Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marshmallow and Licorice Root Cough Syrup

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This is sugar-free, all natural, and soothing made with tonic herbs.

My little one caught a cold from church. Which at first angered me that someone probably brought their sick kid and left them in daycare. Springtime and a icky cold? GGGRRRRrr....

 And then I just took a deep breath. O WELL. It's bound to happen. And I have a lot of skills in my toolbelt to help us weather (ah, pun) this.

And then saturday night, she was up four times for several hours. All I could do was hold her, wipe her nose, and refill her water as we watched late night episode of Dora the Explorer or read Let's Dance, Little Pookie.

And all she wanted to do was kiss me. Sweet sweet baby girl.

Then I woke up with a runny nose sunday morning. What comes around goes around, literally.

I'd done immunity-boosting yoga poses, took oregano, and tons of Vitamin D before but sometimes you got let the snotty baby kiss you because mommas loves kisses.

So anyway, Big Blue Eyes and I have a cold. A gross, icky cold so I'd thought I'd post a real herbal recipe that will help you all at home cure a sore throat naturally.

This syrup contains marshmallow and licorice root decoction that is steeped with lemon balm and mint. A little lemon helps cut through the super sweetness of licorice root. Lemon balm and mint are very calming and restorative.

Marshmallow root contains a natural mucilage that helps coat a dry throat. It is also a wonderful replacement for slippery elm which is used in many cold products but is on its path to becoming endangered. Licorice root also aids in producing mucilage. It is a natural sweetener, hence the no sugar.

You can buy all these herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.

You can add two tablespoons of honey if you like. Honey is also great for sore throats but I tend to avoid a lot of sugar when I'm sick and honey is quite a bit of sugar.

Marshmallow and Licorice Root Cough Syrup
3 c purified water
1 slice of lemon
2 T marshmallow root, dried
1 dozen dried licorice root slices (about a couple inches long)
1 T mint, dried and crushed (2 T fresh)
1 T lemon balm, dried and crushed

Boil water, add marshmallow and licorice root and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
Remove from heat. Add lemon, lemon balm and mint. Cover and steep 15 more minutes.
Drain and enjoy a cupful.
Refriderate and make fresh everyday.

For little ones, give them a tablespoonful.

I buy my herbs from:
Mountain Rose Herbs. A herbs, health and harmony c

This has been shared on Lifeologia.

(However licorice root can raise blood pressure. Avoid this. And with any herbs, consult your doctor before considering.)

And last but not least, I'm not a doctor. I'm not licensed to diagnose or prescribe. This is for educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Use information at your discretion, taking into account medical history. Always research!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Carrot Cake Smoothie for Breakfast 2.0

Do you remember this?

That was delicious and nutritious but this today's version is a little more smooth, more milkshake-y. Amaressa gulfed this down for a snack. It was delicious and a very nutritious treat!
Carrot Cake Smoothie for Breakfast 2.0
2 c carrots, lightly steamed
1 c unsweetened milk  *see note for milkshake version
1 frozen banana
1 Date
1 t scant cinnamon powder
1 t vanilla extract
2 T almond butter
pinch of baking soda (somehow makes it more cakey)

Really it's the first three ingredients that make the smoothie. Feel free to omit some of the other ingredients or you could add coconut butter or even butter extract. For a delicious milkshake version (and higher in healthy fats), use canned coconut milk. This would be so delicious as an ice cream!

Blend all ingredients in a blender and enjoy!

Vegan Grilled Cheese and Basil Polenta Sandwiches + Homemade Coconut Mozzarella

This was inspired by Donna Hay.

I just love me some Donna Hay... It was a treasure to go the bookstore every month or so flip through her magazine or better yet, bring it home and cherish it with a hot cup of tea and a notepad to write ideas. Now of course, we don't have our Borders bookstore so sadly I do not come upon it as easily. So lately I've been enjoying my old Donna Hay magazines.

I was perusing through Issue 40 when I found an article on Instant Polenta (even polenta chips which made me smile since I've tried my hand at making polenta fries). However I really liked the idea of grilled cheese and basil polenta. YUM! All of those ingredients are amazing.

Not to be deterred by the fact I don't eat cheese. I thought I can make that. At first I thought, maybe I could completely nix the cheese and just go with basil. Nixed that idea. What if I substituted the cheese with a soft roasted vegetable? Not feeling it. Nix. What if I made cheese? YES!

