Sunday, January 24, 2016


After a week of traveling my family's immune systems are a bit exhausted. This recipe comes from that place - a desire for warm, simple nourishment.


Note: This recipe uses carrot and fennel tops, referring to the green leaves or "tops" of the carrots and fennel. If you don't have access to these [being it's winter], save this sauce recipe and come back to it in the summer when greens are abundant. Often, the tops of carrots and fennel are disposed of but they are usable, delicious, and make an awesome [green!] addition to soups, pasta, and roasted vegetables, especially in the winter months when fresh greens are scarce. 

1 medium - large yellow onion, peeled and chopped into small pieces
2 T. ghee or coconut oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 T. fresh ginger, minced
1 celeriac or celery root, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 c. carrots, minced using food processor or blender
2 c. celery stalks and leaves, thinly sliced
3 medium size sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes
4 c. turkey bone broth
2 - 4 c. water
1 lb. ground turkey
2 tsp. sea salt [if using store bought broth, eliminate salt and add only as necessary]
freshly ground pepper 
1 10 - 12 oz. bag of cut frozen green beans
1 10 - 12 oz. bag of chopped frozen kale
4 ounce jar of carrot and fennel top sauce [see recipe below], optional
black sea salt, optional
dulse flakes, optional

For the sauce:

4 c. fennel tops or green leaves
4 c. carrot tops or green leaves
extra virgin olive oil

Place the greens in a blender and add about a half cup of olive oil. Blend on high, scraping sides or using tamper to push the greens into the oil. Add oil as necessary until a sauce or dressing like consistency has been achieved. Pour into 4-ounce ball jars, cover tightly and freeze until needed.

Prepare all vegetables by peeling and chopping as noted. Set aside.

Warm ghee or coconut oil over medium heat. Once melted, add chopped onion and toss to coat. Saute, stirring occasionally, until onions begin to soften and become transparent, 5 - 7 minutes.

Add minced garlic and ginger and saute until aromatic, about 5 minutes. Add celeriac and cook for 3 minutes. Toss in carrots, celery, and sweet potato. Cook for an additional 5 minutes.

Pour in turkey broth and water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for 20 - 30 minutes or until sweet potato is tender when poked with a fork.

While the soup is cooking, place thawed ground turkey in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper and cook until meat is thoroughly done and no pink is visible. Set aside.

Once sweet potatoes are tender, reduce heat to low. Add cooked turkey, green beans, kale, and sauce. Cook until beans are bright green and tender.

Spoon into bowls and garnish with black sea salt and dulse flakes.

Monday, January 11, 2016

VEGETARIAN BROCCOLI-POTATO SOUP with sauteed garlic, onion, and herbs

I typically like a good snow. I figure, if it's going to be cold why not be sparkling white? And I really love a good winter storm that keeps up nestled close to the fire with hot tea and coloring books. Yesterday was both and I couldn't stop thinking about a warm, creamy soup. In an effort to use some things up, which is generally where most of the recipes found here originate, I followed my taste buds directly to here: creamy potato broccoli soup in vegetarian style. No cheese, no cream, no worries.

A couple of words about the recipe. White beans are an awesome way to add a creamy texture without the cream. The beans, in combination with nutritional yeast, come out in the vicinity of cheesy. I highly recommend using bone broth here as it provides a deeper, richer flavor but vegetable broth will work just fine. If you're using store-bought broth, reduce the salt listed in the recipe to at least half and taste as you go. And please oh please don't skip on the roasted broccoli and seeds or sauteed garlic and onion. Whole new level of awesome.

If you're a winter hater I hope you find ways to enjoy it in the simplest of forms. If you're a cold weather lover, may this add to your glee. And either way, may you find the loviness in today.


7 T. ghee, divided
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 large cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
4 - 4 1/2 c. red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into small cubes
2 tsp. nutritional yeast [optional]
1 1/2 tsp. rosemary powder
2 tsp. sea salt or to taste
1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1/4 tsp. celery seed
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 c. white beans [great northern, butter beans, etc.], cooked and rinsed
4 c. turkey broth or broth of choice
4 c. water
1 head of broccoli, chopped into small pieces
1/2 c. pumpkin seeds
1 - 2 T. pure maple syrup

In a medium skillet, melt three tablespoons of the ghee over medium heat. Add onion and cook until onion is soft and translucent. Lower heat to medium-low and saute until onion is just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and pour cooked onion into a medium size pot. Set aside.

