Smell – What Smell?

So, we had a very unfortunate incident at our house this past week.  I came home from dropping my daughter at the bus stop to the blaring of smoke alarms as I opened the front door!  At first, I could not comprehend what was going on.  There was some smoke in the upstairs and my first thought was …”what could be on fire?” I raced through the upstairs not finding anything. I went down the stairs to the basement and found the culprit … my dryer was smoldering!  I was going to open up the door to see what was going on, but the handle was already melted.  Long story short, thanks to my neighbor Bill and the fire department, I still have a house!  Unfortunately, what I was left with was a very smokey, smelly house.  We immediately opened all of the windows and the doors upstairs but as it is still winter, I could not stay that way very long before I started to shiver.  I had already been standing outside for almost 2 hours and was chilled through and through.  So we had no choice but to close everything up and access the damage.

The verdict … the house smelled like we had a good fire burning in the fireplace or a pellet stove – we have neither.  Fortunately what we do have are some awesome air purifiers!  You may recall if you have been following our blog and newsletters that we bought 2 Austin Healthmate Plus Jr. air purifiers last year when we started the ALCAT diet for our house and a full size Healthmate Plus for the office.  We immediately borrowed the large one from the office and turned all three on high.  We closed up the house and let them do their work.  By that evening, over 50% of the smell upstairs had dissipated.  We had friends stop by that evening and they noticed a minor smokey smell, but they thought nothing of it.

It is 5 days later, and you can now walk in the upstairs and not even think twice about a smokey smell.  We moved the large air purifier down to the basement today and I can already smell a difference.  The real test will be when we move the air purifier into the space where the fire occurred.  It is pretty intense in that small space but I really have no doubt that within a couple of days of turning the air purifier on full blast that the smell will be on its way out.

I have loved my Austin air purifiers since the day we plugged them in!  My allergies were better when I was in my office or house almost immediately.  However, my esteem for these beauties has now grown exponentially!  Check out their newsletter which gives you some very compelling reasons to have an air purifying system in your house.  I will never go without them in mine – that is for sure!

Wellspring has been a proud distributor of the Austin Air purifiers for over a year. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at Wellspring@WellspringHolisticCenter.com

Kitchen Experiment – Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pecan Bread

Have you ever been really excited to find a recipe that you just knew was going to be delicious? Well, this was one of those recipes. I can never follow a recipe without making some slight changes but since doing the Alcat diet, I have no choice but to make substitutions when needed. The problem of late is that I am often not just making one recipe but several all at once because when I am “in” the kitchen, I am “in” for hours.  So, I had some frozen pumpkin from last fall and decided I should use up.  Here is the recipe that I followed…

1/2 c. non-hydrogenated margarine, Earth Balance or another similar brand

1/2 c. agave nectar

1/4 c. date sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/3 c. pumpkin puree

1 tsp. orange flavor

1 1/2 c. oat flour

1 tsp. baking powder

2 Tbs. arrowroot powder

1 tsp. xanthan gum

1/2 tsp. cloves

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. sea salt

3/4 c. pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare baking pan with non-baking spray.

In a large bowl, cream the butter, agave, date sugar, eggs, pumpkin and orange flavor.

In a separate bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, spices, sea salt and pecans.

Fold wet ingredients into the dry ingredients. Transfer mixture to the prepared loaf pan.

Bake 1 hour or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

 

So, I followed the directions, made my substitutions, was careful to write down the changes that I made and stuck it in the oven and moved on to the next recipe I was making.  About 10 minutes later, all of a sudden I realized I forgot to add the baking powder!! Oh no, too late to take it out and change it, so I had to just let it cook.  Here it is…

pumpkin oat breadSo, as you can see, it is a little flat!  Oh well, the flavor is delicious!  I can’t wait to make it again with the baking powder!

 

Kitchen Experiment – Brown Rice Crispy Treats

When I went to school for my masters in nutrition at Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington, I had a great teacher for the class “Cooking with Whole Foods.” It was probably my favorite class out of all the classes that I took because we actually cooked in the class.  It was in this class that I finally learned how to hold a knife to chop vegetables.  It is also where I first had the inspiration to try new recipes and to makeup new ones based on the food I found in the kitchen.  Cynthia Lair was the teacher and when we graduated she published her first cookbook called “Feeding the Whole Family.”  This was and still is one of my most used cookbooks on the shelf.  What I love about this cookbook is that all of the recipes are simple but delicious.

