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Blueberry Syrup (4 Ingredients)


Awwwww yeah! Blueb season is upon us!

I am on a blueberry addiction, which is quite common for me. I get cracked out on a delicious fruit or food item and binge on it for about 4-6 weeks, then I don't want to know about it for at least half a year or more. Luckily it's always healthy stuff I go crazy for and I think I am easily on my 20th pint of blueberries in 3 weeks, shhhhh it's our little secret. Mwuah hahahaha 
As it turns out, two of my pints were not tasty. They were sad, gritty, bland, and lonely bluebs. So, I say, when life gives you bad blueberries you make blueberry syrup to smother your pancakes, Crêpes, ice cream, mini shortcake, everything. Eat all the blueberries, all of the time!!!!!!! 
I like this recipe because it's super quick, easy peasy, and has only 4 Ingredients. I know, super awesome sauce with a cape! 
Here you are peoples, now go out there and get you some blueberries. 

BLUEBERRY SYRUP:

Ingredients:
1 Pint washed blueberries 
3 Tbsp grade B maple syrup 
1 Tsp vanilla extract 
Small pinch pink sea salt

Method:
-Place all ingredients in a small saucepan, bring to simmer, cook for 3-5 minutes. Don't overcook, you want blueberries to still be looking like their round pillows of antioxidant goodness but softened a bit. 
-Turn off and remove from heat, let sit 5 minutes and pour into serving container. The pectin in the blueberries will thicken this up and you will have a great syrup saucy consistency. 
Serve over whatever you desire, wrap it, keeps in the fridge 3 days. 




See the Love you Want With God's Grace, Patience & Guidance

                             

Good blessed morning one & all!

Today, a special shot out goes out to my beloved, it is his birthday today and God has blessed us with the opportunity to be together. I am so excited to be celebrasàting his special day with him, for the first time in 5 years! Yes, long distance relationships can be rough but these special times make it all so sweet.
               
 
This is the cake he wants me to make for him but as I am traveling, it is a bit difficult to board a plane with this chocolate monstrosity! He is getting something though, cannot wait to see his face.
If you want the recipe for the above cake, I will be posting it for the holidays!


The quotes below sum it up for me today, as I/we continue different sermon series on Truth for Life ministry about relationships and marriage. Poppa Bear and Mama Bear listening to God's word and knowing contentment because we understand that through Jesus we found one another; it's a gift we treasure. 
Remember that God loves you and always wants the best for you, listen to His voice, humble yourself to be able to actually hear what He has to say, and have faith that God will provide the most wonderful person whom He deems worthy. 

Have a blessed day lovelies! 










Goiters and the Thyroid, Plus Natural Options

It's Goiter discussion time boys & girls!

I know, I know, you are asking yourself, "What the hey is a goiter?"
Well, if you have been so lucky as to avoid this unpleasant thing that leads to a host of other unpleasant things, now you must prepare to be enlightened! Let's start with legitimate sources for our definition.

The Mayo Clinic defines a goiter as the following:
Goiter (GOI-tur) is an abnormal enlargement of your thyroid gland. Your thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck just below your Adam's apple. Although goiters are usually painless, a large goiter can cause a cough and make it difficult for you to swallow or breathe.
The most common cause of goiter worldwide is a lack of iodine in the diet. In the United States, where the use of iodized salt is common, a goiter is more often due to the over- or underproduction of thyroid hormones or to nodules that develop in the gland itself.
Treatment depends on the size of the goiter, your symptoms and the underlying cause. Small goiters that aren't noticeable and don't cause problems usually don't need treatment.

Thank you Mayo Clinic!

Goiters are warnings, they are your bodies way of saying something is not right. This means we need to seek help if a goiter is suspected, even when they are small, they need to be monitored regularly by a doctor specializing in Endocronology. The reason being is that, while many goiters are benign, they can become cancerous.
I have included some pictures down below, to show you what a goiter looks like. 
 (Warning, if you have a queasy and or delicate constitution, you may want to skip the pics that follow. They are important though, so try to view them.

