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superfoods for Fall

Seasonal Superfood Recipes For Fall

Fall has arrived. And with the change in seasons comes a completely different way of eating. Instead of light and refreshing salads, it’s time for nourishing, warming, nutrient-dense foods. If you’re not familiar with the term, nutrient density is the concept of eating foods which provide a lot of nutrients for not a lot of calories. This is contrasted with energy dense foods which provide a lot of calories but not a lot of nutrition.  An apple, for example, is a more nutrient-dense food than fried apple fritters which are calorically (energy) dense.

Benefits of seasonal eating

When we change what we eat with the seasons there are many benefits for our health.  The health benefits come in part from the fact that seasonal foods are usually picked at their peak of ripeness. This is when their nutrient value is highest. It’s a distinct difference from when they are picked early, stored, and force-ripened. While it may be nice to have apples, strawberries, or lettuces year round, the truth is they each have a season.

Taste is another health benefit of seasonal eating. Being fully ripe when picked often means the produce will taste better. That’s because it’s fully ripe so the flavors have had a chance to really develop. Anyone who questions this should think about the difference between cardboard tasting winter tomatoes and a mouthwateringly delicious vine-ripened summer tomato.  There’s a huge difference, one that we shouldn’t ignore because the more flavorful tomato delivers more lycopene, vitamins C and K, biotin, molybdenum, and more.

Variety in the diet

Another important health benefit to seasonal eating is that it introduces more variety to your diet. When we eat the same foods all the time we can miss out on different nutrients from different foods. Micronutrient profiles are broad and varied among different foods, we can take advantage of that by eating with the season. For the Fall season, that means consuming a lot of foods that are rich in Vitamin A, a beta-carotene found in the red, orange and deep yellow foods of this season. Vitamin A is beneficial for eye health, hair, skin, nails, and can be supportive for respiratory health as well.

Just because a food is in season does not, unfortunately, mean that what you are buying at the grocery store is truly fresh. It is possible that foods traveling a far distance can be picked early and stored while they are shipped across the country or around the world.  In order to ensure that you are getting in-season foods, it’s best to shop locally from farmer’s markets and CSA’s or to look for locally grown signs at your grocery store.

Five Recipes

To help you add some of the delicious superfoods of Fall into your diet we’re sharing a few of our favorite recipes below:

Cauliflower

The mild taste and slightly rough texture of cauliflower make it perfect to add to many dishes at this time of year. Rich in vitamin C, K, pantothenate, and folic acid, cauliflower is also excellent for helping with cholesterol health. You can use it as a mash in addition to or instead of potatoes, make lots of types of rice with it, or even make cauliflower steaks.

This recipe is a testament to my friend Padma who taught me so much about Indian cooking.  Every time I wanted to learn how to make something she kindly and patiently invited me into her kitchen to guide me in learning to understand her cuisine.  This recipe is one that I came up with for a quick and tasty curry.  It’s become a family favorite, I’m sure your family will love it too.

2 C. red lentils, cleaned, washed, and cooked
2 T. olive oil
½ t. yellow mustard seeds
½ t. cumin seeds
1 large yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 t. ginger, grated
1 T. curry powder
1 t. ground turmeric
2 C. tomato sauce
½ cauliflower, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 t. sea salt
1 T. minced fresh cilantro

The curry sauce is made while the lentils are cooking.  If the lentils finish before the sauce is ready, take them off the heat and set them aside until it is time to add them to the sauce.

In a large saucepan heat the oil

When the oil is hot add the mustard and cumin seeds, stirring constantly cook for 1 minute

Add onion and sauté until onion is golden and slightly wilted

Add garlic, ginger, curry powder and turmeric, cook 1 to 2 minutes

Add tomato sauce and cauliflower

Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until cauliflower is al dente, approximately 7-9 minutes

Add cooked lentils, sea salt and cilantro, cook 2-3 more minutes

Leeks

Mild yet flavorful, leeks are a wonderful addition to any fall or winter dish. A great source of sulfur compounds leeks are also high in vitamin K and manganese. This particular recipe is from my Aunt Haya and is definitely one of my favorite comfort foods for this time of year. This recipe makes a large quiche and is great as leftovers.

Haya’s Spinach Leek Quiche

4 slices gluten-free bread
3 T olive oil
1 pound spinach leaves
2-3 leeks (depending on size), white parts only
3 cloves garlic, minced
5 eggs
1 cup organic milk
1 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp nutmeg, fresh ground
1 T. dried parsley
salt and pepper to taste
2 C organic grated cheese (any flavor will do but I particularly like swiss)
1 C sliced mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350F

Lightly grease springform pan (place base or foil under the pan to prevent liquid seeping out)

Pulse bread in food processor until it turns into crumbs

Line bottom of springform pan with breadcrumbs

Slice leeks in half and then cut into 1/2” thick semi-circles, wash thoroughly to remove dirt

Heat wok or large pan

Add 2 T olive oil

Add spinach and saute until it starts to wilt

Add leeks and salute, adding more olive oil if needed

Add minced garlic

When spinach and leeks are fully wilted remove from heat and pour into springform pan

In a separate bowl mix together milk, eggs, and herbs beating well

Pour egg mixture over the greens

Top with grated cheese

Top with mushrooms

Bake 1 hour or until set

Let cool 10 minutes before slicing

Pumpkin

One of the easiest healthy food swaps you can do with your fall superfoods is to use pumpkin puree in baked goods. You can often use it in place of other moist ingredients like oil and eggs. When using pumpkin you are also adding fiber, vitamins A and C, plus potassium.

