No Holds Barred: DIY Protein Bar

No Holds Barred: DIY Protein Bar

FEATURED ON OLD SCHOOL Given my busy training schedule I often find myself with clients (or driving like a maniac) during meal time. Although I really try hard to avoid processed food, my number one slip-up is protein bars.  I've searched high and low for a bar that has it all: made from real foods, low in sugar, high in nutrients, offers anabolic support (for muscle repair and regrowth), and gives me plenty of energy to hit those hills (again!). While I've come close to finding it, there is always something standing in the way of the perfect bar - usually sugar or processed soy. So I decided to hit the kitchen and see what I could come up with.  The final product was so delicious that it's now a regular on my weekly menu.  The bar (and how I eat it) continues to take many forms.  Try it warmed up and served with almond milk, or for a pre or post workout treat.

Note: Once you get used to the concept of making a protein bar, you can easily modify to accommodate your pantry supplies, creativity and specific energy needs. Some of my other favorite combinations have been:

Dried pineapple and crispy quinoa

Cacao and goji berries (best served raw)

Pecans and cranberries

Nut and seeds galore! (pumpkin, flax, sesame, sunflower, pecans, almonds, walnuts, etc.)

HOMEMADE POWER BARS

Tools:

  • Food processor
  • Baking dish
  • Parchment paper

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups whole rolled oats
  • ½ cup good quality protein powder (rice, pea, or hemp is the most easily digestible.)
  • ¾ cups chopped walnuts (or almonds, or pecans)
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 2 Tbs. poppy seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds (brown or white)
  • 2 Tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 4 Tbs flax or chia seeds (best with a combination of the two!)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • ½ cup coconut oil (olive oil or safflower oil can be substituted)
  • 5 Medjool dates
  • 5 Dried apricots
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3 Tbs. pure maple syrup (or honey)
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon
  • Zest and juice of 1 organic lemon

Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 325.

Begin by placing the flax and/or chia seeds in a small bowl with 4 Tbs. water. Set aside.

In a large bowl combine all your dry ingredients: oats, walnuts, poppy and sesame seeds, cinnamon and sea salt.

In a food processor, blend all the wet ingredients: banana, coconut oil, vanilla, maple syrup, dates, apricots, lemon juice and zest.

By this time, the flax/ chia/ water will have become gelatinous.  This will be used to bind the bars.  Add them to the food processor at the last minute and pulse to combine.

Now add your wet ingredients to the dry. Using a big spoon, mix well.

Place parchment paper along the bottom of a baking pan.  Add the ingredients, evenly distribute and press down your bars.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.

Let the bars cool then slice them into squares about the size of a deck of cards.

Enjoy them easily for a quick breakfast on their own, warmed and served with almond milk over the top, or as a healthy pre-workout snack. They will store in the fridge up to 2 weeks.

The Skinny: Why go to the trouble of making your own protein bars? Because anything you make in your own kitchen, will give you control over important things like oil, fat and sugar content.  Many of the bars on the market these days contain high sugar (immunosuppressant & blood sugar destabilizing), processed soy (harmful to the thyroid), whey protein (hard for most to digest), and preservatives. Plus, these bars are a great breakfast-to-go , which will help steer you clear of sweet rolls and sugary cereals.

Turmeric Slow Cooked Oats

Turmeric Slow Cooked Oats

There's no better way to fight the cold weather than to start your day off with a warm bowl of oatmeal! Try this seasonal version with persimmons, pumpkin seeds and anti-inflammatory turmeric. TURMERIC SLOW COOKED OATS

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups water (or a mix of water and milk)
  • 1 cup steel-cut oats
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of ground turmeric
  • Pinch of salt

Directions: Pour the water into a saucepan and bring it to a boil over high heat. Then stir in the oats and the salt and stir.

Return the water to a rolling boil (this should only take a few seconds, then reduce heat to low.

Let the oats simmer for anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the bottom of the pan. Cook until the oats are very tender and the oatmeal is as creamy as you like it (longer cooking will make thicker oatmeal). Once cooked, stir in 1 tablespoon of coconut oil

Remember your oats are a vessel for superfoods! Limit your bowl of oats to 1-1.5 cups and then boost the dish with lots of goodness like: ground flax or chia seeds, hemp hearts, nuts, seeds, seasonal fruit.

** Protein boost! Add 1 egg directly into the oats in the last 5 minutes of cooking. This will add 6 grams of protein to your breakfast and give it a custard like texture. **

Serve immediately or refrigerate for 1 week: The oats are ready to eat immediately. You can also let the oats cool and then store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week. The oats will thicken in the fridge; stir a little milk or water into them when reheating to loosen.

The Skinny: In a world of Paleo & Atkin lovers, oatmeal has gotten a bad rap. I blame this on the "over-sugerfication" of our breakfast cereals. At it's heart, cereals are hearty whole grain that offers fiber, protein and vitamins B & iron. To reclaim your oatmeal you need to think outside the box. Breakfast cereals can be made with any whole grain (think quinoa, amaranth, buckwheat, etc.), and should be seen as a vessel for superfoods (not sugar). Load your oatmeal with as many superfoods as you can: Think flax or chia seeds; hemp hearts; raw nuts and seeds; anti-inflammatory spices like turmeric or ginger; eggs for protein; coconut or MCT oil for good fats; etc., etc, etc...

Smoked Paprika Mashed Yams

Smoked Paprika Mashed Yams

This twist on a Thanksgiving classic is infused with a warming flavor that will keep all of your holiday guests coming back for more.  And vegetarians rejoice! The smokiness of the paprika mimics that roasted taste that is often lacking in a veggies-only meal.  Check out your new favorite holiday recipe ...

Ingredients: 

- 5 yams

- 5 cloves of garlic, diced

- 1 Tbsp. olive oil

- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil

- 1/2 c. coconut milk

- 2 tsp. smoked paprika

- Salt and pepper to taste

- Optional: toasted pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts to garnish

Recipe: 

1) Preheat oven to 375 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (this will make clean-up much easier since yams release a sweet sticky liquid while baking).

2) Using a fork, pierce the yams all over then place on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in oven and roast until soft (about 1 hour).

3) Once yams are cooked through, remove from oven and peel the skins off.  If fully cooked, this should be very easy and the skins will just slide off.

4) Melt the coconut oil in a pan over medium heat and, once hot, add the diced garlic and fry until aromatic and just starting to crispen.

