Most Popular Posts of 2014

 

Health Matters. Life Matters. Popular Posts of 2014. AlexisMathews.com

A new year has begun and with it comes a time for reflection and re-evaluation. As I mentioned previously, my word for this year is Faith. I have faith that there will be personal and professional growth in my life this year. A big part of that professional growth involves you. You have helped make this past year an amazing first year for Health Matters. Life Matters.

Because of your support the following 10 blog posts stood out among the rest as my most popular posts in 2014. This reflection gives me great insight into what you need from me in the coming year. It is my goal to provide more content related to the topics you clearly enjoy. Thank you for your support and encouragement over the past year, I truly appreciate it from the bottom of my heart.

 
Cure pink eye naturally with this essential oils recipe. www.alexismathews.com

1. Cure Pink Eye with Essential Oils

Weight Weight Loss Doesn't Start with Exercise. AlexisMathews.comLoss Doesn't Start with Exercise

2. Weight Loss Doesn’t Start with Exercise

Vegan & Gluten Free kid friendly snack ideas for park or beach. AlexisMathews.com

3. Vegan and Gluten Free Snack Ideas for Kids at Park or Beach

11 ways to remove sugar from your diet. Go sugar free! Includes a 21-day sugar free challenge. It is a lifestyle not a diet. Health Matters. Life Matters. AlexisMathews.com

4. 11 Ways to Easily Remove Processed Sugars From Your Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

5. My Experiment with a Drastic Change in Diet

31 Days of Healthy Living Tips. AlexisMathews.com

6. 31 Days of Healthy Living Tips

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you! www.alexismathews.com

7. 16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

Raw, vegan, gluten free colorful quinoa salad. AlexisMathews.com

8. Colorful Raw Quinoa Salad

How I cured my mood swings naturally. Alexismathews.com

9. How I Cured My Mood Swings Naturally

3 vegan cheese alternatives. AlexisMathews.com

10. Vegan Cheese Alternatives

Wheat Belly: My Experiment With a Drastic Change in Diet

Wheat free journey towards a healthier lifestyle. Clear skin, body free of pain, weight loss all from going gluten free.

In recent years, as I have aged, I have experienced some weight-gain as well as odd skin, joint, and intestinal issues, and I had heard that gluten sensitivities were sometimes the cause. I was fed up with my painful knees, fatigue, skin rashes, upset stomach, and other various unexplained ailments. So I finally decided to get serious about finding out if a gluten/wheat sensitivity might be true for me. I have several friends who are gluten free, both online and in real life, so I was already somewhat familiar with what the term means. However, just in case you aren’t sure, let me define it for you in my own terms.

Gluten free means eating a diet where gluten is not present. 

Gluten is a protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, and rye. There are those in the population who have a true allergic response to gluten, those who have Celiac’s Disease. Others, through the process of elimination and experimentation usually, discover that they have a sensitivity, which will present itself in different ways depending on the person. Read this list of common gluten intolerance symptoms to help you to understand how this condition could present itself in yourself or others around you. And this article published by the Mayo Clinic offers a great list of do’s and don’t for those who are trying to avoid gluten.

I determined that I would remove all gluten from my diet in order to find out if it has been the cause of several ‘symptoms’ from which I have suffered since I was a teen, and others in more recent years. Here are just a few of the problems I had been dealing with:

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Navigating Special Events With A Food Allergy Child

5 tips for eating out and traveling when you have children with food allergies or sensitivities.

Davonne is guest posting today on the topic of children with food allergies and sensitivities. Please join us as we hear her personal story of parenting a child with food allergies.

Navigating Special Events With A Food-Allergy Child

With so many GMOs, more and more kids are developing food allergies and special events are becoming more challenging than ever before.

Since my husband is lactose intolerant, I have a gluten sensitivity, and one of my children needs to eat gluten-free as well, we’ve gone completely gluten-free and dairy-free at home. I’ve also spent the past several months learning how to navigate food at places like church potlucks, dinners with extended family, birthday parties, and homeschool events.

Here are five things I’ve learned about navigating special events when dealing with food allergies and sensitivities:

… 

Read More »

The Perfect Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake

 

Perfect vegan and gluten free chocolate cake. www.alexismathews.com

Today marks a new chapter in our family, our oldest is celebrating his thirteenth birthday. As the oldest of seven children, he is our first teenager and starts a long line of teenagers to come. We will have at least one teenager in our family for the next 17 years. I don’t dare stop and think too long on that fact because it will bring me to my knees in fear.

