Our daughter just turned the Big 1 year! Hubs and I confidently carried our little one into her 1-year follow-up expecting, for the first time in our brief parenting tenure, to get a great report along with the standard marching orders “just keep doing what you’re doing.” We’d been receiving those same instructions at every previous check-up along with high praise for our daughter’s diverse food intake and her preference for spinach and love of scrambled eggs.
Baby Girl Turns Eating Spinach into a Full Contact Sport
But this time, we were hit hard by our pediatrician’s orders to transition our daughter to all solid food within 60 days. Most alarming to me, I was told to stop pureeing or mashing her foods starting right away…I was appalled! I thought we were doing so well. I’d been cruising along using our trusty NutriBullet to puree everything from broccoli and carrots to salmon and chicken, and she was doing so well eating that stuff…just as long as it was smooth with no lumps. She’d basically refused to eat anything with lumps or texture except her beloved eggs. I had created these yummy Veggie Puffs which she liked, but they’re pretty labor-intensive so I rarely make them and don’t relish the idea of making them several times per week.
Now my head was spinning as I pondered all the changes I’d have to make and worried how baby girl would respond to the transition. On the other hand, I can’t stand the idea of giving our little girl the highly-processed chemical-laden transitional toddler foods sold in stores.
Hubs – recognizing the look of consternation on my face – said, “Baby, it’ll be okay. We’ll just start by giving her those foods she already likes. What about sweet potatoes? We know she loves those.”
Of course! That’s what I’ll do! She loves sweet potatoes. I’ll start there, I thought to myself. I decided to try to recreate one of our favorite treats – sweet potato fries – without the funky hydrogenated oils and preservatives. Baked with a little extra virgin coconut oil and some pure, unsweetened apple juice, these “fries” take only a few minutes to make and both my daughter and husband love them! Their an easy, inexpensive and delicious treat you can make in less than hour (including cook time). The secret is the combination of coconut oil and apple juice that the “fries” bake in. The result is slightly sweet and just the right combination of soft and crisp to be considered the perfect healthy transitional food by even the most persnickety pediatrician. Score one for Mommy! Ingredients:
• 1 Large or 2 Small Whole Sweet Potatoes, Washed and Peeled
• 1 Tbsp. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
• 2 Tbsp. Unsweetened Homemade or Organic Apple Juice
• 1/4 tsp. Ground Cinnamon
• Light Sprinkling of Sea Salt, Ground Ginger, and/or Allspice Hardware:
• Large Chef’s Knife (the sharper the easier this will be)
• Cutting Board
• Parchment Paper
• Medium-sized Cookie Sheet or Baking Pan
1. Preheat oven to 375° Fahrenheit (190° Celsius). Cover baking sheet/pan with parchment paper. Then set aside.
2. Slice sweet potato (or potatoes) length-wise into 4-5 slices of roughly equal width (as pictured below).
Then cut slices into match sticks (or french fry shape). When cutting sticks, try to avoid pointy or sharp edges.
3. Pour oil and apple juice onto parchment paper and rotate pan gently to blend the liquids (you can also use a fork or other utensil to swirl the liquids together). Then place the sweet potato sticks in a single layer atop the liquid mixture. Lightly sprinkle with spices, and then gently shake the pan again to distribute the liquids and seasonings.
Raw Seasoned Sweet Potato Sticks Ready to Bake
4. Bake in preheated oven for 40-45 minutes. Then remove from oven and test for doneness. Makes about 2-3 Toddler Servings Notes and Serving Suggestions: If you’re serving a toddler, you want the fries to be softer so stick with the shorter bake time. Check first after 40 minutes. If not quite done, stick the pan back in the oven for 3-5 more minutes. For adults, bake for 45 minutes before checking for doneness for a crisper texture. If not quite done, bake for 5-7 minutes longer, but keep a close eye on them. They go from crispy to burned very quickly.
Wisdom for the Day:
So, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, don’t have stubborn hearts as they did in the rebellion, on the day when they tested me in the desert.”
~Hebrews 3:7-8 (Common English Bible)
Read more here.
So we’ve arrived at the final week of our second round of #Whole30. We can see the end from here and I’m feeling a sense of relief. This has been a much harder process than our first Whole30. As I’ve continued to struggle with lagging motivation, I’ve reflected on my own motivations and goals for this doing this round. Many (too many probably) of my goals were related to my appearance or were self-focused, dare I say even selfish goals. Here’s a portion of my goals for this #SeptemberWhole30:
• More energy to exercise – I wanted to start a walking regimen (but I haven’t walked once)
• Create and try new recipes
• No more under-eye circles
• Brighter eyes
• Want my clothes to fit better
• Looking younger
Those types of goals could be describes as external or “extrinsic” motivators. Research has shown that extrinsic factors are significantly less motivating than internal or intrinsic factors. The moral of this story is that internal goals are more motivating than external goals so keep that in mind when you’re considering committing to a (somewhat difficult) program like #Whole30.
One benefit I’ve noticed during both our first Whole30 and this round is feeling more in control of food. I’m far less likely to overeat. I’m less likely to to keep eating just because the food tastes good. I find it much easier to simply stop eating midway through the meal; to leave food on the plate; and to just walk away from the table. It’s possible that some of my willingness to stop eating has to do with my general disinterest in the food. At this stage of the game, I’ve pretty much exhausted my ability to create new or exciting Whole30-compliant recipes. Because we’ve eaten our old stand-byes so many times, I’ve been desperately seeking quick and easy ways to jazz them up like adding a sauce or gravy. This sausage gravy really perks up plain scrambled eggs, omelets or leftover meat and potatoes. My family was very pleased and asked that I keep this one in the rotation even after we’ve finished Whole30 which is the ultimate test of a tasty recipe!
Quick and Easy Sausage Gravy #Whole30 #Paleo #Glutenfree #Dairyfree #Grainfree
• 1-2 lb. Whole30-compliant (sulfite and sugar-free) Sausage, casings removed
• 3 Tbsp. Bob’s Red Mill Instant Potato Flakes
• 2 Tbsp. Tapioca Starch (I used this one from Bob’s Red Mill)
• 1/3 cup Original Unsweetened Nut Pods Creamer
• 1/3 cup Homemade or Whole30-compliant Chicken Broth
(Find a list of commercially-available Whole30-approved broths here)
• 1/3 cup Distilled (Cold) Water
• ½ tsp. Sea Salt
• ¼ tsp. Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
• Large frying pan or cast iron skillet
• Measuring spoons
• Large glass measuring cup (at least 2 cup size)
• Wire whisk (optional)
1. Place sausage in large frying pan or cast iron skillet. Place pan on stove. Turn stove setting to MEDIUM-HIGH setting (7). Cook sausage over MEDIUM-HIGH heat, using spatula to break up sausage into smaller pieces as it cooks, and to prevent any sausage pieces from burning.
2. After meat has completely, turn off the heat. At this point, you may drain the fat from the browned meat. Because I used venison sausage, there really wasn’t an excess amount of fat. But if you use pork sausage, you’ll probably need to drain it.
3. In a large measuring cup (preferably one with spout) stir together coffee creamer, broth and water. Then add salt and pepper and stir again to combine. Add to this mixture the instant potato flakes and tapioca starch. Stir well until there are no large lumps visible.
