December 16, 2014

Healthy Holiday Treat: 4 ingredient cookies

I developed these cookies at the last moment before a party we hosted this past weekend. They were such a huge hit that I decided to share the recipe with you.

If you like to make party favors or treats for friends and neighbors, this wholesome, simple option will keep everyone healthy and smiling through the intensity of the holidays.

Remember to keep mindfulness and exercise alive during the this time. This practice could be as simple as taking a deep breath in and out before each meal and going for a walk once a day.

The more you can maintain routines in the midst of chaotic times, the healthier and happier you will be on the other side.

Be well and stay in touch!
Lisa

Wholesome 4 Ingredient Cookies


You will need equal parts of:
Any nut or seed (I like roasted almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds)
Dates, pitted
Shredded coconut
Unsweetened applesauce

GET CREATIVE: add cinnamon; use dried apricots instead of dates.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a cookie sheet with sunflower or coconut oil.

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender.
Blend until a thick dough results.

Coat the palms of your hands with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.
Roll small balls of dough between your palms and place them on the cookie sheet.

Once all the dough is rolled, wash your hands.

Using the back of a fork, flatten each cookie.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Yum!

December 9, 2014

Honoring My Gastronomic Roots

Today and every day, I celebrate my Italian gastronomic heritage. The traditional values of growing, foraging, cooking and eating with which I was raised filled me with reverence for food.

This fullness stayed with me throughout the years of exposure to highly processed corporate food during my high school and college years after I moved to the United States.

Dormant until the moment I would resource it, this nourishment allowed me to to heal myself with food as medicine when I was crippled by chronic intestinal amoebas. Now, I am in service to the foods, plants, and traditions that healed me. I honor the healers and health care practitioners who mediated my healing and supported me on my own path of self-discovery.

Not only did I heal myself of chronic amoebas, but I also re-connected with my deepest sources of nourishment, which are ancestral ones steeped in mindfulness.

What are your gastronomic roots? How can you celebrate them? Tomorrow, December 10th, is Slow Food International's Terra Madre Day: the day of mother earth.

Join people all over the globe who are celebrating local food and heritage. Here in Vermont's state capitol of Montpelier, the New England Culinary Institute's students will offer a cooking demonstration of Vermont foods.

Before the colonists came to this region, Abenaki people celebrated gastronomic traditions, which endure today thanks to the revival efforts of the indigenous peoples' Haven Project and Seeds of Renewal.
Fred Wiseman and many more Abenaki guide the movement to revive and honor indigenous seeds, crops, and cooking.

If you are inspired, please leave comments here about your ancestral foods and how you honor them.

December 6, 2014

Winter Foods That Heal

The full moon of December is here, and snow covers every last remaining plant stalk and kale leaf in our gardens. This moon is known by indigenous people of North America as the Cold Moon, the moon of long nights, and the Winter Moon. I try to welcome winter with warming foods.

Deer are browsing the crab apple branches and chickadees buzz between bee balm stalks to stay warm. I love this time of year. It is peaceful. The snow that blankets everything is a metaphor for stillness. Take ease in this time. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do.

Even if the holiday commitments are piling up, take time to rest each day. Even if you rest for five minutes while sitting at a window or on your couch with a cup of tea, this practice invokes the stillness of the upcoming Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

This is the stillness that rejuvenates, respects the spirit, eases the mind, and clears stress from the body. From this calm place, ask yourself what you need to be truly nourished.

I like to prepare soups, whole grains, and delightful, wholesome desserts at this time of year. My husband and I sit, light a candle, and savor carrot ginger soup. I wake up to a simple, hearty breakfast of eggs poached in greens.

I enjoy baking simple desserts and sharing them at holiday gatherings. This way, I avoid eating lots of white flour and white sugar and having a headache and bellyache the next morning.

Here is a recipe for my latest holiday creation. Try it!

Maple Almond Gingerbread


You will need:
1/4 cup hot water
1 tablespoon Dandy Blend* or other instant chicory/dandelion drink powder
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
1 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and ginger root powder
1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg and cloves
a pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a blender, dissolve Dandy Blend in water. Add oil, syrup, extracts, brown rice, and ginger.
Blend until a thick paste forms.
Add all other ingredients and blend well.

Oil a loaf or cake pan with coconut oil.
Spread batter into it and bake for 45 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Wow.

*Dandy Blend is also a delicious after-dinner drink. Dandelion supports lymphatic circulation, cleanses the liver, and releases the tissues from the stresses of rich foods.

Healing Properties



Almonds: high in monounsaturated fat, which promotes heart health, helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss; contain flavoproteins to balance blood sugar and improve energy levels.

Brown Rice: American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends choosing whole grains such as brown rice rather than refined grain like white rice or flour to maintain a healthy body weight; high in fiber and selenium to ensure healthy digestion and mental clarity; contains phenolics, antioxidants that work to prevent disease and soothe the nervous system.

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.

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms. Fresh ginger root is slightly less drying than the dry version, which is why I try to use both at the same time.




December 1, 2014

Get Creative! How To Video for a Simple, Delicious Meal

Click this link to view the introduction to this delicious cooking video from the Harmonized Kitchen.

Vegetable Pot Pie



Start by cooking down two yellow onions with salt, pepper, and red wine or vinegar for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots, celery and potatoes. Add spices: rosemary, oregano and thyme are great choices. Saute for 15 more minutes. Add walnuts, pour into an oiled baking dish, and bake for 15 minutes at 375. Meanwhile, mix your pot pie topping: 1 1/2 cups flour (spelt or millet), 1 teaspoon baking powder, 4 tablespoons butter or coconut oil, pinch salt, 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar, 3/4 cup milk (almond or cow). Spread over pot pie and bake for 10 more minutes. Garnish with Parmesan cheese if you like. Feel free to substitute cooked beans (1 cup), ground turkey (1 pound) or beef (1 pound) for the walnuts.

Leek Kale Frittata


Start by chopping two leeks and 1 bunch kale. Place them in a skillet with olive oil, salt and black pepper. Saute for 5 to 6 minutes, or until tender. Add a few cloves of pressed or minced garlic if you like. Place vegetables in a baking dish. Whisk together 6 eggs, 2 tablespoons mustard, 1 teaspoon salt, juice of 1/2 lemon, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Pour the mixture over the vegetables and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Substitute any vegetables you have on hand.

Orange Hazelnut Cake


Grind 1 cup hazelnuts in a food processor or espresso bean grinder. Reserve some hazelnuts to decorate the cake. Whisk together 1 orange, peeled and chopped, with 1/3 cup maple syrup, a teaspoon vanilla, and 1/2 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg. Add 1 cup almond milk and 1 egg. Whisk well to incorporate. Add 2 cups spelt or rice flour, hazelnut meal, a pinch of salt, and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Incorporate all ingredients and pour into oiled cake pan. Decorate with remaining hazelnuts. Bake at 375 for 25 minutes. Garnish with whipped cream if you like!

This cake is also delicious with raspberries or blueberries and almond meal.

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