Made-With-Love Hot Chocolate

This hot chocolate is easy to prepare and the REAL thing for pleasure and health! It's fantastic for keeping you warm during the cold winter months. I also encourage you to share this liquid treat with a loved one

Made-With-Love Hot Chocolate features fresh, homemade coconut milk, (full of good fat), and cacao, (high in anti-oxidants). You won't have to feel guilty about this hot chocolate treat. The best part is how easily this recipe can be adopted for different flavor profiles. Add peppermint extract, (1/4 tsp), or pumpkin spice, (1/2 tsp), vanilla extract or powder, (1/2 tsp), cinnamon, (1/4 tsp), a pinch of cayenne and a pinch of sea salt, etc. If you add in additional flavors, do so at the same time you add the chocolate.

Of course you can buy coconut milk pre-made, but I promise you the taste difference between homemade and store bought is so worth the little bit of extra effort. Moreover, homemade is far more cost effective, coconut milk in cans is frequently lined with BPA, and refrigerated containers have added sweeteners and preservatives. Thumbs down!

Recipe

Coconut Milk

(4-6 servings)

Ingredients

~ 4 cups filtered water

~ 1.5-2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut

Prep

~ Heat water, but do not boil. Should be hot, not scalding.

~ Put coconut flakes in a blender and add in water. (Make sure not to overload your blender. If so, make 2 batches.)

~ Blend on high for 3 minutes. It should look thick and creamy.

~ Pour the coconut milk through a mesh colander removing coconut pieces

~ Squeeze the coconut milk through several pieces of cheese cloth to remove any remaining pieces of coconut.

Store in the fridge and your fresh coconut milk will be good for 3-4 days. Preservative-free. Luscious!

PS - Should the "cream" of the coconut milk separate, simply shake the container before consuming.

 

Recipe

Made-With-Love Hot Chocolate

(2 servings)

Ingredients

~ Two 8 oz. cups of coconut milk - See above recipe

~ 1 tsp vanilla

~ 4/5 T cacao powder - I use Navitas

~ 2 T collagen powder - For superb nail, skin, and gut healing. I use Great Lakes Hydrolyzed Collagen Powder

~ 1/2 tsp cinnamon

~ 1 T coconut oil

~ 2 tsp maple syrup or raw honey

Prep

~ Heat the coconut milk - not scalding

~ Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend for 30 seconds. Stirring works as well.

Now, pour your Made-With-Love Hot Chocolate into your favorite cup. Sit, sip, and cuddle. 

 

If you've enjoyed 1 or both of these recipes, please pass them on to your friends and family!

Feel free to contact me right here with any comments as well.

 

 

 

Simply Roasted Artichokes

I roast so many of the foods I eat since it’s easy and the results are always amazing. And, these are the kinds of recipes I try to offer – easy to make, delicious to eat, and fantastically healthy for your body and soul!

Artichokes, which are now in high season, are another real food item that turn into a grand slam of flavor when coming out of your oven! Of course, artichokes can be prepared in a variety of ways – steamed, boiled, grilled – but for today, let's talk roasted/baked.

Besides tasting great and being fun to eat, artichokes are super loaded with health. While most of us love artichoke hearts, the leaves contain the most nutrients. Consequently, I encourage you to eat whole artichokes.

Did you know artichokes are one of the most liver detoxing foods? They are! Artichokes are loaded with antioxidants which help to fight off disease, stress, and even cancer. They are also the perfect healthy, low-glycemic food which is great for stabilizing blood sugar. Moreover, artichokes are high in iron and other precious minerals which all work together to optimize your health.  In short, the artichoke is a nutritional and flavorful powerhouse winner!

How to select your fresh artichoke: Look for artichokes that are green or purple and have tightly closed petals. They should feel dense and heavy for their size. The stem should look fresh as well.

How to eat your Simply Roasted Artichoke: Let your artichoke cool for 10-15 minutes. Now, start with the exterior leaves and work in. Pull off each leaf, and put the large end of the leaf in your mouth and bite down as you pull out. You should get a nice mouthful of tender artichoke meat in every pull/bite. Discard the leaves.

When you get to the center of the artichoke, pull off the thin leaves and use a spoon, (a grapefruit spoon is great), to scoop out the thistle-y center until you get to the smooth base. This is the beloved artichoke heart which is best dipped in melted butter or olive oil with freshly squeezed lemon, garlic, and/or sea salt.

One last, blissful tip: Try sipping water while eating your artichoke. The water brings out the amazing sweetness of the artichoke. What a treat!

Simply Roasted Artichokes

Serves 2 (For more servings, simply buy extra artichokes and follow the recipe.)

Ingredients

• 2 Fresh, Whole Artichokes

• 1 lemon

• A few short drizzles of extra virgin olive oil or melted grass-fed butter

• Sea salt

Optional

• 1 small garlic clove

Preparation

• Pre-heat oven to 400⁰ F

• Rinse off both artichokes and pat dry

• Cut off the top inch of each artichoke

• Also cut off the bottom part of the stems as well as peel off the tough stem outer sides

• Squeeze a bit of lemon juice on the cut sections of the artichokes to prevent them from turning black

• Add sea salt and freshly squeezed lemon juice into 2-3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. Pour this marinade over the artichokes.

• Enclose either artichoke in a piece of aluminum foil adding freshly sliced lemon into the wrap. You may also dice a clove of garlic and sprinkle the small garlic pieces into your wrap as well.

• Place the wrapped artichokes onto a cookie sheet and into your 400⁰ F oven.Allow to bake for approximately 1 hour to 1:15 hours.

Now, test your artichoke. When you can easily pull off one of the artichokes outer leaves, you will know its done.

Remember, once your artichokes are done, let them sit for approximately 15 minutes to cool enough so you can comfortably handle, peel, and eat them.

Enjoy!

If you like this recipe, please let me know! Also, please share this with your interested family, friends and colleagues. Thanks!

 

Resource:

Catherine Ebeling – Artchokes: 10 Health Benefits You Didn’t Kn

Chillin' Chia Seed Pudding & Roasted Bacon Bitz

Snacking is a past-time for many. The trick-or-treat is to find snacks that bring us pleasure and good health. The following two recipes are easy to prepare and eat. Both offer excellent health benefits to boot.

Our Chillin' Chia Seed Pudding is sweeter and creamy while Roasted Bacon Bitz offer crunch and salt. Enjoy!

Chillin' Chia Seed Pudding

Great for breakfast as well as dessert, chia seed pudding is one of the best snacking options out there. Check it out.

Ingredients

(Serves 1-2)

▫️2 Tablespoons of chia seeds

▫️1/3 cup of coconut or almond milk, (or a mix of both)

▫️Dash of vanilla, cinnamon, cacao nibs

▫️1/2 teaspoon of maple syrup

Optional:

  •  1/2 teaspoon of cacao powder to enjoy a more chocolately treat
  • Top pudding with organic raspberries

Prep

▫️Add all ingredients together into a small bowl.

▫️Stir thoroughly, cover with plastic wrap and let sit in fridge from 30 minutes to overnight. (The longer the mixture sits, the more gelatinous and pudding-like it becomes.)

When ready to eat, top with berries. Enjoy!

Roasted Bacon Bitz

This recipe is too good and easy to be true! When you're in the mood for snacking and you're craving salty and crunchy, look no further. Your roasted bacon bits are good to eat right out of the oven or they can be placed in a plastic zip lock bag and eaten on the run. Your call!

Ingredients

(Serves 1-2)

▫️2-3 slices of bacon, (Applegate Organic Uncured Sunday Bacon)

Prep

▫️Pre-heat oven for 15 min at 350 degrees F

▫️While oven is warming, line a baking pan with aluminum foil and place a rack on top

▫️Add bacon slices side-by-side on top the rack

▫️When oven reaches desired temperature, put pan with bacon on bottom rack

▫️Let the bacon roast approx 40 min until crunchy.

