Happy Back to School & New Year!

Wow summer sure flew by didn’t it?! I have been super busy and super excited to share with you a few things:

1. I hope you all had a great summer. I must first apologize for not posting more often, but I have been passionately working on a NEW 12 WEEK HOLISTIC HEALING JOURNEY that will launch in October/November…so, stay tuned! I will be offering YOU, MY AWESOME FOLLOWERS, A HUGE DISCOUNT! Thanks to tech we can now work together!

2. I went to a life-changing retreat in Florida and met a super-talented new friend who is Hosting a Virtual Summit & Retreat with 7 Talented Healers of all kinds(mind, body, spirit)!! I have been invited to Present about healing through food and diet on a Virtual Healing Summit/Retreat! I really hope you will join us for the free calls and sign up for the Summit and please share this on your FB/Social Media. oxox This will blow your mind and touch your heart. For more info http://practiceselflove.com/virtual-retreats/

3. Finally, my new favorite Bagel! Yes I said Bagel! OMG, IT IS THE BEST I’VE HAD IN 18 YEARS OF BEING GLUTEN-FREE & DAIRY-FREE! See my Recipe page for a homemade Dairy-free Cream Cheese recipe-after you read this article/interview!

I have longed for a chewy New York Style Bagel that is gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free  for 18 years, and FINALLY  found one after trying every single one I could find on the store shelves which were all light, airy and so unsatisfying! I cannot tell you how many bagels I have thrown away and finally gave up until this summer when I found an Everything Bagel while shopping at Bi-Rite Market in San Fransisco.

I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve b/c I could not wait until the next morning to have my new Bagel! Then, I realized I needed to make some cashew cream cheese first…and the wait was prolonged! I could hardly wait for it to come out of the toaster as smells of home-baked bread with onion and garlic wafted across my kitchen. And, When I finally got my Bagel and Cashew Cream Cheese,  without all the allergens, I was in food Heaven…a Sally met Harry foodgasm moment happened! So, I had to call the company that made it and…

I interviewed Andre of the ODD BAGEL COMPANY, in Oakland, and here is what he had to share.

Our story started in 2013 when my business partner, Brent Woodard, discovered he was gluten intolerant. Having lived nearly a decade in New York (as did I, coincidentally), his perfect morning routine was a cup of coffee and a bagel with cream cheese – which he now sorely missed. He tried a lot of the options out there, but everything he found was severely lacking; they were primarily just “bread in a loop”, and not even very good bread, at that.
Luckily, Brent’s a very process-minded guy, so he went in the kitchen and started experimenting until he found a recipe that actually started to resemble a “real” bagel. He started small, baking every night and making drops every single morning to couple coffee shops and places like Berkeley Bowl and Saul’s in Berkeley.
Fast forward a few years, and after finding space in a number of shared kitchens over the years, we finally moved into our own dedicated bakery space last year. Most importantly, this means we are now finally working out of a true, dedicated gluten free facility (and as mentioned, will hopefully be certified gluten free as soon as tomorrow!). But it has also allowed us to really accelerate the improvement of the recipe. It also let us get our Kosher designation.
From day one, once we were gluten free, we didn’t really want to stop there – we wanted to make this a bagel that was accessible to everyone. Step one was to make it a vegan bagel, as well. Most true bagels ARE already vegan, but a lot of the gluten free options use egg as a binding agent. Besides the vegan aspect, we also noticed that a lot of people try to avoid dairy and eggs for a wide variety of dietary reasons, including allergies. So, Odd Bagels became a gluten free AND vegan bagel! 
But we didn’t stop there – we’ve also managed to avoid using peanuts, tree nuts, corn, soy, and potato – a large portion of the top allergens out there. (Also no shellfish… 😉  ) Then, in the past year, we’ve also been able to eliminate the sugar and oil from our recipe. We’ve ended up with a highly refined recipe that is really just “simple”, and gets back to the elements of what makes a bagel a good, baked item!
Our final step is that we also hope to transition to organic by the end of this year, which has finally become realistic now that we’re a bit bigger – it’s hard to find organic, gluten-free flours, unless you have it milled specifically.
I think that’s really what sets us apart from a lot of the other gluten-free options: the fact that we are really accessible to just about anyone. That’s pretty hard to find in the Bay Area, even without talking about gluten-free! And most importantly, we’re a real New York style bagel that is boiled and baked! 
And even more most importantly… Odd Bagels are delicious! Although I might be just a little biased when I say that. 🙂 That covers a lot of our story!, said Andre.
Okay, even your friends and family that don’t think they have a problem with gluten, dairy, egg or any other food will looooovvvvveeee these Bagels! I recommend you make your own cream cheese(my recipe) or buy dairy-free Kite Hill Almond Chive Cream Cheese. Great with Smoked Salmon or Lox-see recipe later.
 I order 12 bags at a time, the Everything is the #1 seller and its delish, the plain is great for when you want to spread something sweet on top like jam or nut butter. They have many more flavors.
These bagels DO NOT NEED TO BE REFRIGERATED, so you can send them to school or take them on outings and traveling. The shelf life is 10 days without refrigeration and a month in the refrigerator and a few months in the freezer! I recommend buying a lot if you have the space in your freezer b/c you are going to want more. Do remember that they are high in carbs so, if you want to release some weight keep them in the freezer and save them for a weekend treat! If you need to gain weight, these will help and I say go for it as long as you are eating a lot of healthy food too! I will post recipes on my Recipe Page. Hey, lets help this small artisan company grow…ask your local grocery store to carry them! Get them now and you’ll have them by next week and for Yom Kippur. Happy Holidays and Back to School! Oh, do toast them for sure!
Just for YOU my readers: Order Online a discount code. Enter “LAUREN” at checkout, you’ll get 15% off your first order with ODD BAGEL which expires at the end of September! Order now! http://www.oddbagel.com
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Back to School and Fall

Wow what a busy summer! I am so ready for some quiet, cool Fall days to nest at home and recharge my body, mind and spirit! Health is mostly impacted by 3 catagories: 1. Food/Diet, 2. Lifestyle/Stress levels, 3. Chemicals/Environmental Toxins.

I have been on a nerd fest lately, and attending several medical webinars and seminars, and they all are talking about the 3 factors above being scientifically linked to illness, disease and death!

I have a confession to make, I eat really clean and healthy most of the time. I am 100% gluten-free, dairy-free, white sugar-free expect for the quarterly Mexican Coke which I have vowed to give up since it’s just not satisfying! I also eat all organic and am not eating out as much anymore and look for restaurants that use local, organic produce and meats.

