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Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

Are you interested in a new family friendly science project to help celebrate the Easter holiday this year?  We are mad about earth friendly projects that cater to kids of all ages around here and  Angel eggs are a great way to teach your kids how to make all natural food coloring.  Plus, this dish is so pretty, it always takes center stage at the Easter dinner table.

In addition to being fun for kids, its a healthier option for the littles and its good for the earth.  Plus, the ingredients can be found right in your local grocery store, so its an easy project for busy moms.

Formerly known as deviled eggs (we’ve changed the name for obvious reasons), angel egg filling and dyes can be prepared a few days before your Easter dinner (just add 2 tbsp. of vinegar to each dye to make them last longer in the refrigerator).

 

Grocery ingredients

Grocery ingredients

Your Farmer’s market grocery list:

4 Beets  (red and pink)

Turmeric (orange)

1 bag of Spinach or Spirulina powder (green)

Baking soda (blue)

1 head of Purple Cabbage  (purple)

How to make homemade, natural,  raw, vegan food dyes:

Create red dye by boiling beets for 10 minutes. Place beet water in ball jar and add 2 tsp of white vinegar.

Orange/Yellow is made by boiling 1 tsp. turmeric in 2 cups water for 30 seconds.  Let cool and add egg halves.  The eggs will dye quickly.  Note: If you would like a deeper shade, add 1/2 tsp. more turmeric and keep eggs in dye longer until you achieve the desired shade.

Green dye is made by boiling spinach for 1 minute and letting it simmer for 10 minutes.  Place green dye mixture in ball jar with 2 tsp. white vinegar.  Place egg halves in jar into refrigerator for at least 24 hours.  Note: The spinach green is a much earthier green than the dye you will find in the store.

Green dye can also be achieved by adding 1 tsp. of Spirulina powder to a quart of boiled water.  Stir in powder and let cool.  Spirulina creates bright green eggs.

Purple dye is from boiling purple cabbage.  Wash the cabbage, cut out stem and cut into large pieces.  Place in pot and cover with water.  Boil for 10 minutes.

Blue: Pour half the cabbage water into a bowl with ½ tsp of baking soda at a time until you get the desired blue hue.

Secret to making eggs peel so easily, your toddler can help you:  place a teaspoon of salt and eggs into pot of water. Turn on high until rolling boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Immediately pour out hot water and replace with ice cold water.

Place halved hard boiled eggs with yolks removed into each color (we use Ball jars with lids). Place in refrigerator overnight for the brightest hues.

We like this filling recipe the best:

6 egg yolks

1 tbsp mayo

1 tbsp of pickled relish

1/2 tbsp whole grain mustard

fresh grated Parmesan Reggiano

salt and pepper to taste

Sprinkle paprika on top of finished eggs (we use Emeril’s Essence to top them off)

Enjoy!

