I recently posted this recipe for Coconut Honey Butter, which is the base for an easy Chia Pudding. I call this pudding “eco-friendly”, because its made with a concentrated mix you’ve prepared, that doesn’t use boxes of watered-down (and possibly rancid) nut milk as the base. Therefore, it’s not promoting the production, packaging, and transport of what’s essentially a product that’s 85% water! Why use all that gas to truck boxes of water to stores where we buy it, and throw out the extra packaging?!
Sorry, did that sound like a rant? Back to the subject: Chia Pudding…
This is an easy recipe to whip up. Just do it six or more hours ahead of time (or overnight for a morning treat). The chia seeds will firm up this way.
1/2 c. coconut honey butter (see recipe)
1/2 c. boiling water
3/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. almond extract
1/3 c. + 1 TBS. chia seeds
1/2 c. cold water
Blend first four ingredients until smooth: > 1/2 c. coconut honey butter > 1/2 c. boiling water > 3/8 tsp. salt > 1/4 tsp. almond extract
Pulse in chia seeds and cold water just until blended: > 1/3 c. + 1 TBS. chia seeds > 1/2 c. cold water
Let mixture rest at 5-minute intervals, pulsing to mix lightly every 5 minutes. Do this three times, then refrigerate pudding in serving dishes, or glass container.
This is a bit like a concentrated “nut milk”, made with coconut butter. I add some grass-fed butter to it too, since it’s synergistic with the cod liver oil we have every day (butter increases the absorption of the CLO’s nutrients).
Oh wait—I add the butter ‘cause it tastes so good! (OK, maybe for both reasons.)
The beauty of a concentrated mix like this is: it keeps much better than the average nut milk. I did try making my own nut milk… alas, I couldn’t make a big batch, as it would spoil before we consumed all of it. But this recipe keeps for a month or two!
Just a note as to why I make this particular recipe: because that concentrated coconut manna stuff I get is pretty tough to get out of the jar. (It’s almost always cool in my Bay Area kitchen.) By melting that jar of solid paste, and mixing it with some honey, butter, and vanilla, it becomes a semi-solid. Then I can easily take a hunk of it out for various purposes. Perfect!
Add a couple tablespoons of to this Turmeric Golden Milk Drink. Or use for smoothies–I blend with a splash of warm water to make it creamy, then add other ingredients.
We had a chocolate fountain at our women’s retreat this spring. I’m thinking, if it can be pulled off there, where we had no access to a kitchen, it could be pulled off just about anywhere. Being that we were setting up in a building out in the woods, with running water being about our only kitchen convenience, I streamlined the goodies used- it was easy to rinse strawberries and set out boxes of this and that, and it worked. Minimal fussing, maximum enjoyment!
Previously, I had used another pretty easy approach, letting the oven warm some of the chocolate mix, which helped me to avoid having to babysit the stuff (stirring it regularly in a double boiler and all that). I added the remaining ingredients after 30 minutes, giving it another 30 minutes in the oven. It just took one good stir, and it was ready to pour into the machine.
This most recent time, I used a crockpot to warm the ingredients. No extra stirring really (except at the end). After an hour or so, it was ready to pour into the fountain. And get eaten up. Yum! (See bottom of page for that recipe.)
Chocolate Fountain for 50
Use more or less dark chocolate, according to taste. Serves around 50.
1/2 c. + 1 TBS. coconut oil
3.6 lb. chocolate chips (part dark, broken into pieces, if desired)
Optional:.2 TBS. cocoa butter, chopped
Add coconut oil and about half of the chocolate in a big bowl and warm in a 170° oven*for 30 minutes, until melted. .Use: > 1/2 c. + 1 TBS. coconut oil > About 5 c. (1.80 lb.) chocolate chips > Optional: 2 TBS. cocoa butter, chopped
Stir well. Add the remaining chocolate chips (about 4 1/2 c.) and warm in oven again for another 30 minutes.
Pour into machine, according to directions. Make sure it’s very, very level.
Serve with pineapple, angel food cake, strawberries, pretzels, marshmallows, etc. If using bananas, add lemon juice to protect from browning.
Easy Chocolate Fountain for 70, Crockpot-Style
It’s suggested that 4 lb. should serve 50 or so. For our event, 5 lb. served 70 ladies.
