Friday, April 30, 2010

A Healthy Ranch Dressing

I just discovered this recipe for Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. You will have to go to my web site treeoflifemothering.com to get it. I actually adapted it, but I am so excited because now I finally have a homemade ranch dressing that doesn't involve tofu. Yes, it involves dairy, but if you are using raw milk, or even better, cultured raw milk in the form of buttermilk then the dairy is good for you, according to Sally Fallon. Cultured raw milk has good bacteria that helps you digest your food. You can find a local purveyor of raw milk at rawmilk.com.

During one of my visits with Caralee, my NT (Nourishing Traditions) mentor, I learned that generally commercially available tofu is bad. (For years I have known that soy food is controversial but I kept thinking that the tofu I was buying was OK. Caralee cited a book that helped me see that it wasn't. The author of this book, Kaayla Daniel, did an article in Mothering that you can read here. I am assuming it is a summary of her book. http://www.mothering.com/food/whole-soy-story)

For over a decade I have avoided commercially made ranch dressing because it is full of rancid, highly processed oils. They all probably have preservatives made from petroleum as well. I will have to check my Feingold guide on that to make sure. Anyway, I use olive oil in this Buttermilk Ranch recipe instead of mayonnaise because Rebecca Wood, author of the Whole Foods Encyclopedia, told me that commercially-available mayonnaise is all full of rancid oils which is toxic. So sorry to you Vegannaise lovers. I never really liked mayonnaise anyway. We use butter as a sandwich spread and whenever a recipe calls for mayonnaise like for potato salad I just use olive oil.

So go to my web site (link above) and click on Yummy Recipes to find it. We have had it the past two nights. It's so delicious!

Friday, April 23, 2010

A Tender Mercy of the Lord- Meeting Caralee, My Nourishing Traditions Mentor


I know I said I wouldn't be posting much on this blog as I started a new web site for LDS natural family living (www.treeoflifemothering.com) which has a blog, but I can't resist adding more things here. Leaving this blog will be a weaning process, as they say in La Leche League (llli.org), gradually and with love.

Don't you just love this picture? It captures the spirit of community among mothers. Getting together and learning from one another while our little children play. I took this at my girlfriend Caralee's house at one of our new moms as mentors meetings.

I am so thrilled beyond belief to have met my new NT (Nourishing Traditions) mentor, Caralee Ayre. It is the hand of God that brought us together. I know that God recognized I had a desire to learn more about how to implement the NT into my busy mom of seven, homeschooling life, and he has honored that desire by moving Caralee to my area. (She says they moved here for other reasons but I selfishly think it was all for me...just kidding!)

About 10 years ago, I learned from Diane Hopkins, owner of Latter-day Family Resources (see ldfr.com) about NT. This is a cookbook full of recipes based on the "nourishing traditions" of our ancestors. They ate some animal fat, from animals that were treated humanely and allowed to feed on green grass in the sunshine, and they soaked their grains to get rid of the phytic acid. Phytic acid is how God allows beans and grains to stay shelf-stable for so long and not spoil but it also interferes with the ability of the body to absorb minerals. These native peoples also used lacto-fermented vegetables. They were healthier than our current population, which has countless chronic diseases that our ancestors never heard of, like diabetes, heart disease, rampant tooth decay, and cancer. Diane wrote an article in her newsletter about her switch from being vegan to using animal products. She felt she had been duped by the promoters of veganism. This article affected me greatly, and helped me to switch from being vegan as well. Another time I will write about my vegan journey.

So I heard about the dangers of veganism from Diane and around the same time I had a second witness from Rebecca Wood. Her website is rwood.com. She is an author of two books on food, one of which won a Julia Child award, and a consultant about whole foods. She grew up in Ogden, Utah on whole foods: peaches from the orchard, fresh trout from the river, tomatoes from the garden, etc. She was a vegan for 20 years but she still got cancer. That got her wondering and she did some research as part of her healing journey. I got to take a cooking class from her and heard her tell her story. She said that in her research she found that generations of people the world over shared five features of their diets. She uses these five criteria to determine if a diet is a fad or based in historical nutritional traditions. 1. Whole food, including some animal products, 2. Regional, seasonal food, including animals that can be raised locally 3. Easy to digest, 4. Whole grain-based and 5. Fermented food, such as kefir, yogurt, umeboshi, or pickles.

