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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Chickpea Tagine with Buckwheat Pancakes

During the colder months, it's important to warm our bones with healing foods such as soups and stews. This one freezes well, so you can make a double batch to thaw and enjoy at a time when life is busy.

Take a moment to slow down and breathe in the fragrance of these spices as they cook. Native to North Africa, this spice blend and concomitant stew are a wonderful way to boost your immunity and strengthen your digestion while learning about the culinary traditions of another group of people.

Tagine refers to the earthernware pot in which this dish is traditionally cooked. Records of this dish date back to the 9th century CE.

Chickpea Tagine

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each: cumin, coriander, turmeric, fenugreek

  • ½ teaspoon each: cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, salt

  • 1 cup chopped onions

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 3 cups chicken or vegetable broth

  • One 15 ounce can chopped tomatoes

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 1 pound), peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 15 ounce can no-salt-added garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas), rinsed and drained OR 2 cups cooked chickpeas

  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a soup pot over medium heat until hot. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes or until beginning to brown and stick to the pan. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.

Stir in 1/3 cup broth and continue to cook 4 to 5 minutes longer or until very tender. Stir in spices and tomatoes. Cook 1 minute, stirring. Add remaining vegetable broth, sweet potato, garbanzo beans, and lemon juice.

Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer about 20 minutes or until sweet potato is tender.

Serve with buckwheat pancakes and parsley pistou if you like.

Savory Buckwheat Pancakes

Mix together:

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 cup buckwheat flour

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 1 cup water

Cook in an oiled skillet as you would pancakes. Serve with chickpea tagine.

Parsley Pistou

In a blender, combine:

  • 2 cups flat leaf parsley, rinsed and de-stemmed

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • juice of 1 lemon

  • ¼ cup water

Blend well and enjoy with tagine or as a spread on bread.

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Green Drink to Boost Mood and Energy

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

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

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

Green Drink

In a food processor, blend these ingredients well:

  • 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach

  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley

  • 1⁄2 cup frozen blueberries

  • juice of 1⁄2 lemon

  • 1 inch of of fresh ginger root, sliced

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 cup almond or coconut milk

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Deep Winter Nourishment

Happy New Year!

Some of us celebrate with lights, toasts, and foods that delight our palates. Others choose to chant, meditate, or retreat and eat simple foods. No matter how you bring in the new year, set an intention.

Imagine yourself happy, healthy, feeling vibrant in your body, and intuitively knowing which foods are best for your body.

To find connection with this deep internal body wisdom, eat mindfully and nourish yourself with wholesome foods that are rich in good quality fats. Fats soothe the nervous system, provide warmth, uplift the mood, and ease stress. Here are some recipes to try this winter.

Chicken Stock

Place 2 pounds of pastured chicken legs into a large stock pot and cover with 10 cups cold water.

Coarsely chop and add vegetables: 3 stalks celery (1 1/2 cups), 2 onions, (2 cups), and 3 carrots (2 cups). Add 2 teaspoons each: salt and pepper.

You can also add: 2 inches fresh ginger root to make a warming, spicy stock; 2 Tablespoons each astragalus root and reishi mushroom slices to enhance the immune boosting properties of the stock.

Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for 1-2 hours.

Remove the bones and strain the stock. Save the vegetables, purée them in a blender with olive oil, and eat as a spread on bread.

You can store the stock in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Use the stock to cook rice, kale, or make soup.

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Winter Chicken Stew

You will need:

  • 1 pound chicken: use boneless drumsticks or thighs

  • To make a vegetarian dish, substitute 2 cups cooked red lentils.

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 4 carrots, chopped into crescents

  • 3 stalks celery, chopped

  • 1 turnip, chopped

  • 1 bunch kale, chopped

  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme and coriander

  • Salt and black pepper to taste

Chop onions.

Heat oil in large soup pot.

Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the spices, stir and sauté on medium heat for 2 more minutes. Add lemon juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Add carrots, turnip and celery. Add water if onions are sticking to the bottom. Add the chicken pieces and 2 cups water. Cover and allow to cook for ½ hour (or until chicken is done).

Add kale and simmer for 10 more minutes.

Serve with shitake rice.

Shiitake Rice

You will need:

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 2 cups shiitake mushrooms

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

  • 2 inches seaweed: kombu or wakame (I like Ironbound Island brand)

  • freshly ground black pepper

  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

  • 2 cups napa cabbage, chopped

  • 1 cup short grain brown rice

  • 2 cups water or chicken stock (see above)

Chop onions and shitakes.

Heat oil in a deep skillet. Add onions and sauté on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until browning. Add shitakes and sauté for 10 more minutes, or until soft. Add tamari, seaweed, vinegar, and pepper. Add cabbage, rice and stock / water. Stir well to incorporate.

Cook, covered, on low heat for 30 minutes or until you see air bubbles on the surface of the rice.

Serve warm.

Birthday Cake Recipe from Morocco

My birthday is December 20th, which is very close to Winter Solstice. I honor this time of rest, darkness, short days and long nights. It feels like a privilege to be born at this time of year when so many cultures celebrate the little spark of light inside that keeps the soul alive and thriving throughout difficult times.

One thing that nourishes me during this time is preparing simple sweets that are both delicious and wholesome. This year, I made my own birthday cake, which was a delight.

I adapted this traditional North African recipe to include some Vermont ingredients. Try to make it at home! It would make a lovely addition to a holiday brunch or a New Year's party.

Lemon Rosewater Coconut Cake

For the cake:

  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) organic, unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 cups rice or millet flour
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
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For the glaze:

  • 1/2 can (7 ounces) organic, unsweetened, full fat coconut milk
  • 2 tablespoons rose water
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Oil a cake pan with olive oil.

Place all cake ingredients in a blender or food processor in the order listed. Omit the zest and shredded coconut. Blend well.

Add in the zest and shredded coconut. Mix gently by hand. Pour into cake pan and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a knife tests clean when inserted.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze.

Place all ingredients in a small pot and heat to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced to half the volume. This will take about five minutes. Set aside and spread over cake once it comes out of the oven.

Cool the cake for 10 minutes before slicing. Divine!

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

Pears for Healthy Digestion

Dry weather and oily, rich winter foods can cause constipation, gas and bloating. If your digestion suffers in the winter because the air is so dry and the meals are heavier, pears are a perfect antidote.

Pears are loaded with flavonols, plant nutrients that provide anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant support. They are high in pectin, a sugar loaded with galacturonic acid, which coats and soothes the intestines to reduce symptoms of heartburn, ulcers, GERD, acid reflux, and colitis. Pear fibers bind with bile acid in the intestines, making them soothing and easily digestible. They are an important part of a low-allergy diet and. In my native Italy, they are one of the first foods given to infants.

These recipes also feature cardamom and olive oil, both of which support digestion in crucial ways.

Cardamom is a fragrant and floral spice native to Southeast Asia that reduces gas and bloating. Its warming and soothing quality makes it a perfect pairing to pears.

Olive oil is a polyunsaturated fat that hails from various parts of the world, including Greece, Syria, and Italy. First cold press olive oil is high in anti-inflammatory polyphenols, which reduce risk of heart disease, maintain a balanced cholesterol profile, and reduce the overgrowth of ulcer-inducing helicobacter pylori bacteria in the intestines. 

Pear, Almond, and Chocolate Muffins

These delicious muffins are more like dessert. They are gluten-free, (almost) dairy-free, and free of refined cane/beet sugar (adapted from the Five and Spice blog).

You will need:

  • 2 cups almond flour (I like Bob's Red Mill brand or you can make your own in a food processor)

  • ½ cup rolled oats (replace this with more almond flour if you want grain-free muffins)

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • ½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, cinnamon and cardamom

  • ¼ cup maple syrup

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • ¼ cup coconut milk

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1 large egg

  • ½ cup chopped dark chocolate

  • 1 small pear, diced into little pieces

Heat your oven to 375 degrees and grease a muffin pan with olive oil.

