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, paleo)



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 paleo pumpkin pie filling and flakey grain-free pie crust both come 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.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Harvest Vegetable Soup


It's autumn. The harvest is in. The fires are lit. The chill in the air invites simmering soups and stews in the kitchen. This nourishing, harvest vegetable soup recipe uses some common fall vegetables and some that you might not use that often like celeriac and rutabagas. I've created a detailed photo below to help you identify some of these vegetables when shopping. I've used both beef stew meat and cooked beans in this recipe so use whatever works best for your body!

This recipe makes a large batch of soup. You will need a large pot that is at least 9-quarts in size. You can of course easily cut this recipe in half for a smaller batch. I made this recipe on Halloween and cooked it in a 10-quart cast iron dutch oven set over an outdoor fire. Those of you who have been following me for a while will know that we stopped the trick-or-treating tradition last year and instead now gather a number of families at a friend's house in the woods on Halloween evening. We each set up a station in the woods (guided by torches and jack-o-lanterns) where small groups of children walk to each station, hear a story pertinent to this season from a parent dressed up, and then receive a healthy treat. I was a Harvest Witch this year and let each child add something to the pot, stirring it 3 times, while they heard a verse. Then we all sat around the fire on Halloween night and enjoyed this stew together. Everyone loved it and I think you will too.