▫️Remove the bacon from the pan and break up into small pieces. Eat immediately if desired.

This crunchy bacon treat is also excellent later on in the day. 

Oven-Roasted Brussel Sprouts

A while ago, I shared my Susan’s Grilled, In-Season, Summer Veggies recipe. This Brussel sprouts recipe is similar. The lesson here is you can roast just about any vegetable you choose using a bit of extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. It’s that simple.

For the month of September, I’m selecting Brussel sprouts which are right in season. While not big fans of boiled Brussel sprouts, Janet and I love them roasted! Brussel sprouts are best to buy firm and bright green. When at your local farmer’s market, go for the sprouts that are still on their stalk. It’s hard to get much fresher, more nutrient-dense and delicious tasting Brussel sprouts then those. Brussel sprouts are also an outstanding addition to your diet for great gut health!

Ingredients – Serves 2-3

•Approximately 20 medium-sized Brussel sprouts

•1-2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil – (I use Bionaturae Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil)

•Coarse sea salt to taste – (I use Pacific Salt Sel de Mer Sea Salt Coarse)

Optional:

•2 strips of bacon – (I use Applegate Organics Hickory Smoked Uncured Sunday Bacon)

Preparation – Pre-heat over to 400⁰F

Rinse and pat dry the Brussel sprouts. Remove the firm end with a knife and peel off the 1st layer of the sprout leaf. Depending upon the size of the Brussel sprouts, you can either cut them in half length-wise or just leave them whole.

Put the sprouts into a mixing bowl. Add enough EVOO to lightly cover all sprouts – about 1 -2 tablespoons. Sprinkle coarse sea salt, (without anti-caking ingredients), to taste - approximately 2 pinches. I enjoy the crunch of the coarse salt though fine salt is okay as well. Mix well so sprouts are coated with EVOO and sea salt.

Place the sprouts on a baking dish/cookie sheet – (I line my pan with foil.)

Optional: Dice 2 slices of bacon and keep to the side.

Cooking – Approximately 25 minutes

Roast sprouts for 15 minutes or until the side of the sprout touching the pan has turned brown.

Turn the sprouts over and let roast another 10 minutes depending upon the desired crispness.

Optional: If adding diced bacon to your sprouts – very highly recommended!! – distribute evenly over the sprouts approximately mid-way through the cooking process. Give the bacon a good 15 minutes to roast.

 Hint: The smaller the bacon pieces, the more quickly they will cook.

When ready, remove the Brussel sprouts from the pan and plate! Then enjoy these delicious, warm and healthy bundles of earthiness!

 

If you liked this recipe, please share it with your friends and family.

If you have any comments, please write and let me know!

Pesto, Shrimp & Zoodles

This dish makes a perfectly light, delicious and nutrient-dense summer meal! Zoodles are nothing more than zucchini transformed into noodles either using a spiralizer, (I use Paderno brand), or a vegetable peeler. Combining the zoodles with shrimp and pesto knocks this meal out of the nourishment park. This recipe has been adapted from Practical Paleo by Diane SanFilippo.

Ingredients (Serving for 2)

4 zucchini or yellow squash

2 dozen large shrimp – fresh or frozen

Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Optional:

Grape tomatoes

Crushed red pepper flakes to taste

Pesto

½ cup of macadamia nuts

1 bunch cilantro, rinsed

1 small/medium clove of garlic

½ cup of extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste

Preparation

Zoodles

If using a spiralizer, cut off the ends of zucchini or yellow squash, set each vegetable in place one at a time and turn the knob. Repeat until all 4 zucchini have been converted to zoodles. If using a vegetable peeler, run it along each of the squash until you reach the center, seedy part. Place all your zoodles into a colander. Sprinkle generously with sea salt. Put aside for 45 min. (This technique helps to draw out the liquid from the zoodles thereby allowing them to become ‘al dente’ with cooking.) Thoroughly rinse away all salt when zoodles are ready to cook.

Pesto

Combine the macadamia nuts, cilantro, garlic, evoo, sea salt and black pepper in a food processor. Blend until smooth. Taste and add additional salt/pepper if necessary.

Shrimp

Nowadays, it’s easy to find fresh/frozen shrimp that’s already deveined and pealed. If not, peel and devein the shrimp before cooking. Pull the tail off first, then the rest of the shell.

Cooking

Boil salted water enough to drop in the zoodles. Allow zoodles to cook for 2 minutes. Please note, water does not need to be boiling once the zoodles are added to the pot.

Simultaneously, add the shrimp in a steamer basket in a separate pot containing an inch high of boiling water. Allow to steam for approximately 3 minutes if fresh or for 3-5 minutes if frozen. In either case, shrimp should be pink through and through.

Plating

Drain the zoodles thoroughly and add to a mixing bowl along with the pesto. Toss well.

Top the zoodles with the steamed shrimp. Serve warm and enjoy with a lovely glass of organic rose’ or white wine.

Buon appetito!

 

 

 

 

Frozen Lemon Slush-a-licious

I was thinking about sharing a lovely seafood stew – cioppino – with cauli-rice recipe, but the heat and HUMIDITY steared me in a very different direction. (I'll get to this one another time!)

It’s summer, I’m hot and definitely looking to cool down. Behold my friends, it's Frozen Lemon Slush-a-licious time . This is an all-natural, zero preservative treat that brings with it a bit of nostalgia. How many of you as children enjoyed Italian lemon-flavored ice? I know I did.

Our Frozen Lemon Slush-a-licious is the real deal. Real lemons vs. artificially lemon-flavored and only the best of ingredients. When you’re in the mood for something thoroughly refreshing and ice cool, you need look no further.

Besides being delicious and refreshing, this treat is full of Vitamin C thanks to our lemon friends. Eating lemons may also help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer and kidney stones. With filtered water and organic coconut palm sugar, (which is far less glycemic than regular cane sugar), it’s really hard to go wrong!

Give this recipe a shot and then dig in! You absolutely won't be sorry.

Ingredients – Servings 6

• 11/3 cups of filter water

• Juice from 6 organic lemons – (This will come close to 1 cup.)

• Zest of 1 lemon

• 1/2 cup of granulated organic coconut palm sugar – (I use unrefined Sweet Tree brand.)

Preparation – 20 minutes

1 Place a small-to-medium sized roasting pan flat in the freezer.

2 Rinse and pat dry the exterior of lemons.

3 One-by-one, roll each lemon back and forth under the heel of your hand, applying pressure with your other hand on top. (This will help loosen the juice inside the lemons.)

4 Cut each lemon in half. Before squeezing the juice into a bowl, discard any obvious pits from the lemon tops. Squeeze the lemon with the exposed fruit facing upwards. (This also helps prevent the seeds from going into your preserved lemon juice.) Should any pits enter, simply remove with a spoon.

5 Remove the rind of one lemon. (Careful not to grab the white pith just beneath the skin, as it is bitter.) Cut the removed rind into very small pieces.

6 Just before squeezing this final lemon, add the water to a small pot and turn up the flame. Pour in the sugar and heat the water to an almost boil. Stir the coconut sugar in the heating water. Let the sugar dissolve.

7 Finish removing the juice from the final lemon. Once done, check carefully to remove any pits.

8 Add the lemon juice to the heated sugar solution once all the sugar has dissolved. Stir together.

9 Remove the chilled pan from the freezer. Carefully add the sweetened lemon juice solution. Return the pan to the freezer.

10 Stir the contents of pan every 30 minutes for 3 hours. The first forms of ice will appear within an hour.  

Once congealed, your Frozen Lemon Slush-a-licious is ready to eat. Dish out and serve in individually chilled cups. The color of your lemon treat will be darker than traditional lemon ice. This is due to using coconut sugar, (which is not white and therefore not stripped of its nutrients.) Adding organic berries to your treat for extra flavor, color, vitamins and love works beautifully!

