Clean Apple Ginger Bread

Driving to work this morning was such an awesome experience! It was the same stretch of road that I have traveled for years! But, this morning God’s beauty and grace seemed so very evident, as was the beginning days of fall. I always dread saying good-bye to summer, but eager to welcome fall. I think I enjoy events, colors, activities, food, and the wardrobe that comes with fall more than other seasons. Okay, secret’s out…I love wearing sweaters and turtle necks! I also love baking in the fall!

God's beauty abounds in the mountains of Kentucky.

God’s beauty abounds in the mountains of Kentucky.

Even though it’s not technically fall I baked one of my favorite breads Saturday Morning. I baked it for our ladies meeting at church, and it quickly became a favorite among many of the ladies as well. Most of them were surprised when I told them it was clean. Several didn’t know what I was referring to when I said clean, so it started a nice conversation about clean eating while we enjoyed a variety of dishes.

Clean Apple Ginger Bread

Clean Apple Ginger Bread

For this recipe you’ll need the following ingredients;

1 tablespoon of fresh ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon of fresh ground ginger
1 pinch of sea salt
1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 and 1/2 cups 100% Whole grain/flour

Fresh ground cinnamon is delicious

Fresh ground cinnamon is delicious

1/3 cup raw honey (the honey and molasses replace brown sugar)
1 and 1/3 cup molasses
2/3 cup agave nectar (the agave nectar replaces white sugar. I have also used stevia as well.)
1/2 cup almond milk
2 fresh organic eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt (the yogurt and applesauce replace the butter)
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large apple of your choice diced (I like larger chunks, but that’s a personal preference)
1/2 cup of walnuts roughly chopped

Agave nectar is a great way to sweeten any drink or dish!

Agave nectar is a great way to sweeten any drink or dish!

Almond milk is a great source of calcium

Almond milk is a great source of calcium

I love having fresh farm eggs that I know are truly organic.

I love having fresh farm eggs that I know are truly organic.

1.) Whip eggs with a wire whisk and through a strainer into mixing bowl.

2.) Add and mix wet ingredients one at a time.

3.) Sift flour through a sifter, or a wire strainer to promote a smooth texture.

4.) Incorporate dry ingredients, spices, and lastly add the diced apples. I like to add the apples last to prevent bruising while mixing the ingredients.

I like larger chunks of apples in my bread.

I like larger chunks of apples in my bread.

5.) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.

6.) Spray a loaf pan with cooking spray. (I like to use organic coconut spray)

7.) Pour batter into the sprayed loaf pan, sprinkle rough chopped walnuts, and bake for 30 – 40 minutes. (You can increase the amount of nuts and incorporate them in the batter as well.) Oven temperatures may vary, so baking time may vary.

8.) You will know your bread is done when the sides pull away from the pan, and the bread is brown. You may also use a toothpick to test. Insert a toothpick in the center of the loaf, if it comes out clean your bread is ready!

Clean Apple Ginger Bread

Clean Apple Ginger Bread

This is a recipe that my family enjoys for breakfast, lunch, warm, cold, for dessert, or just as a snack! It will make you feel like you’re cheating, but you’re not! I truly love eating a slice of this delicious bread warm with frozen vanilla yogurt, and a cup of hot coffee. I’m excited to hear how you enjoy eating this deliciously clean treat! If you enjoyed this recipe, be sure to check out my post for Almond Fruit Dip! I’m excited to bring you more fall favorites including; My Pumpkin Passion Smoothie, Pumpkin Apple Bread, zucchini Bread, all of which are clean and delicious! Thank you for taking time to read about my journey through clean eating! Feel free to leave comments. I love to hear from you!

A Little Taste of Italy Omelet

I love eggs! I love fresh eggs! Have I mentioned that I love eggs? Eggs are also a  wonderful and healthy source of protein. I limit myself on my intake of yolks to help maintain my cholesterol, but at least one morning a week, I thoroughly enjoy an omelet for breakfast. Other mornings, I love to create healthy dishes with egg whites. I am working from home today on this beautiful fall-like morning, which is one of the many perks about being a college professor. My hours allow me more time to work for the Lord with various activities in my church, spend time with my family, read, work in our garden, host my bi-weekly book club, blog, and work on an exciting upcoming novel. Yes, I’m writing a new book, but that’s a story for a future blog. Now, back to a delicious Italian omelet that make you feel like your dining in an Italian bistro!

