Blueberry Inspiration

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Two Peas In a Pod

is a WONDERFUL website with a wealth of delightful recipes, tips and ideas. I think my favorite thing is their pictures – full of life and the brimming bounty that life is meant to be. I can almost vicariously catch their joy, as husband and wife team up to duel with kitchen catastrophes and win nearly every time.

That said, I will post a picture of my failure or success with this recipe, after I made my slight deviations to “health-ify” the dessert. My criteria for healthy are fairly subjective and strictly based on my own preferences. I like big portions, I want to be able to enjoy quite nearly 1/4-1/6 of a dessert. Therefore, the calorie count can’t be terrifying! The recipe can’t be so saturated with carbs and sugar that I feel guilty enjoying it as a bedtime snack. I prefer for my desserts to have a descent amount of protein, in this case, the recipe falls short unless you top it with a dollop of your homemade Greek yogurt.

So, wrap up National Blueberry Month with a BIG serving! If you make this recipe using my alterations, you can have 1/6 of the recipe for 218 calories!

(you can see the original recipe here, or click the picture above)

Blueberry Peach Crumble

Yield: Serves 6-8

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 40-45 minutes

Fresh blueberries and peaches are covered with a sweet crumble topping and baked to perfection! This dessert screams summer!

ingredients:

2 cups blueberries
2 1/2 cups peeled and sliced peaches (5-6 peaches)
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 Splenda
1/4 WW flour

For the crumble topping:

1 Scoop cinnamon or vanilla protein powder

1/2 quick oats
1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

1/4 Splenda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 T. Brummel and Brown, 3 T. water

directions:

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

2. In a large bowl, combine blueberries, sliced peaches, lemon juice, lemon zest, vanilla extract, granulated sugar, and flour. Gently toss until fruit is well coated. Let the fruit mixture sit while you prepare the crumble topping.

3. For the crumble topping: in a large bowl, combine the flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, granulated sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Stir together with a whisk. Mix in the butter with your fingers until the mixture comes together and you have big crumbles.

4. Place the fruit mixture in a 2 quart ceramic or glass baking dish. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over the fruit. Place the pan on a baking sheet pan lined with a Silpat or parchment paper and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the tops are browned and crisp and the juices are bubbly. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Note-you can make the crumble in individual ramekins. You can also make the crumble ahead of time-just store the unbaked crumble in the refrigerator and bake when ready! Store the crumble in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

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Blueberries for Your Face!

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Most of us grew up on blueberry pancakes. We’ve been told by our doctors that blueberries are a great source of antioxidants. But, did you ever consider smearing blueberries on your face?

Given that this is National Blueberry Month, I promised you four Monday’s of blueberry recipes. This series is part of my journey to find joy in food. Years of an eating disorder destroyed my godly view of food and put me on defensive against every occasion to consume calories. So, I am excited to find dozens of uses for each of God’s colorful, delicious creations.

Enter, the Toning Blueberry Facial Mask!

Blend together equal amounts of blueberries, plain yogurt and honey (recommended 2/3 cup) with 1 T oatmeal.

Pour your finished mask into a resealable container and use. Lightly apply the mask with the pads of your fingers, and leave it on for about 15 minutes. Rinse with a damp cloth and cool water.

 

Happy National Blueberry Month!

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Whole Foods Blueberry Coffee Cake 

Ingredients
Nonstick cooking spray
2 tablespoons plus 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, divided
1/4 cup light brown sugar
2 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt or bluberry yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
2 cups fresh or frozen, thawed and drained blueberries, divided
1/3 cup sliced almonds

Method
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9-inch round cake pan with cooking spray; set aside. Put 2 tablespoons of the whole wheat pastry flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon and cardamom in a medium bowl and mix together with a fork or your fingers until well combined and mixture is in large clumps; set streusel aside.

Put remaining 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl and stir to combine; set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, vanilla and eggs then pour into bowl with dry ingredients and stir until combined. Gently fold in 1 cup of the blueberries.

