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Could it be!? A Healthy S'more Recipe?!

A Heathier Spin on S’mores

A Good Old Camp Fire Treat Receives a Makeover:

Written by: Tara AhQuin from Abba’s Set Apart Remedies/ Patient @ Align Utah

 We are presently in the midst of summer. Many of us are taking an opportunity to spend more time outdoors. Admiring and appreciating the gorgeous and scenic landscapes of the great outdoors, enjoying the weather and beautiful sun-shiny days. In our family, summers are centered around camping. It’s one of the fun activities that our family looks forward to and takes a great deal of pleasure in. Some of the most memorable moments we can remember have been spent camping in nature. Sitting around a campfire, enjoying each other’s company, talking stories, having a laugh, and of course savoring a gooey sweet treat. For some, camping just wouldn’t be the same without the experience of roasting marshmallows by the fire, and sandwiching it between two crispy graham crackers dripping with chocolatey goodness! That was the main reason I went out searching for a heathier alternative to S’mores. Also for those in my family who choose to eat real food rather than manmade foods! More than anything I wanted my youngest daughter to be able to have the campfire S’more experience and not feel excluded from the festivities! I want to instill in her “real food” eating practices and principles, so she doesn’t have to sacrifice her health in the long run and still have the opportunity to eat delicious and amazing food!

 

 

Grain Free Graham Crackers

NOTE: These are best when allowed to cool about 30 minutes. Reminder: these are made with coconut flour and won’t be as crisp as you might find with almond flour or even grains. But they were a nice alternative!

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 cup pastured butter, softened
  • 1 whole free range egg
  • 1/4 cup raw honey or stevia (or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tsp blackstrap molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 – 1 cup coconut flour
  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp aluminum-free baking powder
  • 3 tsp cinnamon (more or less depending on your preference)
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS:

In a bowl, combine the dry ingredients using only 3/4 cup of the coconut flour.
In a mixing bowl, blend together the softened butter, honey, vanilla and molasses. Add the egg and beat until incorporated into a soft batter.
Add in half of the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Then slowly add in the other half. If the dough is still wet and batter-like, then add more coconut flour, a tablespoon at a time. The dough should come together into a ball. When it does, you are done and can stop adding coconut flour. I used 3/4 cup and then added 2 more tablespoons.

Remove your ball of dough and cut it in half. Place each on a piece of wax paper. The dough can now be refrigerated overnight if you plan on making the crackers another time.

When you are ready to use the dough, remove from the fridge and bring to room temperature.
Place silicone baking sheet or wax paper on your counter and place one of the dough discs on top. Then place a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap sheet on top of the ball, roll out with a rolling pin until the dough is 1/4 inch thick. This method will allow you to simply place the silicone sheet or wax paper on your cookie sheet to bake.

Use a pizza cutter to draw lines on the dough about 2 inches apart. Use a fork to prick small holes in the dough. This will give it the authentic graham cracker look and feel and also help you separate the crackers when they are done baking.

Bake at 300-325 degrees F for 12-18 minutes (time may vary depending on oven). Check crackers periodically to ensure they don’t burn and to adjust for cooking time. The crackers will still be soft when you remove them from the oven but brown at the edges (allow crackers to cool down a bit on cookie sheet before removing to cooling rack).  When they cool they will harden and be firm up.

Once cooled, break apart and store in an airtight container for about a week or so.

 

 

Heathier Homemade Marshmallow Recipe

Note: Besides the non-food toxic ingredients in regular store bought marshmallows there’s another ingredient that’s also found in them that most people aren’t aware of. The gelatin that is used in the majority of processed foods, including marshmallows, is derived from “PIG” meaning it’s a pork product. So if your trying your best to stay away from eating pork because of its uncleanliness, scan through labels and try not to purchase food products with gelatin unless it specifically states it’s from a bovine source and even more importantly that it’s a grass-fed gelatin (if that’s important to you).

