Monday, November 30, 2009

Liver Cleanse!







These next two weeks I am going on my detox regime. Anyone want to join in on the fun? It is the perfect time to do this because there is going to be treats and goodies everywhere and I have found being on this kind of cleanse makes it easier not to indulge. I am going to be posting recipes to help keep things from getting boring. It is a wonderful way to reduce any inflammation in your body, decrease mucous, drop some weight and give your liver a much needed break from life. It is pretty easy to follow:

1. 40 % vegetables
2. 30% protein
3. 20 % fruits
4. 10% fat (in the form of extra virgin olive oil)
5. 1 % cheat (mine is a cup of coffee with soy creamer)

The specifics of each day:

2 tbls olive oil (or you can use flax oil) a day
2 servings of 4-5 oz. protein a day plus 1 egg (including Whey Protein)
2 servings of fruit a day (1 cup of berries or a piece of fruit is a serving)
unlimited amounts of vegetables (squashes are not allowed except spaghetti squash)
2-4 capsules of DHA Essential Fatty Acids
lemon water
1-2 tbls. ground flax seeds
1 tbls superfoods (Garden Of Life see picture above)
1 tbls apple cider vinegar
spices and herbs of your liking
small amount of sea salt
one small cheat (mine is soy creamer in my green tea or a glass of wine once a week)
these two weeks are free of sodas, dairy, grains, flours, nuts, sugar.


You can see that it is easier to list what is allowed instead of what is not allowed. Because this is a cleaning type of regime, it is essential to eat organic produce and free-range/organic meats. The reason why is because the liver is responsible for breaking down those chemicals and the goal is to give the liver a break.

Here is an example of what my day might look like:
Breakfast:
green tea with soy creamer
1 scoop whey protein (undenatured whey!) shake with superfoods
lemon water

Snack:
pear
lemon water

Lunch:
veggie tofu patty
sauteed spinach or spinach salad and grated carrot (using 1 tbls. of olive oil for day)
lemon water

Snack:
cup of strawberries
lemon water

Dinner:
oven roasted fennel (using other 1 tbls of olive oil for the day)
seared salmon with cilantro and lemon zest and ginger
lemon water

Before Bed:
Flax seeds 1 Tbls. (in lemon water)
Lemon water

This is such an easy cleanse. But, the key to success is preparation, and bringing your food along with you. Regardless if you want to cleanse along with me, I will be posting some recipes you may find interesting and healthy!

The recipe for the photo above:
Radicchio and Tofu Burger Saute

(These tofu burgers have a small bit of canola oil in them. I use them anyway, because they are really handy.)
1 wildwood tofu burger cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 head radicchio sliced thin
1/2 carrot grated
1 tsp. olive oil
1 pinch salt
2 tbls. fresh parsley chopped

I heated this up in a saute pan for 5 minutes and ate it for lunch. You could prep the vegetables for three days of lunch at one time and just pull out of the fridge and heat up (or eat as a raw salad!) to make things fast and easy.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving Wrap-Up













Whew! It is over. What a wonderful day Thanksgiving was with our friends and family! Everything went smoothly, and the turkey was moist. We deep fried it this year again and as always it was very juicy. After dinner we made donuts with the hot oil. We also all assembled in the driveway to see a second night of the Space Shuttle and International Space Station fly over. It was quite dramatic and surprisingly bright. We all talked about what we were thankful for and talked a lot about the food. The sweet potatoes with coconut milk and curry that Erin made, the brussels sprouts with chantarelle mushrooms and truffle butter, the stuffing and three kinds of cranberry sauce. Oh, it was all really wonderful. After dinner everyone ate pie and pumpkin bread pudding. Then we all played music on itunes and zune that we listened to in high school and college. M got to stay up late and now has a new found appreciation for punk rock music from the 80's.
Thanksgiving would not be a holiday with a slight glitch right? Ours was me burning myself. At the end of the night as I was trying to deal with the turkey stock the pot slipped and splattered stock on my face. I have 4 or 5 dime sized burns on my chest. Bummer. I put my homeopathic burn cream on right away and it helped a lot. I happen to have some sort of silver burn cream I got a few years back (from another Thanksgiving burn!) the doctor prescribed to prevent infections. I was happy to have an arsenal to fall back on. It was a completely preventable situation; I just thought I could handle a very hot, very heavy pot on my own and I should have asked for help. Lesson learned.
Today is tree day. I will try to document it and tell you all about it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