4. Place pan with cooked sausage back on stove over LOW-MEDIUM heat (3). Slowly stir liquid mixture into meat in 3-4 additions, stirring well after each addition using a wire whisk or fork to stir mixture.
5. Reduce heat to LOW and continue to cook for about 5 minutes, stirring more or less continuously. At this point, you may cover gravy and keep covered over LOW heat, stirring occasionally, up to 30 minutes. Just be sure to keep stirring it occasionally.
Notes and Serving Suggestions: I tried to note this above but it’s worth repeating, the liquids should be cold when initially combined with the potato flakes and tapioca starch in order to prevent lumpy gravy. Also disregard my pic featuring the unsweetened French Vanilla flavored Nut Pods creamer. That’s a mistake. You really want to use the original (unflavored) version for best results.
As far as serving suggestions – obviously, during Whole30 you wouldn’t serve this over biscuits (the traditional southern style) unless you’re family is not doing Whole30 with you. This gravy really jazzed up our scrambled eggs meal and is delicious over just about any egg preparation you can imagine. I think of it as a condiment, a super sauce if you will to help us get through these last difficult days of this #SeptemberWhole30!
Wisdom for the Day:
“Even if the fig tree does not bloom and the vines have no grapes, even if the olive tree fails to produce and the fields yield no food, even if the sheep pen is empty and the stalls have no cattle — even then, I will be happy with the Lord. I will truly find joy in God, who saves me.” ~Habakkuk 3:17-18 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here.
By now, everybody knows (wild-caught Alaskan) salmon is a health food. It’s chalked full of Omega-3 fatty acids. It’s high in protein and is a great source of Vitamins B6 and B12 and minerals like selenium, phosphorus and potassium (source).
Unfortunately, my family doesn’t really like salmon. After several years of marriage and many coerced meals, my husband now eats it without much push-back. Occasionally he even smiles and says he likes it. My mother on the other hand, all but refuses to eat salmon. She basically has to douse each bite with a half cup of lemon juice before she can choke it down!
Mom’s problem is that she’s been served (not by me) too many dry, fishy-tasting salmon entrées over the years, so she believes she doesn’t like it. Our lovely and generous neighbors recently bestowed upon us a beautiful 2 lb. (wild caught) Alaskan salmon filet. On a particularly hectic weeknight, I decided to make that gorgeous salmon filet for dinner, despite my mother’s protestations.
To accommodate my mother’s need for lemon flavor, I used both freshly squeezed lemon juice and lemon slice slices. The salmon basically steams in the lemon juice, water and oils, sealing in the flavor and preserving all the tender, flaky wonderfulness of the salmon!
The secret to any successful fish recipe is not to overcook it. I’m convinced the reason so many people dislike fish is because so many people overcook it. So keep this in mind. You may need to adjust the cooking time slightly to account for your oven or the thickness of your salmon filets (our filet was fairly thin). Set your oven timer if you need to. And remember to allow for several minutes rest time after removing the baked salmon from the oven (step #6 below) before serving. During this time, the fish will continue to cook somewhat, so it is better to err on the side of slightly shorter oven cooking time if you are uncertain.
• Glass measuring cup
• Small chef’s knife and cutting board
• Citrus juicer
• Measuring spoons
• 9 X 13” Baking dish or pan
• Aluminum foil
1. Preheat oven to 340° Fahrenheit (171° Celsius).
2. Wash and slice whole lemon. Then prepare 2 Tbsp. lemon juice. Set aside.
3. In a glass measuring cup, combine 2 Tbsp. lemon juice, 2 Tbsp. olive oil, and 2 Tbsp. water. Stir mixture to combine, and pour mixture into 9 X 13” baking dish.
4. Next place salmon skin-side down over the mixture in baking dish. Then sprinkle salmon evenly with salt, garlic and dill. Drizzle salmon with melted ghee. Then lay lemon slices on top of salmon.
5. Cover the entire baking dish tightly with aluminum foil. And bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. Do NOT over cook salmon.
6. Allow salmon to rest 10 minutes. Then remove foil. Serve and enjoy.
Serving Suggestions and Notes: I served this with a simple green salad and Crispy Fried Sprouts because I happened to have a couple bags of shredded brussels sprouts on hand. But I think salmon also pairs well with steamed asparagus, crispy roasted green beans, broccoli, zucchini or any green vegetable you have on hand. These Quick and Easy Crispy Potatoes are a simple and delicious are a #Whole30 compliant side dish sure to please the whole family.
Wisdom for the Day:
When they went ashore, they saw a fire with a fish lying on the coals, and they saw a loaf of bread. Jesus told them, “Bring some of the fish you’ve just caught.” Simon Peter got into the boat and pulled the net ashore. Though the net was filled with 153 large fish, it was not torn. Jesus told them, “Come, have breakfast.” None of the disciples dared to ask him who he was. They knew he was the Lord. ~John 21:9-12 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here.
Left: My Homemade Veggie Puffs. Right: Dr. Praeger’s Spinach Littles
I have a secret. I’m completely addicted to toddler food. Actually, it’s just 1 particular toddler food.
For years now, I’ve been loving these Dr. Praeger’s Spinach and Broccoli Littles. Love. Love. LOVE. Them. I’ll drive way out of my way to find these “little” veggie+potato treats, and cheerfully pay more than $5 per 10 oz. box (I usually purchase 4 to 5 boxes at a time since they’re hard to find in my area) to feed my habit.
My love affair with Dr. Praeger’s products began several years ago. After several years of “healthy” vegan eating, I developed a severe allergic reaction to the soy-based meat substitutes I was eating on a regular. So when I first spotted these non-GMO, soy-free alternatives at Whole Foods, I grabbed them up and was quickly hooked. When I was pregnant and craving these tasty little buggers, I even sent Hubs up to the nearest Whole Foods (over an hour each direction) to score a few boxes for me! I have such a wonderful husband!
I love them because they’re green and filled with non-GMO green veggies and potatoes. They’re certified gluten-free (and in fact, contain no grains whatsoever). There’s nothing funky or nasty in them (save for some canola oil which admittedly is not the best, but at least it’s not hydrogenated or full of trans fats); no grains or gluten (they’re certified gluten-free); and no dairy or soy. They’ve got some protein in there too, thanks to the inclusion of egg whites. And they just taste great! They’re fun to eat and just make me feel good. But since I’m an adult (not the target market), I tend to eat a bunch of them (when I have them). So, keeping my “Littles” supply stocked can be rather expensive.
Recently Hubs and I were stocking up, and I was overcome with a bit of buyer’s remorse. As I emerged from the store’s freezer holding 5 boxes of assorted Dr. P.’s Littles, I made the following off-hand remark. “These things are ridiculously expensive. I bet I could make them, or something very similar.” Since Hubs manages the grocery budget, he was immediately excited by my comment. I, on the other hand, was immediately regretful I’d said something so foolish, thinking “I could never make anything as delicious as my beloved Dr. P’s.” I reluctantly agreed to try to create a recipe similar too my beloveds but insisted we purchase the 5 boxes I was holding “you know, just so I have something to compare my own recipe to.” Gotta love that rationalization there.
