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Curried Cauliflower Soup

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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.

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Immune Boosting Rose Hip Jam

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Immune Boosting Rose Hip Jam

Rose hips are the fruits of a rose-bush and they contain huge amounts of vitamin C, tannins, pectines, and carotene.  This means they are radically immune booting and can be used as a nutritional therapy when you feel a cold coming on. Rose hips are also known to protect the cells during radiation,  and provide a rich antioxidant for the skin. Each tablespoon of the jam contains about 60 mg of vitamin C (which is 2/3 of the daily RDA recommendation.) Simply by soaking your dried Rose Hips, they we turn into a jam like consistency. Then, with a little boost of anti-inflammatory ginger and honey for sweetness you get a delicious and therapeutic treat.

I like to drizzle rose hip jam on my morning oatmeal, add it to berry smoothies, or eat it on a seedy toast.

*Rose hips can be found in a well stocked health food store.

Ingredients 1/4 cup of dried rose hips 1 inch of water above rose hips 1 tsp fresh grated ginger, minced 2 tsp of local honey or stevia * Flax or chia seeds to thicken if needed

DIRECTIONS Add your rose hips to a small jar and cover in water by an extra inch.  Close the jar tightly and let them sit on the counter for 2 hours (or if you leave it overnight, keep it in the fridge.)  When you open them you will find the rose hips have absorbed the water and turned into a jam like consistency.

You are welcome to stop here and use your rose hips as is for a slightly bitter fruit compote.

Or for a smoother jam with an extra depth of flavor, add them to your food processor with ginger and honey and blend until smooth. Sweeten to your taste. You can store the jam in the fridge for up to two weeks.

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Strawberry Almond Protein Dream Smoothie

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Strawberry Almond Protein Dream Smoothie

This recipe is low in sugar and high in good fats making it an excellent way to start the morning! Want to turn it into a valentine treat for your sweetie? Add 1 Tbs maca powder (for sexual prowess), 1 tsp of some goji berries and 1 tsp of cacao nibs!

INGREDIENTS

1 cup frozen organic strawberries 2 dates 1/2 cup almonds, soaked overnight 1/2 cup filtered water

DIRECTIONS

Blend and enjoy!

The Skinny

When blending up your morning smoothies its best to choose berries over other fruits like bananas and mangoes. This is because berries naturally have less sugar (low glycemic) and will not spike your insulin levels too much.  This is particularly important concept when addressing weight loss. Think: low sugar, high protein!

*Recipe adapted from Well & Good NY

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Escape the Plague

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Escape the Plague

The flu is hitting hard this year and unless you can talk the boss into letting you work in quarantine, there seems to be no escape from the inevitable. Or is there? Arm yourself with a strong immune system and get ready to evade the plague.  Here are five foods you can add to your diet to naturally boost your immune system and have you ready to fight back! 1) Yogurt and fermented foods. Kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha are filled with naturally occurring probiotics aka healthy bacteria.  How is bacteria going to keep you healthy? Well, this particular bacteria is considered a “good guy,” lining the walls of the digestive tract, and is your first defense in fighting  off the “bad guys.” Higher levels of good bacteria means an increased response of white blood cells in reaction to an intruder. Be sure you pick dairy that is unsweetened and choose krauts and pickles that have been brined, not pickled.

2) Homemade soup. Homemade soups are an age-old remedy for a reason: stocks are nutritious concentrates of bone and vegetable minerals, and once made into a soup, salty broths actually work to thin and break down mucus.  Pack them full of garlic, onions and ginger — all natural anti-microbials — and add shiitake mushrooms, known for their deep immune stimulation.

3) Red peppers. We’ve all heard that citrus contains vitamin C, which is why many people stock up on orange juice when they are sick. But what they don’t know is that this sugary drink is working against them, when they could be getting twice as much vitamin C from red peppers.  A half-cup of red bell peppers contains one and half more vitamin C than the daily requirement, plus they work wonders to protect your skin, which is your first line of defense. Studies show that vitamin C can reduce the length and severity of a cold, so snack away on raw bell peppers throughout the flu season.

4) Orange you glad you’re healthy? Pumpkins and sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Experts have long known that vitamin A plays a big role in fighting infection and maintaining mucosal integrity.  Vitamin A also helps the cells communicate and create a better defense.

5) Surf and turf. Both beef and oysters are among the foods highest in zinc, along with lamb, pumpkin seeds, spinach, and crab. Zinc deficiencies, which leave you open to infection, are often seen in those with high stress, so go ahead and slurp down a dozen oysters after work.  And when you pick up that steak, remember, always choose organic and free range wherever possible.

*Bonus*

Immune boosting supplements should be thought of as two categories of defense: deep immune support and viral attacks.

Preventative: Take herbs like echinacea, reishi mushrooms and astragalus on the daily for deep immune stimulation.

Corrective: Once your sick you need to directly attack the bug that got you down. Try elderberry syrup, silvercillian, viral attack or kick ass immune as a natural anti viral/microbial.

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Breakfast for Dinner: The Big Green Omelet

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Breakfast for Dinner: The Big Green Omelet

This herb- and green-laden egg dish is a delicious celebration of spring and a great way to get your protein and veggies in one beautiful dish. Get creative by using whatever greens and fresh herbs you have on hand. You could also add shitake mushrooms, shaved zucchini or shredded carrots.  Serve it with homemade sauerkraut, salsa or avocado. It is also wonderful cold for lunch the next day. Serves 4.

