February 14, 2017

Baby Cakes

Happy Valentine's Day! My daughter is indeed a Valentine baby: she will turn one year old on Thursday. Her presence in my life has eclipsed all other priorities and it is a joy to witness her grow, learn and thrive each day.

May this day remind you of the love that is always in our hearts when we relax, breathe deeply, and open to our unlimited potential. What brings you joy? What nourishes you? Ask yourself these two questions each morning and set out to live a day filled with joy and nourishment. This practice of self-love spreads love to others and helps cultivate happiness, even during troubled times.

As my daughter learns to feed herself, I have been exploring new sources of nourishment that can be fulfilling for us both. The wonderful food solution we have both been enjoying lately is baby cakes: small pancakes made of eggs and vegetables. I add a few spices and some oil to bring flavor and soothe the nervous system. Try these combinations and let me know what you think!

All of these freeze well and reheat easily in a toaster or toaster oven.


Sweet Potato Baby Cakes


High in beta carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes soothe the nerves, balance the endocrine system, and promote healthy elimination.

You will need:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg
2 cups sweet potato, boiled and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil sweet potatoes with just enough water to cover. It will take about 10 minutes for them to be tender.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
Flip and bake 5 minutes more.
Cool and enjoy.

I enjoy them with a vegetable and egg scramble or ground turkey with sauteed greens.


Carrot Chicken Baby Cakes


High in protein, pastured chicken contains all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle development and provides steady energy.

You will need:
2 eggs
1 cup cooked chicken
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and coriander
2 cups carrots, boiled and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop and boil carrots with just enough water to cover. It will take about 20 minutes for them to be tender.

Boil or braise chicken for 20 minutes if bone-on and 10 minutes if boneless. Pull chicken off the bone if necessary and remove skin.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
Flip and bake 5 minutes more.
Cool and enjoy.

I enjoy these with parsley pistou or pesto.


Spinach Squash Baby Cakes


High in fiber and iron, spinach is important for brain development and promotes healthy elimination.

You will need:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander
2 cups winter squash, baked and de-seeded
1 cup spinach, boiled and drained
1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place an acorn or carnival squash in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it's soft when pierced with a knife, Cut it open, remove seeds, and scoop out flesh. I like to make these at the same time as the spinach cakes so that I use up all my squash.

Boil spinach with a little water in the bottom of a small stock pot. It will only take a few minutes. Drain well.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
Flip and bake 5 minutes more.
Cool and enjoy.


Blueberry Baby Cakes


High in resveratrol for balanced blood pressure and antioxidants for stress reduction, blueberries are a superfood for all of us!

You will need:
2 eggs
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
1 cup winter squash, baked and de-seeded
1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place an acorn or carnival squash in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it's soft when pierced with a knife, Cut it open, remove seeds, and scoop out flesh. I like to make these at the same time as the spinach cakes so that I use up all my squash.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.
Flip and bake 5 minutes more.
Cool and enjoy.

January 12, 2017

Metabolism-Boosting Meal Plan

Here on the homestead, winter tends to find us slowing down, eating rich, nourishing foods, and enjoying a more relaxed pace. As necessary as this shift is, it can lead to a more sluggish metabolism. We like to take one day a week to enjoy this cleansing, metabolism-boosting meal plan as a way of pressing the reset button on our eating and boosting our energy.

It's a great thing to try in honor of the full moon today, which is known by indigenous peoples of this land as the Wolf Moon. Howl at the moon, stimulate metabolic activity and restore your energy with these recipes.

All these spices boost the metabolism, support healthy digestion, and/or ward off the cold and flu. Many of the ingredients in these recipes also support healthy metabolic activity. You can learn more by exploring the culinary pharmacy here.

Breakfast


Coconut Chia Blueberry Pudding

You will need:
1 cup full fat organic coconut milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
pinch of salt
1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen
3 tablespoons chia seeds
1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Combine coconut milk, water, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 2 -3 minutes.

Add chia seeds, almonds and blueberries and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating.

Lunch


Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa and Greens

For the roasted cauliflower:
1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets
2 tablespoons melted coconut oil
1 teaspoon each: turmeric and coriander
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cinnamon and nutmeg

For the quinoa with greens:
2 teaspoons melted coconut oil or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 inch fresh ginger root
1 teaspoon each: turmeric, chile flakes, cinnamon, and cumin
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
4 cups kale

Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425. Toss the cauliflower florets with coconut oil and spices. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack, turning halfway, until the cauliflower is tender and golden on the edges.

Cook the quinoa: In a large pot with a lid, warm the coconut oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and ginger and cook about 5 minutes. Add spices and stir. Add water and quinoa.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.

Chop kale and add it to the pot. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from heat.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the salt and vinegar. Divide the quinoa into bowls.

Top with roasted cauliflower.


Dinner


Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

You will need:
1 cup brown & wild rice blend
2 cups vegetable broth
1 tablespoon coconut oil1 large yellow onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon each: sage, thyme, oregano and salt
½ cup chopped pecans

Combine the rice and vegetable broth in a large saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 35-40 minutes, cooking until the broth is completely absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sage, thyme, and salt, and sauté another 8 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

Combine the cooked rice and mushroom mixture, and stir in the pecans. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and serve warm.

