1-219-765-8600

carol@inkwellcoaching.com

Crown Point, IN

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August 18, 2022

Mr. Non-Compliant vs. Mr. Corn

It’s that time of year when my dear cousin, Roger, aka Mr. Corn, and his wife Barb, come to Indiana for a visit. They now live in Florida, where swe

August 11, 2022

An Herb that Helps Reduce Anxiety, Induce Sleep, and More

I find it fascinating when one single food, or in this case, an herb, can contribute so much to our health. Cilantro is one such herb. While it’s no

August 4, 2022

Happy National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day may inspire some baking… While preparations have begun for those going back to school, there’s still lots of su

July 28, 2022

A Summer Meal with a Kick

While many of us would like to add more vegetables to our diet, it can be challenging to come up with new ideas. Discovering main dishes that are vege

July 27, 2022

Spicy Mushroom Tacos

These vegan tacos have a kick, so if you’re not a fan of spicy foods, cut back on the cayenne or omit.  Serves 4 Ingredients 1 lb. mixed mushrooms

July 21, 2022

Are They Eggs or Just Eggs?

In an effort to help those who are allergic or choose not to eat chicken eggs, this blog’s for you. And if you love chicken eggs, biscuits and gravy

July 13, 2022

Lipstick on a Pig

For any of my new blog followers, cauliflower is one of the few vegetables that I’m not fond of.  I’ve tried it all sorts of ways. Readers have s

July 13, 2022

Super Simple Roasted Garlic Cauliflower

After rinsing the head of cauliflower, cut it into florets, remove the thick stem portions, and slice it very thin. Arrange in a single layer on a sto

July 7, 2022

Vidalia Onions, Salsa, and Qigong

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s still possible to find Vidalia onions in local stores. I’m not sure how long they will last, so now is the tim

June 30, 2022

Navigating the Holiday Weekend Deliciously

Happy almost 4th of July weekend! The celebrations are about to begin. Parades, barbecues, picnics, watermelon, fireworks, adult beverages, and probab

Strawberry Crumble

  • 4 cups strawberries, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch or tapioca starch)     
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING

  • 1 cup almond meal/flour (or all-purpose flour or oat flour)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (melted) or avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, toss together the strawberries, arrowroot, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Transfer to an 8” x 8” baking pan. Mix together the ingredients for the topping in a mixing bowl. Spread it over the strawberries as evenly as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the strawberries are juicy and bubbly, and the topping is golden-brown.

You could substitute other fruits for the strawberries, depending on what’s in season.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

This recipe makes a delicious substitute for peanut butter cookies that avoids many of the common food allergens. And they’re vegan and gluten free.

Almond Butter Oatmeal Cookies

  • 1 1/4 cups gluten free old fashioned oats
  • 2 cups almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ cup Earth Balance Soy Free Buttery Sticks, softened
  • ½ cup creamy almond butter
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • Organic cane sugar (optional for pressing cookies before baking)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, combine the Earth Balance, almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Add oats, almond flour, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Drop by teaspoonful or small cookie scoop onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Gently press the dough flat. You may use the bottom of a glass dipped in cane sugar, if desired.

Bake for 6 to 8 minutes, until the cookies barely start to crack at the top. Be careful not to overbake. Allow them to cool on the pan for at least 5 minutes before moving them so they don’t crumble and break. Store in an airtight container. I freeze them so they last longer. Makes about 3 dozen.

You could toss in some raisins and/or chocolate chips if you like more goodies in your cookies.

Nothing to Sneeze At: New theories explored to stem the growth of food allergies, intolerance in children

(The following article first appeared in the March 2018 issue of Get Healthy, a publication of The Northwest Indiana Times. Online version)

Every morning while I got ready for school, mom would pack my lunch. Sometimes my main course was a salami, yellow mustard and sweet pepper sandwich on white Wonder bread. Other days, it was peanut butter, jelly and potato chips—only I added the chips in at lunchtime so they didn’t get soggy and because my sandwich style grossed out my mom. There was no way she would smash chips on a sandwich for her daughter then send her to school.

Interestingly enough, there was never a problem with the peanut butter causing a life-threatening situation for any other students. Most of my friends brought sandwiches made on Wonder bread too. We all managed to grow up unscathed. And this was in the 1960’s!         

So why is it that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of children with food allergies increased 50% between 1997 and 2011?