INGREDIENTS

6 eggs

2 Tbs coconut oil (or cold pressed olive oil.)

1 large spring onion (shallots & leeks are also good options.)

1 lb greens (nettles, spinach, kale or arugula or a mixture work well), blanched and chopped

½- 1 small Serrano chili, diced

1 bunch mint, chopped

1 bunch cilantro, chopped

Salt to taste

DIRECTIONS

Pre-heat oven to 350 if you do not want to flip your eggs part way through cooking.

Heat a 2 Tbsp of coconut oil in a cast-iron pan (or any other non-stick pan which can go into the oven.).  Add onions over medium heat, salt well, and cook 5 minutes until tender and translucent.  Let cool slightly.

Meanwhile, beat eggs in large bowl.  Blanch your greens by dropping them into boiling water for 1-2 minutes.  Add blanched and chopped greens and the herbs to the beat eggs. It will seem like a ridiculous amount of greens, but that is the point.  Add the cooled onions and more salt and mix well.

Re-heat pan over medium-high heat. Add egg mixtures and let cook 7-10 minutes until almost completely set. The middle will still be damp.  Don't let the bottom burn and adjust heat accordingly.  When the eggs are almost completely set you can either slide it onto a plate and then flip it back into the pan to cook the top for 2-3 minutes or you can slide the whole pan unto the pre-heated oven and cook it for 2-3 minutes until set but not too firm.

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Increase Brain Power through Nutrition

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Increase Brain Power through Nutrition

Eat protein for breakfast. Eggs, not oatmeal, give your brain the good fat it needs to function properly. Eggs will also help you boost your metabolism while keeping insulin levels low. That means more fat burning and less fat storing. Don’t like eggs? Try organic breakfast sausage and sautéed spinach or protein powder in a yummy shake.Keep your desk stocked.  By loading up your workspace with quick and healthy snacks, you can spend your time finishing that big project rather than daydreaming about the next meal. Shoot for protein and good fats for maximum brainpower: almond butter, apples, nuts, celery sticks, Lara Bars, string cheese, organic turkey jerky, fresh berries, Greek yogurt, etc. Skip carb loading lunch. Too many carbohydrates at lunchtime will leave you with a bad case of afternoon slumps. Carbohydrates of all kinds create a spike in your insulin and a crash in your blood sugar. If you plan on getting anything done after lunch, go for a lunch loaded up on lean meats, veggies, and less than a cup of whole grains or beans. Green caffeine boosts concentration. While one cup of coffee in the morning will get you going (followed by plenty of water, of course), it is not ideal for your digestion or your stress hormones. Try replacing your afternoon joe with a cup of green tea, which is proven to aid in concentration, boost the metabolism, and work to keep you looking young and vibrant. Eat more fat. While not all fats are created equal, healthy fats will bring better blood flow to the brain and improve mood and memory function. Omega 3’s are the closest thing to a miracle food for the mind, so stock up flax seeds, fish oils, coconut butter, avocado, and wild salmon. Add herbs to your diet.  Supplements like ginkgo, ginseng, and rosemary will improve your mental abilities.

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Coco & Cayenne (Black Bean Cookies)

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Coco & Cayenne (Black Bean Cookies)

I have a new love in my life and his name is chocolate.  It's crazy, I know, but for years I hated chocolate. I thought it too rich, too sweet and would pick around the chocolate chunks of my cookies. Can you believe that?! Then something happened. Maybe I was struck by lightning, maybe my hormonal needs have changed as I approach, ehem 30, or maybe I just wised up. Either way this new found love has me smitten, and like any destructive relationship I am forced to find a healthier way to indulge. Enter power cookie.

I can have a chocolate cookie if its packed with fiber, protein and omega 3's right? YES! So I did.

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies Adapted from My New Roots

Yield: 12 cookies

INGREDENTS

1 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained

1.5 tablespoons coconut oil, room temperature

1/3 cup cocoa powder (not Dutch process) 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup agave (or maple syrup, honey)

2 Tbsp. chia seeds

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips (or chopped dark chocolate)

1/4 cup chopped dried cherries

coarse sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)

cayenne pepper, for sprinkling (optional)

Recipe subs: If you don’t have coconut oil or chia seeds, you can try butter and eggs, respectively, instead (although you should really just invest in those delicious ingredients!).

DIRECTIONS

Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Mix chia seeds, maple syrup, and vanilla in a bowl and set aside.

Place beans, coconut oil, cocoa, salt and cinnamon in a food processor and blend until the mixture is as smooth as possible. Add maple syrup and chia mixture and pulse to incorporate. Remove blade from the food processor and fold in the chocolate and cherries.

Use a tablespoon to measure cookie batter onto lined baking sheet. Use about 1.5 tablespoons of batter per cookie for 12 medium cookies. Nudge the batter into the approximate shape you want with your fingers, including flattening the top of cookies slightly, as they will barely spread when baking. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt and cayenne, if desired.

Bake for 12-15 minutes until the tops of the cookies start to look slightly dry and the edges start to look taut and almost crisp. Cook for less time if you want a fudgier consistency. Cool before eating. Store in the fridge.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and spoon 16 evenly distributed dollops of batter. Bake for around 10 minutes (the cookies should still be a little soft when you remove them from the oven). Place the saved black beans on top. Set aside a few minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.  Serve with fresh almond milk.

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Corn Bread (Gluten Free!)

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Corn Bread (Gluten Free!)

