Serving Suggestion: Broccoli Slaw with Cilantro

Broccoli stems, peeled and shredded, are the base of this easy, raw whole meal.

Broccoli stems, peeled and shredded, are the base of this easy, raw whole meal.

Here’s an excellent way to use up those broccoli stems!

Save the stems from several bunches of broccoli.  Trim the ends and then peel the tough outer skin off with a veggie peeler.

Then either use the shredder attachment on your Cuisinart (quickest and easiest method) or shred them by hand with a box grater.

Then make up a peanut sauce like this one:

Whisk together approximately:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • a shy Tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon tamari plus salt to taste
  • 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar or 1 teaspoon each: mirin and brown rice vinegar
  • 4 drops of liquid stevia
  • pinch of five spice powder
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered or juiced ginger
  • srirracha and/or ground hot pepper to taste
  • juice of one lime
  • Add water to desired consistency at the end, taste and adjust flavors.
  • You can save any left over sauce in the fridge.  Just thin it out with a little water when you want to use it again.

Mix the sauce with the shredded stems, top with salted, toasted peanuts, chopped cilantro and hot pepper sauce, just skip the honey in the hot sauce recipe or use stevia instead.  Yum!

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Pine Nuts and Parmesan

I took this recipe straight from Bay Area Bites as it incorporates many things I love: Brussels sprouts, cheese, and food you can eat with your hands!  Brussels sprouts are flavorful, mini cabbages that roast up into crispy on the outside, tender on the inside, orbs of pallet pleasing nutrition.  This recipe calls for cooking and serving the sprouts on skewers, making them perfect party food, or maybe a fun way to get your kids (roommates, spouse) interested in eating green veggies.  If you don’t have skewers, don’t fret, you can simply skip that step.  If you are avoiding as much sugar as possible use Apple Cider Vinegar in place of the balsamic.

Photo from Bay Area Bites: Sprouts on a stick!

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound of Brussels sprouts
  • 1/8 cup pine nuts, finely diced
  • Balsamic vinegar or Apple Cider Vinegar or Fire Cider
  • Olive oil
  • Parmesan cheese

Procedure:

Trim and peel away the outer leaves of each Brussels sprout and then half them.

Slide the Brussels sprout halves onto the skewers, about six to eight halves per skewer.

Line a baking dish with parchment paper and places the skewers halved-side up.

Drizzle olive oil and balsamic vinegar over each skewer, trying to “fill up” the Brussels sprouts.

Brussels sprouts on a stick ready to bake, photo from Bay Area Bites

Bake the skewers at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes until they are cooked and crispy.

Plate the skewers on a serving tray and cover them with shaved Parmesan and the pine nuts.

Original post can be found HERE!

Dressing Up

This past weekend Dana and I followed our friends Mike and Becca to Falmouth on Cape Cod for the Harborside Music Festival; we sold Fire Cider and enjoyed the music, they silk screened tee shirts to go, you don’t see that everyday!

Mike silk screening tee shirts for his nephews, the ones they were wearing!

As part of our four days on the road, we drove to Springfield where we went to another Big E meeting; we are going to be exhibiting at the Massachusetts building for sure, we just have to figure out the dates.  From Springfield we went to Boston and got a chance to get out on the water, it helps when your sister is a sailing instructor!

Captain Elise with Dana, showing off her skills and the coolest Coast Guard approved P.F.D.’s

From Boston we drove to Cape Cod for the Festival and then back home to Pittsfield.  Dana and I were fairly well prepared as far as food goes but had to rely on some local grocery stores from time to time.  It is definitely more challenging getting enough green veggies to eat while on the road.  One of my favorite things to do is buy a box of spinach, slice up an avocado and add dressing- my kind of fast food.  We forgot to bring salad dressing so decided to buy some Annie’s Goddess dressing.  This used to be my favorite but I haven’t bought any in a long time.  You know me, I hardly ever buy something I can make myself so I was kinda looking forward to this but it was…disappointing.  Homemade is the way to go.  Not only because it tastes better but it’s fresher, has no ‘natural flavors’ or other mysterious ingredients in it and is way more cost effective.  So, here are some salad dressing ideas you can make in just a few minutes and have on hand for days.

Fresh Herb Dressing

I have been making variations of this all summer since we have lots and lots of parsley, basil and cilantro in our garden. Herbs are so easy to grow, they just need a sunny windowsill and some water.  Grow your own and skip the high priced packaged bundles in the store.

Chop up a handful or more of your choice of herb, feel free to mix them up too!

Use a ratio of 3 to 1 Olive oil to vinegar, Apple Cider Vinegar if you are on a strict Candida elimination diet, otherwise red wine vinegar is a good choice.

Add salt to taste, a mashed clove of garlic (this will help preserve the dressing if you want to save some for later in the week) and pepper, black or red hot, to taste.

Mix well, use a wand blender if you want a smoother, emulsified dressing.  Taste and add more of the above ingredients until the dressing is flavored to your liking.

Basil Balsamic

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped basil, parsley, a pinch of dried or fresh oregano and garlic.  Salt to taste. Hot pepper optional.

