Chickpea Miso Seafood Soup

This winter has been one of major changes for me.   I presented 4 workshops in January and feel that I am officially over (it’s so last year) my fear of talking in front of groups.  I started a women’s wellness group and we are having so much fun and learning a lot as well!  Now I’m planning for more groups, for men and women, families and teens.  I’m looking forward to my presentation at Miss Halls School Health Fair at the end of February.  I will get to talk about what a health coach does, offer the students scholarships to The Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and invite them to join me for my upcoming class series!

I have also done a lot of work on myself this past month.  In preparation for the Inner Quest Intensive at Kripalu I met in Great Barrington with Naturopath (and all around AMAZING lady) Pam Youngquist weekly for 4 weeks.  We did some talk therapy; some energy work and she gave me some thought provoking topics to journal on as well as some new techniques to help me heal on an emotional level from the Candida.  No matter what illness or imbalance you are trying to recover from, be it weight loss or chronic fatigue, you have to look at everything, from food to negative thought patterns, in order to really move forward.

Kripalu Yoga Center and grounds in Lenox MA

And after my weekend long Inner Quest Intensive I feel like I moved forward in my life, at about 90.  The IQI as described to me by others who have been through the program is that it’s like ‘several years of therapy in one weekend.’  There’s a lot to this program but that sums it up nicely.  It was a tough weekend and yes, it was totally worth it.  If you are interested in getting involved with Kripalu and live in the Berkshires, check out The Berkshire Kripalu Community!  You can apply for a membership which allows you to take Kriplau yoga at a discount as well as apply for scholarships to Kripalu programs.  You can also apply directly to Kriplau, a non-profit educational organization, for a scholarship to any one of their programs, which is how I was able to afford the Inner Quest Intensive.  Thank you generous Kriplau sponsors!!

During the IQI program we ate very simple, light foods.  There was usually miso or vegetable broth at each meal.  I was easing back into my normal diet (basically Kripalu food plus spices and garlic and hot sauce!) and so Dana made us miso soup with seafood for dinner.  Perfect.  This is the recipe he used as a guide for his soup.  Dana, of course, didn’t measure anything which means you’ve got a lot of leeway here with the amounts, use what you’ve got, improv the rest!

Someone took a nice picture of their version of Seafood Miso Soup, looks good enough to eat!

Seafood Miso Soup

  • 4 quarter-size pieces fresh ginger
  • 1 strip kombu kelp*, about 1/4 oz.
  • 1/2 cup loosely packed bonito flakes (katsuobushi)
  • 1 large leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced and rinsed well
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 2-in. matchsticks
  • 1 1/2 pounds black cod or Pacific halibut, cut into 1 1/2-in. pieces
  • 3/4 pound medium sea scallops (15 to 16 per lb.)
  • 3/4 pound medium shrimp (26 to 30 per lb.), peeled, tails left on if you like
  • 1/2 cup shiro (sweet white) miso (we used chickpea miso)
  • 1/2 cup lager (preferably Longboard, optional, Dana left the beer out for ours)
  • Lemon zest/wedges (optional, but highly recommended!)
  • Thinly sliced shiso leaf (optional)

You can find kombu, a large seaweed sold dried, and bonito flakes with the Asian ingredients at well-stocked supermarkets and at natural-foods or Japanese markets. Find shiso, an aromatic herb, at Japanese markets and some farmers’ markets.

Preparation

  1. Bring 4 cups water, the ginger, and kombu to a boil in a large, wide pot. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 4 minutes. Turn off heat, sprinkle in bonito flakes, and let sit 3 minutes (flakes will sink)
  2. Add leek and carrots. Bring to a simmer and cook 2 minutes. Add black cod and scallops; simmer 1 minute. Add shrimp and cook 2 minutes more.
  3. Whisk miso with lager or water in a small bowl. Remove stew from heat and carefully stir in miso mixture. Serve with lemon zest/wedges  and shiso for topping if you like.