Hub agreed, and I began searching the all-knowing Internet for some sort of “Dr. Praeger’s Littles” dupe recipe. I quickly found several recipes posted on various Pinterest boards, all of which claimed to be dupes. Sadly, each one of those recipes included cheese, lots of cheese, sometimes 2 types of cheese in a single recipe. Ugh! Since dairy is a deal-breaker for me, I decided to wing it, and try to create something yummy using the same ingredients listed on the box (but subbing extra virgin avocado oil for the aforementioned canola. And I used tapioca powder instead of arrowroot because that’s all I had, but either would work well).
I’m excited about the following recipe for a few reasons. First, I’m excited because these little puffs taste really good, and because I envision them saving us some grocery money. I really enjoy eating them, and (even more importantly), my daughter likes to eat them too. Woohoo! Score one for Mommy! I’m also excited to share a recipe that features spinach, which is #8 on HealthGrove’s list of the top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair. For those of you who are unaware, I’ve been posting a series of #Whole30-compliant and #paleo-correct recipes based on that HealthGrove list. Spinach is a favorite in our house. It’s literally our daughter’s favorite food which makes me very happy because spinach is such an amazing food. These mild leafy greens are an excellent source of folate, Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and many awesome antioxidant and beautifying vitamins (including: Vitamins A, B2, C, E, and K). You can read all about Popeye’s power source here. If you’re interested in reading the whole list of 30 best foods for beauty, you can find the full list here. And if you’ve missed any of the previous recipes in this series, be sure to check out the list and links at the bottom of this post.
• ½ sweet onion diced + ¼ cup chicken or vegetable broth (optional)
• 14 oz. bag frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and well-drained
• 1•½ cup liquid egg whites (roughly the whites from 12 large eggs)
• 3 cups cooked finely diced or shredded potatoes, divided
• 1 Tbsp. sea salt
• 20 cranks of crushed black pepper
• ¼ – ½ tsp. garlic powder or 1-2 whole, peeled garlic cloves (according to taste; I recommend using ¼ tsp. if using onion)
• 1•½ cup potato flakes (For this and all my #Whole30 recipes, I recommend these flakes from Bob’s Red Mill because those are the only potato flakes I’ve found that are 100% dehydrated potatoes without dextrose or any unapproved additives)
• 2 Tbsp. tapioca starch
• 4 Tbsp. chia seeds
• Nonstick coconut oil spray
• 2 Tbsp. extra virgin avocado or olive oil HARDWARE:
• Powerful blender or food processor (I used our Vitamix, and it worked really well)
• Measuring cups + spoons
• 2 Baking pans (I used 2 mini muffin tins) coated with nonstick coconut oil
• 1 Large mixing bowl
• 2 Microwave-safe bowls (medium and small)
• 1 oz. cookie scoop
1. If including onion in your veggie tots, cut onion into slices. Then transfer onion to a small microwave-safe bowl along with ¼ cup broth. Cover bowl with a paper towel and microwave on HIGH for 2 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and set aside.
2. Place 3 cups diced or shredded potatoes into a larger microwave-safe bowl. Cover with paper towel and microwave on HIGH for 5 minutes. Remove bowl from microwave and set aside.
3. Pour the following ingredients into the canister of a powerful blender or food processor with ‘S’ blade attached: cooked onion mixture; drained spinach or greens; shredded, 2 cups diced (or shredded) potatoes; sea salt; black pepper; and garlic (if using). Place lid on food processor or blender. Then process/blend on LOW setting about 30 seconds or until mixture is liquified and thoroughly combined. Pour mixture into a very large mixing bowl.
4. In a separate bowl, sift together potato flakes, tapioca starch; and chia seeds. Then add this mixture to the spinach mixture, along with remaining 1 cup diced or shredded potatoes. Stir well to thoroughly combine. Cover bowl with aluminum foil and refrigerate batter for 30 minutes (up to overnight).
5. When ready bake, preheat oven to 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius). And spray 2 large mini muffin tins with nonstick coconut oil spray. Then drizzle 1 Tbsp. avocado oil over each of the pans. If using regular cookie sheets, cover sheet with parchment paper. Then lightly coat paper with nonstick spray and drizzle 1 Tbsp. oil over each pan. Set pans aside.
6. Using a 1 oz. cookie scoop, scoop batter into/onto prepared muffin tins or baking sheets. Sprinkle puffs lightly with more sea salt if desired.
7. Bake at 400° Fahrenheit (204° Celsius) for 35 minutes (mini-muffin tins) – 45 minutes (for puffs on cookie sheets). SERVING SUGGESTIONS & NOTES:
While these little treats are technically #Whole30-compliant, they’re potato-heavy (i.e. high carbs). It’s best to think of these puffs as a starchy side dish, not a high-protein entrée. I recommend enjoying these treats in moderation and serving alongside a nice lean meat and toss salad. This recipe makes a ton, but these little puffs freeze well. If you do plan to freeze and reheat later, bake for just 30-35 minutes. Then allow cooked puffs to cool thoroughly before transferring to a large freezer bag. To reheat, remove puffs from freezer and allow to sit on counter until puffs reach room temperature. Then preheat oven to 400° F (204° C) and oil a baking sheet. Then place desired number of puffs of prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven for about 10 minutes.
3 Little Veggie Puffs Just Begging to be Eaten!
Wisdom for the Day:
“But God chose what the world considers nonsense to put wise people to shame. God chose what the world considers weak to put what is strong to shame. God chose what the world considers ordinary and what it despises—what it considers to be nothing—in order to destroy what it considers to be something.” ~I Corinthians 1:27-28 (God’s Word Translation) Read more here.
Beauty Resource of the Day:
You ever notice how all the YouTube beauty gurus are always raving the latest and greatest product roll-outs? It’s pretty rare to encounter a beauty review or tutorial video that really praises those products that have been around for years. So when I encounter a YouTuber who embraces oldy but goodies, I get excited and want to share it. Check out this full talk-thru tutorial as Emily Noel discusses (and demos) her favorite all-time drugstore products. Take notes because the products she recommends are excellent and bound to save you some money!
I’m really excited to share today’s recipe with you, for several reasons – primarily because my family loves this meal so much. Since a happy and healthy family is my #1 cooking goal, this one is a big win in my book. It’s also a ‘win’ because Hubs loves (LOVES) sloppy joes, so I made them often especially in the beginning of our marriage. But I never felt good about serving such a highly-processed, sugar-laden food. About a year ago, I began making my own sloppy joe / BBQ sauce using ketchup, maple syrup, some vinegar, spices, etc. I felt a little better about that, but in the back of mind, I knew that commercially available ketchups are loaded with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and added sugars. Because of that, we all but gave up on ever eating sloppy joes again, especially during and after we did the #Whole30 this past April (2016). So, I’m really pleased that this recipe (which includes no ketchup, maple syrup, HFCS or added sugars beyond a few dates and pure apple juice, which are perfectly #Whole30 acceptable when used in moderation) allows us to one again enjoy this favorite and fun meal without regrets.
The magic is in the BBQ sauce. It’s quick and very easy to make. It’s great for basting chicken, beef, pork or any other standard BBQ sauce application you may have. AND it includes a secret (healthy+beautifying) ingredient.
