Sunday, October 16, 2016

Easy One-Pan Oven Roasted Chicken with Potatoes and Carrots

I love super easy meals on busy weekday evenings, don't you? This recipe (including the variations below) is one of my go-to weeknight meals. I wanted to share it with you because we all could use more ideas on how to create doable, nourishing family dinners. 

In addition to this meal, here are some more of my favorite weeknight meals: Baked Wild Salmon with Steamed Potatoes, Kale and Pesto. Slow Cooked Chicken Curry over cooked quinoa. Soothing Red Lentil Soup served with cooked quinoa or basmati rice and a dollop of Raw Cilantro-Lime Chutney. I also have plenty more recipes for easy weeknight dinners in my Nourishing Meals cookbook and Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook!

I love to serve this baked chicken and potato dish with a big green salad or some sort of raw kale salad

I know potatoes have received a bad rap for years, but did you know that potatoes contain high levels of potent antioxidants similar to levels found in dark cherries, strawberries, plums, and apples? In fact, the darker colored potatoes like the purple varieties contain the highest level of antioxidants....not surprisingly! All potatoes contain anti-inflammatory antioxidants like phenols, carotenoids, flavonoids, and anthocyanin compounds. Potatoes are also an excellent source of easily digested complex carbohydrates. Including something starchy with dinner can help induce restful sleep. I've seen many people (and experienced this myself) reduce their carbohydrate consumption too much to the point where they cannot fall asleep or stay asleep. For some, including potatoes with dinner might be just the thing! True comfort food! 

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread (gluten-free, vegan, nut-free, xanthan gum-free)

Today I wanted to share a recipe from my Nourishing Meals cookbook with you—another kneadable gluten-free bread! Creating a recipe for kneadable gluten-free (and xanthan gum-free) bread took me years and years to develop.

I still remember walking into my oldest daughter’s first week of preschool. The smell of freshly baked spelt rolls wafting throughout the house like a sweet perfume pervades my memory. My daughter took great care in carefully kneading each ball of dough into the shapes of her desire. The warm rolls were always served with raw honey and butter. All week she looked forward to bread day.

A few years later my second daughter was entering preschool. We found out she was sensitive to gluten during her toddler years, so she could not participate in the process of bread baking in preschool or kindergarten. I was at a loss for what to do. Yes, I was able to replace the gluten with gluten-free options, but none she could knead. None where she could be part of the process of grinding the grain into flour. None that connected her to the meaningful work that the whole process of bread baking imbued.

Inspired by the very real fact that my daughter could not participate in the entire experience of bread baking, I started down a path that was years in the making. I was almost there in the spring of 2010 when I posted this gluten-free baguette and Garlic-Rosemary White Bean Dip. I had been using chia and flax already for a while to help mimic the texture of gluten, but something was still missing. Still determined to create a kneadable gluten-free bread without xanthan gum, I had a flash of inspiration one day. What would happen if I added psyllium husk to the mix? I already knew how it worked to absorb liquid and create a gel, and so I had a pretty good feeling that it might help to mimic gluten in baking recipes. And that was it. I had finally cracked the gluten-free bread code! I eventually shared my Farmhouse Seed Bread recipe here with you in 2011. After many failures and triumphs (and partially edible loaves of gluten-free bread), I finally created a recipe that actually needs to be kneaded—a delicious, chewy round loaf of bread made from whole food ingredients! That recipe eventually morphed into many more gluten-free bread recipes using the basic framework I had developed, including this Buckwheat Cinnamon Raisin Bread and more, which can all be found in my Nourishing Meals book.

Years later, my twin boys entered kindergarten. By then there were so many children who were sensitive to gluten that the class was designated a gluten-free classroom, and their teacher only used my recipes for bread baking day. They ground their own buckwheat flour using a hand crank grinder. Different combinations of teff flour, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and arrowroot powder were used to form the dough. My boys would come home with rolls that they had carefully crafted into different shapes, tucked inside of little napkins. “Mom do you want to try my bread?” they called out to me after pick-up. Smiling, I said "yes."

Baking gluten-free bread is quite simple, though it requires a few extra ingredients compared to wheat-based bread recipes. To replace the gluten—the protein that gives bread it’s chewy texture and what helps it to rise by allowing gas bubbles to get trapped—I use a combination of ground chia seeds and psyllium husk. These ingredients form a gel that acts like gluten, allowing gas bubbles from the yeast fermentation to get trapped so the dough can rise. They also help to hold moisture and bind everything together.

