South of the Border Gazpacho with Kickin’ Lime Cream

This is a favorite in the Schuchmann household!  Even my grown son Eric who is not into healthy food loves it!

Kickin’ Lime CreamSouth of the Border Gazpacho

Ingredients:
1 C raw cashews
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced
juice of 4-5 large limes
1 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T raw honey
1 t sea salt
zest of one lime
1/4 C water (more or less to acquire desired consistency)

Place all ingredients except water into blender and blend until smooth and creamy, adding water as needed.  Vita Mix and other high power blenders will require less water than standard blenders.  Place in serving bowl.

South of the Border Gazpacho

Ingredients:
8 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 large cucumber, seeded and diced
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 large green bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 jalapeno
1/2 medium sweet onion, diced
2 cloves of garlic
juice of 1 lime
2 T extra virgin olive oil
2 T raw honey
2 T chili powder
2 t sea salt
1 t cumin
1 t ground coriander
1/8 t chipotle powder

(optional garnish: fresh cilantro leaves)

After putting lime cream in bowl, without cleaning out blender, layer half of each gazpacho ingredient into blender and blend until smooth and creamy.  If your blender is small, you will want to put about a third of the ingredients in each batch.  Pour into large bowl for serving.

Fill each soup bowl with gazpacho with a dollop of lime cream and cilantro leaves for garnish.

If you do not like spicy food, eliminate the chipotle.  If you like your food hot and spicy, use serrano peppers instead of jalapenos and add extra chipotle.

Since you are using fresh vegetables, your gazpacho will taste slightly different each time you make it.  Choose vine ripened tomatoes and high quality veggies for the best flavor.  Roma tomatoes are especially delicious in this recipe, but you will need about 12-15 medium romas for this recipe.  Do not leave out the cucumber!  It makes a huge difference in the flavor.  Feel free to substitute other kinds of tomatoes, peppers, and onions for variation.

If you like corn chips, you can either find a recipe for raw corn chips made in the dehydrator or buy some organic, non-GMO corn chips to complete this meal.

Enjoy!

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“I want to be a Cupcake” ~ Tips for Making Healthy Food Delicious

“I want to be a Cupcake”

Tips for Making Healthy Food Delicious

While trying to encourage her son to eat his dinner one evening, my friend quoted the well-known saying, “You are what you eat,” hoping it would be the motivation necessary to cause him to heartily eat his vegetables with gratitude.  His response, however, was not what she anticipated, and made everyone in the room roll with laughter.  “Well,” he proclaimed, “then I want to be a cupcake!”

That little boy is not unlike most adults.  While we say we want to BE healthy, we don’t always want to EAT healthy.  The reason for that is very simple.  We BELIEVE that healthy food is not as delicious as unhealthy food and we fear that to embrace a healthy diet means to give up the enjoyment of food.  That is so far from truth and, with creativity, it is possible to eat well and thoroughly enjoy it!

Most people understand that eating a food as close to the way it grows as possible will provide the most nutrients and enzymes.  But most people don’t know how to make raw vegetables taste good.

You can enjoy a smoother transition to eating healthy by following a few tips that can make it super delicious to add nutrient-packed raw fruits and vegetables into your diet.

Be adventurous. Be willing to break out of the box and try new things.  Keep a positive attitude and this can be a lot of fun.

Become educated. The time and effort it takes to research and learn about the benefits of eating a variety of raw fruits and veggies is well worth it.  There is an abundance of living enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and water present in raw foods.  These are the building blocks every cell in our bodies needs to function properly.  Once we learn for ourselves and truly understand how much our bodies need raw foods, we have an easier time taking ownership over this adventure.

Use the internet to find recipes. I have found my most favorite raw recipes by searching online.  Many people post their favorites on their blogs or on raw food websites.  Some recipes will be delicious, and some might not.  Remember, this is an adventure!  I try to regularly post new recipes our family enjoys here on my blog.

