Thursday, June 21, 2012
The larger and larger my belly grows, the more and more I am hunting out easy, nutritious meals to feed my family and I. For some ridiculous reason my energy has been sapped yet my motivation stays strong. This makes for quite the volatile mix of emotions [something I am sure my husband would say "Amen!" to - he's been such a trooper]. Mix in a week of 90+ degree days and UGH, UGH, UGH!
Today we actually got a break in the heat [evidence that there is a God and he does answer prayers!] and I actually have a bit more energy than in the past week thanks to some chia seeds, a relatively good night's rest, 70s, a little rain, and a bit of help from "Bep" [ie. my mom]. My initial thought is to spend this little treasure I've been given as quickly as possible knowing that it will most likely disappear after one night of tossing and turning or another few days of potty training. Yet the more wise voice inside [that would be my husband's voice as I have no sense of limitations whatsoever] begs me to take it easy - do a little more than normal but not too much and still "rest" for the most part. This receives one big, heavy, defeating *SIGH*. But I submit knowing it is for the best.
So, back to easy meals. This one has become one of my favorites, especially for lunch. You can make a large batch and have quite a few lunches to go around. I have been dutifully stocking the freezer with such meals knowing that cooking will fall a few notches down the priority list in month or two.
Oh, and I have to give props to my mom for introducing me to using mushrooms in this way. She sauteed asparagus in a similar manner and I was hooked. Thanks mom!
[FOOD OR FUNGUS?]
A word about mushrooms - I generally can't bring myself to swallow them. I think it may be the texture but seriously, gross! Mushrooms are one of those foods that I go back to again and again with childlike faith, desperately hoping that maybe this time I'll think they are delicious.
So why do I continue to work at acquiring a taste for something so small, spongy, and well, weird?
Mushrooms are amazingly effective detoxifiers, especially when it comes to fat in the blood [think cholesterol], pathogens [bad bacteria, viruses, toxins, etc.], and mucus [for example, respiratory infections]. Stronger mushrooms, such as reishi, are highly valued in the eastern countries and believed to increase longevity [meaning good health throughout life]. Mushrooms are high in protein [for vegetarians and vegan, cha ching!] and host a good amount of vitamin B2 and zinc as well.
Reishi mushrooms in particular can be helpful when treating AIDS, leaky gut syndrome, Epstein-Barr, and chronic bronchitis. Need another reason to add them to your diet? They are used to aid sleep, keep you "regular", and lower cholesterol. Taking a reishi tincture is a great way to get these benefits if cooking with them is a bit too much [although mushrooms in general are known in the culinary world to improve the flavor of whatever they are cooked with so I guess you can make the call].
Shitake mushrooms have immune boosting, antiviral, and antitumor properties and work to specifically protect the cardiovascular system. Of course this is of no interest to us Americans as we don't struggle with any of these issues...
In addition to having similar uses as the reishi mushroom, they are also used to treat environmental allergies, candidiasis infections, frequent flus and colds and are rich in vitamins D, B2, and B12 [and we thought we needed to consume obnoxious amounts of fortified foods and supplements to get these rare nutrients!].
If mushrooms give you the willies [something I understand all too well!], I hope you continue to explore ways to get them in your diet. May this recipe be the perfect place to start.
For the millet:
2 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 c. of millet [I love this with millet but you can also use brown rice or quinoa]
1 3/4 c. homemade [or gluten-free] vegetable broth
Rinse dry millet well in a fine mesh strainer and set aside. Heat oil in a medium size saucepan. Once warmed [not smoking], add onion and saute until onion begins to brown [5 - 7 minutes]. Add garlic and saute an additional minute. Add dried millet and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until millet is fragrant and toasted [7 - 10 minutes, it may turn a deep golden or begin to brown but shouldn't burn]. Carefully add broth [it will sizzle and may splatter a little], stir, and cover. Bring to boil and then reduce to low. Do not stir with millet is cooking. Cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed.
