My Favorite Basil Pesto
I have always loved the smell of fresh basil since the days my dad would send me home with a shopping bag full of basil from his organic herb garden. I remember giving it away to friends, neighbors and co-workers and still had way too much left over. Well, that was early 1970's and today I can only get a small bunch at the farmer's market. But, I am grateful to have an organic farmer who I've known for years and continue to buy all my produce from year-round. According to Dr. Mercola, "Basil is considered one of the healthiest herbs. It's best when fresh, exuding a sweet, earthy aroma that indicates not only the promise of pleasantly pungent flavor, but an impressive list of nutrients. Vitamin K, essential for blood clotting, is one of them.
Basil also provides vitamin A, which contains beta-carotenes, powerful antioxidants that protect the cells lining a number of numerous body structures, including the blood vessels, from free radical damage. This helps prevent cholesterol in blood from oxidizing, helping to prevent atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.
Other vitamins and minerals in basil include iron, calcium, manganese, magnesium, vitamin C and potassium. Not surprisingly, basil also has antibacterial properties and contains DNA-protecting flavonoids. It's the flavonoids and volatile oils in basil that give it the most health benefits, the former protecting on the cellular level, with antibacterial properties related to its volatile oils. Among these are estragole, linalool, cineole, eugenol, sabinene, myrcene, and limonene, all capable of restricting the growth of numerous harmful bacteria.
Hmm.. a pretty impressive herb.
- large bunch of fresh basil, preferably organic
- 1/8 cup sunflower seeds
- juice of 1 fresh lemon
- 1 medium clove garlic
- 1/2 - 1 tsp celtic sea salt, or to taste
- extra virgin olive oil
Put everything except olive oil in blender or vita mix. Slowly pour in olive oil until desired consistency. To cut the strong flavor of basil, you can add in a little spinach.
Also, using a first cold-pressed extra virgin olive oil will really ramp up the flavor.
Purslane with Sautéed Onions & Shiitake Mushrooms
I love the summer months when purslane is abundant at the farmer's markets. Loaded with Omega 3 Fatty Acids (even higher than some fish oils!), Vitamins A, C, B, fiber, magnesium, calcium, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. You get it! Yep -- purslane is a SUPER FOOD!!!! If you haven't tried it yet, put it on your list the next time you're at your local farmer's market. Unfortunately, traditional supermarkets have not caught on to this amazing green vegetable yet :(
- Large bunch of purslane, washed well and chopped (stems and all)
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 5 tablespoons filtered water
- 5 shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced (stems removed)
- celtic sea salt (to taste)
Put olive oil, water, onion and mushrooms in skillet and cook on medium until onion softens (approx. 6 mins.); reduce flame to low, add mushrooms and continue to sauté for about 2 minutes more. Add purslane and adjust water and olive oil to your liking (or just leave it as is). Add salt to taste, cover and sauté on a simmer checking after 3-5 minutes till the purslane begins to wilt. I don't like overcooking purslane but it's up to you how you like your veggies -- crunchy or soft.
Chili Lime Roasted Almonds
- 1 pound raw organic unsalted almonds
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 4 tablespoons fresh lime juice (about 2 limes)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1 tablespoon 100% pure maple syrup
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Place all the ingredients in a medium bowl and mix well.
- Place parchment paper on a baking tray.
- Place almond mixture on parchment paper in an even layer.
- Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Allow to cool on baking tray before removing.
- Serve immediately. Store in airtight container for up to 7 days.
(adapted from Lauren Kelly Nutrition)
Building a strong immune system is probably the single most important thing you can do for your health. One way to do this is by drinking bone broth -- something our ancestors did back when and something that is making a "come-back" today. Here's a simple way to make this nourishing food and to keep you warm and healthy through the winter months..
1 lb-2 lbs bones from pastured animals (chicken feet/necks/backs or beef bones - knuckles are best)
4 cloves organic garlic
1 gallon filtered water
Sea salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1. Put all ingredients in a soup pot and bring to a boil; then reduce flame to a simmer for cook for 36 to 48 hours.
2. Strain broth and refrigerate in separate glass containers.
3. Once it is chilled remove the fat and save it other uses.
4. Drink the broth or use it for a base for soup.
Bone broths provide important minerals and vitamins that we need to cope with stress in our daily lives. It is an inexpensive way to get minerals and vitamins without taking supplements, which sometimes are not absorbed by the body when isolated from foods. Broth also fights wrinkles, cellulite and is good for loose skin after weight loss. Another benefit of broth is that it heals the digestive tract (gut lining) because it is full of amino acids.
This slow cooking recipe is aimed at getting the most minerals out of the bones to heal your body.
