April 5, 2017

Spring Cleanse

Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. 
Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables of all, and we’ll discuss their nutrition as well as many other health benefits. 

This is a time when we transition from Winter hibernation to Summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and it cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine (hormonal) systems.

In Traditional Chinese Five Element Theory (TCM), the flavor of Spring is sour. 
The sour flavor and the wood element influence the liver and gall bladder. Sour foods include vinegar, horseradish, sauerkraut (and other lacto-fermented vegetables), lemon, rye, turnips, greens, quinoa, millet, fennel, and caraway seeds. Sourness has an astringent and consolidating effect in the body. It can control diarrhea and excess perspiration or help focus a scattered mind.


Sour foods will help us harmonize Spring. In India’s time-honored tradition of Ayurvedic Medicine, spring is known as the Kapha season. Kapha, the earth element, is heavy, grounded, and can feel stuck when it is out of balance. While spring waters are flowing and mud is everywhere, uplift your body, mind, and spirit, with a daily walk, deep breathing, and sour food.

I was raised in the European / Mediterranean tradition, where we harvested dandelion greens each spring to make a bitter and delicious salad with olive oil, salt, vinegar, and grated carrots. I remember how much my grandmother loved vinegar. She dressed our salads generously with this sour liquid. Thank goodness for the carrots to temper the sour and bitter flavors for an overall harmonious effect.



Food-Based Cleanse


Spring is also wonderful time to cleanse the internal organs with delicious fruit and vegetable juices. If you do not have a juicer, just use a food processor and strain out the pulp before drinking the juice. You can keep juice in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Juice recipes and health benefits:
  • To strengthen digestion - 1 granny smith apple, 2 carrots, 1 beet
  • To support the liver - beet greens, 1 beet, 3 stalks celery, 2 inches fresh ginger root
  • To cleanse the blood - 1 beet, 2 carrots, 1 granny smith apple, 2 handfuls fresh parsley
Enjoy! Drink a small glass of juice three times daily, from just after you wake up to times of low energy between meals.

If you like, you can take the leftover pulp and bake it into bread or savory muffins!
Mix:
2 cups pulp
1 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon salt

Bake at 350 degrees in an oiled pan for 35 minutes.
Spread with tahini, lemon and olive oil for a delicious spring breakfast!

Regardless of whether or not you are able to drink fresh juice, you can lighten your diet and include more lacto-fermented vegetables, bitter greens, lemon juice, and whole grains in your meals.
For a week, try to eliminate the following foods, which can tax the liver, gall bladder, and lymph over time:
  • alcohol, caffeine, carbonated beverages
  • meat: white fish is ok once during the week if it helps you meet your protein needs
  • cheese, cream, ice cream: choose avocados, coconut milk, roasted root vegetables, baked apples
  • popcorn, crackers, cookies
  • products containing sorbitol or xylitol (sugar-free gum and candies)
  • refined sugar: choose raw honey or maple syrup
  • gluten and processed grains like pasta/bread: choose spring grains like quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, and millet
Instead, enjoy the fresh nourishment of fruits, vegetables, beans, lentils, nuts, and whole grains. Garnish food with high quality olive oil or flax oil and lemon juice.

Breakfast ideas:
Quinoa porridge with carrot spread and almonds
Baked sweet potatoes with hard-boiled eggs
Scrambled eggs with spinach and quinoa
Roasted roots with hard-boiled eggs
Baked acorn squash with tahini (roasted sesame seed butter), coconut butter, and cinnamon

Lunch and Dinner:
Use recipes from the "spring" category of this blog.

Keep these on hand along with chopped carrot and celery sticks when you need a snack as you are cooking! Remember that flavor, which comes from spreads and spices, is crucial to enjoying your food.

Snacks:
Miso broth
Granola bar
Smoothie or juice (more juice and smoothie recipes on my blog)
Apple or orange

Liquids:
Dandelion root tea and a glass of warm water with lemon juice in the morning
At least 3 quarts water daily
Herbal tea in the evening: Traditional Medicinals’ Detox tea is a nice choice

Would you like more specific guidance, meal plans, and recipes for your cleanse? Try my two-week, food-based cleanse. Learn more here.

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.

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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