Corn bread is god's gift to gluten-free eaters. It is rich, nostalgic and indulgent and in its truest form, is naturally gluten-free. Using whole grain corn meal, coconut oil and Keifer I transformed these American favorites into a wholesome Sunday breakfast. The addition of apple sauce, Greek yogurt or Keifer will help keep them moist. Play with additions like corn kernels, green chilies or Middle Eastern Dukkah.

  • 1 cup milk (Almond, Coconut, Hemp, etc. )
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 2 cups fine or medium cornmeal (I used whole-grain, but regular is ok.)
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 cup evaporated cane juice or regular sugar (I like my cornbread southern-style, with zero sweetness, so I like to omit this. But everyone else who tried the recipe preferred the sweetened version. I’d recommend leaving it in, especially if you’re making this recipe for the first time.)
  • 1 and 1/2 packets stevia (or 2 more tbsp sugar)
  • 11-oz can corn, drained (not unsalted)
  • 2 tbsp coconut or canola/veg oil (see nutrition link below, for a fat-free option)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce

Mix the vinegar with the milk, and set aside. Combine dry ingredients and mix very well. In a separate bowl, combine the oil, applesauce, corn (pulverized if you wish), and milk-vinegar. Then pour the wet into dry and mix until just mixed. Pour into a greased 8×8 dish and cook at 420 F (preheated) for about 25 minutes. Let cool at least 15 minutes before trying to cut, or it will crumble.

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Love your liver

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Love your liver

Life is hard on the liver, no way around it! No matter how much you take care of yourself, your liver is working over time.  This is a product of our increasingly busy world. Whether you have weekends packed with dinner parties, a stressful work life or simply living and being in this increasingly toxic environmental,  it is the liver takes the brunt.

More than ever, we need to support our liver.  This will aid the body in flushing our bodies of the toxins used beauty products, ingested chemicals, overloaded stress hormones and bad cholesterol.  The liver is also where estrogen metabolism occurs. Detoxifying the liver will help to balance hormones levels, and lower your chance of chronic disease.  If the liver is over-worked or clogged the body will be unable to rid itself of dangerous toxins and they will instead circulate the body and over stimulate the genes. The largest contributors to liver overload are poor diet, excessive alcohol, drugs, and toxic chemicals.  Support your liver with a good detoxifying diet and bi-yearly cleanses.

Symptoms of liver impairment

  • Hormonal Imbalances
  • Immune dysfunction
  • Mood swings, (anger and irritability), depression
  • Poor concentration (foggy brain)
  • Constipation and/or light-colored stool
  • Jaundice
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Rash on back
  • Bloated stomach.
  • Abnormal metabolism of fats
  • Blood sugar problems
  • Recurrent headaches (including migraines)
  • Overheating of the body (especially face and torso).
  • Digestive problems

• EXTERNAL SIGNS

Brownish spots and blemishes on the skin (pruritus), excessive sweating, skin rashes, red palms and soles (which may also be itchy and inflamed), coated tongue, bad breath, acne rosacea, dark circles under the eyes, offensive body odor, red swollen itchy eyes, and flushed facial appearance or excessive facial blood vessels. Tenderness/ aches on right side of body

 

Liver supporting foods

1. Garlic

Just a small amount of this pungent white bulb has the ability to activate liver enzymes that helps your body flush out toxins. Garlic also holds high amounts of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansing.

2. Grapefruit

High in both vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruit increases the natural cleansing processes of the liver. A small glass of freshly squeezed grapefruit juice will help boost production of liver detoxification enzymes that help flush out carcinogens and other toxins.

3. Beets and Carrots

Both extremely high in plant flavonoids and beta-carotene, eating both beets and carrots can help stimulate and improve overall liver function.

4. Green Tea

This liver-loving beverage is chock-full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, a constituent known to assist the livers overall functions. Green tea is not only delicious, it’s also a great way to improve your overall diet. Learn more about the benefits of green tea.

5. Leafy Green Vegetables

One of our most powerful allies in cleansing the liver, leafy greens can be eaten raw, cooked or juiced. Extremely high in plant chlorophylls, greens literally suck up environmental toxins from the blood stream. With their distinct ability to neutralize heavy metals, chemicals and pesticides, these cleansing foods offer a powerful protective mechanism for the liver.

Try incorporating leafy greens such as bitter gourd, arugula, dandelion greens, spinach, mustard greens and chicory into your diet. This will help increase the creation and flow of bile, the substance that removes waste from the organs and blood.

6. Avocados

This nutrient-dense super-food helps the body produce glutathione, which is necessary for the liver to cleanse harmful toxins. Recent studies indicate improved liver health when avocados are eaten regularly.

7. Apples

High in pectin, apples hold the chemical constituents needed for the body to cleanse and release toxins from the digestive tract. This, in turn, makes it easier for the liver to handle the toxic load during the cleansing process.

8. Olive Oil

Cold-pressed organic oils such as olive, hemp and flax-seed are great for the liver, when used in moderation. They help the body by providing a lipid base that can suck up harmful toxins in the body. In this way, it takes some of the burden off the liver in terms of the toxic overload that many of us suffer from.

9. Whole Grains

Grains, such as brown rice, are rich in B-complex vitamins, nutrients known to improve overall fat metabolization, liver function and liver decongestion. If possible, do not eat foods with white flour instead try eating whole wheat alternatives.

10. Cruciferous Vegetables

Eating broccoli and cauliflower will increase the amount of glucosinolate in your system, adding to enzyme production in the liver. These natural enzymes help flush out carcinogens, and other toxins, out of our body which significantly lowers our risk of cancer.

