Baby Cakes

Happy Valentine's Day! My daughter is indeed a Valentine baby: she will turn one year old on Thursday. Her presence in my life has eclipsed all other priorities and it is a joy to witness her grow, learn and thrive each day.

May this day remind you of the love that is always in our hearts when we relax, breathe deeply, and open to our unlimited potential. What brings you joy? What nourishes you? Ask yourself these two questions each morning and set out to live a day filled with joy and nourishment. This practice of self-love spreads love to others and helps cultivate happiness, even during troubled times.

As my daughter learns to feed herself, I have been exploring new sources of nourishment that can be fulfilling for us both. The wonderful food solution we have both been enjoying lately is baby cakes: small pancakes made of eggs and vegetables. I add a few spices and some oil to bring flavor and soothe the nervous system. Try these combinations and let me know what you think!

All of these freeze well and reheat easily in a toaster or toaster oven.

 

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Sweet Potato Baby Cakes

High in beta carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes soothe the nerves, balance the endocrine system, and promote healthy elimination.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

  • 2 cups sweet potato, boiled and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil sweet potatoes with just enough water to cover. It will take about 10 minutes for them to be tender.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

I enjoy them with a vegetable and egg scramble or ground turkey with sauteed greens.

Carrot Chicken Baby Cakes

High in protein, pastured chicken contains all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle development and provides steady energy.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup cooked chicken

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and coriander

  • 2 cups carrots, boiled and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop and boil carrots with just enough water to cover. It will take about 20 minutes for them to be tender.

Boil or braise chicken for 20 minutes if bone-on and 10 minutes if boneless. Pull chicken off the bone if necessary and remove skin.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

I enjoy these with parsley pistou or pesto.

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Spinach Squash Baby Cakes

High in fiber and iron, spinach is important for brain development and promotes healthy elimination.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

  • 2 cups winter squash, baked and de-seeded

  • 1 cup spinach, boiled and drained

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place an acorn or carnival squash in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it's soft when pierced with a knife, Cut it open, remove seeds, and scoop out flesh. I like to make these at the same time as the spinach cakes so that I use up all my squash.

Boil spinach with a little water in the bottom of a small stock pot. It will only take a few minutes. Drain well.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

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Blueberry Baby Cakes

High in resveratrol for balanced blood pressure and antioxidants for stress reduction, blueberries are a superfood for all of us!

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • 1 cup winter squash, baked and de-seeded

  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place an acorn or carnival squash in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it's soft when pierced with a knife, Cut it open, remove seeds, and scoop out flesh. I like to make these at the same time as the spinach cakes so that I use up all my squash.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

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.

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.

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Candida Muffins

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 Muffins - Unsweetened!

You will need:

  • 11/2 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

  • 3 tablespoons 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

  • 2 cups almond milk

*For a sweeter treat, add 1/4 cup honey and 1 extra tablespoon of 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.

Oil muffin tins with sunflower oil. Fill each tin three quarters of the way.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

Let me know what you think!

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Fall Meal Plans

In honor of tomorrow's full moon, which will be very close to the earth and undergoing an eclipse, I invite you to simplify your diet.

Choose foods that gently cleanse the blood, like cilantro.

Focus on foods that support immunity, like cinnamon and garlic.

This shift, which you can make for 3 days, will set you on a good path to be well all winter long.

Here is a recipe to inspire you.

Click this link for a complete 3 day meal plan with recipes.

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Avocado Sauce

For the quinoa bowl:

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin and cinnamon

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup cooked black beans* (or 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained – I like Eden organics)

  • 1 packed cup arugula

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

For the sauce:

  • One ripe avocado

  • 4 tablespoons tahini

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems

  • 1 small clove of garlic

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Lime juice

*To cook the black beans:

I like to do this after dinner to prepare for the next day's meal.

In a stockpot, place 1 cup of beans in 5 cups of boiling water; boil for 2–3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight.

The next day, most of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water.

Drain, and then rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.

Cook dry beans for 50 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top.

To prepare the bowl:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with spices and toss with olive oil.

Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take 1 cup quinoa, rinse it well, and cook it in 2 cups of water in a small stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until all water is consumed. 

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt as it cooks.

Then, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor / blender until smooth.

Toss the beans, quinoa, arugula, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Enjoy!

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Make your own flour blends

The corporate food industry has taken wheat, which is highly nutritious and rich in protein, B vitamins, and complex carbohydrates, and de-natured it into a high yield grain. It is largely indigestible, not only because it comes from grain that has been genetically engineered, but also because the resultant flour is stripped of its bran and germ.

