February 27, 2013

Health Library Sale!

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Cold Moon, Hunger Moon

Since the heaviest snow usually falls during February, native peoples of the north and east call February’s full Moon the Full Snow Moon. Some refer to it as the Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas make hunting difficult.

Here are some healing ingredients to choose during this snowy time of year. Please click here to sign up for email updates and gain recipes that include these foods.

Dry beans: rich in fiber and protein, these legumes provide readily available energy for the body to burn while maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and soothing the intestines. 
Selecting beans:choose local, organic beans whenever possible. I purchase bulk beans from the bulk department of my natural foods store or place a special order with Butterworks Farm.

Preparing beans for cooking: Start by soaking your beans overnight. This process cuts cooking time in half and makes them easier to digest.

Types of beans:
Kidney beans have a deep red color, hold their shape well when cooked, and make a great choice for vegetable stews, bean salads, or red beans and rice. They are a wonderful kidney tonic in the winter.

Pinto beans, once cooked, lose their markings and turn pink. They're delicious in tomato-based stews and combine well with spicy foods. 

Black beans, also known as turtle, have a mild, sweet taste. Because of their dense texture, they are perfect when combined with sharp flavors. Their digestive effect is a bit more drying than with other beans, so choose them in the spring.


 
Garbanzo beans, or chickpeas, have a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and can be cooked down into a creamy sauce and made into spreads like hummus. They hold their shape well in soups and stews and combine nicely with rich sauces.



Adzuki beans are small and hence easier to digest. Their rich flavor pairs well with roasted roots, mashed potatoes and bitter winter greens.

***



Health Benefits of Fats
Fats contain carbon, hydrogen, and some oxygen. These crucial nutrients provide up to 10 kilocalories per gram of energy, compared with four kilocalories per gram from carbohydrates and proteins. Fats are not taken up directly by any tissue, but must be hydrolyzed outside the cell first. When metabolizing fats, the body must use energy, primarily from carbohydrates, to produce energy.

Fats come from food, adipocytes (fat cells), and some amino acids. Lipolysis, or fat breakdown, occurs in the mitochondria. Next, lipogenesis, or fat synthesis, takes place the liver, adipose tissue, and intestinal mucosa. The fatty acids derived from this process are essential for metabolizing carbohydrates and using them as energy. 

Fat also maintains cell regulatory signals (essential to combating auto-immune conditions), supple skin, balanced hormonal function, and healthy nervous system response. Without the presence of fat in the system, the body stores carbohydrates as fat because it does not know when it will next gain this essential nutrient.

Hence, when the body is deprived of fat, it may crave carbohydrates, causing the binge response that can lead to weight gain. When we consume healthy fats, the body feels satisfied with less food. When fat is present in a meal, the brain releases endorphins to signal fullness, provide ease, and lubricate the digestive system so that it can effectively process carbohydrates and proteins.

We give ourselves strength and ease by eating small quantities of high-quality fats such as olive, sunflower and coconut oils, animal fat from poultry, eggs and fish, and hormone-free butter (Salway, J. G. Metabolism at a Glance. Malden, MA: Blackwell Science. 1999). Fats contain omega 3, omega 6, and other essential fatty acids, which soothe nerves and lubricate bones and joints. Fats support the function of hormones such as the adrenals, which maintain healthy stress response and support immunity.

Olive oil: monounsaturated and liquid at room temp., first cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. It improves calcium levels in the blood and enhances memory function by oxygenating blood.


Sunflower oil: this polyunsaturated oil is rich in vitamin E, which stimulates the liver rejuvenation and aids in nutrient absorption; its high magnesium content soothes nerves and muscles, acts as a diuretic to counter-act water retention, and lubricates the digestive system to aid elimination.

Coconut oil: saturated fat, solid at room temperature, is a plant-based alternative to saturated animal fats. It stimulates brain function and promotes intestinal motility; its anti-bacterial benefits make it an important fat to choose during times of illness or infection and is specifically indicated for combating intestinal parasites.
 




February 19, 2013

Breakfast Power!

Instant Oatmeal


In a mason jar, mix:

½ cup quick rolled oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon pinch salt

1 handful sunflower seeds
1 handful raisins

When you get where you are going, boil about 1 cup of water. Pour boiling water into mason jar, stir and enjoy!

**You can bring yogurt (choose a whole milk brand without added sugar) to include with this breakfast.

Keeps in your cupboard for 2 weeks.

Tahini Honey Sandwich


Choose whole grain, sourdough bread.

Place two thin slices in the toaster.
When they pop up, spread with:

1 spoonful tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)

1 spoonful local, raw honey

Place two halves together in a plastic bag and enjoy once you get where you are going.

**If you like, you can eat an apple with your sandwich. Keeps in fridge for 2 days.


Quinoa Date Porridge

**Before bed, place in a mixing bowl:


1 cup quinoa
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
2 cups hot water

Allow to soak overnight.

**In the morning, drain off any excess water. Pour into a cooking pot with 1 cup water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

To the cooking quinoa, add:
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon and ginger
pinch salt

Simmer with the lid slightly askew until all the water is consumed (about 15 minutes) and you see air holes on the surface of the grain. You can add a spoonful of coconut oil if you like.

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.


Sweet Potato Pie


While you are cooking dinner, chop 2 large sweet potatoes.
Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them.

Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, place 1 cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot.
Add a pinch salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.
Stir vigorously for a couple of minutes until grain reaches porridge-like consistency.

Oil a glass pie plate and pour this ‘crust’ into it.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain water and place in blender with:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each: cloves, ginger
pinch salt
2 heaping spoonfuls each: nut butter and coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend until creamy. Using a spatula, scoop out this filling and smooth over cooked kasha crust.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake pie for 20 minutes. Yum!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.


Blueberry Banana Walnut Drink


Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, ginger
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful blueberries
1 banana
1 handful walnuts
2 spoonfuls coconut milk or whole milk yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

Blend well and enjoy!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

Try to eat a piece of whole grain, sourdough toast with nut butter within an hour of drinking your smoothie. The carbohydrates in toast will help your cells to break down and metabolize the fat in the smoothie.


Avocado Date Almond Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
1 avocado
1 handful almonds
2 spoonfuls coconut milk or whole milk yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

Blend well and enjoy!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

Try to eat a piece of whole grain, sourdough toast and nut butter within an hour of drinking your smoothie. The carbohydrates in toast will help your cells to break down and metabolize the fat in the smoothie.



To learn about the healing properties of these foods, please join email newsletter updates - see sign up in the upper right hand corner of this site.

February 11, 2013

Dumplings and Noodles


Chinese communities throughout the world honor the New Year one month after the Winter Solstice. This year, the Year of the Snake, started with a feast on the new moon, which just passed on February 9th. Try making these traditional dishes in honor of the new year!

Cabbage dumplings with pork or tofu

thanks to The Food of China by Deh-Ta Hsiung and Nina Simonds for this recipe inspiration!

To make the filling, combine:
3 cups purple or green cabbage, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon salt
Set aside.

Meanwhile, in a skillet, braise:
1/4 pound local ground pork or 1 10 ounce package tofu
with:
1/2 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon roasted sesame oil
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, finely chopped

Take the cabbage, squueze and drain any water, and add:
1/2 cup chives, finely chopped

Add the braised mix to the cabbage and chives. Mix to incorporate.

Get out your dumpling wrappers! You can use wheat or rice wrappers.

To make the dumplings:
Prepare a small bowl of water.
Place about 2 teaspoons of filling in the center of a wrapper.
Dip your finger in the water and wet arc the edge of the wrapper.
Fold the wrapper in half over the filling, fitting the dry edge to the wet, and seal with your fingertips.
Dip your finger in the water again and dampen the edge of the half-circle. Make a series of 6 or 7 pleats in the edge, pinching them together with your fingertips.

To cook the dumplings:
Steam them in a covered pot with a metal steamer basket.
You might have to steam them in 4 or 5 rounds.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a cookie sheet with sesame oil.
Add one layer of steamed dumplings, brush the tops with a bit more sesame oil, and bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until golden.

Repeat until you have steamed and baked all the dumplings.

Serve with ginger dipping sauce:
 In a bowl, mix:
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
1 tablespoon scallions, minced
1/2 teaspoon red wine or rice vinegar
1 teaspoon dark sesame oil
1/3 cup tamari or soy sauce

Let it rest for 10 minutes, then dip away!

New Year Noodles
This delicious meal is adapted from a recipe by Food Republic

First, marinate the chicken or tofu. 
In a bowl, mix:
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, sliced
1/2 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

white pepper, to taste
Add 1/2 pound local chicken or 1 10-ounce package firm tofu, thinly sliced.
Mix with marinade, cover, and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the sauce. 
First, slice:
1/4 pound broccoli florets
1/4 pound baby bok choy
handful mushrooms (shitake, cremini or tree ear)
Then, in a skillet, heat:
1 tablespoon fish sauce (if desired)
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
1/3 cup water
Add:
1 1/2 tablespoons ginger, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons garlic, minced
Stir until all ingredients are incorporated. 
Add mushrooms and saute for 5 minutes on medium heat.
Add broccoli and boy choy. Saute 5 more minutes. 
Remove marinated chicken/tofu from the fridge and add to skillet. 
Saute for 5 more minutes, or until cooked.
Set aside.

As the vegetables are cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil. 
Add:
1/2 pound egg noodles
pinch salt
Boil noodles for 5 minutes, drain, and return to pot. Mix with sauce and enjoy!

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