Monthly Archives: January 2012

Earthbound Farms Organic Baby Kales Mix

Costco (at least near us, anyway!) recently started carrying Earthbound Farms Organic Baby Kales Mix.  This stuff is amazing.  Baby kale is hard to find so being able to find it at Costco is such a great deal!  Baby kale is much less bitter, doesn’t need to be stripped and is very tender.  You can eat it right out of the bag as a salad mix, put it in smoothies, soups, etc. and even bake it into chips.  Sam (my two year old) and I ate half a bag yesterday baked as chips.  These chips tasted so much more delicious than traditional kale chips.  This is on my weekly shopping list from Costco from now on!

Cabbage Slaw with Mango Sauce

This is my version of Ann Gentry’s most wonderful recipe, Spring Rollsphoto (1) with raw mango sauce.  The Real Food Daily Cookbook: Really Fresh, Really Good, Really Vegetarian is filled with lots of rich, satisfying, and flavorful vegan fare.  This recipe, however, takes the cake as my favorite.  The reason I turned the recipe into a salad (and a lot more salad, at that, as I believe in 1 dish meals as a busy mom!) is because, as I just said, I’m busy.  I’m not going to julienne a bunch of carrots and radish, and immaculately wrap this stuff up, if I can present it, almost as prettily, and even more healthfully, on a plate. 

I added more herbs, more vegetables, and used reduced sodium tamari instead of shoyu because I have not been able to find a reduced sodium shoyu.  I doubled the dressing portion (because I more than doubled the salad portion, and it is DELISH) and instead of squeezing the oranges for juice, I just peeled and added the orange to my blender with a tad of water to make up for the extra pulp I was adding.  Much healthier to eat the whole orange, right?

Makes 4 very large salad-meals

Ingredients:

Salad:

1 small head savoy cabbage (thinly sliced)

1/2 medium size head red cabbage (thinly sliced)

1 romaine heart, torn or chopped into salad-size pieces (I cut it like the cabbage)

1 english cucumber, sliced

1 bunch chopped green onions

1 bunch (about 6) carrots, shredded

1 daikon radish, shredded

2 red bell peppers, thinly sliced

1/4 bunch of cilantro, chopped

few sprigs mint, chopped

few sprigs basil, chopped

1 cup chopped peanuts for garnish

 

Mango Sauce:

12 pitted dates, optional: soaked 2 hours

2 chopped mangos

1/2 cup onion chopped

1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

1/2 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

1 1/2 Tbs reduced sodium tamari

2 cloves garlic

1 tsp minced fresh ginger

1/4 tsp minced jalapeno chile

If you have a high powered blender and fresh dates, you do not need to soak them. Otherwise, soak the dates to make blending easier. Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth.  Strain through fine mesh strainer into serving bowl. 

Spiced Apple and Squash Soup

I just made this soup today and it was really good (and super quick, to boot!).  In true Fuhrman form, I added no salt, and honestly, did not even notice it in this recipe! This is a recipe from Whole Living Magazine (www.wholeliving.com).  I changed only two things about it (other than serving size, which was too skimpy if you want to make a bowl of soup a meal!).  I water sautéed instead of sautéing in oil, omitted the salt, and used honeycrisp apples instead of “tart” apples, as the recipe suggested.  I’m a fan of the sweet flavor of honeycrisps, even in a savory-ish soup!

Ingredients

Serves 4-6

2 onions, chopped

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 T grated fresh ginger

1 tsp turmeric

1/4 tsp each: cinnamon and cardamom

pinch of cloves

freshly ground pepper to taste

8 cups cubed butternut squash

2 apples, cored and quartered

4 carrots, peeled and chopped

6 cups water

Instructions

Sauté onions and garlic in a couple tablespoons of water in a large soup pot over medium heat until softened.  Add ginger and spices, sauté for 1 minute, until fragrant.  Add the squash, apples, carrots and water to pot.  Bring to a boil, simmer about 20 minutes until vegetables are soft, use immersion blender or regular blender to blend until smooth. 

Supplements: Safe? Effective? or Dangerous?

303429_4594I’ve read results of countless studies on supplements and the results have been not just inconclusive, but contradictory.  Dr. Fuhrman, in Super Immunity, helps set the record straight and really explains why results of these studies have been all over the map.  Before you pop another multivitamin, read this! (Actually, just buy Super Immunity already.  I mean it!)

Dr. Fuhrman recommends “for most individuals a high-quality multivitamin/multimineral capsule to assure favorable levels of vitamin D, B12, zinc, and iodine” (144).  However, this recommendation comes with a heavy word of caution: “there is clearly a significant risk from supplementing certain nutrients on a regular basis….” (144).  The nutrients that research has revealed are dangerous to supplement with are folic acid (gah! The prenatals I was taking!), Vitamin A (both retinol and beta-carotene), copper, Iron, and large doses of Vitamin E.

