Monday, October 24, 2011


First, if you're curious what this Kombucha drink is go here for an excellent overview.

I admit, I'm a kombucha nut and have quite a few bottles saved up from my purchasing days. This has come in really handy because now I simply reuse those bottles when making my own [if you have never tried kombucha, look for this brand in any health food store]. For great instructions on how to make kombucha I recommend Sally Fallon's book Nourishing Traditions. Small Notebook also has really good instructions along with how to flavor your kombucha. Thus far I have tried cherry, pomegranate, and mango juice, pomegranate being my favorite. I have also tested adding a piece of peeled ginger [about 1-inch thick] which, as it turns out, is really tasty. I have found ginger kombucha to aid indigestion and stomach aches [it has a similar affect as ginger-ale with quadruple the health benefits].

Now that I've gotten the hang of this flavoring kombucha thing, I decided to get a bit creative and try a few fall recipes out. Simply add the below ingredients to your prepared kombucha and allow to sit at room temperature for five days and then refrigerate.

*Caution: If you are pregnant or nursing you may want to avoid kombucha as it is fermented and thus has a trace amount of alcohol. I am still nursing and have chosen to enjoy kombucha after I nurse my daughter right before she goes to bed for the night but did not drink it when I was pregnant. This is a personal decision and should be made after educating oneself. Rarely, an allergic reaction may occur so be sure to start with a small amount [1 oz. or so] and then work up from there. 


1/4 c. apple cider
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp. dried orange peel
2 whole cloves
2 whole allspice
2 whole cardamom pods

You can also just add cider for a "hard cider" like flavor.


1 large chunk of cooked pumpkin
2 whole cloves
1 cinnamon stick
1 piece ginger, peeled
2 whole allspice
pinch of ground nutmeg


2 - 3 chunks of peach
1 piece of ginger, peeled
2 whole cardamom pods

Friday, October 21, 2011


Well today the weather outside truly is frightful. It is one of those damp-cold, chill you to your bones, rainy fall days here in the great state of Michigan. This means I have a great excuse to curl up with a good book and a cup of hot carob while my baby girl sleeps. For me, the only thing that can warm up my body on a day like this is a crackling fire and cup of warm something that presently happens to be "cocoa". Pair it with some homemade hazelnut milk [go here for a great instructional] and a little dairy-free hazelnut creamer and peace prevails.


Carob is the bean-like pod of a locust tree [rumor has it John the Baptist lived on locust, referencing the locust tree rather than bugs - I would feel better if this was true] and is an excellent replacement for cocoa. Carob is warming to the body so it's no surprise that I crave it on chilly days. It's alkalizing and is a wonderful source of calcium, potassium, and fair amounts of vitamins A and B. It also contains some protein and much less fat than chocolate [and is caffeine free]. One note, carob should be used sparingly with children as it contains tannin [like cocoa and tea]. Because tannin reduces the absorption of protein, it may slow down the growth of younger kids if taken in larger quantities.


2 c. homemade hazelnut milk [you can also purchase hazelnut milk however you loose a lot of the nutrients through the processing], reserve some of the nut "meat" and keep the other for another use
1 1/2 - 2 tbsp. carob powder [you can also use cocoa or cacao powder]
dash of cinnamon
pinch of sea salt

honey [raw, unprocessed] or maple syrup, to taste*
1/4 c. SoDelicious coconut milk creamer [optional]

In a blender combine all of the ingredients except for the honey and creamer. Blend on med-high until everything is will well mixed [30 - 60 seconds]. Pour into a medium saucepan and warm until a light boil begins, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and stir in honey if using. Pour into two mugs.

Rinse out blender. Pour in creamer or milk of choice and blend on med-high for about 15 - 20 seconds to get a little froth. Pour half of the creamer into one mug and half into the other, keeping the froth in the blender [there may not be a ton of froth, but work with what you have]. Gently pour or scoop froth into each mug. Grab your "cocoa", a blanket, a book or movie and curl up by the fire!

*If you are using SoDelicious Hazelnut Creamer or sweetened hazelnut milk you won't need to add honey or syrup. If you are using regular unsweetened hazelnut milk you will probably want to add a touch of honey or syrup to sweeten.

