Food for Liver Renewal

Today marks the last full moon before March 21st, the Spring Equinox. The earth is rife with purpose, ready to push up the myriad of seeds that will green our landscape for the season to come. Similarly, our bodies are ready to eat more green foods and move more to harmonize with the coming change of season. Mornings and evenings may feel chilly, but the sun shines longer each day and brings the warmth that heralds this season of renewal.

In my native Italy, the word for spring is 'primavera', meaning 'first truth'. May you find time to slow down as you eat, listen to your body's messages for nourishment, and savor the green flavors of the coming spring.

Here are some recipes to inspire your dietary transition from winter to spring.and to support the liver's natural renewal process.

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Beet Sauce

You will need:

  • 3 medium-sized red beets, sliced in half

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil1 shallot, minced

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup water

  • ½ teaspoon each: allspice and salt

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, ginger, coriander

In a small pot, boil beets for approximately 20 minutes or until tender. Once done, drain them and set aside to cool.

In a small sauté pan, over low-medium heat sauté shallots in olive oil and add spices and salt. Once shallots look caramelized, set aside.

In a blender, combine beets, shallots, vinegar, and water. Blend until smooth.

Use as a topping for millet bread.

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Millet Bread

You will need:

  • 1 ½ cups millet

  • 4 cups water

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme leaf

  • ½ teaspoon coriander powder

Place millet in a cooking pot with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce to low heat. Simmer until millet begins to thicken (about 20 minutes). Stir well, as though cooking oatmeal.

Add all the other ingredients and stir well. Cook on low heat and keep stirring until millet thickens.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour millet into a baking dish and flatten it evenly. Bake it for 15 minutes.

Slice and eat as you would polenta. Let the millet cool before slicing it.

Add toppings! If spread out in a thin layer on a baking sheet, this also makes an excellent pizza crust.

Click this link for more spring recipes.

Balance Your Hormones

Everyone thrives when their hormones are balanced. Lack of adequate hormone secretion can affect mood, digestion, and fertility. For female-bodied people, there are not any foods that contain estrogen or progesterone. However, certain nutrients support the body’s natural process of producing these hormones in a balanced way. Since most of the neurotransmitters that produce our hormones live in our intestines, using food to balance hormones is very effective!

After age 35, progesterone levels tend to decrease and estrogen levels increase. This slow process eventually leads to menopause. We can support this gentle change while we are still in the child-bearing years (until age 43 on average) by boosting progesterone levels.

Here is a list of progesterone-stimulating nutrients and their food sources in order of importance. Don’t feel like you need to get all of these nutrients every day. Focus on L-Arginine, Magnesium, and B Vitamins.

L-Arginine: aim for 6 grams per day

  • Turkey – 4 ounces contain about 16 grams

  • Chicken – 4 ounces contains 9 grams

  • Pumpkin Seeds – 1 cup contains 7 grams

  • Chickpeas – 1 cup contains 1.3 grams

Magnesium: aim for 500 mg per day

  • Spinach – 79mg per 100g

  • Pumpkin Seeds – 534mg per 100g

  • White fish (cod, trout, haddock) – 97mg per 100g

  • Brown Rice – 44mg per 100g

  • Dark Chocolate (70% or higher) – 327mg per 100g

  • Vital Calm Magnesium powder – 320mg per serving

Vitamin C: aim for 1,000 mg daily (do not exceed)

  • Yellow Peppers –3mg per large pepper

  • Kale and Collard Greens – 120mg per 100g

  • Kiwi – 64mg per Kiwi

  • Broccoli – 89.2mg per 100g

  • Oranges – 69.7mg

Vitamin B6: aim for 25 mg per day

  • Sunflower Seeds –35mg per 100g

  • Pistachio Nuts – 1.12 mg per 100g

  • Tuna – 1.04mg per 100g (cooked)

  • Turkey – 0.81mg per 100g (cooked)

  • Prunes – 0.75mg per 100g

Vitamin E: aim for 150 mg per day

  • Almonds – 2mg per 100g

  • Sunflower Seeds – 3mg per 100g

  • Shrimp – 2mg per 100g of Shrimp

  • White fish (cod, trout, haddock) – 8mg per 100g

  • Olive Oil – 4mg per 100g

Zinc: aim for 25 mg per day

  • Beef – 12.3mg per 100g

  • Wheat Germ – 16.7mg per 100g

  • Pumpkin and Squash Seeds – 10.3mg per 100g

  • Cashews – 5.6mg per 100g

Here are some recipes that include hormone-balancing ingredients.