INGREDIENTS: For ground meat – • 1 lb. lean ground beef, bison or turkey breast (I used 97% lean ground turkey)
• 1+½ tsp. salt
• 1 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil
Perfectly Paleo and Whole30-compliant BBQ Sauce
For Sweet Smoky BBQ Sauce –
• 6 dates soaked overnight in ½ cup filtered water
• 6 oz. can tomato paste
• ½ cup no-sugar-added applesauce, organic if possible
• ½ cup pure canned pumpkin (NOT canned pumpkin pie mix)
• ½ cup homemade or organic ready-made chicken broth
• ¾ cup 100% pure apple juice
• ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
• 2 tsp. Celtic sea salt
• ½ Tbsp. liquid smoke
• 1 tsp. spicy mustard (NOT Dijon mustard if doing #Whole30)
• ¼ tsp. garlic powder (or 1 whole garlic clove)
• dash ground allspice
For the Sweet Potato Toasts –
• 2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled
• 2 Tbsp. coconut or avocado oil, divided
• ¾ tsp. Celtic sea salt, divided
• Sprinkling garlic powder
• Dash ground allspice
Sweet Potato Toasts
• Blender or food processor
• Measuring cups + spoons
• Large frying pan or skillet (preferably nonstick)
• Toaster Oven (helpful but non-essential)
• Small baking pan lined with aluminum foil or parchment paper
1. Prepare BBQ sauce place soaked dates AND soaking water into canister of powerful blender or food processor fitted with S blade, along with all other sauce ingredients. Cover blender or food processor and pulse on LOW setting for about 1 minute. Then blend/process sauce on HIGH setting until the sauce is thoroughly blended and very smooth.
2. Taste sauce to test seasonings and adjust if necessary. Transfer sauce to a large jar or pitcher with lid. Cover and place BBQ sauce in refrigerator. BBQ sauce will keep covered in refrigerator for up to 1 week.
3. Brown ground meat in a 1 Tbsp. oil (not necessary if using higher fat meat, such as 85% lean ground beef) in a large (preferably non-stick) pan or skillet over MEDIUM-HIGH (level 7) heat. Sprinkle the meat with 1.5 tsp. seal salt and stir frequently while browning to break up the meat into smallish pieces or chunks. Drain meat if necessary. When meat has been browned (and drained if necessary), turn off the heat and cover the pan.
4. Take BBQ sauce from refrigerator and pour about ¾ of the sauce over ground turkey. Stir well to combine and recover pan or skillet.
NOTE: Store remaining BBQ sauce in refrigerator. You can serve Sloppy Joes with the extra BBQ sauce or keep it for another use.
5. Turn skillet or stove to MEDIUM and cook mixture covered until sauce begins to simmer. Then reduce heat to LOW. Cook mixture on LOW for about 30 minutes while preparing sweet potato toasts.
6.Prepare Sweet Potato Toasts as follows: Slice peeled sweet potato length-wise into 1/8” slices. Cover a small baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper. Then pour 1 Tbsp. oil onto pan and sprinkle pan with ¼ tsp. sea salt. Place sweet potato slices in a single layer on pan. Drizzle remaining Tbsp. oil over the sweet potato slices. Then sprinkle slices with remaining 1/2 tsp. salt, garlic powder and dash of ground allspice.
7. If baking sweet potato toasts in full-size oven, preheat to 400°F (204°C) (if you’re using a toaster oven, there’s no need to preheat). Bake sweet potatoes at 400°F (204°C) for about 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove toasts from oven and flip each toast over. Return toasts to oven for about 5-10 minutes, again at 400°F (204°C). Check on the toasts often because they get really dark quickly. N.B. – If you need to cook the Sloppy Joe mixture for longer than 30 minutes (i.e. to attend to other tasks), that’s no problem. Just follow steps 2-5 above, then turn stove or skillet setting lowest heat setting. Then a few minutes before serving, add another 1/2 cup pure (no-sugar-added) apple juice and a pinch more sea salt. Stir well and keep mixture on LOW until serving. ~ Makes 4 dinner-sized servings Serving Suggestions:
As always, I recommend serving these “sandwiches” along side a nice tossed salad of mixed greens, with a little fresh maybe or nuts tossed in, or crisply fried+crumbled #Whole30-compliant bacon. Some sort of cooked green vegetable side also works nicely (if you’re not as salad-crazy as me). I served these along side steamed green beans almandine (as pictured above) and tossed salads. But other great side options include: Crispy Fried Sprouts or Crispy Coconut Roasted Green Beans or your own preferred veggie side are all great options. A final note, if you’re not interested in making the sweet potato toasts, you can also serve the mixture on large romaine lettuce leaf “boats” for an open-faced style sandwich. That’s actually my favorite way to eat these.
The cool crisp lettuce is such a great counterpoint to the sweet, tangy BBQ sauce and warm meat filling.
Wisdom for the Day:
“⌊God has sent me⌋ to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to give them crowns instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of ⌊tears of⌋ grief, and clothes of praise instead of a spirit of weakness. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, the Plantings of the LORD, so that he might display his glory.” ~Isaiah 61:3 (God’s Word Translation) Read more here.
Beauty Resource of the Day:
I often share Tati Westbrook’s videos because I think she’s so adorable and relatable. This Strobing Tutorial is one of my current favs. Strobing is prettier, easier and more natural-looking than that harsh contouring trend of a few years ago. Here Tati demystifies the technique (REALLY important for me and my novice-level makeup skills) and steps you through how-to strobe using a balanced mix of both drug-store and high-end products. Enjoy that summer glow!
I’ve been posting a series of recipes featuring the ingredients identified by a recent HealthGrove study as the best foods for beautiful skin and hair. If you’ve missed any of the previous recipes in this series, check out the list and links below. Number 1 on that list is – the deliciously healthy and beautifully utilitarian SWEET POTATO! Sweet potatoes are a tremendous source of Vitamins C and A (in the form of beta carotene) and also earn high marks for potassium content as well as fullness or satiety. Check out this nutrition summary from the folks at HealthGrove. Sweet potatoes are also an inexpensive, unprocessed and grain-free source of complex carbohydrates, making them favorites among #WHOLE30-ers, #Paleo types and staunch vegans alike.
Check out to learn more about the amazing health-promoting benefits of sweet potatoes!
