Saturday, November 20, 2010

Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Cookies

The seen from my phone's camera...which I can not seem to transfer to my computer so I improvised. Picture may not be great, but the cookies are!
Hi Friends,

A while back when we were doing our Ann Clark Cookie Cutter Give-Away a reader submitted a particularly delicious cookie recipe. We always appreciate good recipes and are thankful for this submission from a fellow blogger and incredibly creative mom. If you have a moment it is worth taking a peek at her lunch box creations for her daughter. Fantastic Bento Fun!

I am going to provide you with her cookie recipe which my mother-in-law tested and then provide you with the recipe as I modified it in my kitchen. Both turned out yummy!

Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Cookies (Take One)
2 Cups Shortening
2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla
15 oz Canned Pumpkin
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
4 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cinnamon
5 Cups Flour

Cream in Order. Drop of Greased Cookie Sheet. Bake at 350 Degrees for 10-12 minutes.
Meanwhile........make the caramel glaze.

Caramel Glaze: 1 Tbs of Margarine creamed with 3 Tbs if brown sugar. Next, add 3 Tbs evaporated milk and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Mix well and spread on cookies while they are still warm.

Here are my modifications. This turned out to be a nice cookie! Great for sharing and eating with a cup of warm coffee.

Pumpkin Cookies (Take Two) 

1 Cup Coconut Oil
1 Cup Soft Butter

2 Cups Rapadura
2 Eggs
2 Tsp Vanilla
3 Cups Fresh Pureed Pumpkin
2 tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Salt
4 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Cinnamon
5 Cups Ground Grain ( I used a mixture of Kamut and Spelt)

Instead of the caramel glaze I made some pumpkin butter and spread it on top of the cookies each time we wanted to eat one. Delicious!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Vitamin D

Sending your children outside for some play time benefits them in more ways than you may know. Their imaginations have a chance to be free, their bodies can roam, and the fresh air is good for the lungs. Outside time is refreshing, energy building, and an opportunity for kids (and Momma's) to connect with a creative God who designed clouds, big sky, sun, and endlessly fascinating movements of nature for us.

Outside time is good. But, did you know it could keep dangerous inflammation at bay?

Inflammation in the body is the root cause of many diseases such as cancer, heart disease, arthritis, autoimmune diseases, and dementia (just to name a few). We do not want inflammation in our body. One of the ways that inflammation can occur is through our bodies inability to cope with the enormous amount of sugars we flood our system with in modern diets. Our bodies were not designed to deal with sugar in the level we consume it today and therefor the body is playing "catch up" rather than fulfilling its design to sustain us. According to The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly written by Dr. Rohde anytime the blood sugar level is above 100 it literally begins to attack our bodies causing damage to tissues and leading to inflammation!

A good first step in reducing this tissue damage and steering clear of inflammation is to avoid refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, artificial sweeteners, anything labeled low/no fat, and processed foods. 

A second step is to go outside! Often! And, without sunscreen.
I know we here so often the importance of using sunscreen and I am not here to dispute that. (Although we do not use sunscreen, we instead use coconut oil with great results in both skin care and sun protection.) I am suggestion, however, that at least once a day you and your family do venture into the outdoors without sunscreen on so that you can actually produce Vitamin D within your body as a result of the sun's rays. Wearing just 15 SPF reduces your bodies Vitamin D production by 99%!

Getting outside can be difficult for us northerners who freeze come December through March. But, it must be done. Bundle up, keep the face free of sunscreen for a little bit, and soak up some rays playing in the snow.
Perhaps, on those super cold days finding a sunny spot in the house (you know that picturesque place where the sun is shining bright through the window!) and simply sit together there reading and chatting.

There are foods that help give you Vitamin D:
Whole Milk
Swiss Cheese
Fortified Orange Juice
Fortified Grain Cereals

Many doctors recommend a Vitamin supplement, especially in the colder months. The average adult is in need of over 4000 units of Vitamin D per day to be healthy. This is something that came naturally when we spent most of our time outdoors and ate like our great grandparents did! I do not have information on supplements for you, but I encourage further research. I do know that Cod Liver Oil is supposed to be amazing for you and it also is a good source of the beneficial Vitamin D.

