Thursday, August 15, 2013

World's Best Sugar-Free Dessert Recipe!

Want to satisfy your sweet tooth and get a giant helping of calcium, folate, potassium, beta carotene and Vitamin C? Have I got the dessert for you! And so easy to make, anyone can do it. Even your kids!

I use the sweet potatoes with the orange flesh in many different recipes. I just love their mildly spicy/sweet flavor and smooth texture. And they are so versatile! They can be used beautifully in both sweet and savory dishes.

For those who are watching their blood sugar levels (and really, we all should be), sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index. And their high content of potassium makes them the perfect food for avoiding muscle cramps, especially in very active people.

Before I get to the recipe, here's a short video about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. (Hint: what the stores label as yams are more than likely sweet potatoes.)

World's Best Sugar-Free Dessert
2 medium sized sweet potatoes (with the red skin)
1 lemon

Makes two servings.

Preheat oven to 375. Thoroughly wash and dry sweet potatoes, then place in a baking dish. Be sure that the dish is big enough that the potatoes aren't touching one another or the sides of the dish. Bake for 45-60 minutes, or until soft to the touch. Remove from oven, cut open the skin and scoop out the flesh into a bowl. Alternately, you can cut open the skin and leave the flesh in. Either way, take a fork and mash the sweet potato until smooth and creamy, then squeeze some lemon juice on top. I really love the taste of lemon, so I go pretty heavy handed with it, but you can add as much or as little as you like. And that's it! You can serve this dish hot, warm, or cold, it is delicious in any form. I like it cold during the warmer months and warm in the colder months.

My kids have a great time making the Best Sugar-Free Dessert. They mash the potato and form it into fun shapes on their plates and garnish with raisins, nuts, cinnamon, or their very favorite, dried currants.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Honor the Elderly

All too often, we see a wrinkled face, a bent back, a slow shuffling step, and we are quick to jump to conclusions about the person living in that body. We may not even be aware that we are falling into the easy trap of discounting a person's worth simply because their bodies, and sometimes their minds, have grown feeble with age. Let's remember that we all start as soft, tiny human beings, taking in the wonder of the world with new eyes. Years may change our outsides, but, within, we all carry the spirit that is ever ourselves throughout our entire lives.

If I ever find myself judging an elderly person for what they are no longer able to do, I try to picture them at their strongest, most vibrant age, and that helps me relate to them as a fellow human being, not just an "old person". Take time to engage an elderly person in conversation, and I promise, you will be the better for it. We have much to teach each other and much to learn. Will you find time in your life to honor the elderly?

Friday, August 2, 2013

The Best Gift Ever

Being a mom is a crazy roller coaster ride of emotions. Anyone who's ever been a parent will tell you that it's the hardest job in the world. And most of them will also say that they wouldn't trade it for anything. I am one of those people. I can't even begin to imagine my life without my children. Sometimes the word "love" just doesn't seem big enough to describe what I feel for them.

But there are those times when I just need a moment to clear my head. Like the other day, Nicholas and Jayden were bickering, the same way brothers all throughout time have done. Usually I let them resolve their differences on their own. They need to learn how to get along with people without having mommy step in to make everything all right. But on this particular day, they just couldn't come to an understanding and it got a little bit much. So I made sure that there was nothing seriously wrong and then I went outside and took a long walk. The fresh air and the sight of serene Klamath Lake helped refresh my mind, and, by the time I returned home, I was ready to deal with anything the kids had in store for me. 

What I got, was this:

I beamed at my daughter, wrapped her up in a bear hug and covered her with kisses. 

"Open it, mama!"

I did. 

And everything was perfect.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Guest Post - Heirloom Gazpacho with Grapefruit and Basil

If you've never visited Elana Horwich's Meal and a Spiel, you are definitely missing out! She's funny and smart and boy, does she have the best recipes around!

I asked Elana if she had any yummy no-cook recipes for hot summer days and she came through with flying colors! This nutritious and insanely good soup takes a little bit of time, but the results are definitely worth it. 

Here is the recipe, and if you want to know the story behind it, click here. Thank you, Elana!

Heirloom Gazpacho with Grapefruit and Basil

makes 4 cups gazpacho

4 servings or 15-18 large shot-glass appetizer portions

  • 1 pound red or reddish-brown ripe heirloom tomatoes or 4 or 5 large vine ripened tomatoes
  • 1 large yellow ripe heirloom tomato, chopped finely
  • 1 English cucumber, cut into 1 inch rounds
  • 1 red onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • one grapefruit
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
  1. Cut red tomatoes in half and use a spoon to scoop out seeds. (With heirlooms, you might need to be a little creative to get seeds out. Just do it and don’t stress it. It’s all good. You are on the way to making a delicious gazpacho.)
  2. Put red tomatoes, half of the cucumbers, one quarter of the onion, the sherry vinegar and one teaspoon of salt in your food processor until fully puréed.
  3. Pour into a large bowl.
  4. Add the rest of the cucumbers and 2 quarters of the onion (you will have one quarter remaining) and pulse into finely chopped. Do NOT over process or you will lose the crunch in your soup. Push the PULSE button in this rhythm: pulse-pulse-pulse-pulse. Until finely chopped.
  5. Add chopped onion and cucumbers to bowl of purée.
  6. Add most of the chopped yellow tomatoes to purée and the last ½ teaspoon of salt. Leave a small handful of the yellow tomato pieces for garnish.
  7. Cover and chill in fridge for an hour to allow flavors to meld.
  8. Cut off all the peel of the grapefruit including all of the pith, the bitter white inner skin. Chop the grapefruit into ¼- ½ inch pieces, avoiding the seeds.
  9. To serve, place in small bowls or shot glasses and top with a few pieces of grapefruit, a few pieces of yellow tomato and a pinch of basil strips.