Keeping Blood Sugar Balanced

When eating treats, it's great to choose those that contain protein. 

Because it takes the body longer to digest protein, blood sugar remains stable when eating sweets with protein. The digestive process takes all carbohydrates and turns them into glucose, a kind of sugar that's and released into the blood stream for energy.

Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps cells to absorb glucose once it's in the blood stream so that they can use it to generate energy. However, if there is too much circulating glucose in the system, the body gets overloaded. 

By consuming excessive carbohydrates and sugar without the protein to slow down the release of glucose into the blood steam, sugar levels and hence insulin levels can become chronically elevated. This elevation can lead to inflammation, high blood sugar and pre-diabetes (also known as insulin resistance).

Combining sweets and protein helps our body make the best use of the energy we gain from treats and keeps blood sugar balanced. Protein sources include: nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, meat, eggs, and cheese.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chippers

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter or peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups sorghum or brown rice flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (try to find ones sweetened with rice syrup instead of cane sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Oil a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, applesauce, coconut sugar, flaxseed, and vanilla. Mix in flour, cinnamon and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Flatten in a criss cross pattern with the tines of a fork. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before enjoying.

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Coconut Almond Cake With Blueberry Lemon Glaze

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Summer is here! Berries are one of my favorite aspects of summer cooking and eating. They are so high in healing plant compounds, low on the glycemic index, and naturally sweet. I take every opportunity to savor them during their short season. This recipe features blueberries, which are high in phytonutrients that reduce inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. They lower triglycerides and protect cells and blood vessels in the heart. Blueberries improve memory, support the nervous system, and balance blood sugar. Try to eat 1 cup of blueberries daily to reap their health benefits.

Coconut Almond Cake

This cake is gluten-free, grain-free, and high in protein. 

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour

  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup milk of any kind

  • 4 eggs, beaten

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt coconut oil in a 9x9 cake pan in the oven.

Mix all the ingredients together in the order listed. Pour the melted coconut oil into the bowl and mix well. Pour batter into cake pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Blueberry Lemon Glaze

This is truly the icing on the cake!

You will need:

  • 2 cups blueberries, fresh or frozen

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • a pinch of salt

  • zest of 1 lemon

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

Mix all ingredients together in a sauce pan and simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes. Cool slightly before pouring it over the cake. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes. It's even more delicious the next day after the glaze soaks into the cake.

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:

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  • 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: 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:

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  • 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: high in monounsaturated fat, which promotes heart health, helps reduce LDL cholesterol, and aids in carbohydrate metabolism, thus contributing to weight loss; high 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!

Gratitude and Delight

Friends,

I appreciate all who have recently told me that you read this blog. Thank you!

When I write, I often wonder if anyone will read these words and try the recipes and suggestions I offer. 

Always feel free to send me a note or leave a comment at the end of this post. It's nourishing for me to know that we are connecting. Likewise, please let me know how I can best support you and answer your food and health questions.

Recently, a friend and follower let me know how much she liked the smoothie recipes I had posted. She encouraged me to offer more - here goes.

This one's for you!

Love, Lisa

Blueberry Banana Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 cup blueberries (either fresh or frozen and thawed for 10 minutes)

  • 1 ripe banana

  • 2 spoonfuls tahini

  • 1/2 cup spoonful whole milk cow yogurt or coconut yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

  • 1/2 cup water

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom

Blend well and enjoy for breakfast with quinoa almond pancakes

.

Avocado Date Almond Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • pinch salt

  • 3 Tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 handful chopped, pitted dates

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 handful almonds

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

Blend well and enjoy!


Maca Cacao Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender or Vitamix in the order listed:

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon maca powder

  • 2 tablespoons cacao powder

  • 1/4 cup hot water

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 handful pitted dates, chopped

  • 1 handful almonds, chopped

  • 1/4 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

Blend well and savor slowly. This smoothie is like a dessert pudding that lends endurance, too.

