Monday, April 26, 2010

Book in Progress...

So far I already have 4 stories that I need to put down on paper. Walking amongst the elder trees and the wild flowers yesterday has had a rejuvenating & an inspiring effect on me. I know that my project is approved by the Faeries & other benevolent Spirits ;).

After further thinking, I have decided that it would probably make more sense to have 2 editions of the book (with the same illustrations): one in French and the other one in English (with my own translations).

My friend Marie also suggested that I make an audio CD...I will keep this idea in mind.

Friday, April 23, 2010

First Short Story...

I just finished writing my first short story (in french) today. I read it to my friend Marie who told me that she was very impressed...That made my day ;).

I have the project to self-publish a collection of short stories both in French and English, with a few illustrations as well. Ideally before the end of the year (October or November would be great).

The tricky part will be to be as close to the french text as possible. I can sometimes get frustrated by the English language because I can't always find the right nuance and therefore I feel like I can't express myself fully & properly...

For obvious reasons I can't tell you, dear reader, what this first story is about but here are a few hints: a loving & dedicated mother, an ungrateful son, haunting remorse and vengeance from beyond the grave...

Monday, April 19, 2010

Super Natural Beet & Lavender Sorbet - SOS Kitchen Challenge


When superfoods are mentioned, most people think of goji berries and other exotic edibles that come from faraway lands. Well I have some news for you folks: beets are a superfood too! And a versatile one since you can have beets raw or cooked, sweet or savory and warm or cold...

"Beets contain vitamins A, B and C as well as iron, calcium, manganese, potassium, zinc, asparagine, betaine (a substance that regulates gastric pH and facilitates digestion), bioflavonoids & natural sugars. Beets are also known for their anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, detoxifying, immuno-stimulant (by improving cell respiration and tissue oxygenation) & rejuvenating properties. Beets also help stabilize the body's pH (acid-alkaline balance), can help treat chronic infections, skin problems, cancer (particularly leukemia), inflammatory bowel disease and liver disease. Beets may help prevent and treat heart diseases and rheumatoid arthritis."

From "The Complete Guide to Nutritional Health" by Pierre Jean Cousin & Kirsten Hartvig

Here's my humble contribution to the SOS Kitchen Challenge:

SUPER NATURAL BEET & LAVENDER SORBET
(grain free, dairy free, nut free, egg free and sugar free)
Makes 4-6 popsicles (depending on the size of your molds)

Ingredients:
  • 1 decent size organic red beet (or 2 smaller ones)
  • 1 cup boiled water
  • 1 or 2 tsp pesticide free/organic dried lavender (food grade)
  • 1/2 tsp organic vanilla extract
  • 1 or 2 tbsp raw honey
  1. Wash, peel and cut the beet(s) into pieces. Steam for about 15-20 min or until tender, then let it cool a few minutes.
  2. Prepare a tea with the lavender by infusing 1 or 2 tsp of lavender with 1 cup of boiled water for 5-10 minutes (depending on how strong you like it). Then strain the tea.
  3. Put the beet pieces and the lavender tea in a large bowl and puree thoroughly with a hand blender.
  4. Add the vanilla and 1 or 2 tbsp of honey and puree some more until everything is well blended (give it a little taste to adjust the sweetness if necessary).
  5. Pour into popsicle molds and freeze the sorbet for a few hours.
  6. Enjoy ;)!
Tips & Tricks:
  • Make sure that you're using fresh beets. Older beets will have a more earthy and even slightly bitter taste.
  • I used 2 tbsp of honey and found the sorbet very sweet.
  • The sorbet tastes a little different once frozen: the sweetness is noticeable, the lavender (and its slight bitterness as a strong tea) is toned down as well as the earthiness of the beet.
To find out more about the SOS Kitchen Challenge, go to: http://www.affairsofliving.com/sos-kitchen-challenge/

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

On Giving a 2nd (or 3rd) Life to Clothes...


About 7 years ago (I believe during my first few months in California), I bought this hand knit sleeveless jacket in a thrift shop. It is made of a mottled beige wool with wooden buttons. Nothing funky but I always appreciate the time & love spent on knitting or sewing a handmade piece. And this jacket has served me well...It used to be a little too large but the washing machine did its magic and now it fits perfectly ;).
Anyway after 7 years I thought it was time for a little revamping. Where most people would see a boring, uninteresting and/or ugly piece, I see potential and that's why I bought it.
So today I've sewn a few crocheted flowers recycled from an old sweater and added a few buttons as you can see on the picture. My jacket already looks more folksy ;)!
I have some leftover brownish cashmere fabric (that I had bought a few years ago to make my husband a sweater) and plan on making a couple "butterfly" sleeves for my jacket.
To be continued...

Monday, April 12, 2010

Multi-seed Muffin Bread


Egg-free gluten-free breads can sometimes be a bit too crumbly. A muffin size bread can be the solution and a good way to keep track of portions...Not to mention that it is practical for traveling and for picnics.

