Summer Salads and Dressings

Summer is a time of heightened activity, longer days. It's also an opportunity to slow down, nourish ourselves, soak up the sun, and prepare for winter. The more we relax and reduce stress in the summer, the healthier we will remain during the colder months. Try these recipes to strengthen digestion and promote relaxation.

Lemon Garlic Dressing

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped dill.

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Red Wine Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ teaspoon tamari or soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon maple syrup

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped basil.

Kohlrabi Potato Salad

Kohlrabi is extremely high in protein for a vegetable! It's a digestive aid as well. Enjoy it.

You will need:

  • 1 pound potatoes or any kind
  • ½ pound kohlrabi
  • ¼ cup fresh spinach, chopped
  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped dill
  • 3 tablespoons mustard
  • one batch of lemon garlic salad dressing (see recipe above)

Steam or boil potatoes and kohlrabi in until tender, about 15 minutes.

Drain and place in a serving bowl. Toss with spinach, dill, mustard and salad dressing. 

Serve warm or at room temperature.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup sunflower seeds.

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Corn Salad

Please choose non-GMO corn whenever possible.

You will need:

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups fresh peas
  • 3 ears corn, husks and silks discarded, kernels sliced from cobs and reserved
  • 2 stalks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped

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

Bring a 2 quart saucepan of salted water to a boil. Add peas and cook until bright green and tender, 1–2 minutes.

Drain and add to bowl along with remaining ingredients; toss to combine.

Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese.

Vegan Chia Burgers

Summer is drenching Vermont in rain to the point of flooding. Farmers are doing everything possible to secure crops and we are watching puddles turn into pools in our garden. We hope that this damp weather will pass so that plants may flourish once again.

Meanwhile, we are trying to dry the dampness with warming, nourishing foods that still feature summer ingredients.

These chia burgers fit the bill.

Chia, a member of the sage family, has delicious, peppery, edible seeds that are high in protein and fiber.They are a great replacement for eggs and taste delicious in sweet and savory dishes alike.

Corn is a wonderful food for summer. From digestive support to blood sugar balance, it is a healing food as long as it’s not genetically modified. Ask your farmer where they get their seeds and check for the non-GMO label on corn products in the store. Corn fiber supports the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine. It is rich in B-complex vitamins and has about 5 grams of protein per cup. Fiber and protein make corn a great food blood sugar control.

Vegan Chia Burgers

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (non GMO)

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated

  • 1 medium carrot, grated

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together.

Oil a cookie sheet with olive or sunflower oil.

Shape dough into patties and flatten each one onto the cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, cool and enjoy.

They pair well with pesto and grilled chicken or cod.

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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.

Metabolism-Boosting Meal Plan

Here on the homestead, winter tends to find us slowing down, eating rich, nourishing foods, and enjoying a more relaxed pace. As necessary as this shift is, it can lead to a more sluggish metabolism. We like to take one day a week to enjoy this cleansing, metabolism-boosting meal plan as a way of pressing the reset button on our eating and boosting our energy.

It's a great thing to try in honor of the full moon today, which is known by indigenous peoples of this land as the Wolf Moon. Howl at the moon, stimulate metabolic activity and restore your energy with these recipes.

All these spices boost the metabolism, support healthy digestion, and/or ward off the cold and flu. Many of the ingredients in these recipes also support healthy metabolic activity. You can learn more by exploring the culinary pharmacy here.

 

Breakfast

Coconut Chia Blueberry Pudding

You will need:

  • 1 cup full fat organic coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Combine coconut milk, water, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 2 -3 minutes.

Add chia seeds, almonds and blueberries and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating.

Lunch

Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa and Greens

For the roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric and coriander

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

For the quinoa with greens:

  • 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil or olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, chile flakes, cinnamon, and cumin

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 4 cups kale

Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425. Toss the cauliflower florets with coconut oil and spices. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack, turning halfway, until the cauliflower is tender and golden on the edges.

Cook the quinoa: In a large pot with a lid, warm the coconut oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and ginger and cook about 5 minutes. Add spices and stir. Add water and quinoa.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.

Chop kale and add it to the pot. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from heat.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the salt and vinegar. Divide the quinoa into bowls.

Top with roasted cauliflower.