Pumpkin Date Cake

1  cup almond flour
1 cup coconut flour
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
Juice and zest of one orange
1/2 C evaporated cane juice crystals
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 cup chopped dates
1 1/2 t. vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 10 x 12 baking pan

Mix together flours, baking soda, baking powder, salt and whisk to combine.

In a separate mixing bowl beat the eggs; add the orange juice and zest, cane juice crystals, pumpkin puree, dates, and vanilla. Beat well. Add the dry ingredients into the wet, and beat for two minutes.

Bake 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and done in the center.

Note:
– this cake freezes well
– can also be used to make snack loaves or muffins

Quinoa

The last substitution you can make for a healthier superfood-rich meal is to replace your rice with quinoa. Most types of rice, including white rice and brown rice, are okay in moderation, but they lack the nutrition you need for a well-balanced meal. Quinoa is considered a superfood, so it is the perfect alternative when you want to have a side dish. It’s also a great way to add a little extra protein, manganese, copper, phosphorus, and magnesium to desserts such as in this recipe.

Quinoa stuffed baked apples

4 apples, washed, dried, and cored

Filling:
3/4 cup cooked quinoa
3 T organic butter
3 T evaporated cane juice crystals
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped almonds
1/4 cup currants

Use a square cake pan to hold the apples

Preheat the oven to 400 F

Mix all filling ingredients together until well combined

Stuff equally into apples

Bake for 18-20 minutes until apples are tender and filling bubbles slightly

Serve immediately

optional: if desired drizzle with organic heavy cream

Sweet Potatoes

Many people enjoy potatoes, especially in the fall when you want more savory dishes, but they tend to be high in carbs and fat, and not very nutritious. Instead of having traditional white potatoes in your dishes, try sweet potatoes. These are a superfood, so they are filled with nutrients, and are amazing to enjoy during the fall season. You can have stuffed sweet potatoes, mashed sweet potatoes, or even sweet potato soup.

This recipe owes it’s start to a much-loved favorite from my husband’s family.  Made for nearly every big family gathering everyone pitches in to roll the croquettes and then eagerly awaits the finished product.

Updated to use sweet potatoes and cinnamon, plus a few other healthy changes, these are a wonderful way to get beta-carotene as well as vitamin C and manganese.  The recipe makes a lot but this is because we tend to make them for large family gatherings.  You do not need to bake them all at once and can, if you like, freeze some to bake at a later time.  While they take a while to assemble they are certainly worth the effort.

For croquettes:

5 pounds of sweet potatoes, baked and peeled (be sure to not overbake so they are not mushy)
1 stick organic butter
2-3 eggs
1 C organic milk
¼ t. fresh ground nutmeg
½ t. ground cinnamon

For coating:

beaten egg
gluten-free breadcrumbs
Puree baked potatoes while still hot

Add other ingredients and mix well

Roll into croquette shape (an oval tube approximately 1 ½ inches long)

Prepare a pie dish with beaten egg (beat eggs one or two at a time to ensure you don’t make too many)

Prepare a separate pie dish with breadcrumbs

Dip croquettes into beaten egg

Dip egg-coated croquettes in bread crumbs

Place croquettes on an un-greased baking tray, cool 2-4 hours (we usually cool them overnight)

Bake at 350 F for 20 minutes or until golden in color

 

For more seasonal and superfood info check out these posts:

superfood pumpkin

Three Delicious Pumpkin Recipes For Fall

Pumpkin season is here!

It’s that time of year when the days are getting shorter, the temperatures are dropping, and all those scrumptious, warming, Fall foods are appearing at your grocery store. This includes pumpkin, one of my favorite, most versatile vegetables. Fabulous in soups, baked goods, as a side vegetable, and even as a snack using the seeds. Pumpkins are so tasty that I find it surprising how in the United States we spend nearly $600 million on pumpkins just to carve them up for Halloween and then discard them. They’re so nutritious and delicious that I think we should all be eating more of them.

Superfood benefits of pumpkin

Qualifying as a superfood, pumpkins are a wonderful source of potassium, vitamin A, a good source of vitamin C, and also provide quite a bit of fiber. Health-wise, due in part to their high antioxidant status, studies show pumpkin may be supportive in decreasing the risk of cancer. They’re also believed to help with improving insulin regulation, lowering blood pressure, providing lignans (which can have an antimicrobial benefit), and consuming pumpkin may even be helpful for the treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia.

It’s not just the flesh of the pumpkin that’s good for you. The seeds also have health benefits. Helpful for cholesterol metabolism and in addition to being a good source of protein, the seeds also deliver tryptophan, manganese, phosphorus, copper, magnesium, and zinc. All of this goes a long way towards making pumpkins and their seeds something you definitely want to add to your nutritional plan.

