Get Your B Vitamins!

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

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

Biotin and pantothenic acid: healthy metabolism

Niacin and thiamin: cardiovascular health and energy production

Riboflavin: production of skin cells, nails, and hair

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Pineapple Maple Ginger Upside Down Cake

This is my version of a cake I had at Eat Here in Florida.

It was so good that I had to re-create it.

Try it for yourself. Email me if you are disappointed for any reason.

By the way, pineapple is packed with digestive enzymes and naturally very sweet.

Pineapple Ginger Upside Down Cake

You will need:

  • 1 cup pineapple chunks, either fresh or frozen and thawed

  • 1 cup whole wheat or rice flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, ginger

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 egg, whisked

  • 1/2 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil

  • 1/4 cup coconut milk

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

For the ginger sauce:

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a cake pan with vegetable oil.

Place 1/2 cup of the pineapple chunks in it. Set it aside.

Mince 2 inches of ginger root. Place some in a pan to make sauce and set some aside for the cake.

In a bowl, mix flour, powder, salt, and spices. Add the rest of the pineapple and mix just until it is well coated with the flour mixture.

Make a well in the center and add the rest of the ingredients.

Whisk them with each other and then incorporate wet and dry together until just barely mixed.

The batter will be gooey.

Pour it over the pineapple and bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

Let cool for 15 to 20 minutes.

Turn out onto a plate.

Garnish each slice with apple slices, a sprinkle of nutmeg, whipped cream and ginger sauce.

To prepare the ginger sauce:

Place all ingredients in a stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, whisking occasionally, for 10 minutes or until it is a thick paste.

Spoon over cake slices.

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Fresh, Fruity, & Fabulous

Smoothies are not just for breakfast! Enjoy them as snacks when the afternoon blues hit or serve them in a little cup as dessert when visitors come to dinner.

With the coming new moon and spring equinox on March 20th, these recipes will uplift you and inspire you to sow seeds of intention for the season to come.

Each one of these recipes features coconut, which helps to tone and nourish your hormonal and digestive systems and bring the balance that's synonymous with this time of year.

Coconut

Saturated fat, solid at room temperature, coconut is a plant-based alternative to saturated animal fats. It stimulates brain function and promotes intestinal motility. Its anti-bacterial action makes it an important fat to choose during times of illness or infection and is specifically indicated for combating intestinal parasites. This food is considered sacred by people from the Indonesian Archipelago to the Indian Sub-Continent because of its potent healing properties. 

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Coconut Cream Pie

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 banana

  • ½ orange

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Blend until smooth.


Decadent Chocolate Cherry

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • ¾ cup of frozen cherries

  • 1 tablespoon cacao powder

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Blend until smooth.


Soothing Delight

You will need:

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 cup water

  • 1 ripe avocado, peeled and de-seeded

  • 2 dates, fresh or dried, chopped

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Blend until smooth.

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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Juice for Renewal

As November makes its way to the new moon, you can renew your body, mind, and spirit by enjoying nutrient-dense juices. These blends will awaken your senses each morning and help cleanse your internal organs after savoring the rich foods of holiday feasts.

If you do not already have a juicer, click this link to view Williams-Sonoma's options for purchasing your own juicer.

Whole foods are rich in fiber, which can ease constipation by building bulk in the stool. Fiber also helps starches to metabolize more slowly so that blood sugar remains stable. When juicing, we remove the fiber from food and concentrate its nutrients, which can cause blood sugar spikes. 

In addition, because we do not have to chew juice, saliva's digestive secretions are reduced. Hence, I like to pair juice with a protein-packed popover or a home-made banana almond bar for optimal digestion and balanced energy.

Regardless, drink small glasses (8 ounces or less) of juice and see how your stomach tolerates it. The more green foods you put in your juice, the more your blood and skin will glow. Ginger and carrots in juice will heal the digestive system and increase pancreatic secretions.

Try these recipes and see what you think!

REVIVE + DIGEST

Ginger is a digestive aid, which stimulates digestive secretions, increases the amylase concentration in saliva, and facilitates the digestion of starches and fatty foods. It stimulates the immune response and reduces inflammation and anxiety. Use smaller amounts if you have excessive heartburn or an ulcer.

You will need:

  • 2 inches of fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 2 grapefruits, peeled and chopped

  • 2 green apples, chopped

  • 1 packed cup of fresh spinach

  • pinch salt

  • 3 cups water

Place all ingredients in the order listed in a blender. Blend well until everything is completely liquefied - about 1 minute.

