Thursday, July 4, 2013

Jill's Delish Tangy Chick Pea Salad Recipe (Gluten-Free, Low Fat Vegan)

My friend Jill McKeever has a fantastic recipe for Tangy Chick Pea (Garbanzo Bean) Salad on her site at Simple Daily Recipes. My husband and I are eating Low Fat Vegan and trying to implement Dr. John McDougall's "Starch Solution" as well. I'm reading that book at present and am finding so many exciting facts that I didn't know-- such as you can eat tons of starches (potatoes, rice, corn, beans, quinoa, etc.) without gaining any weight IF you delete the fats and oils and too many processed foods from your recipe. Finding tasty recipes is key to keeping us "in" until we are over the period of fats withdrawal (whenever that happens!)
A delicious tangy chick pea salad open sandwich, thanks to the salad recipe from Jill McKeever at Simple Daily Recipes
Jill has made a great vid tutorial about the recipe that she gave me permission to use on here.  She will give you her recipe and I include my adapted recipe underneath it.  I have to say that this salad is every bit as much a hit in our house (there are only two of us who have sampled it so far) as it is in Jill's.  Just as she says, it is the kind of recipe that you can eat repeatedly and just enjoy it every time.  It actually reminds me of a cross between potato salad and egg salad in its flavour bursts and mouth appeal.  My husband is of German descent, so the combo of potato salad on an open face sandwich is irresistable.

My adaptation of Jill's Tangy Chickpea Salad:

3-4 C. of Cooked Chickpeas (organic definitely work better/taste better to us)
2 T.         Dijon Mustard
2 T.         Bread and Butter Relish (check the labels for crap you don't want like fructose corn syrup)
6  drops   Liquid Smoke (we have Hickory, Jill used Mesquite... whatever smoke should be tasty)
1/2 C.      Yellow Onion, chopped fine (a fairly small onion-- best not to put leftover onion in fridge)*
1 T.         Tahini (sesame seed butter)
1/2          Lemon, squeezed (and mixed together with Tahini)
4             Celery Sticks, fine chopped
1 1/2 T.   Parsley, chopped

My Method:
  1. Mix together the Tahini and Lemon Juice, set aside
  2. Mash Chickpeas in a large pan or bowl OR put chickpeas, dijon mustard, relish, the tahini/lemon mix, smoke, and parsley in the bowl of a food processor and process until just homogenous (same throughout).
  3. Dump contents of the food processor into a large bowl.  Work in the chopped onions and celery.  
  4. Put a lid on (or plastic wrap) and let sit in fridge for about an hour to let flavours kick each other around a bit.
*A sliced onion will "draw" toxins from the air and from deep inside the body-- why it makes such a great poultice.  If you use a plastic baggie to store it in, it will draw toxins from the plastic, apparently.  Put it into a glass bowl with a glass saucer to cover.

Try this tangy, lovely  chick pea delight and see if your family doesn't take after it like Jill's and mine!

I think uber-health conscious Dr. Neal Barnard would also agree with this particular recipe.  You can hear him talk about his new book "Power Foods for the Brain" on July 8th.  You can register (free) by going HERE and then clicking on this same image in the right sidebar.  He will be interviewed by sparkling Lani Meulrath, the Plant-Based Fitness Expert.  Great information and Great Giveaways during this teleseminar-- tell others about it too!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Make-Ahead Charcoal Poultice

When I was a young girl I seem to remember my grandmother talking about "a poultice". To my ear it sounded like something to do with the "milk toast" that was part of Grandma's comfort food outlay when children were sick.

 I have no idea where the association came from between 'poultice' (A soft, moist mass of material, typically of plant material or flour, applied to the body to relieve soreness and inflammation)and 'milk toast' (a soft, milky mass of white toast and warm milk, butter, and sugar applied to sick children to relieve them of hunger and boredom). But just recently I began to be interested in the idea of poultices again.

 That is not to say that before this current interest I haven't read a little about poultices, seen some simple ones demonstrated, and even tried my hand a messy one or two myself. I have. The operative word has always been "messy". 

