Saturday, October 19, 2013

Healthy Immune Boosting Gummies

I saw a post a while back about making your own gummies. My kids love gummy fruit and such, but I don't usually buy them because of the sugar content. Then I saw where the Real Food RN posted a recipe for gummies that would fight colds and flu. Why not make gummies that have a purpose as well as taste good? So I looked over her recipe and then altered it to fit what my kids and I like and what I had on hand. So far, I'm having to hide them to keep the kids from eating them all in one sitting. So I think that's a hit!

I made my gummies using Elderberry Syrup, Gelatin, Pomegranate juice, honey and cinnamon. I bought my Elderberry Syrup from Vitacost ready made rather than making it myself, but I may make my own in the future. I purchased my gelatin from Amazon.

Elderberries have a number of health benefits:
Used for its antioxidant activity, to lower cholesterol, improve vision, boost the immune system, improve heart health and for coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsillitis. Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1995.

My only issue with the gummies is they didn't want to release from the molds very well. When I make them again I may spray the molds with coconut oil or I may make them in a tray lined with parchment. Have fun making your own Immune boosting gummies!

Immune Boosting Elderberry and Pomegranate Gummies
  • 1 1/4 cup Pomegranate Juice
  • 4 Tbsp. gelatin
  • 1/4 cup Elderberry syrup (use pre-made or make your own)
  • 1/4 honey
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon

  • In a small saucepan, heat the Pomegranate juice until just bubbly. Place gelatin in a mixing bowl then pour hot juice onto it. Stir until dissolved. Add all other ingredients to the hot mixture and stir until well combined. Carefully place mixture into candy molds then refrigerate for at least an hour. (You may want to spray molds with coconut oil...I didn't try this, but I think it might help them release better.)
    More info from the SavoryLotus on why you should add gelatin to your diet:
    1. Gelatin is loaded with protein  ~ With 6 grams of protein per tablespoon, it’s a great way to add more protein to your diet.  Even though it is not a complete protein, it helps the body fully utilize the complete proteins that are taken in.
    2. Gelatin improves digestion ~   It naturally binds to water and helps food move through the digestive tract more easily.
    3. Gelatin can help heal food allergies and intolerances ~  Adding gelatin to your diet can heal the lining of your stomach and digestive tract.  And since food allergies/intolerances are thought to come from a “leaky gut,” the idea is that when you heal your digestive tract, you no longer have proteins and toxins that create health issues “leaching” into your body.
    4. Gelatin is good for bone and joint health ~ Gelatin contains lots of amino acids important in helping to prevent the weakness and degeneration of cartilage in joints.  Gelatin, with it’s anti-inflammatory properties, has  also been shown to reduce  the pain and inflammation of arthritis.
    5. Gelatin helps your body release toxins ~ Glycine, an amino acid found in gelatin, assists the liver to efficiently remove toxins from our system.
    6. Gelatin gives you better hair, nails, and teeth ~ Gelatin contains keratin, which is a very strong protein found in your hair, nails, teeth and skin.
    7. Gelatin improves the elasticity of your skin ~ Gelatin is essentially cooked down collagen.  Consuming it will help improve the look and feel of your skin much more effectively then hard- to- absorb collagen facial creams.  Gelatin actually stimulates your body to produce more collagen.
    8. Gelatin helps speed up wound healing ~ One of the amino acids found in gelatin is glycine, which is highly anti-inflammatory.
    9. Gelatin can improve your quality of sleepClinical studies have shown that not only do people sleep better when consuming the amino acid glycine, they report less daytime drowsiness and better cognitive function.
    10. Gelatin can help with weight loss ~ Gelatin is thought to increase the production of Human Growth Hormone and to boost metabolism.  And with it’s nutrient-dense content, it also helps with satiety (keeps you full.)

    Wednesday, October 2, 2013

    Swirly Sugar Cookies by the Smaller Cavegirl

    Last week The Girl wanted to make some cookies from her kid cookbook, but she wanted to alter them to make them gluten and dairy free. The original recipe called for butter and wheat flour, so we substituted coconut oil and almond flour for those. It also called for lemon zest, which we didn't have. So we substituted lemon juice for that one. And she wanted to add cinnamon to her recipe because she likes cinnamon. :) When all was said and done we had a recipe that loosely resembled the original, but followed the rules she'd set for herself and were very tasty. Win!

    Swirly Sugar Cookies - Gluten free, Dairy Free
    To make about 20 cookies, you will need:
    1 cup powdered sugar (or blitz 1 C granulated sugar in a blender till powdered)
    10 Tbs. coconut oil
    2 Tbs. lemon juice
    1 3/4 Cup almond flour
    1 Tbs. cinnamon
    Few drops food coloring
    Parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheets

    Whisk powdered sugar, cinnamon and almond flour together in a bowl. Melt coconut oil then add to dry mixture. Stir in lemon juice. Mix until well combined adding more flour or powdered sugar if mixture is too runny. Batter should be the consistency of tooth paste. Divide dough into 2 bowls. In one bowl add a few drops of food coloring until you reach the desired color. Mix food coloring into dough. On parchment or plastic wrap roll out the uncolored dough until it is about ¼ inch thick. Carefully spread out the colored dough on top of the uncolored dough. Carefully roll up the dough making a log with the colors swirled on the inside. Wrap log in plastic or parchment and refrigerate for about ½ hour.  Preheat oven to 350*F and remove log from refrigerator.
    Slice dough into ¼ inch thick rounds and place onto a parchment or Silpat lined cookie sheet. Cookies will spread quite a bit!
    Bake for about 13-15 minutes until edges are lightly browned.