The sustained energy comes from maca, a root indigenous to the Andes that's often prepared as a food within its local context. It is rich in calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. It contains essential fatty acids and amino acids (the building blocks of protein), too.


Green Fruity Delight Smoothie

In a blender, place:

  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1 ripe avocado

  • 1 green apple, cored and sliced

  • 1 small stalk celery, chopped

  • 2 cups spinach

  • One inch of ginger root (no need to peel if it's organic)

  • 2 teaspoons

  • spirulina powder

  • 1/2 cup water

Blend well. This is an excellent smoothie for cooling summer heat.


Pineapple Mango Happy Belly Smoothie

In a blender or Vitamix, place:

  • 2 cups frozen, diced mango

  • 2 cups frozen, diced pineapple

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 1/2 cups water

  • 2 handfuls cashews

  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder

Blend well and enjoy! You will boost your metabolism and digest better thanks to these incredible, golden fruits - high in digestive enzymes.


Very Berry Yogurt Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender:

  • 2 cups frozen mixed berries

  • 1 medium banana

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened, whole fat yogurt

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cinnamon, and nutmeg

  • 1 cup water

Blend well and enjoy! 

The yogurt will provide probiotic support to your gut microbiome and its protein content will keep you going until your next meal.


Chia Raspberry Coconut Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender:

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 handful raspberries (fresh or frozen and thawed for 10 minutes)

  • 1 spoonful chia seeds

  • 2 spoonfuls shredded, unsweetened coconut

  • ¼ cup coconut milk (full-fat and organic)

Blend well and enjoy for breakfast with quinoa date porridge.

You can try smoothie recipes  with kombucha or with turmeric here

.To learn about the healing properties of these foods, please join email newsletter updates.

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Gut issues? Try an Elimination Diet + Custom Healthy Eating Program

Do you have a rumbly, uncomfortable belly?

Does your skin itch or give you blemishes?

Do you experience gas, bloating, irregular stool frequency (more or less than once / twice daily)?

Do you have constipation or diarrhea occasionally?

Try an elimination diet.

"Elimination" comes from the Latin word meaning "beyond the threshold".

Move beyond the threshold of your semi-wellness.

Walk through the door of discovery, find the foods and eating habits that cause distress, and let them go, once and for all!

Try this guide to get started. If you would like,

I can tailor your Elimination Diet to your needs and goals.

Clean out your kitchen.

Remove processed, packaged items and those containing sugar in all forms. Let go of coffee and alcohol, too. Use this guide to alternative sweeteners to help you with cravings.

Go shopping.

Buy foods according to the Clean 15 and Dirty Dozen Guide from the Environmental Working Group. Make sure to get plenty of gluten-free bulk grains, hormone / antibiotic free chicken, fish and eggs, and lots of vegetables. 

Start your elimination diet when you have a day or two off to be at home. Set aside time to cook and follow these meal plans and watch these videos to help you with prep.

I can help tailor shopping lists and meal plans to your needs.

Keep a journal.

Write your intention for your Elimination Diet. What do you plan to get out of this two-week period of cleansing? What you will do when cravings hit.?

Eliminate potential allergens.

Start by eliminating gluten, dairy, coffee, and sugar. When you move beyond the threshold of these foods, you will see how many more delicious new ingredients there are to try!

Substitute.

Instead of:

  • gluten, try buckwheat, brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, teff, millet, and oats;

  • sugar, try applesauce, dates, figs, and little bits of raw honey;

  • coffee, try green tea or a coffee substitute like Dandy Blend;

  • dairy, try almond or rice milk.

If you would like to do a more in-depth elimination diet, I can help you by customizing recipes, prep + meal plans to eliminate these common allergens as well: corn, peanuts, soy, eggs, chocolate, vinegar, yeast, low-quality fats + oils, fatty meat, beans.

Re-Introduction

Hello allergen! Nice to meet you again! Does my body like you? Let's see.