I've tried to make cheese sauces before and have succeeded in edible-ity or edibility (I made that up) but not in overall amazingness. Nothing to write home about... until now.

While doing research for another recipe, I came upon a coconut milk mozzarella from Olives for Dinner, a totally new site to me, which was originally adapted from this guy Josh Hebert.

And as I really believe in crediting those who inspire you and your recipes/ideas. I just wanted to thank Josh Hebert and Erin from Olives for Dinner (not that they will ever read this) for such a great idea! And thanks to Donna Hay for also all the inspiration!

This is very mild (definitely a good taste for mozzarella) and has a slight coconuty taste, subtle but it does NOT annoyingly remind you you're not eating cheese.

I changed the recipe a bit (otherwise I would just link) but here we go.

Coconut Milk Mozzarella
1 15 oz can Coconut Milk (not lite)
5 t agar flakes
1 tsp pink Himilyan Salt (or any sea salt)
1 tsp white balsamic
4 tsp Arrowroot Powder (or tapioca)
1 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast flakes

1. Pour can into small saucepan over medium-low heat until completely mixed.
2. Add remaing ingredients, except for nutritional yeast. Boil then simmer for ten minutes while frequently stirring.
3. Pour into flat-bottomed glass dish (This is was Erin's tip) and let gel for an hour or stick in fridge when cool for later use.

Also I didn't have instant polenta but this would be a much quicker fix if you did. You could also prepare the sandwiches and stick them in the fridge to heat up when you get home from work. Nom nom nom.

If you have have instant polenta, this will only need to cook 3 minutes. Regular is almost ten times as long.

3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup regular polenta
2 garlic cloves, minced
Large Handful Fresh Basil
Pinch of salt

1. Boil water.
2. Whisk in polenta, garlic, and salt. Reduce Heat. Stir Frequently for 20-30 minutes until thickened and not sticking to sides.
3. Pour half into loaf pan with nonstick baking paper. Top with mozzarella, basil leaves then remaining ingredients.
3. Refridgerate until set, at least 40 minutes.

To make Grilled Cheese and Basil Polenta Sandwiches:
1. Remove polenta from loaf pan (by pulling up nonstick baking paper).
2. Cut into squares or triangles.
3. Heat a little coconut oil (or any oil) on skillet on medium-high heat, add sandwiches. Grilling on both sides for five minutes.

Question of the day: Is there any food you miss? Have you found any delicious substitutes?

Most of all I miss cheese and greek yogurt. They were so delicious and creamy!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Win a 2 yr Subscription to Whole Living!

I absolutely love the Whole Living Magazine! I was renewed my subscription today and as a thank you to my readers and because I love Whole Living Magazine so much, I'm giving away a two years' worth subscription to the magazine! Here's how you can win it:

Before 9 pm (PST) tonight, you must, go to Sweet Roots Facebook page. Like it and comment with a green living tip. You will also need to email your address to or you can facebook message Sweet Roots (I do not sell or give addresses out to advertisers. These addresses will be kept private and deleted when I have the winner).

If you'd like a second entry, you can share it with your friends (let me know you did) on facebook.
And thirdly, you can follow this site at the right side of the page here.
These last two are not required but will get you more entries!

I will announce the winner this evening!

Hurry, this ends tonight at 9 pm!

This is not sponsored by Whole Living or the Martha Stewart Corporation or facebook in anyway. It is sponsored solely by myself.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps (Vegan, GF, DF)

I've been developing recipes to use my leftover hibiscus petals from all the hibiscus tea I make, pictured below.
Hibiscus Tea with Lime 2 by Mary Banducci Hibiscus Tea with Lime by Mary Banducci
I created antioxidant rich Hibiscus Ketchup with crunchy and golden polenta fries, which is also great on salmon burgers.

My next adventure with this versatile herb is lettuce wraps. Hibiscus combined with toasted red walnuts, sauteed carrots, and caramelized onions is a delicious alternative to meat. It has pep from the tart hibiscus petals, sweetness from the onions and carrots rounded out by the hearty walnuts. This combo will make you think twice about buying ground beef.
Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps by Mary Banducci 4 Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps by Mary Banducci 2
I soaked my walnuts prior to this recipe (about four hours). I think soaked walnuts taste better and cook better. You can choose not to but I can not vouch how they will cook up in the end. Also, you can use any walnuts but my sweet father purchased some lovely red walnuts a while back for me to create a recipe and I finally have (I just couldn't bear to use them until now). Thanks again, Dad!
Soaked Red Walnuts by Mary Banducci
I hope you love this recipe as much as I do! It happens to be so versatile as well! You can use it to substitute any ground or shredded meat.
Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps by Mary Banducci 3 Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps with Avocado by Mary Banducc Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps by Mary Banducci
On another note, I need to buy more hibiscus! I'm plum out and I have so many recipe ideas. You can buy hibiscus petals (aka flor de jamaica) from Mountain Rose Herbs. Goodness gracious, I love them.

