Cinnamon Apple Snap Granola

This is a  family favorite breakfast staple and while I wish I could take the credit for such an ingenious idea, this lovely recipe it is adapted from Sarah Smith’s Nourish and Nurtured blog.

While the original is fantastic, we add in cinnamon and trade the honey for greenleaf stevia, making an amply sweet but more blood sugar balancing version (of course due in part to the cinnamon too).

And yes, I know pecans are expensive, but trust me, it is worth every penny to have this ready made super delicious, digestible and grain free breakfast cereal on hand.

In our house we use this recipe in two stages. First we serve it wet with yogurt and berries for a muesli type dish and then we dehydrate it into a dry cereal- making for more variety (work once and get two different kinds of breakfast meals out of it!).

Cinnamon Apple Snap Granola 

What you will need:
4 cups pecans
2 cups apple sauce
1/2 tsp unrefined salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp greenleaf stevia (ground)

How to do it:
Step 1: Soak pecans in water overnight with 1 Tbsp salt.
Step 2: In the morning strain off the water.
Step 3: Process all ingredients in the food processor by pulsing 10-20 times (see above photo for the right texture).
Step 4: Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and spread batter evenly.
Step 5: Dehydrate the cereal in your oven set at the lowest temperature until crispy and dry.
Step 6: Store on your counter top in a glass jar.

Serve with homemade nut milk or full fat yogurt. For extra nutrition and flavour add a dollop of creme fraiche or kefir cream and fresh fruit on top!

Enjoy!

Just like White ‘flour’ Dough (but not)

I’ve tried my fair share of grain free pizza doughs. While they all taste good, they often fall apart and rarely look like the real thing.

This recipe has been rocking our kitchen for a few months now and it is sooo versatile. We use it for both pizza and quiche (planning to try it for pie too!)

By the way, almond flour is way more nutritious than whole wheat flour (and of course gluten and grain free). In our house, pizza is a health food!

NOTE: Some almond flours have different behaviors so use more or less depending on the one you have in your kitchen (this recipe uses Bob’s Red Mill brand).

Just like White ‘flour’ Dough

What you will need:
2 1/2 cups almond flour
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast)
1/4 tsp unrefined salt
1/4 cup coconut oil
2 eggs

How to do it:

Step 1: Gently melt coconut oil on the stovetop.
Step 2: Whisk eggs in a small bowl.
Step 3: Put remaining ingredients in a medium size bowl and mix with a fork.
Step 4: Stir whisked eggs into the batter and then stir in the coconut oil in after (otherwise if you stir them both in at the same time, you risk cooking the eggs from the heat of the coconut oil).
Step 5: Form into pizza crust or quiche shell.
Step 6: Bake crust @ 350 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Step 7: Fill or top and then bake until cheese melts for pizza or until eggs set for quiche (this all depending on the recipe you are using for quiche- you might be able to get away without precooking the shell)

Enjoy!

Born to (eat) wild: Laura Reeves

Today we bring you a Q & A with the fabulous Laura Reeves who has written a series of articles for Domestic Diva on wildcrafting. If you’ve been wanting to learn how -and why- to eat and heal with what grows in your own backyard, the woods and the fields around you, well, here’s your chance to steep in it with a woman who has spent her life doing just that…

Laura will soon have a book on wild edibles available on our site. For now, enjoy getting to know her…

Who is Laura Reeves?

I grew up in East St. Paul, Manitoba where I spent a lot of time exploring the local fields and woods, learning what the local plants were and watching the animals.

When I was 12, I started reading books by Canadian wildlife biologist, R.D. Lawrence, and I dreamed of being just like him, spending my time outdoors, studying wildlife. I continued to work toward this goal and, in 1997, I graduated from the University of Manitoba with a Bachelor of Science (Botany).

Since 1994, I have worked for the Manitoba Tall Grass Prairie Preserve, conducting plant surveys and monitoring the effects of both weather and management activities on plants and their habitats.  I have taken eight courses from Tom Brown’s Tracking, Nature and Wilderness Survival School in New Jersey and am currently enrolled in the Kamana Naturalist Training Program with Wilderness Awareness School, based out of Washington. 

Laura Reeves

How did you get started gathering wild edibles?

I have been eating wild plants since I can remember, taking after my dad, who was always gathering berries for jams and jellies or snacking on various plants while walking through fields and woods.

As I grew older, my interest in wild edible and medicinal plants increased, much to the dismay of my mother, who often voiced her frustration at trying to work around my pans of herbs drying on the kitchen counters.  I looked forward to the freedom of moving out on my own and dedicating space in my kitchen for wild edibles.

When I found my own place, I began incorporating increasing amounts and varieties of wild edibles into my diet, making personal vows to completely substitute wild foods for regular fare.  As a result, wild edibles became a necessary part of my diet.  For instance, when I realized how many local plants contain vitamin C, I suddenly saw the absurdity of buying orange juice that had been shipped all the way from the southern states and beyond.  I cut store-bought juices from my diet completely, knowing that I would be forced to learn more about the local plants and gather enough to get me through the long Manitoba winters.

