Energizing Apple Peel Powder

applepicThis past weekend I made the most delicious Dutch Apple Pie. As always though, I felt terrible for the waste – all those apple peels and cores. I decided to come up with a way to use them rather than throw them in the trash (especially since most the nutrition is in the peel). With a little research, I found the PERFECT way to save the peels and create a vitamin packed homemade Energizing Apple Peel Powder (There’s a site that sells this stuff and let me just say, “It isn’t cheap!!”)

Look at ALL those peels!

I found that apple peels contain natural sources of Vitamins A and C, and minerals – Calcium, Phosphorus, Folate, and Iron. They also contain a high level of antioxidants to help protect our cells from free radical damage. *

According to the National Institute of Health, consumption of apple peel powder increases joint function and range of motion in those who were found to have chronic pain.*

In addition, a study done at the University of Iowa showed that a natural substance in apple peels (ursolic acid) was found to reduce obesity in mice. They said further studies were needed to see if apple peels would reduce obesity in humans, but I would be willing to give them a chance to lose a few pounds – how about you?

Ok, if I were at home in Vegas I would just use the summer sun to dry my peels, but I’m way up in Canada right now without my dehydrator. I still decided to make it work by setting my oven on its lowest setting (170F) and heating the peels until they were dry (it took about 3 hours).

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Not the best photo – Sorry! But I wanted to show you how much they will shrink.

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And even though they shrink significantly, 8 apples still yielded over 3 cups dried apple peels.

There was probably closer to 4 cups of dried peels, but they were so sweet and crispy that I ate some of them right off the tray!

I added the dried peels to my Vitamix blender and crushed them until they turned into a powder (about 2 minutes). It yielded 3/4 cup powder. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but notice the recipes below. Each one calls for a tablespoon or less. This energizing apple peel powder goes a long way!

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Check out ALL the ways you can use this amazing creation!

Apple Pie Smoothie: One banana, 1/2 cup almond milk, 1/2 cup ice, 1 tablespoon raw honey, 1 tablespoon apple peel powder, 1 teaspoon cinnamon. Blend in high powered blender for 1 minute.

Apple Walnut Oatmeal: One serving of your favorite oatmeal (mine is steal cut oats cooked with nut milk), 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts, 1 tablespoon raw honey, 1 teaspoon apple peel powder.

Apple Granola Yogurt: One serving of your favorite yogurt (mine is vanilla Greek), 2 tablespoons of your favorite granola (I like a hemp and nut granola), 1 teaspoon dried raisins, 1 teaspoon apple peel powder. Mix all the ingredients and let sit in the refrigerator for 10 minutes before eating.

Apple & Sweet Pepper Marinade: One cup of your favorite smoky barbeque sauce, 1/2 cup (each) chopped red pepper and red onion sautéed in olive oil until soft, 1 tablespoon apple peel powder, 1 tablespoon brown sugar, dash cayenne pepper. Blend all the ingredients and marinate/baste your favorite piece of meat.

Apple Vanilla Frozen Yogurt Pops: Blend a 500gram container of vanilla yogurt with a dash of cinnamon and 1 tablespoon of apple peel powder. Add to your frozen pop mold and freeze.

Apple Granola: 2 cups (oats, uncooked quinoa, popped amaranth or other grain of your choice), 1 cup of your favorite nuts, 3/4 cup raisins, 1 tablespoon apple peel powder, 2 teaspoons cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon ground clove, 1/8 teaspoon salt, 1/3 cup melted coconut oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/4 cup maple syrup, 1/4 cup brown sugar. Blend dry ingredients in one bowl and wet ingredients in another. Blend both bowls together. Add mixture to a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake at 325F for 10 minutes.

Basically, apple peel powder can be added to any smoothie, hot or cold cereal, granola recipe, ice cream recipe, marinade or even dry meat rub!! I’ve also added it to a Harvest Cheddar Soup and Butternut Squash Soup.

Apple Peel Powder is packed full of nutrients, saves on food waste, taste incredibly sweet with a hint of tart, and a little goes a long way.

Please comment below and share how you’ve been creative in the kitchen and saved food from being tossed.