Hibiscus and Red Walnut Lettuce Wraps
1 cup hibiscus petals, dried
1 large carrot
1/2 small sweet onion
1/2 cup soaked red walnuts
1 T Braggs amino acids (optional but adds incredible depth)
1 T Oil
Boiling Water 2-3 cups

For making wraps
Lettuce Leaf (I used butter lettuc)
Lime Wedges
Cashew Lime Cream Sauce (recipe below)
Carrot, sliced into matchsticks.

1. Pour boiling water over hibiscus leaves. Let sit at least fifteen minutes. Drain, reserving 1/4 c of infusion for cooking. Drink the rest with a little agave and a squeeze of lime.
2. Dice one carrot and the onion. Heat oil in saute pan on medium low and add the carrot and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion starts to brown.
3. Meanwhile chop hibiscus leaves and walnuts until desired consistency - I made sure they were minced but not pulverized. I wanted a consistency of cooked ground beef.
4. Add remaining ingredients (including 1/4 c hibiscus infusion) and turn on medium. Cook until liquid is reduced and everything is heated.
5. Serve in lettuce wraps with cashew lime cream sauce and other accroutements.

Cashew Lime Cream Sauce Cashew Lime Cream Sauce (vegan alternative to sour cream)
1/2 c raw cashews
Juice of 1 1/2 limes

In mini food processor, blend cashews until fine. Add the juice of limes. Blend. Add water by tablespoon until desired consistency.
Butter Lettuce by Mary Banducci
If you are looking for more of a sushi wrap made with greens, try some Garden Rolls over at Alisa's Garden.

And don't forget to like us on facebook!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Vitacost Deals (Protein, coconut oil, Vitamin D baby Drops) + Help Support Sweet Roots

I originally wasn't planning to post deals but once in a while, these can't be passed up.

Vitacost is an awesome online store where I purchase my coconut oil (54 oz on sale for $17.84 with promo code FE523E). Don't forget the $10 gift certificate you get for signing up here. (If you sign up here, you're helping support sweet roots when you make your purchase! Meaning I get $10 to use at vitacost).

Currently they have a deal going for buy one, get one half off on select products which includes:
Plant Protein, Pea Protein, Rice Protein, Soy Protein, and Vitamin D baby Drops
along with borage oil and seabuckthorn oil capsules.

You can buy a limit of up to six items to get this deal. Plus if you spend $25 on vitacost products (or $49 on any products), you get free shipping. But WAIT, was there another deal? There is! You can sign up here for a $10 gift certificate to use on your purchase! And if you are purchasing coconut oil, remember to use promo code FE523E.
And you can get two free samples to add to your cart before checkout!

Some great ideas for using your coconut oil:
Coconut Balm (great for exzema)
coconut baby butt balm by Mary Banducci

Kale Salad
Roasted Kale Salad with Pecans by Mary Banducci Sesame Seed Chocolate Melts
Sesame Seed Bone Building Chocolate Melts by Mary Banducci 2

Mommy Monday - Sesame Seeds as a Bone Builder + Chocolate Melts

Sesame Seed Bone Building Chocolate Melts by Mary Banducci 2
I shared this recipe on allergy-free wednesdays! So love that they put this together.

My one-year-old is absolutely, darn-right, most definitely a beautiful, strong, smart toddler. She is constantly on the go. I have to make sure she is fueled properly and that has proved difficult with her dietary challenges. Dairy bothers her; we are wary of anything containing gluten since my family is mostly gluten-intolerant. I try to provide a nourishing, well-balanced diet for her and I've come upon some tips that I think are absolutely helpful.

Today's tip centers around a little seed - Sesame.