One of these recipes is just what I was looking for when I had a hankering for something sweet. It is not always easy to use an existing recipe because of the limitations of our current rotation diet which is based upon the ALCAT results from our food intolerance testing.  Luckily, I remembered this recipe from Cynthia Lair’s cookbook and couldn’t wait to adapt it to my needs.

rice crispy treats

Brown Rice Crispy Treats.  This is the healthy version of rice crispy treats made without the marshmallows and refined sugar and instead uses brown rice syrup, nut butter and a little oil.  You can add what you like to the recipe to suit your needs and taste.  For my recipe, I substituted sunflower oil for the sesame oil, I used hazelnut and sunflower seed butter that I made in my Vitamix and added sunflower seeds, raisins and cranberries.  These treats are just sweet enough and really hit the spot.

Check out the recipe at the link above and if you are looking for a great cookbook, check out “Feeding the Whole Family” by Cynthia Lair!

Kitchen Experiments – Lentil Loaf with Gravy

Well, it was another day 2 in the ALCAT diet plan and I did not know what to make again.  Some days are harder than others.  While I do eat meat, more than once a week is tough for me.  We had turkey the night before and so I was not in the mood for chicken.  So what to make?  Then it came to me!  I had thought about it a few weeks ago and then forgot again – Lentil Loaf!

I used to make it on occasion and I would use lentils, vegetables, oats, soy or rice cheese, and bind it all together with eggs.  Well, I was in luck because almost all of those things were on my day 2 list.  So, I cooked up my lentils with water and oregano and then I let them cool.  I sautéed scallions, celery and beet greens and then added them to the lentils.  I used some gluten-free oats like I would use breadcrumbs, and then I added some vegan soy cheese mozzarella style and then bound it all up with eggs!  I mixed it until it was all nice and moist and placed it in an 8’x8′ pan and popped it in the oven at 375.   I would often put it in a bread pan but I did not have as much time to let it cook so the 8″x8″ pan allowed it to cook much more quickly. I would say it was cooked in about 35 to 40 minutes.

While it was cooking, I took a little olive oil and put it in a small sauce pan.  I ground up some oats to make oat flour and added that to the pan as well. I cooked it over medium heat just for a minute to make a roux and then slowly added my chicken broth.  I cooked it over medium heat for several minutes until it began to thicken and there I had my chicken gravy!

lentil loafI sliced up some lentil loaf put it on the plate and topped it with the chicken gravy!  I must say it was another delicious meal!  I will remember this one the next time day 2 rolls around and I don’t know what to make!

Kitchen Experiments – Pumpkin Pie

Well, maybe calling it a pumpkin pie is a little bit of a stretch. Could we call it a pumpkin crisp since it only had a topping and not a bottom crust?

So once again a typical recipe for pumpkin pie/crisp could not be followed since the Alcat diet plan has us following a 4-day rotation diet.  I am really becoming quite accustomed to substituting ingredients or to just winging it and seeing what happens.  Well, like any good experiment – some work and some don’t!

pumpkin pieIt doesn’t look so bad right?  Actually the taste was pretty good, but honestly the texture was a little funky.  What went wrong?  Well, I will admit that I was in a rush and being lazy and I didn’t want to wash my vitamix, so I mixed it by hand in a bowl. I used some frozen pumpkin that I had cooked up at the end of the fall season and you can really see the difference – look how bright orange the color is in the filling!  When I froze it, I only scraped it out of the shell and did not puree it, so it was not very smooth.  Secondly, I can only eat egg yolks and not egg whites so I used the egg yolks but did not put in an egg white substitute.  I think the filling just did not bind up as well as it would have if I would have added some arrowroot flour to replace the egg white.  I used oat milk and sugar and spices and the filling was tasty if not perfect.

The topping was great!  I left a little of the pumpkin mixture in the bowl for some moisture and then added gluten-free oats, gluten-free oat flour, sugar, spices and a little olive oil and made a crumble.  I put that on top of the pumpkin puree and voila,  Pumpkin crisp! Maybe not perfect, but certainly delicious!