Monday, January 12, 2015

Thai-inspired Gluten-free Pasta Salad

(Sorry!   I haven't been able to get the photo to load, but will keep trying...)

This was an accidental creation tonight.  Aric had cut up some pineapple earlier in the evening (so sweet,  more ways than one).  I have a new spiralizer that I used on a zucchini, and when I started cutting the basil, the smell of the pineapple combined so well with it, I decided to use them together in the following recipe:

Thai-inspired Gluten-free Pasta Salad

1/2 zucchini, spiralized or julienned
1/2 -1 serving of rice noodles, soaked in boiling water for 5-10 minutes, depending on desired softness
1/2 red pepper, sliced thinly
1/4-1/2 cup fresh pineapple, sliced into matchsticks.
10 basil leaves, approx, chiffonade
2 Tbsp peanut butter
2 tsp Korean red pepper paste
1/4-1/2 tsp fine sea salt
Juice from one small lime

Soak rice noodles, drain, and then mix with zucchini.

Top with pineapple, red pepper and basil.

Serve with dressing on the side, or poured all over and mixed in.

A little bit of toasted sesame oil drizzled on top with sesame seeds, would have been a good addition, too.

So simple, and so yummy!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wintertime Green Smoothies

I signed up for a new green smoothie recipe every day during December from Green Smoothie Girl.  If you're interested, too, please go to the website listed below.  A great way to keep well during the cold, winter months!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Hand Stretches for Knitters

I just found this link for stretches for the hands, and arms of knitters.  However, I think these would help anyone who types much, as well, such as bloggers, emailers, etc.

That's it.  Sorry it's so short.  I just wanted to share something that I found helpful.  Happy knitting, blogging... etc.  :-)

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The War on Sitting

This information may or may not be new to you, but this article from The Times magazine was very eye-opening to me.

Also, the website for The Sitting Solution is very interesting.  I learned a lot about the dangers of sitting.

Then, I looked up Chad Walding of The Sitting Solution on and found a bunch of videos with short, easy ways of overcoming the constant C-curve that we create in our spine when we sit -- at the computer, driving the car, texting (not at the same time, of course)...

For those of you in chronic back and neck pain, I hope that you can glean some useful information from the videos.  I did.  :-)

Have a happy and healthy day!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Banana-Coconut Pancakes and Muffins

I woke up this morning with time and a hankerin' for coffee cake or pancakes. Well, since I first had to make coconut milk, a green smoothie, grind the flax seeds, etc., I decided on the pancakes, because they would be quicker.  And, I was hungry!

I found this recipe by Terris on, and decided to give it a try, since I would already have the "coconut flour" from making the milk.  Of course, I made some adjustments to the ingredients, based on what I had, and I doubled the recipe because I ended up with 1/2 cup coconut solids.

Every other pancake recipe that I've tried has been a disappointed until today!  These were so easy and yummy that I ate ALL the pancakes in one sitting -- not recommended, but SO GOOD!  I will definitely be making these again when I make my next batch of coconut milk!

Banana-Coconut Pancakes and/or Muffins

1 cup tapioca starch
1 cup brown rice flour
Approx. 1/2 cup solids from making coconut milk*
6 Tablespoons ground flax seeds**
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
2 heaping tablespoons honey
1 cup coconut milk, homemade
1/2 cup water*
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

1.  Mix the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  I used my pastry cutter, since the coconut solids weren't completely dry.

2.  In a medium bowl, mash the bananas, and then add the honey, and vanilla and mix thoroughly.

3.  Measure out the coconut milk and water in a large measuring cup.

4.  Then, dump all of the wet ingredients, including the water and milk, into the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.  Beat batter until thoroughly mixed.  You don't have to worry about over-beating, or being gentle with the batter, since it doesn't have the gluten, which is what stiffens a dough or batter.

5.  I used about 1/3 of the batter for pancakes and 2/3 for muffins.

6.  FOR THE PANCAKES:  Preheat the griddle over medium-low to medium heat.  Once the griddle is hot, use your preferred oil or fat to grease the pan. Spoon about 1/4 cup batter on the griddle for each pancake.  Cook until the batter looks dry on the upper side (about 4-5 minutes).  The griddle-side should be medium brown.  This allows a delicate crispy texture and keeps the pancake from sticking.  Flip over and cook for another 1-2 minutes, until it is speckled with medium-brown spots.  Remove to a plate and cover to keep warm (and to keep you from eating them all!) while you're cooking the rest of the pancakes.