Go outside today. Bask in some afternoon sunshine. Play with the kids. Reduce processed and highly refined foods. Add something to boost Vitamin D to your meal plan this week! Be healthy Momma's!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Healthy Lunch in Pinch


This morning my four year old son did his usual flipping and flying around the house. We are used to some bumps and bruises around here, in fact, daily we are admiring some new muscle or recently procured scrape.

I thought nothing much when he came to me early and mentioned that his arm hurt. As the morning progressed I noticed that my rowdy little fellow was not so rowdy. In fact, he sat nursing his arm on the couch. I gave him a hot pad, read him a few chapters of The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, and watched carefully.

After an hour of stillness I called the doctor and we packed up and high tailed it into the office. I had hesitated because I did not want an enormous bill just to be told that we needed to put ice on it and rest. It was hard to gauge how hurt my little fellow actually was! I decided to stop trying to diagnosis his pain on my own and simply trust him. He said it hurt. That was enough.

Poor little guy had dislocated his elbow. The doctor popped it back into place and immediately his pain was relieved. His energy and movement returned, but mine was sapped! After all of that, plus a cranky baby that missed a morning nap, I was plain tuckered out.

Thankfully, lunch was a breeze. I thought I might share a few easy lunch ideas for families to have around for a time such as this, because they happen!

1. Cheese and Apple Tortilla's
This is really tasty and so easy. I keep tortillas frozen in my freezer at all times. Sometimes they are homemade and sometimes they are store purchased. I really like sprouted grain tortillas. Simply cut up some apples, add some cheese, and serve grilled or cold. You can add sprouts too for a healthful and tasty addition.

2. Apple and Peanut Butter Tortilla's

The same concept as above except smear peanut butter on the tortillas, slice apples, roll up and serve!

Another variation would be here~ on bread!

3. Beans and Rice. Over the weekend I soak beans and rice, cook them, and freeze it. I always know that sometime during the week I might need them and won't have the time to soak and cook them. So, an easy lunch is to take them out of the freezer, heat on the stove, toss in some peppers, and serve.

4. Green Smoothies, Cheese and Crackers
In your blender add together a nice compilation of fruits, kefir (or yogurt), and greens. Believe it or not, greens such as spinach, kale, turnip greens, bok choy, are declicious raw with a little bit of fruit. For a family of four we make our green smoothies something like this: Two Bananas, One Apple, Two Cups of Greens, Dab of Honey, Cup of Kefir/Yogurt. If we have other fruit we might add it too.
Serve this with a plate of cheese and crackers for a quick lunch!

5. Hummus or Black Bean Dip with veggies. Cooking ahead some black beans or chickpeas is great for last minute dips. Soak, cook, and freeze your beans. Then~ when you need them in a crunch they are ready to go!

6. A Really Good Sandwich Idea!

7. Pop sweet potatoes or squash into the oven, serve with cinnamon and good butter!

8. Go out to eat! Haha....hey when you are in a lunch crunch go ahead and pull up a chair to a table you do not have to clean, get a tall glass of water, giggle with the kids, and order your favorite afternoon meal.

There are many more ideas here on MPM's! Have fun looking through our ever growing recipe index (which is still under construction as we have over 850 recipes!) and please share some easy lunch ideas with us!!!!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

A Weeks Glimpse....

Normally, we have a plan.
This week I can give you a couple of thoughts about what I think will appear on MPM's, but it is a little nuts around here for all of us so no holding us to it!

This week. I think.

1. A Readers Submission~ Caramel Glazed Pumpkin Cookies
2. What in the world to do with an abundance of TURNIPS!
3. Encouragement for Moms: The Morning Ritual
4. Revamped Meal Plans: Old Favorites turned into Whole Foods

Yesterday I made Chocolate Chip Cinnamon Rolls because we just had to have them. It was a rainy, chilly Saturday afternoon and there was nothing that sounded better than hot coffee and a cinnamon roll to dunk into it!
Going to share that recipe as well also. I think.

So thankful to our many readers and friends who can take a week like this and offer encouragement and humor. We appreciate you all!