Thursday, July 2, 2015

TIGERNUT PANNA COTTA WITH MIXED BERRY COULIS



Over the next week or so my family will be celebrating two rather big days: the first being in honor of this country we call home and the second, a birthday for my first born baby, now entering into the BIG 5th year. Similar to loving the act of celebrating the birth of a person, I cherish that we pause as a country one day a year to reflect on the freedoms we enjoy, most without much thought on a regular basis. In light of many of the devastating events that have occurred within these borders over the last month or so, I think it is vital to remember we live in a land founded on the dream of a better future. It is more important, now more than ever, to continue to heal the brokenness hidden within the cracks of the land and souls of the people.

And I think it's essential that on this day, this fourth of July, we take a moment to say:

Hey, we live in a country where we are able to make choices, and mistakes, and differences and this is awesome. We live in a country where we vote and have discussions and debate and give our opinions and this is an incredible gift and responsibility. We live in a country of wealth and land and beauty and have the ability to give freely and help and pray and sit in wonder. We can choose our faith and schools and doctors. We can follow our dreams and have opportunity even when it all falls apart. We can travel and be welcomed home. We have big problems and small but we also have amazing minds and courageous voices who are working tirelessly to encourage us all to do better - to care more about others and the world around us. We experience pain and heartache and beauty and joy, sometimes all in a matter of minutes, and we have the people around us to walk with us through it all.

I'd say this is worth celebrating. For one day I encourage us to hang up the political chatter and lay down our nasty online grenades. To surround ourselves with the people we love and drink champagne and eat dessert and big green salads and enjoy the fruits of our land. To find a body of water to swim in for hours and remember to say thank you because clean water isn't something to take for granted. I urge us to stay up late and watch the sunset or admire the fireworks. I challenge us to be present and pause and, rather than thinking of all the ways we and this country fall short - all of the destruction and damage and heartache we've caused - to instead remember the ways we've given and changed and healed and shown the world we are kind and compassionate and work for all to experience the freedom we do today.

And then I hope we enter into July 5 with a new sense of unity and humbleness and the drive to leave exclusion and segregation in history, exactly where it belongs. Be brave and share a message of love. Take courage and look at the darkness within the confines of your own soul. Let's face our own demons in an effort to bring a little more peace to this world. And may we pause and give thanks - celebrating summer and freedom, grace and redemption.

Happy Independence Day, friends.


A few years ago I was introduced to a coconut milk version of panna cotta and fell for it immediately. I love the creamy texture, the light dessert taste, the summer of it all. So in thinking of a special treat for this upcoming country-wide holiday, I immediately went to this. It's simple, light, and a lovely way to end a meal.



[THE RECIPE]

If your curious about tigernuts [and why their not actually nuts!], head over here

For the Panacotta:

1 c. tigernuts [I've used Gemini as well as Tiger Nuts] or substitute any milk of choice
2 1/2 c. room temperature water
1/4 - 1/2 c. pure [local if possible] maple syrup, adjust to fit your taste
1 vanilla bean, scraped [check out this video for instructions]
1 - 2 pinches of sea salt
a large pinch of cardamom powder
1/8 c. pure gelatin

Place silicone muffin cups on a small cookies sheet or serving platter. If you don't have silicone muffin cups simply grease small bowls with a little coconut oil and set aside.

Note: If the idea of making your own nut milk sends you into a mild panic, check out this video first. It will hopefully dispel all your fears and insecurities!

Place whole tigernuts in a blender and cover with water until the liquid reaches the three cup mark [this is approximately 2 1/2 cups of water]. Blend on high for a minute or until the liquid is white in color and very smooth. Place a nut milk bag in a glass bowl or four cup measuring cup in the sink. Carefully pour the nut milk into the bag. Gently lift up the bag and twist at the top to make sure none of the liquid squirts out. Once the top is secure, squeeze the bag slowly [all the while hold the top of the bag tightly closed] until all of the liquid has been pressed from the pulp. Set pulp aside and rinse out the blender.

In a small saucepan very slowly warm the milk to just higher than room temperature [warm to touch]. It is really important to watch as heating it too much will cause it to gel.

Return the warmed milk to the blender container and add syrup, vanilla bean seeds, salt, and cardamom to the milk. Blend on medium. Turn blender speed to low and slowly pour in the gelatin powder. Blend on low for an additional thirty seconds or so.

