October 22, 2016


This incredibly comforting and delicious dish is akin to a Middle Eastern version of Sheperd's Pie.

The spices are warming (cinnamon), digestive (coriander and black pepper), and anti-bacterial (allspice and oregano).


Know that you can make it vegan by using kidney beans instead of turkey or beef and olive oil instead of butter.


For the sauce:
1 pound ground turkey or beef (hormone and antibiotic free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, coriander, allspice, black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup red wine
Salt to taste

For the layers:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggplants or 3 zucchini
3 Yukon gold or other yellow potatoes
Olive oil

Prepare the sauce by chopping the onions and sautéeing then in olive oil for 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add the garlic, spices and beef or turkey. At the wine and stir well with a metal spatula until meat is thoroughly cooked.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thick.
Remove bay leaf.

Meanwhile, slice the eggplant or zucchini, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast at 415 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Boil the potatoes, drain three quarters of the boiling water, mix with nutmeg and butter and mash thoroughly with a fork or potato masher. Set aside.

Reduce oven heat to 375.
Oil a 9x9 baking dish or small rectangular casserole dish. 

Assemble the moussaka:
place a layer of beef/turkey sauce on the bottom;
Arrange half of the eggplant/zucchini over it;
Cover it with another layer of beef;
Add the rest of the zucchini/eggplant;
Smooth the potatoes over the top.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden.
Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

October 20, 2016

Cabbage Recipes

Why cabbage? It is a healthy and inexpensive vegetable that’s in season in the fall and winter. It contains polyphenols, cancer-preventive plant nutrients. It’s packed with Vitamins A & C to boost immunity. It helps reduce inflammation and heal stomach ulcers.

Purple Cabbage Soup

You will need:
1 head purple cabbage
1 rutabega
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions into thin crescent moons.

Heat oil in the bottom of a soup pot.

Add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add mustard and spices and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, chop rutabega and turnips into small chunks.

Chop 1 medium red cabbage into threads, removing the hard inner core.
Add vegetables to the pot and add enough water to cover vegetables. Bring both to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook with the lid on until vegetables are soft.

Purée with a blender or immersion blender.
Enjoy with a dollop of unsweetened yogurt or sour cream!

Comforting Cabbage and Noodles

This is adapted from a traditional Slovakian recipe, Haluski.
You will need:
1 package wide egg noodles or gluten-free noodles
3 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion
½ head green cabbage, chopped (about 5 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions (boil until tender) and then drain in a colander.

While the noodles are cooking, thinly slice the onion. Remove any dirty or damaged outer leaves of the cabbage.

Cut the cabbage into wedges, remove the core, then slice thinly.

After draining the noodles, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the sliced onions to the pot used to cook the noodles. Sauté the onions over medium heat just until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Add the cabbage and continue to cook until the cabbage is tender (5-7 minutes).

Return the drained noodles to the pot with the cabbage and onion. Add the remaining butter and stir until the butter is melted and everything is evenly coated. Season the cabbage and noodles liberally with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve warm.

You can scramble an egg and serve that over it to add protein to your meal!

Savory Cabbage Fritters

This is adapted from a traditional Japanese recipe, Okonomiyaki.
You will need:
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
4-5 cups shredded green cabbage
1 carrot
3 green onions

¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot sauce or sriracha

Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Thinly slice the cabbage until you have 4-5 cups.
Peel the carrot and shred it using a large-holed cheese grater.

Slice the green onions.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil until smooth.

Begin whisking in the flour, ¼ cup at a time, until it forms a thick, smooth batter.

Add the cabbage, carrots, and green onion to the batter and stir until the vegetables are mixed and everything is evenly coated in batter.

Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ¾ cup of the vegetable and batter mixture.

Press it down into the hot skillet to form a circle, about 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.

Place a cover on the skillet to hold in the steam, which will help the cabbage soften as it cooks.

Cook the pancake until golden brown on the bottom (about 5 minutes), then flip and cook until golden brown on the second side.

Pile the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm until ready to eat. Add more oil to the skillet as needed as you cook the pancakes.

To prepare the spicy mayo, mix together the mayo and hot sauce.
Drizzle over each pancake just before serving.