No honestly, between my husband and I, I think we have this teenage thing handled. We are good balance in the parenting department and will get through any challenge that our new teenagers and the teens after him might throw our way.

When it comes to desserts, we have never been a huge family of sweets. In general, sweets have been reserved for special treats, celebrations, and holidays. We certainly are not like most families and prepare a dessert for after every dinner.

Since living a vegan and gluten free lifestyle our options for sweet treats has dwindled dramatically. I do not subscribe to the over abundance of gluten free junk food that is available in local stores. We enjoy real foods with minimal ingredients and I prefer to make our meals rather than buy prepackaged mixes.

As my son’s birthday approached I searched and searched for an acceptable vegan and gluten free cake. One that would live up to the typical birthday cake, rich and moist. Finding one with minimal ingredients proved to be more difficult than I anticipated. Not wanting to let my son down, I set out to create my own vegan and gluten free chocolate cake worthy of birthday celebrations.

Considering there were only crumbs left at the end of the party I think I baked a caked worthy of many birthday celebrations to come.

The Perfect Vegan and Gluten Free Chocolate Cake
Serves 8
A vegan and gluten free chocolate cake worthy of birthdays and celebrations.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
32 min
Total Time
42 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
32 min
Total Time
42 min
466 calories
79 g
0 g
16 g
7 g
12 g
141 g
309 g
29 g
0 g
2 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
141g
Servings
8
Amount Per Serving
Calories 466
Calories from Fat 135
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 16g
24%
Saturated Fat 12g
62%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 309mg
13%
Total Carbohydrates 79g
26%
Dietary Fiber 5g
18%
Sugars 29g
Protein 7g
Vitamin A
0%
Vitamin C
0%
Calcium
2%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. 2 cups gluten free flour, I used sorghum (milo) flour
  2. 1 cup coconut sugar
  3. ½ cup cocoa powder
  4. 1 t. baking soda
  5. ½ teaspoon salt
  6. 1/2 cup coconut oil
  7. 1 teaspoon vanilla
  8. 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  9. 1 cup water
  10. confectioner’s sugar for dusting
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl sift together all of the dry ingredients; flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, and salt.
  3. By hand, mix in the coconut oil, vanilla, apple cider vinegar, and water. Stir until combined. Do not over mix.
  4. Pour batter in an 11x7" glass baking dish. Bake for 32 minutes or until a knife comes clean from the middle.
  5. Dust with confectioners sugar before serving.
beta
calories
466
fat
16g
protein
7g
carbs
79g
more
Alexis Mathews https://alexismathews.com/
 
You can find this recipe linked on the Plant Based Potluck Party

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

16 Best Ways to Utilize Nutritional yeast. #8 just might surprise you! www.alexismathews.com

What is nutritional yeast?

Nutritional yeast in the vegan community is the number one vegan cheese alternative. More specifically however, nutritional yeast is a microorganism that grows on sugar cane and beet molasses. Once it is harvested, it is deactivated and crumbled into large flakes.

The uses of nutritional yeast are nearly endless.

Health Benefits of Nutritional Yeast

Nutritional yeast is an excellent source of B vitamins including thiamine, folate, B-6, and niacin. These important vitamins are critical in converting energy from the food you eat and in producing red blood cells. Most sources of nutritional yeast are also fortified with vitamin B-12 which is only found in animal protein. Vegans who regularly enjoy nutritional yeast need not worry about being deficient in B-12. 

Nutritional yeast is also gluten free, soy free, dairy free, and low in sodium. These delicious and creamy flakes will also not aggravate gut fungal infections, otherwise known as candidiasis.  

Additionally, nutritional yeast is a complete protein meaning it contains 9 of the 18 amino acids that your body can not produce on its own. Compounds in nutritional yeast have also been associated with cancer prevention, enhanced immunity and reduced cholesterol levels. 

Lastly, nutritional yeast contains a significant amount of iron, selenium, zinc, and fiber.

So what are you waiting for, go grab some nutritional yeast today!

16 Ways to Utilize Nutritional Yeast

1. Popcorn There is a reason I have this use for nutritional yeast first, I absolutely love it on my stove top organic coconut oil popped popcorn. Popcorn with a creamy nutty topping is the perfect guilt free evening snack whether you are a vegan or not.

2. Beans I always have 2-3 different types of beans cooked and ready for quick easy meals. Preparing food ahead of time is a huge time and sanity saver for any busy family. My family all love a hot and fresh bowl of beans, regardless of the variety. To add some additional flavor and nutritional value I sprinkle a little nutritional yeast on top of their beans and happily watch them gobble it all up.

