Wednesday, 14 March 2012

Pancake Bread and How to Make Peanut Butter

I sometimes wonder if we have convenience fooded ourselves into ridiculousness. How stupid it is to deny ourselves the most important thing - health - to make way for the convenience and free time to do what?  Watch terrible tv? I am not accusing everyone of doing please don't send me nasty messages accusing me of accusing you.....this is more a comment on how we are being 'sold' what we have time for.  According to commercials I don't have the 'time' to cook healthy meals, but I do have time for NBC's 'can't be missed' Thursday night line up.  Apparently I don't have the time or the strength in my arms to shake a container of milk so it has to be homogenized.

From My New Roots
Homogenization is the process by which cow’s milk is treated under extremely high amounts of pressure so that it does not separate into its respective fat layers when it is stored. For those of you that remember the milk man coming around to deliver the day’s supply, you may recall the extremely rich “cream layer” that formed at the top, as the milk at that time was not yet homogenized.......Although it may not seem like a big deal, homogenization changes the milk’s normal, natural, and healthy fat structure into microscopic spheres of fat containing a powerful digestive enzyme called xanthine oxidase (XO). Kurt A. Oster, M.D., who worked during the 1960s through the 1980s, hypothesized that homogenization posed a threat to our health, as these teeny spheres of fat are small enough to pass right through the stomach and intestines, without being digested first, leaving XO to float freely around in the blood and lymphatic systems. When XO breaks free from its fat envelope, it attacks the inner wall of whatever vessel it is in. This creates a wound. The wound then signals the body to send a sort of patching “plaster” to seal off the wound, bringing a number of plaque-forming substances, including cholesterol, to the site of the damage. You can imagine what happens after years of this process going on in the body, patching injured arterial walls over and over again: atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries”, leading to heart attack and stroke. Although Oster’s theories have been criticized, his work is continually published in regards to this subject and highly regarded among respected natural health practitioners.

I could go on - not having the time to be sick even though you have done nothing but eat convenience foods full of sugar/salt/additives/preservatives/food colourings/endless crap that reeks havoc on your immune system so you get the flu shot......but I digress... 

From Dr. Mercola

Limiting sugar in your diet is a well-known key to longevity, because of all the molecules capable of inflicting damage in your body, sugar molecules are probably the most damaging of all. Fructose in particular is an extremely potent pro-inflammatory agent that creates AGEs ('Advanced glycation end produce' are a complex group of compounds formed when sugar reacts with amino acids) and speeds up the aging process. It also promotes the kind of dangerous growth of fat cells around your vital organs that are the hallmark of diabetes and heart disease. Sugar/fructose also increases your insulin and leptin levels and decreases receptor sensitivity for both of these vital hormones, and this is another major factor of premature aging and age-related chronic degenerative diseases such as heart disease. Keep in mind that while it's perfectly normal for your blood sugar levels to rise slightly after every meal, it is not natural or healthy when your blood sugar levels become excessively elevated and stay that way.Unfortunately, that's exactly what will happen if you're eating like the stereotypical American, who consumes a staggering 2.5 pounds of sugar a week on average!
And when you add in other low-quality carb foods such as white bread, sugar, pasta, pastries, cookies, and candy, which also break down to sugar in your body, it's not so difficult to see why so many Americans are in such poor health.

They say that when you die you regret the things you didn't do, not the things you did do. I know I won't look back and think "fuck I didn't watch Keeping up with the Kardashians!!!"  I will regret not reading enough of the classics, not getting down on the floor and playing with my kids enough, maybe not appreciating enough - although I am working on that one...

Like right now I sit writing in my cozy house, bars of sunshine beaming in on me between the slats of the blinds, cup of hot organic coffee with organic cream in hand, munching on homemade bread with homemade peanut and jam.  I am not mentioning any of this to brag but because I think I can appreciate this moment, this breakfast, my life right now because of the work and thought that went into it.  Because I decided long ago what was important to me and what I would never regret - I will never regret the time I don't watch tv that is spend in the kitchen baking. I won't regret the stress and forethought it takes to have 3 healthy meals on the table everyday because it means that at 4 1/2 my kids have never eaten at McDonalds. That at 4 1/2 they are already understanding the importance of eating healthy food (we talk a lot about what 'gives you a tummy ache')  I will never regret that my reading the classics time is usually filled with reading cookbooks, nutrition textbooks or gardening manuals. I can honestly say that I would be a terrible watercooler gossiper.....and I can live with that.

I don't have more time on my hands than anyone else.  It is just about being efficient and making eating this way a priority. And if you don't have enough time in your day - stop watching tv - it is amazing how much time it frees up.

This is a recipe for what the kids call 'Pancake Bread'.  It is Gluten free and Sugar free and really nice toasted with peanut butter or jam or both.

 Pancake Bread

  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour 
  • 1 cup oat flour 
  • 1/4 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup almond flour 
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2cup honey [or maple syrup]
  • 4 eggs 
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup frozen raspberries, thawed
  • 1cup frozen blueberries, thawed
  • 1 cup chopped almonds and hazelnuts
  • 1tbsp vanilla extract 

Make the Peanut Butter and eat this
  1. Preheat your oven to 350*
  2. Line a lasagna pan with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl mix together buckwheat flour, oat flour, rolled oats, almond flour, chopped nuts, and baking powder.
  4. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl
  5. Heat almond milk, until luke warm, in the microwave or on the stove.
  6. Whisk together heated almond milk, coconut oil, honey, almond extract and vanilla.
  7. Add wet to dry and gently stir until it starts to slightly thicken.  [about 20-30sec] Add the eggs and completely combine
  8. Stir in thawed fruit until just combined.
  9. Pour the batter in the pan and bake for 38-42min, or until a toothpick comes out clean.  The edges will be browned and the top will be slightly cracked.
  10. Let cool - Eat - Nom! 

How to Make Peanut Butter

Or any nut butter for that matter. Making your own nut butters is very easy and you can do this once a month without much hassle to keep your family in the healthy versions . Of all nut butters, peanut is the least really I would consider almond or hazelnut (how about making your own Nutella?) first but with peanut being the most popular I thought I would show this one first.

Buy fresh unroasted, unsalted organic nuts.  I am making a point to mention organic because there is some evidence that the rise in nut allergies is actually an allergy to the pesticide - peanuts are one of the most heavily treated crops with pesticides and fungicides. Doesn't that just make you wanna grind that up and feed it to your kids??

Pre heat oven to 300. Spread the nuts single layer on a baking sheet....generally speaking you are going to yield half as much 'butter' as quantity of nuts so if you have 4 cups of nuts you will end up with 2 cups of nut butter....and roast for approx 20 minutes until they are slightly darker and there is a nutty aroma.  The best way to check if they are done is to try one. Then remove from oven and let cool.  Once completely cool transfer to a food processor and blend on high for a couple of minutes.  At this point they are probably the consistency of sticky dust.  Scrape down the sides and continue to process until smooth.  I never add any sweetener but I like to add a little pinch of salt at the end of the processing

**Now I had one huge challenge while making this peanut butter.  I bought beautiful nuts but see how they still have their red skins on them?  Those red skins took over 2 hours to get off.  I even roasted them first to dry out the skin in hopes that it would be even easier to get off.  Luckily I have a daughter who likes silly monotonous jobs or at least has the same stamina for them as I do because we stood at the kitchen counter and got it done, just the two of us, chatting......about TinkerBellMay I recommend that you try to get 'skinned peanuts'.  If your only option for 'skinned peanuts' is that they are previously roasted, make sure they are 'dry roasted' and have NO other additives.  Some 'roasted' nuts are not in fact 'roasted' but deep fried in oil. None of this 'skin' business applies to almond butter .....and I hope to never write 'skin business' again

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