In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour, oats, spices, and salt. Make a well in the center of the dry mix and add the maple, oil, coconut milk, vanilla, and egg. Whisk these together and then fold dry ingredients into wet until mostly smooth and fully combined.

Add the chopped chocolate and pear at the end. 

Spoon the batter into muffin tins, filling each cup almost to the top. Bake until brown and a toothpick inserted into a muffin comes out clean, 15-18 minutes. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before removing and serving.

These muffins are best eaten the day they are made.

Pear Almond Cake

This light, fluffy tart is a wonderful brunch addition or a simple treat to serve at the end of a holiday meal.

You will need:

  • 2 cups almond flour

  • 1/2 cup oat flour (buy flour or make it by grinding rolled oats in your blender or food processor)

  • a pinch of sea salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon each: cinnamon and cardamom

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

  • 1/4 cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

  • 1 egg

  • 1 pound Anjou pears

  • lemon juice and water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil a 9 inch pie plate or cast iron skillet with olive oil.

Slice pears in half, core them, and then slice each half into about 3 smaller slices. Place these slices them in a bowl of lemon juice and water to keep them from browning. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together flours and spices. Make a well in the center and add the rest of the ingredients, minus the pears. Whisk these together, then incorporate them with the dry ingredients. 

Pour batter into greased pan. Pat pears dry and arrange them in a circle over the batter. Bake for 25 minutes and cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Would you like to learn more about which foods are ideal for you? 

Try a free initial consultation with Lisa.

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Firey Cider

I first read about fire cider in Rosemary Gladstar’s book, Herbal Recipes For Vibrant Health.

Since this recipe has generated much controversy Recently, I am inspired by friend and herbalist Sandra Lory to call it "firey cider".

Regardless of recipe variations, this healing brew needs to be free for all to prepare and enjoy!

Its antimicrobial benefits are vast. Take a few spoonfuls of it when you feel cold or flu symptoms coming on. Use it during acute infection to treat the cold or flu, and enjoy it as a salad dressing if you like. Be well and stay healthy with food as medicine.

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Firey Cider

Please try to choose organic ingredients whenever possible.

You will need:

  • ½ cup diced ginger root

  • ½ cup diced turmeric root or 2 tablespoons turmeric power

  • ½ cup onion, chopped

  • ¼ cup minced or crushed garlic

  • 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped

  • Zest and juice from 2 lemons

  • Raw apple cider vinegar

  • Raw honey to taste

  • Sprigs of fresh rosemary or thyme

  • ½ teaspoon black peppercorns

Add the ginger, onion, garlic, jalapeno and lemon juice/zest to a quart-sized jar. Pack them down lightly so that the jar is about three quarters full.

Use a fermenting weight to hold down the veggies/roots, or place heavy roots at the top so that they will weigh down the herbs (which float).

Pour a generous amount apple cider vinegar over the everything. 

Cover jar with waxed paper to prevent corrosion, screw on the metal lid, and place in a bowl on top of the fridge for at least two weeks. Be sure to shake it once a day!

When the cider is ready, shake well once again and then strain the roots/veggies using fine mesh sieve. Add honey to taste and store in the fridge.

Feel free to cook the strained veggies in a stir fry.

Liver and Skin Renewal

As we move towards the sweet delight of spring equinox, the chickadees are crowding into our crab apple tree, looking for berries. Despite the cold nights, sunshine feels more potent than ever.

I am pausing to feel the awe that comes from looking up into the sky and feeling the expansive nature of consciousness.

Take a deep breath and bring brightness your next meal with this white fish dish.

Burdock and kelp cleanse and soothe the lymph and skin while promoting liver rejuvenation to prepare for the warmer months ahead.

