Healthy Probiotic “Soda”

Do you love soda? Are you addicted to it and can’t get enough? I am absolutely addicted to soda! I crave it. It is definitely my Achilles heal. I tell myself I can have just a little, just like an alcoholic would talk him/herself into a “small drink”. One small drink won’t hurt, right? Wrong! Sugar and corn syrup are as addictive as cocaine and heroin, maybe more so. We all know, in order to give up alcohol or drugs, there is no in between. The same goes for soda/sugar. I’ve given up soda dozens of time, for weeks, only to talk myself into “just a small glass. This turns into two, then three. Before you know it, I can’t make it through my day without a soda. The rest goes down hill, my diet, along with my weight and my health.



Well, no more! This time is the last time. That’s why this soda recipe is so important for me. It is changing my life. It tastes amazing! I use organic sour cherry juice concentrate. Tart cherries are amazing. They are known to tame inflammation. Tart cherries are scientifically proven to lesson inflammation and boost melatonin in the body. They are also high in melatonin, a super-hormone that plays many important roles in the body, not just for sleep! One thing you need to know is not to drink too much at once. I only drink it twice a day, with my lunch and dinner, as a tasty way to get my probiotics at each meal.

Here are links to two scientific articles researching the benefits of tart cherry juice:

I also use stevia extract (liquid), not pictured


This recipe for a healthy soda will build your microbiome instead of destroying it! The combination of organic juice concentrate, kefir, stevia and mineral water bring you sweetness, flavor and even the bubbles needed to imitate a tasty soda!

Middle-age Memoirs~ Cooking edition: Gluten-Free Angel Food Cake

My better half recently had a birthday. He requested angel food cake with my homemade frozen custard. I made him and my boys a “normal” cake with wheat flour. I’ll confess, it was from a box. He said he wanted to make things easy for me. šŸ¤£

However, me, being gluten free, can’t eat that type of cake. I’ll share my frozen custard recipe in another post, but know that it requires 8 egg yolks. This means I had 8 egg whites left over. What do you do with them? Well, make gluten-free angel food cake of course!

I began by searching the web for an 8 egg white angel food cake recipe, which I found at Recipe Rascal. The recipe required the following ingredients:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

I used these ingredients, swapping the regular flour with an all purpose gluten free flour blend. What you use here is a matter of preference. Some suggestions would be Bob’s Red Mill or Pamela’s. I’ve had good success baking with both brands.

I sifted the flour and salt together 3 times (per recipe instructions) and set them aside in a small bowl.

Next, I added the egg whites to my stand mixer and blended until frothy, then added the cream of tarter. While the mixer was going, I gradually added the sugar and vanilla. I mixed this until the egg whites were stiff peaks.

How do you know if the whites are stiff enough? A good test is to hold the bowl upside down like I did here in this video:

Finally, I very carefully folded in the GF flour and poured the batter into an UNBUTTERED loaf pan (It’s VERY important that the pan is NOT greased). An angel food cake pan would work as well. I baked it at 325 for approximately 40 minutes.

When it’s removed from the oven, an angel food cake needs to be cooled properly or it will collapse. In my case, I set the loaf pan on its side. If an angel food cake pan is used, turn the pan upside down on a glass bottle, if the pan does not have “cooling feet”.

Closing thoughts

This cake was delicious and it really wasn’t that hard! My son said you couldn’t even tell it was gluten free. I will definitely be making it again. My husband also said he loved it and would have been fine with this as his birthday cake. Well, I guess I’ll know for next year. No more box angel food cakes for us!

Until next time…namaste my friends!

Tamara

Insomnia Fix ~ Recipes: 5 Tryptophan Rich Snack Recipes to Help you Sleep

Experts always tell you not to eat at night. However, when you have insomnia, you are willing to try anything. In my last Insomnia Fix article, posted yesterday, I recommended adding tryptophan rich foods into your diet. Why? Tryptophan is a precursor to melatonin. Everyone knows the sleepy effect a big Thanksgiving dinner has on our body. That’s due to the tryptophan rich foods in the dinner, such as sweet potato and turkey. Below is a chart from Dr. Axe, which details some of the top tryptophan rich foods.

PHOTO SOURCE

In today’s post, I’ve looked for recipes that use at least one of these foods. In some cases, more than one is used in the recipe. In most cases, you can add nuts or seeds to boost levels of melatonin. As a reminder here are some seeds/nuts rich melatonin.