Creamy Tahini Dressing

Start with a couple of heaping spoonfuls of Tahini (sesame seed butter) and mix with some sesame oil or olive oil.

Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste.

Add your choice of one of the following combinations:

1. chopped cilantro, lime juice, chipolte pepper

2. minced ginger, chopped parsley, mashed garlic clove

Fire Cider Dressing

Mix 3 to 1 Olive oil to Fire Cider, salt to taste, a couple teaspoons of spicy Dijon mustard and mix well to emulsify.  Add a mashed clove of garlic for extra health booting properties!

Green Beans with Bacon and Cider Vinegar

For the past few days I have been wondering if I would ever be able to access this blog again!  Wordpress is great but they seem to have very strange policy’s when it comes to account access.  Anyway, my friend Lizzy helped me out and, we’re back!  I found this recipe in ‘Hobby Farmer’ magazine which started showing up at my house for some reason.  A well intentioned but forgotten Christmas gift perhaps?

A word about bacon, and meat in general:  When I was 16 I stopped eating meat and was a vegetarian for 12 years.  I was horrified by the animal cruelty I knew was going on behind the highly guarded doors of factory farms and slaughterhouses across our country.  I knew the one thing I could do was to not participate in this disgusting, immoral, environmentally devastating and completely unhealthy system.  Today I am lucky to live in what the New York Times calls the epicenter of the local food movement.  I’m far from wealthy, in fact just two years ago I was relying on food stamps to buy my organic, local foods.  Meat in the grocery store, really any animal product that is not from a sustainable, certified organic, free range, healthy farm, is, I guarantee you, from a sick and abused animal.  It’s full of antibiotics, pesticides, herbicides: chemicals that will only make you and our planet more and more unhealthy.  If you have 10 bucks to buy meat, consider eating it only once or twice a week instead of buying the cheap stuff.  There is nothing more costly than cheap food.  And animal products from eggs to bacon to cheese from healthy, happy animals are really good for you and taste much better, you know, like actual food!  So enjoy your bacon, knowing you are doing the right thing by supporting organic, ethical farmers and their healthy animals.  Stop buying into the myth that cheaper is better and that the meat on sale is anything but poison for your body, mind, spirit and OUR environment.

Ingredients:

1 pound fresh green beans

1 cup water

4-6 slices of thick cut bacon, diced – The Meat Market, Berkshire Organics, Holiday Farm are a few of many places in the Berkshires to get high quality, healthy animal foods.

2/3 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

salt, pepper and a dash of stevia or honey, to taste

Procedure:

In a medium sized sauce pan over medium heat, cook the beans in water until they are tender.  Drain the beans and reserve about 3/4 cup on the cooking liquid.

In a large, heavy bottom skillet over medium high heat, saute bacon and onion until the onion is lightly browned.  Add reserved bean liquid and cook until it has reduced to 1/4 cup.  Add vinegar and sweetner and stir well to combine.

Add the cooked beans and heat through.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Original recipe from page 77 of the January/February issue of “Hobby Farmer”

Seasonal Allergy Relief is Sweet and Local

Spring is finally, really truly here and so are my allergies.  This is the cruel irony of spring, it’s so beautiful outside but after an hour run my eyes are itchy and watery and my sinus’s are starting to make my head hurt.  What’s a health conscious, outdoor loving Berkshireite to do?  Well the good news is that there are a whole bunch of natural remedies to choose from.  Everything from homeopathic remedies that you can purchase at the Health Food store on North Street to local bee pollen and honey by the tablespoonful.  Bee pollen, nettles and Dana’s allergy tincture have been working really well for me this year but I wanted to have more options to share with my clients.  I started doing some research and the list of natural, effective allergy remedies is so long, I started to get overwhelmed!  Then I got an email from one of my health coaching clients, we have been working on a number of things together and during our last conversation, her seasonal allergies came up.  Her email included an amazing ‘recipe’ she had found for delicious and effective allergy relief along with her account of how well it works!

Before we get to the recipe, let’s make sure we are on the same page as far as what allergies are and why our bodies react the way they do.  The most basic definition of an allergic reaction is that it is an inappropriate response by the body’s immune system to a substance that is not normally harmful, in this case, pollen.  Pollens, molds, animal hairs, dust and foods all contain protein antigens that stimulate an antibody response or sometimes a “hyper-response.”  Histamine and other chemicals are released into the system, causing an inflammatory reaction. This is called an antigen-antibody response. This reaction could affect the tissues, organs, the skin, mucous membranes, the lungs and gastrointestinal tract.  Over the counter and prescription medication may alleviate your symptoms but they will never help build up your immune system. Worse, instead of helping your allergies lesson over time, your body will build a resistance to the medication and you will need larger and larger doses.  That sounds unhealthy and expensive!

The case for natural remedies is easy to make: they boost your body’s immune system while training it to react less and less over time to exposure to pollen.  Colleen’s Allergy Recipe is for citrus peels in apple cider vinegar and local honey.  This remedy is so effective because the citrus peels work as a natural antihistamine, which provides allergy relief within minutes, and the Vitamin C supports your immune system.

