Blueberry Bread

Winter is a wonderful time to prepare dishes that feature the summer's bounty and remind us of the warmer days that will soon come.

We froze a lot of blueberries this past summer and have been enjoying them in baked goods all winter long.

May this bread nourish and inspire you. It's a great one to make an advance and have ready for breakfast or a snack when you're short on time.

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups almond flour

  • 1/4 cup coconut flour

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • 1 teaspoon each: baking powder and baking soda

  • A pinch of salt

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

  • 3 eggs

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

  • 1 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

Preheat oven to 350.

Oil a loaf pan and set aside.

Mixed together the flours, spices, soda, powder, and salt.

Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients and put the vinegar, syrup, eggs and oil into that well.

Whisk them together with each other then incorporate with the dry ingredients. The batter should be fairly thick and lumpy.

Pour into prepared loaf pan and bake for 35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Run a knife along the edges of the bread and let it cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing.

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Keeping Blood Sugar Balanced

When eating treats, it's great to choose those that contain protein. 

Because it takes the body longer to digest protein, blood sugar remains stable when eating sweets with protein. The digestive process takes all carbohydrates and turns them into glucose, a kind of sugar that's and released into the blood stream for energy.

Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps cells to absorb glucose once it's in the blood stream so that they can use it to generate energy. However, if there is too much circulating glucose in the system, the body gets overloaded. 

By consuming excessive carbohydrates and sugar without the protein to slow down the release of glucose into the blood steam, sugar levels and hence insulin levels can become chronically elevated. This elevation can lead to inflammation, high blood sugar and pre-diabetes (also known as insulin resistance).

Combining sweets and protein helps our body make the best use of the energy we gain from treats and keeps blood sugar balanced. Protein sources include: nuts, seeds, beans, lentils, meat, eggs, and cheese.

Nut Butter Chocolate Chippers

You will need:

  • 1/4 cup creamy almond butter or peanut butter

  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, softened

  • 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

  • 1/4 cup coconut sugar

  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups sorghum or brown rice flour

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips (try to find ones sweetened with rice syrup instead of cane sugar)

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Oil a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together almond butter, coconut oil, applesauce, coconut sugar, flaxseed, and vanilla. Mix in flour, cinnamon and salt until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips.

Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Flatten in a criss cross pattern with the tines of a fork. Bake for about 15 minutes.

Let cool on pan for 5 minutes before enjoying.

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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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Coconut Milk Brownies

Last night, I attended a pot luck and, as usual, decided to create an experimental dessert without following a recipe. I love the mystery and delight that arise through this creative process.

I knew that some of the potluck attendees are gluten-free and dairy-free. Others prefer not to eat any refined beet / cane sugar. I wanted to keep the ingredients list simple, so I created this recipe.

The more you cook without recipes, the more you will understand which ingredients combine best. Keep experimenting! Try these brownies and let me know what you think. The beauty is that they only contain 5 ingredients, most of which you may already have in your pantry.

Coconut Milk Brownies

You will need:

  • 1 can organic coconut milk, full fat

  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 1 1/4 cups brown rice flour

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Blend all ingredients with an immersion or upright blender.

Oil a glass baking dish or pie plate with coconut or sunflower oil.

Pour batter into it and bake for 35 minutes.

Cool, slice, and enjoy!

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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 tahiniJuice of 1 lemon
½ teaspoon each: paprika, coriander, and cumin 
1 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.


Brownies!

Because it's spring, because the sun is shining, because chocolate has healing powers, try this recipe.

Cacao beans, once harvested, fermented, and roasted, are a particularly potent source of healing antioxidants. 

Georgetown University studies show that flavonols, antioxidants found in chocolate, help lower your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and boost "good" HDL cholesterol. They ease inflammation and help prevent clotting and arterial plaque formation.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest level of cocoa flavonols and is the healthiest form of chocolate. 


Try to buy organic, Fair Trade–certified cocoa powder. Fair Trade certification aims to protect farmers in developing countries from exploitation by large corporations or from price fluctuations for commodity crops. In order to be Fair Trade–certified, companies are required to pay farmers a fair price for crops, enabling farmers to pay their workers a living wage, avoid using child labor and practice environmentally friendly farming methods.