5) Place peeled yams in large mixing bowl and mash.  Add the garlic, coconut oil, smoked paprika and continue to mix.  Next, add coconut milk and mix until you reach your desired consistency.

6) Season with salt and pepper to taste - add more paprika for added smokiness or more coconut milk for increased creaminess - then top with roasted pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts and serve!

Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

I usually drag my feet/ never get around to adding the recipes that you all ask for.But 'tis the season for sharing (and for baking!) So if we treat, make it a wholesome treat!

To me the perfect muffin has the following components: 1) Packed with secret super-foods 2) Minimal and natural sugar 3) High in protein 4) Contains fresh fruit 5) An interesting texture

I put this little combination together while doing the unspeakable: mixing and matching baking recipes. And guess what? It was a major win! It's super flavorful, has unexpected crunch and enough protein that you can actually eat it for breakfast without feeling guilty. Not to mention it filled my house with an incredible holiday scent.

Please be brave to substitute ingredients within their types (but not their amounts.) That means if I suggest amaranth (and you say "what the heck is amaranth?"), but have another similar grain like millet or rye flakes, then go for it! If I suggest pumpkin seeds (because they are packed with Vitamin A and Zinc for immunity), but you'd rather have a seasonal hazelnut, be my guest!

Being brave in our cooking allows us to take ownership with what we do, and learn to fall in love with healthy food. My ultimate goal for you this winter is to remove the struggle from your relationship with health and replace it instead with enjoyment. Hense, healthy holiday muffins.

Enjoy!

Pear Spiced Protein Muffins

Ingredients 3/4 cup dried amaranth or millet or rye flakes 1 cup gluten-free flour (I use Wholesome Chow High Protein Baking/ Pancake mix because of its high protein content + it's gluten-free. But I'd also suggest the Thomas Keller GF flour mix) 1/2 cup additional gluten-free flour (coconut flour, spelt, rye) If you are not GF, feel free to add whole-wheat pastry flour 2 tsp cream of tartar (optional) 3/4 tsp baking soda 2 tsp baking powder 1/2 tsp ground cardamom 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg (freshly grated preferred) 3/4 tsp kosher salt 1 cup of grated firm pear (aprox 1-2) 3/4 cup natural cane sugar (tubinado), honey or maple syrup (you can also can sub loosely packed dates) 6 Tbs coconut oil 1 cup yogurt, Kefir or coconut milk OR *gasp*, coconut milk eggnog (serious yum / slightly less healthy due to sugar content) 2 large eggs beaten 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract 1 cup toasted pumpkin seeds

*Notes: 1) Chose the firmest pears you can and save the grating until the last possible moment to keep them from going brown. 2) I highly suggest the naughty addition of vegan eggnog, but be sure to minimize your sugar to 1/2> cup if you do. 3) This recipe makes approximately 12 standard muffins

Instructions

Preheat oven to 425.

Mix dry ingredients in a bowl. Set aside - Raw amaranth, flours, cream of tartar, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cardamom, nutmeg

Add sugar to a large bowl then melt coconut oil. Spoon tablespoons into the sugar and mix well. Then whisk in milk of choice, beaten eggs and vanilla. Lastly, grate 1 cup of fresh pear and then fold in gently. Be careful not to over mix.

Meanwhile, lightly toast your pumpkin seeds using the same coconut oil pan. Toast for 1-2 mins shaking often.

Mix in 1/2 the toasted pumpkin seeds to your mix. Reserve the 2nd half as a topper for each muffin.

Oil your muffin tin with coconut oil and fill the cups almost the top. Sprinkle each muffin with the remaining pumpkin seeds.

Put the muffins into the oven and immediately turn temperature down to 375. Bake for 22-27 minutes or until golden brown and feel firm to the touch. Or use the handy tooth pick trick: poke it in the middle, if it comes out clean it is ready. We all know that one, right?

When the muffins are ready, pull them from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes. They will keep for 2 days if you store them in an airtight container or they freeze beautifully!

I like to serve these muffins with my immunity Rose Hip Jam so that I boost my health and lower my guilt, because I want to enjoy every fruit of my labor.

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In case you're wondering about my flour choice, here is a great high protein mix!

Shitake Mushroom Immune Boosting Soup

Shitake Mushroom Immune Boosting Soup

Being sick is the worst! So I'm sharing a nutritious recipe to help you stave off the next cold. When you are fighting the latest seasonal bug, there is much you can do to boost your immune system using just the ingredients you have in your cupboard. This soup combines many of my favorite immune boosters like shiitake mushrooms, bone broth and ginger. Each of these foods have medicinal properties that promote strong immune response to viruses, lower inflammation in the respiratory system, and help you get all your needed vitamins and minerals through real food.

While you certainly can get away with using store-bought broth, I'd encourage you to adopt the habit of making homemade broth with your vegetable and/or bone scraps. Here is the full recipe for how to make broth from scratch.

Can a mushroom day keep the doctor away? Maybe! Shitake mushrooms are well researched for their immunosuportive and antiviral agents. During flu season, eat a variety of asian mushrooms every week. (Try shiitake, maitake, reishi and cordyceps.)

Ingredients 2 tbsp coconut oil (or grapeseed/ olive) 1 jalapeno, seeds removed, green flesh minced 1-2 tbsp ginger, peeled and minced 2 tbsp garlic, minced 2 green onions chopped (green and white sections) 1 lb shiitake mushrooms, wiped of dirt and chopped into slices. 2 1/2 quarts homemade stock (bone or a vegetarian mineral broth) 2 tbsp tamari (a gluten free soy sauce) 2 lemons, juiced 2 lemons, zested 1 block soft organic tofu (preferably Hodu brand) 2 cups carrots, shredded Fresh ground black pepper

Directions In a stockpot over medium heat, melt your oil and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Next add your minced jalapeño, ginger, garlic and the white part of your green onions and sauté until soft and smelling delicious. Then add shiitake mushrooms and sauté another 2 minutes, until they are softened.

While this is happening zest and then juice your lemons and set aside.

Now add your add your stock and tamari to the cooking vegetables, bring to a simmer and cook for about 5-10 minutes while the soup reduces.

Add lemon juice, tofu and carrots and cook gently for 2-5 more minutes to heat tofu. Season with black pepper.

Ladle this nourishing soup into your favorite bowl, garnish with green scallion and lemon zest, and eat wearing cozy socks. Feel better!