7.  FOR THE MUFFINS:  Preheat the oven to 220*C (375*F).  Spoon the batter into the muffin pans, until it fills each cup about 2/3 full.  Bake for about 40 minutes, or until golden brown on top.  Remove from oven and allow to cool.

*  The coconut solids from making the milk are not quite as dry as a flour, so I only added half the water that the recipe originally called for.

**  I used regular, brown flax seeds, and ground them myself so they're fresher.  I don't mind the brown flecks in the batter and they're cheaper and just as good for you.  If you prefer the flax to disappear into the batter, go ahead and use ground golden flax seeds, as Terris did.

Please let me know how these turn out for you and have a great day!

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Homemade Hair Gel -- Natural and Scent-free

So many people have posted about this topic that I can't believe that I've never seen or heard of it until last week.  I was communicating with my sister about other things I'm trying to make more naturally and she mentioned hair gel made from unflavored gelatin.  Wow!  That blew my mind!

There are a lot of ratios out there, so a few days ago I made up a small batch.  Here's how I did it:

1/2 cup filtered water
1/2 teaspoon unflavored gelatin (unsweetened, of course)

1.  Heat up the water until hot, but it doesn't need to be boiling.

2.  Add in the gelatin and mix very well, until thoroughly combined.

3.  Pour into clean squeeze-top bottle and place in the refrigerator.  The liquid will thicken up as it cools.

4.  Now shake up and use the same way you would use chemical-laden, smelly hair gel.  Note:  It wasn't quite as smooth as I wanted, so I ended up blending in my Magic Bullet to get rid of any lumps.

Notes:  My hair has been getting pretty thin with the changes in my hormones, so I think next time I will make this with the following ratios, which are mentioned in this post:

          1/2 cup filtered water
          1/4 teaspoon unflavored gelatin

I don't add anything else, because I tend to be pretty sensitive to fragrances and extracts.

A friend commented to me last night that she could see that my hair was super shiny, which I think is true.  The shine even lasts once I've brushed through my hair at the end of the day.

I can't tell you how excited I am about this, so "Thank you so much!" to my little sister!

There are also postings and videos out there about making hair gel from flax seeds.  I'll try this out soon and let you know how it goes.  Have a great hair day!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Homemade Chocolates

I have a really good friend who can get me large amounts of cacao butter for a reasonable price, so I have been wanting to experiment with making my own naturally sweetened chocolates.  My friends, Anita and Gaby run a "bonbon" making company, called "Any's" and they are the best filled chocolate I've ever tasted!

Since we can also get really good quality cocoa powder and other forms of chocolate locally, this will just be the beginning.  Ecuador's chocolate is rated among the best in the world!

Since I don't have any fancy molds, I just used my silicon loaf and muffin pans, as you can see from the photo.

Homemade Chocolates:

180 g (6 1/3 oz.) cacao butter
150 g (5 1/3 oz.) cocoa powder
45g (1 1/2 oz.) honey
3 packets stevia powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract, or to taste -- I really like almond flavor

1.  Melt the cacao butter in a double-boiler over very low heat.  You may want to chop it up a bit before melting to speed things up and prevent overheating.  Once melted, whisk in the cocoa powder, honey, stevia and vanilla extract until fully combined.

2.  I poured half of the chocolate into the loaf pan as is.  Then I added the almond extract to the rest and divided it among 6 muffin molds.

3.  Place in the refrigerator for 1 hour to firm up.  Then remove gently and store away from heat.

These are silky smooth and a tiny bit softer than I expected once they're stored out of the fridge.  My friend says this is probably because of the honey.  You can even see my finger prints, because of the shiny surface of the molds.  They taste really good, though, and won't last long!

There are lots of health benefits from cacao butter (extracted at a low temperature of only up to 120*F) and cocoa solids.  So, this is actually a health food!  Yay!  Go ahead and google it to find out how it can benefit you.