Spoon batter into prepared pan and sprinkle reserved streusel over the top. Scatter remaining 1 cup blueberries over the streusel then top with almonds and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center cake comes out clean, 30 to 40 minutes. Once cooled, loosen edges of cake and transfer to a plate. Cut into slices and serve.

Nutrition
Per serving: 150 calories (40 from fat), 4g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 40mg cholesterol, 210mg sodium, 23g total carbohydrate (3g dietary fiber, 9g sugar), 5g protein

Well, those are the “rules” but let me tell you MY way! Drop the calories to less that 200 per 1/4 of the recipe, add some healthy fiber and drop quite a bit of fat!

I replaced the whole wheat pastry flour with instant oatmeal (in both places where it is used). I used Splenda in place of the white sugar, but for the streusel, I did use real brown sugar. I used egg whites instead of whole eggs and “light” blueberry yogurt. Also, I used Brummel and Brown yogurt-butter instead of traditional butter. Finally, the nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, so feel free to use them. I didn’t use them in my first try with this recipe, but I’m sure they’re awesome!

Here’s what I came up with:

Happy National Blueberry Month!!

Celebrating Blueberries – Indulgently!

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Oh I am so excited to share my first recipe with you this month! It isn’t a true “blueberry” recipe, but I find that pairing it with blueberries is exceptionally indulgent!

I am a certified yogurt fanatic. Being a vegetarian, Greek yogurt is my go-to source of protein. Until now, Trader Joe’s could barely keep their shelves stocked in the city where I live. I have learned to make do with Oikos, Dannon and some generic varieties. However, I have seen the light! Following a tip from my Aunt Doris, I decided to attempt making my own yogurt.

Success! From the very first try, which means, in Kelly-kitchen language, that it’s not very difficult. (:

I will share my new found recipe with you giving credit where credit is due: first to my Aunt for planting the idea and second to One Good Thing by Jillee.  Oh, and by the way, last week was One Good Thing’s birthday! Happy Birthday, Jillee!

Crockpot Greek Yogurt

You Need:

1/2 gallon milk (I used skim)

1/2 cup of store bought yogurt, or leftovers from your last recipe

a cheesecloth

a crockpot

candy thermometer (I made my first batch without one, simply using time as a guideline)

whisk

a heavy bath towel

Begin:

Pour about half a gallon of milk into the crockpot. Turn it on low and allow the milk to warm for about 2.5 hours, or until it reaches 180 degrees. Unplug the crockpot, remove the cover and allow it to sit on the counter for about 3 hours, or until it cools to about 105 degrees. Remove about 2 cups of the warm milk and whisk into it the 1/2 cup of yogurt, then recombine it with the warm milk. Next, re-cover and wrap the whole crockpot liner in a heavy bath towel to insulate and place it in your oven with THE LIGHT ON! That’s about all the warmth you need. Leave the yogurt in the oven for about 8 hours or overnight.

In the morning, check the mixture to see if it has thickened to a runny yogurt consistency. Unwrap it and place it in the refrigerator for about 3 hours to continue cooling and solidifying. Now, here’s the Greek part: Find a colander that will fit inside a large bowl but allow the yogurt to drain into the bowl. Line the colander with 9 square feet of cheesecloth and pour your yogurt into it. Place the colander and bowl into the refrigerator again and leave it for about 3 more hours. There will be a milky liquid in the bowl when you return, that is the whey that has been strained from the yogurt, leaving a thick, creamy, tangy Greek yogurt that FAR surpasses any you’ve ever paid for!

Enjoy – with blueberries! Happy National Blueberry Month!

Jillee gave credit to Shannon’s Kitchen Creations for the crockpot yogurt recipe. Thank you to you too, Shannon!

July

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I bet you didn’t know that July is National Blueberry Month. I didn’t either. However, I think it’s an excellent reason to share some blueberry recipes with you this month. It’s really a stretch to relate blueberries to the lies that hungrily prey on our lives, or the life-giving truth of Jesus Christ, but, I can do it!