Quintessential California Prawn Salad

Quintessential California Prawn Salad

This simple salad is a personal favorite when I’m low on time and energy. And, depending on your personal preference, it can be made even easier with a few cheat-items! In all it’s glory, the from-scratch recipe is as follows: Ginger Turmeric Vinaigrette This is a great dressing to kick start your week and detox from the wildness of the weekend; turmeric is a natural detoxifier and anti-inflammatory that will help to clear your liver of toxins and raw garlic is an antimicrobial good for immune boosting and blood purifying.

½ shallot, diced 2-3 tbs apple cider vinegar ¼ cup olive oil ½ tsp ground turmeric ½ tsp fresh ginger, chopped finely 1 tsp honey 1 tsp lemon juice Pinch of salt Pepper to taste

Combine the dressing ingredients and shake aggressively to emulsify.

** This is an easy way to boost your salad any day of the week – feel free to make leftovers, they only get better with time! **

For the Salad: 10 frozen, raw WILD shrimp 2 cloves garlic, minced ½ loose cup parsley, chopped ½ -1 avocado, cubed 1 grapefruit (or your favorite citrus), supremed Baby spinach, wild arugula, shredded kale (aka your favorite salad greens) Seasonal option: ½ a head of raw fennel bulb, sliced very thin adds a fresh California bite to this dish! Salt and pepper to taste

Pull the shrimp out of the freezer and soak in room temperature water to defrost. This can be done while you’re getting ready to go out or just winding down after a long day. Takes about 10 minutes. Once defrosted, begin by taking the shell off the shrimp and throwing away.

Next, heat 1 Tbs good olive or coconut oil over medium to low heat in a sauté pan and add your minced garlic. Once softened, add the shrimp and cook until just pink.

*Pro Tip* - for perfect shrimp cook shrimp "low and slow" only flipping once. Be careful not to overcook – good quality shrimp is okay to eat a little bit underdone so don’t worry about undercooking, just try to avoid the rubbery texture of overcooked seafood.

*Pro Tip #2* If the weather permits, take this party outside! BBQing your shrimp will add a flavorful smoke to the dish.

Remove the cooked shrimp from the pan, toss with parsley, salt and pepper and set aside.

While your shrimp are cooking, you can prepare your salad. Toss the greens, avocado chunks and citrus supremes with your turmeric dressing and add the shrimp on top.

That’s it. Easy.

If, however, you don’t have the time (or perhaps the culinary inclination), this recipe can be even further simplified by using a store bought dressing. Just be sure to choose a bottled dressing that uses real olive oil – it will make all the difference. My personal favorite for jarred dressing are the Bragg Brand vinaigrettes.

Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus

Jalapeño Cilantro Hummus

I have long shirked the flavors of overly granola, "hippie" snacks, due to the fact that I was raised on too much granola and hippie snacks.
But low and behold, as promised, "mom is always right."

They call me Miss Bi-Bim-Bastic

They call me Miss Bi-Bim-Bastic

Korean food is my is my weakness: spicy meats, fermented ban chan, and that smokey hair smell that does not wash out for weeks.  I love it all, but could do with a little less greasy. So as you can imagine, I do a fair amount of research/ reading/ kitchen tinkering on Korean home cooking. Vegetarian Bim Bim Bop is a fantastic and easy recipe to spice up your weeknight's. Use the quinoa/ greens as a base and get creative with your favorite toppings.  I have shared with you a few of my favorite toppings, but any veggie sautéed with a little fresh ginger and garlic will go beautifully.

Weeknight Bi Bim Bop

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

2 cups cooked quinoa

6 cups mixed greens, baby spinach or arugula.

6-12 Shitake mushrooms

1 Japanese eggplant

3-5 radishes radishes

Favorite greens

6 cherry tomatoes

1/2 avocado

Kimchee (store bought or homemade no MSG.)

2 eggs

1/2 cup rice vinegar or distilled white vinegar

Fresh garlic

Fresh ginger

1 Tbs sesame oil

2 Tbs olive oil

1 Tbs. Soy sauce, tamari or Braggs Amino Acids

Cook your quinoa using the 2:1 ratio: 2 cups water for every one cup quinoa. It cooks just like rice in about 15 minutes. If you'd like to soak your grains before hand, adjust your ratio to 1:1.

While your quinoa cooks, use the time to prepare each topping.  It is best done consecutively, using the same pan. This will allow you to tweak the flavor on each topping while, moving quickly through the process.

*Thinly slice the radishes and add them to  1/2 cup hot water, 1/2 cup rice vinegar for a quick pickle. Marinate them for 15 mins. Sprinkle with black sesame seeds when serving.

*Roast the Eggplant in an oven at 400.  Slice eggplant in half and then cut diagonal slices into the flesh of each half. Sprinkle with 1 tsp of sesame oil and salt and pepper. Roast for aprox 30 mins.

* Saute the shitake mushrooms with 1 tsp sesame oil,  1 tsp of freshly chopped ginger and 1 tsp of freshly chopped garlic. Remove and set aside.

* Add 1 Tbs sliced onions to the same pan and cook until soft. Then add your chopped greens, stir briefly, then add 2 Tbs water.   Cover with a lid and cook for 2 more mins. Remove, drizzle with 1 tsp of rice vinegar. and set aside. Remove any extra liquid left in pan.

* Now is your chance to add your favorite veggie.  Slice it and throw it in the pan with 1 tsp of soy sauce. Zucchini, carrots, bell peppers, sweet potato would all be great toppings.

When the quinoa is ready, you are set to assemble your Bi Bim Bop.  Using two bowls for serving, add 1 cups of quinoa and 1-3 cups of salad greens side by side in each bowl. Top the quinoa/ greens base with small piles of your many, prepared toppings.  Add prepared kimchee, and an option for Nori (seaweed) sheets. For an extra protein boost (6 grams in 1 egg) and Bi Bim Bop authenticity, fry or poach an egg (using no more than 1/2 tsp oil) and place it in the center of your masterpiece.

잘 먹겠습니다

(bon appétit)

The Skinny

Variety is the spice of life! The more variety you have in your daily vegetables, the more nutrients you're getting in your diet. Each vegetable offers a unique and important vitamin or mineral. For example: radishes contain high levels of folic acid and vitamin C, making them great for your skin and powerful cancer fighters; Shitake mushrooms are the king of the medicinal mushroom world. They contain all the B-vitamins and many trace minerals such as manganese, selenium and zinc. They are best known for their strong immune boosting properties and cardiovascular support. Eggplant, while sometimes controversial as a member of the nightshade family (best avoided for people with arthritis), has strong levels of the antioxidant nasunin which can protect the cells from oxidative damage. Etc.....