11. Lemons & Limes

These citrus fruits contain very high amounts of the vitamin C, which aids the body in synthesizing toxic material into substance that can be absorbed by water. Drinking freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice in the morning helps stimulate the liver.

12. Walnuts

Holding high amount of the amino acid arginine, walnuts aid the liver in detoxifying ammonia. Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega 3 fatty acids which support normal liver cleansing actions. Make sure you chew the nuts well (until they are liquefied) before swallowing.

13. Cabbage

Much like broccoli and cauliflower, eating cabbage helps stimulate the activation of two crucial liver detoxifying enzymes that help flush out toxins. Try eating more kimchi, coleslaw, cabbage soup and sauerkraut.

14. Turmeric

The liver’s favorite spice. Try adding some of this detoxifying goodness into your next lentil stew or veggie dish for an instant liver pick-me-up. Tumeric helps boost liver detox, by assisting enzymes that actively flush out known dietary carcinogens.

 

 

 

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Party like a nutritionist:                5 healthy-eating tips to help you survive the holidays.

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Party like a nutritionist: 5 healthy-eating tips to help you survive the holidays.

* Pre-party with healthy snacks so you do not arrive hungry! Think fibrous vegetables and good fats.   (Carrots & hummus/ avocado, apples & almond butter/ string cheese.) * Channel your inner holiday sprite! Holiday drinking can double calories. Try a mixer with two ounces wine, club soda and a splash of cranberry juice. Nurse that baby into the night!

* Be colorful! Build a balanced dinner plate. Start at the salad bowl and work from there, keeping your plate full of bright colors and avoiding the dull-colored foods (they tend to be the worst ones for you.)

Eat mindfully! Careful not to get so caught in the excitement that you take down the dessert tray. Take time to chew and set your fork down between each bite.

* Brace yourself! On party days keep your calories low. Have a smoothie for breakfast, a salad for lunch and plenty of healthy snacks so you don't arrive hungry.

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

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Pumpkin "Ice Cream"

Now that we are in the holiday season, sugar cravings are high.  Instead of breaking out the Christmas cookies early, use up the last of your Thanksgiving pie ingredients with this magically creamy pumpkin ice cream.  This delicious, guilt free, holiday dessert is vegan and very low in sugar.

Pumpkin Pie Ice Cream

INGREDIENTS

2 Frozen bananas (break into pieces before freezing.)

3 TBS Pumpkin Puree

Few splashes of Vanilla Almond Milk, Coconut Milk, Or Cow Milk. (just enough to create a creamy consistency)

1/4tsp Ground Cinnamon & 1/4tsp Ground Clove (or substitute both cinnamon and clove with 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie mix. )

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1 Tsp honey or maple syrup

2 Tsp. toasted pecans to garnish

DIRECTIONS

Add the frozen bananas to a food processor or heavy duty blender.

Pulse a few times to break them up, then add the milk and blend until smooth (you may need more or less depending on the consistency your looking for.)

Then add the rest of the ingredients and blend slowly until it is mixed.

Dish up into ice cream bowls and serve immediately!

The Skinny

Having less sugar in you diet will improve your immune system, control your food cravings and promote healthy skin. Did you know that just one teaspoon of sugar, inhibits your immune system for 12 hrs?! If your someone who craves sweets, find creative ways around the habit.  When those cravings kick in, satiate the body with good fats instead.  Pumpkin "ice cream", apples with cinnamon, or 1 Tbs of almond butter are all good choices....

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

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Fatty Boo-Bat-ies: Tips for a Healthy Halloween

For both kids and adults Halloween is the gateway into the holiday eating season. It marks the beginning of the many celebrations to come, and with it our hard earned health and weight loss goes out the window.  Many of our holiday festivities are centered around eating which is arguable the best and worst of traditions.  Halloween in particular, sabotages our weight because of the high amounts of sugar we consume.  And as much as I love a tiny witch knocking on my door, I can't help but feel that I am working against my own values when I stock their buckets (and my own pantry) with sweets. Now I don't want to be the house on the block known for giving out weird kale treats (or do I..?), but I do think there are healthier options for our trick-or-treaters. Here are a few ideas to help you and your neighbors be a little less sugar crazed.

    • If you have kids of your own, try to keep the focus on the spirit of Halloween. Play dress up and make creative costumes, carve pumpkins, decorate your house and yard, play games, build a haunted house, tell ghost stories, and have parties with friends.
    • Don't over buy trick-or-treat candy! Running out is okay, I promise.  Every house on the block (including your own) will have more candy then they know what to do with. And that extra Halloween candy that is enticingly left out on the counter, will undoubtedly sabotage your health plans.
    • Give toys: false teeth, temporary tattoos, stickers, bouncy balls, plastic spiders and rats, Halloween pencils and erasers, hair clips, and bracelets.
    • Offer healthier treats: instant coco mix, graham cracker cookies, 100% juice boxes, fruit leather, air-popped popcorn packs, box raisins, natural fruit snacks, and trail mix.
    • If you do buy candy opt for the smaller versions: Hershey's kisses, tootsie rolls, etc.
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Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

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Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

It's my birthday month (yes, all month), and that means I've had more then my normal quotient of indulgences. It also means that my sweet-tooth has been awakened and is demanding my attention. In order to appease the sweet-tooth gods and keep my eating habits under wraps, I have been reaching for fresh fruit in the evenings.  This week my CSA came with a double dose of plums and pears, and I have been dreaming up creative ways to enjoy them. This brings me to my point and case: Poached Plums (or Pears!) This is so easy to make and could be enjoyed at the end of a busy day, or brought out at a dinner party to impress your friends. I choose both.