For years, at this point, nearly half of my life, food was my enemy. If you’ve read this blog with an regularity, you’ve heard bits and pieces of my story. This blog began there, with a heart to share the truth about God’s good gifts of food, freedom, healthy bodies and a mind singularly devoted to Christ. So now it is my pleasure to share with you the joy I am finding in deliciousness. So, this is a celebration of my truth!

True? I mentioned Privileged Pain once last week. Do you believe in such a thing? Individuals who have everything they could possibly want, every privilege, are often mired deeply in pain. They look “fine.” I’ve certainly been there. I’ve lived a picture-perfect life, but pain hasn’t spared me. Is there a privilege to suffering pain? Biblically there is. We’ll take a look at this on Wednesdays in July.

And Friday. I’ve been a little slow in getting through a book that I am reviewing for Moody Publishers. I began reading Christ’s Prophetic Plans  because I wanted to read the dissenting opinion. Oddly enough, it was my opinion for most of my life and it is still the opinion of the majority of the body of Christ. We are talking about dispensationalism. I won’t provide a definition here, because that’s what the book is about, providing a definition and defense of the tenets of this eschatological belief system. I’m dying to hear your opinions.

So, I’ll see you in the sunny, summer month of July! Looking forward to it!

The Gym Can’t Cut It

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Ask almost any fitness professional and they will tell you that no matter how much you workout out, if your nutrition stinks, you will never reach your goals. I once had a boyfriend in high school as me, “How in the world do you eat so much?”

Now, if anyone asked me that, my answer would probably be, “Because most of what I eat is green.” But back then I said, “I workout so that I can eat whatever I want.” It’s true, for a few dreamy years you can eat nearly anything you want. Your waist may not show it, but your heart will.

In fact, this weekend, my husband and I came across an article that proves my point. An average size girl who ate nothing but chicken nuggets for 15 years, collapsed due to malnutrition. She wasn’t fat, she didn’t really over eat, I don’t know how much exercise she did. However, your body craves the nutrients that your Creator prescribed in the first place.

I love to experiment in the kitchen. A few of my favorite resources are Eating Well and Clean Eating. Usually, I start with something they suggest and modify it until I have something only remotely similar.

Kale is my new favorite find. I don’t know how many times I passed it in the grocery store, not knowing exactly what it was or what to do with it. Now, I have two giant bags of it in my fridge and Patrick keeps finding it in everything (:

Try this one, courtesy of the 21-Day Kickstart Vegan, a fantastic App available for the IPhone.

Southern Beans and Greens

1 C vegetable broth

3 C drained cooked or canned beans (you chose) my favorite was actually chickpeas

1/2 tsp crushed garlic

4 C chopped fresh kale, stems and center ribs removed (I skipped this step)

1 tsp olive oil

sea salt to taste

pepper to taste

Tabasco to taste

Combine beans and broth and garlic in a large saucepan. Place chopped kale on top of beans and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer until kale is tender, about 15 or 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in olive oil, salt and pepper and Tabasco to taste. I topped my serving with feta cheese.

I think I served this to Patrick once and then decided to eat all the leftovers myself. It is delicious!

What’s Coming Up This April

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I swear I just did this. It seems like two days ago that I filled a page with ideas for a whole new month. But, there’s no rest for the weary and now it’s time to plot April. April showers, right? April doldrums, bleary days, cloudy skies and itchy impatience for the rewards of spring. Well, let me brighten the days of your April. Let’s allow the Son to

Blind us with His glory

Cast rainbows in the falling orbs

Speak peace in pattering showers

And thunder truth in blackened skies.

This month I owe a review to Moody Publishers for Trevin Wax’s book Counterfeit Gospels. Because of the way the book is written, highlighting six prevalent, modern (or postmodern) counterfeit gospels, I want to spend two weeks here. This is an excellent topic for Predatory Lies – unveiling the ultimate lie that destroys all lives: a fatal misinterpretation of THE ONLY SAVING GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRST.

