Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Healthy Halloween!

Halloween is a favorite holiday for many of us because it is filled with fun activities and good times with family and friends. With lots of pumpkins, costumes, scares, and sweets, it is hard not to have a great time. I enjoy all these things about Halloween but I especially enjoy the pumpkin carving and pumpkin seed roasting. This year my hubby and I went with the island theme, to match our new surroundings, and the end product was very satisfying!

Check them out =) Cute huh?

Next time you carve your pumpkin, don't forget to save the seeds and enjoy the most nutritious treat of Halloween. It is so quick and easy to make, just follow these simple steps:

Gluten-Free Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

- Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees
- Scoop out all the seeds from the pumpkin and separate from the stringy flesh.
- Rinse thoroughly and pat dry with paper towels.
- Spread seeds evenly on a large flat pan covered with parchment paper.
- Drizzle with olive oil, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, granulated garlic, and paprika.
- Roast in the oven for about 30 minutes or until golden brown and crisp.
- Turn and mix the seeds after fifteen minutes to ensure even roasting on each side.

You will absolutely enjoy these crunchy tasty treats!

 - Pumpkin seeds are packed with protein, omega 3 healthy fats, and fiber.

- They are rich in magnesium, iron, phosphorus, and zinc.

- They also aid in clearing the digestive tract of harmful bacteria and pathogens and can soothe nausea and digestive discomfort.
For those of us with celiac disease and gluten-intolerance, Halloween candy is just not a safe option to enjoy without risking exposure to gluten followed by another painful bathroom ordeal. Last year I ate candy that claimed to be gluten-free but my gut reaction told a different story. So stay safe this year and splurge on these tasty homemade Halloween treats anyone would love!

Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees
Use organic ingredients and hormone-free butter and eggs.
  • 3 cups GF oats (Bob's Red Mill is a good brand)
  • 1 cup ground flaxseed
  • 1/2 cup brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups evaporated cane juice (aka: sucanet, an unrefined sweetener)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 sticks melted unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup raw honey (choose locally made)
  • 1 TBS Molasses
  • 2 teaspoons GF and corn syrup free vanilla extract
  • 1 package chocolate chip cookies (Enjoy Life Brand is gluten, soy, nut, and dairy free)
 Optional additions and variations if you do not have any nut allergies:

- 1 cup pure peanut butter, preferably organic, or
- 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Bake the cookies for about 15-20 minutes.

To make sure they do not fall apart when eating you can refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Happy Halloween!

Check out our costumes, this year Angel went for hysterical and I went for crafty.

Hint: Look at the Do

Can you guess who Angel is this year?

Rocky Balboa presents: Clubber Lang! "I pity the fool"

I made my Sea Turtle Costume from cardboard and fabric scraps.      

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall Favorite: GF Mac N Cheese

Whenever you feel the need to create a meal that will satisfy everyone's growling stomach and ease exhaustion, then try this simple and traditional favorite of kids and adults alike. This recipe is perfect for the very hungry, the very big appetite, or the need for a comforting meal after a long day, week, chilly weather, or anything that necessitates a relaxing night with good people and good food.
Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees

Organic Ingredients
  • 1 package Tinkyada GF Brown Rice elbow pasta (cooked in salted water)
  • 3 cups unsweetened Almond Milk (my favorite brand: Blue Diamond Almond Breeze, original flavor
  • 3 Tbs brown rice flour
  • 1 Tbs tapioca flour
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) grated monterey jack cheese, or pepper jack for a spicy kick
  • 1 cup (8 ounces) grated mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 teaspoons cayenne pepper (optional, adds a nice spicy kick)
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder (optional, adds a nice spicy kick)
  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • kosher or sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
Choose dairy products that are organic or from free-range, grass-fed cows, with no hormones and antibiotics.

