Happy Heart Smoothie

Happy heart smoothie-4

The wild beach roses (rosa rugosa) are blooming in all their fragrant pink magnificence and I’ve been down to the Chappy point a few times, gathering their delicate petals to dry in the dehydrator, or stick them in a bath.  I didn’t have time to lay them out in my dehydrator when I came home last time, so I stuck the plastic bag in the fridge.  The next day I was making my morning smoothie, and I sometimes put raw baby spinach in it, and I had the idea to throw in some of the pink petals instead.  I was pretty sure roses are edible, but to be on the safe side I did a little research and came across this sweet post.  Rose flowers are considered an aphrodisiac that wakens feelings of warmth and love. They are also a simple astringent (this means that it tightens and tonifies inflamed tissue, both topically and internally where the medicine makes contact.) and rose is useful in treating conditions where the tissue is boggy, disorganized and puffy.

I had also been putting turmeric powder in my smoothies until I ran out a couple of weeks ago, and yesterday I acquired some more.  I have an on-and-off relationship with turmeric where I like it and can use it for a period, and then I’ve had enough and need to take a break. I just learned that this potent healing spice, aslso called “curcumin”, has been shown to be effective for treating depression and anxiety.  “Curcumin’s positive antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects are likely due to its ability to normalize specific physiological pathways,” says Lopresti PhD, of Murdoch University, Australia, who published a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 56 individuals with major depressive disorder. “It appears to elevate neurotransmitters such as serotonin, while lowering stress hormones, such as cortisol, and is a potent antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Curcumin also provides protection to the brain.”

My focus, recently, has been on ways to open and nourish my heart center, and allow more love in my life.  I also am always on the lookout for natural ways to support my sensitive self and my tendency towards anxiety and depression, so the addition of rose and turmeric to my morning meal feels just right.

Happy Heart Smoothie – recipe:

Combine in a blender:

1 C. frozen wild blueberries

1 frozen banana (or other fruit of your choice)

1 T. coconut oil

Pour in a cup of hot water, or other liquid of your choice, unless you like your smoothie to be more like a slushie and very cold, in which case use cold liquid.

Add:

1-2 T. of ground seeds (see this post about seed cycling for menstrual cycle support)

1/2 T. of carob or raw cacao or maca or some other tasty, nutrient dense powder

a pinch of unrefined sea salt

a couple of handfuls of fresh rose petals

1 t. turmeric (if you are not sensitive to black pepper, you might add a few grinds, as it is said that turmeric is more effective when combined with black pepper)

Blend until smooth and creamy… and enjoy!

You could also add a scoop of greens powder, or protein powder, or any of your other favorite smoothie additions.

Happy heart smoothie-2

Medjool Date Muffins filled with Maple Chevre

Medjool Date Muffin with Maple Chevre

 

It is New Year’s eve,  and I am flipping through my binder of recipes and when I come across a recipe for date pastries that I had copied from a beautiful library book with recipes for baked goods from around the world.  I consider attempting a gluten-free version of the pastry dough, and then I remember a muffin recipe I’d gotten years ago from a friend in Portland, ME.  A chevre-filled muffin studded with dried fruit that we’d made during one of my visits to that dear city.

For the last few days of the year 2014, I had a craving for dates.  Not the kind of date where you meet a stranger for dinner, nor the kind of date you choose for a flight to warmer climes… Nope, I had been yearning for the rich, buttery, deep sweetness of a medjool date.  And I wanted it warm, and a little gooey, with moist, buttery crumb surrounding it.

I pull out the falling-apart old recipe book I’d started at age 13; a notebook that used to have a blue, card-stock cover on which I had written this quote: “Animals are my friends and I don’t eat my friends” (conveniently that page fell off around the same time I started eating animal flesh).  The first entry in the book is for carob chip cookies because it was around that time when my mom and I started investigating the blood type diet, and being type Os, carob was supposedly a better option than chocolate.  Although I loved carob, and that particular switch was easy for me, at the time I apparently wasn’t quite ready to adopt the rest of the recommendations for the Type-O diet, which included eating lots of animal (protein).  It wasn’t until at least ten years later that I finally released myself from the vegetarian diet I had been raised on, and fed myself more of what my body really wanted to eat.  Today, though, what it really wants is not meat, but DATES!

Food writer Susan Russo describes them perfectly, “Medjool dates are deep amber-brown and have a slightly crinkly skin that shimmers from natural sugar crystals. Bite into one, and your teeth sink into satisfyingly sticky flesh that tastes of rich caramel, hints of wild honey and a touch of cinnamon. Melt-in-your-mouth Medjools are so luscious they taste as if they have been warmed in an oven.” from NPR’s “Kitchen Window” series.

Flipping through faded pages, I find the muffin recipe and it actually calls for dried figs. I figure it will work just as well with dates, and I set the book out on the kitchen table ready for brunch on New Year’s Day.  The first day of January 2015 arrives clear and bright, and making my way to the kitchen, I tie on my favorite green apron.  I pull out the magical medjool dates, homemade chèvre and goat milk kefir, Pamela’s gluten-free baking mix, Massachusetts maple syrup, coconut palm sugar, Green Island Farm eggs, a meyer lemon–fresh from a friend in Florida, un-bleached parchment jumbo muffin papers…and I get baking!