As long as the ginger is organic, please blend it with the peel, which is rich in nutrients.

This juice keeps in the fridge in a sealed glass jar for 3 days. Shake before drinking.

Enjoy it with a glass with a whole grain breakfast such as amaranth flatbread

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LIVER LOVE

Beets cleanse the liver and flood the cells with iron. They provide the most concentrated source of phytonutrients called betalains, which are antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Beets' high betaine content lowers the presence of inflammatory markers in the system. These powerful roots are a wonderful winter food.

You will need:

  • 1 packed cup beet greens

  • 1 beet, washed and chopped

  • 3 stalks celery

  • 2 inches fresh ginger root

Put all ingredients through a juicer* and store in the fridge in a sealed glass jar for 3 days. Enjoy a glass either in the morning or before bed. It will help to rejuvenate the internal organs and encourage effective metabolism.

To re-invent the vegetable pulp that's leftover after juicing, try this vegetable bread recipe.

BLOOD BUILDER

Carrots are high in omega 3 essential fatty acids to tonify the internal organs and strengthen immunity. They are rich in carotenoids and omega-3s, whose anti-oxidant content offers anti-inflammatory support; high in vitamin C to boost immunity and cleanse the blood. Carrots also offer a healthy dose of B vitamins to reduce stress.

You will need:

  • 1 beet, washed and chopped

  • 2 carrots, washed and chopped

  • 1 green apple, chopped

  • 2 handfuls fresh parsley

Put all ingredients through a juicer*. This juice stores well in the fridge in a sealed glass jar for 3 days. It makes for an uplifting afternoon tonic. Drink a glass at work if you are feeling lethargic during the waning daylight hours. 

*If you would like to make this juice without a juicer, just grate the beet, carrots, and apple to shred them. Then, place them in a blender with the parsley and 2 cups of water. Blend well for 1 minute, or until the mixture is uniformly liquid.

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Stone Fruit Tart

Late summer: harvest time, abundance, peaches, plums, berries, and the first apples.

Maple trees tinge red-gold and mornings are crisp and dew-dropped. 

Now is the time to enjoy this abundance.

Feed your body. Feed your soul.

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STONE FRUIT TART

You will need:

  • 1 lemon

  • 1 1/2 cups millet flour (gluten-free) or spelt flour (wheat-free)

  • 1 teaspoons baking powder

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil OR unsalted butter at room temperature

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • 2 large eggs OR 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal dissolved in just as much hot water

  • 5 plums, 6 apricots, OR 4 peaches, pitted and cut in half or into wedges

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom, cloves, nutmeg

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Grease a 9 inch cake pan.

In a large mixing bowl, zest the lemon and squeeze out the juice. 

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt. 

Add the oil or butter in pieces and smash into the flour mixture with a fork so that the fat is well coated with flour.

Add the maple syrup and eggs / flaxseed, mix well, and spread into the pan.

Arrange the fruit halves / wedges in concentric circles on top of the batter, lightly pressing them in. 

In a small bowl, combine the spices and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. 

Pour the mixture over the fruit and bake about 1 hour. 

Serve warm.

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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Immune-Boosting Delights

These are wonderful foods to incorporate into your diet to boost immunity and curb sweet cravings.

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

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 and oregano per week to boost your immunity.

Lime: both the skin and juice of this citrus fruit contain a natural flavonoid called hesperidin, which is shown to help combat cancer and ward off viruses and bacteria that cause the stomach flu. Avoid drinking undiluted juice to protect your teeth. Add lime to salads, water, or use it as a salt alternative when sprinkled on veggies.

Tahini: a classic Mediterranean flavor, this peanut butter-like spread is made from ground sesame seeds. It contains two immunity-boosting ingredients: magnesium and zinc. Magnesium is essential for optimal immune function, while zinc protects against infection. Try tahini with hummus or in an open-faced sandwich with honey and apple.

SWEET POTATO MUFFINS

You will need:

  • 1 large sweet potato, steamed for 10 minutes or until tender

  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup millet flour

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/4 teaspoon each: black pepper, nutmeg and cinnamon

  • a pinch of sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Chop and roast sweet potato in sunflower oil and salt for 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk the oil, almond milk, maple and vanilla.

Add the flours, spices, and salt.