Prepare Toppings 
  • Chop up and cook 1 package (8 ounces) bacon: Applegate Sunday Bacon Uncured is gluten and casein free, with no preservatives, nitrates, nitrites and from animals that are vegetarian fed.
  • GF bread crumbs: 2 slices of Udi's gf whole grain brown rice bread chopped in a food processor or with hands.
  • Chop broccoli.
- In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup almond milk with rice flour and tapioca flour.
- On the stove-top over medium to medium high heat, in a large cast iron skillet or saucepan, add the rest of the milk with milk flour mixture and whisk constantly while cooking until mixture thickens.
- Add the butter, cayenne, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper, and whisk together. 
- Turn the heat down to low and add the grated cheese and mix until completely melted.
- Remove the pan from heat, add the cooked hot pasta, and mix thoroughly.
- Transfer to a baking dish or leave in the skillet (if using a cast iron skillet).
- Top with brocceli
- Bake for 15 minutes, then top with the bread crumbs and pre-cooked bacon bits. 
- Bake 15 more minutes and serve hot. 
Perfect for a cozy night in with the family, friends, your lover, or the little kiddos. Put a movie on, put your feet up, and enjoy your full warm belly. It's time to relax. =)

Happy Friday!

Friday, October 14, 2011

Anytime is the perfect time for a Pancake Party!

It is the perfect time of the year to make and enjoy some delicious and nutritious pancakes with your family, kids, or friends. So get together and spend some fun quality time whipping up something that everyone loves. They are so easy to make that anyone can do it, even the kiddos and all you bashful cooks. Forget those pre-made boxed pancake mixers, they have no taste and no nutritional value. Now is the time to start making your favorite foods from scratch, it is so much easier than you think and well worth it in the end. Here are some of my favorite pancakes you can try:
  • Sweet Potato Pancakes
  • Pumpkin Pancakes
  • Banana Pancakes
  • Buttermilk Pancakes
GF Pancake Recipe
Choose your flavor: Puree cooked sweet potato or pumpkin, mash very ripe bananas, or make your own buttermilk by mixing 1 cup choice of nut or dairy milk with 1 TBS. lemon juice or vinegar and let sit on the counter for 15 minutes.
- 1 cup pancake flavor filling (pick one from above)
- 2 cups brown rice flour or millet flour
- 2 Tbs. fresh ground flaxseed 
- 2 cups milk: use organic milk, or any nut milk, buttermilk pancakes need 2 Tbs. acid with the 2 cups milk of choice and do not need 1st ingredient on this list.
- 2 beaten eggs (choose organic or hormone-free and cage-free eggs, if you have an egg allergy just substitute with 2 more Tbs. of fresh ground flaxseed)
- 2 Tbs. melted unsalted organic or hormone free butter (vegans can substitute with coconut oil)
- 2 Tbs. grade B maple syrup (optional)
- 2 teas. vanilla extract  (choose gluten-free and corn-syrup free)
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice (optional)
- 2 teas. cinnamon (optional)
- 1/2 teas. salt

In a large bowl, mix together the flavor filling of choice with eggs, milk, melted butter, maple syrup, and vanilla until smooth.  Add the flour, fresh ground flaxseed, salt, cinnamon and mix until well incorporated, add the lemon juice at the end for lighter pancakes and cook in a oiled/buttered and heated skillet.

Top with 100% Grade B Maple Syrup or freshly made fruit syrup.
*Never use Grade A Maple Syrup, it contains harmful ingredients like formaldehyde.

GF Fresh Fruit Syrup
Choose from lilikoi, blueberry, cranberry, or berry of choice.
- 1 cup water or juice (blueberry, cranberry, or pomegranate).
- 1 cup berries (fresh or frozen).
- 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice.
- 1/2 cup sucanet or coconut sugar.
- 1 Tbs. tapioca flour.
In a saucepan,  mix the water/juice, berries, sweetener, and tapioca flour, bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce heat to a simmer and let cook until mixture reduces. Remove from pan and let cool and firm up.

I do not have to tell you to enjoy this one! Today is Aloha Friday and I made some banana pancakes for me and my happy hubby from some freshly ripened bananas I picked up from the farmers market yesterday. I can't wait to try the sweet potato pancakes next!


*Ono means delicious in Hawaiian. ;-)

This one is the buttermilk pancake with lilikoi syrup.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Fabulous Fresh Fish Dinner

Yesterday, Angel made his second attempt to catch us a fresh fish for dinner. On his first attempt he got caught on the rocks and fought for hours to get his hook free, twice, but luckily he is a very patient fisherman, which I am so proud of. =)

So this time we headed to a pier, so the rocks would not be an issue, and waited patiently after he cast out his first line. After some time, he reeled in the line after feeling a tug and saw that something had stealthily snatched up the bait without getting hooked. So he tried again and it was not much longer that he got his first catch! He started reeling it in and when the fish finally emerged, we saw how huge it was, and then we realized it wasn't a fish at all, it was a baby Hammerhead Shark!