Before rushing out to buy a vitamin supplement, I want to point out that Fuhrman does not actually know if a multi-vitamin without the above mentioned harmful ingredients would be beneficial.  He states that “…there is insufficient evidence to conclude that a multivitamin, as currently constituted, plays a significant role in extending lifespan or reducing the incidence of cancer.  However, since science has shown that the negative effects come from only a limited number of supplemental ingredients…a study conducted on a properly designed multivitamin, without those ingredients, would probably reveal health benefits” (145).

My favorite point is that although “beyond these above-discussed elements, there is no evidence that other nutrients in the RDI dose ranges found in ordinary multivitamin/multimineral preparations are harmful.  However, a crucial point needs to be made: supplements are not substitutes for a healthy diet.  To the extent that they offer some people the confidence to eat less wholesome vegetation, they are hurtful, not helpful.” (151).  Aim to get all of your nutrition from food!

Dr. Fuhrman suggests the possibility of having one’s blood tested for nutritional adequacy and also to see how much supplementation (if any) is needed to keep ranges healthy and normal.  This is a wonderful idea.  I’ve been tested before and plan on testing again this year.

Just a note, although I have never used Dr. Fuhrman’s vitamin supplements, I saw that he sells his own brand (free of the ickies) on his website.  I cannot tell you whether they are great or not, but I have been considering trying them.

Creamy Carrot Soup

631903_80760988I love, love, love this soup.  It is so creamy and satisfying and I love the “green” tasting kick jalapeños give the soup.  Of course, use as much spice as you like! Garnish with fresh herbs if you are feeling fancy, but honestly, this is great even without the herbs as jalapeno has such a fresh (or as I said above, “green” taste).  This tastes great served along side a dish of oven roasted vegetables—especially brussels sprouts!  This soup (and the brussels sprouts) both get my two year old’s stamp of approval. 

As usual, this soup uses no salt, no oil, etc. as it is a Fuhrman-friendly nutritarain soup.  Enjoy!

Serves 2-4 as a first course

Ingredients:

1 medium leek, white and pale green parts only, sliced in half and then cut into 1 inch half circles, soaked in water and drained to clean well

6 medium carrots, peeled and sliced

jalapeno to taste (fresh or dried)

3 cups homemade vegetable broth

Chopped fresh herbs (optional)

Directions

Sautee leek in a little water in a soup pot for about 10 minutes until softened.  Add carrots, jalapeno, and broth.  Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until carrots are tender.  Use an immersion blender (or a regular blender) to blend soup until creamy.  Serve garnished with fresh herbs if you wish, parsley and cilantro work especially well. 

Immunity Tea

Immunity TeaWith yesterday’s post and today’s post, you may be able to tell that I am sick.  I’ve got a little cold.  I’m not using any medicine since medicine, if anything, will slow down healing time by not allowing the body to do what it needs to do—cough, sneeze, drippy nose, fever, etc.  These are all ways our body makes us better.  So what can someone do to feel a bit better?  Or, better, what can someone do in order to keep their immune system working well even when not sick?

Lucky, lucky, I have an answer for you.  My dad has been swearing by ginger tea and lemon tea with honey as long as I can remember.  I’ve modified his recipe to make it a little tastier (more, different flavors) and to have increased immune and health benefit.  Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, cloves and cardamom add delicious flavor and depth, and vanilla adds a creaminess and softens the bite of the ginger. Honey not only sweetens the tea, but it is both a throat soother and calms coughs. I’m a fan of local, raw, organic honey and I am fortunate enough to have a dad who keeps bees.  It may be worth it to see if you can get your hands on some at your local farmers market or natural foods store as there are supposed to be many benefits of local, raw honey.

Ingredients:            

Makes one 4 c teapot

 

1 cinnamon stick

4 inches of fresh ginger, washed and thinly sliced or grated (no need to peel)

3 whole cloves

4 green cardamom pods, slightly crushed

1/4 vanilla bean, cut into a few pieces

2  whole allspice (optional)

Lemon and honey to taste

 

Directions:

Add all of the above ingredients except lemon and honey to a teapot and pour in 4 cups of boiling water.  Cover and let sit 10 minutes so the medicinal qualities of the spices is released. Strain into a tea cup, then add lemon and honey to taste.

Tofu Coconut Curry Soup

I adore this soup and it is my go-to soup whenever I feel a cold coming on as it clears my sinuses, soothes my throat, and makes me feel all over healthy. I think it is the perfect winter soup because it is warming and comforting with good spice notes. If you like your food a little hotter, add more red pepper flakes.

Serves 4 as a meal in a bowl.

