In 2016 the price of real vanilla CO2 extract sky-rocketed into another dimension.
The following year, it was unavailable to purchase, at any price, and has remained so up to this point. Vanilla supplies worldwide just can not keep up with demand for this rare plant.
I love the flavor of vanilla, and did not want to use synthetic vanilla flavoring. It is made from everything from Coumadin (a blood thinner that can cause liver and kidney failure), to wood chips, to secretion from the anal sacs of beavers!
And most real vanilla extract is 40% or more alcohol, which is another thing I did not want to use. So I began to experiment with making my own extract, with simply vanilla pods (which are still available on the market at a fairly reasonable cost), salt, and water.
Eventually I settled on this recipe. I love it, Michael loves the flavor in his yogurt, and now I believe I really can live without the CO2 total extract the we used to carry! (I do promise to keep on looking for the CO2 extract, and to carry it again if I ever do find a small producer who can sell it to us).
ALCOHOL FREE VANILLA EXTRACT
8 to 10 Vanilla Bean Pods
1/2 tsp Salt
1 cup Filtered Water
1. Cut the vanilla beans so they can fit inside the bottle you are using. I find that 1 quart mason jars work exceptionally well for this purpose. Slice the beans lengthwise, just enough so that you pierce through one side. The intention is to expose the tiny vanilla seeds but keep them attached to the bean.
2. Place the sliced vanilla beans inside the bottle, add the salt and completely cover with filtered water. Place the lid onto the bottle and shake vigorously.
3. Place the bottle in the fridge and shake once a day for 4 weeks.
4. For the next 5 weeks you can shake it less often, like 2 to 3 times a week. The vanilla will be ready to use after 9 weeks (although waiting longer is even better). You can strain out the vanilla pods, or leave them in the extract until it is used up. Shake well before using.
Once the vanilla is done steeping, the vanilla extract will keep in the fridge for 3 months.
Now that you have made your vanilla extract, let us know how you like to use it!
Michael adds 1 teaspoon to a bowl of home made yogurt, with a few ground almonds and raisins.
I like to add 2 teaspoons into a coconut milk drink with our own home grown powdered stevia leaf.
It is also great in muesli or oatmeal, and in freshly juiced orange juice.
Please let us know how you are using it at your house!
This downloadable booklet–13 Power Smoothies for Life–comes as the realist of Michael and I making a new agreement in January to commit to our daily (often twice daily) smoothies.
Wow what a difference we both feel, with all of these nutrient dense foods in liquid form, nourishing our bodies every day! Want to try it yourself? Download our booklet of 13 Power Smoothies for Life. Commit to 30 days. Your body will thank you!
What can these recipes help with? The real question is, “what can they not help with”. They are made with power rich food ingredients that provide many vitamins, minerals, enzymes, omega-3 fats, and antioxidants–elements that we need every single day to keep our vibrant health.
Most of us do not get enough of these on a daily basis, and as we age or go deeper into depletion, our bodies need ALL of these critical nutrients even more.
We can be eating a very healthy diet, and still not getting enough nutrition from our foods. Most Americans are getting only a tenth of the omega-3 fat that they really need, and 96,000 deaths in the USA annually are linked with omega-3 deficiency.
Only 20% of Americans are getting enough vitamin B12; and vitamin B12 deficiency is not just for vegetarians. Under acid conditions in the stomach can keep us from absorbing vitamin B12, even if we are consuming enough.
Some experts in the field believe that nutritional deficiency is pandemic throughout the world. Over 50% of Americans are deficient in vitamin A, vitamin C, and magnesium. And these are but a drop in the bucket of daily nutritional requirements for acquiring and maintaining vibrant health.
If you think that you can take a few pills and bypass the need for smoothies, think again! Many experts agree that the nutrients provided by Nature, in whole foods (fruits, vegetables, raw seeds and nuts, herbs, etc.) is far more complete and effective than popping vitamin pills. In fact, many nutritional supplements can create toxicity in supplement form, but do not have this effect when taken in whole food form.
Conditions that the power smoothies can improve or eliminate over time:
- Degenerative diseases such as cancer, arthritis, diabetes, etc.
- Vision loss
- Hearing loss
- Liver, kidney, heart, and lung issues
- Skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rashes, dry or scaly skin
- Aging symptoms
- PMS and hormonal imbalances
- General body pain
Once you get the hang of making the smoothies, you can make up your own recipes with the formula provided in the booklet. You will be knowing that you are covering many if not all of the necessary nutrients to build health, in one drink. And by adding essential oils in tiny amounts, you will never be bored with the flavor of your smoothies!
As one who eats very few animal products, I am often looking for creative ways to add protein into my diet. This Mocha Protein Nut Bars recipe qualifies for raw, gluten free, free of added sugar, vegan, and high protein all in one.
Best of all, these nut bars are delicious!