Dinner

Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

You will need:

  • 1 cup brown & wild rice blend

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon each: sage, thyme, oregano and salt

  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Combine the rice and vegetable broth in a large saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 35-40 minutes, cooking until the broth is completely absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sage, thyme, and salt, and sauté another 8 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

Combine the cooked rice and mushroom mixture, and stir in the pecans. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and serve warm.

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Salad Summer

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

Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup walnuts

  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, chopped

  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut in half

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 packed cups arugula

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

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

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

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

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

Parsley Cilantro Chickpea Salad

For the salad:

  • 2 cups cooked chick peas OR one 14 ounce can chickpeas. drained

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons each: salt, black pepper, allspice, cumin, and cardamon

  • 5 packed cups of salad greens

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 1 cucumber)

  • 2 cups tomatoes, diced (about 3 medium tomatoes)

  • 1/3 cup each of fresh cilantro and Italian parsley. chopped

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper

Cook and drain the chickpeas. If cooking dried chickpeas, soak them overnight and boil them in water for 2 hours until tender.

Place them in a skillet with olive oil, salt, pepper, allspice, cumin and cardamom. Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes. 

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.

Wash and drain salad greens.

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

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

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Deep Winter Nourishment

Happy New Year!

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

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

To find connection with this deep internal body wisdom, eat mindfully and nourish yourself with wholesome foods that are rich in good quality fats. Fats soothe the nervous system, provide warmth, uplift the mood, and ease stress. Here are some recipes to try this winter.

Chicken Stock

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Winter Chicken Stew

You will need:

  • 1 pound chicken: use boneless drumsticks or thighs

  • To make a vegetarian dish, substitute 2 cups cooked red lentils.

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 4 carrots, chopped into crescents

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 turnip, chopped

  • 1 bunch kale, chopped

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop onions.

Heat oil in large soup pot.

Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the spices, stir and sauté on medium heat for 2 more minutes. Add lemon juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

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

Add kale and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve with shitake rice.

Shiitake Rice

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 2 inches seaweed: kombu or wakame (I like Ironbound Island brand)

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups napa cabbage, chopped

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice

  • 2 cups water or chicken stock (see above)

Chop onions and shitakes.

Heat oil in a deep skillet. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until browning. Add shitakes and sauté for 10 more minutes, or until soft. Add tamari, seaweed, vinegar, and pepper. Add cabbage, rice and stock / water. Stir well to incorporate.

Cook, covered, on low heat for 30 minutes or until you see air bubbles on the surface of the rice.

Serve warm.

Baked Latkes

In honor of Hanukkah's beginning at sun down last night, I offer a lighter version of latkes with a few variations.

This festival of the Jewish tradition lasts for 8 nights and 8 days. The word 'hanukkah' means 'to dedicate', and honors the re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.

Many light candles in the evening and welcome in the light during this time when nights grow dark so early. Bring light and delight into your home with this delicious traditional dish.

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Latkes

You will need:

  • 1 pound potatoes, grated

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • Peel potatoes and grate coarsely.

You can either grate by hand or with the grater attachment of a food processor. Place grated potatoes in cold water until they are all grated. Drain the water and mix potatoes with all the other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with olive oil.

Place latkes on sheets and bake for 15 minutes.

Accompaniments: sour cream, sauerkraut, applesauce

Variations: use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes - in this case, omit the carrots. Add  1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and 1 carrot, grated

Freezable Meals

I so appreciate all who comment on these posts and make requests for more. Your feedback lets me know that this information is useful and allows me to learn how I can best be of service to you.

Thank you!

Based on requests, here are ideas for meals you can prepare in advance and freeze to have on hand in a pinch. Because we are pregnant, I am starting to freeze meals for the time after the birth. Whether or not you are expecting, this practice is a great way to incorporate healthy food into your diet no matter the circumstances.

Holiday time often gets full, and there's not always time to cook whole grains, mineral-rich vegetables, and nourishing proteins. By preparing this dishes ahead of time and enjoying them during the holidays, you will feel better, help ward off the cold and flu, and enjoy your down time more.

To start, get all the ingredients for two or three of these dishes. Have enough containers to store all the food in the freezer. Set aside two hours of time where you will not be interrupted, Invite a friend or a family member to cook with you if you like. Put on music and make it fun!

When you freeze, make appropriate portions. If a meal serves four and there are two of you, split it into two containers. Fill containers three quarters full so that they have room to expand once they freeze. Once you are done, label containers with the contents and date. I like using masking tape and a permanent marker.