My house has an Austin air filter, well-water with extra whole house filters, no chemicals of any kind in cleaning for house, pet or humans, we remove our shoes(not to drag in chemicals and toxins and gross dirt we’ve walk in) and organic furniture and so on. We have a timer on our wi-fi and tested our home and it has very low Wifi registers on the Geiger meter! We live in the woods with fresh air, nature and peaceful quiet.

This all must seem like I am an extreme whacko, but I want to control what we can and do what we can because we are exposed to so many chemicals we cannot control. So, just do what you can and make progress as you are ready. This all happened for us over time.

So my confession is that my missing or broken piece of the puzzle of health is STRESS! I do everything else pretty well most of the time, but I screw up too b/c I am human too. The one lesson I have not mastered to to surrender and know that all is well and everything always resolves itself. I know it in my head, but my body hasn’t gotten the message yet! I am a certified yoga and meditation teacher, but don’t practice it enough myself! So, this is my focus this Fall to really calm my mind. I give all my worry over to God and Angels and I let go and hope to heal my own health.

I recently was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and probable Fibromyalgia! I have suspected it for a long time, but have been in denial b/c I did not want to have those health issues! Well, I do. ;( And, I am having to slow down and adjust my lifestyle.

I have never thought of myself as an over-acheiver, but a therapist pointed out the definition and I sunk down in my chair and said, ok I am guilty. I have pushed myself very hard for as long as I can remember. I am always chronically overdoing it. I strive to be better, smarter, more loving, healthier, etc…I mistook ambition for stupidity. I thought if I just kept trying harder and harder I would somehow achieve Nirvana in all areas of my life!!! Instead, I am just exhausted with serious health issues.

The good news is that I have a lot of compassion and understanding for others who are ill and suffering. I also know the signs and symptoms to look for and the solutions. It is very challenging for me to just rest and relax when I feel I constantly have a never ending To-Do list. I need to be okay with not getting the list done and see the progress of what I have accomplished, and to be okay with just relaxing or having fun! What is that I ask? So, I will report back to  you periodically on this.

I did start playing violin this year which has become very meditate and joyful! It is never too late to learn something new or do what you’ve always longed for or dreamed of doing. Do it! I am having a ball! Again I over practiced…one hour a day for 6 months and now I have “Tennis Elbow”. So the lesson of slowing down and pacing myself keeps showing up! Now I have to play in short spurts a few times a day and I’ve taken a month off and nurtured my elbow. So, back to food…my favorite subject and thing to do is cook and eat!

I know the holidays are around the corner so I am going sugar-free until the holidays, then I will choose my sweeteners carefully to keep my health and immune system strong! I am boosting my immune system now so I stay strong and healthy this fall and winter. I have been making homemade bone broth for free, from veggie scraps and leftover bones; and soup with lots of veggies-so delicious and satisfying. And, I am really amazed at how much more satisfied I feel after a delicious piece of organic fruit than a sugary dessert.

Sugar is the root of inflammation, illness, lowered immune system and disease! See the video, The Bittersweet Truth about Sugar,  on my video page by Dr. Robert Lustig. You will be astounded! A few excellent documentaries are, What the Health and Whats with Wheat! Check them out and have a movie night at your house with friends and family. They are very insightful and motivating!

I am choosing to enjoy organic berries and organic apples that are low in sugar and high in anti-oxidants and hundreds of nutrients and health benefits. Try an organic apple with 2 Tablespoons of  organic/unsweetened nut or seed butter. I love cashew butter from Trader Joe’s, www.ThriveMarket.com or homemade. Valencia Peanut butter is the only peanut that does not contain mold so go for Valencia…at Trader Joe’s. Beans and Lentils, nuts and seeds are a great source of fiber and protein without the animal protein.

Berries and apples that are not organic/conventional have over 40 pesticides!!!! These pesticides will adversely effect health of the endocrine system, neurological and brain function and are linked cancer. If your child, or you, have ADD/ADHD or just some difficulty focusing…try removing all processed sugars and artificial dyes/colors are very harmful too.

Go pick your own if you live near organic farms…its a great outing for the family and the kids love it. If you cannot get to a farm, a farmers market is the next best thing. Also, Costco has organic berries and apples for a great price if you are on a tight budget! Remember baked apples and homemade applesauce too.

Soda is another place that is loaded with sugar! A can of soda has 1/4 cup of sugar and a Big Gulp has a 1/2 cup of sugar!!!! I have introduced many kids and teens for the 7 summers, to Stevia sweetened soda..either Zevia store bought or they can make their own! Go to http://www.Sweetleaf.com for lots of flavors of stevia and just add 6 drops to 12 ounces of sparkling water from a glass bottle. Kevita Coconut Water Keifer is even better b/c it is a bubbly sweet drink with no added sugar, and has fermented probiotics and lots of electrolytes too. Please toss the Gatorade which is loaded with sugar and artificial colors, and trade it for a natural/delicious version called Recharge. Teach your kid’s now and change your own habits and you will all feel so much better with these small changes.

Remember to buy everything in glass when you can b/c the plastics may be free of BPA, but hey are loaded with other harmful chemicals. Get stainless steel bottles to take on the go…at Bed Bath and Beyond for $10! I also put my smoothies To Go in 12 ounce glass Mason Jars.

September and October can be a time loaded with parties and holidays and sugar! So I have posted cake/cupcake & frosting recipes made with homemade alternative milk or store bought on my FREE RECIPES Page. Please send them with your bundles of love to parties and school. They are so delicious and will not give them the sugar spike, crash and overwork their pancreas and cause diabetes!

Finally, remember sugar is not only the white stuff. It is all forms of sweeteners which the pancreas has to produce insulin to process. When you eat fruit that contains fiber it will slow the absorption of sugar and blood sugar levels will be more even and steady.  High carb grains like rice, potato, tapioca convert into sugar too. Our bodies need a certain amount of sugar for fuel, but most people are eating more than they realize.

Everyone is unique and has different needs, so listen to your body and watch how your children behave and feel after eating certain foods. Keeping a food journal on an APP like Cara or on a calendar along with health symptoms can reveal so much. Kid’s need some carbs and a good amount of protein and tons of veggies for nutrition and to help them grow. Adults need less carbs typically. The exception is if you have Adrenal Fatigue and you may need a few red potatoes or sweet potatoes or root veggies at lunch and especially dinner.