The bottom line is, eating a rainbow of veggies with bring you greater health.  Rather then relaying on multivitamins, first aim to meet your daily nutrient requirements from a full dose of colorful vegetables.

Vietnamese BBQ Kale Salad

Vietnamese BBQ Kale Salad

Take a bunch of sardines, chop 'em up heads and all, rub salt all over everything, cover with water and let it sit out for three months. Gross right? Wrong.

Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

You are not truly a grill master until you have learned the ropes of the vegetable. Grilled vegetables on their own, or along side your protein, make any meal more gourmet, diverse and more nutritious. In this recipe inspired from the San Francisco Chronicle, the vegetables are paired with a flavorful miso dipping sauce which is frankly so good you'll  find yourself dipping much more than vegetables in it.

Grilled Veggies with a Miso Dipping Sauce

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup white miso

1 Tablespoon fresh ginger (peeled)

2 teaspoons of garlic (aprox. 2 cloves)

2 Tablespoons rice vinegar

2 tables spoons mirin (*can be substituted with 1 Tbs apple cider vinegar, 1 Tbs white wine or sake, and 1 tsp honey*)

1 Tablespoon sesame oil

1/4 olive oil

1 pound of broccolini

Yellow squash, cut lengthwise

1 medium carrots, peeled and sliced length wise

Olive oil as needed

salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS

Place the miso, ginger, garlic, vinegar and mirin in a food processor  or blender. Blend on high until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Combine the sesame oil and olive oil in a measuring cup and mix together. Slowly drizzle the oil into the miso mixture as you continue to blend it. Taste and adjust to your taste if needed with black pepper and sea salt. Garnish the sesame seeds

Meanwhile heat the grill to medium-high, clean and oil it. Wash and slice all your vegetables as needed and toss with olive or coconut oil and salt and pepper. Grill the vegetables until tender, about 8-10 minutes.

Serve with the miso dipping sauce and impress all your grill master friends!

The Skinny

When you eat animal proteins like eggs, meat, poultry, or fish, your stomach produces hydrochloric acid and an enzyme called pepsin to digest them in the ideal, highly acidic conditions. When you eat carbohydrates your body produces an alkaline environment. When eating protein and carbohydrates together the acid and alkaline environments cancel each other out, making it difficult to digest anything effectively. By eating non-starchy vegetables alongside your protein, you ensure better digestion and proper nutrient absorption.

For more on the principles of check out the Body Ecology Diet.

 

 

 

Goji Berry Weekend Smoothie

Goji Berry Weekend Smoothie

This smoothie is begging to be enjoyed in the sunshine! Treat yourself to some pampering over the weekend! INGREDIENTS 1 1/4 cups almond milk 1/4 cup goji berries 2 tbsp cacao powder or nibs 2 tbsp raw hemp seeds 1 tsp chia seeds (ground or whole) 1 heaping cup strawberries 1 date, or a few drops stevia for sweetness

DIRECTIONS

Blend all the ingredients in your blender or food processor. Enjoy~!

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

One of the challenges of turning a dish healthy is how to replace dairy. I'm always looking to replace saturated fats with something that still tastes rich and creamy. Behold cashew cream! This magical trick takes raw cashews and turns them into a cream that will enhance almost any dish, sweet or savory.

The key to making good cashew cream is to soak the cashews thoroughly beforehand; this will make for easy blending. It’s also essential to use raw cashews, as roasted ones won’t boast the same neutral flavor or blend up as well. Depending on how much water you add, it can be quite thick — like the texture of ricotta — or thin enough to resemble heavy cream. It demands very little effort — all you need is a food processor or a high-speed blender — and it’s incredibly versatile. Add a little maple syrup, and it becomes a sweet dessert cream. Add some miso or salt and a touch of lemon, and the cream (or crème, if you want to be fancy) turns savory. Mix in lemon juice, some sea salt, and a little Dijon mustard and you've got a vegan alfredo. Add some cocoa powder and vanilla, and you've made a vegan ganache. Your cream will last at least four days in the fridge, and can be frozen as well. Curious about what to do with cashew cream, other than simply eating it with a spoon? Here are a few of my favorite applications:

Zucchini & Potato Gratin with Cashew Cream

Serves six

INGREDIENTS 2 medium yellow squash, about 1/2 pound 4 small to medium red potatoes, about 1 pound 3 tablespoons olive oil 1/2 cup of cashew cream Salt and freshly ground black pepper 1/4 cup coconut milk 1 tablespoon thinly sliced basil, thyme leaves

1/2 Tbs of rosemary

Cashew Cream

1 cup raw cashews

½ cup water

Juice of 1 lemon

Splash of Apple Cider Vinegar

1/2 tsp sea salt

DIRECTIONS

To begin, soak your cashews in a bowl of water in the fridge overnight, then drain and rinse. To make your cashew cream, place all ingredients in a blender and blend at high-speed until smooth and creamy.  Your cashew cream can be stored in the fridge for up to four days.

To make your gratin, Preheat oven to 400°F.

Lightly grease a casserole dish with a drizzle of olive oil.

Next, use a mandoline (or a sharp knife) to slice the squash and potatoes into very, very thin slices, 1/8-inch or less.

Toss the sliced vegetables with the 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large bowl, add the chopped rosemary.

Now you are going to build your gratin by layering the squash, potatoes and cashew cream in your dish. Place 1/3 of the squash and potato slices in the bottom of the dish — no need to layer them, just spread evenly — then season with salt and pepper. Top that layer with half of your cashew cream. Repeat with another 1/3 of the vegetables, seasoning again with salt and pepper and topping with the other 1/2 of the cashew cream. Finish by layering on the final 1/3 of the vegetables and seasoning with salt and pepper. Pour the coconut milk over the entire dish.

Bake, covered, for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake 15 more minutes, until the top browns.

Scatter on the fresh basil or thyme before serving.

Serve with a big green salad!

