Egg-less French Toast

Since finding out that my husband is highly allergic to eggs, and being unwilling to use egg-replacers, I assumed our family breakfasts would no longer include French Toast (along with many other beloved egg-filled recipes). But I wrongly assumed! I discovered an egg-less French Toast that turned out to be the most delicious French Toast I have ever had. (Or maybe I think it is so scrumptious because I was faced with not making French Toast again, so anything would have tasted good.) Whatever the reason, I’m so happy we have this as part of our breakfast recipe repertoire! (***note: I think eggs are an incredibly nutrient dense and healthy food. I would use eggs if I could. But for all those who are also unable to have eggs, I wanted to share a recipe showing that things can still taste good without them!)

Eggl-ess French Toast

2(ish) ripe bananas

3/4 C milk

1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon (also can add nutmeg, cloves, etc…)

1 teaspoon real vanilla extract

Whole Wheat bread, soaked or sprouted if possible

lots of butter for cooking

Blend bananas, milk, cinnamon and vanilla. Pour into dish and dip bread slices into the mix, coating both sides. Fry in butter in medium-hot skillet until golden brown. Serve with real maple syrup, pecans (or other nuts), sliced bananas, and more butter if desired!

Serves 2-4

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Jesus is Coming… Are You Ready?

Many of you have seen or heard the prediction: “Judgment Day is May 21, 2011“… tomorrow. I just tried to get on the website and the server is over capacity… sad! And here is why I think it is sad, maybe tragic:

As I peruse Facebook and Twitter, I see many Christians posting verses out of Matthew (“no one knows the day and the hour”) and people saying “we’ll still be here Sunday”, and so forth. It is true. No one does know the day and the hour of His return. And it is probably true that we will be here Sunday (though, “no one knows the day and the hour”!)

Not only are these little comments being said, but there are also, of course, as there will always be, entrepreneurs who are capitalizing on these eschatological predictions. One guy has a company to take care of the pets of those who have been raptured. Another business charges $14.99 a month to send out an email of explanation to those left behind after you have been raptured.

To me, this is sillier than silly. Or maybe I should use the word foolish. I don’t think this is what Jesus meant when he said, “Be faithful and wise servants.” I don’t think He was thinking, “I’ll tell them to be ready, and then they’ll know to prepare some emails and letters to send out when I come snatch them up.”

Do I believe that the Lord will come back May 21?  It could very well happen tomorrow, or today for that matter. But do I really expect that to happen tomorrow, especially with all the publicity and predictions? Not really. But I also don’t think we should be as concerned with this date-setting garbage as we are. The point is not that one guy is bad for setting a date and we are good because we know the one verse in the Bible that says not to do that.

I find the situation disturbingly similar to when the Pharisees scolded Jesus about his disciples eating the grain on the Sabbath. And then later, he healed on the Sabbath… and the Pharisees had a problem with doing GOOD on the SABBATH. They were following the Law so closely, and on the outside they were clean and good and perfect, but it was what they were MISSING that condemned them. Jesus said, ““Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faithfulness. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

We are so very concerned with the “day and the hour” verse, but what does the rest of the passage say? There is a THEME there that we are missing because we are acting much like the Pharisees, choking and gagging so as to not swallow a gnat (against their laws) by choosing to focus on one little sentence that Jesus said instead of the overall emphasis of the message, which is: READINESS!

Since everyone is quoting Matthew 24, I thought we could go quickly through the passage and look at what Jesus was talking about.

Those who were not ready.

As in Noah’s day, they were “eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and they were unaware until the flood came and swept them all away.” Not ready.

The people in the field and at the mill, one taken one left. The one was not ready.

The thief broke into the house. The master was not ready.

THEREFORE, YOU MUST ALSO BE READY, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.

“Who then is the faithful and wise servant? He will set him over all his possessions. But if you say, “My Master is delayed” (or, “oh He’s not coming tomorrow”) He will come on a day when you do not expect Him and at an hour you do not know… BE READY!

The Parable of the Talents

The Master entrusted his property and money to his servants. The good and faithful servant was ready when the Master returned, increasing what was entrusted to him. The wicked servant was not ready when the Master returned, burying what was entrusted.

The Final Judgment

The end of Matthew 25 speaks of the Final Judgment. We read the words of Jesus as he separates the sheep from the goats. From those who were His from those who weren’t truly His. From those who were ready from those who weren’t ready.

