Saturday, March 10, 2012


I just ordered some organic stevia seeds. And I'm looking forward to growing it for the first time this year. For now, I have some dry leaf stevia (crushed up) which I use to make a very sweet "tea" and then I store that tea in the frig and use it as an added sweetener to foods and drinks. To make the tea, I put 1 tsp. green stevia leaves in 1 c. boiling water and steep it like hot tea for 5-10min. Strain with a cheese cloth. It's an amazing plant. It's a super sweet herb with no sugar in it. It has an herbal green bitter taste as well, so it's not anything like cane sugar. But it's sweetness is nice in small quantities. My kids like chocolate milk made with stevia (no sugar) and unsweetened cocoa, and I like to make baked goods using half the amount of sugar it calls for and then add stevia to desired sweetness. If you grow Stevia this year, let me know. I'd love to compare notes.

Wikipedia says: In relation to diabetes, studies have shown stevia to have a re-vitalizing effect on β-cells of pancreas,[10] improve insulin sensitivity in rats,[48] and possibly even to promote additional insulin production,[49] helping to reverse diabetes and metabolic syndrome.[50] Stevia consumed before meals significantly reduced postprandial insulin levels compared to both aspartame and sucrose.[51] A 2011 review study concluded that Stevia sweeteners would likely benefit diabetic patients.[52] A 2009 review study found that stevioside and related compounds have anti-hyperglycemic, anti-hypertensive, anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor, anti-diarrheal, diuretic, and immunomodulatory actions.[61]

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Classic Carrot Cake

  • Last week, Veritas Academy won their first district girls varsity basketball game. It was like a made-for-movie kind of exciting game. After being down 17-1 in the first quarter, and struggling thru most of the game, we came back to tie and we won in overtime. I couldn't sleep that night because I was so excited for them. The next day, I made this recipe with my kids in full gear helping in the kitchen. This gluten-free carrot cake was loved by my whole family. It is very high in protein and low in sweetener. I omitted the raisins and used light olive oil instead of grapeseed oil. Both are fine. I frosted it with my own rendition of cream cheese icing (sorry no measurements used). But the ingredients were organic cream cheese, powdered sugar, and a tiny splash of milk. Yes, I know that powdered sugar is not "God Food" in the sense of being an unprocessed food. But I am not a purist. And I've learned over the years that having a balance is unique to each of us. Enjoy this amazing recipe from
Classic Carrot Cake
  1. In a large bowl, combine almond flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together eggs, agave and oil
  3. Stir carrots, raisins and walnuts into wet ingredients
  4. Stir wet ingredients into dry
  5. Place batter into 2 well greased, round 9-Inch cake pans
  6. Bake at 325° for 35 minutes

Teaching Others

  • I started home schooling my oldest daughter and coaching girls varsity basketball almost at the same time about 3 months ago. Both went well, but made for a big challenge to my little brain. Since I've never home schooled or coached, I had to learn two new skills at the same time. Our basketball season just ended yesterday at our 2nd district game. It was very exciting! I've been feeding the basketball team on game days because eating together is fun and I believe that they will play to the level that they are fueled (physically, emotionally, and spiritually). Meals have pretty much been made in the same vessel. Over the past 3 months, I've found that if it can't be made in a crockpot, I didn't make it. :) I also purchased a rice maker (for rice and quinoa) and had many meals consisting of chicken and quinoa, tacos, chicken corn soup, chili and rice, etc. Everything I made was gluten-free because I need that for my own diet...and the girls basketball team liked everything just fine. Teenagers sometimes get a bad reputation for wanting nothing but junk food, but I see a lot of teenagers who truly want healthy bodies and are willing to be led in the right direction. They in turn lead others. They are worth it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Citrus just arrived from Florida!