I learned from Rebecca the idea of food that nourishes versus food that feeds. Nourishing food leaves one feeling satisfied and peaceful, with the appetite for sweet and salty, crunchy and soft all sated and balanced. Food that doesn't leaves one feeling full, but not pleasantly satisfied. Well-prepared homemade food can be very nourishing, and commercialized food tends to be more of the feeding but not nourishing type.

After hearing these two witnesses I dutifully bought the Nourishing Traditions cookbook. There it sat on my shelf. It is such a huge tome of a cookbook that it is overwhelming. I wanted to make bread from it but the instructions seemed too hard. I also bought the companion book that inspired Sally Fallon to write the NT cookbook, Nutrition and Physical Degeneration, by Dr. Weston Price. It is full of pictures comparing indigenous people the world over who continued with a native, whole foods diet versus the white man's industrialized diet of white bread, white flour, and white sugar. The first group of people enjoyed vibrant health without tooth decay, and they had straight teeth, wide dental arches, and beautiful faces. The latter group had tooth decay, crowded teeth, and less beautiful faces due to smaller dental arches and pinched nostrils.

My girlfriend Shauna once casually mentioned, at one of our Veggie Gals dinners, that she had a soaked grain bread recipe written by a woman named Caralee who was trained by the Weston Price foundation to be a chapter leader.That caught my attention and I got one of the recipes. I tucked it in my cookbook for the day when I figure out how to fit bread making into my life after soaking the flour the night before. I don't have a Bosch bread mixer nor a big counter space to work with dough so making bread seems overwhelming and messy to me when combined with a nursing baby and homeschooling.

Fast forward about seven years. We had a day at Shauna's home, listening to the incomparable Janeen Brady of britemusic.com (see post from December 2009) play piano and sing with her daughter. They sang new songs from Janeen's new CD, Time to Times (timetotimes.com), which teaches the multiplication tables, as well as old Brite music favorites. When it was over, the horde of people left except for a few of us closer friends who Shauna allowed to stay and eat a lunch we had brought. Caralee was one of these friends. At last, I finally got to meet her! She moved up to Davis County from South Jordan, so now she lives about 20 minutes away from me! We had a tender visit full of love along with Shauna and Janeen's daughter, Michelle Stone, author of the Celestial Education DVDs (I will do a post about that soon).

Caralee felt inspired to start her own brand of Veggie Gal type dinners up in our neck of the woods, north Davis County. Some moms meet together once a month and we have a potluck lunch and then have a discussion about an article, usually a talk from an LDS Church leader. Now I can visit Caralee in her own home and see the master at work. She is a beautiful, vibrant mom with happy beautiful tow-headed children. Three boys and three girls who look straight out of Sweden with their gleaming blond hair just like Flicka, Ricka, and Dicka and Snipp, Snapp, and Snurr. I can call Caralee anytime with a question. As my girlfriend Tara from happyinthekitchen-withtara.blogspot.com says, "Here," (putting her hands on Caralee's shoulders) "is a treasure-trove of information." I agree wholeheartedly. Caralee has been studying nutrition since she was fifteen. She is a kindred spirit. I have been studying it since I was sixteen, when I first bought a copy of Harvey and Marilyn Diamond's Fit for Life book. That book inspired me to become vegetarian.

Just by perusing Caralee's bookshelves I came away with a wellspring of knowledge. She has DVDs of Sally Fallon teaching her principles. The URL printed on the DVD packaging was newtrendspublishing.com. I went there and found some free interviews with Sally Fallon on mp3 files that I have loved listening to.

Caralee was vegan for many years. She ended up with really bad health problems, including tooth decay. When she switched to a diet that included high-quality animal products, her health improved dramatically. Using cod liver oil and dairy oil that contains the X factor discovered by Dr. Weston Price, she was able to heal many cavities in her teeth. I can't wait to tell you more of her story in her own words, which I will be doing over the next few months. She says that the cod liver oil even helped her have a pain-free labor! This is what I have been searching for! So stay tuned, either here, or at my other website www.treeoflifemothering.com. I will be posting in both places about her story. I will include her recipes, including the soaked-whole wheat flour bread dough recipe that can be used for flat bread, muffins, cinnamon rolls, rolls, and bagels. Yummy! This bread makes wheat much more digestible and compatible with the Body Ecology Diet since it doesn't use yeast.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Please Come Join My Party!