Here it is:
                   goiter 

This is what it can look like on a person:

                                    

                                            
 Goiters can effect both men and women, they begin small but as the thyroid worsens, goiters begin to swell and make their presence rather obvious. To reiterate: It is not a good idea to leave goiters untreated as they can lead to cancer.
                           
A goiter can also be signaled by bulging eyes:

          They can be a pretty harrowing experience to live through. Along with the swelling there can be extreme fatigue, nutritional deficiency, hormonal imbalances, rapid weight gain or loss, a feeling of tightness or discomfort around neck, difficulty swallowing, voice changes, digestion issues, depression, (The list could go on but I will stop here for now because this leads to graves & hashimoto's which was in an earlier post.) when a goiter becomes too enlarged and or cancerous, surgery is required. (Warning, next pic is VERY medically graphic)

              

   Who can get a goiter? Well read next what the Mayo Clinic has to say about that:

Goiters can affect anyone. They may be present at birth and occur at any time throughout life, although they're more common after age 40. Some common risk factors for goiter include:
  • A lack of dietary iodine. People living in areas where iodine is in short supply and who don't have access to iodine supplements are at high risk of goiter.
  • Being female. Because women are more prone to thyroid disorders, they're also more likely to develop goiters.
  • Your age. Your chances of developing a goiter increase with age.
  • Medical history. A personal or family history of autoimmune disease increases your risk.
  • Pregnancy and menopause. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, thyroid problems are more likely to occur during pregnancy and menopause.
  • Certain medications. Some medical treatments, including immunosuppressants, antiretrovirals, the heart drug amiodarone (Cordarone, Pacerone, others) and the psychiatric drug lithium (Lithobid, others), increase your risk.
  • Radiation exposure. Your risk increases if you've had radiation treatments to your neck or chest area or you've been exposed to radiation in a nuclear facility, test or accident. 
  • Thyroid Goiter Treatments

Carrot & Arame Salad


Hello everyone, 

It is time to discover a new way of eating with a new recipe.
I know it's got a funky ingredient, looks a bit strange, but trust me, it's good and uber healthy! 
This is a throwback to my vegetarian/macrobiotic days. Yes, I have eaten in as many healthy ways as possible. I was eating at one of my old veggie restaurants and they had this wonderful seaweed salad, it was new to me but I like to keep my heart and soul young by having new experiences, so I went on a taste bud adventure. I went nuts and returned every day for a week to indulge in it because I could not get enough! Then I went back home and recreated a version of it with a bit less Tamari and the addition of carrots, it was perfect! 
I discovered seaweed when I started researching the macrobiotic diet and reading some of Michio Kushi's books about it, along with Kristina Turner's guide. I had a bunch of other books on the subject and I grew to really appreciate the health benefits of this gift from the ocean. Here's a little background information on Arame, and if you are interested in Macrobiotic food, I am leaving links down below to help you explore. The recipe follows this short blurb, I really hope you are brave and try something new, this recipe has been a staple for 17 years now. 


Arame:
Arame Sea Vegetable is a brown algae cultivated off the shores of Ise (ee-say) Bay, Japan where it thrives in cool waters of the arctic Japan current. The sea there is surrounded by National forests and mountains and is known as the 'Ocean by Mountains' area. Rivers nourish the bay adding to a mineral rich environment. This area leads all of Japan in ecology movements. Development is forbidden to ensure future generations the legacy of this famous edible seaweed resource. Only the most tender fronds of arame are selected and hand harvested in the summer. The fronds are washed and sun dried. After drying, the fronds are then steamed for five hours to soften it and enhance its color, then finely shredded to make it easy to use and quick to prepare before naturally air drying. 
Eden Arame Eisenia bicyclis is a wavy sea vegetable with two thin, oval fronds. Each year fronds are shed and new ones develop creating a branched and feathery plant. Although, when dried and cooked arame resembles hiziki in color and appearance, it is softer, more delicate and much milder in flavor. Arame is the sweetest all the sea vegetables with a pleasing texture and appearance. These qualities make it the most appealing to those just beginning to familiarize their palate with sea vegetables.
Arame has been a traditional part of the Japanese diet since ancient times. Eden Arame is low in sodium, low calorie, and fat and cholesterol free. It is a good source of magnesium and calcium. According to the FDA, "Low fat diets rich in fruits and vegetables (foods that are low in fat and may contain dietary fiber, Vitamin A, or Vitamin C) may reduce the risk of some types of cancer, a disease associated with many factors." Eden Arame is rich in dietary fiber and a good source of vitamin A. Also, "Diets low in sodium may reduce the risk of hypertension or high blood pressure, a disease associated with many factors."
Eden Arame may be cooked with whole grains, in soups, stir fries, vegetable dishes, homemade breads, stuffing, salads, croquettes, and in making grain, tofu and tempeh burgers. Arame doubles in size when cooked. To use, rinse quickly, soak for 5 minutes in cold water, chop if desired, and add to your recipe. Eden Arame makes an excellent side dish when cooked with sautéed sweet vegetables, seasoned with Eden Ume Plum Vinegar or Brown Rice Vinegar and Eden Shoyu Soy Sauce.