I challenge you to try a new veggie each week! You will find some new favorites!

My specialty is to help people create a super tasty customized diet that meets their personal needs and that of the family to reach your best health. I want you to Thrive not just survive! I have gone from barely surviving(2 hours of energy a day) to much more energy(12 hours of energy) through diet and lifestyle. I have had a temporary set back, but I am making the necessary changes to find my balance and you can too.

I understand how it feels on both ends of this spectrum of health and illness. I am now doing phone consults, so call me to get a fresh start as we go into the Fall and Winter. See Contact for details. I am here to help and support you because I care and want the best for you.

Be Well & Thrive and Many Hugs and Blessings to you. Have a fabulous day and week! Go to the Free Recipes page now. Remember to check out the video for a good parents movie night!

Lauren’s Favorites

Season’s Greetings on Christmas Eve!

New Fantastic Food:

I found a fabulous new line of nut cheezes that are made from cashews and coconut oil! I was so delighted to find vegan cheeses that have healthy, familiar ingredients! I have tried the shredded Mozzarella, Cheddar and Pepper Jack and they have worked very well in my recipes including: Quiche, French Onion Soup, Enchiladas, Lasagna, Pizza, Grilled Cheeze on SRSLY Sourdough and much more. They have hard and soft cheeses in a variety of  fabulous flavors.

Parmela Cashew Cheeze-Our nut milk cheeses are made using traditional cheese making techniques.  Rich nut milks made from blending cashews and almonds with filtered water form the base.  These are much thicker than the nut milks you would drink, and amazingly have more flavor potential than dairy milks.

It took over 2 years and 2,000 iterations to get the cultures to grow properly in the thick cashew milks and unlock true cheese flavors for the Creamy Treenut Cheese.  In crafting our new aged cheeses we up over 4000 iterations of cultures grown.

The nutmilk cheeses can be found in Whole Foods, New Leaf Markets and other natural food stores or ordered directly  http://www.parmelacreamery.com 

 

SRSL Bread-Gluten-free, Dairy-free San Francisco Sourdough Bread and Rolls! 

SRSLY Bread

http://www.breadsrsly.com

OMG, I thought I’d never be able to eat Sourdough again…until now! I did the happy dance when I found this amazing bread. I am a traditionalist so I like the classic best, but the seeded is very good and my husband loves the Kale(me too). The sandwich rolls are made out of just Sorghum flour so its great for people who have multiple grain sensitivities. She also makes a huge Pullman Loaf that you can special order!

WHY SOURDOUGH?

Bread SRSLY is committed to making nourishing bread. Each loaf is leavened with wild yeast, cultivated from the air and grain. Unlike commercial yeast, wild yeast helps to break down the grains, making them easier to digest, and adding a pleasant tang that we call sourdough.

WHY SERIOUSLY?

We created our bread only after months of research, applying traditional sourdough techniques to our gluten-free recipes. We learned that good bread takes its time to rise. Each Bread SRSLY loaf rises for more than 12 hours, making it SERIOUSLY good for you. In addition to being gluten-free, all Bread SRSLY products are free of dairy, egg, soy, nut, potato, tapioca, and garbanzo.

Available at Health Food Stores including New Leaf Market, Staff of Life, Bi-Rite Markets or Order at: http://bread-srsly.myshopify.com

 

Want to bake your own Bread?

Manini’s Bread Mix & Fresh Pasta

These pastas and breads are so nutritious and have great texture! I’ve enjoyed Manini’s Spaghetti, Lemon-Thyme Linguine and Lasagna Noodles(not the ravioli b/c they contain diary) and bread mixes which are easy and nutritious. Even my Italian friends are now loving this pasta!

At the heart of our commitment to quality is our dedication to making all of our fresh pastas, breads & bakery products and flours from naturally Gluten Free Ancient Grains. Our Ancient Grains include Amaranth, Teff, Sorghum, and Millet, plants that are essentially unchanged from hundreds of years ago. The result is a nutritious, fiber-rich, great-textured food that is delicious and superior in taste, texture and nutrition to the vast majority of typical rice and corn based Gluten Free foods.

http://www.maninis.com

Want less carbs and more protein in your pasta go for: Tolerant Red Lentil or Black Bean Pasta which have great texture and tons of protein and nutrition! Available at Health food Stores and online.

Tolerant Pasta

Sonoma Pasta SauceSonoma Mushroom Pasta Sauce. I had to stop eating tomatoes due to arthritis and was so happy to find this tomato-free sauce! They have many flavors, but not all are dairy-free. I do still make my own with wild mushrooms and sherry, but nice to have a jar in the pantry in a pinch. Available at Health food Stores and online.

 

Paleo-Cake-Therapy-Paleo-Chocolate-Cake-Mix.jpg

Cake Therapy  Paleo Cake Mix: offers gluten free and paleo baking mixes, made from quality natural ingredients, without preservatives or additives. Cake Therapy’s products are always free of gluten, dairy, soy and corn, with grain free options.

Paleo Chocolate Cake Mix Ingredients: Organic coconut flour, arrowroot, almond meal, organic coconut sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla powder, salt, baking soda, baking powder.

I’ve tried all three flavors: chocolate, vanilla and spice, and love them all! They make a moist and tasty cake or cupcakes. I used my Chocolate Ganache Frosting  with Lily’s Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips and Cashew Cream Frosting with them. They have recipes and adaptations on their website too! I used the Spice Cake Mix to make a Carrot Cake and it was so delicious.

Teas to go with your dessert or just enjoy anytime:

Art of Tea: Chocolate Mint Tea which is so rich and tasty it does not need anything else. Great way to avoid sweets, drink this tea instead!  www.artoftea.com 

Numi Turmeric Teas are anti-inflammatory and very tasty especially when I add some local raw honey, ginger and homemade cashew milk! Available at health food stores or http://www.Numitea.com

Steven Smith Lord Bergamot Earl Grey Tea

A few other goodies I’ve fallen in love with this year:

Lily’s Fair Trade Stevia Sweetened Chocolate Chips

We love premium dark chocolate. We don’t like sugar. The addition of stevia to premium dark chocolate is a perfect fit. It makes our favorite food even better. Click to learn more about why we love stevia.http://lilyssweets.com

 

 

Chai-I

Vixen Kitchen Premium Vegan Gelato!  So creamy and delicious you will think you are in Italy!  The first time I tasted this luscious Gelato I was in San Francisco on a cold windy day, but had to have it as my teeth chattered! OMG, I was in Heaven and forgot about the cold the first lick! I love that they sweeten with real maple syrup and use cashews as the base! Again, nutritious and delicious and guilt-free! It is expensive b/c they use the highest quality ingredients and it is worth it! Available at health food stores, including Staff of Life. Flavors: Chocolate, Vanilla, Chai, Coffee, Mint,Blueberry.  http://vixenkitchen.co

Xyloburst Chewing Gum, stays soft, sweetened with xylitol which is great for teeth and tastes good! Available at health food stores,  iherb.com and Amazon.com

My new favorite website to buy all the aforementioned goodies and many more at a 25%-75% discount/usually 25% is at http://www.ThriveMarket.com

 

Kitchen Tools:

  • Kitchen Aid 7 Quart Mixer is the largest capacity home mixer and I love my new one in Candy Apple Red! I also bought the:
  • Spiralizer Attachment that also slices and peels fruit and vegetables!