Easy Trail Mix

You will need:

  • 2 cups pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

  • 1 cup almonds

  • 3/4 cup sunflower seeds

  • 1/4 cup cashews

  • 3 tablespoons pure Grade B maple syrup

  • A pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup prunes,chopped

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, toss all the ingredients except the prunes until well mixed.

Spread mixture in an even single layer on the lined baking sheets.

Bake the mixture, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, place back into bowl, add chopped prunes and toss to combine. Cool completely.

Store cooled trail mix in an airtight container at room temperature.

Lemony Turkey Stew

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 1 pound organic ground turkey

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 2 cups kale, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: coriander, cumin, oregano and salt

  • 1 bunch kale

  • 1 inch chopped kombu or wakame seaweed

  • 3 cups chicken stock

  • juice of 1 lemon to finish

In a soup pot, sauté turkey on medium high heat with vinegar, stirring constantly with a metal spatula, until chicken is cooked through - about 25 minutes depending on the cut.

Add the celery, carrots, ginger, cabbage, seaweed and spices. Stir well. Add the kale and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer, cook for 15 minutes, and stir in lemon juice. 

Serve and enjoy!

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Vegan Chia Burgers

Summer is drenching Vermont in rain to the point of flooding. Farmers are doing everything possible to secure crops and we are watching puddles turn into pools in our garden. We hope that this damp weather will pass so that plants may flourish once again.

Meanwhile, we are trying to dry the dampness with warming, nourishing foods that still feature summer ingredients.

These chia burgers fit the bill.

Chia, a member of the sage family, has delicious, peppery, edible seeds that are high in protein and fiber.They are a great replacement for eggs and taste delicious in sweet and savory dishes alike.

Corn is a wonderful food for summer. From digestive support to blood sugar balance, it is a healing food as long as it’s not genetically modified. Ask your farmer where they get their seeds and check for the non-GMO label on corn products in the store. Corn fiber supports the growth of friendly bacteria in our large intestine. It is rich in B-complex vitamins and has about 5 grams of protein per cup. Fiber and protein make corn a great food blood sugar control.

Vegan Chia Burgers

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup cornmeal (non GMO)

  • 1/4 cup chia seeds

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1 medium zucchini, grated

  • 1 medium carrot, grated

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix all ingredients together.

Oil a cookie sheet with olive or sunflower oil.

Shape dough into patties and flatten each one onto the cookie sheet.

Bake for 15 minutes, cool and enjoy.

They pair well with pesto and grilled chicken or cod.

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Baby Cakes

Happy Valentine's Day! My daughter is indeed a Valentine baby: she will turn one year old on Thursday. Her presence in my life has eclipsed all other priorities and it is a joy to witness her grow, learn and thrive each day.

May this day remind you of the love that is always in our hearts when we relax, breathe deeply, and open to our unlimited potential. What brings you joy? What nourishes you? Ask yourself these two questions each morning and set out to live a day filled with joy and nourishment. This practice of self-love spreads love to others and helps cultivate happiness, even during troubled times.

As my daughter learns to feed herself, I have been exploring new sources of nourishment that can be fulfilling for us both. The wonderful food solution we have both been enjoying lately is baby cakes: small pancakes made of eggs and vegetables. I add a few spices and some oil to bring flavor and soothe the nervous system. Try these combinations and let me know what you think!

All of these freeze well and reheat easily in a toaster or toaster oven.

 

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Sweet Potato Baby Cakes

High in beta carotene and vitamin A, sweet potatoes soothe the nerves, balance the endocrine system, and promote healthy elimination.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and nutmeg

  • 2 cups sweet potato, boiled and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Boil sweet potatoes with just enough water to cover. It will take about 10 minutes for them to be tender.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

I enjoy them with a vegetable and egg scramble or ground turkey with sauteed greens.

Carrot Chicken Baby Cakes

High in protein, pastured chicken contains all the essential amino acids necessary for muscle development and provides steady energy.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup cooked chicken

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and coriander

  • 2 cups carrots, boiled and drained

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Chop and boil carrots with just enough water to cover. It will take about 20 minutes for them to be tender.

Boil or braise chicken for 20 minutes if bone-on and 10 minutes if boneless. Pull chicken off the bone if necessary and remove skin.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

I enjoy these with parsley pistou or pesto.