If someone handed you a counterfeit $100 bill, what would you do? Is there any chance you would attempt to pass it off as real; reap the benefits of deception? Is there any benefit to be gained by facilitating a deceptive gospel? I admit, I have turned away after some uncomfortable conversations with a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. I took the benefit of maintaining a friendship, not rocking the boat, being agreeable, and passed on a counterfeit gospel to a bankrupt spirit in desperate need of the real currency: Jesus Christ and the  immutable truth of His death and resurrection.

The following week, the third week of April, we’ll lighten it up a bit. Kristen and I will be two weeks into our new endeavor Moms Who TRI. My motivation for starting Moms Who TRI, a personal training company with a niche in moms and kids bootcamps, is to preempt the cultural lies about body image and health before they seep unconsciously into the minds of youth. I am also determined to counter the lies that have already invaded the minds of women; lies about dieting, exercise, personal value, and other things.

During the third week of April, I am going to let you vicariously reap the benefits of training with Moms Who TRI. I will tell you the truth about eating healthily, simply and affordably and share several resources and recipes with you. I will dispel the myths of long exercise programs, and give you a quick, ten minute program that you can do at home. (Also, Moms Who TRI can provide you with fresh programs whenever you need them and offer accountability. Please contact us through our Facebook page or our website if you have any questions.)

The fourth week of April, we’re back to the deeper, more sobering elements of the Christian life. It is the truth that living a bold, Christian life is getting harder in the United States; but it cannot be denied that we remain a blessedly free people. I listen regularly to In the Market with Janet Parshall. Janet often covers the issues of the persecuted church world-wide. Each time I hear a broadcast exposing the terrible truth about “over-there,” my heart breaks and little shards of it prick my spirit – why cannot I not remember to pray? If I can do so little physically (which is not so little after all) how is that I allow a slothful heart to hinder my prayers for my persecuted brothers and sisters?

So this week, I will introduce you to Voice of the Martyrs.  Together, we will become more aware and accountably committed to praying for them.

I look forward to April’s showers with you. May God shower you with His grace and a deeper knowledge of Him.

A little change, a little late

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Hi Friends,

I realize it’s already the 8th (gasp!!) of December, nearly a third of the month has escaped my notice. Quite literally 11/12 of the year have skimmed past my eyes, and leaked through my fingers like so much sand through an hourglass. It has left an indelible mark on my memory, my perspective, my future, my dreams, my relationships, my hopes. You know just about everything I know about my life and about the goodness of God to me. I hope you are experiencing Him in as much of a tangible way as I am – in the middle of the pain.

For the closing of this year, I want to turn the tide of our conversations just slightly. Let’s end on a positive note, with a sneaky little twist on the Predatory Lies.

For December:

On Mondays we will talk about gifts. Decemeber is the quintessential month of giving.

Packages pile beneath evergreen trees.

Gifts of song on doorsteps please,

The neighbors who offer us cider.

Secrets for one month are good.

Below the mistletoe I stood.

Dying to tell you, longing to kiss you,

My little secret,

“I love you!”

~God’s gifts to us, unusual Christmas gifts, the best gifts, the worst gifts, promised gifts and disappointing gifts, our gifts to God.

Wednesdays we will talk about the lies surrounding Christmas. I’ve already thought of a few, but I’ll bet you can tell me more of your own. Was the idea of Christmas a lie in  your home? What did you believe about Christmas that turned out not to be true? What is true about this globally recognized holiday? Is there one true Christmas – or are Hanukah and Kwanza and fables of Santa just as valid as the truth of the Christ who came to live and to die and to rise again for the salvation of the world?

And Fridays are going to remain our play-date. I reserve the right to deliver delicious recipes and tips for navigating Holiday dinner parties, cookie exchanges and testy relationships. I’ll give you a couple of excellent links for great gifts and serene quiet times of prayer and the revival of the bank account. I might have a few poems up my holly-laced sleeves.