Additional info from Wiki:
Arame is high in calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, and vitamin A as well as being a dietary source of many other minerals. It also is harvested for alginate, fertilizer and iodide. It contains the storage polysaccharide laminarin and the tripeptide eisenin, a peptide with immunological activity.
Lignan content in arame is noted by several sources. It also contains the phlorotannins phlorofucofuroeckol A, dioxinodehydroeckol, fucofuroeckol A, eckol, dieckol, triphloroethol A and 7-phloroethol. Extracts of this algae have been tested to combat MRSA staph infections.

(I actually used Koyo brand arame for this recipe because they did not have Eden brand arame in stock. Both are great companies and their quality of arame is equally good, feel free to use either one.)

 Macrobiotic info:





One of my fav. Macrobiotic books for those new to this lifestyle and diet, it is fun, you can write in it, and it gives a great breakdown with simple, nourishing recipes.

This is another great primer for Macrobiotics by the founder of it all.


CARROT & ARAME SALAD 
(I do ask that this recipe be done with all organic ingredients, to maximize the health benefits & experience the best flavour. As always, do what you can.)

Ingredients:
8-10 Organic carrots, peeled
Handful of soaked Arame 
1/4 Cup Organic Tamari gluten free
3 Tbsp Organic Apple Cider vinegar 
1-2 tsp Organic sesame oil

Method:
-In a bowl, place a good handful of Arame and cover with water, allow to soak for 15 minutes
-Prepare your carrots by cutting into medium sized matchsticks. The pictures below show the process of getting them that size. 
-Rinse carrots in cold water and lightly pat dry, reserve(keep aside), in a bowl. 
-Grab the bowl of Arame, you will notice it has softened and really expanded. Using a mesh strainer, strain and Rinse in cold water the Arame seaweed. 
-Shake off excess water, gently mix the seaweed in with carrots. 
-Add sesame oil, vinegar, Tamari, and toss gently. 
-Cover and refrigerate for 2-4 hours. 
-Eat as is or as a side dish, this is a great accompaniment to more heavy foods but I love it so much that I usually eat it on its own.

Enjoy, leave your comments below & don't forget to subscribe! 






Paleo Lemongrass 5 Spice Chicken

                                   
Good day lovelies!
It is grill and BBQ season and what better way to have fun in the sun, than with some scrumptious marinated chicken that will keep them coming back for more!

This is a great, easy, & flavorful recipe that does beautifully on the grill and can just as easily be baked in the oven.

