Blondies

Spring is trying to make its way to Vermont. The slow, gentle unraveling of this new season can help us slow down and see the small miracles of tiny crocus blossoms or willow buds. I encourage you to fill your heart with what brings you joy.

This recipe certainly brings joy to my family’s taste buds. PS: they’re grain-free and thus gluten-free and naturally sweetened with a pro-biotic, mineral rich sweetener.

BLONDIES

A healthy take on the traditional Pennsylvania Dutch recipe, these will delight a crowd of picnic-goers.

You will need:

2/3 cup maple syrup

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 eggs (OR 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water)

6 tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, melted

1 cup almond flour

1/4 cup arrowroot powder

1/4 cup coconut flour

1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda

pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg and cinnamon

optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts pr pecans

Heat oven to 350°. Oil a 9″ x 13″ baking pan; set aside.

Whisk together maple, vanilla, vinegar and eggs together in a bowl until smooth. Add butter, and stir until smooth.

Add flours, powder, soda, salt, spices and stir until just combined.

Add nuts if using and stir gently.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake for about 20 minutes.

Cool, slice and enjoy! These are a great base for fresh berries and fruit salads, too.

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Apricot Drizzle Cake

Spring is a time for renewal, rejuvenation, and celebration. Many celebrate seasonal holidays such as Equinox, Ostara, or Easter. In Vermont, it’s also sugaring season. Sap houses are busy boiling maple sap to make syrup, and many join in the fun.

Here is a celebration cake that will impress anyone.

It is gluten free, grain free, dairy free, and sweetened with maple syrup. I offer thanks to my friend Tara Young Earley, who shared her grandmother’s recipe that inspired this modified version.

APRICOT DRIZZLE CAKE

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup tapioca flour

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 3 beaten eggs

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 cup apricot juice with puree (I used Bionaturae brand)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Grease a Bundt pan with olive oil and flour it lightly with almond flour.

Mix all ingredients together well and pour them into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes.

To make the glaze, mix together:

juice of 1 lemon

1/4 cup maple syrup,

2 tablespoons coconut butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat in a small pan, cool slightly, and pour over baked cake.

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Amaranth Breakfast Porridge

Spring is on its way The days are getting warmer, blue skies grace us, and our bodies are ready for a reset. Try to make more savory breakfasts that include protein. They will boost metabolic activity, reduce cravings, and leave you feeling clear and energized all morning.

Hemp seeds are high in omega 3 fatty acids to reduce inflammation and balance the mood. Amaranth, a cousin to quinoa, is high in protein and excellent at fighting yeast overgrowth in the gut.

AMARANTH PORRIDGE

You will need:

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and coriander powders

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 cup amaranth

  • 1/2 teaspoon apple cider vinegar or lemon juice

  • 2 tablespoons hemp seeds

Place all ingredients in a pot EXCEPT the hemp seeds. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 25 minutes, or until porridge begins to thicken. Stir occasionally to make sure it is not sticking to the bottom.

Mix in the hemp seeds and enjoy.

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Millet Waffles

We are one moon cycle away from spring. It is time to start eating foods that are lighter, brighter, and cooked a bit more quickly. Ayurveda tells us that this is kapha, or earth, season. It is a time to get grounded and to do our best not to get stuck.

Whenever we cook and eat, we gain yet another opportunity to attune to the season, breathe deeply and relax. May this recipe inspire a new cooking wave for you. If you would like support with recipes and meal plans, take a look at my custom healthy cooking guide here.

MILLET WAFFLES

Thanks to Rebecca Wood for this recipe inspiration!

In a blender, soak 1 cup millet and 3 cups water overnight. Be sure to cover the blender with a kitchen towel.

When you wake up, drain off any excess water.

Add:

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

  • 1/4 cup flax seed meal

  • 2 Tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

  • 1 Tablespoon honey or maple syrup

  • 1 cup plant milk (almond or hemp)

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Blend well, pour into waffle-maker or into skillet if making pancakes, and enjoy!

These can be eaten as sweet waffles with nut butter, applesauce, and other toppings of your choosing. They can also be a savory bread to eat with soup and salad.

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Cinnamon Apple Bread

I had the honor of teaching at the Florida School of Holistic Living today and wanted to share a recipe we prepared together. We discussed how sugar and gluten can contribute to inflammation. Here is an alternative baked good that can allow you to enjoy sweetness in a healthier way. Plus, it’s gluten-free and vegan.

