Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Apples


One a day is highly beneficial. That’s because this super fruit delivers generous amounts of fiber. An apple with the skin can have anywhere from 3.6 to 5.4 grams of fiber! Most of it is in the insoluble form that prevents constipation and has been the subject of quite a few studies on colorectal cancer risk reduction. Other cancers that apple constituents have been studied to kill in pre-clinical research include: liver, breast, multi-drug resistant, esophageal, and stomach cancers.

The rest is pectin, the fiber component that studies have shown can lower cholesterol levels. Apples are a good source of potassium, which helps provide protection against strokes. And like most other fruits, they’re also low in sodium (for better blood pressure), calories (for weight control), and fat (for lower cholesterol). It may even help with diabetes. As a bonus, apples are a great source of the mineral boron, which may help prevent the calcium losses from bone that may lead to osteoporosis. It appears that no matter what part of apple is studied, it has anti-tumor properties. Apple cider vinegar, for instance, has been found to contain an anti-tumor compound which results from the acetic acid fermentative process known as alpha-glycan.

Other noteworthy “evidence-based” medicinal properties of apples help with: diarrhea, hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis), overweight problems, anti-aging (brain), vaccine-induced toxicity, periodontal disease, advanced glycation end-products (AGEs), hair loss, staphylococcal infections, and influenza infection. Consuming apples during pregnancy may help reduce the risk of childhood asthma, researchers suggest and drinking a glass of apple juice every day may offer some relief to children who wheeze, according to U.K. researchers. It may also help curb memory loss. Apple juice may help sharpen sagging memories, according to a preliminary study from the University of Massachusetts Lowell.


In my hometown of Sebastopol, California, I’m very proud that we harvest and celebrate the Gravenstein Apple. This sweet, tart, and juicy apple has always been a family favorite! To me they’re so perfect, I can’t imagine an apple pie without them. They also make wonderful apple sauce and they’re yummy dried in the sun. I thought I would share this very special recipe I found.

Hollowed out apple half

Apple Pie Baked in the Apple

  • 5-6 Gravenstein Apples (or any other apple of your choice, just make sure they stand on their own.)
  • 1 Teaspoon of Cinnamon
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon Brown Sugar (yum)
  • Pie Crust (Homemade or Pre-Made)

Pre-Heat Oven to 375 Degrees F.

Step 1: Cut off the top of 4 apples off and discard. Remove the inside of each apple with a spoon or melon baller very carefully, as to not puncture the peel. If you’re a skilled interior apple excavator, salvage as much as you can so you can use it for Step 2. If not, just chop up additional apples for filling.

apples with pie crust

This recipe will make 4 baked apple pies (in the apple).

Step 2: Remove skin from remaining apple(s) and slice very thinly. These apple pieces will give you the additional filling needed to fill the four apples you are baking. Mix sliced apples with sugars and cinnamon in a bowl. If you prefer more or less cinnamon make adjustments as desired. Same goes for the sugar. You may even want to add a dash of sea salt but not too much. Scoop sliced apples into hollow apples.

Step 3: Roll out pie crust and slice into 1/4 inch strips. You can also add a strip of pastry inside the top of the apple almost like a liner to add a little more texture/sweetness to the pie. Cover the top of the apple in a lattice pattern with pie crust strips.

filled apple halves

Step 4: Place apples in an 8×8 pan. Add just enough water to the cover the bottom of the pan. Cover with foil and bake for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for an additional 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown and sliced apples are soft.


The Herbs of Smoothie Essentials: Home Made Yogurt


Home Made Yogurt

We all know that yogurt is full of probiotics and offers our body “healthy bacteria”. Those healthy bacteria can assist in healing an intestinal infection as well as a yeast infection. While there are many choices of yogurt at the grocery stores there are many people out there that prefer to make their own. It is also a more cost effective choice in comparison to the store bought price.

Homemade yogurt can be a better choice due to the amount of probiotics it has. Probiotics live longer when they are fresh and nothing is fresher than something homemade.  By making your own yogurt you also have the control of what goes in it. You decide which kind of milk to use, as well as what ingredients and flavors go in it. Ever eat a yogurt and wish there were more strawberries or peaches in it, or that it was sweeter or a little more tart? Well, with making  your own you can control that. You can make it with more fruit and have the  tart taste  you like so much.

Think of all the smoothies that you can make with your homemade yogurt, the possibilities are endless. Our family just learned to make homemade yogurt. We are a family of smoothies. Everytime  I see a new smoothie recipe I have to try it. This weekend we will not only try a new smoothie but we will make it with our own homemade yogurt.

This website has some great starters;

Home made yogurt

Home made yogurt

•4 cups whole milk

•3 tablespoons thick yogurt with live and active culture

Special Equipment

•A deep-fry or candy thermometer


Heat milk in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring and scraping bottom of pan often with a heatproof spatula (for a smooth yogurt, take care not to incorporate too much air), until thermometer registers 185°.

Reduce heat to low and cook milk, without stirring or letting it heat above 185°, for 20-25 minutes (it will be slightly thicker at the longer cook time).

Place pot in a large bowl filled with ice water. Stir constantly until thermometer registers 110° (don’t go below). Immediately and gently stir in yogurt. Pour mixture into a 32-ounce jar. Cover jar and place in a warm spot in kitchen. Let mixture sit for 10-12 hours (do not disturb jar).

Taste yogurt. If you prefer a thicker, tangier yogurt, let it stand 5-8 hours longer. Refrigerate. Remember to reserve 3 tablespoons for your next batch!