Experiment with international flavors. Other countries serve raw vegetables seasoned differently than we do in the United States that are extremely delicious.  Many of my favorite meals have been inspired by international cuisine.  Two examples are my Thai Salad and Cinco de Mayo Salad.

Make your plate a work of art. The more color, the better!  A variety of colors means a variety of nutrients to build the body and a variety of flavors to please the palate.  Look how beautiful my Tangy Kale Salad looks.  It tastes incredible.

Stimulate all five taste centers on the tongue. When preparing food, it is important to balance the flavors of all five tastes (sweet, sour, salty, spicy, and bitter) so that your tongue is completely satisfied with every bite.  I learned this from Sergei and Valya Boutenko, teenage authors of the book “Eating Without Heating”.  Even my children have learned to put this into practice as they experiment and create their own delicious recipes with raw vegetables and fruits.  My Spicy Cream of Celery Soup is a great example of how amazingly delicious raw soup can be when the right ingredients are used.

Eat fresh, locally-grown produce when it is available. Produce that is harvested and shipped long distances is not as fresh and lacks the wonderful flavor that fresh-from-the-garden produce has.  I have never tasted more delicious broccoli than the broccoli I picked myself at Henley Farm in Virginia Beach.  It was so delicious that my children wanted to eat it raw, dipped in a simple sauce we made in the blender, for every meal; and when it was gone, they begged me to go back and pick some more.

Make your own dips, sauces, and dressings. Not only are people choosing to make their own condiments because they are healthier, but also because they are more delicious and less expensive. It is so easy and only takes about 5 minutes to make a delicious, nutritious dip or sauce in the blender.  Dressings can often be made by simply shaking the ingredients together in a mason jar.  There is an abundance of recipes for raw dips, sauces, and dressings online that can turn a drab salad or veggies into a wonderful taste experience.  My Dressing for Spinach Salad is addicting!

Host a Raw Food Potluck. Even if only a few people come, a raw food potluck is a fun way to try new dishes and exchange recipes.  We host one in our home monthly as a way to encourage others toward wellness and to provide another enjoyable avenue of accountability to be a good steward of these amazing bodies God has given us to use while on earth.

With a little education, some creativity, and a good attitude, you can change your mind about wanting to “be a cupcake” and take a giant step toward wellness.

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Sweet Potato Wheels

Here’s a fun, simple recipe for a side dish kids love.  This is so yummy, it could even be a dessert.

SWEET POTATO WHEELS

Ingredients:
Sweet Potatoes
Agave Nectar (or honey)
Cinnamon

Peel sweet potatoes, slice them into 1/2-inch thick discs (my kids call them “wheels”), and steam until tender but not mushy.  Arrange warm sweet potato wheels on a plate and lightly drizzle with a mixture of agave nectar and cinnamon.  If you don’t have agave, honey can be used instead.

Enjoy!

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Almond Butter, Oats, & Agave Snack

My children came up with the idea for this snack and I finally tried it…. and WOW!  It is really delicious.  They call it “Almond Butter & Oats”.

Mix together the following ingredients (adjust amounts to fit your personal taste):

1/2 C Old-fashioned Rolled Oats
1/4 C  Almond Butter
2 t Agave Nectar
dash of salt

Enjoy!!!

Veggie Walnut Dip

Veggie Walnut Dip

 

3 C walnuts (soaked works best, but unsoaked is OK too)

3 C carrots, diced

1 C celery, diced

¼ of a medium onion

¼ C fresh parsley or cilantro

¼ C fresh dill or basil

2 cloves of garlic

¼ C fresh lemon juice

Sea salt to taste

 

Process walnuts and carrots in blender until smooth.  You may need to add some water, especially if the walnuts are not soaked.  Pour into large bowl and set aside.

 

Pulse remaining ingredients in blender until almost smooth and add them to carrots and nuts.  Mix well.

 

This is great as a dip for veggies, as a spread on sandwiches, and can even be dehydrated to make flavorful crackers.  It has a consistency almost like tuna salad.  Super delicious and nutritious!


