Celebrate July 4th with this Patriotic Treat

popsicleThe great thing about Independence Day being in the middle of summer? Nature’s truest red and blue hues are at their prime, so this holiday, add a delicious burst of red, white, and blue to your Fourth of July desserts table with this perfectly patriotic sweet treat.

2 cups blueberries
5 tablespoons light-colored corn syrup, divided
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
3 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese, softened and divided
9 tablespoons sugar, divided
1/4 cup water
8 ounces hulled strawberries

1. Combine blueberries, 2 tablespoons corn syrup, 1 teaspoon lemon juice, and 1 ounce cream cheese in a blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Divide blueberry mixture evenly among 10 (4-ounce) ice-pop molds. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.
2. Combine 1 tablespoon corn syrup, 1/2 cup lemon juice, remaining 2 ounces cream cheese, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 1/4 cup water in blender; process until smooth. Top frozen blueberry layers evenly with lemon mixture. Insert sticks into ice pops, pressing firmly. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.
3. Combine remaining 2 tablespoons corn syrup, remaining 1 teaspoon lemon juice, remaining 3 tablespoons sugar, and straw­berries in blender; process until smooth. Strain mixture through a fine sieve. Top frozen lemon layers evenly with strawberry mixture. Freeze 2 hours or until firm.


Daily Stress and Seasonal Rhythm

Daily Stress and Seasonal Rhythm
By Toni Kraft

spring sunsetAs I sit down to write this article about stress and eating habits I would be remiss if I did not speak of the foods that also comfort us, by comfort, I mean the types of foods/or tastes that bring us to a sense of satisfaction in our mind, body and spirit.

We all need a “little “stress in our lives to have our adrenalin kick in and get us motivated for change. However, we all experience stress differently .When we have extreme, or prolonged stress in our daily lives our bodies actually do not digest our food or process information or our emotions. We are all in need of a little digital detox, and we must slowdown in our lives especially with our eating habits. When experiencing time depravity we become off balanced and this has proven to be very harmful. The sultry heat of the summer is a perfect reminder that we should slow down and eat with intention. Our Fires of digestion burn brighter and urges us to eat more cooling foods that bring us balance, and with this balance, we digest.

The old saying “You are what you eat” must be taken a step further, “YOU ARE WHAT YOU DIGEST. True digestion is a threefold process, taking in Information, Emotion, AND Food. What is not digested is stored, in our physiology, sometimes for days, sometimes, weeks and will in time cause an imbalance – that imbalance will then in turn cause DIS –EASE.

To give you’re a snapshot of what I mean when speaking of good digestion, I suggest using BIT- or Body Intelligence Techniques when it comes to a meal- Examples would be;
You should Include All Six Tastes at every meal*
Eat in a quiet, comfortable environment
Eat ONLY when you feel hungry
Do not eat when you are upset
Always sit down when you eat
Reduce Ice Cold foods and beverages
Eat at comfortable pace, stay conscious of the process
Listen to your appetite; digest previous meal before starting the next one
Eat freshly prepared foods. Lightly cooked are preferred to raw or overcooked
Favor fruits, vegetables, grains, warm milk, almonds
Sit quietly for a few minutes after finishing your meal. Focus your attention on the sensation in your body, and then take a short walk.
*Six tastes-Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Astringent, and PungentCloseup of healthy oatmeal
Example Breakfast: Oatmeal (made with salt in water) topped with Raisins, and Almonds, serve with black tea and orange juice;
Example Dinner: Penne Pasta (cooked in salt) Marinara, Steamed Garden Vegetables (include legumes), Baguette served with Ghee glass of Red Wine

Good nutritional food is fuel to our bodies. When undergoing stress. Keep Mother Nature in the forefront as a guide, on what is needed based on seasonal rhythms. You just have to visit your local Farmers Market to see what we should be consuming now for optimal health. This guide also will balance your internal clock, seasonal and
(Circadian rhythms), allowing you to have restorative rest, and stay hydrated. All of these subtle and primordial needs will keep you healthy and filled with good energy not only thru the heat of summer but all thru the year.

Even as you are nurturing yourself, you should also take the time to also feed and nurture your family and friends. When dining out make certain that you are picking the best off the menu. At home set your intentions on preparing the highest nutritional food for yourself, and others, relish in the moment, breath in the aromas of the meal you are preparing, and whenever we can think of those who may need a night out, or those who can use a home cooked meal- give with a gracious heart.

It is truly better to give, than to receive, food always tastes better when we share our lives, be story tellers, as well as story-catchers, give from our own bounty. In this act alone you will feel the stress melt off of your body, so start now, this summer, slow down, breath, digest. For an added pleasant stress releasing experience take off your shoes before you eat, feel your feet touch the earth and get grounded.

Come visit me at Café Merlot where we plant, grow, play every day. ~ Relax, and let me do some of the cooking!
Toni Kraft