The Lovely & Talented Sweet Potato
The following sweet potato recipe is perfect for anyone needing a quick and easy weeknight side dish. Weeknights are hectic, especially for working folks and families. It’s also an especially dangerous time for those actively doing #WHOLE30 because (in the US at least) it’s the time we tend to eat our largest meal. I find it helps tremendously to have a few simple, no-brainer type recipes on stand-by to expedite the weeknight dinner-making process. This delicious and simple side dish is one of our family’s favorites, and it’s super easy for Mommy (me) to make while attending to other tasks. After making it several times, I’ve found that I can now prepare it quickly and with almost no thought. That’s really helpful on nights when we have a lot going on and other things to attend to (like our constantly in-motion little girl). Most importantly, this dish is really yummy and works well with a wide variety of entrees. This recipe is fully #WHOLE30-compliant and #Paleo-correct. It’s free of grains, gluten and sugars. And if prepared with coconut oil, it’s also #vegan, dairy-free and suitable for folks with virtually nearly any food allergies, with the exception of tree nuts. However, you could easily substitute sunflower seeds for pecans or leave out the nuts altogether to accommodate. As listed, it’s a yummy mix of sweet, warm and salty. Buttery and tender with a bit of crunch, it’s sure to satisfy your whole family and keep you on your #WHOLE30 progress. It’s a winner all the way around. Ingredients:
• 2 large or 3 medium-sized whole sweet potatoes
• 1/2 cup no sugar added 100% pure apple, pineapple or prune juice (I used pineapple)
• ¼ tsp. ground cinnamon
• 1 tsp. Celtic sea salt
• 2 Tbsp. coconut oil or clarified butter (i.e. Ghee), divided
• 2 tsp. Celtic sea salt, divided
• dash each ground ginger, ground cloves, and/or allspice
• 1 cup diced fresh pineapple or 2 organic apples or peaches, sliced (optional)
• 1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans
If you’re the type to do your weekly meal prep on the weekends, consider peeling and slicing a few sweet potatoes. They store nicely in a freezer bag for up to 3 days in the refrigerator.
1. Wash and peel sweet potatoes. Then slice sweet potatoes into 1/8” thick slices, and cut those slices in half. It goes faster if you stack the slices when cutting in half. ☺
2. Pour 1 Tbsp. oil or butter into a microwave-safe bowl. Then transfer sweet potato slices to same bowl.
3. Sprinkle salt and seasonings over sweet potato slices and toss gently to distribute seasonings.
4. Pour ½ cup juice and remaining 1 Tbsp. oil over seasoned sweet potatoes and toss gently to combine.
Don’t mock my dirty microwave. I told you it’s hectic around our house!
5. Place bowl into microwave and cover with a paper towel. Microwave on HIGH for 8 minutes.
6. Carefully take bowl out of the microwave. Remove paper towel (watch out for steam). Stir well. If you’re using to add fruit, do so now.
7. Return bowl to microwave and replace paper towel over the bowl. Microwave again on HIGH for another 8-12 minutes, depending on size/strength of you microwave. (As an example, we have a pretty strong microwave that has 1800W. So I microwave for 8 minutes the first time, and another 11 minutes after stirring.)
8. Carefully take bowl from the microwave. Remove paper towel (again, watch out for steam). Test one sweet potato slice for doneness. The goal is a tender not toothsome texture. (In my experience, it takes longer than you expect to cook all the sweet potatoes). You may need to microwave a bit longer (say 3-5 minutes on HIGH) to fully cook to tender.
9. Just before serving, sprinkle sweet potatoes with balsamic vinegar and pecans. Then stir once more before serving. ~ Makes about 4 generous side dish servings.
Wisdom for the Day:
With perfect peace you will protect those whose minds cannot be changed, because they trust you. ~Isaiah 26:3 (God’s Word Translation)
Read more here. Praying that your evenings are full of “perfect peace” and trust in God! ~KG
I recently posted a lengthy article on the evidence supporting supplementation with hydrolyzed collagen + hyaluronic acid (HA) + Vitamin C – a combo of supplements that when taken together have been proven to reduce skin wrinkling, improve skin elasticity and increase skin’s overall hydration (think plumping) levels. You can check out that post here. The basic idea is that several studies have proven that consumption of a hydrolyzed collagen powder in conjunction with daily hyaluronic acid and Vitamin C supplementation can significantly increase your skin’s hydration levels, improve its elasticity and decrease wrinkles. Pretty exciting stuff! Check that post for full research detail and product recommendations.
A Bevy of Beautifying Collagens + Great Lakes Pure Unflavored Gelatin
The following recipes combine hydrolyzed collagen and other superfood ingredients into enjoyable, yummy-tasting beverages. I try to drink 2-3 collagen beverages per day. Experiment with these recipes and let me know (in the comments) if you have other collagen recipes you love!
This recipe is really tasty and helps ensure I meet my daily green tea quota. The secret is the cranberry juice and added super fruit powder (in this case Navitas Naturals Organic Pomegranate Powder) which provide both a sweet-tart flavor and added Vitamin C which, along with supplemental hyaluronic acid, are key to helping your body assimilate the collagen. Think of them as a power booster for the collagen protein, and they happen to taste great.
• Microwave or tea pot
• Measuring cups + spoons
Makes 1 yummy serving.
1. Brew tea using 6 oz. filtered or distilled water per sachet. Allow tea to steep at least 5 minutes before removing sachet.
2. At this point, I like to reheat the tea for a few seconds on HIGH in my microwave because I dislike lukewarm tea, but that’s totally optional. Remove and discard green tea sachet.
3. Stir 1 scoop (Tbsp.) hydrolyzed collagen into hot tea. Continue stirring gently until collagen is completely dissolved.
4. Add desired amount (I recommend 1/2 cup) of pure unsweetened cranberry juice, powdered fruit supplement and garnish with a cinnamon stick if desired. You can add sweetener to this tea, but I find it doesn’t need it with the fruit juice and pomegranate powder. You could add a pinch of stevia if you want it a bit sweeter. But stevia is not permitted during #whole30.*** (See comment below.)
***Stevia and all other natural or artificial sweeteners (with the exception of pure, no-sugar-added juice) are not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program do’s and don’ts as well as answers to just about any and all #WHOLE30 questions you may have, I highly recommend you check out the program rules here and other resources available at WHOLE30’s website to educate yourself prior to beginning your own WHOLE30 journey or anytime you have questions or need some support (the Facebook and Twitter feeds are tremendous sources of encouragement and support).
1. Brew coffee using 6-8 oz. filtered or distilled water.
2. While coffee is still very hot, carefully pour into blender canister along with all other ingredients and stir briefly until collagen is dissolved. Place canister on blender base and cover with lid. 3. Blend mixture for a few seconds on HIGH until frothy.
4. Pour into a large mug. Adjust seasoning/sweeteners to taste if desired. But remember, sweeteners of all kinds (including naturally-derived ones like Stevia, maple syrup and honey) are not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30program rules, check out the program rules here and resource links listed in comment above.*** N.B. This recipe can be made without use of blender if using Nut Pods Creamer instead of coconut oil. But even when using Nut Pods creamer, I still like to give my collagen coffee beverages a quick whir in the blender to ensure everything is well-combined and frothy. Makes 1 Serving.
3. Skin-Loving Bone Broth Beverage
This warm, savory drink is incredibly soothing and satisfying. It’s a terrific afternoon pick-me-up for tired mommies (like me)! The protein helps tide me over until dinner and the vegetable juice provides some extra Vitamin C + Potassium. You could use store-bought broth, provided it doesn’t contain any sulfites, MSG or other nasty additives. If you’re new to making bone broth, you can read up on the process and find some easy+delicious recipes from Paleo Leap here and The Wellness Mama here. Ingredients:
• 1 cup homemade bone broth
• 2 scoops (about 2 Tbsp.) hydrolyzed collagen + Hyaluronic acid + Vitamin C (e.g. (e.g. California Gold Nutrition CollagenUp or your preferred hydrolyzed collagen powder + Vitamin C + Hyaluronic Acid supplements) or 2 scoops (2 Tbsp.) of Great Lakes Gelatin brand Collagen Hydrolysate (be sure to take your daily hyaluronic acid supplement and at least 100mg. Vitamin C along with this broth)
• ½ cup unsweetened, low sodium tomato juice cocktail (e.g. V8 Original Low Sodium Vegetable Juice)
• 1 Tbsp. freshly-squeezed lemon juice (optional)
• 1 tsp. hydrolyzed gelatin (optional)
• Salt & pepper to taste
• Measuring cups
• Large Mug
1. Gently heat bone broth in microwave or on stovetop until a little hotter than desired temperature.
2. Remove from heat, and gently stir in 1 scoop hydrolyzed collagen and 1 tsp. gelatin (if using), continuing to stir until collagen + gelatin are completely dissolved.
