Food hack: Make This Simple Swap to Maintain Your Healthy New Year Intentions

Set yourself up for successfully creating clean eating habits in 2015 with this easy substitute for sugar laden granola or cereal.

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I created  this muesli recipe for something easy to keep in my purse so I had a low glycemic, GF meal ready to go while I was traveling in Puerto Rico this holiday season.  I just picked up a yogurt at the airport or convenience store and voila!  A convenient meal that kept me satisfied and ready for my next paddle boarding / yoga adventure.

Recipe for the mind, body and spirit:

Clean eating is a trendy new term for an old-fashion style of eating.  Clean eating simply means to eat whole food from its source and to avoid food that has been manufactured or containing unnecessary ingredients.  Clean eating is something yogis have been doing for centuries, so I guess you could say yogis are trend setters!    Practicing yoga connects you with the language of your body and helps bring awareness to how your food makes you feel.  Although granola is thought of as “healthy”, most of what you find in stores is sugar laden and can have a lot of needless ingredients that do nothing to help nourish your body.  Substitute your usual ration of granola or cereal with this nutrient dense, naturally sweetened muesli for an easy, to-go meal your body with thank you for.

Muesli breakfast traveling in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Traveling is no excuse to eat poorly!
My Muesli breakfast while traveling in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Vacation is no excuse to eat poorly!

 

Ingredients (4-6 servings):

1/2 cup Gluten free whole oats

1/2 cup pepitas (pepitas are pumpkin seeds that have been shelled)

1/4 cup dried fruit

4 tablespoons chia seed

 

Method:

Combine ingredients in a to- go container for a healthy breakfast or snack when added to milk or yogurt. This recipe allows for substitutions, feel free to get creative and add your favorite nuts, seeds, and dried fruit.  My favorite way to eat this is let it sit in a cup of almond milk for a minute or two to allow the oats and chia seeds to absorb the liquid. Then I add fruit and a dollop of plain Greek yogurt for a traditional German style breakfast.

Mikey likes it!
Mikey likes it!

The Very Best Gluten Free Pumpkin Pie

Eat pumpkin pie and be grateful!

Look into my pies!
Look into my pies!

 

My secret to this pumpkin pie is the crust, which is made from a variation of a shortbread cookie recipe.  Of course you can always use a shortbread cookie mix and make it easy on yourself. Always choose the most nourishing choice for yourself, sometimes that means taking a well-deserved culinary shortcut so you can spend more time with your family during the holidays.  I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Gluten Free Shortbread Cookie mix.  This recipe was adapted from my mom’s recipe, which was not gluten free.  Using her recipes gives me that connection and feeling of love from her even now that she has past away.  It keeps her alive in my heart when I smell the sweet mix of cinnamon and sugar.  It is my intention to continue that circulation of love by sharing this very special recipe with you.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Mind-Body-Spirit Connection:

If you want to get healthier, give thanks. Thanksgiving is all about celebrating what you are grateful for, and nothing says Thanksgiving more than pumpkin pie.  In the yoga tradition, Sun Salutations are a practice of expressing gratitude to the sun. I teach Sun Salutations in nearly all of my yoga classes to connect with that ancient tradition of giving thanks.  Each movement is connected with a sanskrit mantra that expresses gratitude for the sun’s warmth, light and ability to transform.  These ancient yogis were on to something, as modern day science has proven that an attitude of gratitude can give you an immunity boost, decrease stress in the body, and make you more likely to have better health habits such as eating right and exercising. Read more about the physiological benefits of gratitude here.

mini pie variation makes a great gluten free gift.  I used tart sized tins for these.
mini pie variation makes a great gluten free gift. I used tart sized tins for these.

Ingredients:

Pie Filling:

1 can (15 ounces) organic pumpkin puree

1 can (14 ounces) organic Sweetened condensed milk

2 large free range eggs

1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice* (or use 1 part  ground clove, 2 parts ground ginger, and 4 parts ground cinnamon)

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon salt

Pie Crust:

2 sticks (½ pound) organic unsalted butter or Earth Balance vegan buttery sticks

¾ cups organic granulated sugar*

1 large free range egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 ⅔ cups white rice flour

¾ cup cornstarch

⅔ cup potato starch (not potato flour)

1 teaspoon salt

½ teaspoon xanthan gum

Method:

ALLOW all ingredients to come to room temperature.

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees.

Crust:

Cream butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Scrape the sides of the bowl with a spatula.  Add egg and mix for 1 minute.  Add vanilla, scrape the sides of the bowl.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, salt, potato starch and xanthan gum.  Slowly add ½ of the flour mix to the butter mixture and mix for 1 minute.  Add the remaining flour to the mixture and mix until all of the ingredients are combined.

Grease or butter a 9” pie dish, taking care to thoroughly grease the sides to prevent sticking.  Press the crust mixture into the dish working from the inside out, creating an even ¼ inch thick crust.  You will have leftover crust to use to decorate the top of your pie.  Use the leftover crust like cookie dough and cut out festive leave shapes and bake separately on a cookie sheet for 8-10 minutes.

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BAKE the empty pie crust for 8 minutes using a pie crust protector or foil to protect the edges from over baking.  If you use foil, create a ring around the top of the crust.  Meanwhile, begin making the filing for the pie.

Filling:

MIX cinnamon, salt and pumpkin pie spice in small bowl, set aside. Beat eggs in large bowl. Stir in pumpkin and spice mixture. Gradually stir in sweetened condensed milk.  Slowly pour the filling mix into the pie crust.  Reposition the pie crust protector and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until knife inserted near center comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for 2 hours. Decorate with pie crust cutouts to create a standout pie.  Serve immediately or refrigerate.

I made these gift baskets for all of my friends one year and they were a huge hit.  I still get requests to make these pies from both my GF and non-GF peeps!
I made these gift baskets for all of my friends one year and they were a huge hit. I still get requests to make these pies from both my GF and non-GF peeps!