Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Variety is the Spice of Life

I'm aware this doesn't look too different from what I've posted heretofore, but it was quite different in flavor and much less of a time commitment.  The difference was the quantity of each ingredient.  To one fried organic egg, I added three mushrooms, one rapini stalk, one brussels sprout, a clove of garlic, a scallion and a small piece of turmeric.  That sounds like a lot but washing and prepping these veggies literally took two minutes.  I finished all with a handful of salted pumpkin seeds -- Delish.

I only indulged in so much variety because my crisper happens to be full at the moment from other recipes.  Waste not, want not!

Monday, September 19, 2016


As folks who care about regeneration, it behooves us to tune into subtle cues our bodies send us.  These can include mood changes, variable energy or focus levels or food cravings.  Anyone who is carefully following a diet for health reasons is right to be suspect of cravings.  A hankering for a bag of potato chips or a pint of ice cream may not be one you want to give credence.  However, cravings like these might reveal clues to deficits that can be tended more productively.  For instance -- the craving for chips might indicate a need for electrolytes or sodium and the ice cream craving may simply indicate lagging energy and focus or a psychological need for comfort in the face of stress.  Obviously, carefully curated food and/or activity choices may help the moment pass in a more beneficial way.  Coconut water, miso soup, kombucha tea or other naturally fermented foods may help with the electrolytes.  A nap or a warm cup of tea with a favorite book, or a block of dark chocolate or even an almond butter/raisin/vanilla smoothie might be better choices to allay the exhaustion or stress that elicited the ice cream craving.

I've been pretty healthy since I've paid more attention to lifestyle, but I recently had a perfect storm of stress and environmental toxins which led to a lengthy illness.  My baby entered her freshman year of college, our room got fumigated for bugs and I caught a whiff of my husband's cigar. Then my daughter came back to see her friends, who brought germs from their own freshman dorms to share with us all.  Long story short, there were a couple of weeks there which passed in a haze of upper respiratory distress.  I sipped organic boxed soups or ate frozen meals but had no appetite.  I was just existing.  As my health began to return, I was heartened by a little craving.  I wanted kale.  I wanted toasted seeds.  I wanted onions and garlic and organic raisins.  I wanted grass-fed butter and the sunshiny squeeze of fresh lemon on top.  Good craving -- I was healed.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Wonderful Meal

The larder is getting empty and I've not had time for grocery shopping, so I got creative.  I have a couple of Vital Choice halibut filets left, a small handful of kale, the dregs of a box of arugula and a dry package of quinoa.  I seared the filets in cast iron, then served them with a tangy homemade chimichurri (parsley, lemon, garlic, onion, extra virgin olive oil and vinegar -- use vinegar sparingly to taste)  I treated the kale to a lemon and oil massage, and then added arugula, pomegranate seeds (frozen) and pumpkin seeds.  I prepared the quinoa with organic veggie broth and then stirred in some chopped raisins.  This was all FABULOUS!  It turned out I had plenty on hand to make a wonderful dinner.  When the fridge looks empty, look deeper.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Double Wahls

Both of these recipes are from The Wahls' Protocol:  Liver and Onions and Algerian Chicken (in this case Algerian Vegetarian, which is an option in the book).  Since dairy is not a part of the Wahls Protocol, anything in her book she deems "vegetarian" is actually also vegan.

I've made Dr. Wahls' liver recipe many, many times, and often I'm the only one eating it, which is fine with me.  As such, I've found I love it cold from the 'fridge as well as I do hot out of the pan -- for breakfast, lunch or dinner.  This was the last little bit of the liver which overlapped with my next foray into the Protocol:  Algerian Vegetarian.  The flavors of this dish are lovely and deep, and I was surprised I liked the mixture of these two strongly flavored dishes together, but I did.  You may not, so if you make these, consider serving them one at a time, maybe with some Quinoa and Red Peppers, also from The Wahls' Protocol.  I will say that whatever I've made from the book, I've loved.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

After Traveling

Fellow health aficionados have probably noticed how difficult it is to maintain diet and exercise standards when out of our carefully crafted bubbles.  Highway food is notoriously atrocious and even good food is unfamiliar and thus potentially problematic in a strange place.