Please note, if you prefer your lemon ice with a more slushy consistency, let it sit for several minutes before consuming.

Finally,  I'm certain more than one of you are thinking about making this dessert a bit more adult-rated. Feel free to add a shot of vodka to your lemon ice treat and luxuriate the whole way through!

Enjoy!

 

If you like this recipe’, please share it with your family, friends and colleagues.

Also, please feel free to let me know your comments.  

 

 

 

 

Eggplant Pizza Rounds

These Eggplant Pizza Rounds are absolutely the bomb! I know that cauliflower crusted pizza is hip, but quite frankly, these eggplant pizzas are equally delicious, healthy and far easier and quicker to make! Plus, using eggplant rather than traditional pizza dough for the crust is a healthy way to get your veggies and pizza in!

Tips: To combat any bitterness, slice up the eggplant and salt for about ½ hour. Only large eggplants need to be salted before cooking though, (the process draws out moisture and counters bitterness). Otherwise, you can skip this step.

Also, when buying, avoid eggplants that are too hard or too soft: You're looking for one that's juuust right. When in doubt, err on the side of overly firm as some varieties don't have much give when squeezed, even when ripe. As with zucchini, the larger the specimen, the more bitter it will be.

Finally, eggplants should not be stored in the fridge; their texture will be compromised by the chill. Instead, keep them in a cool, dry spot in your kitchen, away from direct sunlight, but with plenty of air circulation. Their flesh will oxidize when sliced, so don’t cut until ready to use.

Ingredients

• 1 eggplant – cut into 1/3 inch thick rounds

• 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil

• 2 cups of organic tomato sauce

• 1 medium garlic clove

• 1/3 cup of grated cheese of your choice

• To taste – sea salt, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, oregano

Options: Add extra sauce once you have dished out your eggplant pizza rounds. Also consider adding toppings you enjoy including sliced olives, sausage, peppers, pepperoni, onions, basil and more.

Instructions

•Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a large baking sheet with foil and grease with olive oil.

•In a separate small pot, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 medium size clove of garlic. Brown the garlic slowly so the oil does not start to smoke. When you see the oil start to sizzle around and under the cloves, remove the pot from the heat and shake so the cloves move around in the pot. Even off the heat, the garlic will continue to toast. Remove the garlic when golden. Add 2 cups of fresh organic tomato sauce, (I use Bionaturae Organic Strained Tomatoes), with a pinch of red pepper, oregano sea salt and crushed black pepper to taste. Let this come to a low to medium boil and stir every few minutes. If the tomato sauce begins to boil too hard, reduce heat. Cook this for approximately 30 minutes.

•Wash, cut off the ends and skin the eggplant. (If you’d prefer the skin on, then simply cut of the ends of the eggplant.) If the eggplant is small, there is no need to “sweat” it. If your eggplant is larger and thick, approximately 30 minutes before baking, slice it into 1/3 inch rounds, and salt on either side generously. You may lay the eggplant rounds on paper towels to do this. After ½ hour, wipe off the “sweat” with a dry, clean paper towel.

•When your eggplant rounds are ready, place them onto your greased cookie sheet and bake for approximately 10-12 minutes. You may opt to turn the eggplant slices over mid-way but this is not mandatory.

•Remove the eggplant from the oven and add shredded cheese, (I use raw organic cow’s milk parmigiana cheese from my local farmer’s market). On top of the cheese, spoon out a nice dollop of tomato sauce though not too much as you don’t want the eggplant to become mushy.

•Return to the oven for an additional 5-7 minutes until the cheese has thoroughly melted. Once melted, remove from the oven and let the pizzas sit for approximately 2-3 minutes before serving.

Dish out and enjoy!

Primetime eggplant season is right around the corner and I’m getting psyched to enjoy these babies the whole summer long. By the way, this recipe can be used for both an appetizer as well as a main course. For a main dish, add a fresh garden salad to your plate. I hope you enjoy! Please write and let me know.

Buon appetito my friends!

 

Sweet Potato Brownie Cakes

I tend to not eat many homemade baked goods, but this recipe, recently emailed to me by Paleo Hacks, really caught my attention. What I found so compelling, in addition to the luscious image of brownies, were the healthy ingredients and the ease of putting this together for a tasty and super healthy chocolate treat!

While writing an article several weeks ago, I needed a break. With recipe in hand, it occurred to me that I had all the necessary ingredients and more in my kitchen to whip this up. And whip I did. Within approximately 15 minutes of prepping and whisking, I placed my pan of brownie batter into the oven. Thirty minutes later, a delicious, organic brownie cake was born.

Please note, these brownies are moist and more cake-like than traditional brownies. I added extra sweet potatoes in my batch, which also accounts for the less chewy texture. Give this a try. I have a feeling you’re going to be quite pleased.

Sweet Potato Brownie Cakes

Serving for 8

Ingredients

•3 eggs – (Go with organic eggs always. I use eggs from my local farmer’s market or Country Hen.)

•1/4 cup maple syrup – (Grade A, Organic Roxbury Mountain Maple Syrup works just great.)

•1/2 cup melted coconut oil plus extra for greasing the pan (I recently purchased Garden of Life organic, raw extra virgin coconut oil on sale. It’s delicious! All coconut oil congeals at 75 degrees. You can melt this oil simply by running hot water over the glass container for a bit.)

•3/4 cup almond meal/flour – (Bob’s Red Mill almond flour is a quality product.)

•1/3 cup cocoa powder (I use raw, organic non-sweetened cacao powder by Navitas.)

•1 teaspoon baking powder – (Bob’s Red Mill aluminum free baking powder is a winner.)

•1 cup cooked sweet potato – (I use canned organic sweet potato puree by Farmer’s Market. The only ingredient in this BPA-free lined can is non-GMO sweet potato. Yum!)

Optional

•1 handful cacao nibs - (I use raw organic cacao nibs by Now Real Food.)

•1/2 cup crushed walnuts - (Organic, raw, non-roasted and non-salted nuts are best.)

•1/4 teaspoon vanilla – (Vanilla Max ground madagascar vanilla beans by Bulletproof contains no alcohol.)

•1/4 teaspoon cinnamon – (Always go with organic spices. Simply Organic or Organic Frontier are both excellent options.)

•Pinch salt – (Pink Himalayan salt is tasty and nutritious. HimalaSalt is additive-free. White salts are  stripped of their nutrients.)

 Preparation

 (15 minute assembly and 30 minutes baking – Total 45 minutes)

•Pre-heat oven to 350⁰F. Grease 10 x 7” baking pan with coconut oil.

•Whisk the eggs, syrup and coconut oil until well combined.

•In a separate bowl, combine the almond meal, cacao powder, vanilla, cinnamon, salt, cacao nibs, walnuts and baking powder.

•Whisk the dry ingredients into the wet.

•Whisk in the sweet potato. If using a can, use half.

•Pour the brownie batter into the greased pan and bake for 30 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

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Allow the brownies to cool before eating.

Refrigerate or freeze left over brownies.

As a bonus, consider making some homemade whipped cream from organic heavy cream. Organic Valley Heavy Whipping Cream (Pasteurized) is organic and additive-free. That, plus a few organic berries on the side make for an ultra, wonderful sweet potato brownie cake indulgence!

Please enjoy!

 

 

Yummy Stracciatella Soup

When I was a kid, my mother used to make a delicious and easy to put together soup using Lipton Chicken Soup, (Beware: contains gluten, very high sodium and is essentially a very phoney food). She also added frozen spinach into the boiling broth for about 10 minutes. I was not a vegetable eater as a child but this dish went down very easily. Once the soup was ready and added to our bowls, my mom topped off this steaming pleasure with a bit of grated Locatelli Romano cheese, (similar to Reggiano Parmegiano).