It was a year ago this Saturday that I held my natural family living for LDS moms conference. You can go to the website below to buy the recordings of the speakers, which included Leslie Householder, Diann Jeppson, Joyce Kinmont, and Aneladee Milne, among others. This conference was a lot of fun, and a lot of work. My husband said, "never again!" So to honor him, and to make life normal for me ( a new normal now with seven kids, including my nursing baby) I'm not doing one. I am happy to see that Amy Jones is doing one this year. Go to holisticldsliving.blogspot.com/ to see the speakers and to register.

Instead of me doing one, I am having a web site which is like an online conference. You are all invited to join and contribute articles, videos, or links to information that will support an LDS mom in being a healthier woman, wife, mother, and American citizen with a healthier family. My girlfriend Becky Edwards of my Veggie Gals dinner group generously let me upload many of her amazing articles she has written which you can access for free. You can also watch an amazing video that that shows that you can create a garden on your windows using water bottles and $30 worth of supplies. Just think, you can have fresh basil, cherry tomatoes, lettuce, and other food year-round without your toddlers spreading dirt around.

I am inviting each of you to join and contribute your own articles, photos of you breastfeeding, babywearing, or otherwise enjoying your children, or videos that relate to LDS natural family living. Breastfeeding is beautiful and normal! Babywearing is fun! Let's celebrate these natural mothering acts! I would also love to see pictures of dads and siblings with babies.

Let's make this an online TV/radio channel and magazine that caters to our interests. How many times have you read a magazine at a doctor's office or a friend's house and thought..."I don't do that, we don't eat that, that idea won't work for my family." This is an opportunity to create an online place that harmonizes with your LDS natural values.

Come join the party! Just go to treeoflifemothering.com and sign in. It's free! From now on, I will probably do most of my blogging there.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Extreme Homeschool Makeover

I've always been a homeschooler (not while growing up, just with my children), but I went through a major homeschool makeover four years ago when I changed from the "conveyor belt" education model to "leadership education" or TJED. (See tjedonline.com if you need a primer on that.)

I have read the 30 page ebook offered at headgates.org about giving your children a classical education. This is one mom's interpretation of TJED and it is VERY THOUGHT-PROVOKING. I would appreciate all of you homeschooling moms reading it and giving me feedback. Keri, the author, basically says that if you set up your home in a certain way, you don't need to do any school, your children will just choose to study, and you won't need to buy any curriculum because they will just read classics a lot. This is TJED to the max. Keri compares children's natural progression to water. Just as a farmer can water a whole field with one skinny irrigation ditch by controlling the headgates, so can a child naturally flow to scholar phase if certain headgates (distractions, cheap thrills, and worldly conveyor-belt entertainment) are closed. I/m OK with that. That's how I have pretty much raised my children so far.

But here's the kicker. She says there will be no school materials in your home, the more you make your home like a home and less like a school. I am OK with no spelling textbooks or history textbooks (we haven't used those in a long time), but no math drill books or manipulatives or handwriting books until scholar phase? Even the DeMilles talk about having McGuffey readers and I know it's not their scholars reading those.

I went to a discussion about all of this Headgates stuff on Tuesday led by my friend Lara Gallagher. She has been mentored by Keri. See Lara's explanation of Keri's philosophy in her recent posts at lazyorganizer.com. I came away feeling invited to come out of my comfort zone. If I did everything Lara and Keri are saying to do this would be an extreme homeschool makeover. This is really getting off the conveyor belt ladies! They say to only have 15 toys total in your home, and no toys that have any "script" or pieces to them. So puzzles and "educational toys" are "bad." Keri also says it's OK to have movies (classics I presume) and the Wii, but no educational shows or audiobooks. You will have to read the ebook to understand her reasoning. She has rules for what toys and activities pass the test as to a proper headgate and what ones don't. They also say don't let your kids go play at friends' houses, unless the whole family goes to play and that Dad should be the only one who earns money, not mom or the kids, so as not to infringe on his role as provider. Lara has outlawed Cub Scouts in her home because it doesn't lead to true learning and accomplishing she says. That almost sounds good to me, I have to confess, since I lost my thrill for going to pack meetings after son #1 became a Webelo. With five sons, my Cub Scout days are a long row to hoe. Lara says the goal is to teach your children to find joy in real activities and real play from their imaginations, not pleasure in man-made activities and scripted toys.

