Picnic Time

As the weather gets warmer and the brilliant shades of green decorate the countryside, take time to sit outdoors and enjoy a meal. Bring your favorite foods, and remember to drink plenty of water.

Here are some recipe to inspire your next picnic.

TAHINI DATE COOKIES

Tahini, roasted sesame seed butter, is one of the best vegan sources of calcium to promote healthy bones, teeth and heart.

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup tahini

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/3 cup dates, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups oats

  • pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom

3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

In a food processor mix together the dates, water, tahini, and maple until creamy and blended.

Pour into a bowl and mix together with the oats, salt, spices and olive oil.

Scoop out spoonfuls of the batter on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, to desired crispness.

TACOS

This is a nourishing and creative way to enjoy a gluten-free feast and honor the gastronomic traditions of Central and South America.

For 6 people, you will need:

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • 1 cup queso fresco or any cheese you like

  • 1 quart cooked beans -  I like pinto or black beans

  • 2 fresh limes, cut into quarters

  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded

  • salsa fresca 

To prepare salsa fresca, chop:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes

  • 1 red onion

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 handfuls cilantro or parsley if you prefer

  • In a bowl, mix these together with:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • juice of 1 lime

Assemble tacos, drizzle with salsa, and enjoy!

AVOCADO HUMMUS

This Middle Eastern dish is full of vegan protein and fiber from the chickpeas and polyunsaturated fat from the avocados.

You will need:

  • 1 ripe avocado, cut in half, skin and stone removed

  • One 14 ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed OR 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas

  • One clove garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ½ teaspoon each: paprika, coriander, and cumin 

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 6 pieces of pita bread for serving

Blend all of the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

Chill in the fridge for one hour before serving with pita bread.

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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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Heirloom Wheat

Can an Heirloom Grain Help Resolve Wheat Allergies?

According to research conducted on the ongoing hybridization of wheat and its effects on human digestion, "we have scientific evidence that indeed, gluten sensitivity not only exists, but is very different from celiac disease." Alessio Fasano, medical director at the University of Maryland’s Center for Celiac Research, explains that wheat sensitivity is on the rise in the United States. One reason may be the continued breeding of wheat to increase production, making it genetically divergent from the wheat consumed two generations ago.

While the gluten-free products industry grows by millions each year, Vermont grain farmers like Ben Gleason continue to cultivate heirloom grains and artisan bakers tirelessly produce crunchy, hearty loaves from them. Cyrus Pringle, named after an Addison County farmer, is a hearty winter wheat strand that has not been hybridized since its initial cultivation in the mid 1800’s.

Could wheat-sensitive people digest Cyrus Pringle bread baked with a traditional French sourdough at Red Hen Baking? Randy George, the bakery’s founder and owner, has high hopes. The Gleasons’ grains are carefully monitored and ground in a stone mill on site to ensure freshness. Jack Lazor of Butterworks Farm is so passionate about small-scale heirloom grain production that he wrote a book about it, which was released by Chelsea Green in 2013. in his 33 years of grain growing, Lazor realizes that “true wealth comes from the ability to feed ourselves from the land.”

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Spinach for spring

A wonderful spring vegetable, spinach is growing in many farmers' greenhouses right now. Enjoy its mineral rich content and know that your digestive tract will thank you for eating green fiber! You can substitute chard if you like, which is another delicious green member of the chenopodium family.

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SPINACH ROSEMARY SOUP

Rosemary adds a complex flavor to this simple soup while helping to boost brain function and immunity.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons rosemary, fresh

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • sea salt and black pepper to taste

  • 2 cups red potatoes, rinsed and cubed

  • 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • 6 cups fresh spinach (or chard)

To prepare:

Add oil to a large saucepan over medium heat. 

Add onion, garlic, rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper, reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. 

Pour in broth.. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the potatoes are soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in spinach (or chard) and continue to simmer until the greens are tender, about 10 minutes more.

Puree the soup with an immersion blender or regular blender (in batches), leaving it a little chunky if desired.

Serve the soup garnished with nutmeg, if desired, and topped with a spoonful of yogurt (cow or almond).

MUNG BEAN AND SPINACH STEW

This fresh spring stew will nourish you and re-vitalize your senses! Breathe in the aromas of ginger and chiles and savor their digestive power.