Pour this liquid immediately into the silicone muffin cups or greased glass bowls. Place in the refrigerator for about two hours - overnight. To speed up the process you can put the panna cotta in the freezer for about thirty minutes or until it is firm but be sure to remove before it freezes.



For the Coulis:

I'm taking a bit of a liberty [in honor of the holiday of course!] calling this coulis, as most traditional coulis' are strained. I prefer it a bit chunky so I skip that particular step but you could run the cooked berries through a blender and then strain the pulp if you choose.

4 c. of berries of choice, fresh or frozen [I used equal parts strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries, and sour cherries]
juice of 1/2 a lemon or about 1 T. of fresh juice
pinch of sea salt
1/4 - 1/2 c. pure maple syrup or raw honey, local if possible [adjust to taste]

In a medium size stainless steel pot, warm berries over medium-low heat. Cover and allow to soften into a jelly like consistency, stirring frequently. Once the berries have become very soft, gently smash any whole berries with a fork or immersion blender. Add remaining ingredients and stir. Cook over low heat for an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

BEING A MOM ISN'T A JOB


The other day I was driving with my girls, rocking out to "I'm a Little Tea Pot" and was blindsided by a thought.

For the last few years I've been known to refer to being a mother as "my job". In so many ways this role I play seems to look the part. I wear many different hats, cater to all sorts of needs, plan ahead and predict mayhem before all hell breaks loose. As a mom, I work tirelessly to give my children a life of joy and safety, learning and adventure.

But that day in the car, as I sang along far from on key, I realized what I do everyday is not a job and believing it is has cheapened the part I play in the lives of my daughters. What I've come to find is labeling motherhood as a job fills an insecurity I've been unwilling to face. If I can dress this insecurity up in a suit and tie at least what I do every day will feel a little more legit, a little less like a waste of time and a college degree. If I give myself a title, a legit answer to "what do you do?", for a few minutes I can play a part in the "real" world, thinking they won't recognize me amidst their hustle of emails and phone calls and meetings and deals.

Instead on the days I stay in pajamas until evening or "dress up" in athletic wear, I find a touch of shame attached. If this is my job, I should dress for success, right? On the days I sit beside the water watching my girls splash away an afternoon, these lovely moments come with a touch of guilt. If this is my job, then I need to be achieving something, right? When my husband asks each evening "what did you do today" and all I have in response is color, or go to the library, or aimlessly walk the streets of downtown, I find myself scrambling for more task-like accomplishments to tag on because, of course I'm working and need to have done something "important". You know, like laundry. When leftovers are what's for dinner because I'm exhausted from the beach and Farmer's Market and picking berries, a little of the contentment of summer is replaced with disappointment. I run a restaurant, remember? If motherhood is my job I need to succeed, accomplish, work, push, aim, and have each and every minute accounted for. 

But it's not a job and I'm not getting paid and believing I am is stealing the joy of this amazing blip in time. Because these years with my young children are that, a beautiful blink, and I'm tired of working and guilting and shaming them away.

What I do every day is this dynamic mix of every emotion and skill and being that I have. Sometimes it brings me to my knees in exhaustion and frustration and devastation and the desire to scream "I WANT OUT!". However, most days I look into the eyes of my sleeply little girls as they crawl into bed for a few morning snuggles and tickles and giggles and I think "I can't believe I get to do this. I can't believe I get to be their mom." And then the demands for breakfast come and I'm snapped back into "FOR THE LOVE! LET ME WAKE UP!". In these moments this place of motherhood I've found myself in becomes so much bigger than a job.

Being a mom provides a space to be myself without holding back, in fact it requires it. It allows me to go outside and swing for hours. It gives me quiet space in the middle of the day to recharge and breath deeply before meals. I get to go on adventures and watch my babies grow into beautiful, caring, hilarious little girls. I am humbled by the width of my emotions and get the opportunity to practice saying sorry. I get to show my kids a world full of wonder and magic and miracles and at the same time show them how to be kind and compassionate. I get to kiss them goodnight at sunset and hug them [morning breath and all] as the sun rises. I get to watch them explore and fall down and get up and see the look of pride and courage on their faces. Being a mom refines me and remakes me and shows me all of the areas within myself still governed by my very stubborn ego. It challenges me to be a closer reflection of the true me and pushes me to examine the pain and hurt in my own life in an effort to not parent out of those dark places. Being a mom gives to me as much, if not more, than I give to it.