Body Care Products: Many skincare products contain gluten and dairy which go into your bloodstream within 30 seconds! Yes, it will cause you just as much trouble as eating it!

  • Nubian Heritage Soaps and Lotions
  • Evoli Body Butter & Lip Balm, made from all organic healthy oils
  • Zoya Nail Polish, free of formaldehyde and other bad chemicals available at Whole Foods
  • DoTerra essential oils: I do not travel without the OnGuard and put it on my feet every night! DoTerra.com
  • For the Bathroom: Poo Pourri toilet spray. This is so Brilliant! You spray your favorite essential oil based Poo Pourri into the toilet before you go and it acts as a barrier to help keep your bathroom smelling good! It really works, honest! I keep one in my purse and in our bathroom.

Healthcare/Natural Medicine:

  • Alpha CF Homeopathic liquid is lactose free and is what I use at the first sign of a cold or flu and it usually gets rid of it right away or at least shortens the duration to a few days instead of a few weeks. Available at health food stores, you may have to special order the liquid form.
  • Occiliccocinum homeopathic cold and flu, Walgreens, CVS and healthfood store. Pellets contain lactose so either dilute a dose in water and only take a teaspoon or find the Alpha CF liquid.
  • Deep Lung is great for respiratory infections.
  • Chestal Homeopathic Cough Medicine with honey, health food stores and CVS and Walgreens.
  • Yin Chao Chinese Medicine for colds that start with a sore throat is great.
  • High Dose Vitamin C Meyers Cocktail Infusion through an IV drip or push by a naturopathic doctor. http://www.naturopathic.org or wwwCalND.com in CA. This saves me every Christmas/Winter, including this week!

Books:

  • Can’t go to Italy this year read, Dolce di Love By Lynch
  • for Humor and belly laughs read Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris
  • go to http://www.hayhouse.com for many inspirational and spiritual books, audio books and DVD’s for adults and children
  • Listen to shows on:
  • http://www.HayHouseRadio.com

Games:

  • Kids and Adults: Simon, an electronic game that lights up and tests your memory. Can be played with 2-4 people
  • Adults: Rummikub, a game with tiles and numbers. Good mental challenge and fun.

 

Clothing:

  • Nomads Organic Clothing, this Canadian company uses all organic fabrics made from hemp, soy, bamboo and cotton. It feels so good on and will not disrupt your hormones or endocrine system and it’s great for the environment. A win-win-win! Just wish they did not make them in China. Sometimes you have to compromise. These clothes feel really soft and warm; and look stylish.                                   Available at https://nomadshempwear.com
  • Synergy Organic Clothing, mostly cotton, made in Nepal. Stores in Santa Cruz and San Francisco and available online http://synergyclothing.com
  • Smart Wool Socks, wool that doesn’t itch and keeps your toes and feet warm in the coldest weather! They also make runners socks-breathable and cushiony! Available at The Sock Shop and online http://www.smartwool.com

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Healthy, Happy New Year filled with wonderful food, friends, family and goodies that improve your health and life! Love and Blessings to all! Please Comment and share with us your favorite  Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Vegan, Organic food, things & products.

Be Well and Thrive into your Dreams! 

Fermented Foods(Saurkraut, Coconut Yogurt, Kombucha)

Fermenting Foods

I have been having so much fun making sauerkraut, kombucha, water keifer, non-dairy coconut  yogurt and brined Bison Brisket for us and private chef clients!
I just had an opening for 2 more private clients, so if you would like a break from cooking, call me! I can work with any budget, diet and customize it all just for you with love.

I am amazed at how easy it is to make fermented food, once you know a few tricks, and how much money you can save! I love customizing my food to my own liking, don’t you? 

The benefits of enjoying fermented foods are that they contain lots of healthy bacteria like you find in probiotics! 

Fermented foods are foods that have been through a process of lactofermentation in which natural bacteria feed on the sugar and starch in the food creating lactic acid. This process preserves the food, and creates beneficial enzymes, b-vitamins, Omega-3 fatty acids, and various strains of probiotics. This can be helpful in improving digestion and overall health. 

Although the fermented foods have probiotics, we are not sure how many survive the acid of the stomach and digestion. So, keep taking a good quality probiotic as well. I also suggest you start slowly to avoid any digestive discomfort. Start with 1 TBSP. of sauerkraut which is a great garnish on top of food or 1/4 cup Kombucha/Keifer/Yogurt, and slowly increase the amount each week until you are eating the amounts that you desire. 

Did you know that 80% of our immune system is in the intestines(gut)? Yep, it’s true. So, keeping the gut healthy is always a perfect place to start  improving overall health as well as digestion. 

I love Naturopathic Medicine because it is really good at healing people’s guts. It also looks at the whole body as a unit and the philosophy is to get to the root cause and heal it, not to block a pathway with drugs and ignore the cause.

 I encourage you to eat fermented foods daily, and to have a good Naturopathic Doctor, who has been to 4 yrs. of medical school, on your team because it is important to have a doctor that is educated and experienced. 

To find a licenced ND in California go to: http://www.CalND.org, and anywhere else in the US go to: http://www.Naturopathic.org or check out the list of the one’s I know and trust at http://www.NoWheatNoDairyNoProblem.com 

Do you want to learn to make your own Fermented Foods; and save money?

 

Fermented Foods Workshop!
If you would like to learn how to make your own, I will be teaching a workshop on many of these items between Los Gatos and Santa Cruz on Saturday August 2nd from 10am-12noon! You will get to take home a big jar of sauerkraut  that you choose from a variety to things to add in! Limited space so Email me now to reserve your place laurenskitchen1@gmail.com

If you don’t like to cook, call me and I’ll make/cook customized meals for you and deliver them!