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 tablespoon minced ginger

  • 2 cloves minced garlic

  • 1/2 teaspoon chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 teaspoons Tamari or soy sauce

  • 4 cups mung beans, soaked overnight and cooked

  • 1 cup water

  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro

  • 2 cups fresh spinach

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • 1/3 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

To serve:

  • Freshly squeezed lime juice

  • Cilantro 

To prepare:

Rinse and drain mung beans. Cook in 8 cups water, skimming any foam that rises to the top. Once tender, drain and rinse once more.

Rinse and cook quinoa in 2 cups water with a pinch of salt.

Place minced garlic and ginger in a skillet with coconut oil. Saute on medium heat for 3 minutes, or until fragrant. Add chile, paprika, and tamari. 

Reduce heat to low. Add cooked mung beans and stir together.

Add water, cilantro and spinach.

Cook on medium heat until spinach is wilted, about 3 minutes.

Turn off the heat, stir in the rest of the ingredients, and serve in bowls garnished with fresh cilantro and lemon juice.

Shitake, Cabbage and Lentil Stew

Spring is coming! Until we can see the gardens from beneath the three feet of late season Vermont snow, we use the last of the root cellar and pantry stock to make soup that warms the soup. Try cooking it on the wood stove if you have one. Shitake mushrooms lend an extra hand to helping our immune systems stay healthy through this slow transition into spring.

SHIITAKE, CABBAGE AND LENTIL STEW

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 small to medium yellow or red onion, chopped

  • 1 large or 2 medium carrots, cut in ½-inch dice

  • Salt to taste

  • 3 to 4 large garlic cloves, minced

  • ½ medium cabbage, cored and chopped

  • a handful of shitake mushrooms, brushed free of dirt and chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme, oregano, cumin, coriander

  • ½ pound lentils (about 1⅛ cups), picked over and rinsed

  • 2 quarts water

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 2 cups cooked rice (white or brown)

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley (optional)

  • Freshly grated Parmesan for serving (optional)

Heat the oil over medium heat in a heavy soup pot or Dutch oven, and add the onion and carrot. Cook, stirring, until the vegetables are just about tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the garlic, shiitakes, and cabbage, along with another generous pinch of salt. 

Cook, stirring, just until the garlic smells fragrant and the cabbage has begun to wilt, about 3 minutes. Add spices and salt to taste. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes. Stir in the lentils and water and bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to low, season to taste with salt, about 2 teaspoons to begin with (you will probably add more), cover and simmer 1 hour, until the lentils are tender and the broth fragrant.

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Add pepper to the soup and stir in rice, or just add rice to each bowl when you serve the soup. Taste. Is there enough salt? Garlic? Adjust seasonings. Stir in the parsley. Serve, topping each bowlful with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if you like.

Millet Magic

As you may know, I am quite fond of millet. 

Cultivated in central Asia and West Africa for thousands of years, millet is a small-seeded cereal in the Poaceae family, the largest grass family, which gains its name from the Greek poa, or grass. This family includes all grasses grown for their edible seeds, such as rice, wheat, rye, oats and corn.

Click here for a millet 'polenta' recipe.

Although many of these cereals have become annual crops, researchers like Wes Jackson of the Kansas-based Land Institute are working to develop an agricultural system of perennial cereal grasses “with a yield similar to that from annual crops” (landinstitute.org).

Millet is a nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrate; offers a balance of B vitamins and magnesium to support digestion and balance blood sugar. It is useful in countering the mucus-forming effects of bread/cereal. 

Click here for an apple onion tart recipe with millet.

Some nutritional philosophies, such as Chinese Five Element Theory, tout it as ‘the queen of grains’. Indeed, millet is light, bright, and easy to digest. Incorporate this grain in your summer dishes to dispel heat and rejuvenate the digestive system.

MILLET FRITTERS

You will need:

  • 1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 small shallot, minced

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 3/4 cup cornmeal

  • 2 cups finely chopped kale

  • 1 cup finely chopped dandelion leaves 

  • 2 cups cooked millet

  • 3 large eggs

To cook the millet: 

Combine 1 cup dry millet with 3-4 pinches of salt and 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Stir vigorously for a few minutes to start making a porridge, as you would with oatmeal. Once all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and cover until ready to use (or serve).