Pumpkin Recipes

While almost everyone is familiar with pumpkin pie and pumpkin bread, and possibly even pumpkin soup, there’s so much more you can do with them.  Here are a few delicious ways to add more pumpkin to your Fall menu and bump up your nutrition.

Pumpkin Hummus

2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed)
15 ounces pumpkin puree
juice of 2 lemons (about 4 tablespoons)
1/3 cup virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini paste
3 cloves garlic finely minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
1 1/2 tsp sea salt 
2-4 Tbsp chickpea liquid, as needed for consistency

Blend all ingredients except salt and liquid together
If needed, add chickpea liquid 1 Tablespoon at a  time for smoothness and consistency
Once fully blended add salt to taste
Best served at room temperature

Pumpkin Alfredo

1 pound gluten-free tagliatelle (my preferred brand is Jovial)|
2 Tbsp organic butter
2 Tbsp gluten-free flour
3 garlic cloves, minced finely
4 cups organic milk
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 tsp finely minced rosemary
1 pinch red pepper flakes (to taste)
sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
shaved parmesan for topping
minced rosemary for topping

Cook, drain, and lightly rinse pasta
Heat butter in a saucepan, add flour and whisk until combined
Add garlic, pepper, rosemary, and milk, reduce heat
Whisk all ingredient together until fully combined
Add pasta to the sauce and combine, coating noodles well
Garnish with extra minced rosemary and shaved parmesan

Superfood Pumpkin Shake
makes 2 servings

1 cup pumpkin puree, cold, not freshly cooked
2 bananas
½ cup plain organic Greek yogurt (full fat if possible)
½ cup unsweetened almond milk (avoid carrageenan)
2 tbsp protein powder
1 tsp honey
1 tsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp bee pollen granules
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups ice

Blend well until fully combined
If needed add extra liquid to fully blend ingredients together

For a few more Fall posts be sure to check these out:

 

Replacing The Mighty Avocado

A Journey in Taste and Texture

Whether you have a general aversion to avocados or just an aversion to their cost — the price of avocados increased 125 percent in 2017 — you have plenty of healthy ingredient substitutions that not only save you money but diversify the taste and texture of a variety of dishes, guacamole included.

Guacamole

Don’t let an avocado shortage slow down your guac game. For each avocado used in your guacamole recipe, substitute one cup of steamed, blended spring peas, organic edamame or chopped asparagus. Check out our recipe for Sweet Pea Guacamole below.

Sauces, Dips and Spreads

Avocados give sauces and soups a unique, creamy texture few ingredients can replicate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get the same consistency without avocados–you just need to apply a little creativity.

  • Create the satisfying freshness of your favorite avocado dressing using Greek yogurt, cilantro, and an optional tablespoon or two of sour cream. For every avocado called for in the dressing recipe, substitute ½ cup Greek yogurt and 1 cup of loosely packed cilantro leaves (minced or processed in).
  • Hummus makes a great substitute for avocado dip on its own, but you can add an avocado-esque touch with a few extra ingredients. To every ½ cup of chickpea hummus, add ½ cup steamed organic edamame, ¼ cup loosely packed parsley leaves, ¼ cup basil or cilantro, 1 teaspoon of lime juice and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
  • Avocado toast went from fad to foodie staple almost overnight. Take the concept a step further with a clever, spreadable substitution, such as a chunky cashew spread. Soak cashews for a few hours and blend until coarse with a little water or stock and your secondary ingredients of choice, such as pesto, steamed squash, nutritional yeast, fresh herbs or chipotle peppers.

Salads

With their lush consistency and laid-back taste, avocados complement just about any salad. No avocados, no fear! Try sliced peaches (briefly steamed), seared artichoke hearts or farmers cheese (for creaminess) in your next salad for an exciting new texture.

Southwestern Food

Southwestern-style cuisine and avocados go hand-in-hand–they contrast the spiciness and hearty textures of tacos, salsa, corn salads and other rustic dishes beautifully. Next time you need avos in tacos or other Southwestern dishes but come up short, try roasted sweet potatoes, roasted chayote squash, queso fresco, roasted cauliflower or oven-fried plantains instead.

 

 

Sweet Pea Guacamole
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Ingredients
  1. • 2 cups (1 pound) shelled spring peas, steamed for 2 minutes and cooled to room temperature
  2. • 1 or 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  3. • ½ cup cilantro leaves, loosely packed
  4. • ¼ cup mint leaves, loosely packed
  5. • 2 ½ tablespoons lime juice, freshly squeezed
  6. • 1 teaspoon lime zest
  7. • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus a little more, if needed
  8. • ½ jalapeno pepper, seeded
  9. • ½ teaspoon sea or kosher salt, plus more to taste
  10. • Pinch of cumin
  11. • Pinch of crushed red pepper, plus more to taste
Instructions
  1. Add all the ingredients to a food processor and process until nearly smooth.
  2. Adjust the consistency and seasoning as needed with olive oil and kosher salt.
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy http://www.theingredientguru.com/

 

Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie

 

A recent question about eating lentils brought up one of my favorite ways to eat them; in my Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie.  Shepherd’s pie is such a great dish because it is so versatile; a “crust”, a vegetable filling and a mashed potato topping.  It makes a delicious meal served with say, a hearty salad and a tasty millet muffin. Because only half of my family are vegetarians, I usually make two pies, one with a ground turkey crust and one with a lentil crust.  So there are plenty of tasty leftovers to keep everyone happy for a couple of days.

