Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Jules of Pancakes and French Fries

Is it possible to like someone so much, even though you've never even met in person?  And is it weird to refer to someone as a friend that you've never met before?  No?  I didn't think so.  That's why I love blogging so much, I knew you'd all understand.  So I really like Jules.  She's smart (hello, she is a non-practicing attorney), she's funny as hell and writes quips such as "I'm bringing marmalade back, like sexy", she is a bookworm, she loves to write about good food, and the girl can appreciate the power of a great beauty product.  I think we were separated at birth, although she's from Argentina, so I'm not sure how entirely possible that is?  Enough from me, here's Jules from Pancakes and French Fries!
Mikey Pictures
Well, I certainly hope you enjoyed Julie's guest post yesterday as much as I did, because my name is Jules and I'm here to make you feel guilty about everything you eat. Then I'm going to suck the pleasure out of living and make you roll your own pasta from the flour you milled with rocks you collected in your backyard.


Sort of!
You see, I'm a bit of a nerd. A bookworm. A lover of taking things apart and putting them back together again. That's why on my blog I often share recipes for polishing silver, copper, or brass with pantry ingredients. Or my recipe for hair conditioner. Or the time I made my own deodorant. But not sore throat remedies. That one left a mark. Anyway, in furtherance of what one reader called my "anti-cool" status, I also enjoy studying nutrition and food science. I'm fascinated by health and healthy eating and do my best to avoid processed foods and chemicals. I said do my best. I'm not perfect, and I don't believe in boycotting fast food or major food corporations because theses companies have helped out many a harried mom put food on the table. And I certainly wouldn't push away a Citrus Kissed Thumbprint. Still, almost everything I make is from scratch because it's good for you and, at least for me, fun.

Also fun? Health food stores. Love them. I'm always more than willing to drop cash on the random bottle of subterranean purple rock salt that is fair trade and harvested by garden gnomes. But, since not everyone reads nutritional studies for fun, Andrea asked me to divulge my favorite random health food ingredients that I consider indispensable. Indispensable because, yeah, I'll admit that some of the stuff I buy goes on the never again list the second I get home and take a taste.

Of course I have quite a few products I love, but these are my favorites, the ones I buy repeatedly, and the ones you can easily fine online or in most health food stores and, in some cases, supermarkets and super-stores. They are what I use most often in my kitchen to build recipes and meals. They help make healthy food taste yummy.

My Favorite Four

I don't know if you use table salt to season your food, but if you do, I recommend you give Real Salt a try. Table salt is loaded with chemicals, including dextrose, a form of sugar. Weird, right? Real Salt, on the other hand, is harvested in Utah and loaded only with 50+ trace minerals, including iodine. The taste is clean and mild.

For an all around seasoning mix, I use Herbamare. It's pretty much a blend of organic vegetables and herbs. I use it on anything that needs a kick, like salads or vegetables.

For salad dressings or recipes that call for vinegar, I will often use Dr. Bragg's apple cider vinegar. Actually, that's not true. I have a new favorite for salad dressings, so for now I add apple cider vinegar to my water. Sound crazy? It's actually a well known, well studied way to improve digestion and slow the release of sugar in the blood stream, which protects against diabetes and may promote weight loss. I add two teaspoons to a tall glass of water, but if you find it a bit sour (it's like lemon water) I know people who add a teaspoon or so of honey, too.

Up next is Nutritional Yeast, only my favorite thing, ever. It's a deactivated yeast that started off as a nutritional supplement decades ago. (It's high in B vitamins so vegetarians often use it.) But, because of its nutty/cheesy flavor, it morphed into a seasoning of sorts. I sprinkle it on salads, use it in dressings, add it to sauces, and--best yet--sprinkle it liberally on stove-popped popcorn. If you make your popcorn in the microwave, don't tell me. You'll crush me.

Here is a recipe for salad dressing using three out of four of the above ingredients from the book Becoming Vegan.
Just 2 tablespoons of this dressing provides 3.8g of omega-3 fatty acids (your days supply and then some) along with 40% of your B12 for the day. This creamy dressing is packed with riboflavin and other B vitamins - plus it's very tasty.

Liquid Gold Salad Dressing

1/2 c. flax seed oil
1/2 c. water
1/3 c. lemon juice
2 T balsamic or raspberry vinegar ( I use apple cider vinegar)
1/4 c. Bragg liquid Aminos or tamari
1/4 to 1/2 c. Red Star Nutritional Yeast Support Formula Nutritional Yeast
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. ground cumin

Blend until smooth. Dressing can be kept in a jar with a lid, refrigerated for up to 2 weeks. Makes 2 cups.

per T: calories - 78, protein - 1g, carb - 2g, fat - 7g, dietary fiber -0 .4g, sodium - 180mg

My Love of Coconut

Coconut is one of those flavors that you love or scrape off your tongue with a scouring pad. I once had a reader say she hated coconut so much she could taste it even if it was the 38th ingredient listed. I get that, because I feel the same way about root beer, licorice, and anise. GAG.