To prepare the fritters:

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon of the oil, shallot, and sea salt. 

Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and whisk in cornmeal. 

Stir until combined, add the kale and dandelion, return to medium heat and stir for about 5 minutes until cornmeal thickens.

Remove from heat and stir in the millet. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. Allow this mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to release heat.

Meanwhile, oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together eggs and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl.

Add a pinch of salt.

Whisk into cooled millet/cornmeal mixture.

Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Delicious!

Serve with kimchi or other lacto-fermented vegetables and enjoy spring's coming.

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Women in Food

March is Women's History Month, and I invite you to honor the role of women in food. How do you see this role in your life, family, and community?

Here are some accounts of women in food history from historian Alice Ross.

It has been suggested that the division of food responsibility was a consequence of women's limited mobility, resulting from childbearing and extended periods of childcare. In any case, their familiarity with plants and their own identification with creating new life (the male role having been as yet unrecognized) were undoubtedly factors in their monumental innovation, the formation of the first organized agriculture (c. 8000 B.C.E.). Women often cooked grains and vegetables, singing songs about the food as they prepared it as a way to bind family and community as well as pass on food preparation methods to children.

Evidence of the high regard women earned is reflected cross culturally in the stories of universal origin even up to and including subsequent patriarchal systems. For example, in ancient Greco-Roman mythology, the story of Demeter (Ceres), the goddess of agriculture and fertility, and her daughter Persephone (Proserpina) acknowledge women's responsibility for developing agriculture, the origin of growing seasons, and the agrarian skills that they taught people. In distant Mexico people worshipped Ceres' counterpart, the pre-Aztec Great Corn Mother known as Chicomecoatl; variants of her story abound. She is Earth Goddess who teaches how to grow food from her body. Often her body was sacrificed, as she demanded, so that her children could grow food on it. This is a constant reminder to her descendants to treat the land as their Mother.

Soup!

During this last moon cycle before spring equinox, I like to strengthen immunity and soothe my winter-weary spirit with soup. Here are some tips to cook ahead and be flexible with this delicious one-pot wonder. 

The Building Blocks of Soup


Protein: Next time you cook protein like beans, eggs, chicken, beef, tempeh, or tofu, make a double batch for soup. Perhaps you a roasted a chicken earlier in the week, or boiled pinto beans for tacos — whatever you have leftover will make the perfect addition to your soup.

Grains: Did you eat millet, rice, buckwheat, or oats recently? All of these make a great add-in to enrich soups and offer filling fiber. If you don’t have any left over, rice noodles and oats (yes, savory oats are delicious!) cook quickly and are terrific in soup.

Vegetables: Have leftover cooked broccoli, kale, or carrots? Blend veggies and add them to your broth! Not only does this put leftovers to good use, but it’s a great way to sneak added nutrients into your meal without your kids even knowing they are eating veggies.

Slow Cooker Magic
Let soup cook during the day! Slow cookers are helpful: simply throw some ingredients in before you leave the house and by the time you get home you’ll have a delicious stew waiting to be served. 

Try this general guideline: three parts liquid (try chicken or vegetable broth), one part protein, one part starch (beans or whole grains) and tons of vegetables. Layer them with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and raw grains on the bottom, raw vegetables and spices/salt in the middle, cooked protein on top - all covered with liquid.

To prepare slow cooker soup ingredients ahead, set aside an hour on your day off to divide out chicken/beans, potatoes, veggies, whole grains, and anything else you want in your soups into re-sealable freezer bags. On busy days, you can simply dump the bag in the slow cooker on your way out the door in the morning.

