Food & Cooking

Hazelnut Fudge from Inner Connected Wellness

Carob Hazelnut Power Bites

Mmmmm! Rich! Satisfying! Guilt-free! You’ll feel like a queen. Just one will nip those cravings and carry you through until meal time. Loaded with healthy fat, they’ll give you the energy to pull through that 2 p.m. coma. And with a great blender, you can have them made in just minutes! Throw a few in the freezer to have when “hangry” sets in.

Ingredients

2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes

2 c. raw hazelnuts (may also use raw almonds, cashews, walnuts or pecans)

1/2 c. honey (may also use pure maple syrup, date paste, or fig paste)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 c. roasted carob powder

1/2 tsp. vanilla powder

optional add-ins: additional coconut flakes, any chopped nuts, seeds such as chia, sunflower, pumpkin or sesame

Instructions

Blend coconut flakes until they release their oil and form a paste. Scrape into a mixing bowl. Do the same for the nuts. Add remaining ingredients. Press into a square pan and chill before cutting into squares, or just roll into balls. Stores best in the refrigerator or freezer.

 

Like this recipe? You can find more in our Balanced Bowl Cookbook.

Power Up Your Picnic!

I love a picnic! Sunshine, fresh air, laughter and food – all the ingredients to create wholesome and delightful nourishment – are abundant even through autumn. But are you sabotaging your health with the lunch you pack?

Here’s a typical American picnic:

  • Sandwiches
  • Pop
  • Fruit
  • Chips
  • Cake or cookies

It’s appealing fare for all ages, but it’s a great mis-adventure for your physiology! Without realizing it, you and your loved ones are becoming so imbalanced in your nutritional needs, you are likely to be blind-sided by energy deficits that can someday become chronic health challenges, such as food sensitivities, chronic fatigue, weight gain, mood disorders, hormone imbalances, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and even auto-immunity.

Let’s dissect this picnic. Given that the sandwiches are either made with 2 ounces of thin-sliced deli meat, or peanut butter and jelly, the meal stacks up at approximately 66% carbohydrate (with all but the fruit as simple, refined carbs), 32% fat (none of which is natural, nourishing fat), and 2% protein. I’m sorry, Beautiful, but 2% protein is NOT ENOUGH to make your hormones and hemoglobin, your enzymes and anti-bodies, your skin and your tissues. And if you keep putting soybean, cottonseed, corn and canola oil through your gall bladder, it will be as congested as a CD player with a pancake in it!

I’m not anti-carb. I just believe in real foods, properly balanced! So what can you do?

Try out any of these ideas:

  • Fill a whole grain wrap or pita with meat and veggies, allowing you to get more filling and less fluff. Or pick up some dolmathes from a nearby Greek restaurant.
  • Substitute real whole milk, herbal tea, or flavored water for your soda. You might even try a homemade electrolyte drink, such as these or these. 
  • Need some crunch and some flavor? Try nuts and seeds instead of chips. Just make sure they are raw so the fats are not oxidzed. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are cheap and satisfying.
  • How about some cheese with your fruit instead of cookies? I’m partial to herbed chevre spread on apple slices.
  • Cut veggies with hummus make a great filler. Cherry tomatoes and petite bell peppers might be more add interest to celery and carrot sticks. Throw some olives in, too!
  • No time? Grab a container of ceviche from the market along with an avocado, and don’t forget to pack a knife. At your picnic site, slice the avocado in half, fill with your seafood salad and serve. If you don’t like crab and shrimp, you might try this Mexican-themed chicken filling instead.
  • Hard-boiled eggs and jerky both travel well and add extra protein. By the time you eat them, along with the other ideas here, you won’t even want cake!
  • Proscuttio goes well with melon. You could even put some on a skewer with cantaloupe balls before you leave home to moderate the insulin surge you get from eating carbs without fats and proteins.
  • Use jars to transport non-finger foods. For example, you could layer toasted oats and almonds with plain coconut yogurt.
  • Make a cookie that uses coconut or almond flour, rich in natural fats, instead of grain flour. If you use honey in place of sugar, you can cut the amount of sweetener in half.
  • Try a dessert recipe from our cookbook that uses only unrefined ingredients and has balanced carb-fat ratios.