Sunset
OCTOBER 2011

Sunny Seed Hummus

Paprika dusted sunny seed humus on flax toast and my short hand recipe.

My newest health coaching client is already teaching me things about cooking, like the idea that humus can be made from sunflower seeds!  I whipped this up in about 5 minutes this afternoon and it’s really tasty.  Sunflower seed hummus goes great with flax crackers or toasted flax bread.  It also makes a great dip for fresh veggies or as a sandwich spread.  There are many possibilities as far as adding  in fresh herbs and spices, see what you can come up with!

Sunflower seeds are  inexpensive and highly nutritious. These tiny seeds are an excellent source of vitamin E, the body’s primary fat-soluble antioxidant. Vitamin E has significant anti-inflammatory effects that result in the reduction of symptoms in asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis, conditions where free radicals and inflammation play a big role. The phytosterols in sunflower seeds are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers. Sunflower seeds are also a good source of magnesium. Numerous studies have demonstrated that magnesium helps reduce the severity of asthma, lower high blood pressure, and prevent migraine headaches, as well as reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.  All from one little seed!  And there’s more, read the rest of this article here.

Ingredients :

1 cup sunflower seeds (shelled, unsalted)

2-3 tablespoons lemon juice (use fresh lemons best results)

1-2 cloves garlic

herbs and spices to taste, try coriander, dill, cumin, cilantro, paprika, chili powder….

salt and pepper to taste

about 1/2 cup water (depending on your preference, water can be added to thin out the humus, and make it creamier).

Procedure:

Put all ingredients into a food processor.

Blend until mixture looks like a smooth dip.  I added the water a little at a time until I liked the consistency.  You shouldn’t be able to see any sunflower seeds in their original form once it’s done.

Less Fruity, More Veggie Waldorf Salad

Last night I chose to go for a run rather than drive to our garden to pick food for dinner.  We have not bought any produce since the beginning of the summer so I’ve been getting creative with using what we’ve grown.  The brussels sprouts are coming in and Dana and I ate the first round on Sunday night, sautéed with bacon to crispy delicious perfection!  Somehow we managed to blow through a whole grocery bag full of kale in less than two days so last night our dinner vegetable choices were limited to carrots and cucumbers.  While I ran I mulled over my possible dinner options and started thinking about the Waldorf salads I used to make with my grandmother: crisp apples, crunchy walnuts and sweet grapes in a creamy lemony dressing.  It used to be one of my favorites, I would sometimes make it with yogurt and turn it into more of a sweet breakfast or snack rather than a salad served over lettuce.  When I got home I decided to make a veggie version: crisp cucumbers in place of the apples, shredded carrots for sweetness instead of grapes and a mayonnaise dressing with lemon juice and some crumbled blue cheese.  I would have used  celery, which is called for in most versions, but we didn’t grow any this year.  Dana and I split this for dinner and I hope you find my veggie version of a Waldorf salad as filling as we did.

A seriously filling salad thanks to walnuts and blue cheese and fresh veggies from our garden.

Ingredients:

about 1 cup shredded carrot

2 medium cucumbers, chopped into small bite sized pieces

2 stalks celery, chopped into small bite sized pieces

1/2 cup walnut pieces

1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese

For the dressing:

3 Tablespoons mayonnaise

1 Tablespoon lemon juice (I used bottled lemon juice, if you have a lemon, zest it for extra lemon flavor)

salt and pepper to taste

Procedure:

Prep the veggies and add them to a large bowl with the walnut pieces and crumbled cheese.

Whisk the mayo and lemon juice with salt and cracked black pepper.  Add some lemon zest if you’ve got it.

Mix the dressing in with the rest of the ingredients and enjoy!  This will be good the next day, if you have any left over.

Vanilla Almond Pancakes with Lemon Curd

The ones on the left were my first batch made with thick batter, the ones on the right made from thinner batter came out just right.

Honestly I was a bit skeptical about making pancakes, but my first thought when taking a bite of these was, “Oh man, these taste like pancakes!”  True story.

