Nutrient Dense QUICK Granola

A few family members have requested my granola recipe…..as I usually just “wing it” and just add ingredients by eye, I decided to finally measure everything out and get it all down for you all! It is a super easy, vitamin and mineral rich breakfast – and when you mix it up with some full fat yogurt, it fills yours and your kidlets’ tummies for a good while.

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If you have a kitchen-aid, it’s unbelievably fast. Just dump in the wet ingredients, mix, add the dry ingredients, mix, and you’re good to go. Grease a large baking sheet and spread the granola fairly shallowly over the pan. Bake for five minutes or until you notice the corners browning a tad, flip, and bake again for the same amount of time.

You can shake up the recipe a great deal by maintaining the same ratio of wet ingredients and oats, while switching out the puffed rice for any other type of cereal, the nuts for any other nut or large seed. The hemp hearts can also be subbed with chia – although the chia tends to not “stick” as well to the mix. You can even add nut butters to the wet ingredients if you like.

Let the granola cool on the pan and then transfer to an airtight container for storage. After it’s cooled, if you have an extra sweet tooth, you can add a scoop of chocolate chips to your mix (don’t do this while it’s hot or they will just turn into melted chocolate). If you can keep it that long, it should be good in your pantry for a week. But I challenge you to actually not eat it all by then 😉

Why I Love Fermenting!

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So I have been actively fermenting stuff for several months now, and have to say I am hooked on it. My first culture baby was my sourdough – after being inspired to make bread and discovering a sourdough loaf was one of the easiest on your gut.

The sourdough experience was admittedly a nerve wracking one. I kept thinking, “How the heck do I know I’m not going to get bread mold disease or some other such horrific ailment after ingesting whatever grows in here?” My starter went through a phase of smelling like feet, where I almost threw it out, didn’t seem to be bubbling as fast as I would like – and then eventually, magically, as I kept “feeding” it, it ended up smelling like a yeasty sourdough loaf, and frothing like a champ.

And I must say, the sourdough bread that followed was amazeballs. And it was easier on my digestion. I have problems with yeast in my gut and did not find the sourdough to aggravate the issue (read: bloating, etc), in fact it was the opposite. No indigestion there. Oh, and hubs was thrilled to have freshly baking bread.

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Oh, and you can even make sourdough pancakes (omit the oil, please)!

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So why should you feel safe to ferment your own foods at home? Isn’t there a risk of contamination? Well, yes, sure there is. But most fermenting forums and web tutorials will give you some very clear warning signs as to when you should be concerned about what you are brewing. Say, for example, had my sourdough developed black or green spots or a fuzzy layer. Garbaaage. (Some people say to scrape it off, but let’s ply the safe game here, shall we?). If that smelly foot taint never wore off – garbaaaage. But if it looks, smells like, and has whatever consistency your recipe tells you it is going for, you should be good. Spoilage of your ferments is rarely a devious process – it usually slaps you in the face (although there are some issues that may come up with a few trickier ferments that you should study your tutorials carefully for). And guess what, there is a risk of contamination of regular stuff in your fridge, too. And when you go out to eat. So although frightening at first, it’s important to remember that humans have been fermenting successfully for thousands of years.

Although I really have to say I am still very intimidated by the smell of my first batch of sauerkraut. It really just smells like farts. I am really looking forward to moving on from this phase.

But don’t let the weird smell phases of your ferments startle you. Often times a ferment needs to cycle through the die-off of another microorganism before the proper one(s) have enough oomph to get growing well. If the bad smell doesn’t cycle away, but don’t let it dissuade you just yet 😉

So why should you be eating fermented foods? They are amazing for gut health! You know the ever overused term probiotics that’s been thrown around by many a company these days? Well, ferments are the gosh darn source of these healthy gut flora. Your gut flora help to keep your immune system functioning at peak level, and they also aid in nutrient absorption and vitamin production. When they get out of whack, a great deal of health problems can occur. Buying probiotics in a bottle? Somebody cultured something somewhere to make them. Eating yogurt? Yup, that’s a fermented food!