Once sweet potato is roasted, mash it with a fork and fold it into the batter. It can stay chunky.

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

Oil 12 muffin cups, fill 3/4 full and bake for 20 minutes.

Let muffins cool before serving. They are delicious with almond butter.

BLUEBERRY CHIA LIME SMOOTHIE

In a blender, combine and blend:

  • 2 cups organic frozen blueberries

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds

  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

  • 1/2 cup water

    TAHINI YOGURT DIP

In a bowl, mix:

  • 1 cup full fat unsweetened yogurt (cow or cashew)

  • 1 minced clove of garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of tahini 

  • juice of 1 lemon 

Enjoy!

This makes a great dip for veggies or a spread inside a sandwich wrap.

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Simplify Your Diet This Spring

Spring is a great time to simplify your diet. Start enjoying seasonal spring food and try to include at least 7 sevings of fruits and vegetables in your daily intake. Focus on meals comprised of 2/3 vegetables, 1/3 protein, and 1/3 whole grains. 

For protein, choose pastured poultry and eggs, white fish, yogurt, hard cheeses and beans.

Enjoy whole grains such as millet, rice, buckwheat, bulghur (wheat), and amaranth.

Depending on where you live, spring vegetables can vary. Look for these foods as they become available locally. They are high in antioxidants and fiber. Many of them help renew the liver, flush out excess toxins, and digest fats more effectively: asparagus, artichokes, broccoli, burdock root, celery, chicory, chives, dandelion leaf and root, endive, fennel, nettles, parsley and spinach.

Incorporate more fruit into your diet! Try some of these delights: apples, dried apricots, blueberries, apples, oranges, and strawberries.

HEALTH BENEFITS OF SPRING FOODS

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

Millet: alkaline enough to balance body’s pH; nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrate; offers a balance of B vitamins to support digestion and provide consistent energy.

Nettles: rich in chlorophyll, fiber, flavonoids, tannins, plant acids and histamin, vitamins A, C, and many minerals, including iron, copper, and calcium.

Parsley: depurative, anti-dandruff, digestive, emmenagogue, expectorant, odontalgic, stomachic, and tonic. rich in Vitamin C to decrease inflammation, beta carotene to help prevent infection and strengthen immunity, and folic acid (B vitamin) to support cardiovascular health. The activity of parsley's volatile oils qualifies it as a "chemoprotective" food that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens as well as ease the burn of insect bites and stings.

MILLET SQUARES

Soak ½ 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 2 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 and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet thickens.

Grease a large glass baking dish (9x13) with vegetable oil.

Turn on the broiler.

Pour millet into the baking dish and flatten it evenly. Broil for 5 minutes. Allow to cool and set.

GET CREATIVE! Toppings: fried eggs and spinach; scallions and sardines; artichoke spread and braised chicken; cumin-spiced pinto beans with roasted carrots; goat cheese and pesto


EGGS POACHED IN BEET GREENS

Take a bunch of beet greens, rinse them, and place them in a deep skillet with an inch of water at the bottom.

Bring to a boil, covered, and reduce to simmer.

Add salt and black pepper.

Crack four eggs on top of the beet greens. Place lid on skillet and angle it to leave enough of an opening for steam to escape.

Slowly poach the eggs on low heat for 5-6 minutes for soft yolks (8-9 minutes for hard yolks).

Meanwhile, chop a handful of each of these fresh herbs if you have them: mint, basil, parsley, cilantro.

Add fresh herbs on top of poaching eggs and steam briefly.

Remove each egg from the skillet with a slotted spatula and place on plates. 

GET CREATIVE! Serve with toast or quinoa; drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice; use as a topping for millet waffles.

ZUPPA VERDE

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, finely sliced

  • 2 medium leeks, white and tender green parts finely sliced crosswise

  • 4 stalks celery, chopped

  • 4 medium carrots, peeled, split, woody core removed, finely sliced

  • 4 yellow or red potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, sliced (optional)

  • 6 cups water

  • Salt, thyme, and oregano to taste - about 1 teaspoon each

2 cups fresh green beans, tips snapped, cut crosswise into ½-inch lengths

3 small, firm zucchini, cut into ¼-inch slices

Place olive oil in a soup pot and heat gently. Add the onion and sauté for 15 minutes on medium heat.

Add leeks, celery, carrots, potatoes (if using), and zucchini. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add water and herbs. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, covered, for about ½ hour.