This recipe was found by a client of mine who is in the process of figuring out what exactly she should be eating in order to heal her digestive system.  Every few weeks her doctors seem to discover something else, want to do more testing and we keep having to change her diet.  Instead of giving up and getting frustrated, she’s getting creative! She sent me a link to these pancakes on Elena’s Pantry, a gluten free food blog worth checking out even if you and gluten get along fine. The original recipe is here, but of course, I had to change a few things!

Ingredients:

2 eggs
¼ cup almond milk (this is just a place to start, add as much as you need to reach proper pancake consistency.)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 ½ cups blanched almond flour ( I used whole, raw and toasted almonds and ground them up in my coffee grinder)
½ teaspoon celtic sea salt
½ teaspoon baking soda
neutral oil for sauteing: sunflower, veggie oil, coconut, ect

A little bit of stevia goes a long way, add it while you whip the eggs.

  1. Whip eggs, almond milk, a touch of stevia and vanilla until smooth.
  2. Add almond flour, salt and baking soda and blend again to incorporate dry ingredients into batter.
  3. Let batter sit while you get the skillet ready.

    The batter came out very thick. I made one batch with this batter but the second batch, thinned out with more almond milk was much more like real pancakes.

  4. Warm sunflower oil in a large skillet over medium heat
  5. Ladle pancake batter onto skillet, smaller is better and easier to flip.
  6. Pancakes will form little bubbles, when bubbles open, flip pancakes over and cook other side
  7. Remove from heat to a plate
  8. Repeat process with remaining batter, adding more oil to skillet as needed
Makes at least 12 pancakes

I used a cast iron skillet to make these pancakes.  This is a lot of batter, I made as many as I wanted to eat and then put the batter in the fridge to use later.  The next morning I heated up the skillet, thinned the batter with almond milk and had panckes in just a few minutes!

Thinner batter is better!

And if you want something to put on top of your pancakes, try making lemon or lime curd.  I found a recipe in How to be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson and tweaked it just a bit.  This took about 30 minutes start to finish.  I made the curd the night before and it went perfectly with my pancakes in the morning!

Lemon curd and the recipe from Nigella

To make lemon or lime curd, melt 6 tablespoons of butter on low in a sauce pan while you gather the rest of your ingredients.

Whip together: 1/2 cup of citrus juice, in this case, lemon, seeds and bits removed, with the zest of one lemon (zest first, juice second) and three large eggs.  You can add some stevia now and then adjust for final flavor at the end.

Quickly add your lemon and egg mixture to your melted butter on the stove, whisking to incorporate.  Turn the heat up to medium and continue to whisk until a custard forms.  Add stevia and adjust for desired sweet/tart ratio. You can add up to a tablespoon of agave to help take the edge off all the stevia if you like.

Put the curd into a jar and let it cool before putting the lid on and refrigerating.  It will keep for a week or so and makes a great topping for pancakes or perhaps a coconut cake?!

Pancake breakfast on the porch, life is good.

Summer Drinks

In the cooler months I drink hot tea like it’s the only think keeping me warm.  Because sometimes it is.  When summer hits and the weather calls for icy cold beverages (and your distributor sends you an extra case of lemons) it’s clearly time for something more refreshing like lemonade or a ginger lime fizz.  Here are my favorite ways to stay hydrated and cool….

Lemonade on the porch.

Lemonade….ok this one is really simple, squeeze 1/2 a fresh organic lemon (or more) into a pint glass, add a bit of stevia and top off with fizzy water.  Add a dash of bitters for old-fashioned tummy relief and a bitter, floral, slightly sweet flavor.  A trip to Old Town Bar years ago was the first time I had bitters in soda water as a cure for my upset stomach. It’s one of the oldest bars in the city and so it seemed fitting that I would be offered a traditional digestif.  Sure enough, it made me feel well enough to order a drink! My friend Mark is behind Brooklyn Hemispherical Bitters if you are looking to break out of your Angostura habit and try something new.