egg

I use two fresh eggs for an omelet

Ingredients

two farm fresh eggs (if available, if not you can buy organic eggs at most supermarkets)
1/2 teaspoon ground sea salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/3 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
cooking spray (I prefer coconut oil spray)
1/3 cup diced sweet onion
1 large whole white mushroom
2 fresh basil leaves
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
1/2 teaspoon of either fresh garlic, or minced garlic
1 teaspoon organic low-fat feta
sprinkle of parmesan cheese
Chives (optional)
turkey sausage (optional)

Process

1.) Heat skillet over medium low heat. Spray with cooking spray and add extra virgin olive oil. Allow oil to heat and add diced onions and ground turkey sausage.
2.) Stir gently with wooden or rubber spatula. Once onions begin tendering, add washed and sliced mushrooms. Add garlic and season gently with sea salt, and black pepper. Keep a close eye on the garlic to prevent it from burning.
3.) Wash two medium size fresh basil leaves. I prefer Italian basil for this recipe. You can cut the basil, but I prefer to use my kitchen scissors and snip it to the size I prefer without bruising it. Add basil and gently stir lowing the heat.

basil leaves

Fresh is better!

4.) Add oregano. I like to use oregano from my herb garden that I have dried, and have used fresh. Either are great.
5.) Crack two fresh eggs into a bowl and add milk. Gently whisk briefly and then add the egg mixture to a strainer to do most of the whisking.
6.) Whisk the eggs through the screen of the strainer. This helps remove any of the membrane or chalazae that may exist in the white of the egg. This also helps your eggs to be more fluffy. When it seems that there is some of the egg that just wont go through the strainer, your ready to add your eggs to the skillet. You don’t need what’s left behind in the strainer.

whisking eggs

Whisking eggs

7.) Add egg mixture with feta into the now browned turkey sausage, tendered mushrooms, and onions. Don’t over stir while cooking. You may add a dash of salt and pepper if desired.
8.) Gently fold with a rubber, or wooden spatula until thoroughly cooked, and slightly brown on either side.
9.) Plate your beautiful Italian omelet, and top with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese.
10.) Serve your Italian omelet with marinara sauce for dipping, or to top your omelet. I also like to add chopped chives to my omelet. My husband enjoys this omelet with garlic toast. I’ll admit, the garlic toast tempts me like crazy!

italian omelet

Delicious Italian Omelet

This is one of my favorite omelet recipes. I love Italian food, clean eating, delicious breakfasts, and that quiet time when I can sit and enjoy my breakfast with hot cup of coffee, and a great book! I love the early morning hours as well, but I think I’ve mentioned that before. If you enjoy Italian foods, I’m sure will enjoy my Little Taste of Italy Omelet! Be sure to check out one of my earlier posts, Breakfast for a King or Queen, another great idea for a tasty healthy and clean breakfast. I would love to hear your feedback.

Quick and Delicious Apple Pie Smoothie

It’s only Tuesday, and it’s been a busy week already! The campus was buzzing with life yesterday as students were rushing about making schedule changes, exploring the campus, and enjoying a brand new start to a brand new year! College life, you gotta love it! As I made my hour and a half commute to work yesterday, I was reminded of one of the reasons that I love smoothies so much! I love their health benefits, their taste, and I love the fact that they are easy and quick to make, and I love that I can drink my power breakfast on the go! It’s also a healthy alternative to the popular fast food breakfast sandwiches, and just as satisfying!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

I am a true believer that we should take what could be a stressful situation, and turn it into a positive one. For example, my long commute could be stressful, even though I love arriving at my destination, the drive on the Interstate has its disadvantages.  What better time to forget schedules, multi-tasking, drivers with road rage, speeders, slow pokes, and deadlines… and instead crank up a little K-Love on the radio, meditate, or pray, and sip on a delicious smoothie! The commute passes quickly, and before I know it, I have arrived on campus in a positive frame of mind, and a full stomach! I’m ready to get my day started!

I like to make smoothies that are simple, quick, tasty, clean, and healthy! My apple pie smoothie meets all of those requirements. I find myself fixing this smoothie more often than any of my other favorites. My grandchildren enjoy this smoothie as well. Imagine that…you could replace a milk shake, or any another high calorie snack with a healthy delicious smoothie. That’s good news for the entire family.