I adapted the "multi-seed bread" recipe I found in "Delicious Gluten-Free Baking with Buckwheat Flour" by Michelle Brewster with a few adjustments:
  1. I replaced the egg with flaxmeal
  2. Her recipe is sweet, mine is unsweetened so I can have my muffins either with something sweet or something savory
  3. I added a little bit more flour and a little less seeds
I have also baked a mini loaf version of this bread before with great success...

Monday, April 05, 2010

Alternative Cooking Bloggers' Awards

There are a lot of people out there who are suffering from...Modern food! Some know it, some don't. Some have light sensitivities while others suffer from life threatening allergies. For other people the immune system is compromised or the digestive ecosystem has been wiped out.
For all these people food, which is supposed to be what keeps us alive & healthy, has become a source of pain and sadness.

Why? Well, modern food has nothing to do with what your grandparents ate. As a matter of fact, if you read the labels carefully when you go shopping, in every frozen, canned, prepared or ready-to-use meal you'll find 1 or more of the following foods (in their natural and/or many modified forms):
  • Wheat (which has been modified to contain high amount of gluten and is a natural source of glutamic acid. Contains anti-nutrients.)
  • Soy (which contains high amount of phyto-estrogenes as well as aluminium. To be edible, it should be fermented. Also contains anti-nutrients and glutamic acid.)
  • Nightshades (mostly potatoes and tomatoes which contain 4 known types of toxins which can make you seriously sick, not to mention that tomatoes contain glutamic acid.)
  • Yeast (convenient for lazy baking since it makes the dough rise without true fermentation like in sourdough bread. The result is a hard to digest loaf of bread, high in phytates (anti-nutrients) and glutamic acid).
  • Salt (much more than the required daily dosage to make your blood pressure rise, your kidney fail and make you thirsty so that you can drink a gallon of soda afterwards).
  • Sugar (highly refined & addictive and also the cause of a whole lot of diseases & health problems including diabetes, hypoglycemia, tooth decay...etc)
  • High fructose corn syrup (made with pesticide laden GMO corn. The whole process is highly toxic).
  • Hydrogenated oils (oils that have been modified from their natural state for a longer shelf life and to clog your arteries)
  • Eggs (from non-vegetarian chickens fed a vegetarian diet of GMO soy & corn as well as a little flax to cover for the lack of omega 3s. Chickens aren't meant to lay eggs all year long and surely not 24/7.)
  • Pasteurized milk (deprived from the natural nutrients and beneficial bacteria found in raw milk, then loaded with artificial vitamins to compensate for the ones lost during pasteurization (which aren't absorbed by the body). Note that any powder form will most likely contain glutamic acid).
  • Artificial sweeteners (aspartame, nutrasweet, splenda...etc, all known neurotoxins)
  • MSG (the most commonly used neurotoxin. Makes fake and bland tasting food super tasty and addictive.)
I could continue and talk about farmed fish, soy & corn fed farm animals...etc, but this is a vast topic and there are excellent books out there that go into deeper details.

And in the middle of this fake food madness, there are still people fighting to feed themselves and their families the right stuff. Even folks with serious allergies can & should eat real and nutrient-dense foods. Because once upon a time, food was your first (and for some maybe only) medicine. So why should the life & health giving food be poison rather than medicine?

I've never been officially diagnosed with anything but I've always been in tune with my body. I have removed all the foods that seemed to harm me, have done a lot of research & reading and found explanations and answers that no doctor ever gave me. Your body knows what's right for you so you need to listen to your body.

Today I'd like to pay homage to fellow bloggers & cooks who chose the path to health & healing for themselves and their families:
  • Elana from Elana's Pantry has chosen to use almond flour instead of a the usual gluten free flours, starches & gums offered to coeliacs. Her recipes are tasty and nutritious, gluten free & dairy free...You won't feel deprived. She's also the author of "The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook".
  • Kelly from The Spunky Coconut also cooks delicious gluten free, dairy free & sugar free meals (sometimes also egg free and raw). She also has a way with creative baking using combinations one would not normally think of such as buckwheat flour, coconut flour and cooked beans...And you know what? It works! Kelly is also the author of "The Spunky Coconut Cookbook". (I believe she is currently writing a second cookbook...)
  • Kim from Affairs of Living is the queen of innovative, alternative & hypoallergenic cooking. She doesn't try to make a gluten free version of a common dish, she has her own way of cooking. New, tasty, different and nutritious. We both avoid the same foods and love vegetables! (I am looking forward to her future cookbook!)
  • Jennifer from Momma Jen's Hypoallergenic Kitchen Adventures is also a creative cook and often surprises me. She follows the Specific Carbohydrate Diet and there are a few restrictions with this diet (which can be tough for some people). Her cuisine is as natural and nutritious as can be. I have made her eggless bean pancakes a few times (using cooked beans instead of bean flour because commercial bean flours aren't soaked & dehydrated prior to grinding) and they are both filling & delicious!
Be well ;).
CURRENT MOON

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