3. Vegan cheese sauce In our home vegan cheese sauce is known as cashew cream. We always have a huge bowl of it prepared and ready to enjoy in our refrigerator. When we want an svn creamier cheese flavor to our cashew cream I add some nutritional yeast, it is simply amazing!

4. Steamed veggies Forget the butter, oil, or any other topping you add to steamed vegetables. Add a sprinkle of nutritional yeast and you have not only saved yourself a ton of fat and calories but you have also added a ton of flavor and nutritional value.

5. Bread crumbs Bread crumbs can be costly when you purchase them in the store, especially if you are gluten free. Save yourself time and money, substitute nutritional yeast in place of your bread crumbs. 

6. Kale Chips When you make kale chips sprinkle a little nutritional yeast in the bowl and you will end up with an amazing flavor on your delicious chips.

7. Veggie burgers If you’ve read my blog for any length of time you already know how much my family and I love veggie and bean burgers. Although I don’t always list it as an optional ingredient in my burger recipes, nutritional yeast can always be added to the mix to add flavor and nutritional value. Nutritional yeast creates a vegan cheese burger of sorts, it is amazing!

8. Pasta No matter how you like you pasta you can always make it tastier with some nutritional yeast. It adds a creaminess just like if you had added traditional dairy cheese.

Are you catching on to the theme yet? Not only can you add nutritional yeast to everything, but adding nutritional yeast makes everything taste better.

9. Mashed potatoes If you enjoy the creamy butter taste in your mashed potatoes, fear not, nutritional yeast has come to your rescue. Add as much or as littles as you please, you will end up with a delicious creamy taste in your creamy fluffy potato goodness.

10. Thicken sauces Just like the traditional sauce thickeners you are used to, nutritional yeast will do the same thing but with more nutrition and flavor. Just add a sprinkle at a time, stir as the flakes dissolve and add more until you reach the desired thickness.

11.Soups My family adds nutritional yeast to all of their soups, even our favorite ginger and turmeric carrot soup. I will also occasionally sneak it in some of our broth based soups to add nutritional value, they love it.

12. Vegan pizza Yes, vegans can still enjoy pizza. Regardless of whether you add vegan cheese crumbles or not to your pizza, you can always add nutritional yeast on top of pizza for flavor and nutrition.

13. French fries Who doesn’t love cheese fries? You can still enjoy the cheese fry taste without the animal protein, heart disease, and cancer causing properties. Just bake your fries as usual but sprinkle some flakes on top before or after baking for a fun cheesy taste.

14. Sandwiches Be it vegetable sandwiches or wraps, I always add a sprinkle or two of nutritional yeast. I love the taste that it adds to my veggies and the nutritional benefits are to boot.

15. Salads Whether you add nutritional yeast to your favorite salad dressing or as a topping on your greens, you can’t go wrong with these delicious flakes. It is just like adding cheese to your salad but without all the nasty properties in dairy.

16. Smoothies Yes, you can even add nutritional yeast to your favorite smoothie. Of all of the options I have listed here, you will taste the nutritional yeast the least in your smoothie. In my experience, the fruits and other veggies in my smoothie mask the creamy cheese taste of the yeast more so than any other way. However, I know I am still getting all of the nutritional benefit of the yeast despite the lack of taste.

Do you have any additional uses for nutritional yeast that you would add to this list?

Vegan and Gluten Free Indian Pancakes

Incredible Indian Pancakes. Gluten free, vegan, quick and easy. My entered family loves this recipe!

I am very fortunate in that my husband and all of our children enjoy foods from a wide variety of cultures. Asian, Indian, and Mexican cuisines are by far all of our favorite. A few weeks ago I was craving Indian food but needed something quick and easy. 

I knew of the basic part of this Indian pancake recipe from a high school friend who frequently made a version of this dish and brought it to get togethers many years ago. After a few changes to the recipe I was able to create this delicious vegan and gluten free version of an old favorite.

My entire family loved this dish so much that I made it twice in one week, two days apart to be exact but who is counting. For my family of 9 healthy eaters, I at least quintuple this recipe so that we hopefully have a few leftover pancakes for lunch the following day.

If you are craving something different or want to spice up your usual vegan and gluten free recipe routine, this is a must have tonight! If you have a gluten free pantry you will surely have all of the ingredients for these incredible Indian pancakes.