Apples also contain pectin, a kind of insoluble fiber that’s prebiotic, meaning it nourishes beneficial gut bacteria.

Cinnamon Apple Bread

You will need:

1 1/2 cups sorghum flour

1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

a pinch of sea salt

1 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/2 cup date puree

1/2 cup almond milk

Optional: 1/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Oil a loaf pan with sunflower oil.

Mix all the ingredients together in the order listed.

Place in loaf pan and bake for 45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

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High Protein Travel Muffins

Ever wonder what to take on a trip with you? Tired of buying kale chips and protein bars? Look no further than this recipe.

The keys to staying healthy during travel and having your digestion remain regular after you arrive at your destination are hydration and high fiber foods.

By drinking at least 2 quarts of water daily and eating these muffins, you will be well on your way to feeling energized and grounded throughout your travels.

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High protein travel muffins

You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa flour

  • ½ cup tapioca flour

  • ½ cup almond flour

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour

  • 4 tablespoons ground flax seeds

  • ½ teaspoon baking powder

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ¾ cup hemp milk

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • ⅓ cup olive oil

  • ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans

  • ½ cup raisins (optional)

  • 1 cup grated carrots

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 12 cup muffin pan with olive oil.


    In a medium sized mixing bowl, add the flours, ground flax, baking powder, baking soda, sea salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Whisk together well.

    In another mixing bowl, whisk together the milk, vinegar, syrup, and oil.

    Add the wet ingredients to the dry and whisk together. Then add the nuts, raisins (if using), and grated carrots. Continue to mix with a large wooden spoon until all of the ingredients are combined. Be sure to not over mix the batter!

    Spoon batter into oiled muffin cups and bake for about 25 minutes. Cool muffins for 15 minutes before removing from cups. 

A Breakfast To Energize Your Day

Breakfast can get redundant or boring. Some of us don't even eat breakfast. Your mom might have told you it's the most important meal of the day. This time, she was right. Eating breakfast within an hour of waking up boosts metabolism, improves brain function, balances mood, and gives us the energy we need to do our day and beat cravings.

Full of anti-inflammatory, mood enhancing and hormone balancing ingredients, this breakfast pie is sure to become a favorite! Did I mention it's vegan, gluten-free, and paleo friendly? Try it and tell me what you think! lisa@harmonizedcookery.com

Sweet Potato Pecan Pie

You will need:

  • 2 medium sweet potatoes, chopped (about 1 pound)

  • 1 cup rolled oats

  • 1/4 cup pecans

  • 1/2 cup walnuts

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup, divided

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg and allspice

  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 tablespoons arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 350 F / 180 C.

Oil a pie plate with sunflower or coconut oil. Set aside.

Chop sweet potatoes and place in a stock pot. Cover with water and bring to a boil on the stove top. Reduce to simmer and cook for 10 minutes or until fork tender. Drain water and set aside.

In a food processor, blend oats, walnuts, 2 tablespoons maple syrup, and vanilla until crumbly. Press into the bottom of the oiled pie plate.

Without cleaning the food processor, add the sweet potatoes, arrowroot, 1'4 cup maple, and spices. Blend well. Spread over the top of the crumble base.

Chop pecans. Mix them with the remaining 2 tablespoons maple syrup. Drizzle over the sweet potato mixture.

Bake at 350 F/ 180 C for 35 minutes, or until the top cracks. Cool for 15 minutes before serving.

You can also refrigerate this pie overnight and reheat it
at 350 F/ 180 C for 15 minutes for breakfast.

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Best Grain Free Bread Recipe Ever

Wow! I have been so impressed by this recipe that I want to share it with you all. It’s not only moist, spongy and delicious, but it’s also extremely easy to make.

Mid-winter, also known as Imbolc and Groundhog’s Day, is coming next week. In the northern climates, this is a time to celebrate the slow return of warmer months. Although there is still some hibernation to be had, it is an opportunity to be a bit more active, gather with friends, and celebrate life.

This bread can easily be made for brunch, tea time, or turned into a cake. I hope you and yours enjoy it as much as we do. It’s also a great option for a high protein breakfast, which is an ideal way to start the day.

Best Grain Free Bread

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup arrowroot powder

  • 1/3 cup cassava flour

  • 1/3 cup coconut flour

  • 1/3 cup almond flour

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 2 eggs, beaten*

  • 1/4 cup milk of your choice

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a loaf pan of 8x8 baking dish with sunflower oil.