MOCHA PROTEIN NUT BARS
Blend together in Vita-mix or high speed blender:
1 cup raw organic pecans
1 cup raw organic walnuts
8 drops coffee essential oil
1/2 t. unrefined sea salt
You will need to pulse several times to make a fine ground that is the texture of a dry chunky nut butter. When the mix holds together fairly well, scrape it out into a small bowl and add:
3 Tablespoons of Sunwarrior Classic Protein Powder (chocolate flavor) or another chocolate protein powder of your choice
4 dates, without seeds
4 Tablespoons pure organic chocolate powder or cocoa
Stir well. Shape into small bars or round cookies. You can eat them right away, or put them in the fridge for up to 24 hours.
If you would like, you can also make a chocolate topping. It is not vegan, unless you use the vegan substitution.
Combine in a small bowl:
2 cups plain yogurt with live cultures (we use home made goat milk yogurt)
1/2 teaspoon stevia powder (to taste)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (we use an alcohol free version)
8 drops coffee essential oil
Spread the topping over bars just before serving. This is a rich and flavorful dessert or snack that everyone will enjoy.
Vegan substitution: Instead of using yogurt, substitute 2 cups of coconut cream, or culinary coconut milk that has been refrigerated for at least 1 hour. The vegan version will be a little thinner, but still delicious!
Hey friends, take a look at the Wonder Bag website. Not only does this bag enable us to slow cook many foods without burning fuel. It is also sold by a great company that gifts a Wonder Bag to a person in need in third world countries, one for every bag purchased online. That is the kind of company I love to support!
My first batch of Wonder Bag bone broth (a paleo diet staple, great for regenerating and reducing the effects of aging too) did not gel in the fridge, and was generally disappointing.
So, with the next batch I made some adjustments and it came out GREAT! It even gelled outside of the fridge as it cooled—a sign that it is very good bone broth, full of collagen and minerals.
So I wanted to share the details of how I made it work in the Wonder Bag.
Wonder Bag Bone Broth
1. First, I added a few chopped veggies with a couple tablespoons of olive oil into a 4 quart pot. I used celery, sweet peppers, carrots, beets, fresh thyme, sage, and savory, a couple of bay leaves, and 2 teaspoons of salt. I cooked them for about 5 minutes over medium heat just until they sizzled a little and the celery began to look translucent.
2. Then I added 4 quarts of water, 2 drops rosemary essential oil, and several large marrow bones from goat and buffalo. I also added 2 chicken feet, which are available from US Wellness Meats. You could substitute chicken wings for the feet, and beef bones for the goat or buffalo bones if you want to.
Be sure to use bones from wild or grass fed/pastured animals, raised without antibiotics, for the healthiest bone broth.
3. I brought the pot to a strong boil over high heat. Once it was boiling for about 10 minutes, I removed it from the fire and immediately put it into the Wonder Bag and closed it up.
4. Now this where I deviated from the suggestions in the Wonder Bag Cookbook. I left the pot in the bag for 4 hours. After about 4 hours, I removed it from the bag, put it back on the stove and reheated it until it boiled. Then I popped it right back in the bag for another 4 hours.
5. I repeated this all day long. Each time I took it out to reheat it on the stove, it took less than 10 minutes to return it to a boil. Then I would re-bag it and go about my day.
6. At night, I reheated the broth for the last time at about 11:30 pm. This time I did not remove it from the bag until 6:30 am when I got up in the morning. It was still nice and hot. I reboiled it two or three more times, until the cartilage was dissolving off the bones, and the broth was thick and rich looking.
7. All in, it took about 30 hours to make this bone broth. And most of that time, I was off working in the high tunnel, doing chores, planting flowers, or anything but cooking!
8. I strained it and poured it directly into quart ball jars, and allowed it to cool to room temperature. It began to gel before it ever went into the fridge.
9. I took it out of the refrigerator the following day. It had gelled into a solid wiggly mass, and it was easy to remove the excess fat that had solidified on the top. This will store for a week or two in the fridge, or longer in the freezer. I like to freeze it in meal size portions ready for adding to vegetables or meats.
Bone Broth is a great regenerator. It supports recovery from disease, depletion, and injury. Bone Broth also supplies vital nutrients, such as collagen, that are lacking in the standard American diet. As we grow older, our bodies stop producing collagen, which causes a break down in our skin, joints and bones. Bone Broth can be added to any vegetable or meat dish, or used in soup and sauces. When taken daily, it can help regenerate bones, teeth, blood, skin, and hair.
It is also very high in minerals that are super absorbable, which boosts the immune and nervous systems in our bodies. Collagen is better absorbed with added Vitamin C, so Bone Broth can be eaten with tomatoes, peppers, kale, broccoli, Brussels sprouts—all of which have more vitamin C than an orange!
Here is an easy to make vanilla pudding recipe that I love! It is great for times when you need a quick desert, and best of all it is gluten free and dairy free, and free of sugars and artificial sweeteners. Try it–you might love it too!
Vanilla Pudding Recipe
12 oz. coconut milk (the culinary kind—not the ready to drink kind)
3 T. Chia seed
1/2 t. cinnamon or 1 drop cinnamon CO2 extract
1/2 t. ginger powder or 1 drop ginger CO2 extract
1/4 t. stevia powder
1/2 t. alcohol free vanilla extract
Add all ingredients into blender or Vita-mix. Process until all ingredients are thoroughly blended. Pour into desert glasses or a bowl, and let it sit in refrigerator for 2 hours. Garnish with fresh berries and serve.
