Salad Summer

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

Arugula, Potato and Green Bean Salad

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup walnuts

  • 2 pounds fingerling potatoes, chopped

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

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt

  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 4 packed cups arugula

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

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

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

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

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

Parsley Cilantro Chickpea Salad

For the salad:

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

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

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

  • 5 packed cups of salad greens

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 1 cucumber)

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

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

For the dressing:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper

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

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

Chop cucumbers, tomatoes, parsley and cilantro.

Wash and drain salad greens.

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

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

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A Week in Vegetables

As we pass the halfway point between winter solstice and spring equinox, I am thinking about the fertile seeds that we will plant in dark soil this spring. These seeds will bring delicious food to our table and fill our root cellar with bounty for the winter to come.

I realize that time is not linear, but cyclical. The cycle of seasons finds plants on another ring of the spiral each year as they sprout new branches, stalks, and shoots. We can also grow into each new cycle by appreciating how far we have come since this time last year and renewing our body, mind, and spirit with simple food. 

As the outside world slowly wakes up to welcome another growing season, so can we rejuvenate our bodies by including more plant foods into our diet.

Here is the shopping list for a week of healthy, plant-based lunches.

You can gain the complete guide, including recipes, by clicking here.

Simple Vegetable Recipes 

to keep you nourished all week long

Shopping List

  • 8 small sweet potatoes (or 5 to 6 medium/large)

  • 1 head of cauliflower

  • 1 head of broccoli

  • 2 bunches Swiss chard

  • Baby spinach

  • 2 bunches kale

  • Mushrooms

  • 1 can white beans

  • 1 can chickpeas

  • 2 red onions

  • 1 large leek

  • Parsley or cilantro (optional)

  • Grocery

  • Olive Oil

  • Eggs

  • Ghee or grass-fed butter

  • Tamari or soy sauce

  • Cumin

  • Coriander

  • Paprika

  • Apple cider vinegar

  • Salt and pepper

While making breakfast, follow these instructions for assembling a lunch quickly. It will take about 30 minutes per morning.

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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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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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How To Video for a Simple, Delicious Meal

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

VEGETABLE POT PIE

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

LEEK KALE FRITTATA

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

Substitute any vegetables you have on hand.

ORANGE HAZELNUT CAKE

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

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

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First Harvest Time

Lammas, "Loaf Mass" - also known as Lughdnasah by Gaelic people - is the first harvest time, when agrarian people of the Northern hemisphere prepare fermented foods and enjoy the gifts of wheat, corn, beans, and summer squash.

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Try these recipes to include first harvest foods in your meals.


CRANBERRY BEAN AND CORN SALAD

You will need:

  • 1 pound cranberry beans

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 3 shallots, chopped

  • 2 ears fresh corn, shucked

  • 1 teaspoons thyme, de-stemmed

  • 2 teaspoons rosemary, de-stemmed

  • 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soak beans in cold water overnight or for 8 hours.

Then, bring beans and 8 cups water to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and cook until beans are tender - about 35 minutes.

Drain and transfer to a bowl; set aside.

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shallots until soft, about 5 minutes.

Remove corn from ears and add to skillet.

Add thyme and rosemary. Cook for 5 minutes more.

Let cool slightly; transfer to bowl with beans.

Toss with vinegar, salt, and pepper. Enjoy!


CORN CAKES WITH FRESH HERB SPREAD

For the spread:

  • 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves

  • 1 cup packed fresh parsley leaves

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 1/3 cup cashews

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 cup olive oil

  • Juice of 1 lemon

Blend these together in a food processor. Set aside.

For the corn cakes:

  • 1/2 cup organic, non-GM cornmeal

  • 1/2 cup flour (wheat, spelt, or millet)

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 tablespoon butter, melted

  • 1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)

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

  • 3/4 cup fresh sweet corn kernels - about 1 large cob

  • olive or sunflower oil for cooking

Whisk together cornmeal, flour, powder salt and paprika in a large bowl.

Make a well in the center, add butter, milk, eggs/flaxseed, and corn.

Whisk wet ingredients together briefly then incorpoate with dry ingredients.

Heat some olive or sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Pour small amounts of batter onto the skillet (about 1/4 cup per corn cake).

Cook until cakes are golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

Serve warm with a garnish of herb spread.

Summer Dinners

Happy Summer!

The days are long and lovely. It's time to spend time outside and soak up the green world all around us.

Try these picnic-friendly recipes to invigorate you after a long day and enjoy the evening outdoors. 

Thanks to Saveur for this recipe inspiration.


KOHLRABI POTATO SALAD

This traditional Swedish recipe is unique and delicious. Kohlrabi, a Brassica family cultivar, tastes like a cross between cabbage and broccoli.

You will need:

  • 1 pound potatoes or any kind

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 small kohlrabi, chopped

  • 1 cup roughly chopped kohlrabi leaves

  • ⅓ cup roughly chopped dill

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Steam potatoes in until tender, 18–20 minutes; set aside. 

Melt butter in a 12" skillet over medium-high heat. Add kohlrabi pieces; cook, stirring occasionally, until crisp-tender, 5–7 minutes. Add reserved potatoes, the chopped kohlrabi leaves, dill, salt, and pepper; cook until leaves are wilted, 1–2 minutes more. Serve warm or at room temperature.


CORN SALAD

A classic Midwest United States recipe that reminds me of my mother's Kansan heritage.

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-qt. 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.

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Spring Soups

Prepare these soups ahead so you can enjoy a simple meal when you get home after a long day in the green beauty of the blossoming world.


SPRING TOMATO SOUP

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 carrot, chopped

  • 2 potatoes, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: rosemary and thyme

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes OR 1 pound ripe tomatoes, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Chop onions and garlic.

Add to a soup pot with olive oil.

Sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add carrot, potatoes, salt, rosemary and thyme.

Sauté for 10 more minutes, then add tomatoes and balsamic vinegar.

Add 2 cups water.

Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes, or until flavors have incorporated.

Blend with immersion blender if you prefer a creamier soup.

Enjoy! Garnish with unsweetened yogurt if you like.

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CREAMY CHERVIL SOUP

inspired by Nadia Hassani

You will need:

  • 6 ounces fresh chervil, stems and leaves separated1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped

  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable stock

  • ½ cup milk (cow, rice or almond)

  • 2 egg yolks

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Bring chervil stems and stock to a simmer in a 4-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat

Simmer, covered, until stems are tender, about 10 minutes.

Strain stock, discarding stems; return to pan and keep warm.

Purée chervil leaves, milk, parsley, yolks, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth.

Whisk in the broth until smooth.

Enjoy with a garnish of fresh parsley if you like.

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CARROT SOUP WITH HERBED YOGHURT

For the soup:

  • 6 medium carrots, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: turmeric, cinnamon, nutmeg

  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the yoghurt sauce:

  • ¼ cup unsweetened, whole yogurt or soy yogurt

  • 1 chive, minced

  • 1 handful fresh parsley, minced

  • 1 handful fresh basil, minced

  • pinch salt

For the soup: Put carrots, oil, water, and spices into a medium pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until liquid has evaporated and carrots are very soft, about 1/2 hour.

Purée carrot mixture with immersion blender and season to taste with salt and pepper. 

Serve with yogurt sauce.

To prepare the sauce, mix all ingredients together in a bowl.

Serve a spoonful as garnish in each bowl of soup.

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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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Terrific Rice Dishes

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Rice, oryza sativa, is the most common cereal grain world-wide. It is nourishing and soothing to a system that's depleted by cold and flu. It stops diarrhea, nourishes dehydrated tissues, and is one of the easiest grains to digest.  

American Journal of Clinical Nutrition recommends choosing whole grains such as brown rice rather than refined grain like white rice or flour to maintain a healthy body weight; high in fiber and selenium to ensure healthy digestion and mental clarity; contains phenolics, antioxidants that work to prevent disease and soothe the nervous system.


Pair any of these dishes with grilled meats, cooked beans or sauteed tempeh for a lovely meal!

CAULIFLOWER RISOTTO

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large shallot, diced

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and rosemary

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • black pepper to taste

  • 1/2 head cauliflower, chopped

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice

  • 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth

  • parmesan cheese if desired

In a medium-sized pot, heat olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, and spices and saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and translucent. 

Add cauliflower and saute for 5 minutes, covered.

Add the rice, toast briefly, and then cover with vegetable broth.

Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 40 minutes.

Stir, add parmesan cheese if desired (about 1/4 cup), and serve piping hot!


NUTTY RICE FLATBREAD

Preheat oven to 250 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 rice. 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 for 1 hour. Enjoy!


SWEET POTATO RICE CAKES

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil (I like grapeseed or sunflower oil).

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl:

  • 1 cup rice flour

  • 4 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flax seeds)

  • pinch salt

  • ½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, coriander and cinnamon

Make a well in the center and add:

  • 1 heaping spoonful almond butter

  • 2 heaping spoonfuls coconut oil

  • 1 cup steamed, mashed sweet potatoes

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.

Shape into cakes/patties, place each one on cookie sheet, and bake for 25 minutes.

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.

Maple Delights for Spring

Call me crazy. I live in northern Vermont, despite the fact that I grew up in Mediterranean Italy. Go figure. 

Truly, though, this state is the best-kept secret ever because of our harsh winters that lead to glorious mud - I mean - spring, then abundant summer and radiant fall. 

Right now, maple sap is running, the birds are singing, and I saw the first signs of the garden beds emerging from under the mountains of snow this morning! It's time to celebrate with maple-inspired spring breakfasts and snacks.

Maple syrup is an incredibly nutritious and mineral-rich food. It is also minimally processed, which helps our bodies metabolize it more slowly than refined sugars without robbing minerals from our blood and bones to digest it. When I drink maple sap from our trees or savor maple syrup in the spring, I truly feel aligned with the seasons.