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Spinach Squash Baby Cakes

High in fiber and iron, spinach is important for brain development and promotes healthy elimination.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

  • 2 cups winter squash, baked and de-seeded

  • 1 cup spinach, boiled and drained

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place an acorn or carnival squash in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it's soft when pierced with a knife, Cut it open, remove seeds, and scoop out flesh. I like to make these at the same time as the spinach cakes so that I use up all my squash.

Boil spinach with a little water in the bottom of a small stock pot. It will only take a few minutes. Drain well.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

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Blueberry Baby Cakes

High in resveratrol for balanced blood pressure and antioxidants for stress reduction, blueberries are a superfood for all of us!

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • 2 tablespoons flaxseed meal

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • 1 cup winter squash, baked and de-seeded

  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Place an acorn or carnival squash in the oven and bake for 45 minutes or until it's soft when pierced with a knife, Cut it open, remove seeds, and scoop out flesh. I like to make these at the same time as the spinach cakes so that I use up all my squash.

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor and blend well.

Bake at 375 on an oiled cookie sheet for 10 minutes.

Flip and bake 5 minutes more.

Cool and enjoy.

Green Drink to Boost Mood and Energy

As we head into the holidays, it's good to slow down and take care. Food is a wonderful way to soothe the spirit and keep the body healthy. 

When the sun sets earlier in the afternoon and we need energy to make it through the rest of the day, anti-inflammatory spices and energizing berries and vegetables can lend that energy.

Try this drink to support you during and afternoon slump and boost your immunity, too!

Green Drink

In a food processor, blend these ingredients well:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley

  • 1⁄2 cup frozen blueberries

  • juice of 1⁄2 lemon

  • 1 inch of of fresh ginger root, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

Drink this beverage when you are feeling tired or cravings sweets / carbohydrates in the mid-afternoon. This kind of drink tends to slow down digestion in the morning, but provides a great afternoon energy boost. 

I like to heat it gently after I blend it to have a warm, soothing drink. You can make a double batch and keep it in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Blueberries: strengthen immunity and enhance overall health with power-packed antioxidants; support brain function and offer acid-alkaline balance in intestines. 

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms.

Parsley: Rich in Vitamin C to decrease inflammation, beta carotene to help prevent infection and strengthen immunity, and folic acid (B vitamin) to support cardiovascular health. Contains volatile oils that can help neutralize particular types of carcinogens as well as ease the burn of insect bites and stings.

Spinach: high in fiber to support healthy digestion and intestinal flora, iron for energy and healthy immune response, and folic acid for heart health.

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My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

Looking for a healthy treat recipe that kids and adults alike will enjoy?

I have many on this blog, including:

Coconut milk brownies

Pineapple ginger upside down cake

Maple pecan fudge

These cookies are amazing because they taste good and are high in protein, which curbs the blood sugar spike and subsequent crash that happen when we eat sweets without protein.

My (Current) Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

You will need:

  • 1 /4 cup coconut flour

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1 /4 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 2 eggs, whisked

  • 1 /3 cup maple syrup

  • 3 tablespoons almond milk

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a medium-size mixing bowl mix together flours, spices, and chocolate chips. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

Add the eggs, almond milk, maple syrup, almond milk, coconut oil and vanilla extract. Whisk these together, then incorporate with the other ingredients.

Oil a cookie sheet with coconut oil. Place on cookie sheet in heaping spoonfuls. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

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Rhubarb

Spring is here. In many gardens, rhubarb patches are flourishing. This amazing food is perfect for this season. 

It features the sour flavor, which, according to Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, renews our digestive systems after eating the heavier foods of winter.

Indigenous to Siberia, its leaves are so high in oxalic acid that they are somewhat toxic. Only eat the fresh stems before they become woody and stringy.

Try it!

Rhubarb is high in fiber and thus soothes stomach ailments and relieves constipation when eaten. Used topically, it makes an effective poultice to reduce swelling.

One serving provides about half of the daily value in vitamin K, which supports healthy bones and strong memory. Rhubarb contains vitamin C for healthy skin and resistance to infection. It is also high in iron, potassium, and calcium.

Rhubarb Coconut Milk Custard

For the tart:

  • 3 tablespoons water

  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

  • 1 tablespoon sunflower or olive oil

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 cup spelt (wheat-free) OR millet flour (gluten-free)

  • 6 tablespoons coconut oil, spooned out in small chunks

For the custard:

  • 2 cups coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 3 teaspoons arrow root powder

  • ½ pound rhubarb, trimmed and sliced into 1-inch thick pieces

  • juice of 1 lemon

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Mix together all the tart ingredients in a large bowl. Add the coconut oil last and toss it with the flour mixture so that each chunk is coated with flour. Mix gently with your hands until a thick dough forms. Flatten dough into baking dish and set aside.