Poached Plums Served with Greek Yogurt and Toasted Pistachios

INGREDIENTS 3 TBS Honey 1 Tsp Lemon Zest 3 cups of water 4 Plums

Greek Yogurt (or coconut ice cream) Toasted Pistachios (or your favorite toasted nut)

DIRECTIONS Bring water and honey to a boil and whisk until mixed. Add the lemon zest and plums and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer plums for 10 minutes and then remove from water.

Let them rest for 5 minuets and enjoy over yogurt with toasted nuts.

The Skinny

Why choose fruit over chocolate bars? Fruit offers you a sweet taste and a whole lot of added benefits.

Fiber- Fruit is full of fiber (especially if you eat the skins) which helps with digestion, eases constipation and helps you stay full longer. Fiber also helps to slow the rate in which the sugar is metabolized, making those blood sugar spikes less extreme.

Vitamins- Fruit is packed with a wide spectrum of vitamins and minerals. Plums in particular have high levels of vitamin A and potassium good for vision and strong bones.

Fats- Fruit contains almost zero fat and help to lower cholesterol levels.  They greatly reduce the risk of chronic disease.

Sugars- Fruits do contain naturally occurring fructose, but it is much less sugar than you'd get if consuming sweets. Also, fructose being natural is always the better choice over high fructose corn syrup.

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Mama Says, "Eat Your Edamame"

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Mama Says, "Eat Your Edamame"

This is a quick, nourishing snack that is literally, just like mama used to make. My mom always had a pot of soybeans marinating on the stove. Her classic was a soy sauce, ginger, & garlic marinade, but when I called to let her know  I'd be blogging her favorite snack, she told me to get with the times- lemon and sea salt was the new fav. Like usual, mama was right. The lemon and sea salt is fresh and summer, and I am once again hooked.

In with the new (but keep the old). This was, and always will be my favorite snack.

INGREDIENTS

3-4 cups of frozen soybeans

 

Shoyu + Ginger Edamame:

1/2 cup soy sauce (Shoyu in Japanese) + 1 cup of water

3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves

1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

1 Tbs sesame oil

1 tsp toasted black sesame seeds

 

Lemon + Sea Salt Edamame

1 Tbs salt+ 2 cups of water

3 peeled and crushed garlic cloves

1 lemon + zest (or add orange zest.)

1 Tbs olive oil

 

Begin by adding your frozen edamame to a sauce pan.  Cover with the water (adding either soy sauce or salted water.) Water should just cover beans. Add the garlic cloves and  if your doing the soy sauce version - add ginger. Bring to boil and then lower to a simmer.

 

Cook the edamame for about 10-15 minutes (frozen soybeans are pre-cooked).  Drain and make a marinade for the soy beans.  Either:

A. Sesame oil, soy sauce, and fresh ginger 

B. Lemon juice, oilve oil, sea salt and zest.

 

Marinated beans will last up to a week in your fridge.

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Thai Chicken Slaw

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Thai Chicken Slaw

I am always looking for delicious & nutritious salads that are easily made and can satisfy all week. This is my latest obsession. I was inspired to make a dish that was both full of crispy, fresh, summer veggies and also high in protein (and as usual, looking to add an Asian spin).  So I took the route of a colorful slaw, added some flavorful chicken and spiked the whole thing with spicy Thai chilies and fresh herbs. Yum, I'm hooked. This dish is fantastic eaten as a side dish, for lunch behind my steering wheel, or reinvented into an incredible dinner as kimchee lettuce wraps.

THAI CHICKEN SLAW

Ingredients: 

  • 1 chicken breast and 1 thigh (pan roasted, cooled and then shredded)
  • 1 head of purple cabbage
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 radishes
  • Handful of mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, coarsely chopped
  • 1-2 Serrano pepper, Thai red chilies or 1/2 a jalapeno (to taste), seeded and finely chopped
  • 2 small shallots, finely chopped
  • 1" nub of fresh ginger
  • 1 green onion
  • 1 Tbsp honey
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1-3 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 3 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 3 tsp toasted cashews or peanuts
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Directions: 

Begin by seasoning and roasting the chicken.  Toss it with soy sauce and fresh ginger and roast at 350 F for approximately 15-20 minutes.  Set it aside to cool and then shred when it cools down enough to handle.

Shred your cabbage and carrots and add them to a very large mixing bowl. Slice radishes (and any other crunchy veggies you have on hand) and add them to the large bowl as well.

Create a dressing by mixing the shallots, cilantro, soy sauce, fish sauce, lime juice, rice vinegar and honey to a small jar with a lid.  Shake the heck out of it. When the dressing is well shaken, add 1/3 cup of olive oil and shake again. Shake it, shake it.

Add chicken to the big bowl and mix evenly into the veggies. Cover the whole thing with dressing and toss together thoroughly.

You can mix in the toasted nuts now, or save them until right before you eat.

Eat all week and in every way possible.

HINT: This salad is amazing served in a lettuce cup with kimchee!