I wish each one of you beautiful souls, a wonderful, safe summer! May you enjoy sunshine, eating, cooking and being with loved ones without worrying or suffering. I look forward to seeing you soon in a cooking class or my Fermentation and Skin Care Workshops! See all the classes and workshops I am offering this summer below.

Be Well & Thrive into your Dreams, 

Lauren

Gluten-free, Delicious Thanksgiving Recipes and Menu Planning Guide

Have family or friends or maybe yourself who are coming for Thanksgiving who are on a special diet or have health issues and concerns and you don’t know how to manage? Whether you just want to eat healthy and delicious food or have a food/health issue…you don’t have to spend the whole day cooking and cleaning in the kitchen this Thanksgiving! Below I’ll give you a week long planning guide along with recipes to make a deliciously healthful Thanksgiving that everyone can eat.

Everyone that has eaten my Thanksgiving recipes all said they are as good or better than traditional gluten recipes, and they did not miss the gluten, dairy or refined sugar! Wow, this is so wonderful and many heartfelt thanks!

Here is an easy guide to help you prepare things ahead of time you so you can enjoy your holiday and guests. Trust me after 20 years of doing this…it is so much easier than trying to be the Superhero on Thanksgiving…especially if something goes wrong-very embarrassing. Don’t be afraid to send the recipe to one of your guests/relatives and ask them to make it and bring it-delegate and gratefully accept the help. I know it is not easy, especially for people who like to be in control/charge! Remember, we allow others to grow and feel needed and be blessed by their contribution too. This is what helped me to realize micro-managing was stunting the growth of my employees! Let go, ah, it feels so good! There is still plenty for you to do.

I am listing all the goodies you can prepare ahead of time by day from my cookbook, No Wheat No Dairy No Problem-order it now on this site!

Up to one week ahead: Pie Crust (see Recipe of the Week-15 minutes), dairy-free and Gluten Free, Cranberry Sauce(refined sugar free and way better than anything that is store bought-15 minutes)

Up to three days ahead: Candied Yams( adapted from Paul Prudhomme)-40 minutes, Mashed Potatoes 30 minutes, Sweet Potatoe Pie Filling 10 minutes

Up to two days ahead: Brine 5 minutes and soak/refrigerate Turkey(fresh or frozen)-will be the juiciest ever! See my directions for thawing turkey according to weight-must be done in the refrigerator. You can now buy a Brined or Kosher Turkey and skip this step. clean your house or have it cleaned, do laundry etc..!;)

The day before:  make salad dressing/vinaigrette, chill wine, cook Turkey neck in broth and chill or gravy, Pecan Pie Filling, Cornbread for stuffing, chop vegetables(onion, celery etc…), Assemble and bake pie-Sweet Potato Pecan, Pecan, Pumpkin. I highly recommend the Sweet Potato Pecan-it’s a sure winner! See my utube video for rolling pie crust and dicing an onion at http://www.youtube.com search under LaurenHooverAuthor and laugh out loud!;) You try being videotaped and then laugh at yourself…I did! Take a hot bath and get a good night sleep, you’ll need it. Spend quality time with those you love, play a game together, go for a walk etc… because Thanksgiving is so busy that you may not get a quality conversation in that day. It so important to remember to be thankful and tell our loved one’s how grateful we are for them-especially children…they really are not mind readers!;)

Go to the grocery store for anything you still need.

Thanksgiving day: Eat Breakfast so you are not ravenous all day and then get a stomach ache from not eating for hours-you will be so much happier and your family will be very thankful. This is a lovely time to have quality time with whomever is in your home before all the rest of the guests arrive.

Begin with a Clean Kitchen-which will keep you organized and calm. Set out ingredients, measure them out and follow the recipes. Have fun! I like relaxing or upbeat music playing while I cook.

Get the kids/husband/family/friends to set the table, build a fire,  decorate-it will keep them busy and out of your kitchen-unless they like to cook! Kids love to make the name tags for the place settings-great project to keep them entertained.

Prepare stuffing(cornbread or regular or Gluten Free) and chop herbs, Stuff Turkey and bake (see my recipe that was even good enough for a US Senator)! The secret…cooking it at a very high temperature will create  crispy skin and juicy meat- not to mention-save time and energy! Yum! Reheat Mashed Potatoes, Candied Yams in a double boiler(or glass bowl above boiling water)  or the oven or microwave if absolutely necessary, cook and chop vegetables and wash/spin salad greens-toss at the table. Teenagers who like to cook will love to make salad or this is a good item to ask some else to bring. Pour wine and enjoy!

I do not put out a lot of snacks…just a few to tide people’s appetite, but not spoil it for a huge dinner. Choose 2: bowl of nuts,   hummus(put in a bowl of ice to keep cold) & raw vegetables, olives, deviled eggs all of which can be made the day ahead or store bought(of course I make them myself)!

Important tips: See Professional Secrets and Tips section of my cookbook-it will help to ensure YOUR success.

Use  oven and digital read thermometers-temperature is key. See my guide for cooking times according to the weight of the Turkey. Enlist help, people love to help.

Clean(with hot water and soap) all surfaces, sinks, counters, cutting boards, utensils and hands that touch raw Turkey to prevent spreading salmonella-food poisioning.

Keep Turkey refrigerated at 38 degrees until ready to stuff and bake.

Stuff the Turkey just before baking so bacteria will not grow.

Do NOT and I repeat, DO NOT leave food out at room temperature for longer than 2 hours. It is best to put out smaller batches. Optimal Bacteria growth temperatures are between 40-140 degrees…yep, room temperature! It grows extremely rapidly by the hour after four hours throw it out. I hate waste…so I put out smaller portions or serve everything at once and put it away or send it home with guests just after eating. Only follow this advice if you want to avoid food poisoning or a big tummy ache-really you will be so much happier and healthier.

Final Tip/Preference: To baste or not to baste? I like to soak a large piece of cheesecloth in grapeseed oil, fold it in half and in half again to fit over the Turkey. Cover the Turkey with it and I do not baste if you  like a crispy skin. The high temperature will crisp the skin and seal in the juices. Resting the Turkey for 20-30 minutes is the ONLY way to have the juice stay in the meat. If you cut into the Turkey right away or before 20 minutes, watch all the juice run away and there is nothing to get it back into the meat…it will be dry, I promise. While Turkey is resting, make gravy.

Let someone else, especially the teenagers, do the dishes!