This all sounds very lofty, joyful, and noble in theory. Liberating in a way too, to winnow my toys down. But also very painful and unnecessarily spartan. I like our Legos and Lincoln Logs, which Keri and Lara say are not proper toys. It also sounds very isolationist. Practically, homeschoolers are often perceived as weird and I wonder if they went the headgates direction they would be perceived as even more weird, when these little children proclaim at church that they can't play with such-and-such toys or got to a church activity because it is entertainment instead of learning. I don't want these children to "jump ship" when they are grown and leave the headgate philosophy so they won't be perceived as weird anymore. Just like kids who are forbidden sugar go gorge on it at the neighbors'. Already I perceive a little bit of an "us versus them" between some homeschooled children and the nonhomeschooled kids at church. If any of you homeschoolers out there have older children who are grown and borne great fruit raised by this headgate philosophy, please let me know.

So far I am pleased with how my children are turning out, especially my two scholars, ages 14 and 16, but I have to confess they have had lots of scripted toys (puzzles, Lincoln Logs and Legos, among others) and school materials before they became official scholars.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

How Does Virtue Apply to Me Personally?

Twilight (Twilight, #1)

OK, I know I risk offending some people...but here goes. It all started a few years ago. I read about Stephanie Meyer's book, Twilight, in the BYU Alumni Magazine, which we get since both my husband and I are alums. Read it here: magazine.byu.edu/?act=view&a=1972 Hmmm, sounds interesting, I thought. That's cool that she was "just a housewife" and has written a book and hit it big. I didn't give it much more thought. Then awhile later I noticed girlfriends in my ward talking about her book. Hmmm, do I want to read it now? No, I thought, it seems like brain candy and there are too many classics, aka, nourishing food for the mind, that I want to digest. I will pass the cotton candy in order to have organically grown steak from grass-fed cows.

Then, I visited with my girlfriend who is the editor of my book which I, promise, will come out this year. We had a blessingway for her third baby the night that one of Meyers' new volumes in the Twilight series came out. Despite being 39 weeks pregnant, this friend I will call Sara was off to Barnes and Noble, at midnight, after our bash was over, to get the latest copy. She confessed that the writing isn't that great, but the books are so addictive, she said. (So that is why she took so long to edit my book...I was competing with Twilight, not just her pregnancy. What does that say about my writing? Ouch!) Sara even called it "LDS pornography." Wow, strong words. I think I will stay away. This wasn't just cotton candy, it's being compared to poison. Hmmm.... My husband created quite a stir at a Cub Scout family camp in Idaho a few weeks later when he reported my conversation around the campfire amidst some Twilight fans.

Two months later, at a parents' training meeting for the commonwealth school I belong to, I started talking to Aneladee, the co-founder of the Commonwealth School philosophy. She said she was going to California soon to a TJED youth conference and would speak about "siren vs. beacon, vampire vs. knight." I quickly figured out what that meant. Sirens are females who draw others, especially, males, to evil. Beacons are females who draw others, especially males, to goodness. Vampires suck virtue from females, and knights defend virtue. Wow, what a great concept! I immediately wanted to hear more.

That dream is coming true! I found out however, that Aneladee got the concept from a mutual friend, Stephanie, and Stephanie has been working on a book about it. She has read the whole Twilight series and has studied the proper forms of the family. She feels it is her mission to teach these family roles, which are based on the proper roles of males and females as knights and beacons. She has a friend engrossed with Edward, the vampire in Twilight. She said she went to a birthday party for Edward with her friend and was disturbed to hear these women complaining about why their husbands aren't like Edward. This is so sad! A figment of a young mom's imagiination versus real flesh and blood men who are willing to die for their wives. This disturbs me too! I want to learn more! Stephanie and Aneladee will present this concept this coming Sunday at a special fireside that I have organized for youth ages 12 and up and their parents. it will be 7 PM, April 11, 2010, at the home of our friends, the Fabers, in Bountiful, Utah. Please email me (celestia_shumway@yahoo.com) for the address if you want to come.

This is the first in my series of firesides for parents and youth to focus on virtue. Our LDS Church Leaders are asking us to 1. return to virtue, and 2. learn as parents and children, from each other, in the home. That will happen in my family as we converse about what we learn from these talks from Sister Elaine Dalton about virtue and the recent General Conference and this fireside.

