Yogurt Oatmeal Pancakes

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I have been cooking gluten free more and more because I feel better when I don’t eat as much gluten. And pancakes a great place to skip the gluten, and not feel like your missing anything. By using corn flour and rolled oats you can create a mouth watering cake packed with flavor as well as fiber and whole grains. Corn flour is an inexpensive gluten-free flour and is wonderful to have on hand when making cornbread. (Look for Organic or Non-GMO.) Buttermilk is cultured milk that has a lovely tang and a very popular pancake ingredient. But I never have any on hand, but I always have yogurt in my fridge. So why not swap out one cultured milk for another? All you need to do is add a bit of water to smooth batter. My one year old and my husband made these pancakes disappear so fast that next time I will be making a double batch. This one yields about 10 fist sized cakes.

Ingredients:

1/4 cup corn flour (masa)

1 cup old fashion rolled oats (Rob’s Red Mill makes gluten free oats)

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 cup plain yogurt

1/4 cup water (more will be necessary if using greek yogurt)

2 tablespoons butter, melted

1 tablespoon maple syrup

1 large egg

1 tsp coconut oil

Preparation:

1. Combine the first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. 2. Combine yogurt, water, butter, and egg in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. 3. Heat coconut oil in a griddle over medium heat. Spoon about 2 tablespoons batter per pancake onto griddle. Turn pancakes over when tops are covered with bubbles; cook until bottoms are lightly browned – about 4 minutes on the first side and 2 on the second. Top with fresh fruit and enjoy!

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Quick Lentil Soup

Ingredients:
2 Tbs Olive Oil
2 Tbs butter
1 yellow onion diced
3 stalks celery diced
1.5 tsp ground cumin (or more to taste)
2 cloves garlic minced
1 tps garlic powder
1 tbs sea salt or more to taste
1 tsp fresh ground pepper or more to taste
1 (14.5 oz) can diced tomatoes
4 cups filtered water
1 cup green lentils
1 bunch chopped red chard (or any greens about 3 cups)
1 tbs sea salt or more to taste
1 tsp fresh ground pepper or more to taste

Directions:
Heat the olive oil and butter over med low heat in a 4 quart or larger pot. Add the onion and the celery and saute for 10 minutes. Add the cumin, garlic, garlic powder, salt and pepper cooking 1 minute or so until fragrant. Add the tomatoes including the juice from the can and cook another 10 minutes. Add the water. Bring to a boil. Add the lentils. Lower heat and simmer with a tilted lid for 30 minutes or until lentils are tender, stir occasionally. Add the greens, simmer 10 more minutes or until greens are desired tenderness (spinach may only take a few minutes). Taste and adjust seasoning. Enjoy.

Kale & Quinoa Salad

Quinoa & Kale Salad

This salad is easy to put together and if left undressed will store easily in the fridge since kale is sturdier than lettuce. Make it the night before and bring it with you for a quick lunch. The quinoa, green beans, kale, sesame seeds, and apricots are all good sources of fiber containing plant lignans.

Yields 2 Servings

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup blanched green beans
  • 1.5 cups curly kale – chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooked diced chicken
  • 2 tbs sesame seeds
  • 2 tbs dried apricots, chopped
  • 2 tbs sliced scallions

For the dressing combine:

  • 4 tbs EV olive oil,
  • 3 TBS lemon juice,
  • 1/2 tsp nutritional yeast,
  • ¼ sea salt
  • pepper to taste

Directions:
Combine all the salad ingredients. Toss with the dressing and enjoy cold.

Recipe may be doubled or tripled and eaten through out the week.

 

Easy Manhattan Style Clam Chowder

Manhattan Clam Chowder

This recipe is packed with magnesium, a calming mineral that helps the body manage stress and PMS. The canned clams make it an easy weeknight meal. But if you have the time and know how, you can cook and shuck your own clams but make sure to reserve the cooking liquid and use it in the soup in place of the clam juice as this juice contains the minerals from the clams.

When selecting canned products make sure that you check labels to avoid MSG. Also when using canned fish and shellfish, extra salt is often added as a preservative, so make sure you taste your soup before adding additional salt.

Yields 6 Servings. This soup freezes well so make the whole batch!