Ingredients

1 cup of ice
1/4 to 1/2 cup almond milk (depends on the thickness you desire)
1 tablespoons of plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of unsweetened apple sauce (optional)
2 tablespoons of raw honey
1 scoop of Pure Protein Vanilla, or French Vanilla flavor
1 medium apple peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon grated ginger, or 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger (I prefer grated, fresh is always better)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Greek Yogurt

Delicious Vanilla flavored Greek yogurt is my favorite!

French Vanilla is great in all smoothies!

French Vanilla is great in all smoothies!

Process

I like to use a Ninja to process my smoothies. I recommend them highly, as they can double as a food processor and a blender. I reach for my Ninja more often than my food processor. However, most blenders will work if you don’t have a Ninja. If you’re interested in purchasing a Ninja, check out the Amazon link titled A Few of My Favorites, for an amazon link to purchase one. Now, back to the simple process of making an Apple Pie Smoothie.

Adding the ingredients in my favorite kitchen gadget, a Ninja!

Adding the ingredients in my favorite kitchen gadget, a Ninja!

Pulse ingredients to the desired texture.

Pulse ingredients to the desired texture.

1.) Add ice to the Ninja
2.) Peel and slice apple add to Ninja
3.) Measure and place wet ingredients in the Ninja
4.) Add dry ingredients
5.) Pulse until you reach the desired thickness and texture that you prefer.

Pour yourself a delicious Apple Pie Smoothie!

Pour yourself a delicious Apple Pie Smoothie!

That’s all there is to it! It’s that simple to have a smoothie ready to drink, or take on the go for a fast and nutritious breakfast. I’ll be honest, when I drink one of these healthy and filling smoothies I feel full until midday, or later. Trust me…it’s that satisfying. I know your family will enjoy this sweet, but healthy treat as much as mine. If  you enjoy this smoothie, be sure to check out my previous post for Almond Butter Fruit Dip. Also, be sure to watch for upcoming fall smoothies in future posts. Feel free to leave comments. I’m anxious to know how you enjoyed your smoothie! Cheers!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

A delicious, clean, and easy apple pie smoothie!

Almond Butter Fruit Dip

Living on a farm, no matter the size, means there’s always work to be done. So, what better time to find a little relaxation than in the early morning hours? I’ll admit it, I’ve always been a morning person. I can recall as a child waking up early on Saturday mornings just to get outside and enjoy the day. I still enjoy waking early, sitting on the front porch, drinking morning coffee, and allowing nature to inspire my day.

Through my journey to lose weight, achieve better health, and maintain a healthier lifestyle, I’ve discovered that relaxation is a must. For me, a brisk morning walk right after, or just before breakfast while the dew is still on the ground is one a greatest methods of relaxation. It’s also quiet time that allows me to meditate, pray, and enjoy the beatify around me. I can always find beauty in some form of nature on my early morning walk.

While walking Freckles this morning beauty seemed to erupt everywhere!  As we walked out the front door the sweet aroma of roses filled the air! I couldn’t resist…so, I took a few minutes to smell the roses before our walk began!  As Freckles, and I started down the lane for our two-mile walk, I noticed our usual early morning visitor, Mr. Crane had returned for a few minnows from the creek. He’s a handsome sight! Here are a few pictures that I snapped on our walk this morning.

Our summer roses are in full bloom.

Our summer roses are in full bloom.

crane

I spotted Mr. Crane a regular morning visitor enjoying a few minnows from the creek.

Enough about our morning…let’s get started with this delicious almond butter fruit dip. Honestly, this will make you feel like you’re cheating…when you’re not! It’s clean, easy, and delicious…all the qualifications of a great recipe! This sweet treat will also help stop that craving for something sweet that we all have. It’s a great snack for any time of the day, and a great snack for the kids lunch. Trust me, they will love it as much as you do.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of organic almond butter
2 tablespoons of Plain, or vanilla Greek yogurt
dash of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fresh grated ginger root
2 tablespoons of raw honey
apples, or preferred fruit for dipping

almond butter

A delicious alternative to peanut butter that my family loves!

Greek Yogurt

I prefer vanilla yogurt for this dip!

Process

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.

Mix all ingredients in one bowl.

Mix all ingredients in one bowl.

Believe it, or not, that’s all there is to it!

