Probiotic Cleansing Soup

Once every few weeks, it can feel rejuvenating to eat the same thing for a day. This practice gives the digestive system a chance to re-calibrate and rest. Since a large part of our stress response is triggered by the enteric nervous system in our gut. this day-long cleanse helps to reduce anxiety and depression as well.

In traditional nutritional philosophies such as Ayurveda from India, this concept of periodic meal simplification is common and often takes the form if eating kitchari, a simple meal made up of rice, lentils, spices and vegetables.

This spring, try eating this cleansing and nourishing probiotic soup for three meals a day on a day off. You will move forward feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and energized.

Probiotic Leek Soup

You will need:

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  • 2 teaspoons olive oil

  • 5 stalks celery, chopped

  • 2 large leeks, rinsed and chopped

  • 2 large zucchini, sliced

  • 1 bunch chard, chopped

  • 1 cup artichoke hearts

  • 3 cups water

  • 1 inch kombu seaweed

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 bunch fresh basil

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the leeks and celery. Cook, covered, until these are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add zucchini and sauté for 5 more minutes.

Add the chard and artichoke hearts.

Add the water and kombu and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the basil. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender.

Enjoy! Feel free to eat as much as you want during your one-day cleanse.

Turmeric and Ginger Harvest

I am honored to participate in the harvest and cooking of fresh, organic turmeric and ginger grown in a Vermont greenhouse.

May the fruits of the harvest inspire us to find balance during this fall equinox time. Equal day and equal night call for a pause, a moment to revel in what surrounds us, appreciate it for what it is, and reflect on what's working in our lives and what we could let go.

Let these traditional Indian recipes inspire you to support your digestive health and immunity with turmeric and ginger. I have learned how to prepare these dishes from Dr. Vasant Lad, director of the Ayurvedic Institutes in India and New Mexico.

Ginger: warming, anti-inflammatory, soothes stomach cramps, reduces flatulence, alleviates common cold and flu symptoms. Clinical studies show that ginger consumption decreases arthritis pain and protects the liver from damage.

Turmeric: anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory, turmeric contains anti-inflammatory curcumin, which helps to heal GI diseases such irritable bowel syndrome. It prevents cancer cells from growing new blood vessels to feed themselves and induces the death of existing cancer cells. It also breaks up accumulated amyloid plaque in the brain that’s related to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.

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Rajma

Rajma means red kidney beans in Hindi. This is an adaptation of a traditional Punjabi recipe. These rich and hearty legumes are high in iron and protein. They support gut health with their fiber content.

To pressure cook* the beans:

¾ cups rajma (red kidney beans)

1 ½ cups water

*If you do not have a pressure cooker, just soak the beans overnight and boil in water until tender, about 45 minutes.

For rajma recipe:

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 small onion, chopped

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger

  • 2 teaspoons fresh grated turmeric

  • 2 cloves fresh chopped garlic

  • 1 ½ teaspoons red chili powder or 2 fresh chopped chilies

  • 1 teaspoon coriander powder

  • 1 teaspoon cumin powder

  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

  • Salt to taste

Wash dried rajma under running cold water till water runs clear.

Soak them in enough water for at least 8 hours or overnight.

If using canned beans, there is no need to soak or pressure cook them. Just rinse under the water and use beans in the recipe

Pressure cooking beans: discard the soaking water and add rajma to the pressure cooker with 3 ½ cups of fresh water. Close the lid and put the top on. Cook on high for 10 minutes then reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10 minutes. Let the pressure go down by itself and then open the cover. After pressure cooking the rajma, they should be soft and some of them will open up. Discard any leftover water from pressure cooking.

To prepare the rajma, heat the oil in a pan on medium heat. Once hot, add bay leaf and saute for 30 seconds. Add chopped onions and salt. Cook the onions till they are light brown in color, about 5 minutes. Saute ginger, turmeric and garlic for a minute.

Add tomato. Mix well and let it cook till all the moisture is evaporated and oil starts to leave the sides of the pan. do stir in between to make sure that it is not sticking to the pan. Add all spice powders. Mix well and cook for 10 minutes.

Add the beans, cook for 10 more minutes, and enjoy over rice.

Aloo Saag

In Hindi, aloo means potatoes and saag means spinach. This classic side dish can also be made with kale or collard greens.

