. A traditional way of yielding food more digestible and probiotic while extending shelf life of seasonal fruits and vegetables.

Did you know that many of the foods you enjoy now were once prepared using a natural fermentation process. Pickles, yogurt, sourdough, soda (yes, soda, originally made as a health tonic of herbs and roots and sold in pharmacies), chutneys and more were once a “health food” but due to mass distribution and the use of high heat can processing the health benefits no longer exist.

Every country around the world has a rich tradition of fermentation. In Germany they enjoy sauerkraut and sourdough, in Mexico there’s polenta and corn, In the Orient there’s kimchi, tamari, and tofu. The list goes on to include many more country’s like India, Polynesia, Scotland, and Africa. Fermentation is widely used in breads, main dishes drinks and sides.

This 4 week class will introduce you to the basics of fermentation and optimum nutrition. You will learn:

April 7 Sourdough: Part 1
You will learn:
*the basics of how to make and maintain a starter
*How to make you own sourdough bread for pennies
*Learn how Sourdough can be adjusted for sour taste
*Why it is important ferment/sour grains to unlock nutritients and eradicate the phytic acid that inhibits the absorption of calcium, magnesium, copper, iron and zinc.

April 14 Sourdough: Part 2
You will learn:
*how to use your starter to make crepes pancakes, biscuits, etc.
*how to store starter for long periods of time
*How to use leftover bread

April 21 Sensational Soda
You will learn:
*What SKG (sugar kefir grain) is.
* How to make your own soda full of beneficial probiotics
*How to flavor “soda”
*why old fashioned fermented soda is a very healthy alternative to the sugar laden, artificial color and flavored soda today.

April 28 Scrumptious Vegetables
You will learn:
*How vegetables were traditionally fermented/pickled
*What kind of vegetables and combinations are best for fermenting/pickling
*Why and how fermented vegetables are healthier

Classes begin at 6pm
Location: 316 S. Pine St.
Fremont Ia, 52561

Price is per session
*early registration by April 1, 2011 is $35 ($32 for students)
*After April 1 is $37 ($35 for students)
*individual class price is $10 (early registration for individual class is suggested as class size is limited.

*** This price includes handouts, recipes and food sampling.***

CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED!!!! First come, first serve.

For more information call Jami @ 641-208-6904

***To pre-pay mail checks or cash to the above address.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Wheat Tortillas

What most of us don't know is that grains are protected by a chemical coating called phytic acid. This "inhibits" the grain from sprouting until there is are "ideal" circumstances to release it's nutrients. What does this mean? It means that phytic acid is present in grains that have not been soaked, sprouted or fermented. Phytic acid does not allow the body to fully reap the benefits and nutrients of these grains.

Before industrialism grain was stored, for some time, out in the fields where there was rain and sun, rain and sun. The grain was "allowed" to begin sprouting. Thus releasing and making the nutrition available for our bodies and easier on the digestive tract.

Another anecdote to the phytic acid issue is natural fermentation. This means sourdough. I prefer sourdough because it's natural leavening power combined with superior nutrient density. Getting involved in sourdoughs is a rewarding but somewhat involved process. The list of sourdough goes WAY beyond bread and pancakes. Muffins, biscuits, cookies, crepes and more can be made from wild yeast.

lastly, there is soaking! Soaking flour in a slightly acidic environment is another cure for making grain (milled or whole) digestible, nutritious and full flavored. It is preferable that the grains be soaked 24 hours but better "some than none".

Here is a recipe that my family LOVES. It's an arm wrestle to get them to the table and not eaten on the way. Homemade tortillas are SUPERIOR in flavor and nutrition. Enjoy the recipe and let me know what you think.

Whole Wheat Tortillas
by Jami McQuivey
Makes 12 -18 torts

4 Cups wheat flour
2 TSP real or celtic Salt
¼ TSP cumin and Chile powder (opt)
½ Cup real butter, coconut oil, olive oil
1 ½ Cup boiling water
1 TBSP Apple cider vinegar
½ cup sourdough (opt: gives it a slightly sour flavor)
1 Cup white flour + some for rolling

Mix wheat flour and salt (and optional spice) together. Cut in fat. Make a well in the center and add water then vinegar. Stir with a fork until you can knead together. Knead until smooth (3-5 min). Knead in white flour and optional sourdough. Allow to sit 2 hours (minimum) or 24 hours (preferable). When ready to make roll into 18 balls. At this point you can let them sit, covered until you’re ready to cook.

Heat a griddle or large frying pan over medium-high heat. Roll out a tortilla to your preferred thinness, using very little flour IF NECESSARY. Cook one at a time. Place on the griddle for 10 seconds, as soon as you see a bubble on the top, flip the tortilla over. Let it cook for about 30 seconds, then flip and cook the other side for another 30 seconds. Roll out the next tortilla while you wait for that one to cook. Repeat until all of the balls have been cooked. Tortillas can be refrigerated or frozen.

***For more information about me, my services or my cookbook please visit:

Saturday, February 19, 2011

March Classes

Do you ever get frustrated because you want to eat healthy but have to live on a budget? Can you follow a recipe but want to “see” and be apart of the learning process of cooking?

Most clients I talk to would love to eat better but don’t know how. They weren’t taught the basics of cooking. Did you know that you can make good quality, nutrient dense bread for under $1 a loaf? Did you know that by learning to cook your own beans you can control sodium and eliminate the BPA (Bisphenal A: toxic industrial compound found in the lining of cans) for ¼ the cost of buying canned beans? Did you, also know, that you can have FRESH, amazing veggies full of enzymes and vitamins grow on your counter for less than $.25? It’s even possible to increase the health of your dishes while improving texture and flavor by using grain and tofu substitutes!

In this 4 class series you will learn:
* To make homemade yeast bread
*To adjust bread for different flavors
*To adjust for different textures
* how to shape and knead properly to ensure a high rise
*To learn how to CORRECTLY prepare beans
*Tips for ensuring soft beans
*tips on eliminating gas for better digestion
*ideas on how to use beans in burgers, casseroles, salads, salsas, etc.
*understand the “hard” vs. “soft” beans for cooking
*To make brown rice
*how to make it fluffy for pilafs
*make it sticky for vegetable rolls
*how to flavor and sauté.
*To incorporate tofu and sprouting
*How to properly press and prepare tofu
*where and how to use and flavor it
*how to sprout
*how to use fresh, cooked and dehydrated sprouts

All of the skills you will acquire will allow you to save money, know your food and increase the health of your family.

Price is per session $35 for early registration (BY Feb. 28) $37 for after march 1 or $10 per class. This price includes handouts, recipes and food sampling.

Class dates are Thursdays @ 6pm:
March 3- Baking Breads
March 10-Bountiful Beans
March 17- Rice Repertoire
March 24-Exploring tofu and sprouting

Location: 316 S. Pine St.
Fremont Ia, 52561

CLASS SIZE IS LIMITED!!!! First come, first serve.

For more information call Jami @ 641-208-6904

***To pre-pay mail checks or cash to the above address.