Remember to make a list of what's in the freezer and tack it onto the fridge. This way, you will remember to eat these healthy delights! The night before you wan to eat them, remove from freezer and place in the fridge to thaw.

Chicken and Quinoa Soup

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 leek, chopped

  • 1 pound free-range chicken, with bones

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 2 cups chard or kale, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, oregano and salt

  • 4 cups water

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • juice of 1 lemon to finish

In a soup pot, sauté onion and leek for 15 minutes on medium low heat, stirring occasionally, until they start to brown. Splash with apple cider vinegar.

Add the chicken and sauté on medium high heat, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 25 minutes depending on the cut.

Add the celery, carrots, garlic, ginger, and spices. Stir well. Add the chard, quinoa and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and stir in lemon juice.

Cool and store in portion-sized containers. This soup is a complete meal and serves four. 

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Chicken Breasts Baked in Rosemary Lemon Sauce

You will need:

  • 6 medium chicken breasts with skin

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup almond or cow milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place chicken in an oiled baking dish.

Whisk all ingredients together. Pour over chicken.

Bake skin side up 25- 30 minutes or until cooked through.

Freeze with wild rice pilaf in labeled, portion-sized containers.

Wild Rice Pilaf with Onions, Almonds and Peas

You will need:

  • 1 cup wild rice blend

  • 1 ½ cups long grain brown rice

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 Tablespoon brown mustard

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

  • 1 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 1 ½ cups peas, fresh or frozen

  • ½ cup organic almonds

Cook rice in 5 cups water or stock. Add a pinch of salt as rice cooks.

Meanwhile, chop onion and cook in olive oil in a deep skillet. Add water to prevent sticking. Add salt, pepper, coriander and mustard. Stir well, close with a lid, and cook on medium low heat for 15 minutes, or until golden. Once rice is cooked and onion is golden, mix them together. Add peas and almonds. Stir well to incorporate. 

Freeze with chicken breasts.

Aloo Saag - India-Inspired Potatoes and Spinach

You will need:

  • 4 medium white or red potatoes, boiled until just fork tender

  • 2 teaspoons coriander

  • 1 teaspoon garam masala

  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 5 tablespoons olive or sunflower oil

  • 1 pound fresh spinach, roughly chopped

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt

Boil the potatoes whole. Run them under cold water once they are cooked. Then, cut the potatoes into small wedges.

Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. When hot, add the potatoes and fry until they are golden brown, gently stirring often, about 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the spices. Stir in the spinach a few handfuls at a time, until each handful is slightly wilted.

Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, stir in the salt and cook for another 5 minutes or until most of the liquid from the spinach has evaporated.

Serve with red lentils but freeze separately.

Red Lentils in a Spiced Sauce

You will need:

  • 2 cups cooked red lentils

  • 1 large yellow onion

  • 1 bunch kale or collards, chopped

  • 1/3 cup olive or sunflower oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, cumin and coriander powders

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • Salt to taste

Bring lentils to a boil with 4 cups water. Skim off any foam that rises to the top and then cook for 30 minutes, or until they are reduced to a soft paste.

Meanwhile, chop onions. Heat olive oil in large skillet. Add the spices, stir and sauté on low heat for 2 minutes. Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes. Add lime juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop greens and ginger. Add to skillet. Add water if onions are sticking to the bottom. Add the cooked red lentils and ½ cup water. Cover and cook for ½ hour more. 

Freeze separately from aloo saag. Reheat separately and serve together.

Spring Tonics

Green spring tonics are a time-honored tradition to encourage gentle liver and gall bladder renewal. Leafy greens, both wild and cultivated, are some of the most nutrient dense vegetables available.

This is a time when we transition from Winter hibernation to Summer growth. Because we are part of the earth and its cycles, it’s crucial to align with this seasonal change by strengthening digestion and immunity.

Certain foods and culinary herbs are specifically indicated for supporting this transition. They tend to be ones that promote digestive and eliminative function, or strengthen the immune and endocrine systems.

Rejuvenating Nettle Soup

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 large shallots

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon each: coriander and turmeric

  • 2 large zucchini

  • 1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard

  • 4 cups freshly harvested young nettle tops

  • 1 cup water or vegetable stock

  • 1 cup chopped green olives

Peel and dice shallots.

Place oil in a soup pot, warm it to medium heat, and sauté shallots for 5 minutes.