For the past few years, Michael and I have been living mainly gluten free. I will admit, the switch was not as easy as one might think it could be.
So many of the gluten free recipes I had tried in the past, left me dissatisfied with the results. I had always loved the texture and flavor of whole wheat flour, and nothing else would really measure up for me.
When I finally let go of wheat and all of its relatives (faro, Emmerer, and Kamut), I was astounded at the difference in my level of physical health and well-being. But I was still a bit uninspired by the grain free baking choices that were available.
After a couple of years of experimentation, as well as getting some great recipes from my gluten free daughter, I am much more satisfied with the results when I bake these days.
I now know that one must combine several different types of flour to get a good texture, moist and not dry, while still making sure the dough or batter will stick together.
So here is one of my favorite recipes that meets all of these criteria, while also being naturally low in sugar (yes the blueberries contain some sugar) and DELICIOUS. I hope you will enjoy it as much as we have.
Moist and Gluten Free Blueberry Muffins Recipe
3/4 cup solid cold-pressed coconut oil
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Xylitol (if you like muffins on the sweeter side, use 1 cup) Here is a link to a company that sells real birch xylitol, made in the USA. I feel it is greatly superior to corn xylitol, which is mostly made in China. http://www.wholeandnatural.com/health-garden-real-birch-xylitol-1-lb/
3 pasture raised chicken eggs
1/4 cup water mixed with 1/4 cup live cultured organic yogurt or nut milk
1/4 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
2 teaspoons aluminum free baking powder
1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
1-1/4 cups almond flour
1/2 cup coconut flour
2 to 3 drops allspice essential oil
2 cups blueberries
Prepare a muffin pan. Line the muffin cups with paper liners, or lightly coat with coconut oil.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. (I cook mine in a solar oven, which normally only reaches 275 or 300 degrees. In this case you will need to cook them longer).
In a medium size mixing bowl, combine coconut oil, xylitol, and eggs. Whip or stir vigorously until well blended.
Add eggs. Beat them into the batter one at a time.
Add nut milk or yogurt/water mix. Stir well until blended.
Add salt and baking soda. Mix well.
Add flours. Mix well after each addition.
Add allspice essential oil and mix well.
Add blueberries, and stir gently until well blended.
Cook in heated oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean. After 15 minutes, check frequently so that muffins do not over cook and dry out.
Remove muffins from the oven when done. Allow them to cool for a few minutes, then invert the pan on a plate.
Serve them hot or wait until they cool. At our house, they don’t last long!
Grapefruit Julius Smoothy Recipe
I have searched for great tasting recipes that include raw egg, as raw eggs are actually more nutritious than cooked eggs. This Grapefruit Julius Smoothy has several variations, including a dairy free version, and a coconut milk version. And the addition of essential oils create a real special flavor!
First you will need 2 cups of almond nut milk.
Put 1/3 cup almonds into a high speed blender or Vita-mix.
Add 2 cups cold water. Blend on high for 3 minutes.
Strain through cheesecloth or a nut milk bag.
Rinse out the Vita-mix container, and add the nut milk back in.
Add 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and 1/2 teaspoon Sweet Leaf brand powdered stevia extract.
Add 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract, or 1 inch of dried vanilla bean, chopped.
Add 10 drops pink grapefruit essential oil.
Add 2 whole eggs.
Blend again on medium high setting, for just long enough to thoroughly mix the smoothie.
Pour it in a large glass or mason jar, and top with a sprinkle of nutmeg. Drink and enjoy!
Coconut milk version: Replace nut milk with 1/2 cup culinary coconut cream, and 1-1/2 cups water.
Dairy friendly version: Replace nut milk with 2 cups hormone free, grass fed yogurt with live cultures. Add an additional 1/4 teaspoon stevia extract.
High protein version: Add 3 tablespoons chia seed to the smoothy. Allow it to sit for 20 ,omits to let the chia seed reach its hydrated state.
Blueberry version: Eliminate grapefruit essential oil. Add 1/2 cup blueberries and 2 drops clove essential oil.
This simple recipe is so fulfilling and tasty! It can be altered to suit almost any taste. Best of all, it is gluten free.
Combine in a covered bowl:
- Gluten free organic oats (“Quick” oats break down more and are the most easily digested. Whole oats can be used, and if so would be best left on the counter to ferment for up to 72 hours).
- Chopped pecan pieces
- Goji berries, blueberries, or raisins
- Dehydrated maple sprinkles, raw sugar, or slices of dates or figs as sweetener
- Flax seeds
- Chia seeds
- 1 Tablespoon plain yogurt or kefir with live cultures
- Cassia essential oil, and allspice essential oil, a couple of drops each
- Pure spring water or mineral water
Let the mixture sit overnight, or longer for a deeper fermentation. In the morning, stir and eat.
Overnight Oatmeal Recipe Variations
Add small apple slices.
Add a drop of vanilla bourbon.
Use dried chopped apricots in place of berries.
Add organic carob or cocoa powder.
Add cinnamon and cloves.
Substitute almonds, walnuts, or pumpkin seeds for pecans.