Incorporate green beans and cook another 15 minutes until the beans are done but still a bit crunchy. Add a handful of freshly chopped basil and serve.

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Cacao for Health

When I think of chocolate, I picture rich and creamy dark chocolate bars from Equatorial climates all over the world. 

Chocolate makes a great addition to savory dishes as well, such as the mole poblano sauce I enjoyed at Jardin Escondido in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. 

As this precious fermented food becomes more globally available, I remember my grandfather, who only enjoyed chocolate once a year on Christmas day. 

When I savor cacao, I try to honor its source and all the work required to get it into my kitchen.


MOLE POBLANO

Cacao beans, once harvested, fermented, and roasted, are a particularly potent source of healing antioxidants. Georgetown University studies have also shown that flavonols, antioxidants found in chocolate, help lower your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and boost "good" HDL cholesterol. They ease inflammation and help prevent clotting and arterial plaque formation.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest level of cocoa flavonols and is the healthiest form of chocolate. Try to buy organic, Fair Trade–certified cocoa powder. Fair Trade certification aims to protect farmers in developing countries from exploitation by large corporations or from price fluctuations for commodity crops. In order to be Fair Trade–certified, companies are required to pay farmers a fair price for crops, enabling farmers to pay their workers a living wage, avoid using child labor and practice environmentally friendly farming methods.

Adding cocoa to savory dishes is a great way to get the benefits of chocolate without all the fat and sugar usually found in sweet chocolate-based treats.

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Email lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com for recipes such as: Black Bean Cocoa Soup with Lime Zest; Mole; Chipotle Chicken Stew; Chocolate Chile Bread; Slow Cooker Posole.

Healthy Grocery Shopping

Writing and sticking to your grocery list is essential to make sure you’re loading up your cart with healthy food choices. Break down your list into staple items that fit into five basic categories:

Fresh produce. While it’s good to have a list of staples, be sure to choose a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables.Frozen fruits and vegetables can be a good way to add variety when fresh produce isn't in season.


Proteins. Focus on variety and keep fat content in mind. Look for ground beef or turkey that's at least 93 percent fat-free and grass-fed The omega 3 fatty acids is grass provide nourishment, both for animals and for the humans who eat them. Lean turkey and skinless chicken are all great options for your weekly list.Grass-fed local eggs and wild caught sardines are another way to add variety to your proteins. Dairy products also include protein and fat. Choose a good quality source of butter and cheese.

Whole grains. Create a list of different whole grains for the week. Staples can include brown rice, millet, buckwheat groats, and oatmeal. Try to buy in bulk if possible! Check which grains are highest in protein and include those every other week, too. For example, substitute millet for amaranth. If buying whole-grain sourdough bread or whole-wheat pasta, check the labels: Stick to choices that have more than 3 grams of fiber per serving, part of a daily goal of 25 to 35 grams of fiber. 

Fats. You do need some fats in your diet — it's simply a matter of choosing healthy fats and limiting them to an appropriate amount. Options can include natural peanut, almond, and cashew butters. Avocados, nuts and seeds, and olive oil are also good staples for your grocery shopping list. These provide mono- and polyunsaturated fats, which are more easily metabolized without increased cholesterol storage.

Foods to Avoid

Sodium: Opt for low-sodium soup when you can, and ask for low-sodium lunch meats at your deli counter. You can still eat foods with sodium. Just be sure your product doesn't have more than 300 milligrams of sodium per serving.

Condiments: Look for a vinaigrette or oil-based salad dressing instead of a creamy one. You can also try topping your favorite sandwiches with mustard, which is generally a healthier condiment choice.

High Fructose Corn Syrup: Also known as invert corn syrup. Sodas, candy bars, cakes, cookies, pastries and even energy/granola bars are loaded with sugar and calories, so it’s best to avoid them.

Remember to enjoy everything in moderation. Having a good understanding of healthy and unhealthy foods means you’ll make the most of every grocery shopping trip.


Thanks to Dr. Andrew Weil for this inspiration.

New Year, Healthy Eating

Would you like to reach your wellness goals in the new year?

Do you need help navigating the waters of food choices and fad diets?

With this step-by-step program, you will lose weight and learn healthy habits that last a lifetime.


A healthy diet is essential to achieving and maintaining well-being.

This simple program includes:

Recipes: Taste good health with delicious recipes that are easy to prepare and highlight food as medicine.

Updates: Receive customized advice based on your health assessment.