Lentils, (Lens Esculenta), also known in Indian cuisine as dal, are a legume (as are all dried beans and peas) and are very quick and easy to prepare.  Unlike other types of legumes, lentils do not require a long soaking time before you can cook with them.  They come in different varieties, green, brown, black, yellow, orange, and red, although most of us are familiar with the green one which is easily available.  Lentils are powerhouses of nutrition being very high in fiber, folate, tryptophan and manganese  – good for healthy bones, fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis, and helping stabilize blood sugar among other things.  They are also good sources of protein, iron and phosphorus, all of which the body needs for bone health.

When cooking with lentils they need to be sorted and rinsed before cooking.  The usual ratio is three cups of water to one cup of lentils.  Bring the water to a boil, add the lentils, cook on medium for approximately 30 minutes (if you like mushy lentils you can cook them longer). Remove the lentils from the heat and let sit 10 minutes, so they settle and firm up a bit before using in a recipe.  If you are using them in a salad, let the lentils cool completely before adding them to your other ingredients and dressing.

 
Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie
Prepare your lentils as mentioned above, but add 1/2 C. chopped onion to the water
After the cooked lentils and onion have rested mash them together with:
     1 T. nutritional yeast
     1 T. dried, minced veggie seasoning
In a lightly greased pie pan, put in the mixture and shape it into a bottom crust
Fill the crust with your choice of lightly steamed or thawed veggies (about 2 C.)
Drizzle with 1 Tbsp. coconut aminos or gmo-free tamari sauce 
Top with mashed potatoes
Sprinkle with paprika
 
Bake 20 minutes, serve and enjoy

Three One-Pot French Dishes Every Cook Should Know

Coq au Vin, Beef Bourguignon and Cassoulet the Ingredient Guru Way

Most classic French dishes are simple, rustic fare prepared well. Dishes such as cassoulet, beef Bourguignon and coq au vin have a gourmet air to them in the States, but in the French countryside, they’re about as common as fried chicken and mashed potatoes are in the American South. And best of all? They require just one pot to make.

Delicious anytime, these dishes are especially warming and nourishing in the Fall and Winter months when we enjoy seasonal foods and hearty dishes. It goes without saying that for optimal nutrition ingredients should be fresh and organic. The better quality the ingredients that you start with the more delicious and nutritious your dish will turn out.

COQ AU VIN

Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 8 bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
  • Kosher or sea salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, duck fat or schmaltz, plus more as needed
  • 2 Spanish onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
  • 1 medium stick celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 cups button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed (reserve stems for vegetable stock)
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 4 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 parsley sprigs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped

Directions:

  1. Season the chicken thighs to taste with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a tall, heavy-bottomed pan on the stove over medium heat.
  2. Add the chicken thighs and cook until browned, about 8 minutes. Set the chicken aside.
  3. Add the other 2 tablespoons tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add onions, carrots and celery and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add a little more butter to the pan if needed.
  4. Add the tomato paste, stir everything together and continue cooking until the tomato paste turns a rusty color, about 3 minutes.
  5. Next, add the garlic and mushrooms. Season the mushrooms to taste and cook until most of their water cooks off, about 7 minutes.
  6. Add the wine to the pan while scraping the bottom with a spatula. Add the broth, thyme sprigs, parsley sprigs and bay leaf to the pan. Return the chicken to pan and bring everything to a simmer.
  7. Simmer the coq au vin uncovered until the chicken pulls away freely from the bone, 45 minutes to 1 hour. During cooking, spoon the fat from the surface of the cooking liquid and discard.
  8. Taste the coq au vin and season it as needed with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Garnish with freshly chopped parsley before serving. Pair the coq au vin with a bold, dry red wine and serve over mashed potatoes.

 

BEEF BOURGUIGNON

Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

4 slices thick-cut, naturally cured bacon, roughly chopped

2 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-½ inch cubes

Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 Spanish onions, roughly chopped

1 medium carrot, roughly chopped

1 medium stick celery, roughly chopped

2 or 3 garlic cloves, crushed

2 cups button mushrooms, cleaned and stems removed

1 teaspoon flour (gluten free does work here)

1 teaspoon tomato paste

1/2 cup Burgundy or other dry red wine

1 ½ cups beef broth or chicken broth

2 sprigs parsley

2 sprigs thyme sprigs

2 sprigs rosemary

1 bay leaf

1 to 2 tablespoons parsley, freshly chopped

Directions:

Cook the bacon over medium-low heat until the fat renders out, about 12 minutes. Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels.

Season the beef to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Increase the heat to medium and brown the beef in the rendered bacon fat. Set the beef aside.