But I don't feel that way about coconut. It's a healthy fat and a metabolism booster. I'm trying to coconut oil as my cooking fat, but it's expensive. I do not use it in salad dressings because it remains solid at room temperature. The brand I like the best is Nutiva. The flavor is mild and doesn't impart a coconut taste to your food, which is important when you're making tomato sauce.

I just today tried coconut flour. I had no idea it was so high in fiber and protein, and gluten free to boot.

Of course, I love young coconuts. Not the ones with the brown husk. The white ones you crack open with a cleaver. I blend the water and meat with a frozen banana and two cups of frozen pineapple. It's like a tropical drink, but full of electrolytes and minerals. Coconut water is great for keeping hydrated, and with this weather we're having, they'll have a permanent place in my fridge for a few months.

Coconut vinegar is my new love. It's very mild, like a champagne vinegar. It does not taste like coconut, but instead has a buttery flavor that does I don't even know what to avocados, but it's amazing. That's my favorite way to use it, by the way. I mash an avocado, sprinkle it with coconut vinegar, and use red pepper strips as edible spoons. It's perfect for the crazy heat we've been having!

Here is a recipe for gluten free coconut muffins that uses two out of four of the above ingredients.
Super Quick, Gluten Free, Coconut Muffins

3 eggs
2 tablespoons coconut oil1/4 cup honey, or maple syrup (or mix them up)
1/4 teaspoon salt1/4 cup sifted coconut flour1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dried shredded (or flakes) coconut

Preheat oven to 350 or 400 degrees F. Grease 6 muffin tins with additional coconut oil. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat eggs, coconut oil, and salt together. Combine coconut flour and baking powder together and whisk into batter until smooth.

Fill prepared muffin cups half-way with batter and sprinkle coconut on top. Bake in preheated oven for 10-15 minutes.
Are you still there? I know. I told you found this stuff interesting! Well, if you made it this far, Andrea will reward you with a little something on point, I imagine. Good luck, and good health! :)
Alright ladies and gents. One of you could be the recipient of a Whole Foods gift card valued at $25! Then maybe you can run into Jules trolling the aisles, on the hunt for some random supplement :) You know the drill. Leave a comment gets you an entry. Subscribe to my blog or Jules and get an entry, yadda, yadda, yadda. Leave a comment for each shenanigan :) Good luck!


  1. I love this post! It couldn't have come at a better time.

    I just started using coconut oil on my face along with my other salad bar beauty products. It's an amazing eye makeup remover. And it smells delish!

    Apple cider vinegar is my new best friend. I'm a whore for beauty products and I cannot believe the change it has made in my skin. I LOVE it! It's more effective than any high priced chemical I could buy at store. I have no problem putting it on my skin, but I just can't make that leap and start drinking it yet. It scares me!

    I'm going to have to go back to Whole Foods and get some coconut vinegar. I want to try that avacado goodness!

  2. Coconut flour?! Who knew...

    Loved all this information! It's the kind of thing I'm interested in but don't want to wade through all the kooky internet pages to weed out the good info- Thanks :)

  3. Great post! I will rush home tonight and make that salad dressing for sure! I love coconut vinegar--used it the first time when I needed vinegar for a recipe and found the coconut vinegar in the dark corners of my pantry. I've been a fan since. It's good with asian dishes, too!

  4. very cool. i studied nutrition in college and found all this so interesting.

    i'm like jules, i can spend so much time in health food stores! (now, if i could only come up with the money!)

  5. Followed Jules over from her own blog, which I'd subscribed to in my Google reader! (Does that mean two entries?) Anyway, Jules, is your objection to microwave popcorn popping just the cooking method, or the packets of stuff you buy in the grocery store that are all covered in chemicals? Because we buy bulk popcorn and put it in paper bags (folded down, sealed with a touch of scotch tape) and microwave it for a super-fast treat that involves NO oil or chemicals! (I mean, we may add a little oil after the fact and sprinkle on toppings, but at least this way, we know EXACTLY what is going into our mouths.) I like stove-popped, too, but this way leaves me free to enjoy popcorn with thinking about the oily pot sitting on the stove waiting to be washed. Also, since we don't have kids with bagged lunches, and weren't about to buy a whole packet of paper bags to indulge our popcorn whims, we got a few of the paper bags that Whole Foods will put your wine in when you check out and found those are perfect. You can reuse the bag several times before recycling it, too!

  6. This was really interesting, Jules! I will definitely try those recipes! Thanks for sharing your knowledge :)

  7. I've subscribed to Pancakes and French Fries for a while now, and now that I found your blog, Andrea, I subscribed to it! (both via google reader) Fun! :)

  8. I l.o.v.e. coconut! (there's my comment) Oh, and I've been reading Jules' blog for quite some time now. It's hIlarious!

  9. Hello, ladies! Thanks for not making me feel like a crazy hippie! :)

    Kate--I object to those bags because they are filled with fake fats, loads of sodium, artificial name it! I used to love those bags, but now I can't even stand the smell. They take a great, high fiber snack like popcorn and turn it into a heart attack waiting to happen. Popping it on the stove in oil isn't exactly healthy, but the fats are real (I use coconut oil) and I control the ingredients.