Stocks and Broths: How to Soup Yourself to Health

Stocks and Broths: How to Soup Yourself to Health

Alternate tittle: How to Cook Bone Broth Like a Witch Doctor. Homemade broth is one of those ancient dishes we have let fall to the wayside. For centuries stocks and broths were the backbone of a family's nutrition, but now it is much easier to drop by your local store and pick up a box of pre-made or a bullion cubes.  I get it.  We, myself included, are all busy rushing around trying succeed in our lives and then feed ourselves and our loved ones.

But I had my eyes opened a few years ago, when I opened my life to a man who is an incredible chef and who takes none of these old traditions for granted.  He really values the taste and depth of food made from scratch and will go to great lengths to make homemade sauces, soups, dressings, and pastas, you name it.  While I agree that flavor is much better, my biggest discovery is how easy it is to actually make these healthy basics. Now I am the lucky owner of a jam-packed freezer.  It is full of homemade fish and chicken stocks, ice-cube trays full of different pesto's and tomato sauces, pre-made crusts and lots of tiny bags filled with veggie and bone scraps to be saved for future stocks.

I first got into drinking bone broth to improve on my digestive system (as it's known to seal and heal the gut), but now I drink one cup a day of this age-old medicine for a strong immune system during flu season, to support my body when I'm stressed out, and to give me beautiful, vibrant skin and hair. It is the very BEST real food way to get your body maximum nutrients.

A South American proverb says "good broth will resurrect the dead." Known as a cure-all in traditional households, bone broths can be found across many generations, continents and healing traditions.  And science validates what our grandmothers knew best, a homemade broth is the healthiest thing you can eat. It's known to cure colds, soothe sore throats, heal ulcers, relieve fatigue, strengthen hair, nails and bones, improve digestion, heal the gut and boost the immune system.  Whether you are a chef, a healer or just trying to live a healthy life, this is a must have ingredient for your kitchen.

INGREDIENTS Broths can take many forms but should always start with a pile of vegetables (or scraps), and pure water. From there you can add just about anything to make it your own and boost the nutrition to fit your needs:

Vegetables: Onion, garlic, celery, carrots, mushrooms or mushroom stems (cut and save your shiitake stems in the freezer), green beans, leeks (or saved/ frozen leek tops), greens, dried or fresh herbs (parsley, rosemary, basil, bay leaf, thyme).

Bones: Organic beef, lamb, turkey, chicken, or fish bones. these can be bought raw from your local butcher or you can save leftover bones after a roast. Keep them in the freezer adding scraps of bones/ vegetables until you have enough to fill half a stock pot. Now you are ready to make stock! Cooked bones work fine, but raw bones produce more flavor.

Boosters: Clean egg shells (for added calcium); Heads and feet of poultry (for added collagen); Dried seaweed, aka kambu, (adds iodine for thyroid support & digestibility); Vinegar (increases nutrient absorption);  shiitake/ maitaki or reishi mushrooms (to deep immune support ).

Nourishing Chicken Stock

INGREDIENTS

1 whole organic chicken carcass including all the bony parts: neck, back, breastbone and wings (Remove as much of the fat as possible.) (Highly recommended option to include the chicken head, feet, or gizzard for increased mineral density and lots of healing collagen. This is a great way to create a medicinal broth that will support your digestive and immune system and give you healthy hair, skin and nails.)

4 quarts of cold water

2 Tbs. vinegar

1 large onion, quartered, papers can be left on

1-2 full heads of garlic, cut width-wise, papers can be left on

3 pieces of celery, coarsely chopped

2 carrots, coarsely chopped

1 bunch of parsley

2 bay leaves

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/2 tsp of whole peppercorns

Optional Boosters: 1-4 Tbs. of seaweed (dulce or kambu) optional 1-4 egg shells, cleaned 10 shitake stems (or whole mushrooms)

DIRECTIONS

To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and once ready, add your bones and onions to the oven to brown (about 15 mins). This will deepen the flavor of the broth and give you a dark, rich color (if you are looking to make a clear broth, skip this step.) NOTE: If using the head or feet, do not brown them first

(If using the addition of seaweed, cut a piece of kambu that is a few inches long and soak in water for 10 mins.)

Meanwhile, add the rest of your vegetables and non-roasting bones (like feet or head) to a stock pot with cold water. Cover with enough water that the bones and veggies are just submerged. Remove the roasted bones from the oven and place them directly into the stock pot with the vegetables. Add the herbs, bay leaves, pinch of sea salt, peppercorns and the kombu. Add vinegar and let them sit for 45 minutes in cold water. The vinegar will help to leach maximum nutrients (calcium and collagen) from the bones.

Once you have soaked your cold stock, turn on the stove to high heat and bring it to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer then skim the top of the broth with a ladle to get the scum (small bubbles) off. (These are the toxins the bones release.) Remove the kombu after 45 minutes and discard, but let the broth continue to simmer for a minimum of 8 hours, but up to 24. If needed, you can add water to replenish any evaporated liquid

Once done cooking you will need to strain the liquid through a fine mesh strainer. Save the liquid-stock, then compost the remaining bones/veg.

Your stock will keep fresh in the refrigerator for up to four-five days. For the stock you don't think you'll use right away, let it cool and then add it to plastic quart containers (old yogurt jars) or zip lock bags to freeze. I like to freeze some in ice-cube trays so that I can have small portions to throw into sautéed veggies.

I love to drink a cup of steaming broth with my lunch with a little parsley and salt, but I also add it to my cooking by making rich soups, cooking grains, beans or even oats with it. It is the very BEST real food way to get your body maximum nutrients.

Alkaline Vegetable Broth

This is an excellent broth to make if you are vegetarian, fighting a cold, or on a whole-food cleanse. This broth is completely alkaline and will help your body re-set from the acidity of a regular diet.  You can use it as a soup base, to add extra flavor and nutrition to any recipe that calls for water, or as a great nourishing, hydrating and cleansing meal.

INGREDIENTS

Choose a combination of the following vegetables equaling about 1 1/2-2 cups of each: celery, carrots, zucchini, green beans, parsley, kale, spinach, chard, parsley, and onions. Add several cloves of garlic, a handful of your favorite herbs and a couple of bay leafs. Include boosters like kombu, vinegar, lemon juice, or shiitake mushroom stems.

DIRECTIONS

Place all of your vegetables in a large stock pot and saute for a few minutes. Add more than enough filtered water to cover them. Bring to boil and then simmer for 45 minutes. Turn off and let cool on the stove. Strain and discard the veggies and keep the broth.