Do not be like those who are cast into outer darkness because they were not doing the Lord’s work. Don’t be a goat, make sure you are a sheep and acting like a sheep. Be ready, be righteous and hear the Lord say to you in the end, “inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Virgins & Lamps 

In the next chapter, Matthew 25, Jesus continues his readiness speech to the disciples. 10 virgins. 5 ready, 5 not ready.  To those not ready, the door was shut to the marriage feast! Watch, therefore!

But back to May 21, 2011. 

In Philippians 1, Paul talks about the guys who were trying to do him harm by preaching the gospel and thereby entangle him and land him in jail. We would probably show up on Facebook and say, “don’t listen to these guys… this isn’t Jesus’ message… they’re quacks.” But Paul, with perspective, says, “Whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed and in this I rejoice.” He didn’t just tolerate it, but he REJOICED in it!

As I have heard John Piper say regarding date-setting, “If this is going to scare someone enough to trust in Jesus, let the whacko’s whack.”

This is serious. Watch, be ready, be faithful, be wise. Our task and our job is not merely to go on the attack against misguided and incorrect eschatological predictions and doctrines. There will be and there will always be these “prophecies” until the Son of Man actually does return. They are false prophets and in the Old Testament they would have been stoned. Today, we shouldn’t believe or be deceived. But put your Pharisaical robe away and take this opportunity to obey Jesus’ explicit words: “Be ready.” Examine, evaluate and inventory your own life.  What if He does come back tomorrow? ARE YOU READY?

In contast to the “whacko’s”, I am reminded of 2 Timothy 4:5, ” As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” Do what GOD has called YOU to DO. What is it? Do it!

Maranatha.

Italian Skillet

Italian flavors and yummy and nutritious grass-fed beef make this a tasty and quick weeknight meal!
I have 4 other variations of this recipe and have yet to try them out. This one, however, was SO good! The others are on my to-make list for the near future.
Heat large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1-2 lbs. ground beef with the Italian seasoning and sun-dried tomatoes. Break up beef with spoon, browning it until cooked through and any liquid has cooked away, about 10 minutes. Stir in veggies and cook until just tender and heated through.
  • 1 Tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 8 thinly sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes
  • 1 bunch thinly sliced kale or chard (tough stems removed)
  • 2 tsp. chopped garlic
  • 1 pound pasta
Serve over or toss with brown rice, brown rice pasta, whole grain pasta or try whole wheat couscous or soaked/sprouted quinoa.
I shared this recipe at Real Food Wednesday.

Enchiladas Suizas

Enchiladas Suizas, or “Swiss Enchiladas”.  The reason they are called this is that the Swiss immigrated to Mexico and there established dairies to make cream, and thereby made a delicious cream-based sauce variation to traditional enchiladas.

A lot of work, but amazing flavor. Another Mexican hit!

ENCHILADAS SUIZAS

Serves 6

  • 4 C. cooked green salsa (recipe below- or use store-bought)
  • 2 poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 1 C. heavy cream
  • 12 6-inch corn tortillas
  • 1/4 C. olive oil
  • 4 C cooked shredded chicken
  • 1 1/2 c. shredded Queso Chihuahua or Muenster *or for any gringos, Monterey Jack works well!
  • chopped white onion and cilantro for garnish
Preheat oven to 375.
To make sauce: Pour half the salsa into blender, add poblanos and blend at low speed until smooth. Pour into medium saucepan and add remaining salsa and cream, bring to simmer over L heat. Remove from heat. (If prepared in advance, reheat, adding 1 T water at a time if necessary to return sauce to right consistency.)
Heat oil in large skillet. Dip tortillas into hot oil to warm; drain. Fill and roll tortillas, using 1/3 C. chicken for each (Can also fill with just cheese.. or cheese and beans for vegetarian option.) Place seam side down in a 9×13 inch baking dish. (Can be prepared 4 hours in advance up to this point. Cover with damp paper towels, then with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Remove 30 minutes before baking.)
Pour the hot sauce over and jiggle so sauce settles. Sprinkle cheese evenly. Bake until sauce is bubbling and cheese is golden brown, about 20 minutes.
Scatter onion and cilantro over top and serve.
Cooked Green Salsa (Salsa Verde Cocida)
Makes 4 cups
  • 2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed and washed
  • 2 jalapenos, stems removed
  • 3 small garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
  • 1 t. ground cumin
  • 1 bunch cilantro
  • 1 T oil (olive)
  • 1 T salt, or to tastePut tomatillos and jalapenos in a medium saucepan or dutch oven. Pour enough cold water to barely cover (3 1/2 cups) and bring to boil. Cook until jalapenos are soft and tomatillos are tender, about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand 15 minutes to finish cooking inside of tomatillos.Drain GENTLY in colander. Wipe out pan and set aside. Pout tomatillos, jalapenos, garlic and cumin in a blender and blend for a few seconds, just until coarsely chopped. Add cilantro and blend until smooth. (Don’t over blend or it will make a thick paste- you want smooth and shiny.Heat oil in cleaned pan over medium heat. Pour salsa, bring to simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes. Season with salt to taste. (Salt is absolutely necessary to bring out the flavors in the salsa.)