.62 coconut oil
5 lb. chocolate chips (part 70% dark, broken into pieces, if desired)
Optional: .15 lb. cocoa butter, chopped
Five 2-lb. pkg. fresh strawberries
1 lb. pretzel sticks
1 box graham crackers
1 bag marshmallows
1-2 angel food cakes
Melt all ingredients in crockpot; on high, it may take an hour or so, with some stirring, and supervision to be sure it doesn’t get too hot. On low, it may take two hours. Use: .> .62 coconut oil > 5 lb. chocolate chips (part darker chocolate if desired) > 15 lb. cocoa butter, chopped
Pour into machine, according to directions. Make sure it’s very, very level. The machine will hold 4 lb. of chocolate (or a bit more), so leave some of the chocolate in the crockpot, to replenish later, if necessary.
This has been my go-to recipe this month. We’ve had different groups over for dinner, and it’s been a hit each time. Plus, Tom and I like having the leftovers.
Also, I’ve been using the extra artisan bread I’ve had on hand, which works perfectly. (That starter’s such a slave-driver, as I have to keep making bread so my starter stays fresh and happy. Am I saying I’m a slave to this bread-making? Well… maybe a little…)
Any drippings and other goodies that are left in the pan are mixed into any veggies I’m grilling up at the time. SO yummy.
Of course this chicken is healthier than its cousins in the manufactured-mixes and fast-food departments. Plus, I can use free-range chickens.
And, this is baked, not fried, so no one has to mind the pan!
The Chunky Song left quite an impression on my husband and me, as young kids in the sixties. Here’s a link to a clip of the old ad, complete with the “Open Wide for Chunky” song. Cracks me up.
But seriously, they were on to something with that old-fashioned confection. It used to contain chocolate, apples, grapefruit, raisins, cashews and Brazil nuts. Yum- good stuff! And Brazil nuts’ll even give you a good dose of your daily selenium!
The recipe changed when Hershey’s company bought it- they made it with peanuts, raisins, and of course chocolate. (Not to mention a few chemicals- artificial flavors, soy lecithin, TBHQ and Citric Acid). I suspect that they found this recipe to be cheaper. More profit. The American way?!
Years later, now I want a healthy version of a Chunky! Plus, I felt bad for my husband, who never wanted to imbibe in the unsweetened (and very expensive) chocolate I was getting at Trader Joe’s.
OK- it’s starting to seem like I’m a little obsessed with chocolate! Well, it does make me happy :). Maybe it makes my brain better too- they say the MCTs in coconut oil are great for us!
Oh, one catch with cocoa nibs (“cacao nibs” to be exact)– something like a Champion juicer works well to grind up those nibs. I’ve used the Vitamix dry blender, but even that doesn’t puree them completely. The Champion does a decent job of it. And that thing lasts. I purchased mine back in 1982 while working at a health food store. It still comes in handy when I’m juicing loads of juice for kombucha or for an occasional cleansing fast. It is a good investment!
I mean, I just don’t have a giant milling stone like the commercial chocolate companies have, nor the time to let the stuff whir around for hours on end. So–the Champion juicer will do for me.
This makes a great alternative to other chocolate options containing refined sugar. Satisfies my chocolate cravings, and is pretty nourishing too!
Makes 2 lb.
1 1/2 cup raw cacao nibs
1/2 cup coconut oil (part butter or cocoa butter if desired)
1/3 c. palm sugar (or 1/4 c. honey)
1/4 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. macadamias
1/2 c. dates, pitted
1/2 c. raisins
Toast in oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes in iron pan; stir once. Turn oven off and let finish toasting for 10-15 minutes more: > 1 1/2 c. raw cacao nibs
Process toasted cacao nibs (ideally in a Champion juicer; next best is Vitamix dry blender) until quite smooth. Add and process again (or run through Champion juicer again): > 1/2 c. melted coconut oil
In a big bowl, mix together with: > 1/4 c. palm sugar > 1/4 tsp. salt > 1 tsp. vanilla > 1 c. macadamias > 1/2 c. dates, halved > 1/2 c. raisins
Spread in loaf pan, then refrigerate overnight.