As an adult, my palate has expanded a bit, thankfully, and I now add whisked eggs to this broth. Janet and I love my spinach and egg drop soup, or in Italian, Stracciatella Soup. It’s perfect following our first pass at my homemade chicken soup which is full of clean, fresh organic chicken, carrots, and celery. Well, after eating our chicken soup the first night, there’s usually plenty of broth leftover for a second round. The problem is that there’s not much chicken or anything else remaining.

So, problem easily solved with Yummy Stracciatella Soup. Adding eggs and spinach more than make up for the missing chicken and veggies. And it’s so, so easy to preparer. I simply remove my leftover soup from the freezer to defrost, take out a package of organic, frozen spinach, beat about 3 eggs and mix and simmer them all together for a fantastic, full meal. Love it!

If you’ve never made homemade chicken soup, check out my recipe here. If you don’t have time to make your own broth, no problem at all. Pick up a container of gluten-free, zero sodium chicken stock  and go for it. I promise you won’t be sorry. Buon appetito!

Ingredients - Serves 2-3 people

•         4 cups of chicken stock, (I use Pacific Organic Simply Stock Chicken/Unsalted . This is gluten-free, and contains no sugar or horrible MSG.)

•         2-3 eggs, (I use Country Hen or any organic, cage-free eggs especially from your local farmers market.)

•         1 bag of frozen spinach, (I use Woodstock Organic Cut Spinach.)

•         Locatelli Romano or your grated cheese of choice. (Do not use sprinkle or grated cheese that comes out of a canister.)

Preparation

5 minutes / Total cooking time – 20 minutes

•         Add the chicken broth/stock to a high flame to initiate a boil.

•         Beat the eggs while waiting for broth to come to a boil. Add a pinch of sea salt and black pepper.

Optional: You may also want to add approximately ½ - 1 teaspoon of grated cheese to this mixture.

•         Add the frozen spinach – Do Not Thaw – to the broth once it begins to boil. Simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally until the spinach is almost tender – about 4 minutes. (You will need to lower the flame to medium once the broth has warmed and defrosted the spinach.)

•         Reduce the heat of the flame to low. Add in the beaten eggs in a slow, steady stream and whisk into the broth and spinach. Let simmer for approximately 2-3 minutes.

•         Allow the Straciatella Soup to go on a low boil for an additional 4-5 minutes.

Serving

Add the soup to a warmed bowl and top with a bit more grated cheese.

And, there you have it: Warmth, love and strength served in a bowl. Enjoy my friends!

Treasure Chest-Nuts: Oven & Fire-Roasted

 

I wasn't much of a chestnut eater until last year during a trip to Italy. While there, Janet and I went to the Feast of the Chestnuts in the Southern Italian town of Noci. There we were walking the crowded streets with marching bands, street performers singing and dancing, comedy acts entertaining, and lots and lots of chestnuts roasting in the great outdoors!

The smells were too tempting and sure enough we had a bag of warm chestnuts handed to us. We both sampled one each and immediately agreed they were delicious. And, PS, chestnuts go great with a glass of red wine. A real holiday treat indeed!

If you enjoy a moderate amount of carbohydrates, chestnuts are a great alternative to sweet potatoes and the like. They are also fairly high in manganese, vitamin C, vitamin B6, and copper.

On a final note, not all recipes need be complicated to yield satisfying results. Here is such a recipe. You can roast these gems all on their own or with very few and simple add-ons. Chestnuts are in season October through March.  And, while some eat their chestnuts raw, due to the nuts' tannic acid content, if you go this route, be prepared for a bitter bite.

Oven-Roasted Chestnuts

Ingredients

* 1 lb. chestnuts

Optional: 

* 1 Tablespoon of real olive oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, or macadamia nut oil

* 1 pinch of unrefined sea or pink hymalyan salt

Prep

* Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.

* Using a sharp knife, cut an X into 1 side of the chestnuts. (This allows the steam to escape thereby preventing the chestnuts from exploding during the roasting process.)

Please go slowly with the above step and be careful not to lose control of the knife. 

* Toss chestnuts with any of the above mentioned oils if using. (Please note, the chestnuts taste great without any added ingredients as well. Go by your preference.)

Roast

* Add the nuts to a cookie sheet and roast approximately 15-20 minutes.

* Stir the chestnuts mid-way for even cooking. The chestnut shells should begin to open when near ready.

* Remove the nuts from the oven.

Eating Tips

* Place a mound of nuts in a dish towel, wrap them up, and tap firmly with a mallet or water glass bottom until the chestnuts crack open.

* Open the towel and allow the chestnuts to sit for a few minutes until they have cooled enough to handle. 

* Peel the nuts - both the hard shell and paper-like skin - and sprinkle on salt.  (FYI: Chestnuts are much easier to peel while warm.) Enjoy!

 

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If you're in the mood for a very traditional way of enjoying chestnuts, and if you have access to an outdoor grill, then try this!

Outdoor Fire-Roasted Chestnuts

* Place the pierced chestnuts at edge of the hot coals for 4-6 min or until you see them steaming or hear a hissing sound. 

* Remove the chestnuts, crack open, allow to cool somewhat, and peel while warm as indicated above.

* Feel free to add salt if you wish. 

Want to know if your nuts are really done? Try this trick: Don't pierce 1 of the nuts. When it explodes, you'll know the other chestnuts are done.

Fun Fact: Legend has it that long ago, teenagers would put un-pierced chestnuts on a fire and bet kisses on whose nut would explode first. Hmmm, now that sounds like a fun tradition well-worth bringing back!

 

If you've enjoyed this recipe, please share it with your family and friends. 

Also, if you'd like to leave a comment below, I always enjoy hearing from you. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healing Bone Broth

It’s getting chilly outside and that can only mean one thing. Bone broth season is upon us. Bone broth is exactly what its name indicates - making broth or stock from bones. Besides being tasty on its own and a terrific way to add flavor to other home prepared meals, bone broth is exceedingly healthy. Bone broths use a lengthy and gentle simmering style of cooking to extract rich marrow and collagen from the bones.

Both marrow and collagen deliver an abundance of nutrients for all kinds of benefits to your system. Collagen is great for our skin, bones, muscles, hair, and teeth. It also soothes the gut. Bone marrow is rich in fat and what our cavemen ancestors sought out and thrived upon! Every single cell in our body is laden with healing fat. Our brains also are made up of 60% fat. And, a growing number of research is showing the immense health and weight-loss benefits of a high-fat diet.

Please make sure to use bones from healthy land or sea animals. Bones from grass-fed cows, sheep, goats, as well as pasture-raised chickens and pigs are all terrific. With Thanksgiving approaching, consider using your turkey carcass. And don’t despair. If you don’t eat meat, consider making bone broth from left over fish bones. Collect your fish bones and freeze. Over time you will have sufficient bones to create your own healthy broth!

As odd as it may seem, apple cider vinegar is a key ingredient in this recipe as it helps draw out nutrients from the bones.

Recipe

Servings approximately 8 cups.

Cooking time between 14-24 hours – (I use my slow cooker in the evening and turn off approximately 20 hours later.)

Ingredients

• 4 lbs. of soup bones from beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, fish, etc. (Feel free to mix and match your bone sources.

• 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar - (I use Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar)

• 2-3 carrots, roughly chopped

• 2-3 celery stalks, roughly chopped

• 1 medium onion, skinned but kept whole

• 1 bunch of herbs (Parsley, oregano, thyme, sage, etc. Whatever you enjoy and have handy is fine.)

• 1 tablespoon of unrefined, sea salt

• 2 quarts of filtered water

Prep

• Place the bones in a slow cooker and drizzle the vinegar directly onto the bones to coat.

• Add in the vegetables, herbs, salt, and water. Stir.

• Set the cooker on low and cook up to 24 hours.

• When you are done cooking, discard the bones, veggies, and herbs.

• Strain the liquid through a colander or sieve into a glass or stainless steel container.

• Refrigerate the clear broth for 4 hours or more. The fat will separate and rise to the top forming an opaque white layer. Skim this off the top and discard.

To serve, heat the bone broth, (which will resemble gelatin), over medium-low heat.

Now, pour into a mug, sip, and enjoy!

You can store your leftover broth in a sealed container either in the refrigerator for up to 4 days, or the freezer for up to 9 months.

I really enjoy a cup of bone broth during the chillier months. The flavor for me is reminiscent from my childhood. I would go with my family to the Pocono Mountains in the winter over President’s Day week-end. We’d stay at a lodge with a fire place, snow sledding, snowmobiling, skiing, ice skating, and more.

After plenty of hours of outdoor fun in the chilled winter air it was always a pleasure to sit down to a hot meal. First course - beef consume’. The bone broth of today tastes just like the beef consume’ from my Pocono Mountains’ childhood getaways. Sweet!  

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it with your friends and family. Also, feel free to write in your comments. I love to hear from you!

Flour-less Pumpkin Pancakes Qualifier

Hi everyone!

Well, the October 2016 issue of From The HealthShrink was released just a few days ago, and with it, the new pumpkin pancake recipe. Today, I received a distress contact from Jeanne N., a devoted reader of our e-newsletter.  Jeanne was in the middle of preparing a Sunday brunch at her home for guests and decided to add pumpkin pancakes to the menu. Here’s what the S.O.S. call/text was over: Jeanne reported the pumpkin pancake batter seemed too loose or “liquidy”. She was convinced I had left out an ingredient from the recipe.

My answer to Jeanne was, “Nope, all the ingredients are listed appropriately”. But, here’s the catch I made crystal clear to her and would like to now pass on to you.

The batter will be more liquid-like than usual because these are flour-less pancakes. Please don’t let that be a cause for concern and stop you from cooking them up. The 2 most important tricks to making the pancakes are 1) ladle only a small amount of batter per pancake, (should be more or less equal to the size of the top of your fist.) Second, be patient, and allow these pancakes to cook the entire 5 minutes per side on a medium flame. It is the cooking time factor which provides the pancakes their firmness and ability to be flipped. When ready, use a thin, steel, preferably non-slotted spatula, and gingerly, but confidently, loosen the bottoms of the pancakes and flip. You’ve got this!

When I indicated a 10-minute total cooking time on the original recipe, I meant it. Don’t worry at all that the pancakes will be dry. They won’t. In fact, I’m extremely confident you’ll find them to be extremely tasty and deliciously moist.

I checked back with Jeanne after about 15 minutes of our communications to see how things were going. She playfully responded, “Leave me alone!! I am eating!!,” followed with several smiling, kissing emoticons and an attached photo of her pancakes. She suggested strongly that I write a qualifier for this recipe so no one else would have the questions/concerns she did. I appreciate your input Jeanne. Thanks!

Everyone, here’s your qualifier. Cheers!

Flour-less Pumpkin Pancakes

(Adapted from Diane SanFilippo’s, “Practical Paleo”.)

October is the perfect month to welcome the pumpkin harvest. And, this beautiful, orange fruit is the star of our recipe today. 

You may think pancakes are sinfully full of sugar and generally fattening. Ordinarily, I'd agree. However, Flour-less Pumpkin Pancakes are incredibly healthy and nutrient-dense. Pumpkins are great for our heart and blood pressure. They also help prevent degenerative damage to eyes, decrease the risk of diabetes, promote a healthy complexion, and overall, lower our weight. Nice!

These organic, pumpkin pancakes are very low in sugar/carbs, and are extremely satisfying to the taste buds. And, please don't fret over transforming a pumpkin into pancakes. Nope. Just do what I do and use canned, organic pumpkin in a BPA-free liner. Make sure though that the can contains only 1 ingredient, i.e., pumpkin. 

Here we go…

Serves 2

Total time ~30 minutes

Ingredients

•4 eggs - (Farm fresh from free-range chickens if possible. Country Hen brand is also very good.)

•1/2 cup/can organic, canned pumpkin - (I use Farmer's Market brand.)

•1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract - (I use VanillaMax by Bulletproof Nutrition. This is actually ground vanilla bean powder vs. liquid extract which contains alcohol.)

•1-2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup - (Try Grade A dark syrup for extra nutrition. Roxbury Mountain Maple is 1 brand I use.)

•1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice - (It's hard to find an organic version of this. I use Frontier Co-op brand which is non-GMO and non-irradiated.)

•1 teaspoon cinnamon 

•1/4 teaspoon baking soda - (Bob's Red Mill brand is in my cupboard.)

•2 tablespoons 8-MCT oil or butter or coconut oil - (8-MCT oil is flavorless and what I use in my Super Joe coffee. It's ultra-healthy and you can buy it here. If you opt to use butter, make it unsalted from local pasture-raised, grass-fed cows or use Kerrygold brand. Should you choose coconut oil, Green Label Virgin Coconut Oil by Tropical Traditions is organic and non-GMO. You can also do a mix and match of these healthy fats if you'd like. All great stuff whatever you go with!)

Prep & Cook

•Whisk eggs, pumpkin, vanilla, and maple syrup together. (If you don't have a whisk, use a fork to mix the ingredients well. Make sure to break down lumps from the pumpkin.)

•Sift pumpkin pie spice, cinnamon, and baking soda into the wet ingredients. Use the same whisk or fork and mix into your batter. If you don't have a sifter, no worries. Either add dry ingredients into a small, wired collander, then tap the side of the strainer until the powders have fallen through. Or, place all the dry ingredients into a small bowl, stir together, then add into the batter. Whisk or mix into your batter with a fork as described above.

•Add 2 tablespoons of 8-MCT oil - (Brain Octaine Oil by Bulletproof) directly into the batter. Alternatively, melt 2 tablespoons of butter or coconut oil over medium heat in a large fry pan. Once melted, mix the butter/coconut oil into the batter.

•Grease the skillet with butter or coconut oil.

•Over a medium flame, spoon the batter into the fry pan to make pancakes- (there should be enough batter to make approximately 8/9 small pancakes.)

Please be patient, and allow the pancakes to cook/set before the first flip. They may need a good 5 minutes to cook per side. After the allotted time period or when a few bubbles appear, flip the pancakes carefully. Cook another 5 minutes.

Serve warm with grass-fed butter and/or cinnamon. I eat mine straight up since they are both moist and sweetened enough for me just as they are. Delicious! 

Bonus: As an extra treat, have some baked bacon with your pancakes. Super easy to make, pre-heat your oven to 375 degrees. Lay the bacon from pasture-raised pigs – (USWellness has delicious sugar-free bacon), on a grill rack and in a pan to collect the drippings. Place the pan and its contents in the hot oven for approximately 25 minutes. (If your bacon is ready before the pancakes, turn down the oven to warm and retrieve when the pancakes have been plated.)

I hope you enjoy this incredibly healthy and scrumptious October break-feast! One last suggestions: Top it all off with a delicious Super Joe coffee! Yum-factor abounds!

 If you liked this recipe, let us know here.

Super Joe

Following my last 2 recipes, (The Big Blue Crumble and Bacon & Egg Cup Embrace), I wanted to now share the incredibly luscious, healthy, and energetic Super Joe, aka, SJ. Originally created by biohacker, Dave Asprey, as the "Bulletproof Coffee," my SJ interpretation will sweep you off your feet. 

Do you enjoy cappuccino? If so, prepare to be a very, very happy camper. The Super Joe is now my absolutely favorite way to enjoy coffee. I have a feeling once you try it, you'll agree.

There are very few ingredients in the Super Joe. However few or many, I always try to use the best quality ingredients. The beautiful SJ is no exception. It provides ketone-fueled energy and quick mental clarity from clean fat (8-MCT oil & grass-fed, unsalted butter), instead of sugar. 8-MCT oil, by the way, is distilled from coconut oil and takes only the best of the best from the coconut, i.e. caprylic 8-chain fatty acid. 

