Pandemic Baking: Coconut Flour Banana Bread & Chocolate Chips

I’ve been cooking so much since this Pandemic started. Does that sound familiar? I’ve heard that from other people too. I haven’t baked this much in ages either. I decided though, after the first month, that I needed to focus on healthy treats and sweets.

The internet is a great source of recipes. And after having over-ripe bananas several times, I decided to bake banana bread. I’ve heard from other people that they’ve been baking a lot of banana bread too.  I wanted something gluten-free, though, because gluten can cause an inflammatory response. I know it does with me if I eat very much.

In my search for a good gluten free recipe, I came across one using coconut flour. I tried it and thought it was delicious. However, when I counted up the fat grams in the loaf, I thought WOW! That’s a lot of fat no matter how healthy the fat. So I tweaked the recipe and substituted 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce for 1/2 cup of the fat. It worked fine!

I kept tweaking the recipe. I wanted to increase the protein in it so it would be a complete breakfast in one large slice of banana bread. It already had three eggs but I upped it to four large eggs which made 24 grams of protein. I also added a scoop of organic whey protein powder, which added 20 grams of protein, plus a tablespoon of almond milk to add more moisture. The almond butter added protein as well.

So here’s my recipe. It’s gluten-free, high protein, lower fat, no added sugar if you don’t count the chocolate chips (ha ha), and has a good amount of fiber which makes it filling. You mix it up in one pan which is awesome for easy clean up. You don’t need a mixer. This is SO easy!

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. I line my loaf pan with parchment paper or you can grease the pan if you prefer. Put the bananas in a large bowl and mash them with a fork. Add the wet ingredients and mix together. It’s okay if there are a few small lumps. Add the dry ingredients and mix well but do not overmix. Then last, add the chocolate chips, saving some to put on top after you put the batter in the pan and smooth it out. Bake for 40-45 minutes. Enjoy!

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup minimum of mashed ripe bananas (or two small-medium bananas)
  • 4 large eggs (I use organic, pasture raised)
  • 1/3 cup almond butter (original recipe called for 1/2)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce (I keep the single serving, lunchbox sizes on hand. One of those is 1/2 cup applesauce. Perfect!  Again, I use organic.)
  • 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (I use organic. You can use butter if you don’t have coconut oil. The original recipe called for 1/2 cup of this oil and no applesauce.)
  • 1 tablespoon Almond Milk (Leave this out if you don’t add whey protein powder to this recipe.  I use unsweetened vanilla almond milk)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla (Make sure you buy 100% vanilla. It’s so worth it! I don’t wash the measuring spoon until later that day because I keep smelling the vanilla scent left on the spoon. So relaxing!)

DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/2 Coconut Flour (I use organic)
  • 1 scoop of Whey Protein Powder (Optional. I use organic – mine has a very light vanilla flavor)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Store in an airtight container. It will last four days on the counter (unless eaten sooner than that).

Enjoy! ~ Charla

 

 

Finding Peace in Troubled Times

I cried this morning during my prayer time. I cried yesterday morning, too. This morning, the enormity of all the people suffering in the world right now was overwhelming to me. Yesterday, I read an article about a dad opening an empty refrigerator trying to find food for his hungry 11 year old. It made me think what if that was either of my grandsons who are around that age. There are way too many hungry people right now because of job loss. And there are other stories out there that bring tears to my eyes as well. It’s just. too. much.

I don’t have answers. I don’t know why. But I do know we live in a broken world. I know there are things in the heavenly realms we know nothing about. (If you’re not familiar with the Bible, there’s a book called Ephesians that has six chapters. The sixth chapter talks about the spiritual world.)

So, what do I do in all this mess? These are things that have helped me a lot:

  • Take one day at a time! (the Bible talks about doing that)
  • Count my blessings! Don’t take anything for granted! (the Bible talks about this)
  • Look for ways every week that I can help others! (the Bible talks about this)
  • Trust God and give him all my worries, problems, fears, concerns! (God tells me in the Bible over and over again to trust Him and not to fear. He’s never let me down!)
  • Trust that God is in the midst of all that’s going on, working and helping in ways that I don’t know about.

I do better some days than others, but overall, I’m doing so much better than the first few weeks of the pandemic. Faith over fear is what I tell myself.

