Summer Salads and Dressings

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

Lemon Garlic Dressing

You will need:

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

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped dill.

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Red Wine Vinaigrette

You will need:

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

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped parsley.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

You will need:

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

Whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. 

Drizzle over salad. Serves 8.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup freshly chopped basil.

Kohlrabi Potato Salad

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

You will need:

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

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

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

Serve warm or at room temperature.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup sunflower seeds.

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Corn Salad

Please choose non-GMO corn whenever possible.

You will need:

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

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

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

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

Let sit for 30 minutes before serving.

GET CREATIVE! Add ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese.

Listen To Your Body

We are constantly receiving internal messages from our body about which foods are best for us at any given time. However, we are also surrounded by an external culture that judges some foods as "good" or "bad". As we try to tap into the body's intuition so we can hear these messages, it's important to drop the external value system that second-guesses them.

For example, if you are starting to feel under the weather, you might crave spicy food. This is the body's internal message. It's communicating with you, and its message makes sense. The capsicum family of plants (black pepper, cayenne, sweet peppers, chiles) stimulates capillary action and supports detoxification. 

But you may have read that too much spicy food can aggravate your liver or cause an ulcer, so you steer away from it. This external information blocks the body's intuition and you are more likely to catch a cold.

This example elucidates the importance of giving up black-and-white thinking. Embrace the fact that healthy eating is flexible and can include a wide variety of foods. Sometimes the healthier choice may be the choice that's seemingly more indulgent.

Which would be a healthier choice: cake or salad? The salad is only healthier if that’s what you really want. Otherwise, you might feel deprived and end up overeating later. Enjoying cake mindfully acknowledges that food is not only a way to nourish ourselves but is also a way to celebrate. We might end up eating both salad and cake and feel much more satisfied.

To practice listening to your body, sit down and tune in before you go to the kitchen and open the refrigerator.

Close the eyes or gaze at the floor.

Take a deep breath in for 4 counts.

Hold the breath for 4 counts.

Breathe out for 6 counts.

This cycle relaxes the nervous system and allows us to become more grounded and centered in our bodies.

Now, pay attention to how you are feeling. Can you name an emotion or a sensation? 

Are you tired, overwhelmed, excited, rushed, stressed, or calm?

Do you feel hot, cold, tense, or relaxed?

Choose a food that helps to balance this feeling.

Most importantly, eat it slowly, without any other distractions, and savor it. This is mindful eating.

To learn more about which foods bring balance to specific sensations,

try a nutritional consultation

with me.

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Mindful Cooking

During the fullness of life, sometimes it takes a little extra patience to relax and be present what we are doing - no distractions. 

Cooking provides the perfect opportunity to slow down and enjoy the moment. Try this practice as you are preparing food for your loved ones.

Perhaps you want to try it while making the kasha biscuits and herbed green gravy below. 

Slow Cooking

Begin from the very first moment you place the water on the heat, or pour the oil in the pan. Listen to the sounds, the smells and the sensations.

As you begin to cook the various foods, notice how the addition of each new ingredient affects the overall fragrance of the dish. Allow yourself to be present with the different senses, rather than being lost in thought. Each time the mind wanders, just gently bring the attention back to these sounds and smells.

Try to be aware of how your mood and thinking change throughout the cooking process. Do you find the heat oppressive? Do you find yourself getting anxious trying to keep all the different things going at once, or confident and in control? Don’t try and change any of these things for now –- simply building up a picture is enough.

As you observe the mind, use the physical senses as a safe place to come back to when you feel the emotions running off. For example, rather than feeling anxious about feeling anxious, come back to the smell of the food. Instead of getting increasingly frustrated at feeling frustrated, bring your attention back to the sounds of the food cooking.

As you become aware of these things, notice where your mind wants to travel. Does it drift off to memories past, perhaps associating the smells with previous meals? Or does it race ahead to the future, perhaps imagining what the food is going to taste like? 

This doesn’t require any thinking, it is simply a matter of being aware. Being aware of the thoughts in this way will help you to get much better at the exercise, which, for most people, means enjoying a more peaceful experience in the kitchen.

Simple Kasha

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

Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 5 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt.

Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency.

Serve with scrambled eggs, roasted roots, or greens and beans.

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Kasha Biscuits

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked kasha

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup ground sunflower seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon salt

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

In a bowl, mix olive oil, nutmeg, and salt. Incorporate the cooled kasha and then the lemon juice.

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

Herbed Green Gravy

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon each: dried rosemary and thyme

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 ½ tablespoons soy sauce or Bragg’s Amino Acids

  • 1/4 cup oat flour

  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup kale, chopped

Heat oil over medium in a medium pot. Once hot, add the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes until softened and translucent. Stir frequently. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and pepper.