**A Little Note: Some separation will occur. As it cools the carob "sediment" will fall to the bottom. You can either stir it in or drink as is. Taste is not affected.

Serves two.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


One of my favorite things in the entire world is having lunch with my daughter. Call me old fashion, but I love it when we are able to both sit at the table and have a meal together. She's at the age now where her and I can eat similar foods [hooray!] and today is no exception.

Actually, today's lunch was birthed out of my intense desire to like beets. To be perfectly honest, I really don't like them. Pickled, steamed, raw, or roasted, I just can't seem to wrap my taste buds around them and get on board. But I also love a challenge and have consistently bought them at my local farmer's market with the desperate belief that one day I'll fall in love [with beets I mean, I am already in love with the most wonderful man and beautiful daughter].

Well, today it happened. Maybe it's not love but the like is finally there. In my opinion love only comes when you can completely embrace all aspects of that being. Sorry beets, but I'm not into your raw version yet. Or steamed. But sauteed and baked? Now that I can enjoy. Pair it with some crunchy kale and a sweet potato and ooh la la - a relationship is born.

And my daughter? I think she loves anything I do and will eat anything I eat [remember this if your child is being picky about a particular food]. Just like her mama beets haven't been an immediate fixation but today the plate was cleaned and a tummy full. Perfection. Each time she puts something in her mouth I am reminded of my intense responsibility of caring for her whole person - mind, body, soul. I breathe life into her every time I kneel down and play or notice the seemingly insignificant thing that she must show me right now. To her, it is the most important thing in the world and that makes it the most important thing in my world. I provide her security each time I kiss, hug, and snuggle her. I give her a little piece of eternity each time she takes our hands and watches us pray. And I nourish her little body with every beet, potato, and piece of kale, teaching her the value of family when we sit down and eat together.

So, today may you chase fervently after something you know is good. And may you be rewarded. May you look at your children, or the children of others, and see in those trusting eyes the deep responsibility we have to care for them well. May you rise to the occasion. And may you leave a legacy that is far greater and more lasting than anything that could ever be written on paper. May it be written in the beings of those you love.


2 medium sweet potatoes
1 medium - large beet, greens removed
1 bunch of kale [I love lacinato kale] and beet greens
2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
pinch of Real Salt sea salt
fresh ground pepper
pinch of granulated garlic
ghee, non-dairy butter [like Earth Balance Soy-Free spread], or extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. Wash and scrub potatoes. Using a fork, poke with a few holes on each side. Place in oven and bake until soft, approximately 40 minutes [depending on size of potato].

Wash and scrub beet. Remove peels and greens. Set greens aside for later use. Shred beets using cheese shredder or processor. In cast iron skillet, heat 1 tsp. of oil. Once oil is hot, add beet and cook for 5 minutes or until cooler had deepened. Place on parchment paper lined baking sheet [separate a little if cooking for a young one as well]. Set aside.

Wash kale and beet greens. As thinly as you can cut, slice the greens. In the same cast iron skillet, add the remaining teaspoon of oil and heat. Add greens and saute until a deep green is achieved, approximately 5 minutes. Place on same parchment lined baking sheet [again, separate a little if cooking for a younger child].

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Sprinkle the "adult" portion of beet and greens with sea salt and granulated garlic. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until kale is very crispy [Little tip: you can also make great kale chips this way. Simply cut the piece a little larger, saute, and bake!].

Once the potatoes are soft completely through, remove from oven and cut in half, length-wise. For baby, scoop out potato and discard [compost] peel. Mash well. For adult, mash in peel and add ghee, non-dairy butter or drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with a little sea salt and pepper.

Once kale is crispy, remove kale and beets from oven. Place kale on plate. Add prepared sweet potatoes and top with beets. Sprinkle with a little larger grain kosher salt.

