Food & Cooking

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.

No-Bake, No-Guilt Cookie

I cut  my teeth on sugar. By 2nd grade, I could make no-bake cookies unsupervised. I was incapable of conceiving the ramifications of the trans-fats and sugars on my health. But regeneration and renewal are possible! Cells are under constant turn-over, and every nourishing habit you implement today impacts your physiology forever after. Re-vamping the snack list is a good place to start. Here’s my make-over of an old favorite.

Gourmet Eskimos

1/4 c. coconut oil

1/2 c. almond flour

1/8 tsp. salt

2 Tb. honey

1/2 c. unsweetened coconut flakes

Pistachios, craisins, or additional coconut flakes for rolling

Cream coconut oil and almond flour. Stir in salt, honey, vanilla and coconut flakes. Mix until smooth. Form balls and roll in nuts, dried fruit or additional coconut flakes if desired. Store in the fridge. Makes 1 dozen

Coca-mos

Same as Eskimos, except add 2 Tb. cocoa powder with the almond flour.

Photo Credit: Mordi Photographie

Cozy Up!

Perhaps you haven’t thought about soup much more than to enjoy its steamy fragrance as you thaw yourself out from a snowy day, but it’s likely that soup existed in the earliest societies. Once cultures learned that they could create a clay vessel or watertight basket to hold their food instead of just waving it over the fire, they would have added water to their ingredients so that the contents would cook nicely. Traditional societies that hunted and gathered would have simmered bones in the liquid in order to salvage the last scraps of meat. Hence, our word for soup today actually comes from the Latin suppa, meaning bread soaked in broth. It was customary to “sop” or moisten bread in the watery mixture to utilize every drop.

Soup has been prescribed for invalids since ancient times, but it was the French who capitalized on that idea. In the 16th century, shops in France that sold a highly concentrated, inexpensive soup, advertised as an antidote to physical exhaustion, were called “restoratifs,” or as we say today, restaurants. Indeed, science is proving now that broth-based dishes full of cooked vegetables are not only easy to digest, they are healing to the gut.

But soup isn’t just physically restorative. It has a sort of emotional appeal as well, being comfort food when the weather outside is frightful. It also is an excellent way to stabilize blood sugars. So celebrate soup month by whirring up this easy recipe to enjoy by the mugful!

Spiced Cream of Butternut Soup

1 small onion, chopped

1 Tb. coconut oil

2 c. cooked pumpkin or butternut squash*

1 c. bone broth

1 c. canned coconut milk

1/2 tsp each cinnamon, coriander, and allspice

1 lb. cooked sausage, ground beef, or chicken breast, if desired.

salt and pepper to taste

Saute onion in coconut oil until translucent. Combine onion, squash, broth, coconut milk and spices in a blender and process until smooth. Adjust seasonings. Add cooked meat. Heat to marry flavors.

*To roast a whole pumpkin or butternut squash, cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place cut side down on a baking pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-50 minutes, until soft when pierced with a fork. Cool completely, then scoop flesh out of the rind.

 

 

 

My Top Ten Vegetable Side Dishes

  1. Sweet Brussels Sprouts: Cut off stem ends and slice into “coins.” Sautee in coconut oil with apple slices just until bright green and tender. Add a drizzle of maple syrup, a pat of butter, a dash of salt and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Optional: Top with dried cranberries.
  2. Roasted Roots: Cube a variety of root vegetables: parsnip, turnip, rutabaga, sweet potato/yam, beets, carrots. Toss with olive oil, sprinkle with thyme, marjoram, oregano, and rosemary. Bake at 450 degrees until tender, 20-30 minutes, stirring partway through. Just before serving, add a splash of balsamic vinegar and salt to taste.
  3. Orange Broccoli: Steam broccoli. Meanwhile, mix equal parts honey, butter, and orange juice concentrate. Pour over cooked broccoli. Salt lightly.
  4. Herbed Squash: In a baking dish, layer thin slices of peeled winter squash with onion and little dollops of butter. Sprinkle each layer with a mixture of salt, pepper, basil, oregano, thyme, sage, rosemary, marjoram and garlic. Top with bread crumbs and bake, covered, for 40 minutes at 350 degrees.
  5. Italian Zucchini: Stir-fry zucchini slices in olive oil with minced garlic, oregano and basil until bright green and tender. Toss in some sun-dried tomatoes and serve.
  6. Holiday Green Beans: While fresh green beans are simmering in water, caramelize some sliced onions by cooking them in butter over very low heat for 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally. When beans are nearly soft, fry some bacon until crispy. Remove bacons strips, drain beans, then add beans to the bacon grease and fry on medium high heat until lightly browned. Combine beans, bacon, and onions to serve.
  7. Thai Greens: Sautee minced garlic, grated fresh ginger root, and lemon grass slices in coconut oil until fragrant. Add baby greens and cook just until wilted. Pour some coconut milk over them along with a dash of fish sauce.
  8. Fancy Cauliflower: Steam cauliflower florets until tender. While still hot, toss with butter, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese, paprika, salt and pepper to taste.
  9. Gingered Carrots: Grate a pound of carrots. Add 1” of grated fresh ginger, 2 Tb. Whey (the clear liquid from yogurt with active cultures) and ½ tsp. salt. Press in a quart mason jar until liquid oozes up over the carrot. Screw lid on tightly and set on the counter for 2-3 days. Then refrigerate and use on salads.
  10. Italian Eggplant: Prick eggplant with a fork and put in the oven at 350 for 30-40 minutes until soft. Cool and remove skin. Toss cumin seeds into heated coconut oil. As soon as seeds darken, add onion and sautee until onion becomes transparent. Stir in crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, grated fresh ginger, a bit of coriander powder and a pinch of turmeric powder. Simmer to marry flavors. Mash or cube eggplant and add to mixture. May be eaten with rice or naan.