I found a song on YouTube recently that I love. It’s one of the things that helps calm my soul if I’m feeling anxiety start to creep up. The name of the song is simple. Here’s the link for  “Peace.”  I feel peaceful every time after I listen to it.

~ Charla

 

Pictures and text on this post are protected by copyright 2020

Teaching Kids How to Wash Their Hands Correctly

It’s hard to teach kids how to wash their hands correctly. Some want to skip the soap. Some want to just wet their hands and then they’re finished. Having taught school before, I know that some even turn the water on just to make you think they washed their hands, when in fact, they didn’t even get their hands wet!

One thing that really helped to motivate my students to wash correctly were these cute videos. Some would even sing one of the songs while washing their hands.

VIDEOS:

If your kids are like the ones in my class, they will pick out one or two of the songs that they really like and that will stick with them. Demonstrate how to wash hands properly. Wet hands and apply soap. Hands need to be washed for at least 15 seconds. Rub hands together to clean the top of the hands and in between fingers. Rub palms together to clean the other side and in between fingers again. Rub finger tips on palms of hand, alternating hands. Then cup your fingers around your thumb to clean, then alternate to the other hand. Rinse well and dry on a towel.

This is such an important skill for our children to learn. Try to make it fun. Watch the videos, sing songs while washing hands, and maybe have an incentive chart. The chart doesn’t have to be anything elaborate. You can use a calendar that you already have or you can print a free one online. You can also draw your own. The main thing is to have a square for each day. If they do a good job of washing their hands that day then they can get a sticker to put on their chart. Or you can draw a smiley face or something they can relate to on the daily square. Decide on a reward for a certain number of stickers/happy faces. Make sure the reward is something they like.

Remember:

  • Make it fun by singing a song.
  • Keep it positive.
  • Give rewards.
  • Set a good example by washing your hands properly

Use your imagination and you might come up with some other fun activities and incentives to add to these.

 

 

Text in this post is protected by copyright 2020.

Easy Salmon Chowder

What’s your view on salmon?  I really like to eat salmon several times a month.  It’s loaded with all sorts of good things to help strengthen our bones and to help reduce inflammation.  (Some researchers say inflammation is the root of all disease.  I do know it’s not good for our bodies.)

It’s been cold this week and I’ve been in the mood for salmon and for soup, so I threw some things in a pot and kept tweaking and adding things.  This is what I came up with, and I think it’s yummy.  I didn’t measure anything so the recipe is going to be estimations.  From start to finish was less than 30 minutes and it might could be made in 20 minutes, if necessary.

This is my go-to salmon in a can, Raincoast Wild Pink Salmon.  It’s not farm raised and it comes from the Pacific Northwest.  I’ve been buying it at Natural Grocers for a couple of years now because of its quality.  I would think that Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s would carry it too.

INGREDIENTS:

This recipe is for one serving.  Multiply ingredients by number of servings.  If you don’t use organics, then substitute with what you do use.

  • 1 cup Pacific Chicken Bone Broth, organic
  • 1/2 cup sliced carrots from a bag, organic
  • 1 stalk of celery thinly sliced, organic (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Pacific Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup, organic
  • 1/3 – 1/2 can of Raincoast Wild Pink Salmon, 5.65 oz. can
  • 1/2 cup canned peas, organic (or frozen)
  • 1/2 cup frozen corn, organic
  • 1/2 teaspoon rosemary, organic
  • 1/2 cup almond milk (Optional, if not used then use 1 cup of broth)
  • 1-2 cups fresh salad greens, organic
  • salt & pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS:

  • Pour broth into a saucepan and put on medium heat.  Add sliced carrots and sliced celery.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low and cook for 5-10 minutes.
  • Add cream of chicken soup, salmon, peas, corn, and rosemary.  Mix together. Then add salad greens on top.  Simmer for 5 minutes and stir salad greens into chowder as they wilt.
  • Add almond milk and heat for a couple of more minutes or until heated thoroughly.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.

You can tweak this recipe to make it creamier by adding more of the cream of chicken soup.  Leave out any veggies you don’t like.  Chopped onions would be good to add with the carrots and celery.

Hope you like this salmon chowder and feel good from eating all the healthy ingredients.  Enjoy!

I was not compensated in any way for this post. This is a recipe I really enjoyed on a cold day, and I just wanted to share it with y’all!

