Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Buckwheat Pecan Thumbprint Cookies

Try making these healthy, vegan, gluten-free cookies on a rainy afternoon with your children. They will surely brighten your day! Recipes made with freshly ground buckwheat flour (from raw groats) do not require the addition of xanthan gum in order to hold together without crumbling. Buckwheat is a grain that is quite often heavily contaminated with gluten grains so be sure to purchase your groats from a certified gluten-free mill, such as Bob's Red Mill.

I use the dry container of my Vita-Mix to make homemade buckwheat flour. It quickly grinds up into a soft, non-gritty flour. You can use a coffee grinder too if you don't own a high-powered blender. Store the flour in a glass jar in your pantry for up to 3 months, or freeze it for longer storage.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Low Sugar Green Smoothie

Okay, this smoothie doesn't look too green now does it? Berries and greens blended up equal brown. Although the color may not look too appetizing, the flavor is amazing! Our 4-year old twin boys drink it with a straw. They now race to see who is done first. We hear "done" and then "done" and then "no, I was done first" and then "I'm not playing first game." Just so you all know, drinking your smoothie as fast as you can is not optimal for digestion. It is best to let each sip sit in your mouth for at least 30 seconds to allow for enzymes such as amylase to begin to break down the fruit sugars.

We've been asked many times to offer green smoothie recipes that don't contain too much fruit sugar. Normally we use two tart apples and two pears in each smoothie, but by using berries instead you keep the overall glycemic index much lower. Plus, the combination of the berries, cherries, and greens create a superfood smoothie! No need to buy expensive, exotic fruits such as the acai berry! Did you know that blueberry consumption can lead to an increase in beneficial bifidobacterium in the gut? They are also effective at eradicating harmful, pathogenic bacteria in the gut. Another reason to make blueberries a regular part of your diet!

Use a glass or stainless steel straw for children. Straws seem to make green smoothies much more fun to drink!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Simple Whole Roasted Organic Chicken with Garlic & Herbs

We like to roast a whole, organic chicken on occasion for family meals. In the wintertime I will serve it with sautéed winter greens, such as kale and collards, a few spoonfuls of raw sauerkraut or cultured vegetables, and roasted root vegetables. In the springtime, I like to serve it with a light quinoa radish salad with fresh parsley, lemon, and chopped sorrel or napa cabbage. The next day I pull the meat off the bone and use it to make chicken salad, chicken pot pie, or toss it into soup.

So nothing goes to waste, I put the bones and skin into a stockpot along with a chopped onion, celery, carrot, garlic, peppercorns, fresh herbs, a piece of kombu, and a little cider vinegar; cover with water, and simmer for about 6 hours. This creates the most wonderful, nutritious, healing soup stock. You can freeze it in quart jars and use it everywhere stock or broth is called for in a recipe.

We always use organic chicken, but prefer to use organic chicken that is also local and pastured. What's the difference? Well, organic chickens can still be mass produced in large open hen houses. They are fed an organic grain feed and sometimes have access to the outdoors. Non-organic chickens are generally raised in cramped quarters and fed non-organic grains, which are most likely genetically engineered. (I won't even get into antibiotic use here). Pastured chickens can be ordered online but usually you will be able to find a farmer who sells them locally. We have quite a few around us, in fact you can find them in the frozen section of our local food co-op and health food store. Pastured chickens are usually fed some organic grain but also eat a diet rich in vegetable scraps, bugs, grasses, and moss creating a healthy balance of omega-6 and omega-3 fats. They also have plenty of fresh air, sunshine, and space to move.

Whole Roasted Organic Chicken

I like to sprinkle the chicken with plenty of unrefined coarse sea salt before baking. This gives the meat a ton of flavor. You won't be consuming all of the salt unless you eat the skin, so don't worry about putting too much on. Sometimes I sprinkle on 1 to 2 tablespoons of dried poultry herbs if fresh herbs are unavailable. Right now I have plenty of herbs growing in my little kitchen herb garden so I used chives, marjoram, and thyme in what you see pictured here. I love adding whole garlic cloves to a roasting chicken. The garlic cooks in its own skin, and when the chicken is done, I remove the whole garlic cloves and serve them in a small bowl that gets passed around. You can squish the roasted garlic out of its skin and spread it onto your chicken slices.

one 3 to 4-pound organic chicken
1/2 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 whole heads garlic
handful of fresh herbs
coarse sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
olive oil or organic butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Set out a 9 x 13-inch glass pan or ceramic roasting dish.

Rinse the chicken with cold water; place into the pan. Partially stuff the cavity of the chicken with the chopped onion and celery. Spread the remaining around the chicken on the bottom of the pan. Place the herbs around the chicken. Break up the heads of garlic into separate cloves; place them around the chicken.

Generously sprinkle the whole chicken with coarse sea salt and freshly ground pepper. Drizzle with olive oil or dot with butter. Add 1/2 cup to 1 cup of water to the bottom of the pan.

Place into the oven and bake for 10 to 15 minutes at 450 degrees to seal in the juices, then reduce heat to 325 degrees F and cook for approximately 1 1/2 more hours. You can check for doneness by pulling away the thigh, if the juices run clear the chicken is done. Some people also like to use a meat thermometer. I never do, but if so, you will want it to read 180 degrees in the thickest part of the breast or thigh. Remove the chicken from the pan (I usually use 2 spatulas to do this) and place it onto a plate or cutting board. Let it rest for about 10 minutes before cutting into it. This allows the juices to go back into the meat. Carve with a sharp knife and serve. You can use the pan juices to make Gluten-Free Gravy or save it and add it to your simmering stock the next day. Most of the gut-healing gelatin is released into the pan juices so make sure not to waste it. Source: www.NourishingMeals.com. 

More Main Dish Recipes:
Baked Salmon with Garlic Greens
Fish Tacos
Fresh Vegetable Curry