Recipe: Medjool Date Muffins filled with Maple Chèvre

Mix together and set aside:

1/2 C. plain chèvre (homemade if you have it)

1 t. meyer (or regular) lemon zest

1 T. real maple syrup

1/2 t. vanilla

Sift together:

2 C. plus 1 T. Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix

1/4 t. fine sea salt

1 t. coconut flour (or an extra Tablespoon baking mix)

Beat together:

2 jumbo eggs, or 2 large eggs plus one extra white

1/2 C. coconut palm sugar

1/3 C. olive oil (or melted coconut oil)

1 C. goat milk kefir (or buttermilk)

1 C. pitted and chopped medjool dates (or dried figs)

Preheat oven to 425°.  Line nine jumbo or twelve regular sized muffin tins with unbleached papers, or oil thoroughly.  Make chèvre mixture.  Pit and chop dates.  Sift dry ingredients in to mixing bowl. Beat wet ingredients together with sugar and then mix wet into dry. Fold dates into batter, making sure to separate clumps as you add them.  Spoon batter into muffin tins.  Top each one with a teaspoon of chèvre mixture (which should sink into center of muffin as it bakes) and bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.  Cool for 5-10 minutes in tins before moving to a wire rack.  Serve to people you love.

Sharing muffins with friends at Slip Away Farm!

Sharing muffins with friends at Slip Away Farm!

 

Turnip “French Toast” Pancakes with Bacon

Recipe:

Peel and steam or roast turnips (see note about substitutes) until tender. Make sure to cut off any tough or stringy parts if turnips are not young and tender.  Mash about 3/4 C. (or less) with a fork or potato masher and mix in 1 T. nutritional yeast, 1 t. cinnamon, dash of nutmeg, vanilla, dash of salt, maple syrup.  You can also add 1/4 C. almond or coconut flour. (you could also do this in a food processor)

Beat an egg or two and whisk into turnip mixture.

Heat stable fat in a skillet (butter, ghee, coconut oil…) until hot.

Ladle batter onto skillet, three small pancakes or one large. Cook until set on top and golden on bottom. Flip and cook until done.
serve with butter and maple syrup (optional) and a side of bacon or fried tempeh.

Optional: scatter a few raisins on the pancakes before flipping for “raisin bread” style.

Note: this recipe also works with squash, pumpkin, rutabaga, yam, etc. Basically anything with the same type of texture and taste palate.

Image

Saturday Breakfast

coconut curry soup with seaweed and eggs

Seaweed Morning Soup (done a few ways):

1-2 strips each wakame and kombu seaweed

1/3 C. arame seaweed

6+ cups water

Snip or break wakame and kombu into 1/2 inch pieces in a medium-sized saucepan and combine with 4-6 cups water.  Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, 10-15 minutes.  Optional: soak 1/4-1/3 cup arame seaweed in cold water for 5 minutes and then drain and stir into seaweed broth.

Chop:

1 onion

a few cloves garlic

an inch or so of peeled ginger (or grate it)

1-2 carrots

1 celery stick

1 small zucchini

a bunch of well-washed kale or other hearty greens

1-2 scallions

Add chopped onion, garlic, ginger and carrots to simmering broth.  5 minutes later, add zucchini, kale, and scallions.  Simmer for a few more minutes.  When veggies are looking bright and yummy, decide whether you would like to have a coconut-curry soup, or miso.

Optional: firm tofu, rinsed and cut into 1/3” cubes

a bunch of cilantro, chopped

eggs

miso

coconut milk

green curry paste or curry powder

turmeric

salt, dulse flakes or salty soy condiment

fresh lime

For Miso Soup:

Move enough soup for a serving to a small saucepan and return to a high simmer.  Carefully break two eggs into the soup and simmer until eggs are as done as you like them.  While the eggs cook, dissolve 1 tablespoon of your favorite miso in 1/4 cup of the broth.  When the eggs are done, take soup off of heat and gently stir the miso broth back into the soup (miso doesn’t like to be boiled), and season with salt or dulse flakes or some sort of soy condiment.  Serve topped with chopped cilantro.

For Tofu instead of Egg: add to soup with the first batch veggies and turn off heat and stir in dissolved miso when veggies look ready to eat.

For Coconut Curry Soup:

Stir approximately 1/4 cup of coconut milk (lite works fine, or skip the coconut altogether for a lighter meal) and 1 teaspoon of green curry paste per serving into the soup and season with salt and a little turmeric. Cook eggs the same way as with the miso soup.  Squeeze in some fresh lime juice, garnish with cilantro and serve.

Salad with artichoke-tahini dressing

“Hearty”choke Sunny Saturday Salad:

Wash and combine your favorite mix of greens and chopped or shredded crunchy veggies. To pair with this dressing, I like to use a combination of romaine, arugula, shredded red cabbage and carrot, chopped celery, cuke, endive, and artichoke (chopped small-ish so the taste is not over-whelming) and some cilantro leaves.

For Tahini-Artichoke Dressing:

tahini

broth

garlic

Canned artichokes with liquid

cilantro

salt

lemon

Put at least a heaping tablespoon of sesame tahini in a blender or a container in which your immersion blender will fit.  Pour in a few tablespoons broth from the soup – miso or curry – and stir to soften the tahini.  Add 1-2 cloves garlic, an artichoke heart and some of the liquid from the artichoke can, some fresh cilantro, a squeeze of lemon and a dash of salt.  Blend well.  Use more artichoke liquid to adjust consistency. Adjust salt/lemon juice.  Toss with salad and serve. Sprinkle with toasted sunflower seeds for an extra crunch.  This dressing would also go well over steamed veggies and rice or poached eggs.