BTW, I did all of this in a cooking class last week in 3 1/2 hours – I slept very well that night!  So, You can do it too. Just follow my recipes carefully-read them first. I like to read them the night before I make them. and again just before making them. Buy my cookbook even if you only use the Thanksgiving recipes!

Take a deep breath, have a glass of  organic wine, relax and have a very Happy Thanksgiving. From my heart to yours…may you have much to be grateful for this year. I am so grateful for many things/people  including everyone who have been so supportive of my mission in helping you change your life  with delicious, healthy food. Thank you.

FOR ALL RECIPES GO TO THE RECIPES PAGE ON THIS BLOG.

Be Well and Thrive with Blessings,

Happy Thanksgiving, Chef Lauren Hoover-West

Gluten-free Summit-FREE Webinar!

Many of my teachers are world reknowned gluten experts are speaking for the next week on gluten! You will learn so much. I’ve already learned some interesting things today.

Did you know that some Japanese restaurants are starting to add wheat/white flour to sushi rice? Yep!!

Did you know that some gluten-free Beer that begins with gluten(barley, wheat, rye, spelt, oats) and they add enzymes to eat the gluten in the middle of the process to “remove” the gluten, may still contain gluten and not be safe!

Here are just two examples of really valuable nuggets of knowledge you will gain by listening.

If you have family or friends or co-workers that just don’t understand….here is your opportunity to let them hear it from someone else…The Experts!

Be Well & Thrive, Lauren

P.S. I’m going to post Thanksgiving Menu/Party Planning with Recipes this week for you to have a healthy, gluten-free, safe holiday.

LINK FOR FREE GLUTEN-FREE SUMMIT:http://theglutensummit.com

Flaxseeds

The first time I ate flax it was not for the health qualities, it was for the high fiber because I was in Costa Rica and very constipated! Not fun. I started to read up on it when I came home and loved all the health benefits. I then found a cookie recipe with flax! My sister was passing by on a road trip and I gave them to her with the caution of be careful not to eat too many at once or you will be very regular! Well, sisters don’t listen and she had a lot of stops on her trip!! The cookies were so good that she kept eating them and forgot about my warning! So, do eat it in moderation.Flax itself is high in omega 3,6 & 9  fatty acids which are free radical scavengers and can assist in preventing cancer. But, when it is milled with heat or heated or old, and the oils go rancid, it becomes a free radical which has been proven to cause cancer! Flax is also high in fiber, protein and the antioxidant lignans and micronutrients.

Recently, I learned from a well respected doctor and professor, who owns a gluten-free bakery, that flax is very fragile especially when used in baking. The oils can go rancid very easily when heated and after the whole seed is crushed/ground. Although flax can be very healthy when fresh, it can be dangerous when heated or milled with heat.

I met the owners of Premium Gold a farm and mill that specialize in flax and they confirmed that this is true. I asked if I bake with flax, particularly adding it to cookies, how long is the shelf life? They told me it was only….5 days! WOW! That was so eyeopening. They also use a proprietary cold milling method to mill their grains. I was able to smell the fresh flax, and it really does not smell at all when it is fresh. You will know if you smell it and the oils have gone rancid. The taste is a little bitter and nutty and grassy. They make a gluten-free flour that contains flax and some very healthy flours including Quinoa, Buckwheat and Amaranth. However, it still contains xanthan gum, a bacteria/microrganism which I do not use in my recipes. I do think that this alternative/gluten-free flour substitute is one of the best ones I’ve seen on the market.

If you wish to eat and use flaxseed I would suggest that you consider buying organic whole not ground and grind it yourself in small amounts with a spice grinder(pulsing in short intervals to avoid heat) or purchase it online from PremiumGold or a similar company. You can also buy it from a mill that cold mills it, such as Bob’s Red Mill or PremiumGoldflax.com Keep it in the freezer or refrigerator and be mindful of the expiration date. BTW, they are a family owned and operated company by women! 🙂

 Flax is also high in fiber and are powerful natural cholesterol controller. Cholesterol is vital to have and Americans are very misinformed about this subject, but I digress. Bob’s Red Mill flaxseed contains in a 2 Tablespoon serving size (13 grams) the fiber content is 1.33 grams of Soluble Fiber and 2.67 grams of Insoluble Fiber. Ground Flaxseeds are a good source of Omega 3 Fatty Acids. In a 2 Tablespoon serving, there is 2400 mg of Omega 3.BTW, you can never eat enough flax seed or oil to get the equivalent of the omegas you would get in good quality fish oil! If you are vegan, please study up on this and consider making an exception and taking fish oil instead of flax.

Flax can be used as an egg substitute by using 1 TBSP. Flaxseeds, ground or Chia seeds + 3 TBSP. filtered water, soak for 15 minutes which is the equivalent of one whole egg. Just remember if you are baking with it, you need to eat it within 5 days.

Cooking with flax oil is not recommended. You may use it if it is fresh to drizzle over food/veggies or salad dressing. I personally do not use it, b/c I don’t like the flavor, it is too unstable and I strongly believe in taking fish oil. I am well versed in this area since my husband is a Naturopathic Doctor and oversaw all the scientific studies(at top universities etc…) for the leading fish oil company! Our Grandparents were right, take a spoonful of Cod Liver Oil everyday and you will be strong and healthy! Some things, many things from the olden days really still ring true!

My conclusion is that I will not be using flax in my commercial baking, but would use cold milled flax at home in things I will consume in a few days. I really like Chia seeds too, but I use them fresh, raw and consume them immediately. See my article on Chia on this blog for more information.

 

3 Rotisserie Chickens= Dinners for all Week!

If you were not at my cooking class at New Leaf Market last Wednesday night, you really missed a lot of fun. It was such a hit, I’ve decided to let you in on some time & money-saving Menu Planning! You won’t want to miss the next Menu Planning Class on Thursday June 14th from 6pm-8:30pm Sign up now at New Leaf.com. $35 includes dinner.

Plan your week ahead to save time and money by menu planning. I photocopy the recipes I will make and then go through my kitchen and cross off the ingredients I have. Then, I go buy the remaining ingredients.

If you want to Bake/Roast 3 Whole Chickens on the weekend for the rest of the week you can. I would recommend for the freshest that you Buy or Bake one at the beginning of the week and again mid-week to be safe and not give yourself food poisoning.

