June 25, 2016

Sustain Your Energy! Healthy Summer Treats

During these long summer days, we can support ourselves and maintain balanced energy with healthy treats. Instead of grabbing something quick and chock full of preservatives when you are starved, pack some of these treats in your snack bag.

As always, be well and enjoy whatever you eat.

Maple Pecan Fudge

You will need:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a blender and combine.

Fold in 1/2 cup pecans.
Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment/waxed paper.

Allow the mixture to cool in the freezer or fridge into solid. Slice into small 1 inch by 1 inch squares or slices. 

Because of the coconut oil, these will melt if not kept in the fridge or freezer.

Protein Power Squares

You will need:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 banana, mashed
1/3 cup nut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 C chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maca (if desired)

Mix everything together. Shape into squares. Refrigerate and enjoy!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars

You will need:
1 cup peanut butter (no sugar, organic) - substitute any nut butter you prefer
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup chopped almonds, cashews, or pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt peanut butter and maple over low heat.
Once all of the mixture is all melted, add the rice and chopped nuts.

Mix all of it together and press it into a 9×13 pan.

While the rice part is cooling, melt the chocolate chips, cinnamon and vanilla over low heat. I just use the same pan for this part to save on dish washing.

Spread the chocolate chip mixture over the rice base, put in the fridge to let cool and soften.

June 19, 2016

Get Your B Vitamins!

Many kinds of B vitamins are important to human health: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. Each of the B vitamins has a unique and essential function:

Vitamins B6, B12, and folate: red blood cell production and nervous system health

Biotin and pantothenic acid: healthy metabolism

Niacin and thiamin: cardiovascular health and energy production

Riboflavin: production of skin cells, nails, and hair

The B vitamins are necessary cofactors in an essential cellular process called the methylation cycle. In this cycle, all three B vitamins are used to convert a potentially damaging molecule called homocysteine into the useful amino acid cysteine. When levels of these B vitamins are low, blood levels of homocysteine rise—a situation that has been shown in numerous studies to significantly increase the risk for heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Luckily, homocysteine levels can be kept in balance by eating a diet high in the following foods.

Whole Grains (high in B6 and B12):
brown rice
kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)

Vegetables (high in folate):
spinach (also contains B6)
broccoli (also contains niacin & riboflavin)
kale (also contains niacin & riboflavin)
turnip and mustard greens (also contain B6)
romaine lettuce
bell peppers (also contain B6)

Fruit (high in B6):
avocado (also contains pantothenic acid)

Legumes (high in folate and niacin):
all lentils
green peas

Nuts / Seeds (high in B6, B12, folate and niacin):
sunflower seeds

Animal Protein (high in folate, B6 and B12):
chicken / beef liver (also contains biotin)
chicken (also contains niacin & riboflavin)
pastured eggs (also contain biotin, niacin & riboflavin)
wild salmon (also contains riboflavin

Be sure to include food sources of B vitamins all year round! Some of us may need supplementation of specific B vitamins. If you would like to learn about ways to tailor your dietary needs to your personal constitution, please schedule a nutritional consultation here.

June 16, 2016

Cool, Green Summer

We find balance in summer weather by eating foods that are bitter (cooling, moist), such as: unsweetened cocoa, olives, dandelion, kale, celery, and amaranth leaves. It is also important to take time to rest, sit in the shade, breathe deeply, and absorb the green color that surrounds us.

These are the healing properties of summer herbs:

Basil –anti-bacterial, digestive, and aromatic, this member of the mint family stimulates growth of white blood cells and protects against unwanted bacterial growth.

Cilantro – the leaf of the coriander plant stimulates the secretion of insulin and helps lower levels of total and LDL (the "bad" cholesterol), while actually increasing levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol). Cilantro’s volatile oils have antimicrobial properties.

Parsley – purifying, anti-dandruff, digestive, and tonic, parsley is also 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.

Velvety Green Soup

You will need:

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 large zucchini, sliced
1 bunch chard, chopped
1 pound fresh or frozen peas
3 cups water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh basil

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots and onions.
Cook, covered, until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add zucchini and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Add the chard and peas.
Add the water and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the basil.
Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender.