After the elimination phase, start re-introducing the foods that you excluded for 2 weeks. You will notice immediately that, when you challenge your body with offensive foods, it will react! 

Itchy eyes, digestive distress of any kind, shortness of breath, swelling, fatigue, and nausea are all signs of a food sensitivity.

Record it in your journal and try to avoid it from now on.

The elimination diet takes a little bit of planning and coordination, but it is simple to do and can make a huge difference in your health!

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4 ingredient cookies

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

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

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

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

Be well and stay in touch!

Lisa


WHOLESOME 4 INGREDIENT COOKIES

You will need equal parts of:

  • Any nut or seed (I like roasted almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds)

  • Dates, pitted

  • Shredded coconut

  • Unsweetened applesauce

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a cookie sheet with sunflower or coconut oil.

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender.

Blend until a thick dough results.

Coat the palms of your hands with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.

Roll small balls of dough between your palms and place them on the cookie sheet.

Once all the dough is rolled, wash your hands.

Using the back of a fork, flatten each cookie.

Bake for 15 minutes.

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Winter Foods That Heal

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

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

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

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

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

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

Try this maple gingerbread (gluten-free) to inspire your holiday baking.

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Spices for healthy holiday cooking

The early winter holidays are traditionally a gathering time. Come together with friends and family, slow down and enjoy the peaceful darkness of long evenings. As you circle around the meal table, remember that the light will return at winter solstice, December 21st.

Honor the peace that comes before the light slowly starts returning. Nourish yourself and your loved ones while staying healthy by incorporating these spices into your holiday cooking. You probably already do.

CINNAMON

During the colder months, cinnamon increases warmth and circulation and supports efficient digestion of fats and heavy foods. It counteracts the congestion that is often accompanied by dairy-rich foods.

Cinnamon also brings relief from the common cold and flu by dissolving mucus and resolving coughs and bronchial congestion. 

NUTMEG

Nutmeg is a highly prized digestive aid, commonly added to cheese sauces and creamy desserts. Enjoy it! It mediates the effects of rich food, sweets, overeating and late-night eating. Watch this short video on how to make a vegan cream sauce that mimics the flavor of dairy.

CLOVES

This potent spice comes from a beautiful beautiful tropical bush, the clove bush. It can develop into a large woody shrub. I have seen it growing in the shade of coffee trees in Indonesia. It is antimicrobial and antiseptic, particularly for the gums and teeth. Heavy holiday desserts are known to clog the sinuses and produce mucus. Cloves clear the sinuses, encourage mental clarity and clear mucus. Hence, they are a perfect addition to sweet treats as well as savory dishes.

Try these recipes to incorporate a taste of health into your meals.

COCONUT CARROT RICE PUDDING

You will need:

  • 1 can organic, full-fat coconut milk

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice

  • 2 medium carrots, grated

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger

  • 1/3 cup raisins

  • 2 tablespoons raw honey to finish

In a pot, bring coconut milk, rice and water to a boil.

Meanwhile, grate carrots.

Reduce heat to low; add carrots, vanilla, spices and raisins.

Stir well, cover, and simmer for 25 minutes, until rice is tender. The mixture will still be liquid, like a thick stew. Cook it down more if you like or try it as is.

Remove from heat, stir in honey, and serve in small bowls, perhaps with an extra sprinkle of cinnamon on top.

GET CREATIVE! Two ideas: substitute parsnips for carrots. Instead of raisins, add chopped almonds and dates.

BAKED APPLES STUFFED WITH ALMONDS AND FIGS

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup dried figs, chopped

  • 1 cup almonds, chopped

  • ¼ cup red wine

  • 6 tart apples

  • pinch salt

  • 3 tablespoons butter OR coconut oil

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Combine chopped figs, almonds and wine in a small bowl. Set aside.

Chop apples in half, remove core, and place right-side up in a greased baking dish that has a lid. If you do not have a lid, cover tightly with aluminum foil.

Fill apples with fig almond mixture.

Whisk together remaining ingredients, pour over apples, seal tightly, and bake for 1 hour. 

Serve with ice cream or whipped cream if you like!

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Chocolate Pie

This wonderfully delicious pie is raw, gluten-free, and rich in protein and natural sweetness from dates and maple syrup.

It's a great alternative to Halloween candy, too.

You can watch this video to learn how to make it with me.

CHOCOLATE PIE

For the crust:

  • 6 dates, pitted, soaked briefly in hot water, and drained

  • 1 cup almonds

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds

  • A pinch of salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

Blend these all in the food processor.

Grease a pie dish with sunflower oil or coconut oil.

Flatten crust into the bottom and sides of the dish.

For the filling:

  • 1 cup cashews, blended in food processor

  • 1 cup cocoa powder

  • 1/4 cup boiling water

  • 1 spoonful coconut butter

  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 2 tablespoons chopped almonds as a topping

Mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Spread filling over crust and sprinkle chopped almonds over the top.

Chill for at least half an hour and enjoy!

If you prefer a hot pie, you can bake it at 350 degrees for 20 minutes.

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Gut Healing Salad

As September makes itself known and we prepare for the wonderful and melancholy decay of autumn, we can make double batches of bright, fresh, colorful dishes and set some aside for the colder months.

Do this with any dish by freezing half of it.

I just did so with quinoa cakes.

Alternately, you can also prepare a vegetable-rich shredded salad and lacto-ferment half of it by placing it in a mason jar and covering it with saltwater brine.

LACTO-FERMENTED SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 bunch of scallions, chopped

  • 2 cups Napa or Savoy cabbage, shredded

  • 2 carrots, shredded

  • 1 inch daikon radish, shredded

  • 3 large stalks celery, thinly sliced

Double these quantities and set half aside for fermenting.

I like to use the shredding blades on my food processor to make quick shredded vegetables.

Then, toss with the dressing below and serve over cooked quinoa as a hearty lunch.

For the dressing:

  • 3 teaspoons sunflower or olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon honey

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon tamari or soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons tahini

  • one generous handful cilantro, chopped

  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts (I like walnuts or almonds)

To ferment the vegetables above, just stuff them into a quart-sized mason jar.

Fill another mason jar with 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons salt.

Pour over vegetables and mash down with a wooden spoon continuously until the veggies generate enough juice to cover themselves.

You can step away from pounding and tend to other tasks in the kitchen, too.

Cover with a cloth and press down once a day for a week.

Then, refrigerate and save for up to 2 months.

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Homemade Almond Milk

As we get older, our bodies produce less of the lactase enzyme, which digests the lactose in dairy products. If dairy is giving you gas, bloating, or intestinal cramps, try these substitutions.

Dairy is an important source of protein and fat, so it's good to substitute it with foods that have similar nutritional profiles such as nuts, winter squash, purslane, and borage leaves.

For delicious recipes featuring plant-based protein, visit my recipe page.

ALMOND MILK

Soak 2 cups raw, organic almonds in 4 cups water overnight.

Drain, rinse, and place in a blender with 4 more cups water.

Add a pinch of salt.

Blend well.

Strain off the liquid. This is your almond milk!

Store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Click this link for a blueberry chia lime smoothie recipe to enjoy your almond milk.

Save the almond pulp and add it to cauliflower flatbread or any recipe that calls for almond flour.

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Salad Dinner

Summer is the time to enjoy creative combinations of fruits and vegetables with tangy dressings.

Try these for your next dinner party, picnic, or potluck.

PEACHY GREEN BEAN SALAD

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper1 pound ripe peaches, sliced

  • 1 handful lemon balm,  finely chopped

  • 2 pounds green beans, ends snipped

  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped

Whisk oil vinegar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.

Slice, pit and add peaches. Mix well and set aside.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to a boil.

Add beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. 

Add to peach mixture. Toss to combine.

