Monday, November 28, 2016

5-LAYER WARMEST WINTER BOWL with roasted roots, garbanzo beans, and basmati rice


This is my go-to, anti-chill winter meal. The recipe may look daunting based on it's length but I assure you it only requires simple chopping and a few seasonal ingredients. I make this regularly throughout the winter months, switching from rice to quinoa to cooked buckwheat and using white beans in place of garbanzo, basically adapting the recipe to meet my taste of the day. It's a great meal to make in large batches. Freeze the three base layers together in individual serving containers for an easy-to-grab lunch option. It's an inexpensive, meatless and warms the body from the inside, providing a sustainable heat.
 
[THE RECIPE]

For the Roots:

1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into small chunks*
3 beets, any variety, peeled and cut into small chunks*
3 - 4 carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks*
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into small chunks*
1 medium onion, any variety, finely chopped
3 - 4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
2 - 3 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil, melted
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
fresh or dried rosemary, sage, and thyme

*If you purchase organic produce, you can skip peeling. Scrub with a veggie brush and chop. 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Spread out all of the prepared vegetables on a large rimmed baking sheet [optional use of parchment paper]. Sprinkle with 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of sea salt, a few grinds of pepper, and herbs [about 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of each dried herb or 1 tablespoon of each fresh herb]. Drizzle with melted ghee or oil and toss using your hands so that all of the vegetables are covered with both herbs and ghee or oil. 

Place veggies in warmed oven and bake at 375 degrees for 35 - 45 minutes or so. Remove when veggies are just beginning to brown along the edges and are soft but not mushy. Turn off oven but leave veggies inside until remaining dishes are prepared.

For the Rice:

While veggies are baking, make basmati rice according to package instructions. Quinoa or buckwheat are great substitutes.

For the Garbanzo Beans:

1 large can of cooked Eden garbanzo beans or make 2 cups dried beans, drained and rinsed
2 - 3 tablespoons of ghee or coconut oil
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
optional additional spices: turmeric, cumin, coriander, sweet paprika, smoked paprika

In a medium size skillet, warm ghee or oil over medium-high heat. When ghee or oil is hot but not smoking, carefully add beans. [Oil may splatter!]

Shake skillet carefully to toss beans. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and shake skillet again. Let beans cook for 7 - 10 minutes, shaking frequently to prevent burning, or until beans turn a golden brown color and look a bit crispy on the outside. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Garnish:

avocado, pit removed and sliced
toasted pumpkin seeds
parsley, fresh thyme or herb of choice

To Create 5-Layer Bowl:

Place a scoop of rice in bottom of medium, single-serving bowl. Top with a layer of roasted vegetables followed by beans and finally any garnishes desired [the photo for this post shows avocado and pumpkin seeds]. Serve warm. 

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

PAD THAI




My oldest has been begging me to make this for more than a week now. After weeks of going, what's felt like non-stop, I was finally home with one thing on my mind: make my girl some pad thai. It's a household favorite. We hope you enjoy!


[THE RECIPE]
Serves 4 - 6

1 lb dried rice noodles, 1/8 inch wide
Warm water

1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
1 lb chicken, shrimp, well-made tofu, or garbanzo beans rinsed and cut into small chunks [no cutting necessary if using beans]
2 - 3 cups kale, rinsed and chopped into very small pieces
4 - 5 cloves garlic, minced
1 1-inch piece of ginger, minced
1 1-inch piece of turmeric, minced

For Sauce: 

1/4 cup fish sauce or gluten free tamari sauce
1/2 cup honey, more to taste
1/8 cup apple cider vinegar
1/8 cup brown rice vinegar
1/8 cup white vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon red curry paste
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground chili powder
1 teaspoon prepared horseradish
3/4 cup unrefined sesame oil [extra virgin olive oil works as well]

Garnish: 

Organic bean sprouts or sprouts of choice
Crushed roasted sunflower seeds or peanuts
Scrambled eggs
Lime wedges

Place dry noodles in a large glass bowl and cover with warm water so that the liquid is about 1-inch above the noodles. Set aside for about 30 minutes.

Precut all ingredients where necessary and mix sauce ingredients before you begin to cook.

While noodles soak, warm ghee or oil in a large wok or pot over medium heat. When ghee or oil has melted, add chicken.  Cook over medium-high heat until the outside layer of the chicken is cooked. Add garlic, ginger, and turmeric. Stir well and continue cooking until chicken starts to brown slightly. Reduce heat to medium-low and add kale. Stirring constantly, cook until kale has wilted. Turn heat to low.

Strain liquid out of noodles and rinse with cold water.

Add noodles and sauce to chicken mixture. Increase heat to medium-high and bring liquid to simmer, stirring frequently. Adjust heat to maintain simmer, cover, and cook until noodles are cooked al dente, stirring regularly and tasting as needed. Adjust flavor if necessary to fit your preferences [add more honey, more fish sauce, more seasoning, etc.].

