Autumn adorns the grass in crystal robes, the river in a wispy veil, and crowns the trees gold. The breeze grows crisp as the leaves underfoot.
Amid the silence of our summer birds enters a forgotten sound, and slowly, we remember. It may come on a bus. It may come as the chill ushers us behind closed doors. It may come as the morning wakes the fragile form of a child. That is how it has come, this year, for me. A soft sniffle, paired with that wide-eyed look, full of expectation and the desire to understand this discomfort which has taken hold. The first furtive search for the tissue which you never realized had been absent from the nearest box since, when?

Now that we remember, it's time to get our head in the game. Here is information about preventative steps you may wish to consider this autumn.


Vitamin C

Vitamin C is a great help in staying healthy, especially if you are obtaining it naturally. If you are choosing to avoid corn, you will also need to avoid synthetic vitamin C (ascorbic acid) as it is corn derived. How blessed we are that we have access to excellent sources!

Capsicum (Peppers!)

Peppers have been getting a lot of attention lately for their health benefits. One big benefit is that they are packed with Vitamin C. For an introduction to some of the other benefits, read this article on the health benefits of capsicum. Peppers are a great addition to your autumn food repertoire, whether as an upbeat snack or a delicious dinner addition. Sweet bell peppers with a raw zucchini hummus take advantage of in-season produce. Flavour your dinner with paprika, cayenne, chili, chipotle, or your favourite spicy pepper. Store your fresh peppers for year round Vitamin C with a dehydrator, or preserve them as a salsa or jam. Raw capsicum is a much better source of Vitamin C than cooked. Fun pepper fact: Red and green bell peppers are the same! Reds are a riper version of green. Orange peppers are a riper version of yellow.

Kiwi (Chinese Gooseberry)

Kiwi has more Vitamin C than oranges. I eat a lot of kiwi when it goes on sale. My local produce store features them at 3/$1 this time of year. In case you were wondering whether you can eat the skin, the answer is... yes! The texture may take some getting used to, but I always eat the skin. Why waste those nutrients? I also find myself much more likely to snack on kiwi when I don't have to deal with the mess of painstakingly removing the skin. I do usually throw out the hard parts on the ends (compost if you can!).

Some of you mothers out there might be thinking of whether you can get your children to eat the skins. I have to say that my children have never been picky about... anything. Maybe poor presentation, but I am yet to encounter a flavour or texture they refuse (beyond perhaps needing a few exposures before embracing). As a result, my advice is either great or awful for you. I love the philosophy of introducing foods known as Baby-Led Weaning (beyond the scope of today's post). I would attribute this, coupled with the joy I always express when sharing new foods with my children, to our success. My pattern is this: first, love the food myself; second, share with joy. I find my children want to share in my joy, and it makes the all the difference.

Dark Leafy Greens

Bring on the green smoothies, collard wraps, kale chips, and salads! Raw is best, but if you are cooking, they are so easy to toss.

Are you reluctant to embrace kale because of the flavour or texture? Don't eat the bitter stem. Think of it more like broccoli (also high in Vitamin C) than like spinach. Beat the texture by blending or dehydrating. Chiffonade to decrease the bulk. Pair with other strong flavours that you enjoy.

Don't forget herbs. Parsley is packed with Vitamin C. Thyme is great, but I personally avoid it while pregnant or breastfeeding.Food storage tips: Freeze or dehydrate your summer leafy greens. Overwinter your kale or maché in cold frames. Don't forget to wild-harvest your wild greens. Keep some year-round fresh with indoor gardening or hydroponics. Maximize the useable vitamins in your food storage by sprouting!

Guava and Papaya

Excellent souces of Vitamin C, and delicious! Papaya is really easy to scoop with a melon baller and adds great variation to fruit salad. Papaya is wonderful dehydrated too.

Strawberries and Citrus

These easily accessible fruits are a tasty way to get your vitamin C! Try a Strawberry Lemonade green smoothie: 1 banana, 1 whole lemon, 1-2 handfuls of spinach, and 1 cups strawberries. Chop the lemon before blending and add water to blend/thin.

In honour of Vitamin C, I am sharing this Vitamin C - packed salad!

Zingy Weather-Busting Salad

Ingredients:

2 small handfuls of baby spinach
3 mini bell peppers or 1 regular, sliced
2 strawberries, sliced
1 clove garlic, shaved*
sprinkling of parsley
small splash apple cider vinegar (preferably unpasteurized)
light drizzle extra virgin olive oil
freshly ground black pepper to taste
sea salt or rock salt to taste
*mince your garlic and combine with oil, vinegar, parsley, salt, and pepper in a dressing if you are concerned about the flavour being strong.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned for part 2!
 
