Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Our Best Apple Pie Recipe

Two weeks ago I promised you an apple pie recipe.  Here is our best one so far.  I hope you try it and enjoy it.

We have been making pies almost every week recently in an effort to use up the dozens of apples we got from an orchard earlier this month.  We have even been known to have a pie baking competition on Saturday nights.  We turn up the music, dance and make pie!

This recipe makes a spicy, tart and tangy pie, which enhances the apple flavor nicely. And unlike pies from the grocery store, this is not syrupy- or overly-sweet.  If you happen to like a sweeter pie, by all means increase the amount of sweeteners used in this recipe, just don't use sugar!  Use a natural, nourishing sweetener such as honey, sucanat, or maple syrup

We use a basic pie crust recipe.  The big difference is substituting regular flour with sprouted whole wheat flour, or an ancient whole wheat like Einkorn.  The result is a slightly more grainy pie crust, but I'm willing to sacrifice on texture in order to gain on nourishment and gut-friendliness.  For the fat, we use pastured lard, which sounds crazy (not the lard found in the grocery store!).  It is loaded with healthy fat and vitamin D.  If you don't have access to a farmer who sells pastured lard then non-hydrogenated palm kernel shortening works just as well and can be found at Whole Foods or natural food stores.  Butter can also be used.

Double Pie Crust

2 Cups freshly milled flour or sprouted whole wheat flour or other wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cups lard or non-hydrogenated palm kernel shortening or butter
7 tablespoons cold water

1.  Prepare a 9-inch pie pan by greasing and flouring.
2.  Combine flour and salt.  Cut in the lard or shortening until thoroughly incorporated, making pea-sized balls of dough.  Add water 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing until the dough is evenly moistened.
3.  Divide dough in half, forming two balls.  Wrap in plastic and refrigerate 20 - 30 minutes -- this is especially helpful for rolling out dough made with whole grain flour. 
4.  Roll out on a floured surface.  Makes one bottom crust and one top crust.

Delicious Apple Pie

6 cups apples, peeled, cored, sliced and dipped in lemon juice
1/4 cup organic sucanat or organic coconut palm sugar
1 - 2 tablespoon honey
1/4 cup butter or coconut oil
1 - 2 tablespoons finely chopped dried cranberries
1 - 2 tablespoons finely chopped almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

1.  On the stove top, melt butter on medium low heat.  Stir in all but the apples and mix thoroughly.  Cook on low 10 minutes.
2.  Mix in the apples and cook on low heat 10 minutes.
3.  Line 9" pie pan with the bottom crust.  Pour in the apple mixture.  Cover with the top crust.  Cut openings for ventilation.  Trim edges and seal.
4.  Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 50 minutes.  Pie is done when crust is golden brown.

Let us know how you like the pie!

--Two Peas

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Curried Lentil-Cabbage Soup and Benefits of Conjugated Linoleic Acid (CLA)

Homemade beef broth, farm fresh vegetables and savory herbs can mean only one thing.  Fall.  Yes, fall means comfort food and comfort food means homemade soup.  The smell alone stirs up feelings of home, comfort, and coziness.

The best part of making and enjoying a savory soup is knowing the tremendous health benefits it imparts. Farm fresh vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants.  Spices such as ginger and turmeric are anti-inflamatory.  Homemade bone broth made from pastured beef bones is loaded with gut-healing, immune boosting properties. Vegetables sautéed in pastured beef tallow become rich in conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), an essential fatty acid vital to health, especially weight control. 

In fact, Dr. Mercola reports on CLA in his article, "The Secret Sauce in Grass Fed Beef",

"A host of research has been conducted on animals, under microscopes, and with humans to determine the impact of CLA on disease.  Results have shown CLA to be a potent ally for combating:
  • Cancer:   Animal studies show that as little as 0.5 percent CLA in your diet could reduce tumors by over 50 percent, including the following types of cancer:
    • Breast
    • Colorectal
    • Lung
    • Skin
    • Stomach
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High Cholesterol and triglycerides
  • Osteoporosis
  • Insulin Resistance: CLA’s actions actually mimic the effect of synthetic diabetic drugs. Testing on mice with type 2 diabetes have shown CLA to improve insulin action and reduce circulating glucose. Even better, the early results from human trials are just as positive, when consuming CLA for longer than eight weeks.
  • Inflammation
  • Immune system invaders
  • Food-induced allergic reactions
  • Body Composition:  Exciting research with humans has shown that CLA has been beneficial in lowering body fat, with even greater improvement in those who combine exercise with dietary intake of CLA. Animal research has been even more promising, with significant improvements seen in both reducing body fat and in increasing lean body mass.
  • Previous studies have shown that CLA reduces body fat while preserving muscle tissue, and may also increase your metabolic rate."
Read the full article here:


Curried Lentil-Cabbage Soup 

This recipe is budget-friendly, deliciously simple and uses ingredients you already have in your cupboard.  Best of all, it is satisfying and healing.  Serve with your favorite homemade bread for a warming, fall dinner.