Chop the rosemary and use as garnish.
Serve with cooked quinoa. This soup is excellent chilled, too!

Herbed Pesto

You will need:
2 cups fresh basil
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup fresh parsley¼ cup pumpkin OR sunflower seeds1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place basil, seeds, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor.

Make a coarse pesto and set aside.
This is delicious over kohlrabi potato salad - recipe here.

April 30, 2016

My Favorite Spring Treats

Spring is a time to lighten up, eat fewer refined foods, and move towards the whole, local ingredients that support the health of local farms, the bioregion, and your body.

May this practice of eating simple, seasonal, flavorful food help you connect with nature and welcome each day as an opportunity for rejuvenation and new discovery.

May day is honored in Northern traditional cultures as Beltaine, a celebration of passion, creativity, fertility and the resplendent sun, which shines warmer each day and lingers longer each evening. Spark your passion and creative impulse by getting in the kitchen and making these wholesome treats! They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free.

Sweet Potato Bars

For the crust:
1 cup rolled oats
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup almonds
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:
1 pound orange fleshed sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)

Chop and boil the sweet potatoes. Keep the skin on for maximum nutritional benefit. Drain them and allow them to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly oil an 8-inch square-baking pan with olive oil. Place all topping ingredients in a food processor bowl and pulse until mixture reaches a coarse meal that's evenly moist.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it evenly and firmly into the bottom. Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until set. Remove from oven.

Place all the topping ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. There's no need to wash the processor between the crust and the topping.

Pour the mixture onto the crust and smooth the top evenly with a spatula. Bake about 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes are: high in omega 3 essential fatty acids to tonify the internal organs and strengthen immunity; rich in carotenoids and omega-3s, whose anti-oxidant content offers anti-inflammatory support; high in vitamin C to boost immunity; rich in B vitamins to reduce stress.

Almond Chocolate Chip Bites

You will need:
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup organic unsalted almond butter*
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup cocoa nibs

*You can substitute cashew or peanut butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 
Using a soup spoon, evenly space scoops of the mixture on the baking sheet. Press down with a spatula or back of the spoon to slightly flatten. 
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring and eating!

Almonds are: high in monounsaturated fat, which promotes heart health, helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss; hig in flavoproteins to balance blood sugar and improve energy levels; rich in vitamin E to promote cognitive abilities and protect the brain.

Thanks to Rebecca Katz for this inspiration!

April 18, 2016

Making Time To Cook

As Spring finds us with its fat buds ready to burst into fragrant flowers, I look ahead to the long days
of Summer. Here on our homestead in Vermont, we revel in the warm months and take time work in the garden, walk in the woods, and sit outside to soak in the lingering evenings.

Summer will also bring a heightened pace of life. With so many daylight hours, the temptation can be to stay busy for the majority of the day! Now is the time to prepare the body, mind and spirit for this brilliant, abundant, and sometimes tiring time of year.

Spring brings the gift of rejuvenation, new life, and the opportunity to prepare for Summer. Start the season with a weekly meal plan, which allows you and your loved ones to keep eating whole, simple foods that are nourishing and delicious.

You can try creating a meal plan with friends or family.

Sit down together, perhaps after a shared meal, and talk about your favorite dishes.

Meal ideas:

Taco Night
Casserole Fun
Soup, Bread, and Salad
Pasta Night

It's easy to make these meals healthy and delicious! Just be sure to add plenty of vegetables to your sauces and soups. I made the pizza pictures her with an oat crust, pesto sauce, and toppings of steamed broccolini, walnuts, cooked white beans and a little Parmigiano cheese.

Savor your meals with inspiring spice blends, sauces and spreads to bring forward tons of flavor. Allow each person to mix and match the components of each meal so that everyone enjoys it.

Here are some other options to inspire you:

Three-day meal plan with recipes

A week of plant-based lunches - $10

Weekly meal plans and recipes delivered to your inbox - $15

Be well and enjoy the art of cooking!

Healthy Eating Program

Need to detox, uncover food allergies, feel nourished & satisfied?

I will tailor your Program to your dietary needs and health goals. Programs include shopping lists, prep/menu plans, recipes, mindfulness, & nutritional recommendations.

Click here to try a FREE sample of the Healthy Eating Program.

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