Add spices. Sauté for a few more minutes.

Dice zucchini and add to the skillet. Add mustard and olives.

Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the water / stock and nettles.

Bring everything to a boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer with a lid on for 20 minutes.

You can add marinated tempeh or roasted chicken to the soup for a delicious meal.

Nettles (Urtica dioica): warming and drying, nettles alleviate water retention, boost our body’s stores of iron and offer many other nutritive minerals. Gently cleansing, they can help mitigate the effects of seasonal allergies.  Use the young, fresh leaves in soup, pasta sauce, or as tea.

Olive oil: monounsaturated and liquid at room temp., first cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. It improves calcium levels in the blood and enhances memory function by oxygenating blood.

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Wonderful One Pot Meals For Spring

Give yourself time to rest and rejuvenate.

Make a simple meal that can be re-heated in the oven and served at dinnertime with enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

During the time you would spend cooking in the evening, try doing one of these things.

Go for a walk. Sit in the sun. Talk with a loved one. Hold someone's hand. Breathe deeply, in and out, offering gratitude for another day on the planet.

Quinoa Casserole with Spiced Roots

You will need:

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and oregano

  • 3 red potatoes, chopped into cubes

  • 4 carrots, chopped into ½ inch rounds

  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped into ½ inch rounds

  • 1 beet, chopped into cubes

  • 1 bunch kale, spinach, or chard, chopped

  • Sea salt to taste

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ cup walnuts

Heat oil in a large skillet. Add the spices, stir and sauté on low heat for 2 minutes.

Add chopped roots. Raise heat to high for 2 minutes.

Add lime or lemon juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Add spices. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop greens. Add to skillet. Add water if anything is sticking to the bottom.

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water.

Add nuts towards the end of cooking.

Grease a casserole dish with vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

When roots are soft, place in the contents of the skillet bottom of the casserole dish.

Once quinoa and nuts are cooked, spread it on top of the vegetables.

Bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy! Serve with sesame lemon sauce if you like.

Sesame Lemon Sauce

In a bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 Tablespoons tahini

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • ½ cup water

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

Use as a salad dressing or garnish for casseroles.

Millet Leek Casserole with Tempeh

Start with the millet.

Soak 1 cup millet for 2 hours or so. Strain and rinse millet.

You can also cook without soaking. This process removes phytic acid, making millet more digestible.

Pour into a cooking pot with 3 cups water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

Simmer until millet begins to thicken (about 20 minutes). Stir occasionally, as though cooking oatmeal.

Add:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 carrots, grated

  • ½ teaspoon each: thyme and nutmeg

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet thickens.

Meanwhile, chop 2 leeks.

Place in a deep skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Sauté for 5 minutes.

Chop 1 8-ounce package of tempeh into cubes.

Place tempeh in a bowl and add:

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 1 teaspoon tahini

  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

Mix well.

Pour contents of bowl into the skillet with leeks.

Cook on medium heat for 5 minutes, until tempeh is browning slightly.

Meanwhile, chop kale – about 2 packed cups.

Add kale and ½ cup water to the skillet.

Cover and cook on medium low heat for 5 more minutes.

Set aside.

Grease a glass baking dish (9x9) with olive or sunflower oil.

Pour one third of the millet into the baking dish and flatten it evenly.

Cover with half of the vegetable mixture.

Add another layer of millet, followed by vegetables.

Finish with millet.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until the top is turning golden.

Buckwheat Cauliflower Casserole

Place 1 cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 2 ½ cups water in a stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes until kasha begins to thicken.

Add ½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg

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

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Chop 1 large head cauliflower into florets.Chop 3 large carrots into crescents.

Oil a rectangular baking dish.

Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish.

Season with ½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon.

Toss well to coat.

Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Mix as many peas as you like with the cauliflower and carrots. Remove 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!

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Whole Food + Mindfulness = Health

Food For Thought

Much of the body's total digestive response to any meal starts with the mind. If we are distracted before we begin to eat, and if we are not fully aware of what and when we are eating, we are not stimulating the full beneficial digestive response.

On the contrary, mindful eating requires being fully present with our food. It's a meditation practice that brings our thoughts to the food and our experience of the food.