Incredible Indian Pancakes
Serves 6
A quick and easy dinner for any night of the week. These gluten free and vegan Indian pancakes are sure to please even the pickiest member of your family.
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Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
30 min
170 calories
23 g
0 g
8 g
2 g
7 g
93 g
405 g
2 g
0 g
0 g
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
93g
Servings
6
Amount Per Serving
Calories 170
Calories from Fat 71
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8g
13%
Saturated Fat 7g
36%
Trans Fat 0g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Monounsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
0%
Sodium 405mg
17%
Total Carbohydrates 23g
8%
Dietary Fiber 2g
6%
Sugars 2g
Protein 2g
Vitamin A
6%
Vitamin C
6%
Calcium
2%
Iron
11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your Daily Values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
Ingredients
  1. coconut oil or EVOO, use enough to shallow fry
  2. ½ cup Sorghum Flour
  3. ½ cup Tapioca Flour
  4. 1 cup Coconut Milk, canned and full fat
  5. 1 tsp salt, adjust to taste
  6. ½ tsp Chili Powder
  7. ¼ tsp Turmeric Powder
  8. ½ onion, chopped
  9. 1 handful cilantro leaves, chopped
  10. 1 serrano pepper, minced (optional)
  11. 1 tsp ginger powder
Instructions
  1. Combine flours, coconut milk and spices in a large bowl.
  2. Add onions, peppers, and cilantro to the batter.
  3. Heat approx. 1T oil per pancake in a stainless steel pan.
  4. Drop pancake batter by large spoonful into hot oiled pan.
  5. Cook 3-4 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  6. Serve with chutney, ketchup, and additional cilantro to garnish.
  7. Enjoy!
beta
calories
170
fat
8g
protein
2g
carbs
23g
more
Alexis Mathews https://alexismathews.com/

You can fin this recipe on the Plant Based Potluck Party

Amazing Cashew Cream

Cashew Cream Vegan Gluten Free

It is not an understatement when I say that discovering cashew cream revolutionized my vegan kitchen and opened up a world of tastes and textures in our vegan lifestyle.

What is even more amazing beyond the taste is the simplicity of the recipe and the ease with which cashew cram is made.

I always have a large container of cashew cream made up in my refrigerator ready to enjoy and add to dishes. Our favorite dishes to add cashew cream to are vegan tacos, baked potato slices, cream inspired soups, and so much more. Basically anywhere we want a creamy taste or texture is fair game for a dollop or two of this protein and vitamin packed creamy cashew goodness.

Cashew cream is used to replace cheese, sour cream, and cream in vegan recipes.

The health benefits of cashews include the following:

  • Unsaturated fats; proven to be beneficial to lowering cholesterol and improving heart health
  • Excellent source of copper which is necessary for numerous functions in your body
  • Good source of Vitamins K, B and E
  • Add fiber and protein to your diet
  • Beneficial in controlling blood sugar which is helpful if you are a diabetic or borderline diabetic
  • Contain antioxidants which act as anti-cancer agents

So what are you waiting for? Go grab a pound or more of raw cashews and start your first batch of this amazing, creamy, versatile cashew cream.

Amazing Cashew Cream

2 cups raw cashews
8 cups water

Cover cashews with water overnight in a large bowl. If you are in a hurry use boiling water to soak cashews. If using hot water your soak time is reduced to 2-4 hours versus overnight.

Drain cashews. Place cashews in a high speed blender, I love using my Vita-Mix for this recipe. Add 1/2 to 1 cup of water with cashews in the blender. Blend until smooth and thick like sour cream. Add more water as necessary to facilitate proper blending and cream texture.

While cashew cream is amazing in its original state, there are a few taste modifications you can make depending on your preference. You can add salt, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or garlic to taste.

Please let me know if you try this recipe and how you enjoy it. Also, do you have another favorite way to enjoy cashew cream in your dishes?

Grab 21 Gluten-Free Meals from Costco for $162

*This post contains affiliate links which help support this site and my family. Thank you for your support.*

If you have a Costco membership you know that it can be a blessing and a curse. A blessing because you can potentially save a ton of money if you shop smart but also a curse because you can walk out spending way more than you had planned. Also as you know, the quantities are huge at Costco so unless you have a large family or the storage space to keep your extras the cost savings might not be worth your time, effort, or membership costs.

21 Gluten Free Meals from Costco for $162

However, Erin over at $5 Dinners has created a meal plan and recipe book for those of you who are gluten free and enjoy shopping at Costco. In this ebook you will get 11 recipes complete with Costco shopping list, recipes, and ingredient list totals itemized. If you are gluten free like I am you know how valuable new gluten free recipe can be not to mention a complete shopping list to make your time in Costco as quick and easy as possible. I always have at least four kids with me when I shop at Costco, most times all seven so a shopping list is golden and like time in my hands.