Add the onions, carrots and celery to the pan and cook until softened and lightly browned, about 8 to 10 minutes. Add the garlic and mushrooms to the pan.

Cook the garlic and mushrooms until most of their water evaporates, about 7 minutes. Add the flour and tomato paste to the vegetables and stir to coat. Cook until the tomato paste turns a rusty color, about 3 minutes.

Add the wine to the pan while scraping the bottom with a spatula. Add the broth, thyme, parsley, rosemary and bay leaf to the pan and bring everything to a simmer.

Return the beef to the pan and cover. Turn the heat on the stove to low and cook until the beef is tender, at least one 1 hour. Spoon the fat from the top of the cooking liquid as needed.

Garnish the beef bourguignon with freshly chopped parsley. Pair the dish with your favorite Burgundy and gluten free noodles (my favorite is Jovial tagliatelli).

 

Cassoulet

Start to finish: 1 hour, 30 minutes | Prep time: 30 minutes | Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons bacon fat, schmaltz or duck fat
  • 2 medium onions, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot roughly chopped
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 pound naturally cured kielbasa, thinly sliced
  • 2 ¼ cups plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 3 ½ cups Great Northern beans, cooked to al dente, or 2 cans Great Northern beans
  • 1 ½ cups skinless chicken breasts, diced
  • 1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
  • Sea salt or kosher salt, to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat the fat in a large pan on the stove over medium heat. Add the onions and carrots and cook until softened, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic.
  2. Continue cooking until aromatic with garlic, about 3 minutes. Add the kielbasa and cook until browned, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, broth, wine, beans, chicken and thyme. Bring the cassoulet to a simmer.
  4. Simmer the cassoulet until thickened, about 40 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper and garnish with freshly chopped parsley, if desired.

 

Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Bars

My friend Erin recently shared this delicious recipe for a great on-the-go-snack bar. With pumpkins in season, it’s easy enough to make your own puree. If you don’t have the time or inclination to make your own, the canned stuff works just fine. A couple of words of caution, however, when choosing canned pumpkin:

  • It’s best to use a brand that has a BPA free lining
  • Organic pumpkin is preferred
  • I highly recommend that you read the label and make sure that you are getting only 100% pumpkin. You don’t need all those other ingredients.

These breakfast bars are fabulous for a quick breakfast, perfectly portable if you need to have breakfast on-the-go. And so tasty that they also make a great snack. If you’d like, add a serving of protein powder to make your bars even more nutritious. If you do add the protein powder you may find that you need just a Tablespoon or two of water so the mix isn’t too dry.

Pumpkin Oat Breakfast Bars

3/4 cup pumpkin purée
2 eggs
1/4 cup organic butter or ghee at room temperature
1 large or 2 small ripe bananas
1/4 cup honey
2 cups rolled oats (not the quick cook variety)
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (you can also use walnuts or sunflower seeds)
2 Tbsp shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup oat bran (optional)
1/2 tsp cinnamon, ground
pinch of Celtic sea salt
1 Tbsp grated orange rind
1/4 cup dried currants
1/4 cup dried blueberries

Measure out the 2 cups of oats and pour just enough warm water over them to cover them
Soak for about 5 minutes while you’re mixing up the wet ingredients
In a mixing bowl, stir together the pumpkin, eggs, butter or ghee, honey, and banana
You may want to mash the banana before adding to the bowl if it’s not really soft
Before adding the oats, drain them well

Add the oats, nuts, coconut, oat bran, cinnamon, salt, orange rind, currants, and blueberries, and stir until ingredients are well combined (this step is where you would also add the protein powder, if using)
Spread mixture into a lightly greased (butter, ghee or coconut oil) pan so the batter is no more than an inch or two deep. An 8” x 10” baking dish works well
Bake in a 350 degree F. oven for 40-50 minutes, or until golden brown
For very crisp bars, remove from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack
Cut the bars when cool
 

Terrific Health Benefits Of Turmeric

Officially known as Curcuma longa, turmeric is an herb that has been used for thousands of years. You can use this incredibly tasty spice with a variety of foods and it even provides several important health benefits.

What Is Turmeric?

Native to India and related to the ginger plant, turmeric is the primary spice used in the Indian dish known as curry. Often available at ethnic grocery stores, sometimes at larger traditional grocery stores, it’s best to use turmeric when it’s fresh since the essential oils are more powerful. Fresh turmeric, however, doesn’t last long and must either be consumed quickly, frozen, or made into powder form.

Health benefits of turmeric

Turmeric provides several incredible health benefits and may play a part in preventing many diseases. The bioactive compounds, called curcuminoids, are largely responsible for the health benefits of turmeric:

  • natural anti-inflammatory properties
  • highly antioxidant
  • improves brain function
  • may lower the risk of cardiovascular disease
  • may potentially help prevent certain cancers
  • when applied in paste form may help promote the healing of wounds and bruises

Tasty ways to use turmeric

Most often we think of turmeric as it is used in curries, but there are many ways to enjoy it. Incorporating healthy ingredients into scrambled eggs or a tasty frittata is easy when you add turmeric. It works well with nearly all types of veggies, particularly cauliflower. Rice, stews, soups, desserts, and tea are all delicious when turmeric is added to the recipe. Turmeric is even used in juices and different types of smoothies.