    Can be stored up to 3 days. Reheat over low heat before using.

     

    I am sharing this recipe over at Real Food Wednesday

FAT Is Your Friend, Pt. 3

Note: This is part 3 (of 3) in the “FAT Is Your Friend” series.

Let’s now talk about actual foods that contain fat that is beneficial to your body.  Don’t cut the fat off your beef, don’t use low-fat yogurt and buy lots and lots of butter!

Butter: High in vitamins A and D which is valuable in respect to growth, healthy bones, proper development of the brain and nervous systems, and normal sexual development.  Many studies have shown the importance of butterfat for reproduction; substitutes based on vegetable oils have led to infertility.

As butter consumption in America has declined, sterility rates have increased. Although long demonized by the vegetable oil industry, butter is one of the healthiest fats on the planet. It has a perfect fatty acid profile. Most of the fats in butter are saturated or monounsaturated, making it very stable. You can saute foods in butter, even at relatively high temperatures, and it will not break down. Butter contains medium-chain fatty acids, although in lower amounts. Uniquely, butter contains short-chain fatty acids with immune-stimulating and antimicrobial properties. Butter also contains the right amount and the perfect balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

Feel free to spread butter (ideally organic and grass-fed) to vegetables. Spread it on sprouted whole-grain bread or crackers. Add it to meat dishes and sauces. This will help ensure proper assimilation of the minerals and water-soluble vitamins in the vegetables, grains, and meat you eat–and also make your food satisfying and great tasting!

Whole Milk: Glycosphingolipids, fats that protect against gastrointestinal infections, especially in the very young and the elderly, are found in whole milk. Diarrhea occurs at rates 3-5x greater than children who drink whole milk. Real milk–full-fat, unprocessed, and from pastured cows–is a fully “self-sufficient” food, containing numerous enzymes that, when exposed to the specific pH of the intestinal tract, become active and assimilate the milk’s various components, making it easy for you to digest.

Eggs: Contain every nutrient the body needs except vitamin C. The whites provide the highest=quality protein of any food, and the yolks provide special fatty acids necessary for nerve function and if raised on pasture, provide generous amounts of vitamin D and A. Also supply choline and long-chain fatty acid DHA, both important for nerve function.

Since eggs contain high levels of cholesterol, various authorities promulgated the hypothesis that eating eggs raises cholesterol levels and thus contributes to heart disease. However, during the period when egg consumption in the US went into decline, rates of heart disease and other chronic diseases soared.

Contains lecithin, which assist in the proper assimilation and metabolization of cholesterol and other fat constituents and trace minerals.

The common denominator  among Eggs, Beef and Lamb, and Butter is cholesterol, which the body needs to produce a variety of steroids that protect against cancer, heart disease, and mental illness. It is the precursor to the sex hormones, stress hormones, bile salts, and vitamin D. Mother’s milk is high in cholesterol because it is essential for growth and the development of the brain and nervous system. No research has ever shown that cholesterol in natural foods causes heart disease. 

Oxidized cholesterol, on the other hand, can cause arterial damage. Heat and oxygen can damage cholesterol just as they do fats. Damaged, or “oxidized” cholesterol can injure arterial walls and lead to a pathological plaque buildup in the arteries. Both of these changes can results in heart disease. AVOID foods that contain damaged cholesterol, such as powdered eggs and powdered milk (which manufacturers add to reduced fat-milk, yogurt, and other dairy products to give them body– without stating this fact on the label.) Ironically, when you choose reduced-fat milks in order to avoid heart disease, you consume the very form of cholesterol that can cause heart disease.
Other very healthy fats:

Coconut Oil: Queen of saturated fats. High in lauric acid (antifungal agent that is also found in mothers milk), high in EFAs!

Cod Liver Oil: Critical for redressing the widespread deficiencies in vitamins A and D in the modern diet. Unless you have access to whole dairy products from pastured cows and also eat liver several times per week, you will not be getting the levels of fat-soluble vitamins that you need.