 

EQUIPMENT

  • 8×8 pan for large marshmallow squares or 9×13 pan for smaller marshmallow square
  • parchment paper
  • hand mixer or stand mixer
  • candy thermometer
  • mixing bowl

 

 

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 Tbsp. grass fed beef gelatin
  • 1 cup filtered water, split in half (Option: as an alternative to plain water, tea can also be used here to add a specific herbal flavor, such as green tea or peppermint tea etc…)
  • 1 cup maple syrup or honey, or half of each
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract (optionally you can use 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp. another extract for flavoring. Peppermint, chocolate, almond, orange, lemon, etc. are all great options)
  • arrowroot powder, cocoa powder, cinnamon, toasted coconut flakes, etc. for dusting the finished marshmallows (optional – you can leave the marshmallows plain too, you do not have to dust them)

 

 

DIRECTIONS

  1. Either grease your pan (8×8 for large marshmallow squares or a 9×13 for smaller marshmallow squares) or line it both ways with parchment paper. If using parchment paper, you can easily remove the marshmallows from the pan using the “handles” that the parchment paper makes. If coating the marshmallows, spread a thin layer evenly in the bottom of the pan.
  2. In your mixing bowl pour in 1/2 cup water and whisk in the gelatin, set aside to let the gelatin bloom.
  3. In a medium saucepan combine the other 1/2 cup water, maple syrup and/or honey, and salt.
  4. Heat over medium to medium high heat, bringing to a boil. Using your candy thermometer, let the mixture boil until it reaches 240 degrees, or soft ball stage. Remove from heat. (If not removed in time, and the mixture gets too hot, your marshmallows might not fluff up and will be denser)
  5. Using either a hand mixer or a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, turn it on low at first, breaking up the bloomed gelatin. Very SLOWLY pour the syrup/honey mixture into the gelatin mixture, while slowly turning up the speed on your mixer to high.
  6. Allow mixture to whip on high for 5-10 minutes (this is where it’s nice to have a stand mixer) until a thick marshmallow whipped cream is produced.
  7. Transfer the marshmallow whip to your prepared pan and smooth down with the back of your spoon. If using a coating, sprinkle on top of the marshmallows and pat down. If you are not using a coating, grease your hands, to prevent sticking, and pat down smooth. You can alternately use a piece of parchment paper on top to smooth out the marshmallow, and leave it on top to cover it while it is setting.
  8. Leave your marshmallows out uncovered to set (not in your fridge, that will create moisture which will destroy the marshmallow) for 6-8 hours or even better overnight (in my experience leaving overnight to air dry is best!).
  9. Using a knife, cut marshmallows in long strips, and then into squares from there. Dust marshmallows, on all sides, in your powder of choice, or leave natural without any dusting.
  10. Store marshmallows up to a week on your counter top in a sealed container. You can leave them out open to dry even longer. The longer you let them dry the better for toasting over a fire!

NOTE: You can use the fluffy whip to frost cupcakes, rather than putting it into the 8×8 pan. The Fluffy whip stage would also be the stage to add your organic rice krispies when making rice krispee treats, rather than melting the marshmallows for them. This will make for the best krispee treats! Next time I’d like to share a recipe for a simple sugar-free DIY dark chocolate that you could also use in combination with these two recipes…Bon Appetit!! (:

 

 

 

 

 

Flax and Chia Seeds: The Ancient People that Treasured these Dynamic Super Seeds

FlaxandChia

Flax and Chia seeds are two powerfully-charged Super-seeds, that have only recently been introduced to us here in America. I say recent because these two precious seeds have been treasured, consumed, and used by many ancient cultures for thousands of years.

Let’s begin with the flaxseed, its origins can be traced back 6,000 years to the region of the Middle East. More accurately, the area of the Middle East in the actual vicinity where all Biblical accounts have been written about. As I did my own research on the word “Flax” and traced it back to its Biblical time period. I found out that the word flax is mentioned several times in the ancient Hebrew writings of the Bible. In the Hebrew tongue the word used for flax is “pishtah” pronounced “peesh-tah”. Our Ancient Hebrew Ancestors had been blessed with the amazing flaxseed from which the flax plant is produced. As I traced the word back into the original ancient Hebrew language from which the Bible has been translated. I soon discovered the Hebrew people had a variety of uses for this precious flaxseed. I would imagine they had a great appreciation for this wonderful plant that supplied much of their sustenance, they utilized every part of the plant, and nothing went to waste. Here are some of the many ways they would have applied flax to their daily living: weaving the plant stalks into fabric and utilizing it in making all sorts of garments, shelter, and bedding. Flaxseeds were one many staple foods in their diet. They would grind it into flour, press it for oil, and also use it in medicinal applications. Our Hebrew ancestors may not have known the nutritional break down of the flaxseed that we have understanding of today. But they sure had a more intimate knowledge of the power and value that this dynamic seed possessed, and the abundance it offered to their lives.