 
These... are happening again. If there was ever any doubt, food can be downright delicious! This is true even if, or perhaps especially if, you are limited to a restricted diet. I view my restrictions as a license to be creative in the kitchen and embrace food I enjoy!
Ingredients:

approx 8 medium red potatoes*
coconut oil
3-4 medium onions, chopped
sea salt or rock salt
almond butter
shredded coconut
maple syrup
chipotle powder
optional: juice of 1 lime

*many people prefer russet, but I use red, because they are healthier and, in my opinion, still delicious.

Directions:

Preheat oven at 400 degrees. Stab your potatoes and lather them in coconut oil. Bake for about an hour.


Sauté onions in coconut oil on medium or lower heat until just beginning to brown. Set aside.

Remove potatoes from oven. When sufficiently cool, halve the potatoes and scoop out the flesh, leaving 1/4" of flesh on the skins.
Coat insides with coconut oil. Bake for 10 minutes skin-down, then 10 minutes skin-up.
Sprinkle salt into skins. Distribute onions into each skin. Spread almond butter over onions, but not too generously (it has a sticky texture). Sprinkle coconut on top, and drizzle maple syrup. Add a few drops of freshly squeezed lime juice if you prefer to. Dust the top with chipotle powder. Bake for another 2 minutes and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.
Variations: Try adding slivered almonds. Substitute peanut butter in a pinch (natural peanut butter!). Sauté some chopped leafy greens with the onions. Sauté a chopped apple with the onions.

Food Storage Applicability: If you properly store your onions and potatoes, this one is a great food storage recipe! Stir your almond butter before use for best results.

Word of Wisdom: This recipe is heavier on the fats and not as nutritionally dense. It also features maple syrup, which I try to use sparingly. There are a lot of misconceptions about the appropriate amount of fat in one's diet. The fats used in this recipe are healthy fats. Go with what your body is telling you. If you have been eating salad all day, your body probably needs some fats. Plan your meals with an awareness of your total intake. Listen to your body, exercise moderation, and food like this can be part of an overall healthy diet. This recipe is Word of Wisdom appropriate.

Gluten and Corn Free: This recipe should be safe!  A reminder to make sure your bakeware is pristine to avoid cross-contact with glutenous or corn-containing crumbs that may remain from previous baking.

I thoroughly enjoyed this appetizer. What a blessing it is that we can enjoy so many foods! This recipe almost didn't happen today. Here is a special behind-the-scenes look at today's recipe, brought to you by motherhood:
... yes, that is almond butter. Cheers!
 
 
I think this one speaks for itself. Bookmark this appetizer for the next time your parents stay for dinner, the missionaries are coming over, or your toddler takes scissors to your favourite dress and you just really need life to be beautiful.
Ingredients (per plate):
  • 1 roma tomato
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 shakes sea salt or rock salt
  • fresh dill
  • dried currants
  • scant dusting of nutmeg
  • dusting of cinnamon

Directions:

Mash avocado in a bowl with salt. Place centered on plate. Smooth and top with dill.
Slice roma into 6 slices and one thick end slice. Use a sharp knife to cut petals into the thick slice. Cut the remaining six slices so they fit closer together as shown:
Place the largest three on the bottom with the remaining three staggered on top. Top with the thick slice.

Place dried currants in a line on each petal. Top with a subtle dusting of nutmeg and a dusting of cinnamon.
Serve immediately.

Food Storage Applicability: The applicability is limited here as avocado doesn't store well, though you could whip up some cashew cream, peanut butter, or almond butter for a base and be creative with presenting your canned tomatoes. Who said food storage can't be pretty?

Word of Wisdom: Yes! Food can be decadent and healthy!

Gluten and Corn free: Very safe. This is also paleo and raw vegan while still being really presentable to.. anybody! (Unless you are cooking for somebody who needs to avoid tomatoes, or a baby avoiding cinnamon. We needed to find an exception somewhere, right?)

I am grateful for beautiful and delicious foods to enjoy and share. Bon appetit!
 