Here's to your health!! xo
Tropical Delight Smoothie
1 cup coconut water or water
1 cup spinach
1 cup frozen mango, or 1 fresh mango, chopped
½ cup fresh or frozen pineapple chunks
1 to 2 tbsp fresh lime juice, to taste
1 tsp minced, peeled fresh ginger
Liquid sweetener, to taste (optional)
Ice cubes, if desired
Ramp-esto with Brown Rice Pasta
- 10 ramps, roughly chopped
- 1/3 C olive oil
- 1/4 C pine nuts
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
- black pepper to taste
- lemon wedges for serving
16 oz. brown rice pasta cooked according to package directions
If you want to add basil, parsley, or mint to the pesto, just experiment. I would start with a few sprigs so you don't overpower the flavor of the ramps. Also, if you are not vegan, a 1 oz. chunk of ricotta salata would work very well.
- Add the ramps, olive oil, pine nuts, sea salt and pepper to a blender or food processor. Pulse until well blended, but there should still be some texture to the pesto (i.e. you don’t want to puree it).
- Boil the pasta according to the package directions in salted water until just al dente. Drain, reserving a little of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the pot and add the pesto. Toss to coat evenly, adding pasta water as needed if it starts sticking together.
Plate and serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.
**Optional: Substitute Quinoa for the Brown Rice Pasta**
Mother's Day No-Bake Decadent Brownies
Who knew brownies could actually be healthy for you? Omega 3 Fatty Acids, Fiber, Antioxidant and Protein! Plus, mom will LOVE them.
FOR THE BROWNIES:
- 1 cup raw walnut pieces
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1-1/2 cups pitted Medjool dates
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- heaping 2 tablespoons raw cacao nibs
- heaping 1/4 cup raw walnut pieces
FOR THE HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE TOPPING:
- 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/4 cup pure maple syrup or coconut nectar
- small pinch fine grain sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- For the brownie: Line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, process the walnuts into a fine crumb.
- Add the hemp seeds and the pitted dates and process until finely chopped and sticky.
- Add the cacao powder, vanilla, and salt and process until thoroughly combined.
- Stir or pulse in the nibs and chopped walnuts until just combined.
- Evenly press the mixture into prepared square pan until smooth. You can roll it out with a pastry roller until smooth. Place in the freezer for about 10 minutes.
- For the chocolate topping: Melt the coconut oil over low heat in a medium pot. Remove from heat and whisk in the cacao powder, syrup, salt, and vanilla until combined and smooth.
- Remove the brownies from the freezer and pour on the chocolate topping. Spread out evenly. Carefully transfer the pan to the freezer on a flat, even surface. Chill for 20 + minutes or until the topping is firm enough to slice
- Run hot water over a knife for a minute or so, wipe quickly with towel, and carefully slide the knife into the brownies to slice (warming up the knife helps it slice more evenly without much cracking).
- Store leftovers in the freezer for a chocolate treat anytime.
Tips: You’ll want to use soft, fresh Medjool dates for this recipe to make it easier on the processor. If your dates are firm, try soaking them in water for 30-60 minutes (and then draining well) before use.
Instead of the raw chocolate topping, you can melt 3/4 cup non-dairy chocolate chips in lieu of the homemade chocolate.
(inspired by Oh She Glows)
If you don't own a mandolin slicer, I think you might want to check one out. I use mine all the time to slice onions, tomatoes, zucchini (lengthwise slices), and lots of other food. I know there are fancy ones that cost upwards of $100 and they do more than slice, but I have a very simple one that costs under $10. Click here to find out where you can order one. I used the mandolin to slice the daikon radish into long strips about 2" wide and about 5" - 6" in length. You can add just about anything you like in the center and just roll up. Here's one of my favorites....
(makes about 10 roll-ups)
- 1/2 red bell pepper, julienne strips
- 1 avocado, sliced into strips
- 1/2 cucumber, julienne strips
- 1 carrot, julienne strips
- tahini, about 1/8 - 1/4 cup
- 1/2 lemon
- sea salt
Optional for filling: sprouts, mushrooms, hummus, or any veggie of your choosing
- Cut the daikon so you have a fairly even log, cutting off the long, pointy end about 3-4 inches up. Save that part of the radish to cut up and put into a salad;
- Using the mandolin's slicer, set it at the thickness you want the slices to be and place the daikon log at one end and slide it down the mandolin. Adjust the thickness of the slices, if necessary;
- Julienne all the veggies;
- Spread tahini on the daikon slices, sprinkle with sea salt, squeeze a little fresh lemon juice and place veggies in the center;
- Roll up and secure with toothpick if needed;
Eat WHOLE, Be HEALTHY!!