In the same skillet that onion was cooked in, add three tablespoons of ghee and minced garlic. Cook over medium-low heat until garlic is just beginning to brown. Remove from heat and add to the pot with the onion.

Place all remaining ingredients, except broccoli, in the pot with the onions and garlic. Cover and bring to boil over high heat. Once the boiling, reduce heat to medium-low and cook until potatoes are tender when poke with fork. Add broccoli and cook for an additional 7 - 10 minutes or until broccoli is soft and bright green. Remove from heat and let cook for 10 minutes or so.

While soup is cooking preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place half of the broccoli and pumpkin seeds on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Toss with about one tablespoon of ghee, syrup, and sprinkle with salt. Rub with your hands so that it is well combined. Bake until broccoli is bright green and just starting to brown on edges and pumpkin seeds are just becoming light brown, about 15 minutes. Remove from oven and set aside.

Once the potatoes and broccoli are tender, place half of the soup in a blender and blend until smooth. Add blended soup back to pot, stir to combine, and serve. You can also use an immersion blender and blend soup to a creamy chunky consistency.

Top with roasted broccoli-pumpkin seed mixture.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

COLD/FLU TEA with phlegm reducing herbs

It seems this odd winter season is taking a toll on my family's immune health. This back and forth between temperatures has us in a constant state of viral infection and phlegm. Recently I posted a recipe using astragalus, one of the best immune-boosting herbs available. But astragalus is a long-term solution, a more preventative measure than acute fix. Taken over time it can really improve your body's ability to fight infection.

That being said, we needed something now. Humidifier has been running around the clock and yet the scratch in the back of our throats was signalling us to do something and quick.

So I made this tea.

And drank a lot of it.

By a lot I mean eight cups a day.

Herbs are so useful but are a bit misunderstood. Drinking a small cup with about one teaspoon of tea, equivalent to a standard tea bag, will not stand up to the infection knocking at the door to your body. So many people try herbs and tell me, "it didn't work!" and turn to over-the-counter or prescription drugs for quick fix.

Please understand, herbs take time. Drugs may work on the front-end but eventually your body will pay the price of reduced immunity, depleted healthy gut bacteria, and a longer recovery time. Herbs, although they take a little longer to kick in, will over time aid your body in standing up to the viral or bacterial infection before it enters your body - like a shield.

Back to this tea. This tea is full of herbs that reduce phelgm in the body [which means they are drying, more about this later] and provide your body with the vitamins and minerals it needs to maintain health. Because this herbal mix is drying it's important to drink a lot of water, add a little honey to the tea, lubricate your skin and inner nostrils with pure, unrefined sesame or coconut oil, and keep the humidifier going.

In addition, zinc, vitamin D3, vitamin C, and specific mushrooms; steamed vegetables and broth-based soups; a diet with less phlegm inducing foods like meat, dairy, and sugar; restful sleep and moments of quiet throughout the day; laughter and creativity; and community all help give the body the best chance at standing up to illness. A note about supplements: not all are created equal and there is a lot of snake oil out there. It's best to talk with someone about rigorously tested supplements rather than running to the store and picking up a bottle that seems to look okay.

May a sense of deep health and well-being settle over you this winter season. 

Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health

Note: all the herbs listed here are used in whole, dried form not powder. Please take the time to look into the herbs and make sure they are appropriate for you. Mountain Rose Herbs is a great resource to check specific herbs for any known contraindications. 

1/2 c. fennel seed
1/2 c. rosehips
1/2 c. nettle leaf
1/2 c. peppermint leaf
1/4 c. lemongrass
1/4 c. cut ginger
1/8 c. calendula flower
1/8 c. mullein
1/8 c. red clover flowers

Combine all herbs in a large glass bowl and mix well. Fill large size press n' brew tea bags with about 2 - 3 tablespoons of herb mix. Seal shut with iron. You can also you large mine-mesh tea strainer, reusable cotton tea bag, or cheesecloth to hold herbs.

Place one large tea bag in a quart size mason jar or large teapot. Fill with boiling water and let steep until water is room temperature, still warm but not hot. Drink throughout day. In times of acute infection, drink two quart-size jars [eight cups] a day.

Serve with a couple slices of organic lemon and a teaspoon or two of raw honey.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

BOREDOM AND VANILLA CARDAMOM TIGERNUT GUMMIES with astragalus, nettle, maca, and elderflower

As a mom, most days I can handle repeating my day over and over again. Wake to yelling "Mama, I'm hungry!", brush teeth, scramble to get breakfast on the table before the hangry takes over, dishes, laundry, cleaning, picking up, the gamut of menial tasks.