I am unashamedly using my blog as advertisement for "Oasis" because if I were you, I'd want to know about one of the "best kept secret" in Lancaster. Certified organic oranges and grapefruits just arrived from Uncle Matt's in Florida. Picked Friday... How exciting! Just in time for your Christmas table... located at 60 N. Ronks Rd., Ronks, PA. Not far from Miller's Natural Foods. Let me know if you have any questions. Enjoy God's candy!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Oasis at Bird-in-Hand

It's 65 degrees outside on this late November day in Lancaster. How beautifully mild. I want to tell ya all about a project that has been in the works for quite some time. I've had the privilege of being a part of the steering committee for Oasis at Bird-in-Hand which is a group of (mostly Amish) farmers who care very much about taking care of their farm land and animals so that we in the community can be as well as possible. You can order delicious local in-season chemical-free food and join their co-op at (click on Farm Share) or you can visit their newly opened store at 60 N. Ronks Rd., Ronks, PA 17572. Store hours are: Monday-Friday 9-6 and Saturday 9-12. Closed Sunday. Phone 727-288-2154

I was at the store today and saw that all kinds of potatoes are in season as well as some beautiful butternut squash, celery, and a vast array of free-range grass-fed meats, eggs, and raw milk cheeses. The meats are offered by the same people who run the grass-fed meat stand at Lancaster Central Market (Country Meadows Farms). Excellent beef, chicken, lamb, and pork!

Note: Oasis at Bird-in-Hand store is a smaller space shared within a larger warehouse building with Lancaster Agriculture Products and Heritage Floors. You will get there via Rt.340 to Ronks Rd. or Lincoln Hwy. to Ronks Rd. Parking lot available.

Happy shopping!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Chicken Basil Peanut Soup

There are plenty of times when I just "throw together" a meal and it's kinda blah. But this afternoon, I threw together something worth sharing. Very simple and flavorful. I'm calling it:

Chicken Basil Peanut Soup

Wisk the following ingredients:

4 c. Hot chicken stock, salted to taste. Note: Use leftover baked chicken carcass in crockpot of water, garlic, and bay leaf overnight. Reserve 1 c. chicken meat.

1/2 c. Natural peanut butter – creamy or chunky. Option: Combine peanut butter and almond butter for another tasty variation.

2 tsp. Fresh minced garlic

Stir in the following ingredients:

1 c. Fresh shredded carrots

1 c. Diced cooked chicken

½ c. Fresh spinach or swiss chard cut into little strips

Garnish with the following ingredients:

Fresh cut basil (cut into thin strips)

Fresh sliced green onion


White pepper or hot sauce

Serve hot immediately or put into a crockpot or stovetop on low heat for a few minutes. I prefer not to cook it again because I like the nutrients of the raw veggies in the hot soup.

Serves 4

Have a beautiful rainy afternoon! Amy

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cast Iron

What's the easiest pan to clean? Of course, teflon. But it's non-stick surface is also made of toxic chemicals which off-gas when heated. Not worth it. Keep in mind that whatever a pan is made of, it will leech out some of that substance into your food every time you cook. So, it's pretty cool that you actually get a little more iron in your diet when you use cast iron pans. Steer clear of aluminum and teflon. No one needs that in their diet. Use stainless steel, cast iron, ceramic, and stoneware.

I have found that stainless steel pans are fairly easy to clean as long as I soak them in water for 10 minutes first. The one exception to this rule is eggs. They stick! In fact, I just figured out that scrambled eggs are much easier to clean out of a cast iron pan than a stainless steel pan. It's the heaviest cookware, but it will last forever and benefit your health.

Just use a stable fat to grease your pan each time (like coconut oil, butter, clean lard, etc.). I like the taste of coconut oil with eggs and salt.

I use a mild soap and water to soak and then scrub out my cast iron pan with either a wash cloth or a little scrubby pad. I've read that you shouldn't let water drops sit in your cast iron pan or else it will rust. I haven't experienced that, but it's best to dry the pan right away.

I just read this in wikipedia:
Because ordinary cookware cleaning techniques like scouring or washing in a dishwasher will remove or damage the seasoning on a bare cast iron pan, these pans should not be cleaned like most other cookware. Some cast iron aficionados advocate never cleaning cast iron pans at all, simply wiping them out after use, or washing them with hot water and a stiff brush.[4] Others note that grease left on a pan will eventually become rancid, and advocate washing with mild soap and water, and then re-applying a thin layer of fat or oil.[5] A third approach, advocated by television chef Alton Brown, is to scour with coarse salt and a paper towel or clean rag.[6]