I've just returned from a quick three day trip during which I consumed no green vegetables!  Since I normally lead with leafy greens, this was different, to say the least.  Finding myself on an airplane at lunchtime without a chance to have eaten because of long security lines at the Atlanta airport, I made do with a Bloody Mary.  Hey, I was hungry and needed the calories.  At my destination, I didn't get a car of my own, since I really wanted to spend all my time with extended family members, so I had some good food here and there, but since salads involved cheese wherever I was, I opted for other veggies.  For the flight back home I arrived in plenty of time to choose lunch at the Richmond, VA airport, but had no luck.  All the food I could find was prepackaged with plenty of cheese and other unsavories.  I did find a bag of chips with a short ingredient list that contained kale and no dairy.  I bought it and a large bottle of water.  The chips were truly awful so I stopped after about 10 of them and opted instead for another Bloody Mary on the plane.  Arriving home at dinnertime I was too tired to go shopping, so I perused my larder.  Craving greens, I only found a few remnants of spinach and arugula, but, I also found some asparagus and broccoli, and lots of garlic, along with some spicy marinara sauce.  I defrosted an excellent Copper River salmon fillet and whipped up a quick pasta dish with my gleaned veggies.  I know -- gluten.  My husband wanted more than fish and veggies, and I was too tired to make two different meals, so I threw it all in there.  Trust me -- this pasta dish is a huge step up from most of what I'd been eating the past three days.  After a rest, I shopped for the food I need on a regular basis and am back on the health wagon again.

Veering off course happens sometimes, especially when our priorities temporarily change.  My wonderful trip to meet up with dear extended family members was for an excellent occasion -- my grandmother's 100th Birthday Party!  This trip was not about me, it was about her, and about family.  I was glad to fold into the happy melee for a little while.

Isn't she lovely?  It was so good to be with her and with my father and brother and nephew and niece from the other side of the world, and with aunts and uncles and cousins and more cousins and friends, old and new.  You don't turn 100 years old every day, so I'm so glad I was there along with everyone else to celebrate her!

Back home again now, I've got my eye on a bunch of rainbow chard!

Friday, July 15, 2016

Inspired by a Tomato Pie

While I strive for a gluten-free diet, I find that sprouted breads don't bother me and are a good stop-gap measure for a busy life.  Whether the toast is topped with cold liver and onions from the night before, a couple of organic eggs or an avocado, I'm frequently eating it for breakfast.

Today I stepped outside to find three micro-mini cherry tomatoes on my potted plant and, for some reason, a tomato pie a neighbor made years ago came to mind.  The pie was not a pizza, and it wasn't savory.  It wasn't overly sweet either, which is why I liked it so much.  It was really more of a delicate tart, a celebration of the tomato as the fruit that it actually is.  Inspired by this memory, I endeavored a taste test.  Ezekiel Toast topped with grassfed butter, thinly sliced fresh tomatoes and a light drizzle of organic local honey brought the essence of the long ago pie to the palate.  I will be experimenting more with this combination of flavors.  

Friday, June 17, 2016

A TV Dinner

Dropping my daughter and her friends off downtown for a concert took two and a half hours in Atlanta rush hour traffic yesterday.  Upon my arrival home, I realized I was alone for the first time in a very long time.  I love being surrounded by my loved ones, but I'd forgotten how nice it is to be alone at home.  I seized the opportunity to make myself a "TV dinner".