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons sunflower oil or ghee (clarified butter)

  • 1 onion, finely chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced

  • 1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

  • 2 large potatoes, cut into chunks

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

  • 1 tablespoon mustard

  • 2 cups spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a large pan. Add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 minutes.

Stir in the potatoes and spices. Continue cooking and stirring for 5 minutes more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 10 minutes.

Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan. Take off the heat and serve with grilled chicken or cooked beans and rice.

Kitchari

Kitchari means mixture, usually of two grains. This is one kitchari recipe that is particularly nourishing and easy to digest. I like to prepare the rice and lentils separately and mix them in my bowl.

Rinse 1 cup long grain brown rice. Bring to a boil with 2 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer and cook, with lid askew, for 30 minutes.

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

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1 teaspoon each: mustard seed, cumin seed, cumin powder, coriander powder

  • 1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

When seeds start popping, turn off heat and slowly pour mixture into cooking rice.

You can add zucchini, summer squash, peas, cauliflower, broccoli or asparagus to the rice.

For the lentil dahl, rinse 2 cups yellow split lentils. Drain and bring to a boil with 5 cups water.

Reduce heat to medium and cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off any white foam that develops and discard it.

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

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, cumin powder, coriander powder and garam masala

  • 1 inch each of freshly chopped turmeric and ginger

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

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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Green Lasagna

Spring is finding its way into summer here in Vermont. As we approach next week's new moon and the possibilities that it brings, consider ways to bring more vegetables into your life. This shift offers a host of benefits: from improved digestion and immunity to healthier skin and balanced weight.

Try this vegetarian lasagna recipe to bring more green into your next meal.

Green Vegetarian Lasagna

You will need:

  • 2 packages gluten-free lasagna noodles, oven ready (I like De Bole's brand)

  • 1 stick butter

  • 2 cups grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

  • 1/2 cup milk

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and oregano

  • 3 cups cremini mushooms

  • 5 medium zucchini

  • 3 cloves garlic

  • Two 15 ounce cans (canellini white kidney) beans (I like Eden Organics) or 3 cups cooked dry beans

I like this recipe because you can prepare the two sauces on a day off, assemble the lasagna whenever you have time, and refrigerate it for up to a day before baking it.

Chop the onions and saute them in olive oil for 15 minutes on medium heat, stirring often. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add thyme and oregano.

Coarsely chop and add zucchini. Saute for 5 more minutes and then set aside to cool. Blend with immersion or upright blender until you get a smooth sauce.

Then, prepare the second sauce.

Melt the butter in a deep skillet.

Chop the mushrooms into bite-sized pieces and add them to the butter. Cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add salt and black pepper to taste.

Mince garlic and add that to the mushrooms. Add cooked beans and milk. Stir well saute for 3 or 4 more minutes, then and turn off heat.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a 9 x 13 glass baking dish with olive oil.

Assemble the lasagna by first spreading a thin layer of the mushroom bean sauce on the bottom.

Place noodles on top and make sure that they do not overlap for even baking.

Spread the zucchini sauce over the noodles.

Cover with a generous helping of grated Parmigiano.

Add another layer of the mushroom bean sauce, more noodles, zucchini sauce, and cheese.

Repeat until you get to the top of the dish. I usually make 4 layers.

After you lay down your last layer of noodles, do not add more zucchini. Just cover them with cheese and then wrap the dish tightly with aluminum foil. It's ok if it mounds over. It will settle as it bakes.

Bake for 50 minutes.

Remove foil, turn broiler on high, and broil for 3 to 4 minutes or until cheese is bubbling.

Serve immediately with a side salad.

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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.

Metabolism-Boosting Meal Plan

Here on the homestead, winter tends to find us slowing down, eating rich, nourishing foods, and enjoying a more relaxed pace. As necessary as this shift is, it can lead to a more sluggish metabolism. We like to take one day a week to enjoy this cleansing, metabolism-boosting meal plan as a way of pressing the reset button on our eating and boosting our energy.

It's a great thing to try in honor of the full moon today, which is known by indigenous peoples of this land as the Wolf Moon. Howl at the moon, stimulate metabolic activity and restore your energy with these recipes.

All these spices boost the metabolism, support healthy digestion, and/or ward off the cold and flu. Many of the ingredients in these recipes also support healthy metabolic activity. You can learn more by exploring the culinary pharmacy here.