Any gluten-free flour or blend of flours can be used in this recipe, but by using raw buckwheat groats, which can be ground into a soft flour using a hand or electric grain grinder, children get to experience the whole process of bread making, from grain to loaf—connecting head, heart, and hands.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Raw Thai Kale Slaw with a Creamy Ginger-Almond Butter Dressing

You are going to love this nutritious raw kale slaw. It's full of detoxification and antioxidant compounds, and just bursting with the fresh, bright flavors of basil, mint, and cilantro. All tossed in a slightly spicy and gingery, creamy almond butter dressing. What I love about this salad is that it lasts up to 5 days in the refrigerator! Once it's made, you can take out portions as needed to easily fulfill part of your daily raw veggie needs.

I've been serving a large plateful of this Thai-style kale slaw with fried eggs for breakfast, or tossed with leftover rice and garbanzo beans for lunch. It's also delicious served with a thai-style main dish for dinner, such as Thai Coconut Fish Sticks, Thai Fish Curry with Garden Vegetables, or this Vegan Thai Green Curry.

And not to forget the oh-so-important nutrition information! As you might guess, this salad is rich in detoxifying compounds. Kale and cabbage both come from the cruciferous vegetable family, a family of vegetables known for their detoxification powers. Did you know that there is research showing that autistic children who consume sulforophane (one of the active compounds in cruciferous vegetables) show positive behavioral changes as a result of this nutritional superstar? Sulforophane is most concentrated in broccoli sprouts, but can also be found in raw (or lightly steamed) kale, cabbage, kohlrabi, radishes, watercress, and arugula!

Cruciferous vegetables are also very beneficial in calming down autoimmunity. Once consumed, sulforophane travels to our cells and changes how our genes are read. It literally allows us to read hundreds of beneficial antioxidant and detoxification genes. The result is a cell that has less toxins, and less inflammation. Can you function in a messy, dirty house? I know I can't! The cell is the same. It can't function very well if it has lots of toxins and debris lying around. Detoxification is, in essence, cleaning up the house of the cell. Antioxidants, then we could say, are the repair crew. When your cells are "clean" you might notice increased energy, clearer thinking, and less pain!

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Spiced Tigernut Cookies (gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free)

Today I have a special recipe to share with you. This grain-free tigernut cookie recipe comes from a new book called The Autoimmune Fix, which I actually developed all of the recipes for! Dr. Tom O’Bryan wrote an incredible book on the current epidemic of autoimmune diseases. As a skilled functional medicine practitioner, he discusses the root causes of autoimmune disease, and in essence, all diseases. Dr. O’Bryan has spent the last few decades lecturing around the globe on how gluten contributes to disease, but now expands on that topic in his new book with the culprits and causes of autoimmunity: Genetics, exposure, and intestinal permeability.

You may be thinking, I'm fine and healthy. I don't have an autoimmune disease, though you may know someone with lupus, eczema, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, psoriasis, or celiac disease. But, did you know that you can have autoantibodies, or "messengers from the future" as Dr. Tom likes to call them, slowly degenerating part of your body without you even knowing it? And that this can go on for years and years with no symptoms or with only mild signs of autoimmunity, such as joint pain, weight gain, brain fog, gut imbalances, depression, mood disorders, and fatigue? Tom's book is essential for everyone to read because he explains, in his eloquent story-telling style, how this process happens and what you can do now to test for autoimmunity before the full-blown cascade of decline manifests in your body.  

It is estimated that there are 70 to 80 million people with autoimmunity right now in the United States. That's about 22% to 25% of our population. But only about 24 million of these people have been diagnosed. That's a whole lot of people walking around not feeling well and not knowing why! I encourage you to pick up a copy of The Autoimmune Fix to better understand, prevent, and treat both hidden autoimmunity and full-fledged autoimmune disease. 

Here is my recipe for spiced tigernut cookies, which can also be found in The Autoimmune Fix on page 276. Tigernuts are actually small tubers that are ground into a delicious flour, which is perfect for baking. Tigernut flour is high in prebiotic fibers that feed beneficial microbes in the gut. It's one thing to take a probiotic or eat fermented foods, and another to actually feed them everyday with fibers that we can't digest....but they can! Good bacteria in the gut will grow into healthy colonies with the right foods. These gut bacteria enjoy the fibers and resistant starches from tubers, root vegetables, legumes, plantains, and other plant foods, and then release, through their own digestion, short chain fatty acids (which then nourish the cells lining the gut), B vitamins, the amino acid tryptophan, and digestive enzymes to break down other parts of your meal! Beneficial gut microbes regulate immune cell function to help your immune system stay calm and not overreact (such as in autoimmunity). So each and everyday, remember you are not only nourishing your body with good foods, but also your microbial colonies that live in your gut. What have you eaten today to nourish your microbes? :)