The bran and germ are home to vitamins, minerals, protein, and fiber. Our bodies need these compounds to metabolize the grain effectively.

Due to an over-consumption of this hybridized wheat, which the body doesn't actually recognize as food, many of us have become gluten-sensitive.

Here are some tips to create your own gluten-free flour blends without the strange additives.

Gluten-Free Flour Mixes

Just use this rule of thumb: 70% whole grain or nut flour blend to 30% starches – no xantham gum needed!

Some whole grain flours are more dry and light. Others are more moist and dense. Make sure that you use a balance of these two in your 70% mixture.

Think about the outcome: if you want a rich, dense baked good, use more of the heavy flours. For a light, fluffy crust, use the lighter, drier flours. Consider that some flours taste better in savory or sweet batters, too.

For example, a cauliflower pizza crust will do well with cornmeal. A brownie batter will thrive on brown rice or oat flour.

Whole grain flours include:

  • Buckwheat (dry & dense; savory)

  • Sorghum (moist and dense; either sweet or savory)

  • Oat (moist and dense; sweet)

  • Brown Rice (moist and dense; sweet)

  • Millet (medium; either sweet or savory)

  • Quinoa (dry and light; savory)

  • Teff (dry and light; savory)

  • Corn (dry and light; mildly sweet)

  • Almond (dry and dense; mildly sweet)

Starches include:

  • White sweet rice flour

  • Tapioca flour

  • Coconut flour

  • Arrowroot powder

Maple Cinnamon Scones

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a bowl, mix well:

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • Pinch salt

  • ½ cup cooked oatmeal

  • ½ cup sorghum flour

  • 1 cup millet flour

  • ¼ cup applesauce

  • 2 Tablespoons maple syrup

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons nut or seed butter

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

Grease a cookie sheet with olive oil and drop dough in spoonfuls. Flatten each cookie with the back of the spoon. Slide cookie sheet into oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Get creative! For variety, add one of the following: 2 spoonfuls raspberry jam; 1 inch fresh chopped ginger root & ½ teaspoon clove powder; ¼ cup raisins (first soak for 5 minutes in hot water and drain).

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Love the Body, Calm the Mind, Nourish the Spirit

Mid-winter is here. We are half-way between winter solstice and spring equinox. This is a time to savor the warmth of the hearth, the delight of soup, and the crunchy texture of a little bit of winter green food.

Enjoy these recipes and remember to breathe in the scents of the spices as you savor your meal.

Lentil Squash Soup

Thanks to Rebecca Katz for this recipe inspiration.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon

  • 1 medium butternut squash, baked

  • 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and boiled

  • 1 cup kale or Swiss chard, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Place the squash on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake it for 1 hour, or until it is soft when you cut through it with a knife.

Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and bring them to a boil in a sauce pot with 3 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer, skim off any foam that rises, and simmer for 30 minutes.

Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Now, chop vegetables.

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion and vinegar and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add diced carrots, celery, and spices. Sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes.

Add cooked lentils and 3 cups water.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cook, covered, while you peel and de-seed the squash.

Once it’s peeled and de-seeded, add the squash to the pot.

Add the kale or Swiss chard.

Simmer for 15 more minutes.

Taste for salt and serve immediately with nutty rice flatbread.

Roasted Root and Chopped Egg Salad

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this recipe inspiration.

You will need:

  • 2 large carrots, chopped

  • 3 large parsnips, chopped

  • 1 celeriac (celery root), chopped

  • 5 whole cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1½ pounds frisée and/or arugula, torn and washed

  • Walnut mustard vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss carrots, parsnips, celeriac and garlic with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast, tossing halfway through, for 30 minutes total.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Add eggs and boil for 5 minutes. Run them under cold water, peel them, chop them, and place them in a large bowl with the roasted roots. Toss well.

Add frisée and/or arugula and dressing.

Toss again, serve, and enjoy!

Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

Place all ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake well. Pour over salad and enjoy!

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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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Leek, Fennel and Squash Soup

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

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

Give these recipes a try!

LEEK, FENNEL & BUTTERNUT SOUP

You will need: 

  • 1 medium butternut squash, baked and peeled

  • 2 tablespoons local oil (sunflower or olive)

  • 3 leeks, chopped and rinsed

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped – save fronds for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme, cinnamon, turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and fresh black pepper

  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • fresh, chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot. 

Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped fennel, ginger, hazelnuts, spices, salt and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, cut it open and let it cool for 5 minutes. Compost the seeds. Scoop out flesh and add it to the soup pot. Add the vegetable stock and stir.

Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat. Blend until smooth. 

Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro.

Serve with cooked quinoa.

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