Turn the solid fudge mixture out onto cutting board (run upside-down pan under hot water if necessary). Cut into slices; will last in refrigerator for a month or two.
I think I can talk myself into this dessert for Tom and me for Valentines’ Day. Because… strawberries are good for you! And chocolate’s good for your mood! Forget it- you don’t have to talk me into this- I’m eating it anyway 🙂
I’ve gotten to like frozen strawberries- I suspect the fruit is harvested closer to peak ripeness, unlike fresh strawberries, which often are quite flavorless! (Even the organic ones…)
For a faster dessert, forgo making the chocolate cups, putting the strawberry mousse in a pretty parfait glass instead. Either way, delicious!
Makes about 4 servings mousse, but the chocolate will make 8 or more chocolate cups.
One 12-oz. pkg. frozen strawberries, thawed
2 TBS. sugar
1 1/2 TBS. water
3/4 tsp. gelatin
1 1/2 c. cream, whipped
1/2 c. chocolate chips
1/2 TBS. butter
Foil cupcake liners
Prepare chocolate cups for this dessert, or skip this step, putting the strawberry mousse in parfait glasses instead. For the chocolate cups, gently heat in double-boiler (or microwave just over a minute): > 1/2 c. chocolate chips > 1/2 TBS. butter
Use foil from foiled cupcake liners, and spoon/spread melted chocolate inside to coat, making 8 or so cups. Refrigerate the cups until the foil can be carefully peeled away.
For the mousse, puree in blender until smooth: > 1.30 lb. frozen strawberries, thawed > 2 TBS. sugar
Soften gelatin by sprinkling it over water. Let sit 2 minutes, then heat (or microwave) until melted. Use: > 1 1/2 TBS. water > 3/4 tsp. gelatin
Mix the strawberry puree and the “melted” gelatin together. Whip cream: > 1 1/2 c. cream, whipped
Fold the whipped cream into the other ingredients.
Dollop into prepare chocolate shells, or special glasses or bowls. Refrigerate several hours, until firm.
My friend just came off a 30-day cleansing diet. But of course- it was January, the month of resolutions! But now it’s February and she was hoping I’d make her some chocolate dessert to celebrate. So I did. Now we’re all celebrating, ’cause this stuff is good, and I had an excuse to make some.
Also, since we eat with our eyes, I needed some kind of garnish. And I only have so many groceries on hand, especially this time of year. Fruits are less flavorful… so what could I come up with?
Solution: I always have some dark chocolate and frozen raspberries around, so I melted the chocolate, reduced some of the raspberries to a paste, and ended up with a fitting garnish. Good enough to eat with your eyes! (And your mouth, of course.)
Now all you need is the recipe, right?
1/2 pkg. gelatin (1 1/4 tsp.)
2 TBS. cold water
rounded 3/4 chocolate chips
2 TBS. butter
2 TBS. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. heavy cream
3 eggs, separated
1 TBS. sugar
3 oz. dark chocolate
1/3 c. frozen raspberries
Soften gelatin in the cold water, sprinkling the gelatin across the surface of the water in a small, shallow bowl: > 1/2 pkg. gelatin (1 1/2 tsp.) > 2 TBS. cold water
Microwave: > Softened gelatin
Also microwave: > rounded 3/4 c. chocolate chips > 2 TBS. butter
Mix together: > the microwaved gelatin > the melted chocolate/butter > 2 TBS. vanilla > 1/4 tsp. salt
Separate the egg yolks, adding the whites to a clean bowl. Add the egg yolks to the melted chocolate, stirring after adding each one. Use: > 3 egg yolks
Whip whites until frothy: > 3 egg whites
Add to frothy whites, beating until glossy: > 1 TBS. sugar
Gently fold the chocolate mixture into the whipped egg white mixture. It’s OK is some isn’t completely mixed in yet.
Now fold all the the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture.
Use pastry bag to add the mousse to containers (or dollop by the spoonful), into 8 dishes, small wine glasses, etc. Garnish with a wedge or two of the raspberry-chocolate bark.
To make the garnish, melt the dark chocolate. Spread onto parchment, in a 6” square. Use: > 3 oz. dark chocolate
Meanwhile, heat raspberries in small pan, stirring constantly, until liquid is reduced and it’s a paste consistency. Gently spread the raspberry onto the square of chocolate. Use: > 1/3 c. frozen raspberries
Chill the square of raspberry-chocolate bark until firm, then break into chunks to garnish mousse.