Thanks for stopping by, Rene’

References:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25271471

http://www.appleactiv.com/appleactiv-dapp

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120620212855.htm

Hugs From Heaven

When I started writing this post, I searched my computer for those spectacular moments in photos, that perfect father/daughter memory that I could share with you. To my broken hearted surprise, I didn’t have a single photo on my computer of the both of us (and I am traveling abroad so all my hard copy photos are 4,000 miles away). A few tears streamed down my face, regret, then feeling like I was a terrible daughter..

Isn’t it funny how guilt sneaks up on us like that?

I was already feeling emotional from my earlier visit to Walmart, passing the Father’s Day card section and the solemn reminder that my dad is no longer with us. It’s been ten years but it still feels like yesterday that he left this earth. I miss him so much!

In a desperate attempt to find some photos, I reached out to my sister-in-law who lives in Dad’s old house (hoping she could find something – anything!). She didn’t find anything with me, but she did find some photo that made me smile – and cry again 🙂

So instead of starting this story out with words, I want to share a little about my dad through photos…..

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My dad – the daredevil… and his quirky sense of humor. If I close my eyes I can still hear his laugh and his slow southern drawl.

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My dad, the gangsta HAHAHA, Hangin’ with the cool kids  😉

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My dad – the devoted son (LOOK how cute Memaw Freeman is!!)

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My dad, the chef….. Oh the many memories this photo brings… The funny fisherman’s hat! Everyone who knew my dad, knew that hat.. The iron skillet (I remember him teaching me how to “season” iron and to this day, my favorite thing to cook with is iron). That spot where he is standing – oh all the pots of stew we cooked.

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My dad the farmer. From a the tiny town of Waynesboro to the city …. didn’t matter where he lived, he had a garden. From dad, I inherited a love for growing fresh veggies and sharing them with the people I love!.

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And my favorite photo of all!! My dad Pawpaw….My son looking at him with the same admiration that I have for him. The memory of sitting in front of the fireplace building a giant fire. Those were the BEST moment!

Daddy, I miss you.

I think I would give my left arm to hear your laugh one more time, to tell you I love you one more time.

So many things remind me of you – random little things.

When I see a crow. I remember the time you brought home a box of baby crows because you had just chopped down a tree and their mama flew away. They were so little and cute. When ever a crow crosses my path it takes me back to that day, that cardboard box full of baby birds. I always stop and think how excited we were when you got home.

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When I went for a walk to clear the tears and refresh my thoughts, this crow came across my path. And as the wind blew against my skin, I felt as though you were sending me hugs from heaven.

When I see wild rabbits running through the neighborhood, I remember the day you brought home that cute bunny we named “Cinnamon”. You said the pet store was going to feed her to a snake and you were saving her. How many bunnies did you end up bringing home that summer? …….  So many that we had to donate them to the Knott’s Berry Farm Zoo.

When I look at my neighbor’s fruit trees I think of all the trees you had. The lemon tree, olive tree, and apple tree. I still eat raw lemons (but they are never as sweet as the ones you grew) and I still love apple butter that mom used to make from the bags and bags of apples you would harvested.

When I see a pruned tree that looks like a tiny little stump sticking out of the ground, I chuckle and think of you. I always wondered why you cut SO much off the trees but they always grew back so beautiful.

I imagine heaven has rows and rows of beautifully groomed trees, overflowing gardens of fresh fruits and vegetables, hundreds of bunnies bouncing around on open grassy fields. You’re one of the angels keeping heaven beautiful.

Daddy, you took up a space in my heart that no one could ever fill. It has your memories, your laughter, your smile. It’s the place where I can go and be a little girl again, feeling safe, feeling loved, feeling like God gave me the most special man in the world.

I imagine the day we will get to meet again in heaven and how I will HUG you so tight.

I miss you ❤

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My Daddy

Thank you Kayla!! For the terrific memories and photos you shared with me!!

Top 5 Reasons Children Should Grow a Garden

So the sun is shining and Spring is in the air. You’re wondering what you can do to get your children out of the house. Something worthwhile that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg. Something you can enjoy as a family.

When my children were young, this was the time of year we always started our vegetable garden. We were able to enjoy each others company and decide as a family what we wanted to plant. With every year our gardens became more exciting.