You’ll notice all of the drinks in this post have something in common: bubbles.   I LOVE water with bubbles.  I also love champagne but that’s a whole other bubble story.  My husband Dana made us a carbonator because it was getting silly expensive paying for water with fizz and then the guilt of all those plastic bottles, just too much.


Dana made this for about 40 bucks, we have it mounted to the wall in our kitchen.

Ginger Lime Fizz

I drink this all the time; it settles my stomach, combats Candida and combines two of my favorite flavors, ginger and lime.

Squeeze 1/2 a lime into a pint glass, add 1 Tablespoon or so fresh juiced ginger (or finely grated fresh ginger), 2-4 ounces of aloe vera juice, stevia to taste and top with fizzy water.

You can make this with lemon or with just ginger, play around with the flavors and see what you like best!

A note on ‘Stevia, to taste’:  Recently a friend of my mom’s tried my nuts and seeds cookie recipe  and they came out mostly unsweetened because she didn’t know how much stevia to add.  Stevia comes in many forms; granulated, green unrefined powder, refined white powder, liquid drops, flavored liquid drops, ect.  Each form has a different amount of sweetness from very sweet to intensely sweet.  What I do is add a little at a time until it tastes right to me.  When I’m baking I add it to the wet ingredients, making it a little sweeter than I want to compensate for the dry ingredients, then I taste it again when it’s mixed to make sure.  It can take some adjustments and getting used to when using stevia as a sweetener, you’ve gotta taste and adjust and taste again!

Tastes like a root beer float and looks like one too!

Pero Float

Pero is a malted grain beverage that’s made from chicory and barley.  It has a rich, earthy coffee like flavor and has been used in times of no coffee as a replacement.   Really, there is no substitute for coffee and Pero is its own thing, with it’s own flavor.  It contains no caffeine and offers your liver some support filtering out toxins.  You can easily make a hot or cold Pero drink by mixing a couple of teaspoons in hot or cold water.  Add a bit of stevia and almond milk if you like.

Or…you can mix 3 teaspoons of Pero, a bit of stevia and a splash of almond milk in a large glass.  Make sure the powder is dissolved before filling your glass up with, yup, fizzy water.  This makes a frothy dark drink reminiscent of a root beer float.  Looks pretty and tastes pretty awesome.

Summer Cocktail

ALL of my Candida clients ask me, can I drink alcohol and what can I have?  Most of them just want something so that they can socialize like everyone else.  It was kind of shocking to me, when I first started eating to get the Candida back into balance, how much socializing takes place around alcohol and food, most of which was not healing or healthy.  This recipes is for my favorite adult beverage and it makes a deceptively drinkable party punch.  Hey, if you are going to host a party, you should at least be able to enjoy the punch!  If you are sick, don’t drink, but if you feel all right and want to enjoy a cocktail, this is what I recommend.  All ingredients (except the booze) are soothing and healing for your whole digestive system, including your taste-buds.

1 oz top shelf blanco tequila ( you can use vodka but why would you do that?)

juice from 1/2 a lime

1 Tablespoon ginger juice (or freshly grated ginger)

2-3 oz aloe vera juice (goes really well with tequila, the agave and aloe plants are in the same family)

stevia to taste

Mix or shake well, pour over ice in a pint glass and top with soda water.

Asparagus and Mushroom Herb Salad

Hadley Grass, looking good.

I have learned to love asparagus.  As a kid, it was my least favorite vegetable.  I’m pretty sure I made my little sister eat most of my share, sorry Elise!  Then one day I had baby asparagus, the thinnest, most tender little stalks lightly steamed and tossed with butter, lemon and salt, perfection!  Larger asparagus is great for the grill and you can even take a peeler to the ends to get rid of the toughest fibers.  This recipe from New York Times writer Martha Rose Shulman is an awesome summer salad.  Asparagus is an excellent, low-calorie source of vitamin K, folatevitamin C, vitamin A and such nutrients as tryptophan, manganese and fiber.

