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.

November 3, 2016

Gluten-Free Homemade Breads

Are you trying to eat food without gluten?

This practice can help heal gut imbalances such as dysbiosis, SIBO (small intestine bacterial overgrowth), IBS (irritable bowel syndrome), leaky gut syndrome, constipation, diarrhea, gas and bloating and a whole host of other conditions. Eliminating gluten also reduces inflammation, thereby improving mood, providing energy, and rerong, reducing the symptoms of auto-immune disorders. 

Avoiding gluten is also a great way to simplify your diet and head into the winter with strong immunity. However, one caveat: packaged gluten-free breads and baked goods are just as toxic to the system as those containing gluten. Please stay away from them. 

When you are craving bread or a baked good, try your hand at these simple recipes.

Sweet Potato Bread


You will need:
1 cup roasted sweet potato flesh
1 cup coconut flour
1 cup unsweetened coconut yoghurt
6 eggs
1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Preheat your oven to 400.

Chop sweet potato into chunks, place on a cookie sheet and toss with olive oil and salt.
Roast sweet potato in large chunks for 30 minutes. Remove from oven.

If you would like, roast a larger quantity of sweet potato and set some aside to have as a snack with nuts or nut butter.

Place the sweet potato, coconut flour, yoghurt, and eggs into your processor and blend until the mixture resembles a smooth, runny batter. Add the soda and mix to combine.

Grease a loaf pan.
Reduce oven heat to 350.
Pour the mixture into your prepared tin and bake for 45 minutes.

Remove from the oven and cool in the tin for 10 minutes before gently transferring to a cooling rack. Allow to cool for 30 minutes prior to cutting.

Cornbread


You will need:
2 eggs
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
½ cup brown rice flour or millet flour
1 ½ cups cornmeal
1 teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, and salt
4 tablespoons coconut oil
½ cup almond milk

Preheat oven to 350.
Put all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.
Grease a loaf pan with coconut oil.

Scrape in the cornbread dough; it will be thick like cookie dough, not a pourable batter. Press down on the top to form an even layer. It is easiest to do this with a rubber spatula.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown.

Millet Squares


Place 1 cup millet into a cooking pot with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then, reduce to simmer.

Simmer until millet begins to thicken (about 20 minutes).

Stir occasionally, as though cooking oatmeal.

Add your favorite spices to make it savory. I like this combination: 3 Tablespoons olive oil, ½ teaspoon each sea salt thyme, oregano, and rosemary.

These spices are also anti-microbial and help ward off the cold and flu.

If you would like to have millet for breakfast, add blueberries, coconut oil, and ½ teaspoon each cinnamon and cardamom.

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet thickens.
Grease a glass baking dish with olive oil. Pour millet into the baking dish and flatten it evenly. Allow to cool and set.

Enjoy! Slice it, toast it, fry it, or warm it up and use it as bread. It makes a great pizza crust when spread out into a thin layer on a cookie sheet.

October 31, 2016

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Looking for a healthy treat recipe that kids and adults alike will enjoy?

I have many on this blog, including:
Coconut milk brownies
Pineapple ginger upside down cake
Maple pecan fudge

These cookies are amazing because they taste good and are high in protein, which curbs the blood sugar spike and subsequent crash that happen when we eat sweets without protein.

My (Current) Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies


You will need:
1 /4 cup coconut flour
1 cup almond flour
1 /4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, whisked
1 /3 cup maple syrup
3 tablespoons almond milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a medium-size mixing bowl mix together flours, spices, and chocolate chips.
Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.
Add the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Whisk these together, then incorporate with the other ingredients.

Oil a cookie sheet with coconut oil.
Place on cookie sheet in heaping spoonfuls.
Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

October 22, 2016

Moussaka

This incredibly comforting and delicious dish is akin to a Middle Eastern version of Sheperd's Pie.

The spices are warming (cinnamon), digestive (coriander and black pepper), and anti-bacterial (allspice and oregano).

Enjoy!

Know that you can make it vegan by using kidney beans instead of turkey or beef and olive oil instead of butter.

Moussaka


For the sauce:
1 pound ground turkey or beef (hormone and antibiotic free)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 chopped onion
4 chopped garlic cloves
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, coriander, allspice, black pepper
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup tomatoes (diced)
1/4 cup red wine
Salt to taste

For the layers:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 eggplants or 3 zucchini
3 Yukon gold or other yellow potatoes
Olive oil

Prepare the sauce by chopping the onions and sautéeing then in olive oil for 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add the garlic, spices and beef or turkey. At the wine and stir well with a metal spatula until meat is thoroughly cooked.
Add the tomatoes, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and simmer for 15 or 20 minutes until the sauce is reduced and thick.
Remove bay leaf.

Meanwhile, slice the eggplant or zucchini, toss with olive oil and salt, and roast at 415 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Boil the potatoes, drain three quarters of the boiling water, mix with nutmeg and butter and mash thoroughly with a fork or potato masher. Set aside.

Reduce oven heat to 375.
Oil a 9x9 baking dish or small rectangular casserole dish. 

Assemble the moussaka:
place a layer of beef/turkey sauce on the bottom;
Arrange half of the eggplant/zucchini over it;
Cover it with another layer of beef;
Add the rest of the zucchini/eggplant;
Smooth the potatoes over the top.

Bake at 375 for 25 minutes or until potatoes are golden.
Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.
Enjoy!

October 20, 2016

Cabbage Recipes

Why cabbage? It is a healthy and inexpensive vegetable that’s in season in the fall and winter. It contains polyphenols, cancer-preventive plant nutrients. It’s packed with Vitamins A & C to boost immunity. It helps reduce inflammation and heal stomach ulcers.

Purple Cabbage Soup

You will need:
1 head purple cabbage
1 rutabega
2 yellow onions
3 tablespoons olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil
1 tablespoon mustard
1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander
salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions into thin crescent moons.

Heat oil in the bottom of a soup pot.

Add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add mustard and spices and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, chop rutabega and turnips into small chunks.

Chop 1 medium red cabbage into threads, removing the hard inner core.
Add vegetables to the pot and add enough water to cover vegetables. Bring both to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook with the lid on until vegetables are soft.

Purée with a blender or immersion blender.
Enjoy with a dollop of unsweetened yogurt or sour cream!

Comforting Cabbage and Noodles

This is adapted from a traditional Slovakian recipe, Haluski.
You will need:
1 package wide egg noodles or gluten-free noodles
3 tablespoons butter
1 yellow onion
½ head green cabbage, chopped (about 5 cups)
Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions (boil until tender) and then drain in a colander.

While the noodles are cooking, thinly slice the onion. Remove any dirty or damaged outer leaves of the cabbage.

Cut the cabbage into wedges, remove the core, then slice thinly.

After draining the noodles, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the sliced onions to the pot used to cook the noodles. Sauté the onions over medium heat just until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Add the cabbage and continue to cook until the cabbage is tender (5-7 minutes).

Return the drained noodles to the pot with the cabbage and onion. Add the remaining butter and stir until the butter is melted and everything is evenly coated. Season the cabbage and noodles liberally with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve warm.

You can scramble an egg and serve that over it to add protein to your meal!


Savory Cabbage Fritters

This is adapted from a traditional Japanese recipe, Okonomiyaki.
You will need:
2 eggs
½ cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 cup all-purpose flour
4-5 cups shredded green cabbage
1 carrot
3 green onions

¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons hot sauce or sriracha

Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Thinly slice the cabbage until you have 4-5 cups.
Peel the carrot and shred it using a large-holed cheese grater.

Slice the green onions.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil until smooth.

Begin whisking in the flour, ¼ cup at a time, until it forms a thick, smooth batter.


Add the cabbage, carrots, and green onion to the batter and stir until the vegetables are mixed and everything is evenly coated in batter.

Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ¾ cup of the vegetable and batter mixture.

Press it down into the hot skillet to form a circle, about 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick.

Place a cover on the skillet to hold in the steam, which will help the cabbage soften as it cooks.

Cook the pancake until golden brown on the bottom (about 5 minutes), then flip and cook until golden brown on the second side.

Pile the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm until ready to eat. Add more oil to the skillet as needed as you cook the pancakes.

To prepare the spicy mayo, mix together the mayo and hot sauce.
Drizzle over each pancake just before serving.

October 7, 2016

Revamp Your Lunch Routine

Fall is here, and it's the perfect time to look inward, slow down, and change the way that we eat. Summer's expansive energy is culminating in the harvest of beans, grains, root vegetables and winter squash. These are also essential foods to eat right now because of their immune-boosting benefits.

Try these lunch ideas to strengthen your immune response and simplify your diet.

To prepare:
Set aside 3 hours of time on a day off. Make a list and go food shopping.
Prepare a double batch of these two recipes and you will have lunches ready for the week ahead.

Green Leek Millet Casserole


You will need:
1 cup millet
1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 large leek
½ teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper
1 bunch fresh greens: dandelion, kale, chard, collards, beet greens
4 eggs
1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder
Juice of half a lemon
2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)

Place millet in a stock pot with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add salt and black pepper.
The millet will reach a thick, porridge-like consistency as you stir. Once it does, remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables.
Chop 1 large leek into rounds.
Heat olive 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 olive oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, and mustard.
Spread the millet on the bottom of an oiled baking dish.
Place vegetables over millet.
Pour eggs over the top and bake for 40 minutes.

Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

Buckwheat Cauliflower Shitake Casserole


You will need:
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg
1 large head cauliflower
1/4 pound shitake mushrooms
3 carrots
½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon
3 cloves garlic

Place kasha and 2 ½ cups water in a stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes until kasha begins to thicken.
Add spices.
Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Chop cauliflower and carrots.
Oil a rectangular baking dish.
Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish.
Season with spices,
Toss well to coat.
Roast for 15 minutes.
Chop shitakes and add them to the roasting vegetables.
Roast for 15 more minutes.

Mince garlic.
Remove from oven and mix in garlic.
Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of cooked kasha.
Cover kasha with the vegetables.
Cover vegetables with the rest of the cooked kasha.
Bake for 15 more minutes. Cool, slice and enjoy!

Buckwheat: this little seed is not technically a grain, but is often treated like one. It is gluten-free and contains more protein than fiber or fat. It is filling, nourishing, and offers a warming quality during the colder months. Buckwheat helps maintain balanced cholesterol, stable blood sugar, and low blood pressure. Its beneficial effects are due to its high flavonoid and magnesium content. Kasha is the name for toasted buckwheat groats, which cook up much more quickly than raw buckwheat.

Garlic: high in Vitamin C and pungent sulfurous compounds, which reduce inflammation in the body; nature’s strongest anti-biotic; contains polysulfides, which trigger blood vessel dilation to reduce blood pressure; anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, controls overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the small intestine thus helping to reduce heartburn and eventual ulcers.

Mushrooms: anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and anti-oxidant. These members of the fungal family have rich, earthy flavor (umami), are high in protein, and are the fruiting bodies of a network of mushroom mycelium that runs underground throughout the entire planet. They contain a special fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which may be able to bind onto aromatase enzymes in breast cancer cells and lessen their ability to produce estrogen.

Would you like to dive deeper into changing your lunch routine?

I have created a week-long menu plan of plant-based lunches, which includes recipes, a shopping list and cooking tips. You can prepare each of these lunches easily as you make breakfast in the morning. If you would like to download them for $10, here is the link.

September 28, 2016

Build Immunity Now. Stay Healthy All Winter.

Fall equinox passed us last week, providing a balance point, a moment of equal day and equal night before we delve into the inner journey of fall and winter. 

Here are some ways to honor this transition:
Take a deep breath before you eat a meal. 
Stop to appreciate fall foliage. 
Wake up affirming that something wonderful is going to happen today.
Set aside time to prepare a healing, delicious meal. May these recipes inspire you.

Mushroom and Carrot Pilaf


You will need:
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon thyme
10 ounces cremini and shitake mushrooms, sliced
1 teaspoon lemon juice
5 medium carrots, grated
4 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat in oil, and cover skillet.

Cook for 5 minutes or until translucent.
Add mushrooms and lemon juice.
Cover and cook until mushrooms release most of their liquid, about 10 minutes.
Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes more.
Meanwhile, grate carrots.
Remove skillet from heat, mix in carrots and flaxseed, and serve warm.

Carrots are an excellent fall and winter food because they tonify the intestines and support immune health. Mushrooms are immune-boosting and high in vegetarian protein.

Quinoa and White Bean Sauté


You will need:
2 cups white beans (soldier or cannellini), cooked
2 inches seaweed (kombu or wakame), for cooking the beans
3 cups quinoa, rinsed and cooked
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 shallots, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced
2 large bunches kale, or other hearty green, chopped
apple cider vinegar and olive oil for dressing

Soak beans overnight. Rinse, drain, and cook with 2 inches seaweed.
Cook beans and quinoa.
Meanwhile, mince shallot and chop kale, parsley and basil.
Sauté shallot and ginger in olive oil for 4 minutes, or until browned.
Add kale. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add ½ cup water and sauté for 5 more minutes.
Stir to incorporate, turn off heat, and mix with cooked beans and quinoa.
Toss with olive oil and vinegar.

Serve at room temperature.

Shallots and ginger are warming, digestive, and stimulate the immune system.

Miso Walnut Porridge


You will need:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil
1 cup walnut halves and pieces
½ teaspoon each: coriander and cardamom
½ cup rolled oats
1 cup water
½ teaspoon miso

Heat coconut oil in a small stock pot.
Add walnuts, coriander, and cardamom. 
Toast on low heat for 3 or 4 minutes.
Add oats and water.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Turn off heat, add miso, stir to incorporate, and enjoy!


This is a terrific breakfast or a wonderful addition to a dinner of poached chicken and steamed kale.

Have you ever had savory oats? I think they're delicious. They also soothe the nervous system and support healthy transit time and elimination. They're a perfect warming grain for fall and winter.


August 28, 2016

Blood Pressure and Heart Health


Ways to Reduce Blood Pressure and Promote Heart Health with Food and Herbs


Eat 3 tablespoons of flaxseed meal daily. Sprinkle it on sautéed vegetables, salads, and whole grains. Consuming flaxseed in a variety of foods was linked to a reduction blood pressure when eaten daily over six months. Flaxseed’s alpha linolenic acid, lignans, peptides and fiber reduce blood pressure.

Use good quality olive oil as your primary cooking and garnishing oil. Spanish researchers compared a diet of polyphenol-rich olive oil to a diet that didn't contain any polyphenols and their effects on
blood pressure over a period of four months. The results: The polyphenol-rich olive oil was linked with drops in systolic and diastolic blood pressure—especially among women with higher blood pressure to start.

Reduce consumption of saturated fat. Try to cut out most dairy. Unsweetened yoghurt is ok 3 times weekly. Limit intake of coconut products to 3 times weekly. Whenever possible, avoid pork products, lunch meat, and beef/venison/beefalo. The peptides that are produced when digesting saturated fat are known to increase blood pressure.

Reduce consumption of nuts and nut butters. Again, these protein sources are high in saturated fat and can aggravate rising blood pressure. Pistachios seem to be ok on occasion.

Limit sodium intake. Please read labels on packaged food. If a food product contains more than 50 mg of sodium per serving, try to avoid it. Stop sprinkling salt on your food before you eat it and enjoy its natural taste.

Eat more beets! A 2013 study in Nutrition Journal observed a reduction in systolic blood pressure six hours after participants drank beet juice, especially among the men. Beets naturally contain nitrates, which ease blood pressure.

Enjoy foods high in potassium. Consuming more than a cup of pomegranate juice every day for four weeks was linked to a drop blood pressure (study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition). Other potassium-rich foods include bananas and potatoes.

Focus on omega-3 fatty acids. If you aren’t doing so already, take a fish oil supplement. I recommend Nordic Naturals. Include salmon in your diet weekly and enjoy eggs daily or every other day.

Enjoy magnesium-rich foods. These are known to lower blood pressure and are delicious, too!
Choose chard, kale, avocados, pumpkin seeds, black beans, and quinoa.

Drink herbal tea! A blend of linden flowers, hawthorn berries, motherwort flowers and hibiscus flowers promotes heart health due to the high anthocyanin and polyphenol content of these plants. Add a bit of raw honey to sweeten the tea.

Practice deep breathing. Calming the nervous system has a proven effect on reducing blood pressure. Try this: breathe in for 4 counts, hold for 2, breathe out for 4, hold for 2. Repeat this cycle 3 times.

Get cardio-vascular exercise 2 or 3 times weekly. Walk uphill or ride a bicycle at a rate vigorous enough to feel your heart pounding. Do this for at least 10 minutes. Slow down, then resume the vigorous rate for 10 more minutes. Remember to stretch a bit before and after exercising.

August 20, 2016

Healthy Eating at Work

Serotonin is our basic feel-good hormone. If serotonin is low, we feel sad or depressed. And hormonal imbalance or weak digestion can lead to low serotonin. Unfortunately, sugars and simple carbohydrates release a short burst of serotonin — we feel good for a moment, but soon return to our low-serotonin state — then crave more sugar and simple carbohydrates. It’s a downward spiral.

Food cravings mean that the body has its signals mixed up. When we are exhausted or blue, we have low blood sugar and/or low serotonin (our ‘feel-good’ hormone). At these times, the body signals the brain that it needs energy. This signal causes a sugar or carbohydrate craving, which only temporarily releases endorphins to raise serotonin levels. Thirty minutes after we indulge the craving, levels plummet again and the vicious cycle starts over.

Work defines our lives, yet we cannot let it take over the way we eat. Try these simple tips to develop healthy workplace eating habits.

To avoid unhealthy foods on a stressful day, keep these super foods on hand:
Almonds and 80% dark chocolate;
Refrigerated fruit and vegetable smoothies (I like Odwalla);
Apples and oranges.

Enjoy one of these as a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack.

Go for a 5 minute walk around the building or outside after you eat a snack. Breathe deeply. Listen to yourself breathe.

Keep an electric tea kettle at your desk. When you are feeling tired or craving snacks, heat water for tea and enjoy it as you work. Choose green tea or herbal varieties. Add honey instead of sugar to sweeten it. As you sip, try to keep your tongue resting softly behind your front teeth. This practice loosens tension in the jaw, hence relaxing the whole body.

Ways to reduce cravings and better meet the body’s needs:
Drink water. Often, when we crave sugar, our body is de-hydrated. Stop, notice your craving, and try to drink a glass of water before reaching for sweets.

Reach for fruit. Keep fruit handy for when sugar cravings hit. You'll get fiber and nutrients along with some sweetness. And stock up on foods like nuts, seeds, and dried fruits.

Move your body. When a sugar craving hits, walk away. Take a walk around the block or go somewhere to change the scenery. It may take your mind off your craving.

Eat regularly. Waiting too long between meals may set you up to choose sugary, fatty foods that cut your hunger. Instead, eating every three to five hours can help keep blood sugar stable and help you avoid irrational eating behavior. Choose protein, fiber-rich foods like whole grains and vegetables.

Eat a bit of what you’re craving. Enjoying a little of what you love can help you steer clear of feeling denied.

Combine sweets and protein. If the idea of stopping at a cookie or a baby candy bar seems impossible, you can still fill yourself up and satisfy a sugar craving, too. As a beneficial bonus, you'll satisfy a craving and get healthy nutrients from those good-for-you foods.

Packing a daily lunch:
Make a weekly dinner plan with your family that everyone will enjoy. For example:
Burrito night – corn tortillas, beans, roasted sweet potatoes, avocado, salsa
Pasta night – grilled chicken, artichoke hearts, olives, spinach, and garlic
Soup night: leftover grilled chicken and roasted sweet potatoes, chicken broth, side salad
Stir fry night: onions, ginger, carrots, bok choy, adzuki beans over brown rice
Breakfast for dinner night: scrambled eggs with mushrooms and peppers, sourdough bread

Casserole night: leftover stir fry baked with cornmeal, eggs, and yogurt

Be sure you make large batches so that you can take leftovers to work. Pack them as you are cleaning up from dinner and have a little cooler and ice packs ready in the morning. This way, you can assemble lunch, snacks, and go!


In addition to these leftovers, set aside 2 hours over the weekend to prepare some of the recipes below. You can take them to work and trust that they will help you reduce cravings and avoid unhealthy food.

August 10, 2016

Flourless Chocolate Cake

Summer is transitioning into its late stages and we move from enjoying the bitter flavor of quinoa olives and salad greens to embracing the sweet flavor of millet and round vegetables.

Why not mix the bitter and the sweet in this delicious chocolate cake recipe? Try it and let me know what you think. It makes a great birthday cake.

You will need:
1 bar dark chocolate 80%
1/2 cup butter
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup cocoa powder
3 tablespoons coconut flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
A pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler over medium heat.
Place in food processor with all other ingredients.
Blend well.

Pour in greased cake pan and bake for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Dust with cocoa powder or cover with coconut frosting if you like.

July 14, 2016

Middle Eastern Feast

Dear friends of ours are getting married this fall. I have the honor of helping coordinate the wedding feast. Because the bride grew up in Jerusalem, they are choosing a Middle Eastern theme for dinner. 

Here are some recipes from the feast, which are perfect for cooling summer heat. They will tantalize your senses and get your creative juices flowing.

Tabbouleh


You will need:
1 1/2 cups bulghur wheat*
2 cups boiling water
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup olive oil
3 teaspoons salt

2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups minced scallions
1 1/4 cups chopped fresh mint leaves
1 1/2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 cucumber, unpeeled and diced
3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

*You can substitute cooked quinoa for a gluten-free version of this salad.
Place the bulghur in a large serving bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.
Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, and pepper.
Mix well. 

Cover and refrigerate. 
The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh marinates for a few hours.

Watermelon Mint Feta Salad


You will need:
One 8 pound (approximately) watermelon
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 limes, juiced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 cup fresh chopped mint leaves
1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese (goat or sheep milk feta is best)

Chop the watermelon, remove the seeds, and place in a colander to drain.
In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, salt, and black pepper to create a dressing.
Place watermelon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss gently to coat.
Crumble the feta over the top ans stir gently to incorporate all ingredients.
Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Israeli Salad

This salad is delicious served with feta and olives or fresh pita bread.

You will need:
3 cups Roma tomatoes, diced (about 5 tomatoes)
2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 2 cucumbers)
1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 pepper)
1 cup Italian parsley, chopped
3 tablespoons green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice

Toss together all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
This salad's flavors improve when given a few hours to marinate. Prepare it mid-day to serve at dinner.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

July 10, 2016

Salad Summer

Summer is a wonderful time to combine fresh ingredients and minimal cooking effort to create a delicious meal. Try these salad recipes to nourish and inspire you.

Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad


You will need:
1/3 cup walnuts
2 pounds fingerling potatoes, chopped
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon coarse salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 packed cups arugula

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place walnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, about 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop and set aside.

Bring a medium saucepan of water to a boil. Add potatoes, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer potatoes to a colander to drain and cool. Set aside.

Return pan of water to a boil. Add green beans, and cook until tender and bright green, about 3 to 4 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to the colander with the potatoes.

Whisk together vinegar, mustard and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl; season with pepper. Add oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking until emulsified. Set dressing aside.

Arrange arugula, potatoes, and green beans on a platter. Season with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle with dressing and sprinkle with toasted walnuts; toss to coat.


Parsley Cilantro Chickpea Salad


For the salad:
2 cups cooked chick peas OR one 14 ounce can chickpeas. drained
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons each: salt, black pepper, allspice, cumin, and cardamon

5 packed cups of salad greens
2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 1 cucumber)
2 cups tomatoes, diced (about 3 medium tomatoes)
1/3 cup each of fresh cilantro and Italian parsley. chopped

For the dressing:
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper

Cook and drain the chickpeas. If cooking dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and boil them in water for 2 hours until tender.
Place them in a skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cumin and cardamom. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. 

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.
Wash and drain salad greens.

Remove chickpeas heat and place them in a serving bowl with all the other salad ingredients.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients. Pour over the salad, toss well, and refrigerate to marinate for at least 1 hour.
Enjoy!

June 29, 2016

Whole Food Carrot Cake

The first carrot fronds are popping out of our rich garden soil. The long summer days are hot and we give the beets and carrots some extra water to encourage their growth.

As the first tiny carrots come into the summer harvest, I give thanks with this delicious, wholesome and protein-rich carrot cake.

Try it for yourself! It happens to be vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, and sweetened only with dates.

Grain-Free Carrot Cake


You will need:
1/2 cup walnuts
1/2 cup almonds
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dates, pitted
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg
A pinch of salt

1 1/2 cups carrots, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Oil a cake pan with olive or sunflower oil.

Place all ingredients EXCEPT carrots in a food processor. Blend well.
Fold in carrots.
Smooth into cake pan and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, make coconut frosting to go on top.
Enjoy!

Coconut Butter Frosting


You will need:
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a small pot. Heat gently, whisking and stirring to blend.

Spread a light layer of frosting onto baked carrot cake.

With gratitude to My Whole Food Romance for this inspiration.

June 25, 2016

Sustain Your Energy! Healthy Summer Treats

During these long summer days, we can support ourselves and maintain balanced energy with healthy treats. Instead of grabbing something quick and chock full of preservatives when you are starved, pack some of these treats in your snack bag.

As always, be well and enjoy whatever you eat.

Maple Pecan Fudge


You will need:
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup almond butter
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg
Place all ingredients in a blender and combine.

Fold in 1/2 cup pecans.
Pour into a loaf pan lined with parchment/waxed paper.

Allow the mixture to cool in the freezer or fridge into solid. Slice into small 1 inch by 1 inch squares or slices. 

Because of the coconut oil, these will melt if not kept in the fridge or freezer.

Protein Power Squares


You will need:
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1 banana, mashed
1/3 cup nut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup chocolate chips
1/4 C chopped walnuts
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon maca (if desired)

Mix everything together. Shape into squares. Refrigerate and enjoy!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Snack Bars


You will need:
1 cup peanut butter (no sugar, organic) - substitute any nut butter you prefer
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup chopped almonds, cashews, or pecans
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Melt peanut butter and maple over low heat.
Once all of the mixture is all melted, add the rice and chopped nuts.

Mix all of it together and press it into a 9×13 pan.

While the rice part is cooling, melt the chocolate chips, cinnamon and vanilla over low heat. I just use the same pan for this part to save on dish washing.

Spread the chocolate chip mixture over the rice base, put in the fridge to let cool and soften.

June 19, 2016

Get Your B Vitamins!

Many kinds of B vitamins are important to human health: thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid, Vitamin B6, and Vitamin B12. Each of the B vitamins has a unique and essential function:

Vitamins B6, B12, and folate: red blood cell production and nervous system health

Biotin and pantothenic acid: healthy metabolism

Niacin and thiamin: cardiovascular health and energy production

Riboflavin: production of skin cells, nails, and hair

The B vitamins are necessary cofactors in an essential cellular process called the methylation cycle. In this cycle, all three B vitamins are used to convert a potentially damaging molecule called homocysteine into the useful amino acid cysteine. When levels of these B vitamins are low, blood levels of homocysteine rise—a situation that has been shown in numerous studies to significantly increase the risk for heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.

Luckily, homocysteine levels can be kept in balance by eating a diet high in the following foods.

Whole Grains (high in B6 and B12):
brown rice
oats
kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)

Vegetables (high in folate):
spinach (also contains B6)
parsley
broccoli (also contains niacin & riboflavin)
kale (also contains niacin & riboflavin)
beets
turnip and mustard greens (also contain B6)
asparagus
romaine lettuce
bell peppers (also contain B6)

Fruit (high in B6):
banana
mango
avocado (also contains pantothenic acid)

Legumes (high in folate and niacin):
all lentils
green peas

Nuts / Seeds (high in B6, B12, folate and niacin):
almonds
walnuts
sunflower seeds

Animal Protein (high in folate, B6 and B12):
beef
chicken / beef liver (also contains biotin)
chicken (also contains niacin & riboflavin)
pastured eggs (also contain biotin, niacin & riboflavin)
wild salmon (also contains riboflavin

Be sure to include food sources of B vitamins all year round! Some of us may need supplementation of specific B vitamins. If you would like to learn about ways to tailor your dietary needs to your personal constitution, please schedule a nutritional consultation here.

June 16, 2016

Cool, Green Summer

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

These are the healing properties of summer herbs:

Basil –anti-bacterial, digestive, and aromatic, this member of the mint family stimulates growth of white blood cells and protects against unwanted bacterial growth.

Cilantro – the leaf of the coriander plant stimulates the secretion of insulin and helps lower levels of total and LDL (the "bad" cholesterol), while actually increasing levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol). Cilantro’s volatile oils have antimicrobial properties.

Parsley – purifying, anti-dandruff, digestive, and tonic, parsley is also 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.

Velvety Green Soup


You will need:

2 teaspoons olive oil
2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
2 large zucchini, sliced
1 bunch chard, chopped
1 pound fresh or frozen peas
3 cups water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube
1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 bunch fresh basil

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots and onions.
Cook, covered, until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.
Add zucchini and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Add the chard and peas.
Add the water and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the basil.
Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender.

Chop the rosemary and use as garnish.
Serve with cooked quinoa. This soup is excellent chilled, too!

Herbed Pesto


You will need:
2 cups fresh basil
½ cup fresh cilantro
½ cup fresh parsley¼ cup pumpkin OR sunflower seeds1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil

Place basil, seeds, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor.

Make a coarse pesto and set aside.
This is delicious over kohlrabi potato salad - recipe here.




April 30, 2016

My Favorite Spring Treats

Spring is a time to lighten up, eat fewer refined foods, and move towards the whole, local ingredients that support the health of local farms, the bioregion, and your body.

May this practice of eating simple, seasonal, flavorful food help you connect with nature and welcome each day as an opportunity for rejuvenation and new discovery.

May day is honored in Northern traditional cultures as Beltaine, a celebration of passion, creativity, fertility and the resplendent sun, which shines warmer each day and lingers longer each evening. Spark your passion and creative impulse by getting in the kitchen and making these wholesome treats! They also happen to be vegan and gluten-free.

Sweet Potato Bars


For the crust:
1 cup rolled oats
a pinch of salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup almonds
1/4 cup brown rice flour
2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons olive oil

For the topping:
1 pound orange fleshed sweet potatoes
3 tablespoons maple syrup
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, ground ginger, nutmeg and allspice
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
1/4 cup almond milk (or any milk you prefer)

Chop and boil the sweet potatoes. Keep the skin on for maximum nutritional benefit. Drain them and allow them to cool.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Lightly oil an 8-inch square-baking pan with olive oil. Place all topping ingredients in a food processor bowl and pulse until mixture reaches a coarse meal that's evenly moist.

Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it evenly and firmly into the bottom. Bake the crust for 15 minutes or until set. Remove from oven.

Place all the topping ingredients in the food processor and blend until smooth. There's no need to wash the processor between the crust and the topping.

Pour the mixture onto the crust and smooth the top evenly with a spatula. Bake about 25 minutes. Allow to cool, then chill in the refrigerator for 2 hours. Enjoy!

Sweet potatoes are: high in omega 3 essential fatty acids to tonify the internal organs and strengthen immunity; rich in carotenoids and omega-3s, whose anti-oxidant content offers anti-inflammatory support; high in vitamin C to boost immunity; rich in B vitamins to reduce stress.

Almond Chocolate Chip Bites


You will need:
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
2 tablespoons coconut flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 cup organic unsalted almond butter*
1 cup dark chocolate chips
¼ cup cocoa nibs

*You can substitute cashew or peanut butter.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly oil a baking sheet with olive oil.

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mix well. 
Using a soup spoon, evenly space scoops of the mixture on the baking sheet. Press down with a spatula or back of the spoon to slightly flatten. 
Bake for about 15 minutes.
Cool on the baking sheet for 10 minutes before transferring and eating!

Almonds are: high in monounsaturated fat, which promotes heart health, helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss; hig in flavoproteins to balance blood sugar and improve energy levels; rich in vitamin E to promote cognitive abilities and protect the brain.

Thanks to Rebecca Katz for this inspiration!

April 18, 2016

Making Time To Cook

As Spring finds us with its fat buds ready to burst into fragrant flowers, I look ahead to the long days
of Summer. Here on our homestead in Vermont, we revel in the warm months and take time work in the garden, walk in the woods, and sit outside to soak in the lingering evenings.

Summer will also bring a heightened pace of life. With so many daylight hours, the temptation can be to stay busy for the majority of the day! Now is the time to prepare the body, mind and spirit for this brilliant, abundant, and sometimes tiring time of year.

Spring brings the gift of rejuvenation, new life, and the opportunity to prepare for Summer. Start the season with a weekly meal plan, which allows you and your loved ones to keep eating whole, simple foods that are nourishing and delicious.

You can try creating a meal plan with friends or family.

Sit down together, perhaps after a shared meal, and talk about your favorite dishes.

Meal ideas:

Taco Night
Casserole Fun
Soup, Bread, and Salad
Pasta Night
Pizza

It's easy to make these meals healthy and delicious! Just be sure to add plenty of vegetables to your sauces and soups. I made the pizza pictures her with an oat crust, pesto sauce, and toppings of steamed broccolini, walnuts, cooked white beans and a little Parmigiano cheese.

Savor your meals with inspiring spice blends, sauces and spreads to bring forward tons of flavor. Allow each person to mix and match the components of each meal so that everyone enjoys it.

Here are some other options to inspire you:

Three-day meal plan with recipes

A week of plant-based lunches - $10

Weekly meal plans and recipes delivered to your inbox - $15

Be well and enjoy the art of cooking!




April 15, 2016

Recipes for Spring Renewal

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, sauerkraut (and other lacto-fermented vegetables), lemon, rye, turnips, greens, quinoa, 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.

Spring is a wonderful time to engage in a food meditation while cooking. As you chop, stir, and smell, try to be quiet and pay attention to the alchemy of cooking. This practice, along with the inclusion of sour foods and bitter greens, will help you feel more patient, calm, assertive, flexible, and alert.

Creamy Green Sauce


Choose 2 large yellow onions.
Chop off top and bottom, peel skin and slice each one in half width-wise.
Place two halves flat on cutting board and slice each one into thin crescent moons. Follow the ridges of the onion when chopping.

Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.
When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover.

Add a splash or two of water.
Add salt and black pepper.

Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

Meanwhile, cover the bottom of a medium stock pot with water and add a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil.

Rinse and chop 1 large bunch kale, collards and/or chard.

Add greens to the pot, cover, and reduce heat to low. Braise greens for 5-10 minutes.

Add greens to onions. Stir well to incorporate and purée with immersion blender or food processor.
Enjoy as a condiment for grains, as a delicious sauce for salmon, and as a sandwich spread.

Walnut Leek Paté


Chop one large leek into crescents and place in a skillet with olive oil, salt and pepper. Sauté for 10 minutes on low heat. Add a splash of lemon juice and turn off heat.


While leek is cooking, place ½ cup walnut halves/pieces in a skillet.Toast on medium heat, tossing often with a spatula, for about 3 minutes or until walnuts are lightly browned.


Once leeks and walnuts are cooked, place them in a food processor and add 3 Tablespoons olive oil. You can also place all ingredients in a deep bowl and blend with an immersion blender.


Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Taste for salt.
Serve and enjoy with biscuits or savory breads or as a dip with steamed broccoli. Keeps in the fridge for one week.

Dandelion Pesto


In Italian, ‘pesto’ simply means ‘stomp’. You can ‘stomp’ any fresh herbs or greens you like into pesto. Get creative! Try a combination of parsley and cilantro, basil and parsley, or dandelion and nettles.

Harvest as many fresh, tender dandelion greens as you can. Aim for about 3 packed cups.
Rinse well.

In a food processor or blender, blend into a thick paste:
2 tablespoons lemon juice
¼ cup best olive oil (labeled with acidity of less than 0.5%)
3 tablespoons sunflower seeds
½ teaspoon salt

Add dandelion greens. Pulse to incorporate.

Freeze large batches or enjoy with sourdough rye bread, over freshly cooked quinoa, or as a topping for poached white fish or white beans. Keeps in the fridge for one week.

April 7, 2016

Candida Cookies

As a breastfeeding mother of an infant of almost 2 months, I have been through many of the trials of what can occur during the early stages. After having a bacterial infection, mastitis, my breasts also developed a secondary fungal infection: candida. I have been working to clear it from my system for over three weeks.

For many years, I have been helping clients with chronic overgrowth of candida albicans yeast. Now, I'm truly starting to understand how difficult it can be to restore balance once the system is out of alignment.

Candida albicans is a yeast that lives naturally in small quantities in our digestive tract. However, like any beneficial microorganism, when it grows out of proportion and over-colonizes the digestive tract, it can create problems in the body. Systemic candida can include nail and toe nail fungus, digestive distress, cramping, gas, constipation, diarrhea, and a host of additional issues, including eczema and other skin rashes.

The best way to help the body return to balance is to eat pre-biotic foods, like onions and whole, gluten-free grains. These nourish beneficial probiotic bacteria as well as being part of a diet that does not allow the yeast to flourish. Yeast thrives on sugar dairy products and refined carbohydrates. These are the ingredients to avoid.

To reduce candida overgrowth, focus on eating vegetables, non-glutinous whole grains, animal protein, beans, legumes, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats that are also antifungal - like coconut oil and olive oil. In addition, taking a probiotic like Mega Foods' Megaflora can be extremely helpful.

Because I love to bake creative treats, I decided to take all of the most healthful ingredients that also tastes the sweetest and combine them to make a cookie that still fits the parameters of the candida cleanse. I hope you will enjoy this recipe! My husband drizzles cookies with maple syrup for a sweeter treat.

Cinnamon is extremely powerful at stopping the overgrowth of candida yeast. Coconut helps with this process as well and is also pre-biotic due to its high fiber content. Berries are the only allowable fruit on this diet, so I decided to include those, too!


Blueberry Coconut Cookies - Unsweetened!


You will need:
11/2 cups almond flour
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3 tablesspoons flaxseed meal
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
1/4 cup coconut oil, forked out into small chunks
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
A pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups almond milk

*For a sweeter treat, add 1/2 cup maple syrup and 2 additional tablespoons coconut flour to compensate for the extra liquid.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix almond flour, coconut flour, flaxseed meal and shredded coconut together. Add cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Mix again.
Add the coconut oil and mix well so that small, pearl-sized pieces are evenly coated with the flour throughout the batter.
Add the berries and mix again.
Finally, mix, add the almond milk and mix one more time.

Place in golf ball sized balls on a greased cookie sheet. Flatten  each cookie slightly with the palm of your hand.
Bake at 350 for 35 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Let me know what you think!

February 8, 2016

Kitchen Essentials

I love my chef's knife. It's a Chicago Cutlery knife -  not an expensive brand - that was passed down
to me by my parents about a decade ago. I chop almost everything with my chef's knife: from onions to apples.

The key to enjoying your kitchen knives is to sharpen them regularly. This is a very quick and simple task, which will make your food preparation much easier. It's not worth the work to struggle with poor quality, dull knives! You will enjoy cooking much more when you have a good, sharp knife.

To choose a chef's knife: make sure that the metal blade goes all the way through to the end of the handle. This will ensure that the knife lasts and has good leverage without bending its blade.

To choose a sharpener: go to your local hardware store and ask for a simple kitchen knife sharpener. Mine is small and yellow. It has criss-crossed ceramic edges that sharpen knives quickly and easily.

Now that you have a nice knife and a good sharpener, enjoy preparing food! When you return from food shopping, chop up a few days' worth of vegetables and store them in the fridge.

I like to make cubes of sweet potatoes, carrots, beets and potatoes. I use these either for roasting or for soups.

I chop kale, collards and chard for sautes or soups. I add chopped onions to add to almost anything, from pot pie to frittata.

Regardless of how you prepare food, please set aside time to cook and enjoy your meal!

February 7, 2016

A Week in Vegetables

As we pass the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox, I am thinking about the fertile seeds that we will plant in dark soil this spring. These seeds will bring delicious food to our table and fill our root cellar with bounty for the winter to come.

I realize that time is not linear, but cyclical. The cycle of seasons finds plants on another ring of the spiral each year as they sprout new branches, stalks, and shoots. We can also grow into each new cycle by appreciating how far we have come since this time last year and renewing our body, mind, and spirit with simple food. 

As the outside world slowly wakes up to welcome another growing season, so can we rejuvenate our bodies by including more plant foods into our diet.

Here is the shopping list for a week of healthy, plant-based lunches.
You can gain the complete guide, including recipes, for $10.

Simple Vegetable Recipes 


to keep you nourished all week long

Shopping List
Produce8 small sweet potatoes (or 5 to 6 medium/large)
1 head of cauliflower
1 head of broccoli
2 bunches Swiss chard
Baby spinach
2 bunches kale
Mushrooms
1 can white beans
1 can chickpeas
2 red onions
1 large leek
Parsley or cilantro (optional)

Grocery
Olive Oil
Eggs
Ghee or grass-fed butter
Tamari or soy sauce
Cumin
Coriander
Paprika
Apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper

While making breakfast, do the following each morning. It will take about 30 minutes per morning.

January 14, 2016

Listen To Your Body

We are constantly receiving internal messages from our body about which foods are best for us at any given time. However, we are also surrounded by an external culture that judges some foods as "good" or "bad". As we try to tap into the body's intuition so we can hear these messages, it's important to drop the external value system that second-guesses them.

For example, if you are starting to feel under the weather, you might crave spicy food. This is the body's internal message. It's communicating with you, and its message makes sense. The capsicum family of plants (black pepper, cayenne, sweet peppers, chiles) stimulates capillary action and supports detoxification. 

But you may have read that too much spicy food can aggravate your liver or cause an ulcer, so you steer away from it. This external information blocks the body's intuition and you are more likely to catch a cold.

This example elucidates the importance of giving up black-and-white thinking. Embrace the fact that healthy eating is flexible and can include a wide variety of foods. Sometimes the healthier choice may be the choice that's seemingly more indulgent.

Which would be a healthier choice: cake or salad? The salad is only healthier if that’s what you really want. Otherwise, you might feel deprived and end up overeating later. Enjoying cake mindfully acknowledges that food is not only a way to nourish ourselves but is also a way to celebrate. We might end up eating both salad and cake and feel much more satisfied.

To practice listening to your body, sit down and tune in before you go to the kitchen and open the refrigerator.

Close the eyes or gaze at the floor.
Take a deep breath in for 4 counts.
Hold the breath for 4 counts.
Breathe out for 6 counts.

This cycle relaxes the nervous system and allows us to become more grounded and centered in our bodies.

Now, pay attention to how you are feeling. Can you name an emotion or a sensation? 

Are you tired, overwhelmed, excited, rushed, stressed, or calm?
Do you feel hot, cold, tense, or relaxed?
Choose a food that helps to balance this feeling.

Most importantly, eat it slowly, without any other distractions, and savor it. This is mindful eating.

To learn more about which foods bring balance to specific sensations, try a nutritional consultation with me.

January 2, 2016

Deep Winter Nourishment

Happy New Year!

Some of us celebrate with lights, toasts, and foods that delight our palates. Others choose to chant, meditate, or retreat and eat simple foods. No matter how you bring in the new year, set an intention.

Imagine yourself happy, healthy, feeling vibrant in your body, and intuitively knowing which foods are best for your body.

To find connection with this deep internal body wisdom, eat mindfully and nourish yourself with wholesome foods that are rich in good quality fats.

Fats soothe the nervous system, provide warmth, uplift the mood, and ease stress. Here are some recipes to try this winter.


Chicken Stock


Place 2 pounds of pastured chicken legs into a large stock pot and cover with 10 cups cold water.

Coarsely chop and add vegetables: 3 stalks celery (1 1/2 cups), 2 onions, (2 cups), and 3 carrots (2 cups). Add 2 teaspoons each: salt and pepper.

You can also add: 2 inches fresh ginger root to make a warming, spicy stock; 2 Tablespoons each astragalus root and reishi mushroom slices to enhance the immune boosting properties of the stock.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for 1-2 hours.

Remove the bones and strain the stock. Save the vegetables, purée them in a blender with olive oil, and eat as a spread on bread.

You can store the stock in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Use the stock to cook rice, kale, or make soup.


Winter Chicken Stew


You will need:
1 pound chicken: use boneless drumsticks or thighs 
To make a vegetarian dish, substitute 2 cups cooked red lentils.

2 large yellow onions
4 carrots, chopped into crescents
3 stalks celery, chopped
1 turnip, chopped
1 bunch kale, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop onions.
Heat oil in large soup pot.
Add the rest of the spices, stir and sauté on medium heat for 2 more minutes.

Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes.
Add lemon juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, turnip and celery. Add water if onions are sticking to the bottom.
Add the chicken pieces and 2 cups water. Cover and allow to cook for ½ hour (or until chicken is done).

Add kale and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve with shitake rice.


Shiitake Rice


You will need:
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 large yellow onions
2 cups shiitake mushrooms
1 teaspoon tamari
2 inches seaweed: kombu or wakame (I like Ironbound Island brand)
freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2 cups napa cabbage, chopped
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 cups water or chicken stock (see above)

Chop onions and shitakes.

Heat oil in a deep skillet.
Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until browning.
Add shitakes and sauté for 10 more minutes, or until soft.
Add tamari, seaweed, vinegar, and pepper.

Add cabbage, rice and stock / water. Stir well to incorporate.
Cook, covered, on low heat for 30 minutes or until you see air bubbles on the surface of the rice.
Serve warm.




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