My goal is to get parents and youth to think, "How does virtue apply to me personally? If I am virtuous does that mean I should avoid reading certain books, even though they are tremendously popular? Does being virtuous affect what I wear, what I watch, listen to, and how I spend my time each day, especially with the glut of entertainment choices I have?" Let's get virtue out of the ethereal and get personal about it. This might be painful, I know, but it will be good for us.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A Glorious Easter

Our Easter turned out to be family bonding and spiritual despite the stress. The stress in planning and the stress I had when I couldn't find the fish I had bought for the Easter dinner! I am the first to admit that I am not a perfect mother, homemaker, and holiday-memory-maker. Any holiday in general causes stress for moms if it involves any planning beyond the ordinary. Then to put General Conference on top of it means more stress, despite the huge blessings of General Conference. I had a wonderful, glorious, spiritual moment during the morning session. We were starting to sing "He is Risen" as a congregation and my eyes looked up from the notes I was taking and rested on a picture of the Savior I have here in my basement family room. I instantly felt the Spirit testify to me that Jesus is a real person, and that He does live again, that He is risen, even after dying to pay for our sins. Not only that but He cares about me and is watching over me.

Every time Conference rolls around I attempt to make Conference packets of puzzles for my under 12 years old children but it just didn't happen this time. So when my husband was scolding them for not being quiet during conference and not listening I scolded myself for not making packets to help keep them quiet. I was busy planning for Easter.

I got this idea from one of the email lists I subscribe to get plastic eggs and put a puzzle piece in each one and have an Easter egg hunt and then have the kids put the puzzle together during conference. So I found two 50 piece puzzles from the dollar store for my younger ones and a 500 piece puzzle for the big kids. No way was I hiding 600 eggs! I combined pieces. This also alleviated my stress of what to put in the eggs. I wanted to get "healthy" candy or make it using Caralee's recipe, but I didn't want to take the time to go to the health food store, because it is a bit of a drive, or take the time to make it. I just got a box of chocolate raisins and then used puzzle pieces and called it good. Maybe next year I will be so ahead of the game that I will get the petroleum-free jelly beans I heard about in the Feingold newsletter or actually make Caralee's healthy chocolate eggs.
I at least planned enough ahead that we dyed Easter eggs on Thursday and did our Saturday cleaning jobs on Friday. At least the kids did theirs, I was so busy driving people to their Friday homeschool activities that I didn't do my Saturday jobs.

So the glorious Easter weekend started with the missionary reunion for my husband Friday night. We go to these because they are a free date for us. Now that we have kids old enough to babysit the younger ones we go out on dates every weekend. My husband went to Finland on his LDS mission. It is always interesting to hear the speakers at the programs for these. I have to admit the whole reunion isn't this huge social hit for me since the only people I know are my husband and his mission president and his wife. Have you ever been to a reunion or a party where you hardly know anybody? OK, so my nursing baby and I had some fun when I went to nurse and I listened to my notes I have recorded on my cell phone from my current study of government and politics. Oops, I am starting to sound like an anti-social nerd here. Sorry. One of these times I am going to post all the fascinating things I am learning.

Anyway, I really enjoyed hearing from the Luthys, the couple who have been serving as temple president and matron of the Helsinki temple. Brother Luthy is married to Sister Luthy, who is a native of Finland. He compared her to Esther of the Bible, who was "raised for such a time as this," as she could direct the temple patrons to every place they needed to go, even the hospital if they were sick, since she is a native. She was a beacon to the Russian patrons, who asked her if she was a Russian. She inwardly cringed because she grew up not liking the Russians, but then she realized they meant it as a compliment and she would smile.
So this story got me thinking about the power of women and how we are often called to be bridges or interveners in the lives of our children, our husbands,or people in the sphere of our calling, like Esther or Sister Luthy was as a temple matron. Lots of food for thought there. We are often more immersed in the culture of our home and our neighborhoods than the men so we can do this. I have been learning in my constitution class about how the government's role is to protect the culture of the family. So here's another blog topic for another time...``

We felt nourished by Conference and my husband three of the older kids got to go in person to the Sunday PM session. I stayed home with my nursing baby and three others. (I loved hearing all the messages of the importance of teaching children in the home. You just know Joyce Kinmont of ldshea.org is going to have a heyday with this one!) I fixed a nice Jerusalem Easter dinner of lentils. It wasn't a perfect dinner by any means, we used tortillas for flat bread as I had used all my flat bread dough for cinnamon rolls that morning. I was going to serve fish as well but I couldn't find the fish that I had bought on Friday amidst all of my chauffeuring. Sometimes I feel like life homeschooling and homemaking with seven kids is so stressful that it will be a wonder if I make it through to my empty nester days with my brain intact. Must be time to increase my intake of omega-3s.