For baby, add kale and beets to mashed sweet potato and serve plain.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011


Any busy mom / dad, student,  employee, employer [or you fill in the blank] knows that a simple snack is key to get through the day. I am constantly finding myself looking for something to "just get me through until dinner". This is how many people find themselves in the prepackaged trap. Those boxes sit on the shelves so neatly, beckoning you with their easy open bag. What they aren't telling you is that, no matter what the catchy marketing promises, what's inside is over-processed, void of nutrients, enzyme-lacking food fillers. These so called "snacks" are unfitting stand-ins for the the nutrient dense foods your body is yelling for. They may fill your stomach but they won't fit the bill when it comes to vitamins, minerals, and the rest of their energy-boosting friends.

So what's a girl to do? The trick is: look ahead, cook ahead, and make a lot. Fill your counters, refrigerator, and freezer with easy to grab treats and you won't be tempted by Mr. Kraft and Lil' Miss Debbie [and all of their fellow thugs, masquerading as friends]. Fruits are an easy, no fuss snack. Veggies are as well, especially if you peel and slice in advance [store celery and carrot sticks in water to maintain crispness for much longer].

This recipe takes a little planning and prep [for the cashews and crackers if homemade, which I highly recommend] but once it's put together it will last 3 - 4 days [longer if frozen].

2 heaping tbsp. of pumpkin puree
3/4 c. cashews*
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/8 tsp. each granulated onion and garlic
1/4 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1/2 tsp. Italian seasoning [more to taste]

*The cashews need to be soaked prior to making this recipe. Soak over night [1 cup of cashews, 2 cups of water] in refrigerator or cover cashews with boiling water and soak for 15 minutes. To get double the return for your effort, make a nut milk [go here for great instructions], reserving the nut meat for this recipe.

Place cashews in food processor. Process on high until smooth and creamy, adding a little water if necessary. Add remaining ingredients to the cashew cream and process on high until smooth and creamy.

Serve with crackers of choice or make these from scratch!

Thursday, October 13, 2011


This post is long overdue and for that I am sincerely sorry [well, for that and the lack of photos of this one]. My hope, upon reading this post, is that you find encouragement, gain knowledge, grasp confidence, and know that you have a fellow gluten-free com padre cheering you on.

Alright, so you just came back from the doctor and it's official - no more gluten. Or, you've noticed that wheat products seem to have some negative effects on your body and you've decided to remove gluten for a while, just to see what happens. Or, the recent diet craze has captured your attention and the verdict is in - gluten is out. Different stories, same dilemma. You've recently found yourself "gluten-free" and have no idea where to go, what to do, and don't have a clue what quinao is. Shoot, you're still struggling how to explain gluten! With your bottom lip set at a small quiver and a tear [or two] gently careening down your cheek, you sit there wondering "Is this hopeless?".

Trust me, I've been there. I've ceremoniously emptied the cupboards and refrigerator of anything that had "wheat" or "gluten" in the label, finding that the items remaining were less than appealing. I've avoided dinner invitations, not wanting to be such a burden to the host. I've wandered through the grocery store looking like a lost puppy, circling around a half a dozen times before leaving with nothing in my cart. I've excused myself from the dinner table at a restaurant to find the nearest restroom stall, praying no one was there so I could have a short cry after realizing I couldn't eat anything on the menu. Not. one. thing. 

"What can I get you?"
"I'll have a water please."
"And ice."

I've been there.

On the other hand, I've successfully navigated a grocery store knowing exactly what I needed and where to find it. I've brought my own pasta to a restaurant and, with confidence, asked them to prepare it according to my specifications. I've filled my pantry and refrigerator shelves with delicious, healthy, and safe foods. And I've never felt better.

When people find out that I have lived gluten-free for some time now and have a degree in holistic nutrition, I generally get asked, "Can you help me with...[fill in the blank]" or some version of that question. I love when this happens. For me a spark is lit and a door is opening to a new challenge and a potential friendship.

A common theme in this question deals with how can someone live, and live well, a life free from gluten and other common allergens. My response generally involves that "it can be done, quite simply in fact" and "mentors and teachers are essential in making a smooth transition".

So, as a tribute to all of those who have guided me through my early days of gluten-free living, here are some of my GF-living "secrets" I'd like to share with you. Where to start, what to eat, some of my much-loved products, and other tips I've picked up along the way.

May your journey be filled with challenges that make you stronger, victories that give you hope, teachers who have walked where you are, and friends and family who are overcome with empathy, compassion, love and support. May your life be changed and good health fill you with peace.