 

Breakfast

Coconut Chia Blueberry Pudding

You will need:

  • 1 cup full fat organic coconut milk

  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

  • 1 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • pinch of salt

  • 1/3 cup blueberries, fresh or frozen

  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds

  • 1/4 cup almonds, chopped

Combine coconut milk, water, cinnamon, cardamom and vanilla in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and let cook for 2 -3 minutes.

Add chia seeds, almonds and blueberries and mix well. Let stand for 5 minutes before eating.

Lunch

Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa and Greens

For the roasted cauliflower:

  • 1 head cauliflower, cut into bite-sized florets

  • 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric and coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: salt, cinnamon and nutmeg

For the quinoa with greens:

  • 2 teaspoons melted coconut oil or olive oil

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, chile flakes, cinnamon, and cumin

  • 2 cups water

  • 1 cup quinoa

  • 1 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

  • 4 cups kale

Roast the cauliflower: Preheat oven to 425. Toss the cauliflower florets with coconut oil and spices. Roast for 25 to 30 minutes on the middle rack, turning halfway, until the cauliflower is tender and golden on the edges.

Cook the quinoa: In a large pot with a lid, warm the coconut oil over medium heat.

Add the onion and ginger and cook about 5 minutes. Add spices and stir. Add water and quinoa.

Bring the mixture to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer.

Chop kale and add it to the pot. Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the pot from heat.

Fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the salt and vinegar. Divide the quinoa into bowls.

Top with roasted cauliflower.

Dinner

Wild Rice and Mushroom Pilaf

You will need:

  • 1 cup brown & wild rice blend

  • 2 cups vegetable broth

  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped

  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

  • 8 ounces shitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon each: sage, thyme, oregano and salt

  • ½ cup chopped pecans

Combine the rice and vegetable broth in a large saucepan, bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer and cover for 35-40 minutes, cooking until the broth is completely absorbed.

While the rice is cooking, melt the coconut oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat and sauté the onion and celery until tender, about 8 minutes. Add in the garlic, mushrooms, sage, thyme, and salt, and sauté another 8 to 10 minutes, until the mushrooms are tender.

Combine the cooked rice and mushroom mixture, and stir in the pecans. Adjust any seasoning to taste, and serve warm.

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Cabbage Recipes

Why cabbage? It is a healthy and inexpensive vegetable that’s in season in the fall and winter. It contains polyphenols, cancer-preventive plant nutrients. It’s packed with Vitamins A & C to boost immunity. It helps reduce inflammation and heal stomach ulcers.

Purple Cabbage Soup

You will need:

  • 1 head purple cabbage

  • 1 rutabega

  • 2 yellow onions

  • 3 tablespoons olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil

  • 1 tablespoon mustard

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

  • salt and pepper to taste

Chop onions into thin crescent moons.

Heat oil in the bottom of a soup pot. Add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes. Add mustard and spices and simmer for 15 more minutes.

Meanwhile, chop rutabega and turnips into small chunks. Chop 1 medium red cabbage into threads, removing the hard inner core.

Add vegetables to the pot and add enough water to cover vegetables. Bring both to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook with the lid on until vegetables are soft.

Purée with a blender or immersion blender.

Enjoy with a dollop of unsweetened yogurt or sour cream.

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Comforting Cabbage and Noodles

This is adapted from a traditional Slovakian recipe, Haluski.

You will need:

  • 1 package wide egg noodles or gluten-free noodles

  • 3 tablespoons butter

  • 1 yellow onion

  • ½ head green cabbage, chopped (about 5 cups)

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cook the egg noodles according to the package directions (boil until tender) and then drain in a colander.

While the noodles are cooking, thinly slice the onion. Remove any dirty or damaged outer leaves of the cabbage.

Cut the cabbage into wedges, remove the core, then slice thinly.

After draining the noodles, add 1 tablespoon of the butter and the sliced onions to the pot used to cook the noodles. Sauté the onions over medium heat just until they begin to soften (about 3 minutes). Add the cabbage and continue to cook until the cabbage is tender (5-7 minutes).

Return the drained noodles to the pot with the cabbage and onion. Add the remaining butter and stir until the butter is melted and everything is evenly coated. Season the cabbage and noodles liberally with salt and freshly cracked pepper. Serve warm.

You can scramble an egg and serve that over it to add protein to your meal!

Savory Cabbage Fritters

This is adapted from a traditional Japanese recipe, Okonomiyaki.