 

 

Pictures and text on this post are protected by copyright 2019

Bone Health: Organic Black Eyed Peas with “Snaps”

Black eyed peas are so healthy and yummy.  I’m usually wanting something fast and easy, though, when I’m busy with work and family.  Most of the time, there’s probably not time to shell peas and wait until they cook. Or I’m tired and want something easy.  Having a can of healthy veggies to open and eat is my version of healthy fast food.

Per half cup, these canned black eyed peas provide 6 g of protein, 4 g of fiber, and other great nutrients such as calcium, potassium, B1, B2, folate, phosphorus, magnesium, and zinc.  Half a cup only has 1 g of fat, 25 mg of sodium, and 16 g of carbs.

Eden is the brand of peas I always buy.  Eden soaks their beans and peas which is important.  Years ago, people always soaked peas and beans.  Soaking helps to break down phytic acid (also called an anti-nutrient) which can bind to calcium and slow its absorption.  This soaking process also helps digestion and the gut.

I grew up with my mom cooking fresh black eyed peas straight from our garden.  I have many sweet memories of her shelling peas.  Sometimes, I would help her.  She would usually leave “snaps,” the part that looks like little green beans, in the peas.  That’s my favorite way to eat black eyed peas…with the snaps.  So I add a can of organic green beans.  It’s my easy version of having snaps.

I season the black eyed peas with organic extra virgin olive oil and a little bit of freshly ground pepper.  What would really make this delish is to have a piece of corn bread baked in a black iron skillet the way my mother use to fix it!  That’s the best!  Again, if I’m wanting something fast, organic tortilla chips is the next best thing to cornbread. (always buy organic corn products but that’s another post)

 

Pictures and text on this post are protected by copyright 2019

Taco Turkey Stew

This recipe satisfies my taste for a taco and for a warm stew simultaneously.  It’s a great dish for a cold day or just for a day when I want something spicy. There are a variety of ways to fix this.  It can be low-carb or carbs can be raised up a notch by adding beans.  Chips are optional, and that’s why I made this as a “stew” which could easily be low-carb or not if you want to add beans, chips, taco shells, or tortillas.

Here it is without the beans, red bell pepper, and with zucchini instead of yellow squash:

I use organic products as much as I can to limit the amount of GMO and pesticides in my food.  You can substitute whatever you normally use.

INGREDIENTS:

  • Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 organic red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 packet Bearitos Taco Seasoning (from Natural Grocers)
  • 1 1/2 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon Simply Organic Smoked Paprika
  • 1 organic yellow squash or zucchini (or both), chopped
  • Salt & pepper
  • Avocado, chopped
  • Plain organic, pasture-raised yogurt or sour cream (Optional)

Directions:

    • Saute chopped onion in olive oil for 5-10 minutes in a large skillet
    • Add red bell pepper and saute for another 5-10 minutes
    • Add ground turkey and cook, breaking it apart until crumbly
    • After turkey is cooked, add taco seasoning packet and 1 1/2 cups of water and mix well
    • Add chopped squash and cover the skillet.  Cook for 5-10 minutes until squash is barely tender
    • For a creamer sauce, mix in plain yogurt or sour cream and serve
    • Top with salt & pepper to taste, more smoked paprika (I like lots), and chopped avocado

I was not compensated for this post in any way. Just a yummy, healthy recipe I wanted to share!

Hope you enjoy this recipe!

 

 

Pictures and text on this post are copyrighted, 2019

Book Giveaway: The 5 Love Languages by Dr. Gary Chapman


This book, on the New York Times bestseller list, has sold over 11 million copies to date and has been translated into over 40 languages.  Written by Dr. Gary Chapman, it has helped good marriages become better, and it has helped heal marriages with the rebirth of love the couple thought was gone forever.

Here’s the scoop:

Update:  This giveaway is closed as of 2/21/19.  Congratulations to Jasmin and Peggy, the two winners of the giveaway!

WIN IT:

Two winners will receive The Five Love Languages.  This Giveaway runs from 2-9-19 until midnight CST 2-21-19, and it’s open to all U.S. residents.  I will pay shipping charges.

MANDATORY ENTRY:
Leave a comment on my blog post.   (Be sure and leave an email address when it asks for one so I can contact you if you win.)