  • Walnuts
  • Almonds
  • pumpkin seeds
  • sunflower seeds
  • flax seeds

Banana-Yogurt Smoothie

Know Your Produce

This couldn’t be easier! Some fresh or frozen banana and some yogurt, with a hint of vanilla extract. Add some almonds or almond butter for a dose of melatonin.

Sweet Potato Smoothie

Build Your Bite

With bananas, sweet potatoes and almond butter, this one is the perfect bedtime snack!

Banana-Nut Overnight Oats

Life Made Sweeter

Oatmeal at night? YES! It’s high in both melatonin and tryptophan! Using greek yogurt instead of milk and adding banana and nuts makes it a nighttime powerhouse! Make it your own, and an even better nighttime snack by adding melatonin rich seeds.
photo source

Smoked Salmon and Dill Deviled Eggs

Taste of home

This recipe uses two tryptophan rich foods eggs and salmon. These make ahead treats are perfect for a quick snack. Sprinkle the tops with some finely chopped seeds for a boost of melatonin.

Chicken Muffins With Hidden VeggiesĀ 

Find Your Mom Tribe

With chicken and almond flour, these are wonderful
for a quick, make-ahead nighttime snack!

Until next time…namaste my friends!

Tamara

Middle-age Memoirs~ Cooking edition: Teaching yourself to cook…with help

I decided to start a cooking journal, to coincide with my lifestyle and fitness journal from my main site. This journal will be a log of my adventures as I teach myself more about cooking, baking and making my own recipes. I hope you’ll join me on this new venture!

Cookbooks & DVDs

Most of what I know about cooking was self taught as well as learned through observing my mother and grandmothers cook. I also learned many healthy cooking techniques at Hawthorn University. It is my dream to one day go to school to become a Natural Food Chef. However, Until then, I will continue to learn on my own.

As you can see in the photos above, I have 2 very large cookbooks, as well as a Great Courses DVD.

  • America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook -weighing in at just over 6 pounds and 2 inches thick, this book is HUGE!
  • How to Bake Everything By: Mark Bittman- not as big, but still quite large, this book weighs in at a little over 3 pounds and about an inch thick.
  • The Everyday Gourmet: Rediscovering the lost art of cooking. This is a DVD set through Greatest Courses. I’ve had it for awhile. My son and I started the classes together a few years ago, but never finished the course. I’ll be going back to the beginning and working my way through. The courses are taught by an instructor from the Culinary Institute of America.

Online Classes

As part of this journal, I’ll try as many of these as I can over time. Some are free and some cost money. We’ll see which ones are worth the price. I’ll also let you know if I find any more.

Closing thoughts

When I started looking for online courses, I had no idea there were so many. The ones listed here are just the main ones I found.

I absolutely LOVE cooking. Any excuse to spend more time in the kitchen works for me. Making it part of my blog and future business is just icing on the cake!

How did you learn to cook? What would you like to learn? Is there anything you’d like to see me try? Let me know in the comments below

Until next time…namaste my friends!

Tamara

10 Snacks and 10 Recipes to Fight Insomnia

As part of my new series The Insomnia Fix, I have compiled a list of 10 snack foods and links to 10 recipes that can help fight insomnia. The snacks and recipes contain foods high in vitamins, minerals and hormones that help promote relaxation or help the body produce the vital sleep hormone melatonin.

10 snack foods to fight insomnia

  • almonds – high in magnesium-a muscle relaxer
  • tart cherries – high in melatonin- a sleep hormone
  • bananas – high in tryptophan – a precursor and necessary component to the production of melatonin
  • pineapple – known to boost melatonin
  • pumpkin seeds – high in tryptophan
  • walnuts – high in melatonin
  • goji berries – one of the best known sources of melatonin
  • Sweet potatoes – high in potassium – a muscle relaxer
  • dairy products – high in tryptophan
  • poultry – high in tryptophan

Below are links to 10 recipes designed to help you relax and produce more melatonin. Some of the links contain more than the recipe being highlighted.

Banana-Almond Smoothie

By: Great Green Heron

Cherry and Plum Smoothie

By: Nourished by Nutrition

Melatonin Boosting Sleep Cocktail

By: Medicinal Plants and their uses

Turmeric Golden Milk

By: The Awesome Green

6 sleep juice recipes

By: Febico

6 sleep juice recipes

Closing thoughts

In the near future, I’ll be giving you some of my personal favorite recipes for nighttime snacks, drinks and smoothies to help me sleep. What are your favorites? I’d love to see your comments below!

Until next time…namaste my friends!

Tamara