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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

A Stitch in Crime by Cathy Elliot

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Stitch in Crime
Abingdon Press (January 20, 2015)
by
Cathy Elliot



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer who lives in northern California and whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from playing her fiddle with friends to antique collecting and quilting. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antiques and is several years into recovery from her eBay addiction. UPDATE: She backslid a while back, enticed to bid on a 1945 Singer Featherweight. (She won.) But now she’s back on the wagon. Except for the recent crazy quilt pillow purchase. She also leads music at church and enjoys time with her grandchildren.

My Thoughts on This Book:

If things were going to go wrong, they did for Thea James. She wanted to organize a quilt show extravaganza for her town of Larkindale, but one thing happened after another, turning her beautiful evenings into police investigations. Someone gets injured, an antique piece of jewelery stolen and the big event reveal of a famous quilt, taken. Can Thea's luck improve to finish out the quilts events and will the mysterious Dr Cottle make an appearance? Full of mystery, a hint of romance and you got a winner in my book.. Loved it!

ABOUT THE BOOK

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel. Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds? When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Stitch in Crime, go HERE.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given

Monday, January 26, 2015

Week 3: Unprocessed Kitchen Series

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Welcome to our third week of the 14 Weeks to an Unprocessed Kitchen.
Have you already started your unprocessed journey or are you new to this? 
This is a great place to start by taking 14 weeks to getting yourself on track for healthy living. 

You can find Week 1's post HERE
You can find Week 2's post HERE

This week I'd like to touch base on another commonly used staple in your kitchen cupboard. That's oils.

Not all oils are created equal. So I'd like to touch base on the common oils used in any kitchen and point out the ones you should be using and the ones that are not good for you to use.. Let's begin...

Vegetable Oil
 Crisco Pure Vegetable Oil - 1 Bottle (32 oz)
Most vegetable oil products are not healthy for you. This type of oil is similar to junk food because it is processed. During the production stage, most of its nutrients are extracted which leaves only the oil, so when you go to consume it, your eating pure processed fat. Vegetable oil contains a good amount of saturated fat, which stimulates the liver to produce more cholesterol. Hidden inside most if not all Vegetable oil is G.M.O ingredients. Genetically Modified corn.

Canola Oil

 Wesson Canola Oil Kosher wesson canola oil 48 oz

 Some have said that Canola oil is heart healthy and good for you.. The answer to that is no it's not! Canola Oil is high in monounsaturates which is anything but healthy. Just like vegetable oil.. Canola is most likely G.M.O corn, and is highly processed and refined. The end result of all of this refining and processing are oils that are highly inflammatory in your body when you ingest them, damaging your cell membranes, contributing to heart disease, weight gain, and other degenerative diseases.

The high heat processing of canola oil strips any good qualities the oil may have had in it's virgin state and on top of that they process this oil using caustic refining, and bleaching while using questionable chemicals.

 Sunflower Oil

 SUNLICO SUNFLOWER OIL 2KG

Sunflower seed oil is commonly used in frying, fast-food prep and packaged and processed foods. It is so common I am certain that if a food comes in a package, you'll find sunflower seed oil in the ingredient list.

Sunflower seed oil is very high in omega-6 fatty acids. In some cases, the omega-6 content is as high as 70 percent! It exacerbates the inflammation in your body and puts you at risk for disease.

Grapeseed Oil

Spectrum Naturals, Grapeseed Oil, 16 fl oz (473 ml)

Grapeseed oil comes from the seeds of grapes. It is extremely high in omega-6 polyunsaturated fat. This oil is over 70% Omega-6 which is really high. This oil is processed like the ones above using high tech machines and chemicals. It is a healthier alternative of the oils above since it contains lots of Vitamin E, it's non-hydrogenated, and has 0 trans fat. It does have no cholesterol and very little saturated fat. Even with these benefits, our bodies aren't designed to consume much or if any Poly-Unsaturated Fatty Acid (PUMA) which this oil is very high in. I'd avoid this oil if at all possible.

--------------------------------------------

Now that we've discussed some oils to avoid in your kitchen.. Let's talk about a few oils you should always have in your kitchen...

Organic Extra Virgin- Cold Pressed Coconut Oil

TresOMEGA Nutrition Organic EVCO - 54 oz.

This is the oil I purchase and love. It's the perfect cooking oil and use it for baking, sauteing, and cooking. It's non hydrogenated, contains no trans-ft, and is cholesterol free. It is not refined, nor bleached or deodorized. I also use coconut oil instead of shortening since shortening is not good for you at all. 

Virgin Coconut Oil can only be achieved by using fresh coconut meat or what is called non-copra. Chemicals and high heating are not used in further refining, since the natural, pure coconut oil is very stable with a shelf life of several years.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

 Non-members pay 10% surcharge Join now!


 This is another oil that is always in my kitchen. I use this in baking, stovetop cooking and oven cooking. Extra-virgin olive oil is extracted from olives using only pressure, a process known as cold pressing. Extra-virgin olive oil has just 1% acid. It’s the oil that comes from the first pressing of the olives, and is considered the finest, having the freshest, fruitiest flavor.

