Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Mysterious #fruit. It's a honeydew! Or is it?

Ever purchased a mysterious fruit or vegetable? 

Well, in my personal experiences, I have received new produce in my CSA box that I had not laid eyes on or thought to purchase in the past - like rutabagas or watermelon radish (which are both pretty YUM-O!). Other times while shopping, I make a point to buy something different from the produce section. One time I bought a star fruit. It however wasn't yummy. 

So last week I was craving honeydew melon. I know it's not new or different for most but what I thought was a honeydew turned out to be something else. 

I mean if you saw this melon in the market, wouldn't you think it was a honeydew?
I thought it was a honeydew melon and left it out for a few days to ripen. I cut into it today and this is what was inside:
A cantaloupe?! 
What about the taste you ask? It tastes like a mix between the two flavors of a honeydew and a cantaloupe. It is super sweet! My son asked me to juice it but it's so juicy alone that I had eaten half of the melon in just 15 minutes!!

The next awesome thing about this particular melon in question is that it tastes like a honeydew but has the texture of a cantaloupe. Even the seeds were more like that of a honeydew. I shared this image on my personal Facebook page as well as originally through Instagram. A few commented that it may be a Crenshaw melon or an Orange Honeydew. Both descriptions left me believing it was neither. Mainly because the rind of the melon pictured above was not the same as described in the other two. 

What an awesome experience, right?! Now, leave a comment sharing the last time you tried a new fruit or vegetable.  What was it and how did it taste? 

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Friday, June 21, 2013

#Zucchini Lasagna - (not raw), baked vegetable goodness #recipe

Zucchini lasagna with six other vegetables. No pasta. No beef. Very little dairy (can omit). 

Tomato Sauce:
1 small onion, diced
1 large carrot, shredded
1 large parsnip, shredded
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 large tomato, diced (skins removed)
3 garlic cloves, diced
1 tsp dried basil
1/4 tsp himalayn salt
2 T grapeseed oil

Sauté all vegetables. I didn't have any red wine available so I opted for adding 1 cup of organic tomato basil sauce to the above. Simmer on low heat until ready to be used, about 20 minutes.

Pasta substitute:
2 large zucchini, cut into thin strips
1/8 tsp himalayan salt
1 tsp grapeseed oil

Cook zucchini on each side in a skillet with oil. Season the zucchini before placing in pan. Cook each side 2 minutes. 

Extra filling: 
I purchased a jar of ready-made artichoke spread. All the ingredients are whole-food based and nothing added. I used half of the jar or about 4 oz for where the cheese filling would be in a traditional lasagna.

Line square pan with prepared zucchini. 

Top the zucchini with the tomato sauce and then add the layer of artichoke dip. 

Add whatever leftover zucchini then top with more sauce. Add the optional 1-2 T grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake uncovered for 20 minutes in a 350 degree oven. Let cool for 5 minutes. Dig in! 
Buon Appetito!! 

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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Benefits of #Fiber - The #L.E.A.N. Way!

Importance of Fiber
Fiber is found in foods that come from plants - fruits, vegetables, and grains. Fiber is also part of seeds.

What's so fantastic about fiber?

* It is filling without being fattening.
* It helps you feel good after eating.
* It is friendly to the heart.
* It is good for the gut.

The ABCs of fibers:
A: apricots, apples, avocados, artichokes
B: beans, bran, berries
C: cereals (with 3g of fiber per serving)
s: salads and raw vegetables

L.E.A.N. Start tip: Peels are good for you. There is more fiber in the skin of fruits and vegetables than inside. When eating fresh apples, pears, peaches, and other fruits and vegetables, leave the skin on. Eat the skin of your baked potato.

Learn more about fiber in session 3 of my L.E.A.N. Start "Simplifying Nutrition" eWorkshop. Registration is now open for my next eWorkshop that begins on the last Monday of every month (except for November). The education is primarily for children in mind; however, caretakers, parents, teachers, coaches, medical professionals and anyone whose roles influence youngsters, are encouraged to take my workshop. More information: www.conveyingawareness.com/upcoming-events/registration/.

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Monday, June 10, 2013

Indulgence - #Brownies with Strawberry Filling #Recipe

If you're like me and eat clean 80% of the time but want to occasionally enjoy the 'sweet life,' you can do so when you control the ingredients. Check this recipe out! 

Preheat oven to 350.
Makes 24 mini brownies (I used a mini muffin pan). Note: If you use liners, please spend the extra few dollars for quality liners or you risk them sticking to the brownies. 