PS If you’re interested in a more “paleo” style mousse, very lightly sweetened with honey, using coconut cream instead of dairy, check out this recipe.
The pictures you see are not of my garden right now. It’s January! But I’m still thinking of the annual Easter Egg Hunt we have each year, and how handfuls of cute little kids will be running around the yard looking for eggs, in just a few months. I’m hoping that some beautiful poppies will be blooming again right around then.
I have saved seed pods before, tossing the seeds out in the yard in early spring. But it’s been hit-or-miss. Sometimes I’ve had a new, beautiful crop of poppies; other times, I think the birds just enjoyed eating the seeds.
And then I heard about “stratifying”. If you’ve started seedlings for years, you may have heard of this. But it’s new to me! The idea is to mimic the cold, damp winter soil conditions, but in the privacy of your fridge, where the seedlings get encouraged that it may soon be time to sprout. They are refrigerated in something like dampened perlite for a couple weeks, then come out to room temperature for a week or so. Rinse and repeat (OK, don’t really rinse, but you get the idea). This goes on for six
weeks or more, until you’re ready to plant (refrigerating, “thawing”, chilled again, thawing, etc.).
Grandkids’ Easter 2009 (Sans Poppies…)
This is the ideal for poppies–other seeds may have different requirements:
Do a 1:3 ratio of seed to sand (or perlite or vermiculite). Dampen and refrigerate 2 weeks
Remove to room tempperature for one week
Refrigerate for two more weeks, being sure sand is still moist. Add a bit more water if necessary
Repeat cycle of cooling and thawing for six weeks, up to three months
Once weather’s warmed (with a soil temperature of 55-60 degrees), set out ON TOP of soil (not buried), keeping moist.
And that’s it! I’m going to see how this works out this year. I’ll add more poppy pictures if it’s a success 🙂
Soul Food: I’ve been thinking about those seeds. They are being tricked a little. They come out to room temperature, thinking all is well now, only to be refrigerated again. Not time to sprout yet!Maybe we can look at our own lives this way–things start looking up, and we think, “This is it!” We think the good times are about to roll in, but then we get “the chill” again. Not time for us to sprout yet either.If we remember God’s got a great plan, it shouldn’t be too disappointing while we wait for God’s perfect timing. 1 Peter 5:10 says, “after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” A great promise!
Let’s just say this post is a bit like “a word from our sponsors”. That’s because, if you happen to order anything on Amazon, starting with any links from Grateful Table, even if you don’t get the original product, it’s still credited to my account! So, thanks for that 🙂
But once I’m done with this “sponsor” business, I hope to get back to just posting recipes. I mean, Valentine’s Day is almost here! And I’ve got to post my latest chocolate dessert. So… moving on. Right after this “word from” business…
The new year has brought a new perspective. Every time I turn a corner, at home, at the deli, in the garden, I see MORE things that need attention. The website is no exception. And since I’ve gradually modified my health routine, I better update that here.
So let’s start with my “Jen’s Top Ten” Healthy Picks for 2019!
Liver Tablets for Iron– If you’re around my age (60), and you remember the Geritol ads for those with “iron-poor blood”, then… you probably need these! Or, if you’re a busy mom, or anemic, etc. Forget iron pills- it can be difficult to assimilate iron in this form (and they can be constipating- ew). Best assimilated is the iron found in beef and red meat, particularly in the liver. If you’ve done a little sleuthing and noted that the iron levels in liver aren’t as high as in some other foods, don’t be fooled. Who cares if iron ore is 72% iron, if you can’t assimilate it! But the iron in liver is absorbed very well. (Even more so when taken with something acidic, like orange juice, kombucha, etc.) (I like to get this powder, mixing it into my morning green drink- it’s a bit cheaper than the capsules.)
Capra Mineral Goat Whey– Maybe it’s ‘cuz those mountain goats are chowing down on grasses grown in mineral-rich soil, that hasn’t been stripped of nutrients by farming. But this stuff has twenty different macro and trace minerals, easily absorbed by humans. I feel terrific taking a tablespoon of this a day (I notice when I don’t).