Buy 2 Roasted Rotisserie Organic Chickens-I prefer the Smart Chickens or Mary’s Chicken at New Leaf Market or you local health food store. Be sure that it is not coated with any flour or soy sauce which are gluten. Most importantly make sure they do not contain Hormones or Antibiotics!

Cut the Chicken’s up into pieces. Dice the breast meat into bite sized pieces and use for Chicken Salad and Pot Pie. Shred all dark meat for Enchiladas and Nachos and Turkey Pot Pie. Save the carcass to make Broth for Soup.

Menu:

1. Roasted Chicken with Veggies-Cut up Chicken and Roast Veggie from No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook

2. Enchiladas-2 thighs/leg meat

Heat Organic Corn Tortillas in a little Grapeseed Oil for a few minutes on each side over medium heat, & set aside on a plate lined with paper towels. Place a line of chicken & Mozzarella Daiya Cheese Alternative in the middle of the corn tortilla and roll up and set into a 9×9 Pyrex dish. Pour canned Enchilada Sauce to cover the Tortillas. Sprinkle with remaining Daiya. Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes or until hot and Daiya is melted. Serve with Beans.

3. Nachos-2 thighs/leg meat

Lay out a single layer of Organic Blue Corn Chips(NON-GMO always) onto a baking sheet. Heat 1 can Organic Refried Beans and spoon over the Corn Chips. Top with shredded Chicken. Sprinkle Mozzarella Daiya Cheese Alternative over the top. Top with sliced black olives if you wish. Broil with door cracked open and do NOT look away or they will burn quickly. Broil until the Daiya is just melted. This will only take a few minutes.  Put onto plates or a serving platter and serve with Guacamole and Salsa. Note: Daiya is best when hot. It will only keep in refrigerator for 7 days once opened so, I freeze it for up to 6 months. Serve these with a big green salad and a Vinaigrette(Use Lime juice and Cilantro) from No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook.

4. Curry Chicken Salad-1 1/2  Breasts

Put a 1/2 cup of Grapeseed Veganaise or your favorite Mayonnaise (no preservatives please) into a mixing bowl. Whisk in 1 TBSP Curry powder + 1 TBSP Mango Chutney. Stir in Chicken. Top with chopped peanuts, tomatoes, and any Curry toppings from No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook. Serve over a big bed of mixed Organic Baby Greens or Organic Romaine or you can make Lettuce wraps with Organic Butter Lettuce.

5. Pesto Chicken Salad-1  1/2 Breasts

You can either add 2 TBSP Pesto from No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook or put 1/2 bunch Organic Basil leaves into a food processor with 1/2 cup of Grapeseed Veganaise or your favorite Mayonnaise (no preservatives please) and blend until Basil is very finely mixed in. Put Chicken and Pesto Veganaise into a bowl and mix. Top with chopped Walnuts or Pecans. Enjoy over a big bed of Organic Arugula tossed in a Vinaigrette made with Lemon juice from No Wheat No Dairy No Problem Cookbook. If you must, you can put this on a Gluten-free(Hamburger Bun or Bread or Foccacia) with Arugula.

6. Soup-Dark and white meat & B diced Breast meat

7. Chicken Pot Pie-recipe in No Wheat No Dairy No Problem!

Put Carcass in a very large Stock Pot & cover with cold water. Add 2 Bay Leaves, 2 Stalks Organic Celery, 2 Organic Carrots, 1 lg. Organic Onion, quartered, 1 tsp. sea salt, 1/2 tsp. black or white pepper. Bring to a boil and then turn down to low and simmer 45 minutes-1 1/2 hours if you have time. Strain and add fresh organic sliced carrots, celery, onions and simmer until they are fork tender(about 10 minutes). Add in shredded and diced Chicken. Serve immediately. You can also top with fresh chopped Parsley, Basil or Cilantro. I freeze a glass jar of this, 3/4 filled only, for when I get the flu or a cold! Serve with a Salad or Gluten-free Sandwich.

7. Leftovers-if there are any leftovers you can just finish them.

Hope you have an easy, healthy and delicious week of dinners! You can also use the Chicken Salads for lunches. Be sure to join me for our next Menu Planning Cooking Class June 14th at New Leaf Market, Westside Santa Cruz. Sign up at http://www.NewLeaf.com

Be Well, Lauren Hoover-West

What Alcohol contains Gluten? Vodka? Rum? Gin? Whiskey? Tequila? Beer? Wine?

Before you have that cocktail, you may want to think twice! Gluten is a protein found in wheat, barley, rye and spelt(a non-hybridized wheat). Did you ever worry about what the alcohol in your favorite mixed drink is made from; or that you could be contaminated with gluten from alcohol? Below is a list of what grains and ingredients are used to make alcohol/distilled spirits.

Whisky (Scottish English) or whiskey (Irish English and American English[1]) is a type of distilled alcoholic beverage made from fermented grain mash. Different grains are used for different varieties, including barley, malted barley, rye, malted rye, wheat, and corn.

Vodka is made from potatoes or wheat or rye or grains. Whiskey is made from corn or rye.  Beer is made from wheat, and there are now gluten-free beers made from Sorghum-I recommend Red Bridge.  Gin is made from various distilled spirits that may contain gluten/grain and then infused with Juniper berries. Tequila is made from Agave, a Cactus. Rum is made from Sugar cane. Wine, Brandy, Eau da Vie and Cognac(region in France) are made from grapes.

Review of Best Vodka Brands and Types

Forbes’ List of the Best Vodkas in the World

  • Belvedere Vodka – Rye – Poland – $32
  • Boru Vodka – Grain varieties – Ireland – $18
  • Chopin Vodka – Potatoes – Poland – $32
  • Ketel One Vodka – Wheat – Holland – $23
  • Level Vodka – Wheat – Sweden – $30
  • Stolichnaya Gold Vodka – Wheat – Russia – $25
  • Ston Vodka – Wheat – Estonia – $23
  • Turi Vodka – Rye – Estonia – $30
  • Vox Vodka – Wheat – Holland – $30
  • Wyborowa Vodka – Rye – Poland – $30

Gayot’s List of the Best Vodkas in the World

  • Imperia Vodka – Wheat – Russia – $28
  • SKYY 90 Vodka – Amber Winter Wheat – United States – $33
  • Jean-Marc XO Vodka – Wheat – France (Cognac)- $50
  • Ultimat Vodka – Potato – Poland – $40
  • Xellent Vodka – Rye – Switzerland – $37
  • 42 Below Vodka – Grain – New Zealand – $30
  • Hangar 1 Vodka – Wheat and Viognier Grapes – United States (CA) – $33
  • Roth California Vodka – Wine Grapes – United States – $35
  • Stolichnaya Elit Vodka – Grain – Russia – $60
  • Kauffman Luxury Vintage Vodka – Wheat – Russia – $225

I just bought a Potato Vodka made in Austria. It is called Monopolowa J.A. Baczewski 40% alcohol distilled from potatoes and it costs $9.99. Monopolowa, Chopin and Ultimat, Blue Ice, Superfly, Karlsson’s, Schramm, LiV and Glacier are all made from Potatoes. Chopin is often stocked in bars.