It’s kind of strange that even when something is really important to us, we often have to create a need for it in order to do it.  But that’s what I did.  I created a need for wild edibles.

How much of your diet is wild?

Today, I have no need for the produce section of the grocery store.  All of my produce comes from a combination of garden and wild harvests.  I refrain from buying fresh produce, even in the winter, depending instead on my stores of fresh, frozen, dried and canned foods, much like people did for thousands of years.  I have wild roots, tubers, greens, seeds, spices, nuts, seeds and berries that I incorporate into every meal, including breads, main dishes, desserts and beverages.

Bunchberry

Why gather wild edibles?

There are many benefits to gathering wild edibles.  For the most part, they are free, local, organic and have a higher nutrient content than domestic produce.  However, I believe that the greatest benefits come from the process of gathering them.  While harvesting wild foods, we can’t help but notice how the seasons and weather affect the things we are harvesting.  We also notice how different species of plants, insects and animals relate to each other. As we explore our communities, observe where things grow and ask our neighbours if we can have that pigweed growing in their flower bed, we learn more about our local community.

By simply being outside, we become aware of our surroundings and in tune with nature.  By pausing to say good morning to the robin, admire a flower or hunt down the source of a particular scent in the air, our awareness extends far beyond our selves.  We feel, if only for a moment, a child-like excitement, or an awareness of our primal selves.  We feel a connection to the earth.  And we find ourselves developing empathy that reaches far beyond the plants that we are gathering.

What are some of the things you most love about doing this?

There was a long period when I despised the idea that people can’t or won’t care about wild things until they find a use for them. I found this rather self-centered.

As I learned how to use wild plants for food, shelter, water, fire, medicines, and many other things, I began to understand how it is that one cares more deeply for something (or someone) that they have a personal relationship with.

When we have a need for something, we will go out of our way to protect it.  I have a developed a close relationship to the plants I gather, whether they are for food, fire, baskets, or medicine. They take care of me, and I take care of them. This connection goes beyond the physical and can only be understood through experience. It is this connection to the plants that I love most, and the reason why they are an integral part of my life.

Labrador tea

 

Discover the sexy alternative to disposable pads

 

What’s all this about ‘Moon Time’?

‘Moon Time’ refers to a woman’s menstrual cycle. Nowadays we refer to the event as as ‘menstruation’, ‘menses’, or ‘period’. Traditionally, a woman’s Moon Time is a sacred time…a time when she would be honored as a mother of the Creative Force, a time when she trusts her body’s natural rhythm of purification.

The connection between our bodies and the moon also includes the movements of the tides. As the Moon travels around the Earth, the oceans move with it. Due to the fact that our bodies are made up of mostly water (80%), the moon has a ‘pulling’ effect on the watery parts of the body. The moon is a weaver of tides, and a woman’s cycle follows the rhythm of that weaving. The world over, Indigenous societies recognized the connection between the moon and a woman’s cycle, and regarded Moon Time as a time of honor for women. It is a time for renewal, a time for trusting our intuition and connecting with ourselves. It is a time for letting go of that which we no longer need, a time of cleansing, reflection, and creativity.

“All women carry the cycle of life and death within us. It’s centre spirals in and out of our wombs and it manifests in our monthly bleeding cycle. In ancient times, women carried this knowledge and knew how to use and flow with the energies of the moon cycles. There was no shame or taboo around women’s blood. In fact, it was the source of women’s power, and the monthly rituals they practiced around their bleeding time were the first rituals in human history.” Kelly Rose Mason: The Way to Spirit Through our Bleeding Cycles

Alternatives to Conventional Menstrual Products
There are a number of alternative and organic products out there to choose from, that are a much healthier choice for our bodies and for the planet (compared to what is widely available at any given supermarket or drug store). To get to know what is available, take a look at your local health food store, organic foods market, or a small, local, conscious-living type of store. Often these places will carry things like the ‘Keeper’, the ‘Diva Cup’, re-useable menstrual pads, or organically made pads and tampons. The internet also has quite alot of information about these products, so you can get a good overview of what choices are available.

Why choose cloth menstrual pads?
So many reasons!! And ultimately, how a woman chooses to bleed is a very personal choice. Myself, I have tried almost everything out there on the market and have come to appreciate the simplicity and ease of using cloth. Personally, I have never been a huge fan of tampons (except for maybe the last couple of days of my Moon Time) and the thought of ‘blocking the flow’ seems to go against nature. If you are still unsure about re-useable pads, here are some things to consider:

1) Cloth pads are a healthy choice for our bodies. They are free of the harmful toxins that are found in conventional, disposable products. The cotton and the wood pulp that is used in disposable pads & tampons is chlorine bleached, which means that it contains and creates dioxins – a carcinogen that is harmful to humans and wildlife.

2) Choosing cloth is a good environmental choice and a good alternative to wasteful, disposable products. Cloth pads avoid plastics and it’s production that is associated with disposable products. They not only help to reduce the solid waste that goes to the landfill, but they save trees!

3) Cloth menstrual pads are a good economical choice. Designed to be used and enjoyed for many years, one can easily say that they save alot of money!