    Tuesday, October 1, 2013

    Memories of Papa

    My grandpa died this afternoon. I will miss him greatly. I've been looking at old pictures of him and it's got me remembering the many fun times I spent with him. So I don't forget, I'm writing down some of my memories of my Papa.

    He would let us kids do almost anything we wanted to do. He let me drive his truck on the farm roads when I was 6. I steered and he pushed the pedals. That ended with his truck in the ditch full of water.  But even then he didn't get mad. I ran all the way back to the house and locked myself in the bedroom.  The truck had to sit in the driveway with the doors open for several days to dry out.

    After he went squirrel hunting he'd have me hold the tails while he skinned them, then he'd let me keep the tails. My mom made me throw them away when they started to smell, but he and I thought they were cool.

    He and Mama used to take me frog gigging on their ditch. I got to take the frogs off the gig and put them in the basket.

    He taught me to swim. He would hold the back straps of my swim suit while he told me how to move my arms and legs. Then he would let go while I kept swimming. I always loved to swim.

    At Christmas time he would mix up some eggnog with Jack Daniels. I didn't know it had the Jack in it when he would offer me a sip. I'd make a horrible face when I tasted it and he would laugh and ask if I wanted more. I didn't. :)

    During the summer when I was little I would ride with him when he checked his fields and turned his irrigation pumps back on. Sometimes he'd see a levee that had a break in it. He would have me sit in the hole while he shoveled dirt around me to fill the hole. Sometimes he'd let me swim in the water after we'd fixed the hole since I was wet and muddy already. He would watch out for snakes while I swam. After a while my mom didn't want to let me go because I always came back dirty.

    He made the best fried eggs in bacon grease.

    When Mama was in the hospital I would sit with him in the waiting room and we'd talk about what we'd do when she came home. I think we were both unsure if she would come home, but we were planning for that anyway.

    Papa smiled a lot and laughed a lot, too.

    When you'd say something he'd rather not talk about (like trying to get him to stop smoking) or try to tell him something he didn't want to hear he would just smile and laugh and change the subject rather than argue with you. He would never argue with me or be angry with me about anything.

    I'm pretty sure he slipped me extra nickels when we played 31. (card game where you bet with nickels)

    Because my grandparents lived so close to us growing up, I always felt like I had 3 sets of adults helping to raise me. I feel like I learned a lot from each of them and hope I've become a better person by incorporating some of their personalities into mine. Each time I lose one of them it's hard, but I know they loved me, and they knew I loved them.

    I love you, Papa, and will miss you! I hope you and Mama are having a good reunion in Heaven tonight.

    Week 3 & 4 of the Kids' School Lunches

    The kids branched out a little bit in their school lunches these past couple of weeks. The boy started taking Salmon Salad (mix 1 can of salmon with about 2 Tbs. paleo mayo and 2 tsp. mustard) as his protein and the girl made herself some gluten and dairy free cookies (she typed up the recipe, so I'll be posting that soon). They aren't Paleo or primal as they use powdered sugar (you can make your own without corn starch but it's still sugar).

    The Boy is sticking to the gluten and dairy thing pretty well and will deny himself even if I say he can have something on occasion (he seems to be an all or nothing kind of kid). The Girl has been more reluctant. I've told her it's all her choice and she can eat as she sees fit (to a degree). If she wants to eat gluten and dairy, then I'm not going to say anything about it. I'd say she's holding firm at about 70/30. Overall they are still pretty happy with their lunches and so am I.

    The pictures below are some of the lunches I managed to photograph...some got whisked out the door to school before I could snap my pics.

    The Boy: Salmon Salad, frozen strawberries, lettuce and choc chip muffin
    The Girl: Prosciutto, lettuce, frozen strawberries and a banana 

    The boy: salmon salad, lettuce, pears, choc chip muffin
    The girl: pastrami, carrots, apples, choc chip muffin

    The girl: ham(hidden under the carrots), carrots, pears, cookie
    The boy: salmon salad, lettuce, frozen strawberries (they melted and leaked so they got a bag this time), choc chip muffin

    The boy: salmon salad, lettuce, grapes, choc chip muffin
    The girl: turkey (under carrots), carrots, pears, cookie

    The boy: salmon salad, pears, lettuce, grapes, choc chip muffin
    The Girl: ham, carrots, hummus, pears, cookie

    The boy: salmon salad, apples, lettuce, choc chip muffin
    The girl: ham, carrots, apples, hummus, cookie

    The boy: frozen strawberries, salmon salad, kale chips, choc chip muffin
    The girl: got out the door before I could take a picture. I think she had ham, carrots, choc chip muffin, banana and dried peaches.


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