You will need:

  • 2 eggs

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce or wheat-free tamari

  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour

  • 4-5 cups shredded green cabbage

  • 1 carrot

  • 3 green onions

  • ¼ cup mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce or sriracha

Cut the cabbage into quarters and remove the core. Thinly slice the cabbage until you have 4-5 cups.

Peel the carrot and shred it using a large-holed cheese grater.

Slice the green onions.

In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, water, soy sauce, and sesame oil until smooth. Begin whisking in the flour, ¼ cup at a time, until it forms a thick, smooth batter.

Add the cabbage, carrots, and green onion to the batter and stir until the vegetables are mixed and everything is evenly coated in batter.

Heat ½ tablespoon of oil in a non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add ¾ cup of the vegetable and batter mixture. Press it down into the hot skillet to form a circle, about 6 inches in diameter and ½ inch thick. Place a cover on the skillet to hold in the steam, which will help the cabbage soften as it cooks.

Cook the pancake until golden brown on the bottom (about 5 minutes), then flip and cook until golden brown on the second side.

Pile the cooked pancakes on a plate and cover with foil to keep warm until ready to eat. Add more oil to the skillet as needed as you cook the pancakes.

To prepare the spicy mayo, mix together the mayo and hot sauce. Drizzle over each pancake just before serving.

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Revamp Your Lunch Routine

Fall is here, and it's the perfect time to look inward, slow down, and change the way that we eat. Summer's expansive energy is culminating in the harvest of beans, grains, root vegetables and winter squash. These are also essential foods to eat right now because of their immune-boosting benefits.

Try these lunch ideas to strengthen your immune response and simplify your diet.

To prepare:

Set aside 3 hours of time on a day off. Make a list and go food shopping.

Prepare a double batch of these two recipes and you will have lunches ready for the week ahead.

Green Leek Millet Casserole

You will need:

  • 1 cup millet

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and black pepper

  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 large leek

  • ½ teaspoon each: sea salt and black pepper

  • 1 bunch fresh greens: dandelion, kale, chard, collards

  • 4 eggs

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin and coriander powder

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • 2 Tablespoons stone-ground mustard (no salt added)

Place millet in a stock pot with 5 cups water. Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook, stirring frequently, for 20 minutes. Add salt and black pepper.

The millet will reach a thick, porridge-like consistency as you stir. Once it does, remove from heat and set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare vegetables. Chop 1 large leek into rounds. Heat olive oil in a skillet and add leeks.

Reduce heat to medium low. Add salt, black pepper, cover, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add greens. Simmer for 10 more minutes or until most of the liquid has cooked out of the vegetables.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a pie plate with olive oil.

In a separate bowl, whisk eggs with cumin, coriander, lemon juice, and mustard.

Spread the millet on the bottom of an oiled baking dish. Place vegetables over millet. Pour eggs over the top and bake for 40 minutes.

Eggs: each one contains 6 grams of protein, 9 essential amino acids, and only 1.5 grams of saturated fat; rich in lutein, which helps prevent macular degeneration and cataracts; improve human lipid profile, thereby balancing cholesterol; contain naturally occurring vitamin D.

Leeks: strengthen lungs; anti-microbial; anti-bacterial; offer rich source of fructo-oligosaccharides, which stimulate growth of healthy bifidobacteria and suppress the growth of potentially harmful bacteria in the colon.

Buckwheat Cauliflower Shitake Casserole

You will need:

  • 1 cup kasha (toasted buckwheat groats)

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, coriander, nutmeg

  • 1 large head cauliflower

  • 1/4 pound shitake mushrooms

  • 3 carrots

  • ½ teaspoon each: salt, turmeric, cumin, and cinnamon

  • 3 cloves garlic

Place kasha 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 spices.

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

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Chop cauliflower and carrots.

Oil a rectangular baking dish. Add carrots and cauliflower to the baking dish. Season with spices, Toss well to coat. Roast for 15 minutes.

Chop shitakes and add them to the roasting vegetables. Roast for 15 more minutes.

Mince garlic. Remove vegetables from oven and mix in garlic. Reduce heat to 350 degrees.

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 more minutes. Cool, slice and enjoy!

