Fermented Fire Cider - a probiotic and nutrient dense, medicinal tonic. Made by steeping veggies with raw vinegar for 4-6 weeks. Makes healing sips to sooth winter colds and flus. Also pictured are fermented garlic cloves and blueberry kombucha.
There is so much to learn about healthy food and nutrition...
I've been hearing a lot recently about the many health benefits of probiotics and fermented foods such as sauerkraut and kombucha, which are rich sources of probiotic bacteria. Probiotics support a thriving immune system in humans and animals. And so, I get a little excited about probiotic rich recipes I can make at home. Pictured are Beet Kvass, Fermented Dill & Garlic Pickles, Preserved Lemons and Kombucha - which I can make for a fraction of what they cost to buy at a health food specialty store.
What a wonderful feeling! What a blessing!!! Culinary Rx - whole food plant based cooking coarse for medical professionals. I'm so happy! I did it - I really did it! I graduated!!! Photos of my finals below.
On the left is Ranch Dressing made by blending soft, soaked cashews with herbs and lemon juice. In the middle and on the right are photos of my Tuna-Less Nicoise Salad.
I incorporated some of my learned plant based cooking skills to make this Tuna-Less Nicoise Salad.
The classic French Nicoise Salad uses spring veggies, greens tuna and eggs - for my plant based version I used Rouxbe’s Tuna-Less Chickpea Salad, which I pressed into a ring mold to give it a nice appearance and caring touch. I lightly steamed some fresh green beans until they were crisp tender. I saw some tiny red and white potatoes at the market, which I roasted with grape seed oil, salt and pepper. Instead of lettuce for the salad greens, I shredded kale and rainbow chard to bump up the nutritional gift factor. I finished the salad with tomato slices, Nicoise olives and lemon vinaigrette.
This salad makes a nutrient dense, plant based meal that I believe it is delicious enough to serve even for special occasions. It also showcases the blessings of my Culinary Rx education, which will hopefully inspire conversation about how amazing plant based cooking can truly be!
We had a full house at Saturday's Plant Based Cooking Class.
The topic: How to Build a Veggie Burger
Sadly, I've come to learn - the Standard American Diet is missing out on the incredible health benefits found in fermented foods - specifically, probiotics. New science shows how fermented foods can have major positive impacts on our health - such as alleviation of inflammatory bowel conditions by restoring good gut bacteria. Studies also indicate they have the ability to enhance the human immune system. Click here for kimchi health benefits as noted by the US National Library of Medicine -
I have a new love of fermented foods like kimchi for its tangy, spicy and savory bite. I eat it mostly as a condiment. But I also find a simple healthy spoonful satisfies my “I don’t know what I want” craving.
I believe Kimchi’s probiotic gifts make it well worth the effort to always have a jar on hand - whether homemade (see recipe here) or from the refrigerator section of a health food store.
I love to cook - and new science clearly shows it’s best for my health to use whole plant food ingredients. Not sure why, but I never gave using store bought bouillon a second thought. So I was intrigued to learn about making homemade bouillon paste at Roux’s Culinary Rx online class this week.
Making homemade bouillon is very simple and satisfying. Just puree veggies in a food processor then add salt to make a paste. Then store the mixture in the freezer. Because of the large salt content, the paste stays soft and the veggies stay preserved. Just scoop out a teaspoon at a time and add to soups, stews, beans, risottos, etc.
The good news is - there are no chemical preservatives or msg., ingredients can be organic and you can use sea salt instead of toxic table salt. The taste is superior to processed store brands that I’ve tried. Plus...the veggie ingredients can be altered to create your own flavor profile.
Because of copyright laws I can’t post Culinary Rx’s recipe - but click here for a link to a very similar recipe.
My daughter Andrea adopted a sweet, plump, elderly, 3-legged chiwawa from the Humane Society yesterday - his name is Mr. Fonzie. He has cataracts and a big character. Fonzie's sister Malley, also a HS rescue, was lonely and needed a friend. Fonzie danced, wiggled and smiled his way into Andrea's heart! She and my grandson Nathan said it was extremely upsetting to see all the abandoned animals waiting and hoping for an adopted family to love.
I’ve been working on some recipes for an up-coming cooking class. The theme is a WFPB Meal for Passover or Easter. I’m still perfecting my nut loaf with super seeds and veggies but I’m very happy the way the Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Garlic turned out.
Cauliflower Mash with Roasted Garlic
This is a kosher, vegan, paleo, whole food plant based recipe...and it’s also delicious!