These will keep in the fridge for up to three days, or you can freeze and use later as a soup stock.

The Skinny

When cooked for a long period of time bones and vegetables release their nutrients into the water. Bone broth's contain high levels of calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicon, sulfur, and trace minerals. Vegetable broths contain the potassium and magnesium , but with little to no protein.  And in its liquid form, these nutrients are very easily absorbed by the body. Broths made from fish bones and seaweed provide iodine and thyroid strengthening substances.

When broths are cooled they congeal due to the presence of gelatin. Gelatin has been used for historically by many cultures to treat a long list of diseases including treat ulcers, hernia, tuberculosis, diabetes, muscle disease, digestive issues,  infectious disease and cancer. Infant chicken stock that includes the head is called the "Jewish Penicillin".

Broths drastically improve the bodies mineral content, repair digestion and boost the immune. And as a low-calorie, protein rich food, vegetable and bone broths are hard to beat.

 

Beet-O De Gallo

Beet-O De Gallo

For me, beets are nostalgic. They remind me of family dinners and of my father.  Even way out in Hawaii, he always managed to bring beets to our table, along with stories of Californian farming and summers spent on river bottoms.  Lately, in my house, beets have been finding their way into the most unexpected of dishes.  New favorite: using rich, tangy and colorful beets to liven up salsas.  Take this delectable Beet-O De Gallo: Beet-O De Gallo

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup diced tomatoes (1-2 tomatoes)

1 cup of diced, roasted beets

1/4 cup diced red onion

1 tablespoon diced jalapeño

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Two small limes, juiced

3 tablespoons loosely chopped cilantro

Salt and pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

1) To roast beets, first wash, then place in a large piece of tinfoil. Drizzle them with olive oil, salt and pepper and loosely wrap the tinfoil around them. Beets should be roasted at 400 for 20-40 minutes (or until they can be easily pierced).

2) Once the beets are soft, remove them from the oven and foil and let them cool for 5-10 minutes.

3) While the beets are cooling, combine all other ingredients in a bowl to make a classic Pico de Gallo base.

4) When the beets are cool enough to handle, peel.  If fully cooked, this should be easy enough to do with just your hands, although a small paring knife can be used as well.

5) After removing the skin, dice the beets and mix them into your tomato salsa base.

6) Transfer all ingredients to your serving bowl and season with salt, pepper and fresh chili powder to taste.

*My favorite way to eat this salsa is on a veggie-heavy tostada!

 

The Skinny

Why eat beets? Because beets, (especially the greens), are packed full of vitamins C, A, calcium and iron.  They also have high levels of folic acid, magnesium and potassium and are excellent sources of fiber.  They have long been used in treating liver disorders, by stimulating detoxification as well as for lowering cholesterol.

Beets have also gained attention for their anti-cancer properties.  The bright red pigment that gives beets their color, AKA betacyanin, is a powerful antioxidant and cancer-fighting agent.  Betacyanin works to inhibit cancer-causing cell mutations, specifically in the stomach.  To top it all off, the excellent fiber found in beets helps to increase bowel function and heighten detoxification, helping to cleanse the body of its toxins. (Micheal Murray, 2005)

Mint Melon Cooler

Mint Melon Cooler

It's a boiling 70 degrees here in San Francisco and feeling a lot like summer has arrived early. This rare hot spell is a great reminder of what is to come. Stay hydrated and feeling fit with light, refreshing meals. Here is a smoothie that will help you stay cool and get you ready for summer. Natural electrolytes help keep you hydrated while you're out playing in the sunshine. Serve with tiny umbrella (or sip while under a larger one). INGREDIENTS 2 kale leaves

1 small cucumber

3 celery stalks

1/4 avocado

1 whole lemon, peeled

1 cup fresh (or frozen) honeydew melon

10 fresh mint leaves

1 cup coconut water

DIRECTIONS

Blend it up and enjoy!

THE SKINNY

Smoothies are a great way to get your daily calories in check. They generally have about 300-400 calories, and with a good protein powder you'll stay full through lunch time. Plus they are jam-packed with super fresh nutrients and tons of natural fiber. 2- 3 smoothies a week will improve your digestion and immune and keep your weight in check.

 

Artichoke Benedict with Garlic Cashew Cream Hollandaise

Artichoke Benedict with Garlic Cashew Cream Hollandaise

Artichokes are beautiful vegetables that should be eaten whenever possible. They are rich and flavorful in the springtime and will turn any meal into a special occasion. So why not  marry them to the coveted brunch menu and place them atop the much revered Benedict?Behold the Veggie Eggs Benedict. While not entirely vegan (due to the protein rich egg), this towering pile of exquisite vegetables is topped with a cashew cream and roasted garlic hollandaise sauce, 100% butter (and guilt) free. With such delicious and indulgent flavors this recipe begs the question: Why not have artichokes for breakfast everyday?

While this recipe has a seemingly long list of instructions, most are simply a detailed expression of basic cooking skills. Once you have mastered the art of the poached egg and have learned to clean an artichoke properly, you will be able to add this exceptional recipe to your cooking tool repertoire and easily impress the breakfast crowd at any given moment.

INGREDIENTS

2 artichokes, outer leaves removed

1 medium sweet potato, scrubbed

1 sweet yellow onion, chopped into rings

2-4 eggs

**Cashew Cream Hollandaise**

½ cup raw cashews, soaked overnight (or a minimum of 2 hours)

1 clove garlic, roasted

4 Tbs. lemon juice

1 Tbs. nutritional yeast

½ tsp. finely ground sea salt

⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper

⅛ tsp. turmeric powder

1/8 tsp of smoked paprika

1 tsp. of apple cider vinegar (plus more for poaching)

1 Tbs. water

5 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil (plus more for cooking)

DIRECTIONS

Begin by soaking your cashews. Cover in water and set in the refrigerator for at least two hours. The longer you soak, the creamier your sauce will be. Overnight is ideal.

Cook and clean your artichokes

In a stock pot filled ¼ with water, steam the artichoke for 50 mins or until you can easily pull the leaves from the stalk.

To clean your artichokes, you will first need to fill a large bowl with ice, water and 1 lemon cut in half, squeezed and added to the water with peel on. This will be your artichoke bath and will help keep their color.

First peel the outer layer of the stalk with a vegetable peeler (many people waste this delicious part of the artichoke, but it tastes as good as the heart).