Ingredients:

4 strips of uncured bacon, diced
2 medium yellow onions, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon thyme

2 bay leafs
3 cups kale or other green
1 cup diced celery
½ cup dry white

2 cup diced yellow or white potato skin on

4 cups chicken stock
14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

1 cup clam juice

6.5 oz can minced clams in juice

10oz can whole baby clams
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions:

In a large soup pot sauté the bacon over medium heat until just starting to crisp. Add the onions and garlic to the pan. Cook the onions, stirring occasionally, until they are wilted and lightly caramelized, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add the bay leafs, thyme, celery to the pan and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the peppers soften, about 5 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the white wine (add it all at once and scrape the bottom of the pan to loosen any stuck on bits of caramelized food.) Add the stock, potatoes, tomatoes, and clam juice. Bring pot to a boil and reduce to a simmer until the potatoes are tender. Add the clams, kale, parsley, and salt and pepper, to taste, and cook for a final 5 minutes. Stir well to blend and serve.

Health Benefits of Easy Manhattan Style Clam Chowder

Clams – Clams are a low fat, high protein seafood choice with an above average amount of healthful minerals such as selenium, zinc, iron and magnesium and B vitamins like niacin. Zinc and magnesium can help regulate an abnormal menstrual cycle. And magnesium helps with low libido and symptoms of PMS. (Source: Seafood Healthfacts: Making Smart Choices: Clams. Retrieved from: http://seafoodhealthfacts.org/seafood_choices/clams.php & U.S. National Library of Medicine. Prolactin. (1997 – 2014). A.D.A.M., Inc. Retrieved from: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003718.htm)

Onions – Are a rich source of quercetin a flavonoid that appear to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. The flavonoids in onions are in the outer most peel, so be careful to only peel off the outer papery skin to maximize health benefits. The sulfur in onions is also thought to lower blood levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, improve cell membrane function in red blood cells. provide cardiovascular support. (Sources: The American Cancer Society. Retrieved from: http://www.cancer.org/treatment/treatmentsandsideeffects/complementaryandalternativemedicine/dietandnutrition/quercetin & The George Mateljan Foundation (2001-2014). Worlds Healthiest Foods: Onions. Retrieved from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=45)

Chicken Stock – The benefits of homemade chicken stock and other stocks come from the bones used to create it. By simmering bones in water with a bit of acid added to it, like cider vinegar, the minerals are extracted from the bones and now in a soup from easily digested by the body. The bones also leach out gelatin, which aids in digestion and many intestinal disorders. (Source: Fallon, S. (2001). Nourishing Traditions: The Cookbook that Challenges Politically Correct Nutrition and the Diet Dictorcrats. Revised Second Edition. New Trends Publishing, Inc. Brandywine, MD. (116-117).

 

Salmon with Carrots, Green Beans AND Peach Salsa

Salmon with carrots I was on the phone with my mother earlier this week, and somehow we started discussing aging. I think her doctor had recommended a book about how to live longer or age gracefully or something to that effect. As she described suggestions from the book, I could tell that they were overwhelming to her especially the sections about exercising.   But caring for yourself doesn’t mean you have to do a 180. Start with small changes and do them until you feel like they are no longer changes. For example, drink more water. Everyone seems to know that you need 8 glasses of water every day and that’s true if you are fully hydrated. I personally strive for 11 cups per day. And your liquid doesn’t need to be plain water. Unsweetened green tea is a great alternative. Check out my blog on cold brew green tea here.

So as I was talking to my mom, I only gave her one suggestion, “Everyone in that house could stand to eat more vegetables.” She agreed with me and then asked, “We’re having salmon tonight, should we have carrots or green beans?” And my response, “Both!”

I didn’t think that “both” was the most earth shattering response, but it definitely seemed like a novel idea to my mother. My mother is an avid cook. She makes delicious dishes, buys organic when she can, and prepares & eats many gluten free meals in support of my grandmother who has Celica’s disease. But I think growing up in the 50’s with the meat and potatoes mentality has clouded her (and millions of American’s) idea of what a healthy plate should look like.

Because of my nutrition education, I prescribe to Dr. Ed Bauman’s Eating 4 Health model which suggest 2-3 servings of leafy greens per day, plus 2 – 3 servings of crunchy vegetables, plus 2-4 servings of fruit. That’s like 8 servings of fruits & veggies per day. (Kinda like 8 glasses of water).

So I couldn’t have been happier when my mom texted my photos of the meal she prepared that evening.

