4.2018

Zion Nat'l Park, Columbine

recipes

BOO-Nanners, a Healthy Halloween Treat

This clever treat for children (and their parents!) is a delicious, healthy, and fun alternative to big-bag Halloween treats.

Boo-Nanners

Servings: 2 per banana

Ingredients:
*peeled banana, cut in half
*orange juice
*dried shredded coconut
*currants or raisins
*popsicle sticks

Preparation:
1. Sprinkle banana with orange juice
2. Roll in coconut, you may find it a little easier and neater to use a zip top bag for this step if the little ones are making these
3. Gently press in currant eyes
4. Place on popsicle stick

These boo-nanners can be frozen to be served as a popsicle or eaten fresh. Either way, the kids will love it!

Shared from California Wellness Task Force, Fit for the Holidays newsletter.

Best Banana Muffins on the Planet…

This summer has brought a lot of kitchen time–fulfilling me with the joy of creativity and sensory stimulation from the smells, colors and textures of my creations. An addition to my business that I had not anticipated but am thoroughly enjoying is the opportunity of cooking for my clients. I have shared quinoa casseroles, grilled veggies, fruit cobblers, all sorts of greens in various combination and styles, soups, pastas and sauces…basically, the dinners I’ve been making each night have been doubled in size, with the leftovers being shared. I enjoy seeing my clients try new flavors, textures, and combinations of grains and greens to entice and familiarize them with eating REAL food. It’s working well!

One client, a very busy woman who commutes several days a week for work and whose work often comes home with her in the evening, has been challenged time management-wise to find kitchen time to create healthy, energy producing and sustaining meals for her long days away from home. We’ve shopped together so she became acquainted with pantry staples, created strategies for prep-ahead techniques, all with a focus on healthy, quick meals and snacks that could be eaten throughout the week.

Banana muffins, using this recipe, are a delicious, healthy mid-morning snack. With a smear of good quality peanut or almond butter, you’ve got protein, fat, and carbs that will last a few hours, giving you energy and stamina, as well as a smile on your face because they taste so heavenly. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
¾ C organic sweet-cream butter, softened
1 ½ C organic cane sugar
2 eggs, locally sourced
1 ½ C mashed very ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla
2 C flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ C organic, whole-milk vanilla yogurt
½ C chopped nuts, optional

Directions:
1.    Cream butter and sugar until it’s as smooth as it looks like it’s going to get. It will still seem a bit lumpy. No worries.
2.    Mix in the eggs.
3.    Add vanilla and bananas.
4.    Sift together flour and baking soda into a separate bowl.
5.    Alternately add the dry sifted mixture with the yogurt into the butter/sugar mixture.
6.    Pour into 24 cupcake tins (with paper liners). Bake at 350 for 25 – 30 minutes, until they are a gorgeous golden color on top and a toothpick inserted into the center pulls back clean.
7.    Once cool, I freeze most of the muffins in a giant zip lock baggie so I can pull them out one or two at a time. They thaw in a half-hour or in the microwave for 30 seconds. Smear with peanut or almond butter, and you’ve got a fabulous tasting and very healthy snack filled with protein, good fat, and energy-producing carbs! Yum.

Fruit Cobbler

Not too sweet, not too tart…that’s how a fruit cobbler should be! This time of year is so rich in the bounty that is available at the natural foods cooperative market where I shop: fruit, fruit, and more fruit. I make smoothies. I chop up berries to mix with cereal. I keep a huge fruit salad cut up and in the fridge, ready to savor at any moment–alone, with yogurt, or even on top of vanilla ice cream. Grapes and cherries, papaya, mango, pineapple, apples, pears, peaches, plums, berries, bananas–you name it and I’ll include it in my fruit salad.

I am a real advocate of preparing foods ahead as much as possible to increase access to healthful small meals throughout the day. I have found a delicious twist to this that is a healthful treat, and especially useful if the fruit salad has been in the fridge a day too long! Healthful Treat. Now when’s the last time you saw those two words together?