Next, start pulling away the tough outer leaves working, around the artichoke, until you reach the tender inner leaves. Exactly how many leaves you remove is something learned with experience, but don't be surprised if you pull 1/3 of the leaves off. (Put these leaves aside as they can be steamed along with the heart or used later to make an artichoke stock.)

Trim the tip of the artichokes, cutting about 1” of the tip off the remaining leaves, and then slice the artichoke in half, lengthwise. Place the first half into the ice bath, then,  using a knife, cut out the inner fuzz of the other half, ensuring that all of the fuzz has been removed. Do the same with the second half. Slice the cleaned heart into 6” lengthwise pieces and keep warm in the steamer until you are ready to plate the benedict.

Cook your veggies

Preheat the oven to 350.

Slice your yellow onion into rings and cook it in a big pan with 1 Tbs. olive oil. Cook on low for 30 mins, stirring frequently, or until the onions start to caramelize and turn soft and sweet.

Slice your sweet potatoes into small disks and place on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, salt, fresh pepper and 1 Tsp. of smoked paprika. Cook for 20-30 minutes, removing once potatoes are soft.

Add a garlic head to the oven for roasting. Slice the top off the entire head, exposing the tops of each garlic clove. In a piece of aluminum foil large enough to wrap the garlic in, set in in the center and drizzle with a little olive oil and a pinch of salt. Bring the foil up around the sides and close at the top. Place that in the over with the potatoes and roast for 30 minutes.

Make your secret sauce

Once your cashews have been soaked, you can make your hollandaise. Add 1/2 cup soaked cashews, 4 cloves of roasted garlic, 4 Tbs. of lemon (or to taste), 1 Tbs. nutritional yeast, ½ tsp. sea salt, ⅛ tsp. cayenne pepper, ⅛ tsp. turmeric powder, 1/8 tsp. of smoked paprika, and 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar (also to taste.) Blend on high for one minute, then check the consistency. If you find it needs to be thinned out you can add water 1 tsp. at a time until it is to your preferred consistency. Taste and adjust sweet/tartness with lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.

Once everything is prepped you are ready to poach your eggs. Simmer them in a shallow pan with a tablespoon of vinegar to hold them together. For a more in-depth look at poaching the perfect egg check out my tutorial.

While your eggs are poaching, assemble your vegetable tower. Timing is key to eggs benedict, so you make sure you are prepped and ready to plate with the vegetable base built and sauce in hand.

On a plate create a small stack of sweet potatoes in the center and surround it with sliced artichoke hearts. Place your poached egg in the center and drizzle hollandaise on top. Add a pinch of caramelized onions and a dash of smoked paprika and serve immediately.

The Skinny

The humble artichoke offers a bounty of flavor and nutrition. Artichokes contain more antioxidants than any other vegetable and are widely used by herbalists for cancer treatment and prevention. They are known to lower your bad cholesterol levels by boosting bile production and promote liver detoxification. Best of all: they are the unsung hero of the hangover cure. Thanks to their positive effects on the liver, many people swear by artichokes as a hangover treatment. Instead of the hair of the dog, try the leaves of an artichoke.

Poach A Perfect Egg

Poach A Perfect Egg

I love, love, love poached eggs. I love the runny yolk on just about anything starting from breakfast, to vegetables, to leftovers. Many people fear the "home poach" and so they miss out on many an yolky recipe.  So here is a few tips, taught to me by my mother well before I could cook anything else, on poaching the perfect egg.

1) Start with a shallow pan and fill it with water (I usually poach eggs in a 2-quart saucepan filled with 2-3 inches of water.)

2)Add a splash of vinegar (1-2 Tbs.) to help hold the whites together.

3) Bring the water to a gentle simmer, then crack the eggs into the water.A fast simmer or a boil with break the eggs apart. I find that four minutes gives me an egg with firm whites and a runny yolk. Four and a half minutes is perfect if you want a yolk that's just starting to set. Five minutes works for times when I want a set yolk that is still custardy and soft.

Additional Tips

  • Use fresh eggs! The fresher the egg the more it will stay in tact when you simmer it.
  • Serve it HOT! Nothing worse than cold, runny eggs.

Voula! Breakfast is served.

Natural Sports Drinks

Natural Sports Drinks

During exercise the body loses many fluids and electrolytes. It is important to keep them replenished to avoid dehydration and allow your muscles to repair themselves more quickly.  When your out for long bouts of training (runs, cycling, swims over 45 mins.),  drinking only plain water can cause bloating, cramps and actually suppress, rather than quench, feelings of thirst which can lead to dehydration.  The body's cells need salt in order to actively transport water between them and replenish hydration within the body.  In other words, an active body needs constant electrolyte replenishing.

When looking at the major sports drink on the market you will find that many of them are packed with high fructose corn syrup, unhealthy levels of caffeine and a wide range of additives and preservatives. While it is possible for high levels of sugar to be burned off by a serious athlete, most of us are not performing at a level to properly deal with that insulin boost.  This can disrupt our blood sugar levels causing weight gain, energy crashes and a lowered immune system.

I've been tinkering with ways to get those electrolytes in without all the junk of the shelf versions. Some times that means I mix 50/50 coconut water and filtered water; sometimes I add a dash of salt to filtered water; some times I add 1/2 tsp of baking soda and 1TBS of honey to 1 liter of filtered water; and when I am really inspired and have the time to plan ahead I turn to the botanicals to create an electrolyte sun tea. The herbs used in this tea specially blended by a herbalist friend of mine to address the needs of an athlete. The Skinny: Hibiscus and lemon balm both lower blood pressure, peppermint is a stimulant that increases both speed and strength, tulsi is a metabolism booster and lowers cortisol, and eleuthro is an energy booster and that can aid in muscle recovery.  These teas can be bought loose from the bulk bins at your local health food store (if you live in San Francisco, Rainbow is your best bet.) You can mix and match herbs and flavors depending on your needs and tastes.

Drinking your electrolytes before, during and after your next workout for sustained energy, increased hydration and fast recovery!

Herbal Electrolyte Tea

INGREDIENTS

3 1/2 gallons water

4 cups lime juice

2 cups of honey

1/2 cup of salt

Fresh herbs of your choice. Try hibiscus, peppermint, tulsi, lemon balm, eleuthro. (These can be bought in the bulk section of a good health food store. i.e. Rainbow)

DIRECTIONS

Brew sun tea using 1/2 gallon of water and fresh herbs.  Let sit in sunny place for 1-2 days until a strong tea is brewed.