4 - 5 cups beef bone broth or vegetable broth
4 carrots, sliced
1/2 large cabbage, chopped
4 celery stalks, sliced
3 cloves garlic, pressed or chopped
1 onion, diced
1 cup cooked lentils
1 cup cooked brown rice
2 tablespoons pastured beef tallow or coconut oil
1 tablespoon curry powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon ginger, powdered
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
salt and pepper to taste


1.  In a large stock pot, sauté until tender all chopped vegetables in beef tallow or coconut oil (20 - 30 minutes).
2.  Pour broth into the stock pot.
3.  Add lentils, rice and spices.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer for 20 minutes and serve.

 Would you like to learn how to render beef fat and make your own tallow?  Make your own beef bone broth?  Let me know.

Happy Fall!
-- Two Peas


Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Love, Marriage and Homemade Apple Pie

"Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God" 1 John 4:7
As Greg and I approach our wedding anniversary, fondly I reflect on the last four years.  How have we grown in the last four years?  Have we changed for the better? 
At this very moment, 11:39 PM, my husband is cleaning up the kitchen after making an apple pie from scratch. 

He still amazes me with his fearless zest for life, work ethic, brilliant ideas, projects and enthusiastic cooking -- the man simply does not tire.

This I learned just days after returning home from our honeymoon.  I remember that first week, anticipating that we'd sit together, reading, singing hymns or watching a movie.  It was with wonder that I watched him move from one project to another in our tiny, 600 square-foot apartment:  cleaning the refrigerator, replacing the garbage disposal, cooking, and organizing closets and cupboards.

What did I do?  I joined in, of course.   Happily, we have spent many hours working and serving side-by-side ever since, sharing with others, enjoying ourselves completely and relishing the gift we have been given. 

Tonight we made a homemade apple pie (a whole-food recipe -- look for it in the next post).  Our fourth pie in less than two weeks.  With gusto Greg jumped in, found a new recipe, milled the flour, and sliced and cored the apples.

Exactingly, I retrieved equipment and tools, refined measurements, and cleaned as we baked. 

It worked beautifully and the outcome was far better than if either one had set out on his or her own.

It has been four years.  By God's grace, we have grown softer, kinder, and more patient toward each other.  We see more clearly how we complement each other.  We have learned to delicately handle the others' weaknesses, and have discovered ways to help the other soar.
A verse comes to mind.  
"Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor.  For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up.  Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart."  Ecclesiastes 4:9-12

We thank and praise God for His faithfulness, goodness and care for us.  His love is amazing! 

Happy, and thankful.
--Two Peas

Monday, October 7, 2013

Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Butternut Squash Brownies

Do you ever have a day where you just need a pick-me-up?  Your head is groggy and you feel sluggish?  I have the solution.

These moist, delicious, mousse-like brownies will literally melt in your mouth and lift your spirits.  In fact, you'll have no problem cleaning the house or completing that work assignment afterward. 

Gluten-free and grain-free, this Vegan, SCD, GAPS, and/or Paleo recipe makes a wonderful addition to your healthy desserts repertoire.  They are so moist and creamy you will need a plate and a fork-- no cut bars here.  In fact, I'm working on making this recipe into a chocolate mousse cake for a future post.

The only drawback:  These brownies are so good, some (i.e. the author) have eaten them right out of the oven and burnt their tongue.


Gluten-Free, Grain-Free Butternut Squash Brownies

1 Cup Cocoa
3/4 Cup Honey (Vegan: use 1/4 - 1/2 cup Agave Nectar, to your liking)
1/2 Cup Butternut Squash, pureed
1/4 Cup Coconut Flour
1/4 Cup Coconut Milk
3 Tablespoons Coconut Oil, softened or melted
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted (Vegan, GAPS Intro:  use 3 T Coconut Oil)
1 Egg (Vegan: use 1/4 Tapioca Flour or Arrowroot Flour)
1/4 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda


1.  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2.  Lightly oil (using coconut oil or butter) an 8x8 glass dish.
3.  Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl.
4.  Pour into the prepared dish and put in oven.
5.  Bake for 30 - 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
6.  Let cool for two hours and then cut into squares.  Serve.

Yields about 12 dense, dessert brownies.