Think adding oil and butter to your coffee sounds bizarre? I did. I remember watching a travel program on TV many years ago. The host of the program went to northern Italy and was visiting a woman who owned and worked a dairy farm. This lady made fresh cheese and butter all the time. At the end of the farm tour, she offered the interviewer a cup of espresso coffee with her butter added right in. While the host oohed and aahed with delight, I was quite skeptical and turned off. Now instead, I find myself oohing and aahing. Honestly!

Before You begin...

Note: In the beginning when making your Super Joe, start out slowly and use less oil/butter than what I indicate below.  Then build up to the fat levels of both the butter and 8-MCT oil as indicated below. So, for your first 3 times or so, instead of 1 tablespoon of either fat, make it 1 teaspoon of either and go up from there. This will help to avoid any potential, initial gastric distress. Please don’t let this note scare you off though. The taste and health value of the Super Joe is absolutely worth giving your body a little bit of time to adjust.

Ingredients

(Serving size - One 8 oz. cup)

 •8 oz. of filtered water

 •1-2 scoops of coffee - I always use organic and try to buy single origin, typically from South America. I'm currently using Jim's Organic Coffee, Columbian Santa Marta Montesierra. Very smooth indeed.

 •1 Tablespoon of Grass-fed, Unsalted Butter - Kerrygold is a reliable brand butter easy to find in your local supermarket. I also buy my butter fresh from a local farmer at my neighborhood farmer's market. It's a beautiful golden color compared to the paleness of conventional butter. Grass-fed butter also has far healthier fats than conventional. 

 •1 Tablespoon of 8-MCT Oil - I've used Bulletproof Brain Octane brand as well as Mickey T Eight. Both oils rocks! Liquid at room temperature, flavorless, and big time ketone-fueling, this is the easiest fat for our bodies to burn. It feeds our brains, (which consist of 60% fat), and is less likely to get stored as fat in our bodies. 

Optional

•1-2 pinches of cinnamon - I add a small amount of cinnamon right into the coffee grinds before brewing. It adds a pleasant flavor, plus cinnamon works to keeps our insulin levels stable. That of course means, between the cinnamon and both fats - neither of which raise insulin, the SJ helps maintain blood sugar balance. Since insulin is the fat storage hormone and we are not increasing its release, you need not fear body fat gain from the coffee. On the contrary, it can actually help to reduce body fat. Yay!

Preparation

  1. Make your coffee.
  2. Add the coffee, grass-fed butter, and 8-MCT oil into a blender.  Blend for approximately 25 seconds.
  3. Pour the SJ into your favorite coffee mug.

(Converting your regular Joe to a Super Joe takes approximately 1 minute.)

Your Super Joe will be frothy like a cappuccino, and taste really delicious. In fact, it will taste so good that you most likely won’t even miss not adding sugar. Instead, sit back, sip, smile, and revel in the boost of energy and mental focus.

I hope you enjoy your Super Joe. Let me know your experience below. Also, if you like this recipe, please feel free to share it with your friends and family. Cheers!

 

Bacon & Egg Cup Embrace

Oh my goodness, have I got a terrific recipe to share with you! This works if you’re making just for yourself, as well as if you’re throwing a brunch for family and/or friends. Get ready for the super delicious & easy to prepare Bacon & Egg Cup Embrace (BECE). You and yours are going to love it! And, this savory & hearty mouthful is good to eat any time of day. It also offers healthy fat benefits to boot. Have leftovers? No worries. They’re easy to freeze & enjoy for another time.

Your welcome! : D

(Prep & bake time approx. 30 minutes. Serves 3-4.)

Ingredients

•6 Slices of Bacon, (I get mine on-line from US Wellness. Bacon is sugar-free & made from happy, pasture-raised pigs!)

•5 Large Farm- Fresh Eggs, (Best from your local farmer’s market if possible. If not, buy free-range, organic like Country Hen.)

•¼ teaspoon of Himalayan Pink salt (I use Frontier.)

•½ teaspoon of fresh crushed black pepper

•1 tablespoon of chopped chives, parsley, or rosemary, (I have easy access to our herb garden sitting in a planter right outside our kitchen window.  Love it! Remember, you don’t need a lot of space for your very own herb garden.)

Optional

•A couple of shakes of hot sauce or red pepper flakes

•1-2 tablespoons of diced cheese of your choice. (Raw cheese made from grass-fed ruminant animals is best.)

Preparation

• Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

- When over reaches desired temperature:

•Lay 6 slices of bacon in a pan on top of its rack & bake for 10 minutes

- While bacon is roasting:

•Beat eggs in a bowl and add salt, pepper, and, (cheese or hot sauce, if using)

•Grease the interior of a 6-cupper muffin tin with either coconut oil, grass-fed butter, or the rendered bacon fat once the bacon is done.

* Caution: Use care handling the hot bacon grease.

- When the bacon is done:

•Remove from the oven & let sit for a few minutes to cool. (Do not overcook the bacon as it needs to remain pliable.)

•Wrap each slice of bacon inside a greased muffin tin cup. You need only place the bacon around the sides of each cup. The bottom of the tin should be greased but not covered with bacon.

•Divide the egg mixture evenly among the cups until each is approximately ½ full. (You may want to dish out using a spoon.)

•Sprinkle chives on top. I've used chives with parsley. I also LOVE fresh rosemary.

- Now, bake for approximately 25 minutes. Every oven is different. When time is up, touch top of BECE to determine its degree of ‘setness’.

•Make your side salad while waiting for the BECE to finish baking.

- Once done baking:

•Remove from oven & allow the BECEs to sit for a couple of minutes in the muffin tin on top of stove.

Plate some lovely, baby salad dressed in extra virgin olive oil & lemon or coconut vinegar & sea salt.

•Remove your BECE by first loosening its sides from the tin, (a knife is useful for this). Once loosened, using the same knife, lift out the BECE carefully from its bottom.

Finally:

•Eat your BECE with satisfaction, mindfulness, and appreciation.

- If by chance you have left-overs, simply place your BECEs in a freezer bag for a future treat!

As the old saying goes, try it, you’ll like it! Actually, in this case, it’s…try it, you’ll love it!

Big Embrace!

 

If you enjoyed this recipe, please share it with your friends, family, & colleagues.

Also, if you have any comments you’d like to make, please write in below. I love to hear what you have to say.

The Big Blue Crumble

(Recipe adapted from Fresh Blueberry Crumble, by Diane Sanfilippo in Practical Paleo)

Summertime and fruit season go hand-in-hand. Well, the Big Blue Crumble is a great way to savor the wonderful blueberry and to recognize that July is National Blueberry Month. With just 1-2 tablespoons of grade-B maple syrup, this dessert is very low in added sweeteners. Plus blueberries, like most berries, are naturally low on the glycemic index. They are great for brain support and are loaded with anti-oxidants. All that, and delicious to boot, and we’ve got a grand slam big blue success!

For extra fun, add in raspberries with the blueberries. When ready to eat, top your masterpiece with a dollop of whipping cream from organic, pasture-raised cows to create a Red, White, and Blue - 4th of July Magic Crumble. This my friends absolutely promises to set off gorgeous fireworks in all of our mouths! I hope you enjoy.

Pre-heat oven to 375⁰ F.

Serves 6

Ingredients:

•2 pints of organic blueberries, (Driscoll’s green-label can be found in many stores.)

•1 lemon

•1 cup of almond flour/meal, (Bob’s Red Mill is reliable.)

•¼ cup of chopped or coarsely pounded raw walnuts

•¼ cup of melted coconut oil, (try Tropical Traditions green-label), or butter from grass-fed cows like Kerrygold

•1-2 tablespoons of Grade B maple syrup, (I use Roxbury Mountain Maple.)

•¼ teaspoon of cinnamon

•2 pinches of sea salt, (FYI: Just because it’s ‘sea salt’, doesn’t automatically make the salt health worthy. Check the ingredient list and make sure your sea salt does not contain an anti-caking agent.)

