Sunday, May 17, 2015

Banana Nut & Maca Muffins | Gluten Free


I went to the Celiac Disease Foundation's 2015 Expo earlier this month, and was really blown away by how many friendly vendors (some I knew others didn't) I came across, products sampled and laughter shared. Pamela's Products were one of the vendors there & I scored some samples of their baking flour. They've made allergen-free products for a long time We had really perfect gloomy weather in Los Angeles the past few days which gave me craving to bake. I adapted their recipe and added warming spices & maca powder. 


banana maca walnut muffins @ http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Maca is a root that belongs to the radish family and its rich in B, C, and E vitamins, calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. Maca is fiber dense and has been traditionally used in Peru as a stress-fighting adaptogen, increase stamina, and combat fatigue. It has a nutty flavor but its best used with warming complements like these muffins. However, feel free to omit the maca powder and do not consume maca root if you are pregnant or lactating. 

These muffins are perfect for a gloomy easy morning binge watching shows on Netflix, or a filling breakfast addition. 

Oh and I found edible flowers at the market from Rocket Farms, I used some to make a tea and others just for a garnish.

Banana Nut & Maca Muffins *adapted from Pamela's Product baking recipe

4 tablespoons coconut oil (or butter alternative)
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 bananas)
1/3 cup raw honey (or maple syrup)
1 flax egg* 1/2 cup water + 2 tbsp flax seeds
3/4 cup Pamela's All Purpose Flour Blend
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/3 cup chopped walnuts & pecans 

1 teaspoon of ceylon cinnamon
1 teaspoon of organic maca powder *optional
pinch of nutmeg


Use a non-dairy butter or oil to grease a muffin pan, preheat oven to 350 degree

  • Mix the water & flax seeds. Stir until it becomes a gel.
  • In a bowl, mix together mashed bananas, honey, oil, spices, mac, sea salt, vanilla & flax egg
  • Mix well until all ingredients are throughly dispersed
  • Add dry ingredients: all purpose flour & baking powder
  • Fold in chopped nuts
  • Add the mixed contents into the greased muffin pan and gently smooth out the top. 
  • *optional dab a little tiny bit of honey (or maple syrup) to the tops of the muffin
  • Bake for 16-20 minutes until the fork comes out smooth, or your desired 
  • remove from oven and let cool, top with edible flowers if you'd like
  • store any leftovers in a glass/airtight contained 
optionals/
As I mentioned, you can make these vegan by subbing out honey for maple or coconut syrup, or raw sugar
Blueberries or chocolate would make an excellent addition too, go visit the farmers market
If you dont have flax seeds, you can use chia seeds to make the vegan egg replacement
I used coconut oil, if you use a butter alternative please use a non-palm oil based one

Thursday, May 14, 2015

“Memory and dream are intermixed in this mad universe.”

Where does the time go? Literally where does it go? Between university, starting up freelance artwork commissions, and getting out of the house as much as possible I find a rhythm in Spring that involves conversation, walks with canine creatures, forcing myself to sit still and watch films, and reading. I have been filling my sketchbook with freehand concepts, visualizing. I suppose I am accepting momentum. I used to be a very shy person who second/triple/quadruple guessed life instead of taking chances. I'm exponentially grateful that I walked my way out of that mindset.

Many people contemplate the concept of happiness but I think its easy to accept an idolized, sometimes wayward form of it. I think happiness can be found in surrounding yourself with whatever makes you feel alive | inspired | whole.  And it differs for everyone and that's pretty special. Pursue your passion but take deep breaths along the way.


I sound really positive but its a work in progress. I try not to strive for perfection because I would much rather discover contentment with embracing myself.

fox painting

deer
desk



Tuesday, March 31, 2015

March Monthly Favorites

Something that has been very close to my heart lately is the need to eliminate the use of palm oil in my everyday life. After watching YEARS, the Emmy award winning documentary on climate change and witnessing the consistent deforestation of palm trees, the wild animals who lose their homes and become displaced I was became really saddened that this happens. So from now on all products I feature will be palm-free. This month has vegan hygiene + health products that are ethical, contain no preservatives and a lot of nature. Well theres another a soap for puppies. I couldn't resist..

March favorites


Natural Dentist Flouride-Free Toothpaste Peppermint Sage / Favorite toothpaste that is free of palm, SLS, its primiarily plant-based (coconut, goldenseal, calendula) with antiseptic peppermint and sage oil that clean and protect your mouth!

Essential Oxygen Brushing Rinse / This is a very cool rinse. Unlike the drugstore counterparts that have fluoride, SLS, and dyes - Brushing Rise is organic and contains amazing ingredients: deionized water, hydrogen peroxide, rosemary, eucalyptus, lemon, clove, cinnamon. Essentially it can be used as toothpaste but I just use it as a mouthwash in the morning, night, and when I am on the go. I found this one at our farmers market.

Aubrey Organics Aloe Vera / Having very sensitive skin in a very dry, windy city is not the greatest mix. Lotions are nice but then don't last long for me. I like aloe vera gel to soothe my skin. Ironically aloe vera is also great for sunburns. But it keeps my body moisturized and has no artificial thickening agents. This pure aloe vera gel has the benefits of added has vitamin E and grapefruit extract.

Eco-Dent Vegan Floss / Free of synthetic waxes and full of potent natural oils: fennel, tea-tree, lemon, etc. This floss is gentle and the company tries to limit their plastic footprint. Only the floss itself is in a little plastic bag which you can recycle who storing the floss in the paper packaging - as recycle when you finish. I got this floss as a gift and really like it. Other flosses I tried have not held up but this particular brand is very well made. This one is in cinnamon.