The Skinny: Cabbage is part of the cruciferous family, best known for their anti-cancer properties (known as glucosinolates).  Other cruciferous are broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts, cauliflower, etc.  In fact, the anti-cancer effects are so well studied that it is one of the American Cancer Society's key dietary recommendations.  Beyond it's antioxidant qualities, cabbage also has very high levels of vitamin C, potassium and folic acid, biotin, calcium, and magnesium.  Cabbage also has an anti-bacterial effect which makes it particularly beneficial for healing peptic ulcers and indigestion. This is due to the strong amino acid L-Glutamine, which heals and regenerates the stomach lining.  And lastly, as with the rest of the cruciferous, cabbage protects and cleanses the liver. So eat it up, for a liver clean up!

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Poppy and Blood Orange Galette

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Poppy and Blood Orange Galette

My C.S.A box runneth over with citrus right now and I have been doing my best to use them in their entirety.  This week that seemed to manifest in a lot of dessert.  Given that this is a rarity around here, I embraced my new found love of baking and did my best to turn beautiful recipes into healthy, whole-grain treats. I was inspired by a blood orange tart I saw months ago on Lottie + Doof.  It was beautiful and rustic, and made with a butter-heavy crust that would not fly in my house (or belly.)  But with some help from My New Roots,  I made her poppy seed crust, that I had luck with last summer and the combination was fantastic! The rustic, poppy seed crust was a beautiful match to the naturally sweet citrus topping and all of it was dairy, wheat and (almost) sugar free (shhhh.)

I fed my treat to the in-house skeptic, who is morally opposed to all recipes altered for health, and his words exactly: "Oh my god, so moist and delicious! Seconds, please."

I fed the treat to the in-house skeptic, he who shudders at the thought of any indulgent treat turned healthy. His response: "Oh my god, so moist and delicious!"

I highly reccomend making this beautiful galette for a special occasion. A weekend dinner. Or, for breakfast. Tomorrow.

Poppy and Blood Orange Galette

Inspired by 

Lottie + Doof

 & 

My New Roots

Serves 6 

Filling:

4- 5 oranges of variety and color. At least one blood orange for your top layer.

Peeled and white parts removed.

Crust:

1 cup rolled oats

½ cup rye flour (Rye flour is wheat free and LOW in gluten. Not to be confused with gluten free!)

1 Tbsp. poppy seeds

1/3 tsp. sea salt

1/4 cup coconut oil, very cold (plus extra to greece pan with.)

scant 1/4 cup vegan butter such as Earth Balance, very cold

2 Tbsp. maple syrup

¼ cup ice water

DIRECTIONS

Begin by making your crust. Add the oats to a food processor and pulse until ground into a flour like consistancy. Then add the rye flour, poppy seeds, and sea salt and pulse everything to combine.  Add cold coconut oil and Earth Balance and again pulse until the mix has a grainy consistency. Add maple syrup and pulse, then slowly dribble in the water one tablespoon at a time just until the dough comes together (you may not need to use all the water ). Do not over process.

Take the dough and lightly form it into a ball. (The trick to good dough is to touch it as little as possible.) Wrap in plastic and let sit in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

While the dough is sitting, get to work with the labor intensive part of peeling the oranges.  Be sure to clean all the bitter white rind off and then slices the oranges into 1" thick disks. Then with a  thin strainer over a bowl, carefully press the oranges to remove some of the juice. This is a fragile process, so do your best to extract the moisture without breaking the shape of the orange.

*You will be left with a bowl of fresh orange juice. I suppose you could save the juice into a citrus honey sauce to drizzle over the top. Or, you could slurp it up like I did. Fresh and delicious.

When the dough is firm, cover a surface with some of the rye flour and roll the dough out into a circular shape.  Place the rolled dough onto a baking sheet and arange the orange slices in a colorful pattern with blood oranges on top.  Fold the edges just over the fuit and leave the center exposed.  Take the whole cookie sheet and place into the freezer for at least an hour, if not over night.  With will help the orange juice harden and keep the crust from getting soggy.

When you are ready to bake, turn the oven on to 350 and put the pan straight from the freezer into the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the edges of the crust start to brown.

Serve warm and with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

Enjoy fully and without regret.

The Skinny

Why opt for wheat free, you may ask? Even without a gluten allergy your body could find wheat hard to digest.  Wheat is one of those products that have been taken apart, reconfigured and used in over abundance in packaged food (along side its siblings corn and soy.)  Read almost any label on the shelf and find wheat in some form or another.  When the body ingests something at such great volumes it often forms allergies to these foods.  Additionally, the way in which we consume wheat, in it's de-constructed form, is hard for the body to recognize and process as it would the food in it's natural form.  When they body can not process something, it either disrupts digestion and food allergies form in response (hence the explosion of gluten intolerance), or it stores it as fat.

Rye flour is wheat free, and has very low gluten in it.  Yet is NOT GLUTEN FREE! Someone with celiac disease should not consider this safe.  However for the rest of us, just trying to eat as clean and whole foods as possible, rye flour is a is a great option!

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How to Roast Chicken (and then eat it all week.)

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How to Roast Chicken (and then eat it all week.)

The very best roasting technique comes from one of the very best chefs in California: Thomas Keller of French Laundry. Luckily, it is also very simple and very rewarding.  Learn this recipe by heart and you will never go wrong.

One Pot Roast Chicken

Inspired by In the Green Kitchen, Alice Waters

Serves 4-6

Salt and fresh-ground pepper

2 or 3 thyme sprigs

2 bay leaves

2-3 Tbls butter (or olive oil.)

3 potatoes, peeled and thickly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thickly sliced

2 celery stalks, thickly sliced

4 large shallots

5 cloves garlic, whole and peeled.

1 lemon chopped in 1/2

Fennel, squash, turnips, parsnips or your favorite root vegetable

To begin, prepare the chicken by bringing to room temperature 1 hour before your ready to begin cooking.  Remove the giblets if kept inside, wash, dry well and heavily season with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Preheat the over to 450.

Season the inside cavity as well and take a few sprigs of fresh herbs, 2 garlic cloves and 1/2 a lemon and place inside the chicken.  Truss your chicken by tying the legs together with string and tucking the wing tips up and under the back of the neck.

With your remaining fresh herbs, chop them loosely and mix with the butter or olive oil.  Using your fingers to pull the skin away from the bird, rub the butter herb mix between the chicken breast and the outside skin.  This will help you to create perfect crispy skin.

Toss your chopped vegetables with a tablespoon of olive oil, salt, fresh pepper and whole, peeled garlic cloves.  Lay them in a deep roasting pan, making a space in the center for the chicken.  Take a long piece of tin foil and crumple and round it to make a ring for the chicken to sit on.  Place the ring in the center of the veggies and the chicken on top, breast side up.

Roast the chicken for 20 minutes before flipping over and roasting 20 more minutes with the breast side down.  Flip one last time, breast side up and lower the temperature to 400 for the last 20 minutes.  During the final 20 minutes continuously check the chicken every 5 minutes. The internal temp should read 160. Be sure to take the temperature where the breast and thigh meet.  If you do not have a meat thermometer, simply stick the tip of a knife where the breast and thigh meet. When the chicken is done the juices should run clear, not pink.

Remove the chicken from the oven and transfer to a cutting board or platter.  Allow to rest for 10- 15 minutes before carving.

And then eat it all week....

A roast chicken is one of those classic dishes that is so versatile you could transform the leftovers into at least 4 more dishes before you tire of it. Here are a few ideas:

Breakfast

  • Jook is a savory, Asian breakfast porrage. Make steel cut oats or polenta for the base and add shredded chicken, scallions, fresh ginger, soy sauce and sesame oil!
  • Sweet potato hash is a great way to start the day chop up 1/2  a sweet potato, onion, bell pepper and left over chicken.  While your at it, might as well poach an egg to go over the top.

Lunch

  • Transform your lunch time salad using your freshly roasted chicken. Add white beans, roasted fennel and toasted pine nuts for a delicious, filling salad.
  • I love a good chicken salad sandwich. Chop the leftover chicken and mix with yogurt or avocado to bind it. Then add curry, currents, sliced grapes and chopped walnuts. Serve open face on a hearty bread with arugula.

Dinner

  • Enchiladas or tacos: Shred the chicken, mix with cheese, black beans and fresh cilantro for enchiladas.  Or shred and sauté with kale, red bell pepper and chili flakes for fantastic taco filling. Serve with black beans and fresh avocado!
  • Chicken Soup is the most obvious choice for left over chicken, but get creative and try a chicken white bean chili or a chicken tortilla soup.

The Skinny

As we know chicken is a fantastic source of lean protein.It is also relitivly cheap to buy and easy to prepare. Chicken contains high levels of niacin, selenium, and vitamin B6. When cooked in a soup, chicken is an age old recipe known to boost the immune and fight the common cold. And in chinese medicine chicken is regarded as an energy booster and digestive support.

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Shiitake Meatloaf with Ginger Miso Glaze

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Shiitake Meatloaf with Ginger Miso Glaze

You may have noticed by now, but I have an innate Hawaiian desire to turn most dishes Asian.  Oatmeal? Why not Jook? Soup? Why not miso? Noodles? I want soba. So it's no surprise that I turned a recent turkey meatloaf into a shiitake ginger masterpiece (if I say so myself). It all started with a basket of "ugly shiitakes" from the Civic Center Farmers Market.  They sell these curly little buggers for half the price as the full, but they are just as fresh and flavorful.  Hardly a week goes by without a trip to the mushroom booth.

Shiitakes have a rich, smoky wood flavor and are a great addition to most anything.  I like them in stir fry's with tofu, miso soups, with braised meats, sauteed with garlic and sesame oil AND I love to save the stems in the freezer for a later-made soup stock.  Not to mention their numerous health benefits.

Combined with a package of frozen ground turkey meat (one of my frozen protein staples), and a few  staple asian spices I had on hand, I came out with a very simple, nourishing dinner. I served this  with sautéed spicy bok choy.

SHIITAKE MEATLOAF WITH GINGER MISO GLAZE

Ingredients: 

For the Loaf

  • 1  1/2 lb lean ground turkey (preferably organic)
  • 4-8 shiitake mushroom caps and stems removed
  • 3 tsp Fresh ginger, skinned and minced
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 2 organic eggs, beaten
  • 2 tsp sesame oil
  • 2 Tbs hoisin sauce
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1 tsp fish sauce (optional)
  • 1-2 tsp sambal (optional)

For the Miso Glaze

  • 1 Tbs miso paste
  • 1 tsp mirin (or rice vinegar)
  • 1 Tbs honey

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350.

Begin by putting your ground turkey into a large mixing bowl.  Using sesame oil, sauté your shallot and garlic until just cooked (about 1 minute.) Add shiitakes and ginger and saute until just cooked (about 5 mins.)

Add this mixture to ground turkey, along with your green onions and all the sauces (hoisin, tamari, honey, fish sauce and sambal). Mix all the  ingredients together.   Place the turkey mixture into a deep loaf pan (9X5).

To make the glaze simply whisk together the miso, honey and mirin.  Coat the turkey loaf with a layer of glaze, reserving some for a final coat when it comes out of the oven.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. Pull from oven and coat with the remaining glaze. Let it rest for 5 minutes before serving. Great with any kind of veggies!

The Skinny: Shiitakes are a super food!! They are most known for their ability to power up the immune system, strengthening its ability to fight infection and disease.  Interestingly, studies have actually shown that shiitakes can either increase or decrease immune activity, depending on what the body needs.  They have also been shown to lower cholesterol levels. To top it off, shiitakes are an excellent sources of selenium and polysaccharides and a very good source of vegetarian iron.

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Soba Noodles with Ginger Almond Sauce

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Soba Noodles with Ginger Almond Sauce

This is one of my all time favorite dinners. I found it in vegetarian times years ago and have been recreating and reinventing it ever since. It is both satisfying and rich, while still fresh and light.  I dress the nutty (and gluten free) soba noodles in an almond butter and ginger sauce (that evokes its Thai peanut sauce cousin), and then toss in fresh, raw veggies. If I’m craving extra protein, I love to add grilled prawns. *Best of all, this dinner can be made in 30 minutes.

EQUIPMENT

This recipe is MUCH easier with a food processor or blender, although could be done with a whisk and determination.

INGREDIENTS

6oz low sodium soba noodles

1/2 cup organic, unsalted almond butter

1/4 cup brown rice vinegar

1Tbs. honey, agave or maple syrup

2 tsp. tamari (or soy sauce)

1 Tbs. pealed and chopped fresh ginger

1-2 cloves peeled garlic

1 Tbs. fresh lime juice

1 tsp. fresh lime zest

3/4 cup cilantro, divided and 1/2 cup saved fresh

Seasonal crunchy vegetables. I like:

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced

1 small red bell pepper, deseeded and sliced

1/2 cup grated carrot

1 sliced green onion

Optional 2 Tbs chopped toasted almonds.

1/2 lb whole prawns

DIRECTIONS

Cook the noodles in boiling salted water (follow package instructions.) Rinse with cold water and set aside.

Meanwhile, puree in your food processor the almond butter, vinegar, honey, ginger, tamari, garlic, lime, lime zest and 1/4 cup cilantro. Blend until smooth using small amounts of warm water to thin if necessary.

If cooking shrimp lightly toss in olive oil, salt and pepper and grill or san sear until just pink.

Finally, toss together the noodles, almond sauce, remaining cilantro and fresh veggies.  Top with shrimp and serve warm.

This dish is excellent cold the next day, so be sure to make extra for tomorrow’s lunch!

THE SKINNY

Soba noodles are a Japanese noodle made from buckwheat flour and sometimes flavored with green tea, mugwort, or seaweed. Soba in it’s true form is gluten free (but some varieties add gluten so be sure to check the packaging- Eden Foods has a 100% gluten free version.) Buckwheat gets its name for its resemblance to wheat berries, but in fact is a fruit seed.  Buckwheat is known to contain flavonoids known to lower blood pressure and protect the body from harmful cholesterol.  It contains very high-quality protein (containing all 8 amino acids), and high levels of magnesium and B vitamins.

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The Easiest Soup Imaginable

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The Easiest Soup Imaginable

I have an admission: I ate my jack-o-lantern.

I couldn't help myself!  I had all these beautiful pumpkin's on my porch staring in, begging not to be wasted.  So I did some research (turns out you can eat almost every pumpkin!) and I roasted up several varieties.

Keeping in-line with my recent soup fetish, I decided to blend this baby up into a creamy concoction.  What I ended with is the easiest fall soup imaginable.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

INGREDIENTS

1 medium squash (Any kind will work: acorn, kambucha, butter nut, etc.)

1 can of light coconut milk

1 tablespoon of Thai red curry paste

½ cup diced onion

1 tablespoon of diced fresh ginger.

1 tablespoon of coconut oil (or olive oil.)

Topping: Plain yogurt, pumpkin seeds, chili flakes.

DIRECTIONS

To begin preheat your oven to 400.  CAREFULLY cut the squash in half and place in a deep baking pan, skin side up.  Pour ½ cup of water in the pan with the squash.

Roast squash for 30-45 minuets or until you can easily pierce them with a fork. Remove the pan from the oven and place on stovetop to cool.

While the squash is cooling, heat coconut oil in a deep soup pot. Add your diced onion and ginger and sauté until soft (about 3 minutes.) Add 1 Tbs. of curry paste and mix well. Add some chili flakes at this point if you want extra spice. Then scoop the pumpkin flesh into the pot and stir it well (breaking up the big pieces of squash). Pour in 1 can of coconut milk and mix together.   You can stop here and have a chunky soup, or you can blend this in your food processor little by little until it is smooth.  I think blended soups are fancy, so I opted for the latter.

Simmer soup (blended or not) for 5 minuets and its ready to eat.

Serve with 1 scoop of plain yogurt and sprinkled pumpkin seeds and chili flakes.

The Skinny: Pumpkins are full of carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, magnesium and fiber! This low calorie squash will help you keep healthy eyes, bones strong, promote healthy digestion and a strong immune system! 

If you use the seeds (waste not, want not) you get a huge does of Omega 3's  manganese, magnesium, phosphorous, zinc and tryptophan. Pumpkin seeds are at the top of the nutrition nut pile.  They are anti inflammatory (good for arthritis), protect from prostate cancer, lower cholesterol with their Phytosterols, and improve mood and stress coping. They are also very high in protein

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