The Best Ginger Cookies EVER!!!

In an attempt to eat without grains… crazy right? Well it is an experiment to get all in my family healthy and happy and reestablish some really good GI flora and gut healing. I’ve been super inspired by this amazing book Breaking the Vicious Cycle by Elaine Gottschall, B.A., M.Sc. It is a SCD or Selective Carbohydrate Diet, meaning no starches since they are longer chain carbohydrates and extremely hard to digest when you have compromised gut flora or food sensitivities. What I do like about this diet so far is that instead of focusing on grains + veggies + fruit + nuts = my diet, I do lots more veggies…. which come on are the super nutrient rich foods anyway.

In my search of craving something sweet that is on this diet I found the most delicious Ginger Cookie Recipe EVER! You might think I am joking, but for real the texture is gummy and chewy with a little crisp on the outside. So satisfying!! I got the recipe from: The Comfy Belly Blog and here it is… just a side note that this blog is definitely gluten free and grain free, but NOT vegan. Some recipes are vegan friendly though.

Ginger Snap Cookies (from www.comfybelly.com)

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C, or gas mark 4).
  2. Prepare baking sheets with parchment paper or non-stick baking mat.
  3. Blend the dry flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, and cloves together in a mixing bowl.
  4. Add the maple syrup and coconut oil to the dry ingredients and blend well until a soft dough forms.
  5. If the dough is too soft to shape into small balls, place it in the freezer for 5 to 10 minutes.
  6. With a spoon or your fingers roll up to 1 tablespoon of dough into a small ball and place it the baking sheet. Place them about 2 inches apart.
  7. Press each cookie with the palm of your hand to flatten it out into a disc shape. Optionally, sprinkle some sea salt on top of each cookie.
  8. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cookies are turning golden brown and dark around the edges. Careful not to burn them because they do so easily.
  9. Cool for 10 minutes.

Makes about 24 small cookies…. ENJOY!!!

Jade Helping Make Ginger Cookies

 

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Yummy Beet Smoothie to Build Blood

So last night I asked my 4 year old daughter, “what kind of smoothie do you want?” She replied a “red smoothie mommy.” Well okay so I thought I don’t have enough strawberries to make it red so I decided to go with beets. I have plenty of those since I’ve been doing some amazing fermented beets and veggies mix, but that will have to be another post…

The beet smoothie consisted of really simple ingredients and when I was thinking about their medicinal properties I realized that actually this smoothie was quite a blood building smoothie. In Chinese Medicine our Blood is made from the Spleen and Stomach Qi and stored in our Liver. Basically it is a part of our post natal essence that we can affect through diet and lifestyle. Our Blood gives us energy and turns into Qi. The Blood is what nourishes our organs, tendons, and ligaments and is even a part of our Yin… pretty important stuff isn’t it? So of course I want to build my blood to help nourish my whole body, mind and spirit. Here is a delicious smoothie to help and nourish our blood.

Beet Blueberry and Hemp Smoothie

  • 1 small beet (can include the greens too)
  • 1 banana
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • about 1/4 cup hemp seeds
  • enough water to blend

In TCM most dark colored fruits and vegetables build blood. In this case the beets, beet greens and blueberries and blood builders. Beets and their greens are also great for the Liver, which is the complimentary organ for this time of year, Lungs. Hemp seeds are actually an herb used in TCM called Huo Ma Ren to build the blood. Since it is a smoothie these ingredients are easy to digest and better assimilated. Hope you enjoy this as much as me and my daughter!!!

Jade drinking her Beet Smoothie

Food Fight! Now Carries Rescue Rub

 

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One of my favorite grocery stores, Food Fight! (vegan grocery store) is now carrying Rescue Rub! They are carrying Boo Boo Balm and Sore Muscle Salve. I’m super happy because this is actually benefiting two amazing farm sanctuaries: Green Acres Farm Sanctuary and Out to Pasture Sanctuary. If you are in the Portland area and didn’t know that Food Fight! opened up a second location (on Halsey and NE 112th) you should come and check it out. Both locations are carrying Rescue Rub. Plus there is a new vegan coffee shop next to their new location, Jet Black Coffee. I got a decaf mocha and it was amazing!!!

Here is some more information on the two products they are carrying:

BOO BOO BALM:

  • Rescue Rub Boo Boo Balm is a totally vegan and organic salve made with calendula and St. John’s Wort infused extra virgin olive oil and candelilla wax (from the wax slipper plant). This is more of a ointment/salve combination.