I listened to Truman Madsen on tape talk about the Savior's last week as I prepared the Easter dinner. I enjoyed hearing him tell the story of Neil Armstrong. He said that Neil became a Christian after he went to the moon. He went to the Holy Land afterwards. Truman was speaking about the place where they think the Upper Room was, where Jesus held the Last Supper. He said that Neil asked if those steps were where Jesus actually walked and he was told everyone believes they are as far as they can tell. Neil went over to the steps and reverently walked there and said he had more emotion about walking over those steps than he did about walking on the moon. Wow!

I shared that story over our Easter dinner and we also talked about Passover and unleavened bread. We read from Cousin Janet's book A Christ-centered Easter (see the post two times ago). Then my husband and I did our Family Executive Council and the kids cleaned up and went to bed (after a few not so subtle reminders from me to clean up and go to bed). It was a very meaningful Easter and Conference weekend. And I am so glad we got a break from the snow and hail! It hailed on April 1 as a nice Mother Nature April's Fool gift and this morning we woke up to a winter wonderland of snow six inches deep. That's spring in Utah for 'ya. I had a grand time creating my own little spring/renewal/Easter/spiritual feast of General Conference culture in my home here.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Homemade Easter Chocolates

I haven't tried this recipe yet but these treats sound SOOO yummy. I got the recipe from my new girlfriend Caralee. I feel the Lord has blessed my hugely for bringing her into my life recently. Yes, I got to meet her in person after hearing about her from our mutual friend Shauna. Another dream come true! I am so blessed! I have been wanting to meet her for three or more years as she is even more into nutrition than I am...yes, this is a blog post for next week maybe.

Anyway, here is her recipe for homemade Easter chocolates in her words. If I make these I will definitely do the cocoa, not carob. I have had a hard time really getting into carob even though I grew up on the stuff. If I am going to make "chocolate" I want the real thing!

"One thing that we really enjoy doing is making our own homemade chocolate
(or carob) candies. We've picked up fun Easter chocolate molds (they're
really inexpensive) and make our own chocolate with individual mix-ins and
let them chill in the freezer for a little while, then pop them out and wrap
them in foil- and they really look authentic! You can make them as
sugar-free as you want, but our basic recipe is this:

*Basic Chocolate Recipe*

1 cup coconut oil
1 cup raw honey or ground sucanat in a mini coffee grinder (honey is
chewier, sucanat is more crunchy)
1 cup cocoa or carob powder (or a combo of the two)
1 teaspoon little vanilla (optional)

Melt on low heat, stirring constantly until well mixed. We divide our
chocolate at this time into smaller bowls and mix in whatever suits your
fancy or leave them plain- peanut butter, shredded coconut, coconut milk
powder, raisins, crispy nuts* (chopped or whole), a drop of peppermint or
orange oil, chopped dried fruit, homemade granola, etc. Pour into molds**
and set in freezer. Wrap in foil when set, if desired. Enjoy!

*Crispy nuts are nuts that have been soaked in purified water and Real Salt
overnight, then dehydrated until crisp. This recipe is found in Nourishing
Traditions
and Eat Fat, Lose Weight for exact instructions, or I can email them
if you wish.
*If you don't have molds and do not want to purchase any, you can pour the
chocolate into a pyrex pie or casserole dish cut into squares when chocolate
is set, approximately 15 minutes.

Another really yummy treat that we reserve for very special occasions is my
homemade version of Almond Roca:

*Almond Roca*
*
*
1/3 cup chopped crispy almonds (or pecans)
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 stick butter
3/4 cup sucanat
*
*
1. 1/3 cup chopped almonds, put in an 8x8 baking dish and set aside.

2. Chop 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (from Good Earth or Whole Foods)
and set aside.

3. Melt 1 cup butter on low on stovetop. Add 3/4 cup sucanat and bring
temp up to medium and cook, stirring constantly until bubbly and mixed well
(a candy thermometer should show that the temperature has reached soft ball
stage, 240ºF). Pour hot toffee mixture over nuts and spread smoothly to
edges with a spatula. Sprinkle the chopped chocolate on top while the
toffee/nut mixture is still hot. Let the chocolate soften and melt, and
smooth it evenly with a spatula or knife. Sprinkle the top with a little
extra chopped almonds while the chocolate is still wet.

4. Place the pan in the freezer for 20 minutes to set the candy.

5. Remove from freezer and break apart, or cut into small squares with a
large sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a
week.

Of course, this can be adjusted to be less sweet- and the chocolate can be
homemade, just break off chunks from the basic recipe above and use in place
of the chocolate chips."