Tools: Gain tips to stay healthy and keep eating well for life.

Resources: Read articles written by food experts that relate to your wellness goals.

"Lisa's Healthy Eating Program gave me personalized content, including information on how to cook and eat better, reduce stress, breathe, and more! Her simple, weekly guide helped me implement changes at my pace and maintain the new way of being. Thank you!" Christie W.


Favorite Holiday Recipes

It's time to gather in with friends and family, enjoying the warmth of the season. Take this time to slow down and let thoughts of work and life responsibilities take the back burner. Nourish your own heart, hearth, and the seed of your deepest desires for the year to come.

These recipes have graced holiday tables in places where I have traveled.
Enjoy! I have put a healthy spin on each of these traditional dishes. 

Switzerland: Rosti

1 large yellow onion
3 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of these seeds: coriander, caraway, fennel

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, chop onion. In a deep skillet, saute it on medium low heat, with spices and butter/coconut oil, for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet with butter/oil.

Add onions and spices to the grated potatoes. Mix well to incorporate.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet and flatten with the back of a fork all around the perimeter.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy with cooked winter greens, cranberry sauce and hard cheese as a holiday brunch!

***
Tuscany: Cranberry Hazelnut Farro Bread


1/2 cup cooked farro (spelt berries)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground into flour in a spice grinder


1½ cup flour (spelt or millet)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda
pinch salt
½ cup dried cranberries
1¼ cups milk (almond or cow)
¼ cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook farro in twice as much water. Cook extra for a hearty winter dinner salad if you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix hazelnut meal, flour, spices and cranberries.

Make a well in the center and add milk, honey, oil, and eggs. Whisk these together, then incorporate into dry ingredients.

Fill loaf pan, bake for 35 minutes, and let stand to cool about 15 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board, slicing and serving.

***
Bali: Banana Pancakes


1¼ cups rice flour
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon each: cardamom and cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons rice syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rice or cow milk
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 medium very ripe banana, mashed (about ½ cup)

Mix flour, spices, and coconut in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and saute on medium heat in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Oil the skillet with coconut oil between round of cooking.

Serve with extra banana slices, a dollop of cashew butter and a garnish of shredded coconut.

***

New Mexico: Pinto Beans with Poached Eggs and Corn Tortillas

1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon each: cumin, oregano, paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 small green chiles (if desired)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
8 eggs
Fresh cilantro leaves and corn tortillas for serving

Drain and rinse the beans. Bring to a boil in a stock pot with in 3 times as much water. Cook on medium high for 25 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

Rinse and drain again.

Meanwhile, chop all vegetables. Saute together in a wide, deep skillet on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add spices, reduce heat, and add beans once they are cooked.

Add 1 cup water and stir to incorporate.


Crack eggs in a circle over the surface of the beans and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 more minutes.

Heat corn tortillas for 2 or 3 minutes in a 200 degree oven. Place 2 tortillas on each plate, cover with beans and eggs, and serve with a garnish of cilantro.

Do you have a food tradition that you love and appreciate? Research it, prepare it and serve it this holiday season. Email me and let me know how it turns out!

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.

Alternative Sweeteners



Carrot Cake with Coconut Butter Frosting

You will need:

4 large carrots, peeled
2 cups spelt OR brown rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups sunflower oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and a mini loaf pan.
Grate the carrots and set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend.
Whisk the maple and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and stir, and whisk until blended. Stir in carrots, 1 cup of walnuts and raisins.
Bake for about 45 minutes for the loaf and about 30 minutes for the mini loaf. Remove from oven and let the loaves rest in their pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and wait until cool to frost.

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

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

To assemble, spread a light layer of frosting onto each loaf, swirling decoratively.  Sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts.

This frosting is amazing with the cupcakes below, too! Try it and see what you think.
***
Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

You will need:
1 1/2 cups spelt OR rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 large egg
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the bottom and sides of a muffin tin (or loaf pan, if you're so inclined). In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and spices and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the egg, mashed bananas, applesauce and butter. Add the wet mixture all at once to the dry mixture and stir until just moistened.

Bake in the prepared pan for about 20 minutes for muffins (50 to 55 for a loaf), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove.

***
Blueberry Apple Pie

You will need:

3 pounds apples
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups spelt OR rice flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes OR equally as much coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, fork or your hands. Mix and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing and stirring with a fork until it just holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator at least a half-hour. Remove and let warm up a bit, about 5 minutes, before you roll it out.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop apples.
Toss apples with the blueberries, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and maple in a large bowl.

Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a half-inch overhang.
Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Transfer filling to pie shell. Cover pie with the top dough. Press edges together, crimp and then trim excess. Cut 2 vents in top crust with a sharp knife.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool pie to room temperature before serving.

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. 

***

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.

***

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.

Apple Season

It's apple season. In Vermont, the wild apples are lining the roadsides, ready for gleaners to scoop them up and make sauce or cider. These fragrant fruits have excellent medicinal value and help us transition into fall and winter.

Apples contain polyphenols and fiber to help prevent blood sugar spikes. They provide pre-biotic compounds that support intestinal flora and ease gas and bloating. Apples also contain antioxidants that help to digest fat in the cell membranes and reduce the risk of cardiovascular difficulties.

These lovely fruits, in the malus genus, are part of the Rosaceae family, to which roses also belong. Thus, it is no wonder that apples enliven our hearts and uplift our spirits.

Enjoy these apple recipes and ease into fall.


Apple Onion Tart

This tart is gorgeous and delicious. Sweet, savory, and fragrant, it is perfect for any meal.

For the crust:
1 cup almond meal
1 cup millet, freshly ground in a coffee bean grinder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each: rosemary and thyme
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup almond milk
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Grease a pie plate with olive oil and set aside.
Grind millet in a coffee bean grinder to produce a grainy flour-like consistency.
In a mixing bowl, combine almond meal, millet flour, salt, and spices.
Make a well in the center, add olive oil, lemon juice and almond milk, whisk together, then incorporate with dry ingredients.
Press into pie plate. Make sure that the crust gets up the sides of the plate and that the thickness is relatively even all around.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Bake the crust for 10 minutes, then remove to prepare the filling.

For the filling:
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 onions (about 1 pound), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 eggs
1 cup almond milk
1½ teaspoons ground nutmeg
1 tart baking apple (McIntosh, Gravenstein or Jonathan)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
Add the onions, salt, and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat to very low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden, for about 15 more minutes. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, almond milk, and nutmeg.
Stir in the onions.
Peel, core, and thinly slice the apple.
Pour the egg mixture into the pie crust and arrange the apple slices decoratively on top.
Press on the apples to slightly submerge them.
Bake until the top is lightly browned and the center is set, about 30 minutes. Let the tart stand for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.


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


***
Gingered Apples and Leafy Greens with Oven-Roasted Beets

For the apples and greens:
wash 1 bunch kale or collards. Chop length-wise.
Coat the bottom of a skillet with olive oil.
Grate ½ inch fresh (or frozen) ginger root into skillet. Chop 2 cloves garlic and add to skillet.
Turn heat to high and sauté onions and ginger for 2 minutes.
Reduce heat to low and add greens.  Grate 1 granny smith apple (rinsed, with skin on) and add to skillet.

Add salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Pour 2 Tablespoons water over vegetables and cover with lid.
Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste for salt before serving.

For the beets:
Choose 4 medium red beets for a 9x13 glass baking dish.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop beets in half, first length-wise then width-wise. Then, chop each section into cubes. Throw cubes into baking dish after they are chopped.

When the bottom of the dish is covered with one layer of diced beets, sprinkle over the top:
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon garam masala
Pour ¼ cup olive oil over the top and toss with a spatula until beets are coated well.

Slide dish into oven and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish from oven and toss with spatula.

Bake for 15 more minutes, cool and enjoy alone or as a soup garnish.

Dark, leafy greens: collards and kale are rich in folic acid, calcium, and fiber.


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

***
Kasha Biscuits
 
You will need:
¾ cup cooked kasha (buckwheat groats)
1 tart baking apple, cubed 

¼ cup coconut oil
¼ cup ground flax seeds

¼ cup ground sunflower seeds
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
½ teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon caraway seeds
½ teaspoon each: baking powder, baking soda, salt



Place ½ cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 1 ½ cups water in a stock pot. 
Add cubed apple.
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.

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



Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grind flax seeds then sunflower seeds in a spice/espresso bean grinder until they reach a flour-like consistency.

Place in a mixing bowl and add the coconut oil, cut into pearl-sized chunks.
Add spices, salt, baking powder and baking soda and mix well. Incorporate the cooled kasha and then the lemon juice.