Buckwheat: this little seed is not technically a grain, but is often treated like one. It is gluten-free and contains more protein than fiber or fat. It is filling, nourishing, and offers a warming quality during the colder months. Buckwheat helps maintain balanced cholesterol, stable blood sugar, and low blood pressure. Its beneficial effects are due to its high flavonoid and magnesium content. Kasha is the name for toasted buckwheat groats, which cook up much more quickly than raw buckwheat.

Garlic: high in Vitamin C and pungent sulfurous compounds, which reduce inflammation in the body; nature’s strongest anti-biotic; contains polysulfides, which trigger blood vessel dilation to reduce blood pressure; anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, controls overgrowth of Helicobacter pylori bacteria in the small intestine thus helping to reduce heartburn and eventual ulcers.

Mushrooms: anti-inflammatory, immune-boosting, and anti-oxidant. These members of the fungal family have rich, earthy flavor (umami), are high in protein, and are the fruiting bodies of a network of mushroom mycelium that runs underground throughout the entire planet. They contain a special fatty acid called CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), which may be able to bind onto aromatase enzymes in breast cancer cells and lessen their ability to produce estrogen.

Would you like to dive deeper into changing your lunch routine?

I have created a week-long menu plan of plant-based lunches, which includes recipes, a shopping list and cooking tips. You can prepare each of these lunches easily as you make breakfast in the morning.

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Build Immunity Now.

Fall equinox passed us last week, providing a balance point, a moment of equal day and equal night before we delve into the inner journey of fall and winter. By strengthening our immune systems now, we bolster our bodies to prepare for a healthy winter.

Here are some ways to honor this transition:

  • Take a deep breath before you eat a meal.

  • Stop to appreciate fall foliage.

  • Wake up affirming that something wonderful is going to happen today.

  • Set aside time to prepare a healing, delicious meal. May these recipes inspire you.

Mushroom and Carrot Pilaf

You will need:

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  • 1 teaspoon thyme

  • 10 ounces cremini and shitake mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice

  • 5 medium carrots, grated

  • 4 Tablespoons flaxseed meal

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, thyme, salt and pepper; stir to coat in oil, and cover skillet.

Cook for 5 minutes or until translucent. Add mushrooms and lemon juice. Cover and cook until mushrooms release most of their liquid, about 10 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes more.

Meanwhile, grate carrots.

Remove skillet from heat, mix in carrots and flaxseed, and serve warm.

Carrots are an excellent fall and winter food because they tonify the intestines and support immune health. Mushrooms are immune-boosting and high in vegetarian protein.

Quinoa and White Bean Sauté

You will need:

  • 2 cups white beans (soldier or cannellini), cooked

  • 2 inches seaweed (kombu or wakame), for cooking the beans

  • 3 cups quinoa, rinsed and cooked

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 2 shallots, minced

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, minced

  • 2 large bunches kale, or other hearty green, chopped

  • apple cider vinegar and olive oil for dressing

Soak beans overnight. Rinse, drain, and cook with 2 inches seaweed.

Cook beans and quinoa.

Meanwhile, mince shallot and chop kale, parsley and basil.

Sauté shallot and ginger in olive oil for 4 minutes, or until browned. Add kale. Sauté for 5 more minutes. Add ½ cup water and sauté for 5 more minutes. Stir to incorporate, turn off heat, and mix with cooked beans and quinoa. Toss with olive oil and vinegar.

Serve at room temperature.

Shallots and ginger are warming, digestive, and stimulate the immune system.

Miso Walnut Porridge

You will need:

  • 1 Tablespoon coconut oil

  • 1 cup walnut halves and pieces

  • ½ teaspoon each: coriander and cardamom

  • ½ cup rolled oats

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ teaspoon miso

Heat coconut oil in a small stock pot.

Add walnuts, coriander, and cardamom. Toast on low heat for 3 or 4 minutes.

Add oats and water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn off heat, add miso, stir to incorporate, and enjoy!

This is a terrific breakfast or a wonderful addition to a dinner of poached chicken and steamed kale.

Have you ever had savory oats? I think they're delicious. They also soothe the nervous system and support healthy transit time and elimination. They're a perfect warming grain for fall and winter.

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Middle Eastern Feast

Dear friends of ours are getting married this fall. I have the honor of helping coordinate the wedding feast. Because the bride grew up in Jerusalem, they are choosing a Middle Eastern theme for dinner. 

Here are some recipes from the feast, which are perfect for cooling summer heat. They will tantalize your senses and get your creative juices flowing.