Angel Eggs

Angel Eggs

~~~

Easter is a favorite time of year here in the northeast.  The warm sun melts away the last moments of the cold winter days and daylight lingers just a little longer each evening.  But what we love most about this time of year is honoring our Lord and Savior.  As you are dropping the eggs into the food coloring, be sure to share the story of God’s precious gift with your littles.  It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

xoxo ~D

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Mean Green

DSC_1006My family has been drinking a juice or two a day and we are feeling great! My husband and I have more energy to chase around the littles, and our recovery is much quicker after workouts.  G plays in a hockey league and I ride horses, and we have both noticed that we are not achy the day after our sports anymore.  Not bad for a couple of mid-lifers!

After I spoke about this phenomenon with our friends, I have been asked to share my juice recipes.  I will start with one of our favorites- the Mean Green.

If you are like me and need a late afternoon pick me up to get you through the rest of the day,  the Mean Green will not only perk you up, but also add a few extra veggies to your day.   Its refreshing and tasty, and it has just the right amount of sweetness for even my picky preschoolers.

Mean Green Juice Recipe:

6 stalks of Kale

1 inch of ginger

3 stalks of fresh mint

4 green apples

1/2 peeled lemon

medium cucumber

4 celery stalks

Make sure you add it in this order to flush all the kale and ginger juice into your container.

Fill two 16 ounce glasses with ice and add two shots of Coconut water to each glass.

(For the over 21 crowd, I’ve mixed vodka with this recipe in a cocktail shaker filled with ice.  Fresh juice martinis are amazing! )

Enjoy!

Yields: about  24 ounces

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DSC_0776In an effort to remove dairy from my diet, I started using raw coconut oil.  I am not a big coconut fan, but this oil is fantastic!  Its very subtle, and makes my meals taste lighter than if I had used butter or extra virgin olive oil.

Of course, I had to go on the hunt for some new recipes using coconut oil.  I came across this raw, gluten free, chocolate tart. To satisfy the chocoholic within, I gave it a try.  It is so easy and delicious! If you are looking for a rich, fudgy dessert to serve your family and friends,  but were afraid to get anywhere near the oven this summer, then this recipe is perfect for you.  Plus, this tart has only 5 ingredients!

I made this dessert using a 9″ pie pan, but I would recommend using the tart pans to make the crust look pretty for guests.  In addition, I made my own almond meal because I could not find it in the local grocery store.  I blanched raw almonds to easily remove the skins and finely chopped them in the food processor.

ENJOY!

Crust:

1 1/2 cups almond meal (finely ground)
6 tablespoons dark cocoa powder (such as green and blacks)
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Filling:
1 1/2 cups dark cocoa powder
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:
Pour all of crust ingredients into the bowl of a food processor. Process until all ingredients are blended. Divide crust into four servings and press crust in the bottom and up sides of oiled pan(s). Clean food processor bowl and blade.

Place all filling ingredients into the bowl of the now clean food processor. Process until ingredients are smooth. Divide filling among tartelettes and spoon over crust. (There will be 2-3 tablespoons of filling left over) Place tartelettes in the refrigerator and chill for 2 hours before serving. Serve cold.

Can be stored in the refrigerator up to one week. Makes one 9″ ‘pie , 4 tarts or 18 tartlettes.

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* recipe courtesy of http://deliciouslyorganic.net/

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Lately, I have been feeling, well, for a lack of a better word… old.  Just old  Back pain is a daily issue and shooting sciatica pain knocks me off my feet.  And I refuse to take pain relievers.  This drives my husband bananas every time he opens the door to a ransacked house and a moaning wife immobilized on the living room floor. Ironically, my sweet, angelic boys become escaped monkeys on those days.

Days begin so slowly that I need to chug my sweetened coffee to get going.  And the extra few pounds I have been carrying around is making matters worse.  Game over.  I have finally come to the realization that I have to make some changes.

One night, after I put the kids to bed, I curled up on the sofa to watch “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead”.  The documentary followed a man named Joe Cross on his 60 day journey to cleanse his body with juice.   After a few days, his medical symptoms began to subside as he lost weight and increased energy.  Watching his story really made me evaluate my eating habits.  Was my diet making me feel old?

I ate a salad every day, but I was still not healthy.  I realized I also ate what ever I wanted.  And too much of it. I had to cut out the junk and add more fruits and veggies to my diet.  After doing some research,  I learned that eating a raw carrot took close to one hour for the nutrients to get where they need to go.  If I juice the carrot, my organs will get the nutrients they need within 15 minutes.  In addition, I can add kale, an apple, celery, a beet and some parsley to get more nutrients in the same amount of time as eating one carrot.  I decided to give juicing another go.  But this time, I consulted a friend of mine who periodically juices and asked for her help.  We decided to go shopping for a  juicer and then went to the farmer’s market to fill up my refrigerator with groceries.

I highly recommend a juicing buddy.  My friend is there for me when I’m feeling weak, and she helped me feel better after I cheated.  She asked thoughtful questions and listened. She helped me realize that I was an emotional eater. Instead of focusing on the negative, she became my cheerleader and kept me motivated to continue to meet my goals.

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I also found a lot of joy having my children help me with juicing.   “Mom, can we make a juice?” is the daily question that greets me as the morning sun filters into our room.  Its so adorable.  My four year old can’t wait to put the veggies and fruit inside “the machine” to watch in amazement as pieces mash up in seconds.

Here is my Juicing Journal:

Day 1:  Watermelon for breakfast  and juice with peach, apple, mango and kale. Quite a departure from my regular breakfast of coffee with hot chocolate mix.  Throughout the day I made different concoctions to satisfy my hunger.  The juice was tasty and kept me from running to the refrigerator to snack (my worst habit).

I cheated around 5pm by eating some leftover chicken off my children’s plate.  After a conversation with my J. bud, I realized I ate it not because I was hungry, but instead as an emotional response to something that happened minutes before.  We did not focus on the negative.  It doesn’t matter.  She gave me the confidence to keep going.

I spent the evening cuddled up on the sofa with my boys instead of rushing them to bed for my ‘alone time’.  I tucked them in with prayers and headed to my room for a good nights sleep. I dreamed about food.

Day 1 shed light on my relationship with food.  Not only was I an emotional eater, but  after I would put the kids to bed, I would plop in front of the TV and snack on stuff that was not fit to give my children. I have to change my end of day habits, too.

Day 2: Visibly more energy this morning.  I made a mango, strawberry, blueberry, and kale juice and had some watermelon.  Not tempted as I made breakfast for the boys.  At lunch, my carrots, celery, apple, kale and ginger juice satisfied me as I made pb and j for the boys.  The sun is out now and we are heading out for a bike ride.

It is a little after 5pm, and I am sick.  Really sick (aka: nausea and vomiting). I have a pounding headache and neck pain and the smell of fresh produce sickens me.  I cannot open my eyes.  The light hurts.  I think its time for bed. Texted my juice buddy and got some encouragement.  I think I am dying, but I will stick with the plan.

Day 3: It’s 1am. I still have a bit of a headache.  I realized I was not drinking enough fluids during my bike ride and I was probably dehydrated. Dehydration during sugar and caffeine withdraw is a toxic combination.  I actually feel like a detox patient.

Now I know why so many people are afraid to quit their ‘bad habit’. It hurts like hell.

I have been praying a lot.  Last night, it was a lot of “Why God, Why?” and “Help!”

I cannot believe I allowed my body to become addicted to all that bad stuff.  As I sat in my suffering, a part of me needed to feel that pain.  I felt I deserved it.  I have taken advantage of my hard working body for far too long.   My God-given body.  Tears stream down my face as I write this.  We fall into these patterns to take the easy way out.  We avoided matters of the heart.   We eat away our feelings.

This morning its all about thankfulness.  I am thankful I am on the road to recovery.  I am thankful I am still young enough to fully enjoy my life.  I am thankful I am healthy, and have two healthy boys.  I am thankful for my husband who came as a knight in shining armor and rescued me last night.  Our Heavenly Father deserves all of my gratitude for my perfect blessings.  I am so not worthy. And yet, he still blesses me.

Carry on with juices all day.  No snacks or treats, and I am feeling better.

Day 4:  Feeling really good. Woke right up and juiced throughout the day while eating eggs and watermelon for breakfast and fish and salad for dinner.  No cravings, no overeating.  I feel like a new person.

Day 5: Juiced throughout the day with eggs for breakfast.  Found a great juice from Bolthouse that keeps me juicing while on the road.

At a friends BBQ I found watermelon and ate a hamburger with no roll.  Did not give in to the homemade brownies and other desserts at the party. Although I did have two glasses of wine with friends, I also drank lots of water and went to bed feeling healthy.

Day 6:  Woke up feeling great.  Went out looking for more juice before church.  Had seared tuna over a salad for lunch and another salad at dinner at my friend’s 40th Birthday party.  Before this new diet plan, I would crave the desserts while I was eating my dinner. But this time, I am not even interested in the gorgeous cupcake tower and decadent chocolate desserts.  I am no longer a slave to my cravings!

Day 7: More juicing courtesy of Bolthouse and sushi and a salad for dinner.

Day 8-9: Back home to make my own juices.  My morning juice filled with kale, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, an orange, two apples and a mango kicks off my day.  I drink this while eating fresh watermelon all morning long.  I love the summertime!

Peppers, onions and eggs for lunch and shellfish with veggies for dinner all while having veggie juice finishes out my day.

We are currently living in our vacation home at the shore this summer.  One of the many blessings we have is access to fresh fish daily. Having befriended my local fish market people, they were happy to share recipes with me so  I can prepare and serve more of a variety at home.  Our family will be able to continue our healthy eating well into winter with the advice found in the fish market.

