Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Warming and Wonderful One Pot Meals

There is something to be said about having a dish that is nourishing, warming, easy to digest and tastes wonderful all in one. You can easily accomplish this with ONE POT MEALS - such as soups and stews!
It is so great to cozy up to a warm bowl of goodness during these long and cold winter days.
If you haven't experienced this, then let me tell you how extremely simple it is. In fact -it is easier then preparing your average dinner at home (which usually involves more than one recipe to get a balanced meal).
In order for your one pot meal to cover all the basis your are going to need a few things. Start with some vegetables, (or at least onions, carrots and celery as a base) otherwise play with vegetables in season such as sweet potatoes, rutabaga, turnips, parsnips, brussel sprouts, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, kale (you can really get crazy here!), a legume (such as chickpeas, black beans, white beans, lentils, yellow split peas), some herbs and spices (cumin, parsley, sage, oregano, garlic, ginger, rosemary, thyme), a grain if you wish (barley, quinoa, brown rice, millet) and there you have it - a well rounded one pot meal! These meals make for a convenient and easy way to approach dinnertime in the winter months. You can make a batch of it early in the week or on the weekend and take portions out as you need them throughout the week. You can even warm some up and put it into a stainless steel thermos for you or your kids on the go! You can freeze portions in glass containers and store them for snowy day when you don't feel like cooking or going anywhere.
Why not benefit from cooking some of your own meals at home- you get to be creative, you know what going in it, you know it's going to be delicious! So have fun and get creative with some warming and wonderful one pot meals!

Vegetable Medley Stew with White Beans


1 medium onion, chopped
1 leek sliced and washed carefully to remove sand
10 medium mushrooms, quartered
2 rutabagas, cut in small dice
½ cup water as needed
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon ground sage
1-teaspoon herb de Provence
2 fennel bulbs cut into medium chunks
4 medium sweet potatoes, diced
2 turnips cut in medium cubes
1 cup cooked or canned organic garbanzo beans
10 brussel sprouts, cut in ½ pieces
1 head of kale, chopped into bite sized pieces
1 ½ tablespoon Bragg’s amino
Salt and pepper to taste


1. In a small stockpot, sauté onions in oil until translucent (5-10 minutes).
2. Add rutabaga and mushrooms with 1 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until liquid is released.
3. Add water, bay leaf, sage, oregano, parsley and herb de Provence and bring to a boil, covered.
4. Add sweet potatoes, turnips and fennel. DO NOT STIR
5. Cover and simmer 45 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
6. Blend 1 cup of vegetables and add back to stew with ¼ teaspoon salt and water as needed.
7. Raise heat until briskly bubbling and add kale and Brussels sprouts to stew, right before serving.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nothing like warming up to some Hot Apple Pie!

Choosing the right warming foods to eat during these below freezing cold days is key nourishing you body and soul. It's not enough to just take a hot shower and have a bowl of soup. There are in fact some particular foods and spices that warm up your body up from the inside out. The body naturally craves, starchy, heavy and sweet foods during the winter season. So instead of going for the processed stuff like donuts, Alfredo sauces, cakes and pies or other rich and dense foods which leave you feeling lethargic and draggy - not to mention the calories they pack in. Why not try making your own satisfying creations in the kitchen! You can still fulfill your cravings by choosing the right ingredients. Not only will you be satisfied with just one serving but you can also feel great knowing that you made it from scratch!

Choosing warming foods like cooked grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain pasta's or baked yams and even a variety of soups and stews are sure to keep you warm during these frigidly cold days. You can even satisfy those sweet cravings with some home baked goodies like muffins and pies made with whole grain flours and natural sweeteners. If you are on the go, get yourself a reusable stainless steel mug and fill them up with warm herbal teas to sip throughout the day. When you are at home, brew yourself your own loose leaf teas or try making your own chai latte's or dark pure cocoa hot chocolate!
I encourage you to use a variety of warming spices in different ways. Try using cinnamon, ginger, cayenne, cumin, turmeric and cloves. Your body and your taste buds will thank you for their warmth and delicious essence.

Since apples are so widely available during the winter months and there is nothing better then a little cinnamon and nutmeg to warm you up, I decided to make apple pie for my family dinner last night. I have to admit, I love to bake - but pie making isn't my specialty. So I promise that this recipe is simple enough that anyone can do it... I promise!
I even went the length of making my own ice cream...I know what you are thinking. Ice cream is cold and it's not healthy! Well not true if you make your own with the right ingredients and warming spices. I now have this amazing ice cream maker which means that I can use anything as the base! So I chose organic pure coconut milk (to read more on the health benefits of coconut milk check out my posting CooCoo for Coconut). I blended that up with some maple syrup, cinnamon and agar for a creamy consistency. Then the whole thing churns and makes delicious "ice cream" that I can put on top of my warm apple pie!

Hot Apple-Cinnamon Pie..."A La Mode"!


Pie Crust:

1 1/4 cups light spelt flour
1 cup spelt flour
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 tablespoons maple sugar
Pinch of sea salt
2/3 cup cold coconut butter
1/3 cup ice water


4 cups tart apples, such as granny smiths, jonathan or spy, peeled, cored and sliced
3 tablespoons maple syrup
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon arrowroot flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon grated nutmeg


1. Sift the flours, cinnamon and salt into a medium bowl. Add the oil and mix well.
2. Add the ice water gradually to the mixture while continuing to mix the dough. Continue to mix until dough is firm but not flaky. Roll up the dough, put into a bowl, and let it rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.
3. Form the dough into 2 balls. Roll one out into a circle with ½ inch thickness. Press into an 8-inch pie pan and trim, leaving ½ in all around.
4. Preheat oven to 350 F
5. In a large bowl, combine the apples, maple syrup and lemon juice. In a small bowl, mix together the arrowroot, cinnamon and nutmeg, then toss with the apple mixture. Add the filling into the pie shell.
6. Roll out the second ball of dough into a circle large enough to cover the pie. Top the pie with the dough, then trim any excess dough and crimp the edges. Cut 3 slits in the top crust.
7. Bake for 1 ½ hours, or until the piecrust is golden.

Serve with vanilla rice or soy ice cream or make your own!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Nourish yourself this year!

Start off the year right. You owe it to yourself to nourish your body with fresh delicious food and your mind with the satisfaction that you can make the choice to be the best YOU this year. Make the right choices now, or else January will pass by to quickly. Then in February... well no one feels like starting anything new in February. Then March comes and you tell yourself you may as well wait until the spring or summer to start eating right or getting in shape or going on a cleanse. Well I am telling you that if you start right now, by the summertime you will already be looking and feeling great!

So the key is to get yourself motivated today. Start up a new exercise program and fill your kitchen full of healthy choices. You may even want to take a COOKING CLASS (see side column for details) or two, get yourself loaded with health supportive and tasty recipes to get you on your way - just email me if that is your plan!
I am also offering a WHOLE FOOD MAKEOVER WORKSHOP series starting next week that should definitely get you on your path to good health and well being. Sometimes you just need a little push in the right direction to get you on your way.
But if you are the type that just wants to do it yourself, then let me at least give you a few tips to get 2009 to YOUR best and most nourishing year ever!

1. Choose fresh and whole foods everyday
2. Choose organic and bio-dynamic foods as often as possible
3. Choose food that is fresh, local and seasonal
4. Choose foods that are colourful, vibrant and that vary in texture, flavour and shapes (this is great for kids too!)
5. Experiment cooking with different grains, legumes, vegetables and spices for variety
6. Limit your consumption of fried, processed, packaged and sugar laden foods
7. Limit your consumption of commercial meat and dairy (instead select naturally raised or organic whenever possible)
8. Start up a new exercise program, even if that means taking a walk around your block!
9. Find alternative methods for relaxation, healing and rejuvenation (massage therapy, aroma therapy, acupuncture, tai chi, yoga and pilates).
10. Have Fun!

Quinoa with Porcini Mushrooms and Dried Cranberries


1-cup quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 ounce (3/4 cup) dried porcini mushrooms
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup minced red onion
1 garlic clove
1 stalk celery
1 cup chopped fresh spinach
1 cup dried cranberries or currents
½ toasted pinenuts or pecans
Freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley or thyme


1. Rinse quinoa and place in large pot and dry toast on a low heat for a few minutes. Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil with salt. Reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. Combine 1 cup of water with porcini mushrooms in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Remove the pan from the heat and let the mushrooms soak for 20 minutes. Then drain the mushrooms, reserving the mushrooms and the liquid separately. Roughly chop the mushrooms.
3. Warm the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-low heat. Add the onions and celery and cook until the vegetables are soft, about 7 minutes. At the last minute add the spinach.
4. Add the reserved mushrooms, the garlic, and the cranberries and sauté until the cranberries are heated through about 2 minutes.
5. Add the pinenuts, quinoa, salt and black pepper to taste, and the mushroom soaking liquid. Cook until the liquid has been absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in the chopped parsley and serve hot.