Ingredients:

  • as above, any fruit you have lying around, chopped into bite size pieces
  • sugar, to taste
  • granulated tapioca
  • optional: a pinch of cinnamon and/or fresh ground nutmeg
  • flour
  • sugar
  • coconut oil (in its solid form, not liquid)

To prepare:

  1. The amount of sugar you mix into the fruit will depend on how much fruit salad you will be using, as well as your personal taste preference. I suggest: Go Tart!
  2. Mix in granulated tapioca. (try 3 T for every 4 cups of fruit)
  3. Consider cinnamon or nutmeg here, but just a small pinch.
  4. Put the fruity mix into a glass baking dish.
    *** Here’s where the fun begins: assembling the cobbler topping ***
  5. In a separate bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and coconut oil until you have a crumbly mess that is not too sweet but pleasing to the palate. (see note below)
  6. Pour the crumble over the fruit, spreading evenly to the edges of the dish.
  7. Bake uncovered, in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45-ish minutes, keeping an eye on the topping. Once it starts to become golden brown, I turn the oven off, but let the dish sit happily inside for another 10 minutes or so.
  8. Let it cool, then enjoy this delicious and healthy treat.
  9. Top with yogurt or creme fraiche, and you’ve got a small meal of good quality fat, carbs, fiber, and amazing flavor.

NOTES:

  • I’m not a measuring spoon type of gal; I love the free flow of creativity in the kitchen. It works out most of the time, that I am rewarded with a delish dish or meal that may never taste the same way twice, but that elicits joy and satisfaction in the process.
  • My personal choice is organic food; from produce to flour, sugar, grains, spices, coconut oil, dairy, etc. See how that concepts fits into your own personal choices.
  • For this recipe, I use unprocessed cane sugar and light brown sugar. I suggest that you try to shift towards less sugar when baking–the tartness in fruit is quite exciting once your mouth has a chance to savor the flavors beyond sweet.
  • I love coconut oil. Yes, it is a saturated fat, but one that has the health benefits of plant foods, and woweezowee, once you get a taste of it in this topping, you’ll never go back!

Grilled Veggies Extraordinaire!

It is nearly unimaginable to me that I have gone through my entire adult life–until last week–before becoming familiar with this divine, easy, and healthy method of cooking up a bunch of vegetables all at once–and having them come out as a side dish to any meal that a 5-star chef would be proud of! Where have I been hiding? Well, it’s never too late and I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I now do!

Ingredients:

  • any and all veggies that you round up: zucchini, peppers (red and yellow), cauliflower, mushrooms, eggplant, broccoli, purple onion, green beans — don’t hold back!
  • olive oil
  • good quality balsamic vinaigrette (I use fig vinaigrette–it’s sweet flavor adds a surprise zip to the marinade)
  • a small pinch of salt and a hearty pinch of black pepper

To prepare:
1.  cut veggies into bite size pieces, and place into large bowl
2. add enough olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette to please your palate, and to coat the veggies uniformly
3. add the salt and pepper; mix it all up well
4. place the veggies into one of those grill pans intended for small pieces of food (see photo)
5. cook for 15 minutes on medium flame on the BBQ, stirring every 5 minutes
6. Enjoy the most delish, crunchy, healthy, aromatic, and simply marvelous veggies you have ever eaten!

Cool Summer Dinner Recipe

There are those summer evenings when cooking a hot meal just doesn’t jazz me. Last night was one of those evenings. I came up with a fabulous tasting, super easy meal that kept us cool. Give this one a try!

Garbanzo Wrap

Ingredients:
15 ounce can garbanzo beans
lemon
cilantro
olive oil
curry
tomato
cucumber
crunchy sprouts
fresh mint
greek yogurt, plain
leftover cooked grains
spinach or tomato wraps

Preparation:
1. Blend the first 5 ingredients in a food processor.
2. Chop tomato and cuke.
3. Spread the garbanzo puree onto the wrap.
4. Layer on the yogurt, lightly.
5. Add some grains on top. Note: If you don’t have leftover grains in the fridge, cook some up! That can happen in the morning, while your house has not heated up yet. I suggest a hearty grain such as wheat berry or barley, but any ol’ grain will do.
6. The next layer will be the tomato, cuke, and sprouts. I used radish sprouts, by the way. BUT you can add a million toppings here: purple cabbage, hearty greens, sliced pepper, roasted pine nuts, grated carrots, raisins; any and all combinations will be perfect!
7. As an afterthought, I added a few mint leaves from my garden–this was a brilliant idea!
8. Roll that bad boy up and you’ve got a high protein, nutrient dense dinner that is light, delicious, and refreshing.