"Gluten" is essentially the term given to certain types of proteins contained in some grains. Gluten can make some people violently ill. In a lot of cases this is understated and not taken seriously. It is really difficult to get someone who does not suffer from food allergies to wrap their mind around what you deal with on a 24/7 basis. Become educated on what gluten is, the symptoms, and the measures you take to avoid gluten. Educate yourself so that you can educate others. At the bottom of this post are some additional resources. Glance at some of those to learn more [specifically and the like]. 


First, remind yourself daily that this will be a journey. Take a deep breath [seriously, breathe in, letting your diaphram expand, and breathe out, slowly releasing the tension and stress that this has brought you]. Now, take another deep breath and remind yourself again, this is a journey.

Okay, ready? If you find yourself tensing up [because all anxiety is first realized physically], repeat the breathing.

I want to first list the foods you will be able to enjoy. It's best to focus on what you will be eating rather than what you won't.

Foods That Are Safe For A Gluten Free Home

Rule of Thumb: Remember to ALWAYS read the label. I can't emphasize this enough. Read. Read. Read.

ALL plain fresh, frozen, canned and dried fruits and vegetables and their juices.

ALL plain meats.

GRAINS / FLOURS / STARCHES: Rice, Soy, Tapioca, Sorghum, Millet, Arrowroot, Teff, Corn, Potato, Beans / Lentils [and their flours], Quinoa, Buckwheat, Amaranth, Nut Flours, Pasta and Breads [made from these ingredients and labeled Gluten-Free], Gluten-Free Oats*, Hominy

*Oats, especially if you have Celiac's Disease, should be purchased gluten-free only. Even though oats are inherently gluten-free, cross contamination with wheat is prevalent in the fields. In this case it is best to stay on the safe side

BEVERAGES / MILK: Coffee, tea, some carbonated drinks, wine made in the United States, rum, some root beer, milk [fresh, dry, evaporated, condensed], cream [regular, sour and whipping], yogurt

CHEESE: All aged cheese such as cheddar, Swiss, edam, parmesan; cottage cheese, cream cheese, pasteurized processed cheese, some cheese spreads

FATS: Butter, margarine, vegetable oil, nuts and nut butters, some salad dressings, some mayonnaise, non-stick cooking sprays

SOUPS: Homemade or Canned if labeled "Gluten-Free"

DESSERTS / SWEETS: Some baked and pastry products if labeled "Gluten-Free", cornstarch, tapioca starch, xanthan gum, guar gum, agar powder / flakes, rice and tapioca puddings, some ice cream, sorbet, some meringues, some mousse, sherbets, frozen yogurt, jelly, jam, honey, brown and white sugar, raw cane sugar, stevia, molasses, pure syrups, plain chocolate, some candy, pure cocoa / cacao, coconut, marshmallows

OTHER: salt, pepper, herbs, herb extracts, plain spices

For many of you, quitting gluten cold turkey may be required or preferred. If this is the case, use the below list to purge all of the foods from your pantry and refrigerator that contain [or may contain] gluten. Don't panic. Donate the items you can to the local food pantry.

Foods That Contain Or May Contain Gluten

Rule of Thumb: If it doesn't say "Gluten-Free" somewhere on the package, don't buy it.

GRAINS / FLOURS / STARCHES: Wheat, Durum, Semolina, Kamut, Spelt, Rye, Barley, Triticale, Regular Oats*, Wheat Germ / Bran / Starch

BEVERAGES: Malted milk, some chocolate milk, some non-dairy creamers, Ovaltine, ale, beer, gin, whiskey, flavored coffee, herbal tea with malted barley

CHEESE: Any containing oat gum, some veined cheeses [bleu, stilton, roquefort, gorgonzola]

*Oats, especially if you have Celiac's Disease, should be purchased gluten-free only. Even though oats are inherently gluten-free, cross contamination with wheat is prevalent in the fields. In this case it is best to stay on the safe side.