For the veggies:
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 dried shitake mushrooms, soaked and finely chopped [to soak, place mushrooms in water for 10 - 20 minutes to soften, drain] or use mushroom of choice
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
3 - 4 c. of loosely packed, chopped kale leaves
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
While millet is cooking, heat olive oil in a medium to large cast iron skillet. Once the oil is warmed [not smoking] add mushrooms and saute for 3 - 5 minutes or until mushrooms are deep brown and soft. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Toss in kale and stir. Cook for 2 - 3 minutes or until the kale is just wilted and bright green. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper. Serve over cooked millet.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
Now, like me, you have probably seen countless recipes that replace scrambled eggs with scrambled tofu and you may be wondering, "why not just substitute tofu here?". Well, my body says no to soy as well. That and tofu happens to be a highly processed product and not all that it is cracked up to be. Processing, in general, strips away many of a food's natural nutrients, soybeans included. So what is an egg-loving yet egg-free, soy-free girl to do?
Sometimes the greatest challenges actually lead to something, well, great. In this case, a recipe that mimics one of my favorite breakfasts without the soy and eggs my body prefers to avoid. The secret? White beans. I have used white beans as a substitute for a number of different things including creams in soups, meat, and as the main ingredient in spreads and dips. These little guys add much of the richness and depth that an egg brings to a meal without having to actually use an egg!
[WHITE BEANS? HUH?]
White beans [like cannellini and great Northern beans] are one of the highest of all the beans in protein content. They are also one of the most mild in flavor making them an easy first bean to introduce into a bean-resistant diet. They rank among my favorite bean, especially for taste and adaptability.
For an introduction on how to prepare dried beans and the many health benefits of beans, go here.
1 - 2 T. extra virgin olive oil
2 c. potatoes, cut into small cubes
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 - 3 carrots, chopped or cubed
4 -5 large garlic cloves, minced
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
2 c. of cooked and drained white beans [like great Northern]
1 1b. of fresh asparagus, cut into small pieces
a bunch of kale leaves, cut into thin strips
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Heat oil in a large cast iron skillet on medium-high. Once hot [but not smoking], carefully add potatoes and saute until they just start to get soft and a little browned, 3 - 5 minutes. Add onion and carrots and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for another 3 - 5 minutes. Once the carrots begin to soften and onions are translucent, add garlic, rosemary, white beans, and asparagus. Cook for an additional 2 - 3 minutes or until asparagus turns bright green. Turn the burner to low, place kale on top, and cover. Let steam for a minute or two or until the kale has wilted a little - it should be bright green. Remove cover and stir kale into the other vegetables. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately.
Wednesday, June 6, 2012
This particular afternoon also brought to mind of all the things I love about spring. The new green-ness that just some how happens. A garden no longer stark with only the hope of what is to come. Walks and pond-side yoga; Farmer's Market treasures and open windows; soft breezes and sun tea; and all of the other things that make spring one of my favorite times of the year. It also reminded me of the things that have become "my favorites" over the last few months [ie. things I use all of the time, recipes I just can't get enough of, you get the picture] - things I wanted to take a minute and share here.
May you take time for a picnic with a friend or friends and be blessed in a deep and powerful way.
Note: Photos are compliments of my very talented husband!
This homemade toothpaste. It takes a bit of getting used to [and by a bit I mean only a day or two] and the color is less than appealing but the effects far outweigh those things. It really feels like I just walked out of the dentist after getting a cleaning!
The mineral tea recipe from this book. It is light, not at all "herb-y", and is packed with minerals.
This cookbook [rarely, and I mean rarely, do I even open a cookbook without pictures but this one is fantastic]. I picked it up from the library and I think at least half of the book is flagged with recipes I want to try! The ones that I have made have been delicious.
Sun tea, sun tea, and more sun tea [or as my daughter says "more tea!"].
I got this gadget for my birthday and can't believe I have lived so long without it! I use it for garlic but also herbs, fresh ginger, and fresh turmeric.
This strawberry shortcake biscuit recipe [If you melt the coconut oil you will get a softer biscuit, if you leave it firm the biscuit will be a bit thicker - both are great. I also added a touch of molasses.] with fresh picked strawberries and this cashew whipped cream.
My Vita-Mix - smoothies, sauces, dressings, and all other blended things have reached a new level of amazing! This is the real workhorse of my kitchen.
Can't wait to try making my own sunscreen from here.
Awesome kombucha recipes and tips found here.
Any children's book written by this author - my daughter can pick them out of a stack and I actually enjoy reading them to her!
My glass straw from this store [which is probably one of my favorite stores as well]. I can't believe how much easier it is to clean than the reusable plastic ones.
Labels: THIS AND THAT.