Slow Cooker Soup Recipes

Mung Bean Vegetable Soup
You will need:
1 cup cooked mung beans (about 1/2 cup dry beans)

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
2 large yellow onions
4 stalks celery
½ inch fresh ginger root
1 turnip, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bunch collard greens, chopped
1 teaspoon each: garam masala and coriander seed powder
½ Tablespoon each: cumin seed powder and turmeric root powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish of cilantro if desired

Soak beans at breakfast and cook in slow cooker overnight (from 6pm to 6am for example).
Rinse and drain in the morning. 
To the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil and rice.
Add all the vegetables
Add spices.
Add cooked mung beans. 
Cover with 5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable).
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

***
Zucchini Soup
You will need:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large yellow onion
1 inch fresh, chopped ginger root
Salt and pepper to taste (1 teaspoon each)
1 teaspoon each: turmeric, coriander, cumin and thyme
4 large zucchini, chopped into crescents
1 bunch fresh basil

In a slow cooker, add oil, onions, ginger, and spices.
Add zucchini.
Cover with 3 cups water or stock.
Cook for 6 hours on low heat.
Wash and chop 1 bunch basil. Add to soup, stir, and turn off heat.
Blend soup with immersion blender or in food processor. Enjoy!

***
Tuscan Ribollita Soup
You will need:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, peeled and chopped into crescents
3 carrots, chopped into cubes
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock (make your own or choose a brand with no sugar)
1 cup cooked cannellini or great northern beans
1 sprig fresh rosemary OR 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
½ cup rolled oats
Soak beans at breakfast and cook in slow cooker overnight (from 6pm to 6am for example).
Rinse and drain in the morning. 
To the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil, celery, onions, garlic and carrots. 
Add sauteed sausage if using.
Add beans.
Add the kale and oats. 
Add the tomatoes with their juices, broth and rosemary. Add 3 cups water.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Mardi Gras Foods

Dear Friends,
I just returned from New Orleans, where Carnival season is in full swing! Locals celebrate with music, dancing, parades, and, of course food.

This is the traditional time of feasting before the 40 days of lent and simple living, which lead up to Easter.

This year, Mardi Gras, which translates as 'Fat Tuesday', is March 4th.
Enjoy these healthy versions of celebratory foods and consider eating more simply for the days that follow. From a seasonal perspective, this practice is a wonderful way to prepare body, mind and spirit for spring, which makes its first appearance around spring equinox, March 21st.

Corn Bread

To prepare, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a square baking dish with oil and set aside.
In a mixing bowl, combine:
2 cups cornmeal
1 cup flour (rice, spelt, or millet)
1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda
1 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Make a well in the center and add:
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
1/4 cup sunflower or olive oil
2 eggs (or 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal soaked in 4 tablespoons water)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Whisk these together, then incorporate with dry ingredients until barely mixed.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Try it with molasses, black-eyed peas and greens for a complete meal.

***
Another classic recipe of coastal people who celebrate Mardi Gras is Jambalaya. This one-pot wonder often includes spicy sausage and seafood. Prepare it according to your palate and tradition.

Jambalaya

In a stock pot, heat 1/4 cup olive oil. Brown 1 pound boneless chicken breasts on both sides, season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Using the same pot, saute together for 10 minutes:

3 celery stalks, finely chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon gumbo file (made from sassafrass)
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, paprika, turmeric, oregano

Add shrimp and/or andouille sausage if you like and cook until done, about 5 minutes.
Add cooked chicken.

Then, add 2 cups chicken stock and 1 cup crushed tomatoes with juice. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup long-grain rice in 2 cups water.
Add 1 teaspoon salt and 1 tablespoon olive oil as rice is cooking to add flavor.

Serve jambalaya over rice and breathe in the amazing aromas of this traditional dish.




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.

Spice Blends and Ingredient Substitutions

By popular request, here are some ideas to change how you cook!

Spice blends from Navdanya, Vandana Shiva's organic seed farm in Northern India:

Savory Masala:
Mixture of ground ginger, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, turmeric and fennel

Garam Masala:Mixture of 1 tsp. cardamom seeds, 1 Tbs. cumin seed, 1 Tbs. coriander seed, 2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves, and 1 tsp. nutmeg

Substitution ideas:

Ingredient: WHEAT FLOUR
Substitute: spelt flour (wheat-free) or half oat flour and half millet flour (gluten-free)

Ingredient: BUTTER
Substitute: Clarified butter, coconut oil, half and half clarified butter and olive oil

Ingredient: EGGS
Substitute: 1 mashed banana or 1/4 cup applesauce per egg (best for baked goods); 1 Tbs. agar flakes whisked into 1 Tbs. water and chilled for 5 minutes (for an egg white substitute), 1 Tbs. ground flaxseeds simmered in 3 Tbs. boiling water for 2 minutes.