One other thing to be mindful of: storebought ferments like yogurt are, more often than not, pasteurized to remove some of your contamination risk. But this process also removes a lot (if not arguably, all, according to some) of the healthy culture. So when you brew your own ferments at home, you are getting way more of the healthy probiotics that keep your intestines running smoothly. Literally. Having issues with constipation, chronic indigestion, bloating, gas? Cravings for sugars, carbs, the like? Battling a bacteria or virus that is getting chronic? You could do with some ferments to kickstart your gut flora back into proper health. And guess what, it’s waaayyyy cheaper than those expensive probiotic bottles in your health food store (especially if you are buying the higher quality supplements like Udo’s).

Oh, and did I mention that fermented foods are just really YUMMY?

My favourites? I have to say, to date, my favourite fermented foods have been the fermented beverages I have made, especially kombucha. They are naturally fizzy and very delicious! I am going for some good old fashioned root beer next. The ones made with tea (like kombucha) sure give you a kick in the morning – no coffee needed!

Feel like getting started? Here are some great recipes for you to begin with:

Kombucha brewing – The Kitchn
Sourdough Starter – The Kitchn (can use rye flour in same quantities)
Ginger Bug for homemade soda – Nourished Kitchen

For troubleshooting, I strongly recommend:

FB group “Wild Fermentation”
Cultures for Health

General supplies you may need to start off:

Cheesecloth, coffee filters, or stretchy, finely woven cotton material for covering brews that need to be open to the air (to prevent flies and such om getting in).
Some wooden or plastic utensils to stir your cultures with (do not stir with metal utensils).
FIDO jars like these ones
Mason jars
Growler bottles for fermented drinks
……and other large GLASS or CERAMIC (no metal, it interferes with your brew) containers for big brews. I suggest places like Home Sense for these if you can’t find some second hand. Beware of antique ceramics, as they may contain glazes with a high lead content.

If you are PREGNANT: A little warning not to delve into fermenting if you have not previously eaten much in the way of cultured foods prior to your pregnancy. Rarely, allergic reactions to certain cultures may occur. Also, your guts may be overwhelmed by the new copious amounts of microorganisms, which might lead to temporary digestive upset or loose stools. As pregnancy already comes with it’s own digestive issues, you might want to wait to see what your reaction is until baby is here. Better to be safe, IMO!

I hope that helped explain the benefits of culturing your food, and that you are keen to start on your own journey! Local kitchen stores and restaurants often do fermenting workshops as well, which may be worth checking out if you are more of an observational learner. Good luck fermenting!

Three Amazing Chia Recipes!

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I love the versatility of this seed so much that i decided to post about some of my favourite uses. As you can easily google the health benefits of chia, I won’t spend much time detailing its nutritional profile, but will say this – it’s another “super food”, loaded with healthy omega 3’s, calcium, manganese & phosphorus, as well as essential amino acids. You can count on chia as a brain food that gives you an energy boost, as well as keeping your bones & teeth healthy. Apart from just adding it to a lot of recipes & baking, I have a few favourite uses for chia that I would like to share with you.

ONE: As a thickener in recipes calling for things like corn starch or pectin. Jams, jellies, sauces and other dishes that need thickening or a little extra cohesion benefit from added or substituted chia. I personally don’t like using corn starch (because of its low digestibility) or pectin (because of the cost, and it being an extracted ingredient rather than a whole food). I haven’t figured out a super reliable substitution rate, but I would say a safe assumption to start with would be a sub of 2:1 of chia to starch or pectin. If you don’t want the minor seediness that comes with whole chia, you can grind it in a coffee grinder to get the thickening benefits without the seedy texture.