Drop mix in heaping spoonfuls on a greased glad baking dish.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the edges have turned dark brown.

Kasha (toasted buckwheat groats): rich in the flavonoid rutin, buckwheat woks to lower lipid content in the bllodstream, thus helping maintain smooth blood flow. Buckwheat also contains almost 86 milligrams of magnesium in a one-cup serving. Magnesium relaxes blood vessels, improving blood flow and nutrient delivery while lowering blood pressure.

Coconut oil: saturated fat, solid at room temperature, is a plant-based alternative to saturated animal fats. It stimulates brain function and promotes intestinal motility; its anti-bacterial benefits make it an important fat to choose during times of illness or infection and is specifically indicated for combating intestinal parasites.

 

Peaceful Nourishment

I had the honor to teach at the Womens Herbal Conference this past weekend. Here are some recipes from the classes. Be well and stay in touch!

Links:

Recipes listed here include: Walnut paté, Hard-boiled egg sauce, Sweet potato bread, nut and grain crackers, sprouted grain bread, coconut avocado smoothie, and zoom balls.
Click this link for more recipes.

Walnut Paté

Choose 2 large yellow onions.

Chop off top and bottom, peel skin and slice each one in half width-wise.

Place two halves flat on cutting board and slice each one into thin crescent moons. Follow the ridges of the onion when chopping.


Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.

When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, 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 or thinly sliced sweet potato bread.

***
Hard-Boiled Egg Sauce

Place a dozen eggs in a stock pot. Cover with water, bring to a boil, and boil for 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, drain hot water, and rinse with cold water until they are cool enough to handle.

Peel eggs and place in a blender.

Add to blender:
¼ cup olive oil
½  teaspoon salt
½ Tablespoon lemon juice
1 teaspoon each: powdered cumin and coriander
½ bunch fresh parsley, roughly de-stemmed

Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.

Keeps in fridge for 4 days.

Eat with rice and pesto, over steamed asparagus or broccoli, or use as garnish for simple soups.

***
Sweet Potato Bread

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease an 8 or 9 inch pan with vegetable oil.

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl:
1½ cups flour (spelt or rice)
1 teaspoon each: baking powder & baking soda
pinch salt
1 teaspoon garam masala
½ teaspoon each: nutmeg and cinnamon

Make a well in the center and add:
1 heaping spoonful almond butter
2 heaping spoonfuls melted coconut oil
1 ½ cups steamed, mashed sweet potatoes
4 heaping spoonfuls unsweetened, whole milk yogurt OR coconut milk

Make a well in the center, combine the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.

Incorporate wet and dry ingredients until they are well combined. 

Pour batter into greased pan and bake for 50 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center tests clean.

***
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.

***

Sprouted Grain Bread

To sprout your grain, you'll need a wide-mouthed glass jar (or a large plastic tub or soup pot) that has a screw-on lid with holes punched in it or a piece of fine screening, cheesecloth, or netting secured to the top with a strong rubber band. A meat grinder (or a food processor or hand-cranked grain mill), a cookie sheet, and an oven will take care of the rest.

Hard red winter wheat is a good choice for sprouting. Just be sure to buy uncooked, unsprayed, whole grain berries. Two cups of wheat yields about four cups of dough — enough for one loaf — so purchase accordingly. You can also use rye, spelt, barley, buckwheat, millet, amaranth, quinoa, rice, or a combination thereof.

To sprout: begin by measuring the desired amount of whole wheat berries into the sprouting jar. Soak the berries overnight, using twice their volume of water. The next morning, drain off the liquid (which is rich in nutrients and can be added to soups, drinks, etc.), then set the jar in a dark place and rinse the berries with cool water at least twice a day. Drain the jar thoroughly after each rinsing, and shake it occasionally to prevent matting and spoilage.

When the sprout tails are about twice as long as the berries and have a sweet taste (try them!), they're ready to use. This takes three or four days, depending on the temperature, humidity, and so on. Skip the last rinse before grinding so that the berries won't be too moist to use.

To prepare the dough: oil the grinder parts and put the sprouts through the grain grinder or coffee bean grinder. The resulting dough should be juicy, sticky, mottled light and dark, and rather like raw hamburger in consistency. If you think nuts or fruit would give some extra zing to the finished product, now's the time to put them in. Whatever dried fruits you plan to add should first be soaked in hot water for 20 to 30 minutes.

