So today’s the day that the professionally photographed, professionally edited HOLIDAY recipe collection went live in the GSG store. We are getting wonderful feedback in emails already this morning–thank you!
Desiree Ward (Kyra Sedwick lookalike) is a GSG reader and vegan nutrition aficionado with amazing kitchen talents. Katie Dudley is another GSG reader who amazed me with her “food photography” skills (it’s different than taking pictures of people, you know–most photogs don’t do it). I introduced them and I think the synergy (with some of my recipes too) is the very best recipe collection we’ve ever done on this site.
Thank you, ladies–you are artists and geniuses. Here’s Katie’s shutterfly site to see photos of Halloween Chili, Raw Cinnamon Ice Cream, and lots more:
Here’s a taste of the BEST recipe collection I’ve ever released on this site (coming tomorrow!)–Healthy Holiday Recipes for Rave Reviews.
Below is Desiree’s recipe for Carrot Cake Cupcakes that blew Craig’s mind and had him thinking of marrying her until he found out she was otherwise occupied (lucky for me).
And Craig says Desiree looks just like Kyra Sedgwick–don’t you agree?
Here’s a photo of the cupcakes, as well as a photo of Desiree and her little boy Isaiah’s green smoothie mustache (yes, OF COURSE you get a holiday green smoothie recipe in the new collection).
I’m also tossing in a photo of the Chia Snowballs, for those of you who got chia in the group buy. This recipe is EASY and YUMMY! Chia absorbs 10x its own weight in water, so it’s GREAT for filling you up and helping you lose weight, plus it’s a nutritional powerhouse. (The recipe in the collection gives you more info about that.)
And just for fun, today I’m posting a photo of Butternut Squash and Lemongrass Soup, which is so lovely, and Raw Pumpkin Pie with Cinnamon Ice Cream (better than what you’ve always thought of as the “real thing!”).
I think tomorrow I’ll post the whole list of recipes. Can you tell I’m excited?
Carrot Cake Cupcakes (2)
Don’t be intimidated by the long list of ingredients–these cupcakes come together beautifully and are really quite easy.
3 eggs (organic and free-range)
¾ C plain kefir
½ C coconut oil
â…“ C banana, mashed
1 C Sucanat
¾ C honey
2 tsp. vanilla
2 tsp. cinnamon
¼ tsp. sea salt
2 C Kamut flour (or whole-wheat flour ground very finely)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
2 Tbsp. vital wheat gluten (to help the cake be light)
3 C fine shredded carrot
1 C crushed pineapple with juice
optional: 1 C shredded unsweetened coconut
optional: ½ C golden raisins
optional: ½ C rough chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 °. Blend the eggs with the Sucanat and honey. Add the coconut oil, kefir, mashed banana, vanilla and blend again. Sift the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and vital wheat gluten through a fine strainer.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Add the shredded carrot and the optional walnuts, coconut, and raisins, if using. Drop the batter by ¼ C into a greased muffin tin and bake for 15-20 min. To test if they are done, stick a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean, they are done.
[This is one of two excellent frosting recipes in the collection–the other one is vegan:]
Cinnamon Maple Cream Cheese Frosting
The perfect rendition of the all-time favorite cream cheese frosting, naturally sweetened with maple syrup. After trying this, you won’t want to turn back to the other sugar-filled cream cheese frosting.
8 oz. Nuefchatel
4-6 Tbsp. maple syrup (to taste)
½ C Sucanat
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp pure vanilla
optional: 1 tsp. ultra gel, if the frosting isn’t thick enough, add ultra gel and blend
Blend the Sucanat in a high-power blender until fine. Add the cream cheese, maple syrup, and vanilla and blend until smooth.
Note: If the frosting is not thick enough to hold onto the cupcake, whip 1 Tbsp. of ultra gel into it and let it sit for 5 minutes.
I don’t know about you-all, but I have a lot of sick people in my life right now. A couple of my tennis-club girlfriends are having serious issues affecting their ability to play–these being women in their 30’s and 40’s–like ovarian cancer and blurry vision suspected to be a brain tumor. Another of my good friends had brain surgery a few weeks ago for an aneurysm, and was told that her veins look 70 years old. I could go on, but suffice it to say that I seem to be surrounded by folks getting cancer, thyroid problems, gout, and many other issues.
This weighs heavily on me. In my community, people know each other well because most (far more than 75%) belong to the same church, so either we go to church together, or we know the few who don’t. My church, world-wide, has a well-run system to make sure that no one is without a regular visitor to check up on them and help meet their needs. There are welfare systems in place for those who hit hard times, and if you are ill, WATCH OUT–the women’s organization will be all over you with loads of casseroles, treats, and all manner of food items!