Extra virgin olive oil is fairly nutritious.  Olive oil is very high in monounsaturated fats and contains a modest amount of vitamins E and K. True extra virgin olive oil is loaded with antioxidants, some of which have powerful health benefits.

Avocado Oil

 Avocado Oil – Pure and Cold Pressed – Health Benefits | Chosen ...

 Avocado oil, derived from the avocado fruit, boasts unique healthy properties. Avocado oil is high in Vitamin E and unsaturated fats and contains more protein than any other fruit and more potassium than a banana. Avocado oil offers a variety of nutritional and medicinal benefits. Avocado oil improves blood vessel integrity, prevents cancer, promotes faster healing and better skin quality, moisturizes hair and skin, and lowers blood pressure. This should be an oil you use in your cooking and healthy skin products..

This week was all about unhealthy and healthy oils to have in your kitchen. Thanks for taking the time to stop by and read this week's post. Please stop by for Week 4 of 14 Weeks to an Unprocessed Kitchen next Monday.. Until then...

Monday, January 19, 2015

Week 2: Unprocessed Kitchen Series

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Have you already started your unprocessed journey or are you new to this?  
You can check out the first week's post HERE to get started. No time like today to help you and your family become the healthiest you can be..

 Last week for our first challenge, I asked for you to let go or start to wean yourself off of fast food. While letting go of fast food, I asked you to add 2 servings of fruits and veggies to your daily meals.. If you participated last week, how did you do? I would love to hear your response in the comments..

Now onto our second week together as we work towards an unprocessed kitchen.

After we decided to eliminate fast food back in 2005, we needed to find healthy alternatives so we could replace those meals with better options. I was introduced to a book called "Eating For Your Blood Type" I was very new to the idea of eating all healthy. Reading this book inspired me to find new foods to try. So many foods that I've never heard of popped up in the pages of this book. I thought I was going to replace the tasty fast food with eating cardboard.. I was wrong.

After gaining knowledge of the whole foods and unprocessed items that are out there to consume, I was excited about getting started. Our first 'test food' was Ezekiel Bread. Oh how delicious it was. My palette was so used to the greasy fair of restaurant food it didn't really know how to handle the real tastes of real food. This was our first challenge 10 years ago. Retraining our tongues to enjoy real food.

Let's talk first about Ezekiel Bread since I mentioned it as an item we've eaten.

 Ezekiel Bread is made with sprouted wheat which is healthy for your body. When examining the nutrient density of sprouted wheat to unsprouted wheat on a calorie-per-calorie basis, you’ll find that sprouted wheat contains 4X the amount of Niacin and nearly twice the amount of Vitamin B6 as unsprouted wheat. It contains more protein and fewer starches than non-sprouted grain and it is lower on the glycemic index. Since it's sprouted you must store this bread in your refrigerator as it spoils quicker. This bread is a great alternative from white bread for those not interested in making your own bread at home. 

So now that you've gotten the run down on one type of 'good for you' bread, let's discuss our options this week that pertain with flours and salt since these two ingredients are the main staples in today's bread, Either store bought or home made.

 It's really important on your journey to eating unprocessed foods to stock your cupboards with items that won't put you in the same boat nutritiously as eating boxed food. If you find yourself putting bleached flour in your cart at the grocery store and regular table salt  then you are not doing your body any justice.

I'd like to point out some healthy alternatives for you to look for the next time you go grocery shopping..

SALT

If you are going to put salt on or in anything you cook it's important you find the best salt available to use. Table salt is stripped of any nutrients as it's bleached and chemically processed and contains fillers which can cause health issues. Regular table salt contains no naturally occurring minerals because any minerals that were present are removed during the refining process.

Regular table salt contains no naturally occurring minerals because any minerals that were present are removed during the refining process.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_5449879_mediterranean-vs-regular-table-salt.html

Let's look at some healthier options to regular table salt.

Iodized Salt
Table salt with an element of iodine. This helps you with iodine deficiency. If you can't afford any of the better salts this is a great place to start.

Hain Sea Salt, Iodized Image

Iodized Sea Salt
Sea salt is the generic term for unrefined or minimally refined salt, usually containing many of the trace minerals found in sea water as it has been naturally evaporated from a living ocean, sea or bay. This is even better than the iodized salt.


HimalaSalt, Himalayan Pink Sea Salt, 4 oz (113 g)

Himalayan Pink Salt
Mined from pure salt deposits that lie high in the mountains, and they both possess the rich, mineral flavor

Mediterranean Sea Salt
Mediterranean Sea Salt
Mediterranean sea salt is obtained from the water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_5449879_mediterranean-vs-regular-table-salt.html
Mediterranean sea salt is obtained from the water of the Mediterranean Sea.

Read more : http://www.ehow.com/about_5449879_mediterranean-vs-regular-table-salt.html
Mediterranean sea salt is obtained from the water of the Mediterranean Sea. Mediterranean sea salt naturally contains a wide variety of minerals. Trace amounts of fluoride, potassium, iodine and magnesium can all be found in Mediterranean sea salt.