In Eating Mindfully, Susan Albers describes:

"Eating a mindful meal means completely focusing your mind on the 'process' of eating. You take it moment by moment and focus on the here and now. You begin by looking at the food, noting the different colors and shapes. You really see what is in front of you. You also become aware of the manner in which you reach for the spoon and fork. Food doesn't automatically end up in your mouth. Your entire body is involved in getting it there... from ingredients to atmosphere, whether appealing or appalling, both the psychological mood and the physical accessories that surround you when you eat may influence the way in which you metabolize food and in turn your health and well-being."

You can cook and eat whole food, as close to the source as possible, to reduce your risk of illnesses from the common cold to cancer. Many doctors maintain that food is the best way to prevent and treat obesity, diabetes, arthritis, metabolic syndrome, heart disease and depression.

Choose one food to be your health ally this spring. I am choosing black pepper. What about you?


Black Pepper

Although it’s known for making you sneeze, black pepper can actually help to ward off the sniffles. Black peppercorns are high in piperine, a compound with anti-inflammatory qualities that can reduce swelling in joints. Piperine also helps you absorb the benefits of other spices.Try for 2 teaspoons of both black pepper per week to boost your immunity.

By including your healthy food ally in your diet each week, you can contribute to your own long-term well-being. Remember that it takes time a commitment to notice these changes. Be patient.

Most of all, enjoy your meal!

Here is my favorite black pepper recipe.


Healthy Stir-Fried Vegetables

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 3 carrots, rinsed and chopped into matchsticks

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped

  • 2 zucchini, rinsed and chopped into matchsticks

  • 1 small purple cabbage, rinsed and chopped

  • 1 hanful snap peas (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari (low sodium)

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, cumin, and coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: fenugreek and cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • Juice of half a lime

Heat oil in a skillet.

Add ginger and garlic. Stir well.

Add vinegar.

Sauté on medium heat, with the lid on, for 5 minutes. Add water if anything is sticking.

Add carrots, zucchini, broccoli and cabbage in layers with carrots on the bottom, then zucchini, then cabbage on top.

Add ½ cup water, soy sauce, and spices. Do not stir. Reduce heat to medium-low.

Cook with lid on for 5 minutes.

Add snap peas if you have them.

Stir, increase heat to medium, and cook for 5 more minutes, or until carrots are just tender.

Squeeze lime juice over the top and mix well to incorporate.

Serve over rice with chopped hard-boiled eggs or enjoy with rice flatbread

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Mexico-Inspired Feast

As the weather starts warming slowly, I try to move my body more, breathe the fresh air even though it's cold, and eat more spicy food. Spice from the capsicum family (peppers and paprika) awakens the digestive system, accelerates the metabolism, and improves circulation.

I am inspired to share a Mexican-style meal, which reminds me of my visits to the Yucatan Peninsula. Every part of Mexico has its own regional cuisine. These dishes are familiar to me from my time in Chiapas.

Many of these ingredients, including garlic, cinnamon, and rice, have incredible healing properties.

With chills and weakness brought on by a cold, cinnamon's (cinnamomum sativum) anti-microbial activity stops the development of pathogenic bacteria. The active components in its essential oils warm the body. Try sprinkling it on buttered toast or adding it to applesauce.

Garlic, alium sativum, is one of nature's most powerful antibiotics. Its sulfur compounds reduce inflammation in the body. Effective in treating both viral and bacterial infections, fresh crushed garlic is a potent remedy. If your belly can tolerate it, mince or press 2 cloves of garlic, mix with 1/4 cup honey, and eat with toast or rice. You may also place a spoonful of fresh minced garlic in chicken soup.

Rice, oryza sativa, is the most common cereal grain world-wide. It is nourishing and soothing to a system that's depleted by cold and flu. It stops diarrhea, nourishes dehydrated tissues, and is one of the easiest grains to digest. When you are sick, make rice porridge with 1 cup rice and 3 cups water. Add 1 teaspoon of salt to ensure that you are getting sufficient electrolytes. You can season it with thyme and cinnamon if you like.

Shopping List

  • cornmeal (non-GMO if possible)

  • long grain brown rice

  • black beans - please soak overnight

  • eggs

  • sour cream

  • milk (almond or cow)

  • olive oil

  • apple cider vinegar

  • canned / jarred tomatoes

  • salt

  • cinnamon

  • cumin

  • coriander

  • oregano

  • red chile flakes

  • onions

  • garlic

  • carrots

  • lime

  • orange

  • spinach

  • mushrooms

  • fresh cilantro (optional)

Black Bean Stew

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, oregano and salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon chile flakes (optional)

  • 1 cup cooked black beans

  • 2 cups water

  • juice of 1 orange

  • freshly chopped cilantro for garnish (optional)

Soak beans overnight or for 8 hours. Rinse, bring to a boil, and reduce to simmer.

Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the top of the pot.

Simmer for 30 minutes or until beans are tender but still well-formed.

Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Chop onions, garlic, and carrots.

Place in a stock pot with olive oil and sauté for 5 minutes.

Add spices and black beans. Stir well and sauté for 3 more minutes, or until you can smell the spices.

Add water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.

Add the juice of 1 orange. Stir well.

Turn off heat and enjoy with cooked rice and a garnish of freshly chopped cilantro if you like.

Cornmeal Casserole

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a glass baking dish (9x9 or so) with olive oil. Set aside.

Mince:

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/2 pound mushrooms

  • 1 carrot

  • 1 onion

Place these in a deep skillet with 3 tablespoons olive oil.

Turn heat on high and then reduce to medium low once vegetables start to sizzle.

Add 1 teaspoon each: oregano, cumin, and coriander - mix well.

Splash with 1 tablespoon lime juice, stir once more, and cover.

Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes. 

Turn off heat, add 2 packed cups spinach, stir well, and spread into baking dish.

For the topping, whisk together these ingredients in the order listed:

  • 2 cups cornmeal

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 3 eggs

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 1/2 cups milk (almond or cow)

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

Add a bit of water if the dough is too dry. You need to be able to handle it with your hands without it cracking or crumbling.

Shape dough into a flat disc and place over vegetables.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. 

Remove from oven and serve with sour cream chile sauce.

GET CREATIVE! Avoiding cream and cheese? Put a fried egg or braised cod on top.

Sour Cream Chile Sauce

In a serving bowl, mix:

  • 2 cups sour cream

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lime juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander and chile flakes

  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro (optional)

Serve immediately or keep refrigerated until ready to eat.

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How To Video for a Simple, Delicious Meal

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

VEGETABLE POT PIE

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

LEEK KALE FRITTATA

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

Substitute any vegetables you have on hand.

ORANGE HAZELNUT CAKE

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

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

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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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Hearty Stews

The harvest moon wanes and we head towards Halloween, also known by agrarian people of the British Isles as Samhain, the New Year.

CHICKEN AND DUMPLINGS

For the chicken stew:

  • 4 tablespoons butter

  • 2 pounds chicken, baked and de-boned

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 medium carrots, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 medium red potatoes, chopped

  • 3 cups quick chicken stock*

  • 1 cup peas, fresh or frozen

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme, rosemary, and oregano

For the dumplings:

  • 1 cup flour (spelt or rice)

  • 2 tsp. baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon rosemary

  • ½ cup milk (cow, almond or rice)

To cook chicken, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place in a glass baking dish and bake, uncovered, for 45 minutes. Cool, remove skin, and remove from bones. Add to stew pot. Include the juices. 

*Place the bones and skin in a separate pot with 4 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt.

Simmer for 30 minutes. Add to stew pot.

To make the stew, heat butter in a stock pot or Dutch oven.

Add garlic, onion, carrot, celery, and potato. Cook for about 15 minutes, or until carrots are soft.

Add peas and spices. Add chicken and stock.

Simmer on low heat for 15 minutes as the dumplings cook.

To prepare the dumplings, whisk flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir in milk until a thick batter forms. With a large spoon, drop batter into simmering soup. When dumplings are puffed and slightly firm, cover pan and continue to cook about 5 minutes more.

Serves eight. 

Thanks to the Pioneer Woman for this inspiration.

MUSHROOM AND BARLEY STEW

Mushrooms are rich in protein and help us adapt to the change in seasons by boosting our immune response.

You will need:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 8 cloves garlic, smashed

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced

  • 1/4 pound shitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 6 cups vegetable stock

  • ½ cup pearl barley

  • 2 teaspoon thyme

  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • ⅓ cup chopped parsley

Heat oil in a stock pot over medium-high heat. Add garlic, celery, carrots, and onion, and cook until soft, about 5 minutes. Add cremini and shitake mushrooms, and cook about 15 minutes.

Add stock, barley, and thyme, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered and stirring occasionally, until barley is tender, about 30 minutes.

Stir in juice and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley.

Serves eight.

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