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It’s gorgeous colors radiate with happy nutrients! She even made a beautiful peach salsa to go along with the salmon, carrots, and green beans. I’m so proud of my mom that I wanted to share her recipe from her kitchen.

Grilled Salmon and Carrots with Green Beans AND Peach Salsa

For the Salmon & Carrots

Combine marinade ingredients. Rub generously over salmon & carrots. Grill over medium heat until salmon flakes with a fork and carrots are tender crisp. About 15 minutes.

1 lb wild caught salmon

4-6 whole carrots peeled

Marinade:

3 TBS olive oil

1 lime juice only

2 TBS fresh tarragon

2 TBS fresh cilantro

salt & pepper

Green Beans:

Steam 1lb of cleaned green beans. Toss with salt, pepper, and 2 TBS of butter.

Peach Salsa:

Combine the ingredients below:

½ cups red & yellow cherry tomatoes diced

2 peached diced

1 half of a small onion diced

1 jalapeno pepper seeded & minced

½ a lime juice only

1 TBS cilantro chopped

salt & pepper

 

 

Fish Curry with Fresh Tumeric

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My fiancé is Filipino and loves bold flavors, especially curry. Growing up in rural Pennsylvania and being from an Italian family, my experience with curry or any Indian or Asian cuisine was pretty minor. I always thought that curries were like stews cooked for hours to develop these deep flavors. But once I started looking up recipes and cooking curries in my kitchen, I realized curries are relatively quick to prepare for a weeknight dinner not to mention super versatile and healthy.

Loaded with turmeric, curries have amazing anti-inflammatory powers. So I’m pretty thrilled that my guy likes them.

For the first time ever I saw fresh turmeric in the grocery store. These beautiful roots inspired me to make a fish curry with some wild caught Mahi Mahi, a mild white fish that stands up well in this type of preparation.

Fresh turmeric is a root that looks a lot like an orange colored ginger, which would make sense since the two are related. The oil in turmeric, called curcumin, is what gives it it’s anti-inflammatory properties.

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Studies have linked curcumin with everything from lowering cholesterol to protecting against Alzheimer’s. This is one powerful spice. (Use caution when using fresh turmeric as the curcumin oil can stain your fingers as well as your cutting board.)

To make curries even easier, you can buy a prepackaged curry powder in the spice isle. But to get the most curcumin it is usually best to blend your own. Use powdered turmeric or use fresh tumeric in combination with other spices. Standard spices in curry powder are: coriander, cardamom, cumin, cinnamon and cayenne. So remember your C spices when making curry!

Ginger or ginger juice is also often added to curries. Ginger along with the cayenne powder or fresh hot peppers will kick up the heat factor in your dish so more of either or both will make a spicier dish.

So how fast can you prepare a curry? It takes me about 30 minutes including prep – if I’m using powered spices. The fresh turmeric slowed me down a bit because I had to grate it. (And yes my fingers are yellow, but my cutting board is not because I grated it on a piece of wax paper.)

As I said earlier, curries are pretty versatile, too. I didn’t have any fish stock so I just used the chicken stock I had on hand. And because I didn’t have any coconut milk I just used almond milk and some yogurt (not pictured) to create a fatty creamy sauce that cuts the heat and protects your stomache. I also used a bit of tomato paste which will usually make more red curry but this tumeric’s vibrant yellow hue even overpowered the tomato. And you can use any type of fish, meat, tofu or chunks of vegetables that you like.

Here’s what I used for this one in the order in which everything went into my skillet:

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  • 3 tbs Olive oil
  • 1lb Mahi Mahi cubed 1”
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 cup Shishito peppers sliced
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • ¼ cup fresh grated turmeric (or use 1 TBS dry)
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 cinnamon stick ( or ¼ tsp cinnamon added with ground spices)
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • ¼ cup almond milk
  • 2 tbs yogurt
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 lime juice only
  • 6 basil leaves (or any fresh herb like cilantro)

So how do you make a curry? Here’s a basic method:

  • Gather your ingredients and cut your protein (if using one) into bite-sized pieces.
  • Heat a good fat oil (olive, coconut or avocado) in a large skillet.
  • Sear your protein (if using one) Remove from pan and set aside.
  • Add a little bit more oil to the pan.
  • Add a diced onion and other veggies you want to put in the dish. (I used Shishito peppers in this version) sauté a few minutes.
  • Add your dried spices to the veggies and oil to activate their oils.
  • Once you smell the spices, add a cup or so of stock, any fresh spices, and tomato paste, if using.
  • Season with salt and pepper
  • Simmer for 10 minutes or so until the sauce thickens.
  • Add any nut milks or dairy. Return the protein to the pan.
  • Simmer until your meat is cooked through (don’t over cook)
  • Remove from heat. Add some lemon or lime juice and any fresh herbs.