Ingredient: OIL IN BAKED GOODS
Substitute: Applesauce, puréed bananas, puréed cooked prunes

Ingredient: COOKING OIL
Substitute: Vegetable stock, wine, vinegar

Ingredient: CREAM IN SOUP
Substitute: Vinegar or citrus juice thickened with puréed roasted red peppers, carrots, onions, garlic

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.


International Dumplings

This is a rich and nurturing time of year where you can slow down, enjoy the company of friends and family, and prepare one of these delicious dishes.
Be well in the new year!

Golabki
From the Polish and Lithuanian traditions courtesy of Anjali Budreski

1 yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 pound ground tukey, beef OR ¼ cup toasted walnuts
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups cooked rice
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 head green cabbage

Place a skillet over medium heat and coat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.
Sauté onion and garlic for about 10 minutes, until soft and translucent.
Add the meat or walnuts and sauté until cooked, about 15 minutes.
Add parsley, then take it off the heat.

In a large mixing bowl, place the egg, the cooked rice, and the onion mixture. Toss the filling together with your hands to combine, season with a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.
Remove the large, damaged outer leaves from the cabbages and set aside. Cut out the cores of the cabbages with a sharp knife and carefully pull off all the rest of the leaves, keeping them whole and as undamaged as possible.

Blanch the cabbage leaves in the pot of boiling water for 5 minutes, or until pliable.
Run the leaves under cool water then lay them out so you can assess just how many blankets you have to wrap up the filling.

Next, carefully cut out the center vein from the leaves so they will be easier to roll up. Take the reserved big outer leaves and lay them on the bottom of a casserole pan, let part of the leaves hang out the sides of the pan.
Put about 1/2 cup of the filling in the center of the cabbage and starting at what was the stem-end, fold the sides in and roll up the cabbage to enclose the filling. Place the cabbage rolls side by side in rows, seam-side down, in a casserole pan.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
For the Polish version, drizzle rolls with olive oil, cover the casserole pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve with sour cream and applesauce.

For the Lithuanian version, pour tomato sauce over the rolls, cover the casserole pan, bake for 30 minutes and serve.

***
Moon Pies
Adapted from an Amish recipe by Emily Hershberger

1 cup flour (spelt for a wheat-free dough or white rice for a gluten-free dough)
½ teaspoon each: allspice, cloves, cinnamon
Pinch salt
Mix these ingredients together. Then, add 2 Tablespoons butter OR coconut oil, hardened and diced into small cubes. Let the flour coat the cubes.

Slowly add enough cold water to make a dough. Place in fridge to cool for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Prepare the filling: 1 cup applesauce; raisins if desired.

Make golf-ball sized balls from the dough and then roll out each ball between 2 pieces of waxed paper.
Fill one ¼ of each circle of rolled dough with a spoonful of applesauce.
Fold over the dough into a half moon shape, pinch the edges closed, and place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 minutes, or until edges are browned. 


*** 
Rice Wrapper Rolls
Adapted from a Vietnamese recipe for Goi Cuon

8 rice wrappers (8.5 inch diameter)
For the filling:
2 ounces thin rice noodles
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh basil
3 Tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 carrots, grated

For the dipping sauce:
4 teaspoons tamari (wheat-free soy sauce)
2 Tablespoons lime juice
1 clove garlic, minced
2 inches ginger root, minced
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1 teaspoon finely chopped peanuts or cashews

Bring a medium saucepan of water to boil. Boil rice vermicelli 3 to 5 minutes, or until al dente, and drain.

Fill a large bowl with warm water. Dip one wrapper into the hot water for 1 second to soften. Lay wrapper flat.
In a row across the center, place a handful of vermicelli, basil, mint, cilantro and shredded carrots, leaving about 2 inches uncovered on each side.
Fold uncovered sides inward, then tightly roll the wrapper.
Repeat with remaining ingredients.

In a small pot, heat Tamari with 4 Tablespoons water, lime juice, garlic, ginger, and tamarind paste.
Add peanuts or cashews, turn off the heat, and serve as a dipping sauce alongside the rolls.