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Cinco de Mayo Salad

This Mexican-Inspired Salad is what we had for dinner last night.
Delicious and Nutritious!!!
 

Cinco de Mayo Salad

 

3 C shredded red cabbage

2 C shredded green cabbage

4 or 5 green onions, both green and white parts, sliced thin

5 T or more of chopped fresh cilantro

5 T or more of fresh lime juice

2 T raw agave nectar

1 t sea salt (more or less to taste)

½ t white pepper (more or less to taste)

Pinch of cayenne

 

Toss cabbage, green onions, and cilantro in large bowl.

 

Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the salad.  Mix well.

 

Toppings we put on our Cinco de Mayo Salad:

 

Groovy Guacamole

 

5 ripe avocados (peel, remove seed, and diced)

¼ C fresh lemon juice (or substitute lime juice)

2 large garlic cloves, minced or pressed

Salt and pepper to taste

 

Combine all ingredients and mash until smooth, or combine in food processor.

 

Walnut Taco Meat

 

2 C walnuts, ground in food processor to the consistency of ground beef (best if soaked for a few hours ahead of time, but unsoaked works too)

2 t ground cumin

1 t ground coriander

1 t chili powder

2 T nama shoyu (or tamari or soy sauce), more or less to taste

Pinch of cayenne

 

Combine all ingredients and mix well.

 

Black Beans are also delicious on this salad.

 

To Build the Salad:

On a large plate, put salad on the bottom, then walnut taco meat, black beans, and top with guacamole.  My daughter Joy puts diced tomatoes on top of hers (she puts tomatoes on nearly everything). 

You won’t believe how delicious this super nutritious Mexican-inspired meal is!  My children love it!

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“Cheezy” Almond Dip

I have found that people (including children) are glad to eat healthy as long as what they are eating is delicious.  Here’s a recipe for a yummy dip that is always a hit!  It is packed with nutrients (calcium, antioxidants, protein, B-12, and more) and tastes amazing!  Be careful, it can be addicting!

Almond Vegetable Dip
(tastes cheesy)

1 C raw almonds

2/3 C pure water

1/2 t nama shoyu (or tamari or soy sauce)

1 T fresh lemon juice

1 or 2 garlic cloves

1/2 C diced red bell pepper

1/4 C nutritional yeast

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Store in a glass container in the refrigerator.

Delicious as a dip for raw vegetables or as a spread on sandwiches, pitas, wraps, etc.  Kids LOVE this!!!

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Ways to get Kids to Eat Healthy Foods, Part 5

I saw this helpful hint in a Dr. Sears newsletter and thought it was a great idea.

Keep “Grow Foods” In Sight

Put the things that you want your family to eat in plain sight. Keep “Grow Foods” like veggies, fruits, beans, whole grain breads, nuts, and olives either right out on the kitchen counter or right in front of the fridge or pantry shelves for easy access. The more you and your family see these good food choices the more likely they are to get consumed. I often place a small bowl of raw nuts in my husband’s office for him to nibble on throughout the day. On the other hand, keep special treats way in the back of the refrigerator or pantry, or on a high shelf where it won’t be grabbed by impulse. This also helps keep mom and dad reaching for “grow foods”.

Hayden Sears-Livesay

©2008, AskDrSears.com, used by permission

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Ways to get Kids to Eat Healthy Foods, Part 4

HOW WE INTRODUCE FOODS TO OUR BABIES MAKES A DIFFERENCE

You will likely agree that most advice given to parents around the world concerning infant feeding is based in large part on culture.  Since we eat mainly to nourish our bodies, however, it would make more sense to look at what would best nourish our babies and base our infant/toddler feeding practices on that.

That realization came to me when I was pregnant with my second child.  The following recommendations are a result of my research during that time.  I went back into the textbooks I used in college and revisited the sections on child development, the digestive system, the immune system, and much more.  I also learned a huge amount from George Wootan, M.D., who confirmed what I was learning.  (I attended his course “Pediatrics: A Course for Parents” and read his book Take Charge of Your Child’s Health.)  I successfully put what I learned into practice and have happy, healthy children who love a variety of very healthy foods to show for it. 