If you live in Massachusetts then you know that we also refer to asparagus as Hadley Grass as the area is famous for its abundant and superior asparagus.  This is a link to a Saveur article on what was once the asparagus capital of the world!  It’s worth the read and the trip to Hampshire County.

Asparagus, herbs, mushrooms and cheese, LOVE! I totally boosted this photo from The New York Times

Asparagus and Mushroom Salad

1 pound asparagus (Both thick and thin stems will work)

1/2 pound mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh herbs, such as parsley, tarragon and chives

1 cup baby arugula

2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (to taste)

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1 small garlic clove, minced or mashed

5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 ounce slivered Parmesan

1. Steam the asparagus for three to five minutes, depending on how thick the stalks are. It should be tender but still have some bite. Rinse with cold water, and drain for a minute on a kitchen towel. Cut into 1-inch lengths. Place in a salad bowl, and toss with the mushrooms, herbs and arugula.

2. Whisk together the lemon juice, salt and pepper, garlic and olive oil. Toss with the asparagus mixture and the slivered Parmesan, and serve.

Yield: Serves four to six.

Advance preparation: You can assemble this several hours ahead through Step 1 and refrigerate. Toss with the dressing shortly before serving.

Nutritional information per serving (four servings): 222 calories; 4 grams saturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 13 grams monounsaturated fat; 6 milligrams cholesterol; 8 grams carbohydrates; 3 grams dietary fiber; 5 grams TOTAL carbohydrates; 115 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 7 grams protein

Nutritional information per serving (six servings): 148 calories; 2 grams saturated fat; 1 grams polyunsaturated fat; 9 grams monounsaturated fat; 4 milligrams cholesterol; 5 grams carbohydrates; 2 grams dietary fiber; 3 grams TOTAL carbohydrates; 77 milligrams sodium (does not include salt to taste); 5 grams protein

Martha Rose Shulman is the author of “The Very Best of Recipes for Health.”

Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan

I found this recipe on SmittenKitchen.com which has an adorable name and delectable recipes.  Recipes so delicious they need no tweaking and so I copied this one as is- Candida diet friendly, seasonal and a really cool way to eat asparagus!  Here’s the original post with more great pictures.

Asparagus salad with lemon, pine nuts and Parmesan cheese, what's not to love?

Ribbony Asparagus Salad with Lemon and Parmesan
Inspired by the Union Square Cafe

When you start trying to eat along with the seasons, you realize how long the winter is on the East Coast and begin to eagerly anticipate the day in spring when the first green things pop from the ground. Round here, that’s asparagus. And when it is as fresh as you can get it now, there’s no reason to cook it, not when you can turn it into a pile of ribbons and twist them around like spaghetti on your fork.

There are no exact measurements in this recipe. Everything is to taste, so taste as you go along to make sure you’re getting all the Parmesan, nutty, and lemony flavors you want.

1/4 cup pine nuts or sliced almonds, toasted* and cooled
1 pound asparagus, rinsed
1 lemon, halved
Olive oil
Coarse salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 to 2 ounces Parmesan cheese

No need to snap off the tough ends of your asparagus. Lay a single stalk on its side on a cutting board. Holding onto the tough end, use a vegetable peeler (a Y-shaped peeler is easiest, but I’ve used a standard one successfully) to shave off thin asparagus ribbons from stalk to tip.

Using a Y-shaped peeler to create ribbons of fresh asparagus.

Gently pile your ribbons on a medium-sized serving platter. Squeeze some lemon juice over the asparagus, drizzle it with a bit of olive oil and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Toss gently and then use your peeler to shave curls of Parmesan right off the block, over the asparagus. Sprinkle with some toasted nuts. Repeat with remaining asparagus, a third of the remaining bundle at a time. Eat immediately.

* I toast mine in a single layer on a baking sheet at 350 for 5 to 10 minutes. It’s really important, especially with pine nuts, that you stay close and toss them frequently because they love to burn, but if you move them around a bit, you can get a wonderful, even coffee color on them and an intensely nutty flavor. It makes even unfancy nuts taste amazing.

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