Beef and Lamb: Omega-6 and omega-3 EFAs occur in nearly equal amounts in the fat. The fat of pasture-fed beef and lamb, as well as butter made from pasture-fed cows, contain something called CLA which has strong anti-cancer properties. IT also encourages buildup of muscle and prevents weight gain. CLA disappears when cows are fed even small amounts of grain or processed feed.

Nuts: An extremely nutrient-dense food, supplying high levels of minerals, as well as B vitamins, some protein and lots of fat. The fat content of nuts ranges from 40-70%, most of it monounsaturated. A few varieties, particularly walnuts, are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. They are very satisfying and make a great snack food, but be warned: they are calorie-dense and their monounsaturated fats can contribute to weight gain. Nuts are great if you lead an active life or don’t need to lose weight (or even need to gain weight), but they’re not for you if you need to take pounds off. Note: nuts need to be prepared correctly in order to be the most nutritious and to get rid of toxins. Soak raw nuts in salt water for 6-8 hours, then drain and dehydrate in a warm oven or dehydrator until completely dry and crisp.

Let’s examine the other dietary fats and oils to determine their usefulness and appropriateness in food preparation:

  • Duck and Goose Fat: Semi-solid at room temp. 35% saturated, 52% monounsaturated, 13% polyunsaturated. Omega-6 to Omega-3 proportion depends on what the birds have eaten. Stable and able to be used for frying.
  • Chicken Fat: 31% saturated, 49% monounsaturated, 20% polyunsaturated, most of which is omega-6 linoleic acid, although the amount of omega-3 can be raised by feeding chickens flax or fish meal, or allowing them to range free and eat insects. Inferior to duck and goose fat, but may be used for frying.
  • Lard: 40% saturated, 48% monounsaturated, 12% polyunsaturated. Omega-6 to Omega-3 ratio will vary according to the diet of the pics. In the tropics, lard may also be a source of lauric acid if the pigs have eaten coconuts. Stable and a preferred fat for frying. Widely used in America at the turn of the century. Excellent source of vitamin D. (side note: Some researchers believe that pork products should be avoided because they may contribute to cancer. Others suggest that only pork meat presents a problem and that pig fat in the form of lard is safe and healthy. Investigation into the effects of pork consumption on blood chemistry has revealed serious changes for several hours after pork is consumed. The pork used was organic, free of trichinosis, so the changes that occurred in the blood were due to some other factor, possibly a protein unique to pork. In the laboratory, pork is one of the best mediums for feeding the growth of cancer cells. The prohibition against pork found in the Bible thus may derive from something other than a concern for parasite contamination or Jewish spiritual separation. However in fairness it must be noted that many groups noted for longevity, such as the people of Soviet Georgie and Okinawa consume pork meat and lard in their diet on a daily basis.)
  • Beef and Mutton Tallows: 50-55% saturated, about 40% monounsaturated and contain small amounts of polyunsaturates, usually less than 3%. Suet, which is the fat from  the cavity of the animal is 70-80% saturated. Suet and tallow are very stable and can be used for frying. Good source of antimicrobial palmitoleic acid.
  • Olive Oil: 75% oleic acid, the stable monounsaturated fat, along with 13% saturated, 10% omega-6 linoleic acid and 2% omega-3 linolenic acid. The high percentage of oleic acid makes olive oil ideal for salads and for cooking at moderate temperatures. Extra virgin olive oil is also rich in antioxidants. It should be cloudy, indicating that it has not been filtered, and have a golden-yellow color, indicating that it is made from fully ripened olives. Olive oil has withstood the test of time; it is the safest vegetable oil you can use, but don’t overdo it. The longer chain fatty acids found in olive oil are more likely to contribute to the buildup of body fat than the short- and medium-chain fatty acids founds in butter and coconut oil.
  • Flax Seed Oil: 9% saturated, 18% oleic acid, 16% omega-6 and 57% omega-3. Flax seed provides a remedy for the omega-6/omega-3 imbalance so prevalent in America today. New extraction and bottling methods have minimized rancidity problems. It should always be kept refrigerated, never heated, and consumed in small amounts in salad dressings and spreads.
  • Tropical Oils: More saturated than other vegetable oils. Lauric acid, found in large quantities in both coconut oil and in mother’s milk, has strong anti-fungal and antimicrobial properties. Stable and can be kept at room temp for many months without becoming rancid. Highly saturated tropical oils do not contribute to heart disease but have nourished healthy populations for millennia.
  • Peanut Oil: 45% oleic acid, 18% saturated fat and 34% omega-6 linoleic acid. Like olive oil, peanut oil is relatively stable and therefore appropriate for stir-frys on occasion. But the high percentage of omega-6 presents a potential danger, so use of peanut oil should be strictly limited.
  • Sesame Oil: 42% oleic acid, 15% saturated fat, 43% omega-6 linoleic acid. Similar in composition to peanut oil. It can be used for frying because it contains unique antioxidants that are not destroyed by heat. However, the high percentage of Omega-6 militates against exclusive use.
  • Safflower, Corn, Sunflower, Soybean and Cottonseed Oils: All contain over 50% omega-6 and, except for soybean oil, only minimal amounts of omega-3. Safflower oil contains almost 80% omega-6. Research continues to accumulate on the dangers of excess omega-6 oils in the diet, whether rancid or not. Use of these oils should be strictly limited. They should never be consumed after being heated, as in cooking, frying, or baking. High oleic safflower and sunflower oils, produced from hybrid plants, have a composition similar to olive oil and are more stable than traditional varieties.  However, it is difficult to find truly cold-pressed versions of these oils.
  • Canola Oil: 5% saturated fat, 57% oleic acid, 23% omega-6 and 10-15% omega-3. The newest oil on the market, canola oil was developed from the rape seed, a member of the mustard family. Rape seed is considered unsuited to human consumption because it contains a long-chain fatty acid called erucic acid, which under some circumstances is associated with fibrotic heart lesions. Canola oil was bred to contain little if any erucic acid and has drawn the attention of nutritionists because of its high oleic-acid content. But there are some indications that canola oil presents dangers of its own. It has a high sulphur content and goes rancid easily. Baked goods made with canola oil develop mold very quickly. During the deodorizing process, the omega-3 fatty acids of processed canola oil are transformed into trans fatty acids, similar to those in margarine and possibly more dangerous. A recent study indicates that “heart healthy” canola oil actually creates a deficiency of vitamin E, a vitamin required for a healthy cardiovascular system. Other studies indicate that even low-erucic acid canola oil causes heart lesions, particularly when the diet is also low in saturated fat.