Much is known today about a baby’s digestive system.  The following suggestions are based on what is known about the enzymes present in babies’ gastrointestinal tracts at the different stages of development.  Enzymes are the specific protein catalysts that assist in the chemical reactions necessary for digestion to take place.  (If you want a topic for interesting research, learning about enzymes is fascinating!) 

Breast milk is all a baby needs to thrive for the first year of life.  A normal, healthy mother has no problem producing enough quality milk to completely sustain a child for the first one to two years as long as breast feeding is not rigidly scheduled and Mom is adequately nourished and hydrated.  Breast milk comes with its own enzymes, so it can be easily digested, making the nutrients in the milk completely bio-available for the baby’s nourishment.  You just can’t improve on God’s design!!! 

Supplemental formula, baby cereal, and baby food are not necessary.  Babies are not able to digest it well because babies do not produce enough enzymes of their own to adequately break it down into useable parts.  Water and juice are also not needed until baby is over one year old if feeding is done according to the following plan: 

  • Begin with protein foods (not eggs, cheese, peanuts, beef, pork, or chicken meat) at around 11 or 12 months of age.  Fresh fish such as salmon (unless there is a fish allergy in the family) or red lentils are some examples.  Believe it or not, baby’s digestive system can digest proteins before it can digest carbohydrates. 

  • Add one new food a week and watch for allergy symptoms.  

  • After protein foods, add vegetablesBabies usually love vegetables if they are introduced prior to fruit.  The closer to raw a food is, the more active enzymes that food packs.  Raw food is more digestible than cooked food because of those enzymes, so don’t be tempted to cook your baby’s food to a mush.  Instead, put your food processor to work!  Again, no more than 1 new food a week! 

  • Once baby is enjoying some protein foods and a wide variety of vegetables, grains and fruits that are both high in carbohydrates can be introduced.  Babies have a harder time digesting carbohydrates, so they should be introduced as late as possible.  Remember, only 1 new food a week! 

  • Babies (and many children and adults, for that matter) can not adequately digest cow’s milk and cheese.  It causes much tummy trouble even for those who are not allergic.  If a white liquid is needed, good alternatives are goat’s milk or rice milk.  

  • Continue breast feeding as baby’s primary source of nutrition.  It should take about six months to transition from breast milk as the primary food to solids as the primary food.

Some people will notice babies showing signs that they want to participate in mealtime around 5 or 6 months.  This desire is often interpreted as hunger.  According to Dr. Wootan, babies at that age are becoming super social and are only showing interest in the social aspect of sitting around the table and putting interesting toys in their mouths like the rest of the family.  His advice is to give each family member a toy for use only at mealtime to share with baby while the rest of the family eats.  We even let our little ones play with a plastic cup like the grown-ups.  When they feel like part of that daily ritual of “playing with mouth toys at the table”, they stop acting so “hungry” and have great fun. 

It is important to note that some exclusively breast fed babies who have been sleeping through the night may begin to wake for an extra nursing in the middle of the night around 8 months of age.  That is perfectly normal.  They are becoming much more active at that age and are in need of more calories to support their growing, active bodies.  Their little tummies are no longer able to hold enough breast milk to make it all the way through the night, so they will temporarily need that night nursing.  The temptation is to give the baby rice cereal at night to hold them over until morning.  This is a big mistake.  The rice cereal is not easily digested and fills the tummy with inadequate nutrition in place of the perfect breast milk nutrition baby needs so much (all that extra effort and energy needed for digestion causes the baby to sleep longer).  They do eventually grow out of their need for that night nursing when they are older and eating table food. 