 A friend has been suggesting that I watch some videos by Aussie Naturopath, Barbara O'Neill. I finally began looking at them this week and I am fascinated--both by the strong, petite O'Neill with her vibrant method of presenting about natural health, and by the content of her lectures at her Misty Mountain Health Spa.

The video that has spoken strongest to me so far is the one about poultices.  (Unfortunately these videos are not currently available on Youtube. APR/2021)

O'Neill explains that she took up natural healing when she was a young mother with a baby that was on antibiotics for an ear infection for almost two years.  Another of her babes got an ear infection. In desperation she turned to an older neighbor (85) and asked what her mother did to deal with ear infections. The woman told her that her mother put the juice from a steamed onion into the suffering child's ear, and used the rest of the onion in a poultice to place against the outside of the ear. O'Neill tried this with her baby, and voila, after a few applications the ear infections were gone for good. She went on to have five more babies and raised two additional step-children, all of whom skipped antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals after the first child's nasty experience.

 I learned more about O'Neill throughout her other videos. I'm sixty-two years old and thought I knew quite a lot about natural healing, but I'm learning something new about physiology, methods of soothing and stimulating healing, and child development with each video I watch. 

 My husband and I use activated charcoal for a number of situations: wonky gut after over-eating or eating something that seems to have 'poisoned' us, at the outset of a cold, and for things like skin infections and rashes. Activated charcoal is 'adsorptive' when taken with water-- the toxins leave the body by attaching to the carbon molecules. 

 In the video on "Poultices" Dr. O'Neill gave a recipe for having a charcoal poultice on hand, in the fridge, for any emergency that might arise from spider bites to infected wounds to snake bite (she lives in the wilderness of Australia, so I'm thinking that children are likely more susceptible to snake bite there than here).


1. Tear off two 12" - 18" sheets from a box of plastic wrap.  Lay out the one to receive the charcoal gel.  Put the other one aside.

2. Combine 1/2 C. Activated Charcoal and 1/6 C. Psyllium fibre, and water to cover.  Very carefully combine the two powders to keep the charcoal dust from clouding the air.  Massage the gel with a spoon until it is a pleasant, homogeneous texture.
3. Place the Charcoal-Psyllium gel on top of the one sheet of plastic wrap and place the other sheet over top.  Roll it out like pie crust, until about 1/8 - 1/4" thick throughout.  Place it in the fridge.

4. Cut (with scissors) a piece of the poulticette to match the size of the area concerned.  Peel off the top layer of plastic.  Lay the poultice on a common adhesive bandage pad so the square of charcoal will cover the affected area.  Simple as that!  You can use it directly over a wound or bite/sting and tape a piece of gauze over it if desired.  

Wash hands well before and after dressing the sting/bite/wound.  Change every few hours.  See a medical professional if affected area looks worse or has not changed after a day.
        There you go!  The tiny poultice really
is that neat and effective!


Friday, May 31, 2013

The Power of Flowers

Fragrant Flowers on our Morning Walk
In my more youthful days of gardening I was all about organic food plants.  As I get older I have begun to enjoy planting and caring for flowers and herbs more.

That is not to say that I do not have organic food gardening as a priority!  This year my husband has stepped into the gap in a big way (the 'gap' being my spending less time in the garden).  He has a 5-gallon pail of compost tea burbling away at all times, another pail of comfrey tea brewing under the grape arbor, and is experimenting with strewing agricultural lime in any patch of ground my eyes have fallen upon.  We have just put in  Saskatoon berry bushes, a few Sea Buckthorns, and 3 Sour Cherry trees (or bushes or whatever they will be) as well as the usual assortment of greens (kale, chard, collards, cilantro, parsley, romaine, etc.) and beans and a vast forest of little tomato plants, many donated by kind friends and neighbors.  We also have a square foot herb garden, a burgeoning Rosemary bush, a pear tree, a fig tree, a prolific thorn-free Blackberry, a golden plum, a Rainier cherry tree,  a derelict old apple tree (translucents), two young Haskap bushes, strawberries, blueberries, and a filbert tree.  So, we are not short on food plants.