Tabbouleh

You will need:

  • 1 1/2 cups bulghur wheat*

  • 2 cups boiling water

  • 1/3 cup lemon juice

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • 3 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 1/2 cups minced scallions

  • 1 1/4 cups chopped fresh mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 cucumber, unpeeled and diced

  • 3 cups cherry tomatoes, cut in half

*You can substitute cooked quinoa for a gluten-free version of this salad.

Place the bulghur in a large serving bowl, pour in the boiling water, and add the lemon juice, olive oil, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Stir, then allow to stand at room temperature for about 1 hour.

Add the scallions, mint, parsley, cucumber, tomatoes, salt, and pepper. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate. The flavor will improve if the tabbouleh marinates for a few hours.

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Watermelon Mint Feta Salad

You will need:

  • One 8 pound (approximately) watermelon

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

  • 3 limes, juiced

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1 cup fresh chopped mint leaves

  • 1 1/2 cups crumbled feta cheese

Chop the watermelon, remove the seeds, and place in a colander to drain.

In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, fresh lime juice, salt, and black pepper to create a dressing.

Place watermelon in a large salad bowl. Pour dressing and chopped mint over the watermelon and toss gently to coat. Crumble the feta over the top ans stir gently to incorporate all ingredients. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Israeli Salad

This salad is delicious served with feta and olives or pita bread.

You will need:

  • 3 cups Roma tomatoes, diced (about 5 tomatoes)

  • 2 cups cucumbers, diced (about 2 cucumbers)

  • 1 cup yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 pepper)

  • 1 cup Italian parsley, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons green onion, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

Toss together all ingredients in large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.

This salad's flavors improve when given a few hours to marinate. Prepare it mid-day to serve at dinner.

Refrigerate until ready to serve. 

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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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Cool, Green Summer

We find balance in summer weather by eating foods that are

bitter

(cooling, moist), such as: unsweetened cocoa, olives, dandelion, kale, celery, and amaranth leaves. It is also important to take time to rest, sit in the shade, breathe deeply, and absorb the green color that surrounds us.

These are the healing properties of summer herbs:

Basil

–anti-bacterial, digestive, and aromatic, this member of the mint family stimulates growth of white blood cells and protects against unwanted bacterial growth.

Cilantro

– the leaf of the coriander plant stimulates the secretion of insulin and helps lower levels of total and LDL (the "bad" cholesterol), while actually increasing levels of HDL (the "good" cholesterol). Cilantro’s volatile oils have antimicrobial properties.

Parsley

– purifying, anti-dandruff, digestive, and tonic, parsley is also 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.

Velvety Green Soup

You will need:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 large yellow onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 large zucchini, sliced
  • 1 bunch chard, chopped
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen peas
  • 3 cups water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube
  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 bunch fresh basil

In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over low heat. Add the shallots and onions.

Cook, covered, until they are soft and translucent, about 10 minutes.

Add zucchini and sauté for 5 more minutes. Add the chard and peas. Add the water and stock and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Add the basil. Remove from heat and purée with an immersion blender.

Chop the rosemary and use as garnish. Serve with cooked quinoa. This soup is excellent chilled, too!

Herbed Pesto

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You will need:

  • 2 cups fresh basil
  • ½ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup fresh parsley¼ cup pumpkin OR sunflower seeds1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Place basil, seeds, lemon juice, and olive oil in a food processor.

Make a coarse pesto and set aside.

Making Time To Cook

As Spring finds us with its fat buds ready to burst into fragrant flowers, I look ahead to the long days of Summer. Here on our homestead in Vermont, we revel in the warm months and take time work in the garden, walk in the woods, and sit outside to soak in the lingering evenings.

Summer will also bring a heightened pace of life. With so many daylight hours, the temptation can be to stay busy for the majority of the day! Now is the time to prepare the body, mind and spirit for this brilliant, abundant, and sometimes tiring time of year.

Spring brings the gift of rejuvenation, new life, and the opportunity to prepare for Summer. Start the season with a weekly meal plan, which allows you and your loved ones to keep eating whole, simple foods that are nourishing and delicious.

You can try creating a meal plan with friends or family.

Sit down together, perhaps after a shared meal, and talk about your favorite dishes.