To shape loaves: wet your hands and take up a quantity of dough. One handful makes a nice roll, while a double handful is good for a small loaf. Work the dough briefly to get out any air pockets. Shape it into circular, somewhat flattened loaves. Place them on an oiled cookie sheet.

To bake: bake for approximately 2.5 hours at 250 degrees F, until the outside is firm—but not hard—and the bottom springs back slightly after a gentle prod with the thumb. The inside will be quite soft, developing a firmer texture upon cooling. (To prevent the loaves from drying out, some bakeries spray them with water before and during baking, or place a pan of water on another shelf in the oven while the bread is baking.)

Allow the loaves to cool on wire racks and then store them in sealed plastic bags. If you're going to eat your sprouted grain bread within two weeks, don't refrigerate it, as it will stay moist if stored at room temperature. Refrigerated, it will keep up to two months.


***
Coconut Avocado Smoothie

Place these ingredients in a blender:
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
½ can unsweetened, full-fat organic coconut milk
splash vanilla extract
1 ripe avocado
3 spoonfuls almond butter

Variations:
Add 1 cup blueberries for anti-oxidant de-stress power!
Add 2 heaping spoonfuls cocoa powder and 1 handful chopped, pitted dates for a decadent treat.

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

***
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 

*Depending on condition and constitution, add restorative, adaptogen root powders such as: maca, licorice, ashwagandha, solomons seal, burdock, hawthorn, and/or marshmallow.

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.

Roast Rabbit and Pomegranate Risotto


I understand why American people become enamored of Italian culture. Although a reverence for local foods can be found in many places world-wide, the Mediterranean climate allows such traditions to shine through the variety of ingredients available year-round.

In Vermont, we cultivate beautiful vegetables, tend to winter-hardy fruit
trees, pasture healthy animals, and grow an impressive variety of grains. Because our growing season lasts five months at best, we do not have access to fresh foods all the time. As supplies dwindle during the cold months, so do I feel a growing desire to visit the warmer places where these foods grow year-round. 

Certain parts of California may reflect the Italian peninsula's growing season, but the scale on which food is raised does not compare to the small production to which Italy must adhere due to its mountainous geography.

With the Apennine mountains running a spine north-south and the Alps holding the northern part of the country, there are few places to cultivate anything on more than a handful of acres. Hence, even though the growing season here is luxurious, Italian food acquires a precious quality due to its small-scale production. Regional recipes are integral to the cultural paradigm. 

One of my childhood memories of is marked by the truckloads of blood oranges and clementines that make their way North from Sicily. Here in the Po River Valley, my father and I discovered an agritourism that raises rabbits and grows pomegranates, both of which get sent to other Italian provinces so that others may enjoy them. 

In honor of our local foods, we decided to make pomegranate risotto and roast rabbit with white wine and chestnuts. Risotto is a rice dish that hails from Italy and has myriads of regional variations. To make this beloved primo piatto, or first course, with the tangy crimson-seeded fruit that informs the length of Persephone's stay in the underworld, it is essential to remove the seeds from the fruit body, boil them briefly, and spin them through a sieve in order to catch the brilliant juice. This succus becomes the broth with which we cook the rice.

Rabbit meat is rich and lean, but can often profer a gamey flavor unless and retained water is removed first. We seared and rinsed the rabbit before placing it in a roasting pan with garlic and much of the rosemary and sage we collected when we visited the hill village Arqua Petrarca. These herbs, when minced, create a paste that can coat the rabbit and help it to retain its juices while roasting. We poured a quarter bottle of the whine wine made by one of my dad's university colleagues into the roasting pan and sent it on its way into the hot oven. 

Meanwhile, we sliced crescents along the rinds of chestnuts gleaned from Imperia, a nearby town on the ocean. We placed them on a baking sheet and roasted them until the nut meat began to escape from each sliced section. We wanted to peel them immediately, savor some of their sweetness as a prelude to our meal, but we had to allow them to cool. 

Instead, we sampled some of the rye bread we had baked with flour from my family's home town in the Dolomite mountains of Trentino alongside a few of the tangy, tiny black olives that my father picked and pickled in Pienza, Tuscany last year. Bread and olives can provide enough temporary respite to any hungry Italian. 

When we added the chestnuts to the rabbit, gave the risotto its final stir, poured bubbling glasses of Serprino Prosecco from the nearby Euganei Hills, and sat down to dinner, we were satisfied by the process before we ever ate one bite.