    I try not to cook anything in the microwave since it changes the structure of our food, but your method is a great, healthy snack. Have you looked into air poppers? It's a pain to have another appliance in the kitchen, but if you eat popcorn regularly they are great to have. They're making quite the comeback lately. I think that is for a host of reasons, including interest in healthy eating and the economy.


  10. And please don't anyone think I'm perfect about eating. Far from it! If I had my way, I'd wash down Dairy Queen blizzards with green tea + mango flavored crystal light all day long.

  11. I must be a fellow geek, I loved this post. :-)

    Thanks for reminding me about the yeast. I've been a life long veggie and my mom used to put it in everything. Somewhere in my 20's I purged that. I'm going to start using is again. It's so healthy and so yummy.

  12. What? Salt has junk in it? I have to go salt searching.
    Excellent post.

  13. Great info! Thanks for the recipes!

  14. We're not gluten free at our house, but we have several friends who are, and it's great to have a few recipes up my sleeve for them. Thanks for sharing. BTW, what is that lovely loaf of bread in the photo, Jules?

  15. Long-time subscriber to Jules' blog!

  16. Subscribed to Four Flights of Fancy, now! Thanks!

  17. Loved this post! I have been grinding my own wheat for about 2 years now, but not with rocks - ha ha. I've been wanting to try Coconut oil too, but it is so expensive! Maybe I'll win this gift card & make the plunge :) Thanks for some great info.

  18. Melissa--yes it is! Both the bread and the plum cake turned out kind of meh, which is why I haven't posted a recipe on my blog (or here). But I thought the picture was pretty, so I decided to pretend both turned out fabulously. ;)

  19. I'm going to have to look for that coconut vinegar...I LOVE all things coconut!!!

    PS. You should try the coconut butter!

  20. Three cheers for being health and anti-cool!

  21. Love Jules.
    Always have.
    Always will.
    She's real.


  22. I did not know coconut was a metabolism booster. I might have to try it again, as the coconut water I tried made me gag just a tiny bit.

  23. Jules never cease to amaze me. Coconut flour? I may have to try that because I can imagine it would taste great with my pineapple cupcakes.

  24. That's Ms. Amy to You--Coconut water that you buy in a can or box is disgusting! Ugh. I tried, but it was awful. Some people swear there are brands that taste good, but I think they're lying. The real thing is a hassle, but an entirely different beast.

    Holy cow, Cathe. That sounds delicious!

  25. As always- love your posts Jules!

    xoxo- Jeen-Marie

  26. Loved your post and love Whole Foods too!

  27. Love the guest blogger. Very fun! Keep them coming!

  28. Not sure if anyone else has mentioned this, but I've also mixed apple cider vinegar with honey for a sore throat cure... Just mix together, gurgle a little while, and you're good to go. The smell is terrible, but it works!

  29. I'm liking this new find for food blogs. Maybe my husband will start gaining weight now! Bring it on gift card!!

  30. I can't believe you actually got me considering putting vinegar into my drinking water. It sounds like something my mom would suggest (along with garlic to cure just about anything), but I think I'll give it a try!

  31. Annie--I did that and linked to it in the post. It almost killed me! (Joking, but still.) I did something wrong, that's for sure.

  32. I am totally going shopping for coconut flour tomorrow! And though I'm not a big salt person, I do concede that it does make some things taste better; it never occurred to me that it was loaded with chemicals. Learn something every day. Thanks!

  33. I loved the post - and learning about new, healthy things to try is always fun. I've got to look into getting those ingredients to try making the liquid gold.

  34. Apple cider vinegar is also supposedly good for keeping mosquitos away. I try to drink it in water too, but the taste drives me insane. Maybe I'm putting in too much? I'll have to try again : ) Great post, Jules!

  35. interesting...I like your blog a lot! yes, i too, spend way too much $ at health food stores...they are little havens in an otherwise bustling world...

  36. I use Bragg Apple Cider vinegar with my children. If the lie, whine, or are unkind with their words...they get a teaspoon of Bragg Apple Cider vinegar...helps them in many different ways.

  37. I use Bragg Apple Cider vinegar with my children. If the lie, whine, or are unkind with their words...they get a teaspoon of Bragg Apple Cider vinegar...helps them in many different ways.

  38. I don't agree that coconut water in can or box is disgusting. Maybe you should try various brands:

  39. I've heard so much about Braggs - time for me to just buy it and try some of these recipes!
    Thanks for the ideas and fun.

  40. We are trying to eat healthier! It was fun to read about the different ingredients and how they can be used. Hopefully, we will get some of the new ingredients soon and give them a try!! :)

  41. What do you think of coconut water Vita Coco?

  42. That salad dressing sounds so delicious!
    I'm glad I found both your blogs.

    :) Laura F.

  43. I just joined both your blogs.I'm looking forward to reading through both of your posts.
    Thanks for the generous giveaway!

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