Sesame Seeds as Bone Builders by Mary Banducci 2 Sesame is one of the most calcium-rich foods, teaspoon for teaspoon. It's also loaded with trace minerals  such as magnesium. Eating magnesium with calcium is important as it acts as a "'glue' that binds calcium to bone’s protein matrix, creating strong, dense bones. (Spry). Eating one ounce a day of sesame seeds can help provide 28% (based on a 2,000 calories diet) of the calcium needed daily (Nutrition When incorporated into the diet, these little wonders of joy can help provide a good base to building strong, healthy bones.

Big Blue Eyes really enjoys scrambled eggs in the morning. She will eat two whole eggs scrambled and then a small bowl of applesauce (of which I add chia seeds) or seaweed "toasts".

What you can add sesame seeds to:
Hummus (Roasted Red Pepper Hummus recipe)
Bean Dip (or any dip well blended)
On top of eggs or toast
Sprinkled on cereal with non dairy milk
Gomasio sprinkled on rice, cooked greens, and quiches
Mixed in baked goods instead of nuts
of of course, you can make these delicious chocolate melts!

These are a great little treat after lunch to boost calcium intake.

Sesame Seed Bone Building Chocolate Melts by Mary Banducci 5 Sesame Seed Bone Building Chocolate Melts by Mary Banducci Sesame Seed Bone Building Chocolate Melts by Mary Banducci 4 Sesame Chocolate Melts
1 cup sesame seeds
1/2 c cocoa powder or carob powder
4 T agave
4 T coconut oil
1 T nettle, powdered (optional)
Pinch of salt
1. Grind sesame seeds in food processor until creamy (at least five minutes - I added 1 T of the coconut oil at this point which seemed to help).
2. Throw in remaining ingredients and process until well-combined and smooth.
3. Lay wax paper inside an 8x8 inch pan and pour mix in. Refridgerate until set (at least an hour). Cut into 1 in. (or so) squares. Seesaw your knife through the chocolate (do not hacksaw or this will break).

I also includes raw sesame seeds in her hummus instead of buying tahini. Here is a recipe I made for red bell pepper hummus (delicious with these nutritious crackers).

Sesame Seed Bone Building Chocolate Melts by Mary Banducci 3

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Mini Cakes (vegan and GF) + Learn to Grind your own Cardamom

Have a wonderful Carda-MOM Day this sunday!

Another great recipe to share with your Mother on her special day! (These will make everyone feel special)!
Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins by Mary Banducci 3 I had so much fun photographing this today. I wanted to try something a little different, a dark background and I think it worked out beautifully! Can you tell I went photo happy?

Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins by Mary Banducci 5 Now to grind your own cardamom from cardamom pods. You must first break the dried pod with either the back of a knife or a clean garlic press. Little dark seeds will try to escape their green shell as soon as you do! Collect these in a bowl. Then once you have about two tablespoonfuls, pop into a clean coffee grinder and grind those babies! This will only take 30 seconds. Enjoy your freshly ground cardamom!

You can buy cardamom pods from Mountain Rose Herbs. Also great in this simple chai recipe!

Did you know cardamom is also called "the Queen of Spices." It works wonders for the digestion and can remedy bloated stomachs. It also helps to relieve respiratory issues such as asthma.
Cardamom, Ground and in Pods by Mary Banducci  Cardamom in Black and White Gray Film by Mary Banducci Cardamom Pods by Mary Banducci Cardamom Pods by Mary Banducci 2 Citrus Reamed for Cardamom Muffins by Mary Banducci 2 Citrus Reamer by Mary Banducci Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins Batter by Mary Banducci Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins by Mary Banducci out of oven Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins out of oven by Mary Banducci Greenery in Glass Bottles
Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut  Mini Cakes (vegan, NF, GF, DF EF)

3/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 c tapioca flour
1/2 c arrowroot powder
1/2 c + 2 T golden flaxseeds
1 1/4 c fresh-squeezed citrus juice (I used 2 small lemons and one large orange)
1 1/2 t cardamom, ground
1 c shredded coconut
1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar
2 T agave nectar
1 t baking powder
2 t baking soda
1/2 c coconut oil, melted

Shredded coconut
coconut butter
shreds of orange zest

Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins by Mary Banducci
1. Grind flaxseeds in coffee grinder.
2. Mix flours, flaxseeds, baking soda + powder, coconut in one bowl.
3. Mix remaining ingredients in seperate bowl.
4. Slowly add in liquid to dry ingredients until incorporated. Do not overmix or they will turn out dry.
5. Distribute in a greased muffin pan.
6. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes.
7. Top and enjoy! Cardamom Infused Citrus Coconut Muffins by Mary Banducci 4
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