Turmeric is an incredible herb that can be used fresh or in powder form. It offers a rich, distinct flavor to dozens of dishes and may be instrumental in preventing many serious health conditions. Keeping fresh or powdered turmeric in the kitchen is a great way to add rich flavor to foods you enjoy while providing many potential health benefits.

 

Mushroom Curry
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup coconut milk
  2. 2 roma tomatoes, diced (keep liquid)
  3. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  4. 1 1/2 tsp coriander powder
  5. 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  6. 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  7. 4 coves garlic, minced
  8. 1 medium onion, diced
  9. 2-4 tbsp coconut oil
  10. 2 large portobello mushrooms, diced bite size
  11. 2 zucchini, diced bite size
  12. 2 yellow squash, diced bite size
  13. 2 cups snap peas diced
  14. 1 bell pepper, diced
  15. 1 eggplant diced
  16. 1 tsp sea salt
  17. 2 tbsp cashews, divided
  18. 2 tbsp cilantro, minced
Instructions
  1. Mix together cumin, coriander, turmeric, and black pepper and set aside
  2. Place eggplant into a bowl and sprinkle with salt to sweat
  3. Set aside to sit for one hour, rinse before using
  4. Add 2 tbsp coconut oil to pan
  5. Add onion and saute until starting to soften
  6. Add garlic and ginger and cook 2 minute
  7. Add spices and stir well for 1 minute
  8. Add tomatoes and liquid
  9. Add mushrooms and stir well, cook 1-2 minutes, add more coconut oil if needed
  10. Add vegetables and cook 2-3 minutes
  11. Add coconut milk, bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer 15 minutes or so until vegetables are tender
  12. Add sea salt
  13. Serve over basmati rice
  14. Garnish with cilantro and cashews
  15. Top with quick mango pickle if desired
Adapted from Curry In A Hurry
Adapted from Curry In A Hurry
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy http://www.theingredientguru.com/

 

Quick Mango Pickle
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Ingredients
  1. 3 ripe but firm mangos, peeled, seeded, and diced
  2. 1/2 tsp turmeric powder
  3. 1/2 tsp paprika
  4. 1 clove garlic, minced
  5. 1/2 tsp sea salt
  6. 2 tbsp coconut oil
  7. 1/2 tsp mustard seeds
  8. 1/2 tsp urad dal
  9. pinch chili powder
  10. 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Instructions
  1. heat oil
  2. add mustard seed and urad dal and cook 1 minute
  3. add garlic and cook 1minute
  4. add turmeric, paprika, and chili powder, stir well
  5. reduce heat
  6. add mango and vinegar, cover and simmer on low 20 minutes or until soft and well combined
Notes
  1. keeps well in the fridge for 2-3 weeks
Adapted from India Today
Adapted from India Today
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy http://www.theingredientguru.com/

 
Sources:

Grover, A.K. and Samson, S.E. Benefits of antioxidant supplements for knee osteoarthritis: rationale and reality. Nutr J. 2016; 15: 1.nPublished online 2016 Jan 5. 

McClees, Heather. One Green Planet. How to heal cuts and wounds with turmeric. 2017 Feb 8.

Nagpal, M and Sood, S. Anti-inflammatory and Anti-oxidant Properties of Curcuma longa (Turmeric) Versus Zingiber officinale(Ginger) Rhizomes in Rat Adjuvant-Induced Arthritis. J Nat Sci Biol Med. 2013 Jan-Jun; 4(1): 3–7.

Ramirez-Tortosa, M.C., et al. Oral administration of a turmeric extract inhibits LDL oxidation and has hypocholesterolemic effects in rabbits with experimental atherosclerosis. AtherosclerosisVolume 147, Issue 2, December 1999, Pages 371-378.

Shanmugam, M.K., et al. The Multifaceted Role of Curcumin in Cancer Prevention and Treatment. Molecules 201520(2), 2728-2769.

 

 

 


no flour GF cookie dough

No-Flour Cookie Dough

Remember when you were a teenager and you’d get together with your friends to make cookies? And you wound up eating half the cookie dough before you even got the first batch out of the oven? Okay, well maybe that was just me, but it sure was tasty.

Don’t eat that

Fast forward a few years and all of a sudden we were being told not to eat cookie dough because it contained raw eggs and those could be a source of salmonella poisoning. I’ll confess that when I was a kid I ate it anyway because I loved it so much. But then when I had kids I wouldn’t let them eat it because somehow it was okay if I got sick but not if they did.  So I figured out how to make cookie dough without the eggs.

Then we were told not to eat any raw cookie dough (even without the eggs) because raw flour could be a source of e. coli. That was a bummer. It was also the end of the raw cookie dough in our house.

Going gluten-free

Over time I changed my diet, going gluten-free and reducing the amount of sugar and sugary foods I ate. Giving up the cookies wasn’t too difficult. It turns out that as good as I am at baking regular bread, cakes, and cookies, when it came to gluten-free it was more of a challenge. One that for the most part I wasn’t interested in trying to figure out. It was easier to give it up or to buy what I wanted from the Gluten-Free Sourdough Company.