Erin is offering her latest ebook for the amazingly low price of $1.99, what a steal! Be sure and grab your copy before it is too late!

21 Gluten-Free Meals from Costco for $162

Erin also has other meal plan books that might interest you:

31 Days of Gluten Free Meals

 

31 Days of Gluten Free Meals ebook

Costco Plan #1

Costco Plan #2

15 High Speed Blender Recipes

15 High Speed Blender Recipes

*This post contains affiliate links. Your purchases through my affiliate links help support this website and the time and effort it takes me to research and write to bring you helpful and educational posts so that you can live a healthier life. Thank you.*

There are a few small appliances in my kitchen that I consider absolute necessities; my Vita-mix is at the top of that list. I’ve used and abused my precious blender over the past few years and it is still going as strong as the first day I bought it. I use it so often that it really should have a spot of it’s own on my kitchen counter, but alas I have a pet peeve about cluttered counters so it is relegated to a cabinet between uses.

The uses for a high speed blender such as the Vita-mix are nearly limitless. Not only can you quickly whip up a delicious protein shake for breakfast but you can also enjoy an afternoon smoothie treat or a hot and steaming soup for dinner. A high quality, high speed blender can truly be used at every meal and in between for snacks.

The cost may be prohibitive for some at first glance. However, if you stop to consider how long the less expensive blenders last, how quickly the glass blender breaks or the plastic ones crack, what a hassle they are to clean, and how limited they are in their uses when compared to a high speed blender the cost isn’t such a factor anymore. Cut out a few speciality coffees from your neighborhood coffee shop and you will have enough saved for a new high speed blender in no time!

I love my Vita-Mix so much that I will be adding the dry container to my kitchen arsenal very soon. The dry container is great for grinding grains into flour, chopping nuts, or any other drop chopping need you might have in your kitchen. My countertop chopper just isn’t cutting it anymore with my large family and the volume of chopping I need to do to feed my crew healthy whole foods.

I’ve gathered 15 of my favorite recipes from fellow bloggers that can be easily made in your Vita-mix or other high speed blender. You might remember the ginger and turmeric carrot soup from a few weeks ago, it has been a hit since the day it posted.

carrot soup

Soups
Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup from Health Matters. Life Matters.

Drinks & Smoothies
Collection of Smoothies from Eat Better Spend Less
Cucumber Mint Smoothie from Mama Likes to Cook
Pumpkin Pie Smoothie (sugar and dairy free) from Intoxicated on Life
Easy Cucumber Lemonade from Mama Likes to Cook
Berrylicious Dairy/Sugar Free Coconut Milkshake from Intoxicated on Life
Homemade Organic Apple Juice from Managing Your Blessings
Homemade Strawberry Guava Juice from Managing Your Blessings
Sugar Free Orange Sorbet from Rhonda Sue

Hummus
Hummus without Tahini from Marriage Motherhood and Missions
Classic Homemade Hummus from Intoxicated on Life
Simple Roasted Red Pepper Hummus from Mama Likes to Cook

Spreads & Dressings
Easy Miso Salad Dressing from Mama Likes to Cook
Butter in a Vitamix from Bless Your Heart and Home
Honey Pecan Butter from A Tipical Day

Ginger & Tumeric Carrot Soup

carrot soup

 

I have an over abundance of organic carrots right now because I accidentally ordered 50# from Azure Standard last month. My mouth about dropped when our driver unloaded two 25# bags and they both had my name on it. Surely I thought there had been a mistake in their warehouse, nope the mistake rested squarely on my shoulders.

So after pawning off as many carrots as I could earlier this month and taking one entire 25# bag to my mother-in-laws for her horses I still had a large bag of carrots filling up my spare refrigerator. What ever was I going to do with all of those carrots?

Then it dawned on me! Carrot soup.

I knew it was going to have to be extra special carrot soup in order for my family to enjoy it and maybe even request second helpings. So I set to work one afternoon with my vegetable peeler in hand and got to work.

For a family my size, nine of us in total, I peeled five pounds of those beta carotene packed vitamin sticks. Unfortunately, I also clogged our garbage disposal in the meantime with the peels. My husband wasn’t too thrilled about that one. Note to self, do not put peels down the drain, potato, carrot or otherwise. Thankfully, the end result of my peeling was well received by my husband so he has forgiven me for my careless mistake.

After I finished making the soup and we all sat down for dinner I cautiously awaited the final verdict on this new recipe. I think one of my three year old twins summed it up best when she said “nummy soup Mommy” and my two year old son said “more, Mommy, more”.