***
Padan Nasi
Sweet or savory dumplings I learned to make in Bedulu, Bali

You will need to set aside 1 cup cooked brown rice.

For savory dumplings, mix together in a large bowl:
1 Tablespoon tamarind paste
1 Tablespoon tahini (roasted sesame seed butter)
2 Tablespoons ume plum vinegar
1 teaspoon each: salt, cumin powder, coriander powder
½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, turmeric root powder
Fresh green onions or chives, minced

Add the rice to the bowl, incorporate with sauce, and shape balls with your hands.
If you like, you can roll the finished dumplings in toasted sesame seeds before serving.
These make a great appetizer!

For sweet dumplings, mix together in a large bowl:
¼ cup pitted dates, soaked in hot water and drained
2 Tablespoons brown rice syrup
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom
Pinch salt
2 Tablespoons shredded coconut

Add the rice to the bowl, incorporate with sauce, and shape balls with your hands.
If you like, you can roll the finished dumplings in coconut before serving.
These make a delicious dessert or snack!

Indigenous Vegetables

Dear Scientists,
Instead of putting our energy into GMO research and production, could we try to highlight the abundance that is already present?

Thanks to Food Tank for this list of 15 indigenous vegetables, which are nutritious, delicious, and contribute to the livelihoods of people around the globe.

1. Amaranth: This versatile plant, which grows quickly in the humid lowlands of Africa, is a leafy vegetable typically consumed in Togo, Liberia, Guinea, Benin, and Sierra Leone. The plant thrives in hot weather and is an excellent source of protein, vitamins, and essential minerals, including calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

2. Bunya Nut: Bunya nuts have long been a prominent food in the culture of Australian Aboriginals - so much so that, prior to European settlement, Aboriginal tribes would travel long distances to attend festivals celebrating the Bunya season. The Bunya nut is similar to the chestnut, both in appearance and taste. The nuts grow on enormous Bunya pines in the few rainforest regions on the continent.

3. Cowpea: Originating in Central Africa, this legume is one of the region’s oldest crops. It is also drought resistant and can thrive in poor soil conditions. In addition to the peas, the leaves of the plant are also consumed.

4. Enset: Also known as the false banana, enset is native to tropical regions of Africa. The plant’s outward appearance resembles that of a banana tree, but the two actually are very different. Fruit of the enset tree is inedible, so the plant is primarily grown for the meat inside its trunk and roots. The pulp inside the tree is similar in both taste and appearance to a potato. Enset has been a staple crop in Ethiopia for thousands of years.

5. Filder Pointed Cabbage: The cruciferous vegetable provides a rich source of beta-carotene, vitamins C and K, and fiber, and it serves as an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Cabbage can be stored cold for months at a time and is eaten in the winter when other vegetables are dormant.

6. Formby Asparagus: Formby asparagus is notable for its coloration: white base, green stem, and purple-tinged tip. The vegetable is rich in protein, fiber, vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, and zinc. It aids in protein synthesis, reduces calcium loss, and has antioxidant properties.

7. Hinkelhatz Pepper: The Hinkelhatz pepper has been cultivated by the Pennsylvania Dutch since the 1880s. The plant produces small, heart-shaped peppers with a red or yellow color. Hinkelhatz peppers have a stocky, spicy flavor, so they are frequently pickled or pureed into a pepper vinegar used as a food topping. The pepper is important because it is cold-tolerant, pest and disease-resistant, and a prolific producer.

8. Kumara: Also known as the sweet potato, kumara is cultivated in many Pacific Islands and was a staple crop for hundreds of years. The vegetable is a great source of protein, vitamins A and C, iron, calcium, and fiber.

9. Lifou Island Yam: This starchy tuber plays an important role in both nutrition and food security in many Pacific Island nations. The vegetable is also very versatile--it can be roasted, fried, grilled, boiled, smoked, or grated. Yams are important because they can be stored for long period of time, and the vegetable has a social and cultural significance on many islands.

10. Målselvnepe Turnip: This hardy, root vegetable variety has been improved over the years through selective cultivation in Norway. It has a strong and distinct taste compared to other turnip varieties. It can be eaten raw, roasted, baked, and boiled, and is frequently used to enhance the flavor of soups, salads, and side dishes. The turnip is an excellent source of vitamin C and potassium.