October 7, 2016

Revamp Your Lunch Routine

Fall is here, and it's the perfect time to look inward, slow down, and change the way that we eat. Summer's expansive energy is culminating in the harvest of beans, grains, root vegetables and winter squash. These are also essential foods to eat right now because of their immune-boosting benefits.

Try these lunch ideas to strengthen your immune response and simplify your diet.

To prepare:
Set aside 3 hours of time on a day off. Make a list and go food shopping.
Prepare a double batch of these two recipes and you will have lunches ready for the week ahead.

Green Leek Millet Casserole

You will need:
1 cup millet
1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek
½ teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh greens: dandelion, kale, chard, collards, beet greens
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)

Place millet in a stock pot with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add salt and black pepper.
The millet will reach a thick, porridge-like consistency as you stir. Once it does, remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables.
Chop 1 large leek into rounds.
Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leeks.
Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a pie plate with olive oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, and mustard.
Spread the millet on the bottom of an oiled baking dish.
Place vegetables over millet.
Pour eggs over the top and bake for 40 minutes.

Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

Buckwheat Cauliflower Shitake Casserole

You will need:
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg
1 large head cauliflower
1/4 pound shitake mushrooms
3 carrots
½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon
3 cloves garlic

Place kasha and 2 ½ cups water in a stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes until kasha begins to thicken.
Add spices.
Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Chop cauliflower and carrots.
Oil a rectangular baking dish.
Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish.
Season with spices,
Toss well to coat.
Roast for 15 minutes.
Chop shitakes and add them to the roasting vegetables.
Roast for 15 more minutes.

Mince garlic.
Remove from oven and mix in garlic.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of cooked kasha.
Cover kasha with the vegetables.
Cover vegetables with the rest of the cooked kasha.
Bake for 15 more minutes. Cool, slice and enjoy!

Buckwheat: this little seed is not technically a grain, but is often treated like one. It is gluten-free and contains more protein than fiber or fat. It is filling, nourishing, and offers a warming quality during the colder months. Buckwheat helps maintain balanced cholesterol, stable blood sugar, and low blood pressure. Its beneficial effects are due to its high flavonoid and magnesium content. Kasha is the name for toasted buckwheat groats, which cook up much more quickly than raw buckwheat.

Garlic: high in Vitamin C and pungent sulfurous compounds, which reduce inflammation in the body; nature’s strongest anti-biotic; contains polysulfides, which trigger blood vessel dilation to reduce blood pressure; anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, controls overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the small intestine thus helping to reduce heartburn and eventual ulcers.

Mushrooms: anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and anti-oxidant. These members of the fungal family have rich, earthy flavor (umami), are high in protein, and are the fruiting bodies of a network of mushroom mycelium that runs underground throughout the entire planet. They contain a special fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which may be able to bind onto aromatase enzymes in breast cancer cells and lessen their ability to produce estrogen.

Would you like to dive deeper into changing your lunch routine?

I have created a week-long menu plan of plant-based lunches, which includes recipes, a shopping list and cooking tips. You can prepare each of these lunches easily as you make breakfast in the morning. If you would like to download them for $10, here is the link.

September 28, 2016

Build Immunity Now. Stay Healthy All Winter.

Fall equinox passed us last week, providing a balance point, a moment of equal day and equal night before we delve into the inner journey of fall and winter. 

Here are some ways to honor this transition:
Take a deep breath before you eat a meal. 
Stop to appreciate fall foliage. 
Wake up affirming that something wonderful is going to happen today.
Set aside time to prepare a healing, delicious meal. May these recipes inspire you.

Mushroom and Carrot Pilaf

You will need:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
10 ounces cremini and shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 medium carrots, grated
4 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat in oil, and cover skillet.

Cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add mushrooms and lemon juice.
Cover and cook until mushrooms release most of their liquid, about 10 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, grate carrots.
Remove skillet from heat, mix in carrots and flaxseed, and serve warm.

Carrots are an excellent fall and winter food because they tonify the intestines and support immune health. Mushrooms are immune-boosting and high in vegetarian protein.