    Candelilla wax gives protection over cuts, scrapes and burns.

    St. John’s Wort:

  • An amazing herb for healing burns and injury to the skin. It has many anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. For healing tissues while alleviating pain as well.

    Calendula:

  • Great herb for healing trauma and reducing inflammation. It promotes cellular repair and is great at healing wounds. Gentle for all skin including babies and good for any skin irritation.

    Lavender Essential Oil:

  • Anti-microbial and anti-viral. It has a balancing affect of promoting circulation and also promoting relaxation.

    Chamomile Essential Oil:

  • Promotes relaxation and is anti-inflammatory. It is safe and soothing for all ages and promotes healing.

    Directions: Use on any minor scrapes, wounds, and burns. If the skin has a deep gash or severe burn please get medical attention. Since this is a medicinal grade salve do a patch test first. Can put Boo Boo Balm around an injury instead of over if the injury is too deep.

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Boo Boo Balm-For Adults to Babies!

SORE MUSCLE SALVE:

  • Rescue Rub for Sore Muscles is vegan, organic and non-GMO. The base is unrefined shea butter, extra virgin olive oil and candelilla wax from the Mexican wax slipper plant. These are hypoallergenic and non comedogenic. Shea butter is full of Vitamin E, is great for all skin types and very soothing. Extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants like Vitamin A and E, also great for all skin types.

    Arnica:

  • Arnica is great for healing trauma and injury. It can be used topically for sprains, strains, superficial burns, and relief of arthritis. Arnica is anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial.

    Eucalyptus Essential Oil:

  • Anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, decongesting, antibacterial and stimulating. This helps to promote blood flow to promote localized healing.

    Peppermint Essential Oil:

  • Considered to be cooling, reduces heat and inflammation around an injury. Very aromatic so it increases localized circulation and blood flow to promote healing.

    Rosemary Essential Oil:

  • Great for reducing both acute and chronic pain. Can help with boosting our immune system and alleviating pain from arthritis.

    Cinnamon Essential Oil:

  • Very warming to promote circulation, this warming ability is what really helps to relieve pain and balance the cooling properties of the other oils.

    Directions: Use on any tight/sore muscles, chronic pain, arthritis, strains, sprains and trauma. Since this is a medicinal grade salve do a patch test first. Also avoid contact around eyes or open wounds and mucous membranes.

 

Hope you can stop by Food Fight! to check out their awesome stores and then you can even get some salve too! If you aren’t local you can order my salve on etsy.

Fall Into Health

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Autumn in Traditional Chinese Medicine is associated with the Metal element. The Metal element correlates to the Lungs and Large Intestine. Their primary function is to take in new things and let go of the old. The Lungs control inhalation-exhalation and also control the opening and closing of our pores. Our skin is governed by the Lungs and one way to renew and give new life to our Lungs is through our skin. Our skin protects us from any external evils also known as pathogens like bacteria or viruses. Here are some steps for supporting the Lungs during the fall.

  1. Practice meditation that involves focus on breathwork. For instance the mantra by Thich Nhat Han, “breathing in I relax breathing out I smile”
  2. Take care of our skin and help it let go of what is not wanted. Exfoliate your whole body with a sugar or salt scrub. See recipe below.
  3. Use a detoxifying massage oil to nourish your skin and perform lymph massage while applying the oil. See this site for making calendula oil, a detoxifying oil you can make at home. You can also just use some extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil. Or spice it up by adding a couple drops of your favorite essential oils.
  4. Nourish your Lungs with food. Pears are a great food to moisten the Lungs if you have a dry cough or tend towards dryness in your body. You can also make stewed pears (add walnuts to tonify the yang) that nourishes the yin and yang and is aromatic to help open the Lungs.
  5. Take an herbal formula to support our Wei qi or protective qi. Like Jade Windscreen Yu Ping Fang San. This supports the Lungs and prevents us from catching a cold or flu. Make sure to see a practitioner of TCM to help you get the right formula for your constitution.

Have a beautiful Fall and stay healthy and happy!

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Lovely Calendula Blooming in the Garden

 

Spicy and Sweet Body Scrub 6oz.

  • ½ cup brown sugar or turbinado sugar or sea salt*
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • (can use almond or sesame oil as well)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon (powdered)
  • ½ teaspoon ginger (powdered)
  • ½ teaspoon clove (powdered)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon ground rice
  • (or 20 drops vanilla essential oil)
  • *optional* add 10 drops cinnamon EO

Mix all ingredients in a glass or metal bowl, using a whisk to uniformly mix. Scoop into storage container. Use on moistened skin to exfoliate, then rinse. Not intended for using more than 1 x per week. *Can also use sea salt for this recipe, especially Epsom salt to penetrate tight muscles. Use caution since salt is more abrasive and can sting on freshly shaven or sensitive skin.