11. Mungbean: The mungbean is important in Asian diets and valuable for its easily digestible protein. High levels of iron in the vegetable can help improve the diets of the most vulnerable women and children, and mungbean production offers an opportunity for increased income for small-scale farmers. In addition, the vegetable can fix nitrogen in the soil, making it valuable for crop rotations.

12. Okra: The edible green seed pods of this plant are a common ingredient in soups and sauces and popular in Indian and Pakistani cuisine. Okra is also an important export crop in The Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam. The vegetable is a rich source of vitamins and minerals and the seeds provide quality oil and protein.

13. Papalo: This popular herb, known for its strong skunk-like smell, is used in the American Southwest, Mexico, and South America. Papalo, typically eaten as a garnish, is valued for its medicinal properties, including regulating blood pressure, relieving stomach disorders, and addressing liver problems. This unique herb has a hardiness to heat, allowing it flourish in hot climates.

14. Perinaldo Artichokes: This popular thistle vegetable, valued for its tasty center, is native to the Mediterranean region and originally cultivated in ancient Greece. The edible flower bud is a good source of fiber, vitamin C, folic acid, and various minerals. This variety of artichoke is drought resistant and very hardy.

15. Rourou (Taro Leaves): In a number of Pacific Island countries, including Fiji, taro leaves are eaten and used in various cooking techniques. The leaves provide an excellent source of vitamins A and C. The leaves also have a social importance in ceremonial feasts and are a good local cash crop. In addition, the corms of the giant swamp taro plant have the potential to help feed a large number of Pacific Island countries.

Thanksgiving Inspiration

Late fall is a wonderful time to feast with friends and family. I offer gratitude to the land and the hands that feed me. Try these recipes to spice up your fall feasts.



Quinoa “Stuffing”


You will need:
1 cup quinoa, cooked

1 cup celery, chopped (about 4 stalks)

1/4 cup fresh parsley, minced

2 carrots, chopped
2 beets, chopped
2 sweet potatoes, chopped

1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

1 large yellow onion, diced

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

2 tablespoons sunflower or olive oil

1 egg

1 Tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard

Prepare quinoa: rinse well through a fine-mesh strainer. Combine 1 cup quinoa with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, add salt and black pepper. Cook for 15 minutes or until the water is gone. Set aside.

As quinoa cooks, chop vegetables. Add olive oil to skillet. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, beets and celery. Sauté for 15 more minutes.
Add sweet potatoes. Sauté for 10 more minutes. 
Turn off heat. Add quinoa, minced parsley, and vinegar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 baking dish with olive oil.

Whisk egg, mustard and 1/4 cup water together.
Place quinoa in baking dish. Pour egg mixture over it and bake for 15 minutes.

***

Chile Cilantro Cranberry Chutney

In a small pot, cook for 10 minutes:
3 cups cranberries (fresh or frozen)
2 Tablespoons water
1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 small hot pepper (habanero or other), de-seeded and minced

Turn off heat. Add:
2 Tablespoons raw honey
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, minced
Stir to incorporate.
Place in jars, cool, screw on lids, and save in the fridge for 3 weeks or the freezer for up to 6 months.

***

Beet Salad with Lavender Vinaigrette

You will need:
1 lb. red beets
2 red onions, sliced
½ cup olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 tablespoon stone-ground brown mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1 teaspoon dried lavender
2 tablespoons honey

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Rinse and chop beets into cubes.
Coat a 9x13 baking dish with olive oil.
Add beets to baking dish with salt and pepper. Toss with oil and roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile,chop onions.
Saute in a skillet with 2 Tablespoons olive oil, covered, for 10 minutes.
Add mustard, coriander, lemon juice, lavender and 1/2 cup water.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook down until the mixture thickens - about 10 minutes.
Turn off heat and stir in honey.
Blend with an immersion blender or in an upright blender.

Remove roasted beets from baking pan and place in a serving bowl. Pour sauce over them, toss and serve!




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.