Vegetable Ragout with White Fish

You will need:

  • 2 large yellow onions

  • 1/2 inch ginger root, chopped

  • 1 inch burdock, peeled and chopped

  • 1 bunch kale or collards, chopped

  • 2 handfuls kelp

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil

  • 2 Tablespoons lime or lemon juice

  • 1 teaspoon turmeric powder

  • 1 Tablespoon coriander powder

  • ½ Tablespoon cumin seed powder

  • ½ teaspoon garam masala

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 pound Atlantic cod or haddock

Chop onions.

Heat coconut oil in large skillet.

Add the spices, stir and sauté on low heat for 2 minutes.

Add onions, stir, and raise heat to high for 2 minutes.

Add lime juice, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Peel and chop burdock. Add to skillet.

Chop greens and ginger. Add to skillet. Add water if onions are sticking to the bottom.

Add ½ cup water, kelp and white fish. Cover and cook for ½ hour more.

Enjoy! Try it with kasha biscuits

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Love the Body, Calm the Mind, Nourish the Spirit

Mid-winter is here. We are half-way between winter solstice and spring equinox. This is a time to savor the warmth of the hearth, the delight of soup, and the crunchy texture of a little bit of winter green food.

Enjoy these recipes and remember to breathe in the scents of the spices as you savor your meal.

Lentil Squash Soup

Thanks to Rebecca Katz for this recipe inspiration.

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.

Taste for salt and serve immediately with nutty rice flatbread.

Roasted Root and Chopped Egg Salad

Thanks to Bon Appetit for this recipe inspiration.

You will need:

  • 2 large carrots, chopped

  • 3 large parsnips, chopped

  • 1 celeriac (celery root), chopped

  • 5 whole cloves garlic

  • ¼ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper

  • 4 large eggs

  • 1½ pounds frisée and/or arugula, torn and washed

  • Walnut mustard vinaigrette (see recipe below)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Toss carrots, parsnips, celeriac and garlic with oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed cookie sheet. Roast, tossing halfway through, for 30 minutes total.

Meanwhile, bring water to a boil in a large saucepan.

Add eggs and boil for 5 minutes. Run them under cold water, peel them, chop them, and place them in a large bowl with the roasted roots. Toss well.

Add frisée and/or arugula and dressing.

Toss again, serve, and enjoy!

Walnut Mustard Vinaigrette

You will need:

  • ¼ cup walnuts, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

  • ½ cup olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon tamari

Place all ingredients in a mason jar, screw on the lid, and shake well. Pour over salad and enjoy!

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Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For many indigenous cultures of this hemisphere, today's full moon is known as the wolf moon. The wolf honors its pack, its community, its loved ones. It also takes time alone to howl at the moon, hear its own voice, and reflect the importance of taking space to care for the self.

The wolf moon reminds me to find inner balance so that I can relate to others in a harmonious way.

Try these recipes to balance body, mind, and spirit. Prepare them mindfully. Spend time with the ingredients. Taste as you go. Mix and match them to create different meals.

Most of all, be well and take time to reflect on the splendor of your own inner harmony.

Hazelnut Escarole Salad

For the dressing, blend these ingredients in a food processor:

¼ cup roasted hazelnuts

2 Tablespoons olive oil

2 Tablespoons water

2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1 Tablespoon raw honey

1 garlic clove, crushed

salt and pepper to taste (about 1 teaspoon each)

Then, mix all these ingredients together in a large bowl to assemble the salad:

1 head escarole, washed and steamed

1 green tart apple, thinly sliced

½ cup roasted hazelnuts, chopped

¼ cup sourdough bread croutons (optional)

Pour dressing over salad, toss well to coat, and serve with your favorite soup.

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4 ingredient cookies

I developed these cookies at the last moment before a party we hosted this past weekend. They were such a huge hit that I decided to share the recipe with you.

If you like to make party favors or treats for friends and neighbors, this wholesome, simple option will keep everyone healthy and smiling through the intensity of the holidays.

Remember to keep mindfulness and exercise alive during the this time. This practice could be as simple as taking a deep breath in and out before each meal and going for a walk once a day.