A recipe for quick chia jam:

Combine in a saucepan / small pot:

1 cup of (I use frozen) berries (blueberry, strawberry, blackberry, huckleberry – whatever you like, or a combination).
2 tbsp of chia seeds
Simmer until reduced (and thawed if frozen) for 5 minutes.
If you want a jam with uniform texture, use your hand blender to lightly puree the mixture while still in the pot. If you like it chunky, leave it! For the pureed jam, simmer for another 5 minutes or so after pureeing; for the chunkier jam, give it about 10 minutes on the stove (or longer) to soften up the lumps a bit. After your jam has finished simmering, stir in:

Approx 1 tbsp raw honey (to taste – however sweet you like it – the chia adds a mild sweetness as well).

You can use the jam warm, or transfer to a jar in the fridge. After some time in the fridge, it will thicken even further. And voila! A jam with added protein and omega 3, without the use of other thickening agents or sweeteners. This jam also freezes very nicely.

TWO: For a homemade hair gel. That’s right, I said it! Hair gel! Chia makes a wonderful plant based jelly when combined with any liquid. For a hair gel, you can combine:

1 cup of water with
2 tbsp of whole chia seeds

Simmer in a small pot for 5 minutes on low heat, stirring fairly constantly to separate lumps. Remove from heat and stir in:

2 tbsp aloe vera gel (food grade please)

– and let cool. Once cooled, get out a jar for storage and place fine meshed cheesecloth over top. Begin pouring mixture over the cheesecloth, and when enough accumulates on the top, squeeze the gel through the cloth into the jar – the leftover grit and seeds will stay in the cheesecloth. Continue until you have strained it all. If you have a very fine mesh strainer, this would work as well – but it needs to be very fine or you will get chunks in the gel.

Keep it in the fridge and use as needed – it will work like a “wet” hair gel. Both the chia and aloe are very conditioning for your hair, so it also makes a great dry hair treatment!

THREE: Chia fruit juice jelly: A really fun, refreshing light snack that is super easy is this chia seed jelly – a little like a slightly softer jello :). Combine in a jar:

1 cup of your favourite fruit juice (my favourite for this recipe is grape) with
2 tbsp of ground or whole chia seed (depending on the texture you would like).

Stir well until distributed evenly in the juice. Let sit on the counter for five minutes in the sealed jar. Give it a good shake or another stir, and place in the fridge for several hours (I let it sit overnight). It’s perfect for a hot summer day, especially to get some fun fluids and vitamins in your kidlets.

And there you have it! My favourite chia based recipes both for on your bod and in. Also check out my recipe for chia rice pudding HERE. A yummy gluten free breakfast! What are your favourite uses for chia?

Cranberry Pecan Rice Pudding with Chia & Turmeric

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Mmmmmm…..rice pudding. Something our family has really started to enjoy since doing a gluten free phase in our diet. After seeing one on the dessert menu at a favourite restaurant, I thought I would try my own twist on this classic dish for a hearty, gluten free breakfast idea! Here’s the recipe:

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The chia adds a protein kick, along with the healthy saturated fats in the coconut milk and butter to get your brain going. That’s right! I said healthy saturated fats – you need these in your diet to keep your nervous system functioning (among other things)! Don’t overdo it, of course, everything in moderation – but these are important for your diet, despite what mainstream dietitians following the ASD might say. The turmeric and cinnamon are excellent anti-inflammatories – you might just get some pain relief from this recipe, too! And the molasses will add lots of natural vitamins and minerals to your meal.

Feel free to sub coconut oil for the butter and just double the molasses instead of adding honey if you would like to go vegan. Also, raisins go just fine if you don’t have cranberries handy, and most nuts will do! I do, however, warn against subbing for chia, as it is very important for the consistency of this recipe. Substitute this at your own risk 😉

Hope you enjoy – my toddler just gobbles this up. It’s become a family favourite!

Why you should book a DIY Party with Jayne!

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So I wanted to write a piece that explains why I choose the business model that I do, and why I think YOU should book a DIY Party with me!