3. Next carefully pour broth mixture into large mug. Then add the vegetable juice and (if desired) lemon juice.
4. Taste for seasonings, adjusting as needed. Makes 1 Serving.
4. Make Me Younger Choco-Almond Smoothie
Thick, creamy and full of chocolatey, nutty deliciousness – this smoothie is my favorite way to enjoy collagen and satisfy my sweet tooth (ok my sweet teeth)
This is my current favorite lunch. I can make it quickly and drink it while chasing after my 9-month old daughter who is now constantly in motion. Containing several super star foods from the HealthGrove list of top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair, this shake is thick, creamy and delicious! The spinach provides a hefty dose of nutrition including Folate, Magnesium, Potassium and Vitamins A, C, E, B2 & K. Read more about spinach here. The almond butter imparts a yummy nutty flavor that goes so well with the cocoa. Almonds also provide more Vitamin E antioxidants, some extra protein and healthy fat (thereby boosting the satiety factor of this shake). Read more about almonds’ nutrient values here.
• 3 soaked dates (Soak in filtered water about 1 hour. Be sure the dates you use are free of sulfites if doing #WHOLE30)
• 8 oz. homemade almond or coconut milk
• 2 scoops (about 2 Tbsp.) powdered hydrolyzed collagen + Hyaluronic acid + Vitamin C (e.g. California Gold Nutrition CollagenUp ) or preferred hydrolyzed collagen powder + hyaluronic acid supplements + Vitamin C
• 2 cups loosely packed fresh baby spinach leaves
• 2 Tbsp. pure (unsweetened) cocoa/cacao powder (I like this one from Nativas Naturals )
• pinch salt
• 2 Tbsp. #whole30-compliant or paleo-correct almond butter (i.e. without any added sugars or sweeteners)
• 1 tsp. hydrolyzed gelatin, e.g. Great Lakes Gelatin Unflavored dissolved in 2 Tbsp. warm filtered water (optional but helps make shake thicker and more creamy)
• 1 cup ice cubes (optional, I add ice to thicken the shake and make it more like ice cream)
• pinch pure Stevia extract (optional and can be substituted for soaked dates if you’re watching your carbs but, do not use if actively doing #WHOLE30, see comment above)***
1. If using gelatin, stir into 2 Tbsp. filtered water and allow to sit for a few (3-4) minutes. Combine milk and collagen in blender canister and whisk briefly with a fork until collagen mostly dissolves (there will still be a few collagen “lumps” but that’s okay).
Spinach is a superfood too, providing Magnesium, Potassium, Folate & Vitamins A, C, E & K
2. Put spinach into blender canister then pour in milk+collagen mixture into blender along with all other ingredients.
3. Place canister on blender base. Cover with lid and blend mixture for a few seconds on HIGH until frothy.
4. Pour into 2 freezer-safe mug or jars with lid. Freeze for about 1 hour or enjoy immediately. Makes 2 Servings or 1 Large Meal-sized Shake
Remember, sweeteners of all kinds (including natural ones like Stevia) are not permitted during #WHOLE30. For a complete list of #WHOLE30 program rules, check out the program rules here and resource links listed in comment above.*** N.B. If you don’t have access to homemade nut milk, you can substitute ½ cup Nut Pods Original (or flavored) Unsweetened Coffee Creamer + ½ cup filtered water. Stir briefly to combine creamer and water. Then add collagen and proceed as above.
Makes 1-2 servings.
BTW: Don’t be dissuaded by the slightly greenish color of this shakes. It’s delicious and Hubs swears “it’s as good any ice cream!” I like to save half this recipe and keep in the freezer until after dinner. It’s the perfect dessert.
Beauty Resource of the Day:
This video from Emily Noel of Beauty Broadcast is fantastic in content and simplicity.
I LOVE tip #3! It’s one of those “why didn’t I think of that?” kind of tips. I’m hoping this tip “changes my makeup world” too! Thanks as always Emily 🙂
Wisdom for the Day:
Loyalty makes a person attractive. It is better to be poor than dishonest. ~Proverbs 19:22 (NLT)
Read more here.
If you’re interested in checking out the scientific evidence supporting the effectiveness of hydrolyzed collagen ingestion for wrinkle reduction and increased skin hydration, check out this DBW post detailing research & evidence supporting Hydrolyzed Collagen Combo Supplements for Younger-Looking Skin. And if you wanna delve deeper into the research, check out these scientific articles and helpful collagen info sites:
1. Borumand & Sibilla S. Effects of a nutritional supplement containing collagen peptides on skin elasticity, hydration and wrinkles, 2015. Journal of Medical Nutrition and Nutraceuticals; 4(1), 47-53. Online full text article link.
2. Ohara H, Ito K, Iida H, Matsumoto H. Improvement in the moisture content of the stratum corneum following 4 weeks of collagen hydrolysate ingestion. Nippon Shokuhin Kogaku Kaishi 2009; 56: 137-45. Online link to abstract here.
3. Matsumoto H, Ohara H, Ito K, Nakamura Y, Takahashi S. Clinical effect of fish type I collagen hydrolysate on
skin properties. ITE Lett Batteries New Technol Med 2006; 7:386-390. Full text unavailable. See other cited article links (above and below) for summary of this study.
4. Sibilla S, Godfrey M, Brewer S, Budh-Raja A, Genovese L. An Overview of the Beneficial Effects of Hydrolysed Collagen as a Nutraceutical on Skin Properties: Scientific Background and Clinical Studies. The Open Nutraceuticals Journal 2015; 8: 29-42. Online full text article available here.
5. Dr. Tim O’Shea of The Doctor Within on Hydrolyzed Collagen Supplementation. Link here.
6. All About Gelatin & Collagen from Paleo Leap.
7. And you’ll want to check out this list of Studies on Collagen Supplementation from Collagen Complete.
Today’s recipe continues our series of recipes based on a the HealthGrove study identifying the top 30 foods for beautiful skin and hair. In case you’ve missed any of the previous recipes from the series, you can find links for each at the bottom of this page, so be sure to check those out. In order to avoid missing any future posts and recipes, be sure to subscribe to Daily Beauty Wisdom. It’s quick and easy, and you’re guaranteed to never miss a new DBW post. Simply enter your email address in the “subscribe here” box to sign up. A few minutes later, you’ll receive a confirmation email. Click the “confirmation” button in the email, and you’re done. Easy as that.