But some days, especially after a series of such days, my valiance wains and I feel the force of undercurrent emotions and questions that travel with me throughout my day. I'm tired of and bored with being a maid, a cook, a personal attendant, a teacher, an officer, public defender and judge. Is this it? Is repeating the day really what I'm made for? Is there holy in this? Refinement in this? Of course the answer is yes. There is immense beauty and challenge in growing and tending a soul, or a few. God can meet us anywhere, especially in the muck and honesty of life. 


Today I listened to a podcast and the speaker asked "is there a more noble task than being a mom and bringing up new life in this world?" I started to cry. Here's the thing - we all need to be reminded that what we do is so much more than what it looks like. There are those days when holy is a sweet memory, faded by spilled water and tears. The days when we're so bored we sit willing the puzzle to show us there is more to this life. Please tell me this isn't it!

Here's what we do when we're bored - we immediately try to escape it. Methods are plenty. We self medicate through distractions and busy and movies and media. We dive into anger and restlessness, depression and bed. And in a last-ditch effort some of us turn to food or drugs or alcohol, adultery or pornography. We all have our something or somethings - many levels to our boredom escape route.

I used to [ummmm...okay still do] escape by quickly moving onto the next thing or busying myself with tasks that make me feel like I've accomplished something, anything. If I'm checking things off the list, I can't be bored right? I can feel important right?

I am a mom, one who stays at home and let me tell you, it can get boring. Parenting is walking in the same direction for a long, long time type of thing. It's full of routine and rhythm and consistency - all things kids need and crave. For my kids it's the safety net that allows them to tiptoe away from the nest and explore one new bug, one skinned knee at a time.

There are days this routine and rhythm that keeps them comforted and confident can send me into mild psychosis. What keeps them grounded triggers me into a spinning mess, ready to jump in the UPS truck and on the road to anywhere.

But here's the thing. Boredom can be a powerful tool. A swift kick to get moving. It can also be a fantastic teacher. A mirror reflecting the deep, untouched area of our beings that need to be brought to the light and examined.

Why does busy make us feel important?

Why is slow so scary?

Why is more, more, more so addictive?

As I've asked myself these questions, I've uncovered old hurts and stories I've been told or have been telling myself. Areas of my being that need freedom and healing.

The more I sink into the stillness and rhythm of a slower pace of life, the more I find contentment and a beauty I never saw before. As if I was invited on stage to actively participate on an intimate level in this thing we call life. As I practice gratitude and compassion I find the one person who needs this most is me.

And the slow isn't so scary any more. The days not so long. The work not so menial.

The warm dish water becomes an opportunity to feel the heat on my hands and say thank you for clean water. It reminds me I care very much that everyone has this opportunity and it moves me to act. I drags me from my world and into connection with the greater world around me.

The smell of clean laundry reminds me how lucky we are to have the choice of wearing more than one outfit and a machine to do much of the heavy lifting. I challenges me to look at my closet, my spending, my wants and prioritize them in a more generous way.

Cooking connects me on the deepest level to the ones I love, to the ones who have gone before me, to the ground beneath my feet, and to the farmers who work tirelessly to put food on my table. It gives me a chance to stir and chop and breathe deeply the essence of life.

Writing and reading and painting and practicing yoga anchor me in the person I am and the things I love - the things I want to share with the world around me.

Walking barefoot in the grass, planting seeds, sledding down the snow covered hill outside our door, breathing in the crisp clean air all remind me that this world is precious and we only have one and it is so, so beautiful. Worth protecting and enjoying and caring for with wisdom and integrity and selflessness.

All of sudden I'm not just a mom. These moments, humble and small, catapult me to move, to care, to create.

They take me from mundane to holy.  

It's not easy and I miss out on it many of days. But I'm practicing and over time I'm noticing changes, subtle and sweet, that are leading me directly into a walk with the divine. I'm learning this can happen even if our responsibilities don't shift. The only thing that needs changing is our awareness. And that lies solely in the palm of our hands. The choice is ours. But it's worth it. Whatever it takes, it's worth it.

May you find a rhythm that allows you to pause and find gratitude in the very simplest of things. May you experience truly living rather than rushing and going and doing and producing. May boredom cause you to pause and examine and move or stand still. May you have eyes to see what already is and the patience to enjoy it. 


Astragalus has become a bit of a rock star in recent health circles however it has deep roots in Chinese medicine and has been used for many years medicinally to build immune strength, energizing and nourishing the entire body. It has quite an impressive list of qualities and uses and is worth familiarizing yourself with.