Add almonds, toss one more time, and serve!

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

TOMATO SWEET POTATO SALAD

You will need:

  • 3 large sweet potatoes, chopped into cubes

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander and salt

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

  • 2 handfuls cilantro, chopped

  • ¼ cup fresh lime juice

  • 1 tablespoon raw honey

  • 3 small tomatoes, chopped

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place sweet potatoes on a baking sheet with oil, coriander and salt.

Bake for 45 minutes.

Whisk ginger, cilantro, lime and honey in a large bowl. 

Add potatoes and tomatoes.

Toss to combine and serve warm.

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

LENTIL BEET SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 pound red and /or golden beets, chopped

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 cups indigo or green lentils, soaked for 3 or 4 hours

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1 red apple, chopped into cubes

  • 2 tablespoons honey

  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Place beets on a baking sheet with oil and salt.

Roast for 1 hour or until fork-tender.

Bring soaked lentils and 4 cups of water to a boil.

Reduce heat to simmer and cook, covered, about 45 minutes. 

Drain, discarding liquid, and rinse through a fine-mesh colander.

Place in a large bowl and toss with mustard, oil, vinegar, apple, honey and garlic.

Add beets, toss once more, and enjoy!

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

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Home-Made Food Gifts

Delight yourself and your loved ones with the gift of nourishment this holiday season.

Dried Fig Compote

2 pounds dried black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
¼ cup bourbon
8 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
pinch salt
Peel of 1 lemon, plus ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons raw honey

Place figs, bourbon and 4 cups boiling water in a large, heatproof bowl; cover surface with a plate to submerge figs. Let sit until figs are plump, about 1 hour; set aside.

Heat cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add figs with their soaking liquid, salt, lemon peel, and juice.

Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened, 20-25 minutes.

Add honey.

Divide finished compote into prepared half pint jars, apply clean lids and rings and place in an oven, heated to 180 degrees and turned off immediately before adding jars.

Let stand in closed oven overnight. Voila! These will last on the pantry shelf for 8 months.

***


Nut and Grain Crackers
 
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
In a spice grinder, grind:
        1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
        1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
        1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with1 cup leftover oatmeal, quinoa, rice, or millet. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.
Try one of these combinations: cumin, coriander, turmeric OR thyme, coriander, oregano.

If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil. Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake at 200 degrees for 1 ½ hours. Allow to cool completely before breaking into cracker pieces and storing in plastic bags.

***
Healing Morsels

based on a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar

1 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
½ cup cashew or almond butter
¼ cup honey (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom powder
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 oz unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix tahini, nut butter and honey until smooth.
Add coconut and nuts - mix in well.  Mix in enough coconut to make dough thick.
Roll the dough into small balls. You can also spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cut into squares.
Store the balls in baking tins in a cool place. They will last for 3 weeks.

***
Nutty Paté

Chop 2 large yellow onions.
Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.
When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, and turn burner down to medium-low.
If you have leftover red or white wine, add a couple splashes. If not, just add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Then, cover the skillet.

Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add thyme, salt and black pepper. Simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown.
Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

While onions are 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 onions and walnuts are cooked, place them in a food processor and add 3 Tablespoons olive oil.
Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes. Taste for salt.

Keeps in fridge for 5 days.

Enjoy with biscuits, on toast or as a dip for carrot and celery sticks. This makes a lovely appetizer with nut and seed crackers.

SuperSnacks!

Boost immunity, gain some afternoon energy, and tonify your adrenal and endocrine system with these healthy snacks.
They're great after-school snacks, too.

Tahini-Date Salted Caramels

You will need:
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel or other coarse salt 


Combine the dates, tahini, coconut oil, and cardamom in a blender or food processor.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan (or another equivalent container) and use a spatula to press it down evenly. 
Sprinkle with salt.
Freeze until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. 