Beets are a Beautiful Blood Building Food

The Fall Equinox has come and it is time to celebrate the amazing colors of the season. This time of year is considered the transition between Earth and Metal in Chinese Medicine. We are into the full phase of harvest time or late summer which represents the Earth energy in its fullest. There is just a sprinkling of color and leaves changing, that will soon indicate we have moved onto Metal or Fall. One of the beautiful colors I have in my garden are beets and beet greens.

Beets are a beautiful red color. To just call them red seems so inaccurate, the color is deep and the red veins in the leaves are more vibrant than my words can do justice. So like the veins and brilliant color you can see, the root is even shaped like a heart. These are one of those foods that even without nutrition training you can imagine how it can really nourish our heart. In TCM we say beets have blood building and Liver cleansing properties. The root itself is so sweet and nourishes the Spleen and Stomach as well. The leaves are more bitter to nourish the Heart and sometimes have a slight astringent quality that nourishes the Liver.

One amazing discovery I had about the regenerative properties of beets was made in my compost bin. I would get whole beets and use the greens for soup/smoothies and the root I would roast; I would then have a section of the beet that still has a little of the root and a the smallest amount of foliage on the top. I would throw this into the compost bin. Then a few weeks later while turning my pile I saw fresh leaves growing out of the top. So I started just planting this little bit in my garden and here are the results:

beets-in-garden

I can’t decide what my favorite part of beets are, the root or the leaves! They are both so delicious. Use beet greens as a green in any green smoothie; they are mild tasting and so so good!

Here is a recipe for beet roots used in soup:

Beet Soup with Lemon Dill Sour Cream

  • 3-4 Beets
  • 1 Sweet Potato
  • 1 Potato
  • 1/2 medium onion (chopped)
  • 2-3 cups beans (I used black beans)
  • 2 cups cooked rice (optional for more texture)
  • Beet greens or 1/2 bunch kale
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage
  • 1 Lemon
  • Salt or liquid aminos to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon each (oregano, cumin, celery seed, chipotle or black pepper)

Wash and cube beets and potatoes (no need to peel them). In a large skillet saute beets with half the onion and half the sweet potato for 5-10 minutes until the beets are starting to get tender. Add enough water to the pan to cook fully cook beets and sweet potato and blend in a food processor or blender. Set Aside.

Then in another pan cook the rest of the onion and cubed potatoes and boil for 10 minutes with the seasonings listed to make a nice veggie broth. I used about 4 cups water, but feel free to use more or less depending on how thick you like your soup. Add the rice, beans, and whole lemon halves after they have been juiced and cook for another 5-10 minutes. I added the kale, cabbage, and juice of 1 lemon at the end since I don’t like my greens very mushy. Add salt to taste and REMOVE the lemon halves. Then add the pureed beet, sweet potato and onion mixture. Remember to garnish with some delicious Lemon Dill Sour Cream (see recipe below).

*side note on why I add the lemon halves to the soup… the skin of the lemon has all the essential oils and a very potent lemon flavor so I like to add them just to up the lemony goodness.

Lemon Dill Cashew Sour Cream

  • 1 cup raw cashews (soak them first if you don’t have a high-speed blender)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon + a little lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dill
  • pinch of salt

If using a high speed blender add a little bit of water and blend until super thick and creamy (almost as thick as sour cream). Then put in freezer while heating up soup to thicken and spoon it on top. If using a food processor make sure to soak the cashews ahead of time (at least 4 hours… can even soak overnight for convenience) and only add water as needed. You may want to double this recipe to have some amazing sour cream on hand… keeps in refrigerator for about a week.

Beet Soup with Lemon Dill Sour Cream

Beet Soup with Lemon Dill Sour Cream

Strawberry Ginger Syrup for Motion Sickness

Ginger photo

 

Fresh ginger root or Sheng Jiang (in Pin Yin) is a great food and medicine. In Traditional Chinese Medicine fresh ginger is pungent and warm in nature. It is used to release the exterior (meaning it can help treat beginning stages of cold or flu), it warms the center to stop vomiting or nausea (because it is a warming herb that helps descend the Stomach Qi) and it is also used to reduce toxicity (that is why it is traditionally served with sushi; to prevent seafood poisoning).