Sourdough Best Practices

It is easy and rewarding to make your own sourdough and bake bread from it. As my friend Nick says, "it's the pet that feeds YOU!". Just like any pet, you must care for it.

To make your own sourdough starter, click this link.

If you have a starter and wish to ensure that your loaves give you a fluffy, delicious result, follow these guidelines. They are most helpful if you keep your starter in the refrigerator. 

Mix well to re-incorporate any liquid that has formed on top of your sourdough starter. Whole grain flours especially will yield a darker liquid.

Remove 1/4 cup of sourdough starter from the fridge and place it in a large jar or bowl. Feed the starter with 1 part starter with 1 part water and 2 parts flour. For example, feed 1/4 cup of starter with 1/4 cup of water and a scant 1/2 cup of flour.

Mix the starter, flour and water together and stir vigorously, incorporating plenty of air. Cover the starter with a towel or cheesecloth secured by a rubber band. Leave in a warm spot for 4 to 12 hours until the starter becomes bubbly.

Repeat this process two more times prior to baking using the same ratios listed above.


By the third feeding the starter should be very bubbly and rising to double its size within 8 hours of being fed.

Remember to add some freshly made sourdough starter back to your master sourdough culture.

Orange October Soups

This is the new moon that heralds autumn. It is time to nourish, go inside, ground down, and fill the freezer with soup.
Make these bright, beautiful sunny soups all at once, freeze portions, and enjoy during the month of October. Be well.

Sweet Potato Soup
You will need:
2 Tbsp. Olive Oil
2 large sweet potatoes
1 large onion, loosely diced
2 garlic cloves, smashed
1-inch knob of fresh ginger, chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp. ground cloves (optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. turmeric
3 c. chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

To garnish:
Avocado slices drizzled with lime juice
 
Heat 1 Tbsp. olive oil over medium-high heat in a large, deep sautee pan.  

Add onion and cook for 5 minutes on medium heat until onion is clear and soft.

Add diced sweet potatoes.  Sautee for 7-8 minutes or until ingredients turn golden brown.
Reduce heat to low, add garlic, and cook 10 more minutes, until vegetables are a caramel color.

In a separate soup pot, add 1 Tbsp. oil, ginger, and the spices.  Sautee 5 minutes on medium heat, until the spices are fragrant.  

Add broth/water and vegetables to soup pot.  Add tahini.
Bring to a low boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes, partially covered, until the sweet potatoes are tender.

Puree in a blender or mash with a potato masher.
Add salt and pepper to taste. 

Garnish with avocado and lime.

***
Peanut Soup
 

You will need:
Sesame or olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin powder, coriander powder
1/2 teaspoon each: fenugreek seeds (or powdered fenugreek) and cinnamon
pinch cayenne if desired

1/4 cup peanut butter (you can substitute almond or cashew butter if you like)
3 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 cups stewed tomatoes

1 cup chicken or tofy, sautéed in:
2 Tablespoons sesame or olive oil
1 teaspoon Tamari (i.e. wheat-free soy sauce)

chopped fresh cilantro for garnish


Sauté onion on low heat for 10 minutes, until browned. Add carrots, garlic and ginger. Add spices and sauté on low heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.


Add nut butter and stir to dissolve.
Add broth and tomatoes. Bring to a boil, reduce to summer and cook about 30 minutes on medium-low heat.


Prepare chicken or tofu.
Add to soup pot.
Mince cilantro and mix into soup.


Serve hot with rice and lime wedges.

***
Pumpkin Cashew Soup

You will need:
1 Tablespoon coconut oil 
1 can full fat, organic coconut milk (8 oz.)
1 onion, chopped 
3 cloves garlic, chopped 
1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped
2 cups pie pumpkin, peeled and diced 
1/2 cup roasted cashew nuts
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
pinch each: ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground coriander
freshly ground black pepper 

Heat coconut oil in a large stock pot. 

Add onion and sauté for a few minutes, until softened. Add garlic, ginger, pumpkin and cashew nuts. Save some nuts for garnish if desired. Cook gently for 2 minutes. 

Add the stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, add coconut milk and simmer to 20 minutes, until pumpkin is tender.

Place into a blender or use an immersion blender and process until smooth.  

Serve with a garnish of cashews if you like.

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.