Ingredients:

3 c packed fresh baby spinach leaves

1/2 lb snow or sugar peas, trimmed and cut in half

4 oz whole grain pasta such as udon (my favorite for this recipe)

1/4 c minced shallots

2 cloves garlic, minced

4 oz mushrooms (wild or cultivated, I used cremini)

1 14 oz container extra firm water packed tofu, pressed for 30 minutes

2 1/2 tsp red curry paste

1 1/2 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp each turmeric and coriander

1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

6 cups homemade vegetable broth

1 14 oz can light coconut milk

1/2 cup chopped green onions

1/2 cup (or more) cilantro, chopped

Lime wedges, to serve

Sautee shallots and garlic in a large soup pot in a little water over medium heat 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and tofu, stirring 1 minute. Add spices and curry paste, stir 1 minute. Add vegetable broth and coconut milk, bring to a simmer, simmer 5 minutes. Add noodles, simmer 5 more minutes. Add peas and spinach, simmer 5 more minutes. Stir in cilantro and green onion, remove from heat. Serve with a lime wedge.

Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead

I watched Fat, Sick, & Nearly Dead today and enjoyed it.  I was not completely sold on juicing or juice fasting as being any healthier than my nutritarian diet, but I enjoyed seeing Dr. Fuhrman in a few clips and I felt like this documentary did a great job just bringing the importance of micronutrients and using food as medicine to the general public.  I cried when Phil explained that he was too embarrassed to see his kids because he did not want his kids seeing him like he was (at about 430 lbs).  It was nice seeing what a huge difference fresh vegetable juice fasting did for the two men and for others.  It is never to late to start eating healthier—unless you are in the grave! 

Although I did not learn anything new (after reading Fuhrman’s books, of course) I still enjoyed this DVD and would suggest that anyone interested in eating healthier, curing themselves of disease, or just interested in seeing what the men in the documentary go through and how they change and grow, watch this. 

My Bean and Vegetable Soup

I do not have a real recipe for this soup because I make it a little different each time and I’ve never measured exact amounts (especially of spices). The recipe outline below should give you an idea to work with, though.  This soup is my go to for when I want something warming, healthy, and delicious.

This time around, I used roughly:

1 lb zucchini

1 lb yellow squash

1 medium eggplant

8 oz cremini mushrooms

1 large onion

6 cloves garlic

2 bell peppers

2 carrots

2 stalks celery

dried oregano, basil, fennel seeds, rosemary, pepper, bay leaf, red pepper flakes

homemade (no salt) broth

2 cups of dried beans, lentils, and peas

1/4 cup quinoa, rinsed

1/4 cup mixed brown and wild rice blend

1/4 cup pearled barley

2 boxes of POMI chopped tomatoes (roughly 50 oz total)

fresh herbs to garnish (whatever I have on hand: italian parsley, cilantro, basil)

After soaking the beans with a piece of kombu, I poured off the water and started cooking them in fresh water.  I put all the veggies and dried spices in a very large soup pot and added the broth.  I brought the soup to a simmer, added the rice and barley.  Once the beans were tender, I drained them and added them to the soup along with the quinoa and tomatoes.  I cooked about 20 minutes longer until the quinoa was ready and the flavors married.  Topped with fresh herbs, this soup is one of my favorites!

Sweet Winter Slaw

This is a recipe that I’ve only slightly modified (cut out the oil and butter) from the amazingly delicious and wonderful cookbook, Plenty: Vibrant Recipes from London’s Ottolenghi.  I highly suggest you add this book to your collection! I make this salad and we eat all of it for dinner (read: serves two and a toddler) but the recipe states that it serves 6.  It will serve six if it is a salad course, not the one and only thing you eat for dinner.  If you have time to make a salad course, you obviously don’t have kids!  Here is my nutritarian take on this salad.  You will notice that I left the maple syrup and sugar in the recipe.  If you want to cut down on added sugar, you can skip carmelizing the nuts.  This isn’t necessary, the salad is still good with toasted nuts, but in all reality, I love carmelized nuts and hate to see them go!  You can cut the maple syrup out by using water to boil the lemongrass, etc. to make a broth, then strain the broth and blend with a few dates to make it sweet.  I just love the recipes in the book so much that I hate to change them too much! 

Ingredients:

Dressing:

6 1/2 T lime juice

1 Lemongrass stalk, chopped into small pieces

3 T maple syrup

1 tsp reduced sodium soy sauce

1/4 tsp chile flakes

Salad:

1 1/4 cups macadamia nuts

1 T water

2 T sugar

1/2 tsp chile flakes

1/2 red cabbage (10 oz), finely shredded

7 inner leaves of Savoy cabbage (6 oz), finely shredded

1 mango, cut into thin strips

1 papaya, cut into thin strips

1/4 c mint, roughly chopped

1 1/2 c cilantro, roughly chopped

 

To make dressing: place all ingredients in saucepan and reduce over high heat for 5-10 minutes, until syrupy.  Put aside.  Once cooled, strain and add to salad.

For nuts: dry roast over medium heat on frying pan for a few minutes, stirring occasionally until lightly colored.  Add the water, chile and sugar, toss to coat until sugar carmelizes.  Once nuts are cooled, roughly chop them and add to salad.

For salad: place shredded cabbage in large bowl with the rest of the ingredients, toss with dressing and nuts.