Brownies


You will need: 
1 1/2 cups rice OR spelt flour
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal (i.e. ground flaxseeds)
1/4 cup organic cocoa powder
pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup sunflower oil
1/4 cup boiling water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. 
Grease an 8″ x 8″ brownie pan.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, cinnamon and salt together.
Add the maple, vanilla, and oil into the dry ingredients and mix well. 
The batter will be clumpy. 
Add the hot water and mix until batter becomes thick.
Pour into brownie pan and bake for 40-50 minutes or until a toothpick/knife comes out clean.
Allow to sit in the pan and cool for about 20 minutes.

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 teaspoon each: black pepper and cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
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

Yum!



Tahini Yogurt Dip



In a bowl, mix:
1 cup full fat unsweetened yogurt
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.

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.

***
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. 
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. YUM.

Cacao for Health

Drinking Chocolate at Kakawa in Santa Fe, NM
When I think of chocolate, I picture rich and creamy dark chocolate bars from Equatorial climates all over the world. Chocolate makes a great addition to savory dishes as well, such as the mole poblano sauce I enjoyed at Jardin Escondido in Vilcabamba, Ecuador. 

As this precious fermented food becomes more globally available, I remember my grandfather, who only enjoyed chocolate once a year on Christmas day. When I savor cacao, I try to honor its source and all the work required to get it into my kitchen.


Mole Poblano 
Cacao beans, once harvested, fermented, and roasted, are a particularly potent source of healing antioxidants. Georgetown University studies have also shown that flavonols, antioxidants found in chocolate, help lower your levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol and boost "good" HDL cholesterol. They ease inflammation and help prevent clotting and arterial plaque formation.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder has the highest level of cocoa flavonols and is the healthiest form of chocolate. Try to buy organic, Fair Trade–certified cocoa powder. Fair Trade certification aims to protect farmers in developing countries from exploitation by large corporations or from price fluctuations for commodity crops. In order to be Fair Trade–certified, companies are required to pay farmers a fair price for crops, enabling farmers to pay their workers a living wage, avoid using child labor and practice environmentally friendly farming methods.

Adding cocoa to savory dishes is a great way to get the benefits of chocolate without all the fat and sugar usually found in sweet chocolate-based treats.
Chocolate Chile Bread

Email lisa[at]harmonizedcookery.com for recipes such as: Black Bean Cocoa Soup with Lime Zest; Mole; Chipotle Chicken Stew; Chocolate Chile Bread; Slow Cooker Posole.

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.

Favorite Holiday Recipes

It's time to gather in with friends and family, enjoying the warmth of the season. Take this time to slow down and let thoughts of work and life responsibilities take the back burner. Nourish your own heart, hearth, and the seed of your deepest desires for the year to come.

These recipes have graced holiday tables in places where I have traveled.
Enjoy! I have put a healthy spin on each of these traditional dishes. 

Switzerland: Rosti

1 large yellow onion
3 large russet potatoes
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or coconut oil
2 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon each of these seeds: coriander, caraway, fennel

Place potatoes in a large saucepan, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook until tender, about 30 minutes. Drain potatoes, and set aside to cool for about 20 minutes. Grate potatoes using the large holes on a cheese grater; set aside.

While potatoes are cooking, chop onion. In a deep skillet, saute it on medium low heat, with spices and butter/coconut oil, for about 20 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Grease a cookie sheet with butter/oil.

Add onions and spices to the grated potatoes. Mix well to incorporate.

Drop spoonfuls of dough onto the cookie sheet and flatten with the back of a fork all around the perimeter.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until crispy and golden.

Enjoy with cooked winter greens, cranberry sauce and hard cheese as a holiday brunch!

***
Tuscany: Cranberry Hazelnut Farro Bread


1/2 cup cooked farro (spelt berries)
1/2 cup hazelnuts, ground into flour in a spice grinder


1½ cup flour (spelt or millet)
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda
pinch salt
½ cup dried cranberries
1¼ cups milk (almond or cow)
¼ cup honey
1/4 cup olive oil

Cook farro in twice as much water. Cook extra for a hearty winter dinner salad if you like.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease a loaf pan with olive oil.