Foxglove with flowering thornless Blackberry in background
But I am attracted to do most of my pottering in the front flower beds.  It rained incessantly for several days over the past week so today was the first day where I actually went out and pulled weeds-- a whole wheelbarrow full, actually!  We're heading away for a couple of days so I won't be able to get at the rest of the front yard bloom-beds until Monday.

 I'm more than a little embarrassed by the masses of weeds.  I think fondly of my Dad who weeded his latter-year gardens with such diligence that nary a weed could be spotted.  I think equally fondly about our son (the "nomad farmer") who is big on "cover crops" and who is not so persnicketty about weeds, explaining that it is better to have a vigorous protected plant than a weed-free garden-- I think he even said once, "Mom, weeds are NOT the enemy".  He doesn't comment much on my flower gardens, but he does offer suggstions for growing flowers that have medicinal qualities (I guess to validate their floral decorative quality vs. being truly useful as food).  Therefore, I have comfrey in many locations with its pretty attractive little purply puffs, and bee balm, mints, stinging nettle, and lots of lavender drifts (lately full of grass, ugh).

While I was pulling weeds today I had to stop for a few minutes to breath in the horecandy smell of the catnip.  Earlier in the morning I enjoyed the fragrance of a flow of soft-mauve woodland flowers, maybe a bolt from someone's yard.  I am trying to ID them as I write (with the help of my Facebook friends).  They have a nice spicy scent.  I feel so tranquil when I see them.

I remember that my grandmother and my Mom both took to flowers in their senior years.  Perhaps it is a convention or a trend in our family.  Maybe it is wider spread that women begin to enjoy flowers as they start the later part of life's journey.  Maybe it has something to do with retirement?  Food seems like work, maybe, and the flowers seem like a way just to *be*.... a human being vs. a human doing.

Do you have any thoughts?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Organic, Gluten-Free Banana-Coconut-Cranberry Oatmeal

Here is a recipe for a delicious and nutritious steel-cut oats recipe for those who like banana pudding more than porridge:

  • 1 C. Steel-cut Oats
  • 2 C. filtered Water
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened organic Coconut shreds
  • 1/4 C. organic dry Cranberries (or raisins)
  • ripe organic Banana cut into 1" chunks
  • dash of Coriander
  •   Combine all above ingredients except Banana and Coriander and cook until boiling.  
  • Add the Banana and the Coriander, and mix in.  
  • Cover pot and reduce heat to Low.  Continue to cook for another 15-25 minutes (making sure it doesn't burn).  Stir with a wooden spoon when done.
  • Dish up and pour on Coconut Milk.  Serve.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Breathing in the Dentist Chair

The older I get, the more freaked I am about getting dental work done (also called dentist phobia).  I know, such high anxiety doesn't seem to make a lot of sense, but I figure it has to do with (1)blowing my adrenals in my past role as a social worker and (2)having too many frickin root canals along life's way.  In any case, today was the day where I had to go and get the prep work done for a new crown.

A couple of days ago I called the dentist to let them know that I would like to have some Nitrous Oxide.  Two friends told me it was like "a twilight sleep" and that sounded good.  I checked out some of the forums online and was careful not to read the ones that complained about the Nitrous Oxide not working for them, or causing more anxiety or whatever.  I just knew that I needed something to handle all the tension in my shoulders, my racing heart, my rapid breathing, my dry mouth, etc. etc. etc.

And of course I worried that it would also affect my new breathing protocol.  

But I figured I could deal with that again later.

And I still felt guilty.

I did do a number of "squeeze-and-breathe" calming exercises that helped with the initial announcement by the dental assistant that I would not get the 'gas' until after they took impressions.  Truth be known, it was the impressions that bothered me the most-- all that waxy gluey gunk gluing your teeth together and seeming to seal your throat off.  The impressions AND having the chair reclined so far back that I fantasize about having everything that enters my mouth sliding down into my throat. But I soldiered through... even though she had to do TWO of the same set of impressions because my lip got in the way (yeah, blame it on my lip) the first time.  I survived.  The gas was pretty magnificent and I would recommend it to any other wimps out there.  

So, now I am home again, and so very grateful to have a couple of weeks until the actual crown arrives and needs to be fitted in.  It is nice to have a tooth in the front of my mouth.  I am appreciative of the skills and kindness of the dental staff.  