Add the soy or Bragg’s then stir in the oat flour. Stir until a paste forms and let cook for about 1 minute. Add a few splashes of the broth. Let cook for 2 minutes then pour in the rest of the broth. Whisk until well combined.

Add the kale. Bring to a boil, uncovered, stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer for about 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat for about 5-8 minutes to further thicken. Stir before serving. For smooth gravy, pour into a blender and blend until fully smooth.

Summer Meal: Quinoa, Grapefruit, Fennel, Avocado

Summer is here. Relax, enjoy cool, colorful meals, and take in the brilliance of the moon as it grows to fullness. This is the thunder moon, time of dramatic skies, electric lightning, and brilliant sunsets.

Enjoy these recipes and be well.

Quinoa Pilaf

You will need:

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, and cinnamon

  • 1 cup fresh peas

  • 1 bunch spinach

  • 2 handfuls fresh basil, minced

  • 5 medium radishes, chopped

  • 1 bulk fennel, sliced

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Rinse, drain, and cook quinoa in 2 cups water with turmeric, cinnamon, and salt.

Add peas during the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Meanwhile, chop / mince all other ingredients and mix together in a large bowl.

Add cooked quinoa, mix well to incorporate, and enjoy!

Coleslaw

You will need:

  • ½ head green or Napa cabbage, thinly sliced

  • 1 bunch fresh dill, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh cilantro, minced

  • 1 bunch fresh parsley, minced

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 2 tablespoons brown mustard

  • ¼ cup olive oil

Slice cabbage.

Mince the fresh herbs.

Place in a large bowl.

Wisk all other ingredients together. Pour them over the cabbage and herbs.

With a wooden spoon, bruise the cabbage until it becomes watery and all the juices from the sauce are incorporated.

Set aside in the refrigerator overnight for best results.

This dish is wonderful for a picnic along with hard-boiled egg salad and cornbread.

Beet and Grapefruit Salad

You will need:

  • 1 pound red and golden beets

  • Beet greens

  • 1 large grapefruit

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 ripe avocado

Chop and steam the beets.

Add beet greens on top during the last 5 minutes of steaming.

Meanwhile, peel and chop grapefruit and avocado.

Place in a large bowl with olive oil and salt.

Set aside.

Once the beets are soft enough to poke through with a fork, remove them from the heat, rinse under cold water, and place in the bowl with the rest of the ingredients.

Toss well and enjoy immediately!

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Compassion, Mindfulness, and True Nourishment

We practice many things in our lives. From brushing teeth ans driving cars 

to getting dressed and feeding ourselves, life is a practice.

Some practices feel more practical. Others, like dance, music, meditation, photography, or art, feel more creative.

A practice starts with internal motivation to achieve excellence both for oneself and for the well-being of others. At its best, a practice generates compassion, love, healing and nourishment.

Choosing, cooking, eating, and appreciating food are deeply emotional practices. Be present with them to honor your heart.

Even masters who practice every day can gain new skills to engage with sources of nourishment and deepen their connection to present moment awareness and the satisfaction that arises from it.

How much time do you devote each day to taking care of yourself and accepting yourself, just as you are, without judgement?

What are the daily practices to which you devote your energy? 

I encourage you to lean into your daily practices with present moment awareness. 

When brushing teeth, be with that practice. You can even say internally, "I am brushing my teeth". This mindfulness practice settles the mind, lets thoughts be at rest, and helps us see that we are not actually more effective when we rush or multi-task.

When cooking, be with your ingredient. Appreciate it. Notice its qualities.

As you eat, pause between bites. Take a breath in and out.

This is mindful eating.

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Allow space to be curious about your experience. This inquiry will allow you to develop awareness and compassion for others, their mindsets, and their experiences.

It's a simple practice that can take you far in your own self-care.

Be well and stay in touch.

Wonderful One Pot Meals For Spring

Give yourself time to rest and rejuvenate.

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

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

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

Quinoa Casserole with Spiced Roots

You will need:

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and oregano

  • 3 red potatoes, chopped into cubes

  • 4 carrots, chopped into ½ inch rounds

  • 2 sweet potatoes, chopped into ½ inch rounds

  • 1 beet, chopped into cubes

  • 1 bunch kale, spinach, or chard, chopped

  • Sea salt to taste

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa

  • ½ cup walnuts

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile, cook 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water.

Add nuts towards the end of cooking.

Grease a casserole dish with vegetable oil.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

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

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

Bake for 20 minutes.

Enjoy! Serve with sesame lemon sauce if you like.

Sesame Lemon Sauce

In a bowl, whisk together:

  • 2 Tablespoons tahini

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • ½ cup water

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

Use as a salad dressing or garnish for casseroles.

Millet Leek Casserole with Tempeh

Start with the millet.

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

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

Pour into a cooking pot with 3 cups water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

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

Add:

  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 2 carrots, grated

  • ½ teaspoon each: thyme and nutmeg

Cook on low heat and stir occasionally until millet thickens.

Meanwhile, chop 2 leeks.

Place in a deep skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil.

Sauté for 5 minutes.

Chop 1 8-ounce package of tempeh into cubes.

Place tempeh in a bowl and add:

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 1 teaspoon tahini

  • 1 teaspoon brown mustard

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon coriander

Mix well.

Pour contents of bowl into the skillet with leeks.

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

Meanwhile, chop kale – about 2 packed cups.

Add kale and ½ cup water to the skillet.

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

Set aside.

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

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

Cover with half of the vegetable mixture.

Add another layer of millet, followed by vegetables.

Finish with millet.

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

Buckwheat Cauliflower Casserole

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

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

Add ½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg

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

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

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

Oil a rectangular baking dish.

Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish.

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

Toss well to coat.

Roast for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and reduce heat to 350 degrees.

Mix as many peas as you like with the cauliflower and carrots. Remove from baking dish and set aside in a bowl temporarily.

Cover the bottom of the baking dish with a thin layer of cooked kasha.

Cover kasha with the vegetables.

Cover vegetables with the rest of the cooked kasha.

Bake for 15 minutes, cool and enjoy!

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Healthy Eating Inspiration from India

When I was traveling through Northern India, I spent as much time as possible absorbing the aromas, textures, flavors, and cooking techniques of roadside vendors and food kiosks.

It is amazing to get to watch food prepared in a way that's so connected to cultural creativity.

Try these recipes and food meditation, inspired by the healing culinary gifts of India.

Aloo Saag – Potatoes and Spinach

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks

  • ½ tsp each: salt, cumin, turmeric, and garam masala

  • 1 tablespoon mustard

  • 2 cups spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan.

Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes and spices.

Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes more.

Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 minutes.

Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan.

Take off the heat and serve with grilled chicken and rice.

Ghee

Ghee, or clarified butter, is unsalted butter that has been separated from its water and milk proteins. When heated, butter will separate into three layers: the casein, a frothy layer on top; the clarified butterfat--the ghee--in the middle; and the milk solids, and proteins in the bottom.

Heat 1 lb. of unsalted butter in a stainless steel stock pot. When it starts bubbling, reduce heat to low.

Fetch a small bowl and spoon.

Stay with the butter, skimming the foamy white casein that rises to the surface with the spoon.  Repeat the skimming process for about 15 minutes, or until the ghee has stopped making any bubbling sounds.

Remove from heat immediately. Strain through a fine mesh tea strainer or cheesecloth into a glass mason jar. This process removes leftover milk solids. Ghee can be used to cook for people who are lactose intolerant.

Allow it to cool completely before closing.

Ghee stores at room temperature for 2-3 weeks.

Whole Food + Mindfulness = Health

Food For Thought

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

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

In Eating Mindfully, Susan Albers describes:

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

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

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


Black Pepper

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

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

Most of all, enjoy your meal!

Here is my favorite black pepper recipe.


Healthy Stir-Fried Vegetables

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 3 carrots, rinsed and chopped into matchsticks

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped

  • 2 zucchini, rinsed and chopped into matchsticks

  • 1 small purple cabbage, rinsed and chopped

  • 1 hanful snap peas (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari (low sodium)

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, cumin, and coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: fenugreek and cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • Juice of half a lime

Heat oil in a skillet.

Add ginger and garlic. Stir well.

Add vinegar.

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

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

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

Cook with lid on for 5 minutes.

Add snap peas if you have them.

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

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

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

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.

Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For many indigenous cultures of this hemisphere, today's full moon is known as the wolf moon. The wolf honors its pack, its community, its loved ones. It also takes time alone to howl at the moon, hear its own voice, and reflect the importance of taking space to care for the self.

The wolf moon reminds me to find inner balance so that I can relate to others in a harmonious way.

Try these recipes to balance body, mind, and spirit. Prepare them mindfully. Spend time with the ingredients. Taste as you go. Mix and match them to create different meals.

Most of all, be well and take time to reflect on the splendor of your own inner harmony.

Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For the dressing, blend these ingredients in a food processor:

¼ cup roasted hazelnuts

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon raw honey

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each)

Then, mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl to assemble the salad:

1 head escarole, washed and steamed

1 green tart apple, thinly sliced

½ cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped

¼ cup sourdough bread croutons (optional)

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to coat, and serve with your favorite soup.

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Defining a Healthy, Sustainable Food System

Happy New Year! 

This is a time of renewal.

I like to soak up the sunrise, appreciate the sunset, and spend dark nights in peaceful reflection. 

As part of my personal and professional goals for this year, I would like to hear more from you.

What is your definition of a healthy, sustainable food system?

Here is mine.

Health is a changing state of balance.

A healthy food system is a living network, non-hierarchical and springing from mutual agreements to cultivate health, diversity, equity, and economic balance.

Because everyone must eat to live, it must adapt to environmental, social, and political changes while stewarding the well-being of land, workers, production, and eaters. This food system is grounded in gastronomic traditions, small-scale farming practices, and the need to provide for future generations. Its respect for diversity of people, eco-systems, and choices ensures the best practices for cultivation and production in accordance with local need and capacity. Connected enough to sustain local bio-diversity, cultural identity, nourishment, and sense of purpose, this system provides equal access to whole, simple, contaminant-free ingredients.

When change occurs, the community-minded system, where everyone has a voice, can collaborate to make decisions based on the health of people and planet. 

Here is the definition created by 

Mother Earth News

.

  1. Focus on community empowerment to grow food and seek out natural remedies to heal friends and family;

  2. Promote research in the field of agro-ecology in order to influence congressional farm policy;

  3. Sell publications and subscriptions to educate privileged members of the food system about gardening, natural health, and consumption.

These are the strategies they use to bring it about:

  1. Research: They request donations to support non-profits such as the Union of Concerned Scientists, whose research and reports model sustainable farming practices. They promote farm policy by encouraging reader to write letters to congress on behalf of farmers, sound farming practices, and research.

  2. Education: They inform readers about conferences to learn more about sustainable farming practices. This invitation comes with mention of the conferences’ corporate sponsors such as Clif Bar, Nutiva and Driscoll’s.

  3. Access: They work to build community food security by inspiring readers to create the conditions in their lives for equitable food access in their communities through blog posts about personal stories.

What is your definition of a healthy, sustainable food system?

What do you need to participate in the regional food system, cook meals from scratch with whole ingredients, and include more fruit and vegetables in your diet?

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4 ingredient cookies

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

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

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

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

Be well and stay in touch!

Lisa


WHOLESOME 4 INGREDIENT COOKIES

You will need equal parts of:

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

  • Dates, pitted

  • Shredded coconut

  • Unsweetened applesauce

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a cookie sheet with sunflower or coconut oil.

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

Blend until a thick dough results.

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

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

Once all the dough is rolled, wash your hands.

Using the back of a fork, flatten each cookie.

Bake for 15 minutes.

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Honoring My Gastronomic Roots

Today and every day, I celebrate my Italian gastronomic heritage. The traditional values of growing, foraging, cooking and eating with which I was raised filled me with reverence for food.

This fullness stayed with me throughout the years of exposure to highly processed corporate food during my high school and college years after I moved to the United States.

Dormant until the moment I would resource it, this nourishment allowed me to to heal myself with food as medicine when I was crippled by chronic intestinal amoebas. Now, I am in service to the foods, plants, and traditions that healed me. I honor the healers and health care practitioners who mediated my healing and supported me on my own path of self-discovery.

Not only did I heal myself of chronic amoebas, but I also re-connected with my deepest sources of nourishment, which are ancestral ones steeped in mindfulness.

What are your gastronomic roots? How can you celebrate them? Tomorrow, December 10th, is Slow Food International's Terra Madre Day: the day of mother earth.

Join people all over the globe who are celebrating local food and heritage. Here in Vermont's state capitol of Montpelier, the New England Culinary Institute's students will offer a cooking demonstration of Vermont foods.

Before the colonists came to this region, Abenaki people celebrated gastronomic traditions, which endure today thanks to the revival efforts of the indigenous peoples' Haven Project and Seeds of Renewal.
Fred Wiseman and many more Abenaki guide the movement to revive and honor indigenous seeds, crops, and cooking.

If you are inspired, please leave comments here about your ancestral foods and how you honor them.

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Exercise For Well-Being

Exercise as is as good for your mind as it is for your body. When we exercise, we take the mind off of worries and concerns and gain a feeling of satisfaction.