Paleo Lemongrass 5 Spice Chicken

Ingredients:

-6 Chicken breasts cleaned and halved lengthwise, then scored on each side.
-10 Cloves garlic pressed (yes, 10 cloves)
-2 Tbs Frozen or fresh lemongrass
-2 Tbs grated ginger
-1/4 C Grape seed oil
-1/2 tsp Toasted sesame oil
-3 Tbsp Fish sauce
-1/2-1 tsp Kosher salt
-1 tsp 5 Spice mix
-3 Tbsp Rice vinegar
-1 tsp Sweet chili sauce
-1 Lime zested
-1/2 Fresh squeezed lime juice

Method:

-Lay prepared chicken in a flat dish.
-In a bowl mix all the marinade ingredients, then pour over chicken and rub into it. Be sure both sides are well covered, wrap and refrigerate overnight.
-Oil then heat your grill to high and cook the chicken breasts 8-10 mins. each side, or a few minutes longer depending on the heat of your grill and thickness of your chicken breasts. Be sure that the juices run clear when you cut into the chicken. All ow the chicken to rest for a few minutes before slicing them to serve over salad as they will lose all their juices and become dry. 
                

This is the marinating chicken. Then you simply grill it, on each side until cooked. It takes about 10-15 mins, once you take it off the grill let it sit for a few minutes before cutting into it. Make sure the juices run clear, no blood in the juices that come out.
                           
                        
                            
I served it on a salad mix with fresh blueberries and a blueberry hill salad dressing. That recipe will follow in another post.
For now, enjoy & God bless!
                           

Real Homemade Lemon Curd, Meringue Pie!

                   
A lemon kissed, summery helloodles, one & all!

I love love love a real, from scratch, homemade lemon curd. Nothing compares to the rich, unctuous, tart & tangy, silk, of a bright curd. We have company coming today who have absolutely zero food allergies so I bought a bake yourself, gluten-filled yuckie crust for them, (Even touching flour makes me sick.) & I am making a mini GF pie in a bowl on the side for me. Do not be deterred from having guests who don't need to stick to GF, instead work with it. Usually I make my own crusts from scratch without gluten but my injuries are acting up & this was short notice. So here is a breakdown of what to do to achieve a brilliant lemon curd, feel free to substitute limes instead, and this recipe calls for butter. I tolerate butter but no other dairy. If this is a problem for you, I recommend doing a combo of a fruity mild olive oil 1/3 cup and add three Tbs of cold pressed organic coconut oil. I add a pinch of sea salt to this mix when melted, stir it well, then freeze it so I can break it into cubes and whisk the emulsion into submission. Be aware this will change the taste of your curd and use a VERY light olive oil that was cold pressed. Feel free to cut it with grape seed oil if you like, although olive oil and lemon has become a very popular combo in the baking world, as of late. Up the sugar and vanilla a touch if needed. 
So without further ado I present the recipe. As always it is gluten free and I added 1/4 more of everything to have enough for my extra, on the side safe GF dessert. Pics follow minus the ingredient pics- I forgot. 
I also will add what you need for the meringues and simple GF crust to make a pie.


Real Lemon Curd:
-4 egg yolks (I used 6 to have extra) keep the whites separated with no yolks aside for the pie!
-1 tsp real vanilla
-2 lemons zested
-2/3 C lemon juice no pits!
-1/2 C sugar (fine)
-4 small drops organic natural yellow colour (I buy from www.naturesflavors.com)
-1/2 C demi-sel (half salted) butter, cut in cubes and kept chilled in the fridge. Never ever room temperature or melted!

Method:
-Fill a small pot 1/4 of the bottom with water and heat on medium high heat, don't boil! Just under a simmer, no bubbles break the surface.
-In a medium sized bowl whisk together, yolks, sugar, and vanilla, until well mixed.
-Continue to whisk & slowly add the lemon juice, so as not to burn the yolks with the acid. (Yes, the acid can "cook" the yolks)
-Whisk in zest and then place your bowl on the pot filled 1/4 of the way with water that you heated. Make sure the water does not touch the bottom of your bowl, if it does empty some as you have too much. This is your double boiler to cook your egg mixture more slowly without direct heat that often results in scrambled lemony eggs instead of lemon curd.
                  
-Now constantly whisk your mixture, you want to cook and thicken your curd. Be aware that this process takes time and you can NOT stop the whisking. That means no walking away, no phone calls, zero distractions! Become one with the curd. (giggles are acceptable)
-As it cooks and you constantly whisk, switching hands as you need to rest one or the other, you will notice the colour and texture will change. It needs to feel thicker when you whisk and must coat the back of a spoon. Chefs call this, Napper la cuillier. 
-When it coats a spoon and you can draw a line through it with your finger that holds, immediately remove it from the heat.
              