And tomorrow I will start up with the breathing exercises in earnest.

God bless (and just breathe!) ~Cynthia

(Click on the tab for the page "Getting My Breath Back" if you want to read other parts of my Back-to-Breathing journey)

Speaking of breathing, I notice that Raw Diva Tera Warner has a breathing presenter as part of her Women's 2013 WISH Summit.  Maybe Breathing is becoming an important new trend?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Pumpkin Pie Porridge (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

I love pumpkin pie and could eat it any day any time, but the fact is that pumpkin pie is generally pretty much off my dietary radar what with the custardy ingredients and pie crust.  So, how nice to know that there is a ' pumpkin pie "fix" that is healthy, vegan, gluten-free and a great breakfast item full of Vitamins A, B and fibre!

 I have also included the recipe for Pumpkin Pie Spice, a mixture you can make it bulk and then just add a spoonful to your future pumpkin porridge pie recipes.  Make your own with organic spices.  The spices will help to keep your LDL and triglycerides at normal levels.

Pumpkin Pie Spice Mix Ingredients: (for one pumpkin pie porridge recipe below)
  •  1/2 teaspoon ground Cinnamon 
  • 1/4 teaspoons ground Ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Nutmeg 
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Allspice 
  • 1/2 teaspoon organic Stevia powder 
Preparation: Combine all ingredients. If you make extra, store in an airtight container.

Pumpkin Pie Porridge

  • 1 C.      Steel Cut Oats 
  • 1/4 C.   Chia Seed 
  • 1 T.      Extra Virgin Coconut Oil 
  • 1 tsp.    Salt
  • 3 C.      Water
  • 14 oz.  Farmer's Market Organic Pumpkin  
  • 1 1/2 t.  Pumpkin Pie Spice as above 
  1. Combine the Oats, Chia Seed, Coconut Oil, Salt and Water in medium pot and stir, bringing to a boil.  
  2. Cover with lid and simmer on Low heat until water is absorbed and oats are soft.  
  3. Stir in Pumpkin, Spices and more water, if needed.  Simmer until thickened.  
  4. Scoop into individual bowls and add brown sugar (optional) and almond milk.


You might want to try this porridge:

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Blueberry-Carob Macaroon Oatmeal Porridge (Gluten-Free, Vegan)

When I asked my husband what he wanted for breakfast this morning, he said, "Well, seems like you're on a roll with those porridge recipes". Aha. So, a new recipe needed today. And thus, thanks to Google, here is my take on a carob-blueberry pudding porridge.

 It's a little fussier in the making, but well-worth it (fussier in that it needs to be done in a couple of steps vs. just throwing everything together in a pot from the get-go). It smells soooo yummy as it cooks-- remember that chocolate was once known as "the poor man's carob". 

 This porridge will meet all your chocolate cravings, but with wonderful nutrients and none of the stimulants of  caffeine or theobromine found in chocolate.  

Remember to use Gluten-Free Oats if you are sensitive to gluten and wheat.


1 C.    Steel Cut Oats
1/2 tsp.Salt 
1/4 C.  Chia seed
1/2 C.  Coconut shreds
3 C.    Water
1/2 C.  Carob powder
1/4 C.  Fairtrade Raw Cane Sugar (I use Wholesome Sweeteners from Malawi)
1 C.    Water
1 C.    Blueberries
1    Banana, chopped (ripe, organic)
Almond Mylk (or Coconut Mylk might be tasty!)

  1. Combine the Oats, Salt, Chia, Coconut and Water in a medium pot. 
  2. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Turn the heat down to lowest setting, cover, and continue to cook until oatmeal begins to thicken (10+ Minutes).
  4. Turn the heat down to medium-low.
  5. Add in the Carob and the Sugar and the additional Water.  Bring to boil, stirring constantly.
  6. Remove from the heat and gently stir in the blueberries. 
  7. Cover and let sit for 3-5 minutes. 
  8. Spoon into bowls, add Mylk and garnish with banana rounds.
Want to try 4 other Nutritious, Delicious, Gluten-Free Porridge Recipes? Go HERE.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Deluxe Apple Pie Oatmeal Porridge (Vegan and Gluten-Free)