Nettle is also used traditionally in Chinese medicine, noted as a "long life" herb and a terrific whole body tonic. Many consider it a vitamin/mineral factory.

Both the flower and berries of the Elder plant are popular cold remedies and immune boosters in European countries and are gaining traction here in the states.


9 c. water, divided
1 c. tigernuts
1 handful of dried astragalus slices
2 T. dried nettle root
2 T. whole dried cardamom pods
2 T. dried elderflower
1 vanilla bean, halved and scraped
3 - 4 T. raw honey, local if possible
2 T. maple syrup
1 T. maca powder
1/4 tsp. cardamom powder
1/4 tsp. sea salt
1 c. unflavored, grass-fed gelatin [for extra firm consistency, less if softer consistency is desired]

Prepare a 9 x 13 glass baking pan by greasing bottom and sides with coconut oil. Set aside.

In blender, place 5 cups of water and tigernuts. Blend on high until very smooth. Place cheesecloth or mine mesh nut milk bag over large jar or glass measuring cup. Pour blended milk into the cloth or bag about 3/4 of the way full. Twist top of bag and begin to squeeze milk out. Add the remaining milk and squeeze until all of the milk has been released. Save pulp for crackers, baking or smoothies. Set milk aside.

In a medium size pot place 4 cups of water, astragalus, nettle root, cardamom pods, and a pinch of salt. Bring water to boil, reduce heat to medium, and simmer uncovered until about a cup of liquid remains [approximately 30 minutes]. Turn heat off, add elderflower, cover and let steep for an additional 20 minutes. Pour liquid through fine mesh strainer and discard herbs.

Slice vanilla bean along the edge, going deep enough to cut open but not all the way through.

Return herb tea to pot and add milk, vanilla bean, honey, syrup, cardamom powder, and sea salt. Warm over medium low heat until just hot to touch. Be careful not to boil!

Place warmed liquid in blender, add maca, and blend on high. Reduce speed to low and slowly pour in gelatin. Increase speed as consistency of liquid thickens.

Pour mixture into prepared baking dish and refrigerate until just firm. Cut the gummies into desired size and shape. Return to refrigerator and cool until gummies are very firm.

Store for a week or two in refrigerator and enjoy!

SPICED PEAR CHUTNEY with ginger, cardamom, and ghee

This is one of my favorite, really basic recipes for the late autumn and winter season. It's sweet, warm, and filled with aromatic spices that heat the body from the inside out.


8 ripe or very ripe pears, peeled and cut into small cubes
1/4 c. ghee
1 - 3 T. coconut sugar or maple syrup, depending on sweetness desired
1/4 - 1/2 c. water
1 heaping tablespoon minced fresh ginger or 1 tsp. dried ginger
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract or the seeds of 1 vanilla bean
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom seed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 tsp. turmeric powder
large pinch or two of Ceylon cinnamon
pinch of freshly ground black pepper
pinch of freshly ground nutmeg
pinch of freshly ground cloves
8 whole medjool dates, pitted and thinly sliced

Peel pears with knife or vegetable peeler. Cut into small, 1-inch chunks and set aside.

In a medium-large pot* over low heat, combine ghee and coconut sugar or syrup. Once the ghee has melted and sugar has been mixed in, add cubed pears, water, ginger, cardamom, and sea salt. Stir to combine. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until pears have become very soft but still hold their shape [approximately 30 minutes]. Check for flavor at about the 15 minute mark and adjust as needed [more spices, more water, more sweetener]. Add dates when there is 10 minutes left of cooking time remaining.

Remove from heat and let cool about 10 minutes or until chutney is warm but not hot. Serve warm. Top with additional dates slices and fresh, minced or very thinly sliced ginger.

*You could also make this in a Crock-pot. Mix together all ingredients in Crock-pot, cover and cook for 2 - 3 hours on high or until pears are very soft but hold their shape.

Monday, January 4, 2016

CAPTURING CAPTIVATING AND KITARCHI with sweet potatoes, leeks, and pumpkin seeds

A couple of years ago my friend Kim and I were in a cute antique shop browsing the shelves. She picked something up and mentioned how lovely it was. Then she put it back and in almost a whisper said, "I'm so grateful I was able to experience that".

Wait. What?

Now my friend could have easily walked right up to the counter, purchased said object, and walked out with something beautiful to add to her already charming house.

But she didn't.

She put it back and somehow owned it without actually owning it.