1 cup organic raw cane sugar 
1/2 cup organic whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 
1/4 tsp sea salt 
1/4 tsp baking powder
2 eggs 
1/2 cup organic coconut oil
1 tsp real vanilla (extract)

Combine in order. Blend by hand. About 6 minutes. 


6 large organic strawberries, stems and leaves removed, diced
1 tablespoon organic coconut sugar 

Reduce strawberries over medium heat until jam-like. About 6 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Put half of the brownie mix into each cupcake mold and then a layer of the strawberry filling then top with brownie mix.

Bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes then to wire rack. 

You can skip the strawberry filling and just bake the brownies in a 9x9 for 20-25 minutes. 

I do receive a small commission from Amazon.com if you purchase anything through their site using one of the links above (read my full advertising disclosure here). 

Thank you very much for your generosity in helping to offset the costs of website upkeep, so that I can keep sharing wellness resources with my community and beyond.

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Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Updated: Better Banana Bread

In July of 2011, I shared a recipe for the best banana bread recipe. I did not search long enough because I have been baking the following recipe since April 2012.  I went online to see if I could find a truly moist banana bread that remains so even a day or two after baking. This one does! 

Original recipe is from Simply Recipes with my modifications noted in the parentheses:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. As of December 2014, I made some substitutions that came out delish!! So, check out my notes below the ingredients.

3 or 4 ripe bananas, smashed
1/3 cup melted butter (organic)
1 cup sugar (1/3 cup of organic cane sugar and 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon real vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 ½ cups of all-purpose flour (1/2 cup of flax meal and 1 cup of organic whole wheat pastry flour)
Non-stick spray (coat the pans with organic coconut oil and a dusting of flour)

Notes: Right after Christmas, I was short on several ingredients, so I tried my hand at a few substitutions. They're in bold for easy spotting. 

2 bananas & 1/2 cup apple sauce (in place of the 3rd banana)
1/3 cup melted organic butter
1 cup organic sugar
2 tbs melted coconut oil (in place of the 1 egg)
1 tsp real vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1.5 cups of organic flour 

In this rendition, I didn't use the ground flax as part of the flour mixture. This was only because of preference and two, because I had made two subs in for the other ingredients - I wasn't about to try my luck. =)

The preparation directions are the same, see below as follows:

This recipe requires no mixer! In a large bowl, smash the bananas with a fork. Add the melted butter and mix with a wooden spoon (they say metal spoons can react with bread batter plus I find it easier mixing the batter with one). Add sugar, applesauce, vanilla and egg. Sprinkle baking soda and salt over mixture and mix in. Add the flax meal and flour last until mixed. The smashed bananas may cause a few lumps in the batter - that is okay because it will create the pockets of banana after it's been baked. This is a good thing! 

Pour the mixture into mini loaf pans and bake for 26-32 minutes until middle is done (if using full size pans, you'll bake between 52 and 58 minutes). Cool in pans on wire rack for ten minutes and then remove from pans and finish cooling on rack. Slice. Enjoy! (Very yummy when still warm.)

This recipe is by far the best because It Has Pockets of Banana All Throughout! YUM-O!!

As you have gotten to know me, I like to change recipes and put my own personal spin on them. Any recipe can be personalized! What is your signature ingredient?

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)

Saturday, June 1, 2013

My Interview with #SGGFF a #gluten-free (and more) bakery in #Temecula, CA

Greetings, Lindy and Devin! I have had the pleasure of knowing your family for three years. I would like for others to get to know you and your business, So Good Gluten Free Foods, better.  I remember when you started out sampling your baked mac-n-cheese and brownies at Delaney’s in Old Town Temecula. This is when I learned more about the importance of eating gluten-free (GF) and that sweet indulgences do not need to be given up. Though I have no intolerances, I still enjoy eating GF as I believe it balances the gut. In my personal experience, eating too much gluten causes lethargy. Food should be fuel. And, eat the sweet stuff in moderation! =)

Jessica David with Conveying Awareness: Before we get into your business, let’s bring attention to eating gluten free. What does it mean to be gluten-free?
Lindy Pine with SGGFF: What it means to be gluten free is that you eliminate wheat, rye and barley from your diet and also from all products that you use, including, for example, make- up and shampoo.

Jessica: How do we find out if gluten is in our foods?
Lindy:  Sometimes it's difficult to know if there is gluten in our foods because not every manufacturer states whether gluten is present in their product.  Sometimes it will state it on the box as an allergen or just in the list of ingredients but with processed foods you need to be careful when selecting the product.

Jessica: What are some common foods gluten is found in?
Lindy: Gluten is commonly found in bread, pasta, baked goods, gravy and sauces.  

