July 28, 2014

Salad Supper

Summer is the time to enjoy creative combinations of fruits and vegetables with tangy dressings.
Try these for your next dinner party, picnic, or potluck.

Peachy Green Bean Salad

You will need:
3 tablespoons best olive oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper1 pound ripe peaches, sliced
1 handful lemon balm,  finely chopped
2 pounds green beans, ends snipped
1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Whisk oil vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.
Slice, pit and add peaches. Mix well and set aside.
Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil.
Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. 
Add to peach mixture. Toss to combine.
Add almonds, toss one more time, and serve!

GET CREATIVE: Enjoy with white bean, garlic and parsley salad.

Tomato Sweet Potato Salad

You will need:
3 large sweet potatoes, chopped into cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon each: coriander and salt
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
2 handfuls cilantro, chopped
¼ cup fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon raw honey
3 small tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with oil, coriander and salt.
Bake for 45 minutes.
Whisk ginger, cilantro, lime and honey in a large bowl. 
Add potatoes and tomatoes.
Toss to combine and serve warm.

GET CREATIVE: Sprinkle goat cheese over the top. Roll the salad into wraps and slice length-wise into bite-sized pieces.

Lentil Beet Salad

You will need:
1 pound red and /or golden beets, chopped
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt2 cups indigo or green lentils, soaked for 3 or 4 hours
2 tablespoons brown mustard

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 red apple, chopped into cubes
2 tablespoons honey
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Place beets on a baking sheet with oil and salt.
Roast for 1 hour or until fork-tender.

Bring soaked lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil.
Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, about 45 minutes. 
Drain, discarding liquid, and rinse through a fine-mesh colander.
Place in a large bowl and toss with mustard, oil, vinegar, apple, honey and garlic.
Add beets, toss once more, and enjoy!

GET CREATIVE: puree the whole salad and shape it into burgers. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes on each side and enjoy with green salad and toasted sourdough bread drizzled with olive oil.

July 20, 2014

Purslane, Apples, Oats, and Mint

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

These recipes will help you cool down, nourish yourself, and appreciate summer’s vibrant energy. Include these ingredients in your food and tea to find well-being throughout this season.

Thanks to all who participated in the Food As Medicine Workshop at this weekend's Herbal Garden Retreat! Be well and stay in touch.

Health Benefits of Foods

Apples: contain polyphenols and fiber to help prevent blood sugar spikes; provide pre-biotic compounds that support intestinal flora and ease gas and bloating; contain antioxidants that help to digest fat in the cell membranes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular difficulties.

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

Oats: high in fiber to lower cholesterol levels and reduce risk of heart disease; ease digestive stress and support healthy transit time; enhance immune response to infection and stabilize blood sugar; calm and soothe the nervous system to alleviate mild depression.

Peppermint: stomachic, and cooling, it relieves indigestion, dyspepsia, and colonic muscle spasms by relaxing the smooth muscle tissue of the intestines. Essential oil of peppermint also stops the growth of many different bacteria, including: Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli, and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Peppermint contains rosmarinic acid, which opens bronchial passages and reduces the effects of allergy-induced cold symptoms.

portulaca oleracea - soft, succulent purslane leaves have more omega-3 fatty acids (alpha-linoleic) than in some of the fish oils on the supplement shelf. It is rich in vitamin A to support healthy vision and mucus membranes. It contains alkaloid pigments, which are anti-oxidants that have been found to have anti-mutagenic properties (Proc. West. Pharmacol. Soc. 45: 101-103. 2002). Leaves, stems and flowers, all edible, have a slightly sour and salty taste.

Fresh Herbed Pistou

In blender, mix:
3 Tablespoons local vegetable oil
¼ cup local nuts, ground in spice/coffee grinder (almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, sunflower seeds)
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
Freshly chopped herbs – use a combination of parsley and basil, cilantro and mint, basil and mint
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.
Enjoy with vegetable fritters, as a sandwich spread, or with grains. Freezes for up to 1 year.

Pistou of Blanched Greens

Bring a few inches of water to a boil in a medium-large pot.
Rinse kale, collards, chard or purslane.