We started with plants like tomatoes and herbs. As my boys grew older, we began planting things based on what we wanted to cook. One year my youngest wanted to grow cucumbers so he could make a giant jar of pickles. Another year we grew tomatoes, cilantro and onions to make salsa. Then we became super creative and grew hot peppers to go with the salsa to make a pot of spicy chili.

From my personal experience, gardening with children is one of the most satisfying thing a parent and child can share together.

Here is why:

It teaches them about nature and how the ecosystem works

What a gift to see a child’s eyes light up with excitement as they learn about how nature works. When they’re young start them gardening with a couple of seeds and a cup of dirt. They learn that with a little bit of attentiveness and nurture tiny plants start to grow.

As children get older, parents can teach how non-living organisms, such as sunshine, water, and weather, all work together for a purpose. Once they have a grasp on that, teach them how microorganisms in the soil have an impact on the plants, just as pollution and chemicals do. By the time your children are young adults, they will have a great understanding  of how the world of nature works. And it all starts with one little seed.

* if you’re lucky, when you loosen the soil for planting seeds, you will find earthworms. A perfect opportunity to teach how important the earthworm is to the health of the soil. When we found them, we would carefully dig a little hole and put them back so they could do their magic.

It fosters a sense of responsibility and purpose

When my boys were young, I read a book titled, “Raising Self Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World” by H. Stephen Glenn. In this book, the author speaks of a time when children were required to help out with tending to the farm animals and land to keep the household running. If Billy didn’t milk the cows, Betty wouldn’t have a bottle to drink. At a very young age, children were doing chores that really made a difference. Billy felt accomplished for doing his part feeding the family. Now-a-days, our milk is purchased at the grocery store (unless you are lucky enough to have your own farm) and that sense of purpose has completely changed.

Through gardening, children are able to get a sense of what Billy experienced as a young boy. Imagine your child tending the garden and then imagine the look on his face when he prepares a dinner salad from greens HE harvested. I promise your heart will melt with joy as you watch your child feeling so accomplished and proud.

It promotes self-confidence

Children have a constant stream of media and peer pressure that tells them they need to do this or that to “fit in”. Every where they turn, they are bombarded with commercials, magazines and posters telling them they aren’t good enough. As parents we can combat some of that negativity with positive influences in our home.

Gardening increase self confidence in so many ways.

  • It gives them knowledge (and we all know that in knowledge is power!).
  • It gives them a sense of purpose.
  • Children learn to take pride in their accomplishments.
  • They learn to act independently.
  • They take on responsibility and feel important.
  • They become more excited to accept new challenges and try new things.

It gets children actively involved in healthy eating

When a parent teaches a child how to garden, that child learns the value and health of the veggies. He will want to partake in the consumption.. As a family we would decide what to do with the veggies we grew. We’ve made salsa, pickles, chili, garden salads, homemade stews, and more.

One day my son came to me and asked if he could eat some cherry tomatoes. Don’t ask me why, but without thinking, these words came out of my mouth, “you can have a handful right after you finish your dinner”… He was so excited!!! He grew a little older and realized that tomatoes weren’t a dessert food but what an amazing illustration of how my children perceived their work in the garden!

It creates strong family and teaches everyone to work together

Not only is menu making and cooking in the kitchen a bonus for growing a garden, now you get to add in quality time with your loved ones. Instead of sitting in front of the television on a sunny day, we spent our afternoons in the garden. Getting excited for the anticipated harvest. Learning to be patient together. This is great for teaching children patience in other areas of their life too! (BONUS)

So many summers spent getting dirty with my boys (with the occasional attack of the hose on an unsuspecting mom hahaha.), working as a team and sharing responsibility, learning to appreciate all our hard work and not wasting any of our food.

We were growing watermelons one year and one of our visitors had a toddler who picked our baby watermelon LONG before it was ready. My son immediately said he wanted to eat it!! I cut it open and all that was there was the rind. None of the delicious juicy red watermelon had formed yet. He didn’t care!! We did the work and he was eating the harvest. I watched him eat everything but the tiny little rind. To this day, we laugh at that story!

There you have! My favorite reasons for growing a garden with children.

Happy Gardening

Copyright

My son took this photo of his first cilantro plants!

Here is a terrific site where  you can get some fun children’s lessons on the ecosystem and our wonderful earth. Click HERE