In a large bowl, mix hazelnut meal, flour, spices and cranberries.

Make a well in the center and add milk, honey, oil, and eggs. Whisk these together, then incorporate into dry ingredients.

Fill loaf pan, bake for 35 minutes, and let stand to cool about 15 minutes before turning out onto a cutting board, slicing and serving.

***
Bali: Banana Pancakes


1¼ cups rice flour
¼ cup shredded coconut
1 teaspoon each: cardamom and cinnamon
pinch salt
2 Tablespoons rice syrup
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup rice or cow milk
1/4 cup cashew butter
1 medium very ripe banana, mashed (about ½ cup)

Mix flour, spices, and coconut in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, mix well, and saute on medium heat in a stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Oil the skillet with coconut oil between round of cooking.

Serve with extra banana slices, a dollop of cashew butter and a garnish of shredded coconut.

***

New Mexico: Pinto Beans with Poached Eggs and Corn Tortillas

1 cup dried pinto beans, soaked overnight

1 teaspoon each: cumin, oregano, paprika
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
3 small green chiles (if desired)
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk celery, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
Salt and coarsely ground black pepper, to taste
8 eggs
Fresh cilantro leaves and corn tortillas for serving

Drain and rinse the beans. Bring to a boil in a stock pot with in 3 times as much water. Cook on medium high for 25 minutes. Skim off any foam that rises to the top.

Rinse and drain again.

Meanwhile, chop all vegetables. Saute together in a wide, deep skillet on medium heat for 15 minutes. Add spices, reduce heat, and add beans once they are cooked.

Add 1 cup water and stir to incorporate.


Crack eggs in a circle over the surface of the beans and vegetables. Cover and cook on low heat for 10 more minutes.

Heat corn tortillas for 2 or 3 minutes in a 200 degree oven. Place 2 tortillas on each plate, cover with beans and eggs, and serve with a garnish of cilantro.

Do you have a food tradition that you love and appreciate? Research it, prepare it and serve it this holiday season. Email me and let me know how it turns out!

Home-Made Food Gifts

Delight yourself and your loved ones with the gift of nourishment this holiday season.

Dried Fig Compote

2 pounds dried black mission figs, stemmed and quartered
¼ cup bourbon
8 whole cardamom pods, lightly crushed
pinch salt
Peel of 1 lemon, plus ½ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tablespoons raw honey

Place figs, bourbon and 4 cups boiling water in a large, heatproof bowl; cover surface with a plate to submerge figs. Let sit until figs are plump, about 1 hour; set aside.

Heat cardamom pods in a saucepan over medium-high heat until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add figs with their soaking liquid, salt, lemon peel, and juice.

Bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, until mixture has thickened, 20-25 minutes.

Add honey.

Divide finished compote into prepared half pint jars, apply clean lids and rings and place in an oven, heated to 180 degrees and turned off immediately before adding jars.

Let stand in closed oven overnight. Voila! These will last on the pantry shelf for 8 months.

***


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.

***
Healing Morsels

based on a recipe by Rosemary Gladstar

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

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.

***
Nutty Paté

Chop 2 large yellow onions.
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.

Alternative Sweeteners



Carrot Cake with Coconut Butter Frosting

You will need:

4 large carrots, peeled
2 cups spelt OR brown rice flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ginger
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 1/4 cups sunflower oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups walnuts, toasted and chopped
1/2 cup raisins
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a loaf pan and a mini loaf pan.
Grate the carrots and set aside.
Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger in medium bowl to blend.
Whisk the maple and oil in large bowl until well blended. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Add flour mixture and stir, and whisk until blended. Stir in carrots, 1 cup of walnuts and raisins.
Bake for about 45 minutes for the loaf and about 30 minutes for the mini loaf. Remove from oven and let the loaves rest in their pans for 10 minutes. Turn out onto rack and wait until cool to frost.

Coconut Butter Frosting
You will need:
1/2 cup coconut butter
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
dash cinnamon

Place all ingredients in a small pot. Heat gently, whisking and stirring to blend.

To assemble, spread a light layer of frosting onto each loaf, swirling decoratively.  Sprinkle with the remaining toasted walnuts.

This frosting is amazing with the cupcakes below, too! Try it and see what you think.
***
Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

You will need:
1 1/2 cups spelt OR rice flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons of cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1 large egg
1 cup mashed bananas (3 medium)
1/2 cup applesauce
1/4 cup coconut oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the bottom and sides of a muffin tin (or loaf pan, if you're so inclined). In a medium bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa and spices and set aside.

In another bowl, combine the egg, mashed bananas, applesauce and butter. Add the wet mixture all at once to the dry mixture and stir until just moistened.

Bake in the prepared pan for about 20 minutes for muffins (50 to 55 for a loaf), or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes then remove.

***
Blueberry Apple Pie

You will need:

3 pounds apples
1 cup blueberries
1 1/2 tablespoons rice flour
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup maple syrup

For the crust:
2 1/2 cups spelt OR rice flour, plus extra for rolling
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes OR equally as much coconut oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 to 6 tablespoons cold water

Combine flour and salt in a bowl. Cut in the butter using a pastry cutter, fork or your hands. Mix and crumble together until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Add the ice water 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing and stirring with a fork until it just holds together. Wrap in plastic wrap and let rest in refrigerator at least a half-hour. Remove and let warm up a bit, about 5 minutes, before you roll it out.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Chop apples.
Toss apples with the blueberries, flour, lemon juice, cinnamon, salt and maple in a large bowl.

Roll out 1 piece of dough into a 12-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin. Fit into a 9-inch pie plate. Trim excess dough, leaving a half-inch overhang.
Roll out remaining piece of dough into an 11-inch round on a lightly floured surface with a lightly floured rolling pin.

Transfer filling to pie shell. Cover pie with the top dough. Press edges together, crimp and then trim excess. Cut 2 vents in top crust with a sharp knife.

Place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees. Continue to bake until crust is golden-brown and filling is bubbling, about 50 minutes more. Cool pie to room temperature before serving.

SuperSnacks!

Boost immunity, gain some afternoon energy, and tonify your adrenal and endocrine system with these healthy snacks.
They're great after-school snacks, too.

Tahini-Date Salted Caramels

You will need:
1 cup pitted dates
1/2 cup tahini
2 tablespoons coconut oil (room temperature)
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
1/8 teaspoon fleur de sel or other coarse salt 


Combine the dates, tahini, coconut oil, and cardamom in a blender or food processor.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined loaf pan (or another equivalent container) and use a spatula to press it down evenly. 
Sprinkle with salt.
Freeze until firm. Remove from the pan and cut into bite-size pieces.
Store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to a month. 

***

Home-Made Energy Bars
 
You will need:
¼ cup dried, unsweetened apricots
¼ cup dried, unsweetened dates
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup sesame seeds – toasted
¼ cup pumpkin seeds – toasted and coarsely chopped
½ cup walnuts, pecans, almonds (choose any combination of these) - toasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup nut butter (almond, cashew, peanut butter or a combination of these)
¼ cup honey
4 Tablespoons shredded, unsweetened coconut
1 teaspoon cinnamon
Pinch salt

Boil 2 cups water. As water boils, coarsely chop all dried fruit and place it in a small mixing bowl.
Pour boiling water over fruit. Soak for 15 minutes and drain.

Meanwhile, mix honey, nut butter, coconut, cinnamon and salt in a medium mixing bowl.
Chop walnuts/almonds and pumpkin seeds.
Toast all seeds and nuts. Add to mixing bowl and mix.

Add soaked dried fruit to the above ingredients.
Oil a glass baking dish: 7×11″ is a good size.
While the mixture is still warm, press it flat into the dish with wax paper. Chill for 1 hour.

Slice into squares.
Cover with plastic wrap or store in baking dish in the fridge. Keeps for 2 weeks refrigerated.

***

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

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.