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Home-Made Energy Bars
 
You will need:
¼ cup dried, unsweetened apricots
¼ cup dried, unsweetened dates
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup sesame seeds – toasted
¼ cup pumpkin seeds – toasted and coarsely chopped
½ cup walnuts, pecans, almonds (choose any combination of these) - toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut butter or a combination of these)
¼ cup honey
4 Tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Boil 2 cups water. As water boils, coarsely chop all dried fruit and place it in a small mixing bowl.
Pour boiling water over fruit. Soak for 15 minutes and drain.

Meanwhile, mix honey, nut butter, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Chop walnuts/almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Toast all seeds and nuts. Add to mixing bowl and mix.

Add soaked dried fruit to the above ingredients.
Oil a glass baking dish: 7×11″ is a good size.
While the mixture is still warm, press it flat into the dish with wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.

Slice into squares.
Cover with plastic wrap or store in baking dish in the fridge. Keeps for 2 weeks refrigerated.

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Zoom Balls
based on a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar

You will need:
1 cup tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
½ cup cashew or almond butter
¼ cup honey (more or less to taste)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom powder
3 Tablespoons coarsely chopped walnuts
½ cup coarsely chopped almonds
2 oz unsweetened shredded coconut

Mix tahini, nut butter and honey until smooth.
Add coconut and nuts - mix in well.   
Mix in enough coconut to make dough thick.
Roll the dough into small balls. You can also spread the mixture onto a baking sheet and cut into squares.
Store the balls in baking tins in a cool place. They will last for 3 weeks.

Autumn Breakfasts: Easy and Healing


Autumn is here, with cool, misty mornings and pink sunsets streaking the evening sky. It feels hard to get our of bed sometimes! Once I get up, I try to step outside, look up into the sky, and breathe deeply. Even if it is cold outside, this practice invigorates me and whets my appetite for breakfast.

Since breakfast is one of the best ways to get our metabolism going for the day, please eat it. Try these recipes to ease the transition into fall.

Banana Coconut Super Power Bars

You will need:
3 bananas, ripe and mashed
2 cups cooked oats (any kind is fine, especially oatmeal leftovers!)
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg (this is the medicine!)
½ cup dried dates, chopped (optional)

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

Mix everything together.
Spread onto cookie sheet evenly with a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Slice and store in tupperware containers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Protein-Packed Popovers


You will need:
6 eggs
2 cups almond milk
6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted 1 cup almond meal
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and salt

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease 8 muffin tins with vegetable oi.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy using a whisk.
Beat in the almond milk and coconut oil.
Then, beat the flour, cinnamon and salt into the egg, milk, and butter mixture. Pour about ¾ cup of the batter into each of the greased muffin tins.

Bake for 1 hour. Make a slit in each to let out steam; bake for 10 minutes more. Immediately remove the popovers from tins.
Serve with cooked fruit and nuts.

Apple Pie Parfait


You will need:
1/2 cup unsweetened yogurt (cow, goat, or almond)
1/3 cup applesauce
3 Tablespoons walnuts
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
pinch cinnamon

To prepare:
Stir together and eat.

Pumpkin Custard


You will need:
1 medium pumpkin

2 Tablespoons coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice

To prepare:
Roast the pumpkin whole at 375 for 1 hour.
Remove from oven, cool, remove seeds, and scoop flesh out into a stock pot.
Add all the other ingredients and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Pour into a glass container to cool and set if you like.
This dish will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Breakfast Power!

Instant Oatmeal


In a mason jar, mix:

½ cup quick rolled oats
½ teaspoon cinnamon pinch salt

1 handful sunflower seeds
1 handful raisins

When you get where you are going, boil about 1 cup of water. Pour boiling water into mason jar, stir and enjoy!

**You can bring yogurt (choose a whole milk brand without added sugar) to include with this breakfast.

Keeps in your cupboard for 2 weeks.

Tahini Honey Sandwich


Choose whole grain, sourdough bread.