The more you can maintain routines in the midst of chaotic times, the healthier and happier you will be on the other side.

Be well and stay in touch!

Lisa


WHOLESOME 4 INGREDIENT COOKIES

You will need equal parts of:

  • Any nut or seed (I like roasted almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds)

  • Dates, pitted

  • Shredded coconut

  • Unsweetened applesauce

GET CREATIVE: add cinnamon; use dried apricots instead of dates.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Oil a cookie sheet with sunflower or coconut oil.

Place all ingredients in a food processor or high-powered blender.

Blend until a thick dough results.

Coat the palms of your hands with a bit of oil to prevent sticking.

Roll small balls of dough between your palms and place them on the cookie sheet.

Once all the dough is rolled, wash your hands.

Using the back of a fork, flatten each cookie.

Bake for 15 minutes.

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Winter Foods That Heal

The full moon of December is here, and snow covers every last remaining plant stalk and kale leaf in our gardens. This moon is known by indigenous people of North America as the Cold Moon, the moon of long nights, and the Winter Moon. I try to welcome winter with warming foods

Deer are browsing the crab apple branches and chickadees buzz between bee balm stalks to stay warm. I love this time of year. It is peaceful. The snow that blankets everything is a metaphor for stillness. Take ease in this time. There is nowhere to go, nothing to do.

Even if the holiday commitments are piling up, take time to rest each day. Even if you rest for five minutes while sitting at a window or on your couch with a cup of tea, this practice invokes the stillness of the upcoming Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year.

This is the stillness that rejuvenates, respects the spirit, eases the mind, and clears stress from the body. From this calm place, ask yourself what you need to be truly nourished.

I like to prepare soups, whole grains, and delightful, wholesome desserts at this time of year. My husband and I sit, light a candle, and savor carrot ginger soup. I wake up to a simple, hearty breakfast of eggs poached in greens.

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I enjoy baking simple desserts and sharing them at holiday gatherings. This way, I avoid eating lots of white flour and white sugar and having a headache and bellyache the next morning.

Try this maple gingerbread (gluten-free) to inspire your holiday baking.

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Leek, Fennel and Squash Soup

After Thanksgiving, it's a wonderful practice to simplify your diet for a week. Enjoy vegetables like fennel, celery and leeks. These potent plants cleanse the lymphatic system, support healthy lungs, and lend a bitter-sweet complexity to any dish.

Try adding bitter, liver-cleansing foods like quinoa, chard, beets and spinach. These chenopodium family plants are high in plant nutrients and help restore healthy blood and liver function.

Give these recipes a try!

LEEK, FENNEL & BUTTERNUT SOUP

You will need: 

  • 1 medium butternut squash, baked and peeled

  • 2 tablespoons local oil (sunflower or olive)

  • 3 leeks, chopped and rinsed

  • 1 inch fresh ginger root, chopped

  • 1 fennel bulb, chopped – save fronds for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon each: thyme, cinnamon, turmeric

  • 1 teaspoon each: salt and fresh black pepper

  • ½ cup hazelnuts, toasted and chopped

  • 4 cups vegetable stock

  • fresh, chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Poke squash with a fork, place on a baking sheet, and bake for about 1 hour (20 minutes per pound).

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large soup pot. 

Add the leeks and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes.

Add the chopped fennel, ginger, hazelnuts, spices, salt and pepper. Sauté for another 5 minutes.

Remove squash from oven, cut it open and let it cool for 5 minutes. Compost the seeds. Scoop out flesh and add it to the soup pot. Add the vegetable stock and stir.

Bring the pot to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes.

Remove the soup from the heat. Blend until smooth. 

Garnish with fresh, chopped cilantro.

Serve with cooked quinoa.