I watched my girlfriend who has a 16-inch scar on her head (and her really long, curly hair gone now but growing in beautifully already). She and her husband are very well known in the community. He is a rather famous local recording artist, and she is one of the kindest, service-oriented people I know.
So people wanted to help. Every time I’m at their house since her recovery I see things that I know she does not want to eat. LOTS of homemade “stardard American diet.” She loves plant food, would be vegetarian except for (1) her love of occasional shrimp, and (2) the fact that her husband likes his meat and she likes to oblige.
In this community, you can find yourself wondering what you could do to help–with so many others lovin’ this family up. (I’m on a list to babysit their youngest child, but they never take me up on it . . .)
Well, my way to help when someone has surgery, or is bedridden, is GREEN SMOOTHIES. It’s unique and it’s appreciated more than another plate of “goodies.” However much they want–a pint a day, or a quart. Sometimes the spouse wants some, too. I’ve had a wonderful experience with helping people in this way. Even if they aren’t interested in nutrition, they seem to always appreciate the smoothies and always want to give me feedback about how much better they feel, drinking them. Sometimes they keep the habit up, themselves, after they recover.
I also get the sense that of all the food that pours into my girlfriend’s house (the one with the aneurysm), they appreciate and anticipate green smoothies more. Very frankly, the last thing people need when they are SICK is more of the food that helped get them that way. You’re never more motivated to make lifestyle changes than when you’re ill.
This isn’t to criticize the way so many show love with food, because the givers’ hearts are in the right place. Once I read a rant by an extremely overweight person about how she wished people would not give her chocolate and other junk food for various occasions requiring gifts. She called it “abuse.” Is it abuse to give an obese person a box of chocolates?
I’ll leave that question hanging out there. Fact is, all I want to say is that if you make green smoothies every day for yourself, you already understand something most people don’t. You’ve learned the “highest and best use” of your kitchen time. When your life allows it, double that and take some to someone else you know would benefit. (If you’re shy, ask them first. Or just take them a pint. Explain why you think it might benefit them.)
It’s a gift of your time and energy (and it isn’t free, of course). But as people are wringing their hands right now about flu and H1N1, you can do something during the winter and holidays to HELP instead of hurt their health. It’s pretty easy and people are SO grateful.
I’d love to hear your story about taking GS to folks who are suffering with health problems to give others ideas and motivation. Or maybe you’re a recipient of that service?
My dear friend Laura converted to GS a couple years ago and has taken them to a woman who is wheelchair bound and blind from a degenerative disease. Her ability to swallow is severely impaired. She is such a blessing to her friend. How about you?
You’ve heard of the “dirty dozen,” the fruits and vegetables that test highest for pesticide sprays. Top of the list is PEACHES. My suggestion? Plant a peach tree! I have three. Here are the others in the top 12 to buy organic or grow yourself, wherever possible:
Spinach has moved down on the list, out of the top 12, which is nice. Sometimes I get taken to task by those who buy ONLY organic produce for not being a purist on that topic.
Here’s what I have to say about that: if you can afford to buy all organic, that’s EXCELLENT, go for it! But I am above all trying to bridge the gap here for the majority in the middle, who have to balance health concerns with budget restraints. I always say, remember (a) that animal protein and processed food have higher pesticide concentrations than conventional produce, and (b) almost all the studies documenting the powerful effects of fruits/vegs in our diet were done using CONVENTIONAL produce. Therefore (c) don’t avoid eating produce (and eat something else) because you are afraid it may not be organic, but (d) wash your conventional produce well using a good fruit/veg wash.
Here’s the bottom 12 of the produce ranked by the Environmental Working Group examining 87,000 studies by the FDA and USDA between 2000 and 2007. These would be produce I would feel more comfortable about buying conventional and washing well:
Sweet peas (frozen)
Interestingly, tomatoes didn’t make my “Safe Dozen” list, but if I’d made a “Safe 13,” it would be on the list.
May I make another summertime suggestion: when you cut up your melons, rinse the flesh before cutting it up, because the knife slices through the pesticide-coated rind, and those chemicals end up on your fruit.
Here’s GSG reader Mary Kathryn’s cute daughter Chloe, with her green smoothie mustache. Chloe is small for her age, but MK feels much better knowing she’s getting greens every day. MK’s sister made a GS for Chloe when she was a year old, and she fell in love. Nine months later she still loves them even with a high greens:fruit ratio! Chloe’s 4- and 5-year old siblings will drink GS, too, but Chloe is the biggest fan in the family.