The main theory will probably surprise you, and here’s a clue: Think back to “War of the Worlds.” (I’ll share the answer at the end if you are stuck.) The most accepted theory is known as the “Hygiene Hypothesis.” Basically, we need to let kids play in the dirt. Infants need a certain level of microbe (bacteria, virus, mold, germ, etc.) exposure in order to regulate and strengthen their developing immune systems. Our obsession to kill every last germ with antibacterial products has come with higher rates of allergy, autoimmune disease, and asthma. We’ve lost the balance. Children who were raised on farms, have numerous siblings, had pets or spent early years in daycare, have lower rates of asthma and allergy.

Another theory is that parents have been told to wait until after a baby’s first birthday to introduce foods that could cause a reaction. Because of this, when the child tries a new food later in life, the immune system is primed and ready to get rid of anything that seems out of line. Eat a peanut, and boom! What experts have now determined is that these foods should be introduced before the first birthday, since that’s when the immune system learns the difference between safe and dangerous.

What is the difference between a food allergy and food intolerance? A food allergy occurs when the body’s immune system recognizes a certain food as harmful and reacts by causing symptoms. Eating that food results in reproducible symptoms (an allergic reaction) that occur immediately (within a few hours) and with every exposure. Foods that cause allergic reactions are allergens. Typical symptoms include: hives, swelling, itching, difficulty breathing and/or swallowing, vomiting, low blood pressure (which can cause the person to pass out), anaphylaxis, and death.

The most common foods that account for over 90% of allergic reactions are: cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, and shellfish.

Food intolerances occur when the gastrointestinal (GI) tract doesn’t respond well to a specific food or an ingredient used to prepare the food. These responses are not always immediate nor are they always reproducible. Symptoms may include gas, bloating, heartburn, vomiting, constipation, diarrhea, congestion and headache. Intolerances may occur if a specific enzyme is missing to help digest a food, such as with lactose intolerance. Other common food intolerances include wheat/gluten, food additives (found in processed foods), corn, soy, and monosodium glutamate or MSG.

Food allergies affect between 5 to 8% of all kids. If there is no family history of allergies, the odds are good the kids will escape them. Intolerances are more prevalent than food allergies and may be difficult to determine since they are unique to the individual. Based on this information, could it be that a child believes an allergy exists, when it may actually be food intolerance? This can be tricky!

Based on all these theories, some ideas that may help:

  • Stop trying to be so anti-bacteria.
  • Breastfeed through the first year.
  • Don’t introduce solid foods before baby is 17 weeks old.
  • Introduce a variety of foods before your child turns 1.
  • Limit packaged and processed foods.
  • Avoid using any lotion or topical product on baby’s inflamed skin containing peanut oil if there is a family history of peanut allergy.

Oh, and in “War of the Worlds,” the aliens died from a common human germ since they had never been exposed to it to develop immunity. They probably died from the common cold. To an alien who grew up in an entirely different and perhaps germ-free environment, there is nothing common about an Earthly cold.

Strawberries, Lilacs, and a Dessert Mr. Non-Compliant Likes

Lilacs are in bloom, and they are magnificent. I have two small lilac bushes that I can snitch a few branches from and bring indoors for my enjoyment.

They make me happy. Natural aromatherapy.  

It’s almost strawberry season, and I don’t want you to miss out. This is your friendly reminder that June is usually when markets have local berries. Locally grown strawberries are typically smaller than California or Florida berries, and they are sweeter.

They make me happy too. I have a few strawberry plants in my garden, however critters usually get the berries before I do.

To celebrate strawberries, I’m sharing a recipe with you that is AMAZING! It’s really easy. The crumble topping is very similar to my recipe for the Quick and Easy Chocolate Chip Cookie Bites—minus the chocolate chips, of course.

 I hope you seek and find a few simple pleasures today that make you happy. Let me know how you like the Strawberry Crumble. I had a few stalks of rhubarb and added them in with the berries. WOW! Even Mr. Non-Compliant likes it, so you know it’s a winner!

 

STRAWBERRY CRUMBLE

  • 4 cups strawberries, halved
  • 2 Tablespoons arrowroot (or cornstarch or tapioca starch)     
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tablespoon pure maple syrup

FOR THE CRUMBLE TOPPING

  • 1 cup almond meal/flour (or all-purpose flour or oat flour)
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil (melted) or avocado oil
  • 2 Tablespoons pure maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. In a mixing bowl, toss together the strawberries, arrowroot, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Transfer to an 8” x 8” baking pan. Mix together the ingredients for the topping in a mixing bowl. Spread it over the strawberries as evenly as possible. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the strawberries are juicy and bubbly, and the topping is golden-brown.

You could substitute other fruits for the strawberries, depending on what’s in season.

Much love,
Carol

“I made wine from the lilac tree/Put my heart in its recipe/It makes me see what I want to see/And be what I want to be” -Nina Simone