Chop coarsely.
Place the cut greens in boiling water and boil for 3 minutes.
Remove greens from pot with tongs.
Place in a blender or food processor.
Add olive oil, lemon juice, salt, pepper, and garlic / nuts if you like.
Blend well.

Vegetable Frittata

You will need:
4 Tablespoons local vegetable oil (I like sunflower oil from Rainville farm)
1 large leek or yellow onion
2 teaspoons each: salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh dark, leafy greens (collards, kale, chard, spinach, dandelion greens, and more)
6 eggs
1 handful each if fresh OR 1 Tablespoon each if dry: parsley and thyme

Chop 1 large leek into rounds.
Heat 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 local vegetable oil.

In a bowl, beat 6 eggs, spices, and about 4 Tablespoons of water.
Pour egg mixture over the top of the greens and bake for 40 minutes.

Collard Green Roll Ups

Cook 2 cups brown rice or quinoa in 4 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon salt and thyme if you like.

Once cooked, add:
½ cup nuts: I like almonds or walnuts
¼ cup dried fruit: I like raisins or apricots

Set aside.

To prepare the greens, take 6 collard green leaves, rinse them, and cut out the central stem until the place where it gets softer – about halfway though.
Place a few inches of water and ½ teaspoon salt in a wide skillet.

Bring it to a boil, reduce to simmer, and place one collard leaf at a time in the water.
Cover and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, or until leaf is soft.
Place cooked leaf on a plate, fill the first quarter (where there is still a stem and the leaf is intact) with grains and nuts.
Roll, tucking leaf ends into the wrap as you roll, and set aside.

Repeat this process until all leaves are filled and rolled.

Make a sauce for the rolls by whisking together:
1 cup tahini
¼ cup water
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon tamari / soy sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
½ inch fresh ginger root, minced

Plate rolls with a generous spoonful of sauce and serve with more sauce for the table.

Apple Blueberry Crumble

Oats, avena sativa, are a cereal of the Poaceae family, filled with nutritive, nervine phytochemicals that soothe the human nervous system and nourish the soil. They remove nitrogen from soil, which means that it is important to rotate their growth with a nitrogen-rich cereal grass like buckwheat. Native to the Indus river valley of central Asia, oats have been grown for centuries to feed both humans and livestock.

Feel free to substitute any local fruit that’s in season or in your freezer/mason jars.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease an 8x8 glass baking dish.

In a bowl, mix together:
2 cups fresh or frozen blueberries 2 cups apples, sliced into quarters and cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cloves
Pinch salt
Pour into the baking dish and re-use the same bowl to make crumble topping.

In spice grinder, grind to make freshly milled flour:
½ cup rolled oats – look for local sources!

Add ground oats to bowl and combine with:
1 cup rolled oats
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, allspice
Pinch salt

Make a well in the center of the mixture and add:
¼ cup sunflower oil (or another local unsaturated oil)
3 Tablespoons maple syrup

Mix wet ingredients together in center and then incorporate dry ingredients until barely combined.
Using your hands, crumble this topping over the apples and blueberries.

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Cool and enjoy!

No-Bake Almond Cookies with Fresh Mint

In a mixing bowl, combine and mix well:
3 tablespoons raw honey
3 tablespoons almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
a pinch salt

Add 2 cups almond meal. You can make it by filling your food processor with almonds and grinding them or by purchasing pre-made flour. Store in the refrigerator.

Mix in 2 tablespoons fresh, minced mint. During our retreat workshop we also added minced tulsi (sacred basil) and anise hyssop.

Line a cookie sheet or glass container with waxed / parchment paper.

Make sure it will fit in your refrigerator.
Drop dough by the spoonful onto the paper and refrigerate for ½ hour.
Enjoy! These keep refrigerated for 1 week.

GET CREATIVE: add 3 tablespoons cocoa powder for a delicious treat.