4) Cloth pads are sexy! Let’s be honest…would you rather be caught with your pants down wearing stinky plastic between your legs, or something breathable, colorfully patterned, fun and pretty?

Health Issues

Women who are prone to sensitivities like thrush or yeast infections, may find relief in choosing cloth menstrual pads. Cloth pads are soft and gentle on sensitive skin, and cloth is comfortable due to the breathability of the fabric. The benefit of air flow with cloth pads also inhibits fungal or bacterial growth and cloth is superbly gentle for tender parts in postpartum bleeding.

Because of the synthetic nature of the chemical-laden ‘throw-aways’, disposables tend to be a breeding ground for bacteria and germs. This can obviously lead to problems for women who experience these sensitivities.

The way I see it, no matter how you choose to bleed, whether it be on a cloth menstrual pad, an organic cloth pad, a reusable menstrual cup, a natural sea sponge, or organic pads and tampons….just make sure to ask these two important questions: “Does this feel right for MY body”….and….”Is this a good choice for OUR environment?.”

If you are still ‘on the fence’ when it comes to reusable pads, I would encourage you to do some research and consider your impact on the planet. A huge amount of waste from disposables end up in our waterways, polluting oceans and rivers…they DO end up somewhere! The following quote from Recycling and Waste Reduction Statistics gives an us and eye-opening, jaw-dropping idea of just how much waste we create:
“In the US and Canada alone, more than 12 BILLION pads and tampons are tossed annually. The average woman throws away between 10,000 and 15,000 tampons, pads, and applicators over her lifetime”. From P2Pays-Recycling and Waste Reduction Statistics: The Disturbing Truth

We live in a beautiful and bountiful world, that is being threatened daily by the choices we make as consumers. Let’s keep it beautiful for the sake of our communities, for the sake of the earth that provides so much abundance for us all, for our children, and for the generations to come.

*To order some beautifully made cloth menstrual pads* please e-mail: meaghan.ravensong@gmail.com

Meaghan's Display Booth

Meaghan is co-creator of the Gingerbread Thread Company, and mom of a busy toddler. When she has time to work in her studio, she enjoys making useful, beautiful, and high quality items for moms (cloth menstrual pads, all-natural hand & face cream) and babes (recycled & felted wool diaper covers & pants).

The snack zone: fuss-free eating

Here’s a quick and simple way to empower your children to make their own choices about the food they eat, while giving gentle and non-coercive guidance.

We call it the ‘snack zone’ in our house and here’s why I love it:

  1. It helps end the meal and snack time battles.
  2. It honours your child’s hunger rhythms. Most of the time kids have to eat when someone else (parents/teachers etc) say they have to – whether they are hungry or not.
  3. It provides ‘teachable’ moments where children can discover the benefits of self-regulation, cooperation, and the pride of responsibility.
  4. I can actually sit down and eat with everyone else (bonus).

What is a snack zone?

The snack zone is a designated area or container in the fridge that is stocked with kid-friendly, nutrient-dense foods. The philosophy behind the snack zone is that it allows children to make their own decisions about what they eat. If you have a child who regularly rejects what’s put on the table (whether it’s snacks or meals) this can be a great solution. There’s no questions about what to do. Eat what’s on the table or get thee over to the fridge and make your own choice.

How to create your own snack zone

  1. Allocate a space in your fridge that is the snack zone. You can use a basket or container to hold the ‘snack’ foods.
  2. Talk to your kids and get them involved in designing and stocking it. (Of course they are going to like it better that way!)
  3. Put snacks in clear containers so it’s easy for the kids to see what’s available. Mason jars work.
  4. Make sure the snack zone is always stocked with a variety of food (and drinks). Try restocking on the same day so you establish a rhythm around it.

 Snack zone food ideas

  • Fresh fruits
  • Fresh vegetables
  • Homemade dips
  • Homemade granola or lara bars, homemade cookies or biscuits.
  • Homemade crackers (yes, you can even put the pantry items in the snack zone!)
  • Yogurt (you can make it into individual helpings if your child can’t make their own portions yet).
  • Cut up cheese
  • Nori (seaweed)
  • Applesauce
  • Homemade jerky (beef, bison, elk, turkey or salmon)
  • Homemade fruit roll ups
  • Kombucha, juice kefir, water kefir
  • Kale chips
  • Chicken or egg salad

You can see the sky is the limit here…and what you put in your bin will vary depending on the age of your children as well as if they have allergies)

Why kids love it:

  • It empowers them to make their own choices.
  • They get a say about what goes in it.
  • They don’t have to ask someone every time they want something (it teaches self-reliance).

You may have to tweak your snack zone to see what works for your family. For example, some kids might eat five granola bars if there are five available. Rather than you restricting that food however, you might want to consider just letting it run out and allowing your children to learn to self-regulate. i.e “Hmm. If I eat all that in one sitting there will be no more for the rest of the week). This is a tool we’ve tried to adopt from Jane Nelson’s Positive Discipline. There might be some crying and protests at first (if they want certain items restocked NOW) but a firm and loving attitude is worth the outcome.

Do you have a tip for nurturing healthy habits in your children that you can share? Please do! We’d love to hear them!