In spite of making healthy changes, I confess that every now and then I’d have a secret, sneaky craving for cookie dough. Then one day I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law who told me about a raw cookie dough recipe she had eaten that was made with chickpeas and peanut butter. She couldn’t find the recipe but just knowing it was made with chickpeas was enough to get me started. I began to experiment and eventually hit on the recipe listed below. 

The day I came up with the final version my editor for my book The Pantry Principle was visiting. She wanted to know what I was making. I told her it was a healthy version of raw cookie dough and offered her a spoonful right out of the Cuisinart. She loved it! We both dove in with spoons, it was kind of like a return to my high school days.

Cookie dough is popular again

Fast forward yet again and once again raw cookie dough seems to be a big thing. There are companies, cafes, and cookie dough bars opening all over the country. The Minnesota State Fair has even added raw cookie dough to the list of foods available at the fair. I imagine it won’t be long before other state fairs follow suit, I fully expect to see it at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo Show next year. The problem is that what’s available commercially seems to be made with regular flour (making it a non-option for those who need to eat gluten-free). Commercial options are also high in sugar and definitely, need to be consumed in strict moderation. What I love about my recipe is that because it’s made with chickpeas it’s got some protein. Don’t get me wrong, it still has sugar (especially in those chocolate chips), but I’ve cut the sugar down to as little as possible making this an option that is as healthy as I think I can make it. 

If you’re seeing news blurbs about cookie dough and feeling a sense of nostalgia (and a desire to make cookies just so you can eat the dough) consider making my No-Flour Cookie Dough. Just be aware that this recipe does not bake into cookies, it’s meant to be enjoyed raw.

No-Flour Cookie Dough
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 can chickpeas, drained
  2. 1/2 cup creamy almond butter
  3. 1 tablespoon evaporated cane juice
  4. 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  5. 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  6. generous pinch sea salt
  7. 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Combine first five ingredients in food processor until mixed well
  2. Scoop into a bowl and add chocolate chips by hand
  3. Spoon into ramekins or mini-muffin cups and chill 2 hours before serving
  4. -- or enjoy with a spoon straight out of the bowl 😉
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy http://www.theingredientguru.com/

The Healing Powers Of Bone Broth (plus Recipe)

Have you ever been told to eat a bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick?

I bet you have. But do you know why?

It’s truly an ancient tradition. But the truth is, not all chicken soups will do the trick. Especially those found in a can.

Traditionally chicken soup was made by simmering vegetables, meat and bones to create a nutrient rich broth (a.k.a. bone broth). However, most commercial soups today simply use broth made from water and chicken “flavor.”

Bone broth has been used throughout humankind for its rich flavor and healing powers. Many cultures use it to cure illnesses, such as colds and flu. In fact, bone broth is sometimes referred to as Jewish penicillin. It’s also been prized for its ability to treat conditions related to the digestive tract, skin, joints, lungs, muscles, and blood.

And fortunately, bone broth is making a comeback.

Bone Broth Nutrition

Bone broth contains a soup (pun intended) of health promoting nutrients in highly absorbable forms. Thus, it’s much more potent (and enjoyable) than taking a variety of synthetic supplements.

Below are several key nutrients in bone broth along with their health benefits:

Minerals

Minerals are essential to life. They play many important roles in our bodies, such as nerve signaling and the initiation of most enzymatic processes in our bodies. They also impact the health of our digestive system, heart, cells, and bones.

Bone broth is rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, silicone, sulfur, and a variety of trace minerals.

Amino Acids

Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and have numerous responsibilities when it comes to our health. Bone broth specifically contains high concentrations of glycine and proline.

Glycine acts as an antioxidant, which protects our cells from free radical damage. It also aids in detoxification as well as wound healing, digestion, sleep, memory, and performance. It keeps our muscles strong and is used to make glutathione (another powerful antioxidant).

Proline is essential for healthy skin and joints. It also helps to repair the lining of the digestive system.

Collagen and Gelatin

Collagen is a protein found in bones as well as other connective tissues. Its name comes from the word “kolla,” which means glue. Essentially, its main role is to hold the body together.

When collagen dissolves in water, it forms gelatin. Gelatin has been studied extensively and is often used to heal and soothe the digestive tract, support bone health, overcome food allergies and sensitivities, improve digestion and detoxification, and boost the body’s natural production of collagen.

Glucosamine

Glucosamine lubricates our joints and provides a cushion within them. Expensive supplements are often used to treat conditions involving bone and joint pain, but bone broth is an all natural (and effective) alternative.

Chondroitin Sulfate

Along with glucosamine, chondroitin sulfate supports healthy bones and joints. But it’s also essential for heart and skin health as well as maintaining optimal cholesterol levels.