Mix the flours together. Make sure to get all the lumps out. Add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT THE VINEGAR and mix well.

If the batter doesn’t have a cake-like consistency, add a bit more milk. Some milks are more viscous than others.

Add the vinegar at the very end. Mix quickly to incorporate. This last minute addition will make the bread spongy and help it rise.

Pour batter into dish and bake for 35 minutes, or until a knife inserted comes out clean.

Cool 10 minutes before diving in.

*To make a vegan version, use 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal soaked in 4 tablespoons warm water for 10 minutes.

Variations:

Date Cake

Add 2 tablespoons maple syrup and 1/2 cup chopped, soaked dates.

Omit the applesauce.

Chocolate Cake

Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 3 tablespoons maple syrup.

Omit the applesauce.

Increase the milk content to 1/2 cup.

Lemon Cake

Grate the zest of one organic lemon into the batter.

Add the juice of the lemon as well.

Do not use the apple cider vinegar.

Drizzle with coconut butter frosting.

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Pear Ginger Cake

This warming and delicious cake has all the flavors of the holidays without being overly sweet. It contains enough protein-rich almond flour to keep blood sugar balanced and provide vitamin E to help balance hormones. It’s vegan and gluten-free, which is an added bonus for some. I find that using alternative flours and sweeteners lends a delightfully complex flavor to my baked goods.

Be well and enjoy the arrival of the new year! January 5th will bring a new moon lunar eclipse and offer an excellent opportunity for setting intentions around self-care and wellness.

Pear Ginger Cake

You will need:

  • 1 1/4 cups sorghum or millet flour

  • 1/4 cup almond flour

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon each baking powder and baking soda

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg and cinnamon

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/3 cup sunflower or olive oil

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/2 cup almond milk

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 ripe pear, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a cake pan with sunflower or olive oil and set aside.

Mix ingredients together in the order listed.

Pour into cake pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until golden on top.

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Fortified Bone Broth

I grew up in Northern Italy drinking a cup of bone broth before winter meals. It warms the digestive organs and prepares the intestines to relax, digest food, and assimilate nutrients. We would make broth from chicken, beef, and/or pork bones after we had eaten the meat.

For me, bone broth is simple, nourishing, grounding and a great way to get into our bodies and take ease in the moment. It is easier to make than you might think and has profound healing properties.

Bone broth contains the amino acids arginine, glutamine, and cysteine, have been shown to boost immunity in humans and animals. In addition, cysteine chemically resembles the bronchitis drug acetylcysteine. In 2000, a study conducted by the American College of Chest Physicians found that chicken soup made with bone broth alleviates symptoms of the common cold, by clearing mucus, opening respiratory pathways, and providing easily digested nutrition.

Bone broth has a rich history of being used as a digestive tonic, especially in Traditional Chinese Medicine, an ancient and unbroken healing tradition. Today, it’s one of the top recommended foods for improving symptoms of chronic digestive conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and colitis.

The reason for why bone broth is so healing for the gut goes back to collagen, which is released from the bones as they cook and becomes gelatin as the broth is cooked down. Collagen and gelatin are rich in amino acids that reduce inflammation in the gut, such as glutamine. These compounds also have the unique ability to heal inflammation-related tears in the gut lining, which can cause a condition called leaky gut.

Glutamine, an essential protein building black found in bone broth, specifically targets the intestinal lining and helps to rebuild it for stronger digestion. When vegetables are added to the broth, it contains electrolytes (minerals) and carbohydrates (from vegetables), which help keep us hydrated. Hydration is always important and is crucial during the healing process.

Your gut bacteria are constantly speaking to your brain. The makeup of gut bacteria, called your microbiome, influences mood, memory, cognition, and adaptation to stress. When the microbiome is healthy, the brain is also healthy.

Research is finding that the degenerative and inflammatory diseases on the rise in industrialized societies can be corrected by the use of gelatin-rich foods such as bone broth due to the presence of restorative amino acids such as glycine, alanine, proline, and hydroxyproline.

During a recent cold, I had the honor of adding Urban Herbs immune-boosting Chinese herbal blend to my bone broth. My family’s illness, which had been lingering for almost two weeks, literally dissipated overnight. I highly recommend steeping bone broth with medicinal herbs. You can procure these in Montpelier at Integrative Acupuncture or online at Urban Herbs.

