Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Easy Roasted Delicata Squash Recipe


This is a recipe that anyone can do. Yes you. You can make this. It's so simple and yet so delicious. Winter squash is an excellent, easily digested carbohydrate that's packed with antioxidant-rich carotenoids like beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, beta-cyrpto-xanthin, and zeaxanthin. 

I planted winter squash starts, including four delicata squash plants, in many of my garden beds last spring. Squash can be one of the easiest vegetables to grow, as long as it gets enough water early on in the growing season. Just plant organic starts or seeds in nutrient-rich soil that gets plenty of sun, water often, and watch them grow! We're pretty much out of the delicatas we grew but we still have a box of kabocha squash, carnival squash, sugar pie pumpkins, and spaghetti squash sitting in our house…..all from our garden! Winter squash is such a sustainable form of carbohydrates. Just think of the kind of agriculture it takes to grow grains compared to something like squash! I've come to rely on this food more and more for sustained, clean-burning energy. 

This recipe is essential to use during phases 2 and 3 of our Elimination Diet. You can vary the recipe and use ground cinnamon and nutmeg in place of the black pepper, and use coconut oil in place of the olive oil for a simple dessert. I also like to add a drizzle of pure maple syrup as well to this when making it for dessert. 

Friday, November 28, 2014

Post-Holiday Detox Salad (vegan)


Indulge a little too much during the holidays? Feeling the need to cleanse and reset? Drinking too much alcohol, eating a lot of sugary foods, and just eating too much food in general can tax your detoxification pathways. If you are not detoxing properly, you can end up with lowered energy, increased pain in the body, poor circulation, and sluggish digestion.

By consuming this salad, which is rich in plant-based chemicals that promote detoxification, you can relieve some of the unwanted symptoms of a holiday hangover and begin to regain balance. In fact, if you include raw plant foods such as kale, cabbage, arugula, broccoli, collards, ginger, pomegranates, lemons and limes, blueberries, cranberries, black currants, and raspberries in your daily diet (try green smoothies, fresh juices, and big salads), you will find that indulging in (healthy) holiday treats once in a while will be easier for your body to handle. Hint, hint….try serving this salad at your next holiday gathering!

Monday, November 24, 2014

My Favorite Pumpkin Pie Recipe (grain-free, gluten-free, dairy-free)



Since it is the season for all things pumpkin, I decided to share with you my favorite pumpkin pie recipe. After all, Thanksgiving would not be complete without having a fabulous pumpkin pie! The filling part of this recipe comes from my Nourishing Meals cookbook.

Use any variety of baked winter squash in this recipe, such as sugar pie pumpkins, butternut squash, sweet meat squash, hubbard, or kabocha. Use this recipe for making Homemade Pumpkin Puree if you have a lot of squash that you would like to cook and freeze. Otherwise, just cut the squash in half, scoop out the seeds, and place the halves flesh-side down in a large glass baking dish with a little water in the bottom of the pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 45 to 60 minutes, or until squash is very tender. Since you are going to blend the pie filling you can just measure out the cooked squash without first making a puree. So easy!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Apple Cider & Herb Brined Turkey for Thanksgiving



To brine or not to brine...that is the question. I have found that brining a turkey produces very flavorful, juicy, and tender meat. In this post, I'm going to show you how to brine a whole turkey. Brining is the process of soaking the bird in a salt solution. Water from the brine is absorbed into the meat thereby increasing juiciness of the final roasted bird. I like to add flavoring agents as well such as sliced onions, garlic, oranges, and fresh herbs. A flavorful brined turkey will certainly impress your Thanksgiving guests!

I prefer to purchase turkeys from one of my favorite local organic permaculture farms. They are humanely raised and slaughtered right there on the farm. In our town there are a number of farms who raise organic turkeys and sell directly to the consumer. Sometimes you can ask your local Farmer's Market or health food store for the names and numbers of these farms. Often times you need to pre-order, though sometimes they have extra turkeys that they need to sell. Buying direct from a local, organic farmer is by far the healthiest and most sustainable way to enjoy a Thanksgiving turkey!

So now onto the actual process of brining a turkey! There are a few really important things to consider before embarking on this project. First, you will need a very large pot or container to hold the bird, brine, and flavoring agents. I use a 42-quart stainless steel pot. Some people use small coolers (this would work well if you can keep the temperature below 40 degrees, such as in a cold storage room or cold garage). Others use plastic bags. I prefer not to brine in plastic for various reasons, but if you do then you need to make sure you are using food-grade plastic, not plastic garbage bags. Second, you will need a space in your refrigerator to store the pot or container during brining. We have an extra refrigerator in our garage that I use. So as long as you have the right container and the space, then go ahead and try this recipe.