So fellow moms, let's stop the charade that being a mom is mimicking heading out in the morning for a day of work. For those of you who work a day job and then come home to a family, thinking mom-ing is a job can only lead to resentment and frustration. If you stay home, believing you'll work a 24/7 job 365 days a year for the rest of your life can only lead to resentment and frustration.

Instead, let's try sitting in this beautiful moment filled with uncertainty, tension, challenge, difficulty, joy, laughter and tears. Let's fully embrace the role we play, not being ashamed if we don't have the bank account to show for it. Let's stop the insanity of pushing ourselves to be perfect thinking somehow we'll be fired if we take a wrong turn or receive a promotion is we have all our ducks in a row. Let's remove the shame and guilt and "what-ifs" and replace them with presence and gratitude and creativity. Let's get out of bed with the thought that a miracle has occurred - it's a new day and we get to do it again. Let's rise in the confidence that we are enough without labels and titles and paychecks and accolades. And let's embrace being a mom.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CROCK POT APPLE CRISP: GOOD ENOUGH FOR BREAKFAST OR DESSERT!



Today I spent the larger portion of my day under a big blue sky and ended lunch with this crisp - warm and fresh, just like the sun. There is nothing like meditating on a paddleboard, walking in freshly greened grass, digging in dark, rich dirt, or swinging as high as you can for no other reason than the simple joy it brings. Throw these ingredients in the Crockpot [prep takes all of 10 minutes] and get yourself outdoors!


[THE RECIPE]

Fruit Filling

6 c. blueberries [frozen or fresh] or fruit of choice
1 tsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon
1 T. arrowroot or tapioca starch
1 T. freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 T. coconut sugar

Crisp Topping

2 1/2 c. old fashion rolled gluten free oats
1 1/2 c. oat flour
1/2 tsp. ground cardamom
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. sea salt
1 c. coconut oil
1 c. maple syrup or raw honey
optional additions: chopped nuts, dried fruit, ground ginger, ground nutmeg, ground cardamom

Mix fruit filling ingredients together in 6 quart or larger Crock Pot.

In a large glass or stainless steel bowl, combine oats, oat flour, cardamom, ginger, and any optional additions you choose. In a small saucepan melt coconut oil, sea salt and sweetener of choice over low heat. Once the oil is completely melted, pour into oat mixture and stir until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Spread this crisp topping over the blueberry mixture in the Crock Pot.

Cover and cook on high for two hours or low for 4 hours or until blueberries are very tender and bubbling. Turn off the heat and remove the cover. Let the crisp cool in the Crock Pot for 30 minutes or until the topping has hardened just a touch.

Serve alone or with whipped topping / ice cream of choice and enjoy!



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

[MEAT]ING OUR BODIES WHERE THEY'RE AT + SPRING QUINOA SALAD WITH LAMB MEATBALLS

About this time two years ago, my body started poking at me, giving gentle nudges and indications that something wasn't quite right. I was aware of the issues but at the time in survival mode - processing through the aftermath of a house fire, a baby who wouldn't sleep more than 3 hours each night, and a number of other things my family found ourselves in the middle of. Looking back on it now I easily see the progression, but in the moment my life was lived minute by minute. Over that year things very quickly spiraled downward and my body simply stopped accepting the foods I was eating regularly. I knew there was a problem, yet the healing tools in my arsenal and the very minimal energy I had in the storehouse just wasn't enough. At some point I realized this was more than I could manage on my own. Both conventional and functional medical systems were stumped. Tests were run, procedures done, nothing found. Frustration and desperation overload.

Eventually I was existing on quinoa and a small handful of vegetables my body could digest. I needed more. Clearly.

I had eaten meat-free for a number of years beginning in college. I felt good and didn't crave meat so I figured, hey!, this must be my groove. What I neglected to consider is that my body didn't have one mode - a setting I could figure out, click into, and cruise on throughout life. I understand now my body changes from day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year, season to season. I consistently hear [and say] as a parent everything is a phase - nothing lasts forever. It's true for parenthood, for our bodies, and for life.

