November 28, 2014

Cleanse After Holiday Eating

After Thanksgiving, it's a wonderful practice to simplify your diet for a week. Enjoy vegetables like fennel, celery and leeks. These potent plants cleanse the lymphatic system, support healthy lungs, and lend a bitter-sweet complexity to any dish.

Try adding bitter, liver-cleansing foods like quinoa, chard, beets and spinach. These chenopodium family plants are high in plant nutrients and help restore healthy blood and liver function.

Give these recipes a try!

Leek, Fennel and Butternut Soup

You will need: 
1 medium butternut squash, baked and peeled
2 tablespoons local oil (sunflower or olive)
3 leeks, chopped and rinsed
1 fennel bulb, chopped – save fronds for garnish
1 teaspoon each: thyme, cinnamon, turmeric
1 teaspoon each: salt and fresh black pepper
½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped
4 cups vegetable stock

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Poke squash with a fork, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 1 hour (20 minutes per pound).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot. 
Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add the chopped fennel, hazelnuts, spices, salt and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, cut it open and let it cool for 5 minutes. Compost the seeds. Scoop out flesh and add it to the soup pot. Add the vegetable stock and stir.
Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.
Remove the soup from the heat. Blend until smooth. 

Quinoa Cornbread

If you have a cast iron skillet, bake this bread inside. It will lend a distinctive and delicious flavor, If not, any square baking dish will do.

You will need:
1 cup flour (spelt = wheat-free; rice = gluten-free)1 cup cornmeal1 teaspoon each: salt, thyme, baking powder
4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in just as much warm water2 cups cooked quinoa
3 tablespoons sunflower oil
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce1 cup milk (almond = dairy-free; cow = dairy-licious)
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the skillet or baking dish by placing a spoonful of sunflower oil in it and putting it in the oven to melt.
In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, powder, thyme, and salt.
Make a well in the center and add the flaxseed meal and water. Whisk with a fork.
Add all other ingredients to the egg and whisk them with each other.
Then, setting the fork aside and using a spatula, incorporate wet and dry ingredients.
Remove skillet / dish from oven, spread oil around to coat the sides, and pour in the batter. Bake for 45 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

If you have leftover quinoa, get creative with it! Enjoy it with dried fruit and nuts as a breakfast porridge - my favorite.

Coconut Milk and Green Lentil Stew

You will need:3 tablespoons coconut oil1 large onion, chopped3 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped1 teaspoon each: dry thyme, turmeric powder, coriander powder, fenugreek seeds
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, caraway seeds, cinnamon powder, nutmeg powder3 cups vegetable stock
1 1/2 cups green lentils
1 cup coconut milkfresh parsley or cilantro for garnish

Heat the oil in a soup pot.
Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is translucent.
Add carrots, celery, garlic, ginger and spices. 
Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and do not stir for 5 minutes or so. Add the stock and the lentils, bring to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
Add the coconut milk and stir well. Cook for about 15 minutes and serve hot with a garnish of parsley or cilantro. I like this stew alongside rice and sambal.

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