BONUS ENTRIES:
Please leave a separate comment for each of the entries below:

  • “Like” Healthy Home Blog on Facebook (1 extra entry) (also leave a comment if you already follow me)
  • Follow me on Twitter (1 extra entry) (also leave a comment if you already follow me)
  • Subscribe to Healthy Home Blog on my sidebar (1 extra entry) (also leave a comment if you already subscribe)

* Note: I was not compensated in any way for this. I am providing the books and shipping charges for this giveaway.

For anyone interested, Gary Chapman has also written several different “5 Love Languages” books including one for children and one for teenagers.

How to Shop at Dirt Cheap

My daughter, Christi (aka the Frugal Novice), and I went to Dirt Cheap this week.  Honestly, I had been there before by myself, and I walked through quickly and thought what a junky store.  I didn’t find anything I wanted.

Christi and hubby have found some really great bargains there on quality merchandise, so I went again with her and she showed me how to shop.  We started on one side of the store and walked up and down every aisle.  We glanced quickly but thoroughly on every shelf, and I found several bargains this week.  I was excited!

See the dimmable LED lantern above?  Christi and Brian have two of these that they bought at Target a year ago, and I thought they were cool.  Well, I found one just exactly like it for $5 this week.

There was a stubborn area of sticker residue that was hard to get off.  Simple solution!  Put a blob of peanut butter and let it set for several hours.  Works great!  So, word of warning.  Their price stickers are hard to get off.

The lantern was a good deal but not as good as the next two fantastic bargains I found.  I use a Vicks Warm Mist Vaporizer in my bedroom during the winter season when mountain cedar is going crazy.  It keeps any congestion from allergies loose and helps me avoid a sinus infection.  I just bought one this week for $15 but after finding two at Dirt Cheap for $1.70 each, I’m definitely returning the $15 one. (It hasn’t been opened and I still have the receipt.)  And yes, you read that correctly.  They were $1.70 each!  The boxes were damaged, but we checked and the vaporizers are in perfect condition.

The last absolutely unbelievable bargain was finding Old Navy puffer jackets for $5 each.  Christi looked them up on her phone and they were originally $60.  I bought two to donate to people who need a coat.

Thanks to Christi showing me how to shop there, I think we might be going on a regular basis to hunt for bargains.  I forgot to mention that Christi found a cute Gap vest for $5!  I realize we won’t always find deals like we did this week, but hey.  It’s worth going a few times to find such amazing bargains!

Pumpkin Spice Cheerio Krispies

Do you like recipes you can make in five to ten minutes?  I do!  I used to make desserts from scratch that took a lot of time to make.  Haven’t made any of those in years.

My daughter-i-l needed to make a quick dessert to take somewhere, and I was at their house, holding their baby after dinner.  I played with my granddaughter just a few minutes and then went into the kitchen.  My daughter-i-l made this yummy dessert in the few minutes I was playing with the baby!  I think I must have said, “Wow!”

Here’s the recipe for this absolutely yummy dessert.  I like it better than Rice Krispie Treats because it’s not quite as sweet tasting plus it has a lot of flavor.  And I think the Cheerios have more nutritional value than Rice Krispies.  Just saying!

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 10 ounces Pumpkin Spice Marshmallows
  • 6 cups Pumpkin Spice Cheerios

Melt butter over low heat and add marshmallows.  Stir until completely melted and mixed together.  Take off the burner and add Cheerios, one cup at a time.  Stir until mixed well.  Spread mixture onto waxed paper or parchment paper, or spread in a pan that has been well buttered.  Let cool and then cut into squares.

MICROWAVE INSTRUCTIONS:

Melt butter and marshmallows in large, microwave-safe bowl for three minutes, stirring after one minute intervals.  Stir well.  Add Cheerios and mix well.  Spread onto waxed paper, parchment paper, or spread in a pan that has been well buttered. Cool and then cut into squares.

Yogurt Parfait “Dessert”

Does this dessert look good?  It’s very healthy, packed with protein, live and active yogurt cultures, and minerals like calcium, magnesium, and potassium.  Kids would be turned off if they heard that and probably some adults as well.

Presentation is important for a “dessert” like this that’s not a traditional dessert. (too healthy).  I used one of my crystal stemmed glasses (that hasn’t been used in years) to make it seem like a fancy dessert.

I must admit that it’s probably going to taste different than it looks because it doesn’t have any added sugar, but you can add stevia for sweetness.  I think it’s good without any added sweetness, but not everyone will agree with me.  You can always substitute your favorite yogurt and/or add Stevia.