While I was pregnant with my first child my body screamed for burgers and bacon and cheese. Rather than finding the best version of these I could, I quieted the voice with what I assumed to be "healthier" choices. When my second came around that same voice upped the volume yet my stubbornness and head knowledge took over, convincing me once again this inner voice was somehow incorrect. It couldn't really be asking me to eat meat, right?

Although both babies were healthy [so much gratitude for this!], I came away exhausted, depleted, and malnourished. My body stopped receiving the nutrients from the food I was feeding it and I was feeling every bit of the effect.

And so I started eating meat. There are oodles of books on animal cruelty and the detriment of eating meat with extremely convincing scientific studies. I don't doubt the validity in this way of thought and I do believe as a nation we eat far too much tragically raised animal products on a regular basis. What I do doubt is that a meat-free way of eating is feasible for all. The Ayurvedic tradition uses meat as medicine and I love this. I love that meat holds a respected place in this system which also values animal rights, care, and protection. 

So I ate - minimally at first but then with a vengeance. Let me make this very clear, meat wasn't the only thing that healed my body. Healing took a lot of work on many levels and continues to do so. I have been so blessed by the skillfulness, kindness and knowledge of a naturopath, body/energy worker, and acupuncturist and most of my healing is a direct result of the work I've done with each. But meat did act as a catalyst. Eating meat taught me grace, humility, and a different form of ahimsa [non-harming] than I had been practicing. 

And it gave me hope. Something I desperately needed at that time.

These days, meat is still a part of my diet but it plays a far less prominent role. I rely more on gelatin and bone broth and have been able to slowly bring back some of my favorite meat-free staples. My forage into consuming animals has shown me balance and perspective are two things worth making friends with and practicing as much as possible. It's not easy, especially that perspective thing, but it provides the ability to understand situations in a way tunnel-vision simply doesn't allow.

Most importantly I've learned it takes a community. It takes a group of people to help each of us live well, heal well, and offer us the love and grace to learn the tough, uncomfortable lessons of life.

My hope is that this part of my story encourages you in yours and extends permission to explore releasing the areas of life you grasp so tightly. Many blessings.



[THE RECIPE]
Recipe adapted from this Killer Quinoa Salad Recipe

2 c. quinoa
4 c. cold water
1/2 tsp. sea salt
zest and juice of one lemon
2 T. raw apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground coriander
sea salt + freshly ground pepper
4 T. extra virgin olive oil
3 medium yellow onions, cut into very thin slices
5 - 6 small garlic gloves or 3 large cloves, cut into very thin slices
1 bunch of kale cut into very thin ribbon-like strips
2 c. or one 15-ounce can of cooked garbanzo beans
2 fresh green onions, cut into thin slices
1/3 c. dried cranberries
1/3 c. sliced almonds, lightly browned or toasted

Begin by warming 2 tablespoons of olive oil and onions in a medium size skillet over medium-low heat. Once the onions begin to sizzle, reduce the heat to low. Carmelizing the onions will take about 45 minutes so it's important to begin with this. Occasionally stir the onions to prevent them from getting too brown. At about the 30 minute mark, add the slivered garlic to the onions. Continue to stir occasionally until the onions are a deep golden color and very soft. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

While the onions cooks, place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Put the rinsed quinoa into a medium size pot and add water and 1/2 tsp. sea salt. Bring the water to boil, reduce the heat low, and cover. Cook until all of the liquid has been absorbed [about 15 minutes]. Once the water has been absorbed, turn off the heat and remove the lid. gently fluff the quinoa in the pot with a fork every 10 minutes or so until the quinoa has cooled to room temperature. If you're short on time simply spread the cooked quinoa out onto a couple rimmed baking pans to cool.

While the onions and quinoa are cooking, mix the lemon juice, lemon zest, apple cider vinegar, cumin, coriander, and a pinch or two of salt and pepper in a small glass jar with a tight fitting lid . Secure the lid tightly and shake for 30 seconds. Place dressing in refrigerator.