1 small head of cauliflower (organic) cut into flowerets
1 garlic head - roasted
1/4-cup vegan margarine
1-teaspoon onion salt
Steam cauliflower pieces over simmering water until tender - 10 to 15 minutes. Place hot cauliflower in food processor with roasted garlic cloves, margarine and onion salt; pulse and process until pureed and the consistency of mashed potatoes. Serve immediately or may be made ahead then reheated in a stainless steel bowl, covered with foil over simmering water.
How to Roast Garlic
Preheat oven to 350°. Slice the top off of a head of garlic to expose all the cloves inside. Place sliced side up on a piece of foil. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with a little salt and wrap-up in the foil. Roast until cloves are lightly browned and tender, about 30 minutes.
I work long 12-hour shifts mostly on my feet and I never know when I'm going to get a lunch break so I need something substantial and energizing to help me function throughout the day - and a farro breakfast keeps me going. When I get-up, I just put the farro in a pot and let it simmer while I shower - and it pretty much cooks on its own. Its got a big nutritious and delicious pay off with high fiber, high protein and B vitamins for very little effort. (I use the semi-pearl variety).
How to cook farro: Combine with water (1 cup farro to 5 cups water) in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 20-30 minutes, until grains are tender. Drain and serve hot with fruit, nuts and nondairy milk. Sweeten if desired with date sugar, agave or maple syrup.
Click to read about whole grains from a Medscape Neurology article by Dr. Neal Barnard of PCRM.
Every time I meet someone who suffers from migraine headaches I tell them about an incredible tea that helped heal my headaches. If you suffer from migraines I thought I would create this post so the information could possibly help you too.
I had horrible migraines, which started in 1984. I got the genetic predisposition for them from my maternal grandmother. They got so bad (3 to 5 times a month for several days at a time) that they were handicapping - I thought I may have to quit my job as a nurse and go on disability.
I learned about this special tea in 2012 while attending a weeklong lecture series on alternative health applications. I was blessed to room with one of the speakers who was a Macrobiotic Counselor trained by Michio Kushi himself at the Kushi institute. When I told her about my migraines she gave me 2 simple instructions - stop drinking heavily caffeinated beverages and drink Kukicha (twig tea) instead. It didn't happen overnight but after 3 months of drinking kukicha I began to notice a big difference in headache severity and frequency and I can honestly say I have not had an actual “migraine” since making the decision to follow the counselor’s advice.
I still enjoy an occasional coffee or espresso as a treat - but my daily go-to beverages are water or kukicha tea.
I steep 1 teaspoon of kukicha for a cup of hot tea or 2 tablespoons to make a half-gallon of iced tea to sip on throughout the day. (I steep the half gallon of kukicha in a Mason jar then store it in the fridge).
Kukicha tea has a very low amount of caffeine and is alkalinizing, which helps the body fight disease. It’s hard to find at local stores so I order a pound at a time of green kukicha tea from Amazon. If interested, click here.
To me, there’s nothing like homemade almond milk. I make a little less than a quart twice a week. It’s rich, creamy, sweet and simply delicious! I soak 1-cup raw, organic almonds overnight at room temperature. The next morning, I drain and rinse the almonds well - then put them in a blender with 3 cups of spring water, 1-teaspoon pure vanilla, 1-2 pitted medjool dates and a pinch of unrefined sea salt. I blitz the blender on high for 45 seconds then strain through a nut-milk bag. My favorite way to store the milk is in a mason jar - in the fridge - and I make sure it’s center front on the top shelf - because it’s so beautiful just to look at.
It’s wonderful on cold cereal, steel cut oatmeal, in smoothies and chia puddings and it’s perfect to satisfy a sweet craving with a sip of creaminess. I also use it as a dairy substitute in baking; last Thanksgiving I used it to make homemade Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream - yum!
Join me at NutritionSmart for free cooking classes|14847 N Dale Mabry Hwy | Tampa, FL 33618. Call for class dates and to reserve a seat - 813-908-9500.
I grew up in a traditional Greek-American home. But through prayer/meditation, life's experiences and education - came to question basic assumptions concerning foods I used to eat.
My awakening conscience motivated me to use my passion for cooking to do whatever little I can - to encourage ethical, healthy eating while advocating for animals.
And so - with help from grace, lessons of love I learned from daily life with friars and inspiration from Saint Francis - I use my cooking as an Instrument of Peace - by sharing plant based recipes, which reverence all of God's creatures (Isaiah 11:6-9), while offering nutritious, delicious tastes of love, peace and joy!