The remarkable chia seed……Most of us growing up as children remember the commercial for the chia pet and the catchy tune that they sang…. “Cha-Cha-Cha Chia”. I can recall as a child wanting a chia pet, but sadly never got one! Back then I would have never thought that as an adult I would actually be consuming those tiny seeds on a daily basis. Sheesh…with all the chia seeds I have now, I could actually make and grow my own chia farm!

Chia seeds have a pretty interesting history themselves; the first record of Chia was reported as early as 3500B.C. by Mayan and Aztec tribes. It was, in fact, one of the staple foods in their diet. Later between 1500 and 900B.C, it was grown in Mexico by the Teotihuacan and Toltec tribes. All of these tribal people had some interesting uses for the chia seed. Aside from being eaten in its whole form, the chia seed was anciently used for many things. It was readily used in medicinal aids, ground into flour for bread, pressed for oil, and mixed into drinks. It was beneficial in that it could be preserved for a relatively long time (perfect for traveling). In addition to these practical uses, the chia seed was rooted in the blood of the Aztecs. They included the use of these seeds in religious ceremonies and ritual sacrifices, they were extremely sacred to them. These ancient civilizations accredited chia seeds to granting supernatural powers. In the Mayan tongue, “chia” means “strength”. This probably has something to do with the ample amount of endurance provided by the chia seed. Ancient tribal warriors attributed their stamina and vitality to these tiny seeds. Even in our present day, the Mexican Tarahumara tribe are renowned for their runners. These runners were known to drink a concoction called “Iskiate”, a mixture of chia seeds, lemon, and water. After drinking, they were known to have the ability to run hundreds of miles.

Today, chia is grown abundantly in several Latin American countries, but Australia is fast becoming the main producer. What a huge gift we have within this tiny package that packs a wallop of a punch in the nutritional department.

A Powerhouse of Nutrition in Two Tiny Super Seeds

Nutritional Value of Flaxseed and Chia Seeds

  • Both are a rich source of plant based Omega-3 Fatty Acids, called Alpha-Linoleic Acid (ALA). These “essential fats” also aid the body in absorbing fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. “Some experts say,” that making a conscious effort to consume a serving or more of the two of these seeds on a regular basis may contribute to offsetting the higher ratio of Omega-6 dominance in many. The reason being, they hold a much higher ratio of Omega-3’s vs Omega 6’s, the ALA profile in a serving (3Tbls.) of flaxseeds is well over 6 grams with a ratio of 4:1 and chia seeds provide almost 5 grams with a ratio of 3:1. When compared side by side to other seeds and nuts you find the complete opposite, more Omega-6 dominance. With heavy consumption of seeds, nuts, grains, and legumes that have extremely unbalanced ratios. This is a main contributor when it comes to preventing the body’s ability to convert ALA omega 3 fatty acid to the more beneficial DHA and EPA.

Our bodies can’t produce these “essential fats” they are only obtained through the foods we eat, its’s imperative that the foods we choose are from quality sources. This is just one of many changes we can make to offer some balance of these “essential fats” to our bodies. Another crucial component to help balance the Omega 6:3 ratios is implementing a diet full of healthy-quality God designed fats like (grass-fed butter, tallow, ghee, avocados, extra-virgin olive and coconut oils) as well as making a choice to eat only free-range, 100% grass fed, wild caught meats and fish. Making a decision to completely move away from consuming the foods that are in the Standard American Diet (SAD). The reason being (SAD) is completely made up of GMO-man-made foods that are heavily processed and chocked full of chemicals, sugars, oils and fats that our bodies do not recognize and can’t efficiently utilize.

  • Both are ranked to be top plant based sources of protein. These are among the many reasons these two super seeds are a great addition to any individual’s diet; who desires to put on lean muscle, burn fat, and balance sugar levels. Also having high levels of antioxidants as well as containing many essential minerals and vitamins many of us are deficient in. For example, both are high in magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, iron, potassium, copper, and zinc. The nutritional composition of flax and chia differ slightly in that flax has the added nutrients of selenium and vitamins B1 and B6, whereas chia is a great source of calcium and niacin.
  • Both contain superior amounts of fiber, a necessary component for healthy digestion. Due to the high fiber content and healthy fats they act as a natural blood sugar balancer. Fiber is also essential for our body’s ability to balance insulin levels. These seeds offer incredible benefits in the area of the intestinal tract, due to the water soluble mucilage gel fiber content they contain. When ingested they form this gelatin-gel like substance that aids digestion by keeping food in the stomach from emptying too quickly into the small intestine. This slows digestion causing you to feel fuller longer reducing sugar cravings and can also aids in improving nutrient absorption.