Place 2 T. olive oil and the cut kale into a large skillet over medium-low heat. Stir frequently until the kale becomes soft and turns a bright green color. Add the garbanzo beans, saute for 1 minute or just enough to warm, remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Once the onions, kale and quinoa have cooled to room temperature, place the quinoa, onions, kale and garbanzo beans in a large glass bowl. Add green onions, cranberries, and slivered almonds [if using] and gently stir to combine. Drizzle the entire salad with dressing and carefully stir well to combine.

Serve immediately or refrigerate. Salad will keep for 1 week or you can freeze to enjoy later.



[LAMB MEATBALLS]
Makes approximately 15 meatballs

A special note: In eating meat, I think it's extremely important to mention my family and I try hard to support our local farmers who raise animals in a respectful, loving way. We bless the animals blessing us and we've chosen not to consume the meat of any animal who has suffered through a heartbreaking life. We believe eating meat is both a privilege and a responsibility - something to be taken seriously and done with great care. This can be done by choosing local, organic, pasture-raised meats, eggs, and dairy without added chemicals, hormones, or antibiotics. Better yet, make a visit to the farm you purchase your meat from. See how they raise the animals and get a sense of the heart of the farmer. You may just land yourself a friend in the process. 

1 lb. organic, pasture-raised ground lamb
1 T. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. fresh cilantro, finely chopped [if using dry cumin and coriander] OR fresh parsley, finely             chopped [if using dry parsley and oregano]
1 tsp. each cumin and coriander OR parsley and oregano
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Combine all of the ingredients in a medium-size glass bowl and mix well using a spoon or your hands. Form into small meatballs and place in a glass baking dish. Cover and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place meat balls on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the inside of the meatballs are no longer pink.

Remove from the oven and serve immediately.

[HERB YOGURT SAUCE]

1 c. plain Greek yogurt or unsweetened dairy-free yogurt of choice
1/2 lemon, juiced
1/2 c. fresh cilantro or dill, chopped finely
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 tsp. onion powder
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

Place all ingredients in a glass bowl and mix well. Taste and adjust as you need. Cover with a secure fitting lid and refrigerate for 30 - 60 minutes or make the night before.






Friday, April 3, 2015

CARDAMOM-SPICED WARM BLUEBERRY SMOOTHIE

Today I had a serious hankering for a smoothie, a treat I haven't enjoyed in quite some time. Something in me was begging for smooth and creamy yet light. Sweet with a little tang. Yet in the same moment I wanted that thing to be nourishingly warm. Spring has only recently arrived at my doorstep and on this cool, overcast April day my body was beginning to transition into the new season yet the winter chill hadn't completely passed.

I spent the few precious minutes I have while my kids rest fully absorbed in a new cookbook that happened upon my doorstep this morning. Truly inspired, I headed into the kitchen for a scavenger hunt and a little play time all in an effort to fulfill my body's gentle demand. My pantry didn't disappoint and from there I give you this recipe: creamy, warm, sweet and tangy, with a hint of the pulsing energy so clearly felt outside my door.

[A BIT ABOUT POLLEN, SANG, AND MACA]

If you're unfamiliar with bee pollen, I hope you give it a chance. It's rich in antioxidants, contains almost every nutrient the body needs to survive, has an impressive protein content, and a subtle floral taste.

Ginseng or "sang" is commonly used as a preventative herb and balancing tonic that really aids the entire body. Asian ginseng builds heat in the body [great for fall - early spring] while American ginseng has a cooling effect [good for summer]. Ginseng can be very restorative if used over a long period of time. That being said, wild American ginseng is considered an at risk species so it's really important to find organically cultivated or woods-grown ginseng.  

Maca is a wonderful source of minerals, essential fatty acids, sterols, fats, fiber, carbs, protein, and amino acids. I think it's sort of malty in flavor making it a no-brainer addition to smoothies.

[THE RECIPE]
Serves 2

1 c. frozen blueberries
1 c. milk of choice
1 c. apple, pear, or pineapple juice
2 tsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 T. maple syrup
pinch cardamom
1/2 avocado
1 T. extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp. maca powder
1 tsp. bee pollen
1/2 tsp. ginseng powder

Combine blueberries, milk, juice, lemon juice, syrup, and cardamom in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low heat until blueberries are soft and liquid is warm.

While the blueberries are heating, place avocado, oil, powders, and pollen in a blender.

Pour warm blueberries with liquid into the blender and blend on high until very smooth.

Serve immediately.