January will appear, unbidden. Much as I could use some extra time to resolve the crises of this year and a few longer moments to just be here; on January first, Lord willing, I will be prepared to be there. I’ve discovered some great new books by Moody Publishers that I will review and give away copies of. That’s the start of my New Year’s plan… more to come.

Merry Christmas, Friend!

Ditch the Bread Machine

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Nearly 2 years ago, I was watching a friend’s two daughters while she had to work. We took a day trip to Barnes and Noble, my favorite haunt on any afternoon. I armed myself with a decaf, quad-shot Americano and treated them to hot chocolates so that they were temporarily distracted from begging. We split up, them to drool over American Girl Doll paraphernalia and me to the usual corner – cookbooks and fitness titles. I had a $30 gift card burning a hole in my pocket so I felt compelled to buy something.

Earlier that year, I had taken it upon myself to learn the art of bread baking. As an incentive I had given away the bread maker. My mother-in-law frequently inspired me with golden loaves of a million varieties; my mom had raised me on homemade bread – so from scratch that she actually ground her own wheat! So far, all of my attempts had been rather floppish. I had thrown away the equivalent of pounds of flour with each discouraging batch. So, when I spied a book called, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day, I laughed – and then fell for it.

I knew it had to be a gimmick, but I’m the queen of returns, so I figured I’d give it a shot and if it failed, bring it back for a more promising book. I made my selection just in time, as the two girls scampered toward me with their arms full of American Girl Doll books, outfits and audio. I escaped the store only by convincing them that I didn’t have anymore money – I didn’t – only a gift card.

I was so excited to begin my next baking disaster that I started that very evening. Short story – success! It works, nearly infallibly! I have been making loaves in five minutes a day for my neighbors, my husband, my co-workers and strangers. I’ve made bread bowls, and french baguettes and sweet cinnamon bread and granola bread for breakfast. In order to protect the mystique, and encourage you to eagerly comment on this post, I’m only going to share one recipe with you. This is the master recipe. It can be shaped and altered into any number of recipes, and there are other completely different recipes in the book too. Each one fits the premise  – Five Minutes A Day.

So here goes:

In a 5-quart plastic container with a lid, mix 3 Cups of lukewarm water, 1.5 T salt and 1.5 T yeast. Mix in 6.5 Cups of flour. You may have to stir it in batches if you’re doing it by hand. You can use a mixer with a dough hook, but I’ve only ever used a wooden spoon and elbow grease. Don’t knead it!  The dough will be wet and loose enough to conform to the shape of the container. Cover it with a not-airtight lid and allow it to sit on the counter for about 2 hours. (This doesn’t count as labor time.)

Two hours later toss the container in the fridge and forget about it until you want fresh, hot bread.

When you’re ready, remove a portion of the dough. You can plan on the recipe making about 4 1-pound loaves so remove about a fourth of the dough. It is an amount the size of a grapefruit. Lay the lump on a floured surface and sprinkle a little more flour on top. Spin the dough clockwise, carefully tucking the raw edges underneath to form a smooth ball. Let it sit for about 45 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 450 and place a pan on the bottom of the oven that you can fill with water and allow a baking stone to heat in the oven as well. When you’re ready, slide your free-form dough ball onto a preheated baking stone. Fill the pan beneath with about 1 Cup of water and close the oven. Let it steam-bake for about 30 minutes. Take it out and ENJOY!

One small note here, all of the recipes in this book are free-form, part of the artisan appeal. My husband doesn’t like much crust and these loaves are usually pretty crunchy on the outside. You can shape your dough and put it into a loaf pan and bake it that way. I still recommend steaming it – you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the difference from regular baking.

Let me know if you try this recipe – if you do, send me a picture! The first person to sent me a picture of their golden masterpiece will receive a free copy of the book, Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day. 

Here’s my picture: