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Last week, I was working on a chapter for my new book L.O.L.A. about food and healthy eating and I learned that spinach and strawberries are a match made in heaven! Eating them together is excellent for your health because the vitamin C in the strawberries increases the amount of bio-available iron from the spinach, which also increases the amount of iron your body can absorb. At first, I didn't like the idea of eating spinach and strawberries together but to my surprise, they make quite the delectable salad… and are both in season this month. Eat for your health!
1 lb of fresh spinach
1 pint of fresh strawberries
1/2 cup of toasted pecans
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon agave
- make the dressing in a bowl and set aside
- clean the spinach and remove the stems, cutting up larger leaves in bite size portions and add to bowl with dressing
- remove the stems from the strawberries and slice in half, add to the salad
- Add the toasted pecans and toss the salad.
I love chocolate! I'm not a great baker so this cake had to be easy to make and fool proof. Make sure when you make it that you haven't forgotten any of the ingredients, unlike myself. I almost put the whole thing in the oven without the benefit of the melted butter. I managed to add it to the chocolate mixture just in time and it turned out great anyway. Even though I used all organic ingredients to make this delicious Chocolate cake, doesn't mean I can eat the whole thing. It's still full of calories whether it’s made with organic ingredients or not. The difference is that it’s missing all the extra chemicals, pesticides and GMO's that are prevalent in most conventional ingredients. I'd rather not have those in my food if I can help it.
-all ingredients I use are organic-
16 ounces of bittersweet chocolate-at least 55% cacao
10 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
Pinch of salt
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
1 Tbs sugar
4 Eggs, separated
Unsweetened whipped cream
Vanilla Ice cream
- Heat oven to 425 degrees. Line the base of a 9-inch spring-form pan with parchment paper.
- Melt the chocolate, slowly in the top of a double boiler over hot, not boiling water.
- In a big bowl, pour melted chocolate, butter, flour and sugar. Beat the yolks lightly and whisk into the chocolate mixture. Add the pinch of salt and stir.
- Beat the egg whites until they hold a definite shape but aren't dry. You need to fold it into the chocolate mixture and pour the whole mix into the parchment-lined pan.
- Cook for 15 minutes, then turn the oven off and leave the door ajar, allowing the cake to cool down in the oven.
- Serve with either unsweetened freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream or both :-)
I grew up eating meat at practically ever meal, and so the idea of a vegetable only chili was unthinkable. However, over the past 10 years, I have been increasingly eating a plant-based diet and feeling so much better because of it. I came across this recipe on one of my favorite blogs, PeacefulDaily. I tried it out and it's absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. In fact I love it so much I made it several times over the past month. It freezes really well.
-All ingredients I use are organic-
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons chili powder
2 tablespoons ground cumin
2-28 ounce cans of crushed tomatoes
3-15 ounce cans of red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
2 sweet onions, chopped
1/2 can diced chilies
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup of cooked brown rice
Handful of cilantro springs
Except for the brown rice, mix everything in a slow cooker. Bring it to a gentle boil for 15 minutes or until all the flavors are blended. Then lower the heat and cook slowly for 3 to 4 hours.
*You can opt out of buying the canned vegetables and cook your own instead*
I serve this with low fat sour cream on the side, a bowl of chopped cilantro and a big green salad. Absolutely fantastic!
Ever since I was little, I have loved peas, especially when I can pick them myself and eat them raw on the spot. I haven't loved cooked peas as much until I made this soup, which I can't get enough of. I strongly advise you to make double the amount, maybe even triple because it will disappear very fast and it's so easy to make. The perfect recipe!
This amount serves 2
-All ingredients are organic-
1 Tbs butter
1 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 tsp chopped fresh parsley
6 cups peas, frozen
1/2 cup of water
4 cups of vegetable broth, heated
1/2 tsp salt
fresh ground pepper to taste
- Heat butter and oil in a medium size pot or Dutch oven over medium heat and add the chopped onion and celery. Cook about 6 mins.
- Add garlic and parsley and cook for 15 seconds
- Stir in peas and add water and vegetable broth.
- Bring to a simmer and cook for 3 mins
- Puree soup using an immersion hand blender
- Serve with fresh ground pepper sprinkled on the top.
Moroccan Harira Soup
Adapted from the LEON cookbook
The soup is packed with nutritious yumminess. So perfect for those chilly days and nights when you crave something that will warm you right up: chickpeas + lentils + rice. Based on a recipe learned long ago in Marrakesh, this is a soup that keeps on giving, and tastes even better the following day and the one after that. Enjoy!
*All ingredients are organic and the portion is enough for 4 people.
1/2 cup of Lentils
1 -14 oz can of chickpeas
1 onion, diced
1- 14 oz can of chopped tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
2 tablespoons harissa
a large pinch of saffron
1 1/2 Tbs fresh lemon juice
1 cup of basmati rice
2 Tbs flour
a big handful of chopped cilantro leaves
a big handful of chopped flat leaf parsley leaves
salt and pepper
- Soak the lentils in a cup of water for 1/2 hour
- Drain the chickpeas, and put them in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan and cover with 6 cups of water. Add the diced onion and bring to a boil, uncovered. Cook for 15 mins.
- Add the tomatoes, and the drained lentils, along with the cumin, turmeric and harissa. Continue to cook until the lentils are tender, about 15 mins.
- Soak the saffron in the lemon juice to release the flavor and color.
- Add the rice to the pot and cook for 10 mins.
- Meanwhile, place the flour in a bowl and slowly add 4 tablespoons of cold water and while whisking, add 4 tablespoons of hot stock from the soup and then pour the hot floury mix into the soup along with the saffron lemon juice. Stir. Salt and Pepper.
- Do not boil and do add more water if it gets too thick.
- Your soup should be ready now. Serve and sprinkle the soup with the chopped cilantro and parsley.
The Best Lentil Soup
Given to me by Anthony Slayter-Ralph
I had to repost this recipe because it's so good. It's the perfect soup to make over the holidays. It's not only delicious but so easy to make as well. Next time I make it, I'm going to double the amounts because it's even better the next day, except there never is any left to have.
This recipe is full of vitamins and minerals, dietary fiber and cholesterol reducing fiber from the lentils, tomatoes, carrots, celery, olive oil, and iron from the cumin as well as the lowering blood sugar benefits of cilantro/coriander.
2 Tbs of Olive Oil
1/4 cup of Butter
1 medium Onion chopped
2 Carrots chopped
2 Celery ribs chopped
1 tsp ground Cumin
1/2 tsp ground Coriander/Cilantro
1 cup Beluga Lentils, rinsed and drained
1 Large 28 oz can of whole Tomatoes with basil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground pepper
1 tsp Harissa
- Melt in a medium size pot: olive oil + butter
- Add and sauté onion over low heat until transparent and stir
- Add and cook for 5 mins over medium heat: carrots + celery and stir
- Add and cook for 1 minute: cumin + coriander+ beluga lentils and stir
- Add the can of tomatoes, salt, pepper, harissa, and 3 cups of water.
- Cook over medium heat, partially covered for one hour.
Mutti's Pecan Butterballs
From Gwyneth Paltrow's cookbook
"My Father's Daughter: delicious, easy recipes celebrating family and togetherness."
When I was little and living in NYC, I remember having a crescent shaped cookie once and thinking it was the most delicious cookie I have had. Many years later, I finally found the recipe for it. They still taste as delicious as I remember and are fabulous cookies to have around at Christmas time.
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups pecans, finely chopped or pulsed in a food processor
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar, in a small bowl
Preheat oven to 350
- Mix everything together in a big bowl, except for the powdered sugar.
- Roll tablespoons of dough in your hands into balls and place on a parchment covered cookie sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes. Rotate the sheets halfway through baking.
- When they are nearly cool, gently roll each ball in the bowl filled with powdered sugar.
*These keep well in a tin or glass food container for a week.
By Helene Henderson of Malibu Farms
As I continue to improve the way I eat by focusing on a healthier plant based diet, I have to say that I feel better. A long time teacher for me has been my dear friend and super inspiring foodie Helene Henderson. Helene told me about this delicious, easy to make and nutritious recipe that is perfect for Thanksgiving. I love couscous, and my favorite is still the same one I recommended months ago for another recipe.
-All ingredients are organic-
1 cup of couscous, poured into a glass or ceramic bowl
1 tbsp olive oil
30 string beans, trimmed and cut into 8 pieces each
1 red pepper, cleaned and cut into chunks
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
1/2 tsp fresh squeezed lemon
pinch of salt
pinch of fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup of fresh chopped parsley
+ small/medium pumpkin
- Boil 1 cup 1/2 of water and pour onto the couscous in a bowl and cover with a lid (I use a plate). It will just cook all by itself.
- In a cast iron skillet, add olive oil, string beans and red pepper and sautee' till soft and browned. Add garlic when nearly done and sautee' a little more.
- At the same time, sautee' the almonds in a pan for 5 mins and add to couscous.
- Pour the couscous, roasted sliced almonds, string beans, red pepper and the rest in a larger bowl and mix well.
- You can serve it as is or carve out the inside of a small to medium sized pumpkin and spoon the couscous mix inside it and serve it immediately.
Note: Great on it’s own, with a green salad
This has been my favorite meal for the past month! It's so delicious, nutritious, and easy to make. I usually have a glass food container of cooked brown rice in the fridge, and some shiitake mushrooms in a brown bag, which keeps them fresh longer. In case you didn't know it already, kale is an incredibly nutritious vegetable that provides ample amounts of vitamins A and C, folic acid, calcium, and iron.
All the ingredients in this recipe are full of nutrients, and even though the soy sauce has many minerals and vitamins in it, it's high in sodium so use only a small amount, as a little goes a long way.
-All ingredients I use are organic, including the gmo free soy sauce-
1/2 cup of short brown rice
1/2 bunch of curly kale, stems removed
2 tbsp olive oil
2 shiitake mushroom, sliced
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp low-sodium soy sauce
- Cook the brown rice for 30 minutes
- When it is half way done, start sautéeing the kale, garlic and shiitake mushrooms in a pan, and add a small amount of soy sauce. Cook until kale is bright green and wilted.
- Add the cooked brown rice, and red pepper flakes. Mix well and serve immediately.
You can also substitute the brown rice for another cooked whole grain such as wheat berries or barley.
A piece of grilled salmon is excellent with this and little green salad on the side as well.
Every morning, while the berries are in season, I have a bowl of this delicious granola with yogurt and berries and it's heavenly. It's easy to make, and I use granola from the brand Kind, which is gluten and GMO free, and contains a mix of whole grains amaranth, quinoa, oats, millet & buckwheat, which provide essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals, dietary fiber, and protein.
KIND Healthy Grains are availalbe from Amazon.
Serving size is for one person-
1/4 cup of granola
1 Tbsp raw organic pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas)
1/2 cup of blueberries ( I pick them from the blueberry bushes in my gardenJ )
1/2 cup of raspberries ( from the garden )
or blackberries, peaches or figs
1/2 cup of non-fat Greek yogurt
Spending summers in Maine since I was little meant loads of delicious sweet corn in august. Make sure to buy your corn from an organic farmer, because it's one the top genetically modified foods. All the other ingredients are full of vitamins and fiber: cucumber, which is full of fiber and vitamin C; basil and it's anti-bacterial qualities; arugula, is full of calcium and iron; red pepper is full of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber, and parsley is an excellent chelate that detoxifies and removes metals from your body. This is a great summer dish on its own or as a side dish. It's delicious, tastes so fresh and is easy to make.
Serves 6 (as a side dish)
4 ears of fresh corn, with kernels cut from the cob
1/2 cup cucumber, seeded and peeled, and diced
1/2 cup of red onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup red or orange sweet peppers, seeded and diced
1/2 cup of cherry tomatoes, halved and quartered
3 Tbsp parsley-finely shorn
1 Tbsp basil, leaves shredded
1 Tbsp fresh jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 pinch of salt
2 cups small arugula leaves
1/4 cup of apple cider
2 Tbsp sugar
1 pinch of salt
1/4 tsp coarsely ground pepper
- Whisk together the ingredients for the dressing and set aside
- In a large bowl, add the raw corn kernels, cucumber, onion, sweet peppers, cherry tomatoes, parsley, basil and jalapeno
- Add dressing, arugula and pinch of sea salt if needed
- Ready to serve
p.s. Try and buy your corn from an organic farm, as most corn grown conventionally is genetically modified.