This dessert does have the natural sweetness of the organic strawberries, but the yogurt is tart and isn’t your typical sweet yogurt taste. It’s plain organic, 100% grassfed yogurt without any added sugar.  So this dessert has no added sugar.

Toppings can vary.  The pumpkin seeds are organic that have been roasted and lightly salted with sea salt (I like the salty taste that the seeds add to this).  You could substitute organic blueberries or raspberries instead of strawberries.  Both are yummy!  But most of the time, I prefer just the yogurt and pumpkin seeds.  There’s something about the tart and salty tastes together that I like.

I buy these products at Natural Grocers, which I frequent several times a month.  Pictured below are the brands I buy, but you could use your favorite brands.  The Maple Hill Yogurt also comes in flavors such as blueberry, maple, etc., that are sweetened.

Sometimes, I have a taste for something a little sweeter so I might add stevia.  But my favorite thing to add is a little bit of chocolate syrup.  Not just any chocolate syrup, though.  The brand below is organic.  I don’t think my grandchildren like it near as much as the regular name brand chocolate syrup, but I like it.

I’ve included the nutritional content of the organic chocolate syrup so you can check out the sugar content.  I usually just add one teaspoon to my yogurt.  The nutritional info is for two tablespoons.  Since one tablespoon equals three teaspoons, what’s listed on the label is for six teaspoons.  You can do the math and figure out how much sugar you want to add.  I plan to experiment sometime soon and make my own chocolate syrup using organic chocolate powder, vanilla, and organic stevia.

As you can see, this is a very simple non-traditional “dessert,” but it’s very healthy and loaded with nutrition.  You can use your favorite yogurt, and if you have some fancy glasses or bowls, simple yogurt can seem like something special!

Grief: A Hard Journey

I’ve been on a journey the past five years.  It wasn’t a journey that I chose, but it’s one that came suddenly and without warning and I had no choice.  It’s the journey of deep grieving, going on with your life without someone you deeply love and care about. It’s a very hard journey where your whole world is turned completely upside down when the journey starts, and there’s absolutely no going back.

Grief must and needs to run its course. Because of this journey (and if you’ve read my past few posts which have been few and far between) then you know I’ve attempted to start blogging again.  Several times, in fact.  I don’t know what it is, but I don’t get very far and then I stop writing again.  Maybe it’s because there are things deep within me that I need to write about first, but I suppress them because they’re hard things to share.

My boss has been my gentle encourager to start blogging again.  We start the week on Mondays with prayer time and share our prayer requests.  He knows about my grief journey. I’ve poured my heart out several times.

A couple of weeks ago, my boss asked how I did it.  How did I get through this? I shared about how God has gotten me through my hardest times, how God was and is my strength, how God has given me joy in the midst of my sorrow, and about my dream and purpose for blogging and actually for life.  He said something to the effect of, “You did it.  You just told me a blog post.  You need to blog about what you just told me!”  Thank you, Ryan!

I hope to start blogging on a regular basis again.  It feels good to write this post.  I want to share with others who are going through their own grief journey.  We need each other.  We need to share what we’re going through and help each other.

If you’re reading this and it doesn’t apply to you, I hope this gives you a glimpse into what people who are grieving are experiencing.  Maybe you have a friend or relative who is on a grief journey.  Everyone grieves in their own way, but I hope to share in a future post some simple things you can do for those who are grieving.

I know there are so many people in the world going on this journey.  I’ve spoken with  friends, all who lost someone way too early.  We’ve shared about how you can’t really understand this type of deep grief until you go through it yourself.  I have a friend whose daughter (in her early thirties) died from sepsis.  She was misdiagnosed with the flu when she actually had a type of strep.  I love this saying from my friend, “Those of us on this grief journey just link arms and limp along together.”

 

 

Pictures and text on this post are copyrighted, 2018

 

Healthy Home Blog Under Construction

I finally did it!  I have a new theme for Healthy Home Blog.  It’s just been installed so it will take a while to get everything like I want it.  Hopefully, that will not take near as long as the time it took for me to actually change the theme.  My life changed so much nearly five years ago, and I lost my interest in blogging.  My boss encouraged me to start blogging again, and I did a little bit but never followed through.  He still has it on my weekly task sheet to work on Healthy Home Blog, and that’s been a weekly reminder to start writing again, something that I used to enjoy so much.  This new theme is a step in the right direction.