STEEL CUT OATCAKES

This is my favorite thing to do with leftover oatmeal.

You will need:

  • 1 cup rice or spelt flour

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda

  • pinch salt

  • 1 cup cooked steel-cut oats*

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten OR 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal soaked briefly in just as much warm water

  • 1/2 cup full fat unsweetened yogurt (cow, goat, or almond)

  • 1/2 cup milk (cow, oat, or almond)

  • 3 tablespoons melted butter or coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice

*To cook the oats:

Soak overnight in cold water. In the morning, rinse, drain, and cook with twice as much water, stirring often, for 20 minutes. Add vanilla, butter, salt, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg and top with almonds and berries if you like. Save leftovers for oatcakes.

To prepare the oatcakes:

In a large bowl, mix together the flour, syrup, nutmeg baking powder, baking soda and salt.

Make a well in the center. Into it, stir together the oats, egg, yogurt, milk, oil, vanilla and lemon juice. 

Stir these wet ingredients into the dry, mixing until incorporated but not completely smooth.

To cook the oatcakes:

Preheat a non-stick or cast iron griddle over medium high heat. Lightly brush with butter or coconut oil. Ladle about 1/4 cup of the batter onto the pan.

Cook until the edges become dry and the center bubbles, about 3 minutes.

Flip and cook on the other side until golden and puffed, about another 2 minutes. Remove to a platter and keep warm in a low oven if needed. Continue until all batter is used.

Serve the oatcakes with fresh or frozen berries heated in a small pot of maple syrup.

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COCONUT MAPLE BREAD

This makes a wonderful breakfast with nut butter and jam or a delightful afternoon snack with a cup of dandelion root tea.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal soaked briefly in 1/4 cup warm water

  • 1 cup coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1/2 cup coconut flour

  • 1 1/2 cups flour - rice or spelt

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and ginger

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cardamom and cloves

  • pinch salt

  • 1 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees.

Soak flaxseed in a large bowl. 

After 5 minutes or so, add coconut milk, vanilla, maple and vinegar.

Add flours, baking powder, spices and salt. Stir in the coconut. 

Fold in the melted coconut oil.

Grease a loaf pan. I like to melt coconut oil in the loaf pan in the preheating oven, then pour melted oil into the batter and save a bit for greasing. 

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Once the loaf pan is greased, pour in the batter and bake for about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in its tin for 5 minutes, then turn it out onto a cutting board. Slice thickly and serve as is or with almond butter and maple syrup.


MAPLE ALMOND ORANGE CAKE

This is a fabulous hiking snack and makes an elegant dessert when covered in coconut maple frosting

You will need:

1 1/2 cups sliced almonds

1/2 cup maple syrup

2 sticks butter OR 1/2 cup coconut oil

zest and juice of 1 orange

2 large eggs, lightly beaten OR 2 tablespoon flaxseed meal soaked briefly in just as much warm water

3/4 cup yogurt (cow, goat, or almond)

2 1/2 cups flour - rice or spelt

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Toast almonds over very low heat in a dry saute pan until they are golden. 

Save a few almonds to top the cake.

In a large bowl, whisk together the syrup, butter or oil, juice and zest, eggs, and yogurt.

When the mixture is quite smooth, add the flour, baking powder, salt and spices. Mix until the dry ingredients are just incorporated.

Fold in the almonds.

Grease a loaf pan or round cake pan and fill with the batter. Smooth and flatten the top and sprinkle with the reserved almonds.

Bake for about 45 minutes.

Remove the cake from the oven and let it cool in the pan for about 30 minutes before turning out onto a plate or cutting board and serving.

Click this link for maple pecan cookies and grain-free maple treats!

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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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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.




Brussels Spouts

These adorable tiny cabbages might get a bad rap, but they are a delicious and ideal mid-winter cleansing food.

Roasted Almond Brussels Sprouts

You will need:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 1 tablespoon stone ground brown mustard
1 teaspoon caraway seeds
1/2 cup almonds, chopped1 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed and cut in half, rinsed and patted dry¼ teaspoon sea salt

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the olive oil, mustard, caraway seeds, and almonds. Add the trimmed Brussels sprouts to the mixture, toss well, then spread them in an even layer on the prepared pan. Season the Brussels sprouts with sea salt and roast for 20 minutes, tossing occasionally.

Enjoy with white bean velouté.
***
White Bean Velouté

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. 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.
Meanwhile, make caramelized onions (see below).
Once beans are cooked, add: ¼ cup olive oil 1 Tablespoon dried thyme Salt and freshly ground black pepper Caramelized onions (see below)Purée in food processor or with immersion blender.

***Caramelized Onions
Choose 1 large yellow onion. Chop off top and bottom, peel skin and slice 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, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover.Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.Add salt and any desired spices and simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown.Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

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.

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