Quinoa and White Bean Sauté

You will need:
2 cups white beans (soldier or cannellini), cooked
2 inches seaweed (kombu or wakame), for cooking the beans
3 cups quinoa, rinsed and cooked
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 shallots, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
2 large bunches kale, or other hearty green, chopped
apple cider vinegar and olive oil for dressing

Soak beans overnight. Rinse, drain, and cook with 2 inches seaweed.
Cook beans and quinoa.
Meanwhile, mince shallot and chop kale, parsley and basil.
Sauté shallot and ginger in olive oil for 4 minutes, or until browned.
Add kale. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add ½ cup water and sauté for 5 more minutes.
Stir to incorporate, turn off heat, and mix with cooked beans and quinoa.
Toss with olive oil and vinegar.

Serve at room temperature.

Shallots and ginger are warming, digestive, and stimulate the immune system.

Miso Walnut Porridge

You will need:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup walnut halves and pieces
½ teaspoon each: coriander and cardamom
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup water
½ teaspoon miso

Heat coconut oil in a small stock pot.
Add walnuts, coriander, and cardamom. 
Toast on low heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
Add oats and water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat, add miso, stir to incorporate, and enjoy!

This is a terrific breakfast or a wonderful addition to a dinner of poached chicken and steamed kale.

Have you ever had savory oats? I think they're delicious. They also soothe the nervous system and support healthy transit time and elimination. They're a perfect warming grain for fall and winter.

August 28, 2016

Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure and Promote Heart Health with Food and Herbs

Eat 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal daily. Sprinkle it on sautéed vegetables, salads, and whole grains. Consuming flaxseed in a variety of foods was linked to a reduction blood pressure when eaten daily over six months. Flaxseed’s alpha linolenic acid, lignans, peptides and fiber reduce blood pressure.

Use good quality olive oil as your primary cooking and garnishing oil. Spanish researchers compared a diet of polyphenol-rich olive oil to a diet that didn't contain any polyphenols and their effects on
blood pressure over a period of four months. The results: The polyphenol-rich olive oil was linked with drops in systolic and diastolic blood pressure—especially among women with higher blood pressure to start.

Reduce consumption of saturated fat. Try to cut out most dairy. Unsweetened yoghurt is ok 3 times weekly. Limit intake of coconut products to 3 times weekly. Whenever possible, avoid pork products, lunch meat, and beef/venison/beefalo. The peptides that are produced when digesting saturated fat are known to increase blood pressure.

Reduce consumption of nuts and nut butters. Again, these protein sources are high in saturated fat and can aggravate rising blood pressure. Pistachios seem to be ok on occasion.

Limit sodium intake. Please read labels on packaged food. If a food product contains more than 50 mg of sodium per serving, try to avoid it. Stop sprinkling salt on your food before you eat it and enjoy its natural taste.

Eat more beets! A 2013 study in Nutrition Journal observed a reduction in systolic blood pressure six hours after participants drank beet juice, especially among the men. Beets naturally contain nitrates, which ease blood pressure.

Enjoy foods high in potassium. Consuming more than a cup of pomegranate juice every day for four weeks was linked to a drop blood pressure (study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition). Other potassium-rich foods include bananas and potatoes.

Focus on omega-3 fatty acids. If you aren’t doing so already, take a fish oil supplement. I recommend Nordic Naturals. Include salmon in your diet weekly and enjoy eggs daily or every other day.

Enjoy magnesium-rich foods. These are known to lower blood pressure and are delicious, too!
Choose chard, kale, avocados, pumpkin seeds, black beans, and quinoa.

Drink herbal tea! A blend of linden flowers, hawthorn berries, motherwort flowers and hibiscus flowers promotes heart health due to the high anthocyanin and polyphenol content of these plants. Add a bit of raw honey to sweeten the tea.

Practice deep breathing. Calming the nervous system has a proven effect on reducing blood pressure. Try this: breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2, breathe out for 4, hold for 2. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

Get cardio-vascular exercise 2 or 3 times weekly. Walk uphill or ride a bicycle at a rate vigorous enough to feel your heart pounding. Do this for at least 10 minutes. Slow down, then resume the vigorous rate for 10 more minutes. Remember to stretch a bit before and after exercising.

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