Optional:

•Substitute 1 of the pints of blueberries for a pint of organic raspberries or strawberries.

Preparation:

•Wash the blueberries and dry gingerly with a paper towel.

•Place the blueberries in a 9 x 9 inch, (or 7 x 11 inch), baking dish.

•Using the fleshy part of your hand, roll out the lemon on your kitchen counter for about 15 seconds. (This helps to release the juice prior to cutting.)

•Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice from 1 of the halves on top the blueberries. Toss lightly to coat the blueberries with the juice.

Hint: Squeeze the lemon cut side up so fewer seeds go into the pan. Make sure to remove any pits that may have fallen in the pan.

 •Chop the walnuts on a cutting board with a knife. If preferred, you may also place your nuts in a zip lock bag, (removing all the air), and with the bottom of a drinking glass or other handy easy-to-use object, gently pound on the nuts to break them up. Careful not to hit them too hard as that could result in nut granules vs. small pieces.

•Combine and mix the dry ingredients in a mixing bowl. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry and continue to mix well. The mixture should become moist and thick having the consistency of a thick icing.

•Spread the nut topping evenly over the blueberries, (not every section of the blueberries will be covered which is fine.)

•Bake until the fruit is well cooked/bubbly and the topping is golden brown. (This may take anywhere between 30-40 minutes.)

•When done, remove your crumble from the oven and let sit between 10-15 minutes.

While the Big Blue Crumble is delicious right out of the oven, wait until you taste it the next day from the fridge. It’s mind boggling yummy! Mmmmmmmm! One serving of this crumble by the way is equivalent to approximately 1 serving of fruit. So, when enjoying the Big Blue, cut back on other fruit you may consume. That will help to keep our daily fruit intake between 1-2 cups. More than that would create a fructose- sugar excess in our bodies. (Yes, it’s important to be mindful about both added sugars as well as sugars contained naturally in foods.)

Cheers and let me know what you think! Also, please feel free to pass it on!

 

Pigs in a Heavenly Blanket

I absolutely love a delicious, grilled hot dog, and hallelujah, it’s that time of year again! Yep, people are back outside grilling, and eating outdoors. Given that June 18th is International Picnic Day, this meal couldn’t be more timely!  And, trust me, Pigs in a Heavenly Blanket like these, you’ve never had before. (Are you drooling yet?)

You may think that healthy eating excludes a summertime favorite like the frankfurter. Well, think again. It’s entirely possible to enjoy a frank here and there with the gusto it deserves. (And, when we eat a food that brings us authentic delight, healing, pleasure hormones are released by our bodies.) Add to that delicious, healing scenario the selection of healthy and quality hot dogs and accompaniments and we've now got a dog that's Best in Show

Recipe – (Serves 2-4 people)

• 4 beef hot dogs – (I use Applegate brand, ‘The Great Organic Beef Hot Dog’ which is organic, uses grass-fed beef, and is gluten, casein, dairy, and sugar-free!  Are you kidding me? Chow down time!)

• 4 slices of bacon – (I get my sugar-free bacon made from pasture-raised pigs on-line at US Wellness. Oh my, everything tastes better with bacon and this sublimely healthy version rocks!)

Optional:

• 1 cup of chilled sauerkraut – (I use Bubbies naturally fermented kraut and pickles which have no sugar, vinegar, or preservatives. Their products are also gluten-free and full with live cultures. Repeat after me: This is an awesome health food!)

• Several squirts of brown, yellow, or Dijon mustard – (I use Woodstock brand Organic Stoneground Mustard which is both non-GMO and packaged in a BpA-free container.

* Note: Yellow mustard has the distinct advantage of having turmeric as an ingredient. Turmeric is manganese and iron-rich and helps to relieve systemic inflammation.)

• Virgin coconut oil, (I use Tropical Traditions, Green-Label), or grass-fed butter, (Kerrygold is easy to find and high quality) – enough to lightly coat the grill.

Paleo Wraps by Julian Bakery, (if you like to eat your dog in a wrap these are gluten-free and truly delicious!)

Preparation:

If your grill is electric, pre-heat for 10 minutes on medium.

Version #1: Down-to-Earth

Make a long slice length-wise down the center of each “dog”.

Wrap 1 slice of bacon around the hot dog securely but not overly tight. (You don’t want the bacon to tear when the hot dog expands during the cooking process.)

Version #2: Gourmet

Slice open hot dogs, length-wise, down the center, forming a deep pocket but not cutting through.

Coat the inside of each hot dog with mustard. Fill with sauerkraut.

Wrap a strip of bacon around each stuffed hot dog securing with toothpicks at either end. Make sure the bacon is secure but not overly tight around the hotdog for the same reason noted above in Version #1.

Cooking:

Optional: Coat the grill lightly with coconut oil or grass-fed butter.

Place the bacon-wrapped, hot dogs on the grill. Cover the grill for more uniform cooking.

Grill for 2 minutes until the bacon on that side is cooked. Make a quarter turn for each hot dog and grill for 2 more minutes. Repeat this turning and cooking process until the bacon is completely cooked.

For Version #1:

Prior to hotdogs being done, plate 2-3 tablespoons of sauerkraut on each dish.

Place the hotdogs, aka Pigs in a Heavenly Blanket, (PHB), directly on top of the sauerkraut. Add mustard of your choice liberally.

Optional (for either version):

• Place cooked PHB in 1 Paleo Wrap.

Now, dig in and enjoy either style PHB with a very generous helping of clean, healthy, and colorful salad. You’re set for your International Picnic Day and the whole summer long.

If you enjoyed this healthy summer picnic treat, please share it with your friends, family, and colleagues!

 

 

 

 

Cinco de Mayo Rockin' Guac

I first started eating homemade guac about 7 years ago. Up until that time, I’d really misunderstood the avocado; the wonder fruit. I thought it bland tasting and even worse, fattening. What was the point of eating it and why did people love their guacamole? I didn’t understand then, but what I’ve come to learn!

Firstly, avocado is delicious simply sliced with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a grate or 2 of Himalayan pink salt. When making guacamole, it also goes well with a variety of mix and match accompaniments including red onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno or Serrano chiles, garlic, strawberries, and whatever else you’re tempted to throw in. (If you’re in the mood for a velvety, chilled summer soup, trust your avocado to step in and do the job.)

Secondly, the avocado is supremely healthy! True they are loaded with fat, but despair not, since this fat is largely the omega-9 monounsaturated kind, (also found in olives and macadamia nuts). These fats are actually great because they contribute to weight loss, not weight gain. (Eating healthy fats in general make us feel full sooner than either carbs or protein, plus they are the only food that don’t raise our insulin. Awesome!) Avocados help balance our cholesterol ratio, as well as reduce the risk of certain cancers, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. They also provide numerous anti-oxidant qualities and are an excellent source of fiber. Moreover, eat an avocado and your eyes and skin will thank you too. Wow, nature at its finest!

Lastly, I frequently bring up the importance of buying as cleanly as possible when food shopping. Well, surprise, avocado is 1 of the very few foods where not buying organic is okay. (Yep, I said.) Avocados have 1 of the lowest pesticide load levels around and consequently are among the safest conventionally grown crops to consume. In fact, avocados are #1 on the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Clean Fifteen list. (For your Dirty Dozen/Clean Fifteen app by the EWG, click here.)

So friends, California Haas avocados are in season right now. Don’t miss out for 1, single moment on enjoying this versatile, easy to prepare, and thoroughly delightful and health-ful super food!

Please note: Instead of using the standard, unhealthy corn chip or tostado for scooping up your guacamole, I strongly recommend you try jicama; a round root vegetable grown in warm climates. Jicama can be eaten raw and it tastes somewhat like an Asian pear. While having a very low glycemic level, jicama is also loaded with fiber, Vitamin C, and potassium. (This beats a GMO, cooked in trans-fat, corn chip any day of the year!) I promise you’re about to make a new BFF!