When I was a little girl, my mom usually served healthy, well-planned meals.  When my dad was out of town, however, sometimes she'd serve a frozen "tv dinner" as she called it, which was really an awful, factory made, collection of dishes, frozen into a portioned foil tray to be cooked in the oven for 45 minutes or so.  If we were lucky, the cherry cobbler hadn't jumped the foil wall into the well of creamed corn.  Even so, I loved tv dinners for their novelty, but also because they were served on trays that we could use in front of the tv.  Back in the 70's there wasn't necessarily anything worth watching on any of the 3 channels available to us, but that didn't stop my enjoyment of this anomalous occurrence. Memories . . .

Last night I quickly created a healthier, more delicious tv dinner.  I seared some organic chicken in coconut oil and grassfed butter, and finished it with capers and a squeeze of lemon.  The crisp outer edge was divine. In another pan, cavolo nero was quickly turned crunchy in the oil-butter combo cooked at high heat and seasoned with fragrant cumin powder.  This may be my new favorite way of preparing kale!  The trayful of healthy, delicious food was complemented by a lovely sauvignon blanc and a lightweight movie I was sure nobody else would have wanted to see.  Perfection!  (My daughter and friends had a ride home with another parent so the glass of wine was fine)

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chimichurri Eggs

Last night's condiment is elevated to a food-group status this morning.  If you're like me, memories of recent fabulous flavor combinations elicit cravings for more of the same, hence my love for leftovers.

Last night we enjoyed hosting dear friends who will soon be moving overseas. Grassfed flank steak with chimichurri was on the menu and enjoyed by all. This piquant, garlicky, oniony greenery excites the flavors of whatever it touches. This morning, it was the sunrise to my organic boiled eggs. Chimichurri's not just for dinner anymore.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

A Couple of Great Smoothies

Isn't this one pretty? I like a light smoothie to help my piles of supplements go down.  I normally use it as a vehicle for antioxidant-rich fruits and veggies or superfoods.  This blueberry smoothie accidentally became more of a blueberry sorbet since too many frozen organic berries fell into the blender.  There was at least a cup of berries, along with half a frozen banana and a cup of coconut water.  There wasn't enough liquid to make it drinkable so I used a spoon along with the straw.  Since this was so solid, I didn't add the collagen that normally goes into my smoothies.  This was a lovely, not-too-sweet, three-ingredient way to swallow piles of pills.  I just had to manage the speed of the transaction to avoid a slurpee headache.

This simple smoothie surprised me with the decadent flavor of banana-rum!  Really, all it contained was a cup of coconut water, half a frozen banana, 4 tablespoons of collagen powder (so good for neurology and skin!) and 15 drops of the botanical superfood, hawthorn.  The hawthorn is in an alcohol base, and has a warm, sweet flavor anyway, so, in this smoothie, it tasted like rum.  I obviously added a shake of nutmeg, which enhanced the warm, delicious flavor.  I'll be making this one again!!

Thursday, March 17, 2016

A More Wahlsy Buddha Bowl

This sardine-covered Buddha bowl really fit the bill for lunch today.  On leftover quinoa, I layered baby arugula, half an avocado, a can of Portuguese sardines and capers.  Lightly dressed with a squeeze of lemon and olive oil, this bowlful was delicious and nutritious.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

This is What I Wanted for Breakfast Today

This is the type of craving I've learned to heed.  Rapini with garlic, sautéed in coconut oil and finished with a drizzle of olive oil was lovely beside Ezekiel toast with grass-fed butter and a gorgeous kraut.  The piquant tang of the natural probiotic goes so well with creamy butter and the crunch of sprouted bread.  As I ate the toast, quite a bit of the kraut fell overboard, but it was equally delicious stirred into the greens.