Meal ideas

  • Taco Night

  • Casserole

  • Soup, Bread, and Salad

  • Pasta Night

  • Pizza

  • Breakfast for Dinner

It's easy to make these meals healthy and delicious! Just be sure to add plenty of vegetables to your sauces and soups. I made the pizza pictures her with an oat crust, pesto sauce, and toppings of steamed broccolini, walnuts, cooked white beans and a little Parmigiano cheese.

Savor your meals with inspiring spice blends, sauce and spreads to bring forward tons of flavor. Allow each person to mix and match the components of each meal so that everyone enjoys it.

Here are other options to inspire you. Click each link to learn more.

Be well and enjoy the art of cooking!

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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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Mindful Cooking

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

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

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

Slow Cooking

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple Kasha

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

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

Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 teaspoon salt.

Stir vigorously until grain reaches porridge-like consistency.

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

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Kasha Biscuits

You will need:

  • 1 cup cooked kasha

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup ground sunflower seeds

  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice

  • ½ teaspoon nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoon salt

Place ½ cup dry kasha (buckwheat groats) and 2 cups water in a stock pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cook, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until kasha begins to thicken.

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

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

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

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

Herbed Green Gravy

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, diced

  • 1 tablespoon garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon each: dried rosemary and thyme

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

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

  • 1/4 cup oat flour

  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 1 cup kale, chopped

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

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

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

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

Baked Latkes

In honor of Hanukkah's beginning at sun down last night, I offer a lighter version of latkes with a few variations.

This festival of the Jewish tradition lasts for 8 nights and 8 days. The word 'hanukkah' means 'to dedicate', and honors the re-dedication of the temple in Jerusalem.

Many light candles in the evening and welcome in the light during this time when nights grow dark so early. Bring light and delight into your home with this delicious traditional dish.

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Latkes

You will need:

  • 1 pound potatoes, grated

  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped

  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: black pepper and salt

  • 1/3 cup olive oil

  • Peel potatoes and grate coarsely.

You can either grate by hand or with the grater attachment of a food processor. Place grated potatoes in cold water until they are all grated. Drain the water and mix potatoes with all the other ingredients.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 2 cookie sheets with olive oil.

Place latkes on sheets and bake for 15 minutes.

Accompaniments: sour cream, sauerkraut, applesauce

Variations: use sweet potatoes instead of potatoes - in this case, omit the carrots. Add  1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped and 1 carrot, grated

Vegetarian Thanksgiving

Trust me, I am a lover of turkey. We have the honor of roasting a bird raised by our friends at Tangletown Farm. These turkeys are a heritage breed that only feeds on grass - they are delicious. 

However, it can be nice to have an alternative to the sedating effects of the tryptophan in turkey. Here are some protein-rich vegetarian ideas for the feast.

Lentil Millet Loaf

You will need:

  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, ground

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 1 large garlic clove, minced

  • 1 large carrot, grated

  • 2 celery ribs, diced

  • 2 cups cooked lentils

  • 1 cup cooked millet

  • 1/4 cup vegetable broth, as needed

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: sage, rosemary, thyme

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Oil a loaf pan or 8x8 square baking pan with olive oil.

Grind the sunflower seeds into a coarse meal using a food processor or spice/coffee grinder. Place in a large mixing bowl and set aside.

Sauté vegetables in the olive oil for 5 minutes. Add to the large mixing bowl along with all the remaining ingredients. Mix and mash together well, adding only as much liquid as needed to create a soft, moist loaf that holds together and is not runny. Add more ground sunflower seeds if the loaf seems too wet.

Press mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes. Let the loaf cool in the pan for 10 to 15 minutes, then turn out onto a plate or platter and slice. Leftover slices of make a great sandwich filling.

Lentil Squash Soup

You will need:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 yellow onion, chopped

  • 2 carrots, chopped

  • 3 celery stalks, chopped

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt, black pepper, turmeric, cumin, coriander, cinnamon

  • 1 medium butternut squash, baked

  • 1 cup dried green lentils, rinsed and boiled

  • 1 cup kale or Swiss chard, chopped

Preheat oven to 375. Place the squash on a cookie sheet in the oven and bake it for 1 hour, or until it is soft when you cut through it with a knife.

Meanwhile, rinse the lentils and bring them to a boil in a sauce pot with 3 cups water. Reduce heat to simmer, skim off any foam that rises, and simmer for 30 minutes. Rinse, drain, and set aside.