Recipe

Jicama Sticks

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Ingredients

  • 1 jicama
  • 1 lemon,
  • Approx 3-4 twists of Himalayan pink salt

Prep

  • Wash the exterior of the jicama well, peel, then cut into strips approximately 2” L x 1” W x 1/4”D, (or just cut into a comfortable size for you to hold and dip into your guac.)
  • Once sliced, squeeze a very generous amount of fresh lemon juice all over the jicama
  • Finally, add a few twists of Himalayan pink salt straight from the mill directly on top

Option: Add some red pepper flakes for a kick

You’ve now established a refreshing and healthy eating utensil with which to consume your guacamole.

Recipe

Cinco de Mayo Rockin' Guac: Basic

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 2 Haas avocados, (or any avocados of your choice either organic or conventional)
  • 1 whole lemon
  • Approximately 5 twists from your salt mill of Himalayan pink salt

Prep

  • Wash both avocados, dry, then cut in half lengthwise using a tablespoon, scope out the avocado contents into a large bowl (TIP: To remove the large seed, take a sharp knife, and make a small, firm chop directly into the seed. Turn the knife to either side to loosen the seed, then lift and remove. Empty the avocado ‘meat’ contents as noted above.)
  • Take a whole lemon, wash and dry (TIP: On your kitchen counter top, firmly roll the lemon under your fist or lower arm multiple times to make the juice more accessible.)
  • Cut the lemon in half and squeeze entire contents directly into the bowl with the avocados. Remove any lemon seeds that have fallen into the bowl (TIP: You may want to squeeze the lemons with the cut side facing upward to prevent as many lemon seeds as possible from getting in the bowl.)
  • Add salt (TIP: Start with 3 twists of salt, then after mixing, add more to taste.)
  • Using the backside of your tablespoon, mash, then mix all ingredients together (TIP: Allow for a few bite-sized pieces of the avocado to remain whole.)
  • Chill for 20 minutes and serve

Variations on a Theme:

If you’re in the mood for guacamole, but want a taste change here and there, feel free to use 1 or all of the following ingredients. Your guests will delight as will you! The amount you use is to taste. Here’s how much I use:

  • Approx ¼ cup of fresh cilantro. Remove the leaves from some sprigs of cilantro and give a rough chop
  • ¼ cup of finely chopped red onion
  • 1 small, plum tomato, diced
  • Approximately 1 finely diced jalapeno or Serrano chile (TIP: If you desire extra heat, leave in seeds. WARNING: Wash your hands well immediately after cutting the jalapeno or Serrano chile to avoid eye burn, etc.)
  • 1-2 small garlic cloves, finely diced (TIP: Using a garlic press, makes this job easy.)
  • ¼ cup of chopped strawberries (TIP: If adding chopped strawberries, please fold them in the guac mixture after all other ingredients and prep work has been done.)

I hope you enjoy this seasonal and delicious super treat! If you liked this recipe, please share it with your friends and family.

 

Ginger Root Tea Time

Authentic Ginger Root Tea (GRT) is so easy to prepare, I hesitate to even call it a recipe. In addition to being super easy to make, GRT is incredibly healthy and delicious all in the same sip!

One of the healthiest spices on the planet, ginger is loaded with nutrients and bioactive compounds that have powerful benefits for your body. As an anti-inflammatory agent, ginger may improve brain function and protect against Alzheimer’s Disease. Additionally, ginger may help: lower the risk of infections, lower LDL cholesterol, reduce menstrual cramping, treat chronic indigestion, drastically lower blood sugars and improve heart disease risk factors, reduce pain and stiffness in osteoarthritis, reduce muscle pain and soreness, and treat a variety of forms of nauseas – especially morning sickness. It may even help with some forms of cancer.

True story: I was recently diagnosed with strep throat and my MD advised me to take ginger. Well, I showed her my thermos filled with GRT, and the doc was spellbound and delighted! I kid you not!

Ingredients

(Makes 20 oz. of GRT)

• Fresh ginger root – approximately four 1” sized peeled pieces

• Fresh turmeric root – (In the ginger family, turmeric is another spice rockstar. Go lightly on this root though since it has a slightly medicinal flavor) – one ½” peeled piece

• Filtered water – enough to fill a 20 oz. BPA-free thermos canister (I use an insulated stainless steel hydro flask.)  

Optional:

  1. Lemon - enjoy a squeeze of fresh lemon
  2. Spearmint - a few sprigs adds phyto-nutrients and is especially aromatic
  3. Raw, organic honey - for those wanting a sweeter tea, try 1 teaspoon per cup of your tea

Preparation

Fill you canister with filtered water and empty that canister of water into a tea pot. Set the flame on high and allow to boil.

While the water is getting hot, rinse of pieces of ginger and turmeric under filtered water. Cut up the respective roots to the sizes indicated above. Once cut, peel so that the maximum amount of spice flesh is exposed, (more exposure = more flavor). Drop the cut and peeled root pieces into the canister.

Once the water has boiled, empty the same into the thermos and tighten the top. Let steep for at least 2 hours. Start sipping and enjoying your GRT from then on there. As the day progresses, the flavor of the GRT will become richer and stronger. (Hint: Leave the root pieces in the canister until you’ve reached the desired taste or until you’ve finished your tea).

Additional Note

While I take my GRT hot, this wonderful beverage, after steeping, may be enjoyed hot or cold. So, drink, be merry, and enjoy in good health my friends!

If you liked this recipe, please feel free to share it with your family and friends! Also, if you’d like to make a comment, we always enjoy hearing from you. Cheers!

Susan's Luscious Cacao Fat Bombs

 (Recipe adapted from Yuri Elkaim)

This dessert is full of healthy fat that promises to nourish our brains and every cell in our body! It’s tasty, easy to make, and requires no baking. The original recipe included 8 dates which was far too sweet for me. I’ve made these wonderful bombs using just 2 dates to offset the bitterness of the cacao. I’m aware my taste buds at this point are less sugar-seeking than most. If you find 2 dates aren’t sufficient, add more 1 at a time.

Remember:

•             Eating fat does not equal gaining fat on our body as long as the fat is healthy.

•             Our taste buds have been hijacked by the food corporation which adds sugar, and lots of it, to everything we eat and drink. They’ve made us into major sugar cravers.

•             Taste buds replace themselves every 7 days. If we cut back on sugar a bit each week, we can absolutely retrain our taste buds to prefer less sweetness. This would indeed help with sugar cravings and in our overall good health.

•             While eating healthy fat is healthy, adding sugar to that fat renders it unhealthy. This sweet fat is not in our body’s best interest. (Please refer to our Feature Article Stop the Attack on Us and Fat for more information.)

Recipe

(Makes 10-12 golf ball sized bombs)

•          ½ cup of raw almond butter

•          ½ cup of hemp heart seeds

•          1 ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes (I get mine from Tropical Traditions)

•          2 dates

•          1 teaspoon vanilla (I use VanillaMax by Bulletproof)

•          ¼ cup cacao nibs (I use Navitas for both nibs and powder)

•          ¼ cup of cacao powder and/or cinnamon powder for dusting

•          Pinch of pink himalayan salt (I use Frontier)

Optional:

•          Once ingredients are blended, fold crushed walnuts and/or extra cacao nibs by hand into the dough-like mixture for crunch.  

Let’s create!

In a blender:

•          Blend almond butter, hemp seeds, coconut flakes, dates, cacao nibs, vanilla, and salt until the dough becomes thick. (You may also add a pinch of cinnamon before pulsing for added flavor.)

•          With a teaspoon or melon scooper, take some dough and round into golf ball sized bombs.

•          Dust all the bombs with cacao powder and/or cinnamon.

•          Refrigerate for 2 hours, then enjoy.

Please note: These bombs will last in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks. You may also throw them in your freezer for easy storage.