"Spinach" Dip




In my crazy preparation today, I whipped together an appetizer spread for tomorrow. I used the lemon kale pesto from yesterday and it tastes a lot like spinach dip that is oh so good, but oh so bad for you. This version is slightly better for you. And, I think it tastes better than spinach dip due to the wonderful fresh taste of lemon.
I remember very clearly the best spinach dip I have ever had. It was during college (crap! that was 1991!) while visiting my girlfriend Sarah's house in Hinsdale, IL. Her local gourmet grocery stocked it, and it was a very popular item as I remember it. I think that might have been the first time I had been in a "gourmet" grocery store in my life. They served it with the big round bread that was hollowed out and then all the pieces were scoops for the dip. I could eat a big dish of it and not even flinch. It had diced water chestnuts in it that imparted a crispness that seemed very exotic to my college palate. I was very impressed and since I was a onion dip fan, spinach dip quickly became near and dear to my heart. These days however, because of my irrational fear of foodborne pathogens and the overall freakiness of how I eschew prepared foods, I make my own. This recipe uses the kale pesto with a few things added in. Here goes:

1 cup lemon kale pesto (see link above for recipe)
1 cup room temperature chevre
1 tbls fresh meyer lemon juice
zest of a meyer lemon
1 shallot finely diced
pinch salt
mix well and bring to room temperature before serving

Thats it! I found these fabulous crisps at our local cheese shop. My Whole Foods carry them too. Happy dipping.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Lemon Kale Pesto with Nutmeg






Kale is very, very good for our bodies. High in vitamin A, fiber and calcium. It is in season right now, and will continue to be in season, fresh at your market for the winter. But, how often do you buy it? Even I (who really loves kale) get caught in a rut getting creative with kale. A couple of weeks back I made a saute of diced sweet potatoes, onions, garlic and raisins. I threw kale in at the end and I ate two bowls of it for dinner. I seasoned it with rice vinegar and tamari. But, my standby for eating kale and lots of other greens seems to somehow include ginger, olive oil and a hot pan. This has gotten a bit old.
But, before I go on, let me tell you what I love about kale. It is somewhat flavor neutral, and does not have an extremely strong flavor like spinach or chard. This past weekend I saw a recipe in the NY Times for kale pesto. That idea has been floating around my head for two days. I decided to add pecans and nutmeg to mix it up a bit. This morning I made it. Seriously good. Very very good. You can freeze it and use it just like you would pesto. Here are some ideas for using Kale Pesto

1. mixing it with chevre for a dip on Thanksgiving (I will!)
2. putting a spoonful over a grilled white fish
3. putting a spoonful on pasta tossed with butter
4. using it as a ravioli stuffing
5. eating it with a spoon like I am doing while typing this
6. sneak it into any vegetable soup
7. saute it with other vegetables like brussel sprouts or asparagus
8. eat it on a salad
9. put it in an omelet
10. filling for lasagna

I wanted brightness in this kale, so I accentuated the flavors that would bring out the kale and not mask it. I also wanted the flavors to be festive for the season but not overly so. Here is what I came up with...

Lemon Kale Pesto with Nutmeg

1 bunch dino kale or lacinato kale
1/2 heaping cup Parmesan
1/2 heaping cup pecans
zest of 1/2 lemon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
pinch salt
1-2 tbls. olive oil (I used lemon crush olive oil)
1 tbls. fresh lemon juice
1 clove garlic minced

Roughly remove stems of kale. Add kale to pot of boiling water. Stir and cook about 45 seconds. Remove and rinse with cold water. Pick up kale with your hands and mold into a ball, squeezing out all the water you can. Really squeeze! Set aside

In a food processor, add the lemon zest, juice, salt, nutmeg, garlic and pecans. Pulse a few times to get it coarsely chopped. Add kale, and pulse while adding olive oil. Taste for salt and add more oil if it is too dry. This should not be oily like pesto. Only add enough oil so it is not dry.
Oh this is a good recipe! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sunday



It is drizzling, cold and a most wonderful winter day. I would take rain and cool over sun and hot any day.
So, today M and her dad made a winter wonderland art project. I think it was time wonderfully spent. It is nice to see D get a break from the hours he must spend in front of his computer working.
In other news, our beloved resin deer head fell off the wall and broke today! It left a serious gash in the floor, but we were really thankful it did not fall on anyone!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend To Do List

Weekend To Do list:

go to the dump
clean out the garage
nutcracker rehearsal in town for M.
go see the movie 2012
laundry
dishes
sleep in either saturday or sunday
sauna and pizza night at a friends house
scorpio party at the cultural center
visit our friend's winter pottery sale
clean the multiple piles of coyote or fox (can't figure out who) poop off the deck
round up some firewood (husband firing up the chainsaw for that...)


hmmmmm....wonder how many of those things we will get checked off that list. Cleaning out the garage will most likely not get done. Because the garage door closes, and then no one really knows how awful the mess is in there.

What is your weekend list? Anything exciting? Like going to Santa Fe and lounging at 10,000 Waves Spa (my most favorite place ever!!)? Or flying to NY for a romantic dinner for two? Or first class seats for a flight to Japan for the weekend?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cranberry Picking

After hours of playing. They were really really dirty.