And now, the news, er I mean, the recipe. Today’s recipe is an easy, quick-to-prepare sauce that can be used to jazz up desserts or meats. It makes a lovely sweet and tangy counterpoint when served as a dipping sauce for well-seasoned grilled poultry or pork. And it’s my preferred accompaniment for my Paleo Brownies available here. This sauce features the fantastic and beautifying ingredient – cranberry juice (food #27 from the HealthGrove list). In case you hadn’t noticed, cranberries are not just for Thanksgiving anymore. Cranberry juice, in particular, is everywhere! And for good reason, not only is is this sweet+tart juice healthy (with impressive levels of Vitamin C and potassium in every cup), it plays really nicely with other fruits. Apparently all the juice makers are onto this fact as well because there’s a seemingly endless variety of cranberry juice combos available on the juice aisles of every grocery and health food store, as noted here by the indescribably fabulous Brian Regan:
This recipe works equally well with both frozen pitted cherries or frozen (or fresh) blueberries. Just be sure the berries you select have ZERO added sugar. Both berries provide tons of beautifying nutrients. Dark, tart cherries are a great source of Vitamin C, a key antioxidant (read more about the skin beautifying effects of antioxidants like Vitamin C here) and tummy-filling fiber. While blueberries are a bona fide superfood! They also provide Vitamin C, more than a 1/3 of your daily Vitamin K requirements per serving along with several forms of phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are a group of good-for-you nutrients that include current beauty buzz-worthy antioxidants like quercitin, ferric acid and resveratol among others (Source1 and Source2). Ingredients:
• 5 dates, soaked at least 4 hours or overnight (see comment below)+++
• 12 oz. (about 2.5 cups) frozen unsweetened pitted cherries or unsweetened frozen blueberries, defrosted
• 1 cup pure (unsweetened) cranberry juice
• 1.5 Tbsp. chia seeds
• pinch iodized sea salt
• pinch ground allspice
• pinch pure Stevia extract, optional (do not use if doing #WHOLE30, see comment below)+++
• 1-2 Tbsp. lemon juice (optional)
• Measuring cups + spoons
• Powerful blender or food processor (I used the Nutribullet Pro 900)
• A large spoon or spoonula
• Mason jar or other preferred storage receptacle with lid
1. Drain dates and discard soaking liquid.
2. Place dates and all other ingredients into canister of blender or food processor. Place lid on canister and process on HIGH until sauce is very smooth and no chunks or pieces of ingredients are visible.
3. Remove lid and test for seasonings. Adjust to taste. You may want to add 1 Tbsp. or 2 of lemon juice (as noted below) if serving sauce with a savory dish. If you do adjust the seasonings, replace the lid and blend the sauce again briefly.
4. Then carefully (this will stain) pour sauce into a jar or bottle with a lid and cover. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.
• This recipe makes about 2.5 cups of sauce.
• Sauce will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
• I recommend adding 1-2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice if you plan on using this as a sauce or dip for savory dishes.
• As mentioned above, this sauce is my preferred accompaniment for my Paleo Brownies seen below:
Wisdom for the Day:
I spend a lot of time and blog space here at DBW discussing things that will be tasty and pleasing to the tongue, but I don’t often acknowledge the power of the tongue. Words are powerful! The following Proverb reminds us that the things we say have the power to bring life or death. The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love to talk will have to eat their own words.~Proverbs 18:21 (God’s Word Translation) Read more here.
Beauty Resource for the Day:
Ever hear dermatologists and other skin experts say you should reapply sunscreen every few hours, but think “okay but how the heck am I supposed to do that when I’ve already put my makeup on?” Well, Angie from Hot & Flashy has an answer, and a video tutorial, for that very question! Check it out as she enlightens us on the best ways to protect ourselves from the sun while maintaining previously applied cosmetics:
Is it hot where you live? Because it’s REALLY hot and humid where we are! I didn’t really need another reason to serve salads every night with dinner. But, these long, summer days seem to make my family more willing to eat fresh crunchy greens and lettuce every night as long as they have a continuous supply of new and exciting (read homemade) dressings to jazz up said salads. This has presented me with something of a challenge because I’m still relatively new to dressing-making (if that’s a thing). And whenever I’m working on a new dressing, I always worry that I may experience a repeat of my great mayonnaise fiasco from our first #WHOLE30 journey in April. Fortunately, I’ve learned some reliable salad dressing-making tricks since then and have discovered some tasty salad topping recipes along the way (including Presto Peachy Lime Vinaigrette, the Split Second Strawberry Vinaigrette and Paleo Lemon Garlic Vinaigrette). My current favorite method for whipping up a quick and easy, thick and creamy dressing using healthy ingredients is to employ our trusty NutriBullet 900. I’ve discovered it’s practically foolproof. And I’d highly recommend investing in a NutriBullet or other high-powered blender (e.g. Vitamix) if you’re looking to transition from processed foods to making the majority your own foods (especially dressings and sauces) from scratch.
Lately, we’ve been including a series of different fresh fruits in our nightly salads – everything from sweet seedless grapes to juicy local peaches to tangy pineapple and succulent papaya. The sweet juicy fruits and crisp greens seem to beckon for a saltier more robust dressing, something with garlic, citrus, and ginger; something interesting, with a kick. We haven’t consumed any soy products since completing #WHOLE30, but I still find myself craving something akin to a sweet teriyaki but creamier. Thank goodness for Coconut Aminos Sauce – the answer to my salty soy cravings!
Not only is this dressing soy-free, it also has a hefty dose of selenium thanks to the inclusion of Brazil nuts. The garlic and fresh ginger provide anti-inflammatory protection, and the citrus juices offer a nice hit of Vitamin C. Did I mention that the oils contribute antioxidant protection in the form of Vitamin E? It’s true. Those same extra virgin oils contain useful fatty acids that will help your body better assimilate all the valuable nutrients in the salad. This dressing is a health fest! It’s about 85-95% raw (depending on the oils you use). It’s vegan; suitable for those following a #paleo lifestyle; and is #whole30-compliant as well (provided you following the instructions in the comments below and always read ingredients and food labels). Most importantly, it’s yummy, and your family will love it!
N.B. this recipe makes about 2 cups (scant) of dressing and will become thicker as it sits in the fridge (due to the coconut oil). You will find that it becomes thin and spreadable again as soon as you spoon it out onto a salad. It pairs well with avocado or guacamole, fruits and nuts, Asian or Southwestern spices and a sprinkle of fresh herbs as shown here.
The finished product garnished with fresh cilantro
Assemble your ingredients in advance for super-speedy salad dressing-making success!
• 4 dates, soaked at least 4 hours (see comment below if doing #WHOLE30)+++
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled
• 6 whole Brazil nuts
• 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
• 1 tsp. spicy mustard (do NOT Dijon if doing #WHOLE30, see comment below)+++
• 1” knob peeled fresh ginger root, diced
• ¼ cup lime juice (I only had bottled available, but freshly squeezed is best)
• ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon or orange juice (or more lime juice)
• 2-3 Tbsp. Coconut Secret Coconut Aminos Sauce
(according to taste, I used about 2.5 Tbsp.)
• ¼ cup extra virgin coconut oil
• ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) or extra virgin avocado oil
• 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
(I used dark. Choose an organic cold-pressed light sesame oil such as this one if raw)
• 1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)
• Measuring cups + spoons
• Citrus juicer
• Powerful blender (As stated above, I used Nutribullet Pro 900)
1. After soaking, drain dates and discard soaking liquid.
2. Place dates and all other dressing ingredients into canister of blender. Place lid on blender and process on HIGH until dressing is very smooth and no
visible chunks or pieces of ingredients are visible.