Deluxe Apple Pie Oatmeal Porridge-- and YES, that is a scoop of Vanilla Ice Cream-- (optional)

The Crazy Carrot Cake Oatmeal Porridge (Vegan and Gluten-Free) was such a hit that I thought I would add in some more tarted-up porridges.  Today you will find a recipe for Deluxe Apple Pie Oatmeal Porridge-- the "deluxe" reference alludes to the inclusion of more than 5 ingredients (I don't think any recipe should contain more than 5 ingredients in this stressful world we live in, but, sometimes, alas, more is tastier...)  This could be your company's-here breakfast.  This could also be adapted to the crockpot with very little hassle.  Be sure to use the best organic ingredients as much as you are able.

1 C. Steel Cut Oats (use a GF brand)
1 T. Chia Seed
3 Apples, cored and chopped (skin on)
1/2 tsp. Salt (or to taste)
2 T. Cinnamon
1 small nob fresh Ginger, peeled and chopped fine (or grated)
6-8 Dates, no pits
1/2 C. Thompson's Raisins
Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar (or unsweetened Apple Juice)
2-3 C. Water

  • Sweetener (I used Raw Honey)
  • Almond Milk
  • MaraNatha Raw Almond Butter

  1. In a large pot combine Oats, Chia Seed, Apples, Salt, Cinnamon, Ginger, Dates, Raisins, Apple Cider Vinegar, and Water.  Bring to boil on high heat
  2. When porridge boils, lower heat to lowest setting and put lid on the pot.
  3. Check pot a couple of times over next 15-25 minutes.  Porridge will be ready when, if stirred, most of moisture has turned into a gooey gel and the oats are soft.
  4. Transfer porridge to individual bowls.  Swoosh some sweetener and about a teaspoon (or to taste) of Almond Butter into each bowl and add the Almond Milk.
  5. Enjoy!

Want to try 4 other Nutritious, Delicious, Gluten-Free Porridge Recipes? Go HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Crazy Carrot Cake Oatmeal Porridge (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Another sort of gloomy, cool, and foggy morning here on Vancouver Island.  We know that Spring is on the way, but ...
So, it calls for a bowl of porridge-- something that "sticks to your ribs" as my mother used to say (I think she said that, but it may have been someone else).  
Here is a plug for healthy organic eating (and cooking)-- food actually TASTES better when it is organically-grown.  That is my observation, and apparently, it's true, according to food scientist Harold McGee (quoted from a blog over at The "when plants are under attack, they begin to ramp up production of their chemical defenses. This can mean releasing an aroma that attracts counter-attacking bugs (wasps for caterpillars, for instance), manufacturing something toxic or distasteful to the insects themselves, or producing an anti-fungal compound.
For us, these "defenses" translate directly into flavor and aroma. McGee says, "Because they're not protected by pesticides, organic plants that suffer from insect attack can accumulate higher level of flavor chemicals and other protective molecules, including antioxidants."

So, there's another reason to eat organic-- the taste and the gorgeous aroma!  So, here are the ingredients for your carrot cake porridge... make them whole and organic as much as possible and you will benefit from those choices:

Ingredients: (serves two)

2/3 C. of Steel Cut Oats
2 tsp. Chia Seeds
3 C. Water
1 C. grated Carrot (or 2 grated carrots)
1 T. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Nutmeg
1 tsp. Ginger powder or small nob of fresh Ginger root, grated
Pinch of Salt
2 T. Coconut shreds
1/4 C. Thompson's Raisins
Chopped Nuts for topping (Walnuts are high omega and traditionally used in carrot cake)
Sweetener of Choice (I used Raw Honey)
Almond Mylk


Place all the ingredients (minus last three listed above) in a pot. Bring the porridge to a boil, cover, turn to low, and cook until water is absorbed (about 7-15 minutes).

Transfer your carrot cake oatmeal porridge to a bowl, add nuts, sweetener, and mylk, and mmmmmmm... is it not sinful for porridge to taste like cake?

Want to try 4 other Nutritious, Delicious, Gluten-Free Porridge Recipes? Go HERE.

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