Enjoy over brown rice!

 

Reference:

The George Mateljan Foundation, Worlds’s Healthiest Foods: Tumeric. Retrived from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=78

Fallon, S. “Nourishing Traditions.” Revised Second Edition. Pgs 266 -267. New Trends, Publishing, Brandywine, MD., 2001.

Murray, M et al. “The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods” Pgs 521- 526. Atria Books, New York, NY, 2005.

The Culinary Institute of America, “The Professional Chef,” ninth addition. Pg. 225. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Hoboken, NJ, 2011.

Kale & Blueberry Smoothie

As a nutrition consultant, I’m often recommending that people eat more leafy greens. The health benefits are numerous from cancer protection to lowering cholesterol. They are packed with Vitamins A, C & K and good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. And the powerhouse of the greens is kale.

I enjoy kale almost anyway, but many people don’t. Or if they do like it, perhaps they can’t get their families to eat it – so it never makes it into a meal. I often remind people that as an adult, nutrition is a personal choice especially because everyone’s nutritional needs are individual. And since breakfast is often a personal meal, the morning is great time to prepare yourself a helping of leafy greens.

Today I made myself a delicious Kale & Blueberry Smoothie:

Toss all the ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth.

  • 2 cups frozen kale
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries
  • 1/2 cup frozen pineapple
  • 1 bannana
  • 1 orange (peeled w/ some pith remaining)
  • 1 inch ginger root peeled and chopped
  • 1/4 cup organic plain yogurt
  • 1 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 tsp flax seeds
  • 1 tbs coconut oil
  • handful of ice cubes

* Makes 2 servings. (If this is all that I’m having for breakfast I find I need to drink both servings myself to feel satisfied.)

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In my kitchen, I love my freezer. And kale freezes like a champion. I buy giant bags of pre-washed organic kale at Costco. I use it fresh for a few days and then store what’s remaining in the freezer. Or if I have a bunch that I know will be going bad before I can get to it. I wash and dry it in my salad spinner and throw it in a Ziplock and freeze.

(Frozen kale has tons of applications. Use it in soups and stews, throw a handful or two into a rice dish, or a veggie lasagna plus it’s perfect for a smoothie! And smoothies are the perfect breakfast.)

The other ingredients in my smoothie are super healthy, too: Blueberries are famous for the antioxidants contained in the flavonoids in their skin. Pineapple provides fiber and sweetness. Banana is loaded with B Vitamins and potassium (which helps with muscle cramps including the monthly kind). Bananas also gives this drink a smooth creaminess that we all crave. I add the yogurt for the probiotic benefit, it needs to have live active cultures to promote a healthy gut. Also for gut health is the orange. I peel the orange with a knife leaving on quite a bit of the bitter pith because bitters signal your body to release gastric hormones that aid in digestion.

Ginger also helps with digestion and is an anti-inflammatory. Flaxseeds & Almond Milk for their omega-3’s. Finally, coconut oil has anti-viral properties and a bit of fat for energy.

*Note: leafy greens are high in oxalates, which can prevent the absorption of calcium. So it’s a good idea to eat calcium rich foods or take calcium supplements 2 or 3 hours after consuming them.

 

References: Van Duyn & Pivokna, (2000) Journal of the American Dietetic Association, Volume 100, Issue 12, Pages 1511–1521.

Zelman, K. WebMD: The Truth About Kale. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/the-truth-about-kale

The George Mateljan Foundation, Worlds’s Healthiest Foods: Bananas. Retrived from: http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=7

Waler JM. “The Bitter Remedy.” The European Journal of Herbal Medicine. 6(2):28-33

Gunnars, K. Authority Nutrition:10 Proven Health Benefits of Coconut Oil. Retreived from: http://authoritynutrition.com/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

Sienera R. (2006). Oxalate contents of species of the Polygonaceae, Amaranthaceae and Chenopodiaceae families. Food Chemistry 98(2):220-224.