OTHER [only purchase these foods if "gluten-free" in on the label]: Breading, Broth, Coating Mixes, Communion Wafers, Croutons, Imitation Bacon, Marinades, Salad Dressings, Soups and Soup Bases, Imitation Seafood, Pastas, Processed and Prepared Meats and Meat Products, Roux, Sauces, Gravies, Creamed Vegetables, Self-Basting Poultry and Injections, Stuffings, Thickeners, Brown Rice Syrup [generally made out of barley], Caramel Color, Dextrin, Flour, Cereal Products, Vegetable Protein [HVP, TVP, HPP], Malt or Malt Flavoring, Malt Vinegar, Modified Food Starch, Mono-and Di-glycerides, Meat Flavorings, Soy Sauce, Vegetable Gum, Curry Powder and other dry seasoning mixes, Ketchup, Mustard, Horseradish, Chip Dips, some Distilled White Vinegar, Instant Dry Baking Yeast, some Cinnamon, some Alcohol-Based Flavoring Extracts.


There are some things that no gluten-free pantry should be without. Generally, if you have these things in your house, you'll be able to alter most traditional recipes fairly easily. The flours, starches, and seeds are best if kept in the freezer. Of course, as time goes on, you will add more products to your GF repertoire but for now, this is a good [and manageable] start.

Brown Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour, Tapioca Flour / Starch, Potato or Arrowroot Starch, Xanthan Gum, Flaxseeds or Ground Flax Meal, Gluten-Free Oats, Quinoa, Brown Rice, GF tamari or Bragg's Amino Acids.


Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, Harvest Health, Meijer, and many other local natural foods stores [and even some grocery stores] carry gluten-free products.


Breads: I haven't really found a good store bought bread so I always make and freeze this. 

All-Purpose Flour Mix: [scroll down to GF Flours] [this is a valuable guide to the different flours available but may be a bit overwhelming at first. Come back to this once you've gotten more comfortable with gluten-free baking and cooking.] [the almonds is this can be substituted with cashews, walnuts, or nut / seed of choice]


Cookies: Pamela's brand 

Baked Goods: Namaste Foods

Waffles: Van's Frozen Waffles or make your own if you have a waffle iron.

Pizza Crust: Namaste Foods

Cereal: Chex [corn or rice], Arrowhead Mills  

Soy Sauce: Gluten-Free Tamari or Bragg's Amino Acids

Chips: Costco Organic Corn Tortilla Chips, Rice Chips

Please let me know if you don't see a favorite product on this list and I will try to provide a gluten-free alternative.


Quite a few restaurants now host a gluten-free menu but not all restaurants are equal in their knowledge. It will be up to you to be a discerning patron. My best advice is to question, question, question. If you are not confident in your server or the kitchen staff do not go to that establishment.

That being said, the below list isn't meant to be exhaustive. It is a simple start and places that I have found work for me.

Chains: Qdoba Mexican Grill, Panera Bread, Chipotle

Local Restaurants: If you live in Michigan: Marie Catrib's is a must go to place. It will restore your faith in eating. Others include The Gillmore Collection, The Green Well, The Electric Cheetah, and City Vu Bistro.

If you don't live around my area, call your favorite restaurants and ask them if they have a gluten-free menu. Ask to speak with the chef when you call [or ask to have the chef call you back if he / she is unavailable] and then again prior to ordering [many chef's are happy to come to your table and talk with you directly]. Be polite but firm in how you need things prepared. If they seem confused or unable to accommodate you, simply thank them and excuse yourself. It is far better to walk out and experience [potentially] momentary embarrassment than spend days being miserable or in my case, having water for lunch [and in another case, vomiting for 4 hours in a row].


Plan ahead. Pack your own snacks. Have an emergency stash on had in case of, well, and emergency. It sounds so simple but will take some work and effort on your part. Let me tell you, the worst thing you can do is find yourself starving in a foreign country. Bring a laminated card explaining what gluten is and what your needs are. One side should be in English [or your native language], the other in the predominant language of the country you visiting. Like your passport, keep it on you at all times [you can make your own or go here for resources]. If the person serving you seems too confused, forego the meal and dip into your emergency stash!