Raw Chocolate Truffles w/Honey Almond Center
(makes about 12 mini truffles)
I have never been a "chocoholic" but, I must say, once I get my hands on some really good chocolate, I find myself ooh-ing and ahh-ing until it's gone. Yep, I have become a devotee of raw chocolate! I was in L.A. recently and had a dessert at Cafe Gratitude in Venice and couldn't get this mint-centered raw chocolate truffle out of my head for weeks. I decided I had to try and make something similar so I set out to order the cacao butter, etc. If you decide to try these, let me know what you think. I couldn't stop eating them!
Ingredients for the Honey/Almond Butter Center:
- 4 TBL raw organic almond butter, chunky or creamy
- 4 TBL raw organic honey
- Pinch of sea salt - 1/16th tsp
Mix together until creamy and set aside
Ingredients for the Chocolate Coating:
- 1 cup raw cacao butter (click here to see where I ordered from)
- 1 cup raw cacao powder
- 1/3 cup maple syrup; optional: coconut sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Melt the cacao butter in a double boiler at a low temperature or you can set the bowl of cacao butter in a bowl of hot water
- Blend all ingredients in a high speed blender until smooth
- Pour a small amount into molds; I used a mini cupcake pan (makes 12 mini cups), lined with mini cupcake paper liners
- Put @ 1 tsp of the honey/almond butter mixture on top of the chocolate
- Top it with more chocolate until just about at the top of the cupcake liner
Place in refrigerator when done and let harden.. Enjoy!
No Grain Granola
(Makes about 1/2 gallon)
1-1/2 cups raw almonds
1-1/2 cups raw walnuts
1-1/2 cups cashews
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1/8 to 1/4 cup coconut oil
1/8 cup raw honey
1 cup raisins or chopped dates
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 Tbl vanilla
1/2 Tbl cinnamon
3/4 tsp Celtic sea salt
Soak and dehydrate nuts, pumpkin seeds & sunflower seeds (soaking greatly improves digestibility and nutritional absorption) - see instructions on soaking below
Chop nuts. It is easier to chop the different nuts if they are not mixed together.
Mix nuts & seeds (seeds do not need chopping).
Combine coconut oil, honey, vanilla, cinnamon and sea salt in saucepan over low heat until fully mixed.
Pour this over nuts and mix well.
Add raisins and shredded coconut.
Store in airtight container. Best kept in the refrigerator.
Soaking & Dehydrating Nuts & Seeds - Traditionally, nuts and seeds were soaked and left to dry out before eating. This improves digestibility and nutritional absorption. The hulls of raw nuts and seeds contain enzyme inhibitors that can prevent all the beneficial nutrition from being digested thoroughly. These inhibitors can also cause digestive distress if many raw nuts are consumed. For some people, even a few raw nuts cause digestive upset.
Cover the almonds, walnuts and seeds with filtered water; the nuts should be about 2 inches under the water (add 2 teaspoons of celtic sea salt to water). In a separate bowl, soak the cashews (add 1 teaspoon of celtic sea salt to water). A good time to soak the cashews would be after dinner and then drain them before going to bed. Drain, rinse and put them in the fridge. The almonds can stay out overnight.
In the morning, rinse the almonds and seeds thoroughly, add the cashews and spread on a cookie sheet (in one layer to make it easier for them to dry out.
If you have a dehydrator, put the setting to 105 degrees and dry the nuts and seeds (this may take @ 8 - 10 hours. If you don't have a dehydrator, heat oven on lowest setting - usually 170 degrees; if you have a digital oven, the manual usually tells you how you can lower it to about 150 degrees. Either way, spread the nuts and seeds on a baking sheet in one layer and leave for about 12 hours or so in the oven.
Creamy Vegetable Soup (without the cream)
(Organic vegetables are best)
- 3 Tbls extra virgin olive oil (or coconut oil if you prefer)
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1 cup green cabbage, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
- 2 small zucchini, sliced
- broccoli florets - about 1 cup
- 1 bay leaf, to be discarded before pureeing soup
- 1 tsp Thyme
- 8 cups filtered water (or 4 cups organic vegetable broth and 4 cups water)
- sea salt, pepper to taste
- In large pot, saute onion until slightly soft, add garlic and cook for 1 minute; add rest of vegetables and 1/2 cup water and cook on med/high heat until vegetables get somewhat soft. Add the rest of the water, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring to boil; reduce flame to simmer and cover.
- Simmer for about 1 hour.
- Check taste for additional salt/pepper
- With an immersion blender, blend the soup for a minute, leaving some of the vegetables in tact. If you do not have an immersion blender, take about 3 cups of the soup out and put into a blender. Puree in blender and add back to soup pot and stir.
If you do not have any dairy sensitivities, you can sprinkle some parmesan cheese on top or grate some "raw" cheddar cheese on top.