Now, chop vegetables. Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat. Add diced yellow onion and vinegar and sauté until translucent, about 5 minutes.

Add diced carrots, celery, and spices. Sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 5 minutes. Add cooked lentils and 3 cups water.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cook, covered, while you peel and de-seed the squash. Once it’s peeled and de-seeded, add the squash to the pot.Add the kale or Swiss chard. Simmer for 15 more minutes.

Pumpkin Cashew Soup

Watch this simple video

to learn how to make it!

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Fall Meal Plans

In honor of tomorrow's full moon, which will be very close to the earth and undergoing an eclipse, I invite you to simplify your diet.

Choose foods that gently cleanse the blood, like cilantro.

Focus on foods that support immunity, like cinnamon and garlic.

This shift, which you can make for 3 days, will set you on a good path to be well all winter long.

Here is a recipe to inspire you.

Click this link for a complete 3 day meal plan with recipes.

Quinoa Black Bean Bowl with Avocado Sauce

For the quinoa bowl:

  • 2 sweet potatoes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin and cinnamon

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 cup cooked black beans* (or 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained – I like Eden organics)

  • 1 packed cup arugula

  • 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa

For the sauce:

  • One ripe avocado

  • 4 tablespoons tahini

  • ½ cup water

  • 1 cup cilantro leaves and stems

  • 1 small clove of garlic

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • Lime juice

*To cook the black beans:

I like to do this after dinner to prepare for the next day's meal.

In a stockpot, place 1 cup of beans in 5 cups of boiling water; boil for 2–3 minutes, cover and set aside overnight.

The next day, most of the indigestible sugars will have dissolved into the soaking water.

Drain, and then rinse the beans thoroughly before cooking.

Cook dry beans for 50 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the top.

To prepare the bowl:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Peel the sweet potatoes and chop into bite-sized pieces. Sprinkle with spices and toss with olive oil.

Roast for 10 minutes, stir, and roast for another 10-15 minutes.

Meanwhile, take 1 cup quinoa, rinse it well, and cook it in 2 cups of water in a small stock pot.

Bring to a boil, reduce to low, and cook, covered, for 15 minutes or until all water is consumed. 

Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt as it cooks.

Then, pulse all the dressing ingredients in a food processor / blender until smooth.

Toss the beans, quinoa, arugula, and sweet potatoes with the dressing. Enjoy!

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Miso Soup

Soothing, cleansing, and delightful, this gentle soup helps to balance our springtime need for a little extra salt and liquid.

It goes well with vegetarian sushi. Try it.

Miso Soup

You will need:

  • 8 cups water

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 1/4 cup miso paste

  • 1 tablespoon dried seaweed (kombu, kelp, or wakame)

  • 1 clove chopped garlic

  • 1 inch chopped ginger root

  • 1 carrot, grated

  • ½ bunch chopped kale or chard

Pour the water into a pot and bring to a boil. Turn the heat to medium-low and add the seaweed. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Chop and grate vegetables and herbs. Add these to the pot and simmer for 10 more minutes.

As soup simmers, spoon the miso paste into a bowl. Ladle about 1/2 cup of the hot broth into a bowl and whisk with chopsticks or a whisk to mix and melt the miso paste so that it becomes a smooth mixture.

Turn the heat off, add the miso paste to the pot and stir well. Taste the soup - if it needs more flavor, whisk in another tablespoon or two of miso paste. Serve immediately.

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Whole Food + Mindfulness = Health

Food For Thought

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

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

In Eating Mindfully, Susan Albers describes:

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

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

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


Black Pepper

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

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

Most of all, enjoy your meal!

Here is my favorite black pepper recipe.


Healthy Stir-Fried Vegetables

You will need:

  • 2 Tablespoons sesame oil

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 3 carrots, rinsed and chopped into matchsticks

  • 1 large head broccoli, chopped

  • 2 zucchini, rinsed and chopped into matchsticks

  • 1 small purple cabbage, rinsed and chopped

  • 1 hanful snap peas (optional)

  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce or tamari (low sodium)

  • 1 teaspoon each: turmeric, cumin, and coriander

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: fenugreek and cinnamon

  • 1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper

  • Juice of half a lime

Heat oil in a skillet.

Add ginger and garlic. Stir well.

Add vinegar.

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

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

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

Cook with lid on for 5 minutes.

Add snap peas if you have them.

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

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

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

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