Chicken Bone Broth Recipe

Bone broth can be made using beef, poultry, lamb, pork or fish bones. There are many recipes available online. Below is an easy to make chicken bone broth recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 whole organic chicken
    or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts, such as carcass, necks, and wings plus gizzards
  • 2-4 chicken feet
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water
  • 2 T raw apple cider vinegar
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 shitake mushrooms
  • 1-2 pieces kombu seaweed
  • 1” piece of turmeric root, sliced (or 1/2 tsp turmeric powder)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 12 peppercorns
  • 1 bunch parsley

Directions

If using a whole chicken, cut off the wings and remove the neck, fat glands and the gizzards from the cavity. Cut chicken parts into several pieces.

Place other ingredients into a cheesecloth or jelly bag for easy removal later. Otherwise place carcass and parts in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all ingredients except parsley.

Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 12-18 hours. The longer the stock cooks the richer and more flavorful it will be. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add parsley. This will impart additional mineral ions to the broth.

If using a whole chicken, let cool and remove chicken meat from the carcass. Reserve for other uses, such as chicken salads, enchiladas, sandwiches or curries. Strain the stock into a large bowl and reserve in the refrigerator until the fat rises to the top and congeals. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in the refrigerator or freezer.

Delicious Ways to Add Bone Broth to Your Diet

Cup of Bone Broth
Once you have a batch of bone broth, here are several ways to enjoy it:

  • Sip it plain (or seasoned with sea salt and minced spring onions)
  • Use it in soup, stew, sauce and gravy recipes
  • Use it instead of water or other liquids to cook grains, steam vegetables, make mashed potatoes and bake casseroles

To make a “miso-style” soup, follow this recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 C broth
  • 1 fresh mushroom, diced
  • 1 spring onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot
  • sea salt to taste

Directions:

  1. Heat broth on stovetop
  2. When broth is fully heated add remaining ingredients
  3. Heat on medium 2-3 minutes until all ingredients are warmed
  4. Enjoy!

I also encourage people to pour cooled bone broth into ice cube trays and freeze. Bone broth ice cubes are a great nutrition boosting addition to smoothies. They also give smoothies a thicker consistency.

To sum it up:

Consuming bone broth on a regular basis is probably one of the most beneficial things you can do to support your health.

  • It contains a variety of easily absorbable nutrients;
  • It warms your heart and your soul;
  • It’s easy to make; and
  • It’s absolutely delicious!

 

References:
Bergner, P. (1997). The healing power of minerals, special nutrients, and trace elements. Rocklin, CA: Prima Pub.
Daniel, K. (2003, June 18). Why Broth is Beautiful: Essential Roles for Proline, Glycine and Gelatin [Web log post]. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/why-broth-is-beautiful-essential-roles-for-proline-glycine-and-gelatin/
Fallon, S. (2000, January 1). Broth in Beautiful [Web log post]. Retrieved January 10, 2017, from https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/broth-is-beautiful/
Fallon, S., Enig, M. G., Murray, K., & Dearth, M. (2001). Nourishing traditions: the cookbook that challenges politically correct nutrition and the diet dictocrats. Brandywine, MD: NewTrends Pub.
Vital Proteins, Why Collagen, Retrieved March 27, 2017
black bean brownies - delicious!

Flourless Brownies

Who doesn’t love brownies?  Oooey, chocolatey morsels of deliciousness. They’re great as a snack, as an accompaniment to a cup of tea, or even for dessert. But some people avoid brownies because they’re high in simple carbohydrates. This includes the gluten free flour versions.

So what if I told you about a brownie that isn’t so high in simple carbohydrates and actually has a fair amount of protein? And no, I’m not talking about putting protein powder into the brownie mix.  I’m talking about beans.  Specifically black beans.  This adds not only protein but is also a great source of fiber, folate, copper, manganese, and thiamine.

Before you think, “Um…no” let me assure you, these are delicious.  I’ve brought these brownies to a number of different gatherings.  Each time I share them I wait until people have eaten them before telling them the ‘secret ingredient.’  Everyone is always amazed at how moist and tasty these brownies are. They’re surprised to discover that the brownies are made from black beans. 100% black beans, no flour. That makes it perfect for those who need to eat gluten free. And tasty for everyone.

When using black beans I’ve found that it’s best to use canned. When cooking black beans from scratch, even in the pressure cooker or slow cooker, the consistency doesn’t seem to come out as well. When using canned black beans consider using a brand that does not have BPA in the can lining. (You can learn more about BPA and it’s health impact in this video) Eden Brands is one company that does not use BPA in their linings.

Black Bean Brownies
Print
Ingredients
  1. 1 ½ C. black beans
  2. 2 eggs
  3. 1 heaping T. ground flax seed
  4. 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  5. 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  6. 1 pinch sea salt
  7. ½ t. baking powder
  8. 1 teaspoon almond extract
  9. 3/4 cup evaporated cane juice crystals
  10. 2 t. instant espresso powder
  11. 1 C. dark Belgian chocolate w/almonds, chopped
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  2. Lightly grease an 8x8 square baking dish
  3. Add remaining ingredients (except chocolate); blend until smooth; pour the mixture into the prepared baking dish
  4. Top with chopped chocolate
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until the top is dry and the edges start to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 30 minutes
  6. Enjoy!
The Ingredient Guru, Mira Dessy http://www.theingredientguru.com/