As you begin to introduce table food to your baby, don’t be surprised that much of it will end up in the hair, on the bib, or on the floor.  At first, only some will actually be swallowed!  That’s OK!!!  Your child is learning and developing, and feeding himself is an important part of his development.  In time, more will be eaten and less mess will be made. 

Remember that every baby is unique and you will need to take into consideration your own baby’s needs when making decisions concerning feeding.  

(This article origianlly appeared in the Charis e-newsletter 02/08.)
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Ways to get Kids to Eat Healthy Foods, Part 3

GET KIDS TO TRY NEW FOODS
AND HAVE FUN IN THE PROCESS!

Having dealt with picky eaters, I know how hard it is to get kids to try new foods– especially foods that are good for them!  I failed miserably with my first son (he would agree and laugh), but I now have 3 huge success stories and have learned A LOT along the way.

In my last 2 posts, I talked about ways to teach our children to love healthy food before they are born and during breastfeeding, but many people have children who are older and need ideas to help them enjoy healthier food.  Here is what has worked in my family and in many other families as well. 

Include children in meal preparation.  They are more likely to eat something new if they prepare it themselves!  Don’t be afraid to allow your children to work in the kitchen!  With supervision they will not get hurt!  Obviously, a 4-year-old won’t be given the job of dicing up the carrots, but he would probably love to squeeze the juice out of a lemon or put ingredients into a bowl and stir. 

THIS IS FUN!!!  In our household, each child is assigned a night each week to plan and prepare dinner.  I provide a binder full of delicious, helathy recipes and they get to pick which meal they want to prepare that week.  I assist the youngest (8 years old) at times if she needs a little help, but for the most part, I only provide a little supervision.   My 10 year old very rarely needs help and my 13 year old needs no help or supervision at all. 

The results of their involvement in meal preparation have been amazing!  They have grown an interest in the culinary arts, they are fantastic little gourmet chefs, they eat a wider variety of foods because they don’t want to make the same meals over and over again, and it gives me at least three nights off of kitchen duty each week!  They are always so proud of their accomplishment and love the appreciation and applause they get from Daddy!

Here are a few more pointers:

Make food changes gradually.  Choose one thing to begin with that is likely to be a success– such as switching from white rice to brown rice, for instance.  Having one victory gives parents the confidence to try the next change and is also proof to the child that eating healthy isn’t all that bad afterall.

Parents must practice what they preach!  If we want our children to eat their greens, then we must eat them, too!  It helps to find delicious healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by everyone.  I’ll be posting more really good recipes on this site as time goes by.

If you don’t want your kids to eat it, don’t buy it!  If you want Junior to stop eating so many sugary foods, don’t keep sugary foods in your home!  Instead, stock your pantry and refrigerator with healthy foods.  If apples and pecans are all that’s available for an afternoon snack, kids will eventually try it and will most likely find out that they like apples and pecans.

Make food appealing to children’s imaginations!  Be creative!  Kids love using their imaginations, so use that to your advantage at mealtime!  Do this by giving the food funny names (broccoli becomes “trees” and sprouts become “hair”), making up a story about the meal that the child can add to after each bite, making the food fun-looking (cutting veggies into fun shapes and playing name that animal, etc),  allowing the child to arrange the food on the plate creatively and calling it a masterpiece, adding faces to food and allowing the child to give the “people” on his plate funny names, etc.

Serve healthy food that TASTES DELICIOUS!  When I was a child, vegetables were usually tasteless and cooked to a mush.  No wonder I wasn’t interested in eating them!  It is our responsibilty as parents to learn how to prepare healthy foods in delicious ways.  I have already posted some… stay tuned to my blog for more kid-approved healthy recipes!

Grow your own vegetable and herb garden.  Kids enjoy eating the fruit of their labor.  They have fun picking a cucumber they grew themselves and eating it with a homemade dip they made themselves in the blender.  It is also fun to pick fresh basil or dill for their recipes.  A garden provides a wonderful sense of accomplishment!

In my next post, I’ll share even more tried and true ways to help children love the foods that will keep them healthy for life!

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