We went out to dinner with friends last night and I ordered a delicious steak, along with other wonderful food, but I'm normally accustomed to a veggie-forward plateful, with minimal animal protein.  I missed the veggies.
Despite my best efforts to lean into the Wahls' Protocol, I find that red meat is still contrary to my personal chemistry.  I know I'm receiving needed nutrients, but there's a price to be paid in terms of quality of life for a few days.  I find my pace to be more plodding, my mental acuity dulled.  There is the feeling of more strength and stability, but I feel set apart from the world so to speak -- maybe a bit too grounded if that makes any sense.  Meat lowers my mood as well.  While I know I need it, after the nutrients are extracted I want it out of my system as quickly as possible.  That's probably why I craved this cleansing plateful this morning.  Fish doesn't bring me down the way meat does, nor does organic liver, for whatever reason.  Has anyone else noticed how the energies of food affect us?  I'd be interested to hear.

Saturday, January 23, 2016

En Papillotte

This is one of my favorite ways to prepare my amazing king salmon from Vital Choice (my favorite source for incomparable omega 3's!).  With grilling or broiling, the timing is so precise that my medium rare preference is tough to achieve consistently.  With the moist heat of cooking inside parchment, even an overcooked fillet is luscious and flavorful, and I don't have to miss cocktail hour.

I start with a large piece of parchment folded in half, oiled on the inside surface. This time I layered chunks of lemon, grass-fed butter, toasted fennel seeds and coriander seeds, sliced onions, fennel and red pepper.  Then I closed the parchment with tiny sharp folds all around the open edge.  15 minutes at the 425 temp my husband was using for his baked potato worked out just fine.  You don't have to use such a high heat, just compensate by cooking a little longer.  If you are worried about burning the fish, you can remove it from the oven and let it sit a little while since it will continue to steam.  This was a luxurious, delicious meal which I rounded out with sauteed mushrooms and Italian parsley plus a gorgeous salad of baby kale, purple cabbage, carrots and radishes.  I had so much food it took me half an hour to finish it all, then I felt I'd fed my cells instead of my belly.

Note:  I receive no compensation from mentioning Vital Choice.  I have just found it to be an amazing company which provides sustainably sourced, wild-caught seafood.  The customer service is top-notch. Vital Choice was recommended by my doctors.  Give it a google if you are so inclined.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Walmart has Kerrygold!

Along with quite a few new organic products I like, Walmart in Alpharetta now has Kerrygold unsalted, grass-fed butter!  Why is this a big deal?  The price is $3.44, which represents a savings of between 55 cents (compared to local grocery stores) and $2.55 (compared to Whole Foods).  We go through this stuff and the savings will accumulate quickly.

This is the only dairy product I eat.  It doesn't bother my system like milk, cheese or yogurt would, and the high omega-3 content makes it a wonderful healthy fat that's superior to the bacon fat used in a lot of Wahls recipes (I use that too, but much less than I did at first).  From the occasional bulletproof coffee to a silky veggie saute, it's a staple, and one of the only things that all of us eat.  I'm grateful to Walmart for expanding their offerings, and to Kerrygold for expanding their supply without reducing the quality of their product.

I receive no compensation for mentioning these companies.  I just like to point out when folks are doing something right.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

An Accidental Scramble

This fabulous mess of a photo was an afterthought, mid-feeding-frenzy.  Because the day got away from me yesterday, I had a big veggie deficit that needed filling at about 9:00 a.m.

My husband is not a fan of broccoli rabe and I adore all things bitter, all the better if they are green.  Therefore, breakfast seemed the perfect time for me to indulge, with him off at work.  The idea was to saute the greens in coconut oil and grass-fed butter, along with anything fun I could find in my larder, then top it all off with a couple of fried organic eggs.  I started with about 4 cups of greens plus mushrooms, tomatoes, garlic and thinly sliced turmeric. After the initial saute of most of the veggies, I created a well in the center of the pan and dropped the eggs right in.  Too late, I realized I'd forgotten the garlic and turmeric, which I'd reserved to avoid burning.  With the eggs frying, the time for stirring was over.  But I did it anyway to get it all cooked and off the heat.  Hence my accidental scramble!  I ate this whole darn panful.  It's amazing what good food can do.  I feel like a new woman.