When ready to make your electrolyte tea, start by dissolving the honey in salt in hot water.  Then in a large jar, add the additional 3 gallons of water, the diluted honey and salt mixture and lime juice.  Stir until mixed well. Serve in your water bottle over ice.

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Here are a few more ways to create a homemade sports drink:

Energy Water:  In 1 quart water add ¼ tsp sea salt, ¼ tsp baking soda, 2 Tbs honey, 1 tsp. Ginseng

Water Booster: In 1 quart water add ¼ tsp sea-salt, juice of 1 lemon, and 1/2Tbs honey.

Isotonic O.J: Isotonic sports drinks quickly replaces fluids lost by sweating and supplies a boost of carbohydrate.To make-In 1 litre of water add 200ml of concentrated orange and a pinch of salt (1g). Mix all the ingredients together and keep chilled

Coconut water: Coconut water naturally has 650 mg of potassium (15x more than a banana), 25mg of magnesium, and 35 mg of sodium.  Low calorie. Packed with natural electrolytes coconut water hydrates, increases energy, balance bodies pH, cools the body, transports nutrients to cells, improve digestion and increase libido.

*Drink unsweetened coconut water before and after exercise.  Try dilute with water and use for hydration during training.

Anti-inflammatory Ginger Tea

Anti-inflammatory Ginger Tea

Ginger, A Powerful Superfood: The Benefits of Ginger Tea Fresh ginger root has many properties that qualify it as a “superfood”. Here are just a few benefits of fresh, raw ginger root:

  • Eases Gastrointestinal Discomfort
  • Anti inflammatory effects on arthritis
  • Induces Ovarian Cancer Cell Death
  • Reduces Pain
  • Aids in Weight Loss
  • Helps Carry Wastes Out of the Body (Detox)
  • Alleviates Morning Sickness and Motion Sickness

Ginger tea has been studied for its healthy benefits on digestion and improving gastrointestinal ailments in a wide number of individuals. It has also been shown to alleviate gas and constipation. Using peppermint tea and ginger root tea together after a meal may help ease digestion, which results in better nutrients being absorbed and utilized. Also, with better digestion comes easy and healthy weight loss. This is one reason why I love adding ginger to my green smoothies.

Ginger tea has shown some promise in aiding apoptosis of ovarian cancer cells, resulting in less cancer cells overall. Although not a sole treatment, it has been documented that the cancer cell death is indeed initiated by properties called gingerols in ginger root. I also believe that the powerful anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger are also helpful, as chronic inflammation has been shown to be connected to cancer (inflammation can occur through eating excessive grains, sugars and not enough anti-inflammatory foods).

Being a powerful anti-inflammatory, it has been shown to be helpful in those with arthritis. Pain in the joints, bones and head may also be relieved through ginger tea. A ginger root tea made with a cinnamon stick and a little stevia may give it an extra anti-inflammatory boost. One of the leading cause of aging is inflammation from diet and lifestyle, as well as general metabolism, so the best thing that one can do is increase anti-inflammatory rich foods and herbs, such as ginger root.

Finally, weight loss can be helped by drinking ginger tea, as inflammation can often suppress hormones that help control hunger and metabolize fat. Ginger root tea, being rather spicy, may also elicit the removal of wastes through causing you to sweat. Spicy foods have also been shown to increase fat burning potential, but it is unclear whether ginger does this the same way peppers do (gingerols are a relative of capsacian).

How to Make Ginger Tea

For two strong cups:

2 tbsp. freshly grated ginger (peeled) 1 cup hot, almost boiling, water 1 cup room temperature water Almond milk, coconut milk and stevia, to taste (optional)

Pour hot water over the fresh ginger and let steep for 30 minutes. For a strong infusion, steep overnight, covered on the counter.

Strain the ginger and add the additional 1 cup of water. Add coconut or almond milk and stevia, if you desire.

For extra anti-inflammatory and blood sugar benefits, steep tea with 1-2 cinnamon sticks, chopped into 1/2″ pieces.

Serves 1-2.

Curried Cauliflower Soup

Curried Cauliflower Soup

A good blended soup should be a go-to in your cooking kit of cooking techniques. They are easy to make, extremely nourishing and seem much fancier then they truly are.  All blended soups start with garlic, onions and vegetables. Get creative with whatever is in season. Cook vegetables until soft, season and then blend them until smooth. Wah lah! I love picking a good garnish. Garnish opportunities are endless! Some of my favorites are something with crunch (toasted nuts, whole-grain croutons, crispy tortilla strips), something creamy (yogurt or flavored oils), or fresh herbs (cilantro, basil, thyme.) Get creative! 

INGREDIENTS

Olive Oil

1/2 cup onion, diced

1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced

Salt & Pepper to taste

2 teaspoons of red curry paste

1 head of cauliflower, coarsely chopped

1 russet potato, peeled and chopped

1 can of coconut milk

4 cups vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)

Greek yogurt, toasted pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves for garnish

DIRECTIONS

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Once it is hot, add the onions, garlic and ginger and generous pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until onions become translucent, stirring occasionally.  (4-5 mins)

Add red curry paste to the vegetables and cook another minute or until fragrant. Stir in your coarsely chopped cauliflower and your peeled and chopped potato. Add another pinch of salt.

Add about 4 cups of stock and increase the heat until it comes to a boil. Reduce it to medium heat and add in your coconut milk. Stirring occasionally, cooking until the vegetables are very tender. About 20 minutes.

Using a food processor, immersion blender or hand-held blender, puree the soup until it is completely smooth. Put the soup back into it's pot and reheat on low until you are ready to serve.

Serve hot in warm bowls and garnish with a dollop of Greek yogurt, a few sprinkled pumpkin seeds and cilantro leaves.

The Skinny

Cauliflower is part of my favorite vegetable family: The Cruciferous! The cruciferous family are known sulfuric vegetables that stimulate and detoxify the liver. for healthy detoxification you'll want to include a cruciferous vegetable 2-3 times per week.

Cauliflower itself offers huge doses of antioxidant Vitamin C, manganese and carotenoids. 1 cup of cooked cauliflower gives you  55 mg of vitamin C. Cauliflower also contains high amounts of vitamin K and omega-3 fatty acids, which help decrease inflammation. And, just by virtue of having antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, cauliflower is naturally protective against cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases.