Wednesday, February 18, 2015 Free Downloadable PDF Eguides

I'm proud to announce I'm now a Craftsy Affiliate!

Craftsy Logo
So excited for this opportunity and look forward to sharing the classes!

Check out this amazing free e-guides that are currently free (normally a $4.99 value)! There is also a bonus offer within the eguide if you are looking to take a class from Craftsy.

eGuide: Success With Container Gardening
Created by expert gardener Meredith Skyer, Success With Container Gardening is a free PDF eGuide available exclusively on Craftsy, features 17 pages packed with tutorials, tips and tricks. I'm really interested in this one. Sunshine and 50 degrees in February has been wonderful. Spring feels so close!

eGuide: 6+ Stash-Busting Paper Craft Projects
Big Blue Eyes will really like this one. She's into anything paper craft.

eGuide: Beginner's Guide to the World of Watercolor
I'm really excited about this one as well. I'd really love to develop my watercolor painting skills.

Some others that might interest you:
eGuide: Understanding Exposure for Better Photos Now: Beginner Photography Tutorials
eGuide: Drawing the Human Face: A Primer
eGuide: Woodturning Basics for Beginners

Which one(s) will you be downloading? I'm looking forward to all of them!

This post contains affiliate links. Buying through these links may help to support Sweet Roots! I thank all my sweet readers for your support!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Week of Love : Paleo Mini Plum Clafouti for 2

While growing up, my mother introduced us to a wide range of foods. We still had the typical macaroni and cheese, but sushi and clafouti were my favorites.

This is a paleo version using coconut flour. We always served our clafouti with powdered sugar and lemon juice to squirt. On our paleo version, we sprinkled with Nutiva Coconut Sugar and served with organic orange wedges on the side.

Clafouti is traditionally made with non-pitted cherries. My favorite clafouti stars plums from the tree in front of the log cabin I grew up in. Here we use Italian plums (smaller and oval-shape) to replicate. Feel free to use whatever frozen fruit you prefer.

Paleo Plum Clafouti
4 farm-fresh eggs
3 TB local honey
3 TB coconut oil, melted + 2 TB more
2 TB coconut flour (I subscribe to Nutiva Organic Coconut Flour on amazon)
1/4 tsp sea salt
2-3 cups frozen fruit (enough to make a layer on the bottom of the dish.

1. In large ovenproof ramekins or small casserole dishes (I used All-Clad Stainless Steel 7-Inch Oval-Shaped Baker Specialty Cookware), put the additional two tablespoons coconut oil. Put in oven and heat to 375.
2. In bowl, mix eggs, honey, sea salt and melted coconut oil. Add coconut oil
3. Remove dishes from oven. While wearing over mitts, swish the hot coconut oil around to grease the whole dish.
4. Line bottom with frozen fruit. Pour the batter over top. Bake 25-30 or until middle is set.

Enjoy, sweet readers!


Saturday, February 7, 2015

Week of Love: Vegan Cherry Coconut Millet Pudding

And we end the Week of Love with two breakfast recipes. This one vegan and the following recipe will be Paleo Plum Clafouti. I hope you have enjoyed our little recipe adventure!

The Arrowhead Mills Whole Millet packaging inspired this recipe. My sister gave me two packages of millet when I was visiting her one day. Having run out a while back while making mixed grain blender waffles,  I was more than delighted. I was ready to create!

Millet is supposed to be all the rage in 2015. Being gluten-free makes it highly appealing. It also doesn't need to be grown overseas (unlike quinoa) and it has a low water footprint compared to most grains. Millet retains alkaline properties after cooking making it an even easier grain to digest. Millet is starting to sound more and more appealing!

This baked pudding has great flavor and texture. Soaking the millet grain helps with digestion and creating less crunch. We want to enjoy our pudding. Not chip a tooth.

There is a lightened version featured below. The first version I found very scrumptious and more decadent. Great for breakfast or even dessert. The lighter version is more appropriate for breakfast.

Coconut Cherry Millet Pudding
1 cup whole millet grain, soaked overnight
2 cans coconut milk
1 1/4 cup water
1/2 cup local honey
1 cup dried cherries
1 cup coconut shredded, unsweetened
1 TB vanilla
1 tsp sea salt
1. Soak millet in 2 cups water overnight. Drain and rinse well.
2. Boil coconut milk and water. Add all ingredients. Stir for one minute.
3. Pour into casserole dish greased with coconut oil. Cook 1 hour at 350.

Lighter Variation:
Use only one can coconut milk, 1 1/2 cup apple juice, and 1 cup water for liquid. No honey. The apple juice and dried cherries will be our sweetener in this lighter version.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Week of Love : Vegan Kale Salad

After breakfast, Big Blue Eyes put on her apron and stated, "We're going to do some cooking..."
"Right now?"
"Yep. Right now."
"What are we going to cook?"
"Let me see." And off she goes to find this cookbook we borrowed from the library.
She peruses it and lands on the broccoli salad. "This. We are going to make this."
"That looks good but we don't have any broccoli. Can we use kale?"
"Yyyeah," she answered. "Mom, why aren't you wearing your apron? You need to wear your apron."
I put on my apron and she continued with "Now I'm the master chef and you're the coworker."
"Alright. Do you want to wash the kale?"
She did wash, tore and massaged the dressing into kale and she also played with the carrots in the sink. Goodness, I have very interesting children.
I was surprised she wanted to make the salad. Surprised and pleased. She has disliked salad since around the time she turned three. I was hoping by making this salad together she might suddenly decide she likes salad. A parent can hope, right? She did eat it twice that day but since has turned it down. I will not be deterred!  To be frank, I don't remember liking salad as a youngster but I don't remember not liking it either.
So we created this recipe together (because I rarely follow recipes). And while we were making it, I wondered how I could incorporate it into this Week of Love blog-post-marathon. Kale is great for the heart but the recipe needed something extra and then I remembered seeing heart-shaped carrots on pinterest. I used these instructions to make them. They were fun and easy. My little master chef was quite tickled by them.
This is perfect for this week because kale has shown to help reverse cardiovascular disease and prevents plaque from adhering in your arteries. It has a good dose of potassium along with fiber, Vitamin C, and B6. Kale is just all-around healthy.
And carrot hearts are just cute.

Vegan Creamy Kale Salad with Heart Carrots
2 bunches Kale
3 fat carrots
Creamy Dressing
1 container extra firm tofu, preferably sprouted *for soy-free option, look at variations below
5-6 TB lemon juice
3 TB dijon mustard
2 TB extra virgin olive oil
4 TB concentrated 100% apple juice or 3 TB maple syrup
1/4 tsp sea salt
1. Wash kale and carrots.
2. Peel carrots. With paring knife, cut notch in carrot then shave other end to point.
3. Tear kale into small pieces.
4. Blend up dressing ingredients and pour over kale. Massage into the kale and then add carrots.
Serve and enjoy!
1. Add toasted almonds.
2. Skip using a sweetener and add craisins to salad.
3. Soy- free option: instead of tofu,  use two avocados and either half or eliminate sweetener.


Thursday, February 5, 2015

Week of Love: Naturally Sexy Spray - on Lotion Oil and Massage Oil

A gift so perfect for Galentine's Day, Leslie Knope would be rendered speechless. And Chris Traeger would be proud of our natural ingredients! Treat yo ' self!

This oil can be put in a regular glass bottle with cap or one with an atomizer like these from Mountain Rose Herbs. I like using the atomizer instead of a regular cap because I have more control over how much is used.

The essential oils were chosen for their aphrodisiac,  calming and restorative properties. Plus the scent makes you want to strip all your clothes and frolic through a field of flowers naked!
A well-balanced essential blend is made up of three parts: a top (head of the blend) note, a middle (heart of the blend) note and a base (soul of the blend) note. As you probably can guess, top notes are uplifting and "flighty" meaning they are the first scent to dissipate. Middle notes are the next scent, they balance the top note and soften the base note. This is followed by the base note which last the longest and are "grounding" oils. The essential oil blend below is a nice mix of different notes. Patchouli is grounding while sweet orange is uplifting. The lavender and ylang-ylang create the heart of the blend.
There are a lot of different brands of essential oils. My suggestion is to research and get to know the distributors. Personally I prefer Mountain Rose Herbs essential oils. If unavailable,  I then prefer Nature's Alchemy and Aura Cacia (available on amazon and Abes Market).
Mountain Rose Herbs
For carrier oils,  I usually prefer jojoba oil, grapeseed oil and meadowfoam seed oil. These are available on Mountain Rose Herbs.  However I recently became acquainted with liquid Coconut Oil (Fractionated) and I have enjoyed working with it. It is available on amazon.

The "Sexy Time" candle pictured was a Christmas gift from my husband that he purchased on Abe's Market. This Poppy Jane candle is made from GMO-free and phthalate-free waxes and is scented only with essential oils.
Below is the amount of drops per 2 oz of oil.

Naturally Sexy Lotion / Massage Oil
8 drops Lavender
8 drops ylang ylang
4 drops patchouli
8 drops sweet orange
About 2 oz liquid ( fractionated ) coconut oil *
1. Add essential oils to a clean dark glass bottle.
2. Fill with carrier oil.
3. Cap and roll between your palms.
4. Spritz all over and enjoy! Clothes optional
* Substitute jojoba or grapeseed oil if you prefer.

Enjoy and come back tomorrow for fun salad recipe! And then two breakfast options on Saturday!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Week of Love: Golden Smoothie

Turmeric is a powerhouse of antioxidants and anti- inflammatory properties. It has been scientifically proven to help prevent and/or treat alzheimers, arthritis, and cancer. It's a powerful anti-inflammatory thanks mainly to curcumin, turmeric's active constituent. This bright orange root helps protect the liver and detoxify the body by binding heavy metals and neutralizing free radicals.

According to Rosemary Gladstar, turmeric "is one of the best herbs for immune health and is often overlooked because of the huge popularity of Echinacea" (Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, page 110). She continues to say that turmeric is antitumor and antibiotic as well as a metabolic tonic and blood purifier. Michael Castleman, author of The New Healing Herbs, states that consuming antioxidant herbs such as turmeric helps prevent oxidative damage - the underlying cause of heart disease, cancer and stroke (the top three killers in the United States).

Safety concern for Turmeric: If you take blood thinners, consult with your physician before consuming medicinal doses/supplements of Turmeric. Culinary use is considered safe.

God gave us these wonderful herbs that are already so powerful in their healing capabilities. It is best to introduce each herb to the body and increase the amount taken over a period of time. With turmeric, low amounts taken over a long period of time are proven to be more effective than high doses over short period. Once introduced and by including this herb in your diet regularly, you can reap its many benefits.

I had this smoothie for a week straight and I could definitely tell my energy was more boisterious!

Enjoy this for Valentine's Day with the one you want to grow old and gray with!
Golden Smoothie
1/3 cup soaked cashews
1 cup water
1/2 cup coconut cream
1/2 tsp to 2 tsp turmeric powder
1 orange
1 frozen banana
1 TB raw local  honey * optional
Ice *optional

1. Substitute coconut or almond milk for cashews, water, and coconut cream.
2. Add chia seeds for omega and protein boost.
3. Use a scoop of tahini for calcium.
4. Substitute orange for a small organic apple (cored) and 2 tsp cinnamon
5. Add a handful of greens

Turmeric is available at your local grocery store or Mountain Rose Herbs. I buy my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs.

Purveyors of fine herbal products
Another on-the-go way to incorporate turmeric is the yummy vegan and savory Indian Spice Sipping Broth. I love this green tea-infused drink. It's so delicious on a cold, winter morning!
This post contains affiliate links. Buying through these links may help to support Sweet Roots! I thank all my sweet readers for your support!
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, February 3, 2015

Week of Love: Sticker Resist Heart Bookmarks

Today's week of love post is a craft perfect for children: Sticker Resist Heart Bookmarks.