If you are following my blog, you must already have an interest in making your own products. So if I’m preaching to the choir here, I apologize. But here it goes: What are some motivators for learning to make your own products, and for hiring Jayne to help you?

1). Save money. This one is so important to so many of us, that I will repeat it again, with emphasis: Save yourself TONS OF MONEY! I mean it. Making your own products with my simple recipes is CHEAP. Most of my products use very easy to source ingredients that can be purchased very cheaply. You will save lots of money in the long run by learning to DIY. For example, a 120 ml container of my toothpaste costs around $1 to make, compared to $6-$7 for a tube of “natural” toothpaste, that may still be harboring certain toxins. Which leads me to…..

2). Avoid toxins. Many commercially made products are loaded with toxins that are harmful for your health. I always source the least toxic, most natural ingredients possible for all of my recipes. Nearly all of what I use is organic and non-GMO, and I can provide these sources for you to purchase the same quality ingredients when making your own products.

3). Reduce your carbon footprint. Commercial products use a ridiculous amount of packaging, and much of it is non-recyclable in many municipalities. By purchasing individual products rather than making your own and buying your ingredients in bulk, you are contributing to a massive amount of unnecessary waste being sent to our landfill. Go green and learn to DIY today!

4). Get some HANDS ON experience, with troubleshooting right there for you. It can be a lot easier to begin to DIY certain products when you have someone there to coach you through it. Jayne has long term experience tweaking recipes to get the consistency & functionality just right for you. If you aren’t sure whether your finished product looks like it should, Jayne is right there to answer all of your questions. No more searching through endless forums trying to figure out what you should be doing to get your recipe right!

5). Feel empowered. It can feel pretty good to purchase products you know are less toxic alternatives, but it can feel even BETTER to make these products yourself. YOU are in control of what you are putting in your recipes, on your body, and in your home. It’s a fabulous feeling to know you can take control of this part of your life.

6). Have FUN with your favourite people! A DIY party is a unique and fun filled idea for a get together. Share the learning experience with friends, family, or coworkers, and have fun doing it! Laugh along with each other as you embark on your DIY journey. It’s a lot more exciting than googling recipes! And what a better way to convince others to DIY that might not be 100% on board with the idea? Sometimes it helps your loved ones to hear it coming from someone else to give them the jumpstart they need.

7). Support a local, stay-at-home Mom. By using Jayne’s services, you are supporting a local Mama looking to reduce the carbon footprint in her community, and engage in an ethical business that can truly make a difference in the lives of others.

So what are you waiting for? Book your DIY Party today and save money, avoid toxins, reduce your carbon footprint, get some hands on experience, feel empowered, have FUN……and support a local business!

Check out my pricing and party package options HERE.

Crunchy cabbage carrot salad with spicy orange mayo dressing!

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I haven’t posted a salad recipe yet, and I was compelled to share one of my family’s favourites. This recipe goes great with fish and potatoes, or just as a standalone dish to bring to a summer BBQ! Take a gander at my series of lovely yet geeky instructional graphics, and tantalize your tastebuds!

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Add dressing to salad to taste – if you like a heavier dressing, add it all, if lighter – add until it looks right to you!

Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do!

Immune boosting, energy rich smoothie!

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I bought a hand blender a little while ago and have been making a LOT of smoothies with it. This is my favourite personal recipe so far, and my two year old loves it too. All of the ingredients are in the graphic – just blend! But don’t forget to let your chia seeds soak in the water / juice for about 5 minutes prior to heighten their bioavailability and make them more palatable.

I find this smoothie gives me more energy than a cup of coffee, and without the crash afterwards! Not to mention it helping your body immensely when you are sick – especially due to the turmeric, ginger, honey & lemon – don’t leave any of these ingredients out. Feel free to omit the yogurt and just add a bit more liquid (fresh orange juice would be my recommendation) if you are going dairy free. Hope you enjoy!