Even in Western Herbalism we see that it is used for nausea and stomach upset and some companies even make it into yummy candies for all to enjoy. Well my 3 year old daughter does not really like those candies (too spicy for her) and they are kind of a choking hazard so I make ginger syrup for her when we travel. She is really affected by motion sickness in the car and sometimes in airplanes so I wanted to be sure to have some on hand for her. The last time I made ginger syrup I thought it was crazy sweet, but she still wasn’t the biggest fan (still too spicy). So while making it last time I had a brainstorm… add strawberries to the syrup. This was such a hit for her! It basically tastes like strawberry jam with a mild ginger kick at the end. I put the syrup into tincture bottles and let her self administer, good thing the dropper is so small because she just kept taking more and more. This was perfect for our trip to California, she was great on long car rides and on the airplane.

The recipe for ginger syrup that I made the first time was from Rosemary Gladstar’s Book Medicinal Herbs: A Beginner’s Guide. Then for my own version I added strawberries and did not use as much sweetener as she recommends. By the way I super highly recommend any book by Rosemary Gladstar she is one of my favorite herbalist ever! And that book is super user friendly for anyone to be able to use.

Strawberry Ginger Syrup

  • 3-5 strawberries (chopped)
  • 1-2 inch size piece of fresh ginger root (chopped)
  • Water
  • Maple Syrup, Agave, Coconut Nectar or Honey

Start by chopping up the ginger and add to a pan that has enough water to cover the ginger and cook down by 1/2 and still have some liquid. You really don’t need much water it just helps to keep the mixture from burning and to extract more spice from the ginger.

Slowly bring this to a boil and just let it boil off 1/2 of the volume of liquid. Then strain out the ginger and strawberry bits. Pour the strained liquid into a small glass so you can note how much liquid you have. Then pour approximately the same amount of sweetener in. You can then pour the combined liquids back into the pan and heat up to really incorporate them.

I know these are all approximations, but to give you an idea of how much I ended up with… I filled 2-2oz. tincture bottles with the finished product. Plus a little extra for me to add some hot water to and have a delicious tea. Since this doesn’t have as much sugar make sure to keep refrigerated when possible and use up with in the week. If you omit the water and simmer the ginger in honey as Rosemary Gladstar recommends then you can keep this in the refrigerator for a couple weeks (if it lasts that long).

 

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Jade looking for more yummy “medicine”

 

Blood Building Hot Cereal with Goji Berries

goji berries

Goji Berries or Gou Qi Zi are an awesome Traditional Chinese Herb. They are used to help build the blood, supplement the energy, and build the Liver blood and are good for the eyes. They also happen to be super tasty. Since I have a 2 year old and we are raising her vegan it is always on my mind to make sure to get her the right kinds of foods that will keep her healthy and strong. In Chinese Medicine veganism is sometimes looked upon in not the best light because there is a fear that if you don’t eat animal products you can become blood deficient. Well I have been vegan for almost 20 years, had a vegan pregnancy and then gave birth to an amazing daughter. Pregnancy and childbirth are some of the things that can really tax our bodies and take a lot of extra blood and energy to accomplish. Many of my non-vegan friends had issues with anemia during pregnancy and I was never even close. I was hiking and riding my bike right up to the day Jade was born.

Goji Berries are a fun herb to grow in the Pacific Northwest too, but I am yet to find the best location in my garden. The first year I was growing them I got a few berries and then not much since. I think they just needed a bit more sun than what I was giving them. If anyone has some tips on growing them in the NW please let me know.

Toddler Approved Hot Cereal

Toddler Approved Hot Cereal

Here is the hot cereal recipe:

Hot Cereal with Goji Berries

  • 1 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 2-3 TB Coconut flakes (unsweetened)
  • 1 TB sesame seeds (unhulled)
  • Generous handful of Goji Berries

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan and cover with water about a 1/2 inch over the dry ingredients. Then bring to a boil and cover, turn down heat and let simmer for 15-20 minutes. I also added a pinch of cinnamon and a couple TBS of coconut oil.

Chinese Medicine Properties:  The goji berries, sesame seeds and coconut are blood building. The bland flavors of oats, millet and quinoa are beneficial to the Spleen and Stomach and are good for supplementing them which is also helpful in building the blood. The cinnamon is good for increasing digestive fire, which is important since too many blood building foods can be harder to digest. The cinnamon helps to aid the digestion. Enjoy!!!