 A simple, delicious, and clean treat!

A simple, delicious, and clean treat!

Now, for the best part! Eating this sweet and delicious treat. You can experiment and try a variety of fruits, but my favorite is apples. You can also increase the ingredients to make a larger amount of dip to serve at a party, family reunion, or any social gathering. This is a dip that is sure to be a hit, and among your guests favorites!

Delicious with apples

Delicious with apples

A delicious dip for any kind of fruit!

A delicious dip for any kind of fruit!

I would love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment telling me about your experience with this easy and delicious fruit dip. If you enjoyed this quick and easy clean recipe, be sure to check out my post, Quick Easy, & Clean Coffee Mug Blueberry Muffins. Also, watch for my upcoming post, How to Make an Apple Pie Smoothie!

Drying Fresh Basil

Clean eating has changed my life in many different ways. I feel better physically, I have more energy and stamina than I’ve had in twenty years, and I’ve lost sixty-eight pounds during this three-year journey. Clean eating has changed the way I see food, and how I see my life. I am enjoying my life, my career, my Christianity, and my family more than I have in a number of years, simply because I feel better! I have learned that clean eating is not a diet, but a lifestyle. So, what does drying herbs have to do with clean eating? Everything! Herbs can enhance the flavor of an ordinary meal…turning it into an extraordinary meal! Herbs grown at home are also organic, and free of pesticides. Growing herbs can also be therapeutic and a source of relaxation.

I have always dabbled a little with small pots of herbs in my kitchen. I enjoyed the convenience of having fresh parsley and chives at my fingertips. But, I wanted more. I wanted a wider variety of fresh unprocessed herbs that were organically grown and free of pesticides. During the winter I planned a herb garden that included fresh basil, dill, a variety of mint, sweet herb, chives, thyme, oregano, and more. A few months later, my herb garden was a reality, and a success! Believe it or not, I raised enough dill to can and process several dozen quart jars of kosher dill pickles, fill my pantry with dried herbs for the winter, and also give an abundance of herbs to family and friends. We’ve enjoyed fresh, oregano, and chives all summer and still reaping the rewards from my small herb garden. I will probably harvest herbs at least two more times before fall at which time I will transplant most of the herbs inside. Transplanting the herbs will allow my family to enjoy fresh-cut herbs all winter, and start a fresh garden outdoors in early spring.

nanny's herbs

My herb box in early spring

basil

One of my pots of basil, oregano, and sweet herb

There are several easy methods for dying basil. I often cut basil, tie it in small bundles, and hang it to dry, I also clip the leaves and dry in flat containers, and occasionally I like to use the dehydrator. My favorite method is hanging basil in bundles in my kitchen. The aroma of the fresh-cut basil fills the kitchen for days. I also prefer the intensified flavor of air-dried basil. Today, I’m going to share step by step instructions of how to air-dry basil in flat containers.

You will need:

Fresh basil
cookie sheets or paper plates
coffee grinder
small glass jar

1.) Cut fresh leaves from basil just before it flowers as the flavor will be at its peak. Discard leaves that have blemishes or bruises.

fresh basil two

Fresh basil mid-summer

2.) Rinse with clear water. Spin dry, or pat dry with a clean paper towel

3.) Lay basil leaves on a flat container such as a lined cookie sheet, or paper plate. I prefer using paper plates.

4.) Place in indirect sunlight. Herbs retain a better flavor if slowly air-dried, rather than drying quickly by sunlight.

5.) Check the herbs weekly until they are dry and crispy.

dried flat

basil leaves air-dried in indirect sunlight for approximately three weeks

6.) Place dried basil leaves in a coffee grinder and pulse until the desired consistency is achieved.

coffee grinder

A great little inexpensive coffee grinder!

7.) Check basil after a couple of pulses to prevent over grinding. Repeat this step until all of the basil is ground.

fine basil

Fresh ground basil

8.) Place ground basil in a clean glass jar. I prefer using glass jars as it helps maintain the herbs freshness.

9.) Don’t forget to label your herbs to prevent any possible mix ups.

glass jar label your basil

I’m anxious for you to grow and dry your own herbs! But, be warned…once you’ve tried both fresh and dried herbs, you’ll be hooked! There’s a distinct difference in the taste, quality, and cooking results. There’s no turning back to store-bought herbs!