Today I was driving my girls home from school and the song "Hello" by Adele came on. Let me say, I love this song. Adele's voice is one of the most powerful and moving I know. That being said, today it made me wonder about our collective desire to own the beauty we see, hear, and experience. This song came out and boom! everyone had to have it, including myself.


My guess is it made us feel something. Her voice cut through the fluff around us and went straight to our soul. Somehow, through a series of notes and pitch and words, it connected us to each other and awakened the deepest part of us. And we want to capture it and know with certainty we can come back to this place when the need arises.

It made me think of all the other ways we experience something that captivates us and then, in that same instant of enjoyment, we jump to conspiring to get it.

We're at the beach and experience this comforting sense of smallness and we build houses all along the coast.

We taste something exotic and find ways to bypass region and season, shipping it around the world.

We run into Target, see something pretty and without much thought add it to our cart.

We hear a song and play it over and over and over.

But once we own whatever this thing is, does the experience continue? Does it get better? Do we?

Please understand, I don't think these things necessarily wrong. I just wonder what happens when it becomes habit. Something our culture and country is defined by.

I think the beach gets old. The food isn't the same as right off the plant or tree. That thing looked a lot better on the shelf surround by the other pretties. The song suddenly becomes annoying.

But what if like my friend we take in the fullness of  beauty, allowing it to wash over and through us. We breathe in this brief moment in time and experience it as wholly and deeply and largely as we can.

And then we let that be enough.

We walk away with this sense of bittersweet contentment that can only come with loving and letting go. This incredible sense of this being enough and knowing there will be another experience waiting around the bend.

Because here's the thing - if we own, we collect, we fill the bank space with repeat - we leave little space for new and wonder and exciting. Instead of doing what's difficult at first but more meaningful in a lasting sort of way, we collect dust and headaches.

So here's my challenge. Stand there. For a ridiculous amount of time if that's what it takes. Laugh, cry, yell, dance, sing, shake. Do whatever it takes to make the experience fully yours.

And then walk away.

I think you'll find that the only thing you want to repeat is thank you.

This recipe is my cold-weather comfort food. It is dense but not heavy, warm and flavorful, and wonderfully nutritious. If winter is a more difficult season for you, you tend to get cold easily, or are looking for an easy-to-digest meal, this may be a great one to try. The cookbook referenced is one of my favorite and a real treasure-chest of wonderful recipes. 

Adapted from Eat, Taste, Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living

1 c. basmati rice
1/3 c. mung dhal [split hulled mung beans]
3 c. water
2 small sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into small cubes [appx. 2 cups]
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into small cubes [appx. 1/2 cup]
2 T. ghee
2 leeks, rinsed and cut into thin slices
4 T. shelled pumpkin seeds
1 T. korma powder [see recipe below, make in advance]
1 T. apple cider vinegar
1/2 c. tigernut or coconut milk [or milk of choice]
2 T. lemon juice
1 tsp. maple syrup
sea salt, to taste

Korma Powder Recipe:

1 T. whole coriander seeds
1 T. whole cumin seeds
1 T. whole fennel seeds
1 T. whole mustard seeds
1 T. whole fenugreek seeds
1 T. whole cardamom seeds
1 T. poppy seeds
1 T. whole pepper seeds
1 T. ground cinnamon
1 T. ground ginger
1 T. ground turmeric
1 tsp. ground cloves

Place all ingredients in a spice grinder or Vitamix dry container. Blend on high until a very fine powder is achieved. Transfer to an glass container with tight-fitting lid.

Place the rice and mung dhal in a fine mesh strainer. Place under cold, running water and rinse until the water runs clear. Let all the water drain out and then place in large stainless steel pot. Add water. Bring to boil over medium-high heat. Once water boils, cover and reduce heat to low for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile peel and cut sweet potatoes, celeriac, and leeks. Once the rice and mung have been cooking for 10 minutes, layer the sweet potatoes and celeriac on top of the rice-mung mixture. Reserve the leeks for later. Cover and cook for an additional 20 minutes. Add a little more water if, after 20 minutes, the water has evaporated but the vegetables aren't tender if poked with a fork.

While the rice and vegetables are cooking, warm ghee in medium size cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the leeks and saute until soft. Add the pumpkin seeds and saute until the seeds are beginning to brown. Stir in the korma powder. Add the vinegar, lemon juice, syrup, milk, and about 1 teaspoon of sea salt. Cook for 3 - 4 minutes. Turn off heat and set aside.

When the vegetables are tender to touch and water has been evaporated, remove from heat and stir in the pumpkin seed mixture. Add additional sea salt and pepper if necessary. Serve immediately.