Easy Bone Broth Recipe

You will need:

  • Bones, skin, and giblets from 1 roast chicken** – hormone free + antibiotic free

  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • Any medicinal herbs you wish to add

  • 1 onion

  • 1 carrot

  • 2 stalks celery

  • Water

After roasting a chicken, place the remaining ‘frame’ of the chicken (the bones, skin, and cartilaginous bits) into a crock pot or pot.

Cover the bones with water, adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

Cover and cook on low for a minimum of 1 hour and up to 2 hours.

Carefully strain the broth through a fine metal sieve and discard the bones.

Use the broth immediately, store in the fridge for about a week or freeze for future use in ice cube trays for quick defrosting.

**If you would like to use beef bones, make sure you roast them at 400 degrees for 20 minutes before adding them to your broth.

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Healthy Sweeteners

The effects of blood sugar on overall health

Prior to the Industrial Revolution in the early 1900s, refined sugar was not available. In the traditional human diet, people mainly ate complex carbohydrates (grains, beans, root vegetables) which are composed of the same basic material of sugar: glucose. However, the starches take a long time to be broken down in the body and are absorbed slowly into the bloodstream. So their blood sugar level remained stable throughout the day.

In contrast, sugar needs no digestion and rapidly enters the bloodstream. Therefore, refined sugar has a much greater impact upon our body's blood sugar control mechanisms than starches do.

When blood sugar increases suddenly, the pancreas releases a hormone, insulin, which lowers blood sugar by absorbing sugars into fat tissues. However, soon after this insulin release, there is no more sugar coming into the bloodstream because refined sugar (as opposed to complex carbohydrates like grains and root vegetables) absorbs so rapidly.

Blood sugar crashes because the insulin level is now too high. When blood sugar drops (hypoglycemia), one may feel anxious, nervous, sweaty, or crave more sweets. The pancreas must release glucagon. This hormone stimulates liver cells to use the body’s resources and manufacture more glucose, whose release raises blood sugar levels in an attempt to restore balance, or homeostasis.

At the same time, the adrenal glands work to raise blood sugar. These glands release cortisol, a hormone that triggers the body to extract minerals from the body’s tissues, which the liver needs in order to produce glucose. Although the glucose production regulates blood sugar in the short term, it also depletes the energy stores that allow the body to maintain strong immunity.

Eventually, one feels tired after eating concentrated sweets (candy, pastries, desserts) or refined carbohydrates (chips, sandwich bread, doughnuts, muffins) because the glands are no longer able to produce regulatory hormones due to the over-production that occurs to match heightened refined sugar intake. Chronic conditions may develop such as obesity, hormonal dis-functions, diabetes, celiac disease, and auto-immune disorders.

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My Favorite Healthy Sweeteners

Banana purée: bananas are rich in fiber and potassium, and a good source of vitamins B6 and C. They are also naturally sweet with a subtle flavor, making them a perfect natural sweetener. One banana has about 100 calories. Overripe bananas are the best to use when replacing refined sugar in recipes. They are sweeter and blend well. Use ¾ cup banana purée for a recipe that calls for 1 cup sugar. To make the purée, add bananas to a food processor with a tablespoon of water and blend. Add more water if necessary to reach the consistency of thick applesauce.

Coconut sugar: coconut sugar has a low glycemic load and rich mineral content. Packed with polyphenols, iron, zinc, calcium, potassium, antioxidants, phosphorous and other phytonutrients, coconut sugar is versatile and now readily available. Coconut sugar is extracted sap from the blooms of the coconut and then heated. Next, through evaporation, we get coconut sugar. Use ¾ cup coconut sugar in a recipe that calls for 1 cup sugar.

Dates: Dates are loaded with potassium, copper, iron, manganese, magnesium and vitamin B6. From the date palm tree, they are easily digested and help to metabolize proteins, fats and carbohydrates. Evidence shows that dates may help to reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood and may reduce the risk of stroke. To bake with dates, soak them in boiling water for 30 minutes then blend them until they form a thick paste. Add more soaking water until the paste reaches the consistency of peanut butter. Use ¼ cup date paste in a recipe that calls for 1 cup sugar.

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Raw honey: raw honey is a true superfood and one of my favorite natural sweeteners. It’s packed with enzymes, antioxidants, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, vitamin B6, riboflavin and niacin. Together, these essential nutrients help to neutralize free radicals while promoting the growth of healthy bacteria in the digestive tract. One tablespoon of raw honey has 64 calories and has less impact on glycemic load than a single banana. It’s important to note that these are the benefits of raw honey. Once honey has been pasteurized, it loses the many of the health benefits that raw honey brings to the table. Don’t cook with it to retain its health benefits. Instead, drizzle it over oatmeal or toast.

Maple syrup: native to North America, maple syrup comes in both Grades A and B. While time consuming, maple syrup processing requires only four steps – drilling the hole in the tree, hanging a bucket to catch the sap, boiling to evaporate out the water, and then filtering of any sediment. Maple syrup is an outstanding source of manganese, and contains calcium, potassium, and zinc. Rich with antioxidants, this all-natural sweetener helps to neutralize free radicals and reduce oxidative damage. Select darker, Grade B maple syrups, as they contain more beneficial antioxidants than the lighter syrups. It is minimally processed and is naturally probiotic. Use ½ cup maple syrup in a recipe that calls for 1 cup sugar.

Brown rice syrup: Brown rice syrup starts with brown rice that is fermented with enzymes to break down the starch. The liquid is then heated until the syrup consistency is achieved. The fermentation process helps to break down the sugars into ones that are easily digestible. Use ½ cup brown rice syrup in a recipe that calls for 1 cup sugar.

Stevia: stevia is native to South America and has been used for hundreds of years in that region to support healthy blood sugar levels and prompt weight loss. Its leaves are 200 times as sweet as sugar. It is available in liquid drops, packets, dissolvable tablets and baking blends. It has zero calories and zero carbohydrates. Stevia can taste bitter, so be sure to try it before you decide to use it in baked goods or tea.

Thanks to Dr. Josh Axe for this healing information.

All About Buckwheat

Buckwheat is such an amazing and nutritious grain. It’s easy to digest, versatile, and gluten-free. Buckwheat is not a cereal grain but a fruit seed that is related to rhubarb. It is high in rutin, a plant nutrient that helps the body lower overall lipid profiles, thus reducing cholesterol. It is also high in magnesium, which relaxes smooth muscle, lowers blood pressure, and supports balanced blood sugar. Buckwheat is high in insoluble fiber, which is excellent for colon cleansing and can reduce gallstone production as well.

I love cooking with buckwheat groats and flour because they have such a nutty flavor and can be added to soup, baked into bread or biscuits, or enjoyed as a morning porridge. Here are some recipes to inspire you.

Savory Buckwheat Bread

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon each thyme and coriander

  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 cup water

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.                                           

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

Combine all ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.

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SWEET Buckwheat Bread

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups buckwheat flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

  • 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)

  • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup (optional)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.                                           

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

Combine all ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.


Buckwheat Cauliflower Casserole

 You will need:

  • 1 cup dry kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)

  • 2 ½ cups water

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg

  • 1 large head cauliflower (about 2 cups chopped)

  • 3 medium carrots (about 2 cups chopped

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon

Place kasha and 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 into florets. Chop carrots into crescents.

Oil a rectangular baking dish with olive oil.

Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish.

Season with spices.

Toss well to coat. Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Remove cauliflower and carrots from baking dish and set aside in a bowl temporarily.

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 minutes, cool and enjoy!

Kasha Biscuits

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup cooked kasha

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1/4 cup flaxseed meal

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1/4 teaspoon each: salt and nutmeg

Place ½ cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.

Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

In a bowl, mix olive oil, nutmeg, salt, and flaxseed meal.

Incorporate the cooled kasha and then the lemon juice.

Drop mix in heaping spoonfuls on a greased baking dish.

Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges have turned dark brown. Let cool before serving.

Raw toasted buckwheat groats (kasha)

Raw toasted buckwheat groats (kasha)

Retreat Recipes

Happy Autumn to all!

I recently had the honor of hosting a retreat for mothers, which gave me the opportunity to cook a nourishing fall meal for them. Enjoy these recipes from the retreat! May they inspire you to take a moment of pause in your life, breathe deeply, smell the scents of delicious food, and let them fill your soul with grounding goodness.

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Red lentil and squash soup

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • Sea salt to taste (1 teaspoon or so)

  • 2 carrots, diced

  • 2 celery stalks, diced

  • 1 medium delicata squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander

  • ½ teaspoon each: turmeric and cinnamon

  • 1 cup red lentils, rinsed well

  • 8 cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • 1 cup chopped kale

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of salt and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add the carrots, celery, delicata squash, and another pinch of salt and sauté until all of the vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes.

Add the spices and lentils and stir to coat.

Pour in 1/2 cup of the broth to de-glaze the pot, stirring to loosen any bits stuck to the pot, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.

Add the rest of the broth.

Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.

Decrease the heat to low and add the kale.

Cover and simmer until the lentils are tender, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Chocolate chip cookie bars

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup butter OR coconut oil, softened

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1 egg

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla

  • 1 cup flour (whole wheat or millet for gluten-free version)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease an 8x8 inch pan with butter or coconut oil.

Cream butter / oil, maple, vanilla and egg until well blended.

Stir in flour, baking soda, and salt until incorporated.

Stir in chocolate chips.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until light golden brown.

Let cool for 10 minutes before cutting into squares.

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Hemp for Deep Nourishment

Happy Pisces Full Moon Everyone!

This full moon comes each year as an opportunity to get in touch with how we are feeling and find balance in our bodies, hearts and minds.

What is feeling heavy right now? Can you find a stone to symbolize it and place the stone out in the moonlight?

What is feeling nourishing right now? Try to celebrate it with a symbolic act such as picking a bouquet of flowers or enjoying the rich harvest of berries and stone fruit that's available during this late summer season.

To enjoy and relax as we move into fall, try including more hemp in your diet.

Hemp, cannabis sativa, has been part of nutritional therapies since 2300 BCE. It is a high protein seed which, similar to flax, contains all 9 essential amino acids. It is rich in fatty acids, fiber, and vitamin E. Due to its balanced ratio of omega 3 to 6 fatty acids and its high GLA (gamma-linoleic acid) content, hemp seed and oil can help stimulate immunity, balance the endocrine system, and support healthy skin and hair.

Unlike soy, which contains high amounts of phytic acid (an anti-nutrient that prevents us from absorbing minerals), hemp seed has no phytic acid. Because it is nature’s highest botanical source of essential fatty acid, however, it will go rancid if stored at room temperature or heated above 100 degrees F. Hence, hemp milk is not the best source of this power-packed nutrient. Instead, choose hemp oil or seeds that come packaged in opaque containers and stored in the refrigerator.

Sprinkle hemp seeds over your oatmeal and drizzle hemp oil on your salad.

Here’s to your health! Try this smoothie to bring some sweetness and heart medicine into your life.

Blueberry Hemp Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender:

  • ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • a pinch salt

  • 2 Tablespoons hemp oil

  • ½ can un-sweetened, full-fat organic coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup blueberries

Blend well and enjoy! Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

*Variations: use almond milk instead of coconut milk. Use peaches instead of blueberries.

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Amaranth and the Earth Element

Here in the northern hemisphere, e are moving into a time that is known in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) as late summer. Many call it "the great interchange of seasons" because, when we harmonize with this time of year, we head into the colder months feeling strong and well-equipped to handle any virus or bacteria that might come our way.

Late summer is a glorious time of year. Days are still warm but nights turn cooler. Follow your instinct to have a cup of tea before bed. Try chamomile and lavender or a dandelion root blend. To align with the earth element, try eating more cooked vegetables, and make sure that plenty of them are orange. Think carrots, sweet potatoes, and the first winter squash.

Earth is represented by the sweet flavor, which, in TCM, doesn't mean sugar as much as it means whole grains and starchy vegetables. In this traditional nutritional philosophy, each time of year and element aligns with organs that need special attention. In late summer, it's the spleen and pancreas. Think digestive secretions, ability to digest and eliminate effectively, and mindfulness while eating.

The Earth organs, through their digestive processes, are at the heart of making vital energy for our entire being. To support the spleen and pancreas at this time of year, consider sitting down quietly with amaranth flatbread, baked sweet potatoes, and adzuki beans garnished with tahini for dinner.

Have you ever eaten amaranth before? Just as there is currently a quinoa craze, there was an amaranth craze (which some of you might remember) in the 1970s. 

Be aware, though, that whenever a food becomes trendy, it's important to trace that trend to its source. When Americans were consuming loads of amaranth in the seventies, Oaxacan breastfeeding mothers didn't have access to it. This fact is problematic when you realize that amaranth, a member of the chenopodium family (quinoa, beets, chard, spinach), is native to Oaxaca, Mexico and is the chief food for lactating mothers.

We know about the Bolivian quinoa scandal and the work that's being done in the U.S. to grow quinoa domestically. Its forgotten cousin, amaranth is a delicious, nutty, slightly crunchy whole grain that's high in protein and lower in carbohydrates than grains like rice and oats. 

Amaranth is relatively rich in lysine, an amino acid that helps with the absorption of calcium and the formation of collagen. It is also high in the minerals calcium, iron, and magnesium. It contains about four times as much calcium as wheat and twice as much iron and magnesium.

Cooked and baked into a flatbread, it makes a delicious and crunchy addition to a late summer lunch. Try this recipe and let me know what you think!

Simple Amaranth

Combine 1 cup amaranth with 2 cups water in a pot and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, cover and simmer for up to 20 minutes, until grains are fluffy and water is absorbed.

Amaranth Flatbread

Take 1 cup cooked amaranth and mix in a bowl with:

  • 3 Tablespoons flax seed meal

  • ¼ cup coconut flour

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 2 Tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 cup shredded carrots

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon, salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a cookie sheet with coconut oil. Spread batter in a thin layer on cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

The longer you bake it, the crispier it becomes.

Cool for 10 minutes before slicing.

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Key Lime Pie

I am so grateful for the work I get to do with clients. I learn so much and gain such inspiration from our healing partnerships. Here is a recipe to bring light and delight to your summer.

Key Lime Pie

Grain-free, Gluten-Free, No Refined Sugar

Crust:

  • Coconut oil for greasing

  • 1 cup organic pecan pieces

  • 1/2 cup dates, softened

  • 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Filling:

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/2 cup lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup organic coconut cream

  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lime zest

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Coconut whipped cream:

  • 1 small can organic coconut cream

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Prepare the crust. Grease a pie dish with coconut oil. n a food processor, combine all crust ingredients and process on high about a minute, until you get a thick pasty mixture. Press this mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the pie dish and set aside while you prepare the filling.

Prepare the filling. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor or blender, blend all filling ingredients until smooth.

Pour the filling into the crust and bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven. Cool completely, then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before serving.

Make the coconut whipped cream.

Beat or whisk the coconut cream until light and creamy (you can use an electric mixer or do it by hand) and lumps are removed, then whisk in the sweetener (honey or maple) and vanilla.

Top the chilled pie with the whipped cream and enjoy!

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Probiotic Cleansing Soup

Once every few weeks, it can feel rejuvenating to eat the same thing for a day. This practice gives the digestive system a chance to re-calibrate and rest. Since a large part of our stress response is triggered by the enteric nervous system in our gut. this day-long cleanse helps to reduce anxiety and depression as well.

In traditional nutritional philosophies such as Ayurveda from India, this concept of periodic meal simplification is common and often takes the form if eating kitchari, a simple meal made up of rice, lentils, spices and vegetables.

This spring, try eating this cleansing and nourishing probiotic soup for three meals a day on a day off. You will move forward feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized.

Probiotic Leek Soup

You will need:

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  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 5 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 large leeks, rinsed and chopped

  • 2 large zucchini, sliced

  • 1 bunch chard, chopped

  • 1 cup artichoke hearts

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 inch kombu seaweed

  • 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 leeks and celery. Cook, covered, until these are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add zucchini and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Add the chard and artichoke hearts.

Add the water and kombu 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.

Enjoy! Feel free to eat as much as you want during your one-day cleanse.

Sauerkraut

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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.

Sauerkraut

Time frame: 1-2 weeks
You will need:
                Ceramic crock or food-grade plastic bucket, one-gallon capacity or greater
                Plate that fits inside crock or bucket
                One-gallon jug filled with water (or a scrubbed and boiled rock)
                Cloth cover (pillowcase or towel)
                5 pounds cabbage
                3 tablespoons sea salt
 
Chop or grate cabbage, finely or coarsely, with or without hearts, however you like it. I love to mix green and red cabbage to end up with bright pink kraut. Place cabbage in a large bowl as you chop it. Sprinkle salt on the cabbage as you go. The salt pulls water out of the cabbage (through osmosis), and this creates the brine in which the cabbage can ferment and sour without rotting. The salt also has the effect of keeping the cabbage crunchy, by inhibiting organisms and enzymes that soften it. 3 tablespoons of salt is a rough guideline for 5 pounds of cabbage.

Mix ingredients together and pack into crock. Pack just a bit into the crock at a time and tamp it down hard using your fists or any (other) sturdy kitchen implement. The tamping packs the kraut tight in the crock and helps force water out of the cabbage.
 
Cover kraut with a plate or some other lid that fits snugly inside the crock. Place a clean weight (a glass jug filled with water) on the cover. This weight is to force water out of the cabbage and then keep the cabbage submerged under the brine. Cover the whole thing with a cloth.
 
Press down on the weight to add pressure to the cabbage and help force water out of it. Continue doing this periodically (as often as you think of it, every few hours), until the brine rises above the cover. This can take up to about 24 hours, as the salt draws water out of the cabbage slowly. Some cabbage, particularly if it is old, simply contains less water. If the brine does not rise above the plate level by the next day, add enough salt water to bring the brine level above the plate. Add about a teaspoon of salt to a cup of water and stir until it’s completely dissolved.
 
Leave the crock to ferment in a corner of the kitchen. Check the kraut every day or two. The volume reduces as the fermentation proceeds. Sometimes mold appears on the surface. Skim off what you can and don’t worry about it. It’s just a surface phenomenon. The kraut itself is under the anaerobic protection of the brine.
 
Rinse off the plate and the weight. Taste the kraut. Generally it starts to be tangy after a few days, and the taste gets stronger as time passes. Store in jars in the fridge for up to 1 year.

Gratitude to Sandor Ellix Katz for guidelines from his book, The Art of Fermentation (Chelsea Green, 2012)

Beet Brownies

Beets are rich in minerals and aid in liver detoxification. As we prepare for spring, they are an excellent ingredient to include in roasted vegetable dishes, soups, and in baked goods, too. They lend an earthy sweetness to any dish.

These beautiful root vegetables come in red, pink, yellow and striated varieties. They are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains. These plant nutrients provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support. They are an excellent source of manganese and vitamin C, which support nervous system health.

Foods belonging to the chenopodium family — including beets, chard, spinach and quinoa — are also high in carotenoids, which support eyesight.

Beets are high in betaine, an essential nutrient made from the B-complex vitamin, choline. Choline reduces inflammation in the cardiovascular system by preventing unwanted build-up of homocysteine, an inflammatory compound.

Here is a beet-based recipe to inspire you. I love making these for both children and adults. The beets blend so well with the chocolate that a deep, rich taste comes through and it's nearly impossible to guess what the "secret ingredient" is.

Red Velvet Brownies

You will need:

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour or millet flour

  • 2 eggs or 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 3/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 cup boiled, blended beets

  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond or rice milk

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • a pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Coarsely chop beets and place them in a pot. Cover them with water and boil for 15 minutes, or until fork tender.

Strain off water and place beets in a blender or food processor with almond/rice milk. Blend well.

Add all other ingredients and blend well.

Oil a glass baking dish or pie plate with coconut or sunflower oil.

Pour batter into it and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool for 20 minutes, slice, and enjoy!

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Food for Liver Renewal

Today marks the last full moon before March 21st, the Spring Equinox. The earth is rife with purpose, ready to push up the myriad of seeds that will green our landscape for the season to come. Similarly, our bodies are ready to eat more green foods and move more to harmonize with the coming change of season. Mornings and evenings may feel chilly, but the sun shines longer each day and brings the warmth that heralds this season of renewal.

In my native Italy, the word for spring is 'primavera', meaning 'first truth'. May you find time to slow down as you eat, listen to your body's messages for nourishment, and savor the green flavors of the coming spring.

Here are some recipes to inspire your dietary transition from winter to spring.and to support the liver's natural renewal process.

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Beet Sauce

You will need:

  • 3 medium-sized red beets, sliced in half

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil1 shallot, minced

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon each: allspice and salt

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ginger, coriander

In a small pot, boil beets for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Once done, drain them and set aside to cool.

In a small sauté pan, over low-medium heat sauté shallots in olive oil and add spices and salt. Once shallots look caramelized, set aside.

In a blender, combine beets, shallots, vinegar, and water. Blend until smooth.

Use as a topping for millet bread.

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Millet Bread

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups millet

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaf

  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder

Place millet in a cooking pot with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Simmer until millet begins to thicken (about 20 minutes). Stir well, as though cooking oatmeal.

Add all the other ingredients and stir well. Cook on low heat and keep stirring until millet thickens.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour millet into a baking dish and flatten it evenly. Bake it for 15 minutes.

Slice and eat as you would polenta. Let the millet cool before slicing it.

Add toppings! If spread out in a thin layer on a baking sheet, this also makes an excellent pizza crust.

Click this link for more spring recipes.