The Multitude of Health Benefits These Super Seeds Offer:

  • Fights Breast, Prostate, Ovarian, Colon, and Cervical Cancers-(causes death in cancer cells without harming healthy cells)
  • Hormonal Balancing and Menopausal Symptoms-(estrogenic properties, helps maintain cycle regularity, decreases chance of osteoporosis)
  • Coronary Heart Disease/ Heart Attack- (protects the heart by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and inflammation)
  • Curing Symptoms of Diabetes- (naturally balancing blood sugar and insulin levels)
  • Sign of Aging/Healthy Skin and Hair-(speeds up skins repair systems, improving symptoms of rosacea, acne, eczema)
  • Eye Health-(reduces dry eye syndrome)
  • Weight Loss/Boost Energy and Metabolism-(curbs hunger and suppresses appetite
  • Digestive Health/Bowel Regularity and Healthy Stool- (soluble-fiber works as a prebiotic supporting the growth of probiotics in the gut)
  • Bone and Dental Health- (packed with many essential minerals)

 Ways to Eat These Two Incredibly Edible Super Seeds:

There is a variety of ways to incorporate a serving or more of these super seeds into your meals daily. Examples of this would be adding them to smoothies, porridge, making raw pudding, yogurt, kefir, and healthy homemade baked goods like muffins, cookies, breads, and crackers. If you’re not too familiar with using these seeds, allow me to share some information and tips I have learned along the way! Hopefully this may benefit you in some way, if you choose to incorporate these super seeds into your diet!

How to Use These Super-Seeds:

  • First of all, when using these seeds for making baked goods keep oven temps below 300 degrees. In order for the Omega-3’s (ALA) to remain stable.
  • To access the most nutrients available from these seeds, specifically the flaxseed there’s a few things to consider, to attain the most nutrients possible.
  • IF EATEN IN THEIR WHOLE FORM FLAXSEEDS WILL PASS RIGHT THROUGH YOU UNDIGESTED. ALWAYS GROUND UP FLAXSEEDS IN A COFFEE GRINDER BEFORE EATING, IN ORDER FOR YOUR BODY TO ACCESS THE OMEGA 3’s AND OTHER NUTRIENTS, THIS PREPARES THEM FOR ASSIMILATION AND DIGESTION.
  • TRY TO ALWAYS PURCHASE FRESH WHOLE ORGANIC FLAXSEEDS. IF YOU DO BUY PRE-GROUNDED FLAX, REFRIDGERATE AND LIMIT THEIR EXPOSURE TO AIR. THE REASON BEING, FLAXSEEDS BEGIN TO GO RANCID AND DENATURE FAIRLY QUICKLY. IF GROUNDING FRESH, LIMIT EXPOSURE TO AIR AND USE PROMTLY OR REFRIGERATE RIGHT AWAY.
  • TO BREAKDOWN ANY ANTI-NUTRIENTS (Phytic Acid) FOUND IN THESE SEEDS YOU CAN ACCESS THE MOST NUTRIENTS BY SOAKING (PREDIGESTING) THEM BEFORE USING. (which means adding warm 110-degree water with 2tsp- 2Tbls. depending on the culturing medium you choose to use. Here’s some options you may already have on hand, apple cider vinegar, liquid cultured whey, sea salt or lemon juice). Liquid cultured whey can be used in place of water; if you happen to have that much on hand. Mix grounded seeds with water and culturing medium (a little at a time) in a bowl till it resembles consistency of a pretty thick batter. Let rest covered in a warm 70- 80-degree area out on the counter or in the oven with the light on (oven would be off). If limited on time let soak/rest for a minimum of 6 hrs. all the way up to 24hrs, which is best. Also have option of soaking more than amount needed for recipe just place unused portion in a container in fridge for use at later time.)

 * Note- The amount of water and culturing medium used is solely dependent on the amount of grounded seed flour you will be mixing. If using sea salt (natural preservative) as your medium only use amount needed for recipe…you don’t want it to be too salty!