Blogs / Websites

Cookbooks / Magazines

   Some of the above bloggers have cookbooks - any / all are great!
   Living Without Magazine /
   Gluten Free Quick & Easy by Carol Fenster
   Cooking Free by Carol Fenster
   The All Natural Allergy Cookbook: Dairy Free, Gluten Free by Jeanne Marie Martin
   The Complete Food Allergy Cookbook by Marilyn Gioannini

Please email me at if you have any specific questions regarding eating gluten [or any other allergen] free. I am happy to give any guidance I am able and will help transform traditional recipes into gluten-free ones. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Today my 15-month old daughter and I decided that we needed a fun activity to officially kick off this fall season. Of course I thought of the pile of pumpkins sitting in my garage and decided that the babe and I could probably tackle a few before lunch. It turns out you are never too young [or old] to enjoy sinking your hands into the stringy orange goo of this season's all-star. And, if you're my daughter, throwing it around and plastering it on mom brings additional glee.

I love pumpkin seeds [and squash seeds]. I really do. They are my all-time favorite snack and, so far, it doesn't matter how they are made - I love them all. I've even been known to sneak a handful as a pre-breakfast snack when the first meal of the day seems to keep moving further and further towards lunch [and I am a breakfast nut!]. But, like everyone else, there are some days that just seem to start out crazy. Oh, and if you are avoiding corn [and even if you're not], these make a fantastic stand-in to popcorn!


Pumpkin seeds pack in 29 percent protein [higher than most seeds and nuts], omega-3 fatty acids, and have the ability to take on nasty intestinal parasites. They are full of iron, zinc, phosphorus, and vitamin A as well as calcium and some of the B vitamins. In Ayurvedic terms, they are tri-doshic which means they have a balancing effect on the body. If you're recruiting, I'd try them out on defense. And offense. Shoot, play them both ways!

Below are the resident freshmen of my pumpkin seed line-up and they are putting on quite a show. With football season in full swing, these make for a very easy [and healthy] snack choice!

Enjoy and go Lions!

Note: If you are using squash seeds [or smaller seeds] reduce the baking time by 10 - 15 minutes. In general, smaller seeds require less time in the oven.


1 c. of raw pumpkin or squash seeds, separated and rinsed [pat dry]
1/4 tsp. each chipotle powder, chili powder, smoked sea salt, granulated garlic, and Real Salt sea salt
1/2 tsp. paprika

Toss all ingredients. Spread out on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes. Begin watching closely at the 20 minute mark to ensure that the seeds don't get too brown. Test to see if dry and crunchy. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Store in a sealed glass jar or container for 2 - 3 days.


1 c. of raw pumpkin or squash seeds, separated and rinsed [pat dry]
2 tsp. ghee or non-dairy butter, melted
1 tbsp. organic cane sugar*
1/4 tsp. Real Salt sea salt

Toss all ingredients. Spread out on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake for 45 - 60 minutes. Begin watching closely at the 30 minute mark to ensure that the seeds don't get too brown. Test to see if dry and crunchy. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Store in a sealed glass jar or container for 2 - 3 days.

*Rarely will you see me ever use sugar. I much prefer honey and maple syrup as they are local to where I live and far exceed sugar in nutrients. But, there is always an exception to the rule and this is it. I have found that a granulated type of sugar works best in this recipe. Maple sugar and other sugars may work as well, organic cane is simply what I have on hand.


1 c. of raw pumpkin or squash seeds, separated and rinsed [pat dry]
2 tsp. Italian seasoning blend
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/4 tsp. Real Salt sea salt
1/4 tsp. granulated garlic

Toss all ingredients. Spread out on parchment paper lined baking sheet. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Bake for 30 - 45 minutes. Begin watching closely at the 20 minute mark to ensure that the seeds don't get too brown. Test to see if dry and crunchy. Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 - 15 minutes. Store in a sealed glass jar or container for 2 - 3 days.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


Pumpkin? In a smoothie? Really? Well, yes really. Coming up with a pumpkin smoothie has been on my mind for the past month. Now that the weather is a bit cooler, I don't think "smoothie for breakfast" as much as I did before. However, it is still one of the easiest and fastest ways I know to get great nutrients quickly first thing in the morning. And breakfast is a must for most nutrition-minded folks.