Physiologically, exercise releases a whole cascade of mood-elevating processes in the brain. As soon as we increase our heart rate, endorphins—stress hormones that calm the brain and relieve stress—are released. Over time, exercise actually stimulates the birth of new brain cells and promotes their linkage to existing brain cell networks. By stimulating that new growth, exercise helps counteract the corrosive effect of stress and helps the brain to continually re-wire itself and adapt to changing life circumstances.

There are hundreds of ways to exercise. Find what you enjoy and make it a consistent part of your life. Whatever exercise you choose, whether it’s walking, jogging, cycling, or something else, enjoy it. Don’t force yourself to stick with an activity that seems like drudgery. Move on until you find something you love.

If you have chores to do around the house or homestead, consider this your exercise. Feel your heart pounding as you run up and down the stairs or carry wood inside. Know that you are healing yourself and fueling your metabolism with every step.

When we eat after exercise, food tastes more savory and we digest better because we are less stressed.

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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.

Wolf Moon Recipes for Warmth and Comfort

As the January full moon wanes and we sink into the simple beauty of white snow and cold nights, enjoy warming foods to strengthen your spirit and your immune system.

Turkey Meatloaf

1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1 teaspoon each: salt black pepper, coriander, thyme
1 teaspoon each: mustard and lemon juice
1 Tablespoon each: olive oil and water

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots cook for another 5 minutes; remove from heat to cool.

Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, carrots, egg, and spices in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. Combine mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and water in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

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.


Mindful Eating

During the holiday season, I can feel stressed by all the different events happening. Many of them center around food. I work to stay present, breathe, and savor the moment.

Here are some ways you can do the same.

EAT REGULARLY: holiday feasts do not have to be at odd hours. Try to keep to your regular meal schedule. It will help your body remain healthy and well.

IDENTIFY CRAVINGS: food cravings are a signal that the body and mind are not communicating clearly with each other. If you see a food and immediately want to devour it, stop. Sit down, either in the room or in a nearby bathroom, and breathe. Notice the fact that you crave this food. You can have a bit of it now or save it for later.

ENJOY BITTERS: find bitter foods in every meal to stimulate pancreatic enzymes. This exercise will promote mindfulness. Look for leafy greens, pickled vegetables, cabbage or turnip dishes, walnuts, or even a sugar-free cocktail with Peychaud's or Angostura bitters added.

GIVE THANKS: before you eat, take a deep breath. Either silently or out loud, look at your plate of food and give thanks. Now, pick up your fork and enjoy.

TAKE HOME LEFTOVERS: travel with empty containers and encourage friends and family to do the same. Instead of gorging yourself in the moment, take home leftovers and let the feast continue for lunch tomorrow!

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!




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.

Ayurvedic Meal


Enjoy this soothing, healing dish. I like to prepare the rice and lentils separately and mix them in my bowl.


Brown Rice with Peas, Mint and Basil

Rinse 1 cup brown rice.

Pour into a cooking pot 3 cups water.

Bring to a boil; then reduce to simmer.

Add 1 teaspoon salt and 2 Tablespoons olive oil.

Simmer, covered, on low heat for 45 minutes.



Mince 2 large handfuls fresh basil and 1 small handful fresh mint.



When the rice is 5 minutes or less from completion, add:

minced herbs

½ cup peas (either shelled ones or whole sugar snap peas)


When rice is cooked, add roasted beets and a splash of lemon juice. Mix everything together, taste for salt, and serve!


***

Simple Dahl

Rinse 2 cups yellow split lentils. Drain and bring to a boil with 5 cups water.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Skim off any white foam that develops and discard it.

In a skillet, heat 1 Tablespoon ghee or coconut oil with:

            1 teaspoon salt

            1 Tablespoon each: cumin, garam masala

            1 teaspoon each: turmeric and coriander

Add vegetables such as beets, carrots, sweet potatoes, collards, kale and spinach to the skillet. Add 1 cup water, cover, and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Mix into the lentils, stir, and enjoy!


***

Raita

            1 large unpeeled cucumber, halved, seeded, coarsely grated

            2 cups plain whole-milk yogurt

            ¼ cup (packed) chopped fresh mint OR cilantro

            1 teaspoon ground cumin

            Salt to taste

Whisk yogurt, mint or cilantro, and cumin in medium bowl to blend. Add cucumbers and toss to coat. Season raita to taste with salt. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours. It can be prepared 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.


***
Cilantro/Mint Coconut Lime Chutney

In a food processor, mix:

            ½ cup water

            ½ cup unsweetened, shredded coconut

            1 teaspoon salt

            Juice of one fresh lime

            Freshly chopped cilantro (½ bunch)

            Freshly chopped mint (½ bunch)

Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.
Enjoy with rice and spicy dishes.