-Now for more whisking, this is the exciting part! All the time whisking, add 1-2 cubes of the CHILLED butter. Whisk each one in thoroughly before adding the next one. This is am emulsion, you must be sure the oil is well incorporated each time before continuing or else your curd will break and become all streaky, fat separated, & it will be time to try try again. ((hugs if this happens))
               
-Keep going until all the butter is incorporated, I sometimes need to place the bowl back on the double boiler for 15-25 seconds to warm it again if the butter drops the temp too quickly. Just be careful when doing this.
                
-Add your food colouring to brighten up the yellow a bit by whisking it a few seconds.

-At this point you may keep your curd in a jar in the fridge and feel free to eat it with fresh blueberries, or on scones or toast, or use in a few days to fill a cake. Or snack it straight out of the jar, Mine never lasts more than 3-5 days because it always gets eaten. I found this pic on the net of curd in a jar as I seem to have deleted mine, but you get the point.

Below is mine as I "taste test" the batch, don't allow anyone to deter you from this task. It is of utmost important that you do this, you are taking one for the team. You're so good, all you do is give, give, give. (hehheh)
            
-Chill the pie with Saran wrap touching the curd, so as not to get skin.
-Let chill for 4-5 hours. Put the meringue on it just before serving. Recipe follows.

Okay, now I am going to walk you through pie crust and the dreaded meringue. I have come to understand that people feel very intimidated by meringue, it's really quite simple and looks oh so elegant. I am going to do a home style meringue for you today, there is another recipe that gives a much smoother and higher end, professional, finished product; but that involves sugar syrup, proper temp, exact moments, and a big mixer. So...not today.
So for the crust, I can't even touch gluten anymore so the guest crust is one I bought in the store and baked as per the package directions, making sure to dock it (poke holes) using a fork. It's the big guy in the pics on the right.
Gluten free crust for my single serving used 3/4 C of ground almonds, 2 Tbsp of melted organic coconut oil, and 1tsp of Organic honey.
           
I mixed it all together and pressed it into the bowl gently, just like graham crumbs.

Then I took a damp new paper towel and cleaned up the bowl before pouring the filling into my bowl and then the rest into the cooled pie shell.
           
               
               
                 And they looked very pretty once the curd was in:
               
Now for the meringue:

Use the 6 room temperature egg whites with absolutely no yolk or fat in them. They won't whip up if there are even trace amounts of fat in them or on any of your equipment. Start whipping them with a hand blender until they are foamy.
             

Add 1/4 C of fine sugar and continue beating. You will notice that with the addition of sugar the texture changes and you start to get a glossy product which begins to rise very quickly.
         
            

Top left are soft peaks, keep whipping until you get stiff perks but not beyond that or your meringues will become rocky and then they will fall. Never to rise again and then you must start anew and try try again. ((hugs if this happens with a spot of tea))
On the right is what you are looking for, big brawny tough guy meringues that hold their curves. I actually went a bit too far and they ended up a bit grainy, I had to walk away from them for a while to answer a call and ended up needing to re-whip them because they began to fall, don't do that! My family is not picky so they got the pie with the grainy meringue. Eat it and like it!
Heat your oven on High broil.
Now start spreading on your chilled curd filled pies my friends and just have fun spreading and lifting to make peaks, or pipe it if you like. 
                
              
Now with your oven mitts on and with great loving gentleness, place those beauties on the rack and turn them every 20 seconds just til they get perfectly golden. This happens VERY quickly, like, less than 2 mins. so don't leave or answer phones or get distracted. Otherwise all your effort will be for naught!
This is what it all looks like along with the finished pretties!
               
            

             
Enjoy! 
BTW, if it's a really hot summer day, really keep these in the fridge, super cold, and don't leave them out before cutting and serving, They will melt and your curd will NOT hold-up. You can add a packet of dissolved gelatin to the still warm curd to help it hold its shape if you need to travel with this pie in warmer weather.