Autumn Breakfasts: Easy and Healing


Autumn is here, with cool, misty mornings and pink sunsets streaking the evening sky. It feels hard to get our of bed sometimes! Once I get up, I try to step outside, look up into the sky, and breathe deeply. Even if it is cold outside, this practice invigorates me and whets my appetite for breakfast.

Since breakfast is one of the best ways to get our metabolism going for the day, please eat it. Try these recipes to ease the transition into fall.

Banana Coconut Super Power Bars

You will need:
3 bananas, ripe and mashed
2 cups cooked oats (any kind is fine, especially oatmeal leftovers!)
¼ cup coconut flour
½ cup shredded coconut
½ cup chopped almonds
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, and nutmeg (this is the medicine!)
½ cup dried dates, chopped (optional)

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 350. Grease a cookie sheet with coconut oil.

Mix everything together.
Spread onto cookie sheet evenly with a spatula.
Bake for 20 minutes.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Slice and store in tupperware containers in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Protein-Packed Popovers


You will need:
6 eggs
2 cups almond milk
6 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted 1 cup almond meal
1 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and salt

To prepare:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Grease 8 muffin tins with vegetable oi.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs until frothy using a whisk.
Beat in the almond milk and coconut oil.
Then, beat the flour, cinnamon and salt into the egg, milk, and butter mixture. Pour about ¾ cup of the batter into each of the greased muffin tins.

Bake for 1 hour. Make a slit in each to let out steam; bake for 10 minutes more. Immediately remove the popovers from tins.
Serve with cooked fruit and nuts.

Apple Pie Parfait


You will need:
1/2 cup unsweetened yogurt (cow, goat, or almond)
1/3 cup applesauce
3 Tablespoons walnuts
2 Tablespoons maple syrup
pinch cinnamon

To prepare:
Stir together and eat.

Pumpkin Custard


You will need:
1 medium pumpkin

2 Tablespoons coconut butter
1/4 cup coconut milk
1/2 cup coconut flour
1/2 teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon, allspice

To prepare:
Roast the pumpkin whole at 375 for 1 hour.
Remove from oven, cool, remove seeds, and scoop flesh out into a stock pot.
Add all the other ingredients and simmer on medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.
Pour into a glass container to cool and set if you like.
This dish will keep in the fridge for up to 1 week.

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.

Cooling Summer Drinks

Try these cooling summer drinks to refresh you and make for good cocktail mixers, too!

Switchel
This amazing traditional beverage from Appalachian folk herbalists tastes like ginger beer and aids digestion.

You will need:
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon honey
2 cups water
¼ teaspoon fresh grated gingerroot or a pinch of dry ground ginger

Combine and stir until the honey dissolves. Serve cold as a sweet-tangy summertime drink. If you make this often, you can save yourself some time by making a honey-ginger syrup to keep in the fridge and use that instead of mixing up the ingredients each time.

***

Fruit Juice Shrub
Shrubs, also called "drinking vinegars," are relics of the colonial era. They are tangy, refreshing,and easy to make by mixing a fruity vinegar syrup mixed with water or seltzer.

You will need:
1 cup fresh fruit
1/2 cup fresh minced herbs
½ cup honey
1 cup apple cider vinegar

My favorite fruit and herb combinations are strawberry basil, apple mint, and blueberry rosemary.

Blend these together in a blender.

Combine and store in your refrigerator in a covered jar for 3 to 5 days until the flavors meld.
To make your shrub, combine 1 part concentrate with 3 or 4 parts cold water or unflavored seltzer.


Buckwheat


Try this nutty little grain to cool summer heat and nourish yourself.

Buckwheat helps maintain balanced cholesterol, stable blood sugar, and low blood pressure. Its beneficial effects are due to its high flavonoid and magnesium content.

These recipes will inspire you to savor kasha, toasted buckwheat groats, in new and interesting ways!

Plum buckwheat breakfast



In a stock pot, bring these ingredients to a boil:

3 plums, halved, pitted, and quartered
2 ½ cups water
1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)
½ teaspoon each: cardamom and cinnamon
pinch salt

Reduce to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

At the end of cooking, add:

2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 Tablespoons honey

Mix to incorporate and enjoy! Top with unsweetened whole yogurt if you like.