Jessica: By any chance, can gluten (or its derivatives) be found in products for the body or in cleaning products? If so, do you know any brands to steer clear of?
Lindy: Yes, gluten can be present in many products.  There is no requirement currently for companies to declare it on their packaging, so the best course of action is to contact the company directly to find out if gluten is present.

Jessica: In your professional opinion, why are more people being diagnosed with gluten intolerances or allergies?
In my opinion, GMOs and chemical additives in food are playing a large part in increasing the number of people who are being diagnosed with gluten intolerances and other food intolerances.  It's not just intolerances that are being triggered either.  Autoimmune diseases such as hashimotos (thyroid), Rheumatoid Arthritis, Type 1 Diabetes and Lupus are sharply increasing and it's my view that it's because of our bodies "fighting off" what they think is an attack via the chemical additives, antibiotics, GMOs in our foods and ending up getting confused and attacking our own bodies.

If someone doesn’t require gluten-free foods, why is it important to take gluten out of the diet – what are the benefits?
Every situation is different and people have to make their own decision about what's best for them; however, we do know that gluten has an inflammatory effect on the body and we know of many people who have chosen to live a gluten free lifestyle not for medical reasons but because they feel healthier for doing so.  "My aches and pains have disappeared", "My arthritis has cleared up", "My brain fog has gone away" are just some of the comments we have heard.

Tell us more about your family’s situation.
In our situation, I found out that I had Hashimoto's disease (autoimmune thyroid) in 2005 and when I researched the condition I read that with any autoimmune disease it was healthier for me to become gluten free.  My husband joined me soon after and it cured his sinus and acid reflux issues, followed by my 91 year old mother in law who eliminated her arthritis and stomach issues and our 11 year old son who no longer has sinus issues.

Your business was established:
March 2010.

Before your storefront opened, I remember you taking orders via Facebook and your website offering free delivery with at least a $20 order for those living in Temecula. Has this changed since your bakery is open 5 days a week?
Yes, we no longer offer delivery.  Customers can either pick up for free from our bakery, usually 1-2 days after they place their order, or we can ship to CA, AZ or NV at a cost of $10 up to a $30 order, $15 for all orders above $30.

Do you still take orders online and ship products? Tell me more about this as I have followers all over the country.
Yes - customers in CA, AZ or NV can order either online, via phone or over the counter in our bakery.

Please list your operation’s hours and days. What is the address for your bakery?
Our opening hours are Wed-Sat 9-5, Sun 10-3 currently and we're located at 32475 Temecula Parkway, Suite G-103B, Temecula, CA 92592.  As a reference point for local people - we're next door to Killarney's Irish Pub.

I have seen your products sold in Organic Roots (formerly known as Sprouts Natural Market in Temecula). Where else do you stock your products?
As well as Organic Roots, our products are stocked in The Farmstead Market in Murrieta, Wilson Creek Winery (Temecula), The Broken Yolk Cafe (Temecula), E.A.T. Marketplace (Temecula), The Bite Market (Orange CA), and Glen Ivy Spa (Corona).

Are you ‘certified’ gluten-free or do you use a dedicated kitchen for making your products? This is an important concern for Celiacs that are most sensitive to cross-contamination.
Currently, we're not a certified gluten free facility however we are a dedicated gluten free and soy free facility.  Many of our products are also dairy free and egg free and we take great care to avoid cross contamination when we bake all products.  For example, by cleaning and sanitizing all utensils and counters between batches and by storing ingredients separately in secure containers.

Do you use soy or corn? As many people have cross-reactive concerns with these ingredients.
We do not use soy in any of our products at all.  Our baking powder contains non GMO cornstarch which doesn't seem to cause an issue for many of our customers that have a corn allergy.

Do you use non-GMO ingredients?
Yes, we aim to make sure that all of our ingredients are non-GMO, although it's hard sometimes because it's not a requirement for manufacturers to state whether or not their products contain GMO ingredients.  We have found the best way to find out is to contact all of our suppliers directly.

What is the sweetener of choice?
We use organic sugar in all of our products.

Also share any new product requests you’re working on, if you can.
We are constantly asked to come up with many new products and we are working on them but it's a constant challenge because we are so busy making all of our current products!

Please share anything else you’d like to mention.
I'd like to share that we make everything from scratch using our own flour blends.  Everything is made by hand with all natural ingredients, no additives or colors.

Learn more about me on my Facebook business page: Conveying Awareness with Jessica David, on this blog, as well as my LEAN website as a Certified Health Coach.

Every month I feature a small business on my blog. There is certain criteria to qualify and cross networking is a must! Message me for more information: Jessica @ iConveyAwareness dot com (no spaces). 

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Choose, eat, and live well! =)