  • CHIA SEEDS CAN BE GROUNDED, SOAKED, OR EATEN WHOLE. UNLIKE FLAXSEEDS CHIA DOESN’T NEED TO BE SOAKED IN ORDER TO ACCESS ITS NUTRIENTS. CAN BE EATEN WHOLE AND STILL ATTAIN ITS “ENERGY-PACKED” PUNCH. IF GRINDING UP LARGER AMOUNTS IN ADVANCE STORE IN REFRIGERTOR OR FREEZER TO RETAIN NUTRIENTS AND FRESHNESS. SOAK CHIA AT A 1:10 RATIO CHIA TO WATER. MEASURMENT DOESN’T HAVE TO BE EXACT, YOU DO WANT IT TO GEL, SO LET IT SIT FROM 30 MINS- 2HRS. DEPENDING ON THE AMOUNT.
  • FLAX AND CHIA CAN BE USED AS AN EXCELLENT EGG REPLACEMENT IN RECIPES. HERES HOW- FOR ONE EGG: 1-TBLS. GROUND FLAX OR CHIA SEEDS TO 3-TBLS. WATER, MIX AND LET SIT TILL WATER IS COMPLETELY ABSORBED…ITS READY TO USE AND WORKS GREAT! *Note- In my experience the flax and chia eggs work best when used in baking recipes. Those containing non-gluten grain-free flours or even gluten flour (preferably cultured/sourdough) recipes.

Crunchy Cheesy Italian Herbed Flax-Chia Cracker Recipe

Gluten-free, Grain-free, Corn-free, Yeast-free, Sugar-free, Dairy-free

Makes up to 50-60 crackers (depending on thickness and size of cracker)

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups freshly ground organic flaxseeds {soaked or not}
  • ½ cup freshly ground organic chia seeds {soaked or not}
  • 2 tsp. Italian Herb Seasoning
  • 2-3 tsp. nutritional yeast {optional: this is the cheesy flavor in recipe}
  • ½-1 tsp. Himalayan pink sea salt or any quality sea salt- to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • ¼ cup avocado oil {can also use water in place or half/half}

Optional add Ins- once you get comfortable with making these crackers fill free to experiment and improvise: by substituting different herbs, oils, add-in or even changing up the seeds I’ve used. Using seeds like hemp, ground raw sunflower or pumpkin seeds, almond flour, and even coconut flour. Of course you may need to adjust the wet ingredients by adding a little more oil or water so that is sticks together well, a dough consistency.

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to lowest setting 180F-200F two large baking sheets. Set aside. (option: can also use dehydrator)
  2. Take a large mixing bowl place all ingredients in bowl in order listed above. Mix all ingredients with a fork or spoon until well combined and everything is sticking together to form a ball. Tip: taste dough before baking to make sure it seasoned to your liking.
  3. Divide dough into 2 portions, take 4 pieces of parchment paper the size of your baking sheets. Place ½ of the dough onto one piece of parchment paper, then place second piece of parchment on top of dough. Use a rolling pin and roll out dough evenly to about a ¼ inch thick. Score crackers into 1 inch squares with pizza cutter or sharp knife. Keeping the crackers on current sheet of parchment, transfer the sheet to baking sheet. Place that baking sheet aside and repeat same steps with remaining dough.
  4. Bake for 1 ½ hours or so, time will vary greatly depending on oven type and heat source; also how thick/ thin you make your crackers. Half way through baking, flip crackers over and remove parchment paper to allow the crackers to crisp up. You would like the end result to be crisp, and crunchy with no moisture left in crackers.
  5. Remove baking sheets from oven and allow to cool on baking sheet for 15 mins.

Now enjoy your crispy, crunchy grain-free crackers with some raw cultured cheese, maybe some homemade hummus, or some delicious creamy dip or spread (made with some fool proof mayo). Top it off with some thinly sliced veggies like cucumbers, radish, tomatoes, avocado, and maybe some fresh herbs, micro greens or some fresh green spicy radish sprouts…. So Yummy and Delicious!!

Source Articles:

10-Flaxseed Benefits and Nutrition Facts- www.draxe.com

9 Chia Seed Benefits + Side Effects- www.draxe.com

Is Omega-6 More Important than Omega-3? - www.Mercola.com

Chia Seed History and Origin- www.ancientgrains.com

E-sword android app

Post By Tara AhQuin For Align Utah

Grain Free Banana Bread Cookies

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2 ripe bananas 1⁄4 cup almond butter 1 tbsp vanilla 1⁄2 cup oats 1⁄2 cup almond flour 1⁄2 cup coconut flour 1⁄2 cup hemp hearts 1⁄4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes 1/8 cup chia seeds 1/8 cup sunflower seeds 1 tsp coconut oil 1/2 cup organic dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mash bananas in mixing bowl until easy to stir. Mix in vanilla. Mix in almond butter. Once combined, mix in all other ingredients. Shape into cookies and place on greased (with coconut oil) cookie sheet. Bake for 15 min or until golden on top. ENJOY!