Its Day 11 and I have made it through the tough part of totally overhauling my diet.  I have the occasional weak moment, but it is during these times that I have to rely on our Heavenly Father. He and my juicing buddy give me the confidence to get back up on that horse and move forward.

20 some odd days out:  I have been drinking home made juices twice a day and making one for whomever visits us at the beach.  Our juice cocktails are a big hit, too.  We began to add coconut water to every juice for its health benefits.  We mix things up so we don’t get bored, and except for the occasional ‘treat’ we have cut out sodas, sweets, starches and all processed food.  I also removed beef, chicken and dairy products from my diet.  I will use the occasional pat of butter to saute, but this is also considered a treat.  This is a new day, and for the first time, I feel that I am truly honoring my temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

On a superficial note, my skin looks better, my waistline is back, my eyes are brighter and I am not ‘puffy’ anymore.  My clothes fit better, my face looks thinner and I have more energy than I have had in years. The only negative I have encountered is the task of cleaning out the juicer every afternoon.  Although the extra few minutes of cleaning up becomes a blessing after I learn of another loved one who has jumped on the juicing band wagon in search of a healthier lifestyle.

As I sit down with my mother in law, Meema, to enjoy our morning juice, she shares with me how her Rheumatoid arthritis has settled down and she has consulted with  her doctor about decreasing her medications.  After adding a daily juice to her diet, she feels better then she has felt in a decade.  She looks forward to the day she is pain free and off medication.  Meema is now in the market for a juicer.

I went to my optometrist and my eye sight has improved!! I cannot believe it, but my prescription went from -1.5, to -1.0!  I have to give the glory to God because I have been praying for my eyesight to improve.  Wow, He listens, and He asks us do the work.  I love these results, so I have to say I am a God-loving juicer for life!

Hopefully I will get my cholesterol and weight checked sometime this fall when I visit my doctor.  I will share the details to let you know if my new lifestyle has changed my health.

 Please keep the emails and phone calls coming!  I love to hear your experiences with juicing because it motivates me to keep going and sharing!

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2013-02-18 15.46.00 I have added bison meat to our list of ‘go to’ dinners. There are so many reasons why I love making bison for my family.

Why bison, you ask?  Nutritionally, its healthier for you.  We like it because its the same texture and pretty much the same flavor as beef.  Here are some nutritional facts.

As a nurse, my mother instilled in us the benefit of healthy eating habits.  Growing up, she would harvest numerous brilliantly colored foods from my father’s elaborate vegetable gardens.  I remember playing in the soil while my father taught us to appreciate God’s abundance  in nature.  As an avid hunter, he would bring home his bounty from land and water to feed his family and friends.

With a culmination of both of these beautiful attributes under my belt, I love to share healthy eating habits with respect to God’s abundance.

Here I have included a yummy recipe using my neighbor’s bison meat.  I made this for my Moms group and it was so good I had to share. Enjoy!!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound onions, peeled and quartered
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pound ground bison
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup dry breadcrumbs, such as Panko
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons chopped sage
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 tablespoons flour
Method:

In the bowl of a food processor, pulse onions and garlic until finely chopped. Set aside 1/2 cup of this mixture. Preheat a tablespoon of the oil in a large sauté pan over medium high heat. Transfer remaining chopped onions and garlic from the food processor to the hot pan and cook, stirring often until caramelized, about 15 minutes. When onions in pan are caramelized, transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Meanwhile, make meatballs. Combine reserved onions and garlic with bison, pepper, salt, soy sauce, ketchup, oregano, cayenne, breadcrumbs and egg. With a spatula, toss lightly to combine. Overworking mixture will create a heavy paste, so use a light hand. Roll into balls and transfer to a plate.

Return pan to medium heat and add remaining olive oil. Add meatballs and brown them on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk beef broth, flour and sage into bowl with caramelized onions. When meatballs are browned, stack to one side of the pan. Pour in broth mixture and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Redistribute meatballs evenly in pan and simmer over medium heat, turning meatballs occasionally with a spoon. Cook until gravy is thickened and meatballs are cooked through, 15 to 20 minutes. To serve, arrange meatballs on a plate and spoon gravy over them.

Nutritional Info:
PER SERVING:310 calories (100 from fat), 11g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 125mg cholesterol, 770mg sodium, 24g carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 7g sugar), 30g protein

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Buffalo Run Ranch

I turned the corner to make my way down the winding road surrounded by open fields and take a moment to become fully immersed in the panoramic views of Pennsylvania horse country.  Just steps outside the Philadelphia suburbs,  a Texas sized iron arch over a narrow driveway welcomes me to Buffalo Run Ranch.  The driveway seems to disappear over the hill as I travel between hundred acre pastures allowing me to catch a glimpse of a juvenile bison frolicking among the herd and a few new babies grazing in the field.