Here are two of my favorite drinks in my cookbook No Wheat No Dairy No Problem:

Margarita

There is no comparison between a fresh squeezed Margarita and that yellow stuff in a bottle! The taste of sweet orange and sour lemon and lime coupled with tequila makes a satisfying cocktail!

Yields: 1 drink

1 shot gold tequila

1 shot Cointreau or Grand Mariner

juice of ½ orange

juice of 1 lime

juice of ½ lemon

kosher salt for rim, optional

ice cubes

Cut a wedge of citrus and run it along the rim of the glass and dip the rim into kosher salt. Measure all ingredients, except ice, into a cocktail shaker or glass, add ice cubes shake or stir.

Citrus juice can erode the enamel of teeth, so just brush after drinking this wonderful drink! Cheers!

Mojito

This is a refreshing and delicious Cuban drink that is made with lime, mint and rum.

Yields: 1 drink

6 ounces fresh lime juice

1 Tablespoon agave nectar

10 fresh mint leaves, washed

2 ounces white rum, optional

sparkling water

ice

Wash limes with vegetable wash and rinse well. Squeeze limes in a measuring cup. Remove any seeds with a fork. Pour lime juice into a tall glass. Add mint leaves and muddle (crush with a muddle or wooden spoon) to release essential oils from the mint. Stir in agave nectar. Fill glass with ice. Pour rum in and fill with sparkling water. You can omit the rum for a refreshing alcohol free drink. Enjoy with or without rum. Cheers!

Citrus juice can erode the enamel of teeth, so just brush after drinking this wonderful drink

Here are a few  modern cocktails we like: The trend seems to be herbs infused or muttled into drinks

Basil Cucumber Collins, a refreshing/cooling drink from Roy’s; which we enjoyed on a vacation in Las Vegas and again in Palm Desert last summer! 

Cucumber Vodka muddled with basil, fresh lime juice and topped with club soda. I made a version of this at home and used slices of cucumber that I placed in the vodka the night before to infuse the flavor of the Vodka, and I used fresh lime juice plus lime flavored sparkling water.

Cucumber Cooler

  • 1.5 oz.  Vodka
  • 4 slices Organic Cucumber
  • 0.5 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1 oz. ginger beer or ginger ale(I prefer Reeds which has real ginger root in it) or sparkling water
  • Muddle all but 1 of the cucumber slices with the lime quarters in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. Add ice and vodka, shake well and strain into an ice-filled Collins glass. Top with ginger beer. Garnish with a cucumber slice.
  • 0.6 fl. oz. of alcohol

Lychee Lemon Drop: lemon drop martini fused with Lychee syrup and whole Lychee(pitted canned or fresh peeled).

Vodka, Fresh Basil and Organic Strawberries, Fresh Lemon Juice, and Simple Syrup or Agave, serve on the rocks

Vodka, Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice, and a Grapefruit Twist & Orange Juice, fresh rosemary or tarragon if desired

Simple Syrup, Boil 1 cup water with 1 cup sugar(I like coconut palm sugar), cool and store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator. Use to sweeten cocktails or make fresh lemonade.  I prefer to use Agave Nectar which dissolves well in cold liquid and is low glycemic index and won’t spike your blood sugar and drop you like a hot rock with the sugar blues.

Doesn’t matter what team you are routing for at your sporting event or what you are celebrating, just have fun, good food, and a cocktail or mocktail. Please be sure to let someone else drive even if you think you are “okay” or only had one drink. Better safe than sorry. 🙂

All of the drinks above can be made into Virgin/Mocktails by omitting the alcohol and will still taste delicious without the hangover and extra calories. The average blended cocktail has 800 calories! That is not a typo, it is eight hundred! So, another reason for moderation. 😉

See the other page on this site, Recipe of the Month, for some delicious food to accompany the aforementioned cocktails.

Announcing Lauren’s Kitchen Biscotti Company and New DVD Cooking Class!

I promised you a Big announcement and surprise, so here it is just in time for the Holiday’s! I started a Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Low Glycemic Biscotti/Cookie company this year and they are now available to purchase on this site.

They come in two flavors: Cherry Orange and Double Chocolate Chip and have 5 grams of protein and a low Glycemic Load/Index of 18-29!

They differ from all other cookies and Biscotti in two ways; they are a little softer than traditional Biscotti, and they use healthy ingredients that are heart healthy and low glycemic. There is NO XANTHAN GUM/GUAR GUM or corn. 🙂

Most importantly, they are made with love in a GLUTEN-FREE FACILITY! No cross-contamination.

The main ingredients are Gluten-free Oat Flour(high protein/high fiber/heart healthy), Coconut Palm Sugar(low glycemic index) and YUMMY! Most ingredients are organic too.

I love it when I go to the coffee houses that carry my Biscotti and the employees ask me, at the check out, if I’ve had the “delicious” Gluten-free Biscotti! The employees love them even if they are not Gluten-free! So, they are for everyone. I had one employee buy them for her children’s lunches as a healthier choice for a treat! 🙂 Yeah!

New DVD: Chocolate Cooking Class with Chef Lauren!

The other big news is that I have just released a DVD Cooking Class on chocolate! It includes learning to make Chocolate Ganache, Frosting, Fondue and Truffles! They are all Gluten-free and Dairy-free and low glycemic index/load! So, you can finally have a cooking class with Chef Lauren in the comfort of your own home on your time schedule. Don’t know what to buy as a gift for the Holidays or a birthday for someone who is Gluten-free, Dairy-free or reducing their sugar intake? It is also for everyone who loves Chocolate. The Truffles are the perfect, inexpensive gift. Just make the Truffles and put them in cute Chinese take out containers or bags and tie a beautiful bow and you will have a great gift.

I wish you all happy and healthy holidays. Remember to just do what brings you peace and joy.  Go to the Buy Cookbook/Lauren’s Biscotti/DVD page to make your purchases. Thank you for your support. Many Blessings.