Angel lifted the Shark up and we saw that it was bleeding pretty good, so he wanted to get the hook out and release it quickly so it wouldn't die. Realizing he did not have any pliers to pull out the hook safely, and with no experience handling sharks, Angel asked a nearby fisherman for help. The guy quickly and with no hesitation pulled out the hook with his bare hands and threw him back in the ocean. Whew, what an adrenaline rush! I certainly have never seen or been that close to a Shark!

Unfortunately, I failed to catch a picture of the shark, but with the use of a AA battery-operated camera with storage of only 11 pictures, I sadly missed the opportunity because the batteries were not in and I could not delete a picture fast enough to make room for just one more. Angel attempted a few more times for another catch and made friends with the other fisherman who helped save the day. He gave Angel some tips and pointers on where to go and what kind of bait to use for his next try.

Instead of fresh fish caught by my husband, I made dinner with a fresh catch we picked up from the local market. So, if you get in the mood for a healthy, light, and satisfying fish meal, give this simple  recipe a try.

Grilled Mahi Mahi on a bed of Brown Rice and Fresh Greens

- Cook desired amount of brown rice in rice cooker or pot.
- Choose a white fish, fresh or frozen, and wild caught (avoid farm raised fish).
- Marinate the fish in: olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and chili powder. 
- Prepare Fresh Green Salad: I used fresh green leaf lettuce, cilantro, purple onion, carrots, and avocado.
- Top with your favorite fresh salsa or freshly made lemon and olive oil vinaigrette.
Tip: Soak all fresh produce in a mild solution of apple cider vinegar for 15 minutes to remove bacteria and parasites.Use 1 T. vinegar per gallon of water or 1/4 C. per sinkful.
- Cook fish on a grill pan or outdoor grill until white and cooked through.

Hope you enjoy this nutrient dense, delicious, and satisfying meal...we certainly did!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Outdoor Activity

One of the healthiest things we can do for our bodies is actually easier to do, more affordable, and more enjoyable than most people think. These days, when people hear about the importance of daily exercise and physical activity they think about huffing and puffing inside an expensive gym on a treadmill, elliptical, or with a personal trainer.  You can actually get your daily activity in a lot more affordable ways and have fun while doing it. If you work inside an office all day, I can't imagine that the next thing you would want to do is to go indoors again. Enjoying the outdoors is so important for the mind, body, and soul and can awaken your senses even after the daily 9-5 routine. It doesn't make a difference if you live near a beach, lake, river, or in the mountains, desert, or city! And whether you get all the seasons or just one of them, there is always something nearby just waiting to be explored and enjoyed. So start exploring today: walk, hike, run, swim, bike, kayak, and dance so you can see and enjoy the beauty all around you and take a breath of fresh air.

Quality over Quantity

When I was in my early 20's I would spend hours in the gym thinking that the more exercise I did the fitter and more in shape I would get. Over the years I have learned that not only do you use up precious time that could be enjoyed with family and friends, but you also break down your body from overuse rather than making it stronger. I have always loved being physically active and even as a child I would get up before the sun and run before school every day with my dad. So, it is not hard for me to get an hour of play every day doing the things I love: running, swimming, beach volleyball, and intense body strength routines with my husband a couple times a week. However, it could be as simple as walking or biking to work, or hiking a nearby trail to see the fall leaves. And for only 30 minutes a day with a friend or loved one, you'll feel revitalized, re-energized, and recharged. Everyone's body and fitness goals are different, so adjust them to your own and not the bodybuilder you see in the weight room.


It is important for both men and women to get a good balance of cardiovascular and strength training activities to attain a strong healthy body.  You still do not need to spend a lot of money to achieve both and you can do it in your own home, your back yard, or even better at your nearby park. Using your own body for developing and maintaining strength is all you need, and it's a lot more challenging than you may think.

So stay tuned for my quick and easy strength training videos that will guide you through the movements so you can feel fitter, healthier, and happier in life!

These are some of our pictures from a recent hike and volleyball beach day.