I have come to meet Bill Rubin to discuss his life as a bison rancher.  Affectionately known as “Buffalo Bill” around town, Bill emerges from working under a truck and waves to me as I park my car in front of his garage.  We enter his newly renovated rustic home he shares with his wife and teenage daughter.  The expansive windows overlook the rolling countryside and a massive bison head is mounted in a place of honor over the stone fireplace. We sit on stools covered in bison leather as he offers meat most recently packed from the butcher.  I survey various cuts of filet and steaks, hamburger patties and his infamous spicy sausage while he shares his favorite recipes.

I was first introduced to bison while working as a pharmaceutical sales rep selling cholesterol medication.  Listed on the diabetic “safe list”, bison (or buffalo meat) is naturally lower in fat and higher in iron and protein than beef.  After learning my family has a history of high cholesterol (familial hypercholesterolemia),  I decided to order bison instead of beef whenever I had the chance.  Bison is a red meat that looks and tastes like a leaner version of red beef.  The texture and taste is so close to that of red meat.  After learning how to prepare it, I realized I could easily substitute beef patties with ground bison at home.  Wintertime pots of meaty chili and hamburgers on the grill during the summer will indeed be healthier.

Shortly after meeting Bill, I began to ask him about the whys and hows and everything in between about raising bison.  As self proclaimed animals lovers, we both strongly believe in the ethical treatment of animals and agree that if you take care of animals, they will take care of us.

DF: Hello Bill, thank you for taking the time to sit down with me.  Tell me how you began raising buffalo.

BR: In the early 80s, I went skiing in Colorado, and ordered a buffalo filet off the menu and really enjoyed it.  From then on wherever I went, I looked for bison on the menu.  After researching bison and learning the health benefits of the meat, it wasn’t long before I bought some land and started raising buffalo in Oklahoma.

DF: Why buffalo?

BR:  I like a good backstory and the American bison has one of the best. They once roamed the grasslands of North America in massive herds.  In fact, after the railroads were built and the trains came across a herd, the trains would sometimes have to wait for days for the herd to pass.   Then bison became nearly extinct by a combination of commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century and by the introduction of bovine diseases from domestic cattle.  But bison ranching is becoming more popular due to the nutritional benefits of bison meat.  Bison ranching is on the rise.

DF: That’s a great story. Would you say that your work here is your way of preserving an American tradition?

BR: Absolutely. I am preserving a part of our nations rich history as well as contributing to open land in our area.

DF: What are the nutritional benefits?
BR:  Nutritionists say buffalo meat is one of the most nutrient rich meats available. According to various published studies, meat from grass-fed beef, bison (and other livestock) compared to feedlot meat are healthier and therefore, more nutritious.

Bison is also better for you.  If you compare a 3-ounce portion of bison meat with the same portion of lean beef you would see that the bison has 143 calories and 2.4 grams of fat, while the lean beef has 211 calories and 10 grams of fat. Likewise, when compared with lean pork, which contains 212 calories and 9 grams of fat, bison is the healthier choice. Also, since bison feed primarily on grass their levels of omega-3 fat and conjugated linolenic acid (CLA) both of which help to reduce cancer, heart disease and diabetes, are higher.

DF:  That’s exactly why I was drawn to it. What is the difference in raising buffalo versus steer/cattle?

BR: Buffalo are not domesticated like cattle. Bison are more aggressive and harder to handle, although these guys (as he nods toward his field) know me.  When I go out there to feed them, they pretty much leave me to refill their hay racks.  But I never trust them or turn my back to them. They are more aggressive than any other farmed animal.

DF: Do you use any medication, any antibiotics to keep them healthy?

BR:  I don’t use any medications.  In fact, a major benefit of raising all animals on pasture is that their products are healthier for you. Buffalo are “natural grazers” and are typically not subject to commercial feed and feedlot treatment. They are more hardy animals and free to forage in open pastures which promote a stress free lifestyle. This virtually eliminates the need for medication and antibiotics.  Read more about the nutritional benefits of raising animals on pasture.

DF: Who are your regular customers?

BR: I sell to local restaurants, Twelves in West Grove, and Brandywine Prime in Chadds Ford.  The Whip Tavern,  Pasquales, and the Half Moon in Kennett Square. I also sell hamburger patties and filet privately to friends, family and neighbors.

DF: Thank you so much for sitting with me today.

When we buy bison for our families, we are saying that our loved ones deserve a healthier diet. In addition, we contribute to the success of our local economy and a greener tomorrow for our children.  All of this as we preserve a piece of our nation’s history.

For more information about bison farming, go to http://www.bisoncentral.com/

And go to Eat Wild to find a farm near you.

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