Raelynn is prepared, organized and up for adventure. And, she always has the best snacks with her!


A little hand holding a soon to be mouthful of manzanita berries.....

This is the old mining road to the cranberry bogs


Our neighborhood......Seems like no one lives here but they do!


A small pond with cranberry bushes on the perimeter


Have you ever seen a cranberry plant?


The guys lounging....it was a beautiful day!


Can you see the dragonfly on my hat?


Not so many cranberries this year at the bog....


Kids on a hill in the diggins. It was one very large playground for them


Walking back to the cars


This kid is a professional at playing and getting dirty!



Yesterday we went cranberry picking just off the road in our neighborhood. I always feel a bit conflicted about this because the cranberry bogs are in an old gold mining area, and those areas have been contaminated at one time or another with arsenic and mercury from the gold mining. I wonder every year if the cranberries are contaminated. The diggins are beautiful in their own way, hauntingly so, but have been scarred from man's greed. But, it is always great fun to hang out with friends and picking berries is always an adventure.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Coconut and Almond Flour Cookies


I bought almond and coconut flour this week. I made pear frangipane this week and thought to try a gluten/flour/grain free cookie made without refined sugar. I just started mixing around and came up with these little cookies. Perfect sweetness, moistness and they smell wonderful. I ate two right away and put the rest away for later!

I used coconut oil because it is very stable and it is high in MCFA (medium chain fatty acids) which is unlike the majority of the fats in our diets that are LCFA (long chain fatty acids). Coconut oil is also comprised of 66% MCT (medium chain triglycerides) which are absorbed in the GI tract instead of the lymphatic systems like most fats. They also do not require bile salts to be broken down or require energy for absorption. MCT have gained a bit of popularity in the last 10 years or so because it has been thought that they burn fat and can promote weight loss. One of the FA (fatty acids) in MCT is caprylic acid, which can be effective at controling candida albicans in the gut. But, what is known is that a MCT rich diet lowers triglycerides and LDL's, both problematic when too high in the body.
Well, enough of the science lesson! Here is the recipe....

Coconut and Almond Flour Cookies

1 cup almond flour (Bobs Red Mill)
3/4 cup coconut flour (Bobs Red Mill)
1/8 cup melted raw coconut oil
1 egg
1 cup maple syrup
1/8 tsp. almond extract
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder

Wisk the egg with salt, maple syrup, vanilla and almond extract
Pour coconut oil over almond flour and mix. Add coconut flour, baking powder and mix.
Then add the egg mixture and mix. I mixed with my hands.
On a silpat or parchment paper, form 2-3 inch balls and flatten with the palm of your hand.
Bake at 325 for 12-15 minutes. They will start to brown around the edges.

Pour melted coconut oil into

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fairies and their Husbands

Blue husband and baby


Pink husband and baby


Pink Fairy


Blue Fairy


The project tonight was Fairy Families. M and her friend each made a fairy family and glued them on sticks. The whole time they were creating them, they were narrating the story, like "how about the husbands are friends with each other". I was cracking up listening to them, but they were all business, madly coloring and creating.
Today M asked me in the car if I thought fairies and gnomes and Santa Claus existed, and if there are people who don't and why. All I could think to say is "yes, I believe in all those things because I have seen the magic". And truly, I do believe that. She had an older friend over recently who told her Santa Claus does not exist. This was troubling to her for obvious reasons. Today driving around town talking about this, we came to the conclusion that if you don't believe in Santa, then he does not come to your house, and that is just fine. She seemed perfectly content with that, and Santa seems so real to her this holiday it makes me burst with excitement. I feel sad already for the time when that magic passes and fiercely possessive about keeping it alive for her. I already thought of how to have a conversation with the parents of the little Santa non-believer before she comes over again. Magic is so integral in these young children's lives. Especially when so much around them is destroying that at an earlier and earlier age. Since being in Waldorf kindergarten, M's propensity for fairies, gnomes and magic has really blossomed. She is surrounded by it five days a week. It seems such a bitter pill to swallow going to other kindergartens and seeing the academic dogma being fed to these young, creative, imaginative souls.
Yesterday M cleaned my room. She asked me if it was ok if she made my bed. Later, I walked in and she had made my bed, folded a blanket and arranged the pillows perfectly. She had placed her prized rose she found on the kindergarten playground beside my pillow. I know why she did this; Dusty Gnome from school inspired her to. Dusty is a little gnome that assigns children their clean-up tasks in kindergarten, and that magical inspiration is what has behind her willingness to help around the house more and foster feelings of accomplishment. It is a gift that has unending gratitude from my heart that my child is getting a gift that will last her a lifetime, and inspire me to always keep it alive too.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beet Horseradish Coleslaw




