Sunday, March 23, 2014

Light Peanut Butter Cookies

                                                       Light Peanut butter cookies

These peanut butter cookies have a light peanut butter flavor, and can be made light and crispy when cooked a little more, or denser and chewier when cooked a bit less.  That really goes for most cookies, but more so for these!  There are two flour choices to choose from.  Both are good: some liked the mix with oat flour, others the one including millet.  (Remember to set aside part of the flour until all ingredients are mixed and have set for a bit before adding it in, as a little more or less may be needed.)

Preheat oven (as always) to 350 degrees Fahrenheit
4T Earth Balance margarine
1 cup 100% peanut butter (100% peanuts)
1/4 cup coconut oil, warmed just enough to liquefy
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup maple syrup

Dry mix option  #1                                                Dry mix option #2
1/3 cup almond flour                                             1/2 cup almond flour
2/3 cup oat flour                                                     1/3 cup millet flour
2/3 cup green buckwheat flour                              1/2 cup sorghum flour
1/4 tsp whole salt                                                   1/2 cup green buckwheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda                                                1/4 tsp whole salt
1/2 tsp xanthan powder                                          3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp arrowroot powder                                       1/2 tsp xanthan powder
2T ground flax seeds                                              1/4 tsp arrowroot powder
                                                                               2T ground flax seeds (optional in this mix)

Cream together the wet ingredients with an electric mixer until smooth.  Mix together either dry mix 1 or 2 and gradually blend into the peanut mixture until well incorporated.  Let it sit for 10-15 minutes for some of the moisture to absorb into the flours.  The dough should be a dense but soft consistency.  Spoon onto a thick cookie sheet greased with coconut oil.  Flatten out with a fork (dipped in ice cold water to keep the dough from sticking to the fork) to approximately 1/3" thick by 2-2 1/2" wide and 2" apart.  Bake: 350 F for 8-12 minutes until the edges are lightly browned and the center springs back slightly when pressed.  Remove cookie sheet from the oven and allow cookies to cool and set 2-3 minutes before carefully transferring to a cooling rack.  Cool completely and store in an airtight container for several days or freeze extra cookies in the freezer for future cookie cravings!

 -Replace coconut oil with another 1/4 cup soy margarine. 
-Add 1/4 cup more peanut butter for a more pronounced peanut butter flavor:  although a small amount of extra flour may be needed, leave the fat content the same, or the cookies may be a little tough. 
Please note:  Green buckwheat flour is obtained from grinding raw buckwheat in a grain mill, or a cup at a time in a Vitamix blender.  Green buckwheat  has a much milder flavor compared with the dark buckwheat flour usually sold already ground.
Yes, some of the cookies have chocolate chips pressed into the top just before baking.
No, these cookies don't abide by the food combining mentioned in the last blog, but they are quite nutrient dense....and a sweet treat now and then is enjoyable.
Have a joyous and blessed day!

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Acid/Basic food

There are foods that make our bodies more alkaline and other foods that create a more acidic environment.  In a nut shell, the goal is a body that is more alkaline (aka basic).  A PH below 7 is considered acid, and a PH above 7 is considered basic, or alkaline.  (A PH of 7 is neutral.) A lot of stuff  we don't want (cancer for instance,) thrives in an acidic body, but isn't too happy about residing in one that is alkaline, thankfully.  The site has especially nice charts showing the Ph of different foods.  Not surprisingly  most vegetables are alkalizing, fresh fruits and nuts are somewhere in the middle, and meats, coffee and black tea the most acidic.  Consuming primarily basic and neutral foods is my personal goal. (FYI:  simply put, PH stands for 'power of hydrogen'.)
Another topic to consider that you may notice on that site concerns proper food combining for better digestion and subsequently better food absorption.  It is a personal decision how strictly to adhere to the food combining, but it may be worth trying for a week or so to see if your food digestion improves.
Along those lines also, it has been my experience that mixing in a teaspoon or so of fresh lemon juice in a mug of warm water seems to balance the system in general, and 2-3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in a warm mug of water  really eases a bad case of indigestion, including the times accompanied with bloating.  (Start with one teaspoon and work your way up to 2 or 3, it's an acquired taste!)  Also heating and eating a cup or two of plain canned tomatoes (with a little garlic powder added) between meals rights my system when I have eaten too much.  (Of course not eating too much at the next meal helps too!)  My brain still figures I can eat the same as I could in my 20s, 30s, and even 40s, and sometimes forgets less food is required in the 50s, and what is eaten digests slower. 
Every one's system is different.  In trying new ways of eating, and possibly in new combinations, you may find new tools that work for you.
When our digestive systems are happy, we are happier too!