This idea came to me while my daughter and I were making Jean Van'T Hul's Sticker Resist Starry Night Cards from the Artful Parent blog. Jean is the author of The Artful Parent: Simple Ways to Fill Your Family's Life with Art and Creativity and The Artful Year: Celebrating the Seasons and Holidays with Crafts and Recipes, which actually looks like it was released today! How exciting! I own The Artful Parent which I've found to be a great resource. I read the book initially and return to it again and again. It's my main kid creativity cookbook. Geared towards ages one through eight, it has a lot of fun activities but part one is worth the price of the book alone. So go give Jean some love on this momentous day of her second book release!

My daughter really enjoyed making the sticker resist starry night cards. When we were making them before Christmas, I thought how easy and fun it would be to do these for Valentine's Day but with heart stickers and pink/purple/orange colors. And instead of handing out cards, why not bookmarks? Big Blue Eyes was tickled!

To preserve the bookmarks and keep them from leaking on to books when in use, we laminated them with Scotch Thermal Laminator 2 Roller System (TL901) and trimmed the sharp edges. I think they look just beautiful and very professional.

This is a great opportunity for learning as well. Some ideas that can be discussed (depending on age and skill):
1. Different Colors
2. Shapes
    * Hearts, Stars and Circles (think polka dots) are all great options here.
3. Color Mixing (read below for suggestions):
    * white + red = pink
    * red + blue =  dark purple
    * red + blue + white = light purple
4. Patterns
    * Big Hearts, Small Hearts, Little Hearts, Tall Hearts
    * Also works for paints - paint pink then red then purple
5. Talk about Love
    * This is why we celebrate Valentine's Day
    * Different kinds of love - unconditional love, friendship love, and mommy & daddy love
    * Read verses about love - 1 Corinthians 13, 1 Corinthians 16:14, 1 Peter 4:8, Ephesians 4:2
    * Read about the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:25-37. We are currently doing the God's Little Explorers Week 19 from Motherhood on a Dime, which I highly recommend!

Big Blue Eyes and I discussed color mixing, patterns, and love during this activity. She had a lot of fun and was very excited that she gets to hand them out to family and friends. She is four but can sit down and dedicate time to a craft for a while. Some kids might need breaks or a chance to return to the craft the following day. I suggest having it all set up with bookmarks cut, heart stickers out, and watercolors ready to go so that you can enjoy the craft with them.

A note about color mixing. We used Reeves Watercolor Paint Tubes. From what I understand, these are not washable and we did keep the window open. If I had done this activity when my daughter was three, I would have stuck with just plain old Crayola watercolors and skipped the color mixing talk and instead spear-headed it with identifying colors. Again, this will look a little different for each kid. Be flexible and breath!

On to the directions:

Sticker Resist Heart Bookmarks
1. Cut 9x12" Watercolor or heavier weight art paper into 2.25" by 6". I recommend using a paper trimmer like this one. A 9x12" will yield 8 bookmarks.
2. Place heart stickers (we used some from the Target dollar section and some from a mega sticker book) on the bookmarks. Other shapes are fine too! Circles are great for a polka dot effect and stars are just fun.
3. Use watercolor paints and paint over the bookmarks. A great tip from Jean is to use a different paintbrush per color - this way you don't have to keep rinsing.
4. Let dry overnight.
5. Gently peel off heart stickers (younger children will probably not have patience for this activity). This is a great time to write the child's name and year on the back. Older children can write their own names. We even chose a verse to write as well.
6. And laminate (we used this laminator. Trim the edges to allow for at least 1/8" and then snip off sharp ends. Again you'll need a paper trimmer for even lines.

Hand out and enjoy!

And sorry for the delay on this post! Took our little girl to the doctor because of a rash and discovered she had dermatitis so we've been washing all of her clothes among other things!

Come back tomorrow for a smoothie recipe that is good for your heart!

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