Friday, March 27, 2015

RASPBERRY-ORANGE CHOCOLATE PUDDING

Today I thought I would balance my last post with something delicious in a much less virtuous, "my brain hasn't disintegrated into kale and weird green stuff" way.

I've been writing a lot about balance and finding the happy medium between many extremes: in health, time, family, parenting, mind talk, body talk, soul talk and the multitude of other areas in each of our lives where it can seem we walk a tight rope. There is so much noise about diets, parenting styles, yoga and meditation styles, exercise, supplements, vaccines, religious beliefs, political stances and a number of controversial issues we are faced with today. In fact, it's almost impossible to scroll through Facebook or click on a news website without seeing something that ignites anxiety, fear, a sense of shame or failure, and anger.

Years ago I decided to stop watching the news on a regular basis. Sure, I was being educated on the happenings of the world but at the same time I was being influenced by a station's take on a certain situation and it was almost always pumped up with verbiage and adrenaline in an effort to increase my attention span and emotional reaction. Unfortunately, it's an effective technique. I was confused by conflicting stories and increasingly frustrated with the amount of fear I was being traumatized by. So I turned it off. And I really never looked back.

About a year ago, I realized the health world was quickly having the same effect on my mental and physical health. I had turned down the noise of one voice only to allow another to take over. Instead of worrying about national safety, global warming, and the local crime, I had taken to wringing my hands over supplementation, vaccines, and signs of disease.

Now, a little older and a teensy bit wiser, I'm learning to turn this off too. But this time I'm filling the quiet with things that my soul and open my heart. I listen to music that speaks of joy and beauty and healing. I read books that do the same. I meditate. I play outside. I giggle with my girls. I worry much less about being a good parent and have faith that I am. I trust the people in my life to hold me accountable to the things they know I value and am trying to do less of that myself. I'm working at walking away from judgement of myself and others and walking towards compassion.

And I eat this pudding. Not all the time but as a delicious and special reminder that life, a good and beautiful and balanced life, holds a little of everything: discipline and spontaneity, a bit of fear and a lot of joy, blessing in many forms, laughter and grief, health and indulgence, questions and faith, confusion and understanding, humanness and holy. Without one we truly can't enjoy or learn from the other.

The amazing thing is, and the blessing in it all, all of these can be teachers, guiding us towards wisdom and grace.

[BREATHING BEFORE EATING]

A quick note about breathing before I get to the recipe.

One of the practices I've come to fully embrace is breathing before a meal. I used to rush through a prayer, usually as a quick "check it off the list, let's eat!" routine. Then I sat around our friends' table, friends whom I respect and trust, and had an honest conversation about praying before meals and why we do it. They were in the process of working through a faith established for them as children, questioning what they had been spoon-fed for years. So far they've landed on holding faith and questions in an open palm and tapping forks or spoons in gratitude for the meal. I loved it. And I began to ask questions too.

Then recently, a friend I've been seeing for energy and bodywork mentioned they breathe as a family before their meals in an effort to center their minds and prepare their bodies for the food they're about to eat. I loved this as well.

Here's the thing about being vulnerable about the questions we ask - it gives others the freedom to do so as well and put a name to the doubts we hold.

And so we've moved our mealtime routine in a direction that finds us where we are. We're working at remembering to take three deep, intentional breaths before our meals as a way of acknowledging our food and breath and everything around us as a holy gift. We're teaching our girls to honor our bodies with the food we eat by eating as if we mean to eat. As if it's worth paying attention to. As if each meal is special. And sometimes with words, mostly with our breath, we say thank you - thank you to the one who created us, thank you for each person around the table, thank you for our food, thank you for this breath.

[THE RECIPE]

5 oz. dark chocolate chips
5 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c. frozen raspberries [or berry / fruit of choice]
1 13.5-ounce can regular coconut milk
1/2 c. coconut butter
1/2 - 3/4 c. honey
1/2 - 1 tsp. orange flavor [or flavor of choice]
1/2 tsp. sea salt
appx. 7 - 8 small, 4-ounce glass jars with tight fitting lids

Optional additions: chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, toasted coconut, splash of Amaretto or almond extract.