Brewers Yeast– Back in the day, working at a health food store in the eighties, I knew all about brewer’s yeast- how it was loaded with B vitamins and other good stuff, like Chromium. And going farther back, science class in high school, I heard a lot about the importance of these nutrients in our diet. Fast forward to modern times… I just don’t think the average food is all that loaded with nutrients anymore. So I add some brewer’s yeast to my morning powder mix. I particularly like this Solgar’s brand, since it isn’t “fortified” with synthetic B vitamins. Come on- I just want the superfood, not something some scientist created. I’ll trust God’s supply any day!
Cod Liver Oil -I originally got this stuff to address a dental issue my husband was having. I found a bunch of references and positive comments on Amazon, about it helping those that might need root canals. All I know is, the one dentist insisted that Tom needed two root canals; after several months on the CLO, he ended up with one root canal only, and has been doing great since. Now I personally keep taking it to keep my Omega 3/6 ratio in balance. (It’s otherwise quite difficult to get enough Omega 3s in the diet.) These capsules are handy, but if you prefer the liquid, this cinnamon-flavored Liquid Fermented CLO is great!
Ashwagandha“- Maybe it’s good to say just what specifically a particular item is good for. Because it can psyche us up to be on the lookout for benefits! If I can’t sleep, I should remind myself that I’ve had some Ashwagandha, so there’s no excuse. Ha. I know it doesn’t work that way, but maybe kinda sorta? In any case, this is a root powder, kind of like ginseng, supposedly good for thyroid disorders too. It’s an “adoptogen”, which means- whatever’s wrong, it’ll fix it. OK, can’t go that far. But maybe it has improved my focus and energy.
“Chlorella Powder“- Some of us might want to do a heavy-metal detox, or a cleansing diet. Chlorella (a little seaweed-type powder) should be a part of the process, since it binds with mercury in our system to aid in its removal. I guzzle an 8-ounce container of water with a scoop of this mixed into it every morning, first thing. It tastes a tad fishy. OK, so it’s not for everyone…
Collagen Protein– The label for this grass-fed collagen now says its for “Anti Aging” too. Well, what I noticed was that it was SUPER great for inflammation. It’s been suggested that inflammation is at the root of all disease. For me, whatever the form that inflammation takes (swollen joints, arthritis, fibromyalgia, etc.), it’s better not to have it. And while I haven’t been part of an authentic field study (OK, this is just “anecdotal” evidence…), all I know is- I had swollen knees for several years (couldn’t run, experienced some pain). And now my knees are great. I’m even running up hill as part of my morning routine!
Kombucha– I’m a fan. It will keep your gut happy, which means better digestion, and a happier mood. (Somehow probiotics affect the brain in a positive way.) I’ve got a recipe here for Jun Kombucha, which is the tastiest (made with honey and green tea). But the black tea and sugar Kombucha is also so good for you. Water Kefir is another option.
Fat– I could go on a rant here, but I’ll try to control myself. It’s probably easiest to say: minimize intake of certain fats. Like, polyunsaturates. They aren’t good to cook with (article here), and are often rancid (“rancid” spells death in some language). A monounsaturated like olive oil is a good choice (like those Mediterranean folks use). Or coconut oil, loaded with MCTs for health (or coconut manna, which I love putting in smoothies). Or even grass-fed butter (like Kerry Gold).
“Berkey Water Filter“- I’ve linked to the model that includes two black filters (which need cleaning on occasion, but don’t need replacing), plus two fluoride filters (which do need replacing, usually annually). It’s an important tool for your health! The chemicals in treated water are probably not good for us, but I’ve actually SEEN the effect it can have on other living creatures. I’m talking probiotic critters here. My water kefir grains stopped growing at that point when I needed to change the filter (with our water usage, that’s about once a year). No joke that chlorine can suck the life out of probiotics on the kitchen counter, so no telling what it might do inside our gut, ya know?
OK- that’s all, folks. You are now updated on what kinds of crazy things Jen has for breakfast. It’ll soon be time to move on to possibly more exciting topics. Like, dessert or something!
I believe God gave us the tools to be healthy. I love the verse from Revelation 22:2- describing the wonderful fruit trees lining the river, and how “…the leaves of the tree will heal the nations.” I’m getting healed daily!