3. Remove lid and test for seasonings. Adjust to your taste preferences.
If you do adjust the seasonings, replace lid and blend on HIGH for a few seconds more.
4. Pour dressing into a jar or bottle. Cover with lid and store in refrigerator until ready to use. Garnish with cilantro if desired. Dressing will keep for about 1 week in the refrigerator.
BTW – If you’re looking for a salad recipe to go along with this dressing, I highly recommend using this Quick & Easy Beautifying Papaya Salad recipe. It’s healthy, delicious, and is easily adapted for vegans, paleo and #whole30-ers. And it’s chalked full of good-for-you nutrients!
Thick & Creamy Asian-Style Blender Dressing Served along side & atop Tossed Green Salad with Fruit
Wisdom for the Day:
Sometimes people ask me how I can eat vegetables all the time; don’t I get tired of the taste and so on. I explain to these folks that not only do I love the flavor of fresh vegetables, but vegetables are the original health food described in the Garden of Eden story (in Genesis 1:29) and in this cool story from the Old Testament book of Daniel:
“So Daniel spoke to the guard… ‘Why not test your servants for ten days? You could give us a diet of vegetables to eat and water to drink. Then compare our appearance to the appearance of the young men who eat the king’s food. Then deal with your servants according to what you see.’ The guard decided to go along with their plan and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days they looked better and healthier than all the young men who were eating the king’s food. So the guard kept taking away their rations and the wine they were supposed to drink and gave them vegetables instead. And God gave knowledge, mastery of all literature, and wisdom to these four men.” ~Daniel 1:11-17 (Common English Bible) Read more here.
Beauty Resource of the Day:
Ever feel completely clueless when it comes to applying eyeshadow? You’re not alone. Sometimes I still look at those big beautiful (often expensive) shadow palettes that are so popular these days and feel…totally overwhelmed, like I wouldn’t even know what to do with all those color options. Luckily, great-looking eyeshadow doesn’t have to be that complicated and needn’t involve more than 2 colors! Emily Noel is here to tell us all about the “sandwich method” in this super-quick, super-informative video – complete with step-by-step tutorial, suggested shadow duos (both top-shelf and drugstore options) and listings + links for all products & tools used or mentioned in the video. The always delightful Ms. Emily really shines in this gem of a beauty Vlog!
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Coming in at #16 on HealthGrove’s list of top foods for beauty, today’s beautifying food is – CARROTS!!! Most everyone has heard that carrots are good for your eyes. That’s primarily due to carrots’ high Vitamin A content. Carrots are also low in calories and provide an amazing 10% of the adult RDA for Vitamin A per calorie. Vitamin A is widely used within the body. It provides antioxidant benefits, supports cell growth and differentiation, and plays a critical role in the normal formation and maintenance of the heart, lungs, kidneys, and other organs (Source). Vitamin A is also well-known as a skin beautifier. Synthetic forms of Vitamin A are the primary ingredients in such well-known skin saviors as Retin-A, retinol and Accutane. However, those products can cause skin irritation, redness and peeling and are associated with severe birth defects (when used by pregnant women). But carrots provide the gentler form of Vitamin A, beta-carrotene versus the “pre-formed Vitamin A” found in beef and poultry livers, cod liver oil, etc. or synthetically created versions present in both prescription skincare products and OTC retinoids. That’s a long way of saying carrots bring the goods without potential negative side-effects.
I was inspired to create this salad dressing when I received some beautiful peaches from my lovely and generous mother-in-law. Immediately I started envisioning a peach and citrus juice based dressing and decided carrots would be the perfect beautifying compliment.
Just look at these beauties!
The process here is nearly identical to my Split Second Strawberry Vinaigrette. Swapping out the extra virgin avocado oil for EVOO results in a slightly thinner, creamier texture (than the Strawberry Vinaigrette which is pretty thick). The sweet, juicy flesh of the peaches blends well with the carrots. I chose to use both lemon and lime juice along with some cumin for a more Tex-Mex flavor. Additionally, the citrus juices and peaches impart an extra hit of Vitamin C, making this dressing an antioxidant powerhouse.
As always, I took a couple of preparatory steps (soaking the dates for a few hours before and pre-measuring the citrus juices + other ingredients in advance) to save time. And because I had run out of fresh lemons and limes, I used bottled juice (not ideal, but a definite time-saver). As a result, this recipe was ready to serve in seconds. I timed it. It took 32 seconds for me to prepare. BTW, I used fresh, ripe peaches in this recipe only because I was lucky enough to have these on hand (and I’m a big believer in using what ya’ got). So if you can get your hands on some fresh peaches, I highly recommend using those in this recipe. However, you could definitely use frozen peaches (or mangoes) if you don’t have access to fresh ones. If using frozen peaches, be careful to use UNSWEETENED fruit (i.e. should say “no sugar added” or just list “peaches” under ingredients). Then just transfer the bag from the freezer to the refrigerator the night before you plan to make this dressing. Ingredients:
• 6 whole pitted dates, soaked at least 2 hours (see comment below)+++
• 2 whole fresh peaches, pitted and sliced (peel if desired; I left the peels on)
• 2 medium carrots (preferably organic), washed, peeled and chopped
• 1/2 cup unsweetened lime juice (or 1/4 cup each
• 1 large or 2 small-medium garlic cloves, peeled
• 1 tsp. iodized sea salt
• 1 tsp. spicy mustard (not Dijon see comment below)+++
• 1/8 tsp. cumin
• 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
• 1 tsp. hot sauce or pinch cayenne pepper (optional)
1. Soak dates in filtered water for at least 2 hours.
2. Drain dates and place in pitcher of blender or food processor basin.
3. Add in all other ingredients and blend/process until completely smooth, with no chunks or pieces visible.
4. Remove lid and test for seasoning, adjusting to taste. ~Makes about 2 cups of dressing.
N.B. This dressing will keep covered and refrigerated about 1 week and is also a delicious topping for grilled meat. Hubs recommends using it as a “dippin’ sauce” for these #Paleo chicken tenders or these #WHOLE30 compliant meatballs.
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Wisdom for the Day:
You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. ~Psalm 128:2 (English Standard Version)
Read more here.
Beauty Resource Video of the Day:
Summer is officially here! This is a great time to establish a consistent sunscreen habit. The most common complaint or excuse I hear for not using sunscreen daily is that it 1) causes makeup to perform poorly or 2) that it takes too long, is a hassle to apply. This video is an actual tutorial and includes precise measurements of sun protection product to use; application of sunscreen and makeup over top the sun protection including trouble-shooting tips and recommendations to avoid pilling, balling or makeup disruption. This video is well worth your time!
(Isn’t Dr. Bunting just a pleasure to listen to? Plus her advice about reframing how we think of sunscreen is brilliant in terms of motivating yourself to consistently apply sunscreen everyday!). Still need help finding a sunscreen that will work for you? Check out this article for detailed comparison and reviews of 12 broad-spectrum sunscreens (all priced under $15).
Hi I'm Karen.
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