Then, using the same bowl, mix all the custard ingredients together. Whisk well to incorporate. Add the rhubarb and pour mixture into crust.

Bake for 40 minutes or until custard doesn’t jiggle when you give it a shake. Cool, slice and enjoy topped with fresh strawberries if you like!


Raspberry Rhubarb Tapioca Pudding

You will need:

  • 1 cup pearl tapioca (not instant)

  • 2 cups milk (cow or almond)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 cup chopped rhubarb

  • 1 cup fresh raspberries

  • 1/4 cup lemon juice

  • 1/4 cup honey

In a large saucepan, combine the milk, tapioca, vanilla, and rhubarb. Cook for 30 minutes on medium heat or until the tapioca looks translucent.

Add raspberries, lemon juice and honey. Stir well and cook on low heat for 3 to 4 more minutes.

Serve in wine glasses or decorative bowls. Top with slivered almonds if you like.


Rhubarb Compote

You will need:

  • Juice of 1 orange

  • Zest of 1/2 orange

  • 1 cup maple syrup

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 pound rhubarb, cut into half-inch pieces

  • 1/4 pound strawberries, topped and chopped

To prepare:

Combine all ingredients in a saucepan.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until the rhubarb forms a thick paste, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Store in jars in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.


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Rhubarb Ginger Muffins

You will need:

  • ½ cup rhubarb compote (use recipe above)

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

  • ¼ cup coconut oil

  • 1 large egg

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger

  • ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg

  • 1 teaspoon baking powder

  • a pinch of salt

  • 1 ½ cups spelt (wheat-free) or brown rice (gluten-free) flour

  • 1/2 cup milk (cow or almond)

To prepare:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a muffin tin with oil or line with baking cups.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together coconut oil and maple syrup. Add the egg and whisk well. Mix in the vanilla extract. Gradually add the rest of the ingredients in the order listed.

Fill muffin cups two thirds full of batter. Using a spoon, make a slight depression in the center of the batter. Place a tablespoon of the rhubarb jam into the center (the jam will fill the cupcakes as they bake).

Bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the muffin comes out clean.

Picnic Time

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

Here are some recipe to inspire your next picnic.

TAHINI DATE COOKIES

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

You will need:

  • 1/3 cup tahini

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1/3 cup dates, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 1 1/2 cups oats

  • pinch salt

1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom

3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 350.

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

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

Scoop out spoonfuls of the batter on a cookie sheet.

Bake for 15-20 minutes, to desired crispness.

TACOS

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

For 6 people, you will need:

  • 12 corn tortillas

  • 1 cup queso fresco or any cheese you like

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

  • 2 fresh limes, cut into quarters

  • 1 cup purple cabbage, shredded

  • salsa fresca 

To prepare salsa fresca, chop:

  • 2 ripe tomatoes

  • 1 red onion

  • 2 cloves garlic

  • 2 handfuls cilantro or parsley if you prefer

  • In a bowl, mix these together with:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • juice of 1 lime

Assemble tacos, drizzle with salsa, and enjoy!

AVOCADO HUMMUS

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

You will need:

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

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

  • One clove garlic, chopped

  • 1 tablespoon tahini

  • Juice of 1 lemon

  • ½ teaspoon each: paprika, coriander, and cumin 

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

  • 6 pieces of pita bread for serving

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

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

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Immune-Boosting Delights

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

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

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

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

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

SWEET POTATO MUFFINS

You will need:

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

  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

  • 1 cup millet flour

  • 1 cup almond flour

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

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

  • a pinch of sea salt

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

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

Add the flours, spices, and salt.

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

Reduce oven temperature to 350 degrees.

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

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

BLUEBERRY CHIA LIME SMOOTHIE

In a blender, combine and blend:

  • 2 cups organic frozen blueberries

  • juice of 1 lime

  • 2 teaspoons chia seeds

  • 1 teaspoon raw honey

  • 1/2 cup water

    TAHINI YOGURT DIP

In a bowl, mix:

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

  • 1 minced clove of garlic

  • 1 tablespoon of tahini 

  • juice of 1 lemon 

Enjoy!

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

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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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