Best Sesame Snacks

I couldn’t help giving you this sneak peek from our newly-released cookbook! These sesame squares make up in a snap and truly hit the spot when cravings strike. Easy and satisfying, the snack bars travel well for hiking, car trips, and picnics. They taste sweet, but have plenty of natural fat to prevent a blood sugar spike. As a bonus, they are gluten-free, casein-free, soy-free, and nut-free. (For those who have an allergy to egg, flax or gelatin can be substituted.)

Like the other recipes in our book, they use whole foods, not ingredients you can’t pronounce. (Get your copy of the cookbook here!) Best of all, they don’t require any previous cooking experience – your kids could make them! Just mix and spoon into your baking pan. In less than two minutes, you can leave them baking in the oven while you hustle up your backpack for an adventure!

Ingredients

1 c. tahini (sesame seed butter) or sunflower seed butter

1/2 c. honey

2 c. toasted sesame seeds

2 eggs (or use 2 Tb. chia seed and 6 Tb. water OR 2 Tb. unflavored gelatin and 6 Tb. water*)

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Directions

Mix everything together and press into a greased 9″ x 9″ baking pan. Bake at 325 degrees until browned and set, about 30 minutes. Cool and cut into squares.

Fruity Frosty is a Big Fat Treat

Fab and Frosty Treats

Simple and sweet, from whole foods and healthy fats, these soft-serve ice creams whip up in minutes and leave you satisfied, not sick. Bursting with flavor, they need no artificial ingredients to engage your taste buds!

Blend or process until smooth:

  • 1 c. frozen fruit
  • 2 servings of natural fat (such 1 avocado, 1/4 c. nut butter,  or 1/2 c. coconut millk)
  • 1 Tb. citrus juice (or other liquid)
  • 1 Tb. natural sweetener (such as honey, pure maple syrup or coconut sugar)

Winning combinations

  • raspberries, avocado, fresh-squeezed lime juice, and honey
  • peaches, coconut milk, and orange juice concentrate (no sweetener needed)
  • cherries, 1/4 c. almond butter, pomegranate juice (may need water or ice for blending)
  • bananas, cashew butter, almond milk, and pure maple syrup
  • Pineapple; coconut milk; lemon, lime or orange juice; and coconut sugar

Find more treats and satisfying recipes here.

Photo credit: Mordi Photographie

 

Crepe Fest

Crepes. The word conjures up a secluded celebration between two lovers with raspberries and cream in a candlelit dining room. Or an indulgent weekend soiree between close friends with spring chicken, fresh asparagus and a little mushroom sauce. Crepes make you feel cherished.

Try this sweet twist on crepes from a whole food perspective:

Ingredients

  • 1 c. cooked sweet potato, pumpkin, or plantain puree
  • 1/2 c. brown rice or buckwheat flour
  • 1/4 c. starch (potato, tapioca or arrowroot)
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1 c. water
  • butter, ghee, coconut oil, pure lard or tallow

Method

Combine vegetable puree with flour, starch and salt, mixing until no lumps remain. Beat in eggs and honey. Slowly add water, while stirring, until batter is thin and smooth.

Preheat a heavy  8″  skillet over medium low heat. Evenly coat the surface of the skillet with 1 tsp. of cooking fat. Pour 1/2 c. batter into center of skillet and rotate pan with your wrist until batter fills the bottom of the skillet. Cook 2-3 minutes, until crepe is bubbly and edges begin to brown and curl. Flip and continue cooking another couple minutes. Remove to a plate for filling.

Repeat this process of coating the pan, pouring in the batter, and cooking until batter is gone. Makes 8 crepes.