So this morning M woke up with a "sore throat, (she did sound hoarse), belly ache worse than normal and feeling sick". At least those are her words to describe her condition to me when she woke up this morning.
I decided to let her stay home. I realize now it was a mistake, since she is totally fine and realized she is having a serious case of schoolitis. Yes, the honeymoon period is over and she would rather not go to school. Ever since I got the flu and she got to stay home for two days she has decided she would rather not go to school and has pretty much either cried or come super darn close every morning at school. This is the same child that told almost all of the kindergarten that she was starting a band, having a party and organizing the potluck all on her own. Well, I told her today that unless she has a fever of something severe there will be no more "sick" days.
I did make her eat soup the whole day due to saying she was sick, so she got her serving of kale and carrots!
Yesterday at the coop there were samples of Bubbies Beet Horseradish. It was mixed it with a bit of cream cheese and put it on a cracker. I was sold. I bought a bottle and stared scheming right away. Somehow I managed to think it a good pairing with dill pickles. So, this very simple and surprisingly satisfying dish was inspired by the slightly sweet earthy beet horseradish. I really love the pink hue it imparts on the cabbage too...

Beet Horseradish Coleslaw

1/2 head cabbage thinly sliced
pinch salt
1 heaping tbls. beet horseradish
1 large dill pickle chopped fine

Mix together in a bowl. I let mine wilt slightly for about 20 minutes...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Olive Oil and Cumin Roasted Cauliflower


I sort of have a love/hate relationship with cauliflower. Love it in curries and with other roasted vegetables. I prefer it to be roasted or braised and mostly do not care for it steamed unless it is coated heavily with ranch dressing, which I tend to never serve at home.
Yesterday I coated it with olive oil, cumin, nutritional yeast, and then roasted it in the oven. I look for creative ways to use nutritional yeast because M. will eat almost anything that has yeast on it. Nutritional yeast is a yellow powder that is used by many vegetarians because of its high protein and B vitamin content. These tend to be in short supply in children's diets. Some contain B-12, but only if it is specially added. We put it on popcorn, rice, quinoa and sometimes in soup as a thickener. M loves it because it has a mildly salty taste and seems to be a distant taste relative to Parmesan cheese.
I topped mine with fresh cilantro, but that is the adult version, and M would never go for that garnish. And, this took less than 10 minutes to prepare!

Olive Oil and Cumin Roasted Cauliflower
oven 375 for 20 min.

1 head cauliflower broken into pieces
1-2 tbls olive oil
1 tbls cumin (or less if you are not a cumin fan)
pinch salt
1-2 tbls nutritional yeast

In a bowl, drizzle olive oil over cauliflower and mix well with you hands making sure each piece is coated. Add cumin, pinch salt and nutritional yeast. Mix with a spoon to coat. Be sure to really get all the yeast and spice on the bottom of the bowl coated on the cauliflower. Carefully spread on a cookie sheet and bake.
Top with a couple of pieces of fresh torn cilantro

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Red Kuri Squash stuffed with Shiitakes and Almonds






This is a red Kuri Squash. It is a native of Japan and has bright orange skin and flesh. It is not as watery as other squashes I have eaten, so I deemed it perfect to stuff and bake.
They have been coming in our farm box, but I have been buying extra at the co-op too. I think it tastes the closest to a sweet potato of any squashes I have had.
I decided to stuff it because it would look pretty! The first was a failed attempt due to the onions not cooking properly. The second time I caramelized the onions and that did the trick. To me, this dish tasted like the candied yam dish you make at Thanksgiving with marshmallows on top. It is a show stopper and would be wonderful for any holiday event. If you don't like the taste of ginger however, omit it.
Also, you could just bake this beautiful squash and mash it up like a sweet potato if you wanted an easy dinner dish. Use the extra to make soup, pie or put in pumpkin bread recipes.

Stuffed Red Kuri Squash
bake at 350 on a cookie sheet for 1 1/2hrs our until a sharp knife pierces the flesh easily.

1 med. red kuri squash
1 large onion
3/4 cup almonds chopped (substitute hazelnuts too! I would have but did not have any!)
zest of one lemon
juice of 1/2 lemon
two pinches salt
1 tlbs olive oil
1 tbls. molasses
2 cups shiitake mushrooms chopped
1 tsp dried sage
1 tsp fresh grated ginger

Sautee the onions in the olive oil until almost caramelized (about 15 minutes). Add shiitakes for last 5 minutes of cooking (put lid on pan for those last 5 minutes)

In a mixing bowl, add onions and mushrooms and the other ingredients. Mix well and put inside the squash that has been hollowed out with a spoon. Cover with the squash top and bake on a cookie sheet for about 90 minutes. It may take longer depending on how big your squash is.
It is sure to give you oohs and ahhs at any table you set it down on! M was not super into the ginger flavor (I loved it) so next time I would leave it out to be more appealing to her. Other than that, it was a fabulous dish.

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