July 12, 2014

Healthy Summer Digestion

Summer can cause water retention and bloating. It's hot and our bodies need extra water to thrive. Since the digestive system is where we usually feel the impacts of bloating first, it's the best place to start addressing these issues. Digestive health is central to our overall wellness, governing nutrition, cleansing, immunity, neurological health, and much more.

To reduce inflammation in the digestive tract, emphasize a diet rich in vegetables and small amounts of fruits. Recommendations include: celery, dandelion greens, parsley, cilantro, basil, arugula, cucumber, melon, zucchini, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, avocado, broccoli sprouts, peas, sweet potato, and squash.

Probiotic bacteria can provide additional support against bloating and inflammation in the digestive tract. These friendly microbes work to reduce expression of inflammatory genes and cell signals and reduce gas, bloating, and discomfort as they improve nutrient absorption—among other critical actions. Fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut and kimchi provide excellent sources of probiotics. Lacto-fermented drinks such as kefir, kombucha and rice milk made with koji cultures can help, too.

Thanks to Rodale for this inspiration!
Try these recipes to strengthen summer digestion.


Kombucha consists of yeasts and acetic bacteria living symbiotically. It is a living culture that looks like a jelly fish or placenta pancake in a jar. It is a lightly fermented tea dating back to ancient China, which provides an excellent tonic for immunity and strengthening digestion.

Blueberry Zucchini Salad

You will need:
3 medium zucchini, sliced lengthwise
1 pint fresh or frozen blueberries
2 packed cups fresh spinach, rinsed and de-stemmed
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

For the dressing, whisk together:
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Slice zucchini and brush with olive oil on both sides.
Place on cookie sheet, sprinkle with salt and black pepper, and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, place berries, basil, and spinach in a large salad bowl.
Remove from oven once the edges are browning and toss with other vegetables.
Pour dressing over the top, serve and enjoy!

Email lisa[at]harmonizedcookery,com for an easy blueberry jam recipe with no refined sugar.

July 6, 2014

Get Creative with Summer Sauces

This summer, try to preserve the abundance from your gardens or local farms to enjoy on cold winter days. These three sauces are wonderful fresh and keep well, too. 

To preserve them, just sterilize half pint mason jars and lids by pouring boiling water oven them while they are in the sink. 
Prepare a water bath by filling a soup pot with water and bringing it to a boil.
Fill jars three quarters of the way with sauce, screw on the lid, and place in boiling water for 5 minutes. 
Extract, set aside, and test the lids 24 hours later. 

Lids need to resist the touch in order to be completely canned.
If a lid bows when pressed, eat that jar right away of freeze it.

Click this link for an easy oven canning method for cooked sauces (like tomato, apple, and jams).

Be well and enjoy today.

Parsley Cashew Spread

Coarsely chop:
1 bunch fresh parsley (about 2 packed cups)
1 clove garlic

Place in a food processor with:3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 cup cashews
½ teaspoon salt

Blend well.
Enjoy with toast, over pasta or cooked rice, or as a side salad.

GET CREATIVE: Add dill and serve over boiled potatoes. Grate carrots into the sauce, blend in a blender, and serve as a dip for steamed broccoli.

Cilantro Tahini Sauce

Chop 1 bunch fresh cilantro (about 1 ½ packed cups).

Place in a blender with:
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lime juice
½ teaspoon each: coriander and salt
2 tablespoons tahini

Blend well.

Try it with pinto beans and corn tortillas or black bean soup and corn bread. Click here for recipes.

GET CREATIVE: try mixing cilantro with ¼ cup shredded coconut, 1 tablespoon coconut oil, 1 tablespoon lime juice, and 1 tablespoon tamari (fermented soy sauce).

Basil Sunflower Sauce

Coarsely chop:
1 bunch fresh basil (about 2 packed cups)

1 clove garlic

Place in a blender or food processor with:
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon salt

Blend until smooth.

Try it with sliced tomatoes and goat cheese.

GET CREATIVE: Use walnuts instead of sunflower seeds. Add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese. Try using sacred basil (tulsi) and coconut oil instead of basil and olive oil. Add a tablespoon of raw honey, blend, and serve over ice cream.

Healthy Eating Program

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