Thoughts on Bin Laden

Believers, I have a question: Are we to rejoice that our enemy is dead? Don’t get me wrong, I love America and it is a good thing that a dreadful enemy of our country and one that is responsible for taking many American lives is now no longer on the earth. Nationally, it is a great victory. Militarily, it is a great victory and makes me proud of our SEALS. Many civilians and military alike have died because of this enemies evil and hatred and false religion.

But as I read many Tweets and Facebook status updates, I can’t help but feel conflicted and a bit saddened. We are to love what God loves and hate what God hates, right? And to be sure, God does hate wickedness. But His Word also says, He has “no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live.” (Ezekiel 33:11) And wicked Osama Bin Laden was. So is our Christian response to be rejoicing in this time? Or mourning?

Like I said, please don’t misunderstand me. I think it a great victory for our country and really, for the world, in terms of safety and morale. But for a Christian to say, “I’m glad he’s finally getting what he deserves” and “I’m glad he’s burning right now”… WOW. I’m just not sure that’s what a godly reaction would look like.

Yes, justice is being served. Yes, he is paying for the sin he committed. Moreover, he is paying the price of the rejection of God’s Son.

But what about your unsaved mother? Or your unbelieving best friend? Or your child who has rejected Christ’s atonement. Do you wish the same for them? They are in the same place Osama Bin Laden was: at war with God. No, they haven’t murdered people. Or have they? (anger). No, they don’t think they’re getting 70 virgins when they get to heaven. But they have lusted. And they are guilty by the same standard as Bin Laden was. They are just as deserving of eternal damnation and hellfire. But would you rejoice and be stoked on the fact they are “burning”? I think not.

Christians, let’s have God’s heart and mourn a sinner that is most likely in the depths of hell as we speak. Not because we are wishing he was still here threatening and plotting against us, because, of course we aren’t. But because he is getting all that he deserved.

(*To be fair, the verse quoted above is God speaking to the Israelites in their disobedience. Also, God is completely just in his judgements and his ways. So I am not saying we should mourn the sinners death because they don’t deserve it. They had chance after chance after chance to turn from their wicked ways and live. They rejected God’s right path and walked on their own path… right into hell. So I am not kicking against the plan or the Way that God set up for justice to be served. I am just saying, let’s not rejoice over eternal damnation of a wicked sinner when even God Himself is not rejoicing to send one to hell.)