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!


Strawberry buckwheat dessert

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.


Mix these ingredients together:
1 cup buckwheat flour
pinch salt
1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder

Make a well in the center and add:
3/4 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
3 Tablespoons maple syrup
3 Tablespoons olive oil
2 eggs

Whisk well.

Add 2 cups fresh strawberries, de-stemmed and halved.

Incorporate wet and dry ingredients.
Pour into an oiled pie plate and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool, slice, and enjoy!

Savory Summer Breads

Asparagus upside down corn bread

You will need:
8-10 stalks asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 cup milk (almond or cow)
2 eggs OR 4 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

1/2 cup flour (spelt or millet)
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a cast iron or oven-proof skillet, warm a bit of olive oil.
Add rinsed asparagus with its tough, woody stems broken off.
Add salt and black pepper to taste.
Saute on medium heat for 5 minutes.
Add a little water, cover, and saute 5 more minutes, or until tender.

As asparagus cooks, whisk olive oil, lemon juice, eggs/flax and milk in a mixing bowl. Add flour, cornmeal, baking powder and salt.

Mix well to incorporate.
Pour over asparagus and bake for 25 minutes.
Cool for at least 30 minutes before running a knife around the edges.
Then, place a plate on top of the skillet, flip and enjoy!

***

Apricot chickpea biscuits


You will need:
1/2 cup dried apricots, soaked in boiling water

1/2 cup cooked chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1/4 cup olive oil
 1 cup flour (rice or spelt)
1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cardamom, coriander, baking powder and baking soda

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Boil a bit of water.
Coarsely chop dried apricots. Place in a bowl and cover with boiling water.

As apricots soak, mix all the other ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Drain apricot water and add apricots to the mixing bowl.
Stir to incorporate.
Place dough in heaping spoonfuls on an oiled baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes.

Enjoy as breakfast or with soup!

***


Parsnip almond flatbread

You will need:
3 medium parsnips, chopped
1/2 teaspoon each: salt and nutmeg
olive oil for roasting

1 cup flour (spelt or millet)
1/2 cup almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup milk (almond or cow)
pinch salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
1 Tablespoon maple syrup

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Chop parsnips and place in a glass baking dish (8x8 or so).
Coat with olive oil, nutmeg and salt.
Roast for 30 minutes.

Meanwhile. whisk all other ingredients together in a mixing bowl.
Once parsnips are roasted, reduce oven heat to 350.
Toss parsnips with a spatula, pour batter over them, and bake for 25 minutes.
Enjoy with scrambled eggs and spinach as a lovely brunch or a light dinner.

What About Coconut Sugar?

Here is an excellent cookie recipe from Vana Hari, who investigates the health implications of ingredients.

It features coconut sugar, a mild and wonderful alternative sweetener. It is a perfect 1 to 1 substitute for any recipe that calls for cane or beet sugar. Unrefined and unbleached, coconut sugar maintains its beneficial vitamins and minerals. It is rich in amino acids, offering more potassium, magnesium and iron than processed sugar.

Get creative!
Substitute raisins for almonds and dried apricots, fruit-sweetened raspberry jam, or orange zest and walnuts.

 
COOKIES
  • ½ cup coconut oil, melted
  • ¼ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed 
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1 and ¼ cup almond flour
  • 1 and ¼ cup rolled oats
  • pinch sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon cardamom
  • ½ cup raisins, soaked in ¼ cup boiling water for 5 mins.
  • soaking water from raisins
  1. Preheat oven to 350degrees.
  2. Place the coconut oil, sugar in a bowl and stir until well combined
  3. Add flaxseed, vanilla extract and stir for another minute until smooth.
  4. Add rest of ingredients and stir.
  5. Place dough mixture in fridge or freezer for 10 mins.
  6. Using an ice-cream scooper, scoop out dough and press each cookie on silpat or parchment paper lined baking pan
  7. Bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown
  8. Cool at least 7 mins and enjoy!