Swiss Chard with Sauteed Onions & Red Bell Pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 large onion, thinly sliced
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and diced
- 2 large bunches swiss chard, chopped into small pieces
- Sea salt & pepper to taste
- In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil
- Add the onion and red bell pepper and cook until softened, about 5 minutes
- Add the swiss chard and sauté for approximately 4-6 minutes until chard is soft but retains its bright green color
- Season with salt & pepper
Chard is a great source of Vitamin C, Omega 3 Essential Fatty Acids, and Vitamin A. One cup of Swiss Chard has 300% of the daily requirement of Vitamin K which is good for maintaining bone density. Also, chard is chock full of minerals like calcium, iron, manganese, copper, potassium and phosphorous.
3 Tb olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
1⁄4 tsp salt
4 stalks celery finely chopped (1 cup)
1 head cauliflower, stems trimmed and coarsely chopped (about 5 cups)
1⁄4 cup parsley or cilantro chopped
- Heat oil in a large sauté pan over medium low heat.
- Sauté onion for 8-10 minutes, until soft.
- Add salt and celery and sauté for 5 minutes until tender.
- Put cauliflower into a food processor and pulse until it is the texture of rice
- Add cauliflower to the sauté pan. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes, on low heat, stirring occasionally until soft.
- Stir in parsley
- Adjust seasonings and serve
(courtesy of Ingrid DeHart, Eatwellenjoylife.com)
Lemon Walnut Hummus
- 1/2 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas, drained (I use Eden brand as the can is BPA free)
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt, plus additional to taste
- In small skillet over medium heat, toast the walnuts for 2-3 minutes, shaking the pan occasionally to ensure even growing. Transfer the nuts to a sieve to cool.
- Add the cumin and coriander seeds to the skillet and toast for 30 seconds. Transfer to a spice mill or mortar and pestle, add the cayenne pepper and grind to a powder.
- In a food processor, combine the chickpeas, oil, lemon juice, garlic, ground spices and 1 teaspoon of the salt.
- Rub the walnuts against a sieve over the sink to remove most of their paper skins. Add the skinned walnuts to the processor, and puree until smooth. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time, if the hummus is thicker than you like. Season with additional salt. Serve with your favorite dipping food.
(courtesy of Peter Berley)
Mung Bean Fettuccine with Red & Green Chard
- 5-6 oz. mung bean fettuccine (or other pasta of your choice)
- 2 large leaves chard (1 green/1 red or just keep it all one color), chopped into small pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1/8 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt to taste
- Bring @ 8 cups water to boil in large pot; add @ 2 tablespoons salt to water.
- Add pasta and cook for about 7-8 minutes.
- Steam chard until soft but still retains color (about 2-3 minutes).
- In small skillet, add olive oil and sauté garlic util golden - don't overcook or garlic will become bitter.
- When pasta is done, drain and set aside.
- Add pasta and chard to olive oil/garlic skillet and mix.
- Season with salt to taste.
Italian-Style White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe
(makes about 2 quarts)
- 1 cup dried white navy or great northern beans (soaked overnight)
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 whole celery stalks
- 7 cups cold water
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 coarsely chopped large onion
- 1 leek, washed and sliced, white part only
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 1 pound broccoli rabe (about 6 cups, chopped)
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 hot red pepper, minced, or 1/8 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- Drain beans and discard soaking water. Place beans, bay leaf and whole celery stalks in a large soup pot with 7 cups water and bring to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 30 minutes (similar to bay leaf, the whole celery adds flavor and is discarded when the soup is finished).
- In large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil and sauté onion and leeks for 8-10 minutes. Add carrots and sauté for another 2-3 minutes. Add mixture to beans. Continue simmering for another 20-30 minutes, until beans are tender.
- While soup is cooking, prepare the rabe. Chop off about 1 inch of the base of the stalks and discard. Chop the stalks and leaves into 1/2 inch pieces. Wash well. Heat remaining tablespoon of oil in skillet and add minced garlic and red pepper. Cook for about 1 minutes, until garlic is fragrant but not burned. Add chopped rabe and 2-3 tablespoons water. Cover and cook for 5-8 minutes, until rabe is tender. Don't overcook or it will turn mushy.
- When beans are tender, add the rabe and cook for an additional 5 minutes to allow flavors to ming.e Remove the bay leaf and celery stalks.
Blissful Lemonade Smoothie
- 1 cup filtered or spring water, cold
- handful of kale
- 1/4 inch slice of lemon, peel and all
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon flax seeds
- 1/2 avocado
- 1 cup blueberries, frozen
- 1 banana, frozen
Put all into a high speed blender or Vita-Mix
You can add any other frozen fruit you like. Enjoy!
Roasted Asparagus with Garlic
- 2 bunches thick asparagus, trimmed
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt or kosher salt
- Freshly milled black pepper
- Lemon wedge for serving
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
- Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle with the oil, garlic, salt and pepper and roll them to coat.
- Roast in the oven until crisp-tender, about 8 to 10 minutes.
- Serve with lemon wedges.