December 12, 2016

Chickpea Tagine with Buckwheat Pancakes

During the colder months, it's important to warm our bones with healing foods such as soups and stews. This one freezes well, so you can make a double batch to thaw and enjoy at a time when life is busy.

Take a moment to slow down and breathe in the fragrance of these spices as they cook. Native to North Africa, this spice blend and concomitant stew are a wonderful way to boost your immunity and strengthen your digestion while learning about the culinary traditions of another group of people.

Tagine refers to the earthernware pot in which this dish is traditionally cooked. Records of this dish date back to the 9th century CE.

Chickpea Tagine


You will need:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, salt
1 cup chopped onions
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 15 ounce can no-salt-added garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until hot.
Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the pan.
Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Stir in 1/3 cup broth and continue to cook 4 to 5 minutes longer or until very tender.

Stir in spices and tomatoes. Cook 1 minute, stirring.

Add remaining vegetable broth, sweet potato, garbanzo beans, and lemon juice.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.

Serve with buckwheat pancakes and parsley pistou if you like.

Savory Buckwheat Pancakes


Mix together:
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup buckwheat flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup water

Cook in an oiled skillet as you would pancakes. Serve with chickpea tagine.

Parsley Pistou


In a blender, combine:
2 cups flat leaf parsley, rinsed and de-stemmed
¼ cup olive oil
½ teaspoon salt
juice of 1 lemon
¼ cup water

Blend well and enjoy with tagine or as a spread on bread.


November 10, 2016

Green Drink to Boost Mood and Energy

As we head into the holidays, it's good to slow down and take care. Food is a wonderful way to soothe the spirit and keep the body healthy. 

When the sun sets earlier in the afternoon and we need energy to make it through the rest of the day, anti-inflammatory spices and energizing berries and vegetables can lend that energy.
Try this drink to support you during and afternoon slump and boost your immunity, too!

Green Drink


In a food processor, blend these ingredients well:
1 1/2 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup fresh parsley
1⁄2 cup frozen blueberries
juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 inch of of fresh ginger root, sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
1 cup almond or coconut milk

Drink this beverage when you are feeling tired or cravings sweets / carbohydrates in the mid-afternoon. This kind of drink tends to slow down digestion in the morning, but provides a great afternoon energy boost. 

I like to heat it gently after I blend it to have a warm, soothing drink. You can make a double batch and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Blueberries: strengthen immunity and enhance overall health with power-packed antioxidants; support brain function and offer acid-alkaline balance in intestines. 

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms.

Parsley: Rich in Vitamin C to decrease inflammation, beta carotene to help prevent infection and strengthen immunity, and folic acid (B vitamin) to support cardiovascular health. Contains volatile oils that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens as well as ease the burn of insect bites and stings.

Spinach: high in fiber to support healthy digestion and intestinal flora, iron for energy and healthy immune response, and folic acid for heart health.

November 3, 2016

Gluten-Free Homemade Breads

Are you trying to eat food without gluten?

This practice can help heal gut imbalances such as dysbiosis, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), leaky gut syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating and a whole host of other conditions. Eliminating gluten also reduces inflammation, thereby improving mood, providing energy, and rerong, reducing the symptoms of auto-immune disorders. 

Avoiding gluten is also a great way to simplify your diet and head into the winter with strong immunity. However, one caveat: packaged gluten-free breads and baked goods are just as toxic to the system as those containing gluten. Please stay away from them. 

When you are craving bread or a baked good, try your hand at these simple recipes.

Sweet Potato Bread


You will need:
1 cup roasted sweet potato flesh
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat your oven to 400.

Chop sweet potato into chunks, place on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and salt.
Roast sweet potato in large chunks for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

If you would like, roast a larger quantity of sweet potato and set some aside to have as a snack with nuts or nut butter.

Place the sweet potato, coconut flour, yoghurt, and eggs into your processor and blend until the mixture resembles a smooth, runny batter. Add the soda and mix to combine.

Grease a loaf pan.
Reduce oven heat to 350.
Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes prior to cutting.

Cornbread


You will need:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup brown rice flour or millet flour
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, and salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350.
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.
Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.

Scrape in the cornbread dough; it will be thick like cookie dough, not a pourable batter. Press down on the top to form an even layer. It is easiest to do this with a rubber spatula.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Millet Squares


Place 1 cup millet into a cooking pot with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then, reduce to simmer.

Simmer until millet begins to thicken (about 20 minutes).

Stir occasionally, as though cooking oatmeal.

Add your favorite spices to make it savory. I like this combination: 3 Tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon each sea salt thyme, oregano, and rosemary.

These spices are also anti-microbial and help ward off the cold and flu.

If you would like to have millet for breakfast, add blueberries, coconut oil, and ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and cardamom.

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet thickens.
Grease a glass baking dish with olive oil. Pour millet into the baking dish and flatten it evenly. Allow to cool and set.

Enjoy! Slice it, toast it, fry it, or warm it up and use it as bread. It makes a great pizza crust when spread out into a thin layer on a cookie sheet.

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