Heal Yourself with Home Cooking

In a world where food sometimes seems like an afterthought, we have a choice.

We can slow down and scratch one commitment from the calendar.

In this space, we can create an opportunity for finding our our deepest source of nourishment.

Cooking is an art and a practice.

The more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Try it!

1. Book the time.

Commit to cooking a fresh meal at least two times a week.

2. Read through recipes.

Look at the ingredients and the preparation time to get an idea if that recipe will work for you. Peruse the Harmonized Cookery website or request a custom menu plan with recipes.

3. Prepare.

I always tell people to commit to a "grocery day" once a week, so they can stock up on lots of healthy foods. This will keep you committed to the challenge.

4. Add plant-based food whenever possible.

You don't have to give up the foods you love. Just add some fresh vegetables, fruits, seeds and nuts into your meals. This will have you feeling more energized and less likely to crave processed food.

5. Make it a group project.

Cook with your partner, friends or kids. Cooking is the perfect social activity and could inspire someone else to find joy in cooking again.

6. Make enough for lunches.

The great thing about cooking at home is you can use any leftovers for lunches through the week. This will eliminate some of those fast food lunches and save you money.

7. Set the table.

You took the time to cook yourself a delicious meal, instead of eating it in front of the TV, why not sit at the kitchen table and savor the food you made. It might seem silly, but eating at the dinner table once in a while is a really nice way to catch up with loved ones.

If you try this challenge, it may help to use a journal to keep track of how you're feeling.

What do you notice?


Joy, challenge, questions, satisfaction?

Have fun with it!

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Another Recipe from Sage Mountain

As Autumn Equinox approaches, I have the privilege of spending days at Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center to cook for herbalism students.
Last night's meal culminated in a spontaneous dessert creation. A student brought a beautiful winter squash from her garden to share with everyone. We cooked it into a squash custard. The simple richness of its fall flavors delighted everyone! Give it a try.

Squash Custard

Choose pumpkin or butternut squash. 
Chop it, scoop out the seeds and save some if you would like to plant them next spring.

Place chopped pieces, skin on, in a metal steamer. Fill the bottom of the steamer with water, bring to a boil, reduce to low, and steam for 15 minutes or until squash is soft.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a 9-inch round or square glass baking pan with oil.

Once squash is soft, remove from steamer and rinse quickly in cold water.
Remove outer skin, and place in a bowl.

Use about 3 cups of cooked squash and add:
1 can whole fat organic coconut milk
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, allspice
1/4 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cloves
pinch salt

Mash everything together with a potato masher until all is well incorporated.

In a separate bowl, whisk 4 eggs.

Add eggs to squash mixture, mix together, and pour into baking dish.

Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, or until custard has set.
Yum! Serve as is or topped with toasted pine nuts or pecans.

You can also use this as a pie filling. Just be sure to bake your pie crust half-way before adding custard mix.

Recipes from Sage Mountain

I had the honor of cooking for an herbal learning program at Sage Mountain Herbal Retreat Center (www.sagemt.com) this weekend. A few showy lady slippers are still in bloom and the gardens abound with pink malva, purple clary sage, shy violets and fragrant lemon balm. I included all these edible flowers in our salads! 

Basmati Brown Rice with roasted beets, peas, mint and basil
Rinse ½ cup basmati brown rice.
Pour into a cooking pot with 1 ½ 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.

Meanwhile, chop 3 beets into bite-sized chunks.              
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Place beets in a glass baking dish, coat with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast for 30 minutes.

As beets and rice are cooking, 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 snap peas)

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

White Bean Soup with Zucchini and Garlic Scapes

Choose cannellini (white kidney) or Vermont yellow-eye beans.

To soak dry beans, place ½ cup in a large bowl and cover with 1 inch water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.

Pour beans through strainer and allow to drain.

Rinse with water until liquid runs clear through strainer.

Pour into a stock pot with 3 cups water.

Cover pot and turn heat on high.

Bring to a boil, watching carefully to make sure that beans do not boil over. 

Once the pot has come to a boil, remove lid and reduce to medium heat.

Cannellini beans
Foam will form on top of the water. Use a spoon to skim off the foam. Repeat this step periodically as you notice more foam. Cook beans 1 hour or until tender. Strain and rinse once more.

If using canned beans, choose ones with no salt added (I like Eden Organics). Strain and rinse before proceeding.

While beans are cooking, heat olive oil in a skillet. Add:

>>2 cups fresh garlic scapes

>>2 large zucchini, chopped into crescents
>>1/2 Tablespoon each: salt and black pepper

Pour 1/3 cup white wine over the vegetables and sear them on high heat.
Then cover and cook on medium heat for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. 
If you have fresh culinary herbs, mince and add the following:
>>6 sprigs thyme
>>2 sprigs lavender flowers
>>6 sprigs marjoram
>>6 sprigs rosemary
>>5 sprigs savory
If using dried herbs, add 2 teaspoons each except lavender, which only required 1/2 teaspoon.

Add 4-5 cups water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook soup for 1/2 hour or more if you wish.
When beans are tender, drain them and add them to the soup pot.

Basil Parsley Pesto
Genovese basil

In blender, mix:
3 T olive oil
¼ cup sunflower seeds
2 teaspoons salt
1 Tablespoon lemon juice

Fresh flat-leaf parsley (½ bunch)
Fresh basil (1 bunch)

Blend at highest speed for 2 minutes.
Enjoy with vegetable fritters, rice dishes, 
or flat breads.

Rosewater Cookies
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix these dry ingredients in a bowl:
>>1 ½ cups rice flour or spelt flour
>>1 Tablespoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
>>Pinch salt

Make a well in the center of the flours and spices and add:
>>5 Tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
>>1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
>>¼ cup coconut oil, softened at room temperature
>>¼ cup maple syrup
>>4 Tablespoons honey
>>2 Tablespoons rosewater (in wellness section of most health food stores)

Rosa canina
Mix wet and dry ingredients together.                     
Oil a cookie sheet and drop dough onto it in spoonfuls.

Slide cookie sheet into oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove, flatten each cookie gently with the back of a fork, and bake for 10 more minutes.