Fillings

 Savory

  • a variety of raw or sauteed vegetables or sprouts
  • any cooked meat, fish, or poultry
  • herbs to complement your choices: parsley, dill, cilantro, basil, sage, etc.

Sweet

  • fruits in season
  • freshly ground nut butter or creamy cheese such as chevre
  • avocado (pairs especially well with mandarin orange)
  • spices including cinnamon, nutmeg, or allspice

 

 

Bowl Meals

Versatility! Bowl meals suit your individual tastes and diet requirements while still appropriately balancing fats, carbs and proteins. Make them vegan, make them paleo, make them traditional… it matters not. You can be assured that your body is being nourished with power-packed ingredients geared to keep blood sugars stable while fueling you with the vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients you need to condition muscles, keep your brain sharp and focused, empower your heart, and stay ship-shape.

Start with a Starchy Base

  • No more than a cup of grain (rice, millet, quinoa, barley, etc.), legumes* (lentils or beans) OR starchy vegetable (potato, yam, beans, sweet potato, peas, etc.)

Smother in Leafy Greens

  • As much as you can eat of sprouts, micro-greens, spinach, romaine, kale, chard, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, arugula, bok choy, etc. – raw, or sautéed

Add a Protein Layer

  • 4 oz. beef, pork, fish, seafood, poultry or tempeh

Use an Abundance of vegetables

  • Radishes, bell peppers, jicama, cucumber, zucchini, snap peas, green beans, broccoli, cauliflower, beets, parsnips, carrots, green beans, mushrooms, etc.

Top with ONE Healthy  Fat

  • 1 Tb. of expeller-pressed oil*
  • 2 oz. nuts or seeds
  • 2 oz. cheese
  • ¼ c. avocado or olives

Be Generous with Extras:

  • Fermented veggies, kelp granules, nutritional yeast, apple cider vinegar* and/or fresh lemon/lime juice

*You can make a dressing with ¼ c. chickpeas, 1 clove garlic, 1 Tb. olive oil and 2 Tb. apple cider vinegar

DeTox Soup

Known as Indian comfort food, this spicy stew is perfect for the transition from winter to summer because it supports healing and cleansing. Called kitchari in Ayruvedic medicine, the traditional blend of rice and easy-to-digest split mung beans, works better than many current detox programs because it keeps blood sugars stable.

Many juice fasts aggravate unstable blood sugars by failing to provide adequate proteins and allowing glucose to enter the bloodstream unrepressed. The result is irritability, moodiness, headaches, shakiness, and brain fog.

But our DeTox Soup provides a wide array of essential amino acids and is delicious to boot! One batch makes enough for several meals. You can whip it up quickly using a pressure cooker, or set it in the crock pot and come back hours later to a ready meal.

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. split yellow mung beans (available in Asian store or online)
  • 1/2 c. basmati rice
  • 4 c. water
  • 4 c. bone broth
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 Tb. grated ginger root
  • 1 tsp. each cumin, fennel and coriander seeds
  • 1/2 tsp. turmeric
  • unsweetened coconut flakes
  • fresh cilantro

Directions:

Combine all ingredients. For pressure cooking, process 15 minutes. For crock cooking, simmer for 8 hours. Remove bay leaf. Salt to taste. Garnish with coconut and cilantro.

Note: Optionally, you can add seasonal vegetables and a little lean meat. If you are not de-toxing but using this as a supportive part of you meal plan, add some ghee or coconut oil when you salt it at the end of cooking. To make sure the mung beans do not cause gas, you can add a pinch of asafetida, also available at Asian stores.

Kasha Krispies

Want a snack that won’t spike your blood sugars? This bar – a delightful combo of crunchy and chewy – is less than 50% carbohydrate and more than 50% healthy fat and protein.