Healthy Fur Pet Shampoo Bar / This is not for human, its for pets! I had to find my pup another shampoo because the previous one I was using was be discontinued. This shampoo bar I found by Big Easy Organics is free of gluten, palm oil and is very effective in washing her (so much fun..) and its ingredients which are great for sensitive canines. Eucalyptus, oatmeal, and various earth based butters (shea & coconut) smell great and soothe their skin & make their fur shine.



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I'll never feature a product that doesn't improve my personal health or isn't earth friendly/sustainable in someway. My own path with my health may have been an evolution within itself and it will always be a learning experience. I recognize how happy and fascinated I become when I learn about the science and alchemy of the earth and her creations.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

March's List: Wildlife/Nature Activists & Organizations

March's List is documenting several of the organizations, leaders, and communities who work endlessly, tirelessly & passionately on animal/wildlife welfare and climate change. There are so many amazing people who devote their lives into helping other creatures while hoping to educate us on why we need nature to thrive. I am so humbled by the work they all contribute and encourage you to check out their cause, maybe spread the word or simply learn something new. Spreading kindness can take many shapes and forms: from finding animals safe forever homes, to capturing photos of the wilderness we may not be able to witness or being the Earth's "lawyer" this list also has the Instagram handles so you can follow their journeys there as well.

ldlife & animals organizations

Earth Justice | nonprofit environmental law organization 
David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust | Rescue & hand-rearing of orphaned infant elephants & rhinos
Pacific Wild Alliance | non-profit organization defending wildlife & their habitat in Canada’s Great Bear Rainforest.
Farm SanctuaryFarm animal rescue and protection organization throughout the country
Beagle Freedom Project | Rescues beagles used in animal experimentation laboratories + find them loving forever homes.

Ian McAllister | Wildlife Conservation Photographer, fascinating feature on him here
Wildlife SOS | An organisation who take action against animal cruelty, rescuing wildlife in distress (elephants, bears, etc) 
Red Panda NetworkRaising awareness on the plight of the adorable red pandas, conservation, saving their forest habitat
Conservation Internationalwonderful nonprofit environmental organization to help humankind through saving nature
Rhinos in Africa | A community centered educating and conserving around the African rhino's, proceeds from their shop go to various organizations
Years of Living  | Excellent documentary featuring various talents & journalists to raise awareness on climate change, a truly motivating and eye opening series. Available on Netflix and Amazon. 
Earthfire Institute | A truly amazing  wildlife sanctuary and retreat center, they are working on opening a hospice barn, donate here
Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary |  Wonderful haven focused on rescuing, rehabilitating and caring for farmed animal refugees
Black Jaguar White Tiger | This foundation saves big cats from from circuses, zoos, and breeders. They are fierce animal lovers and their instagram is full of hope
Ghetto Rescue Foundation | no-kill mission who rescue and rehabilitate street dogs and find them forever homes
Edgar's Mission Farm Sanctuary | Australian sanctuary who rescue and provide home and care to farm animals.
Wilderness Society | conservation organization working to protect shared wild lands, the environment and encourage us to get out, travel, explore

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Lavender Honey Brazil Nut Milk (dairy free + gluten free)

            Lavender Honey Brazil Nut Milk is perhaps perfectly described as floral, sweet and creamy. I was blown away by how delicious it tasted. Cotton candy came to mind (except I haven't had that since I was a little kid) minus the sugary aftertaste. Something elves or fairy folk would drink maybe? Anyway, it smells wonderful thanks to the lavender and it is perfect for neutral cereals or even add cacao powder. Substitutions at the end.


lavender honey  brazil nut milk at http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Lavender is so beautifully paired with honey in this recipe. Free of refined sugars and theoretically lavender does have nutritional benefits (read here). The flowering herb is attributed to relaxation. Raw honey is technically also flower food because it comes from their nectar. In a raw unfiltered state it is true honey because it contains strains of the propolis & pollen (and iron and potassium). In this recipe I do not heat in high heat to main as much nutrients as I can.

Brazil Nuts are an excellent source of selenium, vitamin E, iron, zinc, magnesium and fats. Good for brain and blood health but remember nuts are very rich and this milk should last about 3-4 days and only one serving of milk will provide a heap of benefits. Store in the fridge and enjoy!

lavender honey  brazil nut milk at http://violet-woods.blogspot.com

Lavender Honey
  • 1 cup organic raw honey*
  • 1 cup water 
  • 2 heaping tablespoons organic edible lavender buds 
  • 1/2 teaspoon non-alcoholic vanilla extract

    -Add water to a medium-sized saucepan and heat over a medium heat until warm (water starts to bubble) 
    -add honey and stir. Reduce the heat and add the lavender & vanilla. 
    -Let it go for 15 minutes so the flavors infuse. 
    -Turn off heat and let cool then pour through a strainer to remove lavender then store your freshly made honey/syrup

Brazil Nut Milk
  • 5 cups filtered water
  • 1 cup brazil nuts soaked in water for 4 hours and drained

- Blend nuts and filtered water
- Strain all liquid
- Reserve pulp for adding to smoothies, oatmeals, dehydrate to make cookies 

Lavender Honey Brazil Nut Milk

With your freshly made Brazil Nut Milk, return to the blender and start with 3/4th of a cup of the lavender honey, taste for your preference - if more sweetness is desire, add remaining honey and blend.


Notes //
for a vegan option swap maple syrup or coconut nectar in place of the raw honey
add cacao powder for a chocolate fix
blend with frozen bananas for "ice cream"
make sure the lavender you get is -edible- & preferably organic (free of pesticides)