Place raspberries in a medium size saucepan and warm over medium-low heat until very soft [appx. 10 minutes], stirring occasionally. Pour the soft rasberries through a fine mesh strainer set over a bowl. Using a wooden or metal spoon, gently press the raspberries into the strainer to extract as much as the juice as possible from the seeds. Compost or discard the seeds.

If seeds remain in the pan, rinse out the pan used to heat the raspberries. Return the strained raspberries to the pot and add remaining ingredients.

Warm over medium-low heat until all of the ingredients are melted and the consistency is very smooth. Remove from heat and pour into small glass jars. Secure lids tightly onto the jars and place in the refrigerator for 2 - 4 hours or freezer for 1 - 2 hours or until the consistency is just firm.

Store in the refrigerator for up to one week.











Wednesday, March 25, 2015

GREEN MILK WITH MORINGA

A really close friend of mine has recently entered into my [not so normal] health world. The other day I was sitting with her and another close friend of ours talking about increasing potassium - you know, like you do. We practically pummeled her with ideas ranging from molasses to coconut sugar to chlorophyll. Now the weak of heart would bail upon hearing chlorophyll but my friend gave it a go after we assured her it really wasn't so bad.

The next time I saw her she looked me straight in the eye and asked what the hell I had just told her to drink.

Ummmmm.

Lucky for me she's both forgiving and has a fantastic sense of humor. Our friendship remains in tact.

However, it did cause me to pause for a second and consider the words that so easily fly out of my mouth.

Chlorophyll - it tastes great!

Molasses in hot water - sure, you'll begin to crave it!

Beet sauerkraut - I eat it all the time!

Apple cider vinegar in water - first thing in the morning, baby!

I now see sentences like these are just not normal. It's taken me years to detox my body of the many artificial flavors and ingredients so beautifully disguised as food and rewrite what I consider delicious. And let me tell you, I didn't start with chorophyll or molasses or a good number of things now kept as staples in my pantry and fridge.

My point? It's a journey. A long one and it's so easy to forget how long when these things finally click from crazy and weird and flat out disgusting to normal, even tasty.

The most important thing is to just stick with it. Maybe it's adding more local, organic veggies to your diet. Maybe it's a piece of fruit in place of candy. Maybe it's taking a shot of chlorophyll and cursing my name for the next couple days. Whatever it is, stick with it and keep going because it will get better. Maybe not tomorrow or next week or even next year but at some point something will click deep within you and crazy might just seem, well, normal.

[A MOMENT FOR MORINGA]

I thought, while we're on the topic of not-so-normal, I'd give a shout out to the Moringa Tree. I was introduced to moringa a while ago by some friends of mine who support ECHO, a truly amazing non-profit farm based in Florida. More recently, I came across moringa while researching another non-profit and just a bit ago stumbled across the powder in my local health foods store. So, here we are.

Moringa has long been dubbed "the miracle tree". My tendency is to take claims like this as slick advertising and immediately revert to skeptic mode, sure I'm being duped.

But.

But then I read that this particular tree, and all it's parts, is being used to resolve a host of issues in undeveloped countries crippled by disease, malnutrition, economic instability, and environmental degradation. And it's also packed with a loaded punch of nutrition [potassium, protein, vitamins A and C, calcium, magnesium, manganese, iron, zinc] while boasting all the essential amino acids necessary to call it a complete protein. And it's safe for general use. Seriously?! 

I've run out of reasons not to add it to my repertoire of weird, amazingly good for me, will take some getting used to, foods.

You can read more about moringa here and here, and I really, really hope you do.

So, a drink. Moringa has a sort of earthy, grassy taste. I've chosen to make this a simple, no-fuss green milk I can easily whip up at any point in the day. However, if this health-stuff is new to you [and your taste buds], add a bit of cacao or cocoa, an avocado or frozen banana for thickness, some fruit, or a little ice to make this "medicine" go down a little smoother.

[THE RECIPE]

2 c. nut or seed or milk of choice
2 tsp. morning leaf powder [you can find here or here or check out your local health foods store]
2 - 3 tsp. pure maple syrup
pinch of sea salt
small pinch of raw stevia leaf powder [optional]

Place all ingredients in blender and blend on high for thirty seconds or until combined. Serve immediately as is or over ice. A note about ice: I tend to not use ice as it can reduce digestion and cool the body too much however, sometimes it can make drinks more palatable.