Selina Naturally Organic Light Grey Celtic Sea Salt

Celtic Salt

Harvested near the Celtic Sea, Celtic Sea Salt supplies all 82 trace minerals needed by the human body for optimal health and longevity. Since it is unrefined, it does not contain any chemicals, preservatives, or any other additive.

My family uses Celtic Sea Salt in our baking and cooking as well as the Mediterranean sea salt. We do use Iodized Sea Salt on occasion when I'm making big baking batches since the other two salts are a little pricey.

FLOURS

Let's discuss flour options because they are all not considered equal. I highly recommend you to never purchased bleached white flour ever again or any bleached white bread. There is nothing in this to give you any nutrition and is wasted calories.

I highly recommend finding flours that are unbleached and unbromated.

What is Bromated?

Bromated flour is flour which has been enriched with potassium Bromate, a maturing agent which promotes gluten development in doughs. Potassium Bromate is classified as a potential carcinogen, meaning that it may be harmful when consumed.


Bleaching of Flours and Breads?

 Flour bleaching agent is a food additive added to flour in order to make it appear whiter and to oxidize the surfaces of the flour grains and help with developing of gluten.

Consider what gets lost in the bleaching/refining process:

Half of the beneficial unsaturated fatty acids
Virtually all of the vitamin E
Fifty percent of the calcium
Seventy percent of the phosphorus
Eighty percent of the iron
Ninety eight percent of the magnesium
Fifty to 80 percent of the B vitamins 

What are you left with? Nothing of any value to your body.

My Top 3 Picks of Flours That are Unbromated/Unbleached I Use and Love:

Natural White Premium, 8 of 5 LB, Wheat Montana
Wheat Montana Flours are unbleached and unbromated and also non GMO. I live in Montana so I use this flour and eat their bread regularly. If you can't get this where you live see if you can purchase this online. Wheat Montana has different kinds of flour available for all your baking needs.



... ‹ View All Flour & Mixes ‹ View All Bob's Red Mill Flour & Mixes

Bob's Red Mill is another great option to find unbleached unbromated flour.


King Arthur Flour, Organic, Bread Flour, Unbleached, 5 lbs (2.27 kg)

King Arthur Flour is Unbleached. I'm not sure if it's unbromated but this is a great alternative if you can't locate any of the other flours above.

My Top 3 Picks of Different Varieties of Flours That I Use and Love


Organic Spelt Flour
Spelt Flour
One of the most popular and widely available of alternative baking flours.

 organic coconut flour
Coconut Flour:
 It is ground from dried, defatted coconut meat. It is high in fiber, and low in digestible carbohydrates.

 Wheat Montana Farm & Bakery Prairie Gold, 100% Whole Wheat Flour, 10 ...

Whole Wheat Flour
Also called graham flour. It is made from the whole kernel of wheat and is higher in dietary fiber and overall nutrient content than white flours.


Top 3 Bread Companies/Brands That I Love:


Ezekiel Bread


Dave's Killer Bread


rudi s gluten free bread rudi s started out as a bakery that made ... 
 Rudi's Bread

I hope this week's unprocessed post will help you make great choices in your future flour, salt and bread purchases that will lead you to a better healthy life.. 

 Hope to see you back here next Monday for Week 3 of 14 Weeks to An Unprocessed Kitchen. Until then...

Friday, January 16, 2015

From Scratch- Chicken Pot Pie

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Looking for a wholesome healthy real food dinner meal for your family? Maybe your following my 14 Weeks To an Unprocessed Kitchen and this week's challenge is to add 2 servings of vegetables to your daily diet. Well this recipe will give that and more! Full of flavor and so delicious!

Chicken Pot Pie From Scratch

Ingredients:

4 TBS butter
Half a medium onion, diced
4 organic carrots, diced
4 organic celery ribs, diced
3 cloves of organic garlic, minced
1 small package of frozen organic peas
1 lb organic cooked chicken, cubed
4 TBS whole wheat unbromated flour
2 cups of organic chicken broth
1 cup of organic milk
3/4 tsp iodized salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Pie Crust:

2 1/2 cups whole wheat unbromated flour
1/4 tsp salt
12 TBS real butter, chilled
1/4 cup organic coconut oil
4 TBS coconut sugar or organic cane sugar
1/2 to 1 cup chilled water

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • In a large pan over medium heat, add butter.
  • Once heated add onion, carrots celery and saute until it begins to soften
  • Add garlic, peas and cooked chicken for about 2 more minutes
  • Add flour and stir
  • Add broth and milk and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally until mixture thickens into gravy like consistency
  • While that simmers prepare pie crust by adding all the ingredients (minus water) into a food processor
  • Put on medium speed and slowly add the chilled water until you get a dough like consistency
  • Place on floured surface, divide dough in half
  • Roll out into pie pan shaped and line bottom pan with one half of dough
  • Add parsley, pepper and salt to ingredients 
  • Stir and then place in pie crust and lay the other layer onto top, crimping edges to seal
Bake in pre-heated oven for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown


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You can find a printable friendly version of this recipe HERE