The local honey is an equally important component because when you put a small amount of the seemingly harmful irritant (honey from local flower pollens) into your body, your immune system builds defenses or immunities against the foreign substance. This will make your immune system ready to handle that substance in larger quantities the next time you are exposed. It is a similar concept to using a vaccine or taking homeopathic medicine.  Get honey as close as possible to where you live, this way it will be more likely to contain pollen from the plants that are causing your allergies. And, lastly, the apple cider vinegar, is there any malady that it isn’t good for?  Those of you who have tried our Fire Cider know what I’m talking about!

Just one more thing, when you make Colleen’s Allergy Remedy, be sure to use only organic citrus peels.  Conventional citrus fruits are regularly sprayed with all sorts of toxic chemicals which are readily absorbed by the peel.

Allergy relief you can eat. Thank you Colleen for the great picture!

First, peel your fruit and soak the organic citrus peels, I used lemon and orange, in raw, organic apple cider vinegar for a few hours, mixing them every so often to make sure they get really soaked. Drain peels from the cider. Use the left over apple cider vinegar in your next salad dressing.

Then, using local honey, in a pan over low heat simmer the peels with honey drizzled over them for about 45 minutes. Make sure the peels are completely soaked in the honey, the amount will vary depending on how many peels you are making at a time.

Pour everything into a glass container and let it cool on the counter.  Any honey not stuck to the peels can be eaten separately or added to licorice, mate or kukicha tea which are also great for allergy support. The peels and honey will keep in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Colleen added that she found relief from watery, itchy eyes and a runny nose from eating 5 or 6 peel pieces followed by a glass of water.  Fifteen minutes later her sinuses dried up, eyes stopped itching, throat wasn’t scratchy and her glands even reduced a little in size. Foods are powerful medicine, eat well and be well!

I had help writing this article, thanks to Colleen Del Vecchio for her awesome recipe,

Phebe A. Durand’s online yahoo article ‘Natural Allergy Relief: Treat Allergies Without Medicine’

‘Prescription For Natural Healing’ 3rd edition by Phyllis A. Balch, cnc and James F. Balch, md

And the website: http://www.bee-pollen-buzz.com

For more allergy relief, my doctor in New York recently wrote this post for his blog: Dr. Pedre’s Clean Living

An article I wrote recently with seven natural remedies for spring allergies was featured onYahoo! Green and The Early Show on CBS this Friday, May 13th, and I am writing to follow-up with a few more natural remedies that can help provide relief to those that suffer from spring allergies:

  • Butterbur: this European herb shows great promise as a natural treatment for allergies.  In a study published in the British Medical Journal, taking one tablet of butterbur four times a day was effective in controlling hay fever symptoms without the usual drowsiness accompanying many traditional antihistamines.  Butterbur has been used medicinally since ancient Greece.
  • Chrysanthemum: taken both as a salve and tea, the flower pods of this herb provide relief from red eyes, itchiness, and sinus pressure headaches associated with allergies.  Steep the dried flower pods in boiling water for 1 minute, then let sit for 5-10 min, strain, and drink the tea.  Place the boiled flower pods inside a paper towel and apply directly over the eyes for 10 minutes for relief from itchy, watery, red eyes associated with seasonal allergies.
  • HEPA Filter: a High Efficiency Particulate Filter can filter out the tiniest particles floating in the air, including pollen grains.  Use one in your bedroom, or other rooms where you tend to spend a lot of time indoors, and it will help relieve allergy symptoms by reducing your exposure to the allergens.  A HEPA filter is a great idea to have in any bedroom to improve the quality of indoor air.

Hope you find these additional suggestions useful as you seek to reduce your allergy symptoms.  Here’s to no sneezing, coughing, watery eyes, or itchy eyes and nose!

Wicked Good Wasabi Coleslaw

Thin sliced head of organic cabbage, ready for dressing!

Here is a super easy (it took me about 10 minutes to make) healthy and flavorful way to enjoy cabbage.

First, thinly slice a small to medium sized head of organic cabbage and place it into a large bowl.

For the dressing you can get ready made wasabi mayo or just mix wasabi powder into your regular mayonaise, make sure to add a little wasabi at a time until it’s hot enough to eat but not so hot it will make you cry, unless you like that kind of thing.

Wasabi powder and Wasabi Mayo from the Asian Market in Hadley

I mixed the dressing in a seperate bowl: lots of mayo, wasabi to taste, a few tablespoons of raw apple cider vinegar, salt, pepper and a couple drops of stevia.  I would say about 5 cups of cabbage to 1 cup of dressing is a good ratio to go with.  Of course I can’t say for sure because I seem to have an aversion to measuring anything exactly.

Wasabi dressing; light green and HOT!

The flash hot from the horseradish goes really well with the lightly spicy taste of the crunchy cabbage and the creamy mayo balances everything out.  Cabbage is a very cleansing food and wasabi is a great way to clear your stuffy sinuses and give your immune system a boost, no cold medicine necessary!

Wicked Good Wasabi Cole Slaw