I’m pretty sure this green drink recipe would benefit most everyone’s health- it’s alkaline and organic, with easily-assimilated nutrients. (For more specifics on hypothyroid health, check these posts- Jen’s List: 8 Diet Ideas, or my Top Ten for Healthy Thyroid.)
Below is the main “recipe” I use to keep me and my thyroid healthy. It’s not for everyone- a lot of people don’t want to gag down a superfood drink every morning. And a lot of hypothyroid folks would rather get a prescription and take a capsule. It’s great that my friend can get Armour Thyroid from Kaiser through her insurance. But, being self-employed, I have generic insurance that just covers catastrophic events; I pay for office visits and prescriptions. So, when my doctor and pharmacy visits became cost-prohibitive, I went this route instead. Five things I love about this little recipe:
It supports my thyroid gland with superfoods that are found to improve its function
It’s easy and economical to order the bulk ingredients online
It’s all OTC (over-the-counter). Even the “ThyroGold” (purchase here) is rated a “food” it’s dessicated thyroid gland from cows, so it doesn’t need a prescription
SUPERFOOD GREEN BREAKFAST DRINK (“THYROGREEN”)
Add 2 TBS. mix to a small jar half-full of water. Shake it up and drink!
Makes about 7 1/2 cups. Over 60 servings when using 2TBS. daily
3 c. Spirulina (8 ounces, or sub all chlorella, if desired)
1/3 c. Liver Powder (.12 lb.) (in place of iron supplements)
Use a big jar with lid on for mixing, if possible. Mixing the dried ingredients together and putting into jars can be messy–I cover the counter with newspaper, and transfer the messy mix into a paper bag, which I use to fill jars with. Yes, green dust all over, but hey, it does cost way less than buying a nice product already mixed. If you don’t want the bother, try some of the quality organic green powders available on Amazon, like this one.
I originally took six capsules of Thyrogold to get the same effect that I was getting from my 97.5 mg. of prescribed thyroid. But by taking the extra herbs, roots, and other superfoods, I’m now down to two of the 300 mg. capsules.
But why do I try to avoid prescription drugs and the doctor visits it entails, you ask? Well…I’ve had a really bad history with the medical field, in the case of hypothyroid treatment anyway. Although I’m really glad I got diagnosed in 2006. I had so many horrible symptoms, and was “near death”, according to the doctor. Whew- close call.
But then the trouble began.
First, after taking what I’d thought to be Armour thyroid (a natural form of thyroid gland), for six years, I discovered my pharmacy had scammed me. They had originally promised they could get me something akin to Armour Thyroid, which was unavailable at the time. In their mind, synthetic was “akin”. Ug. The nerve. They had substituted a synthesized version of Armour that whole time!
Was that why my health and well-being had gradually declined?!
In any case, eventually I stumbled upon the “naturalthyroidsolutions” website, and started in on my new, natural approach, taking OTC thyroid. My thyroid health improved and I felt terrific. The synthetic thyroid had been better for me than nothing at all (I was starting to really fall apart), but it never seemed to improve my health as much as the natural approach has.
But there’s more. To my saga of ranting misfortune with the doctor…
Years later, I went in for some other checkup, and the doctor said I’d have to get back on prescription thyroid. Even though I’d been feeling great for the past four years on the OTC thyroid. Doc said I’d need up to three lab tests- one to make sure I was at a good level now, one when I’d been on the prescription stuff for a month, and possibly one more, if we had to adjust the levels.
Really. What happened to, if it ain’t broke…
She suggested I try submitting the $90 lab test to the insurance company, even though I’d never done that before. The insurance company denied the claim, but gave me a non-negotiable bill for $700 instead. (Such a scam? The lab charges the insurance company that much, even though I only paid $90 cash for the same test?!)
So… you might imagine why I’m kind of obsessed with this natural approach. Right?!
BTW- my blood pressure’s fine, ha. Even though the above tales could get it going LOL. But it’s all good. I’m feeling healthier than ever, and if I hadn’t had so many problems, I might not be this well off!
*Since writing another post on this subject years ago, I stopped adding the Heather’s Tummy Fiber and the Psyllium Seed Powder, since my digestion improved. I take this green mix at breakfast time, and t’s been working well.