Place two thin slices in the toaster.
When they pop up, spread with:

1 spoonful tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)

1 spoonful local, raw honey

Place two halves together in a plastic bag and enjoy once you get where you are going.

**If you like, you can eat an apple with your sandwich. Keeps in fridge for 2 days.


Quinoa Date Porridge

**Before bed, place in a mixing bowl:


1 cup quinoa
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
2 cups hot water

Allow to soak overnight.

**In the morning, drain off any excess water. Pour into a cooking pot with 1 cup water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

To the cooking quinoa, add:
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon and ginger
pinch salt

Simmer with the lid slightly askew until all the water is consumed (about 15 minutes) and you see air holes on the surface of the grain. You can add a spoonful of coconut oil if you like.

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.


Sweet Potato Pie


While you are cooking dinner, chop 2 large sweet potatoes.
Place them in a pot with enough water to cover them.

Bring to a boil, reduce to medium heat, and cook until tender.

Meanwhile, place 1 cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot.
Add a pinch salt and ½ teaspoon cinnamon.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.
Stir vigorously for a couple of minutes until grain reaches porridge-like consistency.

Oil a glass pie plate and pour this ‘crust’ into it.

When sweet potatoes are tender, drain water and place in blender with:
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon each: cloves, ginger
pinch salt
2 heaping spoonfuls each: nut butter and coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Blend until creamy. Using a spatula, scoop out this filling and smooth over cooked kasha crust.
Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge overnight.

In the morning, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Remove plastic wrap and bake pie for 20 minutes. Yum!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.


Blueberry Banana Walnut Drink


Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, ginger
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful blueberries
1 banana
1 handful walnuts
2 spoonfuls coconut milk or whole milk yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

Blend well and enjoy!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

Try to eat a piece of whole grain, sourdough toast with nut butter within an hour of drinking your smoothie. The carbohydrates in toast will help your cells to break down and metabolize the fat in the smoothie.


Avocado Date Almond Smoothie


Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
3 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 handful chopped, pitted dates
1 avocado
1 handful almonds
2 spoonfuls coconut milk or whole milk yogurt (choose a brand with no added sugar)

Blend well and enjoy!

Keeps in fridge for 3 days.

Try to eat a piece of whole grain, sourdough toast and nut butter within an hour of drinking your smoothie. The carbohydrates in toast will help your cells to break down and metabolize the fat in the smoothie.



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Holiday Foodie Gifts

Stollen
This traditional recipe from Germany is a favorite in my hometown of Bressanone, Italy. I offer a healthy twist on the tradition by omitting powdered sugar and using maple syrup instead of refined cane sugar.

This delightful bread makes a lovely holiday gift and ships well, too!

First, combine:
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup raisins
1 orange, peeled and diced
1/4 cup boiling water

Let stand for 1/2 hour.


In a large bowl, mix together:
2 cups flour (spelt for wheat-free or millet & rice for gluten-free)
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger
1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder & baking soda
Set aside.

In a saucepan, combine & heat gently:
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup milk (either almond or cow milk)
1/3 cup butter or coconut oil (vegan), softened
1 Tablespoon grated lemon peel


Add this mixture to dry ingredients & stir to incorporate.

Then, mix in:
2 eggs, beaten or 2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal (vegan)
3 teaspoons lemon juice 
Half of the soaked raisin/orange mixture (save the other half for glaze)

Stir in enough flour to make a soft dough (about 1 cup).

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into an 8-by-12-inch oval. Fold dough in half lengthwise to within ½ inch of the opposite side; press closed.

Transfer to a greased baking sheet.

Mix 2 Tablespoons olive oil into the other half of the soaked raisin/orange mixture. Pour and spread over the stollen as glaze.

Bake at 375 for 35 minutes, or until nicely browned. Cool on a wire rack.



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Honey Almond Cantucci 

These delicious Italian tea and coffee cookies are a wonderful way to celebrate the holidays. Visit the dessert page of this site for a healthy recipe!