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Terrific Rice Dishes


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

Cauliflower Risotto


You will need:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large shallot, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon each: thyme and rosemary
1 teaspoon sea salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 head cauliflower, chopped
1 cup short grain brown rice
2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
parmesan cheese if desired

In a medium-sized pot, heat olive oil. Add the shallots, garlic, and spices and saute for 2-3 minutes or until fragrant and translucent. 
Add cauliflower and saute for 5 minutes, covered.
Add the rice, toast briefly, and then cover with vegetable broth.
Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cook for 40 minutes.
Stir, add parmesan cheese if desired (about 1/4 cup), and serve piping hot!

***

Nutty Rice Flatbread


Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

In a spice grinder, grind:


1 cup sweet nuts (almonds or pecans)
1 cup savory nuts (walnuts or hazelnuts)
1 cup seeds (pumpkin or sunflower)

Mix together in a bowl with1 cup leftover rice. Make sure you have cooked the grains down into a porridge-like consistency before mixing them in with the nuts and seeds.

Add ½ teaspoon salt and any spices you like.
Try one of these combinations: cumin, coriander, turmeric OR thyme, coriander, oregano.
If mixture is a bit dry, add a few splashes of olive oil. Mix well before adding any additional oil – the nuts already contain oil.

Grease a cookie sheet with oil and spread mixture in a thin layer.
Bake for 1 hour. Enjoy!

***

Sweet Potato Rice Cakes


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Grease a cookie sheet with vegetable oil (I like grapeseed or sunflower oil).

Combine these ingredients in a mixing bowl:
1 cup rice flour

4 tablespoons flaxseed meal (ground flax seeds)
pinch salt
½ teaspoon each: nutmeg, coriander and cinnamon

Make a well in the center and add:
1 heaping spoonful almond butter
2 heaping spoonfuls melted coconut oil
1 cup steamed, mashed sweet potatoes

Make a well in the center, combine the wet ingredients and stir until thoroughly blended.
Incorporate wet and dry ingredients until they are well combined.

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

Millet Magic

As you may know, I am quite fond of millet. 

Cultivated in central Asia and West Africa for thousands of years, millet is a small-seeded cereal in the Poaceae family, the largest grass family, which gains its name from the Greek poa, or grass. This family includes all grasses grown for their edible seeds, such as rice, wheat, rye, oats and corn.
Click here for a millet 'polenta' recipe.

Although many of these cereals have become annual crops, researchers like Wes Jackson of the Kansas-based Land Institute are working to develop an agricultural system of perennial cereal grasses “with a yield similar to that from annual crops” (landinstitute.org).

Millet is a nutrient dense, hypo-allergenic, complex carbohydrate; offers a balance of B vitamins and magnesium to support digestion and balance blood sugar. It is useful in countering the mucus-forming effects of bread/cereal. 
Click here for an apple onion tart recipe with millet.

Some nutritional philosophies, such as Chinese Five Element Theory, tout it as ‘the queen of grains’. Indeed, millet is light, bright, and easy to digest. Incorporate this grain in your summer dishes to dispel heat and rejuvenate the digestive system.

MILLET FRITTERS

You will need:
1 cup milk (almond, rice, or cow)
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 cups finely chopped kale
1 cup finely chopped dandelion leaves 
2 cups cooked millet
3 large eggs
To cook the millet: 
Combine 1 cup dry millet with 3-4 pinches of salt and 3 cups water in a small saucepan. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes or until water is almost absorbed. Stir vigorously for a few minutes to start making a porridge, as you would with oatmeal. Once all the water is absorbed, remove from heat and cover until ready to use (or serve).

To prepare the fritters:
In a large saucepan, combine the milk, 1 cup water, 1 tablespoon of the oil, shallot, and sea salt. 
Bring to a simmer, remove from heat, and whisk in cornmeal. 
Stir until combined, add the kale and dandelion, return to medium heat and stir for about 5 minutes until cornmeal thickens.
Remove from heat and stir in the millet. Taste and adjust the seasoning with more salt if needed. Allow this mixture to cool for at least 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes to release heat.

Meanwhile, oil a 9 x 13-inch baking dish.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Whisk together eggs and remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small bowl.
Add a pinch of salt.
Whisk into cooled millet/cornmeal mixture.
Pour into baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Delicious!
Serve with kimchi or other lacto-fermented vegetables and enjoy spring's coming.


Soup!

During this last moon cycle before spring equinox, I like to strengthen immunity and soothe my winter-weary spirit with soup. Here are some tips to cook ahead and be flexible with this delicious one-pot wonder. 

The Building Blocks of Soup


Protein: Next time you cook protein like beans, eggs, chicken, beef, tempeh, or tofu, make a double batch for soup. Perhaps you a roasted a chicken earlier in the week, or boiled pinto beans for tacos — whatever you have leftover will make the perfect addition to your soup.

Grains: Did you eat millet, rice, buckwheat, or oats recently? All of these make a great add-in to enrich soups and offer filling fiber. If you don’t have any left over, rice noodles and oats (yes, savory oats are delicious!) cook quickly and are terrific in soup.

Vegetables: Have leftover cooked broccoli, kale, or carrots? Blend veggies and add them to your broth! Not only does this put leftovers to good use, but it’s a great way to sneak added nutrients into your meal without your kids even knowing they are eating veggies.

Slow Cooker Magic
Let soup cook during the day! Slow cookers are helpful: simply throw some ingredients in before you leave the house and by the time you get home you’ll have a delicious stew waiting to be served. 

Try this general guideline: three parts liquid (try chicken or vegetable broth), one part protein, one part starch (beans or whole grains) and tons of vegetables. Layer them with 2 Tablespoons olive oil and raw grains on the bottom, raw vegetables and spices/salt in the middle, cooked protein on top - all covered with liquid.

To prepare slow cooker soup ingredients ahead, set aside an hour on your day off to divide out chicken/beans, potatoes, veggies, whole grains, and anything else you want in your soups into re-sealable freezer bags. On busy days, you can simply dump the bag in the slow cooker on your way out the door in the morning.

Slow Cooker Soup Recipes

Mung Bean Vegetable Soup
You will need:
1 cup cooked mung beans (about 1/2 cup dry beans)

2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup uncooked long grain brown rice
2 large yellow onions
4 stalks celery
½ inch fresh ginger root
1 turnip, chopped
1 sweet potato, chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 bunch collard greens, chopped
1 teaspoon each: garam masala and coriander seed powder
½ Tablespoon each: cumin seed powder and turmeric root powder
Salt and pepper to taste
Garnish of cilantro if desired

Soak beans at breakfast and cook in slow cooker overnight (from 6pm to 6am for example).
Rinse and drain in the morning. 
To the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil and rice.
Add all the vegetables
Add spices.
Add cooked mung beans. 
Cover with 5 cups stock (chicken or vegetable).
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

***
Zucchini Soup
You will need:
2 Tablespoons coconut oil
1 large yellow onion
1 inch fresh, chopped ginger root
Salt and pepper to taste (1 teaspoon each)
1 teaspoon each: turmeric, coriander, cumin and thyme
4 large zucchini, chopped into crescents
1 bunch fresh basil

In a slow cooker, add oil, onions, ginger, and spices.
Add zucchini.
Cover with 3 cups water or stock.
Cook for 6 hours on low heat.
Wash and chop 1 bunch basil. Add to soup, stir, and turn off heat.
Blend soup with immersion blender or in food processor. Enjoy!

***
Tuscan Ribollita Soup
You will need:
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 onions, peeled and chopped into crescents
3 carrots, chopped into cubes
1 celery stalk, chopped
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 cup vegetable stock (make your own or choose a brand with no sugar)
1 cup cooked cannellini or great northern beans
1 sprig fresh rosemary OR 2 Tablespoons dried rosemary
1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
½ cup rolled oats
Soak beans at breakfast and cook in slow cooker overnight (from 6pm to 6am for example).
Rinse and drain in the morning. 
To the bottom of the slow cooker, add oil, celery, onions, garlic and carrots. 
Add sauteed sausage if using.
Add beans.
Add the kale and oats. 
Add the tomatoes with their juices, broth and rosemary. Add 3 cups water.
Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

Brussels Spouts

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

Roasted Almond Brussels Sprouts

You will need:

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

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

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

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

Choose cannellini (white kidney) or Vermont yellow-eye beans.To soak dry beans, place ½ cup in a large bowl and cover with 1 inch water. Soak for 8 hours or overnight.
Pour beans through strainer and allow to drain.Rinse with water until liquid runs clear through strainer.
Pour into a stock pot with 3 cups water.Cover pot and turn heat on high.Bring to a boil, watching carefully to make sure that beans do not boil over.

Once the pot has come to a boil, remove lid and reduce to medium heat. Foam will form on top of the water. Use a spoon to skim off the foam. Repeat this step periodically as you notice more foam. Cook beans 1 hour or until tender.
Strain and rinse once more.If using canned beans, choose ones with no salt added (I like Eden Organics). Strain and rinse before proceeding.
Meanwhile, make caramelized onions (see below).
Once beans are cooked, add: ¼ cup olive oil 1 Tablespoon dried thyme Salt and freshly ground black pepper Caramelized onions (see below)Purée in food processor or with immersion blender.

***Caramelized Onions
Choose 1 large yellow onion. Chop off top and bottom, peel skin and slice in half width-wise.Place two halves flat on cutting board and slice each one into thin crescent moons. Follow the ridges of the onion when chopping.Heat 2 Tablespoons olive oil in a skillet that has a matching lid.When oil is hot, add onions, stir briefly with spatula, turn burner down to medium-low, and cover.Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.Add salt and any desired spices and simmer for 15 more minutes, until onion starts to brown.Add water if onion is sticking to the bottom of the skillet.

Wolf Moon Recipes for Warmth and Comfort

As the January full moon wanes and we sink into the simple beauty of white snow and cold nights, enjoy warming foods to strengthen your spirit and your immune system.

Turkey Meatloaf

1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1 large clove garlic, chopped
2 carrots, chopped
1 pound ground turkey
1 egg
1 teaspoon each: salt black pepper, coriander, thyme
1 teaspoon each: mustard and lemon juice
1 Tablespoon each: olive oil and water

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and carrots cook for another 5 minutes; remove from heat to cool.

Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, carrots, egg, and spices in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. Combine mustard, lemon juice, olive oil and water in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.

Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F. Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Spice Blends and Ingredient Substitutions

By popular request, here are some ideas to change how you cook!

Spice blends from Navdanya, Vandana Shiva's organic seed farm in Northern India:

Savory Masala:
Mixture of ground ginger, cumin, coriander, fenugreek, turmeric and fennel

Garam Masala:Mixture of 1 tsp. cardamom seeds, 1 Tbs. cumin seed, 1 Tbs. coriander seed, 2 tsp. black peppercorns, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1 tsp. cloves, and 1 tsp. nutmeg

Substitution ideas:

Ingredient: WHEAT FLOUR
Substitute: spelt flour (wheat-free) or half oat flour and half millet flour (gluten-free)

Ingredient: BUTTER
Substitute: Clarified butter, coconut oil, half and half clarified butter and olive oil

Ingredient: EGGS
Substitute: 1 mashed banana or 1/4 cup applesauce per egg (best for baked goods); 1 Tbs. agar flakes whisked into 1 Tbs. water and chilled for 5 minutes (for an egg white substitute), 1 Tbs. ground flaxseeds simmered in 3 Tbs. boiling water for 2 minutes.

Ingredient: OIL IN BAKED GOODS
Substitute: Applesauce, puréed bananas, puréed cooked prunes

Ingredient: COOKING OIL
Substitute: Vegetable stock, wine, vinegar

Ingredient: CREAM IN SOUP
Substitute: Vinegar or citrus juice thickened with puréed roasted red peppers, carrots, onions, garlic