Once noodles are just soft, remove from heat. Let sit for 3 - 5 minutes. Garnish as desired and serve.




Monday, November 21, 2016

KEEPING WARM + APPLE CRISP

Tis the week of Thanksgiving and I've found myself a bit flustered. Normally the weather kicks me into holiday mode but this season I find myself completely tricked. Not that I'm complaining. Some extra days of warm air and outdoor fun sans heavy snow gear is aways a treat. But the shocking twist in temperatures has my body freaking out a bit.

As the thermometer drops, our bodies tend to curl inward and tighten. Pay attention and you may notice a more pronounced hunkering over - you're body's desperate attempt to keep warm on the inside. Your may become less flexible, more stiff with increased soreness, and really dry. Don't get mad - your body is doing what it's supposed to. Protecting your precious insides.

But there are ways to settle the body and care for it well amidst what can be a pretty tough seasonal transition.

Twists and circular movements in yoga help soften the body and lubricate our joints. Opening in gentle backbends counteracts the tendency to curl forward. Meditation aids the settling of our mind, especially when tucked within busy schedules, parties, and school activities.

Herbs and spices like ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, pepper, garlic, rosemary, sage, and nutmeg are all excellent at maintaining and providing a balanced warmth. Apples, pears, and dates help to increase moisture in the body. Cooked grains, ghee and root vegetables give substance and nourishment. It's the season for soups and stews, dal and kitcharirisotto and crisp.

Hydration is really important. Warm or room temperature water is ideal, especially with a small piece of ginger and some lemon juice.

Know that cold doesn't have to be miserable. It just asks us to shift our routines with the seasons. We so naturally change over our closets - trading sandals and shorts for boots, scarves, and fleece-lined leggings. Why not trust the same instinctual desire when it comes to how we care for our bodies?










[THE RECIPE]

8 - 10 apples, peeled and cut into thin chunks or slices
1 - 2 cups apple cider or juice
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 cups gluten-free old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups gluten free oat flour [ground fresh if possible]
1/2 cup coconut sugar
1/2 teapsoon sea salt
3/4 cup ghee or coconut oil [for vegan]
3/4 cup maple syrup

Spread out prepared apples in a 9 x 13 glass baking dish. Toss with 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Pour in apple cider or juice so that there is about an inch of liquid along the bottom. Add more if necessary. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a large mixing bowl combine oats, oat flour, sugar, salt and remaining 1 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon. Warm ghee or oil and syrup in a small saucepan over low heat until completely melted. Pour warmed liquid over oat mixture and stir until oats are completely covered. The consistency should be moist but not wet and fairly crumbly. Add more oil-syrup mixture or oats as needed.

Spread the oat topping evenly over the prepared apples. Loosely cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake until liquid is bubbling, approximately 45 minutes. At this point, remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes or until the oat topping just begins to brown in spots.

Remove from oven and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Serve warm or cool.


Saturday, November 19, 2016

3-INGREDIENT HONEY BUTTER

There are few things more satisfying on a windy, cold day than homemade bread and butter. Something about bread feels nourishing, homey, nastalgic - a reminder of simple beauty, consistent provision, and humble treasure. When I eat bread, especially fresh baked, I automatically slow down. My body settles into faith that this is enough. I have enough. I am enough.

So it's bread. But it's so much more.

I'm completely smitten with this gluten-free bread and make no other in my kitchen. But it's one that almost demands a spread. As if to say, "I'm so good you know I deserve frosting."

And so the bread got frosting. A buttery, sweet, with tinge of salty, fancy dress that twirls and swirls and catches everyone's eye.

May you find the place within yourself that has always been enough. And when you eat bread, may you savor both it and the beautiful, unique, divinely-created being that is you.

[THE RECIPE]

1 cup Kerrygold butter or local butter of choice
1/2 cup pure, raw honey [more or less to your taste preference]
1/2 - 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt

Place all of the ingredients in a medium size glass bowl and hand whip with either a whisk or spoon until fully incorporated. Spread over bread, muffins, coffee cake, or whatever else needs a little sparkle.

Store on your counter for a day or two, or refrigerator for a few weeks.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

HOMEMADE BALSAMIC VINAGRETTE



This is my go-to, "good for any occasion and makes everything taste better" dressing. It's the one I've made so many times, I've given up measuring the ingredients and let my eyes and tastebuds take the lead. The one thing I'm a stickler about in this recipe is the balsamic vinegar. There really is no substitution for Napa Valley's Reserve Balsamic. The consistency is reminiscent of molasses and takes a bit to get out of the bottle but the texture it creates when combined with the other ingredients is that of a thick syrup. And no, I'm not getting paid to say this. I have no connection to the company. In fact, rarely do I advocate for a particular brand unless is absolutely affects the outcome of the recipe or presents a quality issue. This is one of those infrequent times. 