Saturday, March 8, 2014


Around the time the veggie garden is done for the season is a good time to start sprouting seeds for fresh greens. The canning jar in the foreground above consists of a rounded tablespoon (T) of alfalfa seeds and about a teaspoon of radish seeds.  The one in the background consists of 1 1/2 T mung bean seeds.  Pour the seeds in the bottom of a widemouth Mason jar and cover with a couple inches of water. Soak for 10-20 hours.  (10-12 for small seeds such as alfalfa,radish, and mung beans;  18-20 for larger beans such as black beans.  The large beans will also need more water for soaking: pouring the larger beans into jar to a level of 2 inches will require adding water to a level of 3 inches above the beans.)  Screens for the top:  One option; purchase the widely available plastic tops that come in a set of three with different size holes.  The finest screen  of the three does not allow water to pour through easily though.  I finally gave up and cut a small hole in the top near the edge to pour water through, and then drain the water out the other side.  A second option is buying precut metal screening that fits into a widemouth lid.  A third option (the most cost effective) is to purchase a piece of stainless steel or brass window screen (one that doesn't rust) from your local hardware store, trace with a wide mouth lid and cut out as many as you need.  Place into a widemouth canning ring and you're set.  These work well for whatever you are sprouting, as the holes are small enough to contain seeds such as alfalfa seeds but water flows through easily.  On the jar in the foreground above is a plastic ring a friend gave me years ago which is especially nice because it will never get rusty as the metal rings will.  The only place I have seen a plastic ring for sale is at but have not purchased any from them.  After soaking for 10-20 hours, drain, cover  with water, let sit for 5-10 minutes, drain, and set on its side away from direct sunlight.  Do this 2-3 times a day until the sprouts are the size that taste the best to you, (approximately 3-7 days,)  At this point the jar can be set in a sunny window for a few hours to green up the sprouts and increase their nutrtional value.  Next cover with water again, drain well, replace screening with canning lid and store in the fridge for 3-4 days, rinsing and draining once a day.  (I have seen plastic widemouth caps for sale at Amazon which are nice for storing sprouts in the fridge.)
 Be sure to use seeds, grains, and beans specifically for sprouting.  (Ones purchased for food should sprout, as long as they are same season seeds, grains, and beans.  Older ones may not germinate as well.) Other seeds I have sprouted are: green lentils,broccoli seeds, and wheat.  Broccoli sprouts are especially nutritious, but I suggest trying a few at a time with other seeds, as they have a very strong flavor.  Some other options for sprouting:  rye berries, seame seeds, squash seeds, whole barley, buckwheat, celery, sunflower, chia, dill, fenugreek, pumpkin, onion, and lettuce seeds, quinoa, and any dry beans such as black beans, pinto beans, and chic peas.(all raw of course.)
Something to be aware of: in warm humid weather the risk of the sprouts molding is greater. (Being sure all components are cleaned in hot soapy water between uses will minimize this risk.) Fortunately by then there are other fresh greens available in the local farm markets or your own garden to take their place.
If you haven't grown sprouts before I encourage you to give it a try.  The nutritional boost to the diet, especially in the winter is well worth it.
Have a joyous and blessed day!