Are you feeling cool?

Split-Pea Barley Soup: One of my all time favorites!

This quick, easy, and fabulous-tasting soup is a welcome shift in cooking and eating that acknowledges the change of season, from summer to fall.

Time required: 1 hour total, but ONLY 15 minutes of your physical presence in the kitchen is required!

Ingredients:

1 cup dried split peas, rinsed
1 cup barley, rinsed
1 medium purple onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
2 carrots, sliced
2 celery stalks, sliced
cumin
pepper and salt to taste
olive oil

Directions:

  1. Place peas in a large pot with enough water so that the water line is 2 inches above the peas; bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 45 – 60 minutes. Keep an eye on the peas after 45 minutes, so they do not become overcooked and mushy!
  2. Place barley in a different pot with 2 cups of water, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Set aside.
  3. While the peas and barley are cooking, enjoy a glass of wine. Then sauté the onions in olive oil, on low until they are tender. Add in the garlic, carrots and celery, a tad of pepper and salt, and sauté for just a couple of minutes until the veggies start to soften but do not become overcooked.
  4. Add to the cooked peas: the cooked barley, and cooked veggies. Gently mix it all up. Sprinkle cumin—at least 1 teaspoon—but probably more to give it a divine flavor.  Add pepper and a smidge of salt to your preferred taste.

There are two types of cooks: those that measure ingredients and those that do not. Those that follow recipes and those that do not. I do not. I love being in the kitchen creating a masterpiece, and have been cooking from scratch for nearly 30 years! Eyeballing how much to add, tasting frequently to be sure that I am getting it right is part of the fun for me. If “winging it” does not feel right to you, by all means use recipes and measure away. I have to say that my husband, when eating a delicious meal that I have lovingly prepared, will often sigh and say, “well, I won’t be enjoying that meal again…”  What he means is that my meals do not taste the same way twice! Since I don’t use recipes or measure, I run the risk of not being able to recreate that fabulous meal the next time around. Life is an adventure!

1st Note: If you like soupy soup, you’ll want to have a water line remaining above the peas when they are done cooking—keep an eye on the peas while they are simmering to see if more water should added.  If you like porridge style soup, then you can let all the water slowly absorb and evaporate in the cooking.

2nd Note: This is a chunky soup, which is how my husband and I like it! If chunky is not your preference, you are welcome to put the yummy concoction into a food processor to gently blend it to your desired consistency.

3rd Note: I taste while I cook. It is important to test the consistency of the grains, legumes, beans, pastas, and veggies, as well as the flavors once you begin to add spices.

Final Note: When cooking grains such as barley, millet, rice, etc. the ratio is 1 part grain to 2 parts water. The cook time is typically 30 minutes, but not always…quinoa for instance is cooked in 12 – 15 minutes, as are oats, but polenta (coarse corn meal) takes at least 45 minutes. This is where playing around in the kitchen is recommended so that you will gain confidence, as well as practical understanding of time required to create a fabulous meal.

The Really Final Note: When combining bean or legumes and grains, as in this soup, you are ingesting an incredible amount of fiber and protein. Way to go! Think of all the possibilities in other yummy soups and casseroles in which you bring beans and grains together. I will include additional recipes of my favorites in upcoming newsletters.

Happy Eating!

"There aren't many people with your combination of medical expertise and caring for the whole person. Your incremental approach to helping me develop better health habits really works. I never feel judged and always feel encouraged and cared about. Thank you!"
---S.R., Nevada County

recipe link
nowhearthis
mindful more
more...balancedlife
more...quietingbusybrain
more...real food
justmove
Blog Categories