Friday, September 30, 2011

Eat Live Love Local

The great thing about our new community is there is an abundance of local farmers who get together at our neighborhood park and sell fresh produce every week. I stopped by yesterday to see what yummy goods I could find for our next meal and for my husband's sweet tooth and I happily came across a variety of local produce. I picked out some fresh kale for dinner, Okinawan sweet potatoes for a future pie just waiting to be made,  green onions for our weekend egg skillet, and the biggest sweetest smelling lemons I have ever seen! Growing up. my siblings and I had some awesome lemon trees in our yard that we used to make fresh lemonade, now I am going to use these lemons to make one of my husbands favorite treats: Lemon Meringue Pie.

If you get a craving for something delicious and nutritious, find your closest farmers market and go explore the goods, pick out the freshest produce you can find, and whip up a meal or tasty treat. Trust me, you can see, smell, and taste the difference. Not only does fresh local produce taste better, it contains far more nutrients (because it is allowed to ripen on the tree), and it boosts your immune system allowing for optimal health and wellness.

If you are interested in trying my gluten-free lemon meringue pie recipe, find some fresh lemons, fresh local eggs, and hormone-free butter and milk. These ingredients make up a big part of the pie. Luckily, lemons grow in many places and you can find local, hormone free milk and eggs even in the supermarket.  The key to a delicious and nutritious wholesome pie is the fresh foods and whole, unrefined ingredients.

Local Lemon Meringue Pie

GF Crust
This recipe should make enough for 2 pie crusts, you can refrigerate one for another time or double the filling recipe and make 2 pies. 
Pre-heat oven to 325
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice flour
  • 1 1/2 cups almond meal
  • 1/2 cup Wholesome Sweeteners sucanet (aka: unrefined evaporated cane juice)
  • 1/2 teas. sea salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (use organic or hormone-free)
- Grease a glass pie pan with butter.
- In a large bowl, combine and mix thoroughly all the dry ingredients.
- Cut cold butter into small cubes and knead into dry ingredients until well incorporated into a smooth dough.
- With your hands, press the dough evenly into the pan and up the sides.
- Bake the dough on the bottom rack for 15-20 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. 
- Cool the dough as you make the filling and leave the oven on to bake the filling.

GF Pie Filling
  • 1 cup Wholesome Sweeteners powdered sugar *gluten-free and unrefined
  •  3 Tbs. tapioca flour
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1/2 cup almond  milk (or local hormone-free milk)
  • 1/2 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs. butter
- On the stove top, in a large saucepan, whisk together the sugar, tapioca flour, lemon zest, almond milk, and lemon juice.
- Bring to boil over medium heat and stir constantly until it thickens into a gel like mixture.
- Remove from heat.
- In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and egg yolk until smooth and then add the eggs into the saucepan with lemon gel mixture.
- Cook over medium heat, add the butter, and stir constantly until fully combined.
- Remove from heat and cover while making the meringue topping. 
*I use Wholesome Sweeteners brand for many of my baking ingredients because of their gluten-free and unrefined products. Be careful of conventional powdered sugar because it is not always gluten-free due to the addition of refined wheat flour.

GF Meringue Topping
  • 3 egg whites
  • 1/2 cup Wholesome sweeteners powdered sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tarter
- Beat the egg whites and cream of tarter until soft peaks form.
- Add the sugar and vanilla extract and keep beating until the filling is light and fluffy.

*When I didn't have an electric mixer, I just used some good ol' arm strength to get the meringue to form. It took quite some time, sweat, and endurance but if you have the willpower then go for it. If you already have an electric mixer it will take you way less time and leave you without the sore arms.

- I realized there are many steps to this, but it is well worth it!
- Add the lemon mixture to the pie then add the merengue on top
- Bake for 20 minutues until the merengue is a beautiful light golden brown color.
- Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.

After all that LOVE you just put into making this, you and the lucky people you decide to share with will taste it in every bite!

Today is Aloha Friday, and our awesome little town gathers together for a fun festival where locals sell beautiful art, play live music, and eat. I can't wait to share my pie tonight!


Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Begining of a New Life

Due to some recent life changes my blog will be adapting to include new ideas.  Instead of sharing only cooking recipes, I will be sharing multiple ways to accomplish health, wellness, and happiness through diet, physical activity, and environment. 

After doing everything in my control to be healthy by eating gluten-free whole foods and getting plenty of daily physical activity, I was still having health complication after health complication. All my spare time and energy was spent working on my health and receiving constant medical treatment and it became physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. Instead of giving up, my husband and I made the ultimate life changing decision we have ever experienced and started on a journey to find a home in an environment that would allow for optimal health and healing so we could both live life to the fullest. 

I paid off all my debt and left a great job, he attained his second masters degree and cut short his PhD degree, we sold all our life belongings and said our goodbyes to family and friends, and then we set off to the island of our dreams with one suitcase and one backpack each. It was LIBERATING!

Our first week in paradise included the purchase of our island car (named Thrilliam Marcellus Wallace, aka, camping at a beautiful north shore beach, and making friends with awesome local islanders. Every day we enjoyed the beauty of the island and people. We woke every morning at 6am and were invited to join our friendly neighbor campers for coffee and fresh island picked fruit where a wealth of knowledge and information was shared, exchanged, and appreciated by us new arrivals. My husband and I followed our morning social hour with a great workout on the beach side park and then swam in the ocean and explored more of the island for the rest of our stay.

By week 2 we were able to secure an apartment in a beautiful yellow beach cottage on the west side of the island where we made even more friends with our new welcoming neighbors. One day we went out to run errands and apply for a local drivers license (when Angel drove I had made a habit of hanging my foot out the car window to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine) so I proceeded to raise my foot on the window ledge when my sandel flew out the car window while Angel was driving 55 mph. After walking around the DMV and street sidewalks barefoot all day I finally took my drivers test and failed by one point, not my brightest moment (or should I say day) in life. Fortunately, Angel passed his drivers test and on the way home I spotted my sandal on the roadside and put it back on my newly blackened, burnt, and humiliated foot. LOL. 

We are now in the third week of our new life and things keep falling into place. I feel more relaxed with each breath I take here. I happily passed my drivers test on my second try (only missed 2) What What! Yes, I did study this time.  Angel is applying for some promising job openings at the local community college and we are just keeping our fingers crossed. I feel like I am gaining more strength and energy with each day and know I will feel better and better as time goes by. For now, I am using this precious time to meet the locals and learn about our resources so I can start a successful business that contributes back to the community. I can't wait to get my gluten-free cafe running so I can feed anyone who wants to eat and enjoy the most nutritious and delicious local fare! 

Stay tuned for more ways to increase your quality of life! I will be sharing more healthy recipes, workout plans, and local ways to live your life to the fullest.