1/2 c. honey

3 Tb. coconut oil

1/3 c. collagen powder

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/2 c. almond butter

2 c. uncooked kasha (roasted buckwheat)*

Melt honey and coconut oil together in the microwave. Whisk in collagen powder and cinnamon until no lumps remain. Addd almond butter and mix until smooth. Return to microwave and heat in 30 second increments until bubbly. Pour over kasha and mix until kasha is well-coated. Press into a 9×9 pan. Cool and cut into squares.

*If you can’t find kasha in your grocery store, you can get hulled buckwheat from the bulk bins. In a dry skillet over medium-low heat, roast the buckwheat, stirring every few minutes, until golden brown.

Italian Parmesan Patties

Comfort food! Here’s a meal that fills your soul and your belly! Not only is it richly satisfying as a home-cooked meal that feels like restaurant fare, it is also nutrient-dense, featuring all-star root vegetables, hidden organ meat (you’ll never know it’s there) and gut-healing bone broth.
 Italian Parmesan Patties
4 c. peeled and grated turnips, or rutabaga (spiralized if you have that gadget)
1/4 lb. liver, frozen
1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp. each: rosemary, oregano, thyme, garlic powder and salt
2 tsp. onion powder
16 oz. tomato paste
2 c. bone broth
1/2 c. fresh basil, tightly packed
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
Layer the grated vegetable in the bottom of your crock pot. Grate the liver and mix with the ground beef and seasonings. Form six patties. Blend the tomato paste, broth and basil together. Lay 3 patties on top of the grated vegetable. Pour on half the sauce. Lay the remaining patties in the crock pot. Pour on the rest of the sauce. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Top with parmesan cheese and serve.

Un-American Breakfast

Go ahead, break the mold! Life is too precious to not savor each moment!

That’s why it’s important to start each day by truly nourishing your body and soul. If you go into flight-or-flight from the moment the alarm goes off, and rush through your preparations only grab a doughnut and coffee on your way out the door, you are setting yourself up for instability the rest of the day. You’ve got adrenaline pumping, you’re dehydrated, and you’ve just given yourself an insulin surge that’s going to drop you cold about 10 a.m. How can you engage with life in a meaningful way if your energy is flat and you have no reserves?

Breakfast is a top priority for me because it lays the foundation for my well-being the rest of the day. I aim to eat equal proportions of carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats to give me a long, slow, even burn – instead of the roller coaster ride I used to experience with my repertoire of muffins, pancakes, and cereals. It can be rather liberating to stop the all-carb breakfast that is the American tradition.

Here are three well-balancedrecipes to start your day off right:

Breakfast Pizza  

Sourdough Bread or prepared whole-grain pizza crust

Ricotta cheese

Basil

Vegetables – chopped spinach, sliced tomatoes, olives, mushrooms, etc.

Crumbled bacon

Fried or scrambled eggs, optional

Spread bread/crust with ricotta cheese and sprinkle with basil. Add vegetables and top with bacon. Add egg if desired.

 

Chocolate-Cherry Smoothie  (“It’s chocolate pudding ice cream!” –Nathanael, age 3)

1 c. spinach

½ c. coconut milk

2 Tb. cocoa powder

2 Tb. collagen powder, optional

1 c. frozen cherries

½ c. cherry or pomegranate juice

1 avocado

Blend until smooth, adding water if needed for mixing. Serves 2

Note: freezes well for popsicles!

 

Buttered Crock Pot Oats  

1 c. steel-cut oats

2 c. water

1 c. milk, any kind (it’s nice and creamy with coconut milk!)

1 egg (or 2 Tb. collagen powder)

½ tsp. cinnamon

¼ tsp. nutmeg

2 Tb. butter, preferably grass-fed

Salt to taste

Nuts, berries, honey (optional)

Whisk eggs with milk and water. Combine with oats, seasonings and butter in a crock pot. Cook on low for up to 8 hours. Serve with additional milk  and top with honey, berries and nuts if desired. Serves 4.