 
I hope you all enjoyed a peaceful Sunday with your family. At Church we talked about family history. I adore family recipes, which poses a challenge for me since most family recipes now require some serious substitutions for me. I wonder what it would be like to taste food prepared from scratch by the early pioneers before the days of genetically modified wheat and synthetic preservatives. Here's to creating new traditions as we look forward to our future of family meals and raising healthy children.
One of the best things about autumn is that the vegetables taste like dessert. I have made a good few variations of this wonderful baked squash and am yet to find it to be anything other than excellent. As a bonus, it is very filling! Maybe it's because I'm a mom, but I love leftovers. In fact, I love leftovers so much, I doubled this recipe yesterday. When you have a food intolerance, having prepared food on hand is such a blessing.
Ingredients:

1 acorn squash
1 cup gluten-free oat flour*
1 cup gluten-free rolled oats*
2/3 cup dried barberries, currants, or raisins**
2/3 tsp cardamom
1 tsp nutmeg
1.5 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey***
1-2 tsp coconut oil (optional, for a softer stuffing)
1/3 cup water
3/4 tsp apple cider vinegar or juice of half a lime

*Oats do not contain gluten, but most oats are processed on the same equipment as wheat and are not safe for persons who cannot have gluten. I used Only Oats brand, which processes their oats in a gluten free environment.
**Barberries are considered a health food and are a great source of Vitamin C. They also improve immune function. In culinary use they are quite tart, almost lemony. Barberries grow naturally in Alberta and can be wild-harvested. If you don't have barberries, currants or raisins would work great. As currants and raisins are sweeter, cut the honey and use more lime to maintain the sweet-sour balance.
***Go with raw, unpasteurized honey and make sure you speak directly with the supplier. Honey harvested where bees have access to corn fields leads to problems for corn intolerant people. I love buying my honey at the farmer's market. Pasteurized honey has lost its health benefits and may contain corn syrup.
Procedure:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees farenheit.
  • Scoop seeds from your squash. If you have a few extra minutes, separate the seeds and bake with sea salt.
  • In a bowl, combine remaining ingredients to achieve a uniform mixture.
  • Stuff the squash and bake it for about 45-60 minutes.

Serves 2

Variations: Try adding chopped apples, freshly squeezed orange juice, chiffonaded mint, other dried fruit, seeds, or chopped nuts. Try it with curry powder and shredded coconut in place of the cardamom, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Try it with chopped nuts, chopped dried fruit, minced citrus peel, grated ginger, nutmeg, and banana or dates for a mincemeat-inspired variation. Add a pinch of salt to any of these variations if it is to your taste.


Food Storage Applicability: Squash store well for part of the year, especially with the help of a root cellar or cold room. Everything else should be shelf stable.

Word of Wisdom: I like that this recipe uses seasonal produce and has a strong ratio of vegetable to grain. If you want to decrease the amount of grain, add some nuts to replace some of the oats.

Gluten and Corn Free: I haven't had a problem with any of these ingredients. Do ensure your honey is corn free or substitute a safe sweetener for you.

A note on corn and oats: When I refer to corn on this website, I am referring to maize. Other crops, including oats, are called corn in some parts of the world. Check out what the Bible Dictionary says about corn:
Corn

Seven different words in Hebrew and three in Greek have been translated as “corn” in the KJV. They are words referring to the cereal grains used for food, such as wheat or barley. Corn in English refers to the cereal grains most common in a given region, such as wheat in England, oats in Ireland and Scotland, or maize (Indian corn) in Australia, Canada, and the U.S. Thus “ears of corn” in the English of the KJV would be called “heads of grain” in the United States. Indian corn (maize) was known and used only in the Western Hemisphere prior to the discovery of America; it is not the corn of the Bible.
I didn't realize this until I was talking to a vendor at my local farmer's market about corn. He was of obvious scottish heritage and wanted to know if by corn I meant corn on the cob or oats. It was by chance that I happened across the entry in the Bible Dictionary only a few days later. This may be good to remember if you ever find yourself needing to ask questions of somebody with a different background or if you are travelling abroad.
 
 
I am really excited to share this recipe with you guys!
Say good evening to deliciousness, variety, and dare I say it - a quick dinner! This marvel emerged from what was shaping up to be a time crunch dinner. Inspiration comes in all forms and I am not going to take credit for this one. I am thankful to Heavenly Father for condescending to inspire me in such a seemingly insignificant way. He reminded me that I am one of His children, and He, as a loving parent, cares about the things that are important to me.
This recipe began as I glanced over at some beautiful tomatoes fresh from my grandparents' farm, envisioned them gently sautéing in olive oil, and inexplicably found myself craving bruschetta. Bruschetta has been on the no-list for so long now, mostly because of the bread and now because of the balsamic vinegar (corn). Thoughts of a warmed bruschetta served over rice noodles began to take shape, and this is the glorious result:


Ingredients:

1 package rice pasta (I used tinkyada tri-colour rice pasta)
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
5 roma tomatoes (or equivalent)
6 cloves garlic, minced*
Sea salt or rock salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
3 handfuls fresh basil
* Feel free to adjust to preference. I thought it was perfect. My husband mentioned it was garlicky.
Procedure:
  • Cook and drain your pasta. Set it aside.
  • Heat half of the olive oil over medium low heat (below smoke point)
  • Quarter your tomatoes with care to retain seeds. Place gently in the olive oil, skin-down.
  • Top tomatoes with garlic, salt, and pepper. Coat with remainder of olive oil and apple cider vinegar. Give it a couple minutes.
  • Place basil on top of sauce and gently wilt with a lid.
  • Serve over rice pasta with a drizzle of pot juices.
Serves 2

Variations: Try this out with fresh oregano, served over rice, or with chicken or fish.

Food Storage Applicability: This recipe can be adapted for food storage by using canned tomatoes (please don't freeze your beautiful tomatoes it kills the flavour), and basil grown through hydroponics. Alternatively, you could substitute the fresh basil with a dry or frozen herb. You could even use frozen spinach. I don't recommend relying on freezing to store food for emergencies unless you invest in a generator.

Word of Wisdom: This recipe should be a great choice in keeping the Word of Wisdom, especially during the summer and in the early autumn when tomatoes and herbs are prevalent. This is heavy on the grains, so be cognisant of your grain consumption in your other meals when you are planning this.

Gluten and Corn Free: Watch which rice pasta you use and avoid heinz apple cider vinegar. Tinkyada currently lists their rice pasta products as both gluten and corn free on their website. Always check packages and websites. There are other great brands out there. We happen to like tinkyada. My husband says it tastes "like the real thing" (wheat).

Thanks for reading my blog! If you're a bruschetta fan, I hope this quick and tasty recipe makes its way into your kitchen.
 
 
This soup was inspired by a trip to the local produce store and a slough of substitutions from this recipe. Feel free to mix and match veggies or adjust ratios. I love this soup because it is full of delicious autumn flavours while staying safely corn free. So many soup recipes call for broth, and I am yet to make my own safe broth. The roasted vegetables have fantastic texture and keep the flavour varied. It doesn't hurt that I am a huge coconut curry fan! This recipe is a unanimous yes in our family.

Ingredients:

Coconut oil*
2 medium butternut squash, halved and de-seeded
3 large parsnips, coarsely chopped
8 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
4-5 medium beets (or one gargantuan one like I used), coarsely chopped
2 medium zucchini, coarsely chopped
3 medium onions, sliced
10 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4-5 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
4 apples, chopped
1.5 tbsp curry powder
2.5 tbsp cumin
2 tsp turmeric
2 heavy dashes coriander
1 cup red lentils (omit if you eat paleo)
2 cans coconut milk**
3-4 cups of hot water (2 cups to simmer and the rest after the roasted vegetables, adjusted to achieve desired thinness)
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar***
juice of 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, coarsely chopped
ample sea salt or rock salt to taste****
a goodly bit of fresh ground black pepper to taste

*You could use olive oil, but I prefer coconut oil for cooking because of the smoke point. Since coconut oil has a higher smoke point, it can be heated to a higher temperature without smoking. When an oil smokes, there is an underlying chemical change occurring, and the end result is not as healthy.
**Watch this ingredient. Make sure to read the label. The ideal contains only coconut milk. Some brands are diluted by water and many contain other additives. Guar gum is corn free (according to my reading and experience, but do your own research and know your own sensitivity), but it is not nutritious.
***Pasteurized is sufficient for this recipe. Avoid buying heinz as word of mouth indicates it may provide issues for persons with corn intolerance.
****Iodized salt, often labelled generically as salt, is made with corn. Make sure you are using an unprocessed salt. The coarseness of the grind is irrelevant in this recipe.

Procedure:
  • Preheat oven at 350. Coat bottoms of squash (open side down), parsnips, carrots, beets, and zucchini with coconut oil and bake 35-60 minutes until soft.
  • Lightly sauté onions, garlic, ginger, and apples in a stock pot on medium low heat with lid until soft (about 10 minutes).
  • Stir in curry, cumin, turmeric, and coriander. Toss in lentils and gently fry for about one minute.
  • Add coconut milk, 2 cups of water, apple cider vinegar, and limes. Stir well, reduce heat, and simmer with lid until lentils are soft (another 10-15 minutes) or baked vegetables are ready. Stir intermittently.
  • Remove baked vegetables from oven and add to pot. I sliced the squash into cubes and scraped it out with a spoon. Toss in cilantro. Add water to achieve desired consistency. You may want to increase heat to medium. Add salt and pepper to taste. Adjust other flavours to taste. Serve when soup has uniformly taken on the reddish hue imparted from the beets, cilantro is wilted, and soup is simmering gently.
This soup probably serves 7-8. As a nursing mother, my sense of serving size is off. I am so grateful for these seasonal vegetables we are blessed with!

Variations: Experiment with different squash and root vegetables! You could also throw in cooked rice or beans. Try adding a hint of cinnamon or nutmeg.

Food storage applicability: Limited by means. Should be able to make this soup exclusively from storage during part of the year with the help of a root cellar or cold room and/or overwintering your veggies.

Word of Wisdom: At this time of year, this is a fresh produce in season victory! I love how much of this soup is fruit, vegetable, and herb, just what we should be eating. The only suspicious character is the guar gum if your coconut milk isn't pure.

Gluten and corn free: This soup should be safe. There is a small chance of corn cross contamination if the produce was stored with corn.

A note on root vegetables: Root vegetables tend to be particularly susceptible to absorbing pesticides (think about how roots work). As such, we have a tendency to scrub and peel. I vastly prefer the flavour, texture, and nutrition of intact root vegetables. For those eating mainly vegan diets, traces of dirt remaining on (preferably organic) roots may be a viable source of Vitamin B12, the most difficult nutrient to obtain without milk or meat.

If you try my recipe or any variation of it, let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!
 
 
Today's post is brought to you by my dehydrator. For me, my dehydrator is an important part of meeting my food goals. Why home dehydrate?
  • enables storage of fruits, vegetables, and herbs
  • maintains a good proportion of nutrients
  • control over additives and cross contamination (palm and/or cottonseed oil? potassium sorbate? sulphites? dextrose? no thank you!)
  • it's delicious
  • makes great snacks, especially on the go
  • wonderful way to spend time with children
  • quick method of storage
  • useful in preparing raw vegan foods
  • greater variety than commercially dehydrated options
I cut my pineapple about half a centimeter thick and dehydrate at 104 degrees fahrenheit until leathery and getting crisp. I like to dry mine quite ripe. I blend the pineapple cores with one banana and a tablespoon of coconut manna (shredded coconut works too but the end product won't be as smooth) with trace water for a refreshing piña colada smoothie.

A note on certain terms used in the context of this site: I do not consume gluten or corn because of intolerances I have. I do not advise the extent to which they should or should not be consumed by others as this should be a personal and prayerful decision, and the answer is not universal. I do feel that there are many people who eat gluten and corn without realizing they are being implicated by intolerances. If you have never considered whether it is possible for you to be intolerant, I would encourage you to spend some time researching and praying. I am not recommending any particular resource as I am yet to find one that I feel is completely worthy. I think there is truth in some of the information about gluten, but it needs to be discerned prayerfully. I also label some foods on this site as vegan, raw vegan, and paleo. This is predominantly for the benefit of those who are looking to follow these diets. I find that many of my dietary choices fall into these categories, but do not want to suggest that these diets are purely inspired.
 
 
Picture
image credit: http://kakao-bean.deviantart.com/
Hansel and Gretel are running out of bread crumbs. I am a deplorable journalist. Here I am with nothing better than crumbs to bear the record of my memories and the birds are coming. It is time to write. This project is a vehicle to process and share my understanding as I try to reconcile three facts of my life. It is my intent to develop an effective, economical, healthful, and delicious rotating food storage. I consider preparing and maintaining a food storage to be part of my responsibility to care for my family. I also have the desire, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints since young adulthood, to follow prophetic counsel to store food. I further have the intent to govern the choices of the food I intake and provide my family with through adherence to a law of health given by revelation called the Word of Wisdom. You can read this revelation here! I seek to understand it deeply and challenge myself to live it fully. These intents are contrasted by my intolerance to gluten and corn. I am nearly a year into this process of seeking inspiration regarding the diet of myself and my family. I know that my Heavenly Father has blessed me richly through this process, and testify that prayer and obedience to the laws of the gospel and counsel of the prophets bring blessings. I hope this project provides you with food for thought, wherever you are at in your own food journey. I preface my remarks with complete acknowledgment that the choices I make are the result of the inspiration I have sought on behalf of myself and my family, and as such, I have no expectation for my readership to come to the same conclusions. I hope we will increase in gratitude for the bodies we have been blessed and entrusted with, and that you will receive the inspiration you need as you prayerfully consider your own choices. I wish you the best.