[THE RECIPE]

1 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar [Don't sub another brand, it has to be this one. Trust me.]
1/2 cup pure, raw honey
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 heaping tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon finely ground sea salt [start with less and add more as needed]
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh or 1 teaspoon dried thyme

Place all of the ingredients into a glass quart jar. Secure the lid tightly and shake vigorously for a couple minutes until the mixture is like a thick syrup and ingredients are thoroughly combined. Taste the dressing and add more honey, vinegar, or salt as needed. Store on the counter for up to a week or in the refrigerator for a month or so.

I like this dressing on just about everything: meat, salad, rice - get creative!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

3-INGREDIENT VEGAN HOT COCOA



It  may seem ridiculous with the temperatures being what they've been, but cold weather's a'comin. I'm still a little stunned that Thanksgiving is next week with December right around the corner. Each year I look forward to my first cup of hot cocoa. It taps into both childhood nostalgia and a deep desire for something sweet and warm.

Sweet, warm, and salty are perfect flavors to seek throughout the winter months according to Ayurvedic principles and may be the reason behind our cravings for decadent food. But we can satisfy this natural and good desire within us without overdoing the sugar and fat - especially the processed versions of each. Root vegetables, well-cooked grains, natural sweeteners, and meats [if that's your thing] can all provide the warmth and grounding our bodies need throughout these unpredictable months.

And cocoa.

For years I've sought out a product that doesn't contain sugar and dairy yet still tastes good. Only recently did a friend of mine introduce me to Nib Mor Drinking Chocolate. Friends, let me tell you, it's good.

Apparently a lot of people agree. Particularly in my town. Last week I frantically searched the shelves of my local grocery stores to find it gone. Like gone, gone. Under normal circumstances I'd shrug my shoulders and give myself the "better luck next time" pep talk. But these circumstances were anything but normal. I was waist deep in shopping for a weekend retreat and stubbornly wanted to serve this particular hot chocolate.

Grrrrrr.

Yet, sometimes not getting what we want opens the door to creativity if we choose to embrace it.

It's also helpful to have a brilliant friend who steps in with "we can make this" resolve.

And so my friend Stephanie [find her here] and I ransacked my pantry and came up with this: a recipe that turned out to be more than enough.

That's the lesson right? When we use what we have, much of the time it's more than enough. 

Happy sipping!

[THE RECIPE]

1/2 cup raw cacao powder
1 3/4 - 2 cups raw coconut sugar [more if desired]
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Combine all ingredients in a high powered dry-mix blender [like Vitamix], food processor or spice grinder. Blend on high until the mixture becomes a fine powder.

Store in a glass jar [large-mouth pint size is good] with a tight fitting lid.

To make hot cocoa: place one heaping tablespoon of cocoa blend in a mug. Add one cup of water and stir to mix. Taste and adjust as necessary with more mix or water depending. Garnish with cinnamon, homemade marshmallows, a drop of peppermint oil [food grade], molasses [try this recipe!], or shot of espresso.



Friday, August 19, 2016

THAI RED CURRY with galangal and kefir lime leaf


[THE RECIPE]
Adapted from: Gluten & Dairy Free Everyday Asian by Bindu Menon


1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. coconut oil
1 – 1 ½ lb chicken breast or lamb, thin sliced; shrimp or tofu
2 heaping tablespoons of red curry paste
1” piece of galangal or 2 tsp. powder
1 T. Thai fish sauce or tamari / soy sauce
2 tsp. ground cumin
2 tsp. ground coriander
1 tsp. ground turmeric
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 15-ounce can regular coconut milk
1 T. raw honey
1/3 c. Thai basil leaves
2 kefir lime leaves [optional]
1 1/2 c. carrots, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. red / orange / yellow sweet peppers, thinly sliced
1 1/2 c. kale or spinach, thinly sliced
3 c. green beans, French cut or chopped



Warm oil in a large stainless steel or cast iron skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook on medium-low, stirring frequently until onion softens and garlic becomes slightly golden on edges. Add meat of choice and cook thoroughly. Add curry paste, galangal, fish sauce, cumin, coriander, turmeric, and cinnamon. Cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Carefully pour in coconut milk and honey. Stir to combine. Add basil and life leaf and cook over medium – low heat until liquid begins to simmer. Reduce heat to maintain very gentle bubbling but not boiling, add carrots, and cook for 5 - 10 minutes or until carrots are just beginning to soften. Add peppers, beans, and kale. Cook until beans are bright green and peppers just soft. Remove from heat and serve over a bed of basmati or jasmine rice.