So, to combat the chill that most smoothies create, this has some warming ingredients like cayenne and pumpkin.

Okay, all this talk about pumpkin. What is in pumpkin that it makes it worth all this obsession?

I'm so glad you asked! Pumpkins [and all winter squash for that matter] are great for the spleen, stomach, large intestine and lungs. Energy and blood circulation benefit from pumpkin [love this!]. Of course, it's a good source of beta carotene [the orange color gives that away], but is also a good food for diabetics as it is high in complex carbohydrates [the best kind of carbs!]. Vitamins A and C, potassium, magnesium, and carotenoids all find a home in pumpkins.

1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1 tbsp. goji berry powder [or 1/4 c. soaked berries]
1 tsp. maca powder [optional]
2 tsp. lemon juice
dash or two of cayenne pepper
1/4 c. hemp seeds or 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed meal
1/2 c. non-dairy milk of choice [coconut milk is great here as is cashew milk. To easily make your own go here.]
1/2 c. water
honey or maple syrup [for vegan option] to taste
handful of ice, optional

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


Yesterday was a busy one. We are in the process of coaxing our garden into hibernation which means plants need to be pulled and either composted or burned [if diseased], old fruit picked up, trellises put away, compost spread, over-wintering plants protected, hay laid, and tools sterilized, along with a long list of other things. Oh, and harvesting roughly 40 pumpkins. Phew! This year, more than years past, I am really looking forward to the peace and rest that winter offers. With their early evenings and late mornings, these cooler months beg you to get the sleep and "slow" your body needs. The season provides everything - the chilly air to push you deeper under the covers, the cravings for warming, savory foods which are abundant these days, and the fire crackling - perfect for a book and cup of tea.

This year I eagerly await these months because, well, here's an illustration. When I ran cross country back in the day, my coach would tell us to leave it all out there on the course - essentially meaning, save nothing for the end. He would be pretty frustrated if we still had a sprint in us when the finish line came into view. Now, common sense says adrenaline takes over and provides that burst of energy but his point was if we truly gave it our all we naturally wouldn't have anything left. If we raced this way every time, he all but guaranteed, we wouldn't finish last and might just end up near the front of the pack. I think that's how the garden has been for us this year - a race that we gave everything to. And now, in the same way cross country only lasted for a season, so does garden. I say bring on the rest.

Now, back to my pumpkins. I have a lot [1/3 of that 40 but still, that's a lot]. That being said, the next few posts will succumb fully to the pumpkin-ness that is October. Because I am the stereotypical Dutchman and cringe at the thought of anything going to waste, I being forced to get creative with these orange little [and big] beauties.

This recipe is my spin on the classic apple crisp. Whenever I think dessert somehow I always land back at crisp. I'm constantly trying to change it each time hoping it doesn't wear out its welcome [which it never seems to]. Not fully knowing what I was getting myself into I decided to put a pumpkin spin on it this time. Turns out, it's delicious!

So grab the nearest pumpkin, give a salute to fall, and start whacking for, in my opinion, the only pumpkin that works here is a fresh one.


3 apples [variety of choice], peeled and cubed
2 thick sliced of raw pumpkin, peeled and cubed
1 1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and cut into very small pieces
ground cinnamon
sucanat [or brown sugar]

Toss all above ingredients in a medium size bowl. Pour into square [or small rectangle] glass baking dish and even out top.


1/2 c. non-dairy butter [like Earth Balance, soy-free] or ghee
1/2 c. rolled oats
1/2 c. gluten-free all-purpose flour*
1/2 c. sucanat [or brown sugar]
1/2 tsp. each ground nutmeg, cloves, and allspice
1 tsp. ground cinnamon

In medium saucepan, melt non-dairy butter or ghee over medium heat. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Stir until well mixed.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Pour topping over filling and spread evenly across the top. Bake for 40 minutes or until filling is soft and bubbling. Allow to cool for 10 minutes. Serve plain or with dairy-free vanilla ice cream.

*For an